Friday, December 28, 2012

A boxing day skirt.

How was your Christmas?  I hope you had a good one.  Much as I believe it's first and foremost a celebration of Christ's birth, the physical manifestation still seems to end up being about food, family and presents.  We hosted this year, which meant for a few days our family of five blew out to fourteen by day and twelve by night.  We had an awesome time catching up, but I think more than one family member wasn't too sad when it was time for the guests to leave!

On our last day together, I dragged Andrea, my sister, up into my craft room to show her my fabric stash, and hopefully glean a bit of direction and inspiration.  (While it took me two weeks to get up the courage to insert a zipper, she could design you a dress from scratch, based on your own measurements, with as many zippers as you wanted without batting an eyelid)

The last fabric in the box was some lengths of fabric off-cut from preschool sheets that Andrea had been making a number of years ago.  She had given it to me wth the idea of making one of those skirts with the gathered layers for Maddy.  I explained that I had always felt a bit put off by the idea of having to do the maths, to which she replied "let's do it now!" . . . .

And so we did! (That's Andrea on the left and me on the right)

 So while other family members played their new Christmas board games or read their new Christmas books, we sewed.  At one point, we even got Mum to do a bit of gathering for us . . .

This is what it looked like before the relatives left.  The first layer gathered and sewn on, but a lot of gathering left for me!

Andrea challenged me to have it finished, photographed and blogged by that night.  I probably could have done, but after cooking and cleaning up after the hoards for three days straight, chose to take a much-needed walk on the break-wall with the family instead!
By doing the gathering in front of the TV, I did manage to finish the sewing on Boxing Day night, worn and photographed yesterday, and blogged today!

Here's the happy recipient, showing off not only her new skirt, but her Christmas ukulele as well!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Struggling through a creative block

Earlier this month, I went through my boxes of fabric and half-finished sewing projects.  I managed to do a bit of culling, but still ended up with ten lengths of fabric and a similar number of started projects I wasn't willing to part with.  I found that knowledge quite overwhelming, and I think it's been a contributing factor to my creative block of late. 

One project I did manage to finish was Maddy's mini wall quilt.  Earlier this year we went to an art exhibition by a fabulous textile artist, Olivia Parsonage .  We loved her work and decided to make our own version, using the fabric scraps we had on hand.

Maddy drew the picture and chose the fabrics, and I did the sewing.  Don't you love his cute pink tongue and waggy tail?

This was an easy project to finish, given that it's been finished for months, all except the binding around the edges.  One project down!

The next project proved a bit tougher.  Two of the lengths of fabric were denim with an embroidered edge.  One for me and one for Maddy.  I'm not exactly sure how long ago I bought them, except that I had planned to make a pinafore with Maddy's.  Needless to say, I modified that plan and made her a skirt!
Once a confident dressmaker, I've lost my sewing confidence.  It took me about two weeks to get up the confidence to put in the zipper!  But it's finished at last, and Maddy seems happy enough to wear it (that's it in the photo above).

So I'm left pondering how to complete some more of these projects without suffering further creative block. Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Quick and easy Christmas projects

Hello, crafty friends.  Are you knee-deep in recording your precious Christmas memories, content in the knowledge that scores of your precious hand-crafted cards are right now whizzing through the mail to friends and family?   And working on dozens of other Christmas projects besides?

I wish I could say that myself, but I've had a major drought in the creative juices department.  I admitted to myself that, for the second year in a row, I wasn't even going to attempt Christmas cards, and my plans to finish off a swag of unfinished projects (both scrapbooking and sewing) have also gone out the window. 

I jumped at the first trickle of creativity this week to get a bare minimum of Christmas projects done . . .

If you've visited here over the last month or so, you won't be suprised when I say that the "traditional" Christmas colour scehme of red, green and white doesn't come naturally to me. 

So what might tempt me?

Why, how about these tasty treats from Scrapbook Boutique:

First up, gift tags.  For quite a few years now, I've used family photos on our gift tags, and when I didn't get the photos printed in time last year, there were some disappointed grannies.  Here's this year's offering:

While I'm not doing the big mass-produced Christmas cards this year, there are a couple of teachers I want to give presents to, so here's the cards I made for them:

Papers from the stash, die-cuts left over from last month's Counterfeit Kit and hand-cut Christmas trees.

My final Christmas project came about because this year, for the first time, we've bought a live Christmas tree, seeing as how we're actually at home this year to enjoy it.  I trimmed a couple of branches off at the bottom and decided they might look nice in a vase, and bring the fresh, piney smell into another part of the house.

When I asked who would like to do some punching, Angus thought I meant this type of punching . . .

. . . which was understandable, but Maddy was more than willing to help,

not just with the punching, but the sewing as well!

