Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve !!!!!!!

Happy New Year's Eve Blogland neighbor-hood!!! Here's to a happy, safe, and healthy New Year !!! (Kitty has been making that toast quite a few times ....please excuse us while we haul her out of her champagne glass.....)


Be back soon!
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Burning the midnight oil ......

Good (early) morning Blogland Neighbor-hood ! Did you have a nice Christmas? We did here at MBIAJ Headquarters .... and we're POOPED and the house is a shambles. So why aren't we IN BED ?!?! (As you can see by the clock, it's 12:48 ....that's AM (yawnnnnnn). Well, we're down to the wire and having to burn the midnight oil (and not for anything fun like a sewing project either .....rats).

No, nothing fun ..... just a really , REALLY LONG (like 14 or more hours), complicated (at least for those of us with limited attention spans tack on another 6 hours to that original 14), and TEDIOUSLY BORING (especially for us procrastinators .... so tack on another 4 hours to that original 14) online inservice/ training that MUST be complete by January 1st. So, with a little help from our friends from "Gertrude Hawk Candies" (a lovely Christmas gift from Evan) and about 100 gallons of a caffeinated beverage, we're good to go for another hour or two before passing out and slobbering all over the computer keyboard .

OK....toothpicks have been positioned to keep the eyelids open; caffeine is being administered via IV ......time to get back to work (UGH !!!). Let's meet back here on New Year's Eve for a party !!!! (We'll bring what's left of those Gertrude Hawk candies ....)

Be back soon!
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The stockings are hung by the chimney with care .... hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be here .....

From our house to yours , we wish you a very Merry Christmas !!!

Be back soon !
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 how the heck are we gonna wrap it????

YIKES !!! Happy Wednesday before Christmas Blogland Neighbor-hood !!! Well here's the latest (trivial) dilemma ..... as noted in our previous post, the MBIAJ Sewing Dept has actually completed the wool felt candle mat so they have now handed it off the MBIAJ Wrapping Dept to wrap .......hmmmmmmmmm......they didn't want to fold it and there were no boxes the right size.....what to do , what to do .....

....after rummaging around in the VERY disorganized, VERY UN-Martha-like BIG MESS of a closet where wrapping stuff is all mixed in with school supplies, a lone piece of poster board was found !!!! So, that MBIAJ Wrapping Dept proceeded to fold it in half.....

....then measured the candle mat in question and cut the folded poster board so it was an inch or two wider than the candle mat .... they marked dots evenly along the left and right sides and used a paper punch to punch holes on the marked dots through both thicknesses....

...further rummaging in that messy closet produced some pretty red and gold plaid ribbon , so they knotted the end and "sewed" through the holes on either side, ending in a bow at the top, making it a sort of ......

....big poster board pouch or pocket ...

.....also found while rummaging was some red wrapping paper with gold stars .... so 3 stars of various sizes were cut out and stuck on the front with double sided tape (since who knows where the heck the glue might be ....), into the big poster board Christmas pocket went the candle mat, leaving one gift wrapped, and a whole lot more to go ......

....and there's Santa Kitty AGAIN tapping her foot and pointing to her watch (tick tock ....). If she doesn't knock it off, I'm thinking she could easily be stuffed up the chimney by the Grinch !!!

Be back soon !!!!
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Better late than never LAST MINUTE candle mat (a holly jolly Christmas project tutorial)

Happy Tuesday before Christmas Blogland Neighbor-hood !! The MBIAJ Sewing Dept is just tickled pink beyond their wildest dreams because this year they actually finished a gift BEFORE Christmas !!!! YES !!! You read that correctly ..... the MBIAJ Sewing Dept has COMPLETED a gift AHEAD of schedule !!!! (... and trust us, this IS ahead of schedule considering that the usual modus operandi involves sewing up to and including Christmas morning). Do you think it could be .....

.....the new self appointed boss???

Well anyway, we'd like to think that we are not the only frazzled last minute gift makers out there .....and with that in mind, we thought we'd share this quick and easy project with you because YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO MAKE THIS BEFORE CHRISTMAS !!!! (that is, of course, if you don't have to drop everything , get in your car and go buy the stuff to make this ..... if that is your situation ..... STOP !!! and write out a lovely I.O.U. note instead !)

