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Friday, December 30, 2011

Last First of 2011

With wonderful weather forecast for the day, Jana and I decided to get up early this morning and drive over to Canton for the last "First Monday" weekend of 2011. Jana had not been there since she was a little girl, so it was lots of fun to take her back to visit one of my favorite places. (even though I missed my usual shopping buddies)

Armed with jackets and new camera bags, we began the morning by browsing through some of the pavilions.
With Christmas sales in progress, it wasn't long until we'd filled a basket at one of my favorite shops, The Sunday House.
We spent the entire afternoon out in the open air portion of Canton. This is my favorite part and Jana was in complete agreement.
She enjoyed digging through the piles to find tiny treasures as much as I did.

Our favorite find of the day was a large, classroom chalkboard map! Knowing how much Jana loves maps and globes, I bought it for her, anxious to see how it looks in her future house! My favorite purchase was a tiny printing block inscribed with "The Fabric House". Perfect for my new sewing room! On the way home, Jana noted that "each little piece has a story of its own" and now some of them will become part of our stories, too.

Back at home, I pulled out my iPhone and quickly learned how to use "Face Time" to chat with Valine and share our bargains. What a fun day!
(Hey! Where did that extra chin come from? We could have left that in Canton!)

DIY Photo Bag

A couple of months ago, I picked up a couple of purses at a Old Navy sale, with the goal of transforming them into DSLR camera bags for Jana and I. With my sewing room under construction for the weeks leading up to Christmas, that project got postponed until now. So, after reviewing the tutorials posted by LilBluBoo , Craft Passion , and Blue.Lace.House , I came up with my own version that would fit specifically into our bags. I really liked the pattern on Craft Passion, so I used that as the basis of our insert, substituting the measurements of our purses.

Here is the bag with the Insert in place, minus the dividers.
I ended up sewing velcro all the way around the interior (the soft side) and instead of just making 2 dividers, I made an extra small one to give us more versatility in how we arrange the space. As you can see, I used contrasting fabric on each side---and put additional soft velcro on one of the large dividers.
Here is the completed purse
After practicing on my purse, I had a few of the kinks worked out before sewing Jana's. I love the fabrics she chose.

Today, Jana and I put those bags to use on our excursion to Canton! They worked wonderfully and we felt so stylish!
Monday, December 26, 2011

Go Heels!

I have a Tar Heel in my house this afternoon! As an alum of UNC, Callie has the garb to wear--in fact, she has enough to share with Jana. But, Jordan gave her a new, better shirt for Christmas in honor of the Independence Bowl which is set to begin in about an hour.

Unfortunately, the weather is dismal today---cold and rainy. But, that has not daunted the Tar Heel --- at least, not much. Last night, as we decorated Christmas cookies, Callie made sure she captured the spirit of the game!

And today, they decked in weather appropriate apparel and headed to the game.

I'm happy to be warm and dry back at home.
Go Heels!
Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bluegrass Angels

This morning, Jana, Dan and I joined Callie and Jordan at their church for worship. I know that I am a bit biased, but with Callie on violin and Jordan on guitar, the band really rocked a bluegrass version of "Angels We Have Heard On High", and it definitely captured the joy of the day. Jana grabbed her camera and was able to capture most of it. We're hoping that they are able to record it a bit more professionally sometime soon (without people walking around and talking behind us). Merry Christmas!!!
Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Shutter School

Jana and I both have Nikon cameras now---hers a D60 and mine a D5100. We both shoot pretty great photos on automatic. We both want to learn how to shoot great photos on OFF automatic. So this afternoon, after the food had been cooked,
we pulled out our cameras and a couple of online tutorials here, here, and over here. This little chart that I have pinned on Pinterest came in handy--I need to print one to keep in my camera bag.

Source: Uploaded by user via Linda on Pinterest

I was able to get a some bokeh after reading this easy-to-understand tutorial.
But, getting good, clear pictures in low, indoor light is definitely a challenge. Up until now, the aperture, shutter and exposure settings were just kind of jumbled in my mind. I've experimented with Aperture Priority setting, but have had very inconsistent results and had no idea what I was doing wrong. FINALLY, after watching this tutorial, it is starting to make a little bit of sense to me. So, Jana and I switched our cameras over to "M" and practiced (these are straight out of the camera):
My pictures of Emmi went from this:
to this!
And just to be sure that one wasn't a fluke:
Even the ones on the Christmas tree, with back light, turned out much crisper and prettier!
There is still much to learn, but at least it's beginning to make more sense to me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Insta Friday

The week has zoomed by. At first, it seemed like there was so much time until Christmas, but suddenly I realize it is almost hours away. I began the week with a celebration of Advent with the Good News Sunday School class.

Of course, there has been some last minute shopping to be done, but the crowds on the road and in the stores have made me so glad that I had most of it done before school got out for the holidays.

My Christmas cards did finally get mailed out---the craftiness was "low-tech" this year, but the sentiment was there for sure.

