Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm Sew Excited!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. We had a lovely time and got to spend some quality time with family.

My very generous father-in-law gave me this beauty for Christmas.

He purchased it at a local quilting store. I'm going tomorrow to learn the important stuff - like how to turn it on and thread the needle.

I can't wait to get started. I've been looking through my del.icio.us page for sewing ideas I've been saving for awhile.

I'm going to start with something relatively easy. Hopefully I won't be able to screw up these cloth napkins from Design*Sponge.

Don't you think the kids would love these super hero capes.

TipNut also has a great resource of tutorials for making aprons. (Honey, please don't laugh - you don't have to cook to need an apron. It would be nice to wear one while I decoupage something).

I've always thought these crayon roll-up pouches would be great gifts.

This should be enough ideas to get me started. As soon as I teach the baby how to change his own diaper and show the big kids how to make their own pjbs, I'll be able to get some sewing done!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I didn't get our Christmas cards out this year.

I was waiting for that perfect picture. You know the one. All 3 kids are cooperative.

Smiling beautifully at the camera. Not upset because their little candy cane is broken.

That picture doesn't exist.

And I'm alright with that.

There's beauty in our imperfection.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowman Ornaments

Davis' class party is on Wednesday. I thought it would be nice to make each of his classmates a snowman ornament.

I was inspired by a pattern in the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens Crafts issue. I stitched each child's initial on the untraditional hats.

Added a few buttons, wiggly eyes and scarf.

Add a little ric-rac to use for hanging on the tree.

Just so you don't think I have my act together. Below is a picture of the garland that should be beautifully wrapped and tied around my banister. Just keeping it real, folks!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

My baby boy is CRANKY! He got tubes put in both ears at the crack of dawn this morning. They also discovered his adenoids were enlarged and blocking the back of his nose. So the fact that he snores like an old man and breathes like Darth Vader is starting to make sense now.

It'll take about a week for him to fully recover, but the ENT said he should feel like a new kid. While he was sedated, they conducted a hearing test and he passed both ears successfully.

I'll be laying low for the next couple of days. I got to work on some cute snowmen ornaments while I was waiting today, so hopefully I can show them to yoy soon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Beaded Christmas Tree Topiaries

I was flipping through an old copy of Better Homes and Gardens and found a photo of these great beaded Christmas trees.

I used two different sized beads (4 mm & 6 mm) to create a striped effect. I used hot glue to attach the beads to the cone form. If I were to do this again, I would use a super strong adhesive instead of the hot glue to avoid all the "gluey stringiness". The string was difficult to get off and caused the paint not to go on as smoothly as I would've liked.

I sprayed the beaded cone with a pearl glaze. After the glaze dried, I used a moss green acrylic paint and a foam brush to apply the paint. You have to work the paint in a little to get the color on the string. I repeated this step twice, and if I find the time and the energy, I'll probably do a third coat of each.

I got into a rhythm by the third one (which is the middle sized one). The beads look so much better if you're able to keep them in an alternating pattern and not lined up on top of each other, witch I didn't figure out until the last one.

WARNING: This project will take more glue and beads than you buy on the first trip to the craft store. If you are interested in making these and you live in the Annapolis area, you may not be able to find any beads. I'm sorry.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Our Girls

Words aren't coming easily this morning.

Five years.


I'll leave you with one of the last photos taken of Ellie and Kate together.

Our girls are just as much a part of me today, as they were the day they were born. For that, I am grateful.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Stocking Advent Calendar

The Countdown's On . . .

We've never used an Advent calendar before, but I think the kids are old enough this year to appreciate the countdown to Christmas.

I was inspired by all these wonderful calendars and decided to give it a try.

I drew a stocking on a piece of cardboard to use as my "pattern". After a little time on Google, I learned I needed to use a blanket stitch to sew the two stocking pieces together.

If you're anything like me and have no idea what a blanket stitch is, here's a helpful YouTube video showing how it's done.

I had so much fun doing these stockings. It's opened up a whole new world of felt crafting.

To satisfy my green side, I found felt that's made from recycled plastic bottles to use on my next project.

All 24 stockings aren't filled yet. What do you put in your Advent Calendars?

Friday, November 28, 2008


Many times throughout each day I pray for patience. Apparently God doesn't just hand out patience just because you ask. He gives you opportunities to practice patience.

Take for instance our family's exit from all the Thanksgiving festivities last night. Our very over-tired 4 year old did not want to leave his Aunt Karen and Uncle Loren's house. The very couple who are expecting their first child in February. As I watched everyone's eyes growing bigger with fear, I quietly whispered give me strength . . . give me patience.

