Love Story 3 column

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Christmas List

Saw this list on my friend Michelle's blog (Texas Tanners) and decided to share my own answers.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. (Right now I am loving Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection - Dark Chocolate Sensation.)
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? This is our 1st year to do "Santa" and it will be a Little Tykes picnic table for our 2 year old. It will not be wrapped, just sitting out in the living room. (My parents never wrapped our Santa gifts.)

3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white? White for me. My husband would like colored lights, but I've convinced him to use white for 15 years, so I think I've won that battle!
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. One year I made a kissing ball, but didn't make it very well, so it kept falling apart.

5. When do you put your decorations up? I used to do it right after Thanksgiving, but now that I have a daughter with a Dec 2 birthday, we wait until after her party.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? My Aunt Jane's cranberry salad. I don't remember ever having it until about 5 or 6 years ago, but I fell in love. I've made it for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas every year since.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Until I was 12, both sets of grandparents lived in the same city (about a 4 hour drive from our home). We alternated which ones we stayed with each year. We would open presents with my dad's family on Christmas Eve and with my mom's family on Christmas morning. We got to see all the aunts, uncles, and cousins. I think spending time with family is such a big part of the Christmas season!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Fourth grade in the cafeteria lunch line. My best friend, Laurie, had a sister who was 4 years older than us, so she always found things out before me. She spilled the beans to me, but I got to "keep believing" since my brother (5 years younger) was still a believer.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope. Although I have nothing against it.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? White lights, wooden cranberry bead garland, ribbon bows, and completely random ornaments. My favorites are the ones we buy when we travel or to represent something special for that year. When I get them out each year, I remember the wonderful times from years past. This year's ornaments are from the Houston Zoo (had our 1st season pass this year), Sea World, and Universal Studios Orlando.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? How about don't even get it! Well, I take that back - our last snow in Houston was Dec 4, 2009, the day we brought Annelise home from the hospital. It hadn't been cold enough very long, so nothing stuck, but it was nice to watch out the window. We actually had a white Christmas in 2004. It snowed on Christmas Eve, so we walked around outside while it was falling around midnight. The next morning, there was actually a little bit left on the grass, but it melted in the sun by mid-day. Not sure I would actually want to live where it really snows, but it's nice to have a glimpse now and then.
12. Can you ice skate? It's been a really long time. I used to roller skate all over the neighborhood as a child, and would go ice skating whenever we visited my grandparents. But the last time I tried was in college over 15 years ago, so I'd be a little scared to try at this point.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Fourth grade - Cabbage Patch Kid. Yes, that's also the same year I found out Santa wasn't real, but he still delivered! That's about the only time I ever got the gift that was all the rage that year.
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending time with family and friends, being part of all the festivities at our church, and remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season.
15.What is your favorite Holiday dessert? My mom's fudge. Yummy!
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 before opening Christmas gifts. We always did this with my family growing up, and I'm proud that it's a tradition with my in-laws, too. When our girls are older, we are planning to each year spotlight a different country our families came from. Hopefully that will include traditions, decorations, and food. Since we have a 2 year old and one on the way, it will be about 4-5 years before we begin, but it's fun to dream about now.

17. What tops your tree? A gold, glittery star.
18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Am I incredibly shallow if I say both? I love to see someone's eyes light up when I give them something they want or really like. But I also like to be reminded that people love & appreciate me, too!
19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? Yum!
20. Favorite Christmas show? Old: The classics I'm getting to introduce to Annelise like Rudolph, Frosty, & Charlie Brown; White Christmas; It's a Wonderful Life. New: The Santa Clause series and Elf.

21. Saddest Christmas Song? I'll Be Home for Christmas (because it might be "only in my dreams").

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night. My favorite version is by Point of Grace.

I hope my list has made you reminisce about some of your favorite Christmas moments.

 Merry Christmas from Julie, Annelise, & Eric!
(and Caroline is coming soon!)

Happy Crafting,

3rd Christmas is a Charm

If you know me personally, you probably know I'm a pretty big procrastinator. It could be my middle name! When I was pregnant the first time around, I decided to start my daughter's Christmas stocking early (she was due at the end of November, and was born on Dec 2). Many years before, I had made mine and my husband's stockings (one cross stitch and one needlepoint), and knew Annelise's needed to be equally elaborate.

