Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Well, Look Who Finally Decided to Drop By

Maybe by the time Little Miss goes to college I will finish this felt nativity that I started in, oh, 2009.  Apparently working on this project is an annual endeavor.  I had high hopes of finishing it c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y. this year, but it's not looking too good.  Too many projects, not enough time I'm afraid.

I would like to say that I will finish this whole thing up after the holiday . . . but that's not bloody likely either.  I doubt I'll be in the mood for Christmas projects anymore.  :/

Ah well.  This year, we have the only wise man wise enough to figure out where the felt baby Jesus was staying:

Felt Wise Man

Maybe a couple other gift-bearing friends will show up next year.

Here's the set so far:
Felt Nativity Take 5

They get played with heavily, but they're holding up ok so far.  We've actually got 4 kid-friendly nativities sitting out on our bay window ledge that get played with regularly.  I love having them available even if it means that I have to pick up stray shepherds and Josephs off the floor every day.  In all honesty, it's funny to walk by there sometimes and see how the kids have set them up with all the marys chatting in a corner while the wise men hold a who-brought-the-bigger-gift council.

For those even later to this party than the latest addition, the pattern is by Bugga Bugs on Etsy.

Anyone else still entrenched in Christmas decor making?  I'm starting to lose steam, but I WILL finish the kids' new stockings before D-Day if it kills me!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Re-Imagined Message Board / Command Center

I've had this idea in my head for a long time. Sadly, making stuff has been going at a snail's pace for me lately so what should have been a relatively short and easy project ended up getting dragged out over the better part of a month.

Message Board Makeover

I started out with a sort of command central-ish wipey board that I got from (Target? Meijer? Walmart? - - I canNOT remember right now, but they sell similar stuff at a lot of places and I got it ages ago) and a chunky barnwood-like frame that I had sitting in my attic. It used to house a print that I liked, but didn't *love* and somewhere in our last move the glass off the front broke. Rather than reframing the original print, I decided to use it for something else.

(Originally I was thinking about putting some cup hooks on it and making a little DIY necklace holder. I still think that would have been a fun idea, but clearly I had another idea I liked better.)

Sidebar about this project:  I had been using this wipe board in its original state since I got it several years ago.  It worked perfectly in the kitchen in our last house and we used it to jot down daily reminders for events as well as chores and meals we were making that week.  In our "new" (we've been here 2 years!) house, we put it in the kitchen as well . . . and somehow it has been majorly underutilized and not even terribly noticeable off in a corner of the room.  In other words, it just wasn't doing its job anymore.  Recalling the functionality of it and wanting to get that back, I had to come up with a new plan.  Hence this whole project.

Here's what the board looked like in its original state (if anyone is interested I was able to find it on Walmart's website here):
Another sidebar: While I didn't have a problem with using the board as-is previously, the place I wanted to move it to near the front door did not have a space wide enough to accommodate it without the whole wall looking awkward.  Because it was going to be visible to every person who came over to my house I also wanted it to fit more into the decor.

