Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Don't Usually 'Do' Christmas...

It's true.
I usually don't.
In my whole adult life I had never put up a tree, or ever really wanted to.
I've never owned a single Christmas decoration save for the (very) few that have been gifted to me over the years.
And to be completely honest, I have no idea why.
Not a clue.
I like Christmas, I do. I love seeing family. I love getting everyone the perfect gifts. I love wrapping stuff. I love seeing how other people decorate for Christmas... but as for me 'doing' Christmas?
Yeah, notsomuch.

That is until this year. This year I wanted lights because Willow loves them. I wanted a tree because Willow wanted one. I needed ornaments because Willow thinks they're "SO bootiful". I couldn't wait to make her list and then go fill it.
It's weird what kids will do to you...

So, I 'did' Christmas. I didn't go crazy, mind you. But I did amp it up, like, 1000 points from last year (since we did NOTHING last year).
We *Drew* put up a tree. A fake tree, but a tree.
Hey, you have to start somewhere, right?

And then Willow and I decorated the tree, which I have to admit was WAY more fun than I remember it as a kid.

Like how only 1/2 the lights work? Yeah, me too.
I'm pretty sure people build up their ornament "stock" over several years.
Not me. No, I went to Target and knocked out what could be about 10 years of ornament hoarding.
Apparently I'm one of those instant gratification kind of people.
So thanks, Target, for having super-cool ornaments that have nothing to do with the colors red, green, or gold.
Because I like my Christmas to be hot pink, teal and purple, thankyouverymuch.
The only thing missing for the tree was a topper (I couldn't find one I liked that didn't cost 309480980 bucks) and a tree skirt.
I saw one at Target that was fantastic and lime green with lots of sequins, but, I'm sorry. I am not spending $30 bucks on a piece of fabric that's only going to be used for about 15 days out of the year and covered with presents so you can't even really see it in the first place.
Maybe it's me. I think that's crazy.

And get this... I didn't just get stockings - I made our stockings. I hung our stockings. I decorated around our stockings.
And I even filled our stockings.

Don't look too closely, though, because not a single one of them is completely finished. Ha!
I'm pretty sure some are even hanging from safety pins...

And then there was Christmas Eve!
Oh, how much fun it was making sure Santa had wrapped all the presents and placed them just so around the tree to make sure Willow got the best view as she was coming down the stairs...
We (I) totally forgot to make cookies for Santa and leave him some milk... but I'm thinking maybe next year we'll have this whole thing figured out a little better.
Sorry Santa!
There's a lot to learn.

There are no words to even express Christmas morning.
I'm pretty sure I was never even that excited as a kid as I was this year.
Not kidding.
I could not WAIT for Willow to wake-up Saturday morning.

A few side notes: my daughter calls Santa "Santa McLaudus".
We have no clue why.
Not even an idea where it came from.
But it is frickin' hilarious.
My kid is so weird.
Also, when we woke up Christmas morning, still in bed, my hubby told Willow,
"Santa came with presents last night".
What's the first thing she says ?
"Oh man. I'm on the naughty list."
We both cracked up.
I know some parents bribe their kids into being good by threatening such placement onto the naughty list, but not me.
Not us.
That's why I think it's so funny!
She must have been dreaming about being naughty...

Anyways, no words can even express Christmas morning, so here you go:


I think her favorite presents were the train set (Thanks Em and John!!), her Mr. Potato Head (best $7 bucks ever spent) and her hot pink soccer ball.
You know I had to get my girl a soccer ball.
She's already got the cleats and the soccer shorts and it was ALL I could do to keep myself from buying the little itty bitty shin guards and socks.
Let's just say I'm ready for soccer season.
I will be her coach and we will win.
Just watch.
I will be that mom.

I know I'm way behind in the whole Christmas posting thing, but seriously?
It's freaking busy. There's a lot going on in December.
Not to mention I had a birthday and broke my foot.
Not cool, but whatever.

No Christmas wouldn't be complete without the aftermath, would it?
I think it's one of my favorite parts.
I like to let it just stay all day because it reminds me of all the awesomeness that was.

Does anybody else do this?

