Michelle at Liturgical Time is hosting a Jesse Tree ornament swap.
I was excited to take part for the following three reasons:
By the time I'd gotten wind of the swap, many of the "good" ones were taken. Determined to make the most of my "do something crafty" point, I ran through the list for the most boring sounding ornament of all. I found it in Zechariah. Suggested symbols were pencil and paper. In my mind, it doesn't get much more boring than that. So I e-mailed Michelle and asked if she'd be kind enough to put me in for good old Zechariah so long as no one else had claimed him (not that I was even slightly worried he was taken, 'cause again... who takes Zechariah when there are cool folks like Adam, Eve, Noah, Elijah and Mary to choose from?).
When Michelle wrote me back and gave me the green light, I felt a quick pang. "Uh oh. It's official. Other folks are counting on me to come up with something that isn't gonna suck. Now what?"
I did a quick Pinterest search for Zechariah. Did a quick Google search. Did a quick check back on Michelle's page to see if I could grab someone else because, thus far, nothing on Zechariah looked at all appealing.
I stopped myself, though. I wanted to stick to my guns. I'm creative, gosh darn it! I could come up with something fun that embodies the theme of anticipation and summarizes Zechariah's place on the Jesse Tree. I could! I definitely could. Maybe. Hopefully.
So I thought about it for a bit. Zechariah's best known for being struck mute upon disbelieving that God would deliver a son to his wife, Elizabeth, and he. Given they were both older, he was incredulous. In fact, Zechariah wasn't able to speak again until little John the Baptist was born. While everyone was running around demanding that his son be named after Zechariah, mute Zechariah finally regained use of his voice to affirm the child's name as decreed by God.
How could I capture that?
Cue the Holy Spirit.
No, seriously. Circle pouch. I thought of a little zippered coin pouch that could serve as Zechariah, himself. I did a quick tutorial search and found this by Erin Erickson:
Pretty snazzy, right? She's got some cool stuff that way - go check her out!
Anywho, this looked simple enough. I figured I'd just modify the zipper portion so it was lower, put a "hanger ribbon" in place of the keyring, and slap some googly eyes on brown felt fabric to make Zechariah's face. Zippered shut signified his silence while opened up would signify his ability to speak. In addition to this unzippered mouth, I was contemplating a way to have a ribbon come out and be able to fold back into the pouch that said, "His name is John."
Well, I finally sat down to try my hand at this little pouch today. Since I wanted to get my students (and craft friends) involved, I wanted to hammer out the process. Thank God I did, 'cause I was a flat out disaster! Seriously. Disaster. Take a look at this sexy thing:
Go ahead and recoil in horror. Scream. Cry a little inside. That's what I did. In fact, when I showed my husband, he said, "That might just be the worst thing I've ever seen. Ever."
Alrighty then. So my little Frankenstein wasn't gonna cut it. I cannot sew in a circle, and the creepy little button eyes were getting to me. So I decided to go a sewing-free route. It took a few trial-and-error runs, but eventually, I got Zechariah looking a little more human:
And since I still wanted the anticipation of "opening his mouth" to be something the kids could look forward to when they used this little ornament year after year, I kept the creepy "John" ribbon and made it look a little less creepy:
Eventually I'll put a step-by-step up here for anyone interested in doing this little craft themselves. I'll save you the trouble of that first monstrosity. ;)
So far, though, most folks are tickled by the idea behind this ornament. Everyone loves pulling his mouth open to see "John" slide out, and it slides right back in again with the tug of the top part of the ribbon (that you can use to hang it). For kids, they'll look forward (with anticipation!) to opening Zechariah's mouth and hearing the story of how John the Baptist got his name. For adults, it'll hopefully be a good teaching tool in sharing the story of trusting in the goodness and power of God.
Now, I've got five made (sans that little monster face). Only 27 more to go (and I'll have the help of my students and a few craft-friends). WOO HOO!
My friend, Faith, got Vince a super cool sleeping bag for Christmas. He uses it for nap time at daycare almost every week. As a result of the constant use, the velcro straps on the ends have become relatively useless as of late. So, I decided to try fixing it with a single velcro strap that went around the middle of the entire bag instead of around the two sides.
I originally wanted a buckle, but I couldn't find one of those snap buckles (the kind on high chairs?). So I went with velcro since it was cheap and easy to use.
I did a quick measure of where the stitch would need to go and set that bad boy through my sewing machine. Again, success! I really enjoy short little projects like this because I end up feeling productive and motivated to try again.
So that's my advice to newbs out there like myself. Keep trying your hand at the little things. Build up your confidence and motivation through them. They'll hone your basic skills and introduce you to new ones little by little. Yay!
So I saw this adorable idea on Pinterest the other day. I don't have a Pinterest account, but I do regularly see "pins" on Facebook and this particular one caught my eye. An easy apron you can make out of a potholder and a dishtowel?
