Friday, December 21, 2012


We aren't able to go to Austin for Christmas this year so I sent an early package to Karlie with this little dress and tights. Her booties are so perfect with the outfit, I think it is so adorable.
Karlie's Christmas dress

The fabric is a knit from Girl Charlee and the pattern is Simplicity 1785. There aren't many knit sewing patterns out there for girls so I adapted the t-shirt part of this pattern and added a skirt. It fits perfectly, and I'm so relieved. I'm always a little worried about that sewing for her from afar.

In typical last minute Ashley style I pulled out a few Christmas ornaments and decorated a tiny bit last night.   I finished my felt garland and I love it.  My work/dining table is still covered with sewing projects.  I'm making Karlie a couple of surprises for her new bedroom.  As usual, anytime I sew for her I think whatever I'm making is the cutest thing I've ever made. 

I'm off work today and finishing up my crafting and baking.  Then it is back to work tomorrow for three days of mayhem leading to exhaustion.  If I don't get around to sharing my Christmas decorations before the holiday I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.


Monday, December 17, 2012

I Turn to Baking and Crafting

I saw the horrible news from Connecticut on my lunch break at work last week. My heart goes out to all of the families that were affected by such a senseless act of terror and to the whole community of Newtown. It was a gray day here, which felt appropriate. I went home from work and turned to my Christmas baking and crafting for comfort. Feeling ambitious! Garland progress

Baking and crafting are my small way of sharing love with my family and friends, and this year my coworkers. I love to bake and make things for people and I love that these small things can bring joy to others. We are having a much smaller Christmas this year because of Frank being sick and off work. At first that made me sad, but now that I'm not running around, stressed out and tired, I'm enjoying the season. We will buy a few gifts, but I'm making more and that is really what I enjoy about the season. Baking, crafting, eating great food and being with family and friends. That is what it should be about.

Love to you and yours this in this stressful holiday season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On The Table

I had two days off in a row this week, which is a nice treat. I feel like I accomplished a lot yesterday, but still have so much to do.

I have quite a few projects going on at once. I'm still knitting the triangle scarf, and I'm working on a felt garland, which I have been wanting to make for several years. I'm also working on a shopping list for Christmas baking.  Between Pinterest, blogs, magazines and our traditional recipes I'm overwhelmed with options.
 On my coffee table

I made Karlie this Christmas dress with kint fabric from Girl Charlee. I'm putting a little early Christmas package in the mail to her today with some ornaments for her tree and this outfit. Karlie's Christmas dress

I do plan on doing a little bit of decorating, but it will be last minute like usual. I got an amaryllis bulb and some paper whites at work that I need to plant up. I don't know if they will bloom in time for Christmas but I'm okay with that. Christmas bulbs

We had a cold fromnt come through on Sunday and it hasn't quite warmed up yet. Between a pain in my hip and the cold I haven't been for a jog since Friday. I'm afraid the cold will drive me inside for the next few months, which I hate. I'm a Texan and a wimp apparently!

Frank put Lucy in her sweater yesterday morning and she got really excited about it. She is always cold in the winter and it is the only time of year that she cuddles willingly.
 It's cold outside!

I have been shopping for craft supplies for Christmas gifts and I have so many ideas for things to make for our house. I am so indecisive though and never know where to start. I think I need to start collecting small pieces of quilters cotton that I love for pillows and such. I'm not sure how that works when you don't have a pattern or plan in place. I have always shopped for fabric with a pattern in mind. I suppose I should just get a quarter yard of each to start a quilting stash?

I hope your Holiday planning and shopping is not too stressful and that you enjoy the season.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ups and Downs

I came home from work so tired yesterday, but the weather was perfect and I knew I needed to go for a jog. After a couple of not so great jogs, yesterday was just what I needed. The temperature was just right and I was able to jog for an hour and did five miles. That is huge for me! I felt great at the end and there was a phenomenal sunset to reward me. It might sound silly, but it was heart achingly beautiful and just made my day. Frank has been sick, and I was called into work on my day off Monday. I have a long to do list that won't get accomplished until my next day off. Stress was building and the jog took it away for at least that hour.

Sunset jog Sunset jog Sunset jog Sunset jog

I still cannot get into the Christmas mood. I want to make gifts and decorations but don't have time. Frank being sick isn't helping. I feel like a grinch. Another jog will set me straight!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back from the Hill Country

I survived the Thanksgiving madness at work and even escaped before the worst of it last Wednesday. We were too tired to drive down to Austin that night but made it just in time on Thursday for dinner. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I think there is a lot less pressure than Christmas, I love to cook (and eat), I love that my whole family is together and I love a good after dinner nature walk. This time it was up to Mount Bonnell in my cousins' neighborhood.

