My husband is the youngest of seven children, and every one of those families has two or three kids. That sounds like the beginning of a story problem, but what it really means is that high school graduations have been coming fast and furious for the last few years. That’s not even addressing the bunch on my side, but I’m the oldest so we’re just getting started on those. We have a niece and a nephew to congratulate this year, so I’ve been working to come up with a creative way to do that. I knew it would involve money, as I believe that’s one of the most practical and welcome ways to pat a kid one the back who just trudged his or her way through twelve or more years of education...Read more
I have two nephews graduating from high school this year. I needed a fun, new idea to present their monetary gifts, then a light bulb appeared. No, literally, there was a light bulb on Pinterest, full of candy. I thought that would be a great for holding the check, but needed it to be flat so I could mail it easily. I wondered if I could sew a light bulb, and it turns out I can...Read more
My family attending a wedding a week and a half ago that was a milestone, of sorts. The bride’s mother and I have been friends since we were in kindergarten. When my husband was first hired as a reserve (that means unpaid volunteer) police officer, it happened to be at the same department as her husband, before we knew that was where he worked. They’ve been there together ever since. Our kids went to the same schools and we live in the same little town. The milestone I’m referring to? This is the first wedding I’ve attended of a childhood friend’s child. I may be getting up there, but I still remember what it was like to get married. Money is a great gift because it can be used to fill in the holes left by things you still need after all the other gifts are opened. I decided to give Sam and Jeremy cash, but I couldn’t just put it in the card and leave it at that. In hindsight, that probably would have been the smarter way to go. And the card did turn out pretty cute after all…Read more
Last month, I was in the middle of cleaning out my fabric when I stopped to catch up on some email. I subscribe to a blog called Ninth Street Notions, which caught my eye a while back because she’s a fellow Oregonian. She was organizing a Fat Quarter Swap and asked that interested readers sign up. It seemed like good timing, what with me sitting in the middle of all that fabric…Read more
The winter after my daughter turned one, I bought an amaryllis bulb. Surprisingly, I remembered to water it a few times, and it bloomed into a beautiful red flower. It just so happened that Codi had a favorite book, which we had to read every day, that included a flower that looked just like it. Every single time we reached that page, she’d point to the flower. The weird thing is, she continued to point at the spot where the flower used to be every time we read the book, long after it was dead and gone.
In the wake of this same girl turning 18 and every day bringing up a new aspect of what college life will be like, I nostalgically bought another amaryllis last month. It finally bloomed a couple of days ago, leading me to a realization. I need one of these every year. Having that bright flower in the window is the perfect antidote for the dreary, post holiday month of January. Even without a little blonde girl pointing it out.
For all the beauty of an amaryllis, with none of the watering, check out this lovely pop-up card from CardNotions on Etsy.
The flower on this Back to School Headband from Brassy Apple is simple enough to make with some motivated little girls.
I like the way this Fabric Flower from I’m Feelin’ Crafty is cut in a spiral, making it curve perfectly.
I love a tutorial that has no words, like these Paper Dogwood Flowers from La Manufacture, and what a fabulous re-use of a shopping bag and tissue.
Do you have an old necktie lying around? Make it into a cute flower with this tutorial from My Heart is Yours.
These Felt Camelias from How Joyful would be perfect on top of a gift or attached to a headband.
I just love the ruffley-ness of these Ruffled Fabric Flowers from Quiltish.
Buttons always make cute flowers, and here’s a slightly different take from Artsy Crafty Babe.
As if I needed a reason to want a rainbow of duct tape, I’ve added these Duct Tape Flower Pens from Seven Sisters to my want list.
Here’s hoping you find something to brighten up your day today!
My husband had to go to the coast for a seminar this week, and invited me to go along. If you’ve never visited the beach in Oregon during the winter before, the storms are fun to watch. I’ve been fighting a bug for a while, but have a hard time passing up an opportunity to go to the beach, so I tagged along.
We left the kids in charge of themselves for the first time ever. They’re old enough, and we would only be gone for about 48 hours. When we left, it had been snowing off and on for a few days, with very little of it sticking. We had to drive through some snow to get over the pass, right into some 70 to 100 mile per hour winds at the beach, but weren’t concerned about the conditions at home. This is what it looked like on the way over.
The very first night, the kids called us at about midnight. The power had gone out a couple of hours before and the snow was piling up. My husband gave them some instructions and told them to call back. Shortly after that, they heard a loud boom, and looked outside to find several very large branches had fallen out of one of the big trees behind the house and wiped out a good-sized chunk of the rail around the deck. It’s worse than this looks – those branches in the photo are about the equivalent of a tree.
After spending most of that night awake, trapped in the hotel room most of the rest of the time thanks to the combination of my bug, the wind and the cold, I feel like I kinda missed the whole beach part. Hopefully, that explains my odd choice of beachy stuff in January. If not, be kind, it’s been a rough couple of days.
