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January 13, 2015

I just can't get enough -- TSHIRT QUILTS!



I am really loving these t-shirt quilts!  I've now made three using the same method, and each one is better and better.
I made one for a relative for Christmas, and another for my husband, and here are a few pictures I took...

For the original post, and complete tutorial, click here.  


Above is a picture of all the pieces sewn together, before it was quilted.  I've found that around 50 t-shirts makes a nice size quilt.  

Below are some of the funky quilting designs I used.  I quilted this on a long arm quilting machine, which really helps because of the bulk!


I describe extensively how I put these quilts together in my original post, but here is another picture of my list...
A description of the shirt, the shirt color, the size I end up deciding on based on my pattern (below) and the size I need to cut the shirts, with seam allowance.


I've improved my process for making patterns.  I still zoom out as far as possible in powerpoint, create squares in real size, and make them the same color as the t-shirt they represent.  I also like to add the dimensions in parenthesis, so I don't have to click on each individual square and look in the formatting tab for the size every time.  Pretty cool, if I do say so myself ;)


If you compare the above picture with the one below, you'll see how they coincide.  There were quite a few more oddly intersecting pieces in this quilt than in my original, but if I sewed with 1/2" seam allowance, and stopped 1/2" from the end when sewing those odd sections, eventually everything matched up ;)  It's not for the faint of heart - but it is doable!


Below is a picture of the second quilt I made this holiday season - all quilted and ready to be trimmed and bound.  I always like the simple, swirly quilting design.  As you can see, I used much larger pieces in this quilt - and had a lot more white space.  I had fewer t-shirts to work with, but still wanted a good size quilt.  I prefer when things are cropped tighter, but if you don't have the 50 or so t-shirts needed to make a large quilt, you can always do as I did and leave a lot of blank space around the logos.

On all three I've used soft, neutral colored flannel for the backing, and warm and natural cotton batting.


These create such a wonderful, useful and unique keepsake!  I definitely see more in my future ;)  My girls have already started setting aside their sports t-shirts at the end of each season for some day when I'll make one for them!  


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December 27, 2014

Wood-burned clock from Reclaimed Wood


A few months ago I was riding bikes with my girls, and saw a neighbor down the street taking out a huge fence in order to replace it with a new one.  After riding back and forth a few times I got up the courage to talk to the neighbor, and found out that he was taking down a fence made of cedar, and was willing to give me several pieces of fence board!
I was thrilled.  This wood has never been treated, and the colors and grooves and nail holes are all so pretty!  I ended up taking enough to use at a craft night with friends, where we made nativity scenes on some pieces of board.  A few pieces I saved to use for other projects, like this clock.


I started by cutting a piece of wood down so that side by side the boards formed a square.  I put a bit of wood glue between the boards to help hold them together, and on the back nailed some stir sticks over the seam to keep it together while I did the wood burning.  I also found the middle of the clock and drilled a hole where the clock mechanism would go.  The size of the hole depends on the clock workings you have.  


I really enjoy wood burning.  I did these wooden spoons recently, and have done many projects using an inexpensive wood burning tool from the craft store.
Wood burning really went well with the rustic look of the wood to make this clock.


On the computer, I made a circle shape the size that I wanted it.  Then, I evenly spaced lines to help me place the numbers in the correct positions for the clock face.  Then, I printed it out in order to trace it onto the wood.  
To line the paper up on the wood, I used a pencil to poke through the middle of the paper, through the hole I had drilled in the middle of the wood.  Then, I lined up the 12 and 6 lines with the seam in the wood.
A trick I use often for tracing: I rubbed pencil on the back of the paper where the numbers were, before placing the paper on the wood.  Then, when I traced over the numbers, it left a pencil mark indentation on the wood as a guide.  The lines are faint, but enough to see while wood burning. 

 
Once the wood burning was done, I cut thin pieces of cedar I had found at the salvage shop in order to make a border.  A miter box or miter saw really helps with this!