On Friday we all went down to Camp Lonehollow where a dear family friend lives and works. We toured camp, rode horses, walked at sunset, enjoyed the animals and soaked up the Hill Country views. The trip wasn't relaxing but was definitely fun. I feel blessed to be able to visit such a lovely place.
 Thanksgiving in the Hill Country Lonehollow Thanksgiving 2012 013 Thanksgiving in the Hill Country Thanksgiving in the Hill Country Lonehollow Thanksgiving 2012 055 Lonehollow Thanksgiving 2012 192 Lonehollow Thanksgiving 2012 188 Lonehollow Thanksgiving 2012 068 Thanksgiving in the Hill Country

I'm back to work today. I have been thinking of all of the Christmas gifts that I want to make and how little time there is, as always. This time of year becomes so hectic and I never plan ahead like I should. I will do what I can and enjoy the season. Who needs extra stress? Not me!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hello 37!

Birthdays are awesome. I sure enjoyed mine!
My sweet husband surprised me with flowers Sunday. Including my favorite Sumatra Lilies. I went out for a jog and when I came home he had them here. Hello 37!

We went to the Japanese gardens, one of our favorite spots in Fort Worth. It was beautiful, as always but we were a little disappointed that the leaves weren't changing yet. Hello 37! Hello 37! Hello 37! Hello 37!

I made the S'mores cake recipe into cupcakes. They were divine, possibly the best cupcakes I've made so far. I did a graham cracker bottom and put a little on top of each one until I started running out of the graham part. Next time I will double that portion of the recipe. I topped them with ganache and the marshmallow topping and torched them, that was fun! Hello 37! Hello 37! Hello 37! Hello 37!

We had dinner and drinks with friends Sunday night and it was just perfect.

Friday, November 9, 2012

These Days

These are my days. My favorite weather in my favorite month in my favorite season. These days are fleeting and won't last long. I'm spending as much time outside as possible, basking in the golden light of Fall. The days are growing shorter and the leaves are falling faster. These days are too few and far between.  I suppose that makes me love them more. These Days These Days These Days These Days These Days These Days These Days

I grew up wandering through the woods and creeks behind my parent's property. We built forts and spent hours out there. I feel at home outside. I don't know why it took me so many years to start running outside because now that I'm doing it it just makes sense. I feel grounded and more like myself when I am out in nature. I have a long list of things I want to do this weekend for my birthday. Wandering through the woods is at the top.

This song has been on reapeat in my head the last few days. It is so beaustiful, if a little depressing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Here is the extent of my Halloween enthusiasm. Pumpkins are marked down at work and I finally brought some home yesterday. I figure they will last on the porch through Thanksgiving. I love the funky colors and textures! Pumpkins on the porch Pumpkins on the porch Pumpkins on the porch

 I've been longing to have a backyard s'mores party with our nephews. This picture is from one year ago when we had our nieces and nephews all here and told ghost stories and made s'mores. The nieces are all in Houston now, so it would just be the boys this time. Halloween weekend

 Speaking of S'mores, we attempted to make these crazy s'mores cookies when we were in Austin for my brother's birthday. They were his request and only sort of worked, resulting in 8" diameter cookies with a small s'more in the middle of each. Pretty ridiculous, though the caramelized marshmallow was pretty awesome! I'm not a huge s'mores person but I do have daydreams of making from scratch marshmallows and graham crackers for gourmet s'mores. That won't happen for the boys as they wouldn't appreciate the work.

In more s'mores related news, I'm seriously contemplating making myself this cake for my birthday. I'm having a hard time deciding between this and the Chocolate Caramel cake that I made last year.

Enough with my s'mores tangent. Though I'm not in much of a Halloween mood, I hope you enjoy the holiday and get to see the little ones in your life all dressed up and having a blast.  Karlie is going to wear the Snow White costume that I made for her birthday and her mama is dressing as the evil queen.  I'm anxiously waiting for a picture of the two of them together!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chihuly at the Arboretum

Mom came to town last week and we had a whirlwind day in Dallas. We started at the Arboretum. We had both been wanting to see the Chihuly installation since it was put up. I'm so glad we went, it is awe inspiring, and my pictures really don't do it justice. The arboretum is gorgeous on its own, I had never been. I'm hoping to go back with Frank so that he can see this show before it is gone as well.

Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum Chihuly at the Dallas arboretum

These pieces will be on view through the end of the year, the exhibit was just extended for two months. If you have a chance to see this, don't miss it!

Mom and I also did some shoe shopping and fabric shopping (our favorite).  I came home with some beautiful linen that I dyed, a nice piece of knit that is being made into a tunic and a piece of silk to go with another hand dyed piece that I already had.