Posts Tagged ‘crafting’

First off, I frustrate myself.  The batteries died in my camera, simple enough.  We are out of batteries, not uncommon.  I go to the store this weekend and leave without the batteries that were ON MY LIST!  I frustrate myself.  I wanted to take pictures of and share a couple dresses.    So please pardon me this one (okay, second) time that I am posting photos off of my cell phone! 

First is one of the twins in a dress my mom made.  Bright, fun, flexible for winter, fall, or even into spring.  It’s a lightweight corduroy, so I doubt we will wear it in the summer.  It’s big enough that I am betting it will still be around in the fall as well…petite little boogers.  

Isn’t it a cute one!  Not quite the clean lines and simple (read easy) style I usually make.  Thanks mom for being a better sewer than I am and for making great clothes for my kids! 

I have to share one of my favorites she ever made for the older two, just so I could include a real photo.  These were flower girl dresses (summer 2007) and I still have them for the twins to wear at Easter or Christmas or something  down the road, they are so pretty!

See, my mom is a great seamstress!  I have so much to learn. 

That brings me to this next piece.  A bit of background here.  I have been reading a good bit lately about recycled fashion.  People are making great outfits out of cast-aside garments that have lots of wear left in them.  I wanted to give it a try.  I started with a black turtleneck sweater that I’ve been holding onto since before the twins were with us.  It had a big logo on the neck for a company I represented.  I no longer represent them and I had purchased the sweater too big.  It has hung in my closet for a long time because “it had hardly been worn” and “surely, I can do something with it.”  Well, I finally got the scissors out and did it!   Here is the end result:

Again, pardon the phone photo and really, black is hard to photograph anyways, isn’t it? 

It was so easy and took literally 30 minutes (minus the cute logo-covering felt applique.)  I simply turned the shirt inside out and put it on my girl.  Liz is the fashionista and was more than happy to oblige.  I marked where her armpits were and pinned it up above the shoulders so the neckline would fit her okay.  Took it off, cut the sleeves off completely, started at the bottom side seems, sewed a straight line up to her pit and then turned and went to the old arm holes.  I finished it off by slicing open the turtleneck and lettuce edging all the, well, edges.   It looks so cute in person.  I can see her pairing it with leggings in the spring as well as with the jeans she choose this day.   The belt she found matches  the applique perfect.  Here’s the applique so you can see my mad hand-sewing skills (ha! I have a lot to learn, this part took me an hour!!!)

Jane picked this out after a flickr browsing session.  Click here for her inspiration, it’s so  much prettier than what we came up with.  I have so much to learn when it comes to hand-sewing and embroidery.  These wool felt pieces were part of scrap bags I ordered from Weir Doll and Craft, nice bags if anyone is in the market for them.

The next upcycled project I am going to make will be from a couple wool sweaters I am felting right now.   A summer-sky blue skirt for Jane and jumpers for the twins.  In my free time, that is.


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How resolute are you?  Did you think of some goals for 2009?  Are you keeping any of them?  What’s your progress?

Here is where I stand:

My house- as I have posted a couple times I am slowly working on it.  I am not only wanting to physically re-do my home, but functionally as well.  Something I’m giving a try right now is a load of laundry every day.  I’ve tried it before and it didn’t stick, but it just sounds so much more appealing than waiting until everyone is out of socks.  Here’s what my plan looks like:

  • Sunday-hopefully none as we try to keep this a more relaxed day
  • Monday-mediums
  • Tuesday-towels
  • Wednesday-whites
  • Thursday-reds
  • Friday-jeans
  • Saturday-sheets

The above are my main “catagories” when doing a load of wash.  Occasionally I have other odds and ends and I know these will creep up and need to be done.  I’m okay with that.  Spending all weekend doing load after load of laundry, though, is just not cutting it for me.  I have other simple ideas like this that I want to try, but first I try this one for a few weeks and see if I can’t get it to stick.

Myself:  Yoga is still kicking me in the pants.  I am really out of shape, my strength and balance being the worst.  Thankfully I still have good flexibility.  Since the New Year, there has been a n illness working itself through the house.  I had it, Liz has it now, Forest had it…It’s been spread out enough that I haven’t spent any extra time at the Y.  I figure during illness and bad weather (our Y closes if it is really bad out and we’ve had quite a bit of snow the last couple weeks) if I make to at least one class a week I am doing good.   This next week looks very promising to make it to at least two Yoga classes and I hope to start working in a bike ride as well.

