Monday, December 22, 2008

Gifts and the Jolly Old Elf

A few more handmade gifts. I made my Mom and my Aunt a set of handmade cards. I think this is the third year that I've given cards as gifts and they have been a big hit. It's usually a mix of happy birthday and thank you cards with a blank one or a get well or something thrown in. I have more "paper arts" supplies than I can shake a stick at, but no scrapbooks for my girls. I like the relative instant gratification of cards - my scrapbook pages were taking too much time.

This is a gift basket that already went next door to our neighbor. I am a pack rat, but every once in a while it pays off. This basket has been around for years (and years), so this year I filled it with a jar of homemade blueberry jam, a set of note cards that I had printed at Shutterfly with pictures that I took of his garden this summer, and to round it out, chocolate. What's a gift basket without chocolate?

And then.....

We are way behind this year. In past years we have been so prompt as to visit Santa the week after Thanksgiving. This year we dashed to the mall this evening. There was a lot more time invested in getting there and back than there was sitting on the fellow's lap, but all was good. No more Sarah glued to the mall floor in fear as she did two years ago. They wore the outfits I made, although Sarah's on her second top. I had the brilliant idea to wash her first white shirt with our orange couch cushion covers. Her shirt came out a marvelous shade of dingy, dirty blech. I was thrilled. And the second shirt is no masterpiece - I was having a lot of issues which I later found out stemmed from me not resetting my thread tension after finishing the free motion quilting on the third and final baby quilt of the year. Whoops. The headbands were a new addition to the outfits today. Just a length of ribbon with the ends sewn down and a strip of elastic sewn to each end. I think they were a nice addition.

And with all that's going on, how could one not crash on the car ride home?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas outfits

To say that I'm running behind in terms of Christmas preparations this year would be an understatement. To illustrate this point, I will tell you that Saturday morning Jim and I plan to go Christmas shopping for the girls while my parents watch them. It's just been that kind of season. No weekends at home, without obligations between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a house in disarray and, I think, me still getting use to the demands of having a child in school full time (and a school that requires lost of parental involvement). So, I have forgone the idea of Christmas pictures like I always take the girls for, as well as the Christmas dress that I always get them - and that's just the tip of the ice berg. I did, however, manage to get these outfits made for them, which I think will be cute for them to wear together to go see Santa, if that doesn't get scratched from the list as well.

The skirts are from the Oliver & S Lazy Days pattern, which can be found here. The really do whip up in a jiffy. I read the directions over a few times before beginning, and was really stumped as to how the whole ribbon hem was actually going to work, being that I learn by doing more so than reading. Once I dove in though, it all worked itself out. I will say that when it comes to attaching the ribbon to the skirt (step 1 in "sewing the ribbon hem"), the front side of the ribbon should face out at you. That tripped me up a bit and I didn't want it to end up sewn on backwards. The shirts were inspired by my friend Molly, who has been whipping up some cute ones of her own. I cut out the tree and a package from the print in the skirt and appliqued it to the shirts, then added star buttons to the tree tops and ribbon bows to the packages.
The skirts were such a hit that replicas were requested for some dolls and I was able to get two of those made in record speed. I even had some narrower red and white polka dot ribbon to use on the doll versions.

And someone else was feeling crafty today as well. Here she is modeling her Christmas rabbit ears. The word on the street is that she set out to make hearts in a chain, but the scissors got away from her. I love how she turned her oops into something new. I now posses my very own pair now as well. They were given to me as an apology for pinching her sister and then throwing a fit over getting busted. I'm not sure Sarah got any though.

So school's out, family comes tomorrow and the festivities begin. I've still got a crafting "to do" list that I will chip away at until Santa comes knocking and then hopefully I'll just keep on crafting into the new year so that maybe Christmas won't take me by such a surprise next year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Coming down the pipleline

Thankfully, some gifts are starting to materialize (no pun intended) at my house. I have been slow to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I don't know why. Perhaps it's the chaos of the house or just the chaos of life. Who knows. But now that some of the things on my to-do list are getting done, I'm feeling a little better. These little jobbies, for lack of a more accurate description are for several people on our list. I made my first one a week ago as a birthday present and promptly wrapped it and gave it away before remembering to photograph it. I hate when that happens. Anyhow, I had seen several ideas for pencil rolls and the likes out there and had planned on jiggering something of the like up for my nephew for Christmas. When I needed a birthday gift stat, I decided it would be a good time to find a tutorial and try it out. And with seven done now, I think I've found one that is working quite well for me. The tutorial can be found here, at One Red Robin.

I've got them all assembled, and am personalizing them on a "it's time to give this gift" basis. The one on top is for Rachel's 7th grade buddy, whom she will be exchanging gifts with tomorrow. Somehow, I managed to embroider her name in a color that blends perfectly into the fabric. Oops. But she's only in 7th grade, so perhaps her eye sight is much sharper than mine. On a side note, I was trying to read the ingredients in some soup at the grocery store the other day when I found myself holding the container out, away from my eyes. When did that happen?!? I'm blaming it on the store's lighting.

So, for the out of elementary school set I'm putting a journal and some fun pens and pencils in these. For the younger ones, I've put sketch books and colored pencils. I'm working on my last one now, for Sarah and instead of a ribbon to tie it shut, I'm using elastic and a button on the front. Hopefully these will be well received. They are really quite easy to make and I can get one done, start to finish in about an hour (when I don't do stupid things like completely forget how to use my sewing machine), so they are time friendly too.

I've made the girls Christmas skirts and embellished tops to match, but they haven't been worn yet. Rachel is wearing hers tomorrow for their Holiday Festival and Christmas party, so hopefully I'll get some good pictures of her in it. If I do, I'll share. Now back to the gift making.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Your Crafting IQ

Do you want to know what yours is? Martha Stewart can help you find out, just by clicking here and taking a ten question quiz. I must say that I don't often score 100% on tests, but on this one, I did. Crafting must be my calling. I've got a multitude of projects going on and will share soon. Some of it might even be finished in time to give it to the recipients for Christmas - imagine that.

I also realized that I needed to update my header, as it was no longer Halloween or Thanksgiving. So for now, a little one with, perhaps, visions of sugar plums dancing in her head.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Three things, in chronological order....

1. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We did, thanks to the generous hospitality of the Smiths, who let us join their extended family for an incredibly yummy dinner. Here are two of the cutest guys there. No offense to the other guys that were there, but I'm married to the one on the right and the other little guy is just too cute for words, especially when he says my name!

2. Saturday I got to celebrate the marriage of a very good friend of mine, who deserved to find Mr. Right. Congratulations to Kathy and Erik - I am so very happy for you!!

3. And I think I'll call this one, "You might be a redneck if.....your kitchen has no floor.". Because mine doesn't. Funny, that I'm still calling this room a kitchen. I wouldn't dare show you where I am preparing our meals, that's actually more embarrassing than this. If you picture a dining room with two refrigerators, a wall oven sitting on the floor, a regular oven just hanging out, a kitchen sink sitting in its cabinet, but not attached to anything else, a table in the middle of the room and lots of stuff towering everywhere, you might get a small idea of how things look, but believe me, it's worse than you're picturing.

And, an explanation on why I'm writing in bold. My 90 year old Grandpa is reading my blog and would like to be able to read it a bit more easily. If my 90 year old Grandpa is reading blogs, I think it's my obligation to help him out a bit. Today he even called me and used "blog" in our conversation more than twice, - how cool is he? So here's a shout out to you, Grandpa! Hey!!
As soon as I give Amy a call and go get my sewing table (which I took for us to use on Thanksgiving), I will be back to sewing. So much to do, so little time. I am already sadly scratching ideas for handmade gifts and really not sure when I might do any shopping. Time for the Christmas panic.