Friday, October 11, 2013

He Makes Me Happy - Anniversary Card

Yesterday I told you that I challenged myself to come up with a more manly card to give my DH for our anniversary. The card I shared was a good start, but I was a little worried the pink/red LOVE sticker was still a bit girly.

So I made this one instead. I had the main embellishment (the dimension sticker sentiment) in my stash for years. I think I bought it with a set of wedding stickers when we first got married. The gray/blue/brown stripes were actually leftover strips of paper from other projects.

Once again, this is a very simple design. I love simple designs. I see a lot of cards that are beautiful, but seem to have a lot going on. I like to keep the focus on the sentiment.

My DH is not very judgmental when it comes to these things. He knows I made it and it comes from the heart. That's really how most people view a handmade card. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to look designer or have a lot of bells and whistles going. Yes, some of those super snazzy and complicated cards are amazing and would be great to give. But don't stress about making simple cards.

N says what's the point - no one keeps the cards anyway and she has decided to not buy them anymore. I don't blame her. That's why I make them and hope there will be some sentimental attachment.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Very Simple Love Note

DH and I celebrate our wedding anniversary in October. (This weekend actually.)  I love making cards but I usually worry about the cards being a little too feminine. So I challenged myself to make a less girly card for my hubby. I came up with a different ideas.

This was probably the easiest card I've ever done! The main part of the card is a piece of gray paper I glued to a blank card. The gray paper was left over from one of the pages in the graduation book I made. It had the white stripes and black distressed look. The only things I added were the "LOVE" sticker and key sticker from a $1 set of stickers from Walmart. The metallic heart on the key came from a set I got from Joann's.

This was a super simple card that could be easily copied. (Go ahead, you have my permission :)  ) And this is a great design if you are in a hurry. Some pretty paper and a couple stickers to compliment and add sentiment.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

BOO to you

The best thing about October, aside from the hot chocolate weather, is Halloween. It is the best gift to kids you can give. Think about it - they get to dress up and get free candy. It is a nice way to start the holiday season, give them something fun before all the more formal family get-togethers.

I couldn't resist making a fun door decoration to celebrate. These cute little characters were designed in craft felt and stuffed lightly to give them some dimension. They are stitched to a piece of doubled organza ribbon and accented with orange and black 1/4" ribbon.

I probably should have taken the time to stitch the facial features and letters, but I was really trying to keep it simple. (I've been sick for over a week and dealing with a couple of migraines, so some slack should be given.)

To keep it simple, I used puffy paint. This was probably not the best idea. the cat's smile is a little lopsided, and so is the bat's fangs, and my letters are less than perfect. But to be honest, that doesn't bother me. I like the flawed, handmade look. I don't make things to be picture perfect or look like they belong in a magazine. The imperfections make them special and mine, and so I always encourage new and novice crafters to embrace the imperfections and learn from them, but don't stress about them!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Card for the Expectant Parents

 K and G are expecting their first child at the end of January and recently found out they are having a little girl. I made this card before they knew for sure what they were having, but the colors seem to it now.

This is a super simple card, and a good reason to splurge on some of the $1 paper craft/scrapbook supplies available at Joann's.

The purple paper came from my stash and I used a decorative punch to filigree the corner. The yellow around the quote stands out so nicely on the purple.

The whole reason for the yellow flower in the lower right corner, which is set on a pink plaid chip board sticker, is to cover up a mistake I made with the punch. It never fails, I always seem to goof up one corner. But in this case you would never know if I didn't tell you.

The quote says "We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson  Personally, I think this is a great sentiment for expectant parents. I may use it on another card in the future...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Welcoming Thought (Or a Wreath Alternative)

 This is the time of year that we are supposed to be taking stock of our blessings, thinking about warmth, family and harvest. At least that's how I feel. The holidays are fast approaching and with family stopping by more often, I wanted to start decorating for the season.

There are tons of wreath tutorials and some really beautiful designs out there for this time of year. Don't believe, go look at pinterest. Personally, I'm not a big fan of wreaths and with my screen, they are hard to see. Plus, I don't have that much room to store them. So I decided on an alternative.

