Monday, December 27

Christmas Morning Makeover



In Between

I think Christmas may just be the best thing ever, but this year  But, all of my planning and shopping and wrapping and plotting and sewing and crafting was worth it.  The look on my kids' faces Christmas morning just makes my heart explode.  Things are starting to wind down.  The kids are happily playing with their new treasures and I am happily putting decorations away. 

 Now, I'm gearing up for the New Year... I've got to think of some predictions as per family tradition.  

Friday, December 24

Joyex Noel!

Merry Christmas to all
and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 21

Just Cozying Up With Darth

Doesn't Darth look ominous AND inviting, sitting on the rocker?  I made this last minute gift for our sweet friend Cannon who turned 5 this week.  For some reason, I think it's hilarious!  

The last few weeks have been full of holiday parties, gift exchanges, birthdays and special sewing projects that can't be revealed until Christmas morning.  It has been a whirlwind-- but the fun kind of whirlwind.  Now, things are starting to wind down.  Projects are getting finished up.  Presents are mostly wrapped.  School is out.  Maybe now I can catch up on some blogging. :)

Darth and I hope you are enjoying the season as much as we are!


Friday, December 10

Christmas Caramel

I really, really love homemade caramel.  Really.  It's a good and bad thing that it's so easy to make.  Good because I like it so much.  Bad because I will eat the entire batch.  When it comes to caramel, I find there are two groups: the chewy fans and the soft fans.  I am a chewy fan.  
 This year, I tried a new recipe that turned out really good.  Usually, I'm drawn toward recipes that use heavy cream, but this time I tried one that called for sweetened condensed milk.  Caramel is surprisingly easy to make.  The key is to have reliable, easy to read candy thermometer.  I have a simple mercury thermometer that has candy making stages marked on it (like "soft ball" and "hard ball").  It makes it easy to know when the caramel is ready.  

Christmas Caramel

  • 1 cup butter 
  • 1 pound light brown sugar
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a heavy pan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it reaches the "soft ball" stage (between 235 and 245 degrees).  Cook for one minute longer, then remove from heat.  The longer you cook the caramel, the chewier it will be.  But, be careful not to over cook it or it will turn in to rock!  Once removed from the heat, stir in vanilla.  Pour mixture in to a heavily buttered 9x13 inch pan.  Let it cool to room temperature before cutting it into bite sized pieces with a sharp knife.  Wrap with parchment or wax paper.   Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9

Another Train Case

This one is for Henry.  For Christmas.  I'm still trying to figure out what to put in it.  Any suggestions?


If you'd like to make one for someone special on your list, check out this tutorial!

Sunday, December 5

From Me, To You

Lately, I've been playing around with Christmas trees as a design element in my holiday sewing projects.  I thought you might like to have some fun with trees, too!  So, in the spirit of the season, I've made my tree templates available to download.  

Lucy's Christmas School Shirt

Tea Towels

P.S.  This is my first time to make a PDF, so it's kind of an experiment.  Please let me know if you have problems downloading or printing the pattern.

Friday, December 3

Amish Ginger Cookies

image from

Looking for a new stand-by cookie recipe, perfect for the holidays?  Mom, the ginger lover that she is, said this recipe she found online is going to replace her ginger crinkle recipe she's used for as long as I can remember.  So, they must be good!  I think I'm going to make these for teacher gifts this year. 

Monday, November 29

Togetherness Makes: Part III

 After a trip to Anthropologie, Mom and I were inspired to make Christmas tea towels.  Kristin stopped by to share her scraps and add to the general festive fury.  We came up with some cute appliques.  I'm not sure what to do with mine, though.  Open my Etsy shop again?  Give them as gifts?  Keep them all for myself? 

We also whipped up some new pj's for Lucy and Henry.  

These pj's for Henry almost got finished.  They still need buttons and hemming.  Thankfully, I still have a couple more weeks until Christmas to finish them!

Saturday, November 27

Togetherness Makes: Part II

I saw this on and thought it would be a fun project to do with Lucy and Mom.  The project was kind of addictive and fairly inexpensive to do, albeit sticky.  I think we all had stomach aches from eating too many gumdrops by the time we were done.  But, it was definitely worth it! 

You can find instructions to make your own gumdrop wonderland by clicking here.

Friday, November 26

christmas birdie

Christmas Birdie Christmas Card
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, November 19

Togetherness Makes: Part I

Petit Jean

It's pronounced "Petty Jeen", for anyone not from Arkansas and it was our first stop on a whirl wind week with Grandma J (aka the other half of this blog).  It was our first visit to the state park and we couldn't decide if we had just missed the peak Autumn colors or if we had had such a dry summer, the trees didn't have it in them to put on a show.  But, the weather was perfect for picnicking and the hikes were great.  Lucy found lots of bugs to her immense delight.

This little grasshopper offered bunches of entertainment (and a little terror) when it hopped from Lucy's hand to Grandma's shirt.  


We hiked to a couple of caves.  This first one had faint pictographs on the rock ceiling. 

Part of the hike travels over these "Turtle Rocks", which we though were volcanic but I think there was a sign that said the cracks were caused by erosion.

The last cave we made it to was called "Bear Cave".  This is a picture of two bears and one baby squirrel:

This was the perfect way to kick off a full week of fun.  Stay tuned to see what else togetherness makes!