Saturday, January 14, 2012

30 by 30

I briefly thought about titling this How Did I Get So Old So Fast! That adorable little crow-footed baby up there is me. Damn, it really doesn't feel like it was that long ago but I am full on, no brakes, hurtling toward thirty this year and I'm more than a little terrified. So when I was reading blogs on my google reader the other day I came across this great post on Midwestern Sewing Girl with a list of  forty things that she wants to do by the time she's forty. I dig this idea so much! It's like taking the reins on this scary thing and giving it a direction and purpose rather than letting it become an occasion to wallow. I googled 30 by 30 and found tons and tons of sites with people picking up this motivator. 

Before I get to my list I wanted to wax nostalgic for a minute. When I was looking at pictures to find the one above I ran across so many awesome ones that I had to put up a couple more. I hope you don't mind, Maddy. I did restrain myself from posting the picture of you dressed like a cat for Halloween when you were a teenager.

Our lunch in the Village. Can you believe that this was almost TEN years ago! Such an amazing trip to NYC. 

Even farther back...what was this? Twenty years ago? More? That's madness!

 So start the clock, I have until July to complete the following list in no particular order. Wish me luck!
  1. Lose 10 pounds
  2. Set up an etsy shop and make at least one sale
  3. Sew a skirt
  4. Learn to better use my dslr camera and flash
  5. Take more pictures
  6. Get the inside and outside of the house to acceptable (doesn't have to be perfect but to where rooms look like rooms and all our crap is unpacked somewhere without looking like a tornado came through)
  7. Plan and plant a garden
  8. Have toys for sale in the consignment shop in town
  9. Join the Transylvania Handcrafter's guild
  10. Plan a trip to Europe (I'm thinking France or Germany)
  11. Go to the roller derby
  12. Run a 5k
  13. Go on a road trip
  14. Re-learn German
  15. Learn how to cook a really good steak
  16. Have the balls to get up and sing at karaoke
  17. Watch a meteor shower
  18. Learn to roller skate
  19. Get dressed up and go out to a fancy dinner
  20. Visit the Biltmore house
  21. Start a journal and keep it up
  22. Go to a stitch and bitch
  23. Host a party at my house
  24. Read A Dance With Dragons (Chris bought this for me for my last birthday but I decided to re-read the entire crazy long series again before picking it up so that I would be refreshed but it's taking me forever to get to it)
  25. Paint the outside of the house
  26. Get a haircut
  27. Do 10 things from the amazing little book Random Acts of Kindness by Danny Wallace
  28. Make a new friend in my new town
  29. Cook one totally new recipe each month
  30. Learn to lighten up 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Outdoor Store shopping

My friend Christie and I headed out this morning early in hopes to find some great yard sale deals. She was looking for two bikes and My dream is to find someone selling their stash of fabric. The bad news is that neither of us found what we were looking for. The good news is that I am the new proud owner of these bad ass Banana Republic shoes. They are in like new condition and only cost me $5!!!!

Jeanne, the yard sales in your neck of the woods must be awesome. Have you done any, as my cute little Ben says, "outdoor store shopping" since moving there? That should also be on our list of things to do when I finally come up to visit you. :)

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pink Elephants on Parade

I'm trying to finish up my crazy belated Christmas list so that I might have a chance to sit down and decide on what I'm making for Christmas 2012 now in order to avoid being so late on everything again. This adorable little elephant is from a pattern by Susan B. Anderson. I made it for my niece using Knit Picks Comfy Sport yarn in Peony. The yarn is crazy soft. Although I've been a big user of Lion Brand over the years because it's so affordable and comes in a million colors I have found that it's not the softest yarn for toys. I looked around ravelry for advice and settled on Knit Picks. The balls are tiny, only 50g, and the color choice is limited but  they do live up to that comfy name.

It knit up pretty fast. I think it took me maybe three evenings, working a little at a time in front of the TV after work to finish it all up. I think I'm so used to crocheting toys that I found knitting one to be a little  fussy and the finished toy looks a little rougher around the edges than I would have wanted but I think it's still pretty cute. I especially like how the little eyelashes came out. It girls it up.  I normally use plastic eyes so embroidering eyes is pretty new to me. I found this neat little tutorial online that helped me out a lot. The internet is awesome.

