Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sleigh bells ring....Gift Card holder

I was designing my own gift card holder, when I became really strapped for time!  Thank goodness I've collected so many embroidery designs over the year because I found the perfect one in my stash!

Is that not adorable!!  The design is from Embroidery Garden.  I layered gold mesh over white felt and love the end result.  This one is going to a teacher, but I think I'll be making a few more to have on hand.  I'll probably do the same kind of layering fabric trick, but I think I'll stitch the "Believe" in a darker color....

Unfortunately I only bought enough candy canes this year so that each of my children get two, no extras, no temptations!  Now it looks like I'll have to buy some more!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ribbons on the tree….

For years I’ve been searching for a tree topper.  The last few I just made a huge bow of gold ribbons and placed it on the top, running the same ribbon down the tree and through the branches.  This year, my mom brought me the Santa that graced the tops of the trees in my childhood.  It was a gift my father gave my mother while they were still dating…more than 40 years ago.
When she pulled it out and gave it to me I felt a rush of happiness….I now get to carry on a little tradition from my childhood with my family.

But it left me with nowhere to secure my ribbon.

Ahhh…a chance to craft.

I found a plastic lid small enough to fit over the tree top, but large enough to accommodate eight strands of ribbon (I used the lid off a can of chips) and cut out the middle. 

From the top of the tree to the bottom, plus about three feet is how  I measured and cut each ribbon—depending on how much ribbon you want to snake through your tree you could go even longer…and if you find it’s too long you can always trim it.  I used 8 strands, tying one end to the lid:

Notice I left a long tail after each knot, this was so I could tie the tails into bows--I added a bit of "filler ribbon" to cover the exposed plastic before I started the bows:

On the top of the tree it went:

I then snaked the ribbon through the the past I've done the ribbon first, then the ornaments, this year the order got reversed, but it all worked out:

I think Santa is happy with his new home:

Tree complete—CHECK! Onward to other holiday craftiness…or just craftiness in general!

For the Night Owl Crafting Crowd...and anyone else who may be interested!
1. Is all your Christmas shopping done? ALMOST!!!
2. Do you decorate for Christmas and if so when? Right after thanksgiving it starts...and keeps going until the 25th!
3. Do you bake during the Holiday season? Only if I have to!
4. What are your favorite smells of this time of year? Fresh cut pine and cedar
5. What are your favorite things to do during the Holiday Season? Anything with the family!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Halloween wrap up....

Where did the time go???  I’ve been having so much fun with my mom’s extended visit that I lost track and never did get up the fun Halloween stuff…

Well, you did see the wicked witch stitch out.  It now graces my sewing area along side of my witch mascot and witchy duckie.

As for the costumes…
May I present to you the king and queen of hearts:

The dress was a ball to make…unfortunately by the time I was done I realized that I cut it way toooooo long.  I had already finished the hem in gold and had no desire to re-do, so it was an extra pair of high heels for me and it still hit the floor!

My younger girls were princesses…one whole made by mom costume and one half made by mom costume!  Aren’t the crowns great!  A tutorial is coming up this month!

My oldest decided last minute to be the queen of spades…I was in a good mood so I whipped this up for her:

And my male child?  He wanted to be Link from legend of Zelda video game fame.  I was not enthused.  Then he said he wanted to be a tree sprite.  Where that came from is beyond me!  In the end I just made a green hooded tunic,  he called himself Link and all were happy in Georgia land.

I made another wreath using the discarded mesh flowers come in:

And that wraps up the Halloween crafting for this year!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Wicked Witch...

Sometimes I just feel like the wicked witch...

Living with 4 little monsters....

OK--they really aren't monsters...but I loved the idea of this little Halloween decoration that I just couldn't help myself!

I embroidered the saying on orange felt last year, then stashed it away and forgot all about it!  Today when I opened the crate of Halloween fabric I ran out to Micheal's and found a frame in their clearance section that worked!

I think I'll remove the glass...and maybe add a couple of plastic spiders and a spider web or two in the corners...maybe for next year.

For this year--project completed! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Anti-Procrastination...not so much!

Well…I intended to join my friend Aimee in her 31 Days of Anti-Procrastination…I thought it was such a good idea, and I’ve put off so much to be “done another day”…but I procrastinated too much and it just didn’t happen.
I’m really happy to see at least one of my friends getting their “to do” list done!
Me, well not so good on the “to do” anything lately.  My craft room is a mess (to be fair, it’s ALWAYS a mess).  My creative spark has gone into overdrive, but only in my mind I have yet to start, complete, try any of the ideas I’ve come up with lately.
That being said, I did tackle the monster job of my closet!  I lost about 35 pounds this year (added to the 30 or so I lost last year—let’s hear a big WHOOHOO!) and my fall/winter clothes needed to be tried on. 
The resulting pile:
All the clothes in my closet which are too big.  All the clothes which will leave my house or be repurposed in some way, shape or form.

