Friday, December 23, 2011

Handmade Holiday Challege Finishes!

Today is the wrap up for my Handmade Holiday Challenge. Thanks for checking on my progress and keeping me accountable for finishing my 5 gifts. I ended up with a car cozy for my son, some wooden princesses for my daughter, 3 rice bags for the fathers, and a baby quilt for my nephew. I also have 2 great bags that I haven't used yet. I'm leaning towards keeping the big one for my holiday tote. It will be great for holding all of our stocking stuffers from my mom's house. She keeps our stockings to reuse and we always have to figure out how to get the contents home!
I hope that you have also been inspired to make some handmade gifts. If you got your 5 made, leave me a comment. You will need to link to something showing your gifts...your blog, Flickr, Facebook. You also need to be a follower. I will randomly pick a winner on January 3rd for a $25 gift certificate to Connecting Threads. I can't wait to see what you have made!
I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas!
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Monday, December 19, 2011

The stockings were hung...

My Sunday night project was these stockings for my sister. I used the tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew. I have never made stockings before and I really like how they turned out. These are not my particular taste in Christmas colors, but they match my sister's decorations perfectly! I'm definitely not going to have time to get them made for Christmas this year, I think I'm going to make new ones for my little family. I have a Nutcracker embroidery pattern from Wild Olive that would make cute stockings for the kids.

The only project I have left before Christmas is a whole quilt to finish piecing and then quilt and then bind! I have given myself permission to not finish if I get too busy. Hopefully my next post will be a finish, though!
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Giveaway Day winner

#93 Heather won the giveaway.  Heather, I've already emailed you! 

Also, just another reminder to make sure you have your email listed in your blogger profile.  The first comment that picked was a no-reply blogger.  Too bad for her!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Handmade Holiday Challenge Week 5 & 6

Sorry I missed last week.  I switched my work schedule up a little and it threw me off!  I didn't anything finished last week, but I made some progress on the quilt I'm hoping to finish.  The big gift that I did finish was this:
Every year for the past several years, my friend Heather and I have made Christmas candy.  I give mine as my Christmas gift for the people in my office.  We made 4 kinds of fudge, white chocolate pretzels, chocolate chip cookies, and peanut butter balls and christmas shapes (this Reese's Trees).  I think it was our most productive year.  We still have candy at home and at the office. 

Now for my week 6 gift I made these super cute princesses from Lil Boo Blue.   
I had made a set for a birthday present, and Lily wanted some of her own.  She kept asking me about them.  The princess next to Cinderella is Princess Lily.  I don't feel like I have very much skill as far as painting is concerned, and I thought they were easy to make.  I have a box for them, but I think I may make her a small drawstring bag to keep them in. 
That's all 5 of my gifts!  I may have a number 6 for next week, but it's ok if I don't.  It's getting close to Christmas and I've busy enjoying my family!  If you haven't finished your 5, you still have a week to finish.  I'll make a post to link up to next Friday.  If you need a refreshed on the challenge, here's the original post!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giveaway Day!

Sew, Mama, Sew! hosts Giveaway Day. It is one of the best days (now weeks) of the year. I love visiting all of the great blogs and seeing all of the great things other people make! Some of my favorite blogs have been found by clicking on the Giveaway day links. If you are visiting from clicking today, thanks for coming by. Let me tell you about myself. I'm a wife and a mom to a 6 year old daughter and 20 month old son. I work full time and sew in my free time. I quilt and sew and craft and embroider. I learned how to knit last year, but I haven't spent much time doing it. I originally started this blog to keep track of everything I've made. In blogging, I like to think that I've inspired my friends to start sewing too, and once a month, I've been hosting my friends for a sewing day. That inspired me to issue a Handmade Holiday Challenge. Be sure to check it out while you are here. Maybe you'll want to come back next week to win another prize!
Now for my Giveaway Day giveaway. This time I'm giving away a great lined drawstring bag.

I used Kona Plumberry and some Wonderland by Momo for the outside. The inside is Connecting Threads Butter. I love this Wonderland print because of the sewing things hidden in. The green irons are my favorite on this side and I love the scissors on the other side.

