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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

Happy New Year, blogger friends. I've been away for awhile due to sickness, but I hope to be back in a few days with more sewing and ideas. I wish you all a Happy, Healthy 2011 with many Blessings!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come...

Hello! Today I am linking to the Spirit of Christmas Party at SewNSo's Sewing Journal. Today's theme is sharing projects we have planned for future Christmases. My project has been 17 years in the making!
I made 2 red velveteen Christmas stockings for Hubby and me in 1993, the year we got married. They are very simple, lined with a Christmas print. I cut out 6 stockings altogether and stored the unfinished ones with our Christmas decorations. Every year that a new baby joined our family, I stitched another one together (usually at the last minute!). When Davy was born, I couldn't find the last stocking, so I made another one from red velveteen. Since then, I found the last one, which I still need to put together for Andy.
Maybe you are wondering why this is an unfinished project? Because my original intention was to make each person a custom cuff. Each stocking would showcase a different technique on the cuff: smocking, quilting, heirloom lace band, embroidery, etc.
As you can see, I have yet to complete even one cuff!! Each year, I think that I'll leave this out after Christmasand do them in the summer. Maybe this will be the year!! Now the plain stockings seem like the tradition, but I think it would be really nice for each person to have a special, unique stocking...next year.

I finally managed to finish Andy's overalls, literally 30 minutes before we went to have pictures done on Friday night. It was worth it! The pictures came out great and I had cards made, which will go out today...in plenty of time to arrive before Christmas! I'll try to post a closeup of the embroidery later. One of the girls kissed him and got some lip gloss on the overalls, so they are in the wash.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Speaking of My Dad...

Last week, I shared my Mom's 3 Wise Men Banners from the 1970s. I mentioned that my Dad is also very creative. When I was a kid, my parents both dabbled in different hobbies and crafts. For my Dad, these included: wood-working, wine-making, clock making, and even stained glass. My Dad is also great at home repair and construction projects and still works full-time in government security. I am really grateful that my parents gave me a heritage of creativity. So, today I want to tell you about the stained glass nativity set my Dad made in the early 1980s.
My Dad took a stained glass making class with a friend. It was a community education class and it must have been around Christmas time. I remember him working with the different sheets of brightly colored glass and the beautiful glass beads (see the blue turban). I was impressed that the cutter had a diamond tip to score the glass. My Dad made a Tiffany-type lamp shade and a few other things, but this nativity set is the thing that has become a Christmas tradition in my parents' house. My Dad said he felt impressed that it turned out so well. I also have a beautiful baby sled that we made together, which I will share soon. I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and getting a lot done!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Present....Antalanters

I'm linking to Laurie's Christmas Memories posts at SewnSo's Journal today. I linked to a memory about Christmas past last week and was planning to make Andy's overalls for this week's post. I tried to get to it all week, but no luck. The kids were home sick a few days, we had Davy's Christmas party on Saturday, and I'm still battling computer woes (all my embroidery designs are on our defunct computer waiting to be restored by Carbonite!). Most of all, my little Andy has developed separation-from-Mommy anxiety, so whatever I do is accomplished with him on one arm! So, needless to say, the overalls aren't done. They are cut out and that's it. So, I thought I wouldn't be able to do the linky party today. When I got to the computer this morning and checked Laurie's blog, I saw that Life Got In The Way of her sewing, too!! It's not just me!! Doesn't it always make you happy to know you're not the only one??
So, today all 4 big kids went to school and Andy was happy for a little while chewing on a dissolvable rice rusk in his high chair. I managed to embellish a shirt for Davy's Kindergarten Christmas Party on Wednesday.
The design is from Planet Applique. When I saw it, I just thought it was so cute. AND it reminded me of a fun story, too. Keep reading...

