While I sat at the kitchen table working on the stuffed blue whale that I was making for my new nephew, she spent hours preparing dish after dish for our Christmas meal the next day. It was nice to sit and chat with her. I don’t spend nearly enough time at my parents’ house lately.
After I finished embroidering the mouth of the whale and sewing on the eyeball-buttons it was time for me to use the sewing machine to finish the whale. My mom brought me downstairs, showed me how to thread her sewing machine, and then left me to finish the whale.
I never did finish it. Instead, the whale fabric flitted around the sewing machine like it had a mind of its own, and the needle kept coming unthreaded, and the thread kept getting all jammed up in the machine, and I started swearing, and steaming, and getting extremely angry at the whole idea of sewing.
“Why did I even start this project when I find sewing so frustrating?”
My mom was on the phone with my sister when I started freaking out. Luckily, she got off the phone and came downstairs to see what was going on.
“There’s something wrong with this stupid machine! I don’t think I can do this!”
My mom was rather calm considering the state I was in.
“Let me look at it.”
She sat down at the sewing machine and took over. I went upstairs and worked on the bean dip appetizer she still wanted to make for Christmas Day.
By the time I was finished with the bean dip, the whale was completely sewn. I flipped it inside out and stuffed it and then sewed the final little bit by hand.
It was adorable, thanks to my Mom.
After we finished with the whale, I went with my family to church and I sang with my Mom in the choir. She’s great at alto harmonies. I stood next to her and sang the soprano part, and we sounded nice together.
While we were singing, I thought about how great my mom is and how much she’s done for me over the years. I’ve been very lucky.
Note: This blue whale plushie is part of my “Jeannimals” project. Learn a bit more about it in my post about the plush heart I made for my niece. It also involves a sewing disaster.
Since we have roommates, this also means that he may or may not be in constant danger of flashing them. While my roomies never really mentioned being uncomfortable about the robe situation, I wonder if they also recognized the constant uncertainty. Exposure could happen any moment!
But no more! On Saturday, I made Jim a belt for his bathrobe to eliminate this little situation forever….and I also made it to make Jim happy. I’m sure it will be more comfortable to have a belt.
Since I’m not much of a seamstress, it actually took me over two hours to make the thing and the craftmanship isn’t even that good, but it’s the thought that counts.
I gave Jim the belt yesterday as a Christmas present, and he seemed quite happy. Yay!
After 339 days of making something this year, this phrase makes me chuckle and think, “What? Bigger than this project? How?” Perhaps that’s a little silly, but it feels true. Making something every day has been extremely tough!
That said, this phrase does make me look ahead and think about next year. In case anyone is curious, next year I plan to do 52 projects, one each week, that are all more challenging, elaborate, and hopefully impressive than the ones I did this year. I plan to post to this blog more than once a week, though. Perhaps I’ll provide background on the project development at the beginning of the week and even provide updates on progress during the week. We shall see!
On Wednesday, a few friends and I had a craft night, and I made an easy, no-sew tree skirt. The project took me a total of about 2.5 hours, not including the time at the craft store. I used the old “tie-the-strips-of-fleece-together” method, and it worked well. See below for instructions.
- 1.75 yards of two different fleece fabrics – I bought one solid red fleece fabric and one patterned red and white fabric. Note that you need to ensure that your fabrics will be big enough to make a circle 60 inches in diameter. You may want to tell the person cutting your fabric that you’ll be making a tree skirt this size.
- Tape measure
- Pen or pencil
- Straight pins
Instructions for this easy no-sew tree skirt
- Find the center of the fabric and mark it with a pen. To do this, fold the fabric in half the “tall way” so that the fabric is folded to be tall and skinny. Then, measure the fabric along the tall edge with your tape measure and make a mark at the center. Then unfold the fabric.
- Using the center you just marked as a guide, draw a large circle on your fabric. To do this, tie a piece of string to your pen (or pencil) and then cut the sting to be 30 inches long. Hold the end of your string at the center you marked in the previous step, extend the string out fully, and draw your circle by slowly moving the pen around the center in a circle. Note: Your resulting circle will be 60 inches in diameter, which will seem very large. It will be smaller when you’re done.
- Lay your solid circle on top of the patterned fleece, with the pattern facing down. Then use the solid circle as a guide to cut a circle from the patterned fleece. After this, do not separate the circles.
- Using your same pen and string, cut the 30 inch string down to 5 inches and measure a small circle around the center in the same process. Then cut out the small circle. It will be 10 inches in diameter.
- Cut a slit through both fabrics from the outer edge straight to the small circle. Using the straight pins, pin the fabric together along both sides of the slit.
- With the circles still together, cut 1 inch wide strips through both piece of fabric. The strips should be about 6 inches long.
- Once you’ve cut these strips all around the circle, knot one patterned strip together with one solid strip. Do this all the way around the tree skirt.
- Then take out your straight pins because you’re done!
Note: If you’d like, you can sew the edges along the slit and around the smaller circle. However it’s not necessary. The solid fabric and the pattern fabric will naturally cling together, and if they get a little out of alignment along the small circle and along the slit, you can just line them back up.
Finally, here’s the first ever picture on my blog of me in the process of making something! Thanks to my friend Christina for taking this! Can’t believe it took so long to post an “action shot!”
On Thursday, I finished the paper wreath I started making on Wednesday. Here it is hanging on my door. I love it!
On Wednesday, I started working on a paper wreath for my front door. To make the wreath, I cut some colorful paper (thanks Paper Source!) onto strips and then glued it into a ring shape. Then I just glued the rings to the cardboard ring. It was easy enough to do, but gluing the paper took a long time, so I had to divide this project into two days.
Tonight I made this map of Illinois. Secret: This was super easy to do. All I did was manipulate a map of Illinois using Picnick, print it out, paint it, scan it back it, and then add the text. Not bad!
Unrelated, this is a reminder to participate in my social art project, “Undone, Done.” Entries are due on Sunday!
A few weeks ago, I picked up an origami kit at the thrift store that consists of some wonderful paper and a much less wonderful book about how to make origami animals. Since I’m recovering from my eyeball surgery (it went well!), I decided that using the kit and making paper cranes would be a good activity for today. I made the red and yellow cranes and Jim made the blue and green ones. As total beginners, we both decided that origami is very relaxing sometimes and entirely frustrating at others. (Why is a pocket fold so impossible?!) With a bit of practice, though, I’m sure we’re both going to really like it.