Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Stockings for the Girls

Another Christmas project finished just in the nick of time...stockings for the girls!  I'm so glad I got these done.  They look beautiful and will last for years and years to come.  The girls were truly excited to see them.  I hadn't told them about them so it was kind of a surprise for them to wake up to yesterday morning.  Little L LOVED the personal touch on hers - penguin fabric (as do I, it's so cute!) and Little V thought the Christmas bunnies and deer, along with Santa's sleigh, on her stocking was "so cute, mommy!"  This all makes for a happy mommy!

I initially planned on using Thimble Blossoms Merry pattern (I bought the pattern last year), but I ended up using a combination of several stocking patterns that I found online and from a friend.  I couldn't decide which quilting block pattern to use so I ended up just cutting my fabric into different sized strips and sewing them together.  I like the finished look of it because you get to really appreciate each fabric.  Sometimes with those tiny cut squares you aren't able to see how cute the fabric patterns are.  I embroidered the girls names with a slip stitch on the cuff before attaching it.  The stocking and cuff have a thick batting in them, which makes the stocking super puffy.  My husband thought they would make nice warm socks! I hope the batting will help add to their longevity.

The girls are in bed now, and I too should go soon, so Santa can come and fill these beautiful stockings tonight while we are all nestled in bed on this lovely Christmas Eve!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Needle Felted Penguin

A couple of weeks ago I took a needle felting class with a friend at Needlework.  I had never needle felted before and knew very little about it, so I was excited to attend.  I LOVED it!  I actually found it addicting and had a hard time stopping!  There's something to be said about stabbing a needle repeatedly into some wool.  Very therapeutic!

We started by learning how to make a penguin, which was absolutely perfect for me, because Little L still loves penguins.  I made this adorable little penguin ornament, which will be wrapped and placed under the tree for Christmas morning, for Little L to open.

It was surprisingly pretty easy to make, and didn't take much time.  Needle felting is such a forgiving craft.  If things aren't turning out the way you had hoped, you can easily fine tune it.  I also made some little ball ornaments to hang on the tree with the girls initials on them.  I hope to make some garland with lots of little colourful felted balls for next Christmas.

While at Needlework, I couldn't help myself from buying this adorably sweet bunny fabric!  It's designed by Penguin & Fish, a new find for me.  Check out her blog, too, for some great craft ideas, including lots of embroidery stuff.  I was sold on the name of her business alone!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Advent Calendar

It's finished, and surprisingly, was on time!  I actually finished it on December 1st, but that still counts!  I LOVE how it turned out.  I think it's beautiful!  I will boast, yes, because this was a big step for me and I'm very proud of myself for diving in and pulling it all off.  

I've never quilted before, which brings with it many new skills - making the binding, attaching it, using a walking foot, working with batting, and many more new steps which involve a lot of math, cutting and careful planning.  I didn't have a pattern, either, so I was trying to figure it all out as I went along.  Thanks to the internet, though, you can pretty much figure out how to do anything!

I really enjoyed making it, especially the quilting sections.  I'm excited to do another quilted project soon!  I'm also really enjoying embroidering these days.  I think it looks so beautiful.  I thought long and hard about how to put the numbers on this calendar and I just kept coming back to embroidery.  I knew it would look the best but I was worried about how long it would take and how tedious it would be.  In the end, it wasn't that bad.  I stitched the numbers onto some cotton ribbon and then sewed it on top of the pockets before attaching them to the background (linen).  


One thing I forgot to include in my plans was a way to hang it.  This never even occurred to me until I was attaching the last side of the binding by hand.  I tried to come up with a last minute attempt but I'm not completely sold on it.  I attached 3 looped tabs under the binding to hold a piece of dowel which I then tied some ribbon to.  I wasn't happy with the way the ribbon hung and the way it pulled on the calender, so I ended up just hanging it over a nail for now.  I'll have to tweak it later.  

