Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Cookie Plate

If you are looking for our giveaway, scroll down to the next post, or click HERE.

I think there is no Christmas sweet quite as iconic as the Christmas cookie. When we were little, we always made cookies for our friends and neighbors and delivered them on Christmas Eve. Over the years, we've added a few new stars to the line-up, but our favorites remain unchanged. Click HERE to see a few of our favorite Christmas cookies, the recipes we return to year
after year.
You can also see a list of our favorite holiday treats to share and a list of our favorite savory snacks!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Giveaway Day!

Comments are now closed. Congratulations jhitomi! We'll be contacting you shortly. Thanks everyone for entering our giveaway, and Happy Holidays!!
We at Max and Ellie have been participating in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Days for a few years now, and we are thrilled to once again offer up a fun prize from our store. If you're new to Giveaway Day, here's a quick synopsis: hundreds of bloggers, some associated with generous online shops, some just associated with their own generous selves, all do fantastic giveaways on the same day. The sponsor, Sew Mama Sew, has link lists of all of the participating blogs, and you can spend literally hours checking out new blogs and shops, leaving a comment, and entering to win fabulous prizes. Click HERE to go to Sew Mama Sew's master lists.

Now, onto our prize! We have tons of lovely, new items in our shop, and we'd love to send one of them to one of you! The winner of our giveaway can choose one of the following from our shop:

an itty bitty boo-boo kit in their choice of color (we have lots of new colors not yet listed in the shop, like orange and lavender; just ask!)


a bobbi pin trio in their choice of color


a set of blossom earrings in their choice of color


a set of cute-as-a-button earrings in their choice of color (not currently listed in the shop, but you can see them in the picture below, and if that's the prize you choose, we can send you lots more pictures!)

All you have to do to enter is visit our shop, pick a favorite item (or 2 or 3!), and leave us a comment on this post telling us what it is! Be sure to include your email address in your comment so that we can get in touch with you if you win. The giveaway will end sometime on Friday, December 17th, at which time we'll announce and contact the winner and ship out their prize. We'll actually be out of town while that last part is going on, but we have a sweet, helpful husband who will be dealing with packaging and shipping the prize. But because of that, we are only opening this contest to US residents.

Happy Holidays and Good Luck!
love, Max and Ellie

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Treats to Share

Giving homemade treats to friends and neighbors during the Holidays is one of my favorite things about this time of year. It's easier on the wallet than store-bought gifts, and the time and effort that go into making a gift for someone show a level of caring that is far greater. Growing up, we always gave cookie plates (tune in next week for some of our favorite Holiday cookie recipes), but in the past few years, we've tried to be extra creative with our homemade treats. Click HERE to see what we've given, gotten, and gobbled up!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Woolens Advent Calendar

First off, I have to admit that none of these socks and mittens are made from wool. I'm pretty sure they contain no wool whatsoever. But "winter woolens" is such a cute phrase! I first read it on SouleMama a few years ago and it has stayed with me ever since. And you are certainly welcome to use wool socks and wool mittens if you make a similar advent calendar.
I've been looking for an advent calendar for about 5 years now, ever since our oldest celebrated her first Christmas. We have a cute poster of a house with numbered rooms and a Santa sticker we move from room to room, but I wanted something that I could stuff candy and little notes into. After seeing lots of beautiful but expensive store-bought calendars, and many, many beautiful but time-consuming handmade calendars, I finally spotted this one using baby socks on Martha Stewart and decided I could easily crank it out in about an hour (shopping time not included)! Here's how I did it (slightly differently than dear Martha):

  • 24 or 25 holiday baby socks, toddler socks, gloves, and mittens
  • 1 or 2 sheets white card stock
  • various circle punches (I used a 2" scalloped circle, a 1 1/4" plain circle, and a 1 3/8" plain circle)
  • black stamp pad
  • various number and letter stamps
  • clothes pins (I used standard ones, but those little tiny ones would be awfully cute too)
  • elmer's glue or other craft glue
  • about 3 yards of jute, twine, ribbon, yarn, or rope (basically, something to hang these little darlings from)
  1. Punch 24 or 25 circles out of card stock using the various circle punches. I did 25, but I've noticed lots of count-down calendars only go to 24; it's your choice!
  2. Lay the circles out on your work surface in the order you'd like them to go in, then start stamping each circle with a number. I did a mixture of numerals and written-out letters.
  3. Place a single dot of elmer's glue on each clothes pin, then gently stick on the numbered circles. Set them aside to dry.
  4. Put your twine (or whatever you'll be hanging your socks on) up where you want it and make sure it is securely attached. I put some of those 3M sticky hooks on the wall in our entry way, spaced them about 100 inches apart, and tied each end of my twine to a hook.
  5. When the clothes pins are dry, use them to hang up the socks in number order. You can fill the socks with Christmas candy, love notes, small ornaments, holiday activity ideas, etc.
I'm so excited to have this sweet advent calendar in our house this year to help us count down the days until Christmas. And if we get tired of the socks and gloves, or if we need them in the future, we can use the numbered clothes pins for a new advent calendar!

