Monday, December 31, 2012

I like to keep a lighthearted blog but I also like to keep it real. This is a new year's post and as such a good time to reflect on the past year. To be frank this last year kind of sucked. My husband and I weathered multiple extended family crises, there was a pretty big change up at church (though not bad I still struggle with change), the long distance relocation of one of my closest friends, and finally there was the terrible events in Oregon and in Connecticut. All told this has been a pretty sad year. And I think that's okay. I think it's all right to acknowledge that it hasn't been all roses and rainbows to admit that maybe this is a good year to say goodbye too.

That being said I don't want you to think my entire year has been a wash. On the contrary all these things have made the sweet things of life so much more poignant. I have spent a good amount of time being overwhelmed with gratitude for what I have. For feeling humbled by the wonderful blessings I find heaped upon my, often, ungrateful head. I have children I love and a husband I adore. I love our church family and job, our little home seems so much warmer and brighter now. I was able to welcome a new nephew into the world. I have made some new discoveries about myself and about my dreams. I heard it said "The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necissarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant."This seems a fitting quote for 2012.

I am hopeful for this coming year. Hopeful that I will continue to see the Lord working, continue to minister beside my husband. I am looking forward to seeing my sons grow and learn. I have some new goals for my writing and am excited to see where my pen and sewing machine take me. This journey we call life is really full; full of good and bad laughter and tears. Thank you for journeying with me readers. Know that I value your kind words so very much.
Happy New Year.

With that in mind I'm excited to announce that I am planning some very big changes to the blog. Oh, I'll still blather on about sewing and cooking and whatever else tickles my fancy but I'm going to be changing the look and even location. I hope you'll stick with me through these changes, I really think it's going to make it a better blogging experience for all of us.

Thanks again and happy new year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Santa Came to Visit

My dear Aunt Clause. She's too cute.
When you have a mother who sews you get a lot of perks. For instance you might get a special visit from Mr. and Mrs. Clause because Mrs. Clause needs a new apron and she has some unique specifications (as you would expect). Most children would consider this to be a huge bonus... most children... Indeed, my oldest son was stoked and chatted with the famous pair for quite a while. The neighbor children, while cautious, were soon won over by the jolly man's charms. However, there was Conster, and he was NOT amused. He was so far from enthused that I would venture to say he may be traumatized, not the kind of traumatized that would require psychiatric help but certainly the kind that will dis-sway him from ever having a picture taken with Mickey Mouse.

This is what he did the entire time Santa and Mrs. Clause were at my house. He gave the impression that he was asleep, as he refused to open his eyes at all. However, since his grip was tighter then death, I was fairly certain he was awake. No amount of encouragement or begging would get him to open his eyes. Poor thing. I hope that Mr. and Mrs. Clause aren't offended, I'm sure they're used to this kind of thing and really three out of four kids isn't bad.

What about you? Any traumatized Christmas memories? I find the best thing to assuage the pain of creepy santa's past is to let us laugh with you and presents. Leave a comment on this post telling us your funny holiday memories to enter to win one of these Christmas gifts. I'll pick a winner on boxing day December 26th because it's a very british thing and I'm still finding myself taken with Anglophila
Some goodies for you; aprons, pincushions, nestlaces.
Plenty to go around so leave a comment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pajama's Done!

The wonder of sewing is the ability to join any kind of style of fabric you'd like. I have boys they love super heros, they love the Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtles. I tried to find a picture of the TMNT's running because that is how my boys run everywhere now; with there chest sticking out and their arms behind them (I guess this is how ninjas run). Imagine my joy when I found a pattern for karate pajamas at the Salvation Army store. Perfect for Christmas! And, it was perfect except that when I went to make them the pieces to the karate top were not there, grrrrrrrr. Sure I could just make them regular jammies but by now I have my mind made up that they will haven ninja pajamas!

I ended up using a robe pattern and just cut it shorter (of course I cut it too short but solved that problem by adding a black band to the bottom which tied it to the black pajama pants perfectly). It worked well, except I didn't buy enough quite enough fabric and had to get creative with the facings. The style of the pajamas is ninja but the fabric is this really cool marvel comic book fabric. Joann's just has the coolest marvel stuff, it's all retro looking and so neat!

There just ended up being one problem. I had to use superman fabric scraps from last year to make the facings and as any comic book reader knows if you mix Marvel and DC black holes can result. However, since SuperH has both companies underwear living peacefully in his drawer I thought it was worth the risk. In the end, despite the fact that there were many bang-my-head-against-the-desk (this is mostly a result from the fact that it was suppose to be easier and faster then it ended up being) moments and the fact that they're not perfect (will I ever get used to that?) I am very pleased with them and I think the boys will be too.

