Whatever you celebrate, whenever this month you celebrate it, I wish you a wonderful celebration full of good food, laughter and love.
This is the first year we are sending out a Holiday Letter with our card! I have always wanted to create one, and honestly it took a few days. I thought it would be much easier, than it was, to sum up our year. I have this blog, afterall! You would think I am used to summing us up, right?!
I knew that I didn’t want it to be straight text and boring. So I designed this template and inserted text using PicMonkey. Once I had the bones of the letter complete, it actually went much faster.
I love the way it came out…so I made a free template for you!
To save it, right click the image below, and save it. Open it in a program you want to edit it in, and insert text wherever you want. Print out and mail to everyone on your list.
Here’s an example:
Obviously, you can use different wording. Ha!
Have you ever written a holiday letter?
Please let me know if you use it. I would love to see what you make!
I am grateful for so many things in my life, and to show my gratitude for each and every one of you, I am offering 40% off anything in my Etsy shop until Tuesday!
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
The holidays are approaching FAST, and I am starting to think about who we buy gifts for. Since my oldest is turning 17 soon, a lot of her friends (and our friends’ children) are driving now. One of my daughter’s friends came over our house a few weeks ago, and while they were sitting in her car, chatting, the two lovely young ladies drained the battery. Well, it was 9 pm, and she didn’t have any jumper cables. Luckily, we do. BUT out of my entire 28 years driving, I had NEVER jumped a car.
Luckily we were home, and since my husband was working a wedding that night, I called him up, and learned how to do it from him. And more importantly, I taught the two teens.
Since that night, I have been thinking about how a lot of our friends’ kids are driving around, unprepared for emergencies. So I came up with this gift guide for Teen Drivers for this Holiday season, based on the reviews for each product (and price). Click on the titles under the images to be taken to the individual listing. *this post contains affiliate links*
Stalwart 75-EMG1053 Red Emergency Roadside Kit with Travel Bag, 55 Piece: This one has a little bit of everything, and most importantly, jumper cables. It also comes in pink.
This is their best seller, and I can see why. It has all the basics covered and is small enough for any size car.
Car Safety Tool – Window Breaker Seatbelt Cutter with LED Flashlight and Credit Card Tool – Auto Emergency Car Escape Tool (Red): This is one of those all in one tools that I think every car should have. Be aware, though, from the reviews it says it is VERY SHARP. Keep away from little hands.
Oh this one makes my Mama heart happy. It is slightly pricier, but it has a cell phone charger (uh because I know my daughter is famous for leaving the house without hers charged) and other great supplies you would need in an emergency. Not only for a car, but great for power outages too. And it is solar powered. This one is definitely going in my cart for Christmas.
We don’t need one on this side of the mountains, but I know a lot of you may. Simple, inexpensive way to ensure you teen can get the visibility they need after it snows.
Torin T10152 Scissor Jack – 1.5 Ton: Most cars are equipped with a jack, but some people consider having a spare, especially in older used cars. Essential.
Roadside Survival: Low-Tech Solutions to Automobile Breakdowns: This book is also going on my list. There are, sadly, a lot of things I don’t know, even as an experienced driver. I want our girl and her friends to be prepared.
Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival:
Basic First Aid book. Always good to have around.
Show Me How to Survive (Outdoor Life): The Handbook for the Modern Hero:
This one we have read, and I did a review here. I plan to get this for my daughter who took a liking to these books when we checked them out from our local library. Warning, though for younger readers, it does have some graphic images in it. Not just for drivers, but definitely an interesting book, cause you never know.
I hope you found my list helpful. I know you are now thinking of all the eye rolling and disappointed groans, and maybe even an unenthusiastic “thanks” when the teen in your life unwraps their own set of jumper cables. But they will appreciate it when they need it, and that is what counts. Besides, if I know one thing is that teens tend to surprise us when we least expect it. When I was compiling this list, The Bee was looking over my shoulder and exclaimed “Oooh can we get one for Christmas??” as she pointed to the car safety tool. She said that she has thought about how we would escape a car that has fallen in the water. Go figure.
There is another option, of course, of doing your own DIY kit with all the important supplies you want your teen to have. What I liked about these kits is, I don’t have to. Leaves more time to sew. Ha!
What is on YOUR gift list this year?
Every year my husband carves a 300+ pound pumpkin, and this year is no exception!
He actually carved two! This giant is the 375 pound pumpkin.
and this was the 235 pound pumpkin:
He calls this one “Space Cat”.
It lights up!
In addition to seeing what he carved, we saw a tiny live bat. I love where he works, especially this time of year.
I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween, whatever you chose to do!
This past week, I celebrated turning 44! Every year I have a themed birthday party to ring in another fabulous year, surrounded by good friends, all dressed up. I love it. Truly, it is the most fun way to age. To prepare, I ususally make myself something to wear (see 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015). For this year’s theme, I was inspired by Bollywood. The colors, the music, the fashion. I turned to Pinterest for some design inspiration, since I knew I didn’t want to make a sari (although it was tempting! Knowing me, it would untuck in the middle of the party, and the whole thing would fall to the ground, and NO ONE wants to see that.). The party would be more of a nod to the genre, and culture. This particluar pin caught my eye. So began my Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack.
I turned to a pattern I have used before in the book Sew Many Dresses (affiliate link). The bodice has princess seams, and made a good base. First, I started by taping the front and side panels of my paper pattern together, and then cutting the center piece out. This was done by holding it up where it would roughly sit on my chest, and drawing a line around the place I wanted it. The center panel was created by freehanding a sweatheart neckline, and marking where it would be, once it was connected to the (now cut) front and side panels.
I did muslin this first, and that was a very good thing. There was a bit of tweaking to be done, because the fit wasn’t quite right, and I ended up with a gap near the armscyes. Of course, I turned to the fabulous ladies over at the Capsule Wardrobe Sewalong FB group for help. And they did! They are some good peeps (I don’t really think I can pull off using that word, but I have made it my goal to work it into my daily vernacular, much to my family’s embarassment). I ended up adding a dart on the side panels near the armscyes and it fixed the problem.
That skirt was self-drafted. It was just as challenging as the bodice to figure out. I could not think of a way to get the side pieces to look good in the back, so I cut them into two seperate free-hanging panels, and let them cup my sides. I love the effect.
The outer fabric is brocade from Cali Fabrics, and the gold is silk from the huge rummage sale I attend every year. It is a bit stained, but you can barely see it because of the way I placed the fabric. I hand stamped the pattern on my shawl, with acrylic paint (which you can’t really see from these photos).
A realization hit me when I was about to tackle this project. About 75% of my creative process is in my head. I think about sewing something for weeks before I even touch a pattern. I go to sleep thinking about how to tackle any problems, and how I would alter existing patterns to fit my design. I think about it when doing household chores, while driving, and showering. Borderline obsession, really. Then one day, it has gestated enough to the point that it is time for labor, so to speak. I have no idea if this is unique to me, or if others work this way too, but find that if I have enough time to let it marinate (as my chef husband would say), the final result is closest to my vision.
The party was a lot of fun, but seriously the strangest weather we have had so far.
It rained, then the sun came out, then it poured, then it stopped. All the guests were very good sports about the whole thing.
You may recognize this outfit from here.
My husband wins the year with this outfit, in my book. He is wearing our daughter’s (the Bee’s) pants!
Another notch in the old aging belt, done with style.
I would love to hear from you…what is YOUR creative process?
Remember this wreath I made from recycled plastic bags? Well, my Falafel wanted to turn it into a Fourth of July wreath. She took one of her ripped up fuzzy blue socks, and cut it into strips, and tied it on the wreath.
Pretty clever 10 year old, huh?
I think we should use this one for Valentine’s Day too. Just add some hearts. I like this reuse business. Makes decorating a little easier.
Do you decorate for the Fourth?
I must start by telling you that my husband generally doesn’t wear ties. He doesn’t need one for work, and we rarely go to events that require them. BUT I couldn’t resist making him one this year after seeing all the brilliant ties out there being made. Ha! Plus, it is tradition, right? Give Dad a tie. Or in this case, Make Dad a Tie.
I found a FREE pattern over on Craftsy by Sweet Shop Sewing. I made the feather print tie first, using this pattern. Only, it came out too small. It would definitely fit a little boy.
So I gave it another try. This time I used Four Corners Circles Fabric and stripe gray sparkle fabric by liZ and Elizabeth from Simple Simon. I lurve this fabric.
I used the same pattern, only I lengthened the back piece to match the front piece. It worked out to be 58 inches long, which is perfect for my 5’11” guy.
Insert your favorite Dad, and you are done!
Now he is prepared for any occasion that requires a bit of fancying up.
Happy Father’s Day to all you fantastic Dad’s out there! You are so needed in this world, and you are loved.
My daughter had the pleasure of attending a prom with her boyfriend, that her best friend invited them to, given by her friend’s church. For her outfit, I made The Bee a floral head garland, since the theme was “Enchanted Forest”.
It was super simple to do with silk flowers, and I think it added a little bit of whimsy to her outfit.
Did you know that I was a floral designer for many, many years? It’s true! So glad to be able to use my skills for my kids.
More details on that stunning dress here.
I kept it fairly sparse, so that the brown covered wire would show through, and give it more of a foresty fairy look.
Their attempt at a Charlie’s Angels type pose. I love these two silly girls.
Her first corsage.
Ack! When did my baby get all grown up?!
Anyhow, please leave a comment below to let me know if you want a tutorial on how to make this simple head garland, and like magic, I will!
What have YOU made today?
As you may know, I took our girls to Comicon on opening day. My poor husband had to work, and missed out on all the fun. Luckily I did end up taking a few photos.
Above in the photos, that was one of the nicest Storm Troopers ever. And those paintings? Made from jelly beans.
This was the first time we had ever gone to Comicon, and I think the best word to describe our experience is “overwhelming“. There were thousands of people and the convention center is huge. When we arrived, The Bee was impressed by the giant sign they had (and it was written on our passes) “Cosplay is not Consent“. It seemed to ease any anxiety she had about being out there in a tight costume. You never know what to expect from a large crowd of people. But what we got was respectful behavior from everyone. Seriously. I think the people were one of the highlights. She also had a lot of requests for photos! About every 5 feet or so, I would look around, and she was posing with someone else (so keep an eye out for her on social media everywhere). Even my Falafel was getting requests, especially from the little kid crowd. It was completely adorable. I got lots of compliments on my costume, but I was the designated pack mule for the day, so no photos of me. Believe it or not, there were three other Lady Thors there!
One of the highlights for me, personally, was seeing some of the weta workshop crew. They are just amazing, and in my book, are complete rock stars of the movie magic world. I was frozen in awe. My kids were laughing at me.
Overall, we had a very memorable day. This Spring Break has been so much fun!
Have you ever gone to a Con?