Thursday, December 29, 2011

Handmade Christmas 2011

I made a lot of our Christmas presents this year. The last week before Christmas I felt like I was in quite a mad dash to finish it all but it all managed to get done (or done enough). Here is a sampling of what I made along with links to tutorials as applicable! First, was Logan's quilt (I know I already had a post on this but now I had it all done). I made the quilt using this pattern from the Winter 2010 Quilts & More Magazine. I made the wide strips two inches bigger, though, than the pattern said to make the quilt big enough for a full size bed (the pictures are on our Queen size guest bed). the pillow shams I made up myself. And there will be more on the sprocket pillow later.
The back was put together with 2 yards of one of the Children at Play fabrics and some random piecing on my part. I know that this quilt was going to require 5 yards for backing but for some reason I thought I'd just buy 2 yards and piece the back (5 yards is expensive!). In hindsight I'd buy the 5 yards and save myself the trouble later. Besides, I ended up buying just as much by the time it was said and done!
A close up of the fabric. I love it.
And from this angle I decided it was awfully hard to part with. Good thing I don't have a little boy living here!
Ah yes, the sprocket pillows. I made a few of them for various friends (and Logan). I used the Cluck, Cluck, Sew tutorial and they came together beautifully, of course!
A also made another quilt (Made in 2011 No. 14, I think?). I used a fabric line called 'Etchings' which I originally found in Sister's for Mark's Mom's quilt. I liked it enough I bought a 10" layer cake to make another quilt for my sister-in-law, shown below. I sort-of made a disappearing 9 patch pattern - although it is a bit more crazy than that. I put it together using Cluck, Cluck Sew's Apple's quilt for inspiration and using a stack-n-whack methodology. Sorry if that doesn't make sense, it is the best way I can think of to describe it.I quilted this one myself with a random, all over stitch. I thought it looked so nice with my tree in the background.And I almost thought it looked like a Christmas quilt! Good thing there was some grey in it, too.One of my few non-sewing projects was this 'puppet theater' that I made for my dear little friend, Bekah. I purchased the .pdf download from Sarah Jane Studios for the Nutcracker Puppet Theater and cut out each piece (there are TWELVE characters) and assembled them. I may not have designed this but the cutting & assembly still made a handmade gift. And I'm hoping to make one for Allison next year! I really don't think a cereal box ever looked so cute!I also made another quilt top with the fabric I found in Sister's for Mark's Mom. I had intended to finish it myself but after seeing how well the double hour glass came together I decided this quilt needed to go to a professional quilter. This quilt will likely be my Finished in 2012 No. 1. I'll just give a peek for now. It was made using another Cluck Cluck Sew tutorial for the double hour glass.
I also made my very crafty little sister a pair of customized scissors. I actually made her two pairs using this tutorial. They turned out okay, but I learned that this craft ideally uses multi-colored paper with a small pattern on it. I made another pair for my friend at work, Karlee, and they turned out great, I just didn't get a picture. Oh well, live an learn. I figure this way Brittney will always know which scissors are hers around the church office!

Finally, I made a pair of tree pillows. The one above used the last of the scraps I had from the quilt I made for my little friend, Bekah. So I gave it to her Mom, of course. And that meant her Mom needed to buy some more matching pillows. And that means I'm her Dad's favorite person right now (kidding, of course! I am good at getting my friend, Jodi, to spend money, though!). And I made the one below for my sister-in-law Hannah. I was a little worried it looked a bit too much like a peacock. But Mark convinced me he would have never thought 'peacock' if I hadn't said anything so I figured I could give it to her. So I did. And she has requested another one. Good thing I have plenty of scraps and Kroon Day is coming soon! I used yet another Cluck Cluck Sew tutorial for this one. These pillows came together super quick & easy!
And that was about it for what I made this year. And trust me, it was plenty! There was one other little pillow for Mark's Mom (made with the scraps from her quilt) but I forgot to get a picture of it. Maybe when the quilt is done. Enjoy the tutorials if you happen to be a crafty person!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

We had a very low key Christmas this year, which was exactly what we needed. We started Christmas morning with presents. Allison & I actually had quite a few thanks to my family which mailed packages. The picture above is one of Allison's favorite presents, it is currently living on her dresser and she calls it 'MY picture.' Apparently this girl likes pictures (particularly when she is in them!).As soon as present opening was done we headed out to church. Allison wore a super cute little outfit, courtesy of Nana.When we made it home it was time for the real playing to begin. Mark & Allison put her new Duplo Lego train set together. Mark discovered, much to his dismay, the play table was not big enough for the deluxe set which he determined Allison 'needed.' It has now taken over my dining room table. Allison enjoyed sending her baking accessories around on the train tracks.We enjoyed a Christmas brunch - french toast. I had planned to make cinnamon rolls but it just didn't happen this year. Mark had a lot of music practices at church and a flooring job he was wrapping up so our time getting ready for Christmas was very limited. We decided french toast was easy (and yummy). Perhaps cinnamon rolls will come out for New Year's.
Both mark & I had the 26th off as well as an observed holiday. Mark took a quick run up to Fry's first thing in the morning to buy some computer parts. He spend the day playing with the train and building a new computer. I'm now finally up and running on the new computer, whew! Allison tagged along and 'helped' as much as she could.And I did manage to get a picture of our tree in the background. I want to try for one more before we take it down but for now this is one of my favorite Christmas pictures.The weather around here has been particularly dry and we finally got out do enjoy it! Allison asked for a bike ride. We assumed she wanted to ride her little bike but when we got in the garage she insisted on a Chariot ride so we all got on our bikes and went for a ride. Which allowed for plenty of tire pumping, much to Allison's delight.And we ended the 'holiday' with a dress fitting. Allison is going to be a flower girl in Mr. Brent's wedding come March and we tried on her dress. We put Cinderella on the t.v. to distract Allison during the fitting and I think she got a little too into the dress fitting. She did not want to take the dress off! Now all I have to do is find some fabulous red shoes to go with the dress! We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas as well.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our December - The First Half

We've been doing some Christmas themed things around our house but I haven't had a chance to sit down and write of them....partially because we had some computer issues which required a format and re-install so I'm re-learning how to do somethings as well as getting photo shop back up and running. Here is a quick glimpse at our December so far. We have been doing Advent candles. Although typically on Monday nights instead of Sunday nights, it has just worked better that way. Our first Advent Sunday we had pancakes for dinner - I think that may be a new tradition.

