Sunday, December 26, 2010

A giveaway!!!

Dear Readers,

Kelly was kind enough to send me Miss Woolly's Mini Cross-stitch kit for Christmas, but guess what? I already have it. Great minds think a like :) I can tell you that this kit is awesome and comes with supplies as well as some really cute patterns. It's great for beginning stitchers.

Leave a comment here between now and Friday at midnight telling us about the craftiest part of your holidays and I'll pick a random winner.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas Owls and a Very Good Cause

Dear Kelly,

My friend Meaghan has been super busy raising money for her friend Nicole, who unfortunately is fighting stage 3 ovarian cancer without insurance, with The Fiercegrrl Fund. Meaghan has an amazing ornament shop going where all proceeds go to purchase Nicole a super comfy, hot pink recliner so she can sleep more comfortably. I sent in this:

The owls are by Mochimochiland. I added the Santa hats and am quite proud of myself for finishing the whole thing properly; there's felt on the back to hide the mess of threads and the sides of the hoop are covered in pink ribbon (Nicole's favorite color).

I was super excited to hear that it sold right away, so I'm finishing up a second one to be sold and thinking of what else I can stitch up - the only requirement is that the ornament include hot pink :)


Dear Readers,

Please, please, please go take a look at the ornament shop and buy an ornament to help out Nicole. She is a very cool, crafty lady and deserves the best while going through this ordeal. If you're crafty and would like to contribute an ornament, send an email to Meaghan to get the details. You could also help out by buying one of Nicole's adorable aprons from her Etsy shop, Fancy Bolts.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sippy Cups

Dear Kelly,

My friend Renee recently (eek, 9 months ago!) had a gorgeous baby girl. Since I was late getting to make a baby gift, I decided to go with sippy cups that come with these plastic-y inserts for cross-stitching. I made a set of three - breakfast, lunch and dinner:

They didn't photograph well, but you get the idea :)


Friday, November 12, 2010

Crafting Mama!

Dear Shayne,

Aw, yeah! Craft + Video Game = Awesome!

I'm not much of a gamer, but when I stumbled across Crafting Mama, my eyes glazed over and I said, "Must... have..."

Fortunately, my husband is awesome, saw the drool, and bought it for me!

This game is super fun! I had two fears about it, both of which were dispelled as soon as I started playing it.

Fear #1: I would not be able to play it.
I usually suck at video games. Even ones meant for children. But I can play this game! Yay! If you're a very good gamer, this one will probably be boring for you. But I am not good, so it's fun for me, and I love it.

Fear #2: I would feel like I was wasting valuable crafting time.
I worried that I would feel like, "I could be actually making this craft in the time I am virtually making it!" No worries -- the game allows you to make crafts waaaaay faster than you do in real life (and with less mess!) So it satisfies the Crafty Urge at times when you are not able to craft (I can finally make candles while waiting in line at the Post Office. Yesss!)

Further, I've actually learned about making some crafts by playing this game. It's edu-tainment! I've made candles, earrings, pinwheels, a xylophone, and pressed flowers and that's just the tip of the iceburg. I've unlocked several more crafts so far -- there are a lot of different crafts in this game.

The graphics a pretty great, too. Mama is really cute, but if you do screw up, she gets flames in her eyes and yet cheerfully tells you to "Try again!" which cracks me up. Love. It!

Okay... back to the game!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quilt 1, Quilt 2

Dear Shayne,

As you know, we have niece and nephew twins. Know what twins means? Two of everything! Including... quilts!

They're toddlers now, but since their older brother wasn't too interested in the quilt I made him before he was born, we waited to see if they were blankie babies before whipping out the needle and thread.

Good news! They are! I've been promising to make these quilts for... oh, over a year now. Nice to finally be getting them done. They're at the shop right now getting quilted and bound. Here are the in progress shots...

For our niece:
Emily's quilt [in progress]
I still had a lot of green and yellow fabrics leftover from their brother's quilt, so I used those. I think it's cool that they'll have some common fabrics.

