Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thankful, Garlands, and Gifts

We had a lovely Thanksgiving here in South Carolina. Friends we haven't seen in five years! visited from Memphis. It was good to be together again. Lots of food, lots of fun, lots of noise, and lots of rest on Sunday after church when everyone went home! Now to the Christmas holidays...

It took me a while to decide how to make my garland for the GaGa for Garlands swap this month. My first attempt was to make these pretty poinsettia package decorations from a Martha Stewart project I found at Michael's. I was going to string them along. However, though they came out pretty, I thought the glue seeped through a bit and made the paper dark, and the gel glue didn't seem to really make the mound for the glitter as it should have. You know, my transcription business name is The Perfect Type, so obviously I couldn't send the poinsettias out! I was reading Old School Acres at some point and saw her cute yo-yo banner and posting on 11/12/2007 and got my muse. So, I made a "Merry" garland with fabric yo-yo's and punched paper circles and Christmas-decorated chipboard letters and buttons. I like the twill tape I found to string the garland along. My garland partner is Maria. She sent me a sparkly, glittery NOEL garland. I have yet to take that picture because I want to do that when I have the cupboard in my kitchen set up with decorations. I'll amend this posting then. Her garland is very pretty. My only regret is that I didn't make TWO garlands so that I can keep one for myself. Oh, well, maybe in January....

My daughter had a Sweet 16 party to attend a couple of weeks ago. Since I have that great workshop downstairs and because I spend so much on my fabric stash, I want to make as many gifts as I can rather than buying. Sometimes Camille likes this, sometimes not. However, this time, she liked the bag we saw in a project book and picked out the fabrics for it. It turned out fabulous. It has inverted pleats in the front with contrasting fabric. That's a good switch on the tote bag. I hear the Sweet 16-year-old liked it. I'll really believe it when I see her using it! Poor Camille. It's like the cobbler's children -- they had no shoes. Camille sees the cute stuff I make and send out - and sees her friends with our creations but doesn't have one for herself. I always say I'll make another for her, but you know how that is... I need to make a list of the items she would like and get to it!

Have you seen all the aprons I have been making? Check out the mishflicks - look in the "clubbmish studio" set. It is Apronland downstairs. Some are at the Old Barn in Lexington. Some are tagged for gifts. Some are for special orders. Those are really fun to make. Just squares and rectangles and seam binding - which I have been making on my own to contrast with the main fabrics. I'm really enjoying the ease of putting those together. The one pictured is two-sided. It makes for a nice weight of the apron and is useful for two messes!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Easy Sewing Projects for You!

While blogging last week, I came across two places listing great, easy, sewing ideas for your creative holidays. Check out the Sew, Mama, Sew blog. Everyday all month, this blog has great ideas for your gift list or your just-to-try list. They also have a fabric store (!!) on line at Sew, Mama, Sew. Very cool fabrics you don't necessarily see at the regular stores.

The other place listing easy projects is Cotton Spice. There is a super easy pot holder idea - made from a dishtowel - on one of the days. Try this link: Potholder tutorial. Really, you should try it for yourself.

I made the sweet jacket pictured above. It is an 18-24 month size. It took just a few minutes to make -- really. It is cut out on two folds, so there are only the arm seams to sew and the binding around the neck. However, you have to take the pattern to Kinko's and have them increase the page up to the proper size. I found the pattern in the Bend The Rules Sewing book by Amy Karol. She has really fun ideas in that book. Seasoned seamstresses and novices alike will enjoy the ideas.

Try something new this season. I am working on my garland for the garland swap. I have already received mine from my swap partner, though the send date isn't until 11/16. I have some glittering to do still.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Sun Still Rises, The Swaps Go On, The Holidays Are Coming!

The Sun Still Rises: After my posting below, I find that the sun still rises every morning and life goes on as usual, even after we face changes. I am back to work again with my transcription services and have been busy with the teens in the house. My girl is busy socially, and my son is a senior, 18, and ready to apply to college - and, since I am bragging, Group Commander of the JAFROTC. We have lots of fun and have been learning to balance carrying on and remembering my grandmother all at the same time.

