Sunday, December 11, 2011

Destined to be left unfinished... Harry Potter Quilt!

I have a problem with large projects... I can’t stop starting them but I almost never finish them... this is why my etsy shop features so many small pieces of jewelry but nothing on a larger scale. In my life I think I’ve only finished two big projects on my own and both were quilts. I say “on my own” because so much of my crafting experience is working on shared projects with my mom/sisters/aunt/grandma. Those projects don’t have a much higher rate of completion, but since there are always at least four people involved it’s easy to blame it on someone else.

Anyway, neither of my two “success stories” really count. The first was a school project which I’d committed to donating to a charity auction so I really had no choice but to finish it... and I did so in the most half assed way imaginable. I never added hanging loops so to this day the man who bought it (who was, incidentally, my baby sisters kindergarten teacher) has it push pinned to a wall in his house. The other is a real masterpiece of a quilt which I truly love, but which I was a little over committed to while making. After six months of what can only be described as a manic embroidery binge, I was sick of the thing and decided to just slap it together and never work on it again. The result currently hangs in our entry way and gets lots of compliments... but I can’t help noticing the terrible construction every time I walk by it.

I mean, really, six months of piecing, embroidering and beading and I couldn't be bothered to make sure the corners all met in the same place? My grandmother saw the completed quilt and said "well, there have to be some mistakes or no one would believe you made it yourself..." I choose to take that as a compliment.

So, it is with this truly abysmal record that I leap enthusiastically into my next big project, a Harry Potter quilt! I got the idea when I started noticing that “harry potter quilt” was one of my etsy shops most popular search terms, despite the fact that I’ve never made anything remotely resembling a harry potter quilt.

I then started thinking of all the fun Harry Potteresque things I’d love to embroider and decided to give it a try. My crafting budget has grown to some pretty alarming levels, so I was determined to only use the fabric and supplies I already had... this has been surprisingly difficult.

The first challenge was deciding what colors to use. I wanted to use the only colors of the Hogwarts houses (red, gold, green, silver, yellow, black, blue and.... bronze/brown/grey) but I may have fudged a bit. First off, the Ravenclaw colors are hard to pin down. I think it’s pretty clear that they’re blue and bronze, but I didn’t have any bronze fabric and anyway, the movies show the colors as blue and grey. I decided to use both brown and grey since the grey could also be considered Slytherin Silver... which I was in short supply of. I also noticed that my Gryffindor gold and Hufflepuff yellow were almost the same color... and chose not to dwell on it.

I’ve got nine squares pieced together and have been embroidering them with whatever random harry potter objects and quotes come to mind... though I’m starting to run out of ideas... suggestions?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Jewelry

Just added new jewelry to Etsy!

This design with lots of small flowers has proved pretty popular. I should make more like this but with multiple colors and such tiny stitches the back gets pretty messy and it's hard to keep the tension right... I'll have to work on it though because I LOVE the way this came out.

Also kind of in love with this red one. I've been putting large multilayered flowers on a lot of things lately and they all come out different... I'm a fan.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quarter Life Christmas Projects

So, it’s not technically December yet, but I’m already really excited for Christmas. Maybe it’s because the only way to enter my office building is by walking through a mall, the stores of which started decorating for Christmas round about July... but I really feel like it should BE here already. Actually, I can't fairly blame it on the stores... I've always been like this.

When I was little I would usually channel my impatience by watching A Muppet Christmas Carol on repeat, devouring my mothers cranberry bread, and orchestrating the decoration of our tree and house with fascist zeal (white lights only, all ornaments need my approval, anything made with popsicle sticks or corn flakes is strictly forbidden and will probably be thrown away when you’re not looking). I don’t know how my family put up with me. This was when I lived in Phoenix, a place with winters so mild a frozen puddle could actually attract a crowd. That kind of weather makes for wonderful retirement living but somewhat lackluster holidays.

Now I finally live in a city with real winters (though apparently not this year) but my usual modes of Christmas preparation are no longer available. For one thing, I can’t find the Muppet Christmas Carol on DVD anywhere, for another, my apartment has no room for a Christmas tree and my very poorly behaved cat would make short work of any decorations I tried to put up. To make matters worse, I can’t bake. After a series of heartbreaking results and one small fire, I’ve stopped trying. Mom, if you’re reading this please feel free to send me some cranberry bread... also my roommate devoured those candycane cookies you sent last year... just a thought.

Anyway, this is all a very roundabout way of saying that as part of my thoroughly disappointing journey into adulthood I’ve finally come to terms with the need for new holiday traditions. So tonight I’m watching Game of Thrones, sipping wine, and making Christmas ornaments. Not exactly a scene from Normal Rockwell... but it’s a start.

I got the idea for the ornaments from a little Christmas wreath I embroidered this summer. It was on too small a piece of fabric to really do anything with but it was so pretty I didn’t want to just put it in a box and forget about it, so I turned it into an ornament.

For some reason, even when a sew a perfect circle, the edges of the ornament look lopsided... thats why I added the braided trim. It’s a patch... but I think it’s kind of pretty and have added it even to my non circular ornaments.

Anyway, I hope these ornaments will become tradition for me. I really do love making them and it’s nice to think that maybe they’ll turn into cherished keepsakes for someone. In the meantime, does anyone know where I can get a copy of Muppet Christmas Carol? Game of Thrones is great.. but I need something with a happy ending and something tells me this isn’t it...

PS- Mom, in exchange for the cranberry bread I’ll send you a few ornaments... sorry about all those ones I secretly threw away years ago. I know you wanted to keep that cornflake wreath I made in kindergarten but trust me, you’re better off without it. These are so much prettier.