Crafting updates

My quest to have a mostly homemade Christmas continues. I can't believe I only have one week left though! Oh, the stress and angst of it all. :)

Just kidding, I am doing the best I can, and at this point am making things that I hadn't especially planned to, or the things in my head are either easy or stuff I just need to assemble. I just hope I can find all my supplies at home! And yay, I just heard from the short bus that they can take me to Joann's tomorrow after work so I can get a few last minute things for a couple projects I thought of in the last few days.

I'm very excited about most of my projects. I hope all the recipients like them as well!

One of my projects was for a friend of mine at work. Last year, I made a Christmas stocking for a friend of mine that -- I thought -- really needed one! I personalized it with an orange kitty to match her cat, Julius. Here's that one:


Kitty stocking

My other friend asked me to make her a couple of stockings for her pets, Jersey and Cleopatra. I was going to make her something different as a gift, but this idea was even better, since I knew she'd like it! I saw photos of her pets on Facebook and modeled the stockings after them.

I couldn't find any plain stockings when I went to Hobby Lobby this past time (well, except for like 3-inch ones and 30-inch ones). I did find some small fleece sheets there though in the felt section. They were softer and thicker than the felt, and were cheap too, only like 33 cents a sheet. What a bargain! I already had a bunch of felt, beads and embroidery thread at home, so I was all set.

Here is the one of Jersey, who is a tan and white hound-esque dog:

In the early stages


Done, bottom half


Full stocking


I made a little dangling bone to make the top more interesting


And Cleopatra. She was harder to make because she is calico and I was worried that her face wouldn't show up enough.


And for the top of the kitty one. I had the mouse body and tail put together, complete with eyes, but for some reason it didn't look right. Seriously, it took me forever to realize that the mouse ears were missing ... duh!


These weren't terribly hard to make. Probably the hardest part was getting the calico patterns close to being right, drawing the shape of the stocking (this was more complicated than I thought!) and hand sewing the fleece. It was harder to get the needle through that than the felt.

I gave them to my friend today, so yay, I was happy that she liked them. Off to another project now! :)


I heart appetizers

I've always been a fan of appetizers ... I love little bits and pieces of food, and would much rather have three bites of 10 foods than 30 bites of one. Variety is the spice of life!

Anyway, to get to my point, I spent part of this afternoon/evening at a work party at my VP's house. Her house was simply gorgeous and decorated really cool, with lots of unique pieces and modern art. But oh, the food! It was awesome. I had a little bit of everything there was and it was all delish. There was a bowl of fruit salad with a bunch of good stuff, cheese, crackers, raw veggies and ranch dip to start with. Then the finger foods came out. They included:

- A pastry with proscuito-wrapped asparagus and filled with spinach artichoke-type filling.
- Mini crab cakes.
- Beef wellington.
- Coconut shrimp
- Chicken satay with a spicy raspberry chipotle sauce.
- Little chocolate cups filled with either cream cheese or chocolate filling, topped with fresh fruit and mint.

Yum. It was really good and the party was fun too.

I'm still working hard on my list of homemade Christmas presents. I'll try to post photos soon.


Christmas flashback, part 2

As promised, here are a few other Christmas ornaments my mom made that I now have. I love this mouse family, and loved playing with them. You can definitely tell they were probably made in the '70s because of their oh-so-stylish clothes.

The parents:

Dad and mom

And the whole family portrait:

Mouse family Christmas ornaments

The power of procrastination

Heh. I just finished the Christmas ornament I was making for the exchange we're doing at our office party tomorrow evening. Nothing like getting things done at the last minute. I guess I should be glad I finished it before actually being on the way to the party.

I took some photos of it and will post them post-party. I'm really happy with how it turned out.


Christmas flashback, part 1

I've finally started pulling out my Christmas stuff and putting a few things out. After moving my 4 bedroom, 2 bath house into a smallish 2 bedroom apartment, it's been an impossible task to find homes for all my Christmas decorations and other holiday whatnot. I've got a very large tree in storage, so I've just put up an 18-inch tree I've had forever. Of course this doesn't give me much room for ornaments.

