Monday, March 29, 2010

7 Things About Me and Another Award

Two awards in two weeks?  What am I, famous?!

Katie Joy, of the illustrious Katie Joy Photography, has bequeathed upon me this Beautiful Blogger Award.  Isn't that lovely?  First Sunshine and now Beautiful-ness.  And yes, you read that right . . . I used the word "bequeathed" in the same paragraph as the word "beautiful-ness".  I truly am a wonder.

Well anyway, thank you, Katie!  For those of you not lurking around Club Indie, Katie is one of my awesome Indie Business classmates.  If you're in the Portland area and in need of a wedding photographer, check her out!  I went perusing her portfolio and found this adorable and chic gallery of images from a wedding she photographed in February.  Seriously, lovely stuff.  And just to show she's not one-sided in talented-ness, check out her page o' doodles.  They're just fun.  :)

Once again with the rules:
-Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog (it's only polite, I guess!)
- Copy the award and paste it to your blog.
- Tell us 7 interesting facts about yourself.
- Pass this award on to 12 fantastic bloggers you have discovered.
- Contact your nominations and let them know they’ve won.

First off, here are 12 Beautiful bloggers I have discovered as I've trekked the blogosphere:
  1. Myko Bocek Studios - she makes the most adorable little animals by hand.  I keep trying to win one of her little creations but so far her giveaways have eluded me.
  2. Larissa at mmmcrafts - I've been into her since I bought and made her Baby Bunny Binky pattern back in October.  Pretty much everything she does I really adore.
  3. pinksuedshoe - Just discovered her blog last week, and she's my newest subscription.  :)  Very much liking her style already.
  4. Danielle from threesixfiveart - One of my Indie Biz classmates with a seriously cool blog concept.  The kind that makes me wish I thought of it first.
  5. Dana from Made - Has anyone NOT heard of her at this point?  But she still deserves this award because she is seriously great at everything she does.
  6. Melissa from Checkout Girl - Not sure when or how I stumbled on her, but she makes the most lovely felt artwork.  Within 3 seconds of looking at her blog she was on my subscribe list..  I just love what she does.
  7. Amy from Progressive Pioneer - And not just because she hosted a giveaway that I won.  She has a very lovely blog about natural family living that is definitely worth checking out.. 
  8. Helen Dardik from Orange You Lucky - Illustration, vintage, toys, LOVE.  :)
  9. Joanna from Stardust Shoes - I've been reading her since I first discovered her little baby shoes pattern.  She has finally opened up on Etsy!
  10.  Amy from the Idea Room - She has so many awesome tutorials and giveaways, great ideas for stuff to do with kids, organizing tips . . . really, it's a complete package over there.
  11.  Haptree and Me:  Blogging tips galore, and tailored for all of us crafty seller wannabes out there!
  12. Nikki from You Sew Girl - She just posted this thing about bias binding that blew my mind.  Apparently I had no idea what I was doing every time I had used bias tape in the past.  Once again I take my hat off to my teachers round the blogosphere.  I'm still learning so much from all these kind people.
WHEW.  All I've got to say is you better go and visit e a c h and e v e r y one of those links because this post is taking f o r e v e r to write!

Ok, so here are some facts about me which may or may not actually be very interesting.  ;)
  1. I am in love with Pentel R.S.V.P. pens.  To the point where I will search for 20 minutes for one just to jot a note to myself down even when other (more inferior) pens are at hand.  Yes, I actively shun other pens.  This may or may not be completely weird and unhealthy of me, but I can't help it.  I like them.  And until I started writing this list I didn't realize they made this pen in more than just blue, black, and red.  Sky blue and violet, HERE I COME.