While I am thrilled to rid myself of all this clothing which is too big and frumpy on me, I am a bit sad about a few pieces.

Like this blouse—which I love!  I have it in black and brown dots on white.  I’m going to deconstruct it and resize it down.  Don’t know when, but you can be sure you’ll see posts about it!

And this dress.  It’s one of my very, very first sewing projects for myself.  I now hate how it looks on me, but I still love the fabric so I think it’s going to be lining in my new bag (stay tuned!)

Now get ready to laugh:  did we all have a dress like this in our closets in the 80s?

It was always too big and frumpy on me, but I loved the color and the fabric, and heck if it’s survived in my closet this long it is definitely going to be reworked!  I’m thinking a long maxi skirt for my oldest daughter and maybe a couple of fuller twirlly skirts for my two youngest girls.
As for the rest of the pile…most will get donated, some will be cut up and put into the fabric stash and a few pieces will just get thrown out. 

Now the clothing in my closet fits, but as soon as a piece is too big it’ll go out so I never have to deal with a task like this again!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Patching Jeans

I get so sick of patching jeans.  Probably why I’ve left them in the mend pile for so long….long enough for my kids to outgrow them and long enough for my husband to assign himself a new pair of “work” jeans.

BUT, now I have a system that seems to work so much better than my old way of patching.  Instead of trying to cover the hole with the smallest patch possible I’m using the biggest piece of scrap I have!
Mr.G's work jeans--one of the smaller holes

Outside of jeans

Inside of Jeans

Notice the inside of the jean?  I just used a zig zag stitch all the way across—almost like I was quilting. The same stitch over and over and over. 
Then I took out the girlie jeans.  Hearts anyone?

Jean 1

Jean 2
 I straight stitched the hearts on over the hole and then applied the same zig zag method—only I tried to keep the spacing between zig zagged rows even.

The jeans turned out so cute!  Almost as if the hearts are supposed to be there!
The bonus to patching this way?  The fabric feels smooth so kneeling isn’t a problem.  The hole seems to be better secured and the stressed fabric around it is less likely to rip.

Patching jeans—problem solved!  I now have no more waiting to be patched and if another pair rear their ugly head, I have a quick effective fix for them.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Testing..Testing...Test Bag

The weather in Seattle has turned to rain once again.  After having such a great run of sunshine waking up to grey,  cold and rainy day hasn’t put me in the best of moods….


Not much I can do about the weather but I can share with you all one of my “test” bags.

Test bags in my universe are the sewn up versions of patterns I’m working on.   They often get made up out of the first fabric to catch my eye in my never shrinking stash…at times the fabric pick is not at all appropriate for the bag, but it’s a test so I don’t much care (most of the time).

Most times if the sewing is successful I’ll take the bag out for a spin.  Did I mention I have 4 kids ages 3 to 11?  Any carry all I make has to withstand being packed y the rug rats….which usually means I’m carrying 25 pounds worth allot of stuff at any point in time.

For now I’m calling this the BG bag—for ballet/gymnastics.  I wanted something big enough to throw my laptop, sticker books, DS, a few books, my sketch pad, pencils and maybe a few magazines….If only I had a camera with me as I write this (while at ballet/gymnastics) and you’d see I succeeded in stuffing it full!



I also wanted to play with curved pockets…with some success here.  Unfortunately I also ended up using fabric types which have very little business being combined together.  The solid is a nice bottom weight with no stretch (bought it originally to make pants—didn’t happen!) and the lining is a cotton/stretch shirting fabric—which I have no clue why it is in my stash to begin with!  I thought the check was a plain cotton and then I cut it…oops!  No choice but to use it then!

The bag doesn’t necessarily fall right, but I am pleased with the overall pattern and function of it.  I’ve tweaked the pattern a bit and paid more attention to my fabric choices while cutting and should have a finished bag to share with you all soon!

I’m in the process of editing photos and writing corresponding posts!  I hope to have a few fun projects to share with you all in the coming weeks!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Don't know how she does it....

I like to cook. 

I try to feed my kids healthy and nutritious meals.

Sometimes I even attempt to make those meals look fun--happy faces made out of veggies on their plates, flowers, etc.

You know those little things that put a smile on their faces...or make the older ones groan that their mom has a weird sense of humor (but I know they love it anyway!)

