Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Sewing & Dinner With The Boys

Hello! I am popping in for a quick post tonight. I'm afraid I haven't had much of a chance to read blogs these past few days.  I am busy in my sewing room, trying to complete all of my projects!  Today I finished the aprons for my granddaughters.  My daughter Gennifer is getting them a cooking set.  They have become very interested in cooking with their Mom lately.  Gennifer is a terrific cook too!  I also got them a children's cookbook by Rachael Ray.
For Claire's, I pieced a ruffle for the bottom, and a piece of jumbo ric rac to finish it.  I used 5" squares and prepared them with Steam A Seam.  I made a mock up of each of their names on card stock to determine the correct size of letters to use.  I then freehanded the letters, cut them out, and machine appliqued them with a small zig zag stitch.
For Hannah's apron, I made a pocket by piecing blocks, then I machine quilted it with loops and swirls.  I used my bias stripe binding to finish it, and then stitched it to the apron, sewing a stitch down the middle to create two separate pockets.
I really enjoyed making these for the girls!  I hope that they will like them!
One night last week, I got together with my high school girlfriends.  We were celebrating several birthdays, and also Christmas.  We had such a nice dinner, and then dessert back at one of their houses.  I made each of the girls one of the lined travel bags, and tucked in one of my dishcloths, and a jar of the strawberry jam I made at the end of the summer.
I love these bags, and they are so pretty as well as useful.
I have been sewing like crazy.  My sewing room is a mess!  I am still working on some gifts that are for some of my friends who read this blog.  So I can't post photos.  This coming Saturday, I am going to brunch at one of their lovely homes, and I am so looking forward to that.
Dusty is never far from wherever it is that I am working.  Such a good boy!
Last night I had a very special dinner date with 4 of my favorite men!  My brothers!  I got the idea several months ago, to ask my brothers all to dinner.  Just us.  No wives or husbands!  Our First Annual Siblings Christmas Dinner!  I  made the reservation at a lovely restaurant in Fullerton that my Mom and I go to a lot.  They have these Prime Rib Sandwiches on a pretzel roll that are to die for.   I talked to all of the boys to see if they would like to go.  I got 4 thumbs up, so I picked a date, and sent out a save the date text, and then waited for the big day to arrive.  I thought and thought about what I could give each of them.  Something little, just a momento of the occasion.  But I couldn't think of a thing.  Then one day it came to me.  I would write each one of them a Christmas letter.  I made the cards myself, and left them blank inside.  I composed the letters in my mind, many times.  I knew what I wanted to say, so sitting down to write them was very quick.  The words flowed, and so did my emotions as the date drew near.  I was so excited for this dinner, I was giddy.  I don't know why exactly.  I mean, we see one another pretty frequently.  We are all close.  Always have been.  But  I wanted to have them to myself.  To reminisce about days gone by, our childhood, and the things we did as a family.  The way one can only do with those who share those same memories.  I left for my date to meet them, and they were all there before me.  We were seated at a table by the window, with a view of North Orange County and all of the dazzling lights.  As well as being nestled right next to the fire place, that was aglow on a chilly December night.  The restaurant was decorated beautifully, and there were Christmas gatherings all around  us.  The conversation flowed very naturally.  We talked about so many different things.  I had to laugh when they each borrowed my readers to read the menu.  We also did a fair bit of comparing notes on who took what pills, and what hurts and where, just to compare.  The evening went far too fast.  The meal was excellent.  And they wouldn't let me pay for mine.  That was not my intention!   Before we left, I had an employee take our photo in the foyer by the Christmas tree.  It is with my cell phone, and I didn't upload it to my computer, I just took a photo of the photo from my phone.  So the quality is not very good. 
I got in my car to drive home, and smiled the whole way.  It was a fun night.  One I looked forward to for months.  And by far and away the most special thing I have done this holiday season.  
My brother Mark, he is the one on the far left with the snow white beard, has carried on the tradition of giving me a mouse every Christmas, as our Dad always had done.  It is so special to me, that he does this.  
This year, it was Mouse Slippers!  I love them!!!  So comfy!  I wore them ALL day long!!!  
Tomorrow I will be leaving for a couple of days to ride up to the central coast area with my Mom.  I am also looking very forward to this quick trip.  Just having the drive time in the car, to chat away about anything and everything will be lovely.  
This weekend is chock full with festivities as well.  Saturday is the girlfriends brunch.  Sunday is our enchilada making party.  Life is very full right now.  And I am feeling ever so blessed!
Happy Holidays friends!!
XO  Kris

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quilt Ta Da & My Homespun Christmas

