Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oh Thank Heaven 2011

What a year 2011 has been!

So many wonderful things have happened!

I can't believe 2012 is already upon us.
Am I the only one who vividly remembers when we made it into the 2000's like it was yesterday?
And now it's about to be 2012?? Time really does fly.
Cliche yes, but true.

I was just at the optomitrist and the doctor asked "How long have you been wearing contacts?" I responded with "Since the eighth grade, so... (I did the math) eleven years". ELEVEN YEARS?! I'm old enough to have been doing something for ELEVEN YEARS?! Where does the time go?

In honor of the new year that is quickly approaching, I have decided to make a list of things that I am thankful for and that have helped make my 2011 what it was. Since this year I turned the big (eek) twenty five years old, I decided to do "The 25 Things that I am Thankful for" so, here goes, in no particular order...

1. My job. As much as I hate waking up and going to work every day, I know that we are in very difficult times, where having a job is a blessing. No, I'm not at my dream job, but I'm currently working alongside my parents at our family business that is currently in it's second generation of ownership which I think is really cool.

2. My house. I'm so thankful to have a roof over my head and I got so lucky that one of my dads friends was looking to rent his house. I am currently living in a 3br 3ba house for the same price I was paying for a 2br 1ba apartment AND now I get to have my dogs live with me, such a blessing.

3. My education. I am so blessed to, not only, have been given the gift of a private school education from preschool through high school, but also a college education thanks to my parents.

4. My health and the health of my friends and family. Something that I, admittedly, take for granted very often but it is something that I am extremely thankful for.  I am so fortunate that those I love have their health. So very grateful.

5. My crazy non-immediate family. Between grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins I've got quite an eclectic group. Each and every one of them have played an intrigal part in making me who I am today and I wouldn't have it any other way.

6. This wonderful country that I call home. I am so blessed to have been born in the land of the free and the home of the brave, where I have rights and freedoms that some only dream of.

7. This blog. I'm thankful that I have a place where I can share my thoughts and feelings freely.

8. Music. For as long as I can remember, I've loved music. I love how it has a way of taking you somewhere, or nowhere at all, making you feel, teaching you new things, making you happy, making you sad. It's such an incredible thing.
9. Sunny California. Though sometimes I say I'm going to get out of here, I really can't imagine a better place to live. I've done a little traveling, definitely not enough to say that California is the best place to live but I'm willing to bet it's up there :)
10. As lame as it might sound, my iPhone. I had to do it. I really couldn't live without it and I really am thankful for it. There, I said it. haha.
11. I'm thankful for the beauty in the world around me. The sunrises, the sunsets, the changing of the leaves, a blooming flower. We truly are surrounded by beauty.

12. My strong moral compass. For as long as I can remember I have stayed out of trouble. To me, the boundries between right and wrong are very clear. The thought of being in trouble was never worth the risk to me. I'm sure that I can attribute some of that to my upbringing.

13. The progression of electronics as a whole that make life easier. My day to day life is so easy with the world at my fingertips. I could be lost in an area I dont know, pull out my iphone and within seconds have a route to where I need to be. My gas light could come on and I could find the nearest gas station. It's incredible the things we can do today that we couldn't have done a mere 10 years ago.

14. My brother. Even though we don't always get along, he was one of my very first friends and will probably be one of the last. Only he truly understands just how crazy my family really is.
15. My cousins. These are two of my favorite people in the world. Cade, who is four years old, I've been watching since he was an infant. We have a very special bond that I love. Just the other day he stopped playing and sort of gave me a once over and he goes "Shea, you look very pretty". It's moments like that that melt my heart. Brynn is three and is an absolute sweetheart. The two of them have a way of brightening even the worst of days. Luckily, they help me get my maternal fix without actually having to have any of my own ;) haha.

16. Gamma Phi Beta. I don't have any real sisters of my own but joining a sorority really gave me that sense of sisterhood. I met some of my best friends in sorority and don't know what I would do without them.

17. My birthmother. I'm adopted and so very thankful that she made, what I consider to be the most selfless decision that a person can make and decided to give me a life that she couldn't.

18. My two adorable dogs. Yes, sometimes they make me crazy but they really are like my kids. Sometimes I catch myself when people are talking about their kids I bring up my dogs and I can see the look on their faces, thinking I'm being rude, comparing their kids to dogs. That's not it at all! I'm comparing my dogs to kids! haha.

19. My wonderful boyfriend. Recently I was asked what I like the most about him and my answer was simple, "he makes me feel like I'm 16 again". He makes me feel young. He makes me laugh. He makes me giddy. He makes me feel beautiful. He makes me feel loved. He makes me forget about everything else. I'm so happy to be with him and look forward to our future together.

