Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A {handmade} Pillowcase

I have a great artist friend, Tracey, who is an amazing quilter and seamstress.  She is so fantastic for inspiring me with her sewing skills.  So the other day, she invited me over to sew a pillowcase, and with her help I stitched up the most beautiful pillowcase on the face of the planet {so not exaggerating here!}.

See for yourself:

Am I right?  

Well it helps to start out with fabric you love, and then get a perfectly coordinating strip of yellow that your friend just happens to have in her stash, and then have that amazing friend walk you through the pattern (which, by the way, you can find at All People Quilt as part of their 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge) and give you great pointers along the way (like trim down your seam before completing the last length of stitching on the French Seam, and use a pin to pick out the corners to make them square).

Just look at these beautiful French Seams:

I am always amazed at the process of sewing: the way you stack fabric in a certain order and facing a certain way and then bing-bang-boom it magically transposes into the right thing.  I have learned to not over think it, just follow the steps and wait for the magic to happen.

I can't bear to part with this pillowcase, and I need to make one more for my husband's pillow (he will be thrilled, I know).  Then I will whip up one (or three) to send off to someone who could really use a pretty pillowcase.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Art Journal Week 3

My littlest guy and I took some time to create last week--I in my art journal, and he on a painted birdhouse.

Here's an Instagram of our beautiful mess:

And here's my week three page:

Played around with crayon pastels (the little old Crayola kind), some watercolor paint (again, Crayola), and writing with a fine brush and acrylic.  I like doing that, but need to practice to get a more consistent line.  

Valentine Cards

Whipped up some little Valentine's for a cutie pie to hand out to her friends next month.

So thrilled to be able to work with girlie colors, butterflies and bling!

Thanks, Shannon, for the opportunity to work on these for you and little Reese.

Friday, January 13, 2012

12 on the 12th in twenty12: January

Ella Publishing has issued a little challenge that you might have heard about {but in case you haven't, click here}

I'm all over it (well it's a new year filled with possibilities, right?).  12 photos once a month for 12 months--I can manage that.

Here are today's (taken with Instagram and put into these cute little collages with the PicFrame (formerly Photo Frame) app

 1) it snowed!  the view of our backyard
2) Maddox making a snowman
3) my first vanilla cafe au lait made at home with new milk steamer/frother
4) Logan enjoying an after school snack of hot chocolate made with steamer

5) chili for dinner
6) cafe mocha from Panera during book club
7) sign at Panera: Make Today Better; Take a Risk
8) book club location for this month

9) at a stop light on the way home
10) catching the end of the B's on the couch with Perry
11) a day is not complete without a check on Pinterest
12) time for bed

It was fun documenting the day.
Things I noticed: the tail end of my day is more picture heavy as I realized I was running out of time to take photos--8 of my pics were taken after 6 pm and only 1 was taken between 9 and 3.  Food is a big part of our day: 4 food related pics--3 of them hot beverages--we love our hot drinks!  You really can capture memories with whatever camera you have on you at the moment.

Looking forward to next month.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 Art Journal

My dear artist friend gave me a beautiful art journal last year for my birthday.  It has sat on my shelf in wait of the perfect project.  

This is it. 

 This year I hope to create a page a week.  One page, seven days, fifty-two times.  I can do this.

week one:

week two:

For these first two weeks, I was inspired by two quotes that I had found recently.

I'm excited for this project--looking forward to seeing how my art journal evolves over the year and to try out some new-to-me techniques and products.

Monday, January 9, 2012

a whole lotta random

I have been loving every minute of 2012 so far. 

