Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas - may you be blessed beyond measure!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Burda WOF does it again...

With another fabulous pattern (#101 from the 9/2007 issue). I'd seen this top reviewed on Pattern Review several times and then LoriV made her version recently and I just knew I needed one too. It was pretty quick going, tho WOF does often have weird directions (they would be doing themselves a favor by hiring a better translator). I muddled through and viola, I have a new top to wear to Christmas dinner at my parent's house tomorrow. I actually think it looks cuter in person, but the picture is a fairly good representation of it. I tried belting it up too with a cute belt I have worn over the top and I like that look too. It's just a nice twist on the usual t-shirt ~ a little more dressy, tho the unfitted look will take some getting used to for me. For all the details, check out my review. :-)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Come for a ride on the Gingerbread Train!

It's finished! To be honest, I was actually kicking myself that I suggested to the kids we make a Gingerbread Train (I usually buy a kit at Costco for the house which is WAY easier since everything is ready to go). I saw the idea in Family Fun Magazine last Christmas and clipped the article out. I promised we'd make it once school let out for Christmas vacation and holding true to my promise I made the dough Tuesday night so we could make the train Wednesday. We got off to a rocky start with my rolling pin handle breaking so we waited for Grandma to come over and bring her rolling pin so we could get the dough all cut and baked. Then this morning I assembled the train and the kids went hog wild decorating it. I turned out to me much more fun than I anticpated and I'd really like to have the Gingerbread Train become a tradition we do every year. And keeping my post "sewing" related, I covered a cardboard bolt from the fabric store with tin foil for the base for the train. :-) Click on the above link if you'd like the instructions on how to make your own train, it really is easy, just more time consuming than buying a kit at the store.

P.S. Okay I'm really a huge dork - I just see now that online they have templates you can print out for the train and here I had my ruler out drawing all the pieces yesterday - well that makes it WAY easier! LOL

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pants for me

I finally got my pants finished today - talk about s-l-o-w progress, but nonetheless, they are finished and I even wore them to my daughter's Christmas concert this afternoon. I'm pleased with how they turned out (tho they could be a tad longer, but I used every square inch of fabric so this is the best I could do). The pattern required some tweaking to get them to fit my tush, but pants are not the easiest thing for me to fit so I wasn't at all surprised. I even made two muslins (something that is rare for me)! The final pants were still a little off in the waist and I think that is due to the stretch of the fabric (it's a stretch woven with some lycra in it). So I ended up pinching out some in the back waist to get a better fit which resulted in scooping out a little more of the crotch so I didn't have a wedgie. All in all, I'm very pleased with how they turned out and I feel like the style flatters my figure. I really do need to get myself a TNT pants pattern that I can have as my master pattern and then change up the design elements to create different pant styles. If you have a swayback, you know what a pain pants fitting really is. Anyway, here is my review on PR if you'd like to know more.

Of course I just had to make my daughter a new dress for her Christmas program at school. I bought some panne velvet at Joann's a few weeks ago to make myself a dress for hubby's work Christmas party, but decided that fabric might not be the most flattering for me so I didn't make the dress. DD fell in love with the fabric and kept wrapping herself in it and begging for me to make her something so I decided to make her an Olivia hoodie dress (it's a European pattern brand called Farbenmix). It's such an easy and cute dress and she has several more in her closet that she loves so I knew it would be a hit. Well it was definitely a hit and she hardly wants to take it off!

Last, but definitely not least (and the reason why I didn't finish my pants sooner) was because I was making the kids their Christmas pj's. I started a tradition a few years ago of making the kids pj's for Christmas that they get to open on Christmas Eve right before bed. The above picture is obviously DD's pair (the top is a basic t-shirt from Ottobre and the pants are McCall's 4708 ~ I made these for her last year too and she really liked them. For the boys I used Simplicity 8493 for the pants (also made of flannel - a race car print) and the shirt pattern from my favorite KS knit pj patterns. Sorry no picture of the boys pj's - I must be sneaky so they don't see.

Next up is.....I haven't a clue! I seriously have this huge long list of things I want to do, but I need to be realistic. We leave for our cruise in a month so I should be thinking ahead to that. Problem is I haven't a clue what the weather will be. We're going from LA to northern Mexico and according to the average temperatures it will only be mid 60's (brrr!). So I guess it will be more like a summer Alaskan cruise! LOL I honestly haven't a clue what to take. I doubt I'll be lounging poolside in my bikini. When we're a week out I can see the forecast better, but until then I guess I'll have to think warmer things, tho mid 60's may feel like a heatwave to me in a month! ;-)

Tomorrow I think the kids and I are making a Gingerbread Train so no sewing will probably be happening. Hopefully we can get the train made with minimal mess - go ahead and laugh, impossible with four kids!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Questionnaire (I've been tagged!)

