Sunday, January 31, 2010

naptime post: make your own sewing cards/lacing cards

My kids are napping - woo hoo!  A few weeks ago I posted about a sewing kit I put together for my oldest daughter for Christmas.  (To refresh your memory you can reread that post by clicking here.)  I spent far too long looking for sewing or lacing cards at store after store and on the internet, and I could not for the life of me find exactly what I was looking for.  So . . . in a moment of frustration paired with just the right amount of creativity, I decided to make my own.  I orginally thought of using cardboard, but as I watched the fate of other cardboard items in the hands of my kids, I realized cardboard would have a short shelf-life . . . hence the foam sheets.  You might be able to think of other materials that would stand up to the lifestyles of toddlers and preschoolers.  Let me know if you do. 

A friend of mine asked me how I made those sewing/lacing cards that I included in the kit.  To be honest, it's so easy that I probably don't need to put these instructions together.  However, in the chance that there is someone reading this who is as craft-clumsy as I am, I will describe how I did it . . . a little lacing card tutorial, if you will.  Before I begin, I would like to take my metaphorical hat off to my oldest daughter who helped me with this tutorial.  We actually did this together.  She made her own cards alongside me as I made mine (which were for her too, so she really won on this deal).  This is a great activity to do with your kids . . . or go borrow somebody else's children for this particular project - make sure you get permission first though!

Supplies - Only three?  How easy can you get.
  • craft foam sheets - 5 1/2 by 8/12
  • an extra long reach hole punch - They make these in a variety of hole shapes.  I just used the circle, but it would be fun to try different shapes in your design as well.
  • permanent markers

Steps - Again, only three?  This keeps getting better and better.
  1. Pick color and design. 
  2. Draw carefully onto foam sheet.  Keep in mind that even though you are using permanent markers the marker will come off onto your hand, clothes, other foam sheets, etc. for a minute or so until it dries.  Trust me . . . I know this from personal experience and enjoyed some colorful blue and purple marks on my hand for a few days.
  3. Use 2 inch reach one-hole punch to punch a design in your drawing.  A young child may need help applying the extra force necessary to punch the hole. 
We are using these at our house to teach my oldest daughter to sew using a (plastic) needle and craft thread.  However, the holes are big enough to use shoelaces or even ribbon.  In fact, I would recommend using shoelaces until your little one masters that skill first. 

I have made these cards with shapes, a kite, a house, a birthday cake and my daughters favorite - a girl's face with a variety of hair-sew-ons.  (As much as I am not an experienced crafter, I am even more so not an accomplished artist, so don't laugh at my drawings.  Okay . . . do laugh, but don't tell me about it.)

I made a small pouch for the hair accessories and a larger pouch to fit everything in.  I guess I was feeling especially ambitious that day, but you could just buy one of those fabric/tulle gift bags or keep everything in a gallon-sized ziplock bag.  This is a great gift to include in a kid's sewing kit, and I highly recommend this as a quiet toy for eating out, church, rest time when your child outgrows nap time, etc.
Enjoy this easy craft, and let me know if you make these cards.  I would love to see pictures.  You can post them on my flicker link to the left or e-mail to

Craft on!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

saturday spotlight - mara's chair goes from drab to fab

This weekend I'm shining the spotlight on a true inspiration.  In fact, watching Mara transform this dilapidated old chair from drab to fab, inspired me over the course of the last year in my meager sewing attempts (i.e. the aprons, potholders, bean bags).  Mara and I became friends eight years ago, and she has always had a good eye and artistic/creative flare.  However, she decided to try her hand at something completely different, and she enrolled in a class to learn how to upohlster a chair. 

She took this chair on a journey of destruction to recreation.  She did an absolutely amazing job!

The finished product - a stunning chair!

Craft on!

Friday, January 29, 2010

thinking about taking a two year old to a fabric store?


Now, most of you probably already assumed that would be a disastrous combination.  For those of you who, like me, think that a very curious and stubborn two year old would be able to handle a ten minute visit to the fabric store to pick up say . . . four buttons . . . PLEASE THINK AGAIN!

Here's my tale . . .