I'm sad that I won't be able to hang most of them this year, but I still love looking through everything and remembering when I got the ornaments or when they were made. Some of my favorite ornaments are ones my mom made years and years ago, probably in the '70s or early '80s. Here are a few I especially like.

Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow

Dorothy and the Tin Man


I must have been really, really tired

Just yesterday I was wondering why it was that I fall into such deep, deep sleeps sometimes during the weekends, but it hardly ever happens during the week. These thoughts came to fruition after I spent Tuesday night hardly sleeping at all between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. (It probably didn't help that two episodes of Dirty Jobs were on then. I heart Mike Rowe.)

So karma of course came back to bite me on my ass when I woke up this morning dreaming that the short bus driver was calling to let me know she was waiting outside for me. I told her in my dream that I needed two seconds to make it out there, rather than one, since I hadn't yet gotten dressed. I woke up in a panic, then looked at the clock. 7:45. What the hell? Seriously, I had overslept by almost 2 hours!

I checked my phone but my last call was from my husband the night before. My alarm was turned off, but I wasn't sure if I had woken up and turned it off, or if it had never been turned on in the first place.

Oh boy. So I called the short bus dispatcher, hoping he'd be able to fit me into the schedule somewhere, but no luck on that. How embarrassing!

This afternoon I installed my new old alarm clock in my bedroom. My hubby sent it up to me in the last care package he mailed. It's a nice alarm clock, especially because it has two alarms. I set then 10 minutes apart and am hoping for the best in the morning! Makes it hard to be snarky about co-workers always being late when I fall prey as well.

I also hope I don't oversleep Saturday; I'm actually leaving the state and going to Chicago! I can't wait.

Now, off to bed. Wish me luck in the a.m.!


To compete, or not to compete

As I have mentioned previously, I'm involved in a stashbusting contest this year. Most of the rules are rather simple: don't buy fabric and use what you have. We lose points when we buy unneeded fabric and gain points when we finish stuff or give fabric to other people in the challenge.

Well here it is Dec. 3 and I am in LAST place. And believe it or not, it's not even because I've been drowning my sorrows in constant fabric shopping. Not that this is news to anyone who knows how I operate, but I am just a really slow quilter. I like to hand piece, I like to hand quilt. I suck at operating a rotary cutter because I can't seem to get the ruler to stay in place (I blame this on my cutting while sitting down but I could just suck at this important skill). I have spent the last year piecing stuff on the machine, but I still am not completely happy with my work. Again, it doesn't seem terribly accurate. And my machine quilting is pretty pitiful, but I know steering with one hand doesn't help the situation.

I have a lot of partially finished projects, but I am starting to wonder if I have a snowball's chance of making up the point differential. And if I do make it up, am I going to have to make a lot of "stuff" that I don't terribly like or want to make just for points? I have to more than double my current point total to even get close to first place. Seems like it may make more sense to cut my losses and chip in the $20 to whoever it is that does win.

Here is a list of some of my current projects that are partially finished:

- Black and bright strip quilt: currently hand quilting it
- Dog print quilt: layered, but haven't started quilting it
- Pink, black and white quilt: need to sew on borders, then layer, then quilt
- Bright nine-patch: currently hand quilting it after attempt at machine quilting looked like complete crap
- Postage stamp quilt: still piecing blocks, not even close to being done
- Snoopy quilt: blocks put together and still thinking about border
- Circus baby quilt: started eons ago, but gave up. Needs a border.
- Ugly kids blocks: I have four done, could be put together for a baby quilt, but I lost the focus fabric in Quilt Campgate '08.

So even with all of that, who knows. All I know right now is that I don't feel like doing anything and am laying in the dark surfing online and watching a bad CSI episode. I had a long, crabby day.