The Swaps Go On: Who would have known when I found out about blogs and then the lovely swaps how important they were to become to me the last couple of months? Not me! I actually worried I might be silly and wasting time getting involved -- when I had so much work to do, but it turns out that the handwork and plans I was making for the swaps entertained my mind and hands while I was waiting on my grandmother at both the hospital and at home. The Swaps turned out to be a blessing! Thanks to each of you who participated with me back and forth. Though you might have just entered for fun, as I did originally, those exchanges gave me short term goals and deadlines and the opportunity to think about making a "stranger" happy with my handiwork. It is a good way to spend time.

This is the Fall Swap exchange I received from Dana. I was in love with my goodies before I even saw them. Dana's card told me she hand-felted a pumpkin atop a pincushion for me and made a wool penny needle case. Perfect, perfect for me! And, of course, you'll note the chocolate and candle. Just in time for a cozy evening this already cool November. Well, that cozy evening may come in January, but you know what I hope for.

This is the stocking I received from Cathy in the Vintage Stocking Swap. It's a pretty vintage blue with a lace cuff and beaded garland. She loaded me up with vintage goodies inside and photocards of her shop and home. Oh!, and see the sparkly star wand. I know some little girls who might want to swap with me for that! All the pictures from the swap are here.

I have two more swaps to go. One is the Ga Ga for Garland swap and the other is an international Christmas Postcard Swap. I've got my ideas down, so I just need to execute. Did I say a few swaps ago I was done with this for a while? Well, it is like Diet Coke - you can't have just one... Then there is the Holiday Ornament Swap. You still have three days to sign up, so get over there if you are interested. You'll have to make 8-10 ornaments to send both internationally and here in the states, so think about it first. However, how much fun will that be? I saw last year's ornaments here, and I see the ornaments don't have to be crazy crafty, just something fun and easy and affordable to send out.

The Holidays Are Coming: I know I don't have to point this out, but I can feel it! I already have orders for Christmas gifts to make. My friend, Cindy, and her husband own the Old Barn General Store in Lexington, SC, right past the LHS on the left. You Columbia-area gals should really make a trip out there. They have antiques, new country items, gourmet foods and coffees, and sweet conversation. They will also have beautiful Christmas trees. They gave me one last year (pictured above), and it was beautiful with my grandmother's antique glass ornaments all through the boughs. Cindy asked me if I wanted to put some aprons in her store for her holiday shoppers. I was very glad to comply, as you can tell from my flickr site (mishflicks) where I listed my current projects and orders I have received lately. If you want to order any items from me for your gift giving this year, think about it quickly. Since I have to get my transcription work done first each day, I have to keep to a schedule of what I can produce before shipping time.

Until the next time... Please send me a note if you like. If you want to join the swaps but are worried to do so the first time, let me know, and we can do one together -- starting in January 2008!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Still Swapping

These pretty buttons arrived in the mail last week in exchange for the ones I sent out earlier in the month. The mushroom came from Amy, chopsticks from Meg, owl from Sarah, watermelon from Jessica, and the sweet sailboat from Shelley. Everyone had such great ideas. I did receive one more button as a bonus from the button host, Michelle. It is a clever robot. However, my daughter quickly snagged that one to add to her button collection. That is the best compliment - when a teenager has to have what you have! Check out all the button art and the cute robot button at the embroidered button picture site. Now I just have to decide what to do with these little pieces of art.

I've also sent off two more packages in swaps I participated in. One was for the Fall Swap organized by Chara Michele. I sent a set of embroidered dishtowels, a crocheted scarf, and a quilted table topper to Dana. Each participant was to send out items that reminded her of fall. The pictures of everyone's swap sets are at the Fall Swap grouping.

The other package sent was for the Vintage Christmas Stocking Swap hosted by MaryAnn. I had to think a bit about that one. I'm not necessarily on the lookout for a Victorian look of pastels and lace and went with more of a vintage country home look. I saw a couple of fabrics at Hobby Lobby that inspired me and went that direction. We were supposed to fill the stocking as well, and I chose to put in some holiday craft ribbon, an embroidered dishtowel (Why that again? Because I have a stock of them on hand, and they are a universal gift!), and an embroidered ornament. This stocking is on it's way to Debbie in PARIS! Well, Paris, Arkansas. (I'm sure she hears that one all the time.) The participants made some beautiful stockings and were really inspired on what to pack away in them. You can see all the stockings at the Vintage Christmas Stocking Swap group.

In any of these picture sets, if you see work that you like, click on that person's link or blog and go see their other work. It tends to follow that if you like something about their work in one place, you'll probably be really interested in their blog sites and other work.