December 29, 2011

Quilted Christmas Tree Skirt (Inspiration)

It's four days after Christmas, and I know that the Blogging M.O. is to start talking about New Year's, but every Christmas has the same effect on me:  I start thinking about NEXT Christmas.  Somehow, sitting amidst flying wrapping paper, children 'ooh-ing' and 'ahh-ing', family singing carols, and dogs jumping into piles of ripped paper, I can much more easily think of the perfect gift.

I'm always more ambitious in my planning when Christmas is so far away, probably because I think I have so much time ahead of me to finish getting ready (like, a year.)  This year, a particularly brilliant idea occurred to me as we sat around my mother-in-law's tree and I gazed at the old quilt wrapped around the tree base:  "She needs a tree skirt!"

At the first inconspicuous opportunity, I brought up the idea to my sister-in-law, who also quilts, and we agreed to make that our present to her next year.  Since she raised two boys, it's particularly fun to give her girly gifts, as they seem more special coming from her daughters-in-law. We intend to make her tree skirt extra-special by quilting a family tree onto it with all of our names (and room for more, of course.)  (gosh, I hope she still hasn't found my blog.) :)

Anyways.   I Googled combinations of words like "quilted family tree," "family tree Christmas tree skirt," etc, etc., and I found some amazing ideas.  Thought I'd share some of my favorites.  Opinions, please????




Patchwork Pottery (I think...)
There are aspects of all of these that I really liked, but I believe my favorite may be the last one.  I'm a sucker for curly-cues.  :)

Have a safe and wonderful New Year!!

~ Sarah

PS -- Don't forget to leave opinions!!

December 25, 2011

December 22, 2011

Dollar Store Spa Baskets

Three days until Christmas!!  On a scale of happy and merry to panic, where are you in your preparations?  I'm not quite finished, but it doesn't seem to be bothering me as much this year as in Christmases past.  I must be dialed in to that peace on earth thing.  ;)

We had our Christmas party for our church girls' group last night, and it went alright.  Anarchy and chaos, especially with my lost voice, but still a good time.  The club that I teach has between 10-12 girls every week, and we wanted to give them something special for Christmas.  Special, but not too expensive (let's face it... $10 per girl for 12 girls adds up very quickly!)  So we came up with these spa baskets.  Perfect, really, since two months ago we had a spa night, and the girls loved it.

Most of the items in the baskets were from the dollar store (manicure set, lotion, bath roses, loofahs, and beauty blotters.)  We did find good deals on nail polish and lip glosses at Party City, and in the end, we spent roughly $6 per girl, and the baskets were far nicer than anything we found online or in the other stores.  I wrapped them in tissue paper, then cellophane, so they looked much more professional than they actually were (oops - forgot to take a picture of the wrapped baskets.)

I tried to make the baskets color-themed (like blue and pink, or pink and purple, etc), and then the girls traded the items they received with each other for the colors they wanted.  They all loved them (one girl said, "Yes!  I got lady things!")  What great gift ideas do you have that are also budget-friendly?

Happy December 22nd!


~ Sarah

December 15, 2011

A Magical Hallway

Everyone knows that feeling... you walk into a room that makes your eyes light up, your breath catch, and childhood come flooding back, even for a brief moment.  Two nights ago, we went to the Dietrich Theater (a/k/a the Wyoming County Cultural Center) for their annual gift to the community, a free showing of "It's a Wonderful Life."  And as we walked in... just look at what we saw!

A spectacular display of lights, ribbons, and ornaments!
It's impossible to get the magical feeling from a photograph, but perhaps you can tell a little.  It was a very simple idea... ornaments dangling from ribbons tied to strands of Christmas light.  Absolutely delightful!

Of course, the movie was magical, too... as always.  I never fail to cry at the very end.  :-)

May you experience something magical this Christmas, too!

~ Sarah

December 13, 2011

A Dozen Roses & an Empty Attic

Happy Tuesday (Monday?)  I'm getting the days mixed up this week... probably because I took Monday off, and therefore had an extra Saturday.  :)

A wonderful event happened this weekend.  Some of the girls at our church completed all of the requirements to be 'crowned' (which is a ceremony in which we celebrate the wonderful work they've done and they receive tiaras while wearing beautiful dresses.)  And, as with all things, I never do a ceremony half-way.  I agreed to do the church decorations so that I could make sure the background was fabulous, there were slideshows of the girls growing up (which brought tears to many eyes), and a lovely time of fellowship afterwards, complete with custom cupcakes made by my amazingly talented friend, Katie.

