Friday, December 30, 2011

Teacher Gifts

I always have a hard time deciding what to give my girls' teachers.  I want it to be something personal and related to being a teacher in some way, but I'm pretty sure they don't need another
pair of apple shaped earrings.

I went to Elle's class to do snack time on her birthday and noticed that her teacher had a coffee maker in her office.  I figured it was pretty safe to assume one may need a cup of coffee or two to handle 18 five & six year olds on a regular basis.  So for Christmas I picked up a reusable clear cup & filled it with a small pack of ground coffee, an instant coffee mix (LOVE Starbucks via!), a flavored syrup, & a Starbucks gift card.  Gifted Express made the water proof, dishwasher safe, vinyl decal to my specifications and it was super simple to apply to the outside of the cup.  This would make a great gift for any ocassion for a teacher or a co-worker or really anyone who loves coffee!
For Liv's teachers, I was really excited when I found this Montessori necklace The Jewelry Chicks make. The metal disc is handstamped with the word Montessori and accented with the pink square beads reminiscent of the pink tower, which is a classic Montessori classroom material.
More handmade gift ideas to come!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Season's Greetings!

I love getting Christmas cards in the mail! It's so nice to see a hand written piece of mail in the box now and again (not just that hand writing look font those tricky marketers use to get you to open their junk mail!) and it feels good to make the cut among your friends... after all, they did have to add yours to the total number of cards purchased, hunt down a pen and your address, and spend 44 cents on you. 
Trinity St Studio made these cards for us this year... I hearted them on Etsy a couple years ago and didn't have the right photo to use until Ashley Yvonne did our family photos recently (at Phillippe Park for those of you that are local... it was such a great location and she was wonderful to work with if you're looking for a photographer!).
To all my bloggy friends, you would make my cut... I'd totally spend 44 cents on you if I had your address! Thank you for reading my ramblings so that I'm not just out here talking to myself. I hope you'll have a fabulous holiday and an even better 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Winner

drum roll please!  The winner of the felt chain Christmas countdown is.......
Jamie said...

My favorite tradition is eating cake for breakfast. One year, my oldest daughter asked Santa for cake and he brings it every year since!

Congratulations Jamie, and thanks so much to everyone who shared their traditions with me, and to those of you who follow my blog as well! 
Stick around for all the after Christmas posts about the gifts I made (I can't share them ahead of time for fear/hope that a few of the people on my gift list read my blog :))

Monday, December 12, 2011


Christmas shmishmas!  Who cares about that boring old holiday when there's Sew Mama Sew's giveaway day?!?!  Ok just kidding, but seriously this ranks up there in my book!
So I get that this giveaway is a little late for what it is, but I really love the idea and wanted to share it with you.  It's a felt advent chain countdown to Christmas.  Time was a really hard concept for my now 6 year old to grasp and having this visual representation helped it make more sense to her.  The links are felt with velcro closures, "Merry Christmas" is embroidered on the last solid red link, and I'll send it to you in this cute storage box so you can keep it safe until next year.
Putting the chain together and removing a link every morning has become a family tradition for us.  Want to start a tradition for your family too? Here's how you can win it:
  • One entry for leaving a comment about one of your family's holiday traditions.  It could be any holiday!
  • For a second entry, if you have a sec to look through my blog or if you like this chain idea well enough to want to see what else I'm up to, follow my blog and leave a second comment to let me know.  Existing followers, you get a 2nd entry too!
You have until midnight EST Dec. 16th to enter. I'll pick a winner at random from the comments and email them on Dec. 17th.  (if your email address isn't part of your profile, you'll need to leave it in your comment so I can find you if you win). I'll ship the chain to you within a day or receiving your mailing address.  Contest open to international residents as well. 

