Tuesday, August 31

one last summer fling

Before I get into all the fall sewing that will (hopefully) be happening now that I have my afternoons back, I wanted to make one last summer outfit.

I got a Little Lizard King pattern in July.  I thought it was so ruffly and cute.  I got a cute pink floral seersucker and a matching purple seersucker with white butterflies on it.  Since it's late in the summer I decided to line it so she can wear it with a tee and jeans this fall.  Don't you love how my model *had* to have her green lizard sunglasses on her head?  What a superstar.  (Oh, and by the way - I am so excited that she sat still long enough to have two french braids put in!)

I found this pattern to be so easy to use - well written and full of helpful photographs.  The size I used was 2T/3T - and I think my 2Twidth and 3Tlength model will be able to wear it next spring as well.  She's so skinny that it's tied pretty tight in the back and is still a little baggy.
I'm excited to give another one of her patterns a try!
why is it I can never get a nice bow on the back of her dresses?!

Friday, August 27

truck cards

I took the stamps and finally made them into cards.  They're not anything fancy, but I'm just glad I did something with the stamps.

This is my favorite one.

Thursday, August 26

parkinson's quilt project

My Aunt Nancy {of beautiful ocean quilt fame} and I have been collaborating on something special.  This is my portion.  I actually made two - one to send away to be showcased, and one for my Aunt Marge to keep.
Her photo was printed on fabric you can run through the printer, and then mounted on purple fabric and edged in yellow thread because those are the colors of the university she taught at.  The fabric used for parts of the brain are symbolic of things important to her.

My Aunt Nancy took the square that I made and added a border of prints and signature squares.  She gathered signatures from family & friends, as well as a paw print from her dog.  She then resized and combined the names as needed, printed them on fabric, and added print fabrics in between the names.  When she could she tried to pick special print fabrics that matched up with interests of the people who signed the squares.
Here is the finished quilt square:
{if you're paying close attention you may notice a few little differences.  The one on top was sent to her to keep, the one in the bottom is the one already sent off to the Quilt Project people.  I didn't photograph it myself because I was in such a hurry to get it sent on to my aunt for her to add her part.  Deadlines...ugh.}

My Aunt Nancy wrote this up about her when she submitted it to the PDF Quilt project:
"This quilt square is submitted to honor Marjorie E. Anderson, Ph.D., for her research on the basal ganglia, the portion of the brain which affects movement and is associated with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Anderson was a professor of neurophysiology from 1971-2007 at the University of Washington in Seattle, and her research contributed to the deep brain stimulation procedures now being used to control the tremors often associated with Parkinson’s disease. Ironically, in 2003, Dr. Anderson was also diagnosed with this disease. The signatures of Dr. Anderson’s family, friends, and colleagues surround the center square to pay tribute to her research which benefits all those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and to show their support as she now lives with this disease. The fabrics chosen to represent the brain not only illustrate Dr. Anderson’s history and personal interests, but also are located in the portion of the brain associated with that activity."

If you'd like to learn more about the Parkinson's Quilt Project go to Facebook or their web site.

Wednesday, August 25

a kindergartener's desk

The next big milestone has reached our house - Conner started kindergarten today!!!!  I don't remember who had this idea, but they had their kids write what they wanted to be when they grew up (in their own handwriting) and then write their names.  When he got home, I had him put his nametag on the back, and we wrote down a couple special memories (the name of the book his teacher read, the name of his friend he met at his table, and the snack he ate).  I also traced his hand and measured how tall he was and wrote it down.  It will go in his memory box, and if I'm lucky I'll remember to do this every year.

When he came home, he found something new in his room - his very own desk!!!!  He's been asking for one for a while, and this just seemed like the right time.  After Abby & I got home from dropping him off, I put the desk and chair in his room (that had been hiding in the crawlspace waiting).  I added some of his favorite supplies in the little cubbies - a glue stick, tape, pencil sharpener, eraser, and scissors.  In some plastic jars inside I put pencils, markers, and colored pencils.  I also included a couple different note pads and a "sketch diary" for his creations.  He has been so artistic lately, and I am happy to encourage that as much as I can.
The best part is the story behind the desk - it used to be my Grama's when she was little.  My grandfather refinished it and my mom played at it as a kid.  I also used it as a child after the hinge was fixed.  I am now beyond excited for the desk to get its fourth generation of use!!!

Tuesday, August 24


I planted some sunflower seeds this spring and hoped for the best.  I'd say it worked out pretty well!  We've enjoyed watching the goldfinches and chipmunks play in them!

Conner has been loving the sunflowers so much, that he decided to make some of his own using his new markers.  He added the sticks on the bottom himself.  Some of them were supposed to go to his cousins for their gardens, and some of them have a hole cut in them and they are now sunflower masks.
Next on our list is harvesting the seeds and roasting them!!!!

Monday, August 23

pencil case

Using LiEr's Sew Mama Sew tutorial, I made a pencil case for my preschool-bound niece.  I didn't make my own piping, I just used store-bought white piping.  I also didn't use the interfacing like she suggested, but I think it turned out just right for my niece!

I filled the case up with Crayola twistables, got her a pad of paper, and put it all in her newly personalized backpack.  She's ready for preschool now!  Best wishes, G.

Friday, August 13

playhouse - park

Welcome to the park!

There are animals hiding in the tree - a hand-embroidered squirrel and owl.
They've been stocking up on acorns!

There are lots of leaves for every season, apple blossoms, and apples that have already fallen from the tree.

Be sure to pick a couple flowers while you're there!  They are felt flowers with pipe cleaner stems.  They have felt or bead embellishments on each of them.

Thursday, August 12

playhouse - grocery store

The grocery store is next.
The great part is you could include all sorts of other fun felt foods from a play kitchen.  I realized as I was downloading the pictures that there was a stray orange that is not on the shelf.  Oops :)  The yummy chocolate donut is covered in vanilla frosting and lots of sprinkles (seed beads).
We made a box of mac & cheese and kept it in the grocery cart!

We included a lot of fruit to be weighed in the scale - bananas, apples, oranges, and grapes.

We also made sure to include some refrigerated goods - Orange Juice, Milk and butter.

My only problem is I keep on seeing more great felt food tutorials and I just want to keep filling up the grocery basket!

Wednesday, August 11

playhouse - library

On to the library!!
Take a peek in or out the window!  Then use the letters to write a message on the white book under the window.
The bookshelves are full of good books.  A couple of them were made using glued on felt pieces, and a couple of the books were printed on fabric and sewed on felt.  They each have cardboard insides to help them stay sturdy through lots of useage, and velcro squares on back to stay on the bookshelf. 
What book would you like to check out today?  I'm sure they could be returned in the mail slot!
The fanciest book of all got a little extra special trim.

Tuesday, August 10

playhouse - post office

Next stop - the post office.
This is the side of the playhouse with the entrance.  It is a dark blue felt with a white roll-up door.  There are red ribbons to tie it up.  To the right is a streetlight over a mailbox.  The mailbox opens and closes with a button and elastic closure on top.
There are three hand-embroidered envelopes ready to be mailed.  Although the Velcro on back isn't as important on this item as others, we Velcroed each envelope to be consistent.

Monday, August 9

playhouse - roads

I am declaring this Playhouse Week!!!
My church craft group has been working for a LONG time on a special project for our craft show in November.  Now that it's all done, I'm ready to share it with you.
Because there are so many special parts to share, I'm going to share a different side each day.
There are a few other fabulous, creative women who worked hard to make it what it is - so thank you Patti, Kristina, Nancy, Dagny, Julie and Mary!

The top of the house is the perfect place to begin!
We tried to use parts of our town for inspiration - so we started with the downtown area.  It has a parking garage, river, sidewalk and covered bridge. We made sure to measure parking spots to fit Matchbox cars perfectly.  I could definitely see lots of other little toy animals & people making appearances along the riverfront and in the grassy green park area nearby!

Friday, August 6

growing with eric carle

My kids have spent a lot of time in the church nursery.  One of the nursery workers just had a little baby girl a couple weeks ago.  One of the other nursery workers wanted me to make something special for her using some Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric.  So I got to work brainstorming what to do.
The growth chart was a perfect starting point.  I used a solid yellow for the back & hanging tabs, and used the solid yellow to make the numbers.  Since her daughter's name starts with V, as does her older son, I made two V's with pins on the back to move up as the kids grow.

I used the other panels to make pillows for her.  I used the same yellow backing, and then red piping around the edge of caterpillar.  I used bright yellow piping around the sun panel.

Congrats F on the new baby!  Can't wait to meet her!

Thursday, August 5


I was featured in two different ArtFire collections recently!

My tie covered with playing cards made it into the "Poker Face" collection.  Although I am not really a poker gal - I can appreciate the workmanship in some of the items!  (I'm more of a cribbage player).

My bodysuit with a sock monkey made it into the "Monkey Business" collection.  How cute is the little kid in the monkey hat?!

Thanks for the support.  I feel honored to be amongst such great stuff!

Tuesday, August 3

turquoise trucks

I have a thing for turquoise vintage trucks.  I love them.  Not at all practical for a non-mechanic, suburban mother of two.  But in my dream world, I would live on a farm and drive a turquoise truck into town.  Everybody might be thinking "here comes the crazy crafty lady from the farm just out of town" but I don't care - it's my dream and it seems just right.
Like for example...
{photo from Flickr}
Or this one...
 {photo credit}
This one's pretty much my favorite with the rack on back too!!!
{photo from Flickr}

Ford - Chevy - Dodge - I'm not picky.  I suppose I should say Dodge because that's where my Grandfather worked for many years.  But if someone's planning on fixing up a turquoise truck for me - I'm not picky about what kind it is!  I want one of those big white skinny steering wheels, and I'll even re-learn how to drive stick if I have to.  Just pretty please, let's add in some AC and an iPod hookup?

My sister-in-law had a Stampin' Up party, and when I saw the truck set, I just had to get it!  It comes with all sorts of things to put in the back of the truck, and different sayings to use when making a card.  You can see I was playing around with what I should haul.  I did make a purple truck for my Halloween pumpkin truck.  I think turquoise trucks are more fun, I just knew that I had a bunch of purple and orange Halloween papers to use with it.

I stamped it with the "seaglass" Color Box ink, embossed it with clear powder, added some "cerulean" Color Box ink flowers, and then used my Crayola twistables to color it in.  I need to pay a little better attention to spacing - I wish the flowers and hearts were a little closer to the truck bed.  In my defense, they were the first two I did.

These apples were actually from another Stampin' Up set and are made to go in a basket.  I love apples though, and in my dream farm I'm sure there would be apple trees!
One of the stamps is a girl and one is a boy so you can make drivers for your truck.  Now that I'm typing this up, I kind of think it'd be funny to do one with me driving and the kids in the back.  Ha.
Other options (in my stamp sets) for the truck - balls of yarn, Easter eggs, presents, puppies, ornaments, and furniture for moving.  I think this will be tons of fun!

What's your favorite color for a pick-up truck?  What would you haul into town?  (and do you think I'll ever actually make these into cards?)

Sunday, August 1

happy birthday - and a deck re-vamp

Happy Birthday to my HOT husband.  {No, seriously - it gets above 72 and he's sweating.  So, basically all summer in Illinois!}

He's been busy this past week working on re-vamping our deck.  It's been just a pretty useless skinny weird deck.  We kept the hammock on it, but I never felt like I could sit on the hammock while the kids played because there are bushes around the edge of the deck, and it's up kind of high.
We also had a birthday/get-the-friends-and-family-together party planned for Saturday night, so we decided it was time to make some changes.  We started by expanding the top railing from being a 5/4x6 decking board into a double wide 2x6 "bar".  We (and I really do mean we - I helped!) shimmed, screwed, leveled and maneuvered those boards into submission.  It's a beautiful serving counter for a party, and when we get some stools (eventually) it will be a perfect place to sit and eat.
Then we cut down one of the bushes and cut out part of the railing and added a second set of stairs.
Just so you get a little better understanding - our house is a split level, and the deck is off an "extra" room that was added to the back of the split level before we bought it.  The doors from the back room are on the left side, and there are steps to a concrete patio.  However, now you can turn left when you exit the house, go around the corner and down the brand new stairs!
{Once again, I do mean we.  I trimmed the bush, he got out the chainsaw.  That's when the first picture was taken.  Then I measured the stringers, he screwed and bolted parts of it.  We even got Conner in on the fun of using the air ratchet a couple times, and he used a mallet to get some of the bolts in.  So, it really was a family effort.  Shawn did most of the heavy duty stuff though and worked some late nights covered in bug spray.  He was working his tail off for his birthday!}
We made sure to include a lower railing for the kids, and we hung some rope light all the way around the deck under the bar and down the stairs.
On party day I hung the bunting & the star.  The star will stay outside, the bunting's getting saved for our next picnic.  I used denim & novelty fabrics, my wavy rotary cutter, and yellow ribbon.  Quick and easy!  {some of the novelty fabrics - watermelon, cherries, fried chicken, fruit punch, and strawberries - all stuff from my stash}
We had a great party - 40+ people grilled out, ate each other's potluck dishes, made Smores, and had fun pushing each other's kids on the swings.  We can't wait to do it again next year!!!