Tuesday, December 27, 2011


It's all done and dusted ... it always seem so incredible to me that we plan and prepare for many weeks, and then, in what feels like the blink of an eye, it's all over.
Hope your Christmas was fantastic - Ours was, infact I'd go as far as saying that it was my favorite Christmas since we've lived in the USA, so far away from our families.

Hubby decided that we'd plan a great suprise for the kids this year - 2011 was an exceptionally hard year for us ..... 14 months of unemployment (thankfully this came to an end in November), takes its toll on any family. We've come out on the other side of it though, stronger and with a new appreciation for what is really important. This was our way of spoiling the kids. We booked into Great Wolf Lodge for Christmas night (after we'd had our traditional Mommy cooked Christmas Lunch at home). It was fantastic, and we had an absolute blast!!!!

I finished all the gifts I had planned to make ..... whew, it was close:-) I'm here to share with you, The 2011 Cookie and Candy Tray!!! This is the tray I give to our neighbors and friends.

I found these appetizer/dessert tiered trays on clearance at Walmart in the summer - $2 each!!! They've lived up in my spare room, with just this purpose in mind. For the bottom layer, I made butter shortbread .... scrumptious!!! For the top layer I made peanut clusters, key lime bark, white chocolate peppermint bark and milk chocolate peppermint bark - I really love what they look like. The bottom picture shows them all wrapped up in their cellophane and red tulle ribbon goodness!!!!

Enjoy this week of calm, as we savor the last that 2011 has for us, and look forward to all that 2012 will be for us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


And these were VERY last minute this year. I'd had them on my" To Do" list, but time got away with me, and well, last night arrived and I had to come up with a plan, pronto!!!! I needed to do 7 gifts!!!
What did I have in the house (now we all know Walmart is open 24/7, but I really didn't want to have to leave my warm house) ..... quart mason jars, cellophane and tulle (these are staples in our home, year round), and then of course I had got down to some candy making yesterday.

So, I filled one quart jar with homemade key lime bark, and a second one with peppermint bark.
I cut circles of Christmas scrapbook paper and glued it to the lids. I glued ribbon around the rings of the jars. I piled them on top of one other, wrapped them in cellophane and added a tulle bow and a little Christmas ornament ..... Done!!!!
They'd make nice neighbor, mailman ... anyone, you want to give a little something too .... gifts:-)

At last the kids are finished with school - Yay!!! We can now get down to some serious Christmas nesting!!! Warm fluffy jammies all day long, fluffy socks, Christmas movies and endless Christmas mugs of hot chocolate ..... just us, warm and snuggly at home:-)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Luckily my niece and nephew are way too little to read my blog, so I'm safe showing you these little cuties, before Santa harnesses his reindeer, takes to his sleigh, climbs down the chimney and delivers them:-)

I sent each of the babies some books and a little book buddy that I made them. Bertha's pattern comes from THAT book again .... you know, my all time favorite Rebbeca Danger - Big Book Of Knitted Monsters. She is actually the Attic Monster in the book. I just love her top knot!!!! Bert is a pattern I drew myself. I wanted soft and squishy, and the perfect size for little 9 month old hands to hold.
Wow, time is short now!!! I'm almost there ..... just the baking to do. I think today is going to be candy making day .... nut brittle, peppermint and key lime bark, salted caramels, peanut clusters .... let's see if it all gets done!!!!
I have to share Boy Childs cake decorating with you. Last night was our Cub Scout Pack - Dad and Lad Cake Bake Competition. The theme was camping, and this year Boy Child did most of the work himself, from mixing to decorating. I'm so proud of his effort. He didn't win any of the prizes, but that didn't matter.

Tents around a campfire. Please note the fish waiting to be cooked ..... it's camping, it's my son, so that means there has to be fish in there somewhere:-)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Faster than ever ......
It happens every year, I try to be organized, but somewhere along the way, it all goes awry!!! This year my preparations have certainly been better though. Unfortunately a very sick guinea pig has thrown a spanner in the works, as he's requiring a lot of attention right now. He is Girl Childs friend ... she adores him. We've done what we can, but it's not looking good right now .... my heart breaks for her. To top it off too, we lost his little friend about 6 weeks ago (they're old, rescue piggies) - the relentless sobbing and funeral scene are still VERY fresh in my mind. To see your child so inconsolably sad was heartbreaking.
I do have some things to show you though .... there's a lot I cant. The recipients of the things I'll show you now, don't even know that I have this little blog, so I'm safe!!!

