Friday, April 30, 2010

wedding shadow box

This was a gift for my good friends Brian and Kristyn, who were recently married on a beach in Hawai'i. 'I ho'okahi kahi ke aloha' means 'Be one in love'. Yet another use for my beloved IKEA Ribba shadow boxes. May they never stop producing them.

I had the most fun making the flowers. I got the basic idea from this MS post, except mine are in felt and not ultrasuede. Then I modified it a bit to make it look more tropical.

The lackluster embroidery is my least favorite thing about it. I'm not a great embroiderer, but I aspire to be. I lack the patience required. It's a bit lumpy and wonky and won't lay flat. And this is the second attempt. I recommended that my friends remove the embroidery as soon as possible and replace it with a great wedding photo.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

what I'm up to

Can I just whine a bit?

April is a packed month. Usually Easter early on and then family birthdays out the whazoo. Then before I catch my breath, it's May, with another avalanche of family Occasions. The calendar barely turns the page and bang, it's my sister's birthday, then our anniversary, then my youngest daughter's birthday, then Mother's Day is usually in the middle of all that. Then usually a round of graduations.

It's a huge bummer when you are an obsessive crafter and a terrible time manager. I can't enjoy them like I would if they were spaced out a bit. I always have delusions of handmade giftery galore, but it ends in failure and acceptance and a resolve to start in February the next year.

My daughter wants Pip and Pop softies for her birthday (two otters from Bear In The Big Blue House) and since those are only available on eBay for $$$, I have a purple towel from Marshalls and a vague notion of how to put together two otter dolls by May 8th, for her party. Wish me luck. I was sitting amidst a stack of fabric last night thinking it would be really nice to make her a cute birthday outfit and also a new backpack. Don't sell crazy here, we got plenty.

Of course the fabric stack shown above is not for any of the urgent projects I need to get done in a timely manner for May birthdays or Mothers Day. It's an unrelated craft tangent. Anna Griffin's Isabelle, a beautiful fat quarter collection that is destined to become a duvet cover for Thing One's bed. Her current quilt (first picture, the one on the right) has finally disintegrated. It was purchased from Pottery Barn about six years ago, and, while beautiful, was made of tissue weight cheap stuff and couldn't stand up to the constant wear.

I become mentally paralyzed every time I try to plan the new duvet cover, so I have a good chance of putting at least that one off until my May crafting crisis has passed. I'll just turn the quilt over to the back side for now.

Hey, any ideas for a quick, cheap, easy but of course stunningly beautiful and meaningful gift to make my sisters for mother's day? From materials I have on hand? Let me know.

Monday, April 26, 2010

bunting card a la How About Orange

I really loved this card that Jessica made a while back and decided to try my hand at it for my wonderful mother-in-law's birthday a few days ago.

As you can see, I changed it up a bit, but I used the instructions for the mini bunting and it was easy! Thanks, Jessica! It is so cheerful looking.

I bought some tiny letter stamps in the Dollar Spot at Target a while back and since I now have some ink to go with it (thanks Beth), I've been trying to find any excuse to stamp little letters on things.

Incidentally, one of the many things that makes my MIL, Paula, so wonderful is that she volunteers a bunch of her time, effort and love to an Atlanta organization called My House. Part of her birthday gift from us was a donation to them in her name.

My House provides a loving home and medical care for abandoned and abused babies who are ready to leave the hospital, but have nowhere to go. I thought I'd mention them if you are looking for a very worthy cause to donate to or volunteer for. Monetary donations and supplies are always welcomed, and you can also sponsor a baby and receive regular updates on their progress.

Friday, April 23, 2010

school house tunic

This is the shorter version. There is also a longer tunic option.

I strapped on my ice pack and took a handful of advil* and made a School House Tunic. I'm sick of not being able to sew or bend over my work table, so now I'm just into pain management. I really need to raise the work surface in my craft room to waist height in order to avoid straining my deteriorating spine. I feel like my age-o-meter ticked over to 40 and WHAMMO the whole thing's stuck in kernel panic. But I digress.

I really like this pattern. Very easy to sew. I clenched a little at the set-in sleeve, but after getting all worked up about it I didn't even have to ease it in. It fit perfectly.

I'm not sure about my choice of lightweight gingham. I'm also not sure I wouldn't have been happier with the tunic length rather than the shirt length. I'd like to try it again in nicer fabric, perhaps as a dress.

I cut out the size 10. It was too loose in the body and a tad too tight in the shoulders, as per the usual with patterns for me. It is still wearable because of the very forgiving nature of the open front. I ended up taking some tucks in the back waist to soak up some width.

I entered it in Made By Rae's Spring Top Week 2010. I know it won't win anything, there are some really fabulous tops in the group. But my goal is accomplished. Thanks for the heads up, Juliette. If you would like to enter one, you have until April 30th to submit.

*not really. this is humorous hyperbole.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

from New Orleans with love

She always makes the packaging something special.

Even included a handmade card in coordinated fabrics.

A beautiful gift came for me recently in the mail. When I opened it I had a nice cry. Then I had to explain this phenomenon to my bewildered children. They love getting packages and presents and can't imagine why I'd want to go and blubber if I got one.

Can you guess what it is? Even if you can, you should go here to see more pictures.

Thank you so much for all the love (and angst) that went into making it, Robyn! It makes me happy just to look at it, and it will be cherished.

Monday, April 19, 2010

happy birthday, schmoopie

The boy I love turned 40 over the weekend. Here is the card I made him. I never have trouble making cards, it's the writing in them that is so hard. How to condense all I feel for him and how he has blessed my life into just a few sentences? Impossible. But I tried.

Happy birthday, Michael, oh you whom my soul loves.

