Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If you can't beat 'em...

join em!

For those of you who are not aware, I live in Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains. From our home it takes about 45 minutes to be smack dab in the middle of Rocky Mountain National Park. While there one can enjoy wildlife in abundance. However, when one lives in Colorado one doesn't need to visit a national forest to catch a glimpse of a variety of critters. We are proof of that. I might just as well hang a sign "Mi Casa Su Casa" on the trees in our yard as a welcome for all the local varmint.  Before you start imagining that we live in the country, let me set the record straight. Our house was plunked down in the middle of suburbia. I offer the following photographic evidence to support my claim...

If one looks very closely at the photo below you will see two beady little eyes peering out from the tree. They belong to a juvenile delinquent raccoon. His four homies are situated higher in the tree. Their nightly visits facilitated the battening down of the doggie door into our house...

We came home from church one day to find Mr. Fox in our backyard. He seemed perfectly content to wile away the Sunday afternoon sunning himself and lazying around on our grass. It wasn't until we started taking pictures that he decided to skedaddle...

Speaking of juvenile delinquents, we have a squirrel in our backyard that can only be described as an adolescent thug. His name is Chuzzlewit. Our relationship developed several years ago when he was a wee lad. He would occasionally pilfer our bird feeder. I enjoyed his antics when he was a toddler...

I realize now that I became an enabler because as he grew he became more and more aggressive in his seed scavenging. Our relationship became a bit one-sided at that point in time...

When he started strong arming the bird feeders and bringing them up into the trees for easy access, I checked the bird seed to make sure it wasn't laced with steroids. The seed checked out just fine, but he was obviously getting a stash of 'roids from some unsavory character in the hood.

All this brings me to the real reason for this post. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. For my mantle this Christmas I decided to decorate it as an "Ode to our Critters." Here's what I came up with...

I purchased these adorable natural fiber-like woodland creatures from Pottery Barn and the birdies from Crate&Barrel.

Again a big THANK YOU to all those who voted for my blog in the first round of voting for Top Blog of 2010 at The Blog Guidebook. I appreciate it so much! The voting for this contest is going to progress weekly, with 5 blogs being voted off each week until all but one are eliminated. So, I'll be asking for your help throughout the coming weeks -- even if you've voted previously! The second week of voting has commenced, so if you have a minute can you hop over to The Blog Guidebook for another round of voting? The voting takes place on the right sidebar of the blog. Go here to vote!

Linked to:
Blue Cricket Designs - Creative Mantel Link Up Party!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lil' Kid Crayon Caddy Tutorial...

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday! I'm flying home later today from California. I can't wait to get home and put up a few Christmas decorations and sit down at my sewing machine and whip up a few projects for presents. Speaking of presents...

Remember these?
A week or so ago I made these adorable Crayon Caddies and mentioned a tutorial would be forthcoming. I decided to post the tutorial this week hoping the hoop-la of Thanksgiving weekend would be over, and you might have a little more time to work on a sewing project. This project is perfect for a Christmas present for the little boys and girls in your life! It is a project designed for the beginner sewer, so don't be shy! I took a gazillion pictures for clarification and I hope the instructions are easily understood! Here we go...
Materials needed:
Outside cover:  1 - 11"x15" cotton fabric 
Lining (contrasting fabric): 1 - 11"x15" cotton fabric
Handles: 2 - 3.5"x11" cotton fabric
Crayon Pocket (double thickness): 2 - 4"x11" cotton fabric
Paper Pocket (single thickness): 1 - 5.5"x11" cotton fabric
Stamp Pocket (contrasting fabric): 1 - 4.5"x11" cotton fabric {Note: In the process of writing this tutorial I used the word "Stamp Pocket" and "Sticker Pocket" interchangeably -- sorry! They are one and the same.}
Fusible Interfacing: 2 - 11"x15" (for outside cover and lining); 2 - 3/4"x11" for handles
Velcro: 3" strip
Note: Use 1/2" seams unless otherwise indicated.

Now for the fun stuff... Please note there is a corresponding photo to each Step for clarification. Click on the photos to enlarge them and see them more clearly!

