Friday, December 31, 2010

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Rachel over at p.s. i quilt is having a great giveaway and this post is my entry...hopefully it'll give you a few laughs and me some new fabric!!!

psiquiltgiveaway

So, as you know we spent Christmas with my Grandparents.  Well, we (as in Chris and the kids and I) stay upstairs in the big attic in 2 double beds. 
***sidenote--For most of my life there was one big room with a bed and lots of fun stuff to get into…when I look now I think how kind and patient my Grandma is and was to let 6 kids play up there with all of her stuff!   But when they added on to their house a few years ago, they added on to the upstairs too and there is an area that bumps out over the roof now and the kids sleep in that little nook.
  Okay, so now that I’ve given you a little setting, I’m on with the story…***
So, we woke up Christmas morning and looked out the window by the kids and, lo and behold, there was a package sitting out on the roof!  We couldn’t believe it!  How did that get there?  And more importantly, who was going to go out on that snowy roof to get it??  Well, we drew straws and it turned out to be me which I’m sure made the rest of the family both nervous for my clumsiness and secretly happy to see me slip and slide up there.  Bundled up, I crawled out the window with a (vintage and very cute) sheet from our bed tied around my waist so maybe Chris could catch me before I flew off the roof if (I think we all thought when) I slipped.  I carefully made my way toward the package and as I got closer a tag appeared.  I mean it, appeared.  And it said
To:  Kelli 
From:  Santa 
A gift for bravery!

I wasn’t sure if he meant for climbing out the window or just for being a Mom, or for the fact that I hadn’t put makeup on or looked in a full-length mirror for days, but whatever the reason I was thrilled the package was for me!

I gave the waistband belt a tug and Chris helped me make it back in the window with only a few slips and slides.  Okay, I did slide about 6 feet once and hung on to the gutters with my fingertips, but I was determined not to drop that package since it was for me.  Besides, a cast might look good on me!  We got me back inside and got downstairs with everyone wondering what was in that special package.  And why was it on the roof anyway??  

We let the kids open their presents first as that package sat there practically burning a whole in my lap waiting for me to open it.  And boy was I glad when I did!!  Inside it was Mary Poppins carpet bag!  No, really…inside it was a carpet bag.  At this point I was thinking all that for a carpet bag?  I’m not sure I can pull that look off….  But I opened it and was thrilled to find out that just like in Mary Poppins bag, it never emptied of anything I really needed or wanted.  I mean, fabric is a need for some of us, but my husband might disagree and remind me that food and heat are needs, fabrics are wants!  

First I pulled out the entire fat quarter bundle of Dream On, next was a jelly roll and layer cake of some Bliss, then came out everything Tanya Whelan has ever made all stacked and ready to be created with.  But that’s just the beginning.  There were new scissors and a rotary cutter, threads in every color imaginable.  I could go on, but then I’d just make you so jealous you might hate me, right?  

So that is how I had the best Christmas ever…lots of food, family, and FABRIC!!  ANd as long as my carpet bag never stops filling up with goodies I’ll be able to keep everyone I know warm and happy with my creative goodies.

Okay…we all know that didn’t really happen.  I mean, first off, anyone who knows me personally knows I’d never have made it out on that roof without totally falling like Santa in the first Santa Clause and a fabric Mary Poppins Carpet Bag is only my fantasy.  But hopefully, my story will provide the next best thing…a winning entry to get my very own $50 gift card to the Fat Quarter Shop which I will gladly take as a consolation!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Home Again, Home Again


Hey y'all!  Well, I'm back from a week-long trip to visit my Grandparents for Christmas.  Sorry for the posting break, but I was busy packing and sewing up until the night before we left and I don't even have cell service up there, much less an internet connection or computer to edit pictures on. 




We had many crashes, snow facials and a ton of fun!!

We had a great time.  It snowed maybe 5 inches, just enough for plenty of snowballs and sledding.  The kids were thrilled.  They are at such a fun age.  They have memories of last year but are so open to making new ones.  And, just to brag on them for a minute...it's a 15-16 hour car trip one way (spread over 2 days), so we basically spent 4 days in the car this last week.  They did not fight, whine, or in any way make us want to pull the car over during those 4 days!  They watched movies, read and colored, napped, and talked to each other and to us.  I LOVE those 2 so much!!!