Now onto the next task in the mountain of projects!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

This is amish peanut butter. If you've never had amish peanut butter it's homemade peanut butter mixed with marshmallow cream. It's fantastic. This was made and given to me, along with some other amazing treats from a coworker of Brian's. This woman is pretty great; she homeschool's her kids, works two very demanding jobs and somehow makes time to put together gift baskets of wonderful homemade treats.

Do you know what I am capable of? Eating the peanut butter by dipping saltine crackers straight into the jar. And no I didn't use a plate; just stood there eating it right at the counter filled with dirty dishes. I know it's healthier to eat at the table with silverware but I cut SuperH's pajama top too short, and my hair was falling down in a crazy way and I had not had nearly enough caffeine.

Another friend was telling me how she ate russian tea cakes for breakfast (that's a little cookie covered in powdered sugar). I was instantly jealous as my mom used to make those at Christmas and I haven't had any in years. What does it say about my state of mind that I'm eating straight from a jar, while in a sewing trance, and am jealous of eating something healthy like cookies for breakfast?

Cest' la vi. Where do you fall on the spectrum of Christmas habits? On a scale from I-haven't-brushed-my-hair-in-days to I'm-completely-ready-and-everything's-wrapped (if that's you I sort of hate you, not really but kind of).

Friday, December 7, 2012

Oops I kind of fell off the radar there for a while. Sorry!! Christmas has this effect on me every year. I get so busy. It's a good busy but blogging always falls by the way side. I'm sorry I love you guys! I also find it difficult to blog about projects because I don't want to spoil anyones Christmas presents!!

This is me trying on a super amazing pair of glasses 
during our annual Christmas antiquing trip.
Wish my hair looked better, I keep trying
to get a good pic of the new color.

After Christmas I should have a few to share though. Today I spent the entire morning mending this really cool vintage coat that someone gave me. The lining had so many seams popped. After a couple false starts (where I mended the armhole to the wrong spot) I finally got it finished, yea!! Boy is mending the most boring kind of sewing there is. It's not at all fun like skirts, and toys, and pajamas.

The boys admiring the tree. Conster is
wearing two pair of underwhere here because
he told me that's what Power Ranger's do.

This year we got a real tree. I love it, it smells so good and looks delightfully non-perfect. Brian picked it out and brought it home for me, so sweet. He also stopped and picked up Christmas tree lights and he bought the big ones that look all 1950's. What a great man, he knows me so well! The lights and all my old ornaments really give the tree a vintage look. Simply perfect. This was the first year the boys were into decorating with me. They weren't actually very helpful but they were darn cute! I love that they're old enough to get excited for some of these traditional things.

If I look at this pile of projects too long I have a panic attack!

I hope your having a fabulous December. Any projects you want to share with us? Also, check back next week for a Christmas give-a-way.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh Dear December is Upon Us.

Hello lovely readers. I'm a bit behind in the blogging but then I feel I'm a bit behind in everything. December has that effect on me. I hate it and try to fight it because I just love Christmas. I do not want to feel stressed about it. Truth is there's always a moment in there where I do feel overwhelmed but it usually passes quickly. This year is different as I've been battling major anxiety. It's so weird and scary and makes me feel guilty which, I think, adds to it. I finally talked to my husband and my parents and that helped. It helped a lot actually.

I cut back even more on my pie-in-the-sky ideas of what to make for whom and made a list and spent some quality time in the bathtub. Now I feel back to myself, excited for the season. All that to say I don't have much to share with you...yet but it's coming.

Our Thanksgiving was lovely and my very pink barbie cake was well received. How is making pink frosting you ask? It's glorious!

Not bad for a first barbie cake and using only
a sandwich bag to decorate with.

I was pretending the S&P shakers were
her dwarf friends.
 I also realized I had never posted about this skirt and bag. Not the best picture which is why it's cropped funny but you get the idea. The skirt is from the "Colette Sewing Handbook" and the bag is from Alicia's book "Stitched in Time." I like the bag and already have a bunch of ideas on how to improve it. I am also very cautiously attempting to sew the skirt from you-know-where that I never finished last year. I would love to wear it to the Christmas Eve Service, I'll keep you updated on that. The pattern is labeled "intermediate" and I had to regrade it since my waist measurements and hip measurements are nowhere close to each other. Wish me luck!

So how is your season shaping up? What are your tricks for enjoying the season rather then stressing. Apparently I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving.

