Sunday, December 28, 2008

the refabulous catnip mouse

I mentioned a few posts back about a new item I've listed in my shop, and here they are!

I made these sweet little mice from reclaimed fabric scraps, some rescued embroidery floss, cotton cord, catnip and polyfil.

I was inspired to make this pattern because a few years back, Santa used to make these mice for our cat, Sally, and leave them in her stocking. Sally passed away about two years ago, and we all miss her dearly. I think we miss her most during the holidays. We miss her climbing the Christmas tree, batting down the ornaments, or hiding among the presents to pounce on an innocent passer-by. Here's an old photo of Sally and me -- I was pregnant with Monkey 6 at the time!

And this photo is even older -- we were still living in Greensboro, I believe this was around 1999!

EDITED TO ADD:  these mice are no longer available in my shop. I'm sorry for any inconvenience!

My new little helper, and a new thrifty score

Never too young to start "helping," right?

And my newest thrifty score:

First, check out the tiny price tag:

And now, the goodies!

Yay!!! Dozens of still-in-the-package zippers, hem tape, bias tape, rick rack, some sequins, charms, lace. . . . If that doesn't put me (and you!) in the mood for sewing, I don't know what will!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A beautiful ring, and my new pincushion

My sweet husband has not worn his gold wedding band for several years now, due to severe chemical burns he sustained on that hand. Once the initial burns healed, he developed traumatic dermatitis on that hand, with blisters flaring up any time he wears his ring. The doctor had told us that it was his body's way of trying to heal irritations (since the burns,) but it over-reacts, and creates more problems. It will be like this for the rest of his life.

I'm a little old-fashioned, and I think that my married husband should look, um, married.

After Thanksgiving, I stumbled across Rob and Leighanne's Etsy shop after Thanksgiving. I was drawn to their ring designs, and the fact that they utilize unusual materials -- wood, titanium, enamel, hard surface -- in addition to traditional precious metals.

I inquired about their titanium rings, and found that they use a commercially pure titanium, which is hypoallergenic! I decided to order this ring for my husband as an anniversary present.

A few days ago, the ring arrived. OH MY. It is so beautiful in person. Photos just don't do it justice.

My husband loved it -- and I am so relieved, as he is very picky about things like this. Unfortunately, I ordered the wrong size (too big) and will have to order another ring.

But the craftsmanship is unbelievable, and you can feel and see the pride that went into handcrafting this piece. The customer service is great, and they're just neat people. Please drop by their shop after a while -- their shop is temporarily closed at the moment.

My new pincushion. . . .

I received a new pincushion from igobylorib! It's from the pincushion swap I organized on Craftster.

This baby is massive! And I just love it. I think it's made from recycled sweaters, too -- so cool. It will be presiding over my sewing area, making my other pincushions jealous (or intimidated.) (Thanks, Lori!)

I'll start sign-ups for Round 10 of the pincushion swap, so stay tuned if you're interested!

Merry Christmas! plus, a few ugly sweaters

I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas Season! (Christmas traditionally continues until Epiphany next month!) And I do hope that you all had a very lovely and blessed Christmas Day yesterday.

My Monkeys, my sweet husband and I all had a very nice Christmas. The Monkeys opened their presents (after dawn, which is always nice,) we went to Mass (we avoid the Christmas Eve overflowing crowds when we can -- crowds can be tricky with lots of little ones in tow) and then drove to my sister-in-law's house for fajitas. A long day, but I appreciate, again and again, how fortunate we all are, and how many blessings we truly have.

And a few days ago. . . .

Last year, we hosted a No Gifts/No Stress Christmas Party. That's right -- no gifts were allowed to be exchanged. The focus was on family and fun. We had such a good time, we decided to host another this year! We have it on the 23rd, as we know a lot of people have other family obligations and traditions on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. Plus, most people don't have to work the next day, so we can have a late night if we want (we did.)

This year, we added an Ugly Sweater Contest. My siblings loved the idea -- asking if embellishments were allowed. Of course! (I'll have to tell you about our Big Bux Bingo party some time. . . . it started with a simple t-shirt, and exploded. Somehow, twirling peppers, caulk, cotton balls, cat food, pigs' ears, adult diapers, a mask, and dried grass got involved.) My husband's family really doesn't know what to think about that sort of thing, so only three of us ended up participating in this contest. My sweater was pretty lame.

I later added a few battery-operated lights to it, and they didn't even show up in the pictures. I had big plans, involving lots of ornaments and beads, but time just ran out on me. Boooo. But WOW my sister-in-law (with the help of my brother) and sister went all out! (Please excuse the dreadful photo, but it's the best I could find.)
My sister's horrid vest is the winner, as determined by secret ballot:
Rudolph is her brooch! Her vest also reads, "So Bright!" Ugh.

The kids were all excited to participate -- perhaps motivated by a Starbucks gift card as a prize? They all did a fantastic job with theirs. I can't wait for next year's contest! I'm already scheming.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

15 years isn't so long. . .

. . . when you spend them with your best friend.
My best friend is the most patient, kind, loving, thoughtful, hardworking, selfless (did I mention patient?) man. I am so truly blessed to have him as my husband.

I love him so much more than I ever dreamed I could love anyone.

Happy anniversary, sweetheart!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mini-Holiday Swap goodies!

Swap goodies spoiler alert! NO PEEKING, homerof2!!!!

I recently participated in a Mini-Holiday Swap on Craftster. Quick and easy -- just three small items!

I received my cute little items from homerof2 yesterday. (Oh, you've gotta check out my partner's quilts. Amaaazing.)

A lovely crocheted ornament:

A set of woven coasters. I really needed some more coasters, and should to learn how to make these!

A tissue cozy:

And my favorite, a Christmas themed square pincushion!

