Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

It seems I am always late with these holiday posts. Maybe that is because I am too busy relaxing and celebrating! This Christmas was filled with feasting and music, family and friends, laughter and rejoicing. Gifts were given and received, and there was much joy in each. Family pictures were taken in front of the tree, and in spite of the seeming impossibility of getting seven (or eight) people looking good at the same time and in the same place, we actually got some decent photos. Our *adopted* sister Ayu joined us Christmas Day, and therefore was included in the photo madness.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is definitely the music. We play Christmas CD's, Christmas Pandora stations, Christmas radio stations...or we make music ourselves! Christmas Eve, we all gathered in the living room and sang carols, while I played along on my violin and my sisters traded off accompanying on the piano. Christmas Day, we sight-read Christmas piano duets (a Christmas tradition that I love) and my mom got out her flute and played some carol arrangements with me.

And of course, the real reason for celebrating was not forgotten. We pondered how God sent His Son into a world of selfish, ungrateful, wicked people to die for them and save them. He loves us more than we could know. So when He commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, how can we do anything but joyfully obey? And yet we still grieve Him with our sin day in and day out. Oh the riches of His mercy! He loves us through it all. I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but perhaps this year I will: to love and delight in God more and more, to turn my every desire towards His will, and to never forget what He has done for me. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Beautiful Things

My dad got interested in woodturning a few years ago. He loves working with his hands and is very detail-oriented. He is also quite a perfectionist. Needless to say, it didn't take him long to get good at woodturning. He has made everything from bowls to apples to a candelabra.

He took the candelabra to one of the local woodturning meetings, and was asked to do a demonstration showing how he had made it. So one Saturday in November, a handful of woodturners came over to watch him work.

For several months, my dad had been talking about having me make him a woodturning smock - something to keep the wood shavings from sticking to his clothes and to keep his pockets clean. I promised to make him one for his birthday. That was back in August. About a week before his demonstration, I finished up a big sewing project I had been busy with and got to work on the smock. I finished it in time! ...well, if you can call minutes before the demonstration is supposed to start 'in time'. Anyway, he was able to wear it for the demonstration, and I had two other wood turners ask me to make smocks for them, thanks to my dad's advertising!

Here is some more of my dad's beautiful work:

Yes, those things on the left are wooden straws. He said they are easy to make. They sure don't look like it!

Some beautiful scoops and spoons.

I love these natural edge bowls - the shape, the color, the edge - everything!

A pepper mill, two vases, and a spindle box.

This was the first bowl he made. Cedar is such a beautiful wood!

This is my favorite bowl. Who knew that wood could be so amazing? I love the swirly grain!

You can't really tell from the picture, but the one in the middle is a shallow platter with a base. I love the sharp color contrast in the bowl on the right.

One of my dad's most recent projects. He carved the face with a utility knife!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Frozen Project

A couple months ago a woman contacted me asking if I would sew some costumes for her. She was giving her daughter a Frozen-themed birthday party, and she and her sister wanted to dress up like Elsa and Ana to surprise the girls. What a fun idea!

She bought the fabric and the pattern, so I could just dive in and start cutting and sewing.

They were so much fun to make! And I loved the cape!

So cute!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Crafting

I am one of those people who wait to play Christmas music or decorate for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving. I like to celebrate each holiday separately. So the day after Thanksgiving, I am usually outside putting up lights and greenery and whatever other Christmas decorations I can find in the boxes in the basement. This year, however, I took out all the lights Friday morning and discovered that about 1.5 strands worked. Ahhh! The lights are 70% of my decorating material!

There was nothing to do but head into town to get some new ones. But since I don't like spending a lot of money, I went to the thrift stores instead of Walmart. And since it was just the day after Thanksgiving, the thrift stores didn't have their Christmas lights out yet. Ahhh! So back home I went empty-handed.

I had done some Pinterest browsing to find fun decorating ideas, and ended up finding a lot of DIY Christmas crafts. Since I couldn't do any decorating, I decided to do some crafting. I had so much fun!! It has been a while since I've had the time to just sit and be creative.

Glittery light bulbs:

I didn't have the kind of glitter they used in the picture on Pinterest, but I did have some tiny gold sequins, some tinfoil, and a cheese grater. Yes, I made my own silver glitter!

I used my trusty Mod Podge to glue on the glitter. Once the glue dried, I put on another coat over the glitter to hold it in place.

3D snowflakes:

These are so easy to make and they look so cool! Pardon my mess. I was in the middle of crafting and therefore had no time to clean up.

Christmas tree cones:

I seriously love these trees! I cut triangles out of paper, glued on some fabric or tinfoil (with Mod Podge, of course) and then rolled them into cones. I made some more today to decorate the piano:

Spiral Christmas trees:

I made a much smaller version of the Pinterest picture. They are so cute!

Paper ornaments:

Mine don't look quite as elegant as the Pinterest ones, but they are still fun!

This is all I have done for now, but I am not finished!! I will have to post some pictures once all the decorating is complete. Today, I had fun cutting out snowflakes.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas season!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Creating an Outfit

Sometimes it's fun to find some things, fix them up, and piece them together to make an outfit. That's what I did to create an outfit for the symphony I went to in St. Louis a few weeks ago. I like to have something new to wear to occasions like this. Of course, this outfit wasn't entirely new. I've had this dress in my closet for a few years, and have worn it with a few different jackets, but I was never quite satisfied with the combination.

All the dress needed was straps. Since they wouldn't show, I just went with the easiest option: a spool of burgundy ribbon I had in a drawer. Some measuring and cutting and hand sewing later, the dress had straps!

I found a three-quarter sleeve black shirt at a thrift store that I thought would work well over the dress. I didn't want to wear all solid black, though, so I bought some lace, too.

I laid the shirt down on the lace and cut out around the body of it, then did the same with the sleeves.

I sewed the lace shirt together...

...then put it over the solid black shirt. I tucked the lace under around the neck, sleeves, and bottom edge and tacked it in place. (If you saw my previous post, this is what I was finishing in the car on the way to St. Louis)

I don't have any pictures of just me in this outfit, because when you go somewhere with friends...well, you usually get pictures with them! So here I am with all the wonderful people who made this trip such a blast! Love you guys!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Road Tripin'

This past weekend, I went up to St. Louis with a group of church friends to attend a symphony concert at Powell Hall. Of course, we fit in some other fun things as well, like a visit to the Cathedral Basilica and supper at a fancy restaurant. We were gone for less than 24 hours, but we did so much! It was a great trip.

Of course, in typical me fashion, I was sewing clothes for the trip the week before the trip. And I finished one thing in the car on the way there. I just can't break the habit! :-P

I had been shopping around recently for a sweater dress - one of the kind that you can wear over a pair of jeans. I have wanted one for years, and I thought it would be the perfect thing for a road trip. But as things often happen when you want something now, I couldn't find one. Then I remembered that I had a large knitted shawl-like thing (I honestly don't know what to call it) that I had been intending to turn into a sweater dress for several years. I pulled it out of a bag in our storage room and got to work.

I used my sister's sweater dress as a pattern, laying it out on the shawl and cutting around it to get the general shape. I matched up the bottom of the dress with the bottom edge of the shawl on either side, so it could have the original cable edge.

I sewed the cable edging from the sides of the shawl onto the neck and armholes. There was even enough left to make a tie.

I didn't want to leave my dress plain brown, so I took out my yarn and chose some coordinating colors.

I then looked up some embroidery patterns and came up with a design. I haven't been able to do detailing work like this in a long time. It was so fun! I did several bands of embroidery around the bottom, and two rows of french knots around the neck.

With my new pair of thrift store $3 jeans, the dress made a perfect outfit! And it was really comfortable - perfect for a road trip and sight-seeing in St. Louis!