Friday, December 29

I'm making good progress on the penny rug I'm working on. It's my belated part of a trade with a wonderful mama-friend. I hope to be finished with it and have it on its way by Monday. I just have the backing and the edging to go.

I also plan to have laundry caught up, the house whipped back into shape, and the children back to homeschooling by Monday.

The kids received quite a few computer games for Christmas and I haven't imposed limits on their screen time since then. However I'm starting to see the effects (short tempers and a general sense of spazziness when they've finally pulled themselves away). So it's time to get back into our routine.

Yesterday, in a lame attempt to distract them from the computer, they made graham cracker "gingerbread" houses. Mason sort of ate his as he built it. He spent a good hour building but had nothing to show for it in the end. Here's Isabelle's house in all it's glory.

Oh! This gave me a giggle... I had my husband stop on his way home from work to pick up some candy for decorating the houses. He isn't all that confident of his abilities to properly execute such tasks. He did fine though. What had me giggling was that he bought a giant bag of red hots. They were great for decorating...nice and small. But I asked him why such a huge bag. His thought was that the kids could just eat the rest. He seemed shocked when I told him that kids don't like red hots. I mean they're HOT. They were the halloween candy that held no trade value. I likened them to lemon drops. Another candy that doesn't seem to be meant for children. And then he admitted that he also likes lemon drops. Ah! So he was the one kid who actually ate red hots without having been dared. :-)

Wednesday, December 27

It's been a few days, hasn't it?

This household still hasn't completely recovered from the Christmas frenzy. But I'm making progress. Slowly but surely. We've been hit by another rounds of illness. Some of the family that we saw on Christmas Eve was sick and shared. So far only Mason and I are afflicted. Since I was at the tail end of the previous cold I didn't see it coming. Which means I failed to head it off with Zicam (I love that stuff!). But, if you're going to be sick, this lazy week between Christmas and the new year is a good week for it.

It's become quite difficult for me to get any computer time. The children got all sorts of wonderful computer games and have been on the computer non-stop. I only found it free just now because Isabelle is at her friend's house and Mason is napping. He never sleeps at 11:30am. See, sickness can be handy.

On the crafty front, I'm in "finish the works-in-progress" mode. I finished up the little redwork embroidery piece, painted the frame, and framed it. I finished the giant granny sqaure (50" x 50") blanket I started last spring in an effort to use up yarn from my stash. Well, it's almost finished. I am halfway finished with the crab stitch edging.

But the rolls of fun in the picture are for a future project. I picked them up at Target's after-Christmas clearance yesterday. I want to make some of those little sparkly, snowy houses I've been seeing. I saw some really precious houses when blog hopping. Only now I can't remember where I saw them. One blog had them under a glass cloche. (found it!), (found another one!), (and yet another!) I still need to get my hands on some bottle brush trees. And if anyone can point me toward some pictures of those wintery houses, I'd be so appreciative. I'm hoping I can make some houses from cardstock. Would that work, ya think?

You see, around here Christmas and winter are too entirely different decorating events. And it's almost time to decorate for winter. I bought some borax yesterday to make these. We'll hang them in the living room window once the tree is out of the way.

By the way, if you're a big book hoarder (yes, I hoard), head on over to Book Closeouts. They're having a sale where if you spend $5 on books you get $5 worth of free books. They match whatever you spend with free books. So if you spend $100 you get $100 in free books. You have to click the link in the shopping cart to shop for the free books. Big fun!

I hope everyone had a marvelous holiday filled with joy and love!!

Thursday, December 21

Our pup, Sugar, will be 7 years old next April. In all that time I've never put a bow on her. Until now. Oh my gosh, what was I waiting for!?! I gave her a bath today and made her a little bow (well, not so little lol) on a whim. I don't think she'll be bowless for the rest of her life.

Bettsi requested a picture of our new nativity set all set up. It's Jim Shore's Hearthwood Creek. I just love it.

