Wednesday, December 22, 2010


 Today I finished the Christmas nightgowns.

Okay, I say "finished" as in they both need a button and loop in the back and Evie's needs to be hemmed. But for tonight I am calling it finished and marking down my tally.  Because for some delusional reason a dozen projects to finish in one day seems reasonable, while fourteen projects just feels crazy and impossible...

Lila trying on her nightgown so I could mark the hem. 
She loved it and kept saying, "Look Mommy, I a Kiss-mas Pin-cess!"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Embracing Reality...

Letting go of 11 projects out of my original list of 50.
So 39 Christmas projects in total.
23 left to make...
I said "somewhat".

Monday, December 6, 2010

Crafter's angst...

I think that stupid widget is faulty.

I think it's counting down faster than it should.

I think I am caught in some sort of crafting time/space vortex.

I am working my fingers to the bone and yet nothing seems to be getting done.

I am this close to just giving everyone a Snuggie...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's poetry, not procrastination...

Twas the night after Thanksgiving and all through the house;
Piles of projects were growing, even felt cheese for a stuffed mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Except for the one I was still stitching (while trying not to swear.)

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
On matching holiday pillowcases they rested their heads.

My husband had settled down for a long winter's nap,
While I sat up half the night trying to finish a knit cap.

When from down in the sewing room there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.

Then my back seized from the hours spent hunched over my needles,
and my gait was as awkward and slow as a beetle's.

The slowly growing light of my eco-friendly bulbs,
Cast sinister shadows among all my giant plastic tubs.

A large mound of fabric had knocked to the ground,
A basket of yarn which had been neatly wound.

Ribbons and lace seemed to go on for miles,
and nothing was left of my nicely organized piles!

Now how would I remember which fabric I had chosen,
To edge the soft blanket meant to warm toes that were frozen?

And how many aprons was I supposed to cut out?
This Christmas crafting is out of hand- of that there is no doubt!

I started to fret and to stumble around,
Tripping over my yard goods that littered the ground.

Everything was half finished or not yet even started,
Looking over my list left me feeling faint-hearted.

I'd had all these plans, these wishes and schemes,
Of personally fulfilling all my family's Christmas dreams.

And of giving my loved ones, both far away and near,
a gesture of goodwill, some handmade holiday cheer.

If I didn't finish now my budget was blown,
Which would definitely make my poor husband groan.

So I sat down to my machines, determination renewed,
and turned on sprightly music to lighten my mood.

My scissors they flashed, and my needles they flew,
and my confidence soared as the finished pile grew!

My heart swelled with pride as I surveyed the largess, 
That my two hands had fashioned from a big tangled mess.

Sweaters, slippers and socks, and pajamas galore,
Ready to be worn by the folks I adore.

I knit a stuffed crab, and a baby doll too, 
and some warm, woolen mittens in a great shade of blue.

Presents to wrap up, both useful and frilly,
Some purely decorative, and some downright silly.

Each gift was chosen and crafted with care,
and to keep their extremities from going about bare.

I hope Santa had noticed that I'd made his burden lighter,
A gift certificate for a massage would sure make my Christmas brighter.

But perhaps the best lesson I've learned in this year,
Is to start next year's presents while I can still taste the fear...

And to all other crafters who are in my same plight,
Merry Christmas to all- and may your Ott lights burn bright!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Something's missing...

 I got Lila dressed this morning and thought, "Hmmm, that's cute but it needs something..."

So I went down to my stash and found a remnant of black corduroy and an hour or so later...

A cute top that helps break up all that red and makes it an outfit

A couple of buttons in the back for added detail. 

I think we'll get a lot of use out of this piece.

I thought it would be nice to share this because most of my projects right now fall into this category.

(fun hair bow huh?)

Just over a month left to get that holiday crafting done! 
Good Luck to all... I know I'll need it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I tend to go a little overboard sometimes...

Every year our ward does an auction as part of the Holiday Dinner and people donate services (like babysitting or computer help), homemade goodies, and handmade crafts and use the money to do a Sub-for-Santa.  And every year I think, "Oh, I could make this or that..."  and then wait until it's too late to start another project.  

