Be Mine?

I love Valentine’s Day; it’s another excuse to make cute things and give them to people. We — meaning me and the eldest — have been busy this week with putting together all the goodies. Yes, my teenager likes to give out Valentines. This year, he did wrapped Hershey bars. Not sure if he enjoyed the cutting and wrapping part, but I had no complaints. I had my hands full with other things:

The goodie bags were for the little missy’s preschool class. The covered lollipops, we handed out at yesterday’s ballet class. I’d thought of designing my own but the Confection Collection over at The Shabby Shoppe was just too cute to pass up. That’s also where I bought the template for our Valentines (at the top of this entry). Yes, everything is coordinated. I can’t help myself. (The font is MA Sexy; I thought it was a great match for the papers.) In retrospect, I wish I had nudged down the ribbon on the pictures so it didn’t cut across her face. Oh well.

Here’s a little Valentine love for all of you:

Aren’t they just the cutest things ever? I found these vintage Valentines last month when Miss L and I went “treasure hunting” at a local antique mall. The colors and designs just spoke to me. They’re on my Flickr and I think I’ve fixed the settings so they can be downloaded and incorporated in your collages and crafty projects (personal use only, please). The originals are staying with my inspiration files.

Thanks for the comment love yesterday! Here’s the latest creation. I’m totally in love. I stumbled upon the fabrics and immediately knew they would lend themselves to something over the top. Gotta admit that it scared me a little. I’m not usually an over-the-top kind sewist. Now I’m ready for the weather to warm up so she can actually wear it!

Don’t forget to enter yourself in the drawing for some crafty goodies. You have until tomorrow to comment here. I’ll do the drawing Saturday afternoon (after running a 5K but before meeting friends for dinner and a play). There may be one box o’ good stuff or there may be more — all depends on what’s inspiring me. I do know that there’s an Amy Butler pattern in the mix, as well as some fabric and who knows what else. I’m making a list with all your suggestions, too; definitely some fun stuff y’all are throwing at me!

That’s a Wrap

Boy, it’s been a whirlwind few days around here. Snow, a birthday, a holiday. It’s enough to keep me occupied and away from the computer, for sure.

My oldest celebrated his 17th birthday yesterday. SEVENTEEN. That seems so old, which makes me feel so old. LOL! He and his best female friend went to the rock-climbing gym and then the movies (I Am Legend). Afterward, we had our annual family dinner at his favorite Italian restaurant.

Today I got a little sewing done while Miss L was at preschool: Burda 2989. I actually picked up the pattern and fabric to sew them up for my sister-in-law. She’s been wearing a similar style on stage and is always in need of extras for when she does her mini-tours. I found some pretty linen/cotton at Joann’s during the 50-percent-off-clearance-fabric sale, which was perfect for my first attempt at these pants.

I love them! It doesn’t show up in the pictures but the fabric has embroidered circles on it. My only criticism is that the ties are a little too short (although to be honest, the pants are probably a size too small for me, since I made them for Jenn). They sewed up pretty quickly, too, although it’s such a big difference to sew “grown-up clothes” — man, do those seams go on forever. I’m definitely going to sew up a pair (or two) of these for me. They’ll be perfect for the steamy Southern summers.

I’m definitely going to have to sew them, since I signed up for the new challenge posted at the blog At Home. It sounds like a fun way to make sure I sew a little something for me this year. Go check out the details and sign up!

Gifts Are For Giving

One of my dearest friends celebrated a major birthday recently. I’ve known Eryn almost since moving to Atlanta and hate that I don’t get to see her more often. I’m fortunate that she loves me anyway!

She’s a graphic designer by trade and an artist, to boot, so I knew I’d have to make her something special to mark the occasion. A few months back, she mentioned that she was planning to get a messenger bag so she could start taking the train to work. In another conversation, she said she’d love a little something made from manga fabric.

Here’s the what I came up with:

The exterior fabric is by Alexander Henry and called Princess Dragon. I used a small gold floral on white for the interior with some solid orange accents. The pattern is self drafted. I can’t remember what the overall dimensions are but I made it large enough to accommodate an issue of Real Simple plus other things.

Continue reading “Gifts Are For Giving”

Baby Bonanza

My late mother was quite the crafty gal. Pretty much any craft you can think of, she could and did do. Much of her focus, however, was on crochet. I have tubs and tubs full of crocheted blankets she made in the weeks leading up to her death (six years ago, come December). I saved the last baby blanket she made — it was supposed to be a gift for a friend of mine — because I could not bear to give it away. (It now belongs to my daughter.)