On a sad note, I believe my sewing machine has died again...Chris is very sad he bought this machine for me because of all the problems I've had with it, but honestly, I'm not.  Don't get me wrong, I HATE when it does this to me and I'm stuck in limbo not being able to sew, but I have improved my skills so much and made so many great things in the 2 years I've had this machine that I'm not sad to have it.  Chris wants me to go to the Viking dealer in town (and by in town, I mean the big city 30 minutes away) and buy whatever I want and ask for a payment plan, but I don't know.  I feel like I should just get mine fixed and keep plugging on.  Either way, I feel I should get it fixed so I can at least sell it...although I don't know who would want to buy a machine that breaks down every few months.  It's a Singer Futura 250 and, honestly, I've had all the problems that other owners have had.  My bobbin casing jumps out a bunch...usually I can just calm down from the heart attack it gives me when it makes an awful grinding sound and almost breaks the plastic opening as it tries to literally jump out of the machine and turn it off, take off the throat plate and clean it well.  Then I give it a few minutes and I'm back in business...but the week before Christmas was a lot more waiting and hoping it would work then usual.  And then finally, the day before we left, I was finishing up that baby quilt for my cousin...and not only did I still have the jumping problem, but even after I fixed that...now my top thread won't pick up my bobbin thread to make a stitch.  It seems like it is, but nothing is holding together.  It's like sewing with an empty bobbin!!!!  I've never even heard of this and I'm not sure where to go from here.  So...there is no sewing on my horizon and I've got a ton of ideas floating around in my head.  Better start writing them down so I can blaze on in the new year.

  
My sister, Carrie, and Emma wiped out good this time.  Emma looked like the abominable snowman!  HILARIOUS after she stopped crying!!

But, I've got a few days before the kids go back to school and plenty of new games to play with them.  So, I'm off to play with my children while they're still young enough to want to play with me.   We've got Connect 4, Kerplunk (Toy Story Style), a science kit, guns and swords, rock star music and a toy microphone to jam with and even Sorry Sliders which is a lot like hand-held Shuffleboard!!  I'll be busy, but I'll be back soon with some ideas that don't involve me sewing anything (at least for a little while!)



Poor boy, his pants kept falling off that last day...needless to say, he went back in first!

Chris and I together on the little disc sled!
My cousin, Jill, and Oren getting a little snow in the face!

This is the day before we left and it's my Mom and Emma.  Look at her joy!!

This is the creek beside the house.  I love it there so much!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

WOW!!!!!

Wow y’all!  235 comments…I’ve been on the other end of the giveaway day and seen huge numbers of comments at other blogs, but I never expected 235 comments and all of the new followers!  I didn’t want to ask people to follow in order to qualify for the giveaway because I want people to read my writings because they want to, so to get new followers just because was such a nice and unexpected gesture.  And can I just say that the comments were so sweet and kind that I teared up more than once.  I may be considered the giver since the items are coming from my house, but really, y'all gave so much to me with your kind words and thoughtfulness.  Those that took the time to read some of the other posts and find out more about me--THANK YOU!  I know how hard it is since I still connect on a dialup connection and I didn't get to read half of the blogs between that and being so busy this week.  So, thank you again!

Now, on to the winners....it was late last night and I didn't want to fight said dialup so I had Chris randomly pick some numbers for our winners.  He's nice like that and was willing to oblige...So, without further ado....the winners are:
Giveaway 1:  Pillow--Scrappin' Divas said...
I'd love to win the snowflake pillow. I'm a sucker for anything snowflake/snowman related. Thanks for the chance!
Giveaway 2:  Yarn--Jenny said...
I'd love to win either of these giveaways they are both fabulous! I like the snowflake pillow and LOVE the green yarn, I too have a love for homespun stuff. :)

Winners, I've emailed you but please get me your address quickly so I can send them out to you before I go on vacation for Christmas.... 

I just want to say thank you again and wish all of you the most Merry Christmas!!  I wish I had more to give because some of the comments made me want to forget the whole random number thing and just send you something just because!  So...stick around and maybe there'll be another giveaway after the holidays to reward my loyal friends who keep reading!

Monday, December 13, 2010

GIVEAWAY DAY!!!!!

