Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby Quilt

Before the Christmas crafting began in earnest I made a baby quilt for my new niece. I found the pictures of it lurking on the computer and realized I had forgotten to share it. Here is my version of this quilt found on Moda Bake Shop. I left out the words and chose colors that are a little less...well, just less. If you're a fan of vibrant colors, be sure to check the link to see photos of the original. Mine is also quite a bit smaller than the pattern, both in over-all size and the size of the blocks and applique. I made the hexagons starting with a 5 inch square. I can post the mini-sized applique pieces I used if anyone is interested in making a baby version like this one.

I used comfy, fuzzy fabric for the back. You can see that it's tied, so I guess it's not technically a quilt. But it's nice and warm for a December baby. With pretty appliqued flowers

And polka dots

I hope they like it.

Birthday Dress

Baby's Birthday dress made of chilly-weather corduroy. The color is lovely but a bit plain on its own. So I made a yoke with some pleats underneath and a bit of embroidery. Here it is holding still:

My attempt at embroidery:

Aaand here it is modeled and blurry:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


We found the movie Lilo & Stitch at the thrift store and Buggy promptly became obsessed. She likes to dance along with the hula parts of the movie, so I found a Hula for Kids DVD and had the grand idea that I would make a grass skirt to go along as a Christmas gift. Ha!

It was going great, I even made spanky pants to go underneath because I knew she would insist on wearing it when people came to visit:

Then when the waistband was in, it was all but done and I was patting myself on the back, I cut the tulle into strips to resemble grass. And that's how I ended up with this hot mess:


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar

We've never had an Advent Calendar in our home until last year when someone gave the family one as a gift. About the same time I saw this post on Ikat Bag for the calendar she made with her kiddos. And I've had the idea stuck in my head since then.
Here is our attempt at it:

We made our trees the same and decorated them with a bag of 'spangles'. Even the baby got in on the fun, her trees are the ones that look like they are leaking sap.
Then I hot-glued the trees to a piece of foam core from the Dollar Store and topped it off with a sprinkle of fake snow.

I try to find ways to include the true meaning of Christmas as we make our own traditions. So I wrote the Christmas story out, as it might make sense to a 5 year old, on 24 pieces of paper and tucked them up inside. Of course, there is also chocolate, little ornaments, and small toys in there as well.
Our trees do not have stars on them, but they do have a very important feature. See the little holes in the top? I wanted to include little slips of paper with fun things to do like getting our tree, baking cookies, etc; but I worried that we would pop the tree open and the surprise inside wouldn't be feasible with the schedule (or lack thereof) for the day. And I would be stuck with either disappointed little girls or trying to MAKE everybody have fun in a hurry. Yay, how festive.
So when inspiration strikes, I can just roll a piece of paper with the surprise and stick it in the hole.

And you thought I was just a sloppy tree maker. Oh no, there is a method to the madness. Well, plus I'm sloppy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wreath Making 101

There has been some interest in how I make a wreath (OK, one person but that's a biggie for this blog). So I made another wreath to give as a gift and took some pictures to share with you.

Here is what you'll need:

An old wire hanger, florists wire, wire cutters and a pair of garden clippers. This hanger happened to be wrapped in some sort of green coating so all the better. Snip off the hook and bend the wire into a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect, the greenery will hide any wonky parts. Snip off the excess wire and twist the ends to join:

Clip sections from your greenery and make a little bunch, like so:

(Keep in mind that mistletoe is toxic if you are using it for your wreath, so it should be kept away from little helpers and hung up high)

Place the bunch along the wreath frame and wrap it a few times along the length of the stems with florists wire. If you are not dexterity-challenged like me, you can leave the wire on the spool and wind it around the frame; I find it easier to work with 12-inch sections of wire. Make a new bunch of greenery and lay it along the frame so it is covering the stem ends of the previous bunch and keep wrapping with the wire as you go:

Working around the frame and covering the wire on the previous bunch as you go:

(Yes, that's blood on my finger. I thought about GIMP-ing it out, but I'm all about keeping it real. I should probably add a band-aid to the list of things you'll need)
Until you are back where you started. Then tuck the ends of the last bunch up under the first to hide the last of the wire. Snip off any greenery that is hanging out and messing up your circle-y shape:

The back:

For larger projects that carry a bit more weight, I have a little different method. That ugly thing on the left is a "real" wreath frame like you might find on a wreath that you've purchased. I mocked up an example of a frame that I've made in the past using heavy wire that I scavenged off something. That's what you see on the right, just two circles wired together at intervals with a lighter gauge wire. It can be made standard-sized for your door or ginormous for a space like over your garage doors.