Good Luck!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Paper Chain Printable

A couple years ago, for Thanksgiving, I made paper chains to count down to Christmas... I'm a bit behind this year but it's not too late to use this printable I made.  It's super easy to print, cut, and tape/paste the links, decorate your kiddos room and have fun counting down! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Applique Applique Applique

My poor poor embroidery machine! I feel a little sad that I rarely break out the embroidery arm and hoops... but why go through the hassel when applique can be so cute?!  Case in point:
With just a few inexpensive onesies you can create so many fun options.  I spent an afternoon with a friend dreaming up designs and whipped all of these up in no time.  I think my favorite one is the M onesie, espeically when paired with these adorable baby legs:

Although I also really love using a simple blanket stitch to highlight a fun piece of fabric like I did here with this Japanese scooter print:
It really couldn't be easier once you know a few simple tricks... which I just looked through my blog for, assuming I've told you what they are at some point in the past several years, but I don't see them, so here you have it, an impromptu tutorial
  • iron double sided fusible interfacing (like this one) to the back of whatever fabric you're using for the applique. Leave the paper on the back of the interfacing for now.
  • Cut your shape (ties, letters, a piece of the fabric... the possibilities are endless!) out of the fusible interfaced fabric
  • Iron one sided fusible interfacing to the inside of the onesie where you're going to sew the applique (this is the one I use for baby stuff... it's so soft against their skin)
  • Peel the paper off the back of the applique and iron it to the front of the onesie
  • Stitch around the applique.  You can use a variety of stitches - satin, zig zag, blanket, or even straight.  You'll just want to be sure to keep the majority of your stitch on the applique itself and know that if you don't completely cover the edges of the applique with the stitch (like if you just use a straight stitch) the edges of the design will likely fray a bit.
Easy right?!  Do you like to applique?  I'd love to see what you've come up with if you'd care to share in the comments.  


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DIY Cake Stand

At Liv's last birthday I challenged myself to pull together a party with some creative touches for under $100.  The big hit of the party was the ice cream sandwich "cake" and roll your own toppings bar.  I piled the ice cream sandwiches into a 2 tier cake which of course needed a a cake stand!  I was wandering around Home Depot hoping inspiration would hit and found myself in the tile aisle inspecting the fauxe marble tiles.  A helpful Home Depot guy came by and asked if he could help... I'm not afraid of being the crazy lady with a wacky DIY idea so I told him what I had in mind, he whipped out a sharpie, wrote "sample" on the back of the tile I picked out, and I walked out with the top of my cake stand for free!  Some spray paint, a pillar candle stick I had in my home decor stash, some industrial adhesive, and a papaer and ribbon bunting later I had the perfect and virtually free cake stand!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Camera Strap Cover Tutorial

A good friend of mine just celebrated a birthday.   I make her kiddos handmade gifts for all their special days and I know she appreciates it (I can tell by the mile long list she has for me of "future projects to make... you know just in case you can't think of anything") but it's harder to come up with something for an adult. So I was really excited when I had the idea to make a camera strap cover for her fancy shmancy camera!
Here's what you'll need:
2 pieces of fusible fleece cut to 2 1/2" x 24"
2 fabrics cut to 3 1/4" x 25"
ribbon or trim... some sort of embellishment
  • press all 4 short sides of the fabric 1/4", then fold over and press another 1/4" and sew
  • Fuse a fleece strip down the center of the wrong sides of each of the fabric strips
  • Press the long sides of the fabric around the fusible fleece
  • Make a ruffle with fabric or ribbon or sew some pre-made trim down the center of the right side of one of the strip
  • With wrong sides together, pin the strips together, tucking the raw edges in, and sew 1/4" from the edge down each long side, leaving the short ends open.

So now I'm thinking about whether anyone on my Christmas list has a fancy shmancy camera... I may be out of luck though, so I'll have to come up with more ideas for handmade gifts for adults.  Do you have any suggestions?


Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Inspiration

I got to be a part of a really great Halloween party last year!  There were tons of fabulous Halloweeny elements to the party (I posted about them here) my favorite though was this make your own caramel apple bar I designed.  The cupcake stand and some little funkins got a coat of black spray paint, some spooky spider webs, and a sweet TomKat Studios printables set were the perfect stage for the sweets. Nothing draws a crowd at a kids party like a crock pot of gooey caramel sauce & candy toppings to roll your apple in!  


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bloggy Booot Camp

After 4 years of blogging (i.e. writing a crafting/sewing/bento/party diary that just so happens to be shared with the world) I decided it was time to figure out exactly what I'm doing and/or should be doing with this whole blogging thing, so I'm in Atlanta today for Bloggy Boot Camp. Here's to a day of motivation, inspiration, and owning the title of "blogger"!

