Saturday, December 29, 2007

Finished Latest Project - Flower Power Tutu Dress

I finally found a few hours to sew today and made this dress and listed it in my Etsy shop. It is lined in hot pink broadcloth and has the appearance of a skirt made of netting underneath. I gathered 4" of netting and attached it 2" above the hem. Not only does the turquoise ribbon act as trim, it also hides the seam to sew the gathered strip of netting.
The fabric is so bright and colorful, great for the Spring.

I thought it needed something else so I added a bow made from some of the turquoise ribbon.
There is a seam down the back with a slit opening. I will probably use a hook and eye closure at the top or perhaps a snap.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Tana

Wishing you a great birthday. Love ya!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Prayer

May all of you have a
and a

A Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Decorations & New Sewing Projects

I'm very excited about Christmas. As you can see here, we have lots of gifts under the tree waiting to be opened. This weekend I will be preparing the food for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve I make a big pot of seafood gumbo, potato salad and baked ham for family and friends. It's a great time to visit and enjoy each other's company.

Because I have been sewing Christmas gifts, my Etsy shop hasn't had many new items listed. I did manage to make a couple of sets of "Mommy and Me" bags this past week that I recently posted. This turquoise and brown fabric has been one of the more popular ones for me this year.

I also purchased more fabric to be used after the holidays. I'll be making more totes but also have some new ideas for little girl dresses I want to try.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Making Christmas Treats

Here are some pictures of our day making Christmas treats. My two daughters, my daughter's friend and I made lots of treats that we divided between trays and tins for delivery in the next couple of days. Bosses, neighbors, co-workers and friends will be recipients of the goodies.

Peanut butter fudge and pralines were the first on the list and take the longest. I made 6 batches of fudge and 2 batches of pralines in the morning before the rest arrived to help.

This is some of the pretzel rods we dipped. Besides the rods, we also dipped a smaller version called twists. We used both white and chocolate almond bark for the dipping.

Sunny added some red and green sprinkles before they dried for a festive touch.

Oreo cookie balls is another treat that has become a favorite in the past few years. I don't remember where we tried them but were hooked from the first bite. They are very simple to make and make a great addition to holiday treats. The recipe is:
1 bag of regular oreos
1 package of cream cheese
white almond bark or white chocolate

Crumble or chop up the bag of oreos. Add the cream cheese and mix well. Make balls out of the mixture. (For best results but the tray of balls in the refrigerator for awhile before dipping). Dip in white chocolate or white almond bark.

We added sprinkes to some for a little variety. This year we tried something new and made some of the balls out of vanilla cookies for a friend who is allergic to chocolate. My son's favorie is devil's food cake, crumbled and mixed with icing, dipped in chocolate. After all, what wouldn't taste good dipped in chocolate?

Here is my daughter chopping the oreos.

My oldest daughter wanted sugar cookies to decorate with icing. She cut them out of Christmas cookie cutters I had but when they baked the shapes didn't hold very well so she ended up making round ones. There are always those items that don't quite measure up and end up as treats for "at home use only".

As you can see, we had a huge mess. We all felt sticky and a little sick from all the tasting we did during the process.

My daughter had an idea to make three different size balls to put on top of each other to make snowmen. Although the concept was good, we were lacking in our presentation. Since we weren't going to use them on the trays, we decided to have a little fun decorating. Here are two of our snowman creations. These snowmen ended up in the "at home use only" pile.

The day turned out to be alot of fun. This kind of day spent with family is what I enjoy most about the holidays. We've only done this for a couple of years but may become a favorite tradition.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Latest Project - Brown Corduroy Aline Dress

This is my latest project. I made this for my niece to give as a Christmas gift. It is an A-line brown corduroy dress that buttons down the back and is lined with the pink/brown checks. She bought the pink shirt to go underneath. This dress was the last sewing project I had for Christmas. All the sewing is done, presents bought and wrapped and Christmas tree decorated. Tomorrow we are having a baking and candy making day. My daughters, myself and Betsey's friend Sunny are planning to make fudge, pralines, oreo balls, chocolate dipped pretzels and cookies tomorrow. Next week will be the food planning and preparation - seafood gumbo for Christmas Eve and the traditional casseroles and other items for Christmas Day - baked ham, sweet potato casserole, broccoli/rice casserole, dressing, etc.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Busy Week

The past few days have been very busy. Saturday, my daughter Betsey, graduated from college. After attending the graduation ceremony, we had a family get together at my house. Here are a couple of pictures, one of Betsey with her 92 year old grandmother at the family party and Betsey and Sunny before the graduation ceremony. I am so very proud of Betsey and her accomplishments.