  2. I was in a 3 girl band in my early 20s.  I taught myself how to play guitar (poorly) and then a friend helped me up my skills and encouraged me to just let it all out and actually sing solo (something I never did in front of people before).  We wrote some songs together with (and about) one of my closest friends from college who played the djembe.  We even went "on tour" once (read: we drove from Michigan to South Carolina to see Jonny Lang in concert and stopped at rest stops along the way to bust out the tunes - - on our way back we detoured to Nashville just so we could play music on a street corner there and ending up meeting and playing with some really funny and modestly talented musicians.  We also came away from the experience about $10 richer.  Not bad for about an hour and half of impromptu playing on the street while knowing only 5 songs by heart).  I had so much fun playing and singing with those 2 girls that I refuse to say that the band broke up even though we all now live in different states and haven't played together in years.  We're just on a    r e a l l y    long hiatus at the moment.  That's it.  Here's me at one of the many open mic nights we played back in the day (connected to that strap was my friend's gorgeous Fender Strat he let me borrow for the "show"):

  3. When I was 8 years old, my Nana taught me how to knit .  I did some very basic garter stitch scarves that year as gifts for everyone I could.  She passed away several years ago, but every time I pick up and knit something I always think of her (and that variegated pastel yarn she dug out of her stash so I could make all those scarves).

     
    image by moria found via Flickr


  4. I learned how to play the piano when I was 12 (after I begged and begged my parents to get one for me) and kept with it for 7 years.  I got pretty stinkin' good at it but abandoned it when I went to college because I was afraid to play in front of other people.  The only piano close-by was in the common room at the entrance of my dorm and there was just too much in an out activity there for my fragile fingers.  I regret it wholeheartedly to this day.  It would have been quite a feat, but I wonder if I had stuck with it til now if I might be creeping up on being as good as Victor Borge.  Somehow I doubt it . . . that guy was a genius.

    image by seriousbri found via Flickr
  5. For some reason I went through an Elvis phase when I was about 10.  I would do impressions of him singing and make my older sister video tape me.  Related to this was a game we used to play wherein I was Elvis and my two sisters were his adoring fans.  Basically I would sing and run away from them as they clamored for my autograph.  I am seeing how strange this was now that I'm typing it out, but it did not at all seem weird at the time.

    image by kevindooley found via Flickr
  6. I went to an all girls Catholic high school.  In my junior or senior year I had a very hard nosed teacher for English who did not appreciate my brand of humor at all.  One time she told me, "Someday I really expect to see you on Saturday Night Live."  I could tell from her tone, that this was NOT a compliment. SNL was my favorite show at the time though, so I was ELATED at the news and secretly hoped she was prophetic.

    image by rick found via Flickr
  7. For the longest time, I really wanted to move to Guam.  There was something appealing to me about being somewhere remote and far and being anonymous.  I'm over that now but still think it might be cool to visit someday.


    Ok, there are my 7 things.  I bet you learned a lot from that didn't you?  Now, to you dear readers: Why don't you tell me something about you?  I often wonder about the people that read my little ole blog.  :)

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You Asked, I Answered: How to Make a Simple Child's Apron

phunkstarr image found via Flickr

Cooking + Kids = Educational, Fun, and a Bit Messy

True?

My good friend (SuperMama to 3 sweet kiddos under the age of 6) was so astounded with my amazing help with her tutu dilemma (yes, I'm chuckling to myself as I type that), that she fired back another request.

She asked:
Do you know of a site which will give me simple instructions for cute kid's aprons that won't embarrass my son? They all have a night cooking in the kitchen and think they should have an apron for the work.
First off, I think those kids are completely correct.  Cooking is an important job and dressing the part makes it so much more fun!  Plus, I'm thinking if they look anything like me when they're done getting a meal together, they're going to need to that apron to keep the duds from getting trashed in the process.  (Yes, I may or may not change my shirt 5 times a day for accidents that are not always attributable to my children.)

Because I'm not sure how much time, effort, or moo-lah she is desiring to put into this project, I'm including several links so she has some choices.  Variety is the spice of life, right?  (Isn't that a quote?  I think?)  Anyway . . . MOVING RIGHT ALONG:
  1. Sew Liberated has a free tutorial posted right on the sidebar for a Montessori Child's Apron that you can view/print right here.  It is utterly adorable and now that I'm looking at it, is probably something I'll make at some point for my own little guy when he gets a bit older.
  2. Got a dishtowel?  You could use that as a jumping off point for this apron tutorial posted at Made By Petchy
  3. 2 Cloth Napkins + Ribbon = this simple apron tutorial from CraftStylish.
  4. Old bandana lying around?  Martha Stewart says Make it into an Apron!
  5. Unloved sweater?  Don't toss it out!  Using this tutorial you, too, could make it into . .  you guessed it: an apron.
  6. Creative little guy?  Check out this method of iron-on transfer with fabric crayons and after you make up an apron, let him decorate it!
  7. Got an hour to spare?  You're gonna need it, because if you don't like these suggestions I've pointed out, there is a collection of 44 Free Apron Tutorials posted over on TipNut.  Peruse at your own risk!  This list will keep you busy for quite awhile.
  8. Oh, and just in case Mommy wants to whip up a little something special for herself to use in the kitchen, I just had to pass along this Full Apron Tutorial that was posted just today on Sugar Bee.
Hope this list was helpful!  I may have to get in on the apron-making action myself at some point, but for right now I'm going to savor Mr. Skooks' claim over our kitchen and save my clothing the old-fashioned way.  :)

Do you have a question for the link-a-holic?  I probably have filed an answer away somewhere.  Send your crafty/sewing queries to skooksplayground[at]gmail[dot]com or just leave me a comment and I'll see what kind of answers I can dig up for you!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Made: Dapper Cap for My Baby Boy

Remember this?  It was one of the awesome patterns I won from that Magpie Patterns giveaway back in January.

As I vaguely mentioned in my last post, I'm in the middle of a 100 Day Craft Burn.

It is exactly what it sounds like.  I'm doing my best to make as much as I can for 100 days while only using the materials I have at my immediate disposal.

It has been really difficult to refrain from running out for more fabric, supplies, patterns . . . you have no idea how much I've been resisting.

But it's been so good for me.  The truth is, I have LOTS of amazing patterns I have not yet given a try and a small chest of fabric that is waiting to be used.  Not to mention the MOUNTAIN of t-shirts and castoff clothes I have been amassing since I realized how much I enjoy making something new from something old.  I'm going to have to do some weeding with the mountain soon though as it's taking over my living room.

Also because I'm going to have to move soon-ish and I'm not sure I really want to move all of it when I'm not even sure if I will use it all.  Have I told you lately how much I hate moving?  No, loathe.  Definitely more like LOATHE.

With that being said, I went into the ole  pattern stash and rediscovered the aforementioned little goodie: the Little Cap pattern from Leila and Ben.  My little Kee-ku has been a bit left out in the creative mama-made department lately, so it was time to do something up for him.  Nothing suitable in the stash fabric drawers for such a project, so I cut off an arm of one of Mr. Skooks cast-off sport jackets, snipped a piece off a pocket of one of his ill-fitting button-down shirts, and came up with this:
The old made new again.  It feels good.  This also marks the completion of my first ever HAT, and my first ever project that is FULLY LINED.  I have never done that before and it makes me feel like semi-professional looking sewing projects are not out of my league.  What was super sweet and easy about it too was that I was able to use the lining from the sport coat to line the inside of the hat which made it super silky soft next to Kee-ku's bald little head.

Can you believe he didn't try to rip it off his head all day?  I'm in love!

More hat-wearing for little boys . . . pass it on.



I'm linking up to some awesome linky parties this week. Check them out here and share the linky love!

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Flower Girl Dress

Ok, I'm going to do it.  Little Miss is in my brother-in-law's wedding this summer and I'm going to attempt to make her a dress.

Well, actually . . . it's a top and a skirt, but they layer and end up looking more like a dress.  Wish I could supply a photo (copyrights, yada yada yada), but for now a link will have to do. 

