Christmas Tour 2014

Welcome to the first tour of our house in Raleigh, North Carolina!

This is the first year we've needed to baby-proof our Christmas decorations. Luckily, my sister Heidi is one year ahead of me with parenting, so she gave us the idea of getting a tabletop Christmas tree. The best place to find these trees is The Home Depot. They are under $20 and include a stand that's already attached. Perfect for the impatient wife!

Since Sammy was born last year two days before Christmas, we have even more reason to be excited for Christmas time. He shares a birthday with my new sister-in-law, Christina! #birthdaytwins

Photo Credit: Meador Photography

Of course, I took Sammy with me to pick out our Christmas tree. He was very excited because he could reach it from his seat in the front of the cart. 

Last year, I didn't have time to give you a Christmas tour of our house. Maybe due to the fact we had a baby...? I did, however, blog about the Christmas stockings I knit for Anthony and myself. This year I made another one for Sammy and I surprised my parents with ones I made for them too! I still need to make another one for our new baby.

P.S. We found out earlier this week we are having another boy due in May!

I thought it would be nice to start at our front door. Come on in, it's warm inside and we have hot chocolate and different types of egg nog...

Sadly, when we were moved here, I gave away my original Christmas pennant. This year I made a new one for our house and one for Heidi. My friend Jackie made me a Christmas wreath with yarn and felted flowers.

A close up of our stockings

The view of the decorations on our table and bar

Here's a scaled down version of the nativity with the easiest vase-filled with ornaments (from the Dollar Tree) and my felt Christmas tree. I printed off a Christmas verse and glued it onto felt. Super simple and cost less than 10 cents! 

We have a Charlie Brown nativity set too. It's Anthony's favorite Christmas movie and the only movie we have watched nearly every Christmas morning together. 

The tablescape, complete with a wooden Advent calendar with removable boxes, that a friend and I painted. I can't wait to fill it with little candies and papers and fun activities to do as a family in future years!

My grandparents gave us this wooden nativity 8 years ago and last year we used it for the first time as our treetopper. They passed away in October and December of last year and I love looking at it because it reminds me of them. 

Last year my mom and dad gave us these two ornaments, which are my current favorites as they include Sammy!

 

 

 

 

 

That's it for this year's tour! I pray you have a very Merry Christmas and a great start to 2015.  

Linking up with The Nester for Christmas Tour of Homes 2014.

Clink the links below for tours of previous years:

Christmas Tour 2011

Christmas Tour 2012

A Knitty Christmas

I have been working at a local yarn store in Raleigh called Great Yarns. The owner Mary was kind enough to hire me seasonally knowing I was pregnant and could only commit to working there for a few months. I have truly enjoyed getting to know the fellow knitting/crocheting ladies, especially Pam and Ellen. They have taught me a lot of new skills, including how to crochet and have encouraged me to push myself and try new things. 

A few weeks ago, the Hubster was perusing Krochet Kids' website and stumbled upon a cream and white striped stocking. He said, now that's a stocking that I would like to hang up! I looked at the picture and said, I can probably make that. His eyes got really big and he said, really? I said, why not? I work at a yarn store and the ladies can help me figure it out!

I went back to work and asked Ellen and Pam what they thought. They said, I should get on Ravelry (my username is malisaprice) and look up a pattern. Then we'd pick out the yarn and they'd show me how to create the large "sock". I found this Striped Stocking pattern from Bernat. Having come to the realization that I knit a little loose, Ellen suggested I use US size 7 needles and Plymouth Yarn's Encore Worsted. I bought three skeins and got busy. 

Last week I had a really bad cold and didn't go in to the yarn store. It was a bummer because I had gotten done with the easy parts of the stocking and was to the Heel section. I needed Pam or Ellen's help. Alas, I turned to YouTube and found this wonderful tutorial from Very Pink Knits with detailed videos on Christmas Stockings. 

