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October 2007
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December 2007

November 2007


Pieboxes_lHosting parties this holiday season like I am?  Don't want to get left with tons pies and stuff stacked haphazardly on top of your butter dish and salsa jars in the fridge?  I saw this cool make-your-own to-go box at Martha last week and I'm going to keep it in mind for other sweet leftovers as well this December...

(I wasn't quite on the ball with Thanksgiving, so I still have two cheesecakes, a pumpkin pecan pie, gravy and some cornbread dressing in my fridge.  But I'm going to cut myself some slack considering the coughing-pneumonia-asthma-baby-er-trip and everything...)

Of course, being Martha, there are templates and instructions over there.  But I'm thinking you could also make some cute square ones for cookies or fudge and you don' t have to mess with cellobags or tins or whatever.   You could even get fancy and decorate the sides with holiday messages or original art by the little ones....

I'm going to put it on my gosh-I-really-wish-I-had-time-to-do-list and see what happens. 

CookiesThis weekend might kick off my holiday cookie bonanza.  We like to make sugar cookies every year and this might  be a good weekend for that.  (This picture is from a couple years ago...) Could be a good thing to do while watching the game. 

I might also tackle some vintage-sheet pajama bottoms.  I have several sheets that would work, and since I missed out on Joann's big 99cent/yard flannel sale last weekend, I figure 'free-because-it's-in-my-cupboard' is an even better deal.  Added bonus: this could be a perfect opportunity to use some more of that velvet ribbon trim I bought on a whim a few weeks ago... 

Hello there, old friends!

Back-story: Like most military families, we moved around a lot while I was growing up. Different houses, different streets, schools, friends, seasons, neighborhoods, you name it. I went to two colleges and grad school, each in a different city.  Then I moved to California and got married and continued to move, twice more.  Divorced and moved 4 more times in the course of 5 years.  Came back *home* to the Midwest (I use the term lightly -- having lived everywhere from Maine to SoCal and everywhere in between) and rented a place before marrying again and buying this house...

All of this is to say, I have celebrated Christmas in a heck of a lot of places in a variety of circumstances ... and through it all, I have had my little wooden Christmas ornaments.


Every year my Grammy sent my sister and me one new ornament each (along with a new nightgown that we promptly wore that for Christmas morning photos and never wore again.  Always of that awful synthetic 'hangnail fabric', as we called it. Tell me you know what I mean.)  My mom did a wonderful thing by labeling the ornaments with our initial and year and we were able to keep track of them.  When I went off to California and got married, mom carefully wrapped up each of my ornaments and sent them to me.  For my own tree.

I love them.  I can remember as a kid being a little afraid of the lumberjack.

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And wishing I could take the baby out of the bassinet.

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Pulling the darling parasol out of her other knobby 'hand'.  And wishing I had a rocking horse like this.

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Needing to ice skate 'right now!' and leave trails. Wanting a scarf like that.

christmas ornament

Thinking she is *so* pretty.

Every time I open these ornaments, it all comes rushing back.  I have been tempted over the years to do a 'fancy tree' like my sister.  Or a themed tree.  Or just get new ornaments because mine are a hodge-podge of styles and themes and colors. 

But they've always been there!  When I was pregnant with my first baby.  When I decked the halls of the first house I owned.  And those Christmases as a single mom when things were so very lean and we made popcorn garland and I propped my tree up on cans of green beans because it was so short.   When I finally got to move back *home* to the Midwest and celebrate in person with my family...

They are just little wooden ornaments my Grammy started giving me 35 years ago.  And they are starting to look a little weathered around the edges.  (Hey, who isn't???)   But I love each one and was so happy to see them again this year.

[*edited to add: You'd think with a Pr/Advertising degree I'd be able to edit a blog post.  Yikes.]

Little Booklets

I love this stocking.  My mother-in-law made it for my husband when he was little.  Apparently she made one for everyone in their family, but I haven't seen the others.  The detail is so awesome and this picture doesn't do it justice.   Betty does't make many things anymore, but every time I see one of her projects I am in awe. 


My older daughter and I have been brainstorming about Christmas presents.  She has always put a lot of thought into gift-giving and finding something special for the recipient. This year she wants to make a couple small things for each person and put them in gift baskets.  (She also has a steady demand for her BFF pillows, ever since she made one for a birthday present a while back.  Busy girl!  At this rate she'll be opening her own etsy shop by the time she is 12.)

I found these little composition notebooks at the grocery store for 99 cents.   They're tiny.  (3.25 x 4" or something). I had seen Jessica's saddle-stitched booklets not too long ago and thought they were a perfect small gift.  Since these store-bought notebooks already had paper, I thought we could make little fabric book covers that you could remove and use again on a new notebook.


