Hula hoops

Taping 2

Every morning this week, Kate and I have been hanging out together while Jane is at drama camp. Originally, Kate was supposed to be at camp, too, but because of a scheduling snafu, it didn't happen. In an effort to make her week fun, we came up with a list of some projects and activities that the two of us could do together. After reading Elizabeth's post which was part of Amanda's Soulful Mothering series (such a lovely group of posts, don't you think?), we decided to make our own hula hoops yesterday morning.

It was just as easy as it looks in the video. Seriously. The only downfall was that we weren't able to buy the pipe by the foot, so I now have enough pipe to make hula hoops for the entire neighborhood. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I did have to buy a 100' coil of 3/4" poly pipe which will make 10 hula hoops. Suffice it to say that we will be making these for birthday party gifts for the next year. If you can find a local hardware store that will cut the pipe by the foot, it really is a low-cost project. We used a combo of duct tape and electrical tape to decorate the hoops, a lot of which we had on hand.

June 29

The finished hoop is great. It's heavier than the ones you buy at the toy store making it easy for even this 40 year old to do. Seriously. I really thought that I had lost my hooping mojo as I cannot get the cheap plastic ones to stay up. Not the case! It was all the hoop, not me. Very reassuring, I tell you. So naturally, I'm going to need my very own, especially since it's a great ab workout. Or maybe because I want to use that super sparkly silver tape. Or maybe both.

Making soap

Soap 9
Hey there! Today, I'm over at Cindy's blog, Skip to my Lou, with a tutorial on how to make glycerin soap. The girls and I love to do this, especially for gifts. They've been making soap for a long time and now can pretty much do the whole thing on their own. Younger kids may need a little help from an adult as the soap is hot. Otherwise, it's one of my very favorite kid crafts because it's a cinch to make and clean up. Please pop over and take a look. Cindy also has a stellar line up of Craft Camp for the month of June, just like she did last year. (You can see my post from last year on kids' embroidery here). You'll definitely want to check it out!

Meet Gumbo


Gumbo is Jane's newest stuffed animal. She made Gumbo yesterday all on her own, using the sewing machine that the girls received for Christmas. I helped thread the machine, taught her how to pivot the fabric with the needle down and was at hand for little issues.  The rest Jane did on her own. She was super pleased with her creation and I think she should be. It's a big accomplishment to set out to design a project, make it and see it through to the end, mistakes and all. I'm very proud of her.

Gumbo 2

I was in the middle of sewing my dress when Jane decided to start this project. The timing wasn't optimal for me - I can't tell you how many times I had to put down my sewing to help with hers - but I am glad that I was present to help Jane make Gumbo. Watching her create this was a joy and as we were working, I was happy to set aside what I wanted to do right then and join her. These moments don't come often and when they do, I'm going to grab them.

And the dress? Well, that's entirely different story.

School auction project info

Good morning! It's gray and rainy here, but I hope the sun is shining on all of you. I thought that I would write a little bit about each auction project we did to answer some of your questions. I really wish I could do tutorials for these, but I didn't take step-by-step photos and, honestly, I just don't have that kind of time right now. If you have specific questions, I'll do my best to answer them in the comments. OK? All right, let's get started.

Auction mosaic

1. Glue Batik Quilts (4th grade) - We used the glue batik explained by That Artist Woman in this post. Each 4th grade class has 23 students so I knew we needed a 4 x 6 grid. To make it a decent size throw blanket, I decided that 12" finished squares (12.5" unfinished) would work well. We started by cutting large pieces of white paper into 13" squares that the children drew their picture on. One class did an ocean theme, the other a sun theme. We did this so each quilt could have a unique color combination, making them similar to each other in technique, but entirely different in look.  Once the kids drew their pictures with pencil, they traced it with a black marker.  Then they put a 13" white fabric square on top of their drawing and traced the art with the gel glue.  I used Kona white for the fabric and cut the squares a 1/2" bigger than I needed so I could trim the squares to a uniform size.  When the glue was dry, the kids used watered down acrylic to paint over the glue relief. After the paint had dried, I brought all the squares home and washed the glue out of the fabric in the bathtub. This took a decent amount of time and a little elbow grease. Some paint came off the squares, especially on the ones that had been heavily painted. This didn't effect the final outcome - it actually took care of some of the squares that were a little crunchy with paint at the outset.  Once dry, I ran the squares through the washing machine on a cold cycle and dried them in the dryer on low heat. From that point, I trimmed them to 12.5" and sewed them together. The quilting was done freehand and with variegated thread. I used the same solid fabric for the back and for the binding.

