Monday, January 28, 2008

hung by the bookcase with care

I've decided that I want to get all of the Christmas stuff posted by the end of the month, so please bear with me. Only a few more things to go, I promise. (Would have been nice to have it all posted by the end of last year, oh well.)

This was a commission from Mike's girlfriend. Made of wool felt with pinked edges. The name has been machine embroidered with a very dense zig zag stitch. (Change the settings on the stitch to make it as wide as you want and reduce the stitch length to just below the buttonhole setting - or as tight as you desire it to be. Use a stabilizer on the back and just sew on your marked lines.)

take a seat

I can't even remember when I bought this chair - long before we had Glenn, I think. Not even sure if I found it on spring clean up day(when everyone puts junk on the curb that they can't fit in a garbage can) or if I bought it at the Kane County Flea Market(I used to be a regular there - until we ran out of room in the house). I refinished it not long after buying it and for quite awhile it had a different pad on it. You can see that it didn't last because this is how the chair looked when we moved to this house over 4 years ago.

The needlepoint is from a Beatrix Potter needlework book I have and was completed before Glenn was born. It waited for years to get used. I had all the pieces ready for this, just not the motivation to drag out the scroll saw and cut the wood to fit the space properly. So when did I finally get around to this? In the middle of the Christmas craziness - when I should have been doing plenty of other things.

It makes for a lovely desk chair in the living room.

resolution update 1

I thought a monthly progress check would keep me from the insanity of this past holiday season.

With that in mind, I've managed to:

Learn how to add links to the blog(but I still need to add the crafty links) - thank you blackbird!

Start the Beatrix Potter cross stitch I want for next Christmas. I estimated that there are about 12,500 cross stitches in this one. I'm about 1/8 into it which is exactly why this one needed to be started now. I have a tendency to work on these a lot for a few weeks and then I won't touch them for months before starting up again.

Burn CD's of all of our pictures from the time I switched over to Picasa(Oct '07) through December. Then I figured out how to make a CD of various pictures from the entire year for family using that program. Okay, this wasn't on my original list, but it REALLY needed to get done. Hear that grandmas? I have CD's for you. Finally.

Up in February, hopefully more of the fun sewing on that list.

gifts from the kids

I think this is all of it for the holiday season. At least as much as I'm going to put up for this year.

Ellie used her looper loom to make potholders for the grandmas. I remember having only nasty nylon loops in garish colors when I was little(and I walked 10 miles to school - each way - uphill). The looms I found thrifting had a ton of nice cotton loops which made for thicker results, but we found that they aren't as easy for little fingers to use.

Glenn used a Klutz book on bottlecap art to make sets of pushpins or magnets for some of the people on his list. He tailored this set to "Uncle Monkey" who writes for a living.

Friends and relatives with cats received toys for their pets. Glenn designed this fishing pole toy using bamboo stakes from our garden supplies, fishing line and feathers out of the craft bin.

Ellie decided to sew some felt mice and stuff them with catnip. According to one auntie, the cats love them.

Getting the kids started on this stuff earlier should go on my list of things to remember next year.

Friday, January 25, 2008

oh, the cuteness!!

Could you just eat this guy up?

Meet Nate, Chip and Norma's new baby. He's been home just about a month now.

I'm thrilled to have a new little boy to sew for. He obviously needed a new bib -

and robot.

And Norma, I'm very impressed - you've already mastered the skill of taking pics of him for friends in the outfits they've handed down to you. You learn fast!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

old macdonald

I should call this post reconnaissance thrifting. I made a quick stop at the Salvation Army store about a week before the blog pals arrived for the weekend. Had to be sure there was good stuff to discover, you know.

Spotted this purse from an aisle away. Love. At. First. Sight. The clasp needed a new nail to hold it in place. And it's not the most secure latch even after the fix, but oh how I like to look at this. I should let the girls play with it, but for now it's all mine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

trying to catch up

I did a bit of sewing this weekend, but can't post pictures until the items have arrived at their destinations. I have a leftover Christmas project or two to post as well and am just not in the mood for that. The last two days were spent labeling every item that Glenn took on his outdoor education trip that started today(he gets home on Friday). Once that was done, he had to learn how to pack it all himself and roll his sleeping bag properly. Believe me, it was a project for sure, but not something I want to post pictures of.

So to keep to my promise to myself to post at least every Wednesday, I give you - Soap Mice.
The project came from Angelina Ballerina's Christmas Craft Book. It looked simple enough in the directions - grate bars of ivory soap(one per mouse), mix the flakes with a bit of water and mold the stuff into balls to make the mice. Add a few cloves for eyes and some twigs for arms. It looked like a great project for Basia to do with the kids. I set it all up(including grating the bars of soap), gave her the gist of it and took off to run errands. Upon my return, she told me that she did not care to do that project ever again.
I may not listen to her though. Look how cute they turned out.

Friday, January 18, 2008

trixie's got a brand new bag

Oh look, another bag made with two fabrics separated by a ribbon or twill tape. I can claim this one is a little different since I gave it a drawstring closure.

The look turned out pretty Mary Engelbreit in style, but it works perfectly for it's purpose - a place to store Trixie's "sewing" supplies.

Santa brought my little crafter a threading loom this year. It fits inside perfectly with her lacing cards.

Before too long this one will be sewing her own quilts.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

adventures in thrifting - part 3

The final goodies I picked up over the weekend. Vintage health books.

From the book on the left - copyrighted 1930-1937.

I want her apron and his bathroom.

From the book on the right - copyright 1944, revised in 1957.

This little guy looks like someone who lives at my house.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

adventures in thrifting - part 2

Yesterday's treasures were from our first stop in Glen Ellyn. Later that day we were off to the Salvation Army. Gotta love a thrift shop that stays open til 9pm.
These little beauties were spotted as I was checking out. Right now it's a necklace. The colors are pefect for my sewing area. Kitschy lampshade decorations? Doo dads to hang off a basket? No idea what to do with them right now. I just liked the colors and super plasticness(it's a word, I swear!) of them.

Vintage napkins. The white ones will get used for their original purpose. Not sure about the tan one. Though I think it would be cool to have a collection of mismatched vintage napkins and just mix them up on the table. I can always pull it out of the cabinet in the dining room if I want to sew it into something else.

I believe blackbird spotted this little beauty. The lace on the pocket needs some stain removal, but I love it - not exactly practical for cooking. That may explain my attraction to the fancy ones.

More vintage hankies. Again, for a project that doesn't yet exist. I looked at the blue one for ages trying to figure out the initial and finally realized I was looking at it from the wrong side...

The heart one is calling out for the perfect Valentine project.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

adventures in thrifting - part 1

I've had some new visitors since blackbird posted about the big party weekend. Figured I'd better get something new going on over here to keep up.
So, she showed you what DIDN'T get purchased at the thrift shop(thankfully). Not that my stash needs to get any bigger, but there were some things that had to come home with me.

I know I don't knit. But look at the cover.

And the back too!

There were vintage hankies to be had. With Chinese on them no less. All are for projects that don't yet exist.

This, however, was the find of the day. All of these were crammed in a quart sized baggie for $2.00. When I opened it up at home, the selection was better than I thought. Lots of vintage goodness, buckles, mother-of-pearl, the list could go on.

I spy anchor buckles of which there are two, a button with flowers and several that are blue.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

yep, another gift

Sent this shirt off to a little cousin that lives out east. It's a store bought shirt with an embroidery pattern from Sublime Stitching.

The cats wrap around the side of the shirt.

A stitching close-up (sorry it's so dark - the shirt had been mailed by the time I realized how dark it was). Done in split stitch with 4 strands of floss. Note to self - do whiskers in only two strands next time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

better late than never

Finally catching up with posting the gifts I couldn't show you before the holiday.
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that this bedside organizer was a gift for Christmas 2006. Fortunately, Trish is a patient woman. She chose fabrics that she loved and a pattern from In Stitches. There's an identical organizer hanging on the other side of the bed. The pattern was adapted slightly since Trish doesn't have a need for a pocket to hold reading glasses - yet. It's hard to see, but there's a large magazine pocket that has an opening right where the comforter meets the top of the organizer.

Now I shouldn't mention that part of the reason this didn't get made ages ago is that I was waiting on a measurement from her... The pattern calls for a piece of fabric the width of the mattress to which both organizers are attached and since mattress sizes vary slighlty from manufacturer to manufacturer I didn't want to just measure my bed and call it a day. I settled on this as a way to make sure it would fit:

I cut two pieces of fabric for the part on the mattress slightly shorter than the pattern called for. Another piece was cut to be inserted between those two and had large pintucks run through it with a basting stitch. Once Trish got it on the box spring she could release as many pintucks as needed to make it fit properly. Pretty pleased with myself over this one.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Resolutions may not be the best title for this post. Crafting goals might be more apropriate. I'm hoping that I'll be more accountable if I actually write them here. So, for 2008 I hope to-
Give the Christmas Year Round challenge that I abandoned last April another go, but with some modifications. I think I'll call it Holidays Year Round because there are some projects I'd like done for Halloween as well as Christmas. So I can really get annoyed with myself if very little happens (or be pleased if they get made), here's my list of projects that I've been thinking about.
  1. full apron for myself
  2. wool felt tote and purse
  3. candy bowl done with papers Trish brought me
  4. trick-or-treat bags for the girls
  5. some sort of Halloween quilt


  1. smocks for the girls out of Santa fabric
  2. tote using vintage Christmas house fabric
  3. apron using vintage Christmas house fabric
  4. new Beatrix Potter cushion
  5. fabric Christmas trees for girls' dollhouse
  6. nightgowns for the girls and their dolls using cherry blossom fabric
  7. pajama pants for Chris, Glenn and me

Make a dress form out of duct tape(this blog is called Martha MACGYVER for a reason, you know). On a related note - locate article on this in my Threads back issues. Also, beg Trish to come visit soon to help with this.

Make 2008 The Year of the Skirt and finally sew up all the fabric I've set aside for my summer alternative to shorts. Know that Tim Gunn, Stacy London, and Clinton Kelly would be proud.

Learn at least 2 more stitches on the serger to improve my current status as a one stitch wonder.

Figure out how to add links on the side of my blog. Add this to the list of things I'll ask blackbird and Angie to help me do.

Looks like a full year.

Happy New Year everyone!