Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with the old....


  I have to say that joining the apron swaps earlier this year has been a real game changer for me. I've told my husband before that I thought that sites like e-Harmony needed to have a sub-division for friends who connect on 29 levels of compatibility. I mean there could be someone who lives down the street that could be loads of fun to hang out with but in our fast paced lives, we never meet. The apron swaps have been like e-Harmony Friends for me! Meeting so many crafty ladies who share my passion for fabric and colored paper has been awesome! I know I've mentioned Regena and Amy who crack me up on a daily basis, but are also so thoughtful and caring. There is also Jill who is an amazing crafter that I am getting to know better as well. All these women are so talented (you should check out their blogs too!)

Regena posted a link back in the begining of December about a cool way to organize your fabric with comic book boards. I could hardly wait to give it a whirl, but with all I had going on, I had to wait until after Christmas. So I ordered the boards on Amazon and they arrived last week. Yesterday was the big day to put the plan into effect! I realized that some of my fabric has been in my possession for over 20 years and if I haven't used it yet, chances are good that I'm not going to use it in the next 20 years either. So I'm working out the plans for another sewing day the the church and I'm going to take all the fabric I longer want in my stash and offer it to anyone who might want to take it home. Whatever is left over, goes to Salvation Army. This way I can make room for some of the newer fabrics that I'm totally in love with and I don't have to feel guilty about buying it and bringing it home :) I plan to do the same "purging" with my scrapbook supplies. I'm only going to keep the things I totally love and rest I'll give away. It's a new year....and a new start. Out with the old........and definately in with the new!!!
Forgot to show this maternity apron that I made for my daughter in law :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let's wrap this thing up!

Now that Christmas is behind us I can show some of the other gifts that I made for my family. These fun pot holders were for my daughter and I used the same free download pattern that I mentioned last week. If the fabric looks familiar it's the same vintage fabric that I found at the thrift store during the summer that I used to re-cover my own potholders. I also made her a folding sewing kit like the one I made for my first give-away! The fabric that I used for her is from the Cosmo Cricket "Tailor Made" collection that I bought on etsy. I'm a big fan of Cosmo Cricket scrapbook paper and now they offer some of the same designs in fabric too! Color me a happy girl!!! I love that the fabric has flowers and little spools of thread and scissors too. Perfect for a sewing kit!
I also made her a reversable apron from the wonderful "retro" free pattern I found on I used this really fun Michael Miller fabric that is out of print that I found on ebay. It's blue checkers with adorable aprons all over it. I backed it in yellow polka dots and edged it in red bias. She saw the pattern earlier when I made one for my apron swap partner in the fall and she fell in love with the apron.
I had enough of the Ready Set Robot fabric left over to make a little shirt for Gabriel (my youngest grandson) to match his 2 older brothers. I can't wait to get a picture of the 3 of them wearing their shirts :)
My son-in-law Charlie, is the co-owner of a company called The Veracity Project and they just launched a new division of the company that sells t-shirts that say "Ask Me About Jesus". For every
t-shirt that is sold, a different t-shirt will be given to someone in need. Since Charlie wanted an apron, I couldn't resist using the "ask me about" graphics and adding a fun twist to it. My son Brandon, helped me find the perfect word and the "Ask Me About Cheeses" apron was born! It was a big hit as you can see. That's Brandon in the background cracking up :)

My mom had said that she would really like to have red jewelry so I made her this sterling silver and red howlite necklace and bracelet. As soon as I saw the stones, I knew she would love them (and she did :) I also gave her the last and the largest of the 3 cross stitched russian dolls that I made from the vintage cross stitch pattern that I found at a thrift store earlier this year.

For my son Brandon, I used the same vintage pattern that I found and used for the boys' shirts to make this retro 50's bowling shirt for him. He is a fan of the 50's and I knew he'd really like it. The fabric is also from the 50's which was an amazing find. My mom had the fabric and she was going to give it away. She got it from a neighbor who got it from her mom. When I saw it I knew I had to have it for Brandon! I think it came out pretty good :)

I also made this little girl's apron for my best friends' grand-daughter Kyleah. It matches the one I that I made for Marcia for her birthday earlier this month. I love that Kyleah calls me "Nana" too :) I'm hoping to get a picture of the 2 of them wearing the aprons.

