Thursday, July 31, 2008

thrifty thursday

Found this at the local hospital guild thrift store. Loved everything but the faux copper hammered hardware.
Nothing short of a miracle gave me the time to clean it up(magic eraser removed the marker and pen that was on the sides) and spray paint the hardware. (I still think it would look cuter with some glass pulls, but that would up the cost and not make it nearly as thrifty.)

Now I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a cheap wood stove/sink/fridge set to replace the plastic behemoth we own.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

the kids

Arg, late again with the weekend post.

Look who's got a new set of wheels. (Don't worry, the wheels are locked on one skate and we pad her well.)

Looks like we all like to read before drifting off.

Ellie's fake food prank she made at a local program. (The idea originally came from Family Fun according to the handout we were given.)

New lawn, new mower, new summer job for Glenn.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

pimp my ride

I got a new-to-me bike a few weeks ago. (A hand-me-down from Basia) I can't tell you how much I've been wanting a bike like this. The one I do have has a zillion gears on it and I have no idea how to use any of them. Plus, the bar on it is so high I can't ride it in a skirt. In my defense, when I bought it 20 years ago, I'd have laughed at anyone who said I might one day want to ride a bike while wearing a skirt. But now the problem has been solved. Behold my Schwinn Collegiate:
The wicker basket looks much better on this bike than it did on my mountain bike, but it needed a little sprucing up.
The fabric is from an old pair of Laura Ashley dungarees. Yes, I wore them out of the house once upon a time. It was when I had no problem looking like an overgrown toddler in public.
The fabric was cut so I could use the already existing pockets inside the basket to hold my keys and cell phone when the kids and I are out.

The bias tape binding was thrifted. A couple well placed buttonholes allowed the straps to run through the lining.

It still needs a bell.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

machine embroidery tutorial

I'm loving how the embroidery turned out on blackbird's apron. I have a feeling this idea will be showing up again around these parts because it was so easy to do. If you're interested, follow along:
1. Sketch out a design that you like on some scrap paper.
2. Trace that design onto some tear away stabilizer - remember to reverse the image if there's writing or you want the motif facing a particular way.
3. Lay the stabilizer in place on the wrong side of your fabric - I use basting spray, but pins will work just as well.

4. Free motion stitch on all of your lines - GO SLOWLY!
Things I like to do/use:
On my machine there's a stitch that goes over each individual stitch three times(forward, back and forward again) - that's the one I use.
I use an open toe embroidery foot so I can see exactly where my needle is going.
I lengthen or shorten the stitch based on the look and size of the design.
The needle used is whatever was left in the machine from the last project.
The thread is basic stuff, the stitch going over it three times makes it stand out.
If you have the option, put your machine in the "needle down" position.

5. I didn't remember to do this, but I will in the future - pull all the top thread tails through to the back and tie them off rather than backstiching. You can see where the backstitching built up on the spatula. It annoys me everytime I look at it.

6. Carefully remove the stabilizer. It helps to put your nail on the stitching as you tear the stablilizer so the stitches don't get distorted.
7. Realize that you need another line of stitching on the spoon after removing all stablizer and slap another piece on to do that before calling it a day.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

happy birthday blackbird

We were all lucky enough to celebrate blackbird's birthday during our visit.

I went with a rather obvious connection: bird - eggs. A bunch of these were posted in the spring. However, those didn't get their own container. The carton was more fun to do than the eggs. Probably because it's a lot harder to come up with 12 different ways to decorate the eggs than I thought it would be.

I settled on using trims for 7 of them (including the one bb dubbed "the pilgrim egg" - can you spot it?). The other 5 each have a bird illustration representing a bloghere '08 attendee. There's the obvious for blackbird, a nightingale for Poppy, a chickadee for Susie, a ruffled grouse for Jen, and a loon for me. Fitting.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

home again

Where to even begin? I've sat and stared at this screen for over half an hour and can't figure out what I want to say. I think some of it is complete exhaustion and some is almost disbelief that I was gone for 5 days in the company of 4 wonderful friends.

So tonight, I'll just say thanks - to the girls and to the bird family.

Last week, when I didn't have time to post, I wasn't just packing and cleaning. I was finishing up this.

An apron for my dear hostess. I'll post a tutorial soon on how I did the embroidery on the front. It reverses to some pieced strips of fabric that remind me very much of its new owner. Mr. Bird got an apron of his own. A replica of one I made for Chris since they're the same height. However, I just tried to link to it and realized I never posted that one nor did I take a picture of the one I just made. Oops.

The youngest bird got a little something for allowing his room to be turned into a girls' dorm.

-Wind up sushi with some felt grass. The container held my lunch a few days prior. (The sushi toys were bought at Wal-Mart.)

A little scrapbook paper tied it all together.
The rubber stamp image says it all.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

gone fishing

Okay, I really thought I'd have time to write up a bunch of posts and get them set to publish like I did when we were in Maine. I was wrong.

Right now I'm running around like a lunatic trying to get ready for a visit here. I leave tomorrow and return home on Sunday.

For now, I need to pack myself and make sure everything is in order for the kids and Chris. I swear it's more work leaving them all behind than taking everyone with me.

I'm sure blackbird, Jen and Poppy will have witty posts about Bloghere '08. I'll be too busy laughing. (Susie would have a funny post too, if she still had a blog...)

