Sunday, December 28, 2008

Handmade gifts revealed - round 1

We still have a family Christmas the weekend after New Year's so I am posting the gifts that have already been given and will do another posting after that.

This is one of the two pillows that I made for my mother in law and her sister. The plaid fabric was from a shirt that my husband had held onto that was their dad's. He passed away 18 years ago. I used a really soft red fleece for the front and then sewed one of the front pockets onto each one. They teared up a bit, so I guess they were well received. I also made a small drawstring bag out of the same shirt for my husband's cousin to put a couple of their grandpa's pocket knives in, also well received.

We also did air dough handprints for the grandparents - I even got my husband's sister to do her two boys so they got all of their grandkids ornament prints.
Next was a bunch of pajama pants for the guys. First off, Chicago Bears cotton for my father in law (I made just the pants - he decided to pair a shirt he already had with it).
Mountain Dew green fleece for our brother in law in Washington.
Hunter orange fleece for my husband's younger brother who just passed his hunter safety. There was also a digital camoflauge fleece pair for my husband's uncle that I didn't get a pic of.
This next one was made by my husband's 18 year old brother - it was a solid oak bookshelf for his mom. It was really well done so I thought it deserved a mention.
This was a pair of camo pants and a personalized crayon roll for my 3 1/2 year old nephew.
This was a stuff lion I made for my 7 month old nephew. It also uses parts of the grandpa shirt like the pillows. This would be his great grandson. I named it LAV which is Croation for lion because my husband's grandpa was Croation.
For my sister in law I made a set of six lime scented snowflake bath bombs (she loves lime), and some peppermint body scrub that I put in a snowflake jar.
For my husbands grandmother, I made an apron. And not pictured I made some hot and cold packs for his grandpa.
So, for my first year of doing handmade gifts, I would say it went pretty well with the exception of being way behind for most of the time - so next year I will be starting much earlier!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Evie's first Christmas!

She is old enough to quite get the present part but she really had fun with the grandparents and aunt, uncles and cousins! She showed off how good she is getting at walking and laughed and played a lot!

This is our Christmas card this year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Exchange

I received a package from my Holiday Exchange partner this week. It arrived all the way from Norway! It contained a recipe for gingerbread cookies with a few samples (that were injured in the journey), a beatiful felted heart ornament, some chocolate (yum!)

Then I sent off a package containing a clay joy ornament, some fingerless gloves made from a felted sweater that I added an embroidered edge to, a felt crayon roll for her son with his initial, two of my fave recipes, some fun paper wreath ornaments and a favorite Christmas tradition memory. I wrapped it all up in an envelope that I made from recycled wallpaper from an expired wallpaper book - you can go to your local Sherwin Williams paint store and ask them for their expired wallpaper order books, they just throw them away when they are expired unless someone wants them for crafts etc.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blessings for the moment...

I just want to take a moment to say how blessed I feel right now. I have a wonderful husband and daughter. We have a warm house (especially important with the -25 degree weather) and vehicles to get us where we need to go. We have food to eat, love to share and a wonderful church and great bunch of friends. We have been able to pay all of our bills, which was our main concern about me quitting work to stay at home when our daughter was born 10 months ago. We have God... and friends believe me he is enough! He has never forgotten us and has made a way through trying times both financially and in our relationships. We would not be where we are today without Him! This is why I love this time of year so much... it is all about Him - at least to us and many other Christians - and to be able to see His glory in all the beauty of the season is truely amazing. We did end up with a Christmas tree yesterday and it just so happened that it was on sale for a bonus! We also received a package from my parents (mainly mom, dad is more of the enabler) - she loves to send us fun things to up the anticipation for this time of year. We haven't opened it yet because the little one was sleeping already and we want to share this with her because inevitably Grandma packed some treasures in there for her! I will share pics later. I am also very blessed because I have two extended families that we get to share this special time of year with. I got a really neat email from my new friend Elizabeth over at Bits Of Sunshine (check it out) and it was really great to see God at work even in the blog world - He never ceases to amaze me and always finds a way to remind me that He is there in everything!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Please support a change to protect handmade toymakers!

I went to these sites and used their template letter to email to my congressman and senators and the CPSC and it only took a few minutes. Please help if you don't want to lose the choice to buy handmade toys! I read through and it looks like it will affect anyone that makes most anything (not just toys) for babys/children.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why doesn't it feel like Christmas?

