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Monday, March 31, 2014

Springy Striped Rag Quilt

I think sewing has become my form of therapy.  This sewing project has brought all these self-revelations to the surface.  I've noticed that I like to attempt sewing projects that are a bit beyond my current set of abilities.  I like to try projects that challenge me and force me to learn something new.  I have also found that I work obsessively to complete projects.  I hate the idea of leisurely stretching the project out - I want to work on this single-mindedly until it's done.  I worked on this quilt all through the weekend, stopping only for sleep and Sonic drinks!

I found this project at Do It Yourself Divas and I thought the baby blanket was adorable and then I saw the striped springy colors and I was obsessed!  I loved the look and wanted to make a bunch in pretty spring colors, just like they did.  Luckily, I decided to just start with one.  It was definitely more time consuming than I expected.

Here are things I loved about this project.  First I got to use my new rotary mat and cutter. 

Since it was my first time using one, there was a learning curve, but it was perfect for cutting out the various strips needed for this project.  I did that Friday night while watching Private Benjamin. 

I really like the rag quilt look and had been wanting to try to make one.  Both my niece and my nephew-on-the-way received one as a gift and they're so adorable, I wanted to do a practice one to see if I could make one.

I've been afraid of making binding out of fabric - it seems so confusing.  So up to now I've used bias tape or self-binding fabrics.  The blog above posted a really great YouTube video with instructions on how to make your own binding.  I think I'll get better with practice, but it feels good to have done it. 


Now we get to things I did not love about this project.  I lost three needles during this project.  Two broke and one is lost somewhere inside my machine...  Apparently the layers of flannel is hard on needles.
Cutting the little fringe was a LOT of work.  I did half while watching Argo and talking to my mom and the other half while catching up on Community but it really hurt my hands. 
The washing process opened a whole new set of problems.  Fringe got everywhere - it stuck to my washing machine walls and filled my dryer lint trap and settled on the ground in the laundry room.  Also, several of my rows came apart in the washing machine, so I had to do a lot of re-sewing.  Finally, you know those little fuzz balls that form on sweaters?  They covered the blanket after washing and wouldn't come off until I went over the entire blanket with one of these fabric shavers.

But overall, I had fun doing this and I was really proud of myself for the accomplishment and I love how it turned out!  What springy color combination would you use for a blanket like this?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Creative Toddler Activities

Do you have a toddler in your life?  Your own kids, a niece or nephew, a grandchild, a sibling, kids you babysit or the child of a friend?  If so, you might be looking for some new activities to keep them entertained, challenged, happy and learning!

My niece Hadley came to visit last weekend and although she would be happy to spend all her time playing with toys and her grandparents, I wanted to plan some creative activities for her.  I searched the internet and tried some of the ideas out.

1.  Pipe Cleaners

The idea I found said to put pipe cleaners through a colander, but I just bought a small pack of colorful pipe cleaners and opened them and then set them on the floor.  That drew her in!  Hadley loved picking up bunches and throwing them in the air, like confetti!  I picked one up and made a circle (shape learning) and she loved that and started bringing me more to make into circles.  I tried asking her to bring me certain colors (color learning). 

2.  Play-Doh

I don't think explanation is needed - kids love play doh!  Hadley liked it best when it was rolled into a ball.

 3.  Contact Paper Face

This was my favorite idea.  You tape a big piece of contact paper to the wall, sticky side up.  Then you gather random things from your craft supplies and put them on a tray and then let the toddler stick things to it!  The only thing I bought for this was a pack of googly eyes.  I gathered some strips of paper, pieces of yarn, fabric remnants and buttons.  (I learned jingle bells don't stick.)  Hadley liked sticking the googly eyes on.  I also like that you can do a lot of variations with this idea.  You could give them a tray of colorful cereal and let them stick it on.  You could gather items that are part of a theme - leaves for fall or green items for St. Patrick's Day, you could draw a sheep and let them stick cotton balls on it.

What fun and creative toddler activities have you tried lately?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Donuts - Pinterest Fail

I got a donut pan for Christmas and on a snowy day in February I finally decided to try out a donut recipe I found on Pinterest.

The best thing I can say about them is that they looked pretty good.  They were dense and cakey.  They lacked flavor.  The frosting was disappointing.  They didn't get done at all when cooked according to the recipe.

I plan to try again - do you have a donut recipe that you like?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Lyndi!

Today's Blog Post falls on my birthday!!  Today I want to have ice cream cake from DQ and get a diet coke with easy vanilla from Sonic at Happy Hour.  And like Elizabeth Bennet, I dearly love a laugh.  So I thought I'd gather a list of clips that make me laugh - to help you get to know me and hopefully, to make you laugh too! 
21 Jump Street

Community - my favorite TV comedy that's currently on air

Parks and Recreation
The Office - which I've been with from the very first episode and have been binge-watching on Netflix for months.
The Office - classic Jim and Dwight

The Office - Where Michael and D'Angelo meet

You, Me and Dupree

Monday, March 3, 2014

Watercolor Painting

I do not consider myself an artist and I haven't painted with watercolors since elementary school, but for some reason, the idea kept coming to mind lately.  So I picked up a set of kids watercolors, some brushes and a pack of watercolor paper.  Then I turned on Runaway Bride to play in the background and made an attempt. 
In case you forgot how good it is:
One thing I learned from research is that you're supposed to paint the entire page with water before painting. 
I tried painting around a star, keeping underneath the star white, as a graphic element in the painting, but found I didn't actually like that look.
It was really fun to mix colors and try to add as many layers of color as possible to create an abstract, layered, completely unique piece of art.  I experimented with drops of paint or drops of water, to create organic shapes. 
I've seen art that adds just a touch of gold, so I tried that here.  I didn't have any "gold leaf" on hand, so I used a gold marker.  I like the addition of gold, but I think I'd rather have gold leaf.
I think it's fun and beneficial to let yourself experiment with a new medium occasionally - have you tried anything new lately?



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