Thursday, December 31, 2009

Now...the festivities

Christmas morning excitement

Holiday Puzzle Tradition & family game playing:
The curly girls
Family Fun & Games

Handmade Gifts, given and received:
Smiling oceana scarf recipient
Vintage trivet and vintage pyrex
Lil' Mermaid loving her quilt from her Memere
Crocheted slipper love from Auntie K

Cookies made and eaten with the help of very experienced hands:
A two year old and frosting?
More frosting tutorials
An afternoon of cookie...

Gingerbread Houses constructed and demolished, amidst much giggling and finger-licking:
Gingerbread House #2
The all girl gingerbread house

More crafting (as if you doubted this):
Cinnamon Apple Sauce ornaments
Hot Rod carving his bow

And a Christmas Pageant of epic proportions (okay, it wasn't really that big but it did involve three generations [I had to sing-choke-choke], a wiseman, two sheep and an angel:
The Christmas Pageant participants
Christmas Pageant sheep

Phew! We're joyful, but a bit tired now. How were your holidays?

More Block Love

Dahlia Block Up-close

Finished just before the New Year....mostly for the Making Seven CAL.

Dahlia Block

This one isn't actually part of the Making Seven CAL but when I saw Amy's version I just had to try it. It was my first time making popcorn stitches and even though you have to take your hook out of the loop to complete the stitch, they were fun. I will be making more of these babies with different color combos!

Anemone Block
Anemone Block Up-close
Anemone Block

Still Lion Brand cotton with a G hook. Still honkin' big squares. But I am convinced they will make good pot holders/hotpads, especially if I put a solid backing on all of them. This was not my favorite square. Ross really likes it but I was a bit bored with the last three rounds, that's why I couldn't make them all the same color as in the pattern example in the book.

Briar Rose Block
Briar Rose Block Up-close
Briar Rose Block

I enjoyed this block and I really like the color combo. Lion Brand cotton.

Circle in a Square Block again
Circle in a Square Block

And Willow Block again
Willow Block

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We did have a white Christmas...

Our White Christmas #4

...just of the freezing fog variety instead of the snowflake kind. It was damp, gray and chilly. Good thing the festivities weren't...more on that later. For now, the stillness of a peaceful Christmas....
Our White Christmas #2
Our White Christmas #3
But our chicken did venture out of their coop
Frozen laundry line
Our White Christmas #1

....and the peacefulness of our family, happy, healthy and loved.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Making Seven!

These babies are big

What is up with all this crocheting business? That's what you're thinking, right? Or you're thinking that Kellie has completely lost it and the kids are locked up in the closet. Hmmm...that gives me an idea...oh anyway...

My first contribution to a crochet-along

Well, my crafty gene has gone into overdrive this holiday season, much to the dismay of my clean house. Oh wait, my house is NEVER clean...what I meant was it's even messier than usual as this weird obsession has taken over. Luckily Ross and the maniacs have learned to ignore my piles.

Well anyway, I ran across this crochet-along, crochet challenge....reason for more yarn... And I was tremendously inspired by Badskirt's fantastically beautiful blocks and I ventured over to One Flew Over's blog for the details and I am.

My first block

Finally participating in my first crochet-along. This is big news for a lurker like me. But I was entranced, excited, amazed at all of these cool crocheted blocks...oh yeah, and I had the book. So here I go....the above block is #13 Circle in a Square block. It was my first one. I am thinking of making them all into pot holders so I am using worsted weight cotton yarn. Mostly Lion cotton. They are pretty darn big but this is what I had on hand, and I think it will work well for pot holders.

This one is growing on me

Willow, above, was my second block. At first I wasn't totally jiggy with all that Seaspray color. But it's growing on me. I haven't blocked anything yet but so far I am pretty happy with them. The hardest part has been deciding on color combinations. I am limited by my stash but still, there's so many ways you can do each block. It's crazy if I let myself think about it too much. Okay enough chatting for now. I gots me some blocks to be makin' Don't worry. I'll keep you posted. I know you're waiting on pins and needles for my next unveiling.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bet you didn't know trees could be grannies too!

