Sunday, April 29, 2012

Will blog for Thank-yous {a Mom-day post}

Sunday, April 29, 2012
I will be the first to admit that blogging, for me, is largely a selfish, personal thing I do.  It's for my sanity, my ego, my inner need to create something that stays done.  But once in a while, I get to share the fun with my family.  This past weekend I had the opportunity to take my children up to see the Kennecott Bingham Canyon mine.  The largest open-pit mining operation in the world.  It was so fun to see and learn so much about this amazing place.  And it was really interesting to me that my husband's grandmother actually grew up in that canyon, in a mining town that no longer exists as it was swallowed up by the mine.  My 8 year old said "This is really interesting, and by interesting, I mean fascinating."  He's a keeper that cute kid of mine. :)
It was fun to share with them this fun chance to do something that even growing up in that very area, I have never done.
And while I have had the opportunity to share a few experiences like this with my family, as I said before, at this stage in my blogging life- it is still largely for myself that I do it.  I don't have tons of sponsors, or get lots of free stuff to create with (I'm working on that one. ;) ), or really even generate much income or traffic with what I do.  So when it comes down to it, and all the work blogging requires, there are days when I wonder if it really matters.  Will anyone miss it if I don't post this project, respond to this comment, link to this party? 
And then, every once in a while, I get an e-mail or a comment saying that they really appreciate what I do.  That I have inspired someone to try something, or finish a project, or that they understand how I feel in one of my Mom-day posts.  And those thank yous mean more to me than any amount of money, any opportunity, any swag bag.  And suddenly I feel like it really does matter.  That my voice, my opinion, my idea- has purpose and weight in this world.  And that even if my reach is small, and doesn't go much further than my children and my family- it matters, I matter.  And I am inspired all over again to keep going with my blog.  To let my creativity have it's place in my life, to let my blog have it's place in my life. 
And I realize that if a Thank you means so much to me, perhaps it means the same to other people as well?  So I am trying to be better at saying thank you to those who inspire me, and lift me up and encourage me.

To you, my wonderful blog readers, my Friends (for truly you are my friends)- Thank You!  I so appreciate the time you take to stop by and read, to comment, to participate in My life.  You bless me in ways I cannot fully express.  You matter to ME- more than you know.  Thank You for being you.
xoxo,
Amy

Friday, April 27, 2012

April Point of View reveal- Teacher Appreciation/ Link Party

Friday, April 27, 2012
 Are you ready to party?  Ready to get some ideas for celebrating the end of the school year, or to say "Thank You" to a wonderful teacher?  Let's get this party started.

 So many fun ideas:  For details click the links below-
Gwen- Gwenny Penny
Leanne- Organize and Decorate Everything
Amy- keep reading!
Jonie- Just Between Friends
Ashlee- I'm Topsy Turvy

And now for my project:
The Life's a Beach tote bag


Teachers have a hard job.  Anyone who is willing to spend their days working with/for other people's kids for little pay and no recognition really is someone special.  I have been lucky with my children that we have always had wonderful teachers, and finding a way to tell them how much their hard work means to me has become pretty important- I mean everyone wants to be told they're doing a good job and their efforts are noticed and appreciated, right?  When summer comes around- I think teachers deserve a nice break- hopefully with lots of relaxation and low stress.  So to encourage that thought, I decided to make a "Life's a Beach" tote bag.  This bag is made pretty simply by using a premade canvas tote (you can find them at Wal-mart) and by including Heat n' Bond, there's no sewing involved.

The first thing you will want to do is decide what font and size letters you need.  I used my Cricut, so unfortunately I don't have any files to pass on, but if you also have a Cricut, I used the cartridge Cherry Limeade.  Cut your letters out of cardstock if you can, it will make the next steps much easier.
 Next you will gather the rest of your supplies: fabric (scraps are PERFECT for this) and Heat n Bond (make sure you have the NO SEW kind, so it will have the stronger adhesive on it).  You'll also need scissors and a pen or pencil, as well as an iron.  Then you're set.

