Pretty Pink Paper Flowers

Pretty Pink Paper Flowers

 
Aren’t these pink paper flowers pretty?
Just finished shaping a dozen of them.
A super easy project – 
Especially since these came out of a kit.
In general,
I prefer to craft from scratch.
But every now and again,
I’ll spring for a kit.
 
Love perusing all the goodies at Paper Source
Gorgeous papers.
Quality tools.
Silly tchotchkes.
Plenty of inspiration.
Last visit, this paper flower kit caught my eye.
So bright and cheery.
Part of me thought,
“No way are you paying $9.95 for some scraps of tissue paper and wire.”
The other part of me argued,
“But they are adorable and the troublesome part is already done…”
My frugal side lost.
I wanted a bunch of these flowers (they come 6 per kit).
I didn’t want to deal with all the cutting and folding.
I wanted almost-instant gratification.
I went home with two kits.
 
Brewed a cup coffee.
Turned on the radio.
Pulled out the bits of tissue paper already cut, layered, accordion-folded with wire attached.
Gently separated the layers and fluffed out each flower.
 
Sure it’s just tissue paper and wire.
But I like the look of them.
And are just the thing to brighten up my studio.
Pseudo-craft project finished.
Time to get back to the more time consuming stuff.
Textile Goulash for the Birds

Textile Goulash for the Birds

 
 Spring must be on its way.
Because the birds are back.
Flocks of them flying and swooping about.
It’s quite the sight.
I imagine many are making their way north.
But some seem to be here to stay.
Watched two birds of prey mating just last week.
Caught a flash of red as a cardinal flew past me in the back yard.
Cursed my luck when I noticed two woodpeckers busy pecking at my house.
I’m guessing nest building will be happening soon.
When we moved here last summer,
We were excited to discover honest-to-goodness birds’ nests in trees around our property.
But we were also disappointed to find plastic bags and trash used as nesting material.
We’ve spent months cleaning up the yard.
(Would you believe I’m still digging up random golf balls, tennis balls and plastic toys?)
This spring,
We’re offering the birds something a little nicer than trash to build into their nests.
 
I call it “textile goulash.”
Comprised of:
Scraps of fabric and felt.
Yarn.
String.
Ribbon.
All sliced into (hopefully) manageable segments.
 
 A picture I happened upon on Pinterest was my inspiration for this project.
I originally intended to weave a light wire basket to hold everything.
A variation of one I’d recently made.
However, a friend warned me the squirrels might want the scraps for their nests as well.
The squirrels of her childhood actually stole a t-shirt off the back patio.
Dragged it up a tree.
And used it to insulate their nest.
How did she know?
She could see bits of that shirt poking out and mocking her from the squirrel nest way up high…
To be safe, I invested in a proper wire bird feeder.
Hypothetically squirrel proof.
(Is anything ever really squirrel proof?)
Loosely filled the bird feeder with the textile goulash.
Hung it off a branch in a sunny spot in the backyard.
Now,
It’s just wait and watch.
How cool would it be if the birds actually use this stuff?
Quest for the Spark (Book 3)

Quest for the Spark (Book 3)

Finally finishing “Quest for the Spark, Book 3.”.
My 10 year old standing firm that this is a good series.
His almost-13 year old brother doesn’t care for the books.
But he sure has enjoyed criticizing the lack of character development and plot.
I’m just glad we’re wrapping up this series and moving on.
Despite disagreements on what constitutes a “good book,”
My boys are still committed to our daily read aloud.
They often refer back to stories we’ve read together.
Tease each other (and me) about our book choices.
Offer up recommendations for future read alouds.
I don’t expect to enjoy every book we read.
But I sure am happy we’re still reading together.
Ten Basic Zipper Pouches

Ten Basic Zipper Pouches

 
Sewed 10 basic zipper pouches last week.
Now I have a sewing-headache.
Am I a wimp?
Sigh.
There’s a reason I avoid making anything in large quantities…
I just temporarily forgot.
Nevertheless, it was for a good reason.
 
It started with wanting to help a local outreach program.
I’m crappy at the face to face stuff.
But when I learned that this ministry had need of supplies to hand out to young women,
I thought,
“Here is something I can help with.”
Went shopping for items to create toiletry kits.
T-shirts.
Combs.
Tooth brushes and tooth paste.
Floss.
Nail files and clippers.
Chapstick.
Lotion.
The request for help called these supplies “Hope in a Bag.”
And suggested the items be bagged in recycled grocery bags.
Could have done that.
But,
If these bags of supplies are given out as a message,
Wouldn’t it be better to present the items in something durable, reusable and a pretty?
Could taking the time to sew a zipper fabric bag to place everything in add to the message?
To tell a young lady that people care.
That she is worth something.
Maybe.
I figured “maybe” was enough of an answer.
And got to work.
 I wanted each bag to measure 12 inches across by 15 inches long.
I use this sized bag as “project bags” to hold my various knitting and crochet projects.
They fold flat when not use.
But are roomy enough to hold a couple skeins of yarn and most works in progress.
In this case, 
Each bag was plenty big enough to hold the toiletry items I put together.
 With room for a few other personal items should the need arise.
Below are my notes and tips for making these basic zipper pouches.
  •  To make one pouch, you will need one standard 12-inch zipper and two pieces of cotton fabric; each cut into a 13.25-inch by 16.25-inch rectangle.  I recommend cutting the fabric using a rotary cutter, quilting ruler and a large cutting mat.
  • Sew with a 5/8-inch seam allowance.
  • The zipper is sewn to one of the 13.25-inch sides of the fabric rectangle.  Let’s call this fabric edge the “zipper-edge.”
  • Before attaching the zipper, I finished the “zipper-edge” of the fabric rectangle with the serger.
  • Center the zipper to “zipper-edge” of one fabric rectangle.  Right side of zipper should face right side of fabric.  Sew zipper to zipper edge of fabric.
  • Repeat with second edge of zipper and second piece of fabric.
  • Press seams along both sides of the zipper.
  • Once the zipper is attached to both pieces of fabric, open the zipper midway.  Then pin the edges of the bag body together, right side to right side. 
  • Sew the remaining three edges of the bag body together.
  • Serge the three sides to finish the edges.
  • Weave serged thread ends into the stitches and trim as necessary.
  • Flip bag right side out.
  • Press.
 It’s a bit of a process.
I tried to speed things up a bit by working factory style.
I cut the fabric for all ten bags at once.
Then serged all “zipper edges.”
Then moved onto zippers…
You get the picture.
Even so, it was slow going.
(or hec, maybe I’m just slow).
I worked for three afternoons.
At least three hours and change each time.
Finished and filled ten bags.
 This is going to be an ongoing thing.
Just need to figure out the “how many” and “how often” part.
In the meantime,
Hoping these first ten toiletry bags and kits can be of some little help.

Sunshine and Some Greenery

Sunshine and Some Greenery

 
Sometimes it really is the unplanned small pleasures that make all the difference.
Wouldn’t you agree?
What brings a warm smile to your heart?
A friend dropping by to visit?
The smell of fresh baked brownies?
That dress you wanted suddenly marked an extra 50% off?
My happy moment yesterday came in the form of
Sunshine and some greenery.
Our first winter in the Carolinas.
Lots of heavy dark clouds and violent rainstorms.
The locals tell me this winter is especially dreary and wet.
I hope they’re right.
Because the grey days here are awfully gloomy.
We finally got a bit of sunshine yesterday,
My afternoon errands included stopping at the local nursery.
I intended to buy a bird feeder and then boogie onto other tasks.
But I couldn’t resist perusing the plants.
What a delight to wander up and down the aisles.
Sipping an herbal lemonade.
Bright sunshine warming my face.
Besides the bird feeder,
I ended up going home with:
Four Tuscan Blue Rosemary bushes
Three Grassy-Leaved Sweet Flag
Three cheery yellow English Primroses
Two small Flowering Kale
and
One foot tall Lemon Cypress.
(I feel like I should be singing “and a partridge in a pear tree!”)
Ignored the rest of my chores.
Spent the afternoon with shovel in hand and the sun on my back.
Humming a stupid little tune to myself.
Digging.
Planting.
Soaking up the sunlight.
Dreaming big dreams for the garden.
But still celebrating each little plant.
Just some sunshine and greenery.
My happy place.