Sunday, September 30, 2012


Baby Monkey and I are sick today, so I have neither a tutorial nor a giveaway to share.  Isn't that how it always works?  I'm so sorry... hopefully we'll be better tomorrow or the next day, and can get on with the crafting fun.

Meanwhile. . . .

I visited this thrift shop near our home a couple of weeks ago.  It was a bizarre hoarder-style shop with extremely narrow passages throughout the shop, with stuff stacked floor to ceiling.  It felt very suffocating!   My kids went with me, and I was so nervous the entire time of an avalanche of junk falling down upon us.  (They won't be going back, IF I ever go back.)  Anyway, I found this large oil painting tucked away under a table stacked to the ceiling with boxes of cheap prints and empty frames. . . .

I'm not sure what I think about it.  Creepy?  Cool?  My husband says it's weird to have portraits of people we don't know in our home, and one of my daughters is afraid of it.  What do you think?

Back to bed for baby and me . . . see you tomorrow. . . or the next day.

Friday, September 28, 2012

And a DIY for you: dollar store leaf garland (seriously easy!)

We are on a garland-making roll around here!  After the boys made these sweet paper leaf garlands the other day, I decided to make a leaf garland, too.  Mine was even easier, quicker, and cheaper than theirs.  This cute leaf garland used about $2 in supplies sourced from a dollar store and some scrap ribbon I had on hand, and 10 minutes of my time.  And it only took 10 whole minutes because I had "help" and sewed most of it with one hand.  I simply used the same chain sewing technique that I taught the boys

Oh yeah.  It's that easy.  Let's get started, shall we?

For this cute Dollar Store Leaf Garland, you'll need:

* a couple of packages of fabric leaves... I found these packages of 50 silky fabric leaves at Dollar Tree in the seasonal section.  I've also seen these types of leaves at Dollar General (60 leaves for $1!) and at Michael's (although they cost a wee bit more than $1 per package.)
* about 24 inches of ribbon... I used some brown grosgrain I had lying around.
* thread
* sewing machine
* scissors

First, cut your ~24" ribbon into two equal parts. 
Now fold these 12" pieces of ribbon in half, and set one aside.  Take one of the folded ribbons and. . .

. . . place that fold under the sewing machine's needle, under the presser foot.  Sew a couple of stitches back and forth on the fold.  This is for anchoring the garland to the ribbon, which will become ties for hanging the garland.  Now, without lifting the presser foot, slide a fabric leaf under the presser foot and start sewing. . .

. . . right down the center vein, using a long stitch.  And when you come to the edge of the leaf, continue sewing right off that edge, and then slip another leaf under the presser foot.

I sewed the leaves in random color order, but all oriented in the same direction.  You can sew your leaves in patterns, random placements, however you like!  Continue chain sewing until your garland is the length of your choosing, or until you run out of leaves.  ;)

To finish off your garland, sew to the edge of your last leaf.  Pick up your last remaining folded ribbon piece, and slide the fold under the presser foot. . .

. . . and sew a few stitches back and forth, anchoring the ribbon to the garland.  And that. is. IT.  Crazy-easy, right?

someday, I'll hide those ugly electronics cords.  someday. 
meanwhile, let's just look at the pretty leaves.

I didn't use the garland's ties in this particular location, so I just tied the ribbons into a simple bow.

I still have quite a few leaves left, and so I'll be making more garlands to drape about the house.  I love that these decorations can be used again next year, and the year after that!  I also love the super-super-low price tag.  I think these would look so sweet at a harvest party, or maybe decor for a classroom!

Up next. . . .

And after I whip up some more leaf garlands, I'll be finishing another tutorial and pattern I've been working on.  It's a little more involved, so hopefully I can wrap that up tomorrow, and post it this weekend.  ANNNDD I'll be posting about a giveaway, THAT giveaway, also this weekend.  "Oh, sure," you say.  Yeah, I know.  I promised a giveaway MONTHS ago, so I don't blame you for being skeptical.  It's coming, and I hope you'll drop by again to check it out.  See you soon.  REALLY.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kid craft: watercolor leaf garland

I LOVE FALL.  I look forward to it allll year long.  And since my kids love autumn as much as I do, today we made a quick paper autumn leaf garland to hang in our classroom, and in the windows. . . 

Honestly, these leaf garlands may be the only fall color we get in West Texas!  Our autumns tend to be very... abrupt.  First, our trees start to look a little dry, then the leaves will shrivel a bit, maybe turn brown around the edges.  And then one good thunderstorm comes along and suddenly all the leaves are on the ground!  That's it!  In one fell swoop, the trees are bare.  *sigh*  But I digress. . .

Let's make a watercolor leaf garland!

You'll need:

* construction paper or cardstock in autumn colors
* clip art of leaves, or you can draw your own; I used this free printable from
* watercolor paint & water
* paint brush
* glitter glue
* scissors
* thread
* sewing machine

Recommended ages: 3 - 8, with adult supervision (painting, scissors) and assistance with / completion of some steps (such as sewing machine operation***)
*** I allowed my 6 and 8 year old sons to operate my sewing machine with my careful guidance and close supervision.  My 4 year old isn't allowed NEAR it.  ;)  You know your child best. 


First, print out some leaf clip art (or draw your own leaves) onto orange, yellow, and brown construction paper, several sheets per child.

Paint the leaves with watercolors, to liven up the colors and give the leaves some depth.  Let the paint dry thoroughly.  (It didn't take long.)

Next, add glitter glue to really make the colors pop.  Allow to dry.  The thinner the glitter glue, the quicker they'll dry.

Cut out the leaves.  We cut off (ignored) the stems.


If you have very young children, you'll want to complete this part.  If you have older kiddos that are mature enough to handle using a sewing machine, this is a very simple beginners project. 

We sewed the leaves together with chain sewing.  Basically, chain sewing is sewing one piece (of fabric, paper, whatever) right after the other, without lifting the presser foot.  You can space the pieces however closely you'd like, all while continuing to press the pedal.  (Here's a great video if you'd like to see chain sewing in action.) 

We used a long stitch, and sewed straight down the main vein of the leaf.  All the boys had to do was steer the needle down the center of the leaf.  They were usually pretty close.  ;)

Monkey 7 spaced his leaves several inches apart, by pulling the leaf (and thus the thread) while continuing to press the pedal. . . .

. . . while Monkey 6 sewed his very close together:

Now hang 'em up, and admire your little one's autumn artwork!

What is your child's favorite autumn craft?  I'd love to hear about it... so we can try new autumn projects, too!  :)