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1. Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects Summer Blog Tour

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects: easy to pick up, hard to put down Sophie Maletsky Zest Books. 2014 ISBN: 9781936976546 The publisher sent me a copy of the book to review. All ages. We are pleased to take part in the  Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects  summer blog tour.  Teens + duct tape = fun Whenever the Teen Advisory Board at my library hosts events, duct tape

0 Comments on Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects Summer Blog Tour as of 8/26/2014 10:27:00 AM
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2. Float Your Boat…20 Different Ways.

One of my favorite summer activities is being out on the water in a boat, enjoying the afternoon sunshine as the boat – any boat – glides through the water.  Even if you can’t take a ride in a people-sized boat, you and your kids can make an amazing flotilla of boats using all kinds of recycled materials.  And, best of all, they all float!  So save your egg cartons, margarine tubs, seashells, and sponges and get ready to have a boat race in your pool or even in the bathtub.  Don’t forget to take a video of the event and who knows, it may become an annual tradition.

Check out the model boats at: http://www.redtedart/2013/06/08/boat-craft-ideas-for-summer

Many of the boats have video instructions and cost little in terms of materials. Happy sailing!             origami boats 4


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3. SPONSORED POST The Art of Duck Tape

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    4. Scrap Quilting with a Seven-Year-Old

    Scrap Quilt

    I actually have three patchwork projects going now. Yes, three. Yes, I have a problem.

    Hopefully more about the others soon. But this one started in the most irresistible way. I was making a bed cover for my daughter (10) when my son (7) declared he wanted a quilt, too. I told him he could look at some of my quilting books for inspiration, and he sat down and thumbed through them. He liked the Gee’s Bend book the best (is this kid good at getting brownie points or what? Gee’s Bend is my inspiration for all things quilty). Then he set about arranging my scraps into patterns.

    Scrap Quilt 2

    It’s been so fun to see what he comes up with. He’s very particular. Also fun to see what surprises come together as the patchwork grows. The way the deep orange pops, the way the blues and greens begin to blend together, the way the prints dance and change character according to their placement and size.

    Scrap Quilt

    All of these fabrics have a story. They’re bits from friends and family or pieces of other projects, some reeeeeally old.

    Scrap Quilt

    He seems to want it to be a lap quilt. For more of my patchwork projects, click here.

    Finished Call the Midwife (the book). It was very good. I especially love the stories about the nuns. Fascinating people.

     


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    5. Tangle Stitches for Quilters and Fabric Artists

    This is a great book for the quilter looking to bring something new to their craft. Zentangle is a style of doodling taken to an art form, and its practitioners are passionate about their repetitive pattern drawing. Tangle Stitches combines this art with quilting, a perfect fit as the doodles are very similar to common [...]

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    6. Weeds into Toys

    Arrowhead Weed toy

    Hi again folks. What have you been up to? I hope it’s getting warm and green wherever you are.

    Here in Charlotte it’s very warm now, too warm, but it’s been exciting to see all the flowers make an appearance, and inevitably, there are lots of weeds popping up, too. Lately I’ve been thinking about the things my friends and I used to do with various weeds when we were kids.

    • There was the weeds-into-pop-guns trick, pictured above (arrowhead weeds, I just learned they’re called).
    • Clover chains
    • Trying to make a grass blade whistle (okay, not weeds, but still counts)
    • Of course making a wish on dandelion heads

    Know any others?

    I’ve been so focused on my writing goals that I haven’t been doing a lot of crafts and (interesting) cooking, though I do have a few things l’d like to share in the coming weeks. Our last day of school is today, which means my schedule will be quite a bit different from here until the end of August.

    I’ll try to be here as much as I can, but you may find me more frequently on Twitter and Instagram, since those are easy for quick snippets. My Twitter handle is @emilysmithpearc and I’m on Instagram as Emily Smith Pearce.

    Good news! I reached the goals I set for myself with both my nonfiction and YA novel manuscripts. This is big. So much writing done this year, though it’s easy to wish I had gotten even more done.

    Currently reading: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger and The Great Green Heist by Varian Johnson (both purchased at Park Road Books). Currently watching: Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black.

     


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    7. Girl’s Waffle Knit Tunic

    Thermal Knit Tunic

    My girl loves knits. She’s nine now, but ever since I can remember, comfort has been her style priority. More often than not, this means knit fabrics. I really hesitate to buy her anything that’s made of wovens.

