Saturday, January 30, 2010

Finally Finished

Hello Beautifuls~
A few weeks ago, I was throuroghly gobsmacked and tickled pink to find a small piece of my embroidery featured at Feeling Stitchy. Truly, you could have knocked me over with a feather! That piece of Aida with my little doodles was the very first time I'd picked up a needle and tried embroidery, EVER. I was just goofing around, learning a few stitches and playing... who knew I'd become so addicted? So when I checked in with Feeling Stitchy early that Saturday morning, like I do everyday (with all of my favorite blogs BTW, because you people rock!) and saw a picture that I'd taken on my back patio I screamed. No seriously, I screamed and then I shrieked a few profanities because I have a dirty mouth. Heeheee... please don't hate me. Sean thought I saw a mouse. He came running into the computer room and saw me doing a happy albeit very dorky dance and pointing at the computer screen like an idiot. He looked at me and uttered a spot-on Ben Stein "yay" then swatted my pony tail on his way back to bed.

Ahhh... good times. He loves me, he really, really does.

Anyway, after my freakout, and after posting to you guys, posting at Facebook, emailing everyone else I know, and calling my mom, I kinda calmed down a bit and stopped wiggling... sorta. I was positively giddy.

My next thought went something like this... 'Hm... where is that thing anyway? Do I still have it? Sheesh, nice job Lis, you've gone and lost it.' Happily, I did still have it... it was uncerimoniously crumpled at the bottom of my fabric stash basket. I mean, I had a plan for it, it was just, you know... on hold.  Anywho, that wee little piece of cloth made me pretty happy that day and I thought it deserved a better, and more permanent home. So I whipped her up one!

I totally staged this photograph by the way, the weather has been much too crummy to leave all these pretties out in the yard. So crummy in fact, that this picture was staged in a few brief moments of weak sunshine last Saturday while Sean and I hurried to rebuild our fence that had blown down a few days prior. My garden furniture lives in the shed during the winter... I made those other pillows last summer too. They've gotten all squashy and comfortable from having lots of friends over last summer, they're perfect now.
Ain't she cute? I made the pillow case with a pair of little girls board shorts that I found at Marshall's a few months ago for $3. I cut them apart and refashioned them as a pillow case which is fully removable (velcro closure) so I can wash it and switch it up with the seasons or as I wish.

The fabric is real squares serged (did I say that right?) together patchwork style, not just a print of patchwork. I thought they were well worth the three bucks. I even have some pretty scraps left over. I used a cute, teal, die-cut, felted ribbon which I found at Michaels during Xmas for $1 to frame the Aida cloth, and some left over red, ricrack over the top of that. Lastly, I used one of the fancy stitches from my new sewing machine on top of the rickrack, sew fun! This is the first completed project from my new machine which I must say, I am in lurve with. It's so smoooooth.
I'd added a few more doodads since I took that original picture last summer. Here's one last shot.
Thank you so much for your comments on this, as well as my other stitchery. Especially you folks who went over to Feeling Stitchy and left a comment there for me. Aww, I wuv you guys.

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone! I'll be spending the afternoon making my MOST favorite comfort food in the world, Hawaiian Chicken, and putting the finishing touches on a birthday gift for a friend (I'll show you later this week). Toodles everybody, stay warm!

oxo~ Lisa

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Feeling Spacey

Greetings Earthlings~
Hope you're all doing well and moving productively into this still-new year! So, I had so much fun doing that Star Wars embroidery for Sean at Christmas that I went back for seconds to try a something new I'd seen over in the tutorials section of Urban Threads. I wanted to try this technique for a while, and I finally had the time to do something just for kicks. What a nice change after the warp speed Christmas crafting rush of December.

Here we go...

Revisiting Mr. Fett... Mr. Boba Fett. First I found a picture I liked, and then traced it onto paper, which I then hung in my kitchen window (a good source of backlight for tracing) and traced onto fabric with a disappearing ink pen. Easy peasy.

Next, I colored him in using plain ol' Crayola crayons. Small strokes in same direction (more or less). After that, I pressed him within an inch of his life between two sheets of paper (to absorb the excess crayon wax) with a VERY hot iron, this sets the color into the fabric. Weird, the heat made the blue disappearing ink go pea-green. Hm. Whatevs. Moving right along.

