Windham Fabrics Christmas in July Blog Hop & Giveaway: SPARKLE!

Hello Friends, I hope you are enjoying your weekend!  I am happy to be part of Windham Fabrics’ Christmas in July Blog Hop!  For this hop, I got to work with the Sparkle fabrics — it is a metallic group featuring gray(!), red and gold colorways!  Click here to view the individual fabric.

 

For some reason, I associate Christmas with all the different Christmas pillows.  So I have made quite a few Christmas pillows over the years, and would bring them all out during Christmas time.  It’s not a surprise therefore I made a another Christmas pillow with the Sparkler fabrics, based on Bunny Hill Designs’ Block 1 of her free pattern Sugar Plum Stocking Treats.  You can check out the information on the pattern here.

I followed the applique stitchery pattern exactly, except for the tag.  Instead of applique-ing the tag, I fussy-cut and appliqued a bauble from one of the prints instead.  The stitchery and applique were made possible by an assortment of Aurifil threads: buttonhole stitching around applique uses Mako Cotton 50wt; stitchery of antlers and ornaments in red and brown use Mako Cotton 12 wt (and I am LOVING the effect!); stitchery of whiskers, eyes and paw use Aurifloss.

As soon as I saw the gray in the collection, I knew I had to make a “cat”-related project with the fabrics in honor of Smokey, the mascot of Windham Fabrics.  Some of us affectionately call Smokey the Fabric Mogul!  Follow Windham Fabrics on Instagram to catch sightings of Smokey sporting his custom-made bow ties!

I hope you have liked seeing my “Sparkle” Christmas pillow.  I am actually sending this pillow as a gift to a girl with a heart of gold.  Would you like some Sparkle fabrics to play with?  If so, you have a chance to win a FQ bundle of Sparkle fabrics if you live within the United States.

Between now and next Saturday (July 29th), leave a comment and tell me what your favorite Christmas project is, and I will pick and announce a winner on July 31st!

Have a lovely rest of your weekend, Friends!

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Happy & Merry Christmas 2016!

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Artist: Miss Baby, 2016

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

Text: Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894
Music: Gustav Holst, 1874-1934
Tune: CRANHAM, Meter: Irr.

***

I love this Christmas hymn (In the Bleak Midwinter), but I haven’t heard it sung except on the radio for a long while. I love this hymn for the last stanza for the reminder to give my heart as a gift to my King.

Friends, I hope you have a most blessed and lovely Christmas!

Don’t Look Under The Tree in Fons and Porter’s Easy Quilts (Winter 2016)

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Just 2 more sleeps to Christmas Day, Friends!!!  But, DON’T LOOK UNDER THE TREE — just don’t!!! Hahaha.  That’s the name of my Christmas tree featured in Fons and Porter’s Easy Quilts Winter 2016.  I can’t take credit for that fun name.  The credit goes to the editorial team at Fons and Porter!

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This quick and easy quilt uses Holiday Traditions fabrics from Windham Fabrics.  Click here to view these beautiful metallic fabrics!  I quilted my trusted holly berry motif on the quilt.  Click here if you haven’t read about how I go about quilting the holly berry.

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Meanwhile, do NOT look under the tree! :-)  Merry Christmas, Everyone! :)

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***

p.s.  We have a Curious Dream FQ Bundle Giveaway Winner:  Patti (#13) — please respond to the email asking for your shipping address, and your FQ bundle will be on its way to you!

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My 2016 Line-up

Note:  You may click here for the exhaustive list of my published work.

Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 79): Little House on the Hill

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 80): My Heart At Home

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 82): Kissing Balls

Fons and Porter Love of Quilting (March/April 2016): Constellation of Stars

Fons and Porter Love of Quilting (September/October 2016): Highland Stars

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2016): Estelle

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Fall 2016): Rainbow

Fons and Porter Scrap Quilts (Summer 2016): Pinwheel Parade

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Winter 2016): Don’t Look Under The Tree

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2016/January 2017): Domino

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

McCall’s Quilting (November/December 2016): Winter Wind

Quiltmaker (May/June 2016): Lavender Love

Quiltmaker (July/August 2016): Dawnstar

Quilters Newsletter (April/May 2016): Tartan Links

Quilts and More (Summer 2016): Tutu Cute

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)

January: Farfalle using Whisper (Windham Fabrics)

January: Tulips Quilt using Flower Pedals (Windham Fabrics)

December: Wind Chimes using Soleil (Windham Fabrics)

A catch up post….

