Friday, November 30, 2012

Deck the Halls with Children

Christmas shrubery

We made our first decorations!  My inspiration was this ornament here {if you get a screen trying to convince you to sign up for Better Homes and Gardens, just click the green button up top that says continue to your page}
These are the supplies we used:

Glass ball ornaments, paper crimper, paper cutter, & double sided scrapbook paper.  Plus the paper shredder, and chopsticks are helpful if you want to arrange the paper inside the ornament.  Please be careful of fingers, one of mine had a sharpish point inside the rim.

Apparently, scrapbook paper has selvedge edges like fabric {and is just as pretty & fun - must resist the urge to start a new stash!}.  My papers were from two collections - winter tortellini and spinach soup for jillibean soup & Christmas cheer for lilybeedesign.

I had visions of long strips of crimped paper gracefully curled inside the glass balls, but after crimping the paper {I had to cut it in half first} and running it through the paper shredder, it looked like this:

Christmas confetti

more like confetti, which is lot of fun, too :)  It makes an ornament like the one I showed yesterday:


which is nice, but it isn't what I was trying for, so I made another.  This time I cut long strips of paper with the paper cutter, then crimped them, then squished them into the glass ball:

Christmas ornament on a shrub

The boys were split on which they preferred, so they each made the style they wanted, adding their own creative twists {such as adding intact Santa heads}

decorating the shrubery

I have a Christmas decoration linky party going on over here, go check it out!  Have a great weekend!

Deck the Halls with us!

Christmas cow fabric

Isn't this fabric great?  Nothing says Christmas like cows in Santa hats, right? haha
{Fabric Traditions, copyright 1993}  I just want to say that this fabric came to me in a swap, that copyright date is no indication of my age  ;)

So, I have decided to Deck the Halls Handmade this year with my kiddos!  We are going to make memories & ornaments, drink hot mulled apple cider, listen to way too much Christmas music, and watch corny old Christmas movies!  If you want to see the start of this conversation, click here

And I'm inviting you all to join us in the fun!  Here is my plan in a nutshell:

1.  My goal is to make 12 types of ornaments with my sons this year.  Some of these may be our own ideas or decorations I made as a child.  I will share how-to's for these.  Others will be ideas I found on the internet, and I'll share the links so you can make your own if you want.

2. My posts will be randomly timed throughout December - it's Christmastime, I plan on keeping this low stress for me.

3.  There is a linky party!  Deck your own halls, then come back here and link up at the bottom of this page!  Ornaments, tree skirts, pillows; if you make something that spreads Christmas cheer through your home it is eligable to be linked up!  The linky will be open through Dec 30th 2012

4.  You can't have a Christmas party without presents, can you?  I have two charm packs of Alpine Wonderland by Riley Blake Designs that will be sent to one {randomly selected} participant.  I wish I could send fabric presents to all of you!  When you link up, be sure to visit other links and comment - like passing around little comment presents! Then everyone can share the Holiday Happy  :)

PS - I'm going to try to make a button this weekend! If I am sucesful, I plan to give an extra entry to the giveaway for those who display it, so check back later!

Dreaming in Patchwork

I did it! I made a button! :)  grab the code from my sidebar and display it on your blog for an entry into the giveaway for the Alpine Woodland charm packs.  Then come back and comment on this post to let me know you did - easy peasy!  {You don't have to be linked to the party to post the button & be entered into the giveaway!}

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thinking about Christmas

I started this post to talk about Christmas ornaments & being deliberate about making memories for my kids, but first I have just got to say that Blogging makes you do some strange things.


I mean, what normal person would be traipsing around outside on a cold morning wearing PJs and slippers in search of the ever-elusive 'natural lighting' to take a picture of a new crafty creation on the shrubbery?  And by a picture I meant many pictures, on all sides trying to find the best lighting{I found it! If you wanted to know, it was on the side of the bush closest to the house, forcing me to stand between house and shrub. Of course}

Hmmm, where was I going with this? Right, I remember now ;)

When I was a kid, our church had a family ornament making night each Christmas season.  In the large basement room, the adults would make evergreen Christmas wreaths with advent candles in the middle.  The kids would go from Sunday school room to Sunday school room making different ornaments in each.  I still have some ornaments I made as a child  :)

The Christmas season can get busy so easily, and I don't know about you but when it is all over I can often think of things we didn't find time for that I would have liked to do with my boys.  So this year I have decided to be deliberate about making ornaments with my sons (and doing other Christmassy things, too)

