06 Sep

Is it That Time of Year Already?

We’re less than a week away from my son’s birthday (12 — yikes!) which is my signal that not only do I need to think about a few gifts and a party for him, but I need to think about the birthdays and holidays that will now follow in quick succession.

Sewing Calendar

And just to drive home the point that it’s time to think about those handmade gifts, this calendar showed up in the mail. It’s the 2011 Sewing Calendar and it’s chock full of sewing projects from all over blogland. There are wonderful, and very accessible projects in here — and I’m not just saying that because November 10 — 13 are dedicated to my Mod Log Table Runners!

Fliegenpilz Table Runner

What you might also notice is that the calendar shows a table runner I have not yet shared here. I was thinking Christmas red and green reinterpreted, so now seems as good a time as any to share it and maybe spark someone else to create a light, mushroomy, holiday.

Fliegenpilz Table Runner

Of course, if one is more inspired by say, the Three Kings, then there’s another version conjured up to use those bits and pieces of cloth painted, foiled, rubbed, etc. in the excitement of the newest issue of one’s favorite art quilt magazine(s).

Gold Frankincense and Myrrh Table Runner

I call this one “Gold Frankincense and Myrrh.”

Gold Frankincense and Myrrh Table Runner

I have two copies of the Sewing Calendar, and while I’m keeping one for myself, I’d love to share the other with someone ready for some pre-holiday project planning (who am I kidding, we’re not ready to actually start the projects yet, are we?). So, leave a comment and maybe even tell me if you’re planning on making some handmade gifts this year or if you’ve got a plan or list already and I’ll randomly choose a winner to receive the 2011 Sewing Calendar. Make your comment by midnight Hawaii time September 10th (Friday) and I’ll announce the winner as soon as I recover from the birthday party on the 12th.

Cheers

15 Dec

Christmas Decor

I’ve got lots of fun, interesting, creative projects lined up, but no energy to actually work on any of them.

So, I will distract you with a little holiday decorating. Little, because I have no energy to go all out, plus it’s hard to get motivated in a tropical clime. That said, come on in:

I made this at the end of last season from a vine wreath who’s original silver baubles had broken and tarnished, a spool of red and white polka dotted ribbon, some craft moss, some of my large collection of little mushrooms, and a pair of toile birds I made using Spool’s simple and elegant tutorial.

Inside, we brought out our Schwibbogen for it’s European charm.

The snowflakes have since moved from the window to hanging from the ceiling above the tree. Very blizzard-like! For the tree, I decided to go for all blue and white to force the winter mood.

The kids were kinda bummed at first that they couldn’t put whatever they wanted on the tree. When we were done though, they admitted that it looked great and was a nice change from our usual red-dominated trees.

We did allow a small bit of red, because Katja said she knew the mushrooms made me happy. I couldn’t argue with that.

14 Dec

Christmas meme

(My mom, my hubby and I finally got me the new camera I’ve been wanting/needing for the last year for my birthday and I’m slowly getting to know it. I can take pics in low light now, and can download the photos to my computer. Yea me!)

We put up our Christmas decorations today, so it seems like a good time to jump on the Holiday Meme train like fellow Bloggers Gerrie, Terry and Diane:

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? What about Glühwein? It’s not Christmas without Glühwein. (Wassail and Glog count.)

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree?
Santa fills the stockings with wrapped presents.

Colored lights on tree or white? White, but I’m often out-voted.

When do you put your decorations up? Decorations can come out any time after December 1st, but I won’t put the tree up until the weekend closest to my birthday (December 15th). This was a family tradition since it meant that the tree would still be reasonably fresh on Christmas. We have a fake one now, but the tradition has stuck. We’ve adopted the German tradition of taking the tree and decorations down on Three Kings Day (January 12th).

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? We usually have turkey, but I did a roast with Yorkshire Pudding one year and that was pretty tasty.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Like Terry, I played along long after I knew Santa was really my parents. And my parents played along long after they knew we knew!

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Presents with my mom’s side of the family Christmas Eve and presents and Brunch with my dad’s side Christmas morning. At home it was one present the eve of, and the rest in the morning. After my parents divorced we had multiple Christmases with all the varied parts of the family.


How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Growing up it was always eclectic handmade, then I collected enough to do themes, now I tend towards a combination of red, straw ornaments, and painted European figures.

Snow! Love it or Dread it? If I’m going out I dread it (unless it’s just to walk to Weinachtsmarkt to drink Glühwein). If I can stay at home warm and cozy, then I love it.

Can you ice skate? Forward and backward around the rink and stopping, but that’s it.

Do you remember your favorite gift? They are all my favorite!

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family, traditions.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Gingersnap cookies from our secret family recipe.

What is your favorite tradition? Stocking Christmas morning. It wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? Mostly giving, but what’s not to like about receiving too?

What is your favorite Christmas Song? Any German Christmas song, but probably Kling Glöckchen the most. I even wrote a post about my love of German Christmas songs here.

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yum, but not too many of them.

Ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I can remember — certainly not from or to any close friend or family member. Wrapping — now that we recycle for years!

And because I seem to live between cultures, as I wrote this, the Christmas music on my computer got changed to Hawaiian and we’ve been practicing Hula in between answers (type type, uehe, type type, kaholo, ami, ami, ami, ami).

13 Dec

Mele Kalikimaka..

…which can’t literally mean Merry Christmas in Hawaiian since the Hawaiian language existed long before the arrival of Christians on the islands, even if only in spoken form. In fact, according to Wikipedia, it’s simply a Hawaiian transliteration. So here’s our melding of influences:

Gingerbread Hula dancers — some with poi-colored skirts!

While the kids were decorating gingerbread people with Opa (German for Grandad), I went to the Hawaii Quilt Guild’s annual Holiday party. We had lunch overlooking Kaneohe Bay, ate homemade cookies, raised some money for the guild with both a live and a silent auction, swapped gifts and sang a silly, on-the-spot version of The 12 Days of Christmas. Each table had to come up with a quilting related gift from Tutu (Grandmother). After much giggling, the final verse of the song ended up like this:

Number twelve day of Christmas my Tutu give to me:

Twelve Handi-Quilters,

Eleven finished bindings,

Ten yards of fabric,

Nine spoo-ools of thread.

Eight pairs of scissors,

Seven Fat Quarters,

Six quilting hoops,

Five Fea-therweights.

Four quilting baskets,

Three Jelly Rolls,

Two quilting needles,

and one Bernina underneath the tree!

Not a bad Christmas if you ask me.

I bid on a set of fat quarters partly because they were “modern” Christmas prints, of which I have none in my stash and could maybe make some cute gift bags or something next year, and partly because they were folded up so cleverly and we all wanted to de-construct the package. I won the bid, so now we can all learn to fold a Fat Quarter Tree.

To start, fold each of your fat quarters in half lengthwise and then in half again so you have a long rectangle. Fold one in half cross-wise two or three times to make a “tree trunk.” With each of the remaining fat quarters, fold the lower left corner up a little at about a 60° angle. From the left side, take that folded angle and fold it down to match the lower edge of your rectangle. Next, take left side and fold it up to meet the upper edge of your rectangle. Then, fold from the left again, to meet the lower edge. this is just like folding the American flag if you’ve ever done that.

Keep folding until you don’t have enough fabric to make a complete triangle shape. Tuck the last end of fabric into the pocket on the right side of your fabric triangle, folding up the bottom right corner if necessary.

Stuff the trunk you folded earlier into the pocket at the bottom of one of your fabric triangles.

Stack the remaining fat quarter triangles on top to make a tree. Wrap your tree with some ribbon so it doesn’t fall apart (there’s an X of ribbon on the back of the tree). Gift to a sewing friend!

The trees had stickers from Mad Hatter’s Quilt Box, but I don’t see the trees on their web site, so I don’t know if they are sending out holiday fat quarters like this, or if someone from the guild made these cuties after purchasing the fabric.

11 Dec

How to Make a Snowflake Fairy in 20 Easy Steps

Not being one to say no to my mother, or homemade elk jerky (never had it, but the concept sounds good), I made two more snowflake fairies today, and documented the process so that others can make their own as well.

Mis en Place

Step 1: Gather your supplies. You’ll need: a wooden bead for the head (approx 3/4″ in diameter), cloth covered wire for the body and appendages, white felt, optional tulle, seed beads, a silver pipe cleaner for the wings, wool roving for the hair, black, white, red and pink paint for the face, paint brushes, glue, white thread, wire cutters, sharp scissors, and a small needle.

Step 2: Cut two pieces of wire: one 3 1/2″ long, and the other 7″ long.

Step 3: Fold the long piece in half. Using the wire cutters, bend “hands” on each end of the shorter piece. Place it over the folded wire and wrap the folded end all the way around to form the body and neck.

Step 4: Cut two pieces of felt: one 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and the other 1″ square.

Step 5: Wrap the rectangle piece of felt around the arms and, using a ladder stitch, sew closed.

Step 6: Cut two “armhole” notches in the square felt. Wrap it around the body and sew closed. Make a few stitches over the shoulders to keep it from sliding down.

Step 7: Cut out a paper snowflake with a radius of about 2.”

Step 8: Using the paper snowflake as your template, cut a snowflake skirt out of felt. You could also skip steps 7 and 8 and use a starched crochet snowflake instead.

Step 9: Embellish snowflake as desired.

Step 10: Slip the skirt onto the fairy body feet-first…

Step 11: Sew the skirt to the body with a few small stitches.

Step 12: For the optional underskirt, cut tulle 11″ x 2 1/2.”

Step 13: Gather one long end of the tulle and sew it to the body below the snowflake.

Step 14: Slip beads onto the legs and bend “feet” at the ends.

Step 15: Bend the silver pipe cleaner into wings shape.

Step 16: Sew the wings to the back of the body (best done before you add the head, unlike in the picture).

Step 17: Put a dab of glue on the neck and slip on the head.

Step 18: Wrap the roving around your finger and make into a hairdo. You could use a felting needle to form it into shape if you’d like. Attach to head with glue. Add a few beads or other embellishments as desired.

Step 18a: She should look a lot like this now.

Step 19: Prop your fairy up in a spool of thread or a small cup and paint pink cheeks, a dot for a nose, and black eyes.

Step 20: Paint a red mouth and white highlights in the eyes.

Let dry and she’s done!