The Bounty of the Season

My friend Maria is moving soon (way too soon if you ask me, too bad no one did!) to Brazil and I am collecting some of the bounty from her home. I feel like the luckiest person alive. Not only did I receive some gorgeous couches that look great in my basement, I also got some pillows from her. I am always looking at pillows when I am at the store. You know how it is, they would really freshen up a room, but to buy them? It hurts the wallet and it is not an item that you absolutely need to have. It's just an item that I lust over. Well, I got some pillows from Maria! This is my favorite pillow. The green one in the back is my saggy old pillow, the pretty one in front is from Maria.
I would love to promise you that there will be no more pictures of mittens, but I am still working on them. Today I added cuffs to the mitten bottoms. I made some of them so that they would not need to have cuffs, but they look better cuffed, so I am cuffing them all. You will see this is not a prettily posed photo, but a photo of real life in my home. Now that I see the picture I wish I had set the scene better. I do now have hope that I can get everything finished up soon. The mittens may or may not get little buttons added on for decorations, It all depends on how tired I become from looking at them.

Seth has the most christmas spirit of all of us in the house. He loves to put up and decorate the Christmas tree, and we love to let him do as much of it as he can. He opened the tree box and pulled out the Christmas tree skirt that I made years ago. He put it on like a dress and began to dance around and sing a few Christmas choruses. He hates when I tell about him on my blog, but he is the most fun to chat about. The tree will be up soon and I have a few presents to put under it. I do not like an empty tree. Not one bit.

Oh No, Not Again!

If you are tired of looking a my mittens, imagine how tired I am of making them. After starting this mitten craft with sweaters from the Goodwill store, I quickly realized I had a whole lot of wool and needed to make something else. So, I started making Christmas stockings. I made 13 of them and they are completely made and complete. Mittens? I am still fussing around with them. Some (read most) still need an edging around the bottom and I am trying to add edging while keeping the mittens stretchable. A harder task than you might think.
I went to a card class in Nashville In a few weeks ago taught by Michelle Zindorf. she uses brayers on her cards and they are quite different from what you would usually find. I thought I would show you what I made, but I can't find my cards. That is the story of my life right now. I am not very well organized and I try to keep things picked up. So, I pick up things and put them away, then forget where I put them *sigh*
I need the holidays to be over so I can do a good cleaning around here. You know, tidy up the craft stuff, toss out scraps I don't need and get everything squared away. Of course, I don't want to wish the holidays away before they are even here. Maybe Santa will bring me some organization skills this year.

Making Necklaces from Hardware

I am not having a lot of luck moving my pictures around today, so these are not in the order I would like for them to be in.
I'll have to wait until Scott comes home to help me straighten out my problems. I like to have text between the pictures so I can exlain things better, but Blogger isn't going to let me do that right now.
I got this idea from the blog of Shelly Katzung, Accentuate 'N Ink. She posted a tutorial on how to make necklaces from washers, like you would find at Lowe's. Some of her washers have scrapbook paper on them and look very cute. She traced around the paper and cut it out so it was the size of the washer and she glued it on. Then she covered the top of it with Glossy Accents so it would protect the paper and have some shine.
Shelly also had a tutorial on covering washers with ranger Inks. You just dab it on and let it dry. That is what I used to make my necklace.
The top photo is what the washers look like at lowe's, if you'd like to try this on your own. Shelly used clips she found at Joanns to attach the washer to the necklace. I went to Joanns and bought the only four clips I saw, and I think they add a great professionally finished look to the piece. I included a picture on the clip in its packaging so you know what to look for.
The bottom photo is my finished necklace. I used a red color, maybe Plum. I have only a few colors and could only play around with what I had onhand.I also used some silver additive, which seemed to help intensify the color and attch it to the washer. Next time I try this, I'll be wearing gloves as my ranger ink skills are messy and my hands were dyed after this project. The silver circular item I added to the encklace is a donut from Stamping Bella. She has a line of plastic pieces called Donuts and Dots. But, you could wire wrap a small bead or pearl or crystal if you'd like.
Scott will not be so happy when he sees me going through his tool cabinets looking for items to color! Now I can color coordinate screws and nails if I want!

My Neighbor Pete's Birthday

There is s mall group of us in my neighborhood who have birthdays on repetitive dates. It's hard to explain so follow along, My birthday is 10-10, (Oct 10) Jen was born on 7-7 (July 7) and Pete's birthday is Nov 11th (11-11). We exchange presents in out little group. Pete happens to work for Berringer Wines and I had a collection of wine corks that he gave me last summer. He thought they were trash, but I made him birthday presents with them.

