Archive for 2013|Yearly archive page

A Christmas Gift 11 Days Late

In Sewing on December 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Poor Dan.

For Christmas, I made Elly a handknit flower hat, 3 lace cards, a hero mask and a jewelry box.

Heck, I even made hero masks for 3 of Elly’s cousins and 2 of Elly’s friends.

Dan got to open a half-finished Phillies blanket with the pins still in it.

Thankfully, Dan just laughed at the pins and thought the blanket was a great gift.

On the 11th day of Christmas, I finally gave Dan the finished blanket, which he promptly put to use.

It is super warm, being made of 2 layers of fleece. If I hadn’t opted to use one of the fancy stitches for the border, the blanket would have been finished on time. Those fancy stitches are pretty, but they take three times as long to sew as a simple straight stitch.

Because She Wanted a Hat Like Mine

In Knitting on December 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm

On a recent walk around the block with Jake the dog, Elly complimented the headband I was wearing. It looks similar to the one found here. And perhaps because she knows I can and do occasionally knit, she asked if I had made it. I hadn’t though; it was a gift.

Elly continued to admire my headband, especially the flower on it. It was beautiful. What’s more; it would look beautiful on her.

Rather than ask me to give her the one on my head or ask me to buy her one just like it, she asked if I could knit her a hat with a flower on it. I said yes immediately.

It took me about a month to knit it. I sewed the flower on Christmas Eve – just in time to wrap it and put it under the tree.

Pattern: Fabulous Hat by Meghan Jones
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay in natural and Handspun wool yarn in green

May she always believe that any pretty hat she takes a liking to can be knit by Mom.

Sunday Snapshots (of Christmas trees)

In Family on December 9, 2013 at 12:40 am

We have put up our Christmas trees.

Why yes, we do have multiple Christmas trees. 5 to be exact. Three are outside. Two are inside.

The artificial tree in our guest bedroom

The real Christmas tree in our living room

My first memory of picking out a Christmas tree was walking outside in our front yard and picking an evergreen tree. If Elly’s memory stretches back far enough, her first Christmas tree memory will be similar. The tree in our living room came from our backyard. Here is a shot of Elly when she was 2 years old standing in front of it. It was too big for the spot it was in and rather than just cut it down and throw it out, I thought we would get a little more life out of it by making it our Christmas tree.

Despite chopping it down, I still had a handful of evergreen trees to choose from when decorating.


I suppose I shouldn’t count the last tree, since it only has a single ornament on it. I am waiting for it to get a bit bigger before I start stringing lights on it. Until then, it can sport the Charlie Brown look.

The reason for so many trees: I just love Christmas trees. I love decorating them. I love looking at them. It is the best Christmas decoration. I would be happy if it were the only Christmas decoration we had.

Plus, by having more than one Christmas tree, I don’t care when the day after Christmas Dan is glaring at our real tree inside because it is now dry as a bone and dropping needles like mad. It can be tossed at will. I have 4 others to keep me company until the Wise Men Day.

Sunday Snapshots (of Thanksgiving food)

In cooking on December 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

It took me one week plus one day to cook everything for Thanksgiving dinner.

The main meal consisted of the following:
Cranberry sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Risotto with pesto and roasted tomatoes
Green bean fritters
Whiskey carrots
Sourdough rolls

The only thing that came out of a bag was the frozen corn kernels. I also cheated on the risotto by using store-bought vegetable stock. I normally make my own stock, but the 2 vegetarians in our family frown on my using meat stock. Of course, that means they won’t touch the stuffing so I make it extra meaty by adding sausage. mmmm, sausage.

The dessert menu was as follows:
Pumpkin pie
Maple pecan pie
Apple cranberry pie
Turkey candies

It broke my heart when I saw Elly eating almost nothing from the Thanksgiving meal, but all was forgiven when she inhaled close to half of the pumpkin pie. 

I injured my shoulder on that pumpkin pie because I bought a neck pumpkin that was probably bigger than Elly. It was a beast to cut up! But, it was worth it. Fresh pumpkin tastes so much better than store-bought canned pumpkin. Yet, a lesson was learned. Next year, I will buy two smaller neck pumpkins.

Uses for Kids Artwork – Idea #2

In Crafts on November 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm

For Christmas, I made both Elly and her younger cousin lace cards.

Elly colored or drew all the artwork.

I simply adhered the artwork to pieces of cardboard with mod podge. I used both cereal boxes and the box my new-to-me compost container came in. Then, I muscled through all the layers with a hole puncher. The laces are actually parachute strings that I cut in thirds and then burnt the edges of.

I have an ulterior motive, of course. These lace cards are Elly’s introduction to the word of sewing.

Though I have tried handing Elly a blunt embroidery needle, the fun ended when she pricked her finger. Rather than give up and try again in a few years as a more patient person would, I searched for an alternative.

Sunday Snapshots (of Christmas Decorations)

In Crafts on November 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

How I hate decking for Christmas when it is frigid outside. So with temperatures in the 60’s this weekend, it was the perfect time to hang the outdoor Christmas decorations.

One day this tree will be as tall as me. Until then, it is our Charlie Brown tree.

