Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Say Hello to My Little Friend

What am I going to do when I actually finish this nativity?  Seriously.  It has crept into the Christmas making just about every year since 2009.  I was able to make Mary, baby Jesus, and a shepherd that first year.  Realizing how awkward that was to have no Joseph to make the Holy Family complete, I was able to get him finished up for 2010's Christmas season.  I fell down on the job in 2011, I guess, and it took another full year after that for 1 wise man to show up in 2012.

What happened in 2013?  Did I actually just finish the whole thing so we could finally move this project from the UFO pile to the . . . well . . . there is no "completed projects" pile . . . so . . . um . . . blah blah blah.  You get the idea.  ANYHOO.  I was able to finish 1 more magi-type this year. 

Here's the current group shot for you:
"Dude.  Where have you been?"
Sorry 3rd king of the orient.   Apparently you're gonna have to wait at least one more year to see the felt newborn king.

Take heart, friend.  We're all waiting for Jesus to come back.

Merry Christmas!

P.S.  I wanted to include a closer look at the Holy Family here so you could see how the cheapo felt sheets I used are starting to pill after several years of the kids playing with them.  The kids don't care, but I'm kind of wishing I knew about wool blend felt back when I started this project!
LM's favorite nativity out of the 4 "playable" ones we have is this one because, "It's the only one where Mary can actually hold her baby!"

P.P.S.   You could make this project if you want! The pattern is by Bugga Bugs on Etsy. Maybe you'll even get yours done before I do.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Ornament Making - 2013 Edition

I've been making special ornaments for my kids every year since 2009.  It's a tradition I picked up from my mom who did this for my sisters and me when we were young.

Though I've amassed a gajillion ideas on this topic over the last several years, I was still waffling over it for way too long this year.  I think I was on inspiration overload.  (For anyone that wants to get in on this idea for their own kids/family members there are tons o' free patterns around the web, but I like to give pattern-makers some love . . . especially around the holidays.)

After much hemming and hawing, I finally settled on this sweet ornament set from Mollie Johanson of Wild Olive.  (For those more into straight embroidery, I was also quite tempted by this pattern.)

I let the kids pick out their favorites from the offerings.  Loftily, I thought maybe I could make all of them and each kid could get 3, but you know . . . that didn't happen.  It's ok.  One per year is totally adequate, right?

Ice Skate for Little Miss 2013

Little Miss picked out this sweet ice skate.  This surprised me . . . I thought for sure she would go for the pink reindeer ornament.  Her reasoning?  "Dad said he is going to take me ice skating this year and I CAN'T WAIT TO GO!!"  Makes sense when you put it that way.  :)

Snowman for Kee-ku 2013
Kee-ku picked out the snowman.  His favorite book right now is Snow by Roy McKie so this was no shock at all.  Does anyone else have that book?  Seriously, kid is obsessed with it.  I pretty much have it memorized at this point.

Poinsettia for Kiwi 2013
I held up the picture on the front of the pattern to Kiwi and she pointed to the poinsettia so I went with it.  I'm sure she has her reasons.  ;)

This is the first time ever I have used wool blend felt for my ornaments.  I was gifted some this year by a friend and I have to say, I am a convert.  I didn't have all the colors I needed to make these in my wool felt mini stash, so there are a few instances here where I subbed in some of the regular ole eco-felt I have gobs of sitting on my shelf (the sparkly white I used for the snowman for example.)  The wool felt really does have such a smooth feel and is so much easier to work with in my opinion.  I haven't worried terribly about longevity with the ornaments I have made in the past using the cheap felt sheets . . . considering they are touched once a year and put from a box onto a tree and then back into a box with minimal handling they are all looking the same as they did when they were originally made.  Even so, I am really digging the wool blend felt and would like to get some more for future felt-i-licious projects.

Anyone else adding some handmade goodies to your Christmas tree this year?  I had a blast making these.

**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, 3. Snow Baby Ornament for Kiwi 2012


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wee Princess Pea!

Hey all!  I know it's been awhile, but I've been busy now that school is back in full swing (lame, but true excuse).  Although it may feel like it I haven't given the blog up for dead, and I HAVE been making some stuff here and there.

