Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Me-Ma's Nativity Scene Disaster

I just love it when I have a camera at my disposal, at just the right moment.... In this case, my pesky cell phone came in handy that day.....

Here is how it went down....

Something happened here. There is a logical explanation that a shepperd is dangling precariously from the edge. (The sheep lying there on it's side reminds me of that Little House on The Prairie episode where those bad guys sold the tainted sheep meat and made everyone sick.) One wise man fell face first- the other passed out and fell straight back. Never mind the fact that there is a wise man buried in the hay. Yet, the angel watches over them all......

Like I said before, this poor guy is doomed to fall to an uncertain death, I would suppose. That poor sheep to his left, is gnarled and mangled.

This explains a lot......

Caught in the act huh? Trying to hide your guilt are you?

How can you be so relaxed when that poor shepperd is in peril, the cow is being suffocated, Mary is trembling in fear, and baby Jesus and Joseph are missing altogether?

You don't care do you "Foot Kitty"?

Oh well, I guess you know where it's warm and comfy- in a manger. As long as Me-Ma doesn't care, I don't either. I'm just glad you allowed me to photograph the entire thing......

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Their's, MINE, and Ours- Christmas At Grandma's House

We had a good time at grandma and papa's house. At some point, there are two young folks that can bet their bottom dollar that embarrassing photos will show up on the internet of them. Oh, wait, why not start today? Hee, hee, hee......

This is the best photo that my camera took on Christmas Eve. The rest, I think, had a finger print on the lens and the ISO was changed behind my back. (What is ISO anyway?)

Here is an empty plate. I think it had previously been full of grandma's homemade pineapple cake. You reckon' it was good or something?

My father in law has a sense of humor if you didn't already know. All of the cups were labeled with every one's names so there would be no wasting. He got the job of labeling the cups this year. He labeled his own- while displaying his sense of humor. I think we all will never forget, that if we come across a cup that simply says, MINE. It belongs to my father in law.

This is the last minute gift making that I did on Christmas Eve between the festivities. It is a scarf for my niece's fiance, Gray Lee (that's his nick name folks). I think he likes gray but maybe brown would do this one time.

At any given time in the kitchen, these two could be found hugging Dr.Pepper bottles. I caught them in the act here. Hmmm, I bet this photo might turn up on Facebook some time soon......

In addition to drawing names, we each brought gag gifts to open this year. I just had to snap this photo of what Uncle Phillip received. In case you are wondering, I played the safe route and gave a nicely wrapped box with a dead battery in it. Inside was a note that said, "Toy not Included". Next year, I'm planning on making some kind of kit to take with you into nasty gas station bathrooms- hand sanitizer, toilet paper, seat cover, cross word puzzle, newspaper- you get the picture. It's all going to be in it's own handy, dandy tote. I'm sure that will be another story in it's self!

Once we opened gifts, these two were caught enjoying their gifts. Notice the guy on the right- he is busy counting and planning an assault on the nearest department store the day after Christmas.

At one point, I looked down from my frantic knitting, and saw these two characters at my feet. I think they are Wicket and Yoda. They are in a heavy discussion- that or a fight with a stick and a light saber.

The Dr. Pepper twins were at it again during the gift opening. Those two cousins have done some crazy things throughout the years. I guess we can just add the coveting of the Dr. Peppers as another one of those crazy things.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from My House to Yours

Remember the reason for the season

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Winter Weather that Was....and Wasn't

Well, this is what we woke up to Saturday morning- a light dusting of sleet. Hey, it was enough to cause pandemonium in the south I tell you! Just up the road about 10 minutes away, I'm told it was a winter wonderland of snow. Just yesterday (Sunday), I passed two cars in the road that were covered in the melting white stuff. Here are a few pictures of what we saw when we looked out the windows....

