I’ve joined a “club” that some of my favorite people belong to but I’d hoped never to join . . . the Breast Cancer Club. My particular diagnosis involves 6 months of chemotherapy, then a mastectomy, then radiation. However, I have wonderful doctors and the best family/friend support group anyone could ever hope for, and I’m being showered daily with prayers and lovingkindness, so I’ve got this!
My blog will be on hiatus for awhile, but first I want to share something with you. A couple of years ago, my sweet granddaughter Ally drew the picture at the left for me while we were traveling somewhere in the car, and it’s been hanging on my wall ever since. Last night, she was stroking my hair, knowing that I’ll be losing it soon, and suddenly asked for a piece of white tape. A few minutes later, she showed me what she wanted it for . . . to change my crazy reddish hair into a chemo cap. Children are so perceptive and loving!
My niece and her husband have a little one coming soon! I saw lots of cute elephant-themed items on their registry, so I purchased a couple and then bought some flannel to make some burp cloths. I had one little strip left over so dreamed up a pillow for the rocking chair, too. Can’t wait to meet the newest member of the family! ♥
Since my refrigerator door is already full of grandchildren art attached by magnets, I decided to start an art wall down the hall for new creations. I tried Wallies, and I LOVE them! They stick easily to the wall, hold the projects firmly, and remove without a trace. I got the binder clip design, but the company also sells versions that look like paper clips, push pins, and clothespins, as well as many other types of wall decals and murals. The Wallies company doesn’t know I’m promoting them, but they deserve it! ♥
How do you sew with a three-year-old? Get shelf liner, an embroidery hoop, plastic needles, colorful cording, and fun things to attach. Don’t you love my granddaughter Katy’s first stitched masterpiece? ♥
Our granddaughter Ally asked to have her family birthday party at our house (happy face!), so I decided to make some colorful, festive, girly garland to offset the autumn décor. First, I put on a good movie and cut out a bazillion or so circles from my felt stash (using a peanut butter jar lid as a template). Then I arranged the circles in color patterns, moved to the sewing machine, and stitched them together down the middle with edges touching. Finally, I draped them around the room, ready to add table decorations, balloons, a cake, and gifts. She loved it! ♥
Our sweet little Mason is turning five, so it’s time for a tooth fairy pillow! I love making them from beloved outgrown garments, and Mason’s mom picked a hoodie. I design as I go along, trying to keep as many of the structural elements and as much as of the text as possible. Click here and here for two more hoodie versions. Happy birthday, Mason! ♥
A fun way to present a handmade or store-bought gift is in a bag made of a fabric design that fits the gift. Sometimes you can use a bit of fabric left over from the project itself, such as this bag for Katy’s superhero cape with a “K” logo for a-la-mode:
Other times, you can use a themed fabric, such as this beach-designed bag for the swimsuit cover-up I made for Danielle and bunny/carrot fabric for a carrot and book for a toddler Easter gift:
It’s also fun to find fabric that matches books. Here is some Mr. Men fabric for a drawstring bag for a set of books for Kira and some Nancy Drew fabric for a tote bag full of books for Ally and Miranda:
Katy is turning three, so it’s time for another superhero cape! Click on the post about Josh’s cape to get the tutorial for this super-safe version (worn by slipping the child’s arms through the elastics rather than tying the cape around his or her neck). I found the fun fabric on ebay by searching for “girl’s superhero fabric” and used star fabric from one of my Wonder Woman aprons for the tips and back. Happy birthday, dear Katy! ♥
Our grandson Josh turned three today and is a superhero in every way. He needed a cape! In a Pinterest search, I found one that attaches with arm elastics instead of tying around the neck. How clever is that! And safe! And easy! I used this tutorial, except I made it reversible and left the top of the triangle to showcase both fabrics when worn. Just tuck the elastic arm bands into the seam when stitching the two fabrics right sides together, leaving a small opening at the bottom for turning, then topstitch and press. Oh, and you can also add an emblem with your little one’s initial from this pattern before stitching the two triangles together. Happy birthday, Josh! ♥
My Grandma Leona used to make these receiving blankets for all the spring and summer babies in the family. No pattern is needed; simply pin and sew two large squares of lightweight, seersucker-type fabric together with giant ric-rac tucked in the seam. I had the perfect excuse to make one, too . . . for our newest granddaughter, Emily Elizabeth! ♥
Brown and pink for girls . . . gray and chevron for boys . . . bunny pattern available from Positively Splendid . . . bunnies embroidered with names and attached with Heat n’ Bond and outline stitch . . . use any lined tote pattern . . . time for an Easter egg hunt! ♥
Besides cars, Tyler and Ryan love puzzles! So, when their mom Jen saw the zippered pencil pouches on my blog, she thought they’d be perfect as puzzle bags, too. I made the pouches a bit larger to hold 24-piece puzzles, and I used a different color of zipper on each one so the boys will know which color stands for which puzzle. Here they are, trying them out. ♥ P.S. Click Pencil Pouch to download instructions.