My Faith:  I’ve started in a little, but nothing substantial to report.  I’ve slacked here, I admit it.  Time to push this one up a little!

Something that I feel falls under home and self both is crafting.  I like to think I am a creative person.  I love working with fabric and paper both.  I can quilt, knit (this is new for me and I like how it’s portable without planning ahead), scrapbook (though this is not my favorite), sew for the home and my family, and paint.  My friend and I are thinking of opening an online store and I personally would like to it by fall of this year (see D~ I’m setting goals for us.)  For right now I am trying to research what people want to buy that is handmade.  I’m also trying to find what I can do effectively.  For instance, I love to quilt but it takes forever, is hard to find the fabrics I like (vintage prints, and some of the more modern designers)  in our small part of the middle of nowhere.  I also find that it is something that take me a good long time.  It ends up being hard to price out.  I also haven’t found people willing to drop a few hundred dollars on something they only see pics of on Etsy.  So, I have to find the right niche.  I love to create things and hope to make a little bit of extra cash.  Doing something you love makes you happy, keeping it picked up and in order helps my home. 

How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions?  It’s still January, don’t lose hold of them yet!

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I have really enjoyed making gifts this year.  Last year the twins really kept me on my toes.  They were 18 months and into everything.  They still are into everything, but at least they play better now and can be re-directed.  I spent every bit I had in me last year trying to do what I could with the older two to keep it as normal a Christmas as I could.  You see, the Christmas before I was not even home and had not been home for a good while.  You can read more about that here, but the main idea is that my husband and older two were at home (day #25 without my girls!) and the twins and I were in government limbo over in Hanoi, Vietnam.  Needless to say, to be able to craft and bake this year is not only something I love to do, but and extra special treat as well! 

A blog I like to go to, Sew Mama Sew, is collecting posts of how people celebrate.  What their traditions are, if they craft anything, and in general how they celebrate.   I already posted about the traditions in our house here.  Today, I’m going to compile a bit of the craftiness that has been going on.  This year we didn’t want to not give presents to our loved ones, but things were tight when we looked at the budget.  Enter my love of crafting.  I’ve enjoyed making several gifts this year and adding some baking on top of that.

The most recent project as been the above roving.  We layered some wisps of it, felted it, and the girls are helping me sew them into this:

With all the colors you can find wool roving in what is not to love!   The instructions can be found here.  It takes a bit of time, though is fairly easy.  The older two and I have been working on them together and they will be gifts from them to some very special people.

About a month ago I posted about these projects:

If I had the time, I would have loved to make these houses  over at The Long Thread.  Please go check them out, it’s worth the click.  They are simple, but oh so nice and I’m betting very sparkly.  I have to wonder what they would look like in soft pastel colors or even a combo (pink and robin egg blue with white.) 

The other projects still on my list are an old fashion, black fur with red satin lining muff for each of the twins.  They love anything with a pocket and really like soft, furry things.  In fact, anything soft and furry (the trim on their coats) is promptly designated “soft kitty” (as in soft as a kitty.)  I also need to finish up 4 more of those wristlets (they are almost done.)

A new item on my list, well it’s not even on there yet, is tree ornaments.  My older two are wanting to make some tree ornaments for their friends.  Any suggestions, anyone?  Something that a 7 and 8 year old can do without too much help?

Yesterday,  I wrote about my adventures in baking with the girls and my mom.  Here’s a photo of those Eggnog Logs…silly name, tasty cookie:

Here’s an old photo of my truffles, this years are not decorated yet

And seeing as these boxes are going to my brothers-in-law, I wanted to include a bit of “man” food.  Don’t get me wrong, I like jerky and Chex Mix as much as anyone else.  You have to admit, though, a photo of this

just isn’t as appealing as the rest of this post!

In fact, it is so unappealing that I can not end my post with a tray of raw, albeit seasoned and soon to be tasty, beef.   Here’s a better one, one that makes me smile.  Every mom likes to catch a picture of her kids with Santa.  This guy was the real deal, just ask Liz and Jane.  Thankfully, even the twins were more than happy to oblige:

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I have a few “UnFinished Objects” hanging around here.  Let’s start by talking Christmas cards.  For years I sent handmade cards out to my entire list of people.  Then 2006 came along and this is as far as I got.

