Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Handmade Christmas: "Owl" Be Here (for you)

Where has December gone? Wherever it went it took some of my sanity with it :<). I head into the Holiday season fully armed with tactics to help make me come through intact with all my marbles. Unfortunately, I still manage to loose a few...when will I ever learn? Oh well. I should probably just embrace the crazy.

As promised I am posting pics of the rest of my little owl pillows. (My first batch can be found here) I finally finished the rest of them this week.  My pictures aren't great. I need to piddle around with my camera some more. I've only had it a year. Sadly, my "piddle" time is pretty limited.

I made these owls entirely from scraps I had on hand. I love using what I have on makes me feel productive and domestic and enterprising. And it makes The Studly Muffin happy. There are less trips to the fabric store :<)

This guy is for a nephew. I used denim for his head and plaid wool for his trim and his back. His body and wings are actually shirts (donated by The Studly Muffin (aka my hubby) and my dad). Dad's gray shirt had sheet rock mud in various spots. I am not sure if he knows Mom gave it to me to use...Surprise!

Just days after I had finished my other little owls....not to mention the dozen or so aprons I had whipped mom came across a forgotten treasure. Some sweet old lady had given her piles of vintage quilting blocks and fabric. It was all I could do not to redo all my previous projects to include these treasures. This little gal is sporting a vintage quilt block tummy. The little do-dah in her ear is also from the vintage stock.  Her head, wings and back are made from scraps I had from some of my apron making.

I used some more of the quilting blocks on this one too. I also used some of the vintage fabric for her wings. Even the yo-yo I made is from that same collection.  My little owls seemed destined to always have wonky noses. If I were smart and planned better I would tack the nose down initially with a straight pin or something before I stitch it. If I were smart and planned better. You can also see my freaky pinkie finger shadow...I must extend my pinkie finger when I take pictures. That's just plain weird.

This one is for a niece. My pic is a little fuzzy. I can see now that I forgot to attach a button to the flower in her ear...Oops. This fabric is leftover from an apron I made.

Another blurry picture! This little guy is for my little guy. He is similar to the owl I made for my nephew, but I used some Nascar fabric (I just had a little piece in my scrapbag) for his head.

So that's "owl" for now (hah!) My sewing machine is going back into the closet for a little while. I cleaned off the dining room table and quickly filled it up with baked Christmas goodies. Sigh.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Handmade Christmas: Cards

Do you still send out Christmas cards? I saw a report on the news the other day about this very topic. In this digital age it is so easy to just send out a mass email or shout out to your friends and family. It is certainly more economical. I don't think it is as personal, but I say you do what you can do. I used to make a cute little colored newsletter filled with pictures and even a favorite recipe. I would stuff it in with my card. I'm still trying to figure out when I had time to do that. I always seem to have multiple irons in the fire.

I aways a bit particular about my Christmas cards. This year I made my own. I have had these made since early November. Now if I actually get them mailed out will be the true test.

I didn't have a lot of time and I didn't want to spend money of special supplies. So I did what any self-respecting crafter does. I visited my mom's supply cabinet and helped myself. She is an artist and is always more than happy to help someone else's creative bug along. These aren't fancy by any means. I wanted something I could crank out fairly quickly. And for those of us who tend to go over the top there is much to be said about "keeping it simple." It can be freeing!

For my cards I just stamped the background and used shapes I cut out to make a tree. I found the tags in Mom's stuff.  For some of my cards I used old Christmas cards for the tree shapes.

This fella has a glare on his tummy. I can never get this picture taking thing right.

Sometimes it's the details that make the difference. I ran the edges of my trees and cards through an ink pad.

This card I used actual scrapbook paper. The cost of these cards. Nothing. I used what I had or at least what my mom had :<)

And because I can never stop at just one project.....

These cards Josiah and I made to send to Grandparents, etc. I am also going to use a few as Thank You cards. He drew a Christmas tree and colored it. I scanned it into my computer and then we glued it to little premade cards I got 1/2 price at Hobby Lobby. The brown paper envelopes I already had in my stash of stuff. We used just a bit of scrapbook paper I already had as a background for the picture. Not only did this project provide Christmas cards, but it served as an art lesson as well.

Happy Crafting!


A Handmade Christmas: Little Bitty Aprons

I'm going to show you something seldom seen by any man, woman or child. Unless you happen to live in my house.

