Wednesday, September 30, 2009

autumn colors week: orange

Well, here's my orange photo for this week. It seems I missed "green" yesterday. It was lots of fun browsing through everyone else's photos though.
Who can I blame for my inefficiency? I think I'm going to blame Ken Burns. If he had not made such a stunningly beautiful and thought provoking series on our National Parks I might be getting more done in the evenings. Being as he did create such a series, I have been parked on the couch for the last three nights. Thanks a lot, Ken, sheesh.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Great Big List of Calendar Ideas

I would love to make dozens of calendars this Fall to give as gifts as Christmas time but I have to be realistic. Not everyone on my shopping list will be receiving a calendar. While I may not have time to make all the calendars I would like to make I am going to make time to share some ideas for embellishing them. (you can find blank calendar panels in two sizes over at SeptemberHouse)
I plan to add to this list as ideas pop up and I hope anyone who has an idea will share in the comments section (yes yes - please share your ideas - don't be shy!!) so it's my hope that this will become a fun resource for anyone working on these this Fall.

What this post will NOT be is very visually interesting. Sorry about that everyone!
Well here goes:

Calendar Embellishing Ideas:

1. Embroidered/printed quotations. I LOVE quotations so I could easily come up with dozens that would fit in those top sections!

2. Vintage Embroidery. You've seen those adorable hand stitched table linens at the thrift store and you know someone put so much work into them, right? But maybe they have a small stain or the stitching in one section is damaged while the rest is in tact. I know a spot where that beautiful handwork can be displayed and appreciated all year long...

3. Speaking of vintage - do you have old pins/buttons or badges in a box somewhere? Or did you spy a girl scout/boy scout sash from the 80's in the thrift store and hate to see all those hard earned badges so unappreciated? These can be cleverly arranged and stitched onto your calendar in no time.

4. Okay here's one for the practical sewers out there (and I count myself in this group). Sew on a variety of small pockets (or one large and 2 small- whatever) in fun fabrics for stashing thises and thats: coupons, tickets, love notes (much more fun!), anything else that needs a cute little spot to stay.

5. Sew on clear vinyl squares or rectangles edged with bias tape. Leave an open spot on one side to slide in photos. Then your calendar can change with the seasons and be personalized as well.

6. If you are just starting out in embroidery or are a seasoned pro a sampler of stitches is always a fun and helpful project. Decide which stitches you want to include and design your own pattern or check out vintage samplers online or at your library/bookstore and base your stitch collection on those.

7. Do you have a quilt block pattern you have had your eyes (or heart) on but aren't quite ready to take on an entire quilt? Try it out in small scale here first. This can be a fantastic way to use up little bits of your favorite fabric scraps as well.

8. I am slowly (but surely) falling in love with buttons. I would love to design a calendar around a small button collection. At the end of the year you could even snip them back off again and use them for something else. Check out this book for more ideas with buttons.

9. Iron-on transfer sheets. Of course you can print any photo or artwork you love onto these sheets and iron them onto your calendar. I'm certain that someone out there knows the BEST brand of iron-on transfer sheets to use and I am hoping that if you are that person - that you will share in the comments section. :)

10. Embroidering your child's artwork or hand prints is another way to capture and preserve the memory of this age in your child's life.

11. Why not incorporate imagery from a favorite children's book? I keep flipping through my copy of Ferdinand trying to figure out how to stitch up some of that amazing artwork. So many other favorites come to mind as well.

12. I love the idea of embroidering a small section of a map. Especially a map of a place that has special significance to me and my family.

13. Love to stitch words? How about lyrics from a favorite song, a prayer, or a poem?

14. Along those same lines - have you tried wordle? It's a really fun way to see words transformed into a visual treat. It would be ambitious but I would love to print a wordle creation and then stitch it.

15. If you haven't done any printing by hand it might seem a little intimidating. Two books that I have found really helpful and fun are here and here.
These will guide you through a whole variety of ways to print onto fabric

16. Turn your calendar into a fun diversion: Stitch on a piece of felt then cut out a variety of felt shapes: Mini felt board!

17. Do you have a set of dishes with a beloved pattern on them? How about stitching that pattern onto your calendar? It will fit in beautifully hanging in your kitchen.

I'll stop there but will be adding more. Don't forget to share your ideas as well!

