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Friday, February 27, 2009

Roll Call! Who's In?

Thanks to everyone who has already contacted me about donating handmade items! If you're "in" please leave a comment on this thread and I will put you on the list! Let's see how many people we can get involved! :)

1. Stephanie
2. Teresa
3. Sarah P
4. Dawn
5. Lisa
6. Lisa FN
7. Melissa
8. Jen
9. Molly
10. Kim

Bibs & Blankets - Here's some help!

I woke up this morning with a big smile on my face thinking about bibs and blankets (okay - not entirely true. I had to have my cup of coffee first!) After the caffeine kicked in I started browsing the web for different tutorials to help with this adventure. I can't tell you how many creative ways I found to make bibs and blankets! The more and more I thought about it the more I think that for this project everyone should have the freedom to choose how they want to make their own. After all, every kid is different so every kid will have their own preference. Snaps, no snaps, Velcro, no Velcro, pocket, no pocket...you get the idea! However, if you are new to sewing or just need some assistance here are some guidelines:

Receiving blankets:
The orphanage has specifically requested "receiving blankets." Typically if you buy a receiving blanket from a store they are 30" square. However, if you want to swaddle your baby it is better if the blanket is slightly larger. Consider making a blanket that is 34-36" square. Of course you can accessorize with embroidery, rick-rack, etc. but please remember not to embellish with anything that may be a choking hazard. Light-medium weight fabric is recommended. Cottons, cotton-flannel, etc. Think of something that is soft to the touch.

There is really no wrong or right way to make a bib. Rounded, square, open, closed, Velcro, snaps, etc. You decide!

Check on the right hand side of this blog for some helpful links. I plan to include links to tutorials as well as links to websites where you can purchase patterns if you prefer it that way. I will also start posting different sites where you can purchase handmade bibs/blankets. If you know of any more please leave a comment with the link.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Thousand Bibs & Blankets

Yesterday I happened to drive by an orphanage. My father mentioned to me that he remembered as a kid driving by with his family and him and his brothers trying to find any sign of the children. Funny thing is I was doing the exact same thing as he was telling me his story.

As I looked at the buildings my heart started to ache - I literally felt a pain in my chest. I also felt as if someone had slapped me a dose of reality. I am ashamed to say that I thought that orphanages were a thing of the past - and for those that were still in existence they most certainly were not in the good old USA! I then started to think about all of the kids that were in the home that didn't have a family to love or be loved by. Then I reflected on my own family and I was reminded of how blessed we are to have each other.

I have to admit, I really know nothing about orphanages, foster homes, adopting children, etc. This is a whole new world for me. But for whatever reason I feel like I am being "called" to do something. Adopt a child? No. Volunteer my time? Not right now. Make a contribution? No. Well...wait! Maybe! Not necessarily a monetary contribution but something that the orphanage could use? As I looked at the list of "needed items" a thought came to mind - why not make something? Why not make a LOT of something? Something that would be easy to make, be fairly inexpensive all the while being needed and appreciated! Bibs and blankets are easy and they are on the list!

Now, here is where hindsight is 20/20. Lately I've been sewing a lot for other people. At the same time I've also started blogging about it. Through blogging and reading other people's blogs I learned about "Craft Hope". Craft Hope's first project was sewing pillowcase tops and shorts for for an orphanage. See where I'm going with this? Maybe all of this is happening so I can do something that I love for someone who needs it!

So here is my idea. To combine my love of sewing with the art of giving. At the same time I will be connecting with other women (and men) who love to do the same! Since I only thought of this today I am obviously still in the planning stages. I have made contact with the orphanage and will be touring the home soon. But meanwhile here is what I want to do: to donate 1000 handmade bibs and/or blankets by mid-July (I chose July because we will be leaving N.C. around that time). Granted I cannot possibly make 1000 myself which is why I am reaching out to others to help. Can you help? Will you take a few of your scrap fabrics and make one bib? Or two? For those of you that have made bibs and/or blankets you know that it doesn't take too much time or too much fabric.

Soon I will be posting links on how to make a bib or receiving blanket for those that need one. Since I haven't spoken to the donations coordinator yet I'm not sure if there is a particular size or particular type of fabric that they prefer. I'll let you know as soon as I find anything out.

