Thursday, December 23, 2010

See You Next Year

Finishing up very last-minute gift sewing and waiting for my ride north. Thought I'd post a few pics of what's been going on around here. Some of these were started months ago, some were made in the last few hours (well, hello, scented hand warmers tutorial). I now have a stack of blueberry-scented and a stack of eucalyptus-scented hand warmers to hand out in addition to the cedar-filled sachets I made last month. There are a few things that I won't make until I get there; brother's boxers and sisters apron namely. I want to make sure I'm making the boxers the right size and the apron just because I'm very tired and don't want to mess it up.  My Wednesday was spent hand sewing a couple cute things, tying in loose ends on crochet, and going over my packing list repeatedly between watching episodes of season 3 of Lost on Netflix. I need a shower and to pack a few stragglers into boxes before my ride gets here. Here's to a safe and warm holiday break and I'll meet you here in the new calendar year.

The Awesome-est 3yo Ever worked on painting this piece of cream satin for better than 2 months. I tied it off with a funky green knit fabric as a batting, bound it with plain muslin bias tape and now it's a quilt. I love my Jacquard textile inks. They're a really awesome way to turn everyday play and painting into something different and a lot more permanent than paper paintings. Mom and I helped out on occasion. Hey, who doesn't love playing with colors and brushes and stamps occasionally? 

Mom's pillowcases came out wonderfully and I also figured out the jellyfish attachment problem. Not sure yet exactly who gets the brooch; I think I want Dad to have it, but I'm shy one Gramma-worthy gift as of this moment. We'll see.

This piece went off to its new home in Holland, MI where it is being displayed beautifully stretched on a canvas in a customer's home. I had never considered displaying any of my fabrics as art in and of themselves before, but the pic she sent with the feedback has me rethinking the concept.

This last one is just for my own entertainment, really. See, the eaves of the house do not drain properly and birds come to drink out of them after rain/snow. If I'm cautious about it in the morning, I can open the door stealthily enough that I don't scare them all away and then my reward is getting to watch fluffy bird butts bob all along my gutters. Ya, I already know I'm weird, it's ok. It makes me happy. :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday love Links: Holiday Printables

Mori gift tag from Chubby Hobby
Birdie gift tags from Ann Wood (love her little birdie sculptures)*
Pretty pastel gift tags from Little Paper Dog
I like these winter-related printables from teAch-nology (there's lots and lots of other subjects available, too)
Gift wrap, gift tags, Victorian Santa Christmas cards and printable lists from All Things Christmas *
Very pretty gift tags from Going Home to Roost (these are what I'm using this year)
Also Stag Noel printable cards and several printable gift wraps from Going Home to Roost
Gift tags and last minute DIY gift ideas from Crafting a Green World
Birds and squirrels gift tags (cute with a slight bit of creepy) from Andrea Zuill (I'd be using these if I didn't have the others all printed and cut out already) *
More pretty gift tags from Design Sponge

* = denotes pictured in mosaic above

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Giveaway Winners and FNSI Results

Giveaway winners have been selected via Random Number Generator.

Congratulations to mamafox for winning the toy pattern! She has a wonderful sewing and vintage site that I've been enjoying this afternoon over at Sadie Fox. Go check her out!

Congratulations to nanaandpapa1 for winning the fat quarter dyed fabrics! She also has a wonderful blog full of sewing and quilt-y goodness over at Camp Nana that I have been gawking at today. I especially love the colors and contrast in this Sunset & Shadows one.

Congratulations, ladies! I will be sending out emails requesting postal addresses shortly so I can get them shipped out before I leave in a few days.

Last night was another Friday Night Sew In. I made several brooches and a couple of hair pins for gifts. I decided to make my sis an apron from a completely different pattern than I had previously planned, and I got some pillow cases cut out for Mom (they're not sewn yet, the main part is in an onion skin dye pot as I type) as well as spent a lot of time claying and jewelry making.

Flower brooches and hairpins for sis. The rectangle one at top left isn't one for her. It's an experiment and I'm puzzling out how to make and attach a jellyfish or three to it. The apron pattern (here's the PDF link) I settled on to go with these for the gift is a reversible half-apron from Celebrate Mag that I got to from Going Home to Roost. It has far fewer bits and pieces to cut out than those in the pattern I bought.

Commercial cotton print (tiny black polka dots and what looks like boxes to me) soaking in a hot and steamy dye pot.I have it folded up on itself and tied in three places with twine in hopes of getting s tie-dye effect, but I couldn't get the jute twine to tie exceptionally tight so we'll see in about an hour.

How cute are these hens!? I got them at JoAnn's when we took a sojourn to the location in Nashville a while back and they were in the red tag fabrics. This is the accent fabric to go with what's in the dye pot right now for Mom's pillow cases. I may give the chickens a quick dunk in the dye pot to even out the tones between the two fabrics, but I haven't decided yet.

There was also a lot of this going on last night. Not sewing, I know, but there's still some jewelry ideas bumping around up in my noggin needing to get out and come to life. I'm not entirely happy about the feather impressions I got running a feather through the pasta machine with my clay slabs, but I'm not entirely unhappy about them, either. I'm thinking I need to paint over the feather before I remove it from the slab and that may help with definition. Then again it might not and this may not be a technique that is very well suited to polymer clay. I'll try it next time and see.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Like Lists

Making a list and checking things off of it makes me feel accomplished. And I keep lists for virtually everything, not just groceries and packing for trips.
Some list titles from this year include: Things to Clean around the House (this one get remade and reordered frequently despite never getting everything on it crossed off before its next incarnation), Things and Stuff I Want to Dye Other Things and Stuff With, Gifts I Need to Make and/or Mail to People (I'm kinda horribly about mailing things on time, especially if I'm the only one who knows it's supposed to be mailed. It's something I'm working on.), How I Want to Rearrange the *insert room of the month here* For Better Use and/or Easier Maintainability, As Many Jewelry-type Things I Can Think of in 10 Minutes to Make Out of Sticks and Rocks, Healing Gear Upgrades from Heroics, Things I Could Make for the Shop, Furniture-type Things I Want to Make out of Sticks and Branches So I Don't Have to Buy Them From the Store, Delicious Things to Cook and/or Bake Right Now, Stuff I Want to Blog About, Things and Stuff I Want to Learn How to Do and Make, My Wardrobe (in which I listed every piece of clothing I have and decided I needed to simultaneously downsize and get more of certain kinds of items, namely bloomers, pretty skirts, tights and nice blouses), etc.

See, I told you, lists for virtually everything. However, I haven't made a list to reference for this year's holiday gifts as yet. I know there's only like a week left or something like that, but keeping up with the list in my head is beginning to make me a bit mental recently, and overly scatterbrained from not wanting to forget anything. So here is another list, immortalized on teh interwebs so I can cross things off of it and not forget anything when it comes time to head back to Michigan in a few days or so. If you're reading this and one of the gifts is for you, well, too bad, I'm not so good at the secret keeping and it isn't like you couldn't figure it out anyway since I've probably told everyone but you what I'm making for you and most of them are not good at the secret keeping, either.

Things I Need to Make Before I Leave and Who They Are Going To
sister - brooches for work, apron
sister's hubby - beer steins and beef sticks
brother 1 - boxers, beef sticks
brother 2 - quilt top
Dad - embroidered quilt top
Mom - king size pillowcases, maybe an apron
Gramma G - apron
Gramma K - handkerchiefs
The Awesome-est 3yo Ever and his Mom - quilt from the fabric we painted on for 2 months
Zombie - fleece coat so she doesn't freeze and so I can find her in the woods

Some of these are already done, some are in various stages of not quite done yet but almost and some have not been begun. Self-imposed deadline of Tuesday for finishing up anything gift-like that will be going to Michigan with me. 

I cleared off the table yesterday, cleaned the house, cut out patterns and generally anticipated having a major sewing day. Then I got an idea in my head that had to be purged before I could continue. I've been wanting a super cheap way to make domed shaped from polymer clay and came into possession of two spent incandescent bulbs. Huzzah, problem solved! They just needed bases added and then one thing led to another and I spent the evening claying instead of sewing.

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance at some of my fabric and a vintage reprint Simplicity toy pattern. I'll draw winners late tonight and announce them tomorrow morning.

Mmmm, coffee!

Spices in the brewbasket this morning: 1 star anise, couple tablespoons cassia chunks, white cardamom pods thrown in on a whim and not measured in the least. Combine brew with creamer, vanilla and raw cane sugar, sip all morning long while cleaning and crafting. mmmmm

I'd planned on posting more throughout the week, but cleaned the house and completely rearranged the living room for better use and ease of cleaning. Now the shoes have a place to sit and be shoes instead of booby traps to trip you up constantly and I have a sofa to sit on when I'm using the computer instead of a wobbledy, painfully pointy chair with worn out thin foam cushion. When I finally get to play Cata, I'll be leveling in style; feet tucked up on the warm cushy couch, keyboard and mouse in easy reach, sipping on some spiced coffee. I wonder if I have enough time between now and when I leave for Michigan to get the Winter Veil achievements. They're pretty much the last ones I need for the year-long meta-achievement. hmm...

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance at some of my fabric and a vintage reprint Simplicity toy pattern.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Sew, Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Reprint of vintage Simplicity sew pattern including 4 different toys and gift bag for giving. This is the pattern up for grabs in the giveaway and is currently out of print.

Hello to visitors from SMS Giveaway Day! I jumped on the bandwagon a little late, as in last night. See this post for more explanation as to motivation for that. I wasn't completely sure I wanted to have my giveaway right away after finding this pattern again even though I was planning on having a giveaway for it months ago. As such, I only have the pattern ready right now. I need to collect a few pieces of my hand dyed fabrics to photograph and add to this giveaway, but that will absolutely happen before noon CST so no worries (it will be naturally dyed fabrics, probably mostly rust-dyed). At this time, I plan on two winners. One fabric winner and one pattern winner. However, if there is overwhelming interest/participation, I will certainly consider poking around my other sewing/crafting-related collection boxes to see what I can find and very possibly making some additional handmade by me something(s) for additional winners.

Here are the rules for my giveaway this time 'round.
1. At this time I can only afford to ship within the US.  My apologies to international readers, but the finances just aren't there for it right now.
2. Each comment to this post will be considered an entry, but need to be answers to the question prompt I will pose to you here in a few moments.
3. Constructive comments to other posts here will also count as entries. (For example, if you read a cooking post and know of a better, faster, or tastier way to accomplish the same or a similar dish.)
4. You can enter as many times as you like as long as each new entry is a relevant comment following the two points above.
5. You do not have to be a follower or subscriber to participate, but if you like what I have going on here I would love it if you would do so.
6. For the sake of my sanity in deciding winners: The pattern winner will be chosen solely from comments to this post answering the question below as it is baby/child-related and the pattern is also. The fabric winner will be chosen from constructive comments to other posts. (So if you only want to win one or the other, please keep that in mind.)
7. On Friday, December 17, I will most likely use random number generator to choose winners unless there are only a few entrants. 

And now for the question prompt. I need help figuring out what cute things to put on baby items, please. My sister and her husband are expecting their first child in April. I am told recently that it is a girl, however, I know these two will be having more children in the future and so I am wanting to keep most items relatively gender-neutral. I do not have money to buy cute, baby-related fabrics and so all of the cute details included on the onesies, diaper covers and blankets and such I make will have to be embroidered or painted on by me. The couple is, I suppose, your average educated, religious couple, well-versed in gaming and Internet culture as well both being hunters so I would like the decorative elements of items I make to reflect such (gaming and/or Internet culture, hunting, not-too-cutesy animal and general baby stuff, general geekery, books and reading, pirates, ninjas, etc.). Ideas, please?

Fabrics available for giveaway. All organic cotton fat quarters, natural dyed by me. From left to right: walnut dye, rust with walnut overdye, very light rust with very light walnut overdye, rust dyed.

And these are the fabrics available. They are all organic fat quarters, 4 in total, dyed by me. The only one of these that could possibly be reproduced is the far left with a strong walnut dye, the others are all completely one of a kind, never to be repeated. I am especially fond of the patterning on the far right piece, very detailed and intricate.



Good Mornin'!

