Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mission Summertime Organization!

Summer vacation officially started in our house this week!  And no, this is not a post about summer bucket lists.  Yes, I want to do a bunch of fun stuff with my kiddos, BUT more importantly, this is our last summer before we enter into an all new phase of life.....elementary school!  I'm terrified!  Yes, I am terrified and so sad about having my awesome Big away from me for so many hours in the day, 5 whole days a week.  I'm terrified about how other kids will treat her and how she will adapt.  BUT I'm also terrified how I am going to handle the insanity.  The early mornings, the packing of lunches (we do full day kindergarten here), the after school activities, the packing of the back pack!  Yikes!

I am not fabulous at organization....I'm the type to fake it.  And no, not fake it til you make it....just fake it.....yup, I'm admitting on the internet, that I am a total scatter brain.  Thankfully, this blog has no readership....yet..... ;)  This past year with both girls in preschool, I was literally running around like a chicken with my head cut off, just chasing down all the stuff I had to do.  I'd hit up the grocery store before school to buy the snack we were assigned to bring weeks before.  I'd be rushing to wash the outfit for orange day or green day or whatever, the night before.....and I REFUSE to continue life in this manner!

So, this summer, I am on a mission.  I am on a mission to come up with a plan that works for our family and get all of us in the groove BEFORE school starts so it doesn't all crumble to ashes as soon as the fire gets hot.....(was that enough metaphors for you?)  This means, we will not be sleeping in and doing lazy summer mornings.  Nope!  It is up and at 'em, get dressed, brush those teeth, and get out the door!  This means, I will be practicing packing lunches and finding things other than peanut butter and jelly that my eldest will actually eat!  This means finding a paper in/out system that works for me!  This means finally getting into a laundry program where I'm not behind in all aspects (washing, moving to the dryer, folding, putting away....I'm generally behind in all 4 of those categories at once--yikes!)!

I will be doing several 21 day programs to help myself learn new habits!  (That is the amount that I have heard something new for 21 days and it becomes a habit).  My house may not become Martha Stewart ready, but I will have it running better than a broken down, decades old, 1980s car.....

I started last night with making two posters for the girls' room.  One for the morning and one for the evening showing them what they need to do so that I don't have to nag....but even these will be a work in progress because as I prep the pictures for the blog, I am realizing I forgot "Go potty" as a before bed to do.....that's no good!  BUT I will say the girls were so excited about the morning poster this morning that the Big was up and completely ready for the day by just after 7am!  Granted, that is before her clock said she was allowed to be out of her room, but one battle at a time!  ;)  This is the first versions of each.....

I will also be revisiting my "mudroom" to make it easier to use, reworking my office space so I actually have a spot for everything, updating my kitchen habits--meal planning and prepping, and the way I clean it each day, completely revitalizing my cleaning routine (or lack there of) so there is some method to my check in here sometimes and see how I do!

Do you have any goals this summer?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The End of an Era; or, Goodbye Old Friend

Back in 2010, I was pregnant with the Little and I decided to make a go of making her crib bedding myself. The Big was still in her crib and the Little wasn't getting much of anything new, plus I thought it would be fun. I didn't have a sewing machine at the time and the Hubby wasn't keen on the idea of investing into one based on my little whim, so I borrowed my mother in law's 30 year old Kenmore. 

It was perfect because it was so much like my mom's machine that I had originally learned on. I went out to Joann's, found a pattern and some fabric--not on sale and with no coupon--and a million dollars later (goodness I've learned a lot about buying fabric since then!) I was ready to start my project. It was so much work! It was incredibly intimidating but with each piece that I finished I felt like I had tripled my million dollar investment! I made her a baby quilt, a bumper and a crib skirt. For the record, I didn't really ever finish the bumper because it was supposed to have these adorable flowers on each tie but I ran out of time and never finished them. I did, however, have so much fun that I decided to make another set for my sister in law who was also pregnant with her first. 

I thought right then and there about selling my crib sets on etsy, but I would have had to charge about $600 per set to make back my supplies and time. 

Since then, this trustee machine and I have made a lot of stuff. A lot. And thankfully my mother in law got herself a new machine so did not miss her old one in the past 4 years. 

You are probably wondering why this is a goodbye! 

About a year ago the Hubby saw a sewing machine and serger as a deal on Woot! ( It was a great deal. He pointed it out, but for varying reasons I didn't act in time and let the deal slip through my fingers and since then I've been pining for a new machine. I've been watching Amazon prices, reading reviews, but just could not bring myself to make the investment when I had a perfectly good working machine available to me. But Sunday morning, the Hubby gave me the green light to buy a new machine for Mother's Day! Best. Mother's Day. Ever!! 

