Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A-tisket, a-tasket and a fabric basket

I found this great throwing bean bag and fabric basket tutorial from Mel's 25 Days of Handmade Christmas. The bean bag I modified quite a bit. Instead of rice, I used green mung beans. The bean bags feel more lightweight and nicer on the hands. Just perfect for throwing around by little ones. The fabric basket on the other is so easy to make and is perfect for making use of fabric scraps. The tutorial is from here. Also, check out this colossal list of boxes, containers, baskets and buckets from Whip Up. I think they are awesome tutorials for a more organized life in 2009!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thank God it's Saturday

"Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend... when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present -- love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure -- the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth."

-Sarah Ban Breathnach

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Print a Day inspiration

I'm a great fan of Yasmine's delightful site A Print a Day. Her blog showcases her wonderful prints and patterns which absolutely delight and inspire. Her designs are so appealing that she should launch a fabric line already! Anyway, this uber amazing gal has cute holiday freebies on her site- holiday themed 12"x12" prints in the cheeriest, holiday-iest style. I love the mittens and gingerbread and mushroom prints and bright stripes and polka dot patterns. Ahh, the creative things you can do with them! Here are some suggestions:

1. Gift bags (like the one pictured above)
2. Labels and enclosures for cookies, candies and gifts encased in clear cellophane bags
3. Paper christmas tree ornaments
4. Handmade greeting cards and tags
5. Patter paper for a Christmas recipe/holiday scrapbook
6. Gift boxes
7. Table place cards and many many more

Sew busy

I've finally finished making another handmade gift. This time, it's a paisley half apron for my sister who is a cooking klutz. Hopefully by donning and whirling in this magic apron, she can make sumptuous dishes for her husband hahaha. I plan to make some oven mitts to go with it or maybe sew up something from this sew mama sew link compilation. Or maybe just get her a cookie and pie cookbook. That should be easy.

P.S. Has anybody seen this humongous holiday sewing craft link from Whip Up?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A zakka afternoon

Today was a nice day for doing some zakka sewing from this cute japanese craft site. Those two tiny totes are actually cozies for my little phone that I made from this pattern. This zakka love is growing on me and now I can't wait to make this cafe apron pictured below:


and this embroidered gingham book cover

Image from Fujix
or this patchwork bag

Image from Fujix

Hmmm, too many zakkas, too little time?

I also stumbled on the cutest japanese novelty/zakka shoppe in the entire galaxy. You'd enjoy browsing this little shop even if you don't know nary a Japanese word. The Curly Collection shop sells insanely cute and sweet retro goodies such as these :

Images from Curly Connection

Meanwhile, have a look at Jojoebi Design's lovely blog and Etsy shop. Her shop is stocked with handmade baby stuff and cute japanese items such as bento making kits, japanese fabric packs and more. She is also a Montessori mum and she has great tips and tutorials on how to raise brainy kiddos. And oh, she also has a cool giveaway in her blog. Do check it out!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Beautiful story of bear and a WIP

Image from Turkey Feathers

Vicki of Turkey Feathers shares some sweet, inspiring pages from the holiday edition of Marie Claire Idees. Let's have a cuppa and dream (and drool!) together shall we?

Vicki's got her first self published book out too! It's called Blanket Statement: One Thrifted Wool Blanket Repurposed into 40+ projects. Visit her site and see how you can order this lovely book for Christmas.

Image from Turkey Feathers

Let's go now to the beautiful story of bear....

Image from Marie Claire Idees

Do you like that warm,beautiful bear in that gorgeous, wintry, dreamy room? Well, you can make one! I found the pattern secretly hiding in this secret, secret place! We all need some bear hugs and comfort in this recession filled times.

Meanwhile, this is what is stitching in the sweet tidings corner. A colourful and improvised apron inspired by this wonderful pattern. I was also inspired to create a sewing jar with a dash of inspiration from A Spoonful of Sugar and Lollychops!

That's all for now. Have a happy time!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kinda, sorta fairytale

"Hey grandma, what big eyes you have!!!"

I made this 8" Red Riding Hood doll from this pattern. I like the old fashioned charm of this type of doll. Sweet and full of cottage charm.

If you like to add some old fashioned sparkle to your holidays, you gotta make this wonderful Santa, Mrs. Claus and Elves doll project. Cute and so wonderful!

Wishing you all a happy weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The handmade marathon has just begun!

Little elfette here hard at work! Just finished sewing some handmade black apple dolls for some little girls on my Christmas list. I'm keeping a long thread. Only 5 weeks and 3 days to go before Christmas...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holiday lovelies

Image from Nini Makes

Crafty links

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vintage crafting

I love vintage Better Homes and Garden books especially this crafts and recipes book which is just brimming with bright, homespun ideas.  I think I'm gonna turn back the clock this year, craftily speaking. Darn, I miss the 80's. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

November Recipe Box Swap

I'm sharing two delightful cupcake recipes from Paula Deen's Holiday Baking for Randi's Recipe Box Swap:

Red Velvet Cupcakes
(Makes 2 1/2 dozen)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar, divided
3 large eggs, separated
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
2 teaspoons salt
1 2/3 cups whole buttermilk
3 tablespoons red food colouring
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
White chocolate cream cheese frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 30 cups of 3 (12-cup) muffin pans with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in egg yolks until combined.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa and salt.
4. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, food colouring and vanilla.
5. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well after each addition.
6.In a medium bowl, beat egg whites at medum high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold beaten egg whites into butter mixture. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Spread or pipe evenly with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
(Makes about 4 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 (1-ounce) squares white chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
41/2 to 5 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in white chocolate and lemon juice until combined. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Buttercup Golden Cupcakes
(Makes 24 cupcakes)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Buttercup's Classic American Buttercream

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 (12 cup) muffin pans with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at mediu speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. In a medium bowl, combine self-rising flour and all purpose flour. Grdually, add to butter mixture, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
4. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin pans. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread or pipe Buttercup's Classic Amercian Buttercream evenly over cupcakes.

Buttercup's Classic American Buttercream
(Makes about 4 1/2 cups)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Food colouring (optional)

In a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in 4 cups sugar, until smooth. Beat in milk and vanilla, beatig until combined. Gradually beat in 4 cups sugar, until smooth. Beat in milk and vanilla, beating until combined. Gradually beat in enough sugar until a spreadable consistency is reached (may not need all the sugar). Add 1 to 2 drops of food colouring, if desired.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pink paisley

Here's an easy bamboo handled carry-all bag I made using Little Birdie Secret's easy to follow tutorial. I chose a bold and vibrant pink paisley fabric that screams nothing but tropical beachy!It's totally hand stitched and lined with canvass fabric so it's super sturdy. Can't wait to go places with it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Amy Butler Holiday Patterns

Create something elegant with Amy Butler's free ME Holiday patterns. Go here and click on the free patterns link.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gift tags and stitchettes

Gosh, gift tags galore. Now, if these won't motivate me to start making handmade gifts I don't know what will!

1. Four Seasons gift tags by Fog and Thistle
2. All ocassion fill in the blank gift tags by The Small Object
3. Angel Christmas gift tags by Natascha Rosenberg
4. Kitty Genius Gift Tags
5. Kokeshi Dolls gift tags from A Print a Day
6. Lolly Chops Bird Tags

A stitch in time saves time!

I'm making use of those after dinner hours by stitching Hillary Lang's free Elf Stitchette embroidery pattern. Make one for yourself and your sweetie!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Birthday thoughts

Every moment is enormous, and it is all we have... Our life is a path of learning to wake up...

—Natalie Goldberg

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sew Mama Sew's Handmade Holidays 2008

My handmade Christmas ornament countdown ends today! Here are some of the ornaments adorning a tabletop tree! From time to time, I'll probably make some more ornaments although in the meantime, I'm making way for the Sew Mama Sew 2nd Annual Handmade Holidays sew-along! Sew along with me, the best is yet to be!

I've left a link of handmade ornaments project links on the right side portion of this blog for those who are interested in creating their own handmade ornament tradition. I'll be updating the list soon.
And oh, tomorrow, I turn 33! Yay!