Wednesday, November 26, 2008

quilted christmas ornaments

Not really quilted, it just looks that way. My sister Leigh showed me how to make these, and one Christmas we got a little obsessed with them. It is addictive, and once you have the materials ready, it goes quickly.

This is a no sew project, even though it doesn't look it. All you need are styrofoam balls, ribbon, hot glue or fabritac, flat head straight pins (LOTS), ball head straight pins, and a bunch of little fabric squares. Most of the work is cutting your fabric squares (great use for your scraps or charm squares). Or if you are me, obsessing over which fabrics to use. My sister and I preferred the random fabric method, but you can make it look more symmetrical (and less time consuming) by using the same fabric for each tier.

I looked around for an existing tute because I didn't want to reinvent the wheel. I found this one, and it seems to be the only one out there (?). My sister and I used the same method she outlines.

I also found this pattern for sale on ebay by accident, if you find you need more details than the online tutorial provides. (Buy at your own risk, I can't vouch for the pattern because I haven't seen it!)

I'll say goodbye for now and I wish a very happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans. No new posts until next week. I plan on packing in as much turkey and sides as possible, and being very thankful to God for the countless blessings in my life. I'll also be enjoying time with family we don't see very often. And trying to sneak in some crafting. See you next week!

Monday, November 24, 2008

goodbye, sweet little girls

We have some great friends who are moving to St. Louis soon, despite our repeated begging, and they going to be greatly missed. Kev and Jess have four little girls, ranging in age from five on down to two mos. I thought I'd make each wee girl a little modified Black Apple doll to remember us by. Jess, if you are at your mom's looking at these pics, surprise! They're done. (I had already shown Jess the WIPs)

I was originally going to make them all blonde, like the real little lasses, but realized they'd be more fun in different colors and easier to tell apart. Ahem. Also I didn't have enough yellow felt.

I redrew my disastrous body pattern from before and made the arms thicker and longer, so this time it worked ok. I also remembered to sew the legs up before I cut them out (this works great!) so the legs aren't as skinny.

I stuffed the arms first and then I stitched a joint at the shoulder and stuffed the rest. I also sewed the girls' initial on the dolls so there would be no mistaking who is who's. Growing up with four sisters I learned early to mark my stuff. However all our names begin with L, so I had to spell it out.

On an unrelated but much sweeter note, Bake It Pretty is having a gift certificate giveaway to celebrate the Vintage Village cupcake decorating kits she's selling for the holidays. Check it out!

Shopkeeping note: I'll be out of town this weekend for Thanksgiving, so if you purchase a Katy pattern from the shop, it will be a few days until you get it via email. I'll be gone Nov 27-Dec 1.

Friday, November 21, 2008

viking love from Herzensart

Image by Herzensart

Image by Herzensart

I'm swooning today for these wonderful Viking and Knights Templar softies created by the immensely talented Sandra Monat, apparently with vital assistance from her blue sheep, Friederike!. Her work made the cover of Whipup's new calendar, and that's where I found the link.

I've just spent an entranced half an hour trolling through her blog and website, which pegged the meter on my inward Creative Envy Gauge.

What a kickin' gift idea for the poor, neglected, handmade softie-less boys in your life. And of course she has some girl stuff too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Sorry, Robyn. I totally Aunt Clara'd on month five of our Great 5x5 Exchange. So, here in month six, which is better than month seven, is my final installment to you of our 25 charm square exchange.

And, um. Do you have a little something you need to send to me?

The above was Robyn's fine selection sent to me for the month of September. Which arrived on time, unlike mine to her. I especially love that Denyse Schmidt County Fair fabric.

And at long last, here is my selection to her for October. Although it's now November. All of which are snippets from my trip to the warehouse sale.

Monday, November 17, 2008

smile. no, put the barbie down for just a minute. yoohoo, look at mommy! no, come back! ok, smile. gah! get your finger out of your nose, etc...

Why do other people beget children who smile winningly on cue for multiple pictures and I got these people? With Christmas card season upon us, here is a handy article on how best to snap some good ones of your cuties.

Friday, November 14, 2008

it's not even my birthday

I found a little present buried between two huge binders on my craft shelves. It's a sewing pattern magazine I bought waaaay back when I was in the Netherlands last fall. It was placed there for safe keeping and promptly forgotten. Robyn, doesn't that little model on the cover look like lil' A to you?

I'm pretty excited to have unearthed it, I forgot how cute all the little clothes are, and this will be a bit easier to work with than my Japanese pattern book because I can guess what some of it says, and when I'm stumped I can resort to Babel Fish.

