Gratitude & Gifts

 

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It’s been 2 weeks since my last post. Some days I have so much to write about and nothing new to make. Some days I have so much to make and not enough time to write about it. Sometimes it’s like that.

In a moment of insanity my husband and I decided to spend Thanksgiving with friends in Southern California. That decision led to two weeks of planning, organizing and lots and lots of last-minute sewing for me. My goal was to have all Christmas gifts ready to mail overseas. Very ambitious goal given that I only have 2 free hours in the morning each day during baby’s nap to be productive in any way.

Our plan was to leave town on Friday just as soon as the kid’s were done with their holiday performances at school. We would check them out early and drive to California via Amarillo, Flagstaff and whatever lays en route. This would take us 2 days with one night stay in a hotel. Once in California, we would spend 3 days visiting with all our friends and then spend Thanksgiving day with dear friends in San Diego just like in years past. Well, we never left. Just as we were supposed to hit the road a winter storm was appoaching Texas. Temps were already below 20 in Amarillo – our first stop. It started raining and was so cold here at home on Friday that as we headed to the kid’s school to watch them perform ‘Where the wild things are’ we could tell that it was going to start freezing pretty soon. We literally got cold feet and decided right then and there that Thanksgiving at the beach wasn’t going to happen this year 🙁 With three smallish children every extra hour spend on the road is torture for everyone. We didn’t need to drive into a storm …

We looked at the bright side of this unexpected change of plans and started looking forward to some downtime. My husband had taken the whole week off. This was going to be a nice change of pace for us. No driving, no sleeping in hotels, no eating yucky food on the road, just us in our cozy home. So instead of filling up the gas tank quickly filled the fridge with groceries for the week and braced ourselves for the storm to come… We had enough electronic entertainment, books, craft supplies, etc. etc. Well, first day came and went, then another day and finally on the third day we decided we had enough of being cozy and bundled up and did this instead:

  • We went Christmas tree hopping which provided many family photo opportunities!

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  • My little girl and I did some sewing & finishing up projects! She had started this little quilt for her doll Ciara weeks ago. She did such an amazing job cutting the 9 squares from coordinating fabric. She pieced them together. I just sewed the binding. And just like that her little American Girl Doll has a new blanket!

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  • We decided to spend one day in Austin! We visited the Capitol, ate some yummy food and drove back home the same day.

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  • I put the finishing touches on the DOZEN or so pouches that I sewed for my girl friends in California.

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  • I also got to mail my international holiday gifts before December 1! So excited that everyone will receive their mail way before Christmas this year!!

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  • I did LOTS of crocheting – while watching TV, in the car on our 4 hour drive to Austin and back! That’s almost 8 hours of crocheting in ONE DAY! Yay for crochet! Such a mobile, easy & fun craft to do on the road!

 

  • I finally started working on the ‘Love’ art that’s intended for the wall behind our bed. This rich gray felt is so pretty and I finally get to use up some of my scrap felt pieces for the letters and bunting! Super easy & fun to make.

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  • I did some fabric shopping.

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  • Found the prettiest Washi tape at JoAnn’s!

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  • I quickly made 2 more pouches. One for our generous Thanksgiving hostess & one for her daughter. Oops, I didn’t remember to take pictures of these 🙁

Overall, this week was exactly what we all needed. Super cozy & lazy times spent in front of the fire place, reading, crafting, napping… followed by leisurely walks in crisp winter air! I can get used to this.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. Now on to the next one.

Stay cozy,

Yasemin

P.S. Girls, I hope you like your pouches :-)!

