Archive for Fabric

Under Construction: Beau’s 2nd Birthday Party (The Details)

Planning events is one of my favorite pastimes. Being able to craft a party that utilizes a beloved theme AND makes someone feel super-dee-duper special is so much fun!

My son turned 2 in June, so beginning in January, I started brainstorming theme ideas for his party. He’s not much of a napper, so I start way in advance since I get very limited time each day to design.

The funny thing? I chose a Construction/Tool theme before he was all that interested in it, and through the planning process, he became more and more fascinated with diggers and dozers and dump trucks. By the time his party rolled around, he was obsessed, so it all worked out. ;)

Let me also say this: Having a Silhouette Cameo made planning this party SO much easier. When I did Beau’s Woodland Party last year, I cut everything by hand. Oy.

LOVE my Cameo…it allowed me to cut out the heading and the pieces I needed to create some excavators. I used Sticky Doos from Hobby Lobby to give the machines some depth, and tore pieces of brown paper by hand to give the ‘dirt’ a jagged look.

Next, I created favors for each of Beau’s little friends. My mom, ever the incredible seamstress, used tea towels to make each child their own tool belt with two pockets.

I cut various construction vehicle from vinyl to create stencils for painting.

And the birthday boy helped remove the vinyl once the paint was dry.

I designed hang tags for some baggies I had leftover from a pegboard project and filled each baggie with chocolate rocks I found on Amazon.

Each tool belt was stuffed with a mini machine and a baggie of chocolate rocks.

Treats for our pals, ready to go!

Since we live out in the country, I knew I wanted to mark our driveway with a sign of some sort. I used my Silhouette to cut out vinyl letters to mask off black foamcore board.

Then, I learned the hard way (with a piece not shown here), that foamcore board does NOT like spray paint. Must be the solvents or something in the paint, but it makes the board bubble up and the paper backing peels away from the foam. SUCH a mess.

So, cue Plan B…acrylic paint. I tried a brush, but hated being able to see the brushstrokes. So I switched to a brayer I haven’t used since my college days of linoleum block printing.

Because the paper soaked up the paint, it took several coats, but it worked pretty well. Once the paint dried, I peeled off the vinyl letters and cut a black strip around the outside edge to mimic a true traffic sign.

One project I do each year is an age shirt. Let me tell you, truck fabric is NOT easy to find! We ended up with this psychedelic construction vehicles print.

But, once the vehicles were isolated, they looked pretty cute on a plain, brown tee. I purchased orange and yellow tin buckets to hold snacks and forks. I happened to have some construction stickers laying around to decorate the tins. I found hard hats at the party store and added the CAT logo in black vinyl.

 

To keep stress low as the party approaches, I always make as much of the food in advance as possible. I knew I wanted to make dipped pretzel rods, so I was excited to read they could be done up to a week in advance. So, I dipped, sprinkled, and packed away our pretzel treats.

Sugar cookies are always a big hit, too. My parents sent me this set of tool cookie cutters they found on Ebay.

I like to use this cookie recipe, as it holds a cutter shape really well and isn’t too sweet (the icing covers that!). I made royal icing in gray, brown, and yellow and got to work outlining and flooding all the cookies.

Cake decorating is a lot of fun to me, too. I had seen this tutorial about making striped cakes, and I knew it would be perfect for our construction zone theme.

Because the recipe makes two cakes, I was able to practice and perfect my angles. And my mess-making skills.

When it came time to decorate the cake, I pulled inspiration from multiple sources. I have a copy of the book What’s New, Cupcake? and it gave me the idea to create ‘trees’ from Tootsie Rolls and sprinkles.

And of course, Oreo cookie dirt! I made Beau his own little cake mound out of scraps and trimmings.

I used fondant to make miniature traffic cones, then added dyed coconut grass and chocolate rocks to round out the landscaping.

Of course, there was a dump truck, hauling a load of rocks from the quarry.

A little construction zone tape put the finishing touches on the cake display.

I knew I wanted some sort of edible “boulder,” so I made chocolate popcorn balls using this recipe. I made them late the night before the party and wrapped them tightly in cling wrap so the popcorn would stay crisp and not get soggy.

To set off the area in the kitchen where the food would be set up, I hung a black curtain over the windows. Then I created a banner from cut letters and shapes attached to satin ribbons.

As for party ‘entertainment’, what’s better than a bunch of rocks and dirt to dig through?!

I set up our pop up tent and draped a tarp over the top for shade. Orange safety netting, marker flags, and painted signs rounded out the construction zone look.

Stay tuned for pictures from Party Day so you can see all these details in action!

