Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Checkin' it twice

The last of the projects from last week's crazy, insane craft-a-thon is this flannel lap quilt. Dave picked up the patterned flannels last year at Hancocks, and in the spirit of using what I have, I decided to make them into a quilt for my mom.

I didn't put any batting in between the two layers since I used flannel for the back also, and it was plenty heavy and warm that way.
I also got brave and put the binding on with the sewing machine. It looks wonky but for some reason there is no piping foot with the Huskystar, so I had to use the zipper foot. I didn't think my fingers could take hand sewing the binding through flannel.

There was a small disaster with the layout since Jack came home from the train show and was very upset to see that I had the strips laying on his car rug. So what's a boy to do but pick up all the pieces and throw them elsewhere on the floor? Oy. Oh well, rows 2 and 3 have purple on top of purple now. Life goes on. :-)

I secretly wish I were keeping it. I love the soft pastel wintery prints.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We are family

We ventured into Hancock's for a few minutes on Friday so I could buy some much needed thread (I am using several spools a month!), and discovered that flannel was on sale for 99 cents a yard. We let Jack pick out a few prints for new pants, and at some point on Sunday he came upstairs telling me that he "needed to sew with the car fabric" and right now please. He spent a few minutes play sewing with his toy machine, and then his father made him some pajama pants using this tutorial .

Yes, you read that right, Dave made him those pants! When we make the next pair we will not taper the bottom (we used a pair of sweat pants as the pattern), and make them a little more generous in the butt area. Ugh, well, Dave will do those things. I don't make clothes.

Jack never wanted to take his Lightening pants off.
While Dave was sewing Jack was learning to use scissors. Love that Charlie Brown tongue. LOL He spent a full hour just cutting up paper and he has wanted to do it again every day since. Of course I let him. Hey, it keeps him entertained.

Let's not discuss that haircut though, ok?
Since it is sort of warm today we worked on a Christmas card photo this morning. This one didn't make the cut, and let me tell you, getting him to take a picture while standing on a background and holding a wreath? Please, never let me do that again. LOL The end result is cute, even if it did require 100 candy corns.

And one for the memory box: On the way to bed last night Jack asked Dave if he could have a muffin. "We don't have anymore muffins Jack." "But why not?" "We just don't." (Insert much whining here.) "You can whine until the cows come home, but there aren't any more muffins Jack." (Thoughtful pause.) "Well, maybe the cows could bring me muffins?"


Now if I could just get the two of them out of my sewing room...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Making a list

Apparently I can get a lot done with my husband here in the house for 5 days. We sat down and made our Christmas gifting list and I set to work getting the projects done. I had been holding off on taking pictures of this sweet little smock hoping for some sunshine, but it doesn't look like any of that is in the near future, so here we are. (Click on the photos to enlarge them, it makes up a little for the lack of natural light.)

I used Alicia's smocket pattern for the body and some fabric that has been in my stash since I made the Fresh Tradition Doll Quilt .
I have to admit it is a lot sweeter than I expected it to be. I added buttons at the shoulders, I didn't think tying the ends together looked like it would be too comfortable on a Half Pint's shoulders. (And it took me an hour to work out how to use the fancy pants buttonhole foot on the Huskystar. It nearly beat me, but I won in the end.)
The elephant was a pattern in an old stack of Work Basket magazines I picked up sometime last summer. Since I didn't want to use the pattern up completely by ironing it on, I just put the fabric and the pattern on the window and traced it onto my fabric using one of those disappearing fabric ink pens.

That dotty elephant is after my heart. I am coming around to embroidery I think. (Why did I dislike it before?)

I added the pocket before sewing the pieces together (this is contrary to her directions), so that it is still reversible. If you add the pocket last, you would have pocket stitching visible on the reverse side.

Well, I am off to tend to Jack again. He is apparently never going to take a nap today. He also never wants to wear pants again, just in case you were dying to know. LOL

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cabin Fever

Oh man. We have all been in this house together pretty much nonstop since Tuesday night. That's a long time and I am getting a lot done, but I am also getting cabin fever already! It's cold and rainy and I really wish it would snow already.

One of the things I made were these button candy canes. Cute, easy and a great way to use piles and piles of buttons.
I threaded the buttons on 24 gauge beading wire, then just bent them into shape. I think I might have Jack make some on paper. (Although, he could thread them onto the wire....hmmmm.)

