25 December 2010

Merry Christmas Dear Friends

Wishing you the best of holidays with your family and loved ones. Wishing you peace, comfort, love, safety and happiness in this beautiful time of year. Thanking HIM who made this holiday and all its meaning -- and all else we enjoy -- possible.

24 December 2010

Great Last Minute Gift Idea by Liz Stanley

photo by Liz Stanley

Love this darling last minute gift idea by Liz Stanley, from Say Yes! to Hoboken for a wool business card holder. You can get all the instructions at Holidash. Such a great idea and there are so many different ways you could style it up. I'd love to make one in leather with some of the scraps I have. I am definitely putting this in my gift idea box!

23 December 2010

Winter Wardrobe Wonderland

Layering for cold weather is an art form that Sundance Catalog has mastered with a beautiful melding of wool, corduroy, denim, cotton and leather. Classic with a twist has been my fashion motto for a long time now. I love basic pieces that can be seen in a dramatic light with the addition of great shoes, just the right necklace or earrings or jacket. Here are a few shots from the Sundance Catalog that capture that feeling perfectly.

Stunning jewelry can take a simple tee shirt and jeans and make a look that people are going to remember. I love leather, sterling silver and turquoise touches as my jewelry drawers will attest to. Nice that I met The Man who has New Mexico connections and a great eye for exactly those things.

I love a good basic brown wool, suede or leather skirt and brown boots. There are some fun buckles at play on both the boots and skirt, which along with the gathering of jewelry make a simple shirt and skirt pop.

With these gorgeous boots it's simple tee shirt, good looking jeans and DONE. Out of the ballpark with sterling teardrop earrings and hair in long very loose curls. It's worth investing in memorable pieces and you can save a lot of money buying good quality basics to go with them.

Good investment pieces will last beyond the years they are trendy and you can bring them back when the look comes around again. Fashion cycles are spinning so much faster than they used to that trends are coming around every few years rather than every few decades.

I remember reading a few years ago that Ralph Lauren saves all his big investment pieces to wear again when the trend returns. It was at that point that I really started thinking about hanging onto great quality things and knowing that when the trend returns I'll have something unique that stands out in the world of the remade style. I've been saving some jackets and almost all my boots since then. That's just a few pairs, not a ton to store.

What's inspiring you fashion wise this winter season. What pieces can you not live without? What pieces are you dreaming about? And who do you think hits the nail on the head when it comes to looking great and staying warm?

22 December 2010

Christmas Tree Additions

I thought you might enjoy seeing the new ornaments and decorations that have mysteriously appeared around my tree over the past few weeks. Here are just a couple. The first is a pink hair band. In the photo below are a rock and a small plastic globe.

I supposed you could conjure religious symbolism to the globe and to the rock, the hair band I'm not sure about yet. I have found all sorts of things creatively added to the decor, including many short bits of ribbon, animals around the base of the tree, and more - unfortunately they had been removed by the little designer before I thought to take photos.

The Flood Is Here & I Stand Ill Prepared

A few weeks ago I had the notion that a pair of these would be really handy for the cooler months. Easy to slip on, wear with socks for the few weeks out of the year that I can't get away with sandals every day. Seemed like a brilliant idea. So I put them on my Christmas list in the blue with green leather from LLBean. So cute.

And then it started raining. Now I am really wishing I had just gone ahead and ordered these when the idea came to me. I don't think Santa is getting them for me. It's my Noah's Ark moment. The flood is here and I hesitated on the ark construction/shoe order. Not sure I can get over this. haa-haa.

21 December 2010

The Christmas Card Creative Process

Here's a sneak peek. Have been working on the creation of my Christmas cards for some weeks now and things finally gelled over the weekend. When I saw this stack of paper at Michaels over Thanksgiving weekend, it just jumped out at me. It was something fun and modern and really spoke to how I'm feeling about color these days. Interestingly, it suddenly strikes me as I write this that these are the exact colors in the ornament I chose a few weeks ago too.

So while it's rained by the buckets full over the past few days, I have cut, folded, drawn, debated and analyzed. The cards are now made, but the envelopes still need to be cut out and folded and address labels need to be made. And stamps purchased. THEN I'll be done with holiday cards for this year.

