Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Top 5 Favorite Christmas Movies

Ok, so I am a leeeetle bit late with this, but it's still the Christmas season, so there is still time to watch some awesome Christmas movies. Here are my top 5 . . . I realize this could be a very controversial list!

5. The Santa Clause

Why? Cause it's fun!

4. Die Hard.

Yes! It IS a Christmas movie! And has the best quotable lines ever! And the sexiest villain! ("Shoot the glass!")

3. A Christmas Story.

Hilarious. I watched it almost 4 times in a row this year (setting up the play kitchen), and you know it's a good movie when it's just as funny the FOURTH time. Also, haven't we all had at least a few A Christmas Story moments? We had one this year when we took Maddie to Ho Ho China for her 2nd birthday and they put a candle in the almond cookies and sang to her in Chinese and English. But, we didn't have any duck . . .

2. It's a Wonderful Life.

Of course. Jimmy Stewart . . . 'nuff said.

1. White Christmas

This is my personal fav. It is a much watch. Here is the secret of White Christmas . . . it has almost no plot! I am convinced it was just a vehicle for all of the extra songs left over from other musicals. But you know what? I don't care! It is the total awesomesauce and no one can convince me otherwise. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye equals total win (side note: my mom and my husband are both huge Danny Kaye fans . . . totally irrelevant, but just thought you should know).

So what are your favorite Christmas or Holiday movies? Are you horrified at my list? Are you shocked I left out . . . Miracle on 34th Street . . . or Charlie Brown Christmas (I swear it would be #6 if this list went to 6) . . . or insert your favorite movie here?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Handmade for the Holidays

Hello everyone! We are still recovering from all of the Christmas activity! I thought you might enjoy a quick recap of some of the handmade gifts I did this year. I didn't get to do quite as many as I'd hoped!

Kindle cover for my Dad. This was probably the most difficult project . . . and it seemed so easy at first! It probably was pretty easy, but I manage to complicate everything. I used this tutorial from Chic and Jo.

The tutorial is for an older model Kindle, so I faithfully did all the math to fit it to the newer model. Literally a page of math. I haven't done this much math since college. At the very last minute I forgot to increase the fabric measurement and so the first "tube" of fabric I sewed was therefore too skinny for the cardboard to fit into. So I decided to go with a heavier weight more "guy" fabric, and got some khaki, but that presented problems too because it was so stiff it didn't give much when trying to push the cardboard in and so I bent the first piece of cardboard. Extreme frustration. In the end I finished it right before it needed to get wrapped and go into the mail package. I wasn't entirely thrilled with my pocket (it seems bigger on one side to me), or my slipshod slipstitching job, but it is functional. Yay.

Laptop sleeve for my Mom (yes, that is some of my hoarded Nicey Jane stash, I must really love my Mom). I used this tutorial from Crap I've Made for the basic measurements. I tried out a new kind of ruffle, it was pretty fun and easy, and I think it works.

I told my brother that he might have to clue my Mom into what it was when she opened it, but she figured it out right away.

Next up, new bathroom curtains for my Grammy. Grammy's previous bathroom curtains were washed a little overzealously in the washing machine, and so have been hanging in the bathroom complete with tears and rips for a few months. Grammy would just fluff them to hide the tears . . . new curtains were on her to-do list, so I went ahead and got some pretty blue eyelet and made curtains.

I may have been sewing them Christmas Eve while Ed assembled the play kitchen . . . and we may have watched A Christmas Story on TBS 3.5 times through and finally gone to bed at 6 am . . . maybe. The kitchen got assembled and the curtains got made, that is all that really matters. And Grammy loved them, that matters too.

This is Maddie's third Christmas, so I figured it was about time I stopped procrastinating and made her a stocking. I used a charm pack of Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas and made a red and green stocking for Maddie and a green and blue stocking for James.

I absolutely love this fabric line, it is so fun, but still has a classic Christmas feel to it.

I enlarged the stocking pattern I drew for the Nicey Jane stocking (in other words, I stuck it on a bigger piece of paper and drew about three inches around it. . . and made it longer, I love long stockings. I use some white fabric with a flowery pattern on it that I inherited from my Grandmother's fabric stash for the cuff and the lining. Then I made a pieced the cuff with some remaining 12 Days of Christmas pieces.

There are a few details I want to redo on the cuffs, but all in all I am really pleased with them.

I am thinking about doing a stocking tutorial - for the simple ones like the Nicey Jane stocking, and for ones with the piecing - thoughts?

I do still owe a few handmade Christmas gifts that haven't been completed yet, so there may yet be a secondary handmade holidays post in my future.

Hope you all had a blessed Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Our internet at home has been down for several days, so this is a bit late . . .

"Merry Christmas! Long Live the true King!"

- Father Christmas,
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Giveaway Day Winners!

Thank you all so much for entering my Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway!

