Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...


The little North elves have been busy decorating for Christmas since the day after Thanksgiving.  While everyone else is out shopping on black Friday, my ever-so-supportive husband is busy bringing the tree in and crawling up in the garage loft scouring for Christmas boxes.  This year the decorating has been extra cheerful thanks to a constant stream of festive music via Pandora.  Oh how I love thee, Pandora Brandon.

I've never been one for "themes" when it comes to Christmas.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good "theme." I've even done them years past, white/ivory, blue/plum, blue/green...but then I got bored and found I didn't want to be limited to a color/metallic scheme when it comes to Christmas.  Silver, gold, plum, red, chartreuse, ivory, white, fuchsia, robins egg, clementine, you are ALL welcome in my home :-)

One thing that is not welcome are strands of lights that don't work...especially when they are on the "pre-lit" tree...

I've replaced the fuses in that strand and it still wont light. Any ideas? Should I just buy a new strand?

Moving on, the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Want to know a little secret? If you don't have stocking hangers and want a quick cheap solution:

This is for you:
1. Put a small nail at an upward angle into your fireplace, and hang your stocking loop on it:

2. Fold about 18" of wired ribbon in the shape of a bow:

3. Tuck your folded ribbon UNDER the stocking loop and in between the nail:

4. Et Voila!

Saint Nick also paid a visit to my kitchen cabinets:
From 201012

I can't tell you how HARD it has been to stick to my to-do list. I've found myself daydreaming about numerous projects that aren't on the list. But I am loving how it is keeping me on track...so next on the list is Christmas Decor pillows. I've got to run, here's a little preview of what's to come:

Oh by the way, we got our family pics back finally. They are featured on our photographer's blog: RachaelNicolePhotography.com/blog Not sure which one will be our Xmas card photo yet, any suggestions?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tangled Thanksgiving

Hey gang!  Hope you're all have a great Thanksgiving weekend.  While Brandon and I prepared dinner, my mom came up and took the girls to see the new Disney movie, "Tangled".  They LOVED it.  Even before they left for the movie they had already added a Rapunzel dress-up outfit to their Christmas lists.  So, when they got back, Grandma had a little surprise for them...

Their very own Rapunzel outfits, braids and all!!

Elle was in her element, as you can see:

Tommy didn't know what to think, but he was enjoying his new haircut:

We celebrated Thanksgiving Thursday, and I hate to brag to all you northerners, but weather was so beautiful that we ate outside.

Khera was busy telling jokes:

Here's a sample for your enjoyment: "What did Polly parrot want for a snack for the 4th of July?"....."A Fire-Cracker!"

Tommy didn't get them.

We made our meal mostly Barefoot Contessa: Turkey Roulade, Gravy, Sausage Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, and it tasted great at the time, but later we all swelled so much, no amount of water could quench our thirst. I knew I over-cooked the turkey a bit when Khera said "Mommy, the turkey kinda tastes like hair!" Thanks for the vivid description K-bear. Good thing the gravy was great...

We practiced "Cheers" a lot:

Both girls had to sit on either side of Grandma:

Khera was kind enough to pose with both of us, she's really gunning for that life-size Buzz Lightyear for Xmas, not a chance sweetheart!

And someone should have posed with T-man, but he didn't care.

Papi was unable to join us this year because he's busy in China certifying aircraft engines, we missed him dearly but are thankful for his employment. He's going to be back for Xmas and has been loading down his sleigh with lots of loot from the streets of Shanghai. Can't wait to see you Dad!! We miss you tons!

We're thankful that throughout this year we've been able to see most of our family and extended family. We're thankful for every one's health and happiness. We're thankful for Brandon's employment, and the beautiful home he's provided.  We're thankful for our parents who brought us into this world, who we no doubt drove crazy, but they loved us anyway, we're reminded of that every day when our kids pull the same tricks we did when we were their age. We're thankful that now they are our children's grandparents who have spoiled our kids with their time, love and loot.

We're both blessed to have such big families, that almost makes us want to add to our clan so they can experience what a gift it is. Almost, but not quite. Our hands are very full right now.  Grandma, Papi, GJ and Bumpa, we salute you.

And now, I've got to go, I've been waiting all year to decorate for Xmas, and now's my chance. Gotta go get crackin' on that to-do list! Love yas, Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crayon Rolls and Play Aprons

I'm new to the blog-world, I wish I would have sought them out a long time ago. I've found a couple blogs that provide me with a great deal of inspiration. They are mostly stay at home moms who love to craft and share their handmade ideas and how-to's with their readers.

This blog's 12 days of handmade Christmas inspired me make crayon rolls for my friends and family's children this year.

To view the tutorial click here.

One of my favorite bloggers, Darby, mom of 3 littles and fellow Chi-O, also shared her picnic blanket tutorial on the 12th day. But that's a rather involved tutorial, and I'm not sure I'll be making one of those anytime soon.

If you're in the mood to craft and want to make something special for friends for Xmas on a teeny budget, Janell from Isabella and Max Rooms Blog posted a great little tray project that is SUPER cute.  Here are some shots of her handiwork:

The rectangular trays are from Michaels, but you can buy ones with handles from Oriental Trading ($14.99/dozen). These are great for bedside tables, a spot for keys/wallets/watches, perfume trays, the possibilities are endless. If you know someone (aaa-hemm, janenorth) who has a lot of paint stashed in the basement you can use, these would make the perfect gift. Did I mention I want one of these? Or maybe 3 of them?

To view this tutorial click here.

I am nowhere near as fabulous a blogger as those I've linked to above, but here's a stab at my first tutorial: Play Aprons.  I'm planning on making these for the girls for Xmas this year--and I'm going to build a stash for the endless birthday parties that we attend each year.

1. Gather Materials needed:
~3 different fabrics that coordinate
~3 yards of ribbon that coordinate with fabric
~Sewing Machine
~White Thread
~Iron and Ironing Board

2. Cut the panels of the apron skirt:
~1 Center Panel 7x11 inches
~2 Side Panels 5x11 inches (using second fabric)
~2 Side Panels 5x11 inches (using third fabric)

3. Layout fabric panels in the order that they will be sewn together.

4. Get the kids busy practicing their cutting skills so you can have a moment to do the rest.

I love how focused they are when I sneaked this shot.

Elle said "We're a wewy busy famiwy mom."

5. Start sewing the panels together using a french seam. This sounds harder than it is, it just hides the seam inside the folds of the panel:
a. Place first 2 panels WRONG sides together and sew an 1/8" seam

b. Open up your panels and iron them.

c. Fold it, RIGHT sides together, and sew a 1/4" seam.

d. Iron the seam down, and top stitch 1/4" from the seam.

e. Now you've completed your first french seam!!!

6. Now repeat those steps for each additional panel until the skirt is completed.

7. Hem the bottom of the skirt by ironing a 1/2" fold at the bottom of the entire skirt.

8. Tuck 1/4" under and sew the entire length of the skirt.

9. Repeat steps 7 & 8 for both sides of the apron.

10. Take your ribbon and fold it in half.

11. Sew one side shut, folding 1/4" of the raw edges under before sewing it down completely.

12. Match up the center of the apron skirt to the center of the ribbon and pin it.

13. I just gather the fabric, tuck it 1/4" inside the ribbon and pin it, there's probably a more professional way of doing this...

14. Do this for the entire skirt.

15. Sew up the open side of the ribbon, this will also encase the top of the skirt.

16. Remove the pins, trim all the loose threads, and VOILA!

17. Give this to a friend's daughter, and go buy the rest from Target! Just kidding...kind of...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What a week

Well, Khera didn't make it back to school until Friday, so we were in the sick house most of this week.  While K and T were under the weather, Elle was busy pulling together some reasonably stylish numbers:

One of the only good things about the kids being sick is the incredibly long, peaceful naps that they take during the day.  It hurts to look into those tired, glossy eyes, wishing I was sick instead and they'd be back to their usual shenanigans.  This week I've been up to a lot of this:

And a little bit of this:

And Khera had a birthday party yesterday, so I dipped into my Xmas gift stash:

By Friday Khera was back at school, just in time for the Thanksgiving Feasts.  Here's a shot of "Galloping Horse" at the feast, making her potato turkey craft:

Elle had her feast also, and we nicknamed her "Sparkling Princess", here she is sporting an outfit from Nana during circle time:

Sorry about the poor image quality, mommy has asked Santa to bring her a new camera for Christmas...
When we got home we met another Indian princess named "Stands with Frown":

And just because I couldn't resist, here's a close up of our new Indian friend:

Of course I don't want to leave Tommy out of this post, but he's been looking extra scraggly lately, he's definitely due for a haircut this week.  Here's a shot of him in our very messy playroom, which is clean now, because the girls cleaned it up last night for a small fee (a few extra minutes before bedtime and a cookie):

Well, that's all for now. I hope you all have a great weekend, and a very Happy Thanksgiving. PEACE!