Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Handmade Gift Card Holder

If you have a lot of gift cards you're giving this Christmas and want to add a handmade touch, I have just the answer for you:  Handmade Gift Card Holders!  I found the tutorial on the Splitcoaststampers website, but I must admit that although the instructions and video were easy to follow, my finished product never turned out to be the right measurements.  I wonder if it was because I didn't have the specific scoring tool she used in the video, or if because I'm just an idiot.  :)  I did manage to finally get the holder the right size by scoring and cutting it smaller.  

 The gift card holder is made with double sided designer paper and is tied shut with a ribbon.  There are two slits on the inside:  one for a gift card and the other for a little note card.

For the outside of the card I stamped a Christmas sentiment then punched it out using a scalloped die.  It was then adhered to a round green die cut (the circles were both cut with Spellbinder's Nestabilities Circle dies).  The white sparkly circle was adhered to the holder first.  Then I added the gold ribbon and popped the green circle and sentiment up on dimensionals just like she shows in the video on the Splitcoaststampers website.

 To make the note card, I just stamped a Christmas sentiment and stickers on a small piece of yardstick then adhered it to a slightly larger metallic gold card stock piece.  I added gold Stickles to the ornaments.

Everything fit nice and neat inside.  I love the way it turned out, even though I really struggled getting the sizing right.  If you give this project a try, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  I did leave a note on the Splitcoaststampers website explaining I had trouble with this project.  I'll let you know if I hear anything back.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Grandma & Me Holiday Fashion And Life Update

Hello, hello, I'm back!  Thank you all for all your sweet supportive comments in my last post "I Just Can't Do It All."  I have been blogging since 2008 and other than holiday and vacation breaks, I have never taken a blogging break before.  I've always enjoyed blogging and I never felt overwhelmed by it;  but after Thanksgiving life just hit me hard and I felt so stressed out.  So I decided to take a brief break just to catch my breath, and I'm glad I did because I feel so much better now.  My house is finally decorated and looking beautiful.  I can't wait till Alethea sees it!  I'm dying to see her reaction!  I will do a video tour for all of you too!  I also have all my shopping done and most of my presents wrapped.  The Christmas photo cards have been ordered, I'm just waiting for them to arrive so I can send them out.  All that's left is making Christmas cookies and enjoying the season!

Because of the holidays, I don't think I will return to a regular blogging schedule until after the New Year.  But, I do want to pop in here and there with some Christmas posts.  I have today's "Grandma & Me Holiday Fashion", but I also have a post in the works showing the highlights from my small town's Christmas Walk and some pretty Christmas Table Settings that were at a Ladies Christmas Dinner, in addition to my own Holiday Decorations and craft posts.

Let's begin with this month's "Grandma & Me Holiday Fashion" post then I will conclude with my Thanksgiving weekend news.

When Alethea was here for Thanksgiving we took some time to take holiday photos.  This was after my burn, so it was quite the struggle for me to get down on the floor to decorate a tree.  I just put white lights on it for the photo shoot.  It has since been decorated and looking so much nicer.   I also made the mistake of pulling out the sleigh too soon so I couldn't get any photos of Alethea outside the sleigh.  She loved sitting in it so much, she wouldn't step out of it.  I suppose that's a good thing!
I'm glad she likes it so much.  My son gifted me this sleigh two years ago.  Initially I was mad at him for buying it because it cost him a small fortune, but I think it will ultimately become a family heirloom. Alethea just loves it!  I can see taking all the grand children's pictures in it for many years to come.

For our holiday photo shoot Alethea and I both wore navy blue.  You would not think of navy blue as a typical holiday color, but with all the sequins in my sweater, and the lovely taffeta fabric of Alethea's dress, it really did work and was a nice alternative to red or green.

My sequin sweater is two years old.  I bought it at JCPenney and I have shown it to you before HERE and HERE.  I am not one who likes to buy something new to wear every Christmas.   Holiday clothes are usually worn once and never again.  I try to just change up what I already have so I get a lot of wear out of it.