Last week my new boyfriend arrived.  I affectionately refer to him as Mac Daddy:

Isn't he sooooo cute?  Well, most of my free time has been spent getting to know each other.  You know, which buttons to push when, loading him up with all my photos and files, and exploring his little hidden secrets.  He is super strong and powerful, yet gentle for my non-Mac brain.  Every day I learn something new that I just love about him.  His ability to recognize all my family and friends (the Faces feature in iPhoto--amazing!), how he so easily hooks up with the things I need (connecting to my wireless printer took 1 minute 45 seconds, seriously!), and he loves my touch (um, yeah, the Trackpad is super fabulous, fast, and intuitive).  Yup, it's safe to say I am head-over-heels-in love.  And I'm looking forward to many years of bliss together.

I've also been on a cleaning/organizing tear--blaming it on the New Year.  Cleaning out the freezer, pantry, spice cabinet, junk mail, china cabinet, medicine bins.  Nothing is safe from my white tornado.  And knowing how temporary these things can be, I am taking full advantage before my motivation runs out.

I think I've decided to do Project365 this year. {ok, so this post is really all over the map}  Not going to over-think the whole thing.  Many of the photos will be taken with Instagram.  Not sure exactly what I'll do with the pictures, but I'm taking baby steps with this.  Maybe I'll do a mini album, or a Project Life album, or just post them to my blog.  Maybe some stroke of inspirational genius will hit me (most likely while browsing Pinterest).  But until then I'll just be snapping my Photo-A-Day.

Here's the first week:
one . one
one . two
one . three
one . four
one . five

one . six
one . seven
one . eight
one . nine
Anyone else doing a 365/52/12 type project?

OK, this concludes this totally random post about a whole lotta nothing.  And I also know that I still owe you two more Gifts of Christmas.  Don't think that hasn't been hanging over my head for the past week.  I'll get them up soon, promise.  

Yippee for my first blog post done entirely with my new Mac Daddy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Planner

I have a thing for calendars, planners, and all things office-y organizer-ish.  I remember when I was little, my mom would give me her old office datebook and I would fill in the little squares with notes of my busy childhood schedule.  When my friend went off to private school, I drooled over her assignment plan book with a column for each day of the week and a box for every subject's assignments.  When I began teaching, I created my own lesson plan book complete with color coding for each developmental area.

Now I'm not in school, I don't teach, and I don't have business meetings to schedule.  But my love for planners has not wavered.

Meet Planner twenty-12:
Blue Sky Weekly-Monthly Planner featuring egg press artwork
 We only met yesterday, but I am madly in love.

 The pretty floral design, the tabbed dividers

This little baby is my new BFF.  My take everywhere, use every day, to-do list keeper, memory jotter, goal reminder, health tracker, task manager, inspiration book.

I began my book with some resolutions/goal setting.  2012 is my year for creativity, health, completion, simplifying, and family, so I came up with some goals/reminders for each of those areas:

Each section of this planner begins with the month.  Here's where I can jot a little daily note/feeling/memory of the day.  The notes column is perfect for monthly goals like my completion goal (an unfinished project that I would like to finish that month), to keep a tally of the scrapbook pages I complete, to note the book I am reading, and to track my progress for Christmas Cards completed.

Then each week is laid out in a double page spread with plenty of room to keep track of appointments, to-do's, tasks, and even space for some doodles and sketches.  I will track my water intake, my daily exercise, my POTD, daily house cleaning chore, and daily note of gratitude.

I'm excited to see how this book fills up through 2012.  It will be a fun recording of our year to look back on.

Day 10: Yo-Yo Tree

I have a good friend who celebrates her birthday on December 26th.  When I told my son her birthday his reply was, "Really? She must get tons of presents. {pause for thinking} Wow, she's practically Jesus!"  Kids are so funny!  
This year I made her one of these:

I first discovered a handy dandy yo-yo maker tool in November at a scrapbooking crop.  One of the girls there was whipping up yo-yo's like nobody's business.  I was intrigued and inspired and went right out to purchase one of these little tools for myself.
purchase here
There are so many things you can do with these cute little yo-yo's.

