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This week I oerleap'd a major hurdle with my WIP, and sent the first ~50 pages off to a first reader! Woo-hoo!! Since then, I have been totally unable to get back into the working spirit, and so far the brownies aren't helping. No, really--they are seriously not helping. But they're festive!

So here are the Making bits that are on my mind the last few weeks:

First, a dear friend requested a new apron for Christmas this year, so I made her one!

This was Simplicity 2824, with a few tweaks (and one complaint). Dear Friend is tall, so I lengthened it by two inches, and made the waist ties extra long so they can be tied in front (which, I am told by people who actually cook, makes a handy place to secure a dishtowel as you work). I used the Happiest Fabric Ever, some bright awning stripe outdoor canvas. Some silly outdoor canvas police insisted that this fabric was "professionally spot clean only" (really, what *is* that? There are professionals who come by and spot clean your patio cushions? Yeah, not in my world, either.), but since I Am the Boss of My Fabric, I ran it through the washer/dryer, and it softened up beautifully. I cannot now vouch for the sunfastness of the fabric, but don't expect Dear Friend to be baking in the bright sun very often, so I'm not worried. (My complaint about the pattern is the adjustable neck strap is fussy, and it calls for D-rings that are wildly too big, and the strap slips out--I wouldn't go over 1" on this next time. I'd also put the D-rings on the neck strap, not the apron, and make the tab that attaches to them longer. Of course, you don't think of these things in time, and I'm unlikely to be making more aprons soon, but you never know!)

Second, here is this year's holiday baking, Candy Cane Brownie Bites (they're way cuter on their way *into* the oven, but tastier afterward):

So super easy! Brownie mix/recipe + mini muffin tin + Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses = Pepperminty Brownie Heaven.  You could also substitute any kind of small chocolate candy here, I'd think (the kisses hold their shape while baking). If you're feeling *really* inspired, frost the brownies and crush up some actual peppermints/candy canes on top (I personally don't want my brownies to crunch anywhere, but YMMV).

And here's some holiday stitchiness. This is an ornament I stitched up twice last year (made one for my brother and SIL), but was kind of disappointed in the finishing of DB/SIL's version (evidently I was so unhappy with it, I didn't even take any photos!), so I never ornament-i-fied the version I stitched for myself, and still haven't decided how I want to finish it. Which I do. Really. I mean it.

Crooked shot, b/c I am pathologically incapable of taking a straight photograph of my needlework... but it does show how totally sparkly it is! This is some kind of opalescent linen, stitched with rayon floss. The motif is from Abbey Lane's "A New Beginning" sampler (which I've made several ornaments from). Am open to any suggestions for finishing, except the matboard sandwich, which hates me (see "pathological crookedness of needlework," above. It apparently also applies to my finishing. Gah.)

And because I always have Foolishly High Hopes about handmade ornaments, I also picked up this darling new pattern from Simplicity, for hand-embroidered felt decorations:

I really want to try those felt ornaments (!), but I need to hit the local quilt shop for some wool felt first.

....And the last little bit of stuff... I think I may have talked myself into some fabric for an Elizabethan waistcoat/jacket. I found some teal cotton velvet curtain panels at World Market this week, and I'm trying to convince myself to spend the ~$16/yard to buy a panel. The waistcoat only requires ~1.5 yards, and a panel is just about 2.5, but I think there's math involved in determining the layout with velvet &c... so I'm a little hesitant.

That curtain photo is a little dark. This pillow shows the color better, IMO:

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I got it into my head that a peacock blue jacket would be adorable with my coral gown &c, and then this lovely velvet just appears. How often does that happen?!

So there we go! I just killed an hour pondering stuff to make, and now it's time to go turn the Christmas lights on! I wonder how long I can make *that* take....

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