Now that all my projects are done (for the moment anyway) I am focusing on re-organizing my craft room. I'll post more about that tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Score at Half-Time.....Boys 4 - Girls 1 :)

Big changes are coming our way. Yesterday our son and his beautiful wife went to the OB for their 20 week appointment and were thrilled to learn that their family of of 3 little boys will expand to include their first little girl! I am the proud Nana to 4 wonderful little guys. Each one of the different and amazing and so special to my heart. Now I get to add in some pink and lace and ruffles to my repertoire! It's hard to imagine a feminine influence into this male dominated circle that we've had going here, but if nothing else, it's going to be fun to watch and see if this little lady is going to be "one of the boys" or if she's going to "run the place" :) In the next 6 weeks we will find out if our daughter is carrying a little boy or a little girl. There is so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to! I know that I spend a lot of time on my blog talking about crafting, but today it really struck me that God is the ultimate crafter!
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  Psalm 139:13-14

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Well the gifts have all been opened and it's Christmas morning. The hubby and I slept in and had wonderful coffee (no one makes coffee like my hubby ;) and enjoyed the super tastey Almond bread that my Mom makes for us every year. I love the calm of Christmas morning. I am working on my cross stitch and we are watching "Have you heard about the Morgans" that I received as a gift from my hubby last night. This movie cracks us up! Tonight we are going to my Mom's for Christmas dinner as we do every year with the entire family. This has been the craftiest Christmas I think I've ever done. I'll post pics next week of all the projects that are now in their new homes. It's definately been fun. Here's wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting down to the wire....

 We're getting down to hours and not days or weeks anymore. I'm excited that except for some hand stitching and making a bracelet, I"m
D-O-N-E! (I was supposed to be able to say that last week, but oh well.....) Today it was raining outside and I wasn't feeling all that great so I had myself a little pajama jam. I was able to sew these fun canvas bags for the little guys to carry their tiny dinos in. I fused colorful fabric to fusible fleece to give the letters some depth. I used my Cricut cutter to cut out the letters I wanted out of cardstock. I used the cardstock letters as patterns to cut out the fabric. Then I used a zig zag stitch to attach them to the bags. I also used a smaller zig zag to applique the wool felt dinos.

I also completed the "Burger-meister" apron for my brother. I painted the lettering on the apron with fabric paint pens which were amazingly easy to work with. They were on sale at Joann's this week for $2.44 each. When working with dark fabric it's best to use several coats of paint and allow them to dry in between. For the lettering I used the same method as with the pillowcases and found a font that I liked and printed it onto regular printer paper. I taped it to the apron and slipped some tracing paper in between the lettering and the apron and transferred it over and painted it. I also used a tiny zip zag stitch to add a stripe of red and gold to the apron pocket to represent the colors of the German flag. (Black , Red & Gold) My brother is the grill master at his house and I hope he likes the apron :)

For my niece and nephew I made these flannel pj's. Jon is a very talented golfer so I used this obvious golf print to make him laugh and still be snugglie :) And for Jess I chose the pink and brown skull and cross bones with hearts because she is young and funky :)

All in all it was a very productive day!

Monday, December 20, 2010

This and that.....

 I had so much going on last week. A lot of "this" and a lot of "that". So many sewing projects completed that I can't blog about just yet but I will share them next week. I did make these totally cute potholders for a friend of mine from this great free pattern I found over at I also finished a cute book marker for my friend Amy. I stitched in on 18ct lugana and then used Wonder Under to fuse it to some yellow polka dot fabric. I used 1/4 bias to edge it and added a sheer ribbon to the top.
On Sunday morning my blow dryer decided to spark and smoke (and stink) and die. So I had to use the little heater in the bathroom to finish drying my hair. It's totally awkward and heavy and I wouldn't recommend it long term but worked!
I mailed out this cute apron that I made for another friend of ours that does the graphics for our church every week. She is an amazing artist and we are so fortunate to have her help us out the way she does. She's a very hip and funky individual and I hope she likes the vintage fabric that I picked out for hte apron. 
And today I found this wonderful soft rubber thimble
at M & L Yardage. I have never found one that is
comfortable for
me to use because my brother smashed my finger
in the window sill (thanks Hank) when we were
kids and hard thimbles are uncomfortable. I end
up stabbing myself all the time while hand sewing
and cross stitch. Now with this cute little red
thimble....problem solved!

