Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Today turned out to be a wonderful surprise. I didn't expect much (with a busy husband and 3 sons and a 2 year old girl, you just can't expect too much) and they really made a nice day of my birthday. I had a few friends that really made it special too. You might be surprised to find out that one of my favorite presents was the Muppet Show seasons 1 and 2 on DVD given to me by my husband and the kids. I love those Muppets and I have wanted these for a long time, but couldn't justify putting them in my virtual basket as I shopped. We went out to breakfast at a cool restaurant called Wild Eggs here in Louisville. I did a little shopping all by myself. Then, tonight a friend came and babysat the kids while we saw "Sherlock Holmes." I loved it.

Melissa (thanks for the birthday wishes) has posted the soldered post cards on her blog right here. Thanks to you for all the kind birthday wishes. I really do read all the comments and appreciate your words. I love when you tell me that you have tried a recipe and it worked or when you show me something that you have crafted. Thanks for always being such dang cool people in this virtual world. It makes life fun when sometimes it can be a bit hard!!!

So, as the day winds down, I have to say 36 is pretty great.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

soldered ornaments

I always have friends that have more confidence in me than I have in myself. To them, I am grateful. I have a friend who asked me to solder 7 necklaces for her friends that she serves with at church and that was a great compliment. I have another friend who asked me to take vintage postcards to and from grandparents and great grandparents, scan them, and then turn them in to Christmas ornaments with solder for her mom, brother and sister. I was a little nervous. If you know me, than you know that this is a common feeling I have. But, I was also excited. I was able to get them done and then, because I liked how they turned out, I made a few for her and her family for Christmas with photos I stole (from her blog) of their recent family vacation.  I, of course, made just a few for myself. Since then, I have ordered more chandelier pendants and made (asked) my husband to cut more glass. It's fun to see something turn out all right after being a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. These photos are the ones I made for my friend with their vacation photos and of the one for another friend.  I didn't take any of the ones I made with her awesome vintage postcards, but hopefully she will post some soon.   

Monday, December 28, 2009

better late than never

I usually have a few Christmas projects every year that are unfinished.  I put them in a box for next year.  This year I pulled out the jute upholstery webbing my friend and I bought last year to make these cute card holder wreaths that my friend Lacey showed me in the December 08 Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.  There was also a tutorial for it on Little Birdie Secrets.  It was the week before Christmas and most of my "to do" list was done, so I thought I would work on the "didn't get done" list from last year.  This was the simplest wreath to make and I love how it displayed the Christmas cards and photos we got in the mail.  The webbing is only about .80 a yard and I used a straw wreath that I didn't take the plastic wrap off of.  Unfortunately, this is the only thing that got done out of last year's undone projects.  And, I did add some more to this year's list that I started two days before Christmas.  Always leaving something undone.  But, I really do get excited when I see them the next year.  I hope I am as excited to see the 10 half eaten gingerbread men ornaments that I only cut out next year in that box.   Oh, and once I take all the cards off, I will take a photo of it so you can see what it looks like underneath.  I just got too excited and loaded up the cards as soon as it was done. 

Don't forget about the awesome giveaway.  Thanks for all those who have entered so far and signed up for Grace's mailing list.  The count down is on. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

neighbor gifts

I like to make several things to take to my neighbors and friends. It's because I can't decide on just one thing to make. This year I made the toffee as usual because I wanted to make sure there was plenty at our house as well as enough for our friends. But, I also made 14 sets of calendar blocks and some JOY signs. My mom and I made the calendar blocks from Lark and Lola's tutorial last January when she came to stay with me and we both said we were going to make them at Christmas time. I let her go first and work out the best way to make them in mass production and then have her pass on the tips for me. What are moms for. It went fast because I got started on them in the middle of November. Now, the JOY signs came because when we helped my mother in law move she had tons of cut wood that I inherited and so all I had to make was a new stencil.  They still remain my go to craft for every holiday. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

grace hester family keepsake print GIVEAWAY

You know it's awesome GIVEAWAY when it's in all caps! Grace Hester designs very beautiful and original prints that she sells here at etsy at her shop - grace hester designs. I admired them for a long time and finally purchased one this fall which she personalized for my little family. It's one of my favorite things on my new family portrait wall. Recently she asked me if I would like to host a giveaway on my blog for one of her -

Family Keepsake Print with Family Name with the little birdies - 8x10

with shipping included!

