Friday, February 27, 2009

Doing Fine...

20

Just wanted to check in and say sorry for being silent, but as you imagine, it's been really busy around here. Above is the little congregation I grew up with. I'm the only dodo looking down (in that charming striped sweater). My best friend at church was the cute little girl in purple. My dad is at the very back left, and my mom's next to him, resplendent as usual.


I have so many words inside me that it's impossible to choose the exact ones to say. Thank you so much for all your words - if I tried to thank you individually I'd just end up repeating myself and I don't want to do that. Everything you've written is special to me.


I hope to return to some crafty posts soon! For now, check out the following cheery pictures (from other Flickr peeps) that are rocking my world right now:
My creation


1. hankie - snail and bunny close up, 2. Walter with Dinner, 3. Hamster Dance, 4. sad apple

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My dad went home

abuelita

My dad is at home with his parents now. On Thursday he was moved from ICU, where he'd been for 6 weeks, cared for very attentively after his surgery, to Hospice care. I'm glad I was there to see him that day, and that I spent time with him every day, up to yesterday afternoon, when I saw him last. He couldn't talk anymore, except for a word here or there, but he looked at me with his same joking gaze, and made me laugh when he raised his eyebrows from time to time. I held his hand a lot (probably more than I ever had in my whole life), combed his hair, and sang and hummed to him as much as possible. He seemed happy about that.



getting married

We all spent time with him, we all talked to him and shared love with him. He left us today, at 12 PM - my mom was there to see him go, and my brother. One of the last things he said, a couple of days ago, was that God would take care of everything. He was not an old man but he'd lived a lot, and he was tired. Give abuelito and abuelita a hug for me, Dad, I'll see you all someday.


married

My dad loved:
spicy pork rinds
singing to strangers
telling a good story
any food that was bad for him
Coca Cola
Hershey's chocolate with almonds
Church's fried chicken
gardening
opera
God
action movies, the louder the better
bolo ties
hats
saving things
collecting junk
lotto tickets
his grandchildren
playing Monopoly
dominoes
Placido Domingo and Mario Lanza
his parents
fresh-popped popcorn
french fries
figs
roses


He could quote to you, word for word, books he'd read 20 years ago (I tested him on this). He had a beautiful tenor voice, and later in life, he sang a huge, sonorous baritone. When I was a child, he was very stern, always had a quick temper, and found it hard to show anyone love. As he grew older, he softened and was so kind to my young nieces and nephews that they adored him. One day, months ago, he apologized for how he'd been when I was growing up. He said, with tears in his eyes, "I was so smart! I thought I knew everything. I knew nothing."

I loved my dad.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mixtape Card Tutorial

mixtape card

This card is so easy to make it hardly even needs a tutorial, but I thought it would be fun to put together anyway. And I wanted to show off my amazing graphics and photoshop skills (yeah, right). This card makes a perfect handmade Valentine if you embroider something sweet on the label, or the title of your favorite lovesong... Don't want to sew? Use fabric glue! Don't have fabric? Use paper and glue instead!



Without further ado, let's get started!

You'll need:

  • 8 1/2 x 11 sheet cardstock

  • felt, denim, or any sturdy fabric

  • embroidery floss

  • scissors

  • needle

  • pen or chalk pencil (for dark fabric)

  • Optional:
  • fabric glue (for a no-sew version!)

  • fray check (to prevent raggy edges)


Make the Card

  1. Click to get larger size, and print the pattern:

  2. Cut the pattern pieces: use sharp scissors to keep those edges tidy!


  3. Using a pen or chalk pencil, write a lovesong or romantic phrase on the label. Simple block letters are easiest.


  4. Embroider the label.


  5. Sew pieces together using a blanket stitch or straight stitch.
    No-sew version: Glue the pieces together with fabric glue.


  6. Optional: If using denim or other fabric, treat raw edges with fray check to keep them from fraying. I didn't use fray check on my card because I like ragged edges!


  7. Fold the 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock in half for a large card. For a smaller card, fold one more time.


  8. Sew the finished cassette to card using blanket stitch or straight stitch.
    No-sew version: Glue the cassette to the card using fabric glue.


  9. Say something nice and memorable on the inside of your Valentine!


Voila! You just made a mixtape card. I could churn out a bajillion of these, I think they're so cute. And so much less goopy than your average card bedecked with pink hearts and so forth.


Feel free to use this pattern however you please - alter it, leave out stuff, and adapt to your heart's content.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Valentine Cards

Valentine card

So, after all the bemoaning of crafts I haven't finished, I'm happy to report I planned and finished a craft! I've been wanting to stitch on paper for awhile now, and it was even easier than I thought. I used some heavy card stock, felt, and thread, and aside from poking my fingers a few times, I really enjoyed it...


little Valentine pin

The card is for a little girl, so I knew I wanted there to be a heart, and some judicious use of pink. I love how fuzzy and warm felt feels, and I hope she likes it as much as I do... I decided at the last minute to make the heart a pin she can wear:


back of the Valentine pin

I also embroidered the little "Hola" at the top of the card, and found it easier to poke the little holes through beforehand:


punched holes

I loved how the back of the punched holes looked, almost like braille:


back of the card

This all began because I was thinking of ideas for an embroidered Valentine. I really want to do a tutorial for a card...


ideas

Here's a closeup of the mixtape card, which of course has my favorite lovesong of all time, "Lovesong:"


mixtape card

So, which would you like to see a tutorial for? The monkey card, or the mixtape card? Both?


I hope all is well with everybody, and that you're feeling happy and inspired and that your world is thawing out - it's much warmer today, which always makes me feel more inspired - I even dusted off my paint tray today and washed all my paintbrushes!