    Occasionally, though, I have trouble finding as much variety as we want. (okay, there’s Mini Boden, which I love, but I’m not in love with their prices). This tunic was an experiment that started out as a dress in my mind. Until I ran out of fabric. Actually, I think if the pattern sizing was anywhere near the mark it probably would’ve made a dress, no problem.

    I thought I’d try making a raglan T-shirt into a dress by lengthening the bottom, since raglan sleeves can be easier to deal with than the standard set-in kind. I used See & Sew B4322, which is really a pajama pattern, but that was the closest thing to what I wanted that I could find in the fabric store.

    The directions are nice and straightforward, but like I said, the pattern sizing is off by a mile. I know my daughter is slim, but she’s not far off normal store-bought sizing. We ended up with, like, six inches of ease on the sides and a Flashdance neck.

    But anyway, I made it work. I hacked off the sides, took in the shoulders, and gathered the neck (this was pre-finishing). I added a wide waistband what I had leftover, and I’m actually pretty happy with how it turned out. It’s long enough that she can wear it with leggings, which was the goal in the first place.

    I realize I could’ve done a better job with the bow pattern (I’m pretty unexperienced with patterned fabric) but Little Miss doesn’t seem to care, so I don’t, either. Next time, I think I’ll just trace clothes she already has, rather than use that pattern (though the directions are still helpful).

    The fabric came from Girl Charlee. I’ve been enjoying sewing with their fabrics. They are good quality and very reasonably priced, cute selection. If you’re a beginner with knits, I’d recommend going with medium weights. They are easier to work with. I do love these bows!

    For more of my sewing adventure, click here. Hope you have a great weekend!


    0 Comments on Girl’s Waffle Knit Tunic as of 1/24/2014 1:56:00 PM
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    8. Marco Polo and the Explorer Book

    DSC_0410-001

    At the recommendation of a friend (thanks, Catherine!) I bought Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air for my six-year-old boy for Christmas. It’s a beauty of a book, written by Stewart Ross and illustrated by Stephen Biesty (of Incredible Cross-Sections fame). Each chapter follows a different explorer and includes a gorgeous fold out map and diagram of the explorer’s route and travel style.

    DSC_0413-001

     I highly, highly recommend it. Reading it straight through from beginning to end isn’t something my son is ready for (the text is geared toward a slightly older audience), but he likes to pick a small section for me to read at a time, and he always chooses a fold-out to study. He wants to read every label for all the parts (not unlike his fascination with Richard Scarry’s books).

    I love that feeling of just sort of soaking in the book, meandering through and getting to know it bit by bit, landing on favorite parts and coming back to them again and again on a nonlinear journey. It reminds me of my own love for the Oxford University Press story collections as a kid. Beautifully illustrated by Victor Ambrus, they were these great kid-friendly versions of the Canterbury Tales, the great ballets, and King Arthur’s tales, among others. Sadly, they look to be out of print now, but I think I’ll have to chase down some copies to have as our own. Click here for a few cover images from Victor Abrus’s website.

    I didn’t understand everything about those tales at the time, but when I re-encountered them later in school, it was thrilling to realize I already had a framework in place. The stories were familiar and felt like they were already mine. I’m always hoping to give my kids some experiences like that, and I hope Into the Unknown will be one of them.

    The elementary school had its book character parade last week, and my son wanted to dress like Marco Polo. We didn’t find a picture of him in the book, but we found an 18th century illustration online:

     We found a silk jacket at the thrift store (100% real! reversible!), along with a faux fur shrug we could use for the hat. I made the hat (two U-shaped pieces sewn along the curve) from an old T-shirt with a double-thickness of sweatshirt underneath for body. I tacked the fur band around the bottom.

    DSC_0404-001

    DSC_0399-002

    Marco Polo costume

    Since I’m working on a nonfiction children’s book myself, I have a new appreciation for just how much research goes into something like this. I can’t imagine how long it must’ve taken Mr. Ross and Mr. Biesty to create this handsome book. Bravo!

    Speaking of nonfiction for children, I just ordered a couple from my favorite local indie, Park Road Books. Amy Karol of angry chicken recommended two comic-type books, one about the presidents and another about the Greek myths: Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunder, and Where Do Presidents Come From? They sounded so good that I called up Park Road right away. I’ll be there tonight for the spring author line up, sponsored by the local chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

    For more posts about books, click here. For more posts about costumes, click here. (Boy! I seem to make/ assemble a lot!)

    P.S. Family: I’d like to get this book (Into the Unknown) for the oldest nephews, so I’m calling dibs now. Sorry!


