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letting cats out of bags ... and a rather unexpected preamble

Quick, go get yourself a hot cup of coffee or tea and a small plate of Christmas baking or a handful of chocolates ... you're gonna need them!  I've gone through two cups of Chai tea and a half a dozen truffles writing!  LOL!

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Before I get started, I have to say that I've had THE biggest kick out of your reponses to my question yesterday about Martha Stewart projects.  Talk about a trip down memory lane.  I don't think it would be a stretch to describe me as a Martha disciple from the mid 90s when I discovered her to about the early 2000s when I had kids and no time to have that sort of fun anymore.

I used to record her show and watch each episode several times.  I loved everything about it.  I learned a lot and was constantly inspired.

Suz, you are quite right.  Classic, understated elegance is everywhere! :)

Rosemary, no question some of her projects were VERY intense.  I remember reading in an anniversary issue that said of all her "good things" projects, the one rated most difficult were these little lidded, nexting boxes made with paper.  I had to laugh because I went to town with a neighbour friend with those!  The measurements were finicky, but I thought the boxes were fairly easy because I had all my quilting equipment.  My mat, ruler, and the bone folder I bought because of her (that thing has come in so handy over the years!  Among other things here and there, I use it all the time for turning out corners on my sewing projects) for scoring the fold lines made that project so much fun.  I remember photocopying sheet music to make the boxes.  Because they were made of regular paper, they slowly succumbed to use and abuse over the years, but I kept office suppies in them on my desk in my home office for a long time.  Loved them.

Marcella, so sorry for you/happy for me to hear that the buckwheat hull pillows were noisy!  LOL!  I wanted to make those too, but they were too expensive (although that cranberry wreath cost me a pretty penny!).  Thank you for permission to no longer regret not making those.

Stacy, realistic is how I feel about it now too.  I can't bear to get rid of all my old issues.  But I have no time for new projects.  I know that if I am ever in the mood to do something crafty, I have 10 years worth of Martha to go through to satisfy myself. :)

Pam, yes I remember that cake. :)  But more importantly, YOU HAVE BEEN TO TURKEY HILL???!!!  Lucky duck. (Hard Copy!  LOL!!!  I would have been right there with ya!)

Sue, your dogwood wreath sounds absolutely dreamy with the hand painted blossoms.  Sigh.  Her mom really was adorable.  What a no-nonsense, entertaining lady.

Jenn, oh those Christmas specials!  I always looked forward to them.  So dreamy and lovely.  I miss them.  I have most of her Christmas books.  Geez, I should pull them out and put them on my coffee table right now!  Funny thing, before I was a mom and didn't have worry about how I decorated my coffee table, I would keep a stack of my Martha magazines out and I'd switch them every month.  All the Januarys in January, etc.  Yes, I used them as decoration.  And I read and reread them countless times.  (Wow, was I ever nerdy!)

Sherri, O.M.G. that marzipan garden cake!!!  I LOVED that cake!  That picket fence?!  Oh I wanted to make little marzipan things in the worst way.  But I didn't have the tools.  I actually toyed around with the idea of making them with Fimo, but I suck at sculpting, I found out. :(  Funny story, just a few weeks ago my daughter asked me what marzipan was made of.  First thing that popped into my head was that cake.  Too bad marzipan tastes so gross (apologies if you like it).

Ann, those gilded walnuts.  I remember those too.  Who else other than Martha would think to pair walnuts with pearls, I ask?  Gorgeous.  Something else I wanted to make.  Not sure why I didn't.  Glad you did, though!  It's fun doing things like that with a friend.  Even though you only have 2, they put a smile on your face every year when you remember that afternoon, don't they? :)

Helen, the world is full of so many other lovely creative and inspiring people.  You will never want for that sort of entertainment, now that the internet gives you access to all!

Holly, oh I wish you would tell me stories!  I love them.  I have most of the baby issues too.  I remember embroidering burp cloths when I was pregnant, thanks to the first issue.  How ridiculous that sounds to me now!  LOL!

