Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Iron Craft 13: Best in Show

This week's iron craft challenge was to be Animal related.  About half an hour before I read the challenge, I saw this post over at mmmcrafts and saved the idea to make for my future nephew.  I love the face on Larissa's  even more than the cute one on the one she used for inspiration.  I was so anxious to start making mine, that I ended up finishing it Thursday night!

IC 13: Lion Bear

Mine didn't turn out quite as cute, but I'm happy with the results.  Hopefully my brother and sister in law will like it as well.

WFMW - Gift bag alternatives

We've clearly hit Birthday Party season in our household.  Between my two girls, we averaged about one a week so far in March.  I don't like gift bags.  They're not fun to open and it adds to the extra waste.  I don't consider myself a very "green" person, but it really does bother me how much extra packaging toys are packed in these days.  And they don't make it easy to recycle it all either.  While I can't do a lot to control that, I can do a bit to eliminate some of the extra waste by not using gift wrap or a gift bag.  What do I do?  I make a pillow case, and wrap the gift in it.
Pillow Case
Gift In Pillowcase
And as an extra bonus, since I often buy the fabric on sale, it usually doesn't end up costing more than a gift bag would anyway.  I usually choose fabric that has characters the kids will like on it, or one that goes with a holiday that's coming up (Valentine's day, St Patrick's day, etc).

I've also made draw string bags for some of the kids.  For more great tips head over to We Are that Family!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Iron Craft 12: Wanna Get Lucky?

I don't have a good luck charm.  I pray when I want "luck".  So, when Iron Craft issued this challenge, I was actually pretty stumped. Most of these challenges, I've had more problems narrowing what I want down to one item, but with this one, I really struggled.  I thought about doing something with the cross, but couldn't come up with something that I liked.  I thought of a Wordle or Word Cloud.  I thought of doing something printable, and actually had a quote picked out Monday night.  But I struggled with the design that would go around the quote (I'm not a graphic artist, I wish I were!).  So while I was Googling luck I ran across a reference to the Felix Felicis potion in Harry Potter.

So I found a small bottle and was planning on painting the inside gold and decorating the outside.  But, when I opened my gold paint, I discovered that it was all dried out.  So, change of plans!  I decided to just decorate that bottle instead.  So I glued some ribbon and sequins to it.


IC12: Felix FelicisIC 12: Felix Felicis

After this challenge and the Time Turner challenge, everyone's going to think I'm obsessed with Harry Potter, I'm not really.  But I do like the books and my daughter's reading them right now, so they're on my mind. Maybe she'll want to play with this once she gets further along in the series.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Iron Craft 11: Easy Bein' Green

Iron Craft Challenge #11 is to create something green. The problem with this challenge is that green is one of my favorite colors!  In fact, it was the color I used for my wedding.  I had a little bit of trouble figuring out one thing that I wanted to make.  And with St Patrick's day coming up and my list of cool crafts I'd like to do for it, I had an even harder time picking just one item. 

So, I made these shamrock earrings for my daughter:
IC11 - Shamrock Earrings

This headband out of left over fabric from my IC#10 project.

Headband

The reverse of this headband is a scrap of dark green fabric I had leftover from another project.

Then I created a shamrock hair clip using these instructions.
Shamrock Hair clip

Check out the Iron Craft Flickr pool for more great green projects!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WFMW: Decorative Pillows

I like to decorate for the most of holidays, it provides a nice change of pace and helps me get in the "holiday spirit" and since kids tend to look forward to holidays as well, it helps them too.

The problem is there's a lot of things to store.  So a long time ago, I started to use slip covers for my throw pillows in the living room to help decorate, without the added expense of buying another pillow that I'd need to store most of the year anyway.  Besides it gives me the chance to use some of the cute holiday fabrics I've seen at the store.

So, up until now, I've been missing one major holiday in my collection of pillow covers and that's St Patrick's Day.  I think it's mostly because often St Patrick's Day and Easter fall so close together there really isn't time to give them each their own decor time and Easter is far more important at our house.  But, this year it's nice, Easter is much later and actually gives us over a month between the two, so we can decorate for both!

This week's challenge for Iron Craft is a Fat tuesday in the Quarter challenge and when I heard that I immediately remembered this giveaway, which I won!  The fabric has been aging in my stash for a while now waiting for the perfect chance to use it.

So, here's one of the fat quarters I won:

IMG_1006


For the challenge we're allowed to use one Fat Quarter and notions (no other fabric, other than something like bias tape).  I wanted to make a cover for my pillow but when I folded the fabric over it just wasn't the right dimensions, I'd have to cut it and piece it together to get it to fit right.  Then, I remembered that sometimes when I'm wraping gifts, I'll do it diagonally and bring all the corners to the center back of the gift. Often I can then wrap a gift with a piece of paper that I couldn't wrap normally.

So, I trimmed up the FQ to be a square and sat the piece I trimmed off aside for another project (hopefully I'll get some time to do it before St Patrick's day comes!).