I was also thinking of including a picture and/or a little note from each person that donates something. A scrapbook would be a wonderful idea but quite honestly I don't have time (or more like patience) to do that. I'm thinking of putting 4x6 pictures in an album and giving it to the home along with the blankets.

Donations would be sent to me at your expense. Since bibs and blankets are fairly lightweight postage should be minimal, depending on how many you make/send. I will hand deliver the gifts to the orphanage - if you are in the area I welcome you to join me!

I also think having a ticker/counter that keeps track of how many bibs have been made would be a really cool way of seeing our progress!

Now forgive me if I am all over the place with this! I'm super excited and eager to get started! I'll post more details as ideas unfold and questions are answered. Please feel free to leave a comment and/or suggestion! Hope you can help! Many thanks in advance! (Do I love exclamation points or what?) :)

PS Please feel free to ask your friends to participate! You can link back to here!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Gift of Inspiration

For Christmas my girls received personalized pillows from one of my best friends, Deb. As much as my girls love their pillows I think I love them even more! I couldn't wait to get my hands on the pattern to make some myself!

The pattern itself is fairly easy. But I did have a difficult time obsessing over which fabrics to use (and then changing my mind a million times over!) I also haven't done much applique work in awhile and here I am having to applique eight letters. Let's just say by the fifth or sixth one I was back at ease.

I finally finished the pillow tonight. A couple of regrets with my fabric choices but what's done is done. Now I can send it off to my girlfriend Lisa whose daughter just turned four. Lisa has expressed an interest in sewing and her wonderful husband just bought her a sewing machine (what a guy!) So while the pillow is for Miss Madeline I'm hoping the pillow will also be a gift of inspiration for my friend. :)

After making this one I made one for my one and only nephew, Luke, who just turned one. Here's a picture of my girls with the ones from Deb and Momo holding (eating?) Luke's. I love how this one turned out!

Craft Hope

I was catching up on some blog reading today and came across a link to"Craft Hope". This organization came up with the wonderful idea of collecting handmade crafts to share with those that are less fortunate around the world. With their current (and first) project they are asking donations of handmade pillowcase dresses and/or shorts for the children of the Pan de Vida Shelter in Mexico and the Davis Lar Orphanage in Brazil. The deadline to send in donations is February 26th. I'm a little late to help with this one but am looking forward to whatever their next project may be.

If you're interested in becoming involved click on their logo for more info!

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

Friday, February 20, 2009

Crazy Socks Day!

Today Kailani had "Crazy Socks Day" at school. Did I make her an outfit to go with it? If you know me you know that I wanted to! But time has not been my friend lately so off she went with her striped "Little Miss Sunshine" toe socks and her "normal" school clothes. She said she had tons of fun!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tickled to Death!

That's how I feel! Remember the Valentine centerpieces I made just the other day? Well, Kris who came up with the original idea posted a picture of mine on HER blog! I truly feel honored! :) It brought a big smile to my face! (And after going to the dentist today boy did I need it!) Thanks Kris!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sassy Camera Strap

A few months ago my BFF Stephanie showed me a link to a patchwork camera strap she saw online. Along with the picture was a quickie tutorial. Immediately I thought, "I have GOT to make one of those!" Unfortunately the idea to make one got pushed to the back of my mental Rolodex until just recently.

Since Stephanie inspired me to make one I decided to make one for her. We both share the love of Asian fabrics so I went with that theme. She also loves the color purple - but do you know how hard it was to find purple Asian fabric? I made do with what I could find and I gotta tell you, I think they came out pretty good! The first one I made in a patchwork style, the other I used one fabric print. Doesn't it look much better than having the word "CANON" screaming across the strap?



Funny thing is at first I didn't realize that the picture and tutorial was from one of my favorite blogs! "House on Hill Road". If you love arts and crafts, sewing, and/or photography or are looking for a little inspiration you've got to check it out! House on Hill Road

Stephanie - if you're reading this the straps are in the mail! :)

Friday, February 13, 2009


Much to my surprise the UPS truck stopped at the house with a delivery for me! From "FTD Florists". Could it really be? Flowers? For me? My husband surprised me with 16 red and pink roses for Valentine's Day! Good job honey! They totally made my day!

Speaking of flowers - while walking around the yard today Momo found some daffodils that had bloomed. It seems as if the poor flowers are just as confused as we are. It's almost 70 degrees today in mid-February! (Unless daffodils bloom all year round? I have no clue.) Not that I'm complaining!

Here's One for the Birds!

If you've never checked out a "Family Fun" magazine or been onto their website do it! They have fabulous craft ideas to do with or for the little ones. The other day the girls and I attempted the "Birdseed Biscuit". Attempted being the key word. Two kids on a small table (too lazy to clean off my sewing stuff on the big table), birdseed everywhere, a dog that wants in on the craziness and you have a craft that has failed before it has even begun! Don't get me wrong, we did make them but they weren't nearly as pretty as the ones in the magazines! Not only that, I don't think the birds enjoyed them. We made about six of them and while most of them are gone I don't think it was the birds that got them. I think it was the bird dog.


With all the leftover birdseed I decided to try and make the biscuits again without the girls. Well, whattayaknow. It's so much easier to make them on your own! The recipe makes about two or three biscuits, depending on the size of your cookie cutter. I made four times what the recipe calls for and came out with about eight of them. Here is how they turned out:

Want to know how to make them? Here are the instructions that I got from the Family Fun magazine (Feb 2009 issue, p24) in my own words.

To make 2-3 biscuits you will need:

Cooking oil/spray

As well as the following supplies:

Cookie sheet
Aluminum foil
Heart-shaped cookie cutter (or shape of your choice)
Plastic straws
Measuring spoons & cups

  1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Spray/wipe the cookie cutter with oil and place it on a foil lined cookie sheet.
  3. Mix the birdseed, flour and water. (It is important to mix it well and saturate the seeds so that the mixture will stick together better rather than flake off easily.)
  4. Spoon the birdseed mixture into the cookie cutter and pack tightly.
  5. Cut the straw into fourths.
  6. Insert the straw into the top of the biscuit to make a hole for hanging. Make sure the straw goes all the way through - this well help avoid breaking the biscuit after it's been cooked. Do not remove the straw.
  7. Bake the biscuits for about 1 hour or until they get hard. Cool.
  8. Place ribbon through the straw and thread it through the biscuit. Once through remove the straw. (The original instructions say to remove the straw then thread the ribbon but I found that if I did it that way a lot of the birdseed started to fall off.)
  9. Hang and enjoy!
PS Even if the birds don't enjoy them they still look cute hanging in your yard!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Yummy Valentine's Day Craft

Tomorrow my daughter's first grade class is having a little Valentine's Day celebration. I decided to make her teachers a little something for the occasion. Take a look:

I wish I could take credit for such a cute little project but I cannot. I give thanks to Kris over at the "You Can Make This" blog for the ingenious idea!

All in all the project should've only taken about 15 minutes. However, my intention was to make it just as shown on the YCMT blog with the salt water taffy on the top. The taffy really gives it a frothy look. The problem was finding the taffy! I lost count of how many stores I went into only to be disappointed. Finally I actually found some taffy in a box. (YES!) Unfortunately to my surprise when I opened the box the taffies were shaped like long Tootsie Rolls rather than the cute little round shapes I was expecting! (NO!) I really had no other option but to work with what I had. I tried melting the taffy and reshaping it but that didn't work. I tried idea after idea and was just not happy with it. So then I attempted to use some heart shaped marshmallows that I bought as a potential back-up. YES! They turned out pretty cute!

To see the actual tutorial click here: Yummy Valentine Centerpiece Tutorial

For other inspirational ideas check out what some other mamas came up with! Here is one with a popcorn ball top and another with a peppermint candy top.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Somebody Call a Doctor!

I haven't had much time lately to work on any crafts. No, that's not entirely true. I started on several different projects - one my for myself and a couple with the kids but illnesses took over. Right now the girls are tag-teaming a stomach virus. I on the other hand am on day nine with a wicked case of pink-eye. I am finally seeing some improvement and am looking/feeling better. I am so grateful (and amazed) that neither of the girls got it!

Here is a picture of my eyes last week. Little did I know that they were only going to get worse.

A funny story to share about pink eye. A girlfriend jokingly told me that you get pink eye from urinating in the streets. I shared this "theory" with some ladies at the dental clinic that I go to. One of the receptionists says, "No, you get pink-eye when someone that has it touches their eye then touches something......and then you touch whatever they touched then touch your own eye."

Did she really think that I thought I caught pink-eye from urinating in the streets? And if that IS what I thought that means I really did pee in the street!