Monday, November 29, 2010

My List of Things to Do This Month

How does that old saying go - something about it's always feast or famine. I went a few weeks without being in too much of a crafting mood - and now I have a list of projects a mile long. And I'm trying to be disciplined to hold off on using all my free time to craft so that I can continue on my de-junking binge. I still have my pantry, the craft room/office, and the storage room to go. It feels sooooo good to de-junk! But crafts are calling my name!
Here are a few of the things on my list for this month. Some are just for me and others are gifts. This is a new project I ordered that should be arriving this week. I can't wait for this one!

This is a project that I started a very, very long time ago. Here's a hint - until last year, it had been about 15 years since we put up a Christmas tree (just keeping life simple - not a formal protest of Christmas). Now with little ones around, we gave in last year and loved every minute of having a tree in the house. Without a Christmas tree, I haven't needed to finish this craft - but now it will come in very handy. Can't wait to finish this one up!This fabric is for a new project pattern I bought. I'm hoping to get to it this year.

These are something I do every year for family gifts. I've probably waited too long to get started on these. I hope I can find the time!

And these items are some of my all time favorites. I'll post more about these later. But we have some good ideas for gifts using new versions of these items. I need more time in every day! These are for a project I saw on a blog a few months back. I finally found the paper that I wanted to use for this one. Now I just need about 2 hours to put it all together.A simple - about 20 minute - project. It's been on my sewing table all pinned and ready to go for a few months and I forgot all about it. This will make a great present for one of my boys.And finally - this one will probably have to wait until January - but I have so many new ideas floating around in my brain for this ongoing project. I'll definitely post more about this one after the holidays are over.

I'll post about each project as I finish it - now I'm off to do a textbook review that is due tomorrow. Better put my reading glasses on!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Kids Crafts

My kids are ALWAYS looking for a craft/art project to do. I found a couple of cute ideas that were big hits for craft time this week.

First up - the tried and true construction paper Indian Corn. Super easy - cut out a corn cob. Glue little squares of construction paper all over it. Glue on some "stalks" or "silks" to the top (I'm not sure what to call those things). And you're done.
Then - over at Skip to my Lou I found a cute idea for Thanksgiving Finger Puppets. We whipped these turkeys up on Thanksgiving day and gobbles were heard all over the house.

Simple ideas, I know, but definitely good ones!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Loving the 2x4's

What is wrong with me this year? My annual goal is to pretty much be done with all my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. Ask me what I've accomplished this year - - - zero, zilch, nada! Ok, I pick up stuff for my boys all year long when I find good sales - then I stash it away and hope that I remember that I have it. But that's it! Really. I usually make some handmade gifts along the way too and have those ready to go for Christmas gifts - but again, this year, nothing. I've wandered down to my craft room a few times in the last few days and searched around for a project that calls to me. Once again - nothing.
However - just so I don't feel too badly about myself, I have been crafting with my boys this week -some really fun Thanksgiving kids crafts. I'll post those in the next few days when we put the finishing touches on them.
So, as usual, when I get busy . . . or lazy . . . I do a little blog stalking and look at other people's great ideas. So I present for my viewing pleasure . . . crafty things I liked this week.
First up - there's something about 2 by 4's. There are some talented crafters out there that can take a piece (pieces) of wood and turn them in to the simplest, yet cutest crafts. Take for example this 2x4 Turkey - just in time for Thanksgiving. Craft Goodies posted its tutorial over at Ucreate.
Next I stalked across a new favorite craft blogger - Under My Umbrella. Talk about taking 2x4's to a new level. Here is her 2x4 Snowman. Easy and yet so fun.UMU's 2x4 Christmas Tree was the first of her projects that caught my eye. She has a couple of different versions of this tree all using the same wood pieces. This tree is my personal favorite.Then she came up with this 2x4 Santa. Love him!And if 2x4's aren't the easiest crafts you can undertake - how about this absolutely adorable Rock Snowman at Not Just a Housewife. I know 2 little boys who are going to love this one as a craft project in the next few weeks.
Now - I'm off to clean house and cook Thanksgiving Dinner with all our favorites. Oh - and I will try to stay warm in the "Blizzard of 2010". And - - I have a few craft projects floating around my brain that are beginning to call to me. Let's see how motivated I get.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"K" Taggie

Alright - I took my own challenge and decided to find some scrap fabric from my very large stash to make this next part of the baby girl shower gift. I knew that I had this soft brown cuddle fabric but didn't think I had any matching girl-themed flannel. Lo and behold, I little digging and I found this pink/brown cheetah print flannel - perfect. I did have to grab some ribbon - that is one thing I don't use very often.
I followed Blue Cricket Design's tutorial on monogram taggies using the letter K for the new baby's name. At first I think I way overdid it on the ribbons, but after looking at it for awhile and looking at the sample Becca made, I unpinned a few and ended up with this. I'm very happy with it - - although I must say that the letter K is a pretty floppy letter!
I'll definitely be making more of these in the future. I personally checked the quality of "the rub" on each ribbon before I bought it to add. I loved rubbing ribbon/silk borders on soft blankets together when I was younger . . . . still do!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another Baby Blanket

Everyone I know is having girls. So another little girl themed baby shower requires a new baby blanket. I haven't had much time lately, so I cheated on this one. I know it looks like I took a ton of time to piece the top together with coordinated 3 inch squares. But, in fact, this was a pre-pieced top that I picked up at Joann's Fabric with a matching piece of soft flannel for the back. The white fuzzy squares are as soft as they look. Save those coupons from the newspaper or their flyers - this fabric was very expensive, but a 50% off coupon makes it much more reasonable.Super easy sewing - you know the drill. Right sides together, sew around the edges leaving a 4" opening on one side for turning. Top stitch close to the edges all the way around (which sews closed the opening). I also cheated and instead of taking time to tie this quilt, I did some quick zig zag tacking stitches every so often at the corners of some of the blocks to keep the top and bottom pieces together through many washings. And bada bing, bada boom - a cute gift.
I hope to add another new handmade item to this one for the shower. It, of course, requires a trip to the fabric store - darn. I've been thinking about why I have so many scraps of fabric. This is why! I need to learn to use up my scraps!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Needle Crafts

Way back, a very long time ago, when I was in college, a friend of mine showed me how to cross stitch. I loved it. It was simple. I could take it with me. And it was a quick project that produced results in a timely fashion. This was my very first project. I was way into decorating with cows - that tells you how long ago that was!
This was the next cross stitch project I tackled. Unfortunately, the one thing she didn't tell me was that they made special needles for cross stitching that are blunt on the tip instead of pointed and sharp. There was enough blood from needle pricks dripped on this one that you can still see the drops today. Then when my first son was born, a friend that I worked with made this cute little project for me. I love this designer. I have quite a few of her patterns - Mac A Doodles. This one hangs in son #1's room.So, of course, when son #2 was born, he had to have one as well. I changed the colors up a bit so it wouldn't be exactly like big brother's - although you can't see it much from these pictures. His also hangs in his room.
And this was a pattern I bought a while ago. I really liked the flower box and border but didn't like the words they had with it. I thought and thought and thought about what I wanted to say with this and finally came up with something that I try to live by . . . Stop and smell the flowers. I try very hard to enjoy the journey of life. This now hangs in my bathroom so I can see it every day and be reminded to enjoy the little things in life!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's a Holiday Without a Dishtowel?

Well, it's official . . . I'm addicted. If you remember the super cute witch dishtowels I found at Flamingo Toes not too long ago . . . well she had the same idea I did to make some for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here is my version of each. I haven't decided if I'm giving any of these out for gifts but my stove is now adorned with the turkey feet . . . and the Santa boots are anxiously awaiting their turn at the end of the month. So darn cute . . .

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Yet another bag - - for a new toy!

I've been lucky enough to receive some surprise packages in the mail lately. In addition, I was selected to be part of a technology grant at my work and got another surprise put in my hands as part of that project. I am definitely a technology girl! I love new technology and don't know how I survived without an electronic planner, computer, smart phone (yes I carry around 2 smart phones . . . . crazy, I know), and email. But I'm not a person that runs right out and drops a chunk of change on the newest toys. I am usually content to wait a little for just the right deal on a tried and true great technology find.

So how excited was I last week when I went to a training at work and got a new iPad dropped in to my lap along with an iTunes gift card to start putting apps on it. It only took about 15 minutes before I had used up the gift card and was using my own money. I have many more apps to buy, I just need more time in my days.
Then the mailman rang my doorbell on Saturday with a box from Amazon. I wasn't quite sure what it was when I opened it . . . but I quickly discovered this new LITTLE (and "little" is definitely the operative word here!) treasure - a new pocket projector. This thing is amazing! It projects up to a 70 inch image and weighs literally only ounces. Its lamp life is over 20,000 hours. See the quarter I put on it so you get a feel for how small it really is! It was a thank you gift for something I had been working on for a long time.
And again, on Monday, when I arrived home from work, there was yet another box from Amazon on my front porch . . . A new generation Kindle from my incredibly nice (and only) sister as an early birthday present. I haven't had much time to play with it yet, but I'm excited to make the switch to e-books! Well of course the Kindle had to have it's own cool apple green leather cover. And the iPad came with a cover. But my little projector and all its cords needed just a little something to call home . . . so I fell back to my favorite gathered clutch pattern from Noodlehead and just increased the size slightly to hold everything. Who doesn't love brown these days? It's the new black!

Sadly I'm pretty sure the mailman is done ringing my doorbell for awhile. Ok - that means time to learn how to effectively use all this cool stuff!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gratitude Tree Advent Calendar

I love finding good ideas from people that don't mind sharing those ideas. Alison over at Oopsey Daisy created this wonderful Gratitude Tree Advent Calendar for November and she even included a download of the leaves for the magnets. Of course, since it was so cute, I had to jump right on it and make one just for my little family. Here is my version:
I hadn't used bottle caps before, nor a magnet board for that matter. A fun (but always overwhelming . . . I am a digital scrapbooker) trip to a local scrapbooking store got me all stocked up. I couldn't find the little resin bubble drops anywhere and used Alison's hint about ordering them on Etsy from Sun and Moon Crafts. They arrived in the mail this afternoon and the rest is history.

We're catching up on 4 days worth of things that we are thankful for and my boys are very excited to put the rest of the leaves on the tree throughout the month.

And for the record, I am grateful for my family, my friends, and the freedoms I enjoy. Now bring on the turkey!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I LOVE Pearls

I love pearls - I always have. Pearls were the first piece of jewelry I ever bought myself while on a trip to Hawaii when I was in high school and I haven't stopped. I have my grandmother's pearls which I wore at my wedding. I have single pearls, pearl strands, long pearls, and short pearls. I have a variety of colors of pearl earrings, rings, bracelets, and necklaces. It's actually a bit obsessive (ok - what isn't obsessive about me?). My husband has surprised me with a variety of pearl jewelry the last few Christmas'.

So when I was in China this summer, I "had to" take advantage of the pearls readily available there. I added these beauties to my collection. I've always wanted a set of brown pearls (the picture makes them look black but they really are a beautiful shade of brown) alternated with white so I had a necklace and bracelet custom strung. I also had this set of large set dyed shells (which look enough like real pearls for my taste) strung into a necklace and bracelet. I have loved them! At the same pearl market, I also had some brown pearls strung for a friend of mine along with a strand of white/gray pearls for another friend. I cried a little inside when I gave the gray ones away. Then a few weeks ago at a local gem/bead faire that I frequent from time to time, I saw these strands of dyed shells similar to the ones I got in China and I just had to buy them. While I'm not nearly as talented as the ladies in China at hand-knotting the pearls, I can string them and put a clasp on. So now I have a strand of large gray/white/black and a strand of white/green with a matching bracelet. Yet another LOVE THEM moment in my life. I've promised myself that the next time I go to China, I'll spend the money on some Tahitian pearls of some sort - definitely a must have down the road.