I hope to inspire and entertain you with a lot of sewing and a little of everything else!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday! I'll be celebrating tonight with my hubby, kids, and parents and we'll share a delicious dinner of chicken marsala (one of our favorites) and pizza and salad (for my finicky boys). My Mom is bringing it, so I have an easy evening for my last night fridge-free.
Yesterday, hubby surprised me with an early present which will make my life in Bloggerland much easier!
Yes, a laptop computer! Which is on my lap, writing this post right now! Hubby tells me it has lots of features, like a card reader for my camera, lots of memory, HDMI, 3 USB ports, etc. I don't understand it all, but I know I'll have fun learning about it and using it!
The best part of this gift is what Hubby went through to get it. He braved the Black Friday sales to be the first in line at 3:50am. Yes, my Hubby who does not like to get up early, got up at 3:30 to be at the store first- in the dark and cold! It's lucky for me that he did, because it turned out the store only had ONE of these laptops available and there were a lot of people in line to get it!

The other fun thing we did yesterday was to see Harry Potter 7 at the dinner-and-a-movie theater near us. It worked out perfectly. My Mom took the kids to MegaMind next door and Hubby and I saw Harry. Halfway through, she brought Andy in to us and he slept through the rest of the movie! I really liked this movie. I am a huge fan of the books and have read each one several times. My complaint with the movies is that they have to leave out some of the details from the books. Because this one is in 2 parts, they were able to remain quite true to the books. The scenes were how I pictured them when I read the books. It was great and the 2 1/2 hours went by in a flash! Have you seen Harry Potter 7 yet? What did you think?
Now that I can download pictures to this computer, I'll be back soon with more Christmas ideas (and hopefully some sewing!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Davy Overheard

We had two great Thanksgivings this week; one on Sunday with my parents and just our family on Thursday. One of the most fun things we did was to play some "Minute to Win It" games. The kids' favorite, hands-down, was Candy Elevator (see details here). Bad news: still waiting for a new power supply for the computer, so I have limited blogging abilities. Good news: car is fixed and new fridge arrives on Tuesday!

I thought today it would be fun to share a couple of "funnies" from Davy, my son in kindergarten. He is at the age where he is like a sponge for big words. He saves them up to spring on you when you least expect it. Last night, he told me my quilt had "nice texture." He said the baby had a "shocked expression."

 Katie and Davy were watching TV and an anti-smoking commercial came on. Katie explained to Davy that your lungs are pink, but if you smoke, they turn black.

Davy thinks about it for a moment and says, "but...black is better than pink for boys."

Obviously, girl lungs
 Preface: None of my kids like spooky things, especially Zombies.
Story: We were in the car taking Petey (15) to a team meeting. He was talking about a story they read at school and referred to the characters as the "Z creatures." Davy, very proud of his Kindergarten phonics skills, pipes up from the back, "I know what you mean! You mean the Zit Creatures!"
 I've still got several great ideas to share for Christmas, so I'll see you soon!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone in Bloggerland! I made this little shirt for Davy to wear to Kindergarten for his Thanksgiving Feast last week. The embroidery design is from EmbLibrary. I like the various crafts kids can do with hand prints and we've done them all: ghosts, turkeys, Christmas trees, etc. This design is great, too, because it doesn't take forever to stitch with only 15000 stitches and 6 colors.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday tomorrow with family, friends, fun, and lots of delicious dishes!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rosie and Katie Bake for Children

All of my kids like to cook (and eat!). My girls especially love to bake and decorate cakes. They like to watch the shows "Cake Boss," "Ace of Cakes" and "Cake Challenge." We have even had cooking challenges at home. When it comes to cake decorating, I have 2 problems. One is the mess! The other is that we don't need to be eating all that cake! So, Katie recently asked if they could make cakes for Thanksgiving and donate them. We have several worthy organizations near us, but they chose a residential Children's Home that serves kids ages 6-18. Remember that I agreed to this project before my fridge died and before I planned an early Thanksgiving with my parents for this weekend. However, a promise is a promise. That's how we found ourselves running around Friday night for tubs of frosting, piping bags, tips, candy decors, etc. That's also how my car finally died. Luckily, it didn't die until I pulled into the garage. Unluckily, it is going to be $2K to resuscitate it! (It is 10 years old and has been a good car though). Ah, so easy to digress when one has been up since 4:30. Anyway, Saturday was spent baking and decorating cakes. There was much discussion of "dirty icing," the merits of fondant, etc. The girls did a great job and stuck to their end of the deal by cleaning up the kitchen when done. If you drop in to see me, your foot will stick to the floor in one spot, but they did a pretty good job! Obviously, I have figured out how to post photos on the dino-computer, but I have no Photoshop or my other usual tools. Luckily, we have had cold weather, so these are on our porch, ready for delivery tomorrow.
The results:
made by Rosie, age 10
made by Katie, age 12

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Winner of the Light Bulb Ornament...