So this year I decided that making a few holiday hair bows would be easily do-able.  (That, and I am trying to live down my attempt at helping last year that can only be described as The Great Turkey Debacle of 2009... a day that will live in infamy forever... at least in my mind.)

So I gathered up all my supplies, set up a workspace and got to creating...

...and before I knew it a couple of hair bows had turned into 29.  

And I don't want to stop!

I am loving making something that can be finished in a few minutes as opposed to the hours and hours that I have spent slogging through a cross-stitched stocking for my son and am still no where near done. The stocking looks great and I know I'll love it when it is finished.  It's just nice to get a little instant gratification now and then to keep me motivated to keep crafting!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thursday Nights

Thursday nights are my favorite night of the week.  It's Daddy Night to our kids (for awhile there it was fish stick night because that's one of the few things Daddy knows how to cook...) and to me it is Knit Night!
I get to to my LYS and hang out with awesome people who don't look at you like you're crazy if you stop in mid-sentence to grab a hank of alpaca and rub it gently on your cheek...

Of course they look at you a little funny if your sister draws a mustache tattoo on your finger in revenge for some mildly teasing comment...

Actually, they are more likely to grab your camera and snap a picture if they aren't laughing too hard to see through the tears...

Thanks for the good times ladies.  Looking forward to Thursday nights with all of you helps me get through the hard parts of my week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My knitting nook...

About a month or so ago, my husband came to me and said in a very serious tone of voice, "Chrissy. I think we need to resign ourselves to the fact that yarn and knitting things are just going to be a part of our living room.  So maybe we should think about getting some shelving or something to contain all your... stuff." 

I assume that when he said "we need to resign ourselves" he was actually talking about himself. I already knew that knitting paraphernalia was a permanent fixture in our living room.... 

And to be fair I know that I needed to be more organized than my sewing basket would allow.  So I was thrilled at the green light to start looking for something to house it all in.

When I am in the middle of a couple of projects or serious crafting time, like getting ready for Christmas, more often than not my front room looks like this.

Piles and baskets everywhere and me often frustrated that although I know I own at least 6 tape measures and literally hundreds of needles, I can never find one when I need it!

The sad little basket (the one half buried in half-knitted sweaters, not the one filled with books) that I out grew  a year and a half ago.

The couch that my children aren't allowed to sit on at times because I am spread from one end to the other... that and they like to poke my double-points into the seat cushions.  So naughty!

But now....

I am in love with my newly organized knitting shelf!

Bins to hold the various WIPs, easy access to all my pattern books, and even room for the odd embroidery or cross-stitched project that might jump into the queue.

I even found a fun glass to store my crochet hooks and the stray needle or pair of scissors that may need a home for a minute or two. It says "sirop de citron" on it and it makes me feel all eclectic and designer-y.

I am so excited to have my very own knitting storage that I will probably even put all my projects away before I go to bed at night! least til' the new wears off.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Because sometimes you just feel a little "crabby"...

So I knit a crab.  Isn't he adorable? 
He, and the pajama pants he is sitting on, are for my nephew's birthday. 
(Not that a 2 year old would be reading my craft blog... but just in case, cover his eyes Elena!)

Happy Birthday Huck! We wish we could be there to share the day... or at least the cake. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halloween Decorations

The last time I decorated for Halloween my son was five months old.  He's now a 2nd grader.  It's been awhile. 

 It is hard to decorate when you are living in an apartment and all your decorations are parked across town in a storage unit.  You have to really want to decorate to make that work.  

This will be our third Halloween in our home and what with one thing and another I was too lazy to put forth any great effort at putting up Halloween decorations.  But now that my son is 7... well, it was important to him this year.  So I hauled out the tote of  fall decor, blew the dust off it and was excited to find I actually already had quite a bit more then I remembered.  

But I also started working early enough that I finished some projects I've been meaning to get around for the past several years.

This was the tutorial that was posted the first time I visited Ucreate and I fell in love with it immediately. I had very good intentions, but every time I remembered that I wanted to make it was already half way through October and I would think, "Next year for sure!"

I am especially proud of the fact that I free hand cut everything but the orange squares on this puppy! (I did those with a rotary cutter and mat.) I also decided that for the amount of work that was going into it I wanted to make sure that it would last, so I embroidered around each shape, sewed on buttons and then added another backing square of felt to hide the stitching and make it more durable.

My kids have enjoyed watching me work on each square and today we picked out the cute skeleton guy (you can see him sticking out of #6 on the top picture) for our marker.  I just hope they'll be good about taking turns each day.

This project was also the Create With Me September project @ Ucreate.

Mine came out rather square, but I actually like that because one of our favorite Halloween books is "The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin".

Our basket of holiday books and a teddy to snuggle up with and read one.

#3- Lighting:

This was my sister's idea, and I can't remember where she said she saw it. But it is so awesomely simple.  One strand of lights and one package of the mini cupcake liners that come in so many fun holiday themes.  Poke a tiny hole in the middle of the wrapper and pop your light through.  

It only costs a couple of dollars and you can change to Thanksgiving without having to completely dismantle your mantle! :)

#4- My dollar store wreath:

Less then $10 for all the materials. I just picked out some fall leaves in colors I liked and some sunflowers because they are so happy.  Then whacked them on to a cheap wreath base with some hot glue.  The scarecrow is actually not attached to the wreath, but just to the storm door behind it.  That way I can change the accent if I ever get bored with it with out having to make a whole new wreath...  clever, huh?
not really... just an afterthought. :)

#5-  My awesome new sign.

This was a gift from my dad and sister who have a wicked sense of humor.*

*It's funny to us because my husband became handicapped about four years ago and now walks with the aid of forearm crutches.  Hey, if you can't laugh at your life then what's the point?

I didn't want it to be lost in my ridiculously messy flower beds so I got a plastic trick or treating cauldron, filled it with gravel so it won't blow over, and stuck the sign and the leaves into a piece of styrofoam. 

It's been fun having our decorations up and getting us into the Halloween spirit.  I am glad this is a tradition that's being rekindled at our home. It feels good to make some magic for my children.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My "A Place for Everything and Everything in It's Place" Purse...

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a Halloween Advent Calendar tutorial because I'd been to the craft store to get something to finish one of my Christmas projects and I'd seen these adorable Halloween buttons and remembered that I wanted to make a Halloween Advent Calendar, and somehow I ended up reading about the purse week challenge instead.  So with reckless abandon (and a slight twinge of guilt) I left my sewing room floor covered with fabric, felt and buttons and started drafting my ideal purse. (My crafting ADD  is being addressed with the help of my sister who is very good at scheduling other people's time and drew me up a color coded calendar with due dates for each project.  I'm also considering looking for a twelve-step program.... Crafter's Anonymous anyone?)

I started by writing down everything I have to and want to have with me at any given time.  There was the obvious like wallet, cell phone, keys, sunglasses, toiletries, and diapers and wipes for my baby.  Then I decided to take it a step further and incorporate a knitting bag into my purse. I am an avid knitter and frequently am carrying two or three bags when I leave the house. My purse, a diaper bag and my knitting bag.   I decided that my ideal purse would combine all three of these, but not look like I was heading out for a weekend get away. 

The outer fabric is a mossy green suede cloth which gave it a nice texture without being too fussy and should hold up well for everyday use. I also went for simple and clean lines and tried to pay attention to details like using heavy duty interfacing to help it support the amount of stuff I haul around, and the handles are lined with 2" nylon webbing for strength and durability. There is a magnetic snap on each section so I don't risk losing all my little knitting paraphernalia every time I get into my purse.

But inside is luxurious and pretty enough to satisfy my girly heart.  I had a remnant of this gorgeous heavy silk brocade that I have been hanging on to for awhile because I couldn't bear to cut into it.  I am thrilled that I ended up using it in a project for myself, I hardly ever make anything for myself.

2/3 Purse: 1/3 Knitting Bag

On the purse side there is a zippered inner pocket for make-up, tissues, and all the other toiletries a girl has to have. A row of little pockets for my phone, my sunglasses, and gum. Also a large pocket with elastic in the top to keep it from gaping open to hold diapers and wipes.  When my last baby is out of diapers it will be the perfect size for a book or note book.  And then the rest of the purse perfectly fits my wallet and coupon organizer.  

The knitting bag side is the perfect size to hold a small to medium sized project. The middle divider has four small pockets to hold things like stitch markers, needles, a tape measure, and I even added a ribbon "scissors leash" to make sure they couldn't fall out if the bag got tipped over.

I also added a zippered pocket to the back of the purse to hold snacks. Always a good idea if you are leaving your house with your kids for more than 10 minutes. 

I am really pleased with how it turned out.  
If you'd like to you can click here to see all the other purses people made for this challenge.

I decided to try out for this contest as well, I think it sounds like a really fun idea to be creative with someone else's input.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Sewing Machine

This is my sewing machine.  
It's a Bernina. 
 It's old and doesn't do anything fancy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Last week while neck deep in my whole Christmas Crafting extravaganza it died and refused to sew another stitch.  I called my dad and he came to take a look at it, and he said he would take it to the repair shop and see if it could be fixed.  I cried.  Mostly because I was worried that it couldn't be fixed.  "What's the big deal?" you might be wondering, "So get a newer model that does all kinds of embroidery stitches and sews by it's self and makes dinner while you're sewing...."  

The big deal is that my dad built this sewing machine for my mom when they were first married, and he was working as a sewing machine mechanic. I remember sitting on the floor playing with my mom's button jar while she sewed with it.  I was endlessly fascinated by this complex thing that made clothes, and when I was 8 or so I tried to figure out how to work it by myself and about destroyed it in the process.  Good thing my dad knew a thing or two about sewing machines...

I learned how to sew in Jr. High and from that time on my mom turned over her machine and any and all sewing to me. I took all the sewing classes offered in high school and got my own serger for Christmas when I was 16. My graduation present was my sewing cabinet that holds both my machines.  

I sewed my wedding dress on this machine. I sewed three blessing outfits for my three beautiful babies.  I've sewn any number of gifts for my family and friends over the past 20 years that were made with love, tears, and the occasional drop of blood in them.  It is the one thing I own that most represents who I am in this world.  I am a seamstress.  I love that I can take a flat piece of fabric and turn it into a three dimensional item that will bring warmth and comfort to the people I love.  Nothing could replace the memories I have of this machine in my life and of the connection I feel to my mother every time I sit down in front of it and create something.  I am so grateful to my parents for recognizing and nurturing a talent in me that maybe wasn't as overt as the preforming abilities of my artistic and talented siblings.

And I am very grateful to my Dad for taking my machine and getting it fixed.  

Because I really don't know what I would do without it...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sewing through the Decades: 1950-1959

They took a break on this challenge because summer was just too busy, but now the kids are back in school, there is a hint of fall in the air, and it's time for the 1950's! Yea!

This picture was one of the inspiration and idea links that a Lemon Squeezy Home had posted for the 1950's. I knew immediately it was a sign that I should finally make this dress, which I had bought the fabric for more than a year ago...

I love the 50's style of full, twirly skirts, peter pan collars and attention to details like piping.  

"Mom are you done taking pictures?"

Then my son wanted in on the fun of "dressing old-timey" and came up with this ensemble...

"The Bobby-Soxer and the Square"

These kids just melt my heart!

This dress is also excellent for twirling!

Even for those who are less than graceful...

I am just lucky to have such an adorable model. She makes everything I make look good!

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's 5 am.... do you know what you are making this Christmas?

I do.

I have been up all night fighting with a certain 22 month old who will not stay in her own bed.  I have spent the better part of the night sitting on the bedroom floor next to her toddler bed, determined that I will prevail and that she will sleep in her own bed tonight.

I lost. (She is really stubborn... or I am really exhausted.)

She has been happily snoring away in my bed for the last hour while I have been creating that neat widget you see to your right.

Somewhere between 2 and 3 am I started thinking about Christmas, and about all the presents I could make with fabric and yarn from my stash and how much money that would save me, and how much more personal a handmade gift is, and then I grabbed a paper and started listing everyone who I need to give a gift to this year and what I could make for them, and before I knew it I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 Christmas projects to accomplish before Dec. 24th.


See, this is a good thing. I usually do this on Nov. 1st. And unless I gave up two meals a day and showering all together, there is just no way the math works out to finish that many projects in a month and a half....

But this way I have over 100 days to win my very own Christmas Crafting Marathon!  And you can all cheer me on while keeping tabs on my progress and watching that big five-oh shrink down to zero.  Because they are mostly presents I won't be able to post too many pictures or details. But won't it be fun getting a peek now and then and wondering if one of my fabulous goodies is meant for you.  (BTW- now would also be an excellent time to let me know if you think you should be on my gift giving list.  I am not promising to add you, but you never know....)

One projects every two days....

That is totally do-able.

Just don't remind me about the birthday presents I need to make between now and then...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Yellow Shrug in Action...

Lila wore her lovely yellow outfit to the baby blessing of a family friend this past Sunday, and I had great plans in my head for a nice little photo shoot showing off how adorable she looks in it with matching flowers in her hair and all....

I got one good shot of her with Uncle Patrick before she managed to smear the sweater with strawberries and drench her bottom half in a backyard stream. Ah well, the best laid plans. Good news is everything is all cotton and so can be laundered very efficiently, a definite must to consider when designing and making clothes for children...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last of the Summer Crafting and Some Fall Sewing

I can't believe school is back in session and that I haven't posted anything over here since the 4th of July! Yikes. Well, I guess we were too busy having fun summertime adventures. I haven't done much sewing over the past two months.  A small project here and there. I made two more KIP bags (Knitting-In-Public) that are all the rage in my knitting group, and even added a neat little detail of a scissors leash to keep them from going flying when the bag gets knocked over. This one is mine, I got the cute scissor fabric from my cousin Tiffany as a birthday present.

I also made two needle organizer cases. I have been meaning to do this project for months and I love how it turned out! It holds both my circulars and double points and makes it very easy to see if I have the right needles for any project. I don't have a picture of the other KIP bag and needle case, I made them for my sister. A cute pink and brown set. Anything I can do to seduce her over to the dark knitting side....

I used two fat quarter, a remnant of batting and half a box of ziplock bags. It closes with a piece of velcro which works okay, but if I were to make another one I would use a magnetic purse snap for a little more heavy duty usage.

It did provide a perfect place to display my mantra...

I finished a pair of lace socks.

I call them my Waterfall socks because of the color of the yarn and the zig-zag pattern of the lace. The pattern is Spring Forward and the yarn is Cherry Tree Hill.

I also knit a simple shrug for Lila out of some yummy yellow Sorbetto yarn that has been hanging out in my stash for a year or so.  And then I thought it needed something to go with it so I sewed up a little sundress, the cherry fabric was also in my stash. And the best part is that I got the yarn on sale for $1.99 a skein and the fabric on sale for $1.99 a yard.  This whole adorable outfit cost me less than $5 to make!

Okay, maybe the best part is how much Lila loves her new dress.

 I cast on the shrug in the car one Saturday and Evie from the back seat said, "Oh! What are you making me Mom?"  I laughed and said, "Actually this is for Lila, but I love how you think everything I make is for you." She took that with a pretty good grace, but she asked me to make her one to match.  Good thing I have more of the Sorbetto in my stash.

I have started pulling out fabric and patterns to plan some fall sewing for Evie and Lila.  I am not sure how many of these will actually get made up, I think I like the planning and the possibilities in a pile of fabric so much I get a little carried away.  I love sewing warm things when the weather turns chilly though, so I guess it really depends on Mother Nature how much sewing gets done around here...