Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crafty mixed bag

Wow, that title sounds like I made some kind of cool bag. Except I mean it in the other sense - my post-Christmas crafting has been sort of erratic. Well, I haven't been doing a huge amount, because I wanted a break after all the pre-Christmas work. But I've made a couple of things. One was successful, and one was not at all.

The first success was that I (finally) finished the jacket for my friend Mary. This time it fits well, and she's very happy with it. So that was a good thing. And I decided that I thought the first one I made her (that was the wrong size) actually does fit me well enough to wear it, so I've been feeling fairly fashionable. I'll have to get a picture at some point.

The shirt I tried to make, on the other hand, was quite a failure! I cut it out ages ago, and I had this vision of what it should be. This was not it:

The design on the sleeves isn't quite what I had in mind, but it's okay. But the sleeves! I don't know what in the world happened there. I cut it out so long ago, I don't remember what I was thinking. My guess on the width is that I cut it with a different seam allowance than I sewed (entirely possible, since it was from a commercial pattern - I thought I'd adjusted it, but I may not have). But the length! What's up with that?? And since the design is so low on the sleeves, I can't even just chop them off and fix them. If I want to recover this shirt, I'm going to have to do some serious taking apart. That kind of depressed me when I realized it, so I just set it aside for now. I do think I have a plan - since the short sleeve part clearly needs shortening, too, I think I have a way to attach the longer sleeve on there - but still, I don't want to deal with it for now. This shirt and I clearly need a little break from one another. ;)

I'm ending 2008 on an easy successful project, though. My ironing board cover was no longer functional - every time I ironed anything, the metal pattern showed up on the fabric! So, I just whipped up a fun new ironing board cover with my beloved Kokka flowers:

Now I get to see them every day! :)

Happy New Year to everyone! I got a bunch of sewing magazines and Joann/Hancock gift certificates for Christmas, so I have many plans and inspiration for sewing and crafting in 2009!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Whew.... (And Merry Christmas!)

Since Christmas has passed, and the gifts have been opened, I can finally share the Christmas craft I've been working so hard on lately. This year was a particularly crazy Christmas craft! I made t-shirts and then freezer paper stenciled designs on them. I was busy with it right until Christmas Eve, although that's partly because I ended up having to remake one of them, because when I looked at it, I realized the pattern I'd used was clearly cracked and definitely would not fit! So, here they all are:

I only have action shots of the ones I gave to Iestyn's family, because we did Christmas with them earlier in the month. But everyone seemed to like their shirts yesterday, and hopefully they all fit. I really like the way they came out, and in that sense it was a good Christmas craft, but I think next year it might be wise to do something slightly less labor intensive. Not because it was really that bad, but because I ran out of time to make anything else! I had plans for other homemade gifts, and it just didn't happen. Oh well!

And now it's time to move on to some other projects. Like my now very late jacket. And the purse I wanted to make. And, well, any of a hundred other projects in my head, lol!

(Oh, and um, D, if you're reading this, pretend the Christmas craft is a surprise.... Actually, nothing in these pictures is for you, so in *some* sense it'll be a surprise! :) )

Friday, December 12, 2008

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen....

But do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all?

Between Christmas crafting and a little weekend vacation (with sick children, unfortunately), I haven't done much lately that I can post about. I did take a little time to stencil some Christmas reindeer shirts for the girls and I.

Ignore the not so great picture - that was the best one of quite a series taken. A's reindeer has a smiley face, M's is singing, and mine is the grown up version. ;) It's hard to tell, but the noses are a little sparkly, too.

And the kids' reindeer bring back fond memories, because they're part of a stencil my mom used years and years ago. (They were the O in a stencil of the word Joy, but the whole thing wouldn't fit on their shirts.)

The Christmas crafting continues as well, but that won't be revealed until later!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Calendar

Another one of my Christmas traditions (a new-ish one) is an Advent calendar of activities to do with the girls/as a family. Each day of Advent, I have some kind of activity for us to do. Most of them are things we'd do anyway - wear Christmas shirts, bake cookies, watch the Grinch, read holiday stories, give money to the Salvation Army, give to the toy drive at school, etc. But it's a fun way to make sure we do something Christmas-y every day, and the girls really enjoy it.

So I started this tradition last year, and of course it was already December when I decided that I needed an advent calendar. I whipped one up very quickly at the time, and it was pretty bad. (I used magic marker for the numbers!) This year I thought I'd make a new and improved version. To be honest, I didn't work on it much in advance, either, so I was busily finishing it on November 30. And this was a good example of my vision and my patience not meshing! It isn't quite what I was aiming for (in particular, the stitching around the balls just isn't all that great, and I can't quite work out how to do the numbers without hand embroidering, which kills my wrists). I was pretty disappointed in it at first, but now that it's hanging up, it's not so bad. I put the activities on cardstock, and wrote the numbers on the back. That was just a stopgap, but I actually rather like it, because they sort of look like the top bit of an ornament. So, I may still want a new one (again!) next year, but at least I can live with this one for this year. Perhaps the next one will be purchased.....