I have really enjoyed and appreciated the holiday cards I've received this year from lovely friends. Since starting this blog and joining FB I've gained a deeper appreciation for friendships old and new and treasure each one more. It's fun to see where your lives are leading you, what you've learned and who you continue to become. Happy Holidays, dear friends!

20 December 2010

Shearling Darling

I spent a good bit of the weekend looking for some great deals on warm clothes for the holiday family visit. With each passing year I have less and less warm clothing to wear for winter weather. I'm thinking I might add this shearling vest to the wardrobe. Would be great with skirts, pants, jeans and boots.

I think I might like it best in this color.

Hope you have a great Monday. It's one of those super fun holiday weeks of the year when everyone and everything is more relaxed. Hope you are safe and happy in all that you do this week.

And the Winner Is

Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend. We had a very soggy one and stayed indoors almost entirely all weekend - and it's still raining. Going to real winter cold for the holidays doesn't sound nearly as bad as constant buckets of rain forecast for SoCal.

To see the winner of the Pollen Jewelry giveaway, click here.

17 December 2010

Last Chance to Enter Pollen Jewelry Giveaway!

Only a few more hours to enter to win the Pollen Jewelry Giveaway! Odds are good! Enter now!

PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is now closed.

My Favorite Winter Catalog is Home Sweet Home

There's nothing like the Sundance Catalog to make me feel homesick for my Utah mountains and want for a beautiful winter wardrobe. Living in SoCal, unfortunately there's not much need for beautiful winter boots, wool skirts, sweaters and jackets. But there's nothing like a browse through the Sundance pages to get me in the mood for a beautiful holiday.

There are so many darling winter boot options out there right now. Sundance definitely has its finger on the pulse!

No one does tee shirts, jackets, sweaters, boots and jewelry together better. Not to mention the amazing housewares. Check out the Sundance Catalog, inspired by my beautiful mountains and the Sundance Mountain Resort.

Don't forget, the Pollen Jewelry Giveaway ends tonight at midnight PST. You still have a GREAT chance to win. Enter here

all photos by kalanicut

16 December 2010

Christmas Sugar Cookie Tradition

As part of the daily December Christmas celebrations, we made sugar cookies this week. I made the dough the night before, refrigerated it overnight and was ready to roll out the dough the next morning. I realized that splitting up the process a little bit over the course of two or three days helps me to do a better quality job at every process and not take shortcuts that affect the outcome and quality of the cookies.

I mainly made these to do something fun and festive with The Little Bug, so I really had to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and just make it fun, rather than be fussy about the details. If I had done these on my own, I would've done multiple colors of frosting, etc. etc. but I am learning that the best way to keep my sanity is to keep things simple.

I also learned I'm not that patient when baking with kids, but she was so complementary telling me I was the best cookie maker in the entire world, that I am very talented and that she was having the best time ever. So steeled with greater commitment to being more patient, it was a great experience.

One last day to enter the Pollen Jewelry giveaway - and you still have time to enjoy 15% off your entire purchase at the Pollen Jewelry Etsy store. Happy Thursday!

The 2010 Treasure Chest

This post was inspired by an email I got from none other than H&R Block today. I have to say I was a little annoyed to be getting an email about doing my taxes during the holiday season. That's to deal with in January, not now - how dare they rain on my holiday parade now! But then it really struck me that the new year is just a couple of weeks away now. That's pretty stunning.

I started thinking about 2010, the astonishing year it has been. I started thinking about what I will treasure away from this year, the moments I will most cherish, the things I am most grateful happened. Being a list maker, I knew this was an important list for me to make to help me be grateful, to help me learn from my experiences.

Here's a short list of some of my most joyful moments in 2010. It's funny to me now, looking back that many of these highlights also occurred during some amazingly stressful experiences. Funny how life works that way.

1) Newport, R.I. trips
2) NYC trip & my Leos
3) Simple days with The Man and Little Bug
4) Creative pursuits - many happy projects
5) A Return to journalism roots & lots of writing
6) BYW Class, awesome teacher Holly Becker, my new camera and Leslie Schewring's instruction
7) Utah trip & more than one chance to see extended family this year
8) Time with family and friends
9) Amazing thrift shopping
10) New blog friends

What about you? What are you treasuring this year? What has changed you and brought more peace to your life?

