In My Life, I've Loved Them All

Etsy Profile Surprise!

At the beginning of April, I joined an online gift exchange though Swap-Bot. Basically, I signed up for a specific swap. Then a computer random picked someone else from the swap for me to send to (and someone else randomly recieved my name). The mission: find something on ETSY for $5 and send it to your person.

You have a profile on Swap-Bot for your sender to go by (mine included a list of my favorite items over on ETSY too)... and a couple days ago, I got my suprize in the mail…


Little Penguin Push Pins!! From from a shop called Peg’s Boards. So cute, I just love them! This was my first swap and I think it was a great success. :D


Have you been on ETSY before? It’s a wonderful site, and I’m not just saying that because I like making stuff. You can find just the most original items, so it’s a great place to look for gifts for hard-to-shop-for people. And all of the items are handmade or vinatage/repurposed. So you’re helping out people like me that like making stuff :D

Here is a snap shot of some of the fun things I have found. Yay ETSY! And Yay Swap-bot!

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Beautiful Art Projects from Stuff You Already Own

I own a ton of craft supplies. Seriously. Which wouldn’t be so bad if I had a pretty craft room, like the one on Martha (yes, I realize it’s a set and only 1/2 of a room, but it’s still more than I have). Instead, mine are in plastic hinged storage boxes and drawers lining the side of my room.

In an effort to save money, make my room look bigger, help save the world, and so many other reasons, I am genuinely trying to only make new art projects out of materials I already own. Sounds like a no-brainer… but I have a notorious habit of finding interesting projects online I want to try, if only I had one more item… or I get excited because JoAnns is having a great sale on fabrics. But they ALWAYS have sales on fabric. And I already have plenty of supplies. So no more trips to Hobby Lobby, or JoAnns, or the craft section of Wal-Mart. For as long as I can gulp

Enamel Flowers by Jane AvionSo, here are some of my project finds that can incorporate supplies I already have (or ones I can acquire for free :D )...

Enamel Flower Pins
These beautiful flower pins are the creation of from Canada. She put hers on safety pins, but theses little flowers would look quite pretty on a frame, or barrette, or a magnet. It’s another one of those you’ll never guess what this is made of type crafts!

Quilted Potholders

I have been eyeing this book for a while now… picking it up at the craft store, thumbing through it, and setting it back down. I do already have all of the materials… fabric, cotton batting, Insul-bright… and the patterns in the book are very cute. But part of me thinks who buys books these days?! Also, they are essentially just quilt blocks, layered with insulation, and bound like a quilt. You can find about a million quilt block patterns on line for free, or design your own. Though it would be handy to have the color photos and patterns all in one place, and I’m sure the book includes some good tips. But alas, I can manage just fine with the materials I have… and it means one less book to store in my room too :|

Glass Votive Candle Holders Glass Votive Candle Holders in Spring Pastels
These are just incredibly pretty. A great use for those jelly and pickle jars from the store… just pull some out of the recycling bin (you aren’t throwing those glass jars in the trash, RIGHT??). Mod Podge dries clear, Mode Podge with food coloring will dry pastel/translucent. Who knew?! I also didn’t realize they make an Outdoor Mod Podge that is waterproof. Spiffy :D

T Shirt Quilt
So I mentioned over a year ago that I wanted to make a quilt out of my old college t shirts… I have enough to make one just of Alpha Phi Omega shirts, and another out of GW event shirts, and probably one more just from “other” shirts I love but won’t wear ever again. I have way too many shirts. BUT I just finished making a huge quilt :| It’s quite a task… bit I think for these t shirt quilts I’ll tie them together, making the experience a little less exhausting. Here are some basic instructions if you are interested in making a T shirt quilt of your own :D (Google will give you a million more). I even already have the interfacing needed to keep the knit shirts manageable for sewing… it’s all just a matter of busting out my rotary cutter and an iron and getting these quilt tops made!

T Shirt Quilt

craft store

Stamps to the Rescue!

On a recent trip to the Post Office (yes, I do still send real mail from time to time) I learned about the Stamps to the Rescue Campaign.

animal postage: stamps to the rescue

The goal is to raise Americans’ awareness of the millions of shelter pets in need of a good home. Nearly 1/2 of the animals in shelters are euthanized… a number that could decrease tremendously if more people considered looking at shelters or using when searching for a new furry friend.

Buying these stamps will not cost anything additional than traditional stamps… but you will be helping spread the word on this social issue. Also, during the launch of these stamps, HALO Pet Food is donating a million meals to animal shelters around the country. All you have to do is sign up for a free newsleter/follow HALO on Twitter/become a Fan on Facebook. Help a puppy out!

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A Fair Day (Part 2): Desserts and Handicrafts

Ok, I have slept a few nights and am less disgruntled about the County Fair. So Part 2 is focusing on the happier side of the experience.

I entered my family’s homemade toffee into the Home Economics Show, Dessert Division, Candy from Scratch Section. It didn’t win a Dessert Division award, but it did receive THE ONLY BLUE RIBBON in the Candy from Scratch Section :D AND there was another English Toffee entered in the section. Nice.