Madeline’s Moments

It’s always fun when family commissions you to make something! The following book was created for my cousin Alisa to give to her niece (and god-daughter), Maddie, on her confirmation day.

Madeline, who at the time was 7, loves writing and sketching. This book was intended to be a combination journal/sketchbook and also a place where friends and family could write letters/prayers.

I love the lime green/chocolate brown combo and this paisley paper allowed me the chance to throw in some hot pink accents.

LOVE. This. Paper!

Bronze letters were strung on a brown ribbon and attached to the cover with star-shaped brads.

Seriously, this paper! aah!! The colors, the whimsical pattern. Love it.

The star brads continued all the way around the back cover as well.

Since the ribbons wrapped all the way around the book, they allowed it to be tied shut.

My cousin let me know that the book was a hit. Several family members wrote letters to Maddie, shared photos and stories, and drew pictures.

If you’d like to make a keepsake album for a loved one, email me! I’d love to make one for you!

Handy Dandy Notebook

Several years ago, I made my sister a handmade journal cover for Christmas. And I just found the pictures of it (though most of the design process photos are missing *sad face*)!

That said, here’s a glimpse of what I made.

I started with some pleather/vinyl that was on sale at my local craft store. I measured and cut two hunks: one for the outside cover and one for the inside “pocket” flaps.

Then, since the wrong side of the fabric was so blah, I gave it a little pizzazz by painting it with a teal acrylic paint (which absorbed into the lining and gave it a nice, muted color).

My mother-in-law assisted me with sewing the flap fabric to the outer layer of fabric. ((I don’t own a sewing machine, nor do I know how to use one…add that to my crafting to-do list!))

These flaps would house the corners of a standard spiral-bound notebook.

Here is the finished piece unstuffed:

Complete with my sister’s doodles. :)

The covers of the notebook were then inserted into the sewn flaps.

Though I could’ve bound her a traditional journal or sketchbook, I wanted to make her a long-lasting cover that she could use for multiple notebooks. When you are a prolific writer like she is, you tend to go through a lot of notebooks!

I added a fun, jazzy button enclosure, too.

And here’s the finished product, all buttoned up and ready for the next story (based on the undone stitching around the button, you can tell this picture was taken months after the journal cover had already seen lots of action!)

Sonny, you are a terrific writer. I believe in you and your dreams. Go get ‘em!

Burlap Book

I mentioned in this post that I love making books for other artists. Some times, other artists are even willing to trade their art for mine. Win-win!

Abi and I were meeting up to do a photoshoot for BodSchool, my personal training business. She takes incredible photos and I wanted to bring a thank you gift that I could give her until I was able to make her official sketchbook.

In college, I purchased a book that teaches how to bind books without any glue. As you can imagine, that makes the process much quicker, as you don’t have to wait for anything to dry!

I had some burlap scraps another friend had given me and decided that would be the perfect material to try something new.

I chose to make a “quarto” sized book (a fourth of a page) from 8.5 x 11 paper. The final size was roughly 4.25″ wide x 5.5″ tall…a great little book for stuffing in a purse or camera bag!

I burned the edges of the burlap to give it a more finished look (and also in hopes it would keep it from fraying so badly). Have you ever smelled burnt burlap?! Eww.

Since Abi loves green, I chose olive-colored paper for the pages. It also looks really great with the earthy burlap, don’t you think?

The stitching I chose was Long Stitch/Link Stitch. The sections are sewn together so the stitches are exposed on the spine like this:

I really like how you could see the stitches if you knew to look for them, but that the twine also blended in nicely with the burlap.

This was a really fast book the make. The thing that took the longest was learning the new stitch, but even that went quickly once I got the hang of it.

Abi, thank you again for being willing to trade art! I love making unique things for unique girls like you!

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Dear Abi

I believe everyone is an Artist. Some people may not recognize what they do as “art”, but it takes on so many different shapes and forms. Perhaps you’re surrounded by art right now and don’t even know it!

Cooking is an art. Loving your kids and keeping them fed, bathed, and entertained is an art. Crunching numbers in a budget is an art. Maintaining a healthy marriage is an art. Masterfully hammering boards together and building something that didn’t used to exist is an art.

Since art is everywhere, sometimes even the people who DO call themselves Artists don’t realize how many artistic passions they’ve left undiscovered.

One of my favorite artists, Miss Abi, is an A-MAZING photographer. And fashionista. And writer. And, and, and…as it turns out, a sketcher!! Who knew?!

Abi and I love to trade art with each other. She took some terrific photos for my new business, and I paid her back by making her an 8.5 x 11 sketchbook.

Her favorite color green in a fun pattern, plus her name and some BLING!

A pen loop (because what good is your sketchbook if you forget a pen?!) was built in as well.

