Hi there. Mama here.
So here I am, relaxing in my living room, feeling pretty good about all I've accomplished today...but then there's this nagging feeling like something's not right, like I'm forgetting something, but what? ... ... ... Ah! I was supposed to make a potholder for Week 5 of my "30 Weeks" series and I've only got three hours before the midnight deadline! 

Now I have to either pull myself together and make that darn potholder or finish my lazy evening and endure the icky feeling of being a total slacker, thus causing me to fall behind and leak over into time already slotted for Week 6. The thing that makes this decision so difficult is that I knew this wouldn't just be a quick cut-and-sew project because my goal was to make a potholder with pockets. So I can't just make a regular square or quilted or even just a flat, heart-shaped potholder, no sirree. It has to have pocketses, Precious! 

So what am I going to do? Well, if you know me at all (and if you can see the potholder at the top of this post), it should be fairly easy for you to guess what I've decided: it's POTHOLDER TIME!

[3 hours later]

Done! You can click "Read More" below to see the full photo tutorial. The pictures are dark and shadowy because I was doing this at night and most of the time I try to avoid using the flash at all costs. But flashy or not, making the tutorial took a whole lot of time and energy. And you know what? I've realized something: 

I do not like making photo tutorials.

There. I said it.

In real life, I am a really good teacher. But this photo tutorial thing is really time-consuming for me because naturally I'm more of a writer than a photographer, and I become really long-winded when I try to write out all the steps I took to do something. I honestly think the tutorials I find and use do a better job of explaining the steps than I do, so this might be the last time I chronicle my goals with a myriad of step-by-step photos and complicated explanations. I hope you're not too crushed. ;)

For Week 6, I'm going to learn "When Irish Eyes Are Smilin'" on my son's harmonica (granted, that's if I can find it in the toy-laden abyss that we lovingly call his room). Yes, you read that right. I'm not sure if I'll post a picture of myself playing it and you'll just have to take my word for it, or if I'll be brave and post a video, but either way, this is happening. 

Do you have any harmonica-playing tips? Or are you brave enough to make your own pocketed potholder? If so, leave a comment below with advice or a link to your finished piece--I'd love to hear from you!

-- Mama

This post is #5/30 in my "30 Goals In 30 Weeks" series. I'm working on one goal a week for the 30 weeks leading up to my 30th birthday. Join me by setting goals of your own! You don't need to have a special theme or specific time frame in mind, just choose something simple that you think will make you happy, and go for it!

Hi there! Mama here.
Have you ever hand stitched? I've seen tons of adorable hand-embroidered wall decor on Pinterest and I can't help but feel a little envious of some of those crafty stitching sistas! So what did I do about it? Well, I decided that for Week 3 of my "30 Goals in 30 Weeks" series, my goal would be to learn to stitch and create some of that handmade loveliness! 

Now I have to admit I've had this pretty colored embroidery floss sitting in my sewing box (aka three rubbermaid tubs that cover my entire closet floor) for over a month, but I've been too afraid to touch it for fear of creating some knotty, ugly mess and forever shaming myself in the world of stitchery. So naturally, my first step was to find and repeatedly watch (what else?) a youtube video about basic embroidery by embroiderer extraordinaire Jenny Hart, founder of Sublime Stitching. It's a short, easy-to-follow video, perfect for any stitching beginner, and the girly background music makes it even more fun while you learn.

At first I wasn't quite sure what to make, but, much like in Week 1, the perfect opportunity presented itself. My friend Stephanie was throwing a first birthday party for her sweet girl Claire and the theme was "You Are My Sunshine," with yellow and orange decorations (including an absolutely adorable birthday banner she made...don't get me started on how much I adore any kind of hanging banner--I have an entire wall in my dining room devoted to a large wall banner that I change for every season and holiday). These past couple years I've gotten into the habit of giving handmade gifts, so as soon as she told me the theme, the wheels in my Martha brain started turning and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to set out on my hand stitching adventure.

I decided to stitch the words "You are my sunshine" onto burlap fabric and add some felt rosettes, and the result was pretty gosh darn adorable... Click "Read More" below to see how I did it!

Hi there! Mama here.
Well, my new year's goal of blogging twice a month hasn't quite panned out, but hey--I still have six months left this year to do it, right? ;) Plus, I've got some really good excuses (aka "news")...
#1: Our second son was born in March--welcome to the world, Sammy!
#2: My little brother married his beautiful lady love! How does that apply to me? Well...

Picturewhite lights + 2 goofballs = photo fun!
Hi there! Mama here.

Well, the first snowfall has arrived here in Michigan and some people aren't thrilled, but I can't help but feel excited. The frost in the air and the snow on the roof just make me smile because I know it means the holidays are coming... and I don't know about you, but frost and snow and cold weather all add up to winter-time goodies for me! 

Some of my fondest holiday memories involve the familiar scents and tastes of holiday goodies: Going to my grandma and grandpa's house on Christmas Eve and excitedly dumping out stockings filled with our favorite Christmas candies, my other grandpa carrying those little peppermint Christmas tree nougats in his pockets, getting a box of chocolate bells every year after the church Christmas program, chocolate oranges from my dad, and the scent of my mom's Christmas cookies and breads filling the house with heavenly smells. When I look back on it all and remember how I enjoyed the food more than almost anything else about the season, I wonder...is it really any surprise I've ended up doing this? ;)

So last night Papa and I watched The Green Hornet (way better than the Green Lantern movie, just in case you were wondering) while we savored a couple steaming mugs of hot cocoa (Raspberry for him and French Vanilla with peppermint extract for me). If you don't feel up to making your own from scratch, I highly recommend Land O Lakes brand because, well, it's the best store-bought hot cocoa I've ever tasted. I always make sure to keep at least a dozen of their individual packets around in various flavors during the holidays for guests to enjoy, and trust me--they DO enjoy it!

Aside from just the goodies, holiday crafts are super fun, too. I was looking for one to do with Little Boy Blond and came across one Christmas-time creation that would be just perfect. We use a lot of glass jars here in the Sweet Home kitchen and there are always at least four or five of them just sitting around waiting to be filled with Sweet Home Granola or other goodies. So when I came across Martha Stewart's DIY snow globes, I knew I'd found a winner! Just take any old (clean and dry) glass jar with a lid and a tight seal, and voìla: instant snow globe success! You don't even have to use a Christmas theme for these to be fun; Papa and Little Boy made some with footballs and airplanes and they turned out super cute! (Cotton balls for clouds? Papa is so creative.)

What else? Well, we decided to do a family photo shoot to get some (hopefully) good pictures for a photo card this year (since Mama never actually got around to sending out cards last year...oops), and we had a ball! I was inspired by two Christmas light themed photos I saw on Pinterest: one of three kids and one of a newly engaged couple. I kind of took the lights idea and ran with it, and one of the final results is the picture in this post. We wanted something funny, so I thought up the idea that Little Boy had wrapped Papa in Christmas lights and left him hanging--they both loved it!

Anyway, I hope you're enjoying the season and taking some time out to spend with the ones you love, because--snow or no snow--that's what really makes it feel like Christmas!

Sweet Home à la Mama

What kinds of goodies or crafts are you enjoying this holiday season? Leave a comment and share!