Friday, July 30, 2010

Contain my excitement? Never!!

Because I totally suck at acting like nothing is going on when I'm  bursting from excitement inside, I just thought I should let you all  know...

Totally Tutorials Blog

That badge you see above is posted with pride.

I sent in my journal cover tutorial (You've Got Mail!) for consideration and it was accepted and posted over at the Totally Tutorials blog!

This was a fabulous way to start Friday!!

Go show the Totally Tutorials blog some love if you have a free moment.

And of course, thank you for posting my tutorial, Dotty! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's Banner Time!!

(Not to be confused with Hammertime--although that is fun too.)

My blog was pretty plain until last week. There was just

Made in My Free Time
Sneak some creativity into life!

in big letters at the top.

Well, slowly I've been adding things like a Who That? page and a Blogtastical Goodness page. Take a look around. You might just catch me in my never know...

Anyway, part of this was designing the banner that you see above. Or (for when I change the banner in the future) this:

Click the image to see a larger version

I couldn't decide between a ninja and my rocker mushroom for a mascot. And while I'm a sucker for all things mushroom, I'm going with the pixelated ninja for now.

Also, since I am without Photoshop, I used Microsoft Paint to design the ninja. Ah, Microsoft Paint, how do I love thee and yet not at the same time. And then put it all together in Publisher. Not a bad way to go, but not the best either.

Honestly, I am just not happy with the quality that I've got going right now. It's too soft. But it's a start because it's more than just boring old words.

The ninja lets you know that you've got to stay on your toes. You never know what could pop out to thwack you with a throwing star. Because that's just rude.

Feedback? Good, bad, and indifferent: Bring it on!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wreck This Weekend: Post Two

That's right folks, it's time for another installment of Wreck This Weekend!!

I'm excited to share my pages with you...although looking at the flickr groups make me feel a little inadequate, but you know what? I am having fun so even if my finished project isn't like theirs it is still totally fun and worth it.

So without further adieu, I give you Week Two of Wreck This Weekend:

July 11th
You know, the directions didn't say to draw a tree, but based on the topic of the article I thought the tree was fitting. :)

July 12th
Because my voice will always be loud and I will occasionally screw up. No one should ever be able to make me feel bad about myself--including myself.

July 13th
This task was more like soccer and soccer never was my sport. Basketball, volleyball, and softball yes. Soccer? No. Journal soccer/golf? Definitely not. 

My 6 tries were made from about 18 inches away.

July 14th
Tape seemed to be the most sensible choice in this situation...

And I braided the tear strips page which would have turned out really cool if I had colored them before tearing them (see post one).

July 15th
This one was a lot of fun. I think that switching colors of pen would have also looked cool.

July 16th
Another fun one that reminded me of elementary school. I even carved the letter "J" out of a potato. This is one of my favorite pages.

July 17th
Tongue painting left my journal page more soggy than painted. At least now I know what a journal tastes like(?).

And that's Week Two of Wreck This Weekend.

What have you been wrecking lately? Journaling? Crafting? Photographing? Spill! :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chore Chart Leads to Sewing Project

My kids are 2 and 4 years old.

The 4 year old wants to be a big kid who gets allowance.
The 2 year old wants to do everything the 4 year old does.
They both want to buy toys.

So we instituted chores and allowance for completing chores at my house last week. Why should we parents be stuck paying for all of their toys with nothing for us in return!?! We shouldn't, I say!

Our method for logging the chores is a dry erase chore chart. That way we can modify it however we want (like to add more chores MUAHAHAHAHA) and it's eco-friendly because it's reusable.

I hung our eco-friendly dry erase chore chart on the wall at kid height and called it good.

But it wasn't good.

The dry erase markers that I bought for this didn't come with a pouch and I had no place to put the markers near the board. So I slapped them in a sandwich bag and tacked them to the wall next to the chore chart.

It looked hideous.

We can't have hideousness all out in the open for anyone stopping by to see! No, no, not when I can sew.

So I drew up some plans:

Wow, I really need to get a better eraser...and scanner...

And went about the business of modifying my reversible pouch tutorial to make it!

As you can see, I changed the shape of the pouch and added a rivet to the top for hanging.

Here is the finished pouch:

Funny story about the rivet on this pouch...
So this was the first time I've ever put a rivet on a project.

I used the little hand riveting tools that you can buy next to the rivets and a hammer (as directed). Yeah...the directions on the packs aren't very good. Or maybe I need to work on my reading comprehension skills a bit. I don't know what, but whatever the problem was with the directions, I used the tool wrong and the rivet tool got stuck INSIDE of the rivet. And I couldn't get it out.

I had to make some delicate maneuvers involving a chisel, hammer, and flat head screw driver to get the tool off. So I'll be posting a how-to on riveting soon. Or maybe a how-not-to. I haven't decided yet.

I'm thinking in the future that this bag could be given to a certain little boy to hold his pens or treasures of some kind. All he'd need is a piece of rope strung through the rivet to close it with.

And that's how a chore chart lead me to a sewing project.

What have you been making lately?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wreck This Weekend: Post One

As you know if you've been reading this blog lately (if not, catch up here), I purchased a copy of Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith at the beginning of July and made a commitment to do at least one page every day.

Well, I'm proud to report that after two weeks with it in my possession, I have stuck to that commitment and now I'd like to share the results with you!

But I don't want this post to just be a random, one time thing. I'm no where near finished with the book and I'd like to be able to keep sharing the pages that I create with you with some sort of regular frequency.

Also, part of the reason why I started this blog was to encourage my friends and family to get back in touch with their creative selves. What better way than to post pictures of what I've done each week from a book that has inspired me?

Motivation, my friends.

You each have your own unique perspective on the book's instructions--don't like what I did with my page? Make one yourself! And you don't go out and buy the book to do it, either. That's the fun thing about being creative. You can do whatever you want!

Let's get a little friendly competition going, too: Who can make the most colorful pages! Who's with me? Post a link to your page (blog page, photobucket/flickr account, wherever it is!)  in the comments section of this blog and we'll come take a look at it!

So with that and without further ado, I bring you a Made in My Free Time mini-series:

Wreck This Weekend

Once each weekend, I will post pictures from my Wreck This Journal entries so you can follow along with me! I encourage you to post comments and share your journals, too. Even if you don't want to compete. I would love to see your creations!

Here are mine from Week One:
 July 3rd
The first thing I do with a new book is crack the spine--blame it on the year I worked at the college bookstore. But don't worry former bookstore coworkers, I only cracked the spines on my own books. :)

 I'm thinking of coloring this page, but for now here's how it stands.

Too easy!!

 This one reminded me of making hand turkeys for Thanksgiving when I was in elementary school.

July 4th
I really wish that I had colored the strips before tearing them...

I numbered the book backwards. :)

Broke out the crayons for this page!

July 5th
 This was fun. I spit, poured, and dripped coffee onto the page to make the design.  I wish that I had used regular coffee, though. I used a latte so the coffee stains aren't very dark. 

I went out hunting for a 4-leaf clover for this page. The rest are from around my house.

July 6th
Scribbling with different colored pens is fun. :)

July 7th
My morning shower has never been so invigorating.

No one said it had to be a solid sheet of newspaper.

July 8th
I flew this airplane before taping it to the journal. It didn't fly very far. Lame.

July 9th
 This was all that was left of the "Fold this page up, put it in your pocket, and run it through the wash" page.

Another page I'd like to color some more later.

July 10th
I sprayed the page with White Shoulders perfume. Now the whole journal smells pretty.

Next weekend I'll get you caught up with this week and so on until the journal is complete.

Keep an eye out for the Wreck This Weekend mini-series next weekend!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Arrr, Matey!

The kids and I had a few hours that we needed to kill yesterday so we decided to play pirates.

Except we couldn't just play pirates. No, no. We had to make the stuff to dress up and play pirates with!

So I set my kids to coloring pieces of paper to make hats with. They're nothing special, the hats. They are the same style of hats that we used to make in elementary school out of newspaper. Turns out they make for pretty good make believe pirate hats, too. And since it's been about 15 years since I made my last newspaper hat, I used this tutorial for reference.

While the kids colored, I cut out and sewed eye patches. Because, well, everybody knows pirates have eye patches...or at least so says my 4 year old.

Since the project is very simple, I made two eye patches in under 30 minutes. You can, too!

How to Make a Pirate Eye Patch for Kids

Fabric (fleece or felt are recommended*)
Needle (or sewing machine)

*You can use any fabric for this project, but fleece and felt are recommended because you don't have to hem the edges after cutting them. If you use another fabric like cotton for this, then plan to use some fabric glue or a hem to keep the edges from fraying or have ragged edges on your final project.

Click on the picture to view larger version

(Okay, so my scanner isn't working right now so this is my attempt at making a graphic that will print to actual size. If it doesn't, let me know. I'll figure it out!)

Step 1) Using the template pictured above, cut the eye patch shape out of your fabric. Note: The dimensions of this patch are 2.5 inches wide by 2.75 inches tall.

Step 2) Measure 18-24 inches of yarn (measurement depends on the size of the head of the child being fitted) and burn the ends to prevent unraveling.

Step 3) Place the patch in the middle of the yarn being sure that the yarn is at the flat top portion of the fabric. Fold the top 1/4 inch of the patch  over the yarn along the fold line (see template above) and pin in place.

Step 4) Sew a hem where you pinned except make sure that you use a wide stitch so your needle also passes through the yarn as well as the layers of fabric. Sewing the patch to the yarn like this is optional, but will prevent the patch from sliding off of the yarn in the future.

I used a cross stitch to sew on our patches, but you could use a sewing machine with the zig zag setting, too. Do what makes you happy!

Step 5) Tie the patch on and go have some fun!

Arrr, Matey!!

Fun fact that I found out while making the eye patches: Fabric glue and fleece do not work together.Heed my warning, friends. It's just a big fat mess waiting to happen.

What have you been up to?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You've Got Mail!

So I had a fabulous idea yesterday that I couldn't wait to share with you!

While cutting the stamps off of my mail for a page in my Wreck This Journal, I realized that the envelopes my mail comes in could be used for something new.

Next time you get bills or other mail from businesses that come in security envelopes, take a look inside and you might be pleasantly surprised like me.

Or, I could just show you right now.

Yeah, let's do that.

Look through the window

See that? The inside of the envelopes have designs.

So I cut open the envelope and opened it up to see how I could use it.

Great timing! I just bought some small moleskin journals and immediately thought of covering one with the envelope paper.

To cover the journal completely, I had to use two envelope halves. Making sure to position the paper where I wanted it before applying any adhesive.

Easy flush edges: Make sure that the envelope paper is bigger than the journal. Wait to trim off the excess paper until after the glue dries using sharp scissors or an xacto knife.

Using my new favorite medium for paper:

I adhered the envelope paper to the outside of the journal.

I have found that the easiest way to do this is to apply the adhesive to one side of the journal at a time, pulling tight and smoothing down each side as you go. Squeegees, credit cards, and other long flat items are also useful for smoothing out any bubbles under the paper.

Then I allowed the journal to dry completely and cut the excess paper around the edges.

Next I added a ribbon which served two purposes*:
  1. Covered up the seam between the two pieces of paper.
  2. Adds a blast of color to the black and white pattern.
*Plus, orange is my favorite color so I'm always looking for ways to add a little orange to my projects!

See how I made sure to leave the ends extra long? That way there's plenty for wrapping to the inside of the journal cover.

Once the ribbon was positioned where I wanted it, I glued it to the outside of the journal! (I used clear Tacky glue for this part.) And then allow the glue to dry AGAIN.

Next, I trimmed the excess ribbon to about 2.5 inches and folded it over into the inside of the journal to be sure it would fit. Once I was sure it would fit tightly inside, I glued the remaining ribbon to the inside of the journal.

To protect the first pages from the glued ribbon, I slipped some small pieces of freezer paper inside.

Then, because the edge of the ribbon where I folded it over to the inside wouldn't lay flat, I clamped the journal shut.

After an hour of clamping, I removed the clip and placed the journal under a stack of heavy books to dry completely.

There's one less envelope in the dump today!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My morning shower has never been so invigorating

I've been struggling for a month with starting an art journal.

The reason is that I'm worried about messing it up. Silly, huh? It's my art journal. One would think I couldn't mess up my own art journal. But it is what's holding me back. Silly as it is.

I know that to get over this issue, I need to break out and do something crazy or at least not ordinary.

So, with that in mind, I bought Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal on Saturday and have done at least one thing every day.

It's a lot of fun. When I showed it to my husband he said, "See? This is one of the reasons why I love you. You're not afraid to do things we used to do when we were kids." I think that sums up the book well. Let loose and have fun. Creativity comes from destruction! We never knew this better than when we were kids.

Honestly, I planned a different introduction for this book to Made in My Free Time but after this morning, I threw those plans out the window.

"Why? What was so inspiring? What made your shower so great!?!" You ask?

The page that I had been the most skeptical about.

After the Shower or See? It wasn't that bad

That's right. I took a shower with the book.

I put it on my head and stood under the water spray, I opened to the "Bring this book in the shower with you." page and turned around in circles, I made sure to get the thing wet.

Really, everyone should do it at least once. It was freeing.

Like surprisingly freeing.

I guess it's all those years I was told to take care of books growing up. Showering with them is certainly not the best way to take care of a book, that's for sure.

Whatever it was, I was invigorated and even though it was 5 am, I was ready to wake the kids up and tackle the day.

Anyone else ever have this happen to them?