I styled my sequin sweater with black dress pants, silver jewelry, and elegant silver jeweled sandals.  Alethea wore her pretty navy dress with white tights and silver glitter shoes.

My darling Alethea is now 18 months old.  Such a treasure she is!  And I have some news to share:  Alethea is going to be a big sister soon!  Mom and Dad are expecting baby #2 in July!  I'm so excited to be a grandma again!

Here are Alethea's pretty shoes.  Aren't they adorable?

And this is what I wore:  a small kitten heel and loads of sequins on the silver straps.

Now I just want to re-cap our Thanksgiving weekend, even though Thanksgiving seems like an eternity ago.  Despite my severe burn, I had one of the best Thanksgivings ever.  I think one of the advantages in aging, is you're just so happy with the simple things in life;  like being together as a family.  I just loved having all my children under one roof again!  I treasured every minute!

I'm sure a lot of you are curious about my burn so I'll explain what happened.  But if you are squeamish at all, you might not want to look at the next picture.  I'll leave the picture small so as not to gross you out. ha ha!

I got this bad burn on my right leg, just below the knee.  I bought a large turkey this year, 23 pounds, and it did not fit inside my usual heavy duty roaster.  So I asked my husband to pick up one of those cheap aluminum roasters.  It was very flimsy.  I had never used one like that before.  When the turkey was done and I picked up to pull it out of the oven, the aluminum caved in spilling the hot grease everywhere.  I could feel it burn my leg.  I managed to hang onto the turkey to set it on top of the oven, then I immediately ripped off my jeans in the middle of the kitchen.  I knew to do that because a friend of ours child got burned with hot tea and the biggest mistake they made was not to remove the child's wet clothes immediately causing further damage.  I then screamed to my husband and son who were only a few feet away in the other room.  I asked my son to google "How to treat a grease burn" while my husband made sure Alethea stayed out of the kitchen and he also cleaned up all the grease.  We then just treated the burn as the Internet instructed.  I never went to the ER.

It's been over two weeks since the burn and I'm happy to report it's healing well.  For awhile, I was worried and thought maybe I made a mistake not going to the ER, as it was pretty deep in one spot removing several layers of skin.  I learned a couple of valuable lessons from this experience:  #1  Never try to remove a 23 pound turkey out of the oven by myself, #2 Don't use one of those cheap aluminum pans ever again or use it, but lift it out of the oven with a heavy duty large cookie sheet underneath, and #3 Wear appropriate, safe clothing while cooking.  I ALMOST wore a dress this day and would have been bare legged.  I can't even imagine how much worse the burn would have been had I worn the dress instead of jeans.  The irony of all of this is that I just wrote a blog post "What To Wear On Thanksgiving If You're The Cook".  In that post I had a humorous look at the impracticality of most Thanksgiving Outfits I saw in Blog Land.  Now I look back at the post and laugh, because I was right!  I can pretty much tell you right now the title of next year's Thanksgiving Outfit post:  "What To Wear On Thanksgiving To Stay Safe In The Kitchen!"  ha ha!

Well, in spite of the burn, I still had a great Thanksgiving!  Here are some highlights!

This is me and Alethea shortly after she just walked into the door of "Grandma's House".  Nothing but giggles and smiles!

Here is me all smiles right after the burn.  I couldn't wear pants, so I had shorts on under my apron.  I was smiling, cause hey, what else could I do?  I never got pretty Thanksgiving photos of my family or the table setting and food  because I was in a lot of pain at the time.  It's a miracle we even finished the meal and got the food on the table.  Hubby and my daughter helped with the rest of the dishes and cleaning up.

And here is "The Beast", the source of all my pain!  Despite all the circumstances surrounding it, this turkey was one of the best I ever made!  So tender!  Probably because it sat for an hour before I cut it because we were cleaning up the spilled grease and carrying for my wound.

