Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Friends are the BEST!!

I hope everyone had an AWESOME Christmas!! I managed to finish mostly everything I needed to, got the presents wrapped and under the tree, filled the stockings, whipped up a batch of my bread maker cinnamon rolls and had them rising nicely, waiting to be put in the oven Christmas morning...and made it to bed before 3 a.m. Thankfully our children managed to stay asleep until 7 before waking us up with shrieks of "he came, he came!" My awesome Man got up, put the cinnamon rolls in the oven and made me coffee, while I stumbled downstairs looking for the video camera and my digital while the children patiently waited to open gifts and tried to figure out which ones that were not wrapped were theirs. So the video camera decided to be stuck in ZOOM mode and we couldn't figure out what to's fine, I'll just snap alot of pictures, and the unwrapping frenzy began!! Once it calmed down a bit, I started eating my cinnamon roll.....UH-OH!! Off to the bathroom I went!! Did I mention that while I was sewing furiously all day Christmas Eve, making sure I got all of my nephews' and niece's gifts done I was having to stop every 10 minutes to clean up PUKE? Well, the Boy came down with a horrible stomach virus and I must have caught the 24 hour bug because for the second time in MY LIFE I missed Christmas at my folks!! The first time, I was stationed on an island in the Aleutian chain off the coast of Alaska! UGH!! We were all so disappointed, and I hated missing being with all of my family, but we still managed to have a nice day once I was feeling better and could drag myself from my bed to the sofa to be able to watch our children play with all of their new toys! And thankfully it was gone the next day and we did a Christmas "redux" at my folks where my fabulous siblings all managed to make it back so we could open gifts....again!! :D
So here is the part about my bloggy friends being the BEST!!! When I got back from my folks, I had a couple of packages in the mail!! First was from my friend Lisa...a bunch of baked goodies and some AWESOME bracelets that say Pay It Forward!!

mmmm...everything was SO YUMMY, I even shared a little with the husband!! THANK YOU, sweetie!! I LOVED the Christmas card!! And I will be putting those bracelets to good use!! next package was from the FABULOUS Karen from Urban Craft. She was my inspiration to "Pay it Forward"!! I started following her blog because of her humour and wit, and the tremendous amount of talent and STYLE she brings to her craftiness. She struggles with skill like we all do, but she has such a "common sense" kinda way about accomplishing whatever it is she is creating....I LOVE THAT!! So we were chatting about what I would want her to make for my PIF...well anything from her would be awesome!! But I noticed that she seemed to have fun making things from felt...and I had just bought a bunch of "Hs" because I wanted to start a collection on one of my hallway walls ( I TOTALLY saw this on another blog and HAD to have one!!). So I asked her to make me an H...however she wanted, whatever didn't matter to me, because I knew if it came from her it would be fabulous!! Did I mention that she has a certain STYLE about her craftiness? LOVE IT!! So this is what she made for me!!

Fabulous...right?? Each little square is hand stitched on!! THANK YOU Karen...I know some time went into this and I ABSOULUTELY LOVE IT!!! I will be getting back to my PIFs after the new year!! I love making things and getting things and I know alot of you are like that too..and when it comes from someone you admire from afar...all the more better!! Which brings me to my next bloggy friend!!
During the SMS giveaway, I WON!! YAY!! And what made it all the more wonderful was that I won from a blog that I follow!! :D craftytammie is AWESOME!! She has three BEAUTIFUL children...thanks for the Christmas card girl!!, and manages to make it ALL!! :D Look what she sent me...

LOVE IT!! Between this awesome notebook and the fabulous one Beatrix sent me...I should have NO PROBLEMS keeping my New Year's resolution...To be MORE ORGANIZED!! I am not sure what I will do with the FQ yet, but I LOVE it!! Thanks girl..I know I shouldn't be greedy...but I see that you are going to have another giveaway soon.... HA!

Ok, one last one...I have been holding off with this one because I wanted to do more with it..but I wanted to properly say THANK YOU to my friend Amy!! She was SO sweet to cut me a couple of stencils and make up a "how to" kit for me!! I did it right away, somewhat...and they have been sitting waiting for me to add a little more "flare"!!
The girls are soooo excited with how they came out, and ask me about them all of the time, but Christmas gifts kinda took over my sewing room and they got pushed back!! I don't think I even sent you a picture Amy...sorry!! I really am VERY appreciative of all I've received and feel so blessed to have such sweet friends!! Thank you all so much for being a part of my life and making me feel GREAT no matter what might be going on in my real life!! I hope you all have a safe and wonderful New Year!! And I HIGHLY recommend visiting ALL of these talented friends of mine, I can say first hand that the quality of what these ladies are putting out there is TOP-rated!! Until later...

