Haven and her friend Hannah at the Stuttgart Christmas Market.
Haven got her first guitar a few years ago from my dad. It was a fun little beginner's guitar that she loved. But since she has been taking lessons she has outgrown the beginner's guitar. But we weren't quite ready to invest in a really nice guitar yet. Then this little baby just dropped in my lap. Her instructor told me that a mutual friend was selling her Big Baby Taylor to make room for a new little baby who would be joining their family in a few months. So Haven got a new guitar.
What I didn't know was that Rob bought me a bass! I have long admired bass players and recently our friend started showing me some of the basic things on his bass. So now I have my own!
My mom sent Ethan some new drum sticks and Haven a set of guitar picks in all different weights. That was super cool because we had just been discussing guitar picks with the instructor and talking about when you use each of the different kinds.
Rob's big gift (which turns out to be fun for the entire family) is Apple TV. It is awesome!!!! We can load it up with stuff on its harddrive, pull from any of the family computers that have iTunes open, or download from the iTunes store. I'm especially looking forward to renting movies on it. It was also great for piping music through the sound system. It just pulls from the iTunes library.
We're really not Apple fanatics, but Rob did have an Apple Christmas. He also got an iPad cover with a built in blue tooth keyboard, and our friends gave him this iPad stand. The manufacturer intends it to be a display stand, but Steffen (being a preacher) thought it would make a perfect podium! So Rob can pop his iPad in it and have his music, or his Bible study notes. Fancy shmancy!
There were lots of other fun things from the family and friends. We're very thankful for everyone who thought of us and sent gifts! We love you all very much! We know it's not the gift that makes us blessed, but the people who love us.
And for those of you who have listened to me whine about the snow... here's proof that I'm not exaggerating.
It took us FOREVER to dig the car out of the snow this morning to go to Church! I got out a huge broom to push the snow off of the car. And on the left, that is the street we live on. Well, under that snow is our street. The snow plow operators had a couple of days off, which was nice for them, but very challenging for us on the days we had to go out. :)
This was one of my favorite pics for Christmas. The bag was almost as tall as Ethan! :) And just in case you're curious, it had a remote controlled BMW inside.
Today's post is about the handmade goodies of this Christmas. I have a few more pics that I want to post later on. First off, my new best friend in the kitchen... I bought a stand mixer earlier this month to get me through December baking. I love it! I tried a new recipe this year - marshmallows! The pic on the right is Haven cutting out a bunch of snowflake marshmallows. They were surprisingly easy and fun and TASTY! If you want to make them yourself you can find the recipe here. I also made a ton of gingerbread cookies. So this year instead of a gift box of cookies we gave hot chocolate, snowflake marshmallows, and gingerbread cookies. A couple of people also got mug rugs, but I was so busy sewing I forgot to take pictures!
To my peeps at the store, don't worry, cookies and marshmallows are coming!
Next up from my sewing machine, an iPad bag for our friend Ariane. I also included a matching key fob. I made up the pattern. She can take the long strap off and carry it by the handles if she wants. There is a velcro piece on the inside to hold it closed. There's also a zipper on the back side to hold cables. She loves orange, and she loved the bag!
Some handmade jewelry. My mom sent me a macrame bracelet from one of my cousins that she said is somewhere around 40 years old! Vintage macrame! Sweet! The bottom pic has a bracelet made by Jennifer and some super cool guitar pick earrings I picked up from the craft show for Haven.
Rob's Mom sent these handmade lovelies! The pillow is beautiful and the tissue covers are really fun. The direction of the stitches changes the sheen of the yarn and makes it look two-toned. Pretty cool.
And lastly, pillow pets have joined our home. Haven and Ethan each got a pillow pet and a coordinating minky blanket. Haven's is zebra stripe and black minky and Ethan's is frog fabric with brown minky. The sets got some use today while we sat around and watched movies together. Haven thinks I need to point out that I didn't make the pillow pets, but I DID make the blankets, which aren't highly visible... but they are there. :)
That's all for the handmades. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
So, I know normal people probably buy their accessories to match their clothes... but I say where's the fun in that? I make my clothes to match my accessories! C&A has some really great winter tights and I bought these stripey ones to go with something else, but it didn't turn out the way I wanted. So I had tights that didn't match anything. This fabric is Jacobean Jewels by Red Rooster. It's very pretty. Deep rich colors perfect for fall/winter.
You can't really see the tights, but they are stripes with the same colors as the shirt fabric.
I made a couple of changes to the pattern. I shortened the bodice by an inch and lengthened the shirttail by about 3 inches. I think I should have shortened the bodice at the shoulders too. I also lengthened the tie ends (I didn't show the back, but there is a tie in the back.) I think it fits better now. I really like this pattern. It's kind of like the School House Tunic, but more fitted and with more details.
