Thursday, December 15, 2011

Last Post of 2011

What a year!  Maybe during the first of 2012 we can review all that was created here at Made on Maple, but for now I've assigned myself the task of wrapping things up for 2011.

Due to the fact that my sewing room (which also doubles as the laundry room) looks like this, 

and Annee and I both are swimming (I might be drowning) in Christmas preparation, I'm blogging quickly to let you know that things will be quiet here on MOM until after the New Year.

My ironing board (my task board of sorts) is loaded with projects that will be completed after the holiday madness dies down.  I'm anxious to get to these projects, but first things first.  I'm like a little kid who needs to eat their vegetables (Christmas prep) before I can gluttonously devour my dessert (sewing projects that are NOT Christmas related).

I did manage to make one Christmas present, most likely the only Christmas present that will get sewn this year, and I thought I would share it with you.  I kind of wish I started making these in November and made some for myself.  These little house ornaments turned out as darling as I hoped.

Every year my mom requests an ornament with my kids' pictures on it.  I loved these little houses from Retro Mama, and I decided that I would figure out how to put a picture on it.  The fronts are darling...

The backs, well, let's just say they aren't my favorite, but I'm letting it go!

You see these darlings are really small, and the pictures I put on the back were too large to flip through the small opening without getting all wrinkled.

A perspective picture for you.  The houses are smaller than a can of tomatoes.

It's a good thing my mom knows what my kids look like or else I'd be really worried.  It's the thought that counts, right?

Thank you Retro Mama for the cute idea, tutorial and pattern!  Maybe next year my own tree will get some cute houses.  If you have any free time between now and Christmas, you should whip yourself up some mini houses.

And now, friends, I'm signing off until 2012. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and we'll see you in the New Year!!  Tootles for now!

Monday, December 5, 2011

For a One Year Old

Although my list of things to sew for Christmas remains long and unedited and I haven't sewn anything on the list since last week, I had to take a time out.  A good time out.  I got to sew for a little girl's first birthday.  In my opinion, sewing for little girls is sew much fun!!  The options are endless!

Every little girl needs an outfit to advertise to the world how old they are.  And what little (and big) girl doesn't like cupcakes?!

Having baby dolls are huge to little girls, so baby blankets are a must.  I used some leftover Sherbet Pip fabric that I have from a quilt that is in the works for Grace for Christmas.  (The unfinished quilts remain on the Christmas sewing list!!  I'll have them finished soon.  I hope!)  I really loved how this mini quilt turned out.  I just love the fabric.

The perfect size for a new, soft, cuddly baby doll.

I backed the mini quilt with a scrap of nursery rhyme toile.  One of the first fabrics I got from Annee when she was living in Korea.  (Four and a half years ago, I think?!)  Crazy how my sewing has evolved since then.

Moms, both big moms and little girls pretending to be moms, need bags to put things in.  Grace has more bags then I can count and I swear every one of them has stuff in them.  Bags or purses are an essential part of being a girl.

And now back to Christmas sewing.  Well, maybe.  I might take a short time out and make Grace some skirts.  We'll see where the sewing winds blow me!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Merry Christmas style.

Friends, I always have big dreams during the month of December.  In order to execute all that I dream, I'd probably sit in the sewing garage for the majority of the day.  That is obviously not realistic, and therefore everyday I edit my dreams and pare them down to a more manageable dream load.

For example, I dreamed the ladies would have new festive frocks for the big performance of The Nutcracker today. Around midnight last night, I realized not even the first dress was going to get finished.  But that didn't mean that at the start of the night I honestly believed that two dresses might have emerged!

Our Saturday was jam packed full of Christmas fun.  We had some caroling to attend to, a Christmas party at church, etc.  Sometime last week, I came across this joyful post over at Aesthetic Nest.  When I saw her merry snowflake shirts I was smitten.  I tried to think of which of my friends both crocheted and had a little girl.  I thought of my favorite friend Allison who fit both requirements, and I sent her the link as my Merry Christmas gift to her.  I thought she would have a blast making that shirt for her daughter.  And I, in turn would have done my part to spread Christmas cheer to all around me, free of charge.

Little did I know I would wake up to an email from Allison Friday morning saying she had four completed snowflakes, and would I like two?!

Enter, sewing crocheted snowflakes onto long sleeved tee-shirts by hand, in the car, on the way to caroling:

Totally worth it, in my opinion.

Now my new Christmas wish is that you might have your own special crocheting friend, who will help turn one of your dreams into a real live thing!  

Or maybe you know how to crochet yourself, in which case do not miss out on this awesome tutorial!  Allison said it was easy.  What do I know?!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas sewing continues.

Annee's last post re-motivated me to get my Christmas sewing done!  I said it in my last post, but to really get everything you want sewn for Christmas, you should probably start in August.  However, if you are anything like me, it's more fun waiting until the last days of November and make yourself go mad trying to get everything done in time to mail or put under the Christmas tree for Christmas morning.  My mad dash has started, and here's what I've been up to since I last posted...

