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Crayon Roll for Joanna

October 4, 2011

My son was invited to a birthday party recently and we had time to put together a nice present.  Normally I don’t have much time or money to give to a birthday party for a toddler in Fionn’s preschool program.  Besides, I usually do not know the parents and rarely know the child.  This party was different!  Fionn’s friend Joanna started in daycare with him when they were 18 months old.  One of Fionn’s early complete sentences (that I can recall) was an answer to my question, “Do you like Joanna?”  He said, “Yah, she’s cute.” And he sighed!  So sweet.  Plus, I know Joanna’s mother and she is always friendly when we meet.

All wrapped up.

Now that you know this, you can imagine our excitement in attending Joanna’s birthday party.  I knew that Joanna liked girly things like the color pink and playing with dolls.  I also knew she liked to draw and color.  Ah-ha, Watson! A crayon roll!

In the last couple of years I have seen several tutorials for crayon rolls on the web.  I particularly liked this colorful one with ric-rac at Skip to My Lou and this lovely from Prudent Baby.  I knew I wanted to make something like those, but to fit 24 Crayola Twistables.  I did find a tutorial at The Idea Room that used Twistables, and I liked the look of it. However, out of all the tutorials I viewed I had trouble determining exactly what size my material should be for 24 Crayola Twistables (sometimes I’m not too bright).  So I did my own thing – which I will make note of at the end of this post, in case you are interested.

The finished crayon roll, smashing my impatiens.

Fionn picked out the multi-colored ice cream fabric and I had the ribbon lying around.  I think it turned out great!  We added stickers, and some Dollar Tree treasures to her present.  I don’t know if Joanna liked it but Fionn loved giving it to her.  He also enjoyed the ‘bouncy house,’ balloons, slide, swings, giant castle cake, and being the only boy from preschool to appear at the party.  He was ‘The Man!”

(I would like to note that a few days after the party Joanna informed Fionn she was marrying him!)

So, what do you think of the crayon roll (not my three-year-old son’s impending marriage)?

My 'fancy' attempt at labeling.

1.)  I cut 2 pieces of purple print & 1 piece of ice cream print at 25.5″ x 7″.
2.)  I folded one piece of the purple print in half to make the pocket.
3.)  I used interfacing between layers.
4.)  Before sewing the individual pockets one inch apart, I marked the very middle of the roll and then made a chalk mark every inch twelve times on each side. When sewn together and flipped this left a small bit of space (maybe a 1/2″) between the first and last pocket and the end of the roll.
5.) I used a 1/2″ seam allowance.
6.) I sewed the individual pockets BEFORE I sewed the front and back together, so the lines would not show on the outside.
7.)  The ribbon to tie it closed was 20 inches long.

If you need help making your own feel free to ask me. However, I imagine you will get better information from the links I provided to REAL tutorials above!

Yah me! I absitively posolutely finished another project!!!



Our Mother’s Half Bath Makeover: The Perfume Picture

September 24, 2011

Erin and I are busy, and we suck as bloggers.

It had to be said.

Yes, we finish projects.  Yes, sometimes we forget to take pictures.  And yes, we even forget to blog about it.  Ergo, we suck as bloggers.  Good thing we write this blog just to keep a record of our work, even if it is an incomplete record, and no one is waiting to read our random posts.  I am relieved we aren’t making anyone mad. Anyhoo, we have a bit of catching up to do, so if you just happened to stumble in, welcome!

Perfume Art Detail

Today I am doing the first of a couple posts on the makeover happening to our mother’s half bathroom.  Our parents home is older than both of us, and some of the original linoleum, wood paneling, and counter tops remain.  They are so old they are almost back in fashion, if harvest gold or rust orange ever do come back. (I hope not.)  Erin and I are limited by funds, time, and our father, in how much we can actually do to improve upon their house. Ego, you know.  So we are starting small – the half bath.

The Half Bathroom - "Before" Picture

Here is the bathroom before we started.  The mirror, which has a cheap plastic frame, and the wicker shelf have been spray painted a variety of colors over the years.  A couple of months ago we painted them the color you see here, as a surprise for our mother.  She asked me to make her some sort of art to hang on a wall as well.  That is how the perfume picture was born.

First, I called up Erin to go shopping.  We found a cheap frame at Big Lots for our art.  We also happened to stumble upon a mirror we loved at Hobby Lobby for 50% off!  Since the last time the old mirror was painted I had to put it back together in full Alaskan-gerry-rig style, it seemed like a good – and safe – bet to replace the old mirror too.  Then we decided that Mom deserved more than art, she deserved a full half bathroom makeover!  We really do like to make everything bigger, and more difficult better.

