Sunday, December 28, 2008

few more gift/projects done...

OK, so I lied a bit when I said I was "done" with my Christmas crafting. Not "lie" truly, more like, fudged the truth a bit. There were a few more things I planned to get to and did not in time for Christmas, but seeing that I would not see the giftees until after the holiday, they are really not late.

I attempted mittens for my girlfriend's 2 boys - but they were a disaster due to the stretchy-ness of the fleece, and my own lack of a serger (probably lack of skill too, but I'm going with the serger). When these did not work out so well, I changed things up a bit and went for slipper socks. My mother had made these for Christmas gifts for my sister and I a few years back. Way before I had began sewing in earnest, or at least beyond just hemming curtains. She didn't really have a pattern, but gave me a cut out, unfinished sock as a pattern. I winged it, and eyeballed/shrunk it down to fit a toddler and kindergartner and created these 2 pair. Hope they fit the boys! I'm sure that slipper socks were not high on their Christmas lists, but they should keep their tootsies warm.

The same friend has a baby girl as well. I opted to do a more girly gift, as opposed to the slipper socks. The only fleece I had was in the above referenced "lumberjack" style. Instead, I whipped up an Oliver+S Lazy Day Skirt for Miss Vada - plenty girly, huh? It is pathetic that I want another baby so I can make tiny little skirts for them too? OK, so that is not the only reason, but it sure seems a good one to me!

Last, while not really a gift, I finished up another project for the same friend. She had a quilt made when her daughter was born, and asked if I'd embroider Vada's name and date of birth on it. Only took me like 5 months to do it, SORRY BL! I threw in an Aimee Ray birdy, just 'cause. Oh, and I took the picture before the water I had used to get rid of the water soluble pen had dried, so it looks (and is) wet. It dried just fine! (Black box has been added to protect the innocent:))

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Winter Sassy Apron Swap received

This post is late due to the holidays, but I HAD to blog about the fantastic apron I received from Katy a few weeks back. The swap was hosted by Lucy, and the theme of this Sassy Apron swap was holidays and cookies. Katy made a very cool Christmas apron for me - which was exactly what I wanted. It is full of fun things like ribbon, circle-y pockets and large ric rac. I think it has a funky, vintage-y feel to the design. I absolutely love it!

Katy included (all the way from Australia) cookie cutters and a book with TONS of cookie recipes. Although I'm shocked to say I'm a bit cookied out today, after eating my weight in holiday cookies the past few weeks, I have a feeling I'll rebound quickly after browsing the book from Katy... Thanks partner!! I may have to extend our holiday festivities a bit so I can wear it awhile longer this year. Who's to say you can't wear a holiday apron while taking down the decorations and tree? And while crafting for next years' gifts? I'm sure I can come up with a few more excuses,er, reasons to wear this beauty during the off season!

Favorite Projects Christmas 2008

I already posted a collage of the projects I did for Christmas, but there were a few that I felt deserved their own post. Not due to my crafting prowess (giggle, snort), but rather to how cool, easy or fun they actually were to do.

*Oh, and just a note I'm not going to bring up the 11 pair of Lounge pants I made in this here post, since I already blogged about the first ones here, but these were definitely fun, cool and easy...last time I'll bring them up, I promise.

First off - the Pleated Beauty bag from the Bend the Rules Sewing book by Amy Karol. I made a version of this a few months ago, using just some scraps I had on hand. Then, I perused the BTRS group on flickr and saw this fantastic fabric combination on one using 2 Tina Givens fabrics. I fell in love and bought them both, then did nothing for a few more months. I decided my little sister needed to have this bag for Christmas, so here it is. It was rather hard to give it up, since I love it so much, but she seemed to really like it!

Next, Dave and I made coat/towel hooks for some family members who have hot tubs and no where to hang their towels. The design was loosely based off a candle holder in the Junk Market Style book. I requested and drew them and Dave hand crafted for me, doing a bit of ad libbing when his and my thoughts did not mesh ("WHAT?" say you? After 10 years together our thoughts do not perfectly mesh? Ha!). He was not truly "into" the handmade effort at first, but I think he was happy with the finished product.

Then, I used a bunch of different tea/dish towel apron tutes I found online, as well as the fantastic one I won from Sara this summer, and came up with a version I liked. It is made from 2.5 dish towels and I plan to use the rest of the 5 pack for another of the same design. It was pretty easy to put together but best of all, it is much more absorbent than aprons from quilting cotton. You can actually dry your hands on it :) It was gifted to my sister in law who watches Griffin for me when I'm at work. I thought it might come in handy with a dozen or so noses to clean up, numerous meals to prepare and tons of art projects to oversee each day.