Monday, December 21, 2009

I've Been Monogramming....

...among lots of other things!! Just a quick post to get some pictures off of my camera! I did some Christmas shirts for family...
and a couple of orders...

This is the AWESOME shoulder bag from tiny happy! It is one of my favorite "goto"s!
This bag was for my Momma to give as a gift to a friend. Of course it is SAINTS inspired, but because they have been winning like CRAZY it has been hard to find Saints fabric, so I thought the cheetah in my stash would work!!And some monogramming orders for my friend...
This is the apron I used as a pattern to make the Pre-K Christmas ones.The monogramming is so hard to see. I was trying to match the pink in the ice cream cone, which I didn't do...just the name. I guess white or yellow would have worked much better!
Here are a few gifts I've done for Birthdays last week.

I used the apron pattern again for this one. It is clear vinyl which my serger had a little trouble getting it they make Teflon serger feet??? So the bottom wasn't as straight as it should be. I also used grommets for the first time!! I even have the grommet plier tool kit, but it still took me THREE tries to get it right!! But I really like the effect...hope it holds well!!
Next I had a couple of my "Girls" with birthdays...

OF COURSE we are all COFFEE drinkers!! Gotta have that instant ENERGY to get all of those School projects DONE!! :D I made one more that was really cute, but sadly didn't take a picture..oh well! I am a pretty sad gift between all of the running last week, I didn't wrap them or anything...just kind of "threw" it at them when I saw them in passing at school functions!! Luckily we have THAT kind of relationship...they throw stuff at me, I throw stuff at them....welcome to the world of BUSY Mommas!! :D Well that is all for now!! I have FOUR days to get things finished....the race is ON!! Until later...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Christmas Spirit and other Givings

WHAT a WEEK!! And it is almost over...WHEW!! It all started when I got back from my folks, Sunday afternoon. I had yet to go through the lights to put on the house and wanted to get that DONE!!! Thankfully, they all worked and were up in less than an hour!

The Christmas tree was finished and "falling" nicely.
And the Elf was on the Shelf waiting for the children to fall asleep, so he could report back to Santa.

And the stockings were all hung in a nice neat row! If you were with me last Christmas, you will remember that it took me a WHILE to get all of these cut, monogrammed, assembled, sewn, then hand stitched with little embellishments.

Isn't our little hand print tree so cute? I was saying...back from my folks, where I went for a birthday party. Which also gave me an opportunity to give them this:

Isn't it FABULOUS?? I used EVERY gizmo and gadget I have to get this done!! After I cut the burlap and felt, I monogrammed the candy cane letters that make up GRAMMY AND POPPIE'S, then sewed all of the wording to the burlap. THEN I used my Serger to put the felt backing on the burlap. Next up, the glue gun...I didn't want stitch seams in the ribbon, so I glued it to the burlap..THEN glued the sequin trim on the ribbon. I got REALLY good at that while embellishing those Mardi Gras costumes...remember! :D I won't talk about the lettering I used for CHRISTMAS yet, since that is a Christmas present from my folks and "technically" I shouldn't be using it!! *oops* I did sew the top ribbon border because it is a sleeve for the rod. And lastly, hand sewed the little jingle bells on. DONE!! I love it!

So, home...lights on house...
The middle Child's Pre-K party!! I am room mom for the month of December, so I hosted the Christmas party. We had some FUN!! The theme...BAKING!

I made TWELVE aprons!! 11 for the children, and one for the teacher! They were pretty easy. I didn't do anything fancy. I used an apron a friend of mine brought over to have her daughter's name monogrammed on as my pattern. I used 3 basic fabrics. The green and white stripe is some remnant pieces of canvas...LOVE the remnant basket at JoAnn's!! The red is corduroy left over from the placemats I did for my brother and his wife, yes I always buy WAY more fabric than I actually need!! Doesn't EVERYONE?? :D And the white is an AWESOME find at Goodwill! It was a really heavy table cloth...$2!! I also got some other AWESOME finds..but that is for a later post...this one is already picture heavy enough!! Cut, serge, sew!! Ribbons for the neck loop and waist ties...and a little initial to personalize...but we aren't talking about that until AFTER Christmas!! ;) The children LOVED them and so did the teacher and parents...yep, I'm a KISS UP!! Only 7 children were there that day..but today was the Christmas program and the other children were happy to get theirs!! We have all girls and one little boy in our class...they were all angels in the program, with one Shepard! After they put on their aprons, we played "Pin the Cookie in the Oven", then "Pass the Cookie". I made up a quick gingerbread softie for them to pass around in a circle to Christmas music. Really cute!!