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Just when you think …

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Last week was an unusually busy week for us. Until this week! Suddenly, starting Saturday we were crazy busy. Hope that doesn’t mean next week will be even busier?!! Here’s a recap:

Last Saturday, my nine-year old played his first-ever soccer playoff game. The moment the game started the atmosphere along the sidelines became heated and hostile. My son has been playing recreational soccer ever since he turned five. We’ve spent every Saturday in the fall & spring on the soccer field – first in Southern California and now in North Texas. Some teams we played against were friendly others not so much. But this past Saturday with this being the first playoff game for eight & nine-year olds it looked like people came to win! That is at any price!! Long story short we somehow made it to the semi-finals! Yeah! We had one day to rest  before we faced off the best team in the league. Half of this team trains 2 or three times a week with professional coaches. I guess they call that pre-select soccer … It’s no understatement that we were the underdogs and as it happens a lot in life we did really well – that is until half-time. Then the tides turned and this super duper team beat us 5:2… We were out of the playoffs just like that … 🙁

That should have meant the end of soccer for us for the remainder of the year. But not so fast!! Right after the game my husband got approached by the winning team’s ‘manager’. They wanted our son to play a tournament with their exclusive select team this weekend. They wanted him at practice twice this week in order to prep for Saturday’s THREE tournament games!!!  Just when I thought we could retire the cleats & shin guards for the year we had to get back in gear – again? I tell you these sports are really a family affair. They are all-consuming even on a recreational level. The time & energy you dedicate as a family is mind blowing!

Also, these kids have to go to school too! Hello?? Especially this week when Isaiah had three benchmark tests scheduled! First time for third grade. Needless to say I cancelled this week’s German lesson to give ALL of us a little break in the afternoons at least one day this week! With the temps finally dropping to low 40’s it is so nice to have an afternoon at home with the kids.

In terms of sewing & crafting or even holiday shopping I didn’t get as much done this week as I wished. However, I finally finished my first QUILT TOP!!!! 

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My teacher was right. The most time consuming part of this quilt top was piecing the nine rows together. All I had left to do was to sew together eight 32.5″ strips and voila! I have a finished quilt top! Now, I have to find time to go to JoAnn’s to purchase the batting!

The other progress I made this week in my sewing room was finally printing out yasemintea.com labels. I used Avery (#8938) Light Fabric transfers and printed www.yasemintea.com and YaseminTea.com labels in sizes 12, 14, & 16 (mirrow imaged) and ironed them on the inside of my pretty pouches! I’ll be giving those as gifts this season!!!

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(I couldn’t decide which I liked better: www.yasemintea.com or simply: YaseminTea.com??)

I gave the chevron pouch to my son’s classroom teacher for her birthday this week. She got a little gift card in the pouch as well. You know, a Target gift card never hurt nobody :-)).

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The second person on my list this week: Our wonderful, super-organized soccer manager mom. I filled a pretty floral pouch with some of my favorite things from Whole Foods. Hope she’ll enjoy all the little organic goodness!

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Talking about soccer again, we have a fun little party planned tomorrow evening. We are going to have a end of season party and make s’mores with the team! I decided last-minute to print some of the gorgeous pictures that one of the dads takes at all our games. I am also printing the scores of each game.  After all, we scored over 70 goals this season!!! Wow! What a season! Go STARS!

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I am planning on hanging this poster in my son’s room after the party.

The ‘photographer’ dad is getting this t-shirt from us. I found it on Etsy. The perfect place for unique gifts!

Photography Camera Smile T-Shirt  Digital Camera Tshirt Photographers Tee Shirt Mens Womens Ladies Youth Kids Geek Funny

Well friends, that’s all the time I have while my baby is taking her long morning nap. It’s chilly outside and supposed to rain tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed that we still get to play in this tournament. Would be sad after all the practice my boy put into it this week. Also, we would hate to cancel the team party. My daughter and I are especially excited about the s’mores tomorrow night!! So rain rain go away … 🙂

Love & Peace

Yasemin

A week in review

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Sometimes when I look back at our week I am in disbelief of all the action around here. This week feels like a typical crazy busy week in December: Frequent visits to the post office, shopping for the perfect gifts, wrapping gifts, printing pictures, eating holiday spiced goodies, receiving pretty packages from family in Germany … This all happened this week and it’s only the first week of November!

