Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I just finished my last run of the year this morning!

601 miles

My goal for the year was 520 and I blew past that!  I was even sidelined for about a month, per doctor's orders.  601 miles ran and I am 25 pounds lighter than I was last year at this time!  Yeah!  Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Holidays

We only have one week - this is going to be such a great week!  My kids are home, Tom is taking some time off, we're singing songs, crafting together, watching Christmas movies, shopping, and loving each other.  I'm going to be busy spending time with what matters most!

Sarah Richardson (my absolute favorite)' s Farmhouse - I LOVE!

See you in January.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

G's Garland


My little man and I found some time together this weekend.  After doing everything in the home he could think of, he got bored and relented to doing a craft with me. We made a little garland to decorate the blue tree in his room.



It makes me so proud that he had to sort his pom poms by color before he could start.


A pack of pom poms, embroidery thread and a needle.  So cute - not my favorite tree, but don't tell him!


 I started a similar garland with felted balls.


 I love these balls - but I need three times as much to wrap around a little tree.


Aren't they pretty?


  It probably won't get finished until next year.  I'm OK with that.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Words I Think About

"Sure, the season is hectic, but you only have a few years to put tradition in their hearts.  I've just learned to stay organized so I can make things magical year after year."  Jennifer Grayson, December 2010 BHG



While the rest of you were oogling (I know that's not a real word spellcheck!)  photos, I ripped out this quote.  I absolutely agree!  Every year, I make a list of everything we want to do during the holidays (starting before Thanksgiving) and everything that might involve.  Mailing Christmas cards involves writing the letter, choosing pictures, addressing the envelopes and actually mailing them.  I write down every detail on a huge calendar and hang it in my laundry room.


Then, I write down a copy and place it in my Christmas Binder.  I blogged about it here, years ago.  I carry it with me anytime I go shopping. 


This is how I can really enjoy the holidays, make sure I'm not missing anything, and try to really make it magical for our kids.

How do you stay on top for the holidays?  I really am curious?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Grateful Sunday

source

There is so much to be grateful for.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to sit next to my five year old and listen to him sing Angels We Have Heard on High.  I'm grateful for all the opportunities to sing Joy To The World and the chuckles that accompany that song thanks to my little brother!  I'm grateful for the light in my youngest's eyes as we turn on our Christmas lights.  I'm grateful that my husband always climbs up on the roof and hangs them for us!  I'm grateful for the background music that my children provide to my life.  I'm grateful for my musical talents and for the hours and money that my parents spent to allow me to grow.  I'm grateful for any time I get to use these talents and for those who express appreciation.  I play, and hope that someone will feel something and it is so nice to hear when they do. I'm grateful that my life is so chocked full of things I love.  I'm grateful that there is only 4 more days of school and then I get my kiddos all to myself!
Have a great week.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Fabric Chain


Who doesn't love to make chains?  My kiddos like to make paper chains to count down everything!  This year, I made a permanent fabric chain to help count down the days to Christmas.


 This was a fun little project that my kids can help me with.  I. can use an iron, G. picked which fabrics should go together, and M. hooked them all together after I sewed the velcro on.  I didn't even sew the pieces together - just ironed.


For right now, we're just hanging it onto  finished Christmas Tree Advent Calendar.




It's festive, it is the bright colors that my kids are loving, it's cute, my 3-year old can take a turn without needing help, I can use it year after year.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Toddler Sleeping Bag Tutorial

This year, we have a slew of little boys to give gifts to for Christmas.  Click off if you happen to be the mommy of those little boys that we are giving to - unless you don't care about the surprise (you know who you are).  This year, we're giving sleeping bags.  My sister-in-law's mother made these for her grandchildren, which happen to be my nieces and nephew - follow that?  I swiped one when I. was still 1, and took it home and copied it.  Since then, I've also made one for G.  The big kids have loved them.  I. has outgrown it - but she is 8!  Anyways, they are darling and I snapped pictures while I was sewing today.  Hope you can follow along.  It requires a medium sewing skill - plus a good ability to read my mind to try to figure out what in the world I'm explaining!

Supplies
1 1/2 yards of fleece for outside - 60" wide.  You should have a rectangle about 54" by 60"
3 yards of flannel for liner - 45" wide.    When you cut this, it should be 1" longer than your fleece.  You need 2 pieces of 30 1/2" by 55" .If you can find 60" wide, you only need 1 1/2 yards.
26" zipper
60" of ribbon - I used 1" grosgrain
These are all approximate lengths.  After you pre-wash your fabric, you'll notice some shrinking, so I just adjust my measurements to make it work.  Remember, this is a sleeping bag for a toddler - they are not very picky.  There are plenty of times I have to fudge the measurements to make this work.