Every other Friday morning my youngest daughter, who I affectionately call Chucko or Monkey, and I have quality time together . . . just the two of us.  Typically, our time involves chasing around the house, coloring, chasing around the house, cars, chasing around the house, laundry, chasing around the house . . . well, I think you get the picture.  This particular Friday morning I had two items on my to-do list: 1) get potatoes from the grocery store 2) find four buttons.  Sounds manageable, right?  I loaded Monkey in the car with pretzels in hand and began the 20 minute drive to the fabric store.  Now, Monkey isn't a sitter or a stander; she's a runner, twirler, spinner, climber, etc. - hence the name Monkey.  So after twenty minutes sitting in the car, she wasn't interested in being carried or standing next to me as we looked for the buttons in the store.  Let's just say that after picking up the fat quarters (What's up with this name? I don't get it.), the spray bottles and the thread spools; stopping the button rack from spinning; and gathering her shoes and socks out of the display window, the sales clerk was thrilled to check us out and get us on our way with four buttons in hand.  

Getting potatoes at the grocery store went much better . . . in case you're wondering.

Anyway, I'm so excited to share what my second craft till Christmas is going to be!  Look for me to post about that on February 1.      

Craft on!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

why didn't i think of this?

The crayon roll just got way easier!  Check out my friend Amanda's tutorial on making a crayon roll from a placemat.  This is genius for many reasons:
1) no rotary cutter necessary
2) bye-bye fusible interfacing . . . yippeeeee!
3) only two supplies needed - cheap placemat and ribbon
4) she uses lined placemats which makes sewing straight lines soooo easy
5) super fast - she said that she was able to make the crayon roll in 30 minutes . . . woohoo . . . that's my kind of project

So check out her tutorial by clicking the blue words above or copying and pasting this address into your browser You are on your way to mastering the crayon roll. 

Craft on!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the transformation of the laundry basket

Lately at our house, the most popular toy hasn't been Littlest Pet Shop or Legos, Dora or the dancing tutu.  The most popular and beloved toy has been this . . .

. . . no, not the doll . . . the laundry basket.  This laundry basket has been a crib, a house, a boat in the river, an airplane bound for Hawaii (if only), a scooter, a shopping cart, an animal kennel, a sled and probably a few things I'm not even aware of.  I'm amazed with the creativity of kids.  They can take a laundry basket and transform it into a whole new world.  I wonder when I lost that ability . . . when did a piece of orange flannel turn into a plain old piece of flannel rather than a carrot, a teddy bear, a basket, a puppet, an outfit for a doll?  

My kids, this blog and my twelve crafts challenge are all helping me recover some of that creativity.  Over the past three weeks, I can't walk through a store, look at my pile of clothes to give away, see things lying around the house without being inspired to make something.  I'm super excited about that.  It's like finding the kid inside of me that was lost . . . or at least covered up by the pile of clothes that should have been in that laundry basket . . . a long time ago.  If only I had the time to actually make all the things whirling around in my imagination. 

What do inspires you to be creative?

Craft on!    

Saturday, January 23, 2010

saturday spotlight - patricia's dancing chickens

The best part of blogging is hearing from people who are crafty and are busy making their own unique creations.  In the past two weeks, I have heard from a handful of people who have made bags, doll clothes (even chicken clothes), crayon rolls, and so much more.
I thought it might be nice to share some of those creations with you because they are so inspirational to me, and they may just inspire you too. 

For the first Saturday Spotlight, I want to showcase these very creative little chicken outfits by Patricia.  Patricia bought this dancing chicken as a gift for someone, and she felt inspired to add a little pizzazz by creating a few outfits.  The first picture shows the chicken dressed in a stylin' mail carrier outfit - complete with tiny little cards and envelopes inside the mailbag (not seen in picture).  The second outfit gives the chicken a little Christmas flare.  Patricia put a lot of attention into the little details to make these the best dressed dancing chickens around.  Just goes to show . . . anything can be the source of creative inspiration - even dancing chickens!

Let me know if you have a project you are working on or have finished, I would love to see it and even share it with others on this blog as inspiration. 

