Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Anna Sews

For Anna's birthday she got a kit to make a purse.

She was very excited-she had her own needle and thread, and got to practice whip-stitching.
Here she is with the finished product-quite proud.

Thanks Kiki and Joe!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Awesome marriage advice

While blog hopping (ah, summer) I came across this amazing article; The National Marriage Project offers five tips for marital bliss. I'll excerpt the part I thought was fantastic (This is the very FIRST recommendation)

Make Your Own Homemade Goods
In 2008, national restaurant sales fell for the first time in 40 years. While unsettling for restaurateurs, this reversal reveals a promising revival of the home economy. Media reports suggest that an increasing number of Americans are growing their own vegetables and fruits, cooking their own meals at home and even sewing their own clothes.

Families who craft homemade goods may one day look back at the recession as a blessing in disguise. That’s because research shows that household production strengthens the sense of solidarity between spouses, as well as between parents and children. In short, the family that makes together stays together.
Aha! Now to convince MJL that we should make stuff instead of (or while, I'll compromise!) watching TV. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mouse blanket

I found this perfectly wonderful project a couple of months ago and since it was on my Spring List to make something for myself, I settled down to make it.

In the winter, when I'm spending too much time looking at craft blogs and shopping on Etsy, my hand gets cold.
But not with my handy mouse hand blanket!

Fun and silly and perfect.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shirt Purse

I had this shirt from Goodwill that didn't really look good on me (puffy shoulders make me feel like a football player) but I loved the color and the embroidery.

I was browsing through my delicious links, and decided to try to make this purse.

It really was not hard! I followed all of the instructions carefully (a great departure for me) and I'm so pleased with the result.
It has a lining, and nice pockets sized for my phone, and a magnetic snap.

It was a super fun project, and carrying it around and getting compliments is pretty good too. :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trash to...trash can

I had this nice wooden planter, then the bottom fell out, but it was still a lovely shell, so it sat on my project table for 18 months.

Then I hot-glued a nice heavy plastic sack (who can throw those away?) to the inside around the top and made Anna a new trash can!

She had re-purposed her old trash can as a wig/hat stand. (It didn't occur to me to disallow that-just thought I ought to make her a new one. Strange? probably.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Serged tablecloth

One day at the very beginning of summer I took a deep breath and got the serger out of the box. I got it threaded, played around a bit, and then started my first simple project.

I was attempting a rolled hem around the edges of this piece of double-knit fabric from Goodwill.

New tablecloth!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Early Bird Christmas Crafting

You may have noticed my new button over there on the side. I found this the other day, while avoiding my chores. :) I started a little late, but I have made several things already this summer, so I'm not too worried.

Here's the book I made to keep track:
I really like it. It's from the outside box from a DVD (obviously), and I put large envelopes in to act as dividers for different gifting categories, and also as a spot for receipts and other bits of paper, and it has a ribbon/velcro closure which may marginally decrease the likelihood of peeking.

Whee! And yay for Christmas all the year. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer List

So here's the progress on Spring:

Spring 2010:

1. 1 Scrapbook Project. Please. (that's the magic word, right?)
2. Sarah's Birthday gift.
3. Finish Room in the basement with Matthew.
4. Plant Garden.
5. One small landscaping project.
6. Anna jammies!
7. Anna Birthday Dress.
8. Run away with Anna.
9. Make something with Jelly Rolls.
10. Make something for myself.
11. Anna hall pictures.
12. Anna 8x10's for year.
13. Anna and Grammy Rita book.
14. Video Project.

Wow, I feel great about that. Almost everything! That's the nice thing about no school. It kind of feels like cheating.

The summer list falls half in my summer and half in the beginning of the year, so I'm trying to remember that and be reasonable.

Summer 2010 List

1. Keep up with garden and trees.
2. Preserve something from garden.
3. Make something from Jelly Rolls.
4. Scrapbook Project. Thanks to a free photo book offer from Shutterfly, I made Kiki & Joe's Wedding book!! Only 3 years later. :)
5. Complete the Sew Along.
6. Make a facebook page or group or something for my students. Susan is making a page for me! Kind of cheating, but it did get done...
7. Make Christmas gifts. Also cheating a bit, I made some...
8. Go to Oregon.
9. Go to the Cabin.
10. Make Anna a First Day of School Dress.
11. Make Anna a nap mat.
12. Cabin Book
13. Anna Fans Book I got started. This is going to be an enormous project.

Friday, June 18, 2010

2 years.

"Joy is in our hearts"--Sara Groves

Click tag "My Mama" for more videos.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Luggage Tags

Anna and I each got a new pair of pants this Spring, and they both had lovely hard cardboard tags. I couldn't possibly throw those away.

So I cut some cute pictures and words and remade them into luggage tags.

I plan to write our info on them and then maybe use the heavy lamination at Staples, or maybe just let them get beat up. Luggage tags so often are lost anyway...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Notebook frenzy.

Abby sighed sweetly and smiled when I lugged in all of the paper things again.

We made lots of notebooks.

This one was a notebook Susan gave me that had a nice heavy cover and holes that matched the bind-it-all! So I cut some paper, new and recycled, and refilled it. :)

I added an envelope in the back as a pocket. I'm very pleased with this addition. Handy for coupons, etc.

My favorite part of making notebooks is that after making one (out of trash), you can use the bits of paper left over to make another one, and then another, and the good feeling of making something out of trash is exponentially increased every time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Anna Cards

The first week of summer Anna had VBS at BCC, and so Abby and I had several evenings sans kiddo to do whatever we wanted. Which I decided was paper crafting. (It may be appropriate to say whatever I wanted, but she's a good sport). We made LOTS of things.

I saw this sometime ago, and tucked it away in my brain as a brilliant use of the artwork that accumulates. Anna Art note cards!

And then we dug unto the stash of beautiful illustrations from books that have been destroyed and made another set. Abby made these. Didn't she choose some fantastic images?

More to come!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trash (pants) to Treasure (bag)

When we had the fantastically full and fun week of cousins, when JEO and ELO were here, there was much playing (and little supervision). {side note-I wish I had thought of this book) [side side note-I haven't read it or anything, I just like the idea]

One of the fun things was when JEO, working diligently on the small hole in the knee of his pants, came running around the corner, surprised and panicked, with pants ripped from top to toe: "I need new pants!"

I used the other leg to make him a little bag to tote things around in, like a water bottle or sticks or, you know, earthworms.

Idea here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Plan

Sometimes I start to feel overwhelmed and out of control. Summer is so fun! There's so much to do! How will I get it all done?!

So, like any normal crazy person, I made a schedule.

Summer Schedule

6:30 am: Up, Breakfast, read and pray, dress.

7:30: Daily Chores

8:00: Computer Projects

9:00: Sewing Projects

10:00: Up to me!

12:00: Lunch, dinner prep

1:30: Leave for town

2:00: Patrick Dugan’s—work on Class.

3:40: Leave for Abby’s

4:00: Big Pool!

5:30: Sno Cones!

6:00: Laps/Water Aerobics

8:00: Home, water trees, garden, dinner

9:30: Anna Bed

10:30: Betsy Bed

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Garden Bling (FAIL)

Anna and I sat down to make some pretty dividers for our big pot of herbs.

We strung pony beads on some old wire and stuck them into our pot.
Pretty! But too attractive to Bell, who keeps pulling them out and strewing them about the yard. I put the beads back on the wire once, and put the strings into the pot several times, but I finally gave up.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Tea cup pincushion

I found this sweet little blue cup at Goodwill and decided it was just the thing for a housewarming present for my friend Sarah.

When I got home and sorted through my fabric I discovered this perfect little birdy fabric matched! It was a tiny little piece that bothered me, because I loved it, and I wanted to use it in something that would show it off, but it was so small I thought it would be lost among other fabrics.
It makes me so happy when things work out.

(This is a very simple project. Just a styrofoam ball, some hot glue, some batting scraps, and you're done. Here's a link to the inspiration-found in this post from years ago.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ariel Jammies

Last year before Anna's birthday I bought a yard of Ariel fabric to make her some jammies.

This year she finally got them.

Of course she continues to pose like a champ.

I underestimated how much fabric I would need. I was able to cut the front out with Ariel swimming along as she should...
But in order to get the back panel she has to swim upside down and sideways.

Anna likes them anyway.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Ball Fun

We had a perfect day, not too windy, not too hot or cold, with loads of sunshine.

We bounced some balls on the parachute. Little balls, giant balls, it was great.

Then we came inside and made bouncy balls from the kits I found that inspired the whole party. We poured some little crystal/sand-y bits in different colors into molds and then soaked them in water for a little while.

They lost their bounce after about 24 hours, but it was fun while it lasted-and I was glad to sneak in a project. :)

I loved the treat bags. I found ball bags, stuffed them full of all kinds of balls, and we got some ball shaped candy from our local candy store; Ewe's, which has lovely friendly people and free samples and great prices.

We had a ball!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ball Food

Obviously, at a Ball Party we had to eat ball shaped food. I enjoyed trying to come up with this menu, though I still think it was a little scanty. MJL didn't think that anyone but me would eat peas, but I think they would have 'rounded' things out ;).

We had melon balls, rolls, new potatoes, and two kinds of meatballs; maple glazed from Southern Living, and Chicken Florentine from Taste of Home.

Abby and Anna were great helpers, though allowing a 4 year old to help make meatballs required deep breaths from Mama. "It is good for her, it is important for her, it's her party, relax." (repeat)

Taste of Home doesn't allow me to post a link, but they weren't my favorite anyway.

The maple glazed meatballs were delicious. I don't know what the rules are about posting recipes, but I'm going to share this one with you.

Maple-Glazed Meatballs

Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 25 minutes

3 slices white bread

1/2 cup milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup maple syrup

3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (I didn't have any, so I just squirted in a little regular mustard)

Soak bread in milk. Combine bread mixture, eggs, and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Add beef, mix well.

Shape beef mixture into 1 inch balls Place on a rack in shallow broiler pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until meatballs are done. (We did this step ahead of time, and then froze the meatballs. On party day, we just threw them into a crock pot with the sauce.)

Combine ketchup and remaining 5 ingredients in a saucepan, cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until bubbly, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs to sauce, and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve warm.

Yield: 5 servings

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Cake Balls

I'd never heard of cake balls before I spent some time googling for Ball shaped foods. Basically, you bake a cake, crumble it up, mix it with frosting, roll it into balls, and then dip it in chocolate. We made two batches, one with white cake and frosting and one with chocolate. I used vanilla almond bark to cover them. We used this tutorial. It takes a long time. :) Here is a perfect ball I plucked out to take pictures of. Isn't it pretty?

Most of them looked more lumpy, like these

The sprinkles are important, they cover the hole made from the stick used for dipping. They were tasty, and pretty fun to make, but I had lots of good help. Thanks Abby and Sarah and Katrina and Matthew!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ball Party Invitations

OK, I'll finally get started filling you in about our super fun Ball Party.

For invitations, we blew up mini beach balls and wrote the info with a sharpie (I thought as I was finishing that maybe a wet erase marker would have been better? Because then the ball could revert to normal, but it'll kick either way).

Then we deflated them and put them into the mail. I was a little nervous about this step, because I just used regular envelopes and postage, but I think they all came through just fine.