Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Prep & Table Etiquette

Some of my little elves decided to wrap up gifts last minute before Christmas...this elf can't cut a straight line...and he poked a hole in the package! Not to worry...he placed a bow over that hole. No need to re-wrap and waste paper, it's for a guy and he won't mind!
He tasked this elf to make the tags for his packages...what? You don't have any store bought tags?Nope! She complied, and I think she really got into the task! After Christmas Eve festivities...we came home knowing we had to finish the Christmas book project. Peter asked each person in our family (along with Miss Janice and Tante Margrit) to write our favorite Christmas memory to be read Christmas morning.
It took a little wrangling on his part to get all the stories to him by Christmas Eve (not sure if Tante Margrit's is floating around in cyberspace or if she just didn't complete the project...I wonder?) Peter printed each story (times 10) and compiled them into a book.

He set up a work station in the front hall and began putting the books together...we didn't begin until almost 10:30 pm...so by 1:00 am we were finished.
It was hard not to read each page as we put the books together, but we wanted to hear them read Christmas morning and be surprised by each person's special memory of a past Christmas.
Each person read their own memory...there were sad tears for those loved ones no longer with us, and happy tears for special memories that evoked special thoughts of Christmas' past. Even Lauren wrote a special page of her favorite "past" Christmas memory. It was a very special time together as a family! Emily read Miss Janice's page (since she was Christmassing with her own family in Spring.) She tried to "put on" Miss Janice's Texarkana accent...but something was lost in translation. We'll have to tape Miss Janice reading her own rendition of the story for the full effect.
The table was set in anticipation of the good food to follow, once we opened our stockings... But, as always...these girls have other ideas of Christmas table fun...I think Lauren and Mike started it all!
Then the rest followed along... "What is my mother doing?"
He thinks he wants to play along!
By the way...the American Girl doll was a big hit...as were all the clothes. (I received the bicyle...and am so excited to begin riding!)
I think I saw "Emily" in 3 or 4 different outfits throughout the day and evening.

As for the little guy...he got busted helping himself to a handful of M & M's. Who left them within his reach? I don't think Mom was fast enough to get them all away!
All in all...Christmas was a wonderful family time again this year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Birthday

Another year passing and another birthday to celebrate! It will be a quiet day around here...maybe dinner out...or maybe a movie with popcorn for dinner!

I don't really celebrate my birthday on my "birth day" any more. Many years ago we moved my birth date to my "half birthday"...so celebrations are in the summer on June 26th. The girls are happy because they think my day gets lost amongst all the Christmas activities...and everyone gets a break on the "gift" giving. I love the summer celebration because we can do something outdoors (although it's supposed to be 77 degrees today...so I could be outside today on my birthday!)

I am thankful for another year to continue my journey...ever mindful that God is looking for a generation more consumed with Whom they are following than where they are going.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Isaiah 7:14 (New Living Translation)

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us').
Merry Christmas to you all! May the Lord (Immaneuel) be with you today!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Minute

I have so many last minute things I'm working on...at least my package to RT was mailed in a timely manner! She has received it, but claims she has not opened it. Do we really believe this? Such restraint! I'm still awaiting a call for the grand opening!

I have 3 collage' pictures I'm currently working on completing. I have the fragile crackle down and will finish the color and top layer tomorrow...they're in the drying process.
I also had several purses to complete today...one more tomorrow morning...then I'm finished sewing for the time being.
My Mom loves Santa's and collects them...so I painted a Santa for her on an old sled I found at an antique shop. Hopefully she'll like her new Santa.
My sweet husband gave me some lovely roses today! They smell wonderful and I was quite surprised - and it's not even my birthday yet!
I took the picture of the roses in front of my "Barbie" tree. My mom has given each of the girls a Barbie ornament for years. Two of the girls have taken their Barbie's to their own home - but Stephanie's not ready to take hers...she's afraid the dog will eat them. So...again this year I have a Barbie tree. Lauren loves it! When all the girls were home we had a very full tree of Barbies...but this year it's down to a small tree. I've put my few vintage Barbies on this tree along with my "vintage kitchen items." Thank you Mom!
Until tomorrow....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Doll Clothes!

