Thursday, December 31, 2009

ABC - The Aftermath

As I stated way back at the beginning of the month, my motto for the month was ABC - Always Be Crafting. I may not have crafted every minute of every day, but man, it sure felt like I was coming close sometimes! I had so much to get done before family came to visit. Being on a very strict budget made it all the more necessary to stick with it as well. Here, in no particular order, are the projects that I can remember off the top of my head. I'm pretty sure this is almost all of them.

Pajama pants

I wanted us to all have matching pjs on Christmas morning, but it's really hard to find ones that come in both adult and infant sizes. I'm sure even if I were to come across them, they would not be cheap. I also have a problem buying things in holiday themes because then you can't wear them past the end of the holiday without looking like a total doofus. I ended up buying three pairs of men's pj pants on sale for $8 a piece at Target and making the third pair into baby pants using the directions in The Creative Family. I'm not so good with the pattern making though, so the baby's pants fit a little bit big and had to be pinned up in the back. That's okay, it just means he'll grow into them, right?

Knit washcloths

I made both my mother in law and my sister in law a half dozen each hand knit cotton dishcloths. I switched to these myself from cellulose sponges a few months ago, and we love them! They're textured just right to make them great for scrubbing, but they won't scratch anything. They're better for the environment because they're reusable. You just toss them in the wash at the end of the day so you don't have a sponge in your sink breeding bacteria. Some people think you can toss the sponge in the dishwasher and that sanitizes it, but oh, is that a yucky, yucky myth!

I forgot to take a photo of the finished ones. Duh.

Baby Non-Skid Socks.

Bubba was slipping and sliding all over the kitchen floor when it got cold enough so that he needed to wear socks. Someone told me that if you put puff paint on the bottom of them it would make them non skid. I also read it in Parents magazine, so I decided to try it. Not only did it not work very well, the paint peeled off after a couple of washings!

I like to call these his "Bad Word" socks.

Pinwheel Quilt

I don't even know if I should count this one. I bought the fabric, cut the squares, started sewing and pressing and sewing and piecing... and then ran out of time. I even managed to get about half of the actual pinwheels completed using the directions on V and Co's blog, but I was insane to think that I would be able to finish a full sized quilt in time for Christmas with all the other stuff I had going on. As a result, my sister in law and her fiance received a box with all the pieces and a promise it would be done in time for the wedding in May.

Felt Food

Now that Bubba as a play kitchen with pots and pans, I decided he needed some play food to go along with it. I know there are tons of play sets available out there with play food that are very reasonably priced, but the problem is that they're usually A) plastic and B) made in China. I'm not giving that to my baby who still feels the need to shove everything into his mouth! EW! There are some wooden ones that I liked (and plan to get in the future) as well as some really nice felt food on Etsy, but they're also kind of spendy. It's just not in the budget right now.

Fortunately, felt is super cheap! So is embroidery floss. I actually happen to have a ton of both in my stash of craft supplies already (I bet you're so surprised) so I decided to make up some things. I didn't have patterns, and just was winging it. I looked at photos of felt food on Flickr for inspiration. There was also a couple of orange wedges and a few slices of tomato for the sandwich that I didn't photograph because they were done after I took the photos. Oh, and the syrup on the waffle is detachable!!!

I sewed all these by hand while watching Bewitched on Hulu, starting with the first episode. That's also how I passed the time for a lot of my knitting!

Glitter Buckles for Ribbon

When I saw these on Jaimee Rose's blog a few months ago while going through her archives, I knew I had to make them. She said she paid $12.50 for eight of hers at a local shop called Melrose Vintage. Again, not only am I poor, but I am cheap as well, so I made some. I sketched out my own pattern before learning that Martha had one available on her site. Duh. I then traced it on scraps of chipboard leftover from other projects. Next, I took a Bic Mark-It marker that coordinated with the glitter I was using for that particular buckle and used it to color in the edges of the chipboard. Finally, I took Stickles and covered the fronts of the buckles. They had to dry overnight because I put a really thick layer, but they were worth the wait because the Stickles don't flake loose glitter everywhere like regular glitter and glue does.

My favorite ones were the ones made with the Platinum Stickles and gray Mark-It. The Black Diamond didn't turn out very well. I think it would have worked better if I had colored the chipboard base black before covering it in glitter. After they were dry all I had to do was thread some wide ribbon through them. These would be great for gifts that had to be shipped because they look pretty and you wouldn't have to worry about the bow getting crushed.

Cake Pops and Cake Truffles

I decided to stop calling them "Cake Balls" and start calling them "Cake Truffles." I think that sounds nicer. I had someone order some cake pops, and had a lot left over. Then I ran out of sticks so I had to switch from pops to truffles.

Pops are DEFINITELY easier.


Since family was coming over, we were going to need more stockings! No way in hell was I going to pay $15 each for six new stockings (because you know they HAD to match) so I started to troll local thrift stores in search of fabric to make into stockings. I found this large lime green check for $5 and had enough to make them all with some leftover. I got the red burlap at Hobby Lobby for $3. Grand total - $8 for six new, MATCHING stockings. Not bad!


I'm counting these as crafting because they are a LOT of work. I had my friend (pictured above) over to help. This was only my third time making them myself, and it was SO NICE compared to last time. I had the stand mixer to make the masa instead of having to hold a hand mixer. I had the Multi Pot which held a lot more water under the steamer basket and needed less monitoring than the smaller pot I used last time. I also had better help - he didn't whine and complain the whole time and was eager to learn. That's always nice! We made about 8 dozen, which isn't a lot compared to what some people made, but we also only ever had two people at a time working on them.

I just lack a posse of tias and cousins to help, I guess.

Peppermint Marshmallows

Another thing I got from Jaimee Rose. I tell you, that woman is a bad influence on me! The recipe is from Martha, the containers are from the Dollar Tree, and the labels I made in Photoshop and punched out using my EK Success scalloped punch. I was surprised at how easy they were and am no longer a candy-making virgin. I even have the candy thermometer to prove it!

Sugar/Gingerbread Cookies

Again, technically not a craft, but still requiring a lot of time and work and some level of craftiness, so I'm counting them! I made so many of these. Some were sold, some were given as gifts, many were eaten. I hung most of the gingerbread ones on the tree in lieu of ornaments this year as I didn't want the baby knocking any of my ornaments off and breaking them.

Ornament Wreath

Yet another thing found by Jaimee Rose, this wreath was made using the directions given by Eddie Ross on his blog. I was lazy and skipped the hot gluing part, and regretted it when I lost a couple ornaments. I used shatterproof ones I got for $10 at Target. If I put this out again I'll go back and do that step. I also ran out before I completed the loop and just filled the gap with a big-ass bow.

Christmas Cards

I went super simple this year - the boy's photo with Santa photoshopped into a simple background with a short greeting. I made them 4" x 6", sent them off to Walgreens with a coupon code, and had them printed for ten cents each. They were then mounted on a rectangle of plain white cardstock to make them feel more "finished" and mailed out in envelopes that I ran through the printer.

Play Kitchen "Art"

I made this little sign in Photoshop for the baby's play kitchen. It got printed out here on photo paper and then put into a frame that my husband found at the Walmarts for $3.

So there you have it - I spent more hours making stuff than I did sleeping. Come to think of it, I didn't sleep a whole heck of a lot this month. There were more than a couple of all-nighters pulled. It's the only way I was able to work without Bubba Grabby-Fingers distracting me. I would just take a nap with him in the afternoons to try and catch up a little. I had a few moments here and there where I worked on my own December Daily album. I do still need to wrap that up though, as having family in town puts a serious halt to projects like that.

People are always asking me how I find the time, but the truth of the matter is that you find time for what is important to you - this was important to me. If you think about it, I really don't go out much, I hardly watch television, I don't go to the gym or work out at all, and I don't have a job besides caring for my child. I decided that since I wasn't very good at anything else, I was going to rock this domesticity thing as hard as I could.

Next month though - I'm taking a break! HA!

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Blogger em said...

Your felt food is AWESOME!

9:19 PM  
Blogger Ford Fairlane, Rock & Roll Detective said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Seattlean said...

Thanks for crafting such a great Christmas for our family; you're the best! Love ya!

7:09 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

you totally inspire me Ms M!!! Happy new year!!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Jaimee said...

I love it all! Thanks for reading my blog!

11:17 PM  
Blogger Sweet Simplicity said...

You are so talented! I love the felt food--so cute. The stockings turned out fantastic. I love the fabric you found.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Hooptee said...

You inspire me! I'm totally following in your footsteps trying to "rock domesticity". I signed up for a quilting class because I literally haven't sewn since high school. And I bought some ornaments post christmas at Target so I can make a wreath next year. (yeah - not motivated enough to do it this year. I enjoy sleep too much). And I WILL be attempting the sugar cookies again at V-day! You are awesome!

6:21 PM  

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