Tuesday, December 18

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

This year has been full of changes for our family. 
The biggest of all came in August when we were surprised to learn we were not only expecting, but expecting twins (two girls, if you are curious and didn't already know).  

Since then, things have slowed down... a lot.
There have been fewer posts from the Arkansas half of this blog because productivity in Arkansas has all but come to a screeching halt (unless it has something to do with growing two babies at once).  So, that is my excuse for not sending Christmas cards out to our beloveds this year.  But, I didn't want the year to end without sending some good cheer and a family update your way.

Here is the 2012 Griffin Family Recap (for anyone who is interested):

Billy got a new job working for a commercial sealant company in Arkadelphia as their lead chemist.  In September, his company sent him to Germany to meet with some of their partners, but he was also able to squeeze in a visit with some good friends and Oktoberfest.

Billy also graduated this month from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock with his PhD in chemistry.  It has been a long road and we are really proud of him!  
While Billy slaved away this summer, the kids and I took a couple of road trips.  In June, we headed down to Dallas.

In July, we made our way to Florida.  We are partial to the sun and sand and it was the perfect way to end the summer.

School started in August with lots of morning all day sickness, Henry in Kindergarten and Lucy 4th grade.  Lucy, turned 9 this summer, is a great student, and loves reading, video games, and animals.  She is an aspiring vegetarian-veterinarian and author/illustrator (her latest illustrated cook book for kids is available upon request).  She is most excited about being the oldest of four kids and taking care of the babies.

Henry has picked a Southern accent in school, which really cracks me up.  He loves to play Legos and computer games, read, and use his imagination.  He is constantly telling me things that I'm pretty sure only happen in his head.

The highlight of my year (besides Billy graduating) was a trip in February to L.A., where I got to hang with my sister-in-law and mom.  Traveling is good for my soul.  This year, I also enjoyed teaching piano lessons, a second year in my quilting group (12Squared), my eighth year in my book group, took an upholstery class, quit working at Walmart, and got to visit with some long time friends.  All good things.  

This next year, we are hoping for new adventures and are excited to meet our two littlest family members in March, and hopefully more blog posts.  
We want to wish you all a very merry Christmas, full of things that are good for your soul, and the happiest of New Years!

Sunday, November 4


We've got another two-wheeler in the house!

Wednesday, October 31


Here's our Halloween creativity for 2012!  The last three costumes were made about an hour before we were suppose to be at a party.  Not too shabby for a brain steeped in pregnant-fog. 
Happy Haunting!!
 Hermione.... again.
 Cole DX (a Ninjago ninja)
 A biker and a bowling ball.

Saturday, October 27

New Dachshund Shirt for Lucy

Lucy out grew her old dachshund shirt, so a new one was in order.

Halloween Treats for Busy Mummies

I looked up the directions and made a shopping list to make adorable crafty cupcake spiders and cupcake owls for visiting grandchildren.  After an hour at the store trying to select the right kind of candy, Oreos in two sizes, Pocky Sticks and frosting for a project that would probably crumble in my hands I passed a sack of Clementines on sale.  They cost less than one of the six $4.00 bags of candy in my cart, which I was buying just so I could use the brown ones for eyes and the orange ones for an owl nose.  

 Figuring their health conscious mom would prefer them, I went with the Clementines and dumped the other items.  I used a permanent marker to give them their Jack-o-lantern faces.
 And these mini powdered sugar donuts found their way into the cart.  So I dressed them up for Halloween too.  Chocolate chips did the trick for this treat.
Ta-Da!  Halloween Treats for Dummies and busy Mummies.  Leaves you more time for making costumes or growing a pair of twins! 

Sunday, October 21

Baby Sister Jacket and Beret

 I had so much fun with the size 3 dressy coat that I decided to use a remnant to make a little jacket for a baby sister.  I used a simple jacket pattern as my basic front, back and sleeve guide. (Simplicity 3582).  
For the beret I used Simplicity Pattern 2745 but cut it one size smaller (about 1/4 inch).
 I made my own collar and stitched it on to neck, right side of collar to wrong side of jacket, flipped the collar over and pressed. Then I stitched down the seam allowance, easing as I went instead of a facing.  This only works with fleece.  
To finish the hem edge I cut a 2 inch strip of fleece about 1/3 longer than the width of the bottom of the jacket.  I finished one edge with a blanket binding stitch and gathered the other edge.  Easing gathers to fit , I stitched the ruffle to the jacket right sides together.  

Sunday, October 14

Dressy Coat and Beret

Sometimes I talk to my fabric and ask it what it would like to be.  This raspberry fleece remnant was begging to be a little girl's coat and hat.