I seem to be queen of the blurry pictures these days. I pushed so many buttons on my camera while trying to get a picture of the Christmas tree that I don't know how to get it back to normal. Maybe if I took the batteries out...

Nothing much interesting going on here. I'm trying to organize a bit despite being sick. Someone (I think that's me) needs to get busy wrapping presents. And someone (me again, I think) needs to do some baking!

Tuesday, December 19

I've managed to catch a bit of a cold. It's ok though. I needed a good excuse to rest. Life has been moving at much too fast a pace for my taste.

I've been trying to restore order to my stash of supplies. And I haven't managed to keep myself from playing. When I was cleaning up the felt scraps I happened upon a new box of pencils. Hmmmm...pencil people. They aren't exactly practical as the eraser is hidden. But sometimes fun is more important than practical.

I made these wee little baby bracelets for an order. I can't even believe they will actually fit a human child. They're sooo in doll sized. I will be amazed if I'm not asked to make them bigger!

The bracelet on the left is made with lapis lazuli, sterling silver, and tiny Swarovski crystals. The one on the right is Czech glass beads, sterling silver, and Swarovski crystals.

I've also finished decorating the Christmas tree. I've mellowed out about the alien pod lights. Once the ornaments were on it was a bit better. And the blueish glow does sort of match the tree skirt.

Last year I bought a few scented beeswax star ornaments from Dreamseeds. I adore them! So much so that I needed lots more.

I don't know if I've admitted it here, but I'm a bit of a candle freak. I prefer to buy them in glass jars (love them with a lid!) so I can clean them out and use the jar when the candle is gone. Well I save the wax bits. Last year I melted down what I had on hand and cut out some stars with a cookie cutter.

I've been melting wax and cutting out more stars today. I mixed together all colors/scents of wax and ended up with a nice red color. I also added in some extra fragrance oil. My entire living room smells just heavenly!

I store the wax ornaments in a big baggie and all of last year's stars still smell wonderful.

I thought I'd share a picture of the completely decorated tree. It's decorated simply...tin tinsel, wax stars, a few small ball ornaments, and lots of candy canes!

Oh, and one of the pictures I snapped captured the blue alien glow of the creepy led lights in all their glory. I'm sorry it's so blurry. But at least you can really see what I was talking about. They are so gosh darn bright! They do blend in quite a bit now with all the other tree busyness. But when it was just lights and garland...whoa!

Monday, December 18

Getting ready for the birthday party

My very favorite Christmas tradition is the birthday party we have for Jesus. We decorate the dining room with crepe paper and balloons. We also make and decorate a birthday cake. We even light candles on the cake and sing "Happy Birthday".

My husband has always thought the whole thing is a bit odd but it's one of the few traditions from my childhood that escaped the dysfunction. And as a Christian, it goes a long way toward keeping the focus of Christmas where I believe it should be in our home.

I had also picked up some crackers at Target. However, I learned the hard way that they are something that needs to be kept hidden until the last moment. I had set them in a basket with all the party things. Mason was obviously intrigued. Every few hours I'd hear a loud "pop". I'd call out to Mason asking him what he was doing as I made my way to his bedroom. I found him with his hands hidden under a blanket and his response to my question was a feeble, "Nothing". He was so cute I couldn't be annoyed. So in one day two children blew through all 8 crackers.

Next time I go to Target I'm going to pick up some of the more expensive crackers (they had better contents) and keep them hidden until the party. :-)

Sunday, December 17

And the winner is...

I put the names of all who responded to my 100th post in hat. A doll's hat, actually. It just happened to be handy. :-)

My husband was also handy so I had him pick the name. He pulled out Bettsi.

Isabelle walked by and expressed her displeasure at not being the name picker in a most dramatic, pre-teen manner. So, she got to pick a name too. She chose Lorissa.

I put the hat and winning names down on the table. Mason walked by, stuck his hand in the hat, and handed me a slip of paper that said June. He asked, "What's this?". I said, "Third place, apparently. And stop picking names!".