It is the Emma pattern from ModKidBoutique for any of you who are familiar with Patty Young.  I just discovered this site the other day from a blog I read (can't remember which at the moment).  They have a lot of cute patterns.  It looks like they've got a mix of doll clothes in there too for those that have little girls who want to match.  Fun!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Felt Flower Hippie Headbands

I hope that none of you have been too concerned that I have been wallowing in the I-need-to-find-a-place-to-move-to Blues.  While it has been on my mind (for sure), I have continued to carve out bits and pieces of time to MAKE.  It just needs to happen to keep me from exploding.

This weekend I reached into my bag o' linkies and pulled out one that I had bookmarked ages ago, but never attempted.  Koala Brains posted this little tutorial on how to make Felt Flower hair clips nearly a year ago.  Yes, I'm a bit behind.  ;)

These are so fun to make!  I'm in the middle of a 100 Day Craft Burn, so it's a good thing I have been hoarding some goodies: ribbons and buttons, some elastic left over from a previous project, and my fat stack of felt (somehow I WAY overbought for that Felt Nativity project I was working on before Christmas last year).  I could probably drum up some mismatched barrettes to use on these flowers, but I wanted to make Little Miss some hippie hairbands instead because clips seem to fall out of her hair all the time (and with her long curly hair she already looks so very much like a Flower Child).  I hadn't yet attached the yellow and green one to a band when this picture was taken:

Little Miss, of course, thought they were BEAUTIFUL.  She loves to run and play and jump and be loud, but she's also quite a girly girl and loves her some ACCESSORIES. 
Quite bashful with picture taking, but you get the idea.




I'm linking up to some awesome linky parties this week. Check them out here and share the linky love!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Official . . . I'm Now a Dot Com

This change has been coming for awhile (as in, I've been thinking about doing it but didn't know if it was expensive, hard, whatever . . . kind of  I was just too lazy to figure it out at first).  But it's official!

You can now find me at:

http://www.skooksplayground.com

Forget the blogspot extension because we just don't need it anymore.  :)

From what I can gather of this switch, you should still continue to receive updates in your readers using the blogspot address, but I have no idea if that changes at some point or not so change your bookmarks!  I wouldn't want to lose any of my awesome readers/ friends/ creative compadres just because I went dot com-y.

Such a little thing, but I get excited over the little things in life.  You have to sometimes, right?

Thank you for reading, subscribing, following . . . you guys are the best!

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Friday, March 12, 2010

May I Have the Envelope, Please?

I must say, I don't blog for the accolades (I know, I know . .  . because there are OH so many . . .), so imagine my surprise at being nominated for my first Blog Award!  Super cute Sarah of Wrapped Up with String has bestowed upon me this lovely lil Sunshine Award:

Well, my goodness, Sarah!  I'm honored, I'm humbled, I have no idea what to say but Thank You.  Now what the world is this thing?

 The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blog world (so as one of my favorite lyricists, Wally Pleasant would say, "It's nice to be nice!").

In blogdom, apparently, awards come with rules.  I think I can live with these rules though.


The rules for accepting this award:
- Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
- Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Well, I would just love to share some links of some EXCELLENT bloggers who bring all kinds of sunshine and positivity and creativity into my world.  Please stop by and tell them I sent you.  They continually bring a smile to my face.  (Oh, and I'll just say that for those I have nominated, feel free to disregard the rules.  Pass the love along if you wish, but don't feel that you must.  This is just my way of saying, I think you guys rock.)

And the nominees (in no particular order) are:

Intentional Focus, which is written by a lovely friend who signs her posts I Am Not.  Her post on why she calls herself that continues to inspire me daily.

Urban Craft, who almost always makes adorable little things but still has a sense of humor for those few projects that just don't quite turn out how you hoped they might.  (Also, she's just a sweet person and my good bloggy buddy.)

Toy Society Drop, for getting my wheels turning about using craft to give back to the world.  (Must add this to the Bloganthropy idea list . . .)

IndieTutes, who freely gives away almost all of her ideas for crafters to use any way that they need to (check out her disclaimer at the bottom of her page).  She has loads of great patterns and tutorials on her blog and her post on Crayon Liberation changed the way I look at Little Miss' (and my own) creative exploits.

Two Shades of Pink, who shares fun tips every Tuesday (which I enjoy) and honest commentaries on her life (which I cherish).  Show her a little love.  She's currently in a housing pickle similar to my own.






Everything Etsy
Everything Etsy, who supports Etsy sellers (and Etsy seller wannabes) through features, giveaways, linky parties, tweeting, free Etsy banners, you name it!






Clover Lane, for her honest and unapologetic posting about all things related to mothering, and for (most recently) sharing this great 40 Bags in 40 Days idea for Lent.  (She didn't come up with it, but she linked up to it from here and has been sharing her progress on it on her blog.)  Her posts are so persuasive, I may even give up sugar.  Did I just say that?!

Sleepytime Sewing, who makes awesome handbags, dresses (and more!) and is also kicking my butt participating in the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge.

PhotobucketNuggleMe, for cute tutorials, giveaways, and some ridiculously cool bags made with SlingRings.  I have love in my heart for all the slinging mamas out there.  Check out her latest post wherein she made a sweet tent out of bedsheets for her kiddos.

 
Fun with Mama, who seems to always be up to something crafty with her little boy.  She's got some fun activities for kids posted on her blog which I think are worth checking out if you're stumped for ideas on what to do with your kiddos on a rainy day (or any day really).




Inspired Mama Musings, who is ridiculously talented at so many forms of creative expression.  She's got over 3x the following that I do but still took the time to answer my totally DUH questions about how to make a Flickr mosaic for my blog posts.  Very sweet mama with a very cute baby bump. Is there anything this woman can't do?



Lil Blue Boo?Lil Blue Boo, who has inspired me so much with her awesome recycled t-shirt designs and general creative spirit.  My goodness, I can't get enough of her.  She just made a recent posting about the Orange Fairy that I adore.  Her daughter also VERY much reminds me of Little Miss: they have the same awesome flowing curly hair and funky sense of style.  ;)

You guys are awesome!  Keep up the great work.  (And thanks again, Sarah!  You made my day.)

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Creative Space Reorganization

The house that I currently live in is pretty sweet.  It's over 100 years old and was built with that Arts and Crafts style, so there is a lot of amazing woodwork trim and these great old radiators.  We've got a sweet front porch that extends the whole front of the house, another large balcony that extends the front of the house on the upper level which we can access from our bedroom, and a wonderfully HUGE yard with (when it's not snowy and gray) lots of flowers and beautiful old trees.  The kind you can hang a swing off of, or climb if you want to, or string your hammock up on.  And basically I love it.  When we first walked through it, I told Mr. Skooks (before we had even seen all the rooms), "We HAVE to grab this place!"

I'm telling you all of this to explain why I only got this far on reorganizing my mess of a sewing nook.  (Trust me, it will become relevant later on in this post.) 


Last week I was feeling all gung-ho about getting my sewing desk put back together (not literally, but things had gotten a little out of hand a few weeks ago and some clean-up needed to be done).  I've got this little closet to the left of my sewing desk which is good  because it means my supplies have a place to live.  What's not good about it is that my desk is kind of in the way of the door being able to open fully, which makes it difficult to access said supplies without moving the entire desk every single time (and which makes it WAY too tempting to just pitch stuff back in there through the small crack when I finish a project .  AKA it's kind of a MESS behind that door).

Why not just move the desk?  It's practical for the space!  You see, I love our house, but space is at a premium.  This is the area I could claim for my creative endeavors so I claimed it.  But it's not really ideal.  Why not hang a curtain in place of the door?  Little kids + access to sewing stuffs = DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN.  So it is what it is.

Anyway, last week I got Mr. Skooks to install a few shelves above my desk, and I had some plans for acquiring some streamlined and stylish (and also cheap) containers to pull the whole look together.  As much as it wasn't going to be the sewing-room-of-my-dreams, it was going to at least be the sewing-corner-of-my-living-room-of-what-I-could-do-at-the-moment . . . er . . . dreams.  Or something.

I had to take a break from working on it for a few days because you know . . . work, kids, errands, STUFF.  Blah blah blah.  I had only gotten this far with things using what I could find around my house.


Then our landlady stopped by.  Without going into a long drawn out sob story, I'll just say we were informed that she is being foreclosed on.  Which means we have to be out of our house by August 1st.  My emotions have been up and down about it for the last few days, but basically what it means for this post is that the little sewing nook is going to stay as is.  Hopefully when we move it will be to someplace even more wonderful, with more than 1 bathroom, an extra bedroom for future family growth, and perhaps a sewing room of my very own. 




P.S. First time home-buyer advice WELCOME.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bloganthropy: Pledge to Make a Difference

Pledge Your Social Media Influence for Good at Bloganthropy
I do so much reading of blogs and surfing around for items of interest, that I can honestly say I'm not sure who linked me up to whom and how I first came across Bloganthropy.

It hardly matters.

What I found was not a new idea per se, but rather a fleshed out group focused on promoting charitable causes through social media . . . and encouraging others to do the same.

Blog + Philanthropy = Bloganthropy
  
The concept is simple.  Pick a project/cause/organization, spread the word through social media (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc), and then volunteer at least 3 hours to your charity.  Does that not sound completely do-able?

I made an informal goal for myself at the beginning of 2010 that I would do some kind of outreach with my sewing at least once a month, and it's time to update.

In January, I worked on a quilt for the awesome organization Quilts for Kids.  For any of you out there who were working on that with me, I started a Flickr group that is growing!  So many cute quilts in that group.  There are already over 50 pictures in there!  Here's a small sample from the group of the amazing quilts that have been made for this awesome charity:



In February, I neglected to blog about it and thus neglected to do it.  My intention was to make up some pillowcases for the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge.  I don't see this being a terribly time consuming project so I'm rolling it into this month or next as I have time.

Now we're into March and it's time for something new.  I found the coolest little blog the other day and just knew it needed to make its way into my Bloganthropy schedule: Dolly Donations.  This group is dedicated to bringing love and comfort to orphans around the world - one dolly at a time.  Free patterns are available on their site.  Currently they're making dolls to send to children in Haiti.

Anyone else a bloganthropist?  I'd love to hear about the charities you're creating for!  Never tried it?  I'd love for more people to jump on board with me.

So c'mon.  Anyone with me?!

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Another Little Owl Teether for a New Baby Girl

What a crazy weekend.  My mom and sister were hosting a baby shower for my cousin on Saturday.  They live about 3 hours away from me, and it's February in Michigan.   For those of you not acquainted with Lake Effect Snow, let me just say we were not able to leave as scheduled on Friday evening.  Blowing snow + icy road conditions + my family + our old minivan = we're staying home.  Things cleared up enough on Saturday morning that we decided it was ok to make the drive, but we made it there a bit late.




I made this little guy awhile back when I worked up the other little teether toy for Kee-ku back here (link to The Rubber Punkin tute on how to make one yourself is also there).  Actually, this one was made first as a little piece of handmade love for my cousin's new baby.  I didn't post about it back then because I had not yet been able to give it to her.

The coast is clear now.  :)



P.S.  I am SO ready for this crazy long winter to be over.  Why is it that February, though the shortest month of the year, feels the absolute longest?  My need for spring is so overwhelming I compiled a bunch of spring-y images into a lil gallery on Flickr.  Every time I look out into the gray sludge out my window, I'm going to try to redirect my thoughts this way:
 

(Thanks for explaining how to make Flickr mosaics to me, Erika!)

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