Sunday, November 18, 2012

Simple Stocking Tutorial

Last year I decided to put away the gold and glass and turn my Christmas decorations into something kid-friendly instead.  Along the way, I settled on red and white as my all-new 'Peppermint Kissmas' theme!  It was a lot of work!  Fortunately, it means I have most of my big decorations already made this year, including a swag for the mantle (and just about every other horizontal surface in my house), a wreath for my chandelier and a bright, red, burlap runner for my table!

One of the projects I wasn't able to get to until just before Santa arrived was a set of stockings for everyone!  There are literally TONS of cute stocking ideas on Pinterest, and Martha Stewart crafts had some cute red and white felt stockings that I thought would do the trick, so I decided to go with those . . .  and make them my own of course!

I'm not sure if Martha had a stocking template somewhere, but if you know me, then you know I was doing these things much too last minute to bother with any of that, so I simply grabbed a stocking I already had and used it as my template, making sure to add some on all sides to leave room for stitching!

Then I cut a wide stripe of contrasting felt (in this case red) for my cuff and embroidered the name across the band.  I used my machine, but you could certainly do this by hand or use fabric paint for the names.  Puffy paint would probably look great!

I decided to cut everything out using pinking shears - just because - because one of the fun things about working with felt is that you don't have to worry about fraying or finishing your seams.  That makes this whole project even easier!

I really was in a rush to get these stockings finished, so rather than adding a cuff on both the front and the back, I simply laid it over the top piece of the stocking, and stitched it down!  Certainly hot glue or fabric glue would do the trick here as well, though perhaps not quite as quickly - ha!

I decided on designs for the front of each of the stockings, cut them out with the pinking shears, and sewed them on to the front piece!  Again, hot glue or fabric glue would work here too!

Once the design is what you want, cut a small strip of felt to use as the loop for hanging and pin the front and back pieces together, inserting the looped strip of felt at the top corner before sewing or gluing it all down.

Now all you have left to do is hang them up and enjoy!

I added a small checkered ribbon for the ornaments on this one - so stinkin' cute!

Probably the hardest part about this project was decided what to do on everyone's stocking.  Though some ideas came more easily than others!  Don't stress too much if your designs aren't perfect.  In this case I think it sort of adds to the charm of the handmade piece!

Sheep's included her signature 'big bow' of course . . .  a a bit of bling!

I also decided to use contrasting thread color for the seams.  I started with a triple stitch on the first one, but it really didn't make much difference visually, and is much slower to sew, so I switched to a simple straight stitch instead - perfect!

I think they came out great!!  And with Speed heading way out west this weekend, I will be home with the kids pulling out my hair all my Christmas decorations and hopefully have the transformation completed by the time he returns!  I can't wait to see them again!

Sharing this Thankful Thought @ Mop It Up Mondays, Meet Me Monday, Debbie Doo's Newbie Party, Take-A-Look Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Cowgirl Up, Whimsy Wednesdays, Show and Share, Overflowing with Creativity, Creative Me, Made U Look, It's a Hodgepodge Friday

Friday, November 16, 2012

Footprint Turkey Napkin Rings

Good morning and Happy Friday everyone!
I have been one busy little elf this week with Christmas t-shirt orders (Yes, it's that time of year again!!  Yippee!!), but I didn't want you (my adoring fans - ha!) to think I had forgotten about you, so I thought I would share this quick Turkey Day craft from last year!  The kiddos will be out all next week, so there's plenty of time to make these - Enjoy!!

Footprint Turkey Napkin Rings

Toilet paper rolls, cut in half
Brown, red and yellow or orange construction paper
1 small, clean foot
Googly eyes
Good ol' Elmer's glue

You probably have most, if not all, of these items around your house already! So get everything together and do a lil' cipherin' to figure out how many napkin rings you're gonna need. Then add one more because you're going to want to make sure you have one to keep for yourself - those little feet grow fast!!

If you don't save toilet paper rolls like we do, well then you are MISSING OUT! There are just tons of things you can do with those things and you know you're not remembering to put them in your recycle bin anyway - ha!! Around here, we have much more trouble finding a small CLEAN foot than an empty toilet paper roll. In fact, it seems like there's an empty roll on the holder whenever I sit down. I don't know how it is in your house, but I am apparently the only one who knows how to change the toilet paper . . . but I digress!! If a clean foot's not possible, I recommend chasing down a dirty one with a wipey and proceeding!

Step 1:
Trace around your small, clean foot on brown construction paper to create a template for your turkeys (Let's face it, that foot's not gonna stick around to do a dozen, so just trace once and then set Snacks, I mean the foot, free.) Use template to create the number of turkeys you need for dinner.

