January 31, 2014

January 29, 2014

Fabric with no purpose

Thanks to my sister and my mama, I indulged in some fabric shopping recently. What joy to my heart! I bought fabric by artists and designers I love and I have no plan for it. Only a birthday gift can be so frivolous. Of course, I am sure that someday I will make them into something beautiful. Just give me time.

Here's a tour for those who are fellow fabric fanatics.

The group on the left is from the Garden Party and Drawing Room collections by Anna Maria Horner. I follow her blog here. I bought them from Mountain of the Dragon on etsy.

The four in the center are called Alegria and they are by illustrator Geninne D. Zlatkis. They might look familiar to you because they are the very same birdies I did the sunroom curtains in! I love/adore Genine's blog and highly recommend it and her beautiful peek into her art and her life in Mexico. I bought these from Blije Olifantje on etsy. I should mention that Genine herself has a shop on etsy too. Strange to think I have yet to buy a piece of her artwork!

The one tucked up in the upper right corner of the photo was found by patiently scrolling through page after page of search results for "feather fabric." You know I love feathers and birdies! This fabric is also done by an illustrator: Katherine Codega. She sells her own work on etsy.

January 27, 2014

I can make that!

Not only can I make it, I can make it different and perhaps better. The original vote of confidence came from my mother, who saw this in a catalog but didn't want to pay that price. Also, after all was said and done, we noticed it was 18" by 14" which is rather large. But, if you love it, go ahead and buy it right here.

The inspiration: 

Our version (my mom gets credit for being the co-stylist & the finances of this project):

Ours is only 5" x 7". We bought a shadow box, red beads, and some scrapbook paper (Textured with little threads running across it! Perfecto!) right off the shelf at Micheal's. I already had the red embroidery thread at home (although it was thrifted from the Salvation Army I would like to note). My husband procured some metal scraps of the correct color (warm, not silvery) from his man room stash. And of course, having some nice graphic design software at home (hello, InDesign) and an inkjet printer I was free to run wacky textured paper through helped out quite a bit.

My dear husband was roped into being a partner in craft on this one. He drilled some nice tiny holes, a set of two on each side for me. I am hard-pressed to find the motivation to use the drill myself when he is around. Besides, it's not like I had a spare frame in the event I messed up!

I ended up doing doing the embroidery thread through the beads twice. I used a needle that fit through our tiny drilled holes and the holes in the beads to get it where I needed it to be. We actually ended up tying the knot on the outside and scooching it back inside. There was a bit of a trick to getting the tension right because I knew we wanted to do the tiny little metal clamps on each side.

In came the husband again. He tied the knot, invented the clamps, and put them in place. Whew!

Meanwhile, I printed out another draft of the words. I wanted the break between the two parts of the quote to fall directly behind the thread and beads of course. Being one who knows and loves type, I would also like to point out that I broke the text at the end of a sentence (unlike the version that can be purchased online). I would like to point out that there is a doll in the background of the above photo, not a child neglected in the name of crafting.

The only hang-up I had with the textured paper is that I had to pick off a couple of odd rough spots where the paper flaked and had black ink stuck to it. Not a big deal since I won't be mass-producing these anytime soon! Unless you want to pay me $100 for it. Then we can talk.

Also, I was really stressing about how to hold the beads in place. In the end, I just didn't. There are 10 strands of thread running through there and they don't seem to slide much. They shifted a little when I transported it and I was able to get them back in place by gently tipping the frame. Once it is hung on the wall, they won't be moving anyway!

The style and coloring of my finished piece is radically different than the inspiration but it matches the decor of the person who will be receiving it as a gift.

January 24, 2014

Oh, the lovliness of craftiness!

Here is the table set for what we my family is calling "Christmas 2.0" (taking place tomorrow). With a selection of January and February birthdays thrown in. What a joy to see the sunshine. What a joy to make and use pretty things.

The table runner is enjoying its first glory days since I completed it so late last year.

The birthday bunting was made with my dear friend. I recall being afraid to even touch her sewing machine when we made these. How far I have come!

I still claim purple as my favorite color but I can't deny I have a thing for teal…

January 22, 2014

Craft challenge in a frame

A sweet friend of the family had this 95th birthday card framed along with a description of her sign. She also had a small oval frame with a photo of herself taken on her 95th birthday. She wanted the two combined somehow and wasn't tied to that particular frame or even to using the actual birthday card.


Using those guidelines I went to work:
1. spray-painted the frame red
2. broke the glass from the frame
3. found a font I loved and printed out a big "95" to use as stencils
4. typeset the description along with a "Happy Birthday" message
5. robbed my own frame collection to find a usable piece of glass
6. backed the piece with fabric she gave me from her personal collection (so I know she loves it!)
7. cut the "95" out of gold paper
8. arranged everything beneath the glass
9. super-glued the smaller frame on top it all
10. wrapped it up to present to her as a 97th birthday gift!


