The Year in Crafting

img_0628

Honestly, 2016 wasn’t my best year for crafting. Or for reading. Or for blogging. Or for other leisure pursuits. *Sigh.* I did have a gangbuster year with my freelance business, so I’ll put that feather in my cap as I close out this year. If life was perfect, I would have worked a bit less and relaxed a bit more. I am aiming for this in 2017!

img_0627

I did have an epic craft storm for a few months this fall, which resulted in making several felt ornaments aligned with the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” I stuck with numbers one and two this year, stitching several pears, partridges, and turtle doves from August through November. Part of me would love to bust out the super-cute French Hen for my tree before Christmas decorating passes for another year. We shall see!

img_0626

These ornaments are from beautiful patterns designed by Larissa Holland. I am just a little bit obsessed with her aesthetic!

Winter Wonderland in March

IMG_6247a

Well, Mother Nature kept her mightiest snowstorm for the Philadelphia area for March. The dumping we received yesterday followed an entire week of ice and snow events. It’s hard to believe that spring is just a few weeks away!

IMG_6233

IMG_6237

IMG_6244

Aside from my parents’ travel plans being derailed, we’re embracing these winter temperatures as best we can and are trying to have a little staycation this weekend in hopes that it will keep our children happy.

IMG_6217

IMG_6223

And I guess I needed a little March snow to motivate me to sew a project for the kids. Thanks to some cute fabric from JoAnn and the One-Yard Wonders pattern for preschooler-sized messenger bags, the kids and I completed a sewing project in just one icy/sleety/snowy afternoon.

Finished: Felt Bird Ornaments

P1060050

I am truly thrilled to be closing out 2014 posting about crafts I completed this year. When I began writing here in 2008, my life was much different, and I had so much more time to create things. Though I would never want to go back to that childless, craft-centric life (I LOVE these kiddos!), I am a little jealous of my crafting production at that time. Especially my ability to make so many gifts for the holidays.

IMG_5484

For Christmas this year, I was determined to contribute one handmade ornament to each family household on my gift list (those of whom have Christmas trees!). I showcased my cinnamon ornaments a week ago, and here is my other 2014 production: the Snow Bird ornament by Larissa Holland (I love her blog, MmmCrafts). I created five of these and kept one for my own tree (the purple one, of course!).

P1060048

These little birdies sure take a lot of time, but their folk chicness is right up my alley. I used high-quality felt for these avian decorations, which I purchased from Etsy here. Each bird’s construction took about an hour, not including glue-drying time. I worked on them in October, giving myself plenty of time to finish a flock before the gift-giving season. I have learned as a crafter (one with little kids!) that if the project hasn’t been finished by Thanksgiving, it’s better to move on and gift it another time. I hate crafting with pressure. It’s the worst!

I would highly recommend making these as gifts for friends and loved ones. I hope those who received mine enjoy hanging them on their Christmas trees for years to come.

Nora’s Elsa Costume

IMG_0007

My sweet daughter wanted to be Elsa for Halloween (and requested that I dress up as Anna). To avoid the Disney juggernaut, I decided to try my hand at making her costume, which I did following this pattern (found via Pinterest). I sewed it in August and am pretty glad I decided to do it ahead of time because I would have given up on sewing the stretchy knit and chiffon had I been in a time crunch. My sewing machine ate the fabric constantly, and I ended up hand sewing the chiffon cape and silver rickrack to the costume. The rickrack saved my unsavory seams on the stretchy knit.

IMG_0009

Nonetheless, this Elsa-inspired dress looks adorable on my four-year-old, and we added a blue leotard for warmth and some fun handmade barrettes and a headband to complete the look. I would consider four to be an ultimate princess year for a kid at Halloween, and I am really pleased with how this look came together. Nora was adorable dancing with all of the other princesses (another Elsa included!) at a Halloween party on Saturday night. This age really can’t get much cuter!

IMG_5361

Oh, and as an added bonus, it is versatile enough for the playground!

IMG_5373

Mommy and Daughter Crafternoons

IMG_5329

Well, it’s no shock to those who know me that I love some craft time. Nora seems to be taking after me, and now that she’s four, we can really get busy!

Carson has a pretty consistent two-hour nap every afternoon, and we need to fill time at home while he rests. This week we enjoyed the refreshed attic space to get our craft on–and Nora surprised me with her desire to learn some new crafting skills.

Our first project involved making some hair accessories for fall. Nora will be dressing up as Elsa for Halloween in a costume that I made. To make the costume even more fun, I wanted to add some bling to go with her outfit. We made a beautiful rhinestone headband (wrapping an old headband in blue ribbon and hot gluing jewels of different shapes and sizes to it) and some barrettes and bows.

After we finished the project, I started working on an embroidery project and Nora was eager to try it herself. After setting her up with an embroidery hoop and some floss, she got busy next to me on the couch. She wanted to do it the next day as well, and she’s pretty amazed at her new skill set (as am I). I am not fully prepared to have a preschool embroiderer on my hands, so I highly recommend this tutorial on maya*made if you want to get your kids started. I’d like to purchase some burlap and yarn needles for Nora so she can take the project with her where she goes (I do not feel comfortable giving her a sharp needle to take around the house so it’s a with-Mommy project only at the moment).

I’ll keep you updated on what other projects we tackle in the coming months.

Finished: Living Room Curtains

IMG_4859Here they are! The finished living room curtains. Made with Waverly Barano fabric in Indigo and sewn according to this pattern for backed-tabbed curtains (without the blackout lining) on View Along the Way. I’ve been ordering fabric at Fabric.com and loving it–the site is easy to browse and there is free shipping for orders of $35 and up (not a paid placement, just a recommendation!).

IMG_4858

Each curtain took about an hour to sew, including cutting out the size (I trimmed them down to 44 inches wide and 71 inches long) and sewing (side hems, top tabs, and bottom hem). The curtains at the large front window hit just the bottom of the windowsill, leaving plenty of room for our radiators (while I love floor-length curtains, they aren’t practical for a home with a boiler!). The other curtains on the side window are a bit longer, which I did based on personal preference. I sewed the top tabs before hemming each curtain to ensure that each one aligned with the windowsill/desired length perfectly.

P1050933a

While I wasn’t keen on sewing all of the curtains in the house, I am quite pleased with the finished result and will keep using this pattern until someone tells me to stop! Next up, the bedroom curtains; I’ve already ordered the fabric and just need to find the time to make them happen.

New House: Living Room

I wrote about my hopes to decorate the living room a few weeks ago. After lots of sewing (curtains and pillows), framing, and hanging, we have a much more decorated space that feels homey. Of course, the room isn’t technically “finished” yet because I am waiting for another two yards of my curtain fabric to arrive so I can sew the final panel for the front windows. Once that is finished, I’ll post more info about how I sewed them.

So, without further ado, here’s the space:

P1050962

P1050958

P1050956

P1050947

P1050953

P1050959

P1050933a

I’m sure I’ll tweak the space over the years (I’d love for the reading nook to have some funky art and a bright pillow at some point), but this feels like a great base for now. And someday, when the kids are older, we’ll probably get a coffee table. But for now, it’s great to have space for them to play.

 

Home Ec Week

While it wasn’t intentional, the littles and I spent the week doing many activities my home-economics-teaching grandmother would have loved.

We started the week (while we were still healthy!) making fruit pizza:

IMG_4817

And Nora and I finished the week sewing a sock snake, found on this blog via Pinterest: IMG_4818

The sock snake was the perfect time-killer for a house-bound end of the week, as Carson came down with hand, foot, and mouth. While he’s starting to feel better, it put a bit of a damper in our typical summer plans.

Slowing down and embracing the everyday has ignited my passions for baking and sewing again, so I hope to post more of our projects in the near future. Yesterday, Nora and I went to Joann to pick up notions for her Elsa costume (making it early though it’s for Halloween). And I’m working away on the living room curtains and pillows. Hope to have an update on that big project in the next week or so (though I just realized I need to order more fabric for the last curtain).

New House: Office

P1050868

In our new house, we’re lucky enough to have a dedicated office, complete with built-in cabinetry and desks. As a freelance editor (and stay-at-home mom), I spend a lot of time in the office on a daily basis. Since moving into our new house two months ago, the office has been great, but it’s been super cluttered and less-than-ideal for getting lots of work done. However, given the many, many projects to deal with in the new house, addressing office clutter and functionality was low on the list.

675732_1

Enter my creative muse. This beautiful Waverly Solar Flair fabric. Last week when I was searching for curtain fabric for the living room, this purple and black medallion print struck me. I kept going back to it. Although I knew it wouldn’t be a match for the living room, where I want to go more traditional, I needed this fabric somewhere in our new house.

P1050871

One day, while glancing through the office window, I noticed the reddish-purple Japanese maples staring back at me. I could get the fabric for the office! About five minutes later, I ordered three-and-a-half yards of Solar Flair on Fabric.com.

My enthusiasm continued once the fabric was delivered. I sewed curtains (using this great pattern from View Along the Way without the blackout lining part) the night it arrived. I’m so happy to sew curtains for our house, as I’ve decided to keep them at the length that will frame the windows, rather than opting for the trendier floor-length curtains because of our radiators.

P1050865

And I found some other decor for remaining walls, such as this map, which looks pretty nice with our berry accents (the carpet is the same color as our CD shelves).

P1050876

To complement my new curtains, I decided to paint the bookshelves behind my work station a grayish purple, opting for Valspar’s Turbid Amethyst. I accented the room with black, white, and gray. Oh, and we replaced the very outdated lantern light with this cute one from allen + roth.

 

P1050879_edited-1

Another room that feels more like us in this ongoing redecorate-the-house project!

Finished: Carson’s Christmas Stocking

Two weekends ago, I feverishly finished Carson’s Christmas stocking:

I had made an unofficial October deadline to finish the project, considering that the last few months of the year get chaotic and that I am wrapping up my maternity leave at the end of the month.

Sewing is a challenge for me these days because to do it right requires hours of time. There’s washing, cutting, ironing, pinning, sewing, etc. and it’s rare to finish a project in one sitting, so then the physical chaos created by sewing is bound to be messed with by the toddler. However, since I made a stocking for Nora a few years ago, I was determined to make an equally special one for Carson, even if it risked my sanity.

All in all, I am pleased with this vintage-inspired stocking. I used the same pattern that I made for Nora’s and was pleased that I had saved quite a few instructions from the first time around. I embroidered Carson’s name on red fabric and the lining and back of the stocking is a cute retro “Merry Christmas” diagonal stripe pattern (see my bad photo below). I also added gold sequins to the Christmas tree stars; there’s got to be a bit of glitz! The front is (kind of) quilted, though I did not tie or quilt much of the front–just a sewn line at the top of the Santa pattern and the sequins hold the sandwich in place. While I quilted Nora’s, I didn’t think it would look very masculine on the little guy’s stocking.

So there you have it! Finished last weekend and I have yet to clean up the project space. This will likely be my last sewing project for a long time, because I have to face the fact that I do not have hours of time to devote to the craft and that it drives me nuts to half ass a sewing project. I’ll keep the knitting and crochet needles handy for some creative release now and again and revisit my beloved sewing machine in a few years.