I fixed the wreath too, and as soon as the glue dries I will update the pictures.

What has everyone else been up to? Did you brave the crowds on Black Friday? Dave and Jack went to the big train expo yesterday and apparently they had to wait in line for 30 minutes just to get in! I guess kids + train love is universal. :-)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Jingle Jingle Jingle

Well hello again. I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. As soon as we were done feasting I started working on some of the projects on my "need to make for gifts" list and my "my dying to make this cuteness" list. Expect to see lots of crafting around here this week!

I saw tulle wreaths in Mary's shop Oh Merci and it was love at first sight. I have gobs and gobs of pink tulle leftover from our wedding, and this is a great way to use it up.
I love, love the fluffiness of the tulle but I am not entirely happy with the corsage at the bottom and I need to find a better way to make the letters stick. Right now they are held on with glue dots, but maybe someone out there has a better idea? EDITED: Ok, much better now! The brooch pins work really well to hold the letters on, and I like the reflectors with the glass balls better than the previous adornment at the bottom!

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to everyone! I will be back tomorrow with a cute button craft.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I am a WIP

I was having a conversation with my adopted mom this morning about a project she is working on for Christmas and I mentioned that I had some old tools she could have since I have upgraded a lot of my sewing stuff recently. It occurred to me when I said it that I am actually a pretty serious sewer these days, sewing as much as I can, as often as I can, and tackling bigger and bigger projects.

This is the biggest one yet.

It is this large by accident really. My husband had worked out all the quilt math for me before I started cutting, but I swear he told me I needed to add seam allowances. It turns out he had already added seam allowances, and then I added them in yet again, except I am lazy and so instead of cutting pieces that would have been 13 3/4 inches with 1/4 seam allowances, I rounded all the way up to 14. Ooops.
It also made it a bit tricky to take a picture, as the quilt is more than 6 feet long. (I haven't washed it yet, but it is 75 degrees today and likely to snow by Wednesday, so I figured I had better get out there while I can.)

Planning this one kept me up for a few hours one night. When Dave asked what I was doing up all night I had to answer with "You are going to make fun of me, but I was planning my quilt." I can't help it! It's the only quiet time in this house. And there are so many decisions to make. How many fabrics, which fabrics, what pattern, what binding, what embroidery.
I considered Merry Christmas, Season's Greetings and a few others, but really, don't we all just want Peace on Earth this year (and every year)?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A chilly market

Our weather is crazy right now. Some days are so warm you can wear shorts, other days are so cold you need coats. Yesterday was warm, today it is freezing! I went to the flea market anyway. Most folks around here wait until really late in the season to bring their Christmas stuff to the market, so this is my best chance at adding to my collection.

There were more vendors than I expected, but not too many treasures. (And I have been thrifting lately too, or attempting to. I don't think I have found a single thing in the thrifts for nearly 2 months.) I managed to dig up a box of ornaments, 4 of them are plastic, and none of them have caps. No worries though, I always keep the caps off the ones that get broken every year, and stripes are my favorite.
I also found a box of old Nativity figurines. I have about 60 of these that I picked up when I lived in Florida, but none of my angels are freestanding (they all are meant to hang from the top of the creche), so I was excited to find freestanding angels. And a pink one to boot! And a baby Jesus* that isn't part of a molded manger is a new find for me also.
I picked up this runner because I adore the old owl fabric. I figured I would use the fabric for a different project when Halloween rolls around next year, but when I was looking at it in the car it occurred to me how strange the juxtaposition of the owl fabric and that crochet border are. (I hope that is crochet, eek.) Maybe I won't cut it up after all?

Ok, off to finish that mystery WIP!

*That reminded me that for Jack's very first Christmas we were asked if he could be the baby Jesus in the church Christmas program. Of course I said yes, but can you just imagine that my now crazy 3 year old was the sweet baby Jesus just 3 years ago? LOL I think he slept through the whole thing, even while everyone came "to adore him"!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

3 is the new 2

Gah. Jack is driving me crazy today. This number 3 business is a lot more challenging than being number 2. requires arguing right now apparently. And messes. Oh my, the messes. Food everywhere, milk spilled constantly, toys constantly underfoot, refusal to wear clothes. And if I have to hear "No!" or "What?" one more time.

I am going to need a vacation to Aruba soon.
For the past week or so the weather was crazy warm, so we played outside in the leaves for a few days. That was fun. Now we are back to reality and the cold weather.
My current WIP. I realized at about 6 pm last night that Project Runway was premiering and I needed a project to work on while I watched it. Watching that show gives me an intense urge to make something, anything.

Did anyone else watch? I loved Heidi and her line about that terrible blue dress, "It looks like the model is poo'ing fabric." LOL

Maybe Heidi could come entertain me while I clean up spilled milk?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I am a follower

Do you think Jen will just let me be her shadow*? I pretty much am anyway. She made some gorgeous monogrammed dishtowels a week or so ago, and of course I had to have my own. I made a pattern on an index card, cut it out and used my old friend Steam-A-Seam II. She's right about these making great gifts, they are so darn cute!
At some point during the summer she organized a fabric swap, 500 5 inch squares of fabric. I have gotten so much mileage out of those squares of fabric. I made all the monograms on the towels with them, I made the owls on the owl quilt with them, I covered a lampshade with them, I made a shirt for Jack with them, and who knows what else I have used them for.

Anytime I need small pieces of fabric I just pull out my little box of fabric squares and go to town. I love having all those choices without having to buy all that fabric. And look how many squares I still have left. Best swap ever.

*I would have said groupie, but googling the word groupie does not yield a pretty picture. Of course, now that I have mentioned the word groupie, I have to throw in a gratuitous picture of my boyfriend, you all remember Jon, right? LOL
Ok, enough foolishness. Happy Tuesday everyone.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Christmas ideas revisited

I spent the entire weekend getting all of the Christmas stuff up. I still have to do the big trees, which take forever, but everything else is out already. Early? Yes. But I want time to craft! I have a few ideas brewing and they are going to need to get out soon.

I realized while I was pulling things out of the tubs that some of the things I made last year still make my heart go pitter patter, so I thought I would revisit them while there is still enough time for you to make your own.

The button tree is in a piece of pottery piece this year, but still as gorgeous as ever. My directions for making your own are here .
This little craft is several years old at this point, but everyone needs a tiny pastel bottlebrush tree forest, don't they? (I have seen the trees at K-Mart already this year.) My directions are here .
I love these little paper dolls so much that I am considering making another crop with Jack this year. Man they are cute. I originally got the idea from Kiddley , but there are other cute downloads available at The Small Object that might work too.
What nifty things are on your crafty list this holiday season?

P.S.Can you believe it is Thanksgiving already next week?

Friday, November 09, 2007

A blessing in disguise

Thank you to everyone for sharing your thoughts on babies who leave the nest. As it turns out today started out horribly, with me not feeling very well and Jack feeling extremely uncooperative about everything from breakfast to his pants (again with the pants, lol.) So, when 9 am rolled around I was more than ready for him to go to school again.

And much to my surprise, a second day a week with him at school has been wonderful. Unlike Wednesdays where I feel so rushed to squeeze in everything I could possibly want to/need to do while he is gone, today I was able to just do nothing. Watch talk shows, do a little crafting, run a leisurely errand. Ahhhhh, bliss.

I used my time to make us a quick little advent calendar. I just covered tiny matchboxes with leftover scrapbook paper from last Christmas, added a bit of Target gift wrapping tinsel and a metal rimmed tag (they were leftover from our wedding 4 years ago). I would have preferred some sort of preprinted stickers for numbers, but I couldn't find anything, and hey, my own handwriting is free.
Need more advent inspiration? I liked this one , this one , this one , and this one , which was the winner.

Now I just need to find a pretty jar at the thrift to pile them into.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tick Tock

I am having a bit of a rough day emotionally. It all started about 2 weeks ago when Jack started asking us every single day if it was time for him to go to school yet. It came to a head yesterday when he put his backpack on and sat in front of our front door for nearly 30 minutes. He told me he was "waiting to go to school like the other children."

While I am super duper thrilled that he loves school and wants to go more often, I am a little sad because this is the very first time that Jack has actually *wanted* to leave me. He started the Parents Day Out program so that I could have a little break, and now it is so much more than that. Already gone are the days when he wanted me to go to school with him, and they went fast.

So, when I pick him up today I will enroll him for a second day each week. And I will try and remind myself that time is indeed passing, and that I have always sworn I will give him both roots and wings.
Trying to distract myself I went to the thrift this morning. I found these 2 pink depression glass pieces, a first for me. They are gorgeous, and so delicate. I once saw an old oatmeal box at the antique mall that had an ad on the side of it stating that inside with the oatmeal was a piece of green glassware.

