Look Out! Elephants!

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I swore after making this diaper bag pattern the first time, I was never going to make it again. It took me days to complete. That was 6 diaper bags ago. I’m comfortable enough making them, that I’m considering offering them for sale.

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I’ve liked each bag I’ve created, but I’m quite proud of this bag. This is the first one I’ve made where I have needed deliberate pattern placement. I wanted to make certain that the elephants were centered on the front and back of the bag. Oh, and the bottom too!

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I modified the pattern a bit. While cutting out the pieces, I forgot that the side panels fold to create the ends of the bags. To keep the design centered, I shifted everything a few inches. Rather than having corner seams, there are now seams down the center of the ends. This small change didn’t seem to effect the rest of the bag construction.

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I am quite proud of how well I matched the design of the pocket with the main bag piece. If it weren’t for the gathers from the elastic, it may not even be noticeable.

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My favourite detail on this bag is the strap. I love how it ties rather than being a continuous strap.

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I used the Pretty Bird Quick Trip Diaper Bag pattern from Sew4Home. I now love this pattern. I found the elephant fabric at fabric.com. The lining fabric was found on the quilting cotton wall at Joann’s Fabric.

Who wants a diaper bag?

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T.S.N.E.M -Quilting Edition

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It took me a couple weeks to settle on a project. I wanted to try paper piecing, but couldn’t settle on a project. Or to copy a quilt pattern onto a canvas. I was finally reminded by another participant’s project about the quilt kit I had requested from Quilts for Kids.

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I had requested the kit 4 years ago with the intention of making it my last summer project but got waylaid by another project or work stuff. As you all know, it is very easy to bury projects with supplies for other projects. I’m very glad I was reminded of the little kit I had hiding in the corner just waiting its turn.

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My kit came with pieces to make a Nine Patch Quilt. No easy beginner quilt for me. I jumped right in and followed the detailed instructions for constructing the top. In fact, I had pulled the project out just to get a handle on what I would need to do and accidentally made the entire top in about 3 hours!

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Since I knew my blocks didn’t line up exactly right. Even the pre-cut provided brown doggie squares weren’t quite right. I wanted to quilt each square individually. I probably spent way more time than necessary working on the quilting of this quilt, but I rather like how it turned out. On the 9-square squares, I stitched around each little square. Ugh! For the big squares, I did 3 shrinking squares. I also added a few lines around the framing pieces of the quilt.

To complete the quilt, I used black quilt binding and attached it like bias tape.

 

The quilt has been shipped off to be loved and used by a deserving child. I would like to send more, but that will have to wait until I’m able to more easily sort through my sewing scraps. If I’ve inspired you, check out Quilts for Kids and send in quilts or request a kit to start your own.

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I’ve even kept to my resolution goals. I did need to purchase batting and binding, but the rest of the materials I already had on hand. Woo!

February’s challenge is to try a tactile craft such as candle making, clay, paper mache, or candlemaking. None of these sound particularly interesting, nor do I have supplies on hand. I’m going to have to spend some time searching my Pinterest Board: Crafty Corner for some inspiration. Or just stare long and hard at all of my supplies until inspiration hits.

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T.S.N.E.M.

No, I haven’t lost my mind, but I am a teacher and we love acronyms. At least I’m told I do; in reality, I can’t ever remember what they stand for. So why then am I starting off a post with and acronym? It was faster than typing out Try Something New Every Month.

In an effort to help use up my craft supplies as mentioned previously, I’m joining the monthly challenge offered by Swoodson Says to try something new every month. The basis of the challenge is to use up those supplies bought with the intention of trying that new project you just pinned and then stuffed the supplies away and forgot about it.

There are a few months in there where my project will be a stretch of the basic parameters, but I’ll make it work. You can check out the challenge here: T.S.N.E.M.

Each month will have an overarching theme that is very broad – even if you’ve been quilting for years, maybe there is a technique or shape or block you haven’t tried, as an example. (I’ve included the complete list at the end of the post.)

January’s theme is quilting. There is no way I’m going to make an entire quilt in the month of January. But I think I have an idea forming. Here is some inspiration that I found:

A pretty quilted pillow. That could be fun. I’m sure I have plenty of scraps to do something similar.

A stretch here, but a quilted canvas. Hrm…I think I’m on to something.

Another pillow and just in time for Valentine’s Day. I know I have Valentine’s fabric stashed somewhere.

Maybe some bibs. I know many people having babies soon.  

I’m intrigued by paper piecing. I’m not certain what it entails exactly, but this may be the month to find out.

Not sure this skirt fits into quilting. This skirt is 16 panels of 2 fabrics cut and sewn into zig-zags. I really want this skirt. It’s also a really big project.

I have borrowed all of these photos to show projects I would like to do. Each photo is linked to the blog where I found the project. Next week, I’ll have my own quilting project to share.

Try Something New Every Month Theme:

January – Quilting

February – Tactile Craft; paper mache, clay, soap, candlemaking

March – Painting

April – Edible Crafts

May – Hand Sewing

June – Heavy Craft; leather, wood burning, glass etching

July – Yarn Craft; knitting, crochet, weaving

August – Printmaking; fabric or paper

September – Machine Sewing

October – Needlework; embroidery, cross-stitch, crewel, needlepoint

November – Papercraft; origami, scrapbook, calligraphy

December – Choose your own!

 

 

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I will not…

…start new projects until I finish all of my other projects already in the house. Has been my resolution over the past few years. I usually manage to keep it until spring break and I see shiny new fabric when I venture into the craft store for the first time since Christmas.

I’m amending this resolution to be something along the lines of:

I will not purchase supplies for a project until I search my craft supplies to make sure I don’t already have the necessary items.

Along with:

I will keep messes in my craft room under control so I can find supplies.

Finally:

I will honestly do my best to follow a project in/project out policy. I will complete (or give away supplies for) one project before I add supplies for another project.

Ohh…Look!

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I Like to Read

Schermafbeelding 2014-02-15 om 17.42.41A lot. I read everything. Signs, boxes, brochures, articles, books, magazines, web sites. I just can’t stop reading. I do not comprehend not wanting to read all the time. I just don’t get it. And I will judge you for not reading.

This of course means that I have an account over at goodreads.com. I do my best to log the books I have read. Though I’m sure I’ve missed a few (or a lot). I also participate in their yearly reading challenge. Last year I beat my goal of 65 books, by an entire 3 extra books. Go Me! I will admit, this includes audio books. However, it doesn’t include books read for work or to my classroom. That just wouldn’t be fair.

Reading Bingo

This year, I am once again taking on the reading challenge. And I’m upping my goal. I like nice round numbers. I’ve set my goal for 70 books. To make this happen, I’m probably going to have to read a few books under the 300 page mark.

Given that I am a voracious reader, I also keep 2 reading Pinterest boards going. The first is my Reminders to Read board. Anytime I come across a book that sounds interesting, I pin it. I try to read books from this list first. I also have an ongoing list on my phone for when I see a book in a store that I’d like to read but don’t want to purchase just then.

pilha-livrosAs I read the books, I shift them over to my Books Worth Reading board. Unless I think they are total crap, they the pins just get deleted. I don’t often delete pins. A book must be particularly terrible for that to happen.

Of course, there is always my goodread’s shelves that are teeming with the books I’ve read. I try to keep my wish to read shelves there to a minimum and store them on Pinterest.

Outside of the Goodreads challenge, I don’t usually join challenges, but this year, I’m going to use this check list to shake up my reading a little bit.

If anyone knows sources for any of these images, please let me know. Every path I tried lead to a broken link.

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Hello….

… from last year.

I’m never quite as organised as I wish or sometimes appear. I always laugh to myself when someone declares me organised. I think I just know how to appear organised. I admit to being good at organising but keeping up with everything is rather difficult. Every year I hope to do better. This isn’t about resolutions, this is about remembering.

This year I:

Read a pile of books.

Donated my hair.

Dyed my hair pink. Hot Pink! It was fun.

Opened a home-based bake shop.

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Baked about a million cupcakes.

Ran three 5k races.

Celebrated my first wedding anniversary. There was cake. I don’t have photos.

Vacationed at Disney.

Visited my Gramma in Arizona.

Spent a weekend in Cincinnati.

Spent a weekend in Austin.

Picked lemons, strawberries, and blueberries.

Visited a handful of museums, but not nearly as many as usual.

 

Overall, it was a great year at our house. There are a few things I’d like to improve next year. I’ll save that for another time. I hope you had a great year as well.

 

 

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Pip-Boy and Nuka-Cola

 
  

Until a few months ago, I had no idea what this meant. I still don’t really other than it has to do with Fallout 4. Which is a video game that was released on November 10th. Waaaayyyy back in June, it was announced that there would be a special edition released that would include a Pip-Boy. From what I gathered, a Pip-Boy is something worn on the arm by characters in the game. What I knew for certain was that my husband was really excited about this, but they were sold out…everywhere.

Thanks to my being home during the summer, I was able to monitor websites fairly closely and was ready to pounce when they came available. From then, it was just a matter of telling but not telling my husband to purchase the game.


The game finally arrived this week. There was a bit of a delay in the shipping, so by the time it finally arrived, we were both excited. It felt like Santa had arrived.

 

 

With all this excitement, I was inspired to make him a cake. When I finished my orders for the week, I used the tiny little 4-inch cakes I made with left-over batter to construct him a cake.

I used the few details I know about the game to help me design the cake. I know there are vaults in each version of the game. The vault for Fallout 4 is 111. The vault door was the inspiration for the top of the cake. After covering the cake in grey frosting, I added some copper powder to make it look old and rusted; just like everything on the screen looks in the game.

 

The cake is made using 1-2-3-4 Pound Cake recipe from Swans Down with a couple of alterations. I used 1 cup coconut milk. I also substituted the almond extract for coconut extract. Each layer was made from leftover dough from orders this week. One order included turquoise cupcakes which is where that one colored layer is from.

The little topper was made with candy melts mixed with light corn syrup. I just learned this trick. By mixing the two ingredients together, you create an almost fondant. Though it tastes much better. It also doesn’t dry out when you are working with it. It’s my new favourite discovery.

 

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