Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Animal Brothers

Completed May 2008

To help welcome Monkey One's baby brother last year we made this little stuffed giraffe. (Inspired by these animals from Target)

Monkey One (then 3 1/2 years old) helped out quite a bit...

He did some (limited) cutting and pinning...

...sat at the sewing machine with me, and helped hand-sew on the wooden bead eye.

Then came the waiting (this picture). Finally, on the day of Monkey Two's birth, Monkey One gave his brother the gift.

In return, Monkey Two "gave" his big brother this corduroy monkey as a surprise.

The animals (and the brothers) proved to be a good pair.

Here's Monkey Two at four months old with his giraffe. I don't know if you noticed, but both giraffe fabrics were also used on Monkey Two's zoo blanket. I love how the giraffe's neck is twisted. It gives him character, though it was really just my sad sewing skills that did it. I was much happier with these animals than I would have been with the ones at the store I almost bought. Besides, they are really special since they were homemade by mamma and brother. What do you think?

Christmas 2008

For his first Christmas Monkey Two got a zebra to go with the growing homemade animal collection. Monkey One also helped with the zebra (along with the zebra's twin, who went to a cousin). What's next? An elephant?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Small World Zippered Pouch

Christmas 2008
Remember how I had my brother for Christmas gift exchange this year? Since he's still a single guy I felt like I had it too easy this year (compared to whomever had my oldest sister, her husband, and their five kids). So this gift was for my brother's girlfriend, Jill. Will told me she loves "It's A Small World" at Disneyland, so I made her something with that theme. These are some of the characters that come out of the clock in front of the ride every 15 minutes. I painted them onto fabric with a fabric paint medium mixed into my regular acrylic craft paints. Then I cut out the characters and applique'd them to the pouch. I'd had this leafy fabric fat quarter from Joann for a little while now. always reminded me of the African Jungle scene in Small World, so it was perfect for this project. I'm glad I finally got to use it!

Here's a North American/USA cowboy with an Asian/Japanese girl.

Here's a Pacific Island/Hawaiian surfer (A.K.A. Greg Brady)(I know, that's still U.S.) with a European/French dancer.

I hesitate to put up these closeups because now you can see all the mistakes!

Initially I was going to do more characters from different continents, but I decided not to complicate things further. Here are some scratch paper drawings. Most of them I copied from images I found online (see bottom of post), a few I came up with on my own...

I was pretty happy with the way it turned out. Now if I could only learn out to sew a zipper into a pouch. I also decided to line it, which made it even more difficult to do! I didn't get a picture of the lining, but I think it had green pinstripes.

Here are a couple pictures I found online. Once I found these it made the project so much easier!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WK Character Magnets (and other stuff)

Completed Christmas 2008:

For the family Christmas present swap this past year I had my little brother, Will. He's a super talented guy who used to be a super talented kid who made a monthly comic book called WK Magazine (WK for his initials). As a teenager I had a paid subscription to his magazine, and also got a few of my friends to subscribe as well. Nowadays he's going to art school as a film major and I must say his short films are hilarious. And of course, his artwork is always treasured.

So for Christmas I decided to resurrect some classic old school WK characters, jazz them up a bit in Photoshop, and give them new life on my brother's refrigerator.

Here are some pictures of the originals

Completed April 2007:

A couple years ago for Will's birthday I took a painting he had made me for Christmas, scanned it, and made it into notecards and a t-shirt for him. They turned out looking a little on the cheesy side (especially the t-shirt) but I'm sure they could be made to look cool. I'm four years older than him, and not cool at all. But the whole point was to show him how much faith I have in him. If he wanted to be the next Paul Frank, he could.

I think he really liked the magnets. Maybe for his birthday I'll rehash the same pictures up into another hip item for his bachelor pad. Hmmm... coasters, perhaps?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Zoo Baby Blanket

Completed December 2008
I know almost nothing about making quilts. But I love quilting stores and find some of the cutest fabrics there that I attempt to make into something worthy. I'd had this super cute zoo print fabric for a year or two. I believe it's Alexander Henry fabric. I finally found the perfect use for it: a baby blanket for Monkey #2. I started the project before he was born (in fact, I went into labor a few hours after I was working on it one night), but didn't finish it until 8 months later, just in time for baby's first Christmas.

