One of the things I have learned on my journey through blogging is that bloggers love to give gifts, either through generous giveaways, swaps or because they like to surprise us with things they know we'll love. I have been the recipient of some wonderful gifts. A few days ago I won a pattern giveaway from Brenda at Little Acorns. Brenda is a fabulous designer of the most amazing patterns and fabrics. I am currently working on a Christmas applique quilt with her "Celebration" fabric, imagine my delight when I found out I had won SIX of her patterns!
I signed up for an apron swap last month through Sue at Country Pleasures. I was delighted to be matched up with Judy from Daily Yarns 'N More. This week I recieved this wonderful apron, which fits me perfectly! I love the fabric she chose.
Judy also included this pretty fabric mix of flannels and cottons as well as some pretty soap. Judy recently moved to Gentle Hearth Farm and I have so enjoyed all the beautiful pictures she has been sharing of her new life on the farm. Judy is a quilter, knitter and a weaver and when she's busy creating, beautiful things come from her hands.
One of the first ladies I met when I started blogging is sweet Beverly from My Sew Sweet Studio. Beverly sent me these darling crochet pieces and some pretty linens just because she knew how much I would like them. They fit perfectly in my "Pretty Room" where I enjoy them everyday. Beverly is an expert (yes, Beverly, EXPERT) seamstress, pattern author and makes the most amazing children's clothes and bags.
A visit to all of these ladies blogs would brighten anyone's day, grab some coffee and head over! Today it's dark and snowy here in southwest Michigan. I good day for sewing I'd say!
For today's Friday Pretties I want to take you into the magical world of Liberty Biberty. The author of this amazing blog is Mercedes and she lives in New Zealand. She is a minaturist. Yep, that's right, all these pictures you are looking at come from the inside of a doll house.
A visit to Mercedes blog will leave you with your mouth hanging open. Her detailed, lovely rooms are just down-right amazing and look better than my life-size rooms!
As I have learned from reading her blog, there are alot of minature enthusiasts out there and I can see why. This is a whole other realm of creativity and I'm awed by it. I can't quite wrap my brain around how it's done, but I'm so glad she can!
Be sure to stop on over at her blog and take the virtual home tour. You will come away with a whole new appreciation for this craft. I am trying to figure out how I can shrink myself so I can move into this wonderful, enchanting place.
First snowfalls are always iffy. We tend to forget how to drive in the snow when we haven't done it in a few months. The drive to deliver the cake went well, it was the drive home that about did me in. Somewhere along the way there must have been an accident because I crawled along the highway at 5 mph for a good hour, in a snow storm, in the dark. I have to tell you though, I would do it again just to see his face light up. This picture was taken when his friends were singing to him. I am so proud of the man he is becoming. My heart is just not big enough to hold the love I have for him, so I'll place this love in God's hands and be forever grateful that he chose me to be Taylor's Mom.
Today we are experiencing the first snowfall of the season. A very gentle, slow falling snow, just like the kind you see in the movies. It appears winter has finally arrived.
My favorite new candy
Today is also my son's 20th birthday. I can hardly believe it. Can he really be that old? Can I really be that old? I am making a cake and plan to deliver it to him at college later this afternoon. He is about an hour from us. Hopefully, the snow won't keep me from going.
Still finding decorations to put up
I'm having some difficulty grasping the Christmas season this year. I don't know what's that matter with me. Are any of you having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit?
The monday-after-Thanksgiving-blues have hit me hard this year. A wonderful time spent with family, food, sports, church, Christmas decorating, more food, meaningful conversations, shopping, movie watching and more food. And then, everyone leaves. Whenever my son has been home for a few days and goes back to college I experience the same feelings I did when he first left. I know it's silly, but it happens every time.
The house is 99% ready for Christmas. The mice have found their way on to my sewing room tree and I just love them! I don't know what it is about mice, but they stir a long lost memory from my childhood and speak to my heart (especially ones in pretty dresses!) The 1% of Christmas left to decorate is my front door. There will be no handmade wreath from my FIL this year and I have to go find a replacement, and honestly, it's hard.
I broke my self-imposed rule of no fabric purchasing. My daughter and I went to check on the competition for the Gingerbread House contest and stopped in at my favorite store (note to self: do not stop in to said favorite store). This fabric is not my "style" at all and I just fell in love. So, some for me and some for a special gift. As for the contest, a professional cake decorator and GBH contest goer has entered a spectacular (and I mean spectacular) house so we are toast. The judging is this week, but really, we've already won our prize. In the end, I wouldn't trade that time with my daughter for anything.
I hope all of you had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. There is a bit of a nip in the air today and rumors of snow. I've started to bring out the Christmas decorations. These little cuties look like they are ready to hop out of the box and on to the tree. Michigan plays Ohio State, and the chili is cooking. It's 11:00am and the kids are still in bed...oh how I love the holidays!
I know the next couple of days will be crazy for me so I wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving! The blogging community has been such a blessing in my life and I truly have enjoyed getting to know so many of you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving day with your family and friends!
This week, for so many of us, is marked with list making, things that need to be purchased for Thanksgiving dinner, desserts that need to be made, various tasks that must be completed around the house before guests start to arrive. I awoke this morning to compiling lists in my head, prioritizing and editing what will form my today. Yet, I am being nudged gently by a small voice reminding me that this Thanksgiving is the first one without a family member, not just for us, but for close friends as well. And while all the preparations are necessary, other things may be more important, such as scheduling extra time to sit and listen, to hold a hand, to be there. I need to soak in the laugh of my son, coming home from college and cherish the blessed sounds of a family all together again. A new list is forming in my head. I grab my pad of paper and write "I'm thankful for..." at the top, remembering all the blessings the Lord has given me and this is the most important list I'll make today.
One of my favorite artists is Nicol Sayre. She is well known for her doll making and an original doll can cost hundreds of dollars. I love all the detail and feminine charm that she creates in each piece.
Image from NicolSayre.com
Image from NicolSayre.com
Image from NicolSayre.com
I have found that Bayberry Cove carries her line of mass produced art and I have purchased some of her items in the past. I recieved the "Dear Friends" as a birthday gift several years ago from a good friend.
Her Christmas items are whimsical and fun and I enjoy getting this little snowman out every year.
The Easter lines are charming as well. I keep this piece out year round. All of her creations are a delight and I encourage you to go to her website and look through her gallery photos. You will be amazed at her original pieces.
Each year, in Shipshewana, IN there is a gingerbread house contest. Each year I say to myself, I wonder if I could do that? My friend, Nancy, has a restaurant and bake shop there and I thought it would be good publicity for her if I did one.
My teenage daughter and I decided to go for it. We have been tirelessly working for the past few days to construct this house in order for it to have time to settle before we drop it off on Monday.
I enjoyed working with her and spending this time laughing and sharing and feeling a bit sick over the smell of candy together.
We were having difficulty knowing when to stop. We do have some cupcake topiaries and a cupcake snowman to make yet.
It took my daughter over three hours to construct the roof last night using over 100 sticks of bubble gum. The smell is so nauseating that I don't think I'll be chewing gum anytime soon.
All of the fencing and scrollwork for the arch and decorative details are done in royal icing and made in advance. The neco wafer (stone) foundation is one of my favorite parts.
With this being our first gingerbread house, we really didn't know what to expect. Although it was alot of hard work, it was fun and we decided we might start a tradition of making one every year, contest or not. Although, we do hope we win the $500 even though neither of us can feel our fingers today!