Friday, December 31, 2010

Out With the Old, In With the New

Goodbye 2010... Hello 2011!

2010 was a pretty fantastic year my family and I. Sure, we had our losses (including a beloved grandmother and great-uncle) and our family health crises, but for the most part, 2010 was a very good year.

The year started with a bang as our little girl made a surprise entrance on January 1st. She was due on the 30th, so you can imagine our shock as we drove to the hospital on New Year's Eve, dodging revelers and taxicabs on the streets. But all was well and we couldn't have been happier to have an extra 4 1/2 weeks with baby Maddy.

2010 was a HUGE growth year for me personally. It represented the end (sort of) of my business and the beginning of my blog. This blog has been such a blessing in my life and I honestly don't know what I would do without it. My creativity has surged as a result and I'm happier than I've been in a long time.

I have many fond memories of good times with friends, family and especially my husband and kids in 2010. Thank you to all of you who have made our year so rich.

And 2011... I'm so excited to see what the year will bring. There may be some big changes on the horizon for my family. Will share more soon.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year... filled with peace, love, joy and creativity!

See you next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kanzashi Flower Party Favors

I made a few of these sweet little clips to put in the goodie bags for the girls coming to Maddy's party. These blooms are a bit time consuming but the results are well worth the time invested.

I just wish I could come up with something equally cute for the boys. Any ideas?

I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fabric Scrap Cupcake Toppers

Since baby girl is turning 1 on 1-1-11, I thought a "1" theme would be appropriate for her birthday party. "One" thought I had (pun intended) was to make some cupcake toppers with fabric scraps cut into the shape of the number 1.

This is a super easy project and you could use any shape, letter or number to coordinate with your party theme. 

To make these, I first printed a "1" on card stock and cut it out to use as a template. 

Then I found several scraps of fabric in my bin and used my favorite fabric stiffening method. (Simply combine equal parts white craft glue and water, paint onto your fabric scraps and allow to dry about 45 minutes)

I then traced my "1" on the right sides of my scraps, folded in half and cut so that I had two ones with wrong sides together.

Next I applied some fabri-tac fabric glue to the wrong side of a 1 and placed a toothpick on top like so...

Then I placed the other 1 on top and smoothed it out.

And that's it. Cute, easy, homemade party decor.

5 down, 15 to go. :-)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gearing up for the Big Day

Hi friends. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Ours was super relaxing and very white! We had lots of snow over the holiday which made for a few cozy days indoors.

I'm now gearing up for the big day. That's right... New Year's Day. Because it's my little girl's 1st birthday. Maddy is turning one on 1-1-11 and I'm so excited. We're having a very small and quite casual party for her.

Here's a sneak peek at the goodie bags...

I caught someone else taking a sneak peek... :-)

I may or may not be putting a couple of handmade items in these bags. I'll share some photos in the next day or so.

Lots to do... cupcakes to bake, favors to make. I'd better get busy!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Dear Readers,

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and good tidings for the season. I wish you peace and joy and love and all that is good in the world. Thank you for visiting my little blog and for your support. I am so grateful.

I'm off to do some cooking and general merry making with my husband and kiddos.

Happy, happy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Big Thanks to "Ohdeedoh"

Apartment Therapy's Ohdeedoh is featuring my little blog again. Thank you Apartment Therapy! You guys are the best. Check out their post for some photos of Daniel's room.

My New Obsession - Kanzashi!

While doing a little online holiday shopping at Amazon, this book found it's way into my cart. Now how did that happen? I guess it was just a Christmas miracle. Wink, wink.

Anyway - Kanzashi! Are you familiar with this ancient Japanese craft? I just discovered it and I am IN LOVE.

The technique involves folding small squares of fabric (much like origami), then hand sewing the petals together to create a sweet little flower. You then finish them off with a button or other embellishment. So cute!

There are tutorials for this craft all over the web. If you google "kanzashi" you'll be surprised at what you find. And if you want more instruction, I highly recommend the aforementioned book that showed up on my doorstep a few days ago. My mind is spinning with future project ideas using these flowers that are famous for gracing the heads of geisha.

I can't wait to see that hair clip on my little one.

Once again - while I should be doing Christmas related chores, I am happily folding, pinning and sewing kanzashi blooms.

My name is Erin and I am a craftaholic.

See you real soon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Quilt for Mae

I finished a quilt! This is truly an accomplishment for me. As much as I consider myself a quilter and as much as I love the process of making a quilt, I have a very difficult time actually completing one. They are just so labor intensive and I don't often have the time or patience it takes to make one and do it right.

But a good friend of mine wanted to give her two-year-old daughter a special quilt for Christmas and she commissioned me to make one for her. I offered this sweet little quilt and knew that this was the kick in the rear I needed to get it done.

I used a straight-line quilting method for this one. The lines are about 1/2" apart. This took a very long time but I really like the way it turned out. I love the texture that all of those lines create.

I also really love the colors in this quilt... so vibrant and punchy. The fabric is mostly designed by Amy Butler but I threw in one of my all-time favorite designs by Jennifer Paganelli from the mod girls line. I love the juxtaposition of the modern prints with the retro / vintage blue floral. There's a hint of art deco in that design as well.

This quilt is backed and bound with a pale yellow with white polka dots... very sweet for a sweet little girl.

I love that my friend wanted to give her daughter a gift like this. While most of us are out shopping for plastic toys that beep and light up and sing songs, my friend wanted to give her little girl a keepsake. I hope that Mae will love her quilt as much as I loved making it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Inspiring Holiday Images

Good morning! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I finally got my Christmas cards sent out and I'm so happy to have that task behind me. Now I can focus on a few final projects before Santa and both sets of grandparents come to town.

