Thursday, December 24, 2009

may it be bright

 
(Note: This design is now the Snow Bird PDF pattern, available for instant download in my shop.)

Four posts in four days. Nice way to wrap up 2009. This bird ornament has been a WIP since last Christmas. I finally put on the finishing touches a few days ago.

May your bright holiday be filled with the love of Christ, of family, and some really fattening snacks. A very merry Christmas to all, and a happy, happy new year. Thank you so much for supporting my often angst-ridden ramblings and craftings. I'll see you all in 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

holiday makings


We are doing 'handmade only' gifts for Christmas in my family. So as part of the gift I made this super easy chocolate nut bark from my December issue of Real Simple, and also chocolate dipped candied orange peels. Real Simple's nut bark looks a lot prettier with the addition of pistachios, but I've learned from experience that if you have pistachios boxed with any other kind of nut, it all takes on the taste and smell of pistachios.

I used this version of the orange peel recipe from Use Real Butter. Unlike all the other recipes I looked at, this one says use the whole peel, which was so much easier. I was concerned with the bitterness of the pith, but it actually turned out fine. I cheated and used the Clementines I had on hand in abundance instead of regular thick-skinned oranges. They were so easy to peel that I didn't have to juice the oranges. We ate them instead. I used Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt to dip them in. Sounds gross, but is really good. I've always loved salty with sweet.


The girls had so much fun crafting with their Nana too (Michael's sweet mom). They made this gingerbread house together and also these adorable yarn snowmen.



And some pipe cleaner fun with my girls from Martha Stewart. I remember the instant love I had for these when I saw them in the December 2000 issue of Living. I ended up making a whole parade of pipe cleaner ornaments and decorations for all my family members that Christmas. The snowboarder ornament is for my brother-in-law, who I'm fairly certain does not read craft blogs, in honor of his trip to Breckenridge in January with my sister-in-law. The snowboarder is a variation of the Santa-On-Skis figure.

Three posts in three days! Another post tomorrow and that will cap off mmmcrafts 2009.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

snowflakery


Wow, two posts in two days for me. Cah-raaaazy. Happy Birthday, Jamie! You sweetie.

We were in a paper snowflake mood here after watching Elf. During the movie, I find myself getting really distracted from the antics by the profusion of snowflakes and paper chains Buddy festoons everywhere he goes.

So we made a bunch and taped them up everywhere in honor of the first day of winter. You can make some too with these great templates at Yarn Owl (via How About Orange). Print them at whatever size you like. All you do is fold on the dotted lines and cut out the black areas, and poof, a beautiful snowflake.

I found myself wanting to experiment with other shapes, so I also created this blank template (click here to download). With the hexagonal shape it is pretty easy to make an impressive snowflake with even very simple cutouts. Like this:

1) cut out the hexagon

2) fold in half

3) fold in half again

4) fold twice more on the dotted lines until you have this wedge

5) if you like, draw your shapes in pencil before you cut. Or just wing it.

6) cut out your shapes

7) unfold. poof! pretty snowflake.

The hardest part for kids is cutting through the thickness of the paper after it is folded. Little hands may need some help cutting. After a while, my girls also enjoyed just letting me do the cutting, then unfolding the snowflakes to reveal their shapes. That's the really fun part after all.

It occurred to me that this could also make a nice last-minute handmade gift for someone on your list. Neatly cut out a particularly spectacular snowflake, iron it flat, then mount it inside a nice frame with some pretty paper or fabric as the background. And there you go. Christmas decor.

Or, snowflake cards! Ooh. Or snowflake embellished stockings! Ooh! Or snowflake appliques on dresses! I could go on and on.

Monday, December 21, 2009

christmas skirts


I had high hopes of making two pretty Christmas dresses for my girls. I had these patterns, and I was envisioning the A-line bell sleeved Butterick dress in a creme fabric with a sparse toile-ish print in black and black velvet ribbons for trim.

Well this vision went the way of a lot of my craft delusions. When the rubber hit the road, there just was no time. So I opted for skirts instead. Quick, I thought. Easy, I thought. Then my brain disengaged.

I decided it would be great to copy a tiered skirt that Thing 1 has in denim that I absolutely love. I think it is from the Gap. So I measured the skirt's tiers and added all my seam allowances and went to work.

Honestly, I think the delusional Butterick dresses would have been easier and less time-consuming. I didn't hand gather (I used the ol' crank up the tension trick), but it still took an age to put them together. Oy. But I'm mostly pleased. I might have been happier if I had chosen to do them in solids. I didn't want them to be super Christmasy. But, I had these two pretty red prints already on hand, so I decided to Use My Stash.

In between each tier is a band of brown corduroy. This is another thing that took a long stinkin' time to do. Much easier and faster to have used narrow velvet ribbon, but I couldn't find any at the store and I was very married to the idea of narrow, brown and fuzzy. So the craziness just compounded with me making miles of my own brown corduroy trim.

Then my sewing machine quit working as I was putting the last stitches into Thing 2's skirt. I think it overheated or something. I'd been cranking the tension up and down and sewing 90 miles an hour in a manic attempt to meet my deadline and it just started acting really crazy, getting these big snarls of thread all wound in the bobbin. So the rest of the skirt had to be hand sewn.


All's well that ends well. And they went so well with Santa's outfit!

Friday, December 18, 2009

birthday math:

dropping off the kids at Nana and Papa's

+

road trip with my schmoopie (he drives, I craft and read)

+

spicy pork, grilled prawns, white chocolate bread pudding, birthday flan and flamenco dancing here

+

nice digs

+

pumpkin pancakes

+

strolling around at two outlet malls at christmas shopping time (the man must love me)

+

taking a picture of me standing under a randomly found Larissa St. sign like a big doofus

+

dining on poke, shutome, butterfish and chocolate souffle at our favorite place in the whole wide world that is, sadly, no longer in Atlanta (boo)

+

receiving a beautiful watch to replace the faithful one I've had since college

+

attending the 9pm show

=

40


Thank you, schmoopie, for a wonderful wonderful weekend of birthday fun. I love you. Hey, I just realized I'm only two years away from being the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything. That's not all bad.

Monday, December 14, 2009

felt and floss


Ahhhhh...received my fresh infusion of lovely wool-blend felt from Prairie Point Junction. They have a wide color range and great customer service. They offer their felt in these 12 in. x 18 in. pieces for $1.65 a sheet! And no, this is not a paid endorsement. Ha. I wish.

I really wish I could show you some felt stuff I've been making. I'll have to wait until after the gift giving is done.


And I finally got around to doing something I've always meant to do. Winding all my embroidery floss onto these little cardboard bobbins. Man. It only took forever. Oh, the snarls and the knots and the compressing of lips and rolling of eyes to the ceiling and the wishing fervently I was on the last stinkin' skein. Glad that's over. Now I need a little plastic bin to keep them all organized by color instead of the gallon plastic baggie I am currently using.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

missing you

This is the only photography going on around here lately.

Hey, everybody!

Well, I miss this blog. I have been crafting a little. Cautiously. However, as usual at this homemade holiday time of year, I can't share any of it because it would spoil the surprise. I have a mental list of a thousand things I'd like to be making and can't. I had some tutorials in mind for you guys and I just can't. I just have to let it go.

*whooshing sound of crazy craft delusions rising out of head*

Physical therapy is helping, thanks to the good Lord!

Besides my decrepit body issues, also contributing to blog silence is the usual (and fun) Christmas hurly burly whirl of activities and engagements. Not to mention my birthday coming up. Which I've always felt is highly inconvenient. (Why oh why couldn't I have been a June baby?)

This birthday is a BIG ONE. That starts with a four. Gah! And I've just found out that my dear, sweet schmoopie is whisking me away for a surprise birthday long weekend to goodness-knows-where. (Huge thanks to his wonderful parents who will be hosting our girls.) So I'll update you later on the mystery birthday excursion.

Cutest 6 Mos Old in the World, taken by Thing 1.

As if that wasn't enough, my BFF came to visit me this past weekend! And she brought with her the cutest, best, smiliest 6-mos old baby in the whole wide world. No joke, people. I got out of the car to meet them at the airport pickup and there he was, the crazy-haired blond angel baby, absolutely beaming love-rays at me. Oh! Be still my heart.

Robyn and I had the best time together, ate delicious girl food and did some super terrific fun stuff. I still can't believe I was dumb enough to take her to Lenox mall on the day of the SEC championship. But it was still fun. She also graciously offered to reveal the mysteries of crochet to me, but alas, time did not allow. R, next time I WILL learn to crochet! Thank you for my delicious birthday dinner! Miss you!

I hope you all are having a peaceful, fun-filled Christmas season too. See you soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

toy society drop




This little nut brown bunny was a prototype when I was working on the this pattern. Even though she didn't make the final cut for the pattern, I've loved having her sitting around my craft room to make me smile. Now, the time had come to spread the joy! 'Tis the season for joy-spreading you know.

I have had a Toy Society drop on my to do list for quite a while, and I was happy to have the opportunity recently. I was scheduled for my first mammogram (ugh) and the imaging place is in the same building with a large women's OB/GYN practice.

I figured that would be a good place to spread some diapered bunny love. There are lots of women going in and out who are expecting, and lots of women who might need bucking up after having to smash their boobs in a vise.


So I arrived before my appointment and I took the elevator even though my stop was on the first floor. No one was inside the elevator, so I feverishly tied the toy bag to the hand rail as the elevator went to the top and to the bottom again. I snapped a picture as I got off the elevator, and not a soul in sight. Anonymous drop, check.

After my own poor mams had been duly smooshed and radiated, I checked the elevator and voila, brown bunny was gone. I hope she brought someone some unexpected joy today.

If you are interested in participating in the Toy Society, you can sign up on their blog. They are currently organizing a World Wide Christmas Toy Drop!

Postscript: I checked their flickr group, and my entry was already blogged. Whoo!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

tooth pillow improvement


Hey, everybody! I've been to physical therapy and we did all kinds of cool but sinister-sounding things like electrodes and traction. My neck is on the mend, and this Thanksgiving all my thanks go to the good Lord for answered prayers. And to you, for your prayers and good wishes! More PT after Thanksgiving for me, and I'm looking forward to it.

I did squeeze in this tiny bit of crafting for a sweet little five year old's birthday party. I assure you it was quite moderate compared with the mondo crafting I wanted to do. I thought I'd share it with you since I added an improvement that will make it more durable.


When you make the Tooth Pillow from my pattern, after you mark the line for the mouth but before you cut the slit, machine stitch all the way around it with matching thread, close to the line. See the stitching around the mouth in the photo above? This will prevent the mouth from stretching from repeated use. You can also used this method with the slit you need to cut in the back for turning. It makes things look neater with less stretching. The pdf pattern has also been updated with this change.

Well, there you have it. Just a small thing. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday all you United States citizens, wherever you may be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And the winners are...


(rustling of envelopes)

Amy, who has made an Atlanta Braves themed Molly and would like to add a Mikey,

and

darlinroz, who's in it for the shoes. Darlinroz, I need your email address!

(falling confetti)

(pinwheeling spotlights)

Well, congratulations you two! I'll be emailing you the patterns soon.

A huge HUGE thank you to everyone who commented and also for your support in my shop for the patterns. It blew me away! Happy holiday crafting.

Don't forget the pattern sale is on through Monday, 20% off the regular price of Katy Kitty, Baby Binky Bunny and Mikey Monkey.

P.S. On a sad note (for me), I have injured my neck and time spent on the computer or sewing seems to aggravate it. SIGH. SIIIIIIIGHH. I'm praying for healing and patience. Until the neck is better, I won't be crafting or posting as often! I'm going to have to learn moderation, which is very difficult for me when it comes to Precious and crafting. I'll miss it, and I'll miss you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mikey Monkey, a sale and a giveaway


Wow, thanks everybody! Comments are now closed for the giveaway.

Mikey Monkey is now in the shop! Above is the first page of the 15-page boy-centric Mikey Monkey PDF pattern. It includes color pictures, step-by-step detailed instructions, a boatload of illustrated diagrams for each step, and of course, the pattern pieces. I've learned a few things since I wrote the Molly pattern, and I've made some adjustments here and there for easier assembly.

I hope this is in plenty of time for your Christmas makings. If you already have the Molly pattern but would love to make the boy version and these accessories without all the guess-work, then this pattern is for you!

Here is the basic Mikey, above.

He has two options for his Look. One is the more debonair tie/collar combo, paired with a jaunty newsboy hat, above.

The other fashion option is a striped t-shirt with a baseball cap, for the more casual monkey on-the-go.

Here's the back of the cap.

And included also with the pattern is a pirate play set, with pirate hat, sword and eye patch. Arrrr!

And of course, the tennis shoes. And if Molly wants to play, go ahead and let her! All Mikey's accessories fit her too.

To mark the debut of the Mikey pattern, I am also having my first ever sale at the shop. All my softie patterns will be 20% off until Monday the 23rd.

And oh, yes. I nearly forgot. I'd like to celebrate by giving away two Mikey patterns! If you are interested, leave ONE comment with your email address on this post. I'll be giving the patterns away via random number generator first thing on November 18th. See you back here then.

P.S. If your monkey makin' won't wait until Wednesday and you want to get started with the pattern, I can refund you the purchase price if you should be one of the lucky winners!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

aarrrrrr...


Aye, hand o'er the bananasss and no one gets strapped t'the masthead. Arrrr

So, so close on the Mikey Monkey pattern. Finishing up some fun options/accessories for him, including the pirate playset you see here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

fall mantel


A few of my favorite things on the mantel for fall. Click on the image to see it a bit larger.

From L to R: Charley Harper 'Birdie' print, handmade paper illustration of Little Red Riding Hood, felt and linen mushrooms, beautiful Elsa Mora prints, big ol' H I found at Ballard's Backroom, stack of vintage books, pretty milk glass footed bowl I scored at a garage sale.

Monday, November 2, 2009

my weekend








Filled with Tucker love, family time, coffee and Halloween candy. Pretty good weekend. Now back to my regularly scheduled program. Gotta run to exercise class and attempt to burn off some Reeses and Kit Kats.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

what I'm up to


Working on the Mikey pattern variation. I'm hoping to have it done by the firstish of November, but won't hold my breath. My grand-nephew Tucker, for whom I made the original Mikey, was just born a few days ago and I can't wait to go cuddle him. Might have to sneak off with the girls and go to Huntsville for some newborn baby love.

Hello, world! My name is Tucker!
I'm four hours old. Count my chins!

I had to share this picture of him. It was taken on a phone in a darkened room, hence the image quality. This is about 4 hours after he was born, in the arms of his very happy grandmother and my older sister, Leigh.

So now you can see the impossible cute factor we are dealing with here. And he is a hoss, in the grand tradition of our family. 9 lbs and 10 oz at birth. And just as kissable as he can possibly be. We love you Tucker! Congratulations, sweet Erin and Nathan.

I just realized 'tucker' means 'food' if you are in Australia, right? Well, that fits. Ha!


We went to our local county fair over the weekend, which was 1) cold 2) muddy 3) rinky dink, and yet conversely 4) really expensive. Somehow we missed the fabulous state fair in Perry, due to my poor planning. There's always next year!

(if I close my eyes, I am not here)

Can you tell Thing 2 was not a big fan of this ride? That's big sis behind us flying solo. I'm wearing my favorite crocheted scarf, courtesy of Robyn. Man I need to learn to crochet.

Y'all have a lovely weekend. And happy All Hallows Eve!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I needed these...




...like I needed a hole in my head.

But etsy seller Sandritocat sweetened the deal with free shipping. How could I refuse? And look at the perfect pattern that Ulla scored from her too.

These soon-to-be-in-my-clutches patterns have just about filled my head with visions of darling winter clothes for my girls, all made in muted colors, worn with tights and boots. I was banking on the size 6 being on the big side, like this one is.

If not, I can adjust a bit, right? (ominous music playing here, foreshadowing future sewing-disaster post)