Birthday Feed

Christmastime Is Here!

Hello my friends!!  Did you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving???  I hope you did, filled with friends, family, good food, and even better wine.  Or maybe some mulled spiked cider instead.  Or maybe both. 


We spent the Thanksgiving holiday at my sister's house, where she had the prettiest table set, and fantastic food for us all to eat.


Hi Bean!

After the ridiculously delicious dinner, it was time for dessert, of course.  Since my sister's birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, and my mom's was Saturday, and my bro-in-law's was last Sunday, I had some serious baking to do.  I made a three-layer apple cider cake for my sis & bro-in-law, and a Hershey's special dark chocolate cake for my mom.  There was the obligatory pumpkin pie, too, but....cake.  Filled to the brim with gluten and sugar, per my sister's request.  Ha.


If you know anything about know my seat at this dessert table was the one with that coffee pot at my right hand.  Duh.

Black Friday was spent in downtown Philly, doing the tradish Christmas stuff down there, like seeing the light show in the old Wanamaker's building.  I am eternally eight years old when I see this show.

Light Show at Wanamaker's in Philadelphia #Philly #christmas #wanamakerslightshow

I live for this time of year, but it's still nearly impossible to believe that Christmas is right around the corner again already.  I'll be doing another December Daily album like I have the past two years.  I will do my best to provide regular post updates as I build my album, but bear with me as I finish making my Christmas cards and start prepping cookie batters - I may fall behind some days. 

You're all shocked, I know.

It's like I get distracted by shiny objects or things I unearth in crevices in my craft table or start a new cross stitch project when I have three going already or something like that instead of finishing blog posts.  Not that any of that ever happens.  Ever.  



Pardon me while I go find my mug of mulled cider...wherever it is I left it....and curl up to watch some Christmas specials...



Pardon my lack of posts lately, peeps.  It's summer, and I've actually decided to enjoy it this year, rather than work all the daggone time and not take any time off.

So, I've been going places and doing things.

I went to Annapolis, and had dinner & drinks at a place where boats could dock (like this one), and I had a great view of the bay.


I went to NYC, and had lunch in this awesome coffee shop, The Grey Dog, where I had my first club sandwich in I can't remember how long, because they could make any sandwich on their menu on gluten-free bread.  I about died.   I got the biggest latte they offered (which was gigantic and outrageously delicious), and my sandwich came with sweet potato fries, which might be the best thing in the history of ever.   


I also went into Macys for the first time in a really long time (because, honestly, it's chaos in there all.the.time, and I can't take it for longer than about 15 min) while I waited for the next train home, and walked through the danger zone: the shoe department.


I wanted them all.

And I went to Florida to spend some time with one of my best friends from college, which also happened to coincide with my birthday.

It's never a bad idea to spend your birthday somewhere like this....


...and get gluten free goodies to celebrate said birthday from a place that shares my sentiment about dessert, AND has macaroons.....which I've never seen in any gluten free bakery....


....and have this little guy sing me happy birthday two nights in a row ("Happy Birthday, Aunt Zzzzacki!!"  those J's are tough, man.), because he was so excited for cupcakes and blowing out candles.....


I've been dreaming about my next vacation since I stepped foot in the airport in FL to come home.

Have you guys been anywhere yet this summer?  Do you plan to?  

Summer's half gone, and I'm in complete denial about the entire thing.  Hence why I need to take another trip somewhere.  Not like I really need a reason, but ya know.


Birthday Brunch

For my birthday (which was two months ago now), my mom wanted all of us (me, my mom, and my sister) to go out to lunch to celebrate, and since it was my birthday I got to choose where to go.

For some reason, this was an exceptionally difficult task for me.  I kept finding all these cool places I wanted to go, but just couldn't make up my mind.  I had almost resorted to going back to a place I'd been before, simply because I was tired of driving myself insane about a friggin restaurant, when I remembered one of my friends had posted pics on Instagram of this place called National Mechanics.


And so we went.  What sold me, you ask?  After weeks of pulling my hair out trying to pick a place?

This is what sold me ~~

Dear God.

You pick the salt that goes around the rim of your glass, then you make your drink with whatever you want from the fixin's bar.

All the glasses had famous Philadelphians on the front.  I think all three of us got Frank Rizzo...but my sis might've gotten someone different.  I can't remember. 


So, so good.

After a beyond delicious brunch, we walked around Center City and did a little shopping.  No trip to the city is complete without going to the Anthropologie in Rittenhouse Square.  It's an old corner house that has the most amazing architecture inside.  I can only imagine what is hiding behind some of their fixtures.

The bottom floor is what was the kitchen, and still has a sink on the side by the fireplace. 


When you're in these old buildings, you always have to look up - you never know what you're gonna see --

If you're ever in Philly on the weekend, you must visit National Mechanics if you're a Bloody Mary fan so you can partake in the make-your-own Bloody Mary bar.  If you're not, go there anyway.  The atmosphere is really cool (visit their website to get the history of the building - it dates back to pre-Civil War and has been numerous things including a bank and a church) and the food is very good.  I highly recommend it.



A Gift Wrap Idea

Yesterday, I took a trip to central jerz to see one of my besties from college for her son's 2nd bday.  H-Man is 2 already.  Can't friggin believe it.  

Side note: best part about being an aunt (besides having H-Man scream over the phone "BYE AUNT JACKI!!! BYE!!! I LOVE YOU!!! BYE AUNT JACKI!!!!" and actually be able to pronounce a "j" at 2....) is that I get to go to the children's section of Barnes and Noble, and go straight to Dr. Seuss.  I may or may not have a slight obsession with Dr. 32....


