I know it's super last minute but if you're in Portland this Sunday you should check out my work at the Triada Art Holiday Makers Faire!
It is located at 222 N. Freemont Street, 97227
Check out their Event Page Here for a list of more of the participating vendors.
Every Item available in my Etsy shop will be onsite (some items at reduced prices!)
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the event myself but my friends Nel and Justin will be manning my booth and they're nice and friendly so don't be shy! Say Hello!
Ps. I apologise for being MIA lately! We have been so busy working on the 2016 Ashley&Alex Christmas Album that we haven't done anything except practice and record for the past few weeks! Plus the Art Faire was super last minute so I've been busy creating garment tags and inventory lists and getting stuff display ready. Not to mention holiday baking, decorating and entertaining! It has been a hectic holiday season so far. Part of me loves being a busy Christmas elf, but the other part of me just wants a nap!
I'll bring you more updates on my Christmas Elf shenanigans next week; sock progress, baking, new sweater ideas, album progress! I've got tons to share, I just need to find the time to do it!
Here's a little sneak peak of my next knitting project...
It's just so pretty!
See you soon!
This year, Alex and I decided, instead of making and buying gifts for the 30ish family members on our list we would create a Christmas album. Crazy, right? We've both been musicians for years, even playing in the same band for a while, so we though, how hard could it be? Well, lets just say it was more time consuming than expected.
I thought I'd share some progress pics of our epic journey in the making of An Ashley&Alex Christmas Album.
I started in September, compiling lots of tabs and deciding which songs would sound the best for this project. At first I planned on featuring 10 songs on the album, then 8 and finally, when time ran short we ended up with 6!
After I picked out my songs I practiced them on guitar until they sounded recording ready! (I'm sure my neighbors really enjoyed all the Christmas tunes from September-December.) In the meantime I tracked down the perfect supplies for beautiful Album packaging!
I found this wonderful stamp at LittleStampStore on Etsy. She didn't carry the size I needed so I custom ordered one big enough for a CD cover. Customer service was awesome and I'll definitely be ordering from her shop again.
I also found these fun vintage-look CD's on Amazon, as well as these cute CD cases.
I also found some cute CD labels stickers and this Etsy shop called PeculiarPrintables which provided the perfect fair isle sweater labels for my CD's.
I think they turned out pretty darn cute!
In the meantime, Alex learned to use Reaper so we could record digitally. He also used his computer nerd powers to figure out how to make the keyboard and the microphone and the guitar and bass guitar speak to the computer. It's all a mystery to me, but I'm sure glad he gets it. (Forgive the messy music room!)
I ended up recording for an hour or two every night in November and December until I got all the tracks sounding the way I wanted them. Alex wanted to contribute more to the actual instrumental portion of the album but with his College courseload and full time work he didn't have the time to be as involved as he'd hoped. He did record a lovely guitar solo on The Christmas Song though.
By early December I was getting frustrated trying to record all the instruments on my own so I recruited our friend Justin for his bass playing skillz.
He did a magical job! You can check out his bass skillz on the tracks White Christmas and Baby Please Come Home. In retrospect I really should've asked for help sooner but I have a desperate need for creative control on projects like this and trouble handing over the reins.
He was kind enough to let us borrow his bass until we finished the album, I think it really classes up the joint.
Our goal was to get the completed albums in the mail by the first weekend in December, which, of course, did not work out. We ended up doing the traditional Holiday scramble and barely getting all 15 packages in the mail by the 21st. We ended up spending our first weekend of Christmas vacation constantly working on the album. No chores were done, no meals were made, it was all work all the time! The night before the albums went out, I literally pulled an all nighter to finish recording the drum and tambourine parts on Baby Please Come Home! But it was totally worth it. On Dec. 20th Alex got all the tracks mastered and the CD's burned and I got them all packaged up and beautiful. Then we popped them in the mail on the 21st and were able to spend the rest of the Holiday week enjoying each others company and eating way too many Christmas cookies.
The reviews for the album have been wonderful. All our friends and family have been very receptive and supportive of our Christmas music! All the positive feedback has made me pretty sure a 2016 Christmas album is on the horizon. This time I'll be getting started in May.
If you'd like to listen to the Album you can find it here.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about the making of a An Ashley&Alex Christmas Album!
Thanks for stopping by!