All you have to do is -

1.) go to her blog here

2.) sign up for her mailing list which is on her side bar and confirm it with your email

3.) leave a comment on this post after you have signed up for the mailing list letting me know you are now on her mailing list

So simple and so worth it. Since the holidays are here and we want to make sure everyone has a chance to win, the giveaway will end at midnight eastern standard time on January 5th. That way, there will still be something to look forward to when all the parties and celebrations have died down. Grace will pick a number using Good luck!

*Please Note - giveaway extended until midnight eastern standard time of January 7th!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

my favorite new ornaments

One of the big reasons I have posted less this past few months is because we have been helping my mother in law move out of her house.  This has been a huge undertaking.  She has been really good at saving just about everything from letters written by her grandparents to every single award my lovely husband ever earned as a child.  There was a ton of cleaning out.  With this event came a lot of good for everyone in the family.  She shared with everyone and really was extremely generous as she tried to shed herself of all the things she had collected.  I inherited so much vintage fabric, vintage wrapping paper (you know the kind that came in square sheets), cards, and Christmas ornaments.  So, a few of the ornaments are little vintage elves and I LOVE THEM.  They fit right in with my red tree theme and I thought I would show them to you.  They look like smaller versions of The Elf on the Shelf!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

her red dress and other things

When I made this dress a few months ago, I couldn't get her to put it on for a photo. And, she hasn't worn it until now since I did make it as a Christmas dress. It's the French Ruffle Dress from Mani Mina Oh, and there is a funny (now it's funny) story about her new haircut. It involves her older brother (age 5), herself and some embroidery scissors. Let's just say she now has a comb over.

Also, here is the pattern from my mom for the Magic Pillowcases that I shared here.

And, I have been making this english toffee for friends and as a favor to a friend and thought I would reshare it. When my mother in law and I made it the other night, we added dark chocolate chips instead of semi sweet and it was soooooo good. It's an elegant candy that is super simple to make.

Friday, December 11, 2009

vintage santa tutorial

Well, it's day 11 and my day for the ornament tutorial at Kristin's 12 Day of Ornaments posts on her blog wRIte iT DOwN. So, if you want to make a vintage looking Santa from a clothes pin, head over there for my tutorial!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

first order

I had my first order for my soldered charms last week (thanks Vicki). It was fun to challenge myself and I really do like how they turned out. I was excited to give them to her and not dreading it. I even got another order from a lady at the hair salon I go to who wanted two for her mom who collects vintage Santas. My mother in law is staying with us right now and she is the one who I went in on the supplies with for this. We both got excited about it about 6 months ago, but when we realized the learning curve was high (at least for us), we kind of fizzled. Then, a few months ago, I was determined to figure it out and I have seen slow progress. I am getting happier with them and am even wearing ones I have made for myself. Plus, the images you can put in them are limitless. So, when we get our etsy shop up in the next week, I will put a few in!

old fashioned santa ornament tutorial

My tree is mostly filled with red decorations. Of course, I welcome the non red, but I prefer my favorite color - red. So, I wanted to make an ornament with red and to top it off, I wanted Santa. Well, clothespins are fun to work with, so I came up with an old fashioned Santa. He's easy, but I think it's best to make an entire league of Santas at once if you are going to go to all the trouble - plus, more is always better when it comes to ornaments! So, let's get started.

