Thursday, March 14, 2013

Are You Kidding Me?

So ever since yesterdays terrible announcment that Google will be shuttering Google Reader (Why, Sweet Jesus Why?) we have all been left reeling and searching for the reason behind this madness. Perhaps noone has been hit harder with this news than Hitler. Check it out. (Spoilers, you will see some 4 letter words in subtitles, if that is the sort of thing so spoil your day then steer clear!)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hand stitchin in 2012

I've come to realize that I need to make or at least work on something creative everyday, otherwise I just feel off.  I don't have to sit down and make up a masterpiece everyday, but having little projects I can work on for 20 minutes is my own little way of relaxing and centering myself. 

Embroidery and cross stitch is a great craft for just those types of relaxing crafting, I can just grab my projects bag and sit and stitch away for 10 minutes or an hour while watching a bit of tv and just shove it back in the bag until next time, no muss, no fuss. I taught myself to cross stitch this year, after long admiring my friends prolific cross stitching skillz on a lovely baby blanket for my oldest, I thought I would give it a try myself. I attempted three projects, have finished two, and gave away the first without taking any photos. Typical me. 

This is my second attempt, a little scene of the tenth doctor and his TARDIS. I stitched this up over our summer beach trip, and I was reminded that cross stitching takes FOREVER! 

I think I figured out the TARDIS took me something like 8 hours to stitch up, which seems crazy, I am either a very slow stitcher or it is just an incredibly tedious craft. I had started another TARDIS with a pattern I bought on Etsy, but 4 hours in I just wasn't feeling the outcome to effort ratio and scrapped the whole thing. Also typical me. I appreciate the look and skill of cross stitch, and I'm happy to have a (very) basic knowledge to put in my toolbox, but I think it's safe to say it will always be the second fiddle to embroidery. I actually spent quite a bit of time embroidering this year, even though I can't seem to find much to show for my efforts to share. This year I will take pictures of things before I send them out into the world! 

One of my first big projects this year was this Mermaid embroidery, from little dear. It has been saved in my etsy favorites forever and I finally caved and bought it to make for a present for a family member, then decided I couldn't part with it, and it currently resides in the girls room. 
This was my first (and only) attempt at crayon tinting, and while I am usually not a huge fan of it, I think it was necessary for the pattern and looks pretty good.   

I made this little crafty hoop for my first swap on Craftster, and it was a great experience and a lot of fun to make something with a stranger in mind.  The theme of the swap was words, and I chose this from the list and drew up a little embroidery hoop and finished it with a little needle stuck through the fabric. Nothing mind blowing I know, but I worked hard to keep my stitches as nice as possible since I was sending it out in the world to be judged.  

Fresh off the heels of that swap I stitched up the last two, a cute little saying and image stolen directly from Pinterest, and probably should have used a quieter background fabric, but oh well, I still like it! It was actually my first time using anything but white background fabric and I think I went a bit overboard. For some reason making the leap to nontraditional background fabric has been challenging for me, I think I over think it.  

Then, there was a stitch along over at Follow the White Bunny that I said I was going to join, so I stitched up my piece and never said a word about it until now! She does some really amazing shading work and the tutorial is really good, even if my little cloud isn't the best example. I think I just need more practice. Shading is also another sneakily time consuming job, but once you get as good as Nicole it is worth every moment! As soon as I loaded up the piece in the hoop the youngest grabbed my little cloud and went and hung it up high on a nail in their room to enjoy, and there it has been hanging until I temporarily liberated it for it's yearbook photo.  It is super tiny, 3" I think the smallest thing I have made yet.

I know I have more pieces of embroidery laying around in various stages of completion that I can't seem to find, including the whole chorus this song that just needs to be framed and hung, but I decided I'd better get these up before time completely passes me by and it's 2014 already. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Great Plans for 2013

Is everyone having a great year so far? I've spent the past two days hanging out with the family, going to the movies, eating pizza and frozen yogurt and sewing. If only every day this year could be so enjoyable! I'm not the type of person to heap on New Years resolutions but I find myself at the start of every year looking forward and thinking of what I want to accomplish, and how I could improve during the year. I am a very scatterbrained person and so many little important things seem to fall by the wayside when they are not right at the front of my mind, so for fun and posterity sake I have decided to write down a few goals I have been thinking about setting this week. 
Here goes!

  • Document my life better (take more pictures, blog, scrapbook, etc.)--  I live a pretty interesting, full life with my family, but you would never know it because I never show it. Which made all the worse because I have a terrible memory, and the days go by so fast I don't want to be standing around in 15 years with grown up children and few memories of our times together. I need to get out that camera, write stupid blog posts that no one will read about our fantastic days at the beach, and get caught up on the girls scrapbooks before it's too far gone and I can't remember the details behind the pictures. 

  • Work that camera-- When I was in college I took a photography class that sparked a love of taking pictures.  For a long while it was my main outlet of creativity (this was before I realized how fundamentally important having a creative outlet was to my sanity) and the class taught me all about working my 1970's SLR camera, aperture and exposure and even developing my own film. Then after a few years I splurged and got a fancy canon DSLR, and within 2 months everything I learned about manually taking a picture floated out of my brain.  So to go hand in hand with better documenting my life, I need to brush up on the basic skills, I am so tired of all of my pictures looking like snapshots as opposed to thoughtful photographs. 

  • Blog once a week--  Are we seeing a theme here? If this is to be a craft blog, then I need to blog my freaking crafts. Not a week goes by that I don't make something, so why do months go by without a post about it? I usually make something (awesome, of course) and then wait to get the perfect conditions to take a picture of it, so THEN I can blog it. But those perfect conditions are hard to find. Sunlight (in dark Oregon) for a good shot, having both clean AND willing children to model things, I just need to get it done. Be prepared for dirty children and terrible camera phone pictures! 

  • Decorate those walls-- We have lived in our house for over 4 years now, and almost everything hanging on the walls was put up the first 6 months we moved in. I have a lovely little gallery of frames hanging in the wall by the kitchen table that still have the stock photgraphs in them of happy strangers. These frames have been hanging for AT LEAST 3 YEARS.  I am not a details person, but even still, that is pretty unbelievable. So, get some new pictures up, woman! Also, I desperatley want some large art to hang in the living room and hallways (oh, my sad hallways!) so I've already started researching some projects to get up there and enjoy. I really hope I follow through on this one. 

  • Put some more stuff in my Etsy shop and see if I can sell it--  Pretty self explanatory, I don't want a full time job, but it would be awesome to find something I enjoy making and bring a little something back, for all that I leave at the fabric shops. ;)

  • Love my family and be the best mother/wife I can--  I put this last not because it is least important, but because if you are still reading you won't mind if I get a little mushy. For a person who thinks her family is her greatest gift, it definitely wouldn't kill me to be a bit more patient all around, pack a few more lunches for my husband and play a couple more UNO games with the kids. And go to the park more. And read just one more book before bed. And let them play with the glue and glitter even though I know it is just going to end up everywhere and be a big mess for me to clean up. So what. 


    Alright! So, hot on the heels of all those goals, my mini goal is to go around and take some pictures of all the crap I've made this year and never photographed, and slap it up here on the blog. Well, that is probably a bit too ambitious, but I will aim to take pictures of most things, since I know there would be several I would miss or forget, and I don't want to start off as a failure already. Now excuse me, I have to go find my camera, dust it off, and charge it up!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Did I mention it also travels in time?

Hello all! How are the last days of 2012 shaping up for everybody? I am enjoying these last few days but I am eager to see what 2013 has in store for me.  While I am trying to muster up the energy to do one of those year end mosaics you are seeing everywhere right now I thought I would share my only two handmade Christmas presents this year.  

This year I had the extreme honor of introducing some of my friends to the great show of Doctor Who, and much to my delight they have fallen in love with it like I have so I decided to sew them up some nifty (if I may so myself) TARDIS pillows. To the uninitiated, the TARDIS is the Doctors Time and Space ship, and it also happens to be stuck camouflaged as an old fashioned British police box.  While the show has been around nearly 50 years and is up to it's 11th actor portraying the doctor, the TARDIS has been pretty much the only constant on the show, and I wanted to do her up proper for this pillow.  After an insane amount of sketching and designing, and one completely terrible first run, I came out with these two beauties, and I honestly am in love with them.

I am definitely marking this project as most successful of 2012 because they turned out exactly as I had hoped and we all know that is not the case when starting on a new idea! The majority of the TARDIS is pieced together like a big quilt block, I embroidered the windows and public call box and painted the police box sign with a freezer paper stencil cut out from my cricut. (Which was a 2 hour lesson in patience trying to get all those little letters cut out without ripping! It all paid off in the end I think) 

Because I am so proud of them and a quick peruse on Etsy lead me to think they might have a place to fill on someone else's couch I decided to list them for sale, since I know I will be making at least one more for me and a few more friend requests that have come in since the big reveal.  They are 16 x 24 and fully lined with an envelope closure in the back for easy washing, in case other people have as messy a family as I do.  I've filled these with really nice down pillow inserts, because we are pillow SNOBS at our house, and I can't stand those cheap inserts of fluff that get all smushed and wadded up within a month. 

I made this up in the brighter blue colors of the current 11th doctor, but I'm scheming a variation in the older, antique shades of blue from the 10th Doctor's Tardis. (Who is, as they say, MY Doctor.) Now that I have a design I am in love with the children have both requested one for their room, so a double sized floor pillow might be in the works, along with the king sized bed quilt that has been on the back burner for a year or so might finally come to fruition. So, what do you think? Any other Whovian's out there?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

KCWC First of the Month Challenge, Day 2 + 3

For the second and third days of KCWC I sewed up 4 flannel nightgowns, two for each girl.  
I used this Butterick pattern I picked up for $1 at Joanns a few weeks ago on the allure of FAST! and EASY! ringing in my ears.   Ever since I started sewing with Oliver + S patterns early in my sewing career I have been very hesitant to sew up Big 4 patterns, what with their crazy ease and usually terrible directions, but since Lily is sized out of my pajama pattern and this being a no spending challenge I had to make due with what I had around. That, and the girls are gaga for nightgowns. A dress that you get to sleep in? Pretty much a sure win. 

cheap black friday Joann flannel nightgown = lots of toddler kisses and loves.

So anyway, I can't say much for the ease, as it is your standard raglan sleeve nightgown, not a fitted party dress, but I can say that I chucked those directions in the trash after reading in the first step they wanted you to sew the bodice together and then do a strange origami folding and sew the arms in a U shape to the bodice. It's a RAGLAN, the easiest garment with sleeves ever, and not by sewing the arms in a U shape to an already completed bodice.  Why do they insist on making things more complicated than necessary? Anyway, they came together in a veritable flash, the girls love them and they are residing in a very empty cold weather pajama drawer.
 Frankly I am underwhelmed with the fit, the drafting seems to give both girls an odd hunchback look to them and the whole thing just hangs weird, but I guess you get what you pay for. 

cracks me up they are doing the same pose as in the picture by the bedside. They just might be one trick ponies.

I'm thinking of adding some decorative buttons and/or bows to the front neckline, looking at these pictures I think they could use some distraction to break up the great expanses of fabric on their little bodies. Of course I had to do the typical "jumping on the bed in new pajamas pose"

These definitely count as stash busting, the elephant fabric is going on 3 years old, and was the leftovers from another pair of elephant jammies made forever ago, and Lily's green flowers and blue rainbow/hearts/peace signs fabric has been laying around for 2 and 1 years, respectively. Out with the old!
Full disclosure I managed to break my rule of  no spending to buy 1 1/4 yard of Hello Kitty flannel for Isla's nightgown. I'm devoting a larger chunk of my sewing energies this week to clothing the big sister, so when she requested this fabric she remembered from Joann's specifically, I had to relent. So far then I have spent $5 more than I planned. (She's totally worth it)

Apparently I never managed to get a full shot of the second slightly psychedelic jammies, and this is the best I can do. Lily picked this fabric because she got a shirt from Grandma at Christmas with a peace sign and now she LOVES peace signs, even though it weirds me out a bit, I just go with it.
After digging through all my bits of fabric scattered around the house I have unearthed enough flannel to make another dozen (or more) nightgowns, so I might be adding another set if I have the time (and energy) this week!

KCWC End of the Month Challenge, Day 1

Whew, this week is flying by! I'm participating in Elsie Marley's kids clothes week challenge, and commited to sewing kids clothes for an hour every day this week. I'm putting my own spin on it and am trying to use only my stash fabrics and already owned patterns to keep costs down and make use of all this cotton laying around!  And I have been keeping good on that commitment! I have been knocking out projects left and right, it has just been a struggle to get them on my little models to photograph and blog which is keeping me behind. 
She decided in these photos she was going to try and "Sell" me those heart sprinkles. Where is she getting her modeling ideas from?

Lily has really grown over this summer and none of her pants fit her anymore, she has been wearing  some really odd combinations of too small dresses over shorts, too tight leggings and mismatching knee socks, so I decided to devote  a big push towards making her some basics to wear around the house and at school.  For the first day of the challenge I decided to sew up some Oliver + S Afterschool Pants. I've made this pattern once before in a crazy stripe and decided to calm things down and just go for a nice slate gray corduroy. 

These pants are pretty straightforward with no zippers, just an elastic waist, which is a must for us since Lily has been boycotting zippers for the past year, ever since she zipped up some tender tummy skin one morning.  I forgot what a nice sew it was to make these, even though there are a lot of little extra details on these pants everything comes together nicely and looks great in the end. Strange to think that Lily was still fitting in a size 4 in late spring I sewed these up in a 6 and the fit is perfect, Here's hoping they will last her until next spring as well, all the of the sudden is growing up super fast. 

As it is, they have plenty of room for all of her ninja moves, and apparently they are "so soft" so she is happy with them! I am happy that she has something to wear to school that isn't skin tight leggings showing off her little plumbers crack. (While it's a totally adorable plumbers crack, I think she is getting to that age when it is less socially acceptable to show off ones crack.)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

KCWC Fall 2012

Guess what, I'm signing on to Kid's Clothes Week Challenge Fall 2012! 

You know, the huge kids crafting phenomenon that happens twice a year where you cross your heart and promise to sew clothes for your kids at least one hour a day for a week? Except, I think secretly it's really more like, cut and prep all the outfits weeks ahead of time, then sew for 3 hours a day, then take two more hours to photograph and blog your outfits and look like a superstar/generally awesome person who accomplishes so much in just 7 hours in one week! I kid, but I am guilty of it too. It really does feel good to take a week and just get stuff done, and look back at all the cute new stuff your kids are (hopefully) wearing.

This time around I have spent very little time planning or prepping so my outcome won't be nearly as impressive as I would like people to believe I am. Coupled with the fact my hours at work have been reduced since both my girlies are in at least part time school I get to pretend I am a stay at home mom, and I have the paycheck to prove it! This means lots of time, but little extra money to spend of fun things like new fabrics and patterns. Good thing I have plenty of perfectly good fabric lying around just waiting to be made into something fabulous. So my goal is to make my girlies some much needed basics while spending as little money as possible. I was going to call it, KCWC, Broke as Hell edition, but decided that was too negative so I'm going for KCWC, First of the Month Challenge! See you soon!