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November 2009
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January 2010


Tomorrow we step into the future--a brand new year. . . . but, as usual, I'm much more interested in chatting about "old stuff."   Yesterday my mom sent me an interesting email about the not-so-distant past that I thought would be worth sharing.  Taken from a 1949 Singer Sewing Manual, it offers some hints and tips for ladies who are preparing to sew.  Enjoy!

 1. Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do…never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates. 

2. Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing. [This view from my hallway makes me happy, so I try to make the bed every day.  I will not show you the sink full of dishes.  It does not make me happy. I tried getting an artistic shot of it, but it's just not photogenic in any way.]

3. When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. (I swear I'm not making this up) Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on…if you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should.  [constantly fearful? LOL!]

I did manage to put on a clean shirt today and slick on a layer of lipsmackers and mascara, but that's as good as it's gonna get.  At least Dan didn't give me a weird look when he walked in the door.  My advice if you're still in your sweats when your DH walks in?  At least have a couple of little black forest chocolate cakes wafting their aroma from the oven.  

My friend, Erin, has a great motto:  "Motherhood doesn’t have to be frumpy, but yet full of shiny lips, red high heels, hugs from husbands, and happy children."  That line has echoed in my mind almost every time I step out the door since I read it.  Check out her blog at

 I have always had a thing for lipstick.  It probably comes from my beloved "Grandma" Darlene whom I've never seen without a perfectly-polished pout (that's her and me in the treasured photo on my vanity below).  She was a beauty pageant queen, you know.  Whenever I need a little beauty pick-me-up, I just reach for a tube of Avon lipcolor and the string of pearls she brought me from a trip to China when I was about 12 years old.  


Aren't you grateful for how far we've come?!  Now go put on some lip gloss at least and give your hubby a big smooch, and if you're going out tonight, don't forget the pearls and heels.   Happy New Year!

Christmas Gift Reveal

Now that the packages have been opened and the oohs and ahhs shared, I can show you what I made for my momma this Christmas



I used a wide-welt corduroy for the outside of this bag and lined it with a pretty floral flannel that I had left over from another project.  The handles came from another bag that Mom herself gave me from a deconstructed Goodwill Store purse.  When it was time to embellish, I found a bag of seed beads at the bottom of my sewing box, so I just began stitching them on in little rows following the ribbing on the corduroy.  I topped each with a little button blossom from my jar.  Hiding inside are two pockets for a cell phone and keys.

The little black and red clutch in the last post was for my sister-in-law.  She commented that she wasn't a "big purse person" after opening it and asked what I carry in my huge shoulder bag.  I told her "my wallet, a little zipper pouch with lipstick, mirror and nail file; hand lotion, hand sanitizer, coupons, a notebook, a mini photo album, tissues, cell phone, keys, sunglasses, an old film canister full of vitamins and tylenol, . . . . what am I forgetting . . . oh, and usually I throw in a mini tape measure just in case I find a set of blinds or a bench for just the right spot." . . . and a razor. . . sigh, maybe I'll have to send this pattern through the Xerox machine at 400% if I want one for myself.  A woman should always be prepared!


"not to do" list

My sister left me a comment on my Facebook page last week after reading my last post.  "You are so together!" she says.  Oh no . . . I'm sorry to burst your bubble faithful readers, but it ain't like that.  How quickly we forget the"child tearing the house to ruins" post from last year. 

I'll admit, I am feeling quite a bit less stress this year than usual, but I wouldn't be able to finish things like this:


and this:


if it weren't for my new cleaning schedule courtesy of (which I don't take too seriously) and my holiday "not to do" top 10 list:

  1. do not send Christmas cards this year--a savings of approx $50 after cards and postage. 
  2. do not make that caramel apple pie that takes 3 hours to assemble in addition to the pecan pie, vegetable dish, and appetizer you already promised the Thanksgiving guests.
  3. do not take a dish of any kind to holiday gathering number 2, because you know it's already being catered, and surely the 75 remaining guests will be able to adequately cover the dessert course.
  4. do not make anything more extravagant than a simple pan of brownies for holiday gathering number 3 (day after gathering number 2)
  5. do not cry because you can't afford that $45 fraiser fir in the Christmas tree lot.  That fat white pine will look just fine when you cover it with your boxes of shiny brites
  6. do not attempt to "go homemade" for more than 3 people on your shopping list.
  7. do not exchange gifts with spouse--except for those you purchased for giving from your children.
  8. do not attempt to light the house up like a gingerbread palace.  One candle in the window will do.
  9. do not begrudge hubby of his glass motorcycle, Elvis, and Batman ornaments being displayed in a place of honor amidst the finery.
  10. do not argue with your husband about this


being placed next to your beautiful arrangement of ironstone creamers, candles and greenery on the curio cabinet.

I am happy to say that I was able to follow through, so far, on articles 1 - 7.  Unhappily, articles 8 through 10 didn't turn out so well.  My last post didn't mention the situation with the lighted garland over the front door (I'll spare you the details here), the dog eating the string of lights around the burning bush, or the fight over the infamous weiner mobile and friends working their way into the Christmas decor. 


None of us are the worse for wear, and now you can rest at ease knowing I really don't have it ALL together and consider this your Christmas greeting for the year in loo of a hand-written note:  Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season full of cheer and much less to do in the coming new year!


Holiday Rush

Don't you think that would make a great name for a double peppermint mocha at Starbucks?  I think it would be a top seller among the hustling, bustling crowds, but I usually opt for a peppermint green tea to keep me going these days.  I haven't spent much time penning Christmas cards or hoofing it through the mall.  I've spent time shopping online instead, editing out as much of the commercial clutter and weekly busy-ness as I can, and of course, crafting!

Our thanksgiving festivities were wrapped up with a Merry craft time gluing and stitching these cute little guys, found in Martha Stewart's Dec. issue

He's right at home with my collection of antique Putz houses (and this new version my Mom gave me as an early Christmas gift).

A new belt-tightening budget has called for a few more handmade gifts this year, like this potholder for a special grandma featuring Nora's original work of art.  The project comes from Alicia Paulson's newest book, Stitched in Time


Yesterday I finished a darling apron for my dear mother-in-law, and I'm looking for just the right button or bauble to add to another good girl's clutch.  

Of course I've been busy decorating the house with help from Nora and Dan, who always contributes his Elvis ornament to stand guard near the stereo.  

I captured part of my snow globe collection just as the afternoon light streamed through the dining room


But before any of the tree trimming or candle-lighting could begin, there was one item of business to attend to--the now-annual Christmas painting for the church musical/art show.  Though last year's attempt ended in disaster (see old post), I am pleased to announce that this year's painting made it through the final stages

The pomegranate has a long history of being associated with royalty, riches, and even humility for its red color in the early church.  I chose to use the image of the blossom, ripe and broken fruit to symbolize Christ's birth, life and sacrifice in this piece, and I love how the green and red work conveniently well with the tradition of Christmas.  An added bonus for me was working alongside my favorite little apprentice