craft projects, sewing

FO: Valentine’s Countdown

Yesterday, I promised a full post on the Valentine’s Countdown, and thanks to some lovely comments on it, I decided to do the full post today!

stitching-countdown

The Sugar House Shop, where I purchased the pattern for BK’s advent calendar, posted some new countdowns earlier this month, and I found I was helpless to resist. When I purchased materials for the Christmas calendar, I had also purchased the materials for the birthday countdown to get free shipping (I know I’m not the only one who commits to multiple projects just for free shipping, right?). And it just so happened that the ice cream colors I chose for the birthday countdown were almost an exact match for the Valentine’s Countdown.

I decided to see how much I could squeeze out of the 9×12″ felt sheets I had purchased for the birthday countdown, and it easily handled an ice cream scoop, two hearts and I still have half of it left over (yes, this means I will probably make even more of these projects :-)).

I swear, this project just flew by. I enjoyed it so much!

I only made one small change, which is that the pattern called for some printable Stick ‘N Stitch, which I could not find locally. I did some research, and found out that the new printer Mr Snips recently bought for us allowed you to print a mirror image of your file. So I did that, and used the iron-on transfer pen instead. It worked out great!

countdown close-up

I only have one regret on this project, and it is that I only used the white floss on the dark pink hearts. I think I should have also used it on the purple. BUT – BK loves dark pink so much and she really likes the purple/pink combo, so I’m trying not to feel too bad about it. It’s difficult to read the purple ones from far away, but just fine if you’re near.

In fact, she loved the combo so much, she requested it for my one addition to this project. I recently found out that she can write her name backwards flawlessly, so I had her write her name backwards in iron-on transfer pen, and then I transferred it to a purple heart. I stitched over it with some pink, and now we will have a permanent memento of how sweetly her little 4-year-old hands write her name in 2018. It is, in fact, my favorite heart. And she will really like it because it means she will get a 15th chocolate out of it. I plan to fill the little hearts with a combination of Hershey’s Kisses and Andes Mints, both of which are the perfect size for these sweet little pockets. countdown with candy

Here’s the big ta-da!

full-countdown

I’ll leave you with just one pro tip on this one. When threading the floss through the top to string them all together, using a safety pin was making me crazy. I pulled out a long plastic tapestry needle from my knitting bag, and it sailed through the tops like a breeze!

Now bring on January 31st, so we can fill this up! 🙂

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child, craft projects, knitting, life, mittens, sewing, Three on Thursday, winter

Three things I’ve finished recently

valentines-closeup

Hi everyone! It has been a couple of weeks full of changes. I made the decision recently that I would become a full-time stay-at-home mom to my 4-year-old daughter, and left my job in mid-January. I’m very lucky to be in a place where I can make this decision. So far, it’s been great. I think we’ve yet to find the exact rhythm of our weeks just yet, as BK was sick most of the first week I was home, and we are also doing some work in our kitchen, both of which have affected how we spend our days. But I’m sure that we will fall into a gentle routine soon, and our days will be even fuller than they already are. 🙂

This also means that I’ve wrapped up a few projects that have been lingering for a long time! Which brings me to my three things…

  1. A Quillow. I’ve made 3, but I just finished the last one yesterday! Quillows are fast and fun sewing projects. Can’t wait to show you the full details of all of the ones I’ve made.
  2. TMNT flip-top mittens: My friend Heather of BaH Yarns made the coolest self-striping colorway, Cowabunga, inspired by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. TMNT happens to be BK’s favorite thing ever, and I used some of the DK yarn to knit her a hat around Halloween time, and finally finished up some flip-top mittens with the leftovers just this weekend.
  3. A Valentine’s countdown (close-up above): I LOVE this and I finished this within about 2 days of being home. Super cute! I hung it up on our bannister just to see how it looked, but have never taken it down! Technically, I shouldn’t have it up until Feb. 1, but it’s bringing so much joy right now I can’t. It’s very cold and grey almost every day, and the bright pops of color from this project are making me happy.

Full posts to follow on all of these projects, because they are so fun! Hope you’re all having a terrific Thursday. What did you finish this week?

craft projects, holiday, sewing

Challenge complete

Hello and happy holidays to you all! I meant to get back here before Christmas to give you an update on the advent calendar, but I was so consumed with that, and then with a wee sweater for my friend’s little boy, and the Christmas preparations that it just didn’t happen. But what I will tell you is that I completed the advent calendar very late on December 18. I’m very pleased with it.

First of all, a few close-ups.