What a random blog entry this was.....*sheesh*

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tradition :)

Elijah Christmas Eve 2007

Oma & Caleb Christmas Eve 2008
 We all have holiday traditions in our families. Some people hide a glass pickle ornament in the tree (yeah...I have no idea what that is all about). Some traditions are passed down through the generations. Sometimes the younger generations may not even know why they are doing something a certain way....all they know is that it's tradition. I can remember when Jose and were just married and it was New Year's Eve. We were at my Mom's house and Jose was telling her about the tradition of peeling 12 grapes at midnight and eating them. She asked him why and he said that he wasn't really sure. Maybe something about peeling off the last 12 months and starting the year out new. He said he'd ask him Dad but it was something they had done all his life. So the next morning he asked his Dad and it turned out that his Dad liked grapes but didn't like the skins :) That story still cracks me up! Anywaysers.....back to Christmas Eve and our family tradition. My Mom grew up in a small town in what used to be Western Germany. A gorgeous little beach town. (I love it there) Our Christmas Eve tradition comes from her family. Each year on December 1st, we would open a little door on our advent calendar and eat the little chocolate hiding behind it. Then on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) we would wake up and find our shoes filled with Dutch and German candies and a large chocolate letter representing the first letter of our name. December was so exciting because with each new day and each new door opened on our calendars we knew we were one day closer to
David Christmas Eve 2009
Gabriel & Brandon Christmas Eve 2009

the best day ever!!!! On December 24th we would get up early, have breakfast and leave the house with our Dad. It was always a magical day to have the entire day with our Dad alone! He would take us to play miniature golf or when we were a bit older he'd take us to a family billiards place to play pool. (He was a billiards champion in Holland as a young man) We'd have lunch somewhere and come back home by 4:00pm. While we were gone, my Mom would put up the tree, decorate the house, and get everything ready for Christmas Eve. We would come in the back door and she had a sheet tacked up across the living room door, so we couldn't see in there. We'd have to go to our room, change into our Christmas clothes and wait behind the door until we heard her ring the special glass Christmas bell to let us  know that we could come in. My brother and I used to both try to put our hand on the door knob and wrestle around to be the one who could open the door first :) Then we'd hear her put on the German Christmas album. The lights would go dim under the door and we'd hear the bell...... We'd burst through the door and see the Christmas tree and all the gifts underneath for the very first time and the room was aglow lit only by candles. Ah...the smell of the real noble fir Christmas tree and the brightly painted German little Christmas wooden incense burners and seeing the "bunte teller" (means colorful plates), one for each of us, filled with our favorite Dutch and German treats. We would all hug each other and say "Merry Christmas", before we could even think about attacking our presents. The tree and all the decorations were all a part of our Christmas suprise! It was so magical! I was the designated gift-passer-outer and I'd hand packages to each person one at a time so that we could all see the reactions to the gifts. Not like the frenzied free for all of wrapping paper flying different directions all at once. I had friends growing up, of course, that celebrated the American way. But I have always felt that we had the best "Heilig Abend" (Holy Night). On the 25th while everyone else in our neighborhood was waking up at the crack of dawn to open the presents that they had been shaking and peeking into since Thanksgiving, my parents would sleep in and we would either be in the backyard riding our new bikes or skates or playing quietly in the living room until it was time for breakfast. When my children were born, we did the same thing at our home. After a day with their Daddy we would pack up the kids at 5:00pm and go to my Mom & Dad's house every year on Christmas Eve and the tradition continued with us. When my Dad passed away in 1989, I took over "Heilig Abend" at my home and my Mom comes to our house. My brother and his family come to our home to celebrate with us, but still put up their tree early and open some of their gifts on the 25th like his wife's family did. My children are married and they come over to our home and celebrate with us, but also do the 25th thing at their own homes because they have spouses who celebrate that way too. I thought (up until last week) that I would be the end of the line for our family tradition, but my daughter just told me that she wants to carry this on with her family. She talked with her husband about how much this tradition has meant to her growing up and so on the 24th, her hubby is going to take their little boy out for the day while she stays home to decorate. My heart is happy and I know my Mom is going to be happy too :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Decrease in funds = Increase in creativity

