Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mom-day

Sunday, February 27, 2011
Trying to dress herself.


I have quite a few thoughts running around in my head. I'm not sure this post is going to make any sense, but I'm going to try.

Blogging is of necessity just a small glimpse into any one's life. Just as any reality show isn't the whole story- a blogger's post is edited, photo shopped and cropped to fit the space and theme available.

Whatever the genre a blogger is focusing on, she is trying to put her best foot forward.
But, I wonder, at times, if we are doing ourselves more harm than good. I believe in smiling through the tears, in looking at the bright side (remind me to tell you about my wedding reception sometime) in being optimistic and happy in the face of challenges and stress. But, I also believe in being real. I believe in being honest about the hardships and trials of motherhood/ wifehood/ womanhood. I believe that if we share those things, we strengthen each other. We remove the barriers of jealousy, competition, assumptions and misconceptions.


As I work on my photo-shop skills, and learn how to edit my photographs so they are more visually pleasing, I hope I don't learn so well that I photo-shop my life. Even though the Avon lady thought I was crazy- I told her that the big crease in my forehead didn't bother me. The laugh lines and the cushion around the edges aren't what I'm about. Erasing those things erases me. It erases the experiences, the compassion, the understanding, the empathy I have gained through those hard-fought experiences. And hiding them behind a veil of "perfection" isn't helping anyone.
I'm really curious how other people feel about this idea- Do you only want to see the magazine-worthy cropped and staged lives of other people? Are you only interested in the ideal because you already have enough of the reality at home? Or do you look for some oneness, some similarity between what you're seeing and what you are? Would anyone else like to see Martha cry, just to know she's human?
Leave me a comment- or a link to your own ideas about this. I'd really like to know what you think.
XOXO,
Amy

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Luggage Tag Tutorial

Thursday, February 24, 2011
This is the last week of our Love Notes month! Hard to believe February just up and flew by so quickly! I have been wanting to make these forever, and this last Love Note week was just the motivation to do it. I have to apologize for the pictures- it was late and no daylight was to be had.
My kids take hot lunch at school, so I don't have the opportunity to slip cute little notes in their sacks every day. But, I wanted something that I could use that I could swap out at different times to let them know I'm thinking about them and that I love them. So, yes, I've been thinking about doing this since school started, so we'll just say that I've got a jump on next year! Want to make a bunch? Here's how:
First you will need to trace your tag template onto the wrong side of your fabric. I then folded the fabric over and stitched right on the line, leaving the bottom short side open. Trace the same template on to some Pellon Peltex (it's super stiff interfacing, you don't need it to be fusible). Cut out the tag, just on the inside of your traced line.


Trim around your sewn edges, clipping corners and turn right side out. Slide your Peltex tag into the fabric casing. Turn under the bottom edges around the Peltex and edge stitch all the way around.
Now you will cut out a piece of plastic your desired size. You will want it to be slightly smaller than the width of the tag you are doing, and leave enough room at the top of the tag for the grommet or button hole. You will also need a strip of fabric 2" wide, by enough length to go around all four sides of your plastic, plus an extra inch or two. Take this strip of fabric, iron it in half, then bring the sides into the center crease, creating some double fold bias tape (but it doesn't have to be on the bias).


Slide your plastic into the binding, lining the edge up with the crease. Begin on one of the long edges, but leave part of the end unsewn. *If your presser foot or feed dogs touch the plastic, the piece won't move and you'll rip a big hole in the plastic. (any guesses on how I know this?) In order to solve this problem, I used binding at least as wide as my presser foot, then I moved the needle as far to the left as I could to get the stitches on the edge of the binding.* Sewing on the Inside edge of the binding, sew up to the edge of the plastic and backstitch. Clip your threads.


This is where we miter the corners. If you turn the binding 90* and line up the new plastic edge with the crease, most of the work will be done for you. Take the corner fabric and fold it down until it makes a right angle with the previously sewn side of binding. Start stitching where the corners meet and sew until you reach the edge of the plastic again. Repeat for all remaining corners. When you reach the beginning of the bias tape, you have 2 choices, the easy way or the hard way. I chose the easy way. I trimmed the loose tail of binding so it overlapped the end by about 1/2", folded under the edge and slipped it over the second edge. Stitch down and you're done. It's not the most finished look, but not so bad. I'll show you the hard way another day. :)

Edge stitch the top edge of your plastic piece. Take your bound plastic piece and center it on the bottom of your tag. Edge stitch around 3 sides, leaving the previously edge stitched side free for slipping paper in.
Now, for hanging. You could put a grommet in here. But since grommets are on my "wish" list and not my "have" list, I settled for a button hole.





