Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Stockings DONE!

Stockings were always my favorite part of Christmas morning. We had to save the stockings for last. We opened all the other gifts, then had to clean up the mess. After that we could get into our stockings.

The stocking always held the most magical gifts. From the practical toothbrush, to the color-changing pens, to the latest cassette tape, and even jewelry as I got older. I love this tradition, its right up there with picking out the Christmas tree.

Fast forward a few years and new family later…we have an ugly mash-up of stockings. I mean real ugly. To top it off, the twins don’t even have stockings. Last year that was okay, they were only 5 months old. (I know, somebody call the Bad Mommy Police STAT!)

I have been wanting to make Christmas stockings for a couple of years now. Just never got ‘round to marking it off my to-do list. This year, we needed proper stockings. And pretty ones.

I found this tutorial from Teal and Lime and fell in love. These were it!

I absolutely adored her color choices, but I don’t want to make stockings again. (Especially after cutting out all those a’s and e’s, if you don’t have kids yet- choose their names wisely. Winking smile) So I choose the timeless red and green, lime green, but green.

I LOVE how they turned out!


My brother also needed stockings, so I added those to the list. This project was fairly simple. It took me some time because I did eight stockings with full first names, but I had them done in a couple of hours. (If you want to get your stockings done quick, just use initials.)

This project was also cheap! Jo-Ann’s had felt-by-the-yard on sale for 2.99 a yard. I bought a yard of each color. I think I have enough red for two more stockings, and a ton of green. Not too bad in my book.

Here’s a question- What can I do with the rest of this felt? I am supposed to be using up my stash, not adding to it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thankful For Huge Messes

I am so thankful for this:


A huge mess? Yes, a huge mess. A huge mess that I have probably picked up about twenty times today. Why am I thankful? It means my little boys are FINALLY feeling back to normal. Thank goodness!

Because this nasty bug has stuck around so long, my Christmas crafting has been put on hold. I have spent naptime debugging, shampooing carpet, trying to catch up on laundry, dishes, clearing a (gate-able) area for the tree, you get the idea.

Today I was able to craft! I’ll post updates later this week, here’s a snippet to hold you over:


Pretty little earrings for the neighbor girls. I think I like the snowman (complete with each girls’ initial) just as much as the earrings. (Note to self: learn to take better photos!) This is my first time ‘wire wrapping’ my earrings. I am in love!

The best part? They are even packaged. (This may be normal for some, but not me. I am usually trying to remember where I stashed the gifts, AND rushing around like a madwoman trying to find and wrap everything on Christmas Eve.)

Are you getting your holiday to-dos done? Or are you in my boat, and had to decide that some things may not get done this year?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Twin Tip Tuesday, Dealing With Sickness


Hubby has been on vacation this past week. Poor guy.

It was actually a ‘staycation’. We had plans to get started, and almost finished on Christmas to-dos.

All started well. Friday Granny was staying with the boys. Our plan was to spend the night away, and go shopping the next day.

The boys were sick within ten minutes from us leaving the house. Luckily mom insisted that she could handle it, and we fully trusted that she could. Even so, it still made shopping harder. I find it very overwhelming to shop during the holidays. On top of the huge mess of people, all the pretty things, and the yummy smells- having two toddlers at home absolutely miserable- OVERWHELMING!

Enough whining about what I didn’t get done (or the ever growing pile of laundry to do).

Twin tip:

The elusive 24 hour bug people talk about, well keep dreaming. By the time Thing 1, Thing 2, and yourself get the bug, well…you do the math. I will spare you the yucky details.

The positive to our flu is my list of “thankfuls”…

I am thankful that A) I am able to stay home with the boys, because this darn flu would have cost so much money in lost wages. B) That hubby was home to help. I am so sorry that this is how he had to spend his hard earned vacation, but I am so thankful that I didn’t have to deal with this bug all by lonesome. C) I am also thankful that we are able to celebrate this season, even though it is not as organized as I had hoped. D) I am thankful for a thoughtful husband who knows I appreciate practical gifts. (The carpet shampooer he bought while we were dating has saved our house from smelling like a barf bag.)

Hope this twin tip helps, just remember 24 hour flu equals 72 hours (at least). Tell your employer I said so. (By the way, the photo was pre-flu. I should have saved my money, because apparently Cheese Puffs taste better off the floor.)

Have any speed-disinfecting tips?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Letting You In, part 5

I was supposed to be studying for exams. I was supposed to be ordering flowers. I was supposed to be to my final dress fitting. I was supposed to be tallying up RSVPs. There was so much that I thought I was supposed to be doing.


Planning a funeral was not one of them.


My creative energies have never been tested so much. This memorial needed to represent my father. I focused on the details, finding jobs to keep the family focused on remembering this great man. I guess this was part of my grieving process.


For instance his urn was a motorcycle gas tank. It was from my little brother’s first motorcycle. Dad had it saved in the garage, “scrapbooked” so he could hold all the precious memories alive. Levi (my brother) meticulously sanded it down, and painted it flat black. One of our favorite memories. Ask dad his favorite color, “flat black,” was always his response. He even went so far as to spray paint an old International pickup truck flat black while mom was sleeping. We then put an ‘In Memory’ decal on his urn.


We had decided to wear jeans, a ‘God’ T-shirt, and dew-wraps. You see, dad lived his life for God. He ministered in a way different from the typical pastoral figure. He ministered through living. He always had on a God shirt. It was typically black, and looked like any other biker T-shirt, until you read it. This always drew questions, in which he was always prepared to answer in an inviting way.


He led and participated in many ministries. He was a “Biker for Christ.” He did prison ministries, helped out at soup kitchens, and went with the church teenagers on their mission trips. He was weeks away from becoming an ‘official’ pastor.