We added some lightweight interfacing for structure and an elastic to help keep it closed.  Originally, I wanted to put little loops on the edges to push a pencil through, but I wasn't very successful with that prototype.  I suspect you have to be a little more careful and patient when sewing those.  Probably not something for my daughter at this point anyway.   We might add an elastic loop + button enclosure on the next one. 

( Our holiday was wonderful with a little bit of crazy thrown in.  Poor little Fidget had to go to the ER on Thanksgiving morning and was diagnosed with pneumonia and asthma... but we're all doing better now.  Our house has also been all kinds of happy/relieved/excited since Mizzou's win over KU Saturday night, too. If you had told me in September that both of our teams would be fighting for the national championship game by the end of the season, I would have peed my pants laughing.  I'm so proud of the Big XII North right now!  And I know how crushed we would have been if the tables were turned... which they very well could have.  The Jayhawks have a terrific football team.  And, of course, they can look forward to *owning* us this basketball season.  xo )

Setting the scene...

Tomorrow this room is going to be packed.... We have family coming in town for the day. Dinner at 2:30. Today, once I finish up here with my work (those last minute ads get you every time!), I'll be ironing some tablecloths and napkins and making little wine glass tags.

Dining Room

I'm not stressing this year.  It's dinner!  With family! And, since Mr. Pink is smoking a turkey and we're bringing in a ham, I just have to worry about some side dishes.

I recently picked up Joanne's book, Living Simply. (Thank you, sweetie, for writing such a thoughtful, engaging book.  I have a few friends who are getting copies for Christmas!)  I could go on about how it felt like I was sitting down with a girlfriend.  Or how it helped me lighten up on a particularly grumpy afternoon.  Or how fun it was to read about a shared love for Anne of Green Gables and Little House.  Or how it is another stepping stone helping me to define my own path back to God.  (Oh, how I want something that feels real to me, and not just a routine obligation! ...but I digress.)

getting ready for Thanksgiving

The reason I mention her book is that one of the chapters I love is about 'Company Dinner.'  I won't spoil it for you, but I do agree with her.  Having a signature crowd-pleasing dinner you can prepare with confidence is a good idea.  She kindly shared hers, complete with recipes.  Joanne, if you're reading this, your carrots and green salad are making it on to my Thanksgiving table this year!  I tried them a couple weeks ago and they were delicious.  Even my husband, who does not eat veggies except for broccoli and asparagus, loved the carrots.

As a kid, I remember thinking that Thanksgiving was an okay holiday.  We got to eat some good food and see family, but it wasn't a huge spectacular like Easter or Halloween or Christmas.  Oh, I have good memories.  We were military and didn't always live near extended family, so when I did get to spend a day or two with my cousins it was wonderful and fun. There is a very funny videotape (on BetaMAX!) of us dressed up like rockstars, putting on a fully staged lip-synched 'Rock Concert' in our backyard one year.  I cannot watch that without using my inhaler, I laugh so hard.  It was like, 1983, and I was in the 5th grade.  Good times.

Now I'm 35.  I have two kids and a wonderful husband and silly dog.  We are so blessed to have all of our family (mostly) healthy and close.  We have lots of friends and good jobs and a very comfortable life.  We don't overschedule ourselves or try to keep up with the Joneses.  We have plans -- big and little -- for the future.  We talk and share and love each other.  Almost every night we sit down to dinner together as a family.  (Sometimes it's over canned soup and grilled cheese, but hey, who's counting?)  It's not perfect, but it's darn close.  Thankful.

My oldest daughter wants to make dessert this year.  I am so excited for her.  She is planning to make my pumpkin-pecan pie and a brownie pudding cake recipe that she found on her own.  She normally travels to her dad's house in CA for the holiday, but is spending it home with us for the first time in 5 years.  I cannot convey in words how much this means to me.  Plus, we're going to buy the new Hairspray DVD!  (We went on a date this summer to see the movie and loved it.  We came home dancing.  And she went as Penny Pingleton for Halloween.)

Little Fidget is planning to wear her new frock and help in the entertainment department. At 20 months she is quite the dancer.  And hostess/greeter person.  She knows no stranger.  'hi!  Hi!  HIIIII!"

So the house behind the picket fence is settling in for the holiday.  Wherever you are, whoever you are with, and whatever you do, I hope that you find yourself celebrating the little wonderful things in life that make it so special.   

With love and many blessings,
Miss Chris

I am not afraid of my machine.

