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Fall Impressions…

Over at my other blog, Impress Your Kids, Amanda and I are starting a weekly craft post centered around a seasonal theme – along with a Mr. Linky so you can find all kinds of other fun seasonal activities to do with your little ones! This month, we’re focusing on Fall and Thanksgiving, and we really want to help impress on our kids the deeper meanings of life based on the Word of God.

EJ and I are struggling through our letter and verse this week – again due to sickness. But I thought of a nice little “I” impression for our Fall Impressions Week 1 activity that I find is hard for me to do at times, since I am by nature a solitary homebody. But during this month and leading up to the Christmas holiday, I would really like to show EJ the importance of opening up our home to others.

In between coughing fits and sneezes*, EJ made an “invitation”** for his cousins to come over and play soon.

An Invitation

I did not set a specific date on this invitation because I hadn’t yet spoken with my sister-in-law to find a time that would work for the both of us.  But I am hoping that she and I will arrange a day and time, and I will have EJ call his older cousin on the phone and ask her to come over on that specific day.  This will be so exciting for him, and I hope it will be exciting for her as well (his oldest cousin, MK, is 4, and the younger one is only 1).  They do not get to see each other as often as we would like them to…

I would love to impress on EJ that by inviting others into our home, we are sharing the love of Christ.  I also pray that I can model this for him through the years.

*Don’t worry – the invitation was sprayed with a disinfecting spray before it was mailed.

**The invitation itself is not as exciting as I had hoped.  I set out crayons and colored pencils, but as EJ had just seen me writing with a pen, that was all he would use.  Oh well…

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Chelle, you almost didn’t get your owl pillow.  As I was packaging it up to send it your way yesterday, the Big Boy wandered by and instantly became enamored with it.  In order to pry it out of his amazingly strong little hands, I promised I would make him his own pillow.  He asked specifically for a spaceship, and he asked repeatedly for it throughout the day – but I just cannot sew when the boys are awake.  No sewing gets done.  But some sketches got done…

Rocket sketch

Bedtime came, and I sat down to my sewing machine (and watch the election results come in).  I actually could’ve finished this rather quickly, I think, but I found myself not sewing as I was watching the TV.

I’m not too happy with the shape of the rocket pillow.  If there is ever a need to make another one, I would exaggerate a lot of the details more – I thought I was exaggerating plenty on this one, but see how you can barely see the difference between the bottom of the rocket (orange with red circles) and the top of the flames (yellow with orange circles)?

rocket softie

I also think the top of the rocket is too pointy.  I would round the shape much more… see?  I really should’ve made a prototype.

rocket softie

And here’s the finished product in all its glory…

rocket softie

That’s the Big Boy driving the rocket – see?

Big Boy detail

And Daddy came along for the ride!

Hubby detail

I didn’t get to measure the finished product, but the rocket ship (including the flame) is over 2 feet tall.  The best part of the whole thing was watching the Big Boy’s face as he saw his rocket shipon the couch waiting for him this morning.  He talked non-stop: “My rocket ship! Momma, you made this for me?  Thank you!  Oh, I love it! She’s my best friend – her name is Chicaga the Airship.  Look at her blast off – I’m going to blast off now, Momma… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… BLAST OFF!”  He and Chicaga (I have no idea where that came from – the way he said it sounded like “Chicago” but with an “a” at the end) blasted around the room countless times – and it was rarely away from his side all day.  He slept with it at naptime, and he’s now cuddled up to it for the night.

rocket softie

sigh… I love being a Momma.

I really thought about not posting today.  Sickness continues to plague this little family, and I started to feel icky this afternoon.  However, a couple hours of light knitting and a cup of hot cocoa (from scratch!) have revived my spirits, if not my body.  Plus, the Redskins are winning as I type this…

My new thing this week was something I started last week – but I didn’t want to interrupt my giveaway fun with the banalities of my continued weight-loss saga.  But I’ll unload it all on to you this week… kidding!

Last week, I started the “No S” diet.  I saw this someplace online – maybe on someone else’s blog?  It just makes sense to me, and it’s more of a lifestyle change than a real “diet.”  And I had already started one of the S’s a while back: no seconds.  It was the no sweets and no snacks part of it that got me.  I did pretty well last week, except for the one day that I had a sugary snack and went back for seconds.  Yup.  Anyway – today my YMCA started a “Santa Shape Up” challenge, and 4 of my mommy friends from one of my exercise classes and I started a team.  Now, what most of you don’t know (if you’ve never played a game with me) is that I am way too super competitive.  It’s a little disturbing at times.  But I figure that competitiveness will do me well when it comes to getting into the gym.  It worked today – I was at the gym on a treadmill by 6:30 AM. 

So, that’s my newest thing this week. I’m still thinking about where I want this “New Thing” feature to go, so I’m sorry that this was the best I could offer this week.  And I just realized I broke the no sweets rule with my cup of hot cocoa earlier tonight.  Whoops.