Voila! A quick and easy Christmas garland . . .

. . . all made from the scraps stash, of course!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

November Counterfeit Kit Wrap-Up

For my November Counterfeit Kit, "Purple People Eater", I knew I had put in way too much cardstock and added way too many other bits and pieces along the way to ever get to the point of finished to the last scrap, so how was I going to decide when enough was enough?

First up, I skimmed through some albums, looking for photos that might go with anything left in the kit. 
 For each set of photos, I matched them with something from the kit.  From this point, I pulled one or more pieces, without worrying if anything was from the kit or the stash, full sheets or off-cuts.   These "page starter kits" were put into my work-in-progress folder to be completed at my leisure.

I've completed two of those pages so far, this one of my kids with their little cousins from about three years ago . . .

and yet another Christmas page, this one from two years ago. 

Next up I made three cards, including the two I blogged about in my last post, and another I didn't have time to photograph, using a 3-D flower I made using my Silhouette.

Was I finished yet?  I still didn't think so. 

I decided to choose just a few papers that I really wanted to try and use . . .

That's not too big an ask, is it?  Just four papers, especially the green velvet one.  And could I get just one or two more uses out of the BG letter stickers?  How about another sheet or two of cardstock before I put them away?

As I'm sure you know, inspiration can come in the funniest ways.  We have a room in our house which we optimistically call our "upstairs lounge-room" but generally use as more of a dumping ground than anything remotely lounge-ish.  That is, until we have overnight guests and there's the mad scramble to unearth the futon lounge so they have somewhere to sleep. 

As I was dusting the mantle-piece, the thought of those papers must have been rattling around in my sub-conscious, because I came across these two photos:

One of Robert from the early days, wearing his favourite bright shirt of the time, and another of Maddy as a baby.

Can you see them?  Two of the papers, plus deep purple cardstock background, plus letter stickers.  I had fun splashing paint around, and then stitching over the top, to mimic the pattern on the shirt, as well as using the negative from one of the stars on that Christmas page I just showed you.

When it came to do this page, I knew I was going to be able to use, not just the last two papers I really wanted to use from the kit (plus cardstock and letter stickers, YAY), but the baby girl definitions paper, still sitting in the "lose it or use it" pile,  and some other fun goodies besides! 

Surely I can call the kit finished now?  And I would have, too, except that it took me so long to finish this post that a batch of photos turned up in the mail today . . . another page starter kit or two, perhaps?

These photos are from this year's Christmas card shoot.  The good thing about this page kit is that it contains the last full sheet of patterned paper from the kit, as well as a few other bits and pieces and a sheet of eggshell cardstock.

This page is going to be pure fun.  The "Just add sugar" clothing label has been hanging on my cork board just waiting for a page like this.  I definitely don't be finishing this one until I get my new Silhouette blade, as I'll want to cut a birdcage or two for sure!

How did you go last month?  And what projects are you up to this busy month?  I can't wait to find out!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today is my 20th Wedding Anniversary! Funny, 'cause I sure don't feel old enough to have been married for that long, but apparently I have! So, a card for my husband, perhaps?

Before you look at this card and wonder why I went to so little trouble for someone I've been married to for 20 years, you might want to read this post here about my philosophy on making cards for men who don't really appreciate the finer details of our craft.

Don't worry, I'll wait . . .

You're back?  OK, here's the card:

I had intended to use the Retro Sketches sketch suggested at the CKC, but the lightbulb was just too big, so I ended up keeping it really simple.  If I get a chance before our anniversary dinner tonight, I think I might colour the lightbulb in a bit brighter though!

While I was in card-making mode, it's time for a Thank Your card.  Here's that sketch . . .

Well, I sort of used it, anyway! 

All cardstock and papers plus the vellum speech bubble are from this month's Counterfeit Kit.
Thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Chatterbox "Scrapbooking Walls", anyone?

Does anyone out there remember the old Chatterbox "Scrapbooking Walls" lines?  Maybe even have a sheet or two still lurking in their stash?  If you don't remember them, each range was named after a different room and had co-ordinating  wallpaper-style patterns.  They were one of the first papers (that I'm aware of at any rate) to be double-sided, and the B-side was always a very subtle tone-on-tone check.  Well I, for one, was not going to "waste" the beautiful A-side patterns in order to use the back!
Uh-oh, you know where we're going with this one, don't you?  I've been steadily working through the old papers in the last year and a half, but when I was recently going through the last of my old papers to choose my November Counterfeit Kit, "Purple People Eater" there was one full sheet left.  It's a purple-and-green paisley.  Guess which side I ended up using?

First up, a page using this sketch from Scrapbook Supplies Online:

Now, I could have just used the whole sheet and called it good, but I really really wanted to have another go at using the paisley, so before I sewed this page together, I cut out the middle . . . ready for another try.