Alethea's favorite dish was my Sweet Potato Casserole.  Once she tasted this, she wanted nothing else.  Until the pumpkin pie was brought out that is!

I made this same dish last year and shared the recipe source with you in THIS POST.  Last year was the first time I made it and now it is a family favorite.

This is Alethea begging Grandpa for a bite of his pie.  She had her own piece and finished it off, then she wanted some of Grandpa's too.  This girl loves food and loves to eat!  My kind of gal!

When we weren't watching holiday movies, we were playing board games.  Alethea enjoyed playing "Aggravation" with us until she tried to put the die in her mouth.  Then we wouldn't let her have it anymore so she screamed and cried for the duration of the game.  :)

Oh, and if you're looking for a good holiday movie to watch, our favorite new Netflix movie so far was "The Holiday Calendar".  We really enjoyed that one, but we haven't seen the rest of the new ones yet.  I'm anxious to see Kurt Russel in "The Christmas Chronicles" .  Are there any new Christmas movies on Netflix or Hulu that you enjoyed?  I'd love to hear about them in the comment section below.

On Saturday we drove to LaCrosse Wisconsin to see the Rotary Lights.  Alethea loved them at first, but then became distracted by the fact that the rest of us were enjoying hot cocoa and she was not (I told you, this girl loves food!).  She cried and cried because she wanted some too.  Once she saw that hot cocoa, nothing else would amuse her.  We couldn't give her any for awhile because it was just too hot!  It even burned our tongues.  

When the beverage finally cooled enough that we were able to give her some, Alethea grabbed hold of that cup and wouldn't let go.  She loved that Hot Chocolate!  She never had any before.  Her parents are very strict about her diet so she doesn't get any sugary sweets in her regular diet, only on holidays and other special occasions.  So this was quite a treat for her.  Now she was happy!

After Thanksgiving weekend was over, I started decorating the house for Christmas.  But it was briefly interrupted by a quick trip to Milwaukee to attend the funeral of our life-long friend's father.  It was such a beautiful funeral.  My husband's cousin did one of the eulogy's and it was just so heartfelt and beautiful.  I told him after wards it was the best eulogy I ever heard.  And it really was!  Even though it was a solemn occasion to get together, it was so nice to see friends and family again.  And it was wonderful celebrating the life of a wonderful man, even though saying goodbye was so hard.  But we as Christians know this life is not the end, but only the beginning, and we will soon see him again.

Well this was a long post and if you hung in there till the very end, I applaud you!  I'm still as busy as a bee this holiday season, so I don't want to commit to a regular blogging schedule, but I will be back soon with more Christmas topic posts.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I Just Can't Do It All

I'm so sorry, but I'm going to have to take a blogging break for awhile.  I know I just re-opened my blog after the Thanksgiving Holiday,  and I usually close my blog down for two weeks during Christmas, so I hate to take an additional break right now, but LIFE HAPPENS!

Although I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family, I did suffer a very serious grease burn which I will share more about later.  It's really hysterical since  I just did a Thanksgiving Fashion Post where I talked about the impractical Thanksgiving Outfits most style bloggers were sharing.  Let's just say if I didn't have blue jeans on, I'd probably be in the burn unit of the hospital right now.  Yes, it was that bad.

We  also had a good friend's father pass away. :(  So we will be driving 4 hours to Milwaukee to attend the funeral.

My fall decorations are still up, although I did put the lights up on one tree, but it is still undecorated.

I am no where near completing my Christmas shopping.

