Thursday, December 31


A special delivery came yesterday.... Any guesses what I'm going to do with it?
And some more Christmas presents that I plan to play with a LOT in the upcoming year.... "One-Yard Wonders" - a Clover Mini Iron - a Pattern making ruler - and a Spoonflower gift certificate!!!! (The Vogue Sewing Book underneath the stack was a garage sale find this fall that I have yet to crack open.)
Have any of you out there ever used Spoonflower? My mind is full of lots of ideas, but I just have to narrow things down a bit & commit to a design and then figure out how to make it happen! If you could design your own fabric, what would you do - floral, geometric, bright, pastel... so much to consider!

Wednesday, December 30

fingerprints & animals

What did you get for Christmas? Here's one of my presents I'm really excited about - an Ed Emberley Fingerprint Drawing Book. I LOVE Ed Emberley, and asked my mom if she knew where my childhood book was. She couldn't find it, so she & my dad gifted me with a couple new books this Christmas. As you can see, Conner and I had a lot of fun with the fingerprint one during Abby's naptime creating a fish, a frog, a turtle, a parade of pink elephants, purple birds, and a couple flowers. So easy, and so fun using the stamp pads!!!

As we were flipping the pages after the animal ones, we saw some trains & cars. I drew the road with a black marker, and we added two cars (with exhaust trailing behind), a helicopter, clouds, a bird, sun, and he drew the building.If you're looking for a new artsy fun with kids book - check out Ed Emberley!!!! I consider myself to have a creative side, but not much artistic ability. I don't feel that my sketching skills are worth much. That makes Ed Emberley perfect for me! He breaks it down into easy steps and even the drawing-incompetent folks like me end up with cute pictures. I also have another one that uses basic shapes to make animals, etc. I'm excited to see how I can incorporate that into craft time - my own sewing - and some felt stuff for the kids.

Monday, December 28

soccer game

What do you do with a bag full of soccer players? Find them a field to play on of course!
Let them play - - -
And hope nobody gets a red card! (play by the rules please, guys.)
In case you want some details... here they are.
- The guys playing are Manchester United v. Chelsea
- Field is made out of a wooden tray painted green, field made out of green felt glued on, lines painted on with white fabric paint.
- Peg dolls painted as close to real uniforms as possible - 11 players on each team, and I actually looked up the roster online.

Yes, my brother is a BIG soccer fan. Now he can play soccer any time he wants - whether there's a game on or not! Merry Christmas, Matt!

{ I originally saw it on Crafty Crow - posted from A Bit of This & A Bit of That. I didn't do a goal post - and instead of storing the pieces in a box they go in a denim bag with soccer ribbon on it. I also didn't take the time to do faces & hair. Go check out hers though - so DARN cute! }

Sunday, December 27

more Christmas odds & ends

A couple more Christmas presents to share with you...

My mother-in-law is "old school" - meaning she loves her atlas more than a GPS. So - a reversible denim/cotton bag to hold her map books in the car during her upcoming Florida road trip.
A hoodie for my niece with a beautiful butterfly on the back...

and a brown bag for her with ribbons & her initial - perfect for carrying books, toys, or whatever she wants to daycare, sleepovers, or a road trip!

Saturday, December 26

christmas present - purse

I had to wait until after Christmas to show you this one - it was for my mom, and I know she reads my blog! It is my first official, fancy purse I've made. I use a backpack for the kids stuff, and rarely carry a purse. I've been wanting to try making one though, and this seemed like the perfect time. The pattern comes in 3 sizes - I picked a smaller one to start with.
It wasn't easy - between the lining, zipper, and crazy stiff insides it will be a while before I make another attempt for myself!

It is Heidi Grace fabric - blue floral - and a muslin lining & pockets. (I get my love for blue from her. I come by it naturally!)
One side pocket has a floral design machine embroidered along with her initial.
The other side pocket has her name in Braille. She is Hadley School for the Blind's Braille Student of the Year - I figured it was only appropriate! (here she is if you'd like to hear it from her.)
There are also pockets inside, but I didn't take a picture of those. All in all, I'm happy with how it turned out and hopefully she's able to get a lot of use out of it!

Friday, December 25

christmas 25

Christmas Day in the Morning - Pearl S. Buck
A touching story about one farm son's gift to his father. Kids surprising their parents... love it!!!

