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All Packaged...

And ready to be sent out to my friends (I'm not telling who!!!). If you'd like to try making these coasters, check out this tutorial.

Winter Swap Goodies

I received my Winter themed swap goodies from CC, and boy do I feel spoiled! In addition to fabrics, we usually throw in a couple of extra items for fun. Here's the group shot of what she sent me:

Gorgeous fabrics!

And hidden within the fabric stack, were these lovelies - awesome handmade cards, cool buttons, and a cute pillow to hang on the door knob!

In the penguin pail, I found a ceramic mug, a bag of homemade cocoa mix, mini marshmallows, chocolate, a matching tea towel, and a couple of snowmen doodads!!!

Thanks for the Winter goodies, CC! See ya in 2007!

I didn't have any cool Winter themed fabrics on hand to send out to CC! No worries. It was easy enough to hit the shops! As it turns out, there were loads to choose from. Here's the bundle I decided on for our swap:

Now, on to crafty madness. In some of our previous swaps, CC has muttered that I tend to go overboard. Whatever! That's simply not the case! I always have a blast crafting for her, and when one is inspired, God-knows-what happens. So there you have it. It's not my fault *grin* Enough rambling. Mindful of CC's comments, here's what I made her for our swap - a Winter themed tote! The combination of snowflakes and snowmen seemed to scream "Winter"! Hopefully, she'll find it useful for hauling her many wips!!!

More Japanese Craft Books!!!

These arrived in the mail today (courtesy of my friend, SL, who picked them up as a gift for me while she was in Japan)! The first book has all sorts of nifty patterns for making baby outfits and accessories. Check out the adorable shoe covers and shoe bags!

The second book features quilted and embroidered accessories...and you guessed it, pincushions!!!

Looks like I'll be spending lots of time with Ulla this winter!

An Apple For The Wee One...

It was decided (by my sis) that my niece, S, needs a fruit cap. After going through quite a few patterns, I finally settled on this one. It was the perfect project for a cold, blustery Saturday!

My first non-fabric pincushion. Ever since I chanced upon a couple of patterns for knitted and crocheted cupcakes, I've really wanted to make one. Since my crochet skills are pretty much nonexistent, I decided on the knitted version. As usual, I wasn't 100% content to use the pattern 'as is' and decided on a few modifications. Here's my double fudge chocolate cupcake, iced with a strawberry frosting.

Squashed cubes...done two ways. The first one is based on a pincushion I saw on Craftster. It consists of 6 pieces of fabric (2 squares and 4 rectangles) stitched together. The first time I attempted one, I handstitched it. This time round, I used Ulla to work on it. It was tricky, but I like the result.

I figured there must be an easier way to achieve the squashed cube look without all that sewing. Hence, I made another attempt. The second pincushion consists of two squares of fabric (well, alright...the top square is actually pieced together from 4 smaller square pieces of fabric), and the four corners are stitched to form the squashed cube shape.

Getting To Know Ulla...

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been taking sewing classes with Ulla. During the three hour sessions, I've learned quite a bit about her capabilities! Against my better judgement, I am posting some of the wonky samplers we worked on.

Here's the first sampler. Yep, that's my very first button hole, along with a few simple decorative stitches on the side!

Next up, we have the ugliest deformed tee known to mankind. The purpose of this exercise was to practice making necklines and stitching on knit fabric.

Using a wing needle, we tried out a couple of decorative stitches.

For the next set of decorative stitches, we used a twin needle!

After the instructor was somewhat convinced that we had a basic understanding of our machines, we were allowed to work on our first project. When I saw a sample of what we were supposed to sew, I was dumbfounded. WTF?!? We had to work on pintucks (which was a PITA).

Here's a close-up of the pintucks!

There you have it. The completed project is supposed to be a baby bonnet. Yeah, right. I can't think of any baby I'd like to torture with that awful bonnet.

TF sent me some fabulous beaded jewelry in a cute organza pouch, Milo and Tim Tams *faints* Here's the whole package of goodies:

I'm just about dying to get a taste of the Tim Tams! In additional to the original that I grew up on, she also included a package of Dangerous Liasons Black Forest Fantasy Tim Tams. Oy vey. Darn this detox diet!!! The blue dangly earrings are perfect! They match one of the new tops I just purchased last week! The earring and necklace set is lovely, and I can't wait to wear it to work!

