Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Art of Sewing

Dylan gives the best gifts. This year he hooked me up with 6 volumes of the Time Life set of sewing books called The Art of Sewing from 1974. Apparently there are 18 volumes total. They have awesome fabric covers & are filled with tons of information. Also, I'm in love with the colors of the spines & whenever I see them together on the bookshelf, I want to match the colors to fabric to make a quilt or something.

I'm so happy to have them. Thanks, Dyl. :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Sewing

1. easter basket bunnies, 2. sewing machine cover, 3. vintage bunting + doily = such goodness, 4. smocked sundress, 5. everything tote, 6. ruffle sleeve tunic top, 7. mini flags, 8. postcards & stamps, 9. funky floral dress, 10. headband, 11. little plush berries, 12. mini scalloped garland, 13. doily detail, 14. kindergarten quilt/floor mat, 15. customized, 16. simplicty 4206

It was another really great year for sewing. I still love it, it's still fun, and I plan to keep it up. Just so you know...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Giveaway - $25 Fresh & Easy Gift Cards

Since moving back to Las Vegas, I've found myself shopping at fresh & easy a lot. Dylan & I went together on our first trip. We were both pleased with the layout of the store, how clean it is & how nicely everything is presented on the shelves. We love the simple but modern design of the product packaging & think the tasting station is awesome!

Just before Thanksgiving, I was invited to attend a blogger event hosted by fresh & easy. See their post on it here. We got to prepare a whole Thanksgiving dinner! It was super fun & yummy. I already knew that I loved fresh & easy before that night, though.

My favorite recipe from that night was Sauteed Sweet Potatoes w/ Spinach. Here it is:

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
6 large sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
2 cloves of sliced garlic
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 bags fresh & easy chopped spinach 16 oz.
salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large skillet (over medium heat) and sautee sweet potatoes until soft, about 8 minutes.
2. Add nutmeg & bell peppers. Cook for another two minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Sautee spinach in the now empty skillet until just wilted. Add cooked spinach to bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Toss spinach & sweet potatoes until combined.

In Ohio I had become used to shopping at a store called Aldi . The things that I loved about Aldi were the small store square footage. It makes for quick trips! I don't have to walk from one end of a gigantic store to the other end & then back again when I forget something on my list, with kids in tow. The retailer saved on overhead by having a small store & passed those savings onto shoppers with lower priced products. So I was thrilled to find the same set up here in Las Vegas at fresh & easy.

Some of the other things that I love about fresh & easy:

* I can always find parking close to the store front & love their reserved spots for "adults with children" & "hybrid vehicles".
* They are friends to the environment.
* All fresh & easy brand products are made with no artificial colors or added trans fats.
* Shoppers pay for their groceries at a self checkout station. They are fast & efficient. Not like most at other grocery stores. I've never had to wait for assistance because the machine didn't like the weight of my product when I set it down on the conveyor belt.

Some of our favorite fresh & easy brand products are:

* rosemary focaccia dough. Just spread the dough out on your baking sheet & pop it in the oven. It's so good!
* caramel popcorn.
* whole wheat bagels.
* tofu. It's only 98 cents. I'm pretty excited about this as I'm about to get started on an almost entirely meatless diet. More about that later. :)
* all the easy & convenient produce packs.

Fresh & Easy stores are located in Nevada, California & Arizona. Today I have two $25 fresh & easy gift cards to give away. I will choose two winners at random. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment telling me what your favorite fresh & easy product is, or what your favorite store feature is. I will announce the two winners on January 5th. Good luck!

Also, be sure to sign up for the fresh & easy newsletter. They send really great coupons & you'll receive a coupon for a free reuseable shopping bag with a $10 purchase as soon as you sign up!

***All photos by Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It Was a Good One

Scones, nerf gun wars, legos & kickball....we had a great holiday. Hope you did as well! It's crazy how I woke up this morning wanting to clean & organize like crazy. Like this huge chore had been completed. Hope this productive feeling sticks around for a while.

I'll be back soon with a giveaway! Merry Christmas!! (Sadie says it's still Christmas today. I guess she doesn't want it to end.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Postcards & Stamps

! I finished the postcards & stamps to go along with the mail carrier bags. I used two layers of thick interfacing between these & felt for the back. They're nice & stiff but still soft & fabric like.

The stamps can be attached & removed with velcro. Of course I had to use pinking shears around the edges. :)

I'm going to sign off for the next few days. I hope you all have a wonderful & merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry & Bright

I woke up feeling so happy this morning. It's Christmas week & Christmas day could not come fast enough! I am prepared this year. I shopped some amazing deals & used coupons. Often I would shop for toys on sale + used a coupon (thanks for all the $10 coupons Kohls) & was able to get all the kids need for not a lot of money. I think they will be happy on Christmas morning.

Emotions can be all over the place for us these days. Moods can swing in no time & one grumpy person make rest of the family grumpy as well. But I'm pretty sure that every member of this family will be happy come Christmas morning & I'm ready for that happy day. I'm ready to play & eat & enjoy one another. I'm ready to reflect on the year & all that we have been blessed with. Are you ready?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mail Carrier Bags

Two little mail bags for my little girls. To be worn across the body. The envelope symbol & the word "MAIL" were embroidered on to tell them apart. The postcards that I plan to include with this gift are cut out, but have been sitting on my ironing board for a week.

I am feeling a little depressed these days. Just a little down. And making is feeling like a chore rather than great fun. I'm sure the excitement will return soon. But I'm settling in to the fact that this may be the only handmade gift that I finish for them this year. Even though I had intentions of making a whole lot more. And that's okay. Right? Yes. It is. There will be birthdays & other opportunities to make & give. I tried this year & I can let it all go & not be so hard on myself.