So, between my painful burn, having to drop everything to travel to a funeral, and all the Christmas preparations I have yet to do, I just have no time to blog.  I don't know when I will be back.  I don't want to commit to anything.  I just know that until the house is decorated, the shopping is done, and everything has settled down a bit, I need a little break.  Please pray for my burn.  I'm very worried it will leave a large scar.  It's quite large and covers my front calf.  I lost one layer of skin. :(

God Bless! I admire all you ladies that have it so much together than me.  I see most of you have your homes decorated already and your shopping done.  I don't know how you do it!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Casual Holiday Outfit From Stitch Fix

I received this bell sleeve knit top in my last Stitch Fix Box.  You may have already seen it in THIS POST where I styled the top with a pair of cords I also received in that box.  The note my stylist left in that box suggested I wear it for the holidays.  I didn't initially see it as a top for the holidays (other than the color) as I usually like something with more pizazz like metallics, sequins, or velvet, but I decided to try it out.  I think with the right jewelry, bag, and shoes, it makes quite a nice casual holiday look.

I styled the top with black dress pants (Worthington, old), a sparkly necklace and bracelet, and  I carried a velvet bag.

The color of your lipstick is so important when dressing for the holidays.  It really completes your holiday look.  Even if you're a neutral lip kinda gal, I encourage you to try a berry or red for the holidays.  Here I chose a burgundy to coordinate with the top.

I colored my nails the same berry color and I wore rose gold colored bracelets (old, Francesca's) and a rose gold love knot ring a friend made for me.  The velvet bag is vintage.

It's always hard for me to choose a necklace when wearing a busy blouse.  I usually go with a choker or statement earrings,  so I'm not competing so much with the top.  This time though I went with a long beaded necklace that had similar colors that are in the top.  This way the necklace blends in more with the top, rather than competing for attention.

For shoes I went with these velvet suede wedge pumps (old).

The top has a key hole opening in the back.

After putting this look together as my stylist suggested, I think it really would work nice as a holiday outfit; especially on a day if I'm just home with my family.  What do you think?  Was my stylist right?

Would you like to try Stitch Fix?  Did you know you can get $25.00 off your first purchase by using my Referral Code?  Give it a try!  What do you have to lose?

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Have A Happy Thanksgiving!

Have A Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  I am taking the rest of the week off to spend with my beautiful family!  I will be back to my normal blogging schedule on Monday, November 26th.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"May God's Kindness And Love Always Be With You" Card

I have another "Colorful Blessings" card to share with you today.  For those unfamiliar with "Colorful Blessings" they are card fronts that you color in yourself then make a card out of.  I purchased them from Amazon.

I thought this design had a real "1960's" feel to it, so I used brightly colored gel pens to color it in.

I popped out the colors even more by matting the card front to a black frame, then a white frame, and adhering the entire thing to a bright pink card base.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Monday, November 19, 2018

What To Wear On Thanksgiving If You're The Cook!

Since it's just a few days before Thanksgiving I thought I would do a humorous post on what to wear for Thanksgiving if you're the cook:  and I emphasize the word humorous because this post is meant purely for fun.  I don't wish to offend any of my other blogging buddies.

About this time of year I see every style blogger doing a "What To Wear For Thanksgiving" post.  And even though they usually give options: casual or formal for example, they are always so impractical to me.  I wonder "Don't any of these women cook?"  And even if they don't cook and they just "show up" to mom or grandma's house I would hope at the very least that they would "help"  get the food on the table or clean up.  

Many of the Thanksgiving posts outfits I see are on the warm side:  long sleeve chunky knit sweaters, blanket scarves, tall boots.  I don't know about you but my house is hot, hot, hot on Thanksgiving Day because my oven has been on all day.  I'm usually a hot, sweaty mess and I do not want to wear a sweater, tall boots and a blanket scarf.  I mean, even if you don't lift a finger in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day, you will not want to dress warm for my house when you come over for a meal.

And then there are the gals who dress so fancy they look ready to go to a wedding.  Really?  Are there really people like that out there?  I thought most Thanksgivings in America were very casual and usually involved eating then sitting in the living room watching football?  Why do I need to wear a dress and high heels?  I must live on a different planet because no family,  rich or poor,  I know has  ever has celebrated Thanksgiving this way.

And while were on the topic of "fancy clothes" can we put the bell sleeves away for just one day?  I know they are super trendy, but talk about impractical for Thanksgiving!  Yes, I can see myself cooking in the kitchen as my long, flowing sleeves fall into all the food.  And even if your not cooking, it's still a issue.  I remember last year a popular style blogger posted a "What To Wear On Thanksgiving" post on Instagram and one of her looks was a bell sleeve top.  The comments were hysterical (although a little mean).  Many were commenting how lovely the sleeves would look covered in gravy as they struggled to eat wearing such a top.

I've also heard women say "Well I don't cook in this outfit.  I prepare everything wearing more practical clothes then I change before the meal.".  I'm thinking, "WHAT?  How do you do that?"  The thirty minutes before the Thanksgiving meal is the most stressful of the entire day.  That's when you're trying to carve the turkey (if you carve it before you place it on the table),  brown the rolls, make the gravy, and heat all the side dishes  so everything is equally hot at the same time.  Then I'm suppose to make everyone wait, while I "run upstairs and change" and the food gets cold?  How rude and selfish is that?  I don't know about your family, but mine is pretty excited to eat their Thanksgiving meal and they won't take kindly to the fact that I am going to make them wait to eat so I can "feel pretty".

So, what to do?  How do we look nice for Thanksgiving pictures and still wear something cool, comfortable, and hopefully won't get ruined by grease and gravy?   Well, first, wear an apron.  Thanksgiving is like the only time of the year I don an apron.  And second, pick nice short sleeve tops that are 'dressy' but practical.   I've rounded up a few of my older fashion posts for examples:

A dark floral tie front top with olive jeans.  

The top is "fancy" looking for the occasion but still practical because it has short sleeves and is a thin material.  You could even dress it up more by wearing black dress pants.

A pretty peasant top

I think this is what I will be wearing for Thanksgiving.  The top has pretty fall colors, short sleeves, and is cool and comfy.  I might switch out the jeans and wear my new eggplant dressy leggings for even more comfort.  Again, if you want to dress this outfit up more, just wear dressy pants and heels. 

3/4 length sleeve top with a vest

Okay, I know there are some women who are always cold.  I use to be one of you, but menopause cured that.  A vest is a great option because it keeps your core warm but there is no additional bulk on your arms.  The 3/4 length sleeves are also great for more of your arm is covered, but the sleeves don't get in the way.

Short Sleeve Top Under A Cardigan

Another option is to wear a cardigan over a short sleeve top.  You can take the cardigan off when you're in the kitchen, and then add it later when you're seated at the table or 'cold'.

Sleeveless Top with a Blazer

Wear a sleeveless top with a blazer.  Just like the cardigan pictured above, the blazer can be worn to and from the event, taken off while in the hot kitchen, and worn when seated at the table.

A short sleeve dress with a cardigan

Okay, maybe you're one of those families that I've never met who really dresses up for Thanksgiving and you need a dress.   This is a short sleeve shift dress in a fall color that would be perfect for Thanksgiving.  Add a cardigan if you need extra warmth.

Well I hope I gave all the cooks and cook helpers out there some practical Thanksgiving outfits to wear.  And to those of you who just get to show up for a Thanksgiving meal and eat, good for you.  Enjoy!  I will enjoy cooking and blessing my family with a delicious meal.

What about you?  What do you usually wear for Thanksgiving?  I'd love to hear from you!

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Stitch Fix #22: A Bell Sleeve Top, Cords, And A Review Of The Entire Box

On Monday's Fashion Post, I reviewed three pieces from my November Stitch Fix box.  Today I will review the last two items in that box and review my entire Fix letting you know what I kept and what I sent back.  

Before I begin let me say that this was probably the hardest Fix I ever had to decide on.  It was so hard in fact that I created a poll on my Instagram stories to help me.  Over 125 women participated in the poll, and they really helped sway my decision, because I kept one item I did not think I would keep when I initially saw my Fix, and I sent back one item I thought I would keep.  