The first thing you will want to do is trace your letters onto the heat n bond.  **Important** make sure you trace them BACKWARDS onto the heat n bond.  (this is where double sided cardstock comes in handy, you can make sure you're tracing them correctly)  To review- we are creating the MIRROR image of the letters onto the heat n bond.  The next step is to separate the letters from each other- this is only necessary if you are using multiple colors of fabric.  If you are doing all one color, you can leave them connected.  Cut around the letters, but not directly on your traced line.  You will want a border of heat n bond around the letter- it will make cutting out the letters much easier.
 Following the instructions on the package- fuse the heat n bond to the fabric.  Now cut out the letters on your traced line.  I use my paper scissors for this step because I don't want the glue to mess up my GOOD scissors. :)

This collage is just a tip for how I cut out the inside portion of the letters.  Take your letter, fold the area where the portion to be cut is, in half.  Snip a small hole on the fold- it just needs to be big enough for the scissors to fit through.  Then slide your scissors through the opening and start cutting down toward the traced edge.
The last step is to place and fuse the pieces to the tote.  Remove the paper liner from the letter and again following the directions on the package fuse them down to the canvas.  Your tote is ready. :)

One final step I did was to take a Sharpie pen and line the word "Beach" and the ball with a fine black line.  I think it just gives it a bit more definition.  Now, a tote is a nice gift in and of itself, but let's see what kind of fun things we can find to fill it with, shall we?
 The first idea I had was to create a fun "beach" bag for the teacher.  A new towel, a magazine and a treat- to inspire relaxation and fun.  The little tag I made (you can see it in the previous pic) said- "Teacher- hope your whole summer feels just like this:" 
The second tote doesn't need to wait for break time to be enjoyed.  The tag reads: "Teacher- Here are some tings to make the rest of the year feel like:"  It's filled with things teachers seem to run out of near the end of the year- cleaning wipes, treats for the class, baggies and kleenex.  You could add any kind of supplies your teacher needs or wants.
Either way you are helping to make their lives easier- and we all know teachers need a break every once in a while. :)

Thanks for joining us for this months' Point of View, we are so glad you are here.
Now it's your turn to share:  how do you say "Thank You" to your favorite teachers?  Or what ways do you celebrate the end of the school year?  Link up your point of view and share your ideas here:
Linking up to Friday Flair at Whipperberry, also linked up to Market Yourself Monday at Sumo's Sweet Stuff.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pleated Layers Pillow {tutorial}

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
So this is the latest in a long line of my favorite pillow ever!  I started out following a tutorial for a pleated pillow that I saw...somewhere.  I could have sworn it was on Moda Bake Shop, but when I went to get the link, I couldn't find the tute anywhere.  In a last ditch effort to find it, I went to One Pretty Thing and searched pillows and there it was- but the link to Moda didn't work!  No wonder I couldn't find it. :)  Luckily she watermarked her picture, and I could find the name of the blog from the thumbnail on One Pretty thing.  Anyway, that was a long story about where my inspiration for this pillow came from, it's from Quilting in the Rain and she calls it her Hello Spring! Strippy Pillow.  I loved the pillow so much, I immediately (well almost) went to my favorite Quilt shop (Material Girls Quilts in West Jordan, Utah) and found a couple of jelly rolls that were on sale.  The first pillow I made I followed her tutorial exactly, but then I started thinking, instead of cutting off the extra length of the strip, what if I pleated that length into the row?  So I tried it, and I LOVE it!!!
I took a few pictures to show you how I did it:
First you will want to read the original tutorial to get a basic idea of how the pillow is made.  (I am making a 16" pillow so my base for the pillow front and back is 17" to allow for seam allowances)
After pressing the strips in half along the length, you will cut the strip in half.  Each strip will yield 2 layers of the pillow.  
Take your first strip and line it up 1/2" above the bottom of the front cover piece. (you will notice in the picture that I did not do this- I lined it up with the bottom of the piece, it makes things a little messy in the final step, so just give yourself the seam allowance from the beginning. :) )  As you sew the strip down, using a 1/4" seam allowance, randomly add pleats to the row, using up the extra fabric in the strip so the sides of the strip line up with the sides of the cover piece.  All of your pleats in this row will go in the same direction, making it easier to sew down. :)
Your first row is done.
Now measure a line 3/4" above the top of the sewn strip and mark it with a pencil or other tool.  You will cover up this line, so no need to worry about it being water soluble or anything.  Continue marking lines every 3/4" up the front base fabric.  You may need to adjust the width just a bit so you end up with the right amount of spacing for the top row. (it should be line up with the top edge of the fabric, or very close to it- you want to make sure the seam sewing the strip to the base is covered by the seam allowance of the finished pillow)
Now we're ready to add our second row of pleating.
Now turn your top piece so you're sewing the opposite direction of the last strip and begin sewing your fabric down, lining up the to of the strip with your drawn line.  Continue to randomly add pleats, making sure your pleats are offset from each other.  I varied the depth of the pleats and the spacing to give it some variety and dimension.
Repeat for each new strip, alternating the sewing direction so the pleats are changing direction on each row.  When the pillow front is finished, press down the pleats so they lay flat against the cover.  Finish off your pillow in whatever method you like best, making sure you don't catch your pleats in the top or bottom seam allowances.
If, after you add your pillow insert, you feel like the top pleat won't lay down (mine never do) and it exposes the top seam of the row underneath it, you can take a needle and thread and blind stitch the top row down so it will lay flat and all the seams will be covered.
Now go enjoy your gorgeous pleated layers pillow.
Have a great day!
XOXO,
Amy
p.s. I am going to skip the boutique update post this week.  Gwen is flying into town tonight for SNAP and we're going to be partying all weekend.  I'll be back on Monday with a Mom-day post and next week will (hopefully) be jammed with boutique goodness.  We'll see you then.
Linking up to Tip me Tuesday on Tip Junkie.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Not Nothing {Monday is Mom-day}

Sunday, April 15, 2012
What have I been up to lately?  Well, at first brush my answer would be "nothing much".  Mostly trying to keep up as a pregnant mother of 4 children.  Preparing for Gwen's visit and the adventure of SNAP- the creative blogging conference coming up this week! (I am dying I'm so excited!!)  Trying to build up inventory for Oh Sweet Sadie the first week of May.
Feeling like I'm not really doing what I want or should be doing most of the time.  Wishing I had much more energy and time for pretty much everything, and really trying to keep my priorities straight.
The kids had spring break last week.  It was nice to have no schedule and no homework.  We didn't do much, but I tried to make it a little interesting. ;)  A trip to my mom's and the park near her house, lunch out, treats from the gas station and renting a movie, playing with cousins and a sleepover (which I'm really regretting, my kids don't do no sleep well ;) ).  No big vacation, no great adventures, but we did what we could with the time and means that we had.

 It doesn't sound like much, but it's my life right now.  Not a lot that I think might be interesting to put on the blog.  No amazing projects, or tutorials.  Just everyday normal, raising kids life.
But now that I think about it a bit more, perhaps there is something to this life that I'm living.   I'm grateful for small everyday things that make life full and wonderful, and perhaps, by glossing over them, or failing to record them, I'm missing the whole point of this life. 

So, I've not be doing Nothing.  I've been doing a million little somethings all day every day.  Enjoying them, struggling with them. Living them.  And I couldn't be happier.

I will be back this week with an update on progress for the boutique, a tutorial for a Gorgeous new pillow (yes another one), and the final version of this new purse that I'm making for my little vacation to SNAP (even though it's in my neck of the woods, I'll be staying at the hotel and away from my family, so it's a vacation for sure.)
I hope you're having a wonderful life full of great little somethings that make your life amazing!  We'll see you soon!

xoxo,
Amy

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Personal Progress Packet tutorial

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I promised this tutorial over a year ago.  And well, better late than never, right?  This is really a pretty simple project and requires only 1 1/2 fat quarters so if you catch them on sale, you can make them for pretty cheap too.
The packet holds all the booklets needed for Personal Progress, plus True to the Faith and For the Strength of Youth.  There's even room for a pen!  Pretty handy, right?
Let's get started then.  Forgive all the pictures, but sometimes I think they do a better job explaining the steps than I do.

Supplies:
Ribbon not shown

Fabrics- 3 pieces cut to 9" X 19" (outside, inside and pocket) They can be all the same or all different.  For this example I did two of the paisley and one of the medallion
Felt- 1 piece cut 8"X 18" (you can cut this slightly larger,  it's a bit easier, but will have a little more bulk in the seams
Ribbon- 2 pieces cut approx. 13"
Any embellishments for the front

Assembly: 

Take the piece for your pocket and press in half, wrong sides together on the 9" length.  Your finished piece should be 4 1/2" X 19"

Add any embellishments to the front of the packet.  In this example I used velvet ric rac from American Crafts- yummy stuff!

Now we're going to build our sandwich.  First lay down the inside lining of the packet, right side up.  Line up the raw edges of the pocket piece with the bottom of the lining.

Place the exterior of the packet, right side down on top of the pocket piece.  Pay attention to where the embellishments are- they should be on the left side of the packet.  Finally, lay the felt piece on top of everything.  Pin around the edges.
The final step before we get ready to sew, is to place one of our ribbons between the layers.  Line it up with the top of the pocket, make sure it's tucked inside and won't get caught in any of the seams.
Sew around the entire packet, using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Try to catch the felt along at least one short side and one long side to help hold it in place (it will be a scant amount that gets caught, but it makes turning easier.)  Leave an opening along the bottom for turning (marked by the arrows).  Clip all the corners and turn.
Press all the seams flat, turn under the opening so the edges are even and top stitch around the entire packet, closing the hole.
Now we're going to stitch in the pockets.  From the left side measure over 5 1/2" and again 1".  Sew down these seams, backstitching at the top, 2-3 times to reinforce the pocket so it doesn't pull out with use.  From the right side measure 5 1/2", this will leave an opening in the middle just shy of 5 1/2".  Sew down this seam, again reinforcing the top of the pocket.
The last step is to add the final ribbon piece.  Turn the packet over.  Take the ribbon and fold it over twice so no raw edges are exposed.  Line it up with the pocket seam on the opposite side of the already placed ribbon.  Lining up your seam with the existing pocket seam, sew down the ribbon 2-3 times to reinforce it.
Now fill it, fold it and enjoy!
The top corner may pull up a bit at first, but it will relax shortly and lay flat.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can help in any way.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a wonderful Wednesday. :)
XOXO,
Amy
Linked up to Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up party.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

POV Pinterest Features

Sunday, April 1, 2012
I have to say- as much as I love Pinterest- this link party has been so much fun and I have been even more inspired to look at my boards and create the great ideas you can find on Pinterest.

These candy coated pretzels are right up my alley.  My kids love chocolate pretzels and these are WAY easier than melting and dipping them.  You can find the link to this great idea here at The Messy Roost. 

And the other project I really wanted to feature is this lovely scripture block by Cherished Bliss.  I really like that the block is just a simple scrap of a 2X6 board and it makes it much more accessible, especially for those of us who don't YET have a Silhouette. :)  You can find the link for this gorgeous block here.

So keep on creating- and inspiring.  I can't wait to see what everyone comes up next month- remember that the theme for April is going to be End of School/ Teacher Appreciation
Have a great week.
xoxo,
Amy
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