Friday, December 29, 2006

Finishing up Christmas Gifts!

4 Days after Christmas...that's not too bad, right! I finally finished the dreadful puppets. I don't know why, but I didn't enjoy making these. They came together pretty quick, but they are far from perfect. Oh well, they are done. I made them from a Butterick pattern. Since they take such a small amount of fleece, I was able to make them purely from the stash! (With a little help from my sister's stash too.) I made 2 puppets each for 3 kids for pretty much $0. [I consider previously purchased fabric, yarn, etc. a sunk cost, which therefore means I do not have to count it when calculating the cost per gift. I knew that econ minor would come in handy sometime!!]

Not only am I feeling great about getting that project done, but we finally got some snow last night! Can you believe it - Fargo, ND and we didn't have snow for Christmas this year. I can't remember that EVER happening before. Here is the view from our deck this morning. Beautiful!
Besides watching the snow fall, I have been trying to clean and organize the house, starting with my craft room. Must be a new year's thing...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

After Christmas Deals!

Hope you all had a great Holiday! Our's was relaxing and made me refreshed and ready to create for 2007!

I ventured out this morning cautiously to do some after Christmas shopping. I waited until 9, hoping the real fanatics would be gone by then. I think I did pretty well. I got a new Christmas tree for next year, which we desperately needed. Our current tree is being held together with floral wire. I scored the
wired ribbon at Sam's - they are spools of 55 yards for a little less than $4! Of course I had to get 5!

After my great shopping trip, I was really in the mood to thrift. My sister is off work this week, so I dragged her to a really good thrift store that is in a little bit of a scary neighborhood. Also hit the jackpot there. I found 4 wool sweater for $2 each, some very interesting crocheted potholders (they look like green underwear in this picture for some reason, but trust me they are not!) and 3 yards of this really funky woven fabric.

But the best deal of all is this vintage bag for 50 cents! As soon as I walked in the door the kiddo snatched it up and was carrying it around. It was so cute, especially since it is about as tall as she is. I have no idea when I will use it, but how could I pass it up!

I've been working on my list for the gift-a-month challenge from Maggie Grace Creates. I am trying to include things that I didn't have time to make this year, and also some things I've never made before (maybe even a quilt!). Not sure if I will have all 12 listed right away, but I think I will get close.

I've also been thinking a lot about New Year's Resolutions. I don't usually make any...I think its just another way to feel bad about yourself when they don't happen. But, this year I have a few I might try. Here's my list so far:
  • Read the book to my camera and work to improve my photography skills.
  • Thrift, thrift, thrift! I plan to buy more but spend less.
  • Remember more people's birthdays
  • Exercise, save more money, blah blah blah...all the normal stuff!

I hope you all join me in 2007 and we'll see how long these last together!

Make the most of the 5 days left in 2006!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas!

After many deleted pictures and more bribes than I care to recall, we finally settled on this as our Christmas card. Could she smile any cheesier? Actually, this is what she does when you ask to see her teeth :) I can't help but smile every time I see this picture, so I guess that means its perfect.
I wish you all the best for your holidays. The truck is loaded (yep that's right, it didn't fit in the car!!) and we are headed out the door. I'll be back soon to tell you all the great stuff we got for Christmas. In the meantime I will be working on my list of gifts to complete next year. Are you thinking about this?

Are You Up For The Challenge?

You must check out Teresa's post today. Yesterday she talked about New Year's Resolutions and I left a comment saying that I had been thinking about this also. I have been rolling around in my head that I wanted to force myself to really start early on Christmas 2007 and try to get one handmade gift done every month. She liked the idea I guess and has issued a challenge on her blog. What a great idea!! I am so excited. So, are you up to it? Jump over to Maggie Grace Creates to read the details and leave her a comment. And, let me know if you're in so we can encourage each other along.

