Gift for the List Obsessed

Have I told you how much I love list making? I do it constantly! My lists are my personal instructional manuals for what to make, what to remember, what to clean, what to cook, who to thank, who to call, where to be, what to do...

I know that many people use technology to guide their day but I still prefer the old fashioned pencil and paper.

Have a list maker like me in your life? Here's a last-minute gift idea for them this season, a pencil case and personalized journal!

The pencil case was made using a pattern from the book Zakka Style. I used linen fabric and holiday themed quilting cottons. If you don't have the book, click here for a list of other pencil case tutorials on Pinterest.

The journal is a small Moleskin notebook embellished with fabrics that match the pencil case. I thought a "naughty and nice" list was very appropriate for this season but you could personalize your cover in a million different ways. I used a fabric glue stick to attach the layers of cottons together. I then stitched over them with my sewing machine for an extra detail.

The pencils are Paper Mate Black Warrior Cedar. They don't just have a cool name, they are also cool to write with and are my personal favorite :)!. I think it would also be cute to give this with a set of colored pencils.

The pencil case took me about an hour to cut and piece together. The journal took me about 5 minutes so if you're really crunched for time, just go for the embellished notebook and wrap it with a special pencil. What list lover wouldn't be thrilled to receive that?

One week left until Christmas! Stay sane!

Peace [of Flammable Burlap]

I picked up a roll of burlap garland this year with the intent of making a printed mistletoe banner. Like so many of my other projects, my original idea morphed into something else when I actually started working :). 

The open weave of the burlap didn't make a great foundation for printing. However, the weave is similar to Aida fabric which got me thinking that I could try cross stitching on it!! 

I searched through my embroidery books and found a lovely text pattern for the word "Peace" in Rainbow of Stitches. I gathered a few simple supplies including: burlap garland, worsted weight yarn, a large tapestry needle and a pair of scissors. I made a cozy spot on the couch and started stitching. 

After a few hours of leisurely cross-stitching, I had this banner! 

I learned a few things while experimenting with this project that might be helpful if you want to give something similar a try. 
  • My usual cross-stitch method of making all right handed crosses in a row then going back over them with the left leaning stitches didn't work well on the burlap. I found the stitches looked nicer if I made the full cross one at a time. 
  • Since the weave is so open, you can't carry the yarn in the back without it being seen. Map out how you'll stitch your rows to limit the amount of times you need to break the yarn. 
  • The more stitches you add, the more squished the weave will become (at least with the weight of yarn I used). To even things out, just give the burlap a good tug from the top and bottom every 5 rows or so. 
  • Don't obsess too much over the neatness of the stitches. Mine looked a bit sloppy close up but once you have the banner hung, you can't see any of the wonkiness. Proof of wonkiness: 

Here's another tip, burlap if flammable (duh)!! 

My Mom always does a beautiful job of decorating for the holidays. I gave the finished banner to her so she could use it on her mantle. 

It looks lovely doesn't it? Well, notice the proximity to the candles. 

Shortly after this photo was taken (thanks Dad) the banner caught on fire!! Thank heavens my folks were home and near by so they could put it out before it did any real damage. 

My Mom is asking for another banner with the word "Joy" but I'm not sure she can be trusted! I mean, I can count 7 sources of fire in just this one cropped photo!! Good grief. 

Despite the near disaster, I really did enjoy this project and I plan to make more cross stitch banners (even for Mom). I was thinking a banner of hearts would be really cute for Valentine's day! Stay tuned for that project. 

How is your holiday crafting coming along? Are you finishing your gifts? Have you managed to avoid all crafty disasters? Hope so! 

Quilted Advent Calendar

I participated in a really fun Christmas swap over on Craftster this holiday season. It was called the Ho Ho Ho swap and we sent our partner 3 items (one for each ho) that aligned with a theme they had selected.

My partner's theme was 'blue and white winter'. She mentioned to me that she creates personalized advent calendars for her family each year but she didn't have one of her own... until now!

I had a great (and sometimes challenging) time creating this calendar for her. I really like the non-traditional holiday fabrics. I feel like it has a chilly feel to it!

I filled each pocket with a little craft supply like a small bobbin of ribbon, a few buttons or a fat eighth of fabric.

The back has small pockets at the top corners so it can be hung using a dowel. My partner actually hung it on an easel which I thought was a clever idea!

The design of this was inspired by Elizabeth Hartman's advent calendar tutorial but I did a number of things different.

I decided to do 25 pockets instead of 24 and I lined mine up horizontally and vertically instead of the off center placement in the original version.

Also, rather than appliquéing on fabric numbers, I used twill tape, number stamps and permanent ink.

I measured 1.5" down from the top of the exterior pocket piece. I then used a fabric glue stick to keep the twill tape it in place while I sewed it down. I found this worked much better than trying to pin it.

I top stitched the tape down on both the top and bottom of the strip.

I stamped after sewing the tape down because I didn't want to stitch over the numbers. I used StazOn ink since it's permanent and can be washed without fading.

For the rest of the pocket, I followed the directions in the tutorial.

I still feel very self conscious about my quilting skills. I learn something new each time I take on a project though. This time, I learned to press and not iron!! I had a fair amount of puckering at some of the joints because I stretched the fabric too much. I'll know better next time :).

For the small swap items, I sent a journal, an embroidered snowflake ornament and a set of glittered gift tags and cards -  all with my partner's blue and white winter theme in mind.

I hope you're all enjoying the holiday season and finishing up your crafty gifts and shopping lists! I expect I'll be doing the usual last minute crafting scramble in the coming weeks :).

The Ninth Day of Christmas

I recently participated in a fun project organized by the neat folks at Alpha Stamps. They invited a number of guest designers to join their team to create ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) using the 12 Days of Christmas themes. You can see the entire gallery on their site, here.

I was assigned Day 9 (9 Ladies Dancing) and received a whole stack of images from them to work with. They said that we use creative license so I decided to take a different spin on dancing ladies.

For this card, I made 9 Prancing Pachyderms! The little ellies are attached with small brads so they can really prance around.

This 9 Ladies Lucking Out card was inspired by an image of a roulette wheel that I received! I like the idea of 9 feisty ladies gambling with their Christmas money and winning big! I used a small green LED light in the middle of the wheel to make it feel more loud and casino-like. I also used green felt under the words since it made me think of poker tables.

Now that I've done Day 9, I want to create silly cards for the other days! Fortunately all of the participating designers came up with great ideas that we can use for inspiration. Definitely check out the gallery to admire the awesome work! Special thanks to my friend Kristin from Junk & Stuff (also known as rackycoo to fellow Craftster members) for inviting me to join this project.

Happy Ninth Day of Christmas! Happy Second Night of Hanukkah! Happy Everything!!

Santa's Workshop

I hosted a holiday crafting party with my be best gal pals yesterday and we had a whale of a time. The day was filled with christmas music, champagne bubbles, gossip, mess making, comfort food and best of all, crafting!!

Look how hard all of the elves are working on their holiday gifts.

Here's a list of gifts we made and links to the inspiration projects (where available).

- Chalkboard Coasters
- Hot Chocolate on a Stick
- Tree Ornaments
- Cork Covered Containers
- Freezer Paper Stenciled Tea Towels
- Paper Clay Stamped Ornaments

For each project, I put all of the required supplies into baskets so we could grab them and get right to work.

Here's a sampling of the finished products (courtesy of Lisa and Denise elf-instagram).

Freezer paper stenciled towels:

Hot chocolate on a stick:

Paper clay stamped ornaments:

Denise and I working hard on Christmas tree ornaments:

It was such a fun day. I'm so thankful for my wonderful and creative friends. I am now fully and completely in the holiday spirit!

Backwards Ninni Monster

I recently discovered Ninni Monsters thanks to a couple of Ninni craft swaps that Leslie organized. The monsters remind me a bit of Ugly Dolls and just like Ugly dolls, there is something endearing about them.

When I saw this pattern on Pinterest, I knew I had to make one. It looked so easy... and it should have been :).

While I was working on this project, I was also enthralled in the documentary The Happy Movie (which I highly recommend) and didn't notice that I had sewed my poor Ninni's eyes to his feet instead of his face!

The narrower pointier bits are supposed to be his monster ears/antennas but they are serving as skinny little legs for my Ninni.

Oh well, at least he's still smiling!

This backwards Ninni went to kittykill and she is a very sweet person so I know she'll love him despite his wonkiness :).

I'll pay more attention to my Ninni's construction next time. I plan to make a couple of them for my little cousins this Christmas. They really are simple to put together and are a great project for using up fabric and felt scraps. 

Thanksgiving Place Cards

Hello and happy Monday! I'm over at The Lovely Cupboard today sharing a tutorial for making personalized Thanksgiving place cards. They double as appreciate pockets that are filled with 'thank you' messages. Drop by and check them out.

Thanks for stopping by!

Let's Be Outlaws

In my last post, I mentioned the Naughty and Nice swap I participated in recently. You saw the nice and now for some naughty!!

My partner likes cowboys (who doesn't, really??) so I came up with a silly idea to make her a dirty talkin' cowboy of her very own.

I cut one of the scantily clad men from the Alexander Henry, Pin Up Wranglers fabric line, stitched him to a piece of fabric and framed him in an embroidery hoop. I added a running stitch border around the outside of the hoop for an extra detail.

To make him talk dirty, I stamped a number of different cowboy sayings onto white fabric. I stitched that to black craft felt in the shape of a speech bubble.

I stitched a small piece of velcro (the loopy side) onto the hoop fabric. The felt on the back of the speech bubbles sticks really well to this but can also be removed with a gentle tug and easily swapped out with the naughty saying of your choice.

I giggled the whole time I was making this :)!

I wrapped it, and the rest of the swap goodies, in a simple cowgirl tote that I made with denim and cowgirl pin-up fabric.

The tote pattern is from the book, Sew What! Bags. It's one of my favorite patterns because it's a great size, easy to put together and it's reversible!

Giddy up and have a good week!!

Woodland Doll

I made this doll for my dear friend Pam (aka KittyKill) for a naughty and nice swap that some of the Craftster moderators participated in. It was a secret swap so she didn't know that I was crafting for her or what good and evil goodies I was creating! She's received now and despite my attempts at being sneaky, she figured out it was from me :). I'm terrible at surprises!

I purchased the pattern from an adorable shop on Etsy called Noia Land. The pattern was very well written and easy to follow. She has some seriously adorable dolls in her shop like this squishy little mermaid. I'll definitely be making more.

My only complaint with the doll is that her head is very wobbly, despite the 100s of little stitches I added. I might add a wire or pipe cleaner between the head and the body when I make another one.

I used wool-blend felt purchased from Giant Dwarf for this project and DMC embroidery floss.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Friday!!

Fabric Friday!

Work has been pretty nuts the past few months but we successfully hit a big milestone last week so I decided to take today off and celebrate with a little "me" time :). After a few hours of cuddling with the puppies, lazily sipping coffee and getting sucked into a Snapped marathon on the Oxygen network, I finally got dressed and headed to the fabric store for a little shopping!

I found this fabric right away and snatched it up! I only got a yard because it's on the spendy side but I just adore the print, the colors and the canvas texture.

On my way to the register, I looked down to admire my new treat and noticed that my nail polish color looked fun with the fabric!! Off I went to find a solid cotton that matched my polish. It's a color combination I never would have thought of if it weren't for this happy accident.

I have no idea what these fabrics will become. They might just stay uncut in my craft room while I admire them :).

In case anyone is interested, the fabric is Melody Miller, Ruby Star Shining and the nail polish is Essie, Tart Deco.

Have a great weekend!

Halloween Tricks and Treats

Happy Halloween!!

This is our first Halloween in the new pad so I'm not sure how many costumed kiddos will knock on our door but if it's 1 or 100, we're ready!

Instead of Trick-OR-Treats, we'll be offering both Tricks AND Treats.

I found these red wood bins at Fred Meyer and snagged them since they were on sale and also match the color in our office so they can be used throughout the year. I filled the "treats" basket with all kinds of sweet goodies. The "tricks" basket is filled with gags and magic tricks I purchased from Oriental Trading.

I made the signs using old dictionary pages because I think they are creepy! I mounted them with photo corners onto a piece of card stock that was "aged" with Tim Holtz Distress Ink.

Here's a shot of some of the tricks. There is also a rope trick, some puzzles, and whoopee cushions in the bin! Hopefully the kids will have fun with these. If not, Jake and I will :).

I hope you and your families have a safe and happy Halloween.

My thoughts are with anyone suffering from the recent storm. I hope that you are all safe, warm and dry. Many cyber hugs to you and yours.

Cider Press Shin Dig

Every year in late October or early November, my family gathers at my folk's house for our annual cider press. It's one of my favorite fall traditions and today's press did not disappoint! It was a day filled with laughter, comfort foods, crisp sunshine and sticky apple fingers that resulted in over 12 gallons of fresh pressed cider.

Here's how it all works!

We start by collecting apples from my parent's trees. We pick them off the trees or off the ground.

Next, the apples go through a rinsing process. We float them in a big pail of water that contains a little bit of bleach to kill off any icky germs. Then they take a dip in fresh water and are placed on a grate to dry off.

Once they have been rinsed and dried, we cut the big ones in half or quarters so they don't clog the chopper. This is my Mom and Aunt Cheri taking a turn at the cutting table.

The sliced apples then go into the chopper to be ground up into tiny bits. This year my Uncle Jerry souped-up the motor with extra horse power so it worked faster (and louder) than ever. There were a number of scenes like this today where the men stood around the machine talking about "more power" just like an episode of Tool Time.

When the press is filled with chopped up apples, we squish!!

Juice starts pouring out of the press right away and we catch it in big bowls.

Some of the chopped apple pieces and other apple sludge get carried into the juice so we filter it through a few layers of cheesecloth into recycled containers that we've saved throughout the year.

Then we line up all of our containers and admire our hard work! Oh and of course we sample the goods throughout the day. Yummmmy!

It's not all hard work though. We also take breaks for some other fun throughout the day like cuddling our hubbies...

...and eating warm and tasty grub! Check out this spread of mac & cheese, coleslaw, pickled veggies. fruit salad, pulled pork sliders and corn soufflé!!

My Mom set up a Halloween version of an Easter Egg hunt this year - a BODY PART hunt!! There were eyeballs, ears and fingers hid around the property for the kids to find (plastic of course).

Can you spot the hidden eyeball in this picture?? It took the girls a while to find. It wasn't really at "eye-level", so to speak :)!!

The cider gods definitely shined on us today with beautiful weather and a hearty crop of apples that made delicious juice. It was the perfect fall day.

I hope you're enjoying autumn too!!