Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Uhg! What Have I Gotten Myself Into!

So I've started work on a very special quilt. My little sister is turning 10 January 16th and I think that she deserves something pretty special. What better than a quilt? I went on a shop hop with some friends in September and purchased all of the blocks to complete the shop hop quilt. because of the color I just knew it had to be for my sister. I have started sewing blocks and they are coming along wonderfully, until I started trying to work on the applique. The quilt has 8 appliqu├ęd blocks from some focus fabric. I thought, hey this should be easy. I love to embroider so why not applique? I'll tell you why not, it sucks.
I read up and found some great tutorials for the needle turn method of applique. I cut out my flowers and leaves and set to work. It is a total pain. Such an agonizingly slow process. I'm trying very hard to make it neat and clean looking, but this is just nuts. Here are my stitches so far.
This is a side view so you can see some of my stitching. From the top it really doesn't look that bad, but I'm so worried it looks messy and horrid. Here is a top view.
Then I found another way. I found a tutorial on using iron on interfacing. Seemed like a great idea. Machine sew around the interfacing on the applique, turn it right side out and have nice neat edges to stitch on. Until I tried it. I have some narrow areas and my interfacing was tearing and not allowing me to turn. I ended up with this.
Not going to work. Uhg. The pattern for the quilt suggests just fusable webbing the applique on and then button hole stitching around them. I'm not a fan of fusable webbing as it gums up the needle of the machine so bad. I also wasn't sure I wanted to machine stitch around these as I'm worried that would look messy as well. I'm just at a loss and the quilt top has to be done by next week so I can take it to the long arm quilter.
Any suggestions on how to stop this crisis and make me smile again?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays To You!

Wishing all of my friends a beautiful and happy holidays. May you have all of the best things in life; love, laughter, joy, and creativity. Stay warm and hold those you love close. Happy Holidays!

From the Novak's
And Merlin too! (he didn't want to be cooperative in the photo. LOL)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Wonderland

It is cold. Ok, so that is probably an understatement, but I don't know how else to explain what 15 below zero is like. That is of course without the wind chill. The cold also brings the most beautiful weather you could imagine. I stepped outside this morning and my eyes lit up with wonder. Don't get me wrong, I hate cold, but the pictures it creates are so astounding! I grabbed my camera slapped on my ear flapper hat and stepped out my front door to take some pictures. I wish I could have driven into the country to get some shots, but the hubby has just gotten off work and needs to be in the bed. If you'd like to see these photos even better go to my flickr and see them in the large view.

Jack Frost's Visit
Jack Frost's Visit


Welcome Sunshine
Welcome Sunshine

Three shots to share of my neighborhood. It is going to be cold all day and that sun is so misleading. More snow on the way tonight. Time to curl up in the chair today with some tea and my book and forget about the stress of hosting the holidays. Well, I may do a little spiffing up around here. Clear out some of the art supplies from the desk and floor surrounding the computer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Rainbow Fairy

I signed up for another class over at Willowing.ning. After doing the free class, Art, Heart, and Healing, that Tam offered I was so excited to work more on my skills at mixed media. The Hubby paid for me to sign up for the Magical, Mythical, Makings class that starts in January. To gear up for the class I started doodling a fairy. She went through many layers and changes until I found something I was happy with. I don't normally work in this palette of colors so I was so excited when she turned out!
Rainbow Fairy
I think I'm going to give her as a gift. I tried to find a frame for her, but the dang water color paper I used is an odd size. I'll maybe work out something before Christmas, otherwise they get her unframed.
Rainbow Fairy Close Up
I used my water soluable crayons, acrylic paints, graphite pencil, tissue paper, gel medium, gel pen, stamps, shimmer stick, and glitter. It was fun layering and layering. She looks even more glowy in real life. Hmmmm..... Glowy, what a great word!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Peacock Quilt

The Peacock quilt is done and ready to be wrapped up in a pretty box with a bow.