Well, you are probably sick to death of seeing this, but my quilting friends will appreciate it.  I am done with the Christmas quilt.  I quilted it on my Singer One, in a sort of all over, loops and swirls stitch.  The stitches are long in some places, but it takes a lot of practice to get that constant hand to foot speed control for nice even stitches.  But over all, I am quite happy with it.  I backed it in an aqua with red polka dot.  I cut a red and white stripe on the bias for my binding.  I sewed the label to the back corner, using a blanket stitch.  I wasn't very careful about how even those stitches were, I was tired, and ready to wrap it up.  I hung it up using 4 glass head straight pins, as I always do to hang small quilts and wall hangings.  I put it in the foyer, and it is the first thing I see coming out of our bedroom and down the hallway.  That wicker piece is not usually there, but I have some things moved around for the holidays.  I can see by this photo that I need to move the chest to the right slightly.
This quilt was pure joy to work on for me.  I absolutely loved every stitch!
Hang on, I am going to move that chest over to the right two inches.......................
Okay, I'm back.
Remember how I said that less is more this year for Christmas?  Well, I am done with the holiday decorating.  All except for our tree.   We will do that this week, or weekend.  I didn't even have Greg take down about half of our boxes.  No lighted garlands.  No wreaths.  No snow village.  Just didn't feel like having all of that stuff to deal with.  And I am just fine with the way the house is right now.  A couple of pretty poinsettias and I will be all set.

That little vintage yellow seat is in constant use in my kitchen.  But it gets moved all over the place.  So the basket sitting atop is not very practical at all.  Oh well.  That Snowman used to sit in the window sill of the family cabin.  The vintage santa was a thrift find last year.  He has the other vintage star earring on his hand that matches the one I put on the top of the ecru colored sweater tree.
The buffet in the kitchen is a piece I love. I found it on Craig's List and only paid 50 dollars for it.  It is a good hardwood piece of furniture, and I got a steal!  I change it up all the time.  I made the subway art table runner from some burlap fabric I got at Hobby Lobby back in the summer.  Remember Elaine, Patty, and Shelly?  I tucked it away and almost forgot all about it.  I cut it into widths I wanted and made runners.  I sewed a six inch ruffled piece onto each end.
My favorite thing this year, is the little Hot Cocoa Station I set up, using my growing collection of Santa Cups.  I had to change it up a bit, and put this three tier plate stand on the lazy susan to hold more of the Santa Cups.
I have a few more Santa Cups up above the stove with two holiday plates and some greenery.
And more in the kitchen sill.
A favorite holiday cook book, and some snowman measure cups.
My happy Christmas Tree Thermos, and a Cookie Plate on the other side.
That little sitting area at the end of the kitchen is where we will put our tree.
The family room is the room that we live in.  I have put our dining table in here, and we love it.  We will be putting a hanging light up before Christmas.  The room is plenty big, but long, and difficult to arrange.  The way we have it now suits us to a tee.  We love dining in here, and having the table to do other things, and often, just to visit with friends.
The Noel log was made for us a few years ago by our dear neighbor Carl, who passed away last year.  I treasure it.  The AnaLee Dolls are just a few in my collection.  Mice are all over the house, as that was my nickname, given to me by my Dad.  Most of them them were from him, but since he has passed, my brother Mark has carried on the tradition, and gives me a Christmas Mouse every year.
These were last years.  I love their big wonky feet, and felted dresses!
They are sitting atop a vintage tree skirt that I found up in Big Bear over the summer.  I couldn't wait to pull it out this year.  I love the aqua blue and little mice and woodland animals.
The pottery boot I painted the year Drew was born, almost 26 years ago.  I can still remember sitting up at the kitchen bar and painting it at night after the kids were in bed.  The three mice are labeled with our children's names.
The bookcase behind the sofa holds a couple of my Heather Goldminc pieces.  A Mouse House and a Church.  Both are elevated up a bit onto small cake plates.  The white stand in the center is a cake plate that I inverted.  I put the moss ball on top, and filled the inside with greenery.
The quilt behind it on the wall, I made about 10 years ago.
The quilt to the right and not all the way visible, is a monthly pattern that I did several years back.  I haven't done all of the months though.  I loved December!  The cute stockings, with candy canes and holly in them.  I did a small stipple on the entire thing, and used a machine feather stitch to outline the stockings.
The foyer is where we moved the piano when I moved my sewing room to the living room, and I quite like it there!
Atop the piano is another Christmas Mouse from my brother Mark.
Looking from the foyer into the family room.  The first room to your right, is the old living room, and my new sewing room!
Sitting atop the little chest beneath my new Christmas quilt is another cute pair of mice, dressed in their Christmas finery.  Also a gift from my brother.
Last weekend Geeps put the lights on the house, and Noah and I put a few things on the porch.  
Dolly Mouse got her "ugly sweater" on.  It is getting chilly in our neck of the woods.
My Christmas swags hang on my red front doors.  
The antique sled sits nearby, just in case we get snow!
Reba Reindeer greets you at the post.
Probably made some time in the 70's, she was a thrift store rescue a couple of years ago.  
A few Christmas boxes, some quilts, Christmas mice, Santa cups and greenery....and there you have it.  My homespun Christmas.  
Thanks so much for stopping by.  We have a lot going on in the coming days.  I will try to post it all!!!
XO  Kris

