Friday, November 30, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lessons Learned

When you are a seamstress and the iron dies? So does your productivity.

When I grow up, I want to be Anna Maria

"Beautiful things come from failed plans I do believe."

This is a snippet from Anna Maria Horner's wise post about going with Plan B. (If you don't already read her blog, you absolutely should add it to your list.)

I love it that this post came along right before the Christmas season ramps up, because sometimes - I think especially with we creative folk - we have such a clear picture of how things are going to be, that we have a hard time just letting things "be."

Enjoy! And, if you get a little misty-eyed while reading, that's OK.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New for the Christmas Season!

New Zippered Wristlets from Modern Charm! Small enough to fit in a stocking, but cool enough to be an excellent gift on their own. Great gift for teachers, babysitters, etc...

Right now, I only have this one listed, but in the coming days, more will magically appear!

Monday, November 26, 2007

*Zu Zu Zu Zu Zu Zu!

How is it that I didn't know about CraftyPod? Podcasts! About crafts!

Shut up!

No, for reals! Even a series on crafty 'preneurs, and an interview with Amy Karol of Angry Chicken and the book Bend the Rules Sewing.

*I dare you to listen and not do a little do a little sixties twist to the music. Sort of very "Down with Love."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Words of Thanks

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
- William Arthur Ward

Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.
- Charles Dickens

Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.
- Jacques Maritain

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

To feed my insatiable need for tutorials...

I've hit the motherload at Cotton Spice Blog . Lots of spankin' fresh tutorials for gift ideas.

Also, tons of more great ideas and tutorials at the Sew, Mama, Sew! Blog, where they are doing 30 Days of Gifts to Sew.

Craft on!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Time to Make the Gingerbread

Ever since my daughter's first Christmas, we have made a gingerbread house. When she was little, we even had a few Gingerbread House decorating parties. I would make small houses and tubs and tubs of icing for her little friends and they would each bring a bag of candy to decorate with and to share.

When she was four I was crazy enough to do this for her preschool's Christmas party, and made 12 small gingerbread houses and gobs of icing. (I'm sure that the other parents were thrilled when their kids came home that day, hopped up on sugar and carrying a completely edible house dripping with icing and covered in candy.)

(Picture taken long ago, before Mommy knew how to use a camera, apparently.)

Last year, we made this house based on a picture of a cottage that Emily had seen and loved. And while it was not an exact replica, it was close enough. I melted butterscotch candies on parchment paper for the windows, and I put a string of lights inside the house for a cozy glow. Emily added the jelly bean string of lights on the roof, and I think it was the perfect touch!

Our snowman, with tiny bits of black jelly bean for eyes and buttons, and a shard of broken butterscotch for a nose.

And now it's that time of year again. Usually, the weekend after Thanksgiving, I start making the gingerbread dough. I always use this Martha Stewart recipe from her "Martha Stewart's Christmas" book that I bought ages ago. I couldn't find the recipe on her website, but here it is:

Gingerbread for Houses

1/2 cup margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
3 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/3 cup water

Cream together the margarine and sugar. Add the molasses and continue mixing until well incorporated. Sift the dry ingredients together. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternating with water. If the dough becomes too stiff, add the last bit of flour by hand.

Work the dough with your hands until it becomes smooth in consistency. Turn our onto plastic wrap, form into a neat rectangle, wrap well, and chill thoroughly.

After all the pieces have been cut out, bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until firm but not browned.

Mmmm.... I can smell it already.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tutorial: Marbled Glass Ornaments

This is one of my favorite ways to make ornaments, and it's even easy enough for kids to enjoy. One year we did this as an activity after Thanksgiving dinner and it went great. This is also a great way to get a custom ornament color if you have a tree that needs a turquoise or hot pink or chocolate brown and can't find it.

You need: clear glass craft ornaments, craft paints (I used leaf green, metallic copper, metallic silver, metallic gold), disposable bathroom cups. That's really all.

Gee, Mendy, looks like you've got some glitter and glue in the picture. What is that for?

Well, I tried to use the glue and glitter and it turned out bad. Really, really bad. Ignore.

Here's how you do it!

1. Take the little top off of the glass ornament.

2. Squirt craft paint inside the ornament. Use any colors that you wish. I would warn against using too many colors inside one ornament, but it's totally up to you.

3. Swirl around a little bit, and then turn the ornament upside down and rest in the disposable bathroom cup, to allow the paint to cover the inside and drain.

The left one is leaf green and silver metallic. The right one is copper metallic and gold metallic.

After the paints have drained, turn the ornaments right side up (in the original box is great) and allow to dry overnight. Replace the tops and voila!

Uh, yeah. Looks like you started with 12 ornaments. ?????

Three of them fell victim to my glue/glitter idea (BAD! ICKY!) and one fell victim to Max.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Good Stuff

I was over at Future Girl and read this post and thought it was so on point, I had to pass it on. Here's a part...

"Too often we seem to peel off into opposing cliques: the champions of natural fibers vs the thrifty users of acrylics, knitters vs crocheters, crafters vs artists, granny crafters vs craft punks ... it's so silly. We should always acknowledge the value of making, no matter what people make or what they materials they are using, even if it's silently to ourselves."

Creativity, by definition it seems, should be inclusive, not exclusive. Art vs. Craft, quality vs. quaint, can't we all just get along?

Monday, November 5, 2007

I choose to blame this all on the Daylight Savings time change.

Ever have one of those days? Welcome to mine.

So far today I've made 2 handbags based on a new, but not complicated, design. The first was just not right. Close, very close, but no cigar.

I had extremely high hopes for the second one, which came out worst than the first. I tweaked the initial issue, only to discover that I had made an error elsewhere. A math error.

No real surprise there.

So now I'm working on the third bag. It's showing great potential, but I don't want to get crazy or anything, especially since I'm toying with the idea of tweaking the closure.

(Will I never learn?)

Meanwhile, I decided to do a simple, wintery banner for my shop for the holiday season. Wouldn't that be nice and festive? 45 minutes and one ugly, pixilated, utterly unfixable banner later, I was ready to scream.

So, it's 8:30pm. Should I call it a night and watch some TV? Work on the third bag and try and make something positive and productive out of this day?

The jury is still out.


Oct. 19th...


Finally, a little bit of color!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Meet Louise Trimble

I would like to introduce you to Miss Louise Trimble, heiress to the Trimble Chocolate Truffle Company fortune.

Louise was unfortunately murdered for her vast millions.

Louise, being a spirited girl (no pun intended), decides that haunting her killer is the only answer.

Her ghost can be seen in various places on the Trimble Estate, dressed in white (as was her usual preference) and looking quite put out.

And sometimes, you might notice that your chocolate has disappeared.