Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Stockings

The only sewing going on here the last few days involves Christmas stockings.  I have been wanting to make some for the Hubs since my mom wants to keep all of our childhood stockings and I'm pretty sure my MIL will keep Scott's, too.  It's probably for the best.  They belong in the group and might look out of place stuck together on our mantel.  So, I am making stockings this Christmas for the both of us.

Felt is very 'in' right now.  It took me a while to warm up to it, but this book, Scandinavian Needlecraft, really got me excited:


 I like the modern take on Swedish designs.  The advantage to felt is that I don't have to worry about frayed edges at all.  I won't have to back my stocking with interfacing or batting.  I love the reindeer and the whispy swirls below. I asked Scott to choose his favorite of the three stockings and he also liked the reindeer.  Shoot!  That's the one I liked!  But am I really surprised?  Mmm..nope!  The reindeer is pretty sweet.  I paid a fortune for red boiled wool felt at Fancy Tiger Crafts.  Joann's didn't have any and I wanted something really nice to be a family heirloom someday.  I chose cream wool felt for the reindeer, itself, which came in a 99 cent square, much cheaper than the body of the stocking.


Even though I mentioned the stocking idea to the Hubs, he probably forgot about it.  I bought the felt without his knowledge and try to work on the stocking when he's not around or too distracted to notice.  (FYI - Fail Blog and The Ultimate Fighter are great distractions.  Also, making cheese, if your hubs is into that kind of thing.)

I blew up the pattern, though not as big as the book suggests, and traced it onto some tracing paper.  The recommended size was enormous and required more felt than I wanted to pay for.  I cut out my reindeer from the cream felt, and stitched the embroidery with the tracing paper pattern in between.  I was a little nervous how the stitching would look after I ripped the tracing paper off.



I thought it would pull out stitches and leave bits of paper behind, but it wasn't bad.  I did have to adjust some of the stitching by tightening threads from the underside, but it took me all of like, two minutes to do so.  I'm no embroiderer, and cannot free hand anything to save my life.  I was tickled pink to see that the stitching looks great, just like the picture!   

I just noticed that the instructions say to embroider the reindeer directly to the stocking.  I didn't do this, so I will have to use Wonder-Under to fuse it to the stocking.  I'm sure it will be fine.

That's it for the progress of Scott's stocking.  At first, I thought for my stocking I'd make the snowflake in the picture next to the reindeer stocking, but it really didn't excite me.  So, I'm thinking of putting felt poinsettias on my stocking.  Here are some examples I found:


I want them to look a little more 3D, though:



Maybe I will do a hybrid of these two poinsettias.  I also like this tiny embroidered poinsettia:



So cute!

Please know that if you say poinsettia like 'poin-set-eee-u' you are saying the word correctly, but it also sounds duchy, whereas pronouncing it 'poin-set-tu' sounds much more normal but less like you have any speck of plant knowledge.  (If Ted Mosby said this word, he would use the duchy pronunciation).  I am a plant nerd but do not want to come off as duchy, so I trade off on pronunciations.

I'm not completely sold on the poinsettias but I am a plant addict.  It is either this, or mistletoe or holly because if you know me at all you will know that I can't stand hearts.  Sorry.  I am probably a less cutesy person than you imagined a crafty person being.

I found this wonderful book at the library.  I had no idea how many craft/sewing books there were!   This is a great book with wonderful, clear pictures and instructions.  I am really bad at keeping secrets from Scott.  I hope he doesn't find out what I'm up to.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fall Mantels

I love summer!  I love hot weather, playing in the water, and enjoying all of the wonderful plants that come out to play.  I'm usually very sad to see summer go. The past summer hung around for longer than usual. When it got cooler, I was surprised how easily it was for me to get into the 'autumn' mood.

I'm not one of those people who decorate for Halloween, but I do like to decorate for fall.  Mr. P.S. and I are student newlyweds.  This equals little to no money for decor.  For the most part, I'm not into decor unless it's pictures or real live plants.  I'm just not much for nicknacks.  However, I was getting tired of our current mantel decor so I decided to switch it up for fall.  Pinterest was a great place for inspiration:



I love mantels that are not completely symmetrical, but still balanced, like the one above.  The large mirror provides a focal point.