Abi, thank you for being my go-to girl for all things photography (and fashion advice, which I am certain I desperately need more of!).

I love your zest for life and hope this book will be just one of the many places you chronicle all your dreams and adventures this year and beyond! Love you!

Memory Books

Perhaps you remember the photo album I made for my niece, Ensley Grace last year.

Well, 2011 saw the addition of more little babies into our extended family. It was only fair that they get their very own memory books, too!

Today’s post is a showcase of the baby photo albums I’ve made this year.

***

My newest nephew, Ethan Craig, was born on August 3. Let me tell you, boyish fabric is hard to find!! Even the prints that are blues and greens are usually paisleys or florals. Then there’s camouflage and trucks, but there’s not really any fabrics in between the two extremes. That said, I was able to find a geometric patterned one for Ethan’s album.

I just love these circular letters! They worked so well with this fabric, too!

Despite the fact that this album is for a boy, I couldn’t resist adding a little bling to the spine. :)

Black ribbon ties hold the memories inside.

***

Niece Madilyn Rose arrived on October 21st…the first girl in a household of three older brothers! As you can imagine, her mommy was excited to finally have a baby to dress in  frilly, girly PINK things!

Her book was ultra-girly as well. Lots of pinks…the letter brads, the tie ribbons, and the rhinestones!

The inside pages were a fun orange-sherbet color. I LOVE how this turned out with the outside pattern. This book may be one of my favorite combos that I’ve done. In fact, I liked the cover fabric so much I bought extra yardage so I can use it again in future projects.

***

In addition to the books I made for our family members, I was also hired to design books for other people’s loved ones.

This gender-neutral jungle book was created for a grandma to house all her photos of her grandkids.

The inside paste pages were chocolate brown, and each page held 4×6 photos, 2-up.

The spine was made of reinforced Davy board wrapped in leafy cardstock. The two patterns complemented each other perfectly!

Ahh, the memories that will be contained in these pages. Makes my heart smile just thinking about it.

Photo albums are among my most prized possessions. I treasure the memories they contain and I would love to make a one-of-a-kind album for someone special in your life! Email me for more details.

Woodland Birthday: Part 1

In my last post, I mentioned how much I LOVE planning parties. So, you can imagine my excitement when 2011 started and I realized my baby would be turning one year old.

In June.

Nevertheless, I began brainstorming early because, as any artist-mom knows, there isn’t a lot of free time for being creative (unless coming up with an idea for dinner counts).

The first thing I did was choose a theme. I had seen enough buzz on Facebook to know that many of my fellow moms were doing zoo, farm, or jungle themes for their babies’ first birthdays. I wanted something a more unique for B’s first birthday party, but I liked the idea of an animal-based theme. So, after plenty of lost sleep (WHY does my brain go 100 MPH when I’m trying to fall asleep at night?!), I landed on “woodland” as my focus.

I scoured the web for ideas and began constructing my inspiration board. I found photos of things I knew I wanted to include and also made a list of buzzwords I felt related well to the theme:

I knew I wanted to make favor bags for all of B’s little friends, so I began by contacting a friend of mine who had used burlap for her wedding (table runners, etc). She had scraps that she was more than happy to part with, so my mom sewed little square bags to contain the favors (picture coming in Thursday’s post).

Then, I began ordering a few specific items off Amazon, including these warbling bird whistles (probably more familiar to us parents than our kiddos!) The whistles came in four colors and we made sure no siblings received the same color.  I included a note with the whistle so people would know to “just add water.”

I found a picture of woodland critters online that I thought were darling, so I used the image as a template and re-drew them in Illustrator so I could use them throughout the party. I made these magnets using flat gemstones. Each guest got two magnets in their goody bag, and, again, no siblings received the same ones.

I also managed to find some really awesome colored pencils that were made from twigs! Each guest got two pencils apiece.

One of my favorite items in the goody bags were some woodland finger puppets. I found the instructions for sale on Etsy and ordered both sets of woodland animals (10 in all). My mom made two of each critter and I’m kicking myself now for not getting a photo of all of them together! Each child received one puppet. The leftovers (below) will be going in a time capsule for Beau to play with when he’s older.

Next, I began to focus on the food table (isn’t that everyone’s favorite part of a party?) I knew I wanted to make some signs describing the food, and though I’d made table tents in the past, I had always wondered if they could have a more 3D aspect.

They CAN! After messing around with some scrap paper, I felt confident that my little woodland signs could be more like pop-ups than flat pieces of paper! Most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference, but to me, this experiment was a big success!