Mom longed for a granddaughter and would have been over the moon to have this little bitty of mine to spoil. It makes me sad sometimes to think about what Miss L is missing but I’m so grateful that my sons had an Oma in their lives for as long as they did.

G called me while I was out running errands with his brother and sister to mention that he’d brought in all the mail. “You’ve got a LOT of packages, Mom.” Well, that’s to be expected, since I bought a lot of stuff online last week.

I was surprised, however, to find a package from my cousin Mary in the foyer. (Quick segue: Yes, I have a first cousin with the same first name. It’s never bothered me one bit and our families have never had a problem keeping us straight.) She and her family are getting ready to move across the country; while she was packing she came across some things she thought my daughter would like.

Things my mother had made for Mary’s daughter when she was younger (she turned 16 in May).

A baby doll with four crocheted doll  outfits — including hats, mittens and booties — plus tiny baby blankets. All made by my mother and in pristine condition. I was still pulling things out of the box when Liesl started yelling, “I need my baby sister!” and trying to grab the doll from the pile. If I had to guess, I’d say she likes it.

Two of the most important people in my life were brought a little closer together today. While they may never meet, it warms my heart to know that they’re not that far apart.

A Crafty Gift

My husband’s brother and his wife just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. I had read in Robyn Spizman‘s book, The Giftionary, about giving a couple bottles of wine from significant years during their marriage and thought that would be perfect to mark the occasion.*

Of course, I can’t just buy some bottles of wine and send them to the happy couple. They need to be special. I decided to make individual wine bags and design custom fabric labels to include information about what that vintage signifies.

I’m also just the slightest bit OCD/hyper anal retentive, which meant I had to have the number of wine bottles make sense. Ten was tough — I didn’t really want to buy and ship 10 bottles of wine plus it felt like a stretch to basically buy a bottle for every year of marriage. Somewhere, I read that six bottles was a magnum. (If this is not true, please do not enlighten me — ignorance is bliss.)

Then I had to find the fabric. It had to be the right fabric, not too fancy, not too plain and not too expensive. That, I finally found Thursday when I stopped at some fabric clearance place** less than two miles from my house. I think it was 1.5 or maybe 2 yards and cost a whopping $3. Score! I feel like Katie at the thrift store! LOL!

Ready to see my handiwork?

And a close up:

These were so easy, it wasn’t funny. I made the bags by measuring the tallest bottle and around the widest bottle, then adding a little bit for the seam allowance. I cut six rectangles of fabric 12″ wide by 15″ tall. I serged the top edge, then turned it down and pressed it. Top stitched the edge. Serged the side seam closed, then the bottom seam closed. Clipped the threads and turned it right side out. To quote Emeril, “Bam!”  Honey timed me on one: 1 minute 56 seconds to sew and turn.

I designed the labels in Freehand, then printed them out on inkjet-compatible fabric paper. I actually did the printing before I started cutting and sewing so they would be dry by the time I needed them. You have to rinse the paper under running water and the ink did bleed a little bit. I was in a hurry (and almost out of ink) so I didn’t reprint them but I might have done that if I’d had more time.

Ironed some Heat n Bond to the reverse of the labels and then I trimmed pretty closely around each one. Lined up all the bags, lay my big ol’ ruler on top of them and used that to guide placement of the labels before I ironed those suckers on. I did not top stitch them and probably would do that in the future before sewing up the bags (I think they’re a little too tight to try to work with after sewing, at least for me).

Borrowed some tulle from my store stash and tied bows on the top of each. Voila! Anniversary gift extraordinaire!  And by the time it gets there, it will only be … two weeks late.

Cross your fingers that it makes it there intact. I had the shipping folks pack it for me (with shipping, that rang up to $64)  and I trust them more than my limited packing skills.

* In general, I’m not big on noting other people’s wedding anniversaries. To me, an anniversary is between you and the person you married, so that person better buy you a really great present every year but especially on big ones like 10, 20, 25, etc. Nudge, nudge, hint, hint.

** Seriously, this place was cool and I wish I’d had more time to explore. Stacks and stacks of fabric everywhere. Downside: You buy what they have — no cutting yardage. Oh, but super cheap!