So, it’s Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew!!  I have to admit that when considering starting a blog, one of the big reasons I wanted to was so I could participate in awesome things like this.  I hated that I was asking to win all these great gifts from wonderfully crafty people around the world, but had nothing to give back since I was blogless and alone…  ;)

But all that has changed now and so I can participate in the giveaway day this year from both sides.  If you’re unfamiliar with Giveaway Day, head over to Sew Mama Sew and check out the HUGE list of bloggers worldwide that have come together today to GIVE, GIVE, GIVE!  Well, first, check out my little giveaway and enter—then check them out!  Actually I have 2 giveaways, so if you’re in a hurry speed read, if not, grab a cuppa and settle in!

I do have a confession to make, once I’d signed up and committed, I had real fear of what to give away.  I wanted to give something handmade away, but all those doubts kept creeping back in.  I thought about this and that and that and this and finally decided on a pillow with a Christmas-y theme.  I’d been meaning to make some anyway so I just jumped in without a plan and cut a bunch of squares and went from there.  I free-motioned quilted it because I haven’t stippled anything in a while and my hands kinda missed it!  This one's ready to be stuffed with fiberfill since I didn't have any pillow forms last night, but then, oh wait, I was out of fiberfill too, but it will be stuffed!  But, since this one’s just a sample, I will gladly make the winner one with a pillow form if you’d prefer.

Sample pillow to show what style winner will receive--color and quilting design can be changed after convo with me.
BUT, then as I was falling asleep Sunday night, a new idea hit me...I got up and found a picture of a snowflake I had in a dingbat font on my computer and printed it out.  I embroidered the snowflake to a corner and added multi-colored blue rosettes on the the left side to become a cute decorative pillow.  It's roughly 6x14 inches.  I finished it up yesterday and just added the pictures this morning (Tuesday). 

Updated picture of the finished pillow
 So…my first giveaway is for something handmade along with some other goodies thrown in because I can’t help myself.  And because I can’t help myself—you get to choose.  For Giveaway 1, please leave a comment stating whether you’d like a quilted pillow cover or the snowflake pillow (already filled).  That’s right, if you’re the winner, you get to choose your prize!  And, I will gladly change the colors and quilting design on the quilted pillow since Christmas is right around the corner and you might want to leave it out a little longer!  I’m flexible like that (sometimes!)  Oh, and you’ll also get some other goodies for your own creating like this charm pack, 2 fat quarters and whatever last minute goodies jump into the box!

No matter your choice, this charm pack, 2 fat quarters and some surprise goodies will find their way to your house too!
Giveaway 2 is for my friends of the knitting/crochet persuasion.  I must admit that I have an unhealthy love for Homespun yarn from Lion Brand.  I must explain that I hardly ever actually knit but convince myself that I am a knitter and that I NEED these yarns when I come across them…  It’s somewhat unhealthy so I try to avoid the yarn areas of my craft stores.  So, I’m offering up 2 (6 oz.) skeins of Homespun in Apple Green.  I wanted to give more, but I couldn’t yet part with them…maybe after the holidays are over, I’ll have time to sit and knit…  I keep telling myself that anyway as my daughter is still waiting on her 2nd mitten so she can keep her hands warm!

So, that’s it…no requests to follow me (although that would be great), no multiple entries, no searching for your favorite of my previous posts…just tell me which giveaway you’d like to win (or both and I’ll put you in for both) and make sure I’ve got your email address and we’ll call it a day.  On the deadline of the 17th, I'll randomly pick a winner for each giveaway and let you know.  But, do come back if you like what you see.  I’m so proud to be a small part of the creative blogging community!

On a legal clarification note-- I am committing to give away EITHER one pillow cover (without the pillow form) made by me in the style of the sample, but may use different colors and quilting designs OR the snowflake pillow fully stuffed and ready to adorn your couch or other flat surface.  I'm happy to work with the winner to choose something we both agree on in the specified time frame from Sew Mama Sew.  I am also giving away the yarn but that seems simple enough!  ;)

Friday, December 10, 2010

All Smiles

Our Christmas cards came today!  I usually make cards and then add in a picture of the kids, and I have also done the photo cards from a photo studio, but this year I decided to do something else.  I knew I didn't have the time to devote to making a bunch of cards, but I didn't want the stock glossy photo cards from Walmart or even a studio that are so non-handmade. 

I was reading one of the many blogs I keep up with, although I can't remember which one it was, and they said they'd ordered theirs from Sara at Less Ordinary Designs and that she was wonderful.  So I looked her up on Etsy and found her prices to be reasonable and her cards to be lovely.  I took some pictures of the kids in the backyard and ordered some.  Then I had her print them because I figured it would be one less thing for me to do.  And that was all last week and they're here today and ready to ship!!