We’ve had another cold snap since Valentine’s Day, and I’m still working on using the immense amount of fleece I bought for a family service project a couple of years ago, so it was the perfect time to try out the kids’ hat and scarf pattern I found in a $1 bin at Jo-Ann.
I changed the scarf up a bit and made it two layers instead of one, but I followed the hat pattern as is . . . super easy.
Now they’re ready to donate to a local preschool for some little ones who might need a soft, warm, wearable hug. ♥
When I saw this fun fabric on Pick Your Plum, I HAD to get one each for grandchildren Allyson, Kira, Miranda, Brody, Tyler, Ryan, Joshua, and Kaitlyn. It’s exactly the right amount for a “sweet dreams” pillowcase, but it would also make a perfect cape, tote bag, or other personalized item. The photo below is Joshua, who immediately snuggled in and told his mom, “I sleep on it!”
If you sign up at Pick Your Plum, you’ll get daily emails with fun crafty items and accessories at amazing discounted prices. With a little luck, this fabric treasure will come up again soon! ♥
What do you get when you combine a Saturday morning, 8- and 10-year-old granddaughters, a roll of twine, red and white Tempera paint, and a package of dollar store wooden spoons? Sixteen Santas for teachers and friends on the girlies’ gift lists! You’ll find directions on Real Simple, and here are some other crafty ideas from Christmases past:
Hello, my long-lost friends! I hope everyone is well. I miss reading your blogs and hope to catch up soon.
My friend Sewing Machine and I haven’t spent much time together this summer, but I did find a spot o’ time to make an apron for my adorable granddaughter Katy’s 2nd birthday. This fun pattern is SUPER easy to stitch up, since it uses bias tape instead of hems around all the edges. I bought this pretty pink-flowered tape for Katy’s apron at a craft show, but I now own a bias tape maker and can’t wait to try creating some myself with Beth’s tutorial at The Renegade Seamstress. Katy especially loves her name embroidered on the pocket!
Click here for the pattern from Joan Giammalva. And, if you want a fun cookbook to gift with the apron, I recommend Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Mollie Katzen . . . perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
My niece Amanda got to stop by for a few hours on her vacation to Kansas. We love to make projects together when she visits, like last summer’s ruffle apron. This time we made pencil pouches for HER nieces who are getting ready to begin first and second grade. Amanda looked through my stash and found a crayon print for the outside, alphabet print for the inside, felt for interfacing, and zippers in the girls’ favorite colors. We used the sunnies cases tutorial, only in a different size and shape. We also typed up the instructions so Amanda can make more when she gets home. Click Pencil Pouch to download all the steps. Happy Back-to-School! ♥
Hello, friends! I haven’t posted OR answered my last set of comments OR read your blogs . . . I miss you! Life and work have just been a little crazy lately. I know you can all relate! But here is a quickie project I made for two sweet little girls to organize their hair accessories and necklaces in their new house. The frame is a hand-me-down from their great-grandmother, so we didn’t paint it, but it has plenty of color with ric-rac, headbands, barrettes, rubber bands, jewelry, and a little fabric flower a-la-mode. Thank you for taking a peek! ♥
Thanksgiving before last, we had a family craft/service project while everyone was here for the holiday, making fleece pillows for Christmas gifts for local nonprofits. Afterward, I had about a bazillion 4 x 4 inch squares of fleece left over! Last summer I used some to make freezer pop holders, but I still had tons in my stash. Then I found several tutorials for earbud pouches. . . perfect! They take less than a half hour to cut out and stitch, and they’ll make fun mini-gifts for lots of kids I know. Here are some of the ideas I read about . . . thank you for the inspiration, ladies! ♥
After I won a Five Stones game from Sharon of A Chronicle of My Sewing Adventures, I decided to try my hand at making my own. It was SO easy! I have a stash of inexpensive pony beads for kid crafts, so I used those as stuffing to make the “stones” washable. Then I tried a drawstring pouch I saw on Bec’s Handmade & Home blog to store them in. These two fabrics were together in a fat quarter bundle I got as a birthday gift. I finished the whole set in about an hour, and it will be fun to make more by mixing and matching fabrics for different personalities. Click here for the game piece tutorial and game directions and here for the drawstring pouch tutorial. Thank you, Sharon and Bec! ♥
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! ♥
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!
