Monday, November 29, 2010

Are You Ready for the Retro Craft Virtual Advent Calendar?

I'm sure that the only thing you're looking forward to more than Christmas is the Retro Craft Virtual Advent Calendar!  Well, the waiting is almost over!  

Starting Wednesday, December 1st, everyday I'll be posting a new Christmas Decoration inspired by my collection of vintage craft books. I've been hard at work and, so far, I've used cardboard tubes, magazines, tin cans, felt, pipe cleaners, styrofoam, and a whole lot of sequins!  These everyday items have been transformed, as if by magic, into decorations that will evoke wonder from even the most curmudgeonly amongst us.

There's still time to vote in the latest SvS challenge:  Co-worker Gifts.  You have until 11:59 pm Tuesday night.

Now, to help get you into the spirit of the Retro Craft Virtual Advent Calendar, please enjoy Janet, Brian and Cubby singing "The Merry Christmas Tree" from The Lawrence Welk Show.  a-one-a and a-two-a....

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tutorial: Cheap, but Not Cheap-looking Business Card Holder

These business card holders are cheap and easy to make.  Here’s the complete tutorial along with the template.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Challenge No. 8 - Submissions

The Challenge ... Co-Worker Gifts
The Submissions ...

Read about one crafter's business card holder here & the other crafter's oilcloth goody bag here. And then, vote on YOUR favorite!

As usual, we'd love to hear your comments on our projects and why your favorite is your favorite! What are you doing for co-worker gifts this year? Buying them, making them?

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All About Oilcloth Goody Bags

I work in an office full of foodies ... we love food, we talk about food, we swap our best recipes, we share leftovers (and our tips for hiding said leftovers from hungry housemates!). Given our common love of food, we are working on setting up some potlucks - the first is going to be Christmas desserts. I cannot wait. Anyway, this is beside the point, I guess! Well, the point is when Sarah & I decided the challenge of Co-Workers Gifts, I knew that my project had to involve food in some way!
Here it is ... for Challenge No. 8, I combined my shared interest in food, with an itch to make something out of oilcloth, and my favorite holiday colors - pink & red! Hence, the oilcloth goody bags ... my goody bags will always be filled with homemade peppermint bark (because it's yummy and it matches!). Yes I am a dork who thinks it a bonus to have the candy match the bag. I admit it.

The oilcloth is Heather Bailey's Lindy Leaf - from my favorite local fabric store, Scrapbooks Etc (dangerous place)!

close up of chocolate & peppermint layers, there are 2 of each! 
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Cheap, but Not Cheap-Looking Business Card Holders

My coworkers are all lovely people, but when it comes to co-worker Christmas gifts, no matter how lovely they are, I want to give something that is cheap!  However, I don't want it too look cheap. This year, I was inspired by a business card holder that I've had for years.  It's handy, hardy, and something that can be used by men or women.  Settled on this idea, I set out to recreate it.

Quick aside, the vintage recipe card holder is what I use to store business cards at home.  It works as well as a rolodex and is way cuter.
I'll be posting a tutorial for this project on Friday.  Come back and check out how easy they are to make.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Coming Soon! Sarah's Retro Craft Virtual Advent Calendar

Believe me, I have enough to do with my life, but I get these ideas and I just have to run with them.  So, I'm brushing aside my many obligations and my strong desire to sleep for 12 hours a day to bring you my "Retro Craft Virtual Advent Calendar."

Just a few of my vintage craft books and magazines.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Joe's Stuff

This is me with my friend Joe:
Sarah and Joe, friends forever!
Joe and I have been friends since the 4th grade where he sat in front of me.  His first words to me were, "Hi, I'm Joey.  I like your pen.  Can I have it?"  I recently went to Minnesota to visit Joe.  This is Minnesota:
Joe's balcony covered in snow.
We had 8 inches of snow while I was there.  I moved from Minnesota to Arizona 15 years ago.  Can you guess why?

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Quilted (really!?) Table Runner

It's official ... I've made my first "quilted" item and I LOVE IT! We have a beautiful mahoghany kitchen table (my wedding gift - one of the joys of marrying a carpenter). But I rarely get out the placemats because the little people just throw them in the floor and, well that makes me a little crazy. But, I got an idea to make a table runner instead. I started my Google search and all I knew was that I wanted something festive and fairly easy. I found This tutorial ...

