Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Snow!

I know I'm supposed to on a bloggy break, but I had to share a few pictures of *snow!!!*
Real, honest to goodness, just like in the movies, Christmas snow. We had just finished opening presents when we looked outside and saw this:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Eve, and that all your little ones are tucked in tight. I'm writing this by the glow of our very first Christmas tree, and I can tell you that it makes all the difference.
We did end up getting a few more ornaments for our tree... little Longhorn ones, of course.
 And I made a few pom poms from my serger trimmings!
 I was given this adorable owl ornament at a handmade ornament swap. My daughter has claimed it as her own, so I'm hoping to make one for my son in the new year.
 Although the tree is the only holiday decoration that we have up right now, it fills the whole house with a warm glow.


Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and in case I don't see you, have a very happy new year. Although there's no chance of a White Christmas here, may your days be merry and bright!

Friday, December 21, 2012

5 Simple Ways To Dress Up a Gift Card

If you still have a few people left unchecked on your gift list, you might be considering giving gift cards, or (even better, some might say) cold hard cash! I used to cringe at the thought of giving gift cards. Now I pair them with a heart felt note and pretty card, and I feel that they are appreciated and welcomed-- especially in this economy!

In the spirit of having a happy, stress free holiday here are a few other DIY ways to dress up a gift card that shouldn't take more than 10 minutes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Grandparent Handprint Printables

Everyday someone finds my blog while searching for these Grandparent Handprint printables from Grandparent's Day earlier this year.

And... I always feel bad because the printables from that post have dates on them, so they can't be used anymore.

So I made some new ones!

In a cute frame, these would make a great last minute gift (or add on gift) for grandparents. It would also be a fun craft to do with your nieces and nephews while you are in town and babysitting! (ahem...hint, hint!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

6 Gifts for Knitters

Do you have a knitter on your to gift list? These are my picks from 10 to 50 dollars. I had so much fun virtually shopping for knitting supplies.


Be warned! A few of these are from Etsy, so if you want to order by Christmas there are just a few days left!


1. The first thing everyone thinks of to give knitters-- yarn. This Capra Cashmere Yarn from Knit Picks is a Merino/Cashmere blend that sounds just dreamy to wear and knit with. It comes in 20 gorgeous colors and is $7.99 a ball.

2. It's impossible to go wrong with jewelry! This yarn ball necklace by Crumpet Cake is classy and cute-- and affordable at the price of 16.99.

3. Speaking of jewelry, here's some jewelry for knitting projects.  As a child of the 80's, I fell in love with these Color Changing Mood Stitch Markers from Lady Danio. The listing notes that the markers be made into closed markers (for knitting) or open (for crochet). At $10.00 these are a steal!

4. Norichan Knits Handspun Yarn looks like a joy to knit with, crochet with, or simply to hold! Check out these gorgeous offerings from Ohmayzee on Etsy.

5. Art Bin has come up with this handy bag for holding knitting items. Unlike other bags, the Yarn Drum has enough room to keep yarn for entire sweater and has slits at the top to feed the yarn through while you are knitting. This would be so convenient for an on the go knitter!

6.  What about knitting at home? I've long coveted these stone yarn bowls. They are absolutely beautiful and works of art in their own right. Each bowl has a small groove to feed yarn through to keep your yarn from bouncing around on the floor as you knit. The bowl pictured above come from Blue Room Pottery and is just one of her many handmade creations. Unfortunately she is sold out for before Christmas delivery-- but I can't think of a knitter who wouldn't love to receive an IOU for anything from her shop.

So knitters, lets dish! What yarn are you really hoping to find under the tree this year? Or what's the best knitting gift you've received (even if it was from yourself?)

Friday, December 14, 2012

5 Stocking Stuffers for Sewists

How is everyone? I'm sure everyone reading this is already finished with holiday shopping. But just in case... it's time for another favorite things post!

Here are 5 gifts for sewists under 10 dollars (and some under 5!) These are small enough to be stocking stuffers or gifts for your sewing circle.

5 Stocking Stuffers for Sewists


1. This Fons and Porter Seam Ripper is ergonomic to make fixing mistakes that much less painful.
2. Clover Bias tape makers makes creating bias tape from yardage a breeze, saving you from boring solid color trim.
3. This tiny, inexpensive Dritz Loop Turner will eliminate the frustrating task of turning purse straps and threading elastic with safety pins, drinking straws, seam rippers and the like.
4. Looking for a gift that travels well? These Fiskers Square Rulers are small enough to fit in large bag or sewing machine rolling case, but still large enough to be useful in cutting into yardage.
5. Oh... and don't forget the best gift of all-- fabric! These Mini Charm Square Packs from the Fat Quarter Shop are just darling, and at $4.50-- they won't break the bank!

I hope this helps you find something for someone on your list (or for yourself!) Any other ideas for some sewing (or non sewing) related stocking stuffers  you'd like to see in your stocking this year?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Easy Peasy Paper Pom Pom Ornaments


Easy Paper Pom Pom Ornament Tutorial by Make It Handmade. It only takes 2 dollars and 20 minutes to fill your tree with color!

Last year after our annual gift exchange I felt like our home was missing something-- a Christmas tree. After a discussion with my husband, I braved the after Christmas sales and purchased a small artificial tree on clearance.

We put up the tree this weekend and I realized that we didn't have any ornaments or lights. Zilch. Like zero. not even one from our local car dealership. I figure that we will collect more as our little family grows up and I didn't want to run out and buy a bunch things that I"d have to store. 

I also didn't want to spend a lot of money, and I definitely needed something that was unbreakable.  The first DIY I came up with are these mini tissue paper pom pom ornaments. These are easy to make, and dirt cheap. Even if you don't have tissue paper lying around, making these will set you back about 2 dollars. 

Before we go any further, I just want to put it out there that paper crafts are not my forte. In fact, I'm kind of awful at them. Be kind. 

These are really simple tiny tissue paper pom poms. I'm sure everyone has made these in the bigger size. Since you make four at once, it goes by pretty quickly. I made 16 for our tiny little tree. I think they would also be cute in different, non traditional colors. Want some of your own? Here's how.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I thought a lot about whether to write this post or not... but I feel that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. If you like to make things, this is the time of year where things get a little crazy. Gifts for others, treats and cookies, home decor projects, dinner parties, ornaments.... it's easy to get overwhelmed.

Oh no! I'm Overwhelmed!!!
I know I'm not alone-- Liz, of Simple Simon and Co wrote a great post about making time for family during the holidays and Shannon of luvinthemommyhood has a holiday crafting support group going.

This year I decided to take a step back and not make any handmade gifts for Christmas. I decided that if I really want to give Aunt Sew a bag I'll surprise her with it in January-- and not feel pressured to have to make it (and 5 others) on a deadline.  It's taken so much of the pressure off!

Friday, December 7, 2012

3 Affordable Sewing Machines To Buy or Gift!

It's time for the first post in our "Favorite Things" series.

This post (actually the entire series) was inspired by Seena who wanted to know about sewing machine recommendations:

I've moved to the US recently and have been thinking of buying a sewing machine. I love making quilts and would also like to start making dresses for my little girl who is 3 years old.
Any suggestions as to which brand I should go for?
--Seena


Seena,

Picking a sewing machine is confusing! I spent a lot of time researching before buying a new machine last year.

If you are just starting out borrowing a machine is a great option (especially if it comes with some built in guidance!) But if you don't know anyone that sews close by, I'd recommend buying an affordable machine to start with.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Squishy Sentimental Scarf

A few weeks ago I had a reason to go looking for my knitting needles. I found them all packed away in a box, along with balls of yarn, and projects at various stages of completion. There were hats just waiting to have the ends woven in,  fingerless gloves that needed to be seamed, swatches of this and that, and this scarf-- still on the needles.
The Squishy Sentimental Scarf by Make It Handmade-- With Free Pattern!