2. Fingerprint Critter Desks (3rd grade) - This was Plan B. Plan A included kid art and decoupage and didn't really work out the way we had wanted so we scrapped it and moved on.  The solid wood chair desks were spraypainted and then using high adhesion latex paint, each child put their fingerprint(s) on a portion of the desk.  The next week we went back with a fine point Sharpie paint pen and turned the finger prints into critters, Ed Emberley style.

3. Eric Carle inspired canvases (2nd grade) - These are always a huge seller at our auction so I knew that we would do this again.  The art teacher handles this entirely by herself. The kids paint and pattern different papers and then cut them into shapes to make a collage on a canvas with a painted background. After the paper is glued to the canvas, it's sealed. I'm not sure what she uses for this, but I can find out if anyone needs to know. Different themes we have done over the past 3 auctions are: meadow, ocean, jungle, street scene, balloon race and fireworks over the city.

4. Tile mosaic planters and bird bath (6th grade) - I bought the pots and birdbath at a local garden center. I was able to find glass mosaic pieces at JoAnn's - they were kind of pricey. If I had more time, I would have searched online. The white background tile came from the bathroom section at Lowe's. I bought 4" ceramic tile and smashed it myself by putting it in a towel and hammering it.  To adhere the tile to the pots, we used liquid nails. I went this route because after googling "How to make a mosaic planter", this was suggested because both the tile and pot are porous. I really don't have much experience with tile work, but figured that I could manage it with a little research. I got super lucky, though, because a 6th grade parent took over and grouted and sealed everything for me. These were BIG sellers at the auction.

5. Rain barrels (5th grade) - I bought the rain barrels locally. They were the standard bright blue which I roughed up and painted using a spray plastic primer from Lowe's. After 2 coats of that, I continued with 3 coats of enamel spray paint in blue and green.  The kids then painted bugs/umbrellas using a high adhesion latex paint (I'm not sure what it was - it was donated by a parish family that owns a paint store). I then brushed on 3 coats of polyacrylic.  Sounds easy, but was actually very time consuming with all the dry time between coats.

6. Painted outdoor furniture (7th grade) - I think this one is self-explanatory. We used high adhesion exterior latex paint on a picnic table and adirondack chair and then I brushed on a couple coats of polyacrylic.

7. Photography (8th grade) - Another parent and I worked with the 8th graders on this. Using our DSLR cameras, the kids took photos of the architecture of our church, both inside and outside. We put the cameras on auto, encouraged them to look at things from interesting angles and asked that they take vertical shots so they'd all be the same perspective. Each child took 5 or 6 photos.  I went through all the photos, chose each child's best also trying not to have too many of the same object. Using photoshop, I turned them black and white, adjusted the contrast and made them into a mosaic. The mosaics each contain 12 photos, 4" x 6" in size, with a 1/4" boarder between shots.  I had the mosaics printed locally and then matted to fit 24" x 36" poster frames that were bought on sale at JoAnn's.

8. Advent calendars (1st grade) - Using markers, the kids drew ornaments on 3" square pieces of paper. The artwork was scanned into the computer and I printed it out on fabric.  I bought the printable fabric at JoAnn's on sale - I wasn't worried about it being the best quality as I figure these will likely never get washed.  After the artwork was printed, I attached the fabric sheets to felt using a spray adhesive (505 is the one I use) and stitched around the figures with about a 1/8" boarder.  I cut them around the stitching and attached a sticky-backed velcro dot on the back of each ornament.  To make the actual calendar, my friend and I stitched the numbers on 4" squares of red felt using embroidery floss. I drew the tree on felt, cut it out and sewed that and the squares on an off-white felt background with about 1/8" seam allowance.  To hang the calendars, I sewed a rod pocket at the top for a dowel that has a large length of red grosgrain ribbon tied in a bow.  We used acrylic felt for everything to keep the cost down.