Craft on!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

third time's a charm!

I wasn't planning on posting anything tonight, but I 'm so excited!  I made a crayon roll in a reasonable amount of time, and I like it.  That's huge for me!  After the girls were snuggled in their beds, I intended to sit and veg in front of the TV.  I made it about 15 minutes, and heard the fabric that I had cut out (with a rotary cutter) last night calling my name.  So . . . here it is my third roll . . . drum roll (no pun intended - honestly) please . . . 
I also found some mini gel pens at Target for a dollar.  They fit perfectly in the roll made for crayons, and they won't mark up the fabric like crayons do when you slide them in and out.  I'm so excited that I feel a little giddy! 

Before I sign off and head to bed, I have to give a little credit to my new friend - disappearing ink - without whom none of this would be possible.  I met disappearing ink while exploring the sewing department at Hobby Lobby, and I thought it sounded like a wonderfully helpful tool.  So . . . thanks for making my life just a little easier and my seams just a little straighter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

adventures in absent-mindedness

Ta da . . . the ribbon!  My oldest daughter helped me draw the winning name for my latest guessing game.  

And the winner is . . . Tana! 

You are the proud new owner of a unique gel-pen roll.  Try to control your excitement.  I'll be in touch about delivery.

As I mentioned, my second roll - a gel-pen roll - was an adventure in absent-mindedness.  Honestly, it's an overused saying, but I would have lost my head if it wasn't attached.

First, I need to digress . . . I know . . . I might seem slightly obsessed over fusible interfacing.  I've made a pact with myself that this will be the last time I allow myself to rant about it.  Truth be told . . . I'm a vegetarian, so I don't know much about meat and cooking procedures that go along with meat.  I do know that every Thanksgiving my husband spends time basting the turkey.  I think that this involves taking a little kitchen tool (it looks frighteningly like the same thing I use to clean out my kids' noses) and squirting turkey juices back onto the bird.  So . . . you can imagine my surprise when I read these words on the directions for fusible interfacing application, "place fusible side of interfacing on wrong side of fabric, pin, and BASTE along edges with tip of iron."  Why am I squirting turkey juices on my fabric with an iron?  Anyone?  

Thankfully, the internet came to my rescue, and I was able to find out that you don't actually fill the iron with turkey juice.  Thanks goodness!  And this is where my first adventure in absent-mindedness came in.  I basted and basted, ironed and ironed, and yet, my interfacing would not stick to the fabric.  After about five minutes of that, I realized that I had the interfacing facing the wrong way, and I managed to baste my interfacing to my press cloth.  

My second adventure in absent-mindedness happened when I felt a moment of success after finally getting the interfacing fused to the fabric - not the press cloth - only to realize that I fused it to the wrong fabric . . . oh come on . . . are you serious?  Unfortunately, yes! 

And that brings me to my third adventure in absent-mindedness . . . the source of my guessing game.  When I finally got the gel-pen roll sewn, I sat there looking at it thinking, "hmmm . . . I feel like something is missing."  It took me about three minutes to realize that I had completely forgotten the ribbon needed to keep it closed.  Duh!  So I ripped out some of the seam, inserted ribbon and did some more sewing.  Ta da!  It's hard to believe after all that but the gel-pen roll done!            
Congratulations Tana!  May this gel-pen roll find happiness if your home.  Thanks to everyone who guessed, and thanks for reading! 

I found some super patterns at Hobby Lobby the other day, and I'm going to try one more of these before I start my next project. 

Craft on!

Monday, January 18, 2010

fashion trends for 2010

Although this is mostly a crafting/sewing blog, every once in a awhile I feel like I need to delve into deep subjects like . . . the fashion trends of 2010.  The first trend is modeled by my four year old.  She is wearing a polka-dot pajama shirt, pink pants that are about three inches too short and of course, the biggest trend of the season - every cool kid's must have item, a tutu.  
The second "it" look is being modeled by an almost two year old with her own sense of style.  She is America's Sweetheart in her blue shirt, rainbow striped pants, snow boots (on the wrong feet, of course - all the cool kids are doing it), and that signature tutu. 
Now, if you are one of the three people who reads my blog, you may remember that I made this tutu with the hopes of giving it to my daughter for her birthday.  Wait . . . don't wish her a happy birthday yet because her birthday is not for THREE MORE WEEKS.  It turns out that tutus are hard to hide from curious kids.  It turns out that if there is a big fluffy pink and purple skirt-like object hanging in the laundry room, kids ask questions like, "What is that?"  "Who is that for?"  "Is that for me?"  "Can I wear that now?"  (Note to self: next time I make something I don't want my kids to find I should probably put it someplace other than hanging up in the laundry.)