...is Sarah! Sarah, please email me at

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Smocked Christmas Tree Dress and Little Lederhosen

Hi Friends! I'm back online with limited capabilities, so today I'm sharing 2 outfits that I had already photographed.
This first one is a smocked yoke dress I make for Katie when she was 2. Rosie also wore it and it fit them for 2 years each. It is a red broadcloth with Swiss eyelet trim and is smocked with Christmas Flurries by Terry Jane. This looked so cute on the girls; I'll share a picture another time, when my scanner is up again.

Isn't it nice how a garment you made can bring back a "flurry" of happy memories? For instance, I remember that when Rosie wore this for our Christmas card picture the year she was 2, she was eating a jelly bean that we bribed her with to do the pictures. In fact, we have several pictures with Rosie munching on jellybeans.

This next little outfit is one I purchased while on vacation. It was at a gift shop I have been visiting since I was a little girl. They had acquired a large lot of little boys' suits from about the 1940s. The sister of the boys who wore these suits was in the store while I was there. She was commenting to friends how "sissy" all the outfits were, but of course I loved them! I bought 3 suits and this little Lederhosen is one of them. It is a soft fabric, like a brushed twill. It is about size 5. I'd like to get a picture of Davy in these this year.

I'm linking to Ellie Inspired's Christmas Party this week. Check it out- she's sharing a load of wonderful ideas, stories, recipes, and inspiration for Christmas!

Thanks to everyone for your nice comments this week and if you haven't entered the ornament give away yet, click here to go to that post.

Friday, November 19, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog...

due to technical difficulties.
Mine will be this organized for about 10 minutes.
This week has been interesting, shall we say, and rather expensive. Last Thursday (8 days ago and counting) my refrigerator stopped refrigerating. I had to wait until Tuesday for a repairman. He said it wasn't worth fixing, since it is 8 years old and has had 4 major repairs already. Geez, they don't make 'em like they used to. My Mom and Dad had one fridge from the time I was born till after I got married! Try to imagine packing lunches for school and cooking healthy dinners, for 7 people, with no fridge! So, we managed to find one at a pre-black-Friday sale at Home Depot (picture above). Apparently millions of other people did, too, since they can not deliver it until November 30! I am having my parents here for an early Thanksgiving on Sunday and have to bake dozens of cookies for my son's Team fundraiser today. So, I went out and bought a dorm-size fridge to get us by. It is actually very nice and holds just enough to squeak by.
On Sunday, our phone and internet lines went dead. We thought it might be due to some work we recently had done, but it turned out to be varmints chewing the wires down the road. My Monday post was published by my Mom at work- luckily I had it ready to go. I managed to post Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, on Wednesday afternoon, our computer bit the dust. It was running fine and just shut off. Now, it does nothing. You can't even turn it on. Hubby attached an old one we had in the basement, but I can't load any of my own pictures yet.
I wish this were my car!
Yesterday I stopped to schedule my car's inspection, due this month. As I drove away from the service station, my car started blinking out. It would just go dead for a second and then come back. The check engine and maintenance lights were flashing. Hubby is going to install a new battery. Arrrghhhh.
It has been a lesson in patience and appreciation. I kept thinking of the people of Haiti who would be happy to have a fridge or a car at all. These are such small things. My kids are safe and healthy and life is good this Thanksgiving week.

For all of you who wondered where your comments went, I did finally get to see them. I appreciate you leaving them and am happy to have a few new followers this week. Thank you!

Hopefully, I can figure out a way to post my next Christmas idea later today or tomorrow. See you then- if I don't fall and break my leg today!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quilted Star Ornaments

Today's Christmas idea is a quilted star ornament. Although they look sewn, they are actually made by folding and pinning squares of fabric. The first one you make can take a little time to figure out spacing and technique, but subsequent balls are easy. I made about 20 of these last year, when I was suffering pregnancy queasies. They are a nice addition to cookie trays, presents, teacher's gifts, or ornament swaps. The tutorial can be found here:
Quilted Star Ornament Directions