For our nephew (photo taken before they were even sewn together):
Jack's quilt [in progress]
I'll post the completed quilts when I get 'em back in a few weeks. Yay!



Dear Shayne,

Things have been kinda hectic around here, so I'm late in my yearly "What I did on skates for Halloween" post.

As you know, I wear skates every year to work and make my costume around that. I've been a Mini Cooper (that's a link to Craftster -- pre-blog!), Holy Roller (gotta scroll down for that one), Rolling Stones, Rolling PIN.

Hmm... I've also done Hell on Wheels, but cannot seem to find a photo of that. (I think the costume is still in the basement, though -- I should dig it up and take photos. The flames were great.)

This year, the theme at work was Zombie Halloween (or a "Zomberee," if you will...) so I bought a bunch of rubber brains and glued them to a big tray, dressed as a waitperson, slapped on my skates and...

Meals on Wheels!

Heh. Gross, eh? Here's the Brain Tray:

Mmm... delicious brains!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

So Subversive This Week

Dear Kelly,

I completed two Subversive Cross Stitch designs this week. Rather than submit you and our dear readers to my crappy camera phone shots or sticking stuff in the scanner, I'm using photos from Julie's site.

I made"Candy Is Dandy But Liquor Is Quicker" for my dining room:

And "Shut Your Whore Mouth" for a co-worker friend:

Mine are framed in black, though. I'm thinking of buying some fancy molding, painting it gold and making my own fancy frames. This kind is so expensive!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Word 1 : neighborhood

Dear Readers,

It's the first day of the The Not-at-all Random Random Journal Project and Shayne has selected the first word from the Random Word Generator. The word is:


We have also both received the first "random object" (see rules for details) to incorporate into our spreads.

Let the games begin!

Shayne and Kelly

The Not-at-all Random Random Journal Project begins!

Dear Readers,

As originally mentioned in this post, we have decided to do a little cross-craftinental journal exchange. It took us a few weeks to work out the kinks (and send each other a random object -- see below for more on that) but here's how it is going to go:

1. We each have one copy of the exact same journal.

2. Every other Thursday (starting tonight!), one of us will use the Random Word Generator to choose a word and post it to the site.

3. We have 10 days to create a double page spread based on the chosen word, then ship the journal to the other person (ideally hitting the next 2 week mark).

4. Included with the journal is a random object for the other person to incorporate into the next spread.

5. On the 2 week mark, the person who did not choose last chooses a new word and posts it to the site.

6. Again, we have 10 days to create a double page spread based on the word and ship the journal off to each other in time to make the 2 week mark.

Repeat until the book is full.

We have created a special page to track our progress: The Not-at-all Random Random Journal Project page (with easy access from the button in the sidebar to the right -- >).

Ready for the action? Let's go!

Shayne and Kelly

Tater Tot

Dear Kelly,

I tend to say "later tater" when saying goodbye to people and that has turned into affectionately calling a co-worker "Tot." When I owed her a present (she chose to receive a mystery present) for helping me out with this stupid table of contents in a manual, I of course had to cross-stitch a tater tot. I have to admit--I'm impressed with myself and my realistic tater tot :)

(As usual, instead of taking a good picture, I stuck it in the scanner, but you get the idea :) )


Monday, October 18, 2010

Super fun hat for Jocelyn

Dear Shayne,

My friend Jocelyn (Hi, Jocelyn!) got married last year. I was supposed to host her bachelorette party then, but 2009 kind of fell apart on me, so it didn't happen. A year later, we had a "Jocelyn's Not a Bachelorette Party" for her instead. (She was very surprised.)

I cannot breathe without a theme, so I came up with one -- when she changed her name, she lost her previous middle name, so the party was "funeral" for that name.

Everyone wore black and, in the tradition of making bachelorettes wear a goofy hat/veil at these parties, I made Jocelyn a goofy hat/veil:
Crazy tiny hat: front

(It's hard to see, but there actually is a tiny little top hat buried in all of the feathers and tulle there -- click to see it larger.)