This is the front walkway- complete with the magic tricycle. I say magic because if you saw what 8, 9, and 10 year old boys did with this thing, you would realize that it's a miracle that the poor thing is still in one piece. The 5 year old that rides this thing has to listen to the constant pops and creaks that her brother and neighbors caused. Maybe Santa will do something to fix that little problem.

Not much to see but you can tell it was cold....

This is the view out the back door. I'd imagine there was quite a bit more of this sleet before daybreak. Do you see Melvin, the tree spirit, in the right hand side of the photo. He got so cold, his nose started running again- just like last year.

The last thing I heard was that we were to get more frozen stuff Christmas Eve- I don't believe it though. This is the south- we don't get frozen stuff on Christmas. You know how it is, the weather men get too excited and start wanting to predict frozen stuff every week....either that or the grocery stores are in cahoots (is that a word?) with them and want to make some extra sales or something.... makes you wonder.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Handmade Sleet Balls

Yes, freezing precipitation has arrived in my neck of the woods. The public schools let out at 12:30 from what I'm told. I knew it would happen, but, I was not prepared for what would happen INSIDE my house during the winter storm. I wasn't prepared for the droves of children stomping muddy sleet prints through the kitchen and across the living room carpet while simultaneously begging for hot chocolate. I wasn't prepared for mine, and the neighborhood children, begging for hats, gloves, and coats- ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I wasn't prepared for "SLEET BALLS" being pelted at every door and window either.

Speaking of "Sleet Balls", I have personally determined that sleet balls are more evil than snow balls for sleet balls can house any number of foreign objects and mostly, MUD!

One of the many "sleet balls" I encountered on or near the front porch.

The good thing (and boy, howdy, am I lucky) the neighborhood kids all like me or else I would have been a "goner "when I stepped outside to take a few pictures. Thank goodness that they all value the hand that feeds them all!

The winter storm isn't over yet so I'm sure I'll be steam cleaning tomorrow and the next day, and the next day, and the next day- you get the picture! The main thing is, the kiddos are having fun (even though I'm overwhelmed at the impending house cleaning) and they are safe.

Hey, this is the south. Frozen stuff doesn't happen very often so we have to enjoy it while we can! The weather man is predicting snow on Christmas Eve. Can you believe that? I'll believe it when I see it. In all of my years, I've never known snow on Christmas Eve or Day. If the weather man proves himself right, things might get interesting!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Barbie and the Sugar Ants

Why is it, that when Christmas comes rolling around, that time starts to speed up? I know it's that way for everyone- everyone just doesn't talk about it much. THEY DON'T HAVE TIME!!

Can you tell I'm a bit overwhelmed lately?

I've missed blogging about so many crazy things that have came across my daily path- simply because I didn't have a camera at hand or my memory failed me. Believe me, if I started a series of "What I found on my kitchen floor today", you would laugh until you couldn't breathe. For example, this morning there was the torso of a decapitated Barbie doll with chocolate syrup splatters all around. Yes, I know what you are thinking, that one deserved a quick trip to find the camera. I was too worried about mopping the mess up before the sugar ants got a whiff of the syrup! Maybe one of those days I'll start that little series. I'm sure I would find something worthy of a good laugh at least once a week, on my kitchen floor....

Speaking of sugar ants (and yes, I know they have another name but I'm a polite person), Scott has been going crazy with trying to find out how the little boogers are finding their way into the food pantry. Why, he has virtually caulked every nook and cranny there is to find in that cabinet. We probably have the most air tight pantry around! They still managed to "appear" mysteriously and attack the lid to the honey jar (no matter how clean it is or tight it was screwed on). I think my poor refrigerator is packed with more pantry staples than the pantry itself. That's the only way we have kept the food safe from the pesky critters. Truthfully, I think they are just angry at me for talking so badly about their cousins the fire ants.

To make a long story short, it took a trip to the attic and a rather shocking discovery of an "ant nest" in the attic to solve our little mystery. So far, since that day, the honey jar is safe once again. I've heard of bees making nests randomly in attics, but ants makings nests is a new one on me. It doesn't surprise me though- weird things tend to happen in our family! Anyway, I'm still paranoid about keeping sweet things cleaned thoroughly to keep the critters away.

School is out now and I plan to enjoy my long awaited free time (is there such a thing for a mom?), so hopefully, I'll be sharing some crazy things with you soon so stay tuned! As for right now, I'm off to find out what happened to the rest of Barbie......

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Done, It's Done, The Quilt Is Done!!!!

On Saturday night, I managed to finished my cousin's quilt. I feel like it was nothing short of a miracle that I was able to finish it but it is over! I know it sounds like I hated sewing the quilt. It wasn't that. It was that Christmas is quickly approaching and I have other things that are distracting me along with my normal activities so it was very hard to stay focused and to squeeze in the time to finish. I had given myself 2 weeks to get it done. I made it in exactly 2 weeks. I only had a slightly cute finger and possibly some carpal tunnel developing from lugging the monster back and forth through my machine but that's ok. I'll live. I am just so very thrilled that it's done!

This is a photo of the "home stretch". I had to move my machine to the kitchen table so I could pull the quilt through and have a large area to work in.

Here it is. I took it to my aunt's house so that my cousin could pick it up the next day. Do you know what? I think they liked it!

It's going to be a long time before I attempt a project of this magnitude again- believe me!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quilt Update #6

I lost count on the exact amount of days that I have been working on the quilt for my cousin and her husband but I'm guessing that I started on November 30th. That would account for the day I washed the fabrics and ironed them. Maybe....

Anyway, I have a total of 12 blocks left to quilt. It's been a long, hard road with a total of 34 in all. I've discovered that I hate the process of quilting. Not assembling a quilt, the quilting part. Why, I hate quilting so much, my sister in law had to quilt the wall quilt I made that hangs on my kitchen wall. (I guess she got tired of seeing it "un-quilted" and offered to quilt it!) Anyway, back to the story at hand... She wasn't around when I started this project or else I would have paid her to quilt this one!

This is what one quilted block looks like so far. Sorry the picture isn't great- there wasn't a lot of light when I snapped this photo.

I do not have a quilting frame (the old timey one in the storage shed doesn't count- it covers an entire room and I have no idea as to how to assemble it in the first place!). I went the "making do" route and used gobs of large safety pins to hold everything "taught" while machine quilting. Thank goodness for huge safety pins!

Here is what the quilt is sizing up to look like so far. I think it turned out pretty nicely considering I only have 2 or 3 more days to finish- that is, to keep up with my 2 week limit I gave myself. My cousin said she has a sleigh bed and her favorite colors are red, burgundy, and gold. I got all of those colors covered and I think that it would look awesome on a sleigh bed, so I hope she will be pleased. We'll just have to see if I can muster up enough strength to lug this monster through the machine for 12 more squares. I managed to finish 6 yesterday so if I can do 6 today, 6 tomorrow, I can put the binding on and Voila! That's the plan at least.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quilt Update #5 and a sick Moe Moe

Awhile back, I introduced you to our goldfish, Moe Moe. Well, Moe Moe took a turn for the worse Sunday morning which prompted us to rush out to Petsmart and get him "doctored up". The good news is that Moe Moe has made a full recovery from, what I think is called, "dropsy"? Let's just say that the poor guy was lying on his tummy on the bottom of the tank.

We took drastic measures and totally cleaned his tank out (finally threw those pesky, pink rocks out) and now he is happy and swimming again. Apparently, there was a lot of nitrates under those rocks (even though we couldn't see any "nastiness") and they were suffocating our poor, beloved fish. You should have seen the scene Sunday morning, two girlies at our house were hysterical (thus the urgent Petsmart visit).

All is well but the massive tank cleaning (and the Christmas parade) made me put off any quilting until today.

I am happy to announce that the blocks are sewn together, the top and bottom are sandwiching the batting and I have machine quilted a total of 7 blocks. I have (I think), 27 more to go. It's not fun pulling a queen sized quilt through the arm of the sewing machine, over and over, and over again. It might take me a few days but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I simply can not wait to give it to my cousin and her husband by next week. I, basically, bit off more than I could chew in such a short time frame. Let's just say that I'm not making any quilts anytime soon- I'm pretty much burned out.

Hopefully, the next time I report back, I'll have some photos of my progress but since I've been doing most of the sewing at night (and all pictures that I take at night are awful), I promise I'll post some as soon as I can.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Quilt Update #4

In case you are just tuning in, I have been documenting my progress of making my cousin and her new husband a quilt for Christmas, as their wedding gift. I'm, kind of, using my blog to keep myself motivated when I'm having one of those "I want to give up" days.

So here is what is going on now:

All of the blocks are finished! I would have done the happy dance if I hadn't been so tired after it all. Yesterday, I purchased 6 yards of material for the back of the quilt (I sure do hope it's enough). Today, I am taking a break from sewing but I find myself thinking constantly about how to lay out the blocks.

Tomorrow will be the day to start the assembly of the quilt. (That is, once I decide on the pattern layout). I don't have a portable quilting frame so this should get interesting. I do have an idea though. I'm thinking that I'm going to put the rows together with the "quilt as you go" method. That way, I have a smaller area to work with and the backing will not get "bunched" up as easily. My next step will be to get a large embroidery hoop to use to keep the sections tight as I pull the massive monster through the machine. If anyone knows of an easier way, please let me know. I'm the queen of making do so I'm going to make this work regardless.

Well, there you have it, tomorrow is the big day of sewing. It feels like I'm coming to the end of a treacherous journey. The only casualty so far is a slight little "nick" from the rotary cutter. Not bad I guess. I hope I get a lot done on the quilt tomorrow.. Wish me luck.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Quilt update #3

7 more blocks are finished and 4 more are started. I stayed up too late. I'm obsessed with finishing this quilt in the next coming week. Today, I'm going to look for the backing fabric and do some calculating to figure out how much I need.

Can I do it? Who knows. I'm not ready to give up.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Backyard Flood and Some More Quilting

We got some rain yesterday. See the right and left sides of the walkway? Mulch used to be there. Now it's out in the side yard.

This is the temporary lake that formed in the bottom of the backyard.

I like to call this the meandering creek that formed through the same part of the backyard. We always thought that a creek would look mighty pretty down there.

Here is the river that was gushing down the hill. This water was coming from our neighbor's backyard (which was in a much worse condition than the lake that formed in our yard.)

The other day, I said that I would hold myself accountable to finishing a Christmas quilt for my cousin and her new husband. Well, I have worked on it now for 4 days. Last night (until after midnight-mind you) I finished a total of 9 more blocks. That brings the total up to 24 blocks now. I was curious at how many more I needed so I laid them out on the floor to get an idea. I figure that I'll need two more columns to finish up. I'd love to add a total of 3 more but I'm running out of some of the fabric and with it being this close to Christmas, I doubt I'll find anymore to match what I have. This is what the blocks look like arranged all the same way.

This is what they look like arranged in a different pattern. I can't make up my mind as to which way I like better. Any ideas? I'd love to hear what you think. The way in the above picture kind of struck me as more "patchwork" looking so I'm kind of leaving towards it. On the other hand, I like the tradition way in the former picture too. See? I'm hopeless when it comes to deciding the best pattern.

Looks like I need a total of 18 more blocks to finish. If I can make 9 more tonight and 9 tomorrow, that leaves me Saturday to buy the backing fabric. I can then start on sandwiching the blocks (I'm going to do the quilt as you go method- hey, I'm running out of time here!). I'll still have to quilt the individual block pieces but I may be able to handle that on the machine. (gulp....maybe)

Best case scenario, I'll have it done in one week. Worst case scenario, I panic with the quilting part and give in and "tie" the quilt together with embroidery floss. I'm hoping I don't have to tie it but that is an option if something happens to keep me from staying on schedule.

Well, there you have it. I sure hope I can pull this off. I'm ahead of schedule so far as I had originally planned to finish at least 6 blocks and so far, I've done more than that, all but one night.

We'll just have to see what happens next!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Critters and Some Accountability

Here is the latest creation to be added to Minnie Maes. This is Ardy Stoorworm. He was born on Black Friday after his brother Rupert found a new home.
I think he has bewitching eyes.....

All the boys in the neighborhood want him for their very own too. I like him so much, I almost hate to add him to the teddy bear tub for safe keeping until he gets that new home.

This adventurous project has been long in waiting. Back in August, my cousin got married. I promised her a quilt. Guess what? I never had time to start it. Well, I have battened down the hatches and I am determined to get her a quilt done BEFORE Christmas! (2 weeks before to be exact). I had no idea as to what she liked as far as "her style" of things so I opted to play it safe and make her a Christmas quilt. She seemed very pleased to hear of that idea so, a Christmas quilt it will be!

I'm going to hold myself accountable for getting this quilt done in two weeks maximum. That's it- no more time than that. I'll be coming back to the blog here from time to time and report my progress.

This might work out pretty well for me because I get obsessive when it comes to making a quilt. I kind of, can't stop until it's done. You know, besides, eating, sleeping, teaching school, and possibly picking up here and there.

It's going to be a log cabin pattern and obviously is made up of various Christmas patterned fabrics.

Here is where it stands now: Day one- fabric was washed, dried, and ironed. Strips were cut of each fabric.
Day Two- 6 of the blocks shown in the photo above were assembled and sewn.
Day Three- 9 blocks were assembled and sewn. More strips of fabric were cut and readied for tomorrow..... (If I can assemble and sew a minimum of 6 blocks per day, I just might make my 2 week deadline to have the quilt finished!)

That brings me to a total of 15- 14" blocks. My cousin has a queen sized bed so I really have no idea how many I'm going to need. (I need to study on that one) All I do know is, that I am going to need a lot of blocks if the entire quilt will be made of blocks. If I run out of momentum and time, I might end up putting borders around each block. So, it's just too early to tell what I'll do at this point. The determining factor will be how far I can go with the cloth I purchased because some of the prints are probably gone from the stores now and I can't run to get more if needed.

I did take a couple of hours to make some extra business card holders, two check book covers, and a new wallet (that still needs a snap- that pesky snap assembly I had, has hidden itself from me!) None of these items are available in my Etsy shop yet- I just can't find the time to photograph them, let alone get them listed. Maybe soon.

The blue flame fabric that Ardy the dragon is made from, gave the impression that a poison dart frog would look nice made from it. Well, here is the poison dart frog. I haven't named him yet but he will have a new name soon if and when I decide to list him at Minnie Maes.

So there you have it- some serious sewing is going on. Stay tuned for updates on the quilt. I'm hoping that holding myself accountable on this blog, will give me inspiration to keep going.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Team SC needs your vote!

The South Carolina Etsy Street Team hosted a November Creative Challenge with the theme of "Celebrating the Holidays". There were 4 entries this month. Please take a moment and visit the Team SC blog and cast your vote for your favorite item.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Minnie Maes participated in the Team SC Holiday Bazaar Recently

On Saturday, November 22nd, I participated in an in-home holiday bazaar at the home of one of my fellow South Carolina Etsy Street Team teammates. I had a great time and it was a great learning experience for me.

This is my display with a lot of my items that I brought

I ran out of time and had hoped to included lots of inexpensive items that children could easily purchase. This basket contains a lot of smaller items that I brought that day that I already had made up.

Here is my box of bears

Everyone that participated that day had a lot of fun and we all are planning on getting together in December to display and sell our items together again as a team. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Baby "Lizzie" Hat

When will things ever slow down? Those bothersome multiplication tables are causing everything at my house to come to a screeching halt some days. The only thing a mama can do is trudge on. Eventually, those times tables will be memorized and this troublesome time will end.

I feel this constant feeling of urgency in the back of my mind that something really big, and really busy, is on the horizon. Oh, yeah, the holidays are approaching! I knew I forgot something. Eeek!

Sometimes in between my Farmville addiction and checking all my "stuff" (as I call it) online, I do manage to snag a free moment or two, here and there. Recently, in my free time, I knitted up this little hat from some spare yarn that I have had for years. Leave it to me to calculate wrong and run out of enough of it to make the entire hat just, plain red. I had to throw a black stripe in there just to make it to the end.
I think it turned out pretty good considering I don't have a baby in the house and don't have any baby showers to attend anytime soon. This little hat will probably end up as my first knitted item at Minnie Maes.

I took this little photo with the assistance of Roly Poly Girl's baby doll. I learned something from this experience. NEVER, I REPEAT, NEVER forget to tell your little girl, ahead of time, that if she sees you with her doll, taking photos of it, it DOES NOT mean that I'm going to sell it on Etsy. Tears were flowing before I even turned around to see what was the matter. Oh, the lesson I learned that day.

Since that day, I announce to the entire house, when I take photos, that if you see me with any strange objects (other than sewn items), I am only borrowing them as props.

The things a mama has to do......

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Team SC is hosting a Holiday Bazaar In the Upstate on November 21st

Local SC artisans are hosting an in-home Holiday Bazaar for your Holiday shopping needs. Handmade items will be on display for viewing and purchase. So get in the spirit of the holidays, support local artisans and give gifts that carry the special love that comes from being handmade.

Bring your friends, neighbors, and family. All attendees will receive one chance to win our door prize, a Holiday Gift Basket of handmade items provided by the artisans. You don’t have to be present for the drawing at 4:00pm. Refreshments will be provided.

Date: Saturday, November 21st
Time: 1:00pm until 4:oopm
Place: 140 Fairway Estates Road, Greer, SC 29651

For driving directions and other details, check out this link.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Halloween, Publix Supermarket, and the Biggest Pile of Leaves I've ever Encountered....

Phew- too much has been going on around here. I'm almost worn out! I did, however, find a minute or two to share some photos again of what's went on lately.

Here is a fairy princess, Snow White, a ninja, and a Victorian princess all about to make their presence known to our unsuspecting elderly neighbors. Look out, Mr. A! They are about to invade! and invade, they did..... Afterward, I was told that Mr. A gave out the coolest chocolate eyeballs around.

I guess by now you are wondering what Publix Supermarket has to do with this Halloween escapade. Some years ago, we discovered that Publix stores let kiddos "Trick or Treat" in each department. (Floral, Pharmacy, Bakery, Deli, Produce, Meat, Service Desk, get the idea.) Guess what, they scored pretty good here. We drove to the next Publix store on our little route and they scored again. Now, how about that?

Halloween came and went. Then the leaves fell off of the trees. The kids took advantage of that opportunity. Scott, packing a leaf blower, helped the situation a little. We even had a couple of neighborhood kids come over and get lost in that pile too. The kids had this goal of making the pile as tall as the gas grill. They accomplished their goal but the leaf pile didn't stay up very long.

Even some big kids got into the act. Hey, H, got some embarrassing video of you too. You just wait- it will surface on the Internet eventually..... mwha, ha, ha......

Now, I bring you to the funniest story in this leaf journey. You know how teenagers like to talk on the phone and "text" constantly. How is this shot for showing how dedicated a teenage boy can be with his texting. What was he saying, "Hey, jumping in leaf pile- text ya' later"?

I just had to include this photo. Do you see it? The dedicated texting teenager triumphantly held his phone out of the leaves to protect it. Such determination and dedication that boy has.....