9. Play tents (Kindergarten) - I made these two years ago and you can read about that project in this post. The process this time was exactly the same.  The bamboo came from Lowe's - it's way sturdier than the kind they have at my Home Depot.

Phew. There you go.

Some other things to mention:  Cost is always a concern when doing these projects.  With a little planning, you can do this on a budget. We spent $866.00 on 18 projects and brought in $6800. Not bad, huh? I use coupons from JoAnn's and Michael's like crazy. I have my friends save theirs for me so I can use more than one a week. I also shop the sales. I don't think I paid full price for more than a few things. Also, use your resources and find people who can donate items and supplies. Our 3rd grade desks were donated so the cost on those projects was minimal. The matting for our photography project was done at cost - local businesses are often willing to work with you especially if you mention them in your program or give them a big shout out at the auction.  Look for larger items at consignment, thrift and antique stores. Sometimes we base what we do around what we can find. If you have a carpenter friend, maybe they could build something simple for you to work with.  Finally, working with kids takes time. Give yourself a lot of it, and then add a couple extra weeks to be on the safe side. We had a few time setbacks that were out of our control - snow days, sick kids, etc. If you are finished early, bonus!

I think that's it. Questions? Fire away.

School auction projects

I'm completely, totally immersed with finishing the single girls and with Downton Abbey. Seriously, it's all I can do - sew or watch. While I'm head down working on quilts (or head up, eyes on the TV), I thought I'd tell you a little bit about the auction projects that I worked on for the past few months.

Sun quilt 2
Our school auction takes place every other year. This is the second time that I have been in charge of the kids' art projects. We have 9 grades (K - 8th) with two classes per grade. I come up with an idea for each grade and then each of the classes makes a variation of that idea. I get a lot of help from the art teacher - she takes on a few of the projects herself and uses class time with the kids to work on their art. Certain grades need more time to work on their projects. If that is the case, I go in and work with them or find parent volunteers who can help out.  I also asked for volunteers to help with prepping and finishing some of the projects.  Things like painting base coats on furniture, grouting mosaic tile, quilting and other sewing were done outside of school by myself and a few other parents.  I feel really lucky that our school has many talented, willing people that helped me this year. I couldn't have done it alone.

Auction mosaic

The hardest part of this whole process is coming up with good, doable projects that people will want to buy and have in their home that don't cost too much to make. This year our projects included play tents (K), advent calendars (1st grade), painted/collaged canvases (2nd grade), painted desks (3rd grade), batik quilts (4th grade), painted rain barrels (5th grade), mosaic bird bath/planters (6th grade), painted outdoor furniture (7th grade) and black and white photography (8th grade). I plan on going into detail on the quilts tomorrow. If there are other projects that you want to know more about, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to cover it all.

Four seams shy of two quilt tops

Auction quilts
February 2

Most of my creative time these days has been spent working on our school's auction art projects. These are two quilts (one in warm tones, one in cool tones) that the fourth grade classes made using the glue batik method. I'm waiting on one block for each top and then it'll be time to finish them. I struggled with how I want to quilt these - I really want the artwork to shine and I am worried that dense quilting might compete with the large-scale blocks. I've given it lots of thought and I think I have a solid plan. I am going to use variegated thread in the hopes that it will blend in a bit more than white would.  We'll see! For the most part, I am really pleased how they are coming together and hope that they do well in the auction later this month.

(Does the auction talk bore you all to tears? I'd like to share more of the projects, but am unsure if it's interesting to anyone but me.)

Kids' Summer Stitching

I was so flattered when Cindy asked me to contribute to her Summer Craft Camp.  She has compiled one great list of kids' crafts!

Emb 5

One of my kids' favorite crafts is embroidery.  They have both been stitching for a few years. This time, Kate was my very willing assistant and got to work on a cute flower embroidery from a drawing she did.  You can find our project here.

Kate emb

Kate and I made her flower into a sweet pillow with a rick rack trim.  You could also add it to a quilt or a bag.  Another great idea is to have your child embroider on flour sack tea towel for a gift.  Whatever you choose, it's sure to be treasured by you and your child alike.

