Handmade Holidays underway

Got a little sewing done this weekend. I’m finishing up the binding on baby Erik’s (my gorgeous new nephew) quilt – finished pictures coming soon on that – but here’s a little preview.

Baby Erik's quilt progress

Also made some ornaments for family members. I used the awesome pattern and tutorial by Elsie Marley posted here. Super cute and simple. The best part about her pattern is that she sews the gingerbread man down to a felt rectangle and THEN cuts him out! So much easier that cutting two gingerbread men and sewing them together around the bite marks. Very smart!

Oh no!

And finally, I got to work on a zipper pouch – I needed a gift for a man…hope it’s manly enough! I used this super simple tutorial by terrabytefarm.com posted here. I’ve made quite a few box pouches, and they were all kind of a pain. This tutorial was super easy. The key is that the inside is unfinished. But since I’m not crazy about all those little threads and stuff, I think next time, I’ll add a 1/2 inch to the length on one side when cutting the fabric and do french seams. I also added a handle by jamming a little rectangle of fabric into my corners before I squared them off. I’ll definitely use that tutorial again!

Zipper pouch

Zipper pouch

I also made these pillow cases a few weeks ago for some ugly leather pillows we have. It’s funny, now we use those pillows all the time – it seems like someone is always putting one behind their back. I swear no one ever used them before. So that makes me happy!

Some new pillows for the tv room

Happy Handmade Halloween!

We had a great Halloween party with the neighbors. Flat-bed trailer with hay, Thriller on the stereo, at least 20 kids and 1000’s of pieces of candy!

Here’s this year’s handmade costume. I took an XS ladies’ sweat suit from Old Navy, cut it way down and embellished. Introducing the Lego Ninjago Green Ninja – a little before and after action!

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Hope your Halloween was awesome, too!

I also took this picture with my phone…no idea what happened, but it’s very creepy!
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Jedi Party

We had a very successful birthday party last weekend. Here are some photo highlights.

Invites made in MS Word using a free star wars font and bootlegged star wars lego images found all over internet.
invite

For the goody bags – medals and silly straws from party city with star wars stickers (avery labels printed on my printer, circles punched with a paper punch):

party favors

party favors

Homemade light saber cupcakes:
light saber cupcakes

Pool noodle light sabers for everyone:
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Best of all: LOTS of friends! I hope everyone else had as much fun as we did!
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Let’s glide like pterosaurs!

My kid is dino crazy. They had a special Dinosaur Train deal at the Houston Zoo a few weeks back, and if you wore a costume, you got a prize. Well, we only have superhero costumes around here, so I whipped up some pterodactyl wings real quick.

For inspiration, we used this shirt…now a little too small, but it worked for one more day.

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First I sketched out what I was aiming for – just the webbing that hangs down from their arms.

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I started with a rectangle folded over to give me the double sided wing that I was aiming for:

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Then I used some fancy stitches that kind of look like fangs to make casings for my bendy straws – these are the ‘veins’ in the glider wing, so they hold their shape. After sliding the straws in, I cut away some arches in the bottom and then sewed the bottom closed with some top-stiching. I sewed right over the straws so they wouldn’t fall out.

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After making two ‘wings’, I connected them with some binding with a backpack clip in the middle (because pterodactyls grow so quickly!). On each end of the binding, I sewed a smaller double fold bias strip with a little snap, so I could attach the wings to his wrists.

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And to keep the glider up in the center of his shoulders, I just safety-pinned it to his shirt.

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Ta Daaaa!

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And some action shots:

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with claws:
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Only 3 months to go!

Is it sad for me to celebrate the fact that I’m only 3 months behind on my virtual bee? I finished up two blocks this weekend, so now, I only have Jan, Feb and March to finish! Here are Oct and Nov’s blocks…those girls were so patient! (Thanks, Rosanna and Natalie!)

For Nov, Rosanna had us do a big Single Girl block. I’ve owned this pattern since Denyse published it, but as soon as I opened it up, I knew I would never make it. Denyse uses templates in a lot of her patterns where I don’t feel like templates are so necessary. Look at me – questioning the methods of Denyse Schmidt! But really, I love her quilts so much, I’m just too lazy to put the effort into them that the patterns call for. I guess that’s why they sell for so much money!

So anywhoo…Rosanna cut ALL THE PIECES! She sent us these nice little packages of all the little shapes that make one ring. I can’t imagine the time she¬† spent preparing those packages. All I know is that I got to do the fairly simple sewing on this awesome block without doing any of the mundane or tedious pattern tracing and cutting. So thanks, Rosanna! Taking this pattern out for a spin showed me that it’s not the big, awful pain I thought it would be. And if I cut multiple pieces (stacked fabric, cut four or five at a time), I could almost see making a quilt with it. The finished block was huge, so six would make a great baby quilt.

Rosanna's Single Girl block-2

And then for Nov., Natalie wanted porthole blocks. This was a fun new technique for me. Although, I never could get my seams as smooth as I wanted. We used Ric Rac’s tutorial – which is super easy. I’m sure I’ll use this technique again – and really, you could do any shape.

Natalie's Porthole blocks-3

In other sewing news, I finished up the Here We Go bag for my aunt Jamie. Using the pattern in Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings – Jamie picked her own fabrics, and I put together this GIANT diaper bag. Pretty easy pattern, and the technique used for closing up the top and sewing the inside and outside together was suprisingly easy. I normally make bags using the ‘birthing’ method – where you flip the whole bag right-side-out through a small hole in the bottom. This bag uses a bias strip sewn around the whole top like quilt binding. I ended up hand-stitching it down, just like I would do a quilt. Not bad at all.

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The bag has a center divider with pockets on both sides and pockets around the inside lining. There’s also a little elastic loop that holds the changing pad.

Here We Go bag-4

And I found a great laminated herringbone fabric on fabric.com – perfect for the changing pad. Although, I really need to get one of those slippery feet for sewing on vinyl and stuff…what a pain in the neck!

Here We Go bag-6

gems on the web

Oh, there are so many! First of all, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Second, I was over at Heather Bailey’s lovely blog, and I found this super cute free pattern for a bat named Betty Boo. While there, taking in the sites, I noticed a link for Trick-Or-Eat. Feast your eyes on this lovely collection…”nine favorite food, craft & lifestyle bloggers await behind nine haunted houses — with an array of holiday tricks and treats to greet you.” It’s a great collection of recipes and fun ideas…plus the little house graphics are super cute. Great job to all those super bloggers! And while on NotMartha.org – one of said super bloggers, I stumbled onto this fun site…treasure abounds at Ask MetaFilter.

For Halloween at the Blabbery house, we are bionicle crazy. This year’s creation was a big success – in fact, this bionicle costume was the first thing I’ve made for my son that he actually liked. His exact words were, “mom, you can make anything!” and “my costume is awesome!” And then he wouldn’t take it off for two days.

There is no higher praise. Meet Mata Nui…

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Houston

I haven’t paid much attention to all the talk of the famed Houston trade-show, the International Quilt Market, I’m just patiently waiting for all the great new fabrics and patterns to be available for purchase from my favorite shops. One such shop though, Fat Quarters (awesome selection, reasonable prices, lightening fast shipping), had a ton of great pictures on their Jolly Jabber blog, and I can’t help but wish I was there.

I’m particularly intrigued by Sandy Henderson and Jay McCarroll. Sandy Henderson has some gorgeous fabrics and some fun tutorials on her blog – including one for shirring! Hooray. The picture of her booth on the Jolly Jabber really grabbed my eye – I LOVE those big fabric flowers around the top of the booth.

You may remember Jay McCarroll from Project Runway…well, in the picture on Jolly Jabber, he’s surrounded by really cool applique quilts. Are they his? He’s also wearing a cool 1970’s string-pieced vest. Is he a quilter? Nothing about quilting or quilts on his site, but you never know…I’m going to research it a little more. Looks like there is a line of fabric on the way…from none other than Free Spirit, my fav. These swatches are from the two lines – one line is called Woodland Wonderland, the other is Garden Friends. I love those trippy little deer and bugs.

Anyway, lots of eye-candy out there. I better start saving my pennies :)

gems on the web

Some new and excellent web finds for the crafty:

This month’s Real Simple had these cute little cocktail napkins that had fortunes on them. I went to the website, and it turns out it was an Etsy shop – Avril Loreti! How awesome is that. A national magazine – great press for all Etsy sellers because even though only one product was highlighted, how could a shopper turn away from all the rest of that handmade goodness?

By the way, her ideas on coctail napkins and heat transfers are super creative and wonderful. I will be copying them (for personal use, of course) very soon.

If you’re not shopping on Etsy yet, you’re missing out.