Saturday, May 23, 2009

Small Space Gardening

photo by Kathy Kimpel licenced under Creative Commons

I was looking into what I could grow in my tiny, shaded yard and wrote this article for the newspaper about what some of my neighbors are doing with their small spaces. I also wrote this sidebar tutorial on how to grow tomatoes upside in a five gallon bucket like the plant above.

In case the sidebar is confusing, here's a tutorial with step by step photos and another with illustrations.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Images of a Missed Quilt Show

This quilt entitled Face the Music was made by Candace Tucker, Patty Ashworth, Tone Haugen-Cogburn and Bridget Wilson Matlock. It took 1st place in the group category at last weekend's Smoky Mountain Quilters' quilt show.

It’s only now, a week afterwards, that I am able to tell the story of how I let down hundreds of quilters while trapped on an island in East Tennessee. The Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild was having its annual quilt show and I had volunteered to be in charge of returning quilts, judging sheets and any ribbons to the respective quilters after the show was over on Sunday afternoon.

That Saturday morning I organized all the judging sheets into neat, labeled envelopes for the show. Then I went out to Maryville for a day of music and a night camping at Fleta Fest, a tiny festival on a little island in a fork in the river. We arrived with a cooler of picnic food and drink to this beautiful grassy place on the river with great live music.

Then that night it started to rain. It rained hard, all night long. When I woke up on Sunday the river had risen so much that I couldn’t drive my car off the island. The little stream that ran across the drive was now raging. I worried the river wouldn’t go down in time to get home, shower, and make it to the show in time to look at the quilts before I was in charge of taking them down.

A Wild Goose Chase by Carol Snapp, quilted by Denise Waymire

Hours went by and I began to worry I wouldn’t make it at all. I had all those judging sheets and a bunch of show catalogs that they needed at the show. When my cell phone would work,I was talking with the ladies at the show giving them updates on the level of the river.

In the end, I didn't make it. The guild had to scramble and return all those quilts without the judging sheets. I never got to see the quilts.
The river finally started going down at seven that evening, but by eight it was rising again due to rain in the mountains. My amazing friend, Felicia (who I now owe BIG time) drove 45 minutes to pick me up. I had to leave my car out there until the next evening.
Close up of Entry Riddle by Betsy Robinson

The photos of the quilts are from the Smoky Mountain Quilters' quilt show website. See the rest of the quilts from the show here. View some beautiful pictures from Fleta Fest, the festival I was at instead, at photographer Todd Reinerio’s website.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Craft supply shopping tip

photo by Birds Nest and Paper
The next time you are having trouble finding something you need for a project, try searching Etsy Supplies category. I did when I needed some blue pom pom trim for a pillow and quickly found a good deal on this beautiful strand in the shop, Bird Nests and Paper. I feel good about supporting someone's small business. Plus it came right to my mailbox packaged nicely with a cute bird trading card and a little purple button.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Piñata party

This image is from the children's book Angelo the Naughty One illustrated by Leo Paliti, 1942.

Cinco de Mayo came and went without me even having a margarita, but the holiday inspired me to make a piñata with the kids.

To make an easy piñata like this one:

1. Cover a balloon in newspaper strips dipped in a flour/water/school glue mixture, leaving a hole in the top (near the balloon tie) big enough to put prizes in later. Make sure to cover it completely. The more layers, the more whacks it will take.

2. Let it dry. This takes days.

3. Pop the balloon and remove the balloon remnants.

4. Put prizes inside.

5. Clear tape a layer of dry paper to cover the hole. Then cover the hole with duct tape.

6. Duct tape a long cord to the piñata. The cord needs to be strong and well attached.

7. Spray paint the whole thing, then let children paint designs on it.

8. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Shelf trimming

I added the pink pom pom trim I had leftover from this pillow to this shelf. I think it's cute right now, but I applied it with Scotch tape rather than hot glue because I'm not sure I'll like it long term. Maybe a different color though...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tea time thought

The tea cup card making went over well today too. The cards sparked a lot of craft-related conversation with moms. One told me she was thinking of having an adult drawing party. She made me want to get together with some friends to create this weekend. Fridays always so feel so full of potential for me.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Teacup Mother's Day cards

Today and tommorow are parent teacher conferences at school so that means I get the perfect circumstances for two days of making crafts with kids. I have a group of maximum five kids at a time to entertain for a half hour while their parents talk with teachers. I’m using the time to have children make these teacup Mother’s Day cards.

I made a quick template by drawing the outline of a teacup on the top half of a sheet of paper with a marker, then folding it in half to trace its mirror image, and copied it on card stock. I cut them out, which was a lot of cutting, and glued and folded for the younger ones. The kids decorated the teacup sides and two scraps of paper that are taped to a real tea bag. I taped a string to the teabag package and taped the smaller scrap of paper to look a tea tag.

One of the teachers saw what we were making and said that she has a project like this with a little poem on the cup. I also saw a beautiful (and much more polished) patterned teacup printable on the amazing blog that you should explore zakka life.

The kids like making these cards and it was a nice surprise for the moms after their conferences.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Embroidered kid art pillow #2 in progress

This is just a little sneak peak of the pillow I'm making based on a drawing by five-year-old Lucas. It's got a really cute story that I will be posting, but right now I have to order some blue pom pom trim.

There's also a reuse project and a craft for children planned for this week so be sure to check back.

Friday, May 1, 2009

DIY Envelopes

I always make my own envelopes to hold my rent checks. I usually use old magazine pages with interesting advertising photos or recipes and pretty food. My landlord has complimented them a few times. I'm about to walk this month's rent check down to his house in the envelope I made from scrap paper I practiced using my Spirograph set on.

Make paying this month's bills more fun with this envelope template or make your own template by taking apart a used envelope.