Cut open your buttonhole, put some ribbon through and slip in a sweet note. Now your kiddo or darling or complete stranger will know how you feel about them!







I also did the same thing with a zippered pouch for my boy. He thinks we should continue the notes/treat tradition all year long. And even though I probably won't do it every day, I think it will still happen every now and then. Cuz that's kind of the point.

I have been working on the zipper solution. I'm almost there, but I still have a few more experiments to try. (I was a scientist, remember?) I should have at least the first installment this weekend.
So, the take away for February? Even though Valentine's Day is a whole year away, don't let that stop you from making sure the wonderful people in your life know how you feel about them!
xoxo,
Amy


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PhotobucketCraft GoodiesTidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New Skirt

Tuesday, February 22, 2011




This darling daughter of mine has been so patient with me. She let me experiment with her clothes, and even wears some of the ones I make for her in public! She was in dire need of some new skirts, and the one thing I have is fabric- so we went about making this one. I really like how it turned out. I used a pattern I bough at Joann's when they were $.99 one time, but there are tutorials all over the place for skirts just like this one. This one at Crap I've Made is really similar. She's darling in it, and I'm glad she's not yet at the stage where homemade is a swear word.
Until then, I think I'll keep making her stuff. :)
xoxo,
Amy

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mom-day Advice

Monday, February 21, 2011
My advice? Start 'em early. Yes, that is the Joann's ad they are looking at. Yes they got it out themselves so they could go through it. Yes, I am so proud!! :)



But, seriously- The real advice? Start teaching your children to be the people you want them to be when they're adults.

Do it on purpose.
Don't just hope they'll turn out okay because you want them to- make it happen. I try to look at it this way- One day I want to have children I can command/ask to do a job around the house and know it will get done in a manner that is satisfactory to me. In order for that to happen- I need to teach said children:
a) what a job is
b) what that job requires
c)the consequences for failing to meet their mother's outrageously high standards {ha- that was a joke- my standards aren't that high}.

It means a little more effort on my part now- doing the job with them at times to make sure they know all the ins and outs of the task at hand- but in the future it means hours of reading magazines eating bon bons because I can just make the kids do it. ;) And, as an added bonus, when they move out, on their own, and they are filthy pigs and live in a giant mess- I will be completely guilt free because I will know I taught them better than that. Then I'll drop my candy bar wrapper on THEIR floor. :) Or, maybe, they will actually like having a clean house with things put away and they'll do it themselves. Maybe...


Today's take away? Do it on purpose. Teach them now- whether they're 3 or 13. They can learn- and you'll all be happier for it. Not just house keeping skills {although they are important}, but all the skills they'll need to be successful. Pick one and go to work. The end.

xoxo,
Amy

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Techno Tidbits

Saturday, February 19, 2011
I don't know if you've noticed, but there have been a few changes going on around here. I'm trying to freshen up the look and format of my blog. I don't have the cash-ola to pay someone to do it for me, so I'm off the beaten path looking for solutions to my own problems.
But, my searching won't benefit only me- you're in for some little bloggy nuggets yourselves. I plan on sharing my new-found wisdom with all of you in a series of posts called "Techno Tidbits". Little things that are just nice to know when you want to make some changes to your blog.

So, up today are two of my latest finds. The first is kind of silly, but nice to know all the same.

1. I had changed my header a couple weeks ago and was frustrated with how large it looked. I didn't want so much white space on the top of my blog- it's just a waste really. I searched high and low for ways to change the height of my header and felt like I was going around in circles. Then, I finally found the bit of information that saved my poor little head{er}- the size of your header is proportional to the size of the image you put into it!!! Light-bulb! Could this really be this simple? Yes indeedy! If you think your header is too big- edit your image to be shorter. When I made this new header last night I changed the size of the graphic to 900 pixels wide by 250 pixels high*. And BAM!!! the right size header for me. [note: this is true for the new blogger templates] *all pixels are approximations- see your template for the width dimensions of your blog.

