More stupid sock creatures

Well, I can’t stop making these things. I knew they would be addicting! Here are Eugenie Etouffee and Angus MacVicar, the latest in the Stupid Sock Creature crew.

Eugenie Etouffee is actually my favorite so far. She's so cute! These buttons were a pair I'd picked out at the last second (among about 30 pairs of buttons), thinking, maybe I can find a use for these? I think they fit her perfectly!

Eugenie Etouffee is actually my favorite so far. She's so cute! These buttons were a pair I'd picked out at the last second (among about 30 pairs of buttons), thinking, maybe I can find a use for these? I think they fit her perfectly!

I used part of a kid's dress-up boa to put ribbons down her back, back, back... :-)

I used part of a kid's dress-up boa to put ribbons down her back, back, back... ๐Ÿ™‚

Angus MacVicar is made from argyle socks. He's named after a guy a friend of mine went to high school with in Canada. Strangely, when I Googled the name Angus MacVicar, I found a poet from (where else?) Argyle!

Angus MacVicar is made from argyle socks. He's named after a guy a friend of mine went to high school with in Canada. Strangely, when I Googled the name Angus MacVicar, I found a poet from (where else?) Argyle!

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A career in kimonos

A while back, I made a set of paper pieced kimonos for a friend of mine who is in the foreign service. She’s currently serving in Peru, and is heading for Japan very soon. I wanted to make something for her to celebrate the career she’s chosen, as it’s not always an easy one and I’m so very happy for her to have a job she truly loves. I hadn’t posted any pictures of it, becuase I wanted to give it to her first, but she was just here visiting for a vew days and I was able to at least show it to her (even though I still need to get it in a frame). Her reaction was priceless; she really loved it! You know how when you make something that is a surprise for someone else, and you just hope they will like it? I wasn’t sure how she would feel about it, honestly, but I had to really talk her into letting me frame it before she left with it! ๐Ÿ˜€

So here are a few pics. I can’t quite recall the magazine I found the pattern in (I know it’s called “Robes of Honor,” though), but will post that info when I find it again. I used tropical fabrics for the kimonos themselves, and called this “Kimonos from Peru to Japan.”

These are the kimonos sewn together in a row. The original pattern had them in a square, but I liked this layout better for framing. This is also without the border added.

These are the kimonos sewn together in a row. The original pattern had them in a square, but I liked this layout better for framing. This is also without the border added.

A closeup of one of the kimonos.

A closeup of one of the kimonos.

For the Crafty Mama in your life

Happy Mother’s Day to all the crafty mamas out there! Like a lot of you crafty people, I am sure I got the sewing/crafting bug from my mother and grandmother (grandfather, actually, but that’s another story!). My grandmother was the quilter in the family, having learned it from my grandfather. My mom didn’t quilt, but she could sew up a storm like nobody’s business. Really, she could make just about any type of clothing or costume a girl could want. One year I wanted to be Scarlet O’Hara for Halloween, and she made the velvet dress perfectly. Another year I went to a Renaissance Faire and needed a costume, and she made me a dress that was to die for. (Literally. I used it as Anne Boelyn that Halloween as well! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) At the Ren Faire, I got called “my lady” and all the gentlemen bowed when I walked by. It was wonderful! I wish I had some photos to show you, because those costumes are just amazing. Maybe my mom will read this, realize she has some photos, and send them to me.

Now, I can’t sew up clothes to save my life. I once tried to make a simple pair of non-pleated, straight-leg hippie pants, and couldn’t even get those right. And I measured myself and everything. My mom, though, can kind of eyeball it and get it right. I take more after my grandparents in the crafty area, as quilting really is my passion, as it was theirs. My son likes quilting, too, but he also likes doing any other kind of craft we come up with. I found a great free pattern for passport covers, and plan on him and I making some this week in anticipation of his first trip to Disneyworld in September.

Another great thing I got from my mom was that DIY attitude. It was basically justย  me and her growing up (with my grandparents living a street over from us), so almost anything around the house that needed done, she did it. From gardening to fixing electrical and plumbing to building a deck and putting up siding, that was my mom! When I see the prices for some things, I’m as likely to say “I can do that!” as I am to pay someone else to do it. But, for example, when my son needed an art smock for school, I couldn’t find one I liked and did find a free pattern online, so I just made my own. Thanks for that, Mom!

So Happy Mother’s Day to all you crafty moms and your crafty moms! Don’t forget to tell her thanks, and maybe even do something crafty together today!

Osmond, a Stupid Sock Creature

A couple of years ago, I bought this book, Stupid Sock Creatures by John Murphy. I think I may have seen them on t.v. somewhere, and thought they were just about the coolest things I’d ever seen made from socks. It took me a few years, but yesterday I finally had a go at attempting to make one of them. And thus Osmond was born.

Osmond

Osmond

Murphy’s book is great: excellent directions for making several different kinds of sock creatures, and lots of ways you can use up extra pieces and customize your sock creatures. I put hair on Osmond using some eyelash yarn that I had no idea what to do with, a couple of buttons, a belly button and a heart bracelet that I found on the floor of my son’s playroom. The book is also really funny! If you think you might be into making a sock creature of your own, I highly recommend this book.

My son adores Osmond!

My son adores Osmond!

Each of the sock creatures in the book has its own background and story, and Osmond is no different. His story sort of wrote itself as I made him: I imagined where he came from, what he liked to do, etc. My son comes up with all sorts of imaginative ideas about Osmond the longer he hangs out with him, such as, Osmond does not like the cough medicine my son has to take, but Osmond does enjoy riding in the car.

Osmond wears his heart for all to see. It says, "Bee Happy." Osmond's fondest wish is to perform on stage with Marie (Osmond, of course). He likes tending to the plants in the garden, but is not overly fond of salad.

Osmond wears his heart for all to see. It says, "Bee Happy." Osmond's fondest wish is to perform on stage with Marie (Osmond, of course). He likes tending to the plants in the garden, but is not overly fond of salad.

Osmond is not allergic to bees, which is good, as one has landed on his tail. And, while he looks from profile like he is smoking a stogie, he's actually just sticking out his tongue.

Osmond is not allergic to bees, which is good, as one has landed on his tail. And, while he looks from profile like he is smoking a stogie, he's actually just sticking out his tongue.

My son asked if he could take a photo of Osmond with my camera. I let him, and now look. I think his shot angle is far more artistic than mine!

My son asked if he could take a photo of Osmond with my camera. I let him, and now look. I think his shot angle is far more artistic than mine!

If you want to see more Stupid Sock Creatures, head over to the Stupid Creatures website and click on “Gallery.” They’re fantastic, and I think that making them may very well be addicting.

Stuff of the earth

Sometimes I think I ought to change the title of this blog, as its focus seems to be going away from strictly quilting and more toward crafty, fun things I like to do that also include quilting. But then again, I love the title, so I’ll probably keep it just as it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yesterday I saw a post on Craft Magazine’s blog about making terrariums out of jars. I have a bunch of Ball jars from canning various things over the years, and I’m always looking for something fun to do with my son (who’s back to homeschooling, by the way!), so this was yet another perfect project. You can get the specific directions over there at Craft; otherwise, this is our photo diary of a really fun morning.

dscf2465

Pouring dirt into the jars...

We probably could have used more stones in the bottoms!

We probably could have used more stones in the bottoms!

Three jars are better than one. A balance thing, I guess!

Three jars are better than one. A balance thing, I guess!

Here we are adding little plants to the jars.

Here we are adding little plants to the jars.

Ooh, someone needs a manicure!

Ooh, someone needs a manicure!

Adding more plants...

Adding more plants...

There! Just right!

There! Just right!

Ok, a little too much dirt, probably, but they're done!

Ok, a little too much dirt, probably, but they're done!

Proud of his creation.

Proud of his creation.

The little animals that didn't go inside get to play on top of the terrariums.

The little animals that didn't go inside get to play on top of the terrariums.

Child’s Art Smock from a Man’s Shirt

My little boy recently started kindergarten, and on the list of things he had to bring was an art smock (called a garbacha in Spanish, I had absolutely no clue what that meant!). Money has been tight lately (hasn’t it everywhere?), and luckily for me I just happened to have come across this fantastic post via forty-two roads via Craft’s blog on how to make a child’s art smock from an old shirt. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, actually.

I also, as it happened, had a brand-new red shirt that was leftover from uniforms we had at our old cafe (somehow this one had never been embroidered with the cafe logo, so it was still sitting in its package in my sewing room). Again, perfect! Her directions are super clear, and I whipped this up in about an hour. I made a couple of minor changes, mostly because he’s going to be wearing it in class: I did end up hemming all of the raw edges on all of the pieces, and I also lengthened the ties that go around the tummy area (5-6 inches seemed way to short; I went with 12 inches and they still could have been longer — I suggest if you also make this smock to use pieces at least 2.5″ wide and 15-20″ long, and making the shoulder straps longer as well).

My son absolutely loves it, and he’ll definitely be the only kid in the class with this art smock!

My kiddo in his new art smock. The color of the smock even matches his school uniform!

My kiddo in his new art smock. The color of the smock even matches his school uniform!

The back of the smock -- the ties are a little on the short side, so I'd make them longer if I made another one of these.

The back of the smock -- the ties are a little on the short side, so I'd make them longer if I made another one of these.

How I spent my Christmas vacation

First, I fringed the back of my son’s jeans and polar fleece quilt, washed it, giving it that sufficiently “raggy” look, and gave it to him for Christmas (he loves it):

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And a closeup of the ragged edges:

back of raggy quilt closeup

Then I made a row for Project Linus, using Quiltmaker’sLotsa Pops” pattern. I’m sending it after the first, when postage from Costa Rica goes down slightly. Here are two of the blocks. I noticed a mistake on the pattern, FYI, if you decide to make a row or a whole quilt. On page 4, which has the paper piecing pattern for the double ice pop, the rectangle B should be 1″ x 3-1/2″, not 1″ x 3″ as it states. But you’d probably notice that when you made the block anyway. This one reminds me of an orange creamsicle (mmm….):

orange creamsicle

This one reminds me of one of those strawberry crunch pops the ice cream man sold from his truck (amazingly, there are still ice cream men here in Costa Rica! I got my son a fudgesicle from the ice cream man last week, in fact):

Double ice pop

And finally, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while — I made something out of a sheet my MIL gave my husband and I years ago. It had beautiful embroidery on it, but it just didn’t fit in with our decor (and the cotton was heavy for a sheet in C.R.). A few months ago, I was going through some back issues of McCall’s Quick Quilts and found a pattern for making placemats out of vintage linens and 30’s prints (the March 2005 issue). Ah-ha! Lightbulb moment. So I cut up the sheet, using plain parts of the sheet as backing, low-loft cotton batting, and random strips of small and medium country-esque prints (I didn’t have many 30’s prints here at all). I think they came out super cute, and while I was making these, I also thought that you wouldn’t even need to use vintage linens to make this project. With all of the embroidery machines out there, if you have one of those, you could just embroider a vintage motif and use that instead. Or, how cute would these be for Christmas? Maybe with redwork embroidery and Christmas strips? So many ideas, so little time! As you can see, I still need to bind them, but I did at least square them up. So they’re almost ready to go:

vintage placemats

I still have the center piece of the sheet, which is a beautiful embroidered peacock surrounded by flowers. I couldn’t bear to cut it up. I may just frame it as artwork, which is what it is, really. Or perhaps use it as a center piece in a medallion quilt…

What projects did you get to work on over the holidays?

Happy New Year, everyone!