2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 470,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 9 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

Snow! {better late than never..}

Wait, did I say better?!? The kids were disappointed that we did not have snow for Christmas (I secretly was glad the roads were clear for those traveling!) but boy, mother nature made up for it this week! We got about a foot on Thursday and I awoke to what looks like another 6″ this morning! I’m thinking this would be a good day to stay in my jammies, bake some bread and pick away and my annual craft room reorganizing project. Here is a watercolor sketch I did a few weeks ago of lobster buoys pulled in for the winter:

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Time for another cup of coffee, fist I think I will visit my chickens (who, by the way, do NOT like the snow) and see if I have any goodies to bring them…I think I should make them some chicken booties so their feet won’t get cold in the snow. We put more savings down in their covered run yesterday to keep them off the snow but it must have been windy because it looks like there is more snow in there today, poor chickens. Has anyone ever knit for a chicken before…wow, I am Turning into “crazy chicken lady!”

Have fun in the snow (if you have some) and til next time happy crafting!

Tutorial: Make a Sleeping Bag and Tent for an American Girl Doll!

Did anyone get an American Girl doll for Christmas? Or any other 18″ doll? I made my twin 8-year-old daughters sleeping bags and a tent for their dolls this year.

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I did not use a pattern, I made it up as I went along. The sleeping bag was easy, I made 2 in an hour. I used double-sided quilted fabric that I found at Joanns. This stuff is pricey ($20 a yard normally) but it was on sale and you only need 1/2 yard to make a bag and pillow. you will also need a 18″ zipper, some bias tape, fiberfill and a sewing machine.

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To make the bag cut 2 rectangles of material 13″x20″. Insert the zipper then top stitch it down on the front side before you sew up the bag. Then sew up the bag and sew bias tape over the raw top edge. I like to use bias tape here rather than hemming it because it looks neater and has less bulk. For the pillows I simply cut two rectangles out of the leftover scraps, sewed them on 3 sides, stuffed it with fiberfill and sewed up the open side, easy as pie!

Tip: Rub the zipper with a bar of soap so it will be easy to open and close!

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For the tent I bought 1 and a half yards of two cotton fabrics from the clearance bin, cut it down to 27″ wide, pinned them right sides together and sewed it up on 3 sides (both short sides and one long side is sewn). Tip: If you sew it so the selvage edge is the un-sewn edge you won’t need to hem it! Turn it right side out, it will look like a huge, unruly pillowcase. Cut two 20″x26″ pieces of cardboard or foamcore and one 16″x26″ piece. These are the tent wall and floor supports. Now with the fabric right side out you need to sew 2 dividers in the fabric. I placed one of the large boards in the fabric and marked along the edge to get a line to sew on. You want the material to be tight against the boards.

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The flaps are tricky, after I made the tent I assembled it and traced the end onto newspaper and used it as a template to make the flaps then I sewed each flap to the front end. I kept the back-end open because I wanted to be able to remove the foamcore piece and replace it if it got bent or if I needed to wash the tent.

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Best of all the tent is reversible and can be folded up and tucked in a closet or under a bed when not in use!  You will need ribbons (or velcro) at each end of the tent as well as on each side of the flaps to keep the tent up and to tie the flaps back. It is probably better to catch the ribbon in the seams as you work but you can just as well sew them on afterward. It is up to you!

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This was a fun project and the sleeping bag and pillow would make a great sewing project for your child! thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

WOYWW: A Boxing Day Recap!

Okay, I’m a day late for What’s on your Workdesk Wednesday hosted by the fabulous Julia at the stamping ground. That’s because yesterday I was too busy sorting beads…

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I got 2 more Ultimate Stackers from my sister for Christmas so I tackled the big box o’ beads I ordered a month ago from Fire Mountain Gems. I placed a large order because I depleted most of my bead stash making jewelry to sell at the craft fair and the beads at Joanns and ACmoore were so expensive that I could not make jewelry with them and earn a profit. The beads from FMG were better quality and a fifth of the price! I paid $1 for most strands of glass beads and they were 12″-36″ long strands! I cannot recommend them highly enough and they did not give me any free beads to say that LOL!

BTW you can see my bead organization video and tips here.

Oh, excitement! My wonderful husband bought me the Fireworks bead making kit for Christmas for making lampwork beads! I now have a bead torch! I just need to pick up a MAPP gas can from the hardware store and I will be in business. You all know how I love to melt gas and work with questionably dangerous tools and supplies! Don’t worry, I will keep the fire extinguisher handy:)

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I have been working on some other crafty storage projects yesterday too and I hope to have a new studio tour video up soon since it has been 3 years since the last one and a lot has changed in my little (ahem…ever sprawling…) corner of the basement and I’d love to share that with you. In the meantime the rest of the house looks like a tornado of kid has hit it and I really should do something about that!

Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

We drank from mason jars and it was good.

Happy Christmas! We had a nice time last night having family here for Christmas eve. Hubby’s soup, lasagna and eggs were a hit and people even liked my chili and rolls (with the disclaimer that I made it and it was vegan!) It was good to be together. :) Today the kids are tearing around with their toys and soon we will go  ‘over the river and through the woods’  to my parents house and have Christmas dinner with them. I hope you have a wonderful day (whether you celebrate Christmas or not) and I want you to know how much I appreciate you visiting my blog and all of the lovely comments you leave. Here is this years Christmas card from us, I did not send as many out as I usually do but this way I can share it at least.

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Have a safe and happy day and til next time happy crafting!

PS don’t worry, the twins did not leave their brother wrapped up until Christmas LOL!

Thank God I married a man who can cook!

Happy Christmas eve folks! I am just popping in with a quick post as I need to ready the house for Christmas Eve guests. My honey is making lasagna, deviled eggs and he already made veggie and chicken soup, I am making my famous rolls and veggie chili and each of my kids want to bake something. I’d say I need to supervise them in the kitchen today but really it is the other way around LOL! I’m no hero, or martyr, when it comes to holiday entertaining  if someone offers to bring something I accept, I use frozen pies (I found 2 vegan Sara Lee pies at the supermarket yesterday-Score!) because, let’s face it, Mrs. Smith and Sara Lee know a heck of a lot more about baking than I do!

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As I worked on holiday projects this year I would die-cut the scraps into tags, and I am glad I did because when it came time to wrap I couldn’t find the peel and stick variety I bought last year. I like these better any way…that does not mean I am above using office printer labels for gifts in a pinch…see…nobody’s perfect :)  So, folks, my advise for today is not to get hung upon the details. Christmas will come whether or not your dishes and gift tags match, if extra people come over and they have to drink from jelly jars, so what, (if you-know-who can sleep in a stable your guest will survive drinking from a Mason jar) welcome them, make room, and oh yeah, one more piece of advise; marry a man who can cook! Merry Christmas and til next time happy crafting!

2 Days ’til Christmas! {you can panic now…}

Ha ha, just kidding. I don’t want you to panic, Christmas will come whether or not you bake that extra batch of cookies or hit the mall one last time. People will enjoy gathering together even if there is a layer of dust on your mantel or you burn that apple pie. We don’t look back and wish we spent more time shopping, cleaning or baking. we wish we spent more time with the people we love…let’s do more of that! Here is a painting  I painted it a couple of weeks ago. It is a peaceful sunset in Maine:

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Since all of our snow was washed away by rain this weekend it looks about right. :)  So, don’t stress out today trying to finish everything on your to-do list. Snuggle on the couch and watch a Christmas movie or decorate a gingerbread house with the kids. As for my stress free day the Schwanns man is scheduled to stop by today so I have Christmas dinner all set LOL! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

A Kid’s Craft: Gum Wrapper Bracelets & Bookmarks!

Yesterday I spent the morning in my son’s 4th grade class and I taught the kids gum-wrapper folding…Well, actually, an easier version with half as many folds! We used scrapbook paper, which is thicker than gum wrappers so it was perfect with fewer folds. Here are some of the projects we made:

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For the large bookmark I used strips of paper that were 8 1/2″x1″ and for the bracelets I used strips that were 1/3″x4″. I wanted to work with a 4″ length because I could get the most strips from my 12″x12″ scrapbook paper with no waste. If you want to know the equation for figuring out how long and wide a paper needs to be, multiply the width of the strip by 8.5  or 9 if the paper is thick, or less than 1/2″ wide. Alternatively you can take the length of the paper and divide it by 9 to get the width. Don’t worry if it is too thick, you can snip a sliver off if you need too. Why an I explaining all of this? just watch the video!

So, at the end of the video I show you how to fold the paper with real gum wrappers, you can use candy wrappers too! That’s right, start saving your Starburst, Tootsie Pop and bubble gum wrappers and make yourself some snazzy stuff! BTW if the wrappers are square just cut them in half before you fold them:) Any paper will work for this; magazines, maps, scrapbook paper scraps, origami paper and even wrapping paper!

It did me good to craft with the children yesterday. They were so sharp and patient and creative not to mention polite! I would volunteer in that classroom any day  Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

WOYWW: What Cancer Cannot Do

As many of you know I lost my sister-in-law to cancer this week. She was a remarkable, amazing woman. For the memorial service this weekend her husband asked me to type up and frame a poem she had written down in one of her notebooks. I am not sure who the original author is so I can’t credit them but it is an inspirational poem and I hope it gives comfort to anyone coping with cancer:

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Wands was a wonderful seamstress, she loved to make crazy quilts so i stamped a mat with lots of vintage sewing stuff and added stitches like she did on her quilts. I wanted some softness around the words so I stamped flowers (she was also a talented gardener) with clear ink then dabbed chalk on with a cotton ball around the verse.

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I love the encouragement and hope in that poem.

Well, I did take a few photos of my desk today while I was working on the frame (I’m sure Wanda was up in heaven laughing at me as I tripped over binders of stamps while making this!) There are also a few gifts hiding in the piles but I don’t think anyone can tell what they are going to be…yes, I am still making my Christmas gifts. It is good to be busy right now.

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I want to wish everyone a merry Christmas, enjoy what you have and more importantly who you have in your life and til next time happy crafting.

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot destroy peace.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot suppress memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot steal eternal life.
It cannot conquer the SPIRIT!

She loved sock monkeys…

Hey there. It’s been a rough week for us here. On Saturday my sister-in-law passed away after a long battle with cancer. I am trying not to focus on the sadness but remember the fun, happy optimistic woman that she was. She loved sock monkeys,  lawn gnomes, the Wizard of Oz and mostly her family and friends. She was a talented lady, she made quilts, dolls, jewelry and most importantly she made every person she met feel special.  When you get married you never know what you are getting yourself into as far as in-laws go but I was so lucky to marry in to such a loving family.  I’ll never forget her loud boisterous laugh and her sense of humor. There has been a hole left by her passing but our lives are all the better for having been in hers. Wanda, we love you and will miss you always.

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