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Posts Tagged ‘craft’

I survived hosting my first Christmas. My inner Monica Geller wasn’t totally satisfied with my time management (dinner guests arrived before the overnight guests had even had brunch–oops!), but it was really nice to have my house full of family. It was exhausting, in a good way. Although the next morning I wondered if I had hosted a raging frat party, rather than a lovely family holiday. Picture half-consumed food and beverages on every surface (well, obviously), garbage everywhere (mostly wrapping paper), furniture strewn haphazardly about the house (to make floor space for the baby nephew), and the best part–little piles of barf for me to clean up (because the cat just can’t help himself when it comes to nibbling on Christmas ribbon). Nice, right? Anyway, gifts were exchanged and apple pie was baked and the fire was flickering away and a turkey was fried in my backyard. It was a little bit epic.  

As you might expect, I gave several handmade gifts…just the way I like it!

A stocking cap made for my nephew. He is not so sure…

Also for my nephew, a personalized silver ornament to commemorate his first Christmas…

French Press Felted Slippers for my sister…

A sterling silver belt buckle for my other sister. My life’s work…

Mimosa Neckwarmer for my Nana…

And my sister gave me some vintage letterpress blocks. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them yet, but I LOVE them.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.
(More Christmas pics on Flickr!)

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I love handmade Christmas decorations, but I hardly had any that were made by my own hands…until now…

I think I meant to make this felted garland last year…but I never got around to it. (That’s a familiar tune around here this time of year.)  It was not *quite* as quick and easy as I had hoped, but that’s probably due, in part, to my perfectionism rearing it’s ugly head halfway through this thing. That’s not to say that it was difficult, by any means. I just added some extra steps.

I used about 1.5 oz. wool roving in several colors, and got about 48 balls out of it. I needed two pairs of stockings to tie up the roving, and used the washing machine technique for felting. The problem was that wherever the stocking gathered between knots, it created a crease in the felted ball. I wound up with 48 little brightly colored…fannies (which you can sort of see in the bowl in the photo below). Ahem. So I hauled my fanny to the craft store and bought some needle felting tools. I’d only tried needle felting once, at a sheep and wool festival, but that little demo provided me with all the knowledge I needed for this project i.e., stabstabstabstabstabstabstab…

I arranged the various felted balls in a perfectly random pattern (I know, I have a problem), and used a natural, twine-colored worsted weight yarn to string them.

I love the handmade touch they add to my mantle.  

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The Second Storie Indie Market was simply wonderful. The show has grown significantly since last year in terms of attendance and vendors, but what remained the same was the warm, inviting atmosphere that Cris, JoAnn, Karen, Rachael, and Shanna worked so hard to create. It had a lot to do with the handmade paper bunting, I think. 😉

It was great to see some of last year’s vendors in person once again, as well as some of the same shoppers! Getting a chance to meet people face to face and hear so many sweet and genuine comments on your work never gets old.

I also enjoyed sharing my table space with a couple of my favorite sidekicks. Having a day to sit and chat together was really a treat for me.

Oh, but enough of this mushiness. On to the loot…

My first order of business was purchasing a pair of earrings from Amber of Mani Designs. I do not have a picture because they have not left my ear lobes long enough to sit for a photo shoot. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you they’re absolutely gorgeous.

I also left with a tumbler which is a collaborative project between Shanna Murray and Vicki Hartman. I knew exactly where I wanted to put it when I picked it out, and I think it is very happy in its new home in my dining room.

This tea towel by Shanna and Betsy of Hello Handmade (which looks so darn cute all tied up that I just haven’t had the heart to undo it!) will definitely be put to use in the kitchen, once I put the Christmas towels away….

…and this pillow by Lizz Switzer looks better than perfect in my living room.

Thanks to all of the vendors who traveled from near and far to make this show the high-quality event that it is, thanks to the Second Storie gang for all their hard work and thoughtfulness in putting the show together, and thanks to all of you who attended the show and stopped by my table to shop or chat! What a nice way to start the holiday season!

You can view more photos of the event on Ashley R. Thompson’s photostream, and read lots more about the show by following the links in the Second Storie post!