It is the Chinese coin pattern in blues and greens. It is 58X80, a nice size to curl up on the couch with. I used the backing fabric to base the other colors on and since my Auntie is getting it and she loves peacocks and their colors I went a bit wild.
Peacock Chinese Coin
Here is the inspiring backing fabric I used.
Peacock Chinese Coin Back
I had it quilted by the same long arm quilter that did my first quilt. She did a gorgeous feather pattern in a fun variegated thread. It pulls the whole thing together so perfectly!
Peacock Quilting

I'm so excited to see her face when she opens it! I think it is the gift I am most looking forward to give.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

WIP Sunday: I'm Not Working On Anything!

This Sunday is going to be a leisurely one. I'm going to go enjoy a Christmas music performance at the art center later and I may do a bit of laundry, but other than that it is my day to just be. Knowing me I'll sit down at the sewing machine and do something, but it won't be anything that needs to be rushed.
I thought I would share a photo of our Christmas tree. We ended up getting a slightly crooked one as we were so late getting the remodeling wrapped up. It is a funny little tree and loosing a lot of needles, but it is our tree in the end.
2010 Christmas tree
You can see lots of handmade ornaments on it. I took it before I got the lovely package of handmade ornaments from Heidi (Digital Misfit) though! I'll have to share them at another time.
I also made a Christmas card yesterday! We were going to have dinner and a party with an Aunt and Uncle of mine and the gift I ordered them did not arrive on time. So I made them a card and put a printed out picture of the gift inside. I think I just wanted an excuse to make a card!
Merry Christmas!
A little Christmas Elf! I started out thinking of drawing a whimsy angel and she ended up being an elf. Oh well, she turned out cute!
Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Look What I Got!

My swap package from Alexz is finally here! I just had to share.
Swap Package From Spooky Pooky
She sent a wonderful package. A geisha doll, a store bought Halloween blanket and pillow set, framed Merlin art, a Halloween wind chime/hanger, a small stocking and Christmas Address book, some extra photos of Merlin that she altered with digital scrap booking, and Nessie key hook plaque to match the Nessie message board she sent before.
Merlin Art From Spooky Pooky
My favorite part of the package is the Merlin art! I love how she illustrated him! It is just perfect and I can't wait to hang it up after the holiday decor comes down. The Hubby and I have already started deciding where it will go. The extra pics are so great, I'm going to put them in a brag book.
Geisha Doll From Spooky Pooky
The geisha doll is so adorable! Hubby even thought so, but did question why it didn't have legs. LOL He's silly like that. I'm going to find her a special place in my Asian themed bedroom.

Thanks so much Alexz!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WIP Sunday: Erm... Wednesday Edition

Oops! The weekend flew by as I was frantically working to get things done! The best thing of the whole weekend is that I have my house back! After a struggling 4 months of remodeling we can breathe! I'm so happy. The kitchen needs about 2 tiny finishing touches and the dining room needs 1. The laundry room has been put off until after the new year, but won't take much to finish up.
I am pretty much done making gifts and even though I didn't get to make as many as I wanted I'm happy with my progress. So on to some pictures of my finished kitchen and dining room!
Here is the dining room! The only thing that needs to be finished is trimming out the coat closet. We will eventually be purchasing a new light fixture as well. The only thing we really changed in here was the floor.
Newly Remodeled Dining Room
Here is the view you see when entering the kitchen. There is a small piece of trim by the stove that needs put up, but you can't hardly tell. We will also eventually be purchasing a new light fixture for over the sink.
Kitchen Remodel 2
Here is the view of the stove. That cupboard above the microwave is the only real unfinished thing. It will have glass front for displaying my tea sets!
Kitchen Remodel 1
I'm so proud considering we did all of the work ourselves with a bit of help from a friend and my Aunt and Uncle. It turned out so well and didn't cost us millions. I'm slowly adjusting to the new configuration and keep opening the wrong drawer for silverware, but I'll get the hang of it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm Still Here!