I used wood glue, and then nailed through the back of the clock to hold the border pieces in place.


Finally, I added the clock mechanism, and a saw tooth hanger, and the clock was finished!


I gave this as a gift for a family member to hang in their cabin.  I really love how it turned out!  This would be a great clock for a rustic or outdoor space, and you could easily make one!

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December 20, 2014

Snowman Block Ornaments - Kids' Craft


The girls and I love doing crafts together, and while I was making gifts for their teachers, they wanted to make gifts for their friends!

When I saw these snowman block ornaments at Twin Dragonfly Designs, I loved them!  I knew it was something the girls could pull off - and they had a great time working on them.


I tried to find used blocks, but ended up purchasing these.  The girls liked picking out letters to match their friends' names, and they love to paint.  They did a couple of coats of white acrylic.  Then, we used the back end of a large paintbrush to make the dots for the eyes and mouth in black.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I wish we had tried q-tips.  I bet that would have been even easier!
Then they used a tiny paintbrush to paint on the orange noses.

I helped them to screw the hooks in the top, and hot glue torn strips of fabric around the bottom for a scarf...




I just love how they turned out!  They wrote love + their name on the bottom with a little permanent marker, and passed them out to their friends after school.  
It was nice watching the girls enjoy giving little presents, and this project was really fun to do together!
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December 16, 2014

Woodburned Wooden Spoons: Teacher Gift


I think it's nice to show appreciation to teachers at the holidays, and I have enjoyed making small gifts over the years.  The school supplies clock, first aid kit and personalized clip boards have been some of my favorites.  

This year, I decided to combine homemade and store bought by woodburning a wooden spoon and wooden fork set, and putting them inside an oven mitt along with some yummy shortbread cookies.  I think they turned out awesome, and the kids are excited to give them to their teachers!


The plain wooden spoon/fork come from IKEA, and they are ideal for woodburning.  I started by sketching some mendhi designs in pencil, and then using a flat edged tool, carefully woodburned over my pencil lines. 


Other than the dots, and the simple shading, I used that one tool for all the detail work.  I got better as I went along, and all together, these gifts didn't take all too long to make.


The main design is on the back, but I put a little design on the front as well...



It is really fun to be creative with the design.  I've seen these done with simple arrows, or dots too, and simple designs also look really neat when they are burned into the wood.



My sister sells custom wood burned wooden spoons in her etsy shop if you wanted to purchase these, and she is very good at it!  I picked her brain for a while before starting this project :)  And even though mine aren't as detailed as some of hers, I'm very happy with the way they turned out!


The nice thing about woodburning, is that the design really won't fade and doesn't affect the ability to use these utensils.  They can be washed like normal, and look darling displayed in a utensil bowl on the counter, or used in a salad or casserole at a family meal.



Haven't ever tried woodburning before?  Use a coupon and buy yourself an inexpensive kit at the craft store, and give it a try!  I've woodburned picture frames, clocks, plaques, shelves, all sorts of things!  It is really fun, and not difficult or expensive to get started.   And woodburned spoons make really great gifts!





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December 8, 2014

Book Page Christmas Tree Decorations


For the first time ever (well, for my kids), we actually have a real Christmas tree to decorate!  We went to Grandma and Grandpa's favorite place, and picked out a gorgeous, fragrant tree (and got to pretend we were reindeer with the branches...)
Then, I got to Youtube how to wrap a tree in Christmas lights ;)


Since all of our Christmas decorations are in storage, we had to get creative with the ornaments, and it's still a work in progress.  But I wanted to show you some of the cute things the girls and I have done so far...