One Christmas Dawn - Candice Ransom
Luckily, I have spent many a comfy Christmas with my family. For this girl in 1917 Appalachia, it wasn't a sure thing that she would get to see her Daddy! One of my favorite lines... "The mountains held us in, like hands."

Thursday, December 24

sugar season

Christmas time... the sweetest sugariest season of all!

We've been busy the last couple of days! On Tuesday we had "Sugarfest: The Christmas Version" - so named because it was the same friends as Sugarfest: the Birthday Version. I realized after I'd downloaded all these pictures that there were so many sweet moments missed, and a couple of goodies not documented. Oh well - use your imagination :)

First - Ginger People. (We like to be politically correct in these here parts.) We played around with royal icing & tried flooding the cookies. Well, we know what to do better next time!

I found some pretzels that were Holiday Shapes - candy canes, stars, trees - and drizzled them with melted chocolate melted in a ziploc bag.

There was also some Rugelach made - but unfortunately, it is undocumented.
I guess I was too busy documenting our Little House experiment - molasses and syrup poured on snow. Was it supposed to harden? Or just make it sweet? Either way, the four of us gathered around the bowl laughing & enjoying.

These are our Mint Chocolate Sugar Drops - basically chocolate chip cookies - but made with Andes Mint chips instead, and rolled in sugar before baking. YUM!

On Wednesday, the baking continued. (in other words the flour coating of my kitchen continued.)
My brother and I continued our almost 20-year long tradition - baking Bon Bons. (That's his arm stuck in the picture in the middle.) Abby "helped" by sitting there eating rasisins and nuts. Conner rolled a bunch of the cookies and decorated with us too. My mom's sugar cookies snuck into the picture too - Conner helped her decorate some of those.
So the way you make bon bons - a sugary cookie dough is the base, and then you make balls of dough with goodies inside - mint chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, m&ms, nuts, craisins, raisins, cherries, red hots, or whatever else you'd like to experiment with - mini marshmallows, not a good idea.Bake them, then glaze & sprinkle & decorate.Are you ready for a surprise? Take a bite and see what's inside!!! (If you don't like it, pass it to your brother - he'll eat anything!)

There were jam cookies - can you tell Conner was helping?!
There was some Spritz creation - don't forget the red hots & green sprinkles!
That wraps up the Christmas Cookie tour... luckily the amount of calories consumed is balanced carefully with the enjoyment of time with friends and family!

Hope you & your family enjoy a sweet Christmas time together!!!

christmas 24

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Jan Brett
The classic story illustrated by the classic illustrator. Her designs and details on the "visions of sugar plums" page alone keeps us mystified!

Firefighters Night Before Christmas - Kimbra Cutlip
This is Daddy's version - and although the illustrations aren't my favorite, we love the fireman details included in this take on the classic.

The Barnyard Night Before Christmas - Beth Terrill
Re-written to incorporate the animals, this is a cute rendition that keeps my country-boy's heart happy! It makes my heart happy because it's all about a little mouse's wish for peace.

Wednesday, December 23

christmas 23

Bear Stays Up for Christmas - Karma Wilson
This is my story... gotta stay up, gotta stay up, can I FINALLY go to sleep? Feeling a little bit of the pre-holiday get-stuff-finished stress myself! Bear stays up to get everything ready for his friends, and crashes after the big event under the warmth of a quilt made by his friends. Sounds like a good deal to me!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell - Lucille Colandro
This seasonal version of the classic rhyme is a favorite around here. Once again, why the heck would somebody swallow all this weird stuff, I don't know - but we love it! We look around at our stuff and make up our own verses too about swallowing our stuffed animals, ornaments, books, etc. Just don't try and get ME to swallow a bell!

Tuesday, December 22

christmas 22

A Cup of Christmas Tea - Tom Hegg & Warren Hanson
A cup of tea? Who can resist? (ok, maybe I'd choose hot chocolate!) So important to take the time to make memories with the ones you love... and even those that you have a hard time loving.

Night Tree - Eve Bunting
I love me some Eve Bunting - she has an amazing way of telling the most truthful, heartfelt stories. I love the idea of cutting down your own tree, and I definitely love the idea of a special family time together and starting fun traditions with your kids.

