Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Winter Journals

I joined a Winter Journal swap quite a while ago and to be honest in the midst of all the apron and Christmas Swaps I also joined (what was I thinking!) I'd all but forgotten about it. Monday evening, after I'd gotten all the boxes packed and ready to be picked up, I sat down and started thinking about what I'd like to make for my partner. Thinking leads to going through my papers and my embellishments where I found the FAITH card. It spoke to me as there is so much going on in my life right now that there is little I can do about, except to have faith. I decided to put together a journal for myself and finished it in under an hour. Red, black and white have always been my colors. That still left me without a journal for my swap partner.

Back to my papers and embellishments I went! I pulled several sheets of silvery blues and pearly whites - all colors that reminded me of my Christmas tree. While I was looking for embellishments I remembered some vintage glittered words Murph and I uncovered in an antique/junque store last fall and wondered if I could remember where I had tucked them for safe keeping.
I found them in my sideboard, carefully wrapped in tissue and tied with a string. While I was at the sideboard, I noticed the little bowl of vintage rhinestone buttons (see the first picture) and thought why not!
I put this together, thinking it would be perfect to use this year to "Journal Our Christmas". The ribbon is some that I received from my partner in the Aqua & Red swap. While this is all very nice, it still left me with nothing for my swap partner. So, back to the papers I went.
Finally I came up with this. A very simple Winter Journal with some pearl and sequined flowers along the edge.
I like the idea of a clip on the top to hold a favorite photo, quote, or whatever inspires you to journal.

I have to admit, it felt good to be working with paper, glue, and goodies again! It's so much quicker for me to put together a paper piece than a sewn piece. That almost instant gratification is nice sometimes.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I've Been Busy. . . .

. . . helping Santa get ready for Christmas! My last Christmas swap is ready for the postman to pick up tomorrow. I have two boxes of Christmas cookies and Christmas goodies to send to Bryn in Afghanistan and one box of the same to go to my adopted soldier all ready to go, too.

My sweet little daughter-in-law, Amanda, came over yesterday and we spent the entire day baking cookies! Oh my gosh, dozens and dozens of cookies! Some were frosted, some were rolled in powdered sugar, one batch was bars and one had white chocolate and red cherries. They were lovely and I should have gotten a picture, but I was so busy trying to get everything ready to go, by the time I thought of it, it was too late! I sent some home with Amanda and saved a few for Murph and I, so maybe I'll think to get a picture later.

Our little tree is up, I put it up Saturday and had enough ornaments left over to decorate another little tree! Who knew you didn't need many ornaments to fully load a small tree! Certainly not me!

I hung our stockings this afternoon and have the Nativity ready to put up, just as soon as I decide where I want it.

I've finally decided on how I'm going to "Journal My Christmas" this year! With it just being Murph and I, and with Murph being in the hospital from the 8th - 15th, I'm not going to have as much time or probably as much to write or as many pictures to take, but I still want to document it. Today I put together a nice little composition book that I can put in my purse and carry with me so I can keep my journaling current. Later, after Murph is home and things quiet down, I can go into my studio and put together an album - or not - whichever works best this year!

Maybe some pictures tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Very Vintage Christmas Swap

My partner for 'Very Vintage Christmas' was the hostess, Heidi at Foxgloves, Fabric and Folly. When I received her profile I knew it was a good match, we had similar tastes in many ways. When her package to me arrived, there was little doubt it was indeed, a good match. So many pretty glittery things for my tree and to decorate with, all in shades of turquoise, silver and pearl. They are packaged so pretty, I love the clear little bags, so much so that I still haven't opened them! For now, I'm enjoying them just as they are, the perfect gift!

We decided to buy a smaller tree this year as it's just Murph and I. Since we had a new tree, we decided to go ahead and buy new ornaments as well. A fresh start for Christmas!
See how well the things Heidi picked out for me fit into the things I'd already found? I think it's a perfect blend. Thank you so much Heidi.

