Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I am back after a five month absence from Lazy Days and Sundays. I had posted some of my crafts to another blog which I have merged into this one, so if the dates confuse you, there is the explanation.

Time will tell if I am writing to you, the unseen, oft unknown to me reader, of if I am writing to myself within your listening (reading) radius.

I hope we both (all?) enjoy the journey that the world will know as 2014.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Holiday greetings blocks

I like the idea but not my execution of this project.

My husband cut the blocks for me. Each block face is 1.5 inches wide. The outer, tallest blocks are 5" tall, the next tallest ones are 4" and the middle blocks, both vertical and horizontal are 3 inches.

I left the edges bare so that paint didn't meet paint, thinking a somewhat rustic look would work. I wasn't happy with this and added a distressing ink along those edges in a color called tea. I don't have that look photographed. It didn't noticeably improve or detract from what you see here.

I like using blocks to spell our greetings throughout the year. These phrases were on shelves in our main bathroom for a while.

It is probably my lettering that I dislike most on the blocks that I painted. I will repaint them at some point and try this again.

Countdown to Christmas Tree

This began as a plain white structure, bought on a clearance table post holiday early this spring. The miracle isn't that I completed it, but that I didn't store it away so safely that I forgot about it or couldn't find it.

The faces of the drawers are 1.5 inch squares. Most of the blue background images came from a single sheet of scrapbook paper. The others are miscellaneous bits I had on hand. The back and sides of the tree were painted red. I used a silver pen on the open edges of the structure.

Numbers were done with the same pen on black circles punched from scraps.

Ruby Bear

Need a quick, simple to knit bear pattern? Here is Ruby Bear by Premier yarns. I used James C. Brett Chunky Marble, available colors shown here. I believe I used MC28 but I no longer have the label.
I would make this bear again, but rather than using a needle size to obtain the suggested gauge, I would knit it on smaller needles to make a denser fabric so that the batting isn't visible through the knitting. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mmmmm....Pumpkin Cookies!

One word:  Yum!

The recipe is here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry...er....knitting bones!

The Prince of Sweetness, aka my grandson, is going to be Batman for Halloween so this sweater has nothing to do with that specific evening. I hope he will enjoy it while playing outside regardless of the date.
The pattern was once a free download from Bernat but doesn't appear to be available now. If you are interested in it, please contact me (leave a comment) and I will get back to you if you provide an email address.

The sweater pattern is for sizes 2, 4, 6 or 8.  I used inexpensive acrylic yarn as I don't intend for this to be an heirloom garment. My grandson is warm much of the time anyway (unlike me!) so I don't know how much wear this will get before he outgrows it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smocked Bishop dress and a card

A wonderful young woman with a love of old fashioned needle arts is in my knitting group. She recently gave birth to a daughter and while pregnant, commented on her love of smocked garments which aren't prevalent in this area, in this era.

Once upon a time I would have bought Imperial Batiste and gathered the fabric on my own smocking pleater.
Quality fabric is important when running it through a pleater. Joann's is fine for many things, but this level of quality isn't found in their yard goods. I suspect my long unused pleater may need new needles before tackling another project and they would need to be ordered. The needles are fine and if you run roughshod through the process of turning the pleater wheel, they will crunch and break. Not good, not good at all.

Thank goodness I discovered Meredith's Closet, an Etsy shop of ready to smock items. I order a 12 month size dress in a color called Butter. I pulled out my stash of long unused smocking designs which are called 'plates' rather than patterns. This is not the design I used, but is a sample of what a plate looks like.
Before I could begin to smock, the center of all those pleats had to be found. Each pin represents 10 pleats. The threads you see are gathering threads, usually quilting weight threads that are tied off on either side of the area to be smocked.
Here you see the pleats both scrunched up and spread out. The pleats should slide easily on the gathering threads. Smocking is worked from the left side of the garment to the right, but the needle enters the top of the pleat from right to left.
Reading the plate came easily to me when I learned to smock because I was accustomed to counted cross stitch and knitting charts.

The color is a bit off (too strong) in this photo, but shows the completed dress with a deep hem which is traditional in these dresses.
Here is a close up of the smocking itself. I was pleased with how it turned out, and more importantly, the mommy who received this dress was very happy.
The that I made to accompany this gift was another tri-shutter card. I seem to be stuck on them lately but they have been turning out well and use a variety of cute scraps and embellishments.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Corrugated paper Tiki-ish decor

I love Pinterest. I hate it too.