Well, somewhere along the way in my pregnancy with her, I got lazy and procrastinated and didn't finish the stocking. What would she know? She was only 3 weeks old for her 1st Christmas! Then I thought I would get it finished for her 2nd Christmas - nope! This year I found some kind of "determination switch" within me and finally got it done. TWO days before Christmas, but still before Christmas.


I particularly chose this stocking to make since it had our exact family represented: Dad, Mom, Little One, and Dog. That's us (for another 8 weeks, at least!).

Here's our mantel. It's not very elaborate, but the nativity is our most important display in the house, so it gets the place of honor!

A closer view of all three stockings.

Now it's time to start making a stocking for baby #2. Think I can finish it before her 3rd Christmas? That would be 2014. I'll try to do better this time!!!

Happy crafting & Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crayon Roll Party Favors

For my daughter's 2nd birthday, I wanted to make something special for each party guest. I have seen crayon rolls at craft sales and totally knew I could make them myself. So I just googled them and found lots of tutorials. I took my favorite parts from 2 different blogs (Make It & Love It and The Pleated Poppy) and whipped up a few.

I looked for some Disney fabric to go along with our Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme (see full party post here), but couldn't find exactly what I wanted. There were several Mickey fabrics to be found, but the only Minnie fabric I could find was either flannel or fleece. I wanted plain cotton. So I just went a basic boy/girl route with some cute fabric I found at - where else? - Hobby Lobby. And of course, they had great coordinating themes. Besides, maybe the other kiddos aren't ultra-MMC fans like we are at out house.

Here's how they turned out:

 For the girls - pink butterflies!

 All rolled up.

For the boys - robots and stripes.

I like the ribbon ties I've seen on some crayon rolls, but since these were being given to 2 year olds, I thought they stood a better chance of looping a hair elastic around a big button. I've never seen a toddler tie a bow! These were super easy to make, and since I made 4 of each, the assembly line process made them go pretty quickly.
Right now we are trying to get Annelise's bedroom transformed from nursery to big girl room. But for some reason, my husband keeps injuring himself. He got a pinched nerve in one shoulder over Thanksgiving, and as soon as he was over that, he got a bruised rib near the other shoulder playing flag football last weekend. He's not up for rearranging furniture. So now we are waiting on some college guys from our church to come over and give us a hand. One of these days! I really wanted to get her in her big girl bed earlier this month to give her lots of transition time before the baby comes (mid February), but at this point we will just have to go with it.

Anyway, I hope to have some posts soon about how cute her new big girl room is. Just don't hold your breath!

In the meantime, I have packages to wrap, one more Christmas gift to sew (for Annelise, of course!), a stocking to finish (2 1/2 years in the making), a house to clean, groceries to buy, and cooking to do. What? There are only 3 days until Christmas? I'd better get busy.

Happy crafting,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - 2nd Birthday Party

My daughter's 2nd birthday was earlier this month, and the theme was soooo easy to choose. Her favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She asks every morning if it's time for Mickey yet. We had all the grandparents, 2 aunts & a cousin, and 4 little friends at our house for quite a fun morning. Here's a little taste of it all...


(Aaaargh! I cannot figure out how to rotate a pic when it uploads wrong. It was the right direction in my browser. Anyone have a tip?)

Straw sippies for the kids with milk or juice. Water for the grown-ups with an assortment of Crystal Light singles to mix in.

Recipe idea from Disney Junior website. Big hit with the kiddos! (We also had regular pizza for the grown-ups.)

Decorated using template from Disney Junior.

I forgot to take the picture before most of the kids left - there were a few more bags and ears. I made the ears from craft foam using a template from - where else? - Disney Junior. The favor bags included MMC coloring pages from Disney Junior, fruit snacks, a Mickey sticker sheet, and a crayon roll that I made (will post about soon). The kids also got to take their ears home. I got the Toodles clip art from Momma Did It.

Here are some pics of Annelise enjoying her party:

Taking it all in. She's wearing the Minnie Mouse costume I made her for Halloween.

Enjoying her food. Such a little lady!

Finally got her Minnie ears on her for a few minutes while she was distracted by all the presents!

