Monday, December 20, 2010

The Annabelle Apron

Our corporate office has a Christmas party every year with a theme. Last year, we had a Wild West Christmas, complete with a mechanical bull. This year, it was the Food Network. To go with the theme, we had an apron contest. Contestants were to create or decorate an apron and model it (and your story if you have one) at the party.

I have never made an apron before, but I thought that I would take a stab at it (while still making too many crafts as Christmas gifts:-) ) I went looking for a cute pattern online that would show off my new svelte figure. I am officially down 141 pounds-- check me out!

This is the Annabelle Apron by Hoffman Fabrics. I fell in love with the picture posted with the pattern so I thought I would take a stab at it. The pattern was really easy to follow-- and I LOVE the results.

I won 3rd place and a $50.00 American Express gift card. Not too bad... and even better, I felt very pretty. The pink, love, black and white are right up my alley. Add a tiara everything would be perfect!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Christmas Plushie

So, Christmas gifts for my father can sometimes be difficult. Not that he is difficult but he never lets on to what he wants or needs. Usually, I get him some dress shirts for work, maybe a superman t-shirt, and a gift card to Home Depot. There is ALWAYS something to fix at my parents house, it seems, and dad gets a thrill out of fixing things for free (well, free for him anyways).
I was in Home Depot looking at light bulbs and happened across a cute little apron gift card holder. Perfect! So for Christmas, I am looking  make a mini Dad and put the apron with his gift card on the plushie. It is my first plushie so I started off drawing out a cartoon likeness of him.(That's Dad with my nephew Dylan.)

What do you think? Not bad!

I'll keep you posted on how it works out.I am hoping for good things-- this is my most brilliant Christmas present idea yet this year!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My First Special Order

As you know, we had a craft fair last week to benefit a family in need this holiday season. I made a ton of crafts for the even. Really, I wanted it to be successful and I had no idea what would and would not sell at something like this. I attend craft fairs sometimes but I guess I never pay attention to what interests people-- I mainly go to ooh and ahh and pick up a few treats.

One thing I found is that people largely viewed my little crochet dolls as pet toys (lol). I sold quite a few to people that were saying their dog or cat would be excited. I hadn't thought of that and wished I had made a few more with animal safety in mind (not using small parts, etc.)

A woman that I normally only smile at in the hallway asked me to make a special treat for her puppy. He was going in for surgery this past monday and she thought he would love a set of my bunnies, in blue and without the small details. I went home and whipped them up post haste-- and here you see them before you. My first special order from a paying customer!

I wish I had been able to be more elaborate with them but I aim to please so simple the are.

I hope the puppy likes them and gets well soon! Sick animals make me so sad.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Halloween Block Swap

I never told you how it went!

This past Halloween, I participated in my first every quilt block swap. It was a ton of fun!!

I really enjoyed picking out my fabrics, making the blocks, and the wild variety of the other 11 members of the swap. There was a terrific variety of theme, skills used, fabrics, and craftmanship. One of the things that really impressed me is that the fabrics all really fit together so well.

I think I will frame each square in purple to make my quilt? We'll have to see. I will definitely get it completed by next October (even if I am quilting it over the summer!)...

I have nothing but positive things to say about the swap organized by Aunt Pitty Pat. Really well done-- and they should be. She seems to host them all the time! Practice makes perfect, my friend.

If you are looking for a sewing or quilting swap, go check out her blog. Some good stuff out there!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Oh, What a Relief It Is

So you may be wondering "Where has Shanny been all month!?" I have been crafting, my friends! Alot has taken place since I was last able to write. In short (and I will post more about my adventures at length over the next couple weeks), I was working on my sister's bridal shower, bachelorette party, craft sale for our Adopt-A-Family project at work, a few special orders (!!!), making a playing card game, sewing Halloween costumes, a tote swap, a Halloween quilt square swap, a Christmas ornament swap, a Christmas present swap, baby shower presents... and helping prepare for my sister's New Year's Eve wedding.