First off, the children received a huge box in the mail from my sister-in-law, Julia.

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Although it was meant as a late birthday package it felt more like Christmas to us. With temperatures dipping and the evenings getting longer we turned on the fire place and had a gift opening ceremony in front of it! I wanted to be sure that we enjoyed every inch of gift wrap and every pretty bow and detail that my sister-in-law had lovingly put together for us.

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My sister-in-law is the best. She always puts so much thought and love into her gifts. Each kid got an absolutely age appropriate and fun gift that appealed to their interest at the moment. She always knows and understands. A mom herself she is also a preschool teacher. For me she is the PERFECT mom. Patient, knowledgeable, kind. I just love her. The way she is able to spoil my children from such a long distance is a talent on its own. I  feel so fortunate to have her in our family.

But back to the package. It contained not only the treats my kids like but also an educational book for each child which is perfect since my two older ones are taking Germany lessons at the moment. The baby got this cute picture book. She sent Seda a friendship bracelet kit and Isaiah a paper airplane set. She couldn’t have picked better gifts for them! Oh, she even thought about me. She knows how much I love these crunchy chocolate covered rice crispy squares called: Nippon! Yumm! And it is no secret that I LOVE tea! She sent me this Yogi-tea called: Gluecks Tee (Happy Tea). And happy I was as I brewed a cup of this delicious herbal blend of organic cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, orange peels & hops. Ahhhhh…

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This tea is perfect to get you in the Holiday spirit. It’s also ideal to warm you up after a walk in the cold, wet fall weather. The baby and I have been taking morning walks rain or shine. Coming back inside to a hot cup of tea is instant HAPPINESS! Thank you my dear Julia! You are a gem within our family! We love you so much!

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In other news, I have spent every free minute this week trying to finish these rows for my final class this Sunday. Boy oh boy! I could have never imagined how tedious quilt-making would be. The measuring, cutting, sewing, pressing, remeasuring, RIPPING SEAMS! and finally sewing it back together!!!

Here is how far I’ve gotten as of last night.

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Of course, I should be sewing right now while baby naps but I felt like writing instead. Oh well, sometimes it’s best to step away from a project of this magnitude in order to see the wood for the trees. Instead of trees it’s: Tilt-a-Whirl, Candy Cane Triangles, Rick Racks, Half Square Triangles and don’t even get me started on those Flying Geese! Although they are my favorite once finished they are a lot of work! You mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 2.5″ square, position the marked square on a rectangle, stitch on the line, trim seams to 1/4″, walk over to your ironing board, press open and repeat on the adjacent corner … Now you have only made ONE! You have to make 16! of these to yield 32.5″!!! This is seriously a test for my patience!

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Enough of quilt-making. This morning the baby and I drove to Trader Joe’s to get some grocery shopping done. I had skipped last week so you can imagine how long my wish list shopping list was … There are a few things there that no other store sells. For example: COOKIE BUTTER! Like it says on the label: All you have to do is taste it to understand! 🙂

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While there, I was also to purchase my daughter’s coaches gift. Tomorrow will be her last game of the season. We never get them anything as a team but I like to show them our gratitude with a little something sweet. Last season we gave them gift cards to our local cupcake store. Cupcakes make great gifts but who can say no to Belgian chocolates? I also loved the packaging. Hope they’ll like them, too.

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Oh, and while there I bought my all-time favorite Christmas cookie from Germany. Sugar glazed gingerbread cookies. They are not your average gingerbread cookie. To me they taste more like a pumpkin-spiced muffin! So lecker! 🙂photo 1 (2)That’s how great Trader Joe’s is! They are stocked for the holidays with the best from around the world. Perfect for gift giving and enjoying yourself!