Are you still scrambling to make everyone a gift before the big day!? I usually am. Don't fret! Here's a list of fantastic crafts that are quick, inexpensive and will surely be appreciated. Most of these will take you about an hour to make and call for limited supplies.
Without further ado, get crafting!!!
1.) Bohemian Chic Hair Pin by McLaughlin Designs. Buttons+Feathers=Fancy hair clip OR brooch!
2.) DIY Handwarmers by Rae Ann Kelly. I've made these many times using Flannel and Fleece fabric, they're always appreciated. Who doesn't want toasty hands on a cold day?
3.) Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Holders by heart.love.always. Super cute, and I'm sure you could get away with using whatever glass friendly paint you have on hand.
4.) Crocheted Striped Can Cozy by Jessie At Home. I've made dozens of these. You could use glitter yarn or applique a cute felt design on the side if you're feeling extra crafty.
5.) Faceted Clay Tealight Holder by Gathering Beauty. I would use an oven bake clay for this to cut down on drying time.
6.) Fancy Headbands by ABM. Limited sewing skillz needed and the results are adorable.
7.) Knitted Key Cozies by Knit Freedom. This is definitely something everyone needs. Your friends and family will have the coziest keys ever!
8.) Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeves by Crafty Staci. Simple and quick, use holiday themed fabric for bonus points.
9.) Holiday Shrinky Dink Bookmarks by Got to Teach. All you need is permanent markers and Shrinky Dink sheets, oh, and an oven.
10.) Star Trek Combadge Earrings by Tallys Treasury. So nerdy, but absolutely necessary.
I hope you found something fantastic to make for your friends or family, or got inspired to create something completely one of a kind!
I hope you're having a fantastic Holiday Season!
Thanks for reading!
This weekend I had a few of my wonderful friends over to help me decorate my Christmas tree. Saturday afternoon Alex and Jess headed out in the pouring rain to pick out the perfect tree!
After they got it home, Alex got the tree in the tree stand and Jess and I got to work putting ribbon and Icicle ornaments on the tree while we waited for the rest of our guests.
When more of the guest arrived I made a big batch of popcorn and got them all stringing on a lovely garland.
Alex and Jess got to work putting all the ornaments on the tree...
While the lazier guests spent time relaxing and observing all the hard work.
We watched The Santa Clause and Home Alone and A Muppet Family Christmas. When everyone arrived, a sandwich feast was served! Including chips and dip and cookies and pie!
With lots of vegetarian options (mostly for me). :D
Everyone had at least two sandwiches before the night was over! Piglets.
I baked a half Marion-berry and half Blackberry Pie which got rave reviews.
I also made some Evil Italian Butter Cookies dipped in Chocolate which were gone before the night was over!
After the feast we all settled in for a long game of Apples to Apples.
Joe and Alex were the winners for the evening.
Even Perchik got in on the festive fun!
Unfortunately a lot of the ornaments and lights that I had ordered for the tree did not make it here in time for the festivities. I'll update this post once they've arrived and are happily residing upon my beautiful Christmas tree. In the meantime, this is what my tree looked like by the end of a very fun evening;
UPDATE: FINISHED TREE!
Nights like these always make me feel grateful for having such wonderful friends.
I hope your December is going smoothly and that you're nearly done with your Holiday checklist. Somehow we'll manage to get it all done in time, right?
Thanks for dropping by!
Things have been crazy lately! I've been super busy with Holiday prep and crafting and planting new plants and working on my Super Secret Christmas Project. I thought I'd share a quick round up of some of the adventures, and of course, the recipes, I've been working on this last week.
I'm still knitting on my Slanket, I haven't had time for other crafts lately, this thing is time consuming.
I got some new plant friends from Succulent Treasures on Etsy. One is a Panda Plant and the other is a Zebra Aloe Vera. I love them both! I hope I can keep them alive, I have a notorious black thumb.
I've been doing 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene again on YouTube, I figured I should get some extra exercise in my days what with all these foody Holidays coming up. I would definitely recommend her workout videos, she's funny and smart and the routines are challenging without being frustrating.
In food adventures last week, I did lots of prep work for Friendsgiving, I baked delicious Peanut Butter Blossoms,
I also made Cranberry Sauce from scratch.
