Archive for sewing & crafty things

Spring Returns

The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.
—Harriet Ann Jacobs


{tulips blooming in the side garden}


{Callery Pear blossoms dripping with dew}


{giving in to the urge to create}


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Minty the Candy Cane

If you’re a Conan fan, you might recognize this guy from last year– he’s Minty the Candy Cane and he may have fallen on the ground for just a moment or two. (Click here to go to Conan’s site if you are confused.) This is quite potentially the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever made…

Last year M was so taken with the idea of Minty and he sang the Minty song ad nauseam. When he started singing about Minty again this year, I decided he needed his very own Minty Christmas ornament for the tree. I constructed this guy out of felt and embroidery floss, and a real penny. (Please don’t tattle on me to the Federal Reserve.)

He even has an anatomically correct backside– bugs and all!

Happy Holidays– may they be most excellent and spent NOT on the ground and NOT covered in poo.

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A Partridge in a Fake Tree

I’m so tired of staring at this:

and so glad I can finally see more of this:

It’s a bit more colorful than your average partridge, but that’s alright. Everyone dresses up in reds and greens for Christmas, even the birds!

(I’m so tickled that they match.)

Though it’s a labor of love to do this every year, I get so much joy out of making ornaments for my loved ones. I think it reminds me of my childhood…Every year the school where my mom taught hosted an ornament-making night for families. You’d go into the cafeteria (which was also the gym) and move from station to station to make each ornament. I’ve kept everything I made over the years. I think my favorites are the weird ones– like a strawberry made from a walnut colored red with magic marker, felt leaves, and a yarn stem, which M rolls his eyes at every year when I hang it on the tree. There are some classics though, like an old-fashioned bead and lace candle and a snowflake made from styrofoam, chenille stems and sequins. I think ornaments like those give a tree character. I’d still hang my Kindergarten bow-tie macaroni wreath if it wasn’t so fragile. I have such fond memories of those times, Christmas as a child when everything was so much more simple.

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Adventures (and Misadventures) in Crafting

Still making. On Wednesday, a friend and I attended a workshop at Ambrosia Bead Shop where we constructed adorable earrings. I made sets of angels which I think will make some lovely Christmas gifts. Eileen made dragonflies (in the same type of fashion as the angels, just different parts) which I wasn’t able to get a shot of to share. However they were so easy and lovely that I have a feeling that when spring comes I will be making a set for myself to wear, and then I’ll be sure to share a photo!

Cards– I make a lot of them. M comes from a big family and has more aunts, uncles, and cousins than I have. (And I thought I had a lot!) You can imagine that means man holiday cards are addressed and mailed out each year– about 70 when you add in friends to the mix. The first few years I’d try to make each card start to finish but I found that took up so much time that I had to try a different tactic. And so, for the past 5 years or so, I’ve made the cards piecemeal. First cutting out all the necessary pieces, then stamping each piece, then coloring all the pieces, then assembly. This keeps things organized and running smoothly…until I realize that I’m quickly running out of adhesive.

A local scrapbook shop, The Queen’s Ink, turned me on to a particular brand of double-sided tape runner called Sticky Thumb. It’s a great product and the refills are incredibly affordable. You can imagine that with as many cards as I make, I go through an obscene amount of adhesive. Last night as I had everything spread out on the dining room table (it’s gotten so bad that the studio surfaces are all covered with other projects!) I had a few choices. I could have hubby run out to Michael’s, which is just around the corner, and have him pick up any number of (inferior) tape runners, I could quit working for the night and head out in the morning to The Queen’s Ink, or I could take him up on his enormously generous offer to go to The Queen’s Ink on my behalf. I dawdled for awhile. Sending a husband into a craft store is akin to sending a first date to the drug store to buy tampons. I didn’t want to do that to him…

But he offered, so I did. I armed him with an empty refill package and requested that he just go seek someone out and ask them to get the product for him, rather than him trying to roam throughout the store to find the correct section himself. (This store is laid out to be a world of joy for a crafter, but definitely is not one of those places with aisles marked by supply or department.)

Off he went to Savagie Mill— a historic textile mill turned into a mix of eclectic shops and an antique mall, where The Queen’s Ink is located. He first realized he was in trouble when he couldn’t find a parking spot. Anywhere. Even the overflow parking was filled up. After driving around for a bit, he eventually found a spot but couldn’t help but wonder what was going on that so many cars were in the parking lot. (It’s usually very easy to find parking in the evening.) He would soon find out. When he walked in the doors, he found himself among hundreds of people in better than their Sunday best. Among men in tuxedos and ladies who milled about daintily eating fancy food on toothpicks (attending some sort of large fundraising gala) he made his way through the crowds of people, decked in his fleece hoodie and jeans, to get to the shop.

Exasperated once he finally made it to The Queen’s Ink, he did as was instructed and found an employee to help him, and announced “I have a crafting emergency!” to which the entire gaggle of women, including the Queen herself, responded in fits of uncontrollable laughter. This ends the humor in the story– though it ended well– the finale scene being the presentation of tape refills to me along with the telling of the series of unlikely events leading up to the purchase.

In this case, thank you isn’t nearly enough so I’m hoping to come up with some sort of gesture that will adequately express my gratitude.

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Procrastination Pinecones

Over Thanksgiving in between laughing with family and friends, eating turkey and pie, playing games, shooting guns and crossbows, and the annual “critter roast” and Charlie Brown tree decorating at my Godparents’ house, my momma managed to squeeze in some time to teach my future sister-in-law and I how to make these ribbon pinecone ornaments.

They’re super-easy and take exactly one Christmas movie length to complete one ornament. (Rather convenient, if you ask me!)

There are many other things that currently demand my attention: finishing up the laundry, unloading the dishwasher, getting organized for the Happy Housewives winter craftstravaganza on Friday, decorating the tree which sits in the living room illuminated with white lights but no decorations, (And considering it’s a pre-lit tree, that’s not much of an accomplishment.) working on my handmade Christmas cards or holiday ornaments (which are not pinecones, mind you) or really a number of other tasks which need to be completed. But instead I perch cross-legged on the couch watching one of eleven holiday movies currently taking up space on the DVR, cutting and folding ribbon and pinning it to styrofoam egg shapes, happily creating. My only regret is that I didn’t think to mix up something yummy to bake in the oven while I “work.”

One day soon, when the weather is less dreary, (and by less dreary I mean that it’s not dark enough to turn on the outside Christmas lights at 1 pm) I will take the time to take some step-by-step photos and make up a tutorial so that you can learn how to waste time making ribbon pinecones also.

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Fancy Fall Candles

I made this candle in 2008 and have been meaning to write up a little tutorial for how to make these lovelies. I haven’t had the time in the 2 weeks since taking these photographs. (I’ve been reallllly busy.)

But really it’s quite simple. You gather various sewing pins, tiny beads, and pretty ribbon scraps.

You place the beads on the pins to decorate the pin heads and then use the fancy pins to attach the fancy ribbon.

See? I said it was easy.

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Christmas in July

Just in case you need further proof that I am running behind on just about everything I’ll share with you this, my little respite from our sweltering heat-wave:

I’m working on Christmas ornaments! No folks, I’m not planning ahead. This is catch-up from last year.

Maybe sometime in December I’ll get around to this season’s yearly gardening post. (Maybe.)

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