…. that is desperately overdue!!!

HELLO FRIENDS!  Loooong time no chat.  2016 will go down as the busiest year in my life, EVER!  I feel like I just never got to get off the ongoing treadmill of life, haha!  I am not complaining — because this has certainly been a “God’s grace is sufficient” for me year!  And here we are — Christmas 2016 is just days away.

We braved the frigid cold over the weekend to go see the Christmas Tree at the US Patent and Trademark Office.  It’s something we have done since Miss Baby was very little.  This year’s tree is my “most” favorite of all the ones we have seen.

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The tree is always HUGE (at least 3 stories tall), as well as the ornaments.  Miss Baby is all to happy to demonstrate…

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On the home front, our tree is no where near as tall or has near as many ornaments or lights….

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Last year, Miss Baby placed the ornaments at her eye level on the tree.  I would secretly try to even things out after she went to school, and she would get home from school and redo the ornaments.  So our cat-and-mouse game went on for days.  I am happy to report we didn’t have that situation this year.  In fact she was quite adept at distributing the ornaments evenly.  We spent an afternoon after school hanging up the ornaments and chatting about Christmas memories.

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It was nice to inspect each ornament closely as we unpacked them…

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Besides the Christmas-sy things,  I have been working lots (A LOT!), but I am definitely not the only one. Many I know are working hard to get things turned in before Christmas. But I managed to find some quiet time when everyone else was asleep for a bit of stitching fun.

I finished up a Christmas ornament using the colors from my Marmalade Meadows collection.

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I also finished smocking a dress insert for an outfit for Miss Baby.

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And during those quiet moments, it was impressed upon me that Christmas isn’t really Christmas until it happens within the heart, no matter how busy things are on the outside.

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I hope you will enjoy a most blessed season!

***

Giveaway Winner — thank you ALL for playing along in my giveaway of a copy of the latest American Quilting and Patchwork!  I am happy to announce the winner is: Rhonda (#4)!  It will be coming to you very soon!

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Kissing Balls in Australian Quilters Companion & Thread Talk from My Sewing Machine #71

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Hello Friends, Happy Monday and Happy Week for you! I am still in my whirlwind of merry-go-round.  I shipped off a couple of quilt last week, and have a few more to ship out before Thanksgiving.  I cannot believe Thanksgiving is next week!!!  It seemed ages ago when I finalized our Thanksgiving plans.  Anyhow, I am happy to share with you about one of my Christmas quilt being finally official!!!  You might remember this…

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Well, Kissing Ball is currently being featured in the latest issue of Australian Quilters Companion magazine(#82).  It is a nod to my Aussie Quilting Friends, as well as “the” Aussie quilting friend of mine Lynette Anderson — who happens to be the designers of the fabrics I used for this quilt.  The fabrics are from Lynette’s Festive Fun fabrics for RJR Fabrics.

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You can’t really see it, but I quilted an allover holly sprig motifs on the quilt.  I am hoping you can see close up shot I took of a sprig here.

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I am sharing with you the schematic of the holly sprig motif for the Thread Talk portion of the post today.   Perhaps you could use the motif on a Christmas project.  You still have time, you know? :)

Step 1. First, I free-motion quilted the center berries.  It was perfectly fine for me overlap stitches because I use Aurifil’s 50wt thread, and the fine weight of the thread withstands stitching over stitches very well.

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Step 2.  Then I added the holly leaves.  I would do 2 or 3 leaves depending on the space I have.  Sometimes I added the veins in the leaf center, sometimes I didn’t.

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Step 3.  Swirls are the key to break out of a holly sprig to quilt subsequent holly sprigs.  I just picked a convenient spot to quilt a swirl, and then additional swirls until I end up with an area sufficient to quilt another holly sprig – starting with berries, and then holly leaves.