Now the fun part, embroidery! I think the backstitch is my worst stitch, I just can't seem to keep the stitch lengths even, and I feel like it's a pretty unforgiving stitch because they're all right there on the top of your fabric and they need to look identical. To me, uneven stitches give a piece a wonky look. So, figuring that I could use the practice, I did this whole dude in backstitch. It wasn't so bad. And besides, practice makes perfect, right? I think I'll be practicing the rest of my life... oofa.

So basically you just outline the drawing in colors that coordinate with your image. I love this. The possibilities are endless! I think I'd like to do a Darth Maul too (he's SO creepy!)... Sean likes bad guys.

Here's Boba all stitched up.

I don't know what he's going to be yet... me might just go into a frame... I'm open to suggestions, here's the actual size of fabric I've got to work with. What do you guys think?

Speaking of space objects or space bounty hunters, as it were, anyone care to make an identification of this weird looking thing??

My mom's neighbor gave it to her, they grow these in their garden. What the heck is it?? They told her it was broccoli, but they don't speak very good English. Now, I dunno about you all, but I've been eating broccoli my whole life, and this ain't broccoli. Is it space broccoli? This is some weird shit veg! Sean and I are both too chicken to eat it. I've always said I never met a vegtable I didn't like, but uh... I think I've met my match.

It's actually very beautiful in a strange, otherworldly kind of way, the whole thing grows in a spiral, and each bumpy spiral is covered in smaller bumpy spirals, into infinity... bizzaro.

It's BIG too, way bigger than say, a blowing ball or a human head. I just went and measured, it's 25" in circumference. Heavy also, I'd say 4-5 pounds. I think it's an alien pod that's going to burst open any minute and little creepies are going to come wriggling out... {shuddering} I'm going to have Sean weigh down the lid of the yard & garden cart tonight. Gah! I just gave myself the heebie-jeebies!

So... can anyone tell me what it is? Anyone? I'll be waiting... paitently... in a staring contest with a space vegtable.

Over & out.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Christmas Wrap Up

Ola Senorities~
I know, I know... it's the middle of January, all the Christmas posts should have been posted by now, but I have just one more. One last thing to show & tell, a really great gift from my hubby, and a few precious moments...

This was sooo exciting! Look what Sean gave me!!

A Singer Confidence!! Yaaaaaayyyyy! My old sewing machine wasn't "bad" per say, but it wasn't great either, I bought it about 12 years ago at Target, for around $75, it was just a basic-no frills machine. Right before Christmas as I was finishing up my gifts, it started sounding mighty funny. Ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk... you could hear it all the way down the hall, and it was vibrating a lot too. Zig-zag wasn't working right either. Not good. I'm really enjoying learning all this sewing stuff, and am looking forward to learning a lot more, but I didn't want to invest who knows how much to have a $75 machine repaired. Shoot, 1 hour of labor probably would have cost more than it was worth. I saw this lil beauty at JoAnn's and fell in love. When the weekly flyer came out, I saw this baby on sale ($189 down from $299) so I cut out the page and circled this model with a great, big, fluorescent pink heart and left the ad on Sean's keyboard, hehe... I'm not very good at subtle. Lo and behold, I got it!! Wooohooo!

Look at all the cool stitches!

I'm dying to make some stuff!! I don't even know what yet! I've done a few things so far, and a couple of repairs, but nothing thrilling. I'm pretty good at square things, but I'd really like to learn how to do patterns and simple garments. I have 6 nieces, so I also think I'd like to learn how to make cloth/softy dolls and cute clothes for them. Like my mom used to make for me. They were awesome, way better than the Cabbage Patch's my friends had. I'm 35 years old, and I still have every single doll my mom made me. I think that says something (like maybe I'm a pack rat!! Ha!). Anyhooo... I'm stoked!

Here also are just a few snapshots I wanted to share, good times with the people I love.

My brother Greg showing Josiah how to work his cool new snowboarding boots.

Ava, playing with her first Christmas dolly.

Time with Alex... home on leave for Christmas. We miss you kiddo!

By honey... you take care!

It all comes and goes so fast, doesn't it?? Yes Lola, this is how I feel too...

Now! What to get started on in this new decade, so many ideas and possibilities???
What about you? What are you starting on this year?

Thank you ALL so very much for the many lovely comments, compliments and suggestions on my last few posts! What fun to share with like minded peeps! It was a real moral booster to hear so many kind things, I can't thank you enough!