Here's what you need:

*wooden clothes pin with flat end (I bought my pack at Hobby Lobby)

*wooden ball knob 3/4" with one flat side (also from Hobby Lobby)

*Cranberry color felt (or dark red) - 3 pieces (1 - 3"x4" for his coat, 1 - 2"x4 1/2" for his arm sleeves, and one in a semi circle for his hood and I will show you how to make the pattern for this.)

*1 piece of warm and natural batting - 3"x4"

*mini liberty bell (Hobby Lobby)

*jute - 7"

*black paint

*cream color wool yarn (I used the extra soft kind)

*tan color pipe cleaner - 6"

*glue gun and lots of glue

*red embroidery floss - 6"

1 - First, paint the bottom of the clothes pin black. You just need to go about an inch up since that's all that will show when he is done. Make sure you get in between the feet really well

2 - With the glue gun, glue the wooden ball knob on top of the clothes pin.

3 - Paint two eyes on the wooden ball. I used a stylist for paper embossing to do this.

4 - Cut 4 pieces of yarn about 3" long and separate them to make them look full like a beard.

5 - Glue the beard on to his face pressing all the yarn in to the glue to make sure it all gets attached.  

6 - Cut 2- 1" long pieces of yarn to go across his head (in the front only for bangs!) and the other to go across the top of the beard to kind of look like a mustache.   Separate to make them fuzzy. Attach one piece to go a top his head with the glue gun bringing it forward right above his eyes. Then, attach another piece over the top of his beard to look like a mustache.  I don't have a photo of that step until later on, but you will see it in the finished product.  

7 - Take your 3"x4" piece of felt and your 3"x4" piece of warm and natural and wrap around Santa's body going right under the bead head.  The warm and natural will be on the inside and the felt on the outside.  Glue as you go and make sure to end the opening in the front.  You might have to trim up the warm and natural since it kind of gets larger as you wrap it around! Wild!

8 - This is the best time to tie the jute around this waist.  Lift up his beard and tie it in a knot in the front. 

9 - Take your piece of 2"x4 1/2" piece of felt and your pipe cleaner.  Run a line of hot glue along the top of the felt and pull it down approx. 1/2" covering the pipe cleaner.  Then, run a line of hot glue on that seam and pull the bottom of the felt to meet it.  Look at the photo if that isn't too clear. 

10 - Wrap these arms around Santa bending the pipe cleaner.  Glue in place in the back.  

11 - Now it's time for his cape.  To make the pattern just draw a 5" line on a piece of paper.  Then out from the center measure 2 1/2" and make a dot.  Take a plate and use the round arch to meet the middle dot at 2 1/2" from one end of the 5" line.  Then do it from the other end.  

12 - Run a line of hot glue along the straight part of the cape starting 1/2" in and ending 1/2" from the end.  Place the brim of the cape on Santa's head making sure there is just a little of his hair (bangs!) sticking out and pressing the rest of the cape along his head and ending on his arms. Then, glue the under side on the back of the cape, pinching as you go to look like the photo above.

13 - Take your liberty bell and slide it on one of the pipe cleaner (his hand) and roll the end of the pipe cleaner up so the bell doesn't slide off.   

14 - Take a 6" piece of embroidery floss, run it through the top of his cape and tie at the top. You are done and he can now hang on your tree.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

12 days of handmade christmas ornaments

Kristin at wRIte iT DOwN is hosting 12 Day of Handmade Christmas Ornaments where she has asked 12 different bloggers to make a handmade ornament on their particular day and post a tutorial over on her blog. I am on day 11 which will give me time to figure out what ornament I am going to make. It starts today, December 1st, so head over to her blog and check out the first ornament made by

Monday, November 30, 2009

really good snickerdoodles

This is our go to cookie on Sunday night when we want treats. I am surprised I haven't shared this recipe until now. Truth be told, I think this cookie recipe is what sealed the deal with my husband when we were dating. I am serious. When I was 16 years old, I was asked to make these for all the men in our congregation for Father's Day. That was a ton of baking, but worth it. I found this recipe when I was really young in the PTA cookbook for our elementary school and changed it quite a bit. So, I guess it's my own. I am not creative enough when it comes to baking to come up with much more, so snickerdoodles it is.

