Welcome Autumn!!!

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Consider this post a bit of CPR for my blog! Time to revive the blog, get her off the ground and humming again!

We here in Central Ohio, as many others across the country, have had a long, hot summer. I think we were being paid back for our very cold, very snowy winter and then our non-existent, very rainy spring. And I hated it! I am a cool weather, jeans and sweater wearing kinda girl. That is why I love knitting!

Unfortunately, being faced with such hot weather, my crafting comes to a stop. I can’t bear to pick up any yarn, especially wool! Even fabric seems too hot to handle. I even had a difficult time thinking about craft projects I might want to do when the weather cooled down! My kids and I spent the summer days inside many days, just trying to stay cool, or outside enjoying the sun. I have the best tan I have had in 10 years! There were visits to the zoo, the local parks and lots of days at the pool. I managed to get a lot of reading done.

And then the last week has brought us a wonderful respite from the heat. After 97 degrees with 85% humidity on the first two days of September, we settled into a much cooler weather pattern. And by the end of this week, we are supposed to have highs in just the 60’s! And amazingly, I am starting to plan projects again!

While I want to do some knitting, most of my projects for now are focused on sewing. I have a ton of items on my to-sew list. I have everything from hats to American Girl clothes to PJs for the kids. I am actually just starting to work on a rather large project this week, but I will reveal more once I get something more to show for it. It is a special, heartfelt project that I want to make sure gets done right. In the end, the project should help a lot of people I love in a very special way.

So, consider me back from the brink. I am going to aim to post much more often – perhaps aiming for once a week, if not more – as I get back into crafting. And since everyone loves pictures, I will show the only items I made this summer. This used very little wool, was fast and easy and not something that required dealing with amounts of material that covered my lap. Sometimes, needle felting is just the ticket! And yes, I was dreaming of wintery weather when making these!

A pair of sweet snowmen with their little pine tree!

And Mr. Frosty!

These were all needle felted. I used wool I had on hand. I got the idea for the first two from the Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Crafts magazine. (This is a great issue, by the way! Some great stuff in here! You may see more from me using the ideas in here soon!)

Now, time to get crafting!

A Visit From The Tooth Fairy!

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When you have a six year old in the house, you can expect some exciting milestones. Things like the move from kindergarten to first grade, learning to read and losing baby teeth are all such exciting steps towards being a big kid!

For the last 9 months or so, my daughter has agonized over the fact that her baby teeth didn’t seem to be budging. She constantly asked when she was going to lose a tooth. Her friends at school were starting to have wiggly teeth and even lose them. One of her favorite cartoons even dealt with loose teeth. I think she had lost all hope that she would ever shed those baby teeth.

And then, about a month ago, she said her tooth felt funny. I looked at it, thinking maybe she had some food stuck in it (it was right after breakfast) and that was when we made the great discovery – a wiggly tooth!!! Oh, she was overjoyed! And I, being a crafty person, decided that I had to make something for the occasion.

Now, we know that tooth may hang on for months, but I wanted to get started, just in case. I had seen numerous examples of tooth fairy pillows online. Some were simply small pillows with pockets, others were cute little fairies or even teeth, and some hung on the doorknobs, saving the Tooth Fairy the hassle of reaching under a sleeping child to collect a tooth and leave a treat. My favorite came from Mmmcrafts. I encourage you to click on the link and see the cuteness there! And, she offered a free pattern, too!

The actual pillow came together quickly. A bit of planning, a bit of cutting, some gluing and stitching and I had a cute pillow, perfect for my girl’s teeth! See, isn’t it sweet? (And it isn’t completely done yet – I need some thin pink ribbon for the shoes since she is a ballerina! I need to get to the craft store for those soon.)

This pillow is made mostly of craft felt. I used some stiff felt for the wings, then simply coated them with glitter glue, so they actually sparkle. I had a bit of lace I used for the skirt and some ribbon in my stash served as the door hanger. Thankfully, with my huge felt stash, I was able to craft this tooth fairy pillow for free! What a deal!

That tooth is still holding on. The adult tooth is starting to come through behind it, so I am guessing it’s days are numbered. My daughter has yet to see or even know about this pillow, as I plan to save it for the day she loses the tooth. And I am already planning on a boy version for my son, even though it may be another 2+ years until he loses his first tooth!

Oh, and one more thing. A few weeks ago, another blogger, Tiffany over at Simply Modern Mom, introduced me to a new website called Pinterest. She offered a few invitations to join and I got one. I LOVE it! It is a great way to organize all of your bookmarks in a visual way, and you can share those bookmarks with others, too. I have made good use of it, organizing my bookmarks for all of the great crafts I want to try, the tutorials I have seen and just great ideas I want to reference in the future. There is a button for your Bookmarks Toolbar to make it easy to add a “pin”, you can choose from any picture on the page to represent your pin, plus you can see other people’s pins, like them or even repin them to your pin board. It is a great sharing tool and so much fun to use! And so much better than searching your bookmarks for specific entries! It is still in beta testing, so you can either sign up for an account (no idea how long it will last) or you can be invited to join. I currently have 4 invitations, so if you are interested, please let me know! I would love to have more crafty minded friends using the site!

