Monday, December 31, 2007

For my MIL

I made this journal cover for my lovely mother-in-law for Christmas. I used pre-quilted fabric and made my own bias binding. I had some instructions from a quilt magazine I had bought a few months ago. I think it's pretty great and she really liked it. Well, I think that wraps up my Christmas sewing, but I have some current projects in the works that I'll share soon.

Tonight I'm going to a girls' scrapbooking party at a friend's house while our hubbies are here at our house (with the sleeping babies) playing X-Box, so tomorrow I should have some great layouts to share. I'm not known for getting more than a few pages done over several hours, but I've fallen a little bit behind with the girls' books, so maybe I need to learn to speed it up a little! Anyway, around 11 pm, we're coming back here so we can watch the ball drop together and kiss our men at midnight. Hehehe.

More happy news, my Mom's in Spokane at my sister's house! Yay! (I've mentioned before, my parents live in Mongolia.) She'll be here with us in a couple of weeks, but for now, it's nice to chat with her every day while she's at Jana's.

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

For Jenn

Here is what I made Jenn for Christmas. I used this quilted fabric wallet tutorial and it came together so cool. I was only a tiny bit tempted to keep it for myself, hehehe ;) All these fabrics are from Heather Bailey, my favorite fabrics EVER.

On another subject, I've been reading the best book by Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness and it is really changing my life, so if anyone needs a good book recommendation, there ya go!

AND, there is a pretty funny Politically Correct Christmas greeting here. Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Finally...

...I can start posting the pics of the rest of the things I made for Christmas gifts! Yay! I'm starting with this puppet theater I made for my sister's kiddos. It hangs in a doorway by a tension rod and goes all the way to the floor (please overlook the bathroom scene in the background.) I got the instructions from Bend the Rules Sewing, by Amy Karol, one of my favorite sewing books ever. The puppets were a regular pattern made out of fleece scraps that I had on hand. It was not hard to make, I loooove how it turned out and they love it too. More to come tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

White Christmas!

Here are some pics of our Christmas morning! The first is of Christmas Eve, I guess. And the last is a video of Natalie making a snow angel. I don't know why it looks like a blank screen and I'm not enough of a techy to figure it out and fix it, but if you just push play, it really will be there :) Enjoy!

























































video

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas, audio/visual style

Yay! Our first attempt at videos with our camera and it seems to have worked! The first is a pretty hilarious Christmas greeting from the girls, the second is of Layla walking. Merry Christmas to everyone, especially to Granny and Papa, who are in Mongolia this Christmas. We love you and miss you! Can't wait to see you soon.


video video

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Liar, Liar

Okay, every time I say I'm done with Christmas gifts and such, I'm lying, because I keep deciding to make more things for people, "since I have the time." Last week I almost tossed a bunch of already-cut-up quilt fabrics into the trash because they were cut so crooked and so off-grain that they were not even usable for the quilt I was making. Instead, I turned the pieces into these coasters for one sister-in-law and this draft-blocker for the other. (I don't actually know if that's what they're called.) She has a big gap under her front door and the one I made her a few years ago finally bit the dust. So, I guess all this fabric wasn't wasted, although I'll still be writing the company!
I also had to post this picture of what mischief Layla found to get into while I was sewing today ;) That's my stash of embroidery floss draped all about her.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Oh, Christmas Tree

Natalie made this Christmas tree at church on Sunday. Isn't she talented? Crafting runs in our family :) I'm happy to say that all our Christmas making and shopping and wrapping are all done! Too bad the laundry's not! How come mothers don't get vacations? It feels like there's more work to do when Casey has time off :) Oh, well, I still wouldn't trade it. Whoever first said, "A woman's work is never done" was so right.
If anyone's interested, there is a great post about parenting siblings on Femina today.
Happy Holy-Days!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Let's Review

