Thursday, December 31, 2009

WIPS and Chains!

Excuse me?  What did she say?  You know - WIPs - Works in Progress... and chains - I'm working on my serging skills!  Fer real!

I absolutely love Christmas and spending time with my family.  It was fun and I loved every bit of it.  But, once again it has quickly passed and I need to take a deep breath from the busy week.  I've already put away all decorations and cleaned the house up a bit.  (I tried to wait until this weekend but I just couldn't!)  There is something about starting off the first day of the year fresh and clean.

As for works in progress, I have plenty to do. When I decide to sew something (translation - while killing time at JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, or the local quilt shop and finding fabric that I just cannot live without), I go ahead and gather up all the goodies to go with it - notions, pattern, thread, trim, etc., and put them all together in a zip-loc storage bag. Because really - who knows when I'll actually get to sew it!  Then, when I am ready to sew, I have everything together. I include notes and sketches as reminders - "Now why did I buy 2/3 yard of this and 3 yards of that?"

As for serger skills, I decided to spend a little "me" time in my studio just sewing.  I got out the sewing machine and my serger and whipped up some little pants to go with the Natty jacket I made at the sewing retreat.  The pants were made from red velveteen and matching trim for the ruffles.  Oh, how I love to sew!!!  There is something strange about how much relaxation I get from a sewing challenge.  I mean, I know how to sew a pair of toddler's pants, but I'm still learning a lot in the sewing realm, especially using my serger.

And, this is that time of the year when we all start to think about goals and resolutions.  Here are a few of mine:

  • Get to know God a little better each day.

  • Spend more time with my family serving others.
  • Take better care of myself - rest and excercise (obviously not at the same time!), maybe a mani and pedi every once in a while!
  • Expand my mind - I'm going back to school with my photography.  I can't wait!  I love photography and I have so much to learn in the digital world.  Next up will be Photoshop!
  • Continue to teach my kids important life skills like how to set up a budget and how to sew on a button!
  • Sew, craft, and sew!!! 
Tonight was a good time to just relax and un-wind.  I watched "Snow White" with my 3 year old while we sewed together.  I was making more felt doughnuts (you can't have too many of those, right?) and my baby girl worked on her stitching skills.  I thought she did a dern good job!  That's mommy's girl!

My wish for each of you is that you will have a wonderful and healthy New Year filled with blessings, family, friends, time well-spent, rest, play, helping others, and enjoying what you love to do! 

Bonne Année!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Joyeux Noel!

Christmas Eve at the Landers' house....

.... while the weather was chilly and blustery....

...we were warm inside doing this

and this.

The kids were all ready for Santa...

... with every room in the house festive.

Later we enjoyed our traditional Christmas Eve breakfast for dinner!

And with our tummies all full, the kids snug in their beds, and Santa's goodies awaiting his arrival...

... we can sit by the glow of the Christmas tree lights and reflect on our blessings and the true meaning of the season.  We wish you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas!

Mona Pin It

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Knick-knacks, ric rac, and Fabri Tac!

I just couldn't stand it!  I ran over to JoAnn's (like I need an excuse) and bought some Fabri Tac, and just a few other things like fabric, thread, a t-shirt, an applique - well, you know - necessary items.  Anyway, I glued some pretty pink ric rac on one side of the table runner so that my little sewing faux pas are no longer!

And, today the kids and I joined some friends for some ceramics painting fun at a local ceramics shop.  The intention was to paint one ornament each.  We got a little carried away!  I fell in love with the little old fashioned looking ornaments and painted them to match the kitchen theme.  Where will I hang them?  Ha!  Who knows.  They were just too fun to pass up.  Oh, and the kids painted some cool things, too! 

My three year old daughter was going for the purple/black/silver camo effect!  My son could have kept painting all day if I had let him.  I'm glad my kids enjoy be creative.

And later while I watch a movie with my oldest daughter, I can sew a multitude of "sprinkles" onto my kid's new doughnuts!!

Merry Christmas!

Mona Pin It

Monday, December 21, 2009

Practice makes better!

Christmas is just five days away and I FINALLY made a table runner with material I purchased several months ago!  Well, I'm just early for next year, right?  When I made the runner for Halloween, I wished I had backed it with a material more suited for Thanksgiving.  You know, double-duty.  So, having that idea in mind, I found this great fabric at Magnolia Quiltworks and thought it would work well for Christmas, New Year's, even Valentine's Day.  I love pink, red, and yellow together and these fit right in.

First off, I am by no means a quilter!  I have made blankets, but never "quilted" them;  I have put quilt binding on different things, but not on quilts;  and I just recently learned how to "free motion quilt" on a toddler's jacket, although I'm certainly no pro at it!  So, keep all that in mind when you see what I came up with!  Sorry about dark pictures with the camera flash. I took these photos at 2 a.m.!  First side:

Second side:

I had so much fun with free-motion on the little jacket that I thought I would quilt the table runner.  So, I "stippled" all over it and added the butter-yellow quilt binding.  Stippling takes a lot of practice, but I don't know that you can mess up too much.  I tried to be fluid, relaxed, and not cross over any previous stitch lines.  I said "tried".  But, it really is fun.  If you have never done this before, give it a try.  I found a tutorial over at the Jolly Jabber that explains it far better than I can begin to!

Speaking of practice, I have much to do on binding as well.  There are tons of tutorials on the internet and on You Tube.  I love You Tube.  I think you can learn anything there!  And, don't forget your local quilt shop.  They are always so happy to help and have classes scheduled all the time for everyone from beginners to pros!

One thing I did a little differently this time was in sewing on the binding.  After stitching it to one side of the runner, I flipped it over and decided to use a blanket stitch instead of a straight stitch.  It gave it the look of twin needle work and looks very nice.  Maybe not as much on the back, only because it came off the binding a little.  Whoopee-dee-do, I'll just add some ric rac!!   And, no I'm not posting that picture!

