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Monday, November 30, 2009

Decking the Halls

Are you looking for the drawing? Click here and then enter until Saturday at midnight. I made the above postcard on Saturday at my fun quilt class. Apparently, there's a whole group of people who love to make these things and then send them through the mail. Okay, I've been skeptical, but it was fun. But after four hours of working on it, I would never send it through the mail. Nope. It will grace my mantel. I might be persuaded to make one for a giveaway someday.
You are all invited to Creations Gallery's second annual Christmas Open House. It's from 9-5 on Saturday at 478 N Franklin in Colby. Here's all the info: Sorry! I don't have a scanner and this is the clearest picture I could get of the postcard.

In honor of the Open House, I'm sewing like a mad woman. Can you see the smoking sewing machine from your house? Here's my new thing, thanks to my Mama who told me this is all the rage. Matching aprons for little girls and American Girl sized dolls. We don't happen to have one of those dolls, so here is the best I could come up with. Sure to look better on the right kind of doll. The fabric in this particular set is Tina Givens and Anna Griffin.I hope to have five sets by Saturday. Along with five dozen cookies for a charity cookie thing that day. And lots of custom orders. My list seems to be growing! Anna keeps reminding me of her wishes. The last I heard, Barbie clothes, a pink furry robe (that one's done), and a very specific apron, hat, and oven mitts. I keep telling her she already has an apron, but she seems to be winning this battle.

Oh, we're decking the halls around here too. Had a really nice day last Friday and Todd helped me put up all the lights outside. Bless him. I take any offer of help. The girls and I got busy on the inside yesterday. The boys (big one and little one) were off harvesting corn. My little Nathan lives for the two harvest times each year. It has dragged on and on this year because it's been so wet. He hasn't minded at all. The first 5 1/2 years we lived here were a terrible drought. There were community prayer rallies for rain. Rain was worth about a dollar a drop back then. Then in December 2006, it blizzarded. And then again and again and again. We were stuck on our farm the whole winter. Ever since, it's been pretty wet. But this year was exceptional. If it wasn't for the three hail storms, our corn would have been exceptional as well. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Here is my favorite Christmas thing. It's a leaded crystal nativity from Princess House. I got it years ago. I love how Christmas lights shine through it.

And here is one of our trees. Yeah, I go overboard at Christmas time. Just LOVE to hit those after Christmas sales for ornaments and what-not. Everything on this tree is glass. Somehow I was blessed with children who have never, ever messed with my ornaments. Don't ask me how. My cousin has a little boy that pulls the actual tree down. And mine don't touch. Just look. Don't get me wrong -- they're not usually this well behaved!

Hope you're full of the spirit of the season.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

100th Post! Moda Bake Shop!

I am humbled and honored to be the newest member of the Moda Bake Shop design team. It is such a big deal to me. Ooh-la-la! Here are several pictures of my Chez Moi Hunky Dory jelly roll child's apron, chef's hat and play oven mitts. Don't you let your child near an oven with them, now. They're just for fun.

Best of all, you can win one complete set just for leaving me a comment. Want a better chance? Sign up as a follower for an extra vote! PLUS, it's my 100th post!!! So for second prize, I'm giving a gift box of goodies from my mortar and brick store in Colby, Kansas, called Creations Gallery. So many nice things by so many talented individuals there. Third prize will be some fabric from my personal, extensive stash. Thank you to everyone who has been my friend for the first 100. Thank you to all of you who will be in the future. I can't believe I'm already at 100 posts! And if you don't win, at least you can still make this yourself. The instructions are all there over on Moda Bake Shop.

I'm drawing on Sunday, December 6. Make sure you sign up by midnight on the 5th.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Love, xoxo

Friday, November 27, 2009

99th Post and Thanksgiving Rewind

Here is a picture of our Thanksgiving feast. I brined the turkey overnight in salt, brown sugar, lemon and oranges. Then I chopped up fresh rosemary and oregano and garlic, mixed it with olive oil and put it under the skin. The turkey was so good. My little Nathan has been so sick, so we were home alone. I made so much food. We were all stuffed. Emilie, age 2, said she was thankful for, "Jee-us." That melted my heart.
I thought I'd give you all an idea for leftovers. I made a lovely soup for lunch today. Here are the ingredients: some turkey, roasted potatoes, a little bit of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and some stuffing. I made a roux from flour and olive oil and a little bit of broth I made from the turkey yesterday. Then I added water and all the below ingredients, brought it to a boil and then let it simmer. It was so good. Except Todd didn't appreciate the stuffing and I thought I snuck it in there better than I did.