These Beach Shell Bath Fizzies from Beyond a Garden would be a fun use of those seashells that sometimes find their way to your home from the ocean.
There’s usually a lot of driftwood on the beaches here in Oregon, definitely enough to make this Driftwood Lamp from Sweet Something Designs.
I love this simple and cute Stars of the Sea Shutter Headboard from Jane Coslick.
If you have little ones, you may find yourself the proud owner of a few too many seashells after a trip to the coast. Try this Shell Memory Game from About.com Family Crafts.
Maybe you just want a memento of a fun, family day at the beach? Make this easy Beach in a Jar from Better Homes and Gardens.
These Shell Crabs from Kleas are just adorable.
This Coastal Mirror from Going a Little Coastal would be a nice addition to a beach-themed room.
I was a little fascinated with sand dollars when I was a kid – imagine if I had known I could make a Giant Sand Dollar like Crafts by Amanda.
This Beach Valentine from Shimmer Kai would be both fun to make and fun to give.
Now I think I’m going to have to go spend some time recovering from my days off.
I just came across a photo I wanted to show you last year, but I forgot. It happens. More than I’d like to admit.
This is a card I made for a friend who lost someone she was close to. I wanted the personal touch of making the card myself, while keeping it toned down and respectful. I was very happy with the way it turned out.
To make this, I just cut pieces of fabric and stitched them onto a plain, white card using my sewing machine. I also made an envelope by stitching some cardstock to fit the card.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that thoughtful doesn’t have to be complicated.
My kids love apples, so I buy them year-round at the grocery store. They’re shipped from far away, exotic places, I’m sure. When they’re in season around here in the fall though, I buy them with the least amount of travel distance as possible. There’s just something about a local apple. They look better, taste better and signal the start of autumn.
This Apple Vase from Craft is a great project for combining the end-of-summer flowers with the first fall apples.
These Harvest Apples from Bright Ideas would be nearly impossible to eat, but it’s definitely worth a try.
These Autumn Apple Print Tees from Twig and Toadstool would be fun to make with the kids…maybe with a quick reminder not to take a bite out of their painted apple!
Another fun kid project, since you already have to clean up paint anyway, are these Apple Placemats from Bloesem Kids.
All that painting and fruit is going to make everybody hungry. Try this Peanut Butter Apple Sushi from On a Whimm.
If I didn’t work from home, I would have to buy an Apple Cozy from Etsy seller UnravelMe. I might need one anyway, just to get my apple from the kitchen to my office safely.
This Apple Applique from Wee Folk Art would be cute on lots of things. There’s also a bonus Apple Crisp recipe in the post.
This Apple Journal from the Split Stitch would be a great make-ahead gift to keep on hand for the holidays. Yes, I said it – the holidays are coming!
This Apple Thank You stationary from Paperglitter is adorable. I need to find someone who needs a good thanking.
Have a great Labor Day weekend!
Next Wednesday, June 29th, my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. It’s been 20 great years, but it feels like it was only yesterday that we were two kids, heading off to start our life together. Now we HAVE two kids and a lot of road behind us. There was really no choice in my favorites this week. It had to be weddings.
We were married back in the days of the white guest book and feather pen. I’m kinda glad to see we’ve moved on. This Birthday Calendar Guestbook from The Bright Life is pure genius.
Wedding or not, this Tree Pedestal Cake Stand from OnceWed is beautiful.
This Embroidered Love Pillow from Growing Home would be a fun bridal shower activity and a lovely gift for the bride.
It might be worth it to have this many bridesmaids just to make this rainbow. And all the flowers match! From The Knotty Bride.
Coffee Bean Favor Bags from Intimate Weddings. How do I get invited?
For some reason, I just love the idea of these Mini Pinata Favors from Ruffled.
I don’t remember ever seeing Save the Date cards before I got married. If I were going to have some though, I’d want them to be just like these from Weddingbee.
There’s just something elegant about a black and white wedding cake. Add some red, like this one shown on Project Wedding, and I might swoon a little.
I’ve noticed a trend toward smaller veils lately. This Mini Veil from Emmaline Bride is just right.
June. Father’s Day, graduations and anniversaries of all those weddings from previous Junes provide the perfect opportunity to show that guy you care with a homemade gift. I know, some of them are nearly impossible to shop for, much less make crafts for. But I’ve come across a few things that might make your life a little easier.
I’d love to see the tools that would fit in these super-tiny Altoid Tin Mini Toolboxes from AlphaMom.
Some rope, two wooden rods, some duct tape and the appropriate tools and you can make him a Duct Tape Hammock like this one from sitzikbs on Instructables.
My brother-in-law likes to play chess with his boys and one of these days I’m making him this Hardware Chess Set from Dollar Store Crafts.