Lil' Kid Crayon Caddy

To begin: Cut out all your pieces...
Making the handles:

Step 1: Take both "handle" pieces and iron them in half lengthwise. Then take the raw edges of the handle and turn them into the middle fold just ironed.

Step 2: Insert a 3/4"x11" fusible fleece piece into the fold of each handle and press -- adhering the fusible fleece to the fabric. 

Step 3: Sew along the folded line and the pressed edge of the handles about 1/4" from the edge. 

Step 4: Press the handles flat.
Making the "Paper" and the "Sticker" pockets:

Step 5: Fold over and press the top edge of the "Paper" and "Sticker" pockets l/4" from the top across the length of the fabric.

Step 6: Fold over again 1/4" and press. 

Step 7: Finish the top edge of these pockets by sewing across fold approximately 1/4" from the edge.
Making the "Crayon" pocket:

Step 8:  The pocket for the crayons is double thickness. Take both pieces of fabric and pin right sides together.

Step 9: Sew down both lengths of the pocket 1/2" from the edge.

Step 10: Trim seams as shown in photo.

Step 11:  Turn the pocket right sides out and press.
Attaching the Velcro:

Step 12: Take one of the 3" strips of Velcro and pin it 1 1/8" from the top of the lining, centering it in the middle of the carrier. Sew. Take the corresponding strip of Velcro and sew it to the bottom of the "Sticker" pocket 1 1/8" from the bottom of the pocket, centering it in the middle of the pocket.
Attaching the Fusible Fleece:

13: Attach the 11"x17" pieces of fusible fleece to the outside cover and the lining with the heat of an iron.
Attaching the pockets:

Step 14: Pin the top of the "Crayon" pocket 3.5" from the top of the carrier lining.

Step 15: Pin the "Paper" and the "Sticker" pockets to the bottom of the lining, making sure to align the bottoms of the pockets with the bottom of the lining. (The "Sticker" pocket goes on top of the "Paper" pocket.)

Step 16: Baste side edges of pockets to the lining about 1/4" from the edge.
Making the individual crayon pockets:

17. Take a ruler and measure over 5.5 inches from the outside edge of the crayon pocket. This should be the exact center of the pocket. Put a pin at the top of the pocket and at the bottom of the pocket.

18. (Enlarged photo of same area.)

19. Take a piece of masking tape and lay it along the side of the pins, making a straight line.

20. Take the pins out and sew along the edge of the masking tape. This will enable you to create a straight line when sewing!
Step 21: Continue this procedure -- measuring, pinning and taping -- to make 1" individual crayon pockets across the length of the pocket. The two individual crayon pockets on each edge of the carrier will be 1.5" wide -- instead of 1" wide. When you sew the lining to the carrier cover with a 1/2" seam it will shrink those crayon pockets on both sides to 1" each.
 Step 22: Sew across the bottom edge of the crayon pocket 1/4" from the bottom edge.
Attaching the handles:

Step 23: It's difficult to see here because of the busyness of the fabrics, but attach the handle ends -- right sides together -- to the top and bottom of the outside cover 3" from the outside edge. Baste the handles to the carrier cover 1/4" from edge.
Hang in there! We're almost done....

Attaching the outside cover to the lining:

Step 24: To round the corners of the outside cover and lining, take a round bottle, line up with the edges of a corner with the edges of the bottle and trace around the bottle. Trim the rounded corner on the line.

Step 25: Pin the outside cover and the lining -- right sides together -- leaving a 3" opening on the side.

Step 26: Sew a 1/2" seam around the outside edges, being careful to leave the 3" opening. Trim seam as shown below.
Finished product:

Step 27: Turn your caddy right side out through the 3" opening. Press seams and sew the opening shut by hand with a slip stitch.

Finished! It probably took you about as long to read this as it will for you to make it!
Have fun creating!

