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Category Archives: Give It Away

Love is In The Air

The second her teacher said, “Wear your prettiest Valentine dress on Thursday!”, I could tell by the look on my girl’s face that I was hosed. See, she does not have a Valentine dress — not a specific one, at least. Silly me, I thought that her favorite red and gold sweater dress would do just fine. It’s red, it’s gold — it has short sleeves! Short sleeves rule!

But no.

“Mom, I need a dress for my party.”

The next morning:

“Mom, don’t forget my pretty dress. Oh, I can’t wait to wear my pretty dress for the Valentine party!”

Oh boy.

Okay, so a mom who is not super cheap would just mosey on down to Target and get whatever glittered heart madness they’re churning out this year, but I’m not always that mom. It was cold yesterday. So, so cold. Better to hit the fabric shelf and see what I could come up with…except I didn’t want to make a dress. More importantly, I don’t know how to make a dress. My only trick is attaching a skirt to a t-shirt, and I didn’t like any of the options on hand.

And then

I took one more look in her closet and found this:

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A $6.00 H&M dress with a spot on the front. Well! This looked promising! After a quick peek at the Pinterest files, I came across some reverse applique instructions, cut a sleeve off of one of my old shirts, and was off to the races. A couple of hours later, voila!

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Best of all, the young boss loved it! (I wasn’t sure it was going to fly, since she’d already said that the red and pink tunic she was wearing would be “crazy” for her to wear, due to the black and grey in the color scheme. Imagine!)

Bolstered by this success, and drunk with ideas after the whole Pinterest perusal, I also cranked these out for the kids at my AWANA table:

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They were…well, less than enthused, but I bet they’ll use them sometime. Or leave them to get smushed up at the bottom of their bag. I really am trying not to overthink these things. They certainly weren’t going to be any more excited over the stuff that I’d thought about doing two weeks ago and never did, so there we go.

Two more bookmarks are in the works today for the two at my breakfast table. Theirs will be stuffed into new books, so that ought to be worth something. Not that they wouldn’t prefer them to be sticking out of the top of a Lego box, but come on. Speaking of Legos, we saw the movie on Saturday and thought it was terrific. I think Kevin and I laughed more than the kids. Anyway, one of the great points the movie makes [spoiler alert, but not really] is that there are so many creative things to make with those little bricks that aren’t on the instruction pages. True! But then what’s with all the movie tie-in sets? I mean, I know what’s with it — cha ching! — but it really offended my sensibilities.

 

SuperbOwl Weekend

[Tip of the hat to Mr. Colbert for the title of this post.]

As usual, by ten o’clock Monday morning, I’ve all but forgotten what all took place over the weekend. There was a basketball game…I relented and went back into the kitchen…church on Sunday…yeah. More along those lines.

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Somewhere in the midst of all that excitement, I managed to finish up a couple of more baby gifts. As much as I love pink — and I do love pink — it is a lot of fun to break out of the blush and bashful color scheme when sewing for little girls. Yes, the second owl has some pink worked in, but note that the dominant color is none other than a close relative of THE color for 2014! How could I resist the tying that in? That alone makes it an important memento. All that’s left is to wrap these up and launch them from the nest.

 

Cinchy

So, when I do go ahead and try to take pictures, it surely must be on the most dreary day of the month. Well, sure.

It felt so nice to finally have my cutting table cleared enough to start a brand new project, even a small one. This time, the occasion was a baby shower. Since one of my main goals was to use up some of the supplies on hand, I went with these cute quick change bags (which were inspired by these, as you will surely be able to tell):

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[The little pinwheel tag is also handmade, but not by my hands -- that would be thanks to my sister, Michele.]

It was fun and super-quick to put together. I think my next project may also be a baby gift, but not the same one. Or it may be a little re-fashioning project that I should really get a jump on before I blink and the cooler weather is nothing but a fading memory. (I say that, but I think we all know that we Houstonians will be referring to this years big SNOW DAY — now with 99% less snow — for many days to come.)

As for the rest of this weekend  we have (Lord willing) basketball, Children’s Church, and maybe some fun baking. Wishing you a great weekend!

 

Move ‘em Out

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This year I foolishly ended up with several different types of teacher gifts instead of one good assembly line offering. Well, these things happen. Also, due to the craziness of the girl’s preschool (they follow the same calendar as the elementary school…except when they let out three days early for Christmas break. And finish up in the Spring a week early…and start back in the Fall a week later), we have kind of a rolling delivery schedule going this week. Actually, that worked well with the variety of gift situation, so all’s well that ends well.

Here’s hoping it ends well. I keep remembering more people, and have to shuffle around and make things work. But it’s a good problem — we have a great community!