I had SO much fun making this hat, Shayne. I cannot even begin to tell you how fun it was. I giggled the entire time I was working on this. I think I may need to make a bunch of crazy little hats for myself and wear a different one every day of the week. It was that much fun. And it looked absolutely adorable on her.

I finished the back with a black veil and big black bow:
Crazy tiny hat: back

So. Much. FUN!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Little blackwork piece

Dear Shayne,

Love a quick cross stitch project -- here is the finished piece I showed you in this post.

Little blackwork piece

It fit perfectly in this frame... that I already had! (Love it when that happens.) I've already hung it up and everything. Whee! Completed project!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Dear Shayne,

Last year, we planted a lime tree and a lemon tree in our yard. I've always wanted to make limoncello, so that was the plan for the lemons. For the limes... margaritas, guacamole, gin & tonics... honestly, I didn't have a concrete plan for the limes.

This year, our lemon tree has produced a handful of fruit. Sadly, not enough for limoncello. Our lime tree on the other hand... it's having LIMES!

Although I had wanted to make limoncello, I figure... when life gives you limes, make lime-cello. (I'm not sure what to call it, actually. The Italian word for "lemon" is "limone" resulting in "limoncello," but the Italian word for "lime" is "calce" and "calcecello" seems weird to me, so I'm just saying "lime-cello" or maybe "lime-n-cello?" I'll take input on this -- comments welcomed.)

Since we had so many limes, we bought a bunch of 100 proof vodka and went to town. We have three large jars, so we divided the limes into 3 groups:
(Some of the baby limes were not much bigger than an acorn! So cute!)

Then I... zested!
And zested and zested and zested...
Lime-cello, Step 1: Zest!
(Note that I am also using a lime in my gin & tonic while zesting. Mmmm.)

While I was zesting, Bill was busy filtering the vodka through a Brita pitcher (and we joked about things getting dangerous if we were to mistake it for our regular water pitcher):
Lime-cello: filtering the vodka
(I have never smelled 100 proof vodka -- it smells like rubbing alcohol! Bill suggested I drive around town after I spilled some on myself. I declined.)

I used the recipe from LimoncelloQuest -- an amazing blog with true dedication to a perfect limoncello. He's got a recipe for lime-cello right here.

Here it is after I had dumped the lime zest into the vodka...
Lime-cello = Vodka + Zest

Shake it up and get... VERY green vodka!
Lime-cello is green!
(We did this on Sunday and it has already faded in color, so it won't be that toxic looking when we finish!)

It will have to sit for a few weeks, then we'll mix in simple syrup, let it sit some more, bottle the stuff, and cross our fingers. (We are hoping to give some of this away as gifts, but if it sucks, guess we'll have to keep it for home consumption.)

Of course, we couldn't let all that juice go to waste, so Bill worked hard squeezing all 80 (yes, 80) limes -- he got a full quart of lime juice!
Aaaand... lime juice!

We put it in ice cube trays and froze it. Did someone say margaritas? Mmmm!


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Itch to Stitch

Dear Shayne,

My very favorite blogger, the amazing Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy, has done it again with her latest book Embroidery Companion. There is so much to see in this book that I cannot even begin to sum it up.

The first time I flipped through it, one particular project absolutely entranced me. This blackwork sampler:
Embroidery Companion
I'm not entirely sure why I found it so mesmerizing, but I sure did. The project calls for 28 count evenweave, but I was absolutely itching to try one of those patterns out, so I cut a square of 14 count Aida cloth I had on hand and went to town:
Late night itch to stitch

Love, love, LOVE this. So simple, yet so perfect. Perhaps I'll do each one separately and frame each one their own? Not sure yet. Just had to get stitchin'.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

I've been coloring!

Dear Shayne,

Whee! I've been coloring! I bought these notecards at Target during the recent Liberty of London craze. They were just begging to be colored, dontcha think?
Liberty of London cards from Tarzhay
And now I have pressed my trusty Sharpies into service! Here are a couple of cards I've colored...