    3 Comments on Marco Polo and the Explorer Book, last added: 3/11/2014
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    9. Crafty Chloe: Dress-Up Mess-Up - Picture Book Review


    Crafty Chloe: Dress-Up Mess-Up (Crafty Chloe #2) 
    by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Heather Ross
    Publication date: 13 August 2013 by Simon and Schuster
    ISBN 13: 9781442421240
    Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

    Category: Children's Picture Book
    Keywords: Picture book, crafting, art
    Format: Hardcover
    Source: Library


    Synopsis:

    The Parade of Books has arrived, and it’s Chloe’s chance to showcase her crafty costume talents. Leo wants Chloe to be the Frankenstein to his Dracula, and Chloe can’t wait to dress like a monster. But when Emma wants to wear Fairy Club costumes instead, Chloe is torn like a scrap of fabric. She doesn’t want to disappoint her friends—but how can she possibly please them both? Luckily, a little glitter and a lot of imagination just might give Chloe the answer!

    Thuy's Review:

    The annual book parade is around the corner and Chloe and her friends must prepare costumes based on their favorite book characters. But trouble arises when Chloe promises to be a monster with her friend Leo and then promises to be a fairy with her friend Emma. Chloe doesn't want to disappoint either friend, so what is she going to do?

    First of all, what a great premise. We never had anything like a book costume parade when I was Chloe's age but I think I would have loved it. This is a really cute book and I loved that Chloe was so crafty and creative when it came to her costumes. I like that the book encourages kids to use their imaginations and make things. The story itself wasn't super original or exciting but it was cute and I think kids will like it. It was a bit predictable but I think that kids will like it.

    As a crafty person myself, I think Crafty Chloe: Dress-Up Mess-Up is an adorable book to read to kids and get them in the crafting spirit. It would be fun to read this with a child and do some crafts to go with it. Definitely worth a read if you have children in your life.
     


    Visit the author online at www.kellydipucchio.com, Twitter and follow her on Twitter Facebook


    Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please see our full disclosure policy here

    0 Comments on Crafty Chloe: Dress-Up Mess-Up - Picture Book Review as of 3/11/2014 7:10:00 AM
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    10. Brazilian Bracelets

    Brazilian Bracelets
    Author: Florence Bellot
    Publisher: Schiffer Books
    Genre: Crafts
    ISBN: 978-0-7643-4557-9
    Pages: 64
    Price: $24.99

    Buy it at Amazon

    Friendship bracelets are fun to create, and there are so many interesting patterns. Knowing the technique makes it easy. In this book, Florence Bellot provides helpful instructions and colorful pictures as a guide to getting started.

    Beginning with the basics, she shows us how to make the traditional knots along with several variations. Colorful wraps are explained, as well as how to add charms and beads to the bracelet. A 5-thread starter pack is included.

    I have some familiarity with making these bracelets, and I found it easy to follow the designs presented. But if you’ve never tried this fun craft, it might be helpful to have an experienced friend show you the basics. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can have lots of fun following these patterns.

    Reviewer: Alice Berger


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    11. Mixed Pattern Playdress

    Mixed Pattern Playdress

    This is one of my favorite sewing projects ever. It’s simple, was really fun to sew, and my daughter’s face just glowed when she put it on the first time. It’s just so her, but I love it, too.

    As I’ve mentioned before, she pretty much refuses to wear anything but knits. I’m always trying to find knit play dresses, and I fell in love with some from a certain British catalog that rhymes with Odin. I’m sure they would rather me write “catalogue,” am I right? Their prices are pretty steep for such simple dresses, though, and I thought, hey, I could make that! I’m kind of famous for saying that, but in this case, I actually did it.

    From the catalog, we borrowed the idea of mixing patterns (which is also a big part of my daughter’s style) and went to the half-yard clearance section on Girl Charlee. Little Miss picked out the fabrics. I tried to get her to go with a contrasting color mix, but that was a non-starter. She specified no sleeves and a higher waistline with a full skirt.

    For the bodice I traced another dress’s bodice. The skirt part is just a gathered rectangle. I used to be so scared of sewing with knits, but really, it’s not so bad once you get the hang of it. I definitely do better with slightly weightier knits. I used a regular machine (not a serger) and used zig zag, serger-ish-like, and triple stitches, depending on the seam/ application.

    For some great tutorials on knit finishes, check this and this out.

    This time, there are no booty issues (like here).

    DSC_0431-001

    For more of my sewing adventures, click here.