Warning: The picture you are about to see may cause dizziness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and a general sense of foreboding. If you are a Neat Freak you might avert your eyes.

ACK! I told you. This is one of my dining room chairs. I would show you my table, but I am still hoping that I am actually hallucinating when I look at it. Surely somebody wouldn't be able to fit that much stuff on one little table, right?

I'm drawing the line at photographing other "hot spots" in my house. The bottom of the closet. My spice basket. The bathroom. When Josiah is grown I am going to insist that I was an indefatigable housekeeper. And he must have dreamt up memories of using the mountainous pile of laundry as a ski slope. The less evidence I have of my preholiday housekeeping mayhem the better.

I do have a bit of an excuse. I am in the final stages of my Christmas project spectacular. Soon we shall regain control of the Dining Room Table.

I thought I would share one of those projects with you. The picture gives us a few hints of an additional project or two, but I am not sharing those until after Christmas. The recipients have been known to visit my blog on occasion. If you think I'm talking about you...I'm not. Just get it out of your head right now. You ain't gettin' nothing.

I can share this one. I have actually had these done for a few months now. I made aprons for my little nieces. I was tempted to use Josiah as a dress model, but thought better of it. Daddy would frown. So plese excuse my clumsy attempt at an apron display. This particular little apron needs to be ironed. I've had it wadded up in a ziplock bag. I made a total of four of these. They range in sizes 2T - 8 in little girls.

Here is another one. The nice thing about this particular project is that I used scraps from the scrapbag. Back in September I had made aprons for the Recreational Staff at a nursing home in Joplin. They needed apple themed aprons and I had some of the red and white fabrics I had used leftover. The bodice (denim) and the skirt (the yellow and white seersucker) I made from fabric I have had for quite some time. These little aprons lined with muslin. Ordinarily, I like to line with a coordinating fabric. This time I had several to make and wanted to save my pennies for other things like milk and toilet paper. The only things I bought for this project was a cheap pattern, thread and a package of new needles for my machine. 

Instead of spending money on a pricey applique I made my own. Looks like I have a few spare threads to trim on this one.

To make my fabric stretch further I mix and matched. Here is the other cupcake. I just used buttons from Grandma's Button Box to add a little character. I love using buttons as accents. It's kind of my thing.

On one of the other little aprons I made (which is now under somebody's tree) I created a more complicated bow. I grew weary. So I simplified my bow. Which still looks pretty cute, don't you think?

For this particular apron I did purchase a pattern (one of those .99 sales at Hobby Lobby), but because I was worried about my fabric supply I made a few changes and improvised. One of these days I promise to post a few of my tips and tricks for sewing. I learned to sew when I was 11 or 12, but I am not an excellent seamstress. As I've said before, I fake it 'til I make it. Which sometimes gets me by.

Happy Crafting!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Handmade Christmas: "Owl" Together Now!

So I've been tinkering with my blog design again. I'm not really happy with this particular look. I wanted to do something Christmasy and I love the background and header individually, but it's just not working for me. And I really didn't have time to mess with it. But because I'm crazy like that and have nothing at all to do (sarcasm alert)...My dining room table has so much stuff on it right now there isn't any room to actually eat there. Hello. My name is Beke and I don't know when to stop. Anybody else like that?

Anyhoo. I thought I would share one of my top secret Christmas projects. I can safely splash these pics all over the net because the recipients of any of these cuties won't likely be hanging out at my blog.

Owls are a really big thing right now. I saw lots of these pillows over on Pinterest. And because I have nothing at all to do (sarcasm alert...again) I thought I would whip some up for some of nieces and nephews and of course, Josiah.

What I love about this project is that I was able to use bits and pieces out of my scrapbag and didn't have to go out and purchase yards of fabric. I have been working on another top secret Christmas project (which I will share soon) and have some pretty cute fabric scraps just begging to be used.

I finished the first three last night. I plan on making 3 more. Just please don't look too closely at my stitching skills. I fake it 'til I make it.

Here are the trio. I made a little Christmas Owl to take to my Momma this weekend. The other two are for two of my nieces.

