Thursday, December 30, 2010

Yummy Hot Soup

My long awaited for week off from work has consisted of:

1. Cleaning up the Christmas "stuff" - my house has never (and I repeat NEVER) been this much of a disaster before. Toys everywhere . . . bed parts laying all over son #1's bedroom floor . . . piles of stuff on every flat surface . . . food (and by that I mean sweets) on every counter in the kitchen . . . Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love putting up all the Christmas decorations and the tree and the lights and all of it! But it's a relief when it all comes down and gets put away for the year!

2. Gutting out two boy's bedrooms - It's time, finally, to take down the crib and haul it out. No more babies in this house. It was actually a little sad! So the crib came out, the changing table went out with it - to a new little couple who will hopefully add a new baby to our extended family down the road. Son #1 got a new (well, new to us) log bed that I picked up really cheap from the online classifieds. Add a new mattress, sheets, comforter, wall decoration (only one so far - maybe I'll post about that fun crafty item), etc and he has a new "big boy" room. Son #2 got the toddler bed and all the car/truck decorations that son #1 is now done with. But all of this moving meant two complete days worth of cleaning and organizing and throwing away (while the boys weren't looking!) and donating. I'm exhausted!

We've had a nice big and very cold snowstorm on top of us for the last two days - we haven't left the house in more than a few days (and to be honest, showering is optional on days like these!). So I decided that rather than finishing up the leftovers, it was time for a nice piping hot pot of soup. I had seen this yummy Harvest Soup with Sweet Potatoes recipe over at The Mother Huddle's blog and decided to try it out. Husband isn't especially fond of meatless meals (especially when I make the mistake of telling him that it will be meatless as I'm making it). So I added some diced chicken breasts to "beef it up". I didn't have barley on hand either, but the veggies were amazing. The boys didn't even complain - they dove right in and ate it up. I'm sure the chicken helped with that too. Nothing better than a bowl of yummy hot soup on a cold winter's day. Now that's really M-M-M-good!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Simple Chair Cushion for an Important Gift

My good friend asked me if I would make a chair cushion for her to go with a Christmas present she was giving. Her first husband (father to her two boys) passed away a few years ago from cancer and she had a little chair that he had used when he was a child. Her now-husband stripped the paint and repainted it black - absolutely adorable! It was a gift for her new grand-daughter, first grandchild from one of her sons. A chair from her Grandpa A. that was refinished by her Grandpa R. A little pink chair cushion would be the perfect finishing touch.
I've made chair cushions before, but they were adult sized ones with thick pads in them. This miniature version turned out to be a little more difficult to do without instructions and a pattern. I think I unpicked more seams that I actually ended up sewing for the final version! But I think I'm a pro now at making one of these. The cushion really does set it off and pulls it all together!The best part about this little project is that I have a little chair from my childhood in my garage that needs to be stripped and repainted. It will also need a cushion. And now I'm motivated to do it!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Over Already?

How is it possible that Christmas has come and gone? I had so many plans for fun things to make this month. A few (very few) of them were accomplished, and other items were added to the list at the last minute and took priority. And life . . . enjoying the season and not stressing over the little things . . . always takes the top priority. But honestly, I can't believe that it's over with already!
I needed a quick birthday gift for a friend and decided to raid my stash for cute fabric to make another gathered pouch. Love these - so easy and fast . . .
. . . and yet so useful. I actually need to whip out another one or two to hold some small things I got for Christmas. Good thing I'm now keeping a supply of perfectly sized zippers on hand just for these little bags. You gotta love these - I've made a million over the years. No-sew fleece blankets. When son #1 was born, a lady I work with gave me a no-sew flecce blanket with teddy bears on it. It is son #1's favorite blanket still to this day (we call it his teddy blankey). I must add that fleece has gotten so much cuter in the last few years. It used to be so blurry that it hurt your eyes to look at the print. Now I can hardly make it through a fabric store trip without picking up a yard or two of really cute fleece to make more blankets with. We decided to make a few to give away as presents this year, and of course, the boys each got yet another one as well (to keep them warm in daddy's truck in the mornings). These are really so easy - trim off the selvage edges. Then on the short edges (non-selvage) cut strips every inch all the way along the edge. I find that strips around 4 - 4 1/2 inches long work the best for me. And a quick shout out for rotary cutters and mats - what ever did we do without these amazing and wonderful tools!

Then take each strip and tie a knot at the top of each. Ta da - you're done! And so soft and warm. Unfortunately two of the most notable blankets we made didn't get into any pictures - one was out of University of Utah fleece (my favorite) and the other was a beautiful fleece that I found at Joann's that seriously looked like it was knitted. It was a beautiful blue and red and white with snowflakes all over it. I wish I would have picked up a few yards of that fleece to keep for myself. If I'm lucky, they'll still have some in stock.

Never fear, my list of projects to work on for Christmas will just get moved to 2011 and hopefully I'll get a few things done in the off-season. Happy Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Slowly But Surely . . .

"I am serious, and don't call me Shirley" - ha ha (my favorite Leslie Nielsen line).
My list of craft projects to work on this month are slowly getting accomplished. Unavoidable distractions (good and sad) have added to the slowness but it's all good.
Let's check two items off my list:
1. Christmas Countdown Blocks - my one and only sister came up and spent a week with us while husband was out of town and we enjoyed putting these blocks together from Makia Creations. I love the fact that they put instructional videos on YouTube for you to follow to make their crafts. We had a great time and they turned out really cute. Now that my big quilted handmade advent calendar has been taken over by my boys, this is one that I get to do all by myself.

2. Jewelry - sister and I were trying to whittle down our Christmas shopping list while she was in town and we decided to make a bracelet for someone. I used my imagination and put this beauty together. Sister decided that she liked it so much, we made a very similar one for her.

Of course I had to make myself something new while I had all the jewelry making stuff out. I picked up these pretty blue stone beads a few months ago and finally got them put together in a nice simple but chunky bracelet - love it!

I have a few time sensitive things to get out of the way this week and then I hope to get back to my craft list. I'm itching to get things done!!!!