It took some time . . . and a cookie, but we finally got said boy into his car seat. The once tantrum-wielding young man, now sat calmly in his car seat discussing the intricacies of the color wheel and asking how the color yellow is made.

As I sat in the car, listening and watching my now recognizable son, I realized he is the answer to a prayer whispered from my broken heart almost five years ago, please God give us the opportunity to be parents again.

Davis, I love you. I am thankful you are here to teach me patience . . . . and all about Star Wars.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Girly Bulletin Board

My husband's had this bulletin board for over 25 years. Have I mentioned he has a hard time throwing things away. It's a standard bulletin board - not quite special enough to hang in a little girl's room.

I had lots of scraps of fabric and ribbon left over from previous projects.

Add in a little inspiration from her and her.

Now this bulletin board is all dressed up!

I sprayed the whole board with a couple coats of Rust-Oleum's Sweet Pea. I cut four strips of base ribbon to use for each side of the board, and then tied and tied until my little fingers could take no more!

I hot glued each "ragamuffin garland" on to the board. (If I knew how, I would use that little "c" symbol here to indicate that term may be copyrighted by the Nester).

Finally, I tweaked and fluffed it until I was satisfied. I did have to go back in and add a little to the corners. Now I'm off to make some push pins worthy enough to call this girly bulletin board home.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Anyone Out There Sew?

Bob and I are going shopping for a sewing machine next week. I feel like I'm buying a new car. With the high price tag and all the features and functions, my head is spinning.

There's a great quilting shop in downtown Annapolis, Cottonseed Glory. They carry Bernina machines and offer classes and all sorts of support. The reviews I've read pretty much say that the Bernina's rock. Does anyone have experience with one, or another brand/model you would recommend.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Favorite Outlet

In the 80's home builders did some cheap and silly things. They put in soffits, which as far as I can tell, only serves to fill the space between the cabinets and the ceiling.
(We'll discuss the finish on these cabinets later)

They installed the shiniest, brassiest light fixtures they could find.

They also believed in matching the door hardware to the light fixtures.

But the builder did have one shining moment of clarity. A brief moment when he thought, "I bet it would be a good idea to put an outlet in the hallway upstairs."

From this one little outlet (which is right outside our bedroom), I can vacuum the whole second floor. Thank you, Mr. Builder Man for having the sense to realize that an outlet in a hallway does make life easier for this mom, who usually does most of her cleaning with a baby on her hip. This outlet will come in so handy when I get to put up a beautiful lit garland on this staircase.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Identity Crisis

My blog is having an identity crisis.

The blogging powers that be say you should find a topic/theme and stick with it . . . . consistently. Well, I can't stick to one thing. Obviously, I've picked up some sort of crafting/decorating bug. I think moving into a new home and discovering a whole other blogging community are responsible.

I do still care about our environment and want to save as many trees as I possibly can. If you're missing the green commentary, check out all of the wonderful green writers over in my left sidebar.

I'm going to keep crafting for a little while so I hope you don't mind my little ADD blog. Knowing myself the way I do, I'll probably be onto something else in a few months.

I have just passed my 200th post. I think it's appropriate to open up the floor to you and
answer any questions you may want to know about me. You can either leave them in the comments section or use the email link above.

Now I feel totally exposed and vulnerable. I'm also exhausted because it's 4 o'clock in the morning and I have a very wide awake little boy on my lap!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Transportation Alphabet Wall Art

You'd think I'd be tired of decoupaging by now . . . . but when it's so inexpensive and relatively easy it's a shame not to do it.

Using canvases, scrapbook paper left over from these, a little clip art and some Mod Podge, I created six 12 x 16 canvases for under $10.

These are thin canvases. They come in a 3 pack for $3.99. I didn't like the stark white of the canvas. I taped off the edges and painted it an antique white, leaving a 1 inch border of the original white. I haven't decided if I'm going to frame them or glue some saw toothed picture hangers to them and call it a day.

I "googled" transportation clip art to find my images. A lot of education websites have royalty-free images. It works a little better if the images are in profile and are simple.

I copied and pasted them into Word and played around with the sizing. I printed out the images on card stock to use as a pattern. For the letters, I found a font I liked and printed them in "outline mode" right onto the scrapbook paper.

I decoupaged everything down and that was it! You really could do just about anything - animals, sports or girly things.

My nephew just celebrated his first birthday! Zeke, if you're interested in having some new art for your walls, just let me know. Happy Birthday!