In case you're curious, I used Encore Worsted colors Merry (1001- green and red), Winter White (0146), and Regal Red (9601) for the stockings. 3 total skeins made 2 stockings and I'm working on a smaller version for the baby!

I also chose to make a fabric lining using a little tutorial I found on Pinterest. As you may know by now, I LOVE stripes, so of course I was elated when I found a stash of fabric in my sewing desk in Christmas red, green and white stripes. I made the fabric lining slightly larger than the stocking, as the tutorial said, put the right sides together, sewed about 1/4 inch from the edge all the way down one side, around the bottom, and back up the other side. I left the top alone until I folded the edge down about 1/2 inch and sewed across the top to make a neat looking fold. 

I carefully stuffed the knit stocking into the fabric, wrong sides facing each other. I pinned the fabric to the knit stocking around the top.

Then I chose a thread that would blend in, for both stockings I used red, and hand-sewed the fabric to the knit stocking. 

Once done, I grabbed the bottom of the stocking and carefully turned it right side out, with the knit stocking showing. 

I still need to add a little ribbon to the left side of the top of the stockings to hang them up. The best part of this project has been how impressed the Hubster has been with my crafting skills. 

Amazingly, the finished size of the stockings are both very similar to each other and the pattern size! Yeah!!

One more thing, my sisters have both gotten in to knitting since I started this project and I think they'll be passing me up in knitting skills in no time. Especially Heidi, who has gotten a bad case of knitter's elbow due to knitting so much!

What I'm Into (November Edition)

I can't believe another month has flown by. I love when bloggers share the things they've been reading, doing, or watching lately. Anne inspired me to write my own What I'm Into today.

Reading

I've had lots of fun reading books recommended by Shelia (Deliberate Reader) and Anne (Modern Mrs. Darcy). I am still raving about Love Does by Bob Goff.

I finished reading An Invisible Thread and I have Lived a Thousand Years. Both were thought-provoking, inspiring reads. 

I skimmed Dinner: A Love Story, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, French Women Don't Get Fat, and An Everlasting Meal

I'm in the middle of reading Bringing up bébé by Pamela Druckerman and really like the ideas and concepts she presents.

Listening

New music and me don't normally go together. I have been loving 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. I bought Carl Goes Up from the Up Soundtrack. Other than that, I listen to what Anthony turns on.

Crafting

Since Olivia (my niece) was due on December 5th, we had a Ready to Pop baby shower in the middle of November. I made a breastfeeding survival kit for Heidi. It included handmade burp cloths and a nursing cover.

(Heidi at her shower)

I also made Olivia a hooded towel and washcloth set and a few more blankets. 

I made two table runners and have Christmas fabric ready for a pennant to decorate our front room.

I started knitting again last night and am making a little mauve and purple beanie for guess who? Olivia! She just can't wear something that isn't handmade by her Auntie.

Cooking

Last weekend I made a small Thanksgiving dinner. I successfully made a turkey and it was delicious!

(photo credit)

I've been making lots of red sauce using Jessica's recipe. And I've made 3 batches of brownies over the course of 3 days. Maybe that's why my clothes aren't fitting?

Blogging

The most popular post was Homemade Vanilla Extract. My personal favorites were A Simpler Season and the DIY Natural Laundry Soap.

Blogger Love

Nearly every post has spoken to me in some way from Donald Miller's Storyline Blog. My personal favorites were:

Nikki (Christian By Association) wrote an insightful post called "Why Christians Should Say Happy Holidays." It's worth the time to read it. 

PC Walker (Ragamuffin PC) always writes posts that cut to the heart. "When you say, "I don't want to gossip, but ..." has helped me stop a few times. 

Anthony told me about Diane's blog, He Speaks in the Silence, and this Sunday Scripture was food for my soul.

Buying

I took a big leap and bought Michael Hyatt's Get Published while it was on sale last week. I haven't started the program, but I have high hopes for it helping me with my writing. 

I bought some earrings from Hannah, a necklace from Tricia, and fun cards to put on my sewing projects from Lindsay.

