Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What I'm Working On Wednesday

Today, I'm working on a couple of things:

Etsy Shop Production

I've kind of let my Etsy shop sit dormant for a while because I haven't had a lot of sales. I even considered closing up shop, but just this week I decided I'd like to give it another try. So I've start mass-producing Christmas stockings to get them listed later this week. If you're in the market for new stockings this year, keep an eye out for my new inventory. And I'm always happy to do custom orders and may even offer custom embroidery.

Cub Scout Arrow of Light Awards

I only have two weeks to finish up the Arrow of Light awards I've started on. Come see the hand painted plaques I made in this post. This week, I'm working on putting together each boy's award arrow to hang below his plaque. I'm using arrow kits I found at Nature-Watch. I like these arrow kits better than the ones at the Scout shop because these ones have stone arrowheads. I'll post an update once they are finished so you can see the final product.

Organizing a Days for Girls Sewing Event

I am the team leader for the South Jordan, Utah team for Days for Girls International. In September, I'm hosting a sewing day for anyone who wants to help! If you're in the Salt Lake City area, come sew with us! See the event details & RSVP on Facebook here. If you're not in the area, but still interested in helping out Days for Girls International, check out their website and find a chapter or team near you!

What are you working on today?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Co-Hosting Social Media Mixer #9

Welcome to the 9th week of the Social Media Mixer, a brand new social media link-up started when the Weekday Mixer and Social Media Sunday joined forces. Thank you to everyone who joined us for Week 8 - we had 135 blogs and numerous social media link-ups!

Social Media Mixer-2

The Social Media Mixer is all about networking and making connections. Also, you can gain exposure and increase your social media following! Link up your social media accounts and mix it up with some of the other linkers. Each week, the Weekday Mixer will start on Saturday nights at 8:00pm and go on until Thursday night at 11:59pm. One linker will be chosen each week each of the hosts and guest hosts and featured in the following week’s link-up! If chosen, a brief summary about yourself and your blog/website and all of your social media accounts will be featured. It’s a great way to stand out among the crowd!

Welcome your hosts!

 Natasha from Epic Mommy Adventures | Angel from Sew Crafty Angel | Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise | Teresa from Crafty Wife | Julia from Minivan Dreams | | Liz from Look by Liz Lewis | Kaitlyn from Three Sisters and Us | Shana from Technotini | Anni from Grapefruit Princess | Tiffany from Mrs Tee Love Life LaughterCe Ce from A Chicago Mom |  Jillian from Baby Doodah | Holly from Southern Mom Loves

And welcome your guest hosts for July!

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Bonnie from LadyBlogger | Chelsea from That's So Chelish... | Tara from Anything & Everything | Aysh from Words n Needles | Amanda from Old House to New Home | Krissy from Hot Commodity | Jen from Twenties Chic | Victoria from Giveaways 4 Mom | Maria from Simple Nature Decor | Breanna from Brepurposed

And here are the Featured bloggers from last week's Social Media Mixer...

Victoria chose...

Maniac Mom

Maniac Mom

Hi! I’m Kristen! I’m a stay-at-home mom of one stupendous little boy, Chase (August 2012), and one stunning little girl, Skylar (February 2014). My favorite by far is my current occupation. I’m married to a wonderful man, Kyle, who makes it possible to do so.  This was started as a memento for my children, so when they got older, they could learn more about me and the person I was as well as the mother I grew into. As time went on, it morphed into something much more.  I suffer from depression and anxiety. I also show signs of a developing bi-polar condition and have gone through two stays at a mental health hospital. Through this site, I will share my journey though being a depressed mother and how I handle life. I’ve become an advocate and a supporter of making depression less taboo, less hidden, and I challenge people, not just moms, everywhere to break the silence. I'm also starting a campaign to bring it to the attention of the general public the massive amount of work needed to make the mental health care system better.