I used the great Lined Drawstring Tutorial from In Color Order. This is the second bag I've made with this tutorial and it's great.
To enter this giveaway, leave me a comment. I'd like to know what your favorite tutorial is lately. I learn so much from other bloggers and I'd like to know who you get inspired by. If you don't have any (ridiculous!), tell me what you are working on. For another entry, follow me and let me know you are a follower! I'll randomly pick a winner.  I hope you'll find something that interests you while you are here and that you'll come back! Now I'm off to click those giveaway links!!!
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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I didn't get a lot of sewing done this week, but I did get our Christmas tree put up and was in a Christmas parade!  I've been super busy, even if it wasn't at the sewing machine!
I finally sat down to finish my neglected Birdie Stitches blocks.  Up until October, I had been faithfully finishing one each month.  I think because the end was in sight, I just waited to finish the last 3 all at once.  Hopefully this is going to become a Christmas gift for my husband's aunt.

December.  I love the little Santa bird.

October.  The spiders look very cute in person.
I couldn't find the print out of the November block last night, so I just did December instead.  November will get done during my TV time tonight. 
If you don't follow them, Sew Mama Sew is hosting Giveaway Day again.  It's one of my favorite blog holidays!  I've discovered the best blogs that way.  I'm not sure what I'm going to giveaway, but I'm definitely going to participate!  Even if you don't blog, you should definitely check out some of the great giveaways and visit some new blogs.  Check back on Monday to see what I decided to giveaway!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Handmade Holiday Challenge Week 4

Week 4 already!  I got this week's project finished on Sunday, so I've been waiting all week to post it!  I've posted about car cozies before, so this is nothing new.  I finally have one that's going to stay at home.  My little boy is 19 months old and he loves cars!  Couple that with a great sale on Matchbox and Hot Wheels and how could I not make one for him?!? 
Since he's still little, I thought a straight road and a gas station would be enough.  I used fabric paint for the numbers.  I like that it's feely, adding another element for distraction!  I didn't do a great job with centering the letters, so I added the dots to fill the space a little, and I really like them.  They offer something tangible to count to go along with the numbers. 

I added a little loop to the gas pump to tuck the spout? into.  This turned out to be quite helpful for keeping it out of the way when I was sewing it!

Complete with a car that looks kinda like Grandma's.  I think he will love it!

Last year, I decided that I want to make something special for my kids each Christmas.  Last year I made them hooded towels which they still use.  I'm going to start on my daughter's gift this weekend, I hope.  She's 6, so it's a little harder to surprise her.  She's too curious!

How about you?  If you've kept up with me, you only have one more gift to make to be entered to with the $25 gift certificate from Connecting Threads

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Counting till Christmas

This year we have decided to do a book advent "calendar." We have a regular one that is a little house, but it never seems that fun for everyone. I thought this year, we'd try books. Every night we get to unwrap one and read it. 24 different books in a row. No reading Elf on the Shelf 12 times in a row! I used some books we already had, bought a few new ones, and my sister actually found about half of them for $1 each at the flea market. I figure I can catch some on sale after Christmas to replace the ones we end up not loving or that we grow out of.
All 24 of the books are wrapped and read to be opened. (Do you have any idea how long it takes to wrap 24 little book? I bet my back can tell you after sitting on the floor doing it!) They are all in a basket, along with this Frosty that my little boy LOVES, waiting a spot under the Christmas tree.  Several of my Facebook friends wanted to see the finished list so here it is!

