Thursday, November 26, 2009


That's what I'm thankful for. Hope everyone else's day was as great.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a winner! (and a recap)

and the winner is...

inthepeppermintwind!  Look for an email from me later today.  Thanks to everyone who visited and entered!  Another giveaway next week...this one for the super-exciting SMS giveaway day.  Can't wait to see what everyone has up for grabs.

Finally, a bit more about the Chicago Craft Social...what a terrific event!  I was a little worried about the social part of the craft social since I went solo, but everyone was friendly and we were certainly busy!  There were so many different tables to choose from that I didn't even have time to think about the knitting I'd brought.  The main thing I wanted to do was freezer paper stenciling (led by the master), but as a warmup I tried this cool project,

pear pendant
...which I love (but I still don't have a cord for it!).  Simple and so cute.  We mod-podged cutouts to wooden disks, sanded the edges, and then finished them with Diamond Glaze.  At first I was bothered by the little bubble (see it on the leaf?), but now I kind of like it.

The freezer paper stenciling was SO MUCH FUN--I'm kind of addicted.
slugbug t-shirt
The VW bug is kind of a family joke, and I thought it would be something Alex would like (of course he refused to wear it when I first showed it to him, but by the end of the day he didn't want to take it off).  The cutting part was fun, like doing a puzzle in reverse (though if the fps obsession continues, I might need one of these--the regular model is a little hard on the fingers).  And when you get to peel away the paper...coolest thing ever.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

for baby ben

Our neighbor and friend just had a baby boy, and as soon as he was born (so I knew the sex and the name), I got started on this:

and this:

We had a beautiful day yesterday, so I was able to get outside for some photos (unlike last week when I had to take every picture indoors since the sun was always hiding!).  We were also able to get the Christmas lights on the bushes...which is a good thing since weatherwise, it's apparently all downhill from here.

One more day for the giveaway!

Monday, November 23, 2009

luckily, fedex is open 24 hours a day...

The Small Fox Ornament Swap (first-annual, and I hope she does it again next year!) mailing deadline was Saturday, and I have never been late with a swap, but this was a close one.  I've had the sweaters felted and a sample made for ages, but I was a little busy last week (and we've been going through some bedtime issues around here too--put to bed, squawk, call/go upstairs, repeat until WAY too late), so my hopes of make it to the good ol' USPS by closing time were dashed.  And I almost ran out of glue, as in I was keeping the bottle upside down between applications.

I used this tutorial from the so-talented Betz White, and learned the following: I don't love making a bunch of the same thing (could I really need 16-20 circles per ornament?  Why yes, I could!),

...Alex will tolerate crafting and even help if I find the right task for him, and I have more research to do about how to felt a sweater for optimum finished texture--perhaps an email to Betz is in order?  She seems like someone who would answer.

I'm having a great time looking at the SMOS flickr pool, crossing my fingers that each ornament I see will find its way into my package.

Many thanks to Sarah for organizing!

**Off topic, don't forget about my little giveaway...there are still two days left to leave a comment.**

Friday, November 20, 2009

who wants a headband?

Or rather, who knows a little girl who wants a headband?

I had such a great time my guestblogging stint over at presserfoot, and the pattern is great, but a girl only needs so many of the same accessory.  I'd love for this one to go to a good home:

And with it, I'll send some covered-button hair elastics using fabrics from the other headbands I made this week (I had to get creative with the scraps!):

Give It a Go is just a baby, and I'm looking to make it as great as it can be.  To enter, just leave a comment on this post.  I'll use the good old RNG (if you get a second, read their explanation of how it works...and the "go somewhere random" button is kind of fun too!) to choose a winner Wednesday morning.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

my first giveaway!

My last presserfoot headband project was my favorite of the four by far...but since it's little-girl-sized, I'm giving it away!

A clue:

Check back on Friday afternoon to enter to win the real thing...(and a couple of other tiny surprises, too).

See you then!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

because fabric is prettier than cardboard...