Anyway, the Wellness Pack — which includes a tissue pack, tea, tasty lozenges, lip balm, hand lotion, and hand sanitizer — from last year made a reappearance for the preschool teachers, but this year I traded in the cumbersome jars for sleek zip-top bags. So much easier to assemble and transport! These are out the door, and we are left with only two more deliveries this week. Things are happening.

This Is 40

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Back in February, my best friend from high school welcomed her first grandchild into the world.

So exciting!

So weird!

Because — obviously — if she is old enough to be a grandma, then I must be, too. Never mind that the age of my kids renders that impossible — that’s a facade. We are no longer as young as we feel. And in that moment, I really did feel like I should get fitted for bifocals (which aren’t necessary yet, but who are we kidding?), bump up my collection of sensible cardigans, and settle in to middle age good and proper.

Instead, I made a quilt:

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[Design: Crazy Nine Patch]

Turns out it’s a good thing I didn’t bother with the bifocals and the settling in — Grandma delivered her own bouncing baby boy the following week.

I guess it ain’t over til it’s over after all! Also exciting…and still a little weird.

So, with a foot in each camp, I went ahead and did the only sensible thing: finished up another quilt.

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Actually, this one was finished already, now that I think about it. It was one that I made on a whim, then finished after years of leaving it to languish in a box, and then couldn’t bring myself to part with it. For such a time as this! I couldn’t think of a better home for it. Now to finally get these into the mail and off to Vermont for the happy family.

3…2…1…Blast Off!

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The last day of school is finally upon us. I don’t care what the calendar says — summer is here!

Of course, not before we cart a few more tokens of our appreciation out the door.

For the “main” teachers:

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A patchwork bookmark with a gift card tucked in. The design was very much inspired by this one, but I like bookmarks to be really thin, so I stitched patchwork to card stock instead. Oh, and I very fancily made a buttonhole at the top for the ribbon.

For the many other wonderful teachers, assistants, and our wonderful neighborhood crossing guard, cookies!

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Apparently, I lost count in the wee hours of the morning when I was bagging them up, because he was giving them to any teacher he met in the hall on his way out. Hey, fine by me — better than coming home with a bag full of gifts like last year!

And, finally, a little something for his one teacher who is expecting a late summer baby:

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I already had some bibs made up, but they needed snaps. This will show you how much I hate attaching snaps: rather than just hammer a couple in, I made up a whole new diaper clutch instead. Yes, last night. Or maybe that just shows how much I like making these, and how quickly they come together. Actually, it’s totally the sum of those parts.

Halfway through construction, I remembered that this was the fabric I’d used to make this same teacher a tissue pack cover at Christmas. Well, won’t she just be voted Most Coordinated Mom!

Also, once it was finished, the square of stitching where the Velcro is attached to the closure was bothering me so much that I couldn’t leave it alone. In the end, I just cut out a tiny patch and glued it right on.

See?

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Easy peasy.

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And that, as they say, is a wrap. Come on, summer!

Old School

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I can’t be blamed for losing track of the day. Instead of simply celebrating Teacher Appreciation Day at its appointed time, my son’s school instead opts for Teacher Appreciation Week, complete with suggested assignments for exactly who to honor each day. It’s a touch overwhelming for the overthinkers among us. Anyway, the “specials” teachers are — aw gee, was that today? No, wait — that’s tomorrow; today was for the nurse. So art/music/P.E. are tomorrow, but the main teachers are to be honored on Friday, which to my mind meant that I didn’t even need to have my act together til mid-week.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up Tuesday morning and was informed my the morning news that it was the real Teacher Appreciation Day. And I didn’t have anything prepared for my daughter’s teachers. And we really do appreciate them, and I have to admit that it does stress me out a little bit to show up empty-handed after having been treated to years and years of complaints about parents who can’t be bothered to show their appreciation. (Yeah, y’all  — yes, all of you –know who you are. Save the commiserating for your colleagues! I’m one of “them”!)

Nobody panic, though. There’s still time to offer a token of thanks without breaking the bank or having a nervous breakdown:

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You mean you don’t hoard glass jars? Well, then you may be out of luck. I, however, had two beautiful olive jars and some tulle. The youngest artist-in-residence decorated the cards with her trademark rainbow, and we were off to the store for the prettiest daisies you ever did see. And we were so pleased with our offering, and so were they. Happiness for all!

Teachers really are a deserving group, and my kids teachers — all ten of them — are terrific. Hopefully, Joey’s won’t hold it against me if they don’t all get something wonderful…or anything at all. ["Specials", I'm sorry! My act is not yet together as of this printing....]

 

 

 

Pattern Review: On-The-Go Diaper Clutch

Well, friends, today is a proud day: Heather just released her very first pattern, the On-The-Go Diaper Clutch. Cue the confetti!

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Let me tell you, I was all too happy to be a pattern tester. You know I love a new addition to my arsenal of baby gifts! No surprise, this one’s a gem; pretty and practical.

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My sister and I were talking about projects the other day, and I explained my take on “quick” projects. Usually, “quick” tends to cover anything that can be done in a day. And that’s true, to a certain extent, but when I spend an entire morning and part of the afternoon on something, and it ends up being pretty much all I have to show for my day, I have trouble looking upon it as “quick”.

That having been said, let me tell you that this here Diaper Clutch truly fits under the heading of capital-Q Quick. Fifty minutes from the time I cut the fabric [I take an inordinate amount of time selecting and cutting fabric, so I didn't add that in] to the snipping of the final thread, to be precise. In fact, this is actually the second one I made. The first one…well, I don’t know what happened to it, to tell you the truth. I took it with me to show it off to the pattern creator herself, and now it’s nowhere to be found. It’s not like this is a first for me, but still. No worries, though — I knew it would only take me a hot second to make up another.

That’s the true test of a quick project: Will it still seem so easy to snap together when you have to tackle it again? This one passes with flying colors.

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If mine looks a little puffy, it’s because I subbed fusible fleece for the lightweight interfacing. Hey, it’s what I had handy. If you wanted to get all crazy and quilt the outer piece, the fleece would be the way to go. (I didn’t do that, mind you, but one could and it would be awfully cute.) Also, I tucked in the biggest hard-shell wipes pack known to man, which skews the appearance a little. It’s good to know it fits and closes well, but I’d go with a trimmer pack the next time. Or this time, when I pick up diapers to tuck into this gift in place of the giant swim pull-ups (yep, all that I had left in the house.)

Anyway, back to the pattern. Read it through one time before you get started, and you will be off to the races. The directions are super clear and very thorough. The pattern also includes some great tips for customizing your clutch. Try the ruffle closure; it’s really cute, and easy! (I know this, because I tried it out  on the first version. One day it’ll turn up and I’ll show you.)

Look how nice! Mom can just tuck it into her bag and go, and the diapers won’t be all mangled like they are when you throw ‘em in loose. (I know all about this, too.) Neat and tidy.

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Don’t just take my word for it, though. Get a hold of this pattern, grab your favorite fat quarters or remnants, and an hour later you’ll see for yourself. In fact, Heather has graciously offered up two copies of her pattern for my lovely readers.

First two to comment win — GO!

Update: Congrats to my giveaway winners, Holly and Mrsgingras! Be watching your inboxes for you Simple Analogy pattern pdf.

Getting Ready

Ah, Valentine’s Day. This year, with both kids in school (sort of), it’s double the fun.

After last year’s oh-so-clever stab at using what I had — which failed miserably — I was determined to do better this time around. After some thinking, I remembered that the whole friendship bracelet debacle only went terribly wrong (from a cost standpoint) when I had the bright idea to make them in the school colors…and then had to buy all new floss, thus defeating the whole purpose of coming up with a project that might make a dent in my overflowing supply of odd-colored floss. Doh! Therefore, the plan really could work this year with the girl’s class. Woo hoo!

Here she is, putting the finishing touches on her gifts:

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Hey, she wrote her own name on the backs, too; definitely a team effort. [Idea and template can be found here, by the way.]

And, through the magic of Pinterest, I managed to find another cute idea that doesn’t involve candy. My son’s school doesn’t allow them to bring candy, which is a huge pain, but whatever.

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Although I didn’t have the bouncy balls on hand, I did have everything else (except for a paper folder, hence the flathead screwdriver. I will have a tight crease on that fold!) I think this project is super cute, and am always so grateful to the talented artists who share the darn pdf files for the tags. SUCH a time saver!! Of course, the treat bags that I had were the wrong size, but it was nothing a little creative [off-center] cutting couldn’t fix.

All in all, both projects cost me $4.00, and — better yet! — they’re both done and it’s not 10:00 at night.

Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed.

 

More Monkey Business

Yes, we’re going to the same shower.

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Confession: Sock monkeys are not my favorite. Something about that red mouth, it just kind of creeps me out. But monkeys are the theme for this baby girl, and I just happened to have a purple pair of socks for such an occasion (from when I tried to make myself make one for Project 15 and failed to get past the sock buying stage.) This pattern won me over — look at that cute face! Of course, mine came out a little crazy; I think I was using the wrong kind of socks. Well, gangly is charming in a sock monkey, no? Sure.

Some bibs and burp cloths to round things out:

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I’ll spare you the story of the snaps. Well, actually, I’ll sum it up by saying that I put off setting the snaps for an entire week; bit the bullet and just got down to it; promptly remembered why I’d put it off in the first place. Ugh! Snaps!

Aside from that — so much fun to pull together.

 

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