>W.I.P.- Work in Progress Wednesday!

>Well its almost Wednesday, here in Germany at least, and I’ve been meaning to get these things posted for w.i.p. (work in progress) Wednesday. So I figured since the kids were in bed and I finally had some time I’d actually get them posted on the right day, so I don’t have to wait until next week. So, here they are…..



This isn’t exactly a work in progress, but it is something new. My mom got me a few of these coffee sacks and I made this one into a reusable grocery bag. I have a few more of these so if you have any other great ideas for them let me know. I was also thinking of making a couple baskets out of them, or maybe a hobo bag. What do you think would sell best or be the best use for these awesome bags? Let me know!



This is a great spring bag that I am really excited about. It is all ready to go except I am anxiously waiting another batch of labels. They are way over due and holding up a few projects. One of the great aspects of living overseas! waahoo… lol I was so excited about this bag because I found the handle at the thrift store. It is a really cute belt and the colors matched perfect with the bag I was putting together so I thought I’d try it out. And these pictures aren’t of two different bags, it is reversible! super cute!


This is a custom bag for a lady. She was in love with all these bright prints and just had to have them all. I just have to put the handle on and it will be finished! Defiantely on the top of my list to get finished up tomorrow.



Another reversible bag. Black and white toile on one side with the Anna Maria Horner print on the other side.. .


Skully bag with bright pink on the inside. I love the way this bag is turning out. It could even be reversible!


And I finally am learning to master putting in a zipper. I started small and got these two guys made up the other day. The wallet with a change purse is for myself. I am going to give the other one I ordered for mothers day away I think… lol I got it in the mail and looked at it for about 5 mins. and thought I could definitely make that up. This always happens to me. I can’t wait to get to the states so I will be able to take a closer look at things instead of looking on the computer at them. If I can check it out and touch it I can get a better feel for the way it goes together. But I still love the wallet I bought. I’ll just have to think of someone special to give it to. No worries!
And I made up this cute coin purse. Its the first one I’ve ever made but it came out pretty good. I am going to try and get it to my friend Sara. She is leaving for the states tomorrow. =( sad. But I am going to try and meet up with her at the airport and say good bye and get it to her before they leave. I am definitely going to make up a few more of these. It was super easy, but I need to find some more zippers, I only have a couple left. I’ve found quite a few at our local thrift shop and they were all still in the packaging and only 25cents! So maybe I’ll get over there tomorrow and check to see if I can find some more.



And the last bag I have to post isn’t a w.i.p. but I just finished it the other day for a lady and she was sooo happy to get it. Its a messenger and it turned out really well. She said it was just what she wanted, so that was great. She also wanted a matching passport cover so I made one of those up for her too.

It’s only 3 more days until the weekend! yay.. jk that means not a lot to me since everyday sorta meshes together for us.. but daddy will be home hopefully by this time next week! We’re all sooo excited to have him home. It truly feels like forever since he was last here with us.
But have a great rest of the week everyone!
take care,
juanita

>Happy Memorial Day!

>

Well, Happy Memorial Day to you all. I hope your day has been as beautiful as it is here in Germany. The past two days have been in the 90’s and I am loving the warm weather. It was so hott today that I had to think of ways to cool the kids off but to also get them out of the house. We don’t have a kiddy pool or a sand box. They’re both on my list to get the kids but with us moving back to the states in 3 months I don’t think it will happen until we get to Little Rock. We’ll just have to get by for now. So the kids played outside for a while until they got bored and hot so I got them some buckets of water to play with and help them cool down. Not long after I brought them out I found little Cameron sitting in hers. It was pretty cute, so I had to take a picture.
We have been taking it easy for the weekend and haven’t really done anything. But Memorial Day means a little more to us this year then before with my husband deployed in Iraq. But he will be home soon. Only one more week! Everyone is soo excited to be back together again. I can’t wait to see how excited the kids get when they see him. =) It’s going to be great!


I made a dress the other day for Brooklyn. I saw a tutorial for it somewhere online. I will share that and a few others that looked really cute later.. but for now I wanted to post a few pictures. I didn’t actually use the tutorial but I just looked at the picture of the finished dress. It is really easy because you make it out of an old dress shirt. I picked up a couple the other day at the thrift shop and used the one I didn’t like the best to try things out on. And I got to use my new bias tape maker so that was a lot of fun. I picked it up here. (great site to buy fabric from also, they have everything) It’s the best tool I’ve ever used and think its a must-have for quilters and pretty much anyone else who sews. I really want to start making more clothes for my girls so I am sure I’ll get a lot of use out of it.

