Sunday, January 29, 2012

Valentine Days Giveaway Winners!

And they are...

#1 - AP Mommy
#14 - Karen

Emails are on their way to get your color preferences and shipping addresses. Thanks to all who entered and left feedback and stories!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Valentine Days: Valentine Trapper



This is one of my favorite projects for this season. It costs less than $5 to make and is good for beginning sewers! 

Supplies

  • 1/2 yard red felt
  • Scraps or a little craft sheet of white felt
  • Pinking shearers
  • Sewing machine - walking food recommended
  • Sewing needle
  • Pearle cotton thread - white and red
  • 5 buttons
  • Fabric marking pen or pencil
  • Rotary cutter, cutting mat, and cutting guide are helpful

Steps:

Begin by squaring up the edges of your red felt. Then cut the following red pieces:

1 - 11" x 10" (envelope front)
1 - 7.75" x 10" (envelope back and flap)
4 - 5" x 1.5" (straps for the back)


Using the largest red piece, mark the middle of the top (5" in). Measure down the sides and mark at 3". Cut from side mark to center mark on both sides.


Now, using your scrap piece of white felt, trace the flap portion of red felt that you just cut.


Using pinking shearers, cut about 1/4" outside of the traced line.


Sew the white and red flaps together. I used about a 1/8" seam, but you could us 1/4" if that is easier.


Sew your back strap pieces together in the same manner. Layer 2 together, and sew around with a 1/8" seam.


Sew all the way around the remaining 3 open sides of your envelope with a similar 1/8" seam.

Iron your envelope flap down.


Next, lay your buttons out on the straps. Cut small slits through both layers, making sure the button will fit.

Lay the straps on the back of your envelope. Using a fabric marking pencil, make a mark through the slits so you know where to sew your buttons.

Sew the buttons on well.



Using your needle and Pearle cotton thread, stitch about 1/4" in around the sides and lower section of the envelope.


Embellish however you'd like! I cut a felt heart out and used a blanket stitch (great tutorial here) around it on the envelope flap.



Monday, January 23, 2012

Remembering What Lonely Feels Like

Tonight Halcyone was in bed at 7:30, and Tom was in bed with a headache before 8. Goodness! I know most people would jump at a night at home "alone," but wow it's not what I enjoy. I know the sleep is necessary for both Tom and Halcyone, but it is so lonely at the other end of the house!

I'm remembering what it felt like when Tom was at school late, working on those obnoxious group projects late at night, or at home trying to get through a mountain of homework. I'm remembering what it felt like when we really wanted to have babies tumbling around, but couldn't. I'm remembering what it felt like to be the married girl that the singles weren't thrilled to invite to their girls night.

I really like to have someone else in the room with me. Yes, I have Gilmore Girls playing, but they aren't real people. I like to have something that needs to be done. Believe me, our house is super tidy right now. I've finished washing and folding the laundry, sweeping and vacuuming, and the kitchen is all sparkly.

This makes me think about the future too. What if our next embryo transfer doesn't implant? What if Halcyone is our only kiddo? That's only about 18 years at home. I'll be sooooooo lonely! What if Tom has to work late often? What if the headaches persist? What if something happens to one of them?

That brings me right back to where I was three years ago. Jesus is my forever-present, comforting, always-inviting Friend. He doesn't leave me sitting at home alone, trying to decide which creative project to start. I can talk with Him about anything and He understands. How can I forget this?!

Alright, I'm off to start a serger cover or a crochet bunny or something.

Valentine Days: My Little Nest



I've seen people selling necklaces, pins, and earrings that look like cute little nests containing eggs representing the number of children in their family. They are super cute, but most people want a lot of money for them. I made this necklace for less than $10. My necklace has 6 little icy-blue eggs in it, representing the 6 little embryos we adopted just over two years ago. One of these little babies lives with us, one is with Jesus, and the other 4 are still awaiting a thaw to join our family. I know this is a string of Valentine-y tutorials, so you may wonder why I included this particular project. Traditionally Valentine's Day is a holiday celebrating romantic love. However, it makes sense to me for it to represent familial and brotherly love too. It feels funny to leave my daughter out of this celebration. I want her to know that I love her, and I want it to be a day she enjoys until she has a dashing man to sweep her off her feet. So I decided to include this particular project to represent all my kids. Hope you enjoy it!

Supplies:

  • 24 guage craft wire 
  • Beads corresponding with the number of children you have (sizes vary significantly, so try setting them in your nest before wiring them in)
  • Beading tools (wire cutter is the main necessity)
  • Jump rings
  • Necklace chain

Steps:

Begin by wrapping your wire around a glue stick or similar sized item (large marker, small curling iron, mandrel, etc.). I chose the glue stick because it created the right size center hole for the number of beads I used. 


Cut your wire and pull it off the glue stick. It's fine if the loops criss-cross. This will add to the nest appearance.


Now, attach a new piece of wire and wrap it 3-4 times around one end of the nest.


Pull the wire across the base of the nest and wrap 3-4 times around the opposite side.


Repeat this wrapping in a similar manner for the other 2 sides. Once you have 4 wrapped sides, weave a bit more wire around the base and fasten the wire off.


Test your beads in the nest. Lay them in, set them around until you find a pleasing size and arrangement.


Now, fasten a new piece of wire. String your bottom layer of beads.


Once you have them arranged, work the wire around the base you formed earlier, securing the beads. String your top layer of beads (this was just 1 for me), again working the wire down through the base to secure.


Cut your wire and fasten off by wrapping through the base.


Using a jump ring, attach the nest through one of the size wraps to your necklace chain. If it is not hanging correctly you may need 2 jump rings, one on top of the other.





Sunday, January 22, 2012

Valentine Days: Stitched Cards



These cute cards are pretty basic to make and are very scrap-happy.

Supplies:
  • White cardstock - or any other color you like
  • Scrap papers in Valentiney colors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors or die cut machine
  • Pigment pens

Steps:

Begin by choosing cardstock for your cards. You can get 2 cards per 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper. Cut card size is 7" x 4 7/8." Fold cut pieces in half to form cards.


Next create a heart shaped template in a size you like. You can also used die cut hearts if you've got them. I just folded a piece of scratch paper in half and cut out a heart. Trace your template onto your scrappy Valentiney papers, 3 patterns or colors for each card. Cut your hearts out and arrange them in an order you find pleasing.


Center your sets of 3 hearts on your card front. Holding them in place carefully, sew down the center of the stack. Start about a half in above the heart and stop half an inch past the last one. It is pretty easy to get this straight if you just sew down the center folds.


Now you can add more embellishment if you like! I used pigment pens to write some greetings on the exterior of the cards. You could use glitter, rubber stamp greetings, or more stitching.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Valentine Days: Sewing a Paper Garland



Okay, This is super easy. Super easy. I purchased my paper and used the die cut machine available in a local craft shop for less than $10 with less than 20 minutes of cutting time. You can make this any length. I made mine really long because I have a wide hearth and knew I wanted to drape it back and forth a couple times to help cheer up the post-Christmas emptiness. 

Supplies:
  1. Valentine colored and/or themed paper - cardstock or printer weight both work well
  2. Sewing machine with red (or your color preference) thread
  3. Access to a die cute machine or scissors and stencils
Steps:

First, select your paper and die cut shapes and go to town. I used 3 different sizes of circles and 2 different sizes of hearts. I think I used about 6 complete sheets of 12" x 12" paper and 4 partial sheets of 8.5" x 11" carstock. You could totally use scarps and paper punches too! 



Next, pull a long tail of thread from your sewing machine. You'll want this so you can tie your garland to something.


Now all you have to do is sew, sew, sew! Just vary the sizes and patterns of hearts and circles as you go. I like sewing through the centers of the circles and through the upper third of the hearts. Because the hearts are top heavy, they need a little encouragement to stay upright.


When you reach the end, pull our another long thread tail from your machine. Cut and hang! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Valentine Days Giveaway

As promised, I'm doing a couple fun little giveaways with this series! I will make make one of these My Little Nest necklaces for two winners. 


Ways to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post each day a new tutorial is posted, letting me know why you liked it, how you will use it, or that you shared it via Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook. 
  • Leave a comment on this post directing me to a picture of your version of one of these fun little projects. 
  • Leave a comment on this post telling me how your family includes children (or would like to include future children) in your celebration of Valentine's Day. 
  •  Leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite Valentine's Day. 

Please leave your email address in one of your comments so I can contact you if you win. Entries close at 5PM PST on January 28, 2012. Giveaway only open to those with United States shipping address. Winners will be chosen randomly and posted on the blog! 

Valentine Days Tutorials!



Here we go! This is my second attempt at a series of tutorials. I've themed these around Valentine's Day. There are four projects in this set that will begin posting tomorrow. I am hoping I've posted early enough this time to give you all the opportunity to try a project or two if you like. Again, please let me know if there is something I can do better: photography, explanations, etc. I hope you enjoy them. Oh, and yes, there will be a giveaway at the end of the series too, so look for the post this afternoon explaining how to gain entries! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What makes a true friend?

Make no friendship with a man given to anger.
- Proverbs 22:24 (ESV)

A friend loves at all times.
- Proverbs 17:17 (ESV)

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
- Proverbs 18:24 (ESV)

How many friends do I have?
Not just acquaintances that Facebook calls friends or people I know from church or school, but real friends. How do I decide who is worth pouring into? Who builds me up, and loves me enough to point out sin? These are all things I've been thinking about recently.

Here are a few things that I think of when I consider friendship.

A friend does not:
Gossip: Talk behind others’ backs. This includes husbands, “friends,” and relatives. Exploit: Continually take advantage of you solely for their own benefit. Lie: Not doing this would seem self evident, but it seems to happen too often. Lie about husbands (see gossip), about their kids, and about their life. Brag: Intentionally one up you or flaunt what they have.

A friend does:
Listen: lend an ear and find out what’s going on in your life, care about you and check up on you. Give: Extend a hand, time, or constructive advice and criticism. Pray: Speak to Jesus, for you. Tell the truth: Both encouragement and rebuke, even when it hurts you, even when they know you may not receive it well. Love: genuinely, unconditionally.

So who are my friends?
Ultimately, Jesus stands up to all of these tests as a friend. My husband is truly my best earthly friend. Beyond that, the list shrinks fast. My true friends ask about my day, my husband's job, my daughter's health. They pray for our family. They may be frustrated with me, but they don't tell all of our mutual acquaintances. They trust Jesus to guide them in their conversations with me and about me.

I've thought about this a ton lately, partly because I've watched so much exploitation of a should-be-friend relationship, partly because our pastor has been talking about how marriage is based on friendship rather than feelings alone, and partly because God has blessed me with some truly wonderful ladies to share life with.

I pray for my friends and for those I will one day call friends. I hope I am half as good a friend to them as they have been to me. I trust Jesus to give me the discernment to know what to talk about with them, what to ask them about, and how to respond to them.

The following lyrics sum things up well. Friendship, whether between my husband and I , our daughter, or people I share coffee or lunch with, is for the glory of God.

My Friends May You Grown in Grace
Sean Diamond & Timothy James Meaney

My friends may you grow in grace
And in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.
My friends may you grow in grace
and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
To God be the glory, now and forever, amen.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ten on Ten: Mermaid Treasure

ten on ten button

Yesterday was another fun day for Ten on Ten. These aren't the best pictures I've ever taken, but they show what our day was filled with... lots of kitchen! I didn't plan to paint on the tenth, it's just when I happened to have the desire and a fresh can of Mermaid Treasure. 











Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dechristmasing

I spent most of the morning taking Christmas down at our house. I'm always sad to put the extra lights and sparkles away in January. I was hoping to leave things up a little longer, but last night as we were turning the lights out and heading to bed, Tom and I realized our tree looked really wilty.




Halcyone was napping while I gathered everything into an orderly pile on our dining table. When she woke up, she was concerned, pointing to all the placed things had hung or stood. I showed her the pile and explained that Christmas things only decorate our house for a few weeks each year. I doubt she understood! I had been planning to put her Christmas books away, but instead have decided to leave them out. Who says we shouldn't read about Jesus' birth all year long?


During Halcyone's second nap I tidied my crafting station and dug into the Valentine projects! I'm so excited to have something fun, bright, and new to hang in the living room! I have one project nearly done. I'm hoping to start posting tutorials for these projects soon.