Wednesday 29 August 2012

Tales of Summer: Camping

Last week we went camping at a conservation area not far from our home. This was our second year camping as a family and it was so much fun.

Two wonderful days in the woods with nothing on the agenda but fun, relaxation, and enjoying time together.  It was great!

Time was spent at the beach swimming and playing in the sand.  The girls got so much sand in their bathing suits that I could not rinse it out....the bathing suits went in the garbage right at the campsite.

Bridget also made friends with some boys at the beach who had caught a frog.  She thought this was just fantastic and was climbing all over the rocks trying to spot more frogs in the water.

We went for walks in the woods.....

And posed for pictures along the way

Our evenings were spent sitting around the fire roasting marshmallows and making s'mores.....a delicious and sticky end to each day.

And of course, there was time for some campsite crochet.  

We all came home in desperate need of a bath/shower, but so refreshed by our time spent outdoors.

Monday 27 August 2012

Card of the Week: Circle Love

Of all the paper crafting tools that I own (and there are many!) my favorite and most often used ones are my Fiskars Circle Punches.  I own a small, medium, and large punch and I use them all the time.  They are incredibly versatile and this week I made two cards to show you just how wonderful and useful circle punches are.

For this cheerful card, I simply punched circles out of a piece of cardstock using each sized punch and then layered my piece of cardstock on top of some patterned paper.  
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: my paper stash; Cardstock: Bazzill; Punches: Fiskars, single hole punch; Rub-On: Black River Designs; Flowers: Prima; Buttons: my craft stash; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots

I love how the patterned paper peeks out from behind the solid cardstock and gives the card some dimension.

The small green circles that are scattered all around the front of the card are from a simple hole punch.

On this next card, I punched a large and medium circle and layered them to make a flower.  I then cut a small sized circle in half for leaves.  The centers of the flowers are buttons.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Bella Blvd.; Cardstock: Bazzill; Punches: Fiskars; Buttons: my craft stash; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots

These are just a few ways that circle punches can be used.

For me, circle punches are an essential paper crafting tool.  I would highly recommend them; they are definitely worth the investment.    

Are your circle punches one of your favorite paper crafting tools?  What interesting ways have you used circles on your handmade cards?

Thursday 23 August 2012

Sew an Envelope Pillow in 7 Steps

A while ago I showed you the first envelope pillow that I ever made.  I was figuring out the process as I went and did not take photos along the way; I was too excited and anxious to see how it would turn out.

Since making that first pillow, I have made two envelope pillows for the patio chairs on my deck.  I love them and am very happy with how they look.  

Today I would like to share with you the steps I follow to make an envelope pillow so that you can make your own.

Let's begin:

Step 1: To make a 18x18 inch pillow, I began by cutting 2 pieces of fabric, one 19x19 inches for the front of the pillow, and the other 19x27 inches for the back.

Helpful Tip: My fabric had a distinct pattern that repeated and I wanted to make sure that the pattern would be centered on the front of my finished pillow. Because of this I needed to measure and cut my 19x19 inch piece of fabric carefully to ensure that the pattern was positioned correctly.  The positioning of the pattern on the larger piece of fabric (19x27 inches) which was used for the back of the pillow was not as important as you will soon see.  To eliminate the need for this additional fiddling, you could choose a fabric with a more random pattern - one that no matter where you cut, it will look the same.  But if you do choose a fabric with a repeating pattern, consider the position of the pattern before you cut.

Step 2: I then cut my 19x27 inch piece of fabric in half.

Step 3: Taking the two halves that I just made, I folded the fabric about 1 inch to the wrong side along the 19 inch edge, pinned it, and then sewed it in place using my sewing machine.  I did this on each half.

Step 4: Next I laid my 19x19 inch square on the table right side up. I took both of my halves and laid them on top, right side down, matching the outer edges to the outer edges on the smaller square, and overlapping the halves in the center.

This is what your pillow will look like from the front:

And from the back:

Step 5: I pinned everything in place and then sewed all the way around, 1/2 an inch in from the outer edge.

Step 6: Next I trimmed my seams and corners. I also over-edged the seams using the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to keep them from fraying.