More Christmas Crafting

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We are enjoying true winter here right now. It is currently hovering around the 10 degree mark. Brrr!!!! What a great day to stay in and craft, huh?

I wanted to show a few more of my Christmas gifts. I actually did not do as much crafting this year for Christmas as I have in the past and very little of what I did do was knitting. I just think I have knitted something for everyone now and have no great ideas, except for the two items I did make.

The first you have already seen – well, at least a glimpse of it. I knit my mom a sweater. The sweater she picked was an easy knit and knit up fast. It had all that I love in a fast garment – almost non-existent sleeves, no seaming in the end, and a large gauge. The sweater is the Juliet pattern from Zephyr Style. The original calls for a bulky yarn or holding two strands together throughout, but Mom wanted a lighter weight sweater. I used one strand of worsted weight yarn knit on large needles to give me the correct gauge. The sweater was light and airy. My only issue with the finished garment was that it was that it didn’t have the fit I really wanted, but that was more due to a stubborn mother who refused to give me more measurements than she was a size medium. This was, of course, the sweater I messed up big time when I used the wrong yarn halfway through knitting it. I didn’t get a picture of it on Mom, but this is how it looked after blocking it (all pictures can be clicked to see larger):

I would have preferred to have a proper measurement for the length of the top section, but what could I do?

The second knitted item was a pair of socks for my sister. I hesitate to knit socks for people but only because I know how amazing hand knit socks are and they never want just one pair! But my sister asked! I used Knitpicks Stroll Tweed Sock yarn in Masala. It was my first time using it and I really liked it – which is good, since I bought some for myself! I used the Embossed Leaves pattern from “Favorite Socks” from Interweave. The pattern was pretty easy, but I found that I eventually did better if I turned the chart into written instructions – which is backwards from what I normally do! It just saved me counting the squares on the chart over and over.

I finished the first sock quickly. The second sock almost was the victim of SSS – Second Sock Syndrome – and wasn’t finished until about 3 AM Christmas morning! It was a fun, easy pattern, but other crafts sort of got in the way. So, here is the sock (and has any other fellow knitter noticed it is nearly impossible to take a sock-in-action shot without your ankle or foot looking HUGE?):

The second photo is a shot of the stitch pattern so you can see the leaves.

Finally, my big project! I had planned this one for some time, but didn’t know if I could pull it off to the degree I had hoped. I finally decided to just give it a go. I will say that I was highly inspired by Melissa Crowe (Checkout Girl) and her beautiful felt pictures. The first time I saw them I was in awe and so inspired, yet I also felt totally out of my league with her work. But, I gave it a go and I am very pleased with the results!

My mom got married in February to a man who hates to receive gifts. So we are always trying to come up with ways to give him gifts that he can’t complain about (usually by gifting them to the two of them.) My husband had taken many of their wedding photos and I was inspired by one in particular:

The happy couple! I actually had several similar shots so I sort of compiled them to get the best shot of each. I used craft felt and embroidery floss for the whole picture and sewed it onto linen. Here is the final result:

Details:

The roses – these are done in 3D.

Mr. & Mrs. B. (The blue you see above was a banner that was later removed due to framing issues.)

The whole picture turned out to be 8×10. I was able to frame it in an 11×13 frame, but I had to take the glass out because of the 3D roses. I am pretty proud of my work! I hope they like it, too. It took me quite a long time to do, but I enjoyed seeing the details emerge as I stitched.

I had several other things planned for Christmas that just didn’t get done. Hopefully they will be completed in the near future so I can have some blog posts for January!

My Big Christmas Project

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While I have numerous Christmas-themed projects going on this year, I had one large project during the month of November.

We never had an Advent Calendar growing up. For the last few years, we had a relative send us one of those paper ones with the doors that open and reveal some random Christmasy themed picture. It was fun for the first few days, until the kids got bored with it and it was forgotten for days or weeks at a time.

I had been browsing websites prior to the Christmas season and found numerous examples of amazing Advent calendars. I loved them all and they inspired me to finally make my own. I thought about making little stockings or mittens to hang across the mantle, but then I realized I did not want to mess with coming up with something to give the kids each and every day for 24 days! With two kids, that could potentially get expensive! I thought about using the activity idea – a slip of paper with an activity like taking a drive to see lights, visit Santa, read a Christmas book, etc – but really, my kids are just a bit too young to get excited about some of that stuff.

Finally I came up with the idea of a Christmas tree with ornaments. I had seen several Chrismtas tree Advent calendars (loved this one, particularly) so I decided to make my own. I had seen one somewhere (can’t find it now) I loved that used ornaments that hung on the tree with buttons to hold them on, so that is the direction I went. Over many evenings in November, I created the ornaments to go on our tree, then put together the tree, embroidered the numbers on the pockets and sewed them on. I decided to take the “easy way out” and used craft glue instead of sewing all of the ornaments, so that saves some time.

So, here is what I ended up with:

Undecorated. Sorry it is so blurry!

Decorated with all of the ornaments!

I think it may still feel a bit unfinished. I am thinking it may need a border of some sort, but I will worry about that after Christmas. I did assign the “lights” for pocket #1 and the star on the top will always be in pocket #24, but other than that, I will place the ornaments randombly. For now, the kids are loving pulling out another ornament and finding a spot on the tree.

New Crafting Content – Finally!!!

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I recently changed my blog layout (regular readers may notice I do that often in my search for the perfect blog layout!) and the new layout included the little archive calendar in the sidebar. Oh, how sad that little calendar looked! I must admit that it spurred me to make this post so there was at least a few more numbers highlighted on it!

I have been crafting and I do have several finished objects, although I find myself feeling like I haven’t actually gotten much done. I think I get used to the cooler months when I am churning out project after project, so when I slow down, I feel less than productive. But really, I have stayed busy!

So, how about some recently completed stuff?

I made the kids more PJs. These are so easy and I like to make them for winter with long sleeve t-shirts and flannel bottoms. However, during the summer months, they need something, too. And we usually have the air conditioning on, so even nights can be a bit cool, so long pants and short sleeve shirts are perfect. I actually made each kid 2 pair of PJs, but when I took the pics, the other pairs were in the laundry, after being worn.

The girl had kitty cat print fabric for her bottoms and a purple shirt, along with a kitty appliqued on.IMG_2622

The boy is in love with dogs and chose his own fabric. He even specified that the dog on his shirt be one that had a bone!

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My kitchen is tiny. It is a galley kitchen with limited storage space. I have managed to find places for most of my stuff, but one appliance always aludes a storage solution – my Kitchenaid stand mixer. I got it from my mom and I LOVE it, but it is heavy, huge and impossible to get it out of the way. So it sits on my kitchen counter. And unfortunately, although I do use it, it goes weeks sometimes without use. The bowl and the mixer get dusty and stuff like flour and other things fly into the bowl. And honestly, it just isn’t all that gorgeous. Then I remembered some fabric I bought a while back. I found it in the remnants at JoAnn’s and picked it up, planning to make some shopping bags out of it. I made one, but never got around to make the other. But the fabric matched my kitchen PERFECTLY! So, a mixer cover was created! This was simple and easy and took me longer to measure and cut than the sew!

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Not to be outdone, my hard working sewing machine demanded a cover also! I got fancy on this one, though. I used my patchwork skills to create a cover that I love. I had purchased some fat quarters in coordinating colors, then threw in a few more pieces of fabric I already owned, rearranged them nicely and gave my machine a cover. It could have been longer, but it works well and looks nice. Now, just ignore the mess around my sewing area! It is still “under construction” and I am trying to get the husband to install a shelf to help get some of the extra stuff off the desk.

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And I have been knitting! Well, some, anyway. Both kids need mittens for winter. The girl outgrew her mommy-made mittens and the boy never had any. So, I picked up some sock yarn in their favorite colors (she loves pink, he loves orange!) So far, he has a full pair, but she only has one. I will be returning to the second one very soon! Heck, with how cool it has been here lately, she will need them by the end of the September!

IMG_2696I am still working on knitting myself a scarf out of my hand-dyed hand-spun yarn. It is about half way done. It is moving slowly because I don’t work on it regularly. I also unraveled a mitten I had made for myself and plan to redo it for this winter. It didn’t fit correctly but I have since found a different pattern and plan to use that instead.

I am also working on sewing. I finally purchased the doll pattern I mentioned in the last post and I am working on those. Not sure how long it will take me to finish everything in the pattern (each doll has a sleeping bag, backpack, snowsuit, overalls, knitwear and a sweater made of a felted wool sweater.)

But, that hasn’t stopped me from finding another craft! LOL! I was inspired by another blogger who works in felt. When I first read Checkout Girl’s blog, I was stunned and left feeling rather inadequate, artistically and creatively! Melissa’s creations are absolutely divine! Thankfully, the stunned feeling and the feeling of inadequacy disappeared in a huge flash of inspiration! Now, this is just my first try and I know I have work to do. I even started researching embroidery to help improve future creations. But this is my first try – my house. This is all done in craft felt with embroidery thread.

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This is just my first try. It was all hand-stitched, which I find to be very satisfying. I am really pleased with how this turned out. Too bad I don’t have a picture of my house to share with you so you can compare, but my sister and my husband both knew it was our home immediately when they saw it. I have another project of a similar nature in mind, but that is probably going to take a while to come into being. But stay tuned!

Well, I think that is it, for now! There is always something being created around here! I would love to go craft now, but I actually think I need to pick up some toys (OK – a ton of toys!) in the living room right now! My sister is visiting tomorrow and it would be nice if she could walk in the house and find a place to sit! 🙂 After all, I have been busy creating! Who has time to clean?