Yesterday I had some hand stitching to do on a project I'm making for Christmas. Not long after I'd settled into my chair this is what I found on either side of me!
Brutus all curled up on the dog bed on the left side of my chair and on the right. . . .
Ezra, my fat cat, decided to curl up in Gracie's bed. Gracie didn't mind, she just curled up behind him. I guess Grace doesn't know dogs aren't supposed to like cats. (And yes, Ezra is bigger than Grace!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas in the Kitchen

I hosted my very first swap on Swap-Bot recently, 'Christmas in the Kitchen'. The requirements were to make a handmade apron for your partner and to send it along to her with two of your favorite Christmas cookie recipes and a small holiday themed gift. My Christmas in the Kitchen package arrived Friday.
I was so excited with my apron I tried it on right away and even though no one was home, decided I need to get pictures right then! I love this fabric and look at those pockets! Too cute! (Okay, I will admit to wearing it around the house the rest of the afternoon.)
The ties are long enough to wrap around and be tied in the front, which is my favorite! I have such a time tying things behind me.
Can you see the little wreath appliqué she sewed on the the edge of the pocket? Love that little touch. It says Ho Ho Ho on the other pocket.
For my holiday gift, Pat made me two pot holders that match my apron - I'm gonna look so cute this year when I do my holiday baking! She also sent me the bird in the corner. Click on the picture to get a better look, it's very cool. I need to find a special place for it.

Pat thank you for reading my profile so well and sending me such a great Christmas in the Kitchen package.

And now for a dog photo. . .
The minute I am out of bed in the morning, Brutus jumps in and makes himself comfortable! He asking if I could please light a small fire to take the chill off or at least cover him up with the quilt! I know that's what he's saying!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Bryn's laptop crashed a week before he was to deploy - yes the laptop we bought him last Christmas so he'd have a reliable one to take with him when he deployed! It worked out fine, he got a new one, he shipped the old one home and I dealt with Dell in getting it repaired. The only thing Bryn was concerned about were these photos of his team in training before they left. I can see why.
Do you even recognize that as Bryn? It's a very different look for him. I don't think he's wearing his flip-flops.
Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen him wear this many clothes all at one time before! And he looks so serious! (What happened to his hair?)
This one I recognized as Bryn right away! I think he likes that gun! Wait, maybe I should call it a weapon?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Aqua and Red Swap is Here!

This is without a doubt, the very best swap package I've ever received. My partner was Michele at Country Vintage. It's wrapped so pretty, not only is there aqua and red tissue papers and ribbons, but if you look closely there is even a vintage aqua rhinestone button. I so love vintage rhinestone buttons!

Look at all these wonderful goodies!! I LOVE the milk glass bowl filled with vintage red and aqua ornaments, so much so that I changed my dining room linens and well, I'm getting ahead of myself, you'll see that later! There's a box of clean smelling aqua and cream potpourri in the back, some beautiful aqua and red vintage trims, a box of tea - with a charming picture on the box, a mug filled with peppermint kisses, perfect for my tea. There's even a book to peruse while I enjoy a cuppa! See the bottle on the right? Here's a close up for you, cause you're going to want to get close, I promise you.
Look at this loveliness. Michele made this - just for me! Don't you just love it! And look at the bottom, can you see the red and aqua buttons and beads inside? It is so pretty and looks so nice in my studio!
I was so inspired by my wonderful aqua and red goodies, that I had to change linens in my dining room and all the little things I keep there.
I even found a different scrapbook page to display! While it's not aqua and red, I think the black and red works just fine! I think that chair needs a pillow, I'll work on that this weekend.
I moved my lace and button tree from my studio - I never thought of that before. Bryn bought me those three angels for Christmas a few years ago, they are a favorite.

Such an inspirational box! I so appreciate it and you for putting it together for me. Thank you, Michele.

Friday, November 7, 2008

BMT Graduation - The Album

BMT is Basic Military Training. It was just a little over a year ago that Bryn graduated from BMT. We came home from Texas on 10-30-07. I had taken hundreds of photos (no, I'm not exaggerating) but just wasn't sure how I wanted to present them, what I wanted to use with them. As soon as I saw this kit from Carol Wingert, I knew it was going to be perfect. And it is! I've been adding little touches to this almost daily, I know I'm still not finished, but who knows if I ever will be! So I decided to share this with you today in it's present but evolving state.

The left page is a pocket page. Tucked inside are the photos of the very first time we'd seen Bryn since September 11th! We were all so proud of him - you just can't imagine! We were also thrilled he was the Guidon for his team as it made him so very easy to find.

The page on the right, page 3, is also a pocket page. We went to a San Antonio Spurs game and I've tucked programs and things from that into the page. There are also three photos, I've shown you one below.
These are the photos as they are inside the pocket of page 2 - sorry for the flash. This is the Airmans Run. On the back of each photo (There are 3 in total.) I've journaled. There is a lot of journaling in this book and there's plenty of room for it, too.

This is a close up of one of the photos on the right side page, or page 3.

Page 4 is of the Coin Ceremony. Again, ever so glad Bryn was the Guidon, not only was he easy to find but doesn't he look AwESoME!! The Photo flips up to show another photo on the back with some more journaling.
I actually bought these postcards thinking I would mail them to friends at home, but I didn't have stamps and never found a place to buy them! Sorry Lisa and Lisa! It worked out great because look how nice they look in my book! (I promise I think of you both whenever I see them!) I made a pocket with one and added photos and journaling to the other two and tucked them inside. When you lift this page, this is what's underneath.

There are also photos on the other side of the page on top of this one, but I couldn't hold the camera, the page and keep the dogs at bay! These photos were all taken inside Bryn's barracks.

This is 'page 5', a velcro envelope page where I tucked all the information the Air Force sent us, the brochures and schedules. I am so glad to have a place to keep all these things we collected along the way!
These are pages 6 & 7 and are photos of Bryn's actual graduation from Basic Military Training. I have the journaling written and will tuck it into the two little bags on the right side. Once I'm sure I haven't forgotten anything, that is!
This is page 8, a postcard of The Alamo made into a pocket with the brochure and some photos tucked inside.

The right side is the beginning of a tag/flag book! All kinds of room for more photo's. Here's another look at it opened up:
There are a total of 9 tags, which gave me room for 18 more photos and a little bit of journaling!
And finally we come to the last page, the inside cover. (Again, sorry for the flash!) This is probably one of my most favorite photos of Bryn that weekend! I still need to journal this, but I'm taking my time!

Thank you Carol, for such a wonderful kit! I totally love how this turned out and I had a blast putting it together. I love that I still have room to add things as I find them or think of them, and you know I will!

Also, can you see how this inspired me for the cook's journal I posted earlier? Yes, I put this together first and have been tweeking it ever since!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I need to have a clean studio before I can start new projects, so yesterday I cleaned and organized. It's so easy to let things pile up on the chest or in the magazine rack - anyplace actually. I'm too distracted when it's a mess to get anything done.

You can see Brutus's kennel tucked under the window. I think he likes it when I work in the studio, he always asks to go in his kennel then. Stella will lay on the dog bed outside the door and Grace has a little bed under my desk. I have plenty of company while I work.

I did forget to update the chalkboard! I just noticed it still says October! I'll take care of that today. Murph is going to put up a hook behind the door so I'll have a place to hang my cutting mat before it's ruined.

I may actually have time to sew this afternoon!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Quote

This morning as I was writing a new found quote into my quote journal I came across this:

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside you body."
~Elizabeth Stone

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Thinking about Christmas

It seems early to think about Christmas, but honestly, that's what I've been doing these last few days. Christmas gifts and Christmas swaps, some of which I'll be sewing and others I'll be cutting and gluing. It's really a good time to start planning. I have Christmas aprons and Christmas pillowcases to sew, a kennel bed for Gracie, a soft fleece blanket to make and a couple other surprises up my sewing sleeve.

Friday and Saturday my friend Lisa helped me plan my sewing projects. I pulled out all of my Christmas fabrics and we matched prints and styles, then cyber shopped for what I needed. I should have packages arriving all week. Today I'm going to put my studio in order. It's always nice to have a clean, organized place to work.

Besides sewing I always make mini-books for my family. Bryn gets one with pictures of Brutus I've taken since last Christmas. Murph's is different every year.

I also make a Christmas album each year. I've been planning that, too. The papers are ready and the album is selected. I just need to sit down and put it together.

I'll spend a peaceful November in my studio, sewing and creating - much like Santa in his workshop! (Wonder where I can get one of those Elves!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Florida Guy

Yesterday Bryn called to tell me it was SNOWING in Ft. Dix! While that may not seem like such a big deal to a lot of folks, it was Bryn's first snow! He's lived in Florida all his life. The picture above (Far left, standing.) is a good representation of how Bryn lived his life - in shorts, T-Shirt and sandles - playing soccer, winning tournaments! Throw in a little surfing and beach time and you have what makes Bryn, Bryn! Snow's a big deal! I have to say, he wasn't all that thrilled with it!

(The picture above was taken in 2005, the fall I think. They had just won the 3v3 Regionals. It was a 3 day tournament - they drove back home and went right to another soccer field to play for their 'other' team!)
I decided to share this one too, just because I like it! It's at the same tournament, the captains of each team meeting with the official before the start of the game. It's the only time he wore real shoes!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Cook's Journal

I love to bake, to cook and try new recipes. I have dozens of cookbooks, subscribe to a number of cooking magazines and participate in recipe exchanges. I have also found several online sources for new recipes. Finding a way to store and organize my recipe collection is an ongoing project. When I saw a swap for a Baking/Cooking Journal, I couldn't sign up fast enough!

My swap partner is a professional chef and she's been very helpful. She's answered all my questions and given me her perspective on the perfect Cook's Journal. I've incorporated her thoughts and needs with my own and have come up with this.
It's a classification folder, with a separator and a wallet! Office supplies are so much fun! I'm planning on putting my initials in the upper right corner, thought I'm not sure what my swap partner would like on hers. I've also used a length of twill tape to hold the folder closed, just in case! Plus I like the way it looks.
On the inside cover I've created a pocket page, a place to hold the recipes you tear out of magazines. I thought of this pocket as a staging area - a place to keep new things you want to try. Once you've tried them, if you decide you want to keep them, you can incorporate them into the journal.

On the second page I've created a recipe sheet - click on the picture for a better look. These sheets can be taken off and slid into a page protector to keep the recipe clean while you cook.
Behind the sheet is a page you can use however you like - maybe a list of substitutions? A family favorite in your grandmother's handwriting? There's also a tab that can be labeled on the side, to tell you what kind of recipes are on this page.
Page three is very similar to page two, there's a tab along the side to label the type of recipes and a sheet of scalloped black paper that can be decorated however you like. The recipe on this page was given to me by my dear friend Lisa D. It's a yummy cookie recipe and also shows how easily you can keep track of recipes printed from your computer.

Page four is actually a Velcro pocket, it's quite roomy. I decided to use ledger paper, that way if you wanted to keep an index of what's in the pocket you could. If not, you can personalize it however you like.
Page 5, the back of the built in pocket, is another pocket. I put paper clips along the edge and clipped a recipe card to the outside, just to show versatility.

Page 6 is the beginning of an accordion style structure. I've folded the first page of the structure back to make another pocket. A 3.5x5 recipe card is tucked inside.
On the back of the pocket, page 7, I clipped some note paper, maybe for a grocery list or a menu. Inside the structure are 3 envelopes, 6x9, for storing more recipes, either folded printouts, recipe cards or recipes torn from magazines. Each envelope is tabbed for labeling the type of recipe it holds.
I left the back of the envelope plain, I'm sure I'll think of something I forgot to add in this journal, this leaves me room to add whatever it might be. On the front of each envelope I've left room for contents or notes.
The last of the three envelopes opens at the top instead of the side.
I started to decorate the back of the last envelope with scraps of leftover paper, though I'm not sure what else I'll add. And the last page of the journal is another page with prongs.

I'm excited to start using this, labeling and categorizing my recipes. I hope my swap partner likes hers! (Did I mention I made 2? Once to send and one to keep? I knew if I didn't I'd have a hard time parting with it!)