Monday, January 30, 2012

Phoebe-bird Wings

I keep forgetting to share this incredible project.  I can take no credit for the design, I found the tutorial linked through the Sew, Mama, Sew blog which is the most fantastic sewing blog EVER!  During the month of November they run a pre-Christmas making round up of the most amazing Christmas projects.  For the last few years, I have made over a dozen projects from this month-long extravaganza.  The link to this blog is here if you wanted to check it out.  They have all their tutorials saved under one posting.  This project was from the current year.

Here are Phoebe-bird's rainbow wings (you know how she loves her rainbows):

Crazy enough, this is a no-sew project.  A ton of fusible web, but no sew.  (That means little iron burns on the tops of all my fingers, but still, no sewing.)  Basically, I cut out a scallop shape from a rainbow of fabrics and a strip of fusible web.  I fused the two together and ironed them down to a wing shape.  I sewed elastics to the ends and a ribbon to the top.  One thing I am finding is that I need to make a better harness system for the wings to work properly.  I think I am going to redo the ribbon so that it can be crisscrossed in front of Phoebe's chest and tied in the back.  I also think the inside needs some sort of flashy fabric rather than the plain muslin.  I haven't gotten there yet but here's Phoebebird enjoying the wings just the same. 
A baby bird waiting for her worm. A game we played multiple times this evening.  She said that she didn't like to eat crickets but red peppers were ok. (Phoebe's favorite vegetable.)
The attachment issue.  The wings fall around her waist, so I need to attach them at her neck without strangling her.  A criss-cross maybe?

She likes to flap.  See, doesn't it need some sort of jazzy fabric on the inside too?  I think it does.  Now what might that be?

Go check out Sew, Mama, Sew and their other great projects!  They sell amazing fabric too if you're looking for some.  I haven't been paid to say any of this, but have benefited from their wonderful round-ups of projects over the years. 

Happy crafting!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bags, Bags, and More Bags

I'm in the middle of midterms right now.  I have approximately 40 exams to grade and 50 or so more coming in on Monday.  Not to mention, I should be planning for what I am teaching next week.  I also have books to read, writing to write, meals to plan and cook, and cleaning to do.  When it gets this overwhelming, I normally find that I need for a few hours to go in the opposite direction.  I need to do something with my hands to quiet the flurry of mental activity.  It sounds odd but executing and finishing a project seems to get me back on track.  Once I can accomplish one task, the other things seem to come in line.

My friend Rosy came over last night and she began scrapbooking.  Even though I have a number of paper projects I could do, I decide to rev up my sewing machine.  I bought Phoebe some adorable dolly fabric this summer and she has been begging me to make something out of it.  She also has needed a dance bag for the tap, ballet shoes, and spare set of tights we bring to dance class on Tuesday nights.

These bags are my go to project.  They are so fast and easy that I whipped out 5 in about 2 hours.  I use the pattern from here except that I have extended the size to a 13 X 13 inch square (the larger part is 7X13, and the bottom is 5X13).  I've made these before- both the mini size and the bigger size.

Once I've made something for Phoebe, I have to make something for Elliot too.  (Those two are in constant competition with each other.) I bought a really cool white and black fabric at Ikea a while back. It has what looks like origami animals in black.  I thought I might use it for a karate bag for Elliot but he wanted a bag for his Skylanders. (If you have a 7-10 year old boy and a game system, you already know what Skylanders are.  Oh boy.) So, I grabbed some of this ocean fabric and made him one too.  Honestly, I don't think the two go together and I'm not totally happy with the results.  I love the heft of the white fabric but the patterned?? So, to complicate matters, I went and bought some deco weight black fabric to make some better looking bags.  I know, I have issues.

Back to the grindstone tomorrow.  

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Avocado Buddha Bowl Recipe

Here is a vegetarian delight that Jan and I have been eating about once a week around here.  It's healthy, fast to make, and yummy. This original recipe is from here which is a great place for vegetarian recipes.

Avocado Buddha Bowl Recipe
We normally make enough for about four bowls and each eat one at dinner and take another one to work the next day. 

Ingredients for the Bowl:
1/2 cup brown rice
1/4 cup beets, grated (canned or cooked)
1/4 cup carrots, grated
1/4 cup spinach leaves, fresh or frozen
1 can of chick peas
sprinkle of toasted almonds

Ingredients for the sauce:
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup tamari
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2-4 Tbls tahini butter
1 avocado

Optional:  If having meat eaters, I cut up and saute a chicken breast to put in the meat eaters bowl. 

