Monday, December 26, 2011

copy cat holiday...

Imitation is the best form of flattery, right? I hope so. I fell in love with this beautiful wreath that Angela put together. Normally I am not into making exact replicas, but I liked the color choices, the positioning, and the types of flowers she used. I also got to experiment with some felt flower tutorials. Specifically, I used rolled, circle, and rose bud flowers. I am so thankful that she shared her project!

This was a wonderfully economical project - the yarn I used was some I found when we cleared out my grandma's farm before the auction, I had some of the felt, and of course I had spray glitter [how festive, don't you think? :] Normally I prefer 100% wool or wool felt, but all of the greens in this wreath are plain old regular craft felt. The bright colors are just not readily available in wool felt. Since this won't receive any washing and only light wear & tear, I am certain it will hold up.

It is hanging on the door to our pantry in our kitchen. Though I had dreamed that it would find a home on our front door, the doors are too close together and the flowers ended up smooshed. [at least it is hanging on the front door for my pictures]

Here are a few of the crafty Christmas gifts that I actually finished. I made a few festive tea towels; this deer is a copy of one I did last Christmas, which was a take on a paperchase design.

I also made some string block hot pads. I like the scrappy look of them, hopefully their new owners will enjoy them as well! I hope that you all had wonderful holidays - and perhaps there is still some holiday merriment in your near future)

** perhaps an important note: this wreath is just for my personal enjoyment, it's never proper etiquette to copy someone else's ideas and then sell them :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

around the house [in way less than 80 days]...

This post goes out to those home dec/improvement projects that [sadly] do not warrant a whole blog post all to themselves. Above is the last of my outdoor-furniture-recovering-extravaganza. Again using my crazy low priced JoAnn's fabric.

My New York Beauty is finally quilted, bound, and hanging in its rightful place in our dining room. I still love the 'I-Spy' of it all - seems like a treasure hunt every time I walk by it! I have the pattern and the fabric stack for a pickle dish quilt, but it has to get in line behind my pile of UFOs. Also not quite ready for another intensive paper piecing project. [You can read all about my adventures with NYB blocks here]

New curtains for the bathroom! The former curtains were faded and on their last leg, so it was definitely time for a change.

This is the first time I have made a shade that operated like this one - fairly simple, but looks and works well. I used the same book that I did to make my roman shades in this post.

Currently have some top secret Christmas projects in the works. Hoping to share an update on my quilt swap blocks this week.

Friday, December 2, 2011

yes, my house is aqua...

Did you ever [temporarily] forget that you live a small rural community, with traditional little houses painted white, tan, or grey? Where even a yellow house is a bold move? Only to drive home and see the 2" swatch of color you chose is now the entire side of your house? No? It's only me that thinks beach houses can exist in the midwest [hours from a lake, let alone the ocean]?

This summer our house underwent a transformation from unnoticeable to unmistakable. The house has received mixed reviews - but we get quite a few compliments and people seem to think it 'looks like me.' [hopefully this does not mean I look like a 2 story aqua house]

These are just a few of the before and afters I took. We had the front porch completely ripped off and rebuilt to look like the original. [on a funny note - at the 'porch ripped off stage' one of our neighbors shared how nice the house was looking... hmm wonder how bad the house looked before :]

We only intended to replace the floor, but apparently the two bricks serving as a 'foundation' do not meet current construction standards. It was fun to see the porch come back to life!

It may be worth noting that the 'before' pictures were taken after our house was power-washed - so we the paint was definitely in need of a new coat, but not as bad as in these pictures.

Lookey, lookey - no more suicide door! The former owners ripped a decaying balcony off the house. So for years we have been living with a door to nowhere.

We are enjoying our porch - as is Miss Sophie :D {new cushions for our wicker furniture made with my 60cent/yard home dec fabric courtesy of JoAnn's moving sale!}

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

past presents [aka aprons i made]...

Here I am - blogging; astonishing really... Between two full time jobs, a part time job, technical issues, and a variety of other things [known as life] I have sadly neglected my blog, as well as my online persona. So let's give this a try - really, I have things to blog about, heck, I even have pictures edited of things to blog about :D Let's ease back into this, a few pictures, brief descriptions, nothing fancy...

I like aprons. I like to wear them. I like to make them. I like to gift them. The folks in my FCS classroom [I am long term subbing currently] think aprons are a strange, foreign concept reserved for black and white pictures of grannies. I however, know better - they are clothes savers and even fashion statements in their own right. Above is the one I made [for myself] that I wear when we cook in class. I love those crazy veggies! The Emmeline Apron is easy, fabulous, and reversible! This one has a Sweetwater floral print on the back.