Speaking of, Atlanta isn't owning up to its"hotlanta" title this morning... I parked 2 blocks away and am pretty sure one of my toes has frost bite.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Disney Outfits

Despite my lack of recent blog posts, I've been crafting and sewing away & have lots of stuff to show you! Like, the sweetest princess inspired backpack ever, tons of appliqued boy onesies (you'll see... boy stuff can be cute too!), photo blocks, details about the cake stand I made for Liv's party, and bentos bentos bentos. So much good stuff, I just need to find the time to post it all!
But you'll have to wait for all of that because today I'm posting about the outfits I made for my cuties to wear to Disney. Elle's 6th birthday was last week, so we celebrated by heading to Disney with our good friends whose 5 year old was also celebrating a birthday that week.
sorry for the crappy picture! It's of course the way it should be... you know... a trip to Disney where your camera decides to mess up in a way that it never has and over expose every picture.
I made both of the big girls birthday outfits using this skirt tutorial and simple number appliques I added to the Ts I picked up at Target. Liv's pillowcase dress came together quickly using this tutorial.
Birthday outfits wouldn't be complete without birthday hats though! I've made several birthday hats in the past, but these turned out the best and were the easiest by far. Definitely give this a try the next time you need a special birthday hat. You'll need:
A plain ol' party store party hat
a little bit of fabric
spray adhesive
hot glue
an exacto blade (not pictured)
If you're adding ears to your hat, pick up some stiff glittery black felt
Here's what you do:
  • unhook the tab on the party hat so you can open it up and lay it flat.
  • rough cut the fabric about half an inch bigger all around the hat
  • spray adhesive over the outside of the hat
  • lay the hat onto the fabric and smooth it out
  • run a bead of hot glue along the inside edge of the hat, pull the fabric around the edge of the hat and press it into the glue.
  • repeat until all the raw edges of the fabric are glued down to the inside edge of the hat.

  • using the exacto blade, cut a slit in the fabric where the slit for the hat tab is
  • insert the tab into the slit to put the hat back together

  • Embellish your hat:
    • If you're making the ears, you'll cut the circle ear shapes out of the glitter felt, draw a generous amount of hot glue along the sides of the hat, and hold the ear in place until the glue dries
    • you could also glue rick rack around the bottom edge of the hat
    • make little crepe paper pom-poms or hot glue already made ones to the top
Disney is already the happiest place on earth, but when everyone stops to say happy birthday and tell you how adorable you look... it makes it magical!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Little House

My Elle loves... I mean really reeeeeally loves... to read!  I've had so much fun introducing her to some of my favorite childhood reads like Ramona Quimby, Charolette's Web, and Little House on the Prairie.  The latter sparked lots of questions about pioneer life, like how they made things without machines, what it was like to live without a car, and on and on.  We were all too happy to indulge her curiousity with a trip to a pioneer festival. It also happened to be the perfect excuse to make adorable pioneer outfits for both my girls.
I made Elle's skirt from some pioneer-ish fabric I picked up on the cheap at Jo-Anne's, an easy white apron, and used this tutorial for the bonnet.  I couldn't resist the ruffly cute white bonnet Grandma's Girl made, and had to have it for Liv. Her super simple white dress with little cap sleeves and drawstring neck completed their pioneer transformation.
We had lots of fun at the festival!  Elle's favorite parts were selecting angora fur died just the right shades of pink and watching as it was spun on an antique wheel into a lovely yarn to be used for a future project and the highschool xylophone band.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Winner winner chicken dinner

Ok I don't have anything to post about a chicken dinner, but that would be great right?! I'm totally gonna do that next time... have a post for you with a chicken dinner recipe when I announce the winner of a blog giveaway. Ok ok enough silliness let's get to it. The winner of the My Memories digital scrapbooking software, by random drawing is:

True Random Number Generator
Min: 1
Max: 13
Result: 11
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Traci that's you! Thanks for entering, I'll contact you via email with the details.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking Giveaway!