18. [Nov. 19] Stopped by to add: Freezer paper stencils - so easy and so fun. Check out this tutorial by How About Orange

Monday, September 28, 2009

Autumn Colors: Yellow

I heard from the Poppytalk Handmade that there is a fun autumn colors themed group over at flickr this week for anyone who wants to check it out. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

WIP for premiere night

This was the project I was supposed to bring along with me last weekend. Unfortunately I did not get the appliques cut and placed until, oh about an hour ago, so it was put on hold for a few days.
Anyway, it's a special birthday request for a dear friend whose birthday has come and gone but I know she will forgive me. (right, Julie??) I'll be sure to share a photo when it is complete.
I will be stitching along watching the Office season premiere tonight. The Summer has been such a dismal time for tv and I welcome the return of some of my favorite stitching companions.

I'm also working on a great big blog post full of ideas for embellishing the fabric calendars I sell in my shop. I know I won't be able to make all the calendars I want to make but it seems like a waste to not at least share some ideas, even if I can't pursue them all. I'm hoping lots of readers will share their ideas as well. Look for that in the next few days!

Monday, September 21, 2009

home again home again

We're back! Here I am with the gorgeous bride, my twin sister. What a beautiful wedding! The ceremony and reception were at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve - such a perfect setting and a perfect day.
I can't believe how much work my sister and her husband put into it - all while juggling work, kids, a move, and some online classes. pretty amazing. seriously. there is no way I could have done it. Vince and I even managed to get our photo snapped together (without the boys) and it's been ages since we have done that (since our own wedding perhaps? yikes!) .

You wouldn't think it possible but these two brunettes ARE the parents of this golden haired cherub:

Who actually turned two on Sunday. His white blond locks never cease to be a topic of conversation but I assure you he is ours. I feel badly that his birthday was dominated by the car ride home (something he particularly hates) but at this age they don't realize what injustices they are subject to anyway, right? I mean let's face it - this is a child who has had his diaper changed in public so postponing a birthday is not the worst thing he has endured.

I must say a big huge "thank you!" to everyone who gave me ideas for what to do with Adam during the long car ride. I appreciate all your contributions so much! It did seem that anything that was new (to him) was popular. Toys and books from home just didn't cut it. There was still a fair amount of whining on the way there but more sleeping on the way back (hooray!). We all survived and overall it was a fantastic weekend.

Last but not least I have a table over at Poppytalk Handmade for the next few weeks. It's so much fun to be in the company of so many other fantastic artists and crafters - check them out, there is a lot to love over there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

idea swap anyone?

1 sharpie marker + 1 magazine = hours of fun and creativity AND some truly delightful art! I can't take credit for this - Peter came up with this on his own one day when he asked (thank you, Peter) if he could use a sharpie marker and if he could draw on my magazine. He worked and worked and before we knew it he had transformed this issue of ReadyMade into a portfolio of sorts. Almost every page has clever revisions and happy little sketches from top to bottom. Who knew this would be such a hit? Not me. So, this is definitely coming along with us this weekend when we road trip to my sister's wedding (7 hour car ride each way).

By the way - I'm am so wishing I had time to whip this up before the weekend!

Now comes the swap part, ready? Who has some brilliant ideas for keeping a 2 year old entertained in a car for 7 hours? - because I sure don't.
Adam is a happy and fun little guy but he does NOT like car trips. So, I'm a little worried about how this one is going to go. Any ideas would be more than welcome!

Next I am sharing a couple more ornaments. I really want to make about 100 of these plaid snowflake numbers. I love snowflakes and the plaid makes them even more fun. Plus I never pass up an opportunity to cover a button.
This one will be the third sort of lovey-dovey ornament I have made this year, Not sure why I made so many. I always buy or make an ornament for Vince at Christmas and I often look for something a wee bit romantic or at least sentimental so I suppose I was just thinking other people might be looking for such sweetness as well.

I should be getting some embroidery projects packed up for the long car ride as well. 14 hours of stitching actually sounds pretty great to me.
What project would you bring along on a road trip?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

what better place...

to put all the sweetness!? Thanks for all the response to my very first giveaway! All the kind words and enthusiasm were so appreciated and I am very grateful.
I went old school and dug out the fiestaware sugar bowl instead of the high tech random number generator. And the lucky winner is...

Mary! yea! :)
I don't have an email address for you, Mary, so please just drop me an email at septemberhouse{at} and let me know 1) which of the two hydrangeas you would like and 2) where I can send that to you. Congratulations!