Happy December 1st! and Savory Holiday Snacks

When I was little, my mom threw us a little party on the first of December every year. We divvied up the Christmas decorations, ate festive snacks, did little holiday projects, and were officially allowed to start singing Christmas songs. It is a tradition I have continued with my own children, and one that I look forward to every year. Today, we have plans to bake Molasses Crinkles (one of the best holiday cookies ever--promise), decorate little foam gingerbread houses, make an advent calendar AND a red and green paper chain, and possibly watch a Christmas movie or two!

Now that the holidays are in full swing, I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite holiday recipes each week throughout the month. This week, we'll focus on
I have a major sweet tooth, but I also love me some salt. Click HERE to see just a few of my most favorite savory holiday snacks.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Photos from Bliss Handmade Boutique

After months of planning and creating, our third trip to the Bliss Handmade Boutique is finally and successfully over. We are tired and happy. In case you didn't make it, here's some of what you missed:

Blossom Earrings--we're sold out of black, but still have hot pink, red, cream, coral, and aqua

adorable full and half aprons

colorful bobbi pin trios--1 resin flower, 1 fabric-covered button, and 1 hand-cut, hand-stitched felt bloom with a little green leaf

an amazing turn-out! this picture was NOT taken at the busiest time; there was a time when it was completely packed and you had a hard time getting around to all of the tables!

We are participating in another holiday show in two weeks, Treasured Home in Springfield, OR, December 3rd and 4th from 10am-6pm. Fabric, bags, wall art, bath and body goodies, jewelry, clothes, quilts, holiday decor, and more, plus all of the Max and Ellie stuff you know and love! We'd love to see familiar faces there, so plan on stopping by!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Little Winter=Happiness

Is it odd that a shopping event made me feel happy inside for a few days? I've been excited for Little Winter for a while now, especially when it became apparent that I could finagle a few things in our hectic family life and actually attend. I was practically giddy just thinking about it all day Saturday, and beside myself on the way there Sunday afternoon. And Little Winter most definitely did not disappoint! It was very, very hard to narrow down my purchases; I wanted to buy so many beautiful things. But out of all of the lovelies, here's what I came away with:

Mossiere's 2011 silkscreened calendar--I had a hard time choosing which lovely print to get, but this Pacific Northwest Flora and Fauna calendar can be trimmed to fit a 12.5x12.5" frame when the year is over. Score! And it reaffirmed my desire to learn how to do calligraphy AND silkscreening.

A yummy cake print from Paul Ferney--I agonized over which cake print to choose for about 5 minutes; they're all so cute.

A God Jul card from Owls Go Hoot for Garment House for my Norwegian grandparents--I only wish I had gone ahead and bought the matching gift tags. :(

Everything about Little Winter was wonderful: the fresh, clean styling; the fantastic location; the window displays; the gift-wrapping. It was just beautiful, and I can't wait for more!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bliss Handmade Holiday 2010 Boutique

We are so excited to once again be participating in the Bliss Handmade Boutique! This year's Holiday show will be on Thursday, November 18th, from 6 to 9 pm, in Crescent Village. If you're in Eugene, stop by for some early holiday shopping, hob-knobbing, cupcake-eating, and general good time-having! Max and Ellie will be one of over a dozen local artisans selling handmade items; there will be items for everyone from baby to baby-boomer, knick-knacks for the home, bath and body stuff, etc. etc! For more info AND daily give-aways between now and the 18th, visit the official Bliss Handmade website by clicking HERE. And come say hi on Nov. 18th!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Annie's French Baby Shower

So Annie--of birthday party fame--is just a little pregnant, and as a result, a baby shower was in order. Neither Annie nor I has any real connection to France; neither of us has ever been there, neither of us speaks the language. But who doesn't want to throw a French-themed party?!

It was a huge hit! From the invitations to the decor, from the food to the favors, Annie's French Baby Shower was une bonne fete!

tarragon chicken salad with almonds served on baguettes; mini quiche; crudites

caramel apple napoleons; mini chocolate pots de creme; mini chocolate croissants

raspberry-almond french macarons

pear-walnut-goat cheese salad

sparkling pink lemonade

handmade dotted-swiss sachets filled with lavender buds; ignore the backyard--I realized after the baby shower that I had forgotten to clean up the yard!