And then, a surprise.  There were six girls in all, and at the end of the ceremony, they each gave myself and the other club leader two roses, so that we both received a dozen.  I was moved almost to tears at their thoughtfulness.  Aren't the roses beautiful?

I have been concentrating on so many things for the crowning lately that many of my posts have been rather useless other than to remind you that I'm still here.  But a project is still underway -- remember all those months ago I announced that we were remodeling my STUDIO??  Well, the garage idea wound up being a bust... there was just no way to make it work.  But we've turned our attention to our full attic.  It's a waste of space right now, being used only for one or two storage boxes.  So Jayson asked if I wanted it.  {Perhaps he's tired of tripping over boxes in the hallway in the middle of the night... boxes that won't fit in the current studio.}  I've asked for the new studio as my Christmas present, and he seems to think that this is a possibility.  Pictures to follow, of course.

Love to all of you!

~ Sarah

December 9, 2011

Cupcake Liners - Beyond the Muffin Tray

Pinsomnia: the inability to sleep because you keep hitting 'see more pins' one more time.

I can't seem to stop pinning!  I caught myself under the covers last night (so the light from my phone wouldn't wake Jayson and Remi), scrolling and continually hitting 'repin'.  It was 2 a.m... and yes, the dark circles under my eyes are frightening people.  God bless my coffee cup.  But I'm not just doing it for me (so I keep telling myself); I am pinning to give YOU ideas, too, my LwYH readers. <3 <3

I'm completely taken with the cupcake liner movement... it's amazing what you can do with these darling little things.  There are some resourceful and creative people out there!  I thought I'd share some of my absolute faves with you.  As always, I'll include my source where possible. 

I think that these pom poms are incredible.  I don't think they'd take that much time, either!  I included two pictures of color schemes I particularly liked. 

This is cute for a cake-decorating party (wish I'd thought of it when I did mine over the summer!!)


 For those of you who like a bit of danger with every party...

 And finally, since it's Christmas....


What cupcake liner ideas have you found?  (I haven't represented them all by any means... again, just the ones I personally liked.)

~ Sarah

December 8, 2011

Winter Wonderland

It's WINTER!!  Christmas is a little over two weeks away (confession: I have yet to decorate my house, although I helped to decorate our church.)  Truly, I've been a pingpong ball for some time.

And last night, we had SNOW!!!  If I am to believe Facebook, most of my friends would rather not have snow at all.  My first instinctive response to anti-snow comments is to un-friend the speaker.  My second is to sarcastically comment, "So move somewhere else and leave the snow to those who appreciate it."  And thankfully, I've managed to resist both urges, and consequently maintain my friend tally.

Well, anyways.  We've had such a consistently warm winter thus far that snow hasn't even been a thought (except for one freak storm in October.)  I've missed it, and started to sadly think we would be having a green and brown Christmas.  So I was quite excited, even more so than normal, to see the lovely white flurries begin to swirl about.

Here are some photographs.  It's nothing compared to the more Northerly places, of course, but to someone in Florida I'm sure it's quite shocking. 

My new iPhone takes wonderful pictures, even at night. 
I thought there was something magical about this one.

I always think these trees look like they're wearing white gloves.

Remington taking his time this morning.  Who
cares about business when there's fun to be had?

What are your Christmas busies, and snow stories?

~ Sarah

November 29, 2011

A Sudden Obsession with Yarn

I hope all of you had a delightful Thanksgiving!  I certainly did.

We made our regular pilgrimmage to Ohio to visit my immediate and extended family, and everything was exactly the same.  I kept thinking to myself that if the Ghost of Thanksgiving past were to visit me and show me a glimpse of this holiday ten years ago, we would be doing precisely what we did this time - going to the movies, enjoying good food, playing Crummy Rummie {although my sister rocked our world by purchasing brand new decks of cards} and wondering with confusion where five days disappeared to. 

Turtleurkeys made by the
talented and wonderful Anne
We also enjoyed Black (a/k/a Holy) Friday shopping with extended family near Columbus.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the deals (even if we did find one or two)... it has to do with the 'trophies' you receive if you are among the first 100 customers.  And, of course, the adventure of dashing from store to store during the unmentionably early hours.  We are not true BF shoppers; we are merry wanderers of the night.

On a different note, I have also taken up crochet recently (like, two weeks ago).  So far, I have made a crowl, half a scarf, and numerous other things I've done simply for practice.  Thanks to Jayson (who showed me how to do a chain stitch), my mother-in-law (who showed me how to start the second row) and to my dear friend Anne (who opened up a world of different stitches to me), I'm confident that someday I'll be a seasoned crocheter.

How was your holiday?  Do share!

~ Sarah

November 21, 2011

"Catch and Release" Scarf

Well, I'm copycatting again.  I saw this idea on Pinterest (and can you believe it??  I actually got OFF of Pinterest and made something!!) and had to try it out.  It looked easy, beautiful, and totally something I could crank out in bulk (for, ahem, Christmas, perhaps...) 

Kelli has a very excellent tutorial here.  As with all things, I skipped a step or two (mostly the measuring-the-lines thing... I kindof eyeballed it.)  I picked a bunch of clearance fabrics, 3 yards long, and went to town.  In the time it took me to watch one movie, I had finished 12 scarves and was disappointed it was time to stop. 

Here are some photographs:


This white one was my particular favorite.  The fabric itself is a little stretchy, and makes a soft, comfortable, and absolutely gorgeous scarf.  I asked Jayson if it would be selfish of me to keep one of the white ones... after glancing at the 11 others I'd finished in 2 hours, he smiled and said, "I think you may have earned that one." 

Which one is your favorite?

~ Sarah

November 14, 2011

Pretty Paper Ornaments

Gosh, does it feel good to be working on craft projects again!  I thought I'd get started on Christmas decorations, since, well, the Christmas season begins next Friday.  (Is it just me, or did it sneak up on us this year??)

I loved this idea - I came up with it myself but I'm certain I'm not the only person who's ever done something like this.  But, for the record, I didn't see ornaments like this and duplicate them -- they actually came from my own mind.  ;)

What you will need:
  1. Cardstock in various colors that match (and closely match) your theme
  2. Big hole punch (mine is 2")
  3. Glue (like Elmer's, or paper glue, etc)
  4. thin ribbon
  5. a really good movie (optional)
  6. cup of tea (also optional)

Begin by punching out quite a few circles of your selected cardstock.  Fold every circle in half with the pattern inside.

Start gluing your circles together.  I didn't make any two the same, at least on purpose, so they looked like a mismatched, colorful little band of 3-D circles.  I was exceptionally pleased with them.

Cut your ribbon into strips (something like 10" long) - I did some longer, some shorter.  Fold them in half, and tie a basic knot at the ribbon ends, forming a loop.

The ornaments should have a natural gap in the center of the circles (see photos above), which the ribbon slides through comfortably. 

And you're done!!  Before I knew it, I had made almost 20 of them, but unfortunately I had the colors wrong for the person I was making them for (it wasn't purple - it was gold.  Durn it.)  So this turned out to be a test run.  A very successful test run, I might add.  Hopefully by the time I do the real ornaments, my new phone will be here and the pictures will be much better.  ;)

Happy Monday!

~ Sarah

November 11, 2011

Party Dresses

Have you missed me??  I've missed all of you... truly!!  I've been battling a mysterious illness that has entirely confounded my doctor, but on the bright side, all of my clothes are suddenly very big.  :) 

And speaking of clothes, I've been pinning a lot of dresses on Pinterest lately.  I have several big events coming up soon that I plan to splurge and dress up for, including a couple of Christmas parties.  I thought I'd share the dresses I like, since I haven't been doing any projects while sitting in my pajamas watching hundreds of movies.  (Though I will be shortly... I have deadlines coming.)

As with all things on Pinterest, sometimes you can find the original post, and sometimes, you can't.  As before, I'll provide the source where possible, and if you happen to know where an un-sourced photograph comes from, please let me know!




Source needed

Source needed

Source needed

I noticed after I pinned them that they're all roughly the same shape, length, style, etc... I must have one particular fashion on the brain this year.  Which ones do you like?


Back (for real!) very soon!  <3

~ Sarah

October 28, 2011

A New Haircut

Happy Autumn!  I can only say that for a little while longer, as (according to the LwYH calendar) winter will be arriving in NEPA tomorrow with a bang.  Some weather people are saying 6-12 inches, others are saying 2-4, but this is Pennsylvania.  We won't really know for sure how much it will precipitate until it's already happened. 

I never really mind the weather, even the snowfalls.  I have a survival kit in my 4-wheel-drive, weather-savvy vehicle, so I'm prepared for the whitest, worstest event of them all.  But Jayson and I have plans to attend a seminar in central-PA tomorrow, so I'm hoping it holds off until we've made good our escape. 

As stated in my last post, I haven't been working on any blog-worthy projects lately, which is why I haven't been around at all.  But I DID get a new haircut (see new profile picture.)  Jayson won't say he likes it yet, because the last time I cut my bangs I cried out in frustration, "What was I thinking?!"  But I like them so far, at least this time around.  Only time will tell if I've just repeated a past mistake or not.

So, what have all of YOU been up to??  I'm particularly interested in your Halloween costumes.  Email me pictures, and I'll post them on the blog!


~ Sarah

October 19, 2011

Garlic Pizza

Happy Autumn (again!)

I made pizza for dinner last night, and it was delicious.  Delicious and, well, a bit... garlic-y.  Perhaps 'a bit' is an understatement.  I'm quite certain that this is a Pampered Chef recipe knock-off, but since I couldn't remember and didn't bother to find the actual recipe, I think I'm in the clear to let you know how I made it.

  1. Pizza crust (Jayson's very particular about this, so I usually leave the choosing of the crust to him.  Strangely, I didn't bother to look at the wrapping last night and can't tell you what kind I used.)
  2. Olive oil
  3. Garlic (I used fresh minced... but we'll get to that)
  4. 1 can of diced tomatoes
  5. Diced zucchini (to taste)
  6. Sliced mushroom (also to taste)
  7. Shredded mozzarella cheese (in Jayson's case, an entire bag will suffice)
It's not likely that any of you reading this won't know how to put a pizza together, but I'll tell you anyways.  Start by mixing your garlic and your olive oil and spreading on the crust.  (I also used olive oil under the crust, as I was using a PC pizza stone.)  Spread tomatoes, zucchini and mushrooms.  Top with cheese.  Bake for 15 (or so) minutes.

It was delicious.  But... the garlic.  Oh, the garlic.  I never thought there was such a thing as 'too much garlic', and used to scoff at such a notion.  *repents* I have now learned to believe in too much garlic.  Fortunately, it wasn't over the whole pizza, and I enjoyed two slices that were well-balanced.  Poor Jayson experienced the 'too much garlic' on his first piece, however, and by the time I got to my third one, he claimed that he couldn't really tell how the pizza tasted.  He put it this way: "I'm sweating.  Under my eyeballs."

Between the two of us we almost completely finished a gallon of cider last night.  I'm pretty sure that the cider was also delicious, but it tasted peculiar to us.  Like garlic.  I could still taste garlic when I woke up this morning.  And tonight is leftover night.  *shudders*  

Well, anyways, it's an excuse to make the pizza again sometime.  Perhaps we'll forget ingredient number 3.  Perhaps not.   :)

~ Sarah

October 18, 2011

A Pinterest Autumn

Pinterest - the virtual Pinboard.  By a show of hands, who has experienced Pinterest, and the unexpected addiction that comes with it?  It's really a nifty idea, but I have found that my work productivity dropped significantly since I received my Pinterest invitation, and my craft/d-i-y project list grew exponentially.  Truly, though, it's very convenient to collect links in one place, and I've recommended it to my clients with weddings coming up.  This way they can save pictures of things that inspire them, which helps me to plan an event around their tastes.  Fabulous.

I haven't been working on projects lately, though my list is growing.  I'm in the middle of a couple of months off from event-planning, which has been beautiful.  I've been systematically cleaning my house, and finished (yes, finished!) the laundry last weekend.  But who really blogs about laundry and cleaning?  {I'm only doing so to explain my bloggy absence.}  So in lieu of another d-i-y post (recipe, craft or otherwise) I thought I'd walk you through one of my virtual pinboards (named Fallishness.)  I'll site the original source where I can, but Pinterest doesn't always take you back where it came from, and sometimes the links are re-posts to begin with, and no source is sited.  If you happen to know the original post for any of these, please share, because I would so love to credit the rightful owner.

Let's start with table decorations.  How simple and delightful are these apple candle holders?  Such a perfect little Autumny touch.

Original post here
And speaking of apples, how about a whole bowl of apples turned centerpiece?  My husband wouldn't hesitate to pick one off the pile as he walked by, and that would be just fine with a decoration like this.  Who says practical can't also be beautiful? 

Anything with hurricane lamps is ok in my book!  I love these colors:

Original post here

I fell in love with this simple project.  Mason jars wrapped in twine, spray painted, then tied with a bow and illuminated with tea lights.  Stunning!

Can I just tell you that I already have the paper purchased for this project?  The world's cutest pumpkins, ladies and gentlemen.
Original post here.

It's dangerous for me to concentrate on fall food too much, however, I loved this pumpkin made from two bundts put together.  On my pinboard, I called this a Pumpkindt.

A few unique pumpkin decorating ideas:

Original post here
I can't help assuming that this is a home further South than mine, as our wood burner is already in action.

Original post here

And finally, some glittery pumpkins.  

Original post here
So how do you decorate for Autumn?

~ Sarah