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Little Bit Of Christmas

I have been spending a lot of time in my sewing room, preparing for the holidays.  My Christmas quilt top is done, and the backing has been purchased and prepared.  Here I have it laid out on the sofa with the batting cut beneath it.  I will baste it this weekend, and begin the process of machine quilting.
This is the cute label that we made for the back of the quilt.  Lori Holt's designs are just adorable.
Speaking of cute snowmen, I turned two plain white pillar candles that I had in my cupboard into Mr. and Mrs. Snowman.
I went into the yard for their twig arms.  It is hard to see against the fireplace.  Mrs. has some earmuffs, and is holding her pink wool mittens.
Mr. has a crochet hat.
I have made some more of these nifty heat saks.  These are made with holiday finger tip towels and filled with rice.  I put some ric rac around the edge.  Pop it in the micro for three minutes and then place it behind your back, or whatever ails you, for some soothing heat.  I also like to heat mine up on cold nights, and then put it in the bed underneath the covers while I take my shower and then when I get into the bed, it is roasty toasty.
I have been cutting squares of Christmas fabric with my pinking rotary cutter for the tops of my homemade jams.  These will make nice little gifts for my holiday giving.
We haven't even taken a single box down out of the rafters to do our Christmas decorating, and I am liking the little touches of Christmas I have added, even without them!
This is a little corner of our kitchen all set up for some Hot Cocoa drinking.  I have it all sitting atop a large wooden lazy susan that my Mom gave to me.
I have been collecting Santa mugs for a couple of years now.  These three are my latest acquisitions.  The red plate with bike and gifts on back I picked up at Target the other day.  The red thermos with green Christmas tree is a thrift find.  I put any leftover coffee in it in the morning, (rarely have any leftover!) and then when I am making hot chocolate, I make mine with  half coffee, for a cafe mocha.  The glass jar holds mini marshmallows, packets of hot chocolate mix in the middle, and a red sugar bowl holds candy canes.  The wire basket with moose, bear and canoe were a thrift find in one of my favorite shops in Big Bear.
The cabin scene trivet, also a thrift find.  It reminds me of  our beloved Big Bear.
My red ceramic egg keep is sitting on my dining table in the family room, filled with Christmas Kisses.  The girls are only laying a couple of eggs a day, so I thought it would look cute sitting out with something else in it.
Last year my daughter Gennifer gifted me with this darling holiday pillow from Target.  I had seen it at her house and loved it, and she went out and bought one for me too.
I saw this one with the Santa on it when I was in Target the other day.  Had to have it.
Two holiday pillows from last year came out of storage too.  The first one is a ski sweater just like one that my husband wore in the 70's.  Greg's was navy blue.  I found this one in a thrift store, in perfect condition.  It is 100 % wool, and oh so cozy.
I slipped it over a comfy down pillow, then slipped the sleeves inside the arms and tied them to secure.  I sewed the neck closed using several strands of red floss, and did a blanket stitch.  I did the same thing on the bottom, by tucking the sweater ends up inside the pillow, then closed with a blanket stitch.
The next one is also thrift find.  It was another wool sweater that had been accidently washed in hot water, and felted.  But the felting process really made the beautiful cabled stitches stand out.  I cut the sleeves off, and made this pillow.
There was one small stain on the front that I could not get out, but I still love this cabled sweater pillow.  I put some vintage Santa buttons on the front in place of the ones it had, and closed the bottom with a blanket stitch in red floss.  I tucked candy canes in the pockets.
Last Christmas, I had seen a beautiful blanket in a Gooseberry Patch book that I had bought.  It was made using thrifted sweaters of different greens and reds, and unique designs and cabling on them.  I scoured thrift stores for weeks, collecting sweaters to make one of my own.
I backed it in red flannel polka dots, and quilted an X through most squares and stitched in the ditch in others.  It is the coziest blanket we have!  I saved all of the sleeves that I cut off, and have used them for various different projects.  I made wine bottle cozies with some to gift a bottle of wine.  The other day I saw these sweater trees on Pinterest.  I grabbed my sweater sleeves and a large sturdy cardboard box, and began to trace out trees.  I cut them using my dull rotary cutter, the one I use for paper only.
I made several, using some of the green and sweater sleeves in different shades, as well as the felted wool sleeves with the heavy cabling.  In the Pinterest photo there was no bling added to the sweater trees.  But I was feeling blingy.  I lined them up on this shelf in my kitchen.
The off white cabled trees are my favorites.  I topped one with a vintage star earring, and left the other one plain.
This green tree I studded with various sizes and shades of white beads.  I used some baby ric rac as garland on one tree, and then some other snippets of sequined trims I had on  hand for a couple of the others.  I dotted one with red pom poms.  I think they are darling.
Yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at our house.  And the decorations haven't even come down!  We will put our tree up this weekend, and I know I won't be able to resist putting some of my favorite things up as well.  
This afternoon about 4:00, I was hit like a ton of bricks with a strange bug.  It took me down, and took me down hard.  I slept for several hours, and woke up feeling restless.  I decided to get this post up.  Spare time seems to be at a premium lately.  I will have to take it as it comes.  Hope my tummy settles so I can sleep.
Tootle Loo.
XO  Kris