Speaking of good things coming to your life, have you entered to win the beautiful necklace from Pollen Jewelry. Enter now here!

15 December 2010

The Adventure Girls

I am a member of a very exclusive club called The Adventure Girls. It has been many hours and other sacrifices to earn my membership card. The founder of the club is a very interesting and energetic person.  It is a very small club, only two members and we have been on many excursions: spent many happy days outside, on the beach, at parks, museums and long walks.

We have chased rabbits and robins, gathered shells and sea glass, sang songs, studied letters and numbers and had many conversations. This was our latest excursion this past weekend. Lots of space to breathe, soak in the sun, seek treasures, admire nature, laugh and play. It was so warm that the very cold water felt amazingly refreshing.

Yesterday we baked and I'll show you our finished product tomorrow. I am so lucky to have been invited into the club. It is endless enjoyment and the smiles, giggles, songs and head tilts of the club founder just knock me out.

What special clubs to you belong to? What did you have to do to get in and what makes it special for you. Do you have an official name for your group? What do you do for fun?

14 December 2010

Interview with Jewelry Designer Maureen Tuohy

Hope you saw the Pollen Jewelry giveaway that started yesterday. Please enter! It's been an exciting kickoff already. I am  so happy to welcome Maureen from Pollen Jewelry for an interview today. I thought you would love to know more about her and the great necklace we are giving away.
I’ve known Maureen for almost five years and she wears the most fantastic jewelry every day. It was always fun to see her each day at work and see what beautiful accessories she was wearing. I quickly became a customer as did a lot of other people.

Kalanicut:  Tell us a little about the beautiful necklace you are giving away here this week.
Maureen:  The necklace has a faceted teardrop blue chalcedony, gold tone African trade beads, and lavender freshwater pearl accents.

Kalanicut:  How did you get started making jewelry?
Maureen:  I'd always admired people who could make their own jewelry then had the opportunity to learn some of the basic skills on a dare. A few co-workers and I formed a club called Project Funway where we gave each other challenges to design and sew clothes for our models (dolls from the dollar store). One challenge had us make jewelry for ourselves, and a friend took me to the bead store and showed me the basics and I've been addicted to it ever since.

Kalanicut:  What feeds your passion for jewelry design?
Maureen:  Beads are like candy for grown-ups - pretty and shiny, with endless possibilities for designs. I love creating visual motifs and patterns, and I love how much my sense of style has evolved over the 2 years I have been doing it.

Kalanicut:  How did you go from creating jewelry as a hobby to creating your business?
Maureen:  I didn't plan on turning this into a little business venture but friends and co-workers would see my work and offer to buy it, and that continues to happen. I've thrown a few open studio parties and used Facebook to get friends to share the invite with others. And I just opened the Etsy site.
The selling part has become a function of necessity - I just have so much jewelry and want to make more because I love it so much. I have to put myself out there and share my passion so that I can keep doing it, and it's so satisfying to connect with others over a mutual passion, or the love of designing and crafting.

Kalanicut:  How did you come up with the name Pollen Jewelry?

Maureen:  The name Pollen has a couple of inspirations. I like that it conjures nature. Pollen is what fuels nature, it is all the plants and flowers pro-creating. It is what gives us all the flowers and plants. It is how nature constantly recreates itself.
Kalanicut:  I know you work in semi-precious stones. What are your favorite materials to work with? 
Maureen:  My favorite materials are: pyrite, turquoise, labradorite, rock quartz and agates.
Kalanicut:  Thanks so much Maureen for sharing about your art, business and passion for jewelry making. All your fans are so excited to see your business grow!
You can enter the Pollen Jewelry giveaway here. (THIS GIVEAWAY CLOSED)
And as a very cool added bonus, Maureen has graciously given kalanicut readers a great way to save 15% on your entire purchase between now and the end of the year! Enter Coupon Code PJ001 when you make your Etsy purchase. What a great deal! Shop quickly for last minute holiday purchases and then buy yourself something after Christmas!