(Sewing projects with cards)

Watching

We went to the movies and saw Lincoln with Heidi and Caleb. It was a great movie and I thought the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis was perfect. I enjoyed the filming and appreciated the way the cameras recorded a scene from the ground.

Going/Travelling

This month we went to Disneyland with Anthony's family and had a great time. But seriously, how could we not have a great time at Disneyland?

My favorite part of our whole trip was the conversations we had while standing in line for rides and driving in the car. Because of the trip, we have nicknames: inlaws (Anthony, Donna, Brianna) & outlaws (Scott, Chad & me)!

I loved recapping this month!

What have you been up to lately?

Linking up with Leigh for What I'm Into.

Petroglyph, Roseville ~ Ceramic Fun

When Heather, my youngest sister, asked what I wanted for my birthday my response was the usual: clothes, accessories, etc. Then, I remembered she loves making pottery/ceramic items at Petroglyph. I changed my mind and told her "take me there!"

We had dinner first. We spent most of the time talking about sewing, Heather used to work as a seamstress at an alterations shop. 

Arrived to Petroglyph and took pictures of the store, pottery, kiln, and work stations. 

Chose the pieces we were going to paint. This was definitely the hardest part. There were so many options!

Picked out stencils and paint colors. 

Wiped down our items with a wet sponge to remove any dust. 

Painted the items. The plate shows what will happen based on what you use and how many coats of paint you apply. I thought this plate was quite helfpul.

Finished the items.

We were able to pick up our creations 2 days later after the helpful employees fired it in the kiln.

Enjoy your creation.  

Have you ever been to a place like Petroglyph?

Linking up with Alicia for Try New Adventures Thursday!

Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild

Last Saturday, I had planned to meet Jodi for a day of thrifting. Sadly, we weren't able to meet up. Instead of moping around because I didn't get to see her, I took the advice of a Twitter friend, Rebecca and visited the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild.

The Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild (SMQG) meets once a month. Every other meeting is at Sew Fun Fabrics in Folsom. The other months they are a "travelling" group. I learned that quilters are often travellers and will drive great distances to find good quilt shops!

Upon Rebecca's request, I live-tweeted the meeting. I have never tweeted anything live before and I gained a HUGE respect for anyone that can do so. People talk a lot faster than I can compose a tweet!

The SMQG is led by Jenniffier and they are in the process of becoming a more formal group. The meeting was a lot of fun. My personal favorite part was the show and tell. During this part of the meeting, each lady got to show what they had been working on. I was in awe and shock, truthfully, when I saw all of the projects the members had created. Their creations are amazing.

Jenniffier showed her embroidery 101 blocks and of course I loved the block with the pennant!

The SMQG is working on a Bubble Quilt and Debbie showed her block. She had a few other projects that were incredible. I loved one she's making for "herself" (secret present for a friend) and it's a music-themed quilt. 

 

Spider quilt by Nancy. This was actually her "smaller" quilt. I just sat there thinking, smaller?? This is humongous. 

Golden threads, the quilter's ruler, you sew over the paper and then take it off. It's great for quilting a pattern on your fabric.

Coffee inspired quilt by Nancy. I really liked the colors of this quilt.

I showed my bicycle blanket. The ladies were so encouraging and gave me great ideas on how to quilt the top. I'm hoping to take a Free Motion Quilting class from Melody who teaches at Sew Katie Jean. (If you look closely, you'll see Iron Man lego on the arm rest. It's my hubster's)

My favorite thing about Modern Quilting: you don't have to sew straight lines! I really enjoyed the SMQG and hope that I'll be able to make more of their meetings.

What adventures have you been up to lately?

Happily linking with Alicia for:

Nail Polish & Do-it-Yourself Custom Colors

This might be common knowledge, but I did not know you could mix nail polish colors until 2 weeks ago. This new discovery is directly because of my bud Jessica (aka Polish & Pout). We got to spend the evening together and she volunteered to paint my nails for me. Since she is the reason I now love painting my nails, I immediately took her up on her offer.