Like this gorgeous yo-yo blanket

Or this fun yo-yo garland
Source: via Michelle on Pinterest

Or this beautiful yo-yo embellished pillow
Source: via Michelle on Pinterest

And even this cute little yo-yo bracelet

I opted for a bunch of green yo-yo's fastened to a styrofoam tree form with pearl-tipped pins.

For the base, I wrapped a wooden dowel in brown gingham ribbon, used an empty thread spool covered in ribbon, and attached that to an empty ribbon spool covered in patterned paper.  This second spool also serves to hold a little sentiment for my friend.

Yo-yo's made with the Clover template come together very quickly, but the template is not necessary.  Heather Bailey has a fabulous photo tutorial here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 9: Gift Card Holders

I don't really like giving gift cards for Christmas, which is strange because I like to receive them. Sometimes it just has to be done, and who said GC's have to be given in their boring little envelopes they come with?

Here's a round-up of fun gift card holders:

fabric holders
from Sew 4 Home: tute
pretty little package holder
from Crafting Confessions
pocket holder
from Ink & Scissors Etsy shop
cupcake holder
from Scraps of Life: tute
sliding drawer box
from Heather Bailey: pattern

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 8: Christmas Ball Wreath

I went from never having made a wreath in my life to making two this holiday season.  When I spotted this one on Pinterest, I knew I had to give it a try.  
Stringing them onto a wire hanger? Seriously?! Could it really be this easy?

Yup, it sure could.
I grabbed one of hubby's wire hangers from the dry cleaners, stretched it into a circle shape, untwisted the twisty top and began threading on some plastic ornaments I picked up in the dollar spot of Target.  Wove a length of ribbon between the ornies and tied it off in a bow.

Easy peasy!  I'm keeping this one for us (after all I fashioned it from a wire hanger and cheap plastic ornaments!).  But I will be making this again with pretty glass ornaments.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 7: Cookies

Do I have your attention?  COOKIES!!  The greatest invention ever.  Little bites of deliciousness and perfect for gift giving.

We have lots of favorites that we rotate through each year.  Most of them come from this cookbook:

These are the cookies that made this year's cut:
click for recipe

 These couldn't be any easier: Lay pretzels on cookie sheet (I used a mix of plain round ones and peanut butter sandwich ones), top with kiss, pop in 200 deg oven for 3-5 minutes (just enough to get the kiss soft, remove from oven and press M&M's into kisses.  As you can probably tell from my photo, I botched this one this year.  I set the oven to 350 and put them in for 5 minutes--totally overheated the chocolate (which makes it dry out and get hard).  They still tasted good, though!

1c sugar
1c butter, softened
1 egg
1t peppermint extract
2 1/3c flour
1/4t baking powder
red food coloring
green food coloring

Cream butter and sugar 1-2 minutes.  Add egg and extract; beat 1-2 minutes.  Combine flour and powder separately then gradually add into butter mixture.  Divide dough into thirds.  Color one green and one red.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill (I do it for overnight).  Divide each dough into thirds again and roll them into ropes approx 1/2" thick. Layer one of each color and slice into 1/4"slices. Place on cookie sheet and bake at350 for 9 to 12 minutes.

click for recipe
1/2c butter, softened
1/4c shortening
1c sugar
2 eggs
1t lemon extract
2 1/2c flour
1t baking powder
1t salt

Cream butter, shortening and sugar.  Add eggs and extract and blend 1-2 minutes.  Mix flour, baking powder and salt separately.  Gradually add to butter mixture and mix until dough forms.  Chill overnight.
Divide dough and keep one chilled while you roll out the other.  Roll to 1/4" thick and cut with cutters.  Bake at 400 for 6-8 minutes until golden. Do not over bake.
click for recipe
The cookie recipe linked above is identical to the one in the Land-O-Lakes book I have except for the glaze.  I thought mine was a bit too sweet, so the recipe above will probably be perfect.

I have an idea figured out for next Christmas from this pin:

I'm going to test out some of our favorite cookie recipes to see how they bake up.  I'll keep you posted.