The Nicey Jane stocking goes to:


And the Thimbleberries charm packs go to:

Crystal Hendrix!

I have sent you both emails! Thanks so much for participating!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day!

Hello to all of you who are visiting for the Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day! My name is Jessica, and this blog is about sewing, writing, being a mom, and trying to live as like a Narnian as I can in my little corner of the world. I know you have a lot of blogs to visit and giveaways to enter so let's get right to it!

I am giving away a handmade item and some fabric! This giveaway will have two winners!

The first winner will receive this fun, handmade (by yours truly) Christmas stocking:

I love Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane collection, and I thought these fabrics would make a really adorable stocking with a not-quite-shabby-chic, not-quite-Whooville feel to it. There is no law that says your Christmas stocking has to be red or green when pink and green will do just as well! The exterior fabric is Dream Dot in Celery and the cuff and lining fabric is Hop Dot in Cream.

The design, such as it is, is my own.

The second winner will receive the following fabric charm packs all from Thimbleberries. I inherited these fabrics, and they aren't quite my style, so I hope they will suite someone else! Three of the packs are "light" packs and have 19 pieces, and the other two packs have 25 pieces. There is a nice variety of prints in each pack. The second winner will receive all 5 packs!

So, what do you have to do to enter?

Just leave a comment! I know you are probably cruising through hundreds of blogs entering these lovely giveaways so I won't ask you to be clever (although please feel free to be clever if you really want), you can tell me your Christmas plans, or what your brother's middle name is, or just say "pick me, pick me!" Just please, please, please make sure I have a way to contact you . . . if you are a no-reply blogger (in other words, your email isn't listed on your public blogger profile) then please leave me your email address in your comment! Thanks!

If you would like a second entry follow my blog, and let me know in a comment that you did (or already do)!

I do hope that you will come back and visit after the giveaways are over! Also, if you haven't already make sure you check out all of the other giveaways on Sew, Mama, Sew!

Merry Christmas!

The fine print:

This giveaway is open until 9 pm PST on 12/17/10.
I will ship internationally, so please everyone feel free to enter!

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Big Girl Hair

Maddie is very particular about what she likes.

She loves hats.

She does not love hair accessories . . . ponytail holders, barrettes, headbands . . . she hates them all with a passion. Almost as much as she hates getting her tangles brushed out.

So I finally decided the only solution was shorter hair.

I really didn't think it was going to go well as she flips her lid every time I brush her hair, but she sat in the seat, and got her hair squirted down, brushed, cut, blown out, and styled without a peep. I was in shock. The ladies at the salon probably thought I was dimwit because I kept gushing "Oh my gosh, you are such a good girl, Mommy is so proud of you."

The only reason I put it off for so long is I was afraid if I got her a bob she would look like Dora the Explorer. They did a little bit of an inverted bob on her and she looks, I think, totally adorable, and nothing like Dora.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sand and Starfish Winner!

The winner of the fabric covered notebooks from Sand and Starfish is . . .

Nancy, I have sent you an email. Congratulations!

Don't forget to come back on 12/13 for my Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day entry!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Halo Holiday Photo

This is the Angels's 50th anniversary year, and they have been having some fun events to celebrate already, even though it isn't baseball season yet! One of the events was the opportunity to have your family holiday photo taken at home plate at Angels stadium - they called it the Halo Holiday Event. For a donation of a $10 toy you got the photo take, and a little magnet frame. We still have to buy the photos from the website, as the photographers are the same ones they use during games for fan photos, but all in all it was a great deal!

I have no idea why, but I was mildly obsessed with making Maddie and Angels tutu for the Halo Holiday Photo. She loves to be princessy, but man, she loves her baseball too . . . right after they took her picture at home plate she swung her bat and took off down the third base line . . . when I snagged her she asked "where go ball game?" She definitely knew where she was! And we were, of course, totally jazzed to be on the diamond!

I followed this tutorial for a toddler tutu by Bethany on Vermillion Rules, although I found it on Cut out and Keep originally. In the end it ended up being a little big in Maddie's waist, and extremely puffy, mostly my fault as I didn't have time to modify for her skinny little waist (nothing like starting a project the night before you need it), but still an easy to follow tutorial if you're looking to make a toddler tutu!

It's Coming . . .

The Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day!

I am participating again . . . are you?

Make sure you stop by on the 13th for a chance to win some goodies from me!

And remember, it's not too late to enter to win the lovely fabric covered notebooks from Sand and Starfish!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shop Feature and Giveaway - Sand and Starfish


I have been blog friends with the lovely Stephanie from Sand and Starfish for awhile. She is super talented and creative, as well as just plain nice, and a mommy to a sweet little girl. Stephanie recently opened up an Etsy shop, also called Sand and Starfish and she asked me to review (and giveaway!) some items from her shop! Lucky me and lucky you! I chose to review some of her fabric covered notebooks as I was gearing up for NaNoWriMo and feeling very authory. Meanwhile, I only managed to sit down 4 times to write during the month of November and have yet to produce more than the prologue and first three chapters of the next great American novel . . .

