W.I.P. Wednesday : The finished, the planned and the in-progress…

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This is an extra-large serving of W.I.P.ness, so grab a little cup of tea and here we go!

The finished : Staring here is good, helps me to feel like I’ve accomplished something!

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Here are the carp I told you about here. Love them. I hope my nephew does, too.

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He’s quite a sketcher (I sent him the watercolour-pencil roll for Christmas) so I thought a blank notebook would suit him. I also made him a black denim pouch to slip the notebook and some pencils in, in case he wants to do a little field work (ok, this is a bad inside joke because he lives on a farm. Sorry.)

It’s also my niece’s birthday soon, so here are her goodies :

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The little dude’s antenna/hat isn’t sewn on yet in this photo, but I assure you, it has since been sewn on and they are on their way to the U.S. along with this :

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…a little felty pouch (decorated with ribbon on the other side) and a heart pin because they are so cute I’m making them for everyone! I used this felt, and for the butterflies I used this adorable pattern from Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls fame. I just noticed she’s having a doll giveaway today – go throw your name in the virtual hat!.

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This was one of the first patterns I ever ordered (about 9 months ago), but this is the first time I’ve used it. I have a feeling I’ll be making more of these in the future they are so sweet. And springy.

Oh, and a new pincushion, because I just love making these little cuties!

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and the other side, so you can see my wonky stitching.

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Now, the in-progress :

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Another one of these dolls. This is for a “new” baby (she’s already 3 weeks old – aak!). She’s mostly done – just need to sew her hair ribbon on and get her limbs attached. Have you ever noticed the less you have to do to finish a project, the more difficult it is psychologically to get it done? Or is it just me?

I started this last night for the talented Tacha :

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Lucky me gets to test another pattern for her! This is going to be adorable – I’ll hopefully have it ready for show & tell by Friday! She has the best stuff in her shop – go check it out!

The planned :

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely heard of the terrible fires in Australia, killing so many – humans and animals – and destroying everything in sight. I wanted to so something, so I donated what I could, but still felt like I wasn’t doing anything. Then, the aforementioned Tacha told me about The Bushfire Quilt Project. Tia Curtis, an American quilter living in Australia, is rounding-up quilt blocks from all over the globe and with the help of local quilters, they are creating quilts for families who lost everything in this tragedy. If your life has ever been touched by fire, you know the devastation of completely starting over. These quilts may not be much, but they are a start, and a great way to show some global solidarity to our Australian friends.

That’s great, Shellyfish, but I don’t know how to quilt. Well, guess what? Neither do I! But I’m committing to making at least a few of these Wonky Stars thanks to the tutorial. My biggest obstacle is an anemic fabric stash, but I’m hoping to get some scraps organized Friday. Here’s The Bushfire Quilt Project Flickr Group if you want to be inspired. Doing what you can makes such a big difference, be it 2 or 50 squares. Others are sending quilting supplies to help out. Just wanted to spread the word, and thanks to Tacha for sharing the links with me!

And to finish, behold! Guppy’s new dress, er, dress fabric :

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Ok, this fabric is just dreamy. It has such a great feel and weight to it. Yum. We don’t have a fabric store in town, but there is a vendor who comes to the marché twice a week. The up-side is he often has designer remnants at great prices. The down-side is that you can’t buy the amount you’d like – you’re stuck with whatever size the remnant is – be it a half meter or 3 meters. It’s a good thing in this case because I got nearly 3 meters for 10E which is just super exciting!

I wish I were only 4 and could have a dress, too. Ok, no, when I was 4 I wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress. But Guppy is rather excited about it, probably because she doesn’t have any cold-weather dresses so it seems special. I’m excited because I’ve never made a dress before. So much excitement.

Speaking of excitement, next week’s W.I.P. will have our Wipster of the Month interview and we’ll also have our March Stitch-Along – I bet you just can’t wait! Try to satisfy your curiosity by visitng the other Wipsters to see what they are up to this week, and don’t forget the W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Group, too!

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Bookmaking & Birthday Gifts (and an ugly yet delicious cupcake)

I’ve been wanting to blog about my newest favourite creative obsession outlet, but thought it would be better to wait until I had a little more to show you. I wanted to explain the why’s and how’s, give you the soul behind the groove…

But I just can’t wait because it’s so fun!

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I am in love with making these notebooks! Don’t you love the unfinished, just raveld enough edges? I think they look so natural. Sometimes I wonder if it’s normal to enjoy sewing into paper so much, because it’s the bee’s knees. I promise a more in-depth post soon, but you know when you’re into something and you just have to share it? This little cupper is actually on its way to a very sweet Birthday Girl. It doesn’t have far to go, but I don’t think it’s going to make it in time. Sigh.

These notebooks have become my birthday gift idea par excellence, and I’m working on a few others right now. I’ve done a pretty good job honoring my Handmade Pledge, and this is a great way for me to send something from the heart and hands. I’ve been using Moleskine (over-priced) and faux-Moleskine (far more reasonable but difficult to find) notebooks, but I’m going to be making my own soon (that’ll be part of the part 2 of this post!).

Rather than typing this post, I should be embroidering this :

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It’s going to be for a notebook for my nephew’s birthday. These groovy little carp are from this book :

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I bought it last summer when visiting the U.S. I think it’s a great book for embroidery beginners (like me!) because it gives a good explanation of some basic techniques and has some fun project ideas, and though not all of them are really my cup of tea, I’ve enjoyed flipping through the pages for inspiration. I’m excited to use a design from this book for the first time.

I’ll be posting a proper bookmaking W.I.P. soon, promis, juré!

Did you happen to see the whiteout cakes that were taking over the Internet last week? If not you can visit Honey B or Natalia to see how beeeutiful they looked. They got me dreaming of deep, dark chocolate and frosting and since Guppy & I are on vacation, we decided to make some cupcake love…

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Clearly not as fancy as it could have been, but very fun to make with Guppy, and even more fun to eat! We just used the chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, but I doubled the cocoa (because I’m punk rock like that) and we made a variation on the fluffy buttercream recipe. Betcha want one, too!

W.I.P. Wednesday : Sugar Free, Fat Free, Calorie Free Donuts! A tutorial…

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I know what you’re thinking : With a title like that, there’s got to be a catch. You’re right.

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I’d been wracking my little brain (ouch!), trying to think of something to make for my Pay It Forward (PIF) winners. It’s not easy knowing what to send someone you know without really knowing them outside of their blog lives. I considered making handbags, but not knowing their individual tastes, didn’t want to send something in their least favourite colour, or something that would sit in a closet forever. The only real criteria for the PIF gifts were that they be vegan and handmade.

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Enter the donuts! As I was thinking of goodies to add to their parcels, I thought of making a treat to send, but was concerned that even though they weren’t leaving the European Union, cookies could be crushed or frosting smudged, etc. by they time they arrived at destination. I’d made some felt food for Guppy to play with, and while she was setting up a little tea party for us one day, I thought felt donuts would be the ticket!

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Please do note that this felt is indeed vegan : made with post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, we’re cruelty-free and lessening the environmental impact by using a recycled medium. Woot!

Would you like to make some donuts? It’s really very easy, though it is a little more time consuming if you stitch your “sprinkles” on. I set this up assembly-line style and it was a fun little project. I can hardly take credit for these – felt food has been around since I was little (Regan child. No, ketchup is not a vegetable. Shudder), and I’ve seen felt donuts in felt food packs for kids, on the net, etc. If you do decide to use this tutorial to make donuts that you’ll be selling, please remember me when you’re rich and famous!

Let’s begin! First you’ll need some felt. I chose two colours of brown for the “cake” part – so we have regular and chocolate flavours, and some assorted colours for your glazes :

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You’ll also need the following :

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Thread, pins, beads for your “sprinkles”, something to trace your donut shape (I used a CD, a canning lid or something similar would obviously work, too, but would indeed be less musical), a needle, an exacto-knife or rolling cutter, scissors and maybe even a self-healing mat if you have one (a clean cutting board works ok, too).

First : Trace your basic donut shape in the darker felt. Don’t forget, you’ll need two pieces per pastry. I made a dozen, so that meant 24 pieces (my math skillz are amazing, n’est-ce pas?).

Next :

use-a-spool-to-trace-your-centreYou can use a spool to trace the outline of the centre. Don’t worry too much about this if your circle isn’t perfect -it’s going to look beautiful once it’s sewn up. Do try to cut two at a time, though, makes matching them up later a wee bit easier.

Now : (night was falling, so sorry for the flashy-blek.)

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Whip out that CD again and trace your glaze colours. You can be traditional or get crazy – these are your donuts and they are your art!

Ensuite : (which means next, but I already said that above)

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You’ll want to cut along the outer edge of your glazes to give them a drippy look. I just weaved in and out with my scissors. Again, if it looks funky don’t worry – it’ll be sweet as can be once it’s all stitched together.

Let’s Sew!

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You can proceed a number of different ways – I tried doing things in different orders because I’m curious like that – but this is the order that I found worked best pour moi. Begin by sewing the outer edge of your glaze to the top layer of your donut. Try to centre the glaze on the donut, and if the holes don’t perfectly match up it’s ok, you can trim them to match in the next step. It’s more important that your glaze is centered over the donut right now.

You might want to pin the glaze on before doing this to keep it in place, or maybe you’re a renegade and you scoff at my idées bourgeoises – best translated as playing square or safe. Anyway, you can whip stitch (I did) or straight stitch this part. Youtube has great videos to show you what that means if you don’t know. I didn’t know a year ago, so don’t worry, it’s cool. You’re cool. I said so.

Sammich time!

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It’s time to stitch all three layers together via the centre. If the three holes don’t match up well (ahem, at all), fear not. You can trim them to fit, just don’t cut too far into your donut or you’ll end up with an onion ring, which is tasty, but not what we’re going for here (but what a great idea! And fries, too! Yes!). Be sure and sew through all three layers using a nice, tight whip stitch.

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If you’re stitching looks like your 3-year-old did it (see above) don’t worry a bit! It’s going to look just lovely when it’s stuffed. Promise!

Sprinkles!

What’s a donut without sprinkles? A naked donut, and I’ll have no nudity on this blog! I used beads, however, if you’re planning on making these for small children, animals, or batty adults, you may want to consider just using embroidery to embellish. Do that now, because the layers are open and it’ll be easier. Let me know when you’re done.

Closing Time!

I had a picture of this, but it was terrible, so it didn’t make the cut. You don’t really need one, though. Just try to match up the outer edges of your donut, and whip stitch them together, leaving a small hole so you can stuff it with polyfill. I used a chopstick (see Katie, I can use chopsticks, too!) to push the polyfill around. If your edges don’t perfectly match up, it’s really ok, just slide them forward or back so that they do – once you’ve added the stuffing you won’t be able to tell.

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See how easy that was? And fun, too! Now go make a guilt-free dozen!

Don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too.

I’ve received some most excellent Happy Mail in the past two weeks and I will be posting about it soon! I’m totally behind, but please super-cool sender-people, don’t think your mail didn’t rock my socks – my next post is all about you!

W.I.P. Round-Up

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I do hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day! We had a special day with a pancake breakfast (Peanut butter pancakes, a test recipe for Joni & Celine for 500 Vegan Recipes, yummers!), hanging around in our p.j.’s and eating left-over queso-free queso dip and nachos – while still in aforementioned pajamas – for lunch (also à la 500 Vegan Recipes), and some vegan sushi take-out. We also watched a fun movie to round out heart day – I’m not a big romantic comedy fan in general, but if you get a chance to see Prête moi ta main (the English title is I do) you should, because it was cute, funny and the kind of movie you could easily pause the four or five times it was necessary to re-tuck Guppy in after two false-alarm potty visits, a night-light check, a tissue emergency and a “one last kiss” visit. That’s what you get for feeding your 3 year-old too many starches and letting her hang out in her jammies all day. But who knows?

Enough about my domestic bliss (ahem), let’s take a peek at what the Wipsters have been up to!

I consider myself so lucky to be (virtually) surrounded by such talent and craftiness! Just take a look at these great projects :

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Carmen made a cute little red softie doll for her daughter. I’m thinking she likes it :

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Krys made two adorable stuffies for her “two vegan boys”

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Aren’t they cute? (I mean the boys!)

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Amanda’s pillow is just gorgeous (that back fabric is so cheerful!).

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This patchwork-style pillow Natalia made for her daughter is precious! I love the buttons on the back , too :

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Beth made a mini-softie (you can see it here)

and here are my final creations :
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This is Guppy’s Valentine’s Day pillow, which was indeed an eleventh hour project. I embroidered her name (the yellow splotches…because no, her name isn’t really Guppy!) and there is also purple ribbon on the back. She really liked it, and we all had to “test it”, which was fun.

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This smaller version was part of a Valentine’s Day-themed package for my sister’s birthday. I definitely think the ribbon was a good idea when I see how plain-Jane this first one is.

This Stitch-Along has been fun, and I’ve already had a few suggestions for March. If you have an idea for a Stitch-Along project, you can email me at fishbowlmusings (at) gmail (dot) com – there is so much out there, any and all ideas are appreciated!

Don’t forget about our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool if you didn’t get your pictures to me in time, or if you’d just like to share what you’ve been up to on Wednesdays!

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Crafty Valentine’s Day Ideas!

Ok kids, you’ve got less than a week to make a few bobbles of love to share (along with smooches and dark chocolate of course). These are a few rather fun ideas I’ve come across in blogland. I hope they’ll help inspire you, too
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Learn to make a cute (and easy) heart-shaped pom-poms at Zakka Life. I think these are an adorable way to decorate a little gift using some scrappy yarn, or would make a great little valentine in their own right!

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Check out Molly’s Sketchbook over at the Pearl Bee to make these adorable fabric window valentine’s. I still have a few I need to make…

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Also found at Purl Bee, these Sewn Paper Valentines. This tute will have you making you own beautiful valentines in no time at all! I think there is something so cool about sewing paper with the sewing machine…I feel like someone is going to come and scold me or something. I also totally admit to having a nerd crush on Molly and I want to be as clever as she is some day!

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I know not everyone has the inclination or the supplies to sew. No problemo, amigos! How about a no-sew garland? This is a great idea and it looks like fun – and it’s an opportunity to use a hot glue gun which is always fun, really. Visit Fiona at Scraps in Progress to see how!

Stay tuned for a “Sunday Dinners” post tomorrow featuring a recipe for “Divine Lemon Scones” (no those weren’t dinner, but they could have been) and more “food court”esque Chinese food.

Also, I know I’m behind on emails, comments, etc. Fear not, I still love you, just need a little catching up time! :)

W.I.P. Wednesday – Get Your Logo! Featured Wipster Vegan Lovlie

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I am so excited to share this gorgeous W.I.P. Wednesday logo with you! The wonderful and talented Lovliebutterfly – or just Lovlie as she’s known by her Internet friends – of the beautiful Veganlovlie blog, did a fantastic job capturing the spirit of our W.I.P. philosophy and I am sincerely touched by her generosity. Stop by the W.I.P. Wednesday main page to get your shiny new banner for your W.I.P. posts or snag a logo to sport proudly in your sidebar – it is a must this season, just so you know. Just scroll down to the bottom of the W.I.P. List and you’ll see the link.

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Because part of what I love about W.I.P. Wednesday is “meeting” and getting to know you better, I’ll be featuring a W.I.P. participant, or Wipster, once a month on W.I.P. Wednesday. We are such a diverse group of bloggers, I’m hoping that these mini Wipster interviews will be an opportunity to learn just a bit about who you are, what motivates and inspires you, and some quirky fun facts about you as well (that’s my favourite part.) Would you like to be a featured Wipster? Don’t be shy – send me an email & let me know!