Have a Happy Wednesday. Hope you are enjoying the holiday season in all the ways you'd hoped.

all photography from Pollen Jewelry

Holiday Giveaway from Pollen Jewelry

Monday Dec 20. THE WINNER of the random drawing is: Dave & Catherine - please email me your contact information at kalanicut@hotmail.com. Congratulations! Thanks Maureen for a great giveaway!

I am so excited to offer this giveaway today. I love supporting creative folks with handmade talents. I am pleased to join very talented friend and jewelry designer Maureen of Pollen Jewelry to give away this gorgeous necklace (seen in three different views above) made of semi-precious stones.

Maureen was one of the masterminds behind the Project Funway competitions at my former workplace. Competitions included holiday baking, Christmas cards, handmade creations, collages, haute couture doll clothing and more. In an office full of very creative people it was amazing to see what people created.

After she started making jewelry several years ago, she realized it was something she loved to do and had an eye for. She has designed an amazing selection of pieces in that time. I have a couple of pairs of earrings and two necklaces from Maureen. I find they go with so many different looks and are pieces that really set off an outfit in the best way. I always get compliments on my pieces she's created - and I love supporting small businesses and helping them grow!

Lucky for everyone, Maureen just took the big step to set up an Etsy shop. Go check out some of her beautiful collection. Here are a few of my favorites: Turquoise Howlite Earrings, The Bonjour and The Honey. Prices are very reasonable, materials and workmanship are of the highest quality, and each piece would make a fantastic gift for the holidays, anniversaries, birthdays or for you just because -- the most deserving gift recipient of all.

To enter the necklace giveaway, leave a comment below sharing your favorite piece from her Etsy shop and where you'd wear it this holiday season. The giveaway will close Friday Dec. 17 at midnight PST. Enter now, you have a GREAT chance to win!

And as a very cool added bonus, Maureen has graciously given kalanicut readers a great way to save 15% on your entire purchase between now and the end of the year! Enter Coupon Code PJ001 when you make your Etsy purchase. What a great deal! Shop quickly for last minute holiday purchases and then buy yourself something after Christmas!

You can also find and follow Pollen Jewelry on Facebook for all the newest creations, upcoming sales and more. Maureen throws some great jewelry parties in SoCal. You can contact her here for more information.

Happy Holidays! Good luck!

photo by Pollen Jewelry

My Favorite Christmas Eve Tradition

One of my favorite holiday traditions growing up was opening new pajamas on Christmas Eve. At some point my mom discontinued this tradition and I'm still discussing this (complaining about it) with her. Haa-haa. There's nothing more fun than donning new pajamas before you jump into bed for the most impatient night's sleep of the year.

I'm carrying on the tradition and one of my favorite gifts to find this year was a pair of pink pajamas for The Little Bug. I made the gift tag above to make sure I remembered which package it was. This year I'm putting a little reminder note in Danish on the back of every gift tag so I don't forget what I have already purchased and which package is which. It seems like it would be so easy but after a few weeks under the tree, I do forget.

Keeping the holidays simple this year. Here's what's inside.

I would love new ideas to continue to add in the coming years. What do you do as a family each year as part of your celebrations. Please share your special family celebrations! Happy Tuesday!

photo one by Kalanicut
photo two from Target. com

13 December 2010

Christmas in July Ornaments

Happy Monday everyone. Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit. I hope you're enjoying all the great projects and visual inspiration sprouting everyone in blogland this holiday season. It is truly a feast!

I had to share these darling ornaments I found in a thrift store in Utah last July. I'm sure these were handmade many years ago and I love all the little details. The embroidery alone must've taken many hours, not to mention putting them all together. They have such a fun "from my childhood" vintage charm to them, like something my grandmother might have made with the church ladies in the 60s.

The old school style has made it back around again and these are something you can imagine seeing in specialty shops today. I think I may have paid about 50 cents each for these, a real steal in my book. The same day I had quite a fantastic shop, finding some amazing, hard to find things. It was $10 well spent.

Only 12 more days until Christmas. Hope you're enjoying every minute of the holiday season. Happy Monday everyone.

10 December 2010

Singing Round The Tree

As I've mentioned, my goal this year is to celebrate Christmas in some way every day. One of the best little events we've tried this year is to gather round the tree and sing Christmas carols. Because The Bug is four, she's just learning them, so it's fun to teach her.

