Thursday, December 29, 2011

A pre-Christmas project

Time to get back into blogging mode, I guess, although in all honesty I've enjoyed the break and it's tempting to wait till after the New Year begins before I start up again.  But.... my photos await!  I haven't really taken a lot of them, and these are actually the only ones I took during our Christmas Eve celebration here.  I had the camera right next to me, but it was a little too dark in our living room for much photo-taking.  At least that's my excuse.
One of the projects I worked on before Christmas was a photo book for Courtney.  Yeah, they weren't all sewing projects!  I'd gotten a great Groupon deal a few months ago, and I knew this was what I wanted to use it for.  (BTW, if you're interested in signing up for Groupon deals, let me know so I can refer you and get some $$ credit myself!)  It took a number of hours to complete, but I was very happy with the result... and I think Courtney was, too.  Here's the front of the book (click any photo to enlarge):

And the back:

And some studying of the pages: 

I'd intended to take a few pics of the individual pages before I wrapped it, but unfortunately I forgot. I'm hoping Courtney/Mommy will remember to bring it back sometime soon so I can do that. And the good news is that now I can take even better pictures! More on that in a future post! ;)

It was a fun project to do, and I've decided that photo books are a great way to store photos (that I never seem to get around to printing these days). I've already bought another Groupon deal for one, so I have another project to work on sometime soon!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas crafting fun

Last week Tuesday Courtney and I decided to try making a wreath from this tutorial.  I traced the leaves for her, and she cut them out.  ALL 30-40 of them!  Very patiently, quickly, and carefully!

I stapled them onto the cardboard as she cut.

She kept cutting.... and cutting....  I could barely keep up with her!

Here's the finished wreath.  Courtney thought Josie ought to have a look at it.

Josie thought she ought to swat at it... surprising Courtney, making her jump back and her tails fly!!

There.  Now just look through nicely, Josie:

Yeah, Courtney... you, too!

So that was a little bit of Christmas crafting fun!  We'll have more fun this weekend.  And so I'm taking a blog break until next week sometime.... to finish getting ready, and then for some family time.  I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas (even if it's not white, which is perfectly acceptable in my book!)!  And don't forget the REAL reason we celebrate CHRISTmas!!

P.S.  Happy Birthday, Grandma H !!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not a minute to waste!

It's the shortest day of the year!  (Well, the shortest amount of daylight, that is.)  Here's how mine started:

(Click the photo to enlarge it!)

(Like my little bokehs, Jess?)

Lots to do today, and since the day's so short, I'd better get at it.  Okay, still the same number of hours as usual, but hey... I work better in daylight.... preferably sunny daylight!  So I'd better not procrastinate here at the computer.  Here I go.  Really.  I hate cleaning.  Blech.  But I must...........

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cool sunset

I took these pictures last Friday evening.  It was totally cloudy except for where the sun was going down, and it made for an awesome sight!  It wasn't really as dark as the photos look, but it looks that way because of the flash.  I tried turning off the flash, but then the sunset didn't look right.  Even these photos don't quite show the redness or do the scene justice, but they're pretty cool, anyway.  Click 'em to enlarge.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas program time

Courtney participated in her preschool's little Christmas program at a local bank this morning.  It was very cute!  Here are some quick shots of Grandma's little star (which you can click on to enlarge):

And here are some fun videos.  Turn up your volume and enjoy! 


[I think the reindeer over there on the left in the red dress must've had fleas (or a wool dress).  She kept scratching through the whole program. ;-) ]

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another completion

Yep, I made another bag.  It's a gift (not even from me... I was "hired" to sew it) for someone who I'm sure doesn't read my blog, so I can show you without spoiling any surprise.

It's a simple tote bag.  So simple, in fact, that I didn't use a pattern this time.  I just decided the size, comparing it to a bag I own, and made it using what I've learned from making other bags.  It was very easy.

It's for someone who teaches Sunday School and needs a bag to carry her books, etc. in, thus the cross on it.  I enjoyed appliqueing that.  Below the cross is a pocket, with piping on the top edge of it.

Here's the back:

The inside has a large zippered pocket...

... and a large slip pocket divided into 2 sections and 2 pen slots:

It can hold a lot of stuff!

The outside fabric is "Wildflowers" from the Dusk colorway of Jess's Outside Oslo collection.  The lining is "Skiff", from the same.