I can't ignore second and third place winners when it all seems meant-to-be. I'm not quite sure what you've won just yet. But I love putting together gifts and I can't wait to send a surprise your way.

This was a lot of fun for me. I'll definitely be doing this again! Congratulations, winners!

Lorissa and June, I don't have an email address for either of you. Could you please email your mailing address to me at bellesmomma AT yahoo DOT com THANKS!!

Saturday, December 16

Will it be you?

I'll be drawing the winner of the gift basket I put together in celebration of my 100th blog post tomorrow. If you haven't replied to this post, go do it now, by golly!! You can always go back to lurking as soon as you're done. ;-)

The last of the Christmas orders have left the building

I can't tell you how relieved I am to have them all out the door. The past 7 or 8 weeks have been a bit of a blur.

I still have one project in progress but it doesn't involve Christmas or a child (it's a mama trade). I'm horribly late with it which isn't like me. But I had to put it aside or else I wouldn't earn my elf ears. I'm hoping my lateness is forgivable. I'm looking forward to working on the penny rug though.

I'm not so much in the mood for Narnia characters anymore. I think I've had my fill of them at the moment. :-) Well, I *could* make a Mr. Tumnus. He's my favorite and always has been since I first read the books as a child. I don't think I could ever get tired of him. And I was thinking of ways to make a lamp post just this morning.

I finished this bendy family the other day. I snapped this picture with a spoon for size reference for those who aren't as familiar with the bendy world.

I've probably made more than 1000 of these little people and it never gets old. Well, I do appreciate the occasional break from them. But they always make me smile.

I plan to spend the rest of today putting my home back together (it's been a bit neglected lately) and pulling out the rest of the Christmas decorations. We'll fill the tree with ornaments and maybe even get around to making a few more.

Have a great Saturday, friends!

Friday, December 15

Just WHAT was I thinking?!?!

Consider this post my very loud "silent scream".

We (well, I...with 2 kid tagalongs) finally got a Christmas tree. I admit to being a bit picky about such things. It was somewhat frustrating trying to find the perfect Christmas tree when I had to choose from what's left at this late date.

I walked past the white pines with their fat, round shape and long needles from which ornaments slide right off.

The blue spruce trees looked nice. Good cone shape. Then I touched one. Ouch! I wasn't going to be shoving lights into that prickly thing.

So, once again, I was standing in front of the pricey frasier firs. I shook them all to see which one was still holding firmly onto its needles. I smelled them for freshness. I spun them around so I could survey their shape from all angles. Finally, I chose one.

And then things went terribly wrong. I went inside Home Depot. Yes, I tree shopped at Home Depot. I went inside to pay. But this meant I had to walk past the table where the remaining Christmas merchandise was stacked. I thought to myself that it wouldn't be a bad idea to get some new lights. There's nothing worse than pulling out the old lights to find that they don't work.

The kids wanted colored lights. So I bought this pack of 300. And then these clear, faceted bulbs caught my eye. I imagined how they'd look on the tree. Simple white lights inside a faceted bulb. In my mind they were simple, elegant, and vintage-looking. I bought 2 boxes for a total of 100 faceted lights.

The tree is only halfway decorated right now. It's in the stand. The lights are on it. I hate it. I really hate it.

Those $(*#&%*(# faceted bulbs are NOT simple NOR are they elegant. They are hideous led lights that glow an eerie purplish-blue. Like those headlights that you can't help but stare at even though they're making you blind. They look like some alien being laid glowing eggs all over my tree.

I added my homespun rag garland and the wooden bead/button garland hoping they would somehow tone it down. You can't even see the garland through the alien pods.

My children love it. They think it's super cool. My husband loves it. He even went outside to see how it looks from the street. Hey hon, how's it look from the international space station? I'm sure they can see it from there.

I don't even feel like finishing it. All my lovely tin tinsel will just reflect the eerie glow. My beautiful folk art tree skirt with it's handmade nativity scene... Oh, I want to cry. It's just so wrong.