So made it through that...rush home to CLEAN because at 4 pm we had 11 Girl Scouts over for a Stitching party!! They stitched stocking ornaments for an Arts and Crafts Badge!

Some used a Running Stitch, some used a Whip Stitch, and one even tried a Blanket Stitch! Thanks Kimara for the stocking pattern and Stitch Glossary! We had fun, the girls were SUPER excited about stitching and many were asking their mom's for sewing kits for Christmas!! We stuffed our faces and then ran up and down the stairs until it was time to go home....whew, WHAT a DAY!!

Wednesday was a "Catch up with my bloggy friends" day, then that evening I HAD to decide what to make for Ms. Priss' teacher. I had already given the Apron to the Middle Child's teacher, so she was done. Well, I had so much fun making the banner for my folks....

It is a little banner for her classroom door! So the story with the gumballs....the FIRST day of school, the kids homework was to read a poem and EAT CANDY!! The little poem was cute and almost every line had the name of a candy in it, so when the kids got to the end of the line, they were to eat the candy! FUN, right? So this teacher, has a sweet tooth and uses gumballs as rewards! I just thought the ruler would be cute...since she IS a teacher! :D And now for the sweet tooth.....

Did I mention that I FINALLY got around to some BAKING? mmmmm...cookies...peppermint bark....more cookies IN cherry candy cane bark...and OREO TRUFFLES!! THE BEST!! Ok, so the only thing that I actually baked were the shortbread cookies! I LOVE SHORTBREAD COOKIES!! I actually love ALL cookies, but shortbread is my favorite. They are not too sweet and they are "crumbly"....LOVE that!! So I added little bits of toffee for the first time....HEAVEN!! I still have more cookies to make, check out Wee Folk Art, they have some GOOD cookie recipes!!

Ok...THAT IS ALL for now!! I actually had another picture, but I thought this is ENOUGH for now! :D I will have to start posting everyday to squeeze it all in before Christmas!! I am getting some down time and sleeping as much as I need don't worry about me!! During the Holidays we tend to run on PURE ADRENALINE...and COOKIES!! Hope you all are getting done, what needs to be done and are being safe, because people are CRAZY on those roads!! Until later...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Elise Doll Pattern Review

I was SO EXCITED when my friend, Beatrix was looking for people to review her new pattern, the ELISE DOLL! I had a birthday party to go to and was considering what to make. I had already monogrammed an outfit, but wanted to give something handmade also. I LOVE this pattern. It is very well written and offers THREE bang and ponytail choices! AWESOME.
It is in a PDF ebook file, but she is also offering printed versions. I had no problems printing out the pattern pieces, other than a small half inch at the bottom of the dress, which was easy to fill in by drawing a line following the natural curve. I really like the size of this doll. It is approximately 18 inches, but can easily be enlarged or reduced on your printer to get the size you want. But I think the size is just right for the 4 year old little girl I was making it for!
As you can see, the new little Mommy is into Cowgirls for the moment, so I used some western print scraps I had laying around. I think I placed the legs a little too far apart, but cowboys/cowgirls are supposed to be a little bow-legged, right? :D And what is a cowgirl without her bandanna? Just another scrap sewed onto a ribbon and tied around the neck. I also added a couple of ribbons made using Kimara's Rip/Tear technique.
My curve sewing leaves alot to be desired, but the leg/foot and arm/hand pattern pieces are very generous, I am just not sure what was going on with her little face...I didn't notice how "off" my curve was until I started stuffing it...oh well, next time I will do better!! Speaking of stuffing, I used mostly Polyfil, but in the legs and a little in the bottom of the dress I used my Serger scraps. They are a little more heavy, and I think it added a nice little "weight" to the doll. :D
What I liked best about the pattern is the "common sense" of it all. It is written in a way that you can read through it and understand exactly what needs to be done, and if you happen to have any hmmmmm? moments, just look at one of the MANY fabulous pictures!! Ya gotta LOVE a photo heavy pattern!! And did I mention it offers THREE bang and ponytail choices??!! AWESOME!
So, my official word on this Pattern...IT IS ADORABLY DO-able!! And, I really like it!! :) So rush over to her Etsy shop and get you one! And if you don't want to make one, she will do it for sweet!!
So the next couple of posts are going to be CRAZY, because that is what my life has been like around here!! :D I will try to keep the photos down to less than TEN!! But because I don't post often, I tend to try and cram everything into one post...sorry! I also WON during the Sew Mama Sew giveaway I will be posting about that too...and my wonderful friend Marguerite had her 100th post giveaway and I won a fabulous canvas print from her as well...can't wait to get it, I have PLANS for it!! Hope everyone is managing to get a little REST time for yourselves in all of the Christmas CRAZYness!! Until later...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Little Giving...A Little Receiving!