Here's the picture of the finished soup. Oh and the rolls that the girls and I made Wednesday.

Love, xoxo

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Exciting News Coming -- Sneak Peek!

Do you remember I told you I have very exciting news? Well, it's coming very soon! Here is a sneak peek. I don't think it gives too much away. I blurred it on purpose. It will coincide with my 100th post and big giveaway. This is post 98! Stay tuned . . .

Have a happy, safe and blessed Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for so much -- my God, Jesus and His sacrifice, my family near and far, my house and our little town.


Monday, November 23, 2009

A Few Good Aprons

I made a few new aprons for the party at my house yesterday (which was fun, by the way.) Anna took the top picture and Nathan took this one underneath.

Here's Emilie in a fun snowflakey one.

And, last but not least, my new sewing machine!!!! It's a Brother NX650Q. I love it although we are still getting used to each other.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This is my 97th post. My 100th is just around the corner. Get ready for a big giveaway!
Most of all, think of what you're really thankful for. Take a few minutes and really think about it.
Love, Melissa

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas Shopping Time

If you're in town, come on over. Also featuring Jockey for Women and Double M Design jewelry. It's sure to be fun.

Here are the dining room draperies I designed for a client. (remember the placemats?) I hung them on Nathan's window because they are about the same width. Hers is a little taller.

This is what Anna picked out to wear to preschool yesterday. I couldn't make this stuff up. I usually pick my battles carefully and didn't even start on this. Maybe she'll be a clothing designer someday, although she says hair cutter. She has cut her own hair four or five times since age 2.

Nathan's been building lately. Anything that can be built, he does it. Legos, Lincoln Logs, wooden blocks, Duplos, Gears, Connex, you name it. My brother's an architect. It's in the genes.

Here is Emilie around her second birthday and here is the Mattel walk and giggle doll. Coincidence? Or did they read my blog? Ha ha!
Love, Melissa

Monday, November 16, 2009

Snowy Days

As you can tell, I've been playing with my blog. Hope you like it, and I really hope it's easier to read. It seems like the font didn't show up very well on some people's computers. Well all the old farmers who have been saying we would have a hard and early winter since early last summer were right. You know the ones who swear by the Farmers Almanac. Anyway, we have had our third snow storm of the year. Luckily it has only lasted a day or so and then melted each time. Anna says it looks like Christmas. Maybe we will have a white Christmas.

Here's my snow dog, Starla. Poor thing. I never want to give her a haircut this late in the season, but maybe a little trim around the eyes is in order.

For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 108:4-5

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hold-it-All Clutch Tutorial

Here it is. My first ever tutorial. Try it out and tell me what you think!

You will need:
assorted fabric scraps
Pellon 809 Decor Bond Fusible Interfacing
magnetic snap or other closure
2 four inch pieces of ribbon, ricrac or other decorative trim
2 - 1 3/4 inch pieces of 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch wide elastic

The first step is to choose a few fabrics for this handy dandy clutch. You can pick anywhere from one fabric to twelve fabrics and anything in between. Many people have told me they agonize over fabric decisions. But this is the fun part. Pull out what you have and play with it. If it doesn't work, you can always take it out.

Now that you've chosen a few fabrics, it's time to cut. Take your choice of outer fabric and cut it 8 1/2 inches by 10".

From the same or a different fabric, cut a 2 1/2" by 8" piece for the closing tab that holds the magnetic snap.

2- 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 pieces as the background of the inside
3 - 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 pieces to hold credit cards
1 - 6 x 8 1/2 piece for pocket in front of credit card holders
1 - 7 x 8 1/2 piece for checkbook holder
1 - 8 x 9 piece for center divider
1 - 7 x 8 piece for cash pocket in the center divider
1 - 6 1/2 x 8 piece for register holder of center divider

This is a good project to use up any home dec weight fabric you might have hanging around. Cut interfacing for all pieces that are not home dec weight. You may choose not to line the credit card holder pieces as this makes it easier to remove the cards. It also makes it possible for these to hold more than one credit card. Even if you use home dec weight fabric on the front, I would go ahead and line it. Iron it on with a hot iron.