Crazy how much the world has changed in 75 years, isn't it? I cannot even imagine getting glassware inside my oatmeal box.
Christmas is inching closer, so I have been on the hunt for more ornaments. I picked up a big box of them this weekend and once I had them all sorted out I discovered a full two dozen of this style in the box. I love that the glitter is all tarnished and there are interesting colors like orange. I sold all of the solid colored ones that were in the box yesterday.

I also went to Target this morning to check out this year's Christmas offerings. There are a few things I would love to get my paws on, but not as much as last year. Of course my spirits were dampened by a very grouchy old man who was complaining loudly to every employee in the store about the Christmas stuff being out already. (What did he think a stock clerk was going to do about it? Put it all back in the back? LOL)
This is likely the last rose in the garden until next spring. I have never had one like it in the garden before, the orange stripes on the yellow are really gorgeous. And perfect for the changing season.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Come on down!

Thank you to everyone for playing. I wish I had enough for you all!

With that, we have a winner, or two. :-)

Jack drew Paula for the toddler quilt and Junkyard Jennifer for the 1950s quilt! Congratulations to you both. If you can click on the email link in my profile and send me your addresses, I will get them both in the mail sometime next week.

I have one more giveaway in mind for our Thankful November, but first I have to find the carpet in the sewing room. LOL (What a mess it is in there right now, oy.)

P.S. Has anyone been watching the new version of The Price is Right with Drew Carey? Totally not the same, is it?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Downhill and quickly

Oh my. Just when I thought I would get a break things got a little crazy. We weren't able to go camping because it is just so cold at night (in the 30's right now). We thought we had found a nice little cabin we could rent for the night, but they were closed already for the winter. So we took Jack to a local conservation area instead. We saw honeybee hives, played in their tree house, and walked in the woods. Not camping, but, a chance to be where it was quiet for a few hours.

Yesterday I went to the flea market (by myself for a change) and while I was gone Dave accidentally punctured the refrigerator coil on our 1950's Frigidaire! Sadly I am not the least bit sure we can repair it, and after nearly 60 years of continuous service it may be on it's way to the recycling center.

Perhaps it can join the tires on the van which we discovered were shredded on the inside when we went to change what we thought was a flat? (I am very lucky and very thankful I did not have that tire blow out on the highway yesterday.)
Once things start going downhill it all seems to happen rather quickly, doesn't it?

Anyway, we bought this armoire at the 127 sale in August. It was our big purchase on the trip, and we paid $125 for it. It has been sitting in our very, very messy garage since then while I hunted for wallpaper for it. I have an inspiration picture of an armoire with wallpaper on the drawer fronts that I tore out many moons ago and I was determined to get that look on an armoire for our bedroom.
Back when I posted gobs of vintage seam binding, the lovely Jen Duncan asked if I would be interested in a little swap for some of it. She offered some of her gorgeous wallpapers, and I jumped at the chance.

She helped me pick out one that would look good on the old beast, and somewhere in the midst of birthday parties and Halloween I managed to get the new paint and paper on it. It looks gorgeous and is just what I wanted*, but it is a little too big for that spot. Rearranging might be required, but not until after Christmas!**

*The sole reason I wanted an armoire in our bedroom was to hide the television inside of it. It turns out that you cannot actually see the television if it is that low because our bed is gigantic. You win some, you lose some. :-)

**I hereby solemnly swear to not undertake any ginormous projects until after Christmas. I need a chance to breathe and my sewing room is a bloody disaster already.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Why I Make Things, A Meme

Last week I was tagged for a crafty meme by Thimbleanna , and I don't want to let it slip by forgotten, so here goes. (That is some cute recently thrifted fabric up there, and one of the ever present trucks/cars/trains.)

1. When did you start to create and make craft?

I do not come from a long family line of sewers or crafters, but I remember that starting around age 8 or 9, I started to feel the need to make things. My grandmother was very supportive of my urge to make things, and she would buy me those craft kits to make doll furniture or melt plastic beads together to make pictures or glue sequins on sweatshirts for her. I did tons of those things when I small.

2. Why did you start creating?

I am not really sure why I started to do it, other than my childhood was very tumultuous, and I suppose it gave me a sense of order.