I loved the fabric from Kelli & Rian so much that I couldn't let any of it go to waste.  Here's what I had left...

 after I finished this:

Much better than that glossy folded "case" you get with a gift card.  Tutorial in the sidebar.

Don't forget to check out two more headband posts: reversible and beribboned!

Also, Chipotle (recognize that gift card?  I linked in case you want to buy me one!) is the best food on planet Earth.  And, they're building a new one two blocks from my house.  Big trouble.  At least I'll have to cross a busy street to get there.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

headband happiness

My first Heather Ross headband post is up at presserfoot...go check it out!

Now back to the headband grind...tomorrow's version is reversible!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday smatterings

Just a few.  Because I should be in bed right now.

::  Christmas shopping is now in full swing.  Ordered this and this tonight, and have this (from here) waiting for a pretty cool nephew.
::  Speaking of Christmas, I will definitely be making these this year (Alex will love it when I hang skewered bread upside-down on dowels).
::  This was awesome.  And I saw someone I went to grade school with whom I haven't talked to in at least ten years.  Small(ish) world.  More on what I did later this week.
::  Alex has an imaginary friend.  It's a mouse.  We are not surprised.  Maybe he needs a mousehouse for Christmas?
::  Does everyone know about craftgawker?  I didn't even know about foodgawker, but it's probably best that I skip it altogether.  I'm having enough trouble avoiding the leftover Halloween candy. 
::  Tomorrow's the day!

OK, now I should really be in bed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

it's Friday...

and life is super.

I've got some pumpkin bread in the oven...
I joined another bee (someone stop me!...I can feel an addiction forming!)...
and I get to go to this tonight; can't can't can't wait.  Can't wait!

 Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

disappearing friendship block

The first block tutorial for the Block Party QA was up earlier this week, so I made a friendship star block using some of the fabric from my Christmas-quilt-in-progress, thinking it would be fun to incorporate it into the back.

Then I started thinking about this block, and wondered what would happen if I quartered the friendship star.  Fun ensued!  So many choices.

How about just sashing in between?

Not sure what to call this one:

I tried some other arrangements (note to self, when basement is finished, get a design wall cutting mat on the floor isn't so inspiring)--boats?  birds?--but finally settled on this one,

which I love because of the mini-star in the middle, and also because I think that a quilt with staggered rows of this block would look so cool--the quarter stars matched up with others in contrasting fabrics.

For some reason, I'm really into this quartering thing, or rather, into cutting and rearranging blocks.  Next up, I think I'll make a couple of other traditional blocks for quartering...maybe in some of the other fabrics from the Christmas quilt--might as well have a use for my experiment.

If you haven't heard about the Block Party blog and (companion flickr group) that inspired all of this, take a second to check it out.  What started as a virtual quilting bee has grown into a book deal for the admins, a quarterly quilt-along for anyone and everyone, and the flickr group...which has inspired a bunch of new bees, including mine!  I've been wanting to join one for a long time, but they seem to fill up so fast!  With so many interested people in one place, the flickr group was the perfect opportunity to start a new one.  The Bee's Knees is up and running, with a start date of January.  So excited!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

making progress

Well, I didn't quite finish the entire thing...but I did do all the knitting and start the blocking, which I'd say is pretty good for someone who's just finally over a nine-day stay from the swine cold (I never had a fever, but apparently this is possible?).  This is my first time blocking a knit (embarrassing to admit, but there, I said it!) and I have to say that I'm really enjoying it.  The blanket's visual success depends, I think, on corners as perfect as I can get them, and with so many knitters making the individual panels, some coaxing was required to get everything to match up.  I'm about a third of the way there (maybe some sort of faux pas in blocking? but such is life with a preschooler) and am really excited to see the difference the process will have made.

Back on task.

