Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cheerful Givers Service Project

We had the funnest youth activity last month.  For about a month before we had a birthday party favor/toy drive and then got all the young women and men together to put birthday gift bags together for the Cheerful Givers organization.  Cheerful Givers is an organization headquartered here in the Twin Cities that works to collect birthday bags for girls and boys that would not otherwise get them.  Volunteers can host drives like the one we did, assemble bags, and then drop them of at local shelters and food shelves to be given to the children on their birthdays.

I was a little worried about how much stuff we would actually have.  We have had toy drives and coat drives and food drives all over the place lately.  Can I just say I was totally shocked at the HUGE amount of items the kids brought with them that night!!!

I actually took these pictures before the final couple of kids arrived with about this much more birthday fun in their bags.  Our original goal was 30 filled birthday bags.  By the time we were done, we had 45 well filled bags :0}  Warm Fuzzies!

Basically, we set up two tables, one with girl things, one with boy things, and lined the kids up to fill the bags.  They were to put ten new toys, like books, stuffed animals, balls, puzzles, stickers or crayons, in the bags.  
We also threw in candy and party favors galore.  

This group of kids has put together hygiene kits, done yard work, put in walkways at local parks and all sorts of other service projects.  The Cheerful Givers project was probably the most exciting service project yet.  Just to be in the room with piles of birthday stuff sitting around was enough to make me hyper :0}

Want to host a Cheerful Givers Blitz???  You can find out more about the program organized here in Minneapolis/St. Paul, or contact your local food band or homeless shelter to find out about opportunities in your area.  

What better time to get the kids excited about giving than during this fabulous holiday season!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I know it may seem like I am totally behind.  That is because I am.  I figure I am here on this earth to make you feel more organized than you are by simply looking at my example :0}  If you don't, you should.  Despite my never ending efforts, I cannot keep up with ANYTHING!  That is why, this mid-December evening, I am finally posting about Thanksgiving weekend.  And yes, as you can tell by my title, I have been watching WAY more Phineas & Ferb than the normal brain ever should.  Emmers knows it is one kids show I do like.  That means if she picks Phineas & Ferb to watch while I am working, she gets to watch way more TV than usual.  Smart Girl.

So anyway, we had SO much fun over Thanksgiving.  The SewCakeMaker's were invited to a friend's house for the actual Thursday Thanksgiving festivities.  About 4:30pm, Madison and I checked ourselves out of the party and headed for Mankato, Minnesota for some Black Friday shopping.  Eli calls it Black Ops for Women.  That is pretty accurate.  

I wasn't actually sure I was going to make it shopping this year.  I was just getting over a bad case of bronchitis and was desperate for sleep.  Mankato is about 1.5 hours from our house, and with the sun disappearing around 4:30 now-a-days, it makes staying awake for the drive a challenge.  Luckily we were armed with peppermint hot chocolate from Kwik Trip and a fabulous book on tape to keep us going.

Our first stop was Target for their 8pm door busters.  I dropped Madison off in line next to this very nice girl and went to sleep in the car for a half hour. 

When I came back Madison had made friends with everyone in line.  Silly girl.  It was about 10 degrees out there in line, so we kept warm wrapped in blankets and checking and re-checking ads while we waited.

Target was as fabulous as always.  We got our little granola bars while we waited to get into the store.  The Target employees handed out maps showing where each doorbuster would be located.  Before we knew it we were inside and headed to our treasures.

Really the rest is a bit of a blur.  Here is what I can show you...I need this shirt!
Just in case you don't get it, my name is Vanessa!  I have, in my youth, been known to answer to Nessy, Ness, or The Nessinator.  Ok, maybe not the last one, but HELLO!

Madison and cousin Alexa {actually MY cousin, not Madison's} had to get their yearly photo with the Hollister boys.  Yep.

Friday morning I got to stand in this line at Menards, Minnesota's version of Home Depot.  I was literally feet from the back wall of the store.  Crazy, isn't it!?!  Crazier still, I made my way to the front in less than 20 minutes.  I am super impressed Mankato!  Way to keep up with Black Friday shoppers!!!

The rest of this is just a jumble of random thought.  Check out the birch for sale at Micheal's.  

Remember this:
Bins and bins of birch wood used to make these:
and These:
Um, well, I guess I should have sold them.  Wowzers!  Micheals is making a KILLING off of those birch branches!

Madison wants this movie.  She has been trying to remember the name for years.  One long line staring into space at some random store...BAM!  Found.

I found this book and the next at Joanns.  The Collage Couture book I saw back in June at a Joanns in Shakopee, MN.  I flipped through it, was intrigued, and too cheap to buy it or the other three I loved.  Ever since I wished I would have purchased them {especially this one about crafting with plaster, WANT!}  Anyway, I decided to take a picture so when I am rich and famous I can run over to Joanns with my 40% off coupon and buy.

I know this is kinda nerdy, but I am actually really interested in learing more about working with metal.  I figure a nice book on soldering would be a great place to start.  I flipped through this book the whole time we were waiting for the cutting counter to call our number.  I probably put down and picked back up this book about 12 times.  In the end, I wanted to make sure I had enough money for presents and put this back.  I will be back though.  I just recently inherited a soldering iron and I am very anxious to start learning.

Have you seen all the new home decor at Hobby Lobby???  I am sure this one stood out to me because I have a yellow/grey thing going on in my bedroom, plus the fact that yellow IS my favorite color, but I decided to take a picture of this sign in case I decide to come back for that too.  

Well, we shopped until there was nothing left to buy, then headed down to Grandma's house.

Grandma has her big family dinner on Saturday.  My sister Kallie, daughter Madison and I got the kiddos together to make some crafts for the dinner table.  