More granny trees

Yep, thanks to Michelle again, they can be darn cute grannies!

Our new tree wall decor

The trees in the top photo will be part of my upcoming garland. But I really, REALLY love the color combo in the second photo. So I asked Ross to cut me off a tree branch from his recent pruning expedition and I tied on the trees with some hemp twine for a simple wall decoration. I think I may keep it up past the holidays. I just love those colors!

Grandma Trees

There is no end in sight because Michelle also has tutorials up for a heart granny and a round granny. I've only been able to make one heart granny so far. And sweet little sister that I am, I made a little mobile with it and sent it down to my equally crafty sister in the OC.

MY little crocheted wall hanging

My thought was the star represented the shining "reason for the season", the tree represented their family and the heart represented love. Corny, eh? Hey, she liked it! :-)

More grannies on the way...stars and trees and hearts..oh my!

Lovely Starry Goodness

A bowl full of starry goodness!

In Late November I was trolling the crafty blogs and web sites looking for an easy, fun decoration to make for gifts. Since crocheting is my latest crafty obsession I was very attracted to several crocheted star patterns that I saw out and about.
Grandma Twinkle Stars

First I ran across this lovely, lovely, hilarious blog by Dottie Angel. I just immediately fell in love. She has some super sweet garland tutorials that I am just itching to try. And at some point I will have to devote a post just to her utterly fabulous blog....but anyway...she pointed me to The Royal Sisters blog and some super duper fantastic crocheted granny tutorials. First the grandma twinkle star tutorial was up and that is what I used for most of our teacher present ornaments. These stars are just...well...addicting. It's crochet crack, that's what it is. They are fast, simple, easy to carry along (I made some up at choir practice and gave several to the kids to take home for their trees) and there are so many color combinations possible. My head spins when I think of how many of these stars are in my future.

Prettiest Grannies in town

Then, I visited one of my favorite crochet blogs - Sarah London Textiles - for luscious color inspiration and I found she had a tutorial for THREE granny star patterns. OMG! I was obsessed and whipped up a whole bunch more! I especially love her star design with the open, lacy center - like the red one and the yellow & white one below.
Closer peek

Sigh.....I have a garland made up of stars I am waiting to string up, our tree is covered with them, every Christmas present was decorated with them...and yet...I still...must....make....moreeeeeeeeeeee

There could be worse addictions, right?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Teacher Gifts

All of the teacher Christmas gifts

Yep, I am one of those freakish parents who has to give all the teachers a Christmas/Holiday gift before the kids get out of school. But unlike organized parents I wait, literally, until the last minutes before the last day of school to FINISH the presents. I didn't even have time to make the kids' lunch and I had to bring it to them later that morning.

More teacher gifts

Isn't that terrible. But now that I am several days removed from that crazy person who was me prior to the school holidays....I can actually appreciate what we put together for the fabulous teachers that inspire my children daily (or almost daily...and let me tell you - that is NO EASY TASK!!)

Close-up of teacher Christmas present

So, I zipped us some ridiculously simple burlap bags. And inside we had little bags of peanut brittle that Grandpa W makes for us and handmade cards from the kids. I tied the outside with hemp twine and attached a hand crocheted star ornament. I got the patterns from here and here. I CANNOT say enough about how much I LOVE these little crocheted granny stars. You will be seeing and hearing LOTS more about them. They are dangerously addicting.

Anyway, I think the little packages turned out pretty cute. This year, because of the horrendous school budget cuts and the loss of our PE, art and music teachers, what our school is doing to combat some of that is to have teachers within in the same grade cooperatively teach some of those subjects. So that is why we have so many presents: we have their main teacher, a student teacher this year, another first grade teacher who teaches them art and another first grade teacher who teaches them music. Oh yeah, and we have a super cool librarian and computer teacher. So they got goodies too. They are also our crossing guards when we walk to and from school and I always feel bad that they end up inspiring all of our children and working with all of them, but because they don't have their own class per se, well, they probably get left out of the goodies sometimes. Well, not by nerdy craft families like us. Are you shaking your head? Rolling your eyes at us? It's okay, I understand.

HOt Rod with his argyle ornament

But, you probably noticed that one of our gifts has a different ornament. A cute little argyle one to be specific. And a cute little boy holding it....

Up-close of argyle ornament

This ornament was for their student teacher, Mrs. Scott, who has a special relationship with Hot Rod. She really "gets" him. It is so fun to watch that kind of connection. But the funniest thing is that one day a few weeks ago, he wore this new argyle sweater of his to school......on the SAME day that Mrs. Scott wore one toooo!!!! Well, you know how first graders are...this was BIG news! I heard about it for days. I heard about it every day he wore his sweater again and I swear there were a few days that he wore his sweater two days in a row... I even heard about it from the teacher when I went in to volunteer. Clearly, this made a big impact on Hot Rod this school year. Soooo.....when I was trolling my favorite crafty sites and I ran across this ornament on this web site. I jumped off my chair and called to Hot Rod and showed him the tutorial on making this ornament. His eyes were huge as he looked at me and said "Mom, we HAVE to make that for Mrs. Scott. Please?" Well, what could I say? It is very cute. The tutorial is excellent and it was a bit time consuming but not terribly hard. I stayed up until 11:30 the night before the last day of school sewing the darn thing. It was perfect. And very emblematic of our life this holiday season: too many ideas, utter dis-organization, pure craziness, freakish resolve and then finally....perfection.

A little late with this magical ornament swap

All of our handmade "Fairy Tale" ornaments

But don't worry, we did finish our ornaments for the magical Holiday Ornament swap hosted by The Crafty Crow and Full Circle. If you remember, the theme was fairy tale-ish goodies, hence our plethora of unicorns, dragons and gnomes. We had such a good time making them that we made several more than the five we needed for the swap. I made some for my family and the kids made some extras for family and friends as well.

More handmade ornaments
More close-ups
Close-up of unicorns

At first we were a little scared of the theme, even though fairy tales are some of our favorite things...but we weren't totally sure how to translate that into ornaments. My first thought was to make shrinky dinks that we could trace some clip art onto and embellish in a fairy tale-ish manor. Shrinky dinks are my ever faithful go-to when in need of immediate kid crafting success.

We found some dragon clip-art (because of course dragons have been included in Hot Rod's viking obsession for the past six months) and he did a great job at tracing and free hand filling in of his artwork:
I was impressed...

Lil' Mermaid (as expected) chose unicorns. I also so grabbed some clip-art on-line for her to trace and I found an elsiecake embroidery pattern of unicorns. They had the cutest faces, so she used one of those as well.
Lil' Mermaid working on her ornament design

Hot Rod used colored pencils and Lil' Mermaid used sharpie markers. We punched holes in them, baked and voila......
The shrinky dink swap ornaments ...

So darn cute and easy. Then we attached wire and strung beads on them.
Lil' Mermaid beading one of her swap ornaments

We had enough ornaments right there. But did I stop? Of course not. You can't control a raging-out-of-control-craft-a-holic. What are you thinking? We headed to the salt dough next.....The sculpting took a bit of time as that is not a strong point for any of us. We still had dragons and unicorns but we added some gnomes in and other fun stuff.
All baked

Then it was painting, painting....
First coat of paint

Almost done painting

Then some modge podge to seal and wire and beads for hanging, (this took place over several days, mind you), and phewwwwwwww.....
Close-up of Lil' mermaid's ornamentsClose-up of Hot Rod's ornamentPapa's gnome
A little gnome for Grandpa WClose-up of Peelu's ornamentLil' M's salty unicorn
My salt dough unicorn up closeHot Rod's salty dragonLil' Mermaid's gnome for the swap

Again, not all of these were for the swap. But it was definitely the swap that got us into the whole process. And we LOVED it. And came out with some darn good ornaments. We even impressed ourselves. Which, is NOT easy in a family of demanding crafters!

So one more time, I know you want to see them again....:-)
The Dragon Batch:
The Dragon Batch

The Unicorn Batch:
The unicorn batch

The Gnome Batch:
The Gnome batch

And here's to hoping that your Christmas is magical and...of course...crafty this year!