Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Noel Pillow

Hi Friends!

One last item got crossed off the list before the New Year! Hooray!

I actually started working on it about five days before Christmas. As you might have surmised-from this post, this one, or this one (and I could find at least five more!)-once I get an idea in my head it is hard for me to move forward until that idea comes to fruition. That meant, I had to make this before I could start wrapping presents, shopping or cooking for Christmas dinner.

I finished this little piece of cross stitch two years ago but hadn't done anything with it.
It's the Noel cross stitch in the back
And I had this piece of fabric my mom's friend, Diane, had sent to me a while ago that just needed to be loved.
Don't they look nice together?
I was having a discussion with my mom over FaceTime about what to do with both of them. At first I was thinking a wall hanging but, almost simultaneously, we said "pillow." The best part was I had just bought a brand new pillow form at Goodwill for $2 and it was burning a hole in my pocket (so to speak). 

I used this YouTube tutorial and it was easy as pie. Except sometimes I can be a Grade A Idiot and I somehow messed it up (I think I didn't measure my pillow form correctly; I may have eyeballed it.) 

 I found a smaller pillow form and it was still too big so I modified it slightly by taking an inch off the whole darn thing. And it looked like this:
Not too shabby

But the back looked like this:
Not acceptable
So I added another panel to one of the envelope flaps to lengthen it and the back looked good:
Yay, I fixed it!
But....I attached the whole thing backwards and the front looked like this:
Back to unacceptable
If you can't tell, that's the back of the cross stitch. 

At this point I really was starting to question my sewing abilities.

I put it down for a night, took it apart once more and (finally) got it right. 

Close-up of the cross stitch

Here it is, in all its glory:

I think it turned out pretty well!

I hope you are finishing some last minute crafts at home. Don't forget to submit a picture to me by December 30 and I will enter you to win a $25 gift certificate to JoAnn's.

I have some ideas for the New Year and can't wait to share them with you.

Keep on Crafting!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Last Ornament Post, I swear

Before Christmas, I was working hard. After I finished the ornaments from the last post, I took another look around my sewing area and realized I had these ornaments as well to finish.

I just love the simplicity of these ornaments. I do remember them being super fast to whip up! 

Here's how I finished them to hanging quality: 

1. All three of the ornaments (there are two girl ornaments for both my daughters) were on one piece of Aida, so I cut them out giving them a 1" border all around. They ended up being 5.25" x 6" finished. 

2. I then cut out the same size of batting and backing fabric. I decided to use batting as a stabilizer as well as to fill it out a little more and make it hang better. 

3. I cut out 3 4" pieces of navy grosgrain ribbon. I formed a loop with the ribbon and layered it along with the backing, batting and Aida and pinned everything together. I added a pin to the ribbon to keep it in place. 

4. I stitched a second border 1/4" from the design.

5. Using pinking shears, I cut right along the 1/2" border being very careful when I got the ribbon so as to not cut it. 

You are done!

They look this cute:

What are you working on? Something for CraftBusters? Remember, the deadline is December 30th!

Happy Crafting!


Don't forget, you can follow me on Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Clay Ornament Recipe and Mommyhood Failings

Let's be honest, it's sometimes fun to read about the failings of others. Not horrific failings but, you know, that the bloggers we follow don't live in a world of perfectly iced cookies, seams that aren't always perfectly mitered, and children who don't happily occupy themselves for hours on end so they can finish whatever project they are working on.

Frankly, I don't know how other bloggers do it. Do they have help with the housework? With the cooking? Do they just order take out every night? Do they trip over trains in their living rooms their entire houses? 'Cause that happens over here (sadly not the help with the housework or the cooking). That's how things get done.

Unfortunately, even under the most perfect circumstances, things can go horribly awry over here. I'd like to tell you about it.

On top of all the stuff that has to get done at Christmas time, I received the notice my kindergartner needs to bring 18 gifts for each of the kids in her class. Of course, being me, we have to hand make them. I can't go out and buy 18 tiny tubs of Play Dough, or 18 pencils with cute Christmas-themed erasers. That would be way too easy. No, like a dummy, we have to make something. From scratch. Big mistake.

I decided that we should make ornaments. It's no harder than making cookies, right? I thought about the cinnamon ornaments you see everywhere but the dough is so finicky and my arms break out in a rash from mixing all that cinnamon and applesauce together. Plus, they take forever to dry out and harden. I didn't want to make salt dough ornaments but I did find this recipe for clay-like ornaments (see below).

So pretty! So easy!

