Dec 14, 2014

A Night in Bethlehem

Our church always has an annual Christmas dinner.  Sometimes its the usual sit-down dinner with some light entertainment.  One year it was a breakfast at the North Pole.  We have even had Christmas in Nauvoo.  But this year, we went all the way back in time to Bethlehem.  We have done this before and its always a lot of fun.  

Upon arrival, each person must stop and sign the census, pay their taxes (canned food for the needy) and pick up a bag of coins to purchase things in the marketplace.  Everyone is encouraged to come dressed in biblical attire.  If you don't have a costume, you can visit the tailor shop upon entering the city and get outfitted for the festivities.   Townspeople enjoy walking around the open market of Bethlehem for good food, music, and the smell of spices in the air.  The kids have fun making beeswax candles, shaping things from clay, and making wooden mallets in the carpenter's shop.  Each family can pick out something from the gift shop.  If you're tired, and you want to spend one of your gold coins, you can sit in the inn to eat your food.

A garland of bagels helps to define the bakery shop filled with many delightful home-baked goodies.

Next to the bakery was a shop offering lentil soup and smoked salmon.  Further down was the Pita Inn offering delicious pita pockets filled with chicken salad and cucumber slices.

Jasper, the donkey, was watching over the photo area.  Just a side note...Jasper is a well traveled donkey.  He has been south of the border, to Nauvoo, Bethlehem, and other various locations (depending on what church activity we're having!)

The fruit stand offered a variety of fresh fruit.

The gift shop was filled with ornaments depicting the nativity, small clay figurines of the nativity (some from red clay, others from fimo), simmering spice potpourri, and other small items.

Other shops were the dairy, serving cheese cubes and olives, and the "winery" serving grape juice.

The pottery shop allowed the kids to sculpt something from self-hardening clay.

The shop also had some pottery on display.

The other two shops were the candle shop, where beeswax candles could be made, and the popular carpenter's shop where a lot of enthusiastic pounding was taking place!

After everyone had enjoyed the market place, townspeople made there way into the chapel for a reenactment of the Christmas story and the singing of hymns, ending the evening with our thoughts toward the real reason that we celebrate Christmas.  I am thankful for the birth our Savior and for the life that he led so that we might have a perfect example to follow.  May we all strive to be more kind, more patient, more loving, more forgiving, more like Him!

Below is a beautiful, short video about the most important gift ever given.

This is a fun activity, but needs a lot of advance preparation for it to be a success.  You can find several ideas for this if you search the web.  A couple of things we did the first time was to get several castoff sheets from a local hotel.  I cut a cardboard stencil and used spray paint to make the stone walls surrounding the city.  I also dyed several sheets brown, blue, burgandy, and green.  These have come in very handy for covering all the tables.  The upright supports for all the awnings are 2x2's that are attached to the table legs with duct tape...lots of duct tape!  All of the baskets, pottery, fringed fabric, table runners, greenery, etc. were purchased over time from thrift stores (a fun assignment to have, I might add!)  We're lucky enough to have two large plywood boxes that fit on the roll-around carts under the stage for storage...and they are filled to the brim!  It takes several hours to build the city of Bethlehem, but with enough workers, only about 45 minutes to take it all down...yay!

I like to link to these great parties!


Oct 26, 2014

Gears, Gadgets, Goggles...Steampunk!

Every year our church has a Harvest Festival, which includes a chili cook-off, entertainment, trunk-or-treat, and costumes!  I love costumes and thought this year it would be fun to dress in a steampunk style and decorate the "trunk" of our van to match.  In case you don't know what steampunk is, here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery,[1] especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power.

So basically, I like to think of steampunk as Victorian Sci-fi, i.e. really fun costumes!  Of course a trip to the thrift store was in order.  As luck would have it, I discovered a local thrift store had already gathered steampunk inspired clothing and decorations and made a whole display from them.  Plus, it was half off women's clothing that day, so I got my jacket, black velveteen vest, and crushed velvet skirt all for $7!

I found a lace skirt at another thrift store.  Add that to the hat, belt, jewelry, boots, and victorian blouse I already had and I was well on my to completing my costume.

Sep 15, 2014

No-Sew Housecoat Refashion!

We had the fun of heading to the Oregon coast for Labor Day.  The weather was beautiful!  We played board games, walked on the beach, watched some football, and, or course, went to thrift stores....well, at least us girls went to the thrift stores!

I found some fun things that will be used for my upcoming bedroom redo.  And, I also found this sweet aqua, bandana print housecoat!  I loved the fabric at first glance and knew I wanted to do something with it.  I tried it on and realized that this might be my quickest refashion yet.  I figured all it needed was a belt, rolled sleeves, and some accessories.

I could have went through the effort of cutting it at the waist, taking in the bodice, reattaching the skirt, etc.  But, my wide elastic belt did all of that work for me!

I love the picot trim on the pockets.

That same trim also adorns the collar.

I accessorized with a black and white beaded necklace, beaded bracelet, and black heels.

So simple!

You can check out my other housecoat refashions (where the belt didn't do all the work!) here and here!

I like to link to these great parties!

Sep 4, 2014

My Sewing Studio: The Accessories

So this is the final post of the "My Sewing Studio" series, giving you a little bit of info on the accessories in the room.

I love vintage patterns, but had a hard time finding the real thing in my local thrift stores.  Instead, I went to the internet and downloaded some of my favorites.  I then cut some colored mats from card stock and framed them in some frames I picked up for 50¢ each. 

I found this nifty replica of a vintage phone at a yard sale for $2.00.

