Saturday, January 30, 2010

CTR Towel

This is a baptism gift for a boy in my Primary class (children's Sunday school). I teach the eight- and nine-year-olds. This particular group is so sweet - and hilariously entertaining. In a good way. :)

The CTR shield is a symbol children of the LDS faith are well familiar with. It stands for "Choose the Right." I'm not going to get all sentimental and preachy here - I'll post more than enough of that when my own boys are baptized, I'm sure! But I do want to let C. know that I'm proud of him for all the good decisions he's made and I wish him and his family the best for a beautiful baptismal service.

Many thanks to Rachel Berry's friend Hilary for the CTR towel idea. A tutorial and the text of the attached poem are available on Rachel's blog.

For more information on my faith, please click here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cloth Napkins for the Kids

I had a friendly nudge to finish up a set of cloth napkins I've been working on for the boys. The large rectangles are placemats. The smaller squares are child-size napkins that my son packs in his lunchbox. Brighton picked the fabrics himself. :)

Almost by happenstance, one of the napkins ended up in my purse. I've kept one in there ever since because it's proven so useful. Handkerchief, face wipe, you name it - it's great!

I prefer making double-sided napkins because (a) it's easier to finish the edges, (b) the second layer of fabric makes the napkins more absorbent, and (c) the don't get wrinkled as easily. Just smooth them out before you toss them in the dryer and they're good to go. :)

I don't worry about making the napkins a uniform size either. I bought a length of fabric and cut what I thought was a good size to make use of the fabric.

Here's Brighton with his cloth napkin and placemat on his first day of school.

Note: This is where I usually get one of two strong reactions from people. In one corner are the "Your child uses a napkin - how civilized! Can he please teach my son what one is?" And "Your child packs a cloth napkin for school? Those horrid paper napkins are an abomination for the environment - way to go green!"

In the other corner, are the people who can't imagine why I'd put any effort into this when paper napkins are free at the school - as if kids use them anyway - and are counting the days until Brighton gets beaten up for packing the fabric flames. To any others, please read the story at the bottom of this post.

Next up are my kitchen cloths, which double as napkins for my kids on messy days.

The backstory: we use cloth napkins - everyday, for every meal. However, every member of the family does not necessarily use a fresh napkin for every meal. If a napkin is soiled, it is tossed into the laundry basket. But an otherwise reusable napkin is saved for the rest of the day, then tossed after the evening meal.

I think the traditional way of storing napkins between meals was to use napkin rings - uniquely identifiable by color or design - but I have hooks on the side of my kitchen island where I hang ours. My boys know which hook is theirs.

Also, I keep a drawer full of white washcloths in my kitchen. When meals get messy and I need extra scrubbing power for my toddler's face and hands, or simply extra absorption (hello grease!), I whip these out instead of our regular cloth napkins. Fear not, these are not the rags I use for deep cleaning. These are more for wiping up spills and such. Still, they make fabulous napkins for little kids, especially when slightly dampened with a splash of water!

To save the clean "napkins" for use later in the day, I used twill tape to make hooks so they can hang until needed again later. White-on-white is a little hard to see in the picture, but that's sortof the effect I was going for. :)

There you are - how the Defnets do cloth napkins. :)

Now, if you wanted to read about why Brighton packs cloth napkins and placemats with his lunch, here's the scoop.

Brighton's preschool (a) believed that you give children nice things and teach them to care for them, and (b) was eco-conscious. So each child's "school supplies" included ceramic dishware for snack and lunch, and parents were asked to pack a cloth napkin in the child's lunch each day. The napkin from home (being a traditional-size napkin) was used as the child's placemat. (I'm sure this also made clean-up easier for the teachers.) Additionally, the classroom had a set of small child-size napkins that the children would use for the typical purpose of wiping mouths and such.

When Brighton began preschool and I bought his dishware, I also bought coordinating fabric and made napkins specifically for him to take to school. It wasn't unusual for parents to add this personal touch. Parents who bought ready-made napkins sometimes embroidered their child's name or initials onto a corner. Last summer I bought Lincoln's dishware and began sewing the napkins he will take with him on his preschool journey. So it was only natural that when Brighton got a new lunchbox and "dish set" (plastic containers) for his new school, that he asked me to make a new napkin set for him.

Except that no one at his new school would use a cloth napkin. And certainly not a placemat...of any kind. Yet how do I tell my child to forget all the manners he's been taught and start wiping his mouth with his sleeve like all the other boys? I told him no one else at the school would use a placemat. He said that was okay; he wanted one anyway. So I made a set. A set. Singular. As in - just enough for the first day when he realizes he'll never use them again.

