Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Quick Room Fix...

One of my resolutions this year is to finally finish up all those little nagging projects around the house. My husband replaced the shelf above my washing machine the other day- it had come crashing down recently spilling laundry detergent all over the place! I am in the process of painting my daughter's room, replacing the sky blue walls, a flower garden scene and clouded ceiling with plain green and pink walls. I love it though. It seems so clean in there now. I made her a quilt in those colors too- my first quilt ever! It came out ok. She likes it. Rookie mistake though..... it ended up with a straight pin sewn inside of it!!! Whoops!So, the other day I completed another little nagging home project. Look at this picture.... does anything seem weird?Look at the right finial on the curtain rod. Now take a closer look below....

It was missing, so after a futile search for a matching replacement, I made one out of pipe cleaner and black card stock. Pretty sneaky, huh?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Little Break

Well, I just had an unexpected little break from here... my kids, my parents and one nephew and I went down to Long Island to visit my sister and her family. We had fun singing to Mika and various musicals (Wicked, Mama Mia, Joseph....) on the cd player (yes, we are all musical loving nerds).

We arrived on Sunday night. Monday we took the Long Island Railroad into the city. It was great. We had planned on skating at Rockefeller Center, but one look at the ice and we decided against it. It was covered in an inch of water! I can only imagine the wet knees and bottoms after that. So we popped in St. Patrick's for a really quick visit. There was Mass going on so we just quickly took in the building, lit a few candles and left. Then we spotted an Anthropologie store. I have only ever in one once before (also in NYC but a different location) It is such a treat for the senses. I love all of their displays. My 10 year old thought the blue painters tape "sculpture" was the coolest. I bought some letters for the kids rooms and oohed and ahhed over the clothing...but with 7 kids in tow (6 of them boys) we didn't stay long. Then we headed over to the NBC Experience store. Such fun! Alex got to up close and personal with Matt Lauer! I got my husband a Heroes glass. Then it was off to the ESPN Zone for lunch.

While Mom and Dad lingered over their lunch, my sister Meredith had all the boys upstairs playing games at the ESPN Zone (bless her!) Alex and I ran down to the free Oscar display. There were 50 Oscars on display (I just read somewhere that they are not the Oscars that are being handed out on Sunday- those have been sent off already- but these were "extras".) What Alex is holding is exactly like what will be presented to the Oscar winners. I didn't lift it, but she said it was heavy.

The next day we went shopping out in Long Island and guess what? There was another Anthropologie at the mall! AND a Free People AND an Urban Outfitters! I realize that you are all probably rolling your eyes at my excitement, but we don't have any of these here near me. We do have a fantastic mall- that I never go to!- but it doesn't have any of these stores. I also realize that some crafters are upset with store like these for "stealing" their ideas. But, for me, who was in the midst of winter doldrums, to see the bright, inspiring displays, it was a refreshing treat. I also have a soft spot for Anthropologie because my friend's husband designed the interior walls in many of the stores.... and I think his sister is a buyer for them. (The friend I speak of is Heidi who is my ace in the hole whenever someone wants to play 6 degrees of separation. I always win because I know Heidi, Heidi worked for Martha Stewart and who doesn't Martha Stewart know?)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


This is my niece being silly. We had punched hearts out of yellow and purple paper to play a Valentine version of tic-tack-toe that we saw in The Valentine Express. (It's a very cute book.) After punching out the hearts we used the scraps to make this goofy crown... and Gabby amde this face to go with it!

Friday, February 8, 2008

More Valentine fun....

You may think that with all the Valentine projects I am posting that I am some sort of Valentine's Day freak. Believe me, I'm not. My husband and I don't "do" Valentine's Day...and even back in college when I was "dating" (if that's what you want to call it) I had only one Valentine's Day dinner date. I remember it vividly, and exactly how cheesy the whole thing was. But I do remember really liking Valentine's Day in elementary school, except in 2nd grade when a boy tried to give me a necklace and I wouldn't accept it and he sat at his desk crying and trying to break it and I thought he was so pathetic I finally accepted it, only to be mortified about actually wearing it.... but usually I really liked Valentine's Day. I liked making cards for everyone in my class. I liked the lace doilies my mom bought just for card making. I liked trying to be clever with rhymes or how the candy I was attaching to the card fit with the prose I wrote. Also, my Dad always gave us girls cards or chocolates, so Valentine's Day has always seemed more of a kid’s holiday to me than a romantic one.

I have always helped my kids make their Valentine's for their classmates. Last year, when Ethan was in nursery school, I asked him to pick out the treat to give out with the Valentine. He chose plastic watches filled with little pieces of gum. I struggled for a few days trying to think how in the world multicolored plastic watches went with Valentine's Day and came up with little notes that we attached to each watch that said, "Will you be my Valen-TIME?" I thought it was pretty clever. I also used my one and only craft punch to cut out hearts from pink paper and newspaper. The kids stamped them with some stamps I picked up at Michael's. Then I stitched the hearts together, covered them with clear contact paper, and the kids gave them to their teachers as bookmarks. Alex made different versions this year.

Alexandra also wanted to make something unique to give out to her classmates. She has recently been interested in making word puzzles with her grandma, and we thought that might make a cool Valentine.

We found a free custom puzzle maker online (there are many, this is just the one we used). There we typed in all her classmates' names and it produced a word search that we downloaded to our computer. Then I created a page that had the puzzle on one side and a message on the other and printed them directly onto some large label paper. (This paper is so cool. We use it a all the time! It is an 8.5 x 11 full sticker sheet. It comes 10 to a package, and we get it at the $1 store! How cool is that?) We cut the sticker sheets out, and stuck them to the cards we had cut from some scrap booking paper. (The cards are 4 x 4 when folded. You can get 4 cards from a sheet of 12 x 12 scrap booking paper.) Then we cut two slits into the folded side, folded the slit into the card and inserted a pencil into it!