It's been many a year since I've made doll clothes...1992 I believe to be the exact year. We bought American Girl dolls for our girls that Christmas, but once we purchased the dolls there wasn't money left over for all the clothes. Those were also the beginning years for American Girl Dolls and they offered patterns for purchase so you could make each of the different dolls their period appropriate clothes. (I noticed on their website they no longer offer these patterns. Lucky I don't throw things out!)


We decided this year we'd get Lauren an American Girl Doll. She had already been checking out the doll catalog and had pronounced her favorites. (She had several, of course.) We drove to the American Girl Doll store in Dallas and found the "perfect" doll for her. We chose Emily. Emily is Molly's English friend from WWII. I had already been to the store once to purchase Molly and Emily for a friend who is raising her 3 grandchildren. (Our Sunday School class is providing Christmas gifts for the children.)


I stated by making the doll an apron that matches one I made for Lauren. I knew I would be cutting it close, so Lauren won't have an outfit to match her new doll until probably the new year (maybe by her birthday.) I used my vintage tablecloth material - and trimmed it out with very small rick rack.
Next, I created her some "under" clothes. I must thank Oma for this fabric. She sent it home with us this summer when we left Canada. I loved the edging on this and wanted to be able to utilize the embroidery along the edge of the slip.
Some night clothes came next. This fabric was left from the original night gowns I made for the two dolls I sewed for in the 90's. It ALWAYS pays to keep those scrapes. LOL!
I knew Lauren wouldn't be happy unless she had another dress to change Emily into...so this one is courtesy of Jon - my girlfriend's wonderful husband (he's a fabric rep) who gives me all kinds of caste off fabrics. I LOVE free fabric! He has so many wonderful pieces to share!

I also brought home some cream eyelet from Oma's this summer and made a slip to go with this little dress. The buttons I stitched on the bodice were left to me by my grandmother and the trim is some old trim my mother gave me years ago.My daughter also wanted Lauren to have a party dress for her doll...so on to finding some party fabric or some velvet. I had a large piece of velvet in my stash that my girlfriend, RT, gave me the last time I visited her in Florida. I'm not sure why she was buying velvet in...Florida (and she doesn't sew) - but I benefited from her purchase! I added a little pearl button that has a rhinestone in the middle at the neck line to finish it off. (Another of my grandmother's buttons.)
Last, but not least, I knew she would need a coat. Also courtesy of Jon's small sample squares, I had enough to create the coat and lining - and enough for lining the hat and muff. I had some brown fur left over from an old project - so the only thing I ended up having to purchase was the trim around the coat. Each small "perfect" trim piece that I wanted to use from my stash was just an inch or so too small...so I had to buy something. Not bad, considering all other items were made and decorated from whatever I found in my sewing room. (That's kinda scary!)
Here is Emily in all her glory.
I was planning to purchase a suitcase or something Lauren could keep all the clothes stored together. When my husband arrived home from work - he came bearing gifts...fruit from Harry and David...all wrapped up in this wonderful trunk - so again...nothing to purchase!Overall, I think Lauren will be pleased with her doll and the change of clothing offered...but I've got a sneaking suspicion I'm not finished with making doll clothes!

Here is Emily in her original outfit.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Muenster, Texas - German Community

Yesterday we headed to Muenster, Texas. We love to go to Fischer's Meat Market to pick up good German sausage, various German goodies, antique shop the area and eat German food for dinner before returning home.

