Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cheap Family Home Evening Chart

We were in college. We didn't have two dimes to rub together. And we needed an FHE chart.

We've used this chart for 6 years. We've added to our family, so I'm letting go, but I thought I'd put up a tutorial.

What you need:
Two pieces of paper
Self adhesive Velcro 
Ruler (optional)

Draw whatever you want to to represent your family/household. Make icons for the different activities that you would like to have happen at your Family Home Evening. Make sure they coincide with the number of people in your family. Color it! Then, make name tags for each person. Make sure there is room on your drawing to put the names and still see the drawing and icons. Laminate everything. Cut it out. Apply the Velcro!

That's it. Super cheap. 

If you have a laminator and Velcro this chart could be free!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Arrow of Light Award

When I became Cub committee chair for our Pack, I got a huge folder (and about 5 boxes) with cub info, decorations, ideas, crafts, and lots of training manuals.
In the folder I found a pattern for an Arrow of Light Plaque. I sorta disregarded  it because I didn't want to set a president of making the awards. But then I couldn't help it. I love to make things, and I love to take on a challenge.

So I'm going to share with you what I learned. Because it was my first time using a band saw and my first time using a scroll saw. Definitely a learning curve. By the fourth plaque it took me a third of the time that I spent on the first one.

Here is the template.
The template explains the process, and it is the only thing I had to go off of. So, if all you do is print off the template, you should be able to make the plaque. I've put pictures of my process and a few tips and helpful things I learned.

I used poplar wood, it was about $16 for the piece I bought. Be super accurate when you cut out the template, and I found it useful to use double sided tape to affix the template while you trace it onto the wood. I also used a ruler because I printed the template on regular paper- so the tracing was a bit wonky if I didn't use the ruler on all the straight edges. If you print it on a heavy card stock, you may not have this problem.

 I used a jig saw to cut between each plaque before I started cutting the actual arrow image out. That way I wasn't working with a super long piece of wood.

 I had never used a band saw or a scroll saw before. I had no instruction, just borrowed the saws from a friend. So as I went I watched a few youtube tutorials and did my best. I got faster with each one. I used the band saw for almost all the cuts, and then the scroll saw for the arches between the sun rays and the little areas I couldn't reach with the band saw. Cutting took about 3 hours for four plaques. Don't get discouraged if your cuts aren't really straight. None of my cuts were very straight, and unless you are looking for it, you can't really tell in the final product.
 After I finished cutting them, I painted the black area on with craft paint. This deviates a little from the instructions that say to print out the boys name and info on paper then modge podge it to the board. I didn't want to mess with that. After that dried, I used a paper towel and a can of Walnut Stain that I already had in my garage. I rubbed each piece evenly with the stain and then I rubbed the arrows with the stain.
 The arrows were pretty easy. The stone arrowheads were in the jewelry department at the craft store. They were about $4 a piece. The feathers were also from the craft store. You can get as creative as you want with the arrows, I kept it pretty simple.

 After the stain dried, I painted on the pack number and the boys name with white paint. Maybe a little more work, but I liked the look better than modge podged paper. Last, I sprayed the plaque with a clear coat of varnish (spray paint can- it's at any craft store or home improvement store).

 To attach the cup hooks, I put the template back on and drilled a pilot hole right through the paper. That made it easy. I used double sided tape again to keep the template in place.

 So the boys could hang up the plaque, I added this to the back. Not the best solution, but it worked.

That's it! I did all three (I cut out four) in about 6 hours (that included lots of interruptions! I have 3 kids).

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Year's To-Do List, 2014

- Finish Single Girl quilt (No, I really mean it this time!!!)

- Quilt for Nora's room, Fresh Pattern by Camille Roskelley

- Take a Class

- Organize and get rid of extra craft items

- Make and sell more doll blankets

- Plant a happy garden

- paint and organize the kids rooms

That's it! I'm bound and determined to do everything on my list this year!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sweater Pillow

Today, I was trying to clean out my sewing room. I had two sweaters that were sitting next to each other that just happened to be Christmas colors. I thought what better way to get rid of these and clean my sewing room than making something out of them. I immediately thought of a pillow, because really pillows are quick and easy and I would feel it was useful too without feeling too bad that I cut up two totally and completely useful sweaters. Well, they would be useful if I fit in them.....
ANYWAY… And what better way to kick off the Halloween season, then making a Christmas pillow! Oh, you didn't know it was the Halloween season? Well, apparently all of the stores think it is. So, Christmas pillow in August!
First, cut up perfectly good sweaters. I leave as wide an area as possible. Then, I figure out the biggest square area I can get out of the part of the fabric I'm going to use. Cut a square of lining fabric, any scrap fabric that is big enough will do. The lining fabric is important when making sweater pillows because it helps them retain their shape, keeps them from unraveling while you sew, and keeps the stuffing from coming out of the pillow. Make sure the fabric is cut well, that the corners are square, and there are two identical squares. One square for the front and one for the back. Then, pin the squares (with lots of pins) onto the sweater fabric. It's nice when the fabric has a stripe, like the green and white fabric because I could line it up with the lines and ridges and know I was getting the fabric even on all sides.

After pinning, sew the lining to the sweater fabric, using a walking foot and a zig-zag stitch. The A zig-zag stitch allows the fabric to stretch when it is stuffed, and the walking foot helps the sweater fabric move with the more rigid lining fabric so there isn't a lot of stretching and bunching.  
If you don't want to add an embroidered detail to the front, then skip this step....
I drew a simple picture on the lining fabic, cut it out and sewed it onto some of the sweater fabric. I didn't even pin it down since it was all straight lines. If I was doing something more complicated, I would've pinned it. Then, I trimmed it pretty close to the edge of the lining and sewed it to the center front of the pillow. 

Trim the front and back pieces to the edge of the lining fabric and sew them together with right sides facing each other. Leave about 1/2 inch seam allowance. I just lined up the edge of the fabric with the outside edge of my walking foot. Leave a 2-3 inch gap on one of the sides as you sew around the edge so that you can turn the pillow right side out. Before turning the pillow out, clip the corners as shown below.

Then, stuff the pillow through the gap in the seam. Fill it nice and tight. Make sure to get stuffing into each corner and distribute it evenly. Finally, turn the raw edges of the gap under and hand stitch the seam together. The sweater material is very forgiving. I didn't even have to be careful and it looked really nice.
Enjoy your recycled handiwork! Merry Christmas! ;-)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chalkboard door

I wanted walk-in access to our attic, so we added a door in my youngest son's room into the attic space. After looking at insulated doors and their prices, I knew I didn't want to spend the money to get an insulated door that would match the rest of the interior doors (or should I say closely match- there were no doors that matched exactly).
So instead, I decided to get the cheapest primed metal insulated door with the plan to make it a fun focal point in the room instead of a what-the-heck-is-a-door-doing-there eyesore.
We installed the door, I painted the trim and the perimeter of the door in latex white paint to match the trim and doors throughout the house. Then I painted the center with black chalkboard paint. It looked too boring, so I added some high-gloss latex cobalt blue paint that I had leftover from a different project....still boring, and the dark blue matched the black too closely.... so then, I  handpainted a apple green stripe around the outside of the chalk paint using good old acrylic craft paint. Perfect!
After the chalk paint had cured for a few weeks (I don't think you have to wait that long, read the can to find out actually curing time) I seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing it all over with the side of a white piece of chalk. Last, I rubbed all the chalk off- this keeps the chalk marks from leaving permanent marks.
I've claimed the top of the chalkboard. Wes colored the bottom with art- his first creation he deemed a "rainbow, Christmas-tree, mountain." Love it!

Oh, and one last thing. Because the door is metal I used an old magnetic locker pencil holder to hold the chalk, and we can also play with magnets on the door! Bonus!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fun with the kids, Chalk Super-heros

If you ever want to do something super fun with your kids, that is super easy- then I've got the activity for you!
It's this easy: Outline their bodies with chalk, have them tell you what super-powers they possess, add superpowers to the drawing, and let them color the chalk super heros in. Make sure to write out the super hero name and powers- and get a picture!


I saw the most lovely pincushion on my Instagram feed. The french knots made me squeel in delight. I had to make one, like immediately.
Vanessa Christenson of V and Co. wrote this tutorial on French knots, it's the best one I've ever had to follow.

I cut out a four inch square piece of painters cloth canvas (It's what I had lying around). I used a disappearing ink pen to draw the design. I followed her instructions on the French knot and went to town making the knots. It uses a ton of thread! I was surprised at how much and how fast I went through thread.
After the hearts were finished, I sewed another square piece of canvas to the embroidered square, right sides together. I think I ended up making them about a 3 inch square. When sewing them together leave a 1 inch gap so you can turn it right side out. Fill with your favorite pin cushion filling. Lots of vetren sewers use crushed walnut shells... I had some poly pellets on hand, so I used those. But I wouldn't recommend it- they are too big and sometimes I have to shove the pin twice to get it into the pin cushion :-/. Then, hand stitch the one inch hole together.
I love it, and it makes me happy and makes my sewing table prettier!