I finished my Amy Butler High Street Messenger Bag and so I though I'd write a little pattern review! For starters, there are a lot of pieces and the cutting takes forever, since each pattern piece is folded to make other pattern pieces and careful marking must be done so you don't lose track of what's what. Also, there are a lot of steps, this bag is not for the feint of heart! This pattern has one major flaw: it calls for heavyweight home decorator fabric for the exterior and lining and a heavy cotton canvas to use as interfacing. These heavy fabrics make it WAY too thick. A lesser machine could not have handled it. I had to take the canvas off of certain pieces and just use regular interfacing to make it less thick. Another more minor flaw, it asks for 12" zippers, but the bag is about 13" wide so of course I have gaps at the ends of two of my zippers! So, I do really love it, it has tons of great pockets, which I like and I know I will use it often (although it weighs about 10 pounds empty because of all the heavy fabric.) BUT, if I make it again, which I'd rather not for a long time :), I will use regular cotton fabrics, a less heavy fabric for interfacing, and I'll buy longer zippers and just cut them off after sewing the side seams. There ya go, in case any one of you wants to try this pattern!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Am I too late???

Is it too late to post some pictures of our Thanksgiving at Gramma and P-Pa's house? I guess since this is my blog, I can decide that for myself, huh? :) Here are my favorites: Natalie playing dress-up, one of both the girls (finally starting to happen more often), one of all the cousins on Casey's side and a so-sweet one of the girls with their Gramma. Love it.



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ode to Sew, Mama, Sew

So, I have a list of blogs I check in on every day and one of those is Sew, Mama, Sew. Especially after they started posting daily handmade gift tutorials every day in November, from whence came the tutorial for the little artist's portfolio above (for my nephew), the too-cute crayon rolls I posted here earlier, as well as some more gifts I still can not share. NOW, they are running a Hancrafters' Holiday Blog Meme, so I am going to answer these questions and send them on, in hopes of inspiring some of those who are so good at inspiring me!
Here goes:
  1. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I have so many favorite things about the way my family celebrated Christmas growing up. The monkey bread Christmas morning, my dad reading the Christmas story from the Bible before opening presents and the amazing care my mom took with stuffing everyone's stocking--something I strive to reproduce in my own family. Mom did a good job teaching me the art of gift-giving.

2. Have you started any new traditions with your family that you didn't practice growing up?

I would love to say that we have some great new traditions, but we're still a young family and last year was the first Christmas we had just the four (then three) of us so we are still developing new traditions. We do buy the girls new ornaments every year and this year Natalie and I made
gingerbread ornaments, which was so much fun, I'd like to make it a yearly thing. Also, my sister's family practices this great Christmas liturgy throughout December that I'd like to put into practice myself next year. (You can read about that here.)

3. What do you love most about the holiday season?

Hmmm, what's not to love? I love the music (Natalie and I dance to Bing Crosby after lunch every day,) the decorating, the spirit everyone seems to be in, the Christmas Eve services, making gifts, and most of all, the wonderful Reason for the Season, as if the whole Christmas season is one huge reminder of what we have to be so thankful for, the birth of Christ our Saviour! We have so much to celebrate!!!

4. What do you like least about the holiday season?

I don't like the frantic busyness. I was standing in line at Target the other day and the young couple at the next register had $340 worth of toys rung up and the conveyor belt was still full of more toys!!! I wish gift-giving were more thoughtful, as a rule, and less obligatory.

5. Anyone close to your heart that you'll be missing this year?

Soo many! My parents in Mongolia, (yes, Mongolia,) my sister and her family in Washington, my Aunt, my Grandpa and his wife in California, and my Granny, who passed away three and a half years ago. (The best, most inspiring and funniest woman ever.) Ah, we're together in spirit, though!

