Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 Lunar Eclipse

Now, I realize that the lunar eclipse was a few days ago. And a lot of you probably saw it. But…if you were East of me, you might not have wanted to stay up until 2 am to watch the whole show…so, Danbury? This one’s for you.


You’re welcome.


I took these with my Canon Rebel, a tripod, my 10-second delay function (so I wouldn’t shake the camera) and my longest lens.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Pre-Christmas Panic

It is 10:48 on December 23. I had a few friends over tonight, plus a few family members, for a really fun bit of caroling around the neighborhood. I’ve spent the past few days shopping with the hubs – outlet malls and local malls – mostly shopping for clothes. All of a sudden my son has nothing that fits him in his drawers. Last Sunday was especially comical, with his shirtsleeves rolled up to hide the fact that they only came halfway down his arms.


I’ve got all the kids presents wrapped. The Christmas Cookies are baked. The stockings are planned for. But, still…there it is. The Panic just hit. I have no special breakfast planned – and what is Christmas without a special breakfast?! I have no new PJs for the kids – and what is Christmas without new PJs?! Didn’t Mom and Dad always have new PJs for us on Christmas eve so we’d look cute for our Christmas morning photos? I haven’t made the dresses for my nieces that my daughter wanted me to make (but I did make the prototype, for her). And what is Christmas without piles of handmade goodies for your nieces?!


I just feel the panic – that I didn’t do enough, that I didn’t buy enough, that I didn’t make enough. Does anyone else feel the panic? Or, better yet, is anyone else missing PJs/special breakfast/oodles of homemade and thoughtful gifts from their Christmas line-up? Go ahead and tell me. I can take it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What I’ve Been Up To

So, there was a lot of this….. (30 loaves, at last count. What hasn’t been gifted away has been safely stashed in the cold box, waiting for its day to come.)

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Which led to a bunch of this.

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While the hubs was out of town last week, I sanded and primed this. (It was built a few weeks ago, during another of hubbie’s business trips, under the tutelage of a brilliant and generous friend. It will be a bookcase/window seat for Ming Wai when it’s done. Plans are here. We modified it to make it 4’ long.)

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There was a bit of this, which I will tell you more about later. It turned out so cute!!

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And of course, some of this. My own little Siu Jeun went and turned 2. I made him Dorie Greenspan’s Devils Food Whiteout Cake. It met with mixed reviews….but mostly meh. Which is a real shame! I think the chocolate was just a little too chocolate for us. Don’t let that discourage you, though. If rich, dark chocolate flavor is your thing…this is the cake for you! I think with some tweaking, this could be a very welcome addition to my party cake repertoire! It looks so very impressive when it is sliced open.

(Sorry for the photo quality. It was snapped, in the dark, with my Dad’s iPhone. Still…not bad for in the dark, with an iPhone! He had just blown the candle out, which is why he looks so thrilled. There’s a cake! On his high chair! And it’s CAKE! And there was FIRE! And now there’s NOT! And did I mention the CAKE?!)

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

LoLo Castle Gets a Little Christmas Cheer



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The poinsettia table…

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My new wreath. Can you guess what I made it out of? (Tutorial here.)

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The first nativity to enter my collection.

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The second and third nativities to enter the collection. It’s not much of a collection yet!

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The console table next to the front door. I’d love to add some lights to this little tree..

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And the only safe spot left in the house for our stockings.

Peace, y’all. Yes, stockings eight feet off the ground definitely brings me peace!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Crate & Barrel inspired pillow

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Behold! A pillow. Lo Gung and I saw a pillow in Crate and Barrel, and I thought I can make that! I happened to have a felted wool sweater at home, which provided all the materials I needed. It’s stuffed with ripped foam…which, as it turns out, does not make the best stuffing for small decorative pillows. But. It’s already in my craftroom, by the bag full, so Free won out!


The circles were freehanded, stacked, and attached with three triple French Knots in the center.


(Inspiration is here. )

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thing 34: Little Boy’s Messenger Bag (a tutorial!)

 IMG_7614 IMG_7615 IMG_7617 IMG_7618 IMG_7619 IMG_7620 IMG_7621 IMG_7622 IMG_7623 IMG_7624 IMG_7625 IMG_7626 (This is my brain turning into licorice….)

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Any questions?