Dress_2Thank you for the stitched finger sympathy.  I really am doing much better.  Proved it to myself last night by sitting down to finish Fidget's little dress.  With 4 buttonholes no less!  Egads.  Is there anything more nerve-wrecking than having a project 99% done and having to sew freaking buttonholes right on to the front of it???  Let's just say there was a nice pile of scrap fabric with various buttonholes stitched into it, twenty intense minutes of concentration, and a very silly 'Guess what honey!  I did it!' dance (complete with dress twirling) in the kitchen immediately thereafter.

I made some covered buttons for the front and that was a lot of fun.  More fun than buttonholes.  I think we'll be wearing our new duds on Thursday for dinner...

I wish I had a cute pattern for an underdress with pouf sleeves and a longer skirt that could show beneath the hem.  There is still plenty of that Amy Butler Lotus fabric to use on it... Hmm.  May have to search that one out.  Maybe add some length to a pouf-sleeved top?  We'll see.


Children's clothes look so much better on children, don't you think?  More fun.   Oh well.  I'm sure there will be plenty photo ops on Thursday. 


Vintage Vogue, the shop

Vv_2 You know that feeling when you walk into a store and you want to jump up and down like a little girl because you want to see *everything* and you know it was established just for *you*?  That was me on Saturday morning when my oldest daughter and I stumbled into Vintage Vogue


Gloves_2This is THE place to go for vintage clothing.  Everything is organized by era and size.  Kathy's got an  accessories room filled with shoes and purses and aprons and belts... whole racks of gorgeous vintage coats.... amazing.  Goodness, we had fun.  I picked up this olive quilted coat, a plaid wool skirt and a pair of gorgeous long chocolate brown gloves.I can see lots more Saturday jaunts over there. 


It was like playing in my grandma's closet all over again.

oh dear.

It started out simple.  A pretty little dotted corduroy jumper dress for Fidget.


And then I changed the bobbin and somehow sewed into. my. index. finger.  (And had to cut the thread and pull the strand threw through my nail.)  Ack.  I'm not going to lie.  It hurt.  There were silly dramatics while searching for a baggie for ice and a CSI-esque scene I left at my workstation... in the end it left me wondering, do you need stitches FOR STITCHES???  Hee.  It was pretty ridiculous.

Fortunately, my finger is starting to feel normal-ish again.  Isn't it crazy how fast we heal???  Pretty amazing, I think.  As you can imagine, I was a little slow on the project-making this week.  However, now I'm eager to finish the dress, and very well might do so tonight.  Carefully.

We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner here next week, so I'll be up to my armpits in pumpkin, potatoes and pecans.  Good stuff.  Let's remember to keep the stress in check. ;)  I plan to make as much as I can, pour a glass of wine, and just enjoy the ride.


Rainy days and Mondays always make me smile

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and prayer's for K and her family over the weekend.  XXXOOO

Quilt4There is a very long post about the holidays approaching and Thanksgiving turkey at my house and the pressure I put on myself to make gifts, etc... but that's coming.  Right now I'm sick.  I can't talk, my head is pounding and I just want to go to bed.  However, my boss has lots of last minute things he needs done and I have an ad due on Thursday I haven't even started yet.  Ack.  So of course, instead of working I am blogging.

The Katie quilt is done and gifted... I am very happy with how it turned out:


I hand quilted it and then washed it for scrunchiness and I love it.  I also used water-soluble pen to mark the squares on the white columns... and it didn't all come out in the wash.  I think I'll go back to my disappearing ink pen next time.


** More pics of the finished product here on my flickr account.

It's not a rainy Monday here -- yet.  It's been threatening to all day, which has made the couch even more tempting than it is anyway... and it also made me want to bake.  Mmmmm.


Yes, they are as good as they look!  And nope, they're not homemade.  Duncan Hines, baby.


Sad Day.

Mommas, please hug your babies extra tight today.  And remember what truly special gifts they are. 

A friend through a good friend of mine lost her triplets at 22 weeks, just this Tuesday Wednesday.  Three baby girls.  Today is the memorial service in Atlanta, GA.  K (who has one little miracle baby that her sister carried for her as a surrogate just a year ago) was blessed to have one last chance at in-vitro this year and three of the embyos took.  Two of them, identical twins.  On Tuesday, the twins descended into her birth canal, and there was no saving any of them... At 24 weeks, doctors say they would have had a chance.

I just don't have words for this kind of sorrow.  Fortunately, K and her family have a strong foundation in God and their church, and I pray that they will find the strength to endure this heartbreak.

Please, if you have an extra minute today, send up a little prayer.  For K, for her husband, and those babies that would have had such wonderful lives with this sweet family.  And also, say a prayer for their little girl, who lost three little sisters this week before she ever got to meet them.