20. My oldest friend Stacy. I met Stacy when we were in preschool together. Over the years we have had birthday parties, sleepovers, Christmas programs, high school dances, cheer squads and so much more. A little over five years ago I had the honor of being her maid of honor and earlier this year I got to be one of the first to meet her newest addition, baby Luke. I've been friends with Stacy for over 20 years and I'm sure we'll be friends for another 20.

21. My friend/roomamte Stefana. She is one of the most caring and genuine people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I've known her for about 7 years now. Even though I'm almost a year older than her, she's kind of like a motherly figure for me. Always looking out for me, from making sure I have soup if I'm sick to making sure I have a ride if I'm drinking. I'm so lucky to have her in my life. Living with her this last year, we have gotten really close. I'm so glad she made the decision to leave the nest and to join mine to take on such nicknames as "baby" and "Steffie Boo Bah". Don't know what I'd do without this girl.

22. My friend Haley. I met Haley in 2004 when we rushed Gamma Phi Beta together at California State Univeristy, Fullerton. We didn't become close, however until Spring of 2005 at our first Greek Week. If you didn't experience the Greek system, Greek Week is a week long event of compitition, spirit, and fun. We had no idea what was in store for us but during the course of the week, I made one of my very best friends. My favorite memory with Haley was when we traveled across the pond to the beautiful Australia after graduating college. It was a life changing trip and I'm so glad I got to experience it with her. Haley recently got engaged to her long-time boyfriend (and one of my favorite people) Brian. She asked me to be a part of their special day as a bridesmaid and of cours I accepted.

23. My very best friend Danica. Where to even begin with this one. Over the last 13 years we have gotten closer and closer to where now, I see her more as my sister than as my friend, I have even introduced her to people as my sister! haha. I don't know what I would do without her in my life. She has been there through my ups and my downs, as I, hopfully, have been for her as well. She knows everything about me, the good and the bad. She knows all my flaws and accepts me as I am. We spent the last almost three year living together and growing pretty much as close as two people can. Last year we even got each other ALL the same Christmas gifts! Haha. This year was a whirlwind of a year with Danica getting engaged, married AND moved out all in less than a year. I had the honor of being Danica's maid of honor at her wedding. It was such a beautiful day for such a beautiful girl, a girl that I am proud to call my friend.

24. My father. At times he and I are more alike than I'd like to admit. My dad and I have a very similar sense of humor that I lot of people don't understand but we have a great way of making each other laugh. We also have very similar tempers and, at times, can be like fire and gasoline. At the end of the day though, I'll always be his little girl and I'll always have him wrapped around my little finger (just the way a daddy and daughter should be ;) )

25. And lasty, but of course, certainly not least My Mother. As cliche as it's going to sound, my mother truely and honestly is my very best friend. Oddly enough, we really weren't real close growing up, like I said, I was more of a daddy's girl and my brother was more of a momma's boy but as the years have gone by my mom and I have gotten extraordinarly close. I don't know what I would do without her. Unfortunatly almost all of my friends have lost their mothers to cancer. Because of this, I know how lucky I am to, not only have my mother, but be as close to her as I am. My mom has really stepped up and, not only been a wonderful mother to me, but has also become somewhat of a psudo mom to my friends like Danica, who no longer have their mother. My mom is the rock of our family and is, what I consider to be my angel on earth.

(one of my favorite photos of me with my parents)

I'm so excited to see what 2012 holds (hopefully not the end of the world, as predicted, haha).
What made your 2011 special? Any special plans to ring in the new year? What are your New Year's resolutions?


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Foto Friday!

Happy Friday!
Gosh Friday's make me so happy, I don't even have to have any weekend plans, just knowing that the weekend is ahead of me makes me happy as a clam.
This Friday I thought I'd share some "Foto's" with you.
Enjoy :)
My little cousin Brynn and I after my cousin Cade's Christmas performance.
 A little miniature apple, so small and cute I had to get a picture.
 I saw this Nadia Cakes car while driving the other day. I remember seeing them on Fabulous Cakes on TLC and had to snap a pic.
Their car was so funny.
"Yup, we were on TV, we know... we're awesome"
 I got a photo sent to me the other day of one of the kittens I rescued at my work. Looks like she's adjusting well :)
 I've been listening to alot of Minature Tigers lately. I had forgotten how much I loved them, specifically this song.
 My boyfriend always sends me the sweetest stuff :)
In less than a month you get to see me make this face on national television. Tune into My Fair Wedding on WE tv Sunday January 15th to see the whole episode of Danica's wedding.
With Christmas right around the corner, it was time to get started on my "famous" english toffee. I've been making it the last few years now and it's become a bit of a tradition. My family keeps asking when they're getting their Christmas toffee. I put it in cute mason jars this year.
A little over a week until Christmas!
I officially made my own stockings this year, made my toffee... AND, thanks to my OBSESSION with Pinterest, was motivated to make all of my wrapping really cute this year. Overall, I'm pretty proud of myself. I just need to get a little more shopping done and I'm all set!

Do you all have any Christmas plans or traditions to share?


Monday, December 12, 2011

And the stockings were hung...

by the chimney with care... after being homemade of course! :)

So this year, after YEARS of wanting to make my own stocking, I put together a stocking making night with the roommates (old and new) Danica, Stefana and Marisa. We all headed to the fabric store and picked out our fabrics. Which, let me tell you, at M & L Fabrics Discount Store, can be an overwhelming task. Once we all made our decisions, we all chose fabrics that were so perfect for our personalities and then we got home and got started!

We put some Christmas music on, Stefana made some Christmas cocktails and the fun began! We spent the next several hours cutting and laughing and sewing and singing until finally we were all finished. I made a stocking for both myself and my boyfriend:

I went to put our names on them but I felt like it made them look kind of tacky and it made them lose the simplistic look, so, nameless they shall remain.

Danica made a stocking for herself, her husband and even a paw shaped one for their puppy George :)
Stefana made three also, one for herself, one for her boyfriend and an extra because there was so much cute Dr.Seuss fabric she didn't know what to DO with herself. Haha.

Once we were finished I was so proud of all of us, especially Stefana who really didn't have much sewing experience beforehand and who was determined to do everything herself. They turned out great, especially for a first timer!

The next day I got to thinking about how much fun I had and how easy it really was to make and decided to make one more, document it, and do a little tutorial on it so, here it is! :)

(Note: It may seem a little long but I tried to be as thorough as I could in case anyone wanted to try it themselves. If you do, remember, be patient and most importantly be creative!)

1/2 yd (exterior)
1/4 yd (cuff)
1/2 yd (lining) (can be the same as the exterior if you’d like)
20" x 30" piece of batting (preferably Warm and Natural)
6 " ribbon for hanging loop
Coordinating thread (optional, white is always fine)

*These measurements will leave you with leftover fabric

The wonderful stocking template I got from FabricWorm and you can find it here.

The cuff template I created myself because I am so OCD I couldn't just free cut it. So i got some printer paper and taped pieces together measuring 16" x 9".

Exterior: Lay the fabric wrong side up and fold the right side of the fabric over about 13 inches (so that the pattern fits on it). Lay the pattern piece on top to be sure that it fits.
Remove the template and repeat the steps with the batting and lining (So that they are all laying on top of each other as seen below)

Pin stocking template to all layers of fabric.
Cut around the template, making sure to cut through all three layers (which should all be folded in half, leaving you with six pieces of fabric.)
As you can see here
To assemble the body of the stocking, put the two exterior body pieces right sides (or, as some people say, pretty sides) together. Put the batting on the wrong sides of the exterior fabric. As you can see in the picture below, you will have a layer of batting, two layers of fabric (right sides together) and then another layer of batting.
Pin in place.
Sew the four layers together with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Trim the batting from the seam allowance if necessary to help reduce bulk. Also, make small snips around edges TOWARDS the inside of the stocking, being careful not to snip your seam. This way the fabric can bend.
Turn right side out and press with iron.
It's starting to look like a stocking!
Interior: Put your lining pieces right sides together. Sew them together leaving about a 4” gap on the heel side that will be used later to pull the stocking through. (I marked on the photo below where I left an opening on the left side, about two inches down) Snip the round edges. Set aside for later.
Cuff: To make the cuff I used my 16" x 9" template and cut my fabric.
Use your iron and press the piece in half (like a book)
Sew together the open side.
Turn the cuff inside itself like the photo below so it’s folded at the bottom and the raw edges are at the top. It should make a tube you can stick the stocking in.
Stick the cuff on and around the top of the stocking, matching the raw edges and making sure the seams line up together.
Stick the whole thing into the lining. The stocking and lining should be right sides together.
Again, make sure all of the the raw edges meet together at the top (lining on the outside 2 cuff edges, and the sewn together exterior and batting edges).
Grab your  6" piece of ribbon and fold in half. Place the ribbon between the cuff and the lining along the back body seam of the stocking, like the photo below (the hole that you left is also useful to make sure that your ribbon is straight and in place). Make sure that all seams and the ribbon match up evenly.
Sew all the way around the top. Make sure you catch all the layers (lining, cuff edges, loop, stocking).

Turn the whole thing right side out using the hole left in the side of the lining.
You're almost finished!
Finish turning it inside out and press and sew up the hole in the side of the lining.

Stuff the lining inside the stocking and fold the cuff down. Press the edges as needed.
Aaaaaand viola! All done! I was so happy once I finished my stockings and am glad I was able to share it with you. Now, to fill them with fun treats for everyone! :) Stockings were always my favorite part of Christmas. My grandma had knitted stockings for us that grew with every item put in them. They were like Mary Poppins' bag, just never ending. It was so much fun.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments on this tutorial. Keep it mind, it was my first, so be kind. Haha.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! :)


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