Friday, December 24, 2010

Gifts for my girls

Here's the round-up of handmade gifts I put together for my four nieces. (You remember Barbie's new clothes and the patchwork bags I showed in previous posts.)
 This is a doll I made using polar fleece (even for her hair!) for my 2 year niece.
This was such an easy doll to make and she's so soft!  I love that her shoes are made from a felted sweater and there is tiny ric rac details on her dress.
 Here's a simple and soft doll for my youngest niece (only 4 months old).  I imagine this doll will see her through teething troubles - don't those hands look about right to chew on? ;o)
Next up is my attempt at making a cat for one of my older nieces.  Using supplies I had on hand, it went well until I began working on its face.  Try as I might, I just couldn't get the expression of a cat.  After restitching the mouth a couple of times and clipping the fake fur around the muzzle, I decided to just let it be.
Despite not being satisfied with the job I did on the cat's face,I do like the pattern I used because it really captured the way a cat's body looks.   Hopefully, my niece won't be as critical, and will like  love what I've made! lol
The craft factory has finished up the gift making marathon for this season (whew! just in time).  Now, I'm looking forward to giving these gifts and spending time with my loved ones.

Wishing you all a joyful holiday season! 
PS...I'll be back here in a few days.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fueled by chocolate

Mmmm... I love good chocolate and like to joke that it fuels my creativity (sounds like the best way to rationalize having more, right? ;o).   A few posts ago I happened to mention I had all I needed to be creative EXCEPT some chocolate.   Guess what?  My generous friend, (and self admitted fellow chocolate lover), Brenda, took it upon herself to send me some extraordinary chocolate.
 Such pretty packaging too!
 Little did I know that the chocolates inside that blue box would taste so divine.  They were truly beyond compare.  Yum!   Sweet Brenda also included a Battenburg lace stocking filled with chocolate, but words that she wrote were the kindest gifts of all.  Thank you, Brenda, I'm savouring it all.
 That chocolate seems to have done the trick.  I have all three of my machines whirring away with gift making.  Along with some doll clothes, doll making, stuffie making and bag making;  I'm whipping up some pjama pants.  This eleventh hour burst of creativity must be due to that fabulous chocolate! ;o)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pair of Patchwork Pouches

I had so much fun making the first pouch for Brenda, that I decided to  sew up a couple more for gifts.  These are for two of my nieces.

 I'm loving the saturated colours of these fabrics.  "Shopping" in my stash can be so much fun. ;o)
 I'm wondering what treasures my nieces will store in them....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Birds of a fabric feather

 Here's the handmade gift I gave you a glimpse of a couple of days ago.  It has safely found its way to my lovely friend, Brenda.

 I find such pleasure making gifts for others and this was no exception.  Brenda has been so generous with her feedback on my handmade projects. Always enthusiastic and complimentary, making me smile with each of her comments.  She is a gifted wordsmith and has an uplifting persona (go visit her blog to read what I mean), with an eye for my bright fabric combinations.  That's why it was so fun to grab some of those bright fabrics to make a little something just for her.
 Knowing the Brenda receives pleasure from the feathered friends she feeds, little bird appliques seemed the right touch to add to this little zip pouch for her.

Nothing makes me happier than being able to express myself with a handmade gift.   What reasons motivate you to make or give a handmade gift?

Friday, December 17, 2010

I want to show you more,

but I can't.   Not just yet,  but I will soon.
This gift is on its way to a lovely friend.  It should arrive on her doorstep today.  Meanwhile, I'm off to work on some other gifts and some holiday baking.  What are you working on today?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

High Fashion on a small scale is not for the faint hearted.

 I've been stitching up some glitzy Barbie clothes to give to one of my nieces this Christmas.  Pretty tricky stuff too, when you're working with specialty fabrics like lame, organza, velvet and jacquard satin on such a small scale ( 1/4" seams!).  Barbie has a new dress made from white satin which I overlaid with gold embossed organza.
I think my niece will like the sparkly stars and the fairy tale quality of this creation,

 especially since I made a purple velvet cape that is lined with gold lame to make the outfit.  I went to the work of lining both the dress and the cape with the thought that the clothes will last longer.  I remember becoming frustrated as a child when Barbie's store bought clothes fell apart at the seams so quickly, so when I sew her clothes, I try to keep that from happening.   You can imagine the challenges this can present because of the scale of the garments.  My mom won't sew doll clothes.  She didn't make them for me or my sister's dolls, when we were growing up and she says she isn't about to for her granddaughters, either.  She calls this kind of sewing "too fiddly" and she can't believe I bother with it.

 I actually enjoy it, maybe because I know how much I wanted to be able to sew clothes like this for my dolls when I was little.  My Barbie didn't get to wear lame or velvet (mom's scrap bin didn't see the likes of such high end fabrics), instead I made clothes from more humble threads.  My Barbie had her clothes made from corduroy, flannel, poly/cottons and T-shirt knits - with the odd double knit fashioned ensemble (poor Barbie!).  My niece's Barbie will certainly be better dressed.

Here's an indication of just how caught up in Barbie clothes making I got....

Yes, that's fun fur on my cutting mat.  What a mess!  I really didn't think this idea through.  I now have furry bits of fluff all over the place. lol

Barbie looks cozy in her new fur jacket though, and I'm sure my niece will be glad to add this to her doll's wardrobe.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Where's my chocolate?

I have all the makings for some creative time with my machine.  New and fun fabric (which was on sale),

and some long awaited "chick flicks" from the library.  (How odd is it to be on hold for months waiting and then have all three titles become available to me on the same day?)

Really, all that's missing now, is some good quality dark chocolate.  Everyone knows how extra creative good chocolate can make you. ;o)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Checkerboard Journal Cover

This is a gift for a sweet girl I know.  While visiting me, she spotted an abandoned attempt I had made at making a game board using some lively Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  She was ecstatic about the combination and was curious what my intentions were with it.  A month later, upon seeing the patchwork journal cover I made for her mom, we came up with the idea to fashion a journal cover of her own, using that bright checkerboard combination.  Here's a close up of the finished result (I decided to add a trio of fabric flowers complete with seed bead centers to adorn the front of the cover - look close, they're hard to see!).
I had just enough fabric, using fat eighths, to make the front in 1" checkerboard and then found some pretty pencils in the same colourway!
Straight line quilting seemed the best choice with such powerful fabrics.  The variegated thread and "broken glass" quilting design show up best on the solid coloured fabric that forms the back of the journal cover.

I can only imagine what wonderful thoughts and dreams she will fill the pages with.  Happy journalling, Miss Z!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sitting on quilts

I'm excited to share with you the project that used up most of these scrappy red blocks....

Those blocks were used to transform my kitchen chairs from this...
to this....
Each chair used four complete bento box blocks.
I stipple quilted the blocks to a backing fabric and then they were layered over the existing fabric on the chairs.  Prudence determined that a top layer of clear vinyl would ensure that the new covers would wear a little longer.
My husband did the upholstery work for me and I'm feeling spoiled. 
I almost don't want to keep the chairs pushed in under the table anymore.  I'm just so happy with how they turned out.
Upon seeing the newly recovered chairs, my son declared, "Now we'll be sitting on quilts!"
(or stretching out on them as the case may be ;o)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting carried away

making scrappy blocks.  I can't stop.  I cut some pieces, stitch them up and find myself cutting and stitching again
and again...
so that before I realize it, a few blocks

 turns into this....
 It's like magic.
 I really can get carried away when it comes to trying out ideas with my scraps.
Crazy, because I'm not even making a quilt with all these blocks.  Any guesses as to what I might be making???
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