I've mentioned before, ages ago, that in my life before sewing & children & bentos & printables & parties my creative outlet was scrapbooking.  The 14 scrapbooks I've created cronical my highschool days, my early relationship with my now husband, and our girls' first years.  They are among my most prized posessions; I wouldn't trade them for the world.  BUT truth be told, I don't get as much enjoyment out of scrapbooking as I do my other creative endevours.  In fact, I had given it up all together.  I think scrapbooking didn't hold my attention because I like structure, following directions, and innovation, mixed in with just a bit of creativity and a teeny tiny dose artistic flair... scrapbooking requries a good healthy dose of artistic flair... a little too much for my liking.
My Memories has changed all that.  I am now free to rejoin the world of scrapbooking and you are too... especially if you're like me and are creative but not necessarily artistic (it's a fine line but it does exist!).  My Memories Suite really couldn't be easier to use.  This digital scrapbooking software comes with album designs already loaded into it, you just insert your pictures, and waalaa:
Really!  Ok, so that's the "I did virtually no work on my own, I barely understand how the software works, I just want it to be quick and done" way of using My Memories Suite. But there is so much more to this software if you want to take it to the next level!  You can bring in your own images that you've collected from the internet or clip art or scan yourself to use as embellishments and backgrounds (which means you don't have to buy expensive digital kits), there's photo editing built right into the software, so you can make a picture black & white, give it an effect, and remove red eye right there as you build your album, and when you're done you can save your album as a jpg, email it, and/or have it printed wherever you'd like.

I'm really excited about using My Memories Suite (more pages are sure to pop up here on my blog as I make my way through our family photos) but I'm equally as excited that I get to give away My Memories Suite to one of my readers!  Yep, the $40 My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software AND $10 to use in the My Memories shop (you can buy digital scrapbook elements and printing services) to one lucky reader!

I'm going to give you lots of chances to win.  Do any (or all!) of the following and leave a separate comment here on this post for each.  1 week from today I'll pick the winning comment by random drawing.  Here's how to enter:
  • Follow my blog via email or Google Reader (link in the margin to the right)
  • Follow my blog via Facebook (link in the margin to the right)
  • Check out the digital paper packs at My Memories and leave a comment here telling me which is your favorite
  • Follow the My Memories blog 
Good luck!  Oh, and if you're not familiar with digital scrapbooking software you can watch some tutorials on My Memories Suite and catch the digital scrapbooking bug!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zipper Pulls & Your Way Wednesday

I should preface this with the fact that calling these "zipper pulls" is a little misleading. You really shouldn't be actually pulling zippers with these... They're more like zipper decorations. However, it wouldn't take much modification to make these durable enough to withstand kid abuse. Now that that's out of the way... check out the back-to-school project Elle and I made:

We started with cute "already ready for crafting with" bottle cap tops in a fun pink that we picked up at Michael's (They even had holes pre-drilled in them). You'll also need white glue, jump rings & lobster clasps, clear casting epoxy, and an assortment of papers and embellishments. A circle punch and some play dough is also helpful, but optional.
First punch and glue circles of scrapbook paper into the bottom of your caps. Next, paint a couple thin layers of glue on the top of the paper to seal it and prevent the epoxy from soaking the paper.


Follow the instructions that come with the epoxy and pour it into the caps. This is where the play dough comes in... the holes in the caps were pretty big which made for a huge mess when I poured the epoxy. About half way through I decided to try smooshing the caps down into a ball of play dough which kept them level while the epoxy dried but also plugged the holes. I'll admit though that idea didn't come to me until some epoxy had already seeped out of the caps I was working on, so I have as yet to test my play dough smooshing theory completely. If you don't have play dough, just only fill the caps to the bottom of the holes.

Once your epoxy is completely dry, attach a jump ring and lobster clasp so your favorite off to school kiddo can clip it to their back pack or lunchbox or hoodie whatever strikes their fancy.

One last bit of warning... The pull is only as strong as the jump ring you used to attach it with, so you may want to try an alternative to the jump ring... I considered a hair elastic, ribbon, jelly bracelet, or key ring.

It's your turn!

Crafting is my way to relieve stress & stretch my creative muscles.
Sewing is my way to have some uninterrupted time to myself.
Bentos are my way to show Elle I'm thinking about her.
Parties are my way to love on my girls & our friends
Tutorials show my way of making this or that.

Now I want to see your way!

Only two rules for you:
  • Add my lovely "Your Way Wednesday" button to your blog or blog post that you link up to
  • Please link directly to your blog post, not a giveaway, your link party, your Etsy shop, or even just the home page of your blog.

Link up you latest project every Wednesday on the Elle Belle Creative Your Way Wednesday link party!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Your Way Wednesday

Did you see this adorable dress The Little Giggler linked up last week? This is the perfect way to do "branded/character" clothes... handmade from a super sweet pattern and paired with a fun print! The wonky dots are just so right for the whimsical Dr. Suess!

Now it's your turn!

Crafting is my way to relieve stress & stretch my creative muscles.
Sewing is my way to have some uninterrupted time to myself.
Bentos are my way to show Elle I'm thinking about her.
Parties are my way to love on my girls & our friends
Tutorials show my way of making this or that.

Now I want to see your way!

Only two rules for you:
  • Add my lovely "Your Way Wednesday" button to your blog or blog post that you link up to
  • Please link directly to your blog post, not a giveaway, your link party, your Etsy shop, or even just the home page of your blog.

Link up you latest project every Wednesday on the Elle Belle Creative Your Way Wednesday link party!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

HELLO my name is

Standing at the front door, pigtails pulled tight, brand new tennis shoes, and that “anxious about the first day of school” look is a photo op that just can’t be missed! Our oldest starts kindergarten this year and her little sister will be in tow for half days in the toddler program. Elle wore a shirt with her name on it for her first day of preschool last year and I thought I’d continue that tradition, so I spent a couple days considering various appliqué and embroidery designs for the shirts. When this idea came to me, I laughed out loud at the thought of how stinkin’ cute the two of them would be standing hand-in-hand wearing these T-shirts I made for them.
I’ve never done iron-ons before & was surprised at how easy it is! I picked up a pack of the iron-on paper you can run through your ink-jet printer (I got the one designed for dark fabrics so that it would look like an actual sticker on the shirt) at Jo-Anns, designed the “Hello my name is” label in Illustrator, and then just followed the instructions for printing and ironing it on to the Ts.
Think my girls will let me get away with antics like this every year for the first day of school?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Your Way Wednesday

Crafting is my way to relieve stress & stretch my creative muscles.
Sewing is my way to have some uninterrupted time to myself.
Bentos are my way to show Elle I'm thinking about her.
Parties are my way to love on my girls & our friends
Tutorials show my way of making this or that.

Now I want to see your way!

Only two rules for you:
  • Add my lovely "Your Way Wednesday" button to your blog or blog post that you link up to
  • Please link directly to your blog post, not a giveaway, your link party, your Etsy shop, or even just the home page of your blog.

Link up you latest project every Wednesday on the Elle Belle Creative Your Way Wednesday link party!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Crepe Paper Dessert Table

So what's a girl to do when she has a dessert table to design and needs a background that will make a statement but she set a limit of $100 for the party?!  Crepe paper of course!
Here's how easy it is.  You just need 2 pieces of trim (they'll even cut it for you at Home Depot if you wonder around looking especially desperate in the trim aisle).  I used a 4 ft table for the icecream sandwich bar, so I had them cut two pieces of trim - a 6 ft piece and a 4 ft piece.  Once you cram the pieces of trim into your husband's Sonata and make it home, you'll tape lengths of crepe paper side-by-side in an orderly fashion all along the trim.
If you're lucky enough to have a giant framed print hanging precisely where you want the crepe paper wall, you'll just use the hooks that you hung the print from to hold the pieces of trim.  If you're not quite so lucky, you'll need to use 3M tape to attach the trim to the wall.
Then it's just a matter of twist twist twist tape, the next piece just tape, then twist twist twist tape, just tape etc. on and on until you have this:
Next I covered the table with a plastic tablecloth and strung a piece of clear packing tape between the bottom of the front two table legs sticky side out.  Repeat the lengths of crepe paper taped side-by-side application on the 2nd piece of trim and attach it to the front of the table with 3M tape. Then twist twist stick to the packing tape, next piece just stick to the packing tape, twist twist stick, just stick etc. etc. etc.
What do you think?

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