Handmade is a movement not a trend

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and the best is yet to come: New Year's - my favorite!

I have a little crafty opinion to share...Last week the New York Times published an article about The Recession and crafting revealing that despite downturns in major retail markets, crafting businesses from Michaels to Etsy to indie crafters are actually getting a boost. 'Bout time is all I have to say! Although I do think the article is a little too assuming that handmade and cheap go hand in hand - a thought that many of the readers shared as well. It's a common misconception. Just because the materials at first glance seem cheaper than buying a designer version of a product, doesn't mean you can't find something much, much cheaper at somewhere else like Wal-Mart, Target, Macy's or even Nordstrom. Then on top of materials, if you buy handmade you are also paying for the artists time - and that ain't and shouldn't be free!

I think (hope) that more and more people are buying handmade and local goods because they are wanting to get out of the loop of mass consumerism. I've noticed people are more interested in supporting their neighbors and community than purchasing the latest facotry-made, single-serving, pointless, clutter-increasing do-dads. There's an increasing desire - a shift - to support those mom-and-pop shops that have been on the decline for so long. People are finally realizing that they feel better when buying 1 or 2 things from their neighbor than buying 10 things from the big-box store.
It's similar to the Locavore movement (which I also love...).

At any rate...have a wonderful New Year! I will be back on the blog next week!

Some of my holiday goodies

Wanted to share some of my Christmas gifts with you. These are just my crocheted projects...I forgot to take pictures of the projects I sewed for my dad and my friends! Oh well next year. The patterns are from all over the web, my new favorite website and my favorite crochet book The Happy Hooker. If you have any questions about where to find any of them, just leave me a message.



Ornament Swap Photos

Here are the photos of the ornaments I received from Cake & Pie's Holiday Ornament Swap on Swap-bot.



Ornaments made by (in order):
Chelsea
Maitreya at craftlog.org
Wild Child Designs
Adrianne
Marlo at imakecutestuff.etsy.com
Karley at shesewslovely.ca
mrspolanco
And me!


Beaded Icicle ornament tutorial

Here are the steps to create a simple icicle ornament for your tanenbaum. I recently mailed these ornaments out to various corners of the U.S. and England and Switzerland as part of Cake & Pie's Holiday Ornament Swap on Swap-bot. If you've never done a swap, there are many fun ones on Swap-bot and I'm thinking of doing a sock exchange next month...

To create a beaded icicle ornament you will need:

-Variety of "ice" looking beads in various sizes (about 10-15 beads per icicle)
-Six-strand embroidery floss
-Tapestry needle
-Hot glue gun

Arrange your beads into an icicle-ish formation
Cut a strand of floss about 12 inches in length
Thread your tapestry needle and start stringing your beads beginning with the bottom bead of your icicle
When you get to the last bead, make a loop and then start stringing the beads again in the opposite direction
When you get to the end, tie a knot and trim the extra floss
Tie a knot using your loop to secure the top bead as well
Add a dab of hot glue to secure your knots

Hang on your tree!

Trim that tree

Can you believe it? Wasn't it just Thanksgiving and now there are only 17 days left until Christmas..

We just got our tree this weekend, a nice little 5-foot Noble. Every year, I like to add a new ornament or two. This year I will have 10 ornaments coming from the fun Swap-bot ornament exchange. I already have a few and I'll share some photos soon. ***Update - Click here for swap photos.***

In the meantime, I've been eyeing some classic crochet snowflakes from mypicot.




Or Etsy has an entire post of their
favorite handmade ornaments to buy: check it out here. This one is my favorite from The Cupcake Girls.


Almost finished Advent calendar + one more







I worked on my
Advent calendar this weekend, CraftStylish's Button Advent Calendar.

I'm still looking for the perfect tree topper and you won't see it's full splendor until Christmas...

Basically, you take a styrofoam cone, cover it with felt or fabric, glue flathead tacks to buttons (the "ornaments" you get to add daily) and voila! I also used a little fake cobweb left over from Halloween to create a snow effect.

And there's still time! Here's one more more Advent Calendar project to try:
Design*Sponge Advent Envelope Garland

Happy Hour: lovely lemon drop

Start off your next ladies night with a lemon drop. Why? It tastes like candy. You can drink it martini-style or go all hardcore and drink as a shot.