(Monkey #1 is holding it up for me. See his fluffy hair?) This quilt very closely resembles my dear friend Brinna's baby blanket that her grandmother made her. I'm not sure if I did that on purpose or not. The prairie point edge (as I'm told it's called) certainly was taken from her blanket. I really like the way it turned out.

Here it is, all folded up, looking cozy, and ready to be wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree. You can kind of see the quilting. I just outlined a few of the characters/scenes sporadically. The large giraffe print is minky. It's so soft, and lines the back of the blanket (found at the Fabric Center --They have the best minky prints). I love rick rack! (This rick rack was purchased from my local fabulous quilting store, Material Girls, which, by the way, has a giveaway on April 15 at Give Away Today)

Here's a closeup of the personalization I did on my sewing machine letter embroidery. I believe the green and brown polka dot fabric is by Moda. The yellow was from a fat quarter, but I don't remember any more details about it.

Here's the little monkey himself, at 10 months old, wrapped in his blanket. It's a good size: small enough to take with us on trips, and big enough to cover him in the crib and while nursing. I suppose I could measure it since that size description was vague. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow. Right now the baby is upstairs in his crib with the blanket, probably in a very similar position to this.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fire and Ice Coin Purse

Completed March 2009
I made this coin purse as a thank you gift for a Twilight fan whose giveaway I won (here). I was nervous making it since I've rarely made anything for a non-family member or close friend. The purse was inspired by Paper and String's adorable felt pouch tutorial (here) (Flickr group for similar purses here). I'm happy to report that the recipient emailed me that she likes it! It's one pouch with two sides. The orange, mustard, and blue are suede-like fabrics that are sewn under the cut out white vinyl. The inside is lined with the same vinyl. The sparkly white fabric is sheer. As in the original felt pouch tutorial, I didn't need to finish the edges of the vinyl.



Ice detail - Does it look like two melting pieces of ice?

This was also the first time that I'd made anything Twilight themed. I wanted it to be subtle (i.e. NOT anything that said "I ♥ Edward" or had a picture of Rob Pattinson's face), so the fire and ice design was the one I came up with. I had a few other ideas in mind, but I'll save those in case I ever need to make something similar again. In the end I added the word "Twilight" just in case the theme was too subtle. What do you think?

4/10/09 update: I forgot that I had meant to post a picture of the packaging until I uploaded my pictures from my camera today and found a bunch more pictures (I'll spare you the cheesy ones with me in it).

This old envelope seriously needed a makeover, so I covered it with a piece of scrapbook paper from my floral Stack. It makes it look so fun, doesn't it? Too bad it was padded with ghetto produce bags from the grocery store instead of some nice new bubble wrap like normal people send. I'm recycling though, right?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Little House on the Prairie Play Set

Completed December 2008
My family has a tradition of giving ONLY homemade gifts to each other. It started one year when I was eleven or twelve and we were short on Christmas money. We had so much fun giving and receiving homemade gifts that we kept doing it year after year. I think it helps emphasize the giving rather than getting aspect of Christmas gifts, downplays the commerciality (I don't think that's a word, but you understand my meaning, right?) of gifts, and it's a great excuse to get your creative juices flowing. I would say most of the crafting/sewing I do is for family gifts, and a big chunk of that is Christmas. So here's my first (of many) Homemade Phesine posts featuring Christmas presents. Of course, these are all on Flickr already if you can't bear to wait for my blogging.

This gift was probably my favorite gift I made from this past Christmas. It's a Little House on the Prairie play set for my six year old niece, who is really into pioneers right now and loves to read.