6. What is your favorite holiday food?

My mom used to make "Green Stuff" every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's actually Watergate Salad, I think, and I was pretty much the only person who liked it, but she always made it, even if it was only me eating it for days on end. I don't think I would call it my favorite holiday food, but maybe a favorite holiday food memory. Hehehe, sorry, Mom ;)

7. Do you have a great recipe to share?

Here is the Monkey Bread that we ate every Christmas morning growing up and that I still make for special occasions in our own family:

Ingredients:
3 cans buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:
Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Cut biscuits into fourths and dip into mixture. Pile into greased deep round pan or spring pan. Melt butter and add 3/4 cup sugar and 2/4 tsp cinnamon. Heat until sugar melts and then pour over biscuits. Bake 30-45 minutes at 350. Let stand 10 minutes and then invert.




Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tank

By request of my lovely mother-in-law, I made this stocking for Casey's Uncle Scott's dog, Tank. I'm sure he'll be thrilled ;) Turned out pretty cute, I must say.

I hit the jack-pot at JoAnn today. The fabrics I almost bought a few months ago for $9.99 a yard for a specific project, I bought today on clearance for $1.50 per yard. Amy Butler High Street Messenger Bag, here we come!

I knew this would happen, but I wasn't thinking and I wrapped some gifts before I could take pictures of what I'd made to post on my blog. Hmmm, to unwrap or not to unwrap?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Little Dolly

I managed to find some time to make this funny little dolly for Natalie for Christmas. I found the tutorial here. I made a pretty basic version, but I'm excited to try some more creative dollies too! With the exception of some more bird ornaments, I'm all done with my Christmas sewing!!!! Now I have some baking to do :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Little Birdies and Wish Books

It's been a flurry of Christmas preparations around here. For awhile I thought I bit off more than I could chew with Christmas gift-making, but I really think if I had just started earlier, it all would have seemed less daunting. I'm having fun, though. I really want to leave time to make one of these for Natalie. Here are some little birdie ornaments I made. They are from this book, which I love, it's my new favorite, along with this one. Can't share any other projects yet, though, due to Christmas surprises! January should be a great blogging month for me, though, because I've made some really cool stuff that I'm dying to share.

On to other things, I took this picture of Natalie with the JCPenney Wish Book yesterday and it made me so nostalgic, remembering how my sister (happy birthday, Jana!) and I used to sit down, each with a different color pen, and put a star next to our favorite thing on every page. Natalie's favorite things were pretty much every thing :) Actually, the dress-up clothes she's pointing at are what she's getting for her birthday in March! Shhh!

So, is anyone else sick of the word "holidays"???? Me too, but I read this great post on Femina
that you may also enjoy. Until next time...!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

100!!!!


This is my one hundredth blog post!!!! Can ya believe it? It's been almost a year since I started this blog and I've grown very attached to it. I sometimes joke that in the event of a house fire, I'd grab my kids and my blog ;) I hope it has been a joy to some of you and hopefully you're inspired enough to start a blog of your own! Yay!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We're Ready...

...for Christmas time!!!! We decorated our house yesterday. Last year I weeded out my Christmas decorations and kept only what we loved and this year, I'm thrilled that I did that. We opted for a small table-top tree this year, since keeping Layla out of a big one would be so much trouble, and we chose our most special ornaments to put on it. Natalie and I made a ton of gingerbread ornaments yesterday, so everyone who comes by our house this season gets some. The stockings I made last year (still some of my favorite things I've made) are gracing our mantle and my beautiful nativity has some new pieces again this year (thanks Angela.) Ah, I LOVE Christmas time. I'm a good busy with making gifts and we're teaching Natalie what Christmas is all about. So far she has no interest or concept of Santa Claus, which doesn't bother me a bit. It's great.



Sunday, November 18, 2007

New Greeeeeen Dress

I made Natalie this dress this past week and she's been waiting and waiting for *church day* to come so she could wear it. It turned out too cute. That was her idea to cross her legs like that in the picture. Yes, she is quite the little girl these days :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Busy, Busy

There's been lots going on in my *studio* this past week. Here are some crayon rolls I made for some special little ones for Christmas. These are so much fun, not to mention fast and inexpensive to make. (I stopped using the word cheap to describe my handmade things :) A third of a yard makes two rolls. You can find the tutorial here.

I have made several other things this past week, but can't share now because many of them are Christmas gifts and I don't want to ruin any surprises! I can share this scrapbook page I made last night, though. I was going through some old pictures with Natalie yesterday and couldn't believe I hadn't scrapped this one! It is my favorite picture from last Christmas and I can't believe how much she has grown this past year. This year has absolutely flown by, it's amazing. Look how tiny her piggy tails were. Aww.

On a side note, if you find yourself in a political mood, go read this post by the Rebellious Pastor's Wife. Right on!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Flowers...

...from my lovey hubby. Thanks, Baby :)

As I was taking the picture of the flowers, Natalie asked if I could take a picture of Angelina on her stool, so I did. It was cute, so I went ahead and posted it too.

Okay, unrelated info: I found the mother-load of sewing project tutorial posts on this Sew Mama Sew
blog. Every day in November, she is posting a list of links to great project how-tos. I've already made 2 Christmas gifts from some of the ideas. Check it out if you need some inspiration.

ALSO, my friend Jenn has started a blog! It's called
Fantabulous, which is fitting, I must say :) Give her a visit if you have a chance.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wonky Update

Okay, so these pictures are not so good, but really, in real life, the quilt looks AWESOME :) This is the first quilt I have ever actually completed and I am very proud. I will never look at it without smiling and even though it matches nothing in our house (except my personality maybe *wink*), I had tons of fun making it. Even the back looks cool. I pieced it out of flannel scraps and the quilting around the houses shows the house shapes on the back too. Aw, Casey's lying on the couch under it right now!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Here's to 26!

So, I joined the ranks of the "upper twenties" this past weekend, or so I'm told. I had a fun-packed b-day weekend. Melissa and I went to Archiver's on Friday for their Scrap-Mania and here are the two pages I got done in 6 hours' time. (Yes, I'm one of those slow scrappers.) I don't plan on getting a lot done and them I'm never disappointed :)
Casey got me a great cookbook for my b-day. It's my sister's church cookbook and it is NOT a typical church cookbook! The pastor wrote an essay in the back called A Culinary Argument for the Existence of God and I have to share this quote, as I have become quite the coffee drinker since having Layla:

"Who was the first guy who figured out coffee beans? If we take these beans, cook them, grind them up, and then run really hot water through them, we get a comfort drink that tastes really nasty for the first six months. But if you persevere in the making and drinking of it, it gets to be really good. So God have us the great concept of the acquired taste--strong coffee and dark beer and black licorice."

Ah, so true. I think I speak for tired mothers everywhere when I say, Thank You Lord for coffee :) By the way, has anyone else become smitten with Starbucks' new Toasted Marshmallow Mocha or is it just me???

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Moo, Twirl

Here are some pictures of my little moo-cow and ballerina from last night's Harvest Festival. If Layla is not the cutest thing you've ever seen in this costume, I don't know what is! I made it out of a white sweatshirt, the hat and ears are made from the sleeves. It came together pretty quick. I asked Natalie if she wanted to be a cow too and she said, "No, silly, Mommy. I'm gonna be a ballerina- princess-mermaid!" We settled for just a ballerina :) She really enjoyed herself at the party. Her favorite thing was the face-painting, by far. After she got both cheeks done, she asked for something on her nose, and then on both hands too. Then, she won a plate of cookies in the cake walk and played some other games for candy, balls, kazoos and some other tiny trinkets that may provide days of entertainment!



Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkin Party

We had some friends over to carve pumpkins on Sunday evening and we had soooo much fun. Is there a more "fallish" thing to do than have a pumpkin party, complete with taco soup, caramel apples, baked pumpkin seeds and babies crawling around everywhere??? It was perfection ;) (How do you like my artsy-fartsy picture of the apples? hehehe) Natalie had a great time coloring and stickering her pumpkin, although she managed to color her entire ear green at one point. Ah, it was fun.

Totally unrelated, but Jenn asked for a how-to on the zipper pocket I put on my diaper bags and so I looked around and found a great tutorial here. Happy sewing!