My small closet (still lamenting a bit over not getting the bigger room with the walk-in closet...see original post as to why I don't have that room) anyway, my small closet allows me to hang some of my future refashions, and also stores containers of lace, ribbons, and trims.

I picked up this ugly thing for $2.00 at a thrift store...

It didn't stay ugly for long.  I switched out the "snake/dragon/serpent" painting for a cork board.  I cut out the word "INSPIRE" using my cricut.

The push pins were made by layering vintage buttons on top of each other and gluing them to a thumbtack.

I picked up this little wooden cabinet for $4.00 at a garage sale.  It was dark brown and one side had broken glass.  I replaced the glass and painted it to match the blue hutch.  It hangs across the room from the hutch which helps to bring that color of blue around the room.  

I spent $10.00 on some baby food jars and painted the lids green.  I already had in my stash spice containers which I painted to match also.  Then I had fun sorting all of my buttons by color.  I really lucked out having three different sizes of jars that fit perfectly on three different heights of shelves!

I found this mirror at a thrift shop, half price for $12.00.  I really liked the shape and felt that once painted, it would make a great addition to the sewing studio when trying on and fitting my refashions.

It was painted the same blue as the hutch, once again bringing the color across the room.  You can see the reflection of the blue hutch in the mirror.

I had a friend cut the vinyl lettering for me.  "IMAGINE" seemed like the perfect word to put above the mirror!

The clock started out as a simple $3.00 clock from Walmart.  I liked the bright color, but it wasn't substantial enough on the wall.  So, I picked up this metal tray for a couple of bucks.

I centered the clock on the tray and drew around the edge of the clock with a pencil, creating a circle.  I then measured on the back of the clock the distance from the outer edge to the clock's hanger.  I measured the same distance from my penciled edge and placed a mark on the tray.  I then drilled a hole big enough for a nail head to fit through.  I had to sand off the rough edges left by the drill bit.

Next, I sprayed the tray with cream colored spray paint.  When dry, I masked off the center and sprayed the edges with a nice teal.  Here's a hint, when masking off a circular design, use electrician's tape, it has a lot of stretch to it!

To hang it, I just placed the hole of the tray on a nail, then I placed the hanger of the clock on the same nail.  It centers perfectly on the tray and its easy to remove the clock when I need to change the battery!

And there you have it, all the accessories!

Total spent on accessories:

Picture frames.....$2.00
Pictures and mats.....printed and cut at home
Storage containers for trims....hand-me-down from a friend
Vintage style desk phone.....$2.00
Bulletin board....$2.00 (buttons and cork already on hand)
Small wooden cabinet....$4.00
Replacement glass.....$3.00
Baby food jars....$10.00 (with extra to spare)
Spice jars.....already on hand
Wall mirror.....$12.00
Vinyl lettering.....$8.00
Wall clock.....$3.00
Metal tray....$2.00

Total cost.....$48.00

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this series.  If you missed any of them, check out the original post for links to all the projects!

I like to link to these great parties!

Aug 23, 2014

My Sewing Studio: The Aqua Hutch

Of all the projects in my sewing studio, this one has to be my favorite!  I was searching for something that could do double and table space.  I came across this two-piece gem at a used furniture store for....drum roll please....only $15!!  They weren't actually connected, and at first, I didn't even know if they were a matching set.  The owner of the store had accidentally dropped the upper section while moving it one day and had tweaked the hinges.  When I found it, the door on one side wouldn't close properly.  But, for $15, I was more than ready to tackle the project of fixing the hinges.  The funny thing is, though, that I didn't have to do anything at all.  Just putting them on their backs and driving them home in my van did the trick.  When I unloaded the two pieces, everything worked perfectly.  Woohoo!!

I had plans for the lower half becoming a roll-out work table, so I knew the upper part wasn't going to be able to sit on top of it any longer.  So, I gave the sides a decorative cut and fastened the upper piece to the wall.  The original plan was to add a couple of dowels across the lower area to accommodate spools of ribbon, but I decided to scratch that idea for a less cluttered look.

My husband and son helped me attach it to the wall by screwing it to the studs.

I then turned my attention to the base.  I purchased a sheet of 3/4" MDF and cut a new "drop-leaf" table top.  I also cut a couple of legs from the MDF and attached them to the underside of the table with hinges.  When the extended table is not in use, they fold up neatly for storage.

I purchased a long piano hinge and fastened it underneath so that my table could drop down when not in use.  I also added some heavy-duty casters to the base cabinet so that my work table can move around easily.

Once I had it the way I wanted it, I painted the exterior cream, and the interior, along with the table top, aqua.  I also added some gold details to tie in the existing gold trim on the glass doors.  The hardware was sprayed with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.

I covered three of the screws that attached the upper piece to the wall with some vintage buttons.  (The upper screws are inside the cabinet and not visible.)

I found some baskets on clearance at JoAnn's that fit perfectly with my color scheme.  The cupboards below are perfect for storing larger pieces of fabric.

The glass cupboard above showoff fat quarters and other smaller pieces of fabric.   
I also had a friend cut me out a well-loved quote from vinyl to add to the piece.  A small tabletop ironing board was covered with the same material as the office chair.

The top of the cabinet was the perfect place to showcase the Singer Featherweight sewing machine I learned to sew on as a child, along with a few other vintage accessories!

When the table is extended, it makes a great workspace for cutting out and creating projects!

The total cost for this double duty storage and workspace is:

Used hutch.....$15.00
Paint.....already on hand
Half sheet of MDF.....$16.00
Piano hinge.....$10.00
Vinyl lettering.....$12.00
Leg hinges.....already on hand

Total Cost....$77.00

I like to link to these great parties!

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