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! ♥
I was so happy when I got out my spring decorations and found a bunch of these left over from last spring’s bunny sewing bonanza that I promptly plopped them into a basket to display in the living room. You can find the pattern and tutorial from Angie on The Little Fabric Blog. And they’re so quick and easy that you can even make a whole Bag o’ Bunnies for a special little one in your life. Now . . . hop to it! ♥
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.
For 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! ♥
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! ♥
When I saw this post on Thrift Store Crafter, I suddenly remembered that I, too, have a journal upcycled from a vintage book! I also remembered that I’d promised the person who gave it to me (my BFF/sister Susan) that I would actually USE it and not put it away with my treasures, so I got it off the shelf and began listing all the crafts/sewing projects I want to make and tucking in clippings and patterns. Now, when I find myself with a little block of free time, I’ll be all ready to go. And besides . . . this journal just makes me smile! ♥ P.S. Be sure to check out Sarah’s tutorials on Thrift Store Crafter!
I’m a lucky crafter . . . I won this fun Sneaky Art book and Rainy Day Art Pack, both by Marthe Jocelyn, from Robyn of Museiddity‘s recent giveaway! I’m happily set for my next little visitors! Please click here to learn more about the book and here to learn more about Robyn and and begin exploring her Museiddity creations. Thank you, Robyn! ♥
I had a sentimental sweater from a beloved family member that always seemed to say “teddy bear,” so I decided to give it a go! I have a hand-me-down pattern that was a perfect fit for the sweater front and back (McCall’s Crafts 703), but otherwise I probably would have sketched my own. The eyes only required a bit of embroidery on two of the knit-in designs. Then, since the McCall’s pattern was faceless, I used Claire’s cute (and FREE!) softie pattern on Craft Schmaft to figure out the snout. After stitching and stuffing, the squeezable, huggable Teddy is in the arms of a sweet little one. Plus, I still have the sleeves and a few smaller remnants left for new projects . . . we’ll see what those bits say! ♥
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! ♥
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. ♥
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! ♥
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! ♥
Remember 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! ♥
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 . . . ♥
In this post I told how to make freezer pop holders from 4 x 4 fleece squares. One of my wise commenters said that when she made them, she was going to leave them open at the top AND bottom so kids could slide them up the freezer pops as they ate. Well, I had lots of testers at our family get-together, and she was absolutely right! So I refashioned them by snipping off the bottom seam and blanket-stitching it like the top. Ahhhhhh . . . much better! Oh, and freezer pops and a little pouch of holders in a fun gift bag make a perfect summer hostess gift for families with little ones! ♥
Our 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! ♥
This puzzle box kit I purchased and put together YEARS ago may look *vaguely* familiar . . . if so, it’s because it just received the same makeover as the children’s step stool we painted and decoupaged last week! Now all the wooden puzzles are ready for our littlest visitors in style! ♥
Several years ago I bought this sturdy step stool for our youngest visitors to pull up to the sink in the guest bathroom. I can’t believe I just now got around to doing something fun with it! The room already has lots of pops of color with lime green towels and accessories, so I decided to use the colors of the shower curtain—black and white—but still make it kid-friendly. We (meaning Dave . . . thank you Dave!) sanded it and painted it black, then I decoupaged my favorite chalkboard-print scrapbook paper to the tops of the steps. Ahhh . . . much better! ♥
When 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.
