31 December, 2011

glitter and berries, a bird and a tree

oops! the last day of the year?! well, here's one more holiday season post before we ring in 2012.

glitter+felt stars+cranberries+popcorn = xmas decor:

the cranberry popcorn strings were a bit too much for our little tree, so i hung them up outside on the hedges that flank our walkway. hours later, i awoke to the sound of pouring rain. the popcorn didn't look so good in the morning. oh well, i tried.

and here's our "tree:"

i was so on-the-fence about getting a tree.... we spend the days before, of, and after with our families, so we really weren't going to be around to fully celebrate and enjoy a decorated tree. but still, i kind of wanted *something* to decorate.
the saturday before christmas, i met my new friend jill over at terrain and of course seeing all of the beautiful festive decorations and breathing the smell of evergreen only made me want a tree MORE. and then luck struck.
as i was walking to my car, there was a handsome young man cutting the lower boughs off of christmas trees and, as he was throwing the large green branches into a big wooden bin, our eyes met for a second and we exchanged friendly smiles. i walked about three steps more and then turned right around, pulled out the old girlish charm, and sweetly asked if the boughs were sold after being cut. he said nope and to go on ahead and take them if i wanted. hiphiphooray; that's exactly what i wanted to hear!
so i went home and arranged the the boughs into a wonky treelike shape and felt happy.
with a bird for the top branch and a nest (that i found out in the yard the week before) cradled in one of the branches, i think all it needed were the little sparkly stars.

it only takes little things to make me happy.
thank you, all, for being here with me this year. you make me happy. you keep me going.
let's all hope for an even brighter 2012. happy new year! be safe!

27 December, 2011

spirit of giving

happy post-chrismas, friends! i hope you all had a really lovely holiday. mine was wonderful -- i have such a loving and fun family, and with an eight year old, a five year old, and a teeny little two month old baby, it was that much more special.

this year, i felt super good about all of the gifts that i gave. i hand-made most of them and actually had them done and wrapped BEFORE leaving for my travels! (all but two; that's an amazing accomplishment for me!) here are some of the ones i had finished and wrapped while it was still light enough for photos.

i made tiny baby shoes (using this pattern) and a little hat for baby Elvis:

(the hat's a little too small. i'll make another for next month, when he's grown out of it.)

a super cozy cowl for sis and fingerless gloves for my brother-in-law:

(i made the fingerless gloves for lots of other people on my list, too. i hadn't knit up a pair for years, and forgot how quick and easy and satisfying these are! here's a link to the basic pattern, which i modified for using extra bulky yarn.)

a pretty felt flower headband for niece bella:

(inspired by my much-loved rosette fascinator by giant dwarf and using the flower patterns found on the purlbee here.)

wine coaster thing-ys for the ladies-of-the-house on my list:

i had seen these *somewhere* but could not for the life of me figure out where -- i searched martha and purlbee and BH&G and courtyliving with no results. in the end, i did them how i remembered them to be, and using different color stitching on each to make them kind of like those wine charm things. honestly, i thought they were a little cheesy, but kinda just a little cool, too.
packaging them in fruit boxes upped the presentation points.

paperwhite bulbs (from ever-inspiring terrain):

i also did a few as single bulbs, placed in a small-size mason jar with white buttons at the bottom instead of stones. those turned out really sweet -- but i didn't get a photo of them.

home-made caramels using this recipe:

the orange-wrapped ones were fleur-de-sel, and the blue-wrapped ones were lavender. ( i kinda went a little overboard on the lavender -- they were a bit too floral-y, even for me who loves that flavor...)

one sack of caramels packaged up for my wonderfully friendly postal clerk:

and lastly, cookies:

two kinds of biscotti - one dairy free, for my lactose-intolerant landlord:

and the rest were either finished after-dark (more pairs of fingerless gloves, containers of paperwhites, and neice and nephew's custom-covered sketchbooks), or at the last minute (nani's felt flower wreath), or vintage (mom's yellow-ware bowl), or storebought (b's camera, dad's bar glasses, ed emberly books for bella and aidyn).
totally satisfying.
and i was a lucky little lady in terms of the gifts i received! vintage pyrex from b, this book from santa, snowshoes, a gift certificate to my favourite fabric shop, many exciting new dishes and gadgets for my kitchen, and so many other thoughtful and sweet surprises. i'm a lucky little girl -- my family and loved one mean the world to me, and that i get to spend my christmas with them -- perfect.

