Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of Strictly Homemade 2011

Can you believe we are wrapping up 2011??  This year has just flown by for me.  I started off 2011 with the birth of my precious baby girl…


I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love being a mom to my 3 kids!


When I am not in full-time mom mode, I love to sew (this is what keeps my sanity)…it thrills me to no end that many of you like to see what I create!!   Today I will share with you the best of Strictly Homemade 2011.

The most popular post (11,787) was American Girl Doll Winter Outfit. 

Next was the Tutorial for the Shirred 18” Doll Dress

I bet you can guess what you will seeing more of in 2012??? 18” Doll Patterns for sure!

Next in popularity were some fun Upcycling Projects…

Upcycled Men’s T-shirt to Pillow

Then one of my favorite projects of 2011 was Recycling a shirt for every holiday.

It is funny, I guest posted this at Seamingly Smitten and it is one of her most Popular Posts right now!!!

Temporary Shirt Collage

Then I end 2011 turning a year older…today (30th) is my birthday!! I don’t look any older do I? Don’t answer that!


From the bottom of my heart thank you to all my loyal readers!! 2011 was an excellent year for Strictly Homemade and I so appreciate your support.  I have a silly goal one that I have never made public but I will tell you it.  My goal has always been to have more followers then blog posts!  I accomplished that goal. Therefore, I say 2011 was a successful year!!

In 2012, I will continue to host Strictly Homemade Tuesday (Starting Jan. 3rd).  I will start publishing more patterns for 18” dolls.  I am very excited about this adventure, and ladies who graduated from Meredith College….I have something very special lined up for your daughter’s/granddaughter’s 18” doll.  SO EXCITED to share!!!  Plus, anything else homemade!!! I hope to see you around in 2012!!

Happy New Years!!!



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas House Tour

This is a little late (kinda 11th hour type deal) but that is how I work!!  I thought since most of my family live all around the country and my friends and blogging friends only see me through a computer screen. I would give you a small tour of my home decorated for Christmas.

This is my home.  I love just traditional décor!


This year we moved our tree from the living room to the family room and you can see it from the street!!


My friendly (palm tree) reindeer is ready to greet you too.  I love this guy! My mom made this last year with the kids!


When you walk through the garage the first thing you see is my tree.  I LOVE our tree and I can stare at it for hours.   So can my little girl!!


Some of my new ornaments include…

Cailyn's WishlistKcups to Christmas BellsToilet Paper Rolls 2

Here are some other fun things around my house.  Most of it is homemade and you have found tutorials on my blog. 



Then the dining room has a pretty village scene….DSC_3466

Most importantly a nativity set for this kids to play with.  DSC_3475

Well, that is about it!  I hope you have enjoyed the small tour of our home.  It isn’t over-the-top it is just right!! 


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sharing the Christmas Spirit with our Neighbors

We live in an older neighborhood and we happen to be one of the youngest family in our neighborhood too.  We are very fortunate to have neighbors directly beside us who have pretty much adopted our family. I can call them in a heartbeat and they will watch my kids, change a flat tire, or just have a cold beverage with me at 5:00!!  The rest of my neighbors are just stuck in their routine, never come outside, and seem kind of grouchy (although I am sure they are nice once you get to know them.)

After living here for 6 years I decided to reach out to them and spread some Christmas Cheer!  I got this idea from Your Creative Juices to give them a role of wrapping paper, tape, and a card saying “Wrap yourself in the holiday spirit. Merry Christmas”


For some of our neighbors we also added a Salt Dough Ornament!! 

On my daughter’s first day off on Christmas Break we set forth to pass out some Christmas Spirit!!  I didn’t even realize it at first but it was an EXCELLENT opportunity to teach my kids a valuable lesson.  Don’t you just love when things work out that way??

While I was getting everyone ready my daughter and I’s conversation:

M: We are going to pass out small gifts to our neighbors so get your shoes on!

L: Mom, we don’t know them are they going to give us a gift too?

M: No honey, this is not about receiving this is about giving some Holiday cheer to people we do not know. You know Christmas is about giving NOT receiving!

L: How do we know if they believe in Christmas?

M: We don’t, and that is okay, our job as Christians is to tell everyone about Jesus Christ.

L: Won’t they get mad at us if they are not Christians?

M: Possibly, but that is okay.  We still need to try and one way is to wish them a Merry Christmas.

L: okay… 

(I think that went well don’t you!!)

Here are my kiddos ready to go. What troopers.


I will be honest.  This was a lot easier to do because I had kids in tow.  I am pretty sure I would have been too much of a coward to hand out wrapping paper without them.  That is the honest truth! Thank goodness for kids, right?

