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My three trees

Random things that are taking up my mental bandwidth

Dec 13

* I love brussels sprouts, but never make them.  Yesterday while grocery shopping, I grabbed a bag.  I trimmed them, cut them in half, tossed with some olive oil and salt and roasted them.  Everyone ate them, but I ate the most.  The leftovers are in the fridge and will be part of my lunch.

* The holidays are stressing me out.  Too much to do and not enough time.  And I am not even making gifts this year.  Except for some aprons.  I forgot about those for a second.  And I do have to make an Innkeeper's costume for Kate's Christmas program on Thursday.  I have a plan and I don't think it will be hard.  Anyone have an idea for a rope-ish belt that isn't really rope?  I'm hoping for something that isn't going to cost me any money or a make me take a trip to the store.

* I still have my cold.  It just sucks.  I wake up feeling horrible despite sleeping pretty well.

* No more camera straps in 2009.  I wish I could have rallied for those of you wanting one, but it just wasn't meant to be.  A brand new package of my sewing labels has gone missing and I have spent a great deal of time looking for them.  Just when I resigned myself to the idea that they had most likely been thrown away, my sister-in-law told me that she saw them over Thanksgiving weekend.  And because I haven't trashed out the sewing room/playroom/guest room since then, I have hope they are hidden somplace in there.  I have offered a reward to my children, but I guess $5 isn't enough motivation for them to look.  Grrr.  So no labels = no camera straps.  That's just the way it is.

* There are so many things that I want to make, but I think I will leave that list for a post of its own.

* I'm making this Cashew Chicken for dinner tonight.  It's a crowd pleaser - fast and easy too.

* I hope Whole Foods gets peonies this year.  I could really use some peonies in December.

* I want it to snow.  Mostly because I love my new boots.



Hi Erin, For the belt, you could tear long strips of cotton fabric (I'm sure you have some of that lying around) and braid them together tightly. It would have frayed edges sort of like rope.


Do you have any of those "rope" curtain tie backs? They look great on a costume. I think we're all feeling the pull this year.


oooh -stress is not good, especially at this time of year.
we roasted brussel sprouts at thanksgiving, and everyone loved them, especially the kids.
what about making a braided belt? you could use 3 strands of thin rope.

Meg Evans

I think I'm the only brussels sprout eater in my house. My husband will tolerate them, but the kids will run screaming from the house.

I'm sorry you're feeling stressed. I abandoned several handmade gift ideas this year because I just didn't have the time--and I'm about to have to clean out my crafting area (the dining room) for a party this weekend, so I think my sewing machine is going away until after Christmas!

Good luck with the costume, and try to find an evening where you can sit by your tree with a glass of wine...I know that's where I'll be this week!

Sarah Jane

I love the boots. Love them.


I was going to suggest braiding a few strips of fabric scraps too. You could add some color that way too. I think it would look great! Hope you feel better soon!


You could knit a long strip about 5 stitches across out of yarn. That might work.


I was going to suggest braiding strips of fabric, too - easy.

Erin, I hope you find some time to relax, put on some music and look at the Christmas lights - everyone needs to do that and it's always so soothing!

tara thayer

hi erin. my girls have made themselves "belts" by braiding some of my yarn...maybe you could put k + j on the job.
and i can barely wait to finish up last night's roasted brussel sprouts. i think lunch is going to be at around 10:45 here today.
hang in there, and i wish you some peace in the holidays.

Carol Baicker-McKee

You can also make twisted rope pretty easily - it's a fun project for kids. (Mine used to make it while they watched TV - something to do with your hands and it's cool.) You can use string, yarn, strips of fabric or even strips of plastic bags for the material (you need 4 times the finished length you want). We always tied one set of ends to the doorknob and used a pencil or piece of dowel for the twisting end to make it easier. Here are some sites with how-to:

This technique borrows motor-power from a hand drill or beater to speed things up:

Good luck! It is a crazy time of year - but somehow it always works out.

Mama Urchin

I'm a bit stressed too. Katie said her tummy hurt this morning and I was just as happy to have her stay home - though I don't really think she's sick - so I don't have to do the run around today. I agree with Autum about ripping some strips of fabric and braiding them for the belt.


I love sprouts too! I going to try roasting them, sounds yummy! Raffia may work for the belt. Good luck with everything!

Melissa Crowe

Same for me--re: the stress and the brussels sprouts. You ought to try roasting them in coconut oil--YUM.


Like Tanya, I was thinking raffia. You could easily braid that for a belt!

Sarah Jackson

I LOVE brussels sprouts. We have them about once a week in season. This week we're having them shredded with apples.

It looks like you have some good suggestions for rope. I was just going to suggest braided bulky yarn, or long strips of knit fabric twisted together.

I'm feeling the Christmas stress too, and I am making most of my gifts. Need to finish 4 of them today. Cross your fingers for me!


I was going to suggest raffia as well and noticed it was just mentioned above. Those brussel sprouts are calling my name. I love them too and have not had them in a long time. Hopefully the name labels will turn up soon.


i just thought of ripping strips of an old t-shirt to braid- sort of like martha at uniform studio's knit scarf. not too original an idea i now see! hope you can catch your breath soon!

rachel | buttons magee

i was going with braided strips of linen. everyone is thinking of martha's belts I see. :)

We all have the head cold stuff going on here and it is making me crazy. AND I too am feeling the Christmas stress.


Totally with you on the WF peonies. Those would really hit the spot right now.


oh gosh. how dare you link to such amazing boots?! ugh, they are my weakness :| those are some seriously awesome boots. i might have to put in a last minute request with Santa.

hope you find the peace. it is a crazy time of year. i made very little this year as well but did most of my shopping on etsy.


I think if you knit with brown yarn (color of rope) and knit about 5 stitches in the round and just straight knit that might look ropish??


We eat roasted brussel sprouts around here all the time. My 3-year-old and 5-year-old daughters eat them like they're candy. I especially love it when the random leaves come off and get all crispy. They're like potato chips. I'm tempted to make a whole mess of just roasted brussel sprout leaves.

Feel better soon!


for the rope-ish belt - light colored fabric strips braided together?


sorry that you aren't feeling well. :(
i love those boots- i have a pair of sorels too and they are fabulous. so warm!


for the belt... what about clothes line? or yarn? do you have any of that kitchen string used to truss a turkey?


Shamrock is such a lovely shade for boots. Maybe you can put them on and wear them like slippers for a little while.


I saw peonies at my WF recently.

cashew chicken looks yum!

don't ever wish for snow!!


Braid some fabric scraps and make that into a belt. A curtain tie back would work too.

Modern Crush

Erin I hope you feel better! I was going to suggest something for the belt, however my idea was aleady covered in the comments above. I hope you know people you don't even know are thinking of you, like me in San Diego! xo Christmas Wishes!


brussel sprouts are so under-rated! we love them in my house as well and they are pretty cheap which helps these days! i love your straight forward-"this is how it is" writing. thanks for being so refreshing! feel better...tried echinacea tea with peppermint leaves?


It's refreshing to hear that someone else has the "Where did I put that?" syndrome as well as me. Important notes that need to be signed for school are my speciality. I almost lost the only thimble I've ever been able to use (which was a present/loan from my mother-in-law) the other day. Just put it down and then a day later realised I didn't know where it was. Found it after a frantic search.

Stop looking or better yet order another set and they'll turn up immediately!


Sorry I have no ideas for the belt but the cashew chicken recipe is one I recently tried and LoVe it!


What about a braid of some sort for the rope? Like muslin fabric cut into small strips? Or you could even twist it rather than braid it and it would give the same effect. Or you could just use some yarn?


What about a braid of some sort for the rope? Like muslin fabric cut into small strips? Or you could even twist it rather than braid it and it would give the same effect. Or you could just use some yarn?

nicola@which name?

oh, i do love how real you are. :)
for the rope...maybe some rope colored ribbon braided together?


Thick yarn twisted into a braid or a twisted cord?

Someone said the other day Christmas is for men and children. Not wholly true, but by golly there's a grain of truth in it.


A message for you: "Keep Calm and Carry On."

P.S. This phrase was originally printed on a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of World War II, but never used.


can't wait to see what you want to make.

feel better!!!


brussels sprouts roasted? never tried that. we eat them, and love them, this way:
put on some water untill it boils, add salt and a sniff of natriumbicarbonate - it keeps the green very green - toss in the cleaned sprouts (cleaned= remove outer leaves and cut a pieve of the thing the leaves are on) and let them boil a while - untill you can smell the sprouts. a good boiled sprout isn still very crispy, with soft leaves outside. a badly boiled sprout is an entirely soft sprout.
take the boiled sprouts out of the water, and melt some good butter - if you wish, you can add small pieces of bacon and 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves with the butter, and bake them before you put in the sprouts, and let them go a while in the butter. salt, pepper (black) and grated nutmeg to taste. real Belgian Brussels sprouts.


I hope you find some time to relax and be quiet.
I hope you get to wear your boots soon.
I was going to make some aprons too but, changed my mind.


OK, here's my two cents worth on the belt project. I also thought of braiding yarn or fabric. My children love doing that and we have several braids laying about for various purposes (belts, horse bridles). The other thing they adore in winter is finger crocheting. You can finger crochet with just about any fabric or yarn and it's so quick and easy.


Hi, hope you don't mind me posting. I often read your blog, and just had to suggest what i do for "rope" on the kids costumes -plait an old pair of skin colour tights/stockings (I'm guessing that's what you call them over there?). That way it has a little bit of elasticity so it's more comfy to wear round their waist (also good for a headband to hold a teatowel on the head).


No advice except to say I hope you feel better. That's a lot to deal with when you aren't feeling well.


hope today is a better day, erin!!!

In a pinch you might try a jump rope -- no planning, no making, no money (if you have one), no stressing.

Warm wishes,



I always use curtain tie-backs for the angel's tummys!


veggie love and fabulous kind of post. thanks for sharing and forget about the labels and they are sure to appear.


Molly sprouts!

guess i'll have to drop back by all through 2010, waiting patiently for camera staps. happy to oblige.



Brussel sprouts are my new favorite veggie! My husband cooks them just like you and they are the best! And it's not just because my husband is cooking and I'm not.


I love roasted brussel spouts. I do have a little twist on the roasting though. I blanch the sprouts for a minute or so and then drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper and a generous amount of honey on the sprouts before roasting. Seriously yummy!

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