The remodel has been sucking away any fun time for blogging or just being on the computer, but good news! We are almost done! After starting this project in September I'm so happy to be seeing the end. We had so many hiccups along the way! I have a bit of painting to finish up and the drawer handles and door knobs will be installed hopefully tomorrow.
I just thought I should share a photo of the weather I'm living in right now! I snapped this pic like 5 minutes ago up my street. Just another winter day!

I did manage to finish up my Grandma's Christmas gifts! The Elvis china hutch runner and double ended pot holder. Not a great pic as with weather above the lighting is terrible.
Elvis Pot Holder and Runner
Hopefully I'll have some finished pics of the kitchen tomorrow!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

WIP Sunday: I Promise I Won't Panic!

Oh wow! Things are moving so fast! I'm trying my best to keep up with it all. I won't be making as many gifts as I had hoped this year because of the remodeling, but the ones I do get made are certainly good gifts!
I spent all morning grouting the dining room floor! My hands and wrists are killing me from all the squeezing and scrubbing, but it is totally worth it.
My Dining Room Floor WIP
We did the staggered brick pattern and I love how it is looking! You can see up in the top of the pic where the hallway and kitchen are yet to be finished. The hallway should be done tomorrow evening and the kitchen should be done by Friday! Whew! Then I can paint, and put the furniture back and have my house! Huzzah! Then comes the decorating! I can't wait! Usually we have our tree up by this time!
The next project up is my gifts for Grandma. I plan on making her two wonderful things from this pile of fabric and trim. A runner for the china hutch and a double ended oven mitt thing to match. She loves everything Elvis and she loves changing up the china hutch decor so I thought it would be a fun gift. Maybe she can put it out when we celebrate his Birthday!
Elvis WIP
Three down, two to go of these notebook holders! I have to run to the store for more notebooks to fill them, and some pens to customize with fabric to put inside. I hope my friends love them!
WIP Notebook Holders
I'm also madly sewing on binding to the peacock quilt! The thing is huge and I hate binding! After approximately 3 hours of hand sewing I have a little over 3 feet done! Uhg!
I just keep telling myself not to panic, I'll get everything done! Gifts, decorating, menu planning, everything!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Polka Dots and Stripes!

The place mats are FINALLY done! Whew! A set of 8 lovely place mats for my dear Mother in Law. I just hopes she finds them as wonderfully fun as I do.
Place Mats
The polka dot place mats got a small black and white gingham check for the backs.
Polka Dot Place Mat
The striped ones got a plain black Kona cotton back.
Stripes Place Mat
I used a bit of interfacing inside to give them some weight, but they are still flat enough that a glass will not tip. I like how they turned out and may make myself some after the holidays.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

WIP Sunday: A Very Productive Day Indeed!

Happy Sunday to you all. The holiday is coming to an end and the left overs are almost gone. Time to get back into the work week too. (boooooo)
I had a very productive day today! I woke up early and was in a creative type of mood. I worked on a fairy painting I plan to give as a gift. Here is a little sneak peek. She's far from finished.
WIP Fairy
I'm hoping to take the new e course Tam is offering over on her ning site. It is magical, mythical, makings! Fairies, unicorns, and goddesses, oh my! This fairy is a little experiment to keep me warmed up for the class.

I also managed to cut and sew blocks for those gifts for my friends! I may be spoiling the gifts as I think at least one of them read the blog, but they better just forget what they see if they know what's good for them! I'm making five. I managed to get everything cut for all of them and one sewn together. It isn't finished yet as it needs some embellishing.
WIP Notebook Holders
I also finished reading a book today!
Whew! I'm beat! Off to think of cooking super.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Look What Arrived Here!