Keep in mind this would be the December I spent in Hanoi adopting the second half of our family, so I had good reason.  The following year I had high hopes.  Instead of designing my own I bought a kit.  It was a cute easy card that would take no time at all.  Here’s how far I got on it before deciding to buy a box of card for close friends and family:

This year, I would love to finish either set of cards.  I used to make lots of paper crafts and miss doing it.  Of course, I look at the calendar and see that Christmas is less than a month away, I’ll be on the road starting this weekend for about 10 days, and that there is still Christmas sewing to do.  Who wants to take bets on me using the last half of the box from last year for close friends and family?

There are other odds and ends of projects; a free-form quilted jacket, various home decor, and even the trim in three separate rooms of the house.  The thing that bothers me the most, though, is a quilt I un-earthed awhile back.  It was a quilt I was making for myself, the colors are so pretty and the fabric is super soft.  The quilt top is done.  I have the backing fabric.  I have the batting.  It needs quilted and there lies the problem. 

I can do small bits of handwork, but the thought of quilting and entire quilt by hand makes me feel a bit panicky.  I do not want to tie it as it is just not the right look for it.  I am scared to even think of machine quilting it.  Not that I do not have a good machine, but I have no clue where to start!  I think I need to sit down with some scraps and see what I come up with.  When it boils down to it, though, I just need to start and get it done.  My goal is to have it done by New Year’s….a little year end “gift” for myself three years in the making. 

I would show you a picture, but to be honest, the last couple days have been way to cold to hang a half finished quilt on the clothesline for a photo.

Which brings me to a challenge for you.  Find that one item you really want to finish and make some plans to finish it.  Do this one little thing for yourself this year.  Your worth it, aren’t you?  So, tell me, what object is it that you are going to finish?  I expect a full report on January 1st!

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Forest is out of town for the week.  It happens about 4 times a year and I try to keep myself and the kids insanely busy those weeks.  That way at the end of the day we can crash so tired that we hardly notice daddy is gone (not really, but it does make the week go faster.)  

This week is filling up quickly.  Yesterday was running errands, laundry, school, and swim team awards. (Jane took 6th and 11th in her 50 yard free and back out of about 25 girls mostly older than her!) Today we have school in the morning, meeting up with another adodptive family in the afternoon, then swim team in the evening.   Wednesday is a road trip to visit daddy (isn’t that awful, he’s close enough to go visit, but far enough that the company will pay for a hotel not daily gas….torture!)  Thursday is school and more school since we will miss Wednesday as well as swim practice again.

On swim practice nights I have a new routine I want to try this week.  I have some pod-casts that I have been wanting to listen to for, well, a long time.  Each is 2-half hour spots so my plan is to work them into swim team nights.  I’ll get Jane capped and goggled, take the rest of the crew to the child watch room (I love our Y!), and then I should have about 30-40 minutes to EXERCISE AND LISTEN!  Yes, that’s right folks….a span of time for ME!!!!!!  All while Forest is gone even….it sounds so ideal that I am just waiting for it to crash hard.  Worth a try though and I’ll report my success or failure.  Two nights a week, an hour or more of exercise, and two pod-casts

 😀  I can’t help but grin at the thought 😀 

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, but really a bit of time for me exercising can only help, right?  Anyone else out there with twins understands for sure, even if you have a kid or two you have a clue what I’m talking about.

Back to the week, I guess I’m so excited at the prospect that I got side-tracked. Let’s see, that brings us to Friday.  Oh Friday how I can not wait for you to arrive.  Friday is MY day.  A bit of school first thing in the morning (we schedule our school for four days, Friday is our make-up day and I know this week we’ll have some that didn’t get finished.)  Then after that my super-amazing Mother-In-Law has offered to watch the children until Forest gets home.  I have my sewing machine packed, gas in the truck, fabric has been selected and will be cut by then.  I have a dozen zippers, ingredients for homemade Snickers bars, thread, ribbon, and a list a mile long.  I’m heading to my best friends house for an afternoon and evening with junk food and no kids!  I’m so excited I can barely contain it.  I have projects I want to complete,  a crafty side that is feeling neglected, a great friend that is just far enough away that we don’t see each other often, and by the end of the week I’ll be having a serious need for adult conversation! 

I can’t wait, can you tell?

