31 August 2011

Don't Be a No-Reply Comment Blogger! I Want To Respond To Your Comments

Soooooo...I've been writing e-mails to nobody.

No, I'm not crazy.

(Well, maybe I am, but the e-mails have nothing to do with it.)

I have my blog set up so that your wonderful comments are sent to my e-mail.  I try to respond to your comments, because I love that you decided to take the time to let me know you liked my post.  (Thank you!!!)  Or I can answer any questions that you have.  But often the "To" field says, "noreply-comment@blogger.com."  Which means you are not getting my reply.  So I'm writing to nobody.

Would you like to hear back from me?  It's an easy fix.  Ready?

Log in to Blogger.
Go to your Dashboard.
Choose Edit Profile.  (It's next to your picture.)

Now, in the Privacy section (it's at the top), check the box that says "Show my e-mail address."
In the next section (the Identity section), enter the e-mail where you would like to receive blogger e-mails, like my replies. :)

Save, and you're done.  And now I can talk to you.  Hurray!

PS:  If you would like to set up your blog so that comments are e-mailed to you, that's really easy to do, too.
Go to your Dashboard-->Settings-->Comments.  Now scroll down to the bottom, and you will see "Comment Notification E-Mail."  Pick which e-mail address you want comments sent to, and click Save Settings.  Let me know if you have any questions.

29 August 2011

Who's Pintrested?

Well, I finally did it:  I started a Pintrest account.  The reason that I didn't start before is that I knew I'd be addicted.  And I was right!  I love seeing what my friends posted, and I love having a visual record of all the stuff I think is cool.  (Must. Not. Check. Pinterest.  Must. Finish. Blog. Post...)


And I'm back.  My sister needed an explanation of what Pinterest is.  So I was distracted for a moment.  In case you don't know what Pinterest is...

Pinterest.com is a website for storing all the cool stuff you find on the web.  It's also for sharing those cool things with your friends.  (And finding new cool things from them--as if I didn't have enough projects I wanted to do!)  

If you're like me, you have lots of bookmarks/links to fun crafty tutorials saved on your computer.  

(My Life Before Pinterest)

But I am now transferring these links to Pinterest.

You need an invite to join Pinterest.  Leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I'll send you one.

If you are already on Pinterest and would like to follow me, here's my profile page:  

Happy Pinning!

24 August 2011

Perpetual Calendar Tutorial

I like to-do lists.  Mostly, I like checking things off of a to-do list.  I have been known to write something I've already done on my to-do list just so I can check it off.  It makes me feel productive.

Checking things off a a to-do list:  fun.  Writing the same things on the to-do list every day:  not fun.  So I decided to make myself a perpetual calendar, with my daily things already written on it.  I made this with materials I gathered up things from around my house, so this project was free!  (My favorite kind of project!)

I started off with a 11x14 picture frame I already had that wasn't being used.  (I picked that size so I would have plenty of space for writing, but you can use whatever size you like.)  I like the clean look of a glossy white frame, so I spray painted the frame with paint I bought for another project, but haven't used yet.

(Oops!  My cardboard didn't catch all the overspray!)

Next, I drew out a calendar grid on some scrapbook paper from a pack of paper that will eventually become a scrapbook for Boo (I'm not really a scrapbooker...) and wrote in all my to-do's.  Man, this took forever!  I don't think I'll write it out by hand next time.

So I made a couple of calendar blanks for you to use (and me, when my calendar needs to be updated).  I made them up in two sizes, regular printer paper size and legal paper size, if your printer can print at that size.  Or you could have it printed at Kinkos, or some such place.  (Just right click and save your chosen calendar to your computer.)

Next, I cut my 12x12 scrapbook paper down to 11" tall, and I cut a couple of strips of a different scrapbook paper to add to the sides to make my calendar 11x14.

I used the cardboard back for the picture frame as a guide for how large my calendar needed to be.

And there it is!  I have all my regular to-do's, plus weekly events like Scouts on Wednesdays and Date Nights on Friday.  (Hurray for that!)  And since the calendar is behind glass, I can use a dry erase marker to write in the month and dates and unusual things like doctor's appointments, birthdays, and the like.  Now I just need to hang it up.  Maybe I should write that on my to-do list calendar...

22 August 2011

End of Vacation, and Introducing...

Ah, I love vacations, especially when that vacation is visiting family.  And when that vacation-to-visit-family is practically free--all the better.  We just got back a few days ago.  Ah, well.  Back to business.

