Super Mom – No Cape!

One mother sharing her knowledge with others

Archive for December, 2011

Handmade Christmas – Elves

Posted by supermom on December 30, 2011

Many years ago when we were posted to CFB Suffield in Southern Alberta, to earn extra money to help pay for Christmas each year, I sold my handmade crafts at farmers’ markets and craft fairs throughout the year.

One of my most popular items was stuffed Christmas elves.  I would sell out of them almost every week and have to scramble to make more before the next sale.  I can remember one week in which I had so many orders for them that I had to enlist Dave’s help because I needed 20 of them by Thursday.

Well the last year we were in Suffield, I had two that didn’t sell in the final pre-Christmas craft fair, so we added them to our Christmas decorations.

Now I don’t know about the other elves I sold, but those elves that we kept turned out to be magic elves.  You see, when our kids went to bed each night during the month of December the elves would be in one spot, but somehow, the next morning when they came downstairs, the elves would be in a completely different spot.

Over the years, those elves would be one of the first of the decorations to be set out and one of the last to be put away.

Once our children grew up, I had always planned to make them each a set of their own Christmas elves.  But when I went looking for the type of buttons that I’d used for the noses, I discovered that those buttons were almost impossible to find.  The original buttons had been in a large bag of buttons I’d purchased at a flea market.  I had no idea they were anything special.  But I came to discover that they were, in fact, bakelite buttons.   Finally, this past winter, I came across a seller on e-bay with an auction for cherry red bakelite buttons for sale.  I used the buy-it-now feature to make sure to get them.

Once they arrived, I got busy sewing their bodies.  And once again, I enlisted Dave’s help to help stuff them and cut out and glue on their faces.

Here’s a picture of the finished elves (except for the bells on their toes) with one of the original elves in the middle. (Unfortunately the other original was lost when our basement flooded back in the 90s.)

We ended up making eight elves, two for each of our children and two to keep our original elf company.

We’ll have to wait to see if the new elves are as magic as he is.

This post has been added to Sew Darn Crafty Party Week 46 over at Sew Many Ways.

Posted in Gift Ideas, Sewing | Tagged: , | 10 Comments »

We Had a Wonderful Christmas

Posted by supermom on December 27, 2011

We weren’t sure how we were going to manage to do Christmas this year living in our temporary housing, but it turned out wonderful in so many ways.

Our Christmas celebrations started on the 18th with the decorating of the Christmas tree.

Earlier in the week, we found a tree stand at a thrift store for $5 and then Saturday, accompanied by our youngest son we went in search of our tree.  It’s been many years since we’ve had to shop for a tree in temperatures below 0 degrees Celcius (windchill minus 14) but we got lucky and found that “perfect” tree at the first lot we stopped.

Then it was back to the apartment to get it set up and allow the tree to thaw and the branches to relax.

Next was the little adventure of trying to find the box of Christmas decorations in our oldest daughter’s storage unit with only the light of a flashlight.

As well, that evening of the 17th, our oldest daughter and her partner flew in from Shanghai where they both have teaching jobs.  They were picked up at the airport by his parents.   It was such a joy to get the call that they had arrived safely… tired from the long flight but safe.    And to also know that they were only a half hour drive away.

We made that drive on Sunday afternoon to pick them up and bring them back here to join in the fun of decorating the tree.

The angel on top was another thrift store find.  Our daughter has a tree topper that we brought back with us when we were posted to Germany many years ago, but for me a Christmas tree needs an angel on top.  If you look closely you may be able to spot the little house ornaments I made on FNSI with Sandra and Nancy.

The week before Christmas was a blur of the usual pre-Christmas grocery shopping and last minute gift shopping mixed in with searching for and applying for jobs.

We had to get creative while doing the Christmas baking.  This apartment came fully furnished but in amongst the dishes and pots we found only one bowl large enough to mix cookie dough in.  It was not, however, large enough to mix the dough for the Christmas rolls.  So I used the roaster insert from our roaster oven.

And was I ever glad that we decided at the last minute to bring the roaster oven with us.  This apartment’s oven has temperature control issues that made baking without burning things another challenge to be dealt with.   I was glad not to have that to contend with while cooking the turkey on Christmas Day.

As it was… I should probably have used the roaster oven to cook the lasagna for our Christmas Eve supper.   It took well over an hour to cook as I had to lower the temperature, raise the rack and check it every 15 minutes to make sure the bottom wasn’t burning.

Our oldest daughter and her partner and our son joined us on Christmas Eve for supper and exchanging gifts.  Our son also stayed overnight Christmas Eve.

Our middle daughter had a work function she had to attend on Christmas Eve but we picked her up from the GO station on Christmas morning to share a late breakfast with us and to open the rest of the gifts.

The turkey went into the oven around 1 pm and then it was just a matter of waiting for it to cook before we could have supper.

I even managed to short nap later in the afternoon while Dave, middle daughter and son watched a TV marathon of The Big Bang Theory.

While we were preparing the rest of supper, I got a call from our oldest.  The celebrations with her partner’s family were over a little earlier and they were on their way to spend the evening with us.

For me, that was the best Christmas gift of all… having all of us together.

The knowledge that we’d get to spend time with our children over the Christmas season was one of the bright spots that has kept me going through this time of transition.  But while I had hoped to have us all together at some point during Christmas week, now that our children are grown with partner’s families and other commitments, I hadn’t allow myself to get my hopes up that day would be the 25th.

Later in the evening, our oldest and her partner returned to his parent’s place and our son went back to his apartment.  But our middle daughter decided to stay the night which allowed us to spend some rare one on one time with her on Boxing Day.

So, yes indeed, we had a wonderful Christmas.  The uncertainty of where our future is taking us was set aside for a time as Dave and I enjoyed the company of our children.

I hope that you, my readers, had as joyful and loving a Christmas as our family did.

And on that happy note, I have some news to share.  As we approach the New Year, you’ll be noticing some changes on my blog.

Our son, the Web Design and Internet Applications student will be updating and revamping my blog to give it a more current look.  It’s a change I’m looking forward to and one which I hope that you’ll like as well.

There are other changes coming but I’ll announce those when the time is right.

As we look to the future, my wish and hope for you all is for a Joyous and Prosperous 2012.  It’s going to be a great year!

Posted in Christmas on a Budget Series | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

December Friday Night Sew In Results

Posted by supermom on December 17, 2011

Oh my goodness… Friday Night Sew In at Sandra’s last night was sooooooo much fun.  I can’t remember when I’ve laughed so much.  Sandra and Nancy kept me in stitches all night (pun intended.)

It’s amazing that we managed to get any sewing done.

But before we got started, Dave and I sat down with Sandra and her hubby for a yummy supper of chili and coleslaw (I need to get Sandra’s recipe.)  And then for dessert, Sandra had made the most delicious tiramisu laced with Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Nancy arrived a little after 7 and after a few minutes of visiting, we headed downstairs to Sandra’s sewing room.

As all of my fabric and sewing stuff is packed away in storage, Sandra generously allowed me to search through her plastic bins of fabric so that I could make these sweet little house Christmas tree ornaments.  Nancy brought a selection of fabrics too for me to choose from… I used a couple of those to make the roofs.

Aren't those cats in the windows adorable!

Sandra also allowed me to borrow her beautiful Singer 201 sewing machine, Bella to sew them with.  Bella sews like a dream and I’m now thinking it’s a really good thing that we weren’t able to sell the 201-2 sewing machine that came out of the Art Deco cabinet that Dave refinished to house my 15-91.   Once we’re settled somewhere, I may just have to start looking for a cabinet for that 201-2.

The pattern and instructions for the house ornaments can be found in Retro Mama’s post titled Home for the Holidays.

Sandra completed a sweet zippered bag for a neighbour’s child and Nancy finished the most adorable apple and pear pincushions.  (Click on their names to read their FNSI posts.)

And if you’d like to check out what all the other participants worked on last night, be sure to click through the FNSI sign-up list.  That’s what I’m going to be doing off and on throughout today and tomorrow, in between going to pick out a Christmas tree and getting it set up and decorated.