Blue Ribbon Toffee

Here is my favorite entry in the whole Dessert Category: a beautiful Alice in Wonderland Cake created by Laura Landrum. It was top in the Decorated Cakes section, but got 2nd place in the dessert division. 1st place went to a freakin’ pecan pie with an unappetizing looking crust. But I digress. I know in the hearts of everyone that saw this cake, it was the REAL overall winner.

Alice in Wonderland Cake

Close Up- Marzipan Alice In Wonderland

Look at all the little details! So beautiful… and the young woman than made it has only been decorating cakes for a year! She said the entire cake took her 3 days to make. Bravo!

Alice in Wonderland Cake- Details

Alice in Wonderland Cake- Details

Alice in Wonderland Cake- Details

Alice in Wonderland Cake- Details

Alice in Wonderland Cake- Details

Ok, here is the most incredible, non edible thing I saw. From past experience, I know how difficult and time consuming basket-weaving is. I tried it once in Girl Scouts, and a couple girls got a hang of it right away… the rest of us were on the verge of swearing/slamming our completed baskets against a wall it was so freakin frustrating. Ugh. So when I saw this basket, I was very impressed. It was beautiful and skillfully woven. And then I read the attached description. You WILL NOT believe what this is made out of…


Go ahead, take a closer look. Can you guess


This gorgeous basket is made out of NEWSPAPER! That’s right, Margarita Tierranegra tightly rolled pieces of newspaper into long tubes and wove the basket (I assume there was glue/modge podge involved for the newspaper to be malleable). Then the whole thing was varnished to give it the dark brown color. I didn’t dare touch it so I am not sure how sturdy it was. But it was just so beautiful! The basket won 3rd place in the Handicraft Division.

So despite the random judging, it was great to see other talented people entering their creations in the show. I wish I had written down their names so I can give their pieces of art credit :| But they have inspired me to attempt some new projects… in marzipan and newspaper :D

A day at the Fair… that just wasn’t quite fair (Part 1)

So I’m a bit of a competitive person. I like entering competitions, going head to head with other people, challenging myself… and I don’t mind losing when it’s a fair fight. But I should know by now that competitions are not always fair… MUN in high school proved that time and time again :| I entered into the Montgomery County Fair thinking it would be a serious, structured competition… and I left a bit disheartened.

First, lets talk quilts. I entered my first adult sized quilt I have ever done. It was sewn completely on a home sewing machine… and fitting a 6’+ quilt through that thing is no small task. I knew my stitches were a bit uneven and not all of the 1000+ corners matched up perfectly… but hey, this was an armature competition. Sadly, the competition was not divided into sensible categories… hand quilting, home machine quilting, and professional machine quilting were all lumped into one. For those who don’t know, there are such things as “long arm” quilting machines. Technically, you don’t have to be a professional to use one. BUT they cost on average about $5000-$8,000 and are about the size of a twin bed…quite and investment for someone who doesn’t quilt professionally. They can be programmed to quilt perfect stitches in beautiful designs. You can tell by looking at a quilt that it has been made with a long arm because they look, well, flawless. How could my modest home-sewn quilt possibly compete. Needless to say, this wasnt a Remember the Titans/Blind Side/Rudy/underdog triumphs over all situation. I got a Red Ribbon-”Good” rating.

Penguin Quilt BindingI knew as soon as I turned in my quilt not to get my hopes up. But the part that stung the most was reading my comment card after the judging was through… I got knocked down on the “properly finished” section, and there was only a single comment: binding. Binding?! Seriously? My quilt was bound, in bias tape I made myself out of the penguin fabric. I didn’t use the store-bought pre-made kind that perhaps they were looking for. I can take constructive criticism, when it makes sense. Ugh

Even before I got to the Fair, I realized this was my 1st major quilt, and that with a few more years of practice and maybe some classes under my belt, I could something better. BUT I also thought I’d be blown away the work of my competitors. I thought I’d see more than just a nicely pieced top quilted by a long-arm machine. I definitely thought there would be more entries too. :( And they were all random sizes… baby quilts to wall hangings to queen sized bed covers. So everything was just lumped into one category. Maybe next-time I’ll make a place mat sized piece and hand quilt the snot of it. Oh wait, there wont be a next time. At least not at this Fair, I need a competition that is taken more seriously with rules and structure and more recognition to the victorious (yes, the awards ceremony was a bit hard to watch, maybe those judges had never made a presentation in front of a group of people before).

Ironically, I was just talking to a friend the other day about machines used as tools vs machines dominating a craft. Technology is blurring the lines between hand-made and manufactured… handmade items should have imperfections, it gives them character and shows they were made with love by a human being. And that is what makes a quilt more than just a blanket with seams. You can buy those kind of things at Pottery Barn.

Penguin Quilt

The best thing I got out of this quilt competition was the deadline. I finished my quilt (says the girl who is notorious for starting big projects and leaving them 3/4 done…). I love it, it’s exactly what I wanted, and now I can start using it :D

Oh… there’s MORE unexplainable nonsensical-ness to the Adult Show… coming soon in Part 2…

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