And while we’re sort of on the subject, allow me to do just a bit of housekeeping by pointing you in the direction of my holiday shopping info. I’m still working on restocking the shop, but feel free to contact me if there’s an item you are particularly interested in!

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If you’re going to be in the Rochester, NY area during the Thanksgiving weekend, stop by the Small Bird table at the Second Storie} Indie Market to say hi! It’s at the Visual Studies Workshop at 31 Prince Street on Saturday, November 28th (11am-6pm) and Sunday, November 29th (11am-4pm). Last year’s event was fantastic, and the artists who work behind the scenes have been busy making this year’s event even better. Check out the awesome vendor list…it’s a great opportunity to buy handmade for the holidays! Hope to see you there!

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anda dress

I took a sewing class this spring and made a pillow…which was ok. But come on. It was only a pillow. Then I took another sewing class and made a skirt…which did not fit. This was also ok, because it was an actual skirt! With a zipper! So on my own, I made another skirt…which fit poorly. Now I was starting to get frustrated. A good and normal type-A personality may have re-made the wonky skirt, figured out what went wrong, learned from her mistakes. Not I. No, I decided to make a dress, instead!
…Help me, Rhonda.

I used the Anda Dress pattern from BurdaStyle. I printed the pattern at home, which meant I had to tape all those 8.5 x 11″ pieces of paper together into something the size of a human, which was kind of a mess in itself. I started cutting, I started sewing, and then I got completely lost. The fact that this pattern is rated “Very Easy” was not helping matters. I sent several frantic e-mails to Erin, who posesses the sort of kindness and compassion it takes to lie to your friend and tell her the pattern is wacky.

I avoided the dress for a while, but when it came time to start packing up to move, I just wanted to get the thing DONE…one way or another. Moving an unfinished project like this would have surely sealed its fate as The Dress I Started Sewing That One Time.  So I went rogue ont his project. I tossed the instructions (and caution) to the wind. I told myself I’ve been wearing clothes my whole life and by now I have a pretty good idea of how they go together. And I finished it. And it’s…ok.

I like it better with the cardigan than without, which is kind of disappointing since it would make such a nice warm-weather dress, but I get a bit of a hospital gown vibe from it without the cardi. I also hemmed it a little on the short side. Just a little. I’ve worn it twice and received a couple compliments and only one person asked if I made it (at which point I vowed never to wear it again until my sister told me not to worry about it that much). Actually, I surprised a couple people by telling them I made it, so that was pretty satisfying!

I don’t know if I’ll attempt another garment any time soon. Right now the sewing machine just feels like a vehicle for messing up a project faster.  But I hope that someday I’ll make friends with the machine and we will make more dresses together.

The fabric is from eQuilter.com.

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Another project for the new house…nothing major; just a little fabric and thread. I embroidered a simplified illustration of the front of my new house. I was thinking of doing something more complex, maybe some kind of crewel design, but my crewel book has already been packed.  🙂

My embroidery skills are a little weak, and the finished piece is a little wonky, but I’m very pleased with the overall look of the simple backstitch outlines and the lovely little French knot blossoms on the tree.

I don’t actually know what kind of tree that is, but it’s one of those that fills with gorgeous flowers for about ONE DAY…and then they all fall off. It just so happens that the tree was in full bloom the day I first saw the house. So in my mind, I will always picture the house with that beautiful flowering tree in the front yard.

For some added kitsch, I did have “home sweet home” embroidered underneath the house, but when I finished, it was pretty much unreadable. (See: wonky embroidery skills.) So I took it out. I think this piece will wind up hanging in the foyer.

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I finally got my copy of Doodle Stitching…and I was kind of surprised at what I decided to make first! I think I was excited to do a sewing/embroidery project since I just took a sewing class this weekend, too. And then, of course, there are the babies. All the babies that are arriving this spring. And these babies, they need little squishy handmade animals with cute stuff embroidered on their tummies, you know? I started this felt owl without a specific baby in mind (thinking maybe I’d make a whole fleet of them…and I still may), but I’m pretty sure I know who this one is for. 🙂 This owl is 4″ tall. More pics on Flickr.

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