I finally jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon.  It took me a while and even though I have started, I know that I am not using it to its full potential.  Really, for the most part, it is a whole lot of eye candy to me.  There have, however, been a few things that have caught my eye and inspired me at the same time.

This style of wreath was just such a thing.

They are so simple, minimal and … smooth.  Surely a strange way to describe them, but smooth is a word that comes to mind.  I used a straw wreath as my base, and left it right in the plastic.  It would otherwise have made a superb mess.  I have since seen similar designs with everything from foam wreaths to huge initials, all wrapped in yarn or twine.

I also love the felt roses.  They are SO easy to make.  Just cut a circle out of felt, cut that circle into a spiral, grab the outermost end of the spiral and start winding it up.  It just makes itself into the most perfect little rose.

I already have a design in mind for winter… something to decorate and hopefully take away the blahs that are sure to hit after Christmas.  Unless, of course, I find something more inspiring on Pinterest…

… and because I am a bit antsy, I made a diaper pouch for Jonathan’s diaper bag yesterday.  There just happened to be enough scraps left over from the original project, so I had everything on hand that I needed except for the webbing to close up the top.

I used a tutorial from Noodlehead that I happened across as I was browsing my bookmarks.  I got the proportions a bit wrong, so the liner is a bit too small, but until we are using bigger diapers, it won’t matter.  Overall, I think it is pretty cute and it will keep the diapers from getting all smushed up.

Now, I officially take a little break from crafting again. In less than 24 hours, I will be holding a new baby in my arms, after all!

There is something to be said for perseverance and determination.  I had to have a lot of it while working on this project, that is for sure.  The idea is simple enough and the tutorial was clear and simple to follow.  The problem is me.  I cannot sew in a straight line.  When taking on a task which requires one to sew about 100 consecutive straight lines, this is an issue.  I also cannot cut in a straight line.  More of the same problem.

On with my story.

I saw this tutorial on Made for a faux chenille blanket and liked it, but had no real reason to make it.  Enter about-to-be-baby-boy.  Then I was so sure I *had* to make one for him.  I didn’t start sewing until after the other two kids were born, so I was really excited to pick a project for this one.

Ella helped me to choose the fabric.  It is not something I would normally choose, but the main print with lime and white on the cobalt background caught my eye (how could it not?).  I gathered my supplies and started to sew… and sew… and sew.  The monotony was actually kind of soothing.  I sewed as I looked out over the lake this summer.  The lines are a bit wonky, but the overall effect is pretty nifty.  Then I started to cut and before I knew what happened, I had cut a HUGE hole in the fabric.  Well, Dana had a hole, too, and fixed it, so I pressed on… and cut about 10 more of various sizes.  But I was determined to finish the doggone thing.

Finally, today, after much heartache, I finished it.

I made some makeshift patches for the larger holes and will patch the smaller ones as they become problematic.  I just couldn’t leave it unfinished.  The “back”, which is the side with the elephants, is not the prettiest thing ever, but the front is pretty nifty looking.

I am not a fan of the white bias tape, but this was no time to learn a new skill and make my own.  Not great, not the worst thing ever.  I conquered.

Here is one of the big projects that I have been working on. It is pretty much finished now, save one minor maintenance issue.  You may remember a diaper bag set that I made for a dear friend about a year ago that I posted about here.  It was one of my first sewing projects ever and I am happy (for me… sad for her, really) to say that my sewing skills have improved quite a bit since then.  Still rough, but better.

I was very happy to be able to make a diaper bag for my own baby.  The ones we have used in the past are either dirty and worn out or just the bags that are supplied from the formula companies.  Yes, they work fine, but have little in the way of personal style.  The good thing is that after using all of them, I had some clear ideas as to what I wanted.

This time around, I really wanted a simple messenger bag design with few bells and whistles.  The pockets always look like a good idea, but I find that they get in the way and collect junk more than anything.  I toyed with making the lining waterproof, but really, that just makes it harder for me to clean.  I constructed this bag and know I can just throw it in the wash without it falling apart (I hope), and I would rather do that than just wipe part of it down.

I also knew I wanted quiet but not “blah” colors.  I have never been a frou-frou baby bag person.  The baby is not carrying the bag, so let’s keep away from embroidered blocks that spell “BABY” and pictures of Pooh.  I looked and looked in JoAnn fabrics and found most of the material to be the opposite of what I was looking for.  Then, hidden underneath other quilting cottons, I saw this alphabet print and let out a little “whoop!”.  Just what I was looking for.

The next challenge was finding the contrasting print… also hidden.  The plaid is perfect and was the only fabric I found that had just the right tones of green and blue.  For the outer fabric, I used gabardine, I think.  I don’t remember for sure what I ended up grabbing.

The strap is fixed, but if it ends up being too long, I can shorten it permanently.  I just really dislike bags that hang on one arm.   The inside has 2 small pockets, one for my keys and one for my phone.  Anything else will pack in nicely and stay put well enough.  (Those size “N” diapers get me every time… they are SO teensy!)

And, of course, any respectable diaper bag also has a changing pad (based on this tutorial).

I may have put the strap on backwards.  Oh well.  It does not matter to me enough to tear the whole thing apart.  The inside is the alphabet print.

I have made peace (for the most part) with bias tape.  Yeah!  It is kind of fun now.

Then, just for the fun of it, I also made the burp cloths (based on this tutorial).  They don’t match exactly, which is fine.  I actually chose them separately, and must have been in a blue and green mood that day.  (My camera really disagrees with the color choices, doesn’t it?  I can’t seem to edit them to the right tones.)

These are a super first sewing project.  They are easy and functional and allow for some fun decision-making.

Here is the whole set.

The final, special touch – I used the letters from the alphabet print to personalize the bag for the little guy.  Now we are ready to go!

‘Tis the season to say thank-you and give gifts to co-workers, teachers and others who are special to us.  This is not always an easy thing for me, especially when it comes to the front office staff at work.  They do a lot for me all year and yet I do not spend a lot of time with them, so I do not know much about individual likes and dislikes.  I also do not have a ton to spend, but want to give a thoughtful and creative gift.

This year, I decided on a snowman theme.  Each of the women will be welcomed on Monday morning with one of these little gifts, waiting at their desk.

 

Each gift contains a felt snowman bag from Target (I could have made them, but the Dollar Spot made it easy on me), a snowman decoration, two snowflake ornaments, a mini box of truffles decorated as a snowman and some homemade Russian Tea Cake cookies (meant to symbolize snowballs).

The snowman decoration is a child’s white crew sock, stuffed with rice.  Ella helped me pour the rice in (and maybe all over the floor, too, but she really did a great job).  I tied the sections off with white yarn and decorated with puffy paint and felt.  I received a sock snowman once, made from a tube sock and thought it was so cute!  I couldn’t find the old style tube socks, so I improvised a bit.

The snowflake ornaments are from Target, as are the truffles.  To decorate the truffles, I used an idea from this month’s Martha Stewart Magazine.  It was too cute to resist!  I wrapped each box in white paper and had the kids help me with the fingerprint faces.  The scarf is some chenille yarn that I had from another project.

 

The cookies are so yummy.  My Mom has made them forever and I used an All Recipes version, which tastes just like hers.

I think the gifts turned out really cute and hope that the ladies in the office are pleasantly surprised on Monday morning!

Here is the cookie recipe:

Russian Tea Cakes (adapted from allrecipes.com)

1 c.          butter

1 t.           vanilla extract

6 T.         confectioner’s sugar

2 c.          flour

1 c.           chopped walnuts

1/3 c.      confectioner’s sugar for decoration

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*In a medium bowl, cream butter and vanilla until smooth.  Combine confectioner’s sugar and flour; stir into butter mixture until just blended.  Mix in chopped walnuts.

*Roll dough into 1″ balls (dough will be crumbly, you will need to squeeze it a bit to make it stick), and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake 12 minutes.

* When cookies have cooled but are still warm, roll in confectioner’s sugar to coat.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  If you are in need of a quick little project to keep the kids busy, hand out to little ones on Thanksgiving Day, or even use as table decorations, try making a little gang of felt turkey finger puppets.

 

Isn’t he cute?  I whipped up a few from scrap felt in no time (we gave a couple away and I couldn’t find the other one we have left for the picture).

The idea came from Skip to My Lou, always a great place for kids crafts.

Since I don’t have pinking shears, I used a zig-zag stitch for a hint of interest.  I also think it would be cute to embellish the feathers a bit with some stitching.  This will, however, be saved for a day when they last a little longer in our house.  We have already had a feather casualty, after which I heard my son say, “Uh-oh… turkey!” as he mourned the birds loss.    The lost feather was probably from the turkey I made with Tacky Glue.  A glue gun is much more effective.

I also didn’t have googly eyes (bummer), so I used felt for the eyes.  This is probably the only reason our turkeys still have eyes.  Googly eyes are way too fun to pick off.  “Uh-oh… turkey!” again, I am certain.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It just seems wrong to post about Christmas directly after my Halloween posts, but it is what it is, I guess.  Target was in full Christmas mode today with workers all through the store hanging decorations and changing endcaps.

I have a couple of ideas for Christmas, and am getting ready to start on them, right after my husband has surgery to repair his Achilles tendon tomorrow.  Well, at least I think I will be crafting, anyway.  He will be unable to bear weight for 4-6 weeks, so with a 1- and 3-year-old, I may be a bit lacking in the craft department.

But there will be plenty of inspiration, and my latest love is this idea from Jill at homemade by jill.  Jill is the queen of felt and I think that a felt Nativity Advent calendar would be awesome.

Now to find a way to the fabric store…