• Finished Quilts in 2010

    Click pictures for full details! Julia's Field of Blessings See Mom, I *Can* Make Snowmen in Texas! All Shook Up Pansies & Primroses Vintage Spring Vintage Baby A Bad Copy
  • Finished Quilts in 2009

    Click pictures for full details! Sunshine & Swimming Pools Loving Hands Boy Woogies Carina's Quilt Front Charity Quilt 1 Charity Quilt 2
  • Finished Quilts: Previous Years

    My sister's quilt Elena's Signature Quilt Cosmic Spiral Simona's Flower Garden ...And Everything Nice The Wool Quilt The Original Woogie
  • Finished Craft Projects

    Traveling Car Playmat Brown Bear Matching Cards
  • Finished Girls’ Dresses & Costumes

  • Quilt To Do List

    *Julia's "Baby" Quilt
    *Bethlehem Quilt
    *Kaffe Fassett String Quilt
    *Star Happy Batik Quilt
    *Red & Tan Single Wedding Ring Quilt (blocks made)
    *Batik Charm Square Quilt
    *Lingerie Quilt
    *Purple & Gold Mystery Quilt (just needs quilting!)
    *Eagle paper-pieced Quilt (@ half pieced)
  • Other Craft Project To Do List

    *Alphabet Matching Card Game
    *Apple/Pear Dress for Elena
    *Pillow Case Dress for Julia
    *Knit Dress for Elena (need to do post!)
    *Knit Shorts for Me

Craft Your Own Christmas Cards

(Since I’ve skipped blogging for so long, my posts might be skipping all over the place too!)

My personal philosophy with Christmas cards is that I like to send something with a religious message because, well, I am celebrating a religious holiday and wishing people all the good and promise that that religious holiday entails.  So, to this point, I’ve always bought Christmas cards – generally Hallmark – and enclose within a picture of my girls.  Two birds with one stone!  It would certainly be easier to make a simple picture card, and I’ve definitely considered doing just that, but have still done my store-bought cards to this point.
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The picture of my girls enclosed in the cards this year — obviously I cut it in 2!

This year, though, it had reached mid-December and I had yet to buy the Christmas cards, and the store cards I really loved tended to be on the pricier side.  And while I’m not a paper-crafter at all, paper-crafting came to the rescue!

My girls were already off school for Christmas break, so I set them down at the kitchen table with a bunch of paper and crayons and instructed them to draw something Christmasy!  The results were…not blog-worthy.

I regrouped and instead pulled out a bunch of construction paper, scissors, markers and glue and this time instructed them to make Nativity scenes.  I had to exert some control!  And my goodness, the results could not have been better.

Elena went after this project with no instruction from me at all.  Well, I did mention to her that Mary often wore a head-covering.  But that was it!  I LOVE what she did:

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Elena is especially proud of her manger made with the hole in the middle.  I think it must be a new trick she just learned.

Julia also did fabulous work although she needed a little more help.  I gave her pieces of construction paper in the general size that she needed and she’d finish cutting them into shape.  She also looked to her sister’s artwork for guidance.  I also LOVE hers:

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Now, there’s no way were were sending Christmas cards out the size of construction paper, nor were we going to craft up 70 of these!  So, we then took their Nativity scenes to the copy store, shrunk them, and printed 2-to-a-page.  I had intended on printing them at the proper location on cardstock so I’d just have to fold them, sign them and mail them, but the copy-worker and I were having some communication issues.  At any rate, we then headed to a friend’s house and used her paper cutters and tape rollers and fashioned up our cards.  They were in the mail a few days later in time for Christmas!

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The finished cards — the color copies were awesome!

I must admit here that at least one of our recipients didn’t quite understand Julia’s picture and what I thought was a nice religious Christmas card.  He brought it with him to visit us and was asking Julia all about the kitty she made and pointing to the kitty’s eyes and mouth?  I don’t quite see it, but art is in the eye of the beholder?

Those on our Christmas card list can definitely expect to see more hand-crafted cards like this in the future.  I mean, doesn’t everybody want my childrens’ artwork for eternity?  I know *I’m* holding onto it forever!

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Design-Your-Own-Fabric Dresses

All the rage everywhere in sewing land is designing your own fabric.  And for good reason — it is fun to have complete control over the design process and get *exactly* what you are looking for.  Most of the time people are talking about designing their fabric with the likes of Spoonflower, but I decided to go old school with the girls this summer.  I busted out some watered-down fabric paints (to make the painting easier) and about 2 yards of solid white fabric and let the girls have at it.  (You might remember that I briefly mentioned this when we did it in July.)

They started out with a bunch of sprinkling:
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And then moved on to painting some spots:
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And finished with a great piece of fabric:
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I’ll admit I had trouble giving up control on this fabric, and wished at times that I didn’t put the green or purple fabric paints out, or that I made them only paint instead of sprinkling, or that I made them only sprinkle instead of painting, or or or.  Ultimately I was happy enough with the finished product.

In August I tried to make them dresses out of the fabric, but my machine did *not* like working with elastic thread and died on me.  After being repaired, I finally brought the dresses back out and finished them in October.

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I used Izzy and Ivy’s Ava Tie Top pattern.

For Julia’s, I thought it looked good without a bow and therefore didn’t add the tie loops or make a bow.  I also cut off some of the length and didn’t do the pintucks on the bottom of the dress.  The dress fit well and I really liked it.  For Julia.

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Julia was really into posing that night…

As for Elena’s, it didn’t turn out as well.  It ended up being too narrow/thin for her frame and I decided to go forward with the tie loops and the bow to hopefully hide the fact that the dress is too narrow.  Instead, the bow pretty much takes over the dress.  (FYI: The bow was this size on the pattern I got.  The newest cover of this pattern appears to have a smaller tie/bow.)  I cut the length and didn’t do the bottom pintucks on this one either. Since this outing, I don’t think Elena has taken this dress out even once to wear.

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At least she had fun painting! And eating her candy necklace!
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And I’ll definitely consider having them paint fabric again.  It really was a lot of fun!

Boo!

Did I scare you?!?  (sorry, channeling my younger daughter who “hides” all over, jumping out with very loud but not very scary or surprising “Boo!”s.)

At the beginning of this year I got all sad reading everybody’s reviews of 2011 with lists of things they’ve done.  The thing is, I did *lots* of crafting and sewing in 2011, but I did a poor job of documenting it.  And I miss blogging about everything.

So, for myself, my goal for 2012 is to blog more about my crafts.  And it only took until late January to get that goal written out!  ha!

Anyway, I love show and tell.  And although this is a brief hello, there is definitely more to come.

As evidence that I’ve been busy, here’s a picture of 4 different bindings ready to go on quilts!
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They look rather patriotic together, don’t they? The red ones are for semi-patriotic quilts — I at least plan on donating them to Quilts of Valor.  The blue one is for a space quilt, and the one binding is for a very feminine floral quilt my mom made.  I called dibs on it, and she gave it to me all done except for the trimming up and the binding.  Pretty good deal if you ask me!

Not My Usual Tools

Hammer and a hole punch?  And some strange metal pieces?  Yup, definitely not my usual sewing tools.

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Don’t mind me, I’m just busily sewing putting together my daughters’ Halloween costumes.

Seriously, though, those eyelets kicked my behind until I finally went out to the kitchen and brought out the small holepunch to punch holes in the fabric instead of cutting out the teeny-tiny holes.  And of course I hammered some of them too much and needed to replace many of my suddenly mis-shapened  eyelets.  Methinks it would have been much easier to buy the plier set to put them in, but that would have meant spending $26 instead of just $3.50.

And,  now back to the sewing room to keep working on these Rapunzel costumes.  Doing 2 of them is more difficult than I imagined.

Ahhh, The Emotions Go Wild

The highs and lows around here — it feels like the stock market!

Unfortunately, my sewing machine is sick.  Poor thing.  I was sewing along on new dresses for the girls when all of a sudden there was a loud clunk and the whirr of a non-moving machine.  After I cleaned up the mess of thread and the almost-broken needle, I realized that the bobbin casing is now hitting the machine and won’t move.  Boo.  So, the machine is at the sewing machine hospital for an estimated 10 day stay and I’m here, twiddling my thumbs and fretting about the things on my sewing list.  Ahh, sadness.

With this free time, though, I was going through pinterest and happened upon some of my quilts pinned onto people’s boards, and even repinned with great comments.  Had me SO excited, and it was so much fun to see people really admiring my work!

And in the meantime, just one more week until summer is officially over and school starts for my Elena.  A first grader.  Oh MY!

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Finally, since I couldn’t go pictureless, above is one of my girls this summer inspecting one of their many science experiments: white carnations in food-dyed water.  The blue water definitely worked the best!

Elation

I jumped right back onto the quilting train, and this time met success!  SO HAPPY!

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Our new craft, shown in its natural habitat:  surrounded by other crafts!  We just received the bookshelf on the right and it has become our kids’ craft shelf and resides in the kitchen, as you can see.  It was filled within 2.67 seconds of being named Craft Shelf.

This is a little project that my girls and I made for my husband’s birthday.  I totally stole the idea from here.  (I originally found it on Pinterest through a friend but thought I’d source the original location.)  The girls chose the fabric for their handprints — they  both chose blues since that is Daddy’s favorite color.

We gave it a little late to my husband because I was, once again, avoiding the quilting part of the project.  (Do we see a theme here???)

But I needed to do it, and this time I went with a bit of a plan.  I decided to…PRACTICE.  Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
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I started with deciding how to quilt it.  I wanted the same echoing around the hands as the original, but I wanted to do something else in the remaining space.  I did practice free-motion quilting around the hands on some scraps, but that ended up too inconsistent for my liking still.  Echoing takes a lot of precision! and skill! and even more practice than I was willing to do!  So I simply sewed it normally, which was really easy, even with lots of curves, on this little piece.

As for the remaining space, I poked around a website that has some good tips and designs for free motion quilting, A Few Scraps, and found a cute little heart idea.  Perfect.  I practiced drawing it on paper first, and then practiced sewing it on scraps.  And then it really was just perfect when I quilted it on my little piece.
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I’m swooning over my hearts!  Even up close they look Fab!

Thank goodness this isn’t a real quilt though and instead framed up — the back of the piece is a bit, um, knotty.

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The girls were thrilled with the final product, and their Daddy liked it too.  As he told Julia, “now you really will be 3 forever!”  (He often asks the girls to not grow up and stay 3 or 5 or whatever age they are forever.  Julia insists that she *has* to grow up!)

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Yup, she’s 3 forever…

Frustration

I’ve been worried about my free-motion quilting skills and have been avoiding quilting this quilt for way too long.  The baby is 7 months old and heck, I thought I’d get it to him before he was 6 months and now I have to worry about his 1st birthday!

I definitely didn’t want to start with the space quilt — I like it too much to ruin it.  So, it was time to pull out a charity quilt and start quilting.

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This quilt has problems, but it really isn’t wavy despite its appearances.  It’s just the grass making it appear that way.

And my goodness, although I seem to have finally conquered my tension and thread-breaking issues, I definitely have a long way to go with my quilting.  My stitch length is extremely erratic and I couldn’t seem to decide where I wanted to go and when.  And then the thread I chose ended up being a bit too dark and shows up SO much instead of disappearing into the quilt as I wanted.  SO. VERY. FRUSTRATING.
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These blocks are vintage sheets I received from an exchange.  As you can see here, some are pretty thread-bare.

The ladies at my craft get together rolled their eyes at me and my dramatics, but I know I’m not satisfied.  I’ll definitely be doing another practice quilt or two before I start the space quilt.
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I also need some work on my 100% machine binding.  This one was tons better than my previous attempts.  I’ll definitely be hand-stitching the binding on quilts I really care about, but I know some charities have asked for machine bindings and I thus wanted to practice.

And really, this quilt isn’t crap.  It will be given to charity and I think it will be well-loved and won’t fall apart.  I just need to get better.