For a few gifts this last Christmas, I made some quick dish towels. Everyone needs dishtowels and I love that they are personalized, but useful. I decided on a little design for each of one and found sketch images on Google images or sketched it myself (the mountains) on Google draw. I printed out the sketches and then traced the back side with a transfer pencil. (See an example on the camera post.)
Iron transfer the images onto some flour sack towels. You can get a whole bunch on Amazon for a reasonable price.
Then start stitching! I just grabbed colors that I had around and did fairly loose backstitches. They were quick and made fun personalized presents.
I attempted to claim 2014 as the year of handmade. I made as many gifts as I could for birthdays and special occasions, but once I found a project that worked, I stuck with it. This meant that a lot of friends and family received a lovely market bag for their birthday. The easy project is very useful as more and more cities and counties have outlawed plastic shopping bags. I adapted my market bags from this tutorial and adjusted the measurements based on the amount of fabric I had.
Most of the time I could get 2 market bags out of 2 yards of fabric (1 yard of lining fabric and 1 yard of outer fabric.) Because of the layout of the cuts and the length of the straps, using only a 1/2 yard cut does not work well. I also made sure to reinforce the bottoms to make them a little more sturdy.
I had fun personalizing them with different fabrics and colors for everyone!
Double- sided strap with top stitch.
Attaching the bottom to the linking sides that have already been sewn together.
Continuing the year of handmade gifts, I decided to make these embroidered hangings for my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. They both enjoy photographer and I thought it would be something fun for them! I found the sketches here as a starting point.
I saved the images and then resized them so that each could fit in a 6″ hoop. I chose just a simple neutral fabric and black thread for them. To transfer, I printed out the pictures and then traced the back side of the paper with a transfer pencil and then ironed the back side of the paper on to the fabric.
Embroidering the three designs did not take that long and made a fun handmade gift!
In October, we decided to take a quick trip to Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta because… why not? Our good friend Ray is from Albuquerque so he came with us to show us around and his wonderful parents hosted us all.
We tried for two days at the Balloon Fiesta, but the wind was too high on the second day that none of the balloons were able to inflate in the morning. The sheer number of balloons is incredible and they all go up in such quick waves, it’s hard to even try to see them all.
We also had our favorites. Darth and Yoda were some of the last balloons inflated and the crowd started cheering when they figured what they were. (I’m not so sure about the princess next to them though?)
After the big inflatable Smokey the bear on 4th of July, I was super excited to see this guy here. I was nearly running across the field to get close to it before it took off. One of the amazing things about this Balloon Fiesta is that you get to walk all around the balloons as they are being inflated and sent off!
Another big discovery on this trip was the food! Ray had always talked about the Hatch Valley green chilis but now we got to experience them. Craig had them with every meal, which is very popular in Albuquerque apparently.
Craig loved the chilis so much that we brought 25lbs of them back with us. Little markets sell chilis by the box and roast them for you. Ray’s parents helped us get all the skin off before the chilis were packed up and loaded on the plane the next day. We’re still finding all the different foods that you can eat with green chilis.
In February we took a quick weekend trip to Missoula, MT. Flying up on Friday night and then leaving on Sunday morning was going to be a quick trip but it was enough to be able to make it for Craig’s Mom’s 60th birthday dinner. When we arrived I’m Seattle after our first leg, we found out that our next flight to Missoula had been canceled because they didn’t have a pilot, somewhat important. Not wanting to lose half of our one day trip, we thought it was a brilliant idea to just rent a car and start driving. In full adventure spirit, we rented an escape and drove through the night even though this California girl was only equipped with a little jacket and my trusty TOMs. Three mountain passes in a full snow storm later, we made it to Missoula at 7am! It was a fun little adventure and I have since bought snow boots.
I made this bunting for my friend’s shower for her twin girls! It takes some time but overall very easy to make. She helped pick the coordinating fabrics to match some colors in the room. Each patterned square is backed with a simple muslim. Then I cut a white fabric as background to the letters and just sewed the top with a 1/4″ seam. The letters are a felt to give it some texture. I fused the letters onto the white fabric and then used an embroidery floss for the hand stitching. The hand stitching probably took the most time but I like the look so it is worth it!
Patterned Fabric and backing- 1/4″ seams included; Fold top over 1″ and sew on the 1/4″ to create a hole for the ribbon or string to go through.