So it was brought to my attention that we only have TWO WEEKS until Christmas!! Of course I said..."ACK!!" Where is all of the time going?? I'm not done!! I don't have the lights on my house...I haven't baked the first Christmas cookie...although I plan on making a couple from recipe's found on Wee Folk Art...yum!! I haven't taking pictures of my children in front of the tree to print out Christmas cards to put in the mail!! I do plan on doing that tomorrow since I am going to my folks this weekend and can save myself a couple of stamps :) I THINK I am done Santa was such a whirlwind on Black Friday and then I just shoved it all in the attic...I really need to get in there and see what I actually got and make sure there are equal amounts of gifts, or we will NEVER hear the end of it!! I also plan on making a few things, but I was so stressed last year and didn't get everything finished on time that I did not want to put that much on me this year!

So on with the giving... my brother's birthday was at the beginning of November, and because he didn't want anything specific from me...he did what all good husband's should do and let his wife decide what I should make for him!

Good choice, huh? This is a fabric banner. I made it with some corduroy scraps, felt, ribbon, tulle, and a gold "rope" that I found on the Christmas ribbon aisle at Hobby Lobby. Here is what the scraps were left from...

So this was the birthday/ Christmas present from last year that I FINALLY got around to making!! Since I missed the Christmas season, I was told that it was no rush as long as they had it for THIS Christmas!! I cut it pretty close, but sent it back with my sister this past weekend! Here is a close-up of the embroidery design...isn't it pretty?

My sister was over this way for her husband's family. They were doing their Christmas with ALL of the relatives. So my sister calls me last Tuesday and says, stop me if you've heard this, "so what cha got laying around?" Excuse me...WHAT? Sorry, I am NOT Walmart! I am definitely not organized enough to have pre-made gifts just waiting for someone to call me! So I say, "Just tell me what you need/want and I'll tell you if I can do it in 4 days!" Her response? "Well I don't want you to have to go buy anything".....UGH!! JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT!!! You know, I love my sister...but she does this to me ALL OF THE TIME!! At least my SIL gives me 6 months notice and tells me what she wants!! Ok...moving on!

We decided to go with simple and quick...a pillowcase dress and a bib, can't get much simpler than that! And since the next time my BIL's family will all get together again is Mardi Gras, that is the designs she chose.
A pillowcase dress for an almost 2 year old.
And a bib for a 9 month old. The back is a super soft fleece.
"Oh and by the way, can you make me something for my boss' baby boy?"

I love this flannel. I have tons of it and plan on making PJs for my children...someday!
It is kinda "Christmas-Retro", don't you think?
So, while I am working like CRAZY to get this all done for good friend Jane calls me up and asks if I have a shirt for a "Birthday girl"? I can make one for you.
It was a rush job, and EMMA is not centered....oops. But she loved it anyway and that is all that matters, right?
Ok..I've had this since the end of October, but waited until Thanksgiving to give it to my Momma. It put me ON TOP of the "Favorite Child" list!
It is all of the grandchildren, and was made by my bloggy friend Melanie!! She is super SKILLED in the ways of Polymer Clay! And as you can see...custom orders are welcomed!! Go check out her Etsy shop!! TONS of beautifulness going on!! And she just finished the Princess Collection...they are too sweet!!
Ok, NOW for the RECEIVING!!
My friend Beatrix has been SPOILING me!! She sent me this little ornament because I DIDN'T win her giveaway!! How sweet is that!! I can't find my little note that came with it, at the moment..but I will tell you about it when I do!! And then she surprises me with THIS:
AWESOME, right?? And those little sayings...SO ME!! At least that is what my husband says!! HA! And it came with this little sachet filled with the calming smell of fresh dried Lavender!! MMMM!

AND, I just received her Elise Doll .pdf pattern to "test"! So far, I am loving it!! I will post pictures and do a "proper" review when I am done!
So...THAT is what I've been up to...with LOTS more to post at another time because it is 2 am, and I am TIRED!!! Until later...

Monday, December 7, 2009 kinda town!