And I am glad the button stock was low the day I decided to finish the project.  I wanted big round plain buttons but these pricier flower buttons seem perfect! 

Made from Simplicty 2745, a pattern designed just for fleece.

Saturday, October 6

Puppet Show Dress

This little orange outfit was made from the Oliver and S pattern titled "Puppet Show Dress".  The curved bodice line, little darts and buttoned sleeve band are details that make it a quality item. 

Inspiration to make the dress came from a 50 year old apron that my mother frequently wore when I was a girl.  In de-cluttering her house a couple of years ago I discovered the thread bare half apron but decided to hang on to it and incorporate the embroidered parts in a dress for a grand daughter.

So I used those bits on the sleeve band and the collar.

I like the shorts with the little gathers at the leg opening and handmade bias trim.  The pattern also calls for two pockets but I chose not to use them in this application.

Tuesday, October 2

Rounded Yoke Dress

There is a two year old birthday girl in the family and thanks to older cousins, she is a fan of 18 inch dolls.  So for her birthday she got a knock off American Girl Doll and I made a few outfits for it.  This green colonial doll dress inspired me to make a similar dress for the grand daughter.  

Doll dress was made using McCall's Craft pattern 3627.
Girl's dress is from an old Simplicity 7643.  I modified the sleeve by moving the elastic from the end of the sleeve to about 2 inches from the end, creating the ruffle.

 I used embroidery floss for a hand sewn pink top stitching and accented with pink flower buttons.

Thursday, September 20

A Goddess in the Making

11 year old Eva wants to be a Greek goddess for Halloween this year and asked me to make the costume.  
 I used an old white dress, some cast off costume jewelry and a couple of yards of sequined chiffon from the JoAnn's red tag table for a simple, elegant look.  I added rows of gold bias tape to the belt.
                  The chiffon slipped through the round scarf pin and was attached to the shoulder.

                                       An extra scarf was available for other draping options.

                                      Thanks to her mom's careful measuring, it fit just right!

Tuesday, September 18

Ice Cream Cake

Summer's not over!  In the Pacific Northwest we are enjoying some of the nicest weather of the year.  And from what I hear it is blazing hot in Los Angeles and Utah and pretty toasty in Arkansas too.  So why not enjoy an ice cream cake?  It will save you dozens of dollars compared to buying one.

For many of our family, this is the requested "Birthday Cake".  

Janene's Ice Cream Cake

1 cake mix, mixed up according to directions.
Bake in two round cake pans.
Cool on racks 20 minutes.
Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on racks.
Freeze cake layers.  
Soften 1/2 gallon plain ice cream (nothing bumpy in it--plain vanilla or chocolate is good). 
To soften just set it out for about 8-15 minutes.  Scoop the softened bits from the edges into a mixing bowl and and gradually add the harder ice-cream, stirring to make slightly pliable "dough".  
Spread 1/2 on top of one layer.  
Cover that with the other layer. 
Frost top and sides with remaining ice cream, re-freezing it for a few minutes if things start to melt.
Then frost again with Cool Whip. 
 Freeze assembled, frosted cake.  
Just before serving garnish with favorite candy or cookies.  

It isn't that hard and the Cool Whip covers all the imperfections.  Frozen cake tastes like something entirely different from regular cake.  And so yummy on these hot summer days in September!

Monday, September 17

Halloween: Ready, Steady, Go!

Thanks to the Royal Dressmaker for fixing Henry up for Halloween... more than a month early!
Last year, he was Kai from Ninjago.  This year, he's on to Cole DX from Ninjago.
Lucy's keeping it simple by channeling her inner Hermione again.  So, I'm getting my money's worth out of last year's costume.
And, we're ready for Halloween and it's still September.  Thanks, Mom, for helping me be ahead of something for once!

Wednesday, September 12

Move Over Fair Scones

The Puyallup Fair is a big deal in Western Washington and these Fisher Fair Scones are a reason to go all by themselves.  I know teachers who rush down to the fair and buy these to bring to school and share with staff.  I remember waiting in long lines (think: Disneyland) to buy a scone for a quarter when I was a kid.  Now they are $1.00 and there are multiple stands throughout the fair grounds so the lines are shorter.

Today is Fair Day in the Puyallup School District and classes let out before noon to accommodate the education showcase put on by students and staff at the fair.  But my teacher husband and I decided to stay home and get some things done.  Missing our scones, I remembered a recipe  I have been wanting to try out.  "7-UP Biscuits".   
Oh MY!  

 These make Fair Scones seem like cardboard!  I can't even describe them.  You just have to make            some yourself.  Moist, light, tender, delicious just don't even begin to cover it.  You want the recipe?  


1 CUP 7 UP