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.