Monthly Archives: January 2011

Monday January 31, 2011

Heart clips for the little girls you love.

For this project you will need the following supplies:

1.  Small scraps of material in a variety of colors and prints ( 5 inch squares will be plenty big)
2.  Red, pink, purple, and gray felt
3. Heat ‘n’ Bond
4. Metal hair clips.  I like using the 30mm rectangle, metal snap clip, but any metal snap clip will do.
4. E600 industrial strength glue (or any glue that will adhere to metal)
5. Buttons, thread, ribbon, etc. . . just an assortment of items to decorate the clips.

Take your scraps of cotton material and iron squares of Heat ‘n’ Bond to the wrong side of the fabric.  I really do recommend Heat ‘n’ Bond over other iron-on adhesives.  I’ve tried other brands and they just don’t work as well (Pellon brand is particularly hard to work with).

Next, fold the felt in half and cut a half heart shape on the fold (just like you learned in kindergarten).  I used my pinking sheers because it made the heart look like a traditional heart doily.  Make sure that the felt heart you cut out is big enough to cover the snap clips you are using.

Choose one of the coordinating material squares (the ones you ironed the heat ‘n’ bond to) and cut a slightly smaller heart out.  Lay is on top of the felt heart and see if it fits nicely on the larger heart.

Peel the paper off the back of the smaller fabric hearts.  It should come off easily.  If it wants to stick just iron it a bit more.  Lay the rest of the hearts out on the ironing board and iron them onto the felt hearts, following the instructions on the Heat ‘n’ Bond package.

Now for the fun part!  Round up buttons, appliques, ribbon, and thread and decorate your clips.  I like adding small embroidery stitches around the heart.

Once you are happy with the way the hearts look, take the glue and add a thin layer to the top of the clip.

I pop the clip open and center it onto the heart.

Leaving the snap clip open, I held it in place with other clips, just until the glue set up.

This really is a fun, satisfying project.  Something sweet to clip onto a Valentine’s Day card!

Sunday January 30, 2011


This sweet little Valentine’s photo book is the perfect gift for and infant or toddler.  They love looking a photos of themselves and their family.  This small, portable photo album is soft and durable; just right for little hands to hold and look at.

For this project you will need the following supplies:

1.  Two pieces of cotton material cut into 15.5 x 5.5 inch rectangles (these will be the album cover)
2.  One 15.5 x 5.5 inch rectangle of fusible fleece, or light weight batting
3.  1/3 a yard of heavy gauge clear vinyl, cut into 6- 14 x 4.5 inch rectangles.
4.  Some bits of ribbon or trim, and scrap material to decorate the front of the album

Step one:  Begin by cutting your fabric and fusible fleece into 15.5 x 5.5 inch rectangles.  Then cut your vinyl into the 6 pieces of 14 x 4.5 inch rectangles.  The vinyl can be a bit tricky to cut; it wants to slip around a bit.   Take your time and if they are not perfectly straight it’s no big deal!

Step two:  Decorating your album cover.  You can keep this part real simple and just add some cute trim or stitch a felt heart to the front, but if you would like your cover to have the “You are loved” on the outside, this is how I did it~

I took a small scrap of plain colored fabric (I used natural linen) and I ironed some fusible “heat ‘n’ bond” to the back of the fabric.

Next I took some regular paper and stamped out the words “you are loved” and cut them into rectangles.  I used those rectangles as a pattern to figure out how big to cut the linen material.  I pinned the pieces onto the fabric and cut around them with my pinking sheers (you could use regular scissor for this, I just liked to look of the pinked edges).

Then I took my linen material rectangles and with black fabric paint and a brush, I stamped the words onto the fabric.

Once the paint has dried I peeled the paper off the back of the material and ironed the words onto the cover of the album.  Use your sewing machine to stitch around the edge of each word.

After the words were in place I used my ruler to line up the ribbon and trim, then I pinned them into place and then machine stitched the ribbon to the cover.

This is what the cover should look like.

Step three:  Take the other piece of cotton fabric and iron the fusible fleece to the WRONG side of the material.

Next step is to pin the two pieces of material right sides together, and stitch around the edges with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  BE SURE to leave a two inch opening along one side, so that you can turn it wrong side out.

Before you turn it inside out trim each of the corners off.  Turn inside out and iron flat.  When you iron the fabric make sure you tuck in the seam allowance on the two inch opening.

Top stitch all around the edge.

Step four:  Sewing the vinyl sheets together.

Match up the vinyl sheets in pairs.  Zig-zag the edges.  The vinyl will want to kind of stick and grab, so you need to help feed the vinyl under the presser foot.

Line the vinyl sheets up on top of the BACK side of the cover (the side without the “You are Loved” on it).  Be sure to center them on the cotton fabric.  Fold the album in half and press with your hand to make a crease down the center.  Carefully move the album to you machine and place it VINYL SIDE UP and sew along the crease through all the layers.  My machine didn’t have any trouble sewing through the layers.

Last step: fill with pictures and enjoy!  This photo book holds 11 pictures.

If you have any questions regarding this tutorial please send me a message through Xanga or Facebook.

Saturday January 29, 2011

When we came home from the mountains last week I had every intention of hitting the ground running, but I never felt like I got any traction.  The week felt full of busyness, motion, coming and going, with very little to show for all my effort.

The three of them kept me on my toes all week.  They didn’t seem to know what to do with themselves,  except to be under my feet.  Keeping the house in order with little ones running around is always a challenge but this week “impossible” is the word I would have used.  I just couldn’t hold back the tide of toys, shoes, dirty clothes, and gold fish crackers, that were spread from one end of the house to the other.

I also spend a good bit of my extra time tying up the loose ends on my projects for Valentine’s Week.  I’m very excited!  Everything is neatly lined up on my sewing desk looking as sweet as can be.

The first Valentine’s Day post will be up tomorrow evening, and one everyday after that, for the rest of the week.  I hope you’ll keep checking back!   On Thursday (February 3rd) there will be a guest post by one of my favorite Xanga bloggers, Rachel of: foreveranoatneygirl… so be sure to visit her site and come back on Thursday to check out her Valentine’s Day project.  Rachel is pretty much the bee’s knees .

See you soon! ~ April

Tuesday January 25, 2011

We spent the week in a happy cabin, tucked back into the mountains, playing, sledding, sleeping, exploring and eating jelly beans.  Big vacations with big exciting destinations are fun, but I love these lazy, time-standing-still, soak-up-every-sweet-moment, kind of vacations.

Before we even left I knew it was going to be a great trip.

The “Cinnamon Roll Fairy” made a delivery to our door step the morning we left.  It’s a little known fact but the Cinnamon Roll Fairy is actually a bearded man who goes by the name of Simeon.

Naturally, being on vacation means having special treats around.

The first morning at the cabin she wandered out the front door in her p.j’s and plopped down under the pine trees.

We spent a morning in Murphys playing in the park and having a picnic.

The long twisty slide was a big hit.

This is the beautiful little creek that flows through downtown Murphys and skirts the edge of the park.  Perfect for skipping and tossing rocks.

Several mornings we got our snow gear on and headed 15 minutes further up the mountain for some snow.

We’ve taken the boys to the snow when they were younger but this year they enjoyed it to the fullest.  Sledding, snowballs, snow angels, tasting the snow… they loved it all!

Eliza enjoyed the sledding but wasn’t crazy about the snow.  She’s not a great all-terrain baby; a little unsteady on the feet.

She was happy to sit on her perch eating black licorice and crackers.

I did a lot of this; pulling sleds up the hill.  In fact I carried more sleds up the hill than I rode down on.

Little boy heaven!

We also spent and afternoon exploring Historic Columbia

It was a gorgeous day.  Every thing was bathed in a golden light.  The outcrop of rocks around Columbia proved to be an ideal place for the kids to run, climb, and explore.

The one thing that didn’t happen consistently while we were away was nap time.  The all did great for the most part but every once in a while baby girl would just wilt.

Of course it wouldn’t be a relaxing trip without my sewing machine.  Our car was packed to the roof but Justin made sure to fit my sewing things in.

Each set of grandparents came and stayed one night each with us at the cabin.  Grandma W brought the most delicious dinner and shopped in Sonora with Eliza and I, while Grandpa W. and the guys went golfing.  My parents came up at the end of the week, stayed the night, and help us pack up the next day.

My Dad taught Jude how to play checkers.

We certainly did lots of relaxing, but as always, at the end of a long trip… home feels so sweet.

Tuesday January 18, 2011

I know that I’m supposed to be a grownup and regard Valentine’s Day with the reserve, and aloofness befitting and adult-type person…

… but I really want to jump up and down, clap my hands, and squeal, “I LOVE YOU VALENTINE’S DAY!”.   I want to fill my shopping cart with doilies, pink glitter, heart shaped bath mats , boxes of tiny cards,  and cheesy Valentine’s day knee socks.  I want to stuff myself full of chocolates wrapped in red foil and fill my house with pink and white tulips.

In lieu of going crazy in the Valentine’s Day aisles of Target;  I have been sketching, cutting, painting, sewing, and have come up with a weeks worth of Valentine’s Day projects.  From January 30th to February 5th, I’ll be sharing one idea each day.  There is even the possibility of a guest post, which I’m pretty excited about!  So be sure to check in often that week!

REVERSIBLE TOTE EDIT~  After using my reversible tote for the last week I realized that the silk crepe is fraying more than I expected.  If you are thinking of making one for yourself you have several options,

1. Use another kind of material that is more fray resistant (netting, tulle, polyester knit, cotton knit).
2.  You can seal the edges of the silk crepe with heat (a candle or a kitchen torch). 
3. You can cut the silk crepe on the bias which would help prevent excessive fraying.

