Archive for the ‘Craft’ Category


Back again and with something crafty!

Finally finished poor Eddie’s school bag- um, 6 months late.

Eddie has a bag!

Augie has had his since the beginning of the year, but I was too lazy to do two bags.


The size of these was important. Remember Augie’s Kindergarten backpack? That thing is a pain to get things in and out of! These were going to fit everything including their lunchbox and huge library books, but not too big that they couldn’t carry them.

Dimensional pocket

There aren’t any inside pockets since I know they’d never use them. Girls maybe, but boys don’t use inside pockets.  The outside pocket is a must since their morning snack must be in there for fast and easy access. I learned how to do this “dimensional pocket” from Cindy Taylor Oates’ great pattern for Backpacks. (I recommend highly this pattern!) It was so easy to do and came out perfectly every time.

The tricky part!

The hardest part is that top zipper. Since this was my pattern, I had to work hard to get all the pieces to fit.  Now I know why patterns with top zippers are never sewn in at the ends. I did sew my ends in. I had to rip it out many times because it was hard to get the corners neat and everything matched up.   Do you see my mistake?

I think I went through 10 needles sewing these two bags. There’s stiff peltex interfacing throughout and two layers of home dec fabric. Then there was the handles which were interfaced as well. There was some major cursing going on!

Boy's School Bags

Needless to say, my trusty Singer was put to the test! I love that machine.

(The mistake was the top piece with the zipper. The lining camo fabric is on one side and the outside skateboard fabric is on the other. I know it’s hard to tell and the fabrics match, but I can tell. It drives me nuts.)



This year’s Halloween was a blast as usual. The kids have been wearing their costumes for weeks since I was finished with them super early this year.

Halloween 2009

Augie was Anakin Skywalker– he cracks me up posing like that!  For his costume, I made the bottoms with a pj pant pattern and for the shirt I simply traced around him while he laid on the fabric. Since the whole outfit is rough I used a thicker burlap-type fabric and did not hem any edges. I loved it- so very easy.

Young Anakin Skywalker

Eddie was a vampire with wings. His was even easier since it was mostly the make-up. We used one of their Harry Potter robes from a few years ago and I gently basted the wings under the arms. The seam can be taken out easily since I worked so dang hard on these robe- I wasn’t about to ruin them.


And lastly, Ms O was a fairy. And yes, I cut her hair again. This time it’s way too short, but she insisted that she wanted her hair like Augie’s. I will not do that again. So back to the costume- it’s made using Simplicity 2872. This was a great pattern even though it was hard to understand all the directions as to what was the lining, sheer and outside fabrics. I ended up skipping the tulle and tripled the sheer skirt. I really can’t remember what I did since I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out. I never really paid attention to what I was doing, but kept my fingers crossed that it would work out.


It did and she loves it. I made her a size 4 even though she’s barely in a 3 so that she can wear it for some time to come. I do have to warn you to be careful around velcro. Her wings just about ruined her dress before we figured out the velcro on the wings’ waistband was causing huge runs on the dress.

We had a blast with our friends who hosted an amazing party full of food and fun. Trick-o-treating was perfect since the weather cooperated with clear skies and mild temperatures. Now, what the heck am I going to do with all this darn candy?

Oh, and I also wanted to mention that our mushroom log is blooming!

Blue Oyster Mushroom Log

These little baby blue oyster mushrooms have just started. I bought the log at the yearly OMS mushroom show. (What? You’re not a member? Get on it! If you’re not in Oregon, I’m sure there’s a chapter in your neck of the woods. It really is a great community of people.) The logs are a measly $5 if you are a member and you can get others like shiitake, maitake and other varieties of oysters.

Aren't they cute?

I picked the blue oyster because I wanted something that was easy to grow and was very successful so that the kids can watch it. The log has been sitting on my table in the kitchen for about 3 weeks before the first blooms started.

And one last thing that I highly suggest you do with your kids. It’s an autumn leaf garland.

Autumn Leaf Garland

I did this with my kids this morning and it was fun. We walked around the neighborhood for about 15 min collecting leaves then brought them home to iron between pieces of wax paper. The longest part was cutting them out, but overall it was a quick and easy project.  I love my garland- it looks so pretty in my window.

I don’t know how the heck Valerie has time to do all these cool projects, but she does! This will be our next project. You should wander through Valerie’s site if you have time- she has a ton of ideas.

1991 vs 2009

It’s been over 15 years since I have crocheted anything. In college, Chris dared me to crochet him a blanket thinking I did not have the patience to make one.  Well, I made him one, but I also totally burned out on crocheting.

1991 Afghan

This blanket is huge, heavy and really not very warm- I think it’s all those darn holes.  I mean, really?  Who wants a blanket that purposely has holes? I never understood the granny square.

Big Enough

And for sometime, it seemed like crocheting was so not cool.  It was something your Grandma did and you accepted the ugly blankets with a smile then tried your best to hide it when friends came over.  Terrible, wasn’t I?

Well, all that changed when I saw this lady’s awesome work last winter and I’ve been drooling over her stuff since.  This ripple and this hexagon are simply gorgeous!  The internet is amazing.  There are the coolest patterns everywhere and the best part is that most are free.  There’s step-by-step instructions with pictures, online shops to order yarn, and tons of pictures to inspire you.

2009 Afghan

So I started my own hexagon afghan over the 4th of July while attending our family reunion in Central Oregon. I think I had a few family members shaking their heads at what seems like an impossible task.  (Each hexagon takes me about 15 min to make and I think I’ll need over 200.) Yeah, it’ll take me months and months to finish, but I’m totally happy with it.  I love the colors and love that it’s a project I can take with me just about anywhere.  It’ll be prefect for the 3-week tennis camp the boys are starting soon.

