Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bon Voyage Little Monsters!


These little guys are all packed up and on their way to Colorado where they will be joined by lots of other little monsters. From there they will all go to their new homes where there is a child who will be so excited to love and snuggle them.

I'm so excited to be contributing to this wonderful cause where we make up these cute monsters then send them off so they can go to a special child. As of the writing of this post (11-26-14) there is still plenty of time left if you want to make a monster or two, then you can feel good to know that you are bringing joy this holiday season to a child who needs it.

For more information and the download to your free monster pattern, stop by Craftsy for more information:

http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/11/monsters-to-love

Friday, November 21, 2014

Black Friday - The Way I Remember It


When I look at Black Friday today, it is so different than back in the day when I participated. I did my first Black Friday outing when I was in my late teens. After my kids were born, we made it a rule that no kids under sixteen were allowed to go because it was Mom's day out! 

All the women that were able to go would meet at my mom's house. We would all pile into a car (or two) and head to the Chicago area malls. We would be there when they opened, which back then was around eight. We'd have our lists in hand, and our plan of attack. Sometimes we'd split up into groups of two, sometimes not. We'd always choose a lunch spot and have a fabulous lunch. We would shop all day long. By the time we were finished, the trunk would be so full that sometimes we'd have to bring bags in the car and hold them on our laps. I would actually get about 90% of my shopping done on that day.

Back then, there was no midnight shopping and there were very few big box stores because it was all about the malls. Oh how things have changed! 

It's been a very long time since we practiced that annual ritual. Mainly because of jobs, plus my parents age, etc. Unfortunately some of the lady family members have also passed. Now I spend Black Friday shopping at my computer, and decorating my house. But I look back on those days and I sure do miss them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Project 365 - Week 46


Project 365 - One photo a day for a year. Kind of like a photographic journal of my entire year!

Day 309 - Our first really cold day. It was 28 degrees, and it's been even colder than that! I just noticed that the thermostats reads, "STATUS - heat on."

Day 310 - Yes, it was baby Paige day! She loves her dog so much.

Day 311 - Does it look like someone is trying to tell me something? Like...Let's get sewing!

Day 312 - A cute little creek and walking trail close to our house. It's much prettier in the summer, but still a nice place to walk.

Day 313 -Does anyone else watch The Walking Dead? We are hooked on that show and now we have to watch The Talking Dead that follows.

Day 314 - Monday night candle ceremony for our pets who have passed away. I also like to light the candle when a pet I know is missing. Hoping it will "light the way" for it's safe return. In the past week I know of two pets that were missing, and they both were found! If you want to know more about the pet loss ceremony, click HERE. If you want to make your own candle, click HERE.

Day 315 - I had a tooth pulled this day so I thought it was fitting to have a Frosty for dinner. Agree?

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tutorial - Kitchen Gift Bags


The finished bags measure 7 1/2 by 14 inches, and the ribbon is 9" from the bottom seam. You can certainly make them any size you need. They go together so quickly, you can make up a bunch and even use them in place of wrapping paper.

Supplies to make 1 bag:
1 box of mix, muffin, cookies, brownie, quick bread, etc.
1/2 yard of fabric (will make 2) or a fat quarter
(2) 16" pieces of 7/8" wide ribbon
Sewing thread
String or thin ribbon for hanging tag
Tag (save image(s) included with this tutorial)
Scissors and/or rotary cutter
Flexible tape measure
Cardstock (for card)
Paper if printing out pattern
Hole punch, optional

Note: I purchased 19 to 21 ounce mixes. The box measured 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches. If your box(es) is bigger or smaller, just add or deduct the difference.

Instructions:
1.  Cut your (ironed) fabric into a piece that measures 14 1/2 x 16 inches. Please note that the 14 1/2 inches will be the height or length of your bag. If you are using directional fabric, keep this in mind so your design will not be sideways.

2.  Fold your fabric in half with right sides together, keeping in mind that the fold will be along the shorter edge (14 1/2 inch) edge of the fabric. Measure 10 inches from what will be the bottom of the fabric and make a mark at the edge, where you'll be stitching your seam.

3.  Take your two 7/8 inch wide ribbon pieces and place the two pieces right sides together (if there is a right and wrong side to your ribbon). I rolled and clipped it together so it wouldn't get caught in the stitching where you don't want it to. Place this inside the folded fabric so that the ends of the ribbon are on the mark you just made where the two edges meet. Pin to secure in place.



4.  Take this to your machine and stitch along that edge using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. You will be catching the ribbon in your seam where you pinned it in place. Press seam open, but be careful not to squinch or wrinkle your ribbon when ironing.

5.  Now arrange your "tube" with the ribbon still on the inside so that your seam is centered. This will be the back side of your bag. Stitch across the bottom using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Turn right side out, pushing corners out. If you used a clip to secure your ribbon during stitching, you can remove that now.


