A White Weekend

December 7, 2009

This weekend saw a lot of snow. Beautiful, powder dry snow. I love weekends like this, because everything just looks like perfection. The cold is worth it, the wet socks are worth it, the numb feeling in your cheeks, it is all worth it.

Crafting with snow falling outside is always a bit of treat as well. I try and crawl up as close to the windows as I can, blanket covering, and knit until I am almost ready to fall asleep. It is especially enjoyable when I can look outside and watch the boys sledding, or building snowmen.

One thing that I have found myself completely immersed in lately is hand printing. Fabrics, paper, walls, I just can’t seem to stop. I love the idea of creating designs of my own choosing, and using different paints and inks to create what I want to see.


Small moleskin journals are always in use in our home, and after reading Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin, I decided to try my hand at stenciling a few of them to give as gifts in a stocking stuffer swap. I am so pleased with how each of these little books came out, and while there was a bit of trial and error, for the most part each design came through with ease.


I used a simple stencil, and just held it with my hand while I painted. I am sure that there is a more professional, less risky way of doing it, but it worked fine for this project. Now these small journals are on their way, along with a beeswax ornament, to 13 little ones to open on Christmas morning.


On Friday night, my mom and I attended the annual Girl’s Night Out in our town, and as always, we had a blast roaming through the downtown streets, tasting food, listening to carolers, and then tasting a bit more food (that really is the only reason to go). At one point in the evening, I stopped to taste a coffee that had the most enticing aroma, and had been roasted with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and what smelled like vanilla. I bought a small bag, and enjoyed a fresh cup on Saturday morning with my book in hand. As good as it was, I thought my husband might have a small heart attack when I told him how much I paid for it. As only my husband can do, he turned to me and said “why can’t you just make your own blend?”. While I laughed at first, and just went back to enjoying my cup, I started to think if it might be possible to do just that.


I remembered reading somewhere about making your own holiday blends to give as gifts, so I went into the kitchen, grabbed some nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon spices off the rack, and then zested an orange and dried it out in the oven for about 15 minutes. I also split a vanilla bean that I had in the cupboard (not sure how old that thing was, but it worked nonetheless), and then put it all together and stored it in the fridge over night. The result was much better than I expected, and I am so excited to have another little treat to both enjoy myself, and give as a gift this year. I guess that it just goes to show that there really is very little in life that we can’t make at home.

Happy Monday everyone

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary YDP December 7, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Awesome! Love the books and the coffee idea. I should do this, my girlfriends are coffee addicts!

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Jennifer December 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Those moleskin journals look great! I love that you took your inspiration from the snow outside your window. Where do you buy the blanks?

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Laura Hooker December 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Heather, the girls night out sounds like so much fun! Great job on the journals also~

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HRobinson December 7, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Those journals are delightful. So beautiful. I am having so much trouble not adding more projects to my very full list of things to do these days. But those journals…they're small…maybe I can squeeze them in!!!

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Hip Mountain Mama December 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm

I am just about to go pour myself my first cup of coffee for the day and now my mouth is watering from what you describe…might have to give it a try! Thanks…have a great Monday!

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AdirondackMama December 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Happy Monday Heather!!!! I am really loving the snow that we are getting as well. Yesterday, the boys and Iwent skiing with my Dad on the Mountain for the first time this year. Seriously FUN…and the naps that the two of them took all snuggled up, allowed me to do some painting…which made the day even BETTER!!!

I LOVE coffee, but making my own is something I haven't tried before. I just might have to give it a try.

Those journals are so beautiful. I'm sure that they will get a ton of use by those kids.

Girls NIGHT!?!?!?!? I want to come!

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Jessica December 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm

mmm coffee and snuggly winter days. we had our first 'real' snow this weekend, it was fun and made christmas making more christmasy- the solidarity of neighbors shoveling sidewalks is nice too, heh. printmaking is so much fun. i did a lot of it in college and have been trying to ease it back into my crafting. ever tried block printing? carving a woodblock is very satisfying and you can do small pattern repeats on fabric very easily.

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Shelly December 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Love these ideas, fantastic! Where do you get the moleskin journals?

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Valarie December 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Heather, I just love, love, love your stenciled moleskins. What a fabulous idea. I'm so glad you had a great time with your mom over the weekend and those holiday coffee blends sound perfect. Happy Monday.

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Francesca December 7, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Your husband sounds very much like mine:) Your stenciled journals are so, so beautiful.

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renee December 7, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Oh yes, doesn't creating get interesting when we realize there is almost nothing we cannot make for ourselves!

Cloe wants a "lock book" (diary) for Christmas, I considered making her one from a moleskine journal, with a ribbon attached to close up, but as we knew that was not really what she meant, it is one of the only purchased gifts she will receive. I love the prints you created, they look great in white
!
White! We are having our first really big snowfall of the season! It's pretty exciting that it has finally come.

And…. I emailed you a special poem last night… a little winter gift :)

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Chelsea December 7, 2009 at 6:47 pm

I did that one year, made my own vanilla bean coffee as gifts for family and friends. I was in high school and I remember being absolutely astonished at how expensive vanilla beans were! I don't find them to be too much anymore (we make our own vanilla from them), but I felt like it was such a decadent gift, then! I'll have to give it another go with a few more ingredients for the holidays… +Chelsea

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quirkygranolagirl December 7, 2009 at 7:32 pm

I would have NEVER thought to flavor our own coffee. What an inspiration!

