Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Mantel

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care!

I made the stockings just before my son was born. It was my first (and last) attempt at quilted paper piecing. It was such an intricate project. A little too tedious for me.


The little sweaters on the candles are leftovers from the pottery barn sweater pillow project.

Happy Christmas Decorating!!!

I'm linking this up to Layla's Mantel Party.
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A Peek At My Porch

How do you welcome guests to your house? What greets them before they even come inside? Here are a few things you'll find on my porch.

For those of you who know me well, you know this sign is SO true. My nieces and nephews know there will always be warm cookies and cocoa at Auntie Becca's.

We have two sleds on our porch. The old beaten up sled has seen many hours of sledding down the High Woodlands hill in my old neighborhood. I hate to call it an antique, since I'd like to think that I'm really not that old. We will just call it Well Loved. The newer sled is also mine. When the Well Loved sled had seen better days, my parents bought me a new one. Let me tell you, it's the envy of all the kids now! My kids call it the "old fashioned sled" and it FLIES down the hill unlike these little plastic things they like to call sleds now.


Think about your front door. What does it say about you? What stories can it tell?

Happy decorating!
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Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Make the Pottery Barn Knock Off Sweater Pillow

Yesterday I shared my Pottery Barn knock off sweater pillow. Here are the super easy directions for how to make it. If you've never sewn anything before, this is the project for you.

Start with any old sweater. Mine was $3.99 from the Goodwill. I washed it in lavender soap when I got home, so now it smells good too. My pillow form was 14"x14". Pillow forms go 50% off at JoAnn Fabrics, so keep an eye out for a good sale, or use a coupon.

I cut the arms off my sweater so it would be easier to work with. I'm also going to use the sleeves for another project, so I wanted to set them aside. When I make pillows with decorator fabric, I leave a 1/4" around the edge for a seam allowance, cutting a 14 1/2" inch square. I wasn't sure how much of a seam allowance I'd need for this project or if the sewing would be bulky. I started big, with 2 15" squares, just to make sure the sweater wasn't too tight and pulling. No one looks good in a sweater that's too tight and pulling. This sweater wasn't bulky, so I ended up cutting two 14" squares. I still used a 1/4" seam allowance. The sweater stretched just enough and wasn't saggy. Lesson learned: thin knit sweaters don't need much seam allowance because they stretch.


I pinned the right sides together and sewed all the way around, leaving about a 5 inch hole. After flipping the sweater right side out, I stuffed the pillow form inside and hand stitched the bottom.


Hello, Pottery Barn Knock Off Pillow!

Ok, neighbors, if you want to give it a try and don't have a sewing machine you are welcome to bring your sweater and pillow form over and I'll walk you through it. It takes no more than 10 minutes. (No, you can't use that liquid-stitching-glue stuff... you know who you are.)

Happy Sewing!


The Girl Creative


Keeping It Simple

Check out these parties I like to link up to.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pottery Barn Knock Off Sweater Pillow


Don't you just LOVE this sweater pillow from Pottery Barn? Every time I see this, I just want to grab a book and cozy up on the couch. Unfortunately, the $39 price tag is not in this teacher's budget. So, I decided to try my hand at making it myself. A $3.99 sweater from the Goodwill, a 50% off pillow form from JoAnn, and about 5 minutes of my time. That's all it took.



Let's take another look at the comparison:

I think I'd better run out to Goodwill before I post this. All of my neighbors will rush out and buy all of the good sweaters!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Growing Paperwhites and Home and Family Friday

It's time to plant Paperwhites!

I stopped by my local garden shop last week to pick up my Paperwhite bulbs. Once upon a time, when Costco carried Paperwhites, I would give one to each of my students to observe in the classroom. We loved watching the roots start sprouting. Then the green would shoot up out of the bulb, grow buds, and eventually flowers. It's magical for a five year old to see how an ugly brown bulb can bring such beauty. Well, Costco doesn't carry Paperwhites anymore. Sadly, I can't afford the price of Paperwhites for all of my students. $25 at the garden center is a lot harder to swallow that $9.99 at Costco. I do love to grow them with my own kids, though.

If you've never grown Paperwhites before, it's time to start! They are really easy.

Choose a container. Any bowl or dish will do. I used my basil chalkboard bowl that I made last summer.

Fill it with rocks.


Add a little water and a few bulbs.



Before you know it, you'll have beautiful flowers. Happy planting!

Check out these parties I like to link up to.

Now we're on to Home and Family Friday. It's been a busy week, so if you don't have something new, how about linking up a favorite old post?

Semi-Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Oh, how my family loves chicken pot pie! It was snowing most of the day today, so we needed a meal to warm us up.

I call this a semi-homemade recipe because:
1. Sandra Lee is my idol.
2. 30% store bought ingredients and 70% fresh ingredients. (Well, you could do it this way, but this time the percentages were reversed. Most of it is store bought.)


The recipe starts with Cream of Chicken soup. I made a double recipe, which is why I have two cans.

I make the filling first:
1 can of soup
Sprinkle in a little all purpose seasoning.
Add a touch of salt.
Open up a bag of mixed vegetable and heat 'em up.
Chop up some chicken. (Or you could use Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.)
If you like a thin pot pie filling, add a little chicken broth.

That's it for the filling. You'll notice that I don't have exact measurements. I usually just throw in whatever I have on hand. It always turns out.



I love homemade pie crust. I use the recipe that comes on the Crisco can. If you are not a fan of making pie crust, the store bought pie crust works well too. I've tried that, but don't really like the texture. Make enough pie dough for the crust and top. Like I said, I made two pies. One was for dinner and one was for the freezer.



I like to use a pie shield when I make chicken pot pie. It bakes for 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Without the pie shield,the edges get overly brown.

If you don't have a pie shield, use some tin foil to cover the egdes.

And all I have to say is... yum.



Happy cooking and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for Being Snowed In


It all started on Monday. The snow started falling on our drive to school and it didn't stop all day. Then the cold temps hit. An inch of snow is all it takes to bring the city to a standstill, when you live in the Seattle area.

Cooper enjoyed his first time playing in the snow. He likes to eat the snow and then he gets snow all over his beard.


We needed some craft projects so we wouldn't go crazy. My youngest tried making a few toilet paper rolls into Pilgrims. I think she did a pretty good job! I tried suggesting more hair for the Pilgrims, but no luck for them.


Since we couldn't go anywhere (except the sledding hill) we decided to do a few projects around the house.
















I'm thankful for my unexpected gift of a stay home with my kids. (Yes, we cancel school for an inch of snow.) I loved spending the day with my family!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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