Friday, October 29, 2010

The "Sweet" Gene Has Surfaced!

Yay~she (Miss Ellie) has it! That sweet tooth that somehow missed Jed and John. (How, one might ask, could one not like chocolate and desserts??) Let me tell you this little story.
We had the family over to the City Nest for a pre-Halloween supper/carving pumpkins party. See Ellie getting her "treat" of a Cheerio Halloween book? But wait! Look closely! She is not looking at the book, is she? She actually had her eyes on the cookie platter behind filled with chocolate balls, cut-out cookies and Oreos!
Likkety split she yanked out a little frosted spider cookie and popped it in her mouth. Meaning a frosting ring around her mouth quickly gave her away! Gotta love it.
After dinner, Ellie sat on the table while the pumpkins were carved. She loved the scooping tool.
Here's Ellie in her Little Ladybug costume. I got inspired by these thrift store plus-sized pants (only 50 cents) and made her outfit from them, purchasing the wings, skirt and headband.
Goodness Gracious --- it's soooo much fun having this "Sweetie" around this Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Little Town That (Almost) Could

Not too far from our hometown is this town. A town that is trying to break a Guinness World Record for having the most lit pumkins at one time --- my kind of town! (Seeing as I am a fan of the holiday.) Marti and I had to investigate it this week after the event itself. Read more about it to see if the record was made following these pictures.
The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival October 20th - 23rd Highwood, IL: "CITY OF HIGHWOOD, IL CELEBRATES ATTEMPT AT BREAKING RECORD: 26,287 JACK-O-LANTERNS LIGHT THE NIGHT AT GREAT PUMPKIN FEST 2010 A Community Comes Together In Pursuit of World Record HIGHWOOD, IL (OCTOBER 2010) – Tens of thousands of people waited for the results on October 23rd as their jack-o-lanterns were counted at the Record Breaking Pumpkin Fest of 2010. The small city of Highwood, IL was host to the four-day festival that brought people together from all around the Midwest and the world, to break the Guinness World Records for most jack-o-lanterns lit in one town. Plans called for 32,000 jack-o-lanterns to break the current 2006 record of 30,128 held by Boston, MA. With the official count just shy of the record at 26,287, the city is still celebrating. 'We are so proud of coming so close at our first attempt. The outpouring of volunteering and support was just overwhelming as the event brought neighboring communities, organizations, military and businesses together to carve pumpkins and celebrate with their families and friends for four days,' says Highwood Mayor Charlie Pecaro. 'The fact that we didn't break the record is minor; we had so much fun in the process that it doesn’t even matter. And now everyone is looking forward to really breaking the record next year!' The Highwood Great Pumpkin Fest of 2011 is scheduled for October 19th-22nd."
Such a great idea, don't you think? I can't wait to see how they do next year!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Wedding! (Pink Suitcase Chronicles #32)

Three weddings in three weeks! This one was Sarah and Craig's in Minnesota so Pink was needed and once again provided me with belongings carried in style.
Craig is the son of our friends Suzy and John. Our son, John, was a youth group buddy with Craig at LCC.
The newlyweds make a very handsome couple, don't you think? We wish them much happiness!
The flowers were exceptionally beautiful as Craig works for the company providing the foliage.
Once again, the Lindahls got their groove on and danced up a storm. John and Kari were our dancing partners here. What a special time of celebration - and renewal of some pretty significant friendships from our past - in this wedding occasion. This is the good "stuff" in life as in the midst of it some friends are experiencing their own not so good experiences with illnesses and challenges. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you now as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Adding to the "Family"

Where, oh where, does the time go? It seems like just a couple of years ago that these kids were lined up on our Michigan cabin deck doing their talent show. Left to right: Patrick, John, Sean, Anne, Drew.
And now, the fourth wedding out of these five has just taken place! Over this past weekend, we were wedding witnesses as Patrick R. wed Katie C., the son of Carol and Mark to the daughter of Glen and Barbara. We have known Patrick for his whole life and have considered Patrick, Sean and Drew to be "family." As have Anne and John considered them to be their "cousins."
The wedding was held in the Isaacson Chapel on the NPU campus. Beautiful.
Anne and Drew had a chance to reconnect at the reception. Long ago Carol and I wondered if our two oldest would someday tie the knot themselves...each have now happily married others.
These two newlyweds are so happily paired. We wish them a lifetime of joy, health, growth and bounty. And we now welcome Katie into the family as well!
The wedding brought together our dear friends also. Of the eleven children we have raised between us, five are now married with six to go! It has become our tradition to gather at weddings and we are excited as there are more to come...someday perhaps. We are patient. Right? Right!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This is REALLY It! (Copycat Challenge finale)