Two weeks ago, Mr. MadeIt had training for work in another state.  Three days of training, plus a day on each side for traveling--bleh.  BUT Mr. MadeIt's parents just moved about a half hour away from the training site, so Boo and I went with him!  We got to visit with family we hadn't seen since Christmas, and Mr. MadeIt had his way paid by his employer.  And SkyMiles paid for my airplane ticket, and Boo is still young enough to fly free.  Sweet.

My mother-in-law is really crafty, and she gave me lots of good ideas for fun stuff to make, and I thought I'd write a mini-series about these projects.  So, without further ado,

MIL Made It

First up, the Animal Bath Pal.

Okay, so I'm not sure if my MIL made this, but it would be pretty easy.  And Boo loved bath time with this little guy.  I think it would be fun to make several of these wash cloth animals, each with different animal designs.  I'll write up a tutorial soon--once I've made the project.

15 August 2011

Tied Baby Quilt for Little Twins!

So, I've told you about how to tie the knot for a tied quilt and one of the many options you have for binding a quilt.  Now, would you like to see a quilt put together from start to finish?  I hope so, 'cause that's what this post is about.  :)

A while back, a good friend of mine had twins--a boy and a girl.  If there's anything cuter than a newborn baby, it's newborn baby twins.  When my sister and I saw these pink/brow and blue/brown elephant fabrics at Jo-Anne's, we immediately knew that those adorable babies needed adorable baby blankets.

These quilts are sized to be good carry-around, lay-on-the-floor-to-play-on, tuck-around-the-baby-in-the-carseat quilts.  They are great for infants, but are still large enough for toddlers.  

For one quilt, you will need:
1 yard of fabric for the quilt top
1 1/2  yards of fabric for the backing/binding
Big needles (large enough eyes to fit the yarn through)
General sewing equipment
Quilt frame--you can tie a quilt without a frame, but it is harder.  (You could try a large embroidery hoop.)  Whatever you choose, make sure you can keep the fabric taut.
Thumbtacks, preferable the ones are flat on the front

Alright, the first step, of course, is to cut out your fabric.  I'm not really a fan of cutting fabric (you'd think with the rotary cutter and ruler, I could cut a straight line, wouldn't you?  But no.), so it's nice that this project requires me to do very little of it.  My sister and I made these quilts about one yard square, but you could just cut the extra half yard off the backing fabric and have a nice width-of-fabric X 1 yd quilt.

Cut your batting to fit your quilt backing.  It's easiest to have your batting and backing a little larger than your quilt top--err on the side of caution, you know--but especially on a quilt as small as this, it's not really necessary.  And we'll cut the fabric for the binding later.

{UPDATE:  I should probably clarify that for larger-than-baby quilts, you really do need to have the backing and batting larger than the top.  Two-three extra inches on each side would be good.  Hopefully the quilt sandwich won't slip out of place while you're quilting, but it is possible (especially without a quilting frame), so err on the side of not having to completely re-do your quilt.  And having extra backing/batting for the baby quilt never hurt anyone, either.}

Next, sandwich the quilt together on the quilting frame.  (Quilt sandwich = backing, wrong side up + batting + quilt top, right side up.)  Use the thumbtacks to secure each layer as you add it, removing the previous layer's tacks if they are in the way.  If you are not using a frame, sandwich the quilt on whatever surface is large enough to lay your quilt out flat.  If you are making a larger-than-baby-quilt sized quilt, the floor is a good option.  Pin securely. 

(Sorry for the bad picture.)

Now you can tie the quilt.  The nice thing about baby quilts is that you can tie them in about no time flat.  Who doesn't like instant gratification?

If you'd like a refresher on how to actually tie the knots for a tied quilt, see this post.

You are almost done already!  Last step: Finishing the edges.  There are several ways to finish the edges of a quilt: with prairie points, a ruffle, self-binding (like I did for my Fourth of July wall hanging), and more.  The method I used, I recently found out, is called Double Fold Binding.  (For my tutorial on this quilt binding method, click here.)

And that's it!  All you have to do now is bask in the love/appreciation/gratitude/hero worship of the lucky recipient of your quilt.

Happy sewing!

10 August 2011

Awesome Folded Fabric Flowers--Japanese Style

I like fabric.  I hoard fabric.  It's a little crazy the size of fabric scraps that I can't bear to part with.  Seriously, who keeps one inch strips of fabric?  (They were just too pretty to throw away...  And actually, I came up with a great way to use them.  I'll write a post about it later.)  

If you, too, are addicted to fabric to the point that you don't throw away even little tiny scraps, DO NOT READ THIS POST!  It will only make it worse.

So, what can you do with this much fabric? 

How about make a sweet little Kanzashi flower?  The blue flower below took only six one-inch squares of fabric.  

No fabric scrap is safe.

