Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Calendar

Summer is HERE!
And I am determined to get the most out of our 84 days of Summer Vacation!
I made these fun summer calendars that have at least ONE new activity a day.
While I was making the calendars, I made sure to include family reunions, playdates, baseball games, & swim lessons.  That alone makes for a busy summer, but I wanted one "special' event for the day...the little things that make summer so memorable!
It turned out that Mondays are mainly Crafts, Wednesdays are Field Trips, and Thursdays are Science Projects.
I also tried to think of things that would appeal to my kids' ages, gender, & attention span....I'll let you know how effective I was:)
I gleaned ideas from all of the darling Summer Bucket Lists available online.
(Some cute ones are here and here and here)
There are some FANTASTIC moms & dads out there who are doing some totally fun things with their families!
I want to be one of 'em.
Kind of like you want to be part of the "cool kids" group.
But in this case, peer pressure is a good thing:)
I posted the calendars in my kitchen where the kids can see them.
They are already SO excited and will say things like, "I can't wait until June 29th" or "July 11th will be so fun!"
It's great hearing their eagerness to do ALL of these activities.

The one thing that I prefer about the calendar, as opposed to a bucket list, is that it will hold ME to it.
If it says we are going to make puppets on Monday, we WILL make puppets Monday.
I am such a flaky girl that if I had one big checklist, we would be doing 40+ activities the day before school starts in August, LOL!

Finally, I purchased this DARLING calendar template from the ShabbyShoppe.
In my opinion they are the cutest source for digital scrapbooking supplies!
At least for my scrapbooking taste:)

If you would like a list of the summer activities we have planned, leave a comment & I will email you:)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rachel Panini Recipe

Let me start by saying I do not know how to take 'food' photos.
You know how some people can photograph chocolate-dipped grasshoppers and make them look tempting?!
That's not me.

But I AM a good panini-eater:)

This is one of my favorite sandwich recipes and I have to share!
It's great for summer when you don't want to do "real" cooking like turning on your oven:)
sourdough bread, coleslaw, provolone cheese, sliced turkey
 Now this next part is kind of tricky.
Put the cheese on one slice of bread, and put the turkey & coleslaw on the other.

I like to sandwich the coleslaw in between the turkey & cheese so the bread doesn't get mushy.
See, pretty technical.
 Heat-up your George Foreman grill & cook for approximately 4-5 minutes....just until you see those golden, crispy lines:)
I loved to buy these paninis at the local Ukrops grocery store when I lived in Virginia.
They always paired it with a dill pickle, which I definitely recommend:)

It's easy!
Try it!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Hair

Here's my philosphy on "summer hair":
Try to get 2-3 days out of one style!
Being a SAHM, I don't have to look 'styled'...but I prefer to not look haphazard!!!

So the 1st day, with wet hair, I spritz with some styling gel.
I pull back my hair in tight twists or braids.
The 2nd day, I try to utilize the 'stray' tendrils that slipped out---think BohoChic ala' Nicole Richie.

And if possible, the 3rd day I let down my hair and scrunch the resulting beachy waves.

I like to add a fun headband or sash when my hair is pulled-back so it doesn't look so "severe".
This darling sash is Vera Bradley, and reversible.
And I like to tie it on the side:)
What's your favorite "summer hair-dos"?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Embellished Skirts

I am SO excited to share this post for CrafterHours "Skirt Week"!

When I first started sewing, I did very BASIC clothing---almost primitive.
But I soon found that "basic" could be "beautiful" with some simple embellihsments!
So, this post shows THREE simple ways to embellish a BASIC SKIRT!

Enter: Basic Skirt
Slight A-Line w/Elastic Waist
I was lucky enough to have The Ribbon Retreat provide ALL the embellishments for these projects!
A bag full of ric-rac, grosgrain ribbon, and moonstitch ribbon!
Thank you Ribbon Retreat!

First is a double-row of Ric-Rac!
I just love how ric-rac makes everything look playful and hand-crafted.
This skirt addition doesn't take much explaining---
just make sure to mark your placement before pinning & sewing into place.
This simple step will ensure the ric-rac is 'level' all the way around the skirt.
I always heat-seal the ends of ric-rac with a lighter to prevent fraying, just like with ribbon.
Moving on, the next skirt is a great play on the popular pick-ups in skirts.
I'm calling this embellishment: Ribbon Tabs
My daughter has been on a kick lately of ONLY wearing skirts or dresses---a true princess.
This ribboned-addition lets her feel dressed-up in what mom considers a "play" skirt...
I'm not afraid to let her wear it to the playground.

I cut 4 strips of 6" length of moonstitch ribbon.

Then I heat-sealed the ends with a lighter, and folded under either end 1/4" and pressed.
This fold will hide the ends to give a neat look.
I decided where to place the ribbon tabs and measured up 5" from the hem---this is what will give the skirt its' scallops or pick-ups. 
Make sure to line up the front & back of the ribbon so that when you sew horizontally at the base of the tab, you catch both the outside & inside.
Finally, I made a basic bow & hand-sewed it into place.
Your Ribbon Tab Skirt is done!

