December 30, 2012

A Handmade Christmas 2012

With my husband home from deployment this year, and perhaps more time to sew (due to kind husband and family members who watch Nathan for me on occasion...Thanks!), I was able to sew many homemade projects for family and friends. Now, don't get me wrong, the majority of the gifts Steven and I gave this year were purchased from stores or online. I guess it's a dream of mine of sorts to only give out handmade items to my family & friends at Christmas, to have all the time in the world to make everything I want to, and when those items are given, to feel like I gave "enough". Do you know what I mean? I try to give from the heart....sometimes it's something done by hand, but sometimes giving from the heart also means buying those Legos and clothes that you know will fit! Ahem.
So, without further adu, here is what comprised the homemade or sewn portion of our Christmas gifts this year...with a few family snaps thrown in. And I might add, what a JOY it truly was to make all of these things, and mostly to see them received with gladness. That makes my heart very happy, indeed!

 This dress was made for my niece, inspired by THIS photo on Pinterest. There was no pattern, but I used a 4T dress Lilly currently wears to draft this one. To my honest amazement, it ended up fitting just right (which violated my past track record of making things for her).
 For Lilly as well. Shirt/Legging PJ combo. The shirt is a 4T from madebyrae's Flashback skinny Tee pattern. And the leggings were "sleeping johns" from the book, Sew Liberated. They both complimeted each other very well. Oh, this knit print was from JoAnn Fabrics.
 A gift bundle for my newest baby cousin, Tristan. Making baby stuff I think is just my favorite!

 Giraffe Rattle out of Lotta Jansdotter's book, "Simple Sewing for Baby."
 2 bibs from Lotta's book as well. My favorite bibs for Nathan have been the thicker ones like this.....flannel on the front, terry cloth (towel material)on the back. Very absorbent just the moment when you need it to be.
 A fold-up and go changing mat. My own layout. As you can see, I mitred that corner a little rough with the bias tape! Had I had more patience at the time I would should have redone it.
A "grow-with me" apron for Nathan (for kitchen or tool bench). I saw a similar tie back design at Ikea a few years ago, and thought it would work perfectly for my homemade aprons. I can't stand having a thick tie at the back of my neck, or one that's fixed, so the apron slouches in front. Yuck. This design features slide canals for the cotton cording to be fed through, which allows a one-step, perfect fit every time. I may consider posting this pattern with tutorial in the near future???? Any takers?
The blue ticking is a thrifted (actually garage sale-d) bed sheet, and the cotton webbing a pajama pant tie from a discarded pair of hubs PJs. The picture doesn't reflect this, but I used yellow thread throughout to give a little contrast and modernity to the apron. As if Nathan cares though, ya know?!

 Freezer paper stenciling. So fun. So easy. Inspired by the giraffe on Tristan's baby print (blue and green) above and THIS too. For his name stencil: I printed off his name in a font I liked, colored the backside of the paper (over the letter) with a graphite pencil (a #2 pencil will work too), laid each letter face up where I wanted it on the bag, and then traced over each letter with a ball point pen. The lead leaves a faint mark on your fabric (if it's light in color). Then I used my pebeo fabric paint to fill in the letters.

 Pincushions. Front view (above), Underside view (below)
 Oh, okay....I only gifted one of them. This one, below.....yes, is all mine. For those: pesky super hard to read numbers on the teeny tiny side of the needle that you need a microscope to see PINCUSHION. Yes, this is suiting me now just. fine.

 Snap Happy Booties by SewBaby, Size 6. Knit print from JoAnns for outer, green Ikea fleece blanket for lining. I know these will make a baby girls feet very happy!
 Made By Rae's Peekaboo Bonnet Pattern. I love. this. pattern. It's so sweet, so easy, as all her patterns are. And, did I's reversible? Oh, I hope I get to have a baby girl someday!

 A shoulder bag for a very kind girl named Sam, who read to my N and niece, Lilly, great stories all year long. Free bag pattern available from here from Sutton Grace.
 Chevron shoulder bag. Same free pattern used as above. On this one I left off the monogram, and created outer pockets on both sides of the bag. You can NEVER have too many pockets. Never.
Awesome grey chevron print in duck canvas from Hobby Lobby, and inner linen fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.

 A weekender bag (but I made it for holding yarn) from Lotta Jansdotter's book, "Simple Sewing." The red cotton webbing and awesome floral duck canvas print, again both from Hobby Lobby. One of very few times I ever make something and follow a pattern WITHOUT pictures. But, I just read it slow and it all worked out. I think I should make a bag like this for myself. Well, someday.