We tried Stars Were Gleaming and I found it was really easy to make hand actions for every line of the song that helped her remember the words. Then we practiced Little Drummer Boy which any child can quickly get the chorus do - Pa Rum, Pa Pum, Pum.

It was fun to sing in a little group. We had a great time. Try it at your house a few times before Christmas and enjoy the Spirit of the holidays and a few moments to bring your family & friends closer together.

Holiday Gift Idea - Making Eating Out Easier

Here's a great little holiday gift idea. Thought I'd introduce you to our little friends from Africa. I purchased these at the fabulous Craft & Folk Art Museum, on the Miracle Mile, in Los Angeles. It has the most fantastic gift shop and has been a great spot to go for very unique holiday decorations and nativities, birthday presents in a wide price range, beautiful jewelry (happy birthday to me), scarves and so much more.

I knew The Little Bug would love these -- shoot, I love them. I gave them to her one night at a restaurant where we were dining. She played with them through the entire meal and it made eating out so much more peaceful. That gave me a great idea. I didn't want to see our little friends thrown into and trampled in the toy box. So I decided make them a special occasion and use them as restaurant toys.

They stay on the dresser in my room and when we go out to eat, I pop them into my purse for The Bug to play with while we're ordering and waiting for food and when she's done eating and the grown ups are still  talking and eating. She can play with them for a long time without getting bored and because she doesn't see them all the time they are something she especially enjoys playing with. We love the restaurant friends.

Small, soft, easy to carry restaurant toys would make a great gift for children or parents of young children.

08 December 2010

Holiday Creative Projects In Progress

My little workshop is full of holiday projects. Here are a few that are in progress this week. Above are two little wall hangings I am working on using up scraps of foam core from my pelmet box project last summer. I've been looking at these two pieces for a while, wanting to make something with them. Last night it started coming together.

The green piece will have some sort of little phrase on it, as soon as I decide what it will say. I covered these in paper, then across the back to cover up the edges I cut a large rectangle of contrasting paper and glued it across the entire back. I am going to put some sort of ribbon or wire on top to hang these.

We have been using up all our long, skinny, little scraps of paper to make paper chains. Easy to make and a great way to brighten up corners of the house.This year I'm going colorful with a slight Scandinavian flair. I can envision these would be gorgeous in metallic silver and white for a more formal holiday look. Paper chains would also make a fun table runner/centerpiece for a holiday table too.

These were inspired by these trees available at Etsy. I must apologize for not having noted which blog I originally saw them. I try to be so good about that. I looked & looked to find where I had seen these, but couldn't find the right place.

I found the tins and tree Styrofoam forms at Michaels. Bought the plaster of Paris a few months ago at Utrecht art store and found the sticks at our neighborhood park (along with some fabulous pine cones I'll use around the house). I mixed the plaster of Paris, poured it in the tins and positioned the trees as best I could.

I envision these will have some sort of fluffy fabric, maybe a short, dark or very bright green faux fur or other textured fabric. Then I'll make some little round ornaments out of paper or fabric. I think I'll pin them on, rather than gluing, so I can easily change them out later if I choose.

I've found that it's possible to use up almost every scrap of paper on one project or another. Gift tags are a great way to make use of small scraps of paper. You punch shapes from small scraps and make tags with others. Here are a few gift tags I've made in the past couple of weeks. Some of these will be part of a giveaway coming soon.

And lastly, presents have begun to be wrapped and are starting to appear "under the tree". I actually just have a table top tree, so these are loving stacked in front of the fireplace, which I don't use. Notice anything strange about this photo? I had to laugh, but thought I'd throw it in just to test your skills of observation.

So that's just a little taste of the holiday goings on here. Hope you are moving slow enough to enjoy the moments of this holiday season and getting out and enjoying the sights and sounds. Happy Thursday!

Great Holiday Project for Kids

When I was doing my holiday shopping extravaganza at Michaels late last month I found these cute little kids projects on sale for just 99 cents. They turned out to be the perfect activities for The Little Bug because they require no direction or participation from adults and kept her busy for quite a while. So I had two nice periods of time on different days to get things done while she was coloring away.