Olympic Knitting

Feb 10

Kate has been asking for a knitting lesson for a few months.  On our second snow day last week, I took the girls to our local yarn store and with their help (thank you Jane and Cindy!), Kate learned to knit.  I cast on for her and she used knitting rhymes to help keep her remember exactly what she was supposed to do. The rabbit goes through the hole, around the tree, peek back out, and off we leap!  Within a half an hour, she was doing it all on her own.

As a mom that loves to sew and knit, I have found that if I am over-enthusiastic about any one craft, my kids tend to drop it like a hot potato.  To that end, I played it really cool, giving Kate a few pats on the back and patiently fixing every little mistake that she made.  I quietly encouraged her and let her do the rest.  Every day, she has picked it up, knit a few rows and put it back away.  She took it with her to Jane's guitar lesson and the two of us sat in the waiting room knitting and chatting.  She pulled it out and worked on her scarf while watching the Olympics last night.  Even Jane, who hasn't knitted in well over a year, decided to pull out her yarn and needles.  I cast on 15 stitches for her and after a quick lesson, she was knitting away too.  It was one of those moments that I will never forget - all three of us sitting on the couch, watching Olympics, knitting in hand.


I have no idea if this will last so I am enjoying every dropped stitch and unintentional yarn over that needs fixing while I can.  Back here soon.

My funny valentines

The girls and I made some cute valentines for their parties at school later this week.  I think I saw this idea somewhere last year, or maybe even the year before, but I can't remember where.  If someone knows where the idea originated, please tell me so I can give that person credit!  Here!

Valentine 1
To do this yourself, take a photo of your child with their hand(s) held out from their body.  The girls stood in front of a white wall so the background would be neutral - a red or pink wall would be super cute, too!  We took many photos with lots of different poses.  I let the girls choose their favorite.  After uploading the photo, I added text in Photoshop.  If you don't have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, there are other photo editing programs like Picnik that are free.  Make sure you take into account where the lollipop will be on the card when you put the text on it!

Valentine 2
Once I was satisfied with the layout, I printed the photos 2 up on card stock.  I made them 4" x 6", but you could certainly print them smaller, if you like.  After cutting the photos out, I used a craft knife to make an X above and below the hand.  You could use a hole punch instead of the X's if the hand is close enough to the edge of the card.  The girls wrote their friends' names on the back of the cards and then threaded the lollipops through the X's.

Valentine 3

They were fun to make, easy and pretty fast, too.  I had everything I needed on hand with the exception of the lollipops.  I think the large bag cost about $3 making them one of the most inexpensive projects I have done in a long time.  For other ideas, valentines that we have made in the past can be seen here and here.

Anyone have a good game for a 4th grade valentine party? We are playing Bingo, but are looking for something else to do as well.  Maybe something a little active, but that doesn't take too much space (the classrooms are small)?  I was thinking some kind of relay, but I'd love any suggestions.

Quilting for Peace

Softies 6

I received a copy of Quilting for Peace by Katherine Bell a few months ago.  In it, Katherine highlights the stories of people and organizations that are sewing for different causes.  Each project in the book corresponds to a particular initiative and range from full quilts to shopping bags, small pet mats to sleeping bags.

Softies five

Inspired by the book, the girls and I decided to make one of the projects in the book.  Mirabel the owl is the project for Softies for Mirabel.  Softies for Mirabel is a holiday toy drive that collects handmade, soft toys for the Mirabel Foundation in Melbourne, Australia.  I chose this project because it is simple and I knew the girls would be able to help me make the softies.  Additionally, I knew that my children would be able to relate to the idea of giving to other children who might not have as much as they do.

Softies 1

Softies two

It was definitely a team effort.  Kate and Jane chose the fabrics and trims that they wanted out of my stash.  I cut out the owls and they traced the other pattern pieces onto fusible interfacing.  I did most of the cutting, ironing and machine sewing.  They embroidered the eyelashes and stuffed the owls.  In a little over an hour, we were finished.  The girls were excited to show the softies to Fatty and spent a long time guessing what kind of child would end up with their creation.  They also asked if we could do it again another day and maybe take those softies to our city's children's hospital.  Of course.  Then they asked if they could make one for themselves.  I had been waiting for that!  Of course.