White Fabric- ; Fold a 1/4″ on top to attach.
Letters- I printed on card stock and the cut out the letters with an exacto knife to create a stencil for the letters.
Ribbon- I used 5/8″ ribbon but you can scale it for the size of your squares.
My best friend is having twin girls so I decided to make some burp clothes for the shower. I have been told that the clothe diapers are the best for burp clothes because of their absorbency. Just buy a package of cloth diapers (I got Gerber ones from Target) and 1 yd of flannel fabric. You can make about two clothes from 1/2 yd of fabric. Make sure to pre-wash the flannel fabric first! Pin the diaper to the fabric (right side facing the diaper) and then cut along the edge.
I then sewed along the edge with a 1/4″ seam leaving a hole to be able to turn it right sound out. After right side out, top stitch all around the edge with the 1/4″ seam and then follow the guides on the cloth diaper and sew along the two lines down the center. You have a easy personalized gift for a shower!
Just before starting my year of handmade gifts, I made some gifts for Christmas. These owls are a great gift for adults or kids. They only take about 30sec in the microwave and you have a wonderful heat pack to relax away a knot or for a kid to cuddle with. I found directions for the owls here. It was fun finding different colors to mix and match for the owls. I made sure to use only cotton fabric and cotton thread so it wouldn’t have any issues in the microwave. Also, I decided to make an inner bag to hold the rice by using the same pattern and then slipping it into the outer fabric so no rice would escape.
So slowly Craig and I became friends. I’m not sure if it was friends or that I decided that I was one of the guys and he became stuck with me. We were in the same group of friends through 2008 and early 2009, and I even talked my way into a trip to Montana to Craig’s family’s cabin at Seeley Lake with two of our other friends, but our friendship didn’t really grow until I moved almost exactly half way around the world. Funny how that happens.
In July 2009, I was looking for a change and accepted a job with the USO at Camp Buehring Kuwait. It was definitely a change. In the meantime, Craig got sent to a project at the Denver Airport for 15 weeks. As we were both settling in our new locations, we found ourselves to be a little bored and so began our new found life thanks to Google Chat. We had lots to chat about too because as I mentioned, I had become one of the guys and “joined” (forced myself on to) the Lemons race team that Craig had started. Not only did I join, but twice I flew back to San Francisco from Kuwait to be at the races.
After months of chatting (I’ve always had a love for Google Chat) and years of friendship, I may have had some more feelings at this point in the story. While I thought that I was hiding them well, my friends have since informed me that flying almost 36 hours roundtrip to go to races and hang out with Craig was a little obvious. In any case, the second race was in early March 2010 and by then Craig and I were chatting just as much and I thought I just had a really great ‘friend.’
A few weeks after I got back to Kuwait in March, Craig and I were chatting late one night/morning. (I worked the night shift so I was basically on a California schedule the whole time. I would talk with Craig after work during his evening and my mornings.) We’d often talk about whatever was on tv, but this night Craig said he thought I was awesome and so started our relationship!
What better way to start a family blog than with how we became a family? So the story must begin with how we met. I had recently moved back to the Tri-Valley from a 9-month Mission trip to Togo. (As in West Africa, not Tonga which is in the South Pacific. There is your geography lesson for the day.) I was looking for a church and went one Sunday to Cornerstone Fellowship, which is great if you just want to sneak in and out because it’s huge. I was unsuccessful at the sneaking out.
I met a friend that I sang in choir with in elementary school (believe me, the pictures from those performances are amazing.) Anyways, she invited me to a 20s-30s group at Cornerstone called Sanctuary that evening. I gathered my nerves and decided to go. After it was a over there a was a group going up to a great overlook of the valley to see the Perseids Meteor shower, which regularly happens in August. (And there is your Astronomy lesson for the day.)
I quickly found myself trying to stay warm laying half in a road between two people I somewhat knew from high school watching a meteor shower. (That doesn’t sound random at all.) Soon a BMW comes rolling down the road and this guy parks and gets out. Obviously part of the group, he starts boasting about the speed he just clocked and the number of cars he passed coming back from the airport. Now, I may be stereotyping a bit, but this guy was seeming to fit into every BMW driver stereotype I have. I may have thought to myself that this guy was possibly a little full of himself. And though he doesn’t remember it, that is when I first met Craig. I’m glad I got past the first impression!