Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's Been Awhile

I know, I's been awhile. I've taken a break to spend some quality time with the family. Our Christmas was great. And we're looking forward to a fantastic 2007.

Happy New Year everyone. I'll be back soon with another post and some pictures.

Monday, December 25, 2006

For Unto Us a Son is Given ...

It all began in a manger.
May you find peace, love and joy today -- and always.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Making Cookies Today

The boys are anxiously awaiting Santa's arrival. And now, it's time for making cookies!
Cookie dough recipe is Martha Stewart's [Sugar Cookies II; Page 531 in The Martha Stewart Cookbook], cookie cutters are from Wilton (the best!). We bought the small rolling pins for the boys a few years back. The large rolling pin belonged to my grandmother. It has a wonderful patina.

Making cookies.

Making more cookies.

Hot out of the oven. [We'll decorate them tomorrow.]

Chocolate chip cookies my wife made yesterday.

Friday, December 22, 2006

What Does Creativity Look Like?

Do you ever feel like you've run out of ideas? Just how does this thing called 'creativity' work?

According to Alison Lee --
"Struggle is a part of it. Struggle is a big part of being creative. You can't leave that out. If you're not stuck in the struggle for awhile, you're not being creative. Creativity isn't always a pretty little picture. Sometimes it's muck, mire and cloudy days. And you just keep going through it and you come out the other side."
Check out her site. She podcasts, too.

Holiday Greetings

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sad Time Tonite

Miss Angel died tonite. She was a huge angel fish that has been with us for over three years. I'm not sure how old that is in 'human' years, but I gotta believe it's very, very old. The boys were both in tears over the event. We told them that perhaps she's a Christmas Angel Fish and she's on her way to heaven.

Life is very tough sometimes.

Good nite.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Project: Crochet Hook Roll

I was inspired by Toni to create this handy crochet hook organizer. The striped fabric is actually a Crate and Barrel napkin I recently found at the Goodwill Store. I think I got five 20x20 inch napkins and a (matching) drawstring bag for $2.00. I thought they were perfect for this project. Partly because I like stripes and partly because the stripes make great sewing guides to stitch a straight line . (Lazy, I know...but hey it works!)

::Crochet Hook Roll:

Fabric choices are up to you, but here's what I used:

Solid Color Fabric
1 - 20" square
1 - 20" x 4" strip

Patterned Fabric
1 - 20" square

1. With right sides together, sew the two 20" squares together. (I used a 3/8" seam allowance.) Leave a 4-5" opening at bottom.

2. Turn things inside out and press.

3. Machine stitch the opening closed.

4. With the 20" x 4" piece, fold each long edge to the center and press.

5. Fold long edges together again and press. You should end up with a strip that measures 20" long and about 1" wide. Machine stitch as close to the open edge as you can. Tuck in the ends of the strip and machine stitch closed. (This will become the tie to keep your case neatly wrapped up.)

4. Back to the square. With the solid color on top, turn up the bottom edge about 4-1/2 to 5" and press. [See photo.]

5. Fold the 20" strip in half longways and press.

6. Here's the tricky part. Carefully tuck in the folded edge of the strip so it's between the two layers of the square that you just folded up. [See photo.] Sew all the layers together. This becomes the edge of the main "pocket" to hold the crochet hooks.

7. Sew the other edge of the turned up edge. This will complete the main "pocket".

8. Decide how many "little pockets" you want your roll to have. I used the lines on the fabric as a guide and ended up with 20 (I think) pockets to hold the hooks and a pencil.

The finished project all rolled up:

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cute Packaging Idea ...

We had breakfast at the Essenhaus last Saturday morning. We live very, very close to the Amish community here in Northern Indiana. The Essenhaus is one of our favorite places to visit. The food is wonderful and they have some great home decor items for sale. There are several shops on the property, and we checked out our favorite one. Tons of cool Christmas stuff and a really large display of Jim Shore's creations. That man is very talented.

[The Bakery at Essenhaus]

These dishcloths caught my eye while we were shopping in the Bakery at Essenhaus. It was more the container and not the dishcloths that grabbed my attention. we just had to buy some. The container is too cool. (Sorry for the crappy pictures -- I was in a hurry!)