Again, clip sections of greenery until you have a nice full bunch. Cut a 5-inch section of florists wire and form it into a hook:

Put the loop of the hook over the ends of the greenery:

Give it a couple twists to secure and lay the bunch along the frame. Use the ends of the florists wire to attach it to the frame:

Keep making bunches and layering them on the frame as in the previous example. Tucking in sprigs of different evergreens or random berries looks lovely too:

Keep going until you get all the way around (I didn't have enough fir, the neighbor ran me off his property) and clip the stray ends to clean it up. Wrap it with pretty ribbon, tie on a bow or just hang as is.
Any questions?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mistletoe Wreath

Its nice to be known.
Mr. SH was walking in the woods when he spied some mistletoe in the top of an oak tree. He knew that I would want it to make something, so he brought a bunch home.
And, of course, he was right. I made it into a little wreath that afternoon. Its the first Christmas-y thing I've put up and it looks lovely hanging from the door of my china hutch.
And how do you get mistletoe out of the top of an oak tree, you ask? With a shotgun, silly.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

That's not what I said

I said I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, not a white... oh, nevermind. I'll take it.

If you live somewhere snowy you're probably thinking 'whoopie-doo". But snow that sticks to the ground is a big deal in this part of Oregon.

Other exciting news around here: my "baby" is two. I'll see if I can find her birthday dress and take a picture to show you.
You won't be seeing the cake. I took my eyes off it for two seconds and she took full advantage. Up until that point it was a bear.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bookish Bag

A birthday gift for someone who always has a lot to carry (literally and figuratively):

I was inspired by this tutorial, but made mine a little larger because I wanted it to accomodate books in addition to being handbag:

I was determined to have the topstitching along the front and back, but I must have ripped it out 8 times before I gave up that dream. I'm guessing it had something to do with the way the wales of the corduroy fed through the feed dogs, but I could NOT sew a straight line. So I stitched something like it by hand with embroidery floss.

Pockets for pencils and one for a gadget. I put some ribbon on the top of a couple pockets after I realized they blended in with the lining so well, they became invisible.

And a big pocket on the other side for...stuff.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brush Embroidery Cake

If the question of whether or not you can do brush embroidery work on Italian Meringue Buttercream has been keeping you up at night, I'm here to tell you its possible (names have been smudged to protect the innocent):

Well, my recipe is really a combination of IMBC with "regular" buttercream to make it a little easier to work with, but still. Its not as clean looking as it probably is on crusting buttercream but its pretty and a bit out of the ordinary, so I'm glad I tried it.

It was somewhat time consuming and I don't recommend that you drink a lot of caffeine beforehand as it does require a steady hand with the brush.

I was aiming for clusters of hydrangeas, but I think I missed the mark.

Its hard out here for a squirrel

There are no acorns on our trees this year. None. Someone told me that acorns are biennial, which would explain the problem but I'm not sure if that's true or not. If that's so you'd think the trees would talk it over and decide to how to stagger their vacations so we aren't left hanging.
This is annoying for me since I had planned to enjoy some acorn craftiness, both the grown-up kind and with my girls.

But I imagine the poor squirrel has that same sick feeling I get when I check my bank account balance.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


If you have ever referred to me as "crafty" and I scoffed at the idea, I would like to submit this as evidence to back my claim:

I was actually thinking ours wasn't too bad until I saw this. Sweet Mercy! Now THAT'S a paper mache pumpkin. Blowing the balloon up in the strings? Genius.
Okay, I did have a 5 year old helping me with this one.
If you don't know me in 'real life', then you wouldn't know yet that I lost my mind and started homeschooling our daughter this year. So this was a school project leading up to our trip to the pumpkin patch. I had the grand idea that we could talk about basic pumpkin anatomy and maybe find a coloring page to go with that. I couldn't find anything close to what I had in mind other than this, so we went 3-D. After the paper dried and we popped the balloon, I cut away part of the side so we could give our pumpkin some seeds and pulp.