To 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.
Next, 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! ♥
My two newest books arrived today! We wrote a series of 24 Reader’s Theater scripts based on the Grade 1-2 Common Core State Standards for Language Arts. They’re fun and funny to write AND to read! Plus, I got to write the teacher’s guides for all 24 of these books and the Grade 3-6 scripts as well . . . another fun, creative project. I do love my job! ♥
Last 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. ♥
So, ever since my Bag O’ Bunnies post, all my sewing buddies have been making bunnies out of their fabric and ribbon scraps! And some of my blogging friends, too, like Something to Ponder About and Sew Much Choice! I’ve been giving them away in small baskets as hostess gifts and have a big basketful of them by the fireplace, but I decided to gift the rest in handmade bags. I’m sure everyone already has a favorite method for making drawstring bags, but just in case, here’s mine:
(1) Cut out fabric in a square or rectangle of the desired size.
(2) Decorate the half that will be on the front with embroidery, applique, painting, or other crafty skills. I love to embroider and needed a road-trip project last weekend, so here is my design.
(3) Fold the bag in half right sides together.
(4) Stitch the side and bottom EXCEPT (and this is important!) for leaving an opening in the seam two or three inches from the top.
(5) Press open the seam, and press under 1/4 inch on the top of the bag.
(6) Turn the top to the inside and stitch it to the bag all the way around, making sure your stitching is below the opening in the seam.
(7) Turn the bag right-side out and press.
(8) Using a safety pin, thread ribbon or cord through the opening and tie the ends. (Click photo below for close-up.)
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! ♥
This 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! ♥
I recently bought this fun tote pattern from my blogging friend Michelle of Sew Michelle. I can’t wait to make it! Besides the detailed, photo-filled e-book, Michelle includes a unique feature called a “Sewnopsis” at the end of her patterns—a reference tool that has the supply list, cutting instructions, and important steps all on one super-handy page. Michelle has other amazing bag patterns as well and has also been kind enough to make some FREE patterns available to us! Click on the “Tutorials” link to find projects such as this “Owl Sweet Treat Holder”—PERFECT for Valentine’s Day!
“I have taught sewing classes for many years and have learned that including detailed instructions with lots of pictures makes it seem like I am right there with you when working on your project. My mission is to ‘Inspire You to Sew’ and I hope you will go and do just that,” shares Michelle. Please check out Michelle’s patterns at Sew Michelle from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. ♥
. . . for all the kind comments, wishes, and prayers you sent our way after my last post. I keep being amazed at the love and care you so freely share, and I’m determined to pay it forward every chance I get.
We’re home now after spending many treasured hours with our family. So, as Vida would want, I’m ready to go back to “making stuff” and sharing about other people I admire who do the same.
One of my resolutions this year is to learn to crochet, and I was ever more inspired while watching my sweet daughter-in-law Tiffany (who JUST learned how!) finish this adorable scarf for cutie Miranda last night while we were all piled into our hotel room chatting. The BernatPipsqueak yarn is about the softest thing I’ve ever felt, and I LOVE how it designed itself as she worked.
Thank you to Tiffany for all the tips and to Miranda for modeling. And please watch for a new series of Shop Love! posts while I travel to attend a conference for a few days and then catch up on some projects of my own! ♥
Yes, I’m about to share ANOTHER amazing daughter-in-law craft! We were so excited to get this beautiful star with photos of our dear little ones for Christmas. Jen was kind enough to send me a tutorial this week . . . and she must have known I’d ask, because she’d even taken a photo of her materials! Thank you, Jen! ♥
(1) Get a wooden or metal star from a craft store, some scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, a paint brush, scissors, and photos. Tip: Photos that are further away from the subject work better than close-ups.
(2) Use a piece of plain paper to cut templates for each side of the star points. Then look at the pictures and decide which ones to put on the star and where they will go based on their sizes and vertical/horizontal positions.
(3) Use your template to cut out the pictures, making sure they are facing the same way as their position will be on the star.
(4) Paint the backs of the photos with Mod Podge and stick them to the star.
(5) Cut scrapbook paper to fit any extra space on each point of the star and Mod Podge it on.
(6) Paint the whole star with Mod Podge and let it dry overnight.
A couple of years ago I saw a kids’ art jar online and thought it would be the perfect gift for a special little girl’s birthday. It was so colorful and intriguing . . . but when we dumped everything out, I found LOTS of pretty raffia filling and WAY too few actual art supplies. Live and learn, right? So, when my dad was preparing for a recent move and asked if I’d like to have some empty plastic snack containers, I immediately thought, “ART JARS!” I began collecting artsy/crafty items from the dollar bins at Michaels and Target, plus hitting the dollar stores, and soon had a huge bag of fun things to include. These will be under some Christmas trees soon! ♥
A special little girl in our family celebrated her sixth birthday on December 1st. As you know, a December birthday gift must NOT be Christmasy! 🙂 So, since she absolutely loves to bake with her mom, I decided on a cupcake gift. First I made an apron using a remnant from the nursery pillows I sewed last summer that looks like sprinkles. I didn’t have a child-size pattern, so I just cut a rectangle for the front, a long, skinny piece for the waistband and tie, found some rick-rack trim, and stitched it up. Then I folded a piece of paper, sketched half of a cupcake paper and top, cut them out, unfolded the paper, and used these as patterns for some cupcake a-la-mode (two yellow fabrics and sequins for sprinkles) and a scrapbook paper gift tag. Then I bought some cake mix, frosting (with sprinkles!), cupcake papers, and cupcake flags to go with the apron. I was going to make a little totebag to gift it in, but then I spotted this adorable tin for $2.99 in my grocery store’s clearance aisle . . . how lucky is that! Happy birthday, dear Kira! ♥ P.S. Please check out this fun post on Peg’s Gotta Do for more cupcake inspiration!
After making a peppermint wreath and peppermint Christmas tree skirt, I had three little felt peppermints left, so I wrapped a headband in red bias tape and stitched the candies on top to make a festive accessory for a special little girl. This was another free-to-me activity since I already had all the supplies on hand . . . don’t you love it when that happens? There’ll be no more peppermint projects for me this Christmas since I used up all my red felt remnants and have vowed to use up my stash before buying more fabrics (we’ll see how THAT goes!). But several of you have said you’re on it now, so I can’t wait to see what you make! Now . . . on to some Christmas gifts . . . and Christmas pillows . . . and . . . ♥
After the big Thanksgiving dinner at our house, the kids and grown-ups visit, snack, watch football, snack, nap, snack, and . . . make things! (Check out these Play-Doh sculptures from Thanksgivings past! :)) This year I’ll still have the usual supplies, but I thought it would also be fun to have a project that the kids can take home and/or guests can make to donate to a local nonprofit for Christmas gifts for children in need. The minute I decided on no-sew fleece pillows, I got an email from Hancock Fabrics with all their fleece for half price PLUS free shipping, so I knew it had to be! To keep it simple, I went ahead and did all the cutting, rolled and tied each matching pillow top and bottom together, and put the right amount of stuffing in individual bags so everyone can just choose a fabric, grab a bag, and find a comfy spot to craft and chat. I’ll try to post a photo of all the kids with the pillows we make after the holiday! ♥
P.S. Since the instructions call for cutting out the corners from each piece, I now I have about a bazillion colorful 4 x 4 inch fleece squares to use for other projects. Any ideas???
P.P.S. Click here for a kids’ Thanksgiving story and lots of wonderful last-minute holiday recipes and crafts from Collectively Creative. Blessings to all!
Welcome to the “THANKFUL” edition of Collectively Creative! Today I have a giveaway for all of our blogging friends . . . one of my children’s stories from Pockets magazine for you to read, share, and/or use to introduce a creative writing activity about holidays. Simply click the first link for a printable word document or the second link for a printable pdf.
