Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Knitting

Now that it is past Christmas and secret projects have been revealed, please check this "I Made This" post for the socks and bags I made for Christmas.

Unrelated to this and without a clever segue, I am enjoying Trisha Yearwood's Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen which was a gift to me this year.
I made two appetizers from this book that were well received at a party last night. I've been in a rut and trying to shake free of it, something that makes hubby very happy. My mom was a cookbook junkie and I guess I am too. Whatever it takes for inspiration, right?

Have a delicious day!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The finished play house

My grandson, a.k.a. The Prince of Sweetness is two and a half. I was browsing Pinterest and saw a play house that was cute. It led me to searching for more info and when I found a pattern at Empty Bobbin Sewing , I knew I was on my way. I used heavy weight felt, known as "premier" from Joann's for the main walls and roof of the house, also the white felt in the door frame and windows. The other colors are craft felt from the bolt. Sewing felt is easy. I didn't use interfacing and no finishing techniques are required, but I did double stitch the walls and roof, and then zigzaged the seam allowances. I did the door differently from Shea's pattern and ad libbed some of the embellishments.

Here is the front of the house before wall and roof assembly. The door is a flap which can be rolled up. The black lines you see are ribbons with matching ones inside for securing the rolled up door. The bow that ends in large bells under the porch light is my interpretation of a doorbell. The rectangles in the door are just decoration. The window in the door was done the same as the side windows which I will explain a few photos down.
Here is the mailbox open. I didn't photograph the mail that I made addressed to my grandson. I used white fun foam, cut into small rectangles. I drew the envelope flap on one side, printed his name and drew a postage stamp on the other. I don't know if I truly needed special foam markers or not for this, but I had another project coming up to do with kids and foam so I bought the pack of five colors. I am a sucker for craft supplies.
I did not cut away the red fabric from the door until after the walls were sewn together and the roof assembled. I pinned the ribbons and door in place during assembly. It went very smoothly.
One side wall called for two bushes and a window. I changed the window from an opening with felt framing that created a four paned window to what you see here. I had a flexible screening sold as Pet Screening from tote bags that I made a few years ago. I bought the screening at a quilt shop that featured the tote bag pattern. I think if you search for it online, it can still be found. I stitched the flowers to the bushes by their centers only to make them 3D. The dog was added for fun, my own design. His ears an tail are also 3D.
Here is a close-up of the window. I framed it in felt on the inside also. The second view is showing the visibility of the screening.
The other side wall also has a window and a vegetable garden. I saw the garden idea on a few sites but didn't bookmark them so I can't give credit, nor do I know who may have been the first to think of making pockets for the veggies.
My leaf lettuce looks a little sad and my potatoes seem be of a dark chocolate variety, but the carrots are cute.
The back of the wall has a tree. The original pattern had a tree that was partially on the side of the house, partially on the back. I knew I didn't want a window back there, I wanted a picture frame on the inside wall, so I redesigned the tree for the back. Leaves are in both shades of green shown in the garden photo, but the color is off here. I made apples with velcro to change out for the leaves along with one bird. I will probably make autumn colored leaves and maybe even a kite to get stuck on one of the velcro parts of the tree, but that will come later. The bushel basket is my own design and holds the spare leaves and apples.
Our family room is where our grandson's toys are kept. In that room is a watercolor and ink drawing of our home that I did a few years ago. The Prince is fascinated with that picture. I used brown felt and clear vinyl to make a photo frame for his house. It is on the inside with the top of the vinyl left open so that art work, standard printer paper size, can be inserted. For Christmas morning, a print of the front of his playhouse went in the frame, but I hope he will do his own artwork to place in there. These photos have a Fisher Price catalog page in them for display purposes.
I slightly changed the roof line trim from the original pattern. The pattern creates a play house that fits over a standard size card table. When it came time to fit the walls together, I placed them wrong sides out against the table and pinned the seams. My seams are deeper than the pattern recommendations, but not by much.

This was a labor of love, not something I would ever make and sell. I don't sell my crafts in the first place, and beyond that, many would be surprised at the money and time invested. Even below minimum wage, most would balk at the cost. I am fortunate that I've never had to sell my creations for income. I don't mind work, but if my hobbies became my work, the fun would probably disappear for me and the relaxation would definitely be gone.
This doesn't mean I would never make it again. The pattern was well written and you can probably tell that I had a lot of fun with the embellishments. If Colton ever becomes big brother to a little sister, there might be need for a girlier (like that word?) themed play house.


Card Table Play House

I've begun a separate blog for crafts which I am calling I Made This at grandmacrafty(dot)blogspot(dot)com. My plan is to post non-craft posts here, and will provide links to posts on the new blog here.

Without further ado, click here to read about the play house I made for Colton. I had a lot of fun with this and plan to make many more things out of felt since I have so much of it now. Did I say I was diminishing my stash of fabric? I must have meant cottons, not felt.

If any of you have a pull with Mother Nature, please tell her that Christmas is over now. Make the snow stop and take away that which is on the pavement here. Neighbors have never awakened me blowing sunshine and warm temps from their driveway so that they could leave for work. I fully understand what they needed to do this morning so I'm not complaining about them, but Mother Nature, can't you just deposit this stuff on ski slopes and snow mobile trails?

Misplaced Island Girl in SE Michigan. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy Festivus!

Are you ready? Are you excited? I am both!

How to cats greet each other at Christmas time?
A furry merry Christmas & Happy Mew Year.

About Santa, some children call him Santa Caus since there is Noel.

I have a friend who is offended by any greeting this time of year except Merry Christmas. I try to remember to use that with her, but I often say Happy Holidays and I do so without meaning to offend anyone. I have never been offended by any greeting that was given warmly or with good cheer, and would hope most people feel the same way. I'm not concerned with political correctness, most often I am thinking Merry Christmas and Happy New Year when I say Happy Holidays. Also, I like alliteration.  The street where I live begins with an H. Years ago our neighbor party that takes place in December was dubbed H**** (name of our street) Holiday Happening. Does a love of puns and alliteration go hand in hand? For me it does, because words are fun.

What does December have that other months don't have?
The letter D.

What is the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the regular alphabet?
The Christmas alphabet has no L.

I can't wait to write about one of the gifts that I made and show the photos. I hope it won't sound boastful, that isn't how I feel. It is about excitement. I had so much fun making a few gifts this year and I hope the recipients feel the fun and love that hopefully were built into them.

What do Christmas trees and bad knitters have in common?
They both drop their needles.

What does a reindeer say before telling a joke?
This one will sleigh you!

My hope for everyone this holiday season and beyond is that you feel loved. May we all give, receive and witness acts of kindness, be they as simple as a smile. May we remember that there is more good in the world than bad, despite media coverage. And lastly, may none of your gifts need to be exchanged!

Why does Scrooge love reindeer?
Because every buck is deer to him.

What did the bald man say when he got a comb for Christmas?
Thanks, I'll never part with it!

What did the salt say to the pepper?
Season's Greetings.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Catching up and changing attitude

The cold that I caught had me down and out for almost three weeks. Three weeks is a long time anytime of year, but before the holidays, a three week setback felt like months. Even as I type this, I know I should not be complaining. Many have it worse. Many are fighting something all year long. I don't mean this to be as much a complaint as an explanation for both writing and visiting your blogs.

I am still having problem accessing my email in my normal fashion. I don't know if the person who is supposedly working on this is ignoring me or doesn't know how to fix the problem and won't admit it. Either way, that frustration continues to simmer.

I've been contemplating starting a new blog and ran into blogger issues. Things that work here won't work the same way on a new blog. Why? Don't ask me. I used the same template, settings, etc. but one thing that won't work the same is the 'About Me' feature. On this blog I have it set so that you see my photo and click to view my complete profile. This is a gadget Blogger offers, not something I created. Under layout, you should be able to set the gadget to show on a particular blog, meaning your written profile will show, or not. A simple check box should decide the matter. On this blog, the box is unchecked. If you want to read my profile, you click by my photo for more info. On a new blog, no matter how many times you uncheck the box and save your changes, it doesn't work.

A person named Nitecruzr on Blogger product forums gave me info on something else that will work, but I'm annoyed that the simple feature doesn't work on new blogs. I'm not afraid of new and improved, I would just like things to actually be improved and still working when changes are made.

To recap so far, I was feeling lousy, coughing enough to worry my husband and sons, frustrated about my email woes and couldn't get blogger to behave. Shall I mention the extremists on Facebook? I thought once the election was over things would settle down but the ones who seem to be screaming about wrongs in existence or wrongs that might happen if A, B and C occur are just as loud as ever. It isn't that they should express their beliefs, it is that they are RIGHT by heavenly decree and anyone who thinks differently is not only WRONG, they are %$#*&^%#@. 

I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook and I try to zip past the stuff that irritates me but I have reason to stay somewhat in touch with the people I am talking about. I know they aren't shouting at me personally, I am just tired of the shouting, even if I basically agree with them.

There is a lot wrong in our world. There is way too much violence. Any violence is too much. If we only focus on that, we become more depressed as the days go by. The contentious posts feel like violence to me. Most of these people are polite in person and would never use the language or make accusations and ultimatums as they do on Facebook.

* Big sigh *

I've become a downer and I don't like that. I need to get back to my happy zone and for one thing, that means more crafting. Whether I start a new blog or redirect my energy here, things will be changing after the holidays. Look for me to be New and Improved, hopefully without any glitches!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

To my Blogger friend, Beckie...

First, to everyone, I have been absent with a cold that kept me down for two weeks, and then computer woes, none of which were my doing. Very frustrating. Now it is just my email that needs sorting out due to a server change. I will be back eventually when I am clear headed and better caught up regarding Christmas.

To Beckie, add Blogger to my woes. Your last comment to me showed up under "awaiting moderation" even though it should not have been there according to my settings. I didn't publish it, but attempted to contact you via email. The email I had for you on my computer is lost in the server problem. I thought I had a correct address but it came back as undeliverable.

My thoughts continue to be with you and your family. If you email me directly rather than going through Blogger, I will be able to respond. Hopefully, my server issue will be resolved soon.

Peace to everyone who sees this, and healthy wishes to all.