Ethan has been trying to make a snowman for a week now, but the snow is either too dry to stick together, or too dirty to play with. Today he came home with a bitty snowman he made at school!
WinterFest was last night and Santa came to visit! The photographer snagged up Ethan first thing for practice pictures before the hoards of kids came in. Ethan wasn't prepared for the sudden grab so he actually got back in line to see Santa again after he had time to think about what was happening and time to prepare his "list!" So adorable. See that quilt Santa is sitting on? It's MINE!! I FINALLY quilted that sucker!
The KnipMode is a magazine produced by Hilco. I'm not sure how often they put it out, but I don't think it's more than 4 a year. It has several patterns and they are all printed on four pieces of paper. The lines are color coded, so it's not too hard to trace. Just in case you ever use the magazine, it does NOT include seam allowances. I learned this the hard way. The whole thing is of course in German, and it does not have diagrams in the instructions. It was challenging, to say the least. You really need to be an experienced clothing sewer to use these patterns. So this shirt took me ... a while. But the next time around I think it will go fast.
The skirt was from a sew along that I didn't really succeed in. I actually made the top part of the dress, but it was NOT flattering on me. So I used the skirt portion and just made it into a skirt. My favorite part is it has silk lined pockets!
I had to post about the boots. They are Dr. Martin's! I didn't know they made boots without the giant sole. They are really comfy and even fit OVER my jeans even though I have giant calves. They do have a very hard insole. so I wear fluffy socks if I'm going to be standing all day. I really like these boots and recommend them to anyone looking for brown boots with a heel this winter.
Haven took the pic. I tried to edit out the dining room behind me, but oh well. She was funny. She kept telling me to look "dramatic" and then she would tell me the pictures looked weird! Ha! She would act like a photographer, telling me to pose, and then she would listlessly snap the picture, like she was bored. Teens. But she really likes photography. I just hope she will one day take pictures of something other than herself for her facebook profile.... one day...
WinterFest tomorrow beginning at 4pm, then GLOBETROTTERS on Sunday! How exciting! Then maybe after this weekend I can rest a little. Oh, and Diko is doing a fashion exhibition this weekend! Anyone want to go? She left cards at the shop.
It's been snowing steadily, but it hasn't been too cold yet. Yet. But we've already had 2 hour delays for school twice. Of course that makes Haven happy!
I'm now completely addicted to the audiobooks. I'm listening to Book 3 of the Pendragon Cycle: Arthur.
I finally found some mushrooms I'll eat! Martha Stewart had a segment on her holiday video about these meringue mushrooms and I thought, I can do that. The girls at the shop have a small obsession with mushrooms and gnomes, so I thought I would surprise them. So I brought the mushrooms in a big pan. The girls look at the pan, looked at me, and said "I don't eat mushrooms for breakfast Kelly." I guess they looked pretty realistic! :) You can find the recipe here, but the milk chocolate and white chocolate design on the underside of the cap was an idea from the video. You just wait for the milk chocolate layer to harden and then put a layer of white chocolate on and draw the lines with a toothpick or something. You have to wait for the white chocolate to firm up before it will work. These are YUMMY.
You may have noticed my lack of crafting and posting. I have been super busy at work. We just finished our annual strategic planning conference and I was leading. It's a big deal and made up of a lot of division chiefs and managers in positions higher than my own. So it's a lot of pressure to make the conference productive, exciting, and not a waste of their time. So that's where most of my energy has gone the last month.
We also had our annual Photography Contest awards ceremony last week and I have to give props to Mary and Cory who totally ran the whole show with minimal input from me (since I was taking care of the conference) and they did a great job. Mary ran the awards ceremony and everyone at the shop stepped up to help her out. I just want to say publicly that I have the BEST co-workers anyone could ever ask for! You guys rock!
I am also talking a break from crafting for a little while to get ready for the holidays and because I've started a new hobby. I'm learning to play the guitar! It's going very slowly, because of the points above, but I can sort of play a few chords without you wishing you were deaf. So there's hope! :) The kids get music lessons once a week. Haven is also learning guitar and Ethan gets drum lessons. They are both doing very well.
And in closing, we finally got the coffee organized at work. Thanks to Cory and Ryan who did all the hard work. The shelf above the sign holds the DVD player. Above that is a flat screen tv. This is all behind our coffee bar. The coffee buckets are on grid wall and are sorted to hold the different flavors of coffee we sell in the store. Corinnea, this is for you.
This wrap is loosely based on Simplicity 2603 and a shirt I have with a front drape like this. I laid out my shirt over pattern ease and traced it lightly. Then I looked at the instructions for S2603 online and adjusted my pattern. I found the lime green knit at KIK. Can you guess what it was? A jersey knit SHEET! It was a fitted sheet so I also scored a huge length of elastic out of the deal. This green is the perfect shade to match my Nicey Jane shirt which would have otherwise been banished to the summer clothes, but now can be worn through the winter. Of course I have to endure all the sideways looks at how BRIGHT this outfit is. But who cares? I say wear whatever color you want to. It's my way of brightening up the cold days ahead.
