I found the cutest 1970s craft book today! Each page I turned revealed more and more cute projects. It’s called the Scrap Saver’s Stitchery Book. I paid a dollar at the thrift store, but you can get a deal on amazon, too.
I’m participating in a kitchen-y dining-y swap this summer, so I thought these potholders or sunshine placemats might be possible items to make and send.
It’s not my scanner: the book was published with some pretty bad pictures, but you can still see that these aprons are sooooo cute.
More Christmas: Aren’t these reindeer cute in gingham?
I love this tesselated (is that the correct term?) goldfish shower curtain.
I started this blog as primarily a craft blog, but I know it’s inevitable that other aspects of my life will eventually seep into the posts, like our niece’s birthday party, or my unabashed geekiness. So, since this is a Very New Blog (not even a month old), I thought I’d share a few things about myself, in the form, more or less, of the ABCs meme I’ve seen on other blogs:
Asian Cajun: I grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun country. I miss the people and the food and the whole slow, comfortable flow of living there. Come to think of it, it’s probably slow because it’s so darn hot there!
Bargain hunter: I believe that paying the recommended retail price for anything is for the uninformed.
Cats: sigh. I grew up with cats and want one, but my husband Ryan is allergic to them. Whenever I see a cat, I want it.
Downers Grove: western suburb of Chicago, Illinois where we live. Home to the most Sears catalog homes in the US. It’s a typical Midwestern town. We really love it here and our friends and family love it when they visit.
Elizabeth: my “real” name. I sometimes don’t remember to answer to it at the doctor’s office. As a child I was only Elizabeth when I was in trouble. My mom has a Filipino accent and says “ee-LEE-sah-beth,” hence “Lisa.”
Favorite fabric: cotton, of course, for almost all sewing. Unless it’s wool felt for a softie or something.
Games: love playing them, Scrabble being my fave. My mom and dad play Scrabble
with against each other every day. Ryan and I play games with friends, and my big splurge last summer was a Baggo set for the back yard (see Ryan and our nephew Quincy below).
Having people over: we try to do this at least once a month so that we don’t let the house get too messy. We both enjoy cooking, and Ryan is hospitable to a fault.
I knew it: translation of my maiden name, Losabia.
Jenny: my only sister and bestest buddy. She still lives in Louisiana and I miss her so …and she’s! Having! A! Baby! Yay! No one else in my family knows, and I swore I wouldn’t tell them, but they don’t know I have a blog, and I’m about to bust! I feel better now.
Kids: love them! Hope to have a position teaching them soon, too. But my husband and I don’t have any yet. Not opposed to the idea; it’s not the right time.
Laptop: tied with my sewing machine for most essential piece of crafting equipment! I get inspiration and patterns from the Internet, order supplies from eBay and online stores, try out designs in graphics programs, and print out fabric and templates, to name a few reasons.
Math: Highly underrated. I think I like sewing and quilting so much because there’s so much geometry involved in cutting things out and making them fit. And we use a fair bit of estimation and other math-y skills in cooking and everyday life, don’t we? Will it fit? How long will it take to get there? etc., etc., etc.
Not enough sleep: I never get 8 hours. I don’t have insomnia. I just won’t go up to bed some nights until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.
Opportunity missed: When I was a freshman in high school, my high school began offering a foreign language (Spanish) other than French for the first time ever. After sitting in a hot Louisiana classroom with over 40 other students for a few days, I switched over to the French class. I never ever use French nowadays, but I admit it came in handy with the Cajuns back home.
Procrastination: my worst habit.
Quilting: one of my favorite crafts. I was introduced to it about 10 years ago because Ryan’s mom, sister, aunts, and girl cousins all contribute blocks to make a baby quilt when a new little cousin or grandchild is born.
Roommate: I met my husband when I was dating his!
Spanish: I’m taking my first real class this summer (see letter “o”). “Yo estoy tomando una clase de espaňol.”
Teacher: My next career! I have an elementary ed. degree and have worked in various roles related to educating both children and adults. After years of working in the private sector, I obtained my teaching certificate last year. I haven’t yet landed a position.
Unusually large head: A notable physical feature. My Ryan and I both have very short legs. He has a round, bald head and very fair skin. These, along with my melon head, do not bode well for our future children. We think our child will look just like this!
Very optimistic: My friend Cheryl refers to me as the Glass Half Full Woman. My husband Ryan is even more so. He makes me look like Eeyore. (I love these shirts from loosetooth.com.)
Wedding maps: I make maps to send out with wedding invitations. Hey, it’s probably the biggest party you’ll ever throw yourself. Maps help your friends and family be there to share it with you.
Xylitol: along with maltitol, sorbitol, and a couple of others, these sugar alcohols are used as artificial sweeteners in sugar free things, especially candies, and they are bad, bad news for my tummy. It took a long time for me to figure this out, so I thought I’d try to spread the word.
Y’all: something I still say, even after having lived up north for over a decade. The English language needs a better second person plural than just “you,” and plus I think it’s friendlier.
Lame ending, but it’s 2:30 a.m. (see letter “n”). See y’all around!
I am not buying any more fabric for the rest of the year. There I’ve said it. Er, typed it.
Maybe I should revise that to “I am not setting foot in any fabric stores for the rest of the year.” This is me in the parking lot of a fabric store: “I only need thread. I will only buy thread.” Then I cross the threshold, have some sort of craft-induced blackout, and emerge hours later, yards of fabric heavier and lots of money lighter. Going to a fabric store for me is like an alcoholic going to a bar.
I can always justify it. Today, it was binding for a baby quilt. And I ran out of dark red fabric, which I somehow manage to use in most projects. And then there was just a cool print. Okay that last one was weak, but the others were okay. Weren’t they?!
It’s not like I have a huge stash of fabric or anything. I just don’t neeeeeeed any more. There are plenty of “someday” projects and patterns on hand to keep me busy. I joined the Use What You Have group on Flickr, and it has curbed almost all of my shopping and prompted me to use a ton of the materials and notions previously languishing in my closet, but I think I might need more drastic measures. I’m going to try really hard not to give into the cute calico monkey on my back, and stick to this [crazy, impossible, impulsive] pledge.
Saturday was our niece Payton’s fourth birthday party. Isn’t she cute? She’s my goddaughter and one of the smartest little gals around. And funny? Girl’s been hilarious since before she could talk. When she found out that the invitations to her party read “no gifts,” she made a flurry of calls to several relatives to make sure they knew that “Mommy made a mistake! There WILL be presents.” Ryan and I enjoy the time we get to spend with her and her baby bro, one-year old Quincy.
I made a pennant flag (à la 4:53 & mahar dry goods) to use as a party decoration. The colors match her room so she can still use it now that the festivities are over. It was a good way to use up some fabric scraps. I called it “used car lot meets quilt shop.”
It was super easy to make. Should have taken pics, but you don’t need them!
- Fabric scraps
- Cardstock or paper
- Seam binding long enough for the flags + about 12″ more on each end. Doesn’t have to be bias cut, but you can use that.
- Make a template out of cardstock. My cardstock started out as a rectangle 4″ wide and about 7 or 8″ long. An easy way to make an isoceles triangle (two sides the same) is to fold the cardstock lengthwise, then cut diagonally from one of the corners on the unfolded side to the fold on the other side.
- Cut out two triangles of fabric for each flag – a front and a back. I rotary cut them and it went very quickly.
- Place two of the triangles RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER and sew the long sides. Leave the short sides open for turning! Trimming the fabric very near the stitched point and a little off the sides near the point makes turning easier.
- Turn all the sewn flags right side out. I used a chopstick to help turn. Iron the flags flat.
- Open seam binding and place raw edges of flags along the crease. Refold binding over raw edge and pin. Zig zag stitch from one end of the binding to the other.
I also made a little felt slice-of-cake stuffie that I totally neglected to get a picture of. I’ll post a photo one day.
The highlight of the party was this ginormous moonwalk/obstacle course that our brother- and sister-in-law rented. The guests all loved bouncing and climbing and sliding and crawling all over the thing, adults and kiddies alike. And the weather was so great! Summer birthdays are the best.
…and today is the day to send out packages for the Color-iffic Swap-o-rama! This is only my second one, but I’m in love with this swap. I really enjoy researching my swap recipient, then collecting and making stuff I think they’ll love. There’s been buzz lately on the group’s discussion boards about people sending items that the receiver doesn’t like/can’t use/hates. There are tons of places to get the scoop on your person’s likes and dislikes (if they post info there, of course), and 3 administrators to help track down info if you can’t find it yourself. No excuse for sending an iffy package, although it does help when you’re receiving a swap to consciously adopt a “glass half full” attitude, IMHO :)
This month the theme colors were brown and baby blue (or aqua). I made cards, a lined pyramid-shaped zipper pouch, a pieced ball and a felt elephant for my handmade items. My swappee has a ton of interests, so I had fun finding items that fit her personality. She has two children, one within the last two weeks (!), so I included a children’s book that coincidentally was all about color. I also sent yarn, a pattern book, and fuzzy aqua yarn for her knitting adventures, some fabric paint for freezer paper stenciling, and her favorite kind of dark chocolate. I wrapped the latter in a ton of tissue paper, and each square is heat sealed, so I hope it survives the trip down south.