Last, but not least, I made jammies for my niece, nephew and my own kids. I used flannel for the bottoms, and did a non-technical, made up, reverse applique of their first initial on t-shirts (store bought) on top. Brooke reminded me of this technique we'd saw on all the turkey hand print shirts were floating around crafty blog land leading up to Thanksgiving. I don't know how to really do the applique stuff, but these have been washed a few times now and seem to be holding up great! The kids love having their initials on them and I was thrilled with how easy it was to do...
Here are Oliver, my nephew, and Griffin (with his Spidey gloves) showing off their jams.. (Ollie's are a bit long, but I'm hoping he grows into them soon!)

Rowan and Chloe (niece) love theirs too! Sorry for the crooked angles, I would have had to move off the couch to have gotten a straight on full body shot of the girls.. and as you can see, that was NOT going to happen.

Does every crafter swear to start earlier next year? I am buying a huge bin and starting my 2009 holiday crafting in February. I'd start in January, but I'm planning to work on a lap quilt...which will probably remain in our home as I have some concerns with how well my first quilting venture will go. While I LOVED making all sorts of things for Christmas gifts, leaving it til the end of November was a bit stupid and self defeating. Definitely reminiscent of how I used to write my college papers - the night before they were due, of course!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I just got done with ALL our holiday projects. Thought I'd quickly share what my dining room table looks like while in the midst of crafting hell.

Dave is ready to either move out or rent me out as a sewing sweatshop worker.

So I don't give anything away before they are truly "given" away, here are some of the things I've been "building". More about the good, the bad and the ugly after Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Letter - 2008

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Hello there! I've included a web address on our Christmas card - (photos and layout design by my amazingly talented friend, BTW) so if that is how you got here - Welcome! This is normally where I blog about my crafty projects and kid stuff, but this post is solely intended to give a wrap up of the Thom family's 2008 and visit some of its highlights!

We have had a year filled with home improvements, continued post-secondary education, various crafty endeavors (showcased here in said blog) and our kids growing freakishly fast! It is hard to believe that it is a whole year since we celebrated last Christmas with the entire Borndal family in Cocoa Beach ... but it really is so! Since then we've remodeled a bathroom and built a shed, learned to sew and learned to seam rip and start over. One of us started Kindergarten, while another began working to finish up college. We mourned the passing of our dog Shiloh, and yet celebrated both an election victory (though barely tolerated the election season) and the normal, albeit wonderful, milestones associated with having small children. A crazy, action packed year... where did the time go?

Dave, besides taking on a new role at work, decided it was high time to finish up his undergraduate degree. He only needed a few credits, but due to switching degree programs, this got spread out to a year and a half of school work. In doing the required undergraduate coursework, he simultaneously started coursework towards his Masters as well. He'll wrap up here in the spring with his bachelors and then plans to continue on with a masters program geared towards Corporate Communications in the fall. A bit belatedly, we've both realized the wisdom of completing school prior to having kids. Let this be a lesson to any reader not yet encumbered with mini-monsters - finish NOW if you haven't - just do it! School and the kids, along with work and his music (the Deadwoods are baaaaa-ck!) keep him constantly busy. He does manage to fit in some fishing, hunting and snowmobiling, depending on the season, - so don't feel too bad for him.

Rowan turned 6 and began kindergarten this year. Somehow I lost my toddler girl and developed a Hannah Montana-loving, sassy, drama queen - but I guess that is part of the growing up deal. She danced and played t-ball this past year, and enjoys writing songs with her daddy in the basement. She visited South Dakota with my Mom & step dad and her cousin Chloe this past year and is convinced it is the "best place on earth". Rowan is a chip off the old blocks - embracing Dave and my best qualities... and, honestly, a few of the not so great ones too.. but this is not the time/place for those types of disclosures! She is artistic and caring, a bit bossy and overbearing, but overall has the kindest heart and most inquisitive mind I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.

My baby Griffin turned 4 in September. He spends his days acting as various TV or movie characters. His favorites are Indiana Jones, Shaggy (from Scooby Doo), Spiderman and Harry Potter. He has full costumes and gear for all of them and constantly tells us to call him his character name, "Not Griffin!", when he is acting the part. At least we hope he is displaying acting skills -and not multiple personality issues :) He is still a cuddly, sensitive soul who swaps between tackling and wrestling with Dad (and Rowan) and snuggling with his mama over a good book. Griffin goes to his Auntie Vanetta's for daycare 3 to 4 days of the week and is adjusting to many of the kids he has known since birth leaving to start school. He is slowly adapting to this and learning how to be one of the big kids, not just be bossed around by them!

I've enthusiastically embraced the grandmotherly arts of sewing, embroidering, knitting and crocheting this year. Yes, dorky, I know, but somehow very fulfilling and rewarding. I've continued to work part time and am able to be home with the kids the other part of the time. Well, usually not home, but out and about running errands, but you get the picture. Some girlfriends and I visited the East Coast for a long weekend earlier this year and I spent over a week in Duluth this summer crafting and drinking with the Borndal clan while my Auntie Nancy and her girls visited from Texas. I've feel spoiled a bit by my husband, both in his working with me to accommodate my need/desire/want to stay home with the kids a few days, as well as in the various gifts he's given me this year (most importantly a new sewing machine and a new camera). Pretty sure these gifts are bribes so I forget the 3 weeks he spent hunting this year - but it works for us :) Dave and I are still working on how to eek out some time for just us, without kids, but also know that there will be plenty of years for that once they don't want/need us as much as they do now.

