Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Craftiness 2015 - The Round Up

Well, here we are.  That time between Christmas and New Year's where I can sit back, relax for a few minutes and take a bit of a break from all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Christmas was a lovely day for us, with everyone home bright and early in the morning for opening gifts and then having a huge brunch before they had to head off to their various Christmas dinner plans.  (although not as bright and early as the little boys felt they should have been here of course - they were up just after 5am this year, so had to wait a wee bit for the older ones to arrive)

Once again this year, I felt like I didn't get as many projects done as I had hoped.  Things went a bit crazy busy around here in the late fall, which set me back considerably, so there were a few things that got left off the list.  I'm not going to tell you about them though, because I'm saving those particular projects for next Christmas instead.   The silly thing is, last January I decided I was going to be super ahead of the game and start making projects then in order to avoid the "It's the week before Christmas, and oh my goodness I need to make sixteen bajillion gifts" panic.  I made precisely one project and then promptly forgot about my resolution.  Let me tell you, I thought I was still sitting smug and pretty until life got busy and then boy oh boy I regretted not following through on that "ahead of the game craftiness".  This coming year, I'm going to really try to do things ahead of time.  hahahahahahahahahahaha.  I know.  I know.  I live in a world built on delusion. ;)

Anyways onto the fun stuff!

The little boys set to work a few weeks ago making some new wall art for the holidays.  We did this last year and it was such a fun project we thought we'd try it again!  I think we'll try and keep up the tradition for at least a few years.  I envision down the road, years from now when the little boys are grown how precious it will be to have their teeny tiny hand and footprints hanging on our wall every Christmas!  They also did some art at school as gifts for us.

The top two are the ones we did at home, the "mistletoes" are Baby Boy's and the tree, Little Man's.
For my craftiness, I'll kick off (see what I did there?  ha ha!) with some hand knit socks I knit for my beautiful girls - G and Nick's lovely girlfriend, A.

These were my "ahead of the game project", Piccolo Mondo Anitco socks
I have no idea why I took a picture of just one. G does indeed have a pair of them!

A pair of Water for the Elephants for A to commemorate her trip
to Cambodia where she rode an elephant!
Next we'll move onto the knits for the "big boys" - J, N and G's boyfriend, B.

This one was for J - a Lansbury cowl, modelled by the handsome Baby Boy

And for B - Little Man is modeling the ever popular Oats pattern by Tin Can Knits
N's Wooly Bear Freestyle Cap almost didn't make it on time...
I cast off and wove in the ends at 3:30am Christmas morning! 
Of course no holiday crafting would be complete without some fingerless gloves in the project list (or so it would seem given my lists for the last few years!)

The first pair are "Leaves" for A, then the remaining four pairs were teacher's gifts
from top to bottom: Clary Mitts, Give em the Slip, Diamond Hand Wristwarmers and Magic Loop Mitts
That wraps up the knitting, so lets move along to the sewing!

The girls both wear scarves all the time, so I made them each a cozy flannel and lace infinity scarf
(my own pattern)

Earlier in the fall my nephew, who had requested "footie pjs" last Christmas, told me he'd outgrown his pair from last year and would really love a new pair.  I found out my niece also needed a new pair - not surprising since I think I sewed her pair almost two years ago!  So of course I obliged and they wore their cozy new jam jams home from the family Christmas Eve party.

The kids will be cozy warm this winter for sure!
Pattern is Kwik Sew #2704
Every Christmas I make the little boys a new pair of matching pjs for Christmas Eve.  I love surprising them with them, but this year I was really worried I was going to run out of time.  I even looked at some pjs at the store but held off buying them in hopes I could miraculously get the mama made ones done despite the time crunch.   Somehow I did manage to get a pair started for each of them on the 22nd of December and finished them up late the next night (Ack!!!! Moment of panic ensued when I found absolutely no buttons in the button jar to match.  How is that even possible!?!  Thank goodness I had snaps that would work!).  Taking a photo of two overly excited, overly tired little boys proved to be quite the challenge, so this is about the best view you get!