Think she's ready for cake?

The proper way to eat your cake when you're a 2 year old! (At least she's using a fork instead of her hands. That's the bright side, right?)

All in all, Annelise had a great time at her party. Hope you enjoyed taking a peek at our festivities.

Happy crafting,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Boutique Style at a Walmart Price

A few months ago, I was given a sewing pattern by my MOPS director, Nicole. It's a super easy pattern to follow, but looks just like some of those pricey but precious outfits you see in boutiques. I thought it would be great for a Christmas outfit. You could expect to spend $50 or more for an outfit like this, but I spent less than $15 - with fabric on sale from Hobby Lobby, of course!

Here's the pattern, #2171 from Simplicity:
The pattern pictures show this as a summer outfit with cropped pants, but it was pretty simple to add a couple of inches to the pant length (before adding the ruffle) to make this work for "winter." (We're in Texas, you know!)

Here's a little tip when sewing pants that don't have a clear front or back:
Oh, it's so annoying when pics don't upload the right direction. Anyway, if you tilt your head to the side, you can see what I did. Before you fold over and stitch your elastic casing at the waist, use a tiny zig zag stitch (about 1/2" long) right at the back. Now when you dress your child, it's easy to tell which side of the pants go in the back. My husband really appreciates this trick!

Here's the finished outfit:

And here it is in action:

And the shot we used for our Christmas card this year:

Merry Christmas, and Happy Crafting,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quick - It's Almost Thanksgiving!!!

So I just realized this week that my daughter has nothing to wear for Thanksgiving. How can that be? We always have something for a holiday. I'm going to claim pregnancy brain on this one. But today, the problem was solved. I headed to Hobby Lobby (cue the angels!) with plans to make something elaborate (silly me). Instead, I stumbled upon some fall napkins that were surprisingly the same size as a bandana. Oh, yeah! I know exactly what to do with those!!!

Here's what I got...
 The bandana-sized napkins were $1 each (on sale!), the ribbon was $2 (on sale!), and the 1/3 yard of yellow fabric was $1.63 (on sale!).

 Here's what I made with my $4.63 purchase during my daughter's nap today...

I basically followed the same steps for a bandana dress (like here), but I added a ruffle at the bottom. I thought all that brown needed some brightness.

I cut two 4" strips of the yellow across the width of fabric.

Then I stitched the ends to form a large circle and folded the circle in half, matching the raw edges and pressing the crease.

Next I serged the raw edges (you could also use pinking shears or a zig zag stitch) and put in two lines of gathering stitches. I probably should have used matching thread for gathering, but I was lazy and didn't want to go upstairs to look for some!

I matched the ruffle edge to the outside of the dress hem, pulled up the gathering threads, pinned it in place, then stitched it down. I also topstitched the dress hem to help the ruffle stay down.

Hope you all have something cute for your cutie to wear the rest of November. But if you have a girl that needs something quick, run to Hobby Lobby. They also had a napkin that was brown with yellow and orange owls all over.

Happy crafting!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Minnie Mouse, aka Princess Annelise

Well, I finished my daughter's Halloween costume about 10 days before Oct 31, but never got around to taking pictures of her in it. I'm blaming it all on hot weather, then a mosquito epidemic, then cold (Houston's version) weather, trips to the zoo, housecleaning, and life in general. Our Fall Festival was last night at church, and that's where I finally got some pics of Annelise in her costume. But first, here's a look at the Minnie Mouse dress NOT on the wiggly, energetic toddler.

The pattern I used is Simplicity 2989 (from their inspired by Project Runway line). It has lots of sleeve, neck, and skirt options. This was the only toddler dress pattern I could find with a collar. All the fabric and the heart applique are from JoAnn's. I could have bought a Minnie dress online for $30-40, but I made this one for maybe $15 total (and didn't pay shipping!). I wanted to use a shiny fabric, but didn't find any in pink with polka dots, so I used cotton instead. The upside is I can wash it with no worries.

 I modeled this dress after the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse version of Minnie, who always wears pink. That's my daughter's favorite show, so it was an easy choice. Minnie's medallion on the show is an oval, but all I could find that was similar enough was this heart. Just as cute, I think!