6.  Create a hem at the top by turning that edge under 1/2 inch to the inside, then another 1/2 inch. Press, and stitch close to the fold.

  
Note: For an even quicker assembly, you can disregard the hem at the upper edge and cut about an inch away using pinking shears.

7.  Open the box of mix, remove the inner bag(s) and place them inside the bag you just made. Set aside for the moment.


8.  Choose one of the tags that I designed for you, or you can make your own. If you are using mine, click on the image (below) to open, then save to your computer. Once you saved it, you can import the image(s) into your word program, or photo program, and print out. You can either type the name of the mix on the card before printing, or you can hand write after you print. What ever is easiest for you. 





You are also going to want to type, or hand write the instructions that are on the box. Double check to make sure you don't leave anything out. Slip this paper inside the bag along with your mix(es). If you are using this as a hostess gift, or a teacher gift, you might want to neatly cut out the list of ingredients and/or the nutrition information from the box and slip it inside the bag as well. This way they will know what they are getting in case they have a food sensitivity or allergy.

9.  Once everything is inside the bag, you can bring the ribbon around the bag, and to the front. Tie ribbon into a bow while attaching the tag to the bow. Snip the tails of the bow at an angle. 


I like to make mine up no more than a month before giving. I also store them in one large plastic container with a secure lid to keep them safe from critters (like my Yorkie and cat).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Project 365 - Week 45


Project 365 - One photo a day for a year. Kind of like a photographic journal of my entire year!

Day 302 - Couldn't think of anything to represent this day so I took a picture of these mug rugs.

Day 303 - Fabric and supplies for a blog tutorial that will be posted within the next week.

Day 304 - High winds ripped the trim off our house. Brian fixed it right away so it looks good again.

Day 305 - There she is with those sparkly blue eyes. I spent some time with my princess on Saturday!

Day 306 - I know, you think you are looking at a coke can with tape on top. But it's actually my "Coyote Can." I dropped in about a dozen pennies and take it outside with me when I'm taking Bubba out. I shake the can as I'm walking out the door and while I'm out there. Good thing Bubba is used to it!

Day 307 - Monsters in the making! Of course one will go to Baby Paige, but two are going to a charity. You can read about it HERE.

Day 308 - It's that time of year again. Time to insulate the windows!

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Monsters to Love - Lets Make Monsters!



Craftsy is taking part in a program called "Monsters to Love." These are handmade monsters, made from fleece or flannel, and everyone follows the same basic pattern. Of course you can add special touches to make your monster even more special. 

You can download the pattern for free from the Craftsy website, make your monster, then ship it to Colorado by December 12th. I'll be making mine in the next couple weeks. At first I thought there would be no way I could squeeze in another project, but when I think that my monster will be snuggled and loved by a child who needs it, I decided to do this and put something else on hold. 

For all my sewing friends, if you want to put a smile on a child's face, you can pick up your FREE pattern at the Craftsy website. All the information you need is on the pattern. And if you are a beginner at sewing, I just looked at the pattern, and it is so easy!

Click HERE for more information, or click the link below the picture.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Project 365 - Week 44


Project 365 - One photo a day for a year. Kind of like a photographic journal of my entire year!

Day 295 - While getting out my fall decorations I came across the first wine glass I ever painted. It will be the glass I drink from until I bring out my Christmas stuff.

Day 296 - I bought these two pumpkins for 75% off at JoAnn's. Couldn't pass them up.

Day 297 - Does Baby Paige make the cutest black cat you've ever seen or what?

Day 298 - Hello November! For those following along on the quilt block of the month, November pattern can be found HERE and HERE.

Day 299 - A tooth started bothering me on Halloween.

Day 300 - After a trip to the dentist for my tooth, I left with some antibiotics and a referral for an oral surgeon to pull it. Oh the joys!

Day 301 - I had a little painting party at my house. My sister, my niece, and my three year old great niece came. We had so much fun painting glassware. And this is my favorite picture of the night!

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tutorial - Wine Glass Candle Lamps


These are so easy that even the non-crafty person can make them. And you can make them for any occasion. Even harder to believe, they are dirt cheap! I bought the wine glasses at WalMart for dollar each, the scrapbook paper was on sale five sheets for a dollar, and the flameless candles are only a couple bucks for about half dozen. You probably have glue or a glue stick laying around the house, and if you don't have any enamel paint, that too is only a couple bucks. Not factoring in the paint (because you could make lots of candle lamps with one bottle, or leave them unpainted), each lamp would cost you around a $1.50 to $1.75! How perfect would these be to decorate tables at a shower or party? And since they are flameless, they are much safer than real candles.

Also, painting the stems is optional. If you are in a hurry and just want to throw them together quickly, they look cute unpainted as well. They can also be back to your wine glasses when your occasion is over!

To begin, you will need the following items for each lamp:
Wine glass, appx 7" high
Sheet of scrapbooking paper, 8 1/2 x 11 or 12 inch square
       Non directional designs on the paper works best
Enamel paint, usually sold in the same racks as the acrylic paint
Flameless tea light, do NOT use a real candle for this project
Glue stick (I recommend Elmer's, it sticks immediately)
Cardstock or paper for printing out pattern piece
Alcohol and cotton ball or paper towel
Scissors, paint brush, paper plate, glass of water (to clean brushes)




Instructions:
1. Print out the pattern piece above. Click to open the image, then right click and save to your computer. When you print it out, make sure that the little box on the pattern piece measures one inch square or your shade will not fit properly on your glass. Since this is a JPEG image, you might have best luck printing it from a photo program to get the actual size. Set aside for now.

2. Remove any labels and label reside from the glasses. I like to use GooGone for this, but a paste of baking soda, oil, and salt will also do the trick. Wash the glasses in hot, soapy water and dry. 

3. Wipe down the area you will be painting with alcohol. Once you have done this you need to make sure that you don't touch this area with your hands. The oils from your skin can keep the paint from sticking. You will only be painting the stem and the bottom so just hold the top while painting.


4. Paint the stem and bottom of the glass(es). Mine took two coats. Be sure to let them dry completely between coats. Also, if you notice air bubbles, don't worry, they will disappear as the paint dries.


5. The enamel paint you used requires baking to set the paint so that the glass can be washed. Follow the instructions on the bottle of the paint you were using. For example, for the brand of paint I used, I was to allow my paint to dry for 48 hours. After that, I set them in a cool oven, I set the temperature to 325 degrees, baked for 30 minutes, turned the oven off, let them cool down in the oven before removing. Your instructions may be different depending on the brand of paint you used.


6. Cut out the pattern piece and trace around it onto the backside of the scrapbooking paper. Remember to make sure that the little square on the pattern piece measures one inch square. Next cut out the lampshade from the scrapbooking paper. Meet the two straight ends together, overlapping by about a half inch. Secure that overlap with glue or a glue stick. Depending what kind of glue you used, you might need to hold your edges together with paper clips or clothes pins while you are waiting for your glue to dry. You might notice a little point extending at the bottom of your shade, just snip it away.



7. After your lampshades have dried, and your wine glasses have been baked, set a flameless candle inside the glass, then set the shade on top of the glass. The little tea lights will have a little off/on switch at the bottom. So easy! 



NOTE: Although flameless candles are so much safer than a real candle, remember that you are still combining paper with heat (and a battery) so I wouldn't recommend leaving them unattended when they are turned on. Play the video below and you can see how real they look.


video

Sunday, November 2, 2014

DST - Plus, When Things Bring Back Memories

As I was changing my clocks back this morning it brought back memories. The clock you see in the picture is my favorite clock, actually one of the favorite items in my house. It's not just because it's cute, or because I love black cats, but because there is a story behind it.

Several years ago all the ladies in the family would head out to Chicago, Woodfield Mall, or Orland Square Mall for some serious shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Let me tell you, we were serious shoppers! We had our lists in hand, our plan of action, and at the end, we'd load the trunk with so many packages. This day always included a really fun lunch as well. We did have one rule, no kids under sixteen because this was MOM'S DAY OUT. Eventually life changed and some of us started working that day, mom couldn't get out as easily, and we no longer do that. I tried it a few times locally at all the big box stores, but it just wasn't the same, so now I use that day to decorate the house.

Anyway, back to the clock. As I was changing the time on my black cat clock, it reminded me of one of those very special trips. I saw that clock in a gift shop window. I wanted it so bad! The cost was $49.95. Just my luck, they didn't have it in stock and the sales lady wouldn't let me buy the window display. Why would they turn down a sale? Oh well. About two or three months went by and I was in KMart looking for a picture frame, and there it was, that exact same black cat clock! But at KMart the price was $12.99. So I came home with the same clock that I could have paid $50 for!

Every time I change the time, or put in new batteries, or even look at it, I'm reminded of the many shopping trips we all took the day after Thanksgiving. It's not only the clock that I'm attached to, it's the memories that go along with it.

Do you have anything that brings back fond memories when you look it at?

Friday, October 31, 2014

VOTE FOR SHER!


First, I want to thank all my friends and followers for your nominations for the Craftsy Design Contest. Imagine how surprised and excited I am to discover that I am now one of the four finalists in the quilting section! To be the winner of this contest would be one of the biggest honors I could ever imagine as well as a dream come true. We are talking about Craftsy here! Craftsy is the number one pattern shop on the internet. I'm so excited I can't stand it!

So now the voting begins! If you could pop over to the contest page HERE and vote for me, I would be forever grateful. Scroll down to the quilting area, click on the big orange button, and it will take you to the quilting voting area. Look for my Happy Snowman Mug Rug Pattern and cast your vote. All you need to do is add your email address, no long form to fill out.

Thanks in advance!
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