The picture above shows me holding a cork trivet. I used pre cut pieces of cork I bought at Michaels (with a coupon, of course). I glued the corks on, trying to use completely different corks. I had to cut one cork in order to make the pattern work, but I just got out a kitchen knife and cut part of it off. Easy Peasy. Hot glue was a great thing. Lay out your pattern and glue the corks on. I used two layers of cork for the bottom as one layer semed too thin. I covered the edges with a band of ribbon.

I found a thin fall wreath at Michaels on sale for 75% off so I bought a big bunch of plastic grapes in a coordinating color and cut the group apart with scissors at home. I then glued on the grapes and only Berringer corks to the wreath. I wasn't sure about it, but Pete seemed to really like it. The rumor is that he took it to his office and has it hanging there. Apparently his office is full of Berringer memorabilia.
I also gave Pete pictures of his kids which I had punched out with a 1 inch circle punch and put in pop bottle lids. I tied a ribbon to the top and put a magnet on the back. Pete is a frugal man and his wife is a discount shopper like I am. I think they were pretty happy that I used their wine corks in such a creative way. It makes me happy to give gifts that people love.
The weather is rainy and cold here. I don't like the rain part of it most of all. It makes it hard to go out and get errands done. I did put chicken in the crock pot this morning and I went out to use my Kohl's cash that I earned last week. My mom wants hand towels for her bathroom and I got that taken care of for Christmas. I also finished sewing tops and hangers on all my sweater stockings. I need to finish up making mittens and then I can get rid of all the odds and ends of sweater pieces. Seth is dying to put up the tree but Scott says no. Seth never seems to get what he wants, poor little guy.

Cookie Day

Every year our church youth group spends a day making bazillions of Chocolate Chip Cookies as a fundraiser. Someone at the church works at a local high school and they use the kitchen there for baking the massive amount of cookies. People order the cookies as Christmas presents for office staff (and whoever) and it turns out to be lots of work for one day, but a huge fundraiser. This year I was asked to make cookies as samples to cut up and give away on ordering days. I made almost 8 dozen cookies this weekend and when I left the room for a minute I returned to find the above scene. My kids are so funny!
This pile is what has been keeping me busy. I decided I might never use up all my sweater pieces for mittend and decided to move on to stockings. I can get two stockings out of each sweater and still have smaller pieces left for mittens. I took a picture of the carnage on the floor. I now have about 12 or 13 stockings made but I need to complete the top part of them with some trim, so they are mostly done but not quite finished.
The wool is thick enough that it takes up more room than an average craft so I am eager to finish it all and throw away the scraps. Then I have to find someone who wants a wool scrap stocking for the holidays! I swear, I should have thought about that first before I got carried away with this. It seems though that the closer I get to the holidays, the more people I find that I'd like to have a present for, single parents, youth group volunteers, people away from home or family who otherwise might not wake up to presents under their tree. I love surprising people with the gifts of the season, the greatest of these being love. I even have a few gifts wrapped already. Once we put the tree up, I have to have presents under it. I can't stand having an empty tree.

Putting Away for Winter

Whenever I have an activity going on, Seth wants to help, so I put him to good use helping me make freezer jam. I went to a jam making demonstration at Sur La Table a while back and they suggest adding 2 teaspoons of grated orange peel to the jam, so Seth is grating for me. We are not measuring accurately because the lady at Sur La Table said 2 t is equivalent to about grating half an orange, so I just take her word for it grate right into the bowl.
I feel like a squirrel putting away for the winter. I made 21 jars of strawberry jam which will go to the Sunday school teachers at church. I gave everyone stamped tiles last year, and they were a HUGE hit. What can I say? Scott teaches 2nd and 3rd grade kids and I am an adult class leader, so I appreciate everyone who works hard to keep things running smoothly.
I finished a pair of mittens for myself. I know I am keeping them because I found some pretty felted flowers on a sweater at Goodwill and cut them off the sweater and sewed them onto the mittens. I love them! Of course, I bought the sweater, I didn't swipe the flowers right there in the store. :)
Scott spent last night painting the bathroom for me. The bathroom is one of those endless projects you can work on bit by bit with no "due" date. At least now we can put up towel bars again, which is my goal. I hate painting projects and everywhere I turn I see some other room that needs painted or trim to be painted or a touch up spot that needs help. I should set aside an hour or two a day and paint before I go crazy, but I just can't seem to find the time. Scott is a God to me and I never love him more than when he is painting for me.