Monday, January 31, 2011

Free Giveaway: Planet Home

The home overhaul has begun and this month, I've started organizing like crazy, getting rid of things we no longer use and putting my best foot forward in order to maintain a "Green" home. Want to do the same?

This 350 page book is a must have for people interested in maintaining an eco-conscious home. 

This book includes a room by room guides to a greener home including cleaning product choices, sourcing local and organic foods and how to revamp daily routines. 

You can win this book three different ways:

- Add a comment TO THIS POST ONLY = 1 entry (While you are more than welcome to post comments to my other blog posts, only comments to this particular post will enter you in to the free giveaway.)
-  Add a comment to this or any other post on my blog + become a follower = 2 entries.
-  Add a link from your blog to mine (i.e. you can mention the free giveaway in your own blog with a link to my blog - if you do this, please be sure and let me know you've done so in the comments box.) + become a follower + add a comment to this or any other post on my blog = 3 entries. 

You can mix and match these options any way you'd like!

This contest will close on Sunday, February 13th and a winner will be randomly selected and announced on Monday, February 14th. 

Changing Pad Tutorial

When I first began blogging, this was my first tutorial: a baby changing pad. It has become a staple baby shower gift and, for the new sewer, it's relatively easy. The accomplished sewer can make one of these puppies in less than an hour. 

In re-reading my first tutorial, I realized it's not very well written mostly because I didn't really know what I was doing. So, here is a revised, rewritten version of this project, this time, with two folding options. 

Materials Needed:
Outside fabric: 18 x 22
Terrycloth (I used organic): 18 x 22
tab from outer fabric: 3 x 5

Make the tab. Take your 3 x 5 rectangle.

Fold it in half, right sides facing one another and pin. 

sew along dash marks, leaving the bottom, open side unsewn. 

It should look something like this:

Then turn it inside out.

I sewed the Velcro on the tab first. But I wish I hadn't because I sewed it to the mat the wrong way. So if I were you, I would wait and do this once you've actually sewn the tab to the mat. Or you could try sewing it now. 

Now you need to figure out how you want to close the baby mat. You can either do a yoga mat roll-up style like this: 

Or a square version like this: 

But all you have to worry about now is where that 3 x 5 tab will go when you sew the outer fabric to the terrycloth. So, without sewing, put the right sides facing out on your mat, figure out where this 3 x 5 tab will go and pin either to the terrycloth or the outside fabric. 

Place your fabric right sides together and pin all the way around, leaving a 3 to 4 inch gap unsewn (you'll eventually turn the whole thing inside out where this gap is)

Now you need to insert your tab in the proper place because as you sew around the perimeter, you will also be sewing the tab you made to the mat. If you decided to sew your Velcro on first (remember I advised against this) then make sure when you sew the tab, the Velcro is facing the terrycloth and NOT the outside fabric. 

Time to sew around the entire perimeter (sewing on your tab at the same time) and don't forget to leave a 3  to 4 -inch gap so you can turn it inside out. 

Clip your corners and any bulky excess fabric you may have. 

Then turn it inside out! You're almost there!!

Remember that 3 or 4 inch gap you have left unsewn? Now's the time to close it up. Fold the ends of both the terrycloth and the main fabric inward and sew as close to the edge as possible. 

Fold the mat the way you plan on folding it, either yoga roll up or square. Figure out where your Velcro needs to go and sew it on (straight through the terrycloth) all the way around all four sides of the Velcro. This is the time to sew the Velcro onto that tab that was sticking out. 

And there you go! Baby now has a mat for the car or diaper bag or anywhere! 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

That's A Wrap!

Today we have a birthday party to go to and I was in a bit of a wrapping paper funk, so I thought I'd try this technique. 

It was so easy and I think it's looks pretty awesome!

You just take the fruit (in our case, a grapefruit), slice it in half and dab it dry with a paper towel. Instead of using stamp ink, I applied tempera paint with a brush and stamped onto the paper. The paper, by the way, is just the blank side of a grocery bag. 

I'll never look at citrus fruit the same again! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

The 2011 Craft Trend Report is in!!

