Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Be an Angel for Someone in Need this Holiday Season

Step 1: Grab tissues.
Step 2: Find a Kmart or any layaway this holiday season.
Step 3: Give thanks for all the blessings taken for granted each day.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lil' Miss Madeleine

Good Morning out there!
My name is Miss Madeleine. This is my story.
One day Fler was asked to make something vvvery special for one of her best friend's preggo lil sis. Fler put on her thinking cap. She thought. Thought. Thought.
Voila! She had a very special idea.

Over at Fler remembered "The Greta Doll"
My new mama has beautiful and long curly red hair. I wonder what baby MacKenzie's hair will be like. I have fuschia pink hair! My hair stylist works WONDERS with color.

Fler is an ER nurse. Thank goodness because I had a lot of stitching to be done (kinda like those suture things in the ER when people cut themselves). As you can see, I was in trouble because my arms and legs weren't attached to me yet. Talk about DIFFICULT when trying to put my pretty gold and brown bow in!!! arms and legs are attached to me! Phew. Miss Fler was surprised at how big I was getting so she measured me. Wow, I'm a big girl, but I was feeling a little "flat".
Fler knew just what to do to get me all perked up!
Oh I feel so much better. Fler says she feels flat in the morning until she has her cup of warm. What's cup of warm??? Oh, that's coffee.
Fler says first thing every morning it's important to spend time with Jesus. I think that is a good lesson especially since it's the Christmas season when the whole world celebrates Jesus being born.
For nap time Fler read me a story about Olivia. Fler says Olivia is their favorite character in the house. She says they collect all the stories about lil' Olivia. I was really tired. It was such a long day. I mean, I didn't have arms or legs attached!!! Imagine a day like that! Fler made me a special blanket to sleep with, but she calls it something else??? Hmmm....oh my, what does she call my blanket again?
Oh yea, a burp cloth! That doesn't sound too pretty. You know, pretty like my tights.

After my nap I went on a plane ride to Chattanooga, TN. I met my new aunties and mama. My auntie says my new mama looked at me and started tearing up.

I love my new home. I can't wait to meet lil MacKenzie!!! I hope she loves me and cuddles me. I wonder if she will read me books one day just like Fler?

Well, it is time for my nap so I have to go. Thanks for stopping by to meet me.

Merry Christmas everyone!
Lil' Miss Madeleine

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Whimsy Stockings and...a Little Tutorial!

A few weeks ago I was doing my usual breeze through catalogs while the hubs was watching some sporting event on TV. I was looking at the Ballard Designs holiday catalog when ESPN hubs said he would love it if I could make these: 
Neither of us were loving the animal print trimming the stockings. I loved the whimsy concept but had to take it a step further with a little "fler" twist!

My first step was to create a pattern. I used old, not-so cute wrapping paper to free hand our design. I then traced it onto flannel material with my chalk pen. Since the pattern was the actual size of what I wanted it to look like finished, I cut about 1/2 inch from the outline and added about 4 inches to the top to be the area where my stocking cuff would be.
I used several tutorials to help me.

The main tutorial I used is HERE.
Now that you have your flannel (front) side template cut out you want to cut out the backside of your stocking. Put your right sides together and cut out the backing fabric.
Next I made the stocking lining. The lining is really nice because it adds some weight to the stocking and less flimsy. To cut out your lining. Have your lining fabric wrong sides together, place your template on top and cut your lining out.
You should have both the front/back of your stocking plus your lining cut out. I then used my Silhoutte SD and cut out white flannel circles with the Clean Cut Nonsewable Interfacing (also from Silhoutte). Lay your circles out and juggle them around till you find the layout you like. Make sure you trim edges if your circle hangs over your stocking front (notice the trimmed dot around heel). Next you want to iron those bad boys on! The packaging said just 8 seconds but I think I might have overdone it out of fear they'd fall off!!! LOL I think 8 seconds would have been fine....ha!
Time to add the pom poms! I just love these little guys. What you want to do is take the front/back of the main stocking and front/back of your stocking lining and lay them right sides down (note my wrong sides showing on top in picture). Lay your pom pom strand (bought those snow puffs at Joann's) across the top and cut proper length. You will cut 2 strands (one for main stocking and one for the lining so that you pom pom embellishments go around the whole cuff of your whimsy stocking).  IMPORTANT: Do not have a pom pom exactly at the edges because you will have to sew here. I learned this the hard time with our red stocking. Try to get as much webbing without the pom pom on your edges to make sewing easier.
Now place your pom pom strand sandwiched between the right sides of your main stocking fabric top edges and pin. The wrong sides should be on the outside. I found that leaving the little knots of the pom pom strand out a little made pinning easier and created just the right look when I turned our first stocking inside out. You will repeat this same step with your stocking lining fabric pieces.
Pinning this part is kind of a pain, but once you're done it should look like this. I pinned at each knot that I showed sticking out in the previous photo. Now you are going to sew.
I know the legit seam is wider than what I do but I just feel like that's a waste, so I did 1/4 inch seam and then sewed another line between the edge and my seam to add reinforcement because...well I really have no reason why. It just seemed like a good idea! ha! I bet there might be some pro-seamstresses gasping at my seam choice and reasonings...LOL! Do this for both your main and linings.
Iron your seams out. Cute eh?!?! So far so good. Hope this is making sense to ya!
Now we're going to put the right sides together of our main stocking and lining. Once placed together my fabric on the bottom in the picture will ultimately be my lining. I pinned all the way around, but in the lining (the bottom portion), I left about 4-5 inches open/unpinned so that I have a way to turn it inside out.