Jillian and Ce Ce chose...
Real Housewife

The Diary of a Real Housewife

Hi! I’m Jennie, a wifey, mommy, and a child of God. And the girl behind the blog The Diary of a Real Housewife.  Welcome to my little part of the world. I'm a stay at home mom who loves to write, cook, and spend time with my littles. I spend my days reading books to my boys, changing lots of diapers, folding loads and load and yeah more loads of laundry. And I wouldn't change a thing about it. I love dancing around the kitchen with my kids, and hanging out at home with my hubby watching Netflix. I started this blog originally to keep family and friends updated with the boys (boy at the start) since my family lives hours away.   My goal for my blog is today is to be a place for other moms to feel encouraged. I post super easy recipes that will hopefully help getting dinner on the table easier and try and post encouraging words to help moms understand that they are not alone in this journey!

Holly chose...

Speaking of Everything

Speaking of Everything is a digital space designed to aid and inspire women everywhere to be fearless, dazzling and fabulous while finding the delicate balance between dreams and reality. We encourage our readers to blur the lines between affordability and extravagence, family and friends, and work and play in order to live a more fulfilling life.

Tiffany chose...

Domain of the Mad Mommy

My name is Echo and I am the Mad Mommy.  I am a 32 year old wife, mother, homeschooler, blogger and partial lunatic.  I lost a bit of my mind years ago and then, lost the rest when I had children!

Krissy chose...

The Rustic Willow

My name is Cat: The Cooker, Crafter, and Blogger over here at The Rustic Willow.  I’m a twenty-something-year old living in New Orleans. I’m a huge believer in traveling to the unknown, exploring new places, and dreaming big–I’m currently doing all of those things while living down here in the bayou.  I started this blog after I had some success with my Etsy shop where I sell hand-painted signs and photographs. After I began the shop I was taking over the house and kitchen table with wood, paints and crafts–shortly after, my sweet, sweet boyfriend devoted a room in his house to my crafts. A whole room! Since then, I haven’t wanted to stop crafting.

Anni chose...

Crazily Normal

I started this blog back in June 2013 as a way of keeping touch with family and friends, both near and far, and as a way to write down my thoughts, feelings, and memories of our days as a family of 4 (of course I'm including our first baby, Leaf).  Life has been going in full speed since Palmer was born, and I don't want to forget anything! So, I've picked up a (new) hobby; Photography! I try to capture our special moments, milestones, and everyday memories on camera.

Maria chose...

North of Something

Hello, I’m Jamie! I currently live in Hawaii with my husband, who is in the Army, along with our three year old son.  This blog is for people who love to travel, or haven’t traveled much but want to start, and also the reluctant traveler that may be moving to new parts of the world courtesy of the U.S. Military.  As a military wife, I get to move around a lot to different homes in different cities, but no matter where we live, we are always north of something – always close enough to explore the culture and nature that surrounds us. And a big trip to a dreamed about destination every once in awhile is pretty great too!  I write to inspire other travelers (and those who hope to) to explore the world and encounter the unknown with open hearts. This is the only life we get – let’s get out there and really SEE this beautiful world we live in.

Teresa chose...

My Creative Days

Welcome to The Sassy Southerner, where life is sassy and full of adventure! This is a lifestyle blog about all the things that make me excited: love, travel, wine, food, lip gloss and everything in between.  I ' m N i c o l e : a born and bred fiery Texan, college student, and wanna-be travel/food blogger. I believe in living life to the fullest, giving sweet kisses, star gazing often and soaking up the sun as much as possible. I am completely and utterly captivated by the ocean and the great outdoors. Fresh flowers and a good adventure make my heart sing, and I never leave the house without mascara and a good pair of earrings!

Jen chose...

The Art of Sipping Coffee

Thanks for stopping by my blog! My name is Katelyn, the person behind all the writing. The Art of Sipping Coffee is a lifestyle blog about anything and everything. Whether it’s about health, art and design, travel, or my personal life, you can always expect great ideas and tips as well as something funny or interesting.  I started The Art of Sipping Coffee lifestyle blog because it allows me to fulfill two of my many passions, writing and designing. This blog started out as a way to track our time abroad in Taiwan allowing our family and friends to share in our experiences. Then I changed my mind (like always) and decided that I didn’t only want to write about travel, but that I have many other things I would like to share with the world. I also wanted a blog that could evolve with me as time goes on. I wanted something that could change with my age and interests. Thus, The Art of Sipping Coffee.

Shana chose...

Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated

Tara chose...