Ok, I finally got a picture that sort of captures the weird periwinkle glow. Don't look at the actual tree. For some reason they are coming across as actually being white (although still WAAAAAY too glowy) in the picture. Click on the picture to make it big. Then look at the reflection in the window behind the tree. See that weirdly colored glow? THAT is what color it really is. And yes, it really does glow as brightly as it appears. It's just awful. And my whole family loves it.

(Adding a morning picture of the tree. Maybe it'll be better once the ornaments are on)

Tuesday, December 12

The big order is DONE!!

All of this (the last portion of the big order to be finished and mailed) is finished and has been packaged, boxed up, and mailed off.

After the post office I stopped at walgreens to get a prescription filled. While I was sitting in the waiting area I got brave and sat my bottom in the chair with the massaging cushion on it for people to sample. Of course, no one ever sits in it when the waiting area is busy. And it was busy. I tried to not have an overly blissful expression on my face. Not sure if I succeeded. It was pretty blissful.

I think I need this one though. Seems similar to, but much cheaper than, the iJoy chair I've been coveting for quite a while now.

I'm loving all the responses to the 100th post!! I've decided I'm going to do give-aways more often. :-)

Monday, December 11

It's here! My 100th post!

I am amazed at how quickly keeping a blog became an addiction. And I'm amazed at how much a part of my life it's become. I feel so blessed to have "met" so many wonderfully kind and talented people through this outlet. I truly treasure every response (even if I've been a bit lax in responding lately). Blog responses are the first emails I open, without fail. They always make me smile.

Given the fact that this is my insanity week, I won't be filling this 100th post with the "100 things about me" I so often see. I love reading through those lists though. So it's possible I may just do something along those lines after this week has passed.

And here is the gift basket I've put together. This little basket is stuffed full, I tell ya. It includes a box of Gingerbread Soap Petals (they're sooo cute!), 2 blue and white potholders I made (yes, I still love those potholder looms!), a blank journal and notecards made with handmade paper (NOT made by me), 25 "Green Tea" incense cones and a holder in which to burn them (I made these, the incense, not the tea is my bedroom scent), a flour sack towel I embroidered, and a wee bendy maiden.

All you have to do to included in the drawing is reply to this post. You don't have to be eloquent. Just admit you were here. And make sure you include your email address in the appropriate spot when replying, so I can reach you if you win.

I'll do the drawing on Sunday.

Sunday, December 10

This week is the one where I tend to wig out a bit. Everything has to be finished and in the mail by Friday. Or else.

This is what I've completed this weekend. There are multiples of some of these so it's really more. But who needs to see 2 Mr. Tumnuses (Tumni? lol!)

I am sooo close to being finished with "the big order". I just have 3 dragons (which are cut out, ready to sew) and 2 penguins (I lost my pattern and have to start from scratch on these) and 5 sets of fairy mail...and then I'm finished!

I didn't quite realize how big this order was. It didn't look so big when since it was a list of maybe 15 different things. But there were multiples of most things. I didn't count it all up until yesterday. Sixty-one items. I'm glad I didn't count it up in the beginning. I might have completely freaked out!

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this week plays out. I work well under pressure. My husband knows that if I so much as warm a can of soup for dinner it'll be a miracle. Old Mr. Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome is rearing his ugly head in a big, bad way...finally. I've been expecting him. But so far it's mostly just pain. I can manage that with meds. I had a bit of numbness today. That's the thing that makes me mad. I was able to manage by doing the big shake-shake dance. Gets the blood back into my hands. LOL! So far I'm winning the race, I think.

I was really pleased with how Mr. Tumnus turned out. I just drew up the pattern for him today. He's a wee guy...only 4 1/2" tall (11cm for you metric people). I was thrilled to see that he stands on his own with the help of his tail.

Ah well, these old bones are tired. I think I'll head to bed early so I can tackle some early morning dragon sewing.

And, hey, this makes post #99. You know what that means... :-D

Friday, December 8

We haven't done much holiday decorating yet

I am hoping I'll be able to convince my husband that tonight Monday would be a good night to get a tree. I need to get started on wrapping presents and it's much easier to get motivated when there's a tree to put them under.

