Archive for December, 2007

Back In The Saddle (Mostly)

December 29, 2007

Well, really, I’m back in The Sweatshop, which endearingly refers to my sewing room, I mean Office.

I am feeling mostly better, at least the technicolor crap has stopped flowing from my nose and mouth. I am still coughing like nobody’s business. I’ve tried breathing in steam and using Vick’s. They help somewhat. What I’d really like is a nice prescription-strength cough syrup. But I refuse to sit in Urgent Care on New Year’s Eve weekend. So I’ll suffer through. (And likely complain the whole way.)

So back to the Sweatshop. It started bright and early, just after showering, when I put on one of my Xmas gifts to wear for the day (a pair of pants from Zara, well, actually there were two, but I can only wear one at a time). They were about 2 inches too long. So, me being me, I decided to hem them (in my undies, truth be told). Within 10 minutes I had a pair of pants that actually fit.

After lunch (Croque Madame (a french grilled cheese with ham, tomato, gruyere cheese au gratin, and a fried egg on top) and a double, non-fat latte) My Partner and I had to check on one of the houses he’s remodeling.

Shortly thereafter it was back home to attempt to create these for two of our chandeliers. As you can see on the website, they go for a good $37 bucks. Um, No Way Jose.

I started by measuring the chains on the chandeliers I wanted to cover. I multiplied the length by 1.5 to get the length for the fabric. The chain in the bedroom was narrower than the chain for the chandelier in the foyer, so it was 5 inches wide whereas the latter was made 6 inches wide.

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Then I stitched in 1/2″ from the edges to make hemming easier (This is one of the BEST tricks I ever read/learned! It makes getting a consistent hem so much easier. Actually, I did it on my pants earlier in the day!).

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After that, I folded, ironed, and stitched down the hem on all four sides.

Elasticized

Then I stitched elastic to each edge to get it to gather (hence the 1.5 times the desired length). Then I added hook and loop faster to either of the long sides (unfortunately I deleted this photo!), being careful to put one side on the inside of the fabric and the other on the outside so that when they’re joined they overlap instead of, well, not overlapping.

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And voila! Chandelier Cozies. The one above is for the chandelier in what will be our child(ren)’s room. The blue matches the walls and the drapes.

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 This is the one I made for the chandelier in the foyer.

And with that, I’m going to leave you and watch Riddick (I love me some Vin Diesel!) and work on a cashmere scarf (FOR ME!).

Sick, Sick, Sick

December 28, 2007

Sorry for leaving you all hanging out there.  I’ve been so incredibly sick for the last week and a half that I haven’t had the energy or desire to blog.  It started almost immediately after I finished my mom’s presents with the chills and body aches.  Then progressed into fatigue, congestion, sinus issues, coughing fits, etc.  It’s really quite annoying for someone who likes to be productive.  The couple of times I felt better I was up and at it only to be knocked back on my arse the next day.  So I’m trying to keep things chill for the next couple of days in the hopes that I’ll have at least one week of my vacation where I’m not coughing my brains out.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and I’ll tell you all about mine as soon as I can get up the energy and desire.

xo
Frank

Handmade Gifts For My Mama

December 19, 2007

Continuing with the Pledge, here are today’s accomplishments. I took stash (STASH! Not even a shopping trip! I can’t begin to tell you all how impressed I am with myself about that!) fabric, made 6 napkins by serging a rolled hem, and then embroidering her favorite motif: chili peppers. To accompany them are 6 place mats, also with an embroidered chili pepper motif.

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I know she’s going to love them, mostly because she’s my mom and she loves me. But aside from that they’re pretty darned cool.

P.S. This is a pic of the chili pepper quilt I made her several years ago. I pieced it and my dear friend Joan quilted it for me. Mom has it on her bed as a bedspread (the bedroom in the photo is Joan’s house, not my mom’s (which would have much more clutter decoration!)

Chili

Holiday Open House

December 17, 2007

Every year My Partner and I have a Holiday Open House. It’s a low-key event whereby we open our home for several hours during the day and guests can stop in, enjoy some food and drink and visit for as long as they can make it. We like to do this because we know how busy everyone is during the holidays (and I can’t stand rejection) so this way people can come when they’re available and stay as long as they want/can. Throughout the day we had over 40 of our friends and family stop by to visit us. I know My Partner and I enjoyed having everyone here and we hope our guests felt the same. Here are some photos from the Open House.

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The Spread

Because I was busy with a 200-person wedding cake all week, I had neither the time nor the energy to make the fare that was served at our Open House. Thank You Trader Joe’s! And because it was an afternoon party, we served light appetizers and tons of sweets, including home-baked cookies! (No, I didn’t bake them. I was begging a neighbor for powdered sugar the other night and when she invited me into her home while she got some for me, I saw that her dining table was covered with an assortment of cookies. When I expressed my surprise (and desire to sample every kind of cookie!) she explained that they were for her church bake sale. After I got home the light came on (I’m a bit slow): cookies + fundraiser + Open House = WOOT WOOT! So I called her back and asked if I could buy 10 dozen cookies. Problem solved!)

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The Crowd

Why is it that whenever we have a party everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, is standing in the kitchen?! We have a relatively spacious home that is nicely furnished. And yet, every year, every party, THIS is where everyone congregates. Next year I’m setting out food in all the rooms. Maybe that will encourage them to use the other rooms in our house.

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The Mural

This is for Lorraine and Lori (the Peeping Tammys) who wanted to get a better view of the mural that covers one wall in our Piano Room. It’s actually half of a larger mural that was used to cover a garage when a dear friend married her hubby in their backyard. I’ll find a better pic when I have more time.

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The Gang

Some of our dear friends and their kids (sitting on the back steps NEAR the kitchen ;) ).

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THE CUTENESS!

Oh man, it hurts! Colton, Makende, and Isaiah.

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The Cuteness Continues!

She really knows how to hit me where it hurts!

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Mama of The Cuteness

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The End

What better way to end a party than with homemade waffles. (I know, I know, but who can say No to those two faces?!?!)

Handmade Secret Santa Gifts

December 13, 2007

I am a member on a cake forum. Actually it’s my home away from home. I’ve met up with a group of them two years in a row at the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show in Tulsa and had a blast both years. It’ll be an annual event as far as I’m concerned.

For the second year in a row I participated in a Secret Santa Exchange with the members of this forum. This year, what with the Handmade Pledge and all, I ended up making a couple of things for my SS (although I do admit to sending a book that I didn’t make and a couple of toys for her kids that I didn’t make).

For my Secret Santa recipient I made a reversible apron in her favorite colors (blue and green) from batiks. I also embroidered four towels with “inspirational” sayings (well, inspirational if you’re a cook or baker I guess).

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Two handmade gifts completed.

 

9 trillion left to go…

Handmade Coworker Holiday

December 12, 2007

In keeping with my Handmade Pledge I made these for some of my coworkers. I got the idea and general idea here. Had I not started these TWO NIGHTS AGO I might have actually embroidered a design on them as in the tute. As it is, I think the Amy Butler fabric is gorgeous and doesn’t need any embellishment.

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Tucked inside of each cup (taken from Starbucks instead of the card holder they’re offering this year) is a gift card from Starbucks. Had I planned ahead, I would have also tucked in some homemade biscotti or some such. Oh well, next year!

When The Clock Strikes Twelve

December 10, 2007

I was asked to make a cake for a coworker’s daughter’s birthday. They were having a “Princess” theme and the daughter was going to be dressed as Cinderella (although she apparently wanted to wear her Spiderman costume!).

Initially I thought I would try to do the carriage from Cinderella, but as the deadline approached (and the preparations for our staff holiday party at my house the same day as the cake was due!), I quickly gave up that idea and turned to my cake idol, Debbie Brown.

This is what I came up with:

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I’m happy with how it turned out. I especially liked some of the responses from a few of the guests at the staff party on Saturday, who thought it was a ceramic sculpture! (Although WHY I would have a ceramic sculpture of Cinderella in my home still remains a mystery!)

I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas

December 7, 2007

Well, to be more specific, I’ve always dreamed of having a white and silver decorated Xmas tree. And now I have one!

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Some close-ups to show the various ornaments.

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Swarovski ornaments & machine-embroidered (by me) stars

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Glass spirals and painted glass ornaments found on sale at Micheal’s.

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Another glass ornament found on sale at Michael’s.

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Some miscellaneous ornaments from Ikea (2006).

Peeping Tom, er, Frank

And a Peeping Tom shot into our house from outside.

Back From The Fair

December 3, 2007

And, for better or worse, we have no kids in tow.

But we did end up having a fairly good time. There were many games set up outside for the kids to “win” tickets (they could “win” tickets by playing with the bubbles!). With these tickets they were then able to go “shopping” for toys, games, and clothing. It was really interesting.

Inside they had several crafts set up for kids to make. I helped an adorable little girl make a wreath ornament from jingle bells. Turned out that she was one of a set of six siblings that were available for adoption. Imagine! From zero to six in one afternoon! My Partner also had the opportunity to interact with a few of the kids from that same family. They ranged in age from less than 1 year old to 12 years old. They were all beautiful, happy, well-behaved children. It broke my heart thinking about how nearly impossible it was going to be for them to be adopted by one family. My Partner, bless his heart, kept saying that perhaps there was a wealthy family out there looking for six beautiful children. Unfortunately I’m enough of a realist to believe that any family with enough resources to support 6 children is going to opt for other ways to build a family (but I’m enough of an optimist to hope there is such a family looking for them!).

We were both so touched by those children that we proceeded to talk about them the next day! We both agreed that if we had the resources (which meant I could stay home without paid employment and also that we could afford at least part-time help to support the domestic requirements (laundry, cleaning, cooking)) we would adopt them in a heartbeat. Unfortunately our current financial reality doesn’t allow that.

My Partner commented on the way out the event that he’s not one to show much emotion, but that there were a few times that he got misty-eyed from watching the kids.

All in all, it was good a good experience if only to see the variety of children that were available for adoption. They ranged from dark hair, eyes, and skin to blonde-haired, blue-eyed; from single children to, obviously, sibling sets of six.

We’ll keep making ourselves available and attending these events until our child, or children, find(s) us.


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