So what does this all have to do with you?
I've decided to take you all along for the Yuletide ride! 
I will be showing our Christmas decorations here on the blog, and I will either share directions or a link to the tutorial we used so you can craft along too if you like.  {you might want to. hint, hint. There will be some bribery Christmas cheer involved!}

My plan was to share our first ornament with you today along with all the details, but a faulty internet connection, a migrane, and the general chaos that follows in the wake of three adorable boys conspired against me today, so I'm going to stop here and invite you all back to my blog tomorrow to see our first ornaments get crafted & find out how a little package of Christmas Cheer might be in your future.  Deal? :)

I'm going to link up with MRL's Holiday TTT which is over at she can quilt today.  Don't worry, I made sure the way is clearly marked for you, just click the pretty blue words and I promise you'll end up at the party ;)

I'm also going to link up to really Random Thursday.  I'm not sure there is truly anything random in this post, but I feel random today, and that counts, right?

That's it for now folks, I'll meet you back here tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So Maybe I Started Something New....

Have you come up for air from the Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales yet?  I might have gone a little crazy :)

In my defense, most of what I bought is for the kids' crafting.  And the sales were so goooood, how could I resist a little fabric too? hehehe

I don't have any pictures of my booty purchases to share yet because the fabric is winging its' way through the mail as we speak, and the craft supplies are for something I will share in a couple of days.


But that doesn't mean I'm going to leave you hanging with no pretty fabric goodness at all ;)

Best thing about my trimmings bowl {aside from my Mom bought it for me}: when I'm done cutting for the day, an overflowing bowl reminds me how much progress I've made, even though at this stage of the game it doesn't feel like much has been done.

Madrona Road, cut

This is what my Madrona Road FQs look like now :)  Big squares are 5", littles are 2.5"
It got a little crazy towards the end of sewing for the craft fairs, frantically trying to get enough inventory made while still serving up three square meals a day and all that.  I promised myself that if I stuck with it, I would spend Black Friday cutting up my Madrona Road FQs.  I spent more time cleaning {and shopping!} than I had planned, so it actually took me 5 days, but that is a whole 80" square quilt cut up and stacked in the palm of my hand!

This is the conversation I had with my 7 year old while I was cutting the last of the FQs today {keep in mind he is constantly moving around my cutting table and doing his own 'sewing' while talking}:

Mr 7: Am I old enough to use a rotary cutter? {picks up his sewing, he needs me to thread the needle}
Me: no
Mr. 7: why do you use a rotary cutter instead of scissors?  {hands me needle to be rethreaded}
Me: {rethreading needle before going back to cutting} because it's faster
Mr. 7: {now sitting on a still-folded & wobbly step stool in the narrow space between my cutting table and the large window, still sewing}  you're going to cut your finger off
Me: no I'm not {while thinking 'yes I am'} {repeat needle threading}
Mr 7: {looks down at the carpet} Oops, I dropped the needle
Me: please just get out of there!

No wonder it takes me so long to cut fabric :)
How about you - did you score any great fabric deals?
When Wednesday morning rolls around, I'll be linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving {the day after}

2012 Thanksgiving baking

To all those who celebrate it, I hope yours was a wonderful thanksgiving filled with family, friends, and good food :)

I did a bit of baking to contribute to the festivities this year - including my first ever pumpkin pie.  Seriously, I had never made pumpkin pie before.  Weird, I know :)  I got really fancy and followed the directions on the can, haha, but the boys liked it which is the most important thing. 

I also baked a Swedish Apple pie {I have no idea if it is authentically Swedish, this much loved recipe came to our family with that moniker.  If there are any Swedish people reading, feel free to comment away!}

I only frosted half the chocolate bunt cake, because my youngest son and three of my nephews can't have dairy.  My son also can't have soy, which eliminates most options for dairy substitute.  Most of the time, I make a frosting of confectioner's sugar and water with vanilla extract so it can be enjoyed by all, but it is far too sweet for me so just this once I made a chocolate butter frosting - so yummy, even though I didn't let the butter soften like I should have and it looks and spreads terrible :)