The bunny is the first animal I completed, because I was trying to dip my toe in gradually, and he didn’t require any embroidery for his face. He just has this adorable (magnetic!) fluffy felt ball tail.

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Then, I made the fox. I did have to have a couple of goes on the eyes, but I got there OK in the end.

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The owl is perhaps what I am most pleased with it. I finished him according to the pattern. My daughter named him “Harold MacCaw.”

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But I just kept looking at him, and felt he needed a little more sparkle. And because after I had finished handsewing the border of the snow globe with white, my daughter asked for more gold, I decided more gold was what he needed. So I decided to try to layer them a bit like feathers to make him both more bling-tastic, and to add some feathery texture.

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I then moved no to the deer, which gave me no troubles. I was getting into the swing of it.

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And the sweet little hedgehog.

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And then the skunk last, because he was BK’s least favorite. Though I love his little face.

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But the piece-de-resistance is the star – outlined in gold sequins. I *love* this one.

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So here it is, all together — the grand ta-da!!!

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This was a fantastic project and I loved making it! There were a few minutes of stress, mostly due to my compressed timeline, but overall it was really great. So great that I’ve already purchased the materials to make the birthday countdown (though thankfully I have a few months to finish that one!).

I only had the one little hiccup with the instructions, but Jennifer was fantastic, and made it right for me immediately. The instructions were very clear, and good enough for a sewing novice for me. I also found the sewing of tiny things to be more enjoyable than the knitting of tiny things.

I hope all of you have had time to spend time with your family and friends, and that you’ve found a little craft time for yourself in amongst the festivities. The new year is rapidly approaching and I hope to see you here to talk crafting some more in 2018!

advent calendar, current projects, sewing

I just couldn’t resist

Well, my friends, the siren song of the snow globe advent calendar was just tooooooo strong. And 2 weeks before December 1, I found myself teaching myself how to hand embroider numbers and how to add seed beads and sequins to my hand sewing. I definitely had to do some practice runs, because the extent of my hand stitching repertoire is sewing on buttons… but I think it turned out all right.

I spent one whole week of evenings embroidering all of the numbers. I really struggled with this step. I had never used an iron-on transfer pen, so I practiced. It turned out OK. I did it for real, doing all of the numbers at once as the instructions said, and I thought it worked really well. For about 15 minutes. But I felt that even though I bought a “permanent” pen, the outlines started fading almost immediately! I would be upset with how it looked and have to walk away and give myself some space to see if I was going to tear it out or be OK with it. I cringed to even take a picture of the numbers for you, because every area I considered taking a close-up photo of had something in it that bothered me. I’ve instead decided to approach this from the “galloping horse” theory – if it looks good from a galloping horse, it’s fine! And I think, even though I don’t have a horse, that from a distance the overall impression of the embroidery is acceptable.

Over the next weekend, I cut out all of the pieces. Then I spent a few nights after BK’s bedtime doing the handsewing and beading. The beading took FOREVER the first day, as I was trying to get the hang of it. I really struggled holding onto those little seed beads, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be finding them in the folds of my couch forever! After the first night, however, I really got into the swing of it.

I finished it just in time! It wasn’t yet on the dowel rod or hung, but the sewing was done on December 1, and I had two snowballs completed.

I’ve now completed all of the days that require the felt balls – snow and ornaments. However, I realized as I was triumphantly testing the magnets, that I am missing a magnet behind the tree and I was one short! I had a lot of trouble falling asleep that night while thinking over how best to do this rework. After talking to my mom and Mr Snips, I decided on a small incision in the back, glueing the magnet on, and then sewing the small slit. It worked out very well.

Advent Calendar in progress

I now have 19 days worth of the pieces done, and am working along on the animals. We’ll see how long it takes to do these final pieces with so many little details! But really, it’s all about completing a personal challenge. Especially since after I started working on this frantically, BK told me she didn’t need it for this year, because she already had an advent calendar, and what she really wanted was a pink and red striped stocking. Never mind that she has this beautiful one. Sigh.

