Friday, December 31

Pink, Ribbon, and Ballet Slippers

It is finally time.  Shoes as precious as ballet slippers cannot continue to be hauled in the back of my boy's diaper bag.  Ballet slippers, and the magic they hold to transform every little girl, need their own special home.  Someplace safe until it is time to lead little feet in arabesques and plies.

What better starting project than to create a special bag for a very special dancing princess.  A sweet ballet-inspired fabric, a simple bag with ribbon drawstring, a pair of ballet shoes... so simple, and yet so sweet.

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Wednesday, December 29

Tackling Resolutions...

May I share with you the delight awaiting me under the Christmas tree this year... isn't it lovely.  For those seamstresses among you, this might not mean much.  But for a girl who has never learned to use a sewing machine (I never even took home economics), I am so excited.  My husband gave me this to help me accomplish one of my long-term resolutions... learn to sew.  I am so excited and have already begun trying out some super easy starter projects.  Maybe I'll even share a few.  And if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know why.

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Tuesday, December 21

Sights and Smells of Christmas

The sights, smells, and tastes of Christmas...

Delicious clementines

Sugary goodness decorated with a three-year-old
(our cookie shapes of choice were trees, guitars, and pineapples)

And chocolate cookies with peppermint glaze

Merry Christmas to All!
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Monday, December 20

Santa's Workshop #5: A little painting

[Note:  If you are related to me, you should probably stop reading this blog until after Christmas.]

Well, after a crazy work week, I am now in the mad rush to get everything prepared for Christmas.  And hopefully I will get a few of those ideas posted.  How about you?  Is your workshop busy these days as you finish your preparations?

In the spirit of last minute gifts, don't forget the joy of freezer paper stenciling.  It can make anything personal and unique.  Just set up your work station (in my case, my ironing board)...

Start painting

And then get a unique and special gift for someone you love.
(And my apologies for the night-time photos.  The challenge of December.)

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Wednesday, December 15

Celebrating Advent

Christmas can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people.  For me, Christmas is about worship.  It is about preparing our hearts for a sacred celebration of the birth of a child that continues to change the world.  I was recently reminded of the Advent Conspiracy, a concept I first heard of last year.  The premise is simple:
  • Worship Fully
  • Spend Less
  • Give More
  • Love All
This has me thinking these days about what season we are in.  My husband is adamant that we are currently in Advent and that Christmas doesn't begin until December 25th.  (Yes, we are one of those houses that keeps our tree up until Epiphany in January.)  But I find myself constantly struggling with taking the time to celebrate Advent as... well, Advent.  Advent by its very definition means arrival.  It's the celebration of an arrival... it's the anticipation, the wonder, and the preparation.

As I look at the four key pillars of Advent Conspiracy, the first one hits me hard.  Worshipping Fully.  We are taking steps in our life to Spend Less at Christmas... cutting back on the presents and extra, drawing lines so that we focus on what matters to us (such as my refusal to participate in Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchanges since they just stress me), and trying to do more homemade gifts (as seen in my recent posts).  We are looking for ways to Give More... giving more of our time and gifts to others.  And we strive daily to learn to love others more and judge them less.  But I still find myself so busy in December that I don't stop to Worship.  Perhaps that is why I love Advent Wreaths so much.  They are such a wonderful opportunity to stop, breathe, and worship.

And that is my ramble.  I hope that you find time this holiday season for the things that are important to you.

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Thursday, December 9

Beauty in Imperfection

This isn't going to win any contests.  It isn't picture perfect.  But there is great beauty to me in its imperfections.  As I look at it, I see a little girl covered in icing, eating as much candy as ended up on the gingerbread house and tree.  I hear the laughter as we tried to get the candy to stay put.  I hear her voice telling me about her day.  I feel warmth and love and laughter surrounding me.

Here is to your imperfect moments...

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Wednesday, December 8

Santa's Workshop #4: Easy Bracelet (fun gift for kids to make)

This project is a really easy one for your child to make for others.  I was originally inspired by the purple bracelet above.  I bought it for my daughter at a faire over a year ago and she broke it shortly after.  I figured I'd fix it and tuck it into her stocking, and it was so easy and fun that I decided to make a few more.  All it takes is elastic cording, beads, and a charm.

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Monday, December 6

Decorating: Felt Flower Wreath

[I hereby interrupt the Santa's Workshop Posts for this decorating update.]
I adore Purl Bee's Felt Flower Winter Wreath, and it completely inspired me to create a felt wreath for my daughter's door.  While my house is fairly traditional with cranberry as the predominant color, I have enjoyed being a bit more whimsical with my daughter's room.  And since her room is pink and green, I went with varying shades of pink for the color scheme,

My version is a little different, so the directions are below.  But I highly recommend you check out the original Purl Bee version as well.