This past year has been a real budget cruncher for us and I know it has been for a lot of people we know as well. I am thankful everyday that God supplies our needs. One of my favorite quotes is (and I don't know who said it ) "Happiness is wanting what you have....not having what you want."  In the past I have been known to go a bit overboard at Christmas time, especially with our children and grandchildren. But limited cash means that I have had to really be more creative this year. And you know what? It's totally been fun! I love the way I've had to figure out how to get something done in a different way. My intention with these pillowcases was to take them out and have them professionally embroidered with the boys' names. But that is not in the budget right now. So then I thought I'd just give them the pillowcases without names.....but where is the fun in that? I remembered that I had tracing paper from waaaaaaaay back in my high school Home Ec class. I dug up my old sewing chest and at the bottom was this old package of tracing paper. It says $1.00 JC Penney on it. (Does anyone besides me remember when JC Penny still had a fabric department?) I wasn't sure it would still be any good, but it worked OK for this project! I found a font I liked on the computer and printed out the boys' names and then taped the name tags on the pillowcases where I wanted them, slipped some tracing paper between the printed names and the fabric and transferred it over. Then I used some DMC floss in co-ordinating colors and chain-stitched their names. (here's a tutorial on the chain stitch)  I love the way it looks! I even like it better than what the embroidery shop would have done! What has this economy caused you to do differently this Christmas to really stretch your creativity? I'd love to hear what you've come up with!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sew much still to do!

With Christmas just around the corner, I've been doing my best to get my sewing projects completed. I started quite a while ago, hoping to be finished the week before Christmas so that I could really enjoy the holiday and not be so stressed out. Although I am happy with what I've accomplished so far, I still have quite a bit to finish if I'm going to hit my goal by the end of this week. I didn't get to do much sewing this weekend because my Fibro flared up and left me pretty much useless for a couple of days. I did manage to finish these 3 little shirts for David, Caleb and Elijah :) A few months ago I found the coolest retro bowling shirt pattern at the thrift store. The pattern was uncut and has all sizes from 3T up to adult XL. Good luck trying to find that many sizes in one patterns these days!  So I went online to find some fun fabrics to make the shirts for the boys. I found the fun Michael Miller "Dino Dudes" fabric for David (my little dino lover) on etsy and I found the Alexander Henry "Ready Set Robot" fabric in red for Elijah (his favorite color) and  blue for Caleb (his favorite color) on ebay. I love the way they look hanging all together :) I can't wait to see the boys wearing them! I'm guessing that by next year Gabriel will be big enough to get a fun bowling shirt too! (and who knows, maybe Nana will have some little girls to sew for as well :) 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The difference between boys and girls.....

 After I made the Ninja-bread man ornament for my friend Amy, my husband and my son said that the Ninja was pretty cool, but why wasn't he 1/2 eaten like the other Gingerbread ornaments that I made? The way men's minds work is obviously very different from mine :) So I decided to get to work on a Ninja for my son's tree that he sets up in his office that would be more "Guy Friendly". So here is my Ninja-bread Assassin! He has clearly had a bad day! He was a big hit with my son and my husband! Who would have guessed that?
My daughter, on the other hand, wanted an ornament for her tree that wasn't dismembered or bleeding so because she loves owls, I decided to make her one from this free tutorial I found online. This little guy went to his new home today and I think he's going to be very happy there. No danger of being eaten or attacked by Ninjas! (he does look a bit nervous though doesn't he?)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Great Stocking Swap of 2010

Stocking Swap.....say that fast 5 times :) I mentioned before that I was doing a Stocking Swap with 4 friends and today I received the final stocking package in the mail so I can share with you all the goodies I received as well as the fun stuff I had an opportunity to make. The rules were fairly simple.
1. Make a stocking for each person.
2. Make 5 Christmas gift tags.
3. Make a handmade ornament.
4. Enclose a favorite recipe.
5. Mail them out by Dec. 5th.

the tags I made for the swap :)
It's been a lot of fun waiting for the mail, both ways, because I was so excited to see if my friends were happy with what I came up with for them. For Regena (who was the Swap-Mama for this swap and she is also a major Star Trek fan) I made a Star Trek inspired stocking and a Spock gingerbread cookie ornament. For Amy (who mentioned that she likes the homespun kind of Christmas as well as the fact that she loves shoes) I made a boot shaped stocking out of homespun fabric with her name embroidered in cross stitch and a Ninja-bread cookie ornament. For Mark (who said he loves Levi's 501 jeans) I made his stocking out of a pair of Levi's 501's and made him one of the 1/2 eaten gingerbread men ornaments. For Carolyn (who has many interests including scrapbooking and gardening) I made a more traditional stocking with a felt heart and one of the 1/2 eaten gingerbread men ornaments. As you can see by the photos I received the most amazing stockings and fun ornaments from all of my friends. I"ll admit that swaps can be addicting. Waiting for the mailman just won't be the same :)
Regena made this adorable snowman stocking & fun sock monkey ornament :)

Amy made this beautiful stocking with an adorable owl ornament:)

Carolyn made this cute quilted stocking & quilted snowman ornament :)

Mark made this beautiful quilted stocking & lovely photo ornament :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I always wanted to be one of the Waltons...