Happy Sunflower!
LoL card #1: Colored Sunflower

I enjoyed this rainbow one...
LoL card #2: Rainbow

And got even more excited when I found I could also color the back:
LoL card #2: Double Rainbow!

I got a tad elaborate with this next one and then realized I could also do the back. Not sure if I'll continue the wacky or cut it into two and mount it on two additional cards:
LoL card #3: Crazytown

Gratuitous Hipstamatic shot of Sharpies:
Gotta say... coloring is FUN.


Friday, October 01, 2010

Creativity is...

Dear Shayne,

I am taking Kal Barteski's online class, Nurture Your Creativity + Be Bulletproof. This was the first project and I really enjoyed it. We were challenged to come up with a simple definition for "creativity" and boy, did that get my mind racing! Seems like there are a million ways to sum that up.

In the end, I defined creativity as "original thought." Once I got it down on paper, it sort of reminds me of "original sin," so maybe I should have said "thoughts," but then my mind went to "Original Gangster" so it's all good. (And kind of weird. Yeah!)

At any rate, we were supposed to write down our definition three times, using three different media in three different sizes, then hang them around the house.

I made the first one using my beloved Cricut:
Creativity is...

The second one was scrawled with silver Sharpie on a catalog photo of skeins of yarn:
Creativity is...

That was a little flimsy for hanging, so I mounted it to some cardboard and embellished it a bit:
Creativity, displayed.

Now it's tucked right above the mirror where I get ready every morning:
Creativity, displayed [longer shot]
(Oooh... moody night shots!)

I used letter stencils for the final one...
Creativity is...

And then clipped this guy to the squirrel tray:
Creativity definition in the wild

I must admit that posting these around the house does, in fact, remind me to seek out original thoughts. Yay!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mitts for Kate [2010]

Dear Shayne,

This time last year, I posted some mitts I made as a birthday gift for my cousin-in-law, Kate. Kate really likes fingerless mitts, so I made her another pair this year. Maybe it will be an annual tradition! (If Kate is reading this, she just said "Yay!") (Kate really likes mitts.)

Sort of a vanilla pattern, but in a very soft Royan Cashsoft DK (colorway: 518 Thunder). It's a lovely blend of merino, microfiber, and cashmere. To spice it up a little, I sewed on six different thrifted black buttons with red floss:
Mitts for Kate

My friend Katie (Hi, Katie!) graciously agreed to be my hand model. It is waaaay easier to take photos of mitts on someone other than yourself, I gotta say:
Mitts for Kate

I gave them to Kate yesterday and she loves 'em, so I'd call these a success.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Dear Shayne,

Four years ago, this blog started with humble beginnings. Who would have thought then that we'd make it this far? :) Sometimes we post more often and sometimes we post less frequently, but through it all, I'm glad we've kept posting. (And crafting!)

I guess we should do a retrospective or a giveaway or something to commemorate this day, but I'm exhausted, so I just wanted to check in and wish you a Happy Blogiversary. Here's to another 4 years. (At least!)


Monday, September 20, 2010

Home Ec Project #3: Tote bag

Dear Shayne,

Here is my third project in Home Ec (that online sewing class I told you about). This one came out waaaay different from the original pattern. Part of that was intentional and part accidental.

First of all, I screwed up and cut my fabric so the orientation was more horizontal than than vertical. And maybe not even the right measurements -- it's unclear. Not a huge deal, except it is a little... "gappy" at the top now. Might need a closure or something:
Home Ec Project #2: Totebag
(It looks way larger in this photo than it does in real life. Odd.)

Another "accidental" mod wasn't really my fault. The straps are kind of wide and I didn't realize that when they said "1/4 inch seam," they actually wanted me to sew a 1/2 inch seam and then trim back the extra 1/4 of an inch. So I sewed a 1/4 inch seam, making the straps about 1/2 inch wider than they should be. Whatevs.

Some mods I made on purpose -- they wanted us to leave the fabric edges unfinished inside. First... yuck. Second, my fabric is Sup-ah Fray-y, so my bag would unravel if I did that. I knew how French seams work in theory, but had never actually tried them, so this was a good opportunity to experiment. They came out great!
 Home Ec Project #2: Totebag [French seams]

The pattern also called for attaching the straps inside the bag, but mine kept coming out looking all janky on the front, so I decided to make the strap attachment a "feature" and put them on the outside.