OK ..... GET BUSY !!!! Here's what you need:

Assorted wool felt
Hexagon quilt template
15" x 15" piece wool felt for backing
Black thread
Chalk marking pencil
Freezer paper
2" x 2" piece of template plastic or cardboard (from cereal box)

Use chalk pencil to trace patterns onto wool felt
Cut 7 large (2 1/2") hexagons from assorted wool felt
Cut 6 smaller (1 1/2") hexagons from assorted wool felt
Cut 6 "snowflakes" from assorted wool felt (free hand draw a simple snowflake onto template material and use as a pattern)

using black thread, sew snowflakes onto smaller hexagons (sewing down center of each "arm" of the snowflake)

sew smaller hexagons onto center of larger hexagons (stitching 1/8" from outer edge of smaller hexagon) You will have 6 of these (the 7th hexagon is the plain center )

decide on your hexagon placement

when you are happy with your placement, turn hexagons over and iron small strips of freezer paper on the back to hold 2 hexagons together at a time (since hexagon edges are butted up against each other, the freezer paper strips act like pieces of scotch tape holding the hexagons in place until they are sewn)

turn over again to right side and use a zig zag stitch to connect hexagons together

carefully remove the freezer paper from the backs

after all hexagons are sewn together, place them onto a piece of freezer paper and trace around outer edges

iron this piece of freezer paper onto wool felt backing fabric

and cut out backing hexagon

next layer backing hexagon with hexagon top , matching all edges (pin to hold in place)

stitch 1/8" from edges of center hexagon and ....

....then stitch 1/8" from outer edges of hexagons all the way around. Press and .....

.... TA DAAaaaa !! You're all DONE !!!!

OK ..... on to the next project (that Santa Kitty runs a tight ship !)

Oh, by the way, that candle (in the first picture) is a soy candle (I LOVE those) and it came from a very fun and cute shop here in Jim Thorpe, Pa called Homespun.

Oops !! Gotta GO !!!! (Santa Kitty is tapping that foot of hers and pointing at her watch again ......)

Be back soon!
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Friday, December 18, 2009

...and a partridge in a pot rack......

Happy Friday Blogland Neighbor-hood !!! Well here we are one week before Christmas and what are we doing here at MBIAJ Headquarters? Finishing our Christmas shopping ? Nope. Finishing/starting our Christmas gift sewing? Nope. Writing out Christmas cards? Nope. Baking Christmas cookies? Nope.......

.....No....we are piddling around putting Christmas decorations on a pot rack .....

......and why would we do that ? Well, why not...... AND the pot rack that was formally used as a pot rack in the kitchen of our previous Headquarters is no longer in use as a pot rack. However, liking this pot rack as we do, it is now hanging on the wall of our teeny tiny dining room/sitting room which was also in need of some Christmas decorating........

.....thus the addition of some Christmas balls, fake ivy, pink rick rack and not one but THREE partridges !! (well, we're not actually sure that those fake birds are partridges .... and since there are three of them, maybe they're the "Three French hens" or the "Calling Birds" in a pear tree (or a pot rack in this case).....

......well, anyway, there it is .....way over there on that wall between the windows .... ta da !!!

......and now it's time to get back to some of that other stuff on the Christmas "to do list".....(apparantly it doesn't all go away if you ignore it.)

Be back soon !
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Homespun Holiday Show N' Tell

Good morning Blogland Neighborhood !!! Today is the first day of the Homespun Holiday Show N' Tell . If you trot on over to Piece N Quilt you can see the links to all the participants who have actually completed projects for the Show and Tell. We here at MBIAJ Sewing Dept (aka Santa Kitty's Sweat Shop ) are, as usual, running a bit behind schedule and feeling like ......


So, anyhow, since none of our Christmas Sewing Projects 2009 are yet completed, we thought we'd haul out some long lingering projects (that have at least gone from the doodle on a piece of scrap paper phase to actually started) from Christmas Past to show you (in hopes that the elves will show up soon and finish at least ONE of these things in the next few days ...... and throw in a tutorial to boot !!!)

OK ..... here goes .....

.........the "Comfort and Joy" wool applique future wall hanging ...