2. You have a great project, you're excited to link it up all over blogland, you are copying and pasting button code hand over fist and your post doubles in size because of all the extra baggage hanging on behind. Well, my dears I have the code you need to tame those button beasts. It's as simple as adding a width="100" height="100" inside the img code. {or whatever numbers you want to put in} To explain- the image (img) code refers to the picture that makes up the button. Usually it's a link to an online photo storage location which hosts the image. I knew you could change the size, but the instructions I had seen only explained how to do it if it already had a width/height space in it. So, now you know that even if it doesn't already have those phrases in the code- you can add it yourself. Just look for the img {with a < width="{whatever number you want}" height="whatever number you want" id="SPELLING_ERROR_8" class="blsp-spelling-corrected">some one's button is being silly and wants to land itself in the middle of your page, you just have to do a little trimming of the button code. Go to the Edit Html screen and look for their button code. find the center code {it will say center and be surrounded by <>} and delete it- you will need to look for it in two places- the beginning of the code and the end of the code. {don't worry if you forget to delete both you won't be able to publish the post because the code will be incomplete- and you will be able to figure out what you're missing}

So, get out there and modify girls! Stay tuned for more groovy information coming your way.
xoxo,
Amy
p.s. sorry about lack of pictures in this post, I'm too lazy to go look up someone else's picture and save and link and blah, blah, blah... yup- La-zy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Conquering the Zipper

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Dun, dun, dun.....That's how I used to feel every time I saw a project that required a zipper. I'd run the other way screaming. Okay, not really- but I would turn to a different project for sure! So, one of my goals for this year is to finally overcome my fear of zippers, because, really, they are pretty awesome. I started by trying out Anna's tutorial over at Noodlehead, man is that a cute pouch, right? But, I have to admit, I really struggled with getting the corners up by the zipper to actually look like corners- they're more like a girl with bad posture's silhouette. So I tried again and made a pleated pouch for my friend when I made her purse, still having corner issues. But, look up at the picture above, notice the corners? Yup, they actually look more like corners! I've realized it has to do with the zipper tape and how it's sewn into the seams. I still haven't figured it all they way out- but when I do you can bet there's going to be a tutorial.
I made this little pin-tucked lovely for a dear friend who's expecting a baby girl in a couple weeks. In addition to some burp cloths I decided momma needed something pretty too so I threw this in just for fun.
I'm loving this flower. It's cute and just the right touch without adding too much bulk. I also LOVE that it's flat so I don't have to worry about it getting snagged when it's drifting through a purse or diaper bag.


I'm also trying to do better at staging my pictures and getting the best possible lighting. *sigh* I still have so very much to learn! But, we'll get there. :)
So, here's to conquering fears and beating the beast into submission. I think I need to make more of these pouches though- they're addicting.
xoxo,
Amy
Craft Goodies Tidy MomUndertheTableandDreaming

Love Notes Week 3

For Theme-day Thursday this week, I thought I’d show you a couple ideas I’ve seen around the web that I thought fit perfectly with my goal for this month.

The first idea comes from the fabulous Ellie G. from Less Cake {more Frosting}.  She shares the tutorial on how to make this fabulous love notes box that she filled with special notes written by her family for her mom!  I just think it’s the nicest thing you could do for a mother- tell her how you feel about her.  This would make a fabulous idea for Mother’s Day.  I’d make the paper coordinate with your mom’s d├ęcor and she could display it all year round.

The next idea is for some simply wonderful cards from Little Birdie Secrets

Simple little cards- theirs are only 2.5 inches square- that can say a whole lot!  Make up a bunch and build a stash you can reach for when someone does something kind for you, or you think someone just might need a little love.

However you decide to tell someone you love them, just tell them!  It’ll change your life- that’s a promise.

XOXO,

Amy

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pocket Purse

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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This bag was for a friend/client who wanted a lighter purse. She had one that was full of pockets, which she loved, but it was heavy even when it was empty- so she turned to me for some help.

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And boy did she get a lot of pockets! There are three pockets on the outside and six pockets on the inside. Perfectly sized to hold cell phones (outside side pockets), tissues, notebook and pen as well as extras for all the other essentials. I even made her a little zippered pouch that she could keep her lip gloss and other small items she likes to transfer from bag to bag. I love how it looks with the fabric and I love how organized it all is. I’m even proud of myself for remembering to add a label to the zippered pouch. {I gotta get better at remembering to do that}

It was fun to take a new look at my old totes and see what I can do to change things up. I think I might have to make one for myself, to alternate with my OTHER new purse. A girl can never have too many bags, can she?

