Thursday, November 26, 2009

One Down, One to Go

The family and I were planning on driving to Chicago this evening as we're spending Thanksgiving there, but as it turns out we were not completely ready nor fully motivated to get out of the house quickly. The van needed an oil change, we wanted to eat dinner at home (we are trying to do this as much as possible, both for health and financial reasons), and very little packing had been accomplished by the time my husband had gotten home from work.

So we enjoyed another leisurely night at home.

I made a little trip over to my favorite fabric store (which is conveniently located right down the street from my house) and wandered around picking up a few items I needed for my next project. I seldom get to do this alone, so I really savored the half hour I had there while the store was still open.

And then, because I was not frantically rushing around to get ready for the trip anymore, I was able to spend some time on the Christmas ornaments. The pink one is for the Little Miss. I forgot to initial the back and put the date on before I finished it, so I may have to get creative with labeling it. Any ideas? Maybe I could iron something on? I'm not sure. I really don't want to disassemble it . . .

The pieces for Kee-ku's ornament are all cut out. I really want to stay up and sew it, but I should have been in bed hours ago. Between traveling and the all day fun that is our family Thanksgiving, it's going to be a long day. Perhaps I'll bring a few supplies with me to work on it whilst I'm away. ;)

In the meantime, HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone! I hope as you stuff your face with turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce that you take a moment to drop down and thank God for all of His many blessings. There truly is so much to be thankful for. :)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wrap 'er Up

If you're anything like me, you've been hoarding craft supplies since you were about 8. Old crusted-over paint you got at the Ben Franklin for painting a wooden letter for your bedroom door, leftover yarn from your first knitting project . . . I bet someone who reads this still has some Hot Loops lying around. You can admit it. I won't judge.

I have done a lot of purging of "stuff" in my life since I started FLYing a few years ago, but one area that has not seen a ruthless purge-fest is my craft stuff. I just cannot seem to throw this stuff away. When I was looking around for DMC floss for a small project I was making awhile back, I found this old container that I have probably had since I was 8. Possibly 7. Do I hear, 6?
Inside it was a tangled mess of many different colors of floss, still bundled together from my last attempt at making friendship bracelets. Sometime in high school. Yes, that's right. Well into high school I was still rocking a pretty mean armful of friendship bracelets. And I loved it.

So this made today's *I read way too many blogs* find oh so special for me. Craft Chi has whipped up some embroidery floss cards that are free to all. Just print them on some cardstock (or an old file folder . . . I know I've got GOBS of those lying around), cut 'em out, and wrap 'em up. Lovely, and organized.
Now what to do with those Little Twin Stars . . .


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tis the Season for ORNAMENTS

Ok. Tis the season for so much more than ornaments. Like overflowing thankfulness to our Lord for life and breath and salvation and family and too many things to even name. But in the crafting realm, for me, tis the season for the annual making-of-the-ornaments for each one of my kids. As in, I'm making them each an ornament. For the first time. So, I guess it's not really "annual" until I do it next year as well.

Whatever. A tradition has to start somewhere.

Speaking of . . .

My mom would have to enlighten me as to when this began, but I have a nice gallon sized Ziploc baggie's worth of mommy-made handmade ornaments. It's not time to trim a tree in our house yet, but when it is I can share more fully as the ornaments are in storage down in our tiny basement. My mom is a needle-worker. She's been cross-stitching for as long as I can remember and she's ridiculously good at it. Like the backs of her projects rival the fronts kind of good. She taught me how to cross-stitch when I was young. I wouldn't say that I was bad at it per se, but I lacked the focus and attention to complete most of the projects that I started. Kinda sad really.

Where do all those half-finished (or . . . er . . . quarter-finished) projects go? Is there a craft graveyard? Maybe there should be. Let those guys rest in peace, I say.

But I digress. My mom started making ornaments once upon a time each year for both of my sisters and me. They have always been treasured, but now that I have kids and sew more, I appreciate even more the tenderness and love that goes into making keepsakes for my babies. While I work on my own kids' ornaments this year, I'll be thinking of my own mama and how much I know she loves me. I'm getting all teary-eyed even thinking about thinking about it. For real. I love my mom.

I'm starting simple this year. Jojoebi of A Bit of This and a Bit of That (one of my favorite inspirational Montessori style blogs) supplied the sweet pattern for the official First Annual kids' ornaments. She lives in Japan and sells actual kits for making these, but since I've got the supplies already in my stash, she was sweet enough to just sell me the pattern. So cute! You can see the kits for the Snow Child Ornament in her Etsy shop. She's also got the pattern for them available now in PDF format for the first time (thanks to me - ha ha) on her website.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Tools of the Trade: The Nimble Thimble

I never realized just how much I hated thimbles until I found one that was really great. If you do any bit of hand-sewing, even if it is not your primary medium, you must realize the importance of a thimble. It is a necessary evil. I don't know if I just have fat fingertips or whatever, but it feels like every thimble I have used in the past has squeezed the life out of my finger and was too painful to use. There were a few I tried over the years that were too loose as well, come to think of it. Also a bust.

Enter "The Nimble Thimble". I actually came across this when I started shopping around for materials to make Little Miss' Waldorf doll. Joy Chambers put her stamp of approval on it (heavily endorsed and sold on her website), and I took her at her word. I mean, the woman makes a lot of dolls by hand. She's got to know the difference between a quality thimble and a piece of crap.

This thing is a wonder. It fits right. It stays on. It makes julienne fries.

Ok. So it doesn't do that last thing, but it's the best I've tried.

Are you in the market for a new thimble? Joy's is out of them and in the process of selling the business anyway, but I was able to find them on Amazon. Just in case this post got you all excited to wear a thimble. Cause that happens.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

On the Fly: Christmas Stockings

Still have to put their names on them, but I finished my first Christmas project.
1. Stocking for Little Miss, 2. Stocking for Kee-ku

I kinda made up how to put the stockings together (I even lined them and put a bit of batting in the cuff to give a little more umph. Can one put "umph" in a stocking?) The embroidery designs came from Wee Wonderfuls.

I was originally going to attempt a Bucilla kit, but couldn't find 2 that I thought looked well enough together that wouldn't completely clash with the ones I have for my husband and I. So I did these instead. They took me a few hours each when all was said and done. The embroidery would probably be more precise if I bothered to get an embroidery hoop. But I don't own one. So, whatever. I am not opposed to a homemade look sometimes. I added some little gold balls for a little extra embellishment. They're really simple, but I'm happy with them.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fleecy Monkey

Saturday I went to a baby shower for my old college roommate. She's due in January. I wanted to get her something both practical and useful and of course, I had a hankering to make something too! Practical is easy, but what to make?

She's letting the gender be a surprise come baby's birthday (I love that!), so I had to go with something that all kids like. And who doesn't like a monkey? I found the pattern on one of my favorite blogs: Wee Wonderfuls. Stay tuned for another Wee Wonderfuls project I'm working on for the kids for Christmas. :)

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