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Kelly December 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm

those books are gorgeous – great job!!

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erin December 7, 2009 at 9:38 pm

what great ideas!!! thank you!

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Louana December 7, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I love the white on brown, it looks so great together! mmmmm that coffee sounds good.

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jessica December 7, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I absolutely love the idea of roasting my own coffee beans. My friends and I love to get together and make holiday gifts–this idea is a winner for this year!

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Julie December 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm

How do you make those beeswax ornaments? I have a whole bag leftover from making homemade lip balm for gifts, and think an ornament would be fun to include!

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maeghan December 7, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Hello sweet friend. That coffee sounds wonderful. We are supposed to get snow tonight and tomorrow. I can't wait!

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geek+nerd December 7, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Beautiful – and delicious…respectively :)

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Marina December 7, 2009 at 11:24 pm

I love that you created your own roast at home! I love those hand stenciled books! I started journaling when I was 10 in a journal gifted to me by a beloved Aunt… I think it's wonderful you are passing along this wonderful opportunity to document one's thoughts to 13 little ones!

"I guess that it just goes to show that there really is very little in life that we can't make at home."

That will be my personal mantra from now on!

Happy Winter!

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kyndale December 7, 2009 at 11:49 pm

both brilliant ideas. I wish I had a cup of that coffee right now! xo kYndale

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nicola December 8, 2009 at 12:16 am

beautiful journals! i love taking the simple route and having it be successful. and the coffee blend? sounds heavenly and i am with you on trying my own versions of things. we do a lot of make it/do it yourself around here! makes for fabulous gifts, too!
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

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Polly December 7, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I've never thought of making my own coffee roast! How exciting! I bet it smelled delicious as well.

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lily boot December 8, 2009 at 1:43 am

ahhhhh …. sighing with delight at the beautiful images you create with your words. I cannot imagine a more beautiful spot to knit than by a window full of light, snow and happy children. I'm utterly intrigued by the coffee – so you just have to sit the coffee beans in the mix and they absorb the flavour? Mmmm … that is a good present for my coffee lovers too. It's funny isn't it, how conditioned we are to think that the manufacturing process is so complicated and mysterious that we couldn't possibly make some things at home – I too love discovering that YES WE CAN! (now I sound like Bob the Builder!)

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Shivayamama December 8, 2009 at 1:52 am

Thank you!
So, I bought my books directly from the manufacturer's website http://www.moleskineus.com/
You can get them at places like Barnes and Noble, but I found them to be way more expensive there.

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Shivayamama December 8, 2009 at 1:53 am

OK, seriously, these are SOOOOOOOOOOOO quick! You will love them (I think that you and I are in the same swap, so your little one will be receiving one as well :))

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Shivayamama December 8, 2009 at 1:53 am

Well, I will have to bring you some over on Thursday!

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kate December 7, 2009 at 9:15 pm

I LOVE both of these ideas, and will be promptly trying my hand at both! Thanks for the inspiration, as always:)

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larissa December 8, 2009 at 4:39 am

your printed moleskins are awesome – i LOVE the way you positions the stamps. I drink tons of chai flavored tea and now you have me wondering if I can infuse my own spiced tea. thanks so much for sharing all your ideas – again!

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Courtney December 8, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Sounds amazing. Yum! Beautiful creations! I've been finding it hard to find computer time but I am very excited to stop and read your new magazine. Maybe I can find some quiet time today and curl up for some computer reading. Happy Holidays!

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5orangepotatoes December 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm

The journals are so beautiful! And that coffee blend sounds so festive and perfect for this time of year. So curious about "Printing by Hand, " off to check it out.

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sowabisabi December 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I love the snowflake journal…and if I drank coffe those would be the flavors I'd want to include. Great ideas, Heather! I sent you an email regarding your comment on so wabi sabi. I did it through your blogger profile. If you didn't get it, please let me know whenever you get a chance.
blessings~

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healing hillary December 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm

i was just thinking last night how some little journals would be perfect in my daughter's stocking. i love this idea! hmmm…now to figure it out. thanks for the idea!

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Shivayamama December 8, 2009 at 7:41 pm

I made the beeswax ornaments using candy molds, and melting the beeswax, and then carefully pouring it into the molds. I sprayed the molds with a cooking spray before pouring, and then added in a natural cording as the ties. Super easy, made 15 of them within an hour.

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Shivayamama December 8, 2009 at 7:42 pm

I got in Renee, and it was just amazing. Thank you so much for sharing

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Stephanie December 9, 2009 at 12:41 am

I love those stocking stuffers! Very cool idea.

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Chris Worthy December 9, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Oh, that beeswax… So natural and beautiful!

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kristyn December 10, 2009 at 1:05 am

LOVE your moleskins!! how creative of you. just think of all the wonderful things that will be written in those over the next year! what a blessing.

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perches December 11, 2009 at 5:07 pm

oh heather, thank you for sharing 2 wonderful gift ideas!

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Kristi aka FiberFool December 15, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Both of those are excellent ideas! I have a holiday gift exchange that requires homemade gifts using less than $10 of supplies and I may just have to make use of one of these. I used to teach a printmaking course online, holler if you'd like me to share the class materials with you!

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