They were really easy to put together and I added silver glitter right to the dough to give them a little pop.  I used both regular sized cookie cutters and these little mini cookie cutters in the shapes of snowflakes and gingerbread women/men. I diligently poked a hole at the top of each ornament before baking them but what I didn't do was make the hole big enough in the mini ornaments to thread anything through-not ribbon, not dental or sewing floss, nothing. Even though we had made them a week before they were due, I didn't notice the hole situation until 9PM the night before she was supposed to bring them to class and we didn't have enough of the big ornaments for everyone.

So cute! So useless!

Cue the mild cursing to myself.

I came up with a (lame) alternative and was done in less than hour but still.....

So Boring. 

Learn from my mistakes People! Poke big enough holes in your ornaments!

Recipe for Ornament Clay

1/2 c cornstarch
1 c baking soda
3/4 c water

Mix all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. As the mixture warms it will get thicker and thicker. When it looks kind of like mashed potatoes, take it off the heat, cover with a damp cloth and let it cool. It doesn't take that long to cool but I couldn't get to mine until about four hours later and it was still perfectly workable.

Once cool, knead it together using extra cornstarch if it is too sticky.

I used two 1/4" square dowels as a guide to make the dough an even 1/4" consistency while rolling it out and then used cookie cutters to cut out the shapes.

Lay out all your creations on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Using a straw, poke a hole at the top of each ornament. From experience, a toothpick is not big enough. Bake at 175 degrees (F) for 30 minutes, than rotate the cookie sheets and bake for another 30 minutes. Let cool.

Once cool, you can paint them to your heart's desire or just leave them white.

A few add-ins:
When kneading the dough, I added in silver glitter and kept on kneading the dough to distribute it evenly. I probably used about 1 cup of glitter but I just kept on adding more until I thought there was enough. In hindsight, I would either add more, or use a finer glitter; the stuff I used was pretty big.

You can also try adding food coloring to the water before you mix everything together.

(Slightly adapted from Tips from a Typical Mom Blog )

Whatever you do, have fun! And poke big enough holes!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Ornament Tutorial for Framing

Hi Friends!

I am super excited to post today because I have crossed off #9 on The List! I even have a pretty easy tutorial on how to finish them.

But first,  a little story. On Saturday afternoon we were driving to my son's Christmas Concert (3 year olds singing Christmas songs would melt even the iciest of hearts, tbh) and I mentioned to my husband that I wasn't feeling very fulfilled creatively. I read a number of blogs and follow a number of crafters on Instagram and seems like they are just finishing projects left and right and I'm not getting anything done. As I was unpacking all of my sewing and crafting supplies, I realized I have WAY WAY WAY too many projects that haven't been started (hence, this blog and a topic for another day) and that overwhelming feeling has been following me around for the past couple of weeks. So last night when we got home and the kids passed out in their beds I realized I had to make the decision to actively work to get my projects done.

I thought about what I could accomplish in about two hours since I still need a decent amount of sleep and realized I could probably put together all of the Christmas ornaments I had cross stitched and hang them on the tree this year!

I used little plastic gold frames for these ornaments. My mom bought me a whole bunch a few years ago and now it is time to use them. These frames didn't come with any backing in them so I used the cardboard on the back of a giant pad of paper I bought the kids from the Dollar Store as backing.

I used the frames as a guide to cut circles out of the cardboard and backing material.
Happy Little Circles
 I then used the cardboard as a guide to cut out the cross stitch material as well. Holding it up to a light helped to center the cross stitch.
Sometimes, I have a good ideas!
I used Elmer's Multi-PUrpose Spray Adhesive.

I used old Thomas the Train placemats as work surface. Be aware, though, that Elmer's Glue has a wide spray area; my 12 1/2" square ruler was just to the left of this placemat and it got covered in glue. 

No Glue
 Spray that circle!
Lots of Glue!
I stuck the backing material to the sticky side of the cardboard circle. As you can see, my cardboard circles and my fabric circles were somehow not the same size. I just cut the fabric to fit the circle.
How hard is it to cut circles?

I sprayed the opposite side of the circle and stuck the cross stitch onto it, trying very hard to make sure the design was as close to the middle of the circle as possible.

Yes, the Gingerbread Lady has no eyes. 
 Once I had both the cross stitch and the backing material on the circle I just kind of jammed it into the frame. I had to do a little finagling with scissors to get the thing to fit but they turned out fine.




Candy Cane Heart


A few thoughts or, rather, learn from my mistakes.

1. After you cut out the cardboard circles, make sure that they fit into the frame. The first one I made, I used the inside of the frame to make my cardboard circle and after I had cut both the backing fabric and the cross stitch pattern I realized it was too small for the frame.
I wasn't feeling the joy when I realized I had done this! 

2. There's nothing saying you have to use the fabric on the back; I did because I thought it looked pretty. That being said, if I had to do it over again, I might have layered a piece of lightweight batting between the cardboard and the cross-stitch design in order to give it a little more....oomph. 