So far we've only done little touches of decorating. Of course, the nativity set is out. The gingerbread people are loose. And Colette has been de-autumned.

I made this little stocking for her to hold. The feather tree pattern came from the free pattern offerings at Vicki's wonderful store, Pattern Bee.

I had planned to make Colette some angel wings and a new collar to fancy her up for Christmas. No time for that just yet though.

I think wings would be perfect for the holidays since she has a star above her head. Our house is a split-level. When you walk in the front door you are in a small foyer and are faced with steps leading up on the left and steps leading down on the right. Colette hangs on the bit of wall above the steps that lead down. Since she's one of the first things you see when you enter our home, I want to keep her seasonally correct.

Thursday, December 7

Busy, busy, busy!

I received such fun stuff in the mail yesterday! It's killing me that I can't yet sit and play with it. I just need to be patient...the time will come soon enough.

I received the squares from the winter quilt square swap as well as a kit on Cro-tatting.

I'm still knee-deep in holiday orders. But I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm just so antsy to put up a tree, decorate, bake cookies, and do holiday crafties with the children.

I'm determined that I will work on creating stock for my site all through the year next year. I tend to slack off and work on personal projects during the slower times. I definitely think it's time I not do that anymore.

On a good (wonderful!) note my hands have been behaving themselves! I have had problems for years with swelling, numbness, and pain in my hands. They don't usually tolerate over-use all that well. But for some reason they're doing just fine!

I have found that it helps if I use my hands in a different way when they begin feeling sore or numb. What seems to work is making a few pairs of earrings. Working with pliers and such is such a different action from holding a needle. With all the sewing I've been doing, I've also accumulated a good sized pile of finished earrings. I just finished adding them to my Etsy shop.

Sunday, December 3


I just realized that my last post was #95...almost to 100 posts!! Ooh...and this makes 96! I've got my give-away gift all ready. Can't wait!

Christmas in the dollhouse

Not the cool dollhouse kits Isabelle and I bought a while back. No, we haven't mustered the courage to tackle those yet. But Christmas has hit the sturdy toy dollhouse.

We were still without electricity yesterday. And since it was really cold inside out house (got down to 49 degrees inside before we gave up) we went to the in-law's house (where I posted from yesterday). I had grabbed a bunch of crafting supplies before we left. But, it turned out that I could only get so far on orders with what I had brought along. When I was no longer able to work on orders I whipped up a tree for the dollhouse. From the look of things, they had a wild Christmas party while I was out grocery shopping today. I think that mouse girl is a bad influence. The dolls were always quite reserved before she came along.

Saturday, December 2

We're living the pioneer life

We had some crazy ice storms (followed by snow) come through Thursday/Friday. At about 2am Friday morning we lost power. It's still out (we are at my in-law's at the moment).

I've always been drawn to a simple, pioneer-like lifestyle. But without a wood stove or fireplace it just isn't any fun. Although, I am quite pleased with the oil lamp I bought Wednesday. I should have bought several.

I'm feeling stressed as far as crafting goes. My hands just do not function well in a house that is 49 degrees. And as lovely as the oil lamp is, it's still too dark to sew after 4pm. I could crochet though. Too bad I don't have an pending orders that involve crocheting.

Tuesday, November 28

Isn't this the cutest EVER!?!

Our little dog, Sugar, is the sweetest dog ever. I don't know if it's the breed (she's a bichon frise...which is supposed to be a sweet natured dog) or just her, but she is the loviest, cuddliest, sweetheart of a dog.

She is so sweet and friendly to other animals...including animals that many dogs would try to eat. Well, Rice-the-pig wandered over to the dog. She started nudging at Sugar. The dog responded by rolling onto her side. And the little pig was rooting around trying to nurse. She finally gave up and snuggled in for a nap. The dog reached her head down and gave her a gentle licky-kiss on the back before falling asleep herself.

Just the sweetest thing ever, I tell ya!