Swapping has been such a positive experience (if I can say that after only 1 swap) that I’ve joined two others: A dining-themed one on Flickr’s Use What You Have group, and a swap-bot one called “Snuggle,” for which we’re to exchange a plush doll or blanket or quilt type thing. You get the idea.
I finally broke down and ordered a Japanese craft book I’d been wanting for months. It’s even more wonderful than I thought it would be. I’d first encountered the book via a tutorial on craftster.org that included a scan of one of the book’s patterns. With that pattern, I made my first plush animals ever:
I knew that I wanted to make the duck pattern as soon as I got the book. I’m totally in love with the ones that Stephanie from littlebirds made.
Meet Spats the Duck! He’s made of green wool felt I found at a thrift store and a cotton print that I’ve had for years.
Edit: Spats has been claimed by my friend’s three-year-old Jack and re-named “Quacky Quacky.” When Jack met Q2, he grinned from ear to ear and immediately started singing and making the duck dance. I’ll post a pic of them together sometime soon.
It's Color Week over at little birds.
Sky over Ravinia Sunday night.
You know we asked ourselves that question many a time in school, but never more than in math class, right? Well, my crafty friends, I had a run-in with my old friend Geometry today, when I happened upon these fabric balls on Heather's blog.
Just this week, by coincidence, I'd seen an (I think) identical pattern in a vintage book that I stupidly didn't buy at the used bookstore. Maybe it's still there. I should find out the name if I can. Or buy it – even better. Anyway, I'd made a note in to try to figure out the pattern pieces if I could, and I did:
The circumference of the ball is equal to diameter of the ball times pi, so each of the 6 "sections" would be 1/6 of the circumference wide (finished). The finished length of each section would be equal to 1/2 of the circumference!
Do I sound like the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, after he got his brain? Never fear! I've just heard straight from the Heather's mouth (well e-mail, anyway) that she plans to post the pattern and directions on her site in the very near future. Huzzah! I'm not even bothered that I went through the motions of figuring the math out for my own ball because I'm not just a craft geek, I'm a geek geek, too!
She loved it!
Look what I found at the used bookstore!
It includes some wonderfully retro patterns, colors, and fabrics.
The couple on the right are soooo stylin'!
These remind me of the felt mascots I see in Japanese magazines and books.
I'm making the elephant for a swap partner. Isn't he cute?
There's a scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" in which George and Mary are riding away from their wedding excitedly talking about their honeymoon plans:
"You know what we're going to do? We're going to shoot the works. A whole week in New York. A whole week in Bermuda. The highest hotels, the oldest champagne, the richest caviar, the hottest music, and the prettiest wife!"
I always think about that last sentence when I cook pancit (pronounced "pahn-SIT"), a Filipino noodle dish. It's a dish of superlatives: The longest prep time, the most tedious chopping, the biggest & unwieldiest pans, the messiest kitchen. On the GOOD side of the "most-est" spectrum, it's my very favorite Filipino food and the one that my husband Ryan's family requests most often for potlucks. I'm making it for Ryan's twin cousins' graduation party. The recipe follows. [Dad, feel free to comment if you think I missed something.] Continue Reading Yummy…
doing a happy dance
I did it! I finished the apron project for Kathy's birthday in plenty of time for the outdoors-on-the-lawn Elvis Costello concert/birthday party at Ravinia on Sunday. [note to self: get tix for Prairie Home Companion and Bonnie Raitt/Keb' Mo'.]
Pardon the ham-handed photo: I can't model a size S apron, I forgot to turn off the flash, and the "jughead" makes me laugh out loud! The apron, on the other hand, turned out quite nicely. And if you don't look too closely, you won't notice that the print is upside-down on a few of the panels. Oops.
Thanks for bearing with me as I complained about the process. In Louisiana, I'd have been called a boude' bébé from the French bouder, to pout. Next time I'll try to keep my eye on the prize and stop whining already!
Off to see the Sewing Machine Guy about a binding foot and then meet my coworkers for lunch. We survived the school year! Woot!