Thursday, December 31, 2009

K is for Calligraphy

Dear Shayne,

I recently bought some fantastic hand calligraphed stickers from K is for Calligraphy on Etsy:
K is for Caligraphy seals

In addition to the Air Mail stickers, I bought Thank You stickers and wow! What a package I got! First of all, she hand calligraphed my address on the envelope. A-maz-ing. It was like getting a gift in my mailbox! Heck yeah!

Upon opening it, I found my stickers wrapped like a present, plus an extra little bag of goodies inside. K is for Calligraphy FTW, I tell ya. I want to buy more stuff from her just to get awesome packages.

I wrote my Christmas thank you notes the other day and, although the cards are beautiful, they were lacking something. So I used the snowflake paper punch (previously featured on our Christmas cards) on some orange paper and the Thank You seals from K is for Calligraphy.

I love how they turned out:
Thank you notes

Sigh. I want to be able to write like that! Sadly, I think that ship has sailed for me and my chicken scratch. Good news for Katy -- I'll be back to buy more lovely stuff!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cute lil birthday cards

Dear Shayne,

In the dark days pre-Cricut, I had to use scissors to cut shapes out of paper. Oh, and I also had paper punches. Honestly, even with the Cricut, I'll probably still use paper punches -- I do love them so. (Punch! Punch! Punch! Satisfaction!)

I particularly love the ones from Martha Stewart. Check out this cute little card I made with the cupcake punch:
Birthday card

To deliver the cupcakes, I made envelopes out of this Happy Birthday paper:
Birthday envelope

I love these envelopes -- they're wishing the recipient a Happy Birthday before they're even opened. Yay!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wedding thank you notes

Dear Shayne,

As you know, I used vintage postcards for our wedding RSVPs. My plan was to then re-use them for thank you notes and send them back to the original invitee. Yay for recycling!

I used basic photo corners on craft paper cards and I think they turned out great:
Wedding thank you notes

I printed out a wrap-around address label I found on The Fussy Designer (she hasn't posted in awhile, but the labels are still available at that link.) Here's the back:
Back of the envelope

I also included a photo of me and Bill holding the Stanley Cup because, well, it's totally awesome!

Complete thank you package


Monday, December 28, 2009

Wedding centerpieces

Dear Shayne,

Hard to believe, but I am still talking about the crafts I made for my wedding in July. Sorry for dragging it out so long, but it's been one of those years -- I'm slow.

Sooo... I made our centerpieces for the reception out of votive candle holders glued to decorated hockey pucks:

(Photo taken by Kevin Lam Photography.)

This was a pull-it-all-together-at-the-last-minute craft because we didn't want to take the hockey pucks and votive holders with us from California to Toronto. So we bought them there the week before the wedding. Exciting!

I made the puck stickers at home before we left -- I used Marvy's scalloped circle 3 inch punch on red and white patterned papers and then I ran the cut circles through the Xyron sticker maker (love that thing!) So all I had to do was stick the stickers to the pucks once we bought them. Then I glued the candle holders on top!

One sad part of this story is that my Crafty Group at work (Hi, Crafty Group!) knit candle cozies for me but one of them caught on fire at the reception, so we had to pull them all from the tables. Such a bummer. I had tested most of the yarns to make sure they were not flammable, but I didn't test the one that went up in smoke. So there's a lesson to be learned: Test every yarn. You know, so you don't burn down the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The fabric toppers were super fun to make -- each one was different. I collected red and white fabrics throughout the year and then brought them all with me to Toronto. We rented sewing machines at The Workroom to make the toppers -- Jenny came to town on Thursday and we headed straight over there to sew.

What a fun place! Karyn, the owner, was so helpful. I was nervous about using a serger on the edges, but she encouraged me and they came out great.

If I lived in Toronto, I think I would spend a lot of time at The Workroom. Look how great it is:

And here's a view of the other side -- just gorgeous!

(These photos taken from The Workroom's Flickr photostream. I was too stressed out to take photos while I was there.)

Making those table toppers turned out to be a real highlight of the week -- time to sew with my best friend was such an awesome wedding gift. :) My plan is to make them into a quilt at some point -- add it to the list of 2010 projects! (Or, er, maybe 2011...)