You will need:
  • a 3 inch Styrofoam ball
  • (16 of each of 3 different fabrics) 2.5 inch squares
  • 1 foot lace or ribbon
  • Lots of straight pins with flat heads (about 200 per ornament)
  • Hot glue
 I bought my pins at Walmart in the pack of 500. You want the cheapest metal ones with the tiny head. These are a fun project to work on while watching TV or listening to music. Give it a try! Check back tomorrow for another great Christmas Idea. Linking to Ellie Inspired's Christmas Party.
You still have until Saturday to enter a comment here for my give away!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scrumptious Toffee Candy Recipe & Sweet Cocoa Onesie

Today I'm sharing one of my family's favorite Christmas recipes. It is toffee with chocolate, similar to a Heath candy bar, but even more delicious! This is one of those recipes that looks much more impressive than it is and everyone loves it! It is great for parties, cookie trays for friends or coworkers, school parties, teachers' gifts, etc. Just be sure to save some for yourself (and hide it- because an open box is an empty box). I'm linking to Ellie Inspired's Christmas Party this week!
1 stick Land o'Lakes salted butter (do not use cheap brands- they separate because the fat content is different)
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup slivered almonds (no skin)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Before you start cooking, have a large cookie sheet on the counter ready to receive the finished candy.
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet (not non-stick). Add the sugar and stir continuously over high heat.
2. Add the almonds and continue stirring- maybe for about 5 minutes.
3. The toffee will develop a golden color as it cooks. When it's a caramel color, quickly take it off the heat and spread it in a thin layer on the cookie sheet (spread with a wooden spoon).
4. Once the toffee is spread out, pour the chips on top.
5. They will melt in a few minutes from the residual heat of the toffee. Just use your wooden spoon to keep smoothing the chocolate over the toffee.
6. Almost done...keep spreading the chocolate until it is totally smooth.
7. Put the cookie sheet in the fridge for an hour or so, then break the hardened toffee into chunks. Warning: you will be addicted to this delicious candy!

And if you need a little something to wash it down, how about some sweet hot cocoa?
I embellished this long-sleeve onesie for Andy. The cute cocoa design is from 5 Star Fonts. I used felt for the whipped cream to make it fluffy. 
Don't forget to enter my give away, here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 1 of Christmas Party! Light Bulb Ornaments & A Give Away!

Made by Me, this is the one for the Give Away!
 This week, I'm joining up with Laura at Ellie Inspired for her blogger's Christmas Party! I will be posting a new idea each day this week. I have some crafts, recipes, sewing, and fun memories to share with you. First up, these adorable light bulb ornaments you can make with your kids.

Last week many light bulbs went out in my house. 7 to be exact. I'm not kidding! A halogen floodlight (recessed) went out in my kitchen, so I put in a new one and when I turned the lights back on, a different one had blown out! Besides those, 5 regular incandescent bulbs were replaced by me (on a chair, because I'm "petite"; 2 of my kids are now 5" taller than me!). So, I couldn't just throw them away, even though keeping them made me feel like I should be on an episode of "Hoarders". They reminded me of these adorable ornaments we have made in the past. I first saw this idea 3 years ago when Rosie made one in second grade. I think that was an ambitious craft for a second grade teacher to do with a classroom of kids, but I just love them!
Supplies for Light Bulb Ornament
 What you will need:
A light bulb
Snow-tex craft paint (I found it at Michael's)
Asst'd colors of craft paint-white, black, orange, hat color
A toothpick for the nose
9" of plaid ribbon (about 3/8" wide) or fleece for the scarf (about 9"x3/8")
Small pompom for hat (optional)
2 small twigs for arms (optional)
4" of floral wire for the hanger
Glue gun or tacky glue
Light bulb primed white

To make your ornament: paint the glass portion of the bulb with white craft paint to act as a primer under the Snow-tex. When it is dry, paint with one coat of Snow-tex. I found that spreading a thin layer with a craft stick was easier than using a brush. The Snow-tex takes awhile to dry; once it is dry, paint the metal part of the bulb the color you want for the hat. Give it 2 or 3 coats. Paint a toothpick orange for the nose. You will just snip off a bit at one end (about 1/2" long). Make dots for eyes and mouth with black paint on a toothpick. Use a glue gun or tacky glue to attach the scarf, nose, and twig arms. Make a loop of floral wire and glue neatly to the top of the hat. Cover with a small pompom if you like. Your ornament is done!

Made by Rosie, age 10
Made by Katie, age 12
Made by Davy, age 6, he added legs!
 These are fun to do with kids and make great teacher's gifts, Yankee swaps, or tie one onto a plate of homemade cookies. You could make one for each person in your family!