So . . . the tutu has made an earlier-than-expected debut, and I will be coming up with something else to make for the upcoming birthday.  Any ideas?  Please give me some.  I need something fairly easy (as evidenced by my issues with fusible interfacing) and appropriate for a two year old who is fairly destructive.    
Craft on! 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

hmm . . . what is missing from this picture?

What is missing from this gel-pen roll?  (For my second roll, I made a gel-pen roll instead of a crayon roll.  It was quite the adventure in absent-mindedness, but more on that later.)  

This is another guessing game, and I've got a poorly made crayon roll or gel-pen roll for the lucky winner.  Here are the rules for the game:

1) Post your guess about what is missing from this gel-pen roll below.  Make sure your name is somehow associated with your guess.  You might need to include that in the post because I think your name only shows up automatically if you sign in with your google account.

2) I will take all the correct guesses submitted by Tuesday at 11:59 PM Central Time and draw one name randomly as the winner of a poorly made crayon roll or gel-pen roll.  The roll will be fully compete and usable, but I can't guarantee it will be flawless.  I'll contact the winner for an address if it needs to be sent.  Wow!  What a deal!   

Craft on!

mommy, can I help you sew?

"Mommy, can I help you sew?"  Sewing and crafting have mainly been relegated to nap time or night time because my kids are so "helpful" when I'm sewing.  My youngest always wants to sit on my lap so she can see what's going on up close and personal, and my oldest always wants to help me cut stuff.  In an attempt to include them in my hobby but not have their direct "help", I gave them Christmas presents that I hoped would let them use their own creativity and develop some skills.  The youngest got two sets of factory-made lacing cards.  They are incredibly cute.  One is from Melissa and Doug and the other from Eric Carle.  Both are very sturdy so that they can stand up to the playing patterns of a two year old.  (If you are interested you can check them out by clicking on the underlined words.)

Last week I mentioned that I gave my oldest daughter her own sewing basket that I packed full of age appropriate sewing and crafting items.  On the very rare occasion that I do attempt to work on a project while the girls are awake, this little basket of goodies will keep my oldest occupied long enough for me to cut something out, sew a few lines on the crayon roll or wrestle with fusible interfacing for a while. 
In case you have a little one in your life who you might like to keep occupied, I thought I would list what I included in this particular kit.  There are a couple of sewing kits put together by some great companies - like the kit by Alex, but I thought it might be a little advanced for a four year old.
  • craft thread/embroidery floss
  • plastic canvas shapes
  • plastic canvas color sheets
  • fabric
  • fabric markers
  • little scissors
  • different types of ribbon - She likes to cut ribbon and glue it on to stuff.
  • fabric glue
  • an assortment of buttons - She can glue these on to projects or practice sewing them on to the plastic canvas.
  • a couple of pre-made sewing projects
  • plastic needles
  • tapestry needles - These are great because they aren't very sharp and they fit through the holes of the plastic canvas.  The plastic needles usually won't fit through the plastic canvas.  She only gets to use these if I'm sitting right with her.
  • homemade lacing cards - I made these cards with craft foam sheets, permanent markers and an extra deep whole punch.  Then I sewed a little bag to hold them in.

I put all of these items in sewing basket with a handle so that it can be carried easily from room to room.  Both girls have just as much fun carrying the basket around the house as they do sewing and crafting.  Do you have any ideas of what else could be included like a kit like this?  Please post any ideas in the comment section below so I can add to the kit.
With this great kit you can keep those little hands busy and encourage their creativity all at the same time.  