Here's Davy wearing the shirt!
The funny story is from 2003, when Katie was 5 and Rosie was 3. It was a few weeks before Christmas and I was working on something in the kitchen. The girls were very quiet in the family room. All of a sudden, they came in singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. You have to picture the next part, because the photo I have is on film and I can't scan right now. They had cut out paper antlers and noses and colored them in: brown antlers and red noses. They taped the antlers to their foreheads and noses on their noses. They were so proud and looked so cute and said, "Mommy, look at our ANTALANTERS!" We still call them that and the picture is one of my all time favorites. That's why I loved this machine embroidery so much! So, I guess today's post is about Christmas present and Christmas past. It's also appropriate because Katie's been reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol at school.
Laurie, if you're reading this, I guess we'll both have an easy time on next week's post. We just have to be sure we don't finish our unfinished Christmas projects. And for me, the project I intend to share next week has been in the works for 17 years!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Davy's Christmas Party Capers

Today we had a Christmas party for Davy and several Kindergarten friends. I planned several easy craft projects that the kids could make as gifts for their family members, as well as lunch and a holiday movie.
 Each child made a star ornament which they decorated and we added a wallet-size school picture in the middle.
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 They each frosted a decorated and tree-shaped cake. I baked them ahead in these disposable pans that I found at Walmart. I gave each child some green frosting and a plate with candies to use for decorations. They had fun with this project and only one kid ate the candies instead of decorating with them!
 I knew Andy's empty baby food jars would come in handy sometime! We gave each child some Epsom salt in a paper cup. They added their choice of food coloring and a spritz of Chantilly perfume and stirred it to make bath salts for their Mom.  The kids wanted the colors really bright, so we had pink, yellow, green, and blue salts. We topped the jars with a circle of fabric.
 I had a bunch of small glass vases in my "stash" from various other projects. I also had some smooth pebbles. I just had to purchase one more vase ($1 at Walmart) and some additional green pebbles and some paperwhite narcissi bulbs. The kids put some pebbles in the vase, added the bulb, and more pebbles to support it. We wrapped them in cellophane with a bow (see the top picture).
 One of the foods at lunch was these little pretzel/chocolate bites. They were a big hit as evidenced by the fact that when Hubby arrived with Andy at the end of nap, they were all gone! To make these, you need the pretzels that look like a tic tac toe board. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and top each one with an unwrapped Hershey kiss. Bake for 5 minutes in a 200 degree oven (the microwave does not work for this). When they come out of the oven, immediately top each one with an M&M. Push it down to make the kiss a nice round shape. Refrigerate till firm. These would be great for a class party, work, Guild meeting, etc.

The other foods were at Davy's request: pizza, chicken nuggets, pigs in a blanket, cheese & crackers, grapes, veggies & dip, and eggnog and cider to drink. We also made homemade gingerbread men and chocolate chip cookies for dessert, but I forgot to take a picture!
I hope this gives you some ideas for some easy, fun kids' crafts to do yourself!
I'm hoping to make Andy's overalls tomorrow, but we have a sickness going through the house, so we'll see. I'll be back on Monday with another "Memory of Christmas Present", linking with Laurie at Southern Stitches. As always, I love to read your comments...so please leave one!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On My Wish List...

I love this doll dress pattern which came out recently at Hint of History! It is called the 1930s Hooverette Dress and fits the American Girl Doll. I love the reproduction 1930s prints available today and I'm interested in that period of history, the setting of my favorite show, the Waltons.
When I saw this pattern, it reminded me of a girl's pattern I have, Miss Mary by the Handmade Dress.

I bought the PDF download a few months ago to make one for Rosie, but unfortunately, it is still on my "to do" list. I think these 2 patterns would make an adorable set for a girl and her doll. Check out both of these designers if you haven't before; you'll find lots of patterns to add to your Wish List, too!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

3 Wise Men of Christmas Past

These 3 banners have been a part of my Christmases since I was a baby! My Mom made these in the 1970s when felt crafts were very popular. I have always loved these on my parents' wall. I am lucky to live near my parents, who still live in the same house we lived in when I was born! We spend Christmas Day at home, then have a second Christmas with my parents on the day after Christmas. I must admit that I almost enjoy that one more, because I am free of the stress of cooking the meal and being responsible for running the festivities. It is a day where I can be a kid again! Back to the story of these banners. I guess I got my love of crafting and sewing from my Mom. She always tried whatever crafts were in vogue at the time, which included things like: wooden geese, tole painting, lamp shades, macrame, cross-stitch, and quilting. My Dad is also creative: I should do a post on the beautiful stained-glass nativity set he fashioned years ago. So, in the 70's we had neighbors who lived 2 houses up the street. The Mom and Dad were friends with my parents and their daughter Karen was my best friend; in fact, we are still friends today and she is Rosie's Godmother! So, Karen's Mom and my Mom decided to make these Wise Men banners from a magazine. They each made a set. It wasn't until I was about 8 that I figured out the funny part of this story. I was used to our Wise Men at Christmastime. The banners are about 3 feet long. I was playing at Karen's house and was surprised to see the same 3 foot long banners hanging on her wall. I was even more surprised that the Wise Men were only 1 foot tall! Maybe you can guess what happened?? Remember "back in the day" when patterns in magazines came drawn on a grid so you could enlarge them (we're talking about the days before PDF files for any young'uns reading this!). Well, Karen's Mom enlarged the banners to the correct scale, but she made a little mistake on the Wise Men. Now, every year when I visit my parents' house and enjoy seeing this banners, I am also reminded of my special friend Karen and the funny circumstances under which they were made. I'm linking this post to Laurie's Christmas Memories at Sew 'n Sew's Journal.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Now Showing...

I'm hoping to work on Andy's overalls tomorrow. I sew at my desk in the kitchen and I have a tiny flip-down TV mounted above my desk. I like to watch DVDs while I sew and my favorite series is The Waltons. But with Christmas fast approaching, I pulled out my seasonal DVDs today. I'd like to share some of my favorites. Maybe you'll find one to watch next time you turn on your sewing machine!

I love the traditional Christmas Carol in its many versions, but have you ever seen An American Christmas Carol? Hubby introduced me to this version, which takes place in NH in the 1930s.

I found The Angel Doll at a yard sale a few years ago.
Only watch this movie if you have a box of tissues nearby. My Mom would call this a "real tear-jerker." It's about a boy who saves up to buy his sickly little sister an angel doll for Christmas because her favorite book is "The Littlest Angel." This is one you'll want to watch every year!

No holiday movie list would be complete without It's A Wonderful Life. No matter that I've seen it dozens of times, I still enjoy it!
And if I get a yearning to get back to the Waltons, there's the pilot for the show, which was a Christmas movie called The Homecoming. Some of the adult actors were different than they later cast on the series, but it's an enjoyable move in its own right.

If you like family dramas set in the "olden days," then give one of these movies a try this holiday season! If one of these is on your "favorites" list, leave me a comment!

This weekend, we will be putting up our Christmas tree, attending several craft/church fairs, and having fun at a Christmas party. If I have energy left, I'll be working on Andy's overalls while I watch one of these movies. I hope you have a fun weekend planned, too!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Shirts for the Boys

My kids are great sports when it comes to having pictures taken. I have always taken lots of pictures myself. Hubby joked that every time we had a new baby, we got a new camera. We bought our first good digital camera before Davy was born. It needed replacement right around the time we found out we were expecting Andy. It took several months to choose our next camera, but we finally went with a Canon Digital SLR. It takes fabulous pictures- the lighting, speed, and resolution are fabulous! Does it surprise you that Hubby had to buy me a terabyte hard drive to store all these digital pictures which are around 8MB each??
I have always had many professional portraits taken, as well. It is so much fun to look back at these and I especially love having pictures of them in the outfits I've made. For Christmas, the picture of all the kids together is the one I use on our Christmas cards. When they were little, I made their outfits. They are still willing to coordinate, but the girls don't like to match anymore. I have had good luck with the "Family Looks" at Gymboree. I can get shirts for all the boys, from Andy right up to Hubby. So, this year I bought 4 of these red plaid shirts. The big boys will wear dress pants with theirs, but for Andy, I'd like to make some corduroy overalls with a machine embroidery on the front. Planning is as far as I've gone with this project! All of my embroidery files are still trapped on the old computer; till it gets fixed, I can't move them to the laptop. The pictures are scheduled for Monday, so I'd better get going. I'm thinking of using a basic overall pattern from the book. Sewing for Baby. I might also borrow an idea that Janice Ferguson shared on her blog and do a button-on embroidered panel, so that I can change it after Christmas.