Round Bunting

Happy New Year! Did you make any resolutions for 2014? I usually don’t wait till the New Year to make resolutions because my motto is that each DAY is a fresh start and a chance for change and improvement. BUT, there is something a little extra magical about making resolutions at the dawn of a new year so I couldn’t resist!

Hopefully you won’t get tired of me but one of my resolutions is to post here at least once a month! Yep. Surely I am the first ever blogger to make such a resolution, right?? Ha! Now that I’ve told you that…I’ve really gotta stick with it though, huh? Except, that’s exactly why I told you! I know there are those of you out there that will hold me VERY accountable. (Cough Cough Silpa and Shez Cough Cough) I am so excited and looking forward to what God has in store for me in my creative pursuits this year so I appreciate all the prayers and positive vibes you can spare my way!

My inspiration received a much-needed boost from my latest read, “Creative Thursdays” by Marisa Anne. If you are in a creative rut or feeling some frustrations with yourself, I highly recommend this book! Marisa graces each page with her beautiful artwork and photography while sharing her knowledge and wisdom  about creative practices in a great conversational tone. I seriously read this book feeling like she was one of my good buddies and had written it JUST for ME. It is a VERY easy read and both encouraging and inspiring.

creativethursdaycover

The Update – I finished the 4th project of my online Home Ec. course – Sewing a Round Bunting. Since my son’s room was lacking in deco, I designed the bunting with his name so I could hang it on his wall. Although it’s been a while since I’ve completed this project, I just got around to taking some pics to share with you, so without further ado:

Here’s a close-up of a few of the letters:

CircleBannerLetters

Felt was used for the lettering as well as the backing for this bunting. Quilting cotton (navy blue with vibrant green) was used for the front face. The font for the lettering is called KB Stick to It and can be downloaded from dafont.com for free. (I love the internet!)

Round Bunting1

The bunting adds a great personal touch to the room AND has the added bonus of being a great visual for helping my son learn the letters in his name.

The bunting was only part of my plans for the wall though. Right under the bunting, I also hung up a stretch of twine which I now use to display the latest and greatest of my son’s creations! Jayden feels such a sense of accomplishment every time he looks up and sees his work. “Mommy! I did that!” And so with this great bunting project, my son now has his very own “Wall of Fame”.

Round Bunting

Playing Catch Up

Yikes! Where did the time go??

I’ve been a busy girl! Let’s catch up, shall we?

In August, we made a trip to Chicago for a wedding. This crafty mama decided that the little man was over-due for a pair of snazzy suspenders and so that’s what I worked on!

I had a LOT of help from a tutorial I found from the blog, Make It & Love It. I picked out an adorable pin-dot fabric and found all the necessary clips at my local Joanne Fabric Store.

SUSPENDER Project

Paired with a bow-tie, the results were absolutely timeless and adorable.

IMG_6945

While in Chicago, we also did a little sight-seeing. Here is a quick glance at our trip:

BeFunky_IMG_3857.jpg

[Left to Right – Top Row: View of Lake Michigan and Chicago skyline from Navy Pier, Deep Dish Pizza from Lou Malnati’s, Chicago’s famous “Bean” aka “The Cloud Gate”. Bottom Row – Entrance to Navy Pier, Family Photo from Wedding, Live Jazz Festival at The Jay Pitzker Pavilion at Millennium Park]

Then in September, I continued working on my craft room (which is still a work-in-progress), learned how to use Mod-Podge, and got good practice with pant alterations. FIY-When you have pants that can do double-duty as socks when you wear them, it’s time to hem.

Here’s the Mod-Podge project I had worked on:

Ribbon Storage

As handsome as the Quaker Man is, I used scraps of scrapbook paper and covered over a few empty oatmeal containers I had. They are the perfect size for storing all of my ribbons and add a nice bit of color to my craft room. (If you add a vertical slit in the canister, you can turn the storage into a ribbon dispenser.)