Heh. Just kidding. The idea was to make a bag where the sides went straight up to become the strap…but I totally underestimated how long I needed that strap to be. So…it’s more of a man purse. *sigh*


Cut two matching rectangles as wide as you want your bag to be and twice as long (plus 8 inches) as you want your bag to be tall. (That gives it a 4” overlap for the front flap, plus 2” to go over the top of the bag, and 2” to go under the bottom.) Then cut a piece that is 8” wide by the distance from your boy’s knees, across his chest, around and back to his knee. (Obviously, I took the measurement hip to hip…and that gave me a purse. D’oh!)


Sew your two big rectangles, right sides together, making sure to leave a gap for turning. Clip the corners, turn and press. Set aside.


Take your big strap piece and fold 2” in on either side so that they meet in the middle. Press. Fold in half lengthwise, so that your folded edges meet and right sides are out. Press. Sew along the length, right along the edge where the two folded edges meet.


Now, here comes the part that made my brain turn into licorice. At one end of your rectangle, measure in 4”. Mark that. It’s your “flap. Now, measure in another 2”. Mark that. Now you have the two corners for the “top” of your boxy messenger bag. Now, measure down as far as you wanted your bag to be tall…mark that. Go another 2” and mark that. There’s the bottom of your bag. You should be left with a length that is identical to the back of the bag. 


Time to attach your strap! Your strap should have ended up 2” wide, and so should just fit into the “bottom” that you measured out for yourself. Carefully pin your strap into place and sew the short ends to the bottom of the bag, right sides together. Then, sew up the sides to close up the sides of your bag.


You’re done!


(If you want a stiffer bag, use something heavier than the flannel and cotton/poly bed sheet that I used or add interfacing between your layers.)


(PS – I obviously sewed the long sides of the strap before the short side. Do whatever doesn’t make your brain turn into licorice!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Fixed It: A Key!

Ok, so in the interest of full disclosure, I got this idea from Pioneer Woman. She mentioned a few days ago that, as a child, if her mother locked herself in her room to catch a nap in the afternoon....she would fashion a key out of a door hanger, and break in.


See, a few weeks ago, I realized that I had to start locking doors in my house. A lot of doors. Siu Jeun, my nearly two year old, is lovingly called our Destructobot. Or Glambo. But only if he's wearing my heels and kicking toys.


So, I pilfered all the locking door handles in the house (from the bathrooms, actually) and placed them on doors that needed locking: my bedroom (it has two doors) and my craft room. (My husband keeps an XBox in the room that Siu Jeun finds...irresistible. The day Siu Jeun chewed on, and killed, a game controller was the day we decided we needed more locking doors in our lives.)

The only problem was, I could only find one "key". It was a stiff piece of wire, with the end bent into a loop. I hung it outside my main bedroom door, and had to remember to put it back...or else!

Thanks to Pioneer Woman, a handy wire hanger from the dry cleaners, and a pair of wire snips/needle nose pliers, I am now the proud owner of three keys. One for each room.

There. I fixed it.

(Ok, so this post is kind of a far fetch. I really wanted to push myself and post on LoLo Craft once a day for the entire month of November. turning out to be a bigger stretch than I thought. Oh, and later this month? I'll celebrate my anniversary, my birthday, my twin sister's birthday and host, I'm relying HEAVILY on post-dated material and hoping for the best! My Christmas list is nearly finished, and I have a docket of gifts that need making. Here goes nothing! Some days, you work on a quilt fashioned of bits of fabric lovingly cut by your great-grandmother. Other days, you snip a hanger to bits and call yourself a genius. I take what I can get!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Unmatched Matchy-matchy Frames!

Confused? Check it out.


A quick trip to the thrift store…a pile of wooden frames in various sizes…and a can of spray paint. Voila! Matched unmatched frames.


I pulled a huge box into my driveway, and laid out my frames. Since they were all really inexpensive (read: CHEAP) I had to use a screw driver to open up the metal tabs on the back that held the frames to their insides. Once all the backs, fillers and glass plates were removed, I got started.


Ming Wai really, really wanted to help…but somehow, I didn’t think that handing a can of black spray paint to a four year old wearing all white would help anything. So, I did the next best thing. I gave her the camera!


Paparazzi, take it away!


(Hello, Crazy Tiny Manly Hands.)


