In Which I Sing the Praises of Craftsy!

I’ve decided I want to learn to sew.  I got out my sewing machine and was prepared to have to try to find some instructions online on how to thread my 20+ year old Pfaff (which I love).  But it all came back to me.  Like riding a bike.  Apparently, I have sewed more than I had initially remembered.   So I thought about it and quite awhile back, I did make a couple of quilts which I machine pieced.  I also made some flannel floppy Santa guys somewhere back in the 90s.  So I have some sewing in my past.  I’ve never made a garment though (by myself that is).

I decided to see what had to offer in the way of sewing classes.  Turns out they have quite a bit to offer.  I found a free mini class on how to make a tote bag.  It was great.  I can’t recommend this enough.  The teacher explained every step so clearly, and I just followed along with the video.  I learned to box corners.  I made a pocket.  I made handles. I made a lining, put the lining in the bag and successfully sewed it in!

The bag is not perfect, but I am pretty excited.  I had actually bought this material back in 2006 at a quilting show in Nashville.  I’d never gotten around to making the baby quilt it was supposed to become.  I was happy to get to use it for the bag.



I asked Davey to take some pictures of me with the bag.  It’s still hard for him to wield my good camera, but he loves to take pictures.  He much prefers taking pictures of me over me taking pictures of him.

proudSo I think I am ready (maybe) to take on my next project.  I got some material on sale at Fancy Tiger (love that place) and a pattern for some pajama style pants and/or shorts.  I won’t have a video to guide me through though.  We shall see how it goes.

Painting River Rocks and Decorating the Garden!

Davey and I have been wanting to paint river rocks.  We did this once before when we were still in Arkansas (I’m sure he doesn’t remember it, but I have kept one of those rocks on the window sill ever since).

I was worried about the legalities of “stealing” too many river rocks.  Apparently you can gather up to 250 pounds a day on federal land, but you can’t take rocks out of state parks.  There is a state bill that has not yet been passed which would allow you to also take no more than 250 pounds a day (I think – that sounds like a lot) in Washington state parks.  Apparently you have more leeway in Oregon.  This information was gathered with a little google searching;  I didn’t go too in-depth (so don’t quote me on this!).

So my moral dilemma was solved yesterday when David found a 2 pound bag of river rocks for $1.88 at Bi-Mart (local discount store here).  Whew!

This morning we got out the acrylic paints and we started painting.  Oh, prior to this I had gone to pinterest and done a search on painted river rocks.  I now have a board devoted to river rocks.  There were lots of examples!

Davey wanted to make a tomato rock.



David joined in as well.



After we were done painting the rocks, Davey put them all in the garden.  He had the great idea of decorating the garden with them.

After making a tomato rock, Davey painted a volcano rock.  I like his finished rock.  Of course the red is the lava bubbling up out of the volcano!


Davey put the frog and ladybug together at first (painted by David).


But then he decided that the ladybug should sit up higher.


Here’s the tomato rock.  Davey asked me to label it. Next to the tomato rock is my little guy.  I call him Francois.



Buster was just taking it all in. Such a pretty boy (almost a year old!).



Crafts for Kids!

I received an email yesterday about a post that I’d written about a year ago.  Davey was into pirates at about this time, and we’d made a treasure map and pirate hats.   So the lady who designs crafts for the website emailed me and wanted to include the picture of Davey wearing the pirate hat that we’d made from a guide on her website.  I don’t know how she happened onto it, but I said sure.  Anyway, I thought I’d share this because there are lots of fun crafts on this website.  I plan to go back to it and find some more activities for us to do together!

(The title of the blog is the link and if you scroll all the way down there’s Davey with his hat!)

Hoodie and Craft Fail/Success

I follow a knitting group on facebook.  The other day someone posted a picture of an iphone hoodie.  I had to go find the pattern immediately.  I went to my stash, picked out some yarn, and knitted this right up.



Cute cute cute.  I loved it.  My purse is like a bottomless cavern, so this also helps me locate my phone more easily.  This is a fun easy knit.

Davey, David and I have been doing several crafts this summer.  Our success rate has been pretty good, but we tried a craft the other day that just didn’t work.  It was one of those 3d foam projects.  We were supposed to make a pirate ship.

This required glue.  So the tricky thing was that we were supposed to connect the sides of the ship with a piece of foam which was also the bottom of the ship and then curved up to be the front.  So we had the foam glue.  We carefully applied it and then held it in place.  and held it. and held it.  The craft was designed for ages 6+.  Two 45 year olds were holding it in place.  One of them was saying “this will never work.  this is not going to work.”  He was right, but I couldn’t stand to just give up.  We needed Super Glue to have a prayer, but Super Glue over a fairly large project seemed potentially hazardous.

So finally we gave up.  I told Davey that we were just going to have fun with it.  So we have lots of packing tape right now.  Davey and I just taped the heck out of that ship.

It looked terrible.  It’s supposed to have about six billowing sails. I love Davey’s expression as he gazes at it.



Davey and David have this funny exaggerated voice that they use to say “Gilderoy Lockhart” (as he is so pretentious and thinks he is awesome – Harry Potter –  Chamber of Secrets).  Davey applied this voice to the ship.  It is the “Lousy Pirate Ship.”



He is developing a great sense of humor.  He makes us laugh all the time.

So it was a craft fail pretty much in the sense that it looked terrible, but we had a great time, so I guess it was actually pretty successful!

Avocado Egg Salad, Aerosmith, and Airmail

Miscellaneous things today.

David and I have been making this really good egg salad lately.  4 hard-boiled eggs, 1 smushed up avocado, a little red wine vinegar and mayonnaise.  It’s really really good!

Davey had a Father’s Day party today at his pre-k Summer Camp.  They’d made some fun father’s day crafts for gifts.  They decorated the tables, and they had donuts.  He also made a craft with David.  It is a pet rock.  David texted a picture of him to me.  I replied “that’s awesome” but I messed up and the auto-correct replaced it with Aerosmith.  Aerosmith?  Turns out it’s a fairly fitting name for this little pet rock.  He reminds me a little of Steven Tyler. David and I have officially dubbed it Aerosmith.


And finally, I’m once again trying to actually write little notes, put them in an envelope, add a stamp and send them off the old-fashioned way!  I found the cutest little Mary Engelbreit notecards today at Michael’s.  I came home and wrote notes to my 3 oldest nieces.  It’s kind of fun to write a little note and send it off (I did this promptly before I got sidetracked!).   I also think it is very fun to receive a little note in the mail too.  I’m going to try to be better about occasionally doing this!

All Harry Potter. All the Time

We are the house of Harry Potter. We just finished reading the first book to Davey, and he loved it.  We had to tone down just a couple of parts so they wouldn’t be too scary, but overall the first book was really fun.

We are well into the second book now.  Davey is Harry, I’m Hermione and David is Ron (he began as Hagrid, but Davey re-dubbed him as Ron).  Oh yes, and Buster is Hedwig. Davey says, “Mama.  I don’t mind spoilers.  I want to know EVERYTHINGGGG there is to know about Harry Potter.”  Fortunately, I can’t deliver on too many spoilers, because I just don’t remember!  It’s been too long since I read the books.  I’ll remember this time.  We have discussed the first book thoroughly.

So today we pretended to have Potions class.  The potion we made was actually another Dollar Tree find:  a little sand art craft.  Davey and I carefully mixed up the potion which consisted of pouring sand slowly into the little plastic bottle.



Davey very carefully mixed his potion.  Then he said he had to go show it to Professor Snape.  He already finds Snape to be quite a complex character, and he loves to discuss his relative “badness and goodness”.  Davey is convinced that he is more good.




This is the finished rainbow wizard potion.  Not quite sure of its magical purpose yet.




A Simple and Fun Craft

I went by Dollar Tree this morning to see if there were any fun craft possibilities.  I’d intended on going to Michael’s which was next door, but I thought I’d check Dollar Tree first.  Davey’s attention span on crafts can be iffy, so I thought inexpensive options would be great.

I found some great stuff.  One of the little crafts I found was a bumblebee foam picture.  We made the bumblebee with what looked like little foam sprinkles.  Those little foam things get everywhere, so we took the craft outside.

Davey has little patience for drawing, coloring or painting, but he enjoyed this craft a lot.  We just pulled off the paper to reveal a sticky surface, and then Davey started dropping the sprinkly things onto the bee.


He was very happy with the result.


I’d packed away the glue so I found some glitter paint.  Davey liked squishing the foam down so the glitter paint peeked around the edges.  Nice sparkly touch.


This was a lot of fun for $1.00!

Playing with Photo Transfers – More Pinterest!

Davey and I began another pinterest inspired craft the other day.  Davey had fun helping me with the first step, but he wasn’t too interested after that.  It’s a little tedious though for a 5 year old.  I, on the other hand, am having way too much fun with photo transfers.

We followed the tutorial provided by Elsie Flannigan on her blog.  She has a really fun blog.  I used to follow her more when I was scrapbooking.  I’d not checked it out in quite awhile, but then I found her photo transfer tutorial on pinterest.   She had such a positive response that she wrote a follow up FAQ to photo transfers which you can find here.

She provides great photos and explanations of how to do a photo transfer.  It’s not too hard to do; you just need a little patience.  It requires only gel medium, a photocopy of a photograph, and a canvas or, as I found out, just a piece of wood.

Davey helped me apply the gel medium to our first canvas.



After we applied a thick coat of gel medium, we took the photocopy and placed it face down on the picture.  I read that the photograph should be copied onto just cheap copy paper.  I have experimented just with black and white so far.  I want to try color next. 

We waited several hours for the gel medium to dry.  I even let a couple of them go overnight.  Then I took a spray bottle and sprayed the paper.  I let it soak in a little and start to loosen up.  Then I carefully started peeling and rubbing the paper off. The image stays behind. I had to be careful though otherwise, I’d pull off some of the photo.  I did this a few times, but it just gives it a kind of aged look – I like it.  This is the tedious part that takes awhile.  I had to keep respraying to get off all the small bits of remaining paper. 

I was pretty happy with my first transfer.  



It’s kinda wrinkled at the top and it’s a little messy still around the edges.  When the photo is wet, it’s hard to know what it will look like dry, and so I missed a few spots.  While it was still damp, I finished it off with another coat of gel medium.

At this point, this became my fun project for me.  Davey wasn’t too interested in the delicate process of pulling the paper off.  It’s not too easy.  He’d rather be goofy.



Next I tried another favorite photo.  This is my current header photo for my blog page.  I love my little heart shaped tree.  I took this picture in Boulder at Chautauqua Park last summer. 



I like the beat up edges.  It’s still kinda wrinkly.  I need to make sure and smooth the photo even better.  

So for my last transfer, I tried a little 97 cent wooden plaque.  I think it might be my favorite so far.  The wood gives the picture a little bit of a warmer hue, and I liked that.  I just plain love this picture anyway, so it was fun to see how it would transfer.  It was not anymore difficult to transfer to wood.  I think it might have even been a little easier.



This transfer is a little bit beat up around the edges, which I like, but it’s not too wrinkly – came out pretty smooth.  

I’m just having a lot of fun with this!  I’m looking forward to hanging them up in my craft area once we move. 

ahhh Pinterest. Painting with Davey

Pinterest.  It’s awesome.  I tend to avoid it unless I am looking for something specific, because I can lose a lot of time while on that site.

Yesterday I went looking for fun craft ideas for Davey and me.  I found several.

Our first project required that we make a trip to Hobby Lobby to get a canvas, masking tape and some paint.

We began by “writing” a word on the canvas with masking tape.



Then I set Davey up with paint and off he went.



He painted and he talked. He talked and he painted.  I think he really liked discussing the entire process more then he liked painting. Although he did have fun with the paint.  I did too.  We both just painted randomly all over the canvas.



Buster rested at our feet.  He’s such a good boy.



No rules.  No strategy.



Once the paint was dry, I peeled the tape off.  Davey and I are pretty happy with the final result!



Speaking of love.  Davey was explaining the workings of the human heart to me yesterday.  He explained that there are no bones in our hearts.  Just blood and Love!

“Collage” with Davey

Today Davey, Buster and I went on a picnic.  After we ate, I thought we’d draw for a little while.  We tried drawing what we saw around us.  Davey drew Buster, and then he had another idea.

“Mama.  I want to do a collage.  I’ve always wanted to do this!”  I don’t know if this is collage exactly, but it was a pretty cool idea I thought.

He wanted me to draw a tree, and then he added the details.



We added twigs to the bark. He told me that the dandelions are yellow apples.  The red flower is the sun!  He specified that he wanted leaves falling from the tree.  Then he added grass.  He wanted a “human” in the picture, so he found what he thought was a “human-like” weed.

I loved this.  I wanted to draw pictures, but he wanted to create a completely different type of picture.  Creative kid. 🙂