I still have a little sewing to do, but I can't let you see that till after Christmas.  Progress feels good, though!

Linking up to amylouwhosews sew and tell:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Feeding time... watch your step!

I took the camera along with me one evening a couple weeks ago when I went out to feed the cats. I thought I'd show you how hard it is to walk out to the machine shed with a dozen cats! Did you know that cats have a special knack for knowing exactly where you're going to put your foot... and then beating you to that spot? ;)

It was a little hard making a video and trying to walk amongst them at the same time, so pardon the poor quality. And since I was going so slowly, you don't really get the whole effect, as usually it's worse. It can get quite frustrating, especially if I'm in a hurry.

Note particularly the black one (Scoot) and one of the black and white ones (Dots). They are the absolute worst. Scoot clings to my feet, and Dots swats at them!

And yeah, I do have to carefully watch my step as I walk across the area that got dug up for the new well. It's kind of like a giant litter box. My apologies for that part of the footage. There are challenges all along the way! At least now that the weather has gotten colder, they're usually waiting for me inside the machine shed, so I only have to "battle the group" from the doorway to the feeding pans, rather than all the way from the house.

The main reason I had the camera along was because I wanted to get a picture of Marshmallow. That was a bit of a challenge, too, since they were all moving. This is the best I could do. Anyway, when he was born, he was snow-white, with only his ears and tail a little bit gray. Now he looks more like a toasted Marshmallow:

I expect he'll continue to get darker. I had a similar one once that my sister adopted. He got dark and kind of stripey... very distinguished-looking and gorgeous.

On another subject... yep, I'm still sewing (as well as other pre-Christmas things). So posting will continue to be sporadic. I should have one more finish to show you soon, and then the rest will have to wait till after Christmas, so as not to spoil any surprises. ;)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This little girl can cut it!

When Courtney was here last Saturday, we decided to do a little 'project'. Just a couple days before that, Jess had posted about some cute little vintage-looking Christmas boxes that could be printed and assembled. So we printed 3 of them. These 2 are Courtney's, and she cut them out entirely by herself. Just look at that cutting job!! (Click on the pic to see it larger.)

She did nearly as well with her little scissors as I did on mine with a ruler and an exacto knife! She even got right into the corners and made them nice and square! And she's not even 5 years old yet! I was amazed!

Here she looks a bit pleased with herself, too. Or maybe she was just admiring the bright, pretty colors and imagining how they'd look when we were finished.

So... here's how they looked when we finished!

Pretty cute, huh?

They weren't very sturdy, as I didn't use very heavy paper, but they were fun, anyway. And she drew a picture and folded it up to put inside one of hers.

A little crafter-in-the-making, for sure!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two Zip Hipster Bag

Here's my latest project, completed! Yep, still baggin' it! It's called the Hipster bag, and the pattern is by Erin Erickson of "Dog Under My Desk". I loved making this bag, because everything came together perfectly. The pattern and instructions were so well-written that it made sewing it easy, plus it's such a cool bag. I like the zippered pocket and top a lot. And the strap is adjustable for wearing on your shoulder or across your chest like a messenger bag.

The outer fabric is by none other than Jessica Jones! The design is called Sticks, from the Dawn colorway of her Outside Oslo collection.

Both zippers went in very easily, because the instructions were terrific. There are three pockets... the zippered pocket plus a slip pocket behind it on the outside, and another pocket with a pen slot on the inside.

I used a different model for this 'size perspective' photo. I thought the bag would look nice with her outfit. She agreed to pose if I promised to cut off her head. ;)

I really need to quit taking pictures in a hurry, as well as at night. These aren't very good. For better photos and a more detailed pattern review, Jess will post when she receives the bag, which depends entirely on the Postal Service. (I mailed it on Saturday.) I'll update here when the time comes.

Update: The mail was a little slow and almost had me worried, but the bag did make it. Check out Jess's much-better-than-my photos and my pattern review. (And check out the comments she herself left if you want to see a photo of it 'on' her. ;) )

Linking up to Amylouwho's Sew & Tell:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A giggle's worth

Courtney was here yesterday while Mommy went Christmas shopping. It snowed. A little more than predicted. Still only a couple inches at the most, but enough for wearing boots. Courtney didn't have boots. So Grandma did the old plastic bag trick:

Don't they look nice with her coat, new hat and mittens?

