Monday, December 21, 2015

Chalkboard Christmas Ornament Gift Tags

So, hopefully you all have most of your Christmas making and buying done for this year and you're ready to wrap all your gifts and get them under the tree.  To that end, here's one little last minute make for you before Christmas.


These gift tags are a nice little re-usable addition to your packages.  The painted side is pretty and decorative.

tag backside

And, the backside is perfect for labeling your gifts.  The best part is that you can use them year after year.  Just wipe off the chalk and you're ready to go.  They can also double as cute little Christmas Ornaments, too.

I made these up as a craft that I was teaching locally (I'm sure the Texas gift tag hinted at that), so these are really fast and easy to paint for beginners. Download the pattern and instructions here and enjoy :) 

In my instructions, I suggest that you make a stencil to underpaint your tags in white so that your colors show up on the black background.


While I highly suggest that you underpaint, you don't have to use a stencil.  Use whatever method you like best for transferring the design, but if you plan to make several tags, it might be worth making a stencil.


As always, feel free to personalize your design however you want.  Be creative and change the flag if you're not in the states.  Dress your snowman in an apron and hat.  I'm just giving you a jumping off point, but the sky's the limit :-)

I hope these little gift tags help you to add that special little touch to all your presents.  Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Friends and Family!

To be very, very honest.  I really haven't done a lot of seasonal decorating since we moved back to America.  I still have boxes that need to be unpack and furniture arrangements that require more tweaking. So, holiday decorating is on the back burner. But, I recently made a chalk board/backpack station for my kids using an old, discarded dresser mirror frame. 

This is the first time I've actually tried to draw on it.

Chalkboard Backpack Station

I have to say, drawing with chalk is harder than it looks.  I drew this freehand without any real plan and getting good lines and shading was nearly impossible.  I don't know how those chalk artists do it.  Just goes to show that just because your competent in one medium does not make you a master in another :)

I think my chalk board's surface is a bit too rough for any really good chalk  art, and if I want to do this again, I might need to sand it smooth and put another coat of chalkboard paint on with a sponge roller.

Chalkboard Thanksgiving Turkey

For a first try, I'm happy with how this turned out.  I really only did it for my little girl who guilted me into drawing a turkey for her since I've been promising to decorate the chalk board for two months now :)

Again, Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Have a great day with friends, family, and food!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Houston Quilt Festival 2015

I'm so happy that this year I got to attend the BIG Houston, Texas International Quilt Festival!

I always love going to this show, and now that we are back in Texas, it's much easier to attend since the travel time is minimal. By minimal, I mean it's a good 6 hour drive.  Not too bad, except this year it took us a little over 13 hours to get from my house to Houston due to all the flooding. 

Texas Flooding

Little did we know when we started out on Friday morning that we were about to get caught up in one of the season's worst storms so far.  We saw cars floating in the water, torrential rain, roads closed, and major traffic diverted to two lane highways not meant for that many cars.  We ended up arriving after midnight, completely missing the show on Friday, but we arrived safely.


This year's festival did not disappoint.  The quilt show featured so many different exhibits that it was hard to see everything.  And, there were so many vendors that I only had time to focus on a few dozen that really interested me and scanned the rest.

Houston IQA show flower quilt

While I do love the vendors at these shows, I can't get enough of the magnificent quilts exhibited by quilters from around the world in so many different styles here! I love the bold colors and dramatic angles on this floral quilt.


The quilting is also very nice and is a good contrast to the sharp lines of the flowers.

what's for dinner

The "What's For Dinner" display was also one of my favorites.  They set a table with place-mats featuring so many creative and funny meals.  My favorite was the naughty dog. 


That naught beast ate everything on the plate but the peas :) As a dog owner, I can personally attest that this is just about what happens when you don't have someone guarding the table at meal time.


This is a beautifully done more traditional applique quilt that I thought was just perfection.


I love the wonderful use of color variation in this quilt and all the hard work that went into the applique, borders, and quilting.

Halloween applique

There were also so many creative people at the show decked out in home made Halloween clothing since the show landed on the holiday.  This fabulous lady let me take a picture of her wonderfully appliqued shirt.  Didn't she do such a lovely job.

monster ballMy mother (who went to the show with me) and I also got into the Halloween spirit on Saturday night when we attended the quilt festival's "Monster Ball".  They had a live band, great food, a photo booth, and a lot of crazy ladies dressed up and dancing the night away!  Wish you could see my mom's full costume.  She is a mad scientist with a crazy pink tutu on, and I'm a sugar skull flapper. Yeah, we're weird, and we're cool with it :)

The last two quilts that I'll post were my favorites.  "Like Cinderella" is by Yukiko Maruhama from Japan.

Houston IQA show like Cinderella details

I just swoon over all the different shoes on this quilt made from so many great fabrics and buttons!  

Polar Bear Quilt
This was my absolute favorite quilt at the show.  I even made a special trip back to visit this quilt one last time before the show closed.  It's called "Now you see him" by Cat Larrea of Alaska.

Houston IQA show polar bear details
Not only did I fall in love with the wonderful subject and great composition of this quilt, I love the artist's use of tiny fabric scraps to piece this quilt together like a mosaic.


I also love how she used brightly colored fabric as the shading instead of an overall dark shadowy color.  I lingered near this quilt for a good long time before saying goodbye :)  It was a great way to end a great show and wonderful weekend with my mother.

If you want to see more of the quilts from the show that I photographed, make sure to watch the slide show at the top.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Halloween Mask

halloween mask

Just a quick post today to share a digital piece of art I just finished. I'm super happy with it and am so glad that I got some art done in time for Halloween.

This is actually a real photo I took of myself wearing a mask that I painted on my face for the fall festival at my children's school.  I then used my computer to digitally paint on the photo and enhanced it with filters as well.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pink Ribbon Run Tutus

UntitledI don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but my husband is a runner and participates in basically every run in our area on a regular basis.  So there was never any doubt that he would take part in our local pink ribbon run to benefit breast cancer awareness and research.

It was also no surprise that my five-year-old daughter wanted to join in too by doing the 1 mile with her Daddy before he did the 10K.

My husband has been slowly introducing her to running with him on a small scale (he's even bought her special running shoes). So when she wanted to wear matching pink tutus to the pink ribbon run, my hubby agreed with one caveat, it has to be made of soft fabric!

 Pink ribbon run

 Apparently, tulle netting is scratchy and gives runners bush burn after a few miles.  So Noooooo,  I couldn't just make some quick, easy no-sew tutus.


On a soft fabric mission, I headed to my local fabric shop for supplies and bought 6 yards of soft organza in two shades of pink, and while I was there I spotted this wide satin blanket binding with pink ribbons on it.  Yeah, it went home with me too :)  I serged the edges of the tutus and used the blanket binding at the waist to cover the elastic.


It took a bit longer to make them this way, but in the end it was totally worth it because they were not only comfortable but they can re-use them again next year.

Plus, I really enjoyed seeing my husband in a tutu. :)  Yeah, I'm mean like that.

In the end, a great time was had by all benefiting a great cause.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Gift Card Holder and Mug Rug

Welcome to the September HO, HO, Ho and On We Sew 
link party!

Let's face it my fellow holiday makers.  No matter how talented and crafty we all are, there will inevitably be someone on our holiday list who will get a gift card.  Personally, I love gift cards, and I have no problem giving or receiving them.  While they are great, they do lack that little handmade touch that many of us love to include in a gift.  So to remedy this situation, I will be sharing a fun, fast, and versatile gift card holder/mug rug pattern to kick off the September Linky party.

Christmas Gift Card Holder & Mug Rug sewing tutorial

Every month on the 18th, Paula at Mud, Pies, and pins and Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches will be hosting a link party where we can showcase our work and get inspired and motivated by each other to get going on our Christmas decor and gifts throughout the year. There is also a wonderful giveaway open to all linkers to the party.  You don't have to comment on this blog to be entered; you only need to link-up :)

Thank you to Plush Addict for sponsoring this months giveaway prize!  One lucky linky party winner gets their choice of one Skinny Dips bundle from Plush Addict. The bundles are a themed set of five fat 8ths of fabric.

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Christmas Gift Card Holder &

 Mug Rug Tutorial


While many of the store bought gift card holders available are pretty, they are often for presentation sake only and will eventually find their way to the garbage can.  This is sad :(  

Personally, I like projects that are practical, pretty, and multi-functional.  This gift card holder is not just a pretty way to present your gift card, but it doubles as a Christmas ball shaped mug rug that the recipient can use at home or at work.  It's also designed to hang on the tree if you like to tuck a few little gifts into the branches of your Christmas tree like I do. Plus, it fits perfectly into an A6 sized envelope for easy mailing.   


I'm also a big fan of variety, so this pattern includes a one fabric (basic) version, a paper pieced pineapple design, and a paper pieced log cabin as well.  

1/8 yard fabric or a variety of fabric scraps
1/8th inch ribbon for hanging
optional trim for embellishments

No matter which design you choose to make, you will start by printing the basic pattern and cutting out the shapes for the body (front and back for the basic pattern, only back if patchwork), the pocket, and the cap.


Cut your ribbon to about 4.5 inches long and place it between your two cap pieces.  Sew around the perimeter using 1/4 inch seam allowance (included in pattern) leaving the bottom open.  Notch the curve and flip right side out.


Fold the pocket piece at the top along the fold line and press down.  Stitch it in place for a nice clean top.


The cap, pocket, and back piece are made the same no matter which design you choose.  If you want to do either the pineapple or log cabin fronts, you will need your printout and a basic knowledge of paper piecing.

There are a zillion good tutorials out there on how to paper piece if you need one.  My personal favorite is this video provided by connecting threads.

The log cabin is the faster and easier patchwork front.


The pineapple patch is also very pretty, but more time consuming than the log cabin.  It also lends itself very well to showing off a special fussy cut center.


If you just want to wing the front patchwork, you could easily just piece random strips together


or, you could go crazy and sew pieces around a central fussy cut motif.  The possibilities are really endless. . .


Place the font body piece (either patchwork or plain) right side up on the batting.  Quilt the top using whatever design you prefer, and then trim off the excess batting.


If you want to add any trim to the front, now would be the time to sew it down.


Stack the front and back pieces right sides together with the pocket and cap in-between as shown.  


Sew around the perimeter using 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Leave a minimum half inch gap un-sewn in order to flip it right-side-out (place the opening between the pocket and the cap in order to making closing it easier later). 


Notch around the circle and then invert the body.


Working from the inside with a tool or your fingers, shape the edges until your circle is fairly symmetrical. Pin and  sew your opening closed either by hand or machine.


Lastly, you'll want to stitch around the perimeter again using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  This will help keep all the layers together and make the pocket more secure.


Now your ready to place your gift card in your holder . . .


and send it out into a world full of beverages . . .


that are waiting for mug rugs :)


Now it's time for you to link up and show us all what you've been up to this month!  Plus, you'll get a chance to win the Skinny Dips bundle from Plush Addict.

I can't wait to see all of your  holiday creations and, as always, a big thank you to all of our lovely giveaway sponsors.

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