Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Praying for a Miracle

The Realtor left a couple of hours ago and I am afraid we have some bad news. We are about $5,000 short of our needed goal to be able to sell our house and walk away. The price we had to set on the house today is what we need to be able to pay everyone and come out even but its about $5,000 too high for the neighborhood. Our Realtor doesn't think it will sell quickly at this price. (and I want it to sell yesterday!)

I have prayed for my miracle and I have handed this entire situation over to the Lord. It is now in His hands and I trust him completely for all this. He can more than meet my needs and take care of me. If He wills us to be in this house, then it won't sell. If He wants us in a different house, then it will, no matter the price. Its that simple.

In the meantime, I have decided that each and every time I hear my neighbors lovely antics, I will pray for them. The sound of my prayers will muffle their noise and hey! They sure are the kind of people who need some prayer. This way, I can keep my mind from dwelling on how awful it is and remain in a more positive mind set. It can't hurt anything.

Anyways, I am of now to try to sleep. Have a great night everyone.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Can't Take it Any Longer

I can't do it. I can't listen to one more curse word fly through my walls from our noisy neighbors who fight every single day. So, we are putting our house on the market this week and as soon as it sells we will be moving into a proper house. (which we will be renting. NO MORE TOWNHOUSES!!!) I can hardly wait. I am praying the house sells quickly so I can move this month. I am ready to move this weekend! :)

Today I am decluttering and loading the truck full of stuff for the salvation army thrift store and then I will be doing some major cleaning and other projects to ready the house for sale. I mean business here. There will be no doubt in James mind that I want to move.

In the meantime, I am trying to find as many things to be thankful about as possible.

I am thankful I have a roof over my head and cozy blankets to sleep under.
I am thankful for hot cups of coffee every morning and my wonderful programmable coffee maker.
I am thankful for windows that let in plenty of sunshine all day.
I am thankful for a fridge full of food.
I am thankful for a husband who cares enough about us that he is willing to pack us up and move so I don't have to hear the filth from next door.
I am thankful for wonderful church friends who will sell our house for us and help us find a new house.
I am thankful that God is still God and that He honors us when we honor Him.

I am now off to find more things I no longer need that might bless someone else. Have a wonderful day all day long everyone. Find something to be thankful for today.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Good Stuff

I need not say anything about the following pictures. They speak for themselves.

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Is it obvious a sugar addict lives here? (not pictured are the four pies, the candy canes and the store bought chocolates) Happy Christmas Eve to all!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Cross

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There are many times when I feel that Chloe just doesn't get it. She takes little interest in Jesus or hearing his stories. She would rather sit down and quietly listen about the train that thought he could than about Jesus. But I press on, knowing that someday these things will resonate in her little heart and she will place her trust in Jesus.

But in the meantime, I wait for little moments like today that let me know I am on the right path. Chloe saw the gingerbread house parts on the kitchen table where I left them last night after baking them before bed. I had a bit of leftover dough so I made a few little trees and gingerbread men to accompany our house (which we will decorate on Christmas.) In addition to the traditional gingerbread house items, I cut out a simple cross. Why not?

Chloe oohh-ed and ahhh-ed when she saw the parts and asked "what's this, Mama?" "Our gingerbread house, sweetie," I replied.

Then she saw the cross.

And it was at this moment I turned from the kitchen counter with her bowl of cheerios and saw the expressions in her face as she pointed to the cross and said (in a sad voice), "Mama! Jesus died." "Yes, he did." I replied. And then her face lit up with delight and she said, "Jesus waked up from the died." I smiled, "Yes, He did sweetheart. Yes, He did."

Doing the Simple

I love Christmas. I do. I love it. This year though, we decided not to go "all out" as usual. A smaller tree and nothing out of our bins in the shed. I had some leftover candy canes from the ginger ski men and so I used those along with some bows I purhcased at the store and we have a simple tree. (oh yah! I did get in the shed for the lights though...and I will need to scrounge around in there for our stockings too.)

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We didn't have time to cut down our own tree this year so it was back up to ole Home Depot again. (maybe next year we'll get to cut one down.)

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It took us quite some time to figure out this tree stand thing. What a mess! I even suggested at one point that we should watch the video of us putting up the tree last year to see how to put the stand together. I don't recall it being this difficult.

