Monday, January 26, 2015

A Skylanders Birthday!

Big Bear turned 8 on Sunday! This year he wanted to celebrate with a Skylanders-themed party. So, of course, mama had to get her craft on!

His favorite Skylander character is Gill Grunt, so I made a poster. I started by tracing a coloring page image of Gill Grunt onto posterboard using my neighbor's nifty projector:

line drawing of Gill Grunt

Then I used acrylic paints and filled him with color:

using acrylics to paint a Gill Grunt poster

Here he is all painted up:

painting complete

Finally, I finished him up by using a Sharpie to do the lettering and outline of the image:

completed Gill Grunt poster

While the paint alone looked okay, I think the outlining gives it a nice, finished look.

There had to be a Skylanders cake:

birthday cake featuring Skylanders element symbols

The symbols on the top represent the ten elements featured in the game. I mixed and piped 11 different colors of icing, which was time consuming, but the effect was worth it. I didn't have room to actually write "Happy Birthday" on the top after doing the elements, so I just put his name and the big "8".

We played two games-- Twister and Bingo. With my husband's help, we created a Skylanders-themed bingo game for the kids to play. I found a bunch of images, sized and edited them. Then he wrote a program to create 5x5 bingo cards that would all be unique. Here's a sample:

sample bingo card

So cool!!! Then I went and had them printed out for the party.

Big Bear playing some bingo

The game was a hit!

woo! snacks!

Balloons, snacks, games, more snacks, cake, presents... it was a fun party.

Here's the birthday boy holding his Gill Grunt figure in front of his new poster.

The birthday boy posing with his Gill Grunt figure in front of a Gill Grunt poster

I just love that smile!

Happy birthday, Big Bear!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Quality crafting time

It has been a good few days, with lots of crafty goodness!

I spent some time catching up on my Sea Breeze Quilts "Chocolate Marshmallow Sampler" quilt along blocks:

blocks 7-10 of the Chocolate Marshmallow Sampler

Blocks 7-10 are now complete, and I am all caught up! Only two blocks to go in this one, I believe.

19 pillowcases packed up and ready to go

I also got all of the pillowcases washed, ironed and packaged for donation.

recent order of four cuts from Gorgeous Fabrics

And I received a fabric order from Gorgeous Fabrics. Yum!!! Remember how I said I wanted to do more garment sewing? My plan at this point: tops from the b/w stripe and the purple, a skirt from the coral stripe, and not sure about the brown. They were actually sold out of the one I originally ordered and I chose this as a replacement, but I'm not sure I like it for the cardigan I had in mind... so it might turn into a skirt. Not sure yet. The next step though is to get them pre-washed, which with long swaths of fabric that need to be air dried, is kind of a process. Hopefully I'll fit them into the laundry cycle here soon.

In addition, I've been working on some party prep for Big Bear's upcoming birthday. He's turning 8! Crazy!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pillowcase frenzy!

Woo!

picture of 19 happy pillowcases

This week I cut and sewed up 19 pillowcases for donation to ConKerr Cancer. I'm feeling good! It is a great cause, there was some solid stash reduction (20+ yards!), and I feel like I accomplished something. All that is left to do is wash, iron and package them up in quart-size ziploc bags so they're good to go before I take them to the next quilt guild meeting for donation.

I also got that baby quilt all done excepting the label which I can't do until baby's name is announced. But it is prettily folded up and ready to go-- so I'll be ready when baby arrives.

Now to decide what to work on next...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Last week in the quilt mines...

Since my last post, I have made progress on my latest project:

Crazy for Baby basted and ready for quilting!

One baby quilt pieced and basted! The recipient is due at the beginning of February, so hopefully there will be a finished quilt to share soon.

Lately, I have found myself exploring the world of podcasts as I craft. One of my favorites is the Hip to Be a Square Podcast. I like it because I feel as if she is a kindred spirit-- I just dig the same kind of stuff she does. In her most recent entry (Episode 210), she talks about busting some stash by making pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer, and I came away inspired. I totally need to do some of that! So I've started gathering fabrics out of the stash and matching them together. Maybe I'll even get some assembled. Woo!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015!

Woo! Another year. But before I jump into that, I want to take a second to remember 2014:

Crafty-Musings 2014 completed projects collage... woo!

I hesitated to make a collage initially, but I am glad I did. It was a rather productive year for me-- and seeing it laid out like this makes me feel pretty proud. There is some good stuff on there! It also reminds me of a couple of things. Like the quilts that aren't on there but that were so close-- one just needing a label; one with a nearly completed binding. I gotta get those finished! And then: I want to make more clothes! My sewing projects this year were really good ones and I learned a lot. I love wearing me-made things, and I need more!

Looking back to my 2014 goals:
  • Use more fabric than I buy.-- Woot! This is a win. And an improvement over last year:

    • Fabric In: 64.417 yards
    • Fabric Used: 94.292 yards

    • Finish at least 2 UFOs.-- My "Harrington & Hannah" quilt is one; and I'm considering using up the roll o' fabric from 2009 a big UFO win as well. Unfortunately, the one project I listed by name, "Bargello Reflections", did not get completed. But technically, I did meet the goal!
    • Finish at least 1 kit quilt.-- Yes! "Vehicles Vroom" is one I consider a kit quilt.
    • Blog once a week.-- Alas. Not so much. But I did manage to blog at least once a month. There's definitely room for improvement here.
    • Lose that last 5 pounds.-- LOL! Not so much here either. I made a conscious decision back in February that for my 40th birthday, I was gonna eat and enjoy it. And I totally did! And it was awesome! And then I couldn't stop. Doh! So I've gained. Not so much that I can't fit in my clothes. But enough so that some of them are not very comfortable at this point.
    My goals for 2015:
    • Use more fabric than I buy.-- Yep. It's good goal, and I'm sticking with it!
    • Finish at least 2 UFOs, including my Bargello Reflections quilt.-- I'm getting hard core here, putting a specific project in the goal.
    • Finish the recent WIPs pile.-- This includes:

      • A little kit quilt that is basted and ready for quilting;
      • An Edyta Sitar wallhanging that is basted and ready for quilting;
      • My Fall 2013 mystery quilt that is ready for basting;
      • My nine-patch quilt that is also ready and waiting for basting.

      Yikes. I'm already kind of feeling overwhelmed by the quilting required here. Hopefully the little baby quilt I just started will kick me into quilting mode and help me get these finished.
    • Complete the 26 Books in 2015 challenge.-- When I saw this challenge, it really spoke to me. I read a fair amount, and love doing it, but I often find myself getting stuck in a rut. I like the idea of pushing myself a bit out of my comfort zone and trying some new book-choosing strategies.
    • Get back on the self-care/fitness train.-- This is going to take some conscious effort. At 3:30 today, January 1, I weigh 175 pounds. Losing 20 would put me back where I was at the beginning of 2014. It seems like a reasonable goal. And I want to feel fit again and comfy in my clothes.
    I think I'm setting a high bar for myself here. But I'm feeling it. It's going to be a good year.

    Happy New Year!!!

    Tuesday, December 30, 2014

    Getting ready for a new year

    Yesterday, I started on something new. I am thinking of it as a kick-starting project to lead me into the new year. I've got it all cut and have started sewing up half-square triangles like a madwoman!

    Crazy for Baby, piecing in progress pic

    Pretty pinks, yellows, and oranges in a Me & My Sister Designs pattern from their book, Crazy for Baby.

    book cover, Crazy for Baby

    It should be a happy little quilt!

    Monday, December 29, 2014

    Holiday gifting

    I hope you have been having a happy holiday season! It has been a crazy couple of weeks here. How do the holidays manage to slip by so quickly??? I haven't done a lot of crafting lately, but I did manage a couple of things.

    Noodlehead Gathered Clutch teacher gift:

    Noodlehead Gathered Clutch, aqua edition

    Love this pattern!

    And another:

    Noodlehead Gathered Clutch, clock edition

    I can't seem to stop making them.

    Emmeline Apron hostess gift:

    Emmeline Apron, holiday version collage

    Having recently made one of these, this one went together very quickly (even the hand-stitching part!). My only complaint this time around has to do with the fabrics. I initially bought some American Made Brand solid in brick for the accent (straps, ties, etc.). But when I went to prewash it, there was bleeding. So I washed again. And again. After the fifth time (and it was still bleeding), I decided to go get some Kona. I've never had a problem with Kona solids bleeding, but sure enough-- when I went to prewash the Kona burgundy, it bled. And bled. And so on. Gah!

    Finally, I took the time to do a little research and learned about Retayne. It is a wash additive that works to set colors and prevent bleeding. I ran to my LQS and picked up a small bottle. I used a couple of teaspoons in a load with both fabrics. After a dry cycle, I washed them both again with just a little detergent. The color catcher came out white. It worked!!!! This stuff is chemical magic! Suffice to say-- after the bleeding stopped, the project went very smoothly. And my friend loved it!

    Iron-on transfer sweatshirt:

    Big Bear wearing his new Rogue Legacy sweatshirt

    Big Bear's favorite video game of late is Rogue Legacy. It is an indie game made by a small company. Unfortunately, because they are so small, they don't sell any cool game-related swag. So I created my own and gave it to my son for Christmas. I purchased a plain navy sweatshirt (it was a 50/50 poly/cotton blend), and then used Avery Dark Fabric Iron-On Transfer Sheets to print out the game title logo. I just followed the instructions with the sheets, and it worked great! My only complaint is that the colors in the transfer definitely dimmed and yellowed a bit in the ironing process. But it still looks okay. And he LOVES it. He has been wearing his new sweatshirt every day. Yay!!!

    In addition to the above, I also gave my boys new pillowcases and gifted the "Serenitea Quilt" to my mother-in-law.

    The projects were all pretty low-stress (excepting the apron... bleeding fabric stresses me out) and I gave myself plenty of time to get them finished (excepting the apron... finished a couple of hours before the event). (Of course, what kind of holiday would it be if there was no stressed-out crafting going on???) Overall, it was a good season for crafty gift giving!