I took a BUNCH of pictures of the kids in hopes one would come out.  Emma LOVES to model and was happy to pose.  Oren, on the other hand, isn't such a fan of the camera.  At 4 years old, he'd rather take pictures, not be in them.  Maybe I've got the next Ansel Adams living here or something.  But here's a few I had to choose from...





How to choose, right??  I sure do love these two, though!!

I went with the matte paper instead of glossy and really debated it.  I do like the matte, but if I had it to do over again...I'm not sure.  I picked the matte with the thought that it would look more original and have that handmade look as opposed to the cheap, one of a hundred photo cards look you often get with discount stores and photo studios rushing you through.  I think it looks great and the paper is thick and super-high quality.  But I think I would have liked the glossy just as much and it might have helped the picture shine just a little more.  But that's just personal preference, and I am known to second guess my decision making once in awhile.  I don't think I could have gone wrong with any of Sara's images or paper choices.
This picture was taken at 10:30 at night in my dark craft room...all bad looking shadows and non-crispness is the fault of the picture taker and not the card maker!  ;)
  Sara was wonderful to work with and very professional and I would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for Holiday cards, birth announcements, etc.  I will definitely keep her in my Etsy favorites! Thanks again, Sara!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Whew! Glad to check this one off the list!

Remember those stockings I said I was working on?  And that there were 6 of them?  And that someone was paying me to make them?  Well--those 6 stockings almost flew out a window today along with my sanity!

Have you ever had a project that just seemed doomed from the start?  That each step seems to have some complication with it?  And that if it was just for you, something you'd just decided might be cool, you'd have chucked it out or put it in the UFO (unfinished object) pile never to be seen again?  That has been my day today.
My plan was to have them all from different fibers, but tied together with the embroidery.  She's got a snowman theme with her decorations.
 Today was the first day in about a week that I had no commitments...no Santa Shop, no volunteering in Emma's classroom, no family obligations.  I had planned on catching up on housework (and believe me, that's a project in itself) and sewing the day away.  I made a checklist in my head of all the things I wanted to accomplish.  I was so glad to drop the kids off this morning with no makeup on and jogging pants and come on home ready to start my day...and then the stockings sucked me into their black hole of misery...

This one was from an old sweater coat I NEVER wear
But after about 3 hours of butting my head into the wall I am finished and they are done and I don't care anymore.  See, I decided these stockings should have a cuff on them when my other set did not.  I mean, the stockings I made for my family had cuffs, I knew how to do it.  And I thought with all of the fabric choices for these, cuffs would be the easiest way to add names and tie them all together.  WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!

This one's from an old corduroy skirt.  It was a dream to sew--putting the cuff on was another story!
First, I assumed I was right with my measurement instead of measuring twice and made a cut that turned out to be VERY wrong and I had to piece all of the cuff backs together.  Then, some of the cuffs didn't want to fit into the stockings they were made for.  And the pompom trim that I added to the girly stockings wanted to fight with me...literally, we almost had a boxing match, but I yelled loud enough that the trim got scared and mostly cooperated.  Good thing too, cause I would have totally KO'd it today.  I wasn't going down without a fight.

This one is some flannel I picked up because she wanted a Christmas-y theme and I knew she'd like the softness

Oh, and did I mention that my sewing machine and I have a love-hate relationship to begin with?  As in, it loves to break down on me and I HATE it when it does that!  But the bobbin case only jumped out a couple of times today and once was because one of the stockings was fleece and I needed to clean out the bobbin area...you know after 30 seconds of sewing with it.

This one is from a fleece blanket--actually a flag theme, but I cut the stocking on the bias so it would resemble candy cane stripes.
So...the stockings are done.  They are not my best work and I am hoping that my friend, not being a sewer, doesn't notice the MANY flaws involved.  And hopefully her mother, who does sew, won't look to closely either!  But I did cut her a pretty good deal to begin with considering she needed 6, so I'm not feeling too bad.  Because, honestly, the stress and aggravation these things caused me today--they should be about $50 each!!!  And no one in their right mind would pay $50 for any of these things.