Oh… and that’s not all.   Sandra, Nancy and I had a Christmas gift exchange last night as well.  They both spoiled me far more than I was able to spoil them.  Those gifts deserve a post all their own so be sure to come back tomorrow when I’ll post photos of everything that was hidden inside these gift bags.

Posted in Friday Night Sew In | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Little Things Making Me Happy

Posted by supermom on December 16, 2011

It’s been two weeks now since we finished packing up everything and put it into storage.

The contents of a 3 bedroom house stacked and packed into a 10X20 climate controlled storage unit.

Since that time, we’ve traveled up to Canada and secured temporary housing to take us through until after Christmas.   What direction our future will take is more than a little uncertain at the moment.  If I concentrate only on the big things facing us, I find myself overwhelmed.

But what I’m also finding is that it’s the little things that are making me happy and providing bright spots to our days.

As all of our Christmas decorations are in storage, I’ve been scouring the local thrift stores for inexpensive decorations to give our little apartment a bit of Christmas spirit.   The other day, while searching the shelves of the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Whitby, ON, hidden on the very bottom shelf, I found something that made my eyes light up and my heart sing.

Now I know that someone else might have passed by this little house and not even taken a second look.  But right away, I recognized it as the treasure it was.

You see, back in the late 90s, Dave and our children gave me two little wooden houses for Christmas.  And every year since, they have been brought out and displayed along with our other Christmas decorations.

The trees were later additions and the little snow hill was a gift from one of our children.   But we’ve never been able to find any of the matching houses to expand our little village; until now.

Today it is helping to make our temporary home a little more festive.  But next year, it will become part of our little Christmas village and that thought makes me smile.

Something else that is making me smile… tonight, not only will I be joining the virtual Friday Night Sew In hosted by Heidi and Bobbi but I’m going to be taking part in a real life sew-in with Sandra and Nancy at Sandra’s house.   Now how fun is that!

If you haven’t signed for the second of December’s FNSIs… it’s not too late.  Just click on the button on my right sidebar or go here.

Posted in Friday Night Sew In | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Winner of My 2011 Stocking Giveaway

Posted by supermom on December 6, 2011

Today being St. Nicholas Day seems such an appropriate day to announce the winner of my 2011 Stocking Giveaway, so without further ado the winner is:

Enter a number:

I want a number between 1 and…72



Congratulations Michell.  I’ve sent off an e-mail asking for your snail mail address and once I’ve received that, I will be mailing out your stocking.

This has been my most fun giveaway so far and I want to thank everyone who played along and entered by telling me when you start decorating for Christmas.   And thanks also to all my followers, old and new.

As well, thank you to Robin from RSIslandcrafts for hosting this annual stocking giveaway.   I’m looking forward to next year.

Note:  I used Truly Random Number Generator to choose the Winner.

Posted in Giveaways | 1 Comment »

Packing Precious Items

Posted by supermom on December 4, 2011

Dave wasn’t taking any chances with this box of china and crystal from my side board.



Oh and don’t forget, if you haven’t already entered the Stocking Giveaway… tomorrow is the last day.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Sometimes You Have to Think Outside the Box

Posted by supermom on December 2, 2011

Or perhaps inside the box, with a new vision?

I having been worried about how we were going to wrap the Art Deco sewing machine cabinet that my Singer 15-91 lives in to get it ready for our move.  Dave put so much work into refinishing that cabinet that I just dreaded the thought that it might get scratched or damaged in the move.

We picked up several large triple layer heavy duty paper moving sheets from a generous person on craigslist but even those are no guarantee that something won’t get scratched.

Then Dave remembered the box that our elliptical came in.  We move so often that we save all the boxes when we buy something but we sold the elliptical in our moving sale.  After measuring the box and doing a trial fit… we determined that the Art Deco cabinet would fit.   My quilts that are hand-basted and awaiting quilting were used to fill in spaces and add extra cushioning around the cabinet.

She’ll be safe now during the move into storage and then to a new place once that place is determined.

Posted in Creative Repurposing | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »