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I think this is one of those projects that I liked better in theory than I am in practice.  It’s just not getting the wow factor I was looking for – I think it needs more dimension, or some jute or ribbon to give it more texture.  Anyways, here’s what I did:

I Mod Podge’d holiday scrapbook paper to a bunch of mini-clothespins, and lightly sanded the edges.  Then I strung up some 18-gauge wire to the garland hooks over our mantle.  Then I just attached the cards and announcements we’ve received so far this season (plus the Christmas cards I made with my Mom), using the embellished clothespins.  Instant card garland!

What do you think – needs something more?

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I haven’t been posting lately because my parents are in town visiting and I’ve been busy spending time with them.  One of the activities my Mom and I did was to attend a Christmas Card Extravaganza at a local stamp and craft store.  We made 16 cards, and got caught up on the current cardmaking techniques.  I like to make cards, but I usually only did annual Christmas cards and I would buy just what I needed to complete my card.  We felt extremely “outclassed” by all the tote-wielding attendees who had enough gear to fill up the trunk of my Nissan Rogue – for stamping!  Anyways, we got to Cuttlebug, emboss, embellish and Stickle to our hearts content. 

Some of my favorites:

Mom and I have already agreed that we would send each other the snowflakes one so we would end up with one of our favorites if we send them all out.  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I don’t have any fun projects completed to post, so I’ll just do a quick wrap up of what’s been going on.

We broke ground – literally – on our garage reconstruction.  On Thursday, they took out the old slab, dug for the footings, and put in the foundation walls.  We’re using a treated lumber foundation instead of block cement.  It’s pretty interesting to see.  My brother Jeff is taking a class that was discussing treated lumber foundations, so he came out and took some photos.  On Friday, they backfilled and compacted the fill sand.  The framing and concrete guys are working on other jobs right now, so they’re not expected for a week and a half or so.  But, great progress!

Also on Friday, Arden dissapeared into the breakfast nook and was awfully quiet for a minute, so I went to go find her.  We’ve learned that when things get quiet, somethings up!  Arden had taken all her soft toys out of one of the Tub Trugs we use to store her toys in and dragged it into the kitchen and climbed in.  Of course I grabbed the camera instead of helping her out!

Saturday was CMU’s homecoming, so I took Arden.  I got there just at the right time to get a tour of my sorority house and a cup of coffee before the parade started.  Arden’s favorites were the horse drawn carriages and floats with dogs.  That’s my girl!  I took some photos of her at the house – can I brag a bit about the shirt I made for her, and the sweater I knitted when I was pregnant?  That sweater has fit her (okay, it’s a little small now) for about a year – totally worth the time it took to knit!

After we got home from the parade, I got started on the chairs I showed you from the ReStore.  I got the seat off one and sanded it down.  I probably got a bit ambitious with the sander since I’m going to prime and paint them, but oh well.  I’ve also been working a bit each day on a cow costume for a friend’s son.  I’m pretty excited about how it’s turning out.  I had to use a devil costume pattern since I couldn’t find a toddler cow pattern, and I’m appliquéing (is there actually a verb for appliqué?) on the cow spots since the only cow fabric I found was novelty cotton and not thick enough to keep him warm.  So, I’m using fleece and getting creative with my scissors while watching chick flicks – my husband had started watching Step Up, it wasn’t my idea!  Yes, my husband has — um — varied taste in entertainment!  I guess it’s all fair, since I like to craft, sew, quilt, and knit and also am into marathons, adventure races, and Muay Thai kickboxing.

Lately I’ve seen several tours of craft rooms, and I have to admit just a teensy bit of jealousy.  But that being said, I’m pretty pleased to finally have a spot that is just mine to do whatever crafting or sewing I want. 

Previously, I would haul out my Mom’s circa 1960 New Home sewing machine and plop it on the kitchen table.  It would stay out until a) I finished the project, b) my husband got so fed up with it that he finally complained about it and I cleaned it off for a day or two, or c) we had guests over who actually wanted to sit at the kitchen table.

Earlier this year, I finally got my dream machine – a Janome Memory Craft 9700.  I wanted one that would be good for quilting, making clothes and crafts, and also did some embroidery.  Check, check, and check!  It made several trips onto and off of the kitchen table as well.

Then, this summer I sold my motorcycle (yes, I had a motorcycle – BTW, my husband did not :p ).  With some of the proceeds from the sale of my beloved but post-baby-neglected Honda Shadow, I bought two Pottery Barn Bradford three-drawer file cabinets.  I know I probably could have found something ramshackle to try to fix up beautifully like all of you, but I had been eyeing these things forever and I had cash burning a hole in my pocket.  I already had an Ikea Vika Hyttan stainless steel table top that I had purchased years ago thinking I could try to span the guest bed and make that my craft room.  That never happened, and now the old guest bedroom is Arden’s room, and the new guest bedroom is the old office.