1. The Christmas Story - Jane Werner
2. Christmas in the Manger - Nola Buck
3. Bear Stays up-Karma Wilson
4. The Snowy Day - Ezra Jack Keats
5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Suess
6. Clifford's Christmas - Norman Bridwell
7. The Poky Little Puppy's First Christmas-Justine Korman
8. The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear-Stan & Jan Berenstain
9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-Robert May
10. Christmas Trolls-Jan Brett
11. Santa's Favorite Story-Hisako Aoki
12. Olive, the Other Reindeer-J. Otto Seibold
13. The Nutcracker-Rita Balducci
14. The Christmas Story with Ruth Morehead's Holly Babes
15. Frosty the Snowman-Steve Nelson
16. Mouse's First Christmas-Lauren Thompson
17. Christmas Surprises-Lucinda McQueen
18. Little Porcupine's Christmas-Joseph Slate
19. Franlkin's Christmas Gift-Paulette Bourgeois
20. Arthur's Perfect Christmas-Marc Brown
21. Little Critter I Smell Christmas-Mercer Mayer
22. Country Angel Christmas-Tomie dePada
23. Biscuit's Christmas Ever-Alyssa Saton Cappercilli
24. The Night Before Christmas-Clement C. Moore

This is not the order we are reading them in, and it is not all of the Christmas books we have. I left out some that we like to read alot, like The Jolly Christmas Postman. I also left out several that only the baby would enjoy and some that were characters like Max and Ruby and the Care Bears. I think it would also be fun to just do 12 days. You need less books that way! Maybe start small and expand your collection after Christmas...or better yet, books for Christmas gifts! Let me know if you have a favorite that's missing from our family library!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday 11/30/2011

I've had a very productive week. I have been trying to get a few finishes. I made this bag:

It's kind of a strange size, rather tall and skinny. I'm not sure what I'm going to use it for, but it came together quite easily. I used this tutorial for the instructions, but obviously not the size! I think I'm going to made some more, but follow this tutorial for the size too! The bag was really easy to make. It would be great for almost anything.

The other side of the bag. Again I used the Connecting Threads Christmas Cheer Charms. They are 5 inches square, so that give you an idea of how tall the bag is!

I think this is going to be the second baby quilt. I'm not sure how many string blocks I have enough fabric for, but it's a start. They are so fun to make.

This pile of little half square triangles is going to be a stocking when it grows up!

I also got my gift for the week finished, but you'll have to wait until Friday to see what it is!
Jump over to Freshly Pieced for some more project inspiration!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Handmade Holiday Challenge Week 3

Can you believe that Christmas in only a month way?!?  I can't.  Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I'm starting to get in the Christmas spirit.  Once we get the Christmas tree up this weekend, I can't wait to see some wrapped gifts under it!  Starting with this baby quilt:

I love it!  It's about 48X60, which I think is a good baby size.  I like bigger blankets, especially for wiggly little boys like the one this quilt is for!

The back.  The green with the little animals all over is my favorite!  I wasn't sure how I was going to quilt it when I made the back or I would have lined it up better, but oh well.
I pebble quilted every other orange border.  I just straight lined around all of the blocks.  I really like the quilting.  I think pebbling more would have been too much (not to mention it would have taken 100 spools of thread!). 
So there it is, gift #3.  I'm entering it over at Celebrate Color too.  What did you make this week?  Remember, it's 5 handmade gifts to enter to win $25 from Connecting Threads!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP WEdnesday 11/23/2011

I had a very busy weekend, and I still managed to get lots done! When I took my pictures last night, I was feeling quite proud of myself!

I got this baby quilt quilted. Who knew that pebble quilting took sooooo much thread? It took two extra trips to the store to have enough to finish. I love the way it turned out, though. A new technique to add to my list! After I took the pictures, I was determined to finish this quilt, so I sat down and got the binding on. Come back on Friday for the full finish!

I also finished another rice bag. My father-in-law is a big Alabama fan, so the houndstooth was the perfect fit. My daughter has requested something made out of it as well. I think she like Alabama because it burns her daddy up!

I used the envelope closure on this one too. I think I like it better and it's just as easy as the velcro, maybe easier. I still need to do the rice part, but that's quick and easy.
I've linked up, as always, over at Freshly Pieced. Be sure to check out some of the links!
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Handmade Holiday Challenge -Week 2

I know I'm a day late with this, but does it make it better to know that I mailed about 450 Thanksgiving cards yesterday? They had to be metered and stuff with calendars yesterday, so I didn't have a chance to blog!
For my handmade gift this week, I made rice bags. I really like them. So does my husband. In fact, he claimed the top one as soon as I showed him.

