Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Amping up Garland

We've all seen those amazing garlands from high end stores that cost in excess of $50. Absolutely gorgeous, but really, who wants to pay that much for something that will sit in storage 11 months out of the year? I figured that with a little ingenuity I could make something that worked just as well without blowing the budget. Personally, I think it works just as well, read to the end and decide for yourself!

The supplies: One 9' evergreen garland from Michaels, $2.49 and one 6' holly garland, $6.49 on sale. I always start with the evergreen and choose fluffy accent to go with it. Today it just happens to be holly! Lay your evergreen garland out and fold it in half. Twist in several places to secure and fluff the entire way down.
Lay your accent garland on top of the fluffed evergreen. Work your way down twisting the evergreen in several places to secure.
By working the accent garland down into the fluffed evergreen you will hide the chain and make it more natural looking.
Twisted like a twist tie. Re-fluff and you won't notice the twist.
All finished! See how full it looks?
You could add lights as well, but as this one was going on my chandelier I didn't. If you add lights, do it before you add the accent garland so that the wires are hidden.
So what do you think? Not bad for $9 huh? Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pining for Pinterest

Hello. My name is Ashli and I am a Pinterest addict. Seriously, if you haven't checked out this site, you need to. I have been spending the last couple of months cooking my way through my savory, sweet, and breakfast boards, and now am beginning to try some of the projects that I have pinned. The first one I am sharing with you are these adorable Christmas ornaments, made from wedding invitations. Super simple and sweet, I made one for each brother and sister-in-law. (And if they are reading this post, act surprised when you get them in the mail, 'kay?) I added glitter to give it a little more pizzaz, but that's what I love about Pinterest. It serves as a great jumping off point for your own creativity! Check it out for yourself and stay tuned for more projects as I complete them!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Genetic.

If you've ever wondered where I get my creative side, look no further. My mother is an amazing seamstress who teaches classes, used to write for a magazine, and has made a good portion of the clothes that I wore when I was a child and still makes a good portion of clothing for our kids, especially Mistress. I wanted to share these amazing creations that she made!

This Santa was originally made for my grandmother as a Christmas gift one year. When she died, I inherited it from her. The body is made from leftover fabric from the bridesmaids' dresses from my parents' wedding. I have always loved it, both for the sentiment and just because it's beautiful. I am so grateful to have been the one to get it, and treasure it until the day it gets handed down.
And now this year my mother surprised us with an early gift. This Santa was also made by my mother, and she made the body of this one (a little hard to see with his coat closed) out of leftover fabric from my wedding gown. (Which she also made!)
They are displayed with a third Santa that was handmade by an artist from DH's hometown. I love this little group in our dining room, high away from little hands, and look forward to adding to the collection if another special fabric comes my way someday!

Cinnamon Apples

Ever since I was a little girl, my Nana would make her cinnamon apples for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not only were they good on their own, they did a fantastic job of chasing away the taste of squash, which we hated but always had to eat at least one bite of it. (And no, despite claims to the contrary, I never learned to like it.) As a child it was a true treat to eat these cinnamony little treats, and when my Nana died my mother took over making them. Fast forward five years and we move several states away, so if my kids (who love them as much as I do) wanted to be able to eat them for the holidays we don't make it back north, I would have to be the one to make them. Truth be told they are really easy, albeit a little time consuming, so I thought I'd share the recipe with you!

Nana's Cinnamon Apples

1c. cinnamon imperial candies
2 1/3 c. boiling water
8 apples, halved or quartered and peeled
1/3 c. sugar

Begin by pouring the candies into a saucepan.
Next pour your boiling water over the candies. Turn the heat on (medium-high) and stir to complete the melting process.
Begin to poach your peeled apples in the liquid. My mom and Nana always did halves, I do quarters. It's easier to cut them that way! Cook in small portions at a time until the apple begins to get fork tender and the red color darkens. You don't want to be able to make applesauce with these, they should hold their shape.
Remove each batch as they are done and place in a heat resistant dish.
I don't have a picture of this, but after all your apples are done add 1/3 c. sugar to the remaining liquid and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the apples and refrigerate. At least overnight, the longer they sit the better the flavor!
And bon app├ętit! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at the Southern Stitcher!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Quick Catchup!

Hey all! I'm back from a wonderful vacation with all the women in my family and ready to start back up in the blogging world! My mom, Mistress, and I all just spent the last week on a girls week in Los Angeles to visit my aunt. We had tea parties, went shopping, and visited Disneyland and California Adventure together, and I so enjoyed having some girl time. I used to visit my aunt all the time, but haven't been out there in over 14 years. I figured it was about time for a visit, so we planned to go and take Mistress for her first plane ride to the west coast. First off, she was SO good! Seriously, a three year old who wasn't phased by jet lag other than to take uncharacteristic naps regularly and was pleasant and well behaved was a wonderful way to spend a vacation!

In other exciting news, the Southern Stitcher household has added a new member to our family.

She's a two year old schnoodle we adopted and brought into our family and all the kids are enthralled with her. She's a very patient pooch and has made herself at home in the house. Never having had a pet before I'm adjusting a little more slowly, but she is a good dog and we are happy to have her. I'm beginning the process of decorating "Lucy's room," (aka the laundry room) and will have to post pictures of the transformation as soon as I get it all done. I've been wanting to make it more user friendly for a while now and getting her was the kick (cough*excuse*cough) I needed. After all, she needs to feel at home! Look for the Lucy/laundry room transformation in the near future, and I have a ton of projects lined up for the holiday season. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Continued!

All our company is gone (for six days until we get some more) and Halloween decorations are coming down rapidly. I managed to get all the costumes done on time, although I won't deny that I finished the Professor's costume at about 2:00 in the afternoon and was braiding a Rapunzel wig during Tumbling class at 3:30. Nonetheless I got it all done and I had three very cute little trick-or-treaters on Monday night!
Here's my little Clone Trooper! Specifically, Captain Rex. They do not make patterns for a clone trooper, so I bought him the helmet at TJ Maxx for $15 and spent $6 on white fleece to make the suit. I used a pattern for an astronaut and a sharpie marker to make the lines on the front. Then I used scraps of black and blue fleece to make the collar and belt, pulled a pair of black gloves out of the closet, and added his black shoes and a Star Wars gun from the dress up box. Did I mention that this costume was $70 online? The Professor said I got it just right and he LOVED it! He's worn it for general dress up three more times since Halloween! BTW, he's quite the poser. I have about eight different trooper poses!
And Buggy! I didn't make his costume, we found it at a yard sale for $10. I would have made one for him, but why look a gift horse in the mouth? He loved it just as much and I would have spent much more if I had made it myself. Plus, Darth Vader is not something I was looking forward to attempting. It seemed more challenging than the storm trooper...
Everything worked out just right, and we had a great time trick or treating. Now I'm looking forward to trying some new projects for Christmas!