I also decided I was going to start a new tradition by making homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas Breakfast.
You know, because I'm all about Christmas traditions...
A few days before I checked my recipe books, found a yummy-sounding one, double-checked my ingredients and looked over the recipe to make sure I would know what the hell I was doing come Christmas morning.
It all looked good.
20 mins prep time, 40 mins bake time... no big deal.
Yeah, well in between the "prep time" and the "bake time" there's about 6 freaking hours that I didn't account for.
Apparently, the dough has to rest, chill, rise, and rest.
Hell, you might as well make it a drink while you're at it.

Needless to say, the 1st annual Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls were scratched and that is a tradition I doubt will ever be attempted in the years to come.
6 hours?

Yeah, so we had some kind of muffin instead that was on the opposite page in the cook book.
And some coffee from the hubby's new coffee maker...
I think we might officially be grown-ups now because we actually own a coffee maker.
That's right, people. We've never had one until now.
And I have taken the position of morning coffee-making person. I think it's fun.
That sentence makes me laugh and I don't know why.

Willow got her Daddy a new coffee mug and some new ties for his awesome new job...
It's true. He is the best dad.

This guy cracks me up. I think we should all have one of these and we can just change the pieces depending on our moods. I like this pic so much it may just be our Christmas card next year.
Which we WILL do, you know, because I'm all about Christmas traditions.
Hope everyone had a Merry Freaking Christmas!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some Nursery Set News and a Fun Quilt.

Yeah, I couldn't really think of a good title for this post.

Here's the latest nursery set to leave WillowBean Creations Headquarters (aka my computer room/office/studio)
Isn't it so cute and girly?
I had a really good time working with this client... Jenette from Texas.
Sometimes I don't realize how many people I get to meet during this little business venture of mine.
It's great. And almost everyone is a new mom, or going to be a mom, or some kind of mom-like figure so we automatically have stuff in common.
I try to make every new mom feel like I'm 100% focused on making their nursery set EXACTLY how they want it.
Which I am.
Sometimes it's hard to convey that without sounding fake, cheesy or totally crazy.
I'm working on it... haha. So far, so good.
I think.

This set was made of primarily Amy Butler's Midwest Modern 1 and 2 with some solid blue polished cotton thrown in for the sheet, the ruffle on the bumper and the border on the bottom of the dust ruffle.
I think the ruffle on the bumper really adds something to the set. I love it.

The strip quilt was a great way for me to incorporate some other pinks and yellows to the bedding.
As a way to bring in the solid blue from the rest of the set to to the quilt (because there's not much blue at all in the Amy Butler fabrics) I did the binding in the same solid blue polished cotton used elsewhere.
I really think it frames the quilt nicely :)
Quilt is 40x60"ish and machine quilted 1/4" from either side of each seam. Machine stitched binding.

I also made this great bulletin board to go with Jenette's set using her main fabric (Amy Butler's Fresh Poppies in Ivory)
I'm planning on making a tutorial for one of these in the future.
I'm not sure how soon in the future...but let's just say I've added it to my list of things, ok?
I made some fun thumbtacks out of antique buttons to match the bulletin board too, but apparently I didn't take any pics of those or the valance I made either.

One more little quilt that makes me smile:
What do you think?
It's for a little girl named Ada for her 1st birthday... how fun.
This quilt is kind of a cool story because it all started with this quilt which my cousin Katie gave as a gift to the little guy she nannied for in New York.
His little girlfriend's nanny saw it and ordered one to give to Isa so little boyfriend and little girlfriend could have matching quilts on the playground.
Well, Isa's mom loved it so much she ordered one for her niece, Ada, all the way out in California for her birthday...
And there you have it: a quilt story.
See, wasn't that fun?
I think so.
It's kind of like 'Pay it Forward' but with quilts... sort of.

I went with a solid pink for the back of the quilt so the hand-stitched label could really stand out.
The binding is Ta Dot in Ocean and machine stitched.
Just because I've had some questions lately... I usually use 2 inch bindings for my smaller quilts (baby, crib, and lap size) and 2 1/2 inch bindings for my larger quilts (twins size and bigger).
There's no real rhyme or reason for it, I guess, besides the fact that I think a smaller quilt looks better with a small binding and a big quilt with a bigger binding.
That's all. It's proportional.