While at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t help but stop by Half Priced Books. They emailed coupons for 20%, 30% & 40% off this week. I already took advantage of the 40% coupon on Tuesday and purchased this book:

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Today, I couldn’t find another craft/sewing book and instead got started on my Christmas shopping 2013 ! And this is what I used my 30% coupon for:

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Good for Seda! She loves to make things and loves Fancy Nancy. She is sort of a Fancy Nancy herself.

Now, I have exactly five minutes left to ‘tackle’ these Flying Geese before my baby decides she has given her mommy enough of a break napped long enough.

Of to another fun-filled, productive weekend!

Love,

Yasemin

 

A Quilt In Making

 

I feel so fortunate to have a quilt shop stocked with over 4,000 bolts of fabric of pure 100% quilting cotton in short driving distance from my house. One of the perks of moving to Texas I suppose :-). This not so little shop stocks all my favorites: Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Henry Miller, Moda, Dear Stella, and many many more. Not only do I like shopping here but most importantly they offer multiple classes on weekday nights AND weekends which is perfect for me! I signed up for my first class a few weeks ago. It’s called: Basics of Piecing 101.

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This is how they described the class: This is a 4-week beginning piecing class. The quilting skills you will be taught in this class will help you become a ‘confident beginner’. You will learn to accurately, cut, piece and press – the basic skills needed for every quilt. This is also a great class if your skills need a tune-up!

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So, 4 Sunday afternoon sessions, 3 hours each! Perfect! Price: $70. Not bad. But then there was a shopping list!! Once signed up and NO MOMENT SOONER! they handed me a list! Wow! Even with the 10% off class purchase they granted I felt like I was spending waaaay too much money. And since I didn’t have any of the basic quilting supplies such as the most essential quilting ruler(s) etc. I learned my first lesson here. Quilting is no joke! You gotta really want it. No way you can improvise your way into a cute quilt. You have to purchase the right supplies and tools and measure accurately, CUT accurately, sew meticulously! Since you are spending a lot of time & effort making a quilt it’s best to purchase good quality fabric. I’d hate for this thing to start falling apart in the first wash and I am planning on using and washing and reusing and washing this lap quilt again and again!

I was determined to do it right though so I went down the list and purchased 2 quilting rulers, a rotary cutter, hundreds of quilters pins, quilters chalk and this special quilting thread plus the special book that they use to teach a sampler quilt. This is a long expensive shopping list already but there is more: The FABRIC! My favorite part until I had to visualize this finished quilt in my head and buy 12 coordinating fabrics! 12! That’s a lot of fabric to coordinate. At some point I used repeat prints and solids. It was overwhelming to think that this piece of work would look all cluttered and messy. I still wanted it to look modern and compliment the Ikea look we have in the family room.

Here’s some of my selection:

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The floral fabric on the very bottom is for the back. The solid light blue / grey one is the backing of the front. So far the mustard colored one is my favorite. My daughter and my quilting instructor bot love the multi-colored one the most. I think the polka-dots are my least favorite so far.

Picking these fabrics was very time consuming in a store with over 4,000 bolts of fabric. It didn’t help to have my little one with me who wanted out of the stroller and instead start ‘shopping’ for fabric too! I also wanted to stay within a budget  which is always a bummer. Finally 3 hours later I left the shop with only 1 or 2 things left to do on my list and rushed off to meet my 2 big kids at the bus stop… Phew! I had no idea I was signing up for this!!

The book that we are using for this sampler quilt is called: Graphic Mixx by Atkinson Designs.

I glanced at it although it wasn’t part of my prep / homework but put it aside pretty quickly. No way I could follow those instructions on my own. I was looking forward to meeting my teacher in a few days. I needed someone to ‘translate’ this and hold my hand so to speak. And exactly that she did! The class was only half-booked which made the one-on-one instruction ideal and gave me a lot of opportunity to learn at my own pace. Off to a great class. The first 3 hours passed quickly and I left the class excited and with a bunch of Ziploc bags full of the tiny pieces we cut that day. No sewing as of yet. Just squaring up, measuring, cutting, labeling, repeat… There were a total of 9 different designs to cut. We got through 6 of them.

