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Adventures in Quilting

This passed fall Elise posted a quilting challenge on her blog… I decided it would be the perfect time to challenge byself to finish a (king sized) quilt I had started for my brother and sister in law as a wedding gift (they have been married 5 years! ha oops). I sat down and got to work and in a week I was done with their HUGE quilt (I gave it to them before I took a picture, so hopefully sometime I will remember to photgraph it and share). The point of  this story is that the challenge got me hooked on quilting again. And by christmas I had finished three more quilting projects.

This first quilt was very emotional for me and honestly the best kind of therapy. I mentioned last spring that a close friend had passed away. She was great and super crafty and one night while we tie dyed fabric in the dark she got on my case for NEVER blogging projects that I worked on (it’s true I only blog about a half of the projects that I work on… I’m a crafter, not really a blogger:). After she died yards of that fabric we had tie dyed together sat in my cabinet… taunting me. I knew I needed to do something special with it, and I knew I needed to blog about the finished project. A quilt seemed like the perfect thing to do with it- so through tears and late nights I plowed through this whole quilt in a few days and came out the other end with a quilt I will always cherish, but also feeling sooo much better!

I had now become addicted to quilting (and my living room was clearly already a mess) so I began a quilt for my mom. I knew this was the best Christmas gift I could possibly get for the women who taught me to quilt, and who has everything… and it was a complete surprise… perfect! This quilt turned out bad in the sense that nothing lined up, but I kinda loved that it was clearly hand made, and I knew my mom would love it too.

This third project was a table runner I made as a gift. I used the left over tie dye fabric to make a small present for my friend’s mom. I knew the holidays were goign to be really hard for her and that this was a project that her daughter had helped me with… I thought it would be special for her… and it sounds like it was. (yay holiday spirit)

After this crazy adventure in quilting I had to clean it all up for my boyfriend’s return home. And I think I was ready for it… thankfully this time I finished on a high note, and am excited for the next opportunity to make a quilt (and a sewing room so that I can leave a mess out!)

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DIY dog pillows

Meet Grace and Seamus… two very adorable dogs in my life. I should clarify these are not my dogs, I am WAY too irresponsible for a dog, I mean, I can’t even maintain a blog…. ha Anyway, I saw these this fall and thought they would be perfect gifts for some of my dog loving friends, but rather then buy a generic dog pillow, I knew they would much rather stare at that much beloved face of their own pup… so i made me own.

To start you need to track down a photo of the dog. To help you can call ask someone else who lives with the dog, or in the case of Grace, I stalked Sean’s mom’s facebook (true pet lover have tons of photos of their pet on facebook). I pulled the photos into photoshop to do a little editing… first I deleted the background so that they were just on a white background… there are TONS of you-tube tutorials on this process if you need a little help. Once the background was gone, I turned the photos to high contrast black and white (you could also make them color and white like the origonal pillow I found). The last step to the photo editing process was to make the image as big as my printer would let me… for me that means legal sized (81/2x 14)… next is the fun part:

What you need:

a paper cutter (or sissors and a ruler, the paper cutter is just easier)

a rottery cutter, mat, and ruller

freezer paper

thin solid fabric (I used bleach muslin)

fabric for the back

sissors and pen

iron

sewing maching (or you can hand sew)

fiber fill

 

Start by cutting the solid fabric and the freezer paper 8.5 by 14 inches

Iron the fabric perfectly flat, and then with the wax side against the fabric press the paper to the fabric (no steam, just like interfacing, slow and medium heat)

feed the fabric/paper through your ink jet printer so that it prints on the fabric side (on my printer that means I load the fabric side down)

Next trace 1/2 an inch around your image and cut it out.

Cut a piece of the backing fabric a little bigger then the new cut out and pin them together right sides together.

Sew a half inch seam allowance around the whole things leaving a 2 in gap on the flattest side possible.

Trim the backing and the seam allowance to clean it all up.

Turn the pillow right side out and press it.

Stuff it and hand sew the gap closed.

ENJOY!

 

 

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race car crayons

My nephew is now 2 and the DIY gifts are getting a lot more fun then the burp cloths and baby blankets I worked on when he was a baby baby. These crayons, while they turned out fun and cute…. were a HUGE challenge to get to work.

To make them I bought a pack of crayons and ordered a chocolate mold (like this one). I figured I had melted crayons before and used chocolate molds before… how hard could this project be?

The first step is peeling the labels off the crayons… the fist few were super easy and fast, but then there were also a few that were impossible to peel… after a few broken nails and sore fingers I got them all peeled. Next I cut them into small pieces and sorted them by color- as in all shades of green together and all shades of blue and so on… these molds held about 3-4 crayons each so they aren’t just one solid color (I like that though).

After they were chopped and sorted I used trial and error- I learned what you shouldn’t try to do… you’re welcome! I first tried to fill each race car with pieces and put them in the microwave… I microwaved for a LONG time and the crayons didn’t even get soft… the mold on the other hand started to distort a little. I decided to try another route. I put all of the crayons in a little glass bowl for each color and put all of the bowls on a plate in the microwave… the glass got hot and helped melt the crayons!! yay I found that 3 mins in the microwave then stir (I used toothpicks to stir) then back in for 3 more minutes and I had liquid crayon (be careful it gets hot!). I poured each bowl into the mold (I put the mold onto a baking sheet covered in tinfoil to help with the clean up) and then put them in the fridge to cool.

In the end they turned out adorable, and most importantly my nephew liked them. Honestly, I think that now that I figured it out… next time it will be a LOT easier. Think of all of the possible crayon shapes! Such fun!

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skittles vodka

I’ve been playing around with infused vodkas as little lately… citrus is what we use the most… I made it REALLY citrussy and honestly you could drink it straight, although we use it to make all kinds of cocktails… more on that later. Skittles vodka is a lot more exciting and pretty! I made these this fall to use as Christmas presents… I mean, who doesn’t want neon suggery alchohol?

Makting it is easy, and actually pretty quick for infused alcohol… heres how you do it:

You need:

a bunch of skittles- I bought the big family sized bag, and only ate a few :)

empty/clean water bottles or jars (one for each color you plan on making)

cheap vodka- I’m went with Svedka… any cheaper just reminded me too much of freshman year of college- not in a good way

12 oz measuring cup with pour spout

coffee filters

large funnel

bottles or jars for packaging (I found ming at World Market)

 

Start by separating out the skittles by color. Decide how many ounces of each color you want… Then collect 8-10 skittles per ounce of vodka, so for an example I did 8 ounces of each and used about 80 skittles of each color.

Next put the skittles with the correct amount of vodka in each water bottle/jar and shake a bunch.

Let them sit over night… I shook them each time I walked through the kitchen to help them out :)

Once everything is desolved and it looks kinda murky/thick but nothing big still floating, it is time to start filtering. This part gets MESSY so do this in an easy to clean location. After giving a bottle one last good shake, put the funnel into the measuring cup and line it with a few coffee filters. Pour the vodka through the filter… I had to scoop out goop every once in a while so that it would actually drain… this process takes patience and gets easier as you figure it out a little. once it is all through transfer the funnel to the decorative bottle and line it with one filter. Pour the vodka through again and fill the bottle. Cork the bottle, clean out the funnel and measuring cup and repeat with all of the colors. I choose to freeze mine and mix it with sprite or club soda (less sweet). enjoy!

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a sweet goodbye

I swear I am saying goodbye to friends right and left lately… super sad, but I am so excited for all of them. I guess that is what I get for hanging out with such adventurous, career-minded, talented women! Recently a friend moved to denver and knowing that she is addicted to sweets and that she had a LONG drive ahead of her, I thought this was the perfect good bye gift! (I know that no one wants more “things” while they are trying to pack and purge so I like to send friends away with either small or disposable presents.)

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braided necklace

I made this as a mother’s day gift for my mom this year. We all know that moms LOVE getting home made gifts, so for mothers day every year I try to stick to home made. I got the inspiration for this necklace from this site. Clearly I didn’t look at the directions, mine is not nearly as clean looking as this one (lesson learned, actually read directions…). It was quick and effective… my favorite kind of project!

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I mustache you a question… will you be my Valentine?

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Just like all 5th graders I make valentines every year to hand out to friends… these were what I did this year.

This was the first time I have attempted chocolate molds… and man, they are suprisingly easy to do! I garentee you will see more of these from me! I think they speak for themselves, but we had no idea how much fun we would have playing with them before I packaged them up!

Have a great day… hope you all endulge in a little something sweet! Happy Heart day!

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feeling the love around here

I LOVE valentines day… I am not really sure why, I have never had a particularly amazing or romantic heart day… in fact I have had a lot of awful Valentine’s days along those lines. Maybe I’m no into it because I love the color red, hearts, cinnamin and cherry candy? Or maybe because I love any excuse to make cheesy craft projects? Whatever it is, the fact remains that I freaking LOVE Valentines day!

So, of course I decorated my house

I also wrapped a gift with themed paper and made notes that you can download and print too!

Do you have any Valentines traditions? Do you get Cheesy too? No matter how you plan on celebrating, hope you are getting in the spirit!

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gift tags

have you ever used this Crayola Air Dry clay? I use it all of the time, and LOVE it! This year I rolled some out and cut them out with letter cookie cutter to make custom gift tag. I think they add such a cute, clean and personal touch to the gifts. For the other gifts (like for my boyfriend’s gifts) I cut them into circles and then used a “to/from” stamp. Getting closer.. are you done wrapping gifts?

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little boxes (full of ticky-tacky)

Oh wait; you don’t hear the Weeds theme song every time you hear the term “little boxes”?

These were my coworker gifts… can I tell you I hate having to think this through every year… nothing too big or too cheap… I like to be thoughtful, but who has time to be thoughtful for like 20 coworkers? This year I boxed up a few little treats (caramels, soda cracker candy, and peanut butter balls) with a label and a pom- pom. They turned out pretty perky and happy and festive, I think.

I did a bigger version for those few co-workers that I am closer to. These had individual boxes of each treat as well as candied orange peel and a jar of homemade jam… and lots of labels! ha

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