Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Project Round Up: Picture Puzzle

I created this little block/puzzle set for Levi's friend, Evan.  He enjoys blocks and identifying people, so I thought he might enjoy putting together a picture of his family (or just making towers and knocking them down, that works too) Luckily, I had taken family photos of the Ranges this fall and had lots to choose from. I can't wait to make Levi one next year. Here's a wee tutorial, if you'd like to make your own. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Project Round-Up: a gift for a mountain man..

This Christmas gift was inspired by my friend Tom, who recently created a beautiful silhouette of the Grand Tetons on a piece of poplar for his living room. I was struck by the beautiful simplicity of it and even though the Tetons are a much more dramatic mountain range, I thought the idea might still work for the more weathered Presidential Range in New Hampshire.  

My Grandpa has always loved hiking and climbing mountains and if I'm not mistaken, he has climbed all of the Presidentials. I went to Home Depot and found my own piece of poplar (about 2 feet long) with a nice grain. I used some photos online, like the one below, and sketched the line of the range onto the wood with pencil.  Then I simply filled the mountains in with black acrylic paint.   Sweetly simple and meaningful gift for the mountaineers in your life.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Project Round Up: Movie Night in a Box

Are you ready for the great Christmas project round-up of 2011? Ready or not, here I come! Perhaps you can tuck away a few of these ideas for next year.

Let's begin with a fun little "experience-in-a-box" gift that I put together for my family members. Last year one of the couples in our small group gave us "Red-Box Gift Certificates", which was just a dollar and a cute card. I thought I would expand the concept and add some popcorn, candy and some post-movie discussion questions (courtesy of english-teacher-question-maker-extraordinare-husband). Here's how I made 'em - 


Other details you might find helpful:

- here is the recipe I used and printed for the caramel popcorn
- I used baseball card protectors for my redbox "gift certificate" and discussion questions.
- below are the discussion questions we came up with:
What did you enjoy about the movie? What did you dislike?
What character did you relate to most? Why?
What was the movie's central theme? Did you agree with the director's treatment of it?
Was the movie's conclusion satisfying? If not, imagine a more satisfying conclusion. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Thanks

Thankful this Christmas,

for a fun and happy first Christmas with Levi
for silly family photo shoots
for thoughtful gifts
for big family Christmas Eve sleepovers
for special surprises
for yummy treats
for meaningful carols and hymns

Christ, our Savior, our "God with us"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Art Room Diaries: Mrs. James in action

Our assistant headmaster visited my middle school art class the other day and took some shots of my class working on their mini-zines. Thought you might enjoy seeing Mrs. James and her kids in action (while I finish up a few last Christmasy things!). 

photos by Ian Drummond

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ahhh! too busy to blog! I'll just leave you with some adorable photos of my almost-as-busy baby in his new "office".
I wish you could see him in action - he's like a funny little business man in there, turning around in his swivel chair, pushing buttons, making calculations, checking the stock know, the usual.'s the most ridiculously cute thing you'll ever see. 
(I know, spoken like a true mother)

Hope you all are enjoying your week!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We interrupt all of this christmas-y programming....

...for an engagement shoot! 

Yes, in the midst of a busy Christmas season, I was lucky enough to find a free afternoon to take some photos of my newly engaged friend and old co-worker, Christina and her fiance, Ben. I must say, I love engagement shoots. They are some of the easiest photo shoots to do, considering you just have a couple of lovebirds who are all googly eyes for each other and you don't really have to do much but follow them around and try to catch the cute moments that are oozing out all over the place. See? Simple. :)

Congratulations guys!

Monday, December 19, 2011

thou its light, its joy, its crown

In the heavenly country bright,
need they no created light;
thou its light, its joy, its crown,
thou its sun which goes not down;
there for ever may we sing
alleluias to our King.
- As With Gladness Men of Old
- warm and yummy holiday open house and the best bowl of butternut soup I've ever had
- Brian's giddy excitement for his new “yankee swap” toy
- Lianna's helpful offer, and the happy noises from upstairs
quick, cute knits
- happy chaos
-lovely gifts from students
-our late at night sense of humor
- a new church, celebrating and making merry in the Old Town Hall
- time to stop. and breathe. and soak in....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Baby's First Christmas" Ornament

One of our non-secret projects this weekend was to make an ornament for Levi in honor of his first Christmas.  I had some leftover clear ornaments lying around so I swished around some acrylic paint to give the inside a nice red/white swirl(here are more details instructions). 
I let it dry over night and the next morning we went to work trying to get a handprint from Levi. Easier said than done. I don't have any great tips for getting a baby's handprint (I've read that it's better to do it when they're asleep!). Basically, we painted his hand black and held out the ornament just out of his reach, hoping that he would reach for it. He did..with his other hand, of course. We had to wash off a few duds, but eventually got one we were happy with.  