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So, I love our tree. I have to be honest and tell you that I miss all my ornaments. But this tree is simple and it reminds me of the blood of Jesus that washes me white as snow. What a beautiful reminder every single day of this season. Much more important than a twirling ballerina and a moose wearing a scarf, if you ask me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Morning Routine

Sometime you just have to let go of things. I tend to hold on too tightly to preconceived notions that I feel MUST be upheld for whatever reasons and all too often they are the very detriment of my sanity. I need to let go.

One such area that I have allowed a bit more lenience in is our morning routine. Ever since Chloe was 2 months old I have maintained that after breakfast is her "alone time" and my cleaning time. It grew into an hour...a full hour of time for me to scrub the toilet, check emails or declutter the junk drawer.

Well, about a month ago, this all changed. Chloe begged and begged for me to sit with her on the couch while I drank my cup of joe. After a couple days of this begging, I finally gave in. "Okay", I thought. "I can sit with my daughter for a few minutes." And I did.

Boy! What a difference those few extra minutes with Chloe makes. She actually ENJOYS going to her room now. Fancy that! We began our morning ritual first with Mr Potato Man. We took turns making the silliest faces we could. This past week we've been playing a new game. It begins exactly like this...

(Chloe telling me how the story goes) "I be Mickey. You be Minnie. Mickey be mad. Minnie cry. Its okay Minnie. Don't cry. I get you special animals. Special animals? Wooo Hooo! Minnie happy. I bake birthday cake."

And then we act out the above. The funniest is her sing-song voice when she says the "special animals? woo hoo!" part. It gets me everytime. After we eat the cake (and Minnie burns her nose while blowing out the candles) we line up all the animals that she has carried in her arms downstairs from her bedroom onto the couch and we take turns putting on a puppet show for them.

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Its not neccessarily a bad thing to follow a child's promptings sometimes. I have found that at times, it is actually better for both of us if I let go of all the things I have to do and just spend some time laughing with her. We both are better able to face our day that way. So, I wonder what she will add to our routine tomorrow?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Building Ballet Slippers

Lately I've been contemplating this notion that I could conceivably design my own doll clothes without a pattern. Huh? What???? Yup. That's exactly what I thought the minute the notion popped into my head. All week long I have been sewing doll clothes and this notion won't get out. So, today, I let it take flight.

Back story. Do you all remember that vintage doll my mother gave me a little over a year ago? The one she recieved when she was 6? (we had orginally thought it was 5 but after looking up the doll on the internet we found out the doll was made in 1951 which means my mother was 6...not 5) I will be giving this doll to Chloe as a Christmas gift either this next year or the year after. (I am debating if almost four or almost five would be better...for the dolly's sake)

So, dolly doesn't have any shoes and I felt she couldn't go a day longer with cold, bare feet. I took out a pair of soft cloth shoes that belonged to Chloe when she was an infant and used them as my model.

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I traced dolly's foot on a piece of paper for my base pattern, leaving room for a 1/4" seam allowance.

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I then cut a rectangle strip for the sides of the slipper and also a curved piece for the top (over the toes). Here was my first attempt.

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After trying it on dolly I noticed it a bit tight getting it on dolly's foot and also the sides weren't quite high enough. So, attempt two. I widened everything except the base.

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That didn't work for two reasons. One, the sides came to close together on the top part. (where the toes go) I didn't like it. Two, it was too big around to fit with the base and I didn't want to increase the size of the base because it was a perfect fit on the bottom of the foot. So, out came the thinking cap. How do I make the sides taller without making it too wide for the base? And how do I make the sides taller without having to overlap them on the toe portion? Hmmm...have it gradually increase towards the heel of the slipper.

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It worked. I added a piece of fabric covered elastic to the final slipper for the faux "Mary Jane" look and to help the slipper stay on and wa-la! A little ballet slipper. (or shoe or whatever you wanna call it)

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One lesson I learned in the building process of this slipper is never ever ever work a prototype up in velvet. Its hard enough to work regular sized items in velvet let along teensy weensy slippers. Anyways, wish me luck as I try to duplicate this slipper for dolly's other foot. I did make a pattern as I was building so it will be much easier. Who knows...maybe designing sewing patterns is in my near future. (or, maybe not)

Friday, December 19, 2008

What to Do When You Don't Want to do Anything

This is a rough time of year for some. I am having a hard time getting over how dark it is....all the time. Why should I even open my window blinds when its just as dark outside as it is inside? That is hard for me to cope with. Where is my sunshine? Where is my bright blue sky? Where is my warmth? Gone! Gone from this bleak winter.

