Craft/DIY Ideas, Uncategorized

Infinity Scarf Tutorial

If you would have asked me last year what an infinity scarf was, I probably would’ve given you a blank stare. Now if you asked me, I could give you a (sorta) lengthy explanation because now I have a clue what they are. Basically, they are a scarf with no beginning and no end, hence the name Infinity. They can be made out of a variety of materials and are very versatile. You will most likely be seeing these in lots of stores this fall and winter.  Please, please , please, do me a favor–do not go out and plop down lots of $$$ for these things.. They are SO extremely easy to make, and depending on the fabric you use, cost almost nothing either. I like wearing scarves some of the time in the fall and winter, so you know I just had to try these out.

Interested in instructions on how to make your own? It only takes about 15 minutes and has a minimal of steps.

My 75 cent striped Goodwill fabric.

First off, select the fabric you want to use. I had this one in my fabric stash for awhile and hadn’t found the right use for it yet. Honestly, it reminds me of a rugby shirt, which reminds me of fall, so I chose this one to use for my trial scarf.

Cut your fabric into long strips. How wide you make them depends on how wide you want your scarf. Some prefer more of a chunky scarf, but I was going for more of a long, loopy look, so I cut mine into @7″ wide strips.

Flip your fabric strips inside out, so that the right sides are facing one another. Sew along one edge, going down the whole length of the strip. I ended up sewing just two of those strips I had cut separately and then connecting them later. After this first scarf, I think it would be easier and look nicer if you sew what you want into a super-long strip first, then do this step. Hey, you live and learn, right?

For your last step, flip the strip(s) right side out and tuck in the raw edges at both short ends. Tuck one end inside the other and sew the two strips together. Then you’re done!

A line-up of my scarf making efforts.

As you can see, I usually can’t just stop with one! Once I discovered how quick and easy these are to make, I went a little crazy and tried it out with some different fabrics. From left to right in my picture, I used: basic cotton, cashmere from an upcycled sweater, the knit striped cotton, flannel, and jersey knit. Each have different qualities and ways of draping once you wear them. For instance, I liked the coziness of the gray cashmere and the flannel, but liked how the jersey knit draped the best.

There are so many possibilities using this type of scarf. Depending on the length, you can wrap them one, two, three, sometimes four times around. This was my first time wearing one, and I have to say that I liked how the ends didn’t hang all over the place like a traditional scarf. So, go on and whip up a bunch of these for yourself. Or, since Christmas is really not that far off, they would make a fabulous gift.

Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

Where Were You?

For any American, just a two word statement can immediately bring up a whole host of memories that have been imprinted into each of our minds. That two word statement is actually a date on the calendar as well–September 11th. What comes to your mind when you hear that specific date mentioned? I imagine you can quickly conjure up the place you were when you first heard that America was being attacked, what you were doing at that moment, and what the rest of that day was like for you. Most of us have other dates or events that bring up such specific memories as well. Perhaps a good memory, like the birth of a child or a wedding. Others have memories that are linked to something bad or tragic that have happened. At 33, I wasn’t around when JFK was assassinated or Pearl Harbor was attacked, but I know that folks living in America at those times have specific memories linked to hearing of those events. However, I was 23 when the United States was attacked by terrorists on 9/11 and I can remember that day quite clearly. In fact, even if I live to be a ripe old age, I can’t see ever forgetting that day. I know you probably have your own story about that day, but this is mine:
September of 2001 was a little bit unusual for me to start out with. For me, it was the first fall that I wasn’t going to some kind of school. In fact, it was the first in 18 years that I wasn’t headed off to school, as I had graduated from college a few months before. I remember that it was really strange for me to see kids going to school and schoolbuses on the road, college kids headed back for classes, and so on. I had given birth to my first child in June and was adjusting to being a mother and staying at home with my baby. What I remember of that morning was feeding my son, showering and eating some breakfast myself, and settling on the couch to catch a little news and weather while the baby played on the floor. I turned on NBC to watch the Today Show and was confused to see that there was live footage of a smoking building in New York City. I had no idea what was going on and at that point they were trying to describe what was happening as a plane had hit one of the World Trade Towers. Not long after turning the TV on, I saw the second of the World Trade Towers hit by yet another plane. At that point I think everyone knew that this was by no means an accident, that our dear country was under attack, and we had no idea whether this was it or not. Like probably most of you, I was shocked, saddened, angry, bewildered, scared, worried, and a whole range of other emotions. I had the TV on literally all day as the rest of the tragic events unfolded. Both Towers fell down. The Pentagon was hit. A plane went down in another part of Pennsylvania, most likely headed for Washington. What else was going to happen? When? Who was doing this and why? There was so much uncertainty everywhere. My husband called to check in on us. My Mom called. Other calls were made back and forth. Who knew what was going to happen next? Being used to living in a so-called “safe” country, this was such a shocking experience for all of us. Though I didn’t personally know any of the victims,  I was so saddened for the many, many families that lost loved ones that September day and had their lives forever changed.
Looking back, an entire decade later, I’m so thankful that we have been protected from other such attacks. I’m proud of the heroic actions of many other Americans.  I lift up all of the families that were affected by this tragedy in prayer. I highly respect and am thankful for all of the people who defend this country everyday, especially those who have paid for our freedom with their lives. Though it’s not a good memory that we hold of that day, I don’t want us to forget it. I never want us take our country and our freedom for granted, as we are apt to do. And most of all, I want us to abide by the words printed on our currency, put on there by our forefathers many years ago for a reason: In God We Trust.
Craft/DIY Ideas, Uncategorized