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Step 4.  And the process repeats.  Note where it was a bit tight for me to swing a swirl to get out of my holly sprig.  In situations as such, I would just echo the leaf a little and get out before I do a full swirl.  Real life quilting is full of off the cuff improvisations! :)

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I would keep repeating and repeating and repeating until my entire quilt was covered with the motif.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you have a lovely rest of your week!

p.s. Today is the last day for 20% discount on any of my online machine quilting classes.  Click here for the details.

My 2016 Line-up

Note:  You may click here for the exhaustive list of my published work.

Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 79): Little House on the Hill

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 80): My Heart At Home

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 82): Kissing Balls

Fons and Porter Love of Quilting (March/April 2016): Constellation of Stars

Fons and Porter Love of Quilting (September/October 2016): Highland Stars

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2016): Estelle

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Fall 2016): Rainbow

Fons and Porter Scrap Quilts (Summer 2016): Pinwheel Parade

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2016/January 2017): Domino

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

McCall’s Quilting (November/December 2016): Winter Wind

Quiltmaker (May/June 2016): Lavender Love

Quiltmaker (July/August 2016): Dawnstar

Quilters Newsletter (April/May 2016): Tartan Links

Quilts and More (Summer 2016): Tutu Cute

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)

January: Farfalle using Whisper (Windham Fabrics)

January: Tulips Quilt using Flower Pedals (Windham Fabrics)

FREE PATTERNS for Windham’s Storybook Christmas

Urm, anyone has any idea how many days there are left before Christmas?  I said that in jest — because in my mind, I just got through Christmas 2014!  However, keep your eyes peeled for Windham’s Storybook Christmas fabrics popping up at your local quilt shops in May.  These fabrics are simply the cutest!!!!  Click here to view the fabrics.

NOW – if you aren’t able to locate these fabrics at your local quilt shops, try contacting The Patchwork Co (www.thepatchworkco.com).

I actually designed four quilts with this line.  Two of them were display at Fall Quilt Market in Houston last year.

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So, first up, we have Holiday Forest.  Click here to download the free to use pattern instructions.

Design 2a_66 x 72

And then, we have Gift Boxes.  Click here to download the free to use pattern instructions.

Design 1a_56.5 x 77.5

And, we have Star Bright.  Click here to download the free to use pattern instructions.

Design 4d_39 x 45

And A Storybook Christmas – I like this one because the quilt uses the panel print to “tell” a Christmas story! Click here to download the free to use pattern instructions.

Design 3d_39 x 50_rework

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the cute Christmas projects you can make for Christmas this year! :)

So – tell me, are you a last minute Christmas shopper, or are you one of those who gather gifts for your loved ones over the course of the year?

Thank you for visiting.  I shall catch up with you again!

***

My 2016 Line-up

Note:  You may click here for the exhaustive list of my published work.

Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

Fons and Porter Love of Quilting (March/April 2016): Constellation of Stars

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2016): Estelle

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

Quiltmaker (May/June 2016): Lavender Love

Quilts and More (Summer 2016): Tutu Cute

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)

January: Farfalle using Whisper (Windham Fabrics)

January: Tulips Quilt using Flower Pedals (Windham Fabrics)

February: Dream Boat (Quilting Treasures)

March: Garden Maze using Emilie (Windham Fabrics)

March: Lattice using Emilie (Windham Fabrics)

April: Holiday Forest using Storybook Christmas (Windham Fabrics)

April: Gift Boxes using Storybook Christmas (Windham Fabrics)

April: Star Bright using Storybook Christmas (Windham Fabrics)

April: A Storybook Christmas (Windham Fabrics)

Merry Christmas 2015 continued, kind of…

Hello Friends, I hope you have had a blessed Christmas celebration with your loved ones.

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We three retreated for a getaway, just to enjoy a slightly slower pace of things!  We had handmade gift tags (courtesy of Miss Baby – she was the official gift tag girl this year!).

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Our Christmas this year was a bit gingerbread man-nish.  We had one of the outfits with matching hairbow,

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and artwork showing the nativity scene.  The artist requested that the viewers take note of the “cascading light rays” (her words, not mine!) brought upon by the angels singing praises to God.

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We also had amazing weather.  I was in sleeveless dresses, and we weren’t in the tropics or Florida!