(She takes good pictures! She, of course, kept the camera for the next half hour and proceeded to take 171 pictures of me, her shoes, leaves, the ground, my rear end, her feet, my legs, a tree, a bird, my get the idea.)


The frames are all put back together now…and it’s time to round up some pictures of the kids. I have a wall in the upstairs hall with one. lone. picture, right in the middle. (It’s a Black Apple print, so it’s not such a terrible thing…but, still. It’s lonely!) I hope to fill the wall with memories, faces and smiles. I can’t wait! (I’ve admired this type of frame grouping for…well, for several years now, but I’d never found a suitable cache of wooden frames to use.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thing 33: Pebbles and Bam Bam costumes revealed!

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Ming Wai came up with her own costume, using what she had around. Her cousin, Ernie, did the same (and went as Rudolph). The two little ones were carefully planned by their mamas. Siu Jeun was Bam Bam, and MiMi was Pebbles. Both costumes were made by me out of quilting cotton, painted with black acrylic paint. Ming Wai helped a bit with the Pebbles costume. *grin*

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Princess Dress, Final Revision

After Ming Wai went to bed, I stole her dress back from her bedroom and “finished” the edges. I did..something…with yellow flannel. I have no idea what I did, and I certainly didn’t do it right, but…it’s a costume, so I’m not too worried about it!

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I cut 1.5” wide strips of yellow flannel and then sewed it to the wrong side of the unfinished hems around the cuffs, neck and bottom hem. Then I folded the flannel up over to the right side of the garment, folded the edge under, and topstitched it. I wasn’t careful with the cutting, I didn’t iron the wrinkled flannel, and there are spots that I fudged. But, you know what? Ming Wai has worn it three days straight. She loves it. And that’s what’s important! (I’m afraid that if I wash it, it will shrink or be damaged…so I’ll let her wear it one more day before I put it in peril! haha)


And Siu Jeun? He just likes to sneak into the craft room, because he figured out that that’s where Daddy hid the Rock Band set.


Rock on, dude. Rock on.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Not Just an Ordinary Quilt

(I am going to push myself this year and use LoLo Craft to participate in NaBloPoMo. Christmas is coming, and I HAVE to get my rear in gear! Hopefully, this will give me the push that I need to get busy!)

They’re just scraps of fabric, like any other scraps of fabric. They’re cut into shapes…diamonds, squares and triangles. I found them in my UFO (UnFinished Objects) box, bound up with a rubber band. IMG_7521
And yesterday, I was ready to tackle them. Ming Wai was my side-kick, busily scribbling away in her coloring books.
I laid out all the pieces and tried to figure out what goes with what, and where, with whom.
I can kind of picture it…a starburst, edges filled in with triangles, and then ringed by rows of square patches.
None of the fabrics are ones that I would choose to go together. They’re not even the same weights of cotton, most of them thin to the point of sheer.
None of the points match up completely. I don’t think the diamonds were cut completely straight.
I don’t care though, as it wasn’t me that cut out the diamonds. Or the squares. Or even the triangles. The edges are worn and frayed from years of bundling and unbundling. I can only guess at the original quilter’s pattern, or even if they were meant to go together. Judging by the quilter’s other work, they are meant to go together in one big quilt, but the cutting was never finished.
These pieces represent, to me, what quilting ought to be about. I’m sure they were all cut from cast off clothes or bed linens. Years of memories, cut apart and sewn back together to give it one last shot at life.

My Great Grandmother Susie, I believe, cut these out when she was alive. She was a quilter, but not like the Quilters of today. She made quilts because she needed quilts. I quilt in her memory. I have never bought $12-per-yard designer quilting fabric, and I’m not sure I ever will. I prefer to keep on in the Todd style, and use what I have on hand, the more memories the better.

After Great Grandma Susie passed on, her daughter (my Grandma Mary) started piecing these together. At least, I think this is the quilt I remember her working on. I remember her sitting in my parents living room, during a week-long babysitting stint while my parents were vacationing, and trying to put these together. She worked with a needle and thread. I work with a machine. I hope to piece together enough blocks to make a pillow each for the women of the family. The ones who remember Great Grandma Susie, and the ones who miss Grandma Mary the most.

The corners, no doubt, will be wonkier than I mean them to be. The pattern, no doubt, will be nothing like Mary or Susie envisioned. But, it will be ours…to remember them.