(Fake smile. Must be the age.)

She thought they were hilarious! She giggled a lot. Every now and then more giggles would burst out of her. I loved it! And she thought it was great fun dashing around making tracks in the new snow, zigzagging down the driveway to the mailbox, making sure Grandma followed in her tracks. It was great fun for both of us. :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bad, BAD kitty!

Josie has been so awful to my hibiscus plant ever since I brought it into the house a few weeks ago. She just will not leave it alone. She chews on the leaves, and she seems to think the flower buds are special toys. The buds come on the ends of the branches, and there are seven branches, all of which should have buds and/or flowers on by now. There are only two branches that do, because she's chewed the rest off. She also likes to snoop at the potting soil, so there's usually bits of that on the carpet all around the pot.

Yesterday morning, there was finally a flower on the plant, way up at the top. I took a picture of it, because I just KNEW it wasn't gonna last. Here's the pic. If you click on it to enlarge it, you can see how sad some of the leaves look.... not to mention the ones that are totally missing. (She doesn't eat the whole leaf. I usually find them on the floor, along with lotsa little chewed bits.)

The goofy thing is, when she goes after the plant, she warns me with a funny little "hmm?" sound. So I get after her and start yelling. That seems to work the best... she doesn't like yelling. Then she'll walk a few steps away and lie down and watch me... to see if I'm watching her.

The flower survived all day yesterday.... till after supper I went down to the basement for a while and closed the door so the cats couldn't come down. When I came back upstairs, I noticed a tiny bit of 'something' on the floor by the kitchen sink. I picked it up and noticed it felt wet, sorta fresh. It dawned on me what it might be, so I started looking around. I found this near the hallway:

And here's the rest of the story:

Pretty sad flower.

But considering that hibiscus flowers only last one day, anyway, I got most of the day's worth of enjoyment out of it, at least. If only she wouldn't chew off the buds before they got a chance to open up!

Of course, in getting to those top branches, she's also tipped over the entire plant 3 or 4 times. *sigh*

On another Josie note... she has this goofy habit of pawing at her food bowl until some of the food spills out onto the floor. Numerous times during the day, I'll hear a thumping coming from the entry, and I know exactly what it is. At least she usually eats it up after she spills it, which is what she's doing below, in a most relaxed manner.

What a cat! But I love her. And I'd get rid of the hibiscus before I'd part with her! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Little Things to Sew - Mittens

This month for the Little Things to Sew sew-along, I decided instead of making the scheduled puppet theater, I'd make the mittens, to go with the hat I made for Courtney. I used the pattern from the LTTS book, but I wanted them to be warmer than they would be with just one layer of fleece, so I used this tutorial by my friend, LiEr, to put them together. Here they are!

No, I didn't goof. There is one for each hand... and they do match! Since all seams are enclosed, they're reversible! So you're seeing the inside and the outside above.

Here they are with the hat. You can read more about the hat here to see how the fleece gave me some trouble.

Except for the fleece problem, I really like how they turned out! I've gotten new fleece and will be making another set soon. I'll make both a bit bigger... the hat to better accomodate the usually-present ponytails (which is why the hat looks a little wide at the top in the photos below)... and the mittens because these barely fit. I used the size small mitten pattern, which is supposed to fit through age 4, but I think making them double took up some space. And besides, in a couple of months, she'll be 5!!! (How can that be already?!?!)

Here's my precious little model, being her goofy self:

She was a bit reluctant to model in the house with her coat on ("Aw, Grandma... this is too HOT! Do I have to?"):

Okay, one nice pose ("but I'm trying not to smile"):

We did a test run with the hat... walking out to get the mail. I decided that the hat definitely needs the chin strap, because it kept riding up (possible because of the ponytails, or just from rubbing against her coat). I think I'll also cut the next one to come down a little farther on her face, to keep that forehead a little warmer.

Update: Since Courtney's been wearing the hat and mittens everywhere despite the linty fleece, I added the velcro to the hat/strap. It was a great improvement! The hat now not only stays on better, but it also comes down farther on her forehead, keeping her face warmer. Yay!

All in all, both were very easy to make, and I highly recommend both patterns/tutorials!

Linking up with amylouwho's Sew & Tell Friday: