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.