The Ingalls family with their little house and a handy calico storage bag. The house came from Hobby Lobby, unfinished. It stores flat, which is ideal for mailing across the country.

Baby Carrie, Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa. I tried to make the characters true to the Garth Williams drawings in the books. My four year old laughed out loud every time he looked at Baby Carrie's expression. He helped paint the blue on her dress. I wanted Ma and Pa to be slightly taller than the girls, so I glued stacked wooden disks (for Ma's petticoat) and hearts (for Pa's boots) to their feet.

I thought the bonnets, aprons, and Mary's "golden curls" turned out cute. 

Here they are all packed up and ready to go back to the Big Woods.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009


1991 to 2009
I need to start back-blogging some of my older craft photos. As a kid my family and I used give each other homemade Valentine cards every year. We put them in our family mailbox, which had a slot for each person in the family. I saved every valentine. I have a whole collection of beautiful handmade cards from my grandma, and I cherish them as a special reminder of her talents and generosity. In fact, I could say the same about the cards from my mom, aunt, brother, and all my hundreds of sisters (actually I only have four). I don't have most of the valentines I made as a kid because I gave them away. I wish I did have them! One year I watercolored then laminated one for each family member. Another year my younger sister Sadie and I combined forces to make pressed flower cards that we trimmed with lace. (If anybody reading this still has any of those--or any that I've made--could you please take a picture or scan it for me?). Another year my family was on vacation during Valentine's Day, and hadn't had time to make some before we left. So I took the little scalloped edge paper coasters from the hotel and drew pictures on them with colored pencils.

These days I still carry on the tradition. Every year I hang my valentine collection up along the ceiling for the month of February. I've never sent out Christmas cards, but Valentine's Day just wouldn't be Valentine's Day without sending pretty love notes to my family and a few close friends.

1991 or '92

This first specimen is the earliest valentine I have that I've made. I made it for my older sister Bridey (who plays the piano) when I was ten or eleven. I must have just learned how to make snowflakes, then modified the idea to apply it to the next best holiday. The piano, pink hearts, and text are glued onto the heart-snowflake. Let's move on.


These I made when I was 16. I mass-produced them and gave them out as a service project. Pretty, aren't they? They resemble some of my Grandma's, but only in a very primitive way. I hand-punched every little whole and edge you see and embossed them all. I used my mom's scrapbooking supplies, paper, and ribbons. Then she drove me all around the other side of the tracks to help me deliver them all. Now who did the service here?


Only a few people got valentines from me in 2005. I had a 3-month old baby. This one was for my husband using a pencil and a ruler, then watercolors.


Now we're getting someplace. This year I incorporated my one-year-old son into the cards by tracing his hand. Also, for one of the first times ever I veered away from traditional valentine colors (for the most part) and used all different bright colors. I love them spread out like this so I can see them all.

Here's the one I made for my son that same year. I liked this photo, even though it was blurry, so I incorporated it.


For my son. I laminated the pencil drawing (gotta love the laminator!) and glued it onto this textured, coated scrapbook paper. I liked the kissing picture from the year year before so much that I had to use it again.

Same year, for my husband.


I was proud of these! I stitched them with felt and embroidery floss. I also made some with the colors reversed, but I guess I didn't get a picture.

Passing on the tradition! I had my three-year-old glue store-purchased cards to hearts, then encouraged him to decorate the backs and write each person's initial.

Here's the 2008 valentine for my husband. I was playing around with a beautiful digital scrapbooking kit found here. Hmmm, I guess I made this mostly for myself. It's not his style at all! The picture was from our engagement photos (taken several years earlier).


Now this was fun. I Photoshopped our heads together and glued them onto the inked edges of this adorable retro scrapbook paper from JoAnn's. Other versions of this year's model turned out better, but I sent out all the good ones before I remembered to take a picture. Does someone want to send me a picture of theirs?

I'm obviously a very sentimental about my valentine cards. I hate to see traditions die, and I love seeing new traditions born. So I encourage you all to tune into your crafty side and spread the love next February 14!
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