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 her...clothing 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. Jones...in 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.

Thursday, November 2

Things that make me smile

This book arrived the other day and I am completely enchanted! As is becoming a normal occurrance, it's all Bettsi's fault. Do you see that sweet doll she made? Ack! Too sweet!

And those most-amazing, giant, acorn caps were given to me by my friend, Becka. I can't wait to use them as doll hats!(click on the pictures for a better view)

The little quilted mat was something I made on a whim with a few of my leftover quilt squares from the swap. We often fill up a big glass pitcher with ice water for the dinner table. It tends to sweat a puddle of water onto the wood. So I made this mat with 2 layers of cotton batting inside to sit under the pitcher.

When I washed it, it got so awesomely puckery. I got so excited! I just love how quilts do that puckery thing when they're washed. Here's a picture of the back. I love how the brown fabric shows off the stitching...even if it's less than perfect.

When not in use, the little quilted mat has been kept on this doll chair under the doll's knitting/sewing basket.

There is usually a doll sitting there but she's been wandering around the house lately. (I'm a hopeless rearranger!)

The chair, for now, is against a small bit of wall in the dining room, by the back door. This whole little wall makes me smile! I love the tall Mama Annie. She's a vacuum cover. Only problem is, the vacuum she covers is broken. The little Annie apron on the wall is so dear to me. A lady who also hangs out at Amitymama found it while out thrifting and she knew I'd love it. It still gives me a warm fuzzy to remember finding such a wonderful surprise in my mailbox that day!

Oh! Before I forget, here's a picture of my little trick-or-treaters. :-)

Someone requested more telling pictures of my little house. I snapped these to share on a thread about decorating at Prairie Homemaker so I'll share them here too.

I had difficulty with the lighting for some reason. I couldn't get a decent kitchen picture at all. The kitchen is open to the dining room. The 3 rooms make a "L" and, aside from the bedrooms and the bathroom, they're about it for now. We're working on finishing the basement, but that project is on hold until tax refund time.

I'll be back a little later (it's way too early right now...I'm going back to bed) to share something exciting that arrived in the mail.