Cherry Squares are a childhood favorite, and it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without one smothered in Whipped Cream! :)  Don't let that fugly old pan fool you, it is the best in my kitchen!  My prettier pans just don't cook as nice, and I love that it isn't nonstick so I can scour away with steel wool all I want without damaging it.  This one seems to be an odd size, but is the best fit for cherry squares.  I'm guessing it is old, although I don't know for sure.  It came into my possession after the birth of one of my sons, when several lovely ladies from church brought us dinner for the first few days.  I couldn't remember who this pan belonged to and no one asked for it back, so it has stayed in my kitchen ever since.  {but I'll deny that if anyone suddenly comes to claim it}

When I was a child, we always went to my grandparents' home for Thanksgiving, arriving the day before and spending the night.  The dinningroom table would be covered with all sorts of desserts!  When we woke up on Thanksgiving morning, the adults would already be cooking away for the big meal, and my brother and I could choose anything we wanted from the dessert table for breakfast!  Now, as an adult looking back, I'm pretty sure this happened because my parents forgot to think of breakfast with all the baking that started two days before, let alone cooking for the meal that day.  But to us, it was one of the best parts of Thanksgiving & again on Christmas :) 

This year, I shared that memory with my sons, and then let them choose breakfast from our own little dessert table at home before we went to join the extended family - this is definately going to be a holiday tradition in our house from now on :)

Silver's 1st Birthday 2012

Thanksgiving just happened to be our Netherland Dwarf bunny's 1st birthday, too :)  My sons were so excited to give him his birthday present! 

I'm linking up to A Quilter's Table :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

what I'm working on now that the craft fairs are in the past

The two craft fairs I participated in are over now, and while I did come out ahead dollar-wise, let's just say I've got a handmade Christmas covered. 

Two slow days sitting in chairs {I hardly ever sit still at home unless I'm ill, so this got very boring very fast} was made nicer because my SIL and Mother each came to one of the fairs.  I also brought along some EPP Hexies. 

It wasn't just my table that was slow, there didn't seem to be much traffic at either fair.  Both were first time events for the people putting them on, so I wonder if that had something to do with it. The first fair was mostly worked and shopped by friends and acquaintances, so it was sort of a social gathering, too.

One thing that sold much better than I thought was the candles my sons made.  I bought a kit from beeswaxcandlecompany on Etsy, and they hand rolled beeswax sheets into candles.  I bought red, green, and natural colored sheets thinking they could tap into the festive colors of Christmas, but people really seemed most interested in the natural color.  My little entrepreneurs have been looking for a way to make money for some time, so I'm glad this worked out so well for them :)

Can you believe I didn't take a picture of my table?  I know, I'm such a bad blogger ;)

So what am I working on now?


Back to the Penguins! I'm in the process of cutting the strip sets into pieces that will be put into rows with the penguin fabric.  Finishing this quilt is a priority for November.  Well, a total finish might be wishful thinking, but I want a finished top at least.


Most of my 2.5" charm swap packs have arrived, so I can get busy with the Postage Stamp quilt :)  {Please excuse the shiny plastic wrap in the photo}
I'm linking up over at WIP Wednesday on Freahly Pieced.  But now I need to get back to my other WIP, lots of baking :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

George Washington slept in my fabric closet...

Well, not really, but I do have this great fabric in my stash.  I bought a yard of it to use as part of a backing for this quilt top

picnic quilt

which is far from done, but I wanted to snatch up some George before he was gone :)  I want to have this quilt done for next Fourth of July, so I need to get busy on it this winter.  The next step is going to be tricky, but if it comes out like I envision, it is going to look fabulous {I'm making it up as I go along with this top}

I also won a charm pack of Amy Butler Dots from Such a Sew and Sew and The Fat Quarter Shop! {thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!} I already have plans for these dots, but it will have to wait awhile.  there are several projects ahead of it in line :)

i'm linking up to Sunday Stash @ Blossom Heart Quilts.  What have you stashed lately?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Finishes - Journals

I made fabric covers for some journals to sell.  There are about four more that I need to finish later today.  I'll spare you pictures of the latest drink coasters {your welcome!} After awhile, they all look the same :) 

Here's hoping lots of thirsty people walk past my table!

No patchwork, just plain fabric to save time.  Next year, I will start earlier and make pretty patchwork covers.

Wait, did I just say that?  Maybe I should see if I can sell anything this year before I start planning next year's craft fair inventory.

Ok, I need to go finish the last journals, a few more coasters, and maybe sew some coffee cozies.  Wish me luck this weekend! :)

Linking up to: TGIFF; Richard & Tanya Quilts; Whoop Whoop Friday; Finish it up Friday

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday

More fabric squares are being turned into more coasters in preparation for the two craft fairs I am attending this weekend.  I'm counting on a lot of people needing a place to put their drinks this Christmas season ;)

You may not be able to tell from the photo, but each of the fabrics I'm using has either gold etching or glitter - nothing says 'holidays' like some bling, right?

I am taking part in a 2.5" square swap through The Curious Quilter {this is my third round}  This time, I'm swapping with nine fabulous ladies.  I only put five stacks in the photo, but there are nine little stacks of 100 different fabrics each that will be mailed out tomorrow morning.   I made a stack of 100 to keep for my PSQ at the same time, which brings the total to 1,000 2.5" squares.

Next step, sewing 1,625 2.5" squares together.  By Christmas. {!}

Ok, I may need to rethink that deadline...
What have you been sewing lately?
I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, November 12, 2012

UR Priceless! coin purse blog hop

You know the bad part about being on the last day of a blog hop?  So many fabulous coin purses have already been shown off by very talented folks, and now I have to show my little purse. {gulp}
The fabrics I used were all DS for Joanns - the orange dot that I'm using for the photo background is the lining of the purse.  I do love these three fabrics together, but let's put the purse on something else so it stands out better, ok?
There, that does it :)
Oh, look at that - she's fallen over with her fanny up in the air
It's ok little coin purse, just dust yourself off and whistle a little tune - I bet no one even noticed :)
I bought the frame at Quilttaffy
I do love my little coin purse! I'm very happy with the fabrics & it was fun to sew :)
However, I managed to make a mess of sewing the purse into the frame, which is why I'm not showing a photo of the inside.  I will go back and fix it soon, but she will have to wait until after the craft shows this weekend.   Just to be clear, I take full responsibility for the mistake I made, the pattern is just dandy :)
click on the UR Priceless button above for the full blog hop schedule {you really should go check it out, there are some amazing little purses being shown off!}  Today, these fine bloggers are showing their coin purses:
I'm also going to link up to Fabric Tuesday - head over for adorable baby pictures & tons of quilty/sewing goodness :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012


traceyjay quilts
My three goals for November:
1.  Make more inventory for the two craft shows I entered.  I'll pretty much be chained to my sewing machine for the next two weeks, desperately trying to make a decent showing for the fairs.  No, Allison can't come out to play today, she has too much sewing to do.
2.  Finish the penguin quilt for Son #3.  The good news is I haven't heard anything about sea cucumbers lately. {if you don't know what I'm talking about, read this}  I bet I could make a sea cucumber softie, though.  One that spits out it's guts... {this would be so awesome to put in his Christmas stocking!}
I'm participating in the UR Priceless blog hop, which means I have to sew at least one coin purse, but I'd like to sew three.  Why three?  I don't know, it just seemed like a good idea, and I'm sticking with it.
Add large pots of homemade soup, some pumpkin lattes & biscotti, and that about sums up my plans for the next month.  :)    What are you hoping to get done in November?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

crafting, slowly

Well, I did it :)  I turned the rest of those two charm packs into coasters yesterday.  I love when life goes acording to plan ;)  There are now 16 of these little cuties.

These are four of the grocery bag holders I made, the fifth one still has the ribbon hanger on the wrong end.  I know it doesn't look like it would make a difference, but the bottom ends have tighter elastic than the tops.  Plus, I chose the only directional print I was working with to get upside down.

Before you ask, no, I don't need to keep that many plastic bags.  Or put that many drinks on cute little bits of fabric goodness.  I signed up for two craft fairs.  On back to back days.  In two weeks.  You are looking at my complete inventory.

With the exception of the two charm packs, I'm using fabric I already have, so my out of pocket cost is minimal.  At the time I thought the worst that could happen would be I wouldn't sell anything, and everyone I know would get handmade Christmas gifts this year.  No problem, right?  Now I'm afraid I won't have anything to sell.  I just haven't been able to carve out the time to sew I had hoped for, because when push comes to shove my kids and our homeschool have to come first.  Even if it means I'm going to look like a total fool with next to nothing to sell.

Ok, I'm done whinning now :)  I was going to do some linking, but on second thought I probably shouldn't drag this pity party around blogland.  I'm off to cover some journals with fabric, once we get through geography, science, reading, math, handwriting, etc. etc.   On the plus side, I'm far too busy to be bored :)