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I used to do so much.  I was reminiscing over photos this week while making memorial boards and wow were my girls cute babies 😀  Had to say it, every mom does and every mom means it!  While sifting through photos, though, I ran across other stuff.  Scans and photos of cards and scrapbook pages…things I made with my own two hands.  Not beds I made or meals I made, but artsy crafty fun things!  I actually made a business out of it and was featured several times for the company I sold product for (any other former or current Stampin’ Up! demos out there?)  I had a downlineof amazing gals, traveled some, and simply enjoyed it.  Sigh, I miss it, but wouldn’t trade today for any of it 🙂  Here, share memory lane with me…my kids really were cute…I said that already:

shes always been a swimmer

she's always been a swimmer

Did someone forget to tell her shes supposed to stay little and innocent?

Did someone forget to tell her she's supposed to stay little and innocent?Yeah, that tree was huge, 12 foot once we got it in the stand. I'm a sucker for a huge, fat, citrusy-smelling Christmas tree 🙂

Dandelions are so fun to play with, especially when mommy knows how to string them into a crown

Dandelions are so fun to play with, especially when mommy knows how to string them into a crown

And,just so you are sure to know my kids do not get their adorable looks from me: 

aside from thinking I was a strange looking kid, I have to say that I have alot of my moms traits when it comes to crafting. Not only did she sew the dress I was wearing, but hers as well!

aside from thinking I was a strange looking kid, I have to say that I have alot of my mom's traits when it comes to crafting. Not only did she sew the dress I was wearing, but hers as well!

Did you notice something, no as in ZERO scans of pages with the twins.  While time does dull the memory, I wonder why I didn’t manage to scrapbook or create something, anything the last two years!  I know, twin infants, food issues, family, etc.  But I just can’t believe I dropped it all and haven’t visited back.

Okay, back to today, laundry, cleaning, many home-cooked meals, and little craft time.

So with the holidays coming up, every starts thinking Christmas cards.  I LOVE homemade Christmas cards with a passion.  I can describe the ones I made for years in a row, I can tell you about the ones I’ve received, and yet I have an embarrassing confessions.  It’s been at minimum two years since I’ve sent cards.  I know, I can’t believe it myself.  I love Christmas time, I enjoy hearing from family near and far or friends that we barely see anymore.  Now for 2006 I have a good excuse (spent Dec. in Vietnam adoption twins), however last year not so much.  In a last ditch attempt to get some sort of card in the mail to close loved-ones I purchased cards last year and they STILL didn’t make it out.  Yeah, pitiful.  I was so close last year.  I had cards, a little letter so I wouldn’t feel guilty just signing our names and sending them out, and prints of this photo:


yes, the only way to get photos of them all (including Ilean the dog) required a laundry basket, bacon, and one crazy daddy 🙂

So to help kick you all in gear, I know you’ll need to print of photos to send in those cards this year.  I’m giving away FOUR cards each good for 10 free prints at any HP Photosmart Express Kiosk.  You can print some off for in your cards, make a couple photo gifts, scrapbook them, frame them for all I care….just do SOMETHING with them.  Otherwise you’ll be like me and have a stack of prints from last Christmas that your thinking of putting in this years cards just because you still have them (along with the twins’ adoption announcements…yeah, 2007 and 2008 have been stellar years for me being on the ball with this type of stuff!)

Contest ends this Friday at noon Eastern time.  Enter only once please and you must have a US address to enter.  To enter, comment on this post and tell me what your favorite Christmas preparation is. 
I’ll start:  I love, love, love when the tree is decorated and it’s time to put the star on, but even better than that is calling grandparents and others to see when I will see family and friends.  The pre-hustle and bustle you could say, knowing that soon family will be close and we’ll get to visit for hours.

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looking ahead

I’m trying very hard to plan ahead for Christmas this year and to make some things from fabrics in my stash.   I always try to plan ahead for the holidays to keep from burning out once they finally get here, but this year finances dictate moderation and planning.  My goal every year is to be done shopping by Thanksgiving and most years the majority of it is done by then.  The thought of going to the malls and stores with lists of what I want to buy with the vast majority of America is enough to make my head hurt.  I really do not like crowds, I get frustrated when the items I want are out of stock, and the likelihood of four little girls going along in the mix and you get one grumpy gal.  Yeah, I sound like a retailer’s nightmare (in all fairness I worked retail at the holidays for many of my high school years and that in itself is enough to just make a person want to stay away!)

