Monday, December 2, 2013

Keep Calm and Christmas On

Yesterday evening--the first evening of December--I found myself already flustered by the holidays. Our house was a mess, the Christmas tree in a state of incomplete decorating, our giant ladder sitting in the living room, boxes all over the place, the long Thanksgiving weekend coming to a close. I had wanted to get a jump on making cookie dough! And those Christmas cards that I was so proud to have ordered a month ago were sitting in their box upstairs, untouched. And don't even get me started on the Christmas shopping that I had delusionally thought I might get done early this year. Aaaak!

http://iammaryxmas.blogspot.com.br/search/label/Xmas%20KEEP%20CALM

Well, the girls went to bed, Stephen used the ladder to reverse and dust our ceiling fan, and then put the ladder away. I put the last ornaments on our tree {including some precious ones that always melt my heart}, adiosed some of the boxes, and wrote our Christmas letter to accompany our cards. I even found time for a cup of hot tea before bed.

And this morning, I read the following important reminder:

What will be the highlight of your Christmas season this year? It probably won't be something perfectly planned. Let's face it, Christmas will not be perfect. Thank goodness! Imperfection helps us remember to focus on the perfection of the One having the birthday.

This is the second day of watching the world celebrate the holidays. Can you return it to the "holy" days? Watch for Jesus in large and small events. Nothing will be perfect except the child in the manger. Keep your eyes on Him, and you will not be disappointed.

From Preparing My Heart for Advent by Ann Marie Stewart


Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy Fall, Y'all!

I think fall may be my favorite season. Spring is a close second. In both seasons, I love how colorful everything is, the mild weather, the reprieve from oppressive heat or freezing cold. But there's something about fall...the food?  Everything is cozy and pumpkiny, even this cute {and easy!} little craft:

Fabric Pumpkins!


I first made these at a squadron coffee with a commander's wife who hosted a fabulous October wives' social every year, including such fall faves as Pumpkin Pasta (see my version of the recipe here  http://susanna-twintalk.blogspot.com/2011/09/let-fall-cooking-begin-tonight-creamy.html ) and these cute little pumpkins. Since then, I've adopted this pumpkin craft as a go-to fall activity for our mothers of twins club, neighbor gifts, and teacher presents. 

Supply List:
  • Fabric (1yard yields about 6-8 pumpkins)
  • Burlap (1/2 yard yields at least 20 stems)
  • Rice (about 1/3-1/2 c. per pumpkin)
  • Polyester Stuffing
  • Faux fall leaves (1-2 per pumpkin)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Needle & thread (any color)
  • Buttons (any color--1 per pumpkin)

First, find some cute fabric that looks pumpkiny to you. You can most likely find good candidates for $4 a yard or less at WalMart or Hobby Lobby. One yard will yield about 6 pumpkins.

Cut the fabric in circles of varying sizes. I like to use pie pans and a pizza pan to trace circles on the fabric.  It doesn't matter if the lines that you drew are visible on the circles, nor do they have to be perfectly round. {Hooray for forgiving crafts!}

 
Next, cut your burlap into long, skinny triangles, roughly 6" long by 3" tall. These don't have to be perfect, either. Roll them up and hot glue them together with hot glue to make your stems.
 

 
Then, hand-sew a running stitch around the fabric circle, about a quarter of an inch from the edge. These stitches do not need to be even or anywhere close to perfect!
 
 
When you've sewn all the way around the circle, you'll have a little pouch. Fill the pouch with some rice, about 1/3-1/2 cup--you just want to give it a little beany-ness and weight at the bottom. Top with polyester stuffing--enough that your pumpkin is plump, but not overly stuffed, and then cinch the pumpkin tight.
 


 
This next part is a teensy-bit tricky: After you tighten up your pumpkin, tie it off so it stays tight, but don't cut the string yet. You're going to push the needle through to the bottom of the pumpkin, where you'll put the needle through a button, sewing it back through the top of the pumpkin. This is going to give your pumpkin its cute, pumpkiny shape. After you've gone through the button a couple of times to make it secure, tie off your thread and cut it short.

 
The "hard" part is over!  Now all you need to do is finish it off by hot-gluing a leaf or two to the top, and then gluing on a stem.  Voila!  Fall Fabric Pumpkins!


 
 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Candy Corn & Peanuts? Yes, please!

If you haven't tried this fall "recipe," you've gotta.  Some say it tastes like PayDay candy bars; I say it's delicious--if you like sweet and salty, you can't beat this.  Plus, it looks pretty and festive, and if you were planning to cook something fall-ish to take to your mothers of twins club meeting, but didn't sleep much the night before because one of your children was up coughing for two hours, this is the perfect hors d'oeuvres to prepare and share.  It's quite addictive, though, so look out!  Just tell yourself that candy corn has honey in it and peanuts are full of protein. Sounds like health food to me!

 
Candy Corn + Cocktail Peanuts = Yumminess

By the way, my mom introduced me to this, and it's her birthday!  Happy Birthday!