Monday, February 14, 2011's a secret surprise Valentine

I only have a few minutes during my lunch hour to put this up. I hope this isn't the first day ever that the recipient of this Valentine will actually visit my blog...  I won't link up to FB until later, so probably no one will see this post today anyway.

So, I am married to this wonderful man - Mr. Wonderful.  In honor of Valentine's day we had a nice dinner on Saturday and went to a performance at the Berkeley Rep. I bought a big bouquet of roses for our table, and baked a cake to have tonight with the kids.  So we agreed we were done with Valentine's day save maybe a card and a little chocolate (for him). And also I bought myself a new car (!!yay), with Mr. Wonderful's blessing. So yeah, spending more money seemed silly right now.

But, I had seen some of the last minute Valentine craft roundups on blogs in the past week, and this tutorial for a "Pocket Full of Love" popped up on  Actually, the tutorial itself is from Cloud Nine Fabrics (yummy organic, soft...)

So, I hurriedly went through my stash and scraps to find something to use, printed out the instructions, made up my own template because I couldn't print the template provided on 11x17 paper, and got to it!

Admittedly, the quality of this little pillow would have been a little higher if I'd given myself more time. But I had to work fast in little pieces of the day that I could steal away to my corner in the basement (pretending to do laundry).  Remember, I was also making last-minute Valentine's with Wild Thing.

(our house is a mess.)

I took two seconds to admire it before I hid it away in my closet.  You can't find anything in there unless you know my system. hehe.

This morning, I filled it with messages of love and with chocolate!  I left propped up on Mr. Wonderful's pillow.

Is it OCD to not let go of your idea to create something romantic for this commercial holiday, even though you haven't had time to plan a project ahead of time and even though you've agreed with your sweetheart that we've marked the occasion enough already?

Maybe so. Yes, probably. But Mr. Wonderful is such a perfect fit for me - the partner I want to grow old with (am already growing old with!). So I couldn't stop the obsessing until I compulsively acted out to make this little pocket of love.

I know he will understand.

( btw, the image on the card tucked inside the pocket is a free download from a talented artist named Samantha Hahn that I also found through - it's perfect for us and works better than any of the choices I looked at in the stores. I just printed it out, trimmed it down and stitched it to a blank card I had laying around...)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Last minute Valentines - yikes!

For weeks (at least 2 or 3), I've been thinking to myself "hey, Wild Thing needs Valentines for his class - we'd better get on it!" 

Some years I'm good with the standard Spider Man valentines - especially if I find something early enough that all the good designs are not gone from the shelves. 

That didn't happen this year.

BUT - I know that there are all kinds of talented designers out there who offer free printables for just such an occasion.  I visited one of my favorite papercraft sites, The Toymaker - and in the Holiday section under Valentine's are these adorable heart cookie cards.  I love love love this website!

So, some cardstock, scissors, dumdums, and gluestick later - plus Wild Thing signing his name to 24 of these babies - we had a bag full of Valentine goodness for his class party tomorrow.


(I actually have another last-minute Valentine project to post, but I haven't taken a photo yet. Plus the recipient may actually see this post before he sees the that one will have to wait.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

proof that I am insane (or at least a bit OCD) - a little garden flag mini-tutorial

Last night, sometime after 9pm...let's say it was 9:30...I realized that some corner of my brain was obsessing over the fact that I didn't ever quite finish taking down the Christmas decor.  I couldn't bear to take the star-lights from the windows. I mean, it's still DARK. Which means all the snowflakes are still stuck to the windows too. I left the wreath on the door because it was not overtly Christmas-y (I told myself). And there are a couple of random decorations that I missed when I took everything down and I haven't managed to tuck them away.

But what's been bugging me every day, at least twice a day, is the snowman garden flag that graces our front steps. 

It's February. This guy is no longer seasonal.

But since I don't have seasonal garden flags for every season, they tend to stay out there way too long. I needed a Valentine's Day flag.  So I decided to make one. At 9:30 at night...

By around 11:15pm , I'd managed to put together this flag in time to swap out in the morning and avoid one more day of shame!  (although the starlights and snowflakes are still up - Wild Thing needs to help me make some valentines to put on the windows!)

Tutorial of sorts:  
Here's the recipe for a flag like this - but since I didn't take photos of the process, you'll have to fill in with your imagination.  I promise I will do better next time! There are similar techniques for this scrappy applique type project out there all over the place...

- scraps of reds and pinks
- scraps of fusible interfacing (other tutorials I've seen use stuff that will fuse to both sides - that would be even easier, but I didn't have any on hand)
- one piece of white muslin the width and length to make 2 times the flag size plus 3 extra inches length for loop at the top.

 - cut out a heart shape and letters of your choice from the fusible interfacing
 - select scraps to cover the interfacing and trim and arrange until you are satisfied
 - fuse the scraps to the interfacing with a nice hot iron according to the instructions (or until they stick in my case since I don't have the instructions anymore
 - trim the scraps to match the interfacing cutouts and pin to the bottom of the muslin (be sure to include 1/2 inch for seam allowance when you choose your placement. (if you used the 2 sided fusible stuff - now is when you fuse the other side to your muslin)
 - stitch around the outside of your shapes (I used regular foot for the heart, and tried free-motion with the letters which turned out a little wonky stitch-wise)
 - stitch along all the little overlaps of your scraps - looks cool and holds them down better in case of damp weather conditions
 - fold your muslin in half, wrong sides together and stitch around edge with 1/2 inch allowance. Leave a 4 inch opening somewhere for turning.
 - turn the flag right side out and press (press the opening seams in to match the rest of the seam allowance)
 - topstitch all the way around, closing up the hole during the process
 - fold the top over to the backside 1 and 1/2 inch (or as big as you need for your flag holder), press, and stitch across.

VIOLA!  you have yourself a new flag!  

I plan to use this scrappy applique approach again for other projects - it was fun and very easy - improv is more forgiving than a pattern (well, until you hit a dead end with your improvised non-plan. which can happen. but it didn't this time!)