Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snuggle Monkey

Butterfly woke up in the middle of the night with a bad dream. I came and talked to her for a while and she settled down with her sock monkey cuddled up with her. I just had to take a picture of her, she was so cute and forlorn! Then I noticed that Sunshine was perfectly cuddled with her monkey too. Daisy was disappointed that I didn't take a picture of her sleeping too... but that will have to wait for another night.

Far, Far Away in the Cousin Nativity

Christmas Eve the kids all took part in a Nativity play with a batch of their cousins. Sunshine and Butterfly were both assigned parts as angels. I realized at the last minute that I needed to have costumes for them! I had my husband pick up some white pillowcases while he was out and about and I whipped up these cute little white pillowcase dresses. They took me maybe 10 minutes each (though taking a little longer would look better, lol)

Little Sunshine talking with Grandma before the Nativity play.

Standing by the Christmas tree. The girls chose their own clothes to wear with the dress, and I didn't have time to re-vamp anything. Otherwise there might have been some pretty white shirts instead of bright tees.

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful!

Waiting at the bus stop on a wintry morning is... less than comfy. So I started working on a scarf for Daisy while I was walking on the treadmill. Just last night I finished off the hat. For working without a pattern, mostly while I was on the treadmill, I think it worked out pretty well! She wore it all day -- even with her pretty dress at church! She tried it out in the backyard this afternoon and it worked great. Her favorite features are the hat brim and ear flaps (she has been jealous of my ear muffs) and, of course, the tassels.

(This picture was taken just after she came in from playing outside. She wore her sister's sweatshirt so it's a little small. And she got snow down the front of her jacket so it got all wet.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Some real Monkey Business

This afternoon I got to have three of my nieces come over for a crafting party. (In case someone hadn't noticed: I have LOTS of nieces. And nephews.) They brought some socks and two of them made sock monkeys for their two younger brothers and the third one made three hair bows for some friends of hers. They did such a good job! I ran the sewing machine and the hot glue gun, but they pretty much did everything else. I even tweaked the "North Pole Boutique" cards to make them custom from my niece as a finishing touch. We ran out of time a bit, but we were really close to finishing. The monkeys still need eyes and one went home with an arm or two pinned on, LOL, but the girls know what they're doing now and they won't have any trouble finishing them I'm sure.

SJ with her three hair bows. I walked through the first one but she put the other two together pretty much by herself!

RJ with her nearly-completed sock monkey. All he needs now is eyes! They're hoping to make up some clothes too.

JJ curled up on the couch stitching away on the other sock monkey.

Finishing Details

After making a bunch of clips and things for my nieces, I decided they definitely need somewhere to keep them. So I made these two bow holders and sent them along in the package.
As a final touch, since these things are all from Santa and I'm just helping him out, I made special cards to mount the bows on instead of my usual Tilly's Bowtique cards. These Christmas items come specially mounted on North Pole Boutique cards, complete with a gmail account. :)
Oopsie! I forgot to include the pic of my North Pole Boutique cards. Now It's on here :)

In a whole different area of crafting

Before I started with ribbons and bows I was making lots of jewelry. Mostly I made wire wrapped jewelry with sterling silver or gold rolled wire. It is beautiful, unique, and more expensive to make than bows, LOL. I still love jewelry, but I just can't do it as often as I wish.
I made this jewelry set for a mother of 4. What mother couldn't use something fun for herself? Unfortunately I am out of wire right now, so I wasn't able to do wire wrapped jewelry for her. I make this jewelry set out of wood, tigereye, mother of pearl, and freshwater pearls.

Tool Time -- but a litte more fun.

I made these tool-belt style aprons for two boys for Christmas. The 8yo loves Hot Wheels so his belt has 6 pockets made to fit Hot Wheels cars. The 5yo loves art, so his belt has 12 pockets to fit crayons. Each belt rolls up easily to tuck into a bag for a trip to the doctor's office or a long drive in the car. I made these out of navy blue duck cloth -- a heavy weight fabric with velcro closure so they'll fit for a long time.

We LOVE teachers :)

Last week was the end of school for the year (the 2008 year, not the school year :)) so I wanted to send some gifts to the wonderful teachers and helpers in our lives.
I made ribbon-wrapped pens in pairs for each gift. I also made some teacher themed bottlecaps which I made into magnets. They turned out REALLY cute and the teachers absolutely loved them.
We gave gifts to all 4 of Sunshine's preschool teachers, Daisy's bus driver (who has been really great and helped out with a bullying problem), and Daisy's teacher. Sunshine goes to a preschool done by the school district that is particularly for special needs children. They also take non-special needs children, but they don't get to ride the bus and they pay tuition. Sunshine is actually the only tuition paying child in her class. It has been wonderful for her, though, since there is a teacher for about every 3 children and she gets to be the leader and the example a lot -- good for a middle child. I mention all that to explain one of the caps I made particularly for those teachers:
"All children are gifted, some just open their package sooner than others." (purple)
the other say:
"Teachers Rule" (yellow)
"When's Recess?" (gray)
"Discover Wildlife: be a teacher" (orange)
"Every time the bell rings a teacher gets her wings" (green)

The bus driver got two pens and a key chain made with a bottle cap I made using the school mascot and "Tiger Pride 2008-09"
The 1st grade teacher got magnets, two pens, and a key chain too.