My son and daughter-in-law are having a luau themed party. I saw Tiki-like décor made out of corrugated paper. Not corrugated cardboard that has a flat finish on both sides, corrugated paper. This paper has one finished (smooth) side and the other is hills and valleys. The site on Pinterest did link to a source for this paper, but I thought (hoped) I could find it locally since time was running out.

Craft stores, office supply stores and shipping centers were unsuccessful searches. I settled on 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper from Michaels that was the right construction, just not the size I had hoped for.

This is what I made from the paper, red foil and dark brown distressing ink on the edges of the cut outs.

I'm not sure that they will be used, but I had fun making them. I like the texture and the contrast of adding layers with the corrugation running in different directions. I would have done more detail, but the store only had four sheets and I used all but a few slivers to get this far.

If I had been able to make a column out of the paper, I would have put the red foil on the rear interior and used a battery operated candle inside, below the mouth of each one.

Do I really hate Pinterest? No. I never would have thought this on my own. It isn't Pinterest's fault that corrugated paper isn't sold locally in rolls. If I ever do find it though, I am buying some. If that happens and I still haven't opened it 13 years later, I hope someone will remind me that I thought this was a good idea.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mic-key M-o-u-s-e......pillowcases

If you grew up watching the original Mickey Mouse Club with Jimmy Dodd and Annette Funicello in the late 50's, it is hard to spell Mickey Mouse without separating the name as it was sung.

One of my great nephews just turned four. He loves Mickey. He is the second son in my niece's family so the house is full of boy toys. My sons are 22 months apart, I know what that is like. Ethan loves Mickey, but what doesn't he already have?

Part of his gift from us will be these pillow cases, made in record time out of two Disney prints.
The directions for this style of pillowcase are all over the internet, often under the "million pillowcase challenge" or "roll up method". This link will take you to a video tutorial or you can click to download step by step directions. For these pillowcases I cut the body at 3/4 yd (27 inches), the band at 1/4 yd (9 inches) and the blue starry trim at 2 inches. The band and the trim are folded in half, resulting in a standard size pillowcase when complete.
I've followed this pattern before. Each time I make one it seems to go faster. After the "roll" part of assembly was done, I closed the side seam with a French seam and the bottom end was a regular seam with an additional row of zigzag stitching on the raw edges. How you finish the seams is up to you. A serger would be great for both.
The card for Ethan could not have been simpler, thanks to a perfect cardstock choice from Michael's. All I did was cut the paper down to 8x6 and fold it into a 4x6 card with a hand written greeting inside. I've discovered I don't always need to reinvent the wheel when making a card.
 Mic...See you real soon!  Key...Why? Because we like you!  M-O-U-S-E.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hanging onto summer

People who create for craft shows need to craft ahead of the current date. I don't participate in craft shows but do try to get things done so that I can enjoy the fruits of my labor for as long as possible without having Halloween décor displayed in December or Easter in August.

I love summer. Even though it isn't officially over for another 3 weeks, Labor Day seems to symbolize the end of summer to many. Does anyone else feel we rush into Fall, then rush into Winter and Christmas instead of enjoying whatever the current climate and time of year?

The next wave of décor in our home will be Halloween and general autumn related. I'm not ready for that yet here in SE Michigan, and hope our weather doesn't lead me to feeling fall-ish until October. Considering a few leaves have changed already, I'm not holding my breath.

I am holding onto summer as long as possible though. This table runner, made a few months ago remains in place.
The colors make me happy. Although you can't see it in this photo, the leaves and ladybugs were done by machine using an appliqué stitch that looks like a continuous row of the letter E. I love using that. I zone out and could do that for hours.

In other crafting news, I am almost done with the second sock of a pair. I hope not to need them until next month, but just in case the temps dip much lower at night or early morning, I'll be ready.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Clara dress

The card that I posted yesterday accompanied this dress as a gift to our godson and his wife who are expecting their first child soon.