Yes, it is another Emmeline Apron [I actually made 3]. This is my best pal Jordan - she works at a coffee shop and needed an apron [though she decided she didn't want to bleach it up, so she doesn't actually wear it to work...]

Nope, I don't know what pattern I used to make this apron for my sister's housewarming gift. I think it's super cute with a vintage vibe.
Well, that wasn't so difficult - hope to be back online Friday with some more things to share! Thanks for sticking with me :D

Sunday, October 30, 2011

back online!

for the past few weeks I have had a 6" black line running vertically down the screen of my computer... a new display later and I am back in business! It was incredibly hard to do anything, let alone edit photos in photoshop, so I am excited to share what I have been up to! talk soon :D

Friday, September 23, 2011

our first fair!

For all of my local readers... We are having our first Handmade with a Purpose Craft Fair to raise money for Young Life in our area. There are lots of great vendors lined up and it's for a great cause - so it would definitely be worth stop by to check it out!

Here are the details:

When? Saturday, September 24, 2011
What Time? 10am-5pm
Where? Miller Avenue Elementary
Admission? Free!

Monday, September 19, 2011

recipe box redu...

I have a crush on vintage advertising and labels. The wonderful artwork, the neat fonts, the retro colors - the sense of nostalgia. When we cleared out my grandparent's home for auction a few years ago there was no shortage of ephemera. My great-grandparents built the house, and like many during the depression years, they saved everything!

One of the carry overs of food packaging that has lasted to this day, is the inclusion of recipes. [usually the recipe calls for another product that the manufacturer makes] Some of the recipes I found were much more appetizing than others, but the artwork was lovely. I am a big fan of the old school Betty Crocker cookbooks with the 'sketchy' looking art, so I was super excited when I found these 'free with purchase' recipes.

I already had the wooden box, it just needed a handle for the top. With trusty modge podge at my side, I went to work. Some scrapbook paper, vintage images, and even a few of my grandma's handwritten recipes later, I had a great place to store my little tin recipe boxes and all of the misc. recipes I have printed off from websites that were previously hanging out in my cupboard.

The result is a little kitsch - just the way I like it. I hoping that it will encourage me to try out more new recipes and to cook at home more often [too bad I can't reach into the box and pull time out :]

Monday, September 12, 2011

baby bandwagon...

This summer quite a few new additions came to our town. [which meant some baby showers were on my schedule] As I have mentioned before, I really enjoy making baby quilts - you get to try out new techniques, you aren't committed to a giant project, + I get to give a personal, handmade gift! I hope that these little quilts will see alot of snuggle time :)

This is Zak. [really wish I could take credit for the adorable cap!]

I was completely inspired by this retro-esque backing fabric! It screamed to be made into something for a little cowboy.

The stars are paper-pieced and [I think] go along with the western theme. The patchwork was a great way to use my humble stash of American Jane 4-in-1 prints. Awesome backing fabric + stars +knotting = a great vintage vibe!

This is Emili. [this is a pre-delivery pic - but take my word for it, Little Miss Calli is ADORABLE!]

This is their bedding - I tried to stay in a similar colorway and this line has some plums in it. I've always been a fan of coin quilts and with a candy bar of Fandango in hand, I went to work. It went together fairly quickly, more than a few layout revisions on the design wall.

To personalize it a little more, I embroidered her name. This is my first real attempt at machine quilting with a darning foot. Not terrible this being one of the few things I have quilted, I was fairly happy with myself. I hope both of these quilts will be part of many fond memories for these first time moms :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

months gone by [in the nittany block party]...

Yes, I am a little behind in SHOWING my blocks for the past many moons from the Nittany Block Party, but I am happily on time with FINISHING them :) I'm not sure why a whole month to sew one block always seems like a stretch. Given the right month, I could probably push out a whole bed sized quilt. For me, it seems like there is always a bit of anxiety that comes with making a block for someone else - if it is a creative task, there is always the question of the other persons taste; if it is a 'make this block' month, I am worried about the limited amount of fabric provided in the event of an oops moment. I feel quite accomplished to be getting my blocks on their merry way home on time and in the correct month. April's block for Tracy - using THIS tutorial. Great block, definitely testing my hst skillz. May's block for Freida - love how the coal kona sets off all of those little colorful prints! The hst inquisition continues. June's block for Amanda - using THIS tutorial. Beautiful, simple... and, yes, filled with hst's! July's block for Jessica - using THIS tutorial. Definitely a new one for me. I really enjoyed building this one [even if it did end up 1/4" off - seriously not sure how that happened, perhaps something to do with not having a 'true' 1/4" seam allowance and tons of seams] I was up in August and I cannot wait to show you more of that project :) Block swaps are wonderful ways to connect with fellow crafters and to learn new skills! If you haven't joined in on the action, I would suggest you check out this flickr group. Remember not to over-commit; start out with one bee and make sure that you can keep up with that one.