Done. Done. Done. And this is the green woolly "group" all gathered together for one last parting shot.It has simply been the best experience to make these items over the past year. In fact, I would highly encourage you to find a book you really like - be it a recipe book, a craft book, a non-fiction topic book and take a year to take your time to explore its subject.
I wish to thank Vicki Haninger for her inspiration - and her wonderful book. I wish to thank Anne and Jed for giving me a grand-daughter as my recipient/muse for these projects. I wish to thank those of you who humored me along the way by asking how the project was going and reading/commenting on this blog.
In the meantime, Vicki has written yet another book called Embroidery Craft: Stitching Through the Seasons. Bless her heart; she sent me a copy with a personalized note! Yes, I will enjoy making some of these cute-oh-so-cute projects, but am putting this blogging to bed! Good night. Stitch tight.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

This is It! (Copycat Challenge #42 and #43)

Yes siree - these are the final projects in the year long Copycat Challenge experiment in which I made - and blogged about - all the offerings in the Blanket Statement book by Vicki Haninger in the style of Julia & Julia. Whew! Above you can see the pillow found on pages 32 and 33 called the Pretty Piped Pillow. I made mine smallish for Bella's head and added a quilt to go with it from an orphaned quilt block.
But what to put the pillow and quilt in was the next problem. Solved by making the Handy Catch All Bag on pages 78 - 79! I turned the reduced-size bag into a backpack by sewing a small
"D" loop to the bag and threading the handle straps through that so that Bella can wear the pack when she goes to visit her Gramma's for overnight visits!
The appliqued flower pattern was found on page 97 of the book.
So here we are. Done. Stretched in creativity. And off to new adventures with needle and thread in hand!
Next: the last word(s) on the whole undertaking with a parting "group" shot.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bella's Shoes - and a Sweet Treat to Boot (Copycat Challenge # 39, #40 and #41)

Shoe #1:
Bella is wearing the Mary Janes shown on page 99 of the book. These were "inspiration" shoes found in the The Felt Book by Clare Beaton. On that same page is a picture of a sweet treat "inspiration" as found in the book Softies by Therese Laskey, Leah Kramer and Louise Frankel. My bad - I drafted up my own pattern making it a tall torte instead of a cupcake.
Shoe #2: Party Slip-ons
Pages 24-25 have a pattern called Posy Baby Slippers that I
reduced in size to fit Bella. I knew she would need sparkly glitterry shoes to go with the Party Dress, so I hand stitched oodles of sequins to the pink felt before stitching the lining.
Shoe #3: The Pear Pair
Using the same pattern, these go with the Woodsy Miss outfit. Using self-covered buttons with a pear from the fabric cut in a circle as the motif, Bella will treat herself to comfort with these shoes that can double as slippers. Coming: The Overnight-at Gramma's backpack! And almost the culmination of the green blanket finale foreworks!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bella's Bags (Copycat Challenge #36, #37, #38)

Just like any girl, Bella Phant needs her bags. Again, more is more! Bag #1 (the Winter Tote Bag on pages 20-21 in the book Blanket Statement by Vicki Haninger)
holds all the outfits as shown in the recent blitz post "Meet Bella Phant" as well as her shoes. One might note that the bag applique of the striped elephant is a recycled/felted sweater remnant. Bag #2 is Bella's purse perfect for holding the smallest of treasures. It is embroidered with words to melt your heart...
Vicki called this project on pages 58-59 the Rose Petal Potpourri. I tweaked it by leaving an opening in the top to turn it into a pocket instead of a mini pillow and added side handles.
Bella likes to wear it this way across the front of her body.
Bag #3 was the Techtronics Bag on pages 64-65 in Vicki's book. Seeing as I know Bella will be an avid reader, I tweaked this to be a mini book bag. A "B" was pieced with foundation paper and an appliqued flower on the side. Tiny books fit inside.
Add three more projects to the "fireworks" Blitz going on as the green blanket is dwindling in its size, but going out with a bang! Coming: the shoes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