Another item from my November to-do list was that leaf wreath...which I contemplated giving up on till next year, because (did everyone know this but me?) the leaves are about finished falling before November even starts.  I have a door decoration for Halloween so I figured I'd wait till that was finished...but the leaves were mostly crackly and dirty and faded.  We made the best of it, and of the glorious day, by taking a family leaf collection walk yesterday, made all the more official by the fact that we were accompanied by a zookeeper who started out reluctant but took the "leaf collection" very seriously by the end.

I felt a little odd just walking up to people's parkways and taking their leaves, but nobody seemed to mind and I even met a new-to-me neighbor who asked me to please take them all. :)  It was actually kind of a rush to see a big pile of fresh-looking leaves (ooh! an apartment building!  They don't rake!) and then scurry over and bag as many as I could.

I ended up needing to make a repeat leaf run because, as Mollie mentioned, this thing took a lot of leaves.  I made the frame as suggested by Britt on her post at Infarrantly Creative, and then just started threading 'em on there.  What gave me the most bang for my leaves was using the taped sections for the sides, since the tape kept the leaves from falling and clumping at the bottom.  I actually added some extra tape at intervals along the sides and then again on the corners. 

We went to JoAnn's last night for some ribbon, but the line was way too long, so I went with this orange satin ribbon from a grab bag I bought a while back (best investment ever!).  Not my favorite, but for this year, it will be just fine.  Once I had it hung, I trimmed the stems, and it was finished. 

 Next year: brighter, fresher leaves...and maybe I'll splurge on the fancy ribbon.

Monday, November 09, 2009

good night, gorilla

Maybe it's a little late to be writing about Halloween, but since Alex is still wanting to wear this costume every waking moment, even out of the house, I hope you'll indulge me.

If you have small people at your house, you've probably read this book about sixty-five thousand times.  And you know what I mean when I say that I'm a little disappointed that the final costume didn't include a banana or a balloon, but a zookeeper only has two hands--so we went with the essentials.

The jumpsuit was adapted from the Raggedy Andy version of this pattern.  I shrunk the collar (a little too much, it turned out), lengthened the legs, and added a placket for velcro instead of using a zipper.  I made a tie with a velcro neck strap, and the belt was black cotton webbing with a black clicky buckle (that's a techincal term).  He wore brown topsiders because even though the perfectionist in me said they should be black like the book, the cheapskate in me won out and it turned out to be just fine.

The fun parts: the hat (a post all by itself, but basically I just crossed my fingers while I made it up as I went along--turns out to be my favorite part!), the patches, a flashlight, a stuffed gorilla ($2.50 on clearance!) and a mouse from this pattern...he turned out to be a little bit wonky due to some gauge issues, but nobody seemed to mind.  And the keys.  I love them.  Just felt sandwiched together, stitched, and cut.

Grandma helped me with the finishing touches at the very last minute, and I'd say it was a hit--both because people recognized him as being from GNG and because he still wants to wear it all. the. time.  As Grace mentions here, this is what makes late-night costume crafting worth it: the fun they have with their costumes after Halloween.

Friday, November 06, 2009

a pleasant surprise

You know how there's that person who will always volunteer to coordinate /run/organize something? That's me.

My oldest friend (really! I've known her since birth!) had her second baby in July. Her mom is my Godmother, and I'm to be the Godmother of this too-cute babe (make sense?)...definitely an honor. Theo's mom is a knitter, so her sister-in-law hosted a sip 'n stitch before he was born and asked me if I'd be willing to teach newbies how to knit. Sure. Could I help choose a project, so we weren't all just sitting around knitting for no reason? Sure. After lots of thinking, I finally remembered this beautiful blanket (check out all the awesome finished versions on Ravelry!).

Seemed perfect, since most of the pieces weren't huge, we could assign the biggest ones to people with experience, etc. More emailing ensues, we settle on this yarn to go with the baby's beautiful nursery, spreadsheets are constructed, I wind 14 balls of yarn, no problem--I can finish whatever the guests don't, it won't be much--we have the party, and...nobody really loves knitting.

Which leaves us (the knitters--there were five of us, and I think one other person who liked it enough to finish a rectangle) with lots and lots of garter stitch.