Sigi, your wreath sounds absolutely delightful, Martha or not.  I do give her credit for teaching me to appreciate wreaths in all forms.  This year I actually made a cedar bough hanger for my front door.  Turned out a little wonky, but it's fine for one season.  Would never have done that without her inspiration.  I think the first wreath I made from fresh branches was from a Mountain Ash tree in the backyard of our first house.  I got a wire frame and a paddle of green floral wire, as per her instructions, and made a pretty awesome fall berry wreath for my front door.  It actually lasted a few years!  I also learned to wire all the glass ornaments on my tree from her.  I keep that same paddle of wire in my xmas decoration box.  And yes, I wire every single glass ball ornament (100+) to my tree.  I like how it looks like they "grew" off the branch.  (Am I starting to sound like a total nut job?!  LOL!)

This may make me sould like a bad mom, but I've never let my girls decorate the tree before.  I mean, I always put on all the breakable stuff first, and then I let them put all their special ornaments on.  This year, my youngest, who is 12, really wanted to do the tree from the beginning.  So I showed her how to wire the ornaments to the tree, starting with the large ones at the bottom, medium size in the middle, and small at the top, etc. 

Then I went through all my "rules".  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I surprised myself at just how neurotic I am about decorating the tree.  Ornaments have to be free hanging, placed according to size, colours evenly distributed, no crowding, no hanging ornamants from the garland, all ornaments with a front need to face front, angels near the top because they are flying ... I have a TON of rules.  I think I need to lighten up a bit.

Anyhow, she finished one box of balls and was so proud of herself for finishing them ... until I pulled out the other 7 boxes!  Poor thing.  I ended up finishing the job alone.

Anita, that ribbon poinsettia wreath was FABULOUS!  So happy you made it.  I think you should dig it out, dust it off and enjoy it again.  I know you put lots of time and effort into it!

Please keep your stories coming.  I love reading them. :)

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Did I lose anyone?  That was a rather long preamble that I didn't expect to write.  Thanks for sticking around.

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One of the reasons I haven't been here as often as I'd like is because I somehow got myself some magazine work this year.  Getting published is always fun, but it means I have to keep my projects a secret until the magazines are published.  So now that all the cats are out of the bags, here they are ...

First is a table runner I made with Little Joys by Elea Lutz for Penny Rose Fabrics.  This design is a coordinate for this stockings pattern I published a few months ago. 

Super simple, super quick, machine applique, glue on some buttons and there you go!

Next, the stockings I showed on IG.  These are my favourite.  Also made with Little Joys from Elea Lutz.  May was a busy Christmas month for me!  LOL! 

A few things about these ...

See the lace cuff on Stocking #1?  Jodi at Pleasant Home gifted it to me a few years ago.  That was such a special surprise.  Read about it here

And then just yesterday, my adorable friend Greg from Greydogwood Studio used this pattern as a jumping off point for a cute rendition of Lori Holt's Granny Squared improv!  Oh they turned out so cute.  You really need to check them out here.  This sort of thing right here is what makes our amazing online community so wonderful.  :)

Ok, next is a little EPP hexie pencil case I made for Love Patchwork & Quilting.  I remember finishing this off in August while on vacation in Palm Springs this summer.  Good times. :)

And finally, Australian Homespun.  I can't say that this one took me any time to do.  They asked if they could publish this project that I blogged a few years ago.  Here's the original post.  Those cute little leggings are long gone now, and the weird thing is that I can't remember which one of my daughters belongs to the legs in the photo! LOL!

So there you have them.  I hope you're inspired to make one, a few, or all of these projects.  They all came from my heart and hands for you.

xo k

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Reader Comments (11)

Ha, ha! I read my husband what you wrote about the buckwheat hull pillows and he said, "oh, I remember that partial night until I got fed up and threw the pillow onto the floor. That thing was awful and noisy! Thanks for the reminder." Made me laugh so hard.

