Friday, December 30, 2011

handmade gifts 2011: mouse house for Asher



(Late Note: This is now available as a PDF pattern in my shops: Etsy (emailed within 24 hours) and Craftsy (instant download))

A curiously small little mouse in a tin house for a wee boy I know. I hope he likes tiny things like I do. Actually, it was kind of hard to send little mousy away. We miss you, Alton.


Alton is corduroy and felt with an embroidery floss tail, and his house has a wool felt mattress and blankie, and a cotton ticking pillow.


The girls went crazy over him, and I happen to have two more Altoids tins, so they will be getting a little surprise for Valentines Day. I'm thinking white mice with pink ears. By the by, have you ever visited the Altoids Hall of Curiosities? It's...quirky.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

handmade gifts 2011: operation incognito for Gage


(Late Note: This is now available as a PDF pattern in my shops: Etsy (emailed within 24 hours) and Craftsy (instant download))

When we were in London we saw a kit with a bunch of crazy mustaches for kids and I thought it would be fun to make my own version for a cool boy I know. Some are felt, some are faux fur (thanks, Chris!) and all have elastic string to hold them on. They are in a hand lettered portable drawstring bag so he can always have them on hand in case he needs to Go On The Sly.

"And so another case is solved, Sherlock."  
"Exactly, my dear Watson."

 "Arr, that's a grand new ship you be havin', Bluebeard." 
"Aye, me hearty, it do be that."

 "I say, Inspector Smallbottom. Do you detect a certain...odor...in the car?" 
"It must be the rubbish lorry we overtook a moment ago, sir."

Monday, December 26, 2011

handmade gifts 2011: flower crown for Audrey




As sported by my two stunt models on a rainy, gloomy day. I've seen some really, really beautiful felt flower crowns around the web (like here and esssspecially here), so I've been itching to try my hand at one. I didn't get it exactly right. The red flower is a bit too large, but I didn't realize this until after I started looking at the photos. I had flower blindness. Too many late nights. Robyn, maybe you could take some judicious trims here and there. But. Overall, I love the colors and variety and I hope a certain purple-loving wood fairy will enjoy it.



There're about a million online felt flower tutorials at your fingertips if you would like to try something like this. I started with the red flower that is actually from an excellent paper flower tutorial over at A Little Hut. I stiffened the felt with Stiffen Quick. I also used this one for the large purple flower, and then just messed around with what tools I had on hand for the other flower shapes, creating cones with poms in the middle and rosettes like these. It's really fun to see what kinds of shapes you can come up with. Wool felt is pretty versatile. I love it so.

The base of the crown is two layers of purple grosgrain ribbon that I used to sandwich the smaller maroon grosgrain ties on either end. I attached the flowers and leaves to the ribbon first with fabric glue, then hand stitched them to reinforce.

I hope you all had as wonderful a Christmas as we did. It was lovely. This year we were at home, so that's always magical when you don't have to travel and you can sit around your very own sparkly tree on your very own comfy couch and watch your sleepy-eyed kids have a ball. Since it fell on a Sunday this year, we let the girls see what Santa brought when they woke up. (Santa Claus brings one gift for each and it is not wrapped and ready to play with under the tree.) The rest waited until after worship, when we had a tasty brunch and took our time opening each other's gifts and just enjoying being together. Sigh. It's always such a letdown when it's over.

Friday, December 23, 2011

merry, merry to you! and I made stockings I like.


My new (literally, I just finished them a few minutes ago) handmade stockings. Yay! These from last year will be retiring quietly to a thrift store somewhere.



The new ones are in wool felt with (of course) leaves and sequined berries. I like a little sparkle at Christmas. I couldn't decide on which color scheme I liked better, so I did two of each. I can't help wishing I'd done each in different color, but hoo boy would that have been busy looking. Maybe not in a bad way though? Hm.

They were pretty easy to put together. I sketched it out and made one several weeks ago then made three more last night and this morning. I was actually mentally writing the pattern as I went, so I will release a PDF version of this next year for the shop.

