Thursday, December 26, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Swap Revel!

So, I hope everyone had a nice Christmas.  I actually got Christmas eve and Christmas day off this year.  It was nice.  We went to my husband's family's on Christmas Eve, and mine for Christmas.  I finished a second super tote, which I totally forgot to photograph.  (It was a Christmas present for my mom and I finished it up on Christmas morning.) 

But, today I am writing to show off all the cool goodies I got from my 12 Days of Christmas Swap partner!  My partner was Aubrey from High Heeled Love.  

She did a great job of finding things that fit me.   Everything was wrapped all cute and numbered in the order to open them.  I did open them in order, but the pictures aren't in order.  Take a peek at all the awesomeness!

So let's go through them, shall we:
Row 1- 1st: A handmade scarf that is super soft and beautiful colors.  The picture doesn't really do the colors justice.  Scarves are always needed in Wisconsin in the winter.  2nd: Homemade chocolate chip cookies in an adorable tin.  Yum!  3rd: A set of cashmere socks.  I love toasty socks when cross country skiing.  4th:  Christmas tree place settings to hold your silverware.  So cute, although I think they'd look good as tree ornaments too.

Row 2- 1st:  "It's a most wonderful time for a beer." napkins that go in clear coasters.  Pretty nifty.  2nd: A Julep hand care kit, with scrub, cuticle oil and nail strengthener.  The scrub smells delicious and works great.  3rd: Two bottles of Julep nail polish.  A pretty pink and a nice dark glitter.  4th: A bag of Hershey kisses in dark chocolate.  These will come in handy when the Christmas cookies are gone.  :)

Row 3- 1st:  A CD of holiday music.  I love Paste magazine and used to subscribe until I got too cheap.  I've played the CD a lot and it's pretty nice.  2nd: Homemade cinnamon bun soaps, super cute.  3rd: A julep compact of neutral color eyeshadows.  Super handy because 90% of my eyeshadows are neutral colors and I love multi packs.  4th: An adorable sock monkey ornament and snowflake ornament.  Both went up on the tree right away and both had to be up high enough that HB couldn't grab them.

It was a super fun swap and I hope Aubrey liked her stuff as much as I liked mine.  If you want to join the next swap, just follow Chaotic Goddess Swaps.  The girls are always hosting wonderful swaps and they do a great job pairing everyone up and running a smooth swap, that's always fun.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Few Favorites: Christmas Cookie Edition

This week has been crazy.  Work has been nuts, but even more so because there's been inservices (who schedules inservices for the week before Christmas?), fruit pizzas to make (what fruit is in season, in Wisconsin in December?).  My car has been in and out of the shop about three times waiting for a part to come in.  My dad and I did some made dash Christmas shopping.  There's presents to be wrapped, cards still needing to be sent, and things that I hope arrive by the date Amazon said they would.

But the one thing I do have done is my Christmas baking.  I actually had that done a few weeks ago.  I was going to take pictures of everything and post them, but I'm too tired.  So, I'm just going to round up the recipes and post them instead.  I like a lot of bang for my buck.  I'm not beyond shortcuts if the end result is fabulous.  So, here are links to some of my favorite recipes for this Christmas.

I love this Peppermint Cookie Bark from Your Home Based Mom.  It combines white almond bark with salty pretzels, rich Oreos, peppermint candy canes, and marshmallows into a delicious treat.  It looks like it takes a lot more work than it really does.

These peanut butter cups are great. They're a little time consuming, but the end result is worth it. I found this recipe from a  Taste of Home magazine a few years back and I make it for Christmas and sometimes even for Valentine's Day.  These look super cute in little mini muffin cups. And here's a tip, instead of buying six Hershey bars, just buy one of the jumbo Hershey bars, it'll be much cheaper per ounce.

I got the recipe for these zebra cookies in a cookbook the school cooks gave all the kids for Christmas when I was in kindergarten. I still have it. And I still make several recipes out of it. These look super putzy, but basically, you just make the dough, stack up your layer, let it stiffen up in the refrigerator, and then take it out and cut into cookies. You can find the recipe and great step by step instructions on Lingonberry Jam.

Rolo pretzels are super easy. Just three ingredients- Rolos, pretzels, and pecan halves. These are pretty close to a pecan turtle,only without all the work. And the best part is that they only take a few minutes to bake, and you can load a cookie sheet plum full. I used two bags of rolos and fit everything on one baking sheet. Honestly, unwrapping the little buggers is what took the most time. You can find the recipe at Hershey's Kitchen.

I made other candies and cookies too, but these ones are great if you're looking to squeeze some last minute baking in before Christmas. Enjoy!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Finished Project- Super Tote!

So, I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had bought Noodlehead's Super Tote pattern when it was on sale after Thanksgiving.  Then on Wednesday I showed my progress in cutting out all the pieces.  Well, I finally finished it today!

Here it is! 

Super Tote
 I got the fabric for the interior, exterior and sides from Joann's a few months ago, with no specific plan in mind, but it was just enough for this pattern and I really liked how it turned out.  Originally, I had planned on using a purple fabric for the side panels, but it just wasn't quite the right hue, so I had to go with this yellow.  I'm not super impressed with the quality of the yellow fabric, but I didn't have time to find anything else.  I think it will hold up alright though.