I'm a little late to join, but I just found out about Just a Girl's, I Can Make That Party. These canvases are definitely something that you could make! There are so many great ideas - go check them out!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Great Giveaway

Skip To My Lou is hosting a great giveaway! There's gonna be 5 WINNERS!!! You have an opportunity to receive a digital card file to print your own personalized photo card PLUS 2 sheets of Picture it Postage! Head on over and sign up for this giveaway, it ends Sunday at 12 pm central time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Updated Piece and Thank Yous

I'm a southern girl who has never had a china cabinet to display her china. As a combination anniversary and house warming gift my mother in law helped me find this china cabinet at a local consignment shop.

I love the style and the amount of storage is incredible, but I wasn't really digging the hardware. It was a bit dated. (You should be able to click on the photo to make it larger.)

With the help from a gift card from my sister in law to Restoration Hardware, I picked up these knobs and handles. I chose the antique brass finish to match the hinges of the cabinet. There are a few little holes to fill, but I'm so pleased with the result.

Now I have an updated piece and once I get all the wallpaper down and the room painted, I'll be able to display all my "pretties".

Thank you both for this great piece!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And the winner is . . .


Sorry it has taken me awhile to post the winner. We've all been a little under the weather.

Brandy has a great Blog, Savin Some where she talks about all things frugal! Brandy, I hope you enjoy your gift and I'll be emailing you today so you can start using your gift certificate to the Monogram Chick's great shop.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sew Much Fun - Drawstring Gift Bags

A few years ago my mother in law gave me this little sewing machine for Christmas. Obviously, she had a lot more confidence in my ability to sew than I did because it sat in my closet for years .

A couple of weeks ago I took it out of the box for the first time. I looked at all the bits and pieces (I think the proper term for this is notions) and walked away feeling intimidated and defeated.

One of my favorite bloggers, Simple Mom, is hosting the sewing portion of "Holidays By Hand". This was the motivation I needed. Yesterday, I sat down with the manual, and after more time than I care to admit to, I figured it out!

I had a yard of this Michael Miller fabric and thought it would be great to make gift bags for the holidays. I found an excellent tutorial from HappyThings for drawstring bags and got busy.

I followed her directions step-by-step and created my very first sewing project. From one yard of fabric, I will be able to make 8 drawstring bags that are roughly 7 x 10 inches. I plan on using these for goody bags for Davis' preschool class holiday party.

I learned two very important things from this experience. I love to sew - it feels so good to make something all on my own. I also learned it doesn't take a big, fancy sewing machine to make something practical and useful, but it would be nice to have one that has a reverse button! So Santa, if you're reading this . . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway - Monogram Chick

I love anything monogrammed. Monograms make simple, everyday items stylish and sophisticated. The Monogram Chick has a delightful store with tons of personalized items.

I'm so happy I found the Monogram Chick. You can find gifts perfect for your child's teacher, housewarming presents , and even a little something for the friend who has everything.

I would love to be the Monogram Chick. She's so creative . . . and she blogs . . . and she's southern. Her prices are very reasonable. You'll definitely be able to find a personalized gift to give to all the special people in your life.

You have a chance to win a $30 gift certificate to the Monogram Chick. Mark a holiday gift off your list or buy a little something for yourself (I won't tell anyone).

All you need to do is take a look over at Monogram Chick and tell me your favorite item by Saturday, November 1st. I'll use a random generator and email the winner Sunday evening.

Good luck and have fun looking at all the eye candy!

Be sure to take a look at the hundreds of wonderful giveaways at Bloggy Giveaways.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gratefully Green

My husband has always had a huge influence on me. He's smart. He knows a lot of stuff I don't. I'm grateful to have him as a husband and our children are blessed to learn from him on a daily basis.

He started me on my journey to living greener. I was stubborn and hard-headed. I didn't want to change the way I did things. I didn't want to be bothered and couldn't see much point in my individual effort. I know better now. Thankfully he didn't give up on me (he's more stubborn and hard-headed than I am).

I see how my actions are noticed by friends and family. Even if they don't follow my lead, they notice.
The most important thing I've learned from him is we all have the ability to make choices. And our choices, whether good or bad, have an affect on others and our environment.

There are a lot of great eco-friendly things out there that make living green easier, but I think the thing I'm most grateful for is my husband's ability to open my mind. He's helped me realize I can choose to live differently.
We don't always get it right, but we're learning.

This post is my submission for The Green Mom's Carnival hosted in November by Best of Mother Earth.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WFMW: Fabric Magnets

One day I might have an original idea, but it's not going to be today . . .

I recently made a magnetic chalkboard (pictures to come soon) and wanted to make some crafty magnets. Google always comes through. I found some great ideas and tutorials out there.

Using some fabric scraps, button covers and magnets I created a set of magnets to adorn our new DIY magnetic chalkboard.

These bloggers were the inspiration and have great ideas and tutorials:

How About Orange
Lolly Chops

These magnets "Work For Me". Check out other great ideas over at Rocks in My Dryer.