And the back, closed with one pearl button

These photos show the dress immediately after weaving in loose ends and adding the button. I didn't think to photograph again before packaging it for gift giving.
The dress pattern is called Clara dress and is only available from the designer as a kit. Here is that link.  Many of us in a knitting group have made it from other yarns purchased locally that do not require hand washing or are more hypoallergenic than alpaca yarn.
The yarn I used is Pediboo by Frog Tree. It is 80% washable Merino, 20% bamboo. This is a sock weight yarn. The color number is 1123. I will definitely make this again, and I am not one who often wants to knit the same item with the same type of yarn. Pediboo is great to work with and I love the way the yarn looks and feels.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tri-shutter card

If you have a scoring tool and a paper cutter, this project goes really fast. The card could still be made without them. A great tutorial and list of sizes to cut the various papers is here on Our Daily Bread Designs blog. I'm already planning to make this again using photos of the card's recipient and their hobbies or loved ones in place of the printed paper. Wouldn't a photo of the bride and her flowers be pretty on an anniversary card? Or sport photos and movie characters be cute on a young boy's birthday card?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Showering a bride with cash

I am going to a bridal shower this afternoon that is a little unusual for me. The invitation stated that this is a Gift Card Shower. The couple has an established home with all the usual items a bride often places on her registry. These two people are much loved and the host of the shower wanted to do something special for them and knew the guests would feel the same way.

Having said all that, the idea of the shower didn't bother me but how would I present the gift card creatively? Presentation means a lot to me. Two other guests and I pooled our resources and discussed which gift cards we should purchase. None of the usual gift cards were exciting us and we began thinking that cash is always good since it can obviously be used for anything from a utility bill to groceries or maybe an evening out.

With the decision of cash as a gift, we were back to presentation. A check in a card? No. Cash in a card? Nope, not that either. Well....it is a shower....why not an umbrella? Not an ordinary one, a special umbrella that opens up to rain cash!

I broke up the total amount into denominations of bills from ones to twenties. I tied ribbons to the spokes of the umbrella and experimented to find a length that would have the bills exposed when the umbrella was closed. Even with short ribbons, I had to tuck the money inside, but that was ok.

On the first bill I used a glue dot (scrapbookers and card makers will know what these are) but that was very sticky and I thought peeling the cash off might be a problem. Next I tried removable tape. Opening and closing the umbrella a few times showed that wasn't sticky enough. Just like Goldilocks, the third attempt was just right. I used Scotch tape.

Here is the finished umbrella, raining cash:

And closed, with a hang tag that says "Open Me!"

On the inside of a card, I used an old Sizzix umbrella die.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A quilt shop hop adventure

Are you old enough to remember the original Dragnet TV series? Episodes began with announcer George Fenneman telling us "The story you are about to hear is true; only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."
This is my shop hop story, told Dragnet style. Following Sgt Joe Friday's directive of "just the facts, ma'am" I will begin.
It was a sunny August day in Michigan. My sewing buddy and I joined 40 other women on a bus to visit 6 quilt shops on a round trip that should have totaled 260 miles over 12 hours. Two hundred more women were doing the same thing on 5 other buses, one from each of the participating shops following the same circuit. All meals and snacks were included in the cost of this adventure on chartered buses with bathroom facilities. We were supposed to look like this:
This was the first time for this particular shop hop. My sewing partner and I have been on others before, but never by bus. Statistically, buses probably do not break down any more frequently than cars, but if one car had transmission trouble and another had a flat tire, only two carloads of women on this adventure would have experienced delays, not all 240 of us. Yes, you read that correctly. All of us had to delay our arrivals at scheduled shops for the two buses with problems.
Each store had a drawing for each bus load of women. You've probably seen game show contestants behave so exuberantly, you wondered if they were coached to act that way. Perhaps not, based on some of the reactions I witnessed.
Seems a bit much for a pattern, doesn't it? Or for a book about canning. And just what does canning have to do with quilting?
Our bus driver was very nice as were the two women assigned to our bus representing our store of origin and the whole shop hop event. Before returning to our "home" store, we were asked to fill out a questionnaire about this experience so they could improve for next year. Here is a photo of Joe Friday and Bill Gannon discussing the questions. Or maybe Joe is rubbing his temples and asking Bill for extra strength headache medication.
An hour per shop proved to be too much time. All of the stores were very nice, but a certain portion of goods carried in any store dedicated to a hobby are going to be the same. Most of us lapped the stores at least twice, made our purchases and still had time to kill before getting on the bus again. Here is Joe calling home to tell his spouse how much later he was going to be because of the bus snafu.
The food that we were served on the buses was provided by the shops we had just left. We had breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner and after our last store, dessert. My only complaint about quality was the cold breakfast dish of eggs and sausage as we left the first store. The complaint that most of us shared was over our eating utensil throughout the day. This photo might look like Joe Friday is examining a knife, but what you don't see is the clear plastic fork we shop hoppers had to use for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He isn't using a magnifying glass because the fork is clear, he is using it because it was so small.
What? You don't believe me? Allow me to present Exhibit A, the fork used on the shop hop photographed next to one of my forks at home.
By the time we reached our last shop, most of us had backaches from seats that didn't sit up straight enough and swollen feet from sitting in one position too long all day. I will visit the last store again some time when my eyes aren't glazed over and my head isn't throbbing from a lame video that played the last two hours of the trip. A screen and speaker were right over our seats. The store could have had a pot of gold free for the taking or a pile of dead bodies and I don't know that I would have noticed either. Walking around inside was more about flexing knees and hips and using the rest room for most of the bus, including the driver who didn't use her bus' rest room because the light didn't work.
Did I say it was a long day? It was over 14 hours from leaving my home to returning.
Would Joe Friday, Bill Gannon, my sewing buddy and I do this again?  Sure, if we could take our own wheels and leave a store when we were ready.
And if we came upon this, we'd pick it up for our dining pleasure!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Giraffe #2 and a lion

These over-the-fence peepers are for our grandson. I was excited to get them over to him and didn't think to take my camera so we made do by using our phones. It was starting to rain so we rushed placement. They would look better without a distracting background.
Then again, would a real giraffe and lion pose for us patiently? I wooden think so.... (bad pun?)
The pattern was from The Winfield Collection. Paints used were Patio Paints by DecoArt.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Here's looking at you

At a family birthday party months ago, we were discussing a story in the news about an outdoor sculpture of a giraffe and the reactions toward this item. One adult niece has always loved giraffes and suggested her husband provide their yard with a sculpture. There were lots of digits in that price tags. Lots of them, plus commas, so that wasn't going to happen.

Looking for something totally unrelated to giraffes online, I came across this pattern that sits on a privacy fence and promptly lost sight of whatever I was originally seeking. Could my husband cut this out? Yes. Could I paint it? Yes.

The main part of the pattern that sits on the fence is the neck and hooves with spaces between them. The head is another cut which was later nailed in place.
Here is the finished giraffe on the tall part of a privacy fence in the backyard of one of my sons. The line you see across the giraffe's head is the shadow of a power line.
Here is the giraffe sitting on a lower section of the fence.  My husband has already traced a second giraffe for our grandson and will be cutting out the lion's head too.
Our niece will be gone part of this weekend for her birthday that ends in a zero. Hopefully she feels as I do, that numbers don't matter and will always be a joyful kid at heart. Maybe seeing this on her fence when she comes home will tickle her inner child. 
Please add makeup artist to the wild kingdom (wooden wild kingdom) to my resume.



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Copic coloring: matte metal finishes

I am still a novice when it comes to Copic markers, but I am happily learning more with each class. I've recently been taking monthly classes at Mary Maxim's retail store in Port Huron, Michigan. I come home from there feeling like I've learned all that was expected and then some.

Last week we spent the morning class working on skin colors and the afternoon was focused on matte metal finishes.  I'll show you the morning's result first:
The color in this photo is off a bit, probably because of the lack of natural light in the room when I photographed this. The stamped image is from Art Impressions and is called "Staying' Afloat". I love the girlfriends line of Art Impressions stamps. Besides learning what colors to use for various skin tones, this was the first time I used a Gelly Roll pen to make the white stars, stripes on the yellow bathing suit and designs on the purple one. Not showing well in this photo are white pencil lines (Prismacolor pencil) to make the water look like the ladies are floating in a swimming pool. Fun stuff!

The afternoon class used Penny Black & Mom Manning's stamps "Little Elf Finn" and "Little Elf Mim" We didn't use traditional Christmas colors because some in the class had done elves last fall in those colors. Our focus wasn't their clothing anyway, it was making a sphere look like a sphere and creating matte metal colors.

While these elf images are very cute, I don't know when I will get around to using them so they may hang around my craft room as examples. I took it upon myself to color the background black on the boy elf. I don't see myself fussy cutting the image, but I may do a rough cut now that the background is black. If I were to leave it the size that it is, I would need to blend the block more so that you don't see strokes. Since I'm not sure what I may do with it, I'm conserving ink.

And being lazy.

I wouldn't have known what colors to use to achieve the gold finish (Y21, YR24 and YR27) or which grays to use for the silver (N0, N2 and N4). We used the Gelly Roll pen again to decorate the ornaments and add fuzziness to the fur trim on their clothing. Tiny hash marks, made with a Copic Multiliner, on their hats indicate a knit texture.

What a cowinkydink...I'm listening to Oldies Radio and "Color My World" just came on! I love Chicago and am really loving Copics!

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