Unfortunately that's where the food pictures end, I got too busy eating and serving food to photograph during the Friendsgiving Feast. But I did make Veggie Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes and Vegetarian Gravy (I tried to make Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes but they took too long to cook so we ended up with the re-hydrated kind. They were still delicious.)
My guests brought tasty chips and dips and some Veggies that we got too busy to actually cook! We watched Dutch and Planes, Trains and Automobiles and sat around with tasty mugs of Peppermint Tea and crocheted and made hand Turkeys from construction paper. I ended up crocheting Perchik a cute little Wool Christmas Sweater so he doesn't get chilly during the cold Fall nights.
Alex and I (naively) tried to have Jess take some photos of us for our annual Christmas Card this year but to no avail. For some reason our otherwise cute and cuddly kitty cats would not sit still for a Holiday photo shoot! We did not end up getting a card worthy pic but we did get some lovely outtakes.
What a monster kitty! Both the kitties were total cranky pants cats the whole time we had friends over. After the guests left the muffins morphed back into sweet Angel cats and all was right with the world.
Moonunit begging for some midnight snuggles.
Prince, exhausted from all the hubbub!
All in all we had a successful week and a successful Friendsgiving. We will be celebrating a simple Thanksgiving just the two of us on Thursday with Slow Cooker Corn and Red Pepper Chowder, Bread Machine Bread Bowls, Deviled Eggs and Nantucket Cranberry Pie. We'll be tuning in to the MST3K Thanksgiving marathon and hopefully getting up early enough to catch the end of the Macy's Day Parade.
I hope you're having a relaxing Holiday week and are getting some time off to enjoy all the tasty food and friends and family time that you can handle!
Don't forget to get some exercise! haha!
-Thanks for dropping by!
'Tis the Season of Turkeys and Yams and Green Beans swimming in Cream of Mushroom Soup! Problem is, I don't like any of those things! Traditional Thanksgiving foods are not my bag. I remember a few Thanksgivings growing up where a young, Vegetarian Ashley got to enjoy the Holiday with a big plate full of Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Bread, Mmm, carbs. Not exactly a well rounded meal.
In preparation for my annual Friendsgiving I've put up my Thanksgiving Decor^ AND compiled a list of my very favorite Thanksgiving Main Dishes, Side Dishes and Desserts. Hopefully these will help you along the way, especially if you're new to going veggie or just want something less dangerous sounding than a Tofurky.
1.) Vegetarian Meatloaf. This is delicious, it's made from lentils and oats and herbs and spices and it'll blow you out of the water, especially if you make it with this Vegetarian Gravy (more on that later.)
2.) Shepherds Pie. Ok, I know, this one is not Vegetarian BUT grab yourself some Smart Ground Meatless Crumbles and it instantly is! And what is more Festive than a pie covered in Potatoes. Plus, if you wanna get Really motivated you can always make this Shepherds Pie from scratch. They're both delicious!
3.) Speaking of Pies, you should try Lentil and Potato Pot Pies with Rosemary Biscuit Crust OR Vegetarian Pot Pies with Feta Scallion Biscuits. Or you could also make my Recipe for Pot Pies, equally yummy!
Wow, that's a lot of pies!
4.) One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese in my opinion Chili is a Holiday food, perfect for Football games and family gatherings, I served a big pot o'chili at last years Christmas gathering. This guy calls for meat stuff but you can easily sub in some Veggie Stock and Smart Ground Meatless Crumbles and presto! Vegetarian!
5.) Soups! Nothing is cozier that a bowl full of soup! For Thanksgiving I'd recommend Slow Cooker Potato and Corn Chowder, Cheesy Vegetable Chowder, Vegetable Stew with Herb Dumplings (seriously, so good) and Crock Pot Minestrone. Crock pot soups are my favorite for entertaining, the soups make themselves and you can busy yourself with other important parts of the meal while they cook.
1.) Deviled Eggs, duh! This is a Holiday staple, there are a million different recipes for these magical things but the traditional version is my favorite.
2.) Potatoes! Mashed Red Skin Potatoes, these are super simple to make on the big day. You could always try two of my other favorites; Cast Iron Skillet Rustic Potatoes (I seriously only own Steak Seasoning so I can make these tasty things) and Crash Hot Potatoes, Alex loves these guys!
3.) Brussels Sprouts! This is my favorite Veggie side dish, I know Alex is not a fan but he can deal, I've gotta have my tiny alien heads. You should try Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Garlic or The Best Brussels Sprouts with tasty breadcrumbs. So many options!