So, in an effort to save a little cash and also appease my craft side, I am making a few gifts from scratch this year.  Let’s start with the twins, shall we.

They are HARD to buy for! 

This is round three through age 2 for us.  We have enough Little People to put on a feature length production.  Some people step on Lego’s all the time, I’m tripping over Little People.  I even catch the older two sneaking them to their room every now and then!  We also have baby dolls enough to mimic a city-wide plague.  There are enough children’s books to fill a 3ft, 4ft, and two shelves of a 7ft bookcase (that’s just the girls’ books, ours are on their own bookshelf.)  We have a V-smile video game for the TV, there are tons of crayons, clay, markers, and coloring books.  There is a trunk that all four of my girls can fit in (kids do things, just because they can don’t they) that is overflowing with dress-up clothes.  We have tons of little girl stuff to put it mildly.  So what have they shown interest in that they do not have?  Purses and shoes.  I can sew a purse, I’ve  sewn a couple for myself, actually, and am thinking it could be great fun to sew a couple for the twins.  So add that onto my list of things to sew, two adorable purses.

My mom is next.  She is harder than the twins to buy for.  They just drastically downsized to a small house (as if you all haven’t read about that) and she does not need “stuff” or pictures or anything for that matter.  But, I happened across this:

a post about a Bedside Organizer and thought that was something that takes no space, would help with the fact that she hates her nightstand because it doesn’t fit and she doesn’t need a light there anyway, and I could make it really cute or simple as all get out.  So add that to my list, one bedside organizer. 

Next stop is Jane and Liz.  They are getting to the age where they have expensive tastes and being in sports has introduced them to girls who have high-tech stuff.  On an bit of a tangent here, I can not believe how many 6 and 7 year old girls have cell phones, personal gaming systems, and the like.  I’m in the dark ages and practically live like the Amish, well…not that bad, but still: How do parent’s afford these things and when do kids like this read or just play!?!?!?  Back on track.  We are in the car to the farm  once a week, take trips to see family often, and then pay homage to the mouse (aka, Disney) at least once a year coutesy of a very kind and obsessed grandma.  My girls are needing some portable fun that will not break the bank!  Enter this:

The girls love to draw and make stories so this will fit the bill nicely.  I plan on using only things frommy existing stash to save on money as I could go wild with fun fabric on this.  I know they will love it, that is the best part and Craft Apple’s patterns are so well laid out with pictures and directions that I know they will be a snap to make.  Two Mini-Portfolios added to the list.

Wait, I just though of my niece.  She is 4 and I think would like one of these as well.  I got my nephew radio controlled helicopters (they are 5 and 7) and wasn’t sure what to get her.  She loves purple and bling…I should be able to handle that.  Make that three Mini Portfolios on the list.

So there you have it, my plans for the holidays…or shall I say prior to the holidays.  I would like to have all of this done before Thanksgiving.  My best friend and I are really hoping to have a craft and junk-food day soon.  Doesn’t that sound fun?  You know, eating lots of junk while sewing and crafting.  When we do (I won’t say if, because we WILL do this she says as she stomps her foot) I plan on having all my pattern pieces cut so I can show up at her house with my sewing machine, homemade junk food, and not have to do the tedious cutting and planning while there.  The cutting and planning is something I have to focus on, otherwise I mess it all up and have to rip seams.  If it’s just sewing it together, usually (snort, ha ha) I can do it without too much problem.

I’m sure I’ll add to the list, it’s bound to happen.  For instance:

The women in my dad’s family do dollar gifts.  There are 12 of us and with inflation the limit you are allowed to spend on the gift is $1.25 not including tax.  We’ve gotten some really nice things (Liz Claiborn wallets) and some odd things (junky dollar store trinkets.)  I’m hoping to make homemade vanilla or something remotely useful this year.  It might involve sewing, might not, depending on what I decide to give.

Then there are the coaches, Sunday school teachers, etc. that are all so wonderful to our girls.  I feel like I should do something for them, but what?  I did cookies in a jar one year, but you can’t buy jars around here right now to save your life.  If you live in the country and there is a downturn in the economy, people can like no one’s business.  I’ve heard people discussing that they drove to the next state (!!!) for jars.  There likely will not be jars to be found anywhere for a good couple of months and that is not in my master plan.

Blah, enough going on and on about what we are doing for Christmas.  Time to start sorting fabric and finding a purse pattern!  I’ll try to update as I progress.

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