Tuesday, December 30, 2008

so that was Christmas...

so that was Christmas..., originally uploaded by sapaho.

it's in between week and I can't get anything done

this flickr foto sums it all up

Sunday, December 21, 2008

is it christmas yet?

is it christmas yet?
Snappy was so tired that he didn't mind posing with the Santa hat. It is a busy time. The house is full and there is so much to do!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mailing Letters

Mailing Letters, originally uploaded by Smithsonian Institution.

It seems that all I can think of is mailing out cards, letters and packages in hopes that they will get to friends and family in time for Christmas.

I spent part of the day attempting to put together a Christmas card. I was trying to wait and get a shot of my kids together for the card. But, as the holiday approaches and with my kids going in all different directions, that seemed impossible. However, with the help of scrapblog, I came up with a sweet little greeting. It was quick and easy! It looks a lot like the ones you can order at the photo shop. I downloaded the jpg from the site, saved it, and then printed out 4 x 6 prints at the local drug store. I guess it looked so much like the ones you can order, that they tried to charge me for printed Christmas cards!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Handmade Holidays Charm Quilt!

Quilt Front

I am getting ready to send off this quilt made from another charm pack. I made it for a teenage niece who loves to read. I was thinking that a softy, snugly quilt to warm the lap while reading would be a wonderful gift for her.

I love the fabric on this one. It comes from the Park Slope collection by Erin McMorris. There are also some squares from Jennifer Paganelli's Sis Boom line. These fabrics are offered by Free Spirit Fabrics. Free Spirit has a wonderful website featuring tons of hot designers. There are also lots of free quilt patterns for each of their collections.

For this quilt, I simply sewed together a pack of 30 6.5" pre-cut squares from a charm pack I purchased on Ebay from materialgirlchic. I added some squares from my stash to make a 40 square quilt. I used a single layer of polyester quilt batting in the middle, and then backed it with hot pink fleece. Then, I sewed the quilt, right sides together, leaving a little spot at the top for turning. Then I machine-quilted squares in each square. Since I am a beginner at this, I thought it turned out pretty darn good. To finish it off, I couldn't resist adding a few pom-poms at each corner.

pink fleece backing

Pom Poms

Quilt 2

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Warm & Fuzzy Holiday Music

We have a family joke that we only allow Christmas music to be played at our house after Thanksgiving.  We may not have our decorations up in a timely fashion, but you can bet that we have good music playing.  Since we have been pulling out all our old cds and transferring them to mp3s, I thought it might be fun to give you a sampling of just a few of the notes coming from our house this holiday season.

1.  Shawn Colvin - soft and dreamy!


2.  James Taylor - Makes me HAPPY!

3.  Jars of Clay - I discovered last year and really liked it.  By the way you can download a free track here.

4.  The Carpenters - I get teased endlessly about this one.  But, it is the ONE I HAVE TO HAVE!
5.  Bing Crosby - It isn't Christmas without this one. We love the MOVIE too!

And, in all fairness, you can't for get Rosemary's version of the same thing!

I could go on and on and on.  Thanks to Amazon, you can hear a sampling over in the sidebar if you are so inclined!  

Handmade Gifts to Go!

Posted by Picasa

I finally finished the ornaments for the ornament swap. It was great to see all those little houses wrapped up and ready to go to their new homes! I made a trip to the post office with 10 of them. Hopefully, they will arrive at their destinations (California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Spain, Texas, United Kingdom, and Wisconsin (2))

Now, I have moved on to my next goal - getting all the gifts out in the mail to relatives. I like to send gifts to my nieces and nephews who live on the west coast. I made this little bag up for my 5 year old niece. I was inspired by the little bag that Anna Maria Horner made for her daughter written about in this blog entry.

I used some Alexander Henry (fabric for the imagination!) for the base. It has little birds on it. I am really impressed with the weave of this fabric. It is top quality!

I am particularly proud of the monogrammed "K" on the front. It was my first attempt at this type of embroidery, and I am pleased with the results. I used a carbon template from the Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To book. The book has pages and pages of reusable templates which come in handy at the least expected times! The accenting fabric is from a charm pack I purchased several months ago. Charm Packs are packs of squares pre-cut out of coordinating fabrics. You can find them on Ebay or at online fabric stores. I think these are from a Moda Charm Pack.

I filled the bag with some amigurumi birdies, a little blankie, some mini-markers and two little coloring books. I crocheted the little birds about a year ago, during my amigurumi phase, and was saving them for something like this! I can't remember the pattern I used, but on a quick search I found this free pattern that looks really similar!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pin Cushion Swap

I signed up for a pincushion swap on Swap-bot today. That sounds like fun. I have a hoard of pincushions already made, so I won't have to put too much added work into the mix.  Here is a simple one I made from a bottle cap

tomato pin cushion
I did a quick search for pin cushion tutorials and found this quick sampling  for those who are interested:

How About Orange's Tiny Pin Cushion Tutorial

paper.string.cloth patchwork pincushion

Martha Stewart's strawberry pincushions

a wrist pin cushion from the Green Kitchen

If you love pincushions, you might want to splurge on this gift for yourself  Pretty Little Pincushions (Pretty Little Series).  Or, you could go to the Pretty Little Pincushion Flickr group for more inspiration!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Full House

My two older boys, 14 and 17, returned home this weekend from boarding school. We spent Saturday at the school attending workshops on the college admission process. It was extremely overwhelming but exciting at the same time. I can't quite believe that I will have a child in college in the near future!

