July 30, 2009

why can’t i resist?


Every time I go here this (see above) happens. Today I muttered to myself that I would steer clear of those tempting bottles. I’d get what I needed and get back out. The curve ball was that I had my 10-year old with me. Cara said she’d be looking at “it” while I was getting the things on my list. Well after I found the list items, I walked over to tell Cara I was ready to go…and I tried not to look, but I saw them out of the corner of my eye…the colors…the bottles…the clever names…they whispered hello…and yes, they got me. I had to try this one and that one…and our groceries are melting in the car…and I’m not here to buy nail polish in the first place..and this happens every single time……but maybe just one little bottle?

After much discussion, Cara and I agreed that we needed “Mermaid to Order.” Besides loving the name, the color reminds us of swimming pools, the ocean, and sunny blue summer skies. How could we not buy a bottle with all of that?
Maybe next time I’ll make it out without another color. maybe…
July 29, 2009

Fringed fleece pillows with personality

When my daughter and one of her best friends came to me eager for a craft, I took one look at the pillow-form-tower in my craft closet and pitched pillow making. It wasn’t much of a sell. These tweens were all about creating something to decorate their nests a.k.a. twin beds. I pulled out the fleece I had on hand and thought they could easily make no-sew fleece pillows. However, these girls wanted to sew. I couldn’t argue with that given my current sewing machine obsession, so I threw in an extra step to personalize the pillows with sewn initials. Then I reasoned, we’d transfer into no-sew mode to easily add funky fringe to the pillow edges.

First, we cut 2- 22″ x 22″ squares from the fleece…that’s 2 squares per pillow (BTW our pillow forms were 16″ x 16″.) Then, we used leftover fabric to cut out an initial for each pillow. If freehanding letter shapes makes you sweat, go ahead and use a computer to enlarge a single letter in the font of choice. Print out for an instant pattern. The girls also used a heart stencil to make a pattern for hearts they wanted to add. After cutting out all the shapes from the fleece, the girls pinned them to the center of their front pillow square.

Next, we sewed each shape on to the front fleece with a straight-stitch about 1/4″ in from the outer edges of the shapes. After that we zigzag-stitched the shape edges. I told the girls to have fun with it. Fleece doesn’t fray so things didn’t have to be perfect. Sure the stitching was to secure, but also to add personality. Perfection doesn’t have much character.

Next, we laid the stitched fleece square on top of the second fleece square. We measured 4 inches in from the edge all the way around and drew a white chalk line. Then, we cut 1 inch (approx.) wide strips up to that 4 inch chalk line snipping through both layers of fleece. The corner squares were discarded.

Finally, we sandwiched the pillow form between the two layers of fringed fleece. Beginning at one corner, we tied the front fleece square to the back fleece square by double knotting the corresponding front strip to the back strip. We continued around the pillow, double knotting corresponding strips, until we had the entire pillow secured.

And here they are…two really cute, personalized, fringed, super comfy, one-of-a-kind, fleece pillows. We created these pillows in a night making this a perfect slumber party craft. If pressed for time, the sewn personalization could be omitted, but for us that’s what made the pillows special. My daughter mentioned how she now wants to make two more pillows so she has all three of her initials to line up on her bed. Clever girl! I love that idea. I may need to make a fleece run.
Filed Under: kids, projects
July 26, 2009

FaNcy FeeT

Here’s a kids project that we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Last summer around this time, I made it a point to purchase on-sale-plainish-flip flops with the intent to transform into something much fancier. So this weekend, we gathered poolside with a few other crafty friends and created several new pairs of one-of-a-kind summer footwear.

This is a great mobile project since all you need is a half yard or so of fabric, a pair of pinking shears and a pair of flip flops. To start, cut 1″ x 7″ strips with the pinking shears from your chosen fabric or fabrics. You’ll need about 30 or so strips depending on the size of your flip flops (like I’d be way more than 30 strips, but let’s concentrate on the kids shall we?!)

Next, tie your strips around the flip flop band starting from one side. Make sure to double knot. Push the strips close together as you go. Keep knotting strips until your flip flop is completely fancified.

And that’s it! Put on your fancy flops and head back to the pool before summer gets away. quick!

Filed Under: kids, projects
July 22, 2009

When Dad takes the kids to the zoo…

If you ask me, this is right up there with “Don’t run with scissors.” Talk about living dangerously. I was home working while the kids enjoyed lorikeets eating on their heads. I’m making a mental note to continue to send the camera out with the eldest on all Dad outings.
Filed Under: kids
July 19, 2009

"a" for applique

You may recall a few weeks back, when I tackled the zipper for the first time. Now in the midst of back-to-school prep, it occurred to me that I could use those new skills to fashion the required zippie pencil cases (soft pouch style) and personalize them to boot. Who needs to settle for store bought when you have zipper-know-how and a Singer?

A few times every summer, I stumble upon the yard sale of an interior designer unloading boxes of fabric swatches. The quality swatches I purchase (for pennies) are usually about 16″ x 18″…plenty big enough for pouches or other smallish projects. My fifth grader chose the above fabrics from my stash for her pencil pouch. I used the same basic zippie directions back in this post except I cut 12″ x 7″ rectangles (two rectangles from the print and two from a coordinating tan fabric for the liner. The red will be the applique fabric.) I wanted the pouch big enough to accommodate pencils, markers, highlighters, etc. That size worked perfectly. After I got the zipper in, I personalized the case with her name.