Fall Burlap and Felt Rosette Wreath

So, I’ve seen these all over other blogs lately and decided to try one out for myself. Let me tell ya, these little felt rosettes are just about addictive! They’re so cute and so easy to make it’s just about ridiculous. I’m not a big wreath maker, but once I finished this one, I totally wanted to try another. I guess I’m just wired that way!

My bevy of felt rosettes in a retro color combo.
My first finished wreath.

If you don’t know how to do felt rosettes, I’ll show you how using this pumpkin orange color. This is from an actual orange wool skirt from Goodwill that I felted last year.

First step-Cut felt into a circle shape and then cut a pinwheel into it.

Next, roll it up starting from the outside. Make sure it remains flat on the bottom side.

This is what a finished one looks like, from the top and from the bottom. Notice that I used the end “flap” portion to anchor the bottom of the rose. Hot glue this in place. Repeat this same process for all your roses, varying some of the sizes.

Since I wanted a burlap wreath base, I took strips of burlap (@5-6″ wide), folded them in half lengthwise, and wrapped them around a foam wreath form. Hot glue each end into place and make sure you overlap each one just a bit for good coverage.

See this retro-y looking piece of linen fabric? I picked it up in the form of another skirt at Goodwill and hadn’t found a good use for it yet. Well, I finally found a use for it–yes!! I used it to make the hanger for my wreath and another pinwheel type embellishment. Notice it has the same color orange in it, plus teal. So, I decided to make teal colored felt roses to go with. I know, probably not the color combo that everyone would exactly love, but I had read that it is a fall trend for this year. Honestly, I was feelin’ a little risky putting these colors together, but I actually dig the results.

Since I was on a roll, I made another wreath using a grapevine one. For this one, I tried out another method for my flowers using different fabrics and burlap. I didn’t take any pictures of how I made them, just kind of rolled and wrapped them into rose shapes.

My other finished wreath in a different color combo.
A close up of my rolled roses.

For these roses, I used burlap, cotton, felt, and pieces of a gray cashmere sweater that I had upcycled. I liked the color combo of this one as well. So now I’m curious, which wreath do you like better and why?

Craft/DIY Ideas

Magnificent Marble Magnets

This is my favorite type of craft project–quick, easy, and you can make a bunch at one sitting. They are adorable for your own fridge, or can be made into cute packs and given as gifts for different occasions. Also, these don’t take any special crafting skills or tools–if you can wield a pair of scissors and a hot glue gun, you’re good to go!

So cute and easy.
Another batch.

Want instructions on how to make your own? Here ya go….

Basic supplies.

Materials Needed:

  • Hot glue gun/glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Clear glass gems (I buy mine at the Dollar Tree, but they are also in craft stores, usually with floral crafting supplies)
  • Magnet backs
  • Fabric scraps, scrapbooking paper scraps, photos, maps, or pictures from books or magazines

Instructions:

Heat up your hot glue gun. Lay out scraps you plan to use as the “picture” on the back of the magnet. Hold a glass gem in one hand and squirt hot glue all over the middle of the flat back. Press flat side down onto fabric scrap, paper, or picture you want to show.

Another option--stamped cardstock. As you can see, I did a set with a coffee/tea theme.

Squish it down so that the glue spreads out to the edges of the glass circle (you’ll be able to see this happen). Allow to dry for a little while. Once glue is hard, use scissors to trim around all the edges of your glass gem. The last step in this process is to use hot glue to adhere the magnet to the back. Then you are done!

I ❤ these!

How cute would these be packaged in a tin? Or a set on a canning lid and tied up with cello?

Parenting Tales, Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

Wrapping Up Summer

Labor Day weekend is already upon us, which to most people is the unofficial/official end of summer. My goodness, how our summer flew past! As those summer days are ending and the glory of fall beginning, I thought I’d do a little wrap-up of highlights from our summer.

*Celebrating Daniel’s 10th Birthday. He is our oldest child and we had a special birthday party for him and some friends. I did a post about this called Fishing for Birthday Party Ideas as it was an outdoorsy/fishing theme and a hit with everyone. I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that I’ve been a parent for a decade already!