Softies four

I am so glad that I carved some time out of this busy week to work on this project with my children.  It's important to me that they realize that even at their young age, they can do something for others.  And I loved that the three of us spent time working together.  Also, it wasn't me that insisted it get finished.  After I proposed the idea of making the owls to them, they were the ones that kept reminding me that we needed to do it, that we should get busy sewing.  Thanks to my girls, I was reminded that no matter how busy I am, no matter what needs to be done, chances are I have an hour or so to do something for someone else. 

Softies three

Quilting for Peace includes many easy, doable projects and information on the organizations that could benefit from your crafty talent.  There's a 30-minute shopping bag pattern in the book that you could whip up for gifts.  Or maybe sew a quilted mat to donate to a local animal shelter.  I encourage you to take a look and see if there is something you can make for someone else in need this holiday season or in the new year.

I am giving away one copy of this fantastic book.  If you are interested in winning, leave a comment on this post that includes one thing you have done or will do for someone in need or a particular charity this holiday season.  I will close comments Wednesday, November 25th at 5:00 p.m. EST.  The winner will be announced on Friday or Saturday.  In other business, I'll be back tomorrow with the winner of last week's giveaway and some shop talk.

Kid crafted wrapping

Kate's tote


While looking for a birthday gift among the craft kits at Target, I saw Crayola fabric markers.  The wheels started turning so we picked up a box of those in addition to a bead kit for Jane's friend.  When we got home, I pulled out a couple of plain canvas totes and set the girls up for some craft time.  I instructed them to draw a sketch of their idea on plain paper before they started drawing on the tote.  An hour later, Jane had produced the cutest bag for her friend Kathleen and Kate had a new tote of her own.  I heat set the markers by putting the bags in the dryer on high for 30 minutes.  The whole project was fun for the girls and kept them occupied for a good chunk of time which was good for me.  We wrapped the bead kit in the tote bag for the cutest, reusable wrapping.  You bet we will be doing this again.

Quiet afternoons around here....

Kate stitching

Jane 3

call for embroidery.  Some back stitching for Kate.  Split stitching for Jane.  Lots of needle re-threading by me.  All in all, nice way to spend a rainy, summer afternoon.

Both of the girls embroidery transfers came from the Sublime Stitching Craft Pad.

Back tomorrow with the winner of Vintage Baby Knits.  I haven't forgotten - just been busy watching my nephews and cleaning out the studio!  Scrap bags coming soon!

Friendship bracelets

I'm a total blogging slacker these days.  Summer is just moving along and we are busy just being.  It's pretty great.


I said I'd be back with something crafty, but I bet you didn't think it'd be friendship bracelets.  Truth is, neither did I.  My girls came home from camp and raided my embroidery supplies.  They started braiding bracelets for their ankles and doing hair wraps on their dolls.  Jane asked me if I knew how to make different kinds of bracelets.  Well, yes I do!  I made the above bracelet for Jane earlier this week and am now working on a pink and orange one for Kate.  I sit at the pool, completely in the shade, chatting with my friends and making bracelets.  Today I gave a 30 second tutorial to a few girls.  I have a feeling that we'll be seeing a lot of these in the coming weeks. 

These are the kind I made when I was a kid and I am totally doing it from memory.  Yay!  Jane started a four string one in yellow and white.  I would like to try my hand at something a bit more complex and while trolling the interwebs, I found this site.  Awesome - patterns, instructions, pdfs to download.  I'm going to try an arrow one next.

All right.  Back to summer.  Catch you next week.

ATC's are in the mail!

The girls' artist trading cards are out the door and in the mail.  We missed the mailing deadline after I realized that the post office does indeed close at noon on Saturday.  Oops.  They went in the mail yesterday and Jane had two arrive in our mailbox for her!

Atc 014_1_1

While doing this project, I found my children have such different approaches to their art.  Jane is detailed and meticulous.  She sat down for long periods of time and drew.  She chose creatures from the Spiderwick Chronicles as her subject matter and used pencil and colored pencil on each one.  She drew 11 cards and from those, chose the best 9 to send (she was in two groups).  There was one that I really liked, but she didn't.  No amount of discussing could convince her to send it so now it's mine.

