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Last week, I had the chance to meet my newborn twin nephews.  So wee (4 lb 7 oz and 6 lb at birth) and so adorable.

I started working on quilts for each of them in the fall. The tops were finished in October, but I set them aside when I knew they wouldn’t be ready for the baby shower. Instead, I embellished some onesies and sent a box of baby basics in time for the party (literally, it was delivered during the shower).

When I’ve made quilts in the past, I have quilted them by hand. With two on the docket, even though they are crib size, I was a bit overwhelmed. I decided to invest in a walking foot for my sewing machine. I finally sat down to figure it out this week and I feel totally justified in the purchase. With a couple afternoons at the sewing machine, I have one of the two quilted.

I’m hoping to get the second one quilted over the weekend. Binding will take longer, but I now feel confident that I can get these completed and delivered before the boys outgrow them. 🙂

December has been unusually busy. Between various Christmas events, a round of strep throat that swept through the household and many extra hours of work for Brad, it feels like we are just now coming up for air.  Hence, the unintended radio silence around these parts.

I did manage to make a few gifts but, compared to last year, Christmas crafting was scaled back considerably.

Patchwork dish towels for teacher gifts.

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A shawl for my mom.

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A dress for Lizzie.

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Sarah was the recipient of the rest of my handmade efforts.  Our tradition for giving gifts to the kids is that each kid gets 3 gifts from us (3 was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for them).  They get a book, game/toy and an article of clothing.  (Santa is only responsible for the contents of the stockings.)

This year, Sarah’s toy was a bed for her doll.  We bought the bed from IKEA and Brad painted it white.  I made a red ticking mattress and a quilt.  I made the quilt with Jenean‘s lovely fabrics.  This is the perfect quilting project for me – small and manageable.  I quilted and bound it by hand.

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Sarah seems to like it.

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Trying to think of a book to get Sarah proved to be a challenge.  There is no shortage of books in our little house.  With two book-loving older siblings, it was hard to think of a book to buy that isn’t already on the shelves.  I had noticed how much she loves to look at Lizzie and Joshua’s photo albums and I was inspired.

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I decided to make an alphabet book with photos of Sarah and things she knows.  I wasn’t sure if a traditional photo album was going to stand up to frequent flipping by a toddler.  Instead,  I cut cardstock to 8×8 and coordinating pieces to 1×8.  I mounted the photos and text on the 8×8.  I then laminated the 1×8 and 8×8 side by side, with a couple millimeters space between.  This space allows the pages to open flat.

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The biggest mistake I made was in the layout.  The couplets are on opposite sides of the same paper, so you have to turn the page to read the rhyming line.  Should have had them facing.

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There are a couple of other annoyances, like a page or two on which the laminating creased and some wonky holes for the binding.  Overall, it was a funny little project and the kids all love to read it.  It is especially sweet listening to Joshua read it to Sarah.

Sometime in January, I made a list of things I want to make. I often have the craft equivalent of “eyes bigger than my stomach” so writing it all down seemed like a way to reign in my impulses. The good news: my list wasn’t nearly as long as I thought it would be. The bad news: I’m still adding to it. It is a give and take, really. For every one thing I accomplish, 2 or 3 more ideas are added. The most problematic part, at least according to my husband, is that I tend to be a bit too impulsive about buying supplies.  Are you saying that my craft budget shouldn’t be as big as our food budget? (That is a rhetorical question!)

A couple of items that have been crossed off the list are the all day tote, felt fairies and this table runner for my mom.

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Once again, I used the Rubblework scarf pattern for the center and added a border. I used some of the fabric I had leftover from the runner I made my sister for Christmas. I got the border fabric on sale at a local quilt store. I really like the textural element it adds. I used the same fabric for the backing to make it reversible, at least in theory.

My sister’s birthday is coming up, soon after my mom’s. I haven’t quite finished her socks, but I hope to be able to get them in the mail on Monday. Fortunately, she has extremely small feet.

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I would probably be finished with the socks it not for the siren song of my lap quilt, another item on The List. I have been wanting to make a quilt for myself for a while. I have made a small handful of quilts before, all crib size. The lap quilt is a step up for me, especially since I will be quilting by hand. Originally, I was going to try to use fabrics from my stash. I went to the quilt store to get the Yellow Brick Road pattern. That’s all. Just the pattern. Then a stack of sale fabrics found their way into my arms. Okay, that’s fine. A pattern and some sale fabrics, no problem. Then I was bewitched by the salesperson’s suggestion of making the YBR from this fabric line. It’s just 12 fat quarters! Rut roh. What did I say about problems with craft impulse control?

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Expect an e-mail from me soon to get your mailing info. Can’t promise when the little gifties will arrive, but I assure you they are in the works.

I was on the receiving end of some very happy mail this week from Jen of swallowfield. She recently had a drawing to celebrate her blog-iversery and my friend Sarah was one of the lucky winners. Apparently, giving Sarah a boatload of grief over her good luck had the unintended effect of getting me a happy, too. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and all.

BTW, I don’t expect that tactic to work more than once. Don’t tell my kids that it worked at all. It might bring the veracity of parent lecture #47, “You don’t get what you want by whining” into question.

As predicted, the kids and I spent part of Friday making fairies. I guess it would be more accurate to say that Lizzie and I made fairies. Joshua wanted to make a pirate (surprising, isn’t it?). His patience ran out long before the dread pirate was actualized (also, surprising, right?)  Sadly, I did not get a photo of Lizzie’s completed fairy before she was promptly gifted to a friend. Lizzie is more generous with her fairies than I have been thus far. Here is my latest:

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Ever since Abby got this book from the library, I have been chomping at the bit to make wee folk. I can’t say what it is about these that I find so appealing. Frankly, they are pretty putzy. Trying to wrap the embroidery thread around pipe cleaners so all the chenille fuzzies are completely covered can make a person go cross-eyed. That is before embroidering a tunic that is no taller than 1 1/2 inches. Still, they are so cute and my kids are enchanted. Lizzie was studying the embroidery on the fairy’s tunic and identifying the different stitch patterns that I used. “Mommy, is that a French knot?” I have a feeling we will be spending part of their day off of school tomorrow making more fairies and wee folk.

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Thanks for the nice comments (yup, that’s plural) on my last post.  I will draw a name Friday and get cracking on some goodies.  🙂

the big kids are back to school. I do feel guilty that I am so relieved to send the kids back to school, but I think it is good for all of us. Back to our regularly scheduled programming, so to speak. We had a good holiday break, but it was exhausting. The breakneck pace leading up to Christmas, followed by nothing in particular to do, but a desire to keep them busy. Don’t misunderstand, I am not a parent that needs to entertain their children 24/7, but keeping them the right level of busy helps prevent their need to kill each other (or at least postpone it). Breaks from school remind me how ill-suited to homeschooling I would be. Thank goodness for Southside Family School!
I took advantage of some relatively quiet time yesterday afternoon to whip out birthday presents for our niece: applique t-shirt, head band and skirt. What 8 year old girl doesn’t love horses?

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and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If a blogger finally bothers to post and no one is around to read it, does it really matter? Probably not, but here I am anyway.

December was filled with plenty of Christmas-related crafting. One might think I was out to rid the world of cold necks given the number of scarves I made: 5 Rubblework , 1 Bainbridge and 1 Branching Out. I didn’t take any pictures of the latter two. Maybe I’ll bug the recipients into providing photo documentation. Next, I want to make one of each for myself.  What?  My neck gets cold too.
After all the scarves were made, I sewed pencil rolls for a couple of small friends.

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Clearly they are a couple of my favorite small people, since I do not give out happy hedgehog fabric to just anyone! Aren’t those pencils cool? I got some from Joanna as part of the Fall Swap and was excited to find them locally. Completes the woodland theme, don’t you think? I also made some small notebooks. I mean, what good are cool pencils without a new notebook or two?

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I did a couple freezer paper stencil t-shirts for my sister-in-law and her husband. They are avid bicyclists, so I went with a bike theme. I was pretty disappointed with the results, but sent them off regardless. Neither were very crisp and this one has some obvious spots that needed another coat or two.

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The stencil is based on a Japanese road sign that marks the bike lane. It just says jitensha (bicycle).

I tried my hand at a little decoupage on a box for Lizzie.

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I may need to leave this to those with more talent than I possess. (Or at least I’ll try something without curves first.)

I spent a large part of last night’s tv viewing sitting on the floor cutting out squares and rectangles for Rubblework Scarves. Kathy‘s pattern is simple and lovely and is playing a large role in my gift-making this year. I made this one last week:

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I ended up choosing to topstitch around the perimeter. I used polar fleece for the backing and it needed a little help to lay flat. This was a decision that followed a small mishap with the iron and the polar fleece. The topstitching is a bit wonky, but I am hoping the patterns will be distracting enough that people don’t notice too much.

The fruits of last night’s cutting are waiting to be made into teacher gifts.  Do you think teachers will mind that they are all getting identical scarves?

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I am also using the pattern to make a table runner for my sister and her husband. I have most of the piecing done and I am pretty excited about it. I splurged on some lovely Japanese fabrics.  I can’t wait to show it off when I have it all assembled!

I bought this coat and hat for Sarah last winter, knowing that it would be almost a year before she could use it. Even hanging in the closet, it made me smile to see it. Imagine my glee when she wore it for the first time.  I think Sarah knows how cute she is in this ensemble, because this is the only hat that she will keep on her head!

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It must have been the coat, but I’ve had cherry blossoms on the brain for the past couple of weeks. Initially, I was thinking of a garland – white and pink felt blossoms. As I played around, I decided it should be a mobile. I also had the idea of needle felting some pink roving onto the white blossom. Not bad for a prototype, eh?

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Next time I think I will add more blossoms and some leaves. Maybe, play around with the balance to give it more motion.

Another project I’ve been experimenting with is baby leg warmers. I love Baby Legs and we own several pair. When I got the itch to go buy a couple more pair, it finally dawned on me that I could make some.   I didn’t really have a plan, I just started knitting. I was debating whether to just knit a tube or add some shaping. Sarah voted for shaping and so I did. So far, I’ve knit three pair. They have each been an experiment with different yarn and form. The first were knit in fingering weight from the top down. I decreased around the calf. I just k2t a few times over a couple rounds. The second pair were knit in worsted weight from the bottom up. This time I was a bit more thoughtful about the placement of the increases and I think they looked nicer.

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The most recent pair were a gift for a friend’s new baby. Knit in DK weight from the top down. I have a few changes planned for the next pair but I think I am narrowing in on an actual pattern of sorts. Then, I am going to try some different stitch patterns or maybe colorwork….