Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm going to attempt a quilt

We stopped by my Grandma's the other day on our way home from a family visit and she generously gifted me this amazing fabric, along with several sizes of large quilt squares she had pieced and a whole bunch of little ones. Grandma was an avid quilter but doesn't quilt anymore and wanted someone to be able to use this. I sorted through the bin and picked all the fabrics that go somewhat together and piled them together for the quilt. So now I have this ahead of me and I'm excited! I need to pick up Bend the Rules Sewing from the library, I know there's an easy lap quilt pattern in there. I sure won't get as fancy as Grandma and do hundreds (thousands?) of small pieces. But I love that I will make it entirely out of fabric she gave me, except for the lining and backing.

I love this picture of my Grandma, taken in 1926. Here she is with her first quilt. She was six and had to sew a 4-patch quilt block together every day before she could play. Wow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peace and gingerbread houses

I shamelessly copied this PEACE garland from soulemama's blog. I went to Arbuckle's and got 2 yards of this amazing wool blend felt (72"wide) for just $5 since it was the end of the bolt. This retails for $10 plus per yard usually. I was thrilled. My plan (for years now) has been to make us all blue felt stockings and to cut snowflake designs out of the cuff. That won't happen for this Christmas, but it will for next!

The kids made graham cracker 'gingerbread' houses using juice cartons yesterday. I pretty much let them do whatever, since hands free time is limited with the babe and I harbored no illusions of trying to make them 'perfect'. They did a great job and proclaimed their houses 'the best ever'. And having friends over really made it a party. It was easy and fun and they turned out perfect, after all.

Me and gingerbread go way back. We had a cast iron gingerbread house mold growing up and traditionally we would make and decorate a house with our cousins every Christmas, hiding more candy inside and then after the family dinner we would have a tear-it-apart-free-for-all. It was like a pinata of sorts.
7 or 8 years ago for a Christmas present, I decided to make my parents a gingerbread replica of their 1875 brick house. I made a posterboard model and used the pieces as a pattern to cut the gingerbread. I cut out the windows and when I assembled it I glued vellum to the windows, little strips of paper for the windowpanes. I assembled the house on our pizza pan and glued little candy wreaths to the doors. Inside the house I put a strand of battery operated white lights. I used Big Red gum for the brick sidewalks around the house. My parents loved it! I think last year it fell apart due to being in a storage closet and subjected to an unfortunate roof leak. I think I have a couple grainy pictures of it, unfortunately this was before we had a good digital camera and I didn't think to take pics in the process of making it. I loved it though.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Vintage Ornament Goodness

I love these vintage glass ornaments. I guess I started collecting them 4 years ago, when a friend of mine gave me a dozen of them for Christmas. I fell in love with all the different shapes, sizes, and colors of them. Each one is so unique and they're so nostalgic to me.

7 or 8 years ago when we lived in our first house, an elderly neighbor, Bill, gave me a box of glass ornaments that were in his garage, still in the original box. I thanked him and held on to them for awhile, then they got donated to Goodwill. I don't know why I didn't like them then and still regret that I let them go. I guess I'd never seen them before and they looked wierd to me. Bill died last year and when I see these ornaments they also make me remember him and how Grace and I would bake him bread and other goodies and go visit him.

So now, 4 years later I have somehow amassed 44 of these ornaments. I bought 2 dozen at a garage sale in the past couple years and the rest I bought at an antique shop after Christmas a few years ago (they were on sale). So I've probably spent less than $10-15 total. I did see some at a church rummage sale over the summer and meant to go back and get them (not that I need any more, but for the kids when they're older I reasoned...) but I forgot. I know they're out there though and I'm bound to find more.

We ran into a problem with the tree this year. Getting our tree 'late' + not wanting to spend much $$ = no room for all these ornaments AND our regular ornaments (and these always go up high, out of little ones reach). So I came up with this idea and I think it works well and showcases them nicely. There they can sparkle all by themselves and remind me and us of Christmases past and simpler times.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dress-up Finds

A trip this morning to the kids' resale shop yielded these 3 great dress-up outfits--a green sequin-y dance costume with a beret, a corduroy jumper, jacket and flowered blouse, and a kimono (is that the right word? or does a kimono have long sleeves only??) I'm not sure what the jumper/jacket combo will be used to BE, but it will be interesting to see what my kids come up with for it.

So here's a picture of the trio below, it's not the greatest but I had to hurry and take it before the kids saw, since these will be a Christmas present for Lily's Dress Up box (yes, I do (some of) my shopping at thrift stores!). The price of all of these was only $11, too!

I also got 2 pairs of cute tights for Lily ($1 each), 2 pairs of pants for Lily, a bigger coat for Calvin, a onesie and long sleeve shirt for him. I looked for clothes for Grace but she's pretty picky about what she wears (and not in a snobby way--she just likes a certain shade of pink, etc)...so I didn't get her anything yet. It's easier to shop for her when she's with me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wood Goodness

I love wood items, and wood kids toys and playthings make me especially happy. I got these items from caseys wood products and LOVE them. I got a whole assortment of things: spools, clothespins (for hanging up 'laundry') , eggs, beads to string, clothespins to make clothespin dolls, large rings to make fairy rings out of, wooden 'people'....you get the idea. So some of these things will find their way under the tree this year, some will be made into presents through the year for our little friends, some I will dole out here and there to my kiddos. Last night I couldn't resist dumping all of it into the gorgeous made in Vermont wood bowl that I got for cheap at a garage sale somewhere. Oh yes, it made me very happy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Robot Dog!

Look what a creative 5 year old boy can do with a cardboard box (and some help from dad and some camo duct tape). A fun time was spent one fall afternoon crawling around the backyard being the amazing Robot dog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The View from Here

I snapped this picture recently of our dining room and the activity that goes on there. Very rarely is there nothing on this table--usually there's a mix of craft projects and items and school papers and cups and sticky fingerprints and...you get the idea!
My lovely midwife visited this morning for a bit and asked how I was doing (amidst my middle 2 asking me for help with various things while we were trying to talk), and I sighed and said 'oh...fine...yes, really...' I wasn't very convincing! But I'm trying to enjoy these days (and mostly I do!) and know that the work of my heart and hands makes a difference.

remember flannel boards?

We made some a few weeks ago, using up some flannel that was given to me and wrapped around a piece of foam core. Then we cut shapes out of inexpensive acrylic felt. The kids played with these (we made 2) for a long time. We made a summer scene, a fall scene, and we can make winter scenes here soon...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Reading Fun

One of the kids favorite places to go is to the library. Usually I go armed with a list of kids books to find...mostly ones that I've seen reviewed at other craft blogs. This trip was fall themed--we found, among others, 'Pumpkin Moonshine' by Tasha Tudor, 'Four Friends in Autumn' by Tomie dePaola, 'Around the Year' by Tasha Tudor, and the kids' favorite, a serendipitous find since it wasn't on my list, 'Hallowiener', by Dav Pilkey. And then a nice afternoon was spent welcoming fall and looking forward to the fun things fall brings.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

fort squirrel

Building a fort for backyard adventures has been on our agenda for awhile. Since the summer came and went and we didn't get to it, Rob thought this weekend would be perfect, before it got TOO cold. Eric and Rob worked far into the night (ok, til 7:15--but it was so dark already!) and got it nearly finished.

Leaves gathered from the front yard made a lovely floor for the fort, and a sign on the hatch reads 'Fort Squirrel'. This fort will get lots of use, I'm sure!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

a place for stuff

I was thrilled to find this antique buffet on craigslist a few weeks ago for a steal ($40). After a zillion back and forths with the seller (could I come right away, no I could not, could she hold it? no, she could not, ok, thanks anyway...and then an email the next day that it was still available, could I come right away? etc...). So we got it and did some rearranging to put it along the wall where we'd previously had a reproduction grain bin, which now fits nicely into the breakfast nook. I really like this piece. It does need some TLC, I'm going to leave the top as-is since it's in great shape and repaint the bottom a semi-gloss black to match our dining room table.
A bonus is it holds lots. Drawers for mail and catalogs and silver and napkins and linens and cabinets for bigger items. The top has become a catchall already for library books and school papers (I had to move 2 piles to take this picture). But what a thrill to get this!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

pumpkin patch and falls park

So for the second year in a row, yesterday we visited the pumpkin patch at Smith Family Farms and the kids enjoyed the play area, petting zoo, and choosing a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. We started off down the corn maze and got about 25 yards into it and decided to turn back since it was a blazing 85 degrees, we were thirsty, and it just wasn't worth it! Maybe next year it will feel like Fall when we go!