Atc 015_1_1

Kate, on the other hand, had quick bursts of energy.  She drew what she saw, the flowers sitting around the house:  an orchid, a hyacinth, some daisies, forsythia and alstroemeria.  She finished three cards right away and then for days, she wouldn't even attempt to do the other two.  In the end, she sat down and did them together - right before the deadline.  I cringe to think that she is a procrastinator like her mother.  But then I remember, that sometimes it takes a long time for all those ideas to brew.  Or in Kate's case, maybe she was waiting to see what other flowers I brought home.

Atc 001_1_1

I loved this exercise for my kids.  Blair has said that the small size of the canvas gave her kids confidence in a way that a large piece of paper cannot.  I found the same to be true for my girls.  The smaller they had to draw, the more time they took, the more detailed they were.  If you take a look at the flickr pool, I think you could say the same for these young artists.  I sure hope that those of you who joined the swap, enjoyed it just as much as we did.

Quick Valentines

Valentine's Day has come and gone - I know.  I wanted to share our valentines, though.  I was in the midst of all the auction work and just assumed my children would want to buy their valentines.  Was I ever wrong!  So I came up with a good solution that didn't take too much of my time and that we could make a bunch of with relative ease.  Notebooks!

To start, I cut a piece of 8.5" x 11" paper into quarters and gave two to each of the girls.  They each drew a front cover for their notebook and Kate drew a back cover, too.  I then scanned their art work into the computer and set up a document so that all four designs could print on one page.  Does that make sense?  Kate's artwork was on two quarters and Jane's was on one.  The fourth quarter was left blank because Jane wanted her back cover plain.  Once I was happy with the set up, I printed it out 25 times on card stock.

Feb 12 014_1_1

I took the card stock to FedEx Kinko's and asked them to cut the paper into fourths.  I could have done this part at home, but I really wanted the cuts to be clean and even.  I also bought a ream of copy paper and had them cut that into fourths, too.   All said and done, it cost about $7.  I took everything home and assembled notebook sandwiches - front cover, about 15 pages copy paper, back cover.  Using a zig zag stitch on my machine, I sewed up one side of each notebook.  The girls made name tags for their classmates and we were pretty much done.  We put a pencil with each notebook which made for a perfect ensemble!

Feb 12 022_1_1

I think from start to finish (drawing time not included!), it took me about 2 hours.  Not bad and certainly inexpensive.  I had another parent tell me that they took theirs to a restaurant that night and his son used it to keep busy while waiting for dinner.  Perfect.  We have lots of copy paper left over so I am sure we will make these again just because.  I think they would be great party favors, too.

All right, back tomorrow.  Yellow week got me on a blogging roll.  And yes, it was about time.

Yellow, ATC's and Quilts

Feb 9 021_1_1

I think I need more yellow in my life.  It's just so cheery.  Maybe a yellow week to break up the February gloom?  Would anyone be interested in that?


The groups for the Kids ATC swap are slowly going out.  Because we have over 900 children participating, it is going to take some time to send all those emails.  If you signed up and you don't hear from us right away, don't fret.  You will.

There is a Flickr group for the swap, too.  Please add photos of your children's creations so we all can see what creative kids we have!

Blair and I never imagined such a huge response.  By the number of emails we received after the cut off, I know some people were upset that we couldn't accomodate any more swappers.  I hate to disappoint anyone.  Believe me when I say that I truly appreciate those of you that took the news gracefully.


I threw my back out on Friday and ended up spending the day on the couch.  I feel so much better now, but am a smidge behind on my quilt binding.  The auction is this Saturday night so I best get stitching.  I promise photos soon.


Next week I am going to make something for myself.  I cannot wait for some selfish crafting!

Wrapping things up

I finished quilting both of the auction quilts yesterday. Actually, the second quilt pieced was the first one quilted and that has been sitting around waiting for a binding for a couple weeks. Yesterday, I finished quilting the other one, so now it, too, waits for a binding. Guess what I am doing today? Yes, indeed-y, you are right.