Big oxo's to you all!

p.s. Just one more! These were among my favorite moments, snuggling with Ava looking out over the moutains from Greg's deck... Ana caught this one on film which I didn't know until much later (I usually prefer to be behind the camera) but I'm so glad she did. oxo.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stop the presses!!!!!

Holy crow, yo!

A little bit of my embroidery (in fact, the first thing I ever attempted) is featured on Feeling Stitchy today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I could die!!!


 I'm so excited!! I have to go call my mom!!!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas Crafts Revealed Part IV

Hey, hey, hey!

Oh my gosh - four posts, four days in a row! Are you sick of me yet?? I wouldn't blame you, I'm kinda sick of me too. This post won't be so bad, lots of pictures and I'll try and keep the yackety~yak to a minimum... be warned, I said "try".

I've been DYING to show this to you! I know I'm not the only Twilight fan here in blog land, I know because I've already run across a couple of you... you know who you are... cuties! So this is something I made for Christmas for Ana, remember her?

And awayyyy we go!

♥ Edward ♥ Bella ♥ Jacob ♥ Bella ♥ Edward ♥ Bella ♥ Jacob ♥

Not since Romeo & Juliet have we been so obsessed with fictional (teenage) romance. The Twilight Saga is wickedly addictive. An incredible work of literature? Meh, not really. But, I dare anyone to read them and not get completely sucked in. Not to mention pathetically sodden with one of those boys. Impossible, I say!

Perez calls them the Trinity and I couldn't agree more, so that's how I went about making this project. Three. Three different fabrics representing each main character, three emblems, and three quotes. I'm pleased to say that this design was mine, all mine ♥

Edward... slightly old fashion and formal...the vamp.

Bella...the ever in danger damsel...heart pulled in two...

Jacob...the wolf...muy caliente!

Edward, ever the gentleman from another century.

Bella, frequently dazzled...

Jacob, young, open, honest and straight to the point.

Bella, forever awkward...

This was the first arrangement

I ended up removing Bella's quote to Jake because I wasn't happy with the stitching. I had used a different kind of thread because it was the only red I had in the house when I made that piece, but I thought it looked sloppy next to the others, so I edited it out. Kind of a bummer, I liked that quote.

Here is the backing fabric.

And a little something for Ana...

All together now!

So tell me... Team Edward or Team Jacob? I waver, but I think untimately, it's all about Edward. Ana, on the other hand is totally Team Jacob.

Only one "bad" thing happened on this project, (please tell me I'm not the only one this stuff happens to) when I put the "right" sides together to sew them, I got the top/bottom/sides confused as I put it on the machine. Unlike the Hawiian pillow, this one was not meant to come apart. Ana takes really good care of her things, so I did not plan to make this a "washable" piece. Back to my confusion... I sewed the wrong sides together, aww crap! 

Crap, crap, crap! Hehehe... Sorry.

I still get annoyed by this mistake. I wanted to insert the pillow form into the bottom of the cover, but nooooooo. In my infinite intelligence I sewed the top, right and bottom sides together. Meaning I had to insert the pillow into the left side. I have "finishing" problems. Like I've said before, sewing is still new to me, and finishing a piece always trips me up. I needed that last seam to be at the bottom where it wouldn't be so obvious because it probably wasn't going to look that great in the first place, but nope. There it is, big as life and right there in plain view... nuts!

It's hard sewing a puffy pillow into a closely fitted pillow cover... I had to sew that last side together standing up so that I could use my left forearm to squash the pillow and use both hands to keep the piece straight as it passed under the needle. Is that normal? I kind of don't think it is, but I was doing ok, until I looked down because I was losing my footing on the petal... then this happened...

Big sigh... Well... you win some, you lose some I guess. Worse things could have happened.

Ana really liked her pillow. She said her bestie was jealous, yes! Mission accomplished >:o)~

Well my friends, that about wraps up my Christmas Crafts show & tell, I sure hope you've enjoyed it. I did make a couple of other things that I forgot to snap pictures of, a camoflauge crayon roll-up thingamabob for my nephew Josiah, that looked something like this, a simple (but big) super soft fleece blanket for my other neice, Alex and a "princess" dreamcatcher for yet another neice, Anais. It was so nice watching everyone open the gifts I made this year, I got a lot out of it. I put a lot of love into these pieces ♥

I love that we get to share what we're all doing with each other here in blogland. Thank you all so much for your positive, encouraging, wonderful, and kind comments so far. I think you girls are the bees knees!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas Crafts Revealed Part III

Hey Everyone~

Round Three, ding, ding, ding!

