Friday, December 30, 2011

Iowa Peeps

Normally I wouldn't look forward to driving for over an hour on a curvy country Missouri road but yesterday it was an absolute pleasure because we knew who we would be visiting at our destination!  The girls and I turned up the country music and was lost in pleasant memories all the way there.  Well, maybe not all of us.  Greta has terrible car sickness so she tried to sleep most of the way.

It was a great visit.  The girls and I met our friends, The Snarr Family (Tod, Jamie, Ashton, Jordan, Regan, and Cole) at Tod's parents farm near Jefferson City, MO.  Man, how I missed that family.  It was comforting to see them and Tod's parents.  They are a great family who has their priorities straight - they value God, family and hard work. 

The girls played on the farm... and it is a working farm so there was animals to see, rope swings in the barn, and places to explore. Jamie and I caught up on what we have missed in each other's lives.  Sadly, I was too busy gabbing to get more pictures and somehow missed photographing Regan, my little buddy, and Cole.  It was a perfect afternoon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tote Bags

Three new medium tote bags went to new homes for the holidays.  I haven't made a new purse for myself yet but I have plans for an awesome multi fabric hobo bag.  Someday...

This one was a diaper bag for a friend who is having her fourth baby. Congratulations Chelsey!  The lining it is green with turquoise polka dots.  So fun.

I will be using this fabric in something for myself.  Really, I will.

The model in the pic is my neighbor.  Isn't she beautiful?  She has such a sweet spirit too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Art Journal

You can't tell by the scan but this picture is iridescent.  The light blue is a pearly paint.  I definitely need a better black pen/marker that will write on paint or rough surfaces.

The Prompt:  Pretty
Song:  Perfect by Pink
Technique:  Pink Dripped Paint 

I like this one!  A glossy surface would really help the colors pop.  Now I need to invest in some gum arabic for my watercolor paintings.  Fun.

The Prompt:  Open Up
The Song:  Roll Away Your Stone
Technique:  texture

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Piano Recital

Gigi loves playing the piano.  When we moved from Iowa I was nervous about finding her a new teacher.  Jamie, her teacher in Iowa, was not only her piano instructor but was a fantastic friend and our next door neighbor.  Gigi could run over and have her lesson in her pajamas.  It was a struggle when we got to Missouri to find a new teacher.  When Gigi met Carly she knew she was the teacher for her.  Gigi has done great playing with Carly and I am proud of her for making the transition.

Her Christmas Recital this year was beautiful. She played My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music and Frosty The Snowman.   She worked hard and could play her songs with her eyes closed but the part that was really impressive is that she aced all the dynamics of the songs.  Good job G!

There are approximately 24 students who take lessons.
Gigi and Carly

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"You love fabric" - Greta

We were out as a family yesterday with the plans of picking out our Christmas tree (those plans fell through).  We stopped for a Starbucks on post and I was admiring a booth with MP shirts for sale.  As I was commenting on how nice the fabric was on one of the t-shirts Greta stopped me in mid sentence and exclaimed "Mom you like all fabrics!  It doesn't matter what kind."  (as she pointed out and touched anything made out of fabric around us, including my jacket)

So, with that said, here are a few pics of my new fabric stash for tote bags and purses.

Re-usable Sandwich Bags for Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts!

Each year I try to come up with something fun and inexpensive to make the girls' teachers for Christmas that involves the Three R's (reduce, reuse, and recycle).  This year it is the Lunch Kit which includes two re-usable sandwich bags and a lunch sized napkin.  I started making the sandwich bags after volunteering in the lunchroom a few years ago.  I was horrified by all the plastic bags and containers that went in the trash after each lunch.  Where is all this trash going to go in another decade or two?  Now the girls use the re-usable sandwich bags for everything - not just sandwiches.  They are lined with a food safe material and can be wiped out or tossed in with the laundry.  We also use them for car rides or just holding little collections of " kid stuff".   Greta is always wanting me to make her new ones so she can show her friends.  Little does she know that they get examples.  ha ha

Gigi's piano teacher received one after the Christmas Recital  filled with chocolate as a thank you for her hard work and patience.  I can't tell you how many times Gigi went to practice pretending like she had practiced all week.  I am sure Carly could tell the difference but she always give Gigi encouraging remarks after practice (even if I am tattling on Gigi).

This collection of newly finished re-usable sandwich bags ready for new homes. They are $6 each or the Lunch Kit is $15 (two bags and a coordinating lunch sized napkin).  If you aren't local I would be happy to mail them to you with just the cost of shipping.  They are also sold in Ms Effie's Summer Kitchen, along with all kinds of other handmade items from fabulous women.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"You are..." mixed media paintings

You are...

This painting highlights the things that I love about Gigi and that describe who she is as a beautiful young girl. I couldn't stop there so I also made one for Greta. I hope these are the kind of Christmas gifts they remember and cherish after the newness of the toys wear off.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Braided Headband Tutorial

I can never find a headband that fits me or doesn't squeeze my brain.  I love the way they look but my huge head, which Gene calls a wrecking ball, just isn't the average.  So, I had to make my own.

Really, this is so easy and made with scrap material.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to make one - less time if you don't have a cat batting at the strips of material as you braid.

You will need:
three strips of material 42 inches by 1/4 inch
one ponytail holder
one safety pin
a lighter (optional)

Take three strips of material - mine are 42 inches long and 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.  It doesn't have to exact.  I make mine extra long because I like the "tails" to hang out.

Tie a knot in the end and then try to keep them away from your cat.  Oh ya'  I apologize for the lighting on the pictures.  I don't know why the turned out with so many shadows and I don't have the photoshop on this computer yet... that will be added a.s.a.p.

I safety pin mine to the top of the recliner because is makes it easier to braid.  If you are worried about putting a pin in your furniture you can also pin them to your jeans or tape it to a table.

Here is a picture of the braid half way finished.  Note all the little strings coming off of the edges?  If you don't like that look you can snip them off and then use fray-check or burn them off with a lighter.  I always use the lighter method because it is quick and I have yet to set anything on fire or set off a smoke alarm.

The last step is to tie the ends to your ponytail holder.  I measure this one based on my daughter's adorable head.  You could also just tie it around your noggin but I like mine to be easy to slip on and run out the door.

Admittedly, the ponytail holder isn't too attractive if you are a Neat Nick but it doesn't show when your hair is down.  If you want it to look more "finished" you could always sew it together neatly and cover it with material... if you are motivated.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sleep Deprived and Travel Pillows

I don't know if this thought came to me because I really need a good night's sleep or because I am genius when only 1/4 of my brain is functioning.  I just finished a one hour project and came out with two travel pillows to give the girls as Christmas presents.

I tried to take a nap.  To all those lucky people who can nap, I envy you.  I can't nap.  My brain won't stop for the bit of time I need to be still.  I am exhausted.  I have a headache  And I want a milk-shake.  I am a weary mess.  (I know I can't be the only gal who likes a milkshake when she's pooped.)  I haven't been able to sleep well for several days.  Maybe it is because the girls and I are off schedule, eating junk food, and I keep getting visitors around 3 am who need to sleep with Mommy.

Anyhoo, while I was attempting to nap I had an idea to make travel pillows out of a flannel error.  By flannel error, I mean that when I bought material to make the girls' their yearly Christmas pj pants I bought enough material to make pants for a four year old.  That doesn't work if your kids are eight years old and ten years old.

Back to the pillows... I looked up travel pillow tutorials and found a ton for the "U" shaped pillows - which my girls have never liked.  Then I came across this little pillow by Maya Made.  I made mine a bit bigger but I think they are a brilliant idea (a nod to my wonderful British friend).  I love it that they have pockets and handles (which makes it easier to get a good grip when you bop your sister in the head).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Fabric

We went on a mini-vacation to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO this past weekend and I got to stop at a few fabric stores.  YAHOO!!!  I was so excited but Gene and the girls - not so much.  They must really love me because they patiently helped me find PUL, gave their opinions on patterns, and waited through the long line (we were number 8 when they were calling number 80).  I thoroughly enjoyed my fabric shopping detour.

Here are some of the new fabrics for re-usable sandwich bags.

These are great fabrics for boys and girls.

The next time you see these prints they will be a tote, bag, or purse.  My favorite is the middle print.  It may be time for a new purse.

Mini Tote, Hobo Bag, and Ruffle Purse

There are three new bags hitting the market at Ms. Effie's Summer Kitchen just in time for Christmas!

This mini-tote is a smaller version of the big market tote.  It is adorable and the perfect size for a wallet, cosmetic bag, book, and whatever the kids or husband want to sneak in there.

I must say that this is my favorite new purse.  It was inspired by several bags I saw on-line.  So, I found a basic pattern on-line at www.jcarolinecreative.comcreated as a starting point, made changes and additions, tweaked it as I went along, and viola.  It was fun to make because I love to mix and match fabrics.  There will be more of these coming along and one for me in one of the new fabrics I posted earlier.

This was another purse that was modeled after another bag  ( I would love to provide a link but I can't remember it - my apologies) but like the previous hogo bag, I made it my own as I went along.  Being free in the patterns and creating as I sew is my favorite way.  I know it would drive some folks crazy.  It is like cooking without a recipe.

However, this pretty purse was a bit challenging.  I thought it would be a great idea to add a ruffle on the outside, a divider in the middle as well as a pocket, and then have a pleated lining.  It was one of those projects where I had to walk away a  few times and regroup but it was worth all the effort.

Gene thinks it is cool that I try to be waste free and use every scrap I have.  With that said, I am working on a tutorial of a braided headband made from leftover materials.  It is so simple to make and can be done in less than 30 minutes.  I made one yesterday while I was coloring my hair.  I don't recommend that method but with some luck, it all turned out fabulous.

There is a messenger bag waiting in the wings but it may have to wait until after Christmas.  My small local fabric store has some things I need to finish it on order and I am waiting patiently.  Now I need to get busy sewing Christmas gifts for my family and friends.  I have lunch kits to make for the girls' teachers.  They include two re-usable sandwich bags and a napkin all tied up with a bow.  Hey, if you want to get some for the teachers and co-workers in your life I'd be happy to make a few extra. 

The girls picked out flannel for a couple pairs of pj's.  Not to mention that I am itching to paint.  I started a mixed-media picture as a Christmas gift for Gigi last month.  It calls to me every time I go into my art room.