They were really easy to make using Butterick 5565. Each leg was only one piece, so there was one seam to sew up the inside of each leg. Using my serger, they went so fast. I think each pair took a little over two hours - including cutting out the fabric. The tops were a breeze too. I just opened up part of the side seams of purchased T-shirts, appliqued a stripe of the flannel , and then used my serger to close the seams up again. When I bought by serger I bought some stabilizer and spray adhesive to use with it - and it is wonderful. I will never pin again on projects like this! Using the adhesive makes everything so much easier. I think jammies from Mama may have to become a Christmas tradition...
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Until then, I thought I would leave you with a couple of photos of the island decked out in her holiday best. One of my favorite island traditions is the gigantic Christmas tree in the middle of main street. I love how my little ones "oooh and aaaah" as we drive past it. If you're wondering - the red streak in the photo is a snowmobile tail light - it drove past while my shutter was open...
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Here is a close up of the quilting. I just meandered and made free-motion loops using my Bernina. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I hope K likes it too.
If you are curious, that is a graduation tassel hanging on my Christmas tree. My high school and college tassels are both hanging there. I didn't know what else to do with them...
Monday, December 22, 2008
I just love how it brightens up the dining room table. What do you think?
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The other thing my children gave their teachers and babysitters this year was "Hot Cocoa Kits." Each bag contained five cocoa packets, five candy canes dipped in milk chocolate for stirring and five jumbo holiday marshmallows. (I owe Marie a big thank you for the idea.) I was a bit worried about having my little ones work with the melted chocolate, but they did a great job. Especially after I promised they could snack on the leftover chocolate! I hope the recipients enjoy these as much as the kids enjoyed dipping the canes and putting the bags together.
I think it is important for children to be a part of the presents they give to others. I want them to learn the idea that giving of ones self is important. As a teacher, my favorite gifts are the ones my students make for me - especially the ornaments. I love the little walk down memory lane I get each year when I put up the tree. This year one of my sixth graders even sewed me an apron - an orange apron with white polka dots. Another student made a Christmas ornament for each member of my family - including the dog and the cat! To me, those are the kinds of gifts that are the most special. I know not every mom has the time, energy, or skills to do things like that, and I do love the purchased gifts and baked goods I get too. There's just something special about a homemade gift, don't you think? Some how I think I'm preaching to the choir...
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Peppermint Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 T milk or cream
2 tsp peppermint extract
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups flour
Cream the butter and sugar and then beat in the eggs. Add in the peppermint extract and the milk. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and the salt. Crush the candy canes. I put them inside a ziplock bag and beat them with the rolling pin. You want very small pieces. Bigger pieces will melt and stick to the cookie sheet. We fought this problem by using parchment paper. It worked beautifully.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter / sugar mixture and beat until the dough pulls away from the of the bowl. Scoop out some dough and roll it into a ball. Roll the dough ball in sugar and then use the bottom of a glass to flatten the cookie. Sprinkle colored sugar on top if you wish. Bake at 350 for about 13 minutes. Let the cookies cool for two minutes on the cookie sheet and then move to a wire rack. Makes about four dozen cookies.
Friday, December 12, 2008
This year's Christmas Bazaar was last weekend, and yes, we all went... The show left out one of the more interesting things we do - and one of my favorites - the community wide garage sale in the Fire Hall. Everyone donates everything and all the proceeds go to the Island Medical Center. This year I found lots of treasures: dresses for my daughter (new with tags,) five wool sweaters for felting, a beautiful aqua angora cardigan (to wear,) a tie for my son, and a My Little Pony (my son named her "Fireworks.") I owe my friend, Wendy, big time for all those bargains. She watched my two little ones so I could go thrift. I also owe my husband a thank you for editing and then uploading that video.
So what do you do to celebrate the holidays that is unique to you or your town?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I made my mine out of old Christmas cards, but I think for my next one I'm going to use pictures of my children. It would also look cool if you made one out of 20 identical cards. I'll have to wait to see how cheap they are at the day after Christmas sale...
About 20 old cards
template material - I used old sour cream container lids
ball point pen
glue - I've found rubber cement works quite well
liquid glue (if you plan to glitter the edges)
ribbon for hanging
clips for securing the pieces as they dry
Here's what to do:
Use the circle template to trace around images on the cards you like. From most cards you'll only get one circle. Next, cut them out. You'll need 20. Don't worry if some of the black lines show up, you'll cover them later.
Use the ball point pen to trace around the triangle. Press hard! You want to score the card so that it will fold on those lines. I placed the images right side up on the front of the card, but they don't all end up being right side up on the finished ornament. For my next one, I don't plan to pay attention and I'll just place them willy-nilly. Do one and then go on to the next step. That way you won't have to redo all 20 if you make a mistake.Now, fold the card toward the printed sides on the scored lines. If it doesn't fold fairly easily, you want to press harder when you trace the triangle.
Next put another triangle, upside down, in between the other two and glue into place. Does that make sense?
Please let me know if anything is unclear and I will do my best to clarify the instructions. Also, if you make one of these, I would love to see it. Have fun!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
...it means I got to ride this to work instead.
Winter has officially arrived in Northern Michigan. My trusty Polaris, who took a bit of coaxing to start after her long summer rest, makes the one-mile-up-hill bike ride home from work a snap. Well, a pull actually since she usually takes three pulls to get started. I don't know if those of you who regularly travel by motorized vehicle can truly appreciate how much freedom this little snowmobile offers me. All winter long I won't have to budget the extra travel time into my daily schedule - I can zip where ever I need to go...