I hung my Christmas party garland and bunting that I made two years ago (I think?).  I love having it hanging in my kitchen for the entire holiday season, and last year I got smart and left the nails in the exposed beams in my kitchen making rehanging it a breeze.

After Christmas last year, I cut out a *Merry Christmas* banner, but never sewed it.  I'm pretty positive I thought it would be so nice to have the banner all cut out.  It was nice to have it all cut out, but why didn't I just sew it in January??  The day after Thanksgiving I put myself on the clock.  I had one hour to work on it, and to try it get it done.  Being a runner, I love timing myself, sew it was the motivation I needed to just get the project done!

Before Thanksgiving I bought a fat eight bundle of Christmas fabric to put in my embroidery hoops, and yesterday I switched out my fabric.  Now I don't know if I'll always use the fabric in my hoops, so I decided not to cut the fabric to just fit the hoops.  That way if I ever try to quilt or make something with the fabric I won't have these random pieces to work with.  I put the whole fat eight in the hoop, and then I iron and pull it into place.

Yes, I iron right on the wood hoop.  Maybe you're not to suppose to, but I find if I do this then I don't have to cut the fabric and it will lay flat against the wall when it's hung.

We don't have a mantel over our fireplace, but earlier this year we put an Ikea Expedit next to our fireplace, so it's serving the same purpose as a mantel.  I've got it all decked out.  

Deck the halls...

I think the hoops are a nice touch.  I'm thinking maybe I'll make one of these Christmas trees, but it might just have to wait until next year.  

And honestly I think the faux mantle is rather busy enough for now.  I've had 6 Christmases without a mantle, so I'm probably having a hard time with editing.  I want every cute idea I've ever seen put on a mantle on my Expedit!

Last, but sew not least, I made an imitation Crate and Barrel Christmas Tree Pillow.  This will go down as my greatest creation of the season.  At one point I thought I might just scrap the idea of making it and just buy it.  However, the CB pillow is 12 inches and costs $26!  Not to mention a 12 inch pillow is smaller then I wanted my pillow to be.  Sew, friends, I gathered 6 pieces of felt (9"x12" pre-cut) and cut 100+ two inch circles.  If you have the plastic kid cups from Ikea, the bottom of the cup is the perfect size.

My couch is red, so I used a white background (the other reason why I totally had to make my own knock-off pillow).  

Before I got to work making the tree, I stitched a triangle the size I wanted my Christmas tree to be on the front of the pillow.  This way I wouldn't get lost as I made my tree, and the triangle guided me as I stuffed it full of green circles.

Next I switched out my regular presser foot with my embroidery foot.  I dropped my feed dogs, and I sewed several small circles in the middle of each circle.

And I repeated this a 100+ times.  By the end I thought I was going to go nuts.  I actually couldn't sew this pillow in one sitting.  I wanted to make sure that I made the tree VERY full.  Just the way the Crate and Barrel one looks.

I also felt like every time I added a circle I needed to pull and cut the top and bobbin thread to make sure that I was getting the tree as full as I wanted it to be.  I didn't trim the bobbin threads until the end of the project.  Here's what it looked like:

I could still probably trim threads on the front, but alas, I am done.  The masterpiece has been placed on the couch for my kids to destroy for all to enjoy!

I probably should have put a zipper in this pillow, but after finishing the Christmas tree, I was done.  

It got a deep envelope closure.  

I also whipped up a very simple Christmas pillow to sit behind the Christmas tree.  It helps balance the couch out.  

I kind of want to make a simple cover for my rectangle pillow that normally sits in the middle of the couch. Since my couch is so long, I kind of think it looks empty.  I kind of want a Christmas quilt or blanket.  But it's looking like I might need to wait on all of that until next year.  December is upon us, and I have gifts I need to start sewing!

I'm sure I'll let you know if once I get it figured out!  Next up I have a wreath that I'm half way done with, but I'm creatively stumped on how to finish it.  If I don't get it figured out soon, I'll post it and ask for help.  For now I think this post is long enough!

Signing off from the West Coast.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fired Up.

We spend Thanksgiving in Virginia with family.  The weather was perfection.  The food was delicious.  The time together with my siblings and spouses was just right.  The only thing missing was the opportunity to sew.  It seems that with the oncoming of the holidays, or with the changing of the seasons, I get all fired up about creating again.  Suddenly I have a million ideas swirling around.  Lists start to get written up.  Fabric starts accumulating on my shelves.  Things get made!

Sunday was our recovery day from the trip.  The kids were content to be reunited with all of their belongings and favorite activities, so it was a quiet afternoon for me.  The perfect time to slip off into the sewing garage and get things done.  I did start a Christmas wreath while on vacation.  I was anxious to get it finished first off when we got home:

Nothing too extraordinary.  My lights ended up being a bit bigger than I think they should have been, but I'm too burnt out on this project to go back and make a change.  It will be festive and whimsical throughout this Christmas season.  That will do.

Right before we left for vacation, I had ordered a half yard of an Alexander Henry fabric called "Merry Main Street".  I can't remember how I stumbled across it, but when I did, I knew it needed to be added to the Christmas decore.  Waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home was my half yard cut.  After the wreath was finished, I got the crazy idea that I could make three pillows to complete my pillow collection started last year....

These pillows are totally simple.  I simply added some pre-made red pipping, and then it's backed with a green polka dot and an envelop closure.  These are season decor.  No need to go all out!  Getting them done was the most important feature of these beauties.

Of course we stopped at Ikea on our way to VA.  Lucky for me this red linen was on clearance.  Only $3.99 per yard and it was something like 56" wide.  That's a lot of fabric for just $4.  I couldn't resist a red bow pillow.  I do love my green one so much.  Making one out of red, I thought could present endless possibiliteis, Valentines day, etc. 

Please agree with me that this "Merry Main Street" fabric makes you feel merry indeed.  I really love it.

In other areas of the sewing garage, there is a massive quilt-in-the-works waiting to get loved again.  I work on it in fits and bursts.  Then I walk around it all sprawled out for days and days.  It's a love hate relationship going on right now.  

And finally, two little ladies will be attending The Carolina Ballet performance of "The Nutcracker" this weekend.  It will be their first time attending a live ballet performance.  True story, I'm totally more excited than they are, and they are SUPER excited.  Don't you think someone should be wearing this dress, with this fabric?!  I DO!  Let's see how the week goes...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving comes first...

 But, I've already started my Christmas sewing.  I mean to really do Christmas sewing right you have to get started in August.  Well, I was a tad bit busy in August, and sewing wasn't allowed to really be on the list of things to do.

Sew, I started pinning some ideas on my Christmas pinterest board, and away I went this weekend.  First up was finishing my Scrappy Christmas Tree.  I was having a hard time finishing it because I couldn't figure out how to quilt it.

  I decided to do a FMQ on the tree that looks like a combination of a strand of Christmas tree lights and ornaments.  Maybe a stretch, but it looks fine from a far, so it works for me.

Then I did just horizontal lines around the tree on the linen part.  The Italian is so happy to have it hanging on the fireplace.  Normally I have a Christmas Moose hanging there, and he kind of thinks Rudolph is a little over the top.  Maybe I'll hang the Moose in our room this year.  Haha!!

Okay, after the Christmas tree was finished I went right into making pillows.  I have a vision of Christmas pillows adorning my couch for the month of December.  I'm trying to keep them rather simple.  All the back will just be envelope closes.  So far I've finished two pillows.

Just know that making that snowflake was harder than it looks.  I'll confess that I had to do a google search for how to make a six sided snowflake.  I love where my hobby of sewing has taken me.  Never in my life would I have thought I'd need to google search how to make a snowflake, but how thankful am I that I can google such instructions!

Now I'm off to cut 100 circles and attempt to recreate this Crate and Barrel beauty.  Wish me luck.  I'm not the most well rested seamstress at the moment, but I'm crossing my fingers that my will to finish my Christmas pillows will keep me going!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Parisian Chic

I've been feeling like Grace doesn't have enough clothing.  Now if my husband is reading this he'll think I'm crazy.  But, I just cleaned out her drawers and gave away all the clothes that are too small and put away all the warm weather clothing.  That left Grace with very few options, and girls need options.

I made a long list of things I want to sew before the Christmas season is upon us (it starts the day after Thanksgiving in this house), but before I feel like I could get too far into my seasonal endeavors (I'm going to make 5 Christmas throw pillows!!!), I needed to take a brief time out and make my big "little" girl something.

One of Grace's favorite books are the Fancy Nancy series, and Nancy loves all things French, so Grace does too.  Grace has even told us that she wants to go to Paris, France to see the Eiffel Tower.  This is on my "places to go" list as well, so I have high hopes we'll both get there sooner rather than later.  Sew, when I came across this Michael Miller fabric in my stash that's been there for over 3 years, I knew it needed to be something Grace could wear.

I used the Lazy Day Skirt pattern as my base pattern, but I doubled it and added a coordinating fabric and some rick rack.  Doubling the pattern made the skirt extra full and twirly and fancy.

Pefect for my chic little Parisian wanna be.  

Grace giggled at the sight of her new outfit this morning, and when she saw herself in the mirror she said, "Oh, I look so beautiful."  High self esteem is not something Grace is lacking in these days.  And, I kind of have to agree she does look beautiful.  I am kind of biased though.  

The best part of this project is that it was done in less than an hour.  Those are seriously the best kind of projects!!

Now back to my lofty goals for Christmas sewing.  Did I mention I'm making my kids throw quilts??  I finished the quilt tops, and now I'm going to attempt to quilt them to a minky backing.  Any tips or suggestions before tackling quilting with minky??  I'm thinking I'll just be doing some straight line quilting, and I will use tons of quilting spray adhesive and safety pins.  If you have any other hot tips, I'd love some advice!
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