A mug rug - made using the left overs from the table runner I made for Shawnees Table Runner Swap. Lots of room for a steaming mug of coffee, and a delicious cookie or two (come on, it's Christmas, you know you want that second one:-)

I warned you there'd be more of these ..... such lovely results for such a little amount of work .... Aahhh, the perfect Christmas project!!!

I am impatiently waiting for a package of yarn that I've ordered .... Girl Child saw this beauty that Lucy made http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/blooming-flower-cushion.html , and mentioned how she'd REALLY love one for her room. I couldn't find colors that would work in her room at Joanns or Hobby Lobby, but I did online ...... fingers crossed it arrives in time for me to burn some midnight oil ..... we'll have to see.
Wishing y'all a little quiet time, to enjoy this wonderful season.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


While browsing through my pictures, I came across some aprons that I've made, but not shared with you yet. There is also one that I put together today, using 2 dishtowels and a roll of grosgrain ribbon .... super quick and easy, but oh so festive!!!!

I found the tutorial for the pleated skirt part of the apron on a blog .... now I cant seem to find it again - ugghh. I added a bib to it, just because that's what I prefer.

Then this one, using my all time favorite apron pattern ..... it was this pattern that won me my 2nd place ribbon at the Texas State Fair back in September.

This is the dishtowel apron!!! Very bright and festive. The dishtowels came as a 2 pack from Target .... 2 seams and some ribbon, and I was done. Who wouldn't want to pull out the cookie sheets and start baking wearing such festive attire?
Now for a quick peek into all the mischief those 2 little mischief makers (aka Gabby & Bart) have been getting up to ....

Who wouldn't want a friend with springy legs? Imagine how much fun you could have with that!!!

They must definately be missing home ..... my car was reindeerified (Yes, there is such a word. We found it in the elf dictionary). We jingle wherever we go now!!!

They are fearless!!! A spot of elf balloonchuting!!! When you're so small, all you need is a few helium filled balloons and away you go .... jumping off the top of the stairs!!!! No wonder santa has grey hair!!!!
Hope your Christmas preparations are on track ....

Monday, December 5, 2011


This is what our mantle looks like this year, and I love it!!!! I love this kind of light ..... it's warm, welcoming and oh so pretty!!!! It is also 100% made by me. Yes, each of those houses started out as one of those brown paper mache shells that you buy at your local craft store for a couple of bucks ..... some love (ok ... paint, glitter and snowtex too), and I have a little village that I'm soooo proud of.
The original reason I made them was for this ..

Our Church Annual Womens Christmas Brunch. I have attended it now every year for about 5 years ..... it is gorgeous. Ladies sign up to decorate a table, and believe me when I tell you - those girls have some talent!!!! This year our small group decided to buy out the tickets for a table, and asked me if I would decorate it. I said yes, but let me tell you, I nearly backed out a number of times - I was terrified to do it!!! I was delighted with the final result though. I made the 3 yard table runners to mark place settings .... the part I liked most about them, you can't see in the photo .... I made big pink yarn tassels to hang at the points:-} The houses were the centerpiece for the table.

They look so pretty, and we'll be enjoying them all season long!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011


They're back, for another December of fun and mischief!!!!

This is how we found them .... all snuggled up, and no doubt exhausted from that long sleigh ride.

Their keeper for the next 24 days is delighted to have them back .... they been smothered with love since arriving, and I've been given a long list of instructions on how I'm to care for them while he's at school!!!

Last night, while all was quiet and everyone was cuddled up asleep, they decided on a game of foosball ... halloween glasses and all!!! The carpet was littered with snow and cracker crumbs .... Santa and Mrs Claus really need to work on table manners with these little guys - they need a bit of refining!!!
Welcome Back Little Elf Friends .... we're glad you've come to stay.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


So how do you store your jewelery when your packing for vacation ..... if you're me, it's in Ziplock bags!!! I know ..... very classy, right!!!!
Well, not anymore ... I picked up a copy of Stitch magazine - the gift guide edition. Oh boy, does it have a lot of fun ideas in it. I think I dog eared every second page in the magazine.

I found the instructions to make this jewelery holder .... isn't it lovely?
I love the fact that you can use a number of coordinating fabrics. The directions were very clear and easy to follow ... this was a really" fun to make" project. The 4 pockets are quite roomy, which means you can take jewelery to match every outfit ...... show me a girl who wouldn't love that.