21 Random

 I'm Chrissy - mom of 3 boys, Coastie wife, Design freak, handmade business owner, & coconut rum enthusiast.

Aysh chose...

Finding Crystal

Hey y’all! My name is Crystal and I’m from the Upstate of South Carolina. I married my high school sweetheart and we have two furbabies. I have a degree in English and Psychology and had all the intentions in the world to be an English teacher. However, God had other plans for my life.  I have lived with chronic health problems all of my life. These include several open heart surgeries, asthma, and depression with anxiety. Recently I was diagnosed with Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and chronic anemia. I have also struggled with losing weight and food addiction.  I am an amateur blogger with a love for learning, animals, movies, a little too much TV, couponing, spending time with family, and writing. I am also a book devourer, Lupus warrior, social media addict, among many other titles.

Natasha chose...
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Confessions of a Frumpy Mommy

Welcome! I am Shaunacey. Wife to Brent (aka Mr. B), first-time mom to Annabelle (aka mini-me) and mom to fur-child, Lilo. I work full-time, love to cook and bake (and eat), love to shop, like to (try) and be crafty and LOVE to laugh.  I am a fast-talker, deep-thinker and loud-laugher. It seems that I am either taking life too seriously or not seriously enough.  As a first-time mom I feel like I don't know what I am doing a lot of the time and I am learning ALL of the time. Even though I have no clue what I am doing, I love EVERY second. She makes it easy.  Like everyone, I'm trying to find the perfect balance and I'm not there just yet. I want to be a great wife, mom, friend and employee and I want to look good doing it. That shouldn't be that hard, right?

Stop by and follow our featured bloggers! We're sure you'll love them as much as we do!
If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Octagonal Window Covering

We have an octagonal window in our master bedroom. If you have the misfortune of also having an octagonal window in your house, you know how difficult it can be to find a window covering for it.

Our master bedroom is very long and up until late last year, our bed sat on the opposite end of the room from this weird window. We've gotten used to having a fair amount of light shining into our room. Our town home is on a courtyard and we have many neighbors who leave their porch lights on all night long, which illuminates our room.

When we began prepping our home for sale, we decided to do some rearranging. This put our bed (specifically MY side of the bed) right under the octagonal window. Did I mention this window faces east? During the winter, this wasn't a big problem, but once the sun started coming up before 7 AM every day, it became unbearable. I knew I needed to find a solution.

So, I set out to create a covering for this weird window. I succeeded, but it was so hard that I could not even attempt to write up a detailed tutorial. But, since these oddly shaped window coverings are so hard to find, I want to give you some idea of how I made this, just in case it can help some other poor octagonal window owner in the future.

First, get a pencil and a sheet of paper (or two or three) and a measuring tape. Measure and document the following:
  1. Each side of the octagon. That's right -- all 8 sides. Why? Because they probably are not exactly the same. I know mine aren't. My side lengths vary up to 1/4". I ended up averaging them.
  2. The total width of the octagon (from left to right... or right to left).
  3. The total height of the octagon (in theory, this should match the width, but again, mine didn't).
  4. The sides, width, and height of the window frame.
Once you have all these measurements written down and possibly drawn out, you are ready to start.

Next, select your fabric. I didn't want to spend money on this in case it was a huge embarrassing failure. I used some leftover blackout lining for the back. For the front, I used cotton. The red prints are Stampin' Up! fabric. I also used some off-white muslin.

Now, starting with the lining, draw your shape onto your fabric. Be sure to add a bit for seam allowances. I am terrible at math and haven't used geometry since the 8th grade, so this part was really difficult for me. Ultimately, I drew a large box using the width and height of my octagon. Then I found the center of each side of the box and measured out my octagon sides from there. My lining ended up with a lot of extra lines because I had to start over a few times.

Once you've gotten your shape drawn onto your lining and you're sure it's big enough to cover the window, cut it out!

Do the same with your other fabric. My floral fabric was actually a fat quarter, so it was not quite large enough to cover my window. I pieced my fabrics together to make it big enough before drawing and cutting.

Before you sew your pieces together, you'll need to add some loops across the back to feed your curtain rod through. Place one loop near the middle, then one close to each edge. Sew those onto your lining.