Let's begin with the Instagram poll winner:  this floral belle sleeve top.  90% of Instagram users said I should keep the top.

Nine Britton Peralta Bell Sleeve Knit Top

Status:  Kept!

OK, I will admit when I peeked at the Stitch Fix website before my box arrived and I saw this top, I was already pretty sure I was going to keep it.  It's an "Amy top":  it's pretty, floral, and it has a lovely color and shape.  It's also a comfortable thin knit so I won't get hot when I wear it and I can layer a vest over it.

I love the belle sleeves and gorgeous floral print.  And I was grateful for the burgundy background, because I have too much black in my closet already.

My next item I was pretty sure I was going to send back when I saw it on the website and even after I tried them on.  But you guys and my husband, changed my mind.  These cords were the next most popular "Keep" item on Instagram.

Edyson "Hampton Skinny Corduroy"

Status:  Kept!

The reason I almost did not keep them was because they were "navy" and I thought "Why do I need them, I already own plenty of blue jeans?"  But, depending on the light, they are not the same color blue as your typical pair of blue jeans.  They actually look kind of purple at times.  I also almost sent them back because the rise was a little low for me and they felt a tad uncomfortable.  However, after I had them on awhile, they grew more and more comfy (they are a stretchy cord).  I think they were just a bit stiff when I first put them on, but then they stretched a bit.

My husband liked the cords because he thought they really flattered my figure.  And after I saw the pictures (Taking pictures of me in my Stitch Fix items helps me decide what to keep.  Pictures show you a lot of things mirrors do not) I agreed.  In some miraculous way, the cords lift up the buttocks and any woman over fifty needs that extra help!  ha ha!

I also kept the pants because would you believe I don't already own a pair of corduroys?  Corduroy material is really trending now, so this pair of corduroy pants was a good addition to my wardrobe.

So there you have it, the two items I kept in this Fix were this top and blue cords.  Now let's review what I sent back and why.

 Lemon Tart "Kallen Ponte Puffer Vest"

Status:  Sent Back

I know, I can hear your screams now "I can't believe you sent this vest back!".  I can't believe it either.  You guys, I loved this vest.  I loved it.  It was so gorgeous and well made, BUT it was also very expensive ($88.00).  I just could not justify spending that much money on a vest I would most likely only wear 2 or 3 times before the season was over.  I already own four puffer vests, and even though none of those vests are as nice as this one, I truly did not need it.  Sending this vest back was one of the hardest Stitch Fix decisions I ever made.  I'm still not sure I made the right decision, as I loved this vest and I know I will never find anything like it in a store. 

The vest was not that popular on Instagram.  Only 70% of pollsters said I should keep it.  That also helped influence my decision.  

Marlyn Schiff "Newman Circle Charm Layering Necklace"

Status:  Sent Back

I thought this necklace was super cute.  I loved the mix of silver and gold and the little circle charms.  But, it was also very "cheap" looking in real life.  The chain and metals were very thin.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind wearing cheap jewelry.  "Charming Charlies" and I are good friends.  But, this necklace cost $34.00 and I could easily find a similar one at Charming Charlies for half that or less.

Vero Moda "Leroya Crew Neck Pullover Sweater"

Status:  Sent Back

This item polled at only "70% keep" on Instagram.  It was my least favorite piece in this 
Fix.   I loved the color, the length, and the thin knit, but I did not like the high crew neck and shoulder cut.  It did not flatter me at all.  Plus, I already own two sweaters that are a similar color so I did not need it.

So out of five pieces, I kept two items:  the floral belle sleeve top and a pair of blue corduroys.  Do you think I kept the right items?  I'd love to hear from you!

Would you like to try Stitch Fix?  Did you know you can get $25.00 off your first purchase by using my Referral Code?  Give it a try!  What do you have to lose?

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!