I’ve got some great ideas I’m hoping to make as gifts soon, and I’ll share those with you as they happen.  One of the most exciting things that I get to make is the February Lady Sweater from Flint Knits.

FLS - picture from Flint Knits' pattern

FLS - picture from Flint Knits

I. love. this. sweater.  LOVE it.  I can’t wait until I can make one for me, but my aunt requested one for Christmas, so she’ll get one!  I’m so excited that I actually have an excuse a chance to work knit this now instead of waiting until I can find the time to make one for myself.

OK – the Redskins are no longer winning.  I must go and concentrate on the TV so they will score again.  And again.  Then they’ll be winning again.  A fan’s work is never done…

And the winners are….

Oh my goodness – this week was so much fun!  Thank you to everyone who visited my blog – I hope you found something you liked! 

Due to a crazy day yesterday and sick kids again overnight (will this ever end?!?), I wasn’t able to do the drawing until now- so here are the winners today.

Chelle from Creative Momma won the owl pillow, Awesome Mom from Adventures of an Awesome (Somtimes) Mother won the sock yarn and dpn roll, runlikeagril from Run Like a Girl won a pound of Blanchard’s Coffee and my recipe booklet (Rita A, Barbara, and Kristeneach also got a copy of my recipe booklet),  Shannon Mark won the amigurumi book and the crochet hook roll, and Elizabeth M. won the custom paper cutting!

Congratulations, everyone!  And again, thank you for all the encouragement!  I really think this has gotten me a step closer to opening my own Etsy shop.  Now, if only I could find the time to make the things for it…

This has been the most fun week ever!  I’ve loved reading everyone’s comments – and it’s not like you have just been entering for the giveaways – you’ve left some wonderful notes that are really encouraging to me!  Thank you so much, everyone!

I am excited to wrap up this week with one of my most recent newest things – a craft I became obsessed with over the summer, and it threatened to push my yarny-pursuits off the radar completely (although, I’m not sure if that could ever happen…) – paper cutting!

For my last Bloggy Giveaway giveaway, I will give one lucky commenter a custom designed paper cutting.

This might not sound special, but I feel like I’m really putting myself out there with this one.  The other giveaways I’ve been giving things that I love but that I don’t really have much creative input into on my own (OK, the owl was pretty creative, but I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember.  I’ve only been cutting paper for a couple months).  I’ve only designed a couple things myself, but I’ve been so pleased with how they’ve turned out, and I’ve gotten a great response from them…

Here are most of the things I’ve cut…

1. Big Boy Rocket, 2. Little Man Space Ship, 3. robot, 4. leaf, 5. dandelion blowing, 6. celtic knot 2, 7. flowers, 8. dandelion 2, 9. dandelion 1

The other things I’ve cut I’ve either not been happy with or not taken a picture of (whoops!).  Four of the cuttings I designed myself (numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5).  The others I used pictures as guides, with some modifications to make them appropriate for cutting.

If you win this giveaway, I will design and cut a custom piece of art for you – your choice of sizes (up to 12×12 inches – I work mostly in cardstock and use a lot of scrapbook paper) and your choice of colors, your choice of theme and wording… If you have a child that you’d like something special for their room, I’ve got some more great ideas along the lines of numbers 1 and 2… If you have a floral pattern that you adore in your dining room table cloth and would like a matching cutting for the wall, I’ll whip one up.  If you’d like to give your mother-in-law a special gift for Christmas to go with her southwestern-themed sunroom, I’ll try my best!  And I’ll have it to you way in advance of Christmas!  I will not frame it – that part will be up to you.

To win this custom cutting, please leave me a comment (with a valid email address) letting me know what you think you might like as a design if you win.  You won’t be held to that though – you can always change you mind when you win and start to really think about it.  Comments will be accepted through the end of the day (12:00am PST), and the drawing will occur on Saturday, November 1.

If this is your first time here, take a look around – I’d love for you to come back again!  Also, check out my Bloggy Giveaways from MondayTuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, the giveaway on my other blog, and the others at the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival site!!!  This has been a wonderful week – it’s been fun meeting all of you!!!

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Entries for the giveaway are now closed.  Please click here to see who the winner was!

I got hooked (ha! get it? hooked?!) on amigurumi earlier this year when I discovered the brilliant designs of Mia at Owlishly.  I absolutely love her work – so cute!  When I got started on amigurumi, I bought a bevy of great amigurumi books (Mia sells her patterns individually in her Etsy shop – please check them out!) – all the books are from very talented designers.  And I need to share one of these fabulous books with you, so…

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Today, I will be giving one lucky commenter an amazing amigurumi book and a handmade crochet hook roll!

The book is Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Amigurumiby Tomoko Takamori.  Kyuuto! = CUTE!!! (I just want to run around the house yelling that – don’t you? …or is it only me? KYUUTO!!!!!!!!)  Look at some of these little guys whose patterns are in the book…

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Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures – that was hard taking pictures of pictures in a book!

 

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Look at those little frogs just lying around waiting to play!

While this book has some great patterns that are pretty easy to read, if you’ve never crocheted before, you might want to hop online and find some basic instructions for starting and doing single crochet.  The book is rather light on specifics for beginners. 

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The handmade crochet hook roll is similar to the one I made for my giveaway on Tuesday– but I realized when I made that one for the dpn needles, the crochet hooks were much shorter and didn’t really fit into the dpn roll.  So I made this one to fit standard size crochet hooks.  Again, please note: the crochet hooks in the case are not included in this giveaway – they are mine and I need them!!!

100_7767_editedHowever – if the winner of this giveaway does not have her (or his) own crochet hooks, I will be happy to include some…. these were hooks that I found while I was cleaning out my yarn bag, and they are doubles of ones that I already have (look at that honking HUGE hook!  Oh, so much fun to whip up a quick scarf with some bulky yarn – instant gratification!).  They are gently used, if they were used at all.  So all you will need is some yarn, and you’ll be ready to go!!!

To win this adorable amigurumi giveaway, please leave me a comment (with a valid email address) letting me know who you would give your first little amigurumi to.  If you’re not a crocheter (yet!) or if you don’t have any hooks, let me know that, too, so I will know if you would like the extras I have.  Comments will be accepted through the end of the week, and the drawing will occur on Saturday, November 1.

If this is your first time here, take a look around – I’d love for you to come back again!  Also, check out my Bloggy Giveaways from MondayTuesday, and Wednesday, the giveaway on my other blog, and the others at the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival site!!!  Come back each day this week for more giveaway goodness!

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Entries for the giveaway are now closed.  Please click here to see who the winner was!

As I said yesterday, I wanted to giveaway something each day this week that reflected a craft I was passionate about.  Four things popped immediately into my mind, and you’ve seen sewing and knitting so far.  The fifth thing I wanted to giveaway is not exactly a craft I’m passionate about, but the components are things I spend a lot of my time on…  coffee and food!

Today I will be sending one commenter a pound of really fresh coffee, and to that winner and three others I will be sending a PDF copy of a recipe booklet I’ve put together.

Most Saturdays I work at a good friend’s coffeeshop.  I kid you not – this is the best. coffee. ever.  David, the owner of the shop and my husband’s childhood friend, has been passionate about coffee for a long time, and he started roasting coffee in a popcorn popper on his back porch (it’s possible – I know he did it, I just don’t know how).  This passion has turned into a Richmond, VA, sensation – the coffee has been picked up by one of the largest grocery chains here in Virginia.  Coffeeshops, restaurants, offices, and churches are serving his coffee all over town.   

The key to the coffee is its freshness. David roasts the coffee at the coffeeshop, and it is bagged and delivered as soon as possible.  When you taste the coffee, you can tell the difference immediately.  My husband and I have been drinking Blanchard’s Coffee from the beginning, and we can’t drink anything else – we are completely spoiled by the smoothness and the deliciousness of the coffee. 

What this coffee represents to me (besides its deliciosity) is friendship and good adult conversation.  When I work at the coffeeshop, I often get to work with a great friend, Kelly, and I also get to talk to adult people for several hours.  It’s a wonderful day when I get to be at the coffeeshop. 

Now, to explain my recipe booklet… as a SAHM, a large chunk of my time is taken up with housework and cooking.  I never thought I would enjoy this domestic life, but I love it!  It has taken me several years to get to a point where both the cooking and cleaning are consistently happening at the same time… that sounds bad, but there are seasons where one would take precedence over the other as I tried to figure out a good routine for my day.  I’ve tried several different systems (like the FlyLady), and while the systems were great and effective, they were not always something I could maintain on a daily basis.  So I’ve picked and chosen what works for me over the years. 

Wow – long story short (too late!)…I’ve been working on my own daily planner, complete with menus and chores and anything else that needs to happen during the day.  The planner itself is still in the works, but I did compile a file of my favorite 103 recipes to help me in my menu planning.  I was tired of trying to remember where a recipe was (book? recipe card? online?), so I typed them all up and made a “booklet” of them, so I could print them out and have them all in one place.

These recipes are old family favorites (Aunt Jenni’s Mac and Cheese, Monkey Bread, my mom’s broccoli rice casserole) and new favorites from recipe books and other sources.  I want to share them with you to help make your menu planning easier – and you know these recipes are tested in my kitchen for ease of creation and tastiness.

To win this yummy giveaway, please visit the Blanchard’s Coffee website and then come back here and leave me a comment (with a valid email address) letting me know what type of coffee you’d like to try if you win.  If you’re not a coffee drinker and would just like the recipes to help you out, let me know that, too.  Comments will be accepted through the end of the week, and the drawing will occur on Saturday, November 1.

If this is your first time here, take a look around – I’d love for you to come back again!  Also, check out my Bloggy Giveaways from Monday and Tuesday, the giveaway on my other blog, and the others at the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival site!!!  Come back each day this week for more giveaway goodness!

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Entries for the giveaway are now closed.  Please click here to see who the winner was!