This next page isn't finished yet -

not quite sure what direction to take with the title and journalling.  I do want you to notice my shoes, though.  Purple suede joggers!  And a different pair of tie-dyed jeans!  (and a different sheet of Chatterbox paper matting the photo - B side, of course!)

Still a bit of paper left . . . I wonder if I'll be able to use the A-side this time?  But hang on, check out the awesome challenge from ColourQ this week:

Wonder if I can work in the Counterfeit Kit challenge to be inspired by a stamp at the same time?

I have always loved the expression on Angus's face in this photo as he watches an older girl blowing bubbles.  The way he's looking at the golf club and ball is pretty funny too! 
I don't often use quotes on my pages but this one I found was perfect for this page:

"There are no seven wonders in the eyes of a child. There are seven million". Walt Streightiff

What about you?  Any "Scrapbooking Walls" lurking?  Or other older supplies you're ready to get out and have a play with?   

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A bit of paint . . .

From time to time, I'll experiment with a little bit of paint on my pages.  I'm yet to find a technique I'm totally comfortable with, but the other night, I was in the mood to have another try . . .

First up, I wanted to try this collage technique from fellow Counterfeiter, Glory Girl, using (what else?) some purple off-cuts!

I had some watered-down gesso left over, so next I decided to roughly brush it over a sheet of very dark coloured cardstock.

So far so good, but would I be able to make something with either of them?
 I came across this photo series of Maddy, wearing a hat of mine.

I've already scrapbooked the photos for her album, but what I actually thought when I saw those photos was, "I used to wear hats".  And the idea for a page was born!


 Journaling reads "before they became baby photo shoot accessories, I used to WEAR HATS
And here's what is probably the only photo of me wearing that same hat, at a friend's wedding.

It took me a long time to put that page together, but I got there eventually, with a little help from this lovely sketch from Shanna Noel's blog:

The next photo that caught my eye was a very ordinary one of me standing in our current house when we had just moved in, holding a friend's baby.  Like I said, not a great photo, not a family we still see regularly, and just one of many random "holding someone else's baby" photos in the album.  But the story I suddenly wanted to tell wasn't particularly about the baby, it was about me

I was so clucky back then, not that I would have talked about it (although I'm sure my actions spoke loudly enough!)

Remember how I told you I used to tie-dye?  I had to laugh because it was half-way through making the page before I realised that the baby in the photo is actually wearing a tie-dyed purple Bonds suit I made for him as a baby gift!

For this one, I used the monthly sketch at ScrapFriends:

Thanks everyone for stopping by!
P.S. Fellow Counterfeiters and Purple-lovers, if you want to see more you can jump back here to see another post using my kit that hasn't been linked to the CKC blog.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

White Christmas

No . . . not that sort of white Christmas, I live in Newcastle, Australia after all!
While we're on the subject of Christmas and where I live, we don't have any extended family nearby, so we alternate where we spend our Christmases between my family and my husband's.  Rob's family live down near Canberra, and my family is scattered between Kempsey, Tamworth and Sydney.
With a new air-conditioner installed in our living room and the possibility of a child going to camp on Boxing Day, we've volunteered to host Christmas for my side of the family this year.
What, I hear you say, hosting Christmas for the third time, ever?  Probably best start getting ready, then!
And I will, soon, but before I focus on Christmas present, here's a couple of pages I've done for some favourite challenges of mine, with memories of Christmases past.

Scrapbook Boutique never fails to have an inspiration piece that is absolutely delicious, in more ways than one . . .

And here's the page I made, using photos from the last time we hosted Christmas, 4 years ago . . .

I really enjoyed pulling out anything and everything white I could think of, trying to find some different textures . . . 

 Then I finished it off with a bit of Kindy Glitz, because if you can't use glitter on a page about Christmas, when can you?

Next up comes Jay Gee's Nook, where the selection of images is always enticing . . .

This month, I  was drawn to the colours and textures of the "Noel", but wanted to add a touch of the red as well.

This photo dates back a little earlier, to Rohan's first Christmas in Canberra.  That's him in the red on the lounge, with his cousins.

I have the latest Glitter Girl to thank for the idea of the panel with the stars. I considered filling the negative space with washi tape, like she did, but then came across this text paper with definitions of "happy" and "brighten", so that worked really well.  I inked the edges and added stitching to make a bit more definition.

I'm also linking this post up to the "Frosty Festivities" at Jennifer's Jumbles this weekend - the challenge is to make a Christmas (or winter) project without using Christmas supplies. 

Thanks for stopping by to visit! What are you up to at the moment, remembering Christmases past, or getting ready for Christmas 2012?