Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Crooked, but Done

Folded into thirds, the name on the I Spy quilt should be perfectly centered.  In theory.  This is my reality.  Crooked.  Stinker.

Otherwise, here is the finished quilt:
With a shamrock square for the partially Irish recipient:

Most of the fabric squares came from Crafterhours' Spoonflower I Spy selection. 

The backing is from my mother's Great Purge and was used on her end for a quilt for my other nephew.
The end.  Until the next time I have to make one for my own kid.

Also, I'd like to note that I appreciated the simplicity of the name.  ALEX has all straight lines.  I really can't stand sewing around curves for these names.  

Monday, December 29, 2014

Fused, Like, Really Fused

I wanted to make a quick perler bead ornament, so I went out to Creative Kidstuff and found a perler bead kit that made space ships.  I don't have a stash of perler beads and I didn't want to run out to visit a big box craft store (mall traffic, shudder!), so this was my best option in the time I had.

This particular kit came with gray, black, green, and blue beads.  I really only needed the green, because I wanted to make a cthulu ornament.  I had found a pattern for it through Pinterest, which, let's be honest, is my new Google.  I only had the one hue of green, so I had to deal with that.

Here are the results:
So, yeah, that shit is fused.  As it turns out, I was only supposed to heat it with the iron about 20 seconds per side.  I did not really pay attention to the directions and kind of screwed up.  It works, I guess.

I'd like to get better at these, because they are kind of cool.  I've seen some other things that I'd like to perlerize and maybe next time I'll try fusing it within the recommended timeframe.

Friday, December 26, 2014

More Ornaments

My sister sent another set of handprint globes for our tree:
And then the baby's teachers sent home a print of her hand:
It's a heavy thing, so I needed to find a sturdy tree branch.  I never did this for Z.  Sad.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What's Not in Your Box

Dear Box Recipient,

This year I had intended to make you a triple zip pouch.  That's right, three zips on one pouch!  What a novel idea!  Not mine, of course, because the original  idea came from this tutorial.  I have had it in mind for you for ages and ages and this was the year for it.  

I went out and bought coordinating fat quarters and matched them up with fabric already in my stash.  I made more than one trip to pick out zippers, because they would just never match up like I wanted.  

My time, as a mother of two, is precious, but I worked in time to cut out all the pieces, fuse the fleece, and coordinate the fabric, which seems to always soak up most of the prep time of any project for me.  I sewed it up in no time at all, actually, but when I turned it, this is how it came out:
 And yuck!  I'm not opposed to the fabric choices, but the craftsmanship is pure yucko.
I mean, look at those zipper stitch lines.  Wobbly and sad.  I just couldn't give this away.  
And look at that top's completely crooked and turned outward.  So pathetic.
Just more sadness.

And there you have it.  This (or another with different fabrics, because there was more than just one box recipient) could have been yours, but you have been spared the indignity of receiving such a poor quality item.

Luckily, I had only cut out one of these, so I'm not left with bunches of half finished pouches.  I could have tried again, but my time, like I said, is precious.  My apologies.  I had the best of intentions.  Maybe next year.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Here You Go, Puppy...

This time last year, Zelda received an adorable set of play farfalle.  These little pasta pieces were made with a lush wool felt and came in a handcrafted box.  All was made by my friend, Rin.
Seriously, adorable.
She loved playing with it, but it didn't last more than two months.  The little stinker fed some it to the dog.
I was cooking in the kitchen and my back was to her when I heard her say, "Here you go, Puppy."  She was feeding each little bow tie to the dog.  It was so tragic.  I don't know how many the dog scarfed down before I rescued it.  The precious few that remained were set up on a high shelf never to be played with again...

Well, until, I took them down and let her play with them a month later, but we forgot to tidy up before we left for the afternoon and we came home to no pasta pieces in sight.  The dog had devoured every last one.

So sad.  The box still exists and that was really the best part of the whole present, so I'm glad about that.  So that is the story of the lost farfalle.  This is why I am extremely leery about making lots and lots of felt food for her.  We can't even leave any of the wooden food out.  Roxy also ate two pieces of one of those sliced bread toys.  Ugh...that dog.    

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Handmade Ornaments

Another ornament post. 

When I was taking the pictures of the woodburned ornaments, I realized that I had added three additional handmade ones to the tree this year.
My mom visited last Christmas and she made this felt tree during one of our naptime (Z's, not ours, because that would not make sense) crafting sessions.  Neat.  I have it in my head to make felt tree garlands and this was a prototype of sorts. 

Also, my sister sent along two handmade glass ornaments.  She's got a boner for kid handprint art and she made up two snowman print ornaments  (one from each kid) for our tree.

It looks like the palm was on the base of the globe.  She then decorates the little handprints with hats and scarves.  Cute, right?  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Thank you, Mel!

When Z was six months or so, we took a family education class.  We had heard all these great things about it, but it didn't really work for us.  Maybe it was the teacher, the other parents, the time of night...or maybe it was just us.  I think all of those who recommended it had taken the class as a stay-at-home during the middle of the day, so they were able to establish these awesome relationships with other parents and go on play dates and whatnot.  Not us.  Or we could just be hyper anti-social and/or maybe we just suck.

Anyway, I didn't take much away from that class (and thank Zeus that I cannot remember that stupid song they always sang), but one conversation does stick with me.  The teacher asked us about family traditions that we had when growing up.  I couldn't think of anything!  I know there must have been, but I just couldn't remember any.  I want us to have traditions of our own for the girls and we have started some (Braham Pie Day - first Friday of August!) and one I am going to poach from a friend.

My best friend from college has been making the Halloween costumes** for her kids for years and each year she finds a coordinating Christmas tree ornament that represents that year's costume.  It's the best idea!  And it's a nice little tradition.  I don't know if she gives the ornaments to them on Christmas Day or if they get them beforehand - I should ask.  

As you may remember, gentle Reader, the girls were a squirrel and an acorn for Halloween this year.  I was pinning a bunch of felt squirrels that I was convinced would become Z's ornament.  Of course, I wouldn't have any time to make it until after the holidays and I haven't even tackled last year's kitty costume ornament (though I have saved swatches of that fabric for such a project).  

And then it hit dear friend from high school makes custom ornaments.  She posted an example of some on FB and I had this immediate happy reaction to them.  I absolutely knew that was the direction I wanted to go for this year.  So I placed an order and within a week they were at my door.

They are perfect!

The dates are burned into the back of them.   So perfect.  Thank you, Mel!

Here's a link to Mel's etsy shop.  Good stuff!

** This friend is the best costumer I know.  Seriously, she should go pro.

Friday, December 12, 2014


It's all pinned and rolled and ready for quilting.  I just need some strong white thread.  Stinker.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sun Catcher

A few weeks ago I went to my daughter's classroom for an hour long crafting session.  They instituted something called Fun Fridays where parents/relatives come in to do something interesting with the kids.  They've had a beekeeper and a firefighter...that's pretty exciting stuff.   I was not going to sign up, because I couldn't think of anything to do with them.

And then I saw a tutorial for a leaf suncatcher on Pinterest.  Neat, right?  So, I signed up for the Fun Friday.  I was going to bring a small number of embroidery hoops for each kid, but then I started thinking about making one giant sun catcher for their big windows.  I think the one I bought was 17"x22", which was a really nice size.  While buying the hoop, the cashier asked what I was going to be working on.  When I told her, she suggested that I go to the dollar store three stores down and I could find the contact paper there.  She was right.  Yay!  $2.00!

I didn't take any process shots and I didn't take a finished picture, so the school was kind of enough to send me this picture.  
Two or three weeks before my scheduled appointment, I went out and collected leaves.  Z and I tried to do it, but she ended up keeping them all, so I had to make another trip out.  I even plucked some bright red leaves off a bush while I was out working.  The week before we made this, I went into the yard and grabbed as much foliage from my garden as I could.  It snowed the next day, so I was pretty lucky to have gotten anything.  I then squished everything into big books...1000 Recipes was a helpful book as was my Practical Guide to Homicide book.  Don't ask.

A group of six kids and their teacher helped make this.  It was a nice little project.  I especially liked working with the kids.  Not because they are funny and cute and whatever, because they are all those things, but because they helped put into perspective that my kid is just like them...normal. All of them, Z included, was weird and scattered and stubborn and emotional.  That's good.  For a while there I thought I had an alien child who was hell bent on destroying my sanity.  Well, she's still that, but apparently they are all aliens and they are all hell bent on destroying the sanity of their parents.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Spy Quilt Progress

I've been slowly working on this I Spy quilt for my new nephew.  My goal is to finish it by this weekend.  Slow, but steady.  My efforts were hampered today by a fevered baby who spent 80% of the morning snuggled on my chest.

All of these pictures were taken with the camera on my phone, which really kinda sorta sucks.
What we have here is an example of how I really kinda sorta suck at quilting.  Each quilt that I have made has this same problem - nothing ever aligns as it is supposed to.  Those squares up there are supposed to match up, but they don't.  I can't blame the squares from Crafterhours, because the rows with all of them line up just fine.  The rows where I have added my own square or two are the ones with the problem.  

In the end, I fixed these problem areas by ripping out stitches and trimming the squares down on the ends.  It's not perfect, but it's better to have white sashing on the ends than have the I Spy squares touching the binding.

I spent some time on the couch watching a really good show this weekend:  Black Mirror.  It's really riveting, so I squeezed in a little bit of clipping loose threads.
I still have to quilt the thing and then bind it, which is one of those in front of the TV activities, but that needs my attention, so maybe I'll catch up on Project Runway episodes when I do that one.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tea Time

This little altoid-like tea tin came with a tea box two years ago and I quickly snatched it up and tossed it into my craft room abyss.  (Again, Craft Hoarding.)  I knew that it would someday have a purpose.
That day has come.
Play tea tin!  I made these four little tea bags for my niece's tea set.   She'll get them for Christmas when her play kitchen comes back online.  

It's really just a rectangle of cloth, a small pinch of filling, a ribbon and a sliver of felt for the tag.  I went ahead and embroidered "TEA" onto the label.  Should I have written the tag out upside down?  I can't decide.
I don't have any more tea tins like this one, which opens really easily and the lid is attached, which is super nice.  These came with that doll house box lot and are pretty cool, but they are a little tough to open and the lid detaches so it will promptly get lost.   Who am I kidding, the tea bags would probably get lost, too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


A few summer seasons ago, Target offered plastic pint baskets in the Three Dollar Spot.  I think there were two to a package.  I bought two packages and then I found another two packages that fall at the Goodwill, which gets Target's castoffs for 99 cents.  In the end, I really did not need that many fake baskets.  

I really think I'm becoming a Hoarder.  A Craft Hoarder.  It's in the DSM V.  Look it up.

As I was saying, I use a few of them to store wooden food in the play kitchen and the rest are wedged in the craft closet somewhere next to a paper making kit (unused) and photo albums (partially filled).  I finally found a use for the smaller of the baskets:

I used Martha Stewart's tutorial for strawberry pincushions.  (I can hear my mother now saying "Good Ol' Martha.")  I didn't print the pattern piece, but eyeballed it and it worked.  I also skipped the part about making seeds.  
So cute!  One tried to escape (not shown) and was hiding under the couch behind a massive tumblefur.  

Tumblefur - as defined by Webster's - is a pet hair cluster resembling a tumbleweed.  Look it up.

I have to sew the little green cap to it and then I can add it to this little outcropping.

It really inspired me to want to make a bunch of play food and I've been pinning like a mad lady.  These are not for my kid, though.  These were intended as a birthday gift for my niece, but I have since learned that her play kitchen disintegrated in a recent move and will be replaced at the end of the month for Christmas.  So these will keep until then and I *gasp* bought a birthday gift instead.

Monday, December 1, 2014


I'm thinking of going into the PeePee TeePee business.
Or maybe I'm just making strawberries.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Felt Up

Have I used that title before?  It feels recycled.

Anyhoo, I stopped by Treadle Yard Goods this weekend for some fabric shopping for Christmas gifts.  Before I could even settle on anything, my eye was drawn to these gorgeous heathered pieces of felt.

That blue one is the one that drew my attention.  So vibrant with the flecks of color.  

I hope to incorporate them into my Fairy Felt Book (if that thing ever gets done before the girls go off to college).

I was so distracted by my felt find that I didn't get all of the fabric that I needed and had to go back the next day.  Here's what I got during that first round:

I really like that blue animal one.  Very fun and much more vivid in person.

Monday, November 24, 2014


This is the scene that awaited me on Saturday during naptime:

I abandoned this last 10 inch stretch of sewing last Sunday when I realized that I'd forgotten to close the gate at the top of the stairs and Miss Z was announcing her intention to go down the stairs on her own.  

Blah.  This bit brought the apron I mentioned last week to 95% completion. I need to serge these exposed seams, pluck out the red gathering stitches, and it will be dippity-do-done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

For the Messes

Sometimes things that say washable paint or washable markers are not really all that washable.  I was tired of paint on the bellies of shirts, so I decided to make a little painter's apron for the kiddo.  I used some very loud, very 80's fabric that my mom sent me as part of her Great Purge.  It is really loud, so I apologize if your eyes have been assaulted after viewing it.
See...with that apron fabric combined with the floral curtains and the polka dot shirt, your eyes are assaulted.   The apron is a tad big at the neck, but it served its purpose, so I'm not fretting about that.  
Bias tape was used along the armholes and for the neck and waist straps.  Because it is that plastic coated fabric, I didn't need to finish any of the other edges.
That's my dragon that she's messing with!  Little stinker.

And check out the apron bib:
She kept wiping her hands across her chest, so that's good that it worked.  At the end of our painting session I just wiped the thing down.  Easy.

Ugh...that fabric.  I still have a few yards (!) of it.  What am I going to do??

Monday, November 17, 2014


I have these zodiac embroidery patterns and I intend to make a set, but I first had to figure out how to transfer the pattern, which prints out on regular printer paper.  I remembered that I have these transfer tools in my sewing toolbox, but I've never used them:
Check out that blue thing:
Bonkers.  That's my fabric, too.  It's black denim and I'm not quite sure if it is the right choice.  I used some of the yellow chalky transfer paper from one of the older Dritz kits.  I tried to do all the markings and it was a mess, so then I just did the stars of the pattern and this was the result:
That may be the way to go.  I'm not sure.  Also, I picked up some nice pearl cotton thread (or whatever it's called) and I think I'll use that instead of regular embroidery floss.  It's so luxurious.  I picked up a thing of cream, but I'm not sure if that's the right color.  

Friday, November 14, 2014


I've been tasked with making a matching apron to this one for my niece, but there's a slight problem.  The original apron is mainly blue with a green accent and yellow binding.  Unfortunately, the blue fabric looks like this:
Most patterns want me to cut the apron out on the fold.  Do you see my fold?  It's that small bit of fabric in the bottom right.  Stinker.  So I think I need to rethink the state of matchiness on that apron.  Maybe the main fabric could be the green?  I don't know.  I need to figure it out.

Another option (maybe for when she grows out of the toddler apron) would be to make matching aprons at the same time with the right amount of yardage for both.  I also have patterns for 18" doll aprons, so I could also make a matching apron for her doll.