To start, here I am setting up for one of our craft sale days in the office. It was alot of fun but WAY too much work, I must say. It is really hard to keep a group of 50+ people engaged and interested in participating in something. I made a bunch of the crafts seen here so that has been taking up much of my time. We did pretty well -- $458.00 from 3 days of sales. The proceeds go towards buying Christmas presents for a family from inside our company that is in need.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

At work, I am organizing a crafts and baked goods sale to raise money for the family we adopt every Christmas.

As many of us have experienced, getting people excited about participating in department events is EXHAUSTING! I have been doing everything I can to craft a top of items and to be constantly talking about the sale and what people can do to help. I think my co-workers want to gag me...

Anyway, here is a little close-up of what I have been working on. There are quite a few items missing but you get the idea.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I thought October was about fun, not stress!

I thought October was about fun, not stress! Little did I know, my friends.

I have a bunch of crafty things I have completed and in the works that I want to share with you but no real free time to post about it! I have even been skipping my lunch hour at work because I have so much going on.

Anyways, I can't resist posting a few pictures. I'll explain everything later!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halloween Tote Swap

As promised, here is a better look at the halloween tote I was making for the swap at Aunt Pitty Pat's.

I also added in some cute extras for my swap partner, Melinda. I bought the stamp at Joann's, the mini sign at Michael's, and the fabrics on Ebay! The little ghost was made with acrylic yarn, fiberfil, and a pattern on the Lion Brand website found here.

I hope she liked it!

Now I am spending my time working on making the spiderweb Halloween swap blocks, also for Aunt Pitty Pat's swap. I have several pieces joined but only two blocks actually completed. My goal is to have it in the mail by monday October 11th, at the latest. That means I am going to have to hunker down and concentrate-- not always my strongest trait.

Another project on my burner are four squares I am testing for Donna at SmoothFox. Even though I already had a bunch of work to do, I couldn't resist volunteering to test these patterns. They are different from my usual fair and a great opportunity to bust out some pink yarn to make additions to the Pink Square Project.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Muted Pumpkin, Traditional

I made another pumpkin for the Itsy Bitsy Spider CAL. This one is more traditional, smaller. I really like how the muted tones turned out in this one.

I have been trying to think of something creative I can do to decorate a pumpkin for the "fashion contest" that is coming up on Itsy's site... but I am hitting a road block. I just really like classic, unadorned pumpkins. I keep going to the orange yarns rather than the pinks, yellows, and blues. I like the different pumpkins that have been added to the Pumpkin Patch on Flickr...

I like the idea of making Cinderella's carriage. Maybe I work on that! Afterall, who better to make a pumpkin fit for a princess than a princess herself!?!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wonky Pumpkin, Traditional.

I finally squirreled away some time to work on my first pumpkin for the Itsy Bitsy Spider Crochet Along going on. Well, actually and to be honest-- I have been trying to start for a while I am having a hard time finding orange yarn that I like for the project. I came up with the Mango yarn pictured here out of my extensive stash... but other oranges have been escaping me. The pumpkin took a skein and a half, which I hadn't anticipated... That is just want happens when you use bulky yarn in ami-making.

I am looking for ways to modify the pattern now that I have made one basically as directed in the instructions. I did take a little liberty in the shaping of this one. I made the sections off-center to make the pumpkin shaping more realistic. It was a nice, simple, fun pattern to work on.

I am excited to see what I can make out of it. Itsy is having a "Fashion Show" where the top pumpkin makers will get a prize. This should be fun!

Monday, September 20, 2010

R is for Results

I have been seeing these button canvas art pieces all over the internet recently and I wanted to try and make on for my black and white wall. I purchased a canvas art piece at a local discount store with the intentions of reusing the framework, not the art it came with. Yikes! To be honest, I am not sure who the previous piece appealed to-- it was internet catch phrases (such as ttfn, lol, j/k) in 2 inch letters repeated across as 10 x10 canvas.

Anyway, to make my "R" monogrammed Button Art, I first surfed thru my vast font collection. I made the mistake of asking my boyfriend for his opinion, and was directed to a very very plain font face:Lucida Bright. Please do not get me wrong. I do love this font but it is really much more plain than I had been aiming for. Ian is not one for flourishes so this isn't really a surprising turn of events.