Oh, and I found a little helper for this and I had to give him/her some credit. It's that time of year I suppose.
I must admit, I do love the grasshoppers, they always look so distinguished to me. (even though this poor guy lost a leg somewhere along the way).
On that note, it's time for me to 'hop' back to my stitching! Thanks again to everyone who entered the giveaway!

Monday, September 7, 2009

oh my, it's a giveaway

Okay, I know what I said back when I posted this photo of my hydrangea. I expressed doubt as to whether or not I could duplicate this wonder into embroidery floss and fabric. I wanted to just let it go but a little voice in my head kept saying, "but the flower centers - they are totally french knots - can't you see it? The flower cluster is round like an embroidery hoop for heaven's sake!"

So, I had to try it out. I searched the fabric store for the just the right fabric but came up empty handed. I ended up hand painting my own white cotton with some thinned acrylic paint mixed with an additive specifically for making acrylic paint softer and flexible when painted on fabric. (really fun!)

I attached them all with french knots and added some padding when I put it all together in the hoop just to give it a little dimension. I loved getting to try some new things with this project. It just goes to show how inspiring your own backyard can be.

Now for the good part: I'm giving one away! I made two: one blueish one pinkish (obviously) and figured I would let the giveaway winner pick the one she(or he???) wanted and then put the other in the shop. So you are invited to leave a comment and give yourself a chance to acquire a little 4 inch piece of Summer that will last you all year long. I'll pick a winner on Thursday, yea!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

i'm really only 18....

times 2. Yesterday was my birthday - 36! I have a twin sister who will vehemently insist to anyone who might even suggest different that she is NOT old. (Seriously people, don't even joke about it with that one) So, it only makes since that if my twin sister is not old then certainly I too, am not old - correct? She has the right idea and I am inspired by her healthy attitude even though it would seem I am poking fun at her.

It was a really nice birthday - gorgeous weather, lunch with Peter at his school, some crafting time, a trip to a huge antique store, date night with Vince - dinner AND a movie! Not too shabby at all. We saw Inglorius Basterds which we both thought was a little more violent than we anticipated (And we anticipated a whole lot of violence) but still extremely entertaining. You have to admit the premise is kind of a sure shot - who doesn't want to see the nazis get what's coming to them?
But onto more pleasant things. Here are two more ornaments I posted this week. We sort of have a thing for squirrels in our house (especially Vince!) so it was only a matter of time before one or two scampered into a craft project.
I've got a few more ornament ideas that I need to work out and I would love to make a couple of calendars this week as well. (crossing fingers).
Oh yes I almost forgot - check back early next week for my very first GIVEAWAY! I really wanted to do some fun things to celebrate September and a giveaway was one of them. Another free pattern would be good too...
See you soon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

i believe in angels

I don't know if I have mentioned it recently but...I am so lucky.
This past weekend was the big air show - and it takes place right here in the heartland - for free I might add. It happens to be just about my favorite event of the Summer. That is actually a little bit strange because flying in an airplane is not something I enjoy in the least and the fact that any airplane travel is out of the budget at this time in my life suits me just fine. But, I will face huge crowds, my own whiny children, waiting in line for 1 1/2 hours to take the shuttle back to my car, and porta-potties just to watch other people do it. As you may have figured out by now, the headlining act was the one and only Blue Angels.
I don't know how it can possibly be that these guys aren't dead because what they can do with those planes defies all reason. wow.
I am just in awe of the talent of all the performers there. But, I still won't be buying a plane ticket any time soon.
As for life on the ground I am working on posting a few ornaments this week. This is the first one. I wanted to keep it really simple and clean and I also wanted to use some fancy stitches. I used a fishbone stitch for the leaves and I gotta say - that stitch is fantastic! Try it the next time you need a fill stitch, I think you will love it too.
I also used a raised satin stitch for the berries and liked that as well. Normally satin stitch is one of my least favorite stitches but I do like how this variation turned out. It's a little time consuming but since it was such a small little area it wasn't too bad.
And finally - we are now in, what I like to think, is a nearly perfect month. There is so much to love about September - the anticipation of a new season, the fresh start it seems to bring, the first crisp fall mornings. Personally, I have a lot of hopes and plans for this month but I know that not everything will get done. I'm going to dig in and give it try anyway - let's see what happens!