Monday, December 21, 2009

More Gifts

I wracked my brain trying to figure out what to make for my sister-in-law. Well, Mom suggested I do something with dish towels and bought me some at the Dollar Store (she's a lifesaver). I found this tutorial and whipped up a few tonight. They are cute and I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Progress

I finally made some headway on my handmade Christmas gifts this weekend. Here are a few things I made for my 2-1/2 year-old niece:

Placemat Colored Pencil Roll from this tutorial

Scrabble Magnets on a Cookie Sheet via here

Mom and I also worked on some coasters for my brother's girlfriend (tutorial here or here). I made a set for myself because one of the tiles was chipped (plus, I needed some anyway). I'm going to make two more sets sometime this week but I have to get more tiles. Cheap, easy gift idea (the tiles are about 16 cents a piece and you can use scrapbook paper, wallpaper samples, or gift wrap and stickers).

Mom using Modge Podge on the tiles

Me focusing intently on the tiles. Ha. Pay no mind to that double chin.

The tiles with scrapbook paper and stickers for Katy

Mom and daughter, working together. Fun!

My travel-themed coasters

Saturday, December 12, 2009

All Christmas Projects Completed

The last of my Christmas projects is done, and I'm a little lost. I finished the blanket Friday afternoon.

It turned out better than any of the others, and I suppose that is due to practice. But, today I have no pressing projects.  So, I thought I'd take some scrap fabric and see if I could create a quilted bib. 

I took a bib LeLe gave me for my birthday (ha!) and used it as a template. I cut out the front and back, and then cut out another layer out of the old quilt my grandmother gave me. It was the one I used for my reindeer quilt. There's still a lot of it left. I also cut out the letter W from some coordinating fabric, to use as an applique on the front. After using Wonder Under to secure it, I zig zagged it onto the front of the bib, then sewed the top to the back with the quilt in between.

It needed a little quilting, so I stitched around the letter, and around several of the circles. I then attached some hook and loop to the top, to connect it around the baby's neck.

It's my first try, so I'm fairly pleased with it. It has some flaws, but I don't think the baby will care.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Deer Quilt

I finally finished the quilted wall hanging of the three reindeer. Yay!

Am I satisfied with it? No. Is it perfectly square and even? No. But the only person I have to worry about is me. No one is going to go up to it and pick it apart.....well, no one that ever visits my home anyway.

 I started out fusing fabric to Wonder Under and cutting all of the individual pieces out in preparation to attach them to the background fabric by pressing with an iron.

I then zig-zagged the edges to keep them from fraying. I learned about using an old quilt for the inside "stuffing" from another craft blogger, and used an old quilt my grandmother had years ago for that.

It worked very well, and I even decided not to use any backing, to keep the bulk down and make it easier to quilt.

Since I didn't have time before Christmas to get hand quilting done, and don't own a quilting machine, I just used a basting stitch on my regular sewing maching. It was tricky twisting and turning the entire thing around to get all the corners and curves done, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it might be.

When I finally had it all quilted, or as much as I was going to, I folded the seams under and sewed them. Then attached little loops to the top corners, to hang it on the frame already on the wall.

It took a little work to get it to hang just right, but all in all, I'm pretty pleased with it. It adds just the right touch to my living room decorations.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Ok, for LeLe....

Much better?

Now, I'm Done....Well, Almost.

The rest of my house is a total disaster, but my Christmas decorations done except for one item I'm still working on.  The tree is not exactly how I had invisioned it, but I had to cut costs somehow. Maybe by next year, I'll have enough gold ribbon to do what I really want.

It's really hard to see the truth of a Christmas tree in the daytime. But, I hope you can get the idea. I filled in some of the blank places with some of the ribbon. I probably could have added more balls, but.....nah.

I finally got a large candle for my dining table centerpiece. It didn't turn out as fancy as I'd liked either, but I'm ok with that.

I used depression glass serving pieces as the base. A large platter and a large bowl. The pattern is Ruby Red. My Mother-in-Law gave me several pieces of it.

I need to add a little something to my Nativity, and I know what, but I'll have to do it next year. (Or later in December) I think it needs some white netting, as was suggested to me by a friend who is going to do hers with that. Still, it's dignified and I like it.

I actually combined two sets I have. The stable belongs to a smaller resin set I have, and the people are ceramic and didn't have a stable. The angel is not very dignified, but it needed a little something.
Don't be hatin' , K?

And lastly, I had to ponder a few days about where to put the stockings this year. I decided not to hang them from the shelf on the wall. Mainly because I'm going to add the quilted hanging I'm still working on, right under that shelf.  SR suggested I don't hang them, since all the kids are grown and we don't really need them. Bite your tongue Scrooge! I fill those stockings every year. Yes, even for the adults. LeLe has mentioned that the best gifts come in the stocking! Little Doodle Bug has one, but no name yet. Gonna add that after the 10th.