My craft "room"

So, put it all together in a corner of the dining room, add a $10 desk chair from Staples, and voila!  Instant craft “room”.  I still need to do a lot more organization.  I’d love to have some open shelves with things in pretty baskets, but with two dogs and three cats, that’s just inviting trouble.  I do most of my crafting at night, and you can see from the photo that the lighting is not ideal so that’s why I often have a yellowish cast to my photos.  Do I sense a lamp shade redo in my future?  There’s a bit of obligatory toddler-proofing as the corner of the table top was exactly noggin’ height.  The stainless steel table top comes in handy for my little magnetic ruler – you can just see it through the mesh on the back of the chair.

"The Quilt"

This polyptych art titled The Quilt was a wedding gift from my hubby, and is a local Michigan artist.  I admit, I had to google to find the word polyptych.  I knew what a triptych was, but had no idea what a four-part piece was called – quadptych?  Um, no.  But isn’t it great?

I can’t take any credit for this one since my Mom made it years ago and gave it to me when they moved to Florida full-time.  I get it out every year, and I think it’s great!

Halloween Doormat

You’ll need a doormat with a prominent grid pattern.  The design could be borrowed from a simple cross stitch pattern, or you could make your own using graph paper.  This was made using 1″ strips of fabric.  Just snip the intervals with scissors and tear – the edges are supposed to be ragged.  Using a large tapestry or yarn needle, or just poking the fabric through with a chopstick, work the pattern like a cross stitch – working a row from the bottom left hole to the top right and then returning from the bottom right to the top left.

Stitch detail

The only catch is that I tried searching online for this type of doormat, and I’m not seeing it.  So, if you have one or stumble across one, here’s an idea for what to do with it.  I also have one for Christmas with “Noel” on it.

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This weekend, Arden and I attended a friend’s Annual End of Summer BBQ.  We got to take a break from the demolition, and Arden got to hang out with her friend Hannah.  I dressed Arden in one of her little pinafores – one of the products I plan to sell on Etsy.  I think they’re adorable, but I had no idea they would be so popular at the BBQ.  Nearly every other mother at the party commented on it, and when I said I made it at least two people said I should sell them, to which I replied “I’m planning to!”.  If I had been really on the ball, I would have already had business cards to hand out, but since that’s about the last thing I still need to do before opening the shop (besides sewing and taking photos), I won’t beat myself up too much about it.

Meep-meep

Back view while the girls say good-bye to departing guests

One of my intended products for my eventual Etsy store Jennuine Design will be reversable pinafore tops.  I’ve made several for Arden and one as a gift for a friend and they sew up very quickly.  Arden’s nursery is ladybug-themed, so my mom was eyeing up all the novelty prints at Joanne’s, but I wasn’t going for them at all.  Then we found this adorable and way more subtle print with little cute ladybugs.  The reverse fabric is multicolored polka dots on black – the best we found for not showing through the white background of the print.  I’ve made a matching kerchief, but don’t have photos of that.  Way too cute!

Arden modeling her newest pinnie

Playing shy

So, this is where I’m supposed to say something incredibly witty about myself and why I’m starting this blog.  Well.  Umm.  Here goes nothing.  Can’t promise witty, but it will be about me and why I’m starting this blog

I’m a 30-something mother to Arden, my adorable little girl who I love more than my arms can hold.  My awesome physicist husband Dave and I have been married for 3 years.  We have two black labs named Laser and Sophie, and three cats named Erwin, Otto, and Poe.  We didn’t start out intending to have a menagerie, but between his cats (Erwin and Otto), my cats (Bailey and Frank), losing two cats (Frank and later diabetic Bailey) fostering a PAWS With a Cause dog (Laser), the PAWS dog getting “career changed” and we decided to keep the frustrating but loveable lug, adopting a friend for said lug (Sophie), and finding a discarded black cat (Poe) just before Halloween one year, stuff happens.  I’m a sometimes runner and former (and hopefully future) marathoner.  I spent over ten years training and teaching Muay Thai and while I miss how empowered and fit that made me feel, I really don’t miss the time investment or all the bruises!

I’ve been crafting as long as I can remember.  I made doll’s clothes while staying with my grandma on her antique Singer.  My mom taught me how to cross-stitch when I was little, and we sewed a whole bedding ensemble for my cabbage patch doll Krissy Lynn.  Later Mom taught me how to crochet (which I’ve since forgotten), and let me go with her to her monthly craft group, and occasionally sit in on her weekly stitch gathering.  As an adult, I learned how to quilt, and tried to start my own craft group where a friend taught me how to knit.  During my pregnancy, my nesting instinct took the form of sewing and knitting, and I made burp cloths out of cloth diapers, quilts for expecting friends, and knitted like a woman posessed.  After Arden was born, I made my husband and my brother-in-law “man slings” after Dave kept poaching my pink one.  Now, I’m trying to begin a small business selling “simply sweet designs for tiny people” on Etsy.

My Dad was a home builder and instilled in me a can-do attitude.  I’m not afraid of power tools, and am willing to try anything once.  I’ve tiled my own bathroom, re-fashioned an antique window into a shadow box/shelf, made a rolling ottoman out of a drawer, and re-screened a sliding door to name a few.

I hope you find something I write here interesting, funny, helpful, or inspirational.

Gotta run,

Jenn