For my first bags, I used this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew! It gives great instructions and I like how it comes together. I only have rice in the top bag, though, because I don't like the smell that I picked out. I think it's grapefruit and it makes me sick to my stomach after smelling it for too long! I think I'm going to get some peppermint and some lavendar. I may have also used a little bit too much.

This is a close up of the hexis on the second one. I just appliqued them on top.

My kids have this little gel thing that we use on "boo-boos." It almost always stops my daughter's tears, unless it's a real hurt. I thought that a small bag would be a nice replacement for it. This one is about 4.5 in square. My son thinks it's amazing when it's cold. He can't figure it out!

I used an envelope closure for the back. I think I like it better than the velcro for the small bags. I think these would be cute stocking stuffers.

My husband randomly picked a number for me and the winner of the Christmas Cheer Charms is #3, Jamie Lee. Jamie, I'll be sending you an email!

Did you get something made this week? I'd love to hear about it!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday Already

Where do the days go between Wednesdays?!?  I don't feel like it's been a week already.  I don't have a lot of progress to show this week.  I did make the gift bag/tote that I posted before:

 I pieced the back for the baby quilt and started quilting it.  This weekend was Second Saturday Sewing, so my kitchen table is all cleared off and my sewing stuff is spread out all over the kitchen.  I had planned on quilting both my Embroidery 101 quilt and the forest animal baby quilt while I was all setup in the kitchen.  Once the kids were settled in bed, I went to the kitchen to finish quilting the baby quilt.  I flipped on the light and it burned out!  Who doesn't have more light bulbs?  Me, of course. Who also forgot to get lightbulbs at the store last night?  Me, again.  Once I can manage to get some light again, I'm going to finish up this darn baby quilt!
On Friday I'll have my next finished Handmade Christmas gift, which I made at Second Saturday Sewing.  I'll also announce a winner of the Christmas Cheer Charms.  What have you made this week?  Be sure to check out my giveaway and then click over to Freshly Pieced for some inspiration!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Handmade Holiday Challenge!

I mentioned last week that I wanted to have a giveaway for those of us who make handmade Christmas gifts.  My goal is 5.  I want to have 2 quilts (maybe 3!), some rice heat therapy bags, and a purse for a teacher gift.  I am also planning on making some gift bags.  I know this is more than 5, but I also want to enjoy my family during the holidays.  If I find time to make more than 5...bonus!

I know that not everyone appreciates handmade gifts, but there is always handmade gift wrapping.  Instead of paper gift bags, how about making some fabric ones?  They can be used over and over again, maybe even being one of those things that everyone fondly remembers about Christmas.  Doing gift cards?  How about some cute little zipper pouches to put then in?  They could be holiday, but you could also make them a little more special and use something the person likes or their favorite color.

My first handmade holiday item is this bag.  I used  Christmas Cheer Charms from Connecting Threads.  I made a disappearing nine patch and added a 2 inch red border for the front.  The back and the lining are the same red.  I didn't have any interfacing that was heavy enough, so I used heavy canvas to line it.  It will pretty much stand up on its own! 
 It's about 16 x 14x 2 1/2 , making it large enough for lots of gifts! 

I really like this bag and I think it would even be cute to carry around during the holidays.  It would be great for holiday market shopping...any place where you were going to be picking up lots of little things. 

Now for the giveaway!  To be a winner, you must:
1.  Be a follower of Taken Patiently.
2.  Make 5 Handmade Christmas gifts.
3.  Post pictures of your gifts somewhere...your blog, Flickr, Facebook.
4.  Leave a comment on the blog I will post on December 23.  That's 6 Fridays from today.  That's less than 1 gift a week.  Easily doable!
My goal is to make one gift a week. Week one-DONE! In order to keep everyone on track, I'll post my gift on each Friday. Please feel free to comment with a link to what you made. Maybe I'll post some of them next week, along with my next gift.
I would love to see pictures of what you are making.  I understand that you may not want to post pictures until after you give the gifts, so the giveaway will be open until December 31st.  I will announce a winner on or around January 3rd.

What are you winning?  How about a $25 gift certificate to Connecting Threads*?  I love their fabric and thread.  They have some very cute new collections and great basics.  They also have a good selection of pre-cuts, which I really like because I hate cutting fabric. 
If you aren't familiar with Connecting Threads, maybe you would like some charms? 
I'm giving away 2 charm packs of the Christmas Cheer Charms (48 charms total) to help spread the word about this Handmade Holiday challenge.  Be a follower and leave me a comment for a chance to win. You could tell me what you are planning to make or maybe share the best handmade gift you ever gave or received?    For an extra chance, blog, tweet, or FB about it and leave me a comment telling me you did.  I'll announce a winner next Friday.

*Connecting Threads didn't pay me for this endorsement, nor are they giving me the gift card.  I would be open to both of those things, though!  I just really like their products and thought I'd spread the holiday cheer!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

100th WIP Wednesday

Today is the 100th WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.  I think I started following Lee right after she started her link up for Wednesday.  It has been great for me to think about what I've worked on all week.  It's helped keep me motivated to get projects finished and also provided a ton of inspiration.  More than half of the blogs I follow, I found because they linked up on WIP Wednesday.  So thanks, Lee, for starting this and keeping it up! 

This week has been tough with the time change on Sunday.  I can't seem to get my internal clock straightened out and neither can my kids!  I also overexerted myself playing field hockey on Saturday, and I'm not sure my body will ever recover from that!  There has been lots of lying on the couch this week, so I've made quite a few more hexagons.  They look exactly the same as the other hexis so I didn't take a picture!

I did finish the quilt top for on of my baby quilts.  I think I'm going to bind with the orange, but I'm not sure about the backing.  I used to just pick a fabric and buy enough to do the whole back with one thing, but now I feel like the back needs to be a cute as the front!  I'm still thinking about it. 

I'm trying to make a few surprise gifts, so I practiced a little free motion quilting on one piece of this project.  I think I want to stipple the Embroidery 101 quilt so I need the practice! 
I also made 2 more of the braided scarfs, but I didn't take pictures.  Why, I don't know, because my daughter looked too cute in her hot pink and blue scarf... with her black dress with neon colored hearts and splatters on it... with blue tights.  I wish I was as cool as she is! 
I hope make a Christmas gift/bag tonight to share on Friday.  I think I've decided on a giveaway for handmade Christmas gifts.  Check back on Friday for more details! 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

What's Old is New Again

Our neighbors had a yard sale this past weekend.  The nice old woman, Miss Pearl, who had lived there passed away in July and her family has been cleaning out her house.  We decided to stroll across the street to see if there was anything we needed.  I was quite excited to find this:
There is a little more than a yard of this Waverly fabric.  It's called "Country Kitchen."  Miss Pearl's daughter thought she had received for her wedding in 1965.  I think it is interesting that everyone thinks that aqua and orange is such a modern combination! 

This is my favorie little scene.  I like the spice cabinet and the rum bottle.  What else do you need? 
  The scale is rather large.  The first picture is almost the whole piece of fabric. I think I may fussy cut it to make shopping bags.Any other suggestions?

Friday, November 04, 2011

Handmade Holiday Goal

Remember these? Last year I wanted to make lots of handmade gifts and I kinda fizzled out at the end. I ended up making a quilt for my MIL, a purse for my sister (not pictured), and the hooded towels for my kids. This year I want to again make something for my kids. I have 2 baby quilts I'd like to finish. I would also like to make some tote bags to use as an alternative to wrapping paper. Those are my minimum goals. I'm working on a top secret project, but I'm not sure if it will be done. I would also like to make one more quilt, but I don't want to put to much pressure on myself. I want to be able to enjoy the holidays with my family!
Between now and Christmas Eve there are 7 Saturdays. If I can make 1 gift a week, that's almost double what I did last year. Even if I miss a week, I can still meet all of my goals. I'm thinking of going a giveaway and a link-up of Handmade gifts. Do you think 5 handmade gifts is a good goal? Would you participate? What if you could win a prize? Leave me a comment.
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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

WIP Wednesday 11/02/2011

I felt like I didn't get anything done this week until I started taking pictures for this!
Yesterday started Handmade Holidays over at Sew Mama Sew! I love this series. It's full of great ideas. There is a braided scarf that I really like, so I decided to try it.

