Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Well, Look Who Finally Decided to Drop By

Maybe by the time Little Miss goes to college I will finish this felt nativity that I started in, oh, 2009.  Apparently working on this project is an annual endeavor.  I had high hopes of finishing it c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y. this year, but it's not looking too good.  Too many projects, not enough time I'm afraid.

I would like to say that I will finish this whole thing up after the holiday . . . but that's not bloody likely either.  I doubt I'll be in the mood for Christmas projects anymore.  :/

Ah well.  This year, we have the only wise man wise enough to figure out where the felt baby Jesus was staying:

Felt Wise Man

Maybe a couple other gift-bearing friends will show up next year.

Here's the set so far:
Felt Nativity Take 5

They get played with heavily, but they're holding up ok so far.  We've actually got 4 kid-friendly nativities sitting out on our bay window ledge that get played with regularly.  I love having them available even if it means that I have to pick up stray shepherds and Josephs off the floor every day.  In all honesty, it's funny to walk by there sometimes and see how the kids have set them up with all the marys chatting in a corner while the wise men hold a who-brought-the-bigger-gift council.

For those even later to this party than the latest addition, the pattern is by Bugga Bugs on Etsy.

Anyone else still entrenched in Christmas decor making?  I'm starting to lose steam, but I WILL finish the kids' new stockings before D-Day if it kills me!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Re-Imagined Message Board / Command Center

I've had this idea in my head for a long time. Sadly, making stuff has been going at a snail's pace for me lately so what should have been a relatively short and easy project ended up getting dragged out over the better part of a month.

Message Board Makeover

I started out with a sort of command central-ish wipey board that I got from (Target? Meijer? Walmart? - - I canNOT remember right now, but they sell similar stuff at a lot of places and I got it ages ago) and a chunky barnwood-like frame that I had sitting in my attic. It used to house a print that I liked, but didn't *love* and somewhere in our last move the glass off the front broke. Rather than reframing the original print, I decided to use it for something else.

(Originally I was thinking about putting some cup hooks on it and making a little DIY necklace holder. I still think that would have been a fun idea, but clearly I had another idea I liked better.)

Sidebar about this project:  I had been using this wipe board in its original state since I got it several years ago.  It worked perfectly in the kitchen in our last house and we used it to jot down daily reminders for events as well as chores and meals we were making that week.  In our "new" (we've been here 2 years!) house, we put it in the kitchen as well . . . and somehow it has been majorly underutilized and not even terribly noticeable off in a corner of the room.  In other words, it just wasn't doing its job anymore.  Recalling the functionality of it and wanting to get that back, I had to come up with a new plan.  Hence this whole project.

Here's what the board looked like in its original state (if anyone is interested I was able to find it on Walmart's website here):
Another sidebar: While I didn't have a problem with using the board as-is previously, the place I wanted to move it to near the front door did not have a space wide enough to accommodate it without the whole wall looking awkward.  Because it was going to be visible to every person who came over to my house I also wanted it to fit more into the decor.

