Category Archives: Hobby

I opened an Etsy shop!

I never thought that when I started painting little wooden figures & chess sets that I would end up selling any – let alone open an etsy shop! What started as a way to make Christmas happen has become something fun to do on the side for other people. Sometimes it can be a bit of a juggling act – taking the time to paint (one figure will take usually 1-2 hours to do – more if it’s highly detailed), work on my writing (and yes, I am still going & making progress! woohoo!), & of course, above all else, being a mom & wife and all that great stuff.

It also took more than a little bit of courage – it’s a bit daunting deciding to open your own shop – no matter how little it might be & I had to learn about things I never thought I would (like sales tax, heh). But I decided that it doesn’t matter if it is an epic flop – I don’t want to become world famous  – I just want to share something fun with others. So, swing on by & take a look – favorite my shop (it makes my heart glow when people do that) & like my shop’s FB page.

Here’s to having a little courage!

Woodnplaytime

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Woodnplaytime Facebook Page

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Filed under Children, Every Day Life, Getting Crafty, Hobby

Making Christmas

Well, I didn’t make all of it, but I had fun this year making some of Christmas. The girls were in desperate need of comforters this year. Their old ones had fallen apart, so I decided, rather than buy them I would make quilts.

When I was a kid my mom made my brothers denim quilts and I loved them. A while back my mom gave me a huge basket of old jeans she had collected, and over the years we have added to it. I decided denim quilts would be the thing, though they are horribly heavy, so I decided to go with denim and fun pink girly prints. They turned out marvelously cute (though very flawed 🙂 ), and I have to give a huge thanks to the Joan Fabrics empoyee who advised me to use embroidery floss rather than yarn to tie the quilts because it looks nicer and won’t ball up. Yay!

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For the boys this year I made snakes – my mom used to make us these too when we were kids and we loved them. They are over six feet long.  They were a hoot to stuff – and quite literally a pain. 😀 The only way to get the stuffing all the way done into them was to swing them through the air toward the ground as hard as I could. After a few minutes the stuffing would move a couple of inches and I’d scoot my hand up and keep swinging away. My arms ached for days afterward.

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And of course, for James’ birthday, is the fleece blanket in the background.

Next year I’ll reverse and make quilts for the boys and snakes for the girls. 😀

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I Think I’ll Pat Myself On The Back Now

I am pleased. Though I started the month out procrastinating horribly, I still managed to meet all the goals I had set for myself for September. I have done my final edit of The Heart of the Castle (AKA Forbidden Fairytale), written the query letter, re-vamped the synopsis, and have a list of 21 agents to start sending it to – I’ll send them out in groups of 7 over the next few weeks. I have my 90 minute presentation for the writing retreat (which is next weekend) completely prepared all the way down to the visual aids and hand outs. Now I just have to not be horribly nervous and terrified while talking to a bunch of women (some of which are published and fabulous authors) about writing. I’m excited… I think 😀 I read through one of my friend’s books too.

There is just something about accomplishing the goals you set that is hugely satisfactory. It makes me grin. 😀

This year we have also decided to have a homemade Christmas. Well, as homemade as possible anyway. Things are tight, we are trying to figure out what we are doing with buying a house soon (my parents get home from their mission next spring), and Paul is starting to look for better employment. We have no idea what will be happening in the next 6 months, so we figure we should save as much as we can. As a result I am going to be doing a bunch of sewing and creating over the next little while. The biggest project I am diving into is making a quilt for each of the girls. Their comforters are shot and they desperately need new ones. I had a bunch of old jeans (I think some were even mine) that was sitting around waiting to be turned into quilts anyway, so I decided it was time to do something about it.

Solid denim quilts tend to get very heavy so I went to the fabric store in August and got a bunch of cheap clearenced girly prints. They are just block quilts – nothing fancy, but they are going to be so cute! I got one quilt top done Tuesday (except for borders) and another yesterday. Today I am working on the last quilt top. Then I just need to cut borders and work on putting them together. I want to do quilts for the boys too at some point – but their comforters are still fairly new and in excellent condition – It would seem a shame to replace them so soon, but I am sorely tempted…

We are going simple for Halloween -I don’t have time for fancy creative costumes this year. We had talked about doing superheros, but I wasn’t sure about it until I was at the fabric store a week ago and hit the jackpot. I was there to get some stuff for my writer’s retreat presentation (I tell you more about it after I give it) and was thrilled to see it on sale. Then I headed over to the clearance section. I managed to get enough material to make each kid a cape – I didn’t spend more than $3 a yard for any of it (some of it was even only $1 a yard)! So, they are going to be super heros after all – but of their own making. They can name themselves and decide what they are heroes of.

So my October goals will be surviving the Writer’s Retreat, finishing the quilts and costumes and starting on some of the other Christmas ideas I had. I need to re-vamp my query for Belinda and the Beastly Neighbor and start to get an agent list together for that one too – it’s in contest right now, but I should know how it fared by the end of October and it will be free to start sending out again then. I am also working on a new book and I would love to make progress on that too. Hopefully October will be even more productive than September. Oh, and of course to send in my queries for The Heart of the Castle to the agents on my list. Wish me luck!!

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Filed under Hobby, Writing

Stiff Necked

That would be me.  I am not afraid to admit it.  I have become stiff necked – which is why I am sitting here trying my hardest not to move (yeah right – with a toddler around?) with a heating pad.

 I woke up a few days ago knowing immediately that I had slept wrong some how as a pain shot down the side of my neck and into my shoulder when I turned it a certain way.  It will go away by the end of the day and after a good nights rest.Ummm…. yeah, its worse. So this morning I awoke desperate for a heating pad.  My heating pad was broken and had been tossed, and my little microwaveable one made of wheat had long since gone the ways of all the earth.

I’ll just make a new one, I thought.  So I hopped on line to see if there were any pointers I needed to be reminded of.  One major thing had changed – deer corn (or feed corn – the non-cracked kind) was recommended over every other kind of grain.  Partially because it holds its heat better and it poses less hazards than the others – fire type hazards from drying and over cooking, etc.

But, I don’t want to go to the store and try to haul out a bag of corn, I thought to myself. I hurt now, I want one now…Then the crying and the sobbing starts – no, just kidding.  But the idea of trying to bend over a sewing machine with a stiff neck did NOT sound like fun.  Then I hit on a quick tip for those in a pinch and I thought… DUH.

So, I did what the tip suggested. I grabbed a ziploc freezer bag (microwaveable) filled it 3/4 full of rice, left it open a bit to vent and nuked it for 2 minutes.  Then I sealed the zipper and dropped the hot rice filled ziploc bag into a pillow case (the material on a towel was too thick – I wanted to fell the heat!) and slapped it on my neck….  ahhh relief.  It works until I get time to make a new corn bag for myself. 🙂

So, if you want to make a microwaveable heating pad (I loved mine for my super cold feet in winter – though I think my hubby liked it better than me, because then I didn’t stick my icy feet on him trying to warm them up 😉  ) here is how:

What you need:

Fabric – nothing fancy, Cotton blends are best because of fire hazards in the microwave.  The suggestion I found that I am going to do this time is to make my corn filled bag out of cheap muslin and then make a pretty slip cover for it.  For one bag two 9X22 inch strips are recommended -one for the bag and one for the cover.  You can make it any size or shape you want, really – just be sure to only fill it 1/2 – 3/4 full so it will mold around body.

Corn – (not cracked corn) during hunting season you can pick up a 40 lb bag for $4 (or so) at Wal-mart, or you can find it other places.  One 40 lb bag will make up to 20-22 heating pads, depending on size – you might decide you want to make some bigger pads, etc. Because it is a natural product there is a chance that there may be a weavil egg or two laid in it.  Because of this you want to keep your corn in a sealed container, and if you don’t use it, feed it to the birds.  The Site I gathered the most info gave a ton of info on the benefits of corn vs. other grains and instructions for killing off any eggs in the corn, which I will mention later – and I will post the website too. 

So what you do is you fold your strip in half and sew your corn bag on two sides – leaving one side open and fill it with approximately 4 cups of corn – more if you are making a bigger heating pad.  Then sew the open end shut.  For a slip cover, hem raw edges on the short ends – or surge if you are lucky enough to have a serger, then fold in both ends, over lap the short edges a bit.  Sew down the long sides and voi-la you have a slip cover.  Slip covers are nice because it makes it easier to clean.

 Before you use it heat your corn bag in the microwave for three minutes, let cool, then heat again, and possibly do this a third time. This will get all moisture out of the corn and kill any eggs or germs in the corn.

Your bag is now sanitized and ready to go.  When you use it, heat it for approximately 2 minutes – it will stay warm for an hour or two. If you are reheating a bag that isn’t completely cool yet, only heat it for 1 minute.  

If you want more info on why corn over the other possibilities, why not add essential oils and things, and other useful information, such as cleaning instructions, check out this fabulous site done by a gal who researched these for a hospital – it is loaded with info, plus photo directions on making the heating pads – in case I gave lousy directions. 😉

Corn Microwaveable Heating Bags

They make great gifts – and are cheap to make.  So, may our necks be softened and our feet be warmed.  🙂

 P.S. If you need an icepack you can also toss them into the freezer.

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Filed under health, Hobby

End of the Sewing Marathon

YIPPEEE!!!! I have finished my sewing marathon.  I put the final touches on Jacob’s costume tonight, took a nice hot shower, and collapsed into my chair to veg – or just to write a post on my blog and show off the kids costumes.  😀

First we have Elizabeth as Sleeping Beauty:

Sleeping Beauty 1

Sleepeing Beauty 2

Dorothy as Belle: (I have to brag just a bit, because I have never done anything like this before, I even made the little gold ribbon rosettes on her dress)

Belle 1

Belle 2

Emily as Tinker Bell:

Tinker Bell 1

Tinker Bell 2

And finally, Jacob as the Frog Prince: ( I didn’t have a pattern for this one and I am afraid he looks more like some funky creature with a crown on his head, but I had fun with it anyway)

Frog Prince

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Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Hobby, Jacob, Lizy

N is for Needlework

Encyclopediea of Me Meme

Cross Stitch in Progress

I have always enjoyed needlework – particularly Cross Stitch.  I never quite caught on to embroidery. My sister Lisa was the first who taught me how to make the little tiny x’s on the fabric and to follow a simple pattern. I dabbled in it some off and on until I was in high school. My mom bought be a few books with Precious Moments designs in them. That is when I caught on cross-stitching fire. The designs were simple and easy to follow. I could complete one relatively quickly. I made little ones for Christmas ornaments and larger ones for family members to hang on the walls. I never kept any myself.

In college I began to tire of simple designs. I had seen cross-stitch pieces that looked like artwork and they had infused my brain. i had no idea just how challenging they were, but boy were they gorgeous. I got my first “real” cross-stitch design in college and began to work on it over many years – mainly because I was studdying, galavanting off to Japan, and serving a mission in Chile. It didn’t leave much time for stitching. I was still working on it when I became engaged to Paul. I decided that I wanted it to be my wedding present to him and started a cross-stitching frenzy. It was less than half finished, but by the time our wedding day approached I had completed my masterpiece. I had enjoyed every moment and it was truly like looking at a piece of art.

Dragon and Castle Cross Stitch

I have continued to cross stitch, but at a much slower pace. The following is one of my favorites that I have done since I married. It hangs in our front room as a reminder to us to kneel in family prayer.

Praying Hands Cross Stitch

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Filed under Hobby, Meme

A New Project

I had this brilliant idea – well, I thought it was brilliant anyway, we’ll see how it turns out and then decide if it was brilliant or not.  I was rooting through the disastrous mess in my sewing room/office when I stumbled across something from my childhood.  My mom had passed it on too me to use with my kids and I was quickly hatching a fabulous idea.  It was a box of “fabuprint” – colored paper that you could iron on to fabric and transfer the color.  I think I still have a pillow case that I had made when I was a little kid with ‘fabuprint”.  I also found a bunch of fabric markers and paints, and a pile of 8 1/2 inch squares.  My brain started going, the smoke was roiling out my ears – I had a marvelous idea!

With a new baby on the way I thought it would make a fun summer project to work on making a quilt for baby – not just me, but the whole family.  I can do the kids hands in “fabuprint” and let them design a couple of their own squares. So then when baby is born there will be a special quilt that brother, sisters, mom and dad all made together. Since we won’t find out the sex of the baby before hand I thought I could use material with bright primary colors and such that would be fun and appealing.  So, that is my fabulous idea, and today I start working with the kids on designing their squares – I hope it turns out, because in my head it looks to be a lot of fun. 🙂 (Thankfully I have a good friend who is fabulous at making quilts and can help me – a lot!) 🙂

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