I think this will look really cute with a black shirt. I'll post a picture when I'm not in my pjs at 11 p.m. taking them! I would make another one. While they are both knit fabric (Hobby Lobby), the pink stretched a lot more than the black and white. I think the very stretch would "braid" better. Maybe a game day scarf is in order...

The biggest thing I worked on was the back for my Clover and Violet quilt. I've done a simple pieced back before, but this one had to be a bit more complicated so I didn't have to buy more fabric. I really like how it turned out, and I'm excited about quilting this. I'm going to try to stipple it, I think. I haven't had much luck with my machine, but I've read a few things that I think will help.

I worked on a few of the block for this baby quilt. I can see it starting to come together in my head.

I've also done a ton of hexis. I forget how satisfying these are. I've made 3 more of the large flowers and a couple of the green fillers. This is such a good project for when I'm just sitting around watching tv. I think after all of the hand sewing to make the top, I might try hand quilting this. I'm not even close to having a top that big yet, but maybe this time next year!

I guess I found my sewing mojo again. I hope you had a productive week too. Be sure to check out some of the links at Freshly Pieced!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ruby Bag Stitch and Quilt Along

Claire and Jennie over at Clover and Violet are hosting another Stitch and Quilt Along.  This one is for a Ruby Bag.  I was a big fan of the last Stitch and Quilt Along they did.  In fact, I just basted my quilt last night so it's all ready to be finished up. The timeline is pretty realistic.  I really like the design from the quilt and I'm excited to see how the bag turns out.  I'm not going to use the Ruby fabric (it is great, though).  I'm going to use some out of my stash.  If you are looking for a new project, I would suggest this one. If you've been wanting to try embroidery, they have a great list of stitch tutorials to get you started. Go on over and check it out.  I've added the new button to the sidebar too!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WIP Wednedsay

I seem to have lost my sewing mojo. I don't know what has happened. I decided I was going to sew last night. I didn't have anything planned when I got home, and I was going to feed the kids dinner and put the little one to bed and then sew away. My husband had dinner going and I was cleaning out the 3 folders of school stuff that come home EVERY day. The power flickered. A minute later it flickered again. Then it was out. Thankfully dinner was just about finished. We tried to go have a picnic dinner, but the mosquitos tried to carry off the baby. Who can blame them...he has the juiciest legs! We ended up eating in the semi-dark kitchen.

While we were eating, we decided that we would go to CVS. I had to get a couple of things and who wants to chase kids in the dark? We went to CVS and got what we needed (and maybe some candy), and drove back to our neighborhood to see if the lights were on. Nope. The whole neighborhood was dark. We took that as a sign that we should go get some ice cream! Dairy Queen here we come. My daughter didn't know where we were going and kept asking what we were doing. After a family treat of lemonade, an Oreo blizzard, and a strawberry sundae, we decided that the little one needed to go to bed.

After we put the baby to bed, my daughter and I got the candles all lit, and I talked her into reading a few chapters of the Little House on the Prairie book we've been reading. I made it seem really great that we didn't have power, just like Laura didn't. Genius mother, I am. Just as we were finishing up, the power came back on. Hurray! Determined to keep my goal of sewing something, I decided to make some of the Skill Builder Sampler blocks I'm behind on.

I've done string blocks before and I love them. I am thinking of adding a whole quilt of them to my to do list...

My house improv block. Kinda blah.

I also tried the paper piecing block and messed it all up. FAIL! I'll try again. I have plans for sewing again tonight. I think if the power is off for 3 hours again, I may just give up!

Click over to Freshly Pieced and see what's linked up!
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