Thursday, December 30, 2010

A look back...

Well, it's over.

Another Christmas is in the record books.

It was a good one.


A time to just be together.

The Boy was struck with a high fever on Christmas Eve.

We hoped it would break before the big day.

No such luck.

After the adrenaline rush of present opening had worn off, the feeling of ick returned with a mighty force.

We sent The Mr. and The Girl off for Christmas dinner at my brother-in-law's while we sat around on the couch watching Survivorman and eating leftover Thai.

And we were fine with that.

Oh, that quilt? I won it from Larissa a few months back.

I don't often win things. I hit the jackpot with that beauty.

The fever maintained its presence into this week.

His new mountain bike has seemed like a cruel Christmas joke.

Permission to play with one of my new toys has lessened the sting of not being able to ride.

The Girl has been so kind as to share her drums with him as well.

Yes. Drums.

I think I need to write Santa a letter.

The baking is done.

After two weeks of non-stop confection making, you would think we'd have something sweet in this house.

Not so much.

Note to self: hold a few treats back next year and freeze them.

The house has been de-Christmased.

It was time.

The tree looked sad.

Its carcass is currently out in our driveway adding a touch of class to our post-holiday yard.

I am going to miss the lights.

Oh, those lights.

They add something that can't be replicated the rest of the year...

Just one more look before the plug is pulled.

Since the dust has settled, I've been sitting back.

Doing some crochet.

Sewing a bit.

Figuring out the settings and buttons on my other new toy.

Hellz yes. That instruction booklet says it all.

I'm in camera heaven.

Santa was good to me.

He's pretty cute, too.

I guess I'll hold off on writing that letter.

I've been traveling around Blog Land and it looks as if a good time was had by all.

Tomorrow is the eve of a new year.

My mind is full of all that 2010 has bestowed upon me and our family.

We are so blessed.

Through good times and bad, we have each other. We love each other. We drive each other crazy. We make each other laugh. We have each other's back.

I'm ready to face 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Finishing Touches...

Can you believe that tomorrow is the big day?

Holy smokes.

What a festive whirl wind.

The letters have been sent.

Houses have been built.

Peppermint sprinkled on just about everything.

Recipes chosen.

Chocolate melted.

The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy performed.

Cookies baked.

Treats delivered.

Christmas blooms displayed.

More cookies baked.

Gifts made.

Food shared with those who have none.

There are still a few hours left...

There is time to sneak a few more pieces of fudge.

Drink a few more cups of spiced tea.

Make a few more gifts.

Wrap a few more packages.

Watch a few more movies.

Sing a few more carols.

See a few more lights.

Enjoy the season for a little bit longer.

I hope you have the merriest Christmas.

Hugs to you all.

I'll return when the paper is picked up, the toys are assembled, and the Christmas dust settles.

Ho, Ho, Ho, homies!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stockings, Elves, and a Quasi-Tutorial


A key component of Christmas.

We had some stockings, of course.

But they were the lamest of lame.

So I made a bold move and threw them out.


Stockings, no more.

This boxed me into a corner of sorts.

I had no choice.

New stockings would have to be made.

New and improved stockings.

Cool stockings.

Stockings with character.

The process is quite simple.

That's why I consider this a quasi-tutorial. There are no measurements involved.

It's all process.

You do need a pattern. I drew a basic stocking shape on some butcher paper. It should be larger than the intended stocking to account for the seam allowance.

Once you have your pattern drawn, pin it to your fabric. You will need to cut two pieces for the outside and two for the inside. You'll also need two pieces of flannel or batting for the interfacing.

You could use a solid piece of fabric and call it a day.

I chose to do some piecing. This was done by cutting the top of one of the outer stocking sides into strips and inserting different fabric pieces.

I was aiming for wonky. But straight would work just as well.

Stitch the strips together and trim to the size of your other stocking pieces.

Layer a lining piece (right side down), flannel, and an outer piece (right side up).

Pin and baste this little stocking sandwich together allowing for a 1/4" seam allowance.

Quilting is optional.

If you choose to go this route, a walking foot is a must.

I have a mega sewing crush on my walking foot.

Start in the middle of your stocking and quilt out. Then flip it and do the other side.

You will have even stitching with little to no puckering.

Pin the two stocking sandwiches that you basted together, right sides facing.

Sew around the outer edge, just inside the basting line.

Make sure you don't sew across the top!

Unless you want to play a mean joke on your kiddos.

I used my walking foot for this as well to keep the two sides of the stocking even.

Before turning it inside out, clip the curves.

Now for that unsightly top edge.

You'll need some double-fold bias tape. Pin in place along the top edge with the shorter side of the bias tape on the outside of the stocking.

Excuse my non-manicured, gnawed off fingers. I'm not a hand model and it's the middle of basketball season.

Stitch close to the bottom edge all the way around.

My walking foot made for a smoothly applied binding.

This is why I have a crush on a sewing machine attachment.

You'll need to add a loop from which to hang your stocking of awesomeness.

Make a loop with the binding and stitch into place by hand or with the help of your machine.

Reinforce well. You don't want your over-filled stocking to go tumbling to the floor.

I got fancy and decided to add a button to the top of the stocking where the loop and binding were joined.

And with that final bit of sewing, the stockings were ready to hang.

The Girl's...

The Boy's...

The Mr.'s...

...and mine.

All four showcased just in time for nightly elf visits.

You've never heard of elf visits?

Well, for very lucky boys and girls, the elves make nightly visits the week before Christmas. They don't leave anything extravagant: a new box of crayons, some gummie bears, hex bugs and silly bandz. Little things that keep the younger humans from bouncing off the walls those last few days before the big man visits.

The elves are particular when it comes to behavior. There's nothing worse than waking up to check one's stocking and finding it empty.

Less than 48 hours, peeps.

If things are at a fever pitch at your place of celebration, maybe the elves could be of assistance to bring things down a notch.

Or two.