This one's just plain old quilting cotton...I was running out of ideas!  ;)
I will say, that the one I saved for last was Tyler's--the quilted one.  It was not only the easiest to put together, but my favorite when all was said and done.  Go figure.  I didn't think it would be difficult, but because of the quilting on the top, I'd saved it so I could do all of my straight sewing and then put on my free-motion foot.  But after seeing how this day was shaping up, I left on my normal, regular sewing foot and just went for straight lines.  I didn't really have a pattern, I just went for it.  And now, I think I may do quilting like that for ours when I re-do them.  And no, that won't be today!  ;-)

This is a thin, gauzy green that I doubled and put some thin batting behind and then quilted with red lines.
And now that I've had a deep breath and a good rant, I am feeling more composed and ready to begin another project.  I can't decide between folding Mt. Laundry (seriously--like 4 baskets full and I'm just halfway through the washing) or cutting out the fabric for a newsboy cap for my Dad for Christmas.   Hopefully I can get both and a few other things done before Chris and the kids get home.  But first, I'm taking a chocolate break!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Relaxing with a contented sigh...

Today was a successful day.  I didn't do anything monumental or solve any of the world's issues.  But I helped a child, many children, actually.  I volunteered today in the Santa Shop helping kids pick out gifts for their families.  Honestly, the shop is full of junk and I'm torn somewhat that parents are getting ripped off, but it's so sweet to watch the kids come in and figure out just how much they can give with what they have.  Just how far they can spread their love.  I love to watch those little eyes going over all the tables looking for just the right gift for Mama and Daddy, or Sissy or Brother, or even the dog and cat for that matter.  It's a chance to realize that giving is so much more special than getting.  Oren came to shop today and Emma comes tomorrow and although I usually hate buying stuff for the sake of buying, I let them choose whatever they want from the Santa Shop for each of us because it's a special moment for them as givers.  Emma remembers exactly what she got each of us last year, and if I pressed her, she could probably remember from which table she picked it out from.  My only suggestion last year was that she NOT get me the earrings from the jewelry table as I didn't want my ears to turn green and fall off, I mean I already have so many...  ;)  I can't wait to watch her shop tomorrow, while looking away while she shops for me, of course!
 
Then this afternoon, I managed to finish 4 of the 10 stockings I'm working on.  I say managed because I had the biggest brain cramp about the finishing step.  I'm basically just making these up as I go along since stockings aren't too difficult and I wanted to use a little bit from this design and a little bit from that one.  So I was trying to attach the lining to the outer shell and I know that I should tuck the outer shell into the lining and sew it up along the top, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to make it come out right.  I'm talking racking my brain for an hour and trying other techniques before it hits me...FINALLY the light comes on, and I realize that I just need to pull the outer shell through the hole I've left in the bottom of the lining piece after it's sewn together.  I mean, really...that's what I set out to do originally and somehow got sidetracked for an hour.  Chris is just staring blankly at me when I'm trying to explain what I'm doing and says "You just said inside out and right side in so many times I'm completely lost!"  So much for help from the logical one in this partnership!




Garrett loves cowboys and old westerns and although I didn't have this fabric with my Christmas fabrics, I suggested it and his Mom agreed right away.

And after finishing the stockings, I sat back and relaxed by our Christmas tree and a roaring fire built lovingly by my husband and thought about how richly I am blessed and while I still have a ton of things to cross off my to-do list, for tonight I feel relaxed and contented with what I have done today.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm gonna go for it!

Since I've been sewing on a regular basis (the last 3-4 years), I've had people say now and then (mostly family) that I should sell what I make.  But, I've never been sure my stuff was really good enough to be sale-worthy.  What if I made something for someone and it fell apart?  What if people are just being nice and they don't really like what I make?  What if...  What if...

But, lately, selling my creations has been more and more on my mind.  When I walked through the craft fair last week, I repeatedly thought "I could make that," or "If I made that, I'd do this instead,"  or "If she is selling those, then I could certainly sell what I make."  And it hit me, unless I try, I'll never know if my creations are worth anything to anyone.  So...I've decided to open an Etsy shop.  I've set up the shop and am reading up on the business of making and selling, but I haven't put anything in it just yet.  BECAUSE....I've been too busy working on some custom orders I got right here at home! 

Since I was really thinking about this, I mentioned on my facebook account that I could make stockings for anyone who was looking to get some and I've got 2 orders!  I've only sold one thing ever before and that was a request from my sister's Mother-in-Law, so these stockings are my first items that I've put up to sell and had orders!  I've been working on them this week...I think I've got all the design elements sorted out now and am ready to get to the construction.  Pictures soon!

