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The gift that gave twice.

A friend stopped by just before Christmas and brought toffee and cookies for our family.  Fewer and fewer people do that theses days so it was a special treat!  I took pictures of the toffee, because it was so pretty.


The kids ate the toffee.  Then, when the time came to write our thank you notes, the toffee shots became our thank you cards.


I love it when it all works out like that. 🙂


Warm Winter, Peanut

If I had hand-picked a dog for myself, I couldn’t have picked a better pet than Peanut.  He came to us by chance, rescued off the streets of our neighborhood.  No chip, no collar, and after days of posting online and hanging signs, no claim from his owner.  That was 4 years ago and he’s become a sweet addition to our family.  At times he’s 13 pounds of vicious watchdog and at other times he’s 13 pounds of snuggles. And during the winter, he’s 13 pounds of sorry shivering.  I’ve bought him sweaters from the store, but he’s at an in-between size – the smalls are a bit tight and the mediums are so big that they’ll “get wet” when he’s let outside.  This year, I determined to fix the sweater problem.

I used an old sweatshirt of mine, cutting it so that the neckline went around his neck.  I also eliminated those uncomfortable front leg holes by using an elastic loop that goes around a button.  He still doesn’t like having it put on over his head, but eliminating the awkward leg hole problem has made putting on the sweater so much quicker.


Warm winter to you, Peanut!



Kiomi Dress

I have known for a while that in addition to the run-of-the-mill pollen allergies, I’m also allergic to some atypical things: chlorine, sunscreen, makeup, hair dye, MSG, chocolate.  It all came to a head last summer when my body became overwhelmed and I finally sought help from the Environmental Health Center in Dallas.  The good news is I have more good days now than bad days.  But I am on a constant quest to decrease my chemical exposure.  It turns out that fabric isn’t without it’s problems from a chemical perspective.  The dyes and fixing agents can contain toxins unless more natural options are used.

Linen is one of the more minimally processed fabrics, but organic linen clothing is priiiiicey!  Behold the Kiomi Dress, from Lotta Jansdotter’s book, Everyday Style.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this dress took me FOREVER. Too much time was spent finding and tracing out the pattern pieces from the chaos that was overlapping lines from different pieces all superimposed upon each other on the same pattern sheet.  It was chaos, and one of the reasons I prefer to buy patterns rather than pattern books.


Once I got going, the dress was straightforward enough.  I will say though, that when it was getting close to being done, I started to get nervous.  In my fittings, this dress was looking like a NIGHTGOWN.  In an act of desperation, I twisted the dress up tightly until it twisted up on itself and left it in a basket overnight so that it wouldn’t unwind.


It wasn’t until this morning when I unraveled this mess of wrinkly goodness that I loved it!  I put it on and wore it to church.  Then ran around in the back yard while my hubs took pictures.



Kiomi Dress, from Lotta Jansdotter’s book, Everyday Style
5.3 oz linen (medium weight)
Image from book here.

The pattern calls for medium weight linen, but I think I’ll go with a lighter weight for this type of dress in the future.  The fabric just didn’t hang well until I twisted it up.





Magnolia Market Silos


We live about an hour and a half from Waco, Texas.  Not too far, but close enough that when friends come to town we can visit The Magnolia Market Silos.


 In the last month I’ve gotten to go twice!


The first time was on a Friday.


 It was beautiful.






And very, very busy.  I didn’t consider buying anything because there were 50+ people lined up at the registers.


 There was a line to use the bathrooms and a line at the bakery that ran out the door and down the street.


The second visit was on a Tuesday – truly the best day to visit.  The lines at the market were short.  The line at the bakery was short. cupcakes And after buying some gorgeous cupcakes, there was an open place to sit in the shade, eat and take in the atmosphere.


This place is so popular and it’s easy to see why.

It’s the kind of place you want to bring your family to.


It’s the kind of place you’d want to create if you had the money.


It’s the kind of place every town should have but, for some elusive reason, doesn’t.


I’ve been told by more than one person that I remind them of Joanna Gaines.  Truly high praise, but totally inaccurate, as proven by the fact that NO ONE at the Silos mistook me for her.  Ha!



Another Baby, Another Quilt.

Not another baby in our family, but a baby in our church family.  She still hasn’t been born yet, but we are so excited for her to be here!averys-quilt

I gotta say, I was in a rush to get this made for her baby shower, so to save time I decided on 3″ wide strips.  Fewer pieces = less sewing time.  But I still think I prefer squares.avery-2

I backed it with a receiving blanket from Aiden and Anais – super cute stuff there and super soft.  I love babies.  Babies give me a reason to sew.  Fun!


Leather Straps

It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to put leather straps on my bags but I’ve been hesitant to purchase a bunch of stuff online while not really knowing anything about what I’m buying. Turns out there is a Tandy Leather brick and mortar store just a few miles from my house. Who knew? The very nice gentleman helped me find everything I needed to attach leather straps with rivets to my bag. I got a hand press, a couple sizes of rivets and all the necessary hand press attachments.



After watching a few YouTube videos, I was in business. The only mistake I made on this bag was marking the rivet placements on the fabric with a pen and then realizing I marked them in the wrong place (oops),  which is why I took another piece of leather and a few rivets and attached them on over the pen marks.  Whew.leather-straps-2

I actually like the extra pieces of leather.  They make the top of the bag more sturdy and less floppy.

Since this is my first time using leather like this I have so many questions:

Should I have reinforced the area around the fabric where the straps are attached? Probably.
Will the fabric hold up under long-term use?  I hope so.
Am I allergic to the tanning chemicals in the leather?  Possibly.
Is there a safer leather to use?  I think so.  I need to do some more research.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying my new bag!  Fabric is duck cloth from Hobby Lobby.

Hexie Pillows

For Christmas last year I gave my friend a gift certificate for 2 handmade cushions.

By February she had given me her color choices and I had decided on hexies.

By the beginning of March I had 140 hexies cut out.


At some point I thought it would be a good idea to cover both sides with hexies and started cutting again.

By April, after many, many hours of sewing (I lost count after 20), the hexies were sewn and then I got the flu.
hexie tie

Now here we are in mid May and the cushions are finally done!

Merry Christmas, Monica!


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Craft Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well, crafting is my apple. It's what I do to maintain my sanity while taking care of my family. I homeschool my three boys, ages 12, 13, and 14), am a quilter, a bagaholic, and a pattern designer.
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