I also took a cue from my friend Hollie (Hi, Hollie!) who said she likes to use contrasting thread for topstitching fun, which I never do. I didn't have any that matched the fabric this time, so I gave it a whirl and... I really like it! The orange thread matches the leopards' spots:
 Home Ec Project #2: Totebag [stitch detail]

My final mod was to square off the corners, rather than leaving the bag flat. I inserted a piece fabric covered plastic in the bottom to keep it sort of rigid. I just did this because... well, 'cause I prefer it like that.

So this bag... wasn't even remotely close to the bag in class. :) But the class helped me get off of my butt to make a new bag, so that's a good thing.


Friday, September 17, 2010

A Challenge

Dear Kelly,

Are you up for a long-term challenge? I just bought a Moleskine Watercolour Notebook - the kind that's bound horizontally and has the nice, thick, creamy paper - with 35 double-page spreads. Here's what I propose (partly taken from a challenge we've both read about on the blogs of Kal Barteski and Elise Blaha):
  1. We each pick eight words to act as a theme, plus one "anything goes" theme.
  2. We have one of the husbands pick the words at random to determine the order we use them.
  3. We each have two weeks (including mailing time) to create a double-page spread based on the theme word. Any medium. Any interpretation. Directly on the page. Glue in. Whatever.
  4. After 17 months (!), we will have an amazing, joint work of art. 17 spreads each, 34 total. (We'll just figure something out for that odd leftover spread.)
  5. Then we fight over who gets to keep it.
You in?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I want: this gorgeous table runner

Dear Shayne,

You may have seen Victoria's work before -- she's a reader of our blog (hi, Victoria!) and I even won her blog giveaway a couple of years back (you can read my rave about her work back then). I am constantly amazed and inspired by the lovely things she makes.

But today, Shayne, I saw this latest piece in her Etsy shop and my jaw just dropped. I am in love with this table runner:

I cannot bring myself to buy such an exquisite piece of art for the abuse we put our dining room table through, but... but... I can't help the "My preccciouuusss" feeling that overtook me when I saw this. So I had to share it with you. Isn't it gorgeous?

Look at her stitches. Just look at them:

Sigh. Perfection.

Keep up the beautiful work, Victoria. You are truly an inspiration to sloppy amateur quilters like myself everywhere.


PS - Images are, of course, from Silly BooDilly's Etsy shop where you can find other beautiful items like this awesome quilt.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Dear Shayne,

Wow. Talk about your fabric printing fail. I bought this cute Christmas-y fabric this week:

It's cuter in person, as the background is more of a cream color. So I got it home and it's sitting on the table and all of a sudden...

[cue the needle screeching on the record]

What the &*#@?

Is that "LA" printed... backwards?!

Why yes, yes it is.

Oh, well -- I'm planning to use this fabric to make gift bags, so it's not a huge deal, but I'm glad I didn't use it for a quilt (or another project that I really care about) before noticing. Sheesh.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hey, TJ! You've won!

Dear Shayne,

We have a winner of our blog giveaway! The random number generator chose "6," so TJ is our winner.

TJ, I'm going to take a wild guess that you'd like your Scrabble earrings to be "T" and "J" but contact me (onetomatotwo [at] gmail [dot] com) and we can work out the details.

I love giving stuff away! Congrats, TJ!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Holy 500!

Dear Shayne,

Holy crap! This is our 503rd post -- we missed celebrating #500! That's a lot of posts, girlfriend. Glad we've kept at it. :)

Let's have a giveaway for our readers. Yeah!


Dear Readers,

Leave a comment on this post before Wednesday, Sept 1 at 5pm Pacific time. Using the Random Number Generator, I'll pick a winner from the comments that night.