But let's not focus on my total NaNoWriMo fail. Let us instead focus on Sand and Starfish's awesome notebooks . . .

Stephanie sent me a Fabric Covered Composition Notebook to review . . . and an adorable scrappy Fabric Covered Mini Composition Notebook and Fabric Covered Steno Pad to give away to one lucky winner!

The Composition Notebook is covered in cute fabric, giving it a really special feel - which makes me even sadder that I have failed it but not putting much other than my first sad attempt at a timeline for my novel in it. . .. but hope springs eternal, and at least my story notes have a really cute place to go once I like, you know, write them.

The Steno Pad is covered in a really fun pink argyle and leopard print and is perfect for lists . . . it was really hard for me not to steal it and start madly filling it with lists . . . I love lists!

The Mini Composition Notebook is adorable, I love the scrappy details! So much fun!

Here are some other things from Stephanie's shop, I had to start with more mini composition books notebooks because they are to die for cute! You know how much I love ruffles! And they are a steal at $4 for the pair!

Stephanie also makes awesome fabric covered mouse pads, it is ok to add a little style to your computer desk!

Reusable snack pouches are all the rage! They are economical and eco-friendly! Stephanie makes the cutest ones I have seen! I love the Christmas prints . . . and of course there are everyday prints too!

Stephanie also has a bunch of really great appliques. Make sure to check out her Etsy shop and see all of the yummy goodness!

Want to win these?

Mandatory Entry

Leave a comment on this post telling me what you would use the fabric covered notebooks for.

Extra Entries (please leave a comment for each entry)

1. Follow this blog, or let me know you already do.
2. Follow the Sand and Starfish blog (scroll down to the bottom to follow via GFC or RSS).
3. Favorite an item at Sand and Starfish on Etsy.
4. Follow me AND Sand and Starfish on Twitter
5. Tweet about this giveaway and link back to this post.

Sample tweet (feel free to use your own):

#Win some lovely fabric covered notebooks from @sandandstarfish on @narniamum #giveaway

So that is 7 possible entries . . . if you do all 7 make sure to leave 7 comments!

This giveaway will end on Tuesday, December 7th, and is open internationally.

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

M and L Fabrics - A Virtual Tour

I am so lucky to live near one of the most amazing fabric stores ever! It is called M&L Fabric, it is located in Buena Park, California, and it is huge. Seriously, people drive for miles and miles to come shop here and it's a hop, skip, and a freeway away from me.

I went the other day to get some tulle for a tutu for Maddie (more on that to follow) and I snapped some pics on the iPhone to share with you.

Here it is from the outside . . . large-ish looking, but unassuming . . .

And then you walk in side and oh my gosh. Acres of fabrics.

Ok, I am sure it isn't literal acres, but it feels like it.

Facing the front, the whole left side of the room is discounted fabrics, gorgeous, name brand stuff like Robert Kauffman marked down to $3, or $4 a yard depending on the row you are in . . . I have found some amazing deals in these sections.

Whole rows of flannel . . .

Solids . . . they have Kona solids, poplin, chambray . . .

The right side of the room is the "full price" fabrics, where you will find all of the lovely Moda prints . . .

Kauffman stripes or dots anyone?

Even Hawaiian . . .

Every novelty print you could possibly ever think of . . .

And some you couldn't possibly ever think of . . .

There are children's prints and holiday prints. The only drawback is that they don't carry Riley Blake, boo.

The back half of the room has the faux fur, the tulle, amazing sequined fabrics, silks . . .

And the stacks!

The stacks are rows upon rows of $2 a yard fabric, usually fabric that was cheaper to start with (although I have found some amazing stuff, for example, the toile I bought at $7 a yard ended up months later in the stacks!)

The second section has denim, corduroy, and even t-shirt and sweatshirt material.

There is also an amazing section of decorator weight fabrics that I managed to somehow miss taking a picture of because I was too busy checking out the Lake House fabrics.

Have I mentioned the trim section?

Or the notions section?

In-freaking-sane people.

I could probably easily drop a grand (if I ever had a grand to spend on fabric, hey, a girl can dream) in just a few hours at M&L.

This is also one of Maddie and Jamie's favorite places to go. Maddie is very particular about fabrics, she likes to feel them, pick out her favorites, and hold the bolts in the cart. James likes lean out of the cart and run his hand over the bolts as we go down rows. They also are both fans of the lollipop jar at the register.

Have you been to M&L? Do you have anything like it near you? If not, what would you snag at M&L if you were to visit Buena Park? I'm still drooling over the Lake House lines!