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Saturday, December 26, 2009

crafting the holidays

I made this quick little ornament for an ornament exchange. I may sneak out on Monday afternoon to a friend's -- the gal who took this ornament wants to know how to quill for her daughter. So I could take some supplies and spread some crafty love.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Still crafting

I couldn't resist. Or I couldn't hold still. We cranked out a few eggshell dioramas.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I'm holding a giveaway for each of these items -- three pocket tissue covers and a bag dispenser. They are leftover Christmas gifts, all lonely and looking for a home. Do you need a gift for yourself? Here's how you can get one.

1. Read my article about crafting gifts vs. buying gifts here. Then comment at the examiner site or here on this blog, telling the amount (percent) of gift crafting you do and which of the four items you would like to win.

2. Subscribe to my examiner articles, then leave me a comment about it here for another chance to win. If you already subscribe, tell me in the comment area below.

3. Tweet or Facebook about my giveaway for a third chance on a gift. Leave a comment so I  know you did this. Copy and paste: RT @threesisjulia Julia is having a handmade giveaway. Visit

I will choose a winner using in one week. NO DOUBLE DIPPING -- I will not accept duplicate comments made on my examiner site. I will ship only to the lower 48 states. Winners will be notified by email and contacted privately to discuss mailing addresses.

The bag dispenser has honeybee fabric. My oldest always drew on everything until she was 8 years old, so if you want this bag dispenser, you'll see toddler doodles on the bee fabric.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

graham cracker houses

After reading the Better Homes and Gardens Dec. 2009 issue, I decided that we needed to make some houses, too. It was pretty easy. I've baked gingerbread houses before, and I can never get beautiful flat pieces. My pans are always warped. The main difference between the royal icing I used to make graham cracker houses (recipe in BHG) vs. gingerbread houses is that I made in the past is that the graham cracker icing was runny. It still hardened like a rock, but took a long time to set. It did not work for making icicles and fences.

I pre-assembled the cracker squares like the magazine said -- using caramel to set the squares at right angles. Each one-story house needs three of these, two for the house and one for the roof.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wordless Work in Progress

Working for Christmas.


Friday, December 18, 2009

I won again

I cut coupons. I also join manufacturer websites so I can get more coupons. Land O Lakes (who doesn't want coupons for butter?) recently asked for Christmas memories and stories, so I submitted one of mine and won. This means that the email newsletter that all the Land O Lakes subscribers get included my story, along with a couple other stories. I also got two coupons for free butter.

The other winning thing I've done is make a Green Bag Lady bag. This was one of the easiest things I've ever made. Ever. The only thing I would change about the pattern would be to note WST or RST on the pieces. That would be Wrong Sides Together or Right Sides Together. You can also figure it out on your own but a pattern marking would have been faster. I did view the video once I was done sewing . It's a six minute time suck. I will be giving the new bag away soon.

I have used my yellow Green Lady bag twice, and I like it. Here is a photo I took of it last night. I've read a few articles about reusable bags -- USE THE BAG seems to be the moral of all the articles. If you want to have an impact, environmental or financial, you have to use the bag frequently.

Hauling stuff to meetings in it keeps my stuff from being mixed up with someone else's; everyone has store bags. It holds a lot and is strong, so I'm hoping to get 100+ uses out of it within the year.

Speaking of meetings, I attended the last meeting of 2009 for one of my homeschool moms groups. About half of us participated in an ornament exchange. It's a lot like winning, even though it's trading. I gave a quilled tree and received two handmade snowflakes. The snowflakes are already on the tree, so no photo yet. One mom had her kids make ornaments, the other mom made the snowflake herself. Pipe cleaners and some beads in really neat shapes make very nice snowflake ornaments.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

giveaway and kitchen

I mailed out my travel purse to redzshadow a couple days ago. I reused a mailer from a book I recently mooched via BookMooch. Love through giveaways makes my world go round. :-)

I used my new bag again tonight. Knowing the story behind it really makes me want to use it more. I took a picture with my camera phone, but it will need to wait for a future post.

I also have a new stove. I lurve it. The convection bake feature is wildly cool. The heat control is fantastic. We now have half our kitchen in cream and half in black.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Won a Giveaway

I was blessed by the Green Bag Lady with a bag...and a Pay It Forward mission. To enter her SMS giveaway, you had to agree to a "Take One, Make One" deal. Out of 358 comments, she chose 100 winners to receive a bag, along with fabric to make a bag for giving away. I thought I could do this challenge because her pattern doesn't require much fabric (1 and 1/8 yd). I didn't read the details close enough. I didn't realize that all the winners received pre-cut fabric for the pay it forward part. It's already cut and shouldn't take long for me to make. I just have to sit down and do it. Sweet deal for me.