I'm usually not coherent enough this time of day to post much of anything. But we got snow yesterday (squeee!) and it drifted all over last night so it's nice and bright outside this morning, not to mention cold. My favorite online weather site tells me that it is currently 12F outside and that's without taking windchill into consideration. So really, it's like a big ol' slice of Michigan winter right here in the middle of the country and letting the dog out to do her business this morning was plenty to wake me up! Brrr

Actually, Zombie dog didn't even want to go out the door herself. I'm thinking maybe I need to make her a winter coat. Now that she's pretty much grown it would no longer be an exercise in futility. I have a little under a yard of hunter orange fleece from when I worked at the fabric shop in Maryland. And bright orange sure would be beneficial to keeping track of her and preventing hunters from thinking she's a deer when I take her home for Christmas in a couple weeks.

Today is going to be my own, daytime, version of FNSI. I have gifts that need making. Real sewing things with patterns and everything. These projects include items from the two patterns shown later on in the post. The menswear pattern was purchased specifically to make boxers for my brothers. When Derek was here visiting this weekend, I posed the question to him of what he would like for Christmas prefacing it with I already pretty much knew what I would be making him, but I wanted to know if he had any other ideas.

Derek: Well, I could really use some new underwear. I only have like 5 pair anymore that fit and aren't worn out.
Me: HA! Good! Guess what I was gonna make you anyway!
D: Really? You were gonna make me underwear for Christmas? Cool!
M: You got a pair with you I can use for a pattern?
D: Uhhh, I only brought one other pair with me other than what I'm wearing. Will I get them back?
M: Ya, same day. I only need 'em for like an hour. Then you can have 'em back.
D: Really? Cool, sure.
M: They're boxers, right?
D: *looks right* No. *looks left* Yes. *looks down* No. *looks at me with evident confusion* Well, kinda.
M: Kinda? Are they made out of cotton or a knit? If it's a knit we need to go to the store and buy a pattern that will fit you, 'cause the only other pattern I have I already tried to size down to fit Duncan before he left and it was not entirely successful.

So we took a trip to the store of pattern buying and because McCall's was on sale I now have 3 new and extremely useful patterns. The apron one will be used for gifts for both Grammas, Mom and my sis who has wanted a frilly apron for years. I know she reads this blog and this post will spoil part of the surprise, but she will be no less happy with it. And making it public like this helps me not chicken out on making all those ruffles. The third pattern is a men's shirt pattern for Corey. I won't be making that before Christmas, but he's been asking for some nice new button-downs for a while. I kept saying I can dress him in some really nice new shirts already without buying any new patterns, but he wasn't too keen on wearing pirate shirts to work and most especially not if they had any ruffles. Spoilin' all my fun, I tell ya.

While I was rummaging through my box'o'patterns I found a duplicate that I had planned to have a giveaway for months ago and forgot. This brings me to the topic of my next post for the morning. I have signed up for the Sew, Mam Sew Giveaway Day event. I will be posting a photo of the pattern (really reprint of a vintage Simplicity toy pattern) and giveaway rules in my next post in a few minutes so stay tuned!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Sorry I Disappeared" and Friday Night Sew-In Results

Heya. Sorry for disappearing for almost a month.    >.< 

I don't want to be *that* blogger. You know, the one who regularly apologizes for disappearing off the face of the Internet for weeks on end. I had a calendar all printed out and had arranged all sorts of things on it at regular intervals that I wanted to blog about, but that challenge in October kinda burnt me out on blogging. I had to fight with myself for everything that got posted in November and it just wasn't fun for me. So I've concluded that that kind of regular blogging is not for me. I'm really good at planning, just not so good at schedules and deadlines; even when they're self-imposed. Hell, my senior thesis for undergrad wasn't turned in until the day we were supposed to walk across the stage. And even at that it was turned in while I was wearing my cap and gown on the way to the auditorium. See there? Not something I'm particularly proud of and probably something I should work on, but this really isn't a new development.

So. Where does that leave us? Some kind of unfortunate craftyblog limbo I'm sure. I want to still share recipes and links to sites and things that I love as well as photos of things I've made.The overall feel and tone of what I write and post about will not be changing. That is, it won't be changing as long as I'm not changing myself or my personality as that's where all of this comes from. I like making things and cooking and writing and reading and life in general and sharing all that kind of stuff here. I just want that to occur in a no-pressure, happy fun time, no deadlines sort of way.

The only content change I anticipate is that some posts in the future will be possibly not safe for work or objectionable to certain people. Thus far I have kept the blog G or, at the very most (though I can't think of any posts offhand that would qualify), PG 13 rated. I have ideas and sketches for things that I want to make and share that would probably be considered inappropriate for family viewing by part of the general populace and I don't really want to maintain another blog so that I can share those things, though I may ultimately decide to do so. For those reading this right now and thinking about dropping me from your reader or clicking on un-follow, please know that these posts, if they happen here instead of another blog I'd maintain, will be very clearly labeled and have page breaks included so that you can make the decision to view them if you want and will not just pop up without warning; that would be inconsiderate and just plain rude. I have yet to make the ultimate decision, however, if I will be posting those here or elsewhere and if you by chance have an opinion about such, feel free to say so in the comments or in an email to me. I will definitely take your statement about the matter into consideration.

Alrighty, now that all that is purged from my thought train and in print so to speak, we can get on with the fun stuff. Yay! :) I loves me some fun stuff! And photos. I love those, too. Guess what!? I have both below. Woohoo! Happy fun times! Enthusiasm! Ya! *coughcough* Anyway...

I signed up for and participated in Heidi's Friday Night Sew-In this week. I was supposed to post the results yesterday (Saturday) but my brother brought my pseudo-Dad into town for pseudo-Dad's son-in-low's deployment to help out his daughter with childminding and housework duties before she moves back home and I would much rather have spent all the time I could with them instead of being on the Internet not matter how much I do enjoy blogging and sharing with you all here. There's another FNSI the 17th and I feel so awesome about how much I got done this round that I've signed up for the next one, too. It may not seem like I got that much finished from the photos, but keep in mind that everything I did was completely by hand, no machine in sight.

It is not sewing, but I started making a lap blanket for Great-gramma's holiday gift. It's a huge granny square crocheted with what I think it a size P hook using 2 strands held together of random acrylic yarns from my stash. I still have to work in all the yarn ends, but the boy had a blast choosing which color yarn to use next and helping me by cutting the yarn to change color. I just have to remember from henceforth to lock the scissors back up in the Starline case I use for a sewing box in the future as he woke up the next morning and started cutting up threads, yarns, glasses cleaning cloth, leftover fabric bits, etc. Luckily he stuck to cutting my sewing materials and things I've allowed him to cut before and nothing else in the house.
Crochet granny square lap blanket. Arcylic stash yarns, colors chosen at random by the most awesome 3yo ever.

My tootsies have been freezing lately, especially during raids. This is partially precipitated by my overall perpetual coldness and partially from my participation in Crunchy's 2010 Freeze Yer Buns challenge as the living room has a space heater keeping it generally in the mid-60s while being separated from the rest of the house which I set to 55-58 depending how I'm feeling on the thrifty/energy-conscious vs. cold scale at any given time. I cut up a wool skirt that was accidentally felted and put the finishing touches on these awesome house shoes. No more painfully cold toes. Even though I have solved the painfully cold toes problem, I won't be going below 55 on the thermostat. 
Black wool from an accidentally felted skirt, turmeric dyed wool yarn, wool felt-covered button fasteners and a tiny heart-shaped button on the heel of the left foot.

The boy (aka most awesome 3yo ever) has been asking for an elephant for months. I thought it was just a passing request while we were painting one day and he would soon forget about it. Nope. Every time I visited he would ask if I had made his elephant yet. So on Friday I dug through my pattern collection looking for a collection of ziploc-baggied pattern pieces organized by animal; a collection of various zoo animal stuffies from a pattern I got from Gramma G way back in junior high and somehow still predominantly intact save 2/3 instruction pages and maybe 1 or 2 of the 7-8 original animals. The boy chose a fabric from the collection of commercial and self-dyed fabrics I brought with me, helped me hold the pattern pieces onto the fabric as I traced them, very carefully placed each and every tissue-y bit of pattern back into its ziploc and then asked every 30-45 seconds during the hand-sewing process if his elephant was done yet. I forgot to bring my polyfil with me so he had to wait ever so impatiently for me to go home the next day and finish sewing up his elephant's tummy so the insides wouldn't fall out. FYI - it's a boy elephant and his name is Jumbo; the big-eyed bat is a girl bat and he hasn't chosen a name yet for her
Unbleached cotton, organic cotton sewing thread, tiny mismatched button eyes, cotton thread braided tail and embroidered heart on butt. The boy absolutely loves his new elephant. 
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