Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - it's a wrap!

This morning, just as the sun was rising, Hubby and I stood bundled up at the finish line for a local  race watching the runners come in. And then we saw her.... 
Ally completed her first 5K this morning with a big smile on her face and a hard earned medal around her neck. Suddenly, anything I had accomplished this year totally paled in comparison. This girl had the biggest victory of all of us and I'm so proud!

If you don't know Ally's story, she shared some of it here and in other posts on The Unbroken Smile where she is a contributor. My girl is a warrior!

It seems most of my finishes were smaller items this year. I am pretty proud of my mini quilt finishes...
I had minimal big quilt finishes...
I did make TWO of those blue plus quilts, so that's something, right?
And lots of "things"  and bags got made....
Bee blocks were tons of fun!

For the record, I recently completed TWO large quilt tops and sent them off to the quilter, so I'll have a good jump start on 2016, right? 

It's been fun sharing with you here. Can't wait to see what we all come up with in the coming year! Happy New Year friends.

January Calendar Page

Whew, where the heck did 2015 go? I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a fresh start! I hope you'll journal along with me in 2016. Here's a January calendar journal page you can download for free. 

I hope you'll share with me how you get creative with your calendar journal this year! Happy New Year friends!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas flashback

I'd like to share my favorite Christmas present with you! It's from my mom... sort of. Actually I originally gave it to her years ago and this Christmas she sent it back to me! It's this lovely group of carolers...

There was always crafting going on at my house when I was a child. In the early 70s (the Santa in the back is dated 1974, painted by Mom) Mom painted beautiful ceramic pieces. Of course I decided I needed to try it too! I loved these sweet carolers and their puppy. I have never had a steady hand for painting (as evidenced in the black lines on the first sweet girl's skirt) but I did my best. Hey, I was in my early teens after all! (not that I could do any better today. Ha.) Also, I confess that I refused to paint the faces. They totally intimidated me! Mom did those for me.

Anyways, these singers, complete with my initials on the bottom, have come to live with me in Texas and I will be so thrilled to pull them out every Christmas and remember my crafty childhood years.

Did you craft when you were a child?

Friday, December 25, 2015

last minute Christmas make

When I saw the mug rug Debbie was making (here on her blog) I knew I had to make one for Ally for Christmas!
the red cup pattern is free on Craftsy and it's a great one! Ally is a big Starbucks fan (who am I kidding, so is her mom) and she loved this as much as I thought she would. This would make a terrific gift for a girlfriend with a Starbucks gift card or a new mug, don't you think?

Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

one last gifty make

Kristyne over at Pretty By Hand designed an adorable Christmas mini and offered up this pattern for free! Never mind that it is three days before Christmas, I decided I really had to make one for a friend I'll see tomorrow. 
 Gosh this was a fun and quick little make! I took some liberties with mine, quilting in (just a few straight lines) in a traditional way and adding binding, and leaving off the ribbon borders (which look adorable on hers but frankly I didn't have anything that worked in my stash and I was too lazy to head to the store!)

I used a piece of subtly striped natural linen that I had picked up at Purl Soho in NYC earlier this year and quilting cottons from my stash. There is a white grunge cuff at the bottom of each hat but it doesn't show too clearly in the photo. Also, I dug in my button bin for a variety of old shirt buttons and I love the effect! 

I still have a couple of days left, what else shall I make? Kidding (I think!). 

Friday, December 18, 2015

what to do with a thimble

I couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be given several old metal thimbles. Having seen this tutorial I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them! Add a ring and chain, some felt scraps, poly stuffing and some straight pins and just like that, I had gifs for some friends! 
They were so much fun to make. I couldn't stop at one...
Are you still making Christmas treats?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

a Christmas forest

I've been having fun making up some mini quilts lately for gifts. When I saw Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter)'s  tutorial for fun little improve Christmas trees I had to give it a go. I used all fabric from my stash and (of course!) mixed some turquoise blues in with my red and green...
My little quilt measures 8 1/2" X 13" and I straight line quilted it on my domestic machine. What a fun little project! I have a feeling there will be more little trees in my future! This one will make a perfect hostess gift for a friend this coming weekend, don't you think?

Monday, December 14, 2015

happy mail from down under

A couple of weeks ago I got a wonderful package in the mail from my blogging friend Maria. She always spoils me at the holidays. This beautiful Christmas table runner fits perfectly on my front hall table and I love it there! The Anni Downs fabrics are perfect. Maria knows how much I love her designs.
Maria also made me a fantastic Christmas bunting. I tried to get a picture of the whole thing but
for some reason it won't load to my blog post. Here are two up-close photos of each end of the bunting. They showcase my favorite fabrics in the whole thing.... koalas & kangaroos of course!

I love it so much! Thank you Maria! You're so special to me!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

odds and ends

Between secret projects (it's that time of the year!), & busy days (again, it's that time of the year) I haven't had a lot to share here. I did finish up a Lola Pouch to gift to a friend on her birthday...

Today I put together this awesome spider web block. a bee block for my pal Joy. This was really fun. Added a new technique to the arsenal. I can't wait to see a whole quilt made up of these blocks!
also, it didn't even make a dent in my scrap bin, oh well!

And because I've been feeling overwhelmed with a long to do list and the holidays zooming upon us, I started a new crochet project. As we do. I decided to try out the groovy ghan pattern and it's really easy and cool. I'm having a little trouble keeping the side edges even, but I figure a good border will cover that up in the end. Using scrap yarn on this one...

I hope you're having a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December calendar journal

During crafty Tuesday this week, I created my December calendar journal page (kinda last minute, but HEY! I got it done.) Often, when I post my calendar journal on Instagram, people ask me where I get the blank calendar pages to decorate and journal on. I always think that's funny, because I draw them myself. Let's face it folks, I really can't draw! They are always pretty simple and straightforward. I draw them in pencil first, then I trace over with a fine black sharpie marker. There's lots of erasing involved too!
I hope you like my little Christmas tree forest!

I got to thinking, I could share my blank pages with you here, then if you want to you can journal along. I figured I'd start in January. In fact, I got the first 5 months of next year drawn and ready. Then I thought, heck, why not share my December page with you. You're only a couple of days behind. You can remember what you've done since Tuesday, right? I thought so.

Just click on the link below and it will take you to a pdf version of my December calendar journal that you can download and print....

December 2015 calendar journal

I  usually use colored markers to write in the highlights each day. List the projects you worked on. Or you could write something you're grateful for. Or draw a little picture. I often doodle in color around my entries and color in the letters for the month. You could use colored pencils or even crayons. Whatever you have will work.  Skies the limit.

So unleash your inner child and journal along with me, won't you? If you're on Instagram (I am) post your calendar journal as you go and use the hashtag #ellynsplace won't you? Then we can all get ideas from each other! It'll be fun.

I'll post new pages the first of every month in 2016.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

crafty Tuesday

I haven't posted a crafty Tuesday update in a while! We are still going strong on the first Tuesday of every month. The group is always evolving and changing and I love it! Today we had our annual Christmas lunch & an ornament exchange. Some of our regulars were not able to be here, but six of us gathered to swap.

as usual, Lexi managed to join the photo shoot!

Mahriam's daughter joined us for the first time & I was the lucky recipient of her beautiful ornament.....
and in a strange twist of fate, she received mine! One of these guys (the other two are destined for other homes)...
Such a fun day! I hope you did something crafty today.