Monday, October 27, 2008

Missing the Tree

Usually we set up our Christmas tree the first weekend of October. Now, this is not something I grew up doing. At first I thought it was a little bit extreme...but, hey, really fun! My husband just loves Halloween, and he's been enjoying the Halloween tree for 10 years (we've been married for 4 1/2). Now that I'm used to the idea, I really like having a "holiday" tree - that's what we call it. The evergreen stays up from October until January and evolves through three holidays. This year, however, we have no space at all for our tree. The usual spot is filled with a bed frame and an overstuffed side chair that will someday live in new rooms (our home addition). The other extra spots in our family room are filled with three big exercise machines that will someday live in the "workout" room. If we ever get it all finished. We have no Halloween decorations out this year at all. I just couldn't do it with the house in such a state of disarray...but not for too much longer. I hope. I'm just missing my tree.
Usually we get out old Captain Jack Skully and put him out front. He used to live in the boys closet - he was great at scaring away the other monsters that wanted to hang out in there.
Last year the kids all carved pumpkins, as usual, on big plastic tablecloths on the back patio. We toast the seeds and munch on them, have some brownies, then pose with the masterpieces. I love pumpkins - love the word pumpkin. We're not carving pumpkins at our house this year.

On Halloween I make a triple batch of chili beans. This is a great recipe passed over years ago (before I was born) by friends from Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. It's called Cheyenne Wells Chili (not a very original name, but it works great if you say it with a sort-of "cowboy" accent). Not too hot - just right for every taste. Sometime I may share the recipe. :) We set out a variety of things and sit around munching with any neighbors that want to drop in for a bite of "real" food. And cupcakes.
When the kids are finished trick-or-treating we open our side gate and invite friends to watch a movie. This is one of the joys of Arizona - great weather for Halloween and Thanksgiving. It's just beautiful. So, we show a movie on the side of our house - like a drive in. We make popcorn in the big machine and have it out there...lots of fun! But, not this year. The kids get to spend Halloween this year with their other parents at their other homes. Sometimes that just feels weird - but it's not something I resent at all. It's just the state of things...
We're going out of town (my husband and I) for Halloween. A nice little over night get-away. I don't even know yet what we're doing (I vote Disneyland)! But it will be fun. Then, hopefully, before Thanksgiving we can set up our tree!! The scary stuff comes off and we have a "gratitude" tree. All month long in November we put tags on the tree, listing the things that we're grateful for. We add more tags the day of Thanksgiving at the big feast.

So, right now I'm just really missing the tree. Hopefully, if everything (our construction) goes well, we'll be set for Thanksgiving.

No matter what, we'll still be really thankful for our blessings! And I'll set up the tree - even if it's on the back porch!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Colette Jean is now thirteen !
She is my sweet girl. We are so much alike. :)

Have a fun weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's That Time Again - Halloween Costumes!

I've made a lot of Halloween costumes over the years. We're in the thick of costume preparations now at our house. Tomorrow night is a big church fall festival, and the kids will dress up - I think even the older ones want to join in the fun! Because my camera died, and I don't know how soon we'll be able to replace it, I thought I'd share photos from the past for a few posts.

Colette as a snowball.

Emmalyn, the pink satin cow.
The princess phase. So cute! Clowns really are scary! I loved how these costumes turned out. I made them staring with inexpensive sweats from Wal Mart. I just added the colorful striped fabric ruffles and stuff. Colette's (smaller girl) has bias tape with wire in it for a skirt hem. That turned out really fun.We called these "glamour witches". I bought thrifted black dresses and added more layers to the skirts. We found cool spider webb-ish loosely woven fabric for the shawls. Wigs really help to change the whole look of a kid (see terrifying clowns above). My little witches are standing there with their cousin, Sam. I think he was Woody for about 5 years in a row. Hey, if it ain't broke... :)
Pioneer girls. Sweet...Emmalyn as a southern belle. How darling she is (pre-teen, growing up...)

Colette won a contest with this one. High impact...high maintenance!

Last year. Easy costuming for me. Colette as angel, Emmalyn as dark fairy, and Dawson as vampire. I hope to get pics of this year!