I framed the label in the same fabric as the binding and I hand-stitched it to the back of the quilt
(only the back-don't go all the way through to the front with your stitches- another question I've had lately).
For bigger labels like this I like to add a couple rows of stitching to make sure it's nice and snug on there.
I usually use the same colors of embroidery floss for attaching the label as I used for the 'writing' on the label.
It's just a thing I do.

Ada's quilt is about 40x50"ish and is machine quilted 1/4" from either side of each seam. Machine stitched binding.

Unfortunately, I have to go clean out the fridge now.... wish me luck.
I've been putting it off for some time now. Eeew.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I blinked.

It's like I blinked for that .02 seconds, or whatever it is, and October was gone.
Just gone. Poof. No more.
At first, this really upset me.
I felt like I didn't live it up in October like I wanted to. Like I had let things pass me by.
And, to me, that is a serious bummer.
And, as I'm sure you've figured out by now, there was no blogging.
Double bummer.

BUT- I decided I'm not going to get down on myself about it.
It's over and done with and this is NOVEMBER... wow.
Kinda crazy.
I'm gonna paint the town red in November, let me tell you. Or maybe orange.
I really like orange.

Despite my lack of posting, I really did do a lot in October. I did.
I even have plenty of photographic evidence.
I do NOT, however, have a single photo of my Halloween Garden Gnome Tick-or-Treating. How could I forget my camera on Halloween?
I'm me. That's how.
Oh well, I know there are some good friends out there with some pics.
(Please share...thanks.)

This is what I was up to in October:

I finished this full size quilt (92x94" finished)
I used a disappearing 9 patch pattern and then used a dark grey solid as a small border.

The back is mostly a light grey solid with a few pieced sections and a dark grey stripe on one side.
I quilted straight lines 1/4" from the seams.
Its new owner LOVED it.
That's the best part! Oh, and it came with matching shams. That's fun too.

I made this quilt and sent it all the way to Germany!
I am in LOVE with the color palette for this quilt.
Just a simple patchwork with blues, greens, and awesomes... (wink, wink)
I don't usually do completely solid backs, but it just seemed very fitting for this handsome quilt.
The binding is Nap sack in grass (Joel Dewberry) and machine stitched.

The customer asked for a hand-stitched label, and since I aim to please, voila!
Jackson's mom said as soon as she opened the package, he ran right to it!
That's got to be a good sign, right?

Let's see...
Then I sent out this nursery set to Georgia.
The Fresh Poppies fabric by Amy Butler is very popular lately with the new mommies.
Even though I've made lots of sets with this fabric... they all look SO different.
That's what I love about making one of a kind stuff.
Everybody gets what they want and the sets totally reflect each and every new customer.
So fun...

Here's the back of that little strip quilt, quilted 1/4" on either side of each seam.
This binding was actually hand-stitched.
Sometimes I just feel like kickin' it old school, you know?

This is a cute little lampshade I made to go with the nursery set.
I LOVE making lampshades.
I wish I could just go through my whole house and replace all the lampshades with my lampshades.
Wait a minute... I guess I could do that, couldn't I?
I'll just add that to my list of things to do...#67416054167

I also made some dresses, of course!
This is the first dress I ever had embroidered.
I think it turned out very nice.

Return customers have got to be one of my favorite things.
It is just so humbling to be picked more than once, at least for me.
I take it as such a compliment... I really do.
To all you return customers out there, you make my day! (and thank you SO much)
Speaking of return customers, remember this Pop Garden nursery set?
Well, the new momma liked it enough to have these made for her girls as well:
Thank you, Ashley!

And then there's this sweet one.
The colors are fantastic and sassy.
You've got to have some sassy every now and then.

I've got some other stuff to share from October, but I think all this is enough for one read, don't you?

I have to admit, it feels really great to be back at my blog.
I miss this place.
There's something to be said about this kind of... communication?
I'm not sure if that's the word I'm looking for, but whatever the word may be, I feel more 'connected' when I can lay it all out there.
Thanks for aiding in the connectivity :)