I apologize for the over-sight!

Tuesday January 11, 2011

This is the purse I made for myself last week.  As I was making it I snapped some pictures in case any of you were interested in trying to embellish your own tote.  The pattern I used is an Ali Foster pattern and you can purchase it here.  You can use any purse pattern you like, so long as it doesn’t have pocket, pleats, or buckles on the outside.  I really love Ali Foster’s Reversible Tote pattern.  It’s dreamy; SO easy to use!  Some of the first purse patterns I learned to sew on where Amy Butler patterns.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Ms. Butler’s style.  She’s swell and spiffy but her purse patterns are… involved.  They usually require a lot of yardage, an insane amount of interfacing, and they cost $12.95.  Her patterns come with very detailed written instructions but only one or two diagrams, which is hard for all of us “instructionally challenged” people (my spell check doesn’t like the word “instructionally” but I’m using it anyway). 

Compare all of that to Ali Foster’s pattern (and a lot of other PDF patterns) which usually take a yard or less, cost on average $6.00, and have step-by-step instructions with photographs for each step!  If you’ve never used a PDF pattern don’t let that intimidate you.  I’ve had nothing but good experiences with them.  You purchase the pattern and they send it in a PDF form to your email.  You download it and print the pattern off on your printer, using regular computer paper.  Sometimes you need to enlarge the pattern but a lot of times it’s not necessary.  The other nice thing about the PDF pattern is you have a copy of it on your computer; so if something happens to your pattern piece you just print a new one off … nice!   Okay.  I’ll stop preachin’ and get to good stuff.

For the flower I used lavender silk crepe, which is exactly what it sounds like… silk that has the texture of crepe paper.  I cut strips in two different widths 3.5 inches and 2.5 inches.  I cut 2 of each size.

I cut off the salvage edge of the material.

They should look like this.

I folded the strip 3/4′s of the way over and ironed it.  I wanted each layer to have a double-ruffled effect.

Then I did a basting stitch along the folded edge of the fabric.  A basting stitch is just the longest stitch setting on your machine.   Leave plenty of thread at the beginning and the end of the stitching.  DON’T BACK STITCH.  Otherwise you won’t be able to gather up the fabric.

Start by holding one of the threads taut with one hand, and pushing the fabric with your other hand.  Go slow and don’t pull to hard on your thread.  Gently move the ruffles towards the middle of the strip.

Once you’ve gathered half of your fabric, flip it over and start from the other end, until the whole length has been gathered.  Do this to all of your fabric pieces.

Start with the outer layer of your purse and place the material right side up.

Chose a circle that is slightly smaller than you want your flower to be.  Keep in mind that you need to leave room on the edges for seam allowances.  The plate I used was 7.5 inches across, and pink ( yours doesn’t have to be pink but if your lucky it will be).  Trace around the circle.

Pin the large sized ruffle along the traced circle.

Stitch along the bottom edge of the material.  I did two layers with the large ruffle and then switched to the smaller ruffle for the rest of the flower.  Continue to spiral, pin, and stitch until you get to the center of the circle.

For the very center of the flower I cut about 6 inches of the smaller ruffle, rolled it into a rosette shape, stitched it together at the bottom and then hand stitched it into the center of the flower.

All finished!  Continue to sew the purse together using the pattern instructions.

It is a reversible tote so chose a fabric lining that you like.

I really did have good intentions.  I was going to save this tote and give it as a gift but I liked it too much… so I’m keepin’ it.

If you have any questions about making this flower purse you can message me through Xanga or on FaceBook.

Saturday January 8, 2011

We rang in the New Year in Santa Cruz with my Mom and Dad.

Enjoyed rainy winter days…

…which turned into rainy spring days and almond blossoms.

We enjoyed evening walks as the daylight hours started to lengthen.

Lots of picnic lunches in blanket tents.

We celebrated 1st Birthdays…

…and watched her grow from a fat, happy baby to a happy, busy toddler.

Planted the garden.

Spring time trips to the beach, playing in the waves,

Digging in the sand.

He turned five and loved every minute of being the Birthday Boy.

 Sunday naps with Daddy.

Started the summer off with a trip to Tucson.

A week of exploring the desert, swimming, and lounging by the pool.

The lazy summer days brought sprinklers, ice cream, pink cheeks, tan legs, and long hot days.

~We celebrated 10 years~

10 beautiful, blessed years

They grew! and grew, and grew…

Park days with cousins

Celebrating 4th of July on the delta in Grandpa’s boat.

Enjoying the garden

Learning to ride a bike

First say of school!

.:Lots of tea parties:.

School field trips

Cold fall days, snuggled up by the fire

~Christmas with family~

Celebrating turning 4!

“Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by so quickly you hardly catch it going”
~Tennessee Williams