Check out my latest project over on mmmcrafts today.

Larissa asked me to test her new Wee Princess Pea pattern for her, and I was thrilled to do it.  I would like to post about it (and another pattern test I did for her) a bit more in depth later, but for a sneak peek, check out Larissa's post.  :)


Thursday, August 22, 2013


School's not quite in yet, but I'm trying to get back into a sewing groove anyway.  Awhile back (like months ago), I finally got around to making some new pillows for my living room.  There were 2 reasons to do this:

  1. The color scheme was being dictated a bit too much by a tapestry we had hanging in the adjoining dining room (we live in an old home so though I would not consider calling our space a "great room" our living room is completely open to the dining room).  [Sidenote: I still LOVE that tapestry so I decided to move it to another place in the house after I replaced it with the new art display gallery.]
  2. I just like switching things up sometimes. 
Square Pillow B

As I previously blogged, I fell hard for a print from Anna Maria Horner's LouLouThi line, bought a yard, then sat on it for awhile  Finally it was time, and I decided to cut it up to make two 16" pillows.  The backing was done envelope style with a print I found at JoAnn Fabrics (not my favorite place to buy fabric, but I was hopeful I could find something suitable).  It's a yellow DS Quilts print with mustard-y accents.  I had been itching to add piping to something since I made the covers for my sewing machine and serger, so I flipped through my small collection of Kona remnants and came up with (I think) Lagoon.  It's a teense brighter than the blues in the AMH print, but because I just used it for accent piping I think it works alright.
Square Pillow A

I bought a charm pack of LouLouThi to see if I could figure a way to get some more coordinating, but different kinds of prints in the mix without too much thought.  Fabric coordinating is something I usually relish, but I had been searching for months and months for the right combination of prints to use for my new pillow project and after all that time I still wasn't feeling thrilled with how some of the other fabrics I was loving were jiving with my main print.  Probably I overthought the whole thing to start with and therefore overly simplified the solution.  Oh well.
Patchwork Pillow A

I laid all the squares from the charm pack out and cherry-picked the prints I liked best to go with the Summer Totem.  Some former pillows I had living on my couch were just about the same size as 6 charms laid out in a rectangle, so I sewed them together that way and enveloped the backs with the same yellow backing I used before.  I briefly contemplated piping these too, but I had kinda run low on the Lagoon and didn't have enough piping filler left, so I just went with what I had.  I don't know if that makes me lazy or cheap (or both), but I haven't regretted it at all.
Patchwork Pillow B

I got a little overzealous (as I do sometimes) and tried to whip out the charm pillows as quickly as I could.  In my haste, I didn't realize that I cut my backing just a wee bit too small for the old pillows which I was just shoving into the new pillowcases.  Rather than unstuff the old pillows down so they fit better I just worked all that fluff in to the new cases and hand stitched the envelope closed so that they wouldn't bust apart.  Another thing I don't regret.
Hand stitching detail

There was one other dull, rust-colored elephant of a pillow in the room . . . it's a 26" floor pillow that I really wanted to recover to make the living room pillow overhaul complete.  As every modestly able blogger out there who has ever seen this Anthro pillow has done, I decided to DIY my own version using the rest of the charms in the pack.
Anthro Knock Off Floor Pillow

I've got to give props to Steph for providing a free template of her version.  Originally I was going to just kinda freehand my scraps and do it that way, but her template helped me dive right in without hesitation.  I put my favorite Field Study print on the back . . . Parenthetical Flight in Potpourri (this is linen, people, and it is WONDERFUL):
Floor Pillow Back

The only modifications I made to Steph's instructions were:
  1. I blew the template up 150% to accommodate the fact that I was making a much larger pillow (I think hers is for an 18" square).
  2. I raided my fusible stash and used Heat N Bond Lite (and Wonder Under on a few pieces after I ran out of the HNBL) to adhere my pieces to the base fabric rather than gluing them on.  It took a little extra time to do this, but it helped to ensure that the pieces were exactly where I wanted them and helped me avoid stitching a straight line around them before satin stitching the edges.  :)
Ironed in Place

Because I had blown up the template so much, some of my template pieces were too big for one charm square.  Thankfully I still had plenty of the Summer Totem print so I just isolated a few of the many different motifs to keep things from being too repetitive.