Thanksgiving 2010
Oh my gosh! I can hardly believe that 2010 is almost over! A lot has happened this year in our little family. We have 2 new grand babies on the way and I can't tell you how excited I am about that. If I had my way, I would have been like the little Old Lady that lived in a shoe. All I ever wanted to be was a mom. Jose asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve when I was 16 and he was 18. ( can imagine how "thrilled" my parents were when I proudly showed off my new diamond solitaire!) We waited until I was 19 and he was 21 to actually get married. He was smart enough to know that he needed a stable job before we could start our lives together as husband and wife. I would have married him at 16 without hesitation. I played with dolls until I was 13. Not because I was immature, just because I wanted to be a wife and a mother.

February 1980
Our plan was to wait 3 years and work hard, save money and buy a house before we started a family. But God had another plan :) I got pregnant with our son on our honeymoon. I was over the moon happy :) 2 years later we welcomed our daughter into the mix. The week after I turned 22 we had our boy and our girl. Growing up in the United States for me meant that all my family (other than my parents and my brother) lived in Europe. I'd watch the Waltons on TV and dream of a large family. For me, it didn't turn out that way, but through my children now, I am enjoying the amazing gift of being a "Nana" to 4 amazing little guys and 2 more little ones in the new year. Our children are married to the most wonderful spouses and with those marriages, I now have another daughter and another son! Every Sunday after church we have 11 people around the table for lunch and I love every minute of it! Christmas Eve will be shared in our home again this year with our children and their families and my mom and my brother and his family. It's starting to look like the Waltons after all :)
September 2008

Monday, December 6, 2010

And the Winner is...... and other random craftiness!

First off, the winner of the pincushion is April from AZ! Congrats April! You need to email me with your address so that I can mail it out to you right away :)

I know I didn't blog much last week but I was busy crafting. I wanted to share pictures of the Christmas apron that I made for an early Christmas gift for my daughter and since she has it in her possession now, I can show you the pictures. This apron is the reason I bought the adorable Holiday Happy fabric designed by the Happy Zombie. (you should check out her blog for some really fun totorials and some neat ideas of ways to use this fabric as well! )
 I found this fabulous apron pattern as a free download at I used deep red cotton sateen for the neck ties, lining and waist ties just as they did in the Sew4Home apron. I love the way it adds a bit of "fancy" to the apron and still makes it machine washable. My daughter is petite at 5' tall so I had to take 4 inches off the apron length and the neck ties and also shortened the ruffle layers by 1 inch each to make it more to her scale. I added the polka dot fabric and the white pom poms for a bit more fun. She loved it and I can already picture her entertaining friends during the holidays wearing her cute ruffled apron!

My friend Amy told me about a fabric store in Redondo Beach called the Cotton Shop that is going out of business after 51 years and everything in the store is 50% off. So I called my Mom and we headed on over there the next day and I came home with some awesome fabrics! The colors and patterns I bought just make me happy and I can't wait to start some new projects with these beauties!

I also finished another cross stitch door bow. The original kit came with floss colors in mauve and grey blue (very 80's) but I loved the hearts and decided to switch out the colors for deep reds and darker blues. I love the way it came out :)


I've spent my evenings stitching more tiny felt dinosaurs for my grandsons while the hubby watches TV. I only have one more Brontosaurus to make and then 4 more palm trees, 2 volcanos and 3 folding play mats and I can cross another project off the list. Lastly (this has been a busy week ) I completed the 4 stockings, 4 ornaments, and 20 gift tags for the swap I am in with my friends Amy, Regena, Mark & Carolyn. I'll post pictures in a few days, after they have all received them. I'm pretty happy with the way they came out and it was alot of fun designing stockings to fit their personalities :)