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True Meaning Of Christmas

All I’ve been able to do the last few weeks is run around like a chicken without a head (that is a really awful analogy but very accurate at the moment).  I actually had a mini meltdown yesterday, stressing about all the things I have to do, shop for, wrap, sew, knit, email, ship, make, bake, deliver, and so on and so on…

But then 2 things happened that gave me pause, a moment to reflect and smile.  As adults (for many of us anyway) Christmas is all about the “work”.  There is very little of the joy except when we look into our children’s, or any child’s face and see the pure joy, the magic and the wonder.

Yesterday (after the meltdown) I went to my mailbox and found a large box stuffed, in a manner very un-befitting of the USPS.  At first I didn’t recognize the sender but then I opened the box and gasped (seriously I did, like a classic scene from a movie).  This was inside…

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With a note from a woman, I’ve never met except online.  She purchased yarn from me a few months ago and we’ve chatted a bit via email.  She recently experienced a great loss and emailed me a few questions/requests which I helped her with.  It didn’t seem like much to me but in her note she said he meant very much to her.  This beautiful, chocolate-y, butter soft shawl is her thank you.  I honestly had tears in my eyes.

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Just look at that…

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BEADS…she knit in beads…that is no easy task.  Cat, your skill is breath-taking!!!

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Sometimes a very simple act, almost to the point of seeming like nothing to you, can mean all the difference to someone.

Then today I got an email with the subject, You Okay?.  A friend, who I’ve unfortunately shared way to little time with, send a message to check in?  To find out if all the blog silence around here was due to the holiday craziness or something else.

It’s not about the gifts, the tree, the cookies, the parties.  It’s about the love between family and friends.  It’s about showing how truly grateful we are for each other, about remembering a person’s sadness and trying to brighten their day or just ask how they are.  That only can make all the difference.

I’m thought of and cared about and now feel restored!!!

With all my heart…

Thank you Cat

Thank you Sarah

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Thankful…

There are so many things that I am thankful for…most of all my family, friends, and the blessings that I have been favored with.

Give Thanks Sign

I am also thankful for the creative madness that keeps me up at night and wakes me early in the morning.  This sign was made on Thanksgiving eve and kept me up until 1am.  It’s not even finished but it served it’s purpose!!  Message delivered and a wonderful day/evening was had by all.

I hope you all had a wonderful, tummy-filling Thanksgiving.

hcvydtghcbyrgfrgvffxfxgru6dyvtrbfghgcvhg vbgvbyuhrguxhagubybxbcgvbgcsyfubhhkjvfcuyhyhubfghbfhfbhhnfhbkjunuibybhufljk

The above was my Kira’s message to everyone.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

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Even though I’m already in full swing with sewing holiday gifts, ornaments, etc. I’m still not ready to hear Bing Crosby singing White Christmas in every store.  Just a couple more days people, let me get the turkey done then you can go nuts!!

I am all for getting ready though!  Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to try to do a tutorial post at least once a week to help those of you who are aiming as high as I am!!

Here are a couple more ornaments!!

This little angel is going to my best friend…

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I can’t stop making these.

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Not really Christmas-y but it’s so darn cute…who doesn’t love mushrooms.

Per the instructions I added some fiber fill to add some “depth” to  the cap.

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Then as I reached my last running stitch I sewed it twice (in out, in out over the same stitch) then pulled the thread between the two layers of felt.

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Then pushed the needle up a little way away.

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Snip the thread and voila! A nice knot-free ornament!!

There is no way I’m going to get as many done as I would like but I’m curious to see how many I’ll have  done by the end of the season.  Even after the tree is up I can just keep adding!!

In my last post I included a link on how to cut felt.  I can’t stress enough that if you’re trying to make some, these instructions are the way to go.  And at the rate I’m going I going to buy stock in freezer paper!

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Even Reynold’s has caught on…

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Now to make these little cuties!!!

Charlie Brown Ornaments by A Little Gray

(picture by A Little Gray)

I found this tutorial last night on Pinterest.  Another  super important skill, is learning how to transfer embroidery images on to felt.  Not easy but this method was super helpful.  This particular pattern does offer a method but this one is a bit more precise.

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…and one of these pens

So there now you’re ready to get started.  I’d love to see what you make!!  Don’t forget you can post to my Earthtones Girl on Facebook.

Have Fun!!!

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41!!!!!!

Is how many days there are until Christmas!!

I was happily knitting away, enjoying the wonderful and colorful magic tricks of my new yarn when I suddenly dropped a stitch.  Not from lack of paying attention or splitting yarn but from the sudden heart stopping realization that there are only 41 days left until Christmas.

Why, why, why is it that every year I start off with the best intentions to get all my shopping  and gift making done early and then this happens, PANIC.  There are just not enough hours in the day.  But I’m going to, once again, try to convince myself that I don’t need sleep or sanity and I can get IT ALL DONE by December 25th.

That said instead of hitting the sewing machine to work on gifts (I couldn’t have picked a simpler project if you remember) I decided, in the true nature of the holiday spirit and the crafter spirit, to start a bunch of new projects instead.  But tell me, could you resist?  This all stems from the “I can make that myself” form of self-torture!

Felt Christmas Tree Ornaments!!!!!! For years I wanted to make enough to cover our entire tree (we have a 7 foot artificial one) with hand-made felt ornaments and now thanks to Pinterest I can drive myself to madness trying!

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I love it! I just love it!!! Look at the little tree…CUTE! The designer of this one suggested using the fancy stitches on your sewing machine (if it has them) to create the garland.  My machine has almost too many to choose from but this one looked the closest to “strings of lights”.  It’s a very well done pattern, and took me about an hour start to finish!

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This one is my favorite so far!!! I had a pattern/tutorial for the tree but this one was just a picture of an item on Etsy (It was sold out and I don’t feel guilty about “copying” someone’s design because I will not sell it or even offer a tutorial on how I did it)!!! Another reason why I love that I know how to sew!!!

Here’s a close up…

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Fabric stamps…can’t get enough of them.  I hand wrote the words to be embroidered a bit wonky to look more like a child wrote it!!!  And those French knot periods and colon…..they kill me!!!  I was dancing a gig when I finished this.  It’s just too cute!!! But wait for it…

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It’s an envelope after all…

These two are the first of several I have already cut out, waiting to be sewn.  And they come together really fast.  The most time-consuming part is the cutting.  But there is a trick to cutting out the felt pieces.  Which thanks to Pinterest (AGAIN) I learned how to do! It’s a life saver and worth the effort!!!

So as you can see I am having fun and will continue to tell myself that I am!  Stayed tuned for more holiday fun.   The season is upon us, whether we are ready or not!!!!

(don’t worry I won’t forget the cowl…it’s so pretty)

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…in a day to work on something that just doesn’t make you happy!

Carolyn said, carry on,

Daria said, treat it like your own design feature!

On the other end of the spectrum,

Karen said why knit something you don’t really like/have doubts about.

Cat said, trust your gut…

I thought about it, got in my car yesterday, drove to Knitting Nation in Nyack, came home, hit the frog pond (knitting language for I ripped out my first attempt, get it… rip it, rip it), cast on and happiness pulled up a chair!

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This is what I wanted the other attempt to look like!  THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER!!!!!

Thanks everyone!!! I’m happy now!!

oh and I know I’m going to be asked.  The yarn is Noro Silk Garden #349 and #359.

Ok I’ve got to go knit!!!!

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A Funny Thing Happened…

…on my way to my sewing machine.  Some yarn jumped out of my stash, sat there quietly and waited for me to pick it up, smell it (yes I love to smell yarn), touch it, hold it up to the light and realize I wanted to spend every waking moment with it.

The other day I had coffee with a dear friend and knitting buddy who showed me a new project, a cowl that she had just finished.  I was instantly and completely in love!!

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Isn’t it incredible!!! I mean the colors, the pattern, everything about it is perfect!!!!  I couldn’t stop touching it.  I also couldn’t wait to get home, search my stash and cast on my own.

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It couldn’t be more different.  As I started it I was in love.  The colors looked right, the yarn felt great but then I started knitting it.  Still loved it but in the back of my head I still wasn’t totally sure.  Then I added the second section and now I’m really not sure.  The problem is I also can’t stop knitting it.  I love color work patterns and holding yarn in each hand.

I think my reservation is the yarn.  The dark brown is vintage Koigu (I say vintage because this is a skein from when this yarn was first made and not popular yet.  Once it became popular it totally changed and was not the same).  The variegated is Socks That Rock, (mill ends that I just bought at the sheep and wool festival) in heavy weight.  I love both but I think the difference in weight maybe become a problem.  See how it’s “drawing in a bit “.

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I can already hear my friend saying but it’s not blocked yet but it’s  still bothering me.  I decided to use yarn that I already had because I just couldn’t justify buying more yarn with the amount I have but I may have to bite the bullet on this one.

oh and sorry…the pattern is Inpira Cowl by Graphica.  It’s a free pattern on Ravelry.  When you see how much work this woman put into this you’ll be stunned that it’s free.  Oh I do love my fellow knitters and their generosity!!!

Here are a few more versions of the cowl, including my friend’s version.

One (this one is a huge favorite), two, three

Please let me know what you think…I’m really beating myself up over this one!!!!

Carolyn HELP!!!!

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Ready To “BOO…”

The costumes are laid out, treat bags are filled and the cupcakes are ready!!!

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When people look at some of the things I do, especially regarding my daughter, they think, “oh, she’s one of those moms”.  Meaning, I’m a Pinterest-loving, over-achieving, trying-to-impress-everyone kind of mom.  But the truth is I’m really not doing this to impress anyone.  What I am doing is making memories for my Kira.  I’m making things that she can have, treasure, remember me by.

I can still remember the cupcakes my mother made for me every birthday in grammar school.  She would bring them to school in the lid of a card board box, powdered sugar and butter frosting and I’d feel like the most loved kid in the world.  I want my daughter to feel that way now and remember that feeling 40 years from now.

That said, here are the Trick or Treat bags I’ve made for her class for their annual Halloween party and parade.

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I modified the pattern I used last year and was able to make 16 of these over 2 days.

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Here they are stuffed and ready to go…card board boxes and all!!

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This was last year’s bag (the mouth fell off and is lost some where in the house).  It was bigger, had way more pieces to sew together but it also made you feel like you had to fill it all the way.  Not this year…I went smaller and boxed the corners so just two pieces instead of 5 (not including the handles).

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I made them just like the ones for her birthday party.   Fast, cute and simple!!!

Now let’s hope the weather holds this year…Two years ago there was a snow storm, last year, hurricane Sandy.  My fingers are crossed…

And for those of you interested the original pattern can be found here

I think someone is going to be very happy…

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Don’t Forget Mom

As I said in my last post I love making things.  But to be specific I love giving away the things I make and seeing the expressions on the recipients face.  It’s not making things, it’s making people happy.  In this case a new mom.

When a baby is born we all gush and coo and ooh and ahh over the baby but the mom needs just as much or, in some cases, more attention than the baby.  A new mother has been born and deserves to be celebrated…so I did.  She asked for a sling and I made her one and she is happy!!

Here’s her sling.

Sling 1

Now I used one of these almost everyday when my daughter was a baby but I’d never made one.  I dissected the ones I had but decided to make a few improvements.

sling 2

I added pleats, which adds strength and a bit of shoulder padding.  Here’s the tutorial.

sling 3

And I added deep side “hems”/cuffs to offer more support around the baby.  I bought the rings from here.

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Then I wrapped it all up with a really pretty ribbon!  Yes they had a boy!  And in case you’re wondering, yes I have this ribbon with pink feet too.

The package has been delivered, the mom is thrilled and baby boy is nice and cozy.

Everyone is happy!!

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Fall Greetings

Happy First Full Day of Fall everyone!!!

Sorry about the quiet around here lately but we’ve been busy enjoying all the wonderful things September has brought with it!!

New school year.  Here’s Kira on her first day of Pre-K.

Kira Pre-K 2013

Playing in the pumpkin patch at Stew Leonards

Kira Pumpkins Stews

Celebrating my birthday…

Kira and Me 43  BD

And receiving wonderful gifts from one of my amazing readers.

Kira Raggedy Dolls

Dear Susie,

Thank you so much!!! As you can see someone is very smitten with her new dolls!  We got home this afternoon and there was the box.  She read her name and was beyond excited that someone had sent her a gift!!!!  You made her day!!!

This blog has given me many things over the years but the best part is all the wonderful people I’ve met and become friends with!  I have the best readers ever!!! Thank you all very much!!

Now aside from all the wonderful things above, September is also National Sewing Month!  You wouldn’t guess from the lack of posting but there are a few finished projects to share.  Stay tuned!!!

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