December 28, 2014

I Tried It…. Shrink Wrap a Christmas Tree {Success}

Recently, I was inspired via Pinterest - specifically this blog - to shrink wrap my Christmas tree. 

The steps are easy... 

Shrink Wrap a Christmas Tree

Step One:  Buy plastic wrap and wrap your tree. Saran Wrap works or you can buy the plastic wrap wand from Home Depot or Lowe's. After using the wand, I can't imagine I would prefer good old Saran Wrap for this task.

Step Two:  Remove all decorations, except for the lights. I saved a whole $50 not getting the pre-lit fake tree. Big mistake. A pre-lit tree is worth the extra $50 and I have been reminded of it for the past 3 years. Please, if you have this option - BUY PRE-LIT.

Step Three:  On to wrapping. Hold up the branches and wrap tree. We lifted every other branch and wrapped ourselves down the tree.

Until next year Mr. Mummified Christmas Tree!

December 14, 2014

Baby Shower Quilted Keepsake

Four (very short) years ago, the shower for my baby girl was held. I remember trying to figure out exactly what craft to do at the shower. I absolutely wanted something crafty, but I also wanted a valued keepsake for my daughter to treasure. ZERO offense to all the crafty onesie baby showers that occur…. and ZERO offense to those that attend those showers and create the ugliest onesie known to man… creating onesies are fun, but I don’t think they make a valued keepsake.

My stepmom – the Martha Stewart of our family – came up with a fantastic idea! My baby shower guests would each design a quilt block with a quote and a flower. To help keep quality assurance, flower “parts” and quilt squares were prepared ahead of time.  All the guests had to do was design their flower using the flower parts – iron the flower in place and then write their quote using fine-tipped fabric markers.

The results were creative and beautiful!! 

Baby Shower Quilted Keepsake
Colorful Fabric for Flowers
Heat n' Bond
Freezer Paper
Flower Templates (Google Pictures of Flowers)
Fine-Tipped Fabric Markers
Fantastic Quilter!

Step 1: Find the fabrics to create your flowers. Fat-quarters or the fabric sample packs in the quilting section work fabulously for this project.

Step 2: If you aren’t using the sample pack of fabrics, then cut your fabric into squares – around 6” x 6” would work well.  Remember, you are going to cut designs out of this fabric – the square is just to get it to a manageable size.

Step 3: Iron on the Heat n' Bond. 

Step 4: Using muslin, cut out lots of 12” x 12” squares.

Step 5: Iron on freezer paper to the back of the squares.  This just makes them more manageable for the baby shower guests and for storage / mailing purposes.

Step 4: Using pictures of flowers as a template (Google: Flower Templates), cut out petals, flowers, leaves and stems. Make sure they will fit on a 12” x 12” quilt square!!

Now you are ready to have your baby shower guests create quilt squares!!!

Step 1: Have each guest create a flower on a square – have them leave about ¼ inch on all sides of the design. Once they are happy with their flower, iron it to the square.

Step 2: After flower is securely ironed on the square. Each guest should write their quote and sign their name.

Step 3: Magic happens!  Okay, not really – it is more like “stepmom magic quilting” happens.  If you are a quilter, then fantastic – sew together and quilt away.  If not, find yourself a fantastic quilter to finish the project for you.

The finished project is a quilt filled with quotes for my daughter. It was designed and handcrafted by her grandmothers and mother as well as many other women in her life.  A true keepsake that I hope she values for many years.

January 26, 2014

Preschool Introduction Book

Because life never stands still, Sweetpea is starting a new school soon. We are ALL very excited and had so much fun over the past few weeks picking out a new backpack, lunch box, etc. The only downside is she is starting her new school in the middle of the year and will be the "new girl".  To help introduce her to the new class, I designed an "introductory" picture book for the teacher to read during her first day.

To create the book, I used Walgreen's online photo lab.  The online design tool was VERY SIMPLE to use; no craft skills needed. You upload pictures, select the look and feel of your book, select a theme (e.g. tropical, baby girl, etc.) and then you design.  Design is a strong word.  You are really just clicking and dragging things around.

My design was, again, simple.  I selected solid backgrounds.  The left page layout contained only photos and no text.  The right page layout contained only text. I kept it consistent throughout the book because I wanted it to read like a picture book and not a scrap book. The total price was $22, with an online coupon.  The quality is pretty decent as well…. let's say it works in a pinch.  If you had more time and money, I've had wonderful results with Shutterfly books.  Note: If you use Walgreens, your book must contain at least 20 pages.  

These are not all the pages in the book, I just wanted to share a sample.  My goal was to engage the class while the teacher reads the book.  When she reads, "Do you like to swim?", I am hopeful hands will raise and Sweetpea will soon understand that friends will be easily made at her new school.

January 22, 2014

Valentine's Ribbon Wreath

It's not very often I have time to myself.  I seriously relate to the mom quote "a vacation is peeing alone"because boy does it fit my life!  And when I do get some time to myself, I usually end up doing really fun things such as fold laundry, clean house, meal plan, etc.  This is my life and I love it, but time to craft and blog…. not usually something I get around to doing. But in the last three weeks, I've had enough alone time to create a new wreath.  A wreath which only really takes an hour to create….

I chose this craft because it was simple and something I could easily pick up/put down when I am called off to do another task.  The wreath turned out super cute and cost less than $20 to make.  And I am a BIG fan of cheap, fast and easy.

Valentine's Ribbon Wreath

10" Wreath (be warned - do not remove the plastic wrapping!)
5 Spools of Ribbon (more if you want!!)
Straight Pins

Step 1:  Cut the ribbon into 4" strips. If you have a mat like mine, then lay out your ribbon and cut every 4" to save yourself time.  I only mention this "common sense" tip because the light bulb went off a little too late in my cutting project.  Sigh.

Step 2:  Make a loop and pin into the wreath. Each loop takes two straight pins. Be sure to utilize your thimble so you thumbs don't hate you later!  Many ribbon wreath tutorials will have you glue the loops together before pinning them to the wreath.  Since I am always strapped for time, I skipped this step and didn't experience any problems. 

Step 3:  Continue making loops and pinning using all the different ribbon types.  Pin the ribbon loops very close to one another to avoid gaps. Squish them together and pin them in all different directions. It is a craft project and the goal is to make the loops look randomly placed.

Step 4: Loop a large ribbon and pin to the back of your wreath to create the hook.  I used six pins to hold the ribbon on!!