Step 2:

Glue your feet to your toilet paper rolls, using the heel of the foot as the head and the toes as the body of your turkeys. Glue The rolls closer to the toes than the head, especially if you want your turkeys to stand up on your place settings. Let dry.

Step 3:
Cut out small diamonds in yellow construction paper and small wavy red shapes for waddles. Embellish your feet. Remember to use the heel of the foot as the head and the toes at the body. They sort of look like feathers now don't they?! Fold diamonds in half to make beaks and glue over or next to your waddles - your call. Add your eyes as well and let it all dry. Sheep is 6 and did a great job with this while I played 'Oh my Gosh, He Has the Scissors/Sharpie/Glue' with Snacks. This game is played in rounds!!!

Aren't they looking cute?!?!!
Step 4:
Take your napkins and lay them flat. Fold your napkins into pleasts, back and forth accordian-style. Once it has been pleated, fold in half lengthwise, the same way you used to to make paper fans when you were a kid! Sorry I didn't take a picture of this step, but hopefully you get the idea. Sheep got pretty good at this too, but I'm not sure anyone younger (she's almost 7) would be able to do this part. You also have to decide how much 'imperfection' you're willing to have at your Turkey Day Feast, so I will leave that up to you. I will tell you that sometimes, after she's moved on, I have been known to redo straighten things a bit, but I would NEVER tell her that!!!

Step 5:
Stuff that turkey!! In this case, with your pleated napkin, folded side down so that the napkin fans out behind the turkey foot- voila!!

I was having trouble getting my pleats to stay together at the top, because I did not iron (much less starch) my napkins beforehand, but I would recommend adding that step if you like the look of them standing up. Sheep seemed to think they looked better laying down so - problem solved!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 Days of Thankful - Days 11 & 12

Yes, I know.
I'm behind on my Thankful List
But the truth is I have trouble ticking with anything for 30 days. 
Probably why I'm still working on that same 20 pounds - ha!

Anyhoo, over the weekend we went to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Plantersville, Texas so today I am thankful for shared memories!

I used to LOVE the Renassaince Festival when I was a kid.  All rainbows and crystals and unicorns - yes, an actual unicorn was there one year.  I don't know where or how it came to be, but it was there and I saw it.  Back then, unicorns were absolutely my most favorite animal/creature/magical being (you pick) - I was such a child of the eighties!

Anyway, the first thing I realized when we arrived was that some things you thought were amazing and awesome as a kid are . . . hmmm, how can I say this . . .  really kind of weird when you're a grown-up!  All the costumes and swords and corsets (oh my!) on people who were just attending. Definitely a sight to behold!  I had Sheep put on some fairy wings before we left, which she questioned . . . until she got there and realized a measly pair of fairy wings wasn't nearly enough for the spirit of Ren Fest!


Speed was having the same sort of flashbacks and realizations I was, but to the kids it was 100% fun!

There are lots of shows to see!

Rides to ride!
With a Medieval theme of course!
Even exotic animals!  How many of you can say that you've ridden an elephant!
We ate turkey legs and watched jousting and tromped across all 55 acres until we found the glassblowing display - which was still as awesome as I remember it!  Though Snacks will be too young to remember it, Sheep LOVED it!  And it was absolutely unforgettable to be able to experience the festival through her eyes!  As well as hearing all of Speed's memories and observations - he's a wry one! 
So very grateful for the memory we all have together!
Dont forget to link up your own stories of thankfulness at the 30 Days of Thankful Blog Hop going on all this month!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 Days of Thaknful - Days 9 & 10

This weekend I am thankful for my bloggy friends, who turn me on creatively, lift me up spiritually and really encourage me with their sweet and often funny comments.  This month marks the 1 year anniversary of my 'return to blogging' and I have learned so much from everyone and made some special friends along the way {smile}.

Transitioning from a working mom to a full-time stay-at-home-mom was more challenging than I could have anticipated.  And frankly, there's still some aspects of stay-at-home-mommyhood that I struggle with.  But I wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything!  That being said, blogging has been a way for me to connect with other grown-ups and more importantly, other creative souls.

I love finding a kindred spirit and I am constantly amazed by all the imaginative and entrepreneurial adventures going on out there.  I feel privileged to be a part of the blogging community and am just so thankful for having friends joining me on this journey.  I only hope that I am returning the favor to you in some  way!

So here's to us!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Days of Thankful - Day 8

Today I am thankful for second chances.
And thirds.
And fourths.
And, well . . . you get the idea.

I don't know for certain, but I'm guessing that everyone has something they're struggling with.  Some problem, or behavior, or relationship that you just can't seem to get right.  Or some issue that you thought you'd seen the last of but here it comes round again??  For me it's my weight.  Not that I don't have others (ha!), but this is the one I'm stressing about focused on right now.  And I've got so much wrapped up in the issue at this point that I won't bore you with the details, but I've got a goal (again), I am taking action (again) and I am moving forward (again)!

Truly this would not be possible without God's grace.  Because when it comes to dreaming thinking about food and exercise (what I want to eat, what I should be eating, what I shouldn't be eating, am I hungry or am I stressed, when to eat, how much to eat) the incessant, internal dialogue has just. worn. me. out.

Recently I have been reading a book with a friend (kind of a two-woman Bible study of sorts) about the power of prayer.  It's Called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  I'm a little more than half-way through the book and it has really given me some 'food' for thought - pun totally intended!   This quote, in particulr, really stood out to me.  I would love to see one of my graphically-gifted, bloggy friends (Kristi?!) make this into a fabulous free printable because I think others would find it motivational as well.  This was my 'ghetto graphics' attempt at something . . . . What can I say.  Everyday graces welcome too!

 God is so good.  He will always give you another chance.  And He is always ready to help you out with your stuggles.  The challenge for us is to simply leave them at His feet.  Easier said than done, I know, but here I go again!

Don't forget to link up your own personal stories of thankfulness at the 30 Days of Thankful Blog Hop going on now!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 Days of Thankful - Day 7

Quick note tonight, because it has been a long day, and right now all I can say is that today I am thankful for clean kids, footie pajamas and silence . . . . !

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

'Handy' Thankful Tree

I've seen these projects all over Pinterest this year, but my twist on the Thankful Tree was actually part of our holiday decor last year.  It's very simple to do and it's something everyone in the house can get in on too!
I simply taped together two big pieces of package wrap that I had left over upstairs, temporarily taped in on the door to our pantry and drew the shape of a tree that would fit in the space.  Then I cut out my tree and taped it right back up there!
My 'handy' twist on this quick craft is that I traced Sheep's handprint onto colored construction paper and cut those out to use for our leaves.  We traced some of Snack's hands too, but his little paws didn't leave much room to write.  We ended up using Sam's feet for another project I will be (re)sharing with you soon!
I also added a quick 'Give Thanks' banner across the top using the leftover paper, ribbons and markers.  Sometime simple crafts are the best!  And we enjoyed this project for weeks.  The kids really liked showing it off and asking guests to add to the tree.  In fact, it got so popular that we had to trace a few more leaves before it was all said and done!
I hope you have fun with this project, and enjoy your own Handy Thankful tree this year!

Sharing this sassy idea at Mop it Up Mondays, Meet Me Monday, Debbie Doo's Newbie Party, Take-A-Look Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Cowgirl Up, Whimsy Wednesdays, Show and Share, Overflowing with Creativity, Creative Me, Made U Look, It's a Hodgepodge Friday

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 6

Today I am thankful for  . . . . my mother-in-law!
"What?!" you say.
It's true!  And those of you who know me, know just how good I have it!
Not unlike everyone I know, my life is hectic, busy, over-scheduled, whatever you want to call it.  All I know is that most mornings I hit the ground running at 5 AM and fall into bed between 10 and 11 most nights with my 'To Do' still bigger than my 'Ta-Done'!  But I love my kids, my hubby, my girl scouts, my CCE class, my crafts, my blog . . . . well, you get the idea.  So keeping all my plates in the air requires help.
Or one really awesome grandma!
I could ask for no better help than my mother-in-law.
I can't tell you how blessed I am to have someone to watch my children who loves them (almost) as much as I do.  She is an amazing woman, one of my closest friends and the star of one of one of my more popular posts too - ha!
She's been away taking care of a friend after surgery recently, and boy do we miss her!!
Someone once told me that the best way to give someone a compliment is to tell someone else, so today I am telling her and all of you . . .
Gram . . .

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 Days of Thankful - Day 5

Today I am thankful for fresh squeezed orange juice!
Right from my own backyard no less!
Doesn't it look yummy!!
We planted this pretty, little satsuma not long after Sheep arrived, but hadn't seen any oranges since the measly two it had on it when we bought it.  Until this year.  Sheep's about to be 8 btw . . .
Now I know it's not the tree's fault.  Poor thing spent the first three years of it's life just trying to survive our new puppy Katie - who managed to dig up EVERYTHING in the bed no less than 5 times each season for the first three years of her life!  It was awful!
Then it had to endure one of worst droughts on record here in Texas last summer.
The Silver Leaf Maple didn't make it.
But 'Lucky' did . . .
 . . . with a little help from Mary, who came to join us a few years back from my aunt's home in Austin.  Lots of good memories made up there and I feel blessed to have her gracing my own garden now.
Snacks is home with me on Mondays, and it's always fun to have a little 'help' in the kitchen!
Jaime Oliver's got nothin' on my "Nekked Chef!"
And the verdict is . . . .

Mmmm, mmmm good!
Don't forget to add your own daily thanksgivings at the 30 Days of Thankful Blog Hop going on now!!

Sharing this Thankful Thought @ Mop It Up Mondays, Meet Me Monday, Debbie Doo's Newbie Party, Take-A-Look Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Cowgirl Up, Whimsy Wednesdays, Show and Share, Overflowing with Creativity, Creative Me, Made U Look, It's a Hodgepodge Friday

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Thankful - Day 4

Today I am thankful for the chance to relax, restore and reconnect with my husband in San Antonio, TX!
Last Christmas, Speed and I won a two night stay on the Riverwalk (and some cash to boot) at his office Christmas party!  Which was probably THE BEST company Christmas party I have ever been to by the way. . . but that's another story!
Anyhoo, we headed out on Friday and arrived at the Mokara Resort and Spa just before sunset!
Here's a view from our balcony overlooking the Riverwalk below - lovely!
After flopping on the king-sized bed (we don't have one of those) and oohing and ahhing over the robes, and the blankets and the fresh fruit like some sort of 'country-come-to-town', we struck out to explore our surroundings and find some grub!
We waited the entire, long, HOT, Texas summer to cash in our prize - but it was so worth the wait!  The weather was absolutely perfect for a weekend on foot and dining al fresco!  After dinner, we ducked into Howl at the Moon - a dueling piano bar - for drinks and some 'no-kids'-style entertainment!
With no dogs or alarm clocks (or kids) to wake us up,  we slept in Saturday morning and then were treated to a Texas Two-Step Couples' Massage at the spa!  Fifty glorious minutes later we floated back to our rooms, sipping citrus water and contemplating spending the rest of our day in our amenities.  (That's a complementary robe folks!)  Room service provided us with a delicious breakfast and fresh-squeezed orange juice, made even better by the bottle of champagne I brought from home.  Talk about country-come-to-town . . . . ha!
We settled in for some Aggie football and by halftime it was clear that it would be OK to nap - so we did!  In fact we didn't make it out again until suppertime and I can't remember the last time Speed and I allowed ourselves a whole day of lazy.
Late in the afternoon, we hit the Riverwalk again and discovered the most amazing margaritas and dinner at the Iron Cactus Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar.  If you're ever in San Antonio, this is a 'must try'!!
We explored some more of the Riverwalk, which is just beautiful at night, and then headed back to  the Mokara to take advantage of the whirlpool tub . . .
 and bath butler (Are you kidding me?!). 
I actually had not realized before that I myself am a bath butler, but I will be adding this to my domestic goddess resume!

Needless to say, after 24 hours of rest and relaxation (and an extra hour's sleep), we awoke this morning feeling like Cinderella!  Speed works HARD and managing our 'Very Own Party-of-Five' is no easy task either.  Neither job leaves much time for daydreaming.  You know, those "What if we . . . " conversations.  The ones that remind you why you're on this crazy journey together in the first place and reassure you that you just might make it through the next 40+ years with your best friend still at your side.  At least that's what they do for me.

With the time change last night, we had plenty of time to explore the new sections of the Riverwalk today.  The rain had washed the sidewalks clean and the chill in the air made it a perfect morning for a stroll.  Although both of us have been to the Riverwalk before, neither had ever really noticed the towering cypress trees before, but we took the time to today.  Aren't they amazing?

After one last meal on the Riverwalk this morning, we said "Adios!" to San Antonio and headed north for a quick visit with Sport (our newest collegiate) before going home.  I am so thankful for my husband and to his company for this rare and wonderful opportunity.  We are already dreaming about our next trip!
Don't forget to link up your own stories of gratitude at the 30 Days of Thankful Blog Hop going on now!


Sharing this Thankful Thought @ Mop it Up Mondays, Meet Me Monday, Debbie Doo's Newbie Party, Take-A-Look Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Cowgirl Up, Whimsy Wednesdays, Show and Share, Overflowing with Creativity, Creative Me, Made U Look, It's a Hodgepodge Friday