With all those ideas there has to be a clunker now and then.
December 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermarcella
Oh Kristyne - your post was just what I needed. Sometimes, I felt like the only 'nerdy' one jumping from one craft to the other, whenever I saw a 'neat' something in a magazine. And yes, I used to be so fussy with the Christmas tree - I can totally relate. Then my oldest took over that job, and in her patient way, did a better job than I could. This year I ended up taking out ALL of our ornaments, even the fragile ones from our first year of marriage - talk about vintage - so the tree is loaded. It looks so pretty with all the glittery bulbs glistening along with the lights. I love all the projects you have been so busily sewing. Especially the stockings!
December 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSigi G
Fun post. I enjoyed it with a large glass of wine.
I loved putting up the tree. I have not put one up this year. I am not. I know it is freakish.
With the kitties and the new grandbaby, and my decrepit parents, I am just too too tired. :-D
But I like these ideas. Now all of a sudden I am hosting family on Christmas day and on the 27th as well.
So without a tree......... well, I have four boxes I brought upstairs from the dungeon, and I am going to deck the halls literally. I have 3M and I know how to use it.
This is going to be super cool, or epic fail. Either way, - meh
Happy Christmas!
Every time I think about Martha Stewart, I just wonder if she did crafting when she was in that special "prison" which was probably fancy, but still, did she get together with the other prisoners and the guards and make stuff?
Yes, I want to make those stockings right now, and some adorable banner too
December 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRosemary
a Martha fan for eons...and I am sure I made her crafts....now I use her wonderful recipe for pie crust....uses 2 count em 2 sticks of butter....makes 2 crusts and have never had a bad pie since...freezes well too....good job on the magazine work.....the Christmas tree....my mom always put the tinsel on last, 1 strand at a time....I was not that mom....lol....how it looked is how it looked....
December 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterShelley
Congratulations on your magazine publications!! How exciting for you!

I do miss those old Martha Stewart shows. I wish she'd go back to that format. My favorites were her Christmas specials. For years we had the one with her building a gingerbread house with Miss Piggy. Julia Childs was in that special too. I sooooo wish they were available to purchase in DVD because our old VHS tape gave up the ghost after being viewed so many times over the years.
December 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuper Mom - No Cape!
Hi Kristyne, Your projects are beautiful, see that project on the front cover of Homespun, thats mine. I was thrilled to be published again, its a great feeling isn;t it. Merry Christmas.
December 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLeanne
Loved this post! Your projects are always sooooooo gorgeous! Thanks for the inspiration. xoxo
December 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterElnora
The preamble was most enjoyable....but now I really want to see how the tree looks!! Can you post a photo? I catch myself rearranging ornaments throughout the Christmas season when I walk by or sit looking at the tree.
My kids have "stuffers" too- these are ornaments they don't like and don't want to put on so they reach way in to the center stem of the tree and hang it right against the tree trunk so it's on there...but can't be seen! : D
December 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen
Merry Christmas Kristyne!! I am still laughing over your (and my) Christmas tree rules and cannot wait to show it to my daughter, to whom I have passed down my neurotic and Martha like tree decorating tendencies. Congratulations on the magazine work....you deserve all the recognition because you are amazing!!
December 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdebbie
Congratulations on all your publications!
December 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArchie The Wonder Dog
Well, I am a slow-poke here! I hope your Christmas was warm and festive. And a huge Congrats on the mags!
We 'finally' got snow here in the east. A little late but a truckload nevertheless. Wish it had been earlier as it really does help put one in the mood for all the baking as well as decorating. I didn't put up a tree this year. Had a lot of medical stuff going on just prior to the holidays and realized that the putting away would be impossible. So, I decorated the mantel for all it was worth. Let's just say it was 'dripping in festivities'. Ha!
I can so relate to all the Martha memories. I still adore her tips and tricks, have several of her books and I, too, still look at them often. Her inspirations still bring hope. What can I say - she is timeless.
Thanks for the tip on the wiring of the ornaments. Having pets means never finding ornaments.They aren't broken, just swooshed under furniture somewhere.
I hope everyone's Christmas was as merry as possible and I wish you all a truly Happy New Year!
December 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHeather (mtl)

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