 And Nathan even helped me make some of the gifts. I used THIS idea off Pinterest and had him color/finger paint/use the brush/whatever to paint over some sticker letters I placed on this canvas. After his painting dried, I peeled off the stickers. A perfect gift it was from Nathan to his Mamo (my Mom) for Christmas. Papo received a colorful N hand print with a box of swedish fish.
 Another idea off Pinterest turned personalized thanks to my less than impressive skills with MS Paint and Printable Iron-On Decals. Ticking = bed linen....Inside each one?: flashlights, sheets, rope, clothespins, and glow sticks. A basic starter kit for serious FORT building at home! One that will hopefully be added to over the years and filled with happy memories!
 And while we're still talking of "homemaking", look at the AMAZING card that Steven made me! A pop-up, hand made, hand painted Christmas card! LOVE IT!!! He impresses me all. the. time! I loved this! I also loved the gift cards he gave me, but the special touch he gave it all made my day! I love you, my Sweetheart!
 Nathan trying to open up ALL his remaining gifts with his new drill.
 N sporting his new apron Cmas morning, and getting hands-on instruction from Daddy on how to drill his first hole.

Not the greatest pic of us all, but I had to squeeze in the only one I took of us all together this season. I think most of our pics are now of Nathan. But, can you blame us?
Hope you enjoyed this rather lengthy display of our handmade Christmas. If I'm endeavoring to make more items next year, I better get started NOW! : )
We hope you all had an absolutely WONDERFUL Christmas with family and friends, and we wish you a Happy New Year as well! Thank you to all my thoughtful & loving friends and family who have made this season for us one of the best we've ever had. Thank you and we love you!

December 29, 2012

Christmas 2011 ~ Rewind

I decided it would be fun to look back at last year's Christmas and see just what all was going on here for our family. And then a more specific look at what crafts I made or sewed to give out to friends and family. Compared to this year's craftin', I'd say I didn't do much "homemaking" last year. But, to be fair, last year my husband was deployed and I had our cute little one who was around 9-10months old during that season. So, giving myself a break, I guess I got a lot made for that situation. Indeed. Let's take a look.....
~In The Family ~

We visited a local airplane museum (while he was home from Afghanistan on leave), so Steven could donate one of his
spectacular paper models for them to display.

I just love this one of Daddy holding his Nathan!
A quiet moment at home, getting re-acquainted with Daddy.

And somehow in the short time he was home, Steven & I made these cool borax ornaments for our tree. They came out so much better than we expected! See my post about how to do them easily HERE.

And we ended up with quite a few!

Additionally, we started our very own advent calendar too! Steven found this book at Hallmark, and it has detachable ornaments in it. We collaborated on a design idea that would hold the ornaments and then headed to the hardware store.

S used three pieces of poplar wood and constructed them in pyramid-like fashion, with a wooden crossbar at the bottom so that it could be folded and stored. We painted each strip of wood green with some watered down acrylic paint. Then he added the brass hooks and the metal star (found at a craft store). He did this amazingly fast!


~ The Crafted Presents~

**Disclaimer: Some of these pictures are very low quality, taken by a very ameteur photographer (ME) last year. I was still
trying to learn how to take proper blog photos. And frankly, some of these are terrible...BUT, I still wanted you to see them! So, hope you can overlook that teeny weeny little error! Thanks!!!
A Joy Bag for a friend. Material: JoAnns.

 I SPY BAGS for my nephew.

 Another Joy Bag, customized for my sister.

 A heart shaped heating pad for my grandma. (filled with rice and lavender buds)...I can give
you a tutorial later if you desire...VERY easy!
 A silky eye pillow for my grandma.

 A Robin outfit and shorts made from a red and green adult sized t-shirts from Michaels. And some gold felt.
This costume was so well loved that it got holes from constant wear. Needing to make another one soon! Sorry, no pattern
used here, but my sister's wonderful idea! She even made him a cape to match!
 My over-crowded, gift-making/buffet station. I put the sugar scrub in the paper gift bags for friends, along with chocolate
dipped pretzel rods, and also made fabric bags filled with homemade gifts for other friends.
 Not a present, but in late November last year I made N this pair of pants and hat out of a thrifted sweater. This year
the hat still fits.... well, kinda.
And not a present either, but this was a dollar-store mantle makeover for Christmas. Simple fun.


A great look back at our family Christmas last year. I was so thankful that Steven was able to take his leave over Christmas 2011. What a blessing! This Christmas, however, we held on tightly to him in thankfulness, having full, happy hearts that he had nowhere to go back to except to just be home with us. Priceless.

Hope you enjoyed my family & craft review, because with my next post I won't delay in sharing with you all of the delightful ways I was able to bring more homemade to the Christmas celebrating this year! Ooh, how I can't wait to show you! Keep checking in and thank you so much for reading!