Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our family to yours! May 2012 be a year filled with happiness and good health for all!
This was the picture Nature Girl drew for our Christmas card this year. Even naughty little Chunk made it on the card. I'm happy to report that despite his naughtiness Santa was very good to him. Chunk got lots of presents!
We're enjoying our time off together. I was busy crafting right up to until Christmas. I'll post my crafted Christmas goodies soon, so you can see what I've been up to. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tie One On Day

I've missed making aprons! I hadn't made any aprons in quite awhile so I was suffering from apron withdrawals. Not to worry, November is time to celebrate National Tie One On Day. It's a holiday right before Thanksgiving where you give back to others by crafting an apron and some goodies just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Not only does it take care of apron withdrawals it makes someone else's day! I call that a win -win situation!

I made and delivered two aprons for National Tie One On Day. Both aprons went to co-worker/friends at school.

The first Tie One On apron is this wild psychedelic number. It is made with vintage silk screened acrylic fabric. It's wild but I really love the fabric. Of course it's reversible and has a flamingo print on the back.

The second apron is this pink polka dot apron. I made this one for one of the speech therapists last year but held onto it because it needed some adjustments. She was trying to lose weight so we decided to wait on adjusting it. She's lost 33 pounds and looks great. We had to tear apart the top of the apron to get it to fit but we finished just time time for Tie One On Day. Look how cute her apron looks on her! This one is also reversible with a brown paisley fabric on the back. It was fun to share my love of aprons with my coworkers/friends!

I also finished this apron which is my first crafted Christmas gift this year. I finished a second apron for a Christmas gift and have a third one that is partially completed. Three Jillymade Christmas gifts done. Let's hope I can get a few more made in time for Christmas!

Woosh . . . And November is Gone

The title says it all. Time is flying by and I'm running along like a crazy woman trying to catch up. I took tons of pictures in November but hardly posted anything. Christmas is just around the corner and I haven't shared anything from November, so here are a few highlights.

My wonderful husband celebrated his birthday this month. Happy birthday Honey, we love you! You are the best dad and husband ever! We have a couple of birthday traditions. The first tradition is that you get choose a homemade birthday dessert. He chose Tuxedo Brownies. Yummy! Our second tradition is that you get to go to dinner at the restaurant of your choice. The restaurant he choose had a super long wait so he chose a second restaurant instead. We brought him back to his first choice few days later, so he got to have two birthday dinners out.

Nature Girl participated in a Veteran's Day assembly at school. She learned to sign the words to "God Bless the USA" and performed it in front of the school with her class. She did a wonderful job and of course I cried! That song always gets me and I was so proud of her. She worked so hard to learn the signs and was very nervous about performing. She's an amazing little girl!
Nature Girl also got her report card this month. She did a great job! We took her out to dinner to celebrate.

Chunk had surgery this month. He was micro-chipped and neutered. After a few days of not feeling like his usually naughty self, he's back to normal and seems to have forgiven me. He also had his first stay in a kennel over Thanksgiving. He was a bit scared. He didn't like the other dogs barking and had to be hand fed in order to get him to eat. Needless to say he was happy to see us. Now he's back to his normal self, which means he's back to eating anything within his reach. This weeks chewing choices include socks, paperclips and a mini bottle of bubbles.

That leaves me. I've been trying to fit a few crafts into the chaos of everyday life. I've had owls on the brain so I've been making little owls from wool. I've also missed making aprons so I've made a couple of those too(I'll show those in another post.)

I crafted an owl ornament for my friend Barb.

I hosted a pincushion swap in October that spilled over into November. I couldn't stop myself from creating this little wool tree stump pincushion complete with owls. I sent this one along to Barb too. I have another tree stump that just needs an owl attached. Of course Chunk ate the wings off that owl so I need to make a new one now.
There you have it, a few highlights from November. And woosh . . . November is gone! Bring on the holidays!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Girl, A Puppy and Snow

When I looked skyward last week, this was the view. It's fall in the East. The days are cooler, the trees are changing color, leaves are falling. It's a very pretty time.

There should be plenty of time to enjoy fall, or so I thought. We don't usually have snow in October. Winter made an early appearance on Saturday night, we got 24 inches of snow. It quickly went from fall to winter in just a few hours. Nature Girl loved putting on her winter jacket to catch big fluffy snowflakes in the backyard.

Chunk came outside for some snowy fun. At first he didn't know quite what to think. The snow was as tall as he is. He jumped off the porch up to his head in snow and quickly wondered, "What the heck is this stuff?"

Soon he began to romp through the snow with Nature Girl! Watching them play in the snow reminded me of how exciting and magical the first snow is. Don't you remember the excitement the first real snow brought when you were a kid? A girl and a puppy playing in the snow can make you remember.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It's hard to believe summer has come and gone, now it's already Halloween. Time flies! We dressed up for Halloween and walked around our neighborhood tonight. Nature Girl decided to be a devil this year and thought Chunk should be a devil too. I thought I should be an angel to balance out all of this devilishness.

Here is a close up of Chunk during one of his costume wearing practice sessions. He keep doing a whole body shake trying to shake off the costume. He wasn't a fan of the costume at first but we had him practice wearing it a few times before Halloween. He still didn't love it tonight but didn't mind it too much. It certainly helped that I feed him a good amount of treats as we walked around the neighborhood.

This is a picture of one angel and a little devil. Really I might not be an angel but he certainly is a little devil. He will eat anything and has a wicked naughty streak in him. Good thing he's cute and I love him! Look at that little black face.

Nature Girl had a party and Halloween parade at school on Friday. I snapped this picture of her and a friend. She and the purple witch have been friends since they were babies. It's great to see them in the same class this year. They are both growing up so quickly!

Nature Girl got to march at the front of the Halloween parade with the paper mache' ghost puppet she made in art enrichment. Overall we had a great Halloween. I hope you did too. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Val over at Yarnigras hosted a zombie swap. Of course I just had to participate. While I dislike scary things, one thing I do love is funny zombies! My love of zombies started when I first saw Shaun of the Dead. It's one of my favorite movies. I also love Zombieland. So creating a zombie doll was something I couldn't resist trying. I had so many ideas I wanted to try but didn't have time to create them all. So after creating a zombie for my partner, Val and Kerry invited me to join their Zombie Challenge. The challenge was to create a zombie doll for yourself and reveal it on Halloween. I decided I was up for the challenge, so here's the big reveal just in time for Halloween. Drum roll please . . . . . . .

Here she is. She still needs a name. All I've thought of so far is Gwendolyn or Raven, but nothing has stuck so far. Any ideas? Anyway, back to my zombie. I used gray duck cloth and black thread to make her. Then I used some great buttons that my YOE swan swap partner sent to me, to accessorize my new little zombie friend. Notice the zipper on her belly?

Well, when you unzip her middle you can see her little zombie heart and insides. Almost gross, right? But I think she's just too sweet to look gross and the guts just seem to finish her off. Her arms naturally fall into a zombie like position, so she looks like she's searching for some brains to eat or maybe a zombie partner to dance with.

This is Undead Fred. He's the zombie I created for my zombie swap partner Laura. He's part of a zombie work rehabilitation program that trains zombies to be productive workers. How do you motivate a zombie to be a productive worker? With brains of course! See Undead Fred has a stick with brains attached to him. The brains are just out of his reach. I loved Fred and hated to see him go, but he's happily chasing that brain at Laura's house now.

Here's the zombie Laura sent for me. I love the polka dot fabrics and the Day of the Dead fabric Laura used on the skirt. Thanks Laura for a bit of zombie fun. And thanks to Val and Kerry for including me in their Zombie Challenge. I can't wait to see what you've created! You should go check it out too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Dog Ate My Homework

Last night Nature Girl worked on her homework like usual. We sat on the couch together to do her reading fluency passage. Once she finished, she set her paper on the couch and walked out of the room. I left the room for 30 seconds to get my laptop. Now, here's where the trouble began. Chunk has learned how to jump on the couch (we're trying to break him of this.) When I came back in the room, what did I find? Yep, you guessed it, a cute little puppy eating Nature Girl's homework. I told him he was naughty while trying to keep a straight face. I have to admit that I found this very humorous! Maybe it's because I'm a teacher so I have heard a million excuses for why homework isn't turned in but a dog really eating homework is funny! Right?! After an almost straight faced scolding, I told him to stay put while I got the camera. He just looked at me like, "What did I do?" Seriously, look at that face, how could you stay mad at him?
Nature Girl did not see the humor in the situation and started to cry. I calmed her down, then e-mailed her teacher, so all is well. Tonight after reassurances from both her teacher and I, Nature Girl is able to see the humor of the situation. After all, how many times in your life can you truthfully say to your teacher "My dog ate my homework?" It's definitely once for us. Let's hope that's the last of the homework eating incidents, though I have a sneaky suspicion that it could happen again. He loves to eat paper!

half eaten homework

Monday, September 12, 2011

There's A New Swap in Town

We're hosting another swap. This time it's a pincushion swap. I'm very excited about it as I'm currently in love with pretty, unique, little pincushions. I hope other people are too and will want to join me for some pincushion fun. Head over to Crafty Bits Swap Spot for details and sign up.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wonderful Friends!