I love personal swaps!!!

Cozy Lap Blanket / Shawl

A simple tweed lace project from! Click here for the pattern! I've been working on this for ages (well, I am easily distracted and there were a couple of pantas that needed to be knitted along the way) so I'm chuffed that it's finally completed!!! The finished dimensions are about 24" by 76" and it's oh so soft.

Give me something good to eat!! I think that's how the rhyme goes. The folks around my neighbourhood take their kids trick or treating on the Sunday afternoon before Halloween. This year, I won't be handing out candy at my house because I'm off to spend the afternoon at a friend's place. However, I hate to disappoint my neighbour kids. Hence, I will be doing a reverse trick-or-treating routine. Yep. Before heading out for the afternoon, I will stop by my neighbours' and deliver some candy their kids. Since it doesn't make sense to walk up to someone's house and hand out a couple of candy bars, I decided that I needed to assemble a couple of treat sacks!!!

What's up with the stray candy bars? Well, they disappeared shortly after this picture was taken, so all is well. Happy Halloween!

The Pincushion Project: Part I

This was an interesting pincushion to make. It started out as a dodecahedron (basically, it's 12 pentagons linked together). After the sewn pieces were stuffed until the seams were about to pop, I realized that it resembled a ball. Oy. A roly poly pincushion's not a good thing! Hence, in keeping with the pentagon pieces, I decided to make a 5-lobed flower. I'm quite pleased with the final result!

Autumn's Personal Fabric Swap

CC has finally received the goodies for October's edition of our personal fabric swap!!! Along with our usual exchange of fabrics, I also sent her a knitted skinny scarf (which travelled to Washington, DC with me!) in Autumn colours, a fabric covered journal, and the requisite bag of Halloween candy.

I had fun selecting the fabrics for this month's swap. To me, Autumn is best represented by the changing colours of the leaves. Hence, I selected fabrics that had red, orange and yellow hues.

Here's a close-up of the journal. It's my first time sewing a cover of any kind for a book/journal/what have you! Being the usual freak that I am, I spent a week or so trying to visualize what the finished result should look like before getting down with it.

Interior shot:

Last but not least, a gratuitous shot of the yummy Choxie Chocolate PB squares :)

I've done the unthinkable. After seven years with my current machine, I decided it was time to get another one.

My current workhorse, Joyce, has been really, really cranky. She eats fabric at will, and grumbles when I use her for largish projects. Having said that, she has been there for me when I needed to hem my graduation gown, sew curtains for my apartments, and work on a wide array of swap projects. I have no plans to fully retire her, but I will definitely be using my new machine for the tough jobs.

Without further ado, here's my new Husqvarna. I got her last night but I've yet to come up with a name for her. Any suggestions?

ETA: I've decided! Her name is Ulla :)

With All The Trimmings, Please!

While I've always had a thing for fabrics, I never really looked into trims and such. Imagine my delight when I happened to chance upon these pretties! Oy vey. I do not need another obsession!

The Panta Saga Continues...

If I'm not mistaken, this is my third post on knitted pantas! For some reason or other, I keep making them for my swap partners *bewildered* This time round, the pantas are headed for Australia! TF's pantas are done in cotton candy pink and dark sage yarns:

Along with the pantas, I also offered to send her a little something on the side. She mentioned that she has always been curious about American chocolate bars. I had a field day with her request!

My partner in crime, CC, selected this month's theme. As a tribute to the change of seasons, she suggested that we do a Fall-themed swap. What a brilliant idea! Here's what she sent my way:

Along with the beautiful fall-themed fabrics (there's a really lush piece of brown velvet included in the mix!), she also sent bits and bobs of ribbon and scrapbooking stickers. Did I mention the lovely embroidered dish towel?!? Here's a close-up of the cute acorn she sketched and embroidered:

What's this? There's more??? Yep. She also included a Halloween surprise for my girls, Kaia and Saffy! Bits of fabric with small scale prints on them! CC sure knows how to spoil us girls!

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