So, a project done and my family thinks it looks just fine!  And, I'll keep practicing.  I also made two doughnuts and a cinnamon roll - in the car - on a road trip!  Nah, I'm not that good.  They were made from felt!  But, that's another post for another day!

I hope you are all ready for Christmas and to spend some fun time with family and friends over the next week.  I believe, aside from some midnight wrapping, we are ready.  My husband and I helped Santa out the other night and finished off the shopping!  I think the next few days will be candy cane dipping, sugar-cookie making, loving on my kids kind of days!

Merry Christmas,

Mona Pin It

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm just giddy!

Look what just came in the mail!  I ordered some sweet little things from Cerri at The Little Pink Studio.  I've been looking in her shop for a while and thought I would indulge myself for Christmas (whatever excuse we need, right?)  Of course, she had it packaged up much prettier than this.  I didn't snap a photo - I just ripped it open!

I got some sweet millinery flowers, velvet ric rac, vintage seam binding, some petite dress forms, and three pink bottle brush trees!  Life is good!  This particular palette reminds me more of Spring, so maybe I can whip up some cute things for Easter!

She also tossed in one of her cute little Santa buttons.  Isn't he adorable?

I guess I now have a collection of these little trees.  I received the largest from a friend last year, found another to match it several months ago, found the white trees at Wal-Mart (looking for 50 light strands in green - I don't need 100!), and then these pretty trees in pink.  Voila - a collection!

I'll be back soon with more Tis the Season 2009 Tour!

Merry Christmas!

Mona Pin It

Tis the Season 2009 - Partie Trois

And if you'll step this way into the living room!  I would like to share with you our living room Christmas tree.  I have to say that I am a little embarrassed - it does need some work.  I can still see the branches!  My family just doesn't understand - it can hold more ornaments!

Years ago, I saw a beautiful tree in a magazine (imagine that) and fell in love!  It was covered, I mean covered with gorgeous, colorful glass ornaments.  Since then, I have collected ornaments each year just for this tree.  My family usually gives me a few for Christmas, too.  These aren't vintage ornaments, although some have that look.  Well, my kids will think they are vintage someday!

When I was a young girl, my mom and I always decorated our tree wtih lots and lots of blinking multi-colored ornaments.  Then, when I was a teenager, we decided to change up and go with all red and white.  We made a tree skirt just for the new look!  It was so funny - we sewed the pretty little skirt and made it specifically for the artificial tree we had used for years.  (Which may also explain why I like a ton of ornaments - you could see through the branches because it was getting so old!)  Anyway, I kept the tree when I got married but we finally had to throw it away and we purchased a real one.  Can you guess where this is going?  Well, since it had only a little four inch hole for the tree "trunk" to go through, the skirt wouldn't fit any other tree!  I guess my mom and I thought we would have that little tree forever! 

Okay, back to the tour.  I decided to buy a new skirt this year and found this one.  It is pretty red and olive satin with cutwork and beads.  I, having learned my lesson, bought one that would fit pretty much any tree and stand the test of time!  And, an added bonus - it was 50% off at Hobby Lobby.  Sweet.

I spread a few of the decorations here and there...

Notice on the picture frame above how it looks like little spoons on a wire?  Well, my son just informed my that his three year old sister keeps turning those up.  They are supposed to be ornments hanging from a wire!!  I thought it looked odd when I snapped the photo!

Next on the holiday tour will be my children's holiday decorating.  I can't wait to show you!

Merry Christmas,


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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tis the Season Tour 2009 - Partie Deux

Today's post includes some holiday decorating in my kitchen.  I have recently become very fond of red, pink, and yellow.  My walls are a pretty green, but I am thinking of giving them a soft, pale, buttery yellow.  Is that a color?   "Sir, excuse me, but I'm looking for a paint color called 'soft-pale-buttery yellow'.  Do you have that?"  Martha Stewart probably does.  I'll have to check that out!  Anyway, I added a tree to the kitchen last year and found all sorts of beautiful ornaments at, you guessed it.... the Dollar General!  Even the sweet beaded garland. 

I turned a framed mirror into a chalkboard so that we can always add a quote of the day, birthday greetings, whatever the mood or occasion strikes!  I also added some bling with some Hobby Lobby miniature ornaments.

Speaking of Martha.... I made this wreath last year and thought it turned out quite well.  I'm a big fan of Martha and have tried lots of her crafts over the years.  Some turned out good, some were tough to find supplies for or were too costly to do.  But this one went great, was fairly easy, and not too expensive.  Love it.  Go here for the instructions.

Of course, I must have glitter!  I found these at JoAnn's last year.  Are they not perfect?  My husband keeps trying to arrange them to say Leon.  Ha ha - now put them back.

I also made this Countdown to Christmas from a Country Home magazine, December 2008.  This issue had so many great ideas that I snagged it right away!  Lots of reds, pinks, polka dots!  This was so much fun and I was able to make it in one evening.  I used foam board covered with fabric and made a hanger for the back.  Then, I just used numbers I printed from the computer, scrapbooking paper, little ornaments, and thumb tacks.

And of course, what is decorating without a bowl of ornaments!  I love red glass and over several years found the prettiest red glass dishes from Target.  I grabbed everything they had - plates, bowls, platters, cups, goblets, glasses, compote dishes and a candy dish.  I just wish they had made a butter dish and gravy boat. 

And to add to Santa's cookie plate (in waiting), I had a few pretty little cupcakes.  Well, they were pretty.  Now they are gone! 

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour.  I will be moving to the living room next so please come back soon!

Merry Christmas!

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