Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Activity Advent

Advent is different to different people.  It's different between families.  Different between denominations.  And maybe even different between family members.  I still have a very basic, "Sunday School" education of the religious advent experience so I am not here to elaborate on that (although I will probably be diving into that for my own personal benefit).

This year I wanted to do an Advent Calendar for my kids.  I didn't want to give them candy everyday, because quite frankly we're still trying to get through that mess from Halloween.  I couldn't give them a gift everyday because that's expensive.  So, I decided to go with the idea of an activity advent.  This is not an original idea, but I did make up my own list.

There are a number of ways you could set yours up.  Martha has some great ideas that you could use and easily incorporate a written note with an activity.  I personally will be going with some simple, but cute envelopes.  That's just all I have time for right now, and it will be enough for my 1, 2, and 4 year olds.

We have made a real concerted effort this year to talk less about Santa and more about "Jesus' Birthday".  I don't mind sharing the spirit of Santa with my kids, but I don't want the real meaning of Christmas to be lost either.  We've been talking a lot about Jesus' Birthday and how we're going to have a party for Him on Christmas.  I have plans of decorations, cupcakes, etc.

So my list is more geared in this direction, with exceptions.  We have a few that are about doing for others (but we'll incorporate conversation about how Jesus did for others) and a few that are just about some of the fun things to do at Christmas.  Here is the list I came up with.  Feel free to make changes that suit your family.  AND FEEL FREE TO SHARE SOME OF YOUR ACTIVITY IDEAS.  We'd love to hear other things, too.

  1. Using your nativity set, share the story of Jesus' birth day with Daddy.  Then let Daddy read the story back to you from your Bible.  (I'm going to be on a short girl's trip the first 3 days, so I had to make ones Daddy could do.)
  2. SCAVENGER HUNT (I have a Hallmark series started for each of the kids from their birth year. I've bought these for this year, wrapped them, and hidden them.  They'll get to do a scavenger hunt for them, open them, and hang them on the tree.)
  3. Using our new nativity stamps (found these at Joann's; the foam ones you use with paint), paint a picture of Jesus' birth day to hang on the mantle for His party.
  4. Take a drive or walk tonight just to look at Christmas lights.  Don't forget to ask mommy and daddy for some hot chocolate!
  5. As we get ready for Jesus' Birthday Party, we will surely need some party garland.  Let's make lots of paper garland to string around the house.  (You know the kind.  Just strips of paper glued into circles interlocking with the next.  I got a book of Christmas paper at Hobby Lobby.)
  6. Just as each of your have for your Birthday Party, let's make Jesus a banner for his.  It should read, "Happy Birthday, Jesus".  (Much like this, but not in a pirate theme.)
  7. With help from mommy or daddy, come up with a Christmas prayer to pray each night.  Think of all the Christmas things you want to thank God for, and all the different people you want to pray for during this time of year.  Mommy or daddy will write it down and we can read it together every night.
  8. Make a special Christmas treat to deliver to a friend.  (Think simple.  Chocolate covered pretzels.  Chocolate covered marshmallows.  Etc.)
  9. Make a special Christmas card to mail to a friend.  Ask mommy to help you address it and stamp it, then put it in the mailbox outside.
  10. Make a special Christmas treat to take to your teachers.
  11. With mommy and daddy, make brown bag dinners to take and deliver to homeless people.  You may even have to go to the grocery store and help mommy shop!
  12. Make a birthday card for Jesus.  We'll put it in a special place for his birthday party!
  13. Make a Christmas card to send to a special family member. 
  14. Tonight's the big night!  We're all going to Clinton's Christmas Concert at church!  (Clearly, this is very specific to us.  Clinton was old enough this year to join the Angel Choir at our church...we can't wait to see him perform!)
  15. Make special gifts for your friends at school.  (We may do the same as last year, or we may come up with something different...like this adorableness.)
  16. Make a special doggy treat for Gracie.  Even dogs should get to celebrate Christmas with something yummy!
  17. Put on a Christmas play for mommy and daddy.  (Ha!  We'll see how this goes!)
  18. Make a gingerbread nativity.  (I thought this was a great alternative to a Christmas classic.  There's no tutorial here, but it didn't look like rocket science.  I'll post my own tutorial once we do ours.)
  19. Decorate gifts.  (Have I ever mentioned my love for wrapping everything in brown craft paper?  I'm going to let the kids paint with their nativity stamps.  Add old cards.  Add jingle bells.  Etc.  More to come on this.)
  20. Gather all the change you can find around the house.  Then mommy is going to drive you around until you find a red bucket with a bell ringer.  They are collecting money for kids and we're going to give them everything we found!
  21. Go see a movie!  ...at the big movie theater! ...with POPCORN!  ...and SPRITE!  (Probably Happy Feet 2.  Not a Christmas movie.  But we're all psyched about it and it will be a nice treat.)
  22. Make reindeer food for Santa's reindeer.  We want to make sure they find our yard and get a good snack!  (There are umpteen variations of this.  Here's just one.)
  23. Make cookies for Santa.  Mommy has all the special ingredients to make Santa's favorite cookies.  Let them get good and cool because tomorrow we'll be adding to them.  (BTW--if anyone has a wheat free sugar cookie recipe they'd like share, I'm in need!)
  24. Decorate Santa's cookies.  Mommy has lots of special supplies ready for you to make Santa's cookies extra special.  (This will include icings, sprinkles, gum drops, jelly beans, etc.  Things that will make their eyes light up.)
  25. Now today is such a special day because it is Jesus' birthday!  Before you open up this gifts for you, let's sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and remember he is the reason for Christmas!

