August 19, 2015

My Magic Earring Holder


Ever since I got my ears pierced a few years ago (you can read that account here), I’ve been drawn to those shiny, sparkly, dangly jewelries of joy. I recently realized that my collection was outgrowing its home of a hanging embroidery hoop. The hoop has worked well, but it’s always a little awkward taking it off the wall to access my earrings that have post backs. Most times I pass over those pairs to hook-style ones I can easily grab. Yeah. I’m lazy. And in a hurry. So I was browsing on Pinterest and found an earring holder I could really get behind. Literally. 

Here’s what it looks like from the front:



Isn’t that polka-dot burlap cute? I love the shiny.


Here it is with my joys:



(Hey, look! There’s room to spare! Better go shopping.)


And here is its secret:



It’s mounted on hinges! That way I can open it and easily access post backs.


It was pretty easy to make. I bought a large picture frame, took out the back and glass, and used super-duper glue to attach the burlap. Husband did all the drilling because I can’t use a drill to save my life. The original Pinterest post called for nailed-in metal screen mesh (vintage window screen and nails obtained from a barn on Martha’s Vineyard, I’m sure), but like I said before, I’m lazy and in a hurry. I’m quite happy with it, and now my bathroom has something cute in it besides [dust] bunnies.

July 28, 2015

Cool


One of the many things I love about summer is all the quick-cooking options. I love that Husband can easily throw hot dogs, hamburgers, or chicken on the grill. Dinner is fast and easy, and it gives Little Guy more options than box mac & cheese. And as much as I love wintertime baking, summertime has some sweet winners too. I picked up a couple of popsicle molds at the dollar store so I could make a bunch of different popsicle flavors, starting with the awesome variety in my Our Best Bites cookbook. My first attempt was a rich banana peanut butter version. I loved it, but Little Guy wasn’t thrilled with fancy. So I made some basic Jell-O pudding pops, which went over much better. I hope next up will be cookies and cream, but that means there will be an open box of Oreos in my pantry, which is not a good thing. I mean, it IS a good thing. But so not. Here’s to summer eats! What are your favorite summer treats?


July 9, 2015

The Star Wars Quiet Book Is Finished!


A long time ago, in a house not too far away…



I started a little project. AND I FINALLY FINISHED IT! YAAAAAY! IT’S DONE! AND IT ONLY TOOK TWO AND A HALF YEARS! WOOOHOOOOO!
 

Ahem. Sorry for my enthusiastic outburst. I’m just quite excited to have this project done. So, when my three-and-half-year-old was eleven months old, I started a Star Wars quiet book project. I worked on it regularly until life got in the way, and then I recently realized that there is only a limited window of time in which a child will use a quiet book. So I got going again. 

Let me take you on a photographic tour!
 

(NOTE: This pattern is NOT mine. I did NOT create it. I am NOT that creative. You can find it and other awesome patterns here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/juliebell. If you want to see a quiet book I did create from scratch, look here: http://www.jrmaddy.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-little-something-for-baby.html. In that blog post I mention the Star Wars quiet book and joke that it will be ready in 2015. Well, here we are. I’m hilarious.)


Okay, technically it’s a “Jedi Quiet Book,” not a “Star Wars Quiet Book.” You’re welcome for that clarification. 



Ah, my first attempt at stitching words. It’s a bit…crookedy. But I don’t mind it because it’s a reminder of how my skills have improved over time. (A loooong time.)




Luke’s lightsaber and the practice droid thingy are loose because they’re supposed to wiggle. I bet Little Guy will rip them off in five minutes.



C-3P0 looks a little sad. But snapping him back together makes me smile.





This is my favorite page in the whole thing. The stitching on Death Star took forever, but I love how it came out. And how could you not rescue such a cute little bunch of finger puppets?



Yoda says, “Boo-a-peek. You, I see!” (I promise his pointy ears are in there.)




Leia’s cute when she’s grumpy.




Of course, she can escape from Jabba’s, uh, shoelace.




This robot hand is veering dangerously close to “Live long and prosper.”



 Ka-blamo!



All bound up.


I don’t know what Little Guy will think of this. If he isn’t interested, I’ll just put it behind glass and not let anyone touch it. If he is interested, I’ll still put it behind glass and let him touch it with gloved hands when he’s 12. Maybe.

March 4, 2015

Pillow Fight!


I’ve spent the last few weeks wanting a new look in my family room. Buying new sofas is not an option, and our Grand Painting Plan isn’t ready yet. So I decided to make new covers for all the throw pillows lounging around the room. Granted, the pillows usually end up on the floor because Little Guy hates to share our sofas with inanimate objects. (And sometimes his parents.) But I was getting tired of the red/brown/beige color scheme we’ve had since we got married. I wanted something bright and fresh. (Perhaps this is due to the 60-degree weather we had for a few weeks when there should have been 6 feet of snow instead.) So off I went with my coupons to JoAnn’s (a.k.a. my second home). I went in thinking green or yellow, and ended up with Husband’s suggestion of “some kind of gold.”



You like? I like. I wasn’t aiming for a French flair, but I think that French writing pillow was the deciding factor. (That fabric was left over from another project, and I hope it doesn’t say anything offensive. I don’t know; I don’t speak French.) I love how these all look together. I experimented with different styles, such as the two large covers with the border/ruffle thing, and the smaller gold/black one with the contrasting piping. (It's hard to see, but the piping is the same fabric as the large floral cover.)


We have a small front room where I teach piano lessons, and I made covers for its resident pillows too.



Yeah, I didn’t realize that dots one would turn out looking like a domino, but whatevs. I still think they’re cute for a music room.


Making pillow covers is one of the least expensive ways to change the look of a room, especially if you already have the pillows. They are super-easy to make, even for a beginner. Here are a couple of great tutorials that I learned from:

http://www.sewmamasew.com/2011/02/how-to-make-a-basic-pillow-how-to-finish-a-pillow-with-binding/
http://cottagemagpie.com/crafts-sewing/how-to-sew-pillow-cover/
 

(And just between us, I never make pillow covers with a zipper. I always do the two pieces in the back that open envelope-style. Because, seriously, who has time to sew a zipper into a pillow cover?)

November 17, 2014

Catching Up


Well. I hope my two readers who are still hanging around had a good late summer and fall. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! (I just wanted to get that out there in case I miss wishing you the best on the actual holiday… which, at this rate, is a distinct possibility.) Since we talked last I have…

Been to Disneyland. (No pictures here because it was 100 degrees and any photos of me were just one big reflection off my shiny, sweaty face.)


Made this bag:



Our household is Utah Ute through and through. Husband recently got assigned to teach the 10-year-old kids at church, and he asked me to make him a bag to carry his lesson stuff in. (Yes, you heard right. Husband actually asked for a bag.) As you can see, it was a very specific request for a manly looking bag. And I used dusty old curtains so it would be even less girly. And since our team is having an exciting and successful season, I’ll just put this out there: GO UTES!


Made this bag:



This was for a giveaway on my Facebook page. (Have you liked my page yet? Go do it and win free stuff. Go. Go now.) This Halloween bag came out so cute it was hard to give away. 


Made soup.



Okay, I didn’t make it, Husband did. But I prepped all the veggies. I usually hate prepping for soup, but we got some fancy new knives that make chopping a breeze. Bring on the soups! Plus, it’s about time I put something food-related on this here blog. 


The Christmas boutique is quickly approaching. I'm almost done with all the totes and scarves I was planning on making. I'm excited to participate again this year!

August 20, 2014

Unwanted


A couple of months ago, Little Guy started using a blanket as a cape. He hadn’t shown interest in wearing a cape before, so I was amused at his newfound interest. And then, of course, I got a sewing idea. I would make him a cape! I was quite excited about it and tried to get Little Guy excited about it as well, but whenever I mentioned I could make him a cape, he told me he wanted his “blanket cape,” which he would then clutch around himself and run away as if I were going to rip it from his little shoulders. 

But I persisted. I found an easy pattern for a double-sided cape and kept talking it up to an unimpressed child. Even as we wandered around the fabric store he kept saying, “I don’t want a new cape!” The only reason he allowed me to put fabric in the cart was because it had trucks on it. So we got home and I feverishly went to work at my sewing machine. A little while later I presented it, glowing with pride, to my son. Now, he’s an honest child, and I think he was breaking it to me gently as he said, “NO!” and ran away. I was devastated. I knew that I was the one who wanted it, not him, but I thought he would at least like it when he saw the finished product. Which you can see here because Husband was able to coerce Little Guy into wearing it for five minutes:



And then he never wore it again. It’s currently hanging in his room looking cute, yet forlorn. A castoff even before the new-fabric smell wore away. Not long after, he stopped using a blanket cape altogether. Yes, I learned my lessons. One was that new isn’t always better. Another was that I need to really consider if a new project is worth it or even wanted (by someone other than myself). 


But I could make a cape for someone else…right?? Yeah, you saw that one coming. My niece turned three this month. She enjoys dress-up much more than Little Guy does, so I thought I’d give the cape one more chance. Here’s the outcome:




I really hope she likes it. But if not, it’ll look really cute as a wall decoration.