Sweet Dreams

Early in 2009, I made a Sleep-Over Quilt for Miss L using some of Patty‘s first line for Michael Miller, Andalucia. I realized right away what a great gift it would make and planned to whip up some for Christmas. Little did I know that I’d be swamped with a major deadline around the holidays and would not have the chance to stick with my plan!

Of course, I wasn’t willing to give up on making at least a few gifts, especially one I thought would be enjoyed by my nieces. So I took an unexpected detour and bought prequilted fabric. It may not have the same cachet as something sewn and quilted personally, but I took a gamble that our 4- and almost 7-year-old nieces wouldn’t mind.

I found the fabric at JoAnn ETC and was surprised to see Dena Designs on the selvedge (Dena also designs fabric for Freespirit/Westminster). A quick sprint through the aisle helped me find two coordinates I could use for the pockets. (The green dot binding came from my stash.)

Originally I thought to use the trimmed quilted fabric for the straps and would just bind the edges but that didn’t quite work out the way I envisioned. Instead, I used some nylon strapping I had on hand. I’m optimistic it will hold up as well. It’s not an heirloom type of quilt, so the modification didn’t really bother me.

I added a personal touch to each quilt by embroidering the girls’ names on the outermost pocket. The personlization stitched out while I worked on the pockets, and really didn’t add any time to the project. All in all, I think I wrapped up both blankets from start to finish in one day. Not bad for a last-minute homemade gift!

Into Twilight

Are you familiar with this whole Twilight phenomenon? It’s possibly a little wacky if you’re not into the books (or the movie and it’s upcoming sequels) but fans come in all ages — and include me. And a few of my friends.

I needed a break from some other things on which I was working, so I dusted off the Yudu and made a couple of tees to surprise a friend. I was a little afraid that they wouldn’t turn out, since I haven’t done too much with the screenprinter and my results have been inconsistent.

Luckily, the lapse in use didn’t erase everything I’d learned and I actually pulled these two shirts with minimal gnashing of teeth and sweating the details. Whew!

They’ve made their way to their new home and I can’t wait to see them modeled. Of course, I may still need to make one for little ol’ me …

Pots for Teacher

After you’ve outed yourself as the crafty mom at the preschool, you’ve got no choice but to try to come up with something equally as cool and crafty for the next year’s teacher gifts.

No pressure. Nope. None at all.

I found some great ideas by searching Flickr and ultimately was inspired by this cool pitcher. Neat, right?

The vases came from Michaels, as did the paint. I used a Marvy Uchida paint marker that’s made for painting on finished ceramic surfaces and also is permanent. The biggest part of doing it actually was being in a place with all 14 kids at the same time — and keeping the teachers from getting a good look at what I was doing. LOL! But I lucked out and took everything to our class picnic last week.

The paint is toxic but I worked quickly and washed their thumbs as fast as possible. Funny aside: I asked each child before painting his or her thumb whether they sucked it so I could use the other thumb, just in case any paint remained. Nearly every child answered “yes” — one even popped her thumb in her mouth — but only two actually do (including mine).

I did only the thumbprints and names at the park; the remainder I painted at home, embellishing each thumbprint so it would become a flower, butterfly, bee or dragonfly (their class nickname is Doodlebugs). I wish I’d just an extra-fine point pen for the names and dragonfly wings. Oh well.

I passed off the vases to our room mom today because I will be in Pittsburgh for the International Quilt Market on Friday, which is the last day of preschool for the year. But I think they’ll be a hit and I’m sure Honey will report back to me, if he’s not too overwhelmed with being Mr. Mom for a couple of days.

Sis Boom for School

One of my nieces starts kindergarten tomorrow. Such a big milestone! She’s so excited, especially about riding the bus to school.

She’s been home with her mom up until now, so it’s going to be a big change for her. I wanted to make the transition a little more special for her, so I stitched up this dress and sent it to her.

It’s another Round Neck Dress, but this time I used some pretty Mary Trellis fabric from the Sis Boom Bell Bottoms line by Jennifer Paganelli, accented with one of my favorite polka dots. I wanted something a little summery but a little fall-ish, too, since she lives up yonder where they actually have fall before November. (Heck, I think they can even have snow by November!)

I’m a little nervous about the fit, since she’s about the size of a third grader (that’s what you get with two tall parents). Fingers crossed!

Ho-ho-holiday Time

It’s June 25th and you know what that means: only six months left until Christmas!

Hey, I heard that! Don’t move on to the next blog before giving me a chance to explain.

Like so many others, I have grand plans when it comes to the holidays. I always intend to make X number of gifts. Of course, this impulse typically hits around Thanksgiving and the fact of the matter is that there’s just not enough time to make something for everyone in those last few weeks leading up to Dec. 25.

This year, however, I’m starting earlier — and I’m dragging you, dear reader, along with me. Welcome to the Crafty Christmas Countdown! It’s the six-month (more or less) plan to make the 2008 holidays filled with a few more handmade things and a few less manufactured gifts. I’ll be posting regularly not only my progress but also tons of gift ideas for everyone on your list with links to patterns, free tutorials and even ready-made gifts by other crafters.