So, two of my three kids are ready fro V-day. Now I just need an idea for my 8-year old Hudson, that is cool and not too embarrassing for a 3rd grader to pass out to his class. Any ideas?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Play Food!

I saw some fabric food on colorfool's blog and thought that is was just fantastic....and a perfect project to take care of some of the scraps I have laying around.

So I made breakfast...eggs, pancakes and bacon (using felt, some white material I used to make Alexandra's Halloween costume in 2006, some linen-like material and rick rack)...and lunch... a burger with everything, some fries and cookies for dessert. The "meat" is from a sweater that I used to love but stupidly shrunk. I made mittens out of it too. You'll recognize the lettuce from the Peter and Wolf grass. The pickle is leftover from a 50's style skirt I made for my niece that matches the one I made for Alex. The cookies are felt and some pink I used in Alex's quilt (and the patchwork bib). The fries are actually salt dough.

One of the little ones I baby sit for thought that the food was pretty cool. She wanted an apron so she could be a waitress. I scaled down the Bend the Rules vintage apron pattern and made a really big pocket to fit the order pad we had laying around.
She's all set to take your order!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bean Bags

When cleaning off my sewing table I found these.... recognize them? They are the neck holes from the Bend the Rules bibs I've been making. (They look like speach bubbles- don't they?) I hated to see them tossed... and seeing that they were the perfect size for bean bags, that's what I decided to make from them.
I just stitched them together, leaving the turning opening at the point of the "speach bubble", turned them, filled them with split peas, and voila....

...weird, kidney shaped bean bags. Perfect for my kids to throw at eachother. Great.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Valentine Garland

This is a simple Valentine garland I made last year (but hung it up again this year). As you can tell I have gotton quite a bit of use out of my one and only craft punch! This was made from regular newspaper and red construction paper, and then simply sewed together using a zig zag stictch on my sewing machine. We used a similar technique to make some Valentine bookmarks as teacher gifts last year.

I was inspired by Courtney's mitten garland.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Just a few quick bibs for some little friends and nephews.... they all need to be ironed. The dark blue one still needs a snap....and hmm, it looks really boring in this picture. The green alien one will have a pair of pants to match, as soon as I get over my fear of making them! I love Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing!

Friday, February 1, 2008


Hello! I have decided, after some prompting from a friend to do something with all my crafty projects, to start this craft blog.

I have been an avid reader of many craft blogs for over a year now and am pretty excited to take this leap. Pretty scared too.... what if everyone else thinks my stuff is crap???? Anyway, some of my favorite crafts blogs that I check almost daily are Angry Chicken, Two Straight Lines, Artsy-Crafty Babe, Soule Mama, Artsy Mama...

I'm not new to the blogging world though... I have kept a "family" blog for over a year. It is mostly about my kids and all the stuff they are up to, and I think only my family and a few friends read it. You are welcome to check it out if you'd like.... Some of you are so adept at blending the crafty blog with the family stuff, and it probably should be that way if creativity is important in your life. But since I started my other blog as a family blog, I felt weird talking about the projects I was up to.... I don't think my extended family cares that much.

So, here is my first project. It's not really all that exciting, but I have to start with something.... oh wait! I guess the picture header is really the first project posted here. It was a gift I made for my kids' dance instructor. She is due with her first baby in March and therefore wasn't able to do the spring production of the Peter and the Wolf ballet that she usually does. (She would normally put on about 4 or 5 shows at different schools for school age children. Last year my daughter played the Grandfather in one, a hunter in two productions and Peter in another, so Peter and the Wolf was a major part of our home for a few months. I even helped out with costumes, making the Grandfather's, Peter's costume and the hunters, worked a little on the duck and the wolf costumes, and helped out with scenery.) So I gave her this little quilt for Christmas. I framed it in a plain white frame, hoping it would coordinate with her baby's room. I was inspired by the mini quilts that Amy Karol of Angry Chicken and King Pod does.

So, finally onto my first project... like I said, not too exciting... it is a Valentine project for my kindergartener, Ethan. He came home from school with two giant paintings of, well, nothing... just colors. So I cut hearts out of them...

...then I created a simple bookmark on the computer, and printed it out.We then glued a heart to each book mark, so they say "I LOVE TO READ!", cut out each bookmark, covered them with clear contact paper, punched a hole in the top and added a ribbon.

If I was the type of person who actually plans ahead I would have bought a few of the $0.95 books from Scholastic Books each time Ethan brought an order form home, which is like once a month, then we'd easily have 15 books to hand out with his Valentine bookmarks without breaking the bank. But since I am not the planning type I am frantically searching eBay for some cheap new books he can hand out to his classmates.

I'm pretty happy with this Valentine because

  1. it was E-A-S-Y!
  2. it was pretty original (I think)
  3. it is candy free!! Now, don't get me wrong, I like candy, but kids these days are handed candy every time they turn around... the bus driver gives them candy on "pay day friday", the music teachers gives out chocolate in chorus, etc. etc. Just doing my part to keep the cavities at bay!
  4. it is not too "Valentiney"... perfect for a boy to give out, and gets us far away from the (crappy IMO) pre-packaged Cars or Transformer Valentine's that every other boy will be handing out

If I were to do this again I would do two things differently.... move the "I" down a bit... it is sort of floating around in space up there at the top of the bookmark, and ask Ethan's permission to cut his paintings first. I was a bad, bad mama and didn't do this. He was sort of mad at first, but changed his mind when he saw the finished product.