    4 Comments on Mixed Pattern Playdress, last added: 3/19/2014
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    12. Mixed Pattern Tank Top

    Mixed Pattern Tank Top

    This was another little experiment playing around with pattern mashups. I traced a favorite T-shirt to make a pattern, then played around with the shoulder width (the original shirt had sleeves) until it felt right. I finished the arm and neck holes with a banded treatment. I especially like the floral edging with the stripey part.

    I’m pretty happy with the results, though there are plenty of imperfections. I’d like to try another using a walking foot on my machine. I think I can get a smoother finish that way.

    Unfortunately the color didn’t come out so great on these photos, so I don’t think they quite do it justice, but what can I say? There are only so many hours in a day a girl can spend on modeling, am I right?

    My nine-year-old wants to steal this shirt, so that makes me feel pretty successful. The fabrics are once again from Girl Charlee, and I love their softness and fun prints, but I’d also love to see more fabrics that are over 90% natural fibers and am willing to pay. It gets too hot so quickly around here to be wearing fabrics with a fair amount of poly. My two cents.

    Okay, back to work. I have to prepare a presentation I’m doing with some fifth graders next week about writing an early reader.

    Hope you have a great weekend. I finally have plans to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. Yippeee!

    If you want to see more of my sewing adventures/ experiments, click here.

    Colorblock Tank Top


    2 Comments on Mixed Pattern Tank Top, last added: 4/7/2014
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    13. Get Crafty For Easter.

    With spring finally here, and Easter and Passover right around the corner, there are lots of ways to celebrate the season with crafts and egg decorating. Some of the easiest and festive kids crafts can be found on the RED TED ART sight.  There are 40 Easter crafts using eggs, pompom balls, and readily available materials.  http://www.redtedart.com

    When I was a kid, we died eggs by dipping them into cups of colored water.  You can still  do that, but now there are many other ways to decorate eggs for the holiday. You can use non-toxic water color paints to create works of art.  Try paint daubers to make dots, Crayola or other non-toxic markers to draw designs. The Red TED sight has many other ideas for egg decorating.  If you wish to try the Polish art of PISANKY egg dying, you can order your own kit from: http://www.chinaberry.com

    I decorated this egg at a workshop on how to do PISANKY.

    I decorated this egg at a workshop on how to do PISANKY.

    Here’s a unique way to give out chocolate treats for the holiday:  Create egg-shaped baskets out of balloons and dazzle family and friends with your talent.  Check out the how-tos for MAGIC BALLOON TREATS  at: http://www.thewhoot.com.au

    Happy Easter and Happy crafting!


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    14. Why May Is Like December

    Tree Costume

    Well hello again! I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. It’s been a very busy month with not much promise of getting less busy anytime soon. Is it the same for you? I’m betting yes.

    I’ve decided that the end of April through May is really just December all over again, with better weather. All the end-of-year events, school testing, gift-buying obligations opportunities, etc. etc. etc. General nuttiness. With that in mind, I’m trying to give myself permission to buy some ready-to-eat meals, to not bargain-shop every last little thing, to split infinitives, and to volunteer at the school only sometimes and not for every single event.

    That said, I do love the weather, the flowers coming up, the outdoor meals, and time with extended family. Our daughter also (10) had her theatrical debut in a full-length play at our church, which was so, so fun to see. My most recent sewing project was tree costumes for the play. In the rush I forgot to take a photo of the finished costumes, but the photo above gives you an idea of the look.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been very serious about moving forward my nonfiction book and my YA novel. Nose still to grindstone! Both are going well, but I’ve got a few more goals to reach before school lets out. Wish me luck.

    Currently reading Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart. Such an interesting and funny read with a quirky, wry voice that I love. It’s a memoir detailing the author’s move from the Soviet Union to the U.S. in 1978, when he was a child. Thanks, Christina, for the loan!

    Also, listening to Pop Culture Happy Hour podcasts and now All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts.

    If you’re a kidlit person, maybe you followed the uproar over the lack of diversity at BookCon and the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign that followed on Twitter and Tumblr. One of the coolest things to come out of it was a lot of buzz for a forthcoming book by Varian Johnson, The Great Greene Heist. Billed as Ocean’s Eleven meets middle grade, it sounds like such a fun read and *bonus* has a diverse cast of characters. So excited for Varian, who is a fellow Florence, SC native (though we’ve never met in person, only virtually). I’ve read one of his previous books (My Life as a Rhombus) and was very impressed. If you want to diversify your shelves, join the #greatgreenechallenge and pre-order Varian’s book from your local bookstore.

    Hope to see you here again soon before long.