I was just about to wrap this sweater today and realized I haven't posted about it yet. It is my first sweater that I have ever knitted. In fact, it may just be the first non-scarf thing I have ever knitted! Its for a new little baby cousin we have in our family. Had to have a model for it, but the kiddo is a little chunky for this one, so I borrowed her bunny. It was a really easy pattern out of Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss. It is a really cute book with some pretty basic patterns.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"An ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds.
And were it not for a God who loves to hook an "extra" on the front of the ordinary, the night would have gone unnoticed.
The sheep would have been forgotten and the shepherds would have slept the night away.
But God dances amidst the common.
And that night He did a waltz."
~ Max Lucado
I got this on a Christmas card this week. It just gave me goosebumps. Sometimes I feel like a very common boring old mom that doesn't contribute much to this world, but then I think of all the things God has given me that are my own unique talents and I feel very special. You all inspire me everyday to work harder to develop whatever skill God may have given me. Thank you! I hope you are all enjoying the extraordinary that is Christmas. I hope you find peace in the season and into the new year.
I am finally getting close to being done with Christmas gifts. I am finishing up a couple of knitted potholders that I am going to felt, and that should be it. We hit the road on Friday morning to travel to my in-laws, so we will be packing like crazy tomorrow to make all the suitcases and gifts and food fit into the car. I'll try to check back again before we leave, but if not I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some finished products

I finally finished the artists apron for Tonya. I wanted to have some way to have a strap that can change sizes, so my husband suggested I just make it adjustable. Easier said than done...well actually he just did it for me, so I guess it was pretty easy. I swear, there is a part of my brain that just is missing. The part that reads patterns and figures out how to put the adjustable loopy things in. Lucky for me, my husband has extra of those parts. (He is my private crafter. That's a whole other post, but trust me its hillarious!) Anyway, its done.
Here is what I put on the tag:

Instructions: For use when painting, sanding, staining, cutting, nailing, and gluing. Its beauty grows with each glob and splatter. Wash if you think you must, dry if you feel like it, but mostly just use it.

Here is my other finished gift for my friend Sara, but I have also made the same thing for several others. This pattern is from Martha's Holiday mag. It is really easy and doesn't take much yarn or fabric. Here is an inside view of the bag. I also made one of these to go with it. Happy Christmas crafting!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Crafters Unite!

Wow - I had such a great weekend. I couldn't wait to tell you all about it. I think I am hooked on blogging. The whole weekend, all I thought about was, ooh I should blog about this! My in-laws were here for the weekend, so I had some extra time to work on projects since they were busy playing with the kiddo. My MIL and I took a quick trip to JoAnn's were I finally splerged on the circle cutter I have been wanting & also went to another of my favorite fabric stores, Mill End Textiles - I think its more of a regional store, so probably only you locals will know what I am talking about. Got this great fabric for $1.26 per yard!! It is a really heavy weight fabric that I would guess is waterproof. No clue what I am going to do with it...maybe a totebag for the kiddo? Of course, I had to buy 3 yards!
Then Saturday afternoon we went to visit Santa, which was a little crazy with all the kids there and the lines and the crabby parents, etc. But it was fun that Grandma and Grandpa were there to watch too. The babe wasn't too sure about Mr. Claus, but she didn't cry, which I was really surprised about. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, what's up with Santa's bibs right? Who knows, must be a Fargo Santa thing.

On Sunday I was invited to "Christmas Festivas" by two amazing crafters/artists, Sara and Ann. It was a blast! Nine of us gathered in a meeting room at a local hotel (i.e. no one wants to clean their house to have people over). We ate, crafted, ate some more and had a cookie swap, so I am officially done baking now. They had prepared 4 or 5 different projects that they showed us how to make, and then we just got to play and create whichever items we wanted to. They had so many cool supplies, it was like heaven! Paper and paper and more paper, stickers, paints, beads, yarn, and every crafty tool imagineable. It was just so much fun to be with crafty women. Only a few of us knew each other, but by the end of the evening, we were all good friends. I ended up making a bunch of paper ornaments, painting a tote bag (which turned out pretty sad looking. I was going for free form, but ended up with more of a kindergarten finger paint look.), and embelished some note cards. But mostly we laughed, a lot! We each paid $5 for supplies, but I think they went a little crazy shopping for all the stuff. There is no way our $5 each paid for all that stuff. So, we decided we needed to do it again some time. I hope they will! Here are some of the things I created. Finished up some other projects this weekend that I will show you later this week. Check back soon!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ornamental Gift