Armed with four of the most important beginner Dr. Seuss books a kid can have (we'll get into the more advanced Dr. Seuss books like How The Grinch Stole Christmas and The Lorax at a later date) (aside from the one and only, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish) - There's a Wocket in my Pocket, The Cat in the Hat, Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!!, and Oh, The Thinks You Can Think, I spread out on the dining room table to wrap them all up, only to remember that I have no baby/kid wrapping paper.

Naturally.  Why would I check to see if I had any BEFORE I went out to get his gift?  Because, duh, that would make too much sense.

I do, however, have plain brown paper, which is easy to dress up and make pretty.  Also - 2-year-olds generally don't care about the paper - they just want to rip it off to get to the good stuff.

Mkay.  So, how did I end up making brown paper look cute?  Simple.


Fabric riboon and a cute tag.  My cousin wrapped our Christmas gifts similarly this past Christmas, and I thought it was a fantastic idea.  Simple and pretty.  So, for H-Man, I chose three jelly roll strips that I had in my stash - all coordinating, of course - wrapped two around the gift, and then used one to tie the bow.  The tag I made with a simple stamp I got at Paper Source, distressed the edges, and wrote the sentiment on the other side.  Before tying the bow with the yellow ribbon, I attached the tag with twine to the fabric, which was then hidden from view after I tied the yellow fabric ribbon.

So easy, yet still cute and polished.  You end up looking like you actually had it together when you wrapped this gift, even though if your friends could have seen you frantically running around the house trying to figure out how the hell you're going to wrap books with no wrapping paper, they'd wonder how you survive without wearing a helmet and elbow pads on a daily basis.

There you have it!  A cute and simple way to wrap gifts!  Don't have fabric remnants all over your house?  Use ribbon instead! Get a roll of wide ribbon, and do the same thing.  It looks just as awesome.  Trust :-)

Much love ~~~


I should have just started all over with today....tomorrow.

Ever have one of those days where you wish you could just have a time-turner and start all over again???
Today was totes one of those days.
I was watching the news while I got ready for work, as per usual, and during the traffic report they said that Rt. 1 northbound was closed.  All three lanes.  Shut down.  Accident.  At least I found out before I left the house, amiright?
Bad news is, I had to take the only other route to work, which literally takes me all around the outskirts of the city.  Yes, there are quite literally only 2 ways for me to get to work.  NOT good when you work in/around a major city.  So, even though I didn't hit any traffic on my way to work (thank you Action News!), it took me a solid 20 minutes extra because I had to go all the way around the city.  I did get to see my favorite place to be in the summer --- Citizens Bank Park --- and got super excited that opening day is LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!!!  WOOP!!
So, that happened.  20 minutes extra on the trip to work.  Then, to make matters slightly worse (after jinxing myself, of course), I got the heel of my shoe caught between the sidewalk cracks, and it scraped the leather off my heel.  AWESOME.  That was at 0800, and I still had a solid 9 hours of the day to go.  Amazing.  
Needless to say, when I got home, I needed nothing more than some tunes and my craft room.  Like whoa.   
First up -- the finishing touches on this frame for the pic of the gals at D's wedding in October --
The theme for her wedding was pumpkins, and her bridesmaids were in black dresses with hot pink shoes, so I used the black & pink to keep with the feel of the night.  Her wedding was SO much fun.  Seriously.  A total blast.  Can't wait to celebrate with these girls again at my sister's wedding!! :-)
Next up -- some cards I made --
This one came out way cooler than I thought it would.  I got a window punch a week or so ago, and am still getting the hang of it, so I think this turned out pretty good for a first-timer!  I stamped the "Merci" on a piece of grey paper over and over (not always re-inking), and then put the window on top for the layered effect.  Pretty cool, right?!
Here again with the window effect, I just swapped the square for a circle, and just used it as a little addition in the corner.  Not too much, but just enough.  I find that with this pack of cards I got, you don't need to add too many adornments to make it really special.
I have a ton more of these thank yous, which I swore I posted here somewhere, but can't find the post to give you a link back.  Maybe I dreamt I posted them.  Altogether possible.  Anyways....they're going to be part of my shower gift to my sister, which she can then use for either the shower or for her wedding thank you's.
IMG_1008 ADORBS did this come out??!!?!  This is for my friend's baby, we'll call her T-girl.  Her 1st bday is coming up, and I clearly had to make her a very special card for the occasion.  The base card is from my favorite paper store and yours, Paper Source.  I believe I got them on sale, so they may not have these particular ones anymore, but I'm sure they have something similar.  I also got the bday cake stamp there.  So funky and fun.

 And you have all been so patiently waiting for me to show at least one cross stitch WIP, so wait no more.
For those of you obsessed with the With Thy Needle and Thread "Word Play" series as much as I am, you'll know that this WIP is "March."  I seriously love this series.  Love.  They're so simple, yet so....nice.  I don't know how else to say it.  I just love each one so far.  "April" just came out, so I'll have to get that...hopefully this weekend.   This pic came out kinda dark, and I apologize for that, but I just couldn't get it any brighter so you could see the fiber colors.  I'm stitching it on 40 count "Purely Primitive" by Silkweaver.  At least...I think that's the name.  I know it has "Primitive" in the name.  Man.  I need a vacay.
Alright peeps.  That's all I got for now.  Do something creative today!! Stitch your hearts out!
Much love ~ ~ ~
PS - before you even ask...all my pics were taken using new obsession.....