Today is a magical sort of day. I'm not expecting anything important in the mail at the moment so I was mightily surprised when I returned from a bit of black Friday shopping to see the flag up on my mail box. I hadn't put anything in there, so what could it be? A box full of wonderful jammed into my mailbox from none other than the fantastically magical Knickertwist!
I will admit I shed a few tears at the thoughtfulness that was in this little box. It just warms my heart to know that people think of others in this way! What was in this box of wonderful you ask?
Knicker had mentioned she was going to send me a wee fairy abode, but I didn't ever in my wildest imagination think it would be captured under glass!
Fairy Home In A Dome
I also found some other wee goodies. Two tiny canvases for me to paint, that green bit with buttons is a scrappy little journal for me to fill with wishful doodles, a beautiful victorian cabinet card of a lovely pup, and a gorgeous fairy journal for my curiosity cubby!
Super Surprise Package
Here is a close up of one of my fave pages in the fairy book. A lovely little illustration done in a carefree hand.
Fairy Journal
Certainly last, but not least is someone who came along for the ride. Why it is Baron Von Kringlemas! One of Knicker's fabulous elves!
Baron Von Kringlemas
I can tell you that he will be included in many Yuletide celebrations to come. I think the Baron will create a tradition of his own when we have a wee one in the house.
I don't know how to thank Knickertwist enough for her generous heart and lovely surprise. I'm totally touched! Thanks Knicker for making my day bright and my heart smile.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving! It is that time of year again, when just thinking about Christmas stresses me out and hoping for a peaceful holiday is the best I can do. I thought I'd put that aside today and work on being thankful for all of the wonderful things in my life. I try to pick something each day, and think of it right before sleep, that I'm thankful for. Most days it is small things, like making it through work, getting a good hug, a wonderful conversation, ect. Today it is time to think of big picture things I'm thankful for.

My adorable Hubby!
#2 My Furry Monster!

#3 My amazingly loving family. (Which I sadly have no actual group photos of.)

#4 My super supportive friends. (Again no decent pics, but you know who you are!)

#5 Creativity and the ability to express myself.
Love Art

#6 My home.

#7 The chance to reach out and help others.

#8 My wonderful bloggy, Craftster, and Flickr friends!

The art center I get to stay active in!
James Memorial Art Center

#10 Living each day to the fullest and knowing that tomorrow will be just as wonderful!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My New Stocking!

I received my new stocking in the mail today from Meg. It is so fantastic! My childhood stocking is slowly disintegrating so this is the perfect time to tuck it away for safe keeping and put up my new super cute stocking! I'm even more excited to decorate than ever!
My New Stocking!
I'm glad I had something to cheer me up when I got home from work. I'm starting to come down with a cold and it is really bumming me out!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WIP Sunday: Please Let It End!

The kitchen remodel is really starting to feel never ending. I know I'll be so happy when it is done, but I'm hating the waiting part! Our last cupboard is still roaming around the country on a big truck with no definite date it will arrive. It is holding up the entire process! The hubby managed to start the floor prep in the dining room. The floor will only take a couple evenings to complete. I'm going to go buy paint next weekend and get that done and out of the way! I really want my house back! It needs a good cleaning and then I can start decorating for the holidays. The cleaning will take a week or more since I haven't been able to clean properly since we started to tear up the kitchen. So much dust and furniture everywhere!
Here is an in progress shot of the kitchen. That is our dining room table shoved in there filled with boxes of food that can't be put away with out the pantry that is on a world tour. See the gaping space on the right by the door way? That is where the pantry goes!
Kitchen WIP
After boring you to death with my kitchen woes I'll show you what is up next on the gift list. I have 3 wonderful friends that I get together to have coffee and quilt with on a regular basis. I bought this fabric to make them each something for Christmas. I can't say what I'm making as I think at least one of them reads this blog!
Coffee Gals Fabric
Oh, and the peacock quilt is off to the quilters hopefully tomorrow!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Angelic Finish