January 20, 2014

Beautiful burp cloths!

Whipping up a batch of double-thick, oh-so-absorbent, flannel burp cloths is my go-to baby gift these days. The beauty of this group came in the sweet packaging, don't you think?

Hint for you: If you need baskets, don't buy new for heaven's sakes. Instead, head to your favorite thrift store. There is always a wide selection to be had!

January 17, 2014

Ice leaves!

We, along with many other parts of the country, have been experiencing some amazing winter weather. During the first ice storm I grabbed my camera and carefully walked around the loops assuming there would be something interesting to see. And by carefully, I mean that I had my Yaktraxon (although I have to admit they weren't much help this slick gloss of ice) and I always kept one foot firmly in the snow, off the sidewalk. I am sure I was a sight to see.

My best discovery was the ice-coated oak leaves. They were falling off of the trees while I was out and their thin shells were cracking apart when they hit the sidewalk. Then I realized oak leaves already on the ground had intact coatings. I carefully peeled one off and held in my hand a crystal leaf. So lovely!

January 15, 2014

Art-making as a birthday gift!

One of my dearest friends "kidnapped" me for my birthday and whisked me off to a surprise destination: Naked Plates! It's a do-it-yourself pottery painting place. I was in a panic about what to choose to paint but luckily she had bought a special promotion. So I got a matching cup and bowl and a small plate. We started around 10:00 in the morning and totally intended to wrap it up before a nice lunch date.

As it turns out, we weren't done painting until 3:30 pm! Wow! I had a container of trail mix to sustain me and we always entertain each other quite well. Besides all the yacking and snacking, there was the fact that the base coat needs to be painted 3 times as does each individual thing you paint on top. If you check out my plate above you can see I didn't exactly make this easy on myself!

Our beauties before firing:

My plate after:

I thought it was going to be Christmas decor but I might just leave it up year round.

And my bowl and cup hard at work in the kitchen (not holding food though!):

January 13, 2014

Happy 2014 to you, dear blog friends!

Snowpeople from a recent family crafting session!
I hope you haven't missed me too terribly during my 2-month break!

As I often read on the many blogs I follow, there is a tremendous difference between writing your blog for a living  (which comes with pay and requires appropriate childcare in which writing can be accomplished) and doing it as a hobby with everything and everyone else around. This, in case you haven't noticed, is a hobby blog!

Also, as my nearest and dearest already know, we are blessed enough to be expecting a new little one come June. So the past few months have been mostly consumed with feeling rather terrible. And not crafting. Or cleaning. Or doing much of anything. But I think most of the feeling terrible is over and I'll be able to craft and write until our world turns upside down again come June (but for the best possible reason – yes?).

So I actually don't have a lot of craft catch-up to do but I do have lots of things cooking in my brain, as always. Here's an incomplete list of future projects. Of course they won't all get done but these are the ones I am currently thinking about.

A hanging file folder holder like this one on the blog Cottage4C.
This one is totally underway right now. Like half-sewn and half-pinned for the next step. I modified the size and made some smaller custom pockets. And I changed her directions just a bit. It will be a great step-by-step post in the near future.

A surprise for my mama's birthday.
Enough said. She reads this blog, even if no one else does. I do have to get going if this is going to happen though!

Two crafty framed items for a February birthday.
Again, deadlines rabidly approaching. They are a bit difficult to explain but you will see all the details in a future post.

At least a few. My 2-year-old thinks every single hand-picked booger requires its own tissue. She also had added a fresh kleenex to her list of bedtime requirements. Enough already! We pay for those tissues, daughter!

Painting 2 dressers.
I have the dressers. Then I got to feeling awful. Then it got cold. Progress halted. They need sanding and painting and then my two ladies can share a bedroom. I haven't had a furniture project in a while so I am really anticipating this one.

A quilt for my 2-year-old.
Her big girl bed days are rapidly approaching. I made older sister a quilt so she gets one too. Blues and teals are her favorite and I greatly desire to use up lots of scraps I already have in my stash. I just haven't settled on a pattern I want to follow. I have actually considered just winging it. I am confident in my ability to do colors and layout so I could just invent it as I go. We shall see. I haven't purchased any goodies yet: batting or backing or such. And you know, that other quilt I did took a year and a half. So I wouldn't be looking for this anytime soon!

Finishing the quilt top a friend gave me.
Here it is from, let's see, a post dated November 30, 2012. Does it make anyone feel better that it takes me this long to progress on things? I actually bought some fabric for the back but I think I am getting too hung up on designing the back as if it is another quilt. Still need the batting for this one too.

Getting myself and this blog on Pinterest.
Hello? Don't I belong there? Not to browse and waste time but to organize my links, share this blog, and to research when I am about to start a project. 

I'm going to stop this list right about now. I could keep going but it looks plenty long, doesn't it?