Monday, November 27

Is it Christmas already?

Well, it is here. Both kiddos wanted a guinea pig for Christmas. Isabelle already has 2 but, apparently, that wasn't enough.

Last week we went to Petco to LOOK. I wanted to get an idea of how much it would cost as we'd need 2 new cages. Well, the kids did more than just look. They picked out the EXACT piggies they wanted. Since it isn't likely the same pigs would be there in a month, Christmas came early.

Isabelle named her pig "Smudge" and Mason came up with the glorious name "Rice" all by himself. (coincindentally, we had rice with dinner tonight...hmmm) It was his very first time getting to name a pet of his very own. Perhaps I should have devoted some time preparing him for the responsibility of choosing a name. :)

Saturday, November 25

We had a lovely Thanksgiving Day at my in-law's house. I hope everyone reading had a pleasant day as well!

There is usually a lot of time spent sitting and talking or movie watching during holiday visits. I just cannot sit around while doing nothing with my hands. I just can't. I feel... odd... like when you're shopping and someone else is pushing the cart. Almost...naked.

So my portable project for Thanksgiving day was this flour sack towel. I recently noticed I'm nearing 100 posts (this is #91) and being the lover-of-tradition that I am, I plan to do the whole drawing thing. This towel will be included in my 100th post gift. I'm having great fun planning this gift!!

I also worked on wrapping a few more bendy doll bodies that day. And that leads to what I have planned for this weekend. I just finished cleaning the house. As soon as I'm done here I'll be heading to my bedroom with my pot of tea, chick flicks, and bendy doll supplies.

My potpourri supplies arrived the other day and I now have a limited supply of my Winter blend available (All Sold...Thank you!) at my Etsy Shop. I also made tons of incense (some matches the potpourri blend, some is scented creme brulee) but it's not quite ready.

Etsy was upgraded recently. I'm thrilled that they now allow more than one item in your cart at the same time as well as the option to discount shipping for multiple items. It's a dream come true, I tell ya.

This potpourri is a blend of birch cones, 1" cinnamon sticks, rose hips, cedar tips, and pine tips. It is richly scented with a heavenly mixture of vanillas, evergreen, a hint of orange, and spice (cinnamon, clove, and a hint of allspice).

I'm inlcuding a package of cedar and pine tips (to edge your bowl or basket), some dried orange slices to nestle into the potpourri, and a star ornament I made. I'm loving these stars and plan to make many for my Christmas tree.

That's my past few days in a nutshell. And the tea kettle just whistled at me so it's movie/sewing time! :)

Tuesday, November 21

Oink! Baaa! Honk!

I've been stitchin' like a mad woman! The farm animals are all completed. Next up is bendy dolls...LOTS of bendy dolls. :)

In addition to all this sewing I did a bit of listing on eBay and Etsy

And...and! My nativity set arrived!! I wasn't expecting it until tomorrow. I just love it. I can't wait to get totally decorated!

Actually, I may need to take tomorrow off from crafting to do some extra cooking and cleaning. Decorating always helps me get into the mood to clean so maybe I'll pull some fun stuff out tomorrow.

Sunday, November 19

I seem to have settled into a bit of a weekend routine. We end the week with a whole house tidy on Fridays so I take a break from housework on the weekend. We also take a break from any formal homeschooling. My husband has been gone the past several weekends from early in the morning until evening. This has left me plenty of time for productive crafting.

So after waking up, having coffee at the computer, and getting dressed for the day, I make myself a large pot of tea. I set it up on my nightstand with its warmer which holds a candle to keep the pot steamy hot. I spread my supplies out on my bed and pull out the dvds Netflix sent me (usually documentaries or weepy dramas...movies that interest no one but me). When I run out of Netflix movies I pull out my Little House on the Prairie dvds.

Aside from cooking simple meals (or ordering pizza, like I did today), I barely move from that spot all weekend. Some might think this is an incredibly boring way to spend the weekend. I find it blissful. It recharges me.

