"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf -

Table Runner

 I've always loved quilted things - and someday I hope to be somewhat good at quilting!!!

Let me tell you how this project came to be.  The new home we're building has an open kitchen, dining area and great room - which is exactly what I wanted!  We can add the extra leaf to the table (we already have one leaf in all the time) and seat about twelve people, and the table will just sneak on over towards the great room and borrow a little space temporarily.  Anyway, I wanted to use blues, greens and browns for the decorating.  Our leather couches are blue, furniture is brown and I just like green along with them, and my plants are green (unless they're brown because I forgot to water them!).  So I wanted something that would tie all these colours in together, and I just wasn't finding that special pillow, or area rug, etc.  So I decided to make something that would tie my colours together.
Here's Mackenzie deciding to help me.  It is so much easier to create while she's sleeping!!!

The first step was to cut out all the little squares and then line them up the way I wanted them so the colours were mixed up pretty good.  Taking a picture of this and printing it was a very smart thing to do, especially if you have little ones around who like to mess things up!!!  (see above photo!)
Actually, the real first step was to collect fabric.  I've been doing this for years - remnant bins, leftovers from other projects, a fat quarter here and a fat quarter there.

After lining everything up, I stacked them into piles for easy keeping.  They sat like that for months until I finally got to them. 

I found that the easiest way to sew them together was to make a little banner like this.  I know it only looks like the wrong side of one square, but there are two squares sewn together (right sides together).  Then I cut them apart, every two squares, and that gave me the four squares together to make a bigger square.  I know that's all clear as mud, right?

To recap, I made strips of two squares, then sewed them together to make bigger squares made up of four  small squares. 

Then I sewed my bigger squares together to make a strip.

The backside.  I pressed all my seams to the darker fabric side.

I found that my first two strips of squares were shorter than the rest of my strips.  I must have been using a larger seam allowance when I started, and because I did all this in spurts of time when I had it, I'd forget what I did.  I ended up removing the first four rows of squares because they just didn't match up very well.  I have something else in mind to use those strips for!

Love the colours!!!  I find that I look at the colours and not at the corners that don't line up perfectly.

And now for the transformation into a table runner . . .

The hardest part was choosing the fabric I wanted to be the edging!!!  Obviously, I finally made a decision and cut the strips and sewed them on.

I didn't have any batting laying around, but I needed to add some weight and stability to my runner.  So I decided to use something that everyone has on hand . . .  
. . . a raggedy old towel!!!  So I lined it up on the table - towel on the bottom, then my backing fabric and then my creation of squares (these two fabrics were right sides together).  Then I sewed around the whole thing and cut off all the excess fabric.

Now I'm sure I'm doing lots of things wrong, but I seem to learn best by trial and error.  And not knowing how to do something doesn't stop me (at least not in crafting - haha!!!).

Turning this baby inside out and hoping that I lined things up right!!!

Phew, it worked!  That blue towel is my ironing board on the kitchen counters!  I do have an ironing board, but I think it's in the camper (remember, living in transition here and making do with what's on hand!). 
 That open part is where I turned it.  To close it I just ironed the fabric under and then top stitched over it. 

Here I demonstrate my version of quilting - stitching in the ditch.  Works for me and holds everything nicely in place.  Top stitching around the edge finished it all off nicely.

Ready to see the finished project?

Ta da!!!  I love it!!!  Aren't those colours great - I find them very restful!
Can't wait to put my new table runner on the table I made it for, in the house I made it for!!!

Menu Board/Message Board

In searching for ideas for our RS Super Saturday about two years ago, I found a menu board idea at Melanie's Musings that I just had to copy.  It seemed like such a great idea - and it is!!!  And let me tell you, on days that I menu plan and write the meals on the board, life is so much easier!

We colour photocopied the inside page that I made, for ladies at the Super Saturday.  Then they just had to take care of the framing.  On the right is a list of possible menu ideas.  I usually have that in a pocket glued on the back of the frame, and the clothes peg holds my shopping list.