Have you ever stopped to think about how lucky you are? Sometimes it's easy to forget how fortunate you really are. Have you you ever had a tough week then had a friend do something special for you? Did it make you feel better and make you realize how lucky you are to have such wonderful friends? That's happened to me. Going back to school after a wonderful summer at home is always hard for me. I love the kids I teach and wouldn't trade it, but it's a lot of work. I feel like I run around like a chicken without a head from September till June. This year is particularly crazy! At three weeks into the school year, I already felt like I was months behind in my work. One Friday a few weeks ago, I was feeling particularly tired and stressed when I left school. When I got home things started to look up.

I realized again that I'm so lucky to have the greatest friends! My friend Barb sent us a panda surprise in the mail! I came home to discover these Panda screen bags. Just look at them! There was one for my daughter and one for me! What a great surprise! We love them and feel completely spoiled!!! Thank you Barb! By the way Barb is an amazing seamstress (Yes, I'm going to brag and gush about my talented friend!) She has an ETSY shop if you're in the market for a screenbag, purse, wallet, travel pillow, etc. Check her ETSY shop here.

I've been super busy with school so I didn't get to post my random surprise mail package from Karen. I won a a giveaway over at Karen's blog a while back to receive a random package with a handcrafted Karen-made gift. It arrived totally unexpected(yes, I know that's why it's called random mail.) Karen sent an owlie zippered pouch made from her tutorial. You can see the tutorial here. I have my pouch filled with my Sharpie pens and markers so I can doodle when I get a few minutes.

Karen sent an Owlie purse for Nature Girl. Karen has some in her ETSY Shop (Yes, this is a plug for her shop. You should check it out.) Karen sells aprons, bags, pincushions and many other beautifully made items. We planned to buy an owlie purse from the shop, only she sent it in the random mail package. Thank you Karen! We love our goodies! Random mail really is great!

While we're on a roll doing shameless plugs for my amazingly talented and wonderful friends, I can't leave out Val. She has an ETSY shop here with mosaics, amazing crocheted goodies and aprons. She sent us some mermaid fabric unexpectedly this summer. I finally used it to make a car-bage bag to hold our trash when we travel in the car. I think it turned out great and should help keep the car a bit more tidy.
Thank you for being wonderful friends! I appreciate your friendship and generosity! It brightens my day and reminds me of how lucky I am! Thank you!

YOE Frogs

The August YOE theme was frogs. My partner Gin sent this froggy package to me. Nature Girl quickly scoffed up the puzzle and hung the appliqued froggy hand towel in the bathroom. The fabric has been set aside to wash/dry for a future project and my frog prince ornament, complete with a crown and royal cape, is hanging on my YOE tree. Thank you Gin!

I sent Gin this package. It included some gummy frog candy, a fat quarter in a frog print, a frog stapler, a frog prince ornament and a frog pincushion with magnets so it could sit on a sewing can. I had a blast making the pincushion. I am just loving pincushions these days!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School

It's back to school time and nothing says back to school like school supplies. I have to admit that I love shopping for school supplies! One of my favorite school supplies is Fiskars scissors. This year I will have two teaching roommates. One of them is new to our school and I wanted to make her feel welcome. What says welcome to school better than school supplies, right? I tied a bit of scissor printed ribbon to a set of student scissors and a pair of big teacher scissors in the same color. Red is my favorite color so this red set so it's for me. My roommates are getting purple and pink scissors. I hope they like them.

Back to school time means spending lots of time setting up and organizing at school. Nature Girl has been a trooper. I've been dragging her into school everyday for the past week so I can work. She's been great about entertaining herself. Here's the cup tower she made one day. Today she used a Styrofoam cup, four forks, some pipe cleaners, duct tape, and markers to make a bobblehead. She certainly is creative!

Happy back to school time to you!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I made this market bag for myself using some vintage fabric I bought at a yard sale this summer. The fabric had once been a set of curtains. It took me a couple of months to decide whether to make an apron or a bag with this fabric.

