Quick, Easy & Beautiful!

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Sometimes, when I am browsing my favorite blogs, Pinterest or Etsy, I come across some cool stuff I would love to be able to own. But, with me being a stay at home mom, money is tight – especially around Christmas. So, I do without.

One of the things I immediately fell in love with were lovely little “bird’s nest” pendants. They had beads or pearls in the middle of a wire bird’s nest. They are usually sold for mothers, with the number of beads equaling the number of kids a mom has. I would look at them for the longest time, longing for one of my own. And then I found this post on Pinterest! I was so darn excited and had to run to Michael’s right away! And then remembered I didn’t get jump rings and had to go back! LOL! The hardest part of this project was picking the perfect beads. I thought about pink and blue (for my kids) but I don’t wear pastels. I searched and searched, until I came across an assortment from Michael’s, simply called Autumn. They were perfect!!

I ended up using 22 gauge gold wire since it was all I could find. I had the tools and have worked with jewelry making before so didn’t need to buy anything beyond the basic supplies, but you definitely need a wire cutter at least to make these. I strung two beads of my choosing and proceeded to have a sweet little nest made in just minutes. I added a jump ring, put it on a gold chain (purchased at Michael’s) and added a clasp. I will say my clasp is too big for my liking, but that is easy enough to correct.

After all was said and done, I am THRILLED with what I have! See???

I wore it today for the first time and LOVE it! It is so lightweight I can barely tell I have it on! And I think it cost me under $10 to make it, too! Beats paying $15 – $20 and not getting to personalize it exactly the way I want! I highly recommend trying this one yourself! It’s a great intro to jewelry making!

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Christmas Is Coming!

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OK, I love Christmas! No, I LOOOOOVE Christmas! This is my favorite time of year, hands down. I love the cold weather, the lights, the decorations, the music, the gift buying and giving (although I don’t like wrapping!), the crafting, the baking and cooking, the times with family and friends, and the whole meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate. So, I usually start early in the year thinking of new things for my house or for gifts. I already showed some needle felted snowmen I made. And I have more!

In August (on my birthday!), Knitpicks had a big warehouse sale. I am lucky enough to life 30 minutes away, so I dropped the kids off with my Dad and Stepmom (who live 3 minutes away!) and headed over for the craziness. I actually went for the yarn, but ended up enjoying it more for the fabric (from their sister site, Connecting Threads.) While I was standing in the long line to pay, I happened to see a fabric kit that caught my eye. It was in Christmas colors and, although I couldn’t see what it was, there was a pattern included. I grabbed it and was THRILLED! It was my favorite find of the whole trip! I can’t tell you how much I paid because you paid for fabric and yarn by the pound, but I am sure it was ridiculously little for the actual kit. I couldn’t wait to dive in!

I finally got a chance to do some crafting recently – and found the inspiration! The kit I bought was a wall hanging. It included everything except the thread and the batting, so it was easy to do. I appliques on the lettering and the rest was pretty straight quilting stuff. I even hand-sewed the binding on, which I have discovered it one of my all time favorite things! And this is the little gem I ended up with:

I LOVE IT! I love snowmen and snow anyway. The letters and snowflakes are all hand sewn, as is the snowman’s face. It took me just a few days with an hour or two a day to get it all finished. Can’t wait to decorate for Christmas now!

Oh, and because I had lots of scraps left over, and I didn’t want them to go to waste, I made a cute little scrappy wreath. It was super simple and easy. I had it done in about an hour. I got the idea from here for the wreath, but used some wire I already had since we don’t keep metal hangers on hand. I ended up using a double circle of wire so I could get it extra fluffy with scraps. This is what I ended up with:

I’ll add some red ribbon to hang it from the wall. It is really lightweight, but so cute! It is going to be perfect for the season! Super simple! And it was a bit cathartic, too! Instead of cutting all of the strips, I just cut small notches in the fabric and ripped it the rest of the way. Very easy to do, but that ripping of fabric sure felt good! LOL!

By the way, if you haven’t discovered it yet, I highly recommend you check out Pinterest. I am so addicted! It is an amazing site and more and more people are signing up every day. I love it because I can find a recipe or a craft or anything else I am interested in, pin it to my board and no longer will I have to sort through my bookmarks to find something I once saw online. Now, I have pictures and categories. And you can make friends, follow other boards, pin and like other things people post, and lots more. I love to use it to keep track of everything I want to do and wish I could do. You can find me here. And if you sign up, feel free to follow my boards or leave me a note on my blog or on Pinterest to say hello! Hope to see you pinning soon!

