You’re going to love these pictures from my sister Cindy!

I’m sorry I didn’t get but one “general” comment made on yesterday’s post. It was down toward the bottom. Deb and I were very busy helping my mom with some things… I will get some of your comments answered and taken care of… soon!

Did you ever wish you could do something someone else does? Have a talent that you see in someone else? Maybe you’d like to paint, or build furniture, or know how to knit pretty little dolly sweaters…whatever it is, most people wish they could do something more than what they know.

WELL…today I wished I could play the piano. My little sister (sorry Deb), my younger sister and my mom and I were in Deb’s car driving around helping my mom with some things. Deb had her phone set so that when her car started this most glorious, soothing, calming piano music came over her speakers. We did a lot of stopping and starting today so we heard it plenty of times, but I never once wanted to listen to anything else. It was the new “middle” section of her Wayfaring Stranger song that she is working on. If you thought you liked it the other day…just wait. I think I could put the music on and listen to it all day long and not tire of it. I told Deb to send me a new link when she gets the middle connected to the front and the end! You’re going to love it! She is so talented!

BUT… 4 days ago I wished I could decorate like my older sister, Cindy! Oh, my goodness…this girl can decorate like Deb can play the piano. These pictures you are going to see are nothing less than what you’d expect to see in Better Homes and Garden’s magazines… or ever nicer magazines than that. She does her decorating so effortlessly and knows what she’s doing… (that’s what gets me… I don’t know what I’m doing!) This is my sister’s house being decorated for Christmas… she is phenomenal if you ask me… Her little vignettes all over her house are so cozy and homey and just fill her house with love. All I can do is *sigh!*

Think maybe my sister must be a snob or some uppity person who is super materialistic? WRONG! Cindy is as down to earth and friendly and GENEROUS as probably anyone I know… If you were at her house and said, “oh I love that angel”…. look out, she just might give it to you. She went to an antique shop up in PA a few days ago and when she got there they were having $1.00 Day Sale… so she got all these fun trinkets and more to decorate with. I hope she won’t mind if I tell, but she spent $57 and got $1400 worth of stuff! Okay… who’s jealous? (well, maybe not jealous, but sorry they weren’t at the sale?)

She was thrilled at what she got and shared some of them with me… and of course I wanted to share them with you! SO… let’s get started!

This is Cindy’s front door… decorated with magnolia leaves in the center… from MY tree. I sent her a big box of them a few days ago because she can do ALL kinds of fun things with them… the leaves were my only contribution…all the rest comes completely from her…

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Don’t you just LOVE this next picture? Her neighbor died and she bought her baby grand piano… I LOVE this shot! Her son did her coffered ceilings…love them too!

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Cindy painted the picture in the background of this next picture. It’s the downtown area of Middlebury, Vermont.

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She even got this big angel for $1.00!!!!! The wings were broken off, but do you think that stopped Cindy? :o)

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She has also been making the favor gifts for her hubby’s company’s Christmas party. Remember last year she made the Steampunk Birdhouses? You can see them HERE. Well, this year she is hand drawing these Chalkboard pictures on slabs of wood. She has to do FIFTY! When she sent me this picture, I think she had done 18.

You REALLY should click on this next picture to see her chalk drawings up close! WOW! I want to see all 50, don’t you?

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See what I mean… I think SUPER TALENTED just isn’t enough to describe her! I just wanted the whole world to know about her and how blessed I am to be your little sister! (ahem… younger sister, that is!)

Thanks for letting me share,

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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How Christmas Elegance was fixed … Part Two…

Day before yesterday I showed you Part One in this story about a doll who became stained because of a black lined bodice on a dress I made. You can see that post HERE.

When I left you then, I told you I had talked to Dianna Effner, the artist who sculpts the Little Darling dolls. She recommended I buy this cream called Remove-Zit. You can bet I did. I ordered the cream and the Formula 911 and sent it to the dress owner and she wanted to try it herself. (So I actually have never used the cream myself) I’ll just be telling you the story from the owner’s perspective. Do you really want to know how hard I was praying??? You actually use a cream and apply it to the stained area on the doll and let it set for a day or two. It apparently becomes hardened, something I’m guessing like maybe fingernail polish. As it hardens the stain comes up in the cream, drawing it away from the doll’s vinyl. Then you have to use the Formula 911 to get the hardened cream off.

Here is the website of the Twin Pines Remove-Zit and the Formula 911. Both products are on the top row…far right and far left.

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After using the Remove-Zit 4 or 5 times, the stains were gone… Can I hear an AMEN? The owner said it worked but it was a few days process and as much as she was grateful to me for sending her the product, I was 20 times more grateful that it worked and the woman was such a nice and sweet person to have worked with. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how awful this could have turned out. I was astounded at just how patient and kind this woman was and I will NEVER forget her sweet spirit though this whole thing.
I don’t have pictures of the “unstained” doll… so just imagine… an unstained doll! :o)

Okay, so in the meantime, this woman decided she wanted me to try as best I could and fix the dress… I wondered what I should do… give her her money back, replace the dress with a new one, replace the bodice or the lining, make the bodice out of a different fabric… she didn’t want her money back she just wanted the dress fixed because she loved her doll in the dress. (I did tell her I would like to make her another dress to make up for this mishap and she said she loved pretty florals that were old fashioned looking. Guess what she’s getting?)

She decided to send the doll dress back to me and try to fix it somehow… but this is what happened…I procrastinated and procrastinated…I just kept thinking I’ll do it tomorrow, but didn’t know how I was going to do it…I was very bad…very bad! Finally last week, I gave myself a talking to and said, “JUST DO IT! FIX HER DRESS!”

First I took out all the black stitching along the edge of the dress… Then decided to use some really fine, almost headscarf-like fabric and just cut a square of it big enough to fit over the whole bodice area in there… I hand manipulated it and took teeny tiny snips of fabric away until I had it almost an exact fit except for the over hanging edges. I then basted it about 1/4″ along the edges, maneuvering it as best I could…turning under about 1/8″ of the fabric and with tiny stitches I whip stitched it as close to the edge as possible without the white showing. I filled in the whole bodice this way.

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I realized there was stitching on the inside that needed to be covered up…side seams, armhole stitching…so I used some flexible lace to cover the sleeve seams and tacked it in place so threads wouldn’t rub on her dolls vinyl.

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I had to come up with a solution for the sleeves next. There was stitching along the edge where the elastic was encased. How could I cover up that seam? The only thing I could think of was to add a little bit of lace extended into the sleeve, stretched over my fingers as taut as I could hold it, stitched over the seam, and then restitched close to the edge so it wouldn’t roll back to the inside so it looked sort of ruffly like.

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So that’s how Christmas Elegance was made and “re-made!” I wouldn’t recommend it… just use a white lining to begin with. I debated in the beginning about making a whole new bodice, but thought I’d give putting a lining in it first. It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it did take some time… probably about 5-6 hours… all by hand stitching and finger shaping.

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The lining was sheer enough that it didn’t compromise the design of the dress…I am happy with the way it looks and will get it shipped off to the winner for a second time! (White linings from now on from me!)

Thanks everyone…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

P.S. The very last thing I want for my blog to turn into is a “Poor Jeanne and George, going through this cancer journey…and have post after post about what’s going on.” I have decided to occasionally tell you what is going on, but for the most part, I want to keep this lighthearted and about dolls and sewing.

So let me just tell you… today was day one of the Chemotherapy and my hubby did just fine. In fact when we were walking though the doors of the Cancer Institute, he took my hand and said, “we’ll just think of this as a day at the spa!” :o) That’s why I love him! They even served us a box lunch at the place… so I guess we could call it a date! :o)
He’s sleeping right now, which they said he probably wouldn’t do this first night, with the 5 1/2 hours of drugs he was given…so already he’s “going against the grain!”

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How about a recipe for Chocolate Mint Cookie Bark instead….sorry…

I am so sorry not to have Part Two of my story about “Christmas Elegance” for you today, but something came up last night and I just wasn’t able to get it written. Actually part of it was written but my pictures weren’t taken and I had too much on my plate and not enough time to do it justice. I am hoping to have it tomorrow.
BUT…in the meantime I decided to share my favorite Chocolate Mint Cookie Bark with you. This has become my favorite recipe of the Christmas season, although it’s delicious any time of the year. I was going to share it with you anyway… just hadn’t planned on it being today…

I am going to copy the complete post that I did for it last year with a tutorial full of pictures. It is pretty fool proof and absolutely delicious. I always take some to the Post Office and the clerks at the window know what’s coming when they see me bring in little goodie bags!

BELOW IS THE ORIGINAL POST FROM LAST YEAR… AND NO, I’M NOT HAVING THAT PARTY AS IT TALKS ABOUT IN THE POST…

Disclaimer:
There are no dolls in this post…no sewing and no fabric…but I did use a pair of scissors to open my chocolate chips… Does that count?

It’s getting to be that time of year when things get hectic and it’s no different at my house. I have a big party I’m planning for the Married Couple’s from my church and I’ve been busy with all kinds of things for it. We’re having it in a banquet room at a local restaurant so we don’t have to cook, but I have to get this place looking festive for Christmas. I have most of the things done, but I always like to make some homemade goodies for their treat bags. That’s what I’ve been doing today… making cookies (6 dozen so far) and this recipe I’m sharing with you today… Chocolate Mint Cookie Bark… I hope you’ll try it. It’s SO good and it only calls for 4 ingredients…

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CHOCOLATE MINT COOKIE BARK

8 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips
6 oz of white chocolate chips (Nestle’s Premier White is what I used)
2 TBSP peanut butter
10 Oreo cookies (I used the mint ones)

Now, don’t laugh at my pictures. My lighting was from my stove light and it’s a bit yellowish. I was working quickly so my pictures aren’t like ones I’d submit to “Taste of Home”… they are just “regular” pictures, done quickly as I worked.

You have to work fast when you make this so it’s best to have it all measured out ahead of time.

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Place 5 Oreo cookies in 2 separate baggies and crush up into small pieces… I just used a heavy spoon to smash them up. They do get sort of gooey inside the baggie.

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I take them out of the baggies and put them in 2 separate bowls so it’s quicker to add them to the melted chocolate chips…

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Have your 2 TBSP of peanut butter ready… (It’s NOT 1/3 cup PB…I just have it sitting in a measuring spoon…)

Have a piece of wax paper about 18″ long spread on your counter.

Place the two different flavored chocolate chips in 2 separate glass bowls. Starting with the semi-sweet chocolate chips, microwave them in 30-40 second increments, stirring with a spoon, until the chips are melted. I usually have to do it 3 or 4 times to get them all melted.

Here are the semi-sweet chocolate chips as they are almost melted…

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Quickly add the crushed Oreo’s to the semi sweet chocolate chips and stir… then spoon the chocolate mixture onto the wax paper
skipping spaces like you would if you were making a checkerboard.

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(I’ve made this enough times that I go ahead and put the white chips in the microwave as I’m putting the blobs of semi-sweet chips on the wax paper.) Then take the white chocolate chips bowl and place it in the microwave in 30 second increments until they are melted. Next add the Peanut butter to it, stirring quickly. It sort of turns a bit yellowish.

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Then add the crushed Oreo’s to it and quickly spoon it out onto the wax paper in between the chocolate blobs…

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Next take a butter knife and drag it from top to bottom then back up and then back down down and then up and then back down…pulling in different directions…
That’s what gives it that marbled look….

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Slide a flat cookie sheet or a stiff cutting board under the wax paper and place it in the frig until it hardens. Then just break it apart. I managed to make 3 batches of this bark in about 45 minutes.

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YUMMY!! Now if I can just keep my hubby out of it! (I just caught him coming out of the kitchen with a smile on his face, so anybody want to guess what that means???)

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See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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Why “Christmas Elegance” came back to me… Part One

Many of you thought Christmas Elegance, the sweet black velvet and white lace dress, shown on my Little Darling, Lian, the other day, was one of the prettiest dresses I’ve ever made. Well, I would have to agree with you on this one… It truly was, and I just looked back in my notebook where I listed that one last December and I had a note written on that page saying that it had received the most “watchers” EVER on any of my dresses! There was just something about it that seemed special and the winner thought so too! It sold for a very nice price and I was thrilled…the winner was thrilled…the only one NOT thrilled was Lian, who had to undress and watch me wrap it up and ship it off!

Just to jog your memory, here are a few pics of it…

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SORRY…that was a bit more than a “few!”

Wasn’t it a beautiful dress? Imagine if that were you opening up that dress for your doll…putting it on your doll… letting her wear it for Christmas…then New Year’s and not wanting to take it off your doll till it was sometime near Valentine’s Day…
Well, that’s what the winner did… and I’m not not sure what happened, but imagine you get an email…a very nice email…from a very nice lady… who decided to change her doll’s dress into something for Valentine’s Day and you found… THIS!

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YES! Black stains on her doll… from one of MY DOLL DRESSES! YIKES! …black dash’s all in little rows right where the seams or the thread was stitched. It was a seamstress’s worst nightmare. I’m not quite sure, what happened, but looking at the pictures the buyer sent to me, I’m thinking it was the thread by the way it’s in such straight, almost dotted, lines… then on the back, it’s sort of messed up like it would have been with the thread stitched around the snaps.

Well, if you are horrified, the buyer was horrified, imagine what I WAS! I was a wreck and needed to find a solution quick. In ALL my years of sewing, I’ve only had this one problem…(unless you count the time I sold a print jumper at my Local Farmer’s Market and someone brought it back the next week because the lace was torn on the bottom of the hem. I looked at it and saw grass stains above where the lace was and on the lace. Clearly this had been “man-handled” and I wanted to know how… I talked to the lady and the little girl who brought it back… Turns out the little girl was playing football in it and slid when she got tackled! They decided they didn’t have a case and left sort of sheepishly when they realized their story wasn’t the greatest on their part!)

Anyway, back to the problem, I needed to figure out what to do about the the stains on this wonderful customers prized doll. I didn’t know exactly where to start so I emailed Dianna Effner, the artist of the Little Darlings and asked for her advice since she knew about the vinyl of the dolls and what would and would not work. She was very kind and suggested a product which I was happy to order.

Well, I hate to do this, but you’ll have to come back to find out the rest of the story… Please don’t hate me… just read what happens tomorrow..

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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