And the other day I snapped this picture of little Cameron listening to her sister’s ipod. It was so cute because she found it all by herself and was jammin’ out.. so cute. =)

I hope you all have had a great and safe weekend
of cookouts and relaxing.
And haven’t forgotten who to thank for it.
take care,
juanita

>Handmade Toys I [heart]

> As promised… (finally, it’s been a long night)

Handmade toys that I LOVE



I am just in love with these adorable dolls from Bit of Whimsy. I wish she had more than the pdf pattern for sale but maybe she’ll be stocking more sometime soon. I might just have to get the pattern anyway. They are just too cute! And I really love the bunny and this lamb.


This is another doll that I just adore from Fabric Farrago. Isn’t she just the cutest thing?


I don’t know how to crochet so I am going to definitely have to pick up some of these crocheted cupcakes from Puka Shell. She has some other delicious looking crocheted deserts but the cupcakes have to be my favorite.




Also along the lines of play food is felt food. I have been meaning to make some of these up for the girls; I just haven’t made the time to do so yet. And felt is not easy to find here in Germany. There are lots of easy patterns out there that you wouldn’t even need a sewing machine for. You probably wouldn’t even need a pattern for many of the foods, just a picture to look at. The sky is really the limit on these and honestly I don’t think the kids will care too much on how perfect they turn out. This could even be a great project for kids that are a little older and able to use a scissors. Kids are so creative and it would be a lot of fun to hear their idea and see what they come up with. I can’t even decide on a shop to spotlight or even an item, just log on to Etsy and type in ‘felt food’ in the search bar. But if I have to choose I’d say I do love this sushi set and these fruit baskets.

There are lots of things you can make at home like home made play dough. My mom always used to make it for us, and it’s great that you know exactly what it is made of when you make it yourself.

Homemade Play Dough Recipe
makes four 2 1/2 inch diameter balls of play dough

Ingredients:
· 1 cup of warm water
· 1/4 cup salt
· 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
· 1 teaspoon canola oil
· 1 cup flour 15-20 drops of food coloring per ball (4 balls per batch)

Preparation Instructions:
1. In a small, non-stick sauce-pan, mix the warm water, salt, cream of tartar, and canola oil. Slowly blend in the flour, getting rid of clumps.
2. When blended, turn the stove eye to medium heat (medium-low on a gas range). Stir constantly. As it heats, it will begin to clump and turn into dough.
3. When smooth and thickened, remove from heat promptly. Pull the dough out of the pan and let cool a little. Start kneading as soon as possible until well-blended and appropriate consistency. Divide into four even balls.
4. Add food-coloring five drops at a time to each ball until color is evenly mixed in and desired hue. (Wash hands between colors). Let cool.
5. Place the colorful dough balls in plastic bags or airtight containers when cooled.


Another great toy that you can make yourself is play silks. Here is what I found on a tutorial of how to make them.

‘What are play silks? Only the best imagination inspiring toys ever! No really, I was skeptical at first too, until I saw children playing with them. They are completely “open ended” which means that the only limit to their use is your imagination. Younger children play peek-a-boo with them and liked to swish them around and watch them gracefully float through the air. Later, they will play a huge role in pretend play. A purple one becomes fairy wings, a black one becomes a wizard’s cape, a green one on the ground becomes a pasture for small animal figures and a blue one becomes a pond for boats. A red and orange one can be fire for a pretend bonfire and a white one can be snow…’ (taken from here)

The tutorial for making your own is on the site, Make Baby Stuff. And I found another great tutorial for making them here on The Artful Parent (lots of awesome ideas on that site too) They look really easy to make and if you’d rather buy them already dyed there are some great shops on Etsy that sell them.

Well, that is going to be it for now. The editing thing on the blog has been driving me crazy tonight and I’ve wasted way too much time trying to get everything right and I lost everything just as I finished the first time. So this will have to do. So much for getting to bed early. I hope you enjoy and I will for sure have to do another list of toys I love because there are plenty more…

take care,
juanita

>Something to think about…

>Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the toys my girls play with. There are so many issues these days with toys with the number one being safety, but also so important to me is quality and imagination. I have always been a dreamer and have had the biggest imagination, and I wish for my kids to have the same. I met a lady a few weeks ago and we were talking about wooden toys and handmade things. She said ‘A wooden block can be a castle, a car, or a cruise ship, but a plastic cruise ship will never be anything more then a cruise ship’. I think she got the idea from a book she had read, but what she said was so true. And I am tired of cheap plastic toys that break and are tossed out and that use up a 100 batteries. (This great video called ‘The Story of Stuff’ is so informative if you want to know where stuff comes from and where it goes after you’re done with it.) On there is a statistic that just blows my mind. It’s the percentage of stuff that you buy today and you’re still using 6 months from now. What do you think it is? 50%? 25? 10% It’s actually 1%!!!! 1%!!!!!! So think about when you go to the store today, 99% of the stuff you put in your cart is going to be in the trash within 6 months! But it doesn’t have to be that way. I am getting a little off track, but the point I am trying to make is that handmade toys are toys that you’ll keep forever and that you’ll hand down to your kids and your grand kids. And they are quality toys that some one made with their own hands. There is so much love and care put into them. And another amazing thing is that you’re supporting that person and their craft. When someone buys a purse from me they are supporting myself and my family. And I am going to in turn use that money to create more bags and also support other people that make handmade things. This is a beautiful system. =) I truly think that everyone has a skill and can contribute something. Some can paint, sew, cook, do woodworking, entertain, farm…. I am big on self sustainability and supporting each other and not depending on big box stores… etc. I can even organize my thoughts right now because I get so excited about it and could talk for days about it. But that is another discussion and today we’re talking about toys.
So I really hope this is all making sense and I haven’t lost too many of you. There are so many easy tutorials out there that you can use to make your own toys or if you’d rather buy there are so many wonderful shops on Etsy and the internet that sell handmade toys. I am going to share a few of my favorites in a bit.. promise! In the mean time make sure you watch the Story of Stuff!!

>Happy Mothers Day to Me!

>

Well today is Mother’s Day and honestly most of the day I forgot it even was. My amazing husband is deployed right now so he wasn’t here to help the kids doing anything extra special. But I did tell Brooklyn (my 4 1/2 yr old) that today was Mother’s day and she just loves a ‘holiday’ and any excuse to make a craft project so she made me a few cards, so that was nice. We talked to daddy on the web cam tonight and Brooklyn said ‘happy mothers day daddy! It’s mother’s day here dad.’ Just like she would say if it was Christmas or some other major holiday. It was cute.
So, since it was mother’s day and all and I’ve been searching for a new wallet for a while, I decided to buy myself one. I have been looking on etsy and I kept coming back to the same one, but I kept thinking that I could make it or I’d find one for a lower price. But tonight I finally decided that I would just buy it. It’s beautiful and perfect and everything I wanted in a wallet. So, I thought I’d share it with you and the great shop I found it at. Blissful.
I hope everyone else had a wonderful Mother’s Day. The kids were really great today and I had a couple people stop in and visit so it was nice. And I also had a lady I made a few customs bags up for stop over and pick them up so I got paid for those, so that was nice too. She was great to visit with again and so wonderful to work with. I will have to post some pictures of bags sometime. I’ve been really busy lately because I didn’t realize I had taken on 13+ custom orders. But they are getting done and hopefully by the end of next weekend I’ll have them all finished up. Custom orders are great but I really enjoy doing my own thing and trying new things. I want to try and make up a few baby quilts, maybe some bibs, coin purses and I’ve been brainstorming a few new ideas for bags that I really need to try out. I have a flikr account but I’ve reached my maximum uploading limit and have been debating weather or not to pay the fee for the unlimited storage. I have lots of pictures of projects and it would be nice to be able to have them all in one place and for everyone to see. Maybe eventually I’ll give in and take the plunge, just not today. But if you’d like to see what I do have posted the link is here. The best way right now to see what projects I have made up is on my Facebook photo albums. Here is the link. And here. And the last one, for now, here. Or add me on Facebook. =)

enjoy!

>To start somewhere.

>

SO, I’ve been meaning to start a blog for some time now. I was just worried about not being able to keep up with it, but so many times I see things I want to tell people about and post links to some great sights and resources so figure this would be the best way. So many of my friends and family keep up with me on facebook, but I never post updates on everything we’ve been up to and its mostly just to post new pictures of the family and such. I am pretty excited about this and just bear with me until I get the hang of things. I certainly don’t have a journalism major so I apologize in advance that. =)
Lately I have been seeing so many things that I am just in love with and wanted to share them with you all. I stumble across sooo many things and I honestly don’t even know how I find them but I do. Last night I found these amazing things on Apartment Therapy. (pictured above)
I thought it was such a great idea! I just need to find some of those spouts so I can make up a few for myself. As many of my friends and family know, I LOVE Etsy. They have everything on there. And it’s all handmade. Its the best site if you’re looking for anything baby. I have so many favorite shops and items bookmarked on my Etsy. I thought I’d share a couple today. These shops are from my home state of Minnesota! The first shop is from Minneapolis and they make the cutest baby shoes and boots. They’re adorable. The shop is Ivory and Moss.
And the other shop is a great place to get some beautiful fabric and she is located in Duluth, MN. The Fabric Shoppe. And she has a neat blog too, that is found here.
Well that is all I have time for today, the kids are wondering around aimlessly.
But I have lots of tutorials, craft ideas, Eco friendly options, handmade shops and other ideas that I really hope I can share soon. Lets see how it all goes.. Well enjoy.. And have a great mothers day… I love you Mom! =)
-juanita