To make a name applique, I chose a chunky font on my computer sized appropriately for the case. I then printed the name out as a “mirror image” (this is usually a preference in your print settings.) I ironed on “Wonder Under” fusible web (found at any fabric store) to the wrong side of the chosen applique fabric. Then I traced the printout onto the “paper side” of fabric with a ball point pen. The pressure from the pen left a mark. Next, I cut out the letters and removed the paper from the fabric. Then I ironed the letters to the pouch.

After my letters were “stuck” I blanket-stitched around them with yellow and turquoise embroidery floss. I sewed on stacked buttons for more personality. When my details were complete, I sewed up the sides of the bag including the inside liner. To top off the pouch, I used coordinating beads for a zipper pull.

Pictured above is the finished case all stuffed and ready to head to class in a month or so. Cara is quite pleased with her one-of-a-kind pencil house and dare I say a tiny bit more excited for school to begin?! Additional cases for a special 2nd grader and a preschooler are now in the works.
Filed Under: kids, projects, sewing
July 17, 2009

This is why I wear a bell….

My owners bought a sporty new collar for me with a shiny red bell. Since I’m an indoor kitten it’s not to warn the birds, but to warn my family that I’m underfoot. I admit I like to be as close as possible to where ever one of them might be. In other news, I’m really happy in my new home. In the past month, I’ve doubled in size and now weigh a whopping 2.8 lbs! If my brothers and sisters could see me now they sure wouldn’t be calling me “runt!” A couple of weeks ago, I traveled with my human family an entire 7 hours (each way) to visit out-of-state relatives. It was pretty exciting. Now I’m back home in my favorite spot. This one (the feet in picture above) says she’s really busy with design work and I’ve also noticed a few sewing projects in the works.
More soon.
XXOOXX Penny
Filed Under: Uncategorized
July 10, 2009

I wear my cape + free chocolate

Here’s another painting of mine in the Superhero exhibit opening tonight. “I wear my cape” celebrates the modern day mom and/or wife…our very own superheroes. Maybe whipping up dinner isn’t something Wonder Woman ever did to impress, but in today’s hectic world a sit down dinner is a feat indeed. And what about the power to overcome five baskets of laundry and then put that laundry away without stepping on even one Lego? The ability to make boo boos better with a hug and a band aid? The extrasensory vision to find the remote control in the far depths of the couch cushions?! Talk about heroic acts. This print is now available in my etsy shop if you happen to know any heroines like that.

And I’m sure you’ve done something heroic already today…made it out of bed with one eye open? That counts. Hop over here and get your free chocolate reward starting at 9:00AM ET every Friday through September. The first 250,000 to sign in on Friday will get a coupon (4 coupons during the offer per household) mailed to redeem for the Mars chocolate bar of their choice (deciding between peanut m&ms and twix…hmmmmm.)

Alright, it’s time to put my cape back on and wake the sleeping…an operation not without peril and pain. Wish me luck. Up, UP and AWAY…

July 8, 2009

A Super Show

When I first got this call for artist submissions in my inbox I’ll admit I wasn’t sent running for a paintbrush. I knew many artists could illustrate Batman and his friends far better than I. However as the deadline approached, I started thinking more about superheroes and what us mere humans (particularly women) had in common with them. That’s when the ideas started coming and in usual fashion I decided one week before the deadline to get started. I submitted my work last Thursday and just heard that three paintings and a 3-D sculpture have been accepted into this AMaZing exhibit.

Here’s one of my paintings in the show. “Often Invisible” was the first piece I completed…part superhero inspired, part funk-of-a-mood inspired (yes bad case of poor me’ismsunderappreciated, undernoticed and overwhelmed…you get the idea.) Invisibility would no doubt be an interesting superhero trait to possess, but this piece speaks to a less glamorous sort of invisibility shared (I’m betting) by countless other women from day to day.

This not-in-the-show piece is one of my favorites. Not only have I adored Wonder Woman for most of my life, but I had forgotten how therapeutic art is for me when I’m feeling grumpy. After getting the invisible thing out of my system, back came my sense of humor. “The Power of Accessories” is more of my whimsical self. Can’t you tell I’m happier?!


If you’re around Cincinnati stop by the opening this Friday night from 6pm-9pm to say hi and see the entire show. Wear your superhero costume and get 50% off all beverages. Now how SUPER is that?
July 7, 2009

United not divided

More Flashcard inspired art led to this mixed media piece: “United we stand, Divided we fall.” It’s a phrase holding an enormous amount of truth. Regardless of our individual differences, we need to stand united to succeed not only relating to country, but pertaining to family, friends and business as well.

And I meant to get this post up all nice and timely on the 4th of July, however holiday travel and a crazy week has put me behind with everything (hear washing machine + dishwasher humming in background.) Not that posting this on the 6th isn’t relevant. Standing respectfully united shouldn’t be forgotten after the fireworks…you know like it was in our mini van today on the seven hour (felt longer) return home road trip. Early bedtimes will be enjoyed by this family tonight. Hope you all had a safe and happy weekend. : )

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