I had fun filling the calendars pockets with little surprises.  I tried to do a variety of things - some stickers, stamps, notepads, tiny ornaments, and of course a few chocolates.  But I also included some notes with little messages on them. They say fun things like, make a gingerbread house together, make a snow globe, bake Christmas cookies and go see the Santa Claus Parade.  The girls really like it a lot and look forward to checking the little pocket each morning.  

It was a lot of work, but I know this calendar will be around for a long time, while providing my little girls with lasting memories of all the joy that the Christmas season brings.  I look forward to pulling it out each December and filling it with special little treats for us all to enjoy together as we count down the days until Christmas.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Hoop Art

I'm alive!  

My apologies for my absence, but really, all I can say is - life is BUSY!  I got a new part time job a couple of months ago, so that now makes 4 part time jobs!  I sometimes wonder if it would be that much harder if I just worked one full time job, but I know the answer is yes, so enough of that.

With Christmas quickly approaching (1 month today!!!), I've been trying very hard to squeeze in some personal sewing projects here and there.  I managed to finish this embroidery on the weekend and I just love it.  I really need to work on my embroidery, though!  It looks like my grandma's handwriting!  I used some of Aneela Hoey's Cheery Christmas fabric, which I think is adorable!

This one was super simple.  I just cut out felt and stitched it on with a cute little red button to make some holly.

You may remember in the spring I worked on some hoop art for my front entrance way.  I used the same nails to hang my Christmas hoop art and just stashed the other hoops until the holidays are over. 
Fingers crossed I can finish the advent calendar I'm working on for the girls in time for December 1st!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Start of School and a Drawstring Backpack

It has been an emotional time lately, with the summer ending and school starting.  For the past few years the start of September has really brought nothing with it but happiness to my family.  After being a teacher for many years and dealing with the anxiety and stress that worsens each day as September approaches, I have felt incredibly free, lucky and happy to not have to deal with the worries that come with the start of a new school year.  I have enjoyed two wonderful years of that feeling, (since I decided to stay home with my girls full time) but this year, September brought with it a totally new feeling... the feeling of losing my sweet little daughter, Lily.  

Lily started Junior Kindergarten today.  I have such mixed feelings about this huge milestone in her/our life.  I feel extremely proud and excited for her to begin this new adventure, one which I know she will love.  But I also feel sad and lonely.  It's heartbreaking to think that our days will no longer be spent together.  She has been at my side for pretty much all her life.  She only spent 5 months at daycare when I went back to work after my maternity leave and before Violet was born.  Those felt like the darkest days of my life!  Since then, I have embraced every moment with her and have truly loved my time with her.  She is such a special little person who has filled my days with so much fun, love and happiness.  Sure, there have been moments when I would have been happy to have a break from her, but they were very short lived and so small on the grand scheme of things.

The upside of her starting school, and me still having time out of the classroom, is all the time ahead of me to spend alone with my younger daughter, Violet.  This will be very special time.  Time Violet never had with me.  Lily had me all to her self for two years whereas Violet has never known life without Lily.  It will be an adjustment for all of us, but with time it will be a really good thing.

As we dropped Lily off as school this morning, her teacher had left a rolled up note for each of the parents to take home and read later today.  Here's it is...

One of the amazing things about it, and our situation, is that I taught both Lily's teacher's children in kindergarten.  It's so crazy how things work out.  She wasn't even a teacher at our school then.  I taught her son in JK and SK, 8 years ago, and then her daughter in SK, 3 years ago.  She is a wonderful person and we are so thankful that she is Lily's JK teacher.

So, I had to bring some distraction to my life and I thought a sewing project would be perfect.  I decided to sew Lily a little drawstring bag the other day.  I made it for her to keep in her cubby at school to hold her spare clothes in.  It turned out great and she just loved it!  I followed this easy tutorial here.  

To all the moms out there who have a little one starting school this week, I wish you luck and send you a cyber hug!




Doesn't that look like a happy little girl who is ready to start JK!?