I've been tagged by my friend Rhonda of Rhoto's Rag to answer this Christmas Questionnaire, so without further ado, here ya go ~

1) Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, tho I occasionally use a gift bag. Wrapping paper provides no peeking, so it's better in my house!

2) Real tree or artificial? I honestly would love to have a real tree, but we have an artificial one and have since we got married.

3) When do you put up your tree? Right after Thanksgiving - well within a week or so.

4) When do you take the tree down? Usually a few days after Christmas. By then I'm sick of it and am ready for things to get back to "normal".

5) Do you like eggnog? Yes, but rarely have a glass.

6) Favorite gift received as a child? I think the year I got my first Cabbage Patch Kid! I was elated and my dad well threw a lot to get them for my sister and me (no beating up people, but visiting Toys R Us daily until he got them, thankfully it was close by his business).

7) Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes ~ a pretty one I bought at Costco right after I got married.

8) The hardest person to buy for? Usually my step-dad, not sure why.

9) The easiest person to buy for? I think my daughter. She's such a girly girl and I'm a girly girl too so it is easier and getting more fun each Christmas!

10) The worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't know actually, must have not been too awful because I can't think of one!

11) Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail, and usually I have them ready to go by Dec 1st.

12) Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story

13) When do you start shopping for Christmas? There is no definite time, just when I see something that is perfect for someone on my list - it could be February, but serious shopping by the beginning of November. I don't like to deal with all the crazy people out unless it's on my terms, not because I'm in dire need to find a gift.

14) Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, but in my defense it's been for our family gift exchange and it's like a white elephant thing.

15) Favorite things to eat at Christmas? Just about any kind of sweets.

16) Clear lights or colored on the tree? Our tree is prelit with both clear and colored, but I prefer clear lights.

17) Favorite Christmas song? We have a Frank Sinatra CD and I love his version of "Go Tell It on the Mountain" - there is just something about it. I don't really consider it a Christmas song, but it must be since it's on the CD

18) Travel at Christmas or stay home? We stay in our local area, but travel to our parents' homes for holiday festivities (they both live about 20 minutes away).

19) Can you name all Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, & Rudolph (not sure if I spelled them all correct tho!).

20) Angel on the tree top or a star? We actually have Mickey Mouse on our tree (we bought it for our first tree and plan to use it every Christmas - this is #12 he's topped our tree!).

21) Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning, tho the kids do get to open one gift on Christmas Eve (pj's I make for them).

22) Most annoying thing about this time of year? The commercialism that has come to ruin the holiday. It actually makes me ill when I think about it. It has just gotten so out of hand.

23) What is the "corniest" family tradition you do or miss doing? I'm not sure it's really corny, but we love to drive around and look at the lights together with Christmas Carols playing on the radio in the car. I also love to bake and decorate cookies with the kids - oh and gingerbread houses if we have time.

24) Ugliest Christmas decorations ever invented? Anything that has only all blue lights - there is something about all blue lights that just don't jazz me (sorry if I offend you - to each his or her own, right?).

25) Which looks the best...theme trees or homey trees? I actually love both. We have a homey tree with all the ornaments the kids have made at school, from places we've visited, and other "milestones" like first Christmas, etc.

26) What does Christmas mean to you? To me, Christmas is about celebrating with my family and friends and remembering the birth of Jesus. After all, he's the reason for the season.

All right, hope you made it through the list - I'm tagging Stacy of Stacy Sews since I know she's doing anything to avoid packing so she can move into her new home! :-)

Merry Christmas to everyone, may you have a peaceful and joyous holiday season!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Lady in Red

Last night was hubby's work Christmas party. I had decided since it was so cold out I'd wear the black trousers I was working on along with my McCall's blouse. After mentioning it to him, he comment how he thought a dress was more appropriate for the party, so I dashed in my sewing room like a crazy lady and made up this red dress! I didn't even have the pattern cut out when I went in there and my father-in-law was due to arrive in about 2.5 hours, so it was truly a race against the clock. I even had a few challenges along the way (all my own fault), but I got the dress done just in the nick of time! The only bad thing is I didn't even end up taking my coat off at the party because the room it was in was so stinkin' cold. Oh well, I have a pretty red dress that I will be able to take on our upcoming cruise in January. Of course I posted a review on PR with more details if you're so inclined. Oh and the boots are probably a big "no-no" with the dress, but I had no black dress pumps in my closet, just black sandals ~ talk about unprepared!

On Friday we went to a party at my friend's house. She was making pizza and requested the guests bring something sweet. While I love to bake cakes, pies, and other desserts for the holidays, I decided that a finger food would be a better choice since it can just be nibbled on. Last week I got a catalog from Dale & Thomas Popcorn in the mail, but after I finished drooling all over the pictures, I saw the pricetag - ouch, that is some spendy stuff. While I am sure it's yummy, I am pretty good with baking, so I decided to make my own version. I googled around the net and found a super easy carmel corn recipe and kicked it up a bit. Below is the result (and it was a huge hit at the party and with my family!).

The recipe is super easy and is all done in the microwave even using microwave popcorn, tho I have a Stir Crazy Popcorn popper and opted to use that. I honestly was a bit skeptical becuase the recipe has you put the popped popcorn in a paper bag and then into the microwave with the carmel on top. Amazingly enough, it works like a charm! The recipe calls for nuts, but since I didn't have any on hand, I added a few handfuls of pretzels instead. Honestly you could add whatever you like and dress it up to suit your tastes. I melted both chocolate chips and white almond bark for my version ~ really the possibilites are endless. Here is recipe if you'd like to try it. I know I'll be making this a few more times before Christmas!

Lastly, here is a picture of hubby & the kids before he drug the tree all the way over the edge. It's much easier to see the magnitude of how big that tree was when my 6'4" hubby is standing in front of it.

With any luck, I'll have my pants done tomorrow. I just need to finish sewing the waistband down on the inside (hand sewing), add the buttons, and hem them. I think they are going to be great pants and can't wait to get them all finished.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A little sewing and more

Yes, finally I got some sewing accomplished. Just minor sewing, but still it's sewing and I am proud! Last weekend I worked on a raglan tee for my oldest son - it's from the 1/2003 issue, # 31. I made a little patch using my embroidery machine on the arm that matched the design in the print so that was fun. I have another top cut out and ready to be sewn up for him, I think he's entering another growth spurt (he eats like there is no tomorrow and is always hungry!). I did post a review on PR if you'd like to read more ~ review for 1-2003-31.

Then I made two more pairs of pj's for my youngest. I used up small pieces of knits which felt good too. They are made using the retired Kwik Sew 2315. It's been a workhorse pattern for me, I have made countless pairs of pj's using it.

A while ago, I also made my oldest son a hoodie shirt using Ottobre 4-2005-34. It turned out really cute and finally posted a review about it too ~ review for hoodie.

Also in the sewing department, I'm working on a pair of trousers for myself. They are Simplicity 3686 (view B). I made two muslins the other day and had just a few minor fitting issues with these. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll like the end result.

Now for a more "Susie Homemaker-ish" thing, my middle boy had to bring a snack to school on Monday, so I made a fun cupcake tree for the class. He was really excited about how it looked and I'm sure the other Kindergarteners enjoyed it too. It was really easy (obviously) and the idea came from my Cupcakes: From The Cake Mix Doctor book. The book is really neat, tho I don't like it as much as the two original cake mix doctor books because there are not pictures of each cupcake. I need visuals to be inspired in cooking and this book just doesn't have that. The other book has little thumb nails in the front and I wish they would have done that in this book. It's not as effective as a full color picture next to the recipe, but it's better than nothing.

Now many of you have heard about the terrible storm that traveled through the Pacific NW last weekend and early this week. It went right through our area and was very dramatic. Horrible heavy rains and winds like you wouldn't believe for about 48 hours. Thankfully the only damage we had on our property was our big maple tree falling. It was over 100' tall and held the rope swing my children adored swinging on. It was at the bottom of our driveway close to our house and praise God it fell away from our house and down the bank. I don't even want to think about the damage it would have done to our home (mainly the garage). Here are a few pictures, tho it really is hard to see the magnitude of how big this tree was compare to actually looking at it.

Lastly is a photo (a very sad photo) of a town about an hour north of here where my good friend lives. So much of the town was flooded (some places had 10' of water). In the picture is Kmart (building on the left), a strip mall (in the middle), and Wal-Mart (on the right) and then the road going over the water is actually a freeway over pass (that is I-5 under it). Thankfully the freeway is back open now tho there was damage to the road that is going to take time to repair. And of course there are now lots of displaced residents of the area trying to figure out housing. There were many other hard hit towns all around the area, but particularly on the coast line ~ any still don't have power almost a week later. It's so sad ~ my thoughts and prayers go out to these people. Thankfully my friend's house sustained no damage, but many others definitely weren't that lucky.

Well duty calls. We have a Christmas party to attend tonight and tomorrow night so I need to get ready for the weekend. I have no clue what I'm wearing tomorrow night (the fancier one - DH's work party) so we'll see what the weather and my mood brings. I wanted to sew something new, but it's just been too hectic around here so atlas I'll have to wear something I already own. I thought about my Vogue 8386 , but it might be way too cold. Time will tell.