A couple of months later, Theo's mom brings me a bunch of the finished pieces. And there are still five left for me to do, plus I'm the one who's going to seam it all (party time!) and knit the edging.

Responsibly, I set it aside for Far Too Long.

Guilt creeps up on me. The baptism is approaching, and I really have to have it finished by then, plus I've got his gift to make. I've been plodding along on one of my pieces, but am imagining a really lot left to go. So today, full of dread, I pull it all out of the bag.'s not that bad! I discovered in laying out the blocks we have that my knitting must be really loose, so a piece I thought would fill one spot can actually (miraculously!) take the place of the biggest piece, and like dominoes falling, the whole thing all of a sudden seems pretty manageable.

When this kind of thing happens to me, I get in a mood...I want to finish this thing THIS WEEKEND. We'll see if I can pull it off.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

an exciting development!

Who reads presser foot?  If you don't, you should.  The concept is so smart--a blog that features a different project each month, with photos & explanations, along with finished projects.  Such cute things.

Anyway, they've been having monthly giveaways, where the winner gets fabric to make the month's selected project and then guest blogs about the process.  For November, they're doing three smaller projects that would be great for gifts, and I'm one of the winners!  I'm really excited to make two darling headbands from a pattern by Heather Bailey...the fabrics are beautiful.  I can't wait to see the other two projects too (because who doesn't need coasters or a zippered pouch?).  What fun.

And because a photoless post is no fun at all, here's an old one of Alex, which I thought of when I read this one...wish mine liked sweet potatoes as much as adorable Fiona does!

Can you even stand it?

Monday, November 02, 2009


November plus 1, actually.  Needed a breather after Halloween, which was really terrific this year...a recap later this week.  Out with the old...

and in with the new.

A few crafty goals for the month:

  • some kind of handmade Thanksgiving decoration (one for me, one for Mom, I hope!)
  • Theo's blanket (lots of nighttime TV garter stitch in my future...)
  • Theo's baptism handkerchief
  • project for tutorial (plus the tutorial!)
  • this wreath (my first mention in a blog post...kind of exciting for me!--the idea originally came from here--I hope there are still some pretty leaves left!)
  • finish Small Fox swap ornaments
  • Christmas quilt (finish top, piece backing, baste, bind, quilt)--I really want to be cuddled up under this thing come December 3rd (Thursday is an important TV night at our house)
  • Whatever the first block ends up being for this cool project--check it out!
  • Christmas cards designed, drafted, to printer, ready for assembly (my goal mail date is December 10)
  • Alex's (handmade--more on that later) Christmas gift--designed & supplies bought
  • Knit a tiny Santa hat--for the turkey!
We'll see if that's doable.  My husband is probably starting to sweat (I tend to get a little crazy this time of year), but it's nice to have it all in one spot.  Off to cut some ornament felt!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

a special kind of solitude

Which for me, actually, comes in a very public place.

I love me a train ride.

Not sure I would really love a train commute, but my once-in-a-while suits me just perfectly.  Maybe because I'm wearing something a little more interesting than usual.  Maybe because I'm guaranteed a little bit of quiet time.  Maybe just because it means I'm going into the city (miss living there, kind of), and am about to do something fun (like this time, which turned out to be a great dinner followed by my best experience in a theater, ever). 

But no matter where I'm headed, I think I might look forward to the train ride the most.

There are train ride rituals: a snack, some (audio and in this case kind of gratuitous) reading, some knitting, and some being alone.  I always bring a notebook, planning to make lists and draw craft ideas, but usually don't get to it...just having it along is what's important.

This trip, I finished (finally!) the first knitting project on my kind-of-long list.  Cast off ten minutes before I got off the train, and thought dropping the stitches would take a couple of minutes (don't stitches seem to drop in an instant when you don't want them to?)--just kidding, took me the whole train ride home too.  No matter, it's delivered now.

 I love it.  I hope my mom loves it too.