Recessed zipper and elastic pockets.
 The zipper was way easier to install than I thought it'd be and I'm so glad I didn't chicken out and make it without a zip. 

 Better view of the pockets.
I like tote bags, but I always wish they had functional pockets.  Well this pattern does!  They're deep, and have elastic across the top to make them hold all your things in place.

I'm so happy with the results!  I've already started cutting a second one out.  (Using a beloved piece of Anna Marie Horner!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Giveaway for Two Handmade Zipper Pouches

Another week, another winner!  The six pattern bundle drawing is over, and Joske W. was the winning entry.  So, if that's you, check your email!  This week, I have a fun giveaway that's also practical.

Zipper pouches were one of the first things I sewed and they got me hooked.  It was a fast project.  You can whip one up in under half an hour.  They don't take up much fabric, and they are practical.  You can use them to store makeup, cell phone chargers, headphones, sewing supplies, pretty much whatever you like as long as it will fit.

This week I'm giving away two pouches.  The smaller is perfect for purses, to hold cash, credit cards, lip balm, whatever you like.  It measures 4 inches tall and five inches wide.  The exterior fabric is Kaffe Fassett's Winding Floral print.  The inside is a pale green with white polka dots.  It has been interfaced with fusible fleece so it's quite sturdy.  The zipper is white.

Kaffee Fassett's Winding Floral Pouch
The larger pouch measures about eight inches wide and about five and a half inches tall.  There's a layer of fusible fleece sandwiched between the lining fabric and exterior fabric of this one too.  The exterior is from Anna Maria Horner's LouLouThi collection.  I don't know the exact name, but it always kind of reminded me of fireworks.  The interior is a mint green woven.  If you carry a big enough purse, you can definitely throw this guy in your bag.  But it'd also be good to hold makeup brushes, art supplies, crochet hooks, etc.

To enter, just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter giveaway below.  Leaving a comment is mandatory, all other entries are optional.  And if you haven't entered yet, you have one more day to get in on the Stash Builder Giveaway!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WIP Wednesday- Super Tote

So what am I working on?  Christmas projects.  Specifically Noodlehead's Super Tote pattern that I bought on Cyber Monday.  The solid purple is a chambray that will be the sides of the bag, the purple and yellow flower will be the exterior and pocket, and the yellow mum print will be the inside of the bag.  I had all this fabric in my stash and only had to buy the zipper. I love using up stash fabric.  :)  I'm hoping to get three totes done by Christmas.

And just in case you think I'm bored sitting at home sewing by myself, here's a picture of my adorable helper.

PS- The Six Pattern Bundle Giveaway ends tonight.  Enter here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Stash Builder Giveaway

Today is "Giveaway Day" at SewMamaSew!  Currently there's over 100 blogs linking up giving away fabric, supplies, patterns, and finished projects.  I'm joining in and giving away five half yard pieces of different fabrics to build you stash.

This giveaway is open internationally.  Just enter using the rafflecopter form below.  Only the first option is mandatory, but you can follow me on Pinterest or Bloglovin for additional chances to win.  But, first, let me show you what you're going to win.

Going from left to right.

1. A red piece from Michael Miller featuring fans, flowers, and butterflies.
2. A pale turquoise piece from Kona Bay featuring lotus flowers and a sort of Japanese handwriting.
3. From Benatrex, a floral piece that appears o be berry blossoms and some berries.  Cream background, with greens and burgundies.
4.  From Studio Fabrics, lime green fabric with obese cats lounging in chairs, playing with yarn and chasing butterflies and bees.
5. From Blank Quilting, a blue and purple piece with an abstract design.

Winners will be notified by December 15.

And by the way, I'm giving away a Six Pattern Bundle.  You can win patterns to sew your own skirts, dresses, and purses.  So click on over and enter that giveaway too!  This giveaway has ended now, but you can enter to win this week's giveaway: Two Handmade Zipper Pouches.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas To Do List- Put Up the Tree

I love all the rituals and traditions that go with Christmas.  As soon as we started getting a little snow, I was itching to put up the Christmas tree, but made myself wait until at least Thanksgiving was done.  So, shortly after Thanksgiving my husband lugged our sad, little, fake tree out of the basement, and then we left it sitting in our dining room, hoping our youngest cat would not try to climb it or bite the light strands.  He did fairly well so this Tuesday I decided to decorate it.  But before I decorated, I decided to get a tree skirt made!  Last year I just draped some fabric around the base.

Our raggedy, artificial tree.  Don't mind the bare spots. :)
This year I had come across some blue snowflake print in my stash that I had gotten second hand when I first decided I wanted to sew.  It's a heavier cotton, but not too heavy.  I also had some tan broadcloth to use for a backing and I went to the fabric store here in town for some pompom trim, just to make it a little more festive.  I was kind of dreading cutting the circles out, but found an easy tutorial at Random moosages as I see fit.  It just took some simple geometry and we were in business.  The most troublesome part was sewing on all that pompom trim!  I had bought enough.  (Another small win for my feeble math skills.)  And, I sewed it to my front piece before sewing the front and back together, but I didn't think about all that bulk the trim would add.  It turned out okay, but it's not top notch sewing.