Martini-style version (as seen in image):
1/2 oz lemon-flavored vodka (like Absolute Citron)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Ice
Simple syrup (aka sugar water)

In a martini shaker, muddle 3 ice cubes and 2-3 slices of lemon (to get the juice). Fill the glass with ice, add lemon-flavored vodka (like Absolut Citron) and a dash of simple syrup. Shake Shake Shake Señora.

Add sugar to the rim of your martini glass: rub the edge of the martini glass with a lemon wedge, and flip glass upside down into a pile of sugar.

Strain and pour the liquid goodness from your shaker into your martini glass.

Countdown: 35 days! Time to make an Advent calendar

Oh my! Only 35 days until Christmas. Are you ready? I'm not. It's okay to be honest.

Even more pressing though...Advent begins on November 30th. Yes, that's in 10 days. I have big plans to finish my Advent calendar this weekend because next week is Thanksgiving with it's own business to take care of. But which one will it be? It's too hard to pick just one of these creative tutorials:

The most elegant Advent calendar ever from The Red Thread. Complete with birdies!









Über-colorful Magnet Advent Calendar from Dollar Store Crafts.








Pocket Advent Calendar from my little mochi (uses Dentyne packs!).





Button Advent Calendar from Craftstylish.







Oh yes..and one more. For your iPhone! :)

Handmade hat roundup

It's getting colder. Yay! That means hats and hoodies and candles and hot chocolate. But, I actually don't like to be cold....at all. In fact, I'm sitting next to my heater right now. I can't take it with me though. I think it's time for hat(s)!

Make 'em!

Crabby Crafter's Bobble Headband






Basic Beanie from Lion Brand maybe add a quick flower?






Buy 'em!
Here are some of my fav hats from Etsy.

Love the vintage feel of this wool cloche from lizarietz.






Yes, you can even look stylish on your bike this winter with Riding Pretty's custom helmet cover.




I'm thankful for Thanksgiving decor

Does it seem that stores have skipped a holiday? Soon after Halloween, shop windows started displaying snow-filled scenes with Christmas trees, presents and other winter holidayesque settings.

Well it's still fall people. There are still a few rebellious leaves that ain't goin' no where no how. And next week is Thanksgiving!

I get hungry just thinking about it, but I've never been a great cook. Even when I was a kid I tried to stay out of the kitchen by working on extravagant place cards.


Thankfully (hardy-har-har) the crafting world has not forgotten about Thanksgiving and offers many DIY and handmade ideas for your big T-day that are pretty and functional too. Here are some of my favs:


Apartment Therapy's Etsy placemat roundup
Placemats you can hang when not in use...brilliant!









The Purl Bee's Appliqued Quilted Runner + Fringed Napkins
A table runner that doubles as a hot pad...brilliant!

Hats for Warm for Winter

I procrastinated (surprise!) to the very end, but still managed to bust out two crocheted hats for the Interfaith Council's Warm for Winter hat and scarf drive. I think they have another drive in January. Stay tuned for details!

The pattern is from Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller.

Make teacup candles

My grandmother collected teacups, so I have special fondness for them. And don't you think the teacup is making a come back? Now you can use them for more than just sipping. Check out this tutorial to make candles from teacups from Design*Sponge.

Quilted baby blanket

I love when my friends have babies because it gives me an excuse to buy Minky...

"Whip up" some crocheted flowers

Check out Whip Up for a collection of tutorials for crocheted flowers.

Even just looking at the pretty designs makes me almost forget that we are about to head into 8 months of fall/winter/greyness...and then I look outside...

VOTE!



















by Shepard Fairey

Halloween is over :(

Last week, we finally and feverishly finished our Halloween costumes: LEGOs! It was such a fun night: people were honking at us, stopping us for photos, and we won a costume contest at the Bonza Bash for Best Group Costume. Here's a few photos with more here.

The new corkboard

Ready for your next home project? Forget fabric covered bulletin boards, Design*Sponge shared a brilliant idea from maya*made for reusing coffee (or other burlap sack) to create the ultimate bulletin board.

Thanks maya*made!

Crochet is for hookers

When I was a kid, my Grandmother taught me how to crochet, but it's been years since I've picked up the hook. When knitting became the coolest craft in the nation, I had to try it, but I had a really hard time with it. I know there are people who can do both knit and crochet, but for me, I prefer the hook (sorry knitters!).

So after a 20 year crochet hiatus, I recently took a crochet class with Rebecca Baker at Pacific Fabrics. I feel like I can conquer the crochet world right now! Okay...maybe not quite. But I did just make this fun scarf from the book Happy Hooker and some arm warmers by mandcpruitt on Crochetme.com. I think my Grandma would dig them.


The Infamous Black Opal

The Black Opal is a strooong drink and is not recommended for beginniners or those who have to work the next day. Be wary of bartenders that put tequila in this drink. If this occurs, promptly hand the drink back to the rookie bartender and go to a different bar. Here are the ingredients to make your own at home:

1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz rum
1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz Chambord (my favorite)
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz sweet and sour mix
1 oz Sierra Mist

Stir ingredients together in an ice-filled pint glass and get ready.

Halloween signs part 1

Special Halloween edition of Crafty Signage (we'll learn spookier signs next week!)

P.S. My face looks really weird at the beginning of this video...


video

Universal hairstyle coverage

I have some pretty intense headpieces from bellydancing, but I could wear this stylish-and-modern, feather-and-flower headband by Still Dottie anywhere. She even shared this tutorial to help us get the look. The best part about this trend is that it works for us gals with short hair. Take that last season's messy-updo look!

Spookify your home

Halloween can be daunting for crafters, because I feel like those around us have high expectations for us to make something really good. I worked on my top secret Halloween costume over the weekend, but it's pretty labor intensive and I still need to decorate! I'd love to work on these spooky projects:

Crochet-skull-applique via Indie Fixx. Crochet a quick skull using increasing and decreasing then add to a pillow, a pumpkin, your front door, window or anywhere!

Ribbon wreath via the long thread. You can even make it more scary with a little cobweb or fake bugs...

New at this

I'm new to this blogging thing. It's addicting. But lately I've been a little distracted by some things that I don't really have any control over, but somehow think that if I google them enough they will all go away.

No. Such. Luck.

So, back to important things! Like making stuff and being productive. And reorganizing this blog a bit.

Stay tuned!

Obama Craft Project

Technically I didn't find the Obama Craft Project, they found me and I couldn't be happier or more inspired.






Beautiful expressions of hope and change are posted to the site to remind us of the positive revolution we're bringing.


Yes we can! In just 25 days!

Ouch...

Have a beer. A cheap beer.








That is all.
..

Christmas is coming!?!

Skip To My Lou posted a great tutorial for a Christmas themed oven mitt a week or so ago. I love the tutorial, but what most interested me about this post is that it made me realize is that there are only 12 weeks until Christmas. 12 weeks!! I have big plans this year, but I haven't really planned them out yet. And with less than a month until Halloween, followed by the election and then Thanksgiving. All I have to say is...AHHHHHH!!!!!!

Alcohol and Ice Cream

This week's recipe isn't as much of a recipe as it is a fabulously simple way to get your daily intake of calcium and libations. It's really starting to feel like fall around here, so this deliciousness is also a great way to squeeze in the last enjoyments of cold summer pleasure on a hot...or warmish...day.

Chambord and ice cream
3 or more large scoops of vanilla ice cream
1 0z Chambord at least

In a large bowl, scoop vanilla ice cream and cover generously with Chambord.

That's it! Enjoy!

Project Linus at Pacific Fabrics

This Sunday Pacific Fabrics hosted a Blanket Bee for Project Linus. I just heard about Project Linus which collects and makes blankets for children and families in need. Here are some pictures of the sewers and tie-ers in action:




What "The Wave" can really do

Have you been practicing "The Wave?" Okay me neither. There's been a lot going on lately and I accidentally haven't posted here in a week or so. Back to the point. Threadbanger recently posted a great quick sewing project that features what we're supposed to be practicing - "The Wave!"

Here's a tutorial for a colorful Scrappy Hot Pad via My Byrd House featuring "The Wave." Time to practice!

Happy Hour: The Deauville Cocktail

Well...it's been a wild week. This week's cocktail is a classic, little number created during the 1930s in New Orleans (or so the story goes).

The Deauville Cocktail

1/2 oz Brandy
1/2 Triple Sec
1/2 oz Apple Brandy
1/4 Lemon Juice

Combine ingredients, shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Peacock bracelet

I was a little too busy this weekend to make anything, but I wasn't too busy to splurge and spend my monthly "clothing" budget to buy this:







I could have an entire blog about peacocks...

Quilting Drill - The Wave

Here we go! Practice makes perfect.

You'll need:
A sewing machine
A free-motion quilting foot
"Quilt sandwiches"
2 bright colors of thread (to see how your stitching looks)
Clean gardening gloves to hold the fabric better (recommended)

For my quilt sandwiches, I used 2 pieces of cheap, plain quilting material and basted a layer of batting in between.

THE WAVE DRILL
Each day take a quilt sandwich and practice making wavy line after wavy line. Start excruciatingly slow and watch that tension when you first start out. You will want to adjust it a bit to make it just right. Here's my first attempt (we'll see if I get any better by next week!):

Don't despair - drink instead!

Feeling anxious? Don't despair. Try this recipe for a blended version of the infamous Blue Hawaiian.

1 oz light rum
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
1 oz cream of coconut
Fruit decor: cherry, orange, pineapple, and mango...yummm

Blend light rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut in a Magic Bullet (or blender) with one cup of ice.

Pour contents into a very large glass or bowl. Add your favorite fruit. Consume.

Crafty candidates: foldus!

The power is in the palm of your hand! Check out these foldable, wearable, controllable candidates.

Via folduscandidate.com
Photo via folduscandidate on Flickr

Obama bag part 2 & 3

My first Obama bag made it's way to Ecuador, where my friend Ann posted some pics on her blog. Yay! The second bag, I gave to my mom for her birthday. Unfortunately for me, I only had a small amount of canvas left so used blue fleece to finish one for myself. Here they all are:






I posted a tutorial awhile back to make the reverse-appliqué logo: it's here.

If you like Obama and crafts, be sure to check out Julie Ree's Crafters for Obama group! (Note the new Crafters for Obama button ----->) :)

Quilting Drills: Before we begin

Before we begin our drills, let's take a look at where we want to be. You know, like The Secret, let's visualize how we want to quilt someday. Here's some inspiration:



WOW!

When it comes to machine quilting on a regular sewing machine. There are two main choices: Straight-line and Free-motion. You can use both techniques on the same quilt.

This post on Machine Quilting 101 from Anyone Can Quilt helped me with finishing my first official quilt. Check it out to get a detailed overview on how to machine quilt.

For our quilting drills, we will be practicing the free-motion technique. Next week we'll start the first drill: The Wave.

Build a swing at the bus stop

Ever get bored waiting for the bus? Artist Bruno Taylor's series "Playful Spaces" included building this swing at a London Bus Stop.





Found on Urban Pranksters.

The Grape Nehi

Hope you are having a good week. If not, here's a little spirit to life your spirits, The Grape Nehi - one of my favorite fancy cocktails. If you don't have Chambord in your cupboard, run out and get some! It's not just for drinks. It tastes delicious on vanilla ice cream too...

The Grape Nehi
2 oz vodka
2 oz Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
3-4 lem
ons
Ice cubes

Muddle the ice with lemon and add vodka. Shake. With a strainer, pour into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Crafty Signage: Obama!

Want to know how to say Obama in sign language?

video

Be sure to check out my tutorial on how to make an Obama reverse-applique-logo tote bag!

Try these tutorials

The number of DIY tutorials on the internets is out-of-control amazing! I'm reorganizing my list of favorites so be sure to check them out here on their own page.

Don't be afraid of quilting!

Here it is...my first, finished quilt. And I have a message for you - don't be afraid of quilting!

I feared stitching my three layers together with my little Brother, imagining I'd ruin the painstakingly-pieced together quilt top. But I didn't! I used really simple straight lines and I even added the binding by machine too...crazy huh!

I'm so happy it turned out and the blanket is headed to Children's Hospital to provide warmth and comfort.

And now like so many other quilters before me - I'm hooked. But quilting takes practice. Especially the machine quilting part....which brings me to a new weekly feature you'll see here - "quilting drills."

To start, I've made about a dozen fabric-and-batting sandwiches to practice some free-motion skillz. Want to join me?

Short break

It was 90 degrees in Seattle this weekend and the Olympics are messing with my sleeping schedule so I'm taking a short break. Don't worry gentle reader, I will be back next week. Enjoy the sunshine!

Ta done two projects

I went on a little sewing frenzy this weekend and actually worked on 3! projects (I forgot to take a picture of a t-shirt tote I gave to a friend for her birthday...). And here they are!

I made the slouchy bag with fabrics from my recent Quiltfest adventure and used my new favorite Craftster tutorial.

The quilt top on the right is the first quilt top I've made in 10 years (wow does that age me) and I had that quilt professionally quilted (before I lost it at a festival). I wanted to try quilting again so started small with one of those Joann's quilt-in-a-box quilts. I switched out some of the fabrics with some fabric from my stash of fabulous Amy Butler fat quarters. Now all I have to do is learn how to quilt the three layers together...yikes!