Well, we went to about 8 homes and the kids really got into it.  Wesley was pretty upset when all the rolls were gone.  They wanted to pass out gifts to EVERYONE in the neighborhood.  That is not an option as there is about 100 homes in our neighborhood. 

You might be asking if I have heard from any of my neighbors…no, but that was to be expected and that is okay….the message of the Christmas Spirit was the most important thing!! Hopefully, the surprise gift put a smile on their face and cheer in their hearts!!

One funny note: it was pretty slippery outside because the ground was wet and my daughter insists on wearing heels.  Running from the last house she slipped and fell and scrapped her hands.  She got up trying her best not to cry and said “I am not feeling the Christmas Spirit right now.”  Silly girl!!DSC_3465

One last note: as a speaker at my MOPS meeting, Tara Furman said “Say Merry Christmas to everyone!! As Christians we should gladly and proudly say Merry Christmas without fear.” 



I am sharing this at these parties…

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No Strictly Homemade Tuesday until 2012!

Hi Friends!!  The Christmas preparations are in full throttle right now in my household.  There are presents to make, presents to wrap, goodies to prepare for holiday gatherings, and on top of that the kids are out of school.  I am not sure about your household but in mine it makes for “crazy town.” 

I have decided to not host Strictly Homemade Tuesday again until January 3rd, 2012.  (Seems like a long time but really it is only 2 weeks.)  Strictly Homemade Tuesday is one of the highlights of my week.  I truly love seeing everything you are all creating week after week!!

In the mean time, I may post a few things to prepare you for everything Strictly Homemade will have to offer you in 2012 (I am very excited about a few announcements!!!),  but for the most part I will be off the computer and focusing on my family and enjoying Christmas Season.


From my family to yours, 

We wish you a Very Merry Christmas!!

Be sure to come back in 2012!! I will miss you if you don’t!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 12: Neck Wrap from sweater…close to my heart

Today is it…the last day of my Upcycle Christmas Ideas.  Hope you have enjoyed this series.  I have really enjoyed sharing my ideas with you and opening up a little to you all.  I really can not tell you how much I appreciate the kind words and emails I have received from you all especially when I shared with you my Upcycled Candleholders from a sweater with sentimental meaning. 

Since you have all been so kind and I feel I can share my heart I have decided to share with you what I did with another part of the sweater.   I made a neck wrap…

Sweater to neck wrap

One thing I miss the MOST about my brother is his giant bear hugs.  He was 6’5”, and his hugs just embraced you. Chad, is on the right (he is an identical twin too).

  kids 14 may 00 (2)

Everyone loved his hugs. 

With the remaining part of the sweater several of you suggested I make a pillow with the remaining sweater but I wanted something a little closer to my heart. 

Here is the what is left of the sweater. (don’t you love the little hands reaching in the picture!)


I cut the front piece off to the armpits.


I cut that in half from the bottom up and sewed the unfinished side together. This will make it longer.DSC_3373

Then I folded the piece in half and sewed only the unfinished edges (right sides together) then turn inside out.


Mark where you want to place your button and add a button hole. 


Add a button to the other side and you are done!!

Sweater to neck wrap

Tip: Notice how the sweater is all pill-y.  Take an razor and scrap it gently along the sweater. It really works!!


This idea (even without sentimental meaning) would be a great gift.   Look how nice and not bulky it looks under a jacket!! Your neck will stay nice and warm!!

Neck wrap under jacket

Now, a sweater that was un-wearable can now be worn and inside my heart I can remember my brother!!

BTW- If you are wondering…there is still more of this sweater left…maybe now I will make a sweater pillow!!


As I said before, I hope you enjoyed the Upcycle Christmas Idea series here on Strictly Homemade.  Thank you so much for joining me.  I have loved showing you ideas that can be upcycled from things you may already have to make your home beautiful or gifts for loved ones.  

Above all else, Jesus is the reason for the season.   I truly wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Featuring Your Holiday Dress for an 18” Doll

If you don’t know or you never visited this blog before…I have some patterns on my blog for 18” dolls.  It all started when my daughter received her American Girl Doll, Lanie, Christmas 2010.  I have only made a few outfits for her but when I have I have also shared my patterns on my blog. 

Winter Fleece Outfit - Free

Ruffled Cape - Free

Holiday Dress – $

It really never occurred to me until I sold my pattern that I would ask for a picture of your creation.   Maybe I was nervous because it wouldn’t turn out, or maybe I just didn’t want to bother you all.  Well, I am so glad I asked Wendy!! She was kind enough to send me a picture of the Holiday Dress she made for her daughter’s doll, Jenny. 

Jenny the Doll

I honestly could of cried when I got this in the mail.  To see my pattern work for someone else and be so beautiful…all I can say is wow!!!  Wendy you did a fabulous job!! Wendy is also making another one for her other daughter (she is a busy lady!!)  Thank you, Wendy, for sharing with us Jenny.  Your daughter/s are going to absolutely LOVE this gift. 

If you have used my pattern/s and have a picture I would love to see them!!

***Also, is there anyone out there interested in being a pattern tester for 18” doll clothes?  I am praying/thinking about doing this to bring in some extra income and I will need some pattern testers.  Send me your email address so I can contact you in the new year!! Thanks!

Day 11: Wooden Spool to Christmas List

Almost to the end of my Upcycle Christmas Idea Party.  Hope you have enjoyed all the ideas I have shared.  Today’s idea is on a whim.  I found this on Pintrest and I HAD to make it and share with you!!

It is super easy and an awesome keepsake.  Take a wooden spool, paint it red, wrap paper around the spool with child’s wish list.  Hang it on your tree with ribbon running through the center hole.

Here are two versions I did…

One I printed out…

Cailyn's Wishlist

The second one I hand wrote…

Lawson's Wishlist

Love these, and I really don’t have a favorite!! The best part is we will always remember what they dreamed of getting from Santa in 2011!!

Today I am sharing this here…

Tomorrow is the last day of my Upcycle Series!! Be sure to come back!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 10: Infinity Scarf from T-shirt

This one is really easy even a NON-SEWER can make this.  Plus, the person you give it too will love it or maybe this will be a gift for yourself, I won’t tell anyone.

Infinity Scarf

Supplies needed: Old T-shirt OR store bought t-shirt (XL) I purchased mine at Family Dollar for $4.00.


Cut 12” up from the bottom. 

tshirt scarf

Now you have one continues piece.  Sew the unfinished seam if you would like, use heat n’bond or leave as is because knit material will not fray. 

You are DONE!! Wrap it once, twice or three times.  Your pick!!

Upcycled Scarf 2

I have gotten lots of use out of my infinity scarf because #1 it is light weight but warm, #2 tis the season to wear red and look Jolly!!!

BY THE WAY- be sure to keep the top portion for tomorrow’s upcycle idea.

Hope you enjoyed Day #10.  Only two more days!!

Holiday Dress for 18” Doll Dress Giveaway - Winner

Thank you to all those that entered.  I know it was a quick giveaway but I wanted to make sure the winner received the dress before Christmas.  Sorry, if you were unable to enter.

18 Doll Holiday Dress

The winner chosen by out of 11 entries is Joyce…here is her comment…

Joyce said...

I would give it to one of my 3 daughters. They all have 18" dolls and would all love this dress!

Congratulations, Joyce.  I will be contacting you for your mailing address today.

Again, thank you to everyone who entered.  Coming later today (once I get my act together) Day 10 of the Upcycled Christmas Ideas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Strictly Homemade Tuesday- It is busy over here {give away too}

Okay, I am going to get right to business.  First, last week I totally messed up on the Linky Party so if you made your way over here thank you so much for linking up!! I will try not to mess up this week…

Strictly Homemade Tuesday

Second,  today is Day 9 of  Upcycled Christmas Ideas.

I am going to show you a fabulous Upcycled idea from last weeks linky party.  This is 2 for 1 type deal. {wink}

Butterbean Row, made this beautiful artwork out of an old window frame her husband picked up somewhere.  Now it sits as artwork on her mantel.  I love upcycling old window frames.  Old frames add so much character to a room!!

Thank you Butterbean Row for sharing and please be sure to pick up a feature button!!

Now, for another announcement.  I am hosting a giveaway to one lucky winner a Holiday Dress for an 18” Doll.  You might of seen the pattern for sale on my blog where you can make your own dress.  This giveaway is for the actual DRESS!!

18 Doll Holiday Dress

If you know a special little girl who has an 18” doll (does not need to be an American Girl Doll) she will love this dress for her special doll.

Here are the rules.  This giveaway will be open for 24 hrs ending Dec 14th 12AM EST  (I want to make sure I have enough time to get it to you by Christmas)

Mandatory Entry-

Leave a comment here telling me who you would give the dress too. Leave your email address if your comment is linked to “no-reply”

Extra Entries:

1. Become a follower of Strictly Homemade (leave a comment telling me you are a follower)

2. Like Strictly Homemade on FB (leave me a comment saying you are entering to win the Holiday Dress

That is it.  I will announce the winner Dec 14th.

Onto the party, I can’t wait to see all the fabulous Homemade crafts, recipes, décor and gifts you are creating!!

You know the rules!!

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