28 December 2011

Making Jewelry Thanks to My Christmas Presents (Thanks!)

I think my family knows me well--for Christmas, I got clothing patterns, crafting patterns, jewelry making supplies, a jewelry making book, a Jo-Anne's gift card, a coupon for enough babysitting for me to do a painting...  Thanks, everyone!  I am so excited about all of my presents.

I've already started making use of some of these lovely presents--Christmas Day wasn't even over before I'd made this...

And started this...

The designs came from this book.  (Thanks to my mother-in-law for the present!)

No tutorial today, since they're not my designs, but you can be sure there will be some to come, once I put my own spin on what I'm learning!

Happy crafting!

26 December 2011

How to Play "Hand and Foot" {a Card Game for Your Family to Enjoy}

I hope you all had a great Christmas.  I sure did.  I loved watching Boo open and play with her new toys...  (And I didn't mind getting presents, myself!)  But one of the best parts about Christmas is having the family all gathered together.

While we still have family all gathered for Christmas, I thought I'd share this game that my in-laws taught me.  It's called Hand and Foot.

{The instructions are kind of long.  I tried to highlight what was most important, though.  Let me know if you have any questions!}

You play in teams of two.  The game works best with 4-6 people.  (Too many takes a long time.)

You need:
One more deck of regular playing cards than there are people playing.  So if you have four people, you need five decks of cards.  {By the way, it makes for easier clean up if each of the decks looks different--that makes it really easy to separate them back out when the game is over.}
a pen and paper for keeping score.

Special Cards:

Jokers and 2's are wild.

3s are special.  Red 3's are worth 100 points on their own.  (You cannot make a Book out of them--more about Books later.)  Lay down any red 3's immediately and draw replacement cards.

Black 3's don't count as anything, so they make good Discard cards.

Getting Ready to Play:

Team members do not sit by each other.  They do not talk to each other (about their cards) except to ask how many wilds the other has, if they want to.  Pick which member of each team will hold the team's Books.  (One more minute...)

Shuffle all the cards together.  Then stack them all up in the center of the table.

Each person gets their own cards.  You want to grab exactly 22 cards without counting--if you succeed, you get 100 bonus points.  If you don't, draw more/return some so that you have 22 cards.

Without looking at your cards, split your hand into two 11-card stacks.

Everyone ready?  Pass one of your piles to the player on your left.  Now look at the BOTTOM card only of both of your card stacks.  The stack with the higher value becomes your Hand, and the other is your Foot.  Put your Foot aside, as you will play from your Hand first.  (You can look at all the cards in your Hand, now.)

Starting the Game:

The person to the left of the player who drew first gets to go first.  At the beginning of every turn, you must draw two cards.  Check out your Hand--you need to get sets of three or more (that is, three or more cards of the same number) in order to lay down.  Color is not important.  You can use wilds (jokers and 2s), but no more than one of the initial three cards in any set can be a wild.

Do you have a set of three?  If so, lay it down (or give it to the Book Holder of your team to lay down); this is the start of your first Book.  A complete Book has seven (or more) cards.  The goal of the game is to have at least four Books--two Dirty (with one or two wilds) and two Clean (with no wilds).  You can have more than these mandatory four Books.  More Books = more points = good.  You and your teammate will work together (but without talking!) to complete your Books.  When a Book is complete, stack it up with a red card on top if it is Clean, and a black card on top if it is Dirty.  (This helps for adding up points at the end.)

{You can also have a bonus Book of all wilds.  This book doesn't count towards your two Clean and two Dirty Books, but it does earn you an extra 1000 points.  But beware!  If you don't get complete this Book, it costs you 1,000 points!  And if you don't have at least one Clean book when the game is over, this Book doesn't count.}

Do you have more than one set?  (Lucky!)  Go ahead and lay it down.

You end your turn by discarding one card.

Then the next player (going to the left) takes their turn.  And so on.  Remember that both members of a team add to the same Books.

See above for examples of Clean and Dirty books, both completed and not.  (By the way, there should not be two stacks of 7's; they would all go together into one Book.  You can continue adding to a "finished" book at any time in the game.)