Another reason these are so great is that they required no preparation on my part, no gathering supplies, buying special ingredients or giving a lot of instruction. Each kit came with the wood pieces, little stands and even the markers to color the wood. I like that these are things we'll keep for a long time and remember she made them. Michaels has a variety of little projects like this that are great for kids and would be great for the kids table at family holiday parties.

The train is under the tree and the sleigh set is next to her bed along with one of the gaudy circus horses - nice and festive for her room. I'm definitely thinking of going and picking up a few more of these. They are perfect for when one needs some undisturbed time to get things done and would be great with a group of kids too. Big reward for a small investment.

07 December 2010

Upcycled Gift Wrapping

Here's a quick idea for your holiday gift wrapping. I always hang onto any high quality handled shopping bags I receive. When I have small kraft paper bags where the logo is small enough I create little cards or art to glue on the side to cover the store log and use them as gift bags.

A couple of days ago I was experimenting with a new Martha Stewart snowflake punch and  the Essential Glitter Set I bought last year. I created these snowflakes thinking I would use them for something, then glued them onto circles I'd punched in a variety of colors for a project last week.

When I sat down to wrap a birthday present for our friend Baby Kate, these were sitting on the table and seemed like the perfect way to jazz up her gift. I glued a few all over the front of the bag in varying color  combinations.

Then cut a couple of rectangles out of corresponding paper to make a card and glued my last snowflake round to the bottom, punched a hole, added reinforcement labels around the hole and a matching ribbon from my Martha Stewart ribbon organizer - one of the best gifts I've ever received. Then wrote a little note in silver pen.

I wrapped up our gift in cellophane, tied that with a matching ribbon with the cellophane ends long enough to add a festive flair at the top of the bag. And within minutes I had a pretty little gift to take along with us to a fun afternoon party with our dear friends.

There are so many little ways to make holiday gifts shine without a lot of expense or work. Simple tools in the gift wrap box and a nice variety of papers and ribbons give you lots of options to quickly put together something special for everyone on your list. 

I am so enjoying this holiday season. Looking forward to sharing more holiday projects with you soon. Happy Tuesday. Hope you enjoy doing something special for the holidays for a few minutes today.

06 December 2010

Go Renegade This Holiday Season

I've always wanted to attend a Renegade event and it seems like every time they hold one I am out of town. Hope to catch the special holiday edition this weekend. There are several around the country so check it all out here for details.

photo from renegadecraft.com

05 December 2010

New Ornaments

Last Friday night, The Little Bug, The Man and I headed off to Target to buy a birthday present for a little friend. As part of the daily effort to celebrate Christmas, I suggested that we each get to choose one new Christmas ornament to add to the collection on the tree and mantle.

Target has an amazingly great holiday section, with so many pretty gift tags, lights, decorations and ornaments. I knew we could each find something really special for our new additions.

Last year, at my company holiday craft sale The Man acquired an new ornament that is a rat angel with wings...yes an angel rat, with halo and wings. It's become a cult favorite now. I looked forward to seeing everyone choose things that strike them as funny, charming and unique to add to the holiday decor.

This year The Little Bug chose the ideal ornament for little girls - shiny, metallic horses with a big feather headdress...nothing says Christmas to me like that -- haa-haa. Or course how could she not love it? Pink, check! Horse, check! Shiny, gaudy, metallic, check! Feathers, check! It's an ornament made in four-year-old dream heaven. In the end we ended up with three horses, adding the blue and white to the family as well. They are quite the fashion statement.

The Man was immediately drawn to the Hula Shark. Classic and will look so nice next to the angel rat. Then he added the more down to earth squirrel. Again, totally evoke feelings of Christmas, right? (Big grin.) More holiday oriented, he also chose the red wood skate and the snowman above. The more I look at the snowman the more I am charmed by him. He seems almost alive to me. So perfect, jolly, cheerful and festive.

And I picked an ornament that combined great shape with beautiful color combinations. The definition of my style, classic with a twist.

We had a little lighting ceremony the next night to add our new ornaments and sing a little Christmas carol. Hope you are enjoying your holiday season. Time to tear off another chain. We're one day closer to Christmas. Happy Holidays!
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