I chose a polka dot print from Malka Dubrowsky's Simple Marks line for the sides.  The red helps pull all the other stuff in the room together in my book, though clearly I could have used any number of different  colors for the sides.  (Because I did this, I went with a coordinating red thread for the satin stitching on top.)
Floor Pillow Side

My main goal with this project was to brighten the living space, and I think I achieved that.  The walls and carpet are completely neutral so it really helps liven the place up.  (Not that having 3 active children doesn't liven up the place enough, but I'm speaking decor-wise.)
Group of Pillows
This setup is just to put them all together in one shot.  :)

Ahh!  Bright and beautiful summer-y color.

And just in time for fall.  ;)

  • Floor Pillow:
    • Front: Kona Eggshell with assorted prints from AMH's LouLouThi line
    • Sides: Simple Marks Summer Tomato 23209-36 by Malka Dubrawsky 
    • Back: Parenthetical Flight in Potpourri from AMH's Field Study line
  • Square Throw Pillows:
    • Front: Summer Totem in Tart by AMH
    • Back: DS Quilts Collection - Meadow Lark Tonal Berry Yellow
    • Piping: Kona Lagoon
  • Small Rectangle Pillows:
    • Front: Assorted charm squares from AMH's LouLouThi line
    • Back: DS Quilts Collection - Meadow Lark Tonal Berry Yellow


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Clearance + Clearance = An Artful Display

I've got a budding artist on my hands.  LM produces no less than 15 new pieces of art a day, and I cannot for the life of me keep up.  I've been on the hunt for a long time for a way that I could incorporate her art into our home in a more attractive and purposeful way.

Our previous go-to had been your standard art-hanging-on-the-fridge, art-on-the-walls-with-tape, and art-on-every-flat-surface in my house "display" system.  While there is no way this is going to tame the art making MACHINE I have living in my house, it will at least direct focus onto a few pieces at a time so as to give our eyes some place to rest.  It's also super easy to change from piece to piece so once school starts and we start getting inundated with projects from TWO kids (yes - Keeku is starting preschool in the fall!) there will already be a manageable system in place.

So . . . onto my super easy solution.

I found 4 of these frames at Meijer marked down 75% off.  And they weren't completely beat up and nasty.  Unreal.  They are about 19x21":


Even though they are pretty square-ish, I wanted to hang them long ways so imagine me flipping this on it's side.  :)

I pulled all the matting and frame guts out and replaced them with these napkins from Anthropologie which were just about the right size.  Plus, they come in 4 colors.  Plus, clearance:
After I got the fabric all framed up, I flipped it over and stuck one of these clear Command mini hooks on the front:
Clip System
I originally thought I would use bigger binder clips to actually hang the artwork to the hooks, but I found a whole box of these teeny ones in my desk drawer so I just used what I had.

Here's the whole display in action:

Sidebar: The ladder on the left used to belong to Mr. Skooks' uncle back in the day.  It was once useful (Mr. Skooks had it at work for awhile), but it came to be known as the "widow maker" among his coworkers because it was getting pretty rickety in its old age.  Rather than chuck it, he brought it home one day about a year ago and said, "Maybe we can use this somewhere in the house?"  I find this funny only because decorating with ladders has been a trend for awhile now, but Mr. Skooks is not someone who is reading design blogs to keep up with that kind of stuff so it was totally random on his part.  To make a long story short we are severely lacking in storage space in our lower level (no coat closet, no linen closet, no buffet with drawers and shelves) so we ended up leaning it in the corner of our dining room to hold all of our table linens.

Anyway, that's my story.  You could do this same thing sans Command products.  If you wanted to you could just glue your clip right onto the frame.  Personally, I like this solution better b.c I know if we ever decide to do something different here, the hooks are easily and cleanly removed and the frames can be kept intact.  And no - this is not a sponsored post by Command . . . though it is starting to feel like it should be.

