Friday, December 19, 2008

Elf On The Shelf!

Once upon a time, a dear friend of mine, Carol Aebersold, wrote a book. That book has now, after several year of very hard work on her part promoting it, hit the big time. I'm so proud of her and her daughter Chanda!I've been very remiss in not plugging her book to you before now. It's called Elf on the Shelf and you can find it just about everywhere now. Go check out their website,

Several years ago, before the book came out, we took a trip to NY with Carol and her hubby and she told us about the elf tradition then and how they had always done this for their three children.

The elf shows up the day after Thanksgiving and finds a spot to sit and watch how the kids behave. At the end of the day, he/she reports back to Santa. On the following day, the elf finds a different spot to sit. This continues until Christmas day when it goes back to the North Pole until the next Thanksgiving comes around.

Well, I've been doing this since that trip to NY. I found an antique elf to use at first and then switched to the new one when the book came out. It's so much fun! The kids have a fantastic time hunting for it every morning and can get quite obsessive (and competitive) about it.

It also promotes better behavior and that's always a plus in my book!

So, if you can go to Carol's website and check it out. You can also order the book from Amazon and other sites.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jaunty Cap #3

I've been laid low by a cold that was ever so sweetly given to my by The Youngest. Seriously, I feel like I've been hit my a Mack truck. This is not good for my Christmas Crafting.

My last two projects are the Nativity Set and the hat for my friend.

I've finished the hat (seen here modeled by Folgers):

This is the third Jaunty Cap that I've made. I absolutely love this pattern and I think this one turned out very masculine. It's blocking as I write on the same Folgers container.

I finished a bunch of the nativity set last night and I've only the animals to do now. This is a huge project that takes a while to complete. There are a lot of pieces and each piece is very detailed, so it will take me another couple of days to complete.

Let's hope I get over this cold really quick. All I want to do is go to bed and sleep.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mission Complete! (Almost)

I have almost completed the Find It Game projects! Hooray! Christmas here I come!

Here's how they look:
Click on any of the pics for more detail!

This should have been a relatively easy, simple and enjoyable project. The keys words there are "should have been" for those of you watching on television. It's an easy pattern, great concept, few supplies needed, so why the "should have been"?

First, my sewing machine desperately needs a tuneup.

Second, the tension somehow got off and the sewing thread kept getting caught in the bobbin doohickey thingy and would stick and then the project would be pinned to the machine by both thread and needle.

Third, I had to replace the bulb on my sewing machine and that seemed to require a Rocket Science Degree from Princeton or wherever you get one of those degrees.

Anyway, that's enough numbers, let's talk about the project.

Here's some tips for making this project a little easier on the next person to make this:

1. If you decide (like I did) to enlarge the size of the pattern, do so by more than one inch on all the numbers. Obviously, I did not do well in geometry in school. By adding that one inch to all the numbers, it somehow threw off the ratios and I ended up having to cut some of the pieces down to make the puzzle all fit. In summation, math are hard and I shouldn't be doing it.

2. Add interfacing to your fabric pieces to add more durability to your project.

3. Ironing tip - I turned the steam off to put the interfacing on and I also put a paper towel in between the iron and fabric. I can't tell you how many times in the past that I have used interfacing and an iron and had all sorts of sticky gunk left on the iron from it. The paper towel prevented all that gunk getting on the iron.

4. Instead of rice, I used the one pound bags of pony/crafting beads that you get from any craft store. This added more color and makes it a bit more complicated to find all the lovely stuff you've put in the bag.

5. Buttons! Buttons make great things to put in it. I picked up these little packs of colorful buttons at Michael's that had themes to them - Wizardry, Rescue Vehicles, Zoo, Vacation, Safari, Dress Up, etc. Makes gathering some of the little stuff easier and if a child is into a particular subject, you can get a bunch of stuff for less money this way.

6. Hand sew the ribbon that holds the card into the inside seam of the bag before you stuff it and sew it back up. Also make sure that you put a warning on the card not to carry it by the ribbon. There's no way that tiny ribbon will be there for long if a kid picks it up by it and runs around with it. That being said, I'm sure that's what my kids will do to it. :)

Obviously, the cards are not attached yet. I need to print them out and get them laminated first. When I do, I will turn that long ribbon into a loop to hold the cards on, so they won't be quite as long as what is in the pictures above.

All in all, this was a fun project and if I ever get my machine tuned up, I'll be making this again! Thanks so much to Angie for setting up the tutorial on the Find It Bag Games!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Remember that hat that I was knitting for a friend? Well, the hubby has now inherited what's left of it due to my stupidity.

I had it finished, but wasn't quite happy with the way the brim was going. So, I couldn't find the end where I had woven it in because of the damned tweed - everything looked like an end. Out came my trusty little baby fingernail clippers that I keep in my knitting bag and I clipped what I thought was the end. Um, it wasn't. Not by a mile.

I ended up with a QUARTER size hole in the front of the hat! I mended it as best I could, and if you don't look very closely, it's fine. In my opinion though, this can no longer be given as a gift. Damn again.

I couldn't get a good pic of where it was fixed, but here it is unblocked and being modeled by the Eldest:

After looking at it, I think I'll make another Jaunty hat instead. I know it's unblocked and not in it's proper shape, but I just don't think I like it quite enough to make another.

Oh, and this time when I make it, I'm going to hold a strand of black yarn in with the gray tweed. The color needs more depth I'm thinking.

Here I am already in a crafting crunch that was going very well, and then this had to happen. Ack!