Monday, December 17, 2012

Very Merry Christmas {with Frosted Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs}


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I am really loving how our Christmas card turned out this year. 
This was the best verticle photo (that I never showed you) 
from those chilly 15 minutes the other day. 

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This morning I delivered 3 dozen homemade, frosted sugar cookies just like these, to our school. I love that we can still bring in homemade treats. This is part of our PTA's "12 Days of Christmas Cookies" for our teachers and staff. We get to fill up their break rooms with homemade treats to brighten their day.
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I've definitely found something that I love to do. I can't wait to roll out the rest of the dough I've made, with my kiddos and let them go to town decorating too.

On some of the cookies there is actually more icing than there is cookie.
That's ok, right?
I should have brought gallons of milk too!

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In case you were interested in the recipes I use...
Cookie: {This} is the only one that keeps it's shape for me. I cool the dough for 2-3 hours and then let the tray of cut-outs sit in the freezer 5 minutes before baking.
Royal Icing: {This} is my favorite tasty recipe. I only add almond extract, but lots of it. I've also found that the more heavily colored your frosting is, the longer it takes to full dry (can be 2 days!). Look at {this post} or {this one} for the flooding technique.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Star of wonder...

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...guide us to thy perfect light.
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*That's the chalkboard over our couch in the living room.
I was inspired by this gorgeous print {here}. Love that she sells them!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Walking in a Winter Wonderland...


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We got a foot of the perfect, wet, snowman making snow on Sunday.

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Our niece and nephew enjoyed the day with us too.
While Aidan napped I took Bella out to join the big kids in all the fun.
She had been standing at the window looking longingly at them.
It was time to go outside.

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She enjoyed her first time sledding with her cousins and wasn't happy about going back inside 30 minutes later.
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Allison loved playing "big sister" to her cousin.
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Then she went down a couple of times by herself.
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This big boy sled the day away not stopping even when the others took a break.
He kept going and going and going and going...
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And this one made her own mini snowman that was super cute too.
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David helped them make a snow fort with our block makers.
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But Bella thought there should be a little chair right here.
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"Oh! Did I do that?"
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"Uncle David, can you fix that?"
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"I'll supervise."
 
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More sledding shinanagans.
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A crash landing.
 
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Falling off half-way down the hill.
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I love how perfect our yard is for this age. The hills are just the right size. 
And we are all happy to see a white Christmas this year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forever Family TaDollie and her Sisters


Now that she has arrived (you can read about it here), I can share with you the other little treats I tucked inside Sunshine's box. ;)

That's right!  Her box had not just one, but three dollies in it for the soon to be three Cooper sisters. I keep thinking about how fun that must be for Jenn as she is one of three sisters and now she will have three daughters.

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Jenn knew that Sunshine's doll was coming. As soon as she announced that they were adopting again I told her that I wanted to make another one. When the time got closer, we planned it out a bit togehter. But she had no idea I was making her older daughters dolls too.

I knew right away I just had to do it. I kept thinking about how much fun it would be for all the girls to have similar dolls to play with together. My hope was that these dollies might play even a teeny tiny role in the excitement leading up to  a new sister and aid the three little ladies in their bonding together as sisters once she arrived.

So I got down to business and planned out all the little details. I have always loved the sweet bob haircut that Jenn's "Miss Middle" has sported for years. I think I first saw her in photos when she was two and that's how I'll always think of her. I know that Jenn adored that cut on her too. So even though she is growing her hair out I thought it would be fitting for her doll to have her "signature" look.

And if you know Jenn's girls, you know they can usually be seen with flowers in their hair so of course everyone got a sweet flower with vintage button embellishment. I love that along with the matching fabric to the quilt Jenn made, she also sent some vintage trim that I added to their bodices and Miss Middle's waist.  Aren't those little pink hearts just the sweetest? I was thrilled when I saw that my Moda Dream On fabrics would be the perfect addition to her vintage sheets for the knee socks and hood.