 

advent calendar, baby, current projects, knitting, life, sewing, Three on Thursday

Three things: Recently

Book with tissue paper flower (made by BK)
  1. Reading: Last night I stayed up waaaaaay too late reading a book. And the kicker is I still quit at only 88%, according to my Kindle. So many questions unanswered! There was just no way to stay up any later and make it to work this morning. (I was reading “How the light gets in” by Louise Penny.)
  2. Dreaming: I also fell down the rabbit hole last night when I came across these amazing advent calendars on Etsy. I looooove them. I am so tempted to scrap my knitted countdown (whatever holiday that ends up being for) and just make a ton of these. I initially saw the reindeer one, but BK said she really liked the snow globe one, and after reading about it, I like the snow globe one, too – because a lot of the days use pre-made pom poms! I’ve almost even convinced myself I could pull off the snow globe one before December 1 (yikes! my delusion is strong). Regardless, I would also love to make the birthday one (what a fun idea!) and maybe just the ornaments that go on the Halloween one. She also has a free heart pattern you can sign up for, and I’m tempted to scrap all the little knitted ones and make 14 hearts for Valentine’s Day. But then again, BK has been after me to knit this little superhero girl.  So that one will have to get done one way or the other.
  3. Planning: to knit this Peanut vest for a dear friend’s little boy. This pattern is so darling, and am looking forward to purchasing some yarn for it this weekend!
life, sewing

How to make the best burp cloth ever

My friends, one of the best gifts we got for Baby Knitsnips at my baby shower was some handmade burp cloths. BK LOVES them. They were used lots when she was tiny, of course, as a regular burp cloth, but also as something soft to put under her head so she didn’t spit up directly on her stroller, to comfort her as she fell asleep, to clean up tiny messes, to play peekaboo… They’re still in use today!

So when we found out that we had a friend having a baby, my mom suggested that I pass on the great gift and make some for my friend’s baby.

I heartily agreed, but I was a bit nervous about flexing my minimal sewing skills.

I believe the friend who made the burp cloths for me used cut-up receiving blankets. However, I went to JoAnn’s with my coupons and purchased flannel.

Mr Snips and BK went with me to pick out the fabric. We tried to pick things we knew would be special to the couple and their little boy. We settled on soccer balls, umbrellas (she’s British!), race cars, American football, and rocket ships. For the cloths I wanted to be the same on both sides (soccer balls and rocket ships), I got 2/3 yard. For those that I was doing different on each side, I got 1/3 yard. I made 7 cloths, and have enough to make at least 7 more.

Burp cloths

So how do you do this?

  1. Cut a rectangle the size you want. I used one of the larger ones BK had that I thought was a nice size. I don’t have the ones I made in front of me any more, but my guesstimate is about 11” x 5”. As you can see, mine aren’t all the same size (that’s fine – the baby is going to spit up on it!). For those that are the same on both sides, I cut so I had one fold to save the matching and sewing up.
  2. Put wrong sides together. Sew around all 4 sides, leaving a small gap to pull the fabric back right side out.
  3. Pull the fabric through the hole to be right sides out.
  4. Sew over the gap you left, making sure to catch your ends.
  5. Trim your threads and try to tidy up as much as possible.

A view of both sides of the burp cloths

That’s it! Easy peasy (after my mom helped me get started!). You can wash them in warm water and dry them all the way. They hold up amazingly and just get softer with each wash.

While I have to say my sewing is not the best, and there are certainly some uneven seams, they were made with love, and I hope my friend’s baby gets as much use out of these as we have out of BK’s. She’s due any day now, so we’ll soon see!

Stack of burp cloths

beginning, current projects, knitting, sewing

A new year

Welcome to 2012, everyone!

2011 was a pretty good year, but not without it’s challenges. I’m excited to begin a new year, and have made a few craft-related resolutions I’d like to share with you.

  1. At best guess, I completed somewhere around 21 projects last year (I didn’t keep a very accurate record and didn’t put all of my projects on Ravelry). I’d like to complete more that that this year. I’ve started a count on the right side of this blog where I will keep my updated numbers. As a note for the rules of this, things that were on the needles in 2011 but not finished, will count toward this total.
  2. Complete my first pair of toe-up socks. I’ve started that this morning.
  3. Complete a lace or lace-like project. I hate knitting lace right now, but I want to complete one project to show myself I can do it. I am currently contemplating a scarf for this, but I may wuss out for a smaller project. Who knows what the year holds?
  4. Knit only from my stash for the first two months of the year. My husband has suggested we buy more furniture for our craft room (which he insists is an “office”) because my yarn is starting to overflow the containers I currently have for it. I don’t want to buy more furniture (takes away from yarn money!), so I’ll start knitting it into useful things. And besides, I already have about 5 projects planned anyway.
  5. Learn to use my sewing machine. I have my grandmother’s beautiful old sewing machine and have no idea how to use it. It was a 2011 goal to do this, and I never got around to it.
  6. Complete one sewing project on my own. My mom is going to teach me how to sew to begin with, but I want to be able to do one project on my own.

Now I’m off to continue working on that first pair of toe-up socks…