....this Christmas stitchery

.....a hand pieced Christmas quilt with a few preprinted panels thrown in and .....

........a soon to be wool candle mat (you can click on any of these pictures to make them bigger )

So there you have it folks ..... the MBIAJ Sewing Dept's (unfinished) Show N' Tell! Don't forget to zip over to Piece N' Quilt to see all of the other Show N' Tellers and join in yourself !!!

OK ... gotta go ..... getting and icy stare from Santa Kitty who is tapping her foot and pointing to her watch which means better get back to work in the sweat shop !

Be back soon (hopefully with a tutorial on one of these projects BEFORE Christmas.....hopefully) !

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tick tock ......

Good Monday morning Blogland Neighbor-hood! Kitty dropped by to remind us that the clock is ticking faster and faster towards Christmas (like we really needed a reminder !) Anyhow , Miss Kitty was out blog hopping and stumbled upon the Homespun Holiday Show-n-Tell over at
Piece n Quilt, Kitty has decided that the MBIAJ Sewing Dept should get their act together and participate in the Show n Tell ..... and she has also decided that the Sewing Dept needs a new boss and she's the gal for the job ..... she has made out a list of Christmas sewing projects that she wants completed ASAP ..... she plans to run a tight ship ..... LOOK at that list she made out !!!! She must be KIDDING !!!! YIKES !!!!! (at least she's providing some hot chocolate with marshmallows .....huh? .....oh.....she says that's for her ..... being the boss is a tough job and she needs the nourishment ....)

Anyhow .... if you want to join in, it starts on Dec 16th and runs through Dec. 23rd.

(by the way friends and family, you can click on that picture to make it bigger to see if your name is on that list ...... and just keep in mind that unless the elves show up it'll be "the thought that counts" !)
......OK , gotta zoom !!!! (Kitty is blowing a whistle and yelling "TICK TOCK")

Be back soon !

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christkindlmarkt and some sista fun !!!

Well, TGIF Blogland Neighborhood !! Continuing on our quest to be in complete denial of our lack of preparedness for Christmas (which, by our best calculations is a mere 2 weeks away .....uh oh ..... REALLY ?!?!?!!) we spent yet another day goofing off and trotted off to Bethlehem, Pa. to meet up with ....

my "sista" Boop (OK, so our parents didn't really name her that I recall Karen is her original name).

Anyhow, Bethlehem is a very historic and dignified town with many beautiful and old buildings and ...

.....shops like the Moravian Book Shop established in 1745.

.....and during the Christmas season Bethlehem is also known for Christkindlmarkt.....

......a lovely old world style holiday market with ......

.....many talented artists and vendors and......

....St. Nick, of course !!!!

......and no "Girl's Day Out" with my "sista" would be complete without a few visits to Mr. John (OK so not EVERYTHING is dignified at Christkindlmarkt) .....

......oh, and look what else we found .....

.....Boop's new best friend , the lady with the wine tasting booth .......which of course, made us happy to know Mr. John was just a hop, skip, and a jump away !!!!

......and after just a few sips of wine (it doesn't take much!) we were giddy with joy to find these very festive Christmas tree glasses and .....

.....candy cane striped glasses and ....

......New Year's Eve champagne glasses glasses (that go so well with the sign that asks that all important question "Is it too late to be good?"

In addition to just having a fun Girl's Day Out, Boop and I were celebrating my belated birthday from last month .... and LOOK at the fun stuff she gave me ....

.....this beautiful Willow Tree figurine ......

....some chocolate fit for a Queen (naturally !) and....

..something that is just the cat's pajamas .... a black sparkly shower cap with a great big red flower with rhinestones right smack in the middle !!!! ..... and last, but by far least are those wonderfully warm and cozy mittens she knit for ME !!! ( my sister Boop is a very good knitter and actually finishes projects and gifts ..... unlike some people .....ahem ....)

....oh, and before we blow you all a kiss goodnight, here's Evan being a good sport modeling not just those jazzy Christmas tree glasses, but also that FABULOUS sparkly shower cap !!!! OK .... that was a LONG (but fun day ) and LONG post (yawn) .... so now it is definately time to ......

......blow you all a kiss goodnight !!!!

Be back soon !!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)