I love them all! Thanks, Cindy! (Partner, please stop reading if you made it this far!!)

Now, what I made for my partner:

A set of extra-large tea towels that can hang on the oven handle (or whatever handle, really):

The handles attach with velcro; the buttons are just decorative.

A sunflower pincushion:

I know the pincushion is not Christmas-y, but we were allowed to send non-holiday items, too.

It was a low-stress swap, and a lot of fun. (And I really must make myself some of those tea towels!)

2-minute winter hats, 3 ways

It's cold here in Texas. It's not usually this cold. It has been in the 20's since yesterday. My northern friends, please do not laugh at us warm-weather-loving Texans. We're not used to this kind of cold. Or the ice. Or the sleet.

My Monkeys have cabin fever. Yes, after one cold day inside. Again, I don't know how you northerners do it, day after freezing day. The Monkeys begged and begged to go outside, but didn't have any warm winter hats.

So I whipped up a few with -- you guessed it -- recycled wool sweaters.

Take a thrifted, large (or better yet, extra-large) wool sweater, and carefully cut the sleeves off at the seams. Try to only cut the yarn that holds the sleeves to the body. It won't hurt it too badly if you accidentally cut other yarns, but it will look a little messy.

Next, you can sew (or not sew) the sleeves to make three different types of hats.
#1 -- No-sew top-knot hat

My teens liked these the best. They said they saw them in a movie. (Not sure about the authenticity of that claim.)

Take the sleeve. Tie a knot near the top. Put the head in the sleeve (arm hole) opening.

The curve of the arm hole is perfect for where the face would be, and just happens to curve around to cover the ears. Very snug and warm, I'm told.

The edge can also be turned up like a cuff.

#2 -- One-stitch single-layer hat
Take the sleeve, and turn it inside-out. Try it on the intended wearer's head. Mark where the hat should end (or just guess like I did.) Stitch along that line in a curve, straight line, or even a point, depending on how you want the hat to look. Trim off excess.
Turn hat, and wear. The bottom edge can be turned up, too.

#3 -- Two-stitch double-layer hat.

This hat is extra-warm, since it has two layers. You're basically sewing the ends of the sleeves together, to make a tube. Sew through all 4 layers.

Flatten the tube, and sew a seam along one long edge to close the hat. Turn.

You can make a cowl, too. . . . Stop after sewing the ends together to make a super-cute cowl. My Monkeys threw a fit about that, and said either choked them (it didn't) or it looked stupid (it didn't.)

Now, I know these aren't the loveliest of hats, but they are inexpensive and very, very quick. Perfect for those monkeys who either lose hats constantly or don't have to wear them anywhere special, or very often. I imagine that if you took more time to make them, they could be very cutely embellished with ears, appliques, pom-poms, or whatever. Next, I plan to try making some matching mittens from felted sweaters using this fantastic tutorial!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh, Christmas tree?

I have no words.

My 10 year-old Monkey 4's take on cleaning his room. Might as well be merry, right?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My latest thrifty score

Ahhhh. . . .

These make me smile.

For $0.95 each, I smile a little bit more.

And how about a peek at my newest item in my shop? I'll post here about it very soon . I have to get a couple of things ready before I post, but it will be soon -- I promise!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Feast Day of St. Nicholas, and some cool news

More apologies for long delays in posting! We're all healthy and I'm doing well, too. No depression or migraines for a few weeks now. Thank God!

Right after Thanksgiving, my sweet husband was sent out of town on business. . . until December 23rd. Yes, his bosses have lost their minds. Unfortunately, my husband wasn't asked to do this particular job, and couldn't refuse. So now both of our jobs have gotten tremendously difficult, and at a most inconvenient time of the year! I don't know how you military families and single parents do this every day. You have my admiration and respect. I am just plain exhausted, and my night-owlishness is just about cured as of late.

In the midst of all of this, my Monkeys kindly reminded me about St. Nicholas' Feast Day, which was on December 6th. (I was actually surprised to see Etsy mention this in the Storque!) This has been a tradition of ours for about seven years now. . . ever since our priest back in Texarkana, Msgr. Jerry, told our kids about it -- but made sure they told their parents about the feast day first! ;)

So St. Nick paid a visit to the ReFabulous household. If you've noticed the few extra shoes, we had some visitors over the weekend, and St. Nicholas leaves everyone some goodies.

Here is Monkey 7, completely shocked and rendered speechless at the sight of candy. In his shoes. (And yes, he wore his sister's shirt to sleep in that night. Yes, it's a long story, and no, it's not worth re-telling. Really boring, really.)

Later that morning, we watched the Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run blow through our sleepy little town -- the boys especially loved it!

Right after that, we watched a very small parade -- so much smaller than last year's.


However, it was a nice weekend, and our visitors (friends of our daughters from above-mentioned Texarkana) and my Monkeys all seemed to have a good time. They are all exhausted, as am I.

But I still need to get some sewing done because of this cool news:

Mighty Haus mentioned my sachets on their blog today! Because of their kind mention, I received several more orders for sachets! Thanks, Ms. Summers and Ms. Mason!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Owl brooch tutorial

I whipped up this little felt owl brooch in mere moments.  OK, maybe it took a wee bit longer than moments, but it was super-easy, and super-quick to make.  I've made a handy one-page printable for you, complete with pattern and instructions, so you can make one (or two or three) yourself!

This would make a lovely stocking stuffer, gift topper, Secret Santa item or card enclosure!

Or, why not print out the instructions and make up a little kit for a sewing newbie or teen? These are so easy and fun to make, especially for beginners!

Again, you can find the pattern / tutorial in PDF format HERE.  Enjoy!
Talk to you soon.

Feel free to make as many of these as you like for your friends and family. Please don't sell my pattern.

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