Friday, December 23, 2011

Wishing you and yours a joyful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

dreaming of a white christmas

I'm really missing snow.  The birch branches I used for outdoor decoration look rather bare without a nice coating of the white stuff.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

woven gift wrap

This is an idea I've had for quite a while, and finally got around to doing.  The possibilites are limitless for what could be woven onto the top of a package; initials, shapes, plaid, checks, etc...  Not to mention the infinite number of possibilities for materials: yarn, twine, twill tape, rubber bands, shoe strings...

I'm really pleased with this.  It's a very simple process, it takes a little more time than the average wrap job, but the result is personalized and feels so nice to the touch in addition to looking pretty.

* The first step is to wrap the package in your base color.  
   Wrap as close to the edge as you like, without getting so close that the yarn slips off.

* Next, grab a sheet of graph paper.  (I love graph paper!)  
* Sketch out a rectangle representative of your package.  
   For example, I ended up with 23 strands of yarn on the front of my package, and I wanted a relatively
   square image, so I sketched a 23x23 square.
* Then experiment to figure out what pattern looks good in the space you have.

* Finally, pull strands of your contrasting color(s) through the base color according to your sketch. 
  I used a crochet hook to help with this process.
  Tie the strands off on the back as you go.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the bookshelf for boys and girls

My youngest came home with an absolute gem from our little school library.  Bear in mind, our school is very small with very limited resources, which ends up meaning that we have very old books in the library....I couldn't be happier.  The book is volume 3 (Folk & Fairy Tales) from a series called 'The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls' published by The University Society in 1961.  The illustrations are so sweet, I am completely taken with them...they just don't make 'em like they used to.

Even the inside cover is cute!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

'technic'-ally speaking

My son has an upcoming birthday, so in preparation I asked him what he'd like his cake to look like.  He was thoughtful for a moment and then said, "It can just say happy birthday."  I asked if that really was all he wanted, he was thoughtful again and then said, "Well, I would really like a model of a Lego Technic Motorized Excavator on the cake."  Then it was my turn to be thoughtful (I was thinking, I've got to stop letting the kids watch so much Food Network).  We came up with this idea as a compromise, I made a 2D sugar image of the motorized excavator to place on the cake. 

I taped an image of the machine along with a piece of waxed paper to the counter.

Then I simply traced the image with royal icing (meringue powder, confectioner's sugar and water).

I'm allowing the icing to harden for a day, fingers crossed it will stay in one piece while I place it on the cake!

update: It worked.  The cake I put the excavator onto wasn't that pretty...but my 8 yr old was happy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

let it snow

We haven't had much snow yet, and I am really missing it.  So to help fill the void, I've added some homemade snow flakes to our table.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

advent calendar 2011

Here's our advent calendar this year, it's an advent banister.  I made a bag for each child on each day, labeled with the their initial and the date.  Each bag has a very small treasure inside.  On the way down for breakfast each morning, the kids grab their bags and open them while reading our advent devotion for the day.

Wishing you a blessed advent season!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

in progress

Two throw size quilts that are currently on my to-finish list.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

wearing your heart on your...shirt

I purchased this cute little sailor stripe shirt for my daughter this fall after she assured me she liked it as much as I did, and she would wear it.

Well, of course it was nothing she was interested when we got it home.  So after being inspired by this, I added a heart...and voila, she now likes it and wears it!

Monday, November 28, 2011

keeping christmas in check

Here's my 2011 Christmas Gift Planner.  I make one of these simple planners every year to keep track of all our holiday gift giving.  It gives me a sense of peace to have all my gift giving plans organized in one place, it also helps me get the gifts that need to be mailed to distant locations out the door in time.

However, as my children are growing older and more wise to the ways of Christmas, I have to be clever about where I keep this list...

If it works for you,  feel free to print one out and use it yourself, find it here.

sweet dreams

Another baby quilt found in a stack.  I did all the quilting by hand with white cotton floss, and across the thin white border the words sweet dreams are quilted in.  I wanted it to be subtle, it sure is.  I can't find a way to make it visible in a photo!  I still really like the idea of quilting in a message.  I plan on doing this again soon, not quite so subtly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

dab dab dab ...

When the kids took off for school this fall, I decided to update our small half bath.  It had been a deep dark brown, so I lightened the walls to a gray-neutral and decided to try out a stencil I had been eyeing for months.  The stencil is a beautiful organic pattern from olive leaf stencils.

The stenciling process is very straight forward.  I am using Martha Stewart's stencil adhesive, available at Michaels, to help adhere the stencil to the wall and to keep nice clean lines.  I use a small stenciling sponge and dab, dab, dab. 

 It's a tedious and time consuming process.  I really like the results, but it is difficult to find the time to get it done.  I'm only stenciling one accent wall,  I've done about 60%, and I think if I put in another 6 hours it might be done. 

I'm stenciling with a silver metallic, so the color you see is dependent on the lighting in the room.  It's fun to walk by during midday when the indirect lighting makes the silver seem to glow!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

bottom of the stack

I was digging through some piles in my sewing area, and this was what I found at the bottom.  It's a baby quilt I made long ago, with the same fabrics used for L's quilt.  This one has a random stacked pattern, which used up my scraps very nicely.

Backed with minky for extra coziness.

Monday, November 21, 2011

wonky four square quilt

This is for a little girl who will be joining our extended family soon. Slightly wonky squares, each with a little house at center.

Flannel backed, free motion quilting (my first!), bound with a pink top and green sides and bottom.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

biker baby

Vroom vroom!  I finally finished this little gift for a friend who had a beautiful baby boy this fall.  The baby's father is very much into his motorcycle, so I thought this would be fun.

The silhouette is attached to the onesie with fusible web, and the detail is free motion stitching with multi-color thread on the sewing machine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

stripe-y quilt

Just finished this one.  Random stripes on the front, the back is "still life" by Alexander Henry. Straight stitch quilting in vertical "stripes".  I like stripes a lot, can you tell?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

clutter control



This is one of our methods for attempting to control some of the chaos around our home.  We call these the "stair bags".

The kids bedrooms are upstairs, the kitchen and living room are down, the kids like to play in the kitchen and living room....enough said.

During the day we keep these bags on the stairs, anything that belongs back upstairs goes into the bag.  At the end of each day the bags are carried upstairs and all the accumulated "stuff" is put away.

[This is all theoretical of course, in reality we only get the bags up and stuff put away about once a week.  Even so, "stuff" in the stair bags is a vast improvement over "stuff" on the floor and kitchen counter!  And we continue to work towards making it a daily habit.]

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

uber cuddly chevron

When I was growing up, my grandmother had a pink flannel tied quilt that I loved.  It was very simple, the same cute pink flannel with little white puppy dogs on both sides, plain white cotton ties and binding. I don't know what was used as batting, but it was about 1/2" thick.  It was heavy and warm and comforting.  This is what I grew up thinking a quilt was supposed to be. 
This quilt gives me that same feeling.  The front is flannel, pieced into chevrons, the back is minky and it has a nice thick natural cotton batting.  

The quilting simply follows the chevron pattern, I really like both the look and touch.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

thea's puzzle quilt

A version of 'Thea's Puzzle Quilt' from Amy Butler.  Fabrics are Denyse Schmidt's 'Hope Valley'.

The back side has one small wonky square, and the remainder is a solid off white.  I 'stitched in the ditch' for the 9 patch portion of the quilt, so that pattern is mimicked in stitching on the back.  I am really pleased with the subtle effect of the wonky pattern on a solid.

It resides on an ottoman in our living room, so it's alway within reach when we need to get cozy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

north woods sunset

We just returned from a lovely week away in the north woods.  This was our misty post dinner walk...beautiful.