1. Cook the brown rice and set aside.  I make mine in a rice cooker and start it the minute I get home. 
2. Make the dressing.  Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and whip until smooth. I often make this ahead of time and it will last in the fridge for a few weeks. 
3. Grate the beets and carrots.
4. Toast the almonds.
5. If using frozen spinach, cook. 
6. If using meat, then saute on the stove top.
7. Assemble the bowls with rice on the bottom, then beets, carrots, spinach,  and chickpeas.  (Add optional chicken.)
8. Add a dollop of sauce to the top.
9. Top with toasted almonds. 

Enjoy! Jill, the semi-vegetarian who lives with the "I've been a vegetarian since I was ten" Jan

Monday, January 16, 2012

Help your kids make their own T-shirts Tutorial

We decided to do a craft around here since we had a spare Monday with MLK Day.  The kids made their own t-shirt designs. It was pretty esay which is nice.

Here's Phoebe in her homemade t-shirt.  Doesn't it look fantastic?  Oh yes, it does. 


Supplies needed:

Jolee's Easy Image Transfer Sheets

1.  Let the kids draw some fantastic kid drawings. 

Elliot and a friend drew fantastic pictures.  Elliot got Ed Emberley's Big Orange Drawing Book that gives really cool directions for drawing all sorts of animals and figures.  He drew an amazing tiger from it. 

2.  Either scan in or photocopy the picture onto the paper. (Make sure you follow the direcitons on your printer for the right side of the paper.)  We found out that the yellow didn't work that well for our printer and that scanning worked better than printing. 

3. Peel off the back side of the paper. 

4. Iron for 20 seconds.

Hint:  Scanning seemed to work better than printing.  Also, darker colors and bigger designs (such as Phoebe's) seemed to work better as well.  

And last of all, the best assistant of all- Baby Nye Kitty that is not so baby any more.  

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The adventure that Mommy thought she was going on, really turned into another adventure.  I ended up getting horribly sick at the writing retreat and had to go to the hospital.  They then proceeded to find out that my gallbladder was infected and had to take it out.  I think I made some good writing friends in the few days that I was at the conference but then I in the hospital.  I have to say that if you ever are in the New Hampshire area with a medical emergency, Concord Hospital is the place to go.  They are fabulous! I received excellent care in their hands.  So now I am at home recovering.  Sometimes you think you are going in one direction and BAM! you are spun around in another.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mommy's Going on a Writing Adventure

Mommy (that would be me) is about to begin an adventure.  That's right an adventure.  I think I may be a   little crazy.  Well, crazier than usual to attempt this.  I am beginning the MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in Creative Fiction program at SNHU (Southern New Hampshire University) tomorrow.  The program is low-residency but has a Winter and Summer Residency in New Hampshire.  I just happen to be local but they also pull students from all over the country and the world.  

The Winter Residency starts tomorrow.  We get to go the Mountain View Grand Resort for 5 whole days.  That's right- FIVE DAYS without any children.  FIVE DAYS in a hotel and did I mention there are NO CHILDREN.  I mean I love my litte ones and all but a little mini-vacation never hurt anyone (except Jan who will have to wrangle the little buggers all week).  There is a reason why Virginia Wolf said that a woman needed a "room of her own" and Mrs. Lindberg retreated for a week by the sea all by her lonesome.  I quite obviously will not be alone but I won't be Mommy in-charge for one whole week. Everyone keeps saying that I'll miss them but I'm not so sure.  I think I might just roll around in an empty bed without an elbow in the eyeball and not fight with a single person about what food they SHOULD eat.  I will not wash a single dish or worry about what I SHOULD be cleaning.  I certainly will not think about any of my students and wonder if they are torturing the substitute or not. (Well, maybe just once I'll think about it but not more than that). 

I can't wait to meet all these new exciting writing types.  I'm sure that they will all be brilliant and wonderful and fantastic. I am not worried in the least about meeting a new group of people (I'm faking this because I am totally nervous).  I am not worried at all the my writing will look like the musing of a junior high girl (a total lie, this is exactly what I am worried about).   What what can you do but leap off the cliff and hope that you'll land in the water.  

Be back next week,