I'll be honest the last six months have been pretty rocky and the last week in particular has been very rough. That being said I have so many things that I am thankful for. My husband, children, and home are at the top of the list. Dear readers you are also at the top of my list. Thank you for stopping by this little place on the internet to chat. Thank you for your warm and encouraging comments for allowing me to be real with you and for laughing at my many failures.

I am excited for Thanksgiving because I get to cook fun things but I don't have to clean since we'll be at my in-laws. I'm making homemade from scratch yeast bread (Whenever I make a loaf of this bread I get all proud and warm and 1950's on the inside), sweet potato casserole, and a barbie cake. Yup you read that right a barbie cake. My niece has her birthday right around this joyous holiday and I got tasked to make a super pink girly cake. I am pretty excited.

I hope your Thanksgiving finds you healthy and happy, and I hope you are able to get all decorated for the holidays with lots of glitter and sparkle.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pinterest Monday.

I know it's suppose to be Pinterest Wednesday but the project I was working on took quite a bit longer then I anticipated. What you see below is an ordinary Altoids tin...

 Or is it...

It's actually a tiny little mouse house!

Because it's so little I expected it to go a lot faster but turns out because it's so little it's a little slower. There are so many tiny little stitches. Not hard, though, I just have to relax and enjoy the process. I have three mice made and need a total of four, with their homes for Christmas. Two of them will go in my boys' stockings which is perfect since we just finished "The Mouse and the Motorcycle." 

Interesting side note. I was dumping the mints out into a plastic bag and a couple rolled onto the floor. Ranger promptly ate them and his breath smells like NOTHING!! It usually smells like death in the barnyard but, now, it's delightfully neutral. I can't believe it.

I'm happy with the mice and think they're super cute and fun. What kid won't love having a secret mouse bed to tuck his little wool mouse into? The original pin is here and the pattern costs $8 but has been very worth it. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy Sunday.

The bow ties were their idea. Yes this
is on here because it's just too cute!
Yes bow ties are cool.

Happy Sunday everyone. I'm feeling all cozy and Christmasy over here. I try to hold off until after Halloween to really get in the Christmas mood and I made it to about October 28th before I started listening to Christmas music. I won't decorate quite yet but Christmas sewing projects and planning are in full swing (I've even started my shopping already!). I know that there are real purists out there who don't even hum a line of "Jingle Bells" until after Thanksgiving, I am not one of those people. For one, it's cold here and the only way to make the grey cold days feel better is by making them feel cozy and I make them feel cozy with Christmas. Second, if you make a lot of things for Christmas then you must start long before December and if I'm making Christmas presents I want to feel Christmas! Third, it was already Thanksgiving in Canada and I used to live really really close to Canada.

I'll try not to bombard you with too much of it though, until the "appropriate" time that is. Just letting you know where I'm at.  That being said I finished this cute child's messenger bag for SuperH. I love the retro looking super heroes. I'm really proud to have a finished project for Christmas already and loved how simple this pattern was. Very easy to put together. I think he'll especially like it, not only because of the fabric but because his dad always carries a messenger bag and he loves to be like daddy (I hope that will last). It was so easy I'm thinking of making one for myself!!

I got to spend a day shopping with my mom Aunts and Cousins and came across the legendary vintage pattern finds you so often read about. They were priced at 1.50 a piece!! I had to force myself to be reasonable and not buy every single one. I also got some old buttons from my favorite vintage button company. Honestly friends, I experienced quite the shot of adrenaline.

The little girl pattern and that Christian Dior coat
pattern make my pulse race!

How is your fall going? I'd love to know where you stand on the Christmas issue. Are you a purist or do you leave your lights up all year (that's just crazy). Let us know in the comments.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pinterest Wednesdays (I mean Thursday)...

So the last couple of weeks have been really strange. My mom and sister came for a cousin's shower and then they got trapped here because of the hurricane, which was lots of fun for me!! We shopped and hung out, did the zoo boo, and I got to watch the kids go nuts for their Nannie.  I did, however, loose track of time and forgot to blog; so sorry.

Any way I have a great Pinterest day lined up for you because my friend and neighbor threw her one year old a rainbow party and almost all the ideas came from there. So without further ado...

Yummy party favors original pin here.

I LOVE this. So cute. 

Balloon wall makes a great backdrop for photos.

Such a cute dress! Made by mommy.
Pin here.

I couldn't locate the exact pins for all the ideas and suffice it to say their were tons more ideas and if you  search rainbow geesh you could have a field day. I can't believe little Tbird is already one, life sure flies.

Monday, October 22, 2012

One Time I Paid Eighteen Dollars for a Few Baby Carrots.