Here's what you need to get started:

  • Polish 
  • Paper plate (or another mixing dish)
  • Polish remover, clippers, and file (if you need it)

That little pink heart is a nail file, how cute is that?!

I thought it would be fun to create a Tiffany blue color. So, Jessica got to mixing.

If you look closely in this picture you'll see the color she made and her awesome nail polish "jar" (a flower vase). And in the background is Mr. Polish and Pout, Andy, who was playing N64 Mario Kart with Anthony!

I loved showing off my fancy nails while in New York City. Thank you, friend for showing me the joy of DIY nail polish colors I never knew!

Have you ever made your own nail polish colors? 

Happily linking to:

Guest Post: Pin-spiration Shoe Painting DIY

I'm so happy to welcome, my friend online and in person, Jodi. I've been stalking, err getting to know her since last July when Anthony sent me an email and said, "I think you'll like this blog." And did I ever! Not just because Jodi is a crafty lady, she was married the same month and almost day we were (happy 6 year anniversary, friend), she was homeschooled, and she is a caring friend. Did I mention, her boys have stolen both Anthony & my hearts? Okay, I'll stop with the gushing, but seriously, welcome back Jodi!

Today she's sharing a fun DIY craft that you paint an item I would have NEVER thought to paint: shoes.


Hey ya'll! That's southern for hello. :) I'm Jodi and I blog over at Life and Oh-La-Dee-Dah. I'm so thrilled to be guest posting for Malisa today and want to thank her for the opportunity. I've posted here before, so you might remember me, but in case you don't, I'm a proud friend of Malisa's in real life (oh how I love blogger friends who become friends in real life!). My family and I are currently Californians who recently moved from the Mid-West who are originally from Florida. Did you get that? Ok so now that we've met, here's a little DIY I did over the weekend.

I'll be honest. I love crafting, but lately my creative mo-jo is slacking a little. So, I did what any self respecting blogger would do. I reviewed my "crafty" Pinterest board and remembered this simple, easy and perfect DIY from A Beautiful Mess blog.

I'm a big fan of simple, easy DIYs that produce something cute. I bought these shoes last year, but wore them to the core and scuffed them a little. You can imagine my thrill when I realized I could just paint and re-make them! All I needed was paint, brushes and I chose to add a little Spring-ish fabric to the tongue of the shoe and make new shoe laces with the same fabric. If you choose to use the fabric option, I used modpodge to adhere it to the shoe and found it glued better when applied to the top and bottom of the fabric.

Now that I've gotten some of my crafty mo-jo back, maybe I'll paint a few other pairs. :)

Thanks again Malisa!

A Day in Amador City

One of the coolest things about living in Sacramento is the fact that we are centrally located. On Saturday, Anthony and I decided to take a day trip to Amador City, home of Andrae's Bakery. This charming gold country town is less than an hour away from Sacramento!

Before we left our house, we called my cousin Rachel and invited her to come along. She was free and we stopped by and picked her up on our way to Amador.

The first thing we did when we arrived was stop at Andrae's for lunch. We enjoyed tasty sandwiches, root beer (Anthony's choice), potato salad, & of course, their famous chocolate chip cookies. 

Today was a beautiful day: 70 degrees, sunny, and t-shirt weather! Maybe that's why we pay so much to live in California?

You might have already noticed this, but all 3 of us wore stripes and jeans today. Seriously, we did not plan that. I didn't even notice the stripes until Anthony mentioned it in the car once we had picked up Rachie. 

We stopped by most of the stores in the town. Anthony, Rachel, & I all took turns taking pictures.

Anthony wanted me to add that at one point we got separated. But he knew where to look: Buffalo Emporium, the ice cream shop. Sure enough, that's where we were!

After our stop for ice cream, we came across the best little shop called John & Sandy's Country Living.

There are many reasons we liked this store.