If you win, I will make you a pair of Scrabble tile earrings using two letters of your choosing (could be your initials, XO, or any other combo you wish) like these:

Scrabble tile earrings for Jenny

Good luck to everyone entering and thanks so much for stopping by our little corner of the internet!


Home Ec Project #2: Gift bag

Dear Shayne,

The second project in the Home Ec online sewing class is a drawstring gift bag. I was very excited about this project because I've been thinking for the past couple of years about making reusable gift wrapping. It seems so wasteful every Christmas when there's a big pile o' paper on the floor after the gift exchange.

This project was surprisingly challenging, with some unexpected turns. Now that I've done it once, I know what changes I'll make next time. The pattern wasn't difficult, but not everything went the way I thought it was going to.

First of all, I was surprised by the size. By the original photos, I thought this bag would hold something maybe the size of a grapefruit. In reality, it's big enough for a shoebox:
Home Ec Project #2: Drawstring Gift Pouch
(It's funny -- in this photo, it looks like it could even be as large as a pillowcase. Guess it just needs something next to it for perspective.)

So that was odd. A friend of mine who is taking the class (Hi, Jan!) said, "Oh, did you change the size of yours?" when she saw mine (she hadn't made hers yet), so I know I'm not the only one surprised by the size of it. It's not really a problem. It was just... unexpected.

When I first saw the tutorial, I had some trepidation about the way it deals with the hole for the drawstring to come through. Of course, you want that hole to be strong and you don't want that fabric to fray. To that end, they used hand embroidery and I knew I'd botch that. (To see the original for yourself, go to Home Ec and scroll down to the second project.)

I went ahead with the pattern as described, knowing I wasn't going to do the embroidery but not 100% sure about what I was going to do. When I finally got to that point, it was too late (it's the last step) to do what I think would be the perfect thing there, which is to make a buttonhole with your machine.

It requires planning, because you cannot tack the buttonhole on at the end, but next time I make the bag, I'll know where the hole is going and I'll make a buttonhole right from the start. This time, however, I had to think of something else to do with the project already complete.

So I used eyelets:
Home Ec Project #2: Drawstring Gift Pouch
(Unfortunately, mine are uneven, but you get the idea.)

That photo also highlights something that confused me when making the bag -- can you see the parallel stitching lines on either side of the eyelet? I thought those were going to create the channel for the drawstring. As it turns out, the drawstring actually goes around the top of the bag as its "channel" and then it comes out where grommets are. It works fine, it's just not what I thought it would be.

When I make this again, I'm going to make those lines the channel, so that the bag has a bit of a ruffle at the top when it's pulled closed (which it currently does not, even though it kind of looks like it in my photo at the top. That's an optical illusion.)

The final problem I had with the pattern didn't really show up until I was done, which is that the edges on the inside are all raw and fairly visible from the outside of the bag:

I guess the thinking is that this is a replacement for wrapping paper, so it's just got to be one-step-above-disposable. But my thinking is that, if I'm going to replace wrapping paper with these things, I'm going to want to re-use them again and again and I want something neat and solid that will last.

All this to say, I'm going to line future gift bags I make. Plus, if the gift recipient wants to use them for something else, they'll hold up to that.

I fear this post sounds negative, because it outlines my struggles along the way, but I am happy with this project and look forward to making more. Now I know exactly how to make it, I'll modify my future bags.

Also, the class is great in that there are a ton of photos, lots of descriptions of what's going on, and really great responses to questions (that's how I found out about the drawstring channel -- someone else posted a question about it and they got the correct answer. Yay for support!)

The next lesson is a tote bag. And you know how I love me some tote bag!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Project Pouches

Dear Kelly,

I've been doing a whole lot of cross-stitching lately (pictures to come soon), and decided that I needed zipper pouches to hold each project. Of course, I could have sewn my own, but I do love shopping too, so I went on a crazed 2-hour local hunt that turned up nothing - Walmart, Target, Borders, Joann, Michaels and Staples - nothing. Defeated, I went home and started looking online and found these adorable 7" x 9" vinyl pouches at Pearl River. And they were only $7 each! These are the four I got, although I may order some more: