Sunday, April 8, 2012

So long, Farewell

So you may have noticed that I haven't been posting.  I decided something back in January but I was giving myself a few months to make sure it wasn't just a whim.

Lately I've been getting a lot of people commenting that they wish they had as much free time as I do.  Gotta say, it totally bugs me.  I don't really look at my time as free - just scheduled out differently.

We all have 24 hours a day.  We all decide how we will spend it.

I love crafting and I have decided to devote a lot of time to it.  I'll even say that sometimes I devote too much time to it.  I give up sleep, social stuff, more sleep, cleaning, and time for reading.

I try really hard to keep a simple life so I can feel more "in control." When I can only give a half-hearted effort, I feel bad.

That's how I've always felt about my blog.  I like to share my projects, but I just don't do it very often.  It's always a guilty weight on the back of my mind.

So to feel a little more successful in my life, I've been cutting out a few non-essential things.  For me, it's my blog.

So thanks for reading.  So long.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Flip-up farm book

Sometimes I feel bad for my daughter when it comes to our household books.  Big brother had all the fun flipping and tugging and pulling all those interactive things you find in books.  He also had some fun chewing and tearing and, in extreme cases, shredding into tiny bits, those interactive things you find in books.

This was one of his favorite board books.

"Who says oink?"

"A PIG!!!" 

He loved that.  

He also ripped off the flaps of some of the pages and the background of another.  I always try to watch to make sure he treats books well - but my success rate wasn't great back when he first got into books. 

This is another of the books I really like that isn't in great shape. The binding is really loose.  I picked it up from the thrift store because I liked the pictures.

For my daughter's first birthday a few months ago, I decided to combine the books to make something that was still fun for her, but wasn't so easily destroyed.

Here is my Flip-up Farm Book. 

It has the same lift the flap feature, and though not quite as illustrated, is a little better in baby hands.

I took pictures to show how I made this book, but I've been unable to find the measurements I used.

Is it wrong to assume that if you are the type of person that is going make one of these, you probably know how to just figure it out without my help?

I always assume that.

Let me know if I'm wrong.  I'll make a tutorial.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Etsy Shop has Stuff in it!

I listed a few things for sale in my Etsy shop!  After having it for two years, I thought I'd try to use it.

I have some "I'm Super" t-shirts.

And a few Fish Bowl Matching Games

If I work hard over the next few weeks, there might even be more.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Are you thinking about Christmas 2012?

The week after Christmas is a good time to get ready for next Christmas.  I always buy gift wrap and decorations after Christmas.  Sometimes I'm really good and I make my Christmas cards for the next year too.  I thought I'd pass on a few ideas we used this year that worked well for us.

This year, we used this Santa's beard count down from Inviting Printables.  It was great for a little three-year old.  

Silas: "Mom, is today Christmas?"
Me: "Is Santa's beard full?"
Silas: "No."
Me: "Then it's not Christmas yet."
A few days of this conversation and he got it.  He kept an eye until it got close to the day.

This printable nativity is so sweet.  We used it this year.  I hope to get one painted for next year, but I'm printing off a copy in case I don't.  There's also a version that you can color yourself.

This year, I made some lumps of coal that were featured from the ladies at eighteen25.  I thought they were a funny idea.  My husband thought they had a funny aftertaste because of the coloring, but I thought it wasn't bad.

I made a bookmark like this one from Creative Family Moments for my mom.  I think they're pretty funny.

I'm thinking if I can find affordable bottles and supplies, that I want to do this for my neighbor gifts next year.

My goal this week is to find a little time for me.  I want to read a book or make something from my "for me" Pinterest board

Maybe this:

Or these:

And time for this isn't possible, but wouldn't this one be nice.  Mm. Cozy.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Box to Open - Again and Again

In case you missed it over at Twin Dragonfly Designs, here's my tutorial for a reusable gift box.

This little guy loves opening presents.  He always has.  Even on his first birthday, he tore right into them.

But sometimes I see all that paper, balled up and sent to the garbage and I feel kinda bad.

" I should really make some re-usable bags for these things," I think to myself.

But opening up a fabric bag isn't quite the same as tearing wildly into some exciting package.  Especially for a three year-old boy.

So here's a re-usable fabric box that maybe isn't quite as good as wrapping paper, but still kind of funny.

It'll still be around when he gets too cool to go crazy for the wrappings.

Like the other boy of the house.

Why yes, these pictures are of my boys cleaning the bathroom.  I look at them when I'm mad.  It makes me not mad.

To open it, you just unzip.

Oops, still not there.  Better undo that bow...

No?  Try undoing the buttons....

Ah, there we go.  Jackpot. Well, if it had something better than newspaper.  Or socks.

Here you have it:

The Open-it Again and Again Box

You'll need: (quantities will vary depending on your size of box)
I used:
1 yard red felt
part of a white t-shirt
12 inch separating zipper
4 1" buttons
ribbon and felt scraps

Start by drawing out your measurements.  I picked felt on purpose so I would have a quick box and no need to finish edges, so I didn't worry too much about seam allowances.

I planned a box that would be about 12" x 8" x 5".  About the size of a shoebox.

I cut two of the big pieces and sewed them together.  I figured the box would be stiffer and hold its shape better, but one layer would work too.

If you cut one to my measurements, it will look a bit different from the picture.  I cut it too big and had to cut it down as I went.

To the big piece, I sewed on 2"strips of white t-shirt for a little peppermint stripe.  I just eyeballed it, but I suggest you measure.  I'll show you why later...

I cut 4 of the 5" x 12" piece.  Then I sewed pairs together to give me two flaps. I added a few green spots.

Now you're ready to start assembling the box.  Get your big piece and fold two side flaps wrong-sides together. 

Measure in pin five inches up.  Sew. 

Complete this step for all four corners.

It'll start looking more like a box.

To get an even better boxy shape, pinch a fold between the bottom corners of the bag.  Sew the fold about 1/4" in all the way around. 

Do the same to the top folds.

This is the time to add a zipper.  I left mine exposed. 

Trim your flaps to make sure they're straight.  You want the top of the box, with a zipper to be as wide as the bottom (about 8" in my case).

Lay each side of the zipper on a flap and pin.  Check to make sure it zips up the way you want.  Sew it on.

Here's where I started to think my box reminded me of the Cat in the Hat.  It was confirmed when my husband walked in and said, "What's the Cat in the Hat box for?"  I added just a touch of Christmas ribbon to help tone down the Seuss look.

This was when I realized that my eyeballing and rush created a problem.  Can you see it?

Crooked stripes.

The perfectionist in me wanted to start over.  Lazy me won out with unpicking  and cutting off the top stripes and adding some more t-shirt pieces.

I honestly don't know what I'll do when my son is no longer three and he cares about whether or not the things I make for him look good.

Let's not focus on that now. 

Once you have the zipper done, you can check the second set of flaps.  Does the width fit the outside of the box?  You might need to trim it a bit.

Add a ribbon to the shorter side and a few button holes to the other.  Just be sure to measure and make sure that the flaps, when tied together are 12" the long way.

Add the last set of flaps by sewing the long side just under the line where the zipper flap folds open.

Add a few button holes and sew on some buttons.  Be sure the flaps, when closed, are 8" across.

Another consideration:  I planned all my closures thinking about whether or not my son would be able to undo them.  I didn't think about the fact that as soon as I'd finished sewing it, he would take it and start trying to wrap up his toys in it. I might have to go with Velcro instead of a bow next time.

And you're done.  A fine project for the little guy in your life.  Add a ruffle, and you're good for the girls too.  Ha!