I almost named this one Lola. But then decided I better let my niece name her. I don't know why I thought of Lola. Except her tropical colors remind me of Barry Manilow. You know. "Her name was Lola...she was a show girl...." You know! "At the Copa, Copacabana..." Oh come on! I can't be only one in the world who get that!  Lola's beak is a little whanky. But she's had a rough life...At the Copacabana, don't fall in love!

This is my Merry Christmas Owl. I think she needs some kind of something. But for now I am just happy she's done. I wish I would have taken a picture of her backside. See her fringy flannel trim? I used it for her back, too. Very cute. And no. I didn't give her a name.

This one is probably finished. I don't know. I am still thinking about adding a button to the little oval shape she has on her belly. But (just a bit of advice), I should have sewn the buttons on before I stuffed her. She doesn't have a name either. Though I am thinking of Clementine (don't ask).

This were pretty simple to make. I found a few tutorials.

This one has great pictures and detailed instructions, plus a pattern.

This one is a little more like the owls I made, but I had trouble finding her instructions. Maybe someone else will have better luck.

What helped me the most was this youtube video. I had trouble finding her pattern pieces so I just made my own. I am extremely visual so video this was a lifesaver.

I still have another girl owl to make and 2 boy owls. After Christmas I think I will make a few more to send to some other little nieces and nephew. I'll try and share them as I make them.  That is until The Studly Muffin decides he would like to see the Dining Room table again.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Gingerbread Baby Lapbook

I am a huge Jan Brett fan. I posted sometime back our Lapbook using her book The Three Snow Bears. I'm going to share with you Josiah's Lapbook of The Gingerbread Baby, also by Jan Brett.

This particular Christmas we went wild with Gingerbread. We made Gingerbread, made Gingerbread dolls and even gave Gingerbread ornaments out to Josiah's Sunday School Teachers. 'Cause I'm crazy like that. The Lapbook I am about to show you is evidence of my little problem. It's called Overkill. The only issue with this lapbook is that there are definitely some components missing. I think it has been well used over the years.

I'm pretty sure that most of my resources came from Homeschool Share. This one is free and think they have even updated it.

This is the front cover.

First opening. I made this Lapbook more like traditional Lapbook, utilizing all the little flaps.

These are character pieces I tucked inside one of the pockets made by the flaps.

Man I need a manicure!

I put all of our little worksheets I found online in this back pocket.

Another good resource is from These are Gingerbread Baby masks you can print off using her illustrations. She has several great resources for teachers using her should check it out!

The Polar Express Lapbook

Have I mentioned how much I love Lapbooking? I have promised before that one day I will share my Lapbooking tips and tricks. Right now (as we throw ourselves headlong into the Christmas season) I want to share some of Josiah's Christmas Lapbooks with you.

One of our favorite Christmas books and movies is The Polar Express. Josiah loves it so much that he started watching it this year back in July. When we first read the book and watched the movie (waay back in the day) he went around with a hole punch asking to punch your ticket.

We did this lapbook the year after the movie came out (I think). I can't remember all of the resources I used (it's been a while), but I did purchase A Guide For Using the Polar Express in the Classroom from There are other Polar Express resources on in a variety of prices.

There are tons (and I mean tons) of resources online to create your lapbook. Just google "The Polar Express Lapbook" or "The Polar Express Unit."

This is the front cover. Josiah never got around to coloring it, but it made a simple cover.

The view as you open the book. I made this Lapbook into more of a Storybook.

The pocket contains a few little readers. Again...Not sure where I got all my stuff. This was probably his 1st Grade year. He's in 4th now. It's been a while.

The little pocket (which I made out of vellum) has characters from the book.

The next page. Another pocket. This time with a puzzle.

The great things about Unit Studies is that you can incorporate so much into what you are studying. Here I listed his spelling words and vocabulary words. Then there is also a book that has an Science experiement about sound.

The next page is Social Studies. I do remember that in January we read Mr. Popper's Penguins and did an absolutely adorable lapbook about Penguins. I just continued the study on Polar Regions.
You can also see "Ama's Recipe For Hot Chocolate." My mom (Ama) has a terrific Hot Chocolate Recipe and we made it and served it for our special viewing of The Polar Express (complete with tickets).

This little guy came from a book of Christmas Teacher helps I have.

The last page is a game that uses the information we learned studying about The Polar Regions. I'm pretty sure it is in A Guide For Using the Polar Express in the Classroom.

Back of the book.

Hope this helps!
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