This last skirt was the "hardest" of the three....and it only took 20 minutes to embellish!
LOL, not much of a challenge, huh?!
I call this a Ribbon Weave.
I used this darling red grosgrain that is 1 1/2" wide.
I used the automatic button-hole attachment on my sewing machine;
I used my ruler to mark the button hole placement...

I marked 3" from the previous hole and then placed the next two holes 1" apart.
Then repeat for the rest of the skirt. 

*Note:  The 3" length can be switched to whatever suits the circumference of your skirt--
make it an easily divisible number.

Weave your ribbon through the button holes.
Heat-seal the ends of the ribbon and fold under prior to sewing the ribbon to the skirt at the seam(s).
At the center of the skirt I made an extra button hole to weave my bow through.
If you choose to not go with a bow, this extra button hole in the center is not necessary.
Tie a simple knotted bow and weave the tails through the center button holes.
Hand-sew the bow into place, and your Ribbon Weave skirt is complete!

I love each of these skirts---they are very playful, fun, wearable, & EASY!

Even though I demonstrated these embellishments on skirts for girls, 
they could TOTALLY be translated into an adult version!

I, myself, would love to have 5 layers of ric-rac on a solid skirt....
Or pair the tabbed skirt with a lace underskirt peeking out....
Or even pick a fun summer print and weave ribbon, sans bow...
 Go ahead!  
Step from BASIC into BEAUTIFUL!
Ok, you get the idea...
Whether you try one of these techniques, or you're already dreaming of some on your own, remember...embellishments are a great way to dress-up ANY skirt!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

S'mores Teacher Gift

My fantastic aunt is a veteran elementary school teacher.
So when I asked for a unique end-of-the-year Teacher Gift,
she shared this WONDERFUL idea!
 Seriously, this comes together SO quick!
Graham crackers, Hershey chocolate bars, and marshmallows! 

I used the cute flat marshmallows that are specifically for s'mores.  (found them at WalMart)

 Here is the darling saying that ties the whole gift together:

An apple isn't good enough
for a teacher as sweet as you,
'cause you make learning so much fun
with exciting things to do!

So this s'more is just to thank you
in a sweet and sincere way,
for all you do to help me learn
s'more and s'more each day!

Isn't that the cutest?!
My aunt said she loved receiving a thoughtful gift that wasn't something she had to keep hold of.
There's only so many ceramic apples that fit on your desk, right?!  LOL!

Here is the digital card I made using this s'more kit by Whimsy Primsy.
It's on sale for only $2!

We printed it as a 4x6 photo and then attached to my son's hand-written note with an eyelet & ribbon.
This is a "sweet" gift to give to show your appreciation to those wonderful teachers!
Give as is, or stuff a gift card in the bag too!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Graduation Laundry Gift Tag

In case anyone else would like to give a 'laundry-themed' gift to the graduate, 
here is a free printable of the tag I made.

Leave your email in the comments and I will send you the jpeg file ASAP:)
(example: janijo at gmail dot com)

Laundry Bag Graduation Gift/Applique Tutorial

It's the time of year for Graduation Gifts.
I always go back-&-forth between wanting to do something thoughtful/personalized or 'just' money.

Seriously, what college-bound kid doesn't want money?!

But this year I went for personalized:)
I decided to give an appliqued laundry bag.
I bought the laundry bag below at Fred Meyer for $6.
You could easily make this muslin sack, but I was running out of time...
 Appliques are a SUPER way to use up your fabric scraps!
I know that this particular graduate loves purple, so out came the purple hues:)
 I printed out her name in block-letters from a Word document.
 Then for each letter you will need 3 things:  
*the block letter
*the fabric scrap (ironed)
*a piece of ironable, double-sided heat bond
 Here's a picture of all the letters, fabrics, and heat bond cut-out.
Next, you will iron on the heat/bond to the 'wrong' side of all your fabric scraps.
Leave the paper-backing on for now.
It will help keep the fabric stiff while you cut it out.

The easiest way to cut out the letters is to pin your paper to the 'right' side of your fabric (with the heat bond applied to the back).
The pins will help keep the letter template in place.
 Cut out all of your fabric letters.
 Here's all of my happy, purple letters cut out:)
 Now is the time to take off the paper-backing....

 Arrange your letters where you want them placed on the laundry bag.
Iron them in place!
Make sure to press around every part of the applique' to ensure a good "seal".
After the letters are ironed into place, you are going to reinforce the bond by stitching...
plus it gives such a darling finish.
I used a dark purple thread for contrast and did a simple straight stitch.
You can also use a tight zig-zag to mimic a "real" applique; 
but I thought that if a little fraying occurred, it might be cute on a laundry bag. 
The laundry bag is finished!
I must say, I love how it turned out.
Maybe it's because I have a unique name, but I LOVE personalized gifts.

I still catch myself trying to find my name on those silly personalized keychains at gas stations;
because I apparently think that would make me happy, LOL!!!

I think I'll make myself a laundry bag instead....
I packaged the laundry bag with a fun tag I made and wrapped it around a box of Purex laundry sheets.
 It turned out to be a wonderful graduation gift!
One that I was so excited to GIVE;
and one that she was so happy to GET!

I think this would even be a fun gift for graduates to give their friends!
And very cost-effective, too.  The gift was $11 including the Purex sheets.

Maybe next year I will try a freezer-paper stencil on the laundry bag....