And now it’s a beautiful crisp autumn over here and I’m practically rolling around in pumpkins! We’ve been roaming pumpkin patches, painting and carving pumpkins, having Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal for breakfast, sipping on Pumpkin Spice Tea and Lattes, and even having Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese for my Bagels! Pumpkin overkill? Not for THIS pumpkin junkie! Bring on the Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie…and perhaps a treadmill. Yes, I think a treadmill will be necessary.

I also love Autumn for all of the colors that it brings out in nature. So,  I brought some of those colors indoors!

Autumn Mantle - Pumpkins

Autumn Mantle - Decor

Left: Family Photo from J’s 1st Pumpkin Patch Visit at 6 mo. old
Right: Squirrel was J’s special request for our Fall decor

Oh Autumn! – a time for cozy sweaters & hoodies, hearty stews, boots, pumpkin pies, knitting, bright foliage, hot chocolate, curling up with good books and enjoying the holidays with family and friends. I do love Autumn.

Phew! This post was long so kudos to you for making it all the way to the end! And now we’re (finally) all caught up!

Stay warm and have a beautifully blessed autumn, my friends!

Happy Autumn

Reusable Grocery & Gift Bag

On to Lesson 3 of my Freckled Nest Home Ec. Class, I now know how to make a reusable grocery bag!

May not seem that exciting at first, but then consider the facts:

1. Where I live, you have to buy your shopping bags whenever you go to any store. (Unless you bring your own reusable bag, in which case, some stores will even PAY YOU as a reward.)

2. I can never seem to have enough reusable bags around the house – I use them for shopping trips, to store knitting projects and other crafts while they’re being worked on, as a quick diaper or toy bag for J when we’re rushing out of the house, and for countless other purposes.

3. Being that they are so useful, they can double as an awesome gift bag to hold that special birthday gift for your buddy, while ALSO being part of the gift itself.

4. With all the “re-usability”, that’s less garbage going into the environment.

It’s a no-brainer. Reusable bags rock.

The fabric I used to make the bag was actually a wrap-around skirt from Kenya that I had received from a friend several years ago.  Although I did love it as a skirt, I was never skilled enough to wear it without the strong belief that the skirt was doomed to fall around my ankles at any given second. [Read – Jainy taking 3-cm steps and walking smoother than a geisha.]

Check out the gorgeous stripes –

Reusable Bag - Stripes

To help create straps with a sturdy connection to the body of the bag, the lesson taught how to make “X” joints.  The top edge of the bag is double-hemmed, just for aesthetics.

Reusable Bag - X

Reusable Bag - Side

Although I was sad to say goodbye to the skirt, I was happy to get TWO bags out of it. One of my bags is already loaded with (overdue) books (oops.) as the little one and I get ready to head to the library!

Reusable Bag

Happy Friday everyone!

Spring Storm Tea Time

I finally started back up on my Freckled Nest Home Ec. online course again and the lesson I worked on was for cloth napkins. I finished them last night and I’m so glad I made them. I scrapped the fabric from one of my mom’s old mu-mu style cotton night gowns so the result is a soft and FREE set of napkins that I won’t be upset about if they get stained. After all, what good is a napkin if I won’t allow them to get messy?

Napkin Set

As many things as I’ve sewn on my lovely sewing machine, Bessy…I’ve never ventured beyond the straight stitch! WOW…where has my sense of adventure and risk gone!? So this lesson helped me get over my fear of leaving the safe and straight mode of stitching.

Napkin-ZigZag Stitch

I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. I used bright red thread to add a little pop of color to the brown/white pattern.

Cloth napkins are a great way to cut back on our use of paper napkins/paper towels during meals so I’m not opposed to making more of these to use on a regular basis. Good for the environment and good for the wallet!

I was pretty excited to use my napkins today. This afternoon, the weather is warm and stormy so it’s the perfect time for tea and cookies. (But really, when is it NOT the perfect time for tea and cookies?)

Napkin-Tea Time

Anybody free to join me for tea time?

<3 Bibs

Bibs were my very first project when I started sewing. I got tired of seeing the super baby-ish bibs in the stores and wanted to see some more fun and diverse fabric patterns being used! So, as my motto goes…if you don’t like it, do something about it.

Over the years, for some strange reason, I’ve really LOVED making bibs. Too bad my own child would rather run around naked than ever wear a bib. So naturally, when one of my besties (Pie) got preggers, I knew bibs were in her future!

PieandJain

Pie and I having brunch in NYC

(Pie is not her real name. I’ve called her Pie for over 10 years now so barely have a recollection of her real name anymore. But when you’re a lovely “Pie”, what else matters?)

Anyway, I just wanted to share a few shots of the bibs and matching burp cloths I made for the baby…

BibFabrics

Bib Fabrics: Apples and Pears, Bright Turquoise, and a Sesame Street pattern

I selected gender neutral fabrics since we don’t know what sex the baby will be. Who says it has to be all pastel yellows and greens?

Even the hubby pitched in with these bibs and burpcloths! Boy do I love this guy!

These are double-layered bibs and burp cloths. The undersides have a soft cream-colored terry cloth which is great for absorbency as well as post-meal clean up.

BibSet

Bib with Matching Burp Cloth

Part of the fun and beauty of a handmade gift is in the packaging. I used a pretty burlap ribbon with a small cream bow to present the burp cloths.BurpCloths

I love using bright and happy colors for babies!

IMG_3474

The blanket that these bibs and burp cloths are on, is part of this gift. I crocheted this blanket using a double-crochet stitch and finished it with a scalloped border using the Lionbrand pattern for Purely Square Baby Throw to get me started. I’m slow with yarn so making a blanket is a very time-consuming task that I’ve only done once…and this is it right here, along with the completed bib/burpcloth set. A true testament to my love of Pie and that little baby in her belly. 😛

The Forever Blooms

We just moved in to our new home in October, and I’m pretty much STILL unpacking. It’s a lot of work but it’s fun unearthing all sorts of little trinkets and treasures I forgot I had. I recently opened up a box and found some old acrylic paintings I had done when D and I were “newlyweds”. They’ve been locked up in the box for almost 4 years so I forgot they even existed. I decided to change them up a little bit to better fit our home.

Well, my apologies because I really should have taken a picture of them, BEFORE I started modifying them…oops.ArttoModifyEach painting used to have a small maroon and pink bird on it. They were just “okay”, so I decided to erase any sign of their existence with a bit of black paint.

I knew I wanted to replace the birds with some flowers but then I had a stroke of genius thanks to Pinterest. Instead of painting on new flowers, why not create fabric blooms?! Not only would they add dimension to the art, but I could also incorporate fabrics I used for throw pillows in the adjacent room…Double WIN!

I first created a template for my flower petals – Folding a sheet of paper in half, I drew half of a flower-petal shape against the paper fold’s crease. I cut it out and then unfolded it to get a nice symmetrical flower petal template. I repeated this with a smaller petal size so I could have a double-layered flower which could incorporate two different fabrics.

Every flower needs its petals.

Using a template, I cut out several flower petals from two different fabrics.

Once the petals were cut out, I paired up one big petal with one small petal, and holding the two petals together, ran some needle and thread through them. You end up with a string chain of the petals.

Fabric Flowers Step 2

Create a string chain of the petals

I made sure that the needle went through both ends of the smaller petal when creating the chain.

Example of a petal string chain when using only one layer of fabric

Example of a petal string chain when using only one layer of fabric. (This was from when I first experimented with making this flower using just one fabric/layer.)

Once you have your chain of petals, you pretty much just cinch up the petals the way you want, and join the two ends by stitching them together however you see fit. To help make the flower more sturdy, I flipped it over and stitched the back corners of the petals together.

Fabric Flowers Step 3

Secure the back of the flower by stitching the bottom corners together.

I also used my scissors to trim the top of the petals until I liked what I had. Here’s the resulting flower!

FabricFlowerCompleted(Let the “Oooh’s and Aaaah’s commence!) But seriously, the number of uses for fabric flowers are countless! They would be great for hair clips/headbands, wreathes, clothing accents, artwork, gift packaging, general decorating, etc. However, if you were to use a fabric flower for a purpose where it would be handled often, I’d recommend using a fray-stopping solution, like Fray-Check to secure the edges of your flower. Also, this flower can be modified in so many ways, such as the number of petals, number of fabrics/layers, colors, petal shapes…the possibilities are endless!

This lucky crafter FINALLY got her hands on her very own glue gun. (YESSSSS!) It’s a super basic mini gun but there’s nothing like hot glue to get a girl excited and ready to stick things (anything and everything) together! I broke-in my new toy by gluing a small square of felt as a backing for the flower. This provides a better surface to attach the flower to my art.

HotGlueBacking

Here are my newly modified pieces of art, with the flowers in place:

PaintingsModified

I just need to hang these up now!

Modified PaintingsI’m in love with the pop of color and the dimensional effect these flowers add to the art. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself adding these sweet little flowers to a few other things around the house. Can a girl have too many flowers? I guess I’ll find out! Fabric Flower 1A flower that will never wilt….forever in bloom – This is the flower for me.

Fabric Flower Art 2

I leave you with one of my more recent favorite quotes – “Be the kind of woman, who, when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil says “Oh no, she’s up”.”

My Slice of the Black Apple

Recently, my sweet little niece turned the big “ONE”. She (who I’ll refer to as “Ladybug”) may not be my niece by blood, but she is so near and dear to my heart that she might as well be! As I perused aisle after aisle, in store after store, for just the right birthday gift, I realized that nothing was good enough for my little Ladybug.

I raided my stash of fabrics for some inspiration and came up with the perfect answer to my gift dilemma – A handmade DOLL! What little girl doesn’t like a new doll??

After a bit of online digging, I discovered a tutorial with a free video and free pattern on Martha Stewart’s site and that’s how I learned about Black Apple dolls. (The creator of Black Apple dolls has a blog which is in my list of “Blogs I Enjoy” to the right.)

(Photo: Property of the Martha Stewart site.) Click on the image to be directed Martha Stewart's Tutorial on Black Apple Dolls.

(Photo Source: http://www.MarthaStewart.com) Click on the image to be directed to the Tutorial on Black Apple Dolls.

As soon as I saw them, I fell in love. They have a beautiful simplicity but preciousness about them. The pattern and directions were fairly easy to follow, and before I knew it, I had a lovely little doll sitting in front of me.

I used a soft tan flannel for the doll’s face and arms and quilting fabrics for her body, legs and hair. I designed a small collar to add to her dress. Adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, no? (Yep, I’m a fancy girl who can throw a little French around.) Polyfill stuffing was used to fill her up. The tutorial suggests using some rice to give some weightiness to the body but I wasn’t sure that would allow for the doll to be machine washable. (I suspected and hoped that this doll would get lots of wet kisses and food-ey finger prints from Miss Ladybug; being machine-washable was a priority.)

BA-DOLL1

Once the doll was stitched and filled up, things got fun AND a little scary for me! What little accessories can I add? Do I give her a sleepy face, excited face or a happy face? OMG…What if I make her and she is HIDEOUS or ANGRY-looking??

I sucked up my fear of somehow messing the doll up and decided to give her a serene happy look. However, since I didn’t trust my acrylic painting skills to create her face, I used a Sharpee. To add that signature rosy-cheeked doll look, I brushed on some of my own fancy blush. I messed around with the idea of a bow in her hair but then settled on a flower, incorporating the fabrics I used for her body/legs.

BA-DOLL2

And here she is, sitting pretty…ready to make a very special little girl happy!

BA-DOLLMy own version (slice) of a Black Apple Doll.

This is the very first doll I’ve ever created so it’ll always hold a special place in my heart, just like my Ladybug!

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!

LadybugMeetsDoll