We are very lucky that our families are healthy and happy. Dave's parents (who celebrated 50 years of marriage together this year), his 13 siblings and their families along with various canines, felines and birdies, are all well and good. My own sets of parents, grandmother, 2 sisters and brother, as well as numerous cousins, aunts and uncles, are all (truly all of them) doing wonderfully (visit my mom's site here to hear all the goings on at Eagle Lake). Seems I should knock on something as I write this - don't want to be tempting fate, so consider this laptop keyboard "knocked", just in case.

Thanks for taking the time to check in with us! We hope you and yours are all enjoying the holidays and have a very Merry Christmas! Here's to a wonderful 2009.
Emily, Dave, Rowan and Griffin

P.S. I've posted (some are re posts from this blog) some pictures below taken throughout the year as well. Enjoy!

Dave and Rowan at Cocoa Beach last Christmas

Rowan's snowmobile
The Thoms at Cocoa Beach

Rowan riding a pony

Dave entertaining usual.

Griffin...ah, I mean Indiana...

Thom kids and their cousins hanging at the Lake... well, pool at the lake...

Sassy Miss Rowan helping celebrate Oliver turning 3

Jumping on Auntie Lauren's trampoline

Dave and his catch of the day

Rowan in South Dakota
Dave and Griff at the beach

Celebrating Griffin turning 4

Rowan's dance recital

Griff and Miss Shiloh. RIP.

Merry Christmas!
Posing with some cousins...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hi I'm Emily and I'm a late swapper...

I'm pretty embarrassed. I must have mixed up my swaps, because I was sure I had until next Monday to get my final apron swap of the year done and out the door. So, feeling somewhat smug and proud of myself for being early, I found the email with my swap partners information, and read a bit further to see that the due date was Monday Dec 1. Yep, 2 days ago. I know it is not a big deal to most y'all, but I feel plenty bad. If you are my partner, I am very VERY sorry. I beg your forgiveness! It is all packaged sitting by the door ready to go out in tomorrows mail, I cross my heart...

The theme to this swap (Sassy Apron Swap, btw was to make an apron - full or 1/2 - and we needed to include a cookie recipe and cookie cutter. I went with my favorite Christmas cookie ever - Chocolate Mint Dreams - as my inspiration. Well, scratch that, my intention was to use this cookie as an inspiration. I got some mint hot cocoa and chocolate mint truffles to accompany the apron - but could not find fabric I liked with both mint green and chocolate brown. Then, turns out, my partners preferences indicated she was not a fan of pastels, so I was a bit stumped. What to do? Well, I changed it up a bit - did chocolate brown and aqua - not pastel, right? I still went with the theme being minty chocolate dreams though. Maybe I can pretend I'm color blind, right BL?

So, the next hurdle, I fell in love with the Kaleidoscope (or Obi) apron from the book A is for Apron. I first thought, "Pin tucks, how odd... and why so high waisted?". Then it started to dawn on me that an apron that covers nearly up to the "chestal" region makes a ton of sense. How often do I get messy in that exact area when washing dishes?? And the pin tucks really grew on me. So much so that each and every time I opened the book, this was the apron that I felt a burning desire to make. I went and had the pattern (included as a page in the book in mini size) enlarged at Kinkos to the appropriate size, but not until after wasting tons of paper before I realized my printer was not capable of separating the copy into multiple pages. All was good until the hem did not match/fit. Then I was required to do some improvising. And it is not lined and does not really address how to make it "pretty" on the inside. So I winged that too. Turns out a few others out in cyber land have had issues with some of the editing that occurred in the making of this book - the patterns are not perfect, the directions a bit jumpy and not detailed, and few, if any, picture aids. Does this mean I will not try more of the aprons in the book? No - 'cause I love them, but I will honestly try to read through the entire directions a few times and may even consent to a muslin. (Ack - hate that though. Seems like you expect to fail.) Oh, and Pin tucks - let's talk about them. Not difficult to do - but tedious and messy. Lots of strings requiring cutting off when all is said and done. I love them... they made this apron, in my opinion. Hope my partners likes it (and is not sad/mad it is late!! Sorry again!).

Here is the picture from book....

And here is my version. Think Chocolate Mint Dreams.... right? Pretend the aqua is mint for me, k?

This is a close up of the pin tuck Obi belt. Yep - I'm now a raging fan. What else could I do with one of these??

And buttons that were found in the antique sewing machine that I was gifted from my step dad. Pretty sure they are vintage, if not antique!

Oops - accidentally submitted first without pictures - sorry those on the feed....