Tuesday, January 26, 2016

what I'm up to

Hey, guys! I'm in the middle of a freelance graphic design job that I do every year at this time. So I'm spending a good bit of my time in front of my Preciousss (otherwise known as my Mac) and not playing with felt and fabrics. Also I'm eating soup. Lots of soup.

In completely unrelated news, how about that new X-Files episode? Love it? Hate it? I was underwhelmed, but my Schmoopie loved it. We are long-time X-Files devotees so we were both curious about this revival. I tend toward pessimism for sequels, but I'll wait and see about the next episode before I call it.

Now entering the realm of my opinion: I thought it was pretty forced and choppy and had zero chemistry. I really don't like the jaded place that the Mulder/Scully relationship is in right now. Also the painfully long rant from Mulder trying to mesh the many season's worth of carefully constructed alien conspiracy theory into the current government plot twist was quite a reach, even for him. I guess sometimes it's hard to recapture that mojo. And what is up with Mulder's hair?

But now...I'm sparked with the desire to revisit all my favorite awesome episodes, including Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose and Bad Blood with Luke Wilson, as seen above. *Sigh* Sheriff Hartwell is dreamy, isn't he, Scully? Look at Mulder's face. Priceless. I so love this one. Clever, quirky, downright funny. Perfect showcase for their differing approaches. Schmoopie's favorite is Home, but I find that one so disturbing I can hardly bring myself to watch it again. Gah. That one rose up from some pretty dark interior places from whoever wrote it. It forever creepified the normally romantic Wonderful! Wonderful! for me. Watch at your own risk.

Spoiler alert: I've also just finished this novel. I have a mixed reaction. I was so drawn into the historical setting and the beautiful writing and the flashback style of story telling but have to tell you it I was Most Displeased with the ending. I fell so in love with Werner and Marie-Laure that I have to admit I had constructed some kind of hopeful, idyllic future life for them in my head. I don't require books to have a happy ending, but Mr Doerr spent so much time carefully weaving the threads of their fate together and drawing the knot closed it seemed inevitable they would end up tightly bound. Letting it go...what are you reading?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Two more Twelve Days pattern bundles in the shop

Hey, friends! If you have been curious about the Twelve Days ornament series and want to get started making, there are now three discounted bundles in the shop:

Bundle 1-3 contains the Partridge & Pear, Turtle Dove and French Hen patterns.

Bundle 4-6 contains the Colly Bird, Gold Ring and Goose a-Laying patterns.

And the 1-6 bundle contains all six available patterns. Number seven is coming up! Swan a-Swimming. There's a sneak peek of that on in this post.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

handmade gifts 2015: two more very nice mice

My last installment of the handmade parade for Christmas 2015. I was on a roll with these mice. This girly one is for my MIL, Paula.

Um, I kind of messed up the ear placement somehow and they ended up wonkified, so I added a hat with a pom-pom to hide it. But I really like the hat. It's a pipe cleaner that is just wrapped in a spiral cone and secured here and there with thread.

I like the chubby rear view too.

This little guy with the snowball is for my nephew, Trent. I love his extra fuzzy feet.

They make a cute pair. I'm a little sad but mostly a lot glad that the Christmas crafting frenzy is over. I'll try to remember to start earlier this year. *laughing with you* *slapping knee* Yeah, that's just never going to happen, is it?

P.S. I've now entered the time-eating magical world of Instagram, so follow me there if you like:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

handmade gifts 2015: make a little birdhouse ornament in your soul

I found these little Erzgebirge bird push pins on Etsy last January and was immediately filled with tiny wood bird avarice. (You say, "Erzuh-who now?") And I say, pushing my glasses up my nose, "Oh yes, that's a term for the Ore Mountain region in the former German Democratic Republic and refers to crafts made there before the fall of the Berlin wall, you big Dumbo."

OK, OK, I didn't know about that either until I read it in the listing. *waving glasses in figure eight pattern* I un-dumbo you. So ever since I bought them I've wanted to make a birdhouse ornament and put some tiny Erzge-whozit birdies inside and keep it for myself. So I did.

I was inspired by this pin but then things got way more involved.

There is a toilet paper roll underneath that wool felt. And there is a cone of paper underneath the wool felt scalloped roof. I added round windows and ribbon and silver gimp trim and glitter. You must have glitter. Finished with a ribbon loop at the top so I could hang it with a wire hook.

I had a handy circle punch that was just the right size to seal off the bottom. I love when things work out like that.

After it was finished I sat under the Christmas tree at night and just looked and looked at the sparkly birdhouse ornament. Totally craft gloating. I also experienced a brief twinge of guilt because it occurred to me more than once that this ornament would really make a very special and appropriate gift for my little grand niece and nephew who just moved into a brand new house.

The house will still be newish next Christmas, right? I'll make another one.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

handmade gifts 2015: ornament for Baby John

My niece, Erin, and her husband, Nathan, lost a precious baby boy before he was born. His name is John. I thought this ornament would be a special way for his brother and sister to remember him each year when they decorate their Christmas tree.

The angel was made using my Wee Princess Pea pattern for the doll, only slightly elongated. The wings are made of stiffened wool felt. The babe in arms is made of wood beads, a cotton pipe cleaner, and felt.

We love you, Baby John, even though we never got to meet you here on Earth. As David said in 2 Samuel 12, you cannot come to us, but we will go to you. All our love to my niece's sweet family and my sister's family as you remember this child and grandchild that flew straight to God.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

handmade gifts 2015: swan a-swimming and two replacement ornaments for Robyn

The December handmade parade continues...

I was hoping to send Robyn a Maid a-Milking ornament in addition to this new Swan a-Swimming, but time slipped away from me and I was only able to finish Mr Swan here. I think the final pattern will be very similar to this one, but I added some sequins and glass beads to hers for a little sparkle.

Closeup of the stitching for you there. If you are working on my Twelve Days ornament series, it's really easy to add some sequins under your French knots if you like. Or if you just hate sewing French knots (c'est toi, Beth!) you can use a small glass bead in place of a French knot and also layer a sequin underneath the bead for sparkle.

I sent all three of these ornaments to her this year, but only the swan is new. Those top two are actually repeats of nos. 2 and 4. She already has earlier versions of them from years past, but it was really bugging me that her versions don't match the current series and I just like this Turtle Dove and Colly Bird better. They have some added sparkle sewn on them too. Robyn's perfectly welcome to prefer the earlier ones, of course! She knows I'm a bit cracked this way. It's alright.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 in review

Goodbye 2015! It was a busy, happy year.
Four new patterns were released and lots and lots of sewing was done. Thanks to all of you for hanging in there with me for another blogging year!

Hello, new year. Look at you, 2016! All shiny and blank and ready to be scribbled on, colored in and populated with new things.

Coming soon:

  • A pattern that's already underway for early this year: Early Bird Night Owl Pillow.
  • Also coming are two new Twelve Days pattern bundles for the shop: 4-6 and 1-6.
  • And of course my goal is to release four more new Twelve Days patterns – fingers crossed!

Happy new year to you all! (And next post you'll see more handmade gifts, because I'm not done showing you what I made in December!)