Thursday, December 18, 2014

All I want for Christmas is some time to sleep and quilt

Back from our family visit. Having both the to and from flights at 6am really screwed up my sleep schedule. It was nice to see a beautiful sunrise, but having our flights delayed, rerouted, and sent back, pushing our arrival time 5 hours later was not worth it.

And I'm not thrilled with these bags under my eyes. Now I just need a week off just to sleep!

But I DID get the opportunity to see snow again. It's been at least 5 years since it's snowed before Christmas in my hometown in time for me to see. And I got to shovel! Granted it was just mostly the snow boulders the snowplow pushed in front of the driveway, but I got to shovel it up nonetheless. So that counted as my exercise for the week, right?

I also got a lot of reading time in - finished three graphic novels. Also got a handful of new books as presents to keep me going. Before the end of the year, I'll review my Year goals and see how I did.

Since we had our trip early this year, we had to get all of our Christmas shopping done even earlier, including the homemade gifts! I make an ornament every year to include with my gifts. This year, it was an army of cork reindeer. There are lots of instructions online for different versions, but I feel mine is still unique, as I didn't find any that used felt for the tail, ears, and antlers. And I think they turned out adorable. I still have plenty of wine corks left. Maybe there's a cork wreath in my future?

I've also had the quilting bug lately. For a nephew's gift, I made a quilted Minecraft pillow. So easy to do since the game is 8-bit and pixelized anyways - makes for a perfect block quilt.

And during the visit, I raided my mom's fabric stash for some old Christmas fabric. And I already started a Christmas quilt. The plan is to just make a bunch of 6" blocks - all different patterns, no sashing. (And no real measurements either as I'm just making it up as I go along.) Hopefully I can get it done before the end of the month!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Walking in a Winter office-land

Well, I did it. I brought a bit of Christmas tackiness to the office. Last weekend, Joe and I built a desk igloo out of matting board, craft paper, polyester stuffing, and a tree skirt. It's horrible and I love it! But it also gives me some privacy for a few weeks in our open-office environment, which everyone despises.

I finished up all the Christmas presents, and now have time to work on some personal projects, like little felt animals for my Woodland Christmas-themed living room, and possibly a scrap Christmas quilt. But just today, a coworker shared a link with me to add more to my to-do list: KnitForKids.org. Using a knit/crochet pattern they supply, they accept finished stitched sweaters, caps, and blankets for kids in need. Now I know what I'm doing during my family visit next week...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Giving thanks for a busy week

The week of Thanksgiving is probably always my busiest week of the year.
  • Confirming I have all the supplies I need for the feast
  • Pre-making pie crusts and pies
  • Tying up loose ends at work.
  • Cleaning and more cleaning
    and come Friday...
  • Decorating for Christmas!

    I also use this week to catch up on Thanksgiving specials and movies. And yes, they exist! I always watch "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and "Garfield's Thanksgiving" - those are musts. But I always try to squeeze in 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles' (check), 'Home for the Holidays', and sometimes 'Pieces of April' or 'Hannah and Her Sisters.' Unfortunately, I have not seen 'Home for the Holidays' listed in the TV schedule anywhere, and it's not streaming. I just really need to buckle down and buy it. Who doesn't love a young Robert Downey Jr., Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, and the Gutte!

    A tradition Joe and I started years back was to take it easy on Wednesday night and have TV dinners of our own choosing. No dishes to worry about, no time spent prepping and cooking. And this year, we'll be eating our fancy meals on these new placemats I recently made. Simple applique where I drew out an image on iron-on transfer paper, and hand-stitched the pieces together. I tried using my machine, but the areas where the pieces overlap were too thick from all the layers of fabric and paper that my needle kept breaking. Then I did some loose stippling on the background, and tah dah! All done!

    This weekend, I'm trying something new and going in to the office to decorate my cube. I'm going a bit bigger than I usually do, so I figured this would be the best way not to distract anyone around me. If my plan works out the way I imagine, I'll be toting my creation here and on twitter, you betcha.

    And in about two weeks, Joe and I will be on the East Coast for a pseudo-holiday visit. Call me cheap, but the closer you get to Christmas, the cost of airfare triples! So I've been a busy bee working on the homemade portions of the Christmas gifts. I'm sure I'll get those pics posted shortly after!

    Happy Thanksgiving, all!

  • Monday, November 17, 2014

    Hoo Hoo's ready for Thanksgiving?

    Christmas commercials have been playing on TV for a couple weeks now. Last night, the Grove lit its tree. Houses have their Christmas lights up, AND some are lit. And it's only two weeks before Thanksgiving.
    This would upset most people. But not me. Over the years, my appreciation for Thanksgiving has grown. When I was a kid, it was all about Christmas and the gifts. As I aged, it was about the time off from school. Now, Thanksgiving and Christmas go hand-in-hand for me. And not for the days to sleep in (though that's always welcome) or the gifts (those are fun too). But for the sense of family and home-iness. It's all one holiday for me. Right after Halloween ends, it's time to settle in for the winter - Indulge in fall and winter squashes and fruit; curl up on the couch with the person or animal(s) you love and watch heartwarming movies; come together with family, or friends who have become your family, and just enjoy being with each other. Because as the new year comes around, it will be all about the chores, work, vacation planning, etc, all over again.

    A few days a week for the last couple weeks, I've woken up with the feeling it's Thanksgiving. As in I should be getting up, starting the turkey, and watching the parade and dog show.. It's worse than a case of the Fridays.

    And now to the crafts.

    A coworker saw me drinking from a mug with my pilgrim hat cozy, and excitedly asked if I could do an owl. Sure, why not? I found this link from Yarnovations.com, brushed my hands, and thought that's all I needed. Not quite. She then sent me a picture of a barn owl. Uh... dang! The cutesy pattern I found isn't going to work!
    So I had to improvise. And to my surprise, I got it on the first try. No yarn pulling here. Turned out quite nice if I do say so myself.

    A new season, a new purse. I've had my eye on this pattern from Sew4Home.com since it was posted, and finally got around to making it. Of course it doesn't hold as much as my purse I made at the beginning of the year, but that means I have to be smarter about the things I need to carry, and won't lug around a super heavy packed bag.

    Christmas decoration crafts and gifts have been planned. I have to finish up one final Thanksgiving item - an applique placemat set - but then craftapolooza can begin!

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    Over the river and through the woods - Baby quilts

    This week I'm in Minneapolis for work, and enjoying it quite a bit so far as it's giving me a nice taste of autumn. Chilly hoodie weather, colorful leaves - a nice change from the 70-80 degree weather we've been having in LA.
    As I recently found out that a former colleague was pregnant... with twins... and the shower was coming up soon, I was under a tight deadline to finish up my gifts and bring them to Minneapolis with me for the handoff to another colleague. And amazingly I did it!


    I didn't want to go with the standard blues for a boy and pinks for a girl, so instead I went with a woodsy vs. water theme. And for the stitching, did a spiral-y wave and a weaving ivy.

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    Braaaaiinnn - Halloween on the braaaaiiinn

    I cannot get enough of this Halloween stuff so far!

    It's not even halfway through the month, and I've already watched these shows/movies:

  • Day of the Dead
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Zombieland
  • Corpse Bride
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Frankenweenie (the original)
  • Garfield's Halloween special
  • ParaNorman
  • Fun Size
  • Trick R Treat
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Werewolf
  • Oculus
  • Annabelle
    We've also hit two different local 'pumpkin patches' and got two really big pum'kins. Unfortunately, due to the warm weather lately, plus a work trip coming up, I won't be able to carve them until the day OF Halloween. I got a lot of work ahead of me!
  • Tuesday, October 7, 2014

    Spooking up the place

    I'm not sure where I'm finding the time to work on these projects, but somehow they're getting done!
    Friday night, I decided to revamp my Zero plushie. Several years ago, I made a crochet Zero. But as my crochet skills have advanced since then, I was no longer happy with it. So I made a new one. I found this pattern from YarnyDoom.com for a smaller version. And now Zero is a better size for my Oogie Boogie and Jack plushies!
    I made a few alterations to the instructions though. I used black felt for the eyes and mouth, rather than crochet with black yarn. Then I used floral wire in the ears, mouth, and neck of the doll to make him a little more adjustable.


    Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    A quilted Halloween

    Happy October, everybody!
    And look, I made my goal! The Halloween quilt is done, just in time.


    I used up most of my orange, purple, green, and black scrap pieces for the flowers. The centers are stitched with a pebbling motif, then zigzagged on b/c it looked like some of the fabric was loose. I then outlined each flower and stippled the rest of the negative space with matching thread.