Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Review: Bend-the-Rules Sewing by...

I thought I would start to review some of the books that have been crossing my desk (read: lap) lately. I will start with one of the books that is providing inspiration and instruction for some of my handmade Christmas projects.

Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew is a book filled with great information for the beginner sewist and great ideas for the seasoned stitcher. Her pattern instructions are clear and concise but you really feel like you are just chatting with your super crafty friend. The patterns themselves are such a breath of fresh air. They are whimsical and useful. The artsy clutch is a great addition to anyone's purse and I will say that it is the prefect size for stashing all of your time of the month goodies and transporting them to the bathroom in style. The woodland elf hat is so cute it could make me scream and the easy lap quilt is a great first quilting project.

I would ( and will) make many of the projects in this book. It is a wonderful resource for gift giving. There are several quick and delightful projects (the Tea Cozy and the Vintage Apron) that are perfect for last minute, stash busting gifts. There are also projects that may take a little more time (the scalloped baby blanket, the puppet theater, the charming handbag) but are sure to be treasured gifts. I have the artsy clutch and the lap quilt on my Handmade Christmas list, so be sure to check in for my step by step photos and results.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their sewing book collection. I think it provides valuable information and great patterns for anyone who is just starting out. I also think it is a great source of inspiration for more experienced sewers. I really love this book.

If you are still not convinced that this book needs to be checked out, head over to the Bend the Rules Flickr stream to check out real life examples of the projects in the book. Don't forget that the fabulous Amy Karol is also the author of the amazing craft blog Angry Chicken. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll craft, it is a great read and I highly recommend stopping by for a look.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Handmade Christmas

In the spirit of my renewed interest in all things sewing and craft, the Hunky Hubby and I have decided to have an all handmade Christmas this year. We are both realists about this and realize that it may not be possible to hand-make every gift we give. We are also committed to giving only things that will be useful for the recipients. We could make everyone babyfood jar snowglobes or brooches with our faces on them but we wanted to leave some crafts available for Lil A to make when she is 5 or 6.

We have also decided to publish the list of gifts we are going to make as well as do our best to take pictures and post tutorials as we go along. We know that members of our family and friends read this blog so we won't say who is getting each gift but we wanted to share our trials and tribulations and show that it is possible to have a handmade Christmas that makes you proud. We have done tons of research and stolen tons of ideas from all of you crafty bloggers out there and we will do our best to give credit where credit is due. That said, if you stumble upon this blog and see an idea that seems the same as yours, please leave me a comment or email me with a link and I'll check it out. I have seen so many different blogs that sometimes I can't find my way back and thus I can't post the link. Trust me, I want to link to you, as your tutorials are bound to make much more sense than mine.

I also want to publish the gift list to keep both the Hunky Hubby and myself accountable. I don't want to spend the last 2 week before Christmas chained to my sewing machine, breathing in Speedball screen printing ink fumes, frantically trying to get finished in time. I want to stick to a schedule and I want you to send me encouraging disappointed emails and comments if I get too far behind.

So here we go, the master list. I will add the dates I intend to make each item as soon as I figure out our budget.

Waldorf Doll with Doll Clothes and a Doll Sling

Makeup bags: maybe a couple of these boxy little pouches from Three Bears or this box bag tutorial from Drago[knit]fly

Car organizer from the tutorial on The Mayfly

car garbage from Make it and Love it

Cashmere Lap Quilt

Corsage scarf using ideas from the Enchantresses3 (who did it on T-shirts)

(3) Cookbook and Cooking DVD and Apron

(3)Fabric necklace using a tutorial from Froogal And artsy clutch (Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew)

(5)Tissue holders using the oh so great tutorial on Skip to my Lou With some embellished pencils and magnets (earring/fabric)

Woolen leaf scarf (Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials Plus Tips & Resources for Earth-Friendly Stitching) or Corsage scarf

(5) Stenciled t-shirt - the Hubby is in charge of this so I'll add some links when he decides what he is doing

Music portfolio - I am going to work this out myself, I'll post the tutorial

(3) Crayon roll - another Skip to My Lou gem Or pencil roll all with pad

(2) Wool bonnet or maybe fleece? - again this is one of mine - tut to follow

So there you go - my christmas list. I will post info as I go along. I am going to do my best to add links to the great vendors I use so that you can use their awesome stores as well.

Wish me luck!