3. I've had these for so long but I'm pretty sure they are all JanLynn designs. 

That's it! I'm so happy to finish something that was on my List! What's even better is I have crossed off two more items (one by default but it still counts, right?). I'll be talking about the next one later in the week. 

So, what are you working on these days? Trying to get ready for the holidays? Anything you want to submit for December CraftBusters? Remember to get your submission into me by December 30 in order to win a $25 gift certificate to JoAnns (US Residents only, please). 

Have a Happy Week!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Writer's Block

Hi Friends!

I have some serious writer's block. I sit down to write anything and it feels like all I am doing is complaining. I have some great things to share with you about this season of waiting, this season of Advent, and how it is influencing my art but it just feels like I am whining. So, I'll just share some pictures of the Advent and Christmas things we have going on around the house.

First! I cleaned up my sewing and crafting area....well, cleaned it up enough to actually see the table and even use it if need be!

I have not accomplished much on the cross stitch front this week. I think the only new stuff is the little bit of red there on the right and some brown on the left side of the chair. At least it's something!

My favorite Christmas tradition is the trimming of the tree. This year was the first year the older kids got really into it and it was just so much fun. 

This is our empty manger because.....

...Mary and Joseph are traveling towards it (apparently with the help of Santa Claus and maybe a light saber as a night light. I don't know). 

Here is our Advent Wreath (ignore the previously lit candles....). We have had some serious wind in the last few weeks so I was able to walk my front yard and neighborhood and use fallen greenery to help make the wreath.

I hope that in this time of preparation you are finding time to just slow down and to be present. 

Happy Advent!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

December CraftBusters!

Hi Friends!

Did you think I forgot about CraftBusters? I didn't. I thought about it a lot in November and even talked to my husband about whether or not I should spend the time promoting it, but he agreed with me that we needed to focus on the move and the family.

And, yes, it is December 4 but I am ready to do CraftBusters for this month!

So what's the plan?

Finish something that you have in your stash of unfinished projects and email me a picture of your completed project, along with a brief description, and I will enter you into a contest to win a $25 gift certificate to JoAnn's. You need to get your entries to me by December 30 and I will post all the entries and pick a winner on December 31st! I do have to limit this contest to US Residents.

You can send me your entries via email at sewingbl@gmail.com or you can also send them to me through a PM on Facebook (If you haven't already, Like me on Facebook as well!)

I'm going to try and find something I can finish as well!

Let's see what we all make!

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December Already!

Hello Friends!

I don't know about the rest of you but November was gone in a FLASH and December is here and, while I'm not entirely unprepared for the onslaught that is December, I think I could have used one more week of November in order to prepare myself. Does that make any sense?

Don't get me wrong: I have scaled WAY back this year in terms of expectations for myself and what I can accomplish for Christmas. I made the right decision when I had all of the my Christmas decoration boxes moved to the corner of the living room as we were moving in so I knew where they were. Most of my decorations are up and I'm making mental notes of what I want to do differently next year but I just can't go nuts trying to make my house look entirely put together for Christmas, and continue to unpack, and do all the normal day-to-day things that have to get done. This would not be a happy household come Christmas.

That huge into does lead me into the crafting portion of the blog! I kind of, sorta starting putting together my sewing space in the family room. This is what it looks like now:


Such Bad Lighting!

No room for crafting!

Our plan is to have both my sewing area and my husband's art area incorporated into the family room with all the kids' stuff so we can all do our thing but not be separated from each other. The kids can play/watch a movie while I sew and my husband paints, draws or builds stuff. I'll let you know how that goes!

I've got to find homes for everything, even if that home is the thrift store and that will be happening soon! I've got one giant box of stuff ready to donate and now that I've got the kids' toys out...you know more stuff is going to get donated! 

As I've stated in other posts, the way I kind of keep myself together is to always have a little something to work on once the kids are in bed. For a while I was making cross stitch Christmas ornaments but I got tired of making them; the patterns were cute but the color schemes were awful: so much fluorescent orange. I was talking to my sister last week and she mentioned she needed to start her son's Christmas stocking and I thought that was a pretty good place to go next in my cross stitching. 

"But Kate! Wait!! You just said above you weren't going to put any undue pressure on yourself to finish stuff by Christmas!"

Yes, I know. I have no plans to finish the stocking for this Christmas but I do have every intention of finishing it by next Christmas. 

Anyway, here's where I am at with it:

You can't tell right now but that's the backside of a chair and a fireplace grate. Well, I'm gonna get back to it! 

What are you working on for Christmas 2014? or Christmas 2015? 

Have a Happy Week


Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm still here!

Hi Friends!