For years I've been saying I should cut their sandwiches into shapes with cookie cutters...uh, that's what I've been hasn't happened yet.

I always seem to find lunch times rushed and figure the kids are lucky to get a sandwich slapped together at the last possible minute before we have to rush out the door once again.

So I shake my head and wonder how Ai  over at Tulips and Butter does it:

Seriously adorable lunches!! 

On the flip side she always wonders how I have time to craft/sew/garden/blog with 4 kids running underfoot!

Guess we all wonder "how she does it" at some point about our friends, neighbours and random strangers who seem to have it all together.

OK--I've already admitted that lunches in my house are not so creative!  BUT I did figure out a way to keep the kids burritos warm....

The burrito sock!  Made from scraps of polar fleece, a tube is sewn with one end closed and one end open. 

Warm and wrap the burrito in foil, place in sock, fold ends inside and kids have a warm wrap when school lunch time rolls around.

I'm wondering if this would work around thermoses as well--my older kids say that the thermos doesn't keep their soups/pastas/etc. warm enough.

If I get around to trying it I'll let you all know!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rocks with a message...

While walking along a beach on the Strait of Juan de Fuca this summer thoughts about how transformed I felt floated through my mind as my eyes scanned the sand for treasures to point out to my children.  Then I saw this, a perfect smooth rock resting in the sand…

The message was perfect for me at the time and it got me to thinking how fun it would be to leave messages like this, on rocks, in unexpected places.  Eventually the message will fade, but maybe it will touch someone’s soul like they touched mine that day.

What kind of message would you write?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


And the living is eeeaaassyyy….

That my friend is what August was like for me!  The Seattle area had SUN!  WARMTH!   My kids (finally at the right age for longer car trips), hubby, mom and I enjoyed what the pacific northwest has to offer in terms of natural wonders and just plain ol’ silliness (like riding the ducks in Seattle—fun!)
The best part—I went down a couple of sizes in clothing!  WHOOHOO!  Now I get to plan new outfits to sew for ME!  I’ve had this pattern (Vogue 1061) sitting pinned to my bulletin board forever!  I love the back of the tunic but have some issues with the front…a slight re-design will be in order.

Blogging took a back seat to life, but now with kids back in school and life much more scheduled I’m back in gear to give you all some fun tutorials and share some of the projects I managed to accomplish these past few months.

One of the projects I worked on this summer resulted in my lawn being mowed all summer by one of the high school kids from church.  I did a bit of bartering, agreeing to sew him a tunic to wear to the medieval role playing club he belongs to in exchange for yard work.  I spent over six hours on the project—from drafting a pattern to putting it all together--and he agreed to work in my yard for my time plus half.  I thought it was a fair deal concidering what he could have paid someone to make it!  He was thrilled with the end result and I have to say it made me really happy to see him so pleased with my work!

The fabric is prequilted and he designed what he wanted on paper--I just put it all together. 

I think this was really all the sewing I did this summer--except for a few repairs and a few fabric related no sew crafts my sewing machines got a well deserved I only hope they don't start acting up on me when I put them to work once more!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fast and Dirty Pinwheel fun!

I set my kids to making pinwheels.  Just giving them a craft to keep them occupied.  Since I couldn’t find my larger brads they had to make do with the small ones…which meant no attaching pin wheels to straws that day.
With 4 kiddos I can’t supervise each one at the same time, so we didn’t measure, didn’t use a template…quick and dirty was the name of this pinwheel making game.
Supplies:  scissors, paper, brads

The optional supply is the hole punch, you can easily punch brads threw the paper, but I have this ultra-tiny punch so I put it to use.

We used scrapbook paper (12x12) for the big pin wheels.  Gluing two pages wrong sides together gave our pin wheels a bit more character:

Here’s the quick and dirty:

Fold the paper on the diagonal both ways, cut along the diagonal to about a thumb length from the center point,

punch holes (or brads) thought the (same) corners of each “ triangle”,

feed the brads through each hole and through the center point, open the prongs....

TADA!  You have a pin wheel!

After making a few Missy M decided we needed to make some smaller ones.  For these I just cut the scrapbook paper into quarters and let them go at it.  Some of my “fancy” paper scissors came out and the kids made pinwheels with scalloped and zig-zaged edges. 

We gave each child who attended the “cake 1” get together a chocolate wrapped in scrapbook paper with a pin wheel on top.  I think they turned out cute!

I haven’t been doing much sewing lately, but I do have a number of projects in the works!  Right now I’m enjoying the sunshine in the Seattle area, but the next rainy day will find me back in my sewing room working on back to school fashions and a fabulous (I hope) new leather bag!