Now sew all the way round except where you left the opening unpinned. On the green flannel, I sewed along the original chalk markings I traced my wrapping paper template on.

Once your are done sewing, turn your stocking inside out and press your seams with an iron.
Before sewing your opening closed, take some fiberfill and stuff your stocking toe. If you don't your whimsy will look a little flimsy. IMPORTANT: when stuffing your toe, pull apart your stuffing so it's small sections of stuffing. This will give the finished stuffed toe less lumpy. If you pull off too big of chunks your stuffed stocking toe will look all bumpy and not smooth.

Once stuffed, you now going to stuff your lining into your main stocking. Once your lining is in place, fold over your cuff and press. Your stocking should look like this:

Press your cuff in place. For your hanging piece, I just hand stitched a piece of red ribbon I had into place.
YOU'RE DONE!!! Now run into your family room and hang it up to admire! I was so proud of my first stocking. Lots of help from the blog world pictures and tutorials, but feel like I put my own stamp on the design. ESPN hubs LOOOOVES his new stocking! I honestly think that's the best part...his excitement over it. He said he thought it was better than Ballard's and better than what he envisioned in his head. Oh that makes my heart melt!!! GAG right?!?! Seriously, the gifting is the best part!
So when I hung up the stocking I noticed it looking kinda wimpy. I found a post from one of my FAV blogs, POSITIVELY SPLENDID, where she had the same problem and shared her solution...GROCERY PLASTIC BAGS!!! She stuffed her completed stockings with plastic grocery bags. See the difference between the red stocking (stuffed with bags) and the green (whimpy whimpy...unstuffed).

They hang so nicely stuffed with those unused, take-up-space, mess up under your kitchen sink, plastic bags!

We love our new whimsy stockings! We added a bit of whimsy to our mantel this year too. The printable on the far right is FREE over at Today's Creative Blog.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and that it didn't confuse you too much. I highly suggest you look at the tutorial I worked from as she did an AWESOME job on hers. Made our stockings much easier than if I had tried on my own!

Melkam Gena!!!
(Merry Christmas in Amharic which is Ethiopia's main language)

xoxo & Ho! Ho! Ho!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Buy a Brick. Build a School.

This might be one of the cutest videos. Zala's voice is a fellow AGCI momma's daughter's voice, Liya. Consider buying a brick this Christmas Season!

Melkam Gena!
(Merry Christmas in Amharic - main Ethiopian language)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I'm Racing for Gina and Abby!

Hi Everyone,
I just signed up for the Race for Donna in Jacksonville, FL on February 12th, 2012. I am part of Team Gina. Gina McReynolds is the wife of Tim's childhood friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer while 28 weeks pregnant with their third little. Her little bub just turned one and she is still fighting with an amazing faith and fearless attitude. In addition, Heidi and Becca (my sisters 'in laws'), have a dear friend who is 28 and just graduated law school. In October, she too was diagnosed with breast cancer. I cannot imagine being young like these women, having bilateral radical mastectomies and then fierce chemotherapy.

Please consider sponsoring me on this run. It's my very first half marathon and first run I am taking seriously and training. I am taking the training seriously because Gina and Abby are special women in a sea of many other brave women who have or are battling breast cancer. Please select the link above for more information on Gina and how you can sponsor. Any help is beyond appreciated. Please feel free to share this email and link with others.

Much love,
Erika Reiner