In addition to eating and opening presents, we played a fun--although challenging--game where the lyrics of popular lullabies and children's songs were written in French, and we had to guess the song titles. Our only French speaker got 17 out of 18 right, and our best non-French-speaking score was 13 out of 18. Not too bad!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Argyle Pumpkins: Long Time Comin'

At about this time last year, we went to visit my sister and her family in the town my husband and I went to college in. While shopping one evening (because that is pretty much what we spend our time doing when we're together) I saw some adorable faux pumpkins painted with argyle patterns. I wanted to buy them, but they were expensive and very large, too large to fit in a little suitcase. So as soon as I got home, I went to the craft store and bought supplies to make my own argyle pumpkins. And Halloween came and went without any argyle pumpkins, so I packed all of my supplies away with our decorations and resolved to make them this year. When October 1st rolled around this year, I finally did it! And then I didn't get the post up for two weeks, but here they are, 1 year+ in the making!

Argyle Pumpkins

pumpkins, real or fake, depending on how long you want them to last
blue painter's tape, the most useful craft tool ever
flexible measuring tape
craft paint (I used black, orange, and white)
paint brushes (I used a sponge brush for the diamonds and a really fine-tipped paintbrush for the dotted lines)
clear acrylic spray

how to:
  1. Using the measuring tape, measure the circumference of the pumpkin (Figure out how tall your pumpkin is--minus the stem--and find the middle). Lightly trace it with a pencil.
  2. Figure out how many diamonds you want on your pumpkin. It needs to be an even number so that the colors alternate all the way around. Trust me on that one! Take the circumference measurement, divide it by the number of diamonds you want, and you'll get the width of each diamond. For example, if my pumpkin is 30 inches around and I want 6 diamonds, I divide 30 inches by 6 to get 5 inches. Each diamond will be 5 inches wide.
  3. With your measuring tape, start marking off the left and right points of the diamonds. Pick a starting point on that line you drew around the middle and, using the pencil, make a dot that is big enough that you'll be able to find it again. Now make another dot to mark the end of your first diamond and the beginning of your second. Continue doing this all the way around your pumpkin. Since my diamonds will be 5 inches wide, I pick a starting point, mark it, and then make another dot every 5 inches until I reach my first dot again.
  4. Next, make a mark where the middle of each diamond will be. I marked the outside edges of my diamonds with a dot and the middle with a short, vertical line so that I didn't get mixed up. Divide your diamond width by 2 to figure out where the middle of each diamond is. Or eyeball it! Since my diamonds are 5 inches wide, the middle mark goes at 2.5 inches.

  5. Now, decide how tall you want your diamonds to be. I think it looks best if the diamonds are taller than they are wide. Take your measuring tape, line it up with that mark you made in the center of your diamond, and make marks where you want the top and bottom of the diamond to be. I want my diamonds to be 7 inches tall, so half of that height needs to be below the center line and half needs to be above. I line my measuring tape up with my center mark and put a pencil dot 3.5 inches below and one 3.5 inches above.
  6. Next, tape off every other diamond with blue painter's tape. You'll need 4 pieces of tape for each diamond: one piece connecting the left dot with the top dot, one piece connecting the top dot with the right dot, one piece connecting the right dot with the bottom dot, and one piece connecting the bottom dot with the left dot. Make sure you follow the surface of the pumpkin with the tape and make a nice, tight seal.

  7. Paint your first set of diamonds with one color. Mine took 3 coats of paint, and I used a 1 inch-wide sponge brush. Let the paint completely dry and then remove the tape.

  8. Using the same technique, tape off and paint the other diamonds using your second color.

  9. Using a fine-tipped paint brush and the opposite color, paint a large, dotted X through the middle of each diamond. Let it dry.
  10. Spray everything with a clear acrylic sealer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Share the Love Week with The Anderson Crew

I won't get into too many details, because you can read them all HERE. I'll just tell you that Emily, her husband, and their 4 beautiful children are raising money to bring a new member of their family, sweet Elisabeth, home from Ethiopia. 46 shops--including Max and Ellie!--donated items, and starting Tuesday you can bid on them. All of the donated items have been divided into themed bundles, with each bundle having a value of over $300! Why are you still reading? Go! Go! Go!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Apple Season!

At our house, it is officially apple season, one of my favorite times of the year. We don't have a big backyard, but my amateur farmer husband has crammed a tiny orchard and several raised beds into the spare corners. Our orchard consists of some fairly unproductive cherry trees, a peach that is half-dead, an apricot and italian plum that look beautiful but don't give any fruit, and one 4-way dwarf apple that makes up for its lazy friends by producing bushel after bushel of delicious apples. In honor of our small-but-mighty apple tree, here are some apple favorites!


Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington
One of our favorite Fall books, and one that we keep reading all year long.