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Dear Shayne,

Sorry for the double-post of these photos (also found on Kaesea's blog), but I could not resist. Gotta show off the cute little Santa hat I made for my boy:

Merry Christmas!
Kaesea says: Merry Christmas!

I made this little hat with felt and a disassembled cotton ball. I feel certain I have some other fluffy white stuff to use around here, but I just couldn't pull it together. So cotton ball it was!

After Kaesea's serious "portrait photo," I asked him to say cheese:
Merry Christmas! [say cheese!]
HA! This photo cracks me up!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Shayne. I got many crafty gifts that I'll show you in the next few days. In the meantime, I'm going to hang out with my family and a delicious glass of eggnog. Mmm!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas cards

Dear Shayne,

As you know, I have spent most of 2009 clinging to the face of the earth by my fingernails, holding on for dear life as the world spun crazily by. At least, that's how it's felt. The highs have been very high (Getting married! Yay!) and the lows have been very low (Sick kitty! Boo!) I'm hoping that 2010 evens out a bit for us.

Meanwhile, as the holiday season approached, I realized I needed a basic card if I was going to get them out at all. I'm pretty pleased with the final result:
Holiday cards 2009

I found the silver envelopes in the discount bin at Paper Source a few months ago, so that was the start (bonus: the early decision not to make our envelopes, which I have crazily done in the past.)

Back again to PS a few weeks ago and I found the lavender flat cards and the purple and silver paper -- I cut that into strips, used a snowflake punch to cut out the snowflakes (this was pre-Cricut, of course!)

The white snowflakes were kind of blah, so I used a silver stamp pad to add a little sparkle to the edges (not sure if you can see that in the photo, but it's there). Then I wrote our holiday messages on the cards and popped them in the mail. Done!

These were the least labor-intensive cards I have sent in a long time and I even liked them, which was a surprise. Not too elaborate, but I think they turned out pretty cute.

Hope you're having a fantastic holiday season!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I got a Cricut!!

Dear Shayne,

I got a Cricut for my birthday from Bill! YEAH! I've spent the last few days mesmerized by the 1.2 million YouTube videos that show you all the amazing things you can do with this beastie. Wow, what a world!

It's been a busy week, so I haven't done anything super snazzy yet, but I did take the opportunity to decorate Bill's gifts. Here's one of them:

(AKA: Best. Husband. Ever.)

Hope you're having a merry week!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Felt magic!

Dear Shayne,

The process of turning loosely knit wool fabric into wool felt is called fulling or, more commonly, felting. It's so cool, it's like magic.

A couple of Christmases back, I made my mother's husband (Hi, Jeff!) a pair of slippers using this process. After a couple of years of hard wear, he's worn a hole in them and he needs another pair. I'm happy to oblige -- I love it when something I've made is so well loved that it gets worn out.

First, I loosely knit a gigantic pair of the slippers:
Slippers, pre-felting

How gigantic, you ask?
Slippers, pre-felting

Jeff's feet are not, in fact, 15+ inches long, as the tape measure shows these are. Here is a photo showing the pre-felted slippers I have just knit, compared to his old slippers (in the correct Jeff-foot size):
Future slippers + slippers past

Next, I throw them in hot water in the washing machine with a pair of jeans to rough them up and a bit of dishwashing soap. In about 30-45 minutes, voila!
Slippers, done!

See? They've shrunk down to be the same size as his original pair:
New slippers + old slippers

Hopefully, he likes these as well as the originals. I like the new color, but am somewhat suspicious of that fuzziness.

Meanwhile, I took the hole-y pair home to see if I could repair them:
Why Jeff is getting new slippers.

Since felt is basically magic, I've got some ideas that might take care of it.

That, however, will be a post-Christmas activity. (Anyone else in a blind only-ten-days-til-Christmas full on panic right now, or is that just me?)


PS -- For anyone looking to make these slippers, I used this very popular pattern from Fiber Trends.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Socks and Cupcakes

Dear Kelly,

Did I mention that Jenny moved closer to me - our houses are now exactly 20 minutes apart, so there's been quite the increase in crafting.

Yesterday we sewed slipper socks out of this cute thermal fabric - I don't remember what I originally bought this fabric for, but they're super comfy!

