December 23, 2012

Backyard Beginnings

We have started the process of fencing in our rather challenging backyard.  Here's some before shots.

Hired some great guys to come help level things out.  It would have taken Doug weeks by hand.  They were done in 3 hours.


Stairs going here.

And now the fence posts are up!  We'll continue with the rest after Christmas, can't wait!

December 22, 2012

Fleece Blanets with Binding

I didn't do a lot of handmade Christmas gifts this year, but I did manage to squeeze in these great blankets.  The baseball one is for my new nephew and the blue one is for Austin's autism preschool teacher.  She is always talking about how each child with autism is a lock and if you can find the right "key" they will begin to open up and be able to live more fully in the world around them.  I saw this key fleece fabric and knew it would be perfect for her.

I saw this tutorial HERE and was blown away by such a simple and great idea.  Just take a piece of double printed fleece and sew a fabric binding around the edge!  I rounded the corners and used fabric that I cut on the bias so it was stretchy.  My strips were 3 and 3/4 inches I believe.  Reminder to self:  next time 3.5 inch strips would probably be perfect.  Rounding the corners and making my bias tape probably took about an hour.  Sewing the binding on one side and hand stitching the other side probably took around 4.5 hours.  I love to hand stitch the binding on the back because it gives me an excuse to sit down and watch a movie or two.  They are really fun to make and much faster than a full pieced quilt, give it a try!

December 21, 2012

Christmas Bread 2012

I hate ironing, so I use my ironing board for holding all of my Christmas poppy seed bread instead.  Can't iron if I wanted to....oh well.

More on the table.  Did over 50 loaves this year.  We have too many teachers, tutors, therapists, coworkers, and friends apparently.  Not complaining really, I love making this bread and giving it away.  It's probably my favorite part of the holidays.

Use some tags from last year and these "Joyeux Noel" ones from HERE.  Thought they were cute.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 20, 2012

80 Years of Memories Box

My amazing Grandma turned 80 this year.  My mom and siblings threw her a big birthday bash the week of Thanksgiving.  I was unable to attend, but still wanted to do something for her birthday.  I saw this fabulous idea HERE and knew she would love to hear from all of her family and friends on her special day.

So, the planning began.  I wrote a letter and gathered emails and addresses to contact all of her family and friends, asking them to contribute to this gift.  I had a lot of help from my mom and aunts collecting contact information, thank you so much!  Soon, my inbox and mailbox were full of memories and birthday wishes for my Grandma.  It was a lot of fun reading all of the things people remember and admire about her.  I enjoyed making this as much as she did receiving it, I'm sure.
I ordered some envelopes online and attached vinyl numbers, 1 through 80.   I also bought a nice box that fit all of the envelopes perfectly.

My aunt took it down to her for me and I heard that she loved it!  I'm hoping to get some pictures of her receiving the gift soon.  Since I wasn't there, I charged others with taking some photos for me.  Happy Birthday, Grandma!  80 years young!

December 19, 2012

Gryffindor Tie Necklace Charm

I have a couple of friends that are really big Harry Potter fans.  One recently played the piano for me while I sang in church.  The other is a wonderful babysitter to my boys, heading off to college next month.  I saw these amazing Gryffindor tie necklaces HERE and had to make them for gifts.  I followed her directions exactly and found the tie charm at my local Hobby Lobby.  Unless  you have an extremely steady hand, your lines will not be perfect, but once you put the Dimensional Magic on top, it's hard to notice the not so straight lines.

 They both loved them!  And now they have a little Harry Potter magic with them always.  Merry Christmas you two!

November 3, 2012

Last Minute Halloween Projects

We let the boys chose an image online to carve into their pumpkins.  It was pretty stressful since we didn't have the best pumpkins and my husband and I had to do all the work!  They turned out decent (Yoshi and Iron Man if  you can't tell), but next year we are drawing a face with a marker and cutting it out.  Done.

Mike Wasowski shirt

Saw this tutorial HERE and we just had to try it.  I was too lazy to go down to the store for fabric paint, so I made a template for each color on my Silhouette program and we cut it out of heat transfer vinyl.  The next Monsters, Inc movie is coming out next year, can't wait!

October 24, 2012

Sisters Baby Shower

My sister in law is due with her first at the end of this year.  Her sister is due soon as well and their mom decided to throw them a double Sisters Shower.  I can't make it to the shower due to hundreds of miles of Nevada desert between me and the party, but I got to do the next best thing...make decorations and invites for it!

Paper Ball chains from MADE.  So easy to make if you have a circle punch and can sew a straight-ish line.  I only "fluffed" the first few balls on the chain so they wouldn't get crushed in the mail.  

Welcome sign for the front door.  We don't know the gender of one of the babies yet, so we are going with polka dots in neutral colors.

Food labels.  I wrote out what I knew would be served (brunch, yum!), but sent a bunch of blank ones as well, just in case there were menu changes or additions.

Banner for the fireplace.  I didn't string it together for mailing purposes again.  It was fun to coordinate everything with the same polka dot theme.

 The invitations.  The girls' mom came up with the little saying at the beginning and I took care of the rest.  I've had the digital scrapbook paper and embellishment on my computer for while now, sorry I don't know the source.  I'm sure it was free though, I don't normally pay for digital scrapbook stuff.

 We also included a little insert with the invitation explaining group gift options and registry information.  I hope you have a wonderful shower Tiffany and Katie!  Wish I could be there!

October 23, 2012

Mini Halloween Pennants

Made these mini Halloween pennants for some "BOO baskets" to hand out last week.  They are a much smaller version of what is hanging on my fireplace, printed from HERE last year.  Still love them and love that my Mac can shrink these babies down so easily, then just hit "Print".

Happy Haunting!

October 22, 2012

Usain Bolt Halloween Costume

My five year old is severely autistic and is in a running away phase.  Considering he has little self preservation skills no verbal skills at all, it makes it very scary when he bolts away from us.  He has shown to have an uncanny ability to wait for the right moment of parental distraction to break away and he is FAST.  Kind of like the world's fastest human, Usain Bolt.  My mom thought up the idea to have Austin be him for Halloween, since he fits the bill so nicely.  I loved the idea and got to work.

Picked up a child's running shirt and pants (who knew they made them this size?!) and added a little vinyl.  I had to recheck a few times to make sure I spelled the country correctly, it just looks wrong to me...


And what is a world class runner without a racing bib?  I tried to replicate what was worn at the Olympics.  There will be another one for the back with a number on it instead of the name.  This is the perfect costume for my son, not only because it's so appropriate, but because it's loose, comfortable, and doesn't have anything on his head.  So many costumes have head gear and he won't tolerate it.  Hope you like it, buddy.....Ready?....Set....GO!

October 21, 2012

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test (Goddess Test, #1)The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Kate has been chosen by Hades (Henry) to save the world.  She must pass a series of tests in order to save her dying mother, and in turn, perhaps save Henry and the Underworld too.  The only problem is that someone is trying to make sure that Kate not only fails the tests but will die trying.

The premise of this book had such promise, I loved the idea and the opening characters were really good.  As the book went on, the plot became more and more flimsy until it kind of unraveled in your lap.  A good effort, just not enough substance there to keep me engaged in the end.  Don't think I'll keep reading these.

View all my reviews

October 20, 2012

Little Irish Girl Quilt

One of my son's autism tutors recently had her first baby, a girl!  Knowing that the mom loved her Irish heritage (her wedding colors were even orange, green, and white), we decided a little tribute to Ireland for the baby was in order.

I do realize if this was a flag it would be upside down.  I already gave her the quilt before I realized my mistake and couldn't retake the pictures.  Luckily, this is just a loose interpretation and can just pretend it's a color block quilt instead, right?

Backing was a simple yellow floral print.  We didn't know the gender at the time I was making the quilt, otherwise we may have thrown in a bit of pink here.

There is the correct way for the flag!  I quilted a lot of small width straight lines with a couple of wider strips down each color, for some visual and textural interest.

I'm not going to lie, it took a while to sew all of those lines, but it was a worth it in the end.  The quilt washed up beautifully and is super soft.

Congrats to the Nelson family!  Can't wait to see more pictures of their little Irish girl!

October 19, 2012

Book Review: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus, #3)The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again Percy, Annabeth, and their demigod friends are out to save the world from utter destruction.  Can they stop Gaea in time from fully waking and raising her giant army? Can the Roman and Greek demigods function together and work as a team?  Aboard their trusty air ship, the Argo II, the prophecy of the seven begins to unfold....

I loved this book and can't wait for the next in the series.  The only reason it didn't get 5 stars is that it wasn't quite as gripping to me as some of Riordan's others.  It seems to be the plight of the "middle of the series" books.  It's really hard not to have them come across as fillers for the books before and after them.  The plot did move along and we are making progress on their quest, but there wasn't a twist in this one like I have grown to expect.  Maybe there will be a double twist in the next installment to make up for it.  And I was completely wrong in my guess about how Hazel and Leo are connected.  There may be more to the story though, we'll see.  Can't believe we have to wait a year for the next book!

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Party Favors Using Disc Sleeves

I did a low-key baby shower for a friend at a local restaurant recently.  As a parting gift, I needed something that could be passed out and taken home without a fuss.  I saw a very similar version of this on Pinterest, but of course, now I can't find the picture or link because I didn't pin it, oops.  Lesson learned.  So, I didn't come up with this one on my own, but I wish I had!  I baked my favorite chocolate chip cookies, wrapped them in plastic, and placed each cookie in a CD sleeve.  A cute vinyl elephant on the front, a little sticker on the back that read, "Love you a TON, thanks for coming!", and we were good to go.  I'll probably do this again, it worked great and they turned out really cute.  Thanks Pinterest and photo link that I can't find!

October 18, 2012

Elephant Chevron Quilt

My dear friend, Stefanie, is expecting a baby any day now...we are so excited to meet their newest addition and I have a had a lot of fun scheming and dreaming up a beautiful nursery with her.  We were inspired by THIS and THIS, going with an elephant theme in grays, white, and yellows.  We don't know the gender of the baby, so we will finish the rest of the nursery with some teal or pink...I'll take pictures once the baby is here and we have finished decorating.

This quilt was so fun to make.  We found some gorgeous gray fabric that kind of looks like elephant skin, paired it with a monochromatic dot white and a pop of yellow along the edge.  I loved learning how to do rounded corners for the first time and made my own bias tape using THIS tutorial from MADE.  Love her blog.

Used a black, gray, and white toned thread and followed the chevron lines.  Sorry for the date stamp on all of these pictures, it's a new camera and I'm still learning the ropes.

The back is a solid piece of smaller scale gray and white chevron.

A little heat transfer vinyl in the corner so this baby knows which "auntie" loves him/her the best.

Outtakes.  Trying to get some pictures of the quilt with two of my boys holding it up.  My five year old, who has autism, wanted in on the action.

He actually confiscated the quilt for a while and snuggled in.  Hey, if he hunkers down for a good cuddle, then you know did a good job.  He is a bit of a blanket snob.

Packaged up and driving it over to the new nursery.  This quilt was so much fun to more twin size or larger for me!  Baby quilts are the way to go, they are so much easier to handle due to their smaller size and you get to see the fruits of your labor so much faster.  Can't wait to make another one.  Congrats to Stef and family...we are waiting for the call from the hospital and the cell phone picture announcement!
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