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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Day 24: Merry Maxaloones

I have a few more projects that need to be photographed, so I guess they will be post-Christmas posts! A few weeks ago I made these little Maxaloones from a cute hat knit. I think the colors and print look very boyish. I used gray cotton ribbing for the waistband, cuffs, and bum.
Here they are with a clearance t-shirt from Walmart. I think they look cute together. Not sure who this set will go to, but I'm sure to find a cute little one to wear it!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a 2016 with many Blessings!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Day 23: He's a Mean One...

Mr. Grinch!
I wanted to make the boys some fun shirts for school today (the last day before vacation). I thought this design from DigiStitches was funny and not too babyish. I found the perfect "Grinch Green" fleece for the hand and I already had white fur felt for the cuff. I bought a patterned Christmas fabric for the ornaments and fussy-cut different motifs.
Long-sleeve t-shirts from Walmart, of course! This is the first one I did. Looks great, doesn't it? It was not until I un-hooped it that I realized I embroidered on the inside of the shirt. That's the first time I've made that particular mistake. Ugg. It took about 45 minutes per shirt, not because of the stitching, but trimming around the fingers was delicate!
Round 2 was Andy's little shirt. It went fine and I like the patterns on the ornament- it reminds me of a fair isle Christmas sweater.
I had to wait until the next day to re-do Davy's shirt, but it also went fine. He asked for the trees on his ornament, then didn't like it because one was pink. He wore it today, though, and it looked very festive!
Here are the brother shirts. Andy ended up not wearing his, because he remembered that today was Pajama Day: "for real" as he told me.

I have finished all of my Christmas sewing projects and I still have 2 things left to share. My house is pretty neat, decorations are up, presents wrapped, clothes laid out, menus planned, food in fridge, cookies baked, teachers' gifts given. I think I am almost ready!!

Happy Festivus- A Holiday for the Rest of Us!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Day 22: Wine Gift

I made my Mom promise not to peek at the blog till after Christmas, so hopefully she's not reading. I finished my last Christmas project this morning. It was this wine-themed embroidered kitchen towel.

If you know me in real life, you probably know that I don't drink. at. all. I just don't like what it does to people.

Therefore, I rarely give "spirits" for the holidays. However, this embroidery design from Urban Threads was too pretty to skip.

It has various white wine types making up a wine bottle shape. They also have a red wine version if you like that better.

The design combines 5 colors to make the bottle and I just had enough tans to do it. One is mustardy and one is a bit reddish, but I like the way they look together. This is stitched on one of my favorite towels from Williams Sonoma. I found a sampler size bottle of Pinot Grigio to go with it!

I missed posting yesterday because we are having internet problems. Hopefully I can get on again tomorrow!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Day 20: Yummy Party Pretzels

I don't remember where we first had these yummy Party Pretzels, but they are a standby for parties around here. Loved by young and old and so easy to make- these are a guaranteed winner!!
All you need to make them is a bag of square pretzels, a large bag of Hershey kisses and whatever color plain M&Ms you like.
Lay the pretzels out neatly on a cookie sheet and top with a Hershey kiss. 
Bake at 350 only for 2 minutes- any more and the chocolate goes past soft to seize.
Take them out and immediately press an M&M on each kiss. Let harden.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Day 19: Wise Men Banners

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 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. 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. I have found the magazine and scanned the original page. My Mom copied them exactly!
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

Friday, December 18, 2015

Day 18: Doggy Sweatshirt

I whipped up a quick doggy sweatshirt the other day. We had our little Yorkie Poo groomed and he just has a velveteen coat now, but it's not very warm.
His curly head and fuzzy face are very short, but he is so so soft! This little shirt was a very quick and easy project. I used fleece and ribbing that were on hand. It used very little.
Despite his new shirt, he has refused to go outside today- it is cool and rainy here. Little does he know that we may soon have feet of snow to dig through! For now, we sure are enjoying the 40-60 degree temperatures!

This is the pattern I used. I made the Yuppy Puppy version in size Small. It has just front legs. I would like to try the Bark Avenue sometime with all 4 legs.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Day 17: Cheery Table Runner

I like to keep a quilted table runner in the kitchen when we aren't using the table. It just looks prettier. I only have one, with a chicken theme, but now I have a holiday one as well!

I still need to bind it, but otherwise it is done. It was a quick sew! I asked Katie and Andy to choose some red and green Christmas prints and they chose the lime green with bright red. I started by following a pattern, but I ended up doing my own thing!