4.) Dip! I don't think I've celebrated a Holiday in years without bringing a dip along with me. These are a couple of my Holiday favorites, Zannies Black Eyed Pea Dip, Hot Artichoke Dip and Spicy Skillet Artichoke Dip. Yum!
5.) Lastly, and most importantly=Vegetarian Gravy. This recipe is AMAZING. I seriously want to put this on everything. You must try it with mashed taters and veggie meatloaf and biscuits! Yum!
5.5) I know I should include a biscuit recipe but I usually just make the canned croissants, I KNOW, I'm a big, fat cheater. Or I bake a loaf of Focaccia Bread and position it near the dip and let everyone choose their own adventure.
1.) Surprise=Pumpkin Pie! This is my favorite recipe, I like to make two at a time. They're magical. I've also been known to throw together a Cheesy Apple Pie or this Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie that got rave reviews.
2.) Cinnamon Maple Pecan Scones. Make them, they're delicious.
3.) Cleta Bailey's Toffee Squares. I like to bake an entire sheet of these guys, (don't roll them out too thin!) and freeze them then give them out to guests as they leave as a little treat for the road.
4.) Cinnamon Rolls! These are perfect especially if you have overnight guests for the Holiday.
5.) Cookies; for November I like to make Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Glaze (pictured below), Twix Thumbprint Cookies or White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies.
I hope this post has inspired you with lots of magical, Vegetarian options for your Thanksgiving feast! This list got more comprehensive than I'd planned, I get a little carried away when it comes to the Holidays! I hope you're putting together the perfect menu for your Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving or Festivus!
Happy Holidays! Thanks for reading!
This weekend my friends and I got together for a spooky Halloween tradition; Pumpkin Carving!
I made a big crock pot of Zuppa Toscana Soup, a huge batch of Chex Mix and two fantastic pumpkin pies!
I was going to share the soup recipe here but, unfortunately, it did not turn out as delicious as planned so it's being rewritten and should be posted up here as a November recipe. The Chex Mix turned out marvelous though, I used this recipe from Half Baked Harvest and it was buttery and delicious and my guests couldn't get enough of it.
My Pumpkin Pies turned out great! I used this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction (the woman is a genius) and doubled it, made two fantastic pies, my friends were fat and happy by the time they left.
We made some felt face masks before we carved our pumpkins. These ones are mine. Alex is The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and I'm a Peacock!
Jess made herself a Luna Cat mask, from Sailor Moon.
Hannah and her boyfriend Alex worked together to create a mask for Perchik, her beloved stuffed animal. Here he is in his Victoria Secret Angel costume.
And here he is in his festive Halloween mask.
After all that hard work a few us finally got around to carving the Pumpkins! I made my annual kitty cat Pumpkin, it's tradition!
My Alex made a Mike Wazowski Pumpkin.
And Jess made a Corey Hart Pumpkin. He wears his sunglasses at night.
Hannah and her Alex supervised. They were too cool to carve.
Our Punkin's turned out super cute!
After carving and crafting and eating everyone slipped into food comas. We watched Halloweentown II, Eerie Indiana and Goosebumps. I like to keep my Halloween shows rated G.
It was a successful night of good, clean Halloween fun. Everyone went home with extra soup and Pumpkin Pie!
I hope you are carving your Pumpkins in preparation for the big day! Thanks for reading about our Holiday adventures. Happy Halloween!
Let's make a Bat Mobile! Not to be confused with a Batmobile. That's a different thing entirely.
This fun little project will make your home sparkle with Halloween cheer! It's quick, inexpensive and super fun. Here's what you'll need;
White Colored Pencil or Crayon
(I used a twisted wire hanger but if you want to be classy you should try a wood frame one from Etsy. You can always paint it black to match your Batty Bats)
First, print your Bat Template! Or you can cut out your own unique bats!
Let's get started!
1) If you're using a wood frame, grab some black paint and use a few coats to cover your frame before getting started. Make sure to give it a few hours to dry! If using a wire hanger, bust out some beading tools or pliers and twist that guy into a loose spiral, making sure to connect the loose end (not hook part) into a circle to make a stable frame.
2.) Cover your work space with newspaper or parchment paper. Glitter and glue will be happening and it will get messy!