Welcome Autumn!!!

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Consider this post a bit of CPR for my blog! Time to revive the blog, get her off the ground and humming again!

We here in Central Ohio, as many others across the country, have had a long, hot summer. I think we were being paid back for our very cold, very snowy winter and then our non-existent, very rainy spring. And I hated it! I am a cool weather, jeans and sweater wearing kinda girl. That is why I love knitting!

Unfortunately, being faced with such hot weather, my crafting comes to a stop. I can’t bear to pick up any yarn, especially wool! Even fabric seems too hot to handle. I even had a difficult time thinking about craft projects I might want to do when the weather cooled down! My kids and I spent the summer days inside many days, just trying to stay cool, or outside enjoying the sun. I have the best tan I have had in 10 years! There were visits to the zoo, the local parks and lots of days at the pool. I managed to get a lot of reading done.

And then the last week has brought us a wonderful respite from the heat. After 97 degrees with 85% humidity on the first two days of September, we settled into a much cooler weather pattern. And by the end of this week, we are supposed to have highs in just the 60’s! And amazingly, I am starting to plan projects again!

While I want to do some knitting, most of my projects for now are focused on sewing. I have a ton of items on my to-sew list. I have everything from hats to American Girl clothes to PJs for the kids. I am actually just starting to work on a rather large project this week, but I will reveal more once I get something more to show for it. It is a special, heartfelt project that I want to make sure gets done right. In the end, the project should help a lot of people I love in a very special way.

So, consider me back from the brink. I am going to aim to post much more often – perhaps aiming for once a week, if not more – as I get back into crafting. And since everyone loves pictures, I will show the only items I made this summer. This used very little wool, was fast and easy and not something that required dealing with amounts of material that covered my lap. Sometimes, needle felting is just the ticket! And yes, I was dreaming of wintery weather when making these!

A pair of sweet snowmen with their little pine tree!

And Mr. Frosty!

These were all needle felted. I used wool I had on hand. I got the idea for the first two from the Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Crafts magazine. (This is a great issue, by the way! Some great stuff in here! You may see more from me using the ideas in here soon!)

Now, time to get crafting!

My Crafty Resolutions

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It is hard to believe another year has come and gone. I will admit that 2010 was a very hard year due to a family tragedy in July that has continued to affect our family, and probably will for some time. But I am determined to make 2011 a much better year. So, I decided to make a list of resolutions I want to keep this year, all with the aim of improving me or my family. I won’t list them all here since this is a craft blog and most are not craft related. However, I will mention that I do have one major crafty goal. I thought I would write more about it here.

The main goal for this year is to just craft more. I know that crafting is a wonderful stress reliever for me. It acts as an antidepressant. I love getting lost in a craft project and spending time doing the very thing I love the most. So, in order to make this year the best one yet, I know that crafting is going to be a very important component for me.

But within that goal, I have some smaller goals. Some of them I have touched on in years’ passed, and I want to either repeat them or actually do them!

My first mini-goal is to work from my stash as much as possible. With the economy, two growing kids and a growing grocery budget, I need my crafting budget to shrink if I want to make it a priority. While I know at times I will require the purchasing of some materials, I am hoping to use my stash whenever possible. I have tons of roving to spin, lots of yarn to knit with, and plenty of material for sewing. I also have a big pack of card stock suitable for paper cutting should I wish to do more of that. I do have several gift cards that I received for Christmas, so I plan to hold on to those when the stash is lacking something I need. Coupled with coupons and wise spending, I am sure I can make them go far!

Second is to try to continue to challenge myself. I need to stay challenged, at least a bit, in order to stay interested. New techniques, new crafts and new ideas will keep me challenged. I am sure there will be times when I will want to fall back on an old stand-by and that is OK, but challenging and pushing myself is one of the surest ways to find satisfaction in my crafting.

Third is branching out in my crafting. My first love is knitting with sewing a close second. I could easily spend all of my crafting time doing either of these things. But keeping things mixed up a bit is another key to beating crafting boredom. I want to keep improving my spinning. I would like to do some more needle felting. And I am just beginning to learn the art of paper cutting. Plus I have clay to play with, too! Gotta keep it interesting! Plus, my wrists and arms will thank me if I don’t spend all of my time knitting or sewing.

Fourth, I want to craft more for me. I have sock yarn, a new sock knitting book and new sock knitting needles and I need socks! I need more in the drawer! So I need to spend more time working on things I need and want. I have beautiful handspun that I need to become more creative with and create something for myself. I have some gorgeous fabric I want to use to make myself something. I can always create for others, but creating for me is something I do very little of.

Fifth, have fun! I don’t want to spend any of my crafting time doing something I don’t enjoy. I want to have fun creating!

And finally, blog more! I need to get better at blogging. It will prompt me to keep creating and documenting what I am doing. I don’t know if I will ever blog more than once or twice a week at most, but even once a week will make me feel more accomplished. Even if I write them all in one or two days and schedule them, having a blog post weekly will make me feel better.

So, there you have it! My main goal and my mini-goals! For some reason, I think this is one resolution I don’t think I will have much trouble keeping!

Adventures In Paper Cutting

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As I mentioned in my last post, we have a very small house. Our dining room is actually the front half of our living room, divided only by the couch. We really only have one actual wall in the dining room (there is a little partial wall, too, and cabinet on the other main wall) and it was bare. I hated looking at it. So, something needed to be done. I thought about framing pictures of the kids for the wall, but then started seeing some fabulous silhouettes and was inspired!

As our house is decorated in “fall” colors, I decided not to do the traditional black silhouettes. Instead, I chose a chocolate brown. I purchased a few sheets of thick scrapbooking paper and a coordinating stripe. Then, I stood my children against a closet door and took numerous pictures of them. I figured out which I liked best, printed them in black and white, used a pencil to outline the actual part of the photo I wanted to use and used that as my pattern for cutting.

I taped the printed picture to the scrapbooking paper to hold it steady. I used an Exacto knife on my cutting mat and slowly and carefully trimmed around each of the pictures. When I was done, I used photo mounting tape to attach the silhouettes to the backing that had been cut to fit my chosen frame. I then decided to cut mats from another sheet of the brown paper. This was actually the biggest challenge for me and I had to do it twice to get it right! Then I got it mounted and had my husband hang them. I LOVE them!

003 I mounted them facing each other.

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My daughter.

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My son.

I have since contemplated finding a side view of Santa and Mrs. Claus and making silhouettes of them as Christmas decorations! I was thinking green for the silhouettes and a pattern Christmas paper underneath? I just don’t know if my husband would go for that, though! 🙂

Fall Is Here!

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Fall is finally here! I LOVE fall! I love the colors, the scents, the cool, crisp air. All of it is so comforting and cozy for me. Although we had a run of near 90 degree temps leading up to fall, the weather finally seems to have changed, it has cooled off, windows can now be opened and leaves are starting to turn. And, when fall starts to make an appearance, I also get the urge to start crafting! I have already shown you some of the sewing I did earlier. But, as I mentioned in that post, the fabric I used was actually just scrap fabric from another project!

I am in a book club with some awesome women! And I finally got to host! Eek! My first thought – what do I need to make or do to make my house feel cozier? Knowing that I had about a month really got me moving. Our house actually works well with fall colors. We have lots of oranges, teals, reds, and browns already, so adding some fall colors with fabrics would not only help transition us to fall, but would actually work well all year long. I had to decide just where to focus my crafting on, though. And the dining room table, where we will gather for our book club, was my first focus.

I knew I needed something on my table. I thought about just getting a vase of fall flowers for the center, but that wasn’t quite enough. I thought about a table cloth, but those are more of a pain for me than they are worth it. Then I decided on a table runner. But I didn’t a long table runner. I wanted something more for the center of the table. I looked on websites, but couldn’t really find what I wanted. So, why not do what I do best? Sew one!

Once I found the right fabric, it came together quickly and easily. I decided to quilt one. Now, I am not a quilter. I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to quilting. I searched for a pattern online for a table runner, but just couldn’t find what I wanted. So, I made it up! I found the description for a disappearing nine-patch and used that. I added the white border (it actually has a pattern to it, but it is hard to see) to get it to the size I wanted. Each of the three blocks are different, but all use the same fabrics. I quilted it on my machine (although I am not very good at that part yet. But I have wrist issues, so I don’t know if I could really manage to do hand quilting) and even made my own binding! Here it is!

IMG_0090 Two of the three blocks.

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Showing the backing.

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A better view of the binding.

And, along with the table runner, I also made some quick and easy floral wire pumpkins. I used the tutorial from a guest blogger on Someday Crafts for the wire pumpkins. I bought rolls of brown floral wire at Michael’s and cut them into pieces, then followed the directions. I do wish I had more wire (I may get another roll or two – they were not every expensive) to fill them out even more. I made a total of three – two smaller ones for the table and a larger one for the entry. The two smaller look so nice on the table runner! And, with the addition of some flowers in fall colors, the table is perfect!

The finished table runner with accessories!

A close up of one of the smaller pumpkins.

The pumpkin in the entryway. (You can see how the rings sort of slant. I think that is because there aren’t enough rings.)

Our house is tiny and needs a lot of work done, but it amazes me how a few simple projects can make the house feel so much warmer and homier. Stay tuned for one more project I did for the dining room! It is one of my favorites!

A Visit From The Tooth Fairy!

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When you have a six year old in the house, you can expect some exciting milestones. Things like the move from kindergarten to first grade, learning to read and losing baby teeth are all such exciting steps towards being a big kid!

For the last 9 months or so, my daughter has agonized over the fact that her baby teeth didn’t seem to be budging. She constantly asked when she was going to lose a tooth. Her friends at school were starting to have wiggly teeth and even lose them. One of her favorite cartoons even dealt with loose teeth. I think she had lost all hope that she would ever shed those baby teeth.

And then, about a month ago, she said her tooth felt funny. I looked at it, thinking maybe she had some food stuck in it (it was right after breakfast) and that was when we made the great discovery – a wiggly tooth!!! Oh, she was overjoyed! And I, being a crafty person, decided that I had to make something for the occasion.

Now, we know that tooth may hang on for months, but I wanted to get started, just in case. I had seen numerous examples of tooth fairy pillows online. Some were simply small pillows with pockets, others were cute little fairies or even teeth, and some hung on the doorknobs, saving the Tooth Fairy the hassle of reaching under a sleeping child to collect a tooth and leave a treat. My favorite came from Mmmcrafts. I encourage you to click on the link and see the cuteness there! And, she offered a free pattern, too!

The actual pillow came together quickly. A bit of planning, a bit of cutting, some gluing and stitching and I had a cute pillow, perfect for my girl’s teeth! See, isn’t it sweet? (And it isn’t completely done yet – I need some thin pink ribbon for the shoes since she is a ballerina! I need to get to the craft store for those soon.)

This pillow is made mostly of craft felt. I used some stiff felt for the wings, then simply coated them with glitter glue, so they actually sparkle. I had a bit of lace I used for the skirt and some ribbon in my stash served as the door hanger. Thankfully, with my huge felt stash, I was able to craft this tooth fairy pillow for free! What a deal!

That tooth is still holding on. The adult tooth is starting to come through behind it, so I am guessing it’s days are numbered. My daughter has yet to see or even know about this pillow, as I plan to save it for the day she loses the tooth. And I am already planning on a boy version for my son, even though it may be another 2+ years until he loses his first tooth!

Oh, and one more thing. A few weeks ago, another blogger, Tiffany over at Simply Modern Mom, introduced me to a new website called Pinterest. She offered a few invitations to join and I got one. I LOVE it! It is a great way to organize all of your bookmarks in a visual way, and you can share those bookmarks with others, too. I have made good use of it, organizing my bookmarks for all of the great crafts I want to try, the tutorials I have seen and just great ideas I want to reference in the future. There is a button for your Bookmarks Toolbar to make it easy to add a “pin”, you can choose from any picture on the page to represent your pin, plus you can see other people’s pins, like them or even repin them to your pin board. It is a great sharing tool and so much fun to use! And so much better than searching your bookmarks for specific entries! It is still in beta testing, so you can either sign up for an account (no idea how long it will last) or you can be invited to join. I currently have 4 invitations, so if you are interested, please let me know! I would love to have more crafty minded friends using the site!

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