Without going into too much pictorial detail (oftentimes I tackle projects when I get choice moments to myself during the day.  It doesn't leave a lot of time for photo documenting usually) . . . here's what I did:
  1. Flipped the whole board over and jimmied the little pin board part (that black abyss on the right) off the frame.
  2. Found a screwdriver or pliers or hammer (can't remember now . . . a plunger?) and pried the little wood divider that separated the wipe board section from the pin board section.  I slipped the wipe board section out.
  3. The frame was still intact so I hung it back up in the kitchen where it used to hang and clipped some of Little Miss's artwork in there.  I figure it will be a nice rotating art installation of her recent projects.  :)
  4. Dug through my paints (not that there are a ton, but I had to find them!) and found some black acrylic which I used to touch up the now raw-edges of the wipe board.  I was going to cover them up, but I didn't want any yucky edges peeking through and this was a quick step to ensure that didn't happen.
  5. Played around with a few different ideas of how I wanted the final board to look and what I wanted it to accomplish.  One part of the original board that we never really needed much was the pin board, so I opted to eliminate that idea completely (my new frame wouldn't fit it anyway) and dreamed up a fabric-covered pocket.  As the hardware on my frame was already set to hang vertically, I decided to just work with it and opted to put the wipe board up top and the pocket underneath.
  6. After I settled on where I wanted the pieces to lay, I took a piece of foam core board and cut it down to act as the stabilizing base of the pocket.  
  7. I scavenged my scraps and found a piece that I had used EONS ago to make a messenger bag (as in, I had my friend make me a messenger bag from it because at the time I did not know how to sew).  It fit in well with my decor as well as my rustic frame so I went with it.  I had some mustard-y home decor fabric sitting in my stash that I pulled to use for the inside of the pocket (as the decorative piece wasn't terribly stable on it's own).
  8. I used a piece of piping thick enough to fill in the gap between my board pieces and the frame and covered it with my mustard fabric for a little contrasting color pop.
  9. Keeping it simple, I stitched a few lines to make 2 small pen pockets and 1 larger mail pocket.  I finally have a place for my Netflix envelope!  :)
  10. Had I cut my pieces big enough I would have done this next part differently, but as it was I had to work with my mistakes so I just grabbed some packing tape and secured the bits that did overlap to the back of the foam core board that I'd cut for the pocket.  It wasn't pretty, but it was also not going to be seen so I didn't really care.
  11. Hot glued the piping snug to the inside edge of the frame.  Mr. Skooks rummaged up some wood glue and glued the wipe and pocket board pieces down.  We gave it the proper cure time.
  12. DONE!
And here are some *really crappy* pseudo-process shots for the more visual learners out there:
Empty Rustic Wood Frame
An old rustic frame that I salvaged after the glass broke.  Don't ask me how it happened.
Message Board Makeover Supplies
My magnetic wipe board piece I pried out of its previous frame, the pocket section I made out of some patchy fabric and foam core board, and a length of thick piping cord covered in some mustard-y fabric.
Piping in Frame
This is what it looked like after I hot glued my piping into the edges of the frame.
Message Board Pocket Detail
Clear as mud?  I made a pocket section out of fabric (not concerned too much with how the backing looked) . . . my fabric was patchy to start out with so perhaps it's not totally clear where I stitched it down.

Message Board Makeover
Poor lighting abounds in my house in the winter time.
So there you have it!  It is now fully functional and practically slaps me in the face when I walk down the stairs in the morning and every time I leave the house.  In other words . . . IT WORKS.  Perfect.  :)

Linking up with some great parties RIGHT HERE!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Kiwi's Ornament Mash-Up 2012

I had kicked around a few ideas for Kiwi's 2012 ornament over the last couple of days, but it wasn't until this evening that I finally got the proper inspiration while looking through my sewing WIP boxes for the still-haven't-finished-them-all-yet felt nativity figures.  (Uh . . . yes . . . the ones that I started in 2009Lay off - - at least the Holy Family is finally intact.)


So, I was reminded of this little ornament e-book that I got during a BOGO sale from Erica Hite 2 Christmases ago.  (I *think* I got it after Christmas actually, and then forgot about it for the next year and made different ornaments.)  Anyway, it's not totally relevant.  Point is, I forgot I had the patterns, and then I found them and that is how this story begins.

One thing I really kind of wanted to do was make an ornament for Kiwi that kind of "went" with the other 2 I made already this year.  Why?  I mean, truly . . . why??  It's not like one of the kids will end up with the set someday.  Regardless, I was looking for a way to make something similar for Kiwi.  So I went with a mash-up.  A Noia Land/Erica Hite ornament mash-up.  Here's what I did:

Snow Baby Ornament for Kiwi 2012

I took the Noia Land concept (and pattern piece) of putting a cute little face inside a Christmas-themed "body" and used Erica Hite's snowman pattern as the base of that.  I nixed the top hat because Kiwi is my baby girl and I didn't want to make her a boy ornament.  If that even makes sense.