Old Ornaments

Just sharing two ornaments I made when the children were very small. I did a lot of wood working with a band saw and paint. It's not as popular as it was, but I've been longing to get back into it, just for my own pleasure.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Neat Ideas

Okay, I know I haven't made anything in awhile because I haven't really felt like it since getting pregnant (well, I did make one thing but I didn't take a picture and post on here because it was a gift for someone who reads this blog), but I'm going to give a few links to some cute projects.

Pen Pouch - if I knew how to do zippers, I'd try this.

Pretty Pillowcase - these are so cute.

Recipe Card Holder
- if I knew how to embroider and had a better track record of cutting my fabric out evenly, I'd make some of these as well. When I have to fold over and make a seam, my fabric never seems to match up. I guess I'm not doing absolutely perfectly straight stitching before I turn inside out and fold over. I don't know if that makes sense. I'm still learning...

Diaper Bag
- apparently, it's the easiest diaper bag EVER. I guess I could try it and see. I'm not too confident in my sewing lately.

Baby and Toddler Slippers - these are adorable. The link is to a downloadable tutorial. Just click on "Preview" if you wanna peek.

Mommy and Me Ladybug Bags - I wish I had the time and fabric to do these for my sister-in-law and niece for Christmas; alas, I do not.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Weekend Wreath

I had an autumn wreath on my door that I've had for about 3 years. I just kept putting it away and then wondering what I was going to use for Christmas. I'd use a simple berry wreath I found umpteen years ago and let it ride. This year, I decided to just take the stuff out of the autumn wreath and create a Christmas one with whatever I had on hand. I didn't have to buy a thing.

The wreath itself is just a regular vine wreath you can buy at Walmart, but if memory serves, I think I made it from vines in the yard. It's not hard to do. You just gather as many long vines as you can, and wrap them in a circle. You weave the ends together when you have it as large as you wish.

I left the ivy that was already there from the autumn version. Then, I took leftover silk poinsettias and stuck them in, added some decorative "sticks" that had candy canes and gift boxes with a little holly and thought a little more. It just didn't have enough. I considered going to wally world to buy something else, then realized I had some round ornaments leftover from my tree. So, I hot glued the tops on them so they wouldn't pull out, and strung them together, two and three with wire, and added them in. Last, I added the Santa bow I found in my box of decorations.

So, there it is. It's not the stuff of decorating magazines, but it suits me and it was free. Free is good.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Still At It

I don't remember it being this hard to decorate for Christmas last year. But then, I was satisfied with the same ole same ole and this year I'm trying to shake it up without spending a fortune. I've been trying to take what I already have, and rearrange it, or do something different with it. Case in point:

I had an idea to group all my snowmen together. I didn't even realize until this year, I had that many snowmen.  I was going to buy some "snow" to place them on, and I still might, but having some silver beads and red balls leftover from the tree, I thought I'd see how that would work. I kinda like it.

I also found some of my greenery and added it to the comfort and joy arrangement on my buffet.

I think with the greenery, and another couple of shorter candles, it's done. I don't want to over do it.

My tree is not working for me. Not posting a picture until I get it right, if I ever do.  I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Well, other than it's a really inexepensive tree and it has a lot of holes in it. I know I need to get some gold or white mesh ribbon and fill those in. That might do the trick.

I still have to put out the lighted candy canes and green garland on the front of the house. And figure out what to do to decorate the empty flower pots on the front porch. I used silk poinsettias to make an arrangement last year, but I've already used them to make a door wreath. One that also needs a little something added.  I think I know what to add though.....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot.....

I'm getting started on Christmas decorating. (As you can tell by the last two posts.)

I had an idea to paint the words Comfort and Joy on wooden plaques and set them up with candles.

I first painted them white, then added silver, and gold around the edges.

I printed off the words Comfort and Joy, and transferred them to the disks, then painted using the gold and silver paint. I outlined the words in black, so they would stand out.

I decided I wanted a little more color to them, so I drew on some holly and berries, and some ribbon. Then painted them out.

Next, I took a styrofoam cone I puchased at walmart, and wrapped it with jute I had on hand. I secured the ends of the jute with tiny pieces of wire, and then painted the whole thing white. After it dried, I wrapped a square piece of styrofom in silver wrapping paper, and used it as a base, sticking a pencil in the center of the square and up through the bottom of the cone.  I had a wooden ball in a drawer, and I painted it silver, and hot glued it to the top of the tree.

I thought about glueing beads onto it or clear disks, but I think I like it just as it is.

After all these projects were done, I brought out some old gold and silver candlesticks and placed them all on the buffet in my dining area.

In this photo, you can see the jar of peppermint I still have to finish. But, I'm considering adding some small embellishment to the top of the buffet, and it might add just enough to help with the peppermint jar.

Right now, I'm working on the wall hanging I mentioned earlier. It has three reindeer in it, and one is Rudolph, of course. I'll post the steps when I'm finished, if not sooner.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Not Working for Me...

Ok girls. Adding the bow, is not working for me. It lacks pizzazz in a big way. I tried putting it on a square red plate....nothing.   Today I saw a bow with two or three small round ornaments in the middle of it. That might help the bow, but not the contents of the jar.....

So, I'm wondering if I just need to forget about the peppermint candies in the jar, and use something else. Like cinnamon disks, or something with a bit more umph. Course, with that bow, you can't really see the contents from the front. Is the bow too large?

I saw a garland today at a local store that was pretty cool. It was made of round balls, some solid red, and some like peppermints. If I could find something like that, (only not so expensive) I could put that in the bowl instead, or even put the bowl on a plate and wrap some of the garland around.

I have some silk holly in the attic and could put  a few springs of that in there somewhere, as Y suggested. But I can't get up there by myself, and I told the hubs he could wait until after Thanksgiving to get it all down for me.  

It looks like the white taper is sitting crooked in this photo, but I assure you it's not. I tried using a red taper, but it didn't help. It could be due to the color of the bow, not matching the taper.

I could always just start completely over, and get one of those cool peppermint colored pillar candles to put inside. And use a peppermint colored bow I saw at Walmart yesterday. If I did that, and used solid colored red candy, it might make a difference. Any and all suggestions are welcome. We will share in this creation of Christmas beauty.  I really had high hopes for this when it came into my head. I sure hope we can pull it off....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stocking Project Completed

This project was also for my sister to give as gifts. They are two hand sewn, hand painted stockings.

I documented the process for those of you who are interested.

First I wash the fabric to eliminate any sizing. Then press, cut out and sew together stocking.

Before I start painting, I cut out a piece of cardboard or poster board and insert into the stocking, to keep paint from bleeding through. Then I set my pattern on it, and trace around.

 I usually find my patterns from coloring books, Christmas cards and royalty free pictures online. I print them out from my computer and then cut them out. It saves a lot of time, not having to draw the design out free handed.

 This is the design drawn onto  the stocking. I use light leaded pencils, as it will show through the paint if it's too dark.

 I then block in the color. Even if the picture is close to the same color as the fabric, I block it in. It makes it much easier to add highlights and shading. I usually need to apply two coats, as fabric doesn't absorb paint evenly for the first layer.

Then all the highlights and shading are added. When it has been dried overnight, I heat set with an iron. I use a pressing cloth, to keep the paint from melting onto the iron, and to keep the paint from smearing.  The names at the top, are usually done with the slick paint. It is thick and raised. It's also much faster than lettering with a brush.

There you have it. A stocking for Blake and Faith.

Now, I have something I need advice on.  I had this idea to make an arrangement with candy canes and peppermint. But it needs something. Any suggestions? It just doens't have that zing I'm looking for. Take a look at this....

?? Maybe a bow? A bigger candle? Something more colorful than the peppermints? What do you think?

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Few Christmas Projects

I've gotten a few Christmas presents done, and have some more in the works. I initially decided against posting the photos, for fear the recipients would see them, but I seriously doubt they will see my blog.
The first is a set of Christmas burp cloths I created for my sister to give as a gift.

I intended to create three, but she only wanted the two, and I had an extra applique to do something with, so I just tacked it onto the other end of one. This way, any way you lay it, it is facing the correct direction. While I was finishing up these two, my thread began to act very strange. The top stitching looked fine, but the understitching was nothing but a loose straight line. I fiddled with the tension but it didn't help. I wondered if it was the thin weave of the diapers, but I was afraid my 30 someodd year old machine was beginning to shut down. I left it alone for a couple of days, then used new thread and a different fabric and it was back to normal. I was even able to rip out the offensive stitching and redo it. What a relief!

The next photos are of two razorback fleece throws I bound and personalized. The first is for J's girlfriend. I was only going to purchase one yard of the fabric, but the clerk suggested I get one and a half, to make it more square. I am glad I did.

I really love how it turned out. BUT, I'm learning the hard way what not to do. I found that it is a must to use "wonder under" to steady the lettering. And the stretch of the fleece makes it very tricky when you are binding it, even when you cut the binding fabric on the bias.  The following is the one I did for J.

After I began working on it, I found a really disturbing flaw in the fabric. There was a line where the fleece was gone. I fretted over it and decided to add the lettering over the flaw to stablize it. Bad decision. It only brought attention to the line....

I should have left it alone, and the lettering being in another area would have taken the focus away. I tried zig zagging across it, but it looked horrible, so I ripped that all out. I hope that it will hold up after it's washed. I know J won't worry about that little flaw, I'm the only one who will care, but it still bothers me. Must be a pride thing. :-p