Thursday, December 31, 2009

digging our way out of 2009

Well we are in between family whirlwinds right now so I am popping in quickly to say hello. It has been a fun and slightly crazy week. We got blasted with another foot of snow on Christmas so that made everything a little more complicated. I must admit I have been feeling a little negative about Winter lately but I am going to try to stop myself from complaining about it here. It's just that... oh never mind.
Anyway, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy new year! I'm not really one for resolutions* but I do like to dream a little on new year's day about what I hope to do and learn in the coming year. I won't laundry list all the creative projects I want to try - there are far too many for that. What ever projects I do get a chance to try though, will be shared here with all of you and I am so looking forward to following everyone else's projects as well. If I did make resolutions I think a good one for me would be to take the time to leave more comments on other people's blogs. So often I am inspired and awed by someones work but don't take the time to let them know. Perhaps I will get better about that in 2010 - but I am NOT making a resolution, really, I'm not, I swear.
* stating you are making a resolution usually sabotages any attempt you may make to actually follow through on it in my humble opinion.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

ghost of Christmas past

Just wanted to stop by and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Please excuse the bad scan of a scan. That's just what happens when you use a photo that is...probably 29 years old. That's me on the left in the saddle shoes with my slip showing! Those dresses my twin sister and I are wearing - handmade - don't you love 'em? I do! I don't know if we were posing for a Christmas card or on our way to midnight mass. We look too awake to be on our way to midnight mass so I have my doubts about that.

I hope everyone has a peaceful holiday filled with friends and family and good food!

Monday, December 21, 2009

okay so here's me

I dug this out of an old Holly Hobbie book I had when I was a kid. Yes, I loved Holly Hobbie. I had the metal lunchbox, the sleeping bag, various other goodies. The verse that is printed with this illustration reads:
Making a dress for your dollie
in a pattern that's bright and gay
Is a wonderful way to fill your hours
on a very bad-weather day.
I couldn't agree more and that is just what I have been doing.

I am working on a gift for my niece and am trying my hand at sewing doll clothes. I managed to get this simple dress finished but there was an unfortunate pair of doll-sized jeans that I ended up throwing in the trash - boo! My sewing machine and denim don't always get along so well. It has been fun though and I do want to try some of the other items in the pattern set. Any advice on making doll clothes is welcome too as I am still figuring all this out.

I still have some other gifts I'd like to make but we'll see how it goes. I recall staying up VERY late and sewing right before Christmas last year and this year might just be the same.

Solstice Stitching Giveaway Winner....

#57 (thanks, random.org) Caitin T. who shared:

"love, love, love this giveaway! i'd love to experiment with silver thread. one of my favorites things about winter is visiting my parents in snowy new england. thanks!"

Congratulations Caitin!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered either here or through my facebook page. It was so wonderful to hear from so many enthusiastic fellow stitchers. I must say I was surprised but inspired by how positive everyone was about Winter overall. I hope the season brings lots of fun, creativity, good reading, mugs of hot tea, coffee, and cocoa to everyone! (to those in warmer climates I wish all that minus the hot drinks!).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Solstice Stitching Giveaway!

I received a lot of sympathy and good advice when I recently posted about the trials I suffered when using the silver embroidery floss. A number of people suggested I try "Thread Heaven" so I thought I should give it whirl. And if I'm going to try it why not give some away to another reader too? And if I'm going to give that away why not include some other goodies? And if I am going to give away a number of goodies why not have a theme? Thus the "Solstice Stitching Giveaway" was born. This is a fun one - lots of lovelies for embroiderers including:

* A pair of Gingher Embroidery scissors *gasp!*
* A 5 inch embroidery hoop from a recent thrift store score (so it's the good kind with the better wood)
* Some Thread Heaven
* A skein of the infamous silver floss might as well put that Thread Heaven to the test, right?
* A skein of cool blue satin floss
* A skein of glow in the dark floss because, hey, it's DARK out there!
* A skein of icy blue and snow white variegated floss.
* Some other little surprises I cannot disclose (wink)

Just leave a comment for a chance to win. Feel free to use that opportunity to either curse or sing the praises of Winter.