I decided to use it because ... it's reversible! And how cool is that? AND, there was no binding to it - just a top stitch instead. My kind of pattern. The top is "quilted" with orange thread with yellow in the bobbin so there's no orange on the "back". I would never have known this was considered quilting, but Sarah says it is and she's the quilting authority as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, I really love these colors for fall. This is now the third project I've used that orange in (first the candy corn skirts, and then the pumpkin skirt). Somehow or another there are still scraps, so I may try my hand at some matching patchwork napkins - someday if there's ever time between Challenges here on SvS. That yellow is leftover from a top secret project - at least until the Christmas card goes out. Lots of black and white, because you really cannot go wrong w/ B & W ... And that zebra print? Leftover from making this of my first sewing projects. Gosh I barely recognize my big girl who was only 1.5 here, and now she's 3.0.
June 2009; I liked pom poms then too!
This is a project I am sure I'm going to do again. The instructions were clear and I absolutely love my newly decorated table. The "pinecorns" (yes, that's what they call them) are a nice addition too!

ps- this is the second pattern I've used from JCasa and I'm hooked on her stuff. Both patterns are on Sew Mama Sew. The Kidlets I made are still a hit around here. Most mornings they are confused for purses and leave the house with us instead of staying on the hangers for organizing; oh well. The wee ones like them and that's what matters!

  • orange - random from Joann's
  • zebra - Jennifer Paganelli Flower Power #29 Zebra
  • linen - an old pair of pants that have been cut up for new projects (this & Kidlets)
  • blank & white dots - randoms from Hobby Lobby (need to get more!)
  • yellow - Robert Kaufman Free to Grow #10608
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

To Die For Mac & Cheese

I have been remiss about getting this post done. Over a month ago, Sara and I met for a planning session and we made the most incredible Mac & Cheese. 

I mean, take a look at this beautiful picture.  This mac & cheese is a work of art in a Pyrex casserole.

Here is Sara making the bechamel sauce in my kitchen.  Yes, guests are put to work at my house.  I need someone to assist me since, as you can see in the photo, the dogs are absolutely worthless on that front.
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Our 8th Challenge Is ...

Our projects are due in a week ... we've got some cute things planned for this one! :-) As usual we'll be popping in otherwise!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The winner of Challenge 7 is......

Sarah!  With 60% of the vote, she wins back the tiara and some of her dignity which was lost in the last challenge when she got her butt kicked!

Come back tomorrow to find out what we'll be up to next.  Then, come back on Friday to find out what Sarah has planned for you in the month of December.  It's going to be awesome!


The Challenge:

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Candy Corn Skirt x 2

I think that when you have two girls, you just have to make two of some things. As soon as I finished the Candy Corn Skirt in A's size for our Challenge No. 5 here on SvS, I knew I needed another for Iz! And then my mom quickly piped in with a "you know Izzie needs one of those too; it's only fair!" Well - done! And in time for a trip to the pumpkin patch (where they were just as into the "tiny house" as they were the pumpkins).

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Challenge No. 7 - Gift Bags & Wrapping - The Submissions

The Challenge: Gift Bags & Wrapping. Timely, right?
The Timeframe: One Week to Craft.
The Submissions:

Read about the embellished brown bags & such here.
Read about the embossed velvet reusable gift box here.

And then VOTE! Voting is open for one week ... who will win Challenge 7? Will Sarah take back the tiara, or will Sara go for another win? You decide!
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Embossed Velvet Reusable Gift Box

This is one fancy-schmancy gift box!  I don't know about you, but I would dive for this one if I saw it sitting under my tree.

My concept was to make a gift box that would be reusable year after year.  It had to be sturdy and it had to be attractive in a non-trendy way. 