3.) Use the Bat template to cut out a variety of different sized paper Bats. Place the paper Bat on your stiffened felt and trace around it with your white colored pencil or crayon. Cut out felt Bats.
4.) Use your sponge brush to coat some of the Bats in a thin layer of Mod Podge, sprinkle them liberally with glitter.
3.) While your Bats dry, measure out various lengths of black hemp cord to string them onto your mobile with. Make sure to give allowance for the knots; make the cords a little longer than you need.
4.) Once Bats are dry, use your Elmers Glue to glue Rhinestone eyes on all your bats. I think the red ones look particularly scary but you can use any color you like.
5.) Use your tapestry needle to poke a hole into the Bat noggins and secure the cord with a double knot. Then knot the opposite end of the cord to the mobile frame. Arrange them at various heights and you're done!
Now display your mobile proudly! I like to use a screw hook to hang my mobiles. You can put this guy in your front window or hang it over your Halloween mantle display.
This is a super fun project to do with a group. You can help each other make bats for one big mobile, or make a bunch of mobiles so everyone has a fun decoration to take home!
Now go forth and have some spooky Halloween crafting fun!
Thanks for reading!
Have you started decorating for Fall yet? I sure have! I'm kind of obsessed with Seasonal Decor. Some might even say I over decorate. I can't help it! A festive home is a cozy home!
I was picking out some Fall decorations from Jo-Ann's recently and I was sure that I would find myself a batch o'Pinecones to put in some glass bowls around my living room but to no avail! They were already sold out! Then I though, why not just fetch my own from nature! Crazy, right? So I read this helpful tutorial and got to work!
Alex and I took a walk around the neighborhood and filled up a bag with happy Pinecones. When we got home I shook them out over the trash one at a time and popped them on an old baking sheet. I baked them at 200 degrees for 20 minutes then popped them in a fresh bag and gave them a good shake to get all the remaining dirt off.
Alex sprinkled them with cinnamon and nutmeg before we baked them so the house smelled like a delicious, spicy campfire when we took them out. He didn't know I was gonna spray seal them (: After they were baked and bug free I took them outside and gave them a few light coats of clear spray sealant.
I flipped them over and made sure to seal their little bottoms too.
I let the Pinecones dry for a few hours then brought them inside and used them to fill up a bunch of glass bowls and containers around my living room.
I even added some cute LED lights to one of the larger fishbowls.
I am aware that a bag of Pinecones costs around $3, not exactly an investment, but this way was freee! Plus Alex and I like to do stuff the old fashion way whenever possible. And the Pinecones in the oven with Cinnamon smelled pretty darn amazing. It's a perfect way to start out the Fall season. I think I'll be fetching my own Pinecones from here on out! It's just so easy and nearly instant gratification, shake and bake decor!
Give it a try if DIY decorations are your thing, they're totally mine. You won't be disappointed!
Thanks for reading!
Are you guys as excited about Fall as I am!? I know, technically it's still August but i'm over that. I'm ready for spiced cider and pretty leaves and flannel everything!
In the spirit of September and all things orange and festive, I've been making cute, little Pumpkins! And you can too!
These guys are a quick way to make your home festive without spending a ton of money. I was able to whip these Punkin's up in the time it took me to watch Batman and Robin.
This knitted Pumpkin pattern is by Katrina McNerney and is a super quick knit. It's knitted in the round with DPNs, then gathered on the top and bottom and has a simple i-chord stem. Mine turned out about 5" wide by 3" tall and I used Lily Sugar N'Cream yarn and size 7 (4.5mm) needles.
This little crocheted Punkin' pattern is by June Gilbank and is just freaking adorable. This one measures about 4"x2". I used Lily Sugar N'Cream and a size E US (3.5mm) hook.
All you need to make these is yarn, stuffing, a seaming needle and the crochet/knitting needles of your choice.
I love simple, festive projects. And no worries about your Pumpkins getting old and gross on you, these guys will last you through many a Holiday celebration. Halloween? Covered. Thanksgiving? Under control.
Give these little guys a try! I think I might whip some more up in white or light green before the Season is over.
Thanks for stopping by!
This is a creative space dedicated to building a happy handmade home! I feature recipes, crafts, DIY's and pictures of my cats! Join me on a journey of exciting wonders. Get inspired! You might even learn something new!