Want to keep your finger on the pulse of the crafting world? The Craft Trends Report (presented by the Craftster Mod Squad) is in and it's filled with predictions for what the crafting world will bring in 2011. 

Want a sneak peak? Pop culture crafting, organic cooking, natural material, natural colors, shorter hems and fashion from the 1940's and 1970's are all coming your way!

They've also included a list of the ten most visited crafting sites.....spoiler alert...Meremade is not one of them. There's always next year. :)

Click here to see the full report....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Son of a Crafter

I served Cheerios for breakfast.

5-year-old Mr. P. gave me a giraffe in return.
A perfect way to start the day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Attack of the Skirt!

 Betty now also has a skirt!

I followed this simple circle skirt tutorial from Made. It was SO easy! 

I also tried my hand at this skirt (modeled after a skirt I already owned). 

I haven't hemmed it yet, but I just love this material - it reminds me of something right out of medieval times with gold flecks and all. 

I used the tutorial from Turtles to Start to make it. 

Here are some other skirt tutorials I've been saving to try, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I'd love to know if you have any easy skirt tutorials you'd like to share - be it your own or some else's!

I love this idea of an overskirt! So cute!

And an Anthropologie-inspired skirt from Ruffles and Roses

And for those of you feeling uber-ambitious, check out this Coastal Curtsy Skirt from The Dill Spiel. It's just gorgeous! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Growing Potatoes

I've harvested my first batch of potatoes! (and what a mini-harvest it was!)

It was pretty easy to grow potatoes and lots of fun for the kids to dig them up. 

I started with some organic, store bought potatoes in various colors. 

I cut them into small chunks, making sure each piece had at least one potato "eye" - this is where the new potato will sprout. 

I let them sit out over night so that the skin developed a hard film before planting. 

Then we planted them in our small planter, which is about two feet deep. I layered them (although I think the deeper ones didn't sprout.) And then watered them weekly. 

I knew something was happening when greens began shooting up! It was so exciting! (this took a few months to see any evidence of life down there.) 

I read online that you can dig for them when the shoots reach a few feet high for small potatoes or dig for them once the shoots have started to die for larger potatoes. 

I let them grow and grow for seven months (I think?) until the first shoot started to yellow. 

Then we began to dig. It was like digging for buried treasure. We had no idea how many we would find or how big they would be. 

This is our harvest. Six very small potatoes!! But I'm still really proud of them. 

Here they are next to my sunglasses so you can see just how small they are!

Breakfast hash browns for one two-year-old, coming right up!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Molasses Walnut Squares

I have to balance my new addiction to my shredmill class with a passion for baked goods...otherwise, I'd just be far too healthy. 

Tonight, I made these molasses walnut squares inspired by a newly acquired cookbook, Heart of the Artichoke by David Tannis. 

This is a beautiful book, arranged by season. The only other thing I've made so far is the Lemon Pound Cake with Peaches and Berries. It was delicious although one visiting grandparent was overheard saying, "I love a nice, dry, cake." Backhanded compliment, methinks. 

I like this book because it not only features produce for each season but it's also pretty eclectic. 

What I am excited to make:
Spicy Lamb Burgers with Grilled Eggplant
Layered Tomato and Bread Salad
Raviolone with Butternut Squash in Butter and Sage
Breakfast Chilaquiles
Broiled Pineapple with Rum
Lemon Curd Shortbread with Candied Kumquat

What I'm not so excited to make:
Terrine of Pork and Duck Liver
Bollito Misto of Tongue and Brisket with Two Sauces

Well, in a 350 page cookbook, they can't all make my mouth water. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Betty's First Dress

Betty, my new dress form, was tired of being naked. So I made her (er...myself) a dress. 

I had to add the belt from Anthropologie to cover up my mistakes at the waist (it's an elastic waist - my first time working with elastic / my first time making a dress)

I found this pattern through Grossgrain's website. She has a section called A Frock By Friday where she takes you, the sewer, through a project step-by step. It's an excellent way for a beginning seamstress like myself to get, what feels like private tutoring through a pattern. Although Grossgrain hasn't done one of these tutorials in a while, she keeps them all backlogged, so you can just visit her various projects and get some help. This particular pattern is called the Anda dress. Click here to be taken to Grossgrain's Anda tutorial, and make one yourself! The pattern needs to first be purchased at Burdastyle: you can click here to be taken there. 

This dress is all about the material. The pattern is quite plain. I chose a very thin stretchy silk which makes it have a lot of movement. Grossgrain's fabric seems a bit stiffer and shiny. You can see how the two different materials make two different dresses. And she doesn't need to hide the waist with the belt! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Busy Bees

I've decided that I really do identify with bees on those busy days! I mean, these insects are kinda nonstop and I'm curious as to how well they sleep? Do they dream at night? What do they dream about?

Anyways, I'm starting a new label: A Craft and A Book

Before I was a college instructor, I was an elementary school teacher, first I taught kindergarten and then I taught fifth grade. I think the desire to craft and make "lesson plans" if you can call them that, stems from my love of teaching. 

So, this week's craft and a book is all guessed it...Bees!

Mr. P. has been on a "dangerous bugs" kick. He likes me to tell him about all the times I've been stung by bees (over 20 times mind you, the most embarrassing one was when I sat on a bee in 5th grade at a co-ed birthday party. I had to lie on my friend's bed, with my pants down, icing my bottom, when the scavenger hunt that was going on ended up in my room. Love it when the entire class sees you icing your tush.)

We picked this book up at the library last week by Deborah Heligman and Carla Golembe. It's a science book that tells all about the fascinating lives of honeybees. 

Then the boys made their own bees (with a little help from pre-fab bee body parts by mom)

Materials Needed: 

Yellow construction paper
Black construction paper
Black pipe cleaner
Yellow tissue paper
Glue stick

On the back of Mr. P's bee, I had him tell me three things he learned about bees from the book. I didn't worry about whether or not his information was accurate, I was more curious about what he took from the book. 

These were his quotes:
"When the babies come out they turn into eggs."
"They make honey."
"They can sting dogs. They die. If they lose their stingers, they die."

Buzz, buzz. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

We Have A Winner!

And the winner of the 15 sheets of Wausau card stock is....... (drum roll please)

a4x4aspect who recently became a new follower! Welcome and congratulations! I will contact you today about your shipping information.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this giveaway! It was the biggest crowd yet! More soon!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Personalized Bins


So, expanding on my bin tutorial from last week, I've decided to add a little personal touch to these fabric bins. (If you decide to make this project, I suggest reading through my In Bins tutorial first.) 

I followed the same direction for my In Bins tutorial, but I added one step: sewing a fabric photo onto the bin! 

You'll recall in my previous tutorial I used a plate to draw a circle template. This time, I chose three different-sized plates so that the bins would become nesting bins and sit nicely when not in use. 

First, I got out my computer printer fabric (you may recall I used this to make the Big Brother Luvvie project a few weeks ago - I still had some sheets left. )

Then I chose my three photos, printed them onto my printable fabric and cut them out. 

I proceeded to cut out the fabric for the bins per my last tutorial (I've included some of those instructions here for those who didn't see the bin tutorial, but just know that those photos show different fabric than the fabric I chose for the bins with the photographs on them.)

I cut 2 circles per bin, one in the main fabric color and one in a liner color. The diameter of each circle was as follows: 6.5 inches, 7.5 inches and 9 inches. I multiplied each number by 3.14 to get the length of my square panels below (the height is totally up to you). Proceed with the bin process until you get to the rectangular panels. Before sewing the liner to the main fabric, insert this step!

Fold, then iron your borders down on all four sides. Pin and then sew the fabric photograph to the main fabric panel. Aim for a centered placement. As you'll see in the photos, I sewed the photo of myself too high, and the photo of my husband was too low. I finally got it right when it came to the photo of my kids! (Sounds an awful lot like Goldilocks and the Three Bears!)

When you're done sewing, that outer panel should look something like this. Continue with my Bin Tutorial. When you're finished, you'll have a fun and personalized bin! 

We keep our bins on the kitchen counter (where everything gets piles up when we're trying to de-clutter). Now, I can give everyone their respective bin and have them fill it with their own stuff! 


Oh and did I mention they also can double as a hat??