Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lessons from a middle school sewing class

If you have never volunteered at your local middle school's Home Economics sewing class, you should! Watching and helping Mrs. Largey's class this last trimester was absolutely an amazing and fun experience.

I think it would be fair to say that girls pretty much just get sewing...boys?...not so much
I have discovered that there are few things more rewarding than helping preteen boys learn to sew on buttons, sew seams, hems and then watching them put all of those skills to use assembling a pillow project. I loved watching their faces as they completed each step and Mrs Largey gave them the stamp of approval.

I came to realize very quickly that as a long time crafter, I take for granted the skill it takes to place pattern pieces correctly, cut them out (on the lines), follow instructions and put it all together. I also have a humbling admiration for any brave person who wears the hat that says "Middle School Home Economics Teacher".

My grandson Jordan completed his happy face pillow and it was amazing how this seemingly simple project brought him so much pride and gave him so much confidence.

And with this new found confidence, he wondered if  he and I could make a pillow that looks like Mario. And so we did. We spent a few afternoons together sewing and talking.

Cutting out, piecing, pivoting and maneuvering around like pros at the sewing machine.

This was going to be a tutorial on "how to make a mario pillow". Instead, I think this story has become a lesson in life for me.
I would urge you to find your local middle school and just spend time in one class helping those preteens become confident, competent young people.
I know it's hard to believe, but learning to sew buttons, seams, hems and pillows really can do so much more than you could ever imagine!

Friday, February 24, 2012


                I love surprises, don't you?

Even better than receiving a surprise is giving one. The anticipation of putting it together and then wondering how your recipient will react to getting it. Giving it and watching the emotions unfold. I love that!

 In the land of the internet there are many wonderful craft selling sites with a countless number of shop owners trying so very hard to make a go of it. Setting up their shops, tagging, photos, listing, re-listing, stat watching, waiting...waiting...waiting...

 All things that take so much time and and patience, some days it just zaps the creativity right out of you.

In my quest to make my blog interesting to all my readers (now at 29, not counting really, but it is a stat I shamefully watch 2-3 times at least a day....does anybody else do this?)  I thought some serendipitous shopping would liven things up.

SURPRISE to the shop owners for the recognition and SURPRISE to you, my readers, when you find you have stumbled upon such wonderful and amazing handmade items!

So let's go SHOPPING!!!!

 Cutterstone is home to some very amazing handmade jewelry.
                                 This is one of my favorites.

                                  It's beautifully simple, don't you think?

Buffalo Creek Crafts offers a variety of crafty things. I have a few of these beautiful coasters at my house and I love them. Well made and very reasonably priced. A great gift idea!

And sometimes our shopping can also lend a helping hand. Kim at  Just B You has a daughter preparing to go to the National Youth Forum on Medicine and she is raising funds to get there. She is offering the service of making your very own QR code. I know, you are asking what is that?

 Wikipedia says  ..."Their use was formerly mostly confined to industry, but in recent years consumers have grown used to seeing them in consumer advertising and packaging, because the dissemination of smartphones "has put a barcode reader in everyone's pocket" for the first time."

Yes, you can go somewhere on line and get them for free....but....for four bucks you can help an ambitious young lady make her way in the world. That's a two for one in my book!   Here is mine :

Scan it with your smartphone and SURPRISE there is my shop!!!

Just one more novelty in this world of computers and smartphones so many of us entered into kicking and screaming but have gracefully learned to embrace.

Serendipity, I think that's what life is...a series of happy, surprising, fun things with a little bit of drama mixed in - Suzie G

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Better late than never

I have been watching this flashing "I'm doing the block of the month" button for about 2 months on my blog.  I guess since it's almost the end of February, I should get started.

I am following along with the Craftsy Block of the Month FREE class online. Craftsy is a great website for all you crafters out there. They have great classes and you can share your projects with lots of other passionate, crafty people.

 I spent the afternoon yesterday completing the two January blocks.
These are the fabrics I am going to begin with. I've had them staring at me from my stash for about 2 years. I guess they will be a good start and I will have to find some more to match. The instructions say I will need 36 fat quarters and this is only 8....looks like I will need to go shopping...

 Darn, a trip to the fabric store.

My background fabric is actually an ivory kona cotton (kinda hard to tell from the pic, sorry)

One of the things I love about quilting is the transformation the fabrics take as they are sliced and diced, stitched and pieced together. The beginning never looks like the end!

The first block is called the asterisk block. I am not completely happy with the fabric pick on this one but I have also found that often what you think doesn't look good by itself looks really pretty great when it all comes together. So, I will set aside my desire to scrap it and make another one until later in the process.

Don't you just love slicing up your carefully sewn squares? Scary at first, but it's all part of the transformation!

The second block is called a Wonky Pound Sign.

Another opportunity to slice up those beautifully sewn seams! This block was fun because you get to dice it up however you want...no rules!

 I am so glad I decided to get started on this project! I have been missing quilting.

I've used "no time" as my excuse but look at that....one afternoon (really just about an hour) and I have two blocks done!

And now that you know "no time" is not a valid excuse, I guess I better get rolling on February's blocks since March is already posted on their website. Where does the time go?

It's never to late to get started on this project with me! Show me your fabric pics and blocks, I would love to see them!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Marketing genius?

I asked my husband what I should blog about for Monday. He is currently studying for his BS in Physics, so he thought I should blog about electron volts. This is his idea of exciting reading.

Did I mention that I hate math?...so, I don't think I'll be talking about electron volts.

What I think I will blog about instead is the marketing adventure I had this weekend. I love the marketing side of my Etsy shop. I love making up names for my products, taking pictures and making tags. I find it fun and imaginative.