Anna has her own room with a growing pre-teen style all her own. And though I didn't own a single purple print, instead of going shopping I knew I could rock the aqua, lime and black just fine.  Check out her room {here}. I think her dollie will fit in perfectly, don't you? I also figured, with that growing style of hers, she might be a bit over the "ric rac" look. So when I added a little to the hem of her dollie's dress I made it as subtle as ric ras can be. You probably realize by now that I'm obsessed with the stuff and back in the day Jenn's clothing designs used her fair share of ric rac too. So I figured Jenn would enjoy seeing it on all of the dolls too.

I also added a felt embrodired sun to the bottom of Sunshine's dress but never did take a photo of it because I wanted to keep at least that much about her doll a surprise for Jenn since I was showing photos before she arrived. You can get a peek of it over {here} in Jenn's photos. Pinking shears made the cute little sunrays.

And yes, I even looked through photos on her blog to see what side her girls parted their hair on. Can you say OCD? As a mom of twins that's just something I think about. And wouldn't you know, just like my girls, hers part their hair on opposite sides from each other too...teehee...

I also enjoyed picking out different verses for each of their dolls. Jenn picked Sunshine's, but I got to pick the other two. I think these are verses that every young lady should have tucked inside her heart for life.


Anna's doll
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Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

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Julia's doll
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 Galatians 5:22
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

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And a great big shout out again to Nicole Owens for creating such a fun softie doll pattern that my dolls are based on. I've tweaked it a bit over the years but the bones are still hers. Without that pattern I don't think I would have been bitten by the dollie bug. Together Amy and I made a ton and at last count I've given away 20 of the some 60 that have been made. I love that I have been able to bless some 20 prescious children through my love of crafting.  A lot of joy comes from giving of your talents and these have been no exception.
Thank you Jenn for allowing me to be even a small part of your journey to your "Sunshine."
 
Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"
 
Proverbs 31:13
"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands."
 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Forever Family TaDollie


A special little dollie is on her way home today.
And soon her little owner will be on her way home to her {forever family}.

Golly, I can't even type that without getting teary eyed.

God is SO good!

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Jenn sent me some vintage sheet scraps she had left after making {these two adorable quilts}.
So this little lady will be perfectly at home in her new room.

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Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

 
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And in a couple of days I'll be able to share the other little treats I tucked in the box for her two big sisters.

Eeek! I'm so excited!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Support Small Businesses Saturday {25% off in the Shop!}


The final two TaDollies of 2012 are on sale!
 
25% off today only. 
 
Prices go back up tomorrow.
 
Find them {here}.


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Monday, November 19, 2012

Final TaDollies of 2012 {New in the Shop}

Gnome Girl
 
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Miss Meadowsweet
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Find them {here}.

 

 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Around Here

Just when I thought my house couldn't hold another piece of furniture, I snuck this in at the bottom of the stairs. That made it sound easy. Ha! It was actually quite heavy and cumbersome to get it from my mom's laundry room to our basement. So it's not going anywhere else anytime soon. Thanks honey for indulging me! I really love this piece.

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David thinks I'm crazy for wanting to paint  it and I don't really have the energy now anyway. But I do think it would love to be a creamy shade of white. ;) Actually, Annie Sloan's chalk paint is what it's really begging for. And now I'm kicking myself for not going to Junk Bonanza this year and meeting her.

I'm sure I'll line the glass doors with some pretty fabric because who really wants to look at stacks of coloring books. Not me. I love that the glass has a slight texture/wave to it. And it's got nice lines and curves to it. Thanks Mom!

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I love that our home is filled with so many hand-me-downs. Like this recently painted lamp from my mom. I had mentioned to her that I could really use more light in my craft room and that I was going to start hunting at Goodwilll but then she came through with three lamps she no longer needed. This was brass back in it's hey day. Isn't the shape fun? A little aqua spray point and voila...new life! I have another one just like it on the other side of the room.

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And yes, those are a few of the TaDollie's I'm working on this week. One is a gift and the two on the left will be in the shop as soon as they are ready. Eeek! I've also got an order that was just finalized and one I'm waiting on fabric for. I guess I've gotten the itch to sew lately. Just yesterday my pal Jessica shared a photo of a super cute dress on facebook and I said:

"That is gorgeous! Makes me want to sew again. *sigh*

To which she replied...