When my husband makes it home my bag of wool moves off his spot so he can snuggle in for a nap. He is usually worn out enough that he doesn't even notice the girly stuff on tv. Although today I saved The DaVinci Code for us to watch together.

I made a lot of progress this weekend. I got a lot of ordered animals cut out. I wrapped 25 bendy doll bodies. Some animals are partially sewn (up to the point where I need to begin stuffing). And I got a couple cows and a sheep all the way finished. I hope to have all holiday orders completed and in the mail by December. I'd like to manage to get my site stocked a bit before the holidays are upon us. We'll see...

Friday, November 17

Isn't she just a doll?!

A while ago, maybe even as much as a year ago, my friend, Staci, gave me an Annie she had picked up at a garage sale. Nothing gives me that warm fuzzy feeling like someone saying, "I saw this and thought of you.". This is especially true as I'm often told that I'm a difficult person for whom to buy a present. I think I'm easy to please but it would be harder for someone who doesn't know their way around a craft, fabric, or book store to pick out something I'd love.

Anyway, this doll was cute but something was lacking. If you're a doll person you'll know what I mean when I say she just didn't have any life in her.

So last night I took a seam ripper to her. I removed her hair made of fabric strips. I plucked out her embroidered face.

Her skin was made of white muslin. She was much too pale. So I pulled out the walnut ink and stained and all.

This morning she was dry so I gave her a new face (with button eyes...Annies MUST have button eyes!) and new hair. I almost got teary-eyed (I know, I'm weird) when I looked at her and saw that she now has that spark of life in her. She looks so totally different than before. I can't believe I neglected her for a whole year.

I also wanted to mention that I am loving all the comments left by new friends!! I've been trying to limit my computer time in an effort to maximize my sewing time, so I haven't taken the time to respond to each comment individually. But I wanted to be sure you knew that I truly appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, November 15

Ok, I'm in the mood for Christmas

Bring it on!

The past few years I've gotten particular about holiday decorating. My persnicketiness only (well, mostly) applies to my house, so no worries. Actually, I've always been on the picky side. But now my weird imaginary rules have made holiday decorating a challenge that begs to be conquered.

I don't know if I've mentioned it here or not, but the biggest rule I have is that I cannot mix winter/Santa/snowmen/North Pole/etc with anything nativity oriented. The reason for this is that it does not snow in Bethlehem. I can't bear the thought of a desert scene and a winter scene sharing the same decorating space. If I had a huge house or multiple levels, and could do winter where it couldn't be seen from the desert I might be ok. But I don't have that sort of house. So it's one or the other.

I wouldn't dare choose snowmen and Santa over the birth of God's son so winter is out. Although I do decorate for winter in a non-Santa way after Christmas.

Over the past several years I've been collecting, a tiny bit at a time, decorations that I really, really love. I've been searching for a nativity set that I love but until now I haven't found one that was absolutely perfect. I toyed with the idea of making one but by the time inspiration strikes there just isn't time.

I finally found the perfect nativity set. I'm still searching the web to find the best price on the pieces I need (I can collect the shepherd set and the drummer boy set later). For some reason they leave the angel out of the combo set. I think she's pretty necessary.

The bottom line is, I'm psyched. I'm just as thrilled as I was 2 years ago when I found the most perfect tree skirt ever.

Oh, and I ordered the makings of a winter potpourri blend today. So more Christmas spirit is on it's way. I'm going to try my hand at making incense too. And, yes, I'm humming Christmas carols as I type.

Tuesday, November 14

Just horsin' around

I've been on a crazy horse-sewing mission the past few days. Add to that a bizarre allergic reaction to an herbal supplement to make things more interesting. I had to stay dosed up on benadryl because as soon as it started wearing off I could feel my throat swell as the itching returned. I don't know about you, but benadryl makes me feel like a zombie.

But, nothing like a mailing deadline to get me going, despite the comatose state. I mailed the box off this evening. YAY!

Here's the rest of the horses/unicorns that were mailed along with the horses shown above.

