I Cor 16:14

"Let all that you do be done with love." I Cor 16:14

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winter Party Dresses

Rain, rain go away 
please come back another day . . . 
We would love some snow instead 
For after all days and days of rain I dread

Wouldn't snow be so much better?
It is white and lovely
pure and crystalline
and just perfect for December

My boys want to enjoy winter
the shoveling, sledding and snow ball throwing,
after hours of play to come inside
with their frosty cheeks to sip on hot chocolate

Okay, so rainy weather doesn't make for great photos and I'm a struggling poet (he he!)

Even if it's raining outside I have had fun creating these winter dresses for my neices.  In case it's hard to see one is in lilac and the other in white.  They both feature silver snowflakes on the sleeves and skirt overlay.

McCall's pattern 5554 (View B) was used to create the dresses.

Only 10 more days to Christmas!  Can you believe it?  
Since my boys are getting new sleds for Christmas I am praying for some fluffy white snow!
Plus, it really helps set the mood for Christmas don't you think?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pretty in Pink

Sewing for dolls is pure delight for me.  This dress was no exception!!  Sewing with fancier fabrics scared me a bit but I found it really wasn't that bad.

This dress was an order for someone after a sparkly gem look.  They wanted a rose colored swirl sheer fabric but sadly I couldn't find any.  But, this pink satin  with pink sheer is pure princess if you ask me!

I made a few modifications to a McCall's pattern (5554, View B) to achieve the right look.  I also used a 3-thread rolled edge to hem the sheer fabric.  Worked just perfectly without a lot of effort.   

Now she's all ready for a fancy tea party and a Merry Christmas for a special girl!


(View my Doll Catalog tab at the top to see more doll clothing - 
please e-mail me if you see something you like!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Secret Santas

A few days ago I announced to my family we should have a little fun with each other by playing secret santas.  Oftentimes I noticed we can treat strangers better than the very loved ones we live with.  I wanted us to think of each other better than ourselves and to go out of our way to do something kind and thoughtful with the restriction of using our own time and talents (no spending allowed!)  With excitement then we quietly drew names from a hat.

Now that we've been playing it for a few days it is a lot of fun!  I chose my oldest son's name and I am beginning to see he picked my name, too!

I was in shock when he asked me if I wanted help with editing our christmas card photo.  Why, yes I certainly did want some help.  My boys would much rather give blood than be all dressed up posing for a silly camera for a sentimental mom.  So the time he took to help me make the final photo cut was a gift indeed.

My oldest son loves to eat and boy do I mean eat!  He feels loved when I make him a snack or a nice meal (he's a lot like his paternal grandpa that way).  His day on Monday was spent mostly away from the family as he had a couple of friends over after school to study and then after dinner they left for youth group.  I had a snack ready for him when they came home and then made dinner for him and his friends.  Then before I went to bed I left him a little toy train filled with Hershey kisses on his bed, knowing he would see it before he crawled under the covers.

I awoke to this note on my ipad the next morning,

Good morning and good day!
Although yesterday may seem so far away,
Truly this note was scribed before midnight,
So your Secret Santa had not forgotten your delight.

And surely a few cheesy couplets can amend
My negligence toward you (which I really did not intend?)

Alas, I will bid thee adieu and entreat that you have an incredible day!

I knew instantly it was son #1 - for he has way with words that leaves me in awe!!

We will probably reveal our secret santas tonight and draw another name so I want to bless son #1 with his favorite meal - PASTA!  They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach and that is certainly true with him. 

Those are a few things I have done for my secret santa.   How about you?  Do you play secret santas?


Friday, December 2, 2011

Decorating for Christmas

After enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving with our parents the fall decorations were soon put away and out came the Christmas boxes!  My boys always enjoy helping set up the tree and this year my youngest 2 were the most excited about doing it.

Once the decorations were on the tree then it was time to put the Christmas train around it.  My youngest likes to pretend the train delivers presents all over the place!  This year we are using an advent calendar book to remember the events leading up to Christ's birth.  Each day is it's own tiny little book that also doubles as an ornament after it is read.  Just the activity we need to keep our focus on Jesus during this busy season of giving, baking, decorating and mailing cards!

On our mantel I hang Christmas stockings from my dear friend who had them made in China when she lived there.  The boys favorite nutcrackers also hold a prized spot on the mantel.

I have several nativity scenes set up in my home but this one always makes me pause and ponder the humbleness of Christ's birth.  It was a wedding gift from my maid of honor.  While I was given several handmade gifts this one is the most unique!  Can you tell what it is made from?  The barn is actually made from birch bark.  It has moss, mushrooms and lichen attached to it.  The pen inside the barn is made from sticks as well as holding up the birch.  This creche has moved with us all over the midwest and has survived well!

How about you?  Have you gotten your decorating done?  Or do you do something else first, like write out your cards?

