Wednesday, October 31, 2007

aliens, tigers, and magicians - oh my!

Happy Halloween!!
Glenn has entered an alien phase. He devours books on the topic and I'm regaled with his theory on what happened in Roswell. He saw this mask at the party shop in town and that was it for him. Next came the request for a cape. I let him choose the fabric not knowing he'd go for such a Vegas vibe. It works though. The fabric rippled in the breeze which made for a cool effect. I'm pretty pleased with getting the collar to stand up like that. A heavy interfacing did the trick. Next year I'll bedazzle it and he can go as Liberace.

This get up was Ellie's second choice. Her first was a peacock. Um, no. She received a magic set for her birthday from a friend and loved it. I decided to strike while the iron was hot and offered to go get her a top hat and make a wand to go with her set. It worked. All that was left was another cape. We settled on blue with silver glitter speckled on it because they were out of hot pink (and apparently purple is so last year for her).

This picture makes me a bit melancholy. Trixie is the last to wear the tiger suit I originally made for Glenn. It's beginning to show it's age - split seam on the tail, loose foot strap barely held in place with a safety pin. It's also the last animal suit I made - the following year he was more "involved" in his costume choices. Involved means I let him pick, instead of forcing him to wear what I wanted to make. And I'm sure it'll be the same for Trixie next year. I spent a good part of trick or treating tonight thinking about what the other two were like the years they wore this one. Glenn had a rare fit just as I wanted to take pictures. Ellie was so thrilled people were giving her candy that she was afraid to let go of any of it for fear it might disappear. She only lasted for a few houses because she couldn't hold any more candy in her hands. For now, I'll just think about Trixie chasing her tail until she caught it the first time we put the suit on her.

inspired by walmart

I read a lot of magazines each month. More than I should. Never in a million years would I have thought I'd pay actual money for a magazine published by Walmart. I couldn't help myself though, some of these were on the front cover this month. (In my defense, I didn't even realize who published the magazine until I started really looking through it at home.)
Two pans were donated to the cakewalk at our school's Halloween Carnival, Pumpkinpalooza, this weekend.
What the directions don't mention is that by the time you've bought all the products for the decorations (if you can find them all), you could have spent about a fourth of the money on some ready to go treats in the bakery. These are cuter though.

And they forgot to include my special ingredients in the recipe.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I probably should have called this post "I Heart Martha Stewart". Got a little crafty this Halloween with her help. I want every last thing in her line at Michael's. I controlled myself though and stuck with just a few items this year.
What's more fun than bones and glitter? Nothing, I tell you.

Well, maybe some stickers. And fake apples. Does anyone know where I can find some tiny plastic spiders to stick in those glass cigar holders? I didn't have any luck finding fake eyeballs either. Did you know that Hobby Lobby clerks will back away from you when you ask what aisle would have them?

Okay, the spider isn't from her line. I don't remember where I got her, but her egg sac is from an October issue of Living. Maybe last year. It's supposed to have a styrofoam egg wrapped in batting in the nylon to give it the proper shape. Mine is filled with the extra cobwebby stuff that my children managed to roll in leaves and other debris before getting completely bored with the whole thing and walking away. I figure the bits of dirt in there give it an earthy, true to nature vibe. It sort of offsets the plastic spiders.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

happy birthday alaina!

One more project from Prairie Children and Their Quilts finished! This one was a birthday present for a little friend of ours, Alaina. She had a schoolhouse themed birthday party at a local, living history museum. With any luck it'll look good on her "Dick and Jane yellow" bedroom walls too. I hope so, because it was hard to part with this one. I love the colors and fabrics that are in it.

I cut into some of my favorite fabric for this one - the black script. I'm still hoarding some and need to come up with the perfect project for myself, so I have a little bit of it forever. Several prints from the Building Blocks collection were used in this one. The schoolhouse below used to be a Laura Ashley dress of mine.

The back is a simple gingham. A quick shot of the quilting pattern-

Tried to keep the school theme going with the gift bag. Just a plain black bag with some white crayon. Can you guess how old she is?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

never again

This didn't get made this year, but I did finally get around to displaying it.

It's a needlepoint on silk that's about 1 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches. Taken as a class at a local quilt shop I finished it in 2000 (as evidenced by the date on the sampler). At the time it was stitched our street number was 163. And we were a family of three. All of our initials are included as well.

Posted by Picasa

elf shoes

At the risk of annoying many people, I'm going to start posting the Christmas projects I worked on earlier in the year. Hey, if the stuff is out in stores and I can listen to carols on the radio, this stuff is safe fodder for the blog.

The idea was this - every year I get stressed trying to make all the stuff I want to give as gifts and to decorate the house with. You know, so many projects, so little time. I figured if I issued a challenge to myself to get one Christmas thing done each month in 2007, I'd have lots of extra stuff to use and give away come December.

You'll all be happy to know that my "Christmas project a month" challenge lasted only until April. I've no idea what exactly caused me to lose my focus. Oh wait, I think that's when I bought the Prairie Children and their Quilts book. Hmmm, I haven't looked at that since I finished Alaina's quilt. That's when I started more needlepoint and projects for the shop. I'm seeing a pattern emerge here...

These little guys are from a free pattern I found at Allsorts. Made of washed and dried wool felt and embroidery floss. The bell charms are out of my stash. They measure about 2 1/2 inches from heel to toe. I'd love to enlarge the pattern and see if they'd make good slippers for the girls.

what's up pussycat?

Ellie needed a new fall jacket and she's been coveting her brother's denim one. This was the perfect place to use Scrapworks, a folk applique pattern from Indygo Junction.

The green fabric is from an estate sale. I think it was once part of some drapes. The small patches are various fat quarters and yardage out of my stash (several are reproduction prints). The felt is wool and the buttons are also from thrift shop adventures. The "tag" is a sequin from Ellie's craft bins. It bent pretty quickly, so it might get replaced with an old tag from one of our former pets. I love the folksy way it turned out, but feel like I should tell people that the stitching is supposed to look a bit wonky.

Next up from that book, a puppy applique for Trixie's jacket.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

thrifty kitties

I'm in the midst of a few projects that requre a bit more handwork before they can be photographed. In the meantime here's something I worked on this summer.

The quilt was found at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $1.50. The construction on it is basic - two pieces of fabric sewn together with a flannel lining (no binding). It was tied when I found it, but many were missing, the color was garish(variegated hot pink) and those that were intact seemed to be off in their placement. I removed the old ones and chose a green floss that matches the ribbons on the kittens in the fabric. By the end of a few tv shows, it was finished.

You can see it makes a great picnic blanket too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

no lead paint in here

Okay, so I'm not big on the plastic toys anyway, but I've been trying to make as many of the kids' gifts as I can. Plus, by the time the third one rolls around, you have most of the store bought basic stuff anyway. This project was inspired by the actual fabric. Bought it on clearance at Joann's last spring for $1.00/yd(have some in the red colorway too). It screamed farm playmat. The tote came about as a way to house the mat and the rubber animals that live on the farm.

The corduroy on both is thrifted. The twill tape was stamped using what I had on hand. Both tote and mat were channel quilted. Fast and easy - I was working on this the day before Trixie turned 2. The animals are from Target and the local toy store. The appliques next to them were added last, so none of the quilting lines would go through them.

Posted by Picasa

She seems to love it, but instead of playing with the animals on top of it, she crawls under it with them and says "sleepy".

little quilt on the prairie

Most of you know that we spent our vacation this summer in South Dakota. The image below was taken very near where my mother's side of the family settled.

You might also know that in an effort to channel my inner homeschooler/earth mother, we read several of the Little House books in preparation for the trip. That project is still going on. (The Long Winter is the next one in the series waiting for us.) Combine reading about life on the prairie with all the doll quilts floating around craftblogland this summer and I had a recipe for a new obsession. Prairie Children and Their Quilts pretty much jumped off the shelves at me while I was shopping in June and I've spent a fair amount of time coming up with reasons to make them all.

Mom and I were shopping at a quilt shop in Mitchell, SD and I saw a sample of the book's signature quilt. It hit me there that I could make this one into a keepsake for my mother, her dad and her uncle (who's birthday we were all there to celebrate). Unfortunately, that meant three of the same quilt, three times the labor, etc. In other words, it wasn't getting made anytime near his actual birthday. I did get them done in September though and two of them are below. My mother's got wrapped up and given away before I could take a picture of it.

The three men listed are brothers (one of them being my grandfather) along with their nicknames and birthdates.

Next on the list from this book - the schoolhouse quilt for a dear little friend's birthday at the end of the month.

p.s. Looks like I have more stuff to post than I thought I would. Not sure what days will work best, but I'll probably be posting a few days a week for a bit. And yes, I figured out the whole picture thing (with a LOT of help from a lovely clerk at the local camera shop)! You can also click on any image to make it larger.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

a beginning and an ending

The beginning:

So it's official - a little later than I had anticipated (who knew trying to start a blog the week the kids returned to school wouldn't be such a good idea?). I have Susie, blackbird, and Poppy to thank for giving me the final push and a blog name to get me going.

The little guys you requested are waiting to come to their new homes. (Pattern from The Cute Book)

Once I've figured out all the tricks to this (like getting my photos to appear larger than postage stamps *fixed now!!!* and actually putting a link to those dear friends' blogs in their names), I'm hoping that this site will be an easy way to keep all of you updated on my current projects. Your inboxes won't be nearly as clogged with my photoladen emails either.

The ending:

I thought it fitting to post this as my first major project. I can't think of a single other sewing project that has taken as long to complete from the time I chose it to the time it was finally give to the recipient. Begun in the fall of 2006, I had intended to make it a Christmas present for Glenn. His outgrown jeans were collected for years until they'd become a leaning tower of denim in the basement. After more stops and starts than I'd like to admit, I got the top pieced together this past spring. The weight of it surprised me and I spent another several months thinking about (or avoiding the issue of) what I should use for batting and how on earth I was going to quilt through all of it. The solution finally presented itself in an old flannel sheet and hand tying it. The binding and backing are thrifted fabric that I'd been saving for this project. Spurred on by turkey feather's challenge to finish up old works in progress, I decided this was at the top of my list to complete in September. Glenn's happy to finally have it and I'm thrilled it's off of my sewing table.

Thanks to Susie for the over the phone tutorial on linking.

I have plenty to keep me busy between now and the 10th. See you next week!