January 27, 2011

Anger Management Aardvarks!

So... hopefully you all remember my dear friend Chuckles, first craft for me of 2011.

Well, Chuckles lives on my desk at work. Last week we were having a particularly stressful/annoying week and we decided Chuckles needed to bite things. The computer, other people, really anything that frustrates us. Basically he would be our anger management tool - act out through him so that we can remain calm, cool and collected. 

 We also decided that he would be good for awkward situations... aka hold up the "awkward aardvark" if you have something to say that makes you uncomfortable. As the "A" words continued, I decided I needed to make some aardvarks for the rest of my team, so we could all use them as we see fit. Fortunately for me, there are only 4 people on my team so this was not too daunting of a task for the weekend.

Although I love chuckles, I figured a pile of small brown aardvarks would not be nearly as fun as a pile of multi-colored, slightly larger aardvarks ... and from there came this beautiful pyramid of creatures created to match my co-workers favorite colors (note that the one on the bottom right is blue - not purple - just sayin'):

Chuckles knows he is #1 as he was the original crazy aardvark of the bunch, and the one below him (1st purple aardvark) is for my mom - but the other 4 now live on the desks of my team members, including our co-worker in Canada. Yay for inter-office mail being free and spanning to the international offices too! ;-)

While making them and watching old "Bones" episodes with my husband, I snapped the following pictures - for documentation and my own amusement:

Comparing Chuckles (aka Aardvark version 1.0) to version 2.0 (bigger and brighter!)
Empty aardvark skins waiting to be stuffed, sewn, and given a face:

A pile of freshly cut aardvark patterns - aren't they cute :)

And... my favorite... apparently while turning an aardvark inside out, if you leave his ears inside, he can double as a dinosaur! Raaaawwwrrrr... hahaha, yes I played with these little guys WAY too much that weekend :)

January 22, 2011

Happy Vday from the Schnecke... aka Snail

My husband is from Germany and one of his favorite terms of endearment for me is "Schnecke". In English that translates into snail... which does not seem so endearing after translation haha but it is the equivalent of sweetie or baby in this case.

As soon as I saw this adorable snail tutorial on Moda Bakeshop I just knew I had to make one. Since its almost  V-day and snails have that double meaning for me, I figured it only appropriate to use some of my Moda Valentine's day jelly roll to make her.

So without further ado, please meet... die Schnecke :)

January 20, 2011

Babies everywhere! Ahhhhhhhhh - and a blanket :)

Has anyone else noticed that everyone seems to either be pregnant or having babies? I have so many friends who are "newly announced" pregnant, pregnant, or just gave birth ... weird! Its like the plague... but longer lasting haha.

Instead of jumping on the bandwagon (no thanks!!) I decided to participate only as far as making a blanket for my best friend from 6th grade on who just had a baby girl last week.

The pinwheels were made with Moda's Love U line which I absolutely adore.

I stuck to the good ol' stitch in the ditch method which i think makes a cute grid on the back.
Fortunately I stumbled onto the technique of using 1 color of thread on the front (white) and 1 color of thread the back (pink) to match... makes me way happier with the end result.

You might notice that this slightly resembles the other HST baby blanket I attempted to make last summer ... this is the new and improved version which was WAY more appropriate for gifting than the last. The first was intended for the same friend and although I realize it will just get puked and crawled on, I still couldn't handle all the mistakes and so I had to make my friend a new one right after the holidays were over.

One day when I get over my baby phobia, my own kid can throw up on the first practice one to its heart's content and won't mind the mistakes I'm sure ;-)

January 19, 2011

Christmas present post-view (is that a word? haha)

I had a super long list of things I wanted to make people for Christmas and that list only shrank a little by the time the holidays arrived. Fortunately my friends love me and do not mind that their presents are coming way after Christmas - because really, who cares when it comes... a present is a present right?! :-D

I was however able to get a few completed on time for family which made me happy. I didn't want to post about them and give away the surprise before Christmas but then I completely forgot to post about them at all! Sheesh...

First up we have the placemat set I made for my in-laws who live in Germany. I wanted something artsy but classy - not too modern with bright colors or cheesy Christmas characters.  I think these turned out pretty darn cute if I do say so myself... and I do!

 This was the first time I deviated from my go-to "stitch in the ditch" and decided to quilt some diagonal lines. SO happy that I did - it adds another dimension to the pattern and gives it an artsy edge which for me takes it from "home-made" into the realm of "hand-crafted." 

(Can you see my big fuzzy dog hiding in the hallway with the bright glowing eyes? haha awww Winston)

Next came the blanket I made for my mom. Imagine composing music as a present for Mozart ... that is how I feel about making crafty things for my mom. She is AMAZING and knows how to make just about anything I can find in a book, online or in a store. She taught me everything I know and bought me my first sewing machine for my MA Graduation in June 2010.

I wanted to make something special for her that was just screaming "Mom!" - which is how I feel about most of my "made with a specific person in mind" creations (aka everything so far? haha). After a lot of browsing and some really sneaky inquiring to get her opinion on different fabrics - this is what I came up with:
Everytime she and I are looking at fabric we have this running joke that "if it has large tacky flowers on it - mom will love it!" While that MAY be true sometimes, haha, she really does like flowers and pink so I knew immediately that the Bliss line for Moda in reds and pink would be perfect for her. I wanted to highlight the beautiful fabrics but also work in some fun piecing and this pattern won the job.  

I also decided to make her some fun Christmas pillow covers from Moda's Crazy Eight line. Fortunately 2 Turnovers make 4 pillows with some left overs, yay! I made the more traditional pattern for my mom:

 And the funkier pink/light blue pattern for myself (in the middle below).And if you are wondering why the pillows look a bit strange (aka lumpy) its because I had some issues with Joanns and ended up filling the pillows with stuffing to wrap them up for her - and then made pillow forms with her afterwards. Lets just say I wont be buying pillow forms from them EVER again if I can avoid it! Grr...  

January 18, 2011

Backing dilema - help needed! PLEASE!

Do you remember that super fun stripey quilt I was dying to finish for myself - the first quilt project I will actually KEEP?!?!

 ... well, here it is, still waiting for me to finish it :(

While writing this post I think I might have realized what my problem is, other than masses of Christmas and other presents I had on the to-do list.
I dont think I like the back! These 4 colors are used on the front and do match, I promise, and I love them.
 In theory this was a good idea but I think it might just look... well... really stupid :(

What do you think? Color blocks... are they ok on the back? Or should I cut all of these into big strips and alternate them? Or should I have just picked one solid color? Or or or or... any ideas? I have 1 yd of each color and I need all of that for the backing - this beast is THAT Big :).
Or can anyone convince me that this backing will be cute and I should just FINISH IT?! HEEEELLLLPPPPP!! haha

January 17, 2011

Cranky and yet crafty :)

I was having a bad bad weekend - (boys - hide your eyes!) ... menstrual cramps to the max and super sized crankypants, yikes! My poor husband just hid in the living room behind his book - smart man :)

Since I was too uncomfortable and moody to do anything else however, I was able to get a lot of work done on this quilt top. I wanted to show it to the kids as a sample of what they will be earning for the Children's Charity Quilt Project so I had to get it done by noon on Sunday.

It turned out way cuter than I thought at first - I wanted to try out this pattern and happened to have these 2 charm packs lying around without a purpose and ta da!
The kids loved it and are super excited to be earning quilts for charity by reading their scriptures on their own and with their families. It was fun to see them so excited when I showed them "the real thing" yesterday, as apparently the paper quilt they will be using to track their progress didn't get them too motivated ;-)

Question is tho... how should I quilt it? Im 1 level above broke college student (read: recently graduated, first real job, and lots of school loans!) so sending it out to get quilted super cute is NOT an option ... and free motion is on my to-learn list but Im definitely NOT practicing on this haha. Any ideas? Stitch in the ditch is my go-to but more creative options/suggestions are super welcome and desired!

January 1, 2011

First craft of 2011!

Crafty Goal #1 for 2011: Make a non-quilt craft project each month

I have always loved crafts, even before I got into quilting this past summer, and I want to make sure I don't lose that creativity by focusing solely on quilting in my spare time. There are tons of crafts on my to-do list and they definitely deserve a bit of time each month.

So without further ado, here is my first craft of the new year: Chuckles :)

 Chuckles comes from a book called "Softies only a mother could love". He is pretty close to the pattern, with a few personal-preference modifications. A super quick and fun project, Chuckles becomes #2 of my "monster crew". Many more to come, I assure you.

A quick paper-traced template, some fun layered bug eyes and teeth hand sew on, a quick run through the sewing machine, stuff, hand sew him up and voila! - you have a dog/rat/aardvark mutant with an adorable overbite ready for your amusement haha.  

So happy 2011 everyone and lets all welcome Chuckles into what is going to be a GREAT year :)