Dan and I had the privilege of going to the Four Seasons downtown for brunch yesterday. His parents gave us a gift certificate and we decided that the holidays would be the perfect time to go. Here are just a few images of the fabulous holiday decor at the Four Seasons, Chicago.

They had these fun little table toppers on all of the tables in the lobby. I love the bright green on those ornaments.

And they had this gorgeous Christmas tree that was decorated with REAL ballet slippers from the Joffrey ballet.

Neat idea, huh?

We ate and ate and ate until we couldn't eat any more. The eggs benedict, the prime rib, the dessert buffet, oh my!

So we came home, put on our jammies (with drawstring pants of course) and did this...

I may have to ask Santa for a few sessions with a personal trainer. :-) Christmas sure is hard on the waistline!

Believe it or not, I may have some pictures of a finished quilt for you tomorrow. See you then!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Tree Tee and Matching Hair Clip

OK. Even though I'm supposed to be wrapping presents, addressing Christmas cards and a million other things, I'd much rather fool around in my sewing room. I just LOVE to rummage through my scrap bins and play, play, play. To say that I'm like a kid in a candy store doesn't even begin to explain the exhilaration. Do you feel this way too?

Yesterday, I indulged myself in this little brainstorm...

I made a patchwork Christmas tree and appliqued it to a onesie for Maddy. It just wasn't enough "cute," so I went the extra mile and made a matching hair accessory.

I'm kind of making fun of myself here as "cutesy" isn't totally my style. But every now and then I get bitten by the cute bug, and you know, it works on an 11-month-old.

I wish I could have gotten a better shot of Maddy in the shirt but it's really tough to chase a moving target with a camera. 

I don't have many pictures of my process, but I'll try to give you a quick "how-to" in case you want to make these for a small fry in your life.

Christmas Tree Onesie or T-Shirt

I started out by sewing three different scraps of coordinating green fabric strips together. Each strip was 2.5" long and 6" wide (but you could eliminate a step by making them exactly 4" wide). I then measured 4" across the bottom and made a little mark at each end. Then at the top of the block, I found the center point (2") and made a little mark. I then used my rotary cutter to cut out my tree on the angle, just connecting my marks. Does this make sense? I'm sorry if it's confusing. Hopefully the photo will help.

After cutting out the little tree, I folded each edge of the triangle over about 1/8 of an inch and used my glue stick to secure.

I trimmed the corners and applied fray check.

Next step is to make the trunk. I used a tiny scrap of brown kona cotton and cut it about 1 1/2" by 1". I then folded the raw edges about an 1/8 of an inch and glue-sticked around the sides and bottom.

Again - trim the corners and apply fray check.

I figured out where on the onesie I wanted the tree and trunk and applied a bit of glue stick to the back to hold the pieces in place while I sewed.

Then I took the onesie over to my machine, unbuttoned the bottom and pulled it onto the machine's free arm so that I was only sewing the top layer. I then edge-stitched all the way around the tree. I did the same for the trunk using brown thread.

I thought the tree needed a topper so I make a simple grosgrain ribbon bow and glue-gunned that to the top.

That's it on the tee. It's really very simple.

Now for the hair clip.

Christmas Tree Hair Clip

I used a double prong clip and glue-gunned a 4" strip scrap of brown ribbon all the way around like so...

I applied Fray Check to the raw edges of the ribbon.

The next step was to make the tree triangle and another bow topper.

I used the same fabric stiffening method that I did for my embellished clothespins. I just mixed equal parts white craft glue and water in a bowl, then brushed that onto a scrap of fabric and allowed to dry for about 40 minutes.

Then I cut out a tree triangle about 1 1/2" wide at the bottom. I simple glue-gunned that and a little bow to the top of the hair clip and that was it.

I promised Christmas-y, crafty cute, didn't I?

So now I must take a short blogging break and finish my laundry (it's been piling up for quite some time), get those Christmas cards out and finish up the wrapping. I'll be back in a few days once I've crossed some things off my "to do" list.

Hope you're enjoying this wonderful season!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Christmas Card Display With Embellished Clothespins

OK. So remember how I said I was going to share pics of the homemade gifts I was working on? Well, silly me! I boxed them all up and sent them off to family without taking any photos! I'm so sorry. I do have a couple of other items I'm working on, so all is not lost. But I had hoped to at least share the shirts and frames I made for my nieces. Ah well. I'll just have to get creative and show you some other things going on around these parts.


our Christmas card display...

CUTE little people on those cards, huh?

Do you want to know how I did this? Here's how...

I started by using some inexpensive Christmas ribbon and turned my bare mirror into a present.

I took a regular old stapler and stapled the ribbon to the back of the mirror like this...

Then I took some clothespins and some scraps of Christmas fabric and made up a bunch of these...

To make the fabric embellishments, I took a small bowl and mixed equal parts white craft glue and water.

Then I brushed the mixture onto my fabric scraps with a foam brush and allowed to dry for about 40 minutes. This stiffening process makes the fabric MUCH easier to work with. 

Next I cut out several little holly motifs and placed a small drop of craft glue on the back...

flipped them over, placed on the clothespins, allowed to dry and then used them to attach the cards to the ribbon.

We have several of these displays around the house and I just love looking at photos of our dear friends and family. Now if only I could get my own Christmas cards sent out!

I'll be back soon with more Christmas-y, crafty goodness.