Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year Bunting


Last night I made a quick and easy bunting for our New Year's party on Friday. I didn't have a lot of time to spend on this project, so I opted for fabric glue and pinking shears, rather than using a sewing machine. I made a very basic pattern for the triangles and numbers, which you can download here.

Materials
fabric scraps
pinking shears
fabric glue
paint
glitter (optional)
ribbon
Trace four triangles onto your choice of fabric, then cut out with pinking shears. (I used scraps of burlap, muslin, and silk.) Then, trace the numbers onto the fabric and fill in with paint. I used acrylic paint then sprinkled it with a little glitter glamour dust before it dried.


Next, attach each triangle to the back of a ribbon using fabric glue. Let dry for about 30 minutes and it's ready to hang!


Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Go Fish

This year for Christmas I made my nieces a fishing game. I got the idea, as well as the patterns for the fish and worms, here.

I started with a large piece of green felt for the base, then cut out a pond from blue felt and sewed it onto the green felt. I then sewed three concentric shapes on the inside, following the shape of the pond, and added a lily pad. The brown tackle box in the corner holds the fish when not in use and is held shut by velcro.



To make each fish, I doubled a piece of felt, traced my fish pattern onto it, then sewed along the outline. I filled the middle of each fish with polyester stuffing to give it some volume, and used the alphabet setting on my sewing machine to embroider a letter "O" for the eyes. There are magnets in the head of each fish so that the fish can be "caught".
Keep in mind when sewing you fish that you will need to leave openings to insert the magnet and stuffing. Here's the method that worked best for me:

(Note: These pictures were taken after cutting out the fish; however I did all the sewing first, as shown here)

Start at the top of the tail fin and curve back around, leaving a small opening
Insert the magnet into the head

Sew the head closed and continue around the bottom fin

Add stuffing
Sew around the top and tail fins, closing the body of the fish

Add eye, mouth, and details to tail fin
The last step is to cut around the outline of the fish, removing the excess felt. You can follow similar steps to make the worms. I also added eyelets to the end of each worm using my crop-a-dile and attached string using small lanyard hooks.


I used dowel rods for the fishing poles and painted them to coordinate with the colors of the fish (purple, magenta, and goldenrod). Instead of using screw eyes, I just drilled holes through the dowel rods and tied the string through the hole.


Go fish!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Projects

I made more Christmas postcards this year. (See last year's design here.) I chose Luke 19:38 for this year's verse and embossed the front with a "peace" stamp.



Many of the people on our Christmas list got jars of homemade jalapeno jelly and spiced apple jam. (Both recipes are inside the Ball Liquid Pectin box, with more recipes available here.) The label template is courtesy of Merriment Design.


The spiced apple jam is great on just about everything, especially waffles, and I enjoy the jalapeno jelly on a slice of french bread with a little goat cheese.

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Before & After

I thought I'd share some before and after shots of two quick and easy projects. These candle sconces belonged to my grandmother. Here they are before:

 After a few coats of white paint...



This old picture frame is from Zach's mom (Thanks Renee!) and I decided it would be a good size for a chalkboard.

I already had an 11 x 14 piece of masonite, which was just the right size for the frame. All I had to purchase was a small tub of chalkboard paint. They have this stuff in just about every color now; I chose to go with the traditional black. I gave the masonite three coats of paint and 24 hours later it was ready to write on.


After

Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fireplace Candleholder

Before we moved in, our house suffered a chimney fire. According to the home inspector, some of the tiles were damaged, making it dangerous to have a fire in the fireplace. It's now two and a half years later and we have yet to make any effort to repair it. Adding to our lack of motivation is the fact that we live in central Texas, and on this mid December day it's a sunny 70 degrees.
However, I was getting a little tired of the gaping black hole under our mantle and dreamt up a cheap and easy solution. Easy meaning my 24-hour on-call handyman Zach was there to assist me. (You can view our first fireplace project here)


We went on a post-Thansgiving walk in a wooded area near my mom's house, looking for logs to use for our project.


Zach cut the logs down to size using a miter saw, then screwed them together to form the base of the candleholder. We decided to use a variety of candles, including tapers and tealights. Using forstner drill bits, Zach drilled holes into the wood to hold the candles.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Howdy Doody!

I came across a Howdy Doody doll in an old trunk at my mom's house. It was a toy my siblings and I had as a child, and which my brother Ryan was particularly fond off. Ryan has special needs and has always loved playing with toy cars and trucks, and any toy having to do with Hulk Hogan! He was crazy about his Hulk Hogan wrestling doll. Hulk Rules.


When I found Howdy Doody, his clothes were nowhere to be found. So I took him home with me and gave him a brand new shirt and pair of pants...although I confess I didn't stay true to his original attire.

This will be a Christmas gift for Ryan; I'm sure he'll be excited to see his familiar toy!



Thursday, December 9, 2010

12 Days of Handmade Holidays Giveaway

Visit Think Liz for a chance to win one of my handmade needle-felted ornaments!


Giveaway ends Tuesday, December 14th at 10pm.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Tea


Each year our church holds a holiday tea. This year I helped host a table with my friends Kelli and Kristin.  The hostesses are responsible for decorating their table with a holiday theme and providing party favors for their guests.


For the table linens, I made a burlap table cloth with fringed edges and cloth napkins in a purple snowflake pattern. We used shank buttons and purple ribbon for the napkin rings, wrapping the ribbon around the napkin and pulling it through either side of the loop in the back of the button.



For the table centerpiece, we used silver candlestick holders, topped with purple and gold ornaments. We placed the candlesticks on a silver tray and decorated it with holiday picks and gold buttons, like those used for the napkin rings. These are some of the same items I use for our dining room table centerpiece at home:

For party favors we filled small spice jars with different shades of purple M&Ms, complete with embroidered jar covers to serve as placecards.



I invited my friend Weihua from work- here we are in front of our table:



There was a choral performance and Speaker Tammy Maltby shared about "Christmas Kitchen Traditions" and provided a cooking demonstration, which we got to sample, yum!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Faccia di Vecchia


Faccia di vecchia, or sfinciuni, which means old woman's face, is an Italian bread made with anchovies. It's a family tradition to have sfinciuni at holiday meals, and this year I tried making it for the first time for Thanksgiving. I followed the "recipe" given to me by my uncle over the phone. Although sfinciuni is traditionally made with anchovies, you can top it with anything you like. I used italian sausage, anchovies, black olives, and mushrooms. I think it turned out pretty well!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rockwell 22 pc SoniCrafter Holiday Giveaway

The carpenter extraordinaire and top notch blogger, Robert Robillard, is hosting a giveaway for two Rockwell SoniCrafters. These little tools are amazing at simple cuts, polishing, and sanding. Plus they can get into spots at angles you can't really achieve with any other tool.
Check out his giveaway here at his blog, A Concord Carpenter. I've followed his blog for about a year now and I enjoy it because his posts run the gamut of tool reviews, remodeling, house repairs, and solid advice on construction matters.
sonicrafter giveaway

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Garden


When I think of gardening, I think of Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh...


who apparently has OCD. Maybe that's why he's such a good gardener.


We started a vegetable garden back in August, and finally got around to picking some of the salad greens we planted. Aside from a few caterpillar holes (and the maker of those holes found crawling around in Zach's salad bowl) we really enjoyed our homegrown salad!