Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My First Keds: Sneaker Lacing Board

September brings new challenges.   This month, Miss Lily received her first pair of Keds lace-ups. We decided it was time to move on from velcro (velcro is so handy for rushed mornings, but it's like moving on from a digital watch, you know what I mean?).

To help her practice how to tie her laces, I photographed her new Keds and enlarged the photo to 6X8.  I found a piece of plywood in our {blair witch project}basement and affixed the photo to the plywood after drilling holes in strategic spots.  She was also able to add some pony beads for added interest.  I also added two holes in the top corners in case we want to hang the board on a hook or door knob.

She loves it!  It is a combination of a lacing card and a beading activity.  Two of her favourite projects.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

Hey there.  Posting is light.  I have been feeling a little off lately and not very crafty. There has been alot of sickness around these parts. I did manage to get on the fabric pumpkin bandwagon and create this little patch.
There are so many great options out there (Sew Spoiled has a little round up here and I would also add Sandy Henderson's Shabby Pumpkins Pattern for sale here, the Simple Wife's with real stems,  and McCalls Patterns has a free download here). I ended up attempting Martha's tutorial with the additional wisdom of Danielle Thompson

The scarecrow is a Value Village find, "vintage 1995, Turner Entertainment". We also found the Tin Man lacking a heart, but are still aching for a lion. 

The pumpkins are made from scraps of fabric from my stash and gold crochet thread.

Oh, how I love orange.
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P.S. This is my final September sewing project for the Creative Maven's Sew 5 Challenge.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sewn with Love

My pal spotted these sweet "sewn with love" printable tags offered by Skip to My Lou.  It is nice to add one of these tags to those hand sewn gifts that you don't necessarily want to sew on a label.

I thought the tag was a nice touch on this gift.

This was a drawing case I made for a 6 year old girl. The birthday girl and Lily are in the same ballet school so I used some leftover Angelina Ballerina fabric from the capelet project.  The drawing case is based on Ellen's drawing case tutorial over at The Long Thread (I have made them before and it has become a go-to gift. You can substitute pencil crayons for washable markers or glitter pens or whatever).   

As a future post, I am hoping to do a little recap of hand sewn birthday gifts for girls and boys. 

What are your favourite hand sewn birthday gifts?  Is it more difficult to come up with ideas as kids get older?  It is my impression that it is, but maybe I am wrong.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Camera Bag

Wild Calla Lilies, Sea Ranch, California
The other day I received a very kind compliment from a reader about my photos and a query about what's in my camera bag.  I thought I would respond with a post.

I know very little about photography.  I have never taken a course, but here is my basic tool kit and the internet is a wonderful resource for information.

I have owned my Canon EOS Rebel XS for about a year and a half.   Recently, most of my project photos have been using this lens, it is a very affordable lens and it was recommended by a number of bloggers.  Note: this lens has very limited range, but is useful for taking photos of your sewing projects.

I also try to take photos of sewing projects on a piece of white foam core.  I learned from trial and error that most things look best well-ironed and against a white background.  I also intend to create some sort of collapsible light box like this one by the Chic Parisian Chick.

I recently discovered how to change the size of my photos so they appear bigger.  First, I had to change the width of my blog.  Next, on each post, I click "edit HTML" and change each S value from 320 to 600. I learned how to do this by reading this post on Madsen Madness. Now, the photos appear larger.

I am in the market for a better all-purpose lens and I found this post at Kevin and Amanda very informative, maybe you will too.  I have also found Ever Kelly's photography posts and the Pioneer Woman's really useful too.

 I don't know how to use Photoshop.  I use Picasa's free downloadable software for editing. I found out about Picasa from the Centsational Girl, this post was very informative.  Cropping is the blogger's best friend.  I can't say that enough! (I had to grin when a friend sent me this article on Jezbel, "The New Decornographers: Bloggers With Perfect, Beautiful, Craftsy Lives", it's all about how things are cropped).

And of course, you've seen my ruffled camera strap here.

What has blogging taught you about taking better photos?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Family of Owls

Last week, in my haste to de-clutter and moaning that my various stashes had now reached the hoarding point, I tossed a couple of paper rolls into the recycling bin.  Miss Lily called me on it.   With consternation, she scolded, "why are you throwing out our craft supplies?"  She was right. 

I have posted before about paper tube crafts and I am still really attracted to them for kids' crafting projects [and even adults - if you haven't seen these gorgeous tubes you must take a peak!].

So, when I saw Silly Eagle Book's tutorial on creating a family of paper tube owls, I thought it would be an ideal autumn crafting activity for my girls.  The timing was right.  Miss Lily wasn't herself this past weekend (feverish off and on), but had enough energy that she wanted to craft (yeah!). 

When kids are ill and you are cooped indoors being a hoarder comes in handy, so long as it is organized hoarding.   I had just about everything on hand - including those tubes that she stopped me from tossing earlier in the week.

So here is pale face focusing on daddy owl.
And here's our little family of owls.  We thumb-tacked them to a branch.

This is a fun little activity which is easy for the kids and  I was so glad I had everything on hand (hurray for stashes!). The girls were so pleased with the little owl family (which has since moved to our mantel) and it started a very long conversation about owls.  I hope the conversation doesn't end.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pom-pom Acorns

Do you ever go through your child's pockets and find interesting items?  The other day, I found three acorn caps in Miss Lily's coat pocket.  I inquired.  She tried to explain where she had seen an acorn tree and that started a discussion about oak trees and then an acorn hunt. 

We found an acorn tree (or trees).
Perfect, intact acorns are sometimes difficult to find, so it's nice to use the caps in crafts.  I really like all those felted wool acorn ornaments out there (or these), but I don't think we are ready to felt our own wool balls, so we used little craft pompoms.
I recently acquired a huge stash of craft pom-poms (not all shown, thanks Value Village!) with the intention of making this pompom tutu.  So we had ample small pom-poms to make little acorns. 
Still not sure how we are going to display them, but I love the whimsy!

By the way, if you like acorns, here are some nice links

 Gwenny Penny's sweet acorn printables, here
Martha's little mirror with a zillion caps, here.
Feeling Stitchy's fabric acorn ornaments here
A great and gorgeous scrapbuster project incorporating fabric and the acorn caps at Sara of Zemphira

What are you favourite acorn ideas?

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Granny, what big eyes you have

This is my fourth project for the Creative Maven's September sewing month challenge.

I have posted about my cape fetish before and a little red riding hood cape has been on my to-do list for awhile.  Miss Lily loves the story and is always putting "goodies" in a basket for granny and re-telling the story.  It really a classic tale and it's no wonder kids love it so much - just the right amount of drama and repetition.

Lily's favourite version of the story is from a 1980s board book. It was part of Playmore Publishing's "My Tiny 3-D Book Series" and printed in Japan.  We have a few of these sort of 3D books from my family's library and she loves them all.  The pictures are very unique.
This project came together because my manager had a Christmas table cloth she no longer used and I had  McCall's 2854 on loan from my BFF.   This is the finished project.
I made the size 5-6 pattern and feel it is far too big.  The shoulders are drafted on the wide side so the cape hangs a little large.
There was a basket of goodies as well, but it was well hidden from the wolf (and no I didn't sew it, at $2 from Ikea, why bother - sigh).
The dress she is wearing (peaking out from the first photo) is very interesting. I found it at an east end Toronto Value Village for $4.  It's an original Tostmann Trachten dirndl from Vienna, Austria.   I am dying to know it's story.  I don't think it has been worn and quickly became one of Lily's favourite dresses. 

In case you are interested in Little Red Riding Hood gear, inspiration is alive in blogland.  Here are just a few posts to get you motivated:

Adult capes (both gorgeous!!)
Mama cape at Penny Carnival
and this one at BurdaStyle

Child-sized capes
Little Red Riding Hood & the big bad wolf over at Martha Stewart
Vintage McCalls over at the Angry Chicken
Indietute's Basic Hooded Cloak , also adapted by Melissa at Until Wednesday Calls

Repurposed capes
Obsessively Stitching turned an oversized Christmas into a toddler-sized cape [I was originally going to use an old felt Christmas tree skirt, but the table cloth fell into my lap (sorry about the pun)].

For the pet (who knew?)
a small lap dog sized no-sew cape over at Niqqi's Blog

You should now be in good hands.  Have a great week! 

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Post Card from the Orchard: Our Apple Picking Adventure

In honour of 'Eat an Apple Day", I thought I would share a few photos of our apple picking adventure.  We went to Willis Family Fruit Farm.  The trees are short (so the girls did all the picking!) and it is a little less commercial than some of the orchards.

and there was a fun corn maze to finish off the adventure.

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Monarch Migration in Felt


I've posted before about my girls and their butterfly attraction. I hope it will never end.  "Butterfly" was one of Evangeline Hope's first words (thanks to big sis).

Just down the street, our friends have a sunny patch and planted a lovely butterfly bush that has been attracting the monarchs like crazy during this migration.   We always stop to take a peak at the current monarch situation.    Miss Lily keeps a running count of the number of monarchs she has spotted each season and we have an expression - "good eye" - for who spots one first.   This little guy dropped by on Sunday. 

I wanted to make a finger puppet to continue the magic once the migration ends. So I was excited to discover this tutorial over at Aesthetic Outburst.  Rather than French knots, I opted to use Abbey's easy white puffy paint alternative - since I already had some of this stuff left over from the felt cinnamon buns project!


Enjoy the migration and have a lovely weekend.  Be sure to check out all the projects at

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