After dinner we baked cupcakes - yellow cake with mini chocolate chips mixed in. I have eaten way too many.

This was all on top of cleaning my kitchen and starting to clean up/organize my dining room. There's even talk of painting the powder room soon.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mmm... cookies!

Dear Shayne,

Last weekend I went to Cleveland and spent some time baking Christmas cookies with my grandmother. Yum!
Mmm... shortbread!
My grandma has been making these cookies every December since I can remember and they are soooo good. The one above is a divine shortbread which is a pain to make, but WOW is it good. (The key: grandma sifts the flour three times! Holy sifting!)

And these others we always called "Meltaways" because they really melt in your mouth. They're a buttery cookie with walnuts, covered in powdered sugar (my mouth is watering as I write this):
Mmm... meltaways!

Meanwhile, I brought some home with me and have spent this week putting on my Winter Weight. I now have the Dangerous Knowledge to make them any time I want... this won't be good for the waistline.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Dish Towel Apron

Dear Kelly,

Jenny and I are slowly putting my craft room together, but last weekend we decided to actually craft instead of clean. I found a set of dish towels that I'd bought with the intention of magically turning them into an apron. Turns out they're larger than your average dish towel, so it only took one. For the ties, I didn't have quite enough of any one ribbon, binding, etc., so we made a quick trip to Wal-Mart and I got this super cute grosgrain ribbon.

The best part is I've already worn it - crafty and useful :)


Sunday, November 29, 2009

T-shirt for Randy

Dear Kelly,

I guess because Randy has a pacemaker, I really like anatomical hearts now. So for his birthday next month, I just finished embroidering this t-shirt from Sublime Stitching pattern Vital Organs:

But I'm not entirely sure that it looks right. What do you think?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wedding buttons

Dear Shayne,

Of course, being the button-loving fiend that I am, I had to make buttons for our wedding. Coming up with wedding/love/hockey/party phrases was one of the most entertaining parts of the planning.

I loved seeing which ones each of our guests chose -- one person also has a partner named Bill, so she was proudly wearing an "I [heart] Bill" button. Another guest was a goalie, so he selected "I'm the goalie." (He may have also taken "Goalies rock." Of course!)

Plenty of people were also wearing the cryptic: "Icing. Explain." (the hockey term, not the delicious topping on baked desserts. If you would like an explanation, wikipedia does a better job than I do right here.)

They were a really good conversation starter, which was particularly nice because many of our guests do not know each other -- we've moved around a lot, so our friends and families are far-flung.

I love this photo that our photographer took of our rings + buttons:

I think my favorite was: "Best. Party. Ever." Cause, well, it pretty much was. I mean... buttons + Stanley cup = awesome.

So which buttons did you and Sam end up choosing? And anyone else reading this who came to our wedding -- which button was your favorite?


PS - These photos were taken by our photographer, Kevin Lam, although I did edit them a bit myself, so if you you think they're over-processed or oddly cropped, that's all my fault. ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wedding invitations

Dear Shayne,

As my lack of posting would indicate, I haven't been too crafty lately. Amazingly, I think I'm still recovering from our wedding in July. I hope to get back to more frequent crafting soon (especially with Christmas looming).

In the meantime, I realized I still haven't shared many of my wedding crafts here. So let's take a look at our invitations!

After the somewhat crazy Save the Dates I had made, I figured the invitations could be simple. To that end, they were a basic card that I Gocco'd with a design I created and the straightforward "Here's where to be and when" info:

One of my favorite parts of the invitations was our RSVP cards -- I spent months scouring Ebay for vintage Toronto postcards. In the end, I found a dealer online and met him at a postcard show outside of Toronto to get the final 30 or so we needed. That was kind of a surreal experience, but fun. I used the Gocco to print our info on the backs:

I cannot remember where I saw this, but I shamelessly stole this idea from a wedding blog I was reading at the time -- the options for attending were "will attend" and "will be there in spirit." I absolutely loved that positive way of saying no.

(It was sooo much fun to get those postcards back in the mail!)

I bought this lovely paper from Paper Source and cut it into strips to make a band for the invites and RSVPs. Also, I used printable vellum sticker paper (side note: totally f'ing cool -- no smudging!) to include our website URL on the band:

Here are the individual pieces -- I ended up including a piece of vellum between the postcard and the invite because the ink wouldn't quite dry on some of those vintage postcards and I didn't want brown smudges on the invite. (Cause, um, ew.)