P.S. If you didn't see the update in the last post, my malady has a name, and it is 'disk protrusions'. Looking forward to starting therapy and my thanks to all of you for your very kind get-well wishes!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

hold please

Hi. This is the last you'll see of me this week. I have something wrong with my back. I think woodpeckers might have moved in. Or possibly a small porcupine wearing cleats. I'll be concentrating on getting well and crafting is not happening for the next little while. Go make something and then blog about it. I'll be happy to live through you!

Update: no invading woodland animals, just two bulging disks. I'll start PT soon, and thanks for all of your good wishes!

Friday, April 9, 2010

ideas for bunny eyes

Ever since this tragic eye embroidery attempt, poor wonk-eyed blue bunny has been sitting on the very bottom of my priority list. I recently took out the unsuccessful embroidery (don't worry, the bunny was heavily sedated) and thought I'd show you some alternative possibilities for your Baby Binky Bunny eyes, or really for any softie pattern. Instead of the embroidery that comes with the pattern you could try:

coordinating solid buttons

bi-color buttons for that spacey bunny look

again with the buttons, but smaller. You can see if you vary the size, color and placement it will give the bunny (or any softie) a wide range of looks.

you can always cut another felt eye circle out, then trim it in half and sew on to create some sleepy eyelids over your buttons.

or felt circles in black with white felt highlights

And of course there is a wide variety of plastic safety eyes available in different sizes and colors. So easy to put on before the bunny is sewn together. Not so much after it is finished, so these images have been brought to you by the magic of photo editing.

I think I might be partial to the bright red buttons this time. Ok, Blue Bunny, you may feel a small amount of pressure* as I sew these on...

YOU KNOW THIS ALREADY BUT: It is not recommended to use buttons on toys for kids under the age of three, as they could present a choking hazard. Had to say it.

*Secret Doctor Code for spine stiffening pain

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the easter dresses that weren't

Girls Style Book, view G

First up is the dress you saw me tinkering with here. It turned out cute and all. I really have nothing against the dress. It's just ginormous. Waaaaaay too big for the oldest child. I'm not sure why I made the 140 cm size. I must have been delusional. It swallows her. Oh, well, maybe she can wear it next year.

I was going to add a parallel line of the magenta binding about 2 inches above the hem just to gussy it up some. Then after I realized how oversized it was, my creative embellishing balloon popped.

The pattern was from my ever-present and well-loved copy of Girls Style Book. Thanks again, Bob. I've had the pattern cut out for months and finally got around to making one. It's the same adorable dress pattern that Alicia Paulson recently made for her future baby girl, only (much much) bigger. And I added a bib instead of the tiny neck bow, because when I saw the endless expanse of tiny purple floral print I thought it needed breaking up a bit.

McCalls 8903

Attempt No. 2. This dress is...just ok. But didn't make the Easter cut. I was going for something special, and this ain't it. Oh, don't get me wrong, it fits the child fine and it went into the closet and it will be worn plenty this summer. I just don't like the fabric I chose. It is way WAY too busy for this pattern. The pattern needed a simple, plain fabric. I kept telling myself that at the same time I was grabbing the dotty stuff. Brazel frat.Why didn't I listen?

The inverted pleat is the cutest thing about the dress. I tried to break up some of those eye-crossing dots by using a solid blue inside it. You can't really see that in the shot above. Here's a shot of it close up:

The pattern is one of those vintage scores I bought from Sandritocat, McCalls 8903. Just like the 6X Simplicity pattern I made for Easter, this one is scaled pretty big for a size 6. It fits my 7.5 year old with room to spare. It was an easy pattern to put together. The pocket construction is pure genius, so too bad I ended up discarding the pockets.

I'm definitely making this one again, in a plain fabric. I have these beautiful shot cottons I bought from recently with nothing better to do.

Monday, April 5, 2010

easter dresses

After the first two attempts went awry, these are the successful ones. I'm pretty happy with them. I kept it simple because I was trying to make two dresses on the Friday before Easter. I used fabric from my stash, this luscious AMH Small Gathering cotton I've been hoarding and it was perfect. The showy floral fabric made special what might otherwise have been more of a workhouse tunic. I just love the delicious colors and that the dresses aren't matchy matchy, but similar.

I already had the fabrics I used for the bias binding in the stash too. Actually this whole project was taken from my stash, zippers and all. Didn't purchase a thing. Which works out great when you are starting a project on an already very busy weekend and your lower spine is staging a coup for control of your body. I think I may have a bulging disk or something. Ick. But I digress.

I used this old pattern of my mom's that I've used once before, Simplicity 7563. It's not the pinafore, it is the underdress without the puffed sleeves. I remembered that despite the 6x size marked on it, it is scaled pretty big. So it still fit my 7.5 year old with plenty of room to spare. I even had to take it in. Then I sized it waaaay down for the waifish 5.75 year old. You'd think she never eats, but oh she does. A lot. Frequently.

I figured out a trick to easily sew in a regular zipper that I'd never clued into before. I'll have to do that as another post, it would be much better to just photograph it than to try to explain it.

The dress in action. Sleeveless was just the thing for today, it was very warm. Oy, Georgia. Already too hot for me.

These last shots were taken at my in-law's, where we enjoyed a delicious southern meal with family and friends, and of course a lively egg hunt. We had a lovely day, I hope you all did too. Next up on the post list, The Easter Dresses That Weren't.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

tooth pillow winners

Congratulations, you two. Get in touch with me about addresses and whatnot, ok? My email address is listed over there to the right. And y'all, thanks so much for your over the top comments and all the good wishes for the blogiversary. I loved reading each and every one. Including Snidey McSnidepants's.

Now, to finish attempt no. 3 and attempt no. 4 at the girls' Easter dresses. (Sigh.) More about that later. Have a wonderful Easter weekend full of family, thankfulness, colored eggs and good eats.