If I'm reading it correctly, it has 32 different patterns. Great gophers! The pattern pages are a huge tangly jumble, but thankfully color coded, unlike my Japanese book (which I still love and adore, but which scares me).

Look at this little poof-sleeved jacket! I guess if I would only organize my craft train wreck a bit more often, I wouldn't miss out on cool stuff like this.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

well, it took me long enough.

Finally finally finally. Katy Kitty's PDF format pattern is available in my new etsy shop. Hopefully in time for you to make some for gifts. As a bonus, I'll include the double-breasted coat and scarf PDF pattern I just finished for her.

The coat and scarf will also fit your Molly Monkeys! Also exchangeable are the shirt details and the shoes, which will go fine with either pattern.

Thanks as always for your interest and inquiries and encouragement. You guys are the best.

Monday, November 10, 2008


So excited to receive my village frock pattern from these talented gals. I have plans for Christmas frocks for the girlies made out of some creme and black toile that has been gathering dust. Ah, plans. We'll see if I can make it come to fruition. I also bought some dark denim after seeing one made in denim on flickr and falling in love.

The brown paper envelope was hand addressed to me, with some pen flourishes! And the instruction book has been zig zagged down the fold with blue thread. All the illustrations as well as the pattern itself are hand drawn, not computer illustrated. So unique, just like the ladies who made it. I have done no more than flip through the book and dream in my head, but hopefully soon I'll be cutting.

I have been trolling around looking at other's village frock creations and I'm just floored by the cuteness. Wish me luck!

Friday, November 7, 2008

mmmpretty colors

image: CraftStylish, contributor Jeffery Rudell

Do you find each year as the new holiday decorations come out, that you experience the sudden urge to toss out everything you currently have in your attic and start fresh with that new look/color scheme that you simply must have that doesn't blend with anything you already have? Nevermind that the decorations that you had last year were positively the one and only perfectest thing you'd ever want to have for holiday decorating, promise.

Anyhoo, that is the feeling I got when I saw this easy paper wreath via One Pretty Thing at Craftstylish.

I really wish I could like the same color scheme for more than one minute altogether. It makes it extremely difficult to commit to a paint color for walls. But that is a whole other dysfunctional issue.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

scads of holiday handmade goodies

If you are looking for some ideas for handmade gifts this season, you are in luck. There are several notable blogs featuring daily and weekly inspirations so you can stay away from the mall this year. These are the ones I know about. Tell me about the ones you find. I could always use 1000 more ideas to distract myself from what I currently need to accomplish.

Sew, Mama, Sew! Handmade Holidays
CraftStylish Dare to Make It: Holiday
Skip To My Lou
Handmade Holidays Through the Year
One Pretty Thing - great roundups of whatever seasonal ideas are current

I have all these projects swimming around in my head with that usual feeling of tragic excitement. The tragic part comes in when it turns out I only have time to make one of my ideas before Christmas.

And also don't forget the idea treasure trove you can find at Martha Stewart, which features a Craft of the Day. To reveal how sadly compulsive I am, I'll tell you that I've clipped and filed every likely craft idea from MS Living and Real Simple for years ('likely' as in nothing requiring gesso or gold leaf). Now I have these four huge categorized binders. I love the internet as a resource, but nothing beats having an idea book in my hands.

Monday, November 3, 2008

tooth officer

I made this tooth pillow for my nephew's 5th birthday party, which had a policeman theme. His mouth is the pocket for teeth and the loop is for the doorknob so the tooth fairy does not have to enter the child's room to retrieve the teeth. Or dig under their pillow for a tiny tooth, which always seems a bit risky to me.

In true Larissa fashion, I procrastinated making it until the morning of the party. Well, 2 hours before the party, really. If you'd like to make one, I'm pretty sure you could make it in very little time, because in that two hour span I: designed it, sewed it wrong, ripped out the sewing, fixed the strap, redid the sewing, fixed the strap again, stuffed it, and finished the face. All with time to spare for things like showering, dressing, making a handmade card, wrapping the rest of his present, and taking the eye makeup off my four year old that I forgot to take off last night.

I don't really recommend a schedule like that one. I actually had some chest pains as I was dressing. Here's a quick PDF pattern I made for a basic tooth pillow (policeman elements not included), if you'd like to download it and make your own version. If you like the police theme, the hat, belt and badges are easily made with some basic shapes. Enjoy!

NOTE: This pattern was updated on 2/10/09 with some minor improvements, so it won't look exactly like the image below. It's better!