Brighton picked his fabric - flames - machismo. Then, on his first day of school, he spread out that flaming hot placemat with a puffed up chest that said, "Yes, I know you are all jealous."

And you know what? None of the other children thought it was weird.

Five months later, Brighton is still packing his cloth napkin and placemat. I'm also pleased to report that he has yet to receive any flack from the other students.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Let's Make A Deal (pretty please)

Do you understand terms like
  • press-ready PDF with fonts embedded?

  • CMYK?

  • lineart, bitmap, linescreen, halftone?

If so, will you please keep reading? I came across a reputable company that makes custom letterpress plates. The thing is, the company asks for either a press-ready PDF file (with fonts embedded) or an EPS file, but I don't think my free version of Adobe whatchamacallit makes high-res .pdf files and I don't have a clue what an eps file is.

I have a good idea of what I'd like to make, but I don't know how to prepare it. If this sounds like something you could help me with (please, oh please!), may I babysit for you, or treat you to dinner, or make a stack of custom letterpress cards for you, or (insert grand idea here)? Here's the info from the printer: here and here. My local print shop charges $0.30 per minute to use their software, so that's an option for me, but if you already own appropriate software and can navigate me through the process, I'd rather a friend pocket my money than Kinkos.

*crossing my fingers*

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meet Letterpress

Dear blog buddies,

Meet Letterpress. Though Letterpress and I have only known each other for a few short days, I can tell we're going to be best friends. So cozy up and let's get on with the introductions!

Don't you love that clean and simple style - classy and timeless, I tell ya'! I tried and tried to get a good picture of the debossed image (the dent the paper), but my meager photography skills just wouldn't allow it.

Since this was my first time using the Letterpress system, my focus was on getting through the lingo in the instruction book (and I thought I knew papercrafting lingo - ha!), experimenting with how much ink to use, and seeing what colors the ink turn when they're dry. I ordered the inks based off color swatches viewed only on my computer monitor. It's never the same in real life. Check out their red and my red card above - quite a difference, eh?

I'm thrilled with how my first projects turned out. Now I just need to make time to play some more. :)

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. This home kit is relatively new and, though I'm a roll-up-my-sleeves-and-dig-in kind of girl, it would have been nice to have someone teach me the tips and tricks. As of now, there aren't many truly helpful videos on YouTube, so if I can help you in any way, I'll do my best. :) Take care and enjoy your day!

Supplies: All supplies from Lifestyle Crafts using white A2 flat paper.
Hello card: Everyday Printing Plate Set 5, yellow ink.
Happy Birthday card: Everyday Printing Plate Set 5, Starter Kit Printing Plate Set, bright green ink.
Blank notecard with blue decorative element: Starter Kit Printing Pate Set, navy ink.
Thank You card: Everyday Printing Plate Set 5, Wedding Printing Plate Set 1, red ink.

With All My {heart}

How's that for a Valentine in non-traditional colors? I don't think I would have put kraft, brown and purple together, but I really like the combination. It's from the latest Embellish color challenge. P.S. Love that dress!

We were also challenged to use stripes. I thought heavy stripes would overpower the heart, so I took inspiration from my kindergartner's handwriting paper and typed up this more subtle background using a ruled font on my computer.

I tried to keep with the school/office theme by using the spiral notebook punch and paper clip.

Hope you're enjoying your day!

Paper: Stampin' Up! (Kraft, Chocolate Chip). I don't remember the info on the purple, but it came embossed.
Computer Font: Ecolier_EP.
Punch: Stampin' Up! (spiral punch).
Ribbon: Offray (Purplewine 3).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lucky Me

Some fun freebies landed on my doorstep again! Check out what I get to play with, courtesy of Moxie Fab World.

Chipboard pieces and alphabet.

Love 'em! In fact, I love them so much that I'd already bought a mini deck to play with. (A mini deck is scrapbook lingo for a pack of papers that are the same patterns as the 12x12 papers, but scaled down to 6x6 - perfect for cards and other small projects.) See this card? Yep, same papers. But now I've got the whole collection to work with. :)

Thanks for indulging me. We all love free stuff, right?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Quick one today. Aren't those colors so cheery? Winters in the Pacific NW are overcast and rainy. I'm ready for some color around here!

SantaHubby brought me a Sizzix Big Shot for Christmas. Hooray! SantaDaddy bought me the complete set of rectangle Nestabilities to use on my new Big Shot. This card was my first time playing with both gifts - man, I'm sold! Okay, so I'm not a tough sell, but I love how that little scalloped rectangle is simple and sweet but not boring.