Craft on! 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

i've been brought to my knees by fusible interfacing!

Let's just say that I am not a fan of fusible interfacing.  How can such a light, wimpy fabric-wantabe be so maddening and frustrating.  First of all, I asked for a 1/2 of a yard from the gal at the fabric counter, but when I unfolded it I found out that I only received a 1/4 of a yard.  (That's technically not the fusible interfacing's fault, but it started our relationship off on the wrong foot.)  Second, the directions for using the interfacing were cut in half due to the fact that it was only 1/4 of a yard, so I didn't have all the instructions that I needed to use it correctly.  I found instructions at  However, I'm a slow sewing-learner so I didn't fully get it.  Also, as I mentioned before I don't follow directions very well.  Long story short - my fusible interfacing didn't actually fuse to the cloth.  Arrrrgh!  I may be going back to the flour-sack cloth I used in the first crayon roll.  Any advice from those of you who have more sewing smarts than me?
On the up side (I'm trying not to be overly negative), my relationship with the rotary cutter has definitely improved.  The second time around went much smoother, so I do have hope for fusible interfacing after all.  My fabrics pieces are ready to be joined together; however, I'm going to be taking a break for the next few days from crafting (and probably blogging) due to a busy work weekend.  So unless these fabrics figure out how to join themselves together in the next three days, I will be finishing up round two of the crayon roll Sunday evening. 

In the meantime, craft on!  

an opportunity to help those in Haiti

The devastation in Haiti is beyond our understanding.  As I was sitting in my warm, comfortable house last night after a long night at work eating a very late dinner, my mind was turned to those in Haiti who have no shelter, no job, no food.  I wondered to myself, "What can I do from here?"

We have friends who live in Haiti.  Kristie grew up in NW Iowa.  She grew up, moved away from home and met a man from Haiti named JeanJean.  They married and have two amazing kids.  They live in JeanJean's hometown in Haiti, and they spend their days and nights providing nutrition to children at meal centers, educating women and men and improving their community.  

Their work is funded through a board that is based in NW Iowa.  On a good day, they have a tough job.  At a time like this, they have a seemingly impossible job. 

We've been receiving updates from them since the earthquake.  This is the last e-mail we received.        

Dear friends;
After a night of praying specifically how we can help, we have felt that God telling us to, "Go, and do in His name." Port-au-Prince is not too far away for us to go with our vehicles and bring supplies in or to bring survivors back here. We have Port-au-Prince contacts, both individuals and churches that can help direct us in helping with immediate needs. We also can help the families of the deceased. And soon, there will be a need to re-build. I think of the challenges that New Orleans faced. Haiti has even less resources and support from the government.

For so many, Port-au-Prince represents the golden dream. This is where they could go to school, or where they would find that elusive job that would support them. It is where they would find a good life that they couldn't find in their home towns. People save and save until they have enough money to rent a small room that they share with 3 others, as was true with the 4 local young men that perished in their collapsed building. Now, for most people, that is all gone. My prayer is that people will turn to God as their hope and provider.
I just was interrupted in typing this by our friend, Marie, who cleans the dormitory for us. She came in tears because she has to go to Port to try to find 2 sisters. She hasn't heard anything from them except that they live in an area that had massive destruction. Many people are in the same situation. These are people that we can help. Our brother just called and he will be coming back with many others. People will have to come back to their home areas because there is nothing in Port for them now.
If you would like to send money to UCI to help, you may send it to the address listed below. JeanJean and I and our whole UCI Haiti board will use it to help people in need and to honor God. Thank you, thank you for your prayers and I am not ashamed to ask for more prayers. We love you so much for your love to us and Haiti.
In Christ,who is just, and who saves!
JeanJean and Kristie, Tana and Kerri Mompremier

PO Box 51
Orange City, IA 51041
Make out the check to UCI and write "earthquake" in the memo

There are many ways to help from afar.  Here's an organization our family has given to in the past -  We trust them completely to use this money in the best possible way for the most possible benefit of the people in immediate need.  Perhaps you know of another organization or way to help the people of Haiti.  Please post that in the comments section below.  I imagine in the future there will be opportunities for crafters/sewers to send blankets/quilts, clothing and other items, but for now, it seems the most immediate need is funding for the people and organizations that are there providing assistance.       

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

a shout out to my mom as I ponder which came first - the chicken or the egg.

This post is a shout out to my mom .  . . (Awww, isn't that sweet!)  It also answers the question, "Why do you blog about this?  Couldn't you still challenge yourself to complete twelve crafts before next Christmas without blogging?"

Well, blogging serves two purposes for me.

First, writing about crafting/sewing somehow keeps me creatively inspired and motivated to keep sewing/crafting.  Truth be told, I think I would have probably given up on this year-long challenge about half way through the first crayon roll if I wasn't writing about it.  It's as if one gives life to the other . . . kind of a "Which came first - the chicken or the egg?" thing.  

Second, a few years ago my mom gave me a memory chest.  Inside the chest are treasures from the past . . . my past. 

A dress my mom made for me that matched a dress that my doll wore.

A sewing card my mom made for me to practice my sewing skills.  (If you take a close look at it, you will see why I didn't pick up sewing again until the age of 32.)

Two clay hearts on a string that my mom made with me.  

A table runner my mom made for her mom.

A stenciled tulip my mom made into a wall-hanging.  

Many other toys, books, trinkets full of childhood memories. 

I had completely forgotten that my mom used to craft, sew, paint, etc when I was little because as my brother and I got older, she stopped doing those things.  Around the time she gave me this chest full of memories, I asked her why she stopped doing those things. She explained that between raising children, working and the other stuff of life there wasn't much room for crafting, sewing and painting.  She gave those things up to care for us and provide for us.  I was humbled by that reality because as a kid I had no idea that she sacrificed a part of her creative being for me.  I appreciate having the memory chest to remind me of this part of my mom.

This chest sits in our living room, and my girls regularly beg me to open it so that they can look at the special things inside and hear the stories of my childhood.  I have an opportunity to tell them about myself and my mom.  My oldest daughter said to me the other day when she was playing with the sewing cards I made her, "Mommy, will you put these in my very own memory chest someday too?"  

In this blog, I have the opportunity to pass on memories to my girls - memories of what I made for them, how much I loved them and a glimpse of what gave me creative life as a young mom.  So . . . I'm printing out these pages and one day, years and years and years from now maybe my daughters will open up their memory chests, pull out these faded pages and show their children the projects I made just for them.

Craft on!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

and the winner is . . .

EVERYONE!  Eight people posted guesses on the blog or Facebook, and almost all eight guessed a tutu.  Okay, I'll be honest . . . brutally honest . . . I'm disappointed.  I was hoping to stump people, but clearly that was too easy of a guessing game.  The ease at which you guessed the  mystery item only spurs me on to try this guessing game again in the future with something even more challenging.  Someone mentioned that I should give the tutu away to the first person who guessed correctly.  Ha!  My "easy" tutu project actually took quite a while to do, so I'm keeping it all for myself.  (Actually, I'm keeping it for my daughter's birthday.  I'm pretty sure it would only fit over my left thigh - it's not exactly adult appropriate.)  However, maybe next time we play this little game I will think of something to give to the winner . . . perhaps a rotary cutter.  (Smile)  

As I mentioned, this is for my daughter's birthday - not for the twelve crafts till Christmas.  In December I found a super easy and VERY DETAILED tutu tutorial from Bethany at Vermillion Rules.  (Quick . . . say that ten times fast.  Did you do it?  That's a mouth full!)  Bethany is clearly a type A personality after my own heart because she puts soooo much detail in her tutorials.  If you have never made a tutu before and there's a kid in your life who might enjoy one, I totally encourage you to try it at least once.

I tweaked a few things from Bethany's directions because the truth is I don't really like to follow directions.  Whether it's cooking, baking, crafting or sewing, I'm not exaggerating to say that I never do it the way the recipes, directions, instructions or tutorials say.  I've always been that way . . . you can ask my parents . . . much to their dismay.

I'll give you a quick rundown of the tweaks I made just in case you actually care and want to try this little project at home.  

1)  Color order and choice - Bethany is pretty specific about the order of colors that she recommends.  I went with a much more random effect.  To be honest, the tutu is so puffy and wild I'm not sure if it really matters enough to put that much time into ordering and sequencing the colors.

2)  Length and width of individual tulle pieces - I didn't really go for symmetry.  I like the varied pieces that sort of jut out randomly in places.  It's like the tousled-hair-look for a tutu.

3)  Surprise . . . ribbons - I have a shoe box stuffed full of ribbons just waiting to find life in something, so I decided to give them life as they wave about in a dancing tutu.  I replaced one of the layers of tulle with a ribbon about every fourth set of tulle.  That worked out super because I think if I had all those extra pieces of tulle this tutu would have been way too puffy.  The ribbons add an extra pop of bright color, take out some of the tulle volume and add some different texture in the mix.  I like it!  

FYI - I just got introduced to this cool little product called Fray Check.  Hello . . . this is a little magic in a bottle.  I completely recommend putting Fray Check on the ends of the ribbons so that the fraying is in check.  (Sigh - I'm not as clever as I think I am.)       

So . . . thanks to everyone who took the time to humor me and guess the mystery item on FB or in the comments section.  I'm off to work on another crayon roll.

Also, if you have posted a comment/question on a past post, check back to that post for my response.  Thanks! 
Craft on! 

Monday, January 11, 2010

holy moments

For some crafting is a full-time trade.  Others juggle crafting part-time, kids, work and much more.  For me crafting is a hobby relagated to Saturday naptimes and after the kids are tucked in bed and off to dreamland.  Right now would be about the time I would be opening my fabric drawer like a kid in a candy store and pulling out the next fabric treat ready to be made into a crayon roll.  Not tonight though.

Many of you know that much of my time - day and night - is spent pastoring a wonderful group of people in a wonderful little community.  I've spent seven years visiting newborns, baptizing kids and adults, marrying couples, sitting in hospital rooms . . . holy moments.  One of the most holy moments is being with a person when they pass from this life into the next.  Today I experienced another one of those holy moments.  And although all I did was sit there, my body, mind and spirit are as exhausted as if I have just run a marathon.  It's hard to explain . . . this humbling privilege of watching a family say good-bye to a beloved parent, grandparent, great-grandparent who has lived life well.  

Lately, I've been echoing the words of prayer-poet Ted Loder.  Here's one of his works that speaks to me and for me today:

Eternal Friend,
grant me an ease
to breathe deeply of this moment,
this light,
this miracle of now.
Beneath the din and fury
of great movements
and harsh news
and urgent crises,
make me attentive still
to good news,
to small occasions,
and the grace of what is possible
for me to be,
to do,
to give,
to receive,
that I may miss neither my neighbor's gift
nor my enemy's need.
So . . . no crafting tonight . . . no report of my crafting antics or sewing adventures . . . just attentive listening for holy moments. 

What are your holy moments?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

let's play a guessing game!

I love guessing games.  Well, let me clarify.  I love to be the one who knows the answer . . . not the one who is guessing.  At our house we play a lot of guessing games.  These games usually begin with me saying to my youngest daughter (23 months) something like, "Where are your shoes, mittens, socks, etc?"  And she always answers with an impish grin and a twinkle in her eye, "Hiding!"  Then the guessing begins as I look in every garbage can, laundry bin, closet and bag for the missing item.  A few weeks ago we spent a week looking for her coat.  (Don't worry we didn't take her out in the dead of winter without a coat.  She wore a one-size-too-big-hand-me-down from her sister.)  

So here's a guessing game for you.  I'm still working on perfecting my crayon roll technique, but in the mean time, I need something else to work on that didn't involve such rotary-cutter precession.  The materials for this mystery item are in the above picture.  Can you guess what this material is waiting to become?  Post a guess below. 
Anyone can post a comment.  I changed my settings so that a blogger account isn't necessary to post a comment.           

Craft on!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

finders keepers, losers weepers: behold . . . lightweight fusible interfacing!

Friday was the coldest day we've had in a century, and what did I do?  You might think I would stay inside with a cup of hot tea and enjoy the day.  You would be wrong.  I bundled the kids up, piled them in the car and went in search of lightweight fusible interfacing.  And behold . . . I found it.  Well, I didn't find it exactly.  I found featherweight fusible interfacing and light-to-medium fusible interfacing.  Nothing called simply . . . lightweight fusible interfacing.  Why would I expect this to be easy?  So I stood there like a horse with blinders on as my youngest started throwing everything in our cart onto the ground and my oldest started pulling her favorite fabric bolts off the shelf.  Of course, I could have asked someone for their expertise, but that would have been the easy thing to do.  Why would I do that when I can blindly choose one on gut instinct and experiment?  So after loading the cart up again and putting the bolts back on the shelf . . . the light-to-medium fusible interfacing is in my possession, and I plan to start on crayon roll number two sometime soon.  

In the mean time, I am teaching my oldest daughter to use a needle and thread.  For Christmas I put together a sewing basket just for her with a variety of age appropriate sewing projects and other sewing items.  She's been tinkering with the sewing cards and today we tackled her first project . . . a little coin purse.  About 45 seconds into the project she said, "This is hard.  My arms are tired."  But she persevered - with some prodding, and she did finish it - with some assistance.  Then she spent the next thirty minutes turning over every cushion, looking on every shelf, and peering into every bag looking for change to put in said change purse.  All she came up with was one lone penny - it was a plastic penny from the toy cash register.  Poor kid.  

I'd love to know if you have any patterns or suggestions for my next crayon roll.  A friend from the past mentioned that she makes her crayon rolls with placemats.  She called it the cheater method.  Truth be told the cheater method sounds right up my alley.  

Craft on!      

Thursday, January 7, 2010

sew stupid

So . . . I chose the crayon roll as my first of twelve crafts till Christmas on the premise that this is a craft that "anyone with a sewing machine can make".  Now, in theory I did make and finish the crayon roll.  (I used the pattern and directions from Cindy at Skip To My Lou.)  Of course, I use the word "make" very literally as in I picked fabrics, cut them, pinned them, did some sewing, undid some sewing, did some more sewing and came up with a finished project . . . finished not necessarily polished.  This picture does not do my many mistakes justice!  However, I also learned some valuable lessons along the way.  Here's four for those of you who would like to learn along with me.

1)  It might be a good idea to have all the recommended supplies.  I didn't have this thing called lightweight fusible interfacing.  Not only did I not have it, I have no idea what it is.  It appears to be used to add some weight and stiffness to the fabric, so I figured I would just use some extra flour sack material that I had on hand.  I think that complicated the sewing process and added some extra bulk that I didn't need.

2)  Using a rotary cutter is not as easy as you might think . . . or maybe I'm just rotary- cutter challenged.  For the life of me, I could not get that thing to cut straight - as you can see from these photos.  All of these fabric pieces were supposed to be the exact same size.  Clearly that is not the case.    

3)  Measuring is important.  So . . . in my life outside of sewing and crafting, I am incredibly Type A.  One of the reasons that I decided to start sewing and crafting was to allow myself to be more creative and not so focused on some ideal of perfection.  Because of this goal, I typically don't get too worked up about measurements when I sew.  However, apparently in many instances measuring is super important.  Who knew?  This particular crayon roll was supposed to have 16 inch-wide slots for crayons.  I, on the other hand, had to modify my crayon roll to a 15 slot roll due to some mismeasuring.  This unfortunately displaces shag-carpet orange from the box of retro colored Crayola crayons I am going to use to fill this crayon roll.  As you can see I just cut off the part that didn't seem to work for me.  That was clearly not Cindy's intention.

4)  Fabric glue is a sew-stupid crafters best friend.  Due to the above mentioned rotary-cutter mishap, I had some edges that needed to be glued shut.  I'm grateful for the invention of fabric glue, and I have a feeling that I will be using it frequently in the year to come.
Well, I have finished my first of twelve crafts; however, I think I'll be taking a couple more shots at this before the month is out.  First on my list of things to do before try number two . . . track down the elusive lightweight fusible interfacing.
Craft on!
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