Halloween was almost called off this year (for our family) since it fell on Sunday. But the Garrison was kind enough to move trick or treating to Saturday night, which meant all the activities were on Saturday. So we participated in the movie theater's costume contest and the trick or treating.
I decided a month or two back that I really wanted to be Lois Lane. I've been going through a mild 40's phase (very mild, nothing drastic) and I wanted to wear a skirt I had made recently. Rob was out of town (plus he has facial hair) so he couldn't be my Superman. Well, my little man came through for me! He really wanted to be Dan from Bakugan, but I spent so much time on Haven's costume that I didn't get his accomplished, plus I kept telling him no one would know who he was. So he finally agreed to be Superman, which by the way, this is the first year he could actually fit in this costume, so it was a good choice.
Getting him to take a decent picture with me was challenging. But here we are. Lois and Superman.
Ethan lost his first two teeth this month. Yes, I'm that far behind on communicating. Sorry.
Haven decided she wanted to be the Cheshire Cat.
But an anime chic Cheshire Cat. Huh? Ok, so she designed this costume herself and shopped on Etsy for the ears. I found the striped knit at Hilco (so NOT cheap) and whipped this out.
The bag was actually an afterthought and I threw that together Saturday morning hurriedly before we had to leave. Haven WON the handmade category of the costume contest at the movie theater! Yay!!!!
Here she is with some of her friends she walked around with.
And I know you want a closeup of the bag, right? That's my favorite part! Made with Timtex, leftover knit from the dress, and felt pieces. It was the perfect size for her candy.
Oh, funny story. After I finished Haven's bag Ethan had a FIT. He HAD to have a bag too. I told him I didn't have any fabric for him. I actually looked through his clothes for a Superman t-shirt but couldn't find one. I think I gave it to Kara... we're really a Transformers, Spiderman, Star Wars kind of family..... But anyway... He INSISTED!!! He was pulling out the pieces of pink and purple stripe and demanding a bag! Hilarious! So I took a regular blue shopping bag, turned it inside out, and appliqued a Superman emblem on the front with felt. It turned out pretty cute! You can kind of see it here:
Every year the girls at the shop dress up and we take a group photo. But there aren't many of us left right now since people keep moving... We didn't accomplish a group photo this year, but here we all are. All four of us who dressed up that day.
Left to right: Katelyn - Hippy; Josanna - Native American; Nikka - Girl with Fan; Me - Lois Lane
I thought I would throw in an explanation about Nikka's costume. When I realized I wouldn't have a Superman I decided I would be the Girl with the Pearl Earring, the Dutch painting. I was going to be that all the way up until Thursday. Well, Nikka went along with my painting theme and found Picasso's Girl with Fan. She followed through. I reverted back to Lois when I got my Superman. Oops. So here's the painting Nikka was inspired by:
Ok, I know this post is now way long. Sorry Mary. But one last thing. No Halloween would be complete without some reference to Star Wars. Not because they are related... just because that's how we roll. So here is my first ever pumpkin carving.
If you are like many of my friends wondering what the heck that is, fear not. It is the Death Star from Episode IV. That's the big space station that blew up Leia's planet and then Luke blows it up at the end of the movie. Ringing any bells? I'm working on educating my co-workers on the world of Star Wars. Well, not so much that as teaching them the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek. Eh hm.
I finished the Prairie Girl dress in September, but the weather and my illness prevented me from wearing it. Today the sun was shining and I got to wear it for the first time! It's made from my precious piece of Anna Maria Horner Little Folks Voile. I used an off-white voile from the store for the underskirt. The fabric is SO soft.
Even though my last two weeks of Self-Stitched September were spent on sick leave, I still wore something self-stitched every day. There were lots of repeats, and some days my pjs were the self-stitched garment of the day, but I did it. 30 days wearing hand-made clothes! It was a really cool accomplishment.
My last day in quarantine. Tomorrow I will go back to work. The rash is basically gone except for a couple of tell-tale marks. I'm really grateful for how mild this case was and hope I don't get it again. Considering that this virus usually occurs in people over 50, with low immune systems, or people under extreme stress, I have realized that I need to slow down a bit. I'm starting to realize that every waking second of my day doesn't have to be spent doing something productive. Or more appropriately, that spending time doing something like reading to Ethan or doing a project with Haven IS productive. I will try to not book every single Saturday with something and will be more patient with my projects knowing that I don't HAVE to stay up until 2 in the morning to finish it. Of course I say that..... but last night it was about 1:30 when I finished this:
The Amy Butler Sweet Harmony Handbag
I really like this bag! I used heavy weight fabric (I think it was backing fabric) from the Roman Holiday Christmas collection from Moda from several years ago. I had just enough leftover cream solid from something else for the lining. The bag was easy to put together except for the bulk of the exterior with all the batting and interfacing. I went through about three needles. I should have bought some upholstery needles (and will before I make another one). I LOVE the design of the bag but it's just slightly too small. I'm going to try blowing up the pattern on a copy machine just a smidge.