Paper: Stampin' Up! (Whisper White), I don't know the info on that golden yellow cardstock. Bought it at Craft Warehouse.
Rub-on: KI Memories (Heirloom).
Ribbon: Stampin' Up! (Old Olive twill), red baby rick-rack.
Other: scallop rectangle Nestabilities.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tooth Officer

Meet the Tooth Officer (a.k.a. Toothy).

Brighton lost his first tooth yesterday! Fortunately with teeth, you usually have a little forewarning before the first one comes out. I was going to make Brighton a regular ol' tooth pillow, but after seeing this brainchild of Larissa at mmmcrafts, no plain-looking tooth would do.

The mouth serves as a pocket for holding the lost tooth. Look at those little buck teeth - aren't they adorable!

I also give myself major craft points for making that police hat. Larissa's template is for the tooth shape only. I was thrilled to have it, but that meant I had to figure out how to make a felt hat and badge on my own. *insert scary horror music here*

See, cute hat. Also clever is the loop of ribbon, allowing Toothy to hang from a doorknob or dresser drawer. No rummaging under pillows for a teeny, tiny, sharp-ended tooth. So much easier on the real Tooth Fairy this way!

Here's Brighton with his Tooth Officer. I finished the tooth pillow Friday night. Brighton pulled out his tooth Saturday morning. Phew, just in time. Look at that proud smile!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I've Got Your Love to Keep Me Warm

Out for Publication

A warm and snugly card for this wintry weather. I love making just because cards for my hottie hubs. A man needs sweet little reminders, too, right?

Out for Publication

I cut the ends of the felt ribbon to look like a scarf. The hearts are made of the softest, snuggliest flannel. They're leftover scraps from a baby blanket I made a few years back. Mmmm...I luvs me some flannel this time of year. :) The colors are from Dawn McVey's Color Challenge #21 (see below).

In case you'd like to make warm, flannel hearts yourself, here are some tips. I'm sure ladies who sew know a better way to do this (maybe interfacing? or stabilizer? can you tell I have no clue - LOL!), but here's what worked for me.

First I stamped a heart the same size as I wanted my flannel hearts to be. If you don't have a stamp, you could print a heart shape from your computer.

Then I took my scrap flannel and pinned it to the back side of the stamped heart.

Here's where I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures. I got going in my project and forgot that I told myself I'd make a tutorial for this - LOL.

Set your pinned project onto the arm of your sewing machine with the flannel side down (touching the feed dogs) and the stamped heart image facing up. You're leaving the heart shape facing up so you can see to use it as your template. Now sew along the edge of the heart image. I went really slowly to get nice round curves on the top of the hearts.

Once you've sewn your hearts, trim off the excess paper around the stitched heart. Cut it close to the stitching; you don't want it to show behind the frayed edges of the flannel (which you'll make next).

Now trim your flannel. I left about 1/4" edge. Use your fingernail to fray the edges a bit. Chances are a few threads are sticking out all crazy-like. Just take your scissors and trim them off.

Now, how's it look? Backed with cardstock, your heart should hold its shape nicely. Plus, since the backside is paper instead of fabric, you can use any ol' regular papercrafting adhesive to hold it in place on the cardfront. Though my hearts look like they're hung by linen thread going around and over the felt ribbon, the real work is being done by pieces of dimensional tape on the underside of each heart.

If this is clear as mud, please leave a comment and I'll try my best to help. :) If you're playing along with Dawn's color challenge, good luck and have fun! I like visiting the blogs of people who comment on mine, so I'm excited to see what you're making.

Paper: Papertrey Ink (Aqua Mist), Stampin' Up! (Very Vanilla).
Stamp: Stampin' Up! (Always - heart stamp does not show on finished card, used as a template).
Ribbon: Stampin' Up! (brown felt, linen thread).
Button: Papertrey Ink (Lemon Tart).
Other: sentiment printed by computer, yellow flannel, brown thread.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Now I'm Ready

The decorations may be put away and all the treats eaten, but until the thank you notes are written, I'm not ready to close the Christmas chapter and move on to the new year.

Here is this year's thank you note. Kraft, like my Christmas cards.

The sentiment is my knock-off of a stamp from Papertrey Ink's Signature Christmas, designed by Dawn McVey. I drafted it up on my computer and printed an entire stack of cards in minutes. I love stamping, but I love being thrifty, too. :)

I think the holly adds just enough umph to dress things up a bit, yet this is still such a simple card.

Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas! And hope you've recovered from all the good times.

Paper: Stampin' Up! (kraft).
Brad and leaves: Making Memories.
Other: Stampin' Up! (corner rounder), sentiment printed on my home computer.