Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Handmade and recycled Christmas

As a family we are working to find ways to consume less and produce more.  I struggle with this because even though I'm not a big shopper I like nice things.  That's why I'm so thankful God gave us Craiglist!  We did a great job this year buying used and refurbishing and making home-made gifts.  I made 18 aprons, 1 clutch, a dress for my niece, and a cleaning tote for Christmas gifts.  Here is how the boys aprons turned out.

The boys and Tony made 6 bird houses to give out as gifts.  Nate made the 2nd one with scraps off the floor and glued each piece together without any help.  He's so amazing!!!  I still can't believe my 5 year old not only came up with the design but was patient enough to glue each piece on and wait for it to dry before moving onto the next part.  It took him 4 days!  The last bird house is something my hubby is working on now.  It still needs a roof.  I just love how he used old trees and things from the yard.  Who knew my hubby was so creative!

We found our big gifts on Craigslist.  This swing set/ play house is 9 years old and was in bad shape when we got it.  The hubby worked for 3 days rebuilding it with the help of my wonderful father-in-law and after a good pressure washing it looks perfect.  I love how the top is an actual tree house.  It will be a great place for the kids to camp out when they get older. 

The kayak was a surprise for me and was also a Craigslist rescue.  I couldn't wait to get out on the water Christmas morning!

Now we are planning out the organic gardens and chicken coop.  I know we are a long way from homesteading but a little goes a long way and makes for such a great family life!  Pin It

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Sewing

Here is what I've been working on for Christmas gifts.  Several of the girls will be getting these cute aprons with matching doll aprons and the moms will be getting skirt aprons to match.

I created a pattern for these and will hopefully get to post it after Christmas.  It will be for sizes 2T-7T.


I also came up with this apron for some of the special women in our lives.  I first saw this fabric and thought "how horrible"!  As a walked past it again I thought "wow, that's just wrong"!  The last time I walked past it I thought "I have to have this"! 

I'm just hoping there is enough left over for me to make one for myself.  My father is going to die seeing me cook Christmas dinner in this one!  Hehe, It's the little things in life.  Pin It

Friday, December 16, 2011

Side Board Make-over.

Here are some pictures of the side board I painted over Thanksgiving.  I took a few short cuts since I decided to paint it last minute but I still love how it came out. 

Here is what it looked like before.  It wasn't bad it just wasn't my style.  I purchased this on clearance at Home Goods. 

The color is Gettysburg Gray by Benjamin Moore.  I added dirty gloss and the electric sander to distress it.  The short cut I used was painting it with latex paint.  The proper way, I've been told, to get that perfect antiqued look is to either use oil paint with dirty gloss or chalk paint with the gloss and then finishing it with a wax coat.  I plan on doing another piece soon using the chalk paint to see for myself.

The hardware I ordered from a local dealer.  I'm still waiting on one more drawer pull.  I love this hardware!
I was able to salvage the original hinges by sanding them a little to expose some brass. 

This was actually my first big painting project and I'm hooked now!  Watch out thrift stores! 

I'll do a tut the next time:) Pin It

Monday, December 12, 2011

Boys Christmas T-shirts and a Dress

Here is what I came up with for our Christmas photos.  I decided to go with the easy and quick again.  I think this is the only way I'm going to get them all into handmade clothing at the same time.  For the boys I used the Tee for Two Pattern by Pattern's by Figgy's.  It's a raglan style shirt and you can sew these up in about 15 minutes after you get a little practice with the neckline.  I change my neckline a little each time as well.  With these I doubled over the finished edge to make it more narrow and give it a cleaner seam.  The Christmas robot embroidery patterns on the front came from Urban Threads.  That is a great site if you are looking for unusual embroidery!

For Madeline's dress It's just a rectangle folded in half and sewn together along the side.  I then folded the top down 6" and shirred.  For the sleeves I attached two rectangles to the top and shirred 4 rows.  I added the bows because It was a little plain without them. 

I took photos for an hour and this is the best I got for our Christmas card!  Oh well, we are still getting lots of wear out of these. 

I was told I could never pull off this polka dot fabric for boys.  I have to admit it concerned me a little but I really wanted them to wear some color for a change.  What do you think?  Can boys wear polka dots?

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just Say No!

Every year I make the same mistake.  I start off shopping for Christmas with a clear head.  I buy the kids each a game, some science experiments and puzzles we can use for school fun, 1 or 2 toys that I know will excite them or that special thing they have been asking for and then I make them something special.  Unfortunately as Christmas Eve rolls near I start to second guess what I got.  "Is is enough?"  "Will they be disappointed?"  I end up making the mistake of purchasing an electronic game of some sort knowing that will surely make their day.  I regret that decision the day after Christmas and ultimately end up getting rid of the item.  I was talking with a friend yesterday and started to do it again!

We made the decision as a family that we would do little to no TV and video games.  The thing I don't want however is for my kids to know we made this decision.  I never want them to think these things aren't allowed, especially video games, because I don't want them to desire and wish for them.  The approach we have taken is to just be busy and productive and don't bring it up.  It amazes me how little kids actually want to watch TV and play video games when their minds are stimulated in other ways!  It's when I want to turn off that they end up in front of the TV!  Nate the other day told me his favorite thing to do was play video games.  It took my breath away, especially since it had been well over 2 months since he had played.  He asked if he could play his game on the ipad so I gave him a 10 minute time limit and let him play.  He didn't even finish the 10 minutes.  I came to check on him and the ipad was on the table and he was out in the yard playing.  The further away from it we get the less exciting it seems to be. 

This year I'm saying NO!  No we don't need more and we don't need electronic games and DVDs!  What we do need is to spend our days together being creative and giving thanks to God for all we have. 



Tools and a creative mind

It's a marshmallow shooter

Nature and a daddy with strong arms

An extra pair of gloves for when we don't want to wear shoes

Sweet kitty cats and baby smiles

A great climbing tree and fresh squeezed juice

These are the real gifts. 

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Toy Rocket Ship Tutorial

I know this took a lifetime for me to finish but I have finally made the Blast off Rocket Ship Tutorial and pattern available for instant download!  I hope you enjoy and please upload your photos to the Sew Grown Flickr group.  I would love to see how they turn out!

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