How was everyone’s Christmas? I hope you had a chance to spend some time with family, some time to reflect on the year’s triumphs, challenges and blessings, and some time to yourself :o)
My brother and his family were in town for a week over Christmas! It’s not often that I can see my family for the holidays. My sister lives in Louisiana and my parents and brothers live north of Austin, TX. Though they were staying about 30 miles north of here with my sister-in-law’s family, I was able to see them every day. The kids, 3 and 6, were all geared up and prepared for snow, but somehow in Illinois, in December, we were unable to provide any?! We had some rain, some overcast days, and a sunny day or two, but none of the white stuff.
Don’t worry, we still had plenty of things to keep us occupied. Like gingerbread houses. Mmmm.
And taking Metra into Chicago to visit the Field Museum. The train ride was a novelty for them. This photo is of my husband Ryan with our nephew and his cousin. It reminds me of this photo of the cast of “The Honeymooners” for some reason.
The kiddies were fascinated by the exhibits at the Field Museum. Dinosaurs, animals, archaeology – what’s not to love?
I made a doll for our niece for Christmas, my first one from Wee Wonderfuls’ Make-along story. She is really into Snow White, and while I didn’t want to make it totally Disney-fied, I borrowed the bright colors and love how the dress and headband ended up. I also included a matching hand mirror so she could practice pronouncing letters and words with her new little friend (she had surgery in late Nov. to close a cleft palette). Plus there’s that whole “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall” tie-in.
I made some of my favorite owls as a gift for my sis-in-law. The white one represents our nephew, who just got that blue/yellow belt in taekwondo. His sister is the aqua princess, and their late sister Lorraine is the periwinkle one. She has little angel wings on her back.
Now I have to buckle down and get packages off for the color-iffic swap-o-rama and Heels (sorry, S., the box has been sitting here for a week! I’m running it to the P.O. tomorrow, I promise), as well as some last projects of the year/first projects of 2007.
Don’t you love finding the perfect gift for someone? It almost makes up for all the rushing around and agonizing you do over the holidays.
At our family Thanksgiving party, Cousin Elli showed me my husband’s grandma’s recipe box: the cutest little set of hollow metal “cookbooks” that held recipe cards. The brand name printed on them was “Chef An-ette,” and my mother-in-law’s name is Annette. Hm, doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she’d probably love to have something like that to remind her of her mom. With three daughters and lots of granddaughters, Grandma’s items are spread out far and wide among lots of family members.
Each “book” holds different types of recipes…
…and tilts out out to allow access to the cards. The cutest thing, no?
I found it on eBay, and it’s in remarkable condition for its age. And I got it for a song, which makes me love it all the more. I just know she’ll love it.
We thank you, Lord, for all you give;
The food we eat, the lives we live;
And to our loved ones far away,
Please send your blessings, Lord, we pray.
And help us all to live our days
With thankful hearts and loving ways.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
XO Lisa K.
Yet another duck from my favorite Japanese craft book.
The disembodied eyes on top of the stack of pieces look a little like Cookie Monster to me. I’m using some wool felt and more of the fabric my sister-in-law Kathleen gave me. It’s all hand-sewn, and I’m especially proud of the stitching that’s gone into this piece so far. My stitches usually look pretty haphazard :0)
This little fella will go into a “fairy package” for the Color-iffic Swap-o-rama, bound for Portugal. (swap: exchange of items around a theme, arranged online; fairy: someone who assembles an extra package for a poor soul who never received her original swap). I’m almost done with it, and then I can ship it and her other goodies off this weekend.
And here’s another WIP: a little quilt block for Sara’s baby quilt. Alas, she’s already nearly six months old! I used still more of the Kathleen fabric. The pattern’s here, but I made mine a lot smaller than the specified 10″. It’s a fun, fun block to make, but you gotta be organized! I borrowed the compass pin tip from Denyse Schmidt and put a pin pointing north in the center piece so you always know which way is up when you’re attaching pieces aroundandaroundandaround. Here’s what I hope the final product will look like:
Speaking of quilts, I need to make some headway on another quilt, a birthday one for this little guy, our nephew Garrett. He turns six in September. Hard to believe. He started Kindergarten this week, so it must be true!
Yikes! I know it’s summer and all, but I feel bad about neglecting my little blog! I’ve been drowning in work and homework, and there’s always something beckoning on a summer weekend, but now I have lots to write about!
I’ve sent and received my August Color-iffic Swap-o-rama packages: to and from Portugal this time. Lovin‘ that country. The theme colors? Rainbow! Here’s what I sent to Filipa, a lover of all things felt and feline. I also included a quilted purse with kitties, but that didn’t make the photos. The Sharpies and Juicy Fruit were from Chicago-area companies, and I went a-hunting for other little trinkets to fill in the other colors. I thought the folding ruler was nifty, and the felt-embellished cards were a last-minute addition that turned out great.
And here’s what Sofia sent to me! This was her first swap, so I’m honored and impressed. She did a good job with her research, as I adored everything she gave me. Of course, I LOVED the map of Portugal, and the kit (center bottom of pic) to make my own greeting cards. The candy’s long gone, and the fabric’s days are numbered!
We babysat our Chicago niece and nephew a few weekends ago while their folks (Ryan’s sis and husband) dashed out of town for their anniversary. The kiddies are 1 and 4, and I’m happy to say we survived! They were actually great, and we had help from the nanny on Friday and Grandma on Saturday, and more grandparents on Sunday. Babysitting should always be like that. The highlights were dancing in the kitchen Saturday night to Paul Simon’s Graceland (of which I took a funny video) and a trip to the Nature Museum and its butterfly exhibit.
I don’t know whether anyone remembers that post I made a while back about not wanting to go into a fabric shop again because I can’t control myself, but my sis-in-law has made it so that I probably won’t have to for years! She sent me ALL her fabric! How generous! She and my baby bro have a one year old, and she despairs of ever having time to craft or sew again, so she’s sent her goods to lucky ME (the word “me” is very high-pitched and squeaky!) to love and use. Folks, I think she’s doubled my stash. There’s some seriously cute stuff in there, and I’m tickled to see that she and I had several of the same fabrics. We must be sisters :)
Here’s my first project with her fabric. It’s a little owl from a pattern for traditional Japanese juggling balls. The term escapes me! But the pattern’s on craftster.org if you want it.
I think I’ll end here so I have something to post about later in the week, and so you don’t burn out on my blahblahblah-ing! It’s good to be back, baby!
I e-mailed Kim last night about joining her year-old Modern Quilt Along. I’m glad this is such a long-lived project, or I would have missed out! I’ve enjoyed seeing the group members make progress and complete their quilts, all of which come from the Modern Quilt Workshop book by the folks at the neat-o keen Fun Quilts studio just up the road from us in Oak Park, IL.
I’ve chosen the Once upon a Time quilt as my project. I really want to use this oh-so-cute print, but it’s not the best quality. You can even see through it in this photo :0(
What to do? I know some of you have probably used vintage (or new for that matter) fabric, some of which, while darling, might be a little sketchy in the quality department. I’d appreciate any advice you could offer. I just love the little animals and town scenes though. Anyway, check out how Blair’s, Rose’s, and Karen’s versions of this quilt turned out. Cute, huh?
I hope to complete my own project before our nephew’s birthday in September. Here’s a picture of the little guy, who’ll be turning 6 then. He’s a bright, lively fella, and I think he’ll get a kick out of creating stories with this quilt along with his parents and little sis.
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.