Now iron some of your cut-outs in half: the three 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 pieces which will hold credit cards, the 8 1/2 by 6 pocket, the 8 1/2 x 7 checkbook holder, the 8 x 9 center piece, the 8 x 6 1/2 register holder, and the 8 x 7 cash pocket. Make sure all the pieces containing 8 1/2 inch measurements are folded so that they are still 8 1/2 inches after pressing. Make sure the pieces with 8 inch measurements are folded so that they are still 8 inches after pressing.

Take the piece you have designated as the register holder (8 x 6 1/2). With right sides together, sew a 3/8 inch seam down the raw edges. Then turn it right-side out and press.

Now working with your center divider (8 x 9), open it up, but make sure you can still see where you have ironed the half line down the center. Place the seam of you register holder an eight inch under this line. Take your two four inch pieces of ribbon (or ricrac or trim), and fold the top edge of the ribbon underneath the register holder a little bit. The ribbon should be about two inches in from each side. Pin in place and then sew across the entire top edge of the register holder, with a scant 1/8" seam.

Place the cash pocket (8 x 7) on the other end of the center divider, folded in half with the WRONG sides together and the raw edges all lined up across the bottom of the center divider. Fold the divider in half, right sides together. Everything will be contained on the inside of this sandwich: the register holder on one side, the cash pocket on the other AND the center divider will enclose these two like an envelope. Position the other two ends of the ribbons about two inches down from the center fold and sew a 3/8 inch seam down both sides.

Trim the ribbon and turn the whole conglomeration inside out. Press. It should look something like this with the register holder on the other side. Set aside.

Layer each credit card pocket on top of a background piece with the folded center facing up. You should line the first piece 3/4 inches from the top. Sew across the bottom of the pocket.

Layer the next one 1/2 inch below the first pocket and sew across the bottom of it.

Do this yet a third time. Then mark the center of your credit card holders ( 4 1/4 inches) and sew down the middle of the pockets, from top to bottom. I recommend sewing over this seam 2 or 3 times to reinforce it.

Pin your extra bottom pocket on (good for holding coupons), making the raw edges even with the bottom of this part. Set aside.

Similarly, align your checkbook pocket with the bottom of the other background piece and pin in place. Then take the 2 elastic pieces and fold into a circle like this.

Sew across just the top end of the elastic, catching both ends and leaving a nice loop to hold a pen. These should be placed in the center of this background piece, 1/2 inch from the top and about 3 inches apart. As you can see in this picture, mine are four inches apart, and a bit too far for most pens.

Layer all three pieces together as shown in this picture. First a background piece, then the center divider and finally the other background piece. The right sides should be together. Make sure they are all turned the right direction! Sew a 3/8 " seam across this area where all three come together. Open it up and take a good look around. If everything was sewn together, great! If not, make the seam just a little bit bigger. Once you're happy with how everything has come together, reinforce this seam by sewing over it two or three more times. Then trim this seam to 1/4 inch.

At this point, it should look something like a wallet.

Take your cover piece and place over the inside of your wallet, right sides together. Sew around three sides of the wallet, leaving the end with the credit card holders open.

This can be very bulky. You may need to sew partially around and then take it from the sewing machine, reach inside, and push the center divider to the other half in order to reduce bulk. I suggest sewing around this at least twice as well.

Flip it right sides out and press. Almost finished!

Now take the 2 1/2 inch by 8 inch strip and cut it into 2 four inch strips. Holding them together, cut a little curve on one end.

Choose which piece will be the top of your closure and insert the male end of the magnetic snap at the end of the OTHER piece. Pin the two pieces together, right sides together, and sew 1/4 inch seam all around three sides (not the straight short end). Turn it inside out and top stitch 1/8 inch around the whole thing.

Place the tab into the open end above the credit card holder, measuring to the center. Fold it over to mark where the female end of the magnetic snap goes. Place the snap just a little above this point to account for the bulk of everything you put into the wallet. Not more than 1/2 inch above this marked point.

Now, if you placed your first credit card holder 3/4 inch from the top, as I said earlier, but not as I did, this step will be easy. Pin the tab in the center of the wallet and stitch across the top of the wallet two or three times. Additionally, you may want to stitch all the way around your wallet, 1/8 inch. Once again, you may have trouble with the center divider and moving it to the other side may help with this step. Another option would be to use your zipper foot.

You did it! Enjoy your beautiful wallet/ clutch.

Contact me with any questions!

Love, Melissa
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