Monday, December 24, 2012

And to all a good night.

Merry Christmas to all...

 I'll be spending my Christmas with these sweet guys...who've already opened their Christmas jammies, and are now watching The Polar Express. Its the perfect Christmas Eve over here, with snow gently falling and excitement in the air.  It was all the husband and I could do to get them to sit still for our traditional reading of the Christmas Story in Luke 2!

Wishing you and your family a good night and very Merry Christmas tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gifts on a Budget

Each Christmas season it seems like there are a million things on my to do list. Some of the things that have caused me a lot of last minute stress are neighbor gifts and teacher gifts.  In years past, I've tried to make holiday candies, put them on plates, and take them around to my neighbors.   Last year, after looking at how much I had spent on supplies to make goodies, I realized that there had to be a more cost effective and less stressful way to approach neighborhood gift giving. 
Last July we had a "night at the movies" birthday party for my oldest son.  I bought these cute little popcorn containers at Target for party favors.  After making my initial purchase, I realized that I could use them as neighbor gifts too.  So I went back to Target and bought them out of their popcorn containers.  I then came up with the saying, and waited for the Christmas Season to roll around.  Last week I bought bags of Almond Joy candy bars, crinkle paper from the dollar store, and assembled the gifts. I quickly made up a tag on PicMonkey, mounted it on scrapbook paper, and had my family take the gifts around.  It was a lot nicer than stressing last minute and trying to make candies with three kids under four running around my house.

When my oldest started Preschool a few years ago, I started giving out Scentsy as teacher gifts. Since I, my mother, and two of my sister in laws sell Scentsy, I always have extra on hand! This year we gave out scent circles and fragrance foams. The boys were so excited (especially my four year old) to hand their gifts to their teachers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to Bind a Quilt (Double Fold, Mitered)

Quilting is one of my great loves.  I started making quilts in junior high/high school and from there its become an obsession. In fact, I was so used to quilting that I really struggled taking clothing construction classes in college because I wasn't familiar with sewing things that had shape. Over the years I've bound quilts in a few different ways.  For a long time I used a single fold log cabin method, and its still a good way to bind if you are in a hurry. Today I'm going to show you one of my favorites: a double fold, mitered binding.
  • Step 1: To start out, you will need to use a rotary cutter to cut the strips of binding material.  Normally I cut my strips at 2 1/2" x WOF (width of fabric). I have also used 2" strips before and they work well too.  To determine the number of strips to cut, measure the length and width of your quilt and times by two. Take that number and divide by 42 (normal fabric is 42" wide). The number you get will be the number of strips to cut.  Always round this number up.  For my lap sized quilt I used 7 strips. If doing math isn't for you, you can always approximate by cutting a strip and laying it out by your quilt and rough measuring how many it will take.
  • Step 2: After you have cut all of your strips, sew them RST (right sides together), end to end to make one long strip. Press all of the seams open.  Then press the strip in half, WST (wrong sides together).
  • Step 3: Starting in the middle of one of the sides of the quilt, pin the binding to the front side, lining up raw edges.  Starting from the beginning of your binding, measure 6 inches down and begin sewing.  We are leaving a tail that will be used later when we merge the binding strip together.
  • Step 4: When you come to the first corner, stop approximately 1/2" from the edge.  Fold the binding up to make a 45 degree angle (see picture below).
  • Step 5: Keeping the 45 degree fold in place, fold the binding back down along the next edge of the quilt.  Start sewing from the top of the fold.  Repeat steps 4 & 5 on remaining corners.

  • Step 6: When you get back around to where you started, stop stitching roughly 6 inches before the beginning of your binding.  This is the beginning of the binding tail that we left, not the beginning of your stitching. Take the remaining binding and bring it up to where the beginning of the binding is.  Fold it back and measure the width of your binding, starting at the fold.  I measured back 2 1/2" and then cut.
Step 7: This is the step that I think is the trickiest.  In fact, when I first learned to bind this way, it took me several tries to get it right. Take your two binding tails and pin them RST as shown below. They are pinned to each other at a 90 degree angle.  So the end of the binding tail on the left is pinned to the side of the binding tail on the right, and underneath, the end of the binding tail on the right is pinned to the side of the binding tail on the left.  Whew, I hope that made sense! Then mark a diagonal line from corner to corner.
Step 8: Sew along your marked line, then trim a 1/4" seam allowance.  Turn right side out and finish sewing binding to quilt.

    This is what your binding will look like once turned right side out.
Step 9: Fold binding over to back side and hand stitch in place.  You could also sew the binding in place with your machine, but I prefer to hand stitch it. Enjoy your newly bound quilt!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

DIY Framed Mirror

Today, I am excited to show you our framed mirror project.  This is something that I have been wanting to do for quite awhile. It ended up being a very cost effective way to dress up our plain builder's grade mirror.

To start off, we used a piece of trim and a quarter round shoe.  The trim is actually some that came as baseboard in our home.  About a year ago, we refinished our nursery and pulled off the baseboards in the room and put in thicker ones, so this has just been sitting in my garage ever since.  The shoe was purchased at Home Depot. After measuring the mirror, my husband cut four pieces out of each piece of wood, on 45 degree angles.

Then we glued the shoe to the outer edge of the baseboard trim.  We used molding and trim wood glue and clamped it for a half hour while it dried.

When all four sides were ready, it was time to assemble the frame.  My husband used a board to make sure the frame was on exact 90 degree angles.  We clamped the frame to the board and let it dry.

Then it was time to sand and paint.  And sand and paint. And sand and paint, until we had the finish we liked.  I used Glidden White on White in semi-gloss.

Next, we attached the frame to the mirror using Liquid Nails heavy duty.

We taped the mirror on one side and blocked it up on the other side, then let it dry overnight.

I love the result! It made the mirror look so much better.