I started with this free template from for a pillow. I loved the look of it but wanted to personalize it a little. Rather than enlarging as directed, I printed it out on a single piece of paper and cut the pieces out of craft felt. There was the main orange background, a yellow-orange body and the brown stem.

With a pencil, I free handed some lettering and the swirly-curlies and then hand stitched the beads down. For a little extra touch I outlined the stem in the same gold beads as the swirly-curlies and used a pale green ribbon to hang it. There is no stuffing or stiffener to this at all, just basically two layers of felt.

It looked a little plain on my 70's-tastic front door, so I added the fall leaf wreath from yesterday's post to it. My DH gave it his stamp of approval, so it will be up for a bit, until I get my Halloween door project finished...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Leaves For the Home

Fall and spring are my favorite times of year. I love watching all the colors change and transition. Even though all the leaves on my trees are still bright, vibrant greens, I know the changes are coming. The days are cooler, the nights are getting chilly and I'm starting to crave hot chocolate.

Since the leaves outside aren't changing fast enough, I decided to make myself a little bit of fall for the house. Using templates I found on My Cute Stamps, I cut my leaves out of brown, red, orange and yellow craft felt. I added some gold glitter puff paint for the veining and contrast. (Besides who doesn't love a little glitter when it won't rub off on everything!)

The biggest problem was figuring out what to do them. My first thought was a fall table runner or something decorative over my front door. I decided the best thing, given my limited time, was to stitch some 1/4" ribbon to the back (it's a nice pale green) and make a garland.

Yes, my picture is horrible, but I blame time constraints at the moment. Eventually I will update with a better picture.

At any rate, I cut one of each leaf out of each color and ended up with a total of 16 which were then alternated along the ribbon. I hand stitched it because I was watching E and A and couldn't get to my sewing machine. Realistically, using the machine you could easily connect as many as you want in very little time.

Now to figure out what to do with it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Remembering the First Day

The new school year began this month and who doesn't love that! School age kids are back in class instead of wanting rides and money to hang out with friends. This year E started kindergarten and little A started preschool. So naturally, I got to get the first day of school pictures and then I had to put them on a new layout. (If I'm going to scrapbook, I might as well do it when it happens instead of waiting a couple years! haha)

Sorry for the horrible picture, I used my phone just because it was easier. Besides, I can sacrifice a little picture clarity if you still get the general layout idea.
Each of the little ones got their own page but I planned to have them facing in the book so I made the layouts complimentary. I kept it super simple and really only embellished with a few rhinestones and a contrasting paper on each page. My absolute favorite part is the family picture. How perfect is that?! The whole family walking E to her first day of kindergarten.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Ladder Shelf

A while back I decided I wanted something new for my living room. I wanted some shelves, something to display some pictures, a few little pretty things I'd picked up or been given and a place to store some blankets in a decorative but functional way.

Naturally, I searched Pinterest for some inspiration. It took some scrolling but I fell in love with the idea of a ladder shelf. What a unique way of getting my fish tank up to eye level, storing blankets and displaying some of my favorite things. And, with my living room essentially shaped as a boring rectangle, I could put this pretty much anywhere and it wouldn't completely divide the room.

I took my idea to my DH and asked if he could build it for me. Really, having him build me something is the best way to get exactly what I want, usually for less, and it makes him happy because he gets to play with his toys. Everyone wins.

It took some figuring and planning, but he built me this beautiful shelf! I love it. Knowing we would have a ten gallon fish tank on a certain shelf, we were able to reinforce it. And there was plenty of room underneath for E and A's project trays and a cloth bin that holds their coloring books and crayons.

The biggest compromise was came with whether or not it would be painted or stained. He loves the wood grain and I like light colors to keep it from feeling heavy. Yes he won, and we stained it. But only because we had stain left over from when we did the floors.