If you are adding a monogram, which I believe at least quadruples the cuteness, add it at the very beginning.  I added it along the selvage edge by what will become the bottom of the sleeping bag.


Take you pieces of fleece and sew along one of the long sides and one of the short sides.  On the other long side, measure down 27" from the top and mark it with a pin.  Start at the bottom and sew to the pin.  Next, I separate the opening and sew a 1/4" guide line on the front and back.  This will help when we have to fold under 1/4" when I'm putting in the zipper.  I'm not sure if all this math is correct, but it seems to keep working for me.


 You are going to do almost the same thing with fleece.  Fold it in half (hot dog way).  Along the bottom, though, you will need to sew in the ribbon that will be used to tie it together.  I measured 1/4 of the way over (it was about 8"), and stuck a pin.  Then I folded the ribbon in half, and pinned the folded edge where I had previously stuck the pin.  Sew the seam and the ribbon gets caught in it.  Then sew up the long side, stopping 26" from the top.


Put your fleece and flannel right sides together.  I stuffed the flannel into the fleece to make it easier to sew this seam.  Sew the top together.


Pull out the flannel and turn both pieces so you can see the right sides.  Then stuff the flannel back into the fleece so you can see the right side of the flannel.


I like to leave a border of the flannel at the top.  I measure 1/2" up from the seam, towards the flannel, fold the rest down and pin it in place.  Make sure it lines up on both sides where you are going to put the zipper.


I am no expert on how to put in a zipper - but this is how I did mine.  I'm going to fold under 1/4" on my flannel (or where I sewed that guide line).  I folded under my fleece and didn't measure it.  There was a line already in my fabric by the selvage and I used that line.  Then I stuck the zipper in between and pinned and pinned - as much pinning as I could.


 I pinned all the way down one side, making sure to catch both sides.


When I got to the end of one side, I stuffed the end of the zipper between the fleece and flannel.


Then, I unzipped the zipper and pinned up the next side, making sure to catch both the flannel and the fleece.

Then, I tried really hard not to stab myself with all the pins.  Put on your zipper foot and sew it.

I did a "stitch in the ditch" around the top, where the flannel and fleece meet.

Details:


Roll it up and tie.  No, I'm not going to clean up all the legos in the background.  That's what is keeping my kiddos busy as I'm sewing.  They are just as much a part of this project!

I think these turned out great!  My instructions, not so much.

OK - so I understand that my instructions are not the easiest thing to follow.  I have been taking custom orders for these and would be willing to sew 5 more, for a fee.  If you are local, I'm asking that you pick up the supplies and I will sew it for you.  That way you can pick out the exact fabric you want. Email me   laurelmacd@gmail.com.  Thanks!  Thanks for the feedback - I have one more opening!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thank You Christmas Gnome!

Have you seen anything so thoughtful?  Thank you!

Illuminating House Numbers

This year, we have had some large get togethers.  I cannot tell you how many people knock on our door and say they went to our neighbor's door first.  That was not going to happen.  We made these House Number boxes to put outside.  I have been wanting to do this since I saw it in Martha Stewart in 2007!
Martha makes everything look very easy.  This is how it really went down.  I typed up numbers I like, in a font that was the perfect size for the square boxes I had.  I realized I was out of toner, so I had to hold up a piece of paper to the monitor and trace.  I'm sure Martha never has to do that!
I cut out the letters, and traced them onto the boxes.
I used my xacto knife and cut them out - not too perfectly, mind you.  I taped a piece of vellum behind it.
Next, I asked my engineer husband to figure out some way to string white Christmas lights to each box.  I love it when he helps me.  I was thinking of cutting holes in the back, sticking some lights in and using tape.  He was thinking of some frame/stake to slide the boxes on, and it just got more complicated from there!  After reading the Sunday paper, he saw the Big Lots add and told me to run down and get some battery tea lights - genius!
We used 3-4 for each box.
The lids hung down a little long, so I cut off and inch to show the numbers.  I guarantee that Martha's helpers are nowhere as near as cute, nor as dedicated as my little helpers are.
At night, we put a big rock in them and put them on our porch.  I love the personalized look they give.  I love that the project took less than $10 and the impact is huge!

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