Sunday, November 27, 2011

In the Holiday Spirit

The Thanksgiving weekend is now over and my daughter and her husband have made it safely back to Delaware. It was so nice having them here and I'm looking forward to their Christmas visit! Lets all keep our fingers crossed for safe holiday travel weather. It will be so nice to have both of my kids here for the holiday again.

I am in the holiday spirit more this year than any other. I think it's because I don't feel as rushed as I have in years past. This is the first Christmas in about 8 years that I'm working part time instead of working 40 to 60 hours a week. This is also the first Christmas in that long that I have Christmas Eve off. Not only do I have Christmas off, I have the day before and the day after! Doc will be going out of town so we run with a minimum crew. I have lots of time off at the end of the month!

So my "To Do" list is large as usual but this year I have more time to do everything!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sweet Shop Tree

I got started on my decorating last night. I didn't get it all finished since I had to work as well. I was anxious to get my sweet shop tree finished though! I LOVE it! The only thing missing is an appropriate topper and if there were about 6 more hours in a day, I would have squeezed that project in as well. But you never know, maybe I'll still do it!

Today I'll finish up the decorating. The dining room is finished and that takes a long time because I also fill my hutch with all my Winterberry Pfaltzgraff and clean all the glass while I'm at it.

All ornaments are handmade.
Lillipops are in a free tutorial on my blog. You can find it here.
The pattern for gingerbread tree skirt can be found at my Etsy shop here.
Gingerbread boy & girl ornaments will be a tutorial I'll be adding soon.

Not spending a lot of time on the computer this weekend. Extra family time which I am loving and have missed since Elyse moved away. Off to decorate some more...

PS....I just picked out a new sewing machine and Santa ordered it for me yesterday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mom and Babies Reunited

I've been neglecting my blog as well as other's all week! First it was getting my holiday patterns up, now it's preparing for the holidays. And I won't be on much the next few days because I'll be spending time with my daughter who is visiting from Delaware, and decorating my house this weekend.

So, I leave you today with something cute.

Several years ago when I was in my teapot collecting phase, I was shopping the antique shops in the city (LaPorte) where I lived. I walked into one of them and I saw this blue kitty cat teapot. I knew I had to have it! I thought it was so cute. So I put it up with my collection of many.

A few years later I was on one of my all girl, weekend shopping trips with my Sis and my Mom. We liked to go to a little place called Long Grove, IL. It was a very old little town with a covered bridge. What at one time were homes, had been turned into little shops and restaurants. We always stayed at the Marriott Resort near by.

As we were browsing the shops I was in an area with the serving pieces and I found my cat's kittens! There was no mom with them, just the two little blue kittens sitting on a shelf. I knew what I had to do, so I bought them. I still wonder if those belong to each other. Why wouldn't someone keep them together? Why would the mom cat be over 100 miles away from the kittens?

I've gotten rid of almost all of the teapots since then, but not this little family. They now sit on a little cabinet in my guest room and they will never be separated again!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chocolate and a Busy Week Ahead

I'm preparing for one of the busiest weeks this year. I'm organized, I have a plan, and I'm happy about all of it. But it would be so nice if I could take time off work this week. But I can't, so I will move ahead. Tonight I will print out one of my weekly planners and start filling in the boxes.
My daughter will be arriving Wednesday from Delaware and I'm so excited! I've missed her so much. She will be staying with us Wednesday and Thursday nights. Sometime in the next couple days I'll prepare the guest room and the guest bath while I anxiously await their arrival. There will also be lots of baking, cooking, and grocery shopping for the Thanksgiving holiday. I've been asked to bring potatoes and dessert for the big celebration at my Sister's house. They always like me to bring desserts (see photo above).

I've got about an hour left on crafting a new pattern. It's a felt Christmas stocking for your pets. Naturally Bubba and Punkie will get these for Santa to fill this year. I think they are one of my favorite projects so far. I still have to write it up and edit photos. I'm planning on having all that done by Tuesday night so I can concentrate on the holiday. My most recent pattern was featured on Linda B's Blog today along with some other really cool Christmas ideas. Stop by and say Hi!

I'll also be decorating the house next Saturday and Sunday. I can't wait to see how my sweet shop tree looks! And of course I'll be posting a picture.

Well, off to play catch up on the computer now before bed...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Introducing PDF Patterns!

Today I'm introducing my first four sewing patterns to my Esty Shop. For those who don't know, I've been designing craft and sewing patterns for over 20 years. Up until now I've only sold them to magazine and book publishing companies. I've decided that I'd also like to start selling them myself so here are the first four with many yet to come. I was going to wait until early next year to launch the patterns but since I have some Christmas ones I thought I should get them out there now.

You have probably noticed that I've been MIA with my blog and this is why. So now that I've listed them I can take a deep breath and relax a little. NOT! Now I've now decided that I also need a website. Does it ever end?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend's End...

Another weekend is coming to a close. Sunday nights are kind of sad and I hate the thought of going to bed because I know that means the weekend is over.

It was a pretty full weekend. I got a lot accomplished and spent some great time with family. We went to my Mom's for a little birthday celebration for my niece and my nephew. So naturally we got to see baby Layla! I got to feed her and it brought back some memories. It's been 23 years since I've fed and burped a baby. She's so sweet and precious.

I feel like I actually created some balance this weekend. That is something I've been trying to create in my life. I worked on patterns, did a little work on my future website, got lots of stuff done around the house, and had husband and family time. I also did my 10 minute clean out and I worked out both days!

So another awesome weekend must come to an end. Lets hope for a great week ahead.

Off to visit you all now!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pet Day - Sabrina

It's pet day again and today I introduce Sabrina. Sabrina has a special story. It's a story about sweetness, love, and excellent timing.

She appeared one day at the printing business that my sister owned and I helped her run. We'd show up at work and there she'd be, sitting on the back steps waiting for us. She was so loving and affectionate we knew she had to have been dumped. This was not a feral cat. The weather started getting cold so we decided to bring her in. We kept her in the shop and managed quite nicely to hide her from the owners of the building. All our customers fell in love with her. She would hang out at the front and greet everyone as they walked in. She had toys, a comfy bed, and lots of love, and she never once tried to go back outside.

We decided one day that it was time she went from a shop cat to a house cat so I decided that I'd take her home with me. At the time I lived in an apartment and was already at my 2 cat limit but I figured, two cats were black, would they just think it was the same cat?

I brought my carrier to work and decided to take her to the vet to get her vaccines and get her tested before bringing her home to my cats. She tested positive for feline leukemia. I was devastated! This precious little cat! She didn't seem sick. She was so active and healthy looking. But feline leukemia is highly contagious so I couldn't bring her home. So we decided to make the best of it and keep her at the shop. She loved it there anyway.

Around Christmas that year she got sick. We took her to the vet and she was treated with antibiotics. Well, she never got better. After about 6 weeks of vet visits and medication she had about as much as she could take. She was too weak to fight the infection. We had to put her down. It was such a sad day.

But the timing of this was almost magical. She got so sick during the coldest months and we were able to keep her warm, fed, and loved. Thank God she didn't have to suffer out in the Indiana winter! Somehow I can't help but get this feeling that perhaps by some powers beyond our control she was sent to us. Sounds odd but....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can You Find Pumpkin?

I've been so busy between the day job and pattern designing that I thought it would be nice to make a fun post today. Something fun, colorful, and not work or business related! I came across this picture the other day. It's Pumpkin when she was much younger. Her favorite place to snuggle is still up between the pillows. For those who don't know her, Punkie is a black cat. Do you see her now?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Have Craft Basket • Will Travel

Just a quick post today because I'm about to fix dinner and watch "Bad Teacher" with Brian while I work on some hand applique for a new pattern I'm making.

We spent quality time together shopping for a hot water heater and a water softener today. Since we drove out to Valpo I decided to take along a basket of ornaments to stitch up while he drove. Do you see felt cookies in there? Do you think they will be going on my sweet shop Christmas tree? If you said yes, you are right!

So we found what we were looking for, did some price shopping, and have decided what we are going to get. Now to find a contractor/plumber to install them!

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lollipop Ornaments

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This pattern is now available (along with several other free patterns) as a PDF download from my Craftsy Pattern Shop HERE.

I've been looking forward to making a sweet shop themed Christmas tree for our dining room this year. Here are a couple of ornaments that I made to put on it. I made them when the kids were little but this time I slipped them in little bags and I like the effect. 

To make 6 lollipops, you will need:

1/4 yard of red (thin) striped fabric
6 - 6" lollipop sticks
6 - 3 3/4" x 6" clear treat bags
6 - 14" pieces of ribbon (red, green, or white)
6 - 5/8" to 1" buttons (red or white)
1 sheet of white card stock
Craft glue or a hot glue gun
Heavy or metallic thread for hanger
Red or white sewing thread

Misc items: needles, scissors, pencil, ruler

1. Iron your fabric. Cut out 6 - 6 1/4" circles from the red and white striped fabric and 6 - 2 3/4" circles from the card stock. You can make a pattern of these circle sizes or you can raid your kitchen cabinets and find a bowl or lid that will be the exact dimensions for you to trace around. Be sure to draw your tracings on the wrong side of the fabric.

2. Thread your needle with enough thread to go around your circle and make a knot. If you are using all purpose thread you will want to double it so it will have more strength when you gather. If you are using a heavy thread such as a button or craft thread, you won't need to double. Be sure to watch for knots as you stitch. Turn the outer edge of your fabric circle about 1/4" to the wrong side. Begin stitching and turning the edge under as you go. Make your stitches at least 1/4" long and that same distance apart. I found that if your stitches are too close together, your hole in the center will be too big. Stitch all the way around your circle. When you get to the end, begin gathering up your stitching. Slip your 2 3/4" piece of card stock inside then continue gathering until you have closed the "yo yo." Be gentle so you don't break your thread. You will have a tiny hole in the center. Tie off and clip threads.

 3. Make a tiny 1/4" slit in the bottom of your yo yo. I like to make mine so that the stripes on the back will be up and down when hanging. Drop a dab of glue in the center of your yo yo onto the card stock beneath. Slip your lollipop stick up through the little slit you just made until it reaches the glue, let dry. Run some glue along the gathered edge of the hole and place the button on top of that. This is the part where I hot glued a button onto my thumb. I would not recommend doing this. It hurts.

4. Slip the clear treat bag over your lollipop and tie in place with a piece of ribbon. Make a bow and then cut trim the tails at an angle.

5. Cut about 10" of heavy or metallic thread. Thread a large eyed needle. Bring the needle through along the upper edge of the lollipop (about 1/2" wide stitch). Be sure to go through the fabric and the plastic because the plastic will not be strong enough to hold the ornament and will eventually break through. Tie a knot in the string so that you have about a 3" hole to use for hanging. Trim excess thread close to know.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grandma Ashton

My grandma died in November of 1971 when I was only 10 years old. I wish I had more time with her because she was a remarkable woman. It is from her that I get the creative gene. She worked at the "craft store of the 60's." It was called the Palette Party Shop. That is where you went to buy your Styrofoam balls, sequins, glue, ribbon, etc. Back then the crafting consisted of Christmas ornaments, and shower favors and decorations. I remember spending the night at her house and she would set up a table in the middle of the living room and my sister and I would sit there with all her supplies and craft for hours! Some of the projects I remember most was little calendars we made for gifts and Christmas ornaments we made from Styrofoam balls, beads, ribbon, and sequins.

I also remember sitting outside of her house and smelling the Lilies of the Valley flowers. She had them running all along the side of her house. It was so long ago but the memories of her and our time together are so vivid as if it were yesterday. I have so many wonderful memories!

She was such a creative woman and I thank her for sharing the love of crafting with me. I know that if she were here today she would be encouraging me to follow my dream and be the best at creating that I could be! I still think about her often and I miss her terribly.
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