Photobucket Craft GoodiesI also linked up to Whatever goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts and We did it Wednesday at Sew Much Ado!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Have a laugh ("mom"-day Monday)

Sunday, February 13, 2011
There are moments as a mother when you're pretty upset. Times when you're not sure how to handle the situation at hand without blowing a fuse and doing something you'll regret. But in those moments, sometimes we get a glimpse of understanding that even though right this minute it's not even a little bit funny, there will come a day when you'll get a good laugh.
Take for instance the time my daughter got hold of a large jar of petroleum jelly. {she was being babysat with her brother- and yes we fired the babysitter} She put it in her hair, her brother's hair, her stuffed elephant's hair, on the walls, the carpet, pretty much everywhere. My husband called me at work when he got home and he was pretty upset. {as was I, but I wasn't on hand} He managed to get it cleaned off all the hard surfaces, most of the soft surfaces, but was at a loss as to how to get it off the children. He shampooed and shampooed, but it still ended up looking like the picture above. Her hair is completely dry- it's just shellacked with Vaseline. :) I happened to have a well baby visit for my little boy the next day, so I thought maybe someone in the pediatrician's office might have some tips on how to get it out. Really all they did was laugh and ask if they could touch it. {they also thought it was wet}
I turned to the Internet to see if I could find some help for our situation. I found a post by a hairdresser who said that people sometimes used Vaseline as a cure for lice, but they quickly discovered that the cure was almost worse than the disease. Her suggestion? Cornstarch.



Luckily I had a big box.
I sprinkled it on, shampooed and basically made gravy with their hair. It came out of the baby's hair in one shot- it was pretty short. But lil miss here had to undergo the treatment 4 times before everything was returned to normal.
It was a huge mess. And aggravating to no end. But I'm glad in that moment of time I had the foresight to take these pictures, cause now I have proof of what an imp she really was, and I really can look back and laugh at all the things we've been through as parents. And having a good story to tell is always a plus in my book. :)
I'd love to hear other stories about children and their messes! Leave me the story in the comments, or if you post about it, send me the link- I think we'd all like to know we're not in this alone. {and I wouldn't mind if someone one-upped me in the messy kid department, but this one was pretty brutal :) }
XOXO,
Amy

Friday, February 11, 2011

First Snow Fall Quilt

Friday, February 11, 2011
This is my Round 2 project for American Crafters. The theme this time was "Let it snow". I had a couple ideas on what I could do- but none of them were really my very own creation- more like spin-offs of other things. Then I thought about my chenille heart pillow, and how I could make little snowballs- and I thought about doing it on a pillow, but I've done pillows TO DEATH!! {not that I'm not going to make more pillows- cuz I totally am} But I wanted to push the envelope just a little bit with this contest. So a quilt was born.
This is a close up of the snowballs. I used 6 layers of fabric cut in three different size circles, but I only cut through 5 layers to do the fake chenille- that way the background fabric wouldn't show through the rows of chenille.
For the back I used this super soft, super warm fuzzy fabric. I didn't need to use batting because the backing was so thick. I used my walking foot to quilt the blanket and just did random rows for the ground and wavy rows for the sky.


I am loving this blanket a ton- and my family is too. My 4-year-old has dibs on it, but I don't know of I'm going to let him have it. It just might have to be mine for a while. :)
If you'd like to vote- head on over to Naptime Crafters and vote for your favorite projects. I'm going to go snuggle up in my blanket and watch T.V. :P
XOXO,
Amy


Linked up to Wendy's Craft Goodies link party.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love Notes- Week 2

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
This month the theme for "Theme-day Thursday" is Love notes. I thought I would share some of the notes I'm leaving for the kids in their envelopes from the Love Notes Board.
The notes are silly and short- and not complicated at all, but the kids love them. {I know it's more about the candy then the presentation anyway- so I don't make it overly difficult} I always write one thing I love about that child each day on the back of the card.


