Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Fleece

Embroidered Throws

The fleece was on sale, so I bought a yard of each color.  I thought I'd be able to make fleece tops, but a yard wasn't quite enough, so I just made throws, serged the edges, and did a little embroidery on each.  The little cat is for our new grandson, due to enter this awesome world in the beginning of January.  Our first grandson, after five granddaughters. 

Embroidered Fleece Tops

I went back to the fabric store and bought a little more fleece, enough to make two tops for our two older granddaughters.  I made a pattern a long time ago and have used it again and again.  With my serger, these only take about a half hour to make.  The embroidery is done by my machine, which stitches away while I do something else.  I only have to be mindful to change the colors of the threads.  I guess it's a little like having a stand mixer that kneads the dough for bread while I do something else!

Our Christmas Table

We had a lovely Christmas, with not quite as big a group as we generally have.  I like that because it's possible to engage in more conversation.  And since our house is kind of small, we don't feel quite so crowded.  Even so, as I look at this image, the table seems to stretch on for miles!

I'm looking forward to a productive and blessed new year. 

And I can't wait to hold my new grandson in my arms!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Tis the Season

My sister and I were experimenting with our iPhones at dinner the other night.  The light was low because Joe really likes the atmospherics, though I like to see the dinner I've carefully prepared!  Betty has the new iPhone5 and I have the 4S.  So we wanted to see the difference in quality of pictures.  Not much, it turns out.

Christmas Cactue in bloom

I like this image and put it on my phone as the wallpaper.  Then I tried cropping it and putting it here as the banner image for the header.

Hours later and with no success in the process, I called Kimmie for help.  I sent her the raw image as an email and in minutes she had it cropped and sized appropriately.  

We still don't know what I did wrong, but she said next time I want to change my banner image, I should just call her.

Blown Egg painted by Kimmie

Over the years we've gotten together to make tree ornaments.  This is one that Kimmie made a long time ago.  Maybe even before she was married.  It's one of my favorites.

I made this about 20 years ago, I think.

Decorated with leftover scraps from a wedding dress I made for a client.

My father taught me how to blow eggs many years ago.  He was so good at it he could blow out the contents with only a small pin hole at either end.  I'm not so good.  

With sharp scissors, I pierce each end of the egg, carefully turning the blade to create a slightly larger hole to make it easier to blow into, and blow out the contents.

It's easy to mod podge tissue paper over the egg and cover the holes, then decorate it; it stays quite strong that way 

With a long needle (I use a beading needle), it's possible to pass a thin wire through the egg so that it can be hooked onto the tree.

Maybe I'll make more eggs this year...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Luscious Soaps

I've been tinkering with fragrances for these soaps I've been making.

The latest is a combination of geranium, frankincense, and grapefruit, with a smidgen of lavander to soften the intensity a bit.

Putting my nose to the test.

I'm selling them for $6.00 on Etsy, or three for $15.00, with a break on the shipping.  

I have a bit of a factory going in the guest room, where I put the soaps to cure.

When Mary walked in (she was trying on a dress she wanted me to hem up), she ordered nine soaps on the spot.  They'll be ready for her to pick up in about two weeks, in time for Christmas.

When the soap is poured (spooned) into the mold, it's the consitency of soft whipped cream; so it has little puffy mounds.

I Polish the soap with a soft cloth, to smooth out some rough edges.

This is a batch of lavender, frankincense and ginger scented soaps that is ready to go.  Ten of these will be delivered to my sister's English friend, who adores this soap and will be giving it to her friends as stocking stuffers.

Tomorrow, I'll start a new batch, with a more manly combination of scents.  This time I'll combine eucalyptus, lemon, ginger and bergamot.  I woul have used cardamom, but the essential oil is $59.00 an ounce!

These soaps are so soft on the skin and lather up really well.  I've refined a recipe that includes olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, and 20% shea butter.  Very nourishing...