See you in about a week.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

the kids

Yikes, the day got away from me. Can't resist a few more vacation shots.

I'll be posting a few projects on automatic pilot this week as I head out on Wednesday for a visit with friends.
Also, some of you commented or emailed me about the the thrify shopper site. I must have forgotten that I had to create a user name and password to access the listings, but it was no big deal to do. Now I probably won't be able to remember the user name or password that I entered.
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

thrifty thursday

I'm trying something new today - uploading photos with the "blog this" button in picassa. I'm also toying with the idea of posting thrift finds on Thursdays. We'll see how it goes.

I received a wonderful package the other day from Susie Sunshine. She'd done a little thrifting herself and in it was some great shelf edging. My kitchen shelves were dressed in some plastic, faux-lace edging that was cute. In fact, I liked it until I opened the package from Angie.

Inside was this edging. Suddenly the plastic stuff was horrid. I can't imagine anything going more perfectly with our dishes. And there's a ton of it, so I'll be able to do all the shelves with some extra for future replacements. Susie, you win the thrifty award!

In keeping with the whole thrifty theme today I wanted to let you all know about a great website I found. Check out . Just enter your zip code and viola! All the thrifty goodness in your area with addresses and store hours to boot! I should have plugged in some zip codes of places I stayed on vacation. Next year...

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

pom pom maker

Some people buy tee shirts on vacation. Some buy postcards. I bought this:

Sadly, this was my first attempt. Pathetic looking.

Round 2 worked a little better, but it was still hard to tie the center tightly. It's also still not as full as I would want.

The center of this flower is attempt number three. For this one I actually separated the 4ply wool before winding it on the pom pom maker. Can you say tedious? (This is what I'll resort to after hour 12 or so of driving to keep myself occupied.) It did turn out looking closer to a store bought pom pom, but I doubt I'll have the patience to do it again. I think the key is winding as much yarn as you need, and then adding even more. Otherwise they look pretty anemic.

I need to add a few felt leaves to this and it'll have a home on one of Ellie's jackets.

*I've seen these makers in larger sizes at Hobby Lobby since I've been home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

french knitter

This is what got me into knitting on vacation. It's a french knitter(size small). I bought this book for Ellie and was intrigued by some of the projects. An entire section is devoted to projects made with french knitters.

While this isn't knitting at its finest, I can totally see the meditative draw of doing it now. Leftover skeins of tapestry wool went into the road trip craft bag. I ran each color through the knitter until there wasn't any left. (Note: 18 inches of tapestry wool = about 1 inch of knitted tube) The book called for specific sizes on some and for those I stopped at the required length. These are still waiting to be turned into something.

These, however, just need some pins on the back and they'll look cute on Ellie's backpack. I think they'll spiff it up nicely for first grade.

(More notes: 5 petaled black eyed susan was 20 inches to start. The pink flower was about 17 inches. Sew pink heart to felt background - maybe two layers with pinked edges?)

I'm also wondering if I couldn't make even smaller tubes using crochet thread and a homemade knitter from an old thread spool with nails on one end. They might make cute necklaces or bracelets.

Monday, July 7, 2008

what i did on my summer vacation

I was hoping I'd be able to post a finished cross stitch project after spending 40 hours driving to and from Maine, but I didn't even touch the one I'd packed. It seems when there's something that requires so much time to finish, I'm far more interested in anything else.

Here's a little of what I did finish(with a few more things to post tomorrow and Wednesday).

A favorite pencil case of mine - At least a year ago I spilled something on it. Spot cleaning got a bit out, but then there were some lovely water rings to contend with. Now they're hidden underneath a spray of yo-yo's.

This came as a kit from Joann's in the clearance bin. (Carol, I think I sent this one to you, or one like it.) It's sat around my sewing room for ages. Now I know why. I wasn't so much interested in the fabrics in the kit, but I figured once I saw how it went together I could use the template to make the flowers out of fabric that was of more interest to me. Not sure I'll bother though. I look at it and think, "meh". Not horrible. Not great. I might try pinning it to my black winter coat and see if that gives it any life. Perhaps a few more tucks here and there to give it more dimension. I still prefer the flower pin pattern that's included in the Amy Butler Madison Bag pattern.

(Now that I've thought more about it, I think the fact that this pattern doesn't cut the petals individually makes the difference. It's all too flat. When I can sew them together one at a time, I can shape them more realistically.)

More to come - a mini foray into knitting(emphasis on "mini") and a new tool I'm trying to figure out.

Friday, July 4, 2008

the kids - independence day

Sorry, I thought I'd be back to crafting posts, but our re-entry to real life is taking longer than expected. I'll be crafty again on Monday (I hope). For now, here's a slightly early update on the kids.

At our town's Fourth of July Ice Cream Social.

Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

the lawn - phase 2

We're still on the road and hoping to be home sometime late tonight. I took the updated lawn pictures the day before we left last week. With any luck we'll return to an even greener lawn. (Our neighbor, whom I refer to as "the lawn whisperer", has been overseeing the watering in our absence.)


two weeks later:
two weeks later:
What's come in so far has been the rye grass part of the mix. By the end of next week, all the types should have had time to germinate. Then I get to start picking out the little weeds that have come in along with the grass. Fun.

I may not post on Thursday because I'll be in the middle of unpacking and a mountain of laundry. See you Friday.