19 December, 2011

holla daze

oh my goodness what an insanely, intensely, wonderfully busy few weeks i've had with chez-sucre-chez; stitching up dozens of tea towels, running out of them and ordering, laundering, ironing, and stitching those ones, too; packing up scores of boyfriend hankie kits and working all hours to keep on top of my shipments to go out -- all to ensure that my customers would get their orders in time for gift giving. it was a wild, wonderful time. but now i get to breathe (a little) and jump into my own holiday gifts! i've got five days to make and bake my little butt off to get it all done. there'll be knitting, and sewing, and cards and caramels and felt wreaths to make, cookies to bake, packages to wrap, and a tree to trim. hooray! thank you all for a wonderful year. i hope that i'll remember to snap some photos of all of these projects over the next week -- if i do, i'll certainly post. if i don't, i hope to meet back up with you here soon! happy holidays, friends! xoxo

14 December, 2011

pressed handkerchiefs

phew! it's been a whirlwind couple of days! i returned from my trip to nyc (the Divine Studios sale was divine, as usual!) completely exhausted and was stirred from my zombie-like state on Monday night by an email from a friend letting me know that my boyfriend hankie kit was featured in an etsy newsletter of "gifts for the mysterious man," written by the wonderful jan, of poppytalk.

of course, i was ill-prepared and only had a handful of hankies/kits in stock. eeks! i debated whether i should just let them sell out, or if i should spend half the day driving to restock on hankies. i opted to restock. (it was a beautiful day for driving, anyways...) so now -- all colors of hankies are now back in stock and i'm madly putting together new kits to fullfil the orders that have come in so far.
i'm super grateful to jan for picking this up as a featured gift item -- this really is one of my favourite chez-sucre-chez products and i'm glad to see it getting discovered! want to stitch one up for your man? head to the shop -- i'm selling them with and without a hoop. i'm making post office runs every day from here through next week so get those orders in and i'll send 'em on out quickly so you get them in time for stitching and giving.
now back to the madness of my studio. (good golly it needs a good cleaning after all this craziness! next week... next week..)

07 December, 2011

nyc, see you soon

all this rainy day i've been running around getting my last minute materials and supplies to work on my display for the above event. if you are in the nyc area -- please please please come by! sunday, dec. 11th, 11 - 6pm, at 21 east 4th street (4th & Lafayette). i didn't do this one last year, but i did it the year before that and the year before that and i tell you, it's exhilarating - all the talent and personality packed into that little room. if you are at all a fan of the martha stewart living magazine, and the whole MSLO brand in general, you should be sure to come on out to this -- take a look at the vendors and compare them to the masthead of the magazine; you'll see what i'm talking about.
okay then, see you there? xo.

06 December, 2011

to the letter

here's a grouping of letters i did as a custom job for my aunt susan, who is giving them as gifts to her nieces. i actually really enjoyed stitching these up; it'd been a while since i'd done any letters like these. i took the listings for custom-stitched letters out of my shop well over a year or two ago but have, since then, continued to collect patterns . it was nice to finally stitch some of those patterns up, and in fun colors for girls of a range of ages.

i liked the G so much, in fact, that i put that one up in the shop as an option.

i think it'd be better suited in a hoop that is one size larger (a seven, rather than six-inch hoop), but i love the lettering style and can see it looking great in any number of colors. it does look particularly festive all dressed up with a bow, too:

04 December, 2011

home is - a little bit bigger now

i finally got to stitch up, photograph, and update the listing for the new 8 x 10 size "home is wherever i'm with you" piece.

stitched-to-order as always, with choice of colors, this design has been one of my biggest sellers and i'm happy to now offer it in the larger size and with the nicer frame. that's it - just wanted to share that. i hope you're enjoying your sunday!

02 December, 2011

monogram madness

sheesh --- i've been terrible at posting lately.
the reason is, i've been pretty much non-stop stitching up monogram towels, since they appeared in better homes and gardens magazine a bit over a month ago.

i'm super happy that they've been so well-received. and they're keeping me busy.
this is today's lot to be shipped out:

good times! keep those orders coming -- i can handle them -- just please be sure, if you are planning on ordering a towel or two or two dozen, to get those orders in as early as possible (here!) - some colors are running out and i've only got two hands, so i may have to put a cap on orders at some point in the month. so far, so good though - hooray! happy weekend!