Just look at this fabric. It features the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, as well as a few other little shops. I have some fabric scraps left but I wish I had more of this fabric. I just love it!

I've also developed a new love for yellow glass. I found this set of six glasses at a yard sale for a $1. I just love them!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our Family

I have a brother and two sisters. Now that we're adults and life is so busy it's not that often we all get to spend time together. So when we had a chance to spend a few days together this summer we had a blast. Between the four of us there are nine children. We have six girls and three boys. The kids range from three and a half years to eleven and a half years old. Amazingly they all get along well and they like to be together.

Here are all of the kids. They let us snap pictures for a while before they got bored.

We decided a silly picture was in order. Just look at those silly faces!

Then it was the adults turn to take pictures. First the serious picture . . .

then the kids wanted us to do a silly picture too.
We had fun and really enjoyed spending time together, one big happy family!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Panda Swap Fun!

Nature Girl and I have been hosting Panda Swap 2011. The craftiness has begun and some of packages have even been mailed. You can check out the swap goodies over at our other blog Crafty Bits Swap Spot. Right now our panda swap is featured but we'll be hosting another swap soon. We'll keep you posted. Below is the panda package Nature Girl received.

Nature Girl received her panda package from Melinda and Olivia. They sent pajama bottoms with a matching panda headband, watercolor paints, Twizzlers, and an art book.

Just look at this book they altered. Isn't it awesome?!! We think it's a panda masterpiece. The book is full of paper for Nature Girl to draw and paint on. When she saw the book she said "Look it's art." Thanks for sending such an amazing piece of art to her. She LOVES it!

Also a special thank you goes out to Val who sent Nature Girl these special goodies. Nature Girl wishes I could crochet (I do too) so I make cute little amigurumi softie animals. Val was so sweet and sent this sweet amigurumi panda, mermaid fabric and mushroom to Nature Girl. Nature Girl says thank you! Thanks from me too, I appreciate your kindness and friendship!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Puppies and Patterns Don't Mix

I got up early this morning thinking I get some crafting done. I set about cutting out a new pattern while the rest of the house was still asleep. I was almost finished cutting when Nature Girl brought puppy boy downstairs. There I was sitting on the floor cutting out all of the pieces. Chunk immediately found the pattern scraps pile and wrecked havoc with it.

I whisked him outside for a morning potty but when he came in he immediately ran to my pattern piece pile and marched his little wet feet all over my patterns.

Chunk isn't a help when it comes to craft projects. Good thing he's so cute! I was able to save the pattern pieces before he did more damage but I learned that puppies and patterns don't mix!

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Not so Green Thumb

I have a reputation as a plant killer. It's a sad but true fact that I have more of a black thumb than a green thumb. The only plant I have successfully kept alive for a long period is "Harry, " my Golden Ponthos(part of the philodendron family.) While we were in Kauai we learned that philodendrons are parasitic plants that almost impossible to kill. Based on Harry's 12 year existence in my house I'd say this is true. I've branched out a bit adding a spider plant, a Wandering Jew and a Cyclamen to the mix this year. The cyclamen isn't as healthy as the rest but it's holding on. Actually the Wandering Jew "Wanda" and clippings from the original Harry were hanging in the window in my classroom all year. The kids helped me water and talk to them and they really thrived this year.

Feeling heady from my house plant success I decided to try my hand at gardening this year. I wanted to grow my own zucchini to make zucchini relish this summer. Each year I spend a ton of money on the produce to make relish, so I thought growing my own would be a great idea. I bought a small two tiered raised bed at Sam's Club, gardening soil at the local hardware store and a few small veggie plants from someone at school. I planted cukes, zucchini and tomatoes in my little garden. Thanks to having to take Chunk out to go potty twenty times a day I've actually remembered to water my garden and it's been growing. I've been so excited to see my zucchini thriving and a few little tomatoes are starting to ripen now.

Here is my first harvest. Five zucchini and two cukes show my new success as a gardener! My husband is a realist, so when I first planted my little garden, he pointed out that with all the money I spent on the raised bed and soil it would have been cheaper to just pay for the produce at the supermarket. While he is correct, you can't put a price on the feeling of successfully growing your own food, particularly when when you have a bad reputation with the plants. I'm so excited! Even my husband and Nature Girl are surprised and impressed with my gardening success. So now it's zucchini relish making time again and this year I grew the zucchini myself!