P.S.  Something I didn't know about Anthro because I almost never shop there (ogle, yes - purchase, not so much): If you go to their store and rifle through their clearance bin for what you want and they don't have every style right there, they'll order it for your from another store and ship it to your house for free.  I could see from their website that my local Anthro only had 2 colors of these napkins, and as such I briefly considered just ordering them all online.  It was going to cost $6.95 to ship 4 stupid napkins so I started to rethink my whole idea.  Since I was already going to be in the vicinity running other errands, I decided to stop into the store to *make sure for real* that I did, in fact, love them.  Of course, I did.  Dang that store.  So when the Anthro lady came by with her, "Are you finding everything ok?" spiel, I piped up my sadness that they didn't have every color of these napkins.  She ordered up the other two for me right quick.  That was a nice surprise, since Anthro clearance still feels expensive in my world.

P.P.S.  This post was also not sponsored by Anthropologie.  Nobody sponsors me to write about jack, which is probably why you haven't heard from me in awhile.  Plus - summer's busy y'all!  It seems hard to believe that I'll have more time for things when the craziness of school starts back up in the fall, but in my mind I will.  And that is now, for real, the end of this post. 


Monday, May 20, 2013

Kiwi's Vintage Sheet Baby Quilt {Blogger's Quilt Festival}

It almost doesn't seem fair.  I've decided to enter Kiwi's quilt into the Blogger's Quilt Festival (yes - for a prize), and I didn't even make the blocks myself.* 

This quilt came together over a great period of time.  I got a bunch of beautiful blocks that I commissioned from my Bee Mates (I gotta get back into Bee Vintage again on the next go round . . . it was just too much fun and I've missed it) . . . and then there was a hiatus as I waited for the last few to trickle in.  As I recall, someone offered to angel the last few blocks for me.  I sat on them for over a year, stuck on my next move.

Then one day the design wall came down and this sweet quilt was born:

Kiwi's Vintage Sheet Baby Quilt

Initially, I brought the quilt upstairs to use on Kiwi's bed, but that little stinker still makes her way into mom and dad's bed every night somehow so it wasn't getting used as much as I would have liked.  In the end, I brought it downstairs to the living room where it now lives out in the open and is enjoyed every single day.
Quilting Detail
Quilting Detail

I'm so thankful that even though I don't belong to a local quilting guild or have friends close by that are into this stuff, through blogging and Flickr-ing I was able to find a quilting bee . . . with fellow lovers of vintage sheets at that!

If you want to see some closer shots of all of the blocks check out my Bee Vintage Flickr set here or read all of the posts I did related to it here.  Just for fun, here is a sample of the blocks I made for the other ladies in the Bee:
1. Starburst Block #2, 2. Starburst Block #1, 3. Mod Mosaic Vintage Sheet Block, 4. Quilter's Grid Block, 5. Let Them Eat Cake - for Jenny, 6. Not available, 7. 9 Patch #1 - For Tammie, 8. 9 Patch #2 - for Tammie

I'm excited to be part of the Blogger's Quilt Festival for the first time!  For all of you who are here for the first time, thanks for coming and checking out my quilt.  Voting is open from May 24th through the 30th.  We're up against some incredible competition, but it's all for fun anyway.  If you feel so inclined you may vote here starting on the 24th.

* No worries . . . the category I entered this quilt in is specifically for Group/Bee quilts.  You can find all of the entrants in my category right here.

Quilt Stats
Name: Kiwi's Vintage Sheet Baby Quilt
Block Design: You Are Here by Happy Zombie aka Monica Solario-Snow
Blocks made by the lovely ladies of Bee Vintage
Sashing/Backing/Binding/Block Design Choosing/Quilting done by me  ;)
Fabrics (except the sashing) are all vintage sheets
Batting: Warm and White


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Feeling Summer-y

I played around with some fabrics the other day so that I could enter a little giveaway sponsored by Sew Fresh Fabrics.  The theme was summer and this is the mosaic I came up with.  The one I showcased in the biggest box became the palette inspiration, and it just took off from there:

