Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa's Elves

The girls and I took to the streets of downtown today to play Santa's elves as we participated in The Toy Society's annual Christmas drop. The idea is simple - make a handmade toy, package it up and leave it in a public place to be found and taken home by someone. You can download "Take me home, I'm yours" tags and letters explaining The Toy Society once you join (they'll email you instructions on just how to go about doing things). In between all my other making, I've been working on some softies so that we could make a fun afternoon of it.

I told the girls that we were on a secret mission, that people couldn't see us leaving them and we had to be all slick and sly. They loved it and were very into choosing which toy to leave where. We covered both ends of the city, walking from location to location on the north end, then catching the electric shuttle to the south side.

We had five toys to leave in all. The above two ornament dolls (at least that's what they're supposed to be), two Black Apple dolls decked out in Christmas fabrics and one Christmas tree girl. Aside from the Black Apple dolls, the others were all made from thrifted wool sweaters that I've felted. A big thanks to my Aunt, who has scored lots of sweaters for me!

After riding the shuttle back to the north end of town, we went by two of our original drops and were glad to see that the toys were gone - that made the girls so excited. We celebrated with hot chocolate before heading home and now they're both sound asleep after being on the go all afternoon. This was so much fun to do with the girls, especially making it a top secret mission - I hope to have a stash built up at some point, so that we can do this more often!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Full Swing

Remember this scene from just a few short weeks ago? It is no more. The above it what I'm seeing now. My Christmas crafting is in full swing. Unfortunately, I can't share some of the things I'm working on right now, but I can share my mess. That's part of my wool sweaters waiting to be fulled (felted) in front. There are three more boxes out of view. The remnants of the tote bags (I've made four so far) are in the window sill and at the end of the ironing board, as I hope to get a few more made and there's just a general mess going on right now. I'd be fine with it too...if I could just find that disappearing marking pen I bought just last week. I even attempted to pick up a bit in the hopes of finding it. So far no luck.

This is something I started last night and hope to finish up tonight. I'm calling her Christmas Carol and she's part of a covert operation the girls and I are working on. At least that's how we like to think about it. We're planning to participate in The Toy Society's World Wide Christmas Drop on the weekend before Christmas. Hopefully we'll have several toys to leave around town and the weather will cooperate so that we can leave them outside in some of the fun parts of town. Stay tuned for photos.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Getting Down to Business

So, the word on the street is that Christmas is coming. It's not like Easter, which can fall at any time between March and April, and yet still I seem to be caught off guard. It's not because I've been sooo busy with Thanksgiving festivities or anything - I don't know what it is....I should be prepared, ready and maybe even done preparing ahead of time so that I can sit back and enjoy this time of waiting and anticipation. But I am not ready in advance. again. this year. I have made some positive strides though! (Phew!!)

This is the first of four bags I've made over the past few days, fulfilling my need to give certain people homemade gifts. I won't name names though : ) This pattern for this bag came from the Fall 2009 issue of Stitch magazine. I really love this magazine and try and pick it up with a coupon each time it comes out (otherwise it's $14.99... bit to rich for my budget). The first bag took some time, as I worked through the directions, which were very clear and easy to follow and subsequent bags have come together much more quickly. One key is cutting out all the pieces at once, before you start - that really seems to move things along. Also, there was a lot of switching threads for design purposes (and practical purposes). I found that once the first one was made, I could do all the steps that used a specific thread at once and save a good bit of switching and re-threading. My other shortcut had me skipping the use of basting spray (because I have it but can't find it...a-hem) and "basting" my batting to my bag fronts with a few dabs of clear, washable glue stick. This worked for me - please don't cuss me if it doesn't work for you though.

I bought enough of the green fabric for two bags, but now I'm using what I've got at home, so these are very cost effective bags. Even the batting I've saved from quilts that were slightly smaller than the batting I bought was just the right size for these bags, which measure about 11 1/2" wide by 14" high (with my sewing skills). And speaking of saving scraps, the bottom of this bag is the leftovers from this skirt redo. Reduce and reuse!

On the agenda for tomorrow....come up with a new banner head - one that no longer feels of fall. After all, Christmas is coming!