     

     

     


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    15. Horse Pinata

    Horse Pinata

    My daughter wanted a horse piñata* for her party, and I decided I wasn’t spending $25 for a tiny unfilled horse-shaped one from Party City. I thought I was making things simple by making a balloon-shaped pinata with a horse on it, but of course it all ended up taking a lot more effort than I realized.

    Still, though, I loved the thing while it lasted. I started with the instructions here, but somewhere along the way I went off script and in the end, the mechanics didn’t really work. It was too heavy, and there was no way to hang it, so I wedged it into the v-shaped crux of our neighbor’s tree trunk. It worked, what can I say?

    Drawing the horse on the balloon shape turned out to be the hardest part since I couldn’t see the whole animal at once and had to keep rolling it back and forth to look at the different parts. I followed the drawing guidelines in Sachiko Umoto’s Let’s Draw Cute Animals. Such a fun drawing book, btw, for kids or adults.

    Speaking of drawing and painting, my new neighbor came over for the party with all her polish paraphernalia and painted nails for any of the girls who wanted it. Wow! There was also a round of Pass-the-Parcel and Tap-the-Pot. Lots o’ prizes.

    My boy (6) has recently gotten turned on to reading via sister’s recommendation of early reader versions of The Boxcar Children. Mind you, not fabulous literature, but boy is it fun to see those “I love this book!” sparks fly. I always loved the Boxcar children myself.

    Proud moment: he read while walking home from school. No injuries—I was right there with him and it was really just a moment until he finished the book he’d already started. I just ordered him several used Boxcar easy readers as an end-of-the-school-year present. And I’ll figure out some version of a similar gift for my daughter. We go to the public library a lot in the summer, but it’s always handy to have a large stash of used paperbacks for travels. Goodwill and the used bookstore are great for that. Anything to keep them feeling excited about reading, really. The school is doing a book exchange, too, so I’m hoping especially Little Miss will trade out some of her old fairy books or whatnot for some new-to-her stuff.

    I’m still enjoying Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure and just bought a copy of The Divorce Papers, which I’ve been told is in the vein of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (which I love love loved). What’s on your summer reading list?

    *Sorry, folks, neither WordPress nor my keyboard will let me type a proper ñ in my title text box.

     

     

     


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    16. Make This Beautiful Book For Someone You Love.

    Make this simple paper book and enclose some of your favorite pictures and mementos.  Or use it to highlight your poems, stories or other worthy endeavors.  You can add extra pages by inserting plain card stock between each page.  It makes a great home-made gift for mom, grandparents or teachers as well.

    1. Cut one piece of 12 x 12 cardstock in half. Fold each piece in half.  book aFor a book with more pages, use TWO pieces of cardstock and proceed as directed.

    2. Place each folded half on top of one another and punch two holes through the folded side. Approximately 1 ½” down from the top and 1 ½” up from the bottom.

    3. Bed over the folded side about ½” so it creases all four pages together.

    4. From the bottom or back side, bring up each end of a ribbon cut 18” long, through each punched hole. Tie it together on front.

    This is your book. Continue to decorate in your own personalized way
    or follow the guidelines below to make it look like mine.

    Front Cover- cut a piece of decorative paper 4 ½” x 5 ½”. Glue on.   book pic 1

    Inside front cover- cut a piece of decorative paper 1 ¾” x 4 ¼”. Glue on.

    Page 3: -cut a piece of paper 4 ½” x 5 ½”. Notch the top like a file folder. Fold in half. Wrap a 12” piece of colored string around the right side of page, tie, and glue folded paper down.
    Additionally, cut a small strip of paper ¾” x 4 ½” and glue.    See photo.  book pic 2

    Page 4- Cut two, 2 x 2 “ squares. Cutting on a diagonal, cut each square in half forming four triangles. Place one triangle in each corner of the page.

    Page 5- Notch out the right side of page 5 like a file folder. Cut a strip of paper ¾” x 2” to glue inside the file folder notch. With a hole punch, punch three small holes along the right edge and string ribbon through each hole.

    book photo 3

    Page 6- Cut a small 2” x 2 ½” tag. Punch a hole and run a ribbon through it. Attach a paper clip to the top of the page. Attach another ribbon or bow, to that.

    Inside Back Cover- Cut a piece of paper 4 ½” x 5”. Glue on.

    Your mini book is complete.bookcover completed

    All of the supplies used to make this darling book are from Close To My Heart. The paper products are exclusive and are only available through the month of May 2014.

    Visit Shiela’s  website: http://www.shielafuller.ctmh.com   If you have any questions, please email her at : scraphappy007@aol.com.