California, Here We Come (Pink Suitcase Chronicles #31)

California in October is wonderful! We just returned from a trip to the San Francisco area. Here Pink poses in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Follow along with highlights of our time there with help from alphabet prompts:
C is for Cable Car. No transfers. No return trips. But well worth the price of the ride up the hill.
A is for Adrienne and Ken. They were married at Marin Art and Garden Center on Saturday. Ken is Wes' first cousin, and he and his bride were radiantly happy as first-time bride and groom. So in love!
L is for Lombard Street. We drove it and walked it. On foot is easier.
I is for Imbibing. In moderation, of course. We visited the Viansa Winery in Napa Valley for a tasting. Here the guys check the list for wine choices.
F is for Fisherman's Wharf. One can't visit San Francisco without a trip here.
O is for Ocean. Not only were we able to get to the beach (Muir Beach), but we visited the California Academy of Sciences and enjoyed the aquarium there.
R is for Relaxation. Although we were often on the go, we rested a bit at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate State Park. N is for Nieces and Nephew. How fun was it to be with Paul and Lora's family in California? Waaaay fun! Here they pose (and shiver) at the Muir Beach.
I is for In and Out. As in the famous burger place that Jill told us to go to. Delicious burgers, to be sure, but the wait and lines were really long. We're happy with the local Five Guys option!
A is for Artist. We visited the studio and museum of Charles M. Schulz in Santa Rosa, California. The kids loved the activity room and the grown-ups loved the comic-strip tile mural.
Actually, who doesn't love the Peanuts gang?
Once again, we are reminded with the lovliness of life. All the best to the newlyweds --- and thanks to them for choosing a "destination" wedding for those of us not living in the area!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Meet Bella Phant (Copycat Challenge #31-#35)

Ready? Set? BLITZ! A year ago today I embarked on the one-year-make-all-projects-in-a-book challenge in the blogging style of Julie Powell in Julie & Julia. Vicki Haninger wrote the book Blanket Statement and I set off to create all her projects. In one year. And I'm done! Of course the main reason I started this challenge was to provide a certain Miss Ellie with hand-stitched toys from her Gramma. One-of-a-kind toys, games and projects with lots of love stitched in as I thought of her magnificent presence in all of our lives - a true miracle and gift.
All of the remaining projects were "tweaked" to add my spin on Vicki's work. And all related to a certain green wool elephant I have named Bella Phant.
Vicki's elephant is named Ella Nora and can be found on pages 84-91 of the book. Patterns are included for an outfit with pants and top, a crown, and a shoe reference from another book. (More on shoes in a later post.) My Bella has many outfits; Vicki's comes with one. More is more in my book, so I took off with this wardrobe.
Outfit #1 is called (my terminology here) Dress Casual. Bella can wear it anywhere and be appropriately attired for wherever life (and Ellie) takes her!
Outfit #2 is called Basic Romper and is meant for the active times like tricycle riding down the street, going to the park, etc. When Bella and I had a photo "shoot" outside I mistakenly did it when son John was home. Unfortunately his, "Mom, what are you doing out here?" was making me feel a bit on the eccentric side. Oh well.
Outfit#3 is called Party Time and features leftover fabric from a Jasmine costume I made way back when for Anne as she was in a musical theatre production.
Note that Bella is posing with the candle cake as well as a torte which will be described later.
Outfit #4 is called Woodsy Miss. In a pinch it can also be used as pajamas because the top is actually flannel. Outfit #5 is called The Teacher as it is perfect for wearing it to the classroom at a blackboard. It was made from a recycled felted Old Navy sweater - label included. I downsized the Applique Bias Skirt found on pages 52 and 53 of the book for this one. Vest pattern was my own pattern.
Like I said, this is a blitz with more green wool "fireworks" to come as I wrap up this finale coming lickety split. Consider yourself officially introduced to Bella!