I made these ornaments for my mom this year. The idea came from my childhood and one of the few ways my mother corrupted me! Another reason she shouldn't read this I guess. From the earliest time I can remember my mom watched Days of Our Lives, without fail. Even now, if you played me the closing song I would automatically think it was time to take a nap...we were programmed! Anyway, it was always my mom's secret dream to be a Horton. Even today she could give you the Horton family tree for the past 30 years. And so, around Christmas time, when we all travel far and wide to spend time with our families, so would the Hortons. Those who were able (i.e. not trapped in a dungeon, or suffereing from amnesia, etc.) would gather at Alice's house to decorate the Horton family Christmas tree with beautifull ornaments each bearing the name of a family member. Some were still with us, some had yet to come back from the dead, and some had moved on to bigger and better shows. As they were each hung on the tree we would get to go back in time and remember each of them. And my mom would cry. Every time. It became a family joke. And so, the family ornaments. My sister and I tried this several years ago, but they turned out really ugly. So I thought I would try again. I found clear balls that have an irridescent quality. I bought some letter stickers from the scrapbook store and frosted glass spray paint. You could also use the glass frosting paint on stuff, but it is really expensive and I think the spray paint works best. I stuck on the letters, gave it a quick spray paint just over the letters so the irridescense still shows in the back and peeled off the letters. And Ta-Da!
I'm not sure if you can see very good from the pictures - sorry! I really like how simple and plain they turned out, so they would coordinate with pretty much any theme she decides to have for her tree. Anyway, I wrapped them in two really cute snowmen tins that I got at a thrift store. I figured then she could store the ornaments in these as well. So, cross your fingers that I give the present that gets the most tears!!
If you would like to make similar ornaments, here are a couple tips...
1. Don't over spray. Several light coats are better.
2. Let the ornaments dry for a little while before you peel off the stickers. This is hard to describe, but if you do it too early you will smudge the paint, if you do it to late the paint will peel off with the stickers.
3. Since #2 is so vague, if you screw one up, remove the spray paint with nail polish remover and start over!
4. Our family has a ridiculous number of Y's in our names for some reason, so I ran out of Y stickers. If you are very careful, you can reuse the stickers, but probably not more than twice.
Good luck!
Have a happy Friday and a great weekend!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Here is my artist's apron so far. Like I mentioned yesterday, this is for my sis-in-law Tonya. She loves to paint, refinish furniture, build name it, she'll try it - which is what I love about her. Anyway, I was trying to think of something to encourage her creativity and this is what I came up with. When I get an idea to make something new or repurpose something I already have, I must work on it immediately. No time to change clothes, clean up after myself, etc. I just have to do it. I'm not sure if she has the same issues as I do, but I thought an artist's apron would be good regardless. I decided to do some free form pockets on the front with lots of different textures and colors. I also wrote some quotes from famous artists around the edges of the apron (not pictured here). So, all I have left is to do the ties and neck strap and maybe another pocket on the waist area.

Got to see my fabulous friend Rachel yesterday. Since we became friends she has become quite the crafter (I am sooo proud!!). She is making a bag for her mom for Christmas and needed a quick refresher course. I love her fresh perspective and adventurous attitude about all kinds of crafting. Keep it up Rach...I think you need to start your own blog pretty soon! There's always room for more :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Two Down, So Many More To Go

Finally finishing some gifts! These are scarf and tote combos for some young girl cousins. Those preteen years are so hard to shop for, so this is my solution...I hope they like them. The details are hard to see in the pictures, but the bag on the left is made from a really dark colored denim with dark purple wool lining. The bag on the right is out of a green canvas type material with a periwinkle lining. I love to make bags. I used to do it all the time, even tried to sell a couple, but haven't made any in a really long time. I had a lot of fun with these and can't wait to make some more this winter, once Christmas is over.

Speaking of Christmas, I have been trying to take the dreaded Christmas card photo for days now. Between a crabby kid, a messy house, and more bruises than I can count, this is the best we've come up with so far!