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Saturday, December 4

Santa's Workshop #3: Butterfly Barrettes and More Korker Bows

I do love Korker bows, so I couldn't miss an opportunity to make more.  (Check out the Korker Tutorial if interested.)  But I have also discovered a whole new world... ribbon sculptures.  I saw cute butterfly barrettes around around but couldn't find any free tutorials, so I ended up having to create my own.  Continue reading if you are interested in making some as well.
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Tuesday, November 30

Santa's Workshop #2: Felt Flower Barrettes

Now you knew that if I was creating Hair Clip Holders that there had to be some barrettes as well.  For these I utilized two primary felt flower tutorials...
For my barrettes, I experimented with the peony template, using different pieces to create different sized flowers.  Using just the three smallest pieces makes for an adorable baby clip, whereas larger ones make great additions for headbands.  You can adorn them with buttons for the centers or just some fun contrasting stitching (such as if the headband is for a baby).

For the rose barrettes, I used the same base as on my other barrettes, but her base is lovely.  And those roses are just as sweet as can be.

Want another easy felt flower design?  Check out Purl Bee's Poppy Template.  I am loving this for adorning my Christmas packages.  I even made a charcoal grey one with a black button center for a more sophisticated package.

Next peak into Santa's Workshop... ribbon barrettes and an easy tutorial.

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Saturday, November 27

Santa's Workshop #1: Hair Clip Holder

Does anyone else feel like their house has become Santa's Workshop.  In general, we are trying to simplify the holidays this year.  The kids are getting very few presents (truthfully, they don't need them).  And I am trying to make almost everything for their stockings.  So between their stocking stuffers and gifts for a few friends, we have quite a few little gifts underway.

I have previously shared the Monkey Hair Clip Holder I made for my daughter.  I'm making a few more this Christmas to go along with some barrettes I am making.  These are really easy to make.  They could easily be Stocking Stuffers or even party favors for a party of little girls.

  • Wooden Figure (I found the Lady Bug and Flip Flops pre-painted at Michael's)
  • Felt
  • Thin Ribbon
  • Thick Ribbon
  • Hot Glue
  • Scissors
  • Trace wooden figure on paper.  Cut out template slightly smaller than tracing.  Pin to felt and cut out.
  •  Cut small piece of thin ribbon and long strip of thicker ribbon.  Hot glue thin ribbon to the back of the wooden figure, forming into a loop.  Hot glue thicker ribbon to the back.  Once the ribbons are set, hot glue the felt on the back.  That is all there is to it.

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Tuesday, November 23

Years ago I began to make these cornhusk flowers with the plan to create a wreath.  I ran out of time to make enough flowers for the whole wreath, and two children later, I haven't quite found time to finish it.  However, I still love pulling them out every year for Thanksgiving.

One day I will finish that wreath, perhaps when I replace my door and need something special to adorn it.

Want to create your own?  Directions are on Martha Stewart.  She has even more amazing cornhusk projects here.

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Monday, November 22

Gobble Gobble... a sweet memory

[ Disclaimer:  Please forgive the bad lighting.  The time change is resulting in nighttime photography.]

Want an easy Thanksgiving project?  Grab a dishtowel and fabric paint in your choice of colours.  Carefully apply fabric paint to your child's hands.  (Be very careful and close to a sink to wash up.  This is fabric paint after all.)  Once paint is applied, carefully press hand on cloth and allow to dry.  Repeat with other hand.

Once the handprint is dry, carefully paint feet, a beak, etc with a thin paintbrush.  Allow to dry.  Iron to set the paint.  And voila... a memento for years to come.

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Sunday, November 14

Mirror Mirror on the Wall...

"Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?"

How do you have a Snow White day?  Start with a Snow White, twirling in her skirt.

Then add a dwarf...

And complete the picture with an apple or two... though not poisoned in this case.

Interested in your own?  The Snow White costume is "minimal-sew"... a no-sew tutu skirt made of yellow tulle, white tulle, and yellow satin ribbon, a blue leotard with decorative ribbon lightly stitched on the front, and a red ribbon for the hair.

Dopey's costume was even easier... a green shirt, several sizes too large (5T for my 12 month boy), with big yellow buttons and hat sewn from thick purple felt.  Add a little jute string for a belt and the picture is complete.

And the Snow White story couldn't be complete without the apple of course.  Otherwise there would be no need for the kiss.  So how about apple place cards for lunch and then sweet "apple" cupcakes for dessert.  A sweet ending for a sweet fairytale.

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Monday, November 8

Theme of the Day: Candy Corn... just a little late

After entirely too long, and entirely too many service calls, it looks like we may once again have Internet.  And that means I can share some very-belated Halloween posts.  But on the chance that you still have candy corn lying around, or perhaps in withdrawal over the lack of candy corn, here's to a little sweet fun...

Perhaps some "candy corn" pancakes...

 or just tri-colored ones when making the triangles gets too exhausting

Maybe a Breakfast parfait of yogurt (dyed yellow and orange) and banana slices

And we can't let breakfast have all the fun.  What about cheesy "candy corn" made with a sharp New Zealand cheddar, a Wisconsin cheddar, and a Wisconsin Monterrey Jack.

And for a little kitchen education... how about learning what red and yellow make

And to top off the day, a sweet little treat of pudding and whipped cream.

I'm suddenly a fan of orange and yellow.

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