Saturday, January 29, 2011

my lemonade project

So as you all know by now, we are a family in transition. We are settling in up north but a portion of our life is still south. One of the things we left behind in the name of home staging was our beautiful dining room set. That leaves us with a card table and four folding chairs up here for now (i.e. lemons). It makes for intimate family dinners but honestly, it can be a little depressing. So, I decided we need to make the best of this and I set into a motion a plan to make a cute tablecloth. Like every project I have ever taken on in my entire life, this one seemed to become more and more involved as time went on. Also true to form, it turned out to be more difficult and time consuming than I thought it would be as well. [As a side note - when oh when will I ever be able to properly gauge the time and brain commitment required for a project?! - shouldn't I be able to do that by now?]. Still, I love the idea and am so glad I stuck with it.

I was determined to NOT buy anything for this project - to only use what I had. I almost made it but caved and bought bias tape because I came up short in my stash. I had a good quantity of the square fabric and it didn't take long for the lightbulb to go off and think: oohhh - letters - yes letters!
So I stamped away and ta-da.

Some turned out beautifully

Others, not so much - oh well, so it goes.
The fun part is that we can play word games at the table during meal time or otherwise. What words can you make with letters on the blue squares?, how many A's can you find?
Which color square has the most vowels?
and so on and so on.
And because I lean toward the practical side and because "reversible" is one of my favorite words in the crafting language, you can turn it over and find this:
We have been talking about teaching Peter how to play checkers and (maybe) chess lately
so this seemed like a fun way to get us started. I used corduroy because I like it and I have it but if I made this project again I would use cotton. The corduroy is a bit bulky and even though I don't plan to serve food on this side of the tablecloth, I am imagining those little grooves full of crumbs and it's kind of icking me out.

I know it needs more ironing and I'll probably go in and do some topstitching to keep it all together but for the most part it is done. Lemonade anyone?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

secret crush revealed

I confess, I love corduroy. When we moved to our new place in St. Paul we discovered that many of the interior doors were metal and of course my first thought was that we would need some cute magnets right away. So, I finally got around to cranking some out and I just love them! They are just simple covered button magnets in different colors of corduroy. Turns out corduroy works great for these because you don't have to iron interfacing on the back like you do for cotton fabrics (the metal underneath shines through if you don't). Plus, the texture is so delightful, they really are sweet.
My other corduroy project is a little something I'm sewing up for our home. This is just a sneak peak. With any luck at all I will finish it up next week and then I can share the rest of it. I was making pretty good progress last week until my sewing machine went all wonky and I just quit all together. I'm trying to muster up the energy to dig in and get it straightened back out again.
Wishing you all lots of energy to tackle all of your creative challenges!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

latest loves for crafty kids

Even if I haven't been particularly crafty this week some people in our household have been. It's true, we have been spending a lot of time indoors lately. So, our idle hands have been itching to get messy with some creative project or another. Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite goodies from my bag of mommy tricks. First up are these paintbrushes from Crayola. (Rose Art makes a similar set as well). Why oh why were there only two choices of brushes for kids for decades?? You could have toddler fat brushes or wimpy 5 stranders and that was IT. Finally there are some better options for kids - brushes more like real artist brushes but durable enough for little ones. I love it!
Next are the MacCormick NEON food colors. These are so much fun. We used them here to make play doh. With some experimenting you can get a gorgeous mustard yellow, or a sapphire blue and everything in between. They also have a handy color mixing chart on the back so you can make colors like "apricot" and "stormy blue" (I used 'stormy blue' frosting to write words on a chocolate frosted cake once - beautiful!). I may never buy the regular food coloring again.

And finally, my handy dandy flower punch. Adam is in love with this thing! Because these handles squeeze together he can really go to town with it even with his cute chubby three-year old hands. We tend to find paper flowers all over the floor now, but there are worse things, are there not? This will even buy me some time now and then when I need to send a quick email so, double points there.
What crafty trinkets are your kids loving these days?

Friday, January 7, 2011

hope in a hoop

Here's the tough part of Winter, right? It's so dark and everyone is starting to grow a little weary of the snow and slush and thoughts of Spring are settling into our brains and taking root. I know that is where I am these days. Now that I am a Minnesota girl again I know I need to toughen up and I am trying. Last year, when Omaha had a rough Winter, my mantra was "Spring always comes." Whether you like or not it just does, without fail, every single year. That really did keep my spirits up and guess what - Spring DID come that year just like it will again this year.
So, I made up this little design in honor of that hopeful voice inside that pushes you through the grey of Winter and maybe inspires you to go out and go sledding or take a walk in the snow because hey, before you know it, it will be gone and it will be Spring, right?
You can download the pattern here. I included a stitch guide and a pattern piece cutting guide in case you want to sew fabric pieces together for your base like I did in my sample - but you certainly don't have to do that part. Enjoy and please let me know if you have any questions at all about this pattern.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

aaaaaaand we're off!

I admit I am getting more sleep now than I was during the holidays but I promise I am keeping my little hands busy during these dark days.
Currently my "to-do" list includes:
* finish up a new free pattern (sneak peak right here on the left)
* write Thank You notes
* finish up a handful of Christmas ornaments (and you thought the holidays were over, didn't you?)
* get going on a little sewing project for our home - I'll be sharing more about that one if I ever get it off the ground
* make some progress on my next embroidery pattern set. This one might take me quite some time to complete but I hope to have it all ready by Spring.
* catch up with all the friends and family members who did not get a Christmas card (or even a "Happy Holidays") from me.
Oh, Adam and I also spent the morning touring a preschool. We are almost sure we will send him to a two day a week (half day) preschool program next year but I'm still deciding how I feel about that. Let's see, I have 9 months to wring my hands over it so I should be able to come to a conclusion by then, right?
Hope your 2011 is off to a productive and fun start. Keep an eye out for the free embroidery pattern - should be here this week - yay!