Miraculously, I let the Crazy Train pass on through the station without stepping aboard and I did not make our envelopes. Just a standard envelope from Paper Source with a fancy printed label from Stuck labels:

I failed a bit with that font -- I liked it because I thought it looked casual-yet-fancy, but I did hear murmurs that some of our invitees felt like I was trying to "cheat" and make it look like I hand-lettered the labels.

For the record: I was never trying to make that claim. There is no flipping way I would try to either a) hand-write my wedding invites or b) even make it look like I did. I fully embrace technology, people!

The return address labels are also printable labels -- these were from Paper Source:

I felt a ton of pressure to make these "perfect" and I'm not sure that I achieved that goal, but they got the info across, people seemed to like them, and I am generally happy with how they turned out, so I consider that a success.

(Plus, our wedding was totally awesome, so who cares what the invites looked like, right? Heh.)


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bridal lust: I want this!

Dear Shayne,

I know I shouldn't lust after such a frivolous item, but I cannot help it. I just can't. Remember the awesome kitty print I bought at Maker Faire? (Blogged about here.) I've been following the artist, Brittney Lee, ever since. She makes such sweet stuff!

The current object of my adoration and desire? This awesome bride paper sculpture:

Isn't she bee-you-ti-ful? Look at the details! The doily and paper cut skirt layers! Swoon!

I know I won't be a bride forever, but it's still so close to my heart that I cannot resist drooling over this amazing piece. Imagine it with a red mat instead of yellow -- perfect for me, right? Right?

Except... she's not quite in my budget at the moment. You know... right after throwing that big ol' party n' all. But I just had to share her loveliness with you. Maybe some other lucky bride will see this post and snatch her up. I hope so, because she needs to go to a loving home. (And soon -- so I can stop lusting over her already!)


PS -- Photo taken from Brittany Lee's Etsy shop, where you can find this pretty lady and many other sweet creations to ogle over!

It's a miracle!

Dear Kelly,

Jenny and I have started going through my craft room! I'm getting rid of tons of stuff, including a billion rubber stamps that I have no need of. Would you like either of these:

I have a feeling we'll need to have a giveaway soon for our lovely readers :)


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fruit roll up

Dear Shayne,

As I have mentioned in previous years, I love to wear my skates to work on Halloween (or, this year, the day before).

It started one year when I dressed up as Wayne Gretzky and was so fun that I had to do it again (and again!) It has since evolved into my Mini Cooper ( <-- pre-blog link to Craftster), Hell on Wheels (no photos?!), a holy roller, the Rolling Stones, a rolling pin, and this year: a fruit roll up. Heh.
Fruit roll up costume

I made this apron and wore it over a long black dress -- my requirement for most Halloween costumes is that they are basically a variation on my standard "uniform" (long dress or skirt, long sleeved shirt) + skates.

I could not find a "fruity" fabric that I liked, so I made a patchwork of all different kinds of fruit fabrics. I think I'm going to make it into a little kitty quilt now -- I didn't finish the fabric edges or line it, so it's not a practical apron.

I especially love the fruit necklace:
Fruit necklace for Halloween
(Fake fruit from the craft store -- I used an awl to poke through each piece, then threaded a cord through them.)

I don't know why I love a visual pun so much, but I cannot resist it. I also love skating at work -- I can get everywhere so much faster! Meanwhile, it's quite a workout to skate around all day for 10 hours. I slept for 12 hours straight last night. Wow.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chandelier Shades

Dear Kelly,

I actually finished a home decorating project! Well, Jenny did most of it, but I helped. I've had a very plain Ikea chandelier hanging in my dining room:

We took five of these:

And covered them with black and white gingham and then trimmed them with black rick-rack:

I am SO happy with them. Maybe this will motivate me to do some more decorating.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Freezer Paper Stencils

Dear Kelly,

I've always been intrigued by freezer paper stencils, but never tried it because I'm not so good with the X-acto knife. And really, I'm lazy and didn't want to spend so much time cutting out a design that I could only use once. Then I realized I could cut designs with my beloved Cricut. I found a pack of 8 1/2" x 11" freezer paper (yes, I'm also too lazy to cut down my own pieces from a roll) and bought some t-shirts and fabric paint. Jenny came over tonight and we gave it a try to make some shirts for Sam and they came out amazingly well. Sam chose the following images from the Indie Art cartridge:

A bomb:

a guitar:

and a band-aid:

I have no idea why a band-aid is considered Indie or why Sam thought it would make a good shirt, but there it is.

Anyway, the process was really easy:
  1. Cut design out of freezer paper with Cricut
  2. Iron freezer paper on t-shirt
  3. Paint t-shirt
  4. Peel off freezer paper
The paint didn't bleed at all and the freezer paper came right off the shirt. Now I want many, many more t-shirts to stencil. And maybe a few tote bags.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Mitts for Kate

Dear Shayne,

I made these fingerless mitts for my cousin-in-law, Kate. (Is that such a thing? She's my cousin's wife, so... cousin-in-law, right? Whatever.) I really love this yarn and it made a very cozy pair of mitts, so I hope she can get some use out of them.
Mitts for Kate

I got this pattern via Ravelry -- you can also find it here on the blog Belatedly tangled. It's got a cute cable going down the backs:
Mitts for Kate, detail (kind of)
(Sheesh. I need to get a hand model/mannequin -- too tough taking photos of my own darned hands.)

I used this gorgeous yarn that I bought at Stitches West last year -- I looove using yarn from my stash!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Knitting for Speed and Efficiency (the followup)

Dear Shayne,

As I mentioned last month, I took a class in Portland at the Sock Summit with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the esteemed [and hilarious] Yarn Harlot). It was called "Knitting for Speed and Efficiency," but since it involved learning an entirely new way to knit, I was actually knitting for Slowness and Desperation.

After spending a month completing my Practice Scarf, I am knitting almost as fast as I was with my previous method.

Now you may be saying, "But you're still not knitting faster than before -- how is it worth it?" Except for this: I am knitting and purling at almost the speed that I was just knitting at before!

I know you're not a knitter, Shayne, so I'll tell you: Usually, when switching from knitting to purling (for instance, in ribbing), one's knitting speed slows down dramatically. I won't get into the details (boring both for knitters and non-knitters alike!) but I am very happy to be knitting and purling at this speed.

If I keep at it, I really will be knitting with Speed and Efficiency. Someday!

Oh, and here's the scarf I finished:
Lever scarf, complete

I struggle with taking an accurate photo of the color of that scarf. Also, scarves are long and prove difficult to photograph in other ways. But you get the idea.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lantern Moon ROCKS!

Dear Shayne,

Remember how I told you that I broke one of my beautiful Lantern Moon knitting needles? Well I contacted them to ask if I could buy a single needle from them (seems silly, but they're not cheap, so I figured buying half a set would be a little less painful than buying a whole new set).

They responded by replacing my needles, gratis! Wow! They came in the mail yesterday and I just had to share how totally impressed I am with this company.

I know that you don't knit, but they also sell gorgeous crochet hooks, fabulous tote bags (I especially love this one), and some really lovely accessories. Check them out -- they've got something for everyone.

Lantern Moon, thank you so much for being so great. You've got a customer for life. Nice work.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Tiny stitches

Dear Shayne,

When I was in Canada in July, I bought this fantastic stitching book. I had looked at it last year and resisted, but then I found it on sale for $5 this time around and had to make it mine. I'm terrible about buying books while traveling -- my back hates me!


But I digress. This is a book I've never seen in US bookstores and I'm guessing it's because it's published in the UK. I have since found it here on Amazon and it says "[IMPORT]" in big letters in the description. Oooh -- fancy!

There are a lot of great projects in this book, but the one that really captured my attention was this sweet Christmas tree:

As much as I love that tree, however, I am hesitant about cross-stitching on linen. Tiny, tiny stitches, Shayne. Tiiiiiny. As a fellow lover of near-instant-gratification craft projects, I'm sure you understand.

I don't know that I have the stamina to complete a cross-stitch project on linen. Even a relatively small one like this. But, oh! Sequins for ornaments! Very enticing.

Can she do it, folks? Only time will tell...