May 2013Occasionally Crafty: May 2013

Monday, May 27

School's Out! And We're Taking a Break....

I’m not going to make a big production out of this, but I thought it was only fair to mention that Laura and  I will be taking a blog break this summer.   There are several reasons we’re doing it, not the least of which is taking serious time to play and be present with our families while the kids are home for the summer.  


I do have a few posts coming up that I'm committed to- including this year's post for the dress I made for Melly Sews' Sundress Series  (check it out on June 6th!)

(30) Days of Sundresses Series - 30 tutorials to Sew a Sundress - June 1-30 at

But for the most part, we'll be quiet on here.

We've felt for awhile now the need to re-balance, to focus more on our families, and to show our priorities by how we spend our time.  Blogging is a hobby for us, not a career- and our lives don't always show that.

There are times in life where you have to stop, evaluate who you are and what you’re doing, and sometimes, make changes.  That’s where we are right now.  Our plan is to start back up when the kids are back in school and we've had some time to recharge.

You’ll still hear from us from time to time on Facebook (our best way to communicate). !  And we’ll still be answering email if you have a question or just want to say hi.

We hope you have a great summer with your families.  We know we will be having fun with ours!

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Thursday, May 23

Library Tote Bags- and a new Silhouette Promotion!

I LOVE my Silhouette!  And I love it even more now that it can cut fabric!
I was graciously provided with some of Silhouette's fabric interfacing and a fabric blade to try out (along with a new cutting mat- woo-hoo!).  Let me tell you, I'm thrilled at the possibilities this opens up for me!  
Silhouette is offering a great deal on these supplies, which I'll go over at the end of my post.
I chose to use my supplies to personalize some new Library Tote Bags for my kids.

I was inspired by these tote bags my sister-in-law made, which were in turn inspired by this skirt.  I did NOT sew my own tote bags, though you certainly could.  I just bought some ready-made ones from the craft store.  I'll start off with my son's bag first.

I wanted his to have a little pocket, because little boys always have something they want to carry with them.  Now he can put it in there, along with his library card, so I don't have to throw it in my purse.  So, I sewed a little pocket out of camo fabric by ironing under the sides of a fabric rectangle and sewing it on the bag.
I cut the letters using my Silhouette.  I used the sewable interfacing for this bag, which has a lighter adhesive. I knew I would need to sew his letters on after ironing them, since he is hard on everything!
Following the directions that came with the interfacing, I ironed the interfacing onto the back side of my fabric,

positioned the fabric on my cutting mat, making sure to avoid the rollers,as you can see from my design in Studio

then cut the letters "READ".

I went with the default setting for cotton fabric with interfacing.  The top of the letters cut beautifully clean, but the bottom had quite a few places where the fabric didn't quite separate.  I went over it with an Xacto knife, but you can tell a difference if you look closely.  I knew I just needed to adjust my settings but I was being lazy and didn't want to re-cut the fabric.
Once my letters were cut, I ironed them on to the tote bag.  Then I stitched over the center of the letters, since they were really too thin to do a full zig zag stitch all the way around.
It's perfect for my son!

Now, on to my daughter's tote bag.  I pretty much followed the same steps, except I used the Clean-Cut interfacing, which is not meant for sewing machines.
I adjusted my settings, and the fabric rectangles came out perfectly clean this time.  For this bag, it was just a matter of figuring out the placement of the "books".  A strip of fabric along the bottom finishes everything up nicely.

I love how they turned out, and my kids are thrilled to have new book bags.  Their old ones have been loved and used to death!

Let me know if you have any questions!  

And, I'm linking up my tote bags to some of these parties: 

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Monday, May 20

Goodie Bags

This month, my supply from WholePort included goodie bags and stickers that can be used for gifts and parties. It just so happens that I have my piano recital tomorrow (both Valerie and I teach piano lessons!), so these came just in time to make goodie bags for my students.

 The bags come with a strip that can be pulled off, revealing an adhesive layer to help close your bags.

These stickers are too cute!

I hope my students love them!  Be sure to check out WholePort's website for all sorts of packaging materials from stickers, to twist ties, to bags, to ribbon and more!

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Friday, May 17

Memorial Day Round Up

Memorial Day is coming up soon, and I know you're dying to deck your halls patriotic-style.  Or maybe that's just me.  Anyway, I've put together a few ideas, both from our blog and from some of our crafty friends.

First, you can't go wrong with a simple Star Banner.


You can also make a patriotic-themed Scrapbook Paper-Covered Star.

This Patriotic Wooden Block is simple to make and perfect for the upcoming holidays.

Of course, don't forget to check out Laura's Patriotic Wreath if you missed it this week.

And there's my Land of Liberty Framed Vinyl and Free Printable.

I love these party printables from Homespun With Love.  They really help you remember the purpose of Memorial Day.  

I love ribbon topiaries and this one from Bug Lover Cards is just beautiful!  Now I want to make another one!

Are you feeling inspired to create yet?  I know I am!  Pretty much I am just excited for Memorial Day because school will be out, and I can spend it with my kids without worrying about getting ready for school the next day.  How are you celebrating Memorial Day?  

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Wednesday, May 15

Patriotic Wreath

Memorial Day is just around the corner, followed shortly by the Fourth of July (say what?!) This wreath will be a great decoration to fit the festivities.

I used beaded necklaces and a scarf from the dollar store. I'm not sure why, but I always feel like patriotic things need a little sparkle. Thinking of fireworks maybe? 

This was a 14" wreath form, and I ended up needing 32 necklaces to complete the whole circle. So for about $10 you can make a wreath like this too! I used hot glue at the beginning and end of each necklace and wound the red and white together. My son mentioned that it looked like a candy cane, so maybe I could change the scarf out at Christmas time for a green one! Thanks bud! I love things I can use more than once ;)

Also today is the last day for our Silhouette chipboard promotion. Seriously, if you've been thinking of trying it, this is the best price you'll find. 