I started on the Hobbes for Chris today so I'm hoping to sneak that in while he's working on other stuff and get it finished this weekend. That would leave me with just my Christmas gift for you, Maddy! Hopefully, I can knock that out next week and it won't end up becoming your present for next Christmas. Finger's crossed! Now I just need to sit down and plan out what I want to make for Birthdays and Christmas this year so that's all mapped out. Then we can work out a game plan for the Ludlam Bazaar and etsy. 2012 is going to be a great year!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Elvis is back!

It took long enough but I finally finished the Elvis monkey! Isn't he adorable? It took a lot of tweaking to figure out how to get the flared pants and sleeves just right as well as the collar and hair but I'm pleased as freaking punch with the end result.

Since the toy wasn't intended for a child I went a little bead crazy and sparkled up his bell bottoms and belt. I also used this awesome metallic embroidery thread on his arms. I changed the ears up from the ones I normally do and I'm so digging the new ears. They're just so dorky cute. It's killing me. The pompadour took some trial and error. A few years back I made a tiny Snooki doll and her poof was my inspiration for the pompadour and I think it worked out well. 

When I initially decided to make an Elvis monkey back in June I had thought it would be something I'd whip up quick and maybe even sell but since it took me a whopping six months to  finish him he didn't make it to the etsy site and I ended up using him as a Christmas present to make up for how woefully behind I was on the Christmas crafting. I took a few notes and a lot of pictures so I hope that I can replicate the guy. I also hope that I can do it in less than six months. Maybe if I can fuss out a proper pattern I'll post it up on here. I hope you like him. I think he's pretty damn sweet.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Handmade gifts completed

As I wrote before, I didn't get around to making all of the Christmas gifts I had intended to.  However, I was able to make a few along with an ornament or two just in time to exchange gifts on the 25th.  

The very first gift I made was for Silvia.  I have mentioned her before.  She is my quilting sensai and my JoAnn's shopping buddy!  She likes to crochet as well so I decided to make her a Crochet Hook Roll.  I used my all time favorite fabric which was purchased at JoAnns.  Unfortunately, the name and make of the fabric is unknown since I suck at keeping notes on that stuff.  I promise to make an effort to keep track of those details for you from here on out.  Since she is my quilting mentor, I quilted the outside of the roll.

Isn't the bird and flowers fabric beautiful?  It makes me so happy every time I look at it.  The first time I used this fabric was in the quilt my friend and I made for our sons 2nd grade teacher.  Here is a pic of the quilt.

Imagine how happy I was to see that she has it hung in her classroom this year.  It truly is my favorite quilt to date.

Okay, so back to handmade Christmas gifts.  The next gifts I made were for 3 of my really close friends.  Each of them have certain phrases that they say all the time.  I don't think I have pictures of all 3 but here is a pic of the last one I did.

I know...kind of a weird phrase to have framed huh?  This is something my friend Elly says all the time but she is not the originator of the phrase.  The creator is actually my son.  When he was going through one of his horrible phases, he would get upset with me and say the strangest things like "you hate me - you want me dead".  It was tough to hear him say such a thing to me but when I shared it with Elly, she got such a kick out of it that now we all use the phrase when we are not getting the attention we expect from each other.  Oh and thankfully, my cookie did not make a habit of using the phrase!  :)  

Okay, so back to the gift.  I hand embroidered the saying onto a pretty blue fabric, using my fave fabric for the border.  I wish I had pictures of the other two.  I think they came out better.  I'm not sure exactly why, but I think it has something to do with the frame I used.  They were 5 x 7's instead of an 8 x 10 and I did more hand stitching on those so they weren't so simple.  The phrases used were 1) "It's not safe" and 2)"That's what I said".  I'm happy to report they were huge hits with the girls.  It was so much fun to see their reactions when they opened their presents.  :)  I'll upload pics if I can get them to take one or two for me.

Another gift I made was a stepping stone with mosaics for my father's garden.  Since it was my first mosaic project, my friend/mosaic teacher Wendy suggested keeping the design simple.  Even though I was thinking of putting a bicycle on the stone, who am I to question my teacher?  So I quickly changed the design to simple heart on the top left side of the stone and "DAD" on the lower, center part of the stone.  Boy am I glad that I listened to Wendy and kept the design simple because simple took 4 hours to do!  and that was with Wendy's help.  It probably would have taken twice as long without her.  In the end, it came out beautiful and my Daddy loved it!  Too bad, I didn't take pictures of this handmade gift either or you could have seen for yourself how cute it came out.  I SUCK - so sorry!  Next time I'm at my parents house for a visit, I'll snap a pic for proof that I did it.  :)  I was very proud of myself and really want to do another one.  Maybe even one a little more challenging.  If I don't procrastinate, and give myself plenty of time, I can totally do something really spectacular for my mom.  I'm totally not even close to as good as Wendy is at this (she made the coolest owl ever for her momma) but some things never change and your parents loving handmade gifts from their children is one of them.  My mom will appreciate the effort and the character in its flaws so who better to try a challenging project on?

Man, I can't believe I don't have many pictures to share with you.  

Okay, what else did I make?  Oh I made ornaments using antique spools of thread Wendy's mother gave me.  They came out cute for my first try.  I got the idea from the internet.  Again, I suck at details so I don't have the link handy, but will get it for  you as soon as I can.  

I apologize for the really bad photos.  Something else I plan to work on improving this new year.  The list is growing f.a.s.t!

The last gifts I completed were crocheted hats; two for my nephews and one for Wendy's son.  The ones for my nephews are Jack Skellington skull caps.  Also another present that was a big hit.  The boys unwrapped their hats and did not take them off the entire time they opened up their other gifts.  I was very, very happy especially since these were my very first crocheted hats!

Without ear flaps for my 6 year old nephew

With ear flaps for my 15 year old nephew

Wendy's teenage son is really into owls right now so I volunteered to make him one.  Again, another first timer but I didn't make her any promises that it would actually look like an owl.  :)

Okay, please ignore the pics of me modeling the hats.  I don't have a little mannequin head to display the hats on.  Believe me, as soon as I figure out a way to show them off without wearing them myself, I will do so.  :)  I'm a bit camera shy.  

The last gift didn't get finished sadly.  It's not even half way done yet.  It's for Jeanne and the one I wanted to finish the most.  Unfortunately, it was the project that required the most creativity and effort so it kept getting put aside.  Jeanne, I promise to finish it soon!  I won't let it be like your birthday present that is still in my car waiting to be delivered to the post office.  :(

So there is my run down of handmade Christmas gifts 2011.  My goal this year is to make 1 handmade gift for everyone on my list.  Its a big list so I need to start NOW but I'll put it aside for tomorrow since it is way past my bedtime.  :)


Maddy =)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012!

Happy New Year kids!

It is time to reflect on the year that is coming to a close and look towards the new year ahead of us with hopes of making it the best year yet.  For me, this is never easy.  For some reason, I always look towards the new year with complete dread.  Well not this year Baby!  I'm going to do everything in my power this year to, in a nut shell, be the best Maddy I can be!  So here is to 2012 and being the best we can be!

Maddy =)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Long time...

Hi All!

I can't believe it has been over a month that I've blogged.  Time flies crazy fast as an adult.  Remember when we couldn't wait to be teenagers and then 21?  Now, there are just a couple of days left in 2011 and I'm wondering where the last 10 years went.  Actually, I don't even know where these last few days have gone.  The days leading up to Christmas were fun but hectic leaving very little time for sleep and this past week were days used to catch up on sleep and spend time with my son.  I've thoroughly enjoyed this time off and do not want it to end.  Since it inevitably will come to an end, I plan to spend every last minute enjoying relaxing time at home with my cookie.

I will try to pop in on January 1st with wishes of a Happy New Year for all of you in blog world, but in case I don't, please know that I'm thinking of you - especially you Jeanne!  I thought I would be up there ringing in the New Year with you and I'm so so so so sad that it didn't happen.  Before I start crying, I think it's best to change the subject!  I'll save my tears for New Years Day since I, no matter how hard I try, can not ever hold them back.

Anyway, Jeanne and I have big plans for 2012.  So after all the partying and crying is done, I'll be back blogging - filling you all in on my crazy, exciting life.  Well I guess that depends on who you ask, but hopefully one or two of you out there will find it interesting enough to keep reading.  :)  Oh, and better late than never, I will share photos of the Christmas projects I actually did complete.  Don't judge when I tell you that one or two were finished after Christmas!  hahaha

Exciting stuff I tell ya!

Talk soon!

 Maddy =)