3. Why do you create?

My current creative "binge" started when Jack was nearing a year old. Before I got pregnant I was teaching middle school and high school, and it was super stressful. To relax in the evenings I started to paint. It was very soothing and just what I needed at the time.

Then I got pregnant and Jack arrived and everything felt like it was going to hell around here*. LOL Mothering is a job that really has no end, and for a long time it feels like there are no measurable results. You just keep feeding the baby, changing the baby, feeding the baby, changing the baby. So, I started to make things. Anything that I could finish. Something to hold in front of myself and be able to say, "Hey Sarah, you 'made' that today. You finished something." It kept me sane.

Now that Jack is much more of a kid than a baby, I do it because it is something to do for myself. It allows me to have my own time, my own space, my own thoughts without regard for the needs and demands of another little person.

4. What do you create?

Honestly? Anything. The only thing I cannot do is knit. Obviously I am in love with fabric and sewing at the moment, but I also enjoy paper crafts, decorating the house and furniture renovation projects. If I see something and want it, I will set out to make it.

5. Has this changed since you began crafting?

Well, I never make anything from a kit anymore!

My old sewing machine was a gift from a boyfriend who was hesitant to buy it for me, despite my insistence that I wanted it. He was certain I would use it once or twice a year at most. I used it so much I drove it right into the ground. Once I started getting the hang of sewing, I was hooked.

But, if I am honest with myself, I don't know that 5 years from now I won't be looking at the Huskystar and wondering what I ever did with that thing. I certainly feel that way now about the painting I used to really enjoy just 5 short years ago. Clearly, for me crafting is a fluid process that ebbs and flows with my life changes.

Want to play along? Let me know you are posting the meme and I will add a link to you.

I will keep the quilt giveaway open to comments until next Tuesday, November 6th.

*I wanted to clarify that just a little bit. That first year of mothering was super hard for me because of the uncertainity of it all. You have to rely on your instincts a lot more than I ever knew I would, and because of the life I had before Jack and Dave, I was not very good at going with my gut. There was no way to make Jack fit into some mould where he would do what "the books" or "other people" said he should/would/could do. I was used to doing things very systematically in order to avoid the great big scary UNKNOWN, and the reality of motherhood is that it *all* is unknown.

This eventually changed me in a very big way and I alluded to that the other day when I said I no longer feel like a biologist these days. Now I feel like a mother and the biggest change, a creative person instead of a systematic person.

And I wonder if any of this makes any sense. :-)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

That crazy Great Pumpkin

Whew. I am tired. A whole month of hard work is behind me at last. Birthdays are done, parties are over, Halloween is past. I think we are going on an a little impromptu camping trip this weekend before the weather turns too cold. I look forward to sitting in my chair and reading books while Jack digs in the dirt.

Thank you for all of the costume love! Jack's costume was a big hit here in the neighborhood too. Coming up with an owl is harder than I thought it would be, and all in all I was happy with the results. He even wore that mask for the first hour or so.

He was awesome last night, running from house to house, clutching his treat bag, making his owl noises and saying trick or treat. We trick or treated for nearly 2 whole hours and he would have gone on all night, but we were pooped! When we got home he did what every kid does on Halloween, he sat on the floor and piled all his candy around him while digging for treasures. Too cool.

He asked for a ride in the baby swing this morning, and while I would ordinarily try and encourage him to use our other swings, I gave him a few good pushes in the baby swing anyway today. I am acutely aware that his baby swings days are quickly ending, and he reminded me by telling me to push "fast, really fast, not so slow!"
This great pumpkin wants to thank all of you for visiting us here everyday, so she has a little gift for you too. All you have to do is a leave a comment on this post and sometime next week I will have the Jack attack draw names. Be sure to leave a way to get in touch with you and include which quilt you would prefer to be in the drawing for.

You can choose between this smaller quilt (toddler bed sized), and I think of a newer vintage. (1980s maybe? Hard to tell with the fabrics in this one.)
Or this bigger one, definitely of a 1950's vintage. (Some of the fabrics are barkcloth, and there are gold prints, so don't forget you CANNOT use Oxiclean on this quilt!)

They are both tied and in good usable condition (the pink one does need some stain removal), and my only condition is that you have to promise not to chop them up. :-) Picnic on them, let the kids roll around on them, nap with them, pet them, sit and admire them, anything but the scissors, ok? Good luck to you!