Picking right back up from where I left off yesterday. I'm finally sharing the Hawiian Quilted Pillow from Martha Stewart that I gave you a peek at back in December. Greg & Apryl (my brother and sister-in-love) loved their pillow (and matching sheet set), which made me happy.

Whoo boy! This was a doosie. The echo quilting wasn't hard exactly, although it did require a certain bit of concentration to keep all that echoing even, but it was very time consuming. I estimate this took about 26 hours to complete, not including actually sewing the pillow front & back together or the Velcro debacle, that part was done by machine and went quick. I don't think I'm an especially fast or slow stitcher either, I just wanted all of the stitches to be uniform and tight.  Let's go look!

Here I go... this picture is at the very beginning... Well, not the beginning actually. At this point the appliqué was well, appliquéd, which took about 4-5 hours in itsself... at least. I know this because we watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince one and a half times (Ana, my neice was staying the night that evening and she fell asleep the about 1/2 way through, so we had to watch the second half of the movie again the next morning) as well as all the special features before I was finished applying appliqué. By the way, have I ever told you of my love for Harry? I loves me some Harry Potter!!! But that is a whole different cauldron full of hot, strong love ... moving right along...

Done with the echoing! My poor fingers! I think each and every one of them was poked several times. Ouch.

It's hard to see in these photos, but the colors of the echoing threads change through out the pillow. They are what I called "soft" Rasta colors, instead of red, green and yellow, I used a mellow gold thread inside the appliqué, a sage green for the first three echoes, and a mauvy pink for the last five echoes. This was one of those "change gears in the middle of the project" things. I had planned to only use the yellow in the appliqué and the sage around it, but it felt too muted. I wanted to give the quilting a little more contrast, but not be too "loud" about it. Does that make sense? Anyway, I'm SO happy I did, because the pink is really pretty and adds a tiny bit of femininity to the design.

This is the fabric I used for the back. Again, this wasn't the original plan. Originally, I had cut fabric for the back that was sort of an olive green micro suede (you can actually see a bit of it in the lower left corner of the picture above) but I changed my mind and couldn't use it, it was so DRAB! I hate drab. Yuck... rummage, rummage, rummage through my fabric! I really like this print; it was part of a fat quarter pack that I bought for another project, which wasn't used. Woo! It's perfect... (to me). Lush flowers and pretty butterflies are much more reminiscent of the Hawaii where G & A were married, than crummy old micro suede!

Here you can see what the two fabrics looked like against each other. Yes, much better than army olive green.

Sadly, this is the last picture I took of the pillow before it was sewn together, wrapped up and given away. Now I understand how that happens when I've read that on other blogs. You just get so busy, and into the groove of what you're doing, you forget to stop to take photographs. Bummer...

After I had sewn the front & back together, I tackled the bottom. I knew from the start that I needed to make this pillow cover removable so that it could be washed if needed. G & A have two little ones and I have no illusions that this pillow will remain pristine. I used Velcro for easy removal... twice! I hand sewed the Velcro the first time, but it looked funny, the pieces didn't lay together properly, so I cut it off and did it again by machine with a much better result, although I don't think it was a hand vs. machine issue, I think it had more to do with the way I finished the bottom...

One other thing that I ended up doing twice was the stitching at the very center of the appliqué, originally I just used the golden thread and went in a spiral until I got to the very center, but I didn't like it, so I cut those parts out as well and redid them with the pink thread that I used at the outter edges of the echoing, and in a star pattern. Much better.

Gosh I wish I had a picture of the completed project... darn it. Well you can imagine, right?


Right. So, this is my first completed foray into quilting of any kind! What do I think? Well, I think I liked it, and I think I'm going to take a quilting class soon One thing is for sure, I have A LOT to learn. :o) Yay learning!

I have one more thing to post tomorrow to wrap up my Christmas Crafts Revealed, can't wait! All you Twihards are going to dig this! Stay tuned!!

oxo~ Lisa

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas Crafts Revealed Part II

Hello Lovies~
Show and tell is fun, so let's get right back to it, shall we?

The next thing I wanted to share was an ornament I made for my mom. This was not what I had intended to make for her, but I was running WAY short on hours in that last week before Christmas, and so her original Christmas gift, will now be her Mothers Day Gift... yeah, that sounds about right... if I start now, I should be done by May. ...insert uncomfortable laugh here...