I will ship anywhere - even to those lucky folks in the southern hemisphere. The winner will be chosen randomly on Monday the 21st (the Solstice of course) Good Luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

paper is cool

I am not responsible for that profound statement I used for my title. Those words were spoken by Peter as we were cutting paper snowflakes last week and I just could not agree more. I love cutting paper snowflakes. I could probably do it all day even though it feels sort of like a childish activity so I limit myself to a degree and put down my scissors after one or two flakes. Watching Peter's eyes light up as we unfolded our creations was a little bit magical which makes this an activity I highly recommend to all parents. No, I take that back I recommend it to all people.
Anyone interested in having their minds blown by other people's creativity and skill with paper should also check out Between the Folds from PBS's Independent Lens. Several contemporary origami artists are featured in addition to some historical information about the art of origami. I didn't catch the entire show but what I saw was ... was... see, I can't even find the words. It was amazing but that just doesn't do it justice.
And finally, if I have inspired you at all to grab your scissors and craft some snowflakes but you don't want all those bits and scraps of paper all over your house, I suggest this site where you can make a snowflake online and even download it and keep it forever in pixels. FUN!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

cold snap

It happened all over Omaha this morning - snap snap snap - folks with the time, the inclination and the camera were taking gorgeous photographs. On Tuesday we got slammed by snow and the winds howled all night but then this morning the sun crept through and revealed shimmering drifts as far as the eye could see. I had about 1 minute to take advantage of the situation. I could hear Adam awake in his room but I grabbed my camera and threw on some slip-on shoes (no socks at all of course) anyway and headed out to the porch for some quick clicks. (poor Adam!) I didn't get much but that's okay. I'm sure there will be another barn-buster storm to capture in pixels this Winter.
our front steps are under there somewhere I swear
I don't know for sure how much we ended up getting. I stop keeping track after 6 inches. I mean what's the difference between 9 and 10 inches? At that point who cares?
Somehow the boys and I have made it through 2 days of being home bound without strangling each other but they did just cancel school for tomorrow. By the way - three snow days in a row? - that totally never happened when I was a kid! no fair! So... wish us luck.

Oh yes - and do stop over here for a chance to win a SeptemberHouse calendar panel :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

wishing you a 'good enough' holiday

I am thinking I might just get Christmas cards sent this year. *crossing fingers* I have missed a year or two along the way and I feel bad about that. Here is my 'good enough' photo of the boys that I will be sending out:
They aren't looking at the camera, Peter has his hood up, they aren't wearing matching clothes or even have their hair combed and there is no sparkling tree in the background. I took this in the Fall during a trip to a local park. I like it and I'm just going to go with it. The thing is, that's pretty weird for me. I held onto this ideal in my head of a perfect Christmas card photo of my children for a long time. Sadly, the years I skipped cards were most likely due to the fact that I could not get that great shot. I usually ended up with something like this gem from 2007:
Yep, that's what primping and posing will getcha. Well, that's what it got me at least. So, I'm learning to let go of some of those sometimes unrealistic holiday expectations and it's actually quite a relief. I am still extremely jealous when I get a card from a friend or family member that contains a "perfect" holiday photo (how do they do it?). But I'm learning to let go of that as well.
What are you letting go of this holiday season?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

beware the siren song

Oh silver floss you look so tempting and enticing sitting there on the fabric store shelf. Your sparkle calls "stitch me, stitch me". Who can resist? But then...
You shred when threaded in my needle, you snarl up and crumple in impossible knots mid-stitch. You evoke a string of vile words from the mouths of otherwise docile embroiderers. You are kind of evil you are.
I did tame this beast eventually but it was not easy. It turned out very pretty but I had to take it at a snail's pace to get it to cooperate. Has anyone had any luck with this stuff? Anyone??

Enough complaining from me. I also wanted to share a photo of the back of one of my ornaments to show how I finish them off. Emily had asked about it in my last post so I thought I would go ahead and share a bit more about that.

I use an acid free glue and brush it along the inside rim of the hoop then just wrap the fabric around the back. It's pretty easy and really holds so I am pretty happy with that method.
On the holiday front I...
1. am excited about Christmas
2. need to start shopping/making
3. am feeling a crazy powerful urge to ORGANIZE even though I think January is the time to do that - anyone else feeling that too?
4. wish I had been on the ball enough to participate in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day tomorrow. Don't forget to check it out though, I know I'm going to. Good luck!