With a full house, it is hard for me to focus on crafting. With the constant demands for food, entertainment and clean laundry, I don't think that I will be able to post much until after the Thanksgiving holiday. We are heading up to New England on Wednesday for a couple of days to spend some time with our relatives. I hope that there might be a little bit of snow. We haven't had a good snow here in several years. And, since it is basically flat, farmland, my kids don't ever get to go sledding. It would be such fun to get in a bit of that with the cousins!

I was able to finish up the little house ornaments for the Christmas Ornament Swap before the boys came home. My kids think that I am a little loopy, making so many. I also was inspired to make a couple of Christmas trees to go along with the houses. Then I finished off with the needle felted sheep that I make. Basically, I have a complete village now.

make me stop

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Embroidery 101

Posted by Picasa

I have been trying to get better at my embroidery stitches.  Awhile back I made a first attempt at this on some tea towels that I had been saving.  I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To.  Since I have a little schnauzer, Snappy, I decided to try the scottie pattern in the book (it sort of looks like a schnauzer).  I made two of them and gave one to my mother.  We have been using the one I kept in my downstairs powder room/laundry room.  It has been washed multiple times, and still looks good!  That says a lot for a simple towel from the Dollar Tree and my novice handiwork!

Posted by Picasa
Since it turned out so well, I am constantly trying to find appropriate but cost efficient towels to embroider on.  Unfortunately, Dollar Tree doesn't have anymore of the cute style above.  I looked at Walmart and found some plain white terrycloth bar towels.  They are suitable for patchwork applique but not really for embroidery.  I am wondering if there are any resources out there that I don't know about???  I suppose I could just break down and make the towel myself.  

I need to do something because I landed at the nicest blog today, Nini Makes.  It is the kind of blog that really appeals to me because showcases lots of different things like crafts and cooking and family life.  It also has lots of tutorials which is just what I need!  There was a wonderful PDF of a little happy Christmas tree scene perfect for embroidering on a tea towel.  I left a comment and was pleasantly surprised to find an email from Joan with the PDF attached. This design would perfectly embellish a little towel or pillow for a holiday hostess or teacher gift.  Thanks so much to Joan!  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 2: Little Glass Frame Ornament Tutorial!

Little Frame Ornament
Here is an EASY ornament that you can make in 30 minutes! It is also a good project for school-aged kids with adult supervision.


Glass Pebbles from Craft Store - Larger Size (about 1")
Sculpey Clay
Scraps of Holiday Material & Ribbon
Small amount of Wire
Glue Stick
Holiday Stamps


1. Position a glass pebble on top of holiday fabric to create a frame of pattern on fabric. Cut out a square of fabric around the edges of the pebble.

2. Rub glue stick on bottom of pebble and on fabric square.


3. Glue fabric onto pebble, centering your pattern. Cut circular shape around edge of pebble. It doesn't have to be precise, because clay will cover edges.

Cut Cirlce

4. Make a ball of sculpey clay about the same size as your pebble. Work it in your hands to soften it. Shape it into a flat circle a little larger than your pebble.


5. Cut a small amount of wire and make a loop.

6. Smoosh loop into back of clay.

7. Position clay onto back of fabric on pebble with wire in the top center back.

8. Form a frame around pebble with clay.


9. Use stamps to stamp pattern on back of ornament.


10. Cook as directed on clay package. This is where adult supervision is required. Be careful, the little ornament will be HOT!


11. Let the ornament cool and harden. Then string ornament through the wire loop with a small amount of ribbon.

12. Your done!

Your Done!

Instead of material you could use old Xmas cards, or a small picture of a child or pet. I also made one with silver jewelry finding as the wire and a bead at the bottom. Instead of an ornament, this could become the focal point of a necklace. Add a ring and make a key chain. The possibilities are endless!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Week of Handmade Ornaments

Polaroid-Frame-Flat, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

So, I have been going a little overboard on making ornaments lately, and I have decided to feature a few of my creations. I am going to try each day to add another ornament. We will see if I actually make it...

On the first Saturday of every month, there is a local flea market at the Fire House. It is really a cross between a yard sale and an antique show. You never know what you will find. Back in August, a dealer had these little antique hearts. I bought them thinking I would use them for a baby blanket. However, since it is not looking like there will be anymore babies in my family (or extended family) anytime soon, I decided a better use might be to make some ornaments.

Quilt Shapes

This is perfect for an old holey quilt! You can just cut shapes out of the good parts. I used a simple cotton fabric for the backing. It was a cinch to sew them up using blanket stitch. I left a little bit unsewn, stuffed with scraps and polyester stuffing, and then closed her up!

Heart Front

Heart Back

When I was stuffing, I slipped in a little sachet of lavender made from a recycled dryer sheet. I figured that once the holidays were over, the heart could hang on a closet door or be placed in a sock drawer to keep everything smelling fresh!