Happy Monday!! I am doing this post for my friend Marguerite!! She is always doing such interesting posts about her historic and beautiful town and has challenged us to do the same. Lafayette is not my hometown...but we have been here for almost 10 years and I had all three of our children here, so it does hold a special place in my heart. Marguerite, I am sorry to "Cut & Paste" photos and info...but it has been rainy yucky here and I don't like to leave my house anyway!! :D So here goes...
The above photo is from the Oil Center, which is a shopping area and full of local business. They had their Lighting Ceremony this weekend, which I wanted to go to, but it was cancelled because of bad weather Friday night, and I woke up with a sinus FACEache Saturday and just couldn't THINK...let alone leave my house!! Lafayette has TONS of shopping....if you see something you want, you better get it because it won't be there when you go back for it!! Chelle, I am not including pictures of our TWO Targets...sorry!! :D There are ALOT of RICH ppl here, because of the Oil and Gas Industry...which is why there is so many shopping centers and restaurants for such a smallish city! Wish I was independently wealthy...but I am happy as we are, so moving on....
Lafayette Louisiana was originally founded as Vermilionville in 1821 by a French-speaking Acadian named Jean Mouton. It was renamed in 1884 after the Marquis de Lafayette for his assistance to the U.S. during the Revolutionary War. The economy of Lafayette Louisiana depended upon agriculture up to the 1940s. After that time, Lafayette LA became a center for the petroleum and natural gas industry.

They have two historic villages like this. The other is Acadian Village, which is supposed to have a beautiful Christmas display...maybe we will try to go to that? Vermillionville, which is the above picture, has a nice Fall Festival of games, music, face painting and walking through the village "trick or treating" and learning about the first settlers!

The historical event of the 18th century which had the greatest cultural impact on Lafayette was the migration of the Acadians from French Canada. Approximately 18,000 French-speaking Catholic inhabitants settled Acadie (now Nova Scotia) in 1605 and lived there under French rule until 1713 when the region went into English hands.
Faced with the refusal of the Acadians to pledge allegiance to the British crown and Anglican Church, English Governor Charles Lawrence took action. Acting on his own and not under orders from the crown as he professed, he gave the orders that led to the expulsion of the Acadians in 1755, also known as "Le Grand Derangement."
Families were separated and as the Acadians went to sea under dreadful conditions, more than half lost their lives. The exiles ended up in many locations and in 1784, the King of Spain consented to allow them to settle in South Louisiana.

The majority of Lafayette is Catholic, which we are not. This church also has an active private school, which are in ABUNDANCE in Lafayette, as well as public schools. Lafayette also offers a French Immersion program, where you can send your children to a certain school (one for each level, ie. primary, secondary...high school) where they will learn their entire education in French!
And of course we have our own University. UL Lafayette, home of the Rajun Cajuns!
Cypress Lake was originally a grove of trees, this area was flooded during World War I as a water reserve to quench possible fires from air attacks. Today it is a beautiful lake unique to our campus. The lake contains alligators, bullfrogs, turtles, and an abundance of fish and cypress trees. UL Lafayette is the only university in the United States with a swamp on its campus.

Yep, you read that right...the UL campus has its own SWAMP folks!! Lots of that around here!!
This is the bridge I have to drive across EVERYTIME we go to my folks. It is 18 miles long...over water!!

The winding, mist-laden waters of the Atchafalaya Basin, teeming with its own aquaculture system, have shaped the peoples of this area as well as provided a background for much of the folklore of the area. The basin is the largest river swamp in the country and the ebb and flow of the tidal marshes was adapted into a way of life that included abundant seafood, artistry, music and most of all, a natural barrier to the outside world that allowed a language and culture to flourish in its natural surroundings.
This is located in the Downtown area, which is where the Children's Museum, Museum of History and the Planetarium, as well as tons of shopping, art galleries, restaurants, and bars.
Cajun music is the product of creolization, like most other features of Louisiana French culture. The Cajun sounds are a blend of German, Spanish, Scottish, Irish, Anglo-American, Afro-Caribbean and American Indian influences with a base of western French and French Acadian folk tradition. They are most noted for their up-beat tempos, cheerful lyrics and peculiar dance rhythms.
That is Parc International, which is where there are outdoor concerts as well as Music Festivals like Festival International and Festival Acadians. This is also where we take the kids to see "Movies in the Parc".
So as you can see...Lafayette is full of history and has TONS of kid-friendly things to do, which includes an AWESOME family-oriented Mardi Gras, which I have posted about before and will probably again. I am just now starting to take advantage of all it has to offer. So maybe as time goes on, I will post more about this town where we live! Here are some parting shots of my kids FAVORITE thing in the Downtown area!!
We can't seem to go ANYWHERE near this without going IN!! Doesn't matter time of year....or time of day!!
And here is MY favorite part of Lafayette

HOME SWEET HOME!!! This was taken last year when it snowed and stuck for a day...unlike this past weekend where it "flurried" and then started raining!! Oh well, I do live in South Louisiana..I can only expect so much!! :D Until later...