" Angel...then keep looking at it ;) he he he"

Love that girl!

Another fun project that finally got some paint was this $2 mug rack from Goodwill. Inspired of course by Jenny B's craft space. Do you recognize the polka dot laminate too? That's really where the similarities stop. Her space is beyond amazing! I could use a few more pairs of scissors, it's looking pretty sad. But they are hidden throughout the house, in places even I've forgotten. ;) I've also got more shelving to put up on this wall too, just waiting for a spare moment to make it happen.

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Last night I had the pleasure of meeting Stacy, another local crafter, for coffee at my favorite spot. After three hours of chit chat, we closed the place down! We have several mutual friends too so that made it even more fun. We talked about everything under the sun. I haven't done that in forever. A while back she recognized from my blog while shopping at Target but didn't come up to say "Hi". Lord knows it was probably one of those hectic days where I had rushed out the door with no make-up on and wearing yesterdays clothes. You do that too right?  Note to self: you just never know who's watching. At least I didn't scare her away too badly.  ;) Thanks Stacy for reaching out to me, I really enjoyed getting to know you. You are such a sweetheart! Y'all should check out her sweet shop, lots of great ideas for handmade Christmas gifts there. I especially love her crayon wallets and I must say that her work is impeccable. She has more to list soon too.

My kids have been cracking me up lately. The other day Emily had drawn a map to bring to school. It was a plan for how to defeat the boys at recess. Evidently it's been her and her sister in a game of chase and capture with 8 boys. It was also her first day in the highest level math group so I asked her who was in the new class. She said "Ryan, he's one of the boys I'm trying to beat!" And just a few days earlier we got a call from Allison's teacher. Seams she spent some time chasing a fellow classmate, trying to kiss him. Oh dear! What have we got in store for us? It's not just girls playing jump-rope on the playground anymore. Where do they get this from? We are a normal family, honest.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beautiful Bella Bowtique


Yesterday my sis-in-law and I spent some time getting 
{her Etsy shopup and running.

Here's a peek at some items you'll find in her shop.  
p.s. her tutu is really sweet too.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

TaDollies in the shop for a limited time!



Get a jump-start on your Christmas shopping!

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Find them {here}.

Friday, October 12, 2012

How not to take the perfect Christmas card photo

1. Wake your youngest from a much needed nap to get dressed. In shoes that are now too small.

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2. Choose a day that's 50 degrees and windy. 
3. Do it on said cold day without warm enough clothing,
such as hats, gloves, parkas, blankets, snow boots, ski masks...

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4. Choose an assistant that is infinitely more fun than you so they forget to look at the camera.

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5. Take photos of your own kids and not someone else's.

6. Have a mutant genetic gene that makes at least one out of three children blink in all but 2% of photos. 
Which of course is problematic if you followed point #5.


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Ahhhh...my favorite photo, but alas, the card I want to use (and already bought) only takes a vertical pose. 
I should have remembered that. And maybe I would have, if it hadn't been for points 1-6.


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*sigh*

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My View and Christmas Stitching

My dear friend Amber made this Dresden plate pillow cover for me a day or two before she gave birth to her second daughter. She was overdue and said she needed a fun little project to keep her mind occupied. She finished it and mailed it off all in one day.  Talk about a Super Mom! Thank you Amber, you are truly amazing and I love looking at this pillow every day. Maybe if everyone goes over and says "Hi", she'll update her blog and show you the gorgeous handmade nursery she put together this summer. It's vintage and cozy and everything nice. Or maybe she'll let me feature it here. ;)

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I am seriously in awe of this pillow! Sorry it looks like a stuffed sausage. I haven't been out to buy the correct size inset for it yet.  I love that Amber knew exactly what fabrics would fit in my living room. She's that kind of friend. Love you sweetie!

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This past summer I saw this aqua kitchen cart in the Ikea catalog and promptly made a bee line for the store. Their display showed they were already sold out so I asked when they thought it would be back in stock. Much to my delight they said they still had some and pointed me to the correct isle.