Now, pin your fabrics together, right sides facing. Sew around, leaving a space for turning. Flip it right side out, stitch your gap closed, then top stitch around the entire thing. Feed your curtain rod through.

You can see that my top corners do not stay up straight because my fabric is not very stiff. At the top of the curtain, I have added a few little squares of velcro with adhesive velcro stuck to the window frame. This keeps it up well enough that I am no longer roasted awake each morning at 6:25 AM. Mission accomplished, and though it is not perfect, it is good enough for me!

Do you have any oddly shaped windows in your house? I'd love to hear what solutions you've come up with.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Cub Scout Arrow of Light Award Plaque

As I've mentioned previously, I am currently the Cubmaster in my local Cub Scout Pack. This month, we have several boys finishing up their requirements to receive their Arrow of Light award. This is the award that boys can earn just before they "graduate" from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, so it's kind of a big deal.

I knew I wanted to present something special to the boys because the Arrow of Light requires a lot of time and work for these boys. I researched different types of award plaques that I could buy, but due to some budget constraints, I ultimately decided to make my own. And since they turned out so well and cost me so little to make, I wanted to share the process with the world!

Step 1: Purchase Your Supplies

I got my plaques from Hobby Lobby. You can get a wide range of sizes, but I opted for a 16" length x 4" height. The normal price is $5.99, but I bought each of mine separately with a coupon, so I paid under $4 for each.

I also purchased craft paint in navy blue and metallic gold. You could save a few cents by getting a golden yellow paint instead of metallic. I happened to already have metallic paint on hand.

You will also need some sawtooth hangers to attach to the back of the plaques for hanging.

Finally, I splurged on a 4-pack of wooden fleur de lis appliqués. These are $1.99 for 4.

Step 2: Lay Out Your Text

I selected a couple of nice fonts for my plaques and laid out the text in Illustrator. Create an art board the size of your plaque so that you can see the text to scale. The fonts I chose are Impregnable (bold script), Matrix (for the names), and Copperplate (for the smaller text).

After laying out the text, print it. You can either print on a larger sheet of paper so that it will all fit as laid out, or you can rearrange it to fit on a standard sheet, which is what I did.

Step 3: Paint The Plaque & Appliqué

Apply your base paint to the plaque and let it dry. I needed 2-3 coats of navy blue to get solid coverage. I also painted my fleur de lis appliqués gold with a navy accent.

Step 4: Transfer Lettering to Wood

Next you will transfer the lettering to the wooden plaque. To do this, cut around your printed text, then lay the paper on top of your wood. Make sure you're lining it up so the text goes straight across, then use painter's tape to hold the paper in place.

Using a ball-point pen, trace the outline of the lettering, pressing hard to indent into the wood. Do this very carefully so that you don't end up with any stray dents.

Step 5: Paint The Letters

Once you have traced the letters, indenting them into the plaque, painting them is fairly simple. Use a fine tip paint brush in order to get a nice clean line, especially on the smallest letters. This is the most time-consuming step, but it's worth spending the extra time to make sure you're filling in the letters well. Don't worry if you go outside your lines a little bit because you can always touch up the navy blue later on.

For my larger letters, I applied 2 coats of gold paint.

Step 6: Attach The Appliqué

Once all your paint is dry, use wood glue to attach the wooden appliqué to your plaque. Again, make sure you're lining everything up straight.

In the above photo, my appliqué is not yet glued in place. I set it on there while I tried to decide if I wanted a date and a pack number on the plaque as well. Eventually, I decided that I did, so I painted the remaining words before attaching my appliqué.

Step 7: Attach the Sawtooth Hanger

Follow the instructions on your sawtooth hangers to attach one or two to the back of the plaque. I used one hanger on each plaque, but you could place one on each end to make it easier to hang straight.

And you're finished!

Before Pack Meeting, I plan to hang a ceremonial arrow below each plaque so that the award itself is one piece.

{Linked on Seven Thirty Three, Handy Man Crafty Woman, Five Heart Home, Probably Crafting, Wine and Glue, My Girlish Whims, Ginger Snap Crafts, Our Three Peas, Fluster Buster}

Monday, July 21, 2014

Outdoor Cushion Tutorial

Two weeks ago, I guest-posted on A Peek Into My Paradise and shared this cushion tutorial. Today, I'm sharing it here in case you didn't see it already! Of course, be sure to click over and check out Cathy's blog because she's always sharing worthwhile things.