Crazy right? I know it's crazy now that some time has passed but during the ordeal I was so overwhelmed that I thought I was getting a deal... Kind of...

Here is what happened. Me and my dear friends Sarah and Megan were on the cusp of our twenty year friendaversary. Holy smokes we have been friends for a long time and friendships like that deserve first class celebration. What to do? Since we're not quite at the place where we can travel to Europe (children, and babies, and like mortgages and all that) we decided to go out for a super swanky fancy pants dinner. We decided on GE, Graham Elliot's restaurant because he is a judge on Master Chef and Sarah and I both watch that show. This is the kind of place where the prices aren't on line and you can't get in without a reservation, and they want you to check your coat. This place is fancy.

What amazing friends. How blessed I am to have them in my life.
We're excited, we're dressed up, we're childless! We check our coats even though I feel weird about it (since I made my coat) and get our menu. There are no prices on the menu and the menu isn't really a menu. Turns out when you dine at GE you get served eight little courses (you can also add on eight tiny glasses of wine which would have sent me to another planet so we opted out of the wine). We do go for the eight courses, though, because we're in the mood for adventure and because we want to feel special, and because this guy is on television, he must know what he's doing.

The first course comes out and I can barely swallow it, then the second comes out and it's okay, then comes the clam course. Oh Lord save me! I'm not a big seafood fan and I'm super picky about textures. I force myself to eat the fried shrimps but brave Megan decides to go for the raw oyster with the weird foam. She bravely tips it to her lips and then... sits there unmoving for what seemes a really long time... It was scary. Finally Sarah says in a loud whisper "We aren't judging you! Spit it out!" which she does. The courses continue, some okay, a few good, and some horrifying. I ate the fish and was plesantly surprised. Here's the thing, though, we were so desperate that this be worth it; that the meal be amazing that we were going nuts over the things we sort of liked. And, I was fine with it, until they brought us celery mousse. I like mousse when it's chocolate. When it's flavored with celery salt and has raw celery in it, then I don't like it.

When the courses comes out they have to explain them to you (good thing as one of the courses had a pinecone on it you were not suppose to eat, it was for "aroma"). Finally they bring out the dessert. YES! I love dessert. And the waiter says smugly "zis iz our deconstructed carrot cake".  I look upon a plate that has some baby carrots strewn on it and a few crumbs. There is no cake. I pop one of the carrots in my mouth and I taste... raw carrot... In the words of my dear friend Susie, "WHAT THE HEE HAW?!" And the words that burst out of my mouth are, "This is stupid!" to which we all laugh (too raucously for this sophisticated place).

Some of those are rock. Your not suppose to eat the rocks.

"No Megan! Don't do it!!

It reminded me of "The Emperors New Clothes". Every one pretending that it's amazing because every one is saying it's amazing but really we all know that a big juicy steak or plate of wonderful pasta would be better. Megan put it perfectly when she said, "This is the most amusing meal I've ever had." Truth Megan, truth. What did we pay for the most amusing meal? $160 a person. If you do the math that means "ze deconstructed carrot cake" was $18! The next time we pay that kind of money for food we better be in Europe.

Seriously though, it was fantastic memories. One more wonderful thing to add to twenty years. And the best part of the night was the very end. When the mattre d slipped our coats back on us and Sarah despaired as we left, "my coat is made of sweatshirt! Now he knows now he knows!" I laughed so hard I peed a little. Totally worth it people, totally worth it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Bedroom Tour... Pinterest Wednesdays.

This week's Pinterest Wednesdays is brought to you by my bedroom remodel and a whole lot of elbow grease.  A while back I decided I was sick of my old room and it was time to freshen it up. I started collecting bird and flower prints and obtained a dresser and an armoire. Both pieces of furniture needed some real help. I sanded them, primed and painted them and then inspired by this pin I stenciled birds on the front.  

Finally I found the perfect bedding (at Target no less) and it was time to bring new life to my sad little room. I LOVE it. I couldn't be happier. It reminds me of a small vintage french room. I love how the furniture matches and the prints pull the entire room together. It truly is amazing how much more relaxing and what a retreat it is now. I even make the bed, almost every day!!!!!

This is a closeup of my new sheets and a vintage pillow case.
A girl needs flowers on her sheets.

This is a closeup of pillow cases I embroidered from a vintage transfer.

My nightstand

The armoire which houses Brian's clothes and our television.
All behind doors, imagine that.

A phone and candle nook.

My dresser.

My beautiful new bedding and wonderful thrifted flower prints.
The bird prints are from this etsy shop.