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Best purchase ever!!!

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It holds all of my current hand sewing projects and can be lifted up into the corner by the lamp when not in use, or wheeled to my room if I need to stitch in silence. Here is what I've been working on this week.  Sam's stocking. He's been hounding me to get it done and I was more than happy to oblige.

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I've spent the past two days getting it this far. He's super excited about it. Look at that darling cuckoo clock!

Side note: I think my antique sewing machine in the corner of my living room (I still want to paint it's table aqua) needs an old cuckoo clock that I've spray painted red, hanging over it. It's doesn't even have to work.

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Last week I got this little hanging almost finished. 
I stopped when I realized that I don't care for the gold trim that was in the kit (on the right).

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I'd like to find something more like the gold loopy braid on the left. 
I plan to use this on our black front door in lieu of a wreath. 
For ever and ever amen.

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Oh and guess what!? It's a super close match to the tree skirt I've had for years. Score! I've never seen this kit so I was thrilled to get it for under $20.

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Now, you know how much I adore Bucilla felt and sequened kits and I usually like to make them from scratch myself. But this next piece has been impossible to find for under $175. All summer there have been two new kits sitting out there on Ebay for either $250 and $175 (surprisingly the $250 one sold first!). Um, yes please, but no thanks. ;) Well somebody out there has been able to buy them and it always pained me a little when it would say "ended" in my watch list. Yes, I'm a glutten for punishment. Though I could never drop that kind of money on a "craft" (no matter the significance), I sure dreamed about it and I kept asking myself if it would be worth it. A few times I did searches for "sold" kits only to find two of them in the last few months had sold immediately for under $20 with a buy it now.  Ugh!!! Why couldn't that have been me!?! It seemed I was never looking at the right time, but knowing that they had been out there made me more determined to keep looking and not cave to those higher prices. I had my phone notify me when ever a new listing for "Bucilla advent" came up.

It finally paid off!

This is THE most amazing advent calendar I have ever seen. No others (in my mind) can compare to it. it's not gaudy, there is no Santa on it and it's not a cheap knock-off. I found one on Ebay that was already made, for $70. My heart sunk a little when I saw that the quality of work was not very good. When I contacted the seller she dropped the price down to $50 and threw in an ornament kit she had laying around.  Wow! I was so so happy when it got here, to see that the ornament kit was one I had been watching elsewhere for $20 and seriously wanted. So now it was like I had gotten this advent calendar for just $30.

But...now on to the work ahead of me...

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I had to re-cut every single number (I should have taken a before photo) because the black lines you are supposed to cut off where still on there. The person that made this (bless her heart) had cut on the outside of those outlines, instead of the inside. Ther circles insdie the little numbers weren't even cut out. She also just tacked the numbers on in the middle, instead of whip stitching around the edges. Well, that actually made my trimming job a little easier, but I'm still in the process of attaching the numbers correctly. I had to re-cut the edges of all the ornaments too. It's missing the blue angel and gold start but I'm confident that I can recreate them myself out of all the vintage felt scraps I have from the many kits I've made and have yet to make (I'm glad I've kept all that!). I'd also like to re-do that furry Santa up there too. He's seen better days. Also missing from this kit are the little snaps on the back of each ornaments and on the tree. I'm pretty sure my grandma's calendar had snaps on it and not just pins holding them on there.

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The back story: for me this is much more than just a gorgeous kit. It's the same one my grandparents had at their house. And I distinctly remember using it the Christmas we lived with them (and many years later when I would visit). We had sold our home in Columbia South Carolina the summer before and moved to Eden Prairie Minnesota so my sick Mother could be closer to her family. She passed away that February. I went to two different kindergartens that year. And though there are a lot of sad feelings from that time, this still brings comfort to me in seeing it in my home now. I remember where it hung, in the front hallway (next to the huge walk-in linen closet us cousins played hide in seek in) of my grandparents house and all the fun I had taking the ornaments off and rearranging them. I love that my kids will get to do the same thing. I'm thinking of making a pattern from this original and making more for my brother or cousins that may wish to have this too (that will take a while though). I'm sure they all remember it too.