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tarter
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream margarine, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, cream of tarter and salt. Roll into balls and roll in 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 400 degrees. Yield: 3 dozen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

just thinking of christmas gift ideas

The weird thing about having a blog in which your friends and family read is that you can't post anything that you are working on. So, really it looks like I could be twiddling my thumbs around this place. And, perhaps, at times I am, but really I have been working on some fun things that I cannot show at all. So, that got me thinking that I might want to share some things that I am not working on, but think you all might want to. Last year my mom sent the grand kids these wonderful Christmas pillow cases for them to open on Christmas Eve and put on their pillows to have magical dreams. She also wrote a great poem to go with them and sent two books - Snowmen at Night and another one along those lines. I thought this would be a great gift for families. This year we are picking family names instead of individuals on my husband's side of the family and it would be great to make these for each child in the family we pick. Here is a tutorial for a fancy pillow case from Kirsten Can. In the mean time you can decide who you are giving these to and print up this cute poem.

Each Christmas Eve I lay in bed
I cannot fall asleep
'Cuz Santa and his elves will bring
some toys and games that beep!

My brain is in a thinking mode
I wiggle and I giggle
Then I get my MAGIC CASE
And slip it on my pillow.

I close my eyes and start to dream
Of gifts and sugar plums.
Then all at once my mother's voice
Tells me that Santa's come.

When you can't sleep on
Christmas Eve
You toss and turn and wiggle
Just slip this MAGIC PILLOW case
Over your soft pillow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

i'm a little slower at these things

There is a great thing that I am getting myself in to and I didn't even mention it over here until now. Sometimes I am a bit slow at things. When Melissa (of The Polkadot Chair) called on Friday and said, "I'm pushing Publish Post now about our new shop, are you ready?" I thought, "Yep, go ahead. Pretty cool." But, then I didn't even mention anything here. I could tell you all of the things that are keeping me busy and slighty insane, but that would bore you (two birthdays and parties, hair cutting incident of a 2 year old, Primary Program, etc.).

So, what I mean to tell you is that my friend and I are opening an esty shop called May and Mae very soon. Her new logo for all the amazing things that she makes is called
I love this logo and my little old stuff will have the amazing mae tag on it. So, together we are May and Mae. I am sending you over to her blog to read more about it since she wrote about it so nicely. I will be putting just a few things here and there since I can't stay on one project long enough to make more than a few. And, although I am a bit slow at mentioning it, I am so happy to have a friend that inspires me and gets me motivated to create!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Clementine Purse Giveaway

photo from pick up some creativity

Christine over at Pickup Some Creativity is having her first giveaway tomorrow, Friday the 20th. She has come up with a clever purse for her niece that can be used as a dolly diaper bag.  This giveaway has two chances for winning.  Not only is she giving away a Clementine purse, she is also giving away a PDF pattern for the purse.  Awesome.  She will be selling these patterns soon, so head over to her blog tomorrow and enter.  I know my name is going down on those comments!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

for bug's baby boy

My little sister, Caitlin (I call her Bug) , is pregnant with her first baby.  She is expecting a boy and today her husband's family is throwing a baby shower for her. I wish I could be there, but since it's in San Diego and I am in Louisville, it's not going to work out.  I hope she likes the gift we sent along for the shower. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

a few ornamanets to work on

Each year I enjoy making a few ornaments to add to the top of gifts and to our tree as well. I found a few that I am going to get started on.
photo from martha stewart living
These cute elves were in December's Living and you can find instructions here.

photo from martha stewart living
I saved these directions last year and didn't get around to them, but really want to try again. This idea is also from Martha Stewart. I have tons of buttons and now I just need to get them sorted for these cute guys.

This cute gingerbread man is from elsie marley and I made just one last year. Now, I need an entire league of half eaten gingerbread men on my tree.