Yesterday started out perfect. The temperature was warm (with the threat of a cold front blowing in before late afternoon.) There are several "favorite" antique shops in the area and Peter and I spent a leisurely day searching through treasures...
Looking for vintage finds... Finding cool objects...
Finding things Miss Janice is looking for (not sure where she'll be putting her chicken coup!)and wishing this stove were in better shape (and that I had a place for it!)We also spotted the windmill farm not too far from Muenster.Once the shops were closed we headed back to Fischer's to shop. All the best sausage! Good things to make that would make Oma's heart go pitter-pat!
I headed for this area...
There was every king of strudel you could imagine...Apple, cheese, blueberry, apricot, strawberry...too many to mention (I got an apple!)
Peter's heart went pitter pat when he saw all the options for Stollen...I believe there were 4 different kinds! (Who knew?) He also found these cookies - his very favorite!Me...I love the advent calendars filled with Chocolate! (No RT...didn't buy any for Pappi!)
We had dinner at Doc's and we both ate the Jager Schnitzel, Rot Kohl, hot German potato salad...yummy! As the day progressed the temperature continued to drop...from the morning high of 67 to the evening low of 27! I was so happy to be home and have a comfy fire. We had a fun day, found some Christmas treasures and brought home good German breakfast sausage for Christmas morning! Can't wait!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Squabbles!

Do your children ever fight? Fight over toys?

Having 3 girls...well...there could be times that they just didn't get along. Mind you, they did always resolve their differences (they had the choice to get along or go to bed!), but that was many years ago. These girls are now 29, 23, and 21. So, you would THINK the era of little "squabbles" would be done with...but NO!

When Emily (the 23 year old) was 3 we got her a Kid Sister Doll (AKA a My Buddy doll...but a girl version.) She LOVED this doll. She named her Mary Lou after a young woman who occasionally babysat for the girls. She played with this doll, hauled her around everywhere, and spoke of Mary Lou as if she were alive and well. Emily requested I make "new clothes" for Mary Lou and through the years her shoes and original pink stripped overalls were lost.Eventually, my young girls grew up and their dolls were put away. Mary Lou moved to the bottom of Emily's closet and was not thought about for years. Occasionally Emily would come across Mary Lou and would let me know that that Mary Lou needed something new to wear. Emily took off Mary Lou's dress and put it in my sewing room to remind me to make her a new outfit. (HA! That went on the back burner...who was playing with this doll?)

Well...then along came Lauren (my granddaughter, now 6) who loves dolls. She discovered Mary Lou one afternoon while Emily was away. We were searching Emily's closet for something and there was Mary Lou - thrown in the bottom of the closet, mussed up hair, and no clothes. Lauren was indignant! Who would treat another little girl this way? Why was she without clothes? Obviously Emily did not love her and Lauren immediately claimed Mary Lou as her very own. She begged me for some clothes for her...so I looked in my bag of old baby clothes I've saved for the girls, and found her a pretty dress and pinafore (plus several other outfits to change Mary Lou into.)
This has been "ok" for a couple of years, but suddenly Emily has seen Mary Lou in a new light.

Just recently Emily visited "Lauren's Room" and spied Mary Lou sitting at the tea table dressed in her new finery! I could hear her quizzing Lauren as to where Mary Lou got the new clothes. Lauren reminded Emily that Mary Lou was now her doll...because Emily did not take good care of her. That didn't seem to sit too well with Emily - and she reminded Lauren that Mary Lou was HER doll. I could hear them arguing back and forth about this doll...were there 2 six year olds upstairs? Emily came down to give me the "sister report" (what I used to call the girls' tattling! Deja vu) Mary Lou was hers!

Nothing more was said at that point, and I thought nothing of the conversation until the next evening.

We were headed to a party and Emily was riding in the car with us when she brought up Mary Lou. Hmmm...Where was this going? She wanted to make sure I knew that Mary Lou was HER doll and when she got married and had children Mary Lou would be coming to live at her house...she was NOT Lauren's doll. LOL!

Girl's...I guess no matter their age, they are going to fight over their dolls! And, I'm thinking by the time Emily has a little girl...Mary Lou will be available to move in with her! Mary Lou is thrilled to be loved by all!