I was out tonight on my final mission to find winter (but not Christmas) fabric for a winter quilt square swap (on the sewing forum at Amitymama). It has been WAY more difficult that I thought it would be to find some good non-Christmassy winter fabric. I didn't want to get snowflake print fabric because that would have been too easy. I am pretty sure a gleeful squeal was heard by all when I found this cutie fabric (edited to add it's Alexander Henry's "Our Town"). I bought a bit extra so I could avoid the carolers. Without them it's all winter.

And I'm off to toss it in the washer. I will actually be on time! The mailing deadline for the swap is tomorrow! :)

Friday, November 10

They're finished!!

I had hoped to have these girlies finished yesterday. It seems I got a little caught up in the details of their clothing. I tend to do that...get lost in the details.

You'd be amazed at how much effort goes into getting that old, stained look. Everything gets stained with walnut ink and then baked. Yes, baked in the oven at 170 degrees (Farenheit) (the lowest my oven will go).

Little Miss Spunk over there is all ready for a baking session. She doesn't seem like the type you'd want to have too much sugar, though. I haven't decided whether she will be sold or if she needs to live here with me.

The other Annie is for a trade. The little doll quilt I made a bit ago is hers. I'm really pleased with how she turned out. Her dress has been stencilled...a heart on her chest (which really is nice...I should have paid attention to that fold of fabric that is making it look misshapen) and stars at her hemline.

Wednesday, November 8

Two lil' button-eyed girls

Those walnut-stained body parts have become doll people. As you can see, they have very different personalities. Miss Messy there on the left seems to have a bit of Romona Quimby...or maybe Junie B. her. I can't wait to get her clothing sewn because now that I've met her, I know that what I have planned totally suits her.

At the moment we're playing dollie day spa. Cheeks have been blushed, boots and hearts have been painted on, and only one girlie is still waiting on her striped stockings. Once her boots have dried fully, she will get her stripes.

Clothing will be dealt with tomorrow. :)

Sunday, November 5

I know, I know. But I've been busy.

For real and for true, I have. And I have proof! I've been working on wrapping up all my "in progress" projects. You see, I received a rather large order the other day. The time for dilly-dallying has passed.

Large orders bring on the need to organize and schedule. I actually do rather well under pressure. I fear my world collapsing so I stay on top of things which would normally bring out the procrastinator in me. I pull out the crock pot and start laundry first thing in the morning. It's scary, really.

Too bad that super-productive, efficient me can only visit for short periods of time. She tends to fizzle out after a few weeks and leaves behind this mere shell of a woman who needs 18 hours of sleep a day and much chocolate. So enjoy her while she's here. And be sure to send chocolate.

So those two horses are finished and ready to be mailed. And we have a finished fancy unicorn and her dragon friend. Also ready to go.

I know. You're thinking this has to be it. No way could there be anything else. It's just too much. But you'd be wrong.

On the other end of the crafting spectrum we have some primitive dolls in the works. All sewn and stuffed, I'm just waiting for the walnut ink staining to dry. Yes, I did that on purpose. It is supposed to look like that. It's ok. You don't have to like it (yes, Melissa, I'm talking to you...I promise to not hang them on the wall though).

And lastly, we have a doll quilt. It really is a rectangle. The camera's angle turned it into a bit of a trapezoid, I see.

I could SO get addicted to making these things. Seriously.

It's been stained with walnut ink too but much more mildly than the doll parts.

All you experienced quilters out there are gasping, I know. I was too lazy for binding but I also lost the option when the words "Faith" and "Friends" ended up too close to the edge. If the two red patches that are touching are making you twitch, please keep in mind I was going for a primitive/childlike/naive look. It was intentional. Really. :)

I have fallen in love with small bits of embroidery scattered around. The problem with this is the definition of "scrap of fabric worth saving" has now changed. Previously, a scrap of muslin the size of a slice of bread was easily considered trash. But not anymore. Now they're special and have purpose.

I think I need a new basket in which to collect these small bits.