Naturally, I wanted to have a great cake for Beau’s first birthday! What sort of baker would I be if my own son didn’t have a cool smash cake to destroy?! Since I have limited experience with fondant, I enlisted the help of my friend Anya, who is a fondant figures GENIUS! She came over to my house and gave me a lesson in figure-making. Since the party details didn’t include the eager beaver, I decided he would be perfect for the cake topper.

I did learn how to cover the cake board on my own, and added some chocolate-covered chow mein noodles as a dam…they also served to hold up the beaver’s tail since our 100-degree weather and high humidity kept making it want to break off! (ACK!)

And, of course, no party of mine would be complete without some sort of schematic. HA!

Since the party was going to be held at my in-laws’ house, I transported all my decor the night before and planned how I wanted the table to be set. Naturally, in my rush to get out the door, I had left my camera at home. So…I drew a sketch that would embarrass my art school professors. :)

But, it got the job done and made the day-of prep MUCH easier. It also gave me a spot to write down what else I needed to grab from my house…something that would not have been possible with a photo.

Come back Thursday and see how all the elements came together! I couldn’t have imagined the party would go so well!

Dane’s Memories

My younger sister, Arica, found out she was pregnant just a few days after I delivered my first baby, Beau. We both chose not to find out what we were having, so you can imagine our excitement when we both had boys!

I love making photo albums as baby shower gifts, and the following album was even more special since it was for my first nephew on my side of the family!

I just LOVE how these marquee letters look on album covers! And doesn’t my nephew have such a fun name?!

My sister decorated the nursery in greens and browns with a tree theme as the main focus. I knew she’d love the green crosshatch pattern of the photo pages and the rich chocolate-brown color of the paste papers.

A satin brown ribbon ties it all together.


I love you, seester, and I’m glad we have each other to lean on as we navigate this journey called “motherhood!”

Dane is awesome. It’s been so fun watching him grow the past several months, and that sentiment is something I’m sure I’ll repeat a million times over the coming years!

Check back this Thursday for a photographic journey through the baby shower I hosted for Arica and Dane. You won’t want to miss it!

Donna’s Turn

I know a gal named Donna who is one of the sweetest, giving people you could ever hope to know. She’s always putting others before herself, so I was ecstatic when she asked me if I would make a custom journal for HER. Just for her.

Her thoughts.

Her prayers.

Her struggles.

Her dreams.

Her gratitude.

Her frustrations.

Oh, the many things we can write in a journal that is for our eyes only!

Donna wanted a journal that was artsy and fun and had a biblical Scripture inside the front cover to set the tone for her journaling. Donna chose Psalm 51:10.

I just love this wild (but not too crazy) patterned paper, don’t you?!

Donna is a mom to four very energetic and imaginative kiddos and I wanted to make sure they knew this journal belongs to Mama and no one else! I added marquee letters to the front to personalize the cover.

As any parent knows, it’s good to occasionally have some ‘me-time’, whether you use it for journaling, exercise, gardening, reading, or just drinking a glass of wine alone! :) I am sure Donna has already begun filling up the pages of this book with the contents of her heart, soul, and mind.

Donna, when this book is full and you’re ready for another, let me know. From one mom to another, I want to help make sure you have the space you need to ‘roam free’…at least on paper!

Day 21 AEDM: Sew Organized

Today I went over to my MIL’s house to cut some fabric. She has a rotary cutter and I don’t…sometimes scissors just won’t do. However, as we headed upstairs to her sewing room, she gave me the disclaimer: “You really shouldn’t even see what a mess this room is.” That set off a bell inside of me!

For those of you that don’t know me, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to organize. I’ve always enjoyed it. Even as a kid, I would help my friends clean their rooms so they wouldn’t get grounded!

There’s something really satisfying about organizing someone else’s space. Perhaps it’s because once it’s done I don’t have to be the one that keeps it that way. :)

In all fairness, my MIL has help when it comes to creating this chaos…7 kids and 8 (soon to be 9) grandkids create, play, and run around up here during family get-togethers.

So, my AEDM project for today is the “after” photos of my MILs sewing/craft room. I didn’t take any “before” photos, but even if I had, she may not have wanted me to put them on the internet for all to see. HA!

photo1

Luckily, she had clear plastic boxes with lids. I boxed up like items (ribbons, sewing notions, etc) and pushed the chairs under the table where they belong.

photo2

There was a plastic box only about 1/3 full of empty photo frames and a box of fabric that was overflowing. So I swapped the contents of the two.

photo3

All the fabric scraps that had been tossed near the sewing table got folded, sorted by how much remained, and boxed up accordingly.

It was really fun to be able to do this for my MIL. I know once she gets some time to sew again, she’ll have plenty of organized space to do it in.

Love you, Mama Meadows!