After that, I attended my work Christmas Party. Sunday I finished up my Christmas shopping and Monday attended the jewelry show with my niece. To top off the day, I bought a set of dishes for my home at Tanger Outlet. Evidently, all of the Mikasa stores in the US are closing as of December 31st and everything in the store is 40% off on top of the already discounted outlet price. It was a great deal. Here is what they look like.

I've been trying to do a little sewing also. After the holidays, I plan to start sewing for my Etsy shop and a possible booth in the Spring. I've been buying some very cute fabric that I want to make some Annette Reversible Sundresses out of and some totes. Some of the totes have already been given as gifts and I've sold a couple more as a result of the gift. I plan to make a line of "Mommy and Me" totes that will include a large one for the mom and a smaller replica for the daughter. Here is a preview of one set I finished last night.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Handcrafter's Holiday Blog Meme

Sew Mama Sew is having a Handcrafter's Holiday Blog Meme. We answer questions and link back to the Sew Mama Sew blog.

Here is mine.

Do you have a favorite gift that you love to give?

I love giving gifts of all kinds but especially ones I've made myself.

If you’re making gifts this year, what are you making?
I've made clothing for two little girl's on my list, 3 dresses for a needy family, lots of totes and will be making peanut butter fudge, pralines and other edible goodies.

Here (LSU Outfits), here (totes) and here (dresses for a needy family) are links to other blog posts with pictures of my handmade gifts and here is one of the peanut butter fudge.

Do you have any good stories about handcrafted gifts you’ve given or received?
A couple of years ago, I made a cookbook of my twin sister and my favorite recipes. I added pictures and stories of our lives together from birth to adulthood. It was a special project because my twin sister passed away ten years ago. I printed about 25 and gave them to her daughters, my mom, my children and close friends of hers. Everyone loved them and now I have all those recipes I use alot handy along with memories and pictures as I use the book.

Do you make and sell things that would make fantastic gifts?
I recently started a shop on Etsy. I am in the process of learning how internet selling works but have listed several clothing items as well as Christmas stockings. I'm hoping to have a couple of totes to sell also. I also sell epatterns on that would make a great gift for someone who is learning to sew.

What is your favorite family holiday tradition?

I make seafood gumbo on Christmas Eve and family and a few special friends come to enjoy. We have a great time talking about past memories, enjoying the food and company.

Have you started any new traditions with your family that you didn’t practice growing up?
The gumbo on Christmas Eve is something I started the last few years.

What do you love most about the holiday season?
Spending time with family and friends, cooking and baking.

What do you like least about the holiday season?
Sometimes I get so busy, I don't take time to enjoy every minute and remember that it is the birth of Jesus we are celebrating. Also, not having my sister here to share the holidays with.

Anyone close to your heart that you’ll be missing this year?
My identical twin sister, Annette. It's hard to believe it's been 10 years. I still miss her terribly.

What is your favorite holiday food?
Sweet potato casserole with the pecan and brown sugar topping. YUM

Do you have a great recipe to share?

Sweet Potato Casserole

4 large sweet potatoes or 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
Boil sweet potatoes ntil tender in a heavy saucepan; drain off excess water. Mash potatoes with a fork. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and milk in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add mashed sweet potatoes, mixing well. Pour into lightly greased 13 X 9 X 2 baking dish.

1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat and add sugar, flour and pecans. Mix well. Sprinkle mixture over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Totes for Christmas

My oldest daughter and I had a marathon gift making weekend. Friday afternoon we shopped for fabric, came home and cut out about 14 totes. We started sewing after cutting but were tired from the long day so decided to start again Saturday. We helped my middle daughter with the APIL event Saturday morning which was a huge success. Even though it only lasted a couple of hours, we were pretty tired but determined to get some sewing done. My oldest daughter started sewing while I pinned, ironed and got the pieces ready. It worked out great and we managed to get about 5 of hers made before she had to leave for work. After she left, I started sewing again and made 8 more before I quit for the night. Most of the ones we made are for gifts but I am making a few extra to put in my Etsy shop.

I spent another 1/2 hour or so cleaning up my mess. When I sew, I have stuff spread out everywhere. I really enjoyed the two days sewing with my daughter and feel relieved that most of my handmade Christmas gifts are done.