So...when I feel depressed and down in the dumps and slightly overwhelmed with the busy-ness of the holiday season, what do I do? I get out my doll clothes patterns and my scrap bin and I spend three days sewing doll clothes.

First I attempted some Barbie clothes. (because you all know my infatuation with Barbie)

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For the dresses above, I used a vintage Simplicity pattern #5215.

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This number is now a baby doll pattern. I can't find a date on my fashion doll version but I am guessing its from the 60's by the design of the outfits. The three dresses above were view 3. I struggled with the green dress a tad when it came to the neckline. Golly gee but these barbie clothes are teensy. I got the knack of it by the third dress though (modeled in the first picture) and I do believe I am getting quite good at these miniature doll clothes. I can almost rival the store bought clothes.

This go round I've been double seaming my seams and trimming them. I feel that this makes a more quality barbie dress for little hands to play with. In this regard, my clothes are now better than the ones you buy in the store.

Anyways, on to the fancy things.

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I used some of my vintage bed skirt fabric for this dress. I adore the luscious dusty rose color and am pleased that I can use it for so many things. It does have some little nicks and tears in places and while I do my best to make sure they aren't in the dress, sometimes they sneak in. I think this adds to the caracter of the dress though. A vintage fabric and a vintage pattern sort of make a vintage dress, don't you think. (even though it wasn't made until three days ago) Anyways, this dress was also from the vintage pattern above. View 1. I was so pleased with how quickly it was done and how simple it actually was that I decided to try my hand at some other patterns as well.

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For this special dress I used a modern Simplicity pattern #4702 and a combination of my gorgous bed skirt fabric and some leftover fabric my mother gave me from my sweet 16 dress. (which I should show to you all sometime) After having trouble the last time I made this dress with losing the ribbon that ties around the neck (and keeps the dress on the doll) an idea popped into my noggin. Why not sew the sides of the top to prevent the ribbon from sliding through the casing? Voila! That was it. We will no longer lose the ribbon.

So, I can't just sew Barbie clothes. I gotta have breaks. I gotta have inspiration. I gotta have variety. So, out comes another vintage pattern and my girlhood doll.

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I used Simplicity 9138 which is dated 1970 and I made view 1. Now, my Kimberly doll is only 16" tall so I had to alter the length of this pattern to fit her properly. About 2" off the length of the sleeves and bottom hem is all it takes for this pattern to fit perfectly.

Just a little side note here...as a girl, I lost most of my pieces to this doll. She came with shorts, a t-shirt and some roller skates. I am so excited because I found some roller skates for her on Ebay this week for less than $2. They are due to arrive any day. Now if only I can find the t-shirt, I would be set.

I decided that Kimberly needed a princess dress. I used the same view as the african dress above and some leftover fabric from Chloe's princess dress.

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I was feeling the vintage this week so I pulled out another vintage pattern and made a baby doll dress. This time I used Simplicity 4839 and I let Chloe pick the dress. She picked view 2.

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I added three ivy leaf buttons down the front. I almost added some cream lace to the bottom but I decided I would save that for a more "special" baby doll dress. (the next dress she picked is from one of my newer patterns and its a christening dress)

Now, gotta get back to Barbie. First, a ballerina dress. (for my little ballet girl...she's gonna love this dress)

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I used some leftover lining from Chloe's coat I made a few weeks ago and that Simplicity 5215 pattern above. I did end up adding a trim of lace to all three layers of the skirt though. I felt that since it was a ballet dress, it needed a touch of lace.

Now Chloe knows I've been sewing this week and she may (or may not) realize that I am sewing doll clothes for her. She does not know what they look like though nor does she know they are a Christmas present for her. But yesterday, while playing barbies together, she mentioned that her barbies needed some jammies. I scoured through her barbie drawer to no avail. We could not find any jammies. All barbies need jammies, right? (she currently uses a dress which she feels are really jammies)

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I used McCalls 4046 for this nightgown and some leftover fabric from Chloe's nightgown. She thought that was great. I got a creative burst while making this and so I quickly made a matching pillow (not filled yet) and sleep over bag.

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And I've been inspired. Truly inspired. Everytime I walk into a thrift store (or garage sale) and see all those naked Barbies, I just feel so sorry for them. Ratty hair and all. Well, check out this etsy shop. Some of them even have before and after pictures. My new goal for 2009 is to learn how to give Barbie a makover. (and other dolls as well...maybe.)

Okay. I am off to do something. What? I don't know, but something. Could it possibly be more doll clothes? You never know. I haven't even made a dent in my scrap tote yet.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Ginger Time of Year

I love ginger. I adore it. I could live off it. This is my favorite part of Christmastime. Ginger-everything.

Gingerbread (the real stuff...not the cookie)
Gingerbread cookies
Gingersnaps
Gingerbread houses
Candy corn (oops...wrong holiday. But I still love the stuff)

Now don't get me wrong. I love other holiday fragrances. All spice, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg just to name a few, but nothing says Christmas to me like ginger.

Today we began the ginger portion of our holiday baking. My delicious gingerbread (the real stuff...not the cookie) just popped out the oven and the aroma is filtrating my house at this very moment. (that and the country-fried steak that's about to go in the oven as soon as my chocolate cake roll comes out) Yum! I can't wait until Ladies Night Out tomorrow night at which I will be sampling this seasons gingerbread.

Also, I would like to show you our Gingermen (and ladies) on skies. These are what Chloe and I made for the cookie contest that will take place at the Ladies Night Out tomorrow night.

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Have a gingery sort of evening everyone!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Treats Round One

I can't believe it. I really can't. Christmas is 15 days away and I've not done a lick to prepare. Well, that's not entirely true, but still. It seems like it creeps up faster each year. One of these years Christmas is going to be over before I even realize its time again.

Ahhh...but not this year. I caught it just in time. This evening we began our holiday candy making.

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Today was lollipops and the first batch of caramel corn. So this was my first attempt at lollipops and, as you can see, I didn't quite get them spherical. I don't know how I am supposed to accomplish this feat while pouring boiling sugar syrup from a scalding pot that I can barely grip with both hands. (weakling...I know) But Chloe likes them and thats the point, right?

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Yum! Oh boy...I am getting excited with all this sugar in the house. What next??? Probably some goodies for the Ladies Night Out friday night. I am thinking gingerbread, chocolate cake roll, "special cookies," (I can't say what because its a contest and I wanna WIN) a cheese ball and some crab dip. For my own Christmas pleasure I think I shall make divinity, fudge, chocolate mint cookies, more caramel corn and maybe even quite possibly I could even maybe kind of try my hand at some mincemeat pies like we used to have in England. Oh how I miss those delicious morsels.

I am off now to scour the internet for mincemeat pie directions. Have a wonderful evening everyone.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Perfectly Precious Pink Princess Palace

Finally...I have a few minutes today to show you the extremely PINK princess bedroom that little Chloe now lives in. First I will show you what existed before.

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Are you ready to be blown away by PINK??? If it wasn't pink enough before (as my sewing/craft room) it sure is now!!!

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And now.........the moment you all have been waiting for....THE PRINCESS BED!

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I found the satin for the canopy at Joanns in their "halloween" clearance section. I was actually walking by to locate the tulle for her canopy because I knew tulle was about $1.50 a yard or something like that. Very cheap. I barely noticed the sign for the halloween fabric because I don't like halloween. Bright purple satin with spider webs all over it or black with orange glitter or some other horrific color combination that I can't abide to look at or even mention. But as I was walking past, something pink caught my eye.

WAIT!

Pink??? In the halloween section? Ahhhh...now we're talking! Then I noticed the sign. 70% off. Hmmm...but the pink satin fabric would probably be like $12.99 or more a yard so it still wouldn't be as cheap as tulle. The price? $4 a yard. Yup. 4 dollars for 1 yard. The wheels in my brain starting rolling doubletime. Not being the expert at math, I quickly calculated that it was close to the price of tulle. (thats the best I could do on the spot) Being at home now with my calculator, I can tell you that I paid $1.20 a yard for this gorgeous pink satin. Can you beat that????

It was not fun trying to get the ends cut even though on such long lengths as I needed for the canopy. My cutting mat is about 18" long by 12" wide. Not very big at all when cutting something so long. But I managed and I do think it turned out quite princess-ey indeed. I pleated the top of both panels and James helped me staple it to my little white shelf which we then hung securely on the wall and Chloe now has the most delightful hiding spot in the world. Of course, she no longer has room to sleep on her bed because every doll and stuffed animal she owns must now be in her "princess palace" with her.

It really is the cutest thing. Every morning when she wakes up and every night when I put her to bed, she announces "I God's little princess." To which I agree wholeheartedly.