Anyway, I love the Menu Board so much and it's working so well, I decided to make something similar to become our family message board.  I thought it would be very handy to have all the messages in one spot and not be losing little papers with phone messages written on them!  And it is!!!

First item was to find a matching frame - thanks Walmart!  I like the document size frame as it is slightly larger than an 8 x 10.

Then I centered the stickers saying Message Board.  To do this, I marked the center of the glass (see my little black dot) and then worked from the center out to the edges.  And I wrote out the words I was spelling so I wouldn't mess it up!!!

Now, I used to have a burgundy and maple kitchen and this Menu Board matched it wonderfully.  But, in the new house we're building, I'm not going to have any burgundy on the main floor, so I needed to redo the colours of my board.

Pretty cute eh?  By the oven mitt it says Quality Time.  I really feel that supper is an important family bonding time.  I believe that what our children really want for supper is us!

The next task was to design the Message Board to match the Menu Board because they will be side by side in my new house.

This is what I came up with . . .
It says "Family" there on the green paper.

I made five of these little message slots, and the long one across the bottom says "Notes".  The only rule we have is that the message can only be erased by the person who it's for.  And it's so easy to erase - just a swipe of your finger across the glass (or you could use a kleenex!). 

And there's my two boards!  I only attached a dry-erase marker to one of them because they are so close they can share.  But I'll probably add a clothes peg to the Message Board to hold things like birthday party invitations.

It's working great - the family have all learned to look to that one spot for their messages!!!  Wish I'd done this years ago!

Family Mouse Pad

We had a mouse pad - some sort of boring thing.  I think it was blue, maybe an abstract shape of the world on it?  Didn't make much of an impression on me, but it did it's job well!

Just before Black Friday, I got an email from the Walmart photo shop with some special deals.  The one that caught my eye was the mouse pad.  They were on sale for $7.  And I thought that that would be a wonderful idea - to have a mouse pad with a family picture and message on it. 

So I set to work to try to figure out how to actually order something.  And guess what?  I figured it out - it can be done!!!  This was the first thing I had ever ordered off the computer so it was a big step for me.  I got it ordered and paid for it about a week later when I picked it up.  And I love it!!!  Hopefully my guy does too because I gave it to him for Christmas!

It does it's job very well!!!

Doesn't it make the computer desk just a little bit more cute?  And hopefully it sends a subliminal message to any one who might be spending too much time on the computer, to go and spend time with the family.  (Not that that ever happens in our home!)

Oh, and I saw it advertised once for $5, but usually it's around $13.  I seem to recall the $5 one was about a week before Christmas, so they were targeting those last minute impulse-buy shoppers who are desperate for anything they might not normally get.

But I recommend getting a special mouse-pad - it just adds that special something!

My Guy Creates

My guy loves to create things too!  Usually you'll find him doing things like this . . .

. . . soffit and fascia, or . . .

. . . building stairs!  I mean, he is building us a whole house right now!!!

But he's also been know to create other things.  He might not want me to tell you that he has done tapestry and cross-stitch.  He's sewn our girls Christmas stockings into actual stockings after I cross-stitched them.  He's built crafts, especially cute little fireplace lamps that we sold in our craft store.  And then there's the furniture, like built in shelves and entertainment centers.  He's a pretty amazing guy!!!

And then on Easter Sunday, he got creative again . . .  

. . . with the pancake batter!

He was creating Easter eggs out of the batter.  I had made a few rabbit heads and then one egg.  After awhile he ordered me to sit and eat.  I thought he was being so sweet and giving me a chance to eat rather than just constantly making the pancakes and waffles to feed our gang.  But no!!!  He wanted a chance to be creative too!!!

So they're not the greatest egg shapes, but we enjoyed eating his creations!!!
That yearning to create is so real sometimes!!!

Easter Display

Easter is a wonderful holiday!  What a wonderful thing to celebrate - the Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

But I've never been too thrilled about the idea of the Easter Bunny bringing things.  Now don't get me wrong, I love chocolate just as much as any other normal woman out there, and love any excuse to buy it.  But, a rabbit bringing treats - I don't get it!!!

The Easter Bunny doesn't visit our house.  On Easter Sunday my family woke up to find a display up high on the piano (away from little fingers of course!). 
There were pictures of the resurrected Christ and bowls of Easter treats.

Eggs symbolize "new life" and so does "resurrection".

Completely perfect for our family!

And now an Easter picture of my reverent daughters!!!
Happy Easter!

Easter Treats

This is how Easter treats happen at my house:  I provide ingredients and a recipe and inform my girls that they get to make Easter treats for the family!  Isn't that great?
And they get all excited!!!

Okay, I'm not completely lazy - I did have an important thing to do:

I was over at the new house, drawing my kitchen cabinets on the plywood, to see if what I'd designed on paper would actually fit in the space my guy provided for the kitchen.

Here's my design on paper.  It was out by about two inches on one wall.  See, that's what I needed to know before I start getting quotes!  So my time was well spent!

As I walked in the door, the girls said "We just finished the nests!  Come and see them!" 
Great work girls - they look delicious!!!

I'm happy, they're happy, and we have some yummy treats, so dad is definitely happy!!!

And if you want to make your own, bring the syrup and sugar to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and then the rice krispies.  Form into nests and decorate with jellybeans.

And that's how Easter treats are made at my house!!!

Countdown Blocks

We made Countdown Blocks a few years ago at a Super Saturday.  I decided that I wanted to be able to display my blocks year-round, and not just for Christmas.  So I used non-themed paper.  My kids like to countdown to lots of things, like school starting and ending, birthdays, all holidays, gramma and grampa coming home from their mission, and so on.

So, what's in 11 days?
My birthday!!!  The big 42 is creeping up in May!

These blocks are just modge podged paper and die cut numbers/letters on wooden blocks.  The base is a 2x4.  Pretty easy!  And actually, a third block would be handy just to have extra numbers for counting down from high numbers.  For example, I can't make the numbers 33-35, but I can make 36-39.  Just something to think about if you wanted to make some!

And what is coming up in 13 days? 
Why, Mothers' Day of course!!!

Family Birthday Board

My guy doesn't ask for much in the way of crafts (yeah, a shocker I know!) so when he suggests something, I listen.  He requested that somewhere in the house we have a birthday list so he can see when family members' birthdays are.  I thought that was a fabulous idea!!!

So Kd did a craft class last week and she was doing these magnetic boards as calendars.  I knew that would be the perfect thing to change a little and make into our Family Birthday Board.  I just printed up four pages with three months on each page, to cover the family birthdays for the year.  My guy and I both come from large families and we're adding five more babies to the family in the next few months - the families are growing at alarming rates!!!  And very hard to keep track of (facebook certainly helps though!!!).

It does the job perfectly!!!  I glued magnets on the back of mine so it sticks to the fridge, but you could also hang it with a ribbon.

Start with a piece of metal - it's about 9 x 14. 
It's edges are nicely turned under so it's not sharp.

Then you modge podge the paper onto the metal - both under and over the paper.  And don't worry - the air bubbles disappeared when it was completely dry.  I like to do a cross-hatch pattern in my modge podge - kinda gives it a look of canvas when it dries.

Two little mini clothes pegs are holding on my sign and picture.   And I love that strip of lace going through the middle - adds a nice texture to the board.

The satin ribbon and bow adds some shine and looks better in real life than in the picture.  I might change that someday, but that was the only ribbon I had kicking around the house.  (I'm the type of crafter who buys things on sale and stashes them away.  So when I'm yearning to create, I have supplies around and don't have to take a trip to town.)

Stamped this with a dollar store alphabet set and then modge podged over it all for protection (it is in the kitchen after all - water fights have happened before!!!).

This picture was the right size so it's doing the job right now, even though it's missing the baby.  In the future, I think a sepia photo would look lovely!

My cute as a button magnets!!!

Lovin it!!!  Lovin it!!!

And when new members join the family through birth or marriage, I'll just write their names in the appropriate spot in black ink and then update the charts on the computer when needed.  And I suppose I could even add anniversaries if I wanted to.

So you want to know what my guy thought about the craft he inspired?
He loves it too!!!