I got a book from the library called Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleand (the blogger behind CraftyPod). Kanzashi are really pretty easy to make; the two flowers pictured above are my first two attempts.  (The blue one wasn't finished, but I'll show you the completed project later.)  I turned the white one into a hair clip, and when Boo saw it, she said, "White!  Pink!  Hair!"  (I love how she says each word as its own sentence.)

Kanzashi in Bloom teaches how to make three styles of petals and gives lots of ideas for what to do with your creations (hair clips, belt buckles, flower arrangements, rings, earrings, necklaces, and more).

You could also just google "kanzashi tutorials."  (By the way, some of these tutorials tell you to starch you fabric, but I don't think it's necessary--I didn't use starch for either of these flowers.)

Happy flower-making!

08 August 2011

What do you think of my new blog design?

What do you think of my blog's new look?  A while ago, I realized that all the blogs I thought looked the best had white backgrounds.  They're just so bright, happy, clean, uncluttered...  But it took me a while to get my blog's background changed over, mostly because I needed to redesign my blog's header first.

(The poor little elephant doesn't stand out very much against all the white.)

Well, I finally decided it was time.  And with a little help from some friends at The Blog Design Network, I came up with this:

(So you know what I'm talking about if I decide to change it again later.)

And then I found a tutorial on how to make your blog wider.  Awesome--I always thought the posting space was too skinny, even though I set my blog as wide as the Template Designer would let it go.  (And if you click over to the tutorial, you'll find one of the white-background-blogs that inspired my redesign!)

So, do you like the new design?  Is there anything else you would change?  Or anything you would change back?

{UPDATE:  The tutorial I linked to has been taken down.  But Blogger has made it very easy to make your blog pretty wide.  All you do is go to the Template Designer, click on "Adjust Widths," and move the sliders until you like the width.}

03 August 2011

I'm Guest Posting at Momma's Kinda Crafty!

I'm guest posting at Momma's Kinda Crafty today!  It's my first guest post; I'm so excited!  My post is a tutorial on making a Growth Stick.  What is that, you wonder?  Here's a hint:

Intrigued?  Then click on over to my amazing guest post to find out more.  :)

UPDATE:  This blog doesn't seem to be up anymore!  Never fear, I have reposted the tutorial on my own blog.  Just click on over for my DIY Growth Chart.

01 August 2011

How to Emphasize Your Comments on Your Blogger Blog

I'm always looking for ways to improve my blog.  One thing I've been wondering how to do is make my own contributions to the comments section stand out.  For example, let's say one of you lovely readers asks me a question.  You'd like to be able to easily skim through the comments to find my answer, right?  So how could I make my comments look different?

I found this tutorial, How to Highlight Author Comments in Blogger, from SimpleBloggerTutorials.com, and it worked!  (Sometimes I find html-related tutorials that don't work...but it's probably just my inexpertness in html.)

Okay, so just click over to SBT's tutorial, then meet me back here, and I'll teach you some ways to customize how your (and your readers') comments look.



Good, you're back.  :)

So, if you follow SBT's instructions exactly, you get this:

If this fits the look of your blog, then you're done!  But if you'd like to tweak it a bit, read on...

(This is the second bit of code that the instructions have you paste into your blog template.)

margin-bottom:0 !important;

 <--Background color.  Bet you guessed that already.
padding:5px;  <--  Has to do with the space around the comment.
margin-bottom:1.5em;  <--  Similar to padding.
border:1px solid #ccc;  <--  Border thickness, style, and color
border-radius:10px;  <-- This is what makes the corners rounded.
.author-comment.blog-author {
background: #FFEBCD
<--  This is the background color for your comments.  url(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_-BRP4LFLyWc/TZX3b7r2AyI/AAAAAAAAATY/8Am8ri02OjE/s800/admin.png) no-repeat right top;  <--   The url is a direct link to the crown image.  

The text in blue applies to all comments on your blog.  The text in red applies to your (the author of the blog's) comments only.

If you'd like to change the background color (for all the comments, or just for yours), just change the appropriate number.  Click here for a list of web colors.  Or, if you use Photoshop, open an image that has a color you'd like (for example, if you'd like to use the same color as your custom navigation tabs you rushed off and made after reading my tutorial about it, you would open that image).  Open the Color Picker, use the Eyedropper tool to select your color, and Photoshop will tell you the number right there.

If you'd like to change the border, click here for css coding for different border styles.  If you'd like to change the rounding of the corners, click here to find out how.  If you want to remove the border entirely, simply delete the code for the border.

Here's how I customized my code:
margin-bottom:0 !important;
.author-comment.blog-author {

And this is what I got:

Have fun making your blog exactly the way you want it!  Let me know if you have any questions!