Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Art books for kids

I was thinking the other day, along the lines of my kids' art drawer ... And I was thinking about some of our favorite project books. Thought I'd share them with you. These are all really great books. And the "Best Craft Book Ever" is so great, I agree with it's title, for sure.

The Kathy Ross books are old school, and I think out of print, but they are so great. (find them on eBay or amazon)
I won the Rosie O'Donnell one as part of a giveaway on Mod Podge Rocks, and it's also really got some fun projects in it.
The toddler art books I found really resourceful when I used to do children's ministry - toddlers are so unpredictable, their art projects are different than bigger kids and these had some projects in them that were very resourceful and clever.

The dress that wanted to be a casserole carrier

Have you ever wondered if your dear old friend Libby is insane? Wonder no longer... Proof?
...My sister asked me about a month ago if I would make a casserole carrier for her to give a foodie friend on her birthday. (of course!) But in the craziness of school starting and G arriving, well... I forgot and the birthday came and went. Oops. Victory asked if I would make it soon, so I knew I had to do it asap. I asked her to remind me of the birthday girl's favorite colors: Burgundy, wine, plum, orange and lime green. Wow. Orange and green I have, but plum and wine are not big members of my stash.
Last night I was panicking a little, knowing I had to do this soon. I stumbled onto an all but finished dress for myself that's been awaiting a ruffle hem for about a month... Um yeah, perfect color scheme... Hmmm... Would I? You bet. So long dress, hello adorable casserole carrier.
I believe I may qualify as nuts. At least that's what my sister told me when I sent her this pic.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scrappy cute from reader Courtney

You know how much I love sharing what you all have done with my scraps... Reader Courtney made these adorable appliqué monograms for her middle-schooler to have on her backpack and lunchbox.
Great ideas and execution, Courtney!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stuff I'm working on

I've got about 7-8 quilts I'm working on right now. I won't go into much about these shown, except to tell you that if you check out my flickr feed you can read more about them. Two of them are from Oh Fransson! patterns (Mix Tape and Crazy 9 Lattice)

and the other is inspired by a quilt I saw on the blog called "the quilting diaries" (links later as I am posting this from my iphone).

I also have 2 birthday parties I'm planning this week, the regular new fall schedule for the kids and visitations with many social workers, etc. A lot on my plate, but I am sure you've got a lot on yours too. Here's my question for you...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kids' art drawer

There's no way around it, our hall drawers are nearly 100 years old and pretty much a disaster to look at once you get past the "quaint" factor. (I rely heavily on "quaint" to charm visitors past the quirky parts of our house)
But, they do serve a fantastic purpose - and that is to make art accessible to every member of the family at all times.
This is really the kids' drawer, as I have an entire studio full of my own supplies. (some of which they partake in as well, more on that in a minute)
I've been asked by a few of you how we store our art supplies here, and to be honest, it's nothing glamourous, just ziploc baggies and shoe boxes inside a built-in drawer. We don't have many closets or extra rooms here, so we make do.
Here are the supplies the kids have access to in this drawer:
(most of these can be bought at the dollar store)
Paper - both white and construction
Glue sticks
Kiddie scissors
Pony beads
A spool of stronger plastic cord for lanyards
Lacing cards - we make our own
Foam beads
Pipe cleaners in different colors
Journals/sketchbooks - I make them out of capri-sun boxes and book rings
Coloring books
Washable markers
Pens and pencils
Popsicle sticks
Stencils - especially the animal shapes
Safety stapler
Kids sewing kit - dull needles, embroidery thread, plastic cards and felt
Rubber stamps and washable ink pads
Origami paper

In my office, I keep the supplies that require adult help...but the kids know they can ask during any free time and they can:
* Paint - apple barrel acrylics and foam brushes
* Sew - by hand or machine. I have a huge HUGE bin of scraps. (Need some? Email me and I'll send some)
* Pixos - a strange, but engaging craft toy
* Mod Podge - decoupage is so easy for kids!

We use junk mail catalogs not just for collage, but as our placemats for painting, you can just turn the page and have a clean sheet. When the kids were smaller, I used to give them catalogs and markers to draw in them with.

I also save the babies' formula cans or coffee cans, and good food canisters to paint or cover in paper. Last year we made candy dishes and pencil holders for the grandparents from them. We've also Mod Podged the bottom half of gallon bottles to make planters out of them.

Making art with kids can seem intimidating until you realize that they are happy just gluing buttons to paper in neat shapes. Be brave! Buy a kids craft book and get going! You don't have to do messy art... (I personally hate playdoh for the cleanup! We never do it), we probably should)

(I'll post about some of my favorite kids craft books later this week)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rude and too funny

I've been feeling pretty "Crapi" myself today... And then I drove by these apartments and burst out laughing... I had to do three u-turns to get this pic and it was so worth it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tutorial: a headband for all

I have a huge head. I know, it's a horribly weird thing to say, but it's true, most headbands hurt me after a few minutes. Some stretchy ones work, but they are never a given.
The other day, while Mimi was making her collage, I made this. It took about 3 minutes.
I happen to have a bunch of old vintage Mother of Pearl belt buckle type buttons. I picked out a small one , but a big one would look cute too. There was some leftover length of satin sitting on my desk from the binding for Victory's quilt. (yes, I need to clean my office)... Anyhow, I cut my head circumference and about 10 extra inches in length. I secured one end of satin to the middle of the button. Lazy Libby used my machine, but a hand sewing job would have been prettier.
Then I treated it like a belt around my head, slid it through the buckle and cut off the length to the way I wanted it with pinking shears. (so the edges won't fray)
If you have slippery hair like mine, you may want to add a hair comb or the "sticky" side of a small piece of Velcro to the underside of the headband's crown.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

3 hour quilt top - finished!

Well, it's done! Last week's 3 hour quilt top went speedily into the finished pile today. Mimi thought I needed a model again, so you get to see her reading her "American Girl" catalog.
I've got an idea for an upcoming quilt tutorial entitled, "your first quilt". I have designs of making a tutorial that makes it clear and easy to try... Not intimidating! It seems like everyone who has answered the survey so far (thanks! I love reading your input! Keep it coming!) - has mentioned that they'd love more tutorials.
Does that sound like a fun one to you?
Would you try it if I took the time to write it? :)

Afternoon tea

We shall see if this continues... But with these kids as little alarm clocks, I've decided to try and institute an after school tea time. I doubt Mimi will let me forget. Momma needs this more than they do.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Baby Becker gets a gift from the Design Director

Mimi has been really into mobiles lately and keeps drawing up big plans for different ones. She's had designs for making a mobile for cousin Becker who will be making his debut this week... It all seemed too grand a scheme for her until I thought about her sequined heart she made last week. "Let's give it a go"
After requiring that she sketch out her concept, I got her started by cutting out the rockets and star from felt. She cut out the planet and the baby in the cradle. I'm not sure why there is a baby in outer space, but it was an idea that she even had in her beginning sketch (as you can see).
She decided gluing the sequins was easier than sewing them on. (smart) Then we made a pillow moon from scraps of a blanket I use for quilt batting, and we attached the shapes with fishing line. She did all the sewing herself, the big pillow moon was an interesting challenge for her as she learned about sewing in a circle.
We ended up having to weight the shapes with pony beads to help them hang better. Overall quite cute.
Project time: 1 hour

Last day before 1st grade

Z is in school this morning. Mimi and I did some special Mimi&Momma type activities. We sewed a present for a baby cousin appearing this week, we baked chocolate chip scones, and now we are having one final tea party before going to pick up brother from preschool.
Wow. First grade starts tomorrow... Time flies.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bubble Tea pics

I think I showed you the fabrics for this new skirt pattern to replace "Sweet Tea" a while ago, but we never got pics until this weekend. I wore the skirt as we went around town and in our ventures to Hollywood and Malibu - we took these pics. (Not that they're your typical Hollywood or Malibu pics, but they're the typical parts of our lives that involve those two locations - and they made for some fun pics)
Like them?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quilts in a to-do stack (and a crisis)

Here are the 4 quilts I have been working on this week (besides the spiderweb one and Mimi's quilt)... Two of them (the red/white and green/white ones) are only awaiting bindings.
The red and cream ones are tormenting me right now. I love their French fabrics and I enjoyed making up my own patterns for them, but the stippling in the red thread irks me and I'm in the process of ripping it ALL out to try again and start over with a different style. (1 hour to sew, 3+ to remove)...
I'm thinking this one may want diagonal stripes for quilting? Or maybe some rectangles that echo the shapes? I dunno. Got suggestions?

Art organization - your input...

I was asked recently by two different friends for my input on how to organize kids craft supplies. (I laughed out loud upon receiving the requests)... 2 days later, Mimi pulled out our art drawer in the hall (it's a 100 year old drawer, heavy and hard to navigate) - and i realized it was time for some new organization.
I've since redone the drawer (and the one below it as well) - though it never lasts long since the kids have free access to it and it's supplies.
I once heard a professional organizer talk on organizing kids' supplies and the woman said, "those rolling carts are just great! You can just roll them right into a closet or guest room when they are not in use" (I laughed and said, "um, what about those of us who live in small, old houses with no closets or extra rooms?") She looked at me sweetly and said, "so put it in the garage..." (we don't have a garage... We have a tiny guest house that a friend lives in)
My point is that not all of us live in houses with lots of room. Many of us live in big cities with small condos and cramped apartments. Old houses aren't the easiest to navigate organizing... That said, I'd love to hear about what you have done to organize. Any tips? Send a link to a pic and I'd love to compile some (corporate speak) "best practices" for a post.

And don't forget to fill out the survey, it's been amazing to read your answers! I'm getting good ideas for things to do and am letting go of some insecurities I had about the blog as it is... You readers rock!

Link to the Survey post:

Friday, September 3, 2010

First three quilts

Sonja posted the most lovely pics of my first three quilts over on her blog
I'd almost forgotten she had taken these....
I'm currently in the process of finishing up 5 more quilts. I've been on a roll lately. Pics to come.

Please help me improve my blog....

Hi friends!
Would you mind taking this survey? It's only a few questions (most of which are multiple choice) and it would really help me understand a little more about what you want as a reader for my blog.
I'm hoping to add some more to the blog and want to know where I should focus my efforts. Thanks so much!

Click here to take survey

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mimi sews a quilt

This is something I didn't imagine happening for a while, but Mimi and I finished her very first quilt last night. She picked the fabrics, helped me cut them out...

She took the cute picture of the squares lined up on the floor in her design layout - and we used that as a tool to refer to for layout as she (with NO help other than a watchful eye) sewed the entire quilt top.
I appliqued the owl she requested, and I also did the binding (with her breathing down my neck)... But she even helped tie the quilt by hand sewing.
I'm seriously impressed that she can say she made a quilt almost entirely with her own skills before she was even six years old.
To understand the process though, you have to know that we literally made this in 10 and 15 minute increments over about 6 weeks. She sewed only one square to another as an evening's activity. When you think of it that way, it's not too inconceivable.
Still, mad props to the crazy little Design Director. Not a bad summer project!



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