I hate to brag.... but it's so true.

My girls are just the cutest things ever!

Last January I happened in to KMart -- I never go to KMart! But I dropped in for some reason and came across a cute Christmas dress for only $2. It has been in the top of the closet for most of a year. So I got some marabou and made marabou-edged leggings and a cute matching pair of bows for my little Daisy. She was just darling! I let her wear it to school on Friday for their Christmas Celebration, then to church on Sunday and a family party that evening.

When Miss Daisy came home from school I asked if anyone had liked her outfit. She said that one girl in her class stopped dead in her tracks with her mouth hanging open cause she loved it just so much (In Daisy's words).

Snack Break...

Well, I do have several creations to post, but I'm taking a little break to share some great tasty ways to gain 50 lbs. this holiday season :) These recipes are absolute favorites wherever I've taken them -- when they make it out of the house, that is!

I have to give credit to a good friend J. Jarvis for the Caramel Corn recipe. The marshmallow recipe comes from my Grandmother -- and I remember making these occasionally with my mother, usually at Easter time. The Spudnut recipe I *think* came from my other Grandmother. She was not a recipe sharer, so she's probably rolling in her grave right now, but it's just too good to keep to oneself!

Caramel Corn:
popped popcorn*
1 cube margarine (I usually use only 6 Tbsp. That makes it less oily and slightly healthier, LOL)
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Put margarine, sugar, corn syrup, and salt, in a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave about 3 minutes, or until it has boiled about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
Stir in soda and vanilla.
Put popped corn in a large microwave safe bowl, or into a large paper grocery bag (make sure you don't have any receipts left over in there ;)) Fold over the top of the bag.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir well.
Microwave on regular power for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir well.
Microwave an additional 1 1/2 minutes. Stir again.
Let cool so you don't burn your tongue! **

*Pour over a batch of plain popped corn. I use 1/2 c. kernels, popped on the stove. Air popped works well too. I even know some people like "light butter" microwave popcorn.

**For a festive or special twist I spread the finished caramel corn on a couple of cookie sheets (it's easier to clean up if you put waxed or parchment paper on the sheets before spreading out the caramel corn). Then put a few handfuls of you favorite strength of chocolate chips (I like Special Dark) in a freezer zip-top bag. Microwave, squishing the bag every 15 seconds, until they are melted. Then clip one small corner off the bag and squeeze out over the popcorn. If you have some available, then use white chips or white almond bark and do the same thing.

Homemade Marshmallows:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (knox brand is by the Jell-o at the grocery store)
1/4 c. cold water
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. hot water
1 egg white

Soften gelatin in cold water and set aside.
Combine sugar and hot water. Cook to 240 F. (soft ball)
While sugar syrup cools slightly, beat egg whites till stiff.
Slowly add syrup to beaten egg whites beating all the time.
Add softened gelatin and continue beating till marshmallow starts to hold its shape.
Pour into molds* and let set.
Dip in chocolate**
Eat as is -- or float one on top of your hot chocolate!

*Fill two 9x13 pans about halfway with flour or cornstarch.
Using some shape (an egg in the shell, a christmas tree ornament... any simple shape that will leave an impression in the powder) make impressions in the flour or cornstarch. This makes your molds. I used a star shaped ornament off the Christmas tree (washed and dried, of course)
And easy and tidier way to fill the molds is to spoon the marshmallow into a large freezer zip-top bag. Cut the corner off so you have about a 1/2" or so opening. Squeeze the marshmallow into the molds.

**Marshmallow shapes will be easier to dip if they have set in a cool place up to 2 days. They may be dipped in regular dipping chocolate, or in melted chocolate chips thinned with paraffin wax to a dipping consistency.

1/4 c. shortening
1 1/3 tsp. yeast
1 lg. egg
1/2 tsp. mace (or you can use lemon extract)
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. prepared mashed potatoes (this is what gives the incredible texture)
1 c. lukewarm milk
3/4 tsp. salt
3 c. flour

Mix into soft dough. Let rise, punch down, the let rise again (double in size each time). Roll out to about 1/2" thick. Cut with a donut cutter -- or a ring from a quart jar, or whatever you have on hand. Either cut out a donut hole in the center or just make a slit with a knife and stretch slightly to leave a hole in the center.
Rise until fluffy and light.
Drop into hot oil, raised side down. Dip in glaze while still warm.

1 lb. powdered sugar (2 1/2 - 3 c.)
1 Tbsp. butter
little vanilla if desired
enough water to make a thin paste

- The dough can be prepared in a bread maker. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here I go again!

Yes, I do realize I have posted several times today, I just have so many new things!
My niece will turn 8 tomorrow and is being baptized on Saturday. As requested, I made a Pin Pal for her. Yes, she does have spectacular red curly hair. It's really gorgeous! (At least it is in pictures -- they live in Vermont and we live in Utah so I haven't actually seen her in real life for 6 years). Hopefully someday soon!