The underskirt has 6 inches of gathered tulle, which makes the skirt stand out a bit.

And what does Annelise look like in her costume? Here she is at our church's fall festival.
 Not too sure about the whole affair. Also, the whole way over in the car, she insisted she was Princess Ah-na-neese (her pronunciation) and not Minnie Mouse!

Hey, why did you put these on my head?

A rare smile! I think she was more excited about the zebra and giraffe behind her (Noah's Ark theme, you know).

Am I done with these now? (And she was!)

And this year I joined in the costume fun - pretty sure this is my first Halloween costume since I was in junior high! I got the idea yesterday around 2:30 pm from the Creating Keepsakes magazine staff. They all had beauty queen names and posted pics on facebook. One pregnant lady had Miss Conception for her sash, and I knew the shoe (er, sash) fit! So I went through my craft stash and whipped up my own version. I think the kids just thought I was weird, but the adults seemed to enjoy the joke.

Now that Halloween is over and it's November, I guess it's time for Christmas crafting. I still have to finish Annelise's Christmas stocking (which I started when I was pregnant with her in 2009). This is her 3rd Christmas, and the pressure is on to finish. I would also like to make a new tree skirt this year. And I have exactly one month to finish planning her 2nd birthday party and decorate her new "big girl" room. I could go on about things I have to do/want to make, but I'm going to stop there. Gotta get busy crafting!!!

Happy crafting to you,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Labor of Love

In mid-May, I started a dress for Annelise that I thought would be the perfect little summer dress for her. Little did I know I would get pregnant about a week later and spend the next 3 months taking a nap every afternoon. That left little to no crafting time for me!

Fast forward FIVE months, and I finally finished the dress. "Lucky" for us, it was still in the high 80's this past Sunday, and Annelise could finally wear the sleeveless dress I made. Here she is...

 The front. And no, the empty cable spool and Daddy's mini maglite were not planned props. I just caught her being kind of still and took advantage of the moment. This little girl is almost always moving!

 The back.

The dress without a wiggle-worm inside!

 Here are the supplies I started with in May. I think the gingham is from Hobby Lobby, the white cotton from Joann's, the buttons from Walmart, and the other things you could find at any craft/fabric store. (I've slept a few times since May and do not completely remember every shopping trip 5 months ago!!!) I also remembered AFTER I finished the dress that I had planned to use black piping between the bodice and skirt and between the skirt and bottom skirt band. Oh well.

I decided to try an old (but new-to-me) technique called chicken scratch. It's basically just like cross-stitch, but on gingham. I've done lots of cross-stitch, so I thought this would be a breeze. Well, it would have been if I hadn't napped every day for an entire trimester. I found several tutorials online, and used the pattern I found at Stitch School. I will probably use this technique again, but in much smaller doses and not when I'm prenant!

I also had to make a matching hair clip and found instructions for this cute little flower at With My Spare Time. It was very easy!

If you haven't heard, the mosquitoes in Houston have been horrendous this weekend (all the store have sold out of sprays, etc.) so I haven't been able to have a photo shoot of Annelise's Minnie Mouse Halloween costume. The little pests seem to finally be backing off today (and all her bites are finally clearing up), so maybe I can get her suited up and snap some pics in a day or two. Until then...

Happy crafting,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Minnie Ears

Well, if that's not a big enough clue to what my daughter will be dressing as for Halloween, I don't know what is! Yep, she's going to be Minnie Mouse. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has been her favorite show for months, so Minnie was a no-brainer for me. Her birthday theme (in December) will be Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so she may be wearing the costume then, too. I just finished the dress, so I'll hopefully be sharing that soon, but I don't have pics of Annelise in it yet.

The mouse ears were pretty easy to make. They took about an hour and about $4.00 (all supplies from Hobby Lobby, of course!). I mostly followed the tutorial on The Suburban Mom, and got a free ears template on the Disney Junior website (they have a lot of fun crafts & recipes, too).

As soon as Annelise got up from her nap and saw the ears, she wanted to put them on. Hopefully she won't destroy them before Oct 31. I'm also planning to make a few more sets for the kids at her birthday party, but I think they will all be out of plain black felt. The birthday girl should be the only one with the sparkly pair, right?

Happy crafting,