Then looking at it again today .... I do that quite often when I'm particulary happy with a project ... the thought came to me - it would work just as well as a notions travel roll. There is ample space to hold crochet hooks, scissors, a needlebook, embroidery floss, buttons .... and so the list goes on. It would make the perfect gift for someone on your Christmas list, who likes to crochet, embroider, knit etc on the go. You could even pop some crafting goodies into the pockets if you wished.

So there you have it, another gift idea perhaps?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It took me a little longer than 10 minutes to complete each one, but that probably has something to do with my spray starch addiction ..... Gosh, I love that stuff!!!! The sharp lines it gives you when you iron a seam, are beyond compare.
I needed 3 quick gifts, in a hurry (A HUGE hurry). I found the link to this on Craftgossip. Here's the website it comes from www.sweethomequiltco.com.

I can recommend this freebie pattern for so many reasons ...
- Even if it took me 30 minutes to complete each one, it makes for a quick gift.
- It is made up of only 4 seams, so there is minimal sewing. This would be a great project for a beginner sewer.
- It is very economical. You only need 11 inches of the inner fabric, and 18 inches of the outer fabric, and 2 buttons. You get the length of the runner, by using the width of the fabric.
- The result is super cute!!!

This shows you how you get that point at the end - very clever!!!
I think I'm going to be making a few of these as Christmas gifts - I'll use general day to day fabric combinations, so that they can be used throughout the year.
So, if you're in need of a quick gift .... there are only 32 days left until Christmas after all (Yikes!!!) .... pop on over and give one of these a go.
Wishing all my American visitors a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Boy Child turned 11 yesterday ..... where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital. Time sure does fly!!!
We had his birthday party last weekend - he chose Whirlyball. It's a mixture of lacrosse and basketball, played in bumper cars. It is so much fun, and the kids (and adults) had a blast. Birthdays in our house, mean that I get to make something ... party invitations, birthday cake, party favors ... something!!!
So here's what it was this year ...

I saw the idea for the invitation in a Creating Keepsakes magazine. There's was a birthday card, so I just changed it up to suit an invitation. I covered some chipboard coasters with Happy Birthday paper, and attached a ribbon, that I hung sports themed silly bands from. I then finished it off with good old letter stickers ... It was a hit with the kids, especially as they got to keep the silly bands - they'd got a party favor, before the party even began:-)

Next, the cake!!! I have made every birthday cake that both my kids have ever had - As their mom, it makes my heart so happy to be able to do this for them - a little of mom, in each birthday. The obvious choice this year was a Whirlyball court. Hunting for the bumper cars was the most difficult part - I did eventually find them, online at some store that sells gimiky office toys.

Onto the party favors .... I made each party guest a string backpack. I used that fake leather fabric you can get ..... let's face it, these are 11 year old boys we're talking about here, they need something durable!!! We filled them with some joke items we found at the Dollar store. Novelty pens, animal shaped punch balls, the ever popular whoopee cushions, and these ...

Goofy Glasses ..... these were the hit of the backpack, I think:-)
He had a great birthday ...... HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET BOY ..... your Dad, Sister and I love you bundles!!!
And just so you can see what Whirlyball is, I leave you with this picture.....

Monday, November 14, 2011


I coordinated a Bake Sale for the 5th graders at our school's Annual Spaghetti Dinner last Thursday. The kids served and cleaned tables for tips too. All the money made went back to 5th grade to be used to offset the cost of all the fun things they will be doing during the year.
I asked the parents to donate baked goods (preferably homemade), that we could sell on the night in individual portions ..... the dessert after the spaghetti!!! I set the table up to mimic a bakery .... you know how pretty all those trays and cake stands look, displayed at varying heights, with all of their delicious contents just begging to be bought ..... can you see I've spent time gazing in bakery windows!!! It's like eye candy to me!!! I made a bunting to hang at the front of our "shop" - the perfect finishing touch I thought.

I love bunting, I think it has a place at just about every event or party!!!
Now, to show you what I made - I made a couple of items, some of my lemon tarts, some meringues with sprinkles on the top, and then these ...

They were a real hit. I made 18 of them, and wish I had made more. We could have sold 3 times that amount. Cupcake monsters, although the yellow ones remind me of that childrens story book dog - Dougal (does anyone remember him?) It was a very successful event with the bake sale earning them a little over $250-00!!!!
Way to go 5th grade!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Have you signed up yet ......
Were secret santa swapping, and it's going to be a blast .... like you're own little Christmas present to yourself!!!
Shawnee has asked us to answer these questions on our blogs, that way once she's assigned partners, our secret partner can pop on over to your blog and learn more about you, so that your package will be put together just for you!!!
So here we go ...

What are your hobbies?
I'm a craftaholic!!! I knit, sew, crochet, bake and scrapbook
What are your favorite colors?
Pink is my absolute favorite. I like most colors though with one exception .... yellow - I REALLY don't like this color. For Christmas though, I favor reds, greens, whites, silver and gold.
Do you collect anything?
Not really
Are you allergic to any fibers or animals?
Do you have any pets?
We have small pets .. guniea pig, fish, turtle, toads and a leopard gecko
Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate?
Coffee and hot tea
What do you like to read?
Craft and scrapbooking magazines (I devour them) and I absolutlely LOVE reading novels about the Amish people - I find them such facinating and humble people.
Do you prefer Cookies or Candies as a sweet?
Gummy candy
What is your favorite holiday treat?
Vanilla Tootsie Rolls ... I try and stock up on a couple of bags of these each year, before they're gone and I have to wait until next Christmas.
Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte .... they had better bring it back this year!!!
Describe your favorite holiday tradition.
Our family does an Advent Family Activity each night through until Christmas Eve. The activity for that specific day is written on a slip of paper in the kids Advent Calendars ... we've decorated ornaments, had a gingerbread house competition, gone out to Starbucks for hot chocolate, read a story together, had a campout around the Christmas tree.
I also love our tradition of Christmas jammies ... I make jammies for the 4 of us. My hubby and son match, and my daughter and I match. They are delivered in pretty boxes while we are at Church on Christmas Eve. Guests that are with us for Christmas get matching jammies too.
Did you believe in Santa as a child?
Absolutely - I think it's one of the treasures of childhood.
When do you open presents?
On Christmas morning.
Do you put up a tree and when? If not, how do you celebrate?
We do, and it gets put up after December 1st, usually as an Advent activity.
Does your tree have a theme?
What has been your favorite gift to give? to receive?
I love giving handmade gifts, and they're my favorite to recieve .... I think each one is a real treasure.

To my swap partner - I hope this helps you out.
To anyone who has ever wondered whether swapping is all it's made out to be .... ABSOLUTELY!!! I have 2 friends (Hi Val and Jill) that I've never met in person, but whom I've been in swaps with for almost 3 years now, and we correspond regularly via email. Who knows we may even get to meet one another in person one day ... you never know where you'll make a new friend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


So how does this ...

become this...
The idea of deconstructing, changing up and then reconstructing a ready made canvas tote bag, had never occured to me, until I took part in Michele's (Something Special) Fall Intrigue Tote Swap. We had to make our partner a shabby chic tote, and then fill it with Fall goodies ... It was a great swap.

I will definately use this deconstruct/reconstruct idea again, for a few reasons.
- It's very economical - a pack of 3 totes costs you around $7-00. Use a coupon you can end up paying half of that.
-The canvas makes for a really sturdy tote, so there's no need for interfacing.
-There's also the convenience of handles and hems already being done, and seam lines marked .... It really would make a fantastic, last minute gift .... we all know that there's invariably at least one gift, we remember that we forgot on Christmas Eve!!!

So, incase you'd like to give it a try, this is how I made the tote above...
-I cut out the fabric pieces to the sizes I needed (measure the tote for these). My center panel was longer, as I wanted to gather it onto the side pieces. At the time you attach it to the canvas shell, you need to have 2 completed panels (a front and back).
-I sewed the bottoms of the panels together and then laid it over the canvas tote. The first place I attatched it, was along the base seam. From there I attatched it in various places ... namely along the gathered seams. I then turned in the hem at the top of my panels,and top stitched it to the canvas shell.
-All that was left to do then, was reconstruct the side seams of the bag along the original seam lines.
-I then made and added the flowers and buttons. Imagine all of the embellishments you could use.
-This particular bag I lined, but it really isn't necessary, as the inside of the tote is very neat and tidy.

I was very spoilt with the package I recieved from my partner - who happened to be the hostess herself ... take a sneak peek - Isn't it lovely?

If you want to give the tote a try, you wont be dissapointed. If my explanation of the method I used, didn't make sense, just let me know and I'll clarify it for you.
Happy Sewing!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011


That word doesn't sound right .... Anyhow, here's another little gift idea for you. This one was again quick and easy. It used only half of a fat quarters worth of fabric, and the candlestick was found at Goodwill for 99c!!! Perfect project to use up some scraps, or indulged yourself with that pricey fabric you really HAVE to have:-) This is where I found the pattern and instructions http://www.thediydish.com/2011/10/season-4-how-to-make-a-dress-form-mannequin-pin-cushion/.

The secret to a great looking dress form is the stuffing - she needs to be firmly stuffed. Another issue I had, but that was easy to remedy, was that she was wobbly on her base. The instructions tell you to glue felt to the cardboard base of the form, before attaching your candlestick. To stop the wobbles, I cut a hole from the felt where my candlestick was going to attach, so that it was stuck directly too the cardboard base instead of the felt - it worked a charm and eliminated the wobbles:-)
The embellishment possibilities are endless. I stuck with the fabric flower the pattern suggested for this one, but what about a dainty string of pearls, or a choker? A perfect opportunity to display that vintage brooch you've had tucked away, just waiting for the perfect project.
From start to finish, the project took me about 45 minutes to complete. Package it in a beautiful, reusable gift box with lots of tissue paper and a lovely bow, and you have yourself a gorgeous pincushion, that any sewer would love.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I took part in another Flirty Apron Swap, only this time, we didn't swap aprons, but rather table runners - it was great and a chance to make something different. My partner requested a Christmas themed table runner. She liked bright and cheery colors and has lots of little people at home, so it needed to be washable. It took some thought, before I found what I wanted to make. My mom sent me a placemat pattern a couple of years ago - she had made them in her sewing class. I love the pattern as it's quick and easy, and gives a great result. I have used it over and over again. I widened and lengthened the pattern to make the runner. I saw the appliqued Christmas tree idea somewhere on Google.

It's difficult to see, but the red fabric has little Christmas trees in different shades of green all over it. I kept the quilting simple by just quilting in vertical lines, 2 inches apart, and then I quilted around the trees. I added some star shaped buttons to the tree tops, to add a little country charm.
Table runners are a great way to brighten up any table, and they're easy to make. A runner would make a great gift too.
I'm hoping that all of these Christmas ideas I'm posting get your creative juices flowing, and perhaps even give you a few gift ideas. I adore handmade gifts, every one I've ever recieved has become a treasured item to me. Every year I strive to make our Christmas, a Handmade Christmas .... if I can make at least half of the gifts I give this year, I'll be a very happy girl!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I've held off until the beginning of November ... but now it's time. The list of what needs to be accomplished is loooong, so we can hold off not a minute more .... what is it I'm talking about? Why my Christmas crafting of course!!!
I bake up a storm at Christmas time in this house - neighbor and family friend gifts have always been, and will continue to be edible ... cookies and candies to be exact. I love the sight of platters filled with assortments of these, all wrapped in shiny cellophane and adorned with big, red bows.
Where to pin the recipe while I'm baking has always been a problem, and 9 out of 10 times the magnets on the fridge win .... not this year though, I've solved the problem.
I made this recipe holder. It was very easy to make - letting the modge podge dry took longer than putting it together. The supplies I used - a wooden plaque, a Christmas ornament, a sheet of scrapbook paper, some wooden letters and mini clothes pegs, some paint, modge podge, and an easel. I'm going to make a few more of these, so I'll do a tutorial then ... I need to take the step by step pictures.
Problem solved in the cutest possible way ... who wouldn't want to pull out the cookie sheets with this little gingerbread chef overseeing the proceedings.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


What a great Halloween we had.
Our Cub Scout Halloween Party was a blast ... by the choice of costumes, you can certainly see that the boys (and girls) are growing up ... no more cute for these kiddos.

The best part of a Halloween party for me ... all the creepy food you get to make. No other holiday, lets you do this, so I took full advantage!!!

BRAIN JUICE ... aka a really yummy fruit punch, amd a new recipe I tried ... definately a keeper:-) I found this mold at Walmart. Super easy to make, and even better, is that it pretty much unmolds itself. The skull does melt very quickly though. I'm going back today, to see if I can grab a second mold on sale, as it would have been nice to have a second skull to pop into the punch once the first one had melted.

Next ... MERINGUE BONES ... freshly dug up, and oh so yummy!!!!

And my absolute favorite this year, and right up there on the grossometer .... the COCKROACH CHOCOLATE CAKE!!! So gross infact, that even the most die hard chocolate fan I know, wouldn't eat it ... the fact that she has a cockroach phobia may have played a part in that!!! I saw something similar in Martha Stewarts magazine. They don't know what they're missing - I tried a new chocolate fudge buttercream icing for this cake, and it is scrumdidlyicious!!!!

So, as I send 2 very tired little people off to school today, my thoughts now turn to Christmas, and everything that I need to get busy with, so that I can accomplish all that is on my list.
Happy November!!!