Monday, December 17, 2012

Craft: Penelope's Christmas Sweater

So as you all probably can tell, I'm a cross stitcher. I've dabbled in knitting and crocheting, sewing and quilting, but cross stitch is my first love. It's a dying art, and it makes me sad to think that fewer and fewer people are picking up their needles and floss to make beautiful pieces of stitchery.

A good friend of mine is an avid knitter. She's been knitting for quite awhile and makes beautiful sweaters for her daughter, socks for her brother, and scarves for herself and other friends. She is my opposite. She has dabbled in cross stitch, but knitting is her first love.

After discussing, we decided to start doing a Monday night Knit-A-Long/Stitch-A-Long (KAL/SAL), to sorta stretch our other crafty wings. She cross stitches, and I knit. When trying to come with a pattern, I decided I wanted to knit a sweater for Penelope to go with her Christmas dress. Beth helped me poke around and find a great pattern that was pretty easy (and free!) on Ravelry. I bought some really soft white yarn and got started!

I started in the middle of October, and I am happy to report that I have finished the sweater! It's a week early (I need it for the 23rd) and I'm really happy with how it turned out. There's just one little problem...

The sweater is WAY too big for Penelope.

Yeah, I forgot to measure Penelope before I made the sweater. Instead, I just went ahead and made the 18-24mos size that correlates to everything else she wears. BIG MISTAKE. Turns out, when I did finally measure her near the completion of the sweater, her chest was only 19in around, which is equal to 48.26cm (pattern is in cm)...which is smaller than the SMALLEST size (51cm). So it turns out, I could have made the smallest size sweater (which would have gone a lot faster), and it still would have been a little big, but not MONSTROUS! Keep in mind. It's supposed to be a SHRUG.

Either way, its finished, and she might be able to wear it...when she's 10! :-)


Keep in mind. Its supposed to be a shrug :-)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Craft: Filled Christmas Ornaments

It's been awhile! I've been busy, and tired, and nauseous, and tired, and cooking, and tired. We found out in August that we are expecting our second child hence all the tired and nausea! It's a lot harder the second time and definitely not as much fun, but I'm making the most of it. Penelope is starting to understand better what exactly is going on, and can't decide if she wants a brother or a sister. We'll find out in just a few weeks!

Anyway, onto the craft!

Having a 2 year old means little hands that want to help/participate in EVERYTHING. She constantly wants to help with me dishes or laundry or feeding Luna or, or, or! Sometimes, it drives me crazy, and other times, I enjoy watching her explore. Either way, I let her help me (just about) every time.

So when it comes to Christmas ornaments this year, I was having a tough time deciding what to do for her. We like to give family members handmade ornaments every year and this year was no exception. I did a Google search and found a TON of ideas - everything from snowmen painted ball ornaments using the child's hand print, to yarn dipped in glue and sparkles and twisted together to make a wreath. I wanted a craft that she could do by herself with minimal help from me, but a lot of what I was finding were things that were too old for her, or things that she'd participate in a little, and then I'd do the rest.

Then I found this: Filled Ornaments.

After talking to Travis about it, we decided that this was definitely something she could do and would probably really enjoy. So off to Hobby Lobby we went to find supplies and the ornaments.

Plastic (or glass, your choice) ball ornaments -  we opted for plastic since she's only 2.
Things to fill them with (sequins, buttons, tinsel, pom poms, etc)
Paintbrushes (optional)
Elmer's glue (optional)
Ribbon to make a hanger
Permanent marker to write child's name and/or date
Gift boxes

1. Find ornaments. This was actually quite a bit harder than I expected. Walmart and two of the craft shops near my house were out. I found these at Hobby Lobby, but not in the Christmas section. They were in an entirely different section and I had to ask someone where to find them. I liked these because they're in half and are plastic. I figured this would be easier for her to handle and I would be less worried about them breaking. They were only $1.19 each for these sizes and came in a couple of different sizes.

2. Set out fillers. To make it easier for Penelope to fill these, I put each of the little items in a separate bowl. I also cut the colored tinsel into smaller sizes to hopefully contain the mess and make it easier for Penelope to use.

"Snow flakes"

A package of different colors, shapes and sizes of sequins
Buttons, bells, and Christmas lights
Colored tinsel cut into small pieces

Three different sizes of pom poms (or as Penny calls them "pom pom poms)

 3. Fill! Penny had a blast filling each half to the brim with the little items! It was so much fun to hear her say "more yellow, more red, more green..." when she was putting the sequins in. I supervised to make sure we had enough supplies for all the ornaments (we made 9)


 4. Because these were split in the middle and didn't close terribly secure, I decided to use a paintbrush to apply a little Elmer's glue to the seam to make sure it stayed closed. It dried clear so it didn't take away from the look of the ornament. (If you use the glass ornaments, you can skip this step.)
 5. I took a Sharpie and wrote her name around the top of the ornament and the year. Then I cut pieces of ribbon and tied them at the top to make a loop for the ornaments to hang.

All 9!
6. Finally, I found some cute Christmas carryout boxes and filled them with tinsel. Then I put an ornament in each one and labeled who they were for. Then, just for fun, I stacked them on my table :-)

After all the supplies, these cost me just over $3 each. All of the Christmas craft stuff was 50% off, the ornaments were $1.19 each, and the boxes and tinsel were $1 each. Considering we have 9 ornaments to make each year., this is definitely a fun cost efficient Christmas craft!