1K Quilt 002_1_1 

Blair and I are completely overjoyed and overwhelmed at the incredible response to the Kids ATC swap.  I knew it would strike a cord with lots of you, but I think we completely underestimated your enthusiasm!  As  of right now, there are over 560 kids signed up and there are still over 200 emails that haven't been opened. You have until 12:00 noon EST (New York City time) today to sign up.  You need to email you child's name, address and age to [email protected] to be signed up. We plan on making the groups this weekend and hope to let you know on Monday.  Please be patient with us if it is Tuesday or Wednesday - we have a lot of work to do.

Hope you enjoy a relaxing and productive weekend.  You'll find me on the couch, under a quilt, stitching away.  See you here next week.

Kids Artist Trading Card Swap

Jan 27 001_1_1

Hello!  It's good to be back.  Thanks for all your well wishes last week.  The electricity is humming along and the house is warm.  We were well taken care of, though.  A big thanks to our good friends!

Sometime after the holidays, I stumbled upon Blair's post about Emma's artist trading cards.  I was immediately enamored with Emma's work and knew that my girls would love to create miniature works of art, as well.  I asked Blair if she would be interested in hosting a swap just for kids and she said yes!

Jan 27 010_1_1

So now, you might be wondering exactly what constitutes an artist trading card.  No worries!  Click on this link, to find out more specifics about these small works of art.  The artist trading card pool on flickr might also be a great source of inspiration for your budding young artist.  I found that once I gave my kids the small papers and we pulled out the watercolors and pastels, they didn't need any direction from me.  They just got busy creating!  It was so fun to watch how differently they approached it - Jane immediately thought of the art she has studied in school and did her own interpretation of it whereas Kate looked around the room and drew what she saw and later pulled out the Ed Emberley books and started painting again.

My girls were really excited at the idea that they could send their drawings and paintings to other children and then would receive some in return.  I think the idea of mail, addressed to them, certainly added to their excitement.  So Blair and I have put our heads together and have created a swap, just for kids, to share artist trading cards with one another.  Each child will be part of a small group and will create mini masterpieces (2.5" by 3.5" small!) of their own to send to similarly aged children all over the United States, and hopefully, around the world.  If your child would like to participate, here are the guidelines:

- Please send a message to [email protected] by this Friday, 2/6. Let us know your address, your child's name and age. International swappers are welcome!

- This is exclusively a project for children and for that reason, we are specifying that participating children be ages 4 and up.  No adult ATC's, please.

- We will divide the children into groups of 6, meaning your child will make 5 cards to mail out.  You will receive your group from us on Monday, 2/9.

- Artist trading cards are all the same size: 2.5" by 3.5".  Because ATC's are so small, they will fit into a standard envelope.  To keep it simple, the participants are not obligated beyond mailing the actual card out to its recipient (plus any information about the card they'd like to add). Anything extra is up to the sender and is not expected or required.

- Finished cards should be mailed out to their recipients no later than 2/28.

Jan 27 005_1_1

I hope you will join us.  A big thanks to Blair, and to her sister-in-law Jenny, who inspired the whole thing.  Jenny even created a kids atc button for us to use.  Feel free to put it on your blog and link back to this post, or Blair's post, for details on the swap.  I think it is going to be so much fun!

For Annabel

Jane's friend Annabel had her birthday party this weekend.  On Saturday morning, Jane and I set about making her present.


This fabric that I bought from Leslie is a lightweight canvas, perfect for a tote.  Jane and I thought that Annabel might need a bag to carry her ballet stuff in, or to fill with things to do while waiting at rehearsal for The Nutcracker.  Jane wanted to embroider ballet slippers or something dance related on the pocket, but crazy enough, we didn't have the right thing.  She settled on Annabel's initials.


Jane drew the letters on the polka dot fabric with a pencil and embroidered them herself while I was cutting out the bag and making the handles.  When she was finished stitching, I made the pocket and sewed it all together.


Inside, we put a sweet bundle of embroidery supplies:  hoop, needles, lots of floss, three fat quarters of fabric and Hillary's Peppermint Fairy Stitchettes.  I told her mother, who shares her daughter's birthday, that she was going to love me or hate me.  I know from experience that this requires lots of adult supervision and help.  I think Suzanne was just fine with it - after all, she's one of my craft swap peeps.

Happy Birthday friends!