It probably does NOT.  Oh well.

So yes, nixed the hat . . . then I rifled through the button drawer and found the little blingy ribbon flower.  That girl-ed it up a bit.  Then I picked out a nice deep purple for the scarf.  I opted not to stuff this one (unlike the other 2) . . . it just wasn't going to be necessary due to how it was assembled.  I like that it still plays well with the others and gives the same feeling even though it's kind of doing it's own thing with the way it is embellished.
1. Little Star Girl for Little Miss 2012, 2. Little Tree Ornament for Kee-ku 2012, 3. Snow Baby Ornament for Kiwi 2012

I'd show it to Kiwi to see if she likes it, but she'd probably just grab it and try to eat it.  How is it that she is already 7 months old?!

Alright - - on to the next Christmas project.  Must. keep. making.

Linking up with Finish Friday and some great parties RIGHT HERE!


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Ornament Legacy - 2012 Edition

'Tis the season for ornament making.  For me, anyway.  As I do every year, I am in the midst of adding a special mama-made ornament to each one of my kid's collections.  I have spent all year pinning ideas for the ornaments . . . I've got quite the Pinterest board going if this is something you're interested in doing.  So many great ideas floating around on this subject.  A few days ago, I finally settled on a pattern for this sweet little set of ornaments from Noia Land on Etsy.

If I was super awesome, I would have used some delicious wool felt . . . but alas.  I have none.  And there is no room in the budget for extra material purchases when I already have gobs of felt sheets sitting at the ready in ye ole sewing room.  I figure that since Christmas ornaments don't get handled too much that the fact that I'm using less than amazing felt will not matter too much.  None of the previous years' ornaments appear to be suffering so far.  ;)  The colors are more harsh than I would prefer, but I still like how they turned out.

Little Miss got dibs (because she's older and cares about this kind of stuff more than the other 2 do).  Of the group, she picked out this sweet little star:

Little Star Ornament for Little Miss 2012

I didn't have any cute little star buttons, as is shown in the example photo, nor did I have any plain yellow ribbon for the little bow.  I dug into the stash and found this cute little vintage flower button and tied up a bow from some sparkly gold ribbon I had.  I kinda like the bit of twinkle it gives the ornament.  :)

For Kee-ku, I worked up the little tree.  I'm not into jewelry making as a hobby, so my stash of beads and things is severely limited.  I found this teeny bag of some of these small gold beads and used them as the "ornaments" on the tree.  No appropriately sized ribbon in the stash, so for the bow on top of the Christmas gift I just used some red embroidery thread.  The star was a diamond in the rough . . . I found it among some other sequins I had.  It was the only one in the bunch!
Little Tree Boy for Kee-ku 2012

Both of the kids love their new ornaments.  I've still got to make something up for Kiwi . . . haven't decided if I'm going to do hers as a "1st Christmas" ornament or as something separate.  We'll see . . .  [UPDATE: Finished!]

I finished up another Christmas related decor project last week that I just haven't gotten around to posting about.  Hopefully soon.  And then?  Kiwi needs a stocking!  And I never finished quilting my Glow Happy quilt!  AND I STILL WANT TO MAKE SOME PRESENTS!  Oh my word . . . is this month over already?  As I wrote this blog post it seems I have already run out of time.  :P

Anyone else doing some Christmas making?  I'd love to see what you've been working on!

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

**I've been making my kids special Christmas ornaments for the last few years.  Here are the collections so far:
1. Snow Child Ornament 2009 - for Kee-ku, 2. Snow Child Ornament 2009 - for Little Miss

1. Kawaii Santa Bunny Ornament 2010 - for Little Miss, 2. Christmas Tree Ornament 2010 - for Kee-ku

1. Red and Orange Heart Ornament 2011 - for Little Miss, 2. Stocking Ornament 2011 - For Kee-ku
1. Little Star Girl for Little Miss 2012, 2. Little Tree Ornament for Kee-ku 2012


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

4 Things Wednesday: Awesome Stuff I Found This Week

Been awhile since I had a 4 Things Friday post. It's also not Friday, but I'm a total rebel so I'm just tossing it out there on a Wednesday like I JUST DON'T CARE.