Now I know, there are a lot of shop owners who find it grueling. But, if you picture your shop as a storefront window and you want that passing shopper to stop and take a look, you have to make your products appealing enough to make that happen, right?
         Which store would you walk into?

I'm no expert, I am just leaning about search engines and tags, networking and all that jazz. I can't tell you how many times I have taken and retaken pictures, changed tags and titles, only to get 8 views? Arrrrrg! It is discouraging but at the same time challenging.

 My focus this weekend was on my newest product addiction, (yes, that should be addition, but addiction works too) "Angel on my shoulder".

She began as a seat belt angel. A friend, Amy Coffey , from my Handmade Circle  group had already started the ball rolling by suggesting she could go on an IV pole for someone in the hospital. From there I thought...what about a nursing home patient....or a college student away from home...(no, they don't have IV poles, but they have desk lamps!) These are all potential customers!

I decided to start by packaging her as a more finished product so I made a laminated card for her to attach to. I added some of her possible uses on the back (I had trouble on that photo so you will have to take my word for it)

I think she may be ready to go into a hospital gift shop....another possibility!

Next step will be to work on her tags and titles to include these other potential customers. My hope is that by making her more appealing to a larger group, she will get more views and eventually more sales.

As this idea has evolved, it has brought to life a creative marketing monster in me that I think my shop needs at the moment.

I want to to take a step outside the box and refresh some of my other products. Ideas are swirling......

Take a look at your products. Which products have low views? How can you make them appeal to a larger audience?

Move things around, create some excitement in your storefront again!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Did you miss the raft?

  If you laughed today.....


......If you happened to see something beautiful today and it lifted your spirit 
a little......
 Remember that sometimes the Lord sends us a raft 
and we miss it
because we were looking for a yacht  - Suzie G

Have a wonderful, fun and safe weekend!!!

Come with me to some of my wonderfully crafty friends shops!
        I have to buy a gift for someone special...let's see....

I could buy some soap from EcoChicSoaps she has 
wonderful soaps like  this Japanese Adzuki Goat's Milk soap. 
 Or this Pear Glace Goat's Milk soap (one of my favorites) 
I could also get my special someone something ceramic created with love by Irihana Arts like these beautiful wine charms  
This very cute owl bookmark should be considered too. 
I better not forget the card. I might get one from 
Janet Anderson Art ,  hand drawn with love and patience 
 Or I could get one from The Venus Collection...she has wonderful original painted art cards
 I guess I better make up my mind! Thanks for shopping with me!
Let's go shopping again soon! 
Will you help me Pay It Forward and share this post or pin your favorite items? Pretty please♥

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My sister's bag...a creation's journey

My mom and dad raised 11 children, ELEVEN children. I know, I think it's crazy too.

These are my sisters. I have fought with, loved, cried and laughed with each one of them. I cherish each moment I spend with them because life doesn't always deal you the best hand.

My sister, Pam, is an angel. We all miss her VERY much.

My sister, Lisa, has M.S....I wish that meant that she has "Many Sisters" syndrome. Alas, it does not....although at times, I think having so many sisters really could be described as some medical ailment requiring therapy. Hmmmm, note to self for future blog.

Lisa's wonderful and super, super patient husband works for Apple.  He of course has all the latest gadgets and so naturally Lisa has an IPad. She called me and asked if I would make her a shoulder bag to carry it in because you see, this was the SECOND IPad.

She dropped the first one on the bathroom floor and it broke.                                       

Her ever so patient and understanding husband, got her another one. She did the math...I'm glad there is at least one of us that can do the math....and figured out that it would be a lot less expensive to have her sister make her a shoulder bag than to replace another IPad.

Well, of course, I said I could make a bag.

So this is what I came up with. I had to make it twice. The first one was not quite big enough. I hope this one works. I'm putting it into the mail for her today BUT....

Now I had this other really cute smaller bag staring at me from my table. Made from the same fabric, doesn't it just scream "COLOR ME!" It looks like a coloring book page.
I loved to color as a kid, remember the   smell of a new box of crayons?

I got out my fabulous Tsukeniko fabric inks.

Some fabric glitter glue.

And some sparkly big rhinestones.

 I went to work, painting, glittering, gluing.....

That was so much fun! I really love how it came out.

Now my question is, what color should the strap be? Black? Pink? Purple?

What's your vote?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cheaters never prosper...

ESPECIALLY if they sit next to Aidan.

On most days of the week, you can find me driving my grandkids  to school in the morning for my daughter who is usually well on her way to work as we pile into the car
trying to remember everything and usually forgetting something.

We always have great conversations about life and interesting things like Mario and baseball. This morning was no exception.

We somehow got onto the subject of cheating. Aidan began telling me that he had seen the kid sitting next to him looking at his test answers.    

 I asked him if he told his teacher about it.

"No" he said, "I just circled the wrong answer and then put a tiny little mark next to the right answer. When he turned his paper in, I erased the wrong circles and circled the right answer, then I turned my paper in"                                                                                                                       Geez, I love that kid! ♥

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Secret Valentine

Can I just say that I LOVE my husband?

That's all, I just love  him♥

Oh, I could carry on about how he has so much patience with me. Or about how he always fixes things that I break without a fuss.

I could remark about how gently he reminds me to put the b---- back in the box......when it's necessary.

I definitely could ramble on about how he smiles (ok, it's more of a chuckle) and says "that's cool"
when I show him my latest crafting great idea.

But I won't go on and on about him because he would be embarrassed so don't tell him I wrote this blog about him.

♥♥♥♥ I Love You, my husband ♥♥♥♥