Here's a better look at the print and the trim.

I use ornaments just because I like to collect them from different places as souvenirs and I'm not really one to go for much of a theme.  I like eclectic better.  I love unwrapping the ornaments and remembering where we bought them and what we were doing.  It's like going through a box of postcards.

This one came from Bayfield, WI and is handmade.

Present from my husband last year.
I got this one right here in town, but he's so cute.  The shop he's from is out of business now.

And so my tree is decorated, my tree skirt is made.  For the most part, the cats have been leaving the ornaments alone.  Although last night I caught HB sleeping under it.  Then he got up and decided to pose for pictures. 

He's so cute, he can get away with anything!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Giveaway for Six Patterns Bundle

Week two's giveaway is here. Enter to win 6 patterns from McCall's, Simplicity, and Butterick!  Are you new to sewing or just looking to expand your pattern library?  Then this is the giveaway for you.

I went through my patterns and gleaned some for this giveaway.  Here's the skinny on what you could win:

Simplicity 2929, McCall's Easy Stitch'n Save M5566, Butterick B5330, Simplicity 4116


McCall's M5598, McCall's M6090
Simplicity 2929 is a dress pattern with four different variations.  It's size 10-18.
McCall's Easy Stich'n Save M5566 is drawstring waist skirt with godets.  It's size large to x-large.
Butterick B5330 is maxi skirts in a couple different variations and pull on pants.  It's sizes 8-14.
Simplicity 4116 is a dress with a couple different variations including a peter pan collar, as well as a purse.   Pattern is size 6-14.
McCall's M5598 is a purse/tote bag pattern in three different sizes.
McCall's M6090 is a purse in three different sizes.

This giveaway is open world wide.  To enter, simply tell me one thing on your Christmas list.  You can get additional entries by following on Bloglovin or Pinterest.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Music for a Snow Day

We've had a big snowstorm the last few days. Big, heavy, snowman making snow. Unfortunately, yesterday was the first day off I've had in nearly a week, so the closest I got to the snow was shoveling my deck and sidewalk. The rest of the day was spent baking cookies, sewing, and cleaning house. But, here is my snowy day play list. These songs make me wish I was out cross country skiing through the woods. There's just something so peaceful about being out in nature swooshing through snow.

Laura Veirs is one my favorites. She's kind of like a mellowed out Neko Case.   They both have this folksy, storyteller vibe.  Like they're telling you old fables and whispers of things you never knew about. 

Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) is Wisconsin's favorite son.  He grew up about an hour from here and still comes home often.  His first album was wrote in the winter, in his family's cabin, in the woods, so maybe that's why his music seems to fit so naturally with our snowy climate.

Fleet Foxes got me through a really yucky time in my life.  I was working a job I hated.  It was all I could do to get through each day at work.  I would leave for lunch around 11am and just go to McDonalds and get coffee and French fries and drive around for my half hour break listening to this CD, wishing I wouldn't have to go back.  It was a horrible environment and I think pretty much everyone I worked with felt depressed (looking back I'm sure French fries and coffee weren't helping my situation any).  But, life got better.  And, luckily, the CD doesn't bring back any bad memories, more like an appreciation for helping me survive.

But, anyhow, these songs make winter seem not so horrid.  They feel like a perfect companion to the fresh white snow covering everything here.  It all seems fresh and pure and undisturbed.  I kind of like that.

Finally- don't forget to enter my giveaway for Pretty Little Pouches and Purses.  It ends tonight at midnight.
It's a great book for anyone looking to get into sewing practical things.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Few Favorites 12.1

Today's collection is pretty random, but I love them all the same.  :)

1.  Oh Mary Poppins!  You're so right.  We can become so frustratingly addicted to things that we let clutter overrun our lives, when really, enough is all we need.  And I think "enough" is far less than most of us think it is.  (Myself included.)

2.  I did good black Friday, and didn't buy a thing.  But, then I was reading my feed on Bloglovin' and saw that fellow Wisconsin girl, Noodlehead is having a sale through tonight on all her patterns, offering 20% off, so I did break down and buy the Super Tote pattern.  I've been drooling over it sense it came out a few months ago and I think it will make nice Christmas presents if I get my butt in gear and make some.  I've tried some of her patterns in the past and they're very professional and easy to follow.  Plus, they're instant downloads so within a few minutes of paying, you can get sewing.

3.  I like to support handmade any chance I can, so if you're looking for some great Christmas gifts, check out Buffalo Gal Organics.  I've bought her lip balm and it's awesome.  This woodland perfume sounds good too- scents of pepper berries, green tea, sandalwood and amber.  She's having big sales through Cyber Monday so check her out if you need perfumes, lip balms, face creams or mineral makeup for anyone on your list.

4.  Finally, these fudge nut oatmeal bars qualify as comfort food in my book.  My mom made them for me when I was little and I make them a couple times a year now.  They're not very healthy.  But they're so good.  And if you make them, you'll need a big glass of milk to wash them down with.