Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December wrap up

This Christmas my camera was inactive.  I received an iphone 6 plus for my birthday in November and discovered the ease of Instagram.  Yesterday my daughter showed me how to download the photos from my phone to my computer.  Easy peasy, so I decided to do one last post for 2014 before it slips away.

I decorated the Utah home for Christmas but spent Christmas week in Arizona.  Crazy, huh?  However, it meant some Christmas fun with all the grandchildren.

Each year I give each family a new Christmas book and ornaments for their tree.  This year I gave them autographed copies of Jan Brett's latest picture book, "The Animals' Santa."  My sister Lynette joined me at the Provo City Library where Jan was sharing her book in person.  The Library ballroom was full and we waited in line for quite some time.  They announced one book signed per person.  A lovely family behind us in line took my extra books to be signed without my asking.  They overheard my conversation about not having every one's Christmas book with the author's signature and offered on their own.  Aren't people wonderful?  I decided long ago that the majority of those on this planet are so good.

Jan Brett was traveling across the country with her husband and a little white rabbit in a decorated bus.  I received my signed poster yesterday for adding a photo to her FB page.  Lynette and I crossed University Avenue to get this shot with the old Academy Building which is now part of the Provo City Library in the background.  My mom used to attend classes in that building.  I'm so glad they managed to save and re purpose it.

I tried to get tickets for the Muppets and Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert this year.  They are always free but given out via lottery which I did not win.  Lynette and I decided to try the standby line which was also a fail.  However, we did get seated inside the Tabernacle and saw part of it on the big screen.  It will be worth watching for next December on PBS.

On our way out of town, we drove by my son's new house.  His Christmas light display really lit up his neighborhood.

We also exited the freeway and drove to Draper City Park.  Many are calling this "The Tree of Life."  It truly was spectacular.

Lynette gave me an amaryllis bulb and pot for my birthday.  It bloomed before Christmas, graced Lynette's table for Christmas, came back to me after, and is still blooming. There has been a total of 8 blooms so far.  So beautiful!

Before Christmas, my Utah children and their families joined us for a Christmas ham dinner and there were presents under that tree for them.  We had a great evening and they took home their presents and new Christmas book and ornaments.  I purchased woodland animal ornaments from Pier One which reminded me of the animals in "The Animals' Santa."


We have two December birthdays in the family so had a birthday steak and baked potato dinner when we arrived in Arizona.  We were able to take some Idaho potatoes with us.  I'm an Idaho girl and these potatoes are the best!

Of course, I served them salad first! My son took this great picture of my oldest granddaughter in our outdoor dining room.  We love to entertain in our Arizona backyard and often miss it when away.

But, when I'm in Arizona I miss the beautiful Utah mountains just out my window.

We also celebrated birthday night with the bubble machine.

A granddaughter yelled out, "It's snowing bubbles!"  I understand that they are getting snow in parts of the Valley of the Sun today.

I participated in two doughnuts days, one at each son's house.  This is a family tradition now having been enjoyed by four generations.  They each do their own doughnuts at their own homes now that they deliver to all their friends and neighbors.  To learn more about this tradition and the recipe, go here.  I borrowed this picture collage from my oldest son.

My sons and their families hosted us at their homes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We held our little nativity complete with a real baby Jesus born this year.  He was a great sport.

They pulled this and that from the Nativity box to get ready.

My oldest grandson, now 16 (yes, I just typed 16 and I can barely believe it!), read Luke 2 for us this year.

There was much joy and happiness on Christmas morning.  We were served breakfast at one home and brunch at the other.  Our newest grandson was thrilled with the cars given him by Grandpa Glen and kept the Diamondbacks hat on that was given to him by his dad who is really enjoying his only baby boy born in 2014.

Several new bikes arrived via Mr. Claus including this beautiful red one which I loved!  There were also two more pets added to the grand pets list, a very sweet black and white puppy who may be called "Oreo" and a little black cat named "Scratch."  There are now seven total, 5 dogs and 2 cats, plus a tortoise or two I may have forgotten :)

We enjoyed a beautiful drive back to Utah on the Saturday following Christmas with this guy as a passenger.  He really rode in the back but I just had to strap him in front to show his size.  There is now a happy little boy in Utah.

We drove between snow storms so have enjoyed the snow without the stress of driving in freshly fallen snow.  This is a picture taken out my window on Monday.  It snowed all day and my nieces couldn't land in Provo and had to fly back to Arizona to try again the next day (Alligiant from Mesa to Provo) and Glen didn't make it to his office in SLC until late afternoon.