One thing we have plenty of (and is easy to get for cheap at the thrift store) is book pages.  I have a big old thesaurus that I've used for many a book page project.  These ornaments, above, were really easy to make, and I love how big and elaborate they look.  I found a tutorial here, and simplified it a little bit.  
I used my circle punch to create 2" circles, which we formed into a cone and hot glued shut.  When placed side by side and hot glued they make a great flower shape!  Instead of making a double layer, my daughter made accordion fans that I put in the middle, along with a button.  Then, some red rick-rac glued to the back for hanging was all I needed to complete it.  I'm loving the red against the book page pattern!


Another book page project was inspired by this adorable Little Golden Book I found at the thrift store. This thing must be from the 60s, and the pictures are so classic, and the colors are amazing...I love it!  I was thinking of making gift tags from the pages, which I may still do, but for the tree, I decided to make a garland.  I made some color copies onto cardstock, and then used a 3" triangle pattern to trace sections of each page and cut them out.


I hot glued the triangles onto green ribbon (which would have been red if I'd had any on hand ;) ) and strung it across the tree a couple times.  It makes me so happy!  I don't know if you can see some of the little details, but the children's faces, the little cat, the darling stockings and little elves...every picture is so fun!


Not to mention some great drawings of Santa and Mrs. Claus...


I interspersed a few red vintage glass ornaments that I found at the thrift store - sticking with the red theme.  I'm thinking I'll grab some cranberries at the store tomorrow and make a cranberry garland with the girls to add in.  Even a popcorn garland would be fun!  We're being all old fashioned with this tree :)  <3 p="">


Mostly, I love the smell that wafts through the house, and because the tree is near all these big windows, at night the twinkle lights reflect 5 trees back at us, and it is so beautiful!  
Hope you are enjoying decorating your home for the holidays!
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November 27, 2014

BIC Merry Marking: Slushy Drink with DIY Drink Stirrers

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC®. All opinions are 100% mine.

The holidays are so exciting, and it is so much fun to plan all the little details of holiday meals and decorations.  This year, I'm making our family's traditional "Slushy Drink" recipe for our holiday meal, and BIC Mark-It permanent markers came in awfully handy for making some festive and personalized drink stirrers to go along with!
This slushy drink recipe is so simple, and so delicious, and comes from my grandma, who made it when I was a kid!  It really jazzes up a party, and looks pretty on the table.  It makes a large batch, perfect for a large gathering - but you can certainly half the recipe for smaller groups.
Mix 6 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar together in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once the mixture has boiled, remove from the head and let it cool.
Add to the cooled mixture 1 can of orange juice concentrate1 large can of pineapple juice, and the juice of 2 lemons.  Stir until incorporated and then pour into a freezer safe container to freeze overnight.

Once the mixture is frozen, put chunks into each cup, and pour Sprite or 7-up over the top.  Then.... use these adorable stirrers to mix it all together as the "slushy" part melts.  It is delicious!

And these stirrers are really simple too.  I got white, oven-bake clay and rolled it out flat.  Then, using small cookie and biscuit cutters I cut out little festive shapes and baked them according to the package directions.

Once they were cool, I used my BIC Mark-It permanent markers to draw little designs right onto the clay!  These permanent markers come in a pack of 36 colors for fine and ultra fine tip sizes - which means that there are tons of great colors to choose from!  The colors are bold, vibrant and low odor, which makes it nice when working with them, and family friendly.

Once I was done coloring the clay to my heart's delight, I carefully hot glued matching pieces back to back on the top of plastic stir sticks, which left a little slit at the top to add in a little piece of cardstock.

I used the #MargaritaGreen BIC Mark-It permanent marker to write the names of our guests on mine (so they also double as drink markers!) but you could write little holiday messages, or whatever you'd like to personalize your stir sticks!  With another dab of hot glue, I glued the paper in between the clay.

BIC is offering a coupon to save $1.00, and has a booklet with other  #BICMerryMarking ideas to make your holidays colorful! This is the sort of project my mom, two sisters and I love doing together - so I nominate them each, and all of you readers, to go get the booklet of merry marking and a coupon to start marking, and enjoy!

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