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The other night, we went to the Boyne City Santa Parade. I love the Santa Parade - while it may be too cold and snowy for Great Grandmas it is perfect for toddlers. There is ample parking close by, free hot cocoa and cookies at several local businesses and the entire parade lasts about 20 minutes. You've got to love small town life!
I suppose we could have stayed after the parade to visit Santa and go on a horse-drawn hayride, but when you live on an island full of horses and get pulled by them regularly, driving through town in your minivan looking at Christmas lights is much more fun. Plus, Santa will visiting the island next weekend for the Christmas Bazaar - S and K can visit with him then.
My month of thankful thoughts has come to an end. This November I tried to stop and think about all the wonderful things in my life that I appreciate and I hope I've inspired you to do the same...
Friday, November 28, 2008
I am so glad that my children have gotten to know her. She is an amazing lady. I have learned so much from her and not just embarrassing stories about my mother. (Like the time she pushed her brother out of a second story window, or when she got a D in algebra.) Through Grandma's example I learned the importance family and why getting an education is worth the time and effort. And how writing down the stories of one's life is an amazing gift to give one's family. Thanks Grandma, for everything. I love you.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've been getting better at making time for myself lately, and taking advantage of my husband's wonderful offers to "go sew, I'll put the kids to bed," so I've been quite productive lately. Also, my mom (who just moved to EGYPT - more on that another time) said I can use her Bernina with a stitch regulator (my older model doesn't have one) to quilt it and that is going to be a lot of fun. I am so looking forward to trying it out!
Friday, November 21, 2008
It's scenes like these that tell me I'm doing the right thing with my children when it comes to limiting TV and reading to them / encouraging them to "read" often. She must enjoy hearing stories to assume her sea monkeys would like them as well. The Big Bug Book is her favorite right now - she "reads" it several times a day. If you have a little one in the house you may want to check it out.
I was supposed to be reading Twilight this weekend, but my friend forgot to bring it to work today. Oh well. I suppose I'll live if I can't read it until next week. Besides, without the book consuming my time I'll be able to spend more time on the ornament tutorial I've been working on.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
You may be wondering what "set the house on the foundation" means. Many of the homes on the island are prefabricated. That means large pieces of the house are built on the mainland and then brought over and assembled on the island.That's what we did; here's how we did it...
First we had a large hole dug on the lot for the basement. Full basements are rare on the island, but I am so glad we have one - where would I keep all my crap, I mean stuff? Next we hired a mason to build the block foundation. Luckily out land was all pea gravel. If we had hit bedrock a basement would have been out of the question.
Next the pieces of the house were loaded onto a barge for the three mile trip across the straits to the island. Actually the pieces were built in southern Indiana and then trucked to Escanaba, Michigan, where the finishing was done (drywall, cabinets, etc.) Then the house was driven to the boat dock and ferried across the lake to the island. We joke and say we have a very well traveled house...
There are the first three pieces patiently waiting on the dock before being hauled up to their future home (no pun intended.) I had to work that day, but luckily my dad volunteered to ride on the barge with the house and take pictures.
Eventually that (the photo below) became the first floor back of the house. Pretty hard to tell right now, huh.
The loons were quite curious about the whole thing, too.
Here comes the last piece...
The crane picked it up, swung it over...
and lowered it into place. Viola! instant house.
OK, it wasn't really an "instant house," but almost. The roof had to be finished, the porch had to be built, and the interior needed work. There were no stairs, and the four pieces had to be joined together and then the drywall finished, the flooring laid, etc.
You may be wondering, why not just build the house from scratch? People don't often do that on the island due to the expense. It is much cheaper to build a modular home. When building this way there is one vehicle permit, and one freight charge by the boat line instead of constant dray (horse drawn wagons) and freight bills for delivering building supplies to the sight. The horses are limited on the size loads they can carry, so delivering supplies to the building site is a huge cost on the island. So huge that my husband looked into hiring a helicopter to bring the supplies over. Pretty scary that the cost was about the same as the dray and boat charges would have been! Looking back on the whole experience, if I were to build again, I would do it the exact same way. Though I probably wouldn't choose to build a house and have a baby all within the same two month period. What were we thinking?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
With the economy the way it is, I'm quite thankful that I have a good job in an industry that will won't go out of business. I've taught at my school for 16 years and have enough seniority now that even a drop in enrollment probably wouldn't cause me to lose my job. Which is a good thing when you tend to be a worrier like I am. A friend of mine recently lost her job, and my heart aches for her...
Friday, November 7, 2008
It's got me totally nostalgic for the 80s. So I, like thought I'd, like, take a walk down memory lane...
My favorite movie of the 80's - Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I am proud to say that I never skipped school - not once. Well, not unless you count the times Mr. Blain, my high school auto shop teacher, told us to take both lunch periods. I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that I was the first female student Mr. Blain had ever had...
Thinking about it now reminds me I've got to add that to my NetFlix list...
Another favorite from the 80s - my prom dress (and my date.)
I picked the pattern and the fabrics and my mom made the dress. I loved it, partially because my class color was pink. I loved my date, too. - his name was Jon. He went to U of M, while I went to MSU, and somehow we managed to stay friends. Jon and I still talk occasionally and I still have the dress...
Here I am at the end of my 80s experience. (Well almost - I graduated from high school in 1988.) Older, wiser, and better looking than I was in the beginning - despite those awful glasses. Most of my friends took their glasses off in their senior pictures, but I decided to leave mine on. I wore them every day and I just didn't feel right not wearing them. Besides, now my kids will have something to tease me about.
I'd love to offer you all a lovely gift for stopping by, but I think they stopped making these about 20 years ago. What could beat a Swatch Watch? I wanted one so badly in 10th grade. I think Santa brought me a Casio instead.
Ferris Bueller: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/ca/Ferrisdayoff.jpg