So, it is already the middle of December and I am fighting back the instinct to freak out! I haven't even started my Christmas letter, we haven't taken our picture for the cards we mail out to family and friends, I have barely gotten anything done on the presents that I decided I was going to make this year, we don't have a tree, none of my decorations are out... and the list goes on. Thanksgiving came a went and didn't feel like it should be here yet, it has even snowed quite a bit and stuck around.... but it still doesn't feel like Christmas time. I haven't been out in the shops much except for groceries and such but even so the Christmas decorations have been out at some places since before Halloween! Maybe I have become desensitized to it all! The closest I get to the Christmas feeling is when I am working away at some project or chore and listening to my Christmas music. I don't know what my problem is, this is my favorite time of year! But is is also the first year that I have not been out in the workforce and so my exposure to others mainly takes place at church Wednesdays and Sundays, and errands(but that doesn't really count as interation most of the time). We are also in the midst of a dilema about getting a Christmas tree... we will have to keep Evie out of it and try to avoid her pulling it over. We also are trying to watch how we are spending our money, I haven't worked since Evie was born (10 months today - in fact at this time 10 month ago, my water had just broke and I was telling D that we were in labor) and we didn't do the best for the first 6-8 months on sticking to a budget so now we are trying to do some backpedaling. I guess that was one of the reasons I wanted to make as many of the gifts as I could - I knew that I could make less money go further and be more meaningful that way - but the gifts have to actually get done for that to work out. I am trying to get myself in the mood you could say... I pulled all of the boxes out of storage today and have big plans to put aside my projects for a while this weekend and "deck the halls". I will keep you posted on how that goes! Maybe that will be just the push the snowball will take to get rolling! I did get motivated (finally!) about 4 days ago to make a point to do my Bible study/devotions everyday and make sure I am spending that time with Him. I had been doing really well before Evie was born and then well, you know how it goes... something big changes and then good intentions to do things always take over somewhere and my big one that had held on was in my daily God time. I am happy to say that I have done my devotions 1st thing after getting Evie fed and changed in the morning for 3 of the past 4 days and plan to continue on that way. One big reason I kept putting it off was for lack of time - and since starting them, I have definitely felt more motivated to get other things done as well. Anyways, I am really glad I am getting back in the habit but I know it will take a couple weeks for it to really become a habit so I will continue to work at it. And I am really tired and have rambled on so excuse the chaos and I am going to bed now!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yes, I am a water snob!

Okay, I admit it! But in my defense I do not drink soda or milk or juices as a habit and so I think my taster is more sensitive than it might otherwise be :) Also, I have done some research as to what certain things that tap water contains and how some of them can affect your health. And because I drink water that has been treated by reverse osmosis I think it tastes yummy and therefore I drink more of it - how can that be a bad thing! Okay, so the funny thing is a friend sent me an email containing this link because it made her think of me! Thats really all this is about. But I tell you one thing, I would have loved to have that bottle while I was still working outside of the house and I can see it being useful to me even now when we are away from home. Right now I cart at least one and most of the time two 1 liter nalgene bottles of my RO water with me when I leave the house. Now you all know my weakness - be nice!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

So December kinda snuck up on me and I realized that I needed to start making the Christmas presents that I had been coming up with. I am new at all of this - being a mommy, sewing, crafting, etc and so it is a lot more challenging than I thought to fit everything in. I had a chance to work on it uniterrupted today while Evie and Daddy took a nap.

I had signed up for a Holiday Traditions Exchange that needs to be mailed by next weekend so I thought that I would start with that - items to be included are a favorite Christmas recipe, a Holiday Tradition tutorial and a handmade ornament. So far I have the recipes done, and ornaments, now I just need to write down my Christmas tradition and add any bits and pieces. I can't put any pics up just yet in case my exchange partner should happen to stop by, but I will post them once the package is received.

I also have been working on making handprint ornaments of Evie for the grandparents - those are more challenging than I thought since a 10 month old is more interested in squishing the dough than making a handprint. I want to make 3 and so far I have 1 because I had to redo it 3 times!

I even had a chance in the last couple of days to whip up some cute baby pants from old t-shirts. I don't normally go for tie-dye but it is pretty cute for lounge pants on her and I made a square top hat to match out of one of the sleeves... kinda looks like a handkerchief! I am really excited to do some more, I just got a bunch of fun old shirts from my parents' house that had been left there by us kids at some point.

The other fun thing that doesn't have anything to do with sewing is that Evie started walking! She took her first steps on Thanksgiving night and has been working up to more and more - she still will drop down and crawl if she wants to get there fast but she is really loving her new talent!

We already have the snow but we still need to get a tree (if we are going to this year), get out decorations and put them up, and take some time to enjoy the season! We are planning on taking the little one to a light display to see what she thinks and sometime she will have to try out her snow suit and baby sled!