Our Little Artist

Last week Gabriel and I did a special art project one day, producing a piece of artwork for his bedroom as well as one for a gift for Grandpapa’s birthday. Here is a little glimpse into the fun that we had together and the beautiful results!

First we set up the kitchen, using an old shower curtain for a drop cloth. I had bought canvasses at Michael’s cheaply using 50% coupons, and a cheap set of 3 brushes (plus another tiny one we already had), and about 8 different colors of acrylic paints that were about 70 cents each; I used paper plates (styrofoam actually) for palettes, and washed them (and the brushes) between each color. Gabriel wore an old t-shirt of his daddy’s.

Gabriel painted in layers, one color at a time, and we used the hair dryer in between each one to dry them up.

We got to practice our colors, as well as listening to directions. 🙂

Gabriel signed the back of the canvasses.

I used an oil paint Sharpie to write Scriptures on them (and tried to be as artistic as my son had been!).
Psalm 147:1 & 3 on Grandpapa’s ~ we thought it was great for him as a doctor talking about brokenness & healing.
Exodus 15:2 on Gabriel’s ~ we thought this was perfect because Gabriel’s name means “the Lord is my strength” and the description of praising & exalting the God of his fathers perfectly suits our little boy.

Giving Grandpapa his birthday gift!

And we hung Gabriel’s on his bedroom wall above his bed.

A Homemade Christmas

This year we did a homemade Christmas, and while it took me countless hours to plan, prepare, repurpose, crochet, sew, glue, cut, stitch, bake… it was so worth it! I think it was September when I started crafting (although I had thought about starting back in April, haha, and began some of the planning way back then), and I was finished a while before Thanksgiving. I love being given homemade things, knowing the particular love and sacrifice that is poured into such things.

Anyway, I’ve had people asking me to share what I made this year. So here you go. Perhaps giving you more than you bargained for. 🙂

This is a grocery sack holder: you know the heaps of plastic bags you accumulate and want to use as garbage can liners (or whatever else), and they make such a mess? This is the solution. I made five of these for the ladies in our family plus one for me.

I made sets of pillow cases for our parents and siblings, with “Mr.” & “Mrs.” and ribbon embellishments.

I collected bottle caps, and made bottle cap magnets for my sisters-in-law (as well as some friends).

I made bottle cap thumb-tacks for the guys.

For my hubby, brother, and brother-in-law, I made cork boards from used wine corks. They’re pretty nifty.
In my brother’s, I used two corks from champagne from his college graduation. And in my hubby’s, I used some corks from wine we had shared together.

I did this stitchery for my mama. I framed it with a frame I’d had waiting for years for a project, and used matting leftover from previous projects.

I made my mom-in-law a Christmas wreath, which (by the way) I consider super duper fun.

I crocheted bookmarks for the ladies in my family, and for some friends.

I framed photos for my grandparents and our dads. (this is the one we gave my dad)

I made hooded towels and personalized them for our niece & nephews.

I decorated onesies for a young newphew.

And I made quiet books for slightly less young niece & nephew.

For Gabriel, I made a bunch of felt food for him to use in his new play kitchen. 🙂

Vintage Tablecloth-Skirt

Back in June, my mother took me to an antique fair and craft show, and we each came home with some vintage tablecloths. Two of mine I have used for pretty tablecloths, one for a pretty picnic blanket, and one has been sitting waiting for me to turn it into a skirt! While at the event a couple months ago, I saw some really fun skirts with handkerchief hemlines that were tagged at $52 apiece (and the tablecloths were only $10-15 apiece), and really wanted one! So I dedicated one cloth to the idea, and yesterday I finally did it.

My sweet and capable mother did all the figuring-out-of-things, and I just followed along. 🙂 It really was quite simple! And, like I said, my mother is very capable at figuring things out. She even had a small zipper and bias tape in her stash of craft goodies, so it involved nothing more than supplies we already had and time we could spare anyway.

What we started with:




Thursday May 6, 2010

Well, Gabriel’s birthday is coming soon ~ and yesterday I finished making one of his birthday gifts. A Quiet Book, made from felt. I had a lot of fun coming up with ideas for each page, and figuring out how to accomplish what I had envisioned in my head (or had seen online in random places). I considered buying a pattern, but am very glad I didn’t. It worked really well for me to just experiment and play it by ear. I never really ran into any big snaffoos, which was pretty handy. Thanks to my mom’s well-stocked craft room & handy sewing machine, as well as my neighborhood Jo-Ann’s & my own crafty prowess… I am ready & willing to show y’all the final result. 🙂 This was a really thrifty (and fun!) project. If you have any questions, ask away!