I am done with the last weeks assignment in the Art, Heart, and Healing course over on ning. I'm so sad to see it end. Luckily Tam is going to keep the group open and post additional lessons every few months and also invite guest teachers to post free lessons! I know I'll stay active on the ning site and I hope to get to take another of Tam's courses in the new year.
This weeks assignment was an invitation angel. Inviting needs to be met. I picked a rather simple need. The need for peace. It means so many things to me. Peaceful time alone, peaceful time with family, inner peace, and peace of mind. They are all basic things that everyone needs. The pictures don't do the angel justice as the lighting is terrible, but I couldn't wait for sunshine
to share!
Be At peace
I'm so happy with my face shading I must share a close up of her face. I'm still struggling with the eyes sometimes, but I'm so happy with this angel.
Angel Face Close Up
I used a lot of different mediums on this piece, but the most fun was the texture paste. I didn't have access to buy any at the time so I made my own. I dumped a bunch of baking soda into some gesso and ta da! It looks wonderful and is keeping well for future projects.
Angel Wing Texture
I'm undecided if I'm going to keep this angel or pass her on to someone for a gift. I have a feeling I'll be venturing out into fairies soon! Tam's course has inspired me and given me a whole new confidence in drawing faces and getting the shading right too. Tam's generous heart is the most inspiring thing of the whole course. Her wonderful spirit, patience, and gentle advice are priceless.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Little House

I jumped at the chance to get to do more stained glass at the art center this week. We did a project where each person made two sun catchers. One is to be left at the art center to decorate the newly renovated art class room space, and the other to take home and enjoy. I didn't get a picture of the one I made to leave at the art center, but I will snap one when the art room is finished and they are all hung in the windows. My Mom, Aunt, and Uncle did the project with me so my family will be well represented in the windows of the art center!
This is the little abstract house I made to take home. It will live in the kitchen window when the kitchen is finished.
Little House Sun Catcher
The idea was to make something from abstract pieces of glass. A good way to use up odd shaped pieces. I just was feeling a bit more literal than abstract and the pieces for this little house were just laying out in front of me. Here is a shot of it in my front window. Sadly, there isn't much sun here today, but you can see the colors and the textures of the glass.
Little House in the Window
I can't wait to put it up in the kitchen window and see it on a nice bright day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

WIP Sunday: Moving Along!

I really am making some progress with the Holiday gifts! I'm really feeling good about how things are going. Yes, I have a lot more things on the list, but things are coming together swimmingly.
First off, the peacock quilt top is done! Yay! Just need to press it out one last time, measure, and put my backing together. Then it is off to the long arm quilter for quilting! Then back to me for the dreaded binding. This quilt is pretty large, for a double bed, but so pretty! I think I'll have it quilted in a feather pattern. I couldn't get a decent pic as it is pretty dreary out and I don't have a place big enough to spread this out right now!

Peacock Quilt Top
I'm also working on a special pillowcase for a special family member. My Great Aunt has a son that is handicapped and he loves the Steelers so I thought a pillowcase would be a fun gift for him. I'll have a bit of fabric left over of each color so I'm trying to think of some other little thing I can make up for him.

WIP Pillowcase
The place mats still aren't finished! I swear I will get the backs on them before next weekend! LOL The other giant WIP I have is still our kitchen remodel. Turns out the pantry we had to re order because of the companies mess up is now riding around the country in a semi. They loaded it first instead of last so it gets a trip around the country before it can get brought to my house!It won't be delivered until the day after Thanksgiving. We put away as much of our kitchen as we could today so at least things are in the cabinets we have! The Hubby took the week off this week to start on the floor! I'm so excited! We'll have it done before Christmas so I guess that is all that matters. I'll do a WIP pic of the kitchen next week!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Empathy Monster!

I just finished the final stage of week 3's assignment for the art, heart, and healing course I'm taking over on ning, with Willowing (Tam).
The goal was to make an empathy monster. Someone to tell things too and he'll never judge or nay say. I rarely make things for myself so this was a nice project. It was hard to let go of the perfection complex and just make something silly and funky. I started judging how he looked and then realized that was what I was supposed to be learning from the project! No judging or making myself feel bad! So here he is in all his imperfect glory.
Empathy Monster
In the end I'm very pleased with him and I realize he doesn't need to be perfect. He is mine and I'm not perfect either.
A little close up of his cutesy face. I really like his mouth zipped open, but forgot to take a pic of him that way.

Empathy Monster Close Up
He doesn't have a name yet, so I'm open to suggestions. Does anyone hear him yelling a name?