May your day be blessed!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It is a day to pause and enjoy the richness of God's grace, mercy and blessings in our life!  All around a table of loving family and warm food.

Today I will be watching my son in a pilgrim play, preparing our home for our parents (who we are so excited to see!) and making last minute stops at the store.

Thanking today for you and pray you have a beautiful thankFUL Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pastry Shop

I joined my sons energetic class on a field trip to learn about different professions.   I was tickled pink we were to tour a local bakery first!!

After walking by the glass cabinets filled with shelves and shelves of pretty pastries the boys and girls were ushered back into the decorating room to get a finger taste of their icing!

Yum!  Then they observed how a baker decorates a cake.  Wow!  Was she fast!  This was my first time in a bakery so it was just a lot of fun to watch what life is like for a baker.  I've seen a few episodes of DC Cupcakes and Cake Boss so this was just delightful.

Next, our baker gave us a tour of her kitchen.  First up was this incredibly LARGE mixer filled with chocolate cake batter.  I have never seen so much cake batter in one bowl.

Mind you this mixer rests on the floor; that's how tall it is!!   Then, she took us around to her oven which was the size of a small room with racks inside that rotated like a ferris wheel.  

Next up was cutting out some cookies.  Our baker put some dough in a roller and the boys and girls used a turkey cutter to cut them out.

Into the oven went the cookies.  Meanwhile,  I took some pictures at the front counter.  In heaven I hope there will be pastry shops with an abundance of sweet treats and no limits!!!!

Wouldn't this cake be perfect for a tea party?

With cookies in hand we got back on the bus and drove to a pizza place.  This turned out to my son's favorite place. 

 Can you guess what was my favorite?

Sweet BlesSings!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Birthday Boy

My youngest son, Jacob,  just celebrated his 6th birthday.  Since he is my "baby" it saddens me how quickly he is growing up, all my boys actually.  It seems 6 is an age where little boys start being bigger boys and it isn't long until school, sports and friends will take up a lot of his time.

Like all children Jacob was so eager for his birthday.  I remember as a girl waiting and waiting for my birthday to arrive.  It seemed like time just crawled by and I'm sure he felt the same way.

But, his special day finally arrived and I did something very outside of my character for his party this year.  We went to Chuck E. Cheese just like he wanted. 

Last year Jacob was all about being a police man and wanted a police themed birthday party (see here.)  A year later he is still into it!  So I had Ali from Wee Little Papers design Jacob's cupcake toppers.  She did such an awesome job and my son just loved them!!

They turned out great and Ali is one talented lady!  Check out her shop; she has some really cute things!!

Well, Jacob had a great time with his family and friends and wants to do it all over again next year!  That may be a tough sell for this peace loving mama who prefers parties at home.  I kind of missed the preparation, extra voices and pounding of feet in my home.  It was an experience none the less.

May God bless him in his 6th year of life and you today my dear friends.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Blessings

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,
for it is the power of God to salvation
for everyone who believes,
for the Jew first and also for the Greek."
Romans 1:16

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

my new door

Do you ever have something get under your skin and you feel compelled to do something to get rid of it??  This happens to me quite a bit.  This time it was my front door.  A fairly new door that was beginning to peel for no apparent reason other than the weather taking its' toll on it.  

So, I began to sand the side light curious to see how easily the stain would come off .  Surprisingly, it came off rather easily so I kept going.  But, of course the more I sanded the more I became committed to redoing the WHOLE DOOR.  My husband warned me, but do you think I listened??  Regretfully, this time I didn't.  

I felt confident after reading John Dee's step by step instructions (see here).   John Dee is from This Old House.  He is a pro and I am not as I soon discovered!  But, I told myself I would be saving so much money by doing it myself (always a stickler for that!)

Needless to say after a lot of sanding (bye-bye fingerprints) I succumbed to chemical stripping (with gloves) to get the stubborn stain off.  I started with the side light (shown in the above photo) and then did the opposite sidelight.  Then I tackled the door.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out the door was fiberglass which meant the stain came off with little resistance using a chemical stripper. 

After power washing it was ready to stain. Yippee - I was making progress!!  I found my husbands blue shop towels folded up into a square worked really well for applying the stain.  We took the door off its hinges and with it laying flat there weren't any drips.  Applying the stain was the best part. 

This is the door after 2 coats.  Because the wood, molding and door are all different materials they took the stain to varying degrees.  I kept adding more coats to achieve more of a uniform color.

After a coat of polyurethane this was the end result.  Mind you this took about a month for me to complete working on it 2-3 hours several days a week.  As with many DIY projects this one cost me my blood, sweat and tears.  I had followed the advice of lightly sanding the first coat of polyurethane before adding another one.  I may not have done it "lightly" enough because I saw deep grooves and in some spots the stain came off.  I was completely frustrated with the idea of staining it ONE more time but I did and then added a coat of polyurethane again.  Then the weather turned cold, too cold  to add another recommended coat of polyurethane so I will wait until spring (when memories of how horrid this was will hopefully have faded.)