Cover: For all of the pages I used “craft felt” from Jo-Ann’s, which came in 8.5″x11″ pieces. It is stiffened, and great for this type of craft. I used embroidery floss to “write” on the cover. I put three eyelets in the side of each page, and then put cording through to bind them together. If I ever wanted to add more pages, it would be super easy. I have a closure on the side of the book, using a ribbon & a buckle. Buckles happen to be Gabriel’s current fetish, so even if he isn’t fond of the rest of the book, he will love that buckle. 🙂

Page One: four zippers. Every toddler loves zippers, and my son is no exception. These were random old zippers from my mom’s collection (she inherits craft supplies from practically everyone!)
Page Two: match the color/shape. Each shape is outlined with Sharpie on the white background in the same color as the felt shape, and they are attached with velcro. The velcro isn’t as quiet as I hoped… but oh well. 🙂

Page Three: pocket o’ animals. Gabriel loves pockets, and putting things in & out. My mom had this super cute, old material that was easily cut into squares, with each square having an animal on it. So there are five double-sided squares in here, stiffened, and attached with elastic – so you can pull on them & play with them & take them out & put them in… but they will not get lost.
Page Four: The ladybug has a zipper, and inside there are three (you can see two of them here) baby ladybugs to play with. These are not attached, so they could get lost.

Page Five: a mitten that will easily fit a child’s hand inside. And the little rip-cords are just for fun. I also used fake fur for the cuff of the mitten to add some fun texture.
Page Six: wacky pants with a nifty belt! Another type of buckle that Gabriel will really enjoy. The pants are flannel for another texture.

Page Seven: modern art type puzzle. 🙂 Similar to page two, where each shape is outlined in Sharpie on the background, and the pieces are attached with (not-so-quiet) velcro.
Page Eight: rocket flying to the moon. Steven and I love this page – it’s our second favorite. The craters on the moon are buttons, as are the other little planets/stars. The felt rocket is attached to a piece of elastic, and it can be moved up & down the elastic as though it is rocketing straight to the moon.

Page Nine: flower field. The three flowers in the middle have buttons for their centers, and they can be removed from the buttons (and could easily be lost; maybe even ripped, since I did not zigzag around the buttonholes).
Page Ten: barn on the farm. This, perhaps you can tell from the number of pictures, is our favorite page. 🙂 If you’ve ever read the kid’s book “Barnyard Dance,” you’ll know why “Oink Moo Cockadoodle doo” is funny. 🙂 The barn doors open up to reveal three animal finger-puppets (ooh, I hope these don’t get lost), which are super fun. I have to admit, even I could be kept quiet & occupied for a while with this page!

Page Eleven: one, two, buckle my shoe. That’s actually what I am going to write next to the shoes, but forgot to do it. 🙂 The dress shoe is for lacing, the mary jane has a snap, and the tennis shoe has two velcro flaps.
Page Twelve: a bunch of balloons! The ribbons are kind of fun, but the best part is that the pink, orange, and yellow balloons snap on & off (again with the getting-lost possibility).

Back Cover: I pilfered a sweet label from my mom’s stash. 🙂

Happy Birthday Present to Gabriel! (ssshhhh, don’t tell him what I made!) 🙂 lol.

Tuesday March 16, 2010

Today is my nephew Noah’s first birthday. It is also my niece Hannah’s first birthday.
Yes, the twins are one!
I made them these fun things for birthday gifts.

The crowns are my favorite, especially because Gabriel has a coordinating one. So I am envisioning the three of them playing dress-up someday, with two kings and a queen. Sounds like fun!
At any rate… now that the twins’ birthday has arrived, I am starting to think about Gabriel’s birthday. I know, I know — it’s two months away. But this mommy likes to plan ahead. I ordered his main birthday gift today, but I also want to make him a little something extra. I am going to make one of these felt “Happy Birthday” banners for the occasion. But what else? Hmm…
I’m thinking a Quiet Book is exactly right. It would be so nice to have during church, and other necessarily-quiet times.
Have any of you had Quiet Books? And even more to the point, have any of you made one before??
I had one as a child. This one looks very similar to it. I am trying to get ideas online, and was hoping to glean some tips or pointers before I start digging into the craft supplies. Click here to see five different themed Quiet Books; I am thinking it would be fun to incorporate some of the ideas from each of these that are seen here.
So anyway… if anyone has ideas or tips, feel free to chime in. Should I actually attempt and finish this project, I will share it with you at an appropriate time. 🙂 Just remember — I have two months!

Thursday February 18, 2010

Over the last several weeks, I have been doing lots of handiwork and crafting. Keeping my mind and hands occupied. Trying to stay focused on the goodness of the Lord, beautifying my home, and blessing others ~ instead of letting Satan have his way with my thoughts.
These are some of the fruits of some of my recent labors:

Recovering the bench seat in our entryway. I love this material! The colors (although not depicted quite properly in these photos) are exactly what I want to decorate our new house with someday.
A super fun, long & skinny pillow for the bench. I love these whimsical chickens.
A cozy scarf, complete with super fun fringe; made with yarn given to me by a very dear friend.

A wreath made from grapevines, silk flowers, ribbon, some wire and a bit of glue.
Nineteen sets of baby gifts (when I said I was sewing dozens of baby things, I was not in any way joking). But I can’t show you the actual baby sets, as I wouldn’t want a recipient to see their gift before it was given.

A little black beret, a simple single-afternoon project (and a terrible picture).

Proverbs 31:13
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.