Oh, the life of a son of a crafter...
..and I may have at least one more ornament tradition idea in the works. 
Hey, December blogging hasn't been half as bad as I thought. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

His and Hers Neck Warmers

Even in the midst of Christmas preparations, I haven't been about to put down the needles entirely. Brian needed a new scarf (somehow that boy has lost every scarf he's ever owned)so I found some nice chunky yarn that looked very wool-like even though its an acrylic blend. I used relatively big needles, too, in hopes that it would work up quickly. I don't know what was wrong with me, but it felt like an eternity to make that thing. He likes to be able to wrap it all the way around his head with both sides handing in the front, so that makes it need to be really long...maybe that was it (the baby is always a good excuse, too) Anyways, I finally finished it and the extreme appreciation I get and the daily wear has made it totally worthwhile.  And I love that the yarn has brown, black and gray in it, so it will match all of his coats and sweaters. 
I can't really tell you exactly how I made it - size 8 needles, I think and then just as many stitches to make it about 6 inches wide; then I just knit, knit, knit until it was long enough (I used 1 1/2 skeins). 

I ended up having some yarn left over, so I made myself a matching cowl from this pattern that I had bookmarked a while back. I kind of love wearing matching clothes with my loved ones (see these hats and these dresses and these skirts). Somehow this neck warmer only took the drive to and from a Thanksgiving get-together.  It was about an hour away, but still - talk about a quick knit! If I do this one again, I would not do as many stitches to begin with to make it hug my neck more.  Right now it is more of a fashion statement than something to keep me terribly warm. Oh well. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Knitter's Ornament

This tutorial was inspired by this photo pinned by my blogger friend, Caroline.  I just now realized that they actually put real knitting needles in it...not a bad gift idea!  This literally took about 20 minutes to make and I really like how it came out, perfect for the knitters in your life. I made one for my Grandma for an extra Christmas treat. Shhhhhh...

stay tuned for another ornament idea later on this week...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Emmanuel shall come to you...

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind 
In one the hearts of all mankind; 
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease, 
And be yourself our King of Peace. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Giving thanks..

- God with us
- productive days
- collaboration
- Levi kisses
- big plans, little successes
- rooms lit, just with Christmas lights
- visits from Grammy and Grampy
- warm drinks
- a very talkative and happy son
- Christmasy mornings with my baby and BFF (and Amy Grant, of course)
- home and those therein

Saturday, December 10, 2011

a bonus weekend treat - My Christmas "Miracle"

A true tale from the Kettle...

The other day Levi and I were waiting for Brian to get home from work.  We were playing in the living room when all of the sudden I hear knocking.  I think that I must be imagining things or maybe it's the  washer or dryer making a funny noise.  Then again, 3 distinct knocks that were unmistakably coming from the front door.  Now I'm thinking "Brian must have misplaced his keys or his hands are full..I'd better go let him in". So I go to the door and open the curtain to see who's there. There is literally a squirrel hanging upside down on my wreath knocking on the door with what looks like a gingerbread cookie!! WHAT?! He sees me, I run to get my camera even though I'm sure that he'll be gone when I get back. But no, he's still hanging there, just looking at me through the window with his cookie. 

What does this mean!?

(for some reason Brian doesn't think this is as amazing as I isn't every day a squirrel seemingly purposefully knocks on your door with a Christmas cookie for pete's sake!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baby Silhouette

My little silhouette collection has a new addition
- my handsome little son, of course!

(silhouette tutorials abound on the web, but mine is here)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fa la la la la la....

Dusty boxes, "White Christmas", tangled lights, cocoa, memories of Christmases past, fluffing evergreens,  Levi hanging his first ornaments and a "baby" tree in honor of our baby (and because we're running out of room with all of his STUFF) - all ingredients for a very warm, quiet and festive night with my favorite boys. 

Bring it on, Christmas; we're so ready for you! 
(Lili, I know you're counting my stockings...I just so happen to have 4, no big announcement this year! haha)