Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cheap and Easy Advent Idea

So, how was your last weekend? Did you brave the Black Friday crowds? Did you get over your turkey hang-over? Take advantage (maybe a little too much) of the Cyber Monday sales? I'm only slightly sad to say I did not go shopping on Black Friday (unless you count picking up prescriptions and getting blood drawn). And, I spent very little money for Christmas over the weekend (already made most of our purchases earlier in November). But we did work on some Christmas projects (that I hope to show you more of this week).

Since we are headed back to the States the second week of December, I planned to make an advent calendar specifically to count-down to our departure date (instead of Christmas). I wanted it to be simple, not too time consuming...and cheap.

I have this thing about saving toilet paper tubes, I know it's a little strange (since it's almost an obsession)---and last year's advent calendar was also made from tp rolls. Anyway, I grabbed what tubes I had on hand already and a few other supplies. If you would like to try this project, see the list of supplies I used below. These would also be great to fill with candy for your neighbors, or for students you teach (school, church, etc.) or to set out for your postman/woman...

What I used:
-toilet paper tubes
-patterned scrapbook paper
-glue stick
-black felt tip marker (or number stickers would work as well)
-black ink pad (I used a small scrapbook stamp pad)

 I started by cutting paper strips about 1" wide by 6" long, then glued the strips to the tube using a glue stick. Then I stapled the top of the tube shut (stapling over the paper strip).
I drew the numbers on the tubes by hand using a special felt tip marker bought near the scrapbook supplies (I don't remember the specific store, but probably in Utah awhile ago). Stickers would also work well if you don't want to look at your lovely handwriting all month long...or vinyl cut with a cricut/silhouette machine. Then I took smaller scraps of the patterned paper and wrote festive activities on them, folded the scrap paper, dropped it inside the tube, then stapled the other end shut (creasing the tube the opposite direction from the first end of the tube).

 Then keep going until you reach the desired amount of tubes (like 24 as a count-down to Christmas, etc.).

 Once all the tubes were sealed, I used the black ink pad and smudged up the ends and creases. I think this step gives the tubes a little more character...and helps the project look less like toilet paper tubes :)

Here are the finished tubes waiting to start the count-down.

And because I like to hear other's ideas for this sort of thing, here are a few of the festive activities I wrote on the pieces of paper:

-learn and sing a Christmas song
-make cookies
-color a picture of Jesus
-write a letter to Santa
-make a gingerbread house
-draw  picture for Grandma
-watch a Christmas movie/show
-pack suitcase (included because this is an advent to count-down to when we leave PR for KS and visit Grandma and Grandpa)
-wrap a present
-make a present
-read scripture story about Jesus' birth (New Testament)
-read scripture story about the signs of Christ's birth (Book of Mormon)

Okay, now I'm getting excited for Christmas...good thing there is only a few more days until December ;) Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Handful of My Favorite Deals This Weekend...

Just as the title says, I wanted to let you know about a handful of deals going on this weekend...all of which I think might interest you :

ZLilly Accessories:
Many of you may know that I also run a small business on etsy - a few examples of my work sit on the left side bar :) I'd love to give my new friends (that's you) a special deal: 30% off your purchase! Use coupon code: CYBERMONAP for 30% off your entire order. Feel free to share this with anyone and everyone you think would be interested in fun and different children's clothing for Christmas (or whenever). Thanks!!!

Sugar Bee Crafts:
Mandy has a list up of some awesome businesses that are giving Sugar Bee readers special discounts. Check out the full list here.

How Does She:
Check out this great list of different Gift Guides for everyone on your list.

Paper Coterie:
50% off entire site for 1 day only...you can fill up your cart now, then checkout on Monday and use this awesome discount: CYBERMONDAY

DownEast Basics:
30% off total purchase with code: THANKS (now through Monday)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Faithful Friday: I've Done It Again...

Well, peeps, I've done it again...

I have a confession to make, I found out this week that I posses a type of super power. Now this super power is pretty awesome but like all those in comic books that hold super powers, it comes with a fairly heavy price.

Are you just dying to know what I can do???  Here goes...I can make people. Not just like any other woman on Earth, there are fewer of us than that. No, I can make people outside of my uterus. It's a misunderstood gift, but an interesting one at that.

And I found out that I've done it again. I am growing a human in side my body, but not in my uterus...sigh

And since the doctors and I have yet to figure out how my gift can help humanity---without compromising my own health, of course--I was shot. In the butt....and this shot will (hopefully) remove any life-threatening creativity happening in my body.

As you may have been able to guess, my tongue is still pressed firmly to my cheek on the matter. However, it is a perfectly good coping mechanism (after dry sobbing, angry thoughts, and bawling your eyes out-all of which I can safely say have been crossed of my list of things to do the past couple of days). I'm sure my mind and emotions will continue to battle epically in the coming months, but I do see a shorter (possibly by millimeters) emotional recovery. My physical recovery, however, may be slightly longer than my surgery because of the shot...

And only time, and lots of blood testing, will tell what lies in the future for this imperfect Super Mom!

Wish me luck :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thrid Thursdays with Tash: Holidays and Hair Flowers

Remember, on the third Thursday of every month, my Sis-in-law, Tash, writes about her recent crafty adventures. Take it away, Tash!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  It’s that magical time of the year that makes me think of three things.  First, I’m truly grateful for what I have.  Then I’m grumpy that I’m forced to listen to Christmas songs while shopping.  And last of all, I think of purple wedding accessories.  Yes, I did just say purple wedding accessories.  Along with planning a turkey dinner for my husband and me, Christmas presents, and how to pack them in two carry on suitcases; I get to help with a wedding.  I was asked to make the jewelry for the women, bolo ties for the men, and hair flowers for… well any family member that wants one.  I think I’ll draw the line at bald men though.  After all they don’t have hair to put a flower in!  ;D

It’s been a fun experience making so many hair flowers.  Normally I craft a few here and there for friends and family, so they end up looking the same.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time, right?  This time I branched out and tried a few new things. 

My favorites so far are the white ruffled flower, and the purple ones with lots of petals.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have more hair flowers to make, and a checked luggage suitcase to buy.  I guess I should think about making dinner too.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hemming Jeans Using Existing Hem: Tips and Tricks

So there are a number of tutorials floating around on the subject of hemming jeans...particularly the tutorials that keep the existing hem (so it doesn't look like you've actually shortened the pants yourself). If you have no idea what I'm talking about, or need a refresher, check out these lovely tutorials on the matter: Sew Much Ado, Make it and Love it, or this Youtube video.

 Well, I'm not going to re-invent the wheel, but I thought I'd share with you a few of my tips and tricks:

  •  Using a zipper foot lets you get nice and close to the existing seam (of the existing hem). I also move my needle all the way to the left while using my zipper foot (pictured) while hemming jeans. The closer your stitch is to the original, the less noticeable it is once you flip your 'cuff' to the inside.
  • If you have tried to hem jeans that are not a perfectly straight leg (for instance a pair of bootcut, flare, etc.) or you are shortening jeans more than 3 inches,  you may have noticed that you have extra fabric...meaning the circumference of the existing hem is greater than the circumference of your 'new' hem. I like to take a little pinch on both side seams (inseam and out seam), placing your new stitch right over the existing side seam (to camouflage your handiwork). I'm lazy, so I don't even change my presser foot back to the standard foot for this, I just use the zipper foot. (and I even left my needle in the far left position (pictured) as well...I told you I am lazy)
  • You can hand sew the excess fabric (or 'cuff') up into the pant leg, or be lazy like me, and put a running stitch down the side seams straight through your added seam. As you can see, I kept the zipper foot on and the needle as far left as possible so I could hide the stitch near the fold of the side seam. I also like to tack the front and back of the 'cuff' to the pant leg as well (not pictured), but I use either a darning stitch or a tight straight stitch (and make use of the back stitch feature) in strategic spots, so my foot doesn't get caught in the 'cuff' when putting the pants on...or the extra fabric in the back doesn't drop/slide under my heels when I'm walking.

Okay y'all, those are my special tips and tricks to easily hem jeans while using the existing hem. If you have any extra pointers, feel free to comment below-I'd love to add your ideas to this post as a reference guide :)

Happy Sewing!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

What I've been up to....

So, I have once again slacked on my blogging skills to catch up with the rest of my life...sigh. And I fear my posts may be a little less regular as we approach the fantastically frantic time frame we call Holiday Season because I've made plans to make a number of gifts this year (like every year I guess, but I'm sticking to it this year!). And, since all of your lives are getting busier as well, I hope you wont mind :)

Since it's been a few days and a weekend from my last post, I'd like to catch you up on what's been happening to me and my family....

 Widget thought it would be funny to add the Cat, the Dog, and the Cow to our Halloween moon display...like Hey Diddle, Diddle! (the nursery rhyme). Get it? They're jumping over the moon!
Here is a close-up of the Cow...with the udder and everything!

 I started babysitting part-time to help a friend out, this little girlie loves birdies :)

 My computer has been on it's last leg for, well, months now...so we finally took the plunge into the world of tablets. I'm excited for my Surface tablet (I wish I was paid to say that, but sadly I am not), but I have not been as thrilled with the software (Microsoft 8). The app store is slowly adding new apps, but I have yet to find a good one for blogger, GFC/reader, etc. If you have any faves, I'd love to have the information. I struggle waiting for things to happen (understatement of the year), but I do realize that when you buy something 'brand new' in the market, things like apps have to play catch up. Check me off as just joined the retro game of Waiting....everybody's doing it

Last Friday afternoon, I was working on a paper piecing (sewing) project...for a Christmas gift (that is why the project is not also pictured) and I had a little mishap...well, really it was a big, bloody (not cussing, actual blood), tear-filled blunder. Let's just say my rotary cutter and my left index finger had an excruciating battle, and the rotary cutter stood victorious. (Just be glad you don't get to see the picture I texted to my Hubs shortly after the occurrence...not pretty.)
But my finger sported a lovely duct tape ensemble until Saturday night, then changed into something a little more comfortable and revealing...like a regular ol' finger bandage. We (my finger, pride and I) are on the long road to recovery but everything looks like it will heal well-ish.

And since I couldn't get my newly damaged finger wet, I sat outside the pool on Saturday taking pictures and videos of Widget overcoming her fear of jumping into the water. The most helpful thing for her? Using a snorkel mask (minus the snorkel/mouth piece) so she didn't have to remember to plug her nose every time. Worked wonders!

So peeps, what have you been up to?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote! And an Openhouse

Happy Voting Day peeps! For my US readers, I just want to remind you (if you have not already) to head out to your designated voting stations and cast your vote for the Presidential candidate and all your local politics. I am grateful I live here in the United States of America, and have the right to a participatory roll when it comes to government and politics.

Okay, so I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I went out-of-town (back to Missouri/Kansas)...it was to attend my cousin's Open House (2nd reception) for the groom's family. I am technically on the bride's side of the family, but this reception was a lot easier to get to than the Utah reception.

I did not help decorate, but the centerpieces and such were so pretty, I wanted to show you how wonderfully the groom's aunt had decorated the space. Maybe this will even give a few of you ideas for your large gatherings: wedding receptions, baby showers, family parties....maybe even a little inspiration for your Thanksgiving feast. Take a look...

Aren't the pearl accents so pretty with the black and purple color scheme? And the stark difference between the tall vases with mini candles makes a very appealing focal point at each table. It makes me swoon just thinking about event planning and party decorating (two of my most favorite things I dont get to do very often).

What are some of your favorite things that you don't get to participate in often enough?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Handmade Cards for Fall & Family

I taught a card class a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share some of the designs we worked on:

We made a Halloween card (since the cards were completed before Halloween). I found some cute paper that looked like a frame gallery, but each frame was filled with pumpkins, ghosts, skulls, bats, or Halloween related sayings. I cut each frame out individually, and each person picked which they wanted to use. These are the two examples I took to the class, but the ladies came up with a few other options; including overlapping frames and more white space.

This is my 'Happy Fall' card layout. I like to incorporate ribbon (or in this case: lace) in some of my card designs (also see below). I hand wrote Happy Fall across the bottom of the tree paper, but another phrase would also be nice, or blank.
This is my Thanksgiving card...notice the browns and orange are reminiscent of the traditional Turkey Day feast? Okay, so that might be a stretch, but this card was inspired by November traditions. I wrote lots of words, that have to do with Home, on the orange paper-and tried to make it look like subway art. I later printed out some printables for the ladies to use instead. 

My last fall card is actually only 3" squared. I started with a shimmery bronze paper, then let the printed paper do all the work. Again, I hand-wrote *thankful* but other words, (such as Thanks, Family, Love, etc.) could also work.

And, since boy crafts are harder to find, I made this lovely Pirate themed card. It would be great for a birthday card, or maybe a birthday invitation.


 I left the blue square blank (until I use it), but here is an example of text you could use:

What kind of cards/tags would you like to see for December? Any color preferences?