We went and picked out a tree. From a tree lot. Mark wandered around looking for a tree for quite awhile (he's on the picky side). We really would have loved to go cut our own tree but Mark has a flooring job to finish in December so our weekend time is tight. We went out on a weeknight to get a tree and then out to dinner.

Allison has been playing with her little nativity set. Mary & Joseph move closer every morning (she loves finding them) and Baby Jesus will show up on Christmas morning!

We decorated our tree (on the day after we got it). Allison had a lot of fun decorating it this year and she loves her 2011 ornament....

Curious George! She loves Curious George so I thought it would be a fitting ornament.

And Mark & I have been eating a few of these, peppermint brownie sundaes. They are so yummy! Too yummy for little girls of course. I haven't done any Christmas baking to date - too busy sewing but this has been keeping us plenty satisfied (along with an ample supply of peppermint hot chocolates thanks to a collection of Starbucks gift cards from work!).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Finished in 2011 No. 12 (a.k.a. why I've been MIA)

Well, I finished another quilt this weekend. This is probably the biggest quilt I've made on my own (including the quilting), it is for a full-size bed. I made it for my nephew Logan, made using Sarah Jane's 'Children at Play' line. And I love it. I'll share more details on this later (along with what feels like a zillion other handmade Christmas presents) when I get a chance to take more pictures and after gifts have been given. I just didn't want the blog world out there to think I had completely disappeared.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The End of the Season

Well, 2011 was certainly not the greatest football season for Oregon State. There was some success, however. Our girl became a true Beaver fan. She will frequently say 'Go Beavs' and she thinks any semi-athletic activity on t.v. is football. When she thinks that she automatically says 'Go Beavs.' Mark is trying to teach her about basketball now. He's hoping for a better season to enjoy as a Beaver fan. And he plans on taking her to a few games. Good thing we finally convinced her wearing her Beavers dress is a good thing, even if it isn't pink!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Season

All three of these kiddos were wearing red on this particular day so we snapped a picture, don't they look like they are ready for Christmas? I love these three and I enjoy watching how their friendships keep growing. Each time Allison plays with Logan and / or Bekah she seems to grow up a little bit. I also love the holiday season and all of the fun activities that come with it (this picture was taken just before we headed up to our snow adventure). I'm hoping to enjoy every moment of December - especially with a two-year-old around who finds it all so exciting.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Black Friday

We skipped out on the Black Friday shopping. I contemplated some online shopping but all of the items I wanted eventually sold out. Before I bought them. Instead, Allison & I spent some time that morning at the park. It was a very rare day around here; we woke up to blue skies. We couldn't stay inside. Allison loved getting to play at the park. Even if all of the equipment was wet. And we came home and enjoyed homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. It really doesn't get any better than that, does it?

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Last weekend we took a quick trip up to a local recreation area to capture a family Christmas photo for our friends, the Wagner's. Since we were up in the snow we decided to play for awhile. It was a much needed break from the overcast gloom we find in the valley. The sun was shining and there was a nice white cover of snow. Janelle & Logan tagged along with us since Jon was working.

All three of the kiddos did great. They enjoyed the snow as much as the adults. I don't think I heard any whining or complaining out of any of them. Even though Allison's mittens were soaking wet after the first 10 minutes. She just stripped them off and continued to play (I went out and bought some better mittens the next day). The kids loved the sledding, which was mostly done by being pulled by an adult, the snow was too wet and not deep enough for true downhill sledding.

We're hoping to get many more trips up to the snow this winter. The dose of sunshine was so worth it. And it worked out better than we expected to run up there after church, we still had plenty of time to play.

Monday, November 21, 2011


We decided it was time to teach Allison to play the Wii. Ours actually sits idle more than we'd like. And with the rainy weather we have through the fall and winter (and spring!) we decided we needed some active-ities we could do indoors. So far the bowling was a hit. Especially since I beat Mark! But MarioKart was her favorite. Unfortunately she tended to zone out in front of MarioKart, though, so we'll be limiting her time with that game for now. I'm hoping to track down a copy of 'Just Dance Kids' like the game Allison got to play with cousins Ella & Savannah this summer. It is pretty cute watching a 2-year-old play games!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Biking in the Rain....

This past Saturday was a bit wet, a bit cold and a bit windy. I should probably not be surprised that we found no one else at the park when Allison & I headed over. She rode her bike to the park. She was very excited to ride her bike to the park....

First she checked the swings. They were all wet. I was not really surprised....

Little Miss 'Cheese'

Contemplating if any of the playground equipment is not wet....

I guess we can pretend play 'store'.....

And then eventually head home. She has been obsessed with pockets lately and was really excited to discover her jacket had some. She did not want to ride her bike home because she wanted to keep her hands in her pockets. That meant I had to carry her bike home. With my hands outside of my pockets. It is a good thing she is cute!