Wearing their new Batman pjs!
Pattern is a vintage Simplicity #6427
(How can it be vintage?!?! It's c.1974, which means its YOUNGER than me!)
The last project I sewed for Christmas this year just about did me in.  It's nothing untoward with the pattern, it was that I was tired and somehow between that and checking out my topstitching and just plain old not paying attention, partway through the back seams I sewed through my finger.  Bonus points go to me for not dripping blood on any fabric, but holy doodle that hurt like a son of a gun.  I've not had a "sewing through a digit" incident in almost 30 years and it's one I'd rather not repeat EVER again, thank you very much.  I almost gave up right there and then.  I also then had issue with the pockets and the zipper facing - not injury inducing, just pulling out my hair type issues.  The end result was worth the heart ache and hassle though, but I really felt it could've been a better experience.

G in her Greenstyle Creations Sundance Jacket
There were also a few other crafty projects for the holidays!

Some festive mugs done with Sharpie Oil Paint pens
for G and B to sip their mulled wine from
Every year since my kids were born I have given them a new ornament for Christmas.  I always tried to stick with a matching theme, which was significantly easier when there were only three of them.  Now that there's five plus the older one's significant others trying to find a matching theme became quite a challenge, so a few years ago I started making the ornaments instead.  This year's ended up getting done just under the wire - mostly because I just couldn't decide what I wanted to do.

Indecision.  It'll be my undoing some day.

Anyways - I finally made a decision and dashed outside shortly before we had to leave for the city on Christmas Eve and cut my branches.  Then at 11pm when we got home my wonderful husband carved the tops and drilled the holes for me while I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, doing some hand sewing on G's jacket, wrapping presents, and putting presents under the tree and doing other miscellaneous odd jobs on my to-do list, then I set to work with some acrylic paints and an oil paint sharpie.  Sometime just after midnight I had seven cute little Santa ornaments ready to go!

Ho ho ho!

The little boys had two very special gifts that they had me help them make this year as well.  It was very hard for them to keep them secret and they were pretty much bursting by the time they were finally able to present them to Daddy on Christmas morning.

First up was a mug for him to use at work on his coffee breaks - I think this is likely going to become yet another tradition as they did one for him last year too and they're already talking about next year's mug.

Various views of the Daddy's new coffee mug
They also made him a new painted t-shirt.  I'm a bit worried that I didn't put enough fabric medium into the acrylic paints because it faded a whole lot when I washed it, but hopefully the initial fading is as much as it's going to do, because they really did work hard on their shirt and I'd hate for it not to last!

So that's it for the Christmas craftiness this year, but  I do have another project to show you that I just made as a birthday gift for my little niece.  I used pajama fleece and shimmery stretch satin for this  and it was a really fun project - fairly quick to make and low stress.  She was really pleased with it too I think, putting it on as soon as she opened it.  It's from Rissa's Mermaid/Fish Tail Lounge Sack pattern from The Plucky Butterfly Designs and I can definitely see making more of these in the future!  Unfortunately all the pictures I took of the little lady wearing her mermaid tail turned out blurry and out of focus.

As we approach the new year I'm going to work on some easy, relaxing projects.  I've got an Andi Satterlund cardigan, Anouk, on the needles for her latest knit along on Ravelry.  I've also got a Paprika Patterns Zircon Sweater on the sewing table that I'd planned to have done a few weeks ago and didn't manage to get done due to a bit of a fabric choice mishap.  And then?  I'm going to start on the those gifts for next Christmas.  (go ahead and laugh, we all know how likely it is that I'll actually follow through on that plan... LOL)

I hope you've all had a peaceful holiday season,  with whatever holiday or tradition you celebrate and that your New Year is full of happiness, good health and wonderful adventures!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

You Know Dasher and Dancer...

... and Prancer and Vixen.  You know Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.  But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all, Rachel the Red Nosed Reindeer...

I'm really excited to be over at the Scientific Seamstress Blog today, where I'll be talking about how I've had some festive fun with their latest pattern, Rachel Reindeer!  I hope you'll stop by and visit me there!