Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ladies Christmas Dinner 2011

Each year, the women at our church host a Christmas Dinner (for women only). This event is so fun and we look forward to it every year. We usually have 12-15 hostesses who are each in charge of their own table of 6-8 women.

The hostess gets to decorate her table as simply or elaborately as she pleases (as long as it all fits!) and it is great fun! The dinner is buffet style, but each hostess provides her own dishes at each place setting for her guests to use. No paper plates here!

My theme this year was A Partridge in a Pear Tree :)

I got the idea for the gilded pears from Martha.  I bought that tiered stand from Hobby Lobby last year for about $7, I think, on sale.  Bought some nicely colored pears and "gilded" them with this stuff and a small paint brush.

The dinner is catered and always great. The hostess also usually provides some little ornament or gift for each of her guests and some yummy candy for a treat during the entertainment.

Mmmm..............Chicken stuffed with mushrooms

Nicely done, Lia!

My gift for my guests this year was a glittery "partridge".

I picked them up at Michael's for $1.49 each (on sale) and dressed them up with some brown organza ribbon and a few pearls.

Strawberry Shortcake for dessert!

Yummy salad with feta, cranberries, and walnuts with a raspberry vinaigrette.

Speaking of the entertainment, our Women's Ministry coordinates the program and this year was all about Christmas Memories. Even our Hispanic Ladies' Bible Study participants played a part this year! It was fun and touching to hear the stories told.

This year made my third year to hostess a table. I had been so nervous in years past that I couldn't pull it off that I didn't hostess. Then, I just decided to dive in and it was the best fun! What a nice, creative outlet for decorating for Christmas using fancy, fragile things I could not leave out at home right now because of my children's young ages.

Here's my table from my first year:

Fun hurricanes I made from Dollar Tree items (ideas all over blogland).
They cost $3 to make!!!

My first year to hostess, my mom, grandma, and sister were guests at my table. We have now turned that into tradition. Hey, for my family, this is about the only Christmas event we get to go to!

Me with Mom and Granny

My sister, Susie with Mom and Granny

So much fun! I wish more churches would do something similar for their Women's Ministry as it is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship and celebration of Jesus' birth!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Meet Oliver + S........

I was recently introduced to a neat pattern company. Oliver + S has some of the most charming clothing patterns for children I have ever seen! Liesl designs with an eye for vintage feel, quality construction, and comfort!

I downloaded the pattern Jump Rope Dress yesterday and have been happily working on this lovely little dress for my daughter.

This is the fabric I am using for View A (the pattern cover above)

View B (which I realize I can't find an illustration for):

So far, so good! The instructions seem very clear to me, with lots of little illustrations. There is also a forum on the Oliver + S website if you have questions. The ladies there are knowledgeable and very willing to help out based on their experience with these patterns.

I already know I will be sewing more with Oliver + S from here on out. My only regret is that I didn't find them when my daughter was younger! She's almost 10 and I know my days of dressing her in darling clothes are numbered. In another couple of years I'm sure she will become more opinionated about what she will want to wear and I'm almost positive it will not include much gingham :(

I'll update with the finished product in a couple of days!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to school!!!

Today was our first day back to school! We homeschool our kids and this is the first year all three have been school aged :) Here they are showing Daddy all their workbooks.

Ava is 9 1/2 going into 5th grade.

Levi is 7 going into 2nd grade.

Evan is 5 1/2 going into Kindergarten.

I printed out each of their grade numbers and had them hold them up. I thought this would be a fun way to see them grow each year. I think that pic must be on Matt's phone, because I can't find it.

They also put on their backpacks and "walked" to school. Evan thought this was perplexing. LOL!

Then we said the pledge of allegiance. Even Evan knows every word. They learned it from AWANA. :)


I love getting to spend so much time with my kiddos!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Distractions aren't ALL bad.

Have you ever been in the middle of something, only to accidentally come across something fabulous, that causes you to drop whatever it was that you were in the middle of, to focus on the new fabulous thing for a bit?

Here is my distraction.

I made this block a few months ago while working on another project.

This block haunts me.

I can't stop looking at it. I kept pulling it out to look at it so often, I decided to just leave it on the ironing board.

Is it all those tiny little squares?

Is it the black?

Is it the pretty coral red in the center?

Not sure. But I can hardly wait to make more.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A little progress.

Very little, but hey, that's life.

So, now that we are done with our school year, I am focusing hard on two big projects. Remember this post?

Remember these patterns I was working on?
French Kiss

And Posies a la Mode

Did you know that I am still working on these quilts??? Did you know they aren't even technically quilts yet, because they are still in a million little pieces? Ok, so I exaggerate a bit.

So, I made this decision to finish these two quilts in time to submit to the State Fair of Texas this year. That's right. The State Fair. You know, the place where they only showcase the best of the best of thousands of entries??? Yeah. I aim high. Not, I am high, but I AIM high.

Let me just say that, no, I don't think I'll win. Wouldn't that be nice? Aw, yeah! I'm simply trying to stretch myself here. You know, you take care of little people all day and, while that's satisfying in itself, sometimes you want to do something satisfying in another realm. And let's face it, I really don't have very many hobbies. So, this is the one I turn to.

I will admit, I was taught to quilt by the best! Two ladies from our church taught several beginning quilting classes and I was hooked! We then (as a group) continued to make baby quilts for all the new babies in the church and, once in a while, someone would say, "We should have an Intermediate class!" The response from the ladies who taught us was, "This IS the Intermediate class!"

That was so true. I took that to heart. It was up to ME to continue my education in quilting. It was up to ME to seek out more challenging and difficult patterns to work on. Those ladies taught me A LOT. And now, I'm teaching myself more. Plus, I must like deadlines or something. Thus, entering the Fair.

Here is where I'm at with these quilts today.

I have finished all the little posies in Posies a la Mode. Now I need to applique the little red centers on them before I applique them onto cream background squares. The rest should go together quickly.

These were really easy!

I also finished a few more diamonds for French Kiss.

I almost had a disaster with this quilt. Somehow, I ran out of cream fabric. You know, the cream fabric that is supposed to be the same in every block? I'm using it in both quilts and I was 1 1/2 yards short! A YARD and a HALF??? How does THAT happen? The only explanation I can offer myself is that I stole it for another project. But I don't do that sort of thing. I keep all my projects separate so THAT won't happen.

Anyhow, I took a scrap of it with me to the closest quilt shop, hoping to find an exact match. No such luck. Then, I drove over half an hour away to the next closest quilt shop that was still open that day. Not even close. Every fabric was either too light, too dark, too pinkish, too grayish, too yellow. They just weren't the right shade of cream. I couldn't find anything that was even close enough. I intended to go to two other shops, but they were closed for the day.

The next morning, I went to another shop and....................SUCCESS!!! A great lady there helped me find the.exact.fabric. Not a smidge off in shade. Whew! I was beginning to think this quilt would just not make the cut for the fair if I had to start using another fabric. See, it needs to be perfect.

I bought 4 yards. I probably need to order a bolt. It really is the perfect cream.

So, I will be sewing away this weekend! I'm excited to see how much I can get done. I have just over a month to submit these quilts before the cutoff date.

Think I can do it?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Dolls are dressed better than I am..................

A while back my sweet little girl became interested in American Girl books and dolls. She may or may not have been directly influenced by her mother. Ahem.

Anyhoo, I began sewing for her in order to build her a lovely dolly wardrobe that didn't cost $87,943.98. Also, I like to sew. It has satisfied both of us.

Now, I am usually a quilter. Quilting is my thing. I don't sew clothes. I mean, I have sewn clothes, just badly. It's just not my niche. I like to practice it once in a while, so hopefully, I'll improve.

Here are some of the things I've made for my daughter's dollies. (BTW, can I just say how glad I am to have a daughter so I can also play with dollies?!)

I used the Pleasant Company patterns found at American Girl Playthings. This is a great site with a forum for dolly lovers!

Here is Kirsten Larson in her "Meet" Dress:

And here she is with her bonnet and apron. I'm still looking for an amber heart charm to make a necklace with.

Here is Kirsten in her school dress:

Kirsten's Birthday dress and apron:

Her "Summer Striper":
It's hard to tell in the photo, but the fabric is white with baby blue stripes and a fine, brown pinstripe next to the blue stripe. I like this fabric much better than the AG version.

My version of Kirsten' "Work Dress". The original dress by AG has long sleeves, but, who wants to wear long sleeves while working???
Ok, so that does it for Kirsten. Thank you, Mia, for modelling along with Kirsten. She was having a fit trying to change quickly in between dress shots.

Here are som PJ's I made up. Nellie is wearing a pink camisol that originally came with a Nicki outfit (sorry for those of you who don't know all the doll's by name!). So, I just made the bottoms to match it.
I added tiny pink rick rack to the bottom hems.

And here is Samantha, showing off her purple PJ's. I made these from a camisol of Ava's that had gotten a hole in it. I couldn't bear to throw away the cute embroidery!

Okie dokie, now for something different. Ava just loves listening to Anne of Green Gables on audio (we have the dramatized version put out by Focus on the Family--it's great! You can find it at CBD ).

So, it was only fittin' to make outfits for Anne and Dianna! Ava chose all the fabrics herself :) All the patterns are Kirsten's School Dress except for the sage green dress. It is a Vogue pattern and was much too big. I cut off several inches from the hemline. It still doesn't fit close in the bodice, though. No matter, it's still pretty!
Found that cute little copper kettle at Cracker Barrel. It was a Christmas ornament! I also got a cute little copper bowl with double handles.

With an apron (borrowed from Kirsten).
Anne's kindred spirit, Dianna:

Of course one in pink........

And, a fabric I could not resist!

And, lastly, my attempt at "puffed sleeves".

Thanks to Nellie and Samantha for standing in for Anne and Dianna. Anne is usually played by Mia with pigtail braids. Samantha plays Dianna since she is the only doll we have with dark brown hair other than Kaya. They both enjoy acting.

We are in the process of making many skirts, camisas, and rebozo's from Josefina's patterns so the dollies can put on a play. I will post pics of those hopefully within the next century!

Most of the fabric for Kirsten was found at Fat Quarter Shop. If you would like to know the name of one those fabrics, I can try to look it up, however, I bought it all three years ago and they may not carry it anymore. But, if you ask, I will try. Anne and Dianna's fabrics were found at our local JoAnn's.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Week 1 Book Review: The Best Life Diet by Bob Greene

OK, so I know I posted I was reading something different last week. I'm still reading that book. But, I was already reading The Best Life Diet and finished it first, so it gets reviewed first!

I also know this book has been out a few years and so you all may have already read it. I had not. So, I finally did.

My husband and I decided this year we would make the switch to eating whole foods. No more fast food, processed foods, sodas and all that yucky stuff. So, I set out to find some good books to read that would have some great healthy recipes in them.

Off we went to Half-Price Books (my favorite store!) and what do you think I found??? A stack of great "diet" books in the clearance section for $1 a piece!!! Holy moly, was I excited! I promptly snatched them all up and proudly showed my hubby my great finds :) Of course, he loves it when he can get out of that store only spending a few bucks! We buy oh-so-many books :)

The Best Life Diet was a really good read. If you are looking for information on cooking healthier and just making better food choices, this is a good one to read. Surprisingly, Bob doesn't want you to start out immediately changing your diet. He wants you to get moving first to see if it makes a big improvement in your weight/health. We were both already exercising and ready to change our eating habits, so we aren't waiting.

After you come to a point where you are not seeing any more progress, then he has you change your diet. They are good changes, too. We have been eating very well! My hubby was afraid he would be eating rice cakes and feel hungry all the time ;) Not so! In fact, last week we had the Beef Fajita and Guacamole recipe from Bob's book and it was absolutely de-lish!

The Best Life Diet is a no-nonsense, practical guide to eating healthy. It just makes sense.

You just have to be ready to change what your doing.

We were ready.

Are you?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Changes for 2011......

Since so many bloggers are posting what they want to do or change in 2011, I thought I'd list mine as a reminder to myself.

I don't usually make "resolutions", but there are some definite changes I want to make this year.

1) Whole foods.

We (my hubby and I) have committed to eating a diet of whole foods. Now, we have not gone completely organic, but I believe we are headed that way. Baby steps :)

In my first shopping trip of the year, I stocked our fridge and pantry with some of the healthiest foods I could find at Wallyworld.

Kale, swiss chard, asparagus, bell peppers, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocadoes, onions, carrots, whole wheat pita bread, whole wheat tortilla wraps, whole wheat bread, tilapia, quinoa (a new to me food), black beans, and whole wheat flour.

I'm sure I left some things out, but I don't really even expect any of you to be interested in my shopping list!

What is important, is that we are eating healthier and improving the quality of our lives.

2) Read a book a week.

I enjoy reading so much, but don't make enough time to do it. I tend to read in bursts, several books in a few weeks and then none for weeks. I'd like to be more consistent and even read books that have been in the back of my mind for a while.

I'm currently reading That Printer of Udells by Harold Bell Wright.

3) Go Green with cleaning products.

I have already purchased my first Shaklee order through Bonnie and am eagerly awaiting the box man to bring it!

I can't wait to tackle my nasty oven. Seriously, it's gross. I may post before and after pictures. Then again, I may not. It's that gross!

More than anything, I'm excited to get rid of all the bottles from under my kitchen sink!

4) Purge our junk more often.

Stuff makes me feel choked. Can anyone relate???

5) Blog more often.

I've never been good at keeping a diary or journal, but blogging is kind of fun. I don't expect that it will ever be a daily habit, but several times a month would probably make me happier. I know all 4 of my followers will be ecstatic!

So, there you go. I mean, there I go. This post was really mostly for me :) But if anyone out there got something from it, that's awesomeness.