Monday, November 17, 2014

MAGNIFICENT .....

This is a stray away from my usual crafty post, but this event was too special not to share with y'all.
While loading the washer this morning, I looked up and out the window to see this magnificent Red Shouldered Hawk sitting on the fence ...... the really special part, was that he had prey in his talons.
I sat mesmerized for the next 20 minutes, while I watched him devour this Blue Jay. He was pretty efficient, and nothing went to waste ..... It was pretty spectacular to witness.
I was really excited about the photos I managed to get (truth be told, I took about 45 photos in that short time ..... some were rubbish, but others I really love :-)










Sunday, November 16, 2014

FROGS, AND SNAILS, AND PUPPY DOG TAILS ......

That's what little boys are made of .... and it couldn't be more true in reference to Richard !!!
The not so little anymore, young man in our house turned 14 today !!! Wow, where has the time gone !!!!
It doesn't seem that long ago, that we were sleep deprived parents .... let me just add here, that he didn't sleep a night through for the first 5 years of his life !!!!
It doesn't seem that long ago, that we cheered his first little toddler steps (he was an early walker), and celebrated his first words (and a late talker). Or shed a few tears as we sent him off to school for the first time.

This sweet boy of ours has had his challenges, but this past year, has seen him grow into a young man, with such a sweet, kind heart. He has showed so much determination, and the will to work really hard, in order to achieve his goals. The good times have certainly far out weighed the difficult ones this year.



His choice of restaurant for dinner last night ...... Razzoo's (Cajun Cuisine). I swear this kiddo would be at his happiest on the bayou :-) He's our adventurous eater .... last year he wanted frogs legs, and this year he wanted Gator !!!


I have to say, it was delicious, and VERY tender. I think we'll go back there at some point .... it had such a fun, festive atmosphere, and the food was great.
Birthdays are never complete without a birthday cake ..... his request this year .... A Frog Cake, but it had to be in the shape of a frog, and not just have frogs stuck on it (I guess last years cake was a fail then :-p)Enter Pinterest, to gather some ideas .....


I made it half chocolate and half vanilla ....... Brittany hates vanilla cake, Andy hates chocolate cake, and he wanted to make sure that there was a little something for everyone. I made 2 cakepops for Mr Frogs eyes, and his legs, nose, mouth and spots were made of fondant. He's covered in buttercream icing (let's be honest, fondant tastes yukky !!!!). I added some chocolate rocks for the "pondy" effect. This cake was a declared perfect by the birthday boy himself !!!!

It was a great day ..... we even had our first snow fall this evening (can you believe it, in Texas) .... Richard declared it, his Birthday Miracle !!!

Happy Birthday Big Guy ........ You make us so proud to be your parents ..... Dont ever loose your sense of adventure .... We love you to the moon and back again :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

GNOMES .....

Well Hello .... Hello !!!
Yes, it has been a while hasn't it .... y'all know how it is. It's that time of year when days just pass by too quickly, and before you know it, you're nearly a month down the line.

Have your thoughts turned to Christmas decorating yet ....
My friend VAL, once again hosted her Annual Christmas Ornament Swap. This swap is always so much fun, and it's amazing to see just how creative people are. The theme this year was woodland/traditional .... Hmmm, interesting !!! Well, me being me, it was a no brainer ...... woodland it was going to be !!!!

I did get some help from Pinterest (I know, y'all are REALLY surprised to hear that :-) I found a few images that I thought were cute, took elements from each of those images, and created my gnomes :-)


I do love how they turned out ..... they look like 5 little grumpy gnomes all in a row, in this picture :-)
I went back to basics for these - nothing fancy - just felt, buttons, stuffing and my trusty needle ...... simple is always therapeutic.


So what are your decorating plans for Christmas 2014 !!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

OUR HALLOWEEN MANTLE .....

I've had a lot of fun over the past week, decorating our mantle for Halloween.
My friend Val has a Zombie Patch that she puts out at Halloween, and I love it .... so .... I decided to create a patch for us this year too.
I have my zombie dolls ... each one, a precious work of art, created by some of the talented ladies in our swap group. I had a few pumpkins, but not nearly enough, and I didn't have a sign ..... Oh yes, I needed a sign !!!
It's been a busy week .... "growing" pumpkins !!!! Thanks to THIS AWESOME PUMPKIN TUTORIAL, it was easy and fun. I wanted fabrics that would let my pumpkins stay out past Halloween and into Thanksgiving, so the fabrics I used were autumnal, rather than Halloween. I plan on swapping out the Zombie Dolls for scarecrows and pilgrims, once Halloween is over.

So let me share my mantle with you .....


I covered the mantle with some scary fabric (the technical term Walmart use for it :-)


For my sign, I painted the wood white. I then stuck on stickers that spelled out "Zombie Patch", before painting over the white, with black. Once the black paint was dry, I peeled off the stickers. Some red paint, cheesecloth, modge podge, and a zombie head, and the sign was complete :-)
The Queen of Hearts, and poor Alice :-)


The White Rabbit, and his companions ....


Jack Skellington, and The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe ...... minus all of her children !!!!



I love that each pumpkin is so different, despite being made from the same pattern (I just changed the sizes of the pattern pieces). Some have felt leaves, while others have silk leaves. The stems are all made from rolled up felt, except for the stem on the daisy pumpkin - that one is made of Sculpey.

So how have you decorated your mantle .....