New mirror on the left, cheap frame on the right before we gutted it.

We took apart the cheap frame from Big Lots, discarded the plastic matting, and turned over the cardboard print.  On the back of the cardboard we pasted 4″ square pieces of scrapbook paper.  We laid them out a couple of times until we had a pattern that was pleasing before pasting them down.

Laying out paper to find a pleasing pattern.

I downloaded the three Victorian perfume bottles from The Graphics Fairy. (Awesome website. Thank you, Karen!)  I opened the files in Photoshop Elements and tried to change the black to a dark brown.  Yeah, I still don’t know how to use the software.  The bottles were then printed on vellum paper, cut out, and glued over the scrapbook paper.

The finished piece.

Too bad I didn’t pay attention to any of those blogs I have read where they mention how ink jet prints will smear.  While gluing the paper down the glue must have wet the ink and it made a mess. Note to future self:  spray clear acrylic over the paper to seal the ink in before making big yucky mess.

Area where ink smeared and removing ink messed up paper

The last part was gluing on a little rhinestone bling.  Our mother likes bling!  And now that I am looking at this picture I realize there is some fuzzy or crafting shrapnel stuck in the frame.  Maybe no one else will notice. Shhhhh!

Next up: repainting the walls and hanging a cabinet.  Check back in a couple of months for it!  🙂


Danny’s Baby Blanket

June 30, 2011

Fionn models the baby blanket for Danny

I have decided my sister is a knitting savant.  You know, one of those people who can just pick up something and make it look perfect the first time they try.  Don’t confuse this with idiot savant – she is quite talented at many things.  But I am just itching to make an idiot savant joke here at her expense.  The urge is so HARD to contain.  {deep breath}  I’m okay.

Anyhoo, Erin found this great free knitting pattern at Caron to make a baby blanket for Marie’s son, Danny.  It turned out beautifully!  Unfortunately, the pictures I took of Fionn modeling the blanket do not do it justice.

I had hoped taking the pictures in the early morning would help avoid the two major obstacles of where we live, 1. heat and 2. humidity – and provide nice lighting (according to the Photography for Dummies book I skimmed).  Even leaving my camera outside to acclimate it still collects condensation on the lens.

I swear the air here is freaking liquid!

I took 27 pictures, most of which appeared either underwater or Fionn was making a strange face or peeing in the grass.  He’s three. What can I say.  So these were the best of the bunch.

As usual, you will just have to trust me.  The blanket looks fabulous and Fionn is still cute as ever!

(posting for Erin b/c she has forgotten she has a blog)

30th Birthday Cupcake Toppers

April 1, 2011

Recently we threw a birthday party for our friend Marie. It was her big three-oh. {shhh, don’t tell}  She had lamented the fact she is pregnant and couldn’t celebrate the big birthday event in high cocktail style. So Erin and I thought it would be fun to throw her a pretty, pretty princess birthday party complete with a 1990’s edition of Barbie “Queen of the Prom” board game, tiaras, sashes, and rings. And lots of PINK!

After amusing ourselves with this silly fantasy we remembered … the husbands! So we turned down the volume on the princess party, but kept the pink.  Erin and I found fuchsia pink and black plates and napkins at a Party City store. Some had crowns and polka dots, and a set of cocktail napkins were discovered with “Flirty, Fabulous, and Thirty” printed on them – again in black on fuchsia! We even found black and pink “diamond” rings that light up, and tiaras for all the female guests.

Ok, so maybe we didn’t turn down the volume that much. But we didn’t make the guys dress up or play a silly game or anything. Although “Pin the Boobs on the Bimbo” certainly would have been a big hit.

To finish off our decorating scheme I dug around the internet and looked at the crown printed on our decorations and made up my own version – in FUCHSIA PINK!  I added the “30” to the top, printed it out on cardstock, and cut it out.  Erin found bamboo skewers at the dollar store and we glued some Wilton brand candy wrappers, flattened out, to each side of the skewer, with the crown glued on one side.

I think we made 17 of these, but then ran out of time and just glued the crowns straight to the skewers for the remaining 12 toppers. (Yes, we had 30 cupcakes too. One cupcake went topless so we could put candles in it later.)

Of course, I forgot to take pictures of the napkins, other decorations, etc. But I have a few pictures of the toppers! And I will share them with you.  Click here for a .pdf of the Crown Cupcake Toppers.

If you use them I would love to see a picture. Thanks!


Valentine Monster Cards

February 11, 2011

Amy: What party? What’s this “Valentine’s Day” stuff?

Preschool Teacher: Really?

Ok, I admit I lose track of time, forget pseudo-holidays, events, and appointments on a regular basis. And I admit I have never been fond of VD (Valentine’s Day), and not because I am bitter about love or anything. Tell me you love me every day, and surprise me with flowers because it is Wednesday, not because rampant consumerism tells you to once a year.

{sigh} Enough of my soapbox.

For some mysterious reason children love to celebrate – everything! I knew I couldn’t let VD go unrecognized. And I couldn’t stomach passing out Disney characters printed on pieces of paper. I wanted something Fionn and I could make together (as much as a 3yo can).

Luckily, I found this great idea at Make and Takes and completely “stole” the idea. Even down to the color of the card. I am shameless.

I found (almost) all my supplies at my local Hobby Lobby. I picked up the scrapbook paper for 50% off, and the heart doilies for 40% off. Sweet! I had a variety of sizes of googly eyes in my craft bin that I bought at a dollar store last year.

I stacked my papers up and drew my little monster shape on the back side of one, then cut through the stack. I was able to cut four monsters at a time this way.

I intended to stay with my “stolen” idea and only put one eye on each monster, but Fionn disagreed. So we had a variety of monsters.

We made 23 cards!

Fionn loved gluing the eyes on the cards! And I loved where he put the eyes on this one:

The best part was seeing Fionn so proud of his work! He couldn’t wait to surprise his Gigi and Buppa with his cards. And when we brought them to preschool this morning he was about to burst from the praise his teacher gave him! So cute!!!

Maybe celebrating VD, er, Valentine’s Day can be fun! I am nearly a convert.


Wood Burning: A “Pub” Sign

January 10, 2011

One night I was on the phone with our Dad, known as Dr. Dark. We were talking about his upcoming birthday trip to Cobh, County Cork, Ireland. While talking to him, I had this amazing idea to wood burn a sign for him. I searched the net for a picture of his favorite pub. I actually found a picture of the sign that hangs above the front door!

So, I had Snake, my husband, draw it for me. Then, using the computer, I wrote the words, “My home away from home.” Using carbon paper, I transferred the images to a lightly sanded piece of wood. Then I heated up my trusty wood burner and went to town!

Dr. Dark loves Ireland. He has made so many wonderful friends in Cobh. We celebrated his birthday once he had returned from his home away from home. He loved his gift!


When resolutions don’t work

December 17, 2010

You know when you make a resolution there is a good chance it may not come to fruition. Unlike the diet I start every Monday morning I refuse to give up on this blog. My resolution was to use this blog to encourage myself to finish my projects, not become overloaded by projects and a blog. I have been successful in keeping the blog from taking too much time (look around, not very impressive, eh?) but I am still neck-high in unfinished projects. Maybe it would be better to call them WIPs (works in progress) since I intend to finish them, dang-it!

You would think I would have a lot to show for my blog absence…sorry, I am mostly sharing WIPs and excuses.

First, the excuses:

1.) I went to two work related conferences where I presented on the first day of each. And one of them was out of the country! Ok, only British Columbia, but I had to bring my passport.
2.) I have been busy with work, life, etc. and I discovered RSS feeds (worse than Facebook for wasting my time).
3.) Um…I am ADD?

Ok, maybe I don’t have good excuses for sharing finished projects here lately. So I guess I will share WIPs now:


repurposing jersey

repurposing a $4 mens T-shirt

The start of my first mug rug!


Hungry Caterpiller Quilt

Yep, still quilting this!



Wallhanging waiting for binding


Not pictured: felt food for Fionn (try saying that five times fast), including Christmas cookies & clothing, clothing, clothing. Mostly I just have patterns ready to go, nothing cut yet. I eventually bought Fionn some clothing on the clearance rack at Target this week when I realized he was down to three pairs of pants and two shirts that fit him. With the number of accidents he has that is a load of laundry every day and he is naked by 4pm. Enough mommy-talk. Back to crafty stuff:

And now for a peek at a few things I have accomplished:


Macro View

Learning to use my camera


Pumpkin Time
Learning to use camera – and getting pumpkins!



"I want all of these Mom."

Helping us select pumpkins

My big helper!

Halloween night

Our jack-o-lanterns!

Fionn's 3rd Birthday Celebration



Not pictured: Christmas stocking for Fionn to take to preschool… there has to be something else! Oh, well.

I plan to share specifics of some of the items I mention here in future posts. I especially liked how Fionn’s birthday cake turned out so I will give details later about how it came together. So please check back. I’ll try to not be such a stranger (I really want to keep our four readers, I swear).


p.s. Anyone heard from Erin? Just kidding. She is fine, but I haven’t seen any of the knitting she tells me she is doing. {hint, hint}