What do you think? Ha! I swear she does this all on purpose. You'll notice this picture isn't even in focus. The kid doesn't stop moving!! Anyway, I think we need to wait for dad to come home and help. Well, better get back to work on some presents. This afternoon I am hoping to work on an artist's apron for my sister in law. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Thriftful Success

Had way too much fun at the thrift store yesterday. Found some great wool sweaters to felt, thanks to Vallen's ideas; some cool vintage coffee mugs that I am thinking about making this out of;

a cool childrens book that I plan to cut up for decoupage of some sort; an awesome vintage sheet that I can't decide what to do with yet and a whole bag of very fine yarn. Seemed like a great deal for the yarn - $1.50 for a whole bag full, but the original labels say they were 15 cents each back in their day. Wouldn't that be nice!

So, I rushed home to felt. I started with the magenta sweater. I found out yesterday about an ornament exchange that was planned for a meeting I am attending today, so I decided to make a mini stocking out of it. It needed a little something extra, so I beaded the loop with some coordinating beads. I really wanted to have a beaded snowflake on the front, but as it turns out I am not all that great at beading! Guess I will have to practice some more. Of course half my problem was that I had already sewn the whole thing together before I thought about the beads. Anyway, here is the finished product. I like it. If no one else does at the exchange I think I will just bring it back home with me!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Merry & bright?....The Freezer Paper Test Run

Hello all! I hope you had a great weekend. My parents were here visiting and my mom and sister and I went on a Christmas baking frenzy. It was a lot of fun, but forced me to take a little blogging break. But, I'm back!

First, I want to thank Vallen for the plug on her amazing blog, and also another new reader, MaryAnn for stopping by. Not to mention all of you that stop to say hi. I really appreciate it so much. In my short time here in blogworld you all have been so kind and welcoming! THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!!!

Now to the crafting. (Sorry for the bad picture, this should give you some clue the time of day/night I found to make this!) I tried my hand at freezer paper fabric stenciling. Have you guys tried this yet? I saw it on a craft blog somewhere but for the life of me I can't remeber I'm sorry to who ever it was that I'm not giving you all the credit. It is a great idea. You basically cut the stencil out of freezer paper, iron it to your fabric, paint it and peel off the freezer paper. My first attempt was for a shirt for the kiddo. I wanted something clever for her to wear in some pictures for Christmas cards. I thought I had this great idea for the shirt to say "merry & bright"...I can't take credit for that either, I'm sure I've seen it somewhere. Anyway, I was telling my dear husband about it (who by the way is probably the most intelligent person I know) and he didn't get it. Come on...that's a little bit funny right? Anyway, after I wait the 72 hours it supposedly takes for fabric paint to dry, we'll try some pictures of the kiddo in it and post those too. Overall this project went great! I would definitely try it again. Plus with the oodles of graphics, cool fonts, etc. we all have access to, there is no stopping your imagination at all the things you could make.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Colors of Christmas


This used to be my favorite purse around Christmas time. I got it from The Container Store several years ago for about $10. Its made from polyester, but looks like wool felt. Anyway, I loved it. But now...well, its just not pratical for use anymore. It doesn't fit many diapers or sippy cups, and My Little Ponies make it look a bit misshapen. Oh how life changes! All for the better of course. Anyway, I got it out of storage and found a new use for it. It is my WIP knitting bag for Christmas presents.

Right now I am working on a little zippered bag for our friends daughter E. I found the pattern in the new Martha Stewart Holiday magazine - have you guys seen that yet? Its good! I can't say I usually like the stuff Martha has...wait - did I really say that! Okay, let me clarify. She has amazing ideas and the simplicity of her style is fabulous, but sometimes her projects are a bit many time consuming steps, and expensive supplies, that are sometimes all but impossible to find. However, she redeems herself with this magazine (or her staff does, I mean really who are we kidding, Martha is not personally coming up with any of these ideas anymore. But I digress.) So many cute and really pretty easy ideas. The knitted zipper bag is one...I'll be sure to post pictures once complete.
It also has some good recipes. I made the peppermint bark for some friends having a housewarming party. You can find the recipe on the website. White chocolate was a little pricey in our grocery store, but it was so easy to make it was worth it. It makes two big bags like the one pictured below. So I packaged it up in a little chinese food container (another Gopher find Amanda!!) and sent it on its way.