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I am back to work.  I actually worked right up till Christmas Eve this year.  I managed to eek out a quilt top for a 2016 editorial feature.  Darlene of Sew Graceful Quilting (my quilting angel) is quilting the quilt as we speak…

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… while I work on another editorial feature using these really colorful Basically Patrick fabrics from RJR Fabrics.

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Despite having to work, we are continuing with our Christmas celebration… after all, it’s only the 4th day of Christmas! :)

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So, have you put up your Christmas things yet?  Or are you waiting till after the New Year, or after the 12th day of Christmas?  You could probably guess when we put up our Christmas things at the Ivory Spring household, haha! Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely week!

Merry Christmas 2015

Dear Friends, it’s HERE – finally HERE.  It’s Christmas.  Blessings to you and yours from my little family.  Miss Baby’s quote of the year: “Mom, I am already looking forward to the next Christmas while I am still celebrating this one!”  Yes, I agree, child!  Let’s keep Christmas all year round in our hearts, honoring and loving the One who didst His royal throne and kingly crown — for us, for you and for me!

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Once in royal David’s city,
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby,
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little Child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall:
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Saviour holy.

For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day, like us, He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles, like us He knew;
And He cares when we are sad,
And he shares when we are glad.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle,
Is our Lord in heaven above:
And He leads His children on,
To the place where He is gone.

[First published in 1848 in Miss Cecil Humphreys’ hymnbook Hymns for little Children.  Processional hymn of The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College since 1919.]

The Holly and The Ivy – and your favorite Christmas carol

We were out walking, and I spotted “The Holly and The Ivy”…

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The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour.

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown.

Refrain:

O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

***

So, curious mind wants to know if you have a favorite Christmas carol.  I have SO many favorites, but one that I have loved even since I was a child is Once in Royal David’s City.

Thank you for stopping by!  Just three more sleeps before Christmas!!!

A sweet tale of Miss Baby and Smokey the Cat…

… and a tale of the sweet people who work at Windham Fabrics!

Miss Baby absolutely LOVES  Christmas.  She is very particular about the season.  She does not even look at the Christmas displays at stores until it is after Thanksgiving.  And if she is dragged to the stores before Thanksgiving, she would close her eyes, and tell her parents to alert her after they pass by the Christmas displays before she opens her eyes again.  She doesn’t necessarily love Christmas because of the presents she gets.  She loves Christmas because she just loves Christmas –

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the music,

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the decorations,

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the crafts,

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and the Message and Story!

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Miss Baby also dearly loves cats.  She would dearly love to have a cat of her own, but that’s another story for another day.  Earlier this year, Miss Crystal of Windham got word of Miss Baby’s love for kitties, and Miss Crystal has taken time to periodically send Miss Baby pictures and videos of Smokey the cat, the mascot of Windham!  As a result, Miss Baby has sort of adopted Smokey as her virtual pet. This Christmas, Miss Baby sent Smokey a Christmas card.

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To her absolute delight, Smokey sent Miss Baby back a Christmas card!  (See below… Smokey reading his card with much intensity.)  Miss Baby reminded me last night she had drawn in the card a Christmas mouse pudding for Smokey (in place of a plum pudding)… urm, YUM, I think, haha!

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Thank you, Smokey, for making Miss Baby’s day.  THANK YOU to the sweet people at Windham for taking the time from your busy schedule to reach out to a little girl.

p.s. I have had a lot of fun working with Windham this year.  Click here to take a look at the designs, if you haven’t already!  There are quite a few favorites there — and there are MORE to come!  There is one particular I simply can’t wait to share, but wait I must!

Children’s Corner Laura in Windham’s Flora

Hello Friends, how fast this week has flown by, truly twinkling of an eye speed!   This is an overdue post.  I will be spending the rest of the year catching up on overdue posts… including my review on my Bernina machine.  Yes, I am still doing that.  Tentatively, it is scheduled for a day next week.  PLEASE, pretty please, do not give up on me just yet.

Earlier in the fall this year, I had a play outfit made for Miss Baby using Windham’s Flora fabrics!  We absolutely LOVE Flora.  The prints in the light colorway lend themselves to a fun and updated look for a little girl’s dress, but still maintain the traditional feel of the outfit. Click here to view the Flora fabrics, and find out what stores are stocking these fabrics.

