around these parts

First of all, thank you for all the extremely kind words about the Feeling Stitchy post! I loved writing it—such a treat six months into our married life. Especially since things are much less glamorous around here…

photoNot pictured: dozens of bags to be sent to goodwill or the trash, dirty dishes (since our dishwasher decided to stop working yesterday!!) and so much stuff that still needs to be packed up.

I know we’ll get it done, but moving is hard. Especially when the weather is so nice and Bernie’s giving us his puppy eyes, reminding us that relaxing is way more fun than packing.

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The actual tasks of moving are just a big pain. And the most difficult part—saying goodbye to our friends—is still yet to come. We’re so excited to be in Boston, but it’s still hard right now.

Luckily, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and will soon be relaxing in Minnesota with our families before our cross-country haul.

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Bernie the Basset turns 1!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Bernie’s birthday was a few weeks ago. We officially celebrated last night with dinner, a doggy cake and his new best friend, Dolly. I never thought I’d throw my dog a birthday party, but it was the perfect excuse to have friends over!

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It’s gone by so fast. Seriously, I feel like I was just emailing breeders. Our little 45-lb snuggle bug can definitely be a handful, but has brought Andy and I so much laughter and love. Pretty much everything he does is pure comedy, so you can count on at least one big belly laugh every day you have him around.

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Andy made him and Dolly a cake (using this recipe), which was a big hit. We know this since it was inhaled in a few seconds. We also made a human cake, chocolate with chocolate frosting, for us to enjoy. I quickly sewed up some bunting for the cake using ribbon, fabric scraps and bamboo skewers.

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Cue the instagram-ing (courtesy of Elise & Andy):
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home

My sewing machine is now back in full force after a good cleaning and tune-up. The first order of business was to whip up a pillow cover with the home I embroidered from Anna Maria Horner’s stitching book. So happy with how it turned out!

As I was stitching this, I was also busy looking at possible apartments in Boston (we’ll move out there this summer). Needless to say, I thought a lot about home and what it means. What is home to you? To me, it means:

:: A space to be exactly who you are with the people you love.

:: Surrounding yourself with things that make you smile and reflect your style.

:: Carving out a small area for work and creative pursuits.

:: Relaxing with a cup of tea and too many Law and Order episodes and worn sweatpants.

:: A place for you to add layers of beauty, memories and laughter. #sappy

Leaving Chicago will be hard! We have so many friends here and love them all to pieces. But moving to Boston will be an exciting adventure—and I’m getting so excited to set up our new home there.

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Unlike Anna Maria’s beautiful pillow cover example, I decided not to hand-quilt the top, but I did iron on some fusible fleece to protect the stitching and make the front extra plushy. I cut two pieces for the back to make and envelope cover, using basically the same process (but different measurements) as this tutorial.

After sewing the case, I topstitched twice around the outside, creating a crisp border and adding interest. All in all, I just love how this turned out! I love pairing of this embroidery with the simple, shabby fabric.

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The pillow’s now resting on our bed with an Anna Maria pillow (obsessed much? yes!). It really doesn’t belong here; too much white. But when we get our new dark grey cover for our couch, it’ll be a perfect addition to our pillow collection!

Also, connect with me on instagram! You’ll see some more photos of my creations and many more of Bernie!

Hope you have a great day at home, wherever that may be!

Christmas Recap

Christmas 2012 was a blast. I’m very sad it’s over, which is why it’s taken me so long to write up this post!

My family and Andy’s family traveled to Chicago to celebrate all together. So all 10 people of two clans spent the days eating and lounging in our apartment. It was so much fun, even though our place isn’t huge. Our families were such good sports and helped us so much with the food and gifts.
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When Andy’s parents arrived, him and his mom were wearing (almost) the same sweater! Ha. It was a great way to start off the weekend.

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On Christmas Eve, we had a big fondue fest. We had fondue pots of oil and cheese, then another at the very end with chocolate. As you can see, it was hard not leave stuffed!photo-8

The tablecloth is actually just a large piece of $1.99/ yard muslin! Since fondue can be messy and oily, I was afraid to use any of our nice, new tablecloths. One long piece of muslin was perfect–and it was so nice to just throw it away at the end of dinner.

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On Christmas Day, we spent the morning opening gifts and eating a super-relaxed brunch. Then… we settled in for a movie marathon.

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Getting the time to relax together is one of the best parts of Christmas. And Bernie seriously, seriously loved having so many people around. He’s just so social and loves our families, so it just always having someone new to play with or snuggle up with was the best present he could ask for. Of course, he also got several other little gifts.

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For Christmas dinner, my dad and Andy cooked a beef tenderloin perfectly. I pre-made baked artichoke hearts and a roasted butternut squash galette that just needed to be popped in the oven. I also made some fingerling potatoes and carrots, and crescent rolls since no holiday feast is complete without a basket of those!

Andy and I loved hosting our first Christmas together. We are just so lucky to have families that enjoy spending time with each other so much–and were willing to travel to be with us! 

Some Yuletide Swag

Christmas is in full swing here in our little home! We bought our first real tree and spent the day yesterday setting it up and decorating it. After browsing at a small tree yard, we decided to go to Home Depot and grab a cheaper one. Thankfully, it turned out really well!

Andy and I will host Christmas this year, so we want to spruce up the apartment but not break the bank. A little craftiness is just the solution.

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For decorations, we used the felt star and birds that I made a few years ago using PurlBee’s tutorials (with a few adaptations). We also dried orange slices and used some scrap red yarn from my stash to hang them up. Drying oranges makes the apartment smell so good! We also received many beautiful ornaments for wedding presents. Gorgeous ornaments are such a treat!

I think it’s still missing something. Maybe I’ll string cranberries or make some sort of other garland. Not sure.

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I used the bottom row of branches that were trimmed off at Home Depot to make a few more decorations. I cut off lots of needles and small branches to decorate the mantle. Aren’t the stockings cute? Andy’s mom so kindly sewed them up for us.

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I used the rest of the branches and some ribbon from my stash to make a little decoration for the door. It’s certainly not going to last a lifetime, but it’s a fun way to use up extra branches. The red string with a bell on the door is for our puppy to tell us when he needs to go outside, and the red wooden shoe holds our keys. While these are up all year, I think the red color makes the door hanging look even more festive!

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We can’t put any presents under the tree because of that little snuggle muffin. While Bernie is pretty well-behaved for a 9-month old puppy, the wrapping paper and cardboard are just too tempting. So I think the presents will just stay safely in the bedroom or on top of the bookcase.

How are you decorating for the Holidays?