It could have been the fun signs. This one reminded me of Jodi

The one in the back of this picture reminded me of Kamille, "Come Gather At Our Table."

 

Another reason I could have liked the store was the stars on the floor.

Or the fact that the items were shabby shic, reasonably-priced, & reminded me of something I need to do more often:

But the real reason I loved this store was Sandy, the owner.

She and her husband John opened the store March 5, 1975, which means today is their 37th anniversary. Sandy said that they have been in continuous business the whole time.

They were originally in a different location (across the street) and sold macrame. Their friends referred to them as the Knotty Knotters, which I thought was hilarious. Sandy told me she makes her own yarn.

Sandy told us she had just changed the decorations in the store to Spring/Easter decor.

Usually she has her spindle in the front of the store to spin yarn while she works. When she mentioned the spindle, I asked her if I could see it. She immediatly got up and took us to the back.

She pulled out the spindle and showed us how she used a starter piece to spin the fiber. She uses two types of sheep's wool for her yarn. There were lots of interesting items in the store. I'm so glad we stopped by and Sandy told us her story! Congratulations on 37 years of business. 

What have you been up to lately? 

Linking up with: 

 

Handmade Coasters Tutorial

Yesterday, I shared the giveaway for my handmade coasters. Today is the tutorial!

This project is a spin off of a post I saw on Little Chief Honeybee

Items needed:

  • 4 1/4" Porcelein tiles
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam paintbrushes
  • Felt
  • Scrapbook paper or other decorations
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks

Anthony and I went to our local Home Depot and picked up the porcelein tiles for 16 cents a piece! Then we went to Jo-Ann's and purchased Mod Podge & foam paintbrushes for about $7. Remember all of the felt flowers I've made? Well, I have some leftover felt from those projects. And I also used to scrapbook, so I have lots of paper to use for the tile decoration. 

As Kaelah says in her tutorial, you can use movie tickets, or other sentimental paper items to cherish forever!

So, a recap. This project cost under $12 for 20 tiles. The price you'd normally pay for a set of 4 tiles. 

Cut out a 4-inch piece of scrapbook paper and felt for the back. Attach the felt with hot glue. 

Then use a little Mod Podge and affix the scrapbook paper to the tile. I applied 3 coats of Mod Podge waiting at least 30 minutes in between each coat. 

That's it! The tiles are super cute and a fun project to make. 

Have you ever made coasters before? 

Happily linking to:

Handmade Coasters Giveaway

I've been crafting lately. That can mean one of two things: a tutorial or a giveaway. Today is the giveaway!

We have a couple sets of coasters in our home that we bought from Target a few years ago. They were cheap and had elephants on them, so of course, I loved them. The problem with these coasters is they are very light weight. When a cup sweats and you pick the cup up to take a drink, the coaster comes right along with the drink, falling into your lap. Very irritating. 

The problem is coasters aren't cheap and I always forget to buy them when I'm at the store. So, I decided to do a search for handmade coasters. And voila I found this post

These bird ones are the ones I made for our house!

I bought 20 porcelain tiles and can't wait to buy more. I'll be sharing a tutorial on how I made these coasters later this week.

I'm giving away one set of four coasters to two different readers!

There are three ways to enter (only one entry is needed to win): 

  • Entry 1: Leave a comment and tell me what you like or don't like about your current coasters (I know you have an opinion about them, I have one about mine!)
  • Entry 2: Tweet or Facebook the giveaway and leave a comment here saying you did (you can use this if you want to: @malisaprice is hosting a giveway on her site, check it out! http://malisaprice.com/blog/2012/2/21/handmade-coasters-giveaway.html)
  • Entry 3: Subscribe to my newsletter (link is on my homepage) and leave a comment saying you did.

This promotion is open until Saturday, February 25th, at 8 pm PST. A winning number will be chosen withRandom.org and will correspond with entries in the comments section of this post. Make sure to leave an email address when you comment, that is how I will notify the winner. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.