Then, I folded the square in half (outside in) and sewed up the two ends. (Sorry I forgot to take a picture of that!) Next I found some coordinating ribbon and sewed it around the open edges (note: I sewed two lengths with the ends being at the seams, DON'T do that! Instead sew one long piece and it would be better to start midway between the two seams).
IMG_1002

I marked the mid points of both sides (between the two seams, these will be the pillow corners). Then, on one side, between the two marks, I made some button holes pretty evenly spaced through both the ribbon and the fabric (the ribbon here is working as part of the button band to reinforce it).  Lastly, I sewed the buttons to the ribbon on the other side of the openning. 
Here's the back:

BackofPillow

And the front:

IC10 FQ Pillow


It turns out the FQ by itself was just a bit too small for my pillow, unless I wanted to use the piece I cut off for the button band, so I used ribbon (I didn't have any bias tape that matched). There's also a little bit of a twist to the fabric due to the bias, but the pillow keeps it to a minimum.

I love the fabric and the people over at Captive Illusions put cute little sayings on their FQ packs like "Sew many quilts... Sew little time!" and "A messy house is the sign of a happy quilter." (I must be REALLY happy then! LOL).

I can't wait until tomorrow to see what the new challenge will be at Iron Craft.

Pillow covers are definitely working for me. For more great tips, head over to We Are That Family and check out this week's Works for Me Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WFMW - Helping your kids learn more about God.


This year, we decided to start the year off by doing devotionals daily with the kids to help bring them closer to God and to get them more in the habit of learning about God and reading the Bible every day.

I had The One Year Book of Devotionals for Preschoolers to use with my youngest daughter (she's 4), that I'd picked up at the Salvation Army store a while back. But it was a little too simple for my older daughter (she's 7).  So I went to the Family Christian book store and looked at some of the devotionals they had there. They'd advertised one for mothers and daughters that I was looking to get.  But after looking through it, I decided it wasn't for us.  The stories that it had were targeted for girls that were a little older than 7 (they talked about going to the mall by yourself, etc).  After a little searching, I found God's Little Devotional Book for Girls.  It has a short story, a Bible passage and a few sentences to tie it all together.

So, every night, before bed, I read the story from the devotional, she looks up the Bible passage and reads it and we talk for a few minutes about it.  The devotional does have part of the Bible passage in it, but I want my daughter to get more comfortable looking up passages in the Bible, so I have her look it up, read it and then we discuss the meaning and relate it to the story.  She's loving it.

My younger daughter isn't reading yet.  So my husband reads the preschoolers devotional to her. It's nice because it starts with a question or two, to catch her attention and then talks a little bit about God and includes a scripture verse and prayer at the end. She also likes the cute illustrations.

This is definitely helping us talk more about God.

For more great tips, head over to We Are THAT Family and this week's Works for Me Wednesday.

My Time Turner

In Harry Potter, Hermione used a time turner to go back in time and take twice the number of classes as everyone else. Ever since I read about her Time Turner, I've wanted one.  Just think, I could craft what I want, craft with the kids AND work full time.  Almost as good as cloning myself (maybe even better since *I* would be the one experiencing it all).  And working in the software industry, where we're always struggling to meet deadlines, it would definitely be useful!

So, when Iron Craft announced challenge number nine, "And the Oscar goes to..." where we're to craft something that reflects a movie that is special to you.  The Harry Potter movies immediately came to mind, but I tried to think of something else (since they used that as an example).  Is it really a "craft" to paint my stapler red like the one in Office Space? How can I create an entire planet on a giant holodeck like in Star Trek Insurrection?  The first movies my husband and I ever saw together were the Indiana Jones movies, could I do something from those?  No matter how much I thought about it, I kept coming back to Harry Potter.  I thought about Mrs Weasley's clock and some day, I might make one, but I couldn't find a cheap clock to cannibalize on short notice.  So I ended up back at the Time Turner.

The book doesn't say much about what this Time Turner looks like, other than it has a small hour glass and was gold.  I envisioned something smaller than what's in the movie figuring she had to hide it all semester under her robes.  But I could not come up with a way to make an hour glass that was small.  I was going to try glueing two clear glass beads together, but I couldn't find any that were clear, shaped the right way and hollow.  So I ended up having to make a faux hour glass by wiring two pony beads together.  Originally I was going to put glitter in them so it would move back and forth, but the glue wouldn't hold them together tight.

So, here's what I did:
I took two clear pony beads, ran an eye pin through them.  both ends of the eye pin were fastened to a small gold ring.  Then, I took a piece of 20 gauge wire wrapped it around the center (between the two pony beads) and then around the small gold ring as well, leaving the ends and fastening on a small bead at both ends.  These ends need to be long enough that they'll extend past the sides of the larger circle.  So, I have something looking like this.

Time Turner1

Then, I took the piece with the pony beads and placed it so that one end is in front of the larger circle and one end is behind the larger circle (with the beads outside the circle) and I wired it with 32 gauge wire.  To do that, I took a segment of wire (about 8 inches or so) found the middle, placed it at the joint and repeatedly made an X over the front of the joint, then I did the same for the other side.  The idea here is that the smaller circle will be able to pivot inside the larger circle.

Timer Turner2

Next, I took some seed beads and strung them on one of the tails that was left and used the other tail to wire that string of beads around the outer circle.  I ended up having to do this with both sides to get the full circle covered.  Here's how it looked when I finished.

IC9 - Time Turner

I don't have a gold chain to put it on right now.  I'm kind of hoping that someone else makes one for this challenge so I can see what they do for the hour glass.  Now if someone can tell me the proper enchantments that I need to get it working, I'd appreciate it!

 
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