*Notice to all readers.  Items on this list could change at any time without prior notification.  Items on this list may not work for everyone, so feel free make changes.  ;-)

Hope this gets you thinking about how to get your kids in the spirit!  I know I'm hoping to get Clinton talking about something other than NEW TOYS!  :-D

Let the Season Begin,

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Upcoming Gallery Show!

I have been locked in my sweatshop slaving away getting prepared for my upcoming gallery show on December 1. I just got my pictures and gallery cards back and am very excited to share them with you! The show will have 14 looks that I designed and made. Each garment includes some kind of metal detail that I also created. I don't have pictures of every garment yet as I'm still finishing up, but I wanted to share with you what I have completed! My photographer is the very awesome Laurie Ruth Photography here in Dallas. She is wonderful if you are looking for a Dallas area photographer. She also created the cute gallery cards.

If you're in Dallas on December 1 come join the girls of Dressing Heidi Sage at Fashion on Main in Dallas. The gallery is located at 1901 Main Street (inside the UNT University Center) and the reception will be from 5:30-7:30pm.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Dress

So yesterday we staked our claim as a low volume blog.  And then today we've got another post up.  This is because it is time sensitive.  It's Halloween adorableness and we wanted to get it passed along.

Found this pattern at City Craft.  It is modkid sewing patterns by Patty Young, http://www.modkidboutique.com/.  The pattern has great directions and how to pictures, so this post is less of an actual tutorial...and more of a "Look What I Did."  :-)

My mom (known to Courtney and Chelsea as Grammy) and I made this dress together at her house.  We dug thru her cabinets of fabric and found some good Halloween options.  I should mention she has years and years and years worth of saved fabrics.  Options are plentiful.  We used the pumpkins for the top and 2 of the panels of the skirt.

To make the skirt the pattern calls for 6 strips of fabric 9" wide X 14" long.  I decide to use 8 strips cut smaller...if you're a beginner, you might just want to stick to the pattern.

This is the skirt sewed together.  We used 2 types of pumpkin fabrics and two black and white prints.  If you're looking at it wondering how this is going to end up cute...just wait for it.  It all comes together.

We sewed the shoulder seams together.

Next we added the sleeves.  These sleeves are so adorable on little girls.

Bias trim around the neck.  This is left over from the pink dress, but we had enough and it looked great with what we were doing.

Attach the skirt to the top.

Add bias trim to sleeve.

Bias trim for the bottom of the dress.

Make the obi (belt).  The pattern has very good instructions for this.  We didn't have ribbon for the ends so we used fabric.

Dress is ready to send to Heidi Sage to wear for the month of October.

And she looks adorable.  And, yes, we're totally biased...but certain your little sassy britches will look just as cute.

Love my lil' "punkin",

Somewhat Simple

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween Can Be Pink!

Have you missed us??  Sorry about just falling of the face of the Earth.  We all got a little swept up in our lives for a while.  I'm sure you can relate.  In order to continue with our blog, but not overwhelm ourselves, we've decided this blog is going to be a low volume blog for a while.  We'll post ideas when we have them, and give you time to peruse other sites when we don't.  Just as we can't get 5 posts up a week, we figure you probably can't get 5 projects done in a week.  :-)  

I truly underestimated the amount of work 3 small kids and a house on the market would be.  And Chelsea is finishing up her last semester on her MFA and getting ready for her final show.  And Deborah just started a new job.  So we're busy, no doubt...and looking forward to when the day comes that we have more time to blog!

Now see below, as Deborah has a great post about an adorable dress she made for Miss Heidi Sage.


Not sure if you remember, but Heidi Sage had quite the Halloween wardrobe last year.  And last year we went with the typical black/orange/white color combo.  But THIS year, we decided to mix it up a bit and got with pink and black....she is a girl, after all.

Chelsea found this fabric at City Craft and the pattern at Poppy Patterns.  I have used this pattern several times for Heidi Sage.  The pattern has three different sleeves.  For Heidi Sage I used the Bell Sleeve and for Emery (who also got a tiny version of this dress) I used the Short Puffed Sleeve.  My mom also helped me make these dresses.

This is a very simple to dress to make.  Very good for the novoice sewer.  Hint Hint, Courtney.  Chelsea chose three fabrics.  The main part of the dress will be gray, the sleeves are pink and all the bias strips will be black.

We made several different sizes of bias strips.

The front/back dress is one pattern piece.

The sleeve makes the second pattern piece.

Pin the sleeves to the front and back of the dress and sew together.  This pattern comes with well written instructions for construction...no reason for me to go recreating the wheel, so to speak.

Sew the side seams.

This is the bias piece for the sleeve that makes the bell.

Top stitch to sleeve and add the elastic.  The pattern does not show this version.  I added this for decoration.  The pattern gives you measurements for the elastic lengths.

Also added bias to bottom for decoration.

I also added bias to the neck.  The pattern shows how to make a casing by folding the fabric to the inside.

This is a picture of the finished hem.

Added some sparkles to the front of the dress using my Candy Cane.

Ready for Heidi Sage. 

This is little Emery's dress.

Happily Haunting!

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