Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Enchanted Rock

Pin It Now! This past weekend we went on our annual backpackpacking trip to Enchanted Rock. Forth year in a row, baby! I think this is the first year I didn't have to hike while being big and pregnant or carrying a baby. Both of my kids hiked the entire way. I'm so proud of my little campers. It's only a flat, one mile hike into the primitive sites, so it's perfect for families who want to take their little ones on a low-key backpacking trip. We only stay one night, so it's easy to pack light. We still use our 2-man tent for the four of us. Cozy.
Denny and his friend Hallei
Denzil and Ashlyn filtering water

Beautiful Ashlyn. She loves her hat. I need to make her a new one... this is the one I made last summer, so it's pretty beat up.

Ashlyn and Hallei catching tadpoles
The fam damily

Denny's such a pimp

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tags and Ta-tas

Pin It Now! First up are some tags I made for my etsy goods. I also made some for my friends Melissa and Janna. Check out their shops... way cool stuff. So here's the deal... 300 tags for under $10... that's only 3 cents a tag, right? I love my business cards from overnightprints, so I did a business card layout in photoshop of the three different shop tags, submitted the order, cut them with a paper cutter and hole-punched them. (Be sure to google a coupon code... I used "BC100" for 100 free business cards plus $9.50 shipping). I think they turned out mighty fine!
This is how they looked before I sliced them. I could cut about 3 at a time on the paper cutter.

Sorry for the tease... not real ta-tas... this is a nursing cover I made for a friend who just had a baby. I've heard them called "hooter hiders" as well. How disturbingly clever :) A special thanks to Janna for the instructions. If you would like your own custom nursing cover, convo Janna. The girl's got some mad sewing skills. They're not currently listed in her shop, but I'm sure she'd be happy to whip one up for you. Heaven knows, the world needs less boobs being flashed around.

This is the bottom inside corner of the nursing cover... a built in wipee. I used some ultra soft and absorbant 100% cotton sherpa. Drool away, baby.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Dress - Stella Noir

Pin It Now! My dear friend Janna gave me a blackapple stetchbook for Christmas, so I've been using it to stetch out my ideas. I have quite a few other designs on the cutting table, but it's hard to find time to create new things. If it weren't for my stetchbook, I know I'd forget half my ideas. Thanks, Janna for such an extremely practical gift!

Here is a design I've been sitting on for a while and finally got around to sewing. I call it the Stella Noir Dress, and it is now available for purchase from my etsy shop. I wore it to church today with some aqua blue poppy pins. I'm happy to report that it passed the climbing, drooling toddler test with flying colors :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pressed Flower Tutorial

Pin It Now! When my brother passed away last month, so many thoughtful people sent gorgeous flower arrangements to the funeral home and my parent's house. Jared's girlfriend mentioned to me that it might be nice if some of the flowers were preserved and framed as a special keepsake. Never in a million years would I have thought of such good idea... Thanks, Aimee! You're definitely getting one : )

One would think that picking up a new hobby under such sad circumstances is insane, but I found it a very therapeutic distraction from all the sadness. Yet, when it comes to flower pressing, there's no putting it off... the flowers must be pressed while they are fresh and alive. That leaves a very small window of opportunity.

I've tried to give you a brief "how to" on microwave flower pressing. Yes, I said MICROWAVE. The benefits of the microwave method are 1) time... hours in comparison to the weeks it takes for the old book pressing method and 2) it captures and preserves the petal colors better.

-fresh flowers and foliage
-4 layers of cardboard (I used 2 priority mail boxes cut in half... that might be a federal offense... shhh... don't tell.)
-2 tissues/Kleenex
-6 layers printer paper
-2 to 4 thick rubber bands
-Perfect Paper Adhesive Matte (I found it in Michael's Craft store in the same section as the ModPodge)
-Krylon UV Resistant Clear (optional... I found this in the art/paint section)
-flat brush
-cardstock or cold pressed watercolor paper (140 lb)

*Please Note: I am a complete novice when it comes to flower pressing. I'm just sharing what I researched on the web and what worked for me. I have a pretty bad track record with plants. I can say that I have a reliable black thumb... that is, if I so much as look at a plant, it will most definately die under my care :) Enjoy!

Layer the boxes, tissue and printer paper as shown below. The petals will be sandwiched in between.

I like to disassemble the flower for pressing, then reassemble it after they are dried. This helps to ensure that the petals get pressed nice and flat and don't curl in the microwave.

It's a good idea to press the thicker pieces of the flower separately... otherwise they'll cause a space in the press, which will cause the other flatter petals to curl and wilt while "cooking" in the microwave. In the picture below, I was lazy and just put the thick daisy center in a corner away from my petals.

You'll have to experiment with the microwaving. Some flowers dry quicker than others. You'll need to repeat the process (zap, cool, zap, cool) 2 to 4 times until the flowers are completely dry and papery. Most of the petals I did only had to be zapped twice.

Don't peek while the press is still hot! After it cools, carefully undo your press and peel back the paper to see if your flowers are dry. If they're still wet, repeat process.
Here are the adhesives, so you know what to look for in the store.
Now is the fun part! Decide how you want your flowers arranged and start gluing. When it's dry, apply a coat of either the Perfect Paper Adhesive or the Krylon UV Resistant Spray. This will help protect your flower from fading in the sun. You can also have your art framed using a special UV resistant glass.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Dolls

Pin It Now! Aren't they cute together? Seriously, it looks like Darth has a soft side when he's cuddling up to a cute little blond dolly. These are the dolls I made as the kids' easter gift. Denny had seen me making Ashlyn's doll, so he knew I was going to sew him something, too. All week he kept trying to guess... is it a bunny? A dog? Finally, I told him that I was making him a blue princess doll (because blue is his favorite color, of course). He's use to my teasing, but I think part of him wondered if I was telling the truth. It was a quick and sloppy sewing job; I didn't even draw out the pattern first... just started cutting. Oh well, Denny could tell it who it was and loves him, so that's all that matters, right?
For Ashlyn's doll, I used The Black Apple doll pattern here. I made another black apple doll for Ashlyn last year with a painted face, but I guess my daughter drools too much in her sleep, because it's starting to bleed out. So for this doll, I played it safe and embroidered her facial features.