When you run out of cards in your Hand, you go to your Foot.  If you run out of cards without having enough for a discard, you go straight to your Foot and continue your turn.  If your discard is the last card in your Hand, pick up your Foot and be ready to play from it in your next turn.

The game is over when someone gets rid of all their cards--both it their Hand and their Foot.  But remember, you cannot go out if your team does not have at least two Clean and two Dirty Books!  If they go out with a discard, everyone gets one more turn.  If they go out without a discard, the game ends right then.

Counting up the points:

First you count up your Basic Points.  For every completed Clean Book, you get 300 points.  For every completed Dirty Book, you get 100 points.  (If you have a Book of Wilds, see above.)  Remember to add your Red 3's to this number.

Then you count up your card values:

Aces  --  20 pts
2's  --  20 pts
Black 3's  --  0 pts
(Red 3's  --  100 pts, but they were already counted in your Basic)
4's - 8's  --5 pts
9's - Kings  --10 pts
Jokers  --  50 pts

If these cards are still in your Hand or Foot, they have a negative value, and so are subtracted from your Basic.  If they have been laid down, they have a positive value, and so are added to your Basic even if their Book is not complete.

The team with the most points wins!

23 December 2011

Versatile Blogger Award: Easy Peasy Pie

TodayI am featuring Easy Peasy Pie, written by Kim.  She has so many great projects!  For example:

A  portable photography studio!  Love it!

And a DIY play kitchen!  Boo would LOVE to have one of these.

Then there's this adorable child's bench.  So cute.  And easy!

I hope you all go and check out her blog!

And Merry Christmas!  Can you believe it's Christmas Eve Eve?  How your projects coming?  I still need to finish my husband's present.  And Boo will be getting more presents after Christmas, when I finally get them all done...

21 December 2011

3D Snowman Wall Hanging Tutorial

You wanted a tutorial, so here it is!  Thanks, by the way.  Tutorials take a while to write, so it's always nice to know they're wanted.  

(Pardon the poor photography, please.)

First off, you need to design out your wall hanging.  (I didn't make out any patterns last year, and now the wall hanging is across the country, so this tutorial is more of guidelines than anything else.)  I decided to make a little family of snowmen to represent my little family, so it has  Mommy Snowman (Snow-woman?),  Daddy Snowman, and a Little Girl Snowman.

Now, make your patterns and gather your materials.  You need just general sewing supplies, plus batting, and anything special you want for dressing up your snowmen (buttons, etc).

Cut your back and front fabrics to the same size (whatever size your design calls for).  Part of the reason why I don't like the cutting stage of quilting is that sometimes the ruler slips and I gouge my fabric.  But if you put a piece of non-slide shelf liner under the ruler...Really, I don't know why I didn't think of that before.  So much headache could have been avoided.

Now arrange your pattern pieces on the fabric front.  Remember that your available space will shrink a little bit when you add the binding.  I drew my patterns without seam allowances to make this step easier.  Any adjustments needed?  Alright.  Moving ahead.

Next, cut out your snowmen bodies.  Remember to add seam allowances!  You are pretty much making little tiny pillows--you need to cut out a front and back of everything.  The green fabric there is what became the SnowMom's apron, by the way.

Also cut out (without seam allowances) all of your snowman body pieces out of batting.  

If you are going to sew on the snowmen's faces, do that now.  You could also paint faces on, glue on little buttons...

For each part, stack the white fabric circles right sides together, with the batting on top of that.  Sew around, leaving an opening to turn.  And turn.  (Sorry I didn't get a good picture of this.)  If your nice little circles don't quite stay nice and circular, that's okay!  Real snowmen aren't made of perfect spheres, either.  Funny angles = added charm.

You can dress your snowmen first, or sew them together first; whatever works for you.  Clothes that will be tucked under another snowball (SnowMom's apron, Little Girl's scarf) will need to be put on first, though.  When you do sew the snowmen together, you'll do that with little stitches on the back, as in the picture.

I don't have any pictures of making the clothes (except for the shot with the SnowMom's apron you already saw) because I was just winging it.  I do suggest trying to cut your pieces a little too large--working with such tiny pieces of fabric is difficult to start with; working with slightly too small fabric is even more of a pain.

{Snowmen with Clothes}

Lay out your finished snowmen on the fabric front with the patterns for your embroidery.  Everything still fit?  Good.  Pin everything in place, and sew the little snow family in place.  (Go from the back and just catch the back of the snowmen.  Sorry--no picture again.  At least I got better about tutorial pictures since I made this project last year, right?)

I made my embroidery double as my quilting for this wall hanging, so at this point, I sandwiched together the front (complete now with snowmen!), batting, and backing.  (See this post about putting together a quilt if you're unfamiliar with this step.)  

I backstitched the words.  I just free-handed the letters with my patterns as guides.  (Since I didn't take any pictures of the embroidery process, here's a link to a backstitching tutorial.  She doesn't mention how to end the thread; for this particular project, you could just tie a small knot on the back of the wall hanging.)

But this does make the back of your wall hanging look a little messy.  I found out after the fact that you can quilt your wall hanging with muslin (or other neutral-colored scrap fabric) on the back instead of your backing, and then add the backing on top of that when you sew on your binding!  Clean, smooth backing, nicely-held-together front/batting--sounds good to me.

{So here's my wall hanging all quilted...}

Next, add the binding (and backing, if you did it the more polished way).  If you need some help with making or applying your binding, go here.

There really is snow place like Home.

Happy crafting.

19 December 2011

DIY Simple Wooden Holy Family Nativity

Last Thursday, I went to a wonderful Christmas party put on by the women's organization in my church.  We had dinner, a really nice musical program (I didn't know there were so many talented people in my congregation!), and at the end of the night, they gave us these cute little nativities.

It would be really easy to make one of these for yourself.  And who wouldn't want one of these nativities to decorate their home?

You need:
Some wood  (see the dimensions in the picture above)
Three wooden knobs.  Baby Jesus's head is about 3/4" diameter; I forgot to put that in the picture.
Green, blue, and white crackle paint
Flesh-colored (non-crackle) paint
About 26" of twine
Hot glue
General painting supplies

UPDATE:  I've gotten lots of questions about where I got the wood for this project.  Like I said, I didn't make this nativity, but rather had it given to me at the end of this church activity.  I'm guessing that they got the wood at Home Depot/Lowe's/etc.

The process is pretty clear from the pictures, I think, so I won't write them out.  Here's a picture of the back, though.

Merry Christmas!
 Only six more days!!!

14 December 2011

Snowman Wall Hanging

I made this little wall hanging last year for my MIL.  I couldn't put it up last year, for obvious reasons, so here it is, now! 

Here's the finished wall hanging.  I like how it turned out.  I think the family of snowmen is cute.  :)  (Not so much for how this picture of me turned out.  Bleh.  Oh, well.  At least Boo's cute.)  Would you like a tutorial?  I'll get one up next week at least if you do.  In the mean time, I need to go make some baby shoes!

(Is anyone else as not ready for Christmas as I am?  If so, I wish you the best of luck!)

Happy crafting!

12 December 2011

Cousin Presents Again

So last year, I decided to make these stuffed animal elephants for Boo and all her cousins.  This year, I decided to make them all little slippers!  I made Boo's first, to test the pattern.

Yes, this is the same fabric as I used for the elephants.  I had extra.  :)

I was trying to figure out a  fun way to take pictures of these shoes.  In the tree was fun.  :)

I altered this pattern to make these shoes.  I'll get a tutorial written...but maybe after Christmas.  I have three more of these to make!  (There's another cousin on his way!  He'll be here...in February, I think.)  In the meantime,  I'd like to share this cool photography tip I found on how to take glow-y Christmas tree pictures.

Set the ISO on your camera as high as it will go, which is 3200 on my camera.  I didn't remember the rest of the tip, so I just played with the other settings until I got it right.  For this picture, I used an ISO at 3200, aperture at 2.8 (largest my lens can go), and a shutter speed at 1/13 sec.  (This picture is straight out of the camera, by the way.)  Tripods are helpful, since the shutter speed's pretty slow, but I took this without one. The camera will think the picture is overexposed, but that just means the little twinkly lights will show up better!

10 December 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award 3: Turning a House Into a Home

This week, I'm featuring Turning a House Into a Home.  This blog, by Kristen, is all about "creating beauty on a budget"--which is definitely something I'm into!  Kristen has lots of great (inexpensive!) ideas for beautifying your home.  I found her blog from Pinterest (love that site) with this pin:

Making your own free picture frames?  Yes!

Let's see, what else...

This cool chandelier would be awesome for a party decoration.

And this. I've been wanting to make a rag rug--and Kristen came up with this idea to dye Goodwill sheets--what a great way to get large amounts of fabric on the cheap!

So I am awarding the Versatile Blogger Award to Kristen!

If you accept this award, you need to:
--Link to and give a shout out to the award-giver.
--Share seven things about yourself.
--Send this award on to fifteen other bloggers.

07 December 2011

Merry Christmas Ornaments

Remember my early Christmas present?  Well, here it is--my first finished made-with-my-new-Silhouette project.  (Thanks again, hubby!)

Custom Christmas Ornaments!

This was such an easy project, and I love how it turned out!  In Photoshop, I made an 8 1/2" x 11" design filled with the words "Merry Christmas 2011" plus lots of snowflakes.  (Any image-editing program would work.)  Then I saved it as a jpg.

Then I opened the file in the Silhouette software...

Selected the Trace option, highlighted the entire design, and clicked "Trace" (which I forgot to circle, but you can find it)...

Then I saved this to my SD card, took it to my Silhouette machine, loaded my vinyl, and let the machine do its thing.

It took maybe fifteen minutes to cut out all those shapes!  (I didn't watch the clock, but it was going for a long time.)

Then all I had to do was peel the letters (and numbers, and snowflakes)  off their backing, and stick them on the ornaments I'd bought at the grocery store.  

I've already given one to my in-laws, one's on my Christmas tree, I have one for this ornament exchange I'm going to in a couple weeks--talk about an easy homemade Christmas present!

PS  You can buy vinyl from Silhouette's store, but I just got mine from Lowe's--just ask for the contact paper.  I haven't used Silhouette's vinyl; maybe it's nicer, but this vinyl I got worked well and cost almost nothing.

Happy Crafting!

05 December 2011

Family Portraits!

Family picture time has rolled around again--gotta' get those Christmas cards done!  Since I *pretend* to be a photographer, I don't really want to pay someone else to do the job.  Especially since I don't really like the take-your-portrait-in-the-mall kind of studio shot.  Enter:  tripod and 10 second timer.  (If anyone wanted to get me a remote shutter release for Christmas, they'd be welcome.  My camera's a Konica Minolta.  Hint, hint.)

So last Saturday, we took Boo to the park.  There's this nice brick building that I knew would be great for backgrounds and providing shade.  (It was about 11 o'clock in the morning--I wanted to go when it was warm enough to not wear jackets, but middle of the day lighting isn't really flattering.)  

Boo wanted to run and play, but we got her corralled for a few shots...

If we tell Boo to smile, she opens her mouth really wide like she's yelling or about to eat the world's largest hamburger.  (Why???)  So instead we told her show us her pretty teeth...It's close to a smile.

And then I discovered this nice little alcove--beautiful.  Boo wasn't going to hold still long enough for a whole-family shot, though.  Ah, well.  Her daddy has this picture on his phone already.  :)

And a couple shots of me.  It was fun getting the camera ready, setting the timer, and running into place.  And the pictures are a whole lot more flattering than those at-arm's-lengh pictures I've tried before!

And the Mister.  I did some fairly significant Photoshopping on this one; can you tell what I did?  (Hint:  it's not on Mr. MadeIt.)

One last shot of my wonderful husband!  Thanks for indulging my need to take our own family pictures.

02 December 2011

Versitile Blogger Award 2: Tutorial Adventures

Note to self:  write several posts in a series before announcing it.
Oh, well.  Here's Feature 2, a week late.  {Here's the first post, if you missed it.}

The blog's all about tutorials--what's not to like?  I found this blog from Pinterest (love that site) when a friend pinned this:

DIY fabric lables!  Look how cute her labels turned out!  I still need to make these...

She has lots of fun tutorials on all kinds of subjects, from Dinosaur Costumes to Sock Monsters, Easy Wall Art to Wooden Alphabet Blocks.

So be sure to check out Tutorial Adventures!

Happy crafting!

30 November 2011

Variations on a Theme Christmas Stockings {Tutorial}

My cousin shared this story; tell me if it sounds familiar to any of you.

She bought a Christmas stocking for her little girl.  All is well.

Time passed, and she had a little boy.  She went back to the same store, and, hurray, they still carried those same Christmas stockings.

BUT--when she got home, she realized that the two stockings were not, in fact, the same; they were different sizes.  Now, a baby's isn't going to know or care that his stocking is smaller than his big sister's, but one day, he will.

How can you have all your Christmas stockings match without buying a whole new set when each new baby comes?  Even if you make the stockings, how do you know the fabric you chose will still be available next time?

Answer:  variations on a theme.

{I made these stockings last year, but didn't have time to get them posted before Christmas.  Okay, I finished them last year; I started them the year before.  Christmas passed and then I didn't have any motivation to finish them until the next Christmas season rolled around.  You've had that kind of project, too, I'm sure.}

All the stockings were made from the same pattern, but in different fabrics:  variations on a theme.  So it doesn't matter if I can't find, for example, the candy cane striped fabric again--I will just pick a new set of fabrics when we add another baby to our family.

Would you like to make your family some new Christmas stockings, too?

For each stocking, you need:
My pattern (It's at the bottom of this post.)
Some Christmas-y fabric scraps, cut into 2 1/2" squares
-----If you are buying new fabric, I estimate that you will need a bit less than 1/2 yd total, so if you got 1/8 yd of four different prints, you'd be good to go.  But you could make this out of however many different fabrics you'd like.
Approximately 60" of bias tape, or fabric to make your own  (For this project, it really should be cut on the bias, to help in going around the curves.)  See this tutorial if you need some help making bias tape.
2/3 yd (total) matching fabric for backing and linings  (I used different fabric for the linings and backing.)
Batting of your choice--enough to cut out two stockings (for the front and the back)
General sewing supplies
Quilting supplies of your choice--you could tie, machine quilt, hand quilt...

First, cut out the fabric for the linings and backing, as well as the batting.  They're all the same; might as well get them all done at once.

Next, lay out your 2 1/2" squares into a nice pattern, or lack thereof.  I arranged my squares in what I like to call "Artistic Random."  It's not true random, since I arranged and re-arranged until I liked the look of it, but neither is there a pattern.  Make sure the squares will cover the entire stocking pattern, with significant extra, to compensate for seam allowances.  Sew them together.

Pin the pattern on your ... stocking top?  (Like a quilt top...)  Cut out the stocking.

(Ouch!  Just look at all those pins!)

Sandwich the stocking.  The sandwiches go together squares/batting/lining, and lining/batting/backing.  Pin the sandwiches together.  Be sure to have right sides facing out.

Now we want to quilt the stocking sandwiches.  I stitched little snowflakes in each of the corners.  It took forever, but was a nice touch, I thought.  And I machine quilted each person's name on the back of their stocking.  You could tie quilt your stockings (tutorial here), but I would use embroidery floss instead of yarn for this small a project.  Or you could machine quilt them.  Use whatever method you'd like.

Next we'll be putting on the binding.  Mostly, the technique is just the same as binding a quilt, as in this tutorial.  But there a couple of differences.  For example...

Since you don't want to sew the tops closed, you'll bind the tops separately.  Bind the tops, but don't worry about finishing the ends--they'll go into the seam allowance when you bind the sides.

Pin the front and back of the stockings together, linings in.  Pin on the binding.  Starting at the top of the stocking, toe side, bind as usual until you get to the top, heel side.  Then...

Make a loop with the bias tape, and stitch it into place by hand.

And that's it!

Happy crafting!

(Right click-->"Save to Downloads")

They are sized so that they should print nicely on two 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of paper.  Tape them together, matching the stars.