I hope some special kids in your life will enjoy meeting Mrs. Hetherington and her Portland Elementary School Drama Club this holiday season! But first, please pour a cup of tea and take a few minutes to savor the rest of this month’s Collectively Creative posts. Each one has something special to enrich our lives. Happy Thanksgiving! ♥
P.S. If you’re a parent, grandparent, children’s book reviewer, librarian, or teacher, please check out the new kids’ Thanksgiving book called Sarah Gives Thanks by one of our fellow WordPressers, Mike Allegra at heylookawriterfellow. I bought a copy, and it’s a keeper!
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! ♥
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!
Do you have toy dinosaurs in your toy box? I do! Now one of them is holding my bangle bracelets! He’s so cute . . . and a surprise pop of fun in the room. P.S. Check out these dino ring holders on My So Called Crafty Life, too! ♥
On our recent trip to visit Baby Katy, I saw some adorable creations in her nursery! I also discovered the most amazing fabric art at the Philadelphia International Airport—Kay Healy’s “Coming Home” life-sized fabric mural in Terminal E. (Click on photo above for a larger view). I couldn’t stop looking at all the intricate details!
Now for those fun nursery ideas . . .
(1) The top picture is “She Art” lovingly created by Katy’s Aunt Shannon. Visit Christy Tomlinson’s blog (the founder of She Art) to learn more about this art form.
(2) The owl and flower paper collages are by a lovely interior designer and friend of Katy’s mom and dad. Please check out her web site at Ashley Heath Design. (And we loved how the flowers coordinate with Katy’s new mobile!)
(3) Katy’s mommy, author of the delicious cooking blog Consumed: My Culinary Adventure, made this beautiful curtain “gift-wrapped” with ties sewn from a coordinating fabric. I love it! ♥
The minute I saw an adorable mobile on Eco Felt Crafts (who got the idea from It’s the Life, who got the idea from The Handmade Home . . . don’t you love how bloggers share???) I knew I had to make one for a special baby girl. I love the combination of felt, fabric, buttons, and ribbons in greens, pinks, blues, and whites to match her nursery. It was so much fun to make! P.S. Click here and here and here and here and here for five more cute mobiles. And if you’ve made one, please send me a link in a comment and I’ll add it to this post. I’d love to try them all! ♥
The bit of fabric left over from my latest memo board is now a pillow (surprise! surprise!). I also had a little bag of heart buttons in coordinating colors in my stash, so I stitched them over some of the polka-dots on the front for a-la-mode. I think it will be a nice gift for a little girl whose favorite color keeps changing! ♥
I’m at it again . . . trying to figure out fun ways to repurpose empty mint tins! I’ve already had a chance to try out my mint tin sewing kit, so this time I decided to make one into a game.
(1) Decorate the top with a tic-tac-toe symbol using paint, scrapbook paper, tape, ribbon, or fabric with embroidery (my choice!).
(2) Find five each of two different colors of buttons.
(3) Glue magnets on the buttons.
(4) You’re ready to play . . . perfect for home, the car, or restless little ones at a restaurant or waiting room.
Click the photo for a larger view, here for the super-cute version at Art + Baja that gave me the idea, here for a tic-tac-toe game made of felt, and here for another wonderful mint tin craft by Look What Mommy Made! ♥
Once one of my teen-age sons accompanied me to a teacher supply store. The next thing I knew, he was sitting on a bench outside. When I asked him why he left, he said, “Mom! It looks like a rainbow threw up in there!” So, if you’ve ever felt the same way, it’s probably best to move on to another blog now. 🙂
Today’s project is a fabric memo board . . . but for holding girly hair things, like:
Click here for a tutorial (starting with a cardboard box!) and here for a photo of the zebra-print version filled with flower hair clips and pins. I can’t wait to give this one to a special little girl for her birthday! ♥
One of my teacher friends posted this adorable chart-paper poster from the First Grader At Last! blog on Pinterest. I wanted to make one for a teacher in my family, but instead of recopying it on paper I decided to embroider the whole thing! Crazy, I know! 🙂 But here are the steps:
Find some fabric that looks like notebook paper, cut out a rectangle, and embroider the red line and “holes.”
Print the sayings lightly in pencil on the lines.
Embroider, using a different color of floss for each line.
Cut out a piece of quilt batting and back fabric, stack and pin (with right sides together), and stitch the sides and bottom.
Trim the seams, turn, press, and top stitch the edges.
Sew a strip of 2-inch seam facing to the top (right sides together), fold it back to make a dowel rod casing for hanging, and handstitch it down.
Here’s my colorful version, taped (a bit wonkily!) to a wall for a photo shoot before heading to a new kindergarten classroom. Happy school year! ♥
When I found girls’ T-shirts on an amazing sale (like the one I used for this dress), I also bought a coral and a gray/white striped version to combine into another dress. The gather in the bodice is simply a skinny piece of elastic threaded between the seam attaching the top and bottom and the topstitching that keeps the seam edges facing down. I love these colors together, and I found some pretty orange buttons in my stash to use on the fabric flower a-la-mode. (Click photo for a larger view.) Plus, since I used the top of one T and the bottom of the other, I have more lovely remnants to use for a future project. I can’t wait to give this to a special little girl! ♥
Our brand-newest grandson is here for a visit! Today his mommy and I went to Jo-Ann to find fabric for a few items to round out his nursery decor, which is based on this adorable vegetable print from IKEA. We found a pretty green graphic print to use for the crib skirt, and it was a piece of cake to stitch it up! I got some helpful tips from Ashley at littlewillowtree and used her info to draw a diagram for future use. Oh, and we also got fabric for accent pillows . . . my next project!
P.S. Here’s a photo I added of the skirt on the crib when Joshua arrived back home . . . along with the pillows from the next post. ♥
I found a hot pink girl’s T-shirt on sale at Target and thought it would be lovely with some of my necktie fabrics! To make the skirt, I cut off the wide ends of the neckties, unstitched them, took off all the linings and interfacing, evened them out at the bottom, stitch them together, then stitched them onto the bottom of the T-shirt. I also made a mini fabric/button flower for a little a-la-mode. Here it is! (Click photo for larger view.) Oh, and here are a few other necktie projects to try! ♥
Remember the placemat pouches I made earlier this year? Today I turned one of them into a gift for a new mom by:
(1) making a super thin, soft, washable changing pad from a $1.99 child’s paint apron from Michaels (with enough fabric left over for one more pad and some other projects, too!) (2) adding a small package of wipes and a diaper, and (3) composing this poem (click to enlarge) to pin to the clutch.
Super fun, super easy . . . and I think she’ll like it! ♥
A few years ago I found this beautiful lined stretch-lace tank for $5 on a sale rack at JJill! But . . . it turned out that the color made my already-pale skin looked even more washed out . . . and it got several snags from a clothes-eating teacher’s desk . . . so I decided to get out my trusty scissors to rescue it from its lonely existence at the back of the closet. Here’s what I made:
Do you have little ones in your family who LOVE to play tic-tac-toe? We do! Since I bought plenty of orange, yellow, green, and white felt for my citrus coaster project, I decided to use it to make a birthday gift for one of these sweet little girls with a giant orange slice gameboard and lemon and lime game pieces. And how serendipitous to find an orange slice notepad in the dollar bin at Michaels for keeping score! 🙂 At first, I was going to make a bag out of my citrus fabric to hold everything, but then I figured out that the gameboard itself could be the bag with the addition of ties. It worked! Now I’m imagining all sorts of other themes . . . a basketball gameboard with different colors of “team” T-shirts for the game pieces . . . a Disney fabric gameboard with Mickey and Goofy game pieces . . . the sky is the limit! You could also make them different sizes and even add velcro to the gameboard and pieces to play it in the car. Other ideas are welcome! ♥
I’ve been making lots of rag-edge burpies lately . . . it was so much fun to shop for all those cute pink and blue flannel prints! This time, though, the parents-to-be had some very specific color requests: black and yellow burpies and a zebra-striped receiving blanket. What fun! You can check out HomemadebyJill for the burpie tutorial, and the receiving blanket is simply two squares of fabric stitched together with rick-rack in the seam (the way my grandmother often used to make them). Put on your sunglasses! ♥
Do you sew or craft while watching watching TV? I do! My latest project was sprucing up an old, plain, silver barrette by wrapping it with embroidery floss and adding a little *fireworks* a-la-mode at the end. It had lots of openings for tucking and winding the floss, so I didn’t even need to use any glue . . . and . . . umm . . . yes, I just made it up as I went along. 🙂 I’ve now given it to my granddaughter (and my one and only piano student!) Ally as a reward for a GREAT lesson, and it turned out to be a perfect match for her school uniforms, too. Now I want to find some more barrettes to decorate! ♥
We had a little family get-together at our house tonight, and Kira and Allyson had fun making monsters we found from Giggles Galore on Pinterest. Aren’t they cute? And I LOVE the beauty mark on the pink one! ♥
I’ve seen the cutest onesies on Pinterest with fabric stitched to the front in the shape of a little necktie a-la-mode for baby boys. Since I now have a bunch of ties from Dave’s closet cleaning project, I thought it would be fun to use those instead. It’s super easy! After you buy a package of onesies and run the neckties through the washer and dryer . . .
(1) Cut six inches from the skinny end of the tie.
(2) Pin the tie just under the neck binding of the onesie, upside down and right sides together, and stitch.
(3) Pin the tie down in place and handstitch to the onesie. (Click on gallery for larger photos.)
I have fun plans for the other parts of these ties, too! ♥
Remember these blue burpies I posted earlier? (Click here for tutorial.) Well, now I’ve been making pink ones as well. That’s right, we have a grandson AND a granddaughter arriving this summer! I’ll admit that I couldn’t choose among all the cute flannels, though, so I ended up getting WAY too much. Flannel baby quilts may follow soon! ♥
A good way to preserve a favorite item of clothing from a child’s preschool years is to upcycle it into a pillow. For example, with just a bit of embroidery, snipping, stuffing, and stitching, this hoodie turned into something new to cuddle and treasure. ♥
Recently I read a post from a fun blogger that included a link to an intriguing craft project I just had to try: bracelet purses for little girls. Aren’t they cute? And they’re easy, too, with the following qualifying remarks . . .
(1) The pdf for the pattern wasn’t quite true to size, so I had to enlarge it a bit.
(2) When shopping for the bangle bracelets, I was excited to find these colorful, floss-wrapped versions in the dollar bin at Michaels. Since they’re thicker than the ones in the tutorial, I added a couple of inches to the top of the pattern.
(3) I had to do a “practice run” to get it right. The first time, I sewed too far up the sides, so by the time I attached the bracelets I could barely open the bag. But the second time around (with a different pink fabric) went off without a hitch. And, after I had to cut off the handles from Attempt #1, I turned the bottom half into a cute basket for some of my vintage buttons, so no worries! ♥
My lovely daughters-in-law never cease to amaze me with their talents and creativity, including birthday party planning. I couldn’t resist posting these candy Legos that Tiffany made. They looked so real that the children at the party studied them, gently licked them, and then finally nibbled the corners before digging in. So cute! ♥
I was wondering aloud what to make for one of our sweet little grandsons for his birthday. “A ring toss game!” piped up Dave. So we put our heads together. He’d make the wooden part from a round tabletop and dowels, and I’d make the rings from embroidery hoops covered in fabric. We even used fat quarters from Grandma Vida, so it was a true family affair. Then, elementary teacher that I am, I made a pad of scoresheets that utilize the concept of tallies and counting by fives to up the challenge when he’s ready. I hope he has as much fun playing with it as we had making it! ♥
For some reason ♥, I can’t resist all the cute baby flannels at the fabric store these days. Thank you to HomemadeByJill for the great pattern and tutorial that helped me learn how to sew these rag-edge burpies. Here are the ones I’ve made so far!
After sharing The Three Questions in my last post, I just had to write about my other favorite children’s book, Pete the Cat. I’ve read it with preschoolers, fifth graders, and grown-ups, and everyone loves its upbeat message. Plus, it’s fun and funny, as shown by these two adorable little “readers.” Enjoy! ♥
After discussing our crazy schedules and hurry-up lives with some friends a few days ago, I pulled out my favorite children’s book, a retelling of a traditional story by Leo Tolstoy, and lamented that I have lately let its message slip. I WILL do better! I won’t divulge the answers to the three questions, but I will say that they can have a huge impact on your life . . . especially if, like me, you sometimes get a wee bit impatient with the unexpected interruptions that come our way. ♥