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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Earth Week

As an environmental educator...Earth Week kicked my butt! I did 12 presentations at 3 schools last week, a workshop for adults, an awards reception, and two public events (one that had over 2,000 people attend!). Needless to say I was worn out. I felt like a terrible mom because I didn't have enough time to really play with my little one. I was constantly doing something. I neglected my house and my yard (both which need lots of TLC). I was glad to have the opportunity to share our message with people but I am happy now for a slower time.

Since things have been a little crazy I haven't really done much crafting. I have however spent some time reflecting on God's word. On Monday the 13th we had our monthly women in the church meeting (WIC). We are reading a book by Jerry Bridges called "Trusting God." This is a very powerful book that really has opened my eyes to all of God's kindness and grace. This is a book I really suggest reading if you have a chance. I ended up missing the majority of our Missions Conference because of work however my family and I did pledge to pray for one of our missionaries in Belize. I hope to send them a note this week.

We also pledge our faith promise. A faith promise is an amount of money above and beyond your normal giving to the church. It helps fund missions throughout the world. This is not an amount that you can comfortably give in addition this is an amount that you are not sure how you will give it but pray and God will provide. I am hoping to help instill these values in our son.

My next sewing craft project will be another pillowcase dress for a friend's daughter. I also plan on making something for myself within the next few weeks. I haven't decided if I want to make a dress or a skirt. I have a few options on this. Depending on how the first skirt turns out I might make a skirt for my friend to match her daughter's dress....um great Mother's Day gift for friends and family. I hope to start on these projects this week.

I have lots of ideas for kid's crafts as well. I will be doing most of these at work in preparation for summer activities. Keep checking back for instructions on how to make rain sticks, turtle crayons, nature t-shirts, and muck more.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pillowcase Dress

Ok so I made my son's Easter outfit and vowed that even though it about beat me I would sew another outfit. I had told my sister-in-law that I would make my niece something, so....

Last night about 7 I was looking through patterns and could not fathom creating another outfit this weekend, especially not a dress with gathers or pleats. I put down the patterns and went online. I had seen a little girl in the store with a darling little dress and thought that it might be simple to make but I didn't know what it was called. As always when I go online I was sidetracked by checking emails and postings on my favorite websites. Thanks York County Mommies....without a posting from them I would have never found the pillowcase dress. This simple easy dress was completed in a matter of two and a half hours which part of was contenting with a toddler that really wanted to help.

Here is how to make a pillowcase dress....easy peasy!


If you have a pillowcase that you think is cute or you just want to try go right ahead and use it, if not you can use a piece of fabric that is 36- 40 inches long.

Beginning with fabric
Step 1. fold it in half, right sides together, and stitch up one side.
Step 2. Hem the bottom.

*Move on to step 2 below "beginning with a pillowcase"

Beginning with a pillowcase
Step 1: Cut the pillowcase off, leaving the hemmed end,
Step 2: Now that you have your fabric ready to start measure the desired length using the chart below

6 months - 14 1/4"
12 months - 16 1/4"
18 months - 17 1/4"
2T - 18 1/4"
3T - 19 1/4"
4T - 20 1/4"

Step 3. Then cut a strip from the leftover pillowcase (or fabric) that is 1 1/2" tall.

Step 4. Cut the strip open and then in half, so you have two strips, 1 1/2" tall by about 20" long.

Step 5: Cut out an armhole on each side. (to make this easier I folded the pillowcase in half and cut one armhole so that they would be exactly the same). Use the following measurements:

sizes 2T and below cut 1.5" in and 3" down
sizes 3T and 4T cut 2" in and 4" down

Step 6: Take the 1 1/2" strip and place it on the inside of the armhole, right side of strip to wrong side of dress. Fold down the top of the strip about 1/2". Meet the top of the fold with the top of the dress. Stitch the strip all the way around the armhole (from top front of dress, down armhole, to the top back of the dress). When you get close to the end of the armhole, stop and cut off the extra strip, leaving enough to fold down 1/2". Fold down the 1/2 and finish off the armhole.

Step 7: Fold the strip twice, once so that the raw edge is touching the raw edge of the armhole

Step 8: Fold that piece over to the other side of the armhole, binding the armhole.

Step 9: Fold like that along the entire armhole, pinning as you go. You could also iron.

Step 10: Stitch along the binding. Don't worry about trying to stitch the outside and inside perfectly, I would just concentrate on the outside. The inside is already stitched and it won't show anyway Do the same to the other arm.

Step 11: Fold the top of the front and back, first 1/4" then 5/8" to form a casing with no raw edges showing. Stitch this closed.

Step 12: Thread 1 yd of ribbon through each casing.

Step 13: Tie small knots in the end of the ribbons, gather the front and back, and tie bows on the shoulders.

Now you have constructed a pillowcase dress. I did not make these instructions up on my own. I modified instructions from http://www.andersonsplace.net/sewing/pillow_case_dress.htm. This site also has great pictures to go along with the instructions. Below are some pictures of my finished dress.



I really enjoyed making this dress, it was simple to create and cute as can be. I plan to make more in the future. If we ever have a little girl this may be all she wears! Enjoy!

Easter Outfit

OK so after searching the Internet for HOURS trying to find my son an Easter outfit that was traditional and cheap I decided that it would be cheaper to make one. This is the first official pattern I completed! Usually I start on one and then quit or I just make it as I go without any patterns. That only works on square pieces.

I started on this project about March 30th. I cut out the pattern and the fabric. About two days later I got the lining for the romper cut out. Finally after a week I got the pieces pin together in what I thought was the correct order. I began sewing seams soon after that, but Wyatt had other plans. I tried working on it on and off throughout the night but Wyatt was amazed at the sewing machine and I was concerned about him getting hurt. Finally after William got home and the two of them got to bed I focused on constructing the outfit.

I began by sewing the lining and the fabric right sides together. I left an opening in the leg so I could flip the piece right side out. This was easy enough to accomplish rather quickly. Once I had all the pieces lined and flipped I began pinning the pieces together. I really thought I was following the pattern correctly. I stitched up the seams and pieced the outfit together. I didn't realize until I was trying to finish up the legs that something major was wrong with this outfit. The legs wouldn't go together! I could not figure out to make leg holes without sewing the piece all the way shut! I was getting mad. The seam ripper went to work QUICK! I read the instructions again and again, pinned sections all kind of ways and then realized that I was trying to piece together the WRONG sections of the outfit. After this realization I corrected my mistakes and had the outfit finished in about 30 minutes, including buttons. This was really an accomplishment for me since I am a little challenged as a seamstress.

This outfit taught me a lot about patience and determination, both which rank high on my list of characteristics that need to be cultivated in a person. Even though I had a hard time creating this outfit I plan to make more for Wyatt. My next project is a dress for my niece, not sure how that will go but stay tune to find out....


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Homespun Momma

Friday, April 3, 2009

Seeded Paper

Some days (like today) my full time outside of the home job is amazing. I get to do crafts, lessons, and activites that anyone would enjoy. Today I am making seeded paper for invitations to an Environmental Banquet. I thought I might share this easy craft with all of you so you too can make your own paper or seeded paper as greeting cards, note cards, or stationary. It is really easy to do and great for the environment if you use paper products that have already served their original purpose.





Supplies needed:



  • Paper: Newspaper, computer paper, notebook paper, construction paper, etc

  • Blender or food processor

  • Sponge

  • an old picture frame

  • window screen

  • staples

  • plastic tub large enough to fit the screen

  • turkey-baster ( i have never used this but have seen it suggested)

  • Cookie sheet or newspaper (for stacking the paper on)

  • squares of felt

  • flower seeds (if making seeded paper)

Directions:



  1. Make a mold by tightly tacking the window screen onto the frame with staples

  2. Fill the plastic tub about half full of water


  3. Tear into nickel sized pieces or use a shredder, place torn/shredded paper into the blender (about half full). Fill the blender about 3/4 full with warm water. Place the top on the blender, put a kitchen towel on top, and blend for about 60 seconds on low to medium speed (make sure that you always keep your hand on top of the towel). Continue to increase the speed until no paper flakes remain and pulp appears smooth.




  4. Pour the pulp from the blender into the plastic tub. Add in at least 3 blender loads of paper. The more pulp the thicker the paper will be.



  5. Slip the frame into the wash tub, gently move it from side to side to get the pulp around the top of the frame level and to the desired thickness (this takes practice). Let the layer settle and SLOWLY lift the frame out of the tub. Let the frame drain above the tub for a few moments, double check to see if it is level (if not use the turkey baster filled with pulp to fill in any uneven spots or gaps).




  6. video



  7. After removing the frame from the water, let it drain over a sink or another tub. When it stops dripping lay felt over the entire piece, use a sponge to soak up the excess water while still in the frame. Once you have soaked up all the water you can take the frame with the felt square on top to your drying station.




  8. The next step is the hardest, don't be disappointed if you mess up a few time (I know I did). Holding the frame in both hands above the cookie sheet flip the frame over onto the cookie sheet, the felt square should be on bottom with the paper on top (no paper should be attached to the frame).



  9. Once the frame is no longer attached, smooth out the paper and any air bubbles.



  10. Now take your shaker full of flower seeds and spread them around the paper in your desired amount, remember no to overload the paper.




  11. Keep repeating steps 5-10 and stack the felt sheets on the cookie sheet to dry. When you have made all the paper you want for the day place a piece of cardboard on top of the last piece and use another cookie sheet and a weight (a brick, two litter bottles filled, cast iron frying pan, etc) to press out the remaining water.



  12. Gently separate the sheets and dry them on a clothesline or out in the sun for 12-24 hours. When they are dry gently remove the felt from the paper.



  13. ENJOY~this paper makes great gifts for anyone!

The Crazy Days of Spring

The last few days have been crazy. We all experience this from time to time and it was just my turn I guess. My little boy, Wyatt, has been a little under the weather and woke up with a coughing fit that lasted about 2 1/2 hours in the wee hours of the morning Wednesday. William and I decided that is was time to take him to the doctor. I went ahead and sent them to the sitters and came into work for a while cause I had some things I needed to do. When the doctor's office finally opened then I got him an appointment. Of course the doctor said to just watch him and monitor his progress, which seems to be doing better. I didn't return to work on Wednesday. Wyatt and I went home and caught up on some things, cleaning, sewing, you know.

Since Wyatt took a 4 hour nap I was able to get lots done especially on his Easter outfit. I cut out all of the pieces, fabric, lining and interfacing. I also got them pinned together and ready for sewing, however I was afraid the sewing machine would wake him so they are still just pinned together waiting on me to finish. I caught up on my magazine reading and found lots of great craft ideas for Easter. We may try some of them out this weekend. I began reteaching myself to knit. This may present a challenge. I have the general idea however I have found out that Wyatt likes to "unknit". I also unclogged the kitchen sink drains which have been driving me batty for days. I discovered something..... I would love to stay at home with Wyatt on a regular even daily basis but we would have to establish a routine otherwise I would get nothing accomplished.



Thursday was a typical day I came to work and did a presentation for about 50 5th grade students. I was able to run by and pick up a few magazines that had even more crafting ideas. When I got home all the things we had ordered earlier in the week had arrived. These were items like new boots and a rope for William, books, boots and jeans Wyatt, and a few study guides and books for me. Once everything was inventoried Wyatt commenced to destroy all boxes and packing materials. It amazes me how much they are interested in the little things. I also found out one of my close friends is expecting a baby in December (YAY!).


Today is a pretty laid back day. I have a to-do list a mile long at work and home and a weekend schedule full of fun options but very little down time. I plan to finish Wyatt's outfit this weekend, finish redecorating the bedrooms, do a department store's worth of laundry, and clean the kitchen until I can see my reflection along with attending a birthday party, a housewarming party, an Easter egg hunt, a rodeo and church. Something might have to give...I am not sure that Wyatt or I can withstand all of this activity.

Umm....I wonder where I am going to fit craft projects in???