Welcome to "Awesome Stuff I Found This Week: Volume 1."

  1. I wish I was half as eloquent as Ginger. She has done it again . . . perfectly putting down in words my feelings during this Christmas-making season.
  2. As everyone it seems, I love me some Pinterest. As a blogger, here's a fun way to share your pins with your readers. I like it better than the official Pinterest widget and have already added it to my sidebar.
  3. The crust has never been my favorite part of the pumpkin pie . . . and this recipe addresses that while also making it super easy to portion control this popular Thanksgiving treat.  (Both Mr. Skooks and I loved these topped with some whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.) 
  4. Monica kills me.  First she made this Ron Swanson quilt, and then she posted a picture of it WITH RON SWANSONGive me all the fabric and thread you have. 
Anyone else find any awesome stuff this week?  Leave me a comment and share the love!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Please a Store, Mommy?

I'm not sure if it's the social aspect of being around the public or just general bored-ness with being at home during the day, but lately Kee-ku has been on a mission to visit "a store!" every time we leave the house.  I'm no shop-a-holic (I have yet to see a deal so good I will brave ANY store on Black Friday), but sometimes as a mom you have to figure out compromises.

So right after we drop Little Miss off at school in the morning and Kee-ku starts chanting, "Please a store, Mommy?!" from the back, we battle.  Some days he gets a flat out "no" and we go home.  Some days we have practical errands that need to be run, so we'll hit up the grocery store to knock some stuff off our list.  He doesn't seem to care which store we go to (amazingly, the kid can spend time in 3 different stores and still not want to go home), so sometimes I go to Mommy's happy place (where else, the fabric store) with him and Kiwi in tow.

Generally, he doesn't fuss too much if I linger over an aisle for too long.  Which is how I ended up discovering this book:

All Sewn Up by Chloe Owens
This isn't really a formal book review . . . I definitely paged through it and oohed and ahhed over the lovely projects though (more beautiful fiber art inspiration!)  I guess I'll add this to the ever-growing list of books I want!  To covet is not divine, so if Kee-ku keeps making me go shopping I may need to start wearing blinders whenever we go to the fabric store.  :P

Anyone read any good crafty books lately?  So I can . . . um . . . not covet them with you?

For more crafty/creative/sewing book reviews I've done, check out my Shelfari page.  :)


Friday, November 2, 2012

Stuffed Knuffle Bunny & Trixie Costume

Have you heard of Mo Willems? I only ask because most of my family have no idea who he is, and expressed confusion when Little Miss told them she wanted to be Trixie from Knuffle Bunny for Halloween this year.

Well, to be more precise . . . Trixie from Knuffle Bunny Too. (Believe me, we searched around the Goodwill for overalls that would fit her so she could be the younger version of Trixie from the first book, but when that search came up empty we found some stuff we could work with for the second book.)
Trixie Knuffle Bunny Costume
Thrifted clothing + some fabric and paint I had on hand = less than $7 for the costume!
No extreme closeups here . . . this costume was totally frankensteined together from several shirts I picked up from the thrift store and to reveal the actual stitching would be beyond embarrassing. Yes - - the sewing quality is atrocious, but for the purpose of costuming a 5 year old it works well enough. The blue star on her shirt is made from a piece of scrap fabric and some Wonder Under. I free-handed the shape and didn't even bother to secure it with a zig zag. 

I know . . . REBEL.

The polka dots on her sleeves were made using some fabric paint I had on hand (didn't realize it was sparkly until I opened it . . . oops) and a circle of kids' crafty foam glued onto an empty thread spool as a makeshift stamp.  Hooray for using what you got!
Knuffle Bunny Doll
Had I known how much my kids would fight over this bunny I would have made two of them!

For the skirt I started with a $2 khaki skirt and cut up a flowery fat quarter I had that looked "sketchy" . . . like, drawn sketchy . . . not sketchy sketchy.  I Wonder Under'd those suckers on there with no reinforcement either.  (I'd tell you what the print is, but there was no selvage on the piece I had.  Leave me a comment if you recognize it!)

The pink striped socks are DIY Babylegs that I made for LM when she was just a wee one.  Just goes to show that you can get a lot of mileage from a simple sock-conversion project . . . she's now 5 and they still work for her!
Knuffle Bunny with Book
I had everything on hand that I needed to make this bunny except the green and blue fabric . . . cost me about $3 total to make!
I searched around for quite awhile before I found a pattern to make the actual Knuffle Bunny.  I am all for coming up with a pattern myself (I've made a lot of stuffed toys in the past and I'm sure I could figure it out), but when someone has already done the work . . . :)  The tutorial I used is from Emilie at Plucky Momo and you can find it right here.  It is a very good pattern (though I would recommend enlarging it a bit because stuffing the legs and arms was a bit tedious), and I only made a few modifications.  I decided to use more marker around some of the features to keep it unified (like around the tail on the back and around the blue piece on the inside of the ears).  I also sewed on the eyes and nose before I sewed it all together because I hate attaching stuff onto a toy after it has already been stuffed.  I know there are reasons to wait until you finish that step, but given my experience I felt ok deviating a bit on this point.  (Speaking of stuffing, I skipped the rice step too and just went for fiberfill for the whole thing.)  Oh, and I didn't bother embroidering the facial features as I originally planned, but did it all in marker.  If I was going to give this as a gift or had I had more time to work on it, I would have not used marker at all and would have embroidered black around all the features.  As it stands though, the marker works fine and does give it a 'drawing come to life' feel which I actually do like.

Going to attempt to forward this post on to Mo Willems . . . hoping he reads it and feels the love and appreciation we have for his books (Kee-ku is obsessed with all of the Pigeon books, and LM has taken it upon herself to learn all the words to the Knuffle Bunny musical that we have on CD.)

Anyone else whip together some homemade costumes this year?  I would love to see them!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Works of Peace - Beginner Fiber Art

I have a deep appreciation for (and admiration of) fiber art and embroidery. I've got an entire Pinterest board dedicated to the genre actually.

To be honest, I wish I did more of it myself.

As it stands, I don't really know how to do a whole lot of different hand stitches.  Every time a project calls for a french knot, for instance, I have to google up some instructions and figure it out all over again.  That info just does not stick in my brain for life.  I just don't use it enough.  The info, not the ole noggin.  ;)

A week or 2 ago, there was a major sale going on at the big J - - and I had a coupon for some crazy high percentage off.  Burning a hole in my pocket.  I tell you what, they know what they're doing when they send you those coupons in the mail . . . it is almost impossible not to figure on something you need that you could use with that coupon, you know?

Anyway, Little Miss and I had a little mom and daughter day out together and that means not only does she get to do what she wants (lunch and custard at Culver's), but I get to do what I want as well (stop in the fabric store).  I'm not big on kits so much, but I saw this sweet little thing and thought . . . maybe this will get my juices flowing on doing more embroidery and fiber art.   

Mother Teresa quote
It was fun.  I revisited some stitches I knew how to do (nothing terribly wild going on here!) . . . it was mostly just practice, but I like the result.  I'd like to point out that these blue stitches you see around the peace sign below:

Embroidery Detail
I had never done those before!  And I already forgot what they're called.  Everyone reading this with the most basic knowledge of embroidery is laughing at me right now. 

I haven't decided where this little sampler will live . . . perhaps if I get a gallery wall going in the girls' room, I'll add this to it.  Might also be nice elsewhere.  Once I frame it I'll have to audition a few spots.

Anyone else honing in on any new skills? 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superhero Mask-erade

When my (about to be 5) niece mentioned that she wanted "boy stuff" for her birthday this year, I jumped with both feet into a project for her.  While I take issue with her assertion that superheros and comic book stuff is "boy stuff", I relished this little project  because it was just so much fun.  Also - - because I have loved superhero stuff since I was a kid too.

Sidebar:  Did anyone else watch Superman so many times growing up that they know what this line is referring to?:

I like pink very much, Lois.
Anyway, so boy stuff.  Superhero stuff.  What have you.  I had been sitting on this pin for a little while because I was planning on making these for my own kids (which . . . once they test-drove these for me after I finished them, I'm pretty sure it is mandatory that I do now).  They are so so so very easy and fun to make (which, if you don't have lots of time - hello, you me with the 3 kids who sometimes feel like there are 15 of them).

Superhero Masks

The payoff when the kids get their hands on them is the best too.  :)

I didn't have any flesh-y colored felt on hand, so I left off Thor.  Little did I know that Thor is her *favorite* and she is planning on being him for Halloween.  :P

Superhero Masks with Book

I tossed in a giant superhero sticker book for good measure . . . because what kid doesn't love stickers?

The masks went over much better than the Wookie Bunny.  Thank goodness.  I still feel bad for that poor thing.

**If you missed the Superman reference above, he's talking about underwear.  Lois's pink underwear.  Which he can see through her dress.  Aye chee mama.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Wall Flowers - Accordian Style

Other than the flower canopy and some little butterflies on the wall over her bed, Little Miss has very little decor in her room.  Everything is pretty utilitarian: a bed, a bookshelf, some toy storage, a table and chairs.  I've been wanting to help her perk up the space a bit for quite some time, but as most of us that suffer from Pinterest overload, it's been hard to settle on a direction.  This week I decided to comb through my pins and hone in on an aspect that I could tackle to get the ball rolling.

It became clear pretty quickly that I *really* was digging a certain idea floating around the interwebs:

Anyone else noticing a theme?

I'm not a paper crafter so my supplies on hand were limited.  I ended up finding a color palette of papers at Target that struck my fancy and got to work on some wall flowers the other day.

Accordian Wall Flowers
It's fall in Michigan and the natural lighting is not overflowing.  These flowers are not made of solid colors as it might seem, but with a variety of tone on tone patterned scrapbook papers.

I'm not going to post a tutorial of what I did here . . . several of the links I posted above will direct you on how to do this yourself.  I mostly just experimented until I landed on the sizes and look that I was going for.  The basic gist: fold paper like you're making a fan and then stick several of your fans together in a circle.  (The small flowers are 2 pieces of paper and the large one is 8 pieces.)

I tried tacking these guys to the wall with poster putty, but I must not have used enough because several of them leapt off the wall after a few days.  Since I was out of putty and didn't feel like going out with 3 kids to get more, I settled on what we had on hand: Packing Tape.  :)

Works for me!

Here's a shot from the side so you can see a bit more of the dimension of the leaves.  There were no tutorials for that specific element, so I just monkeyed around with shapes until I came up with something I liked:

Accordian Wall Flowers - Side View

There is so much I'd like to change about her room (paint her bed, paint her walls, get a fun rug for the floor, make some new curtains and bedding, hang some artwork, the list goes on . . .), but for now this is a step in the right direction at least.  She was so happy to get something special on her walls.

Accordian Wall Flowers 2

So was I!  This kind of stuff just makes me happy.  :)

Linking up to the YHL/Bower Power Pinterest Challenge today:


Monday, October 1, 2012

You Missed It the First Time . . . Now You Can Enter Again!

Hey all - - I promise I have been working on something (not quite ready to reveal it yet though) in my absence.

In the meantime . . .

Christina, who won the Charming Travelers Giveaway, has just posted the latest iteration of the giveaway on her blog. Here's your chance if you didn't win the giveaway over here. She's got a fairly small following (but a cute little blog - this is actually her 500th post!), so you might be able to swoop in and win it.

May the odds be ever in your favor.  ;)

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