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Christmas 2019

30 Dec

Zeke and Skeeter as Rudolf. Skeeter says he is happy because his antlers are green.

This year I scaled back our Christmas activities and celebrations, because I was sewing a wedding dress for my niece, and because my husband begged me not to torture him by lots of dragging him places every night for “big productions.”

Despite the great reduction of my grand plans, I still:

Helped two friends with packing or cleaning their houses because they were moving.

Spent at least 48 hours working on the wedding dress. I drafted the bodice and sleeves myself because my niece wanted sleeves (good for her) and a sweetheart neckline–neither of which were available in the bridal store or in the big 4 patterns available at Jo-Ann’s. I’ve finished the bodice now, and it fits her perfectly. I’m so happy about it. Just 2 layers of organza left to sew up for the skirt, which already has 2 layers of satin and lining.


Skeeter helps mommy draft a body block

Kept homeschool going …kind of…math and history were not shirked.

Participated in our annual “Light the World” Christmas concert which required many many hours of practicing the organ and some hours practicing singing.

Recognized St. Nicolas Day and St. Lucia Day and Las Posadas with special food and treats.

Held a piano recital for my 25 students.

(They were fantastic. The biggest thing that went wrong is I was 5 minutes late and had to set up all the keyboards while the families of the students –who were all early– waited on me. Some of the parents jumped up and helped me, and we were ready to go in record time. I swallowed my embarrassment over being late and began. The recital was under 45 minutes, despite the number of students, and they all performed gracefully and well. After it was all over, my shame over being late began to well up again, but I told myself there was nothing I could do to change it, and refused to think on it any longer. I really have the best group of students and families ever.)

Attended my good and talented friend’s Family Christmas Concert.

Attended Tamale Pie’s violin recital, and accompanied her solo.  Dream come true.

Hosted my family for a Christmas party after Banana Cream Pie’s baptism. (And didn’t get a single picture)

Managed to have Christmas presents for all the children and the resident Captain despite this being such a small budget year, AND got all the presents wrapped before Christmas Eve so that we didn’t have to stay up until 2 am wrapping on Christmas Eve.

Made this felt nativity for my mom.

I drew up the pattern 11 years ago, and have intended every year since to make it for my mom. I can’t believe it’s really been that long. Last year I finally bought a new package of felt, so this year, I could make it! I altered the pattern some, including adding an angel, and I need to update it for my Etsy shop now.

I watched over half a season of Project Runway and a 4 hour movie while I worked on these cuties.

Puzzled on Christmas Eve with the girls, who love to put together puzzles while waiting for Santa just like their mother and mother’s mother before them. That Map of the World had 1500 pieces NOT fully interlocking. It was a beast.


Extra Christmas bonuses:

2 of the 3 cars we own broke down in December, but we were able to get them fixed (one new alternator, one new gizmo thingy) and get everyone to work, college classes, and music lessons without serious difficulty.

My dad came over and helped the resident Captain put a door on the Girls’ bedroom. I’m so glad they have a door!


My awesome sister, Mary, is going to make bookshelves to go in the hallway next to this door for me for Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Shelves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

China Shepherdess

29 Dec

Ever since I was a little girl listening to my mother read “Little House in the Big Woods” I’ve wanted to have a china shepherdess like Ma had.

The little shepherdess represented grace and culture in the wilderness, and later came to symbolize the kind of mother I wanted to be.

Every time I was in a thrift store or flea market, I looked for my shepherdess. Shepherdesses seem to be rare, and none of the few I saw seemed quite what I was searching for.

But this month, I found her. She is me and I am she, and for $1 she came home with me from Cross-lines, my gift from the Universe.

Christmas Eve

24 Dec

I like the part of Christmas Eve where “not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse”. 

( not quite there yet this year.) 

 Then I lie still and remember the magic I felt when I was young and anticipate the kids’ excitement in the morning. Sometimes I sneak to a window and open it a crack and smell the frosty cold air and check the starry sky (just in case Santa is flying over.) 

Then I close the window and look at the stars a little longer and think about the new star that shone down on a little stable in Bethlehem. For me, Christmas is about feeling awe and wonder at the Love of God, that He sent His Son to us, for us. I wish for you my friends to feel that wonder in your hearts tonight with me. 

🎄🎄🎄Joyous Christmas and Much Love to you all.


Glow Worm

Snow Day, Sew Day

2 Mar

Every year my mom buys a whole bunch of flannel. 

By a whole bunch, I mean that she buys several bolts of flannel, as in, she could start a store with the bolts of flannel she has in Rubbermaid tubs upstairs.  It is awesome.

For Christmas, my sisters and sister-in-laws and I are invited over for pajama day.  We cut out pajamas and sometimes get them sewn up as well. Mom does crafts and reads stories with the grandkids while we have a great time chopping up those yards and yards of flannel.

This year, I got all the girls’ Christmas pajamas cut out, but not sewn.  Those almost pajamas languished in a pile for more than 2 months. 

Then last Friday afternoon the snow began falling.  It continued to fall all night and all the next morning.  Saturday morning I fixed breakfast (funnel cakes) and cleaned up the kitchen.  Then it was time to fix lunch (hash browns scrambled eggs, and country gravy–I was in a breakfast mood still).  After lunch I took a nap (pregnant ladies get to do that sometimes. ) When I woke up the snow was still falling.  

So I got out my sewing machine.  I popped my 6 hour A&E Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) in the DVD player.  I pulled out that stack of Christmas pajamas and got busy.  By the time Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett were married and kissing the bride, I had finished four flannel pants, one fleece pants and matching fleece hoodie, and one nightgown.  

I still had one nightgown left, so I put I my Focus Films version of Pride and Prejudice (Kiera Knightly and Matthew McFaydden). That was a mistake.  While I can sometime watch this version and get enjoyment from it (sometimes I need a P&P fix and I don’t have 6 hours), Kiera just can’t hold up in a back to back comparison.  The timing of every line is off and the whole thing is over acted.  

I just put my head down and finished that last nightgown.  

Finishing that big project was so satisfying, that I got sewing fever.  Church was canceled on Sunday because of bad road conditions and I had to fight the siren song of my sewing machine all day long.  But I triumphed over that temptation and my machine had its day of rest.  

Then today, I whipped the cover back off and sewed again.  Tamale Pie and Pumpkin Pie each have an 18″ doll that they got for Christmas three years ago.  (They aren’t American Girl Dolls, they are a Target knock-off version.)

Well the dream of these two girls hearts has been to have matching pajamas with their dolls.  I saved the scraps from cutting out their nightgowns and Voila!  Today their wildest dreams came true!!

I was a little worried when I got out the pattern pieces.  These doll clothes always take more fabric than I think they should.

If you look closely, you can see that I quilted the yoke on this nightgown. I used the AG pattern for Kristen’s nightgown, which you can download here.  I just left the cuffs off the sleeves and turned the neck piece under so the nightgown would be the same as Tamale Pie’s. 

Pumpkin Pie is happy too.  Hooray for being twiners with your doll!

One good thing about these dolls is that they make thinking up Christmas presents easy.  What shall I get for the girls for Christmas?  Doll clothes & accessories!!

Last Christmas, I made this beautiful red wool coat from an old wool blazer and a little girl’s plaid wool shirt.  Isn’t it gorgoeus?!! I had so much fun sewing it.  

I enbroidered the button holes by hand because they were so small that I was afraid my machine would just bung them up.  The covered buttons came right from the shirt.  

Sewing doll clothes is so much more fun now than it was when I was a girl, because the clothes look good and fit the doll when I am done!!  This apron dress was made from scraps left over from a dress I made Tamale Pie.  It isn’t as close a match in style as the nightgown, but it’s not too bad.  That tiny ric rac around the apron was murderous to sew.

I didn’t have another thrifted  wool piece to make PumpkinPie’s doll coat, so hers is made from fleece.  It worked well enough and is pretty, but it isn’t luminous the way the wool is.  Yes, I made the tam-o-shanter and muff, too.

This dress does not correspond to any of PumpkinPie’s wardrobe.  It is just purple, which was her favorite color for a long time.  Also, the flowers were a good scale for a doll dress. The coats and this purple dress came from Addy’s Pretty Clothes patterns.  The tam and muff are Samantha’s.  In my opinion, Addy and Josephine have the prettiest dresses.

So much fun!! I want to make more!!

Dreams come True in December 2014

13 Dec

I have wanted to see The Nutcracker Ballet at Christmas time for as long as I can remember.  If I had a bucket list, seeing The Nutcracker would have been on it.  This December, two of my nieces got parts as snowflakes with the Russian ballet when it came to town.  My parents bought tickets for me and my four oldest girls to go see the ballet.

It was a night to remember!!

The costumes were spectacular, the ballet was enchanting, and my nieces were the cutest snowflakes ever.  

Also in December, I woke up one morning to find these all over in our yard.  I have seen them before, but this year, I actually thought about them.  I did some research and they are called “frost flowers.”  

They are unique to Missouri and happen in a hard frost.  The sap inside these weeds keeps flowing after the freeze.  it freezes, splits the weed stalk and keeps flowing and freezing into these amazing ribbons of ice.  Who knew weeds could be so beautiful?  

Ornaments for Grandma

30 Sep


June 30th was my Grandmother’s 83rd birthday.  For the past 34 years she has handmade a Christmas ornament for each of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Here is a link to a post by my cousin in 2006 showing the ornaments up to then.  Grandmother had 13 children, and so her grandchildren and great-grandchildren number over 100 now. That is a whole bunch of ornaments that she makes each year.  I think she begins working on them in January.  This year one of my cousins suggested that we all make her an ornament for her birthday.  My siblings and I were out of the information loop until about 2 days before the party.  When I found out about the plan, I instantly felt that Grandma, who had been a kindergarten teacher for more than 15 years, would most love ornaments featuring original artwork by the littlest kiddies.


Thanks to the miracles of internet, scanners, and email, I had all my siblings who live far away send me pictures of their children’s drawings.  I printed them out on fabric and backed them with felt.  Cegan helped me and we got them all put together in time for Grandma’s birthday.  I think they turned out super cute and the kiddie pies were all excited to make something for Great-Grandma.


It turned out my mom had a plan for us all along, so we also made button ornaments to represent each of us who are grandchildren and too old to be good at making cute drawings.  We also made button ornaments to represent the great-grandkids who were too little to draw or didn’t submit artwork.  (My mother contributed 12 children and 24 great-grandchildren to the total of Grandma’s progeny, so we had no small number of ornaments to make.) My girls and Cegan’s boys helped make the button ornaments, and those all turned out super cute, too.  I have to admit that I had been skeptical because anything I’ve ever tried to make with buttons was never as cute as the picture promised it would turn out to be.  But my mom is good at picking the right kind of buttons and these all looked even better in real life than they do in the picture.

My grandmother is one whom I look up to and try to be like as I strive to become a better person and a better mother.  Here is a picture of her when she was a young mother in 1954:


Here is a picture of her from when I was growing up and she was teaching kindergarten at the school I attended.  When I was in 5th grade, I got to go to her classroom for a few hours each week to be her helper.  I loved it so much.


To one who bears the sweetest name,And adds a luster to the same,Who shares my joys– Who cheers when sad–

The greatest friend I ever had.

Long life to her–   For there’s no other–

Could take the place of my dear (grand)Mother

Christmas Eve at Grandpa’s House

1 Jan
Holding Babies

Playing with trains

I’ll give a stone and a sheep for a brick.

Ha Ha, no.

Poor Eddie, his Kaitlyn isn’t here yet 😦

We decided that Memphis eating ham constitutes canibalism.

Grandma’s Ipad always has a line of eager kiddies waiting for their turn.

Even Owie Boy wants a turn.

Yay! Cartoons!

A Christmas Eve nap is always good.

Some people are naturally cute.

Mom & Mary slaving in the kitchen to make food for the hordes.

a little silliness

What’s going on?  I need a new diaper.

a bad picture of a fun advent calendar I made with a cereal box and some vintage clipart from the internet.