Elly has helped deck our home for Christmas.

She made an ornament out of Crayola model magic clay. It’s a funny face, in case you were stumped. 

She filled our hand knit stockings (no, not by me. These were knit many years ago by my neighbor) with pinwheels.

She made a Christmas themed angel house.

Our local garden store, Achin Back, taught a fairy garden class today. Elly was the youngest at the class. Though I helped, Elly called all the shots. She picked the pot, the plants, the decorations and, of course, the angel. The end result is gorgeous and now sits on our dining room table.

Memory Board

In Crafts on November 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Long have I wanted a memory board to hang Elly’s craft projects on. But all the ones I saw at a store or even at my best friend’s house were so small. At best, they could hold 5 crafts. Elly makes 5 crafts in a day. I would need to buy several memory boards to hold a weeks worth of artwork.

So, instead I made a gigantic memory board.

It measures 2.5 feet by 4.5 feet.

Not only is it big enough to hold all the artwork Elly can crank out, it should hold all our Christmas cards saving me from the white trash approach of taping them to a door with masking tape. You know, the approach I went with last year.

I made the memory board out of a plywood board which oddly enough came with the house, home decorator fabric, batting, duct tape and push pins. The push pins were a beast to push into the plywood and after so many curse words were muttered, I went in search of my glue gun. Tacking the ribbon down was a breeze with the gun.

It took me a few days to convince Elly to add any of her artwork to the memory board. Artwork is supposed to hang on the refrigerator.

No School Campaign

In Family on November 12, 2013 at 11:51 am

Elly started a no school campaign earlier this year shortly after I informed her that she would go to preschool next year. Like most things, I assumed it was a phase and she would grow to love the idea of going to school and hanging out with other kids. Instead Elly has taken to pointing out at every opportunity, like when I mention how smart she is or what a great memory she has, that she knows everything already and thus does need to go to school.

Elly is 3.5 years old!

I expect a know-it-all attitude from a teenager, not from a toddler. What is going on?

Just yesterday, when we were playing with her magnetic map

(Thank you, Aunt Michelle and Uncle George. Awesome gift!)

and Elly pointed out Russia, China and the USA, she proceeded to tell me how bored she would be at school because she knew so much.

It doesn’t help that Dan mentioned that he too was bored in school. Although it does allow me to blame him. Truly, this is all his fault.

Sunday Snapshots (of Reading Museum)

In Fun on November 10, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Earlier this week, Elly and I visited the Reading Museum. It had been my intention of taking her to the playground across the street from the museum, but it was a mite too cold. So, to the museum we went.

I was worried that there would be nothing for Elly to do and I would spent the entire visit begging her to not touch anything. When they let her in free (kids 3 years and younger are allowed in free), my shoulders might have slumped in defeat.

Then, the museum staff directed us to their new exhibit, Run! Jump! FLY!, stating that Elly would enjoy it the most. He wasn’t wrong. The entire exhibit is geared towards kids. Mind you, they probably had 7 year old kids in mind when they put it together, but Elly still had fun despite being too small to do some of the activities. There was a rock wall, yoga station, dance station, and an exercise station. Elly’s favorite was the surf and snow section where she got to ride the waves and snowboard down the snow.

Elsewhere in the museum, I did have to ask Elly not to touch sculptures and paintings. Surprisingly though, there were things that Elly could touch. There were “Please Touch” signs at all the Discovery Stations as they were called.

Elly got to try her hand at weaving.

I pity the poor staff member who had to untie all the knots Elly made.

When we left, it was all one big knot.

So, yes, I think Elly and I will be back to visit the Reading Museum this winter when it is too cold to go out and play.

Uses for Kid’s Artwork – Idea #1

In Crafts on November 8, 2013 at 12:27 am

As you know, I have a problem just throwing Elly’s artwork out, but I can’t possibly keep the mountains of artwork she creates. Well, to be more precise, I have a hard time throwing out Elly’s paintings and legible drawings. It’s not just because Elly made it. Without a second thought, I toss little crafts that Elly makes on a daily basis. No, it’s more because I love paintings. The more colorful they are; the more I love them. Elly thinks like I do; she too loves color and rarely limits herself to just one. So, I swoon whenever Elly pulls out the paintbrushes. I do.

Rather than throw out Elly’s awesome paintings, I have come up with a few ways to save them or repurpose them.

A clock! 

This was an easy project. All you need are 4 handprints, scissors, white acrylic paint, mod podge, a clock and clock gear.

Elly made the handprints with Crayola washable paint and construction paper.

The clock, clock gear, and mod podge I purchased from AC Moore. The paint came from my insane supply.

Once home with our clock, Elly and I gave it a coat of white acrylic paint.  

Then, I fussy cut around the handprints.

With a paintbrush (though Dan prefers a foam brush for fewer brush marks), I coated the entire clock with mod podge. It took me a while to line the handprints up at the 12,3,6, and 9 positions.

To protect the handprints, I sealed the entire front of the clock three times over with mod podge.

Finally, I installed the clock gear.


Though I was tempted to keep this clock myself, Elly picked out who she wanted to give it to for Christmas.


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