This project came to be when I put together a cinderblock/wood plank bench for our family cabin. The inspiration for the bench came from Kayla's Basement. I actually put the bench together last summer, but never got around to adding a cushion before the cabin was closed up for the winter. This summer, I decided I needed to get it done.

First off, you'll need to figure out what size you want your cushion to be. My bench was made using 8 ft planks. I measured the bench between the cinderblocks to determine my cushion length: 76 in. To figure the depth, I measured from the back of the back plank to the front of the front plank: 26 in.

Next, you'll need to gather your materials. Here is what you'll need (measurements provided are the measurements I used for my 76x26 in cushion):
  • Foam for the cushion.
  • Outdoor fabric (2.5 yards)
  • Coordinating piping (5 yards)
  • Coordinating zipper (the longer the better - I used 28 inch)
Just a side note about materials: Foam is really expensive to buy. If you want a quality cushion, I recommend buying good quality foam pad from JoAnn or somewhere similar. Since I was going for a budget-friendly version, I used an old eggshell pad that's been hanging out in the closet at the cabin for years. It just happened to be the perfect size when I folded it in half - eggshell sides together, which made it about 4 inches thick.

Now you're ready to begin!

Step 1: Cut your fabric to size & square up the edges.

First, I laid my fabric out on top of my foam to make sure I didn't need to trim my foam down at all.

Then, I trimmed off my selvedges so that I was working with a clean edge.

I determined that I needed my fabric to be 80 inches long so that I'd have 4 inches to compensate for the depth of the foam and seam allowances. I squared up the short edges and trimmed off a total of 10 inches from one end of the fabric.

I decided to use the fold in the fabric along the back of the cushion so that I would only be adding piping and sewing three sides.

Step 2: Baste your piping in place.

Since we're dealing with thicker fabric, you'll want to baste your piping in place on one side of your fabric. Start in the middle of your long edge and pin your piping in place on the right side of the fabric.

I left my normal presser foot on my machine, switched to a basting stitch, then stitched right along the raw edge. There should be just enough space to have the left edge of the presser foot up against the piping cord as you stitch the edges together. Your piping only needs to extend halfway down the short sides of your fabric. Find the halfway point, then leave an extra inch or two of piping past where you stop basting.

Since we're using piping, you won't have square corners. When you near a corner with your piping, clip the edge a few times until you can get it to lay flat around the corner. Baste it in place, then trim the fabric to match the piping edge.

Step 3: Stitch your layers together.

Switch to your zipper foot on your machine. Fold your fabric lengthwise. With right sides together (and piping sandwiched between), stitch all the layers together. I stitched my entire thing closed. 

When you get to the folded corners, fold your piping under and tuck the end through, like in the photo. This way, the raw edge of the piping will end up on the inside of the cushion cover. Sew all the way to the corners.

Step 4: Install the zipper.

On the long folded edge of your fabric, you will cut a slit for the zipper. Make sure the slit is at least an inch shorter than your zipper. I wanted my zipper right in the middle of the cover to make it easier to get the foam into the cover. You could also add the zipper at one end of the cushion if you prefer.

Turn your cover right side out. 

Follow the instructions that come with your zipper. Or, if you bought one like mine that didn't include instructions, follow these steps:
  • Unzip your zipper.
  • Pin one side of the zipper in place, folding the raw fabric edge under as you go. Be sure to fold it under enough that your stitches will catch it - approximately 1/4 inch.
  • Using the zipper foot, stitch the entire length of one side of the zipper.
  • Pin the other size of the zipper in place.
  • Stitch the entire length of the zipper.
  • When you come to the end without the zipper pull, make sure the zipper is on the inside of your cover, then stitch across the zipper if your machine can handle it. If not, do your best to taper your stitches until each side's stitching meets up below the zipper.
Once your zipper is installed, shove your foam into the cover, zip it up, and voila! You're finished!

Now our bench might need a little paint to jazz up those cinderblocks... but that's a project for another day!