Feel free to grab the graphic to post on your own blog or site. I’m also looking for gift ideas to feature, so zip an email to me at mac (at) flourishes dot com with your great idea. Now, on with the crafty gifting!

Everyone has someone on her list who could use a little pampering. (Heck, most of us probably could!) Start with a spa towel wrap, courtesy of this tutorial at CraftStylish. Think how great this would be with a towel that matches the recipient’s decor, or even her favorite color. You can even make a matching hair-wrap towel with the tute here. Add a great bath bomb or salts (like the all-natural Bergamot-Rose Bath Bomb from Dustpan Alley). One of my favorite stress relievers is a scented eye pillow and Amy Butler makes it easy to make one for gifting with a free pattern. (Click on the link, then the Free Pattern link on the site.) While you’re at it, make a few extras to stick in stockings or to have on hand when you need a little something to give that’s more personal than a gift card to the coffee shop.

Flowers for Teacher

I made this paper flower bouquet for Miss L’s teacher, as an end-of-the-year “thank you” gift. I had so much fun with it — and it was so well received by her teachers and the other parents at school — that I knew it deserved a tutorial. This one features fabric from Sandi Henderson’s Ginger Blossom line for Michael Miller. I decoupaged the fabric on the pot using Mod Podge. The rim of the pot was painted with a dark brown paint, which I sponged off a bit to give it a distressed leather look.

To make your own pretty flower pot bouquet, you will need:

  • Flower template
  • Construction paper or cardstock
  • Scrapbook paper (optional)
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Thin wooden dowels
  • Papier mache flower pot
  • Green paint and brush or sponge brush
  • Pot-decorating items (paint, fabric, paper, etc.)
  • Tissue paper or paper grass
  • Tulle or ribbon
  • Circle cutting tool or punch, or a circular object you can trace
  • Picture of each child, cropped to approximate circle size (2 inches is recommended)
  • Adhesive (glue dots, Xyron, glue stick, etc.)
  • 5×5-inch cube of dry floral foam
  • Paper shredder

And here’s my first video tutorial (please be kind!):

Oh Boy!

We went to a birthday party today. My “nephew” will be one this week. My, how time flies! Although I picked up some toy cars for him, I had to make a little something for him, too.

The latest Ottobre has a cute button-down shirt in it, so I opted to make that (cutting short sleeves instead of long) and a pair of Britches & Bloomers to go with. The fabric is from the nursery prints section at Joann’s. I’m rather partial to sea creatures and the guest of honor is a blue-eyed blond, so I knew it would be cute on him.

I haven’t made too many button-down shirts and this one was a little more challenging because of its small size.  Overall, I think it turned out well.

Of course, I had to make something for his big brother, too. The pants are the same but I did not have enough for a second shirt, so I embellished a tee instead. I’d planned to do an appliqué but found out when I got home that the t-shirt had a pocket on the front. I made a little contrasting band for the top of the pocket and sketched a fish to embroidery on the pocket. Don’t see the fish? It’s because I ran out of time and had to spritz it off the shirt.  It’s still cute, in my opinion.

Definitely a change of pace to sew for little boys instead of girls!

Giveaway Goodness

I tell ya, y’all are into quilting. Was there some kind of organized group voting going on? ha ha ha! More people suggested I give that age-old craft a try than anything else. To the left is the entire rundown of crafty suggestions, handily put in alphabetical order (what? my OCD scares you?). Yes, that means I plan to try all of them this year. Crazy? Probably. But I’m always up for a good challenge.

Thanks to all of you for playing along! It made me smile to read your comments and congratulations. I really did start this blog just to have a place to document my many projects. That so many people have come along for the ride is just icing on the cupcake! I look forward to sharing even more with you during the coming year, especially all the fun ideas you’ve given me this week. I’m sure more than a few of them will be filed under the “Bloopers” category, since I can’t imagine some things turning out too well without a goodly amount of practice first (crocheting, knitting, smocking — I’m looking at you). You’ll be able to check my progress via the Try It! category, and I think I’ll add my handy list to the blog so I have a place to visibly check off things.

And now … on to what you’ve all been waiting for: It’s giveaway time!

Rather than use the handy dandy random number generator, I opted to go a more old-school way. I printed out all your comments, had one of my assistants (aka sons) cut and fold them, then filled up a lovely bowl for a real drawing.

Congratulations, Lynn! You win a copy of Amy Butler’s Madison bag pattern, some fabric and a CD by an outstanding young indie rocker! Who knows? I may even be inspired to stick a few other things in the package. ^_~

There were so many comments and I wanted to share the love a little more, so I decided to draw three more names for some pay-it-forward-style gifts. During the course of this year, I will share the results of a few of my Try It! projects with these sweet commenters:

Congrats to Angela, Nichole and Apple Cyder! Y’all send me your mailing addresses and I’ll send you something special during the course of the year!