My girls don't really need my help dressing up. They've been doing it since they were tiny toddlers. Well, maybe they do need my help - I had to draw in a top for little pinkie, there!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Why have I not posted in over a month? Something just had to go, and it turned out to be blogland. :( Every time I sat down to think about a post I was just stumped. Seriously, my brain was too full of things and ideas and plans, etc.
I re-vamped my class schedule {which still is not updated in my Paddywacks Studio website - hopefully tomorrow :) }, then I decided to join in the Blissfest activities with only about three weeks to prepare. wow. I already had a small supply of things for sale at Blissful Living Studios, but not nearly enough to fill a booth.

So, I got my idea lists out and figured what I wanted to make with all the supplies I had {lots of shirts!}. I thought about what I like to buy at craft shows...with little money to spend. I just like a little something fun. A nic-knack! That's really what Paddywacks Studio is all about. My love of the small, sweet handmade thing that makes everyday stuff more fun and personal.

Here I am showing my niece some of the goodies. I'm glad I enjoy sewing so much! I was rather amazed that I didn't get sick of it through that last week of preparing. Then, when I saw just how much I had made all spread out in the booth, I was amazed again. And thankful - for talents and skills that I've developed over the years. I really loved making every single thing, and I'm excited to make more funky re-creations!

The picture below is of my planner covers. I love, love, love them. They have pockets inside, and, well, they just make me happy. :) I made one early this year and have enjoyed it so much! Now, I can't decide which new one I want to keep for my 2009 planner...

Vintage linens made into sachets. Not many people are "into" sachets. I, however, really love to keep them in my drawers and other places. It makes putting laundry away more fun when there is something special and pretty to nestle in my clothes. This is a home keeping ritual I embrace! I also keep vintage hankies in my purse...

Lots of scrap shirts! I made 133 shirts for the Blissfest. Amazing! Each one thoughtfully designed and carefully sewn. The really cool thing is that no two are alike! One-of-a-kind.

About these aprons, I love them - they are so fun to make! Like a little artsy collage to wear. They're not so much for protecting your clothes while cooking. Rather, they are a lifestyle tool. I live a creative lifestyle {everyone can, I believe - try it!}. These little aprons are just the perfect thing for wearing around the house. I keep many various items in the big pockets - note paper and pen, scissors, my cell phone, lip gloss, a Hershey kiss or two, gum, my boy's little action figures, my girl's bobby pins from all over the house, small prizes for my kids - you get the drift. I just feel more creative and fun when I've got my apron on.:)

More nic-knacks from Paddywacks Studio. Rosy Toes shoe stuffers. I realized after-the-fact that some people must have felt a little awkward sniffing my shoes to sample the scent of the shoe stuffers! Then there were a few folks who mused aloud that they couldn't give the Rosy Toes to a friend because their friends don't have stinky feet! Funny! I love to use the Rosy Toes to keep the fronts of my shoes in nice shape. Yes, I'm a shoe lover!! I buy shoes as souvenirs when I travel. :) I'd have shoe stuffers in all my shoes if I ever had time to make that many - ha, ha, ha. I'm going to add a neat travel pouch for shoes to go with the Rosy Toes. That way, shoes will be protected and smell sweet and fresh (like strawberry or cucumber) in the suitcase. Yum.

Tissue covers made from the shirt sleeves. I love them! And the button pin is so fun. :) button bracelets and Charming Magpie necklaces made partly from vintage and reclaimed pieces. Everything has got to have a little "past". These are another favorite of mine. I'd like to keep all of them!! Zipper coin pouches and cosmetic pouches with fun messages. The knit lining and words are from the leftover tee-shirt fabric after I've cut it up for scrap shirts.

A couple of the kids shirts for holidays. I really will take more pictures of my scrap shirts. There are so many fun words...

I just have to say that I'm really grateful for my nieces who came over and helped me with the final "push" before Blissfest. It was so much fun to work together! I also appreciate my parents who helped with the little boys all the week before so I'd have extra time to sew. My Dad helped so much getting the tent set up and hauling stuff around. What a wonderful, generous family I have!
I think about Stephanie and Christian Neilson a lot. Their tragic accident has put life into perspective for many people, I'm sure. We try to be more aware of the things in life that bring us real joy - and be grateful every day for them. That is real bliss.

My littlest cutie at the Blissfest.

More later - I won't wait a whole month to post. Check back soon! :)