When I began to cull through my supplies, I came across some recently acquired velvet.  What's more Christmas-y than velvet?  Also, I had always wanted to try my hand at embossing velvet so I thought this might be just the time to try it.
This is a shot of the fabric right after I embossed it.  You do this using rubber stamps and a hot iron.  It is crazy easy.  Instructables has a great tutorial right here if you're interested in giving it a shot.  This photo gives the truest representation of the color.  The green is very vibrant and it's not really coming across well in the photographs.
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Embellished Brown Bags & Such

For this challenge no. 7... gift bags & wrapping...I decided to challenge myself to use items that were (mostly) already in the house. So I decided on brown paper bags, fabric scraps, yarn, pom poms, some ribbon, felt, and rhinestones! I did buy one thing - little miniature clothes pins. I couldn't help it -  A couple weeks ago, I was at my cousin's house (she is famous for her cuteness in everything, particularly in presents) ... she gave us a present with a cute notecard attached to the bag with a mini clothes pin. I loved it & had to make a couple for this challenge!

The "cut outs" for these are shapes are attached to the paper bags with fusible interfacing (like Wonder Under or Lite Heat 'n Bond). It makes it so easy because you can trace the shape onto the paper, and you don't have to worry about frayed edges. Then, no gluing - just iron right onto the paper bag!

These are the "final" clothes pins - you can use these to close up a gift bag and/or attach a note
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Honing My Skills

My first successful attempt at a collared shirt.
I sewed my first garment when I was five.  Stop me if I've told you this story before.  My mom very patiently helped me sew a purple paisley halter top.  This was the summer of 1971 so a purple paisley halter top was the height of fashion.  I was at my grandpa's farm in Manchester, MN (a stone's throw from Albert Lea, if that helps) and I was wearing my fabulous garment.  My cousin Kelly was jealous that I had a halter top.

Grandpa's hired man, Ray, had a pet raccoon and he brought him out so that my brothers, cousins and I could play with him.  It was my turn to hold the raccoon.  No sooner than I picked him up, he pooped all over my purple paisley haltertop.  A halter top once soiled by raccoon poop, even if laundered, still carries a stain that can never be erased. 

I refused to ever wear that top again.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

A "Pumpkin" Skirt

My oldest niece turned 9 years old (how did that happen!!??) a couple of weeks ago and requested a "pumpkin" skirt with black on it ... after she saw the Candy Corn Skirt on my girls, she said she really liked that orange and wanted that to be in her skirt too. Wonderful - I had some left (even after making a second Candy Corn Skirt - need to post that picture!). For the black ruffle, I ruffled some nylon chiffon the easy way (adjusting stitch length and upping the tension on my machine) and then just stitched it onto the skirt. I used my go to skirt pattern: The Market Skirt from MADE and just added the ruffly embellishment.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Craft Room Math

What do you get when you add this:
Little Ruthann
 plus this:
plus this left unattended?
Bad Picture of My Sewing Room
Click "Read More" to find out.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

SvS Halloween Crafty Party - The Rest

As Sarah mentioned here, we had a very fun crafty cocktail party last week! We had a blast planning, setting up, making all of the the food, drinks, decorations and the craft! Most of all, it was just fun to get our "crafty friends" all together to socialize & craft! While we are still recovering, we do have plans to have another one .... St. Patrick's Day anyone?

our work table ...
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Challenge No. 7 Announcement

Next up ... something that is good for the upcoming holidays and any time of year! Our projects are due in a week but we'll be snooping around here in the meantime!

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

And the winner is...


Not since Walter Mondale ran against Ronald Reagan in 1984 has a victory been so one-sided.  The fact that the Winter Garden Stocking cap was adorable is a testament to how very CUTE the Princess scarf was.  The final vote was 91 to 27.

Congratulations to Sara for kicking Sarah's butt!  As usual, Sara gets to wear the tiara of victory for the next two weeks.  But, for winning by such a large margin, Sara deserves something more.  I am proud to present her with the first ever "Sarrie" Award for Excellence in Crafting.

Sara, I expect to see this statuette proudly displayed in your home for life!  Congratulations!

Come back tomorrow to find out what we'll be doing next.
Recap - Challenge No. 6:

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Monday, November 1, 2010

SvS Crafty Halloween Cocktail Party - The Food

I used to throw the occasional crafty cocktail party.  I hadn't done it for awhile so Sara and I decided we should do one together!  It just so happened that we had October 27th scheduled as a work day so we thought, why not a Halloween themed party?  Sara will post about the decorations later.  I'm going to tell you about the food now.
Copper the Beagle was the life of the party.  

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