It made me very sad. Although I have a vague memory of packing all this away, I can't remember what made me suddenly decide that I didn't have time for this-- for me-- anymore.  Couldn't I have found the few  minutes it would have taken to finish these projects? As a pregnant, pumping, working mom with a 7 month old baby at home, the answer was honestly no.

The Squishy Sentimental Scarf by Make It Handmade-- With Free Pattern!

On the bright side-- my babies are now toddlers, and I'm finding more time to do the things I love! The first was finishing this scarf.

Although this may not be the most attractive or complicated scarf I've made-- it's my favorite. It's made of the little bits of leftover yarn that I couldn't bear to part with. Some of them are over 10 years old, but I still remember where most of them came from.

The black is from the first scarf I knit for my husband, the blue is a skein of bamboo yarn I picked up while traveling in Japan, the white is from Mexico, there is even a teensy bit of left over yarn from this bunny I knitted for my kids, before I had kids.


The Squishy Sentimental Scarf by Make It Handmade-- With Free Pattern!


The scarf is huge-- over twice my height. It's warm and squishy, and is my most stolen scarf-- my husband, son and daughter all love to wear it, because there is so much love inside.

You can make your own sentimental scarf too! The scarf is knit sideways back and forth along the length. Your scarf will look different depending on the yarn you choose, but here are the general instructions.

The Squishy Sentimental Scarf:

Materials

Gather all of your worsted weight yarn (Consider holding two strands together if you want to use a lighter weight yarn.) The key to making this work is to pick one or two color families-- don't throw your whole yarn scrap box at it! I chose to use neutrals, although you can see a bit of blue in there if you look closely.

I used size 8 circular needles. Although this scarf is straight knitted (not a circle), a circular needle helps reduce hand fatigue-- this scarf gets heavy!

Instructions

Cast on 250 stitches loosely onto the needles.

Knit all stitches (garter stitch). Switch yarn whenever you run out, or whenever you feel like it! Consider using the Russian Join for a near invisible join between your yarn strands.

Once your scarf is wide enough (or you run out of yarn) bind off.

Finishing

I chose to crochet a border on the two long sides of the scarf after binding off (this is optional.)
Weave in ends, and block your scarf! The blocking process is absolutely essential to making the scarf look nice. Blocking will even out your stitches and make all the different yarns and fibers play nice. I'll share my super fun, easy way to block a scarf soon.
The Squishy Sentimental Scarf by Make It Handmade-- With Free Pattern!

This was a perfect project for me to jump back into knitting with. I loved the feeling of the yarn running through my fingers, and the sound of my needles click-clicking. It was a lot of mindless straight knitting but it was totally worth it to see all the colors come together, and to have those spare balls of yarn disappear  from my stash.

Has anyone else ever rediscovered a hobby? Or, what do you like to do for 'me' time?


Monday, December 3, 2012

Get Out The Vote!

There's so many exciting things going on this week on the Internets! It's voting time for Rikka's Ring Your Neck Challenge.
I would ask you to vote for the Kita Scarf, but there are so many wonderful entries-- you'll just have to check it out for yourself. Rikka is planning to put together a new challenge in January-- but it's top secret for the next few weeks. The neat thing is that you don't have to have a blog to join in! Rikka hosted pictures and even a tutorial for a few non blogger sewists this challenge. So, watch Ricochet and Away for a new challenge announcement soon!


Also (and I'm sure everyone already knows this) but Project Run and Play auditions are here! (No, I'm not entering). Even if you don't sew and don't have children, you should check out this site. The things these women come up with are absolutely amazing! It's just like Project Runway, but with cuter models, and far less cat fighting.

And finally... Sew Mama Sew is having their semi annual Giveaway Day. It's a neat event that benefits readers, small shop owners, and bloggers alike. There a lot of handmade items so even a non diy-er could get a great prize!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! What are you excited about this week?

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