I put it on the floor to take pictures and Doggy immediately thought it was a new pillow. I think he likes it!

Here it is doggy-free.

I quilted the straight and diagonal lines. It makes the kitchen eating area very cheery!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Day 16: Gingerbread Boy Ties

I wanted to make something for my boy's Christmas outfits, even if they are past smocking and overalls (boo hoo). My first inspiration came in September when I happened upon these wonderful plaid shirts at Walmart. I snatched them up for $9 each and felt ahead of the game!

I thought about vests, but then I decided to embroider ties!

I bought the ties on Amazon for $7/each. They are the French Toast Brand school uniform and I got a 4-7 and an 8-16. They have velcro straps around the neck.

I did Andy's first (little guy) and I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I was NOT thinking, because I just took the whole tie and stuck it in the hoop. Well, I was embroidering through at least 12 layers. It was a mess. My thread broke many times. I barely finished it and if you look closely, half a green bow tie is absent on the top boy.

Davy's tie next. He really wanted the Santa driving a dragon across the moon that I did last year on Pete's Stocking. But I had to find something really tall and skinny. The ties only had 2" clearance at the widest point. I found this Gingerbread Boy stack at Embroidery Library.

I got smart on this tie and cut off some of the thickness in back and moved aside the tie's "tail". Now I was only going through 2 layers and it went much better!

Here's Davy's tie. The same embroidery, but I swapped the colors of the gingerbread boys.

Here's a side-by-side comparison. So, then we went for pictures. I already shared the family picture with our "Merry Christmas" shirts!

Here's the picture of the kids that shows the ties the best. We got several excellent shots!
I told the older kids "anything red or green." The balance worked out wonderfully!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Day 14: The Best English Toffee & Chocolate Candy

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).

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!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Day 13: Our Christmas Room

Here is our family room, decorated for Christmas. The red chair is a cozy spot to read.
Here is a bigger view with the tree. The tree is about 9 feet tall. We had to run lines from the trunk to the windows, because it was falling over! I focus on decorating this room with just a few things in the rest of the house. I hate having to put it all away again later- don't you?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Day 12: "Ugly" Christmas Sweaters

I thinkThe "ugly" Christmas sweater has become famous! I don't know how it started. And I disagree. I think Christmas sweaters are cute, traditional, fun!! Here are some things I think of when I hear Ugly Christmas Sweater!
Lands' End: Practical Presents, Pleasantly Priced
 Land's End has it right- this family looks picture perfect!

A great-grandma in the UK hand-knitted these 22 matching sweaters for her family. Aren't they wonderful!!? Not ugly at all!

Ebay has 99, 343 listings for "ugly Christmas sweater. However, "pretty Christmas sweater" will only get you 519 choices! 

These look festive to me, not ugly. Of course, as hubby says, I got my fashion sense in the 80s. The 1880s, that is. Doesn't the lime green one remind you of the aluminum Christmas trees on Charlie Brown?
Did you know you can buy kits to make-your-own ugly Christmas sweater? I actually saw these at Target on Black Friday!
Did you know there's even a "National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day"? Spread the word!! You still have a few days to find one. December 18 is the big day!!!!
There's even a Facebook page for it!! Join now before you miss the latest news!
OK, so maybe some of them are really ugly. But, like Santa, I'm not telling!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Day 11: Christmas Movies to Watch

I start watching Christmas movies on November 1. I like to get inspired early to get my Christmas projects done. I also have a little TV by my sewing machine that only gets Netflix or DVDs. There are many classics you just can't miss, like "It's a Wonderful Life" "A Christmas Carol" in many versions, or "Miracle on 34th Street."

Image result for national lampoon's christmas vacationFor comedies, I can't get enough of "Christmas with the Kranks" or "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." I could probably write the script, I've seen these so many times.

For drama, don't miss "The Angel Doll" a total tear-jerker based on real events. Also, "An American Christmas Carol" is one my husband introduced me to. It takes place right here in Portsmouth, NH during the depression years.

There have been some great TV movies, too. "The Christmas Card" is a sweet love story. "Christmas Everyday" is a fun family movie about a boy who keeps repeating Christmas till he gets it right. (Pete's Christmas and the 12 Dates of Christmas are the same idea). "Switchmas" is a story about 2 boys who swap vacations.

Don't forget all the wonderful children's movies. You can't beat the old Christmas classics by Rankin-Bass. But have you seen the "Muppet Family Christmas" or "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol"?

Leave a comment and tell me your favorite Christmas movies- I need to try some new ones!