Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Slowing Down

Well, I am very, very close to completing my 3rd Christmas gift for the year. How wonderful is that?! I think it's pretty awesome. I am so glad I started so early. It will surely mean that holidays will be extra special this year!!!!

I have noticed I've been working much more slowly lately! Not having the energy to do much. I'm expecting a baby here very soon, and that is pretty much the issue. My body is just plum exhausted.

So, I may not be able to create as much here for a short time. I have plenty of projects in mind though! I would like to crochet some placemats here soon, and that is easy enough. I have some beautiful yarn already that is perfect for them. So... I'll still be at it, but maybe not so much as usual for a bit. I'm hoping to buy more supplies and do more projects perhaps in August as well. I would LOVE to make a sewing machine cover and put my new skill of sewing to use! I don't want to go too long without sewing something. I want it to become a habit, something I do regularly!

I'll let you guys know as my projects progress!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day

So, for my husband for Father's Day I wanted to do a couple handmade things for him. I crocheted him a skull and crossbones pen holder. It was a free pattern from Lion Brand yarn that was designed to be a can cozy. Well, he doesn't have any use for a can cozy. In this picture you can see the plastic container I used. Then I cut the excess off to hide the plastic. It isn't my finest work. It came out pretty wonky! *LOL* I was in a bit of a rush when I made it though, so I didn't take the time to undo and redo things as I probably should have.

Overall though I still like it, and I think he does too. At least he has some unique things that I've made him instead of the typical gifts that all start to look the same! There are lots of cute Father's Day gifts out there, but they all start to look the same to me after awhile. I mean, yes it is adorable to have a mug that says "World's Greatest Dad" but I would rather make one myself that includes our kiddos handprint or something. I often spend a great deal of extra money ordering from websites that do personalization for the very reason of making something a little more unique and special!

Yesterday was a fun day for me because I got crafty mail! *LOL* I had ordered a new cartridge for my Cricut, along with some accessories and cutting mats. I knew I wanted to make him a card, but I really didn't have a vision in mind. All I had were these two twine things with leaves on the ends for inspiration. They were part of wrapping on a gift we recently received and my husband liked them so well he insisted I should save them and do something with them. So... naturally I figured I may as well use them for his card since he liked them.

I based the colors for the card on them, and then I really didn't figure out where to put them until after the card was pretty much done. That was a bit of a mistake! I don't think it turned out horribly, but I probably would have laid things out differently if I had given it more thought. Originally I envisioned the leaves still on the twine and maybe wrapped around the picture like a frame or something, but they were too long and I couldn't seem to make them look right, so I ended up cutting the leaves off and using them alone instead.

The photo is of him meeting our daughter for the very first time a little over a year ago. I think it's such a precious photo, and since we are about to meet another little one here in about a month I figured the sentiment was extra special for this Father's Day!

I really enjoyed playing with different fonts to create the words! I like what I ended up with a lot! It didn't take too long and it wasn't too hard, but I think it's such a fun touch! Way cuter than just doing all one plain font! I really love my Cricut! I am slowly collecting cartridges for it, but I have also purchased the third party software called Sure Cuts a Lot that allows me to cut other images. That's how I did all the letters for this card. I also recently got some drawing software that I hope helps open up even more possibilities for me. I truly adore papercrafting so having such an amazing tool at my fingertips is pretty exciting!

So... that's my crafty little Father's Day for this year. Next year my daughter will be 2 and I'll probably get her involved in the fun!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Learning to Sew!

I am bursting with pride and joy right now! I have dreamed of learning to sew since I was a child. I used to spend hours sketching and designing clothing. I dreamed of being able to make my designs come to life. I bought a sewing machine about 4 years ago. I dabbled a bit and made a couple basic things, but never really knew what I was doing or even tried using a pattern. Then my machine sat, collecting dust for all this time.

About a year ago when my daughter was still very little I decided to try embellishing some prefold diapers with strips of fabric. It sounded simple enough, well... it wasn't. It went horribly and I gave up on sewing yet again.