Love this hook

I did have to go out and buy a new hook.  Hours of using a traditional hook was killing me.  This Colver Soft Touch hook is wonderful!  It hooks when you want it to, the yarn stays on until you want it off and it’s got a thick grip for easy handling. I recommend this hook to anyone.

So yes, after years of lying dormant, hooking is back in my life.  I want to jump into amigurumi next.  Isn’t it too cute?

Welcome Interruption

My latest Blog-Break is interrupted by an incredible gift which arrived in the mail:


I jumped at Heather’s generous offer to knit up some socks for me. (I guess she got tired of me always commenting on her blog about how wonderful her socks are or how I really need to learn how to knit socks or that I really need a pair…)

Who wouldn’t want a pair of these for their very own? These beauties fit me perfectly and are keeping me cozy warm through the first rounds of our fall back-to-school colds.

Handknit Socks

She went even further and sent me this little treasure as well:

Tea Mat & Coasters

I’m so enjoying seeing my tea pot on this cheery little mat and the coasters are perfect on my sewing table holding my late-night cup.  Now my cutting mat no longer has coffee/tea rings!

Thank you Heather for such a nice gift.  And I promise to have your gift in the mail soon!

Now, I need to quit lazing about and get back to blogging!  I really do miss it…

I won!

I won just about the best give-away ever: Mr Monkeysuit’s mini prize!

Lucky Me

As you can see, the prize wasn’t “mini” in any way. Her package came smellin’ luscious and yummy before I opened it. It was filled with all sorts of goodies for face, hair, skin and house most of which aren’t in the photo because they’re gone already. She made a beautiful cosmetic roll and I think it’s even made out of linen.  (Man, she’s generous. I’ve never given away linen.) She also included cute postcards and everything had awesome labels which I wanted to buy immediately.

After trying all her homemade beauty and bath products, I had to have more so I bought this book which she recommended. It’s full of how-to information as well as storing and packaging. Now I need to whip up some of my own batches because I’m just about out of all my free samples. Thank you Josie!

BTW- Check out her newest tutorial on matchbook notepads. How cute are those?!

I have People

Okay. Try not to laugh, but these are my people:

My Wooden People

I bought these wooden unfinished people with eggs back in March from here. (BTW- I could do some major damage in that store. I’d love to get a ton of these too.) I was all excited when I got these and wanted to try my hand at a new craft- painting. I can’t draw, paint or sculpt, but I wanted to try. How in the heck do people make such fine lines neatly?! I’ve always held artists in high regard because they can look at something and replicate it. It blows my mind.

Close-up Mommy

Anyway. I primed all the eggs and people because the kids will be playing with these for years to come and I didn’t want the paint peeling or chipping off. I painted everything with some non-fancy acrylic paint, but man there were many, many coats involved with alot of drying time in between.

Everything was painted a while ago, but I still need to get the right amount of finish on them. Again, it takes alot! I used the spray-on lacquer, but ran out quickly. My dad just informed me that in order to get that high-gloss, glass-like look you have to spray, sand lightly and spray again. You have to repeat these steps over and over again until you get the finish you like.

My Painted Eggs

Needless to say, I stopped after I used up the can and never sanded between coats. They’ve been sitting in a box for months, but since the weather’s finally turning around here, I think I’ll get ‘er done.

If you want to see some much better ones, check out these and this lady’s who inspired me to try this in the first place.

Finally- Snitches, Wands and Bubbles

Edward, my middle one, turned 4 several weeks ago, but we finally had his party today. We had to cancel it twice due to several bouts of different viruses both of which were extremely contagious and ones we didn’t want spread to anyone else.

After many weeks, we finally were able to gather our family and friends together for some:


Eddie and His Cake

Chris made this “Golden Snitch” cake (from Harry Potter) for Eddie by pouring the cake batter into a large pyrex bowl, baking then inverting it onto a foil covered pizza pan. He made a yellow butter cream frosting and covered it with metallic gold sanding sugar. He used black gel icing for the design on the cake and two gold spray-painted cardboard wings to finish it off. Eddie loved it!

And there were wands:

Carved Wands

These were carved out of apple, maple and rhododendron branches. They were also sanded down and oiled to keep them from getting brittle. These were a hit for all the little ones that came.

And lastly, some enormous bubbles:

Gigantic Bubbles

We did something similar for Eddie’s 2nd birthday and wanted to do it again since he still loves bubbles- who doesn’t?!

Chris made the bubble solution using Joy dish washing soap, corn syrup and water. He made gigantic “wands” out of two sticks and some rope with a washer to help give the rope some shape when forming the bubbles. (I have no idea where he retrieved all his info or else I would link some sites. I do know it was all off of the internet so I’m sure you can find great info too if you just google it.)

Jump for Bubbles

Some tips when bubble making:

  • There can’t be too much wind. The wind pushes the bubbles out too fast and they break before the kids can get to them.
  • When forming the bubbles, keep your wands up high away from the kids. Seal off the bubble, by bringing the sticks together THEN let the kids pop them. If the bubble is popped before it is free from the rope, you will have to re-dip your rope in the solution.
  • You need ALOT of solution and a bucket or pan to dip all the rope into.
  • The colder the weather the better bubbles. Don’t try and do this on a 100 degree day. The bubbles won’t form well and won’t last long enough for the kids to enjoy.

So all in all, Eddie had a great day with lots of friends and family even if it was weeks delayed! Happy 4th my love.