Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Angel

Phew! Christmas is done! What a fun, exciting holiday, but I have to say the day after was the most enjoyably relaxing for me. Waking up and thinking that there was nothing that I "had" to do was a pretty good feeling. With all these kids, the holidays start about 3 weeks before Halloween and don't stop until now. I love it, don't get me wrong. There were so many things I wanted to do, but just didn't get to. Maybe next year, or some other year. You don't have to do every holiday "tradition" every year, some traditions will have to be rotated.
I didn't make a lot of Christmas presents this year, but I knocked myself out on the few that I did make. For my parents I made this angel. Dolls are so much fun. When I started getting close to finishing her I realized that I would have to put her in the mail and send her away. How sad! She might get cold, or worse, lost! So I prolonged my stay with her for as long as possible by making her a little doll quilt to keep her warm. All the material I used for her I had on hand from other projects.

I used white linen for her dress that was left over from a dress I made for the girls this last summer. I did a quick little embroidery around the hem with a herringbone stitch and some french knots. It looked so pretty that I wanted to keep doing more embroidery on the dress, but sometimes less is more. The buttons are actually beads sewn down to conceal snaps.

I considered some different face ideas, but I decided to go with an embroidered face like I used on these dolls. Those dolls have become such familiar part of our everyday life, that I thought it would be nice for my mom and dad to have a doll so similar. The hair is done with yarn sewn down to the head. I must say, I think I do a really good job with hair. I don't know how other people do it, so I've figured out a way on my own and it looks great. If anyone is interested I could do a step by step explanation sometime. Let me know.

The wings were made from silk left over from a Halloween costume. I have made wings so many times, but I always spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to do them. For these, I wanted them to have a feathery look, but real feathers weren't right. I used some funky, furry, feathery-like yarn and crocheted a long strip. I made a sandwich that went silk-feather strip-silk-batting. I sewed them together, leaving a small opening, and then turned batting to the inside. Again, less is more, and I decided to not try and quilt feather patterns on the wings.

The quilt is made from more of the white linen and some vintage fabric that might be feedsack, but I'm not sure. I embroidered a small heart in each white square to quilt it. It looks super cute all together with the doll. Sort of Christmasy, but hopefully not so much that she can't be enjoyed at other times of the year.

I worked on another Christmas gift all month, but it is still not done. A quilt for Jim. It still needs to be quilted. I need to go in and clean up the living room with all it's wrapping paper, boxes and presents everywhere and turn the room back into my sewing room.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm an idiot

My only excuse is that I've been really, really tired. That is still totally lame and this is something that will keep coming back and bothering me. I left Maria's name off of our Christmas cards. How stupid is that? Very! And embarrassing too. As if Maria could ever be forgotten. I was so impressed with myself for even getting the cards done. Thinking I had everything under control. I suppose it comes as little surprise to anyone who reads this blog that I have very poor proofreading skills. But really now it's like I've just sent out this card to everyone I know making it perfectly clear that I'm an idiot. So I'm hiding the cards from Maria because I can't bear to think of how she might feel if she sees one without her name on it. It could make a five-year-old girl feel pretty bad I think. If anyone would like to share an embarrassing story, I would love the company.

I've got some really great crafty things to put up soon, but they're not ready yet. I'm also thinking of doing a little recap of the year from a family perspective sometime after Christmas. I think this blog, over time, will make a nice record of some of the things that go on in our lives. I really want to do a better job of keeping up to date with the posts. As I look back over them I see some holes that I would like to fill in. So I think a recap might be nice. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's not always easy.

I've been struggling with my crafting lately. Probably why I haven't been inspired to post much. First it was this quilt I'm working on for Maria. I need to learn that if I am not going to follow patterns, then I need to deal when I'm not happy with the outcome. So far the pattern, or lack of, is looking bad. We have 16 windows in our house that look like this. They are beautiful old wavy glass windows and I love the "on point" diamond. So unique. I thought it would be great to make a quilt that kinda reflects that design. I like that it would add a layer of meaning to the pattern choice. All I see when I look at it, though, are Y seams that would be hard to sew on my sewing machine. Then I thought I could break up that middle diamond into 4 triangles sewn to the corner of 4 squares. I think the general idea is maybe ok, but the fabrics don't pull it off. Solids would work much better, maybe. So, I'm a little stuck and am trying to sew my way out.

I needed a quick project. I decided my big headed baby girl needed a new hat because it is getting cold. I wanted to knit. Could I crochet a hat very quickly? Yes, but I wanted a knit hat. Could I find free patterns online for knit hats? Yes, but I wanted to create my own idea. So I stormed ahead without a clue what I was doing. I pulled out many attempts for many reasons. Here is one try where I thought that this shape would make a bonnet if I sewed those seams together. Well it didn't.
Finally I got my head around how to do the back. Decreases. Duh! It still didn't fit because her head is so big, so I add more around the bottom and made the I-cord for a tie under her chin.
Finally it fits!
I know it may sound like I'm complaining as I work through my thought process. I usually don't tackle my projects because they are easy. I want and enjoy the challenge of trying to do things my own way.

Tess is not feeling well right now and we are not getting any sleep. I feel so tired all the time. It makes it hard to stay focused on what I need to be doing to get ready for Christmas. I feel all guilty that so many people are making so many of their gifts. I just can't do it. I can't even think of gifts I want to buy. My brain is mush.