They worked very hard at making some crayon turkeys.
They look like this:
Remind me next year and I will make a pattern for these ;0}  
They turned out so cute!  And they were fast to cut out, fast to paint, and so cute on the Thanksgiving table.

My little 2 yr old niece even had a great time painting her turkey.  When we took them over for the dinner she even knew who painted which turkey and just where they should sit :0}  What a cutie.

We also had the kids decorate some placemats for the dinner table.  Emmalee in particular was all business with this assignment.  I think I have a little artist on my hands with her.  She loves to draw and write night and day.  I hope she never loses that love.

Here is part of our crew, all getting busy using the crayon turkeys and making placemats of their own too.

Still coloring!

Once dinner was over, we started on our traditional post-Thanksgiving crafts.  Remember last year???

We made These:

Uh, yea, I did a much better job last year of taking pictures.  Funny how David was sleeping on the couch last year too!

Anyway, this year I was going for something that I could cut out quickly.  With how crazy my holiday orders have been I really didn't have much time for wood cutting {and my garage is totally frozen...literally...everything liquid out there solid as ice}.

After long deliberation I went with Candy Canes and the same Ornaments I did a few weeks earlier at Super Saturday.

I love that even the guys got crafting.  This is cousin Austin.  He made a candy cane AND one of the holly sets I brought, left over from the Super Saturday.

My baby sister Trina.  She is a fabulous artist, currently college student.

Lots of crafting...

A little sleeping.  

Ta-dah!  Finished.  I love it.  I love bringing the big box of wood in and making grandma's house smell all pine-y.  I love all the ladies, and some of the guys all sitting around creating and laughing together.  Love it.  

Isn't family the best!  If you don't agree, just move away for 7 years like we did.  Try going through all sorts of torturous life experiences all by yourselves, and eventually, you will agree with me...
and this sign...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Maken' Mangers

I got asked, on very short notice, last week to come up with a craft for the girls at church to do for their activity.  I had about 24 hours to come up with the craft and I spent about 23 of those hours agonizing over what to have them do.  

Finally I settled on making a smaller version of my What Child Is This manger scene I came up with a few years back.  Once I finally made up my mind the rest was easy.  I ended up making them just small enough to fit on a 2x6 board.  I finished cutting 10 mangers and accompanying parts just in time to leave for the activity.  

Don't ask me why this picture will only load sideways.  All I can say is it is rather indicative of how crazy craft nights with the girls can be :0}  

We painted and glued, 

Curled and twirled..

Until every girl had a little manger to take home.  We lost a few girls before I remembered to take the picture, but these smiley girls were a great representation of our cute and happy little group of crafters.  

Here is Madison's lil' guy.  I do happen to have the full sized version of the pattern for sale on my Etsy.  I took just about everything off TheBubbleBox tonight, but the patterns are still there.  I am hoping to get my snowmen from last year all patterned out and on the site soon.  

Clearing the shelves and cutting down the orders makes me so, so SO glad to finally have some time for my own life.  After a very successful season of selling, we in the SewCakeMaker house are looking forward
 to an even better season of worship and giving!!!  

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bulletin Bliss

I feel so silly putting this on the blog.  In fact, I feel silly even posting after such a long absence.  

Can I just say that this has been the wildest Holiday Season I can ever remember?!?!
I will be back to talk a bit more, but for now, you get my one picture of my days work.

Emmalee's Kindergarten teacher asked me to come in last month and do a bulletin board for her.  I decorated it like a pumpkin patch complete with scarecrow, fall leaves, a little white picket fence, and so forth.  She was so excited about it, she asked me to come back and do a holiday board to display the holiday houses the kids made.  

After that, my life pretty much erupted into a haze of time and activity I don't really remember.  I just remember stress, crying, more crying, and a whole lot of doing.  I must have done alright, cause here I am, but Emmer's poor teacher was left to wait almost a week for me to finally get in to do the board.

You will hear all about the crap-load of life..or perhaps just remembering your own week-after-Thanksgiving joy is enough, so I will just tell you what I did to this poor board.

I snagged some of the school's colored butcher paper earlier this week...or last week, it is all one blur anyway.  I broke out the silhouette today and cut out trees, Christmas bulbs, and a couple different snow flakes.  I took the piece of white paper out into the garage {-8 degrees outside today by the way!!!}, laid the snowflakes on the paper, and lightly dusted over them with a light blue spray paint.  When the snowflakes were removed a pleasant little snowflake silhouette was left in the paper snow.  

Next, I made the ruffle boarder.  I snapped my ruffler foot onto the sewing machine and ruffled up a pile of 2" strips from an old sheet.  Beyond that, while I was ruffling, I moved the strip of fabric from the right to the left and back again, over and over, until it looked a little bit like ric-rack.  LoVe It!

I hot glued the sky to the white, then hot glued the ruffle all around the paper.  You see, there isn't actually a board behind this hunk of paper.  The first time I came in, I was told to just use masking tape and putty to hang the display up on the cinder block wall.  When I came to the classroom today, there were two hand tac strips installed to hold my creation.  Still, this is just a huge sheet of paper decorated at my house, then transported to school.

The trees were added, two at a time, one on top of the other, to give it a 3D effect.  We hung the houses that were done.  Apparently the morning class still has to make their houses.

That is about it.  So, I have pictures from a couple craft nights, a new baby, and ...I don't know.  I really just need to sleep, but I will be back.  In two days...or three..I am hosting my Scotch Expressions party.  We get to be creative with wrapping paper and I plan to make a whole slue of gift tags as make-n-takes.

Until then, Happy Holidays!

Novelty Print Quilt Pattern

I have had a hard time finding good quilt patterns for novelty prints the past couple times I purchased them.  I made up this pattern so tha...