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Christmas Crafting?

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This post is a supplement to my previous book report. I now have pictures and a plan, hooray!

I made a promise to stay off the computer all Thanksgiving day, which leaves me some time to try a bit o’ Christmas crafting. I think the book I’m most excited to experiment with is The Cute Book, because the projects are so tiny and… well, CUTE… and best of all, I have a huge stash of dyed organic velour and organic wool scraps in a rainbow of colors. I have easily found a use for scraps that are 3″ or larger in the past, but I never knew what to do with the smaller pieces that are abundant around here. This is the perfect project book for me! Just a little note, of course the animals can be made as large as you like, but actual size of the projects in the book is very mini.

the cute book 2

Isn’t the index (above) adorable? I mean it, I’m obsessed with the layout of this book. I think it’s wonderful and witty, and the text is cute as well. Each project covers two pages, and each project layout is a different color from the others.


the cute book 3

I’ve never made any sort of critter, whether hand-sewn or by machine, stuffed or flat, embellished or plain. I will be interested to see how this works out for me. Ha ha! I’m going to see if Anya can do some hand sewing as well. I think she can do it because she loves to”make” and she’s pretty meticulous for a 5 year old. Yeah, I’m bragging on her. Better than ragging on her. Pfft, hush Christy, you’re being weird.

From Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilting Gifts, I fell in love with this quilt but there’s no way I will even attempt to make it. Not that you shouldn’t, it’s just that I am not a quilter and I am far too scatterbrained and disorganized. I’d never get such a beautiful color wheel laid out, let alone sewn nicely. Isn’t it striking? I think so.

last minute patchwork + quilted gifts

I do plan to try making the bird ornaments (which can be seen on the cover of the book if you click on the title above), and this sweet stuffed elephant. “Peanut, the wee elephant” is what the project is called, and it was designed for the book by Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls.

last minute patchwork + quilted gifts

The finished size is about 7″ by 9″ and I think Zella would love one of these for Christmas. I’m partial to this project because when I was a little girl I dreamed of being an elephant. You know, as a career. My mom tricked me into believing that if I pulled on my nose and ears every night before bed, it was possible. What a gullible little kid I was. Thanks for deceiving me, Mom!

Finally, two little projects from Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitching. These ornaments are cute and simple, and will be a good introduction to hand embroidery (another first for me). If I mess up I’m not wasting much in the way of materials or energy.

aimee ray doodle stitching

Another little critter to try out…

aimee ray doodle stitching

In other Christmas-related news, we bought a live tree this evening! We went to Lowe’s and let Anya pick it out, I honestly think she picked the nicest one in the lot. It’s gorgeous. Even more exciting, it’s our first live Christmas tree! If I had known you could get such a lovely (and extremely aromatic) tree for under $30 I would have started this tradition a long time ago.

Encouraged by one of the photographs above, I tried to talk Bill into getting a pink tree but it was hopeless. I’m lucky he didn’t throw me out just for suggesting it, I could tell he was seriously considering it. I think pink would have gone well with our black, white, gray, and silver house though. Totally. I guess pink trees are trendy this season… check out the latest cover of Blueprint magazine for another example. Previously, I think it was upside down Christmas trees, which I don’t quite get. I mean, this one is $600 and sadly, all sold out already. Really?

My last little tidbit before I go to sleep. I coveted these Ahna Holder wool-felt stockings last year, and swore to make some cool felt sockings for my family before Christmas rolled around this year. It would probably make more sense to just *buy* some, huh? I would never go for such an easy solution.

ahna holder stockings



Written by sewfussy

November 21, 2007 at 9:10 pm

Posted in Books, Crafty fun, Sewing

Yoshiko Jinzenji, Quilter

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I have never been extremely interested in traditional quilts, but Yoshiko Jinzenji’s work is so different than what I envision when I hear the term “quilt,” and she’s definitely an artist worth checking out!

You can see some of Yoshiko Jinzenji’s beautiful quilts on her website, and there are also a couple of books of her work available. I have “Quilt Artistry” (text in English) and some of the projects inside are amazing… I wish I had some photographs of the inside pages, but I don’t. I’m a tease. Maybe I’ll take some later, though.
And even though it is not written in English I would also like to get the other book, “Simple Quilts.” There are a bunch of projects in there that I would like to make, and it should be similar to the other Japanese pattern books I have in that there is enough information to create the projects without text. I should be able to figure it out, right?

I am also really digging her fabric line (available here at ReproDepot) but my problem is, I can’t decide which of them I love the most. You should really check out the full-size files since you can’t see much in the thumbnails…





For some reason, browsing through her collective fabric line makes me think of Alexander Calder’s work.



Isn’t this little elephant marvelous? I was not familiar with Calder’s non-mobile sculptures but I think I’m more intrigued by them than the types of work pictured above.


