Category Archives: Family

Happy 4th of July!

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My niece Amanda made this clothespin wreath . . . isn’t it festive? Here are some of her tips:

I bought 100 clothespins at Target and painted them with acrylic paint I already had. I like to paint, so it was fun for me, but it would be easier/faster with spray paint. Then I got a wire wreath and a bag of little wooden stars at Jo-Ann using a 40% off coupon and put it together! The clothespins just clip on and I used hot glue to attach the stars. I made sure that there were 7 red and 6 white “stripes.” (My Pinterest inspiration photo didn’t do that and it was driving me crazy!)  I love it and it goes great with my blue front door. 

Total cost? Eight dollars! Thank you for letting me share your fun project, Amanda! And happy holiday to all my U.S.A. blog friends. ♥  P.S. Click here to see the apron Amanda and I sewed together last summer!

Clothespin Wreath

Hostess Gifts

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Cookie CanWhat’s inside these upcycled scrapbook paper/washi tape/twine wrapped potato chip cans? Cookies! We received some lovely invitations for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, so I made treats for hostess gifts. Here is a recipe my sons LOVED when they were little that’s no-fail and easy to transport. Enjoy, and I wish you a happy time of remembrance with your family and friends. ♥

RANGER CRISPIES

1/2 cup + 1/3 cup butter

1 cup each sugar and brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon each baking powder, soda, salt, and vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

3 cups crisp rice cereal

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Stir in cereal. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Let stand one minute before removing from pan. Makes five dozen.

Mommy/Grandmother Vase

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Are you looking for a fun, quick, and easy gift for a mom or grandma you love? Last summer I made a grandmother vase for a dear friend . . . a tiny bottle, corked when not in use, with charm a-la-mode in which to display a flower (or dandelion!) lovingly picked by a small child . . . or a pretty leaf he or she discovers . . . or a found feather. . . These sweet little bottles are readily available at craft stores, as are bags of charms—plus these stores often have great coupons. However, I was lucky enough to snag the 5-inch wooden-stoppered bottles below at a craft garage sale! With a good washing, a coat of paint on top, and charms around the necks, they’re all ready to go. Simply remove the stopper, fill part way with water, and add a flower. Happy Mother’s Day! ♥ Bottles

Crazy Quilt Pillow

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My sister took a crazy quilt class and made this fun block. I love the fabrics she chose and all the dashing embroidery stitches she added for a-la-mode. Then she gave it to me to make a pillow! I used a square of black and white striped fabric from my stash for the back. Thank you, Susan! ♥

CrazyQuiltPillow

Dresser Restyle

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On a recent visit to our Georgia family, we got to enjoy this beautiful dresser in our guest room. Mary Ann restyled a hand-me-down with two colors of paint and a different pair of silvery knobs on each drawer. I can’t wait to try this at home! ♥

FrontSide

Veggies!

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Our lovely daughter-in-law Mary Ann is a registered dietician turned physician’s assistant and sports a fun “Periodic Table of the Vegetables” poster in her kitchen. On a trip to Jo-Ann to buy a foam cushion for the toy box bench, I spotted this “Farmer’s Market” fabric—perfect for a decorative cushion for the kitchen window seat. The cat promptly nestled beside it for a nap . . . and Mary Ann loves it, too! ♥ Veggie Pillow

New Home Pillows

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Our Georgia family recently moved and needed some new pillow décor. First, we made a bench seat cushion for baby Josh’s toy box (handmade by his Uncle Jeff!). Josh’s room is morphing into a travel theme—don’t you just LOVE this map fabric his mommy picked out? We had enough for a square pillow to pose on the rocking chair, too. Then we made some floral and solid-with-button-a-la-mode pillows for the purple sofa in the living room. Mary Ann purchased the fabrics at Curtain Call in Augusta, Georgia. ♥  P.S. Now I want a purple sofa!

BenchPurple

 

Nook Tote Bag

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On a recent visit, our eight-year-old granddaughter Miranda and I raided her mom’s fabric stash and put our heads together to design and sew a tote for her Nook e-reader—a colorful, lined bag with shoulder length handles and shabby chic roses for a-la-mode. What a fun project with a fun sewing buddy! ♥

Nook Bag

Tyler’s Tooth Fairy Pillow

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I love to make tooth fairy pillows from well-loved baby or toddler clothes! To transform the Disney World hoodie that Tyler chose, I simply cut it into a square, embroidered a tooth on one pocket and a dollar sign on the other, and stitched and stuffed. So easy! Now he’s eagerly waiting for that first loose tooth! ♥  P.S. Click here for another hoodie tooth fairy pillow and here and here for two more designs.

Tyler'sToothFairyPillow

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

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Dave requested a sour cream chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day this year, and I found just the one on Taste of Home. Since the recipe is for a layer cake, I used my heart-shaped pans. It’s a keeper! ♥

Chocolate Cake

Happy Hearts!

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Do you have hearts all over your home these days? My favorite new display is the clay heart my granddaughter Ally made, my collection of heart necklaces, and the beautiful mixed-media canvas Shannon of Shantilly made for my birthday. From my heart to yours . . . have a happy Valentine’s Day! ♥

MixedMediaValentine

Toy Car Wallet

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1For Tyler-the-matchbox-car-lovin’-kid’s birthday, I stitched up a car wallet . . . plus (surprise! surprise!) a pillow with the leftover fabric. I read TONS of tutorials for the wallet and ended up using bits of several of them. My version has four pockets, a road, a Velcro closure, an elastic band (aka stretchy headband cut to size) to hold it all together, and the birthday boy’s initials embroidered on the front. Here are my favorite links in case you’d like to make one for a small person you love! ♥

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Birthday Party!

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It’s birthday party time again in our family! Five-year-old Tyler chose Disney Planes for the theme. I had fun searching out a yard of DP fabric (found it on ebay and got it in two days!) to use for bunting and then sewing a big pile of red goodie bags for Tyler to fill with treasures and send home with his friends. Now for some cake and ice cream! ♥

Bunting and Bags

Pretty Cornbread Salad

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Cornbread Salad

CORNBREAD SALAD

  • 1 package cornbread mix prepared, cooled, and crumbled
  • 1 can pork and beans
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 15 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 packet ranch dip mix

DIRECTIONS: Layer all but the last three ingredients in a clear glass bowl. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, and ranch dip together and spread over the top. Garnish with green onions, bacon bits, or cheese. Chill and serve. ♥

A Fun Project for a Fun Bloggy Friend!

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This Christmas I had the opportunity to help Darilyn of Thehighnotedotnet surprise her brother-in-law with a Kansas State University guy apron to wear while serving as the family chef. (See the tutorial tutorial here at The Purl Bee.) She was sweet enough to write a lovely blog post about it, complete with photos, that truly put a smile on my face. If you haven’t had a chance to visit Darilyn’s blog, please check out her creative projects! She also has a My Fave DIY’s page and an Etsy shop specializing in items made with vintage sheet music, like these paper Christmas trees that I used while making my snowflake garland last winter. Thank you, Darilyn! ♥

K-State Apron

Her Team, His Team

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Once upon a time, a Pennsylvania girl married a Kansas boy . . . and now they’re living happily ever after in Georgia. But they still need their own aprons!

  • You’ve seen my girly apron before . . . here, here, here, and here. (The last link has info about the original pattern and tutorial.)
  • I found the manly barbecue apron tutorial here at The Purl Bee. It was super easy and fun to make, too.

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Mr. Men and Little Miss Books

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When my boys were little, they loved Mr. Men books. My first-graders loved them, too. Now my grandchildren love them! The stories are odd and quaint and preachy, but the characters are totally loveable . . . and we can all relate to their funny foibles. After Mr. Men Books became so popular, the author/illustrator Roger Hargreaves also started writing Little Miss books. Imagine how excited I was to find Mr. Men fabric at Fabric.com! I ordered a yard to make a drawstring gift bag for a set of Little Miss books for an upcoming birthday girl (there’s even a birthday book in the set!) and had enough for a pillow, too. Oh, and this drawstring bag was so much fun! I’ve made dozens of these bags in my life, but never with this super-cool design by Jona of Stop Staring & Start Sewing. Thank you, Jona! ♥

BooksBag and Pillow

Give Thanks

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In my Sleepover! post I told you about Shantilly, a new crafty business launched by my daughter-in-law Shannon and her sweet mom and sister. Their popular handmade items include different sizes and colors of chicken-wire frames to use for memo boards.  (My friend Karen bought one for each of her nieces for Christmas!) With mine, I made a new wall decoration for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. The letters are snipped from a remnant of the burlap I used for my mini-screen bag, the teeny wooden clothespins are left over from my t-shirt garland kit, and for a-la-mode I pinned on one of my fabric flower brooches. I just love it, and the best part is that I can update and reuse it for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and more! Thank you, Shantilly! ♥

Give Thanks

Sleepover!

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Did you love sleepovers when you were a little girl? They were my favorite! Last weekend some fun girls in my family drove in for a “Crafty Cousins Slumber Party.”  We went out to eat, chatted, crafted, slept, ate breakfast casserole and cinnamon roll-ups, went to a big craft show (where my lovely daughter-in-law Shannon launched Shantilly!), and ended with lunch out with my dad. We made fabric flower brooches, Christmas cards (thanks Margo!) and earrings (thanks Karen!). If you heard laughter floating through the air Saturday night, now you know why. ♥

Treasures

Superheroes in Tutus for Real!

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A couple of weeks ago I showed you the tutus and tops I made for Ally and Kira, and you made me promise to post a photo of them in costume. Here they are with their mom! (I have many amazing daughters-in-law, including Catwoman!) Click here for a link to the tutututorial. ♥

Girls

Cookie Cutter Hostess Gift

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Do you need a hostess gift idea? Does your hostess love to bake?

1. Stitch a simple drawstring bag.

2. Embroider the word “Cookies” on one side.

3. Fill it with fun or seasonal cookie cutters.

Don’t be surprised if you hear some oohs and aahs! ♥

Cookie Cutter Bag

Superheroes in Tutus

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Ally and Kira found some adorable “superhero in tutu” photos while checking out Halloween costume ideas on Pinterest, and of course I said, “Let’s make some!” The girls decided on Batman and Robin, so first we poured over illustrations of the real characters to figure out our colors and designs. For our versions, their mom first bought appropriately-colored tank tops. I found logos on Bing Images, which I traced onto fabric, cut out, and appliqued onto the fronts of the tanks. Next, I made short capes (so they won’t get in the way of the tutus), ruffled them at the tops, and attached them from shoulder to shoulder along the backs of the tanks. Then I studied dozens of cut-and-tie and sewn tutu tutorials (tutututorials???), and I decided on this this lovely version from Rachael Rabbit. Now all the girls will have to do is add simple black masks, tights, and boots . . . plus long-sleeved t-shirts for warmth (black for Batman and green for Robin, which their mom has ready to go). Here are the finished pieces . . . I can’t wait to see them on my little superheroes! ♥

BatmanRobin

Candy Corn Dress

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I had some bits of orange and yellow jersey, so I stitched them into a ruffled skirt, added color-coordinated ric-rac, and attached it to a new white baby t-shirt for a cutie in our family! The a-la-mode is a strip of “treat” fabric from last year’s Halloween pillows twisted, coiled, and stitched into a flower and centered with an orange button. Happy candy corn season! ♥

Dress

Thomas the Train Birthday Party

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PillowWe got to fly to Florida for our grandson’s second birthday this weekend. What fun!

His mommy asked me to make some Thomas the Train bunting for the party, and of course I said yes!

The fabrics I chose (all from Fabric.Com) were:

  • Who’s That Train panel
  • Who’s That Train Word Blender in grey
  • Who’s That Train Symbol in red

I had enough left to make a tablecloth for the gift table and . . . no surprise here . . . a pillow for Ryan’s room. ♥

BuntingTablecloth

Dessert Triple Play

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Some family members are starting a therapeutic riding business and recently had an open house/barbeque at their stable and arena. I offered to make the desserts, and I had a fun baking day! Here are three for which I managed to snap photos. The first one is a family recipe from my mom-in-law. The other two were first-time tries clipped from magazines and tweaked a bit. (Do you do that, too???) But they were all yummy! Oh, and the GORGEOUS doily was a gift from my sweet friend Tamara of Crochet with Tamara. Thank you again, Tamara! ♥  P.S. You can click on each dessert name for a printable recipe!

Vida’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

Chocolate Cake

Lemonade Cake

Lemonade Cake

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

PBJ Bars

“Whether you think you can . . .”

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Sign GirlsGuess what??? My sweet daughter-in-law Christin and I ran our first-ever 5K today!

Our route took us around the river in Wichita, KS where we saw lovely grass, flowers, trees, birds, bridges, and statues.

We got t-shirts, medals, chocolates, and champagne when we crossed the finish line.

The race directors had inspirational quotes all around, and we helped earn money for lymphoma research.

Dave, Kyle, Ally, and Kira were there to cheer us on. And the weather was PERFECT!

What a fun way to start the weekend . . . thank you for being my running buddy, Christin! ♥

Stuff

Nancy Drew Tote Bags

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Nancy DrewRemember my “Get a Clue with Nancy Drew” coasters? When I bought the charm pack, I also bought a yard each of two different Nancy Drew fabrics to make lined tote bags for a couple of cutie-patootie girls in my family . . .  and fill with their first sets of Nancy Drew books!

I used a tutorial from Quick Stuff to Sew (Volume IV), a publication of Craftstylish.com, for the totes (like this one, minus the stripes). I hope there will soon be two new Nancy Drew fans in the world! ♥

  • Book 1: The Secret of the Old Clock
  • Book 2: The Hidden Staircase
  • Book 3: The Bungalow Mystery
  • Book 4: The Mystery at Lilac Inn
  • Book 5: The Secret of Shadow Ranch
  • Book 6: The Secret of Red Gate Farm

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Wildflowers

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FlowersEven though Kansas is still REALLY hot, I couldn’t resist getting out my fall decor this weekend.

After I set up the mantel, Dave added a bouquet he picked from his wildflower garden.

Isn’t it just perfect?

Thank you, Dave! ♥

Mantle

Caterpillar Onesie

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My dear nephew and his beautiful wife are expecting their first baby in November, and I wanted to make a little handmade gift for them. Then I found the PERFECT project by Sarah at Diddle Dumpling . . . a button caterpillar onesie to go with The Very Hungry Caterpillar board book. I just love it! And this will be extra special because all the buttons belonged to my grandmother . . . the new baby’s great-great-grandmother! Awwwww . . . ♥

Onesie

Grandmother Vase

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I wanted to make a special hostess gift for our granddaughter Katy’s other grandmother . . . a wonderful, fun-loving lady who hosted Katy’s first birthday party earlier this month. When I read this sweet post and tutorial by Kim of Craft•Create•Connect, I knew I’d found just the right one . . . a tiny bottle vase in which to display a little flower Katy lovingly picks or a pretty leaf or feather she finds. Simply find or purchase a glass bottle (this one was less than $2 at Michaels), attach one or more charms around the neck (I used raffia-covered wire), and you’re done!  And how lucky was I to find this adorable little “K” charm??? Thank you for all you do for the family we both love, dear Lydia! ♥

Flower

Craft Camp!

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CollageOur granddaughters Ally and Kira requested an overnighter before going back to school last week, so we decided to call it “Craft Camp.” We sewed pillowcase nightgowns and made painted fabric pillows. Ally made a mini-pillow with embroidery, and Kira made a button headband. We also enjoyed our usual play-dough, Bendaroos, Tinker toys, and fingerprint art projects, played outside, read books, cooked, and had lunch with the girls’ great-grandparents. I think we may have started a new tradition! ♥

NightgownsPainted Pillows

Amanda’s Apron

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I LOVED my houseful of little boys! But I was also super-excited when my niece Amanda was born. She used to come for an Amanda-Aunt Kathy overnighter every summer where we’d play, sew, craft, embroider, bake, and shop. Now Amanda is grown-up, married, and a high school math teacher several states away (besides being beautiful, she’s also S-M-A-R-T!), but on a recent visit back home she came to sew with me! She loved the blog posts with the ruffly aprons (here and here), so that’s what we made. Amanda picked these lovely, summery fabrics from my stash, which are all from my bloggy friend Laura’s LC’s Cottage Etsy Shop. Isn’t it just perfect on her? ♥

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Our Family Art Project

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Painting

When our family was all together in June, we created an art project that Dave and I will cherish forever! When I say “we,” I admit that all I did was pin the original idea (click here . . . it’s REALLY cute!) on Pinterest and send it to our seven amazing daughters-in-law. They took it from there! Shannon is our mixed media artist, so she prepared the canvas. Then she wrote a tutorial! (See links below.) When everyone arrived, Jen took charge of the grandchildren handprints. Being a kindergarten teacher and mother of toddlers, she’s a pro! Tiffany, Mary Ann, Vickie, Danielle, and Christin all helped with the painting, holding, and cleaning up of little hands. Our work of art is now hanging over our staircase so it will be the first thing guests see when they enter our home. HAPPY SIGH . . .

SHANNON’S TUTORIAL:

Click Mixed Media Canvas for a word document.

Click Mixed Media Canvas for a pdf.

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One Last Wonder Woman Retro Apron . . .

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I had just enough fabric left to make one last Wonder Woman apron to give to an amazing Wonder Woman I know.  But, even though I’m moving on to new designs, I’ll definitely keep using this pattern!  Click here for links to the free tutorial along with some of my own tweaks.  And, speaking of aprons, I’m taking a week off from work (and sewing! and crafting! and blogging!) and donning an apron to play hostess to our family while everyone gathers in to celebrate Dave’s milestone birthday.  The house is clean . . . the party and meals are planned . . . the decorations are made . . . the toys and crafts are ready. . . the cookie jar is full . . . I can’t wait!  See you next week! ♥

Last WW Apron

Chocolate Glacier Cookies

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RecipeCookieI’ve been baking and freezing cookies so I can keep the cookie jar filled for our family get-together this week.  (Dave LOVES being my taste tester! )

I tried a new recipe I cut out of a magazine (click the picture for a larger view), and it’s definitely a keeper!  Luckily, I found the online version, too.  You can click here for a printable copy with U.S. or metric measurements.  (The teeny-tiny “Print” command is below the recipe to the right of the share buttons.)  And you really WILL want a copy, because they are AMAZING!

P.S. I inherited my cookie jar from a beloved aunt. This lovely little lady is full of wonderful memories! ♥

Cookie Jar

Embroidered Eyeglass Case

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CaseWhen I went through my mom-in-law’s fabric box, I found a burlap square stamped on the right half with this lovely floral design.

I couldn’t wait to embroider it!

Then I paired it with one of the fun fabrics from my Make & Mingle kit and stitched them together into a lined eyeglass case.

I’ll really love carrying this summery, sentimental handiwork! ♥

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T-Shirt Garland Kit

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TopWhen our whole family gathers in over Father’s Day weekend, I want to have some fun crafts that work for *kids* from pre- schoolers to 80+. My latest idea is a decoration that everyone helps create—T-shirt garland! To keep everything handy, I decided to make a kit with all the necessary materials. Then I can simply hang some baker’s twine across the windows and we can pin on our paper T-shirts as we “customize” them.

Box GluedTo make the kit, I first found an empty box that was just the right size. (This one once held a chocolate cake that came in an order one of our kids sent us from Omaha Steaks . . . yum!!!) I cut off the lid and then cut, folded, and glued the lid cardboard to divide the box into four compartments. Here it is with clips holding everything in place while it dried. When the inside was ready, I traced around the outsides and covered them with scrapbook paper, then made a simple word-processed label for the front using clip art and a text box.

Pins and ShirtsNext, I googled “printable t-shirt template” to find a pattern I like and watched a couple of movies while I traced and cut them out on light-colored paper. I also shopped for tiny clothespins and found these at Amazon.com. They’re REALLY tiny—about one inch long—but perfect for hanging paper items. I also found a small empty jar in the pantry to store them in since we’ll need to keep them safely away from the babies and toddlers. (I later glued three of the pins to the lid for a-la-mode.)

Finally, I added markers, crayons, and colored pencils for creating the T-shirt designs. Since I already had these and the paper on hand, my only expense was the clothespins—and they’re so cute I probably would have bought them anyway. :) I’ll be sure to show you a photo of our garland after everyone is here!   P.S. I think this would be a fun way to commemorate family activities over the summer, too . . . books the kids read, trips to the beach and zoo, special treats they get to eat, and that sort of thing. If only I’d thought of that when MY kids were little! ♥

Kit

Monogram Father’s Day Cards

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9-hole buttonsHave you ever heard of 9-hole buttons? And did you know you can use them for words and monograms??? I didn’t until I read this fun post by Nicole on Diary of a Mad Crafter! And Nicole is so clever that she even made her OWN buttons!!!

I found mine at the yehuting Etsy Shop . . . only $4.98 plus shipping for forty. This lovely shop owner has TONS of other amazing notions, too. Do pay her a visit!

We’re having a big family reunion in June that falls on Father’s Day weekend. I wanted to make cards for all the dads who’ll be visiting, and the wooden buttons on plain kraft cardstock worked perfectly for a masculine monogram. I have quite a few left over, too . . . so more projects to come! ♥

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To All the Aunties in the World . . .

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Aunt QuoteI’ve had the BEST Mother’s Day weekend! Cute cards! Thoughtful gifts! Phone calls! Dinner! Flowers! A music theater production of my favorite book, Little Women! And most of all, lots of love. As as I think about my mom, mom-in-law, and grandmothers, I fondly remember my sweet aunts, too. You’ve heard about Aunt Vitha, wearer of fun earrings . . . she always had a cookie jar full of Oreos. And my other aunts  . . . what a heartfelt visit I had with them this spring. I cherish every moment with my dear nieces and nephews, and my sister Susan and seven daughters-in-law have the most amazing auntie skills I’ve ever seen. So hats off to you, dear aunts . . . thank you for being our “other” moms. ♥

Solar System Earrings

Get a Clue with Nancy Drew!

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Nancy DrewStackWhen Linny J Creations posted last fall about the upcoming Nancy Drew fabric at The Fat Quarter Shop, I was in! I bought my first ever charm pack just so I could see a tiny sample of everything.  Thanks to inspiration from  Feathered Nest Studio, these fun little designs are now a set of 24 coasters. It was so easy . . . just stitch two squares right sides together along with a square of quilt batting (leaving a small opening for turning), trim the corners, turn, and topstitch. We’re having a B-I-G family get-together at our house in June (more on that to come!), so I’m all ready in the coaster department!  P.S. The beautiful basket is from 1840 Farm Mercantile. ♥

Basket

Allyson’s First Communion Dress

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DancingPatternLast month I told you about my “biggest refashion ever” . . . making a first communion dress from a wedding gown. It’s done! I would never attempt a tutorial, because every gown is different, but here is a summary of the steps that worked for me:

  • I used the bodice from the Butterick 3350 pattern, cutting it from the gown train.
  • I also used the Butterick 3350 sleeve, cutting it from the beaded top front of the gown.
  • I was able to use the gown’s skirt (taken in at the side seams and shortened, of course) and preserve the back of the gown (including the original zipper!) by stitching it right onto the new bodice.
  • I made a sash from the extra buttons going down the gown’s back through the train.
  • Finally, I snipped the beads from the remaining remnants and handstitched them around the front neckline.

My only advice is to (1) spend quite awhile thinking, planning, and sketching before you start, (2) baste everything (and let your special little girl try it on!) before sewing anything permanently, and (3) keep every little bit of fabric and embellishment, because you might use it. Thank you for joining in my excitement over this once-in-a-lifetime project!   P.S.  I couldn’t resist using the “Radiance” effect from PicMonkey on the photo below. ♥

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The Origami Owl Blogger Locket Winner Is . . .

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PackagingThank you SO much to everyone for entering the Origami Owl Blogger Locket Giveaway and for all your lovely, encouraging comments. Seriously, every time a new one popped up, I said to myself, “Oh . . . I hope SHE wins!!!” But the time came to draw one name out of the hat, and the lucky winner is . . .

Jeanna of Drama Queen Seams!

Congratulations, Jeanna! As soon as you email me your mailing address, I’ll send your prize and Tiffany will send the extra charm you chose—the crystal clear crown. And for all of our other blogging friends . . . thank you again for your enthusiasm and support for small businesses, and feel free to contact Tiffany at thehootsuite@gmail.com, her Facebook page, or her web site if you have any questions about creating your own Living Locket or becoming an Origami Owl independent designer. You’re the best! ♥

Blogger Locket Giveaway (Hmmm . . . wish I could win this!)

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LocketMy lovely art teacher daughter-in-law Tiffany just became an independent designer for Origami Owl. Have you seen these amazing “Living Lockets” yet? You choose your locket size and design, fill it with hand-picked charms, and (if you like) add plates, dangles, and tags. Then you either purchase a chain or wear your creation on a chain or ribbon you already own. They’re absolutely beautiful! So Tiffany and I put our heads together and came up with a “blogger locket” giveaway that we think you’ll love! It includes:

  • the large silver Living Locket with crystals,
  • 5 charms: a laptop computer, a camera, a pair of scissors, a cup of coffee (or tea!), and the April stone,
  • an 18-inch silver ball station chain,
  • and an “Inspire” tag that can be worn either with the locket or separately.

You can see close-ups of all the components below!

Locket Collage

To enter this giveaway, you only have three easy steps to follow:

(1) “Like” Tiffany’s Origami Owl Facebook page here. (But if you’re not on FB, no worries! You can still enter by skipping to Step 2! :))

(2) Go to Tiffany’s Origami Owl web site and find your favorite charm here. (Click on “Charm Collections” on the “Living Lockets” page.)

(3) Leave a comment below telling us you’ve liked the FB page (see note on Step 1) and what your favorite charm is.

That’s it! A week from today (Monday, April 8) we’ll draw a name out of a hat and announce the winner right here at Pillows A-La-Mode. And not only does the winner get the blogger locket, but Tiffany will mail her the other charm she chose, too! So please join in the fun, and thank you for visiting Origami Owl today or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. ♥

P.S. I forgot to mention that Origami Owl’s packaging is amazing—a drawstring bag for the tag and a “fortune cookie” made of kimono fabric to keep your locket in, all delivered in a cute little take-out box! Oh, and Tiffany has also put together a Shutterfly book with design ideas. You can check it out here.

Packaging

Happy Easter!

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I went out this morning to see if my miniature daffodils were coming up . . . and they ARE! They were a gift from two of my very favorite teacher friends, Carla and Denise, two springs ago. I love it that these beautiful blooms don’t mind that the mulch is weathered, the sun hasn’t been out much lately, and the latest snow just now disappeared from the ground. They just do what they’re meant to do, symbolizing all that is right with the world. And now I’m off to finish a big writing assignment (YAY!), have a rather . . . er . . . unusual date night (dinner out followed by Good Friday Service followed by KU Sweet Sixteen basketball!), finish Ally’s first communion dress tomorrow, and enjoy Easter service, friends, and family on Sunday. I wish all of you a happy, happy weekend too! ♥

Daffodils

DIY Play Tent

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Folded

Dave and I collaborated on an indoor/outdoor and foldable/take-apartable/storable play tent for a special birthday boy using a tutorial from Gemma of Gembobs Crafts. Check out her beautiful crocheted version here! The fabric for ours is “Red River II Stripe Blue” from Fabric.com, and two and one-half yards of 45-inch wide fabric was a PERFECT fit. It was easy and fun and we’re ready to make more! Thank you, Gemma! ♥

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Bag O’ Bunnies

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When I meet my amazing daughters-in-law or gal pals for coffee or lunch, I love to take them a little handmade gift. My newest craze is these little spring bunnies made from fabric scraps! You can find the pattern and tutorial from Angie on The Little Fabric Blog. Thank you, Angie!  P.S. The lovely tulips are a gift from our recent houseguest and friend, Nancy. The table mat is here, and the photo star on the wall is here. ♥

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I’m getting ready for my biggest refashion yet!

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Christin's Dress Collage

DancingPatternThis beautiful bride, Christin, now has an amazing 8-year-old daughter, Allyson, and I’ll be transforming Christin’s wedding gown into Allyson’s First Communion dress!

Allyson chose Butterick 3350 with sleeves, scalloped neckline, and straight hem.

I’ll admit I’m a tiny bit nervous about working with and on two such important dresses, but I’m excited about it, too!

And I have a cheerleader! My dear friend Faye transformed her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress into the stunning First Communion dress below for her adorable granddaughter, and she’s only a phone call away if I need advice and encouragement.

Watch for the big reveal in April . . . and wish me luck! ♥

Briana's Dress Collage

Grandma Leona’s Chocolate Cake

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CakeI haven’t been baking much lately since Dave and I are both working on our New Year’s resolutions for healthier eating.

BUT . . . yesterday was Valentine’s Day, right?

And Valentine’s Day was MADE for chocolate, right???

I still remember sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen copying down this recipe from her file box when I was a new bride.

It’s just as delicious as ever!

Thank you, Grandma! ♥

 

In a large bowl, blend and set aside:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt

In a heavy pan, blend and bring to a boil:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ cup cocoa

Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Add:

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Beat until smooth. Pour into prepared large cake pan and bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Five minutes before the cake is done, blend and bring to a boil the following:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 6 Tbsp milk
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa

Pour over 1 lb of powdered sugar. Add 1 tsp vanilla and beat until smooth.

Punch holes in the hot cake with a fork or toothpick and pour the hot frosting on top. Let cool and serve.