To honor my Patron Saint of Graphic Design, I’d like to kick-off our Wipster interviews with Lovlie. Here’s the scoop in her own words…

I’ve basically been a Graphic/Web Designer after doing a Multimedia course in Melbourne Australia. I’ve worked in a number of companies and also as a freelancer. I love to work in the fashion field very much! This is my area of preference. I was an Image Retoucher/Designer at ASOS.com in London. This was my biggest experience. I am currently extending my skills to Business and Web Programming, hence doing an eBusiness course in Dublin at the moment. So, I presently do temporary/freelance/part-time jobs mostly. And of course, I enjoy cooking and posting recipes and reading other people’s blogs like everyone on the blogsphere. Photographing the meals is an interesting part of blogging too!

Lovlie’s 5 Fascinating Facts :

  1. I’ve been vegan for nearly 2 years (It’s been the best years of my life so far! I mean it’s great to actually create and eat real food!)
  2. I always have to wear my left pant leg, sock, shoe etc first. It has to be the left foot first! Otherwise I feel something isn’t quite right after I am dressed!
  3. I have a sweet tooth!
  4. My favourite fruit: pineapple
  5. I am a late sleeper, like very late. I don’t recall the last time I went to sleep before midnight. And I only need six hours sleep to be refreshed, up and going.

Visit VeganLovlie for some delicious vegan recipes and to soak up some of her sensational style and do check out her online portfolio for more inspiration and delicious eye candy!

Stitch-Along Update:

Don’t forget, if you’d like your Love Bear Stitch-Along project to be part of the little round-up on February 14th, please be sure to send me an email with your link and an optional photo before February 12th at midnight.

Here’s my little Love Bear pillow :

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This little guy needs a little more pizazz I think, but it’s too late as he’s ready to fly over the ocean. I’m  making one for Guppy for Valentine’s Day, so I’ll play with that one a bit more.

Don’t forget about the W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr group if you’d like to share your progress with everyone, too!

I’m working on some fun tutorials for upcoming W.I.P.s so stay tuned!

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W.I.P. Wednesday : Stitch-Along Progress & more

Exciting news! One of the most lovely vegan graphic artists, Lovlie of Veganlovlie is creating a fabulous W.I.P. logo and web button that you can add to you blog and feel super-cool (because you are!). We should have them ready for next week – how cool is that?

Stitch-Along check-in : How is your Love Bear coming along? I am, true to form, juggling four or five projects at once, and so haven’t finished my first bear project for the stitch-along. Almost done.

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Like the wrinkles? Just ask Monsieur Fish to come “pick up” around your house. He’ll pile everything from your craft table on top of your W.I.P. to help you “straighten up”. The wrinkles are just extra. Sigh.

unstuffed-pillowUnstuffed pillow love…

I’d like to make two of these little “love pillows”, so I need to get cracking. Or, stitching I should say. I’m not thrilled with the way the eyes turned out on this one, and I think I’ll do my second one differently. I’m also thinking some lace or some some ribbon or something would make the love pillow a little fancier. This one is going to be part of a (late) birthday package for one of my sweet sisters.

Don’t forget, I’ll be posting a round-up of all the Love Bear Stitch-Along projects on February 14th, so if you’d like to be a part of the round-up love, just email me a link to your posted project and a photo, too if you’d like.

Here’s a little peak at one of my newest hobbies – the rectangle pin cushion.

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I’m almost obsessed, but in a healthy “look at me using up my cute fabric scraps” way. My Auntie Martha (who was actually my great-aunt, but in my family you’re just an Aunt or an Uncle) was the only crafty-stitchy person I had contact with as a child. She was DIY before it was trendy, (you know, back when it was just common sense), and she re-used and recycled everything.

One of my favourite things to “play” with at her house was her collection pin cushions. In all shapes and sizes, they were most often made of fabric odds and ends, bottle caps, bits of this and that. I hadn’t thought of her pin cushions in ages, but when I began playing with this corduroy and pink velour – boom!

pincushion2Sorry about the wonky photos – I’m actually leaning out my window to get a little light! Rain, rain, go away!

This little pin cushion is on it’s way…somewhere…

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…accompanied by a sweet and a book. Carmen’s book “exchange mates” will be unveiled on February 14th – what suspense! I just love surprises, so I’m totally into this! My only fear – the glue on the handmade card I included in the package wasn’t 100% dry…I hope it makes it ok!

The W.I.P. List continues to grow! If you’d like to be a member of the elite, sophisticated and creative W.I.P. Team (tee hee), than just link back to the W.I.P. Wednesday page and leave me a comment. I’ll add you on quick as a cat can wink its eye! (Wow! That’s fast!)

And thank you to the ever-so-sweet Amanda of Walking The Vegan Line fame for bringing W.I.P. Wednesday to Flickr. She’s just kicked off our Flickr group, so you can add your W.I.P. Pics to Flickr!

Japanese Sewing Pattern Help, Found?! Oh, yeah, and VOTE!

flowersFlowers, which have nothing to do with this post, other than they were on my table and I hate blogging without pictures!

Remember my quiet call à l’aide* when I told you about the Stylish Dress Book that I received for my birthday (and which I can’t put down because it is so beautiful!)?

Well, guess what?

I found this immensely helpful post by Mari over at The Purl Bee. For those of you not in the know, ahem, like I was (or wasn’t?) until recently, The Purl Bee is a gigantic treasure chest of inspiration, help and eye candy for the crafty (and crafty at heart). Their beautiful site is loaded with tutorals, knitting, crochet and sewing ideas, a glossary… of course if you happen to be in NYC you could sign up for one of their classes.

There are also tons helpful posts over at label-free (fantastical sewing site) : on cutting and one on sewing patterns from Japanese craft books – there are actually multiple helpful posts. So awesome – thank you sewing people!

Crafting Japanese has some great examples of finished dresses, too, but be warned…time flies when you’re looking at this stuff!

Ok, one last link : My Daruma est un blog pour mes copines francophones! Beautiful creations, and many of them from or influenced by various Japanese craft books. Much of the blog is in French, but there are often little summaries in English, too.

I am so going to be making these little dresses…I just need a little practice, that’s all. And the right fabric.

And I forgot to say this super-important thing:

Get thineself over to Ricki’s blog right now! Have you heard her amazing news? She’s up for a well-deserved award and it’s up to us to help her! We’ve seen what can happen when people get out and vote in the recent past, so let’s keep the ball rolling kids! Get on over there and while you’re at it, sign up for her giveaway! (Shellyfish muttering under her breath something about wishing she lived in the greater Toronto, Ontario area in Canada because she too wants the homemade goodness).

Why are you still here reading this, Go. Go now.

Stop reading this.

You’re still reading…

Go!

*for help

W.I.P. Wednesday – Blackwork

Just a reminder : You only have 3 shipping days left until my birthday (it’s the 9th). :)

I have so many things I want to work on and create during 2009 – I don’t feel like I can concentrate on any one project there are so many I want to begin! (Please reassure me, this happens to you, too, right?).

To kick of the New Year I’d like to share this amazing book I picked up last autumn, but only recently made something from :

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Until happening upon this book, Blackwork : Technique et modèls by Sonia Lucano, I’d never heard of blackwork. This ancient form of embroidery dates back to the XVth century, even earlier according to some things I’ve read on the Internet. According to the book, Catherine of Aragon practiced blackwork in the XVIth century – who knew?

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This inspiring book is beautifully photographed and would be eye-candy for anyone, even if you’re not particularly interested in embroidery.

composition

Blackwork is traditionally black thread embroidered on white cloth, but there are examples of white on black which are also gorgeous.

motifs

There are so many beautiful ideas in this volume, I found myself pouring over the pages for weeks, just for fun, but never knowing what I wanted to try. I decided to jump in by trying some of the mixed motifs from the book. I didn’t actually cross-stitch them, I actually just embroidered them using back and split stitches.

I opted to use my first attempt at blackwork to embellish my 2009 Diary.

before

Before : boaring, pleather-covered 2009 Diary. Ho-hum.

leaves

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finished

After : Groovy blackworked (albeit off-centre) design on some cream coloured muslin. It’s already nice & wrinkly from bouncing about in my bag.

I’m not sure what I’ll be making next. I’m still looking for some good PIF ideas, and there are some great ones in here. I know Tacha and Natlaia have already found their future PIF recipients, so I want to get them their goodies out soon.

There are more and more of you joining in the W.I.P. fun – please don’t be shy – don’t forget it can be about any work in progress be it textile, prose, culinary – you name it! You can also highlight things you’d like to try or crafty ideas. If you know you’ll be participating next week, drop me a line & I’ll add your link to my post. I’m hoping to get a list of participants in my sidebar…but please, no stress about posting. It’s on a ‘if you wanna’ basis only!

Other W.I.Ppers:

Check out:

Jessy’s knitty goodness

Jessica has some groovy knit stiches happening

Kittee is rocking the canine embroidery scene

Bianca is subverting the dominant embroidery theme

Don’t forget – it’s never too late to join in on the World Yoga Practice Month fun!

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Your Karma & your joints will thank you!

W.I.P. Wednesday : It’s Time For Holiday Decorations (à la pâte à sel) & Gifts

After our fun with modeling the pâte à sel we decided to make holiday decorations for our tree. We have a tiny little “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” that I picked up near the garbage bin just before Christmas when I was pregnant for Guppy. The little tree was in its cardboard box, and it looked as if it had been opened maybe once. I figured it was too good to be true, but the tree was inside, and in perfect condition (albeit tiny). I don’t think it’s a good idea to buy a plastic/synthetic tree, but a freebie on the side of the road, destined for a landfill, well, I call it a “rescue”!

Every holiday we’ve spent together married we’ve acquired a decoration here or there. Then, last year I decided that we should be making new decorations each year, a bit like making a memory of each holiday. This was my “crafty awakening”, and the first time I had the desire to make something with meaning for myself or my family. Hannah had some cute cupcake ornaments she’d made and I decided to make some, too. Six polyester felt cupcakes later, I started feeling like I was maybe enjoying this crafty thing.

dinos1

This year we opted to make salt dough ornaments, and we were sure to make enough to give as gifts as well. Perhaps a bit vieux jeu or old fashioned for some of you hip kids out there, but we had a wonderful afternoon painting together. I know I’ll enjoy comparing Guppy’s painting skills – and interest in different shapes and mediums – from year to year. (Note the dino, made with the cutter from Libby – thanks again Libby!).

cupcake

You could do so much to decorate these – gluing glitter or sequence would be great fun I think. We used some old (and a bit skanky) finger paints (though we used brushes) and once they were dry I have them a coat of mod podge. The paint got all crinkly and antique looking which I really liked.

Homemade Holiday Decorations

2 1/2 cups AP flour (you may need to add a little more, mix & see)
1/2 cup salt
3/4 cup hot tap water (you may need to add a little more, mix & see)
2 tsp vegetable oil

Cut your decorations using cookie cutters or whatever you like, then lay them on baking sheets and in the oven they go for around 40 minutes or until they’re hard, at about 100°c.

In more crafty W.I.P. endeavours, I made a few more stockings as gifts for my brother-in-law and his wife. We’re spending Christmas and New Year’s with them at their home near Toulouse. They are muy groovy, and I wanted to make them something special.

stockingplaid

The fun part of this project is that my sis-in-law gave me the beautiful Christmas plaid tissue last February when we came for a little visit. I didn’t yet have a sewing machine, but I told her that I was doing some hand sewing and I was hoping to score a machine in the near future. She gave me a few odds and ends from her stash, and I love that I was able to make her a gift using what she gave me. How “full circle” and all that. And they’re not at all wrinkly from our 6-hour car ride…

stockings

I’m wishing you all a most fabulous 2009! I hope you’re able to spend some wonderful moments with the people you love and make some beautiful memories of your own. I’ll see you next year!