This person took a wreath and hung it from an open picture frame.  This is another good way to fill the space and create a focal point.



I love how whimsical this arrangement is.  The candlestick and the miniature gourds are a nice touch.

I was not about to go out and buy an entire mantel's worth of decor, so I started with what I had.  (BTW...we don't have an actual mantel.  Mr. P.S. installed this Ikea shelf over the couch for our makeshift mantel.  We left it unfinished.)  I removed a picture from the large picture frame and hung my fall wreath from it with ribbon from my stash.  I used brown and white tree boxes (Hobby Lobby) to fill the space below the frame.  My one big purchase were the two pillar candles (Ikea, $3/ea) and candlesticks (Michael's, $8/ea with coupons).  I will be able to use the candlesticks year round.  I purchased the small candlestick for $2 (on the left) from Goodwill.  I used mini pumpkins, an engagement photo and our name plaque to finish off the look.



I'm sorry, that old heating vent is probably driving you crazy.  I have to live with it, but for you, I will touch it up a bit:


That's a little better.  In a few weeks I'll turn the bigger pumpkin into some pie.  Yum!  By using what I had first, and being economical about the rest, I got a nice look for less.  Do you decorate for fall?  Do you have any creative tips to share?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Amazing Bathtub Cleaner

I found this neat tip for bathtub cleaner on Pinterest.  Jen from Life Crafts & Whatever explains that to bust soap scum add 1 part dish soap and 1 part white vinegar to a spray bottle and spray on your bathtub surface.  (I used Ajax dish soap instead of Dawn.)

                                                                                          Source: lifecraftsandwhatever.blogspot.com via Stephanie on Pinterest


I've been meaning to clean the tub for weeks but I forget soooo easily.  I shower without contacts which means the tub below me is a fuzzy blur.  The last time I cleaned it with bleach cleanser, the tub didn't look any cleaner and I hate feeling the cleanser residue on the bottom of the shower.

I went wild with the spray bottle and then left the solution on the surface for about an hour.  I made sure to open my bathroom window.  I was surprised how potent the mixture was and had to open the window and head out of dodge.  Looking back, I probably used 2x the amount of solution than I actually needed.


I was pretty skeptical that I'd get the same amazing results.  But, after some scrubbing and rinsing, my tub looks better than ever!  (I thought about taking a 'before' picture but it was just too embarrassing.)  It was so nice to step inside my tub for the first time knowing it was clean AND completely grit free!

Friday, November 2, 2012

You're Gonna Want to Read This One

If you've never heard of Pinterest.com, you are totally missing out.  This online pin board is great for organizing recipe ideas, sewing project ideas, word art, and really any web page that has a picture.  Sometimes I mindlessly pin picture after picture on Pinterest and don't actually make much of anything.  Sometimes I try to duplicate things I find on Pinterest and they totally don't work or turn out drastically different than described.  And then I feel stupid.  But am I really the only one?  For those of you who sometimes feel overwhelmed with the perfectly crafted cookie in the shape of an bowl or beautiful artwork made from crayons, there is Pinstrosity.

I am sharing this with you because last few weeks were horrible.  I was dealing with all sorts of stresses.  I was not eating or sleeping well.  I was worrying about literally everything.  One night I found myself on Facebook and one of my friends had posted a link to Pinstrosity.  I didn't know what that was, so I clicked on it.  Pinstrosity's aim is to test those beautiful projects to see if they, in fact, can be duplicated.

The pin:

Pinned Image

The Pinstrosity:

Pinned Image

They also shared this image below:

Funny Confession Ecard: Someday, we'll all find out Pinterest is a conspiracy created by a group of men who are tricking women everywhere into cooking, cleaning, and working out.
http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMi1jMzA0ODZmZTRiOTY1ODI3

I perused post after post of failed Pinterest attempts on this quirky and humorous blog and got more than a laugh or two.  And I hope you will, too.  Because sometimes, all that we need is a laugh or two.