Jana and I drove down to Cheneyville this morning to pick up Dan. He is quite excited about the presents under the tree and periodically comes into the living room to count and see how many have his name on the tag! I let him go ahead and open the one from Pam, which contained his favorite thing---Cokes!!

Tonight, Jana headed out to meet up with some old friends from her high school days. She looked so cute!

The countdown is on now! It looks like the cookies most likely won't get baked until after Christmas and there are still piles of things that need to be organized in the sewing room. But, through the years, I've learned that Christmas comes regardless of the messiness of life or what is going on in my house and there's something really special and very comforting about that.

(I'm linking up over at Life ReArranged)
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

She's Here!

It has been well over a year since Jana was in Shreveport and even though I have seen her several times during that year, there is something so comforting and "right" about having your kids back under one roof--even if for just a couple of hours. Jana made it in last night, and after our mandatory dinner at Taco Mania, Callie was able to come by and stay for several hours before she headed home and Jana & I crawled in our beds. I was so busy visiting and listening and just watching them sit on the couch together that I never stopped to take a picture. I'm off to therapy now and then I plan to savor some more!
Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Bit of Christmas Crafting

Christmas crafting has been at a minimum around here this year, but I did manage to pull together a gift for the other residents at Dan's group home. When he was here a couple of months ago, I bought him one of the popular insulated cups with a straw that had a Halloween theme. He has loved that cup so much that he brought it with him to Atlanta over Thanksgiving. So, he and I decided that would make a great gift for his friends.
Those cups aren't particularly cheap, but I found the best prices on Amazon for these cups:

I used my Cricut to add the guys' names to the cups. They turned out really great and I think the guys will like them.

Sewing Room Progress

My sewing room has begun its transformation and I couldn't be happier with the way it is turning out!! Jordan was able to remove the lowered ceiling which opened up this tiny space so much. (when you only have 5'x10' to work with, any additional space--even upwards--is welcomed). The new light fixture is definitely an improvement from the old, yucky fluorescent light.

Yesterday, I came home to find the new cabinets hung on the wall, and the desk beginning to take shape.

I can't wait to get everything put back in place so the sewing fun can begin!!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Good News/Bad News

The bad news: it looks like some sort of ancient torture device (and may well be)

The good news: Popcorn makes everything better! I don't have to wear it nearly as long each day as I thought. (and hopefully it will do the trick)

P. S. This is a supination splint---for the purpose of regaining that function in my wrist.

Family Matters

Day 29 - This is very belated and this is not even my own photography ( I have Camille to thank for it), but I am so thankful for my family--both those that were gathered with me at Thanksgiving in Atlanta and those that were celebrating in other parts of the country.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tis The Season

From the title of my post, you might have guessed that I was going to show you some lovely Christmas decor from around my home. But, you would have guessed wrong. This time, the season is one of change---remodeling yet again. I've lived in this house for 18 years, I think, and for most of those years, my sewing machine has been situated in a "nook" by the laundry room. When we first moved in here, we replaced the old asbestos paneling in this area with new, hardwood paneling. And that was fine, but this space has always been an after-thought and a place to stash all my junk quickly if company showed up at the door.

Well, that's all about to change! Yesterday, I emptied almost the entire room except those things that were too large for me to move in preparation for Jordan's remodeling efforts. The space is small---5 1/2 ft x 10 ft small---but, I think it can be so much more attractive and functional at the same time.
For some reason, the former owner of my house dropped the ceilings in this area and the room next to it, so Jordan pulled things out to see what is underneath. Looks like that ceiling can be re-claimed, so we're going to go for it.

This early 80's entertainment center, which formerly housed all of my teacher books, has been gifted to the Renesting Project (a great organization started by my friend, Noel, with the financial help from another friend at Lauren's Nest Egg, that furnishes homes for persons transitioning out of homelessness).
I'll be able to update and re-use the set of drawers, but I'm getting a brand new sewing table, too.

And since all of that stuff is is now sitting in the middle of my living room, looks like the Christmas decorating may just have to wait a little while.
Oh well, it will so be worth it!

P. S. Ever wonder what it looks like if you want to hang a light fixture, but you don't know where the studs are? This is it---apparently you're just supposed to bang holes in the ceiling with a hammer until you find a stud that can hold up the light box. Former owner = not so smart about building! :-(

For more about the Renesting Project, turn off the music on my music player and check out this video:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Christmas Ornament

Callie came over last night.

If you take a late night trip to

Wal Mart and add a bunch of red yarn . . .

pom-pom makers . . .

some wiggly eyes . . .

and a hot glue gun . . .

and what do you get?

An Angry Bird, that's what.

In fact, if you're a youth director, you just might need a whole flock of Angry Bird ornaments.

Warning: Emmi loves to chase birds and takes her job of chasing away birds very seriously. If a bird can't get away, this is what happens:

It's time for the pigs!!

P. S. There may or may not have been a Dove peppermint bark consumed in the process.

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