I’ll never forget the first time he preached in front of the church. At the time our church was still ‘traditional.’ Dad stood at the front of the church with a black T-shirt emblazoned with bold white letters; “SATAN SUCKS." This was my dad.


This day he was nervous. To add to this nervousness, he had hecklers! Yes, hecklers AT CHURCH! The old ladies did not like his shirt, one even told him to turn it inside out. His nervousness led to pacing, and a view of the back of his shirt. JESUS SAVES. You could feel the sigh of relief and acceptance as everyone sat back and listened to his message.


Back to his memorial. This was by far the most powerful day of my life. I know in most circumstances, especially ones like ours, people are defeated. Questioning God’s purpose, and even existence. I felt empowered. At the end of the day I knew dad had served his purpose.


The day started out wet. A wet, rainy day; how fitting. There were bikers from all across the country (family, and friends he had made in his ministry) riding to this memorial. And it was raining. Hard.


I’ll never forget standing in the church parking lot that day. The rain had let up, and was barely a drizzle. All of a sudden there was thunder. A loud, continuous, rumble. I think I heard it before anyone else, or at least I had registered what the sound was.


The tears started to flow, rushing down my face like the rain we were wiping from our windshield earlier. My soon-to-be-husband wrapped his arms around me tight as we waited.


The thunder got louder and louder. And here they came. Motorcycle after motorcycle. Pouring in from both directions, merging together in a single file line. Somber faced. Filling the church parking lot. Remembering my father.


To this day, I get butterflies when I hear the familiar rumble rolling down the highway.


The church was packed. The pews were full. The family center, equipped with video feed, was loaded. People were standing everywhere in between. In over thirty years of service, this was the largest turnout the pastor and his wife had ever seen.


The service was so fitting. Upbeat music. Dad’s story. God’s story. An invitation to Christianity.


Towards the end of the service the pastor invited people to ‘tell their story,’ to remember Dave. This is how I know dad served God’s purpose for him. So many people, some I had never met, stood up and shared how dad led them to God. And we only heard from the sanctuary! The family center was just as energized! People came up to me weeks, even months later sharing their story.


That’s it for today. I’m starting to feel like I am rambling. Come back next week to read more of “my story.” Thanks for bearing with me on this challenging trip.


Wondering what’s going on? Here’s part 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stash Crafting, Crossword Decor

You have heard about my hoarding issues. I’m trying to recover, I swear. Here’s my problem; I see a project I want to do, buy the supplies, and there it sits until I have the time. Call me an ambitious crafter. This wouldn’t be so bad except one thing, I forgot what project the supplies were for when I do finally find the time. Does anyone else suffer from craft amnesia?

I bought this Scrabble Turn Tile game at a garage sale two summers ago (er… may have been three summers ago…) I had grand ideas. But I forgot what they were.

While corralling my craft clutter I pulled them out, wanting to make Scrabble gift tags/ornaments like these. But the Turn Tiles are much bigger than regular Scrabble tiles. The gifts would have been at least ten inches long for some names, and that’s using nicknames. I’m looking more for classy, not gaudy. Scratch that idea.

So I started messing around with our kids names, and came up with a crossword style board. Luckily it works for our family’s names. I found a cute piece of scrapbook paper that I think will look decent in our living room once it is painted.

I used glue dots and stuck the tiles to the paper. I found a 12 x 12 frame at Jo-Ann, and used my coupon to get it cheap. I really wanted a shadow box, but knew if I waited until I found one this project would sit in that corner of the room where unfinished projects go to die. So I used two-sided tape, and stuck the whole thing right to the glass. (I may be a bit redneck…)


Some of the paper under the glass is visible(never should have trimmed that scrapbook paper…), but I can fix that if it really bothers me. I figure I’ll leave it as is. Eventually it will get on my nerves and I will find the shadow box.

This project was so quick, just like most of the others on my list. Obviously this is where I need help. I need to find the motivation to just start.

Do you have any quick projects waiting patiently to be finished? If so, go do it! It feels good to mark something off of your to-do list.

See you tomorrow for part 5 of Letting You In.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pinned it, Crocheted it! Am I Too Old For a Slouchy Hat?

I have a huge Pinterest addiction. I am positive that I’m not alone. This turns into a problem for people like me, people with to-do list issues. Like most other pinners, I pin, and then never do…
Well, I can finally mark off a to-do. I had pinned this slouchy hat pattern from Jenn Likes Yarn. (This has been repined over 125 times!) Since this pin was so popular, I decided to go for it.

Here it is, mommy’s totally selfish crochet project:


I used Lion Brand Micro Spun in Turquoise. This is a sport weight yarn, which was thinner than the yarn used in the pattern. I still used the recommended G/5.00 mm hook.

I tend to be a tight crocheter, so I usually have to add an extra row or two of increases. Combine this with the thinner yarn, I made 2 more increase rounds for a total of 88 stitches.

*I did make one mistake. I was worried that the hat was going to be too slouchy for my preference, so when I got closer to the crown, I decreased down to 80 stitches. This resulted in a tighter band. Too tight when I dropped down to the recommended H hook for the brim. I had to pull it out, and continue with the G hook.

This pattern is very well written. If I had used the same yarn used in the pattern, this hat would have been perfect. It is also a quick project. I was finished in a day (a day with twin toddlers), including figuring out additional increases, and ripping out a handful of rounds.

Here’s a problem, my step-daughter and I were watching the Disney channel. These hats were very abundant. (If you are looking for a teen gift, this is it!) This brings me to my question:

Is very-close-to-thirty too old to pull off this trend? (Okay, I know its not too old for most, but I am not a trendy momma.)

Hope your weekend was wonderful!