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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Candy Cane Garland

From the Purl Bee:
I was mystified by how to construct it, until I read the directions and realized I had made a paper version as a child:
When I wasn't looking, Beadboy3 took a bite out of it. Literally.

I need more gingerbread and candy cane ornaments.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Button Garland

Inspired by something I saw on pinterest.  I strung them onto perle cotton and tied a half-knot to keep them from sliding around.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Stocking

Jo from Serendipitous Stitching is hosting an Advent blog hop, and I (along with Jeremiah's Mom) have been chosen for today.

My Christmas stitching is the Shepherd's Bush stocking for Beadboy3, which I've been stitching off-and-on for the past year:
 Frankly, I'm kind of shocked I actually finished it with three weeks of Advent to go!

I backed it with velvet, as I did the first two, and fortuitously I had in my scrap bin a purple velvet dress one of my cats tore up years ago.  For the trim and loop I machine-sewed a purle ombre ribbon around an old and ugly length of cord, then hand-stitched it into place between the stocking and lining.  Done!
Waiting to be filled by Santa:

Jo also asked us to write about a favorite gift.  I'm not sure I have a particular favorite, but there are a number I remember over the years -- the cruise ship for some dolls that "Santa" left half-built, and which I finished while waiting for the rest of the family to wake up; the lovely set of notions and sewing gadgets my mom gave me one year; the joke wedding gift a colleague gave me, a copy of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, which ended up being one of the more useful gifts I've ever received.

One particular memory stands out, however, from my early childhood in Puerto Rico.  Back then Three Kings' Day was a much bigger deal for children than Christmas, because that's when we got all the toys and fun stuff.  One year my father collaborated with my godfather, an executive at a toy company, to give away lots of gifts to all the children from the local village.  At the end of the day, there was one lonely Barbie doll left, so I got to keep her.  She had a skirt that changed colors, I think as a result of some sort of lighting?  I don't remember the details, but I do remember the pretty colors, and how lucky I felt.

Happy Advent, everyone, and I wish you all a fabulous and peaceful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I never got around to blogging about it, but one of my ongoing projects this year was making some simple skirts for myself.  It's too cold and dreary to take out the skirt I made from linen and a summery Liberty of London print, but the second Alabama Chanin skirt fits right in with the season:
This time around I constructed the skirt first, which allowed me to make the hem accurate and also tweak the fit a bit since I lost some weight.  This ensured that the rose stencil would be even all around the bottom of the skirt.

The stencil came from the Alabama Stitch Book, although I smoothed out some of the edges for ease of stitching and cutting (and simply colored in the two tiny segments at the center):
For the reverse applique I switched to perle cotton rather than using the recommended upholstery thread, and that turned out to be a great idea.  Size 8 thread obviated the need to double the thread, the cotton was easier to work with, and I think the knots will last longer (some of the knots on my other skirt have started to come undone, because the thread is so slippery).  The cotton may not be as strong, but that's not an issue for this part of the sewing.

In a burst of activity, I also pulled out a boring black cardigan I had been meaning to embellish for years, and finally did it:

I sewed a strand of sequins up and down the front and around the collar, then sewed on some black rhinestones in the corners.

After photographing them I stacked the two pieces together to put away, and realized they work quite well together -- festive (and warm) enough for Christmas Eve Mass!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Because I Can Never Leave Well Enough Alone

I'm very pleased with my Advent Calendar, but like secular calendars it has only 24 squares, corresponding to the days of December before Christmas.  I'm trying to teach the liturgical calendar to the kids, however, and that means celebrating the actual Advent season, which this year starts today.  I'd been meaning to make extra squares for those years Advent starts in November, and this year seemed the perfect time to start, since I'd only need to make one.

But what design?  I pretty much exhausted my repertoire of secular and religious Christmas symbols  I like.  A little bit of research, however, reminded me that December 12 is the feast day of La Virgen de Guadalupe, a big deal both for Latinos and Americans in general.  Perfect!

Because I am not nearly skilled enough to replicate the image in thread or pencil, the original plan was to sew a prayer card onto the felt square, but although I have a gazillion prayer cards stuffed into a cigar box, La Virgen wasn't one of them.  Then I remembered I had actual fabric printed with her image, which was even better.  I snipped out her likeness and attached it to the felt using gold thread and straight stitches to mimic the rays around her.  A few ribbon roses finished it off.

I wanted her on the twelfth day -- of December, not Advent, so the twelfth square on the main calendar section, and this sounds ridiculously complicated just typing it -- so I removed the square in that slot (a poinsettia) and sewed it on.  The poinsettia moved to the first slot, because the original square there, an Advent wreath, I want to always be first.  That I moved to a new panel designed to hold the extra "November squares":
Makes sense?  Of course, I now have an issue when Advent starts December 1, 2, or 3 -- the main calendar will suffice, but it won't have the Advent wreath square.  I'll deal with that in 2017.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Button Cuff

The idea came from Craftstylish's Woven Button Coaster project.  I don't have much use for coasters, but I saw that the pattern could be adapted easily to make an awesome bracelet, using shirt buttons from Mr. Beadgirl's worn-out dress shirts.

The first step was to weave together a row of buttons long enough to go around my wrist:
I made two more (odd is better than even) and wove them together:

But the result was plainer than I expected, and the bracelet cried for some embellishment:
Sewing on the extra buttons had the added value of stabilizing the bracelet, because the buttons tended to shift three-dimensionally (by which I mean they tended to overlap each other rather than staying on the same plane).

For the clasp I sewed a shank button on one end, and made a seed-bead loop on the other:

I love it.  It's super comfortable to wear, too:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Last of the Fall Crafting (I Think)

I started this cat last fall, and finished it up a few days ago:

It's by the same company that did the Easter Bunny, Buttermilk Basin, and this is the October pattern (duh) of "My Wool-Crazy Year." I changed the eyes a bit, using buttons for the pumpkin and a more traditional shape for the cat eyes; I also omitted the moon because I thought there was enough going on.  Now I just need to find a big piece of wool to back it.

An owl:
I stayed up late Friday night to make this guy, and regretted it when Beadboy3 chose that night to be awake between 12:40 and 3:00.  I did not get a whole lot done Saturday.O

(Speaking of, that's his contribution to the post.)  The pattern is from the 2010 issue of Crafts 'n Things