GIVEAWAY TIME! I would like to give a snowman ornament to one of my lovely readers (Continental US & Canada only). If you'd like to win, just post a comment here telling me something you like about my blog (an item or idea I have shared) or something you'd like to see! If you are a follower (or become a follower), tell me so in your comment and I'll give you a second chance to win!! I'll pick a winner on November 20, at the end of the party. (Please be sure you have an email associated with your profile or post a way for me to reach you.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Little More Quilting...

My Quilt Guild had a program we called the "lunch bag toss." We each chose a small assortment of fabrics we liked and put them in a brown lunch bag. All the bags were mixed up so we didn't know whose was whose and tossed to people. Then we had to make a block for that person just using the fabric from the bag. When we returned them at the next meeting, everyone tried to guess who it belonged to based on the fabric choices. This is the block I made. I used the fabrics to frame a machine embroidered redwork sewing basket.

This design is from Embroidery Library and stitched great. One color designs are so quick and easy!

In December, my Guild will be starting another row robin program, so I will be sharing my rows for that soon. First I have to choose the fabrics for my quilt!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quick Kitchen Wall Hanging

This little wall hanging was quick and fun to make! It should be called "faux quilting," since the appliques are applied with Heat 'n Bond rather than hand or machine stitched. It makes a project that is easy enough to do with kids. You could do traditional applique if you wanted to make it more heirloom. It would also make a great gift for a wedding shower or Yankee Swap this holiday season. I love the wooden spoon hanger, too!
The pattern is by Kalico Kreations. They have several variations of this style of wall hanging as well as many other cute patterns. At $4 each, I find them a good deal, too.
The best part is: when you can't find your measuring spoons, you just untie the ribbon and you're good to go!
I'm working on lots of things I want to share for Christmas Party week Nov 14-20, so check back soon!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The "Hearth Bed"

The latest Hearth Bed

The original Hearth Bed
Hubby and I bought our first house when we got married. One of our favorite things about it was the wood-burning fireplace in the family room. It had an arched opening, which was echoed by the rounded, raised brick hearth in front of it. It was very pretty, but when baby #1 came along, we wanted to keep him safe from falling against it and getting hurt. There are many plastic or foam pads available, but they aren't very pretty, so I decided to make a fabric pad for our fireplace. I made my own pattern by tracing the hearth on brown paper bags taped together. I used inexpensive home dec fabric from Joann's and lined it with a sturdy upholstery type fabric. Inside, I used 1" high-density foam to pad it. I trimmed the edges with a decorative cording. The whole pad sits on top of the hearth and the weight keeps it in place. It doesn't need any fasteners. When we built our new house, we had the builder copy our old fireplace (so we could use our custom doors); however, the hearth turned out a little bigger, so I had to make Hearth Bed #2. Why do we call it that? Because all of the kids have enjoyed lying on the soft, padded surface...and none of the 5 kids has ever been injured on the bricks (yet!).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beachy Pillowcase Set

 These scallop shell and kelp pillowcases are a gift I made for my Mom. My parents have a house near the beach and my Mom loves nice pillowcases on the beds, whether she enjoys them herself or pampers her guests with them. These 4 pillowcases were part of a set of sheets, so I just embellished the hem with machine embroidery and had a custom set for her.

The embroidery design is from Embroidery Library. It is actually a corner design, which made placement a little harder, but it was just what I wanted and stitched well, as their designs usually do.

I'm linking this post to White Wednesday at Faded Charm.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tan Michaela Romper

This little romper is one I made while pregnant with Andy last spring. The pattern is "Michaela" by Primrose Lane. I love this pattern: the way it looks, the ease in making it, the little touch of smocking, the great directions. It has boy and girl versions and comes in sizes NB-18 mos, so it is a pattern with a lot of scope. Also, it has a little smocking, but is still tailored and looks great on a boy or girl.
I made it in Pima cotton gingham from Farmhouse Fabrics. This was the newborn size, but it fit really well around 2 months old. I have found that it takes a preemie pattern to fit an average sized newborn.
I plan to make Andy another romper from this pattern when the weather gets warm again. I even have the coordinating pattern to make this outfit for a Bitty Baby doll.

Smocking Detail

I have been working on some posts to share Christmas ornaments that are fun to make. Today I noticed that Laura at Ellie Inspired is planning a link-up Christmas Extravaganza from Nov 14-20, so I'm going to hold my ideas until then. In the meanwhile, I'm still working on my Leaf Quilt and hope to have the top ready to share soon. I'm also starting to plan for Thanksgiving and hope to have some sewing and recipes to share for that soon. We had a fun Halloween last night. Here's a picture of a glowing pumpkin display we visited:
Have a great day and thanks to all of you who have become Followers or left comments!