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I did not construct the outfit.  I can’t quite sew garments to save my life.  So, I had it professionally made by Jackie in Alabama (THANKS, Jackie!!).  We used the Laura pattern from Children’s Corner, which makes classy patterns for little girls.  Here, you can see the slightly gathered neckline.  LOVE that effect!

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Miss Baby was really thrilled with the outfit! I like that we can easily pair it with a turtleneck or a long-sleeve T-shirt to extend the use of the outfit.

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Jackie did a lovely job on Laura.  She even piped the sleeve with the contrasting fabric.  I thought that was just so clever, not to mention it adds to the overall look.

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It’s always fun to dress my little on with what I like — Miss Baby is actually really easy on that front.  She is not quite concerned (yet!) with her looks.  So I have yet to experience the wardrobe battle… and some of you will tell me to just wait… :)

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I am actually smocking (trying to!) a dress front.  I will post pictures when I have made significant progress — probably next year after I get all the important posts out before the year ends. :)

I am totally changing subject here…

You would probably be interested to know that our Christmas tree decorating saga this year continues.  Click here if you aren’t aware of the tug of war happening at my house.  I think the tug of war has ceased for the season.  Miss Baby has found other more interesting Christmasy things to keep her occupied. :)  Since I have no pride, I have decided to show you a couple of pictures I snapped of our tree a few days ago, after the single file ball ornaments were “distributed” more evenly. :)  But notice those gaping holes where there are NO ornaments, haha.

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I guess we don’t have enough ornaments to go around… due to the “traffic jams” that are found in various spots of the tree where Miss Baby felt compelled to just cram in 4-5 ornaments on one tree sprig!  Actually, I spot 7 ornaments covering a minuscule area in the following picture.

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Really, at my 5’2 1/2″ eye level, there are a few nice looking spots, like this one.

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And this one…

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So — our tree decided to fan out significantly more 2 weeks after we brought it home.  We normally let the tree rest for at least 36 hours for it to relax before doing anything to it. Apparently, 36 hours isn’t quite doing the job this year. So, now we have very noticeable gaping holes with nothing to cover the holes up.  SO… tonight, LATE tonight, I think I will attempt to re-do everything. My husband muses whether the revamp will go unnoticed.  If you are up late tonight, think of me while I am re-decorating my tree, and we can share a chuckle together. :)  Or what’s even better, you can come over and tell me where to place my ornaments, hahaha!

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Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Miscellaneous Musings on a December Day…

Happy Tuesday, Friends!  I hope you are well.  I am still getting things ready for Christmas over here… and working as well.  I actually just shipped off my 9th or 10th magazine feature project for 2016.  It’s crazy to think 2016 is upon us, isn’t it?

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I came across some fresh chestnut from Italy while browsing at the grocery store… and thought it would really add to my Christmas experience roasting some chestnuts, especially in light of that song “Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire…”  I have never heard of that song until I came to the States.  So, I thought it would nice to roast those chestnuts!

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I quickly found out that cutting a cross on the flat portions of those chestnuts was NOT a fun experience — I think it’s bordering on dangerous!  And then peeling part after the roasting… I love the taste of the roasted nuts, but am not crazy about pre- and post- roasting parts of the process.  My husband mused to me that there has to be a tool or something that I could use to make things a bit easier. Do you know of one?  If you do, please let me know?

One thing I absolutely have to have (having grown up in a former British colony) is fruit cake or any kind (British super sweet fruit cake, Panettone, or Stollen etc) for Christmas!   Miss Baby and I have been stuffing our faces with Stollen and Panettone.  Someone please help me — I certainly do not need the added calories!!! :)  And then, there are those peppermint cookies I made last night.  ARGH!  So, I am curious — are you a fruit-cakey kind of person, and do you (and how do you) exercise portion control during the holiday season?

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Lastly, I learned really quickly this year that having two “interior designers” in the house for Christmas is a game of tug of war, especially where the Christmas tree is concerned. :) Everyone morning so far when Miss Baby wakes up, she re-arranges the ornaments to be at her eye level, and I would re-distribute the ornaments after she goes to sleep. And the next day, the cycle repeats itself.  So, for now, I don’t have a good Christmas tree picture to show you… unless you want to see ball ornaments all lined up single file at about midway of the tree. :o)

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely rest of your day.