As Promised: Sweet Treats for Classmates

Santa is over-flowing with treats for the kids. My wife made these up for all the kids in my sons' clasess. A yummy candy cane, a simple jingle bell and some red ribbon and you have a great Holiday Party treat!

[Treats for Son No. 2's Class]

[A closer look. I think these colors look so good together.]

Here are the treats for Son No. 1's class. Same basic idea, but she used gold cord instead of ribbon. (I really like this photo!)
[A box of goodies for all the kids.]

Christmas Goodies for Teachers and Students

Stay tuned for some great-looking photos of gifts my wife made for the boys' teachers and fellow-students. They are awesome!

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

Tick. Tock. Have you looked at the calendar? It's the 19th of December. HOLY CRAP! Do the math -- Christmas is just SIX days away. And, as usual, the list of handmade gifts that I was going to make this season is a 'dream list'. I swear every year that next year is going to be different. I tell myself that if I would start making things in October, I could get SO much done and wouldn't feel all guilty about waiting 'til the last minute. Ha! And every year it's the same: I run out of time. Crazy ain't it?

My wife and I were complaining to each other about how busy we are and how many things still need to get done before the big day. Like a message from heaven, my oldest son says, "It's okay...the main thing is we're together and we're healthy. All of that other stuff is not important." Wow! Some pretty good stuff from an eleven year old.

And while I completely agree, I'm still gonna burn the midnight oil and get a few things done. Makin' a list and checkin' it twice. There are gifts that I really want to make this year.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Frosty the Snowman - Dec., 2006

And here's the result of brotherly love. T-E-A-M-W-O-R-K all the way. I knew I bought those great big buttons for some good reason. There. I've justified my thrift store visits. No guilty feelings here. :-)

First Snowball Fight of the Season

12-10-06 snowman 005
Originally uploaded by crafty dad.
The boys couldn't resist the urge to shove snow in each other's face. On a lighter note, they worked together to build a snowman. Complete with button eyes, a carrot nose and a stocking cap.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Another Finished Project!

Not that I'm trying to push winter and Christmas out of the way, but ... I found some really great green apple print fabric and decided it would be perfect for a baby bib. Here's the result:



This bib [and another one (same print, different back)] are now in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Those Darned Playmobil People ...

Have invaded our computer desk again! Son No. 2 was taking inventory of his Playmobil people this weekend. Seems to me that there are plenty, but he wants more for Christmas. My wife and I took him to see Santa at the mall yesterday. It's official: Santa has been put on alert. Now, if my little guy can just stay on the "nice list" we'll be okay! :-)

Projects and Thrift Store Finds

My five-year-old son is working on a Christmas tree project. (Dad is helping). We'll sew this up into a little pillow when we're all done with the "backstitching" as the boys call it.

My oldest son is working on holly and berries. As you can see, he's just getting started. It seems playing video games are way more fun than making Christmas gifts. There are times that I threaten to take all the televisions and video games out of our house. Have you ever had that thought? Oh, for the simpler times!

Prototype pencil pouches in felt.

A peek inside. This one needs modified. It looks really nice now, but once the pencils become shorter, it will be tough to get them out of the pouch. But hey...that's why this is a prototype.

Some thrift store finds. Big, big hoops and small, small prices.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

Raw Materials

Here's the stack of fabric that I'm currently working with. The weekend went by too quickly and was filled with too many non-craft projects. (Darn it.) So...I'm hoping to get some things done this week after the kids go to bed. Lord help me!

And, here's a bib I'm working on. (Thinking ahead to Spring!)

And one last photo. (Just because I'm having so much fun with Paint Shop Pro X.)
My boys have a (bad) habit of pushing the pins all the way into the pin cushion. Egads!

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Whole Lot of Crafting (NOT) Going On ...

My last few posts have been very non-craft-related. I'm planning to get several things made this weekend. We'll see what happens.

Oh, by the way, it's snowing. Our 59 degree weather has been replaced with a Winter Weather Advisory. Tonite, the temperature is supposed to drop to a low of 18 degrees. Gotta love that.

Have a great weekend!