If feeling super ambitious, a mailbox can be made as well.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Self Storage for Poor People

This is what our girls get to share a bedroom with. Luckily the bedrooms here at my parents house are really big & the ceilings are tall.

My youngest sister is having a garage sale this weekend & I knew that we had lots of stuff we could try to unload. So yesterday we began going through all of our boxes. This area had been about 3 box widths deep & pretty unorganized. We opened up every single box. Decided if the stuff inside needed to be sold, unpacked & used, or stay packed up. Then Dylan did a magnificent job playing box tetris & arranging the remaining boxes floor to ceiling on one wall in the girls room. Because unemployed people certainly don't want to pay for a storage unit.

It opened up a lot of room, we found a ton of stuff we don't care about & hope to make some money selling and the girls were stoked to have a few more feet of bedroom floor. Plus whenever I see that wall of boxes it makes me giggle.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Santa

Last week we saw Santa at our ward Christmas party. Sadie was quick to announce that he was not the real Santa! His beard was not real & we of course are used to Santa having a real beard.

Sadie was happy to see the real Santa finally. She's been asking for a Barbie for the last few weeks. Then last night she asked Santa for 3 Barbies, a Barbie bike, a Barbie house & a Barbie car. We'll see what Santa comes through with, but I'm confident that she'll be happy with whatever she gets. Claire asked for a baby doll, but she's also been telling us that she wants Santa to bring her a jack in the box. The extra little girl here is cousin Ella. :)

We found Santa at Bass Pro Shops this year. It's an interesting place for sure. Our local store is connected to the Silverton Casino which has this Mermaid show. The girls thought it was pretty cool & left the store saying they were mermaids.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two Mice in Hats & a Bat

Watercolor by Sadie
age 5

(I like their tails.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Utah In 2 Days

We're back from our whirlwind trip to Utah. Yes we drove up to Salt Lake one day & then back home the next. We're crazy kids....yep. Hope we always are too. :) The girls were so excited about the snow.

In our short time there we had some delicious pizza, played some serious rock band, wandered through IKEA & visited an awesome aquarium. It was a great escape & we were so, so happy to see awesome friends & family.

We brought along a few handmade Christmas gifts. For little Moses I made a Buddy from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing For Baby book. (See another project I've made from the same book here.) My girls kinda flipped out over this guy when I finished him, so I think I may need to whip up a few for them. He really is the perfect size for cuddling up to & I think he'd be a great sleeping pal. I forgot to take a photo of him at home before our trip, so that's why he's lounging in the car.

For Maria I made a colorful mini scalloped garland. I love how it turned out & it totally makes me think of Maria. She loves color!

I cut out way more scalloped flags that I needed for this gift, so I may be adding some similar garlands to the shop soon.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Yay! Courtney is the winner of the 2010 Fabric Stash Calendars. Congratulations!

Thank you all for the comments & inspiring blog suggestions. Remember that you can purchase & print your own 2010 Fabric Stash Calendar as many times as you'd like for only $5.00 right here. Or if you don't want to print and cut it out yourself, you can get the printed version with the desk stand from us here.

We are headed off to Utah in the morning for a couple days. Couldn't pass up the opportunity to see my bestest girlfriend from Cleveland while she's visiting her family up there. Utah is a lot closer to us now than Ohio. I'm actually looking forward to weather in the 20's & a little bit of snow falling, shopping at IKEA & of course visiting some of my favorite people in the world.

Be back in a few days with some completed handmade gifts. In the meantime, be sure to download Dylan's super awesome Christmas mix here. He's got two more installments coming so be on the lookout for those as well. They're really good. :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Give Something Great

My awesome friend Chanel (her blog is private) has decided to do something really meaningful this year with her family. After watching a BBC report on Ethiopians that are starving because of going 2 full years without rain, she was moved to donate to a charity called Heifer International.

Chanel has set up a registry with Heifer International here. She is working towards donating goats but there are many other items as well. One goat costs $120, but you can also give a goat share for only $10. There is power in group effort for sure & we are hoping to work together to provide some goats to families in need in developing countries.

Here's what the Heifer International website says about goats:

Did you know that more children around the world get their protein from goat's milk?

That's because goats thrive in extreme climates where other livestock can't, and eat grasses and leaves that cause other animals to turn up their noses (or snouts)!

And if it's a Heifer goat, one struggling family can receive up to a gallon of milk from it every single day. That's more than enough milk not only to drink, but to use to make cheese, butter or yogurt, plus to sell whatever's left and buy much-needed clothes, school supplies and medicine.

Please take the time to check this out. My family is not in the most ideal financial situation right now, but we are able to get our girls a few Christmas gifts this year & there is no denying that we are super blessed. We have so much. And it doesn't take much to donate to this great cause. I've donated & I hope you will too. :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

By Hand

Does the glow of the Christmas tree lights make you want to be busy, busy, busy crafting up little goodies for all your loved ones like it does me?

What gifts are you making by hand this year? I'm still figuring all mine out, but I promise to share as I finish them. :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Fabric Stash Calendar Giveaway

As part of Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew I am giving away 2 of our 2010 Fabric Stash Desktop Calendars - a total value of $34. One for the winner to keep for themselves & one for them to give away to their favorite vintage fabric loving friend.

Enter by leaving a comment on this post by Sunday, December 6th. If you feel so inclined, please let me know about the most inspiring blog that you are reading right now....or just say hello! Either way, please be sure to include an e-mail address so I can easily contact the winner.

Good luck!
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