But that's not all!  Pat, my sister's Mother-in-Law that hired me to make my BIL a t-shirt quilt last year for his graduation, asked me last week if I could make an apron for her great niece.  Turns out she was bragging on my mad skills (haha from me here that I have skills worth bragging on) to her sister after she saw an apron I'd made for Carrie and her sister wondered if I could make one for her granddaughter!  So I finished that up this weekend and it's on it's way to AL right now.


This is Emma trying on the apron.  Sorry for the lighting...7:30 at night after a full day in pajamas was reason enough for me not to model it myself.  Emma was only to happy to fill in!

I lined it with a sweet cherry print.  The colors match the front colors perfectly, and what's better in the kitchen than a sprinkling of cherries?
So, between deciding to open a shop and actually doing it, I've got 3 custom orders.  It was really the encouragement I needed to try it.  I figure that any orders I get are a boost to both my ego and my wallet and an encouragement to keep doing what I love.  God has given me a talent for creating, and I'm going to see how far I can go with it.

I will let you know when I get some listings posted.  For now, I've got some stockings to finish up!

P.S.  We got a tree today and it's all decorated and looking nice!  I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Yes, it is.  We are slowly getting the house and ourselves ready for Christmas.  Last weekend we got out all of the decorations and put up some of the displays around the house. 
My sister and I bought matching ornaments at the Craft Festival.  I wonder if her's is hanging up yet?


I haven't quite got around to putting names on our stockings yet...
I've convinced Chris to build me a creche for my Nativity scene instead of paying $100 like the one that matches this set is going for!  Yay to a woodworking husband!

The kids and I have done Christmas crafts and read Christmas books each day. 
These are our decoupaged and yarn trees we make each year.  One day we'll have a whole forest full.
This guy is still waiting on his fabric rosettes, but I think he came out cute.


We get a new Chistmas book each year to add to our collection!

We posed the kids and took Christmas card photos on 2 afternoons since I forgot to adjust for the lighting the first day and although I got some great expressions, they were all too dark to see!  When my cards come in I'll show them to you, and some of the outtakes...How hard can it be to just sit and smile?  Apparantly too hard for my big cheesers!

Emma performed in her school Christmas concert for first grade. 
Emma and some of her besties.

They all look so serious, don't they?  Apparantly performing a serious task!
 We've had the radio in the car on the station that plays Christmas music all day long since Thanksgiving.  I think Chris is secretly glad he hardly ever rides with us! 

I've traced and am ready to cut out 16 sets of paper-pieced elves for Emma's class to put together on Monday.  Their teacher will take a picture of each of them and we'll use that for their elf's face.  How cute!  I also set up the Santa Shop at school on Friday with some of the other PTO Moms for the kids to shop next week.  And I'll be working in it all day for 2 days next week! 

But what is missing from all of this????  Can you look through the pictures and see what I haven't mentioned or shown?  It should be pretty obvious, or it was to me and the kids....Yep, that's it...no tree!  No tree!  I have 2 boxes of ornaments and lights sitting by where the tree WILL go waiting for it, but we haven't gotten one yet.  You could say we've just been too busy or that we're waiting so it makes it through Christmas, but really it's because we just haven't gone to pick one out yet.  A few nights ago Chris said "Oh, I hadn't thought about it, but we don't have a tree yet!"  I bit my tongue, but Emma in all of her 6-year-old innocence said "FINALLY!!  WE'VE BEEN WAITING!!!!" 

So, yesterday was the day.  We'd be lazy all morning and then head over to Chris' aunt and uncle's house.  They were having a bbq and invited us over and we'd go from there to the Christmas parade in town and pick up a tree on the way home.  But after 10 minutes at their house Emma broke out in welts and was itching so bad I had to bring her home (we live about 5 minutes away) to dose her up with a benadryl and lotion.  For those non-family members who are reading, Emma suffers badly from eczema and I usually carry lotion with me everywhere, but didnt' have any on me.  I didn't want to cause a scene at the party so I just brought her home since it was so close.  We got here and I looked at her and how her arms, legs neck, and face were swelling up and she had already scratched to the point of bleeding and knew this wasn't an eczema attack, but some kind of allergic reaction that was just compounded by her eczema.  I told her we wouldn't stay long, but let's go back and try to eat and we'll come on home.  Well by the time we got back and sat down to inhale our food, I looked over at Oren and his eyes were swollen and completely red and all around his mouth was broken out in welts.  WHAT????  Then he leaned back on me to rub his face and tipped my plate of food over on him!  So now he was red-faced and swollen and covered in BBQ suace and eggplant casserole!  Needless to say, we quickly departed, headed home and soaked these 2 sweet kiddos in a cool bath and forgot all about the parade and tree.