Sew Fresh Fabrics Summer Collage
Clockwise from Top Left:  1) Urban Garden from Mecca for Moderns  2)   Spare Change in Vintage from Odds and Ends  3)   Big Sur from Camp Sur  4)   Dandelion in Orange from Flying Free  5)   Tickets in Parchment from 2wenty Thr3e      6)   Racoon Acacia from Scamper  7)   Cross Country from Next Stop  8)   Bloomsbury in Aqua from Summersville Spring  9)   Camper Rally from Camp Sur  10)   Ni-Co Bikes in Pink  11)   Captured from Next Stop  12)  Sunburst in Orange from Scamper

If you want a chance to win a 12 Fat Quarter bundle of your choice, submit your own mosaic of 12 fabrics with a "summer" theme to Sew Fresh Fabrics Flickr group by the end of May. 

P.S.  I am not getting any spiff or extra entry for mentioning this to you.  This post is a combination of "It's been awhile since I blogged" and "whenever I play with fabrics I want to share it with you".  Plus, if I don't win I have to admit I'd feel kind of awesome if one of my readers did.  Good luck, everyone!  Hope you're having a great week.  :)


Monday, April 15, 2013

I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You

Is that stupid song stuck in your head now?  Mine too.  I'm so sorry.

Anyhoo . . .

I decided awhile back that I really ought to make myself a new purse.  The one I've been sporting about town is still in good shape/useable, but it's pretty small and doesn't hold more than my wallet, a pen, and a bunch of receipts I keep forgetting to take out of there.

Now, I may be a fabric-aholic but I'm no purse-anista . . . I want one purse.  I want it to be the right size (not too big and obviously not too small), the right amount of pockets, and if I'm going to make the effort to sew it myself it's got to be done in the right fabric.   Is there such a thing?

No really, I have been wondering because I've been thinking about it for about a year now.

A few weeks ago I was doing some fabric perusing online (you don't think I'm crazy enough to take all 3 of my kids into the fabric store with me, do you?!), and re-discovered this gem:

It's Anna Maria Horner's Summer Totem (in Tart) from her LouLouThi collection.  (Yes, this is not a new collection . . . I KNOW.)  After saying to myself, "I forgot about this one . . . I love it I love it I love it I love it!" I ordered a purse-sized chunk.  How odd I felt when I opened the package a week later and immediately started auditioning it for new throw pillows for my couches, new curtains for my kitchen, and as a possible shower curtain for my bathroom.

What about my purse?!

But seriously, I have discovered that Summer Totem is my very own Sue the Napkin.  It honestly, could go in any room of my house.  It's like I had this fabric in my head for the last 7 years as I picked out the comforter on my bed (seriously, every color up there), our crazy red couch, the paint colors for my kitchen (that muted yellow) and curtains for my living room (teal).

Which brings me to my bathroom.  Yes, upstairs we have a half bathroom that the previous homeowner made by stealing a closet from one of the bedrooms.  It's little, but it gets the job done.  A toilet, a pedestal sink, bada-bing bada-boom you can do your business in there.

Because it was so little, Mr. Skooks and I were a little hesitant skeered to put any real color on the walls.  No one wants to feel like they're sitting on the throne in a cave.  As a result, we had one coat of the most boring salmon pink beige color on the walls since we moved in.  Mr. Skooks literally rolled it on, we both frowned, and the project was abandoned for 2 YEARS.  We just could not figure out what the world to do in there to bring some life to the space without overwhelming it completely.

Fast forward to last weekend (and after 8,000 hours on Pinterest) I ran across this image:
We have a very slim budget for home projects and we weren't trying to replicate the room, but it gave us a jumping off point.  Mr. Skooks put up some trim in the corners of the room, a little molding about 3/4 of the way up the wall, and we just did it.  White on the bottom and this mermaid-y color on top.  Previously the mirror had been antique white (el cheapo score from Hob Lob not long after we moved in because we needed something in there), but we wanted a nice contrast so we picked up a test pot of a red called Barn and put about 3 or 4 coats over the frame of the mirror.  The shelf/bin/rack thingy is from TJMaxx . . . I wanted something slim in there that could hold some hand towels and the kids toothpaste and stuff.  Nothing major.  I'm sure it's meant to be a magazine rack or file holder or something.  Whatevs.