*VBS. Our kids attend two different Vacation Bible Schools each summer. One is at another church near the beginning of summer, soon after school lets out. My gang is now all old enough that we can drop them off each evening and have some date nights to ourselves. It was a wonderful time to reconnect for us and a great time for our kids. The other VBS is at our home church and we all participate. This week is always such a blessing to each and every one of us. Our theme this year was Water to the World and we had a fabulous week. My own highlight of this time was the fact that so many children were into learning and saying their memory verses, which were based on Revelation 22. My kids all learned it before me and encouraged me to learn it too.

Having a snuggle with my littlest men.

*Family 4th of July trip. We don’t normally travel over the 4th of July weekend, but this year we did. My grandmother has a house up near Wellsboro, PA, and we all camped out in her backyard, had a campfire, set off fireworks, and enjoyed the spectacular scenery. In addition, we took the kids to see and hike part of the Grand Canyon of PA.

*Hitting the pool. One of the nearest towns has a community pool, which we purchase a yearly membership for. Going there was truly a sanity saver for me as it gave the kids some space apart from each other and gave them lots of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. We would typically go at least a couple times a week and stay for 2-3 hours at a shot. I would often pack a lunch and we would picnic there right after it opened and then stay to swim.  There is a huge shallow end for little ones and my gang is now old enough that I can sit out and just monitor them while I read a little.

Our homemade slip-n-slide.
Pile-up at the bottom!

*Slip & Slide. My inventive man came up with this idea for the hill in our side yard. He bought a roll of heavy plastic sheeting, rigged up the hose with a sprinkler attachment, and voila! A DIY slip-n-slide. We would dribble the top with baby shampoo or mild dish detergent to make it extra slippery. On some super hot days this was a fun activity for everyone to do. As you can see, even our dog liked it!

*Said goodbye to diapers. This is one of my main highlights of the summer–everyone is finally fully potty trained. Woo-hoo! I’m lovin’ it.

In front of WSM.

*Our family service project. I did several posts on or about this. To summarize, over the period of several months I bought and collected toiletry and hygiene items with coupons. We assembled and then donated @30 “Hope Totes” to a local rescue mission. This was a good experience for all of us and now we are looking forward to collecting items to put in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, a ministry by Samaritan’s Purse that we love to do each fall.

*Read, read, read! My oldest two and now my middle child are such little bookworms, I love it! We frequented our library quite a bit, picking up new books every week and attending some of the free library events. They constantly have their nose in a book of some kind, whatever the time of year.

*Canoeing. In the beginning of June, we got a grand surprise when one of my husband’s thoughtful co-workers showed up at work one day with a 14′ canoe, oars, and life jackets to give to our family. Apparently it had been inhabiting his garage and he thought we could make better use of it, which we did!

Well, that’s a basic wrap-up of things our family especially enjoyed this summer. There’s lots more that I could have included, but those are the main things that came to mind. We started school again this past week, so it’s onward to fall now. What was the highlight of your summer?

My big school kids, waiting for the bus.
Craft/DIY Ideas

Woodland Felt Play Set Tutorial

I have a ridiculous love of felt and have been charmed by all the woodland-themed kids items I have seen lately. That being said, I saw this fun and woodsy fabric at Jo-Ann’s the other day and just had to get a piece to do something with.

Honestly, I didn’t have a plan in mind, just scooped up 1/2 a yard and took it home with my wheels turning. Then I remembered a super-cute set of woodland animals made of felt I had seen out in the blogosphere lately (sorry, I really can’t remember where it was specifically) and thought of doing some kind of playset for preschoolers with this fabric as the background. Perhaps something similar to the old-time flannelgraphs. This is almost like a twill, so felt “stuck” to it pretty easily. I had a blank canvas handy, so I covered it with a piece of this fabric, stapling it to the back.

It looked just a bit too busy as a background, so I hot glued a piece of green felt, freehand cut to look like grassy hills, and put it in the foreground to break up the busyness.

Then I got to work making some animals and other woodsy type items. I did a little bit of stitching on my machine, but the rest I just made with hot glue. If you are not a sewer, you could easily make these with just a hot glue gun, different colors of felt, and scissors. I am not doing a tutorial on how I made each item, just go with the flow! If what you make is not perfect or too cheesy looking, it’s okay, really. Mine are quite far from perfect, as you can see. A perfectionist is definitely not one of my character traits! You should see the first deer I made–it was pretty bad 😦 Here’s some examples of felt items I put together to go with my playset:

A pond (with lily pad), fox, and a tree with bird.
A close-up of my mushroom.
All of my woodland accessories together.

As you can see in the last picture, I ended up making a pond, butterfly, owl, mushroom, tree, bird, deer, and a fox. I also made a handy-dandy felt pouch to put them all in. I was thinking this would be a great toy or present for a preschooler. If I gave this another go, I would probably do some type of fold-up design, but I like the stability of the canvas. I also thought of some other items that would be fun to make and include–a raccoon, bear, bunny, sun, gnome, flower, frog, etc… This was a fun project and my youngest three have been playing with it like crazy, especially my 6 year old.