Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I just love this time of year -- for me, it's a chance to reevaluate and restart and recharge.

I hope everyone had a great holiday. We celebrate Christmas in a big way, and I couldn't post any of my projects until now, because at our house we take Christmas secrets VERY seriously. I even lied to my mom once about being pregnant so it would be a bigger surprise -- but she totally called me on it. Moms can just SENSE these things.

We have five kids in my family, so we just rotate through the list and this year I had my littlest sister's name. She has a husband and two little kiddos, and I ended up just buying a couple of toys for the kids and printing off her husband's blog. I thought they were good presents, but my little sister's was my FAVORITE!

She and I have been really into cross stitch lately. She even did the Quilty Stitches Sampler -- twice! Once for her, and once for our Mom for her birthday. So, when I was brainstorming presents, it was pretty easy to decide on making a little cross stitch kit.

First, I decided I wanted to give her four seasonal patterns. We've talked before about Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery patterns, so I knew I wanted to get them mostly from there. The problem was deciding -- there are so many cute patterns!! I really wanted one pattern from each season, and it was so hard to choose between Halloween and Thanksgiving -- that turkey is so cute! I finally decided to nix Halloween, but I may get that cute little Frankenstein couple for myself. :) I bought the digital patterns, but the designers are super clear about NOT sharing patterns, so if I decide to do the "spring" pattern, I'll be sure to purchase it myself. (I already got Thanksgiving -- that turkey!!)

But the little summer pattern I wanted to buy wasn't being sold at the time, and I didn't really find anything else I loved, so I decided to try my hand at designing cross stitch patterns. I've done a couple already, so I knew Excel could work for it -- and when I didn't do any half-squares it really worked out well. I designed one for Christmas (based on a certain Red-Nosed Reindeer, did you notice? :) and one for summer. The summer one really reminded me of the Quilt Stitches Sampler, so I'm sure she'll love that one! I designed both patterns to be around the same size as the others, so I cut four little 8" squares (two white and two lightly variegated) for her to work on.

After that, I went to my local yarn shop, Heindselmann's, because I knew they would have all the DMC colors I was looking for. It turns out they didn't have one -- a specialty thread that has monofilament inside it -- so I just got a kind of monofilament to go along with a close-enough color.

Then I made Thimble Blossoms Sundae Scallop Bag for her to keep everything in. I made one for me earlier in the year, but it was a little too small, so I upsized this one -- I think the finished dimensions were about 10" x 15", with the box seam at the bottom 1" from each corner. It was the perfect size for everything!

My last project was the needle book. I used the tutorial from NanaCompany to make myself a needlebook at the beginning of last year, so I knew it was just about the perfect size to go along with this project. It ended up so cute! You can barely see it, but I used a piece of denim (cut from actual jeans!) for the "binding edge". It's so cute and stylish and perfectly her!

For Joel's family, we had his sister's name -- and I already knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do for her. When we had her name last, maybe 6 or 7 years ago, I couldn't think of a thing to get her, so I told Joel I wanted to make a quilt for her. I decided on a pattern and how much fabric I'd need, and then I set to work to make her a lap quilt. Well, in the end I didn't finish it for that Christmas, but the colors were perfect for her, so I set it aside knowing full well that I'd get around to it the next time we had her name. So, I finished up this quilt -- and I've come a LOOOONG way since 2007! My seams were so funny! But I ended up putting it all together without too much hassle, and I free motioned some double swirls in the center, some figure eights in the first border, and some flowers on wavy lines in the second border. I think I'd change up the thread color of the double swirls, but all in all it turned out really nice!
{double swirl quilting}
{wonky corner flower}

Another present I made was for a white elephant swap. Now, I don't mean to be vulgar in any way, but when I saw this idea on Pinterest I knew it had to make it to our annual Christmas party! Little did I know, but the man who LOOOOOVED his "Ask me about my explosive diarrhea" shirt last year was totally squeamish about this little present! So, please let me know if you think this is hilarious or gross -- I'm totally voting for funny!

{for him: "apple", Gator gummy candy, black Twizzlers bites, beef jerky
for her: maxi pad slippers, raccoon scarf, Rob-sessed DVD (Robert Pattinson documentary}

Our principal (thank you second grade teacher Mrs. Sales, for teaching me that our Principal is our PAL!!) is a really great lady. Last year I made a plate of cookies for Teacher Appreciation Week and told her to take the leftovers home and to keep the plate -- it was a gift and REALLY not my style, so I didn't mind if it didn't come back. Well, the other day she had this plate and told me how much she loved it. Not long after that, I commented on a candle warmer she had in her office, and just said how cute it was. And she GAVE IT TO ME. I wasn't asking for it, I was just trying to make conversation really, but how nice is that! She said it was because she loved her plate so much and that she uses it all the time, because it was given to her and she doesn't care if it comes back. Well! I promise, her gift to me was worth WAY more to me than that silly plate, so I looked in my cupboard, and I have three more of those same plates, and I realized I could give her another one and a hot pad in thanks. But not just any hot pad -- I'd seen this sweet little paper-pieced patter for FREE online, and it's so cute! So, I got some fabrics together and made her one, and this is how it looked -- pretty cute, if I don't say so myself. :)
{hot pad}

{plate & hot pad present}

And the last project I did for Christmas was a Thimble Blossoms Swoon. I've done this pattern for baby quilts, twin-sized quilts, and now for a Christmas table topper -- and I'm still not tired of it! It seems to take a kind of long time to make one block, but for a twin-sized quilt, you only make SIX blocks! And for a 24" table topper, I only made one. It's so Christmas-y and nice, too, don't you think?  I hand-quilted this, mostly last year, and then all I had to do was bind it and add just a touch more hand-quilting around the border.

And now I'll leave you, because I've got some Resolutions to plan!

1 comment:

  1. That pouch is adorable. And giving her a other plate is so great. Happy New Year!


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