Written by sewfussy

November 14, 2007 at 1:11 am

Book Report

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I should never wait until it’s this late to write my posts. By the time I get around to it I’m fighting to keep my eyes open while my computer rests on my lap in bed, and I type the most random stuff. This kindergarten-induced 9PM bedtime is killing me, and it’s a far cry from this time last year when I was happily working past 3 or 4AM most nights. I really miss working my night shift.
What does any of this have to do with books? Absolutely nothing. But when I’m this tired I have not so much control over what I write. Can you tell I like to ramble? Ah-yup.

I have this huge pile of crafty books next to my bed that I’m dying to read. The problem is, when I read in bed I get very tired… I need to develop a solution, because I really need some everyday motivation and holiday inspiration.

The Cute Book is put together so nicely, I love the layout of the pages ( if you click on the title you can see a small photo of an inside page) . And as the title states, everything in the book is so darn *cute!* Lots of little creatures to make. My girls loved looking through this colorful Cute Book.

cute book

I got D.I.Y. Kids for ideas of things to do with my little artist Anya. She’s already taken some of the ideas she got from looking through the book (without me) and made them into her own little projects. She used a roll of blue tape she took from her dad’s office and did “paintings” on paper, and made some nice drawings inspired by the book.

D.I.Y. Kids

Now obviously, I have some experience with machine embroidery but I’ve never tried hand embroidery before. I’ve either been too lazy, or too intimidated – take your pick. But I love Aimee Ray’s book and am looking forward to trying some of the projects in here. Her illustrations are just my style, her color choices are fabulous, and I just really like looking at the pictures of the projects.
Cool side note – I’m working with Aeolidia right now on a website for the various Fussy brands (or rather, Aeolidia is working with me, yay) and Aimee Ray is one of the artists available for hire through Aeolidia. Such sweet images – check out her website.

Doodle Stitching

Final book for the night (sooo tired) is Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, by Joelle Hoverson, the owner of Purl. I have only been able to glance through the book, but already I love it. Seriously. I will totally make the projects featured in the book, and I hope to get a chance to make some as Christmas gifts. That means I’ll have to sleep a lot less though…

last minute patchwork gifts

I lied, I’m still typing. Just want to add that I always have Kathleen’s book (Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing, available for purchase through her website or nearby, it’s been surprisingly helpful in so many ways. I can’t recommend this book enough.
I also just got a book called Fashion Artist that got great reviews on, because I want to try and learn to sketch figures. I did a lot of sketching in college but most of the sketches were of buildings, straight lines, and orthogonal forms. And even then, I wasn’t very good. I’ll have to scan images from my sketchbooks sometime so everyone can make fun of me.

Written by sewfussy

November 8, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Posted in Books, Crafty fun

Simplicity 4020 + Black Linen Dress (Japanese Pattern Book)

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I’ve gotta step it up, I’m a blog slacker. I don’t know how crafty people with children maintain such cool and interesting blogs! I can hardly find time to bathe myself, let alone take care of Anya and Zella, eat my meal-a-day, clean up after myself (okay, I don’t actually do this) , and compose blog entries that are worthy of a read. I’ll have to try harder.

Last week I decided to take time out from my busy schedule of diapers and drool to make some things for *me*. I’ve been wanting to sew Simplicity 4020 for a long time. It just looks like something I could get a lot of wear out of, especially the sleeveless version.

I was also inspired by the many positive reviews at patternreview.

I found this pattern easy to follow and fairly quick to sew. Best of all, I’m thrilled with how it fits and how it looks. It’s flattering and stylish, but not over-styled. The pleats on the front are so cute, and the collar is pretty interesting.

white knit top with green circle swirls

I have to say that the next time I sew it (and there will definitely be a “next time”) I will leave off the Spock-lookin’ sleeve thingys. But they don’t bother me enough to take them off of this version. Also, the facing at the neck is somewhat wide – at over 1″, even with topstitching it tends to need adjusting to keep it hidden after I put it on. I’m not sure if I was supposed to stitch it down farther away from the collar edge, or what. After I topstitched the collar close to the edge it got slightly stiff and wavy, so I’m thinking I should have not topstitched at all, or topstitched about an inch or so away from the edge.

Next, I decided to try a little something from one of my newest Japanese pattern books called “Sewing Talk.” The styles in this book are simple and beautiful. I made a black linen dress with elasticized neck and sleeves, and with the time taken to trace the pattern onto pattern paper, cut the fabric, and do everything else, I probably spent 3 hours on it. There were no darts or closures of any sort, so it was easy. I love how it turned out, and so does my husband. I am pretty sure my mom thinks its weird, but so is she. Ya hear that, wench?

And now for some fuzzy modeling action. My 4 year old was photographing, but I actually think she did a great job.

I’m totally not photogenic (is that UN-photogenic or NON-photogenic?), so I’m happy that my face is out of focus. Don’t I look mad in the second one?

Written by sewfussy

June 24, 2007 at 2:37 am