I also finished the hand sewing on my jacket. Now I just need the rest of the buttons and it will be complete!
Rob and I have been doing the Dave Ramsey "Financial Peace University" system for more than six months now. We didn't take the whole class. I just did A LOT of research on the internet to get all the theories and main points. Mostly I wanted the budget percentages and to see how to go to the all cash system. In the spirit of reducing costs and because I'm crafty, I decided to make my own cash book instead of ordering theirs. So I made one out of a 7 Gypsies envelope album. I have worn it out so that the flaps on the envelopes are tearing and the pieces of the mixed media I decorated it with are coming off. So I started researching wallets to see how I could have a more durable envelope system.
I was first inspired by this Fossil Wallet because it has room for two currencies. I think there is another zippered section somewhere too, because I thought I could have both types of coins in there. But the price tag of 70 euros quickly made me put it back on the shelf. Funny, it's only $50 from the US website...
Then the Heather Bailey Folding Totes pattern got me thinking because it has a coupon envelope in the pattern. But how would I bind them together...
So I looked on Etsy for fabric envelope inspiration. There was this neat accordion folder, these envelopes within an envelope, and others. But then Sunday I found this seller and I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Her use of linen and magnets is great! This is the one that really caught my eye. Someone else thought it was great too because it sold yesterday!
So here's my version.
I used the very last little remnants of my favorite Nicey Jane fabric and green linen. I added gusseted coin pockets for US and Euro coins and a pocket for coupons and stuff. I also made the envelopes big enough to fit both US and Euro bills. The Euros are taller and the US$ are wider. Since I haven't used a checkbook in almost nine years I didn't need a spot for one. I used long strips of magnets to keep the envelopes closed, which make the book bulkier and heavier, but keeps all the pockets perfectly closed. I am now praying that all those magnets don't erase my credit cards.
This was a challenging project and there are some things I should have done a little differently, but I think I did a decent job and I think I'll use this for awhile. I talked to TresMarias before I blogged to let her know that I didn't steal her idea outright, but that it was a long thought through project that ended in a similar design as hers. She was sweet and said that that was one of the tenants of the program - if you don't have to buy it, don't, and she encouraged me to make my own. She also let me know that she's in the process of making a pattern for her cash wallets! So if you're interested in making one yourself, but not interested in figuring it all out, grab her pattern when it comes out!
I think I'm past the contagious period so I've ventured out a few times, with hand sanitizer of course. I had to get the purple car registered and today was the last possible day. When I told the lady I was late because of illness she asked what I had. I told her, and then she proceeded to tell me her story of the time she had it. The funny thing was she got so engrossed in her story that she didn't ask to see my driver's license, proof of insurance, ID card... nothing. Hilarious.
Well, other than that, I sewed for about 9 hours straight, finally got to the Prof. Moriarty stories in the Sherlock Holmes books, read some blogs, and did some work on the digi scrap site. Tomorrow when the sun is out I'll take pictures of the project that took 9 hours and post it.
Ethan lost his first tooth today. It had been wiggly for a couple months now and his lunch did the final task of removing it today. So did we have a special place for it for the Tooth Fairy? A crafty little device to store the tooth? Something fun for this momentous event? Well, unless the Tooth Fairy can retrieve teeth out of little boy's tummies, I think we'll have to call this one a really lost tooth. Yup, he swallowed it. Still makes me laugh!
My purple BMW failed its inspection earlier this month. So I took it into the shop (once again) for another round of expensive work. But I told them I really needed them to work some magic on the car because I couldn't keep bringing it in for repairs.
So, I took it in. And then abra cadabra......
We came home with THIS!!!!!!
Pretty good trick right? Well, it just so happened that they had a used Mini that was within our monthly budget. I was able to surprise Rob by bringing it home for a test drive. Then we went together the next day to sign the papers. We had to wait two weeks before we could pick it up, but now it's ours. It's so cute! It's too small for my every day needs. I like to push my seat too far back, so the kids don't have enough leg room in the back. And the trunk is too small for groceries. But that's ok, because this paint job is EXACTLY what Rob would choose if he could pick any mini. So Rob gets to have the mini and I got his black 325. The purple car is getting passed on to one of my co-workers who needs a car for less than a year before he moves. So... there you have it. The BMW magic trick. :)