Without going into too much pictorial detail (oftentimes I tackle projects when I get choice moments to myself during the day.  It doesn't leave a lot of time for photo documenting usually) . . . here's what I did:
  1. Flipped the whole board over and jimmied the little pin board part (that black abyss on the right) off the frame.
  2. Found a screwdriver or pliers or hammer (can't remember now . . . a plunger?) and pried the little wood divider that separated the wipe board section from the pin board section.  I slipped the wipe board section out.
  3. The frame was still intact so I hung it back up in the kitchen where it used to hang and clipped some of Little Miss's artwork in there.  I figure it will be a nice rotating art installation of her recent projects.  :)
  4. Dug through my paints (not that there are a ton, but I had to find them!) and found some black acrylic which I used to touch up the now raw-edges of the wipe board.  I was going to cover them up, but I didn't want any yucky edges peeking through and this was a quick step to ensure that didn't happen.
  5. Played around with a few different ideas of how I wanted the final board to look and what I wanted it to accomplish.  One part of the original board that we never really needed much was the pin board, so I opted to eliminate that idea completely (my new frame wouldn't fit it anyway) and dreamed up a fabric-covered pocket.  As the hardware on my frame was already set to hang vertically, I decided to just work with it and opted to put the wipe board up top and the pocket underneath.
  6. After I settled on where I wanted the pieces to lay, I took a piece of foam core board and cut it down to act as the stabilizing base of the pocket.  
  7. I scavenged my scraps and found a piece that I had used EONS ago to make a messenger bag (as in, I had my friend make me a messenger bag from it because at the time I did not know how to sew).  It fit in well with my decor as well as my rustic frame so I went with it.  I had some mustard-y home decor fabric sitting in my stash that I pulled to use for the inside of the pocket (as the decorative piece wasn't terribly stable on it's own).
  8. I used a piece of piping thick enough to fill in the gap between my board pieces and the frame and covered it with my mustard fabric for a little contrasting color pop.
  9. Keeping it simple, I stitched a few lines to make 2 small pen pockets and 1 larger mail pocket.  I finally have a place for my Netflix envelope!  :)
  10. Had I cut my pieces big enough I would have done this next part differently, but as it was I had to work with my mistakes so I just grabbed some packing tape and secured the bits that did overlap to the back of the foam core board that I'd cut for the pocket.  It wasn't pretty, but it was also not going to be seen so I didn't really care.
  11. Hot glued the piping snug to the inside edge of the frame.  Mr. Skooks rummaged up some wood glue and glued the wipe and pocket board pieces down.  We gave it the proper cure time.
  12. DONE!
And here are some *really crappy* pseudo-process shots for the more visual learners out there:
Empty Rustic Wood Frame
An old rustic frame that I salvaged after the glass broke.  Don't ask me how it happened.
Message Board Makeover Supplies
My magnetic wipe board piece I pried out of its previous frame, the pocket section I made out of some patchy fabric and foam core board, and a length of thick piping cord covered in some mustard-y fabric.
Piping in Frame
This is what it looked like after I hot glued my piping into the edges of the frame.
Message Board Pocket Detail
Clear as mud?  I made a pocket section out of fabric (not concerned too much with how the backing looked) . . . my fabric was patchy to start out with so perhaps it's not totally clear where I stitched it down.

Message Board Makeover
Poor lighting abounds in my house in the winter time.
So there you have it!  It is now fully functional and practically slaps me in the face when I walk down the stairs in the morning and every time I leave the house.  In other words . . . IT WORKS.  Perfect.  :)

Linking up with some great parties RIGHT HERE!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Kiwi's Ornament Mash-Up 2012

I had kicked around a few ideas for Kiwi's 2012 ornament over the last couple of days, but it wasn't until this evening that I finally got the proper inspiration while looking through my sewing WIP boxes for the still-haven't-finished-them-all-yet felt nativity figures.  (Uh . . . yes . . . the ones that I started in 2009Lay off - - at least the Holy Family is finally intact.)


So, I was reminded of this little ornament e-book that I got during a BOGO sale from Erica Hite 2 Christmases ago.  (I *think* I got it after Christmas actually, and then forgot about it for the next year and made different ornaments.)  Anyway, it's not totally relevant.  Point is, I forgot I had the patterns, and then I found them and that is how this story begins.

One thing I really kind of wanted to do was make an ornament for Kiwi that kind of "went" with the other 2 I made already this year.  Why?  I mean, truly . . . why??  It's not like one of the kids will end up with the set someday.  Regardless, I was looking for a way to make something similar for Kiwi.  So I went with a mash-up.  A Noia Land/Erica Hite ornament mash-up.  Here's what I did:

Snow Baby Ornament for Kiwi 2012

I took the Noia Land concept (and pattern piece) of putting a cute little face inside a Christmas-themed "body" and used Erica Hite's snowman pattern as the base of that.  I nixed the top hat because Kiwi is my baby girl and I didn't want to make her a boy ornament.  If that even makes sense.

It probably does NOT.  Oh well.

So yes, nixed the hat . . . then I rifled through the button drawer and found the little blingy ribbon flower.  That girl-ed it up a bit.  Then I picked out a nice deep purple for the scarf.  I opted not to stuff this one (unlike the other 2) . . . it just wasn't going to be necessary due to how it was assembled.  I like that it still plays well with the others and gives the same feeling even though it's kind of doing it's own thing with the way it is embellished.
1. Little Star Girl for Little Miss 2012, 2. Little Tree Ornament for Kee-ku 2012, 3. Snow Baby Ornament for Kiwi 2012

I'd show it to Kiwi to see if she likes it, but she'd probably just grab it and try to eat it.  How is it that she is already 7 months old?!

Alright - - on to the next Christmas project.  Must. keep. making.

Linking up with Finish Friday and some great parties RIGHT HERE!


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Ornament Legacy - 2012 Edition

'Tis the season for ornament making.  For me, anyway.  As I do every year, I am in the midst of adding a special mama-made ornament to each one of my kid's collections.  I have spent all year pinning ideas for the ornaments . . . I've got quite the Pinterest board going if this is something you're interested in doing.  So many great ideas floating around on this subject.  A few days ago, I finally settled on a pattern for this sweet little set of ornaments from Noia Land on Etsy.

If I was super awesome, I would have used some delicious wool felt . . . but alas.  I have none.  And there is no room in the budget for extra material purchases when I already have gobs of felt sheets sitting at the ready in ye ole sewing room.  I figure that since Christmas ornaments don't get handled too much that the fact that I'm using less than amazing felt will not matter too much.  None of the previous years' ornaments appear to be suffering so far.  ;)  The colors are more harsh than I would prefer, but I still like how they turned out.

Little Miss got dibs (because she's older and cares about this kind of stuff more than the other 2 do).  Of the group, she picked out this sweet little star:

Little Star Ornament for Little Miss 2012

I didn't have any cute little star buttons, as is shown in the example photo, nor did I have any plain yellow ribbon for the little bow.  I dug into the stash and found this cute little vintage flower button and tied up a bow from some sparkly gold ribbon I had.  I kinda like the bit of twinkle it gives the ornament.  :)

For Kee-ku, I worked up the little tree.  I'm not into jewelry making as a hobby, so my stash of beads and things is severely limited.  I found this teeny bag of some of these small gold beads and used them as the "ornaments" on the tree.  No appropriately sized ribbon in the stash, so for the bow on top of the Christmas gift I just used some red embroidery thread.  The star was a diamond in the rough . . . I found it among some other sequins I had.  It was the only one in the bunch!
Little Tree Boy for Kee-ku 2012

Both of the kids love their new ornaments.  I've still got to make something up for Kiwi . . . haven't decided if I'm going to do hers as a "1st Christmas" ornament or as something separate.  We'll see . . .  [UPDATE: Finished!]

I finished up another Christmas related decor project last week that I just haven't gotten around to posting about.  Hopefully soon.  And then?  Kiwi needs a stocking!  And I never finished quilting my Glow Happy quilt!  AND I STILL WANT TO MAKE SOME PRESENTS!  Oh my word . . . is this month over already?  As I wrote this blog post it seems I have already run out of time.  :P

Anyone else doing some Christmas making?  I'd love to see what you've been working on!

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

**I've been making my kids special Christmas ornaments for the last few years.  Here are the collections so far:
1. Snow Child Ornament 2009 - for Kee-ku, 2. Snow Child Ornament 2009 - for Little Miss

1. Kawaii Santa Bunny Ornament 2010 - for Little Miss, 2. Christmas Tree Ornament 2010 - for Kee-ku

1. Red and Orange Heart Ornament 2011 - for Little Miss, 2. Stocking Ornament 2011 - For Kee-ku
1. Little Star Girl for Little Miss 2012, 2. Little Tree Ornament for Kee-ku 2012

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