One more thing to cross off the list! My mom and dad are coming for the weekend, so I have more baking, cleaning, grocery shopping to do. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Quick Gift Idea

Sweater Votive
I got the idea for this one from Anthropologie. Trust me theirs is much cuter, but mine only took about an hour to whip up (not to mention theirs cost $24!!!). I used wool yarn and felted it just a bit, mostly because I made it way too big for my little votive holder. [The beige yarn I got from my mother in law, Gail. It is 80% merino wool and 20% possum fur. She brought it back for me from their trip to Australia and have been so scared to actually use it. Isn't that dumb...I'm the same about fabric. The stuff I love the most never gets used. Anyway, thanks Gail!] The candle holder is from Michaels and cost a whopping 33 cents. If I make some more of these, I think I would try to find straight candle holders...this one had a curve to it and made my stripes crooked. Also, I made it way too long and had to zigzag the edge and cut it off, so I ended up with a lot of extra bulk. Then again, maybe that's fitting... we need a little extra bulk under our sweater this time of year :)
I have been so crazy crafting and reading/writing blogs that my house is a disaster. Here is a picture of my desk...grommets and buttons and magnets, oh my! It is much more fun than laundry and dishes though. What's a girl to do. Bless my dear husband! I know he comes home from work and wonders what I did all day, luckily he's too sweet to ask. So, off I am to clean.

Framed Magnet Boards

The above photo is from my craft room where I have a framed magnet board right next to my desk. I made this a couple months ago when I moved my computer into this space. I plan to make a couple of these for Christmas gifts (can't tell you who for!) and some magnets to go along. The magnets are the really fun part. I've done vintage jewelry, glass marbles, buttons, whatever I can find around the house to glue goes on a magnet!! Most of my supplies come from the thrift stores. I love those places. You can get really big frames for practically nothing. I just remove whatever nasty pictures are in them, spray paint the frame, cut sheet metal to fit (this can be tricky to cut) and put it in the frame. I took the advice of some craft sites on the magnets - use silicone glue instead of hot glue. Its a little smelly, but won't burn you and works much better. The days of the week magnets are from Target, but would be really easy to make yourself. I plan to make some months of the year magnets someday...maybe after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Knitting with Fleece

One of my favorite things to do, especially in the winter, is to knit. It is relaxing, relatively cheap, and creates beautiful results. I took a class a couple years ago, and haven't learned much new stuff since then. I can knit and purl and decrease, but it all stops there! So, while I love to look at all the amazing new knitting books that are coming out these days, I unfortunately am not skilled enough to accomplish the majority of the patterns. Oh well, I still make due. The picture here is of a rug I am working on for my nephew Reese. He has a firefighter bedroom (his Dad is a very brave firefighter, whom we are all very proud of) and this red fleece rug is going to be great to play on. My sister has hardwood floors throughout her whole house (jealous!) so playing on the floor gets a little hard. Anyway, I am knitting this on size 35 needles and cut the fabric into about 1-1/2 inch strips. I originally bought 3 yards of 54" wide fabric, but so far my rug is only 13"x36". I plan to knit another piece the same size and sew them together. So I figure a 26x36 rug will cost me about $20 in supplies. Not too bad. Knitting fleece is a good forearm workout (I feel like I am on the Flinstones knitting with dinosaur bones), but it does go really fast and the texture is fabulous. This is just one of about 4 knitting projects I am working on for Christmas gifts. I have baskets all over the house with my projects so I can just grab and knit whenever I get a second. I'll share more as I get them done - just have to be careful not to give away any Christmas surprises!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Welcome ...

Well, how to start! I have been addicted to the craft blog world only for a while, but have been a full fledged craft addict for some time now. I love to paint, knit, sew, just plain old craft in pretty much any way possible. I live for time in my craft room, which is hard with a 15 month old (my sweet baby girl who is growing way too fast). I am currently trying to find ways to kid-proof the room, but she isn't falling for it yet. I am so inspired by all the wonderful craft bloggers out there, and though my ideas seem to fall very short, I still want to be part of the great community you all have created here. I am currently a stay at home mom, which I am so thankful for - don't get me wrong. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to spend so much time with my girl, BUT, sometimes I really miss the sharing of ideas/grown-up interaction that I had back at the office. So, here I am. I look forward to sharing some crafty photos, but in the mean time here is one of my favorites of the babe. Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to sharing more with you soon.