Friday, October 10, 2014

CAL UPDATE ...... WEEK 1

I survived the first week !!!!
Once I got the hang of the pattern, I was"A" for away :-) Ok, I'd be lying if I made it sound like I got it right away ..... I had to restart my first square .... uuhhmm ... FIVE times - Yes, you read that right !!!
However, once I found the "hidden" stitch, I was on my way .....



There you have them ..... All 6 !!!
I used yarn colors Lilac, Seafoam and Aqua for these 6 squares. To be 100% honest with you, I'm not so sure anymore, that I like the colors .... But, that being said, I have the yarn, so I'm going to soldier on, and use the colors I chose to make the blanket ..... Hopefully as the weeks progress, and I add more colors, I'll like them more.
I love the design of this first square though .... I think it's really pretty :-)
Week 2's pattern was released today ...... Ummm ...... I'm thinking It may take more than five attempts to get this one right !!! I'm determined to get it right though ...... that was one of the main reasons I decided to take part in this CAL, to stretch myself and learn new stitches and techniques ...... Popcorn Stitch anyone ?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

MY FIRST EVER CAL ....

I've never done one of these before ..... A Crochet Along !!! I've read about them, I've seen the gorgeous results of them, I've considered doing them .... but I've never actually taken the plunge.
Until now that is ..... While on Facebook a couple of weeks back I found THIS CAL LINK, so I decided to take a closer look. Wink from A Creative Being is hosting it. I loved the idea of a new pattern every week, with the promise of a new blanket completed just in time for Christmas ..... Cold, hopefully snowy days (who an I kidding - this is Texas after all), spent snuggling under a new handmade blanket - what's not to like :-) How exciting that we'll have no idea what this beauty will look like until the end ..... oh the anticipation !!!
So, I signed up !!!!

The first pattern will be released tomorrow, ON HER BLOG. She partnered with a Dutch wool company called Scheepejswool, who put together two different kits for the CAL. The response has been overwhelming, and the company ran out of kits. The wool looks beautiful, but honestly it doesn't fit into my budget, so I decided to pick out a reasonably priced acrylic yarn, in colors I love, and I'm crocheting along using them.


Aren't those colors so pretty ... Brittany told me they remind her of Easter (that wasn't my intention). I like them more for the shabby chicish look, I may (or may not) get.
I'm using Yarn Bee's Soft Secret yarn. It's soft and cuddly, with just the right amount of shine.
The colors I've chosen are (from top left, to bottom right) :
Seafoam, Olive, Butter
Lilac, Rosey, White, Fog
Soft Pink, Aqua, Smoke
Pink, Hot Turquoise

I'm looking forward to it, although strangely, I'm a little nervous (What if I don't know how to do some part of it???)
My plan is too post about each weeks pattern, a day or so before the next weeks pattern is to be released ..... I'm hoping this keeps me accountable, so that I wont fall behind.

Perhaps you want to CAL too ... it's not too late .... tomorrow is D Day (or C Day ... that probably sounds better :-)

Monday, September 29, 2014

WHO KNEW ...... A PASTRY CLOTH .....

I had honestly never heard of these ...... not even in stories that my Granny told. So when I came upon THIS PASTRY CLOTH TUTORIAL on Pinterest, I was intrigued.

I decided I needed one ..... hands up, if you hate those little sticky bits of pastry and cookie dough you find stuck to your counter top, no matter how much you flour the surface before rolling it !!!!
Let me tell you, this little ( or not so little, as mine turned out to be) beauty has revolutionized cookie baking for me .... it's genius !!!

Check out the tutorial link - the blogger lists all of the reasons you need one, and here's another reason - I'm telling you they work ... they work .... they work .... like a bomb.
They're dead easy to make too. You do need to use the type of fabric she recommends (although in my research, it seems that painters drop cloth would work too). I got my fabric at Joann's. It was $6-99 a yard, but I used a 40% off coupon, so it made it reasonable. At Joann's this fabric is kept where you find all of the utility fabrics .... yes, I walked around looking for quite a while !!!!


One of the two sides of the fabric is kept plain (this is the side you roll on), while the other side I decorated ... just to pretty it up.
As per the tutorial instructions, I painted some stripes with fabric paint. I decided to take mine a step further ....... my mason jar rubber stamp .... love it !!!! I used special ink for fabric (Hobby Lobby keeps it), With some alphabet stamps, I then named the jars ..... Cute :-)


See, mine is quite large. I think I bought 2 yards, or perhaps 3 yards, cut it in half, and that was my fabric depth, while the length was the width of the fabric. TAKE NOTE ... dont skip pre washing your fabric .... this stuff shrinks like no other !!!!


When you're ready to roll out your dough, dust your pastry cloth with flour, and get rolling ....


Look how beautifully the dough lifts from the cloth .... it makes cookie cutting a breeze !!!!

Your pastry cloth does not need washing every time you use it. - in fact some articles stated that these cloths were never washed back in the day. Once you're finished, dust off the flour, and roll it up. These articles, suggested that the best place to keep your cloth, when it's not in use, is in the freezer, so that's where mine is ... rolled up in my freezer. Something to do with the residual oils and fats.

I thought one of these would make a lovely gift for the cookie or pie baker in your life. Wrap it together with a few cookie cutters, or a spatula or two .... and there you have it :-)



Thought I'd end off, by showing you the finished cookies ..... it's time to play around with some Halloween cookie ideas ..... Doing the Monster Mash !!!!