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Monday, May 13

Making my own- frozen dog treat

So a few weeks ago our family introduced a new member, a puppy named Carson! He is a miniature schnauzer rescued from the Humane Society. He has been a great addition to our clan and we love him very much.
Of course my wallet took a hit with all the little things that pets need, so I immediately started thinking of ways to cut corners on the budget. We thought of making our own dog food, but there are certain vitamins and supplements you have to include which are quite pricey by themselves and didn't seem to make up for the cost of dog food.
But what about treats? I came across a picture on Facebook for how to make your own Frosty paws, a frozen treat for your dog to enjoy. These things are like $6 for a pack of four! No way am I buying those! But I can make my own! I couldn't find a link to the original recipe via the Facebook page, but did find the original post by googling for it (us bloggers work too hard for someone else to take credit for it). The recipe is simple and you can find the details here, needing just four ingredients!

Blend your ingredients together and pour into ice cube trays.

Once frozen you can store in a freezer bag for individual servings!

What do you think--does Carson like them??

Yup! He loved it! Another making my own success!

P.S. Don't forget about our Silhouette chipboard promotion going on through the 15th!

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Friday, May 10

Scripture Cover and Place Mat Scripture Tote

First- a little business!  The winner for the Southpaw Crafts giveaway was announced.  Congratulations to Rachel M!  Check your email if you haven't already.... Now- on to the post!

Recently my daughter turned eight years old.  In our church, and in our family, this is a huge birthday because the child can make the decision to be baptized a member of our church!  (You can read about why we baptize at eight years old here.)

Anyway, it was a very special day for her and for us.  We were so proud of her for making the decision to be baptized.  It really was her decision- we talked about it, and prayed about it, and she met with our bishop (who happens to be my husband!) for a special interview to make sure she was ready.
One of the special gifts that we gave her was her own set of scriptures.  I know she is old enough to not only read them, but to study them and learn about them more in depth.  She was thrilled to have her very own Bible, along with the scriptures we read in our church.

Being the "crafty mom" that I am, I had to make her a cover and a tote for her scriptures. 

 First up was the cover.  I knew it had to be pink, as that is by far her favorite color.

I loved the lime green polka dots in the fabric that gave it just a little more fun.  I sewed the cover using this tutorial from Delia Creates, though I had to cut off about an inch of fabric to make it a snug fit.

When  I showed it to my daughter, she said- "I really wish it could have a big flower on it".  Wish granted, sweetie.  I cut two flowers out of felt, layered them, then stitched them onto the cover with embroidery floss. A big button in the center completes the look.

For the scripture tote, I used a place mat that I bought expressly for this purpose a year and a half ago.  I knew the ruffle would be a hit with my girly daughter.

I didn't use a tutorial, but making a tote out of a place mat is simple!
1.  Fold the place mat in half, with the sides you want to be the outer fabric touching
2.  Sew up the long sides- I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
3.  Square the bottom if desired (I used part of the tutorial here to get it right).
4.  Turn right side out.
For handles, I used 1 inch cotton webbing and 7/8 inch wide pink grosgrain ribbon.  
1.  Measure the webbing to the length you want your handles.  Cut two.
2.  Cut two pieces of ribbon the same length as your handles.
3.  Sew the ribbon to your handles on each long side.
4.  Center your handles on each side of the tote bag, making sure they are placed evenly between the side seams.  Pin in place.
5.  Sew a square to attach handles firmly (refer to picture to see the squares)

 She loves having her own scriptures, as well as her own bag to carry them in.  (And I love that it's one less thing for me to carry around on Sundays!)

I may or may not be linking up at some of these parties ;)  Come check them out too!

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Wednesday, May 8

Spring Specimen Art AND Silhouette Chipboard Promotion!

Before anything else, today is the LAST day to enter our musical tote giveaway from Southpaw Crafts! Click here to enter! 
Alright. I was SO excited when Valerie and I were chosen as Silhouette affiliates. I love trying out products for you and offering you a discount!  Right now Silhouette is promoting their new chipboard. Us long time Silhouette users have been waiting and waiting for this, because a lot of other brands of chipboard just didn't cut right. 

I received a package of their chipboard (along with a dust cover for my Cameo!), and I knew right away what I was going to do with it; my Spring specimen art! Chipboard can provide great stability to a fragile project, be used for 3D shapes or boxes, or even just by itself as a great neutral color. The Silhouette brand chipboard is about as thick as a cereal box.

I started by cutting out my butterflies with the chipboard, using this shape from the Silhouette Store.
I used the chipboard setting and it cut perfectly on the first try! (pardon my messy cutting mat!)
**Silhouette tip! Did you know that there's a built in blade depth ch anger on your Silhouette? No more worrying about losing the plastic ring!**
Next I cut out a whole bunch more butterflies of the same shape in coordinating colors, and started messing around with different wings on different bodies until I was ready to put it all together. 
Now, I am a lazy crafter and often eye things instead of measuring them out. With my specimen art I do not want to measure equal distance between each shape, or stress out about eyeing it when I'm putting it all together. So I came up with, in my opinion, a genius idea. You can change the Silhouette blade for a pen, right? So I created my layout using the Silhouette software (which is much easier to measure and space evenly with), and sent my base paper through the silhouette and had the pen sketch where my shapes needed to go! Now all I had to do was glue them right on the spot and there was no wondering whether they were even. :)
So after ALL of THAT, you get this gorgeous piece of decor for your home. Don't forget to check out the other specimen art that I've made throughout the year to put in the same frame!

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