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Above: little baggies full of 2.5″ or 4.5″ pieces of coordinating fabric to make Piano Keys, Bricks, Checkerboard, Cornerstones, Tilt-a-Whirl, and Rick Racks with. 

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In our third session we finally finished the cutting by preparing the pieces for Flying Geese, Candy Cane Triangles and Half Square Triangles. Phew! That was precision work. All that squaring up and making tiny 2.5″ squares like about 100 of them!

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Above: My mini-me couldn’t help it. She just had to get hands-on with the ‘checkerboard’ pattern.

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Now I have to make time this week to sew up everything at home. The challenge is to stay within the 1/4″ seam and make each row yield a perfect 32.5″!

Next Sunday (final session) this baby is going to be finished! When I say finished I mean only the top part. Binding isn’t included in this class. Let’s not even start talking about the actual quilting part. That’s not even part of this class. I can a) let a professional quilter do that part for me for about $100! b) attempt to use my own machine to do it or c) hand quilt it! So far option c) is what I am leaning towards.

In a few weeks they offer a class where they teach ‘binding’. I’ll have to tackle that part after Thanksgiving though. That means my quilt won’t be finished until mid December! Wow! Now I understand the price tags on some of the quilts for sale. That’s a labor of love & dedication!

I saw Anna Maria Horner do this with a baby quilt on Creative bug. That looked really fun.

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I can’t wait to post pictures after next week’s class of the (hopefully!) finished quilt top!!! What a work in progress. Now I know why they have these events at the quilt shop where customers bring their own creations to show and share with others. It’s like a painting. It’s made to be admired. 🙂

I gotta run. Today the reflection entries at my kid’s school were due. I promised to lend my volunteer hand.

So long,

Yasemin

 

 

 

 

Hello November

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Halloween 2013 is a wrap!

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 Candy is stowed away.

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Pumpkins are removed from the porch, little ghosts are cut off the tree …

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Now I can focus on the coziest season of the year! Since I’ll be making a lot of the gifts by hand this year I’ll have to get started on Monday. My goal is to have the international gifts shipped by Mid November! I hope that’s not too ambitious. In previous years I’ve waited (involuntarily) until December but not only were the lines at the post office unbearable but I also cut it close with delivery times to Germany. My little nephews are always so excited to receive international mail that I can’t deprive them of that. The sooner the better…

By December I’ll have to have our new advent calendar up & filled with goodies, I have to make a second spring cleaning!! of the house. The month of December is for sure the busiest month for entertaining and after Halloween cob webs just don’t look good anymore.

Today I got a head start and made a list – a first step in every Mosby project. My trusty list:

Today:

  • Clean out all Halloween clutter, costumes, candy etc.
  • Sweep porch
  • Wipes floors indoors & dust
  • Purchase & wrap gift for Isaiah’s friend’s birthday tomorrow

This weekend:

  • Finish homework for quilt class
  • Clean laundry room (I am dreading this one!)

Next week:

  • Send mom a birthday card!!!!
  • Put summer shoes away, bring out boots
  • Make 10 more pouches!
  • Sew nephews gifts and find perfect sturdy box
  • Schedule hair appointment for Seda & me for next week

Before end of month:

  • Make cute holiday cards
  • Spray-paint 25 clothes pins for the advent calendar
  • Cut 25 pieces of Christmas fabric into squares
  • Start photo book before the holidays!
  • Order woven labels for the pouches I am making
  • Cut a circle skirt from corduroy for the girls!

Just putting it all down on paper helps me prioritize & focus better. Now it’s off to soccer practice for one and a make-up game for the other for us. Looks like we’ll be eating out tonight. Oh well. Not a bad day after all. 🙂

Hope you’ll have a wonderful weekend!

Yasemin

P.S. Yes, baby will be dressed up next year too! I promise!! This year she was simply “The cutest baby on the block!” 🙂

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