Monday, December 21

christmas 21

Through the Animal's Eyes - Christopher Wormell
Woodcut illustrations and serious text carefully leads you through the Christmas story. Lots of animals show up in the story besides the "typical" farm animals you usually see gathered around the manger. In the back of the book they are featured with a short description and interesting fact or two.

The Beautiful Christmas Tree - Charlotte Zolotow
"Beauty is as beauty does"... what can you make out of something that others call ugly? "Living things need love and care." Amazing what a little love can do!

Sunday, December 20

christmas 20

The Little Drummer Boy - Ezra Jack Keats
This song can NOT be read - it MUST be sung (according to my son). It has led to great conversations about why people visit the baby, why the boy has no shoes, and what we can bring to those we love.

Drummer Boy - Loren Long
The author is admittedly inspired by "Little Drummer Boy" song. He takes this little drummer boy on an adventure from a boy's house throughout town and back home again. I love the hands on the last page!

The Christmas Tree Ship - Jeanette Winter
This book is based on a true story of a ship that brought trees from Michigan to Chicago. The Michigan-Chicago connection is perfect for us, of course. But beyond that I appreciate what the wife did to remember her husband.

Saturday, December 19

christmas 19

One Snowy Night - M. Christina Butler
Our version is a "Touch and Feel" book, which automatically puts high in the rankings for Abby! The hedgehog gets a red woolly hat that works its way back to him in a special way.

The Christmas Visitor - Anneliese Lussert
I have always believed that you never know the impact you can have on just one person - a little thing can mean so much, and you never know who that person is, was, or will be. This story is a BIG reminder that we all entertain angels.

Waiting for the Evening Star - Rosemary Wells & Susan Jeffers
A farm in Vermont... syrup over snow... and a wish for family time... and an end to war. "Wishes on the evening star are bound to come true."

Friday, December 18

roses are sweet

{SPOILER... baby Lyla - get off mommy's lap and stop peeking!! Wait until Christmas!}

Bright pink flannel on one side, floral stripes on the other side.
I embroidered her first name & a rose on the bright pink side.
I hand-pleated white satin all the way around the blanket for a soft snuggle.

christmas 18

Snowy Day - Ezra Jack Keats
This classic story of a little boy taking a walk - it's one of our favorites! Even though we've read it over and over, my son still loves it when the snow all falls off the tree.

All you Need for a Snowman - Alice Schertle
After the kids finish the first one, they have to build a friend of course. With bright illustrations and a lot of snow, it will get your kids itching to go back outside again and build their own!!!

A Snowman Named Just Bob - Mark Kimball Moulton
The mysterious snowman named Bob gives us a simple reminder about friendship, and might even encourage you to put a sign in your front yard!

Thursday, December 17

snack bag

{Spoiler alert... if you're my father-in-law or want to be surprised at his present, look away NOW!}

I just can't wait until after Christmas to show off all the goodies I've been making!

My in-laws are going on a road trip to Florida in March, and I figured my father-in-law might like some yummy munchies for the long trip. So, I used a peanut can (leftover from when he made peanut brittle with us) and mod-podged it with some bandana paper. I used my Cuttlebug dies to cut the letters, and cut the denim star myself.

Put them in a bag with his initials, add a couple matching napkins, and he's good to go! I'll fill the cans later - have to check with my hubby and see what his dad's favorite candy is. One can for candy, one for cookies. I'll just refill them in March with a fresh batch of cookies for the big trip.

christmas 17

Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening - Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
This classic poem has been beautifully illustrated by Susan Jeffers. The spots of color in the snowy landscape fit the feel of the poem perfectly. My favorite page is when the man lays down to make a snow angel! So many beautiful birds at the end of the book, too.

Over the River and Through the Wood - Lydia Maria Child, illustrated by Christopher Manson
I guess technically it's a Thanksgiving Poem, but I love reading it during Christmastime too. Basically it just makes me want to go for a sleigh ride!!!

Wednesday, December 16

candy cane kisses & cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes (from a box, that's just how I do it). I mixed in Andes candy bits too for extra minty goodness. Buttercream frosting, red sprinkles & candy cane kisses on top.

She was having fun unwrapping the kisses!!!