Oh the tangled headbands we weave...

This is only my third woven headband, but I'm very happy with it. I just need to get more headbands to make! They're a lot of fun for even those girls who feel too "mature" to wear bows. One fun thing about the woven headband is that you can slide clips into the weave and clip onto a ribbon to embellish the headband. The daisy clips are going the same place as the headband and at least three of those match the headband too. I am very fond of the butterfly on the headband. I can't wait to see pictures of how it looks! I do plan to add some velcro (the hook side) so it will stay put. I just haven't done the finish work yet. Oh yes, I also made a bottlecap clippie which matches also. I used a shiny sticker for the bottlecap, then added the glaze. It is very "bling-ey"!

Scarf it down

Why not branch out and do a little of everything this week?! I made this scarf for the daddy of the girls getting the ribbon tees. Once I got back in the crocheting groove, I couldn't put it down! I was exercising on the treadmill while watching a show with my DH and since I can only walk right now (back injury) I made a lot of progress on the scarf while walking! It does take a little coordination to do it that way, though, LOL. I wish I had been able to make it a bit longer, but I was running out of yarn. I was wishing it was mine while standing at the school bus stop this morning in a snow storm!

There's a Monkey on my Back!

I still don't have the right buttons for eyes yet. I need to remember to take the monkeys with me next time I go to the store. But here are the three fuzzy sock monkeys that just might end up in my girls' stockings this Christmas. Do a Google search for Sock Monkey Tutorial (or Instructions) and it's not a hard project! I have had lots of fun making these banana-lovers!

Ring Around the...Daisies!

While I was making a bunch of daisy clips for Christmas I kept clipping them onto a handy plate to keep them all together. In the end I liked how they looked, so I took the pics of them on the plate too. Simple to make and great for accessorizing, the daisies are a whimsical twist on a classic clippie.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Okay, my darling SIL emailed me tonight and told me that my comments thingy isn't working! So... after a little work... I fixed it! Yay! I may yet figure out this whole Blogger thing.
Why is it that while I'm normally more than competent on a computer, Blogger just gives me a headache?! When my DH can't figure something out on the compy or can't find something online he asks me for help -- and he does web programming so he's on the computer all the time! Yet Blogger and me... not so much :P

Ribbon tees

This is the second time I've tried my had at ribbon tees. I just love the way they look! These are actually for two little girls I don't know for Christmas. I sure hope they like them! The older one is 3 years old, the younger is 9 months. I made a matching hairbow for each of them. I also made an interchangeable headband for the little one. I don't know how much hair she has, so they each have a no-slip lined alligator clip and hers can go on the headband as an option. What do ya think? I won't even get to see how the girls like them, so I have my fingers crossed on this one!
(In case you can't see in this picture, there are little lady bugs on the ribbon.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

And she's back....

Well, I'm starting to feel better and I had to make something I saw out in the big wide web. They are the most adorable ribbon trimmed leggings! I have only made simple ones so far, but I have visions in my head of super fun ones with double layers of ribbons and ridiculous things like that. Oh what fun!!!I made the first pair for little "Butterfly" while my "Sunshine" was at preschool. When she got home she saw them and started begging for her own! She even went through her drawer of tights and brought me some that she would "let me use". I had to make sure all the scissors were hidden cause she was going to start all by herself!Finally the next day I was at WalMart and I bought a new pair of tights for her and made her own pair of ribbon leggings. They aren't exactly "leggings" per se, since they're made from tights. They need something covering the bum like a skirt or shorts or something. BUT, made from thick cotton tights they're warm and make a great modesty cover for a 3 or 4 year old trying to remember how to wear a skirt without flashing the undies!Just tonight I finished a tutorial for how you can make your own "Ribbon Leggings", part of my "Mommy Made It!!!" line of instruction booklets. Lots of pictures, very descriptive text. One day I might even get around to listing it for sale somewhere, lol. You can always contact me if you are interested in buying something I've featured here! LOL

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Slow Week

Well, I have had a slow week of crafting. I've been really sick with a UTI that just won't go away! I have almost finished three more sock monkeys -- to send to Santa so he can put them in the DD's stockings. When I've made it to the store to find perfect buttons for eyes I'll take pics of them to post here. I used fuzzy slipper-type socks this time and they are really cute!

We finally reached a new stage with 6yo "Daisy". The other day she told me a friend at school told her that Santa isn't real and that her parents do the Santa stuff instead. Gulp! Then she asked me: So is she right? Is it just her parents who have to do Santa? Or do you play Santa too?
Well, I wasn't going to lie to her. I told her that "Santa" is really a game that people love to play. It is a fun way to show love for eachother and to celebrate sharing with others. Then I asked her if she wanted to help play the game by not telling anyone else what the game really is. She was really excited and said that she could do that. She still wants to play the game, so she is pretending that Santa is real, even though she knows I do all the work. Phew!