Color me intrigued.
So off I go to find a cute potholder / dishtowel duo that can serve as my base. Here's what I found (Walmart for $3!):
The set came with two square potholders, a mitt, three towels and a washcloth. Not bad for $3. Material definitely isn't the best, but I figure $3 on a practice project is $3 well spent, especially when I can get several projects outta the pack!
So anyway, I decided to give the project a go tonight after I picked up the pink ribbon you see above.
I cut the towel a little less than halfway through. I wanted the pattern of little cupcakes to still show up in a way that didn't look odd when completed. Unfortunately, I underestimated the fabric allowance I'd need to fold over to sew a decent looking seam. As a result, the lines aren't straight again and I think the cupcakes ended up being on a slight angle. Meh... gives it some character. *Grin*
From here I decided I should attempt to fold down the corners of my little rectangle so I could sew the potholder onto the towel. I eye-balled two triangles on either side of the top and sewed them in place. I didn't take pictures of this part - though I really should've - because I didn't want to stop since I'd finally gotten things working right.
Those triangles taught me the importance of having an iron handy. I don't think I'd've been able to sew those seams closed had I not had the iron to help me make the creases that would hold down the fabric. So yes! Irons really DO make all the difference in the world. Who knew?
Once the triangles were in place, I took on the potholder. I measured the seam out to where I thought it should go. GLORIOUS mistake on this one. Since I was sewing backside (to keep the stitch colors where I wanted them) I didn't see that my measurement was way off until I flipped the pieces over to view my not-so-handy-work. I actually laughed. This is what it looked like:
Oh well. I figured I may as well continue making as many mistakes as possible with this one. Get 'em out of the way so when I try my hand at this again, I won't have so many goofs to take photos of. Ha ha!
Once the potholder was attached, I decided to put a ribbon across the center as a little belt. It'd cover the stitching error and would add a touch of cute (as if cupcakes weren't adorable enough!).
So I grabbed the ribbon and was pleasantly surprised to find that it folded out into 2 inch fabric! It's not real ribbon... it's something called bias tape. Worked for me!
So I unfolded it out and cut a center piece for the belt. Again, I eye-balled it since I'm not really sure what I'd be measuring anyway since I didn't start out with any sizes. I then folded those and sewed the ends into place.
I decided against sewing the belt down the center because after I secured both sides, it actually sat pretty flat against the potholder. I felt that adding a sewing line would be silly. Granted, I would've gotten practice sewing in a straight line, but I think it looks cute enough without the line and I do plan to give this to my niece.
Anyway, after the belt was secured, I attached the ribbons to tie in the back and around the neck. Those were simple enough. Once completed, I was pretty pleased with myself. It took me about an hour and a half to accomplish (mostly because I was fighting with my machine), but all in all, this was a really good practice run and I learned a few new things about my machine and the sewing process. Plus, I feel like I'm an expert threader now that I've had to do it about a bazillion times.
Here's the trial run apron. Can't wait to see what the 2nd one looks like!
I sincerely hope a year from now I have enough practice that I can look back at this photo and cringe in horror. Right now, though, I'm basking in my success, even if it's the messy sort. :)
Is that a pizza cutter?!
About five years ago I was given a sewing machine for my wedding shower. It sat completely unused in my closet for years. A friend of mine said she needed a sewing machine, so I happily gave her the lonely one up in my closet.
Well, about 6 months ago I decided that I wanted to give sewing a real go. I typically need hemming done on a lot of my clothing, and I was intrigued by the idea of altering my own dresses to make them more in-line with my view of modesty (specifically inserts to cover up 'the girls').
Anyway, I purchased a wonderful new sewing machine and finally found a beginner's class for someone who has never touched a sewing machine before.
I learned, though, during registration, that I needed to at least come prepared with a "BSK."
"What the heck is a BSK?" I asked.
The nice woman responded with, "Oh, that's short for Basic Sewing Kit."
Wow, I really must be a newb.
Anyway, I now have about three weeks to put together a basic sewing kit. I'll be honest. I don't even know what goes into a basic sewing kit. But I want to learn!!! I've googled various BSKs and got a whole bunch of info. However, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by all that information.
I know some of my readers are sewing masters. Can any of you be so kind as to share some of your favorite tools of the trade? Give me your version of a BSK so I have a better idea what I need to start off with?
And please feel free to dumb your language down to cave-man levels. That picture above? I can probably only name about half the things (and only because the pin cushion is pictured twice).
Thanks in advance for your help!!!
Oh, and PS: Bobbins.
I thought those little spooly-things came pre-wound with thread. Can you get those, or did I just make that up? Do I need to purchase the thread (also spooled) separately and then re-wind it around the bobbins? Or have I completely confused the point of what a bobbin is?
When I tell you I have no clue what I'm up against, I cannot possibly exaggerate my lack of knowledge. So really... help the poor, drowning girl out.
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