I'm seriously thinking of making another this week just to try the string idea. It would be a solo project though, Buggy's squeamishness about all things sticky trumps her desire to make a huge mess.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I found it! My sewing mojo, that is. It was buried under the heap of half-finished projects on my desk.
Just in time too, since I have a couple of projects to make that have an actual dead-line. I'm making flower girl dresses and wanted to make a pettiskirt for each girl. I used KitschyCoo's tutorial, except I made only two layers of tulle since these are intended to be worn under a dress rather than as a stand-alone skirt. I used a rather wide elastic so that it can be worn with other dresses that aren't quite as long by rolling the elastic over to shorten the length.
I wanted a little bit of poof, not a bell-like skirt. See? Little poof:

This dress isn't hemmed, its a practice before I suck it up and slice into my cotton sateen, of which I have juuuuust enough to make the skirts. *gulp*

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I went for a walk today

past the squirrels scolding me from the tree tops.
Up hill and down, past the wildflowers in bloom.
Past the field where a coyote stopped being sneaky to watch me pass and the Herefords, who seemed unconcerned about the coyote, stopped munching to stare at me like I was nuts.
Past the Killdeer running in the road and calling to distract me from their nest.
Right up to the home of the German Shepherd, with his deep bark and shedding hair that stands out in crazy clumps and patches.
Then I turned around and went home.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It ain't easy being cool

I'm honestly trying to get my assigned garment done by the sew-along deadline this time.

I guess first I should explain what happened to the skirt I made. No, I did not set it on fire. What I did was rip the whole thing apart and take it in a little at the side seams. It didn't fit as smoothly after that, but it was doable. Then, a short time later, I bent over to pick something up off the floor and ripped the pants I was wearing.
Goo fell out.
Not good.
So...I cut back on the Oreo cookies and other things that make life worth living and managed to lose a few pounds. Now the skirt fits loose again. I need to just start over. bleh.

So on to the t-shirt. My upper body measurements have not changed since age 14 (stupid Titty Fairy), so I figured it would be a safe project to tackle.
Things were going great until I slipped it on and realized I'd done something waaay wrong when I measured my shoulders:

Yeah, those aren't sleeves, that's over-hang.
So, I can pretend I did it on purpose and call them kimono-flutter sleeves or I can hack off the excess and see what happens when I attach the sleeves. But wait! I drafted the sleeves to fit into the original armhole. gaaa!
So should I unpick it and try to fix my jacked up pieces? Something tells me that unpicking knit material is not fun.
Or scrap the whole thing, redo my shoulder measurements, and go see what other kinds of knits Joann has on the clearance rack?
I think I'll go hit the Oreo's.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crochet Necklaces

Crocheting wire is at once easier and harder than I thought it would be. I wasn't expecting that linking together tiny loops of wire would be easy, and its not, but I wasn't prepared for how sore my poor fingers would get. There is definitely a knack to it that I haven't learned yet.
But I did give myself a little pep talk so I wouldn't get too depressed when my first few attempts weren't fit to wear into public. But, honestly, this method is really forgiving. Here is the first necklace I made:
Its made with rose quartz and a simple chain "stitch", without any blank loops between the stones. You can see that I didn't attach a chain and just started adding stones once I had a couple inches of chain stitches:

I like it but I fiddle with it a lot because of where it sits on my neck. I wish I had made it just a little longer, I probably won't wear it much for the same reason I don't wear turtlenecks.
I like my second necklace better because of the color and how it sits on my neck:
I added some chain to this one to make it a little more flexible. This necklace has round beads on chain stitches and teardrop shaped beads attached with a half double crochet so they sit a little lower than the round beads:
These are loads of fun to make. I can't wait to get my mitts on some more beads so I can try some different designs I have in mind. When I get the hang of this, I'll do a tutorial so you all can make some too.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm fickle that way...