I'd still like to get some art work up on the walls somewhere, but I'm digging the look as is in the meantime.
Half Bath

The room gets no natural light so the picture looks like turd (I was standing in the hallway to get this super tight shot), but you get the idea.   I would have loved to move that mirror down a scoche (I thought that was a word, but spellcheck is not recognizing it - ah well), but that outlet is in the dumbest place on earth so this arrangement is how it has to be.

I'm not a home decor blogger so there is no before/after pictures to wow you.  And honestly, after 2 years of waiting to see some work done on this room, I wasn't going to slow Mr. Skooks down with "process" photos.  For the before you can just close your eyes and imagine a plain tan box with an off-white mirror, a toilet, and a pedestal sink.  Cause that's all it was.

So anyway, back to the point I was trying to make an hour ago . . . what to do with Summer Totem?  Should I make the purse, or embrace it as my signature home fabric and find something else?  Decisions decisions.

Paint Colors (more for my reference than yours):
-Top: Sweet Rhapsody by Behr (490A-3)
-Bottom: Ultra Pure White by Behr (W-B-500)
-Mirror: Barn by Martha Stewart


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Patchwork . . . PLEASE!

Someday I will find a way to save up enough money and travel to Japan where I will learn paper-piecing at the feet of the master.  Until that far off date, I've got this:


I've never been so excited about a book that I've bothered to preorder it, but several months ago I actually did.  Patchwork Please! will get me over my fear of paper piecing (I've decided!), and it arrived last week.  SO MUCH CUTENESS!  I haven't made anything from it yet, so no pictures to share, but Amazon has a good "look inside" preview here

I'm getting excited for the Zakka Along for Patchwork, Please! . . . I've been itching to sew up some little goodies since I first cracked the book, and it would be fun to do some of these projects "with" those participating.  With that being said, my time to sew has been limited lately (um . . . can you tell?!) so we'll just say I'm going to do my best and leave it at that for now.

Anyone else planning on joining the Zakka Along?  What have you been working on lately?


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google Reader - - Gone?!

Just like my attic (um . . . and my basement), my Google Reader could use a bit of a cleaning.  I have been a reader of blogs for so many years that my Reader has been filled to RIDICULOUS capacity since forever. 

But let's be real.  It's not like I *actually read* everything in there.  To me, using a reader is like having as many free magazine subscriptions as you could ever want.  I have them sorted by type so I can pick and choose what kind of reading I'm in the mood for.  That's great and all, but it's still just too much.

So thank you, Google, for forcing me to have to go through each and every one of them to figure out which are worth saving since there is no way I am going to continue with ALL of them on a new platform.  Wait, what?  Didn't you hear?  Google Reader is GOING AWAY FOREVER. 

I'm looking into Bloglovin right now as my new reader of choice, but I may end up going back to Bloglines if it becomes to headache-y to figure out Bloglovin.  Who has been reading long enough to remember when Bloglines said they were going away and then didn't, but I had already migrated over to Google Reader??

1,000,000,000 points to you if you have.  No really . . . you win.  :)

If'n you're in the same predicament as I am, and you're interested in keeping up with my little ole self on Bloglovin, click below.

Follow on Bloglovin

Oh - - and as I did the last time this happened, I was thinking I might give a shout out to my favorite reads for a couple posts.  Because we all have more time in our days to read more blogs, yes?  ;)


Monday, February 18, 2013

Art-Bombed: A Little Sewing Machine Art from Little Miss

Little Miss is constantly drawing.  CONSTANTLY.

You think your 5 year old draws a lot?  I'm sure they do.

But not as much as she does.  Mama brain has replaced my memories with mostly fuzz, but I'm *pretty sure* she was born with 10 toes, 10 fingers, and a pen in her hand.

She likes to work on something in secret and then just drop it on me and run.  The other day she art-bombed this guy on me:

Mommy's Sewing Machine
I love the sounds it's making.

I added it to all of the other sewing pictures she's made for me in the past.  I've got quite a nice little collection going. 

Here's another one she did for me around the time I finished up my patchwork closet curtain for my sewing room:
Mommy & Her Sewing Machine

You gotta hand it to her.  Girl knows what I like!

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