I haven't abandoned you, I promise!

Random pick of my little dinosaur still loving his hoodie!
We sold our house in September and had to be out by mid-November so starting November 1 we were in full on packing mode! I haven't had any of my sewing or crafting gadgets for close to three weeks! Usually I would be getting a bit itchy with no creative outlet, but I have been so exhausted by the time I had some time to craft that usually I just go to bed!

We moved into our new home this past Tuesday and we have been furiously unpacking. I'm trying to get at least my kitchen and my own bedroom in some semblance of normalcy before tackling getting the rest of the house organized and in some working order before I start decorating for Christmas.

Oh yes, I WILL decorate for Christmas.

What will be the living room one day.....
I was hoping to maybe get my sewing/crafting area up and going this weekend but I have had a minor snafu: while bringing the kids home from school this afternoon we were involved in a very minor car accident. The kids and I are fine, thank God, but I am a little sore.  Either way, I want to take it a little easy this weekend to rest up and get healthy before the Thanksgiving (I'm hoping for Tacosgiving in my family!) fun begins.

Found this little guy in the new garage! Why do I love it so much?
I'm hoping I can get the house up and rolling again and we can start December off with a BANG!

Take care,


Friday, October 31, 2014

CraftBusters Winners!

Man, it has been busy these last few days! Packing, finishing costumes, Halloween parties, field trips to pumpkin patches. This whole week has flown by but I haven't forgotten about all of you!

First,  we had a couple of entries for October's CraftBusters Project.

Edith sent in a purple trivet she made for a friend and Robin finished a Christmas stocking! They are both great. I used a random number generator and the winner is Edith! Congratulations Edith! You win a $25 gift certificate to JoAnns. 

We will do a CraftBusters again for November. The last day for submissions will be November 29! 

Halloween has been fun tonight! We hit about a dozen houses and maybe because my kids looked particularly cute (I'm not biased or anything), but they got handed handfuls of candy. As I write this, Ben (who has only had a lollipop) is running around in circles yelling, "I need more candy! I need more candy!" 

He cried with the tail on; refused to wear it!

The only one where they all sat still!

The tail did get some use: Daddy wore it to work!

It was a really great Halloween! Hope you all enjoyed it.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween and Christmas!

Christmas?!?! Christmas!?! No, not Christmas!

I know. Christmas has been shoved down our throats since mid-Septmeber. But, as a crafter, you gotta think ahead. In fact, October is too late in some ways to start Christmas projects. Every year, at the end of October, I start thinking about Christmas and what Christmas project I want to get done when, really,  I should start thinking about Christmas in July.  Or, let's be honest, January.

I know every year is busy for everybody but this year we are moving in less than three weeks. I know from Christmas' past that if I start a Christmas project in mid-NOvember, I will make myself miserable. In fact, I had to say no to a friend who asked if I wanted to make Jesse Tree ornaments with her this year. It's just not gonna happen.

But-I do have to find a way to keep myself happy and sane in the midst of real estate negotiations and packing.  One of the ways I do that is to cross stitch. Making little ornaments means everything is pretty small and compartmentalized. I mean look at this little bag: everything fits.

Thank you PhotoBooth!

So, for the past few nights after the kids have gone to bed and I've packed one more box for the day (just hoping I don't need anything out of it for the next month), I've been binge watching old stuffy British cinema and television while I stitch away.

So far I have made these:

I like the train but I don't particularly like the angel. That bright orange you see is not your screen---it's the actual angel's dress and I don't like it. Call me traditional but bright orange does not belong at Christmas. I'm working on another ornament with candy canes and the bright orange is in there as well. I'm thinking I need to substitute with another color. 

However, I'm not putting the pressure on myself to have them ready to hang on the tree by Christmas-if it happens, great. If not, there's always next year!

As for Halloween, I finished my oldest daughter's costume. She wants to be a FlutterFly. This is her description of a FlutterFly:

A FlutterFly has yellow stars on one sleeve and moons on the other with rainbow polka dots on the front of the shirt. A FlutterFly has wings with Hello Kitty stickers, a pink tutu and tights with green stars. And antenna. A FlutterFly has to have antenna. 

What is a FlutterFly?  I couldn't tell you.

I had her pick out an old shirt and I used that as the basis for her FlutterFly costume. I used felt and Steam-A-Seam to adhere the stars, moons and polka dots to the shirt. Luckily, I had some fabric leftover from the Pennant Quilt that had rainbow polka dots on it.  Here's her shirt:

I just love five-year-olds and their sense of style. I hope she keeps her fantastic sense of fashion and individuality forever!  She won't try it on until I put the whole outfit together so we all can wait with baited breath for how it will turn out. Awesome, for sure! 

Keep on Crafting!