My older Utah grandsons had a great time on Tuesday sledding down the hill across the street.  Most of those trails were made by them during their 2 hour sledding adventure.

All of our Utah grands are staying overnight with us on this last day of 2014.  We were invited over to my sister's home for her hedgehogs earlier in the evening.

I so enjoy having her live nearby since her move in 2014.  Definitely a good thing.  That is her new grandson in the background and mine in front with his handsome face.

"Hedgehogs" look like a hedgehog but are actually a yummy dessert which takes many hours to make.  Go here to watch the process at an earlier time. 

The ball is about to drop in Times Square . . .

and I hope that this little one will soon be asleep.  I also hope that 2015 will be full of many good things for everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Fancy Dresses

For some time I have been buying remnants of fabrics from JoAnn's to use when making doll clothes for my grand girls.  They sell for half of the original price and include plenty of fabric for doll clothes.  This year I decided to make "fancy" dresses for Christmas gifts and pulled out the sparkly shiny remnants I had collected.  I sewed in Utah but my Kirsten American Girl Doll lives in Arizona so this December I sewed without my model or dress form.  I was a bit nervous about sizing and hoped that when I tried them on Kirsten they would fit.  I decided on a photo session with Kirsten as a model as well.

This outfit was for my granddaughter who loves boots and bling so I worked off those gold boots you see peeking out from underneath the skirt.  I didn't use JoAnn remnants for this outfit.  I used quilting leftovers for the skirt and camisa which were made from the original doll patterns that American Girl issued years ago.  The camisa and skirt where made from the Josefina collection.  I decorated the skirt with trims from JoAnn's and bought the sash trim from JoAnn's as well.  I simply love working with the old patterns from American Girl.  They go together so well and include great finishing tips.

This dress was made from a Butterick Retro '56 doll pattern #B5865 for 18 inch dolls.  I worried about the fit from a retro pattern but it fit well.

This dress is made from a duponi silk fabric remnant.  I love duponi silk and its glowing color play.  This dress includes a tulle underskirt.  The collar fabric was also cut from a remnant. I included a pair of white satin flats.

This dress was made from a Simplicity pattern #3547 from a purple taffeta remnant and sparkly violet tulle remnant.  It also had a great fit. I used the "G" bodice and "C" skirt pattern pieces for this dress.

A silvery tulle remnant was used as an underskirt as well as sash.  I included silver glitter flats.

This dress and jacket were made from remnants of blue polyester satin and faux white suede.

I also included a pair of boots with white "Sherpa" trim.  This pattern came from Joan Hinds'  book, Sew the Contemporary Wardrobe for 18-Inch Dolls. Surprisingly the outfit, found on page 75, was just a bit large for the doll.  I expected that a book created for the American Girl line would have been more well fitted.  It was fun to sew some fancier dresses.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Family Pictures

Last Easter weekend while in Arizona, we had family pictures taken in our front yard.  April in Arizona is a beautiful, warm summer kind of experience.  It has yet to be a hot, triple digit experience.  I decided after ordering my canvas cluster of prints from this photo shoot for my wall that I wanted to share those pictures on my blog as well.  Above is my oldest son Eric with his lovely family.

These are his beautiful children.

My youngest son, Nathan with his family.

A little girl will join them in 2015.

My only daughter, Janae and my second youngest with her family.

Sometimes it hard to catch the toddler at the best moment.

But she is a joy and loves her handsome brothers.

My middle child, David with his lovely family.

Their good friend was our photographer.

She knew these girls well.

I love the expressions she caught in this picture.

Their little brother was just six weeks old at the time of these pictures.  He has gorgeous big eyes and is now walking around the furniture.

My second son and his wife were unable to join us.  They have blessed me with two grand dogs.  That would have been a fun picture!

I love my family, every one!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Magical Santa

I had the pleasure of taking my sister to my grandson's Christmas Program at his pre-school.

It was a delight.

They knew all their lyrics and hand movements.  I love programs presented by school students!

At the end there was a magical surprise.  Santa didn't just appear and say "Ho, ho, ho!"  He also had a few magic trips up his sleeve.  Enough candy canes for everyone magically appeared in this pan.  He also had a magic straw for sipping all that milk left out for him on Christmas Eve.  It grew longer and longer so that he could sip and fill all the stockings at the same time.

Each child waited patiently for their candy cane and a few special words from Santa.

This Santa was full of good cheer and funny remarks.

All thirty children felt like Santa really knew them.

Thank you Santa for being so personable, funny, and truly magical.

The children were pleased that you would take a group picture with them.

Santa, we hope that your Christmas Season is truly magical!