Little tidbits:  I used Minwax stain in Red Mahogany.
All of my materials cost about $50:  sandpaper, gloves, mineral spirits, brush, stain and polyurethane.   I found small brass brushes (which look like toothbrushes) worked great for getting the stain out around the moldings.
I learned the hard way that sandpaper will etch glass so be careful when sanding near glass!  Also, I will need to touch up the trim paint since sanding, scraping and chemical stripper were not kind to it.

I am glad this project is checked off the list!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Baking

I wanted to share some yummy fall desserts that are filling the air in my kitchen with spicy, pumpkin goodness these days.

First off are these super moist cookies.  Be sure and make a double batch because they disappear quickly :) 


The recipe can be found here from all recipes.

Next, up is an easy pumpkin cake made with only a few ingredients.    This is a relatively low-fat cake as there isn't any oil or butter in it!  I think that means you can eat more and not have the guilt, right???

Pumpkin Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin 
3 eggs
2 Tbsp pumpkin pie mix

Mix all ingredients together then pour into a greased bundt pan.  
Bake @ 350degrees for 45-50 minutes.
Let cool for about 15 minutes then remove cake from pan.
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chips (butterscotch or semi-sweet)
Bring whipping cream to a simmer then add chips and heat until melted.
Once cooled pour over cooled cake.

What do you have baking in your kitchen?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I {heart} fall

This afternoon I took my kindergartner and his friend to the park.  We had such a fun time being outside in the wind and sunshine (gotta love a 70degree day in October!)  While there my son's friend discovered a very large walnut in the parking lot on the way to the water fountain.  We marveled at its' size (5" across) and how much it would hurt if we happened to be standing in the wrong spot when it fell!!  Ouch!!!!  Anyway, my son was jealous that his friend found it first and was quite certain he needed one, too.  So the race was on to find more!  After some looking we then found the tree dropping these gorgeous beauties on the side of a dry creek bed.  They were easy to spot since their bright green colors were in stark contrast to the fallen dull, brown leaves next to them.  A couple of walnuts made it home with us and this one fits right in on my porch amongst my fall scene.

Using a bale of straw I just began to layer all things fall.  My sister gave me the shiny large pumpkin from her garden in Minnesota.  Love it:)  I think I may need to plant some pumpkins next year. 

The straw sits right next to my door.  The door that I have poured my blood, sweat and tears into these last weeks.  No kidding.

I refinished it like a crazy woman.  And yes, I was waaay over my head with this project.  The gory knitty, gritty details I will save for another post.  Uh hum, back to all things fall outdoors

Look at this mum about to burst with all its' awesomeness!

Wishing you Fall BLesSings!

"The Lord bless you and keep you, 
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
and be gracious unto you; 
the Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Decorating

We had a wonderful weekend with my family but before their arrival I had fun decorating my home for fall.  Funny how just the little changes I made here and there brightened up the whole room.  I have to admit though orange is one of my favorite colors.  To me it is a color that personifies cheerfulness.  Please come take a peek in my home . . .

First off my kindergartner came home from a field trip to the pumpkin patch with this nicely shaped pumpkin.  It seemed the perfect companion to the stuffed mouse on our mudroom bench.  Isn't he sweet?

Adding some fall leaves, picks and a banner brought some much needed color to my mantel.

From my kids book collection I pulled out some fall favorites and put them on the mantel ends.  Books were the obvious choice for me since I didn't have any matching candles and they work because they echo the colors surrounding them.  It helps unify everything.

Next, I pulled out the spring flowers in this vase and replaced them with a fall bouquet.  It was a much better choice because now the leaves "pop" against the white vase. 

Fall used to be a season I didn't enjoy but now I really do.  I fully embrace it (well except the cold temperatures.)  The colors of fall: gold, bronze, red, orange and brown feel all cozy to me due to their warm tones. 

I am going to focus on fall all this week so please come back tomorrow and I'll share photos of my porch decked out for fall.


"Be exalted, O God, above the heavens:  let your glory be above all the earth."  
Psalm 57:11

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

doll sundresses and tote

In my last post I showed the little doll sandals I made and today I wanted to show you the doll dresses to go with them. They are for my four nieces.

I chose a different fabric for each of the dresses.  To make the sundresses I (mostly) followed a video on Youtube, filmed my a young girl named Sarah (stephenswodadancer.)  For some strange reason I am not able to load it into my blog so if you'd like the directions just do a search on Youtube.  There are a lot of girls sewing for their dolls.  I think that is so neat!

Next up was a tote to carry the clothes and a doll or 2 in.

The tote was fairly easy to make.  I used quilting cotton and it was a treat to work with.  It was so soft!

 The pattern for the doll tote is found in Joan Hinds book, "All Dolled Up."