Wednesday, August 31, 2011

40 Years of Service... Worth a Crayon or Two

Let me preface this post by saying that it's NOT a Martha Stewart project, but since my crafting time has been cut short, I had to prove that I'm doing something with my time.  

My mother-in-law recently retired after forty years of being a teacher.  Those who know me, know that patience is not something that I was blessed with, so I remain in awe of her and her ability to go that long without physically accosting a child.  That's a joke.  Kind of.

I wanted to do something homemade for her, so I found this cute little project where you use crayons to make a monogram.  Of course the one that I looked at used the letter 'W' which is super easy because it's all straight lines.  My mother-in-law's last name is Blake, so that gave me a 'B' to work with.  

First for the supplies... I purchased four boxes of crayons (I didn't want to run out midway through the project!), and then I used a shadow box from Target.  Of course, the first two stores that I went two didn't have a shadow box, but thank you Target for saving me from a trip to IKEA!

I then printed out the letter 'B' in light gray on a piece of cardstock.  The first time I printed it, it was too dark and you could see it through areas where the crayon didn't mask it (boo). You can use any font, but I chose Times New Roman because it's classic (and much easier because it doesn't have any fancy curlicues)  

I then used craft glue to attach each crayon which I cut to size using an X-Acto Knife.  

Next, I used Microsoft Publisher to make a little label stating her name and her years of service.  I attached it to a larger piece of contrasting paper and combined the two with silver brads.  

Finally, I used a strong fabric adhesive to attach it to the backing of the shadowbox frame because with all of those crayons, it got heavy!  Here it is :)

Since it's the beginning of the school year, butter-up your kid's teacher and make them one!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Scarlett-Locks and the Three Bears

Financial Investment: $$ ($10 - $25)
Emotional Investment: J (Not too bad)
Worth the Investment: + (Pretty cute)

My good friend Natalie just had her third child; Scarlett Grace.  She brought her over to my house and I fell in love with all six pounds, five ounces of her.  I stared in wonder as Natalie said that she would definitely be into having another child.  Here, I’m thinking we’re going to stick with one, and she’s considering a FOURTH.

Scarlett has an older brother (Noah) and sister (Clara) and both of them have BRIGHT red hair, and it’s gorgeous.  Naturally, one would think that the new baby would be a redhead as well. 

Nope.  She’s a brunette!

Natalie and her husband didn’t know what they were having, so they chose a boy’s name and a girl’s name and when Natalie delivered a girl, they kept the girl’s name of Scarlett.  I think it’s absolutely perfect, because I enjoy irony; pus, it’s a gorgeous name!

Since Natalie has basically everything for a baby, I wanted to do something special, so I chose Martha’s ‘Three Bears Hangers’ project.

I started it before Natalie gave birth, but due to two bulging discs in my back, I haven’t gotten much crafting done.  That, and Peaches McGee has been transitioning to one nap which has been just awesome (that sentence is dripping in sarcasm).  My normal 15-hour a day sleeper, has decided that she doesn’t want to sleep.  Rather, she’d like to either play or have mom (and her bad back) carry her around everywhere.  Awesome.

The project itself was fairly easy and straightforward, but as usual, Martha’s directions could use some improvement.

You start with a youth-sized hanger (I got a pack of 5 at IKEA).

You then take her template, trace the NINE circles of the bear (two are the same size), cut them out and then decoupage them together on the hanger.

I personally was unable to trace the circles because I didn’t have tracing paper and it’s not as though I could see the lines through the scrapbook paper she calls for.  If I had a craft room outfitted with all of Martha Stewart’s products, it would have been much easier because I could use one of her circle hole punches.  But I don’t, so I had to get creative and started looking for other items I could use to trace the circles. 

Watching Peaches play with some buttons gave me the first idea… a button.  Then I started looking around my craft room and figured out the rest.

Here’s a diagram of where I got each circle from:

Martha once again has an error in her directions.  She states that you build the bear on the hanger (decoupaging each piece on top of one another, beginning with the head); however, if you were to follow her directions precisely, you would find out pretty quickly that you can’t put the head down first.  You have to do the ears first since they go BEHIND the head. 

Who edits these books anyway?  I’m thinking they should hire me as a “commoner” to complete the crafts using their directions prior to going to print. 

For the first hanger, I did exactly as she states, I glued each piece on top of each other.  Then I got smart and realized that assembling the bear completely and then attaching it to the hanger, is MUCH easier. 

Here are the three little bears – I tied little ribbons around them to complete the look:

Because I had two hangers left over, I decided to do some monogramming.  I made one for Scarlett, and then one for Peaches McGee (her initials aren’t actually PM – surprise, right?).  

If it's a gift for Scarlett, why did I make one for Peaches?  Well, I’m trying to make sure that I keep at least one sample of my projects so that when I sell the movie rights and become famous, I can sell the items and donate the money to charity. 

Some of the money to charity.

I’ll donate at least $100!  I’m not Mother Teresa, okay?!

On a side note - while doing research for this post, I stumbled across a website of someone who is doing something very similar to me, and probably a lot better… after all, she has her PhD in English Literature (gulp).  Oh well, I shall carry on with this project.