This Popsicle Picture Puzzle from Impress Your Kids would be a fun project to make with the little ones.
Before you decide he’s not a bouquet kind of guy, check out this Beef Bouquet from Moms of All Trades.
Sometimes, no matter how many great ideas come your way, a gift card is just the right thing to give. That doesn’t mean you can’t craft it up. Try a Shirt Pocket Card from Holiday Crafts and Creations.
So, you’ve completely given up on making something? It’s ok, this Magic Wand Programmable TV Remote from ThinkGeek is just awesome enough to make up for it.
Before you give up the crafty idea completely, you have to see my favorite Favorite this week. TSJ Photography made this fantastic sign using her kids to make the letters. I seriously should have had more than two kids.
We have four nieces and nephews graduating this year, so I used my ninja internet skills to find out each of their school colors. I used black for the outside of all of them, then a fabric in their colors for the inside…Read more
I know I said I would stop talking about my Anniversary Giveaway. I promised, even. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I’m going to bring it up once more. I think you’ll forgive me in a minute.
I got an envelope in the mail yesterday with a beautiful card from my Forever Fabric Flowers recipient, Linda! I love it so much, I had to share.
I have a thing for handmade cards and this just completely made my day. Thank you so much, Linda, for the wonderful surprise!
Because my maiden name starts with a “Mc” I think I can safely claim some Irish blood. But who doesn’t this time of year? This week’s Friday Favorites is dedicated to the day for the wearing of the green.
What is it about putting eyes and a tiny smile on something that makes it adorable? If I could crochet, I’d make these I’ll Let You Borrow My Four Leaf Clovers from Alicia Kachmar.
It’s not Friday Favorites if there’s nothing made out of felt. These Shamrock Barrettes from Holiday Crafts and Creations would keep the pinchers away.
St. Patrick’s Day is a little light on the decorations, compared to some other holidays. Most of them go in the green shamrock direction, but it’s nice to see someone take on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This Rainbow Pot by Marie LeBaron on Craft is a great kid project.
And I also like this different version on Make and Takes (Marie’s blog!).
I like cute skulls. There, I said it. These Irish to the Bone Greeting Cards from OnCupcakeMoon on Etsy are adorable, like everything in her shop.
Food is another area that’s hard to cover for St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you aren’t a fan of green beer or corned beef. I think these Pretzel Shamrocks from On a Whimm do a good job of filling the void.
One of the key features of St. Patrick’s Day is wearing green, and what better way to do it than with these Shamrock Chic T-Shirts from iCandy Handmade.
A Leprechaun Beard from No Time for Flash Cards. I don’t think I need to say anything more.
I don’t know about you, but around here, we have some thank you cards we need to send out for Christmas gifts. We’ve done a few with fabric, but it’s time for something different. My son is taking a metals class in school right now, so I thought this one might keep his attention…Read more
We celebrated my husband's birthday last week. By celebrated, I mean we ran off to Las Vegas for a few days with friends. We were back home before the big day, so when it arrived I wasn't sure what to do. How do you top this?
I couldn't let it go by without some kind of acknowledgement, in spite of the fact that he would ignore it completely if given the chance. I decided to make him a card.
I wanted to try a pop-up card, but didn't really know where to start. Thanks to my ability to spell the word "Google," I found a fantastic website full of printable pop-up cards with excellent instructions.
Robert Sabuda is a very talented artist who specializes in pop-up books. Apparently, he is also quite generous - there are 48 pop-up cards available to print. He covers a wide variety of subjects, including several holidays, animals and an entire line of Star Wars characters. They are labeled according to difficulty levels, which range from simple to advanced.
I decided on the shark. I printed it out on white cardstock and proceeded to follow the directions. I found it was helpful to read through the directions as I colored it, because some parts will show at the end and others won't. You'll definitely want to follow his instructions on scoring the lines with a paperclip. It would be nearly impossible to do some of the folds otherwise.
I think the hardest part of putting these together is probably the gluing. It would be difficult to hold some of the pieces in place while they dry. I got around that problem by using a tape runner. It comes in a dispenser, which you just roll over the area you want to be sticky. No dry time and it sticks really well. I really hate waiting for glue to dry. I will sometimes skip a project if it requires wet glue. Patience isn't my strong suit.
The part that took the longest was coloring, which I will proudly say looks like it was done by a kindergartener. Aside from that, I love the card. When you open it wide, his mouth closes.
The simpler of these would be really fun to do with kids. I'm headed back to print Frankenstein!
I made this one for a friend whose birthday was in May. The problem is, I was late, so I really wanted it to be special to make up for that. I started wondering if I could fit a banner of some sort into an envelope, and ended up with this. It only took little scraps, went together smoothly and didn't require any extra postage…Read more
As some of you know, I had surgery, a fairly lengthy hospital stay and recovery time at home (technically, still in effect) recently. Our friends and family didn't forget about me, sending over candles and lotions and flowers and magazines. Now that I'm pretty much back on my feet, it's time for the thank you's. I had to make the cards. Had to. Ok, chose to. I wanted them to be special. I was meandering through the craft store and saw large paper tags for scrapbooking and thought they'd make cute cards. I've also been wanting to try sewing on cards, so here's what I came up with.
You can print the card and envelope here on cardstock. There are three cards per sheet, but only one envelope, so you'll need to print the envelope page alone twice to come out right. Cut out all pieces along the gray lines.
Cut out 18 rectangles of fabric, 1 3/8" by 1 3/4". Cut 2 pieces 1/2" by 2 1/2". Iron onto card, using a small scrap of fusible web (like Wonder Under or Steam-a-Seam) for each rectangle, no steam. The adhesive doesn't need to be as big as the rectangle, just a little bit to hold it in place. The two longer pieces go on the card as shown in the photos.
Trim away the fabric covering the notch on the envelope. You'll notice on the card in my examples, there's a lot of white space showing on the edges. I increased the size of the fabric on the other cards to the dimensions above to fix that.
Zigzag stitch between all the rectangles, backstitching at ends to secure. Stitch across the top edge of the back envelope piece and across the top edge and notch of the front. Stitch a row through the middle of the fabric on the card, pulling the ends to the back and knotting.
Lay front and back of envelope, wrong sides together and stitch down sides and across bottom. Punch a hole in the top of the card and tie on a piece of ribbon.
Carefully slide the card into the envelope. If you're mailing these, they will fit in a regular invitation-size envelope (5 3/4" by 4 3/8") and don't require any extra postage.
All this bright color, and one of my favorites turned out to be the black and white one.
Although, I kinda love them all.
This is one of those projects I did just to see if I could. I was jumping around like a little kid when I got done and the thing actually WORKED! When I was a kid, I think we called these Fortune Tellers. I've since heard them called Cootie Catchers, but I have no idea what that even means.
You can print the PDF here onto printable computer fabric. Or, if you're me, you can cut a piece of freezer paper to 8 1/2" by 11", iron it onto the back of a piece of white cotton fabric, cut the fabric to size and feed that through the printer. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. I can't guarantee the safety of your printer, but it worked for me.
Let the ink dry for a minute, then cut out the square along the outside gray lines. Peel off the backing paper.
You'll need a layer of heavy interfacing, two layers of Wonder Under and a layer of contrast fabric, all cut to the same size square.
Iron one piece of Wonder Under to the back of the printed square and the other onto the back of the contrast fabric. Remove paper backing. Layer pieces together: contrast fabric (wrong side up), interfacing, printed square (right side up).
Iron on both sides to secure all layers. Trim the edges to match the printed square.
Straight stitch along all the gray lines.
Use a short, narrow zigzag stitch all around the outside edge. I intentionally didn't make the stitches too dense so it wouldn't interfere with folding later.
From here, it's folded just like a paper fortune teller. For you newbies who've never wondered what the future has in store for you, it goes like this:
Lay print side down. Fold corners into the middle. Press.
Flip it over. Fold the corners in again. Press.
Fold in half. Press. Unfold. Fold in half the other direction. Press. Unfold.
Slide index fingers and thumbs into corners and bring together as shown.
If you're confused about what to do with it at this point, any girl on the street can show you. Choose a color and spell it out, opening back and forth once for each letter. Choose a number, open and close that many times. Choose another number and open it up to read your fortune below that number.
I think these would be great favors for a birthday party. You could sew some strands of ribbon from the corners to girlie it up.
Ooh, or a wedding...one of these in the middle of each table, maybe the fortunes blank with a fine tip Sharpie for guests to add their own advice.
I can post this one without the "Congratulations Graduate" in the middle and without the fortunes so you can Sharpie in your own. I can also leave off the puzzle pieces and you could applique colored fabric in the corners before assembling the layers or do a little fabric painting - just ask in a comment. This might also be a good place to try out that iron-on crayon technique from the Wonder Woman t-shirt.
This one is going to my son, who's graduating from middle school, as a "card" to go with his gift. Maybe it will advise him on how to make it through high school.
Here is a PDF of a very generic version. It has the lines and numbers, but no fortunes, colors or writing in the center. Below is also as a jpg, so if you're tricky with photo editing software you can add what you'd like before you print it.
I was walking around Michael's craft store last week, searching for inspiration. I have several graduates to give gifts to, and I wanted them to be special. I should say, I wanted the holders for the cash to be special. I was almost through the entire store when I came across some tiny takeout boxes. They're about 2 1/4" tall. I've made fabric fortune cookies before, using a pattern from the back of this book, and realized they would be perfect for holding money and conveying some sort of graduation wisdom they won't listen to anyway...Read more