After picking my font, sizing it to fit properly on the canvas (in this case 8.5 inches tall), and printing it, I started into sorting my buttons. Oh! I do love buttons. I sorted my whites into 5 general size categories. From there, I put my fabric in an embroidery hoop, pinned the R printout on to the fabric directly, and started sewing buttons on directly thru the paper and fabric. I started where the R legs and belly meet on the underside for no other reason than I thought it would be good to start as center as possible.

Once the buttons are secure, cut/tear away the paper. Stretch and staple the fabric onto the canvas framework and enjoy your beautiful buttons on display.

I plan on making a smaller, lower case R in reverse colors this week. I'll be sure to take step by step pictures to flesh out this tutorial and add it to the tutorial pages on the right hand side there.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ROYGBV Awesome


I sometimes test patterns for Donna over at SmoothFox Original Crochet Patterns. This pattern is called Fox's Nonagon Blanket. I wasn't sure about testing it, honestly, as it was my first continuous blanket-- and it is a circle. Usually, I work in squares that I seam togehter, which Fox designs quite often.

As soon as I saw the pattern, I thought of two differnt color schemes. I went with the ROYGBV for two reaons-- 1. Easy to do. I was able to use colors I already had in my stash (aside from red, which I had to take a trip to Michael's to get). and 2. I wanted to make it for my friend who is pregnant, due in April. She doesn't know if she is having a boy or girl yet (too early to tell) so I didn't want to go with a gender-indicating color scheme.

Next time I make this, I think I will try to go for the gradient look. Start with a dark navy blue and end in an almost white-blue. The trick for that would be finding them all in the same yarn line/style. That can be a challenge...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Entry Hall Art, Part 2


Today I hung up a few elements that I had already prepared for the entry way. There should be a long shelf above the back rose cut out (Home Goods. You have to love Home Goods), but the weight of the shelf was too much for the nails I was using. I guess I need to install it with some screws? I have never hung shelves before so I am just not sure. I will Google it later! Google rarely fails me.

I am on the fence about the fabric circle I have going on in the lower middle section. I am going to wait until everything is hung before I make a final decision on it, of course, but as it stands now the circle just looks out of place. I do have a small canvas that could go there if I decide to change my mind.

I do love options.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Entry Hall Art, Part 1

We bought our house 2 years ago this past May. I love the house-- it was in great condition, good price and location, plus it is big enough that we have room to spare, even if we were to have an addition to the family.

One thing that has driven me crazy from the first month we moved in is our total and complete lack of art on the walls. It seriously makes me feel like I am living is a college dorm and not as a home owner.

After some creative negotiating, my boyfriend has agreed to give over to me a wall in the house. The deal was that I would keep it all black and white strictly. This is a pretty huge step for him considering he is a bit of a opinionated control freak that has a hard time identifying what he likes in a concise manner.

Exhibit A—pictured here, you see the mapped out wall of my future DIY fun. More projects to follow!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Walkin' in the Spider Webs...

I have immersed myself in Halloween fabrics... and  I have to say that it is a ton of fun.

I am working on making my squares for Aunt Pitty Pat's swap due October 18th. I chose "spiderwebs" as my theme for the project, which I think was a little adventurous of me as I didn't really have a plan when I suggested it. Here is what I have come up with so far on the left.... What do you think? I still have to add the corners in white to the web but otherwise... not super web-like, right? I thought the wonky strips would add to making them look like webs but now I am not so sure. How about you? Any quilters out there with some suggestions?

I need to make 12 of these blocks. I will be sending out my tote this weekend-- just working on my "extra surprise" for the package before it goes along its merry way. I hope my swap partner is happy! I'm pretty pleased with how everything has turned out. I am half tempted to keep it myself. Instead, maybe I'll make a Christmas one for me? Or a pink patchwork tote? That would be yummy too : )

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Umber and a Swapper-tunity

Meet Umber.

This was my first foray into brushed crochet. I am not sure I got her to be as fluffy as I wanted but all in all, I think the project turned out pretty darn cute. You can access the pattern here if you are interested. There is even a great video that explains how to brush the piece to make it hairy. I used regular old 4-ply acrylic for this little lady. Of course, Umber is in my go-to shades of pink. In case you are wondering, I think I still have at least 10 more skeins of various pink colors in my craft room. I like to have a variety and I cannot resist a sale—they simply call my name!

I started collecting shades of pink for the pink squares afghan I started making last year as part of a swap. I still haven’t finished it, mind you. At some point over the winter, I got a little bored with always having pink yarn in my bag so I decided to take a little break from it.

Which brings me to my second point—would anyone like to make and trade crochet projects with me? I would love to add more variety to my afghan by having someone else make a few pink squares for me. I would be delighted to make you whatever you wanted—squares or wrist warmers or ornaments or scarves or a puppy or anything! We can work out our own mini swap.

Let me know if you are interested!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Home Ec Lesson 5: Supplies Roll Up

In this class, we made a Supplies Roll Up, otherwise known as "Why I love my walking foot!". We covered creating sections, working with thicker material (and needle), installing an adjustable strap, and (for me at least) sewing stretchy materials.

I used a PUL fabric that is iridescent and beautiful... and also stretchy and annoying. After ripping out my 3rd seam, I realized this would be the perfect use for my walking foot. After that, it was a cake walk. All and all I would say this took me 2 hours including my mistakes so if/when I make another, I expect it to take 1-1.5 hours tops.

I also used this cute pink bunny fabric that I bought on Etsy a few months ago. I didn't realize that the pattern would end up sideways until after I had cut the fabric and hemmed the edges. I don't mind so much but now I know for future reference.
I sized this one to be for my crochet hooks and scissors as I crochet most often when I am on the go. Crochet is so transportable which is one of the reasons I love it so.

Home Ec Lesson 4: The Reuseable Grocery Bag

This project was sort of a 2 for 1 deal for me. I joined a swap that is due September 20th wherein I am exchanging Halloween themed tote bags. At the same time, the fourth lesson in class is bag making... so I altered the ideas in the lesson today to suit my needs. I'm trying not to show you the whole bag here as I want it to be a surprise for my swap-mate still.

In this class, we learned about making a larger bag, sewing fabric straps, and strong 'x' joints.I, personally, added lining to my bag and some stitching/embellishments to the front. I'm not a expert embroidery artist by any stretch of the imagination, so I kept it simple. I also decided to make the bag a patchwork of a bunch of the Halloween fabrics I recently started acquiring.

As we all know, E-Bay is a bad, dirty, dirty habit. Before I realized what I was doing I was the winner of 7 different Halloween fabric auctions. On the positive side, I ended up with a bunch of cute patterns I haven't seen in my local stores AND paid equal or less than what I would if I did find them around here.

I'll post full-shot pictures of the bag once I send it along it's merry way in the mail. That shouldn't be too long from now. I sure am glad I got it done, though. Deadlines make me cranky!

Home Ec Lesson 3: Round Bunting

Holiday weekends make for good crafting time.

Today's lesson was the round bunting. I used fabric for the fronts of the circles and felt for the backing and the letters. I did the letters free-scissor... and I think they turned out really well. Lucky for me, my nephew's name is mainly straight lines. (Please pardon the backdrop. My crafting space is slightly overrun these days.)

The skills learned were making and sewing fabric circles, using tin foil to press edges, using a pattern piece to cut fabric, and machine applique. I knew some of these techniques already but I don't mind. It really worked out to be a cute easy project.

As I was making it, all I could think about was what other clever things I can do with this idea. I could make happy birthday signs, congratulations.... all sorts of things.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Home Ec Lesson 2: The Drawsting Gift Bag

I finished lesson 2 tonight!! I made a bag to hold my presents for my sister's bridal shower that I'm still planning. Well, at least that part is done in time!

The class description says: "Instead of wrapping a gift with paper, create this pretty drawstring gift pouch that acts as a bonus gift and reusable bag! You'll learn how to create a gift pouch.. also great for business owners packaging products and making a great
impression!" Very practical-- I like the idea of using the bag for gifts. I have always been against wrapping paper because it seems like such a waste but I do like the fun and excitement of the colored coverings.

The lessons in this class covered making a bag, joining 2 fabrics, drawstring casing, square corners, strong slit. I learned more than I expected to in the second class. Now that I have completed one, I am confident I can easily adjust the bag for whatever size I want and crank one out quickly. My first one took maybe an hour total. My next, I believe, will take half that time.

I am truely glad I joined Home Ec. The Q & A with the teachers was well worth the $60 class fee, not to mention the patterns and tutorials where I am making super cute items that I have been interested in for a while. Today's lesson (if you are up to date, which I am not) was making a leather and canvas bag. Love it! We learned how to make custom fabric drawers for cubbies and using baby clothes to create stuffed animals. I'm in love.

Pumpkin Patch Crochet Along

Hop on over to the Itsy Bitsy Spider and join in the pumpkin CAL.

I am really excited to get started. Karla put an extra special twist on the project too-- At the end of the crochet-along, she going to have a contest. Bloggers will have the opportunity to nominate their favorite pumpkins for a little pumpkin patch "fashion show," and the winner will take home a mystery prize.

I am off to brainstorm on my fashion edits to the pattern. Hm... I wonder what I should do.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home Ec Lesson 1 - Cloth Napkins

I finally had a few moments to get some sewing in, thank goodness. I joined an online Home Ec class that is focused on sewing skills last month and since have had no time to ever try to get any of the assignments accomplished.

Here are double-sided Christmas napkins with ric-rac trim along the edges. I wish I had gone with a brighter color for the trim-- maybe the light green? I did pretty good with inserting the ribbon along the edge. Truly, that was the skill I was hoping to learn in this lesson.

My next lesson is making a cloth drawstring gift bag. This will teach me about making a bag with drawstring casing, which I have no experience with.

I wanted to get started on that lesson tonight but my 4 year old nephew demanded an audience for his hockey playing. I was a willing crowd, mind you, but that did limit my crafting time.

We'll see what tomorrow holds. I am supposed to be going to Hersey Park with some co-workers and my sister so sewing may be waiting until Thursday.
Either way, I am excited to learn new things.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Excited to Get Started!

I have finally squirreled away some time to start working on my Home Ec assignments
First up -- cloth napkins, a gift pouch, and (if I have time today) a tote/grocery bag

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Winged into my Life

Look what arrived this week!
I would like to you all to meet Oliver Owl. He was sent to me by Sara at Bouncing Off of Yarn Walls as a part of Itsy Bitsy Spider's Great Owl Crochet Along. See? He is a BIBLIOPHILE, like me. And check out the amazing wing detail there. Perfect!
Thanks to Sara and Itsy for a wonderful swap experience.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What WAS on my Hook- Update

My sister is a bridesmaid in her friend's wedding in November. For the bridal shower, they are planning a kitchen (red and black) theme. Its is really sweet, actually. Apparently she has always wanted a black and red kitchen-- so her girls are making sure she gets it. Cait asked me to make a red and black hot pad like the ones I had made her and my sisters earlier this year. It took a little time to find black cotton yarn but I did and... ta da! Done in one night.

I finished the Rose Purse I was crocheting last week. Now comes the tricky part-- felting. I like that the directions basically say "wash in hot water with a few other garments for friction." Something tells me it will be harder than just that. Any advice?

And I made this a while ago for a friend and co-worker and forgot to post it. Basically, I made it as a part of an inside joke so he can keep smiling while he is stressed out at work. Gene is a character, let me tell you. If you are interested in making your own Happy Poo, follow this link to the pattern.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Halloween Swaps

I just joined two swaps. If you sew or quilt-- come on over and sign up too!
Both are Halloween themed swaps (but there is an open Christmas swap going on there as well, if you are interested).
Halloween Tote Bag Swap (Due September 24th)
Halloween Block Swap (Due Oct 18th)

For the block swap, I signed up for a Spider Web focus. I was thinking Wonky Spider Webs.
I am trying to find a pattern for a block that keeps the web in the center.
Anyone seen that before?

I have some time before they are due but I like to work ahead when I can.  ^_^

Special thanks to Pam In Texas for sharing the link for these swaps-- Pretty cool!