Sooo, anyway! Do you all read Posy Gets Cozy? It's the blog of Alicia Paulson, it's great. I check it every day, but she only updates once or twice a week (I'm such a stalker!) I love her blog, she makes really pretty things, and really great looking food. I loved her set of Walk in the Woods felt ornament kits. I would have loved to order a set, but I swore to myself I'd stay on a tiny Christmas budget this year. Besides, I already had everything I needed to make the one I liked best for my mom. Seriously, I didn't have to buy one, single thing. How nice is that? So, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I didn't sell anything I hope that it's ok blog/craft etiquette that I share it with you guys...fingers crossed! My design wasn't as cute as hers... I did a quick sketch for reference a couple of months ago, and never rechecked it... shame on me. With that said, I think it came out pretty well. Here we go!

I kinda got so busy near the end that I wasn't taking pictures, here in this first picture, I've pretty well got most of the "cottage" put together.

Next I added a cute little flower/wreath thingy on the door and Christmas "lights" to the shrubs.

Then I hung the "lighted garland" around the eves, and a couple of "porch lights" as well as added a rickrack loop for hanging and some "smoke" for the chimneys. I finished by lightly stuffing the piece and  stitching on a back piece. This was a fun little doodad to make, but it took some time... I'd say probably 5 or 6 hours.

Here's my little Snowy Cottage, on the tree and ready to be wrapped up and given to mom. She really like it. Truth be told, so did I... again... shoulda made one for myself.


So tell me crafty ladies... you sew and stitch up a storm for everyone else on your gift list, but what about the most important person? Your other half, your hubby? Somewhere close to my deadline it occurred to me that none of this crafting would have been possible without MY sweet husband. I mean, for three weeks I came home from work, barely cooked a little dinner then disappeared into the spare bedroom, where my sewing table is set up and didn't hardly come out again until well after he'd gone to bed every night (I'm a night-owl, Sean is not. At all.) He'd pop in and sit for a bit, then it was back out to the couch & ESPN. Poor Sean was spending a lot of time alone (which, who am I kidding, he probably enjoyed not having to share the remote), not to mention doing a lot more than his fair share of chores so that I could get all this stuff done, and for what? I wasn't making him anything... He's such a sweetie, he may not be my loudest cheerleader, but he's my most supportive. I decided this wasn't fair. He needed something special too. Sew... what to make for the man? Hmm... he likes ice hockey, and Star Wars... Star Wars!! There had to be something... Google here I come!

I found a couple ideas that I
  1. Already had the materials to make and
  2. thought I'd be able to tackle (on my lunch hours... no, seriously)
Yes, I'm deranged... in the last minute madness I took on 2 more projects! But what the hay, he's worth it!
These pieces were both inspired by things I saw on Stitch Wars. Just goes to show, even when you think your creativity tank is near empty, some really cool things can happen. I actually like these two little pieces quite a bit. Geeky goodness!

Here is the first:

Boba Fett! A galactic bounty hunter... Sean's favorite guy. Here's a close up.

I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but this was fun! These felt pieces come together fast! Oh! I stand corrected, I did have to buy something for this project, a new 7" hoop. Wood, I painted it black. When I was finished stitching Boba all together, I cut the fabric (spare from this project) close around the edges of the hoop, I'd say 1/2" or so, then ran a bead of hot glue around the inner rim of the hoop and folded down the extra fabric neatly. Easy peasy! Sean loved this, he was so surprised! He didn't expect that I would have made him anything. That felt good to me, I like giving him surprises.

Oh no, that's not all! I wanted a little companion piece for Boba Fett, so I also whipped this little baby out.

Heeeheeeheee! He really wasn't expecting this one! If light sabers were real, Sean would have one in every color, I'm sure of it. Looks a bit of a mess though, doesn't it? It's organized chaos, French knots, tons of them! Here's a close up. I cut a small square out and placed the embroidered piece against some starry black fabric (that you can't see very well), then framed the whole thing in a small black frame. I left the glass off so you can feel the texture, it's neat, all nubbily and stuff. Me happy!

This concludes show and tell for today boys & girls! It's so neat to be able to share this with the world at large, how fun! I'll be back again tomorrow to wrap up with the Christmas Crafts show, I hope you've enjoyed taking a peek as much as I have sharing these with you guys.

oxo~ Lisa