Tuesday, August 27, 2013

That time my husband and I made quilts together

Back when we were newly-weds, Troy and I got it in our heads that it would be fun to each make a quilt for our moms for Christmas. At the time, I was a middle school sewing teacher, with a big classroom full of 23 Bernina sewing machines (swoon). I clearly remember the trip to Joann's to pick out our fabric. I fell in love with some traditional, Americana prints. My husband, being the stinker that he is, said that if he was going to make a quilt, it was gonna be completely original, something that no one before had ever made. Haha. And then he found the African prints, and there was nothing I could do to talk him out of it! So we bought our fabric and batting, and spent the next couple of weeks hanging in out my classroom after hours, working on these quilts for our moms. That will forever be one of my favorite memories with Troy. I love that he wanted to try something completely random and outside of any of his hobbies, to create something to give away, and to spend time with me. Since then, I've fallen in love with quilting. One of my favorite hobbies looking at gorgeous quilts on blogs, instagram, pinterest, and flickr, and making a "list" of quilts I want to make. (Check out some of my favorite quilting bloggers on my sidebar.... its such a fun online community)! I haven't finished any quilt from start to finish, but I do have 3 quilts in the making right now (basket weave, ruffle quilt, and pickeldish)!! I need to focus on one at a time, I just get to excited and I'm working on all three simultaneously. When I look at the quilt that I made, I find myself cringing a little. But then I cut myself some slack... I made this quilt before there were quilting blogs, and without any direction at all. I probably should have read a book, but I wanted to figure it out for myself. I really had no clue about quilting, even though I was teaching sewing. Its funny to look at it-- hardly any of my corners match up, my binding is like 2 inches wide, and I quilted it by tying it with thread!!!! hahaha. It's been nearly ten years since we made these quilts, and I think my husband was right-- his is quirky and silly and awesome, just like him. Thanks for letting me share our quilting adventure with you! :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kid Craft: Painted Bird Cage

Hey friends! How has you summer been so far? It's not over for us yet, thankfully! We've been soaking up every last bit of summer. It's been rainy quite a bit, so on the days that we haven't been able to go swimming, I try to think of either a fun indoor place to go, or just stay at home and do a fun craft with the kids. Last week, on a rainy day, we painted bird houses!

I got the idea from the Summer of Fun Catalog from Jo-Anns. I let my kids pick any project from the catalog that they wanted to try. Since they found a little bird nest in our backyard this spring, with eggs that had just hatched), they have been really interested in birds. We didn't try to copy the example in the catalog, but we used it as an idea to make our own bird houses. It was a lot of fun to help them paint their bird houses!

Inspiration:                                       Ours:

We bought all of our supplies, including the bird houses, paint, brushes, and glitter, at Jo-Anns.

It would have been a good idea to sand the unfinished wood a little before painting, but the kids were so excited to get started, that I decided to skip that step.

They immediately squeezed their chosen paint colors onto a paper plate, and started painting away!

My oldest daughter did some cool alternating patterns on her birdhouse.

I was quite in love with the color palette that my middle child picked, all on her own!

When the houses had dried, we added some black sunflower seeds for the birds to eat. My neighbor, who had several bird houses in his yard, shared these seeds with us. Tip: he says that the seeds are expensive, but there is one place he has found them very reasonably priced, and that is at Menards.

My neighbor even gave the kids a "map" about the different birds found in our region. I love how he helped me turn this craft into an educational experience for my kids. They have learned a lot of different types of birds. Their favorite birds who have stopped by for a bite to eat are: chickadees, goldfinches, and robins.

While at Jo-Anns, we picked up a few other fun things. The girls got these little treasure boxes. I wanted them to paint these, but they insist on them staying unfinished!

I even found something... these rain boots! At Jo-Ann! These were the last thing I was expecting to find. They were on clearance, and I just couldn't resist. I think they are so cute! And pretty comfortable for rain boots. I love anything houndstooth, so this pattern will fit well in my wardrobe. Hooray for all the rain this summer.... it led to new rainboots, and a fun indoor craft with my kids!

Thank you Jo-Anns for helping me make it a fun summer for my kids!
Jo-Anns is promoting #summerofjoann, with more that 70 free craft ideas that you can make with kids. Be sure to check out the catalog Summer of Fun Catalog for lots of great ideas!
If you'd like to receive a coupon for 20% off your entire purchase for your next shopping trip at Jo-Ann, you can become a preferred customer (and receive the latest and greatest in coupons, patterns, tutorials, and more)! Sign up here to stay connected and receive your coupon!