I'm so excited Christmas is almost here. I have some food to make for this Eve, and yes, some gifts to make. Small ones. Ha. But see you back here shortly after Christmas day. I have a few posts already lined up to go to show what I've been making in secret these last few weeks. Fun fun fun.

I wish each and every one of you a lovely, lovely, bright and peaceful Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

and one more needle book


{Update: There is a pattern available for this now: the Flora Needle Book pattern, available for instant download at Etsy and Craftsy.}

This one is not for sale. It's a gift. But not a Christmas gift, oh, no. It's a much sadder kind of gift. A How-Could-You-Go-Off-And-Leave-This-Hemisphere gift. A What-About-My-Needs gift. A But-I-Will-Miss-You-Too-Much gift. An OK-I-Will-Be-Big-About-This gift. Otherwise known as a going away gift.

I may have mentioned my bosom friend Robyn here once or twice. (violent cough that sounds like 'stalker') You guys know how much I love her. Well, she and Rich and their three adorable kidlets are moving to Rio de Janeiro. Yes.

IN BRAZIL.

Seriously Robyn. Pretty drastic way to get rid of me.

I've been dealing with it so far by avoiding thinking about it, but it has come down to their last few weeks in the United States and so I've been kinda freaking out. Not that I have any right to be freaking out since she's the one who has to take care of about one million crucial details and decisions that must be seen to before they move. So the quick visit we had a few days ago was extra special because it was our last one for a while. I tried to soak up every minute and help her in whatever way I could for the move. Along with a big dose of girl chat time and yes, some farewell therapeutic crafting.

If you'd like, pop over and wish her bon voyage. I'm going to go have a good cry.

Friday, December 16, 2011

needle books are now in the shop


Update: There is a pattern available for this now: the Flora Needle Book pattern, available for instant download at Etsy and Craftsy.

Just in case your needles need a really colorful new home, these six books are in the shop! Hand cut and embroidered appliques on the cover, ribbon spines and four pages for your needles.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

needle books going in the shop

Hello, just a heads up for those who have asked about needle books lately. I have six needle books that are going in the shop sometime on Friday, Dec 16.

Sorry I can't be specific on a time. I'm just going to git 'er done as soon as I can in case someone wants to chance getting one by Christmas. I'm not offering a guarantee, but seems like if you buy promptly and live in the mainland USA there would be enough time for the USPS to get it to you before next weekend? I'll mail them as quickly as I can. Anyway. I'll post again tomorrow when they go in the shop!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

hello, floor.


Nice to meet you, O Beautiful Not-Concrete-Or-Vinyl Floor. And hello to you swell people. I've been blogging less lately for a number of reasons:
  1.  Mostly everything I'm presently (ha ha) making can't be shared because it will spoil the surprise for the giftees. I am making some sharable things, but gifts take precedence.
  2. I've been having a bit of a row with my new Mac Mini (now fixed, thanks Schmoopie dear), but now my elderly G5 looks like it might be tanking before I have transferred everything over. I think it might be angry with me.
  3. I've been on a little trip. I went to visit my BFF in Mandeville. I crashed her lovely Christmas ornament craft party and hung out with her. And I forgot to take pictures. So you'll have to use your imagination to see her beautiful home and Christmas decor. Make it really stunning, with handmade tree skirt and lovely woodland ornaments.


Back to the new kitchen floor. Oh, how I love it. My ever handy husband and my wonderful brother-in-law (we owe you BIG, Robby) installed it while I was away. We still need to put down the quarter round and finish the edges near the carpets, but we are getting close. Then hopefully we can get the trim work done under our countertops and the big stuff will be done.

I just received my timely January issue of Living that focuses on kitchen redos. I have a Pinterest board for my kitchen decor ideas, if you are interested in that sort of thing. Part of my Pinterest board has actually come to life:


This picture is for you, Robyn. Thank you soooo much for Mr. Winky on the left there. This row of owls brings some color onto the countertops and just makes me so happy every time I go through the kitchen. My kids have pronounced them way cooler that the previous boring non-avian canisters. I have had to school them on the proper way to open the middle owl cookie jar (Use Both Hands. Do Not Bang The Lid On The Granite. If You Chip My Owl I Might Have To Sell You To A Workhouse.) That sort of thing. I'm sure you do the same for your kids.

Ever since the kitchen repaint I've had fabulous new curtains and seat cushions in on my long To Do list and I'm hoping that my recently ordered AMH LouLouThi fabric will be the ticket for the curtains. It hasn't arrived yet, so I'll keep you posted. Now to take my china and crystal off the top of the TV cabinet and put it back in the hutch. Yay!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kathreen's Celebration Action Pack


 images via WhipUp.net

Kathreen Ricketson kindly gave me a link to a review copy of her latest 80-page Celebration Action Pack for kids. Which looks delightful. Unfortunately, my review copy was lost when my Mac Mini HD took a face plant two weeks ago. Sorry, Kathreen!

But! You can still check it out for yourselves right here, where there are plenty more tantalizing photos of projects your kids can entertain themselves (and you) with during their school break.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

and another leaf card, Now With Scallops!


Felt leaves machine stitched on paper. Made for November-born friend, Laura. Grabbed my scallop shears this time and gave it a whirl.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

what I'm up to.


Well, what I didn't do was shop on Thanksgiving weekend. Sorry, National Economy. I sat around and enjoyed the days by feeling thankful, eating large numbers of pecan bars (Thanks a lot, Leigh. No really. They are evil.), watching my family watch the Bama game and occasionally sending out a supportive Whoo! (I was at the kitchen table making an ornament), watching the 1st season of Gilmore Girls with my mom, and taking a very occasional walk.

 

I have to show you the wondrous Thanksgiving table my sister Leigh set for our family feast. Isn't it beautiful? (the off-topic birthday banner was for my nephew Michael). There was also a satellite kiddie table with equally fancy settings that is not in the picture. The main table is huge, but that is all an illusion. Underneath it is my Mama Graham's regular sized dining table. Over the top of that is a cleverly built ginormous round plywood tabletop that has additional support legs, which is brought up from the basement and assembled for special occasions like this. Leigh really should do a guest tutorial so you can make one too, huh?


We did something most agreeable this year after the Thanksgiving feast too: a Gently Used Jewelry And Makeup Swap amongst the older gals in the family. We all cleaned out our jewelry boxes and makeup/toiletry kits ahead of time and then drew numbers. Things got pretty heated. Almost violent. Lots of guilt trips. Some snide remarks. It was excellent! And I ended up with some cool new-to-me pieces (above, just some of my loot) and a new lipstick color. After we were done, my daughters got to choose some play jewelry from the leftovers, and then the rest was donated to a local thrift store.

The shopping apathy lasted through the weekend and somehow I let CyberMonday also slip by (I was busy watching Edward and Jacob worry over skeletal Bella) and now I'm kicking myself for missing out on the online deals on Calico Critters, which my daughters are pining hard for and which are priced like nuclear grade uranium. Sheesh.


What I'm doing on today, Dec 1st, is getting out all our Christmas decorations. I'm trying to ignore the fact that the contents of my china cabinet are all on top of the TV armoire and that I still have no floor in my kitchen. It's bare slab cement with construction paint lines, mystery stains and patches of old vinyl flooring in places. It's real festive. Being rectified soon. Crossing fingers.

I need to stuff the mirrored advent calendar before I take it downstairs. I dream each year of making tiny things to go in it, but of course at the last minute I bought some peppermint kisses, LPS teensies and some weird hairy animal pencil toppers who get an amazing hairdo if you spin your pencil. I also have tiny wooden ornaments for their (new!) small white Christmas tree. That will buy me some time and maybe I can put in something cool and handmade. I have ideas for tiny felt necklaces. And this will be our second year with the awesome Playmobil advent. The girls are excited to see that one again.

I've got a pile of needlebooks started and a few thousand felt ornaments I'd like to make, and some I've actually completed.

And. I kinda hate my handmade stockings. I'll be attempting those again.