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!