    How to win a prize from Shiela:

    Sign up to receive updates from Darlene’s blog AND send an email to me telling me you are a new subscriber: scraphappy007@aol.com You will be entered into a drawing to win the My Reflections Free to be Me paper packet. Winner will be announced June 2, 2014. Contact me for any questions. I periodically send scrapbook workshop emails and a newsletter.

     


    0 Comments on Make This Beautiful Book For Someone You Love. as of 5/19/2014 4:06:00 AM
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    17. Bring on the Red, White and Blue…Buttons to Make This Bracelet.

    Here’s an easy craft for kids to make to celebrate Memorial Day or the 4th of July.  All you need is a piece of stretchy elastic used for jewelry and an assortment of buttons in red, white and blue.  You can find these at any craft store such as A C Moore, Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby.  buttons

    Cut a piece of elastic about two -three inches longer than your wrist.

    Thread the buttons onto the elastic one at a time, alternating colors as you go.  Don’t be afraid to push the buttons on top of one another.  The elastic will stretch when you wear it, so the buttons will separate then.

    You can also add beads in between the buttons if you wish for a different look.  Add buttons until you reach the desired length for a comfortable fit on your wrist.  Then tie off the ends using a double knot as shown below.

    braceletCut off the extra elastic close to the knot and you are finished!  For other bracelets and 40 more ideas for Memorial Day crafts and beyond, visit www,redtedart.com/2014/04/22/button-craft-ideas/

    Why not try some red, white and blue food at the picnic as well to get into the patriotic spirit?  Blueberries and strawberries are in season and taste great over vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

    Give the bracelets away as prizes for anyone wearing the most red, white and blue clothing.

    Happy Memorial Day, and remember all those who gave their lives for our freedom.  Check out this short video that so thoughtfully reminds us of sacrifice.

    http://moments.org/thank-you-for-your-service/

    How do you celebrate Memorial Day?   I’d love to hear from you.  button braceletTo Veterans past and those presently serving our country, Thank You For Your Service.


    0 Comments on Bring on the Red, White and Blue…Buttons to Make This Bracelet. as of 5/23/2014 4:48:00 AM
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    18. Author Event in Milford, NH

    Bring the kids for a fun-filled story time!

    Saturday June 7th at 2:00 pm
    Toadstool Bookshop, Milford NH

    Award winning children’s book author and illustrator, Jennifer E. Morris will be reading and signing, “The Ice Cream Shop,” the first book in her silly new Scholastic Reader series featuring Steve the opossum and Wessley the rabbit (approx. age 3-8).  Then join us while we make our very own rabbit or opossum ears, complete with face paint whiskers! 

    Jennifer is the author and illustrator of several children’s books including the best-selling, “May I Please Have a Cookie?” also published by Scholastic. Visit her on the web at www.jemorris.com.

    If you are in the area please stop by and say hi!  If you know anyone else who might be interested, please pass on the information.
     

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    19. LVMM Craft Fair

    I LOVE planning events.  I do!!  Until the event is right around the corner and then ...AAAAAAAAUUUUGGGHHH!! 

    And the Quaker Meeting Craft Fair is right around the corner.  Say it with me!!!  AAAAAUUUUGGHH!

    So tonight I made my Special Chocolate-dipped Orange Sticks to sell at the "Bake" Sale table.  My craft this year is Paper Bead Stars.  I hoped to be able to make more but the planned-but-never-realized cruise and its destroyer, the-mother's-hospitalization sort of stole my crafty time and inclination.

    One of our earlier craft fairs - beeswax ornaments!!


    The Chocolate-dipped Orange Sticks are - need I say? - awesome.  And I priced them accordingly - as in not too cheap.

    So, what are Orange sticks?  They are old fashioned candied orange peels.  But, when you dip them into a mixture of quality chocolate chips and candy melts - dark, of course - they become something so much more.

     I truly hope they all sell because I do not need them hanging around my house.  And my father, God rest his soul, is no longer here to help me eat them.  Hub is not a big sweets eater.

    So, this event is October 26th from 10 am to 3 pm at Lehigh Valley Quaker Meeting - 4116 Bath Pike, Bethlehem, PA 1/2 mile north of Rte. 22 on Rte. 512.

    Jewelry, pottery, glassware, miniatures, ornaments, knitted goods, soups and bread and baked stuff, delicious honey from our resident beekeepers, some vendor-y types like 31 Gifts and Tastefully Simple and a rather impressive used book sale - AND live music from 11:45 to???

    Please come if you are in the area.  I will be there - thinking wistfully of Florence - but only if I have the time.

    1 Comments on LVMM Craft Fair, last added: 11/11/2013
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    20. Oxford Shirtdress

    Lisette Traveler Dress

    Here’s one of my best sewing creations yet, from this Lisette pattern (the Traveler dress). Yet another pink-ish dress!

    Lisette Traveler Pattern

    It took me a long time, but I did it! The buttonholes were the scariest part, but turns out my sewing machine salesman was right: if you practice twelve times (on the appropriate fabric) you can make them beautifully.

    I made no alterations to the pattern other than to leave off the bottom pockets and to use two different sizes for the top and bottom (aha! That’s why I have trouble fitting in store-bought dresses).

    Didn’t my kids do a good job with the photos?

    Lisette Shirt Dress

    Pattern: Simplicity 2246 by Liesl Gibson

    Fabric: pinklish oxford cloth from an open-air market in Germany

    Earrings: Ron Cravens

    Belt: Target

    Boots: Bruno Premi (no, you can’t have them!)


    14 Comments on Oxford Shirtdress, last added: 11/5/2013
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    21. Gift Cloths

    Gift Wrap Cloths

    Sorry for being away so long! I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. Ours was nice and low-key, and featured some gluten-free apple pie. There was a big to-do about who got the last pieces, and not just among the GF folks. It’s that good.

    The hubs and I also took a trip just before Thanksgiving, which I’ll have to tell you more about in another post.

    Here I wanted to show you a little holiday craft we did. Last year I made gift cloths with Christmas fabric and existing Christmas linens, but this year I decided to add to the collection by decorating and sewing up scraps of fabric I already had in my stash.

    The red and green stripe in the back left corner was made with watercolor-type fabric paints by Deka. I’ve had that paint forEVER. I tried to find a link to a place you can buy it, but it’s looking like it’s not sold in the US anymore. Bummer. It’s good stuff.

    We decorated the fabric for the center red-ribboned present with Target brand “slick” fabric paints (you squeeze the bottles to draw with them). My least favorite fabric paint ever. Really poor quality, but we made the best of it.

    The blue-ribboned gift cloth is pale pink, and we drew on it with Tee Juice markers, which are great for quick and easy projects, especially with kids. They are totally permanent, though, so, as with all of these supplies, dress accordingly.

    Lastly, on the red-spotted cloth with the dark green ribbon, we used stamps with cheap acrylic paints from Michaels mixed with textile medium. This is one of my favorite ways to paint on fabric, because mixing it yourself gives you a wide range of choices. And in the end you aren’t left with a bunch of fabric paint you may never use again.

    Below are some pre-decorated and hemmed gift cloths: a thrifted plaid tablecloth and two tea towels from Target marked down to 88¢!

    The kids loved trying to guess what all these fake presents were, the favorite by far being the pink one below that’s wrapped like candy. It’s a sack of corn meal.

    Loving this free printable nativity the kids can color themselves at Made by Joel.

    Hope to be back soon with some details of our trip.

    Gift Wrap Cloths


    3 Comments on Gift Cloths, last added: 12/4/2013
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    22. Cardboard Christmas Trees

    Cardboard Christmas Tree

    This is just a variation on a favorite simple craft of mine. In the past, we’ve used lightweight cardboard (cereal boxes, tea boxes), but since corrugated is such a thing in our house right now, and I’ve fallen in love with this cheap gold paint, I thought I’d combine the two.

    If you’d like a template for a tree of your own, click here. That earlier post also has pics of some of our other trees. If you’re using corrugated cardboard, though, the slits in the trees need to be a tiny bit wider. I painted our tree white before I used the gold, though next time I think I want the brown cardboard to show through.

    Checked out a fun Christmas book from the school library this week, by my lifelong hero, Tomie DePaola. An Early American Christmas is the story of a German family who arrives in a New England town in the 1800s, bringing their Christmas traditions with them. According to the author’s note, the Puritan and Calvinist types didn’t celebrate Christmas at all at that time. The story is fictionalized but based on actual accounts of “Christmas” families entering New England. I love the descriptions of cookie and candle-making. Mr. DePaola has always had a knack for depicting hands-on creativity in such an earthy, tactile way.

    Okay, that’s all for now. A few more Christmas-themed posts coming your way soon. Cheers!


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    23. Quick Wreath from Back Yard Greenery

    DIY greenery wreath

    I got inspired to make a quick wreath after reading this blog post over on decor8 the other day.

    I’d been planning to do something for our front door since our old wreath was so decrepit, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. I’d never considered using live greenery since the only ones I’d ever seen looked like they’d take a master’s degree in wreath artistry and a few months to create. Hello, Martha Stewart!

    But the blog post made me see how pretty a quick, natural wreath could be, and I realized we had plenty of greenery in the back yard. I bought a form at Michael’s (about $4) and clipped various bushes: magnolia, Yaupon holly, rosemary, and wax myrtle.

    Sadly, the regular floral wire was out at Michael’s, so I bought this stuff that’s kind of like a never-ending green twist tie. It’s not so bad. And I basically twist-tied the greenery on in a haphazard, overlapping circle. It took me about half an hour. The best part was not having to follow any directions.

    Personally, I’m kind of smitten with its exuberant cowlicks. I would totally do this again. What about you? Have you made a wreath of your own?

    In other news, with this being the last day of school for the year, I’m winding down my latest draft of my young adult novel and am readying it to send to a reader/ writer/ friend. Scary and exciting at the same time.

    Hopefully I’ll be around a little bit over the break, but if not, Happy Holidays to you!

    and p.s. We’ve been watching this hilarious show called Lilyhammer. It’s about an American mafioso-turned-informant who chooses Norway as his relocation destination. All kinds of funny cross-cultural issues come up. It stars Steven Van Zandt, of Sopranos and E-Street Band fame. You can find it on Netflix.


    0 Comments on Quick Wreath from Back Yard Greenery as of 12/20/2013 2:32:00 PM
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    24. New Year, New (ish) Projects

    Dress Shirt Quilt

    Happy New Year! Did you survive the holidays? Ours started out low key and then sped up after Christmas with the Colorado wedding of a dear friend, a couple of days of skiing, and 3 stitches in my lower lip after a minor fall.

    Don’t worry, I’m fine! Luckily, nothing was broken, so I could go right back to skiing. Actually I can only find 2 stitches now. They are not the dissolvable kind, so I don’t know if I misplaced a stitch or if I just miscounted. Hmmm…

    I’m finding, unexpectedly, that I kind of love January. Not for the weather. Who could love January weather, even in the South? But I love getting back into the routine and not having a bajillion outside actitivities to distract and exhaust me. And the days are getting just a tiny bit longer. So I’m told.

    Currently I’m back to work on my nonfiction book for elementary-aged students. I’d taken several weeks away from it while focusing on my novel, and the break has really helped clarify things. It still needs a lot of work, but I’m excited to see how far it’s come since my initial brainstorm. I’ve been getting some feedback on both projects from writer friends, which is so invigorating!

    The above picture is a sneak peek of a quilt I’m working on. It finally seems to be coming together, though it’s looking like spaghetti to me right now. For more sewing and quilting projects, click here.

    What about you? What’s inspiring you this month? Reading anything fantastic? Stay warm, folks!


    2 Comments on New Year, New (ish) Projects, last added: 1/13/2014
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    25. Embroidered Wedding Portrait

    1-IMG_0516

    This is the story of a wedding gift (my contribution to it, anyway) for a dear friend. I thought you might like to see the process. The picture is of my friend Jamie and her husband, who got married last June. As a surprise to the couple, her mother asked friends and family each to complete a design on a muslin square. She collected the squares and then had them made into a patchwork quilt as a gift to Jamie and her husband.

    1789o

    Jamie and I go way back, and a big part of our friendship has been about shared words. Books, movies, music, poetry, television. We have a lot of inside jokes about obscure quotes. So I sifted through our collective “library” of shared references, looking for the perfect quote to decorate the wedding square. Nothing seemed quite right.

    When I saw the bride and groom, though, I knew nothing could be more Jamie and Jon than their fabulous wedding outfits.

    I decided to make an embroidered picture and started with the best photo I had of the event. It’s blurry but gave me a good pose to work with. I used Picasa to play with the colors and then used the “posterize” effect to get the lines of the image to show up more clearly.

    1-IMG_0516-003

    I printed the picture, traced over the lines with a Sharpie, and then transferred these to the fabric with a temporary fabric marking pen.

    Embroidery

    I like the back almost as well as the front:

    Embroidery backside

    Here’s the final:

    Embroidered Wedding Portrait

    If you’re interested in seeing more of Jamie and Jon’s wedding, click here.

    Meanwhile, I’m hard at work on my nonfiction project and just got some excellent notes on my novel from an old friend. A little sewing going on, which hopefully I can show you soon. Back to writing now!


    8 Comments on Embroidered Wedding Portrait, last added: 1/23/2014
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