Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Guest" post - Tante Inge's embroidered table accents

I don't know if this can be counted as a guest post since I have no descriptions from the creator of today's projects.  As I mentioned in my family get together post, my aunt (Inge, or as I call her, Tante Inge) sent my mother and me table accent cloths that she embroidered and cross stitched.

I'm calling them table accents because they're not large enough to be tablecloths.  I think they're like table runners but square.

Here is Mom opening hers:

That look is, "What did you do?  You shouldn't have!"

Mom received a beautiful Christmas cloth.  It's hard to take a picture of the whole thing, but my stepfather did a good job:

Here are a few detail shots:

That will look beautiful on their dining room table with a pretty evergreen and poinsettia centerpiece on top. 

My aunt will be turning 80 in August.  I sure hope I'm still making beautiful things when I'm her age!

Here I am opening my cloth:

Tante Inge made me an all-season cloth with butterflies in four colors that go perfectly in our peach dining room.  Here it is on our round table with Fe grooming herself in approval:

Like I said, it's very hard to get a picture of the whole thing including the detail.  Here's a picture of one part of it as it was draped on the back of my office chair:

And here is a close-up of one of the butterflies:

Thank you so much, Tante Inge, for sending us these gorgeous cloths!  We love and miss you very much and hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Guest post: Dawn and her busy bags for learning shapes

This is the final entry in the Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper giveaway.  If you missed who won, click here for yesterday's post and to watch the video.  It's worth it to see how flustered Steve got when I surprised him by recording him walking out of the garage.

Dawn is my cousin and the mother of our goddaughter, Mackenzie.  Dawn has been looking for ways to keep her toddler busy and learning, and the project she has to show you today does just that - it combines matching colors with arranging craft sticks to make shapes.  Check out an "official" picture of the project.  

Here's what Dawn has to say about the project and her experience with craft sticks:
Busy bags, as the name implies, is an activity contained in a compact bag to keep your child busy. There are TONS of great ideas for bags out there on the web, in blogs, and on Pinterest. Some are so creative, but they can be a lot of work and can get a bit pricey when you are buying all of these supplies to just make one bag. That is where busy bag exchanges come in. My mommy and me group has had 3 in the last couple of months for 2 different age groups: 0-2 year-olds & 2-4 year-olds. I bought in bulk and made these bags for both age groups. The craft sticks only come in 6 colors, so I had a hard time deciding which shapes were the best to learn first.

Craft sticks: The box I bought did not list how many of each color I would be getting. I expected that they would be better quality, but there were quite a few that I felt were rejects and the dye comes off when my daughter puts them in her mouth. I began by sorting out the rejects and sorting by color. I wanted to know which colors I would have enough of to make the shapes with the greater amount of sides. Then I just started an assembly line process of putting the right amount of sticks per color per bag.

Next, I measured & drew / traced out the shapes onto craft foam, cut them out, and labeled them. Finally, I labeled the different sticks with the shape they were to make and how many were to be used to make that shape. I manipulated a couple of extra shapes for the kit because an octagon has enough sticks to make pentagons and hexagons, and a decagon is so close to a circle that I figured that the 10 sticks for the star could serve double duty too. For these, I made extra foam shapes and labeled the other side of the sticks as well.
Here are a few pictures of the project in process:

And here is our adorable Mackenzie playing with them:

Dawn also has been working on beaded ornaments in her "adult-only" time, which is rare.  When she's finished with those, I'll share that project with you, too.

Thanks, Dawn!  Give that baby a kiss for me!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Xuron 4 in 1 giveaway winners and a blog update

Thank you to Carol, Cathy, Jill, and Dawn for sharing your projects with me and my readers!  I received Dawn's e-mail with just an hour to spare, so I'll be showing you her project tomorrow.  It's great for young children just learning their shapes!

I made a video of the drawing to prove that there was nothing rigged.  Besides, it was fun to surprise Steve as soon as he came home.  :)

In case you skip the video, Jill and Cathy won!  Click those links to read their guest posts if you haven't already seen them.  Congratulations, ladies!

I just got this e-mail from Jill:
Whoo hoo!!!  I FINALLY won something.  

I'm going to plan some beading projects straight away.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I can't wait to see what she makes!

While I have you here, I want to discuss this blog and the direction I'm going to go with it.  On January 1st, I said I was going to try to create something every day and blog about it.  I had hoped that it would help with my creativity and also increase my readership and outside participation.

Six months in, I think my creativity has flourished.  I have a number of new designs and techniques with some more in the works.  I'm looking forward to see what else I'm going to come up with!

However, most of my blog posts get far fewer than 40 views, and it seems that the numbers are decreasing instead of increasing.  I appreciate each and every one of you, especially those who like my posts on my Creative Pursuits Facebook page, leave a comment on the blog, or send me projects I can post.

I am going to continue blogging, but I will miss a day here and there.  Basically, if I have something to blog about (whether it be my own project or someone else's), I'll post.  If not, then I'm going to take the day off.  I'm not going to force myself to make a quick pair of earrings or a bracelet just so I have something to blog about.  I have a number of larger projects I'd like to get to, and I need to make the time to do it.  I've been feeling very run down lately, and blogging has been taking up a lot of my awake time.

Six months is a record for one of my New Year's resolutions.  I'm breaking it with a heavy heart, but I think it'll be best for the blog, my business, and myself to take a breather every now and again.

Even though the giveaway is over, I'd still love to post your projects.  Send pictures and all the relevant information to!