Monthly Archives: October 2012

Warm Heart, Warm Hands

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Here’s a little project I made for someone special to keep her hands warm on the way to work while getting a *hug* from the two loves of her life. Filled with rice, just pop them in the microwave for a minute or so and put them in your pockets. Please visit Trixie’s Blog for a tutorial . . . thank you for the inspiration, Trixie! ♥

How Cute Are These???

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I met my super-crafty, super-sweet, and super-pretty daughter-in-law Shannon for coffee, and look what she made for me!  Tiny easels with paint and ribbon a-la-mode and tiny art canvases with paint and paper decoupage (and tiny spools for Frankenstein!) for my Halloween decor!  I LOVE them!  THANK YOU, Shannon! ♥  P.S. Click here to see an example of Shannon’s mixed media “She Art.”

Craft Schmaft!

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I am SOOOOOOOO lucky . . . I won the recent balloon mobile kit giveaway by craftschmaft! (Here is her Facebook page, and here is her store.)

I can’t WAIT to start on it!

BUT . . . I have a ton of writing and editing deadlines right now, so it will have to remain on my to-do list until the perfect time arrives.

So, thank you, Claire, and I’ll look forward to writing a fun post about my project as soon as I finish it!♥

Meeting a Blogger For Real!

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I follow the Empty Nest Feathers blog and really fell for this blogger. We have so much in common! All sons . . . check!  Writers and editors . . . check!  Play the piano . . . check!  And on and on and on! Since we live less than an hour apart, I thought it would be fun to meet in person. So I emailed her and we met for coffee (two regular coffees with cream), talked for an hour and a half (it seemed like five minutes), walked to our cars (the same color), and parted ways with a hug. If you ever get a chance to meet one of your blogging friends in real life—go for it! ♥  P.S. Here is the funny blog post my new friend wrote about our meeting. (She’s WAY wittier than I am! But, for the record, my red hair is from Clairol too, I’m NOT mrhmpher narrower, and she’s most definitely not evil!)  Oh, and to see what’s in the package, click here and here and here!

BOO and Buttons, Tricks and Treats

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Welcome to the Pillows A-La-Mode contribution to Collectively Creative! For my project, I made two pillows (what a surprise, right? :) ) for some Halloween-lovin’ sweeties I know. ♥

(1) The large pillow has a jack-o-lantern print on the “Trick . . .” side (a gift from a friend!) and *sparkly* cupcake and candy print from Jo-Ann on the “or treat!” side. The letters are orange felt handstitched with black embroidery floss.

(2) The small pillow has the cupcake/candy print on the front and “BOO” fabric (also a gift from a friend) on the back. For a-la-mode, I marked the center of the front and back (after stitching and stuffing), double-threaded a L-O-N-G needle with orange floss, stacked three buttons, went down through the left buttonholes to the back and up through the right buttonholes, pulled the floss tight to create a valley, and tied. (Click on photo for a larger view).

Oh, and before I go on . . . you MUST click here and here for two more fab Halloween pillows from Punky Purls and here for a fun burlap version from House of 34. I love them all!

NOW . . . DRUM ROLL . . . here are EIGHT . . . yes EIGHT!!! . . . more Collectively Creative posts with amazing Halloween tricks n’ treats for you to try. Please take a moment to visit each one . . . you’ll be glad you did! ♥

PumpkinFest Pillows!

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Here are the pillows I’m ready to pack up for the silent auction at the PumpkinFest at my church. All the proceeds will go to the youth groups’ summer mission trips, so I hope lots of pillow lovers come! ♥

“Start Where You Are . . .”

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Recently I’ve been pondering an intriguing quote I read on Bows, Baubles, and Beliefs, so I decided to make something with it!  I cut the letters for the saying in not-perfect rectangles from a remnant of black and white alphabet print I’ve used for a few pillows and glued them onto the squares of some gingham a friend gave me–a bit of “randomness on order.”  I ran into a little glitch when I discovered that the fabric has no r’s . . . but I took the quote’s advice to “use what you have” and turned some n’s into r’s with a black sharpie, so all is well. ♥   I finished the project the same way I made my fabric memo boards (here and here), by covering a piece of cardboard with quilt batting and then stretching the fabric over it and stitching it together at the back. Finally, I added my biggest black button for a-la-mode. Will it hang on my office wall? Or become a gift? Time will tell! ♥  P.S. THANK YOU to SownInPeace for helping me track down the author of this quote. The original version was “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  (Teddy Roosevelt)

Chanel A-La-Mode

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My mom-in-law LOVES Chanel face powder . . . and I love it when she gives me the little black drawstring bags it comes in! Of course you can leave the famous brand name on the front, but where’s the fun in that? :) Instead, I like to cover the label with a teeny remnant. This bit of green fabric with embroidered flowers was perfect (does it look familiar? ♥), and I added some colorful “reverse blanket stitch” on the edge for extra a-la-mode. Now it’s ready for its new life as a pretty jewelry pouch . . . or even a wristlet. ♥

Still MORE Coffee Cup Recipes!

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Mmmm . . . my favorite quick breakfast!  A few months ago I posted this Microwave Coffee Cup Scramble and 3,2,1 Cake in Not Just a Coffee Cup.  Later, I shared a few other mini-serving ideas in More Coffee Cup Recipes.  Here are some new ones I’ve been collecting from other bloggers. Someday I want to try them all!  But . . . (DESSERT ALERT! :) ) . . . if your current “chic chick” resolution is losing a few pounds (mine is!) you might want to bookmark this post for later! ♥

Lunch with Friends

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A common recent lunch-with-friends topic is how to know when it’s time to make a change—any kind of change. Most of us comment that we’re extra content with our lives right now, but we remember some of the big, sometimes scary changes we’ve made in the past and know that we may have to make new ones someday, too. Although a big part of the conversation is about prayer, we also marvel at the way inspiring quotes or words from songs and poems—whether funny or serious—often come our way just when we need them. I love this “chic chick” question (it’s on a pillow!), and another friend shared a “chapter” quote she keeps on her bulletin board. Here they are . . . just in case this is a bit of the inspiration YOU need today. ♥

Red, Green, and Orange

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All three of the leafy placemat tote bags I made last spring have finally found a niche.  I shared the red one a few days ago—it’s hanging on the wall in the dining room filled with dried eucalyptus branches.  The green one is now on the coat/umbrella rack by our front door filled with pretty scarves and gloves to grab on the way out.  And the orange one . . . well, it’s the perfect autumn running-around tote . . .  for now . . .  ♥

Inspiration!

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As you know, I’ve been having tons of fun with my “What Can You Make With A . . .” series (see page in header), so I MUST share who inspired me to offer a “makeover” for my one year blog anniversary prize! Following one of my posts, I had the following comment conversation with my blogging friend Laura of As Time Goes . . . Buy:

Laura:  Okay, that’s it. I can’t take it anymore. Either you are going to have to adopt me or I am sending you all my old clothes so you can turn them in to cool new things. Of course you’ll have to send the new things back to me. :)

Me: Actually, now I want to do that!!! Because you have such a beautiful wardrobe, I can only imagine what fun I’d have! :) Send me an item you no longer wear . . . and I’ll work my magic and mail it back to you, and we can both blog about it. Okay??? :)

Laura: Seriously?! That is so cool! Now I will be up all night thinking about what I can send…but I have a thought. I’ll email you tomorrow. I’m soooo excited!! :D

Me: Yay!!! Can’t wait! :)

So, I thought if Laura would think this was fun, maybe someone else would, too. Thank you, Laura! And check out the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G jacket Laura sent (and click on the photo to see the beautiful embroidery!) . . . all the way from Australia to Kansas, USA! I’ll be posting on it sometime in November . . . stay tuned! ♥

What can you make with a sundress?

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For my one year blog anniversary, I invited you to nominate people you’ve met through the blogging world whom you would like to have as next-door neighbors . . . and to tell why. It was SO heartwarming to read the lovely comments that came in from all around the world! The blogger with the MOST nominations was then invited to send me a once-loved garment to remake into some fun treasures (a-la “What can you make with a flannel shirt?,” “What can you make with a lace tank?,” and “What can you make with a polo shirt?“) and return. The winner was Kelly of  Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons!  Kelly said, “After the shock wore off I ran to my closet to decide what I was going to send.  I chose a little sundress that has a lot of happy memories attached to it, but now that I’m a mama seems a little, well…SHORT.  I know that I will never wear it again, so I am very excited to send it off!”  So . . .today is the big reveal! In addition, this project will have a permanent home on the “What Can You Make With A . . .” page on my header.

  • I couldn’t resist using the bottom of the sundress with its lacy underskirt for another dress . . . this time for Kelly’s adorable daughter Annabelle! A bright pink T-shirt from Target made the perfect top. (Click here and here for more little girl’s T-shirt dress ideas.)
  • The zippered back of the sundress was perfect for the back of a pillow cover, and I added the pretty label and butterfly that I snipped from the inside neckline. The pillow front is a combination of dress fabric, T-shirt fabric, a vintage hanky, pale pink lace, and lime-green embroidery.
  • The bodice of the sundress is now a jewelry pouch! The ribbons form the casings, and the dress straps are the strings. The lining of the pouch is made from the dress lining for a soft, shiny finish.
  • With seven circles of fabric, three stacked buttons, and a bit more of the lace from the bottom of the sundress, I made a fabric flower to pin onto a jacket, hat, or headband.
  • A small rectangle of dress fabric and T-shirt fabric along with a bit of green dotted fabric and some buttons and ribbon were just the right ingredients for a Christmas mini-pillow ornament.
  • While pondering Kelly’s blog name, I thought of embroidering three C’s onto a bit of fabric and framing it. Suddenly I thought, “Hmm . . . if the Scrabble letter C is worth 3 points, I could use that instead.” I ran to look it up, and . . . it is! I KNOW Kelly didn’t choose “Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons” based on this fact . . . but I was excited! :) After several experiments, I ended up with a collage of dress fabric, T-shirt fabric, lace, scrapbook paper, and a paper Scrabble tile in a hot pink frame. (The back of the frame is also magnetized for a frig or file cabinet.)
  • Finally, I was down to a small pile of random scraps. Not ready to give up quite yet, I decoupaged them onto a plastic bangle bracelet. :)

Done! Kelly . . . your package is in the mail!  ♥

Owl Treat Bags

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My crafty friend Debbie gave me a fun gift. . . a sample of her new Halloween treat bag! Isn’t he cute??? Mine is filled with paper to use as a decoration, and he looks right at home beside my bowl of giant fabric candy corn! I’m going to try my best to make some for our trick-or-treaters this year. Thank you, Debbie! ♥  P.S. If you love owls, remember that you can get a free David Bromstad owl art print by following the link you’ll find here!

New Books!

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This isn’t my usual sewing or crafting post, but my “real” job is writing education materials for students, teachers, and parents, and . . . my newest books are out!  These 14 books are part of a 60-title Classic Tales series consisting of retellings of short stories, folktales, fairy tales, pourquoi tales, myths, legends, and fables for kindergarten through second-grade readers.  Didn’t the artists do a fabulous job on the covers???  (My earlier books are at www.edwriter.com—click on the BOOKS link and then use the pull-down menu to select “Books for Students” or “Books for Teachers.”) Most of my assignments involve writing or editing teacher’s guides and language arts lessons, prototyping new products, and other non-book tasks, but they’re ALL challenging and fun.  Thank you for letting me share a bit about my other creative ventures today! ♥

Autumn Mantel

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Thank you to all my blogging friends for the lovely mantel inspiration the past few weeks! Besides the bunting from my last post, I especially loved the concept of using books with seasonally-colored covers (Daisey Jayne) and mini pumpkins on candlesticks (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons). I also added some dried polished gourds, a painted wood “Count Your Blessings” knick-knack I found at a craft show,  and my Scrabble tile pillows to emphasize the idea of snuggling in at home as the weather cools. Now. . . bring on the autumn houseguests! ♥

Reversible Autumn Bunting

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When I saw the gorgeous mantel designed by Mrs. Hines’ Class, I decided I MUST add some bunting to my autumn decor this year.  I used up most of my fallish remnants making my fabric-tie wreath, but I DID have a reversible quilted placemat in just the right colors that hadn’t found its way into a project yet.  I snipped it into triangles, zigzagged all the edges, then connected the tops with a strip of green fabric from my stash. I can’t wait to add it to the mantel! ♥

T-Shirt Drawer!

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My To-Do list has had “clean closet and dresser” on it for WEEKS, but I never seemed to find a couple of free hours to cross this one off. Then Kelly at Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons came to my rescue with her “Clutter-Buster Boot Camp”, the perfect solution to helping me solve my problem one small step at a time. Last Friday’s assignment was the T-shirt drawer. I’ve never HAD a T-shirt drawer before, but I do now! Can’t wait for the next project! And it’s not to late to play along, so come join the fun! ♥

Autumn Leaf Pillow

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I LOVE this fabric from Jo-Ann! I used some strips for my fabric-tie fall wreath, a small piece for a mat for my upcycled fan cover tray, and a big piece for this autumn pillow.  For a-la-mode, I marked the center of the front and back (after stitching and stuffing), double-threaded a L-O-N-G needle with orange floss, stacked three buttons, went down through the left buttonholes to the back and up through the right buttonholes, pulled the floss tight to create a valley, and tied. I love using this technique on pillows to add an extra bit of visual interest and texture! (Click photo for larger view.) The finished pillow is 18 x 18 inches and will go to the silent auction at the Pumpkinfest at my church later this month. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy seeing it on the wooden rocker in my living room.  ♥