Linked to:
Saturday Night Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Frugacious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Christmas with Fabric @ Sassy Sites
Friday Fun Finds @ Kojo Designs
Get Your Craft on Thursday @ Life as Lori
Hookin' Up with HOH
Show & Tell @ Blue Cricket Design
Linky Party @ Saturday Morning
Get Your Craft On @ Today's Creative Blog
Tell Me Tuesday @ Vintage Pollyanna
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Boardwalk Bragfest @ Bobbypin's Boardwalk
Craftastic Monday @ Sew Can Do 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday's Fabulous Finds

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm away from my home computer today, so I'm posting a slightly different "I Spy". Before we get to that, I want to issue a huge "thank you" to all those who voted for my blog on The Blog Guidepost this past week. I truly appreciate it!

Here's a little suggestion on the biggest shopping day of the year -- You might want to stay at home, curl up with some hot chocolate and warm jammies, and purchase a few original Christmas presents from individual artisans via Etsy!

I spy with my Etsy eye something...

Felted wool ball set - waldorft toy - PRIMARY STRIPES - FREE SHIP

Monkey Hat Sock Earflap Beanie Cap Boy Braided Pom Pom Newborn Baby Toddler Child Crochet Handmade by Amy K

Mushroom Bowling - RESERVED FOR BILLIE...

Plush Chicken with beige glasses

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and
Thank You
once again for your support of my blog!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Preview of December's Plaque Attack!

I hope you are all enjoying your Thanksgiving holiday! Just a note to let you know that I will be back the first week of December with the Plaque Attach for the month of December! Definitely a Christmas theme this month! Instead of offering just one plaque attack in the month of December, when you request the plaque this month you will receive a document with three different plaques! (Due to the fact that I am indecisive and I couldn't choose just one!) Here's a little preview...



No need to request these documents yet,
next week (when I post the photos of the plaques made up)
you can send me an email with your request for the December plaques!

For all those who have requested my Plaque Attacks the last few months,
would you be so kind as to go to The Blog Guidebook
(on the top of the right sidebar) and
vote for yours truly whose blog has been nominated
for the Top Blog of 2010.
I would appreciate it so much!

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And the voting begins...

I'm not sure if you've noticed my sidebar of late, BUT...
earlier this week my blog was nominated for 
Top Blog of 2010 by 

(Trust me, I was as surprised as you are.) 

The first round of voting starts TODAY
and ends FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26th!

Five blogs will be eliminated after the first round of voting.

Head on over to The Blog Guildebook to see all the amazing blogs that have been nominated.
There are some fabulous, fresh, new (to me) blogs that are in the running!

I haven't asked for votes since my junior year in high school when I ran for cheerleader.
That didn't end well.
I thought I learned my lesson, but here I am again beggin' for a vote or two.
Let's hope this result ends a little better

Go here to vote (see right sidebar) and check out the other nominees...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lil' Boy Crayon Caddy...

I've been wanting to make a different version of a child's crayon carrier for some time now. You might remember that last March I made the version below from a tutorial I saw at Noodlehead...
I wanted this new version to be a little more elaborate for the budding artists in our family. When I first started noticing crayon cosies, they were the rolled up version where one took a length of fabric and made individual pockets for crayons. To carry the crayons one would roll the length of fabric up starting at one end until it met the other end where one would tie a length of ribbon around the roll to secure it. This version was adorable, but I could never wrap my head around the tie at the end that would need to be secured by an adult. That's probably why I always had my two year old in sneakers that had Velcro instead laces! I like to encourage self-sufficiency in my little ones. So, I wanted to make a crayon carrier that a child could close. I also wanted the case to hold paper and maybe a few stickers. This is the version I chose to make...
I created a pattern that is 7  x 10 inches (when closed) with 10 inch straps.
It opens up to be 10 x 14 inches with three pocket areas...
The pockets hold 10 crayons, some paper (an 8.5 x 11 inch paper cut in half) and a package of stickers.
Perfect for the little guy on the go.
 I love the Velcro closure on this carrier.
It makes it so easy for even the littlest artist to take care of his "tools"!
These dinosaur fabrics are a favorite of mine.The manufacturer is Timeless Fabrics, and the fabric is from their "Stone Age" collection. I love the bright, whimsical prints in this line.
 I hope to make a short tutorial of this crayon carrier (for a Lil' Girl)
within the next couple of days and post it next week.

It will be just in time for you to whip some up for Christmas presents!