Friday, November 30, 2012

Missionary Christmas Stocking

When my "little" bro was on his mission, {gah it was so hard to have him gone for 2 full years!!} all I wanted to do in that time was keep him close however I could. With some dedication and creativity, I managed to do just that via a blog, care packages {that were quite creative in content}, letters...etc.

I wasn't as crafty at that time, {Full time jobs will do that to ya. Working ladies, y'all know what I mean!} but oh if I was, the things I might have dreamt up {or copied from pinterest ;-)} would have been so much fun to make and send out to him.

Over Thanksgiving, my aunt approached me with a crafty gift idea {shocking as it may be, NOT from pinterest} that a friend of hers had come up with. She showed me the cutest little pic of a missionary-stocking that her friend had sent out to her own son in his Christmas care package from home. It was darling, so of course we had to make one for my cousin too! {He's serving in Texas right now, we're so proud of him!}

There was no tutorial, but I'm a resourceful gal. ;)
I printed off this simple stocking pattern that I had pinned last Christmas as a basic guide, {below} and got to work!


The pattern I used.

Super cute huh?! I love it.
I wish I'd taken pics throughout the process so I could throw together a little tutorial, but alas, I did not. Next time maybe. :)

PS. I know right, yet another glorious example of iPhone photography. Better days are coming my friends.

**edit**
Tutorial - no pics.  :*(

Supplies:
White felt (1/4 yard should be more than enough of each felt)
Black felt
Ribbon (for the "belt")
red cotton fabric (for the tie, or just buy a kid's tie to clip on, glue on or tie on)
2 small white buttons

Tools:
Hot glue gun
Sewing machine
Scissors
Chalk (you can skip the chalk, but it makes it a little easier to be precise)

Directions:

  1. Print off, cut out & assemble this stocking pattern on plain paper
  2. Using the paper pattern, trace the top of the stocking pattern onto your white felt, (so everything but the foot part) add about 4 inches to the top of the stocking beyond the pattern (So you have enough to fold down into a collar) and cut out 2 of these white felt pieces.
  3. Trace the foot of the stocking onto your black felt, and cut it out. (make 2 of these pieces as well.)
  4. Now you'll sew the first white piece to the first black piece to complete one side of the stocking. Do this right sides together, and use 1/4" seam allowance or smaller if you comfortably can. 
  5. For the back, repeat step 4, but first align the pieces to make sure they will face the right way so you don't end up with seams on the outside of your stocking! :)
  6. Lay out the front piece, with the front side facing you. Measure the width of your stocking, and add 1 inch. This will be the length of your ribbon.
  7. Using a thin line of hot glue, attach the ribbon to the seam where the black bottom and white top meet, leaving 1/2 in overhang on each side of your stocking front. Wait for the glue to dry. (The overhanging ribbon will be sewn into your seam and will give the stocking a much more polished look.)
  8. With right sides together, sew the front and back of your stocking together. *Don't sew all the way up the sides! Leave that extra 4 inches we added to the top un-sewn.
  9. Turn stocking right side out.
  10. Fold the extra felt on top down so it over-laps by about 2 inches.
  11. Find the center of the stocking, and make a 2 inch cut in the fold. 
  12. Now fold the collar back up, DO NOT turn inside out. 
  13. Cut a 4 inch strip of ribbon, fold it in half (right side facing out) and pin it between the unsewn edges at the top of the stocking, (raw edges sticking outside of the seam, with the loop inside the stocking.) This will be the hanging loop!
  14. Sew together the 4 inches we left unsewn in step 8, bringing the stitch in at a slight angle through the last inch on each side. (This will keep the "collar" from flaring out when it is finished!) 
  15. Fold the collar down. (The hanging loop of ribbon should be facing up and out, with the seam hidden under the fold)
  16. Adjust the corners of the collar as desired, and using a teeny dab of glue on each, tack them down so they give that slightly raised/rounded collar flap-look.
  17. Glue the small white buttons to the collar points. 
  18. Position and attach the tie. (I free-handed my tie, it was super basic. You could even cut a tie-shape out of red felt and call that good. Here's a fabulous tutorial on making a child-sized tie if you're feeling extra crafty!)
    ...
  19. Done. (You can add a name tag, or not... whatever you feel like doing!) :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Crocheted Lace

I'm so excited.

My mom can be hard to shop for, so thank goodness she's my MOM and loves handmade things from her kiddos! Of course, then there's the dilemma of what to make for her.
Last year I made her a quilt, so this year I decided crochet would be the medium. Gotta switch it up, you know?

So my bff google.com and I sifted the web for crochet patterns, looking for just the right thing. I had a vision already, I just needed a pattern. Honestly, I'd prefer to make up my own patterns, but as a mostly self-taught crocheter, (mother in law taught me the basic 4 stitches... I took it from there) whenever I'm working with a new shape or idea, it helps to teach myself by following a pattern the first time.

So enough of that, here's what I came up with!



So the beauty of this piece is that it can be worn as a shawl, or a scarf!
I'm more of a scarf-sporter myself, but no matter how you wear it, it's beautiful, warm and lacy. :)

The best part was the look on my momma's face when she opened it up! (Oh FaceTime, how I love you.) I hope she loves it as much as I do. :) I fully intend to make another one to keep for myself!

The pattern:


PS. This took HOURS to make. Not really a whip it up quick-type of project, but in my humble opinion, it was worth every minute I spent on it.

PSS. Again I apologize for the picture-quality. I am saving my pennies for a DSLR camera as we speak! Anyone want to just give me $1200? Because that would be stupendous. ;)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Being grateful

This year was very different than any other year in our life. (Our= hubby and me)
We've had some really difficult experiences to overcome that were previously very foreign to us. I think because of these things, gratitude has become even more important to me than before.

My molar pregnancy probably being the biggest adjustment we've faced. It was the first time I ever really needed to come to terms with my mortality. Cancer was a potential threat in my life for a few months. Nothing to wake you up like that. After trying for years my first pregnancy not only ended in a miscarriage scenario, but a very rare and complicated one. I've been struggling to come to terms with the possibility that I'll have another molar pregnancy, that I won't be able to have children, that if I do I may have more complications or may only be able to have one...etc.
I've learned that I actually have very little, bordering on no control over this part of my life. These are hard realities to realize and accept. I'm working through it, but I'm unsure whether I've made my peace with my reality yet.

We've also had a few deaths in our more immediate families in recent months.
Most people have experiences with loss, but this was also fairly foreign to both hubby and me. We both lost people very close to us (within a month of each other) this year.
It seemed just as things were looking up, meaning my regular hospital visits were winding down and I was nearly through with all the molar pregnancy backlash, tragedy reared its ugly head and starting taking our loved ones away. It has been much harder than I could have appreciated or understood previously.

I'm becoming proficient at dealing with loss. :)
I guess that was a lesson I needed to learn in life. Our experiences good or bad are what shape us. They're what teach us, and help us to grow in ways we may not even realize we need to.
Oh but that doesn't make it easy. No no.

2012 has left a hole in my heart.

I'm hopeful for the future though. :) I know there are good things ahead, even if I have no idea what is coming and have much less say in the matter than I thought I did. Life is for living, loving and learning.  (and laughing... yes lots of that!) And I feel like the best part of 2012 has been the learning. For all that I've learned, for the ways I've grown and been strengthened, I am very grateful.




Monday, November 19, 2012

Due date

Nov 19.

My mom's birthday.

My Aunt's birthday. (Dad's sis)

My high school *bff's birthday. (We're still close)

My high school **bf's birthday. (We're not so close)

And as of this year, the day that I would have had my baby, if it had been a baby and not a tumor. (Read the story here.)

This spring, when the doctor told us I was due Nov 19, I couldn't help but smile. It's always been one of those happy days when good things happen, so it seemed extremely fitting.
I remember Cory making a joke right there in the exam room about how we might be having Thanksgiving in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital...

Loss of an expectation, of our dream. To us, it was the little one we've been waiting so long to meet. Until it wasn't.

I'm allowing myself to feel it a little today, and consequently remembering why I prefer to hide it away.


Found here



*bff- best friend
**bf- boyfriend

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quilting for a cause

I love quilting, I love my friends, and I love helping others.

Love, love, love.

So of course, when a very good friend of mine asked if I could make a little something to auction off at a fundraiser she is putting on, I jumped up off the couch and got to work.
A family she goes to church with recently found out that the husband has leukemia. Again. So she has taken it upon herself to put together a couple fundraiser events to support them in this difficult time. She's amazing. 

I'm always a little nervous making things for others... I'm mostly self-taught and my skill-set is pretty amateur, but I love quilting. Especially when things come out well. :)

So here's what I came up with. It's one of those wonky/crazy-cut quilts that I love so much. :) I had everything on hand except the minky back. Hobby Lobby and that 40% off coupon of theirs were there for me with that one. 




I finished it pretty quickly and wanted to get it to her right away, so it's a bit wrinkled from getting stuffed in a bag, but you get the idea. 

If you'd like more info on the fundraiser, to donate or participate in the auction, visit http://www.teamjackrapp.blogspot.com. :) Every little bit counts!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kiss the cook!

I've been cooking lately! Yay!

By that I mean I've been trying new recipes.

Don't worry, I feed my hubby most days. ;)

If you follow me on Pinterest, you've probably seen these recipes already... but these ones are SO GOOD that I wanted to share them here so you know which ones have been tried and hubby approved!

Ok so first up we have "Better than Olive Garden Fettucine Alfredo"
Calorie counters - run for the hills. This stuff is delicious and pretty un-processed as dinner dishes go, but it's not lean by any means.
*I did add grilled chicken and some extra garlic powder the second time I made it. As is, its delicious, but a teeny bit on the bland side. (At least for us it was.) Of course, I recommend following the recipe exactly the first time and adjusting as you see fit once you know what you're dealing with. :)



Next up is a recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken!
Probably the easiest sweet and sour chicken recipe around, and super tasty! Cory LOVED it. It was very yummy and simple to put together.



And finally, a very quick and easy recipe for Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken. We love chicken, in case you couldn't tell by now ;)
I think next time I make this I may serve it with a side of pasta... kinda like chicken parm style. Nom nom. :)