Saturday, December 27, 2014

It's Not Blurry - It's Fuzzy!

Trying to squeeze in some final days of 2014 crafting in. My cousins came over to visit and my sister and I decided to teach them the wonders of needle felting. Check it out!

My cousin Brianna is a speedy crafter - she cranked out two figures in 3 hours. Here's what she used as a reference:

Oscar the Owl
Hers turned out a lot more - in her own words - "extreme". :P

Brianna: "It needs to stop drinking coffee."

Brianna: "Best model ever! Great from all angles :)"
She decided to capitalize on her love of big eyes for her second creation.

Brianna: "Should have been pink but it's still fabulous!"

My cousin Henrika worked at a slower pace but put a lot of detail into her work.

Henrika: "I got lazy with the head. I will try better next time...when I'm not lazy."

My sister and I decided to underscore the fact that crafting and gaming are totally compatible. There isn't a gamer out there who doesn't know who these two are:

What's your problem?!

I don't need this...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

'Tis the season to be yarning...

Fa la la la la la la la la ...

Merry Christmas, everyone! Christ is born - it's time to celebrate!

This year, my sister and I wanted to give our crafting friends gifts. Ambitiously, we thought to knit them each a face cloth and bundle it with some facial cleanser to make a gift set.

We made a few versions of the same type of set.

You all know that my sister knits so for her, it wouldn't be a problem. However, what you may not know is that the last time I picked up knitting needles was 15 years ago. Yep. And I never even finished the sole of the booty that I was working on.

What I have discovered is that it is easier learning how to knit properly as an adult than as an impatient preteen. My first face cloth was a mass of uneven knits, reversed patterns and dropped stitches. My second face cloth was an improvement in spades. Check it out:

This neat pattern is called Nai Nai's Favorite and can be found here.

Practise does make perfect. After churning out a handful of these, I have now got this pattern memorized and am not only making better stitches but am faster overall. 

Both Allison and I want to wish everyone a happy holiday. May you have a wonderful time with friends and family but do not forget to thank the Lord for giving us the greatest gift of all - his one and only son, Jesus. Today, we celebrate Christ's birth - Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree...

I don't give out a lot of Christmas cards during Christmas. The main reason is that I want to hand-make all my cards but I always spend way too long on each card. This card I made for a family friend. It's been years since I last made a pop-up card and recently, while wandering through the library, I came across this book:

The designs are pretty basic but versatile and it made me want to try my hand and making pop-up cards again. I remember why I loved these so much as a kid. 

I got my inspiration for the front from - where else? - Pinterest, of course. It was a clean, simple layout which worked.  

Tonight is Christmas eve. I like to think of the shepherds out in the field tending their flocks, probably a little bored, completely unaware of what's awaiting them a few hours ahead. A child is being born and he is going to change the world...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Craft-y Sunday

The weeks leading up to Christmas can be so busy. I haven't had much time to work on this blog and my hard drive currently holds a large stock of crafting pictures just waiting to be posted.

A few weeks ago, my sister and I hosted our first crafting afternoon at our house (I say 'first' because I hope for many more such afternoons in the coming year :) ). Michelle, Tracy, Amy and Emily came over for lunch before we busted out the supplies. I had this vague idea of us all making Christmas cards but we ended up each working on different projects. Still, it was an awesome afternoon and we got some nice stuff out of it.

Emily was our shutterbug for the afternoon - the rest of us were too bent on our projects to document (as you can see by the many hands visible in the photos).

Amy was the only one who actually worked on Christmas cards. :)

Watercolour and calligraphy - just the right handmade touch!

Tracy ambitiously decided to learn how to knit. She was working on a scarf with a few pointers from my sister and Emily.  There were many Youtube videos being played in the background while we worked.

I'm not sure how far she got but I have heard that it has since finished. I can't wait to see it :)

My sister and Michelle set up a clay sculpture shop. It took up half the dining room table and was quite the production. My sister is slowly building up her arsenal of clay sculpting tools. Recently, our family bought a new toaster oven so now, our old one is specifically devoted to baking our crafting creations. Move aside Dolly Maker Oven - we've got big girl toys now!

A cute, festive bear bearing a candy cane.
Michelle was the one who was especially excited to be working with clay. She decided to work on a set of ornaments and experimented with a bunch of different techniques.

Oh, and did I mention that we also have a pasta maker dedicated for clay sculptures? Yes we do. 
She make some really neat colour mixtures.

Into the oven they go!

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of Michelle's ornaments after they were baked. They still need to be spray painted with gold (oohh...fancy). However, here's my sister's adorable Christmas bear:

So what did our shutterbug (ie. Emily) work on? Well, for the past few months, she has been diligently working on a cross-stitching pattern for her niece. In between shooting our photos, she got a few stitches in.

Coming along nicely, Em.
So what did I do? Aside from talking non-stop for 4 hours, of course :P. Well, that will have to wait for next year. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Pinterest-y Wedding

Two weeks ago, my friend, Jennifer got married and I am so happy for her. Alex, her husband, is a very lucky man. 

Weddings can be exceptionally busy and stressful but I find that they are also a way of bringing a community together. My sister and I really felt that while we worked alongside a lot of other people who played a role in Alex and Jen's big day. The ceremony was intimate and elegant and everyone pulled together to ensure things ran smoothly. 

My sister and I, along with Emily, Amy and Tracy were responsible for the bulk of the decorations. I say "the bulk" because as charming as that sign is above, we didn't make it. The sign itself is the handiwork of a church friend, Eugenia and the floral arrangement is thanks to Jasmine. Most of the other things though, we did make. We spent A LOT of time on Pinterest and there were so many ideas we wanted to try. We left it to Tracy, our fearless leader, to ensure everything was cohesive.

Jen is the type of bride who doesn't want to put undue demands on the people helping her. It's because she's so nice though that all of us are more than willing to put in that extra mile. She gave her decorating team pretty much free reign in what we wanted to do. Her one real request was teacup flower arrangements - so we made it happen.

A mixture of crepe paper, tissue paper, cardstock and dollar store flowers. I thought the arrangements looked delightful. I played the florist after all ;) Each arrangement was put on a wood slice pedestal. That was Tracy's idea and it was just the right touch!

Actually, the arrangement is the only thing I can take credit for. The orange roses were the work of Amy and the white flowers, blue buds and green paper leaves were thanks to Allison. We bought some dollar store flowers at the last minute because we ran out of time to make more by hand.

Jen bought thirteen adorable, miscellaneous teacups and we ended up filling nine of them. 

I had never done flower arranging before but for this wedding, I suddenly became a florist and discovered skills I never knew I had! (And remembered bits of random articles and crafting books that I had flipped through in the past.) One element we used that I really liked was putting baby's breath in decorated mason jars. These jars lined the pews and the effect was simple but beautiful. If I ever get married, I would consider doing this as well. 

We hot glue gunned the ribbon and lace to the mason jars. The jars were secured to the pews with wire.

Arranging the flowers involved branch clippers and a lot of I-hope-this-will-look-good.

When you are decorating for a wedding, your focus is in the details. We team-shopped every dollar store in Ottawa looking for just the right supplies.

We created a Date Night & Food Suggestions board for the guests to write down their recommendations. We found cute flower and bird buttons at Dollar Tree. 

The vases and branches were Jen's selection; the fabric roses were Emily and Allison's creations.

We are familiar with most of the Fabriclands in the city now and are still debating whether one of us should get a membership. :)

This was definitely a last minute creation. The table on the stage had a table cloth which was too long so we had to fold it. We needed something to hide the center fold, so I took a scrap piece of tulle and a bit of ribbon and ta da! 

These burlap flowers were one of the first things we made. Originally, they were supposed to go on the mason jars but when we tried them out, it looked too busy. In the end, these went on the window sills of the reception room.

This was drawn by Allison at 10:00 pm, the night before the wedding. We had this big white board that we couldn't get rid of and couldn't quite cover. I personally, liked the cartoon sketches she made of Jen and Alex before this particular drawing but she wasn't too happy with their eyes and so simplified things to silhouettes. A doodler is invaluable to any decorating team. 

Although we agonized over minutia at times, we did try to keep the big picture in mind. Things that are cute in a small setting can look very different in a larger setting. In this case, our little things looked awesome :D!

Not too sparse and not overpowering - I thought we struck a nice balance.

I have no idea how Tracy, Amy and Emily pulled together these ruffled burlap curtains the night before the wedding.  The whole food area set up came together beautifully. It helps that the food from Art Is In Bakery looks so appetizing :P.

It was a lot of work but the day was wonderful and the couple looked so happy. I wish them many blessed years together!