Friday, February 20, 2009

Sixth Picture Challenge

Ginger at Ginger's House has tagged me for the 6th picture challenge. Here are the rules of the challenge: Go to your photo folder in your computer. Go to the 6th folder of the photos. Go to the sixth picture. Put the picture on your blog with a description. Invite six friends to join the challenge. Link them in your blog and let them know they have been challenged.
So here is my picture, it is from my last trip to Edmonton, and Chase was hanging out in the back seat, watching a movie that was attached to the headrest of the driver's seat. It was actually from April 2008. Almost a year ago! Wow, time flies.

And here are my nominees for the sixth picture challenge:

4. Pixiedust's other place

I also wanted to let you know about this really cool huge mega-collab kit that is available, called Spirit of Summer. Spirit of Summer is a charity collab benefiting the Victorian bushfire Appeal. Not only has this affected Australians, but human beings the world over. 34 Australian and international designers have banded together to help support many Australians, animals and communities decimated by one of Australia's worst national disasters.

You can click on the blinkie in my sidebar to be directed to the site where you can get it, (for a donation as little as $5) and the proceeds go to benefit the communities in Australia that have been affected by the bush fires. I am downloading the kit as I type, and think this is a fantastic way to show our support. All the designers for this collab have huge hearts, and I thank them all for lending their talent to such an important cause. I'm also glad to do my part, (which is donating to the Australian Red Cross) and am ecstatic that I get this kit (feels like for free) for donating to something I should have, or would have donated to anyways. Am I making sense anymore??
Anyways, make sure you check it out, and do what you can!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No Sew Raggy Fleece Blanket

So this is the beginning of getting my mojo back! I stayed up very late the other night making this easy blanket as a baby gift for a friend of mine. I kinda stole the idea from a blanket that I bought for my own daughter, although it was much smaller. The one I bought was basically big enough to throw over the car seat but not hang over the edges, it might have been 30" including the fringe. So I got looking at it a while ago and realized how simple it would be to make it, so here is how I did it! I started off with two pieces of fleece (I chose the camouflage as the new daddy is in to hunting) and I made the pieces 40" x 40" but you could really make it however big you wanted. (Also apparently even though I was using my rulers as guides to cutting, I wasn't quite straight on my green piece so I trimmed it after this picture!)
Then I measured 3" in all the way around the blanket and pinned it so I would have a reference point of how far in to cut my raggy edges, so it would be semi even.
It should look like this, with a row of pins all the way around the blanket 3" in from the outside edge. You could actually quickly baste this in a contrasting color and remove the stitches afterwards, but in the interest of this being a truly no sew project, I just pinned it. You can see in this shot that I did indeed straighten out that green edge. Such a perfectionist. Ha, if you only knew me :)
Then I took the lid of my son's puzzle bucket and used it to round the corners. You could also use a plate or saucer or anything round to do this. In hindsight, (and if I ever make another blanket like this for anyone else) I think it may be better to cut the corners out altogether instead of rounding them. (So, cut a 3" square corner out of each corner of the blanket). This would eliminate the bulk at the corners, and you wouldn't notice that the corners were cut out once you knotted all your raggy edges. I'm sure there may actually be a tool for rounding the corners, but since I'm all about high tech and having the right tools, I opted for the plastic lid.
This is what it looked like after I rounded the corners. I know, perfect right?! Ha.
Then I took my trusty spring loaded shears (great for doing rag quilts and for cutting smoothly through several layers at once) and cut through both layers of fabric at the same time, about every 1/2" to 3/4" up to my pinned line, like so, all the way around.

Then I started knotting. I'm not sure what this type of knot is called, (I might google it later). I think of it as a shoelace knot, as this is the knot you would use to tie someone's shoes together (if you ever did such an evil thing, and not that I ever did either hehe). First once...
Then go around again...

Something about sending the rabbit through the rabbit hole?...

and complete the second knot...

Now, continue doing this all around. I made sure that I kept the top and bottom pieces lined up when I was tying them, so the blanket didn't shift, and you end up with one lil raggy tie on one piece of material with nothing to tie to at the end, so make sure your layers of material are lined up when knotting. (Does that make sense??) Also, I recommend tying your first knot not too tight, with the second knot the tighter of the two, to reduce puckering the fabric. I of course went all out and tied the knots as tight as I could on both knots, and ended up with a pretty puckered up blanket. I was able to stretch it out a bit after, but to avoid that I think next time I would tie the first knot a little looser. And you end up with this...

Ta Daaaa! I know, easy and fantabulous, right?? Right.

My son almost tried to claim this blanket for his own, so I had to get it wrapped and rush it out of the house, or he would have been dragging it all over the place. He loves blankets, which I guess is good, as I love making them!
So that's it! Lay two pieces of fleece together (any size you want), cut the edges as long or as short as you want, and tie them together in knots all the way around. Purdy. It was easy and quick (about two to three hours) and my friends loved it, and that's the main thing. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy (just like the blanket).

So I'm starting to feel a little creative again, I think the fact that the sun has been shining a little bit more lately might have something to do with it, as I have had more energy than usual. I have even felt like sewing and doing a few other quick crafts that I have seen and wanted to do. I have a little bit more cleaning and organizing around the house to do. I moved all my sewing stuff, and cleaned up the upstairs junk counter. I need to re-arrange the kids room to fit the crib in and move Rayna into Chase's room (yes they have to share and yes it's going to suck!). Then maybe I can get to some of the projects rattling around in my brain.

Also, I'm trying to keep up with my project 365, so here are a couple of the photos I've taken (I don't remember which days they were for at the moment, but they will be in upcoming layouts from this month I think.) I liked these two especially and thought I would share them with you.

This one is a macro shot I took with my sigma lens (love it, love it, love it.) It is a tulip from a bunch of tulips I bought at the grocery store the other day. I love the colors!And this one is Chase, I was goofing off with him and tickling him and he was all snuggled up with his blanket on the floor laughing his head off, and I thought it would look great in a black and white/sepia/chocolate tone. So that's it for today, maybe I'll get to post some of my layouts in a couple days. Stay tuned!! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My New Lens

Ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! Lookit!! Lookit what I got!!

My hubby let me go get a new lens for my Nikon D90, so I got the Nikkor 50mm 1.4 lens.

Isn't it be-yoo-ti-full?? I think so. It's also much smaller than the honkin 18-70mm lens I have on my camera most of the time.

I can't wait to try this one out over the next several days. The 50mm is a fixed lens (which for me is something I have to get used to as I can't zoom in or out to frame my shot, I have to actually move myself to get the shot I want) and the 1.4 (at the risk of sounding like an ignoramus, which I totally AM!) means this lens is brighter, and lets in a lot more light. I chose this one because most of my photos are of my kids, and most of the time we are in our house, and the lighting in my house is terrible. Usually very dark, and yellow looking (our walls are yellow but the lights we have don't help matters any). I quickly snapped a couple comparison shots between my regular lens and my new one. This first shot was taken with my 18-70mm.

This one was taken with my new lens, the 50mm.

See the difference?? I did right away, and to me that says something. If an inexperienced eye can pick up the difference, than I think I made the right choice! The whole picture just looks lighter, and brighter. I think I am in love!! I am absolutely going to be ripping off a bunch of pictures, I'm gonna need a new memory card lol. It was nice after having such a crappy week to be able to go and reward myself with something like this, and my whole family benefits too, as these are all of our memories that I'm recording!! They just may not realize it yet :)

Also on a little creativity side note, I will be making a no-sew quickie baby blanket for a friend that just had a baby, so once it's done, I'll show you what it is, and how I made it! Hopefully I can get to that tomorrow, but I think my hubby will be home, so he may have other plans for me. His plans and mine usually do not match lol. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rough Week

Well, it's been a bit of a rough week around here. Rayna got her shots on Tuesday, and yesterday was very irritable, if she wasn't sleeping, she was crying. Chase of course, seeing as how Rayna was inconsolable decided it would be the perfect time to be a whiny snivelling little thing of a child. He even had quiet time in my bedroom for two hours, and watched a movie, but he didn't fall asleep like I was hoping he would, and came out just as whiny as he went in. And with the both of them snivelling and whining I was a bawling wreck by the end of the day. And to top it all off, that was the one day this week that my hubby ended up working til ten. The one day that I really could have used a break by five o'clock and he is nowhere to be found. I understand he has to work, it just doesn't change the fact that I'm stuck at home with two whiny snivelly children. I also understand that Chase was whiny because he was tired, as he is usually not that way, and Rayna is usually the happiest baby ever (which makes her crabby days even harder to deal with cause she's always so smiley and content), and that she was just reacting to the shots as well as I think she is teething, but I just can't handle the crying, and the whining, especially at the same time!! It frustrated me to the point of tears in the kitchen while Rayna was crying from the swing in the living room and Chase was whining upstairs somewhere over something.

Plus, I had a bag of baby clothes hand me downs I was trying to get through, as well as general things like cleaning the bathroom, and none of that got done. It's such a kick in the pants when I can't get stuff done because of the kids. My husband always tells me he doesn't have a problem getting tasks done while he has the kids but they aren't the same for daddy as they are for me. I know the housework will be there tomorrow, but I am such a procrastinator already that when I am actually geared up to do something I need to strike while the iron is hot, or else it could be months before I work up the urge to do it again. I did manage to get through the baby clothes today, they are even washed, but I still have two loads of kids laundry to do tomorrow, as well as tackling the bathroom that probably hasn't been cleaned for two weeks. Maybe three.

I wish I was one of those moms that can do it all, but I'm not. I know this about myself. It's why my kids were born three years apart. It's why there are usually clean dishes in the dishwasher and a pile of dirty ones on the counter and in the sink. It's why there are piles of laundry in the living room, hallway and bedroom. I just hope that another day like yesterday is a loooonng way off, because if there were more like that I don't know how I would cope. My hubby was home by six today, and it is amazing what a difference an hour can make with him just taking the baby away from me and letting my brain have time to get de-fuzzed. All the white noise of the tv, and Chase playing and making noise, and then crying when his lego construction crumbles. Plus Rayna's fussiness, which was helped by nothing but sleep. And Tylenol. Thank you God for infants Tylenol.

Okay. Enough of that. You get the idea that this week has not been a tropical vacation to Cuba where the sand is white and the water is blue and the sun is hot. Man I wish!!

On the other hand, earlier this week I got a layout done using a quick page from Jen at Graham Like the Cracker, but if you want the free download you better hurry, it's only available until Saturday, February 7th. The title was done using the alpha that came in the kit, and the font is Pea Tracy.

The kit is called Alphabet Remix and you can click on the image to take you to Amber's blog to purchase the whole kit, I can't wait to play around and do my own layout, but I loved the quick page so much, and being able to just pop my pictures in and add text is such an easy way to get a page done! Amber also has lots of freebies on her site too.

Here is a layout I did last week using Vicki's and Mel's collab kit Down By The Lily Pond, it's a great kit and I love the colors, and the alpha, and the elements...well all of it actually. I turned my picture black and white and added a little green back in, and I think it turned out pretty well!

Click on the previews to take you to their blogs where you can download the free kit.

Well, that's about it for today. I also did two layouts for my project 365 for week three, but maybe I'll post it next week. This momma needs her sleep so she doesn't get cranky at her kids tomorrow!!

Also, I finished reading Water For Elephants, what a great book. For my full review, click on the book in my sidebar to take you to my book blog. TTFN!!

Beware the few racy photos...thought it was worth it to see all the other ones!