I still have a long list of things for him to build me - including a pretty console table for under the mounted TV just so I can get rid of the blah store bought media stand.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Somewhat Vintage Touch in the Dining Room

 I make no attempt to hide my love of all things vintage. I love classic movies, big band music and the way a home used to be run. I think that is my I love my mother- and grandmother-in-law. They do things a little more old fashioned. It's because of them I have learned to can vegetables and fruits (grandma told me last weekend about how they would can beef and when you opened that on a winter day, it made the best beef and gravy to have with potatoes), I've learned to sew, and I've been striving to make things myself. Back in the day, people made things to last, not be disposable. Plus I'm cheap.

If I can make it and it will save me money, that's what I do. That includes laundry soap, dog toys, blankets and clothes, home decor and now a basic necessity: dinner table napkins.
I realized I didn't think that much about putting paper towels on the table with the meal, until I had to spend the money to buy more. I had an epiphany: why am I spending money on something I am just going to throw away!?! Cloth napkins just make more sense - I do laundry anyway so what's a few more pieces of cloth to throw in?

So I dug through stash and found the above remnant. I love it! It looks great in my dining room and I already had it. Then I went to Pinterest, and started searching for a good tutorial on how to make these. I found this one on tiny rolled hems, and since it had lots of pictures, I used it.

It was about 29"x44" and I cut out six 12" squares to start with. I also set up my ironing board so that as I finished a seam all I had to do was swivel around, press what was needed and get back to sewing. Even with that convenience, it still took me 30 minutes per napkin!

I am so happy with the end result though. The only difficulty I had was with the last couple of corners. It caught frustrating trying to get the machine to move the material when starting at the edge of like six layers of materials. You can see how small the hems ended up being, and how pretty they look on my new tablecloth.

With so much fabric in my stash, I am wanting to make a lot more of these. I am anxious to try a mitered corner for some. (And I really want a bunch for holiday meals!) But that is a project for another day - I have lots more sewing to get done before the holidays...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Altered Book - The Grad Book

 My baby brother, J, graduated high school this year. Family issues and drama caused a lot stress around what should have been a happy event, a milestone moving him from childhood into manly adulthood.

I thought I would try to make something special for him. Something that would show him he really did have family that cared for him, was proud of him and happy to see him succeed. DH's family have taken him in and treat him like any other grandchild, nephew or cousin.

Rather than just having everyone sign a photo mat or a card, I wanted to do something a little more special. J is worth the extra effort. Sooo, I made my first altered book as a guest book for his graduation party. The pages are rough, but it was my first attempt. I bought a cheap hard cover book from a local thrift store, gutted it, added stickers to the front for a "title", covered the spine with "Class of 2013" ribbon and created pages.

The pages were the biggest challenge for me. I needed them to be sturdy so I used a heavy base paper and adhered scrapbook papers to each page. The first couple of pages have his announcement, senior pictures, and shots from the ceremony. The majority of the book is shots of J with each of the 20 people that were there to support him with a hand written not of encouragement on the facing page. It is finished with pictures from the barbecue we had to celebrate him.

Being an 18 year old, he said thank you, but I know the sentiment is a bit beyond him now. In years to come he will appreciate having the reminder of that huge moment in his life.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Take A Seat

 DH loves when I say I want a new piece of furniture for the house. Until about a year ago, it made him shiver with fear at the cost of what I might have in mind. (Truth be told, I don't go crazy and we only buy furniture when it is absolutely necessary because, I mean come on! Have you priced that stuff lately???) Now he gets a little giddy when I ask for something.

When DH retired from the military in June 2012, he decided it was time for him to decide on his awesome retirement hobby. One thing that had always interested him was carpentry and wood working. I've indulged this even though the tools can be a bit expensive (I have a craft stash that can hold me over for a while so I'll let him splurge on his new hobby) because in the end, I knew I would reap the benefits!

And now I have. I saw this amazing bench over and I fell in love. I have a soft spot for the farmhouse style and have been trying to balance it with the modern home DH wants. I got lucky and DH loved the bench. The one thing we agreed on was the original size given in the plans (NINE FEET LONG!!) was a little long for our day to day needs. So we did a little tweaking and he made it about four and a half feet long.

It turned out beautiful! The plans were so clear and easy for him to follow, and to tweak. The added bonus was the cost: about $25 for the materials! I've already sweet talked him in to building me a second one for added seating during the holidays.

If we didn't love our antique dining table so much - or just had space for a formal dining room - I would beg him for the table that matches the benches. For now, I just need to focus on making some cushions to put on top, as soon as he will let me cover his work!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Tweet Idea

J's girlfriend is still learning basic stitching so the stitches are a little wonky,
but I think it gives it personality!
Some of the flock we made!
 I like simple projects that I can do with people around me. When J shipped off to Ft Lee for the summer, his girlfriend and I decided to try a project. We were thinking a hanging display for over her bed, something fun and colorful. Because I've been on a bird kick I suggested birds hanging from a branch - it was a great way to recycle a branch that had fallen out of my huge tree.

Anywho, she was sold and I found a simple bird pattern which we cut out of felt. She paired which color wings with which color bird and we started sewing. First a wing to each side and then the two sides together.

It really didn't take long to get about 20 birds put together. Once they were done, I decided they needed a little more personality so I broke out my puff paint. If you need to add personality to a fabric craft, puff paint is a pretty darn good way to do it.

Simple glittery swirls on the wings, gold glitter beaks and little black eyes. This took about two days - I painted one side of all the birds one day, let them sit overnight to dry and then did the opposite side.

These little cuties have been done for a couple of weeks now and I have yet to hear how she wants to proceed with this project. I'm kinda thinking I might turn them in to a cute garland or maybe some Christmas ornaments. Hmm... the wheels are turning.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Feeling Scrappy

I have decided to start scrapbooking. This is a big thing for me. I've never been a big fan of that particular craft simply because it seems like you spend $50 on stickers and embellishments all for one picture on a 12" x 12" piece of pretty paper. Personally, I love my pictures and the stories they tell too much to have them be lost in a sea of stuff that is actually supposed to make them stand out.

Don't get me wrong, there are some great layouts that really do make the picture the center of attention. In fact those are the ones that have inspired me. That and the fact that I love the beautiful papers you can find and the idea of telling my story and holding the memories that I hold so dear. (Basically I need to use the stack of papers and printed pictures I have before I can justify buying more paper!)

The layout I made for this post features pictures from Easter this year. I loved the bright colors of the base paper and contrast of the flowery side panel. I opted to punch out the main focus of the pictures and set them on a bright green solid, which will also serve to frame some journaling (that's why there is the random huge green rectangle in the middle there). And balanced the page with a few gems on the flower paper and dimensional flower stickers to the right.

My personal favorite part is the main picture at the top of the page - my step-daughter N taking pictures of her hubby and their little girls E and A. I love that it is someone taking a picture of their family and I punched the family group out and raised it with some double sided foam mounts just to make it pop out a little.

I think I might actually start to enjoy this as a hobby, which may scare my sweet hubby.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Something Frosty in the Warm Fall

I love the look of frosted glass. I've done lots of projects with glass etching cream and love them. The problem is that can get expensive and would large projects a little more challenging given the budget I'm working with.

So I thought it would be a good time to try the frosted glass spray paint. I found a couple of cheap framed mirrors at Walmart and taped off what I wanted to remain clean glass with masking tape.

Following the directions on the can of paint, I sprayed the mirrors and  waited for it to dry to see how it would turn out.

I really liked how the smaller mirror turned out. The diagonal lines are interesting and can help draw the eye to other pieces around it when hung on the wall. The larger mirror was ok, but a little plain. So I wasn't too bummed when I learned of a major drawback to the spray frosting paint. It can be scratched off.

I found this out by leaving the smaller on top of the larger and it obviously got moved around and scraped some of the paint off. (The picture doesn't show how bad it was actually chipped, but it was all four corners where the smaller mirror was set.)

But, this dark cloud does have a silver lining. If the paint gets scratched or you just plain don't like how the thing turned out, you can scrape the paint off! I used the razor scraper I use on my glass top stove and it came right off, no issues. I was so relieved. Now I know I can easily change how these mirrors look and that means changing my decor for the cost of a can of paint!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Little E Wants a Blanket

A couple of weeks ago I had my two granddaughters for the night. In the morning, as they were finishing their breakfast, E and A saw me working on my Black & White quilt. In no time, A was asking for a rainbow quilt and E asked for a red blanket with flowers.

Pretty much as soon as they went home, I scavenged through my fabric stash and found red material that I could pair with a fun floral print. The print is pink and orange flowers on a black background and livened up with a sparkly glittery finish.

Choosing to keep the whole simple, I cut both fabrics in to strips that were then sewn together to make a roughly 44"x 56" quilt top. (You can still see the selvages on the edges of the quilt, right next my pup who was checking it out.)

I need to do the quilting still, and plan to add some pink and orange ric-rac to the red stripes just to liven them up. This will be a cuddly blankie for a little girl and a nice throw for her to keep as she grows. The rainbow quilt is going to be a bit more challenging but the design I have in mind will be worth it!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Give A Hug Card

 Today the school year officially started where I am. This means there are plenty of students off to college and there are lots of moms wishing they could still give them a hug.

That thought inspired this card. It is very simple with the happy colors of the pink tag set off against the warm fall toned background. A glittery hug sticker and sparkly stones will make a loved one smile when they receive it.

This is the time of year when life tends to get even busier than usual. At least in my neck of the woods it does. I have buckets of tomatoes and cucumbers to can, just received a few dozen ears of corn to deal with, along with fall cleaning, getting ready for the cold of winter, my hubby possibly changing jobs and the holidays to plan for.

I would like to think I am a little better prepared this year. Jars are ready for canning, gifts have been bought throughout the summer and I'm about have done with my holiday shopping. Being able to make these simple cards offers a nice, relaxing escape from all the stuff that needs to be done. Or, let's be honest, a productive way to procrastinate on cleaning and canning. But hey, I can still say I got something accomplished!

Anyway - time to tackle all that corn!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Not enough hours

The canning season in my house has begun which means very little time for any crafting. Which is kind of horrible considering I am in the middle of several different projects. In my down time though, I am working up a posting schedule so that I can get more posting done and start being more productive over all.

Wish me luck - I desperately need it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Glittery Ornaments - Part One

My husband has a large family and every year I like to make something for those who are local as a nice little gift. One year it was a plate of baked goods; one year was small jars of homemade jellies with little muffins. It's has usually been a food item that I could mass produce and package in some cute way. 
Well, baked goods won't really keep with my goal of a stress-less holiday season. I needed to come up with something I could do now and set aside. I found a good tutorial on making glitter ornaments here. Searching my stash I found a couple boxes of clear glass ornaments and figured this would be a good place to start.

The tutorial writer used Martha Stewart glitter. I didn't really want to spend the money on that, so I got a couple containers of regular glitter in red and green. It is not as fine a glitter as the Martha Stewart, but worked out just fine I think. The only negative to this larger glitter is if you hold the ornament up to the light, you can see the glass is not completely coated. This to me is not an issue because they look fine otherwise and I doubt the family will be searching for flaws.

I pretty much just followed the guidelines of the tutorial - this is not a difficult craft to do. One thing I will say is that I waited about an hour before I put the silver cap back on the ornament. I wanted to make sure the glitter dried and wouldn't flake off when it was finished. I showed them to my hubby and he said they looked store bought.

As much as I like these ornaments, they seem a little plain for a Christmas gift. Which is why this will be a two-part post. I'm not 100% sure when the next part will be posted, but I need to find some way to embellish these ornaments - to make them stand out. I have a couple ideas, I just need to get them done!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Christmas Planning in July

Every year I tell myself that I am going to get started on Christmas planning really early. The goal is to have as little stress as possible during the holiday season. This year, being on an especially tight budget, I've decided to actually follow through. I started my gift shopping in June and have to say I'm already done shopping for a couple of people.