I've had a specific Singer model in my amazon wish list for ages. But when it came down to it, I did a little more research and a Brother combo sewing machine and embroidery machine caught my eye. What to do! For just a bit more money I could have both!! I researched and I debated, but in the end I got my Singer. I decided that the Brother was more of an embroidery machine that also sews and I want to continue to focus on my sewing and I don't need any fancy distractions. Not to mention that my Singer does all sorts of fancy sewing stuff. And one day I will save up and buy myself a full fledged embroidery machine. 

My Singer is in our nearby UPS sorting facility as I type and will be in my hands later today. I am beyond excited. But it is also bitter sweet. My Kenmore and I have been through a lot and it has been a very dependable side kick, but Saturday it will go back to its true owner. 

I cannot thank my mother in law enough for letting me use it. Goodbye old friend. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lulu Belle Bunny Tutorial

Yesterday and today I made a baby rag bunny for our friends' daughter whose first birthday we are going to this weekend. Sometimes crafting with kids can be quite the multi-tasking battle. As I mentioned yesterday, I have 3 sick kidlets, plus Little Man is officially army crawling. It is hilarious to watch but also our lives will never be the same or safe again. The aforesaid being true, this project took waaaaaaay longer than it needed to. 

I did not use a pattern to make Miss Lulu Belle Bunny, but I did turn to Pinterest for inspiration and a bit of direction. I found an awesome rag doll tutorial here ( so I worked off of her insight and went from there. I started with some scrap heavy duty linen I had purchased to make a Pinterest insprired Christmas wreath that turned out horribly and I never finished. I originally wanted to do a sweet flannel to make her more snugly but all of my flannel in my stash is bright and loud and has too much pattern for what I was going for. I did, however, sneak in some cute teal gingham flannel for her ears. I am very happy with her though she may get dirty when played with by a 1 year old. Good thing she is washable!

In order to keep Lulu symmetrical I drew my design on a folded over scrap then doubled it.

 I did the same for her ears, arms and legs. Be careful though to leave plenty of extra space for a good sized seam allowance, especially for the extremities so that the bunny will wear well and not split at the seams after being loved on. Not to mention turning them will be a pain and your bunny will have sticks for arms and legs. My first sketch was too thin. Thankfully I realized this before I started sewing. The bottom is my first sketch and the top is what I used. This is why I really should make a pattern first on paper.....

Here is everything cut out. Notice the cute teal for her inner ears?

(I should note that the fabric I used works perfectly either side but you may need to be cautious about how you cut your fabric so you can sew with right sides together.)

Now start sewing. I used a very small stitch length to keep it nice and tight so hopefully Lulu will last a very long time with lots of loving. And as mentioned before give yourself a good seam allowance. I had thought I would do 5/8, but when I got to my machine I felt that would make her too skinny so instead of recutting I just went with a 1/2 inch instead. I think she will be just fine. I might also in the future cut the pieces with my pinking shears to reduce fraying inside to give the seams an even stronger finish. 

You will notice that I sewed my seam down to the bottom because I was going to use my gingham flannel and give her flat feet but I ended up deciding against it at the last minute because I want her to be nice and clean since she is a gift and my method for feet is a little messy--as in they wouldn't end up being the same size or shape. 

Then I started to turn the pieces and ugh! They aren't that thin but they are thin enough to be a pain! 

My amazing inspiration tutorial uses medical tools to turn and it looks so easy, but I am stuck with what I have so I used a stuffing stick--you know that little stick that comes in a bag of cotton fill? 

It definitely helped, but then Little Man got tired of scootching around and wanted up and then it went like this. 

Which was impossible. 

I finally got them all turned and this started to happen thanks to the Big. 

So we took a break until the next day.....I said crafting with kids is tough. 

Once the arms, legs and ears were all turned, it was time to stuff them. The little stuffing tool was essential to get the stuffing all the way in and get it nicely packed. You want stuffed animals fairly firm so they keep their shape even with lots of love. I also stitched arms and legs closed to make it easier to sew in and to keep it contained just in case any of them ever get ripped out. 

Then it was time to sew her head and body up! You will notice that I do not use pins. Well I do on rare occasions where they are unavoidable, but 90% of the time I use my Wonder Clips. I LOVE my Wonder Clips. They are essentially tiny plastic clothes pins. They are fabulous for use near little people--no pricked fingers--and for use with the thick/tough canvas I use for bags. 

In order to get optimal placement of Miss Lulu's ears I folded her head in half and placed them equidistant from the middle. I also made a little tuck in each ear to give them more dimension. 

I then grabbed a clip and clipped the ear tips together to keep them from being accidentally sewn into a seam. 

Then it was time to leave for Mother's Day Tea for the Little, so we took a break. :)

When we got home and everyone was fed, I placed the arms and legs tucked in between the pieces for the body and facing inward. It is important to remember to face her ears and toes in the same direction. Inside of ears go the same direction as toes. Or you could have her toes point out to the sides in which case make sure they are pointing out; although pointing in might give her a cute bashful look. :)

Then I sewed around. Because I make it up as I go, I decided I didn't want her to be so pointy on the bottom and gave myself a larger seam allowance at the bottom. 