Recently the urge to sew has just been tugging at me and tugging at me! I've been unable to put it out of my mind. I see beautiful fabrics and I want to create with them. I see lovely clothes and wish I could create my own spin on them, etc.

I finally decided the time had come and no matter what I would sew! I had an apron pattern I bought on impulse several months back, and my husband had recently purchased me the perfect cupcake fabric and matching thread for my project along with some marking tools. There were to be no more excuses. I would sew an apron!

Right away the pattern was intimidating to me. I felt overwhelmed. Cutting the pattern itself I had shaky hands. I have never been all that skilled with scissors, which is a real shame considering how often I use them while crafting!!!! I worried that my lack of precision would

ruin everything. I just kept telling myself to breathe. Pinning the fabric I could handle. That seemed simple enough, and I could always take the pins back out, so that gave me added confidence!

When it came time to cut the fabric I felt an intense rush as I began. I was still terrified!!! Yet, somehow I felt so empowered finally just DOING it! I felt that this was the beginning, my time to do what I really wanted to do whether I was scared or not. When I laid the cut pieces out I was beaming with pride!

I went slowly and paid lots of attention to detail when pinning and basting and pressing. Actually sewing with the machine wasn't too bad. It has always scared me. I do SO many projects but

I've always had total control with my own two hands. Something about using a machine just feels different! Yet, it wasn't so bad! Pressing certain parts was more difficult than the sewing itself, and luckily pressing can be adjusted and re-done easily, so there was no need to panic there!

The design was originally to have a pocket. I ended up not doing that. Partially because I would never use it, and partiallty because I would have had to line up the design. Overall I think the apron turned out lovely! This pic does not do it justice! The fabric has sparkles all in it that just didn't show up at all! I think the curve even turned out pretty well considering I had no clue what I was doing! The only thing I would change is the top strap, and not because I did anything wrong, because I am so short and it makes the apron hang low. I will likely add a button or velcro or something to make that a bit more snug. If I use the pattern again I will modify it to be two longer straps that tie instead.

I would love to wear my new pride and joy, and take some "action shots" but I am just too stinkin' pregnant! *LOL* I am due in exactly a month and I am as big as a house. It's the greatest torture not being able to wear my new creation, but I'm glad I got it done now instead of waiting!

My next sewing endeavour will likely be a sewing machine cover! I need one and it would be fun, probably pretty easy, and jazz up my craft space!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Preparing for the Holidays

I finished another handmade Christmas gift yesterday. I was very proud of myself! It is SO great to be getting things done so early so that I'll have time to make things for my own family!
I won't say too much else about it. I need to keep all these suprises for everyone! It did involve felt though and sewing sequins. I enjoyed it very much!

I have plans to make our little family of four our own stockings this year!!!! Boy am I excited about it too! The stocking picture I have included is the one I want to make for my daughter! Isn't it to die for cute?!
As soon as I get done with the handmade gifts for the year I will be ordering my 4 stocking kits to make. I wanted to make stockings last year, but it just didn't happen. This year I am absolutely determined to make sure it gets done, especially since we know we are done having kiddos. Once I'm done this year we can have these treasures forever! I will surely feel a lot of pride and joy using them for many years to come!

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Shopping Spree

I don’t know if anyone will find this interesting or not, but I sure loved my recent trip to the craft store, and this is a blog about all my arts and crafts projects, so I thought I’d share!

So, Saturday my husband surprised me by taking me to Jo-ann’s to shop. I jokingly call that store “the happiest place on earth” sort of my equivalent to Disney Land or something. Right away barely stepping foot in the door my husband spots some clearance ribbon sets, oh man they are cute! Marked down from $5.99 to $1.97 a piece makes them hard to resist. I end up with 5 sets.

Next, it’s over to the paper! Oh… paper! *LOL* that is truly a favorite section of mine. He must really be in the mood to go nuts because I show him a paper stack and he says get it, then I show him another paper stack and he says get that too! Oh my goodness I think I’ve hit the jackpot! I’ve selected a sweets themed stack with cupcakes and desserts galore along with a stack of child themed papers, some girlish, and some boyish. I am about to start my daughter’s baby book so these will come in handy. I select some individual papers also. Most of them are for a decopauge project I want to do making wall plaques for my daughter’s room. I was originally going to paint cupcakes on them, now I am looking to use paper and cut them out with my Cricut instead! On that note I head to get some Mod Podge and some spray adhesive for this very purpose. My husband spots some paper holders, I have been looking at the tall, clear ones, these are smaller, but for 12 by 12 paper, which I need, and they have purple. I’m convinced! I don’t necessarily need the huge ones, the stacks do fine elsewhere, I just need something for my individual sheets and this fits the bill.

After that I head to the sewing section. I have just gotten my sewing machine set up, and working properly (poor thing needed cleaning and oiling from sitting so long!) I am very anxious to use it, and have been wanting to make an apron. I grab a couple small and very affordable kits for marking patterns and some pattern paper. My husband shows me all the really nice, higher end sewing scissors at around $50 a pop. I am tempted, but I tell him those really can wait. I won’t be cutting tons of fabric just yet until I get the hang of this sewing business, and I bought a more affordable pair of fabric scissors that looked decent recently I can happily use instead for now. I browse the books and the patterns, and decide all that can wait. I better not bite off more than I can chew!

So… it’s off to fabric! I want to find something divine for my apron. The selection is wonderful, but I am trying to browse quickly and not stop and look at everything they have. I am on a mission to get a single fabric for a single project, and I move quickly. I stop at a small section that seems to be made for me! Ladybug prints that would be perfect for my daughter, PENGUINS, and cupcakes!!!! Now, I absolutely have an obsession with penguins, and I just adore cupcake themed anything. I settle on a gorgeous purple fabric with sparkles and cupcakes! It’s my favorite color, too adorable for words, and perfect for an apron design! My husband helps me pick the perfect thread to match, I get my fabric cut, and then I tell him he had seriously better get me the heck out of there because I had done more than enough damage for one day!

We made it to the register just before a huge rush… lucky us! My husband jokes that if the Powerball ticket we had just purchased was a winner he would just buy me the whole store and get it over with. I smiled, laughed, and said I would probably find things to do with everything in that whole store given the opportunity! So many crafters have their little specialty, needlework, sewing, paper crafts, etc. Me, I want to do it ALL! Seriously, there are so many things I have tried or want to learn, which makes my craft wish list beyond the point of insanity!

We leave the store, I’m beaming! I’m smiling so hard that my face seriously hurts. I could not be more excited about my purchases, and all the fun things I’m going to make. I enjoyed coming home and putting everything away! Finding new homes for my treasures is just relaxing and fun!

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Christmas Gift... DONE!

I am so excited right now! I have been working on this project since the very beginning of April, and I just finished. I won't be able to say much else about what it is because it's a gift for Christmas after all, so I can't go around blabbing what it is! I am just really proud of myself!

Just this past week I ordered kits to make 2 more gifts for this year! I have 2 other projects besides those that I need to get supplies for. I will be making a total of 5 handmade gifts this year. I already have a project for the following year that I know I want to do as well.

I love the satisfaction of lovingly creating something beautiful to give someone special, but I must be honest... sometimes I hate giving away my gorgeous creations! *LOL* It can be difficult to part with something that took so many hours of work! Oh well... that's why I make sure and take pictures of things.

I just wanted to share my excitement at my progress with everyone! I think when it comes to handmade Christmas gifts.... the earlier they are done.... the better! Especially because we all know how easy it is to get busy and caught up with life or other projects. I don't like feeling miserable towards the holidays crafting to the point it feels a lot more like a chore than a hobby. Spreading it out lets me enjoy the work a lot more, and lets me enjoy the holidays so much more as well! I can just focus on decorating my own house, enjoying local festivities, etc. Heck, I actually like shopping for myself instead of others at the Christmas sales too! I can get great deals on things that time of year!!!! It's a great time to stock up on certain things!