I know, I miss all the great Black Friday sales. Sorry - I was never one for those sales. I'm not that crazy. On Thanksgiving I put a higher value on spending time with my family than prepping for all night shopping. Don't get me wrong, I still hit the sales - Memorial Day, Back to School and 4th of July are all good times to shop. And if you know what you want to get some one, you can bargain shop year round.

At any rate, to get myself ready for the holiday season, I've already made my Christmas cards. I even got the envelopes addressed and ready to go. One less thing for me to worry about later.

I found some really cute papers at my local Joann's (and on sale!), the gems I found at Walmart for $1 a pack (and I needed 2), and then the holidays just beg for glitter so I added a little glitter glue accents to the ornaments. I love the shimmer of glitter but hate how it goes everywhere! As a result, I am a strong advocate for glitter glue. You get the shimmer, but it actually stays where you want it!

Speaking of glitter, the red and white circles are textured, glittery paper. I just couldn't seem to get a good picture. :(

The cards went together relatively easily. I spent one afternoon was spent cutting out all the shapes and strips and finalizing what I wanted the cards to look like. The next afternoon was spent piecing everything together. I set up a little assembly line method. Now to just sign them and set them aside until it's time to mail them.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A potential UFO (but hopefully not)

One thing I love to work on in the summer months is embroidery. It is a lightweight craft that travels easily and can really be done almost anywhere. I've been really wanting a sampler embroidery type quilt for a while and have wanted to keep it a simple black and white.

So when I needed a quick project to take with me on a day trip I decided to whip up a block and see what I could do with it. I used my quilting stencils as my design and made the blocks rather large. Pictured is actually the second block that I've been working on. I finished the first one a while back and have been making steady progress on this one.

It is so easy and is a nice relaxing project to work on while sitting in the grass now that the days are getting warm enough for me to be outside. I have yet to decide how large this will end up being, but I'm kinda making it up as I go.

As for it's potential to be a UFO, that will come once the top is finished and I will have to work on actually quilting it. That's where a lot of my quilts go through a UFO phase. But someday it will get done, it's all a matter of when.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A UFO is spotted...

I will admit it - sometimes I jump two feet in to a project without really thinking about how much time it will actually take. Or whether or not I will want to finish it. That is the case with this scrap yarn blanket.

The idea was simple: use up a bunch of my very small balls of yarn by making yo-yos then connect them in to  a decent sized blanket to throw on the couch or scrunch up and let the dogs lay on. FOUR HUNDRED yo-yos later, I've gotten right around a quarter of them connected and I'm just sick of it.

It's not that it's difficult to do, it's just tedious and mind numbing. I'm sure I will get it done at some point, I just need to figure out a better way of attacking it so it won't seem so soul-draining.

Does anyone out there have a craft like this one? Something you are excited about until you get in to the middle of it? If so, let me know!

Monday, April 8, 2013

New Swedish Weave

I may have taken some time off here recently, but that doesn't mean I wasn't doing anything. One thing I've done (that I'm particularly proud of) is complete another swedish weave blanket. This is only the second one I've done and I have to say it's not 100% done. All the stitching is finished, but I want to line the back of it with a lightweight fleece.

The fleece made the first one I finished was so snuggly and warm that my hubby requisitioned it for the winter. The monk's cloth is just not very soft so the fleece adds an inviting and warm feel that makes you just want to cuddle up.

The pattern of this one features an open diamond pattern which made the stitching go that much faster. In fact, this one took me about a month to complete working on it just a few hours a day. It was so much quicker that I'm actually considering making a couple more to give out as Christmas gifts. But I'll have to wait and see. With Spring here, there is a whole new list of things to get done.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I can't believe it's...

...Thursday already. This week has been a blur of cleaning, freezer cooking, more cleaning, working on craft projects, garden planning and even more cleaning. It is definitely Spring. The sun is out most of the day and the afternoons are warm enough to not need a coat.

So it's no surprise to me that I've lost track of the days. I will say I am a little disappointed in myself. I was hoping to be a little more on top of this blog. I guess I need to get back to making my to-do lists on a daily basis.

At any rate, regular posts and projects will be coming very soon. I'm not juggling quite so many things so I will focus.... at least that is my mantra right now!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Took some time off...

No I didn't get abducted by aliens, fall off the earth or just decided to slack. Actually, I've been dealing with some personal issues and felt it was better for me to eliminate a lot of things from my life for a little while. Sadly, this blog was one of those things. I had to take some time for myself, like we all do at some point or another in our lives.

I don't think I have everything figured out quite yet, but I think things are settled down enough for me to refocus on some of the things that I have had to set aside. So, starting next week, I will start posting once again.

Just because I took some time off doesn't mean I wasn't crafting. I have been trying to keep busy and have a few things I would like to share. Starting next week, I will get back to work and regularly update and post and such.

Thank you (to anyone who regularly follows me) for the patience. :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Birthday Boo

My little brother's girlfriend celebrated her birthday over the weekend. Being on a budget, I had to think of something I could make in the short amount of time that I had.

I know she loves Mario Bros video games and has told me she thinks Boo is the cutest thing under the sun.

I came across this pattern from WolfDreamer OffTheHook when I was looking for a pattern for a Link hat for my brother. This was the first thing that came to mind when I realized I needed a gift.
The patter is for King Boo, and I ended up tweaking it a little. I opted to skip the crown and the wagging tongue. I stitched the white teeth to the red mouth and then to the crocheted Boo. The eyes and eyebrow are embroidered with black yarn.

The pattern was clear and easy to follow and there is a long list of really cute toys - a lot of Pokemon and Mario Bros characters. This is a great resource for crocheters with little ones!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sweet Baby Gifts (pt 2)

 To go along with the receiving blanket from yesterday's post, I made this super-duper simple and girly quilt. Again, being short on time, I opted for a really easy, basic quilt design.

The new mommy is a Hello Kitty fanatic! So when I saw this pink, cutesy fabric, I knew I had to get it. I got a yard and a half of the Hello Kitty print, one yard each of pink and white, and matching binding. Naturally, there was plenty of the pink and white left over because it's always nice to have some solid colors around.

I used all the Hello Kitty print though - three strips on the front and then the rest as the back of the quilt. The HK strips were about 5" finished, the pink about 4" and the white stripes are all 2" finished by the width of the fabric. The finished quilt size was about 35"x 43".

The only thing I didn't get a picture of was the back - which is just the HK fabric bordered by the solid pink. In total this quilt took me about three days to finish given the limited time I had. You can see that I used simple straight line quilting. Really, if I had a good day to work on a quilt and needed to have one finished, this is the design I would use.

This is also a great beginner quilt. It is simple and can easy be made in to a more striking design by using more vibrant or contrasting patterns than the ones I've used.

In the end, the new mommy loved the quilt, and I had the honor of giving the new baby her very first Hello Kitty blanket!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sweet Baby Gifts (pt 1)

 I love being crafty  when it comes to baby gifts. There are so many things that can be made for little ones that are not that difficult or expensive to make, but still loved by the new mommy and baby alike.

One of our cousins is expecting their first baby girl any day now. Her actual due date isn't until February 9th, but the mommy is so petite that there is no way she will make it that long. She is really fun and girly so I knew I would be able to make a super fun gift to give her.

Because I was limited on time, I was only able to really do a receiving blanket and quilt, but both were still very much appreciated.

Here is the receiving blanket. I love making these because they literally take an hour from start to finish. I chose a cute strawberry print to match the quilt and the flower/ladybug print to match the rest of the nursery. Both flannels were on clearance so this was a nice cheap project.

I got one yard of each, trimmed them to equal size, and pinned with right sides together. I sewed around the material, leaving an opening just large enough to pull the blanket right side out) after snipping the corners to reduce on bulk). Once flipped right side out, I sewed another hem all the way around which closed the opening and gave it a nice finished look.

Just imagine how easy it would be to turn out a bunch of these just to have on hand for last minute gifts. It makes me think that when my budget allows, I'm going to stock up on cute flannels and do just that!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What a week...

After being sick, getting called for jury duty and working hard to get a baby shower gift completed, I've had a pretty rough week. Not trying to complain, just tired. Sometimes all those little things just start adding up and wear a person down that much faster.

Anyway, I should have the baby gift ready to share next week. After that I am going to start working on some Valentine's ideas that I've had floating around. Hope everyone else is having a happy and productive January!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Trivet Matter

Family dinner at the table is one of those simple joys in my life. It's maybe a half hour for everyone to stop and spend time together once a day.

To keep it simple (and reduce dishes) I usually just put the food on the table in whatever it was cooked in. Naturally, I need trivets or pot holders to protect the table. I decided it was time to make a couple specifically for my table in colors I liked.

The ceramic tile cost me a whole $0.50 at a local hardware store. It is just a basic 6"x6" white tile. I used a stencil and a sharpie to get the design on the tile. Granted you can see the directional lines from the way I colored it in, but I don't mind it. If you don't want to see those lines, you can always use acrylic paint and a sponge brush to get it on there right.

Finish the whole thing with a couple of coats of a clear enamel top coat, let dry completely and it is ready for the table.

Another idea for decoration, if you want something faster than a stencil and sharpie, you can always use stickers. I helped my granddaughters do this for Christmas presents for family members last year. As long as the stickers are flat, nothing dimensional and nothing with rhinestones, you can get the same effect with less effort.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Having a (decorative) Ball

I like to have some sort of simple centerpiece I can keep on my dining room table that accents and contrasts with the rest of the decor. I've never been a big fan of those decoratively covered balls that people will just put in a dish, but I think I slowly started to change my mind on them.

Over the holidays, my centerpiece was a covered cake plate filled with painted glass ornaments that I made several years ago. I really liked how it turned out. So now I need something a little less holiday and a little more every day.

I found printed tissue paper at my local Michael's and thought it would be the perfect accent to the colors I have in my house. We have a pretty blue wall that runs from the living room through the dining room and richly colored hardwood floors. I think these tan and black balls will accent the table perfectly.

The best part: super simple and cheap to make. Made of tissue paper, styrofoam balls and diluted white glue, I think I may have spent a total of $6 for the whole project.

The process was just to tear the tissue paper in to small, manageable pieces, water down some Elmer's glue and use a foam brush to get it all put together. Think paper mache process. Let them dry for a few hours, rotating occasionally to evenly dry them, and then stick them in a pretty bowl or basket. I can probably clear coat them with something, but haven't yet. I don't intend for them to be played with any time soon so I may do that a bit later.

This is just another example of high style from low cost supplies!

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Resolution

So I might be a bit late with this but I'm still going to post it. This is the time of year that everyone seems to be making commitments to themselves with the best intentions of keeping them. Not many of us actually keep them though - I mean, how many have vowed to lose weight? :) But it is the intention, motivation and persistence that make a resolution successful.

This year I have two resolutions for my craftiness. The first is all about organization. I like to think of my office/studio/zen crafty relaxation space as organized chaos. My goal for the year will be to lose some of the chaos and gain a little more organization. The only thing that can hinder me is the number of different crafts I do. I have to figure out the best way to get thing organized and put away and then stick to getting things put away after each use.

The second is fewer UFOs for the year. We all have them - those UnFinished Objects that get set aside due to either to frustration or lack of time. The time one is usually my issue. I may be right in the middle of working on something and then get a custom order or a birthday that I have to focus on. As I type this, I can see several UFOs that need to be taken care of so that my to-do list can be made a little shorter.

There you have it - my resolutions. Hopefully I will be able to accomplish both, and think putting it out there publicly may help me. I mean, if I have to be accountable for them, they are more likely to happen, right?

Also up this year - several big projects, lots of small projects, working on a new look for the blog and adding oodles of goodies to the etsy store. Let's see what happens this year - should be exciting!