I get bored making the same thing over and over again.

Once I become fixated on a certain project or craft, I try to learn as much about it as possible; to the exclusion of all else (ie: dishes, laundry). But when I get bored, I'm ready to move on. So I've been in a crafty slump lately. Too bored with my many works-in-progress to be bothered with them.
I haven't had a new obsession lately. Until now...

(Image via galit's Etsy shop)

Must. Learn. To. Crochet. Jewelry.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Crazy

Judging by the concerned messages I've received from family members, setting a dress on fire is not a rational thing to do.

I guess I should clarify that I did not come unhinged after a small setback.
That little charred pile is actually the end result of several days and many hours of work down the tube (sleep deprivation may have also played a small role).
Now I'm kind of feeling like I've been caught with my pants down. Whoops, I showed the world a little too much crazy. I thought about deleting the post so other folks wouldn't stumble across my little lapse, but I think it should all be here: The Good, The Bad and The Crazy.
Speaking of which, I've tried to go back to the fabric store twice and I think I have a new psychosis to explain when I pursue therapy after this little episode.
Does anyone else suffer from FabricStoreophobia? The symptoms include breaking out into a sweat, inability to make a decision, sensitivity to the antics of small children and alternating between holding back hysterical giggles and holding back tears of self-pity.

Anyone else?

No one?

Just me?
(Note to self: next time you snap your bean, don't write a blog post about it. You're scaring people.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Lost My Temper

We have to go to the store today so Buggy can pick out new fabric for her Easter dress. I can guarantee you it won't be JoAnn's Tutti Fruity fabric.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How did I not see this coming?

When the zipper went in without a hitch I should have been suspicious.

When I tried binding the waist with ribbon for the first time, and it went great I should have known.

But noooo. I kept right on stitching and, for some odd reason, was surprised when I slipped my new skirt on to find this:

Maybe its not a total loss. Maybe SlimFast will see this fabulously staged and in-focus photo and offer to buy it for an ad campaign.

Wait, I don't think I've ever had a SlimFast. crap.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm Not Cool

Shocking, I know.
Today I'm specifically referring to Kitschy Coo's sew-along (aka The Cool Girls' Club) which I was supposed to be participating in. When she announced it I thought everyone would be working through their skirts step-by-step which would give me ample time to catch up if when I fell behind. So not the case. I was supposed to have the whole thing done by last Saturday. oops.

So last night I took the measurements needed for the skirt and made my overdue muslin from a bed sheet. It was a little snug, I had to do some serious gut-sucking to pin it shut at the zipper opening. Boooo.

Then, this afternoon, when I put it back on to take some pictures it fit nicely with a little gap at the waist even. I puzzled over this until I realized the culprit: lactose. I'm a little bit lactose intolerant. Not so much that I can't have ice cream ever; just enough that I suffer the consequences if when I do eat it. So if you suffer from the same malady, I suggest not taking your measurements after a huge bowl of ice cream. Even if you aren't lactose intolerant, I suggest not doing it because the numbers on the measuring tape will make you regret every yummy bite.

I tried to take the skirt pictures in my bathroom mirror but the lighting in there does not allow for that sort of craziness. So I took my new camera out to the front porch and tried out the timer mode.

It beeps.


I started to worry that the neighbors would call in the bomb squad. So I took the camera out back where the landscaping is so much nicer and took these somewhat blurry pictures (the camera focused on my landscaper's hard work so then the fruitcake leaping in front of the camera is out of focus).

I like the flare, I think it falls nicely from my less-than-proportionate hips:

I think I might increase the darts in the back just a little since I have a little extra room there post-ice cream. I think it will be OK since all this body measuring has inspired me to flop around in front of the TV while some skinny minx demonstrates the proper way to do Pilates:

Yes, custom made is good. I don't think I own a skirt that falls away from my junk this nicely:

Now I realize that the camera must not have been sitting on level surface.
Don't worry, my legs are both the same length.

So far I'm really liking this book: Design it Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch