Giant Flower Pincushions

This springy set of cotton fabric has been sitting on my fabric shelf for almost two years when I finally decided to cut into it, even though it has looked so pretty neatly stacked in it’s fat quarter ensemble. Flower pincushions seemed like a great project to use these Springy fabrics!

I used this pattern from this designer featured in the Spring 08 issue of this magazine. What a thrill! The pattern was not as hard as it appears to be, and each one only took about an hour or so to make. Sewing the petals on the first one was difficult, until I figured out how to maneuver the fabric for each individual petal to keep them from puckering or getting caught. Also, I could have used a little more information on how to attach the bottom piece, but I figured out you have to fold under the gathered edge and whipstitch to the bottom of the flower base. No big deal after it came together in my head.

I love how the different petal colors (pink above, yellow below) make each one look unique, just like the real flowers in my gardens.

Aren’t they cheerful and fun?! They would make great gifts, but I don’t think I can part with either of these, just like I couldn’t cut into the fabric. Well, maybe after some time passes, I’ll get over it.

New Slippers

I may not appear to be a domestic person (I work in the corporate world and don’t have any kids – just kitties), but I really love to make things. I learned how to cook and bake from my mom and aunties, so I was expected to help around the house as a kid, doing dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathrooms (yuk!).

Easter dinner

I went through a phase in my early twenties when I was not domestic at all. I had no interest and made no effort to do anything remotely domestic. Maybe it was a tomboy phase for me. Things seemed to change in my mid- to late-twenties, when I became extremely domestic, and I haven’t stopped since.

handmade napkins

These days, I usually have several fabric projects in the works and several knitting projects on needles. Since I work in the corporate world, I tend to overdose on creativity at home. As soon as I get home, I start making dinner. But I’m also working on something at the kitchen table in between the cooking endeavors, or reading a book.

felted bowls in progress

I’m excited to show my completed Mary Jane Slippers, featured on the Purl Bee. I love to wear Mary Jane shoes, so I naturally felt compelled to make these slippers. This was one of many projects I started at the same time, so it took me awhile to focus, and finish one of them. I was amazed at how fast these little slippers came together. The first one was a little hard because I just couldn’t picture how the directions would shape a slipper. But the directions were easy to follow, so I kept faith that these would turn out, and they did!

my new slippers

I had some Lorna’s Laces Superwash Shepherd Worsted yarn in my stash for a couple years. I bought this color because it’s called Glenwood, and I used to live in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. I liked the way Whitney at Purl used a contrast color for the i-cord around the top of the slipper, but I wanted to use up some yarn from my stash. The next pair I make will have more color contrast.

The moment I finished the second slipper, I moved on to finishing the next project, cable slippers from the One Skein book.

One Skein book

These slippers are also from Lorna’s Laces Superwash Shepherd Worsted yarn, already in my stash.

cable slipper in progress

Hope you are finding satisfaction today in your creative (and domestic) endeavors.

Crocheting Again – Squares and Posies

I learned to crochet from my cousin Wendy when we were kids. We were quite resourceful since we didn’t have a lot of money, so we used to make crochet granny squares for area rugs in our doll houses. I’ve moved a lot over the years, and I didn’t keep a lot of childhood toys, so I’m happy I held on to these little treasures from the doll house days.

old granny squares

When the Babette Blanket pattern came out last year, I picked up my crochet hooks and tried a few squares. Hmm, just like riding a bike! I’m finding how addicting crocheting can be. These posies are great to work on when I have a few extra minutes in the morning before work or while making dinner. Aahh, so relaxing.

I haven’t finished my own version of the blanket yet, but I have started making a stash of granny squares. I will be trying out different color combinations until I’m satisfied. I’m going for “Tuscan” colors.

squares & yarn for Babette

I loved the look of the Valentines Garland from the Purl Bee last year, so I bought this book to experiment with flowers and hearts. I also found many free patterns through a Google search.

crochet Valentine posies
I like to have a little stash of these little embellishments lying around for unknown future uses, such as closures on the party favor bags I gave out at my recent tea party. I think I might string these onto a green i-cord, similar to the beautiful garland in this post. It makes me smile to see all those bright flowers in January.

Crochet Scarf / Garland

These posies are from Debbie Stoller’s crochet book.

crochet flower close-up

I made this flower from the spring hat pattern by Emily Nelson, and…

crochet flower scarf close-up

… the garden scarf pattern by Michelle Ameron.

I am going to turn the spring flower into a pin or corsage. I don’t think I will wear the scarf as a scarf; maybe I will hang it as a garland. It’s cheerful, a good thing this time of year when things start out cold and snowy, which then leads to dreary and cloudy. These posies will serve as substitutse until my garden catalog orders arrive!

Relaxing Projects

All the homemade gifts have been sent and received, and ornament exchanges have been completed, so I couldn’t resist starting a few relaxing projects. Knitting is another one of my favorite ways to spend a winter day.

Sweetie Pie Hat

my sweetie pie hat

Made from Manos Silk Blend in a multi-color that will match my winter coat.

Fingerless Gloves

my fingerless gloves

Made from Blue Sky Alpacas sportweight yarn in grey and purple colors.

Hand Warmers

my hand warmers

Made from Ella Rae yarn in blue, white, eggplant and purple colors. This pattern is more complicated than my usual projects, with the daisy stitch and the stripes, but I am loving the results. It’s a great challenge!

How we are un-celebrating

Presents have been opened. Leftovers are storing in the freezer. Cookies are disappearing. Bags of recycleables and trash are stacked in the garage. Table linens, bed sheets and bath towels are piled up for laundry. Holiday company have returned to their homes. Best of all, work is done for the year!

The snow continues to accumulate around here, allowing us to enjoy the winter outdoors. Lucky for me, I was able to go skiing last Friday! (one of my favorite things to do) Here are some photos from Tyrol Basin in Mount Horeb:

Trail map at Tyrol Basin

Tyrol Basin Gift Shop

It’s dumping!

It was dumping snow all day so the skiing was great until mid-afternoon, when I started to get cold and the trails started to get icy.

This afternoon we went snowshoeing (another one of my favorite ways to spend a winter day). Here are some photos from Military Ridge trail, an old railroad corridor now open for walking, biking, snowmobiling, and skiing. Conveniently, it’s only one mile from our house:

Terri snowshoeing

Dave snowshoeing

Military Ridge Trail in Verona

Hope you are finding ways to enjoy this winter day.

My Holiday Ornament Plans

I was inspired by this post from Adorn magazine’s blog to take stock in the ornaments I have made in the past couple years, and to decide which ones I have time for this year. Of course, I want to make ten of ALL of them. My first and foremost deadline is for the Holiday Ornament Swap 2007, which is due December 15. I haven’t been able to begin many projects until the last class of my semester, which was last Tuesday, Dec. 4 – yippee!

Rustic Felt Ornaments from Rustic Winter by Marilyn Gash and Indygo Junction

Rustic winter ornaments

I ordered the wool and thread for these gorgeous stars, which I absolutely adore! Molly’s Wool Felt Stars from The Purl Bee

Molly’s wool felt stars

Wool felt mittens from disdressed blog

disdressed blog mittens on the line

I have made many of these over the years for other ornament exchanges and gifts for my family. Knitted sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Sweater ornament
Knitted stocking from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
sweater & stocking ornament

mini stockings

Knitted mittens from (Creative Knitting November 2004 issue)

mittens ornament

Wool Felt Snowmen from Liberty Rose

wool felt snowmen ornaments

Here are some of my own ideas:

Folk Art Soft birds – in progress

soft bird ornaments in progress more soft bird ornaments

Felt gingerbread men (cookie cutter shape, tan felt, brown embroidery thread, black embroidery thread, tiny red heart buttons)

gingerbread ornament in progress

Felt cardinal (cookie cutter shape, red felt, yellow felt, red embroidery thread, black embroider thread)

cardinal ornament

Think I’ll enough time to do everything? Probably not, but that’s part of the fun. I hope you are finding ways to be creative during the holiday season!

Unfinished Projects

I finished writing my final paper to present in class this week, and it feels great. What a relief it will be when the semester is over. Then I won’t feel guilty working on my unfinished craft projects.

I was so excited to get my Bittersweet Autumn quilt back from The Quilt House, where Julie Jenkins machine quilted my quilt top. I took a class at my local fabric store with Judy Hasheider to make this quilt. Each block is assembled similar to a log cabin block, and the wool leaves are appliqued on. It has been about five years since I took the class, so I am happy to see the quilt in one piece, finally! All I have left to do is sew on the binding, which is a good project to work on during a movie.

Bittersweet Autumn Quilt

My next project is a darling pine tree sachet from The Purl Bee. Purl publishes the best project tutorials; knitting and sewing pattern ideas; and gift suggestions. This is an easy project to work on when you have just a couple minutes; it takes about an hour to complete one tree. Here is a picture of my first pine tree, almost finished. I just have to add the tassel and some flecks or flakes. I hope to make a forest of them!

Pine tree sachet in progress

Also on my list are these fingerless gloves, cable slippers from the One Skein book, felted oven mitts for gifts, homemade napkins for gifts, and ornaments for the ornament swap.

Hope you are finding ways to be creative today too.

Completed Projects

I have been busy lately working on some unfinished projects. Here is my new apron from cherry and solid red fabric – it worked well while I made beef enchiladas and chocolate chip cookies.

Cherry Apron

Next I’m finished a scarf from Noro and Cascade yarns to match my favorite hat and mittens set.

Hat-Mitten-Scarf set

I hope my bookmark swap partner receives her bookmark soon. I embroidered a piece of scrap hand-dyed wool from my local fabric store.

Bookmark Swap

Now I better get started on my ornaments for the holiday ornament swap! Hope you are finding ways to be creative today too.