Step 7: I turned my pillow cover right side out and stuffed in my form.

Here is the finished pillow from the front:

And from the back:

Helpful Tip: You may want to press your pillow cover before you turn it the right way and/or before you stuff in your form.  I did not press mine because I was using a fairly sturdy outdoor fabric and there were no wrinkles, but a lighter weight fabric may look more finished after a pressing.  

I hope you find this tutorial helpful.

If you have any questions, please ask?

Happy Sewing!

Monday 20 August 2012

Card of the Week: My Favorite Paper Company and Two Little Note Cards

Do you have a paper company that you just can not get enough of?

I do.

Jillibean Soup.

I adore Jillibean Soup.  It is the only paper company that I will buy an entire line from - papers, embellishments, tags - and then use everything up.  No matter how tiny a scrap of paper, or how random an embellishment may seem, I must find some way to use them.

I love Jillibean papers and embellishments because they coordinate in such unique and beautiful ways.  And the patterns are so cheerful and happy.

Hands down this is my favorite paper company.

So it goes without saying that as I was getting to the bottom of my Watermelon Gazpacho Soup stash, and smaller and smaller pieces of paper were left in the pile, I needed to find a way to use them.

So I made these two note cards:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Jillibean Soup; Cardstock: Recollections, Bazzill; Border Punch: Fiskars; Rub-On: Pebbles Inc.; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Jillibean Soup; Cardstock: Bazzill; Sentiment: Jillibean Soup; Butterfly: Jillibean Soup; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

These two cards are very simple, but I was glad to use up some of my precious scraps to make them.

What is your favorite paper company?

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Crochet Stash Basket

A few weeks ago when I told you about our trip to Ottawa I mentioned that I had almost finished a small crochet project.

Well, I made this stash basket and it now sits on my kitchen counter.

It holds all of the receipts, mail, and notes that used to float all over the counter and get in my way.  I love that everything is now neatly contained in this basket.  Organization is bliss! 

I also love having a handmade basket on my counter; it just says ‘home’ and ‘comfort’ to me.

The pattern for the basket is from Lily Cotton (click here for basket pattern).

I used a 4.0mm hook for this basket which worked very well.  The basket is stiff enough to stand upright on its own, even with very little inside it.  A few years ago I made the same basket using a 6.0mm hook and it turned out rather floppy - the only way it stands up is when it is stuffed right full of stuff.  Bottom line: Hook size is important when making this basket, and a smaller hook will make for tighter stitches and a sturdier basket.

The yarn that I used is also from Lily Cotton – Lotus Blossom.  I love using variegated yarn for projects like this.

What handmade projects have you made to help organize your home?

Monday 13 August 2012

Card of the Week: When You've Finished a Scrapbook Layout, Make a Card

One way that I use the paper pieces leftover from a scrapbook layout is to make a card with them right away.

Since I already have all the patterned paper and coordinating cardstock on my craft table, these cards come together rather quickly. 

I recently finished this layout:
Patterned Paper: Jillibean Soup; Cardstock: Bazzill; Die Cuts: Jillibean Soup; Flowers: Prima; Border Punch: Fiskars; Buttons: my craft stash; Brads: Making Memories; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots

And made this card using the small pieces of coordinating papers that were leftover:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Jillibean Soup; Cardstock: Bazzill; Flower: Prima; Border & Circle Punches: Fiskars; Button: my craft stash; Sentiment Font: Emma Sophia; Doodle Pen: Inkssentials; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots

One layout done. Another birthday card to add to my stash, and fewer scraps to organize and store.  

I encourage you to give this a try after you have completed your next scrapbook layout.  You'll easily make another card to have on hand, and have fewer scraps to sort and store away.  Win, win if you ask me.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

How I Get My Crafts Done

Before I had my girls I had very few demands on my time and could work uninterrupted for hours on my crafts.  I am sure all mothers can remember that time before we had babies and young children to care for and had oh so much time to ourselves.   

Things have changed and as a result I have had to alter my approach to crafting.  Instead of long, uninterrupted afternoons, I now work in tidbits - half an hour here, ten minutes there – little time segments that add up to a whole bunch of creativity.  

It took me a while to get used to this new approach, but now I love it.  I always feel fresh when I am working, and it constantly surprises me how the little tidbits of time add up to me getting a lot of crafting done.   

These are some of the things I do to make it possible for me to work in tidbits throughout my day and get my crafts done: 

My craft table is in the corner of the playroom and I always have one or two projects on the go there.  I can work on these projects while my girls are playing and be right there if they need me.
I involve my girls in my crafts.  This is especially true of scrapbooking.  They both love to cut and paste paper together, add pictures and stickers and then write or scribble the corresponding story on the page.  And it just fills my heart with joy to see what they have gleaned from watching me.  Their pages are really good.

I sometimes work on a project on the kitchen counter.  Here I was pinning a sewing project while dinner was simmering on the stove.

I always have a crochet project in a little basket or bag, ready to be picked up during the spare moments of my day.  

Finally, I save all the complex craft projects that require my full attention and concentration for when the girls are sleeping.  I figure there is no sense in getting frustrated by trying to spray paint something and then be interrupted by someone needing a snack or bathroom break.  

Now all this being said, I would definitely sign up for a full day of uninterrupted crafting.  But until then, my tidbit approach allows me to get my crafts done.  And that makes me very happy!

What do you do to allow yourself time to craft while caring for your children? Please share any tips you have.  We could all use new tips and advice for getting things done, am I right?  

Monday 6 August 2012

Card of the Week: When in Doubt, Make a Birthday Card

Whenever I am in doubt as to what type of card to make, I make a birthday card.

Birthday cards are the cards I give most often so I always try to keep a good stash of them on hand.

I made these two birthday cards using this adorable robot paper that I found on clearance at Michael's.  I don't usually buy robot paper - it is definitely boyish and not much use to me as the mom of two girls - but I did this time because I am trying to make a few more cards that are appropriate for boys.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Recollections; Cardstock: Recollections, Bazzill; Rub-Ons: American Crafts; Doodle Pen: American Crafts; Chipboard Star: my craft stash; Circle Punches: Fiskars; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Recollections; Cardstock: Recollections, Bazzill; Rub-Ons: American Crafts; Doodle Pen: American Crafts; Corrugated Cardboard: the garage; Arrow Punch: Fiskars; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

So cute!

What type of cards do you make and/or give most often?

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Am I Scrapbooking Enough?

I sometimes wonder if I am scrapbooking enough?  

I scrap the big events in the life of my family - birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the first day of school, vacations - because these events are full of incredible memories that I want to keep.      

I also try and scrap some of the everyday stuff - our routines, the girls huddled together reading a book, my garden, a renovation - so that I can look back and remember what my daily life was like at a particular point.

But even with all of that, I wonder if I am scrapping enough?  Am I doing enough to truly document the life of my family in my scrapbooks?

I take so many photos, as many of us do with digital cameras, and so many of these photos are simply filed on the computer. What about those memories? What about the funny thing that happened right before a certain picture was taken? Will I remember it if I don't scrap the photo?  I am not sure.

I know that it is impossible to scrap every photo.  And that even though some pictures will never be surrounded by pretty paper and journaling, they are still precious memories that were captured. Yet,  I still sometimes get the feeling that I am missing some important moment that should be documented in my scrapbook.    

Truth be told, I sometimes get a little frantic about this.

It is then, when I feel like I am coming up short, that I need to remember how much I have done.
I have a lovely album of our wedding; it is truly a treasure.  

Both my girls have albums of their first years.  

Our trips are documented in travel albums.

I make a family scrapbook every year, and it always takes up at least two albums.  

So I take a deep breath and relax. I try not to stress. I am doing plenty. My family's life is being documented. The memories are there, to be treasured forever, never forgotten. And those photos I did not scrap are organized on the computer.  

What about you?  Do you ever feel like you are leaving something out of your scrapbooks?  That some precious memory will be forgotten?  

Or do you look at what you have done, take a deep breath and know that you are doing enough to capture the memories?