I got the bag yesterday, and I just used the bag for the first time tonight at the grocery store. I am hoping that the light yellow stays nice looking for a while. It's much cheerier than the drab bags I already had.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The winner is...

Our first winner has not responded after our three attempts over the past week. Let's try...


Congratulations and I'll be sending a private message to you shortly!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Whoa! What did I do?

Look at that baby on the left. It's a new Samsung convection oven/stove. It will be in my house on Monday evening.

I've been living for about a month with a stove that has only one small working burner. I thought I'd go to the store and get a new stove for $400. Arcing heat elements have a funny smell, by the way. Ozone, I guess.

Mr. TellBlast and I have since shopped off and on for stoves, while I limit the cooking to meals that require one burner, or use the crock pot, oven, or combine cooking with the stovetop and microwave oven for our dinners. Guess what? There are no stoves for $400!

During all this, I won a work promotion -- I write for (free field trips at Drake University and getting free books at BookMooch are recent articles). Problem -- the $200 gift card that I won has to be spent within two weeks. So we're down to the wire today. I'm feeling a lot of pressure to buy a new stove quick. Lucky for me, Mr. TellBlast's three day work trip was cancelled, and businesses are still open despite the sub-zero temps -- we can go shopping together before two weeks is over. Yay!

Chad at Lowe's gave us a significant discount. Free removal, delivery, and connection. And, no exposed heating elements for me to burn myself with bi-weekly regularity. This was the only model we found with stainless steel knobs. Did I mention that we visited five stores in one and half hours in bone-chilling cold in a rear-wheel drive, full-size van before we settled on the Samsung?

Current concerns: Am I now a stove snob? Wouldn't snobbery be bad? Will I adjust to the convection? Did the residents before us leave icky stuff behind the stove?


Travel purse on hold

Ginny has until Saturday, Dec. 12 to contact me. If there has been no contact, a new winner will be chosen on Sun., Dec. 13,  from the comments left on the travel purse giveaway.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

The winner is....


An email should be coming your way soon.

This was a truly hard decision. My older daughter and I went through the comments and narrowed down the selections after checking people's blogs and profiles. Happy Holidays everyone! JULIA

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Travel Purse Giveaway

Thank you for visiting. It's 11 p.m. Comments are now CLOSED. 
I'll pick and notify the winner on Sunday.

I'm having a GIVEAWAY!!! I've always wanted to say that. :-)

After you are finished reading here, feel free to check out my other blog posts.

Sew, Mama, Sew visitors, welcome to my crafty place! I'm a stay at home mom to my four kids and I've been married to Mr. TellBlast for sixteen years. I homeschool three of my four kids. After eight years at home, my oldest is currently enrolled full time in high school. I craft in my spare time.

I am giving away a Travel Purse a la Michelle at the vintage sheet, which I was made aware of through daily visits to the Sew, Mama, Sew blog.

My travel purse is 5 7/16" high and 4 1/2" wide. The handle is 23 1/2" long. Worn across the body or over the shoulder on one side puts the purse right at my hip. It is made of quilting cotton. Brand new, never used!

I swayed a little from the tutorial while making the pocket. I turned the edges under and used a straight stitch to create a cleaner look than a zigzag. The pocket is perfectly handy for a credit card. If your card is always lost and you take forever to fish it out, this pocket will be great for you.

The lining fabric was taken from my 9yo daughter. She thought she'd like to handsew a 9-patch quilt around April, but she just isn't ready for the amount of precision needed to make a good-looking block. And then she was given a brand new sewing machine in September. So hand stitching a quilt isn't her cup of tea any more. (But she does like red hibiscus flower tea thanks to Ms. Kristie.) The button is vintage from my slowly shrinking collection. The outside fabric was bought special, just for this purse. Aw, how nice.

To be awarded with this travel purse, you need to comment here no later than 11 p.m. CST on Dec. 5. The gift will be awarded  on Dec. 6 to the person who answers this question best: Where will you take your travel purse? Please leave your email address if you are not a blogspot blogger so I can let you know if you are the winner.

I will ship within the continental U.S. by Dec. 12 Sorry, international readers :-( After I won something that required international postage, I felt pretty bad about claiming my prize. I LOVE the charms I got, but don't feel good about the monetary and non-monetary costs associated. Thanks for understanding

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