How’d The Ugly Sweaters Turn Out?

Dec. 2014 Group 2 414Like dresses for the most part.  But we did end up with a couple legitimate sweaters. I didn’t go all out and nothing lights up, so my best friend’s is still my favorite. (She had twinkling stars poking out from holes all around her sweater. She’s so stinking creative.) We didn’t win any best sweater awards at church, but they were fun to wear and pretty fun to make.

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 This dress was just so adorable the way it was. Both of my girls wanted to keep it for every day wear. Neither of their names start with a C.

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So I admit, I  kind of threw the dresses together at the last minute. I ran out of steam a bit after the sweaters, but the girls enjoyed them. They both had jingle bells on them, so it was a pretty loud church service. Fun.
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Mine was pretty silly. It wasn’t as extravagant as I was gonna go for, but I just couldn’t resist this cute ugly puppy! I did manage to add really big jingle bells to my right shoulder so I could do a little festive shoulder jig every few minutes to make sure everyone at the party was still awake and merry.
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This is the hubby! That’s the nicest thing I can think to call him since he often calls me his “ole lady.” Flattering. I’m still proud of our Goodwill crochet score. I’m extra super proud that there are jingle bells in each of those wreaths. I totally made him jiggle for everyone who complimented his sweater. The man can shimmy.IMG_2031Dec. 2014 Group 2 421

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I feel like I have a lot of explaining to do about this picture. I didn’t get any pictures of myself in the hat and the sweater together, but this is the magnificent hat I found to go with. I think I may wear it throughout the year when I have diva moments. Try arguing with a woman in that hat!

Merry Christmas, guys!!!!

Holiday Scarves

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Here’s my new reason for loving crochet: It makes excellent gifts! Here’s my suggestion for the holidays: Pick one design that you like, perfect it, and duplicate it in a bunch of colors so you can hand them out to everyone and the next year pick another item. This means you don’t lose track of who got mittens and who got scarves already, and you get the benefit of quick chain-style production and not having to switch gears between each gift. The real beauty of this manner of DIY gift giving is that it’s newbie-friendly. I JUST learned to crochet. I can only make a few things. This is the second type of scarf I made and I loved it, so I decided that’s what everyone would get. I don’t have to worry about learning how to make a ton of items right away. Next year I think I’ll work on those ear warmer head wraps. And maybe the year after that I’ll attempt mittens. Who knows? Maybe by year 4 or 5 I’ll learn how to send out Christmas cards instead of just buying them and addressing half and leaving them on my table until it’s too late to possibly send out. Maybe this blog just became fictional.

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These are the two scarves my daughters are giving to their teachers this year, and I must say I think it’s a good gift. They probably have more plaques and tree ornaments with rulers and apples than they can stand. I used the thick yarn and my blue plastic jumbo hook, which I love! If you want to take up crochet and have very little patience, I suggest starting with those two items. And a double crochet. It goes pretty quick that way.

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For the scarves, I chose the infinity style, obviously, because they are so popular and snuggly and cozy and everybody’s happier when their neck is warm. I used the double crochet and made them ribbed by only putting the crochets into the back part of each loop. (Can you tell I don’t really know all the terminology yet?) I will probably do a step by step picture tutorial at some point. If anyone is dying to see that soon, however, I would make that tutorial sooner if you told me to do it in what? Your handy dandy comment section, of course! (Can you also tell I’m really vying for your feedback?)IMG_1976

Here they are all wrapped up. And by wrapped up I mean jammed into a bag and topped with tissue paper because mama hates to wrap. Is it just me or does that cardinal look a bit nefarious?IMG_1974

The Moral of The Story?

Find something you want to learn how to do and dig in. Look at blog tutorials. Look at Youtube.  Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to learn everything at once. Work on making one killer item and be proud of it.  

Then, mass-produce it and stuff it down all of your friends’ and relatives’ metaphorical throats for the Holiday Season!

 

Comment Section:  Do you give DIY gifts? Which are you favorites? Which ones are well-received? Which ones bombed?

Ugly Christmas Sweater Haul

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I have avoided it for so long, but this year I find myself not only going to my friend’s Ugly Sweater party, but also roped into making ugly sweaters for my whole family since my church is having an ugly sweater party next Sunday. I really didn’t think my daughters would want to participate, so by the time they told me they wanted one, Goodwill was all sold out of Christmas sweaters, and I couldn’t find two regular kids sweaters to use, either. So they’ll be wearing ugly Christmas dresses, which I think may be better, anyway.

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The base for a nice crazy-lady hat. I have some jingle bells…I’m gonna explore my options there.

 

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 This is everything from my first trip. Enough for hodge-podge sweaters for myself and my husband.

IMG_1782-0.JPGThis was hands-down my most spectacular find. And yes, those are jingle bells in each wreath!

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I so wanted to find something absolutely hideous since I pre-bragged to my friend about how I would have the ugliest sweater, but I saw this little guy and he made me crack up everytime I looked at him, so he’s what I’m going with. I’ll throw an Santa hat on him and some ridulous trimmings and hope no one pets me!IMG_1783-0

This should work to sew onto something. It’s not quite ugly enough to stand alone, but the store was pretty picked over and i can always just sew on a whole bunch of additional tacky stuff.

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Future ugly dress #1. And the dress both my girls are fighting to wear. Such is the life of twins, I guess.

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Future ugly dress #2. The buttons are on the front of this jumper. I think this should win the ugly contest as is.

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This was the only decent Christmas shirt left once I went back for my daughter’s stuff. He’s not ugly, he’s just as jolly as can be, so I’ll have to get creative and see what I can do with him.

Well, guys, wish me luck! 

P.S. I’d really like to get to know you guys more, and that’s what the comment section is for. So tell me, how do you feel about the ugly sweater craze? Is it too much? Ridiculous? Love it? Hate it because you keep winning the ugliest sweater prize unintentionally? Let me know!

A Time of Transition (Or, Like a Week Past When I Should Have Transitioned)

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Break out the fine China…and Charlie Brown, of course…Christmas is on it’s way!!!! 

I love Christmastime! (Is that an actual compound word? I didn’t think it was, but spell check didn’t yell at me, so I’m sticking with it!)  I’m a believer in Christ, so, of course it’s extra special for that reason. (Happy Birthday, Jesus!) But, admittedly, what really jazzes me up is the thought of 50’s Christmas music. I look forward all year to the time when I can sing “Rockin Around The Christmas Tree” and not be stared at. Notice I didn’t say I look forward to being able to sing it. Nothing stops me from singing it… What? Summer’s supposed to mean I can’t be jolly? Um, NAY!

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And what is Thanksgiving really all about if not for breaking out your Christmas Pretties and listening to Run, Run, Rudolph? Sadly, that didn’t happen this year. We didn’t even get around to getting out the Christmas stuff the weekend after Thanksgiving. Tragic, I know. My house has been completely void of cheer for entirely too long, so I did the most I could do without getting the third degree from my fam for not waiting for them. I swapped out the table runner and place mats. (And that’s only because I can spin it like it’s a chore. If I take any flack, my retort’s gonna be “okay, well, you can set the table for the next few months to make up for it.” -Evil laugh-)

 

The Stages of Progressing Merriment at My House:

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These were the first of the Christmas Trappings at our house. And who can blame us? They’re so darn delicious!

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My fall table set up has had Santa’s advent calendar on it for a couple days. Hey, it was a start. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I can’t be expected to change out my table decor in one fell swoop. Well, actually, now that it’s in print it sounds fairly reasonable.

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A little closer up- for possibly no reason at all other than I went Pic Happy today.

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Did Santa look more in place with the fall stuff? Maybe he’s a closet October guy.

 

I made these mug rugs last year and the table runner the year before. 

 

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The Mug Rugs (Or The Melba Toast of Place Mats, If You Will)

Below are like 47 pictures of them because I measure pride in a project based on time to completion, so I’m super duper proud of these babies! They’re actually really easy, and probably pretty quick to make if you’re an experienced quilter, which I’m not. (And if you’re new to it, you wouldn’t believe how much fabric can stretch when you’re quilting straight lines on the bias, like I did with these. Geesh!)

I used a tutorial for the cutest Christmas mug rugs I could find and it was a bonus that it happened to be an easy design. I gravitate toward modern quilting designs- and loud colors…Have you seen the pictures with my walls in the background? My house has periwinkle, orange, green and yellow walls- and that’s just downstairs. The colors this blogger had used were what pulled me into the design. I got my fabric at ConnectingThreads.com. I love that site. I got the pattern for the table runner there, too.

You can find her tutorial here: http://www.pleasant-home.com/2010/11/scrappy-tree-mug-rugs.html

 

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The straight stitch quilting really compliments this design. And it’s easy, minus the stretching of the fabric around the Christmas tree.

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On the first one I made, I sewed little curly Q swirls in the two horizontal lines. I decided I liked the negative space better and left the other ones open. I made a set of 6, but it’s not super noticeable- not enough, at least, to try to take the stitching out.

 

The Table Runner:

 

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Pattern from Connecting Threads

Here are some close ups of the table runner. I tried to use different free motion stitches on this project. It was my first quilting project ever, so I bought an actual pattern kit with the fabric and directions to make things a little simpler.

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 This bow makes me happy. It’s certainly not perfect, but I love the medium of free-motioin.

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These strips of fabric are zig-zag stitched on. It’s actually a prettytreatment.

IMG_1587Star- kind of a hot mess, but in a good way, like my hair. (I hope.)

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Ah, my novice meander/stippling stitch. We all gotta start somewhere, right?

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Okay, so this was really fun to do! Doing the pebbling stitch is just delightful. I tried to make a strand of Christmas lights on the strips of bias tape here. It’s kind of a jumbled mess, but I’m actually happy with it. (I’m managing to keep the perfectionist in me quiet. I have to bribe her with shoes.)

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I love the colors in this collection. I didn’t want just red and green. Now these can match our mostly purple, pink, and lime green Christmas tree ornaments, which were mostly picked out by my husband, by the way. And that’s why I love him!IMG_1582

So it’s not perfect, but at the end of the day, it’s almost Christmas and who can be unhappy surrounded by colors like this?

 

The Moral of The Story?

You should always, always, always greet each holiday with it’s respective Charlie Brown special! This is critical.

And if you’re a procrasti-quilter like me, I recommend buying holiday fabric. Hey, it’s gonna come back around, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Very Pinterest Christmas

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   Pick one project. Stick to it until it’s finished. Pick another project. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? So why is it such a hard concept to master? While looking at Pinterest and adding pictures to my “Make for Christmas” board, I though to myself “Am I actually going to make all of these gifts?” I decided that I am. Or at least I’ll make several. Heck, a few would be better than any other year! I invited all my facebook friends over for a weekly DIY Christmas gift party. Two came. Hey, it’s a start, right?

I had a blast!!! Well, I may have talked more than I crafted, but it really inspired me to be around people doing their own projects. One of my friends was making a picture frame with her niece’s initials inside for her bedroom wall, and the other was working on a quilt made from her daughter’s old clothes. I went for a set of wrapped bangle bracelets.

The pin I found was originally from:    http://best-diy-ideas.blogspot.co.at/2014/01/how-to-make-summer-bracelet.html

 

The project required:

Bangle Bracelets

Embroidery Floss

E6000 Jewelry Glue

Charms

Jewelry making Rings

(All of which I found economically at Walmart!)

 

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The wrapping process is mesmerizing and addicting. (And a lot easier than I thought it would be. Just squeeze a bead of glue in the inside about 3/4 of an inch long and wrap until you come to the end of it.) This step did require that I put the embroidery thread on a cardboard spool. . . These would have been a hot mess without doing that!

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The Complete Set of 5photo 4photo 1.
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photo 4. photo 5 photo 5. photo (4) ..

Tied with a Bow for Presentationphoto (5)..

 

The project was easy and SO much fun!!! I absolutely LOVE wrapping things in string.  : ) One Christmas present down!

The moral of the story?

Finished is better than perfect! So don’t switch projects when they get tough or boring. And when in doubt, wrap stuff in sting!