And so, for one more day at least, this family is all ready for Christmas with no Christmas tree.  Maybe tomorrow...  For now, I'm off to make sugar cookies with my two sweet sugars who are miraculously healed and now just itching for some Christmas cookies. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Holiday Tradition I love (and how I'd really love to win a new mint cleaner!!)

So I was surfing through my favorite blogs today and I found this awesome giveaway on Tatertots and Jello.  To enter to win a Mint Cleaner Robotic Floor Cleaner you just have to post on your blog about one of the topics they mentioned...so here is my entry and boy, could I use something to help me keep my kitchen floor clean.  Have I ever mentioned how Chris says I would be the perfect wife if only I liked housework a little more.  Well, he's exaggerrating on the perfect part, but definitely not on the liking housework part!

  So...my family is big on tradition and it's something I'm hoping to pass on to my children.  Every year of my life (except for the year my Mom was pregnant with my brother), we have driven to Illinois (an 18-hr drive, mind you) to my grandparents's house to have Christmas with them.  And the entire trip has become such a tradition that when Chris and I married, it wasn't even a question.  We'd be making the trip ourselves.  There was no way I was missing Christmas in Pearl.  Now, understand that my Grandparents live in a town so small they have to drive half an hour to get to a town the size of the one I live in and my blog is called Small Town Stitcher.  There is absolutely NOTHING to do there EXCEPT spend time with family and make our own fun.  But that is why we love it so much. 

  So, every year, when school lets out we get ready to go.  We pack warm clothes and hope for snow.  We pack snacks and Christmas movies in the car.  We pack our Christmas presents and hide them in suitcases from nosy inquisitive little eyes.  We pack extra blankets just in case and we head out.  We drive as far as we can go in one day (although many times in my life we've driven through the night to avoid a hotel room), stopping for meals, gas and time for little legs to run.  We talk to each other, play games like I Spy, watch (or listen from the front seat) to the Grinch, Polar Express, and an occasional Mary Poppins or Madagascar (whatever was already in the DVD player from before!).  We sleep and listen to the radio.  When a family is trapped together in a car on the highway, it's the perfect time to catch up on all the talking you forget to do in your everyday lives.

A view of the creek last year in one of those lucky snowy Christmases!
  Once we're there, we again hope for snow.  We bake.  We talk.  We read old magazines and Reader's Digests Grandma has saved.  We play card games, feed the horses, play pool and hope for snow.  We drive to Walmart to get what we've forgotten at home and check on sleds just in case it snows.  Are you noticing a theme here?  These Florida people WANT some snow!  And sometimes (like this last year) we get lucky, althought not often enough!
  
 
Emma giving her GG and Granddad some love last year!
    But the best part is having four generations of family including cousins, aunts and uncles, all gathered in my Grandparents' living room.  We open presents.  We laugh.  We reminisce.  Some wrapping paper fights get started with the balled up paper.  We share in traditions that all of us love.
   I know that this tradition won't last forever.  I know that life is not forever, therefore things have to change.  But that makes each Christmas there even more special.  I know that I will NEVER forget spending Christmas with my family in Pearl.  I hope that my children won't either.  Wherever Christmas finds our family in the future, I know the memories of our family tradition will warm my heart and I can only pray it does the same for my children.  Maybe one day my grandchildren will LOVE to come and spend Christmas with me like I do with my Grandparents.  I can only hope!
I LOVE this picture of my sweet boy!
  And now for the obligatory mention that I posted this as an entry to win the Robotic Cleaner.  But, please believe this would have been posted anyway.  Stories like this are what make the Holidays so special.  So, share a story with me...what's your favorite Christmas tradition?

I am participating in Infarrantly Creative and Tatertots and Jello’s Blog Hop for a chance to win a Mint Cleaner. It is the revolutionary machine that cleans your hard floor surfaces for you.
Click here to join the blog hop and a chance to win!Mint_cloth2
The Mint Cleaner is available at the following places: