Teachers of Good Things Craft Meeting: Fall Blocks

Our quarterly Ladies Craft Meeting at Church was last month, and we made these fