Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas gifts - Art notebook, Baby Doll Clothes

And the last of the gifts...

Art notebook

Closes tight with an elastic band so you're pencils or markers stay put!

I didn't show this, but my folders can be used for side flip and top flip notebooks.  I plan to make one for my girlie, so I'll show that then!

Reversible tops and a cute pair of cords!

And after all those pics, my cutie says, "Mama, take a picture of me!"
The baby clothes are for a small baby.  I actually extended the pattern to make the dress.  Baby clothes patterns are from these posts at Blueberry Moon. The art notebook is mine... all mine... hahahahaha.... (insert evil laugh...)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Gifts - seatbelt covers, I spy bags, Bike Basket

 A few more gifts for the kiddos...

I Spy Bags

Bicycle Bucket for my nephew.

It attaches to the bar on the handlebars! Perfect for juice boxes, snacks, or toys on your bike ride!
Seat belt covers for the "baby"!

Reversible!  A pretty side and a soft snuggly side.
For the seat belt covers, I used the tutorial at Make It and Love It. They are super easy, even if you haven't used bias tape or sewn much. The bicycle bucket is from this tutorial at Noodlehead. As for I Spy bags, there are lots of tutorials around, I didn't really use one, but just stitched some stuff together!

Excellent Children's Books!

I received the book Little Star by Anthony DeStefano from WaterBrook Mulnomah Publishing Group to review and it is a sweet little book!  It is an excellent addition to our Christmas collection, sharing the Christmas story with a twist! It focuses on the Christmas Star (the star that showed the way for the shepherds and Wise men) and tells the story of this Little Star, the smallest star in the heavens and how he shined brighter than any other star in the sky for the little King born in the stable when he understands the message He came to share. I loved the connection the author makes between Little Star and the stars on our Christmas trees! The illustrations (by Mark Elliot) are beautiful, excellent representations of the boy and his father, the manger scene, and the heavens and Little Star. My daughter loved this book too, and I’m sure we’ll be reading it over and over throughout the entire year!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

We also received the Precious Moments Story Book Bible by Sam Butcher. I love Bible books for our children, and this one is “Precious!” It almost feels like a “real” Bible, with pages in the front for family tree and special church events like special ceremonies, churches attended, vacation bible schools, etc. The book is separated into 4 main sections, Favorite Bible Classics, Words of Praise and Wisdom, More Stories of the Faith, and Songs and Prayers. The stories are simple but accurate and still include important details. They aren’t too “dumbed down” and I think will allow for the book to be enjoyed by many ages. I can’t wait to work through this book with my daughter! They are the perfect length for a Bible story before bed. And of course, the illustrations are perfect, classic Precious Moments drawings with adorable animals and people. I love that this book includes not only the typical Bible stories of the people in the Bible, but also prayers and praises of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Isaiah. I would most definitely recommend this book as a wonderful First Bible for any young child, those being read to, as well as young readers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Gifts - Laptop Sleeves

My sister and my brother got laptop sleeves this Christmas. I used this tutorial from Crap I've Made (gotta love that blog name!) and even doing the zippers wasn't bad.  I believe the only change I made was adding the fusible fleece to both inside and outside pieces.

Here's my sister's:

for some reason this photo is upside down...

And my brother's:

I'm surprised at how my brother's turned out from Walmart's limited selection...

So if you are in need of a pretty (or manly!) case for your laptop, check out that tutorial! There is also another one on Sew, Mama, Sew that uses velcro if you'd prefer that.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Gifts- Nintendo DS cases

My few days before Christmas were a bit crazy as I am a bit of a procrastinator... Now that I can relax a bit, I thought I'd share some of the projects I did for gifts.  

First up, cases for my niece and nephew's new Nintendo DS's. I used corduroy outside and for the handle, and soft flannel inside.

Camo with dinosaurs inside for my nephew.
I designed them with slots for games, and a zippered pocket at the top for the charger, extra stylus etc.

The top folds down and secures with elastic. And a wristlet to hang onto!

And for my niece, a pretty pink, black and grey combo! This is version 2, so its a big larger so everything fits well.

For my pretty little niece, I wanted to have it look like a little purse, thus the handle change.

And the dressed up elastic!

Here's a peek at the zippered pocket with the charger.

I must say, I'm very happy with how they turned out.  And I do believe they loved them and will get lots of use! I don't have a link to send you to for a tutorial for this one; it was my own creation! If anyone's interested, I can post a tutorial for you to make your own. They made for inexpensive, unique and special gifts!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mei Tei roll-up

I don't usually do this many posts, but I'm having trouble with the networked blogs thing (auto posting to facebook) and wanted to test it again!

I had this little brainstorm about my hooded mei tei I made. It was feeling a little awkward to carry with all those straps hanging around, and my first move was to stuff it into a little tote bag  I had.  This worked well, but later I wondered if the hood couldn't be used to turn it into a little pouch of its own. And Viola! 
Here's the way I did it:
Start by laying your mei tei out and folding all the straps into the center.
Roll it up into the thirds (main body only).

Then wrap your hood over.

Flip it and tie your hood strings togehter to make a handy little package with everything tucked away UN annoyingly inside!

See how small and compact it becomes?!
Now if you have a purchased meitei... I guess you're stuck with the little tote bag idea.  How do you carry your carrier?

New Runaround Bags

I have made several of Noodlehead's runaround bags lately and thought I'd share them!

I was playing around below with making a completely reversible bag, so the one below has a pleat and a pocket both inside and out; for those of us who can't decide which fabric we like best... 

My husband makes fun of me, by the way, for these photos... "Is that your way of trying to make them pretty?" So,  I apologize... I don't have anywhere else "pretty" to hang them... Its' not THAT bad, is it? :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Taggie animals

It was my cutie nephew Isaac's birthday not so long ago (the big #1!), so I made him this cute little taggie giraffe from a tutorial at Make it and Love It (lots of crafty fun!).  She also shows you how to do an elephant and you could very easily create any animal your child loves! This one was made of quilters cotton, soft minkee and those fun ribbons they love to chew on!  

Deliciously Soft Minkee!

My beautiful 3 year old showing it off for size!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cheap Upcycled Baby Doll Bed!

Anybody buy these clementines?
I saw this crate after we took out the clementines and thought, 'I can use it to store stuff!'
My smart hubby saw this and thought, "Its a baby bed!"
My little girlie is thrilled beyond belief!

And it was SO simple!
Daddy cut a rectangle of cardboard for the "headboard" and glued it on.
They decorated it with markers (most is on the other side, and then L got bored... :).
 i had the beginnings of a pillowcase from a big bag of fabric from my grandma (and luckily that's what L chose!) so I folded an old kitchen towel, basted around it and then sewed it into the pillowcase to make a mattress.  We soon realized that L though this was a pillow as she kept leaning it up on the headboard, so I whipped up a pillow with a little pillowcase too (not pictured).

Add a little fleecy blanket (also from grandma Lena- Great Grandma to L!) and Viola!  A free little baby bed! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A bit of biography

Those of you who know me might know I spent about 4 ½ years in San Pedro Sula, Honduras at the Emanuel Children’s Home. (Honduras is a small country in central America, bordered by El Salvador and Guatemala.) I went for 2 months the summer of 1998 (after my freshman year of college) with 2 dear friends and loved it. My aunt and uncle were involved with the children’s home I went to and made connections for us to be able to go. Four years later (or so) I found out they were going for a three month stay to raise the roof (literally!!) on the orphanage. Low ceilings and no a.c. made that a HOT place for all those precious kids and so a massive remodeling project was planned. I decided to leave my job and go help out for 2 months (“and no more!”) During that time, I had several different jobs… translator, chauffer, grocery shopper,tour guide, big sister… I’m sure those that were along on those trips could add more, but my mind is blanking there.

Here's the after picture!  The entire roof is raised, but especially the courtyard in the center.

The view from the courtyard.  See that crazy guy way up there on the peak? Yep, that's my dad!
I did of course decide to return and continued to coordinate work groups, translate, and help with all their errands and other needs while they were there, as well as helping out with the children as I could, helping to set up a rewards system for behavior, planning and executing monthly “rewards trips”, celebrating birthdays, loving on those awesome kids, chauffering them to church, church activities, and music lessons, working on setting up and translating materials for a transition program for older youth transitioning out of the Home (unfortunately this was never implemented).

I loved so many things about being there; the children were amazing, I loved  the staff, the people at our church were great; I love the country; there are beautiful places to vacation (hmmm, topic for a later post?!), life is very laid-back.

Little peek at one of the most amazing places in Honduras...

Which brings me to the things that were difficult: I did not have a rough time assimilating, though one thing that was difficult was Honduran’s concept of time! I, of course, would be ready at the stated time; only to wait. And wait. And wait. Til everyone got there much later. Public transportation is slightly frightening (those drivers can squeeze through the tiniest opening!) and also the main method of transportation! Driving in Honduras will also get your heart rate going sometimes. And of course, the HEAT! You take a shower, get out and sweat. You leave the breeze of your fan and sweat. Heck, you sit in the breeze of your fan and sweat! I remember coming home to visit during what everyone else said was an awefully hot and humid summer. I thought it was great! When I can sit in the shade and not sweat, it’s not hot! And bill-paying! When I moved into my own place I realized what a crazy mess that is! It takes a ridiculous amount of time to pay bills at each individual office, and the bank. No online bill pay or checks in the mail there!

I did get used to all these things though; and it would not take much to convince me to move back for a time. My Honduran husband, interestingly enough, would have a much harder time moving “home”! He’s grown accustomed to large, nicely paved streets and drivers who actually obey most traffic laws, courteous no-questions-asked (or at least not many) customer service, etc.

I met my husband in Honduras as he worked with the worship team at church, teaching the younger youth to play instruments and forming the current worship team at the church today. He also spent time hanging out with the kids at the orphanage; I found out later, much of this was to meet and spend time with me! We married in Honduras at the children's Home, with more of my family present than I would have every expected, for which I am ever grateful! I’m so blessed to have family members who would travel to the poorest country in central America to share in our day.

My husband's neice and our lovely ladies and gents

My Daddy! and my Maid of Honor, my dear sister!

Our wedding was right around twilight, and our reception area was little with candles on the tables and Christmas lights!

I eventually did leave the Home, and taught elementary school for a time, and later taught English classes. But those children will forever have a special place in my heart. If you’d like to find out more about the home, receiving the monthly newsletter, becoming part of a work group on a trip, financially supporting a child or a staff member each month, or supporting the Home financially or prayerfully, please see their website. They continue to make amazing changes with the support of people like you!

The next post will share the reason for this long rambling biography as I share about my Diaper Drive and the wonderful women who have donated cloth diapers for the Home’s precious new babies!