I left a gap between her legs to pull through and stuff. I also found the fabric had pulled more than I'd like on one side so I zigzagged it to make it more secure. I also discovered my hole was way too small so I pulled it apart some with my seam ripper. Again planning ahead would avoid these things but planning ahead isn't my MO. ;)

And here she is!

But upon commencement of stuffing I discovered her arms were uneven....grrrr....

So out came the stuffing; she was turned inside out again; seams were ripped and the arm was sewn back in. Now she's better!

Remember when I said that I am not good at hand sewing? Well it is unavoidable when finishing a stuffed animal, but then this started happening. 

So we took a break again. Then I did this. 

Then Miss Lulu needed a face! I decided to draw her face on with fabric markers rather than embroider it because....well....because I could and I thought it would turn out much nicer with much less fuss! But I definitely needed to practice before doing something so permanent. Plus we needed to decide on nose color. So I practiced. 

And we decided that the soft pink way up top would be best, so meet Miss Lulu Belly Bunny!

I then made her a swaddling blanket, a little dress and a cloth diaper so her new mama can take care of her in fine fashion! Sorry no tutorial on those--I started getting tight on time and stopped taking pictures. :)

But here she is in all her glory. 

My girls are head over heals for Miss Lulu Belle, so I may be making more of her very soon--or for Christmas. If you make her, please share a picture! Miss Lulu Belle should be for personal use only please. 

Happy Krafting!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What takes precedence over crafting?

So in my very first post I talked about the fact that crafting always takes the cake in my priorities, so my kids immediately wanted to make a big fat liar out of me and all of them got sick--which always comes first! Parenthood really does humble you, doesn't it? We've got one ear infection, one sore throat and one GI bug! It is the full house of children's common illnesses. I win! And to help really take the cake, Little Man finally slept through the night while the other two were up sick. I am thankful though that he let me focus on the bigger two. 

This week among orders for crayon rolls, blankets, organizing the Blanket Drive and our household illnesses, I have two fun and exciting projects I am working on. The first is Mother's Day gifts for my mom, mother in law, sister and sisters in law and the second is a gift for a sweet little friend whose 1st birthday party is this weekend! I have a fun idea for her gift and I am hoping to make a tutorial for it as I go. It will be a little rag bunny with its own swaddling blanket! 

Now to go feed the littles. Stay good and keep krafting!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Let's get started!

I have to admit I am completely intimated by this very first post! What do you say to start? So I guess I will just start by introducing myself! Hi!! I'm Danielle and I LOVE crafting. In fact, I love crafting to a fault sometimes! Hmmmm, should I organize the kitchen or craft? Should I clean the closets or craft? Crafting wins hands down every time.....

I started crafting when I was a wee little girl. Just ask my mommy! I was constantly coming up with little ideas. I once grabbed a pack of popcicle sticks, pushed them together, drew a picture of Dark Wing Duck and made myself a puzzle! I was given a camera for a birthday present, so I took my Legos and tried to make a movie. No one told me to not change angles with each shot when trying to make a stop frame movie and of course this was the day and age of film photography. Sorry mom! But she always encouraged me and I had a blast. I needed a cape for a play I was making, I'd just raid my mom's fabric stock and make one! And heaven forbid I not tell you about my paint can purse--I decorated a paint can that had been filled with bubble gum and used it as a purse--that one was and still is my mom's favorite. :)

That's still how I do it. I'm now a mommy myself and I have 3 kidlettes. The Big (a very bright 5 year old girl), the Little (a spunky 3 year old girl) and the Little Man (a big eyed, trouble maker in the making 8 month old boy). And I still love crafting and generally my crafts come of a need I discover and my lack of finding what I want in the stores, so I make it up myself. 

My first homemade mommy design has been coined the Karah-All. 

It is a preschool sized backpack that is perfect for traveling in the car or on an airplane. It stemmed from a trip we took to see my family when the Big was not quite 2 and I got frustrated on the airplane with how hard it was to reach her supplies to keep her entertained for hours on end. I came up with the idea in my head on the plane, went home and just went at it. It isn't the prettiest way to create, but it seems to work for me. Since then I've moved into making bags for myself and friends and then this last Christmas I tried my hand at making clothes for the girls. 

I'm not a pattern person. I can use them but they intimidate me so generally I make it up as I go. 

I recently tried my hand at stuffed animals too by making Little Man a new lovey. I'm not quite there with stuffed animals, but it sure was fun!

So I guess all of this crafting just needed to naturally flow into an Etsy here we are as I create new stuff, I will make listings and share my fun with the world. 

My other passion? Helping others. And I want to help my kids learn to do so too and enjoy it. So the mantra of Krafted in America is SaGE MaD DoG--Set a Good Example, Make a Difference and Do Good--and this blog will be about our journey to craft, help others and how I'm teaching my kids to give back. 

Thanks for tuning in! I'm excited to share my journey with you!