Friday, September 2, 2011

aaahh! not real monsters...

* no monsters were harmed in the making of these pillows :)
Following my last post, I am fairly certain my grandma never made any monster pillows.

I came up with these guys on my own - using the faux fur as inspiration. I can't figure out which one I like best - though the one with glasses bares a striking resemblance to my husband :)

I'm calling these guys book buddies [at least that's the name I have arrived at for now]. Great for old and young alike, the pocket in the back is the perfect stash for a newspaper, crafty inspiration book, or a favorite Little Golden Book. They are up for grabs in my etsy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

fun & games [outside]...

Today we begin some work on the outside of our home, so I thought it only fitting to show you some projects I have worked on that find themselves in the out of doors. First up is a set of cornhole boards and bags. [I am not sure if the game cornhole translates everywhere, so here is a quick run through of the game]

This was definitely a handmade project - one of our high school friends built the boards for us and the I painted and varnished them. We used these instructions, and found them pretty clear and easy to follow.

I bought the home dec fabric for the bags before painting the boards, which meant I could paint them to coordinate :) Interestingly, I paid more for the half yards it cost to make these bags than I did a few weeks later for the entire bolt of fish fabric! [read more here] Always something new: to finish these bags I had my first experience at the feed mill! They were a little curious about what I was going to do with such a small amount of feed corn [perhaps they thought I had a really tiny chicken]

Another outdoor addition to our home is a lovely and relaxing hammock! Definitely not handmade, but we did assemble the stand all by ourselves :) We are enjoying these last days of summer. It's so strange; first it was too hot to enjoy the season, now it is beginning to feel like fall already! If anyone knows where the summer has gone to, leave me a comment, maybe I can get some of it back :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

not your grandma's crafter...

Last week me and my friend Jordan went to see Death Cab for Cutie [and it was amazing!!]. I have seen Death Cab and Weezer in concert now, so I think I may just be good for the rest of my life. This is what I have been thinking this week...

My ipod is littered with the likes of Death Cab, Weezer, Mumford & Sons, Imogen Heap, MGMT, Edward Sharpe...
I get inspiration from indie [and indie-ish] films like Life Aquatic and Amelie...
My bff wears skinny jeans and has a feather in her hair...
I use words like bff, stellar, and occasionally epic...
I'm like this [picture middle finger crossed over index finger] with my imac...
Photoshop is my friend...
I have never met most of my quilty friends in real life, I know them through flickr and blogger...

In the words of my friend Wolf Boy 'this is me, this is who I am, this is real life!'

I like to watch Portlandia...
[and I like to put birds on things]

I am not my grandma's crafter, but it is cool to be connected through an art form to generations past.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the loot. the warrant. the crook.

This blog post is a tribute to the many hours of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego that I watched on PBS at my grandma's house growing up. Anybody remember Rockapella? The LOOT? that would be the bolts pictured above. Yards and yards of some fun decorator fabrics. Some for totes, some for new porch furniture cushions, some with destinies unknown.

The CROOK? That would be me, at least that is how I felt when I left JoAnn's the other day. Our local JoAnn Fabrics is closing - but only closing to reopen about 5 miles away in a new, bigger location! Apparently the powers that be decided that it is cheaper to liquidate and re-buy for the new store than it is to move the inventory a few miles down the road. [this includes all of the furniture and racks in the store as well]

The WARRANT? Well, at least the evidence. I am saving this receipt, I have just never spent around $35 and saved over $400! The fabric was 75% off, then if you bought the whole bolt, it was an additional 75% off. [if you do some quick math, that means most of this fabric was 63 cents per yard] I also bought gobs of trim, including yards and yards of pink pom-pom fringe that had the same discount.

Before I go, I wanted to share a sneak peak of the latest 'in-the-works' project... Can't wait for it to be finished! I would love to hear about the greatest steal/deal that you ever got!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the age of aquarium...

Meet the newest addition to our household: Steve Zissou. Of course named after Bill Murray's character in The Life Aquatic - a wonderfully quirky Wes Anderson movie. The backdrop is a print out of the opening credits from the movie - and Steve has his very own Deep Search mini sub! Interestingly, I have a friend who also has a fantail goldfish named Klaus. She has never seen the movie, but managed to name her fish after Steve Zissou's sidekick in the film. Hoping to carve out some crafting time today...