I know the kids are really anxious to get the treats- but I think the love notes mean more to them at the end of the day. There have been so many more smiles, "I Love Yous" and kindness shown around our house since I started doing this. And, when I go to put the treats in my oldest son's envelope- it gets tricky since he likes to save all the notes- that tells me something!
So, get out a post-it, a scratch pad, or just a random piece of paper- and tell someone you love them. It is amazing what happens when you do!
XOXO,
Amy
p.s. Please excuse the HORRIBLE pictures! I had to use my camera's phone this week. :P But, we went to Best Buy today, got a new (albeit cheap) camera and we should have much better pictures from here on out. {hopefully}

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guest appearances

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

These two little lovelies are making special appearances today all over the web. Well, maybe just two other places. The side-tie pillow tutorial is currently over at Gwenny Penny, and both tutorials are on display (with tons of other gorgeous pillows) at Sew, Mama Sew! I'm so excited to be in both places- I am in awe of all the talent and friendly people out there! And if you're looking for more than my pillow craziness- go check out Sew, Mama Sew's pillow round-up- there's even a contest going on! I'd love to see what you come up with.
And, If you're visiting from either Gwenny Penny, or Sew, Mama Sew! Welcome! I'm so glad you're here. Feel free to look around and spend some time with me here at Ameroonie Designs.

XOXO,
Amy

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Mom"-day

Monday, February 7, 2011
I took this picture because I think it looks like she's straight out of "Despicable Me".

I had an epiphany this weekend, in the divine revelation- sent straight to my heart kind of way. The month of January was spent in a turmoil of confused thoughts, conflicting desires and all around lack of proper focus. Torn between being a mother and all the other choices women have out in the world of today, I wondered how to resolve my inner struggles. Wheels spinning but going nowhere fast. I did the only thing I know how to do- I dropped to my knees.
Where is my focus meant to be? How do I resolve all these heart-strings being pulled in a million different directions? How do I fulfill all the parts of me, when they seem to be so at odds with each other?
In the quiet moments of an early Saturday morning the answer distilled upon me. In a peaceful wave of love, my Father in Heaven showed me that I don't have to choose. It is possible to be a mother and enjoy other things too. If I will keep my focus on the most important part of my life {motherhood}, all the other, little parts will find their place- because they DO have a place- and that is the biggest lesson in all of this for me.
My religion teaches that motherhood is the noblest of callings- and I firmly believe that. Motherhood is an incubator that refines woman and distills out of her the very best she has to offer. But, motherhood is hard. Hard in a way that isn't always fun, or exciting, or satisfying from moment to moment. Motherhood needs an escape valve, a way to release the pressure and blow off some steam before the head of the mother explodes! ;)
The answer for me (and this really is all about me after all) is to not let the escape valve become too large. If all the pressure is off- there is no change, no growth, no learning. I am right in the middle of the all consuming young-children stage of motherhood. And while I have no delusions that things will get "easier" as they get older- I do know that things will change. Right now, time is of the essence- and I need to wisely manage mine so that I am able to accomplish all the necessary elements of life. Living my religion, teaching my children, keeping a mildly clean home (I use the word "clean" loosely) need to be the focus of my life right now. And even with those things properly in place, there will still be room for the other things I enjoy- blogging, crafting and everything else I like to do. It was a simple realization, but one that completely changed me, brought things into focus, and is allowing me to move on, and forward in a way I haven't been able to for a long time.
How grateful I am for a loving Father in Heaven- who is aware of me and my poor muddled brain- and is willing to bring clarity and understanding just when I needed it most.

Now, to go get focused. ;)
XOXO,
Amy

Friday, February 4, 2011

American Crafters project- round 1

Friday, February 4, 2011
So, there have been quite a few wordy posts around here this week. Mostly because my main project for this week was this beauty- My Love Notes Board for the American Crafters competition. And with 2 kids with the flu and me with a cold, there hasn't been a whole lot of time left after that.
So, I have been patiently waiting until today so I could reveal this project! I made the envelopes using ideas I gleaned from a tutorial here. I wanted them to be small enough that one small piece of candy would still seem like a lot. But mostly I wanted to have a place to leave them a note every day, telling them things I love about them. I think the notes are my favorite part- and I think even though the candy gets the loudest response- the kids love the notes even more! ;)


This is my living room set up now. I got the red lanterns from IKEA for 50% off after Christmas! The bead board frame is a left-over hand-me-down from my mom. It had some heart shaped wreaths that I ripped off, but I didn't know what I was going to use the board for until this week! (glad I hung onto it all these years! lol)

XOXO,
Amy

Linking up to Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts and Whipperberry's Friday Flair Linky party. Also linked to Wendy's Craft Goodies link party!

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