Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011 Recap

We're back from a wonderful long Christmas weekend, spent with family and friends in Andrew's home town, in Pennsylvania. Marilyn and Denny (my mother and father in-law) graciously hosted all of us. We decorated their tree together, with ornaments spanning the years, from and made by loved ones. 

Some ornaments as old (and older) than my husband and his siblings. Each one holding special memories. 

We got to spend time with my brother-in-law David and our 6 year old niece, Sydney. 

My beautiful sister-in-law, Laura and our almost 3 year old niece, Morgan.

There were LOTS of cookies and giggles.

There were presents. Andrew was very excited about a remote control helicopter (that I almost didn't get him). He has flown it around the house every day since. I think it's his favorite! 

I got a Rachel Ray knife to help create even better meals in the kitchen. Andrew knows that I like to cook and love watching cooking shows. I feel like a pro now! 

Casey wanted to be where the action was.

We had Christmas day lunch with the whole family (well, most of us - we missed you Maney family!), at a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant. There were 31 of us! No one had to prepare the meal or clean up, which allowed us to just enjoy each others company. We were all remembering Pop Pop. It was one year ago that went home to Heaven. We sure miss him.

Our 2011 family photo

The Statlers

My love and I

We got to see some friends that Andrew grew up with. Hard to believe these guys are "grown ups" now. It's been a long time since high school!

Marilyn took Laura and I to the Tea Room for breakfast. It was a charming little tea room indeed, with cute tables set with doilies and mix-and-match china. Just my type of place! 

I had holiday tea, french toast and cranberry scones. A perfect treat!

We had a wonderful Christmas and hope you did too! We wish we could celebrate with all of our family, spread out in different states. Those we couldn't be with in person, were in our thoughts and in our hearts. We have so much to be thankful for. We are truly blessed to have family and friends, both near and far. The gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. A roof over our heads, the ability to travel, good food and special meals shared with loved ones. Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

We wish you a very Merry Christmas, surrounded by the ones you love, filled with God's love, peace and joy, as we celebrating the birth of Jesus!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

Friday, December 23, 2011

Felt Owl Ornaments

How cute are these little owls? I just love them and they crack me up! I was "Pinspired" to make these adorable felt ornaments. I found them here with a free downloadable template. However, I increased the size of mine by 25%.

The original template is for smaller owls (seen here), from Juicy Bits. These are just perfect. I couldn't find black buttons for the eyes, so I used black felt. I wish I had those buttons though, because I think it totally makes them! 

I have to thank my husband and Carrie from craft night for helping me cut out the many pieces. Andrew also selected the color combinations and cut them out when it was taking me forever. 

He is especially proud of this Philadelphia Eagles colors inspired guy.  

I like the ones with pink, but I can't choose a favorite! 

So cute!

I made 10 total. But I'm not gonna lie, they were a lot of work! Each piece is hand sewn with embroidery thread. Then you add a ribbon, stuff them, and sew them closed. 

They will all be gifts. I can't wait to give them away! But I'm a little sad to see my owl family leave the nest. I attached a tag to each one that says, "Merry Christmas! We hope your new year is a hoot!" I hope the lucky recipients get as much of a kick out of them as we did making them. Hooo hooooot!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wrap it Up!

Christmas is mere days away. Are your gifts wrapped? Are they wrapped with style? Do you like wrapping presents as much as I do? I think I might like wrapping presents even more than picking out presents. It's packaging people. And you get to make it with your own two hands. And lots of Scotch tape.

This year I went with a simple red and white candy cane wrapping paper. 

I was inspired by some wrapping ideas I saw on Pinterest. I was "Pinspired." I'm going to start using that. Ha! These doilies just look so cute and charming! 

So do these strings and various embellishments. 

I had a giant spool of white cotton string and a few large doilies lying around. Put them together and you have jazzed up gift wrap! 

Write the recipients name on the doily or attach a tag to the string. It's not to late to impress your family and friends with pretty packaging. Presentation is everything. Even if it does end up in the trash in 3.2 seconds. Happy wrapping! Or, feel free to hire me if you'd like me to gift wrap for you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fabric Clutches

I have been a little bit obsessed with making these clutches. Ever since I found them on Pinterest, and then on Martha Stewart, and then on Etsy, I just had to try them. The instructions are a little tricky to follow, but there is a video (that I watched about 12 times). They aren't to terribly difficult to make and I learned how to make a French seam. Martha would be proud.

My favorite part is the metal purse frame/clasp. It gives them such a finished and professional look. I ordered them on Etsy from Upstyle design.

This is the gorgeous Upstyle clutch that won my heart. If you're not up for making your own, you can order one. So many beautiful fabrics and styles! 

Before I got my hands on the silver clasps, I tried a ball frame that I found at JoAnn Fabrics. It was a little more difficult to adhere, due to the rounded sides, but it looks adorable.

I recommend using Fabri-Tac for gluing the fame to the fabric. It dries quickly, is super strong, and permanent. And very sticky. Try not to get in on anything else.

This blue one is my latest, and my favorite. It may or may not be a Christmas gift. It's the perfect size for a night-out, makeup bag or accessory holder. I'll just have to make a few more!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Handmade Christmas Cards

This year I was excited to make my own Christmas cards. 

Shortly after Christmas last year, I found these charming ruffled Christmas cards, over at Hello Friend. I fell in love with the idea of sewing fabric to paper. Except I didn't have a vintage label maker. 

So I did the next best thing, I designed a little message on the computer and printed out the cards.

After cutting and rounding the corners, I sewed fabric, lace and ribbon scraps across the top. I really like the stitch lines. Makes them feel handmade and so unique.

I ended up making 32 cards. It was a perfect combination of my two favorite passions - graphic design and sewing. I was a little sad to see them go! I hope they brought joy to each recipient and the true message of Christmas, John 3:16. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

There's still time to make great homemade Christmas gifts! Here are five of my personal favorites. 

1. Goodie Bags 
Fill a cellophane bag and/or a fabric pouch with a few small goodies. Things like candy, lotion, nail polish/file, key chain, gift card or anything pocket-size. 

2. Cinnamon Honey Butter
This spreadable treat is a great gift for anyone. The recipe is easy and can be packaged in adorable little jars, decorated with fabric and a cute tag. It's especially delicious on warm toast, bagels or pretty much anything! 

3. Hot Chocolate
Who doesn't like hot chocolate? Especially homemade hot chocolate. This recipe is better than any Swiss Miss. Pair it with a mug and mini marshmallows. Warm and delicious! 

4. Wool Mittens from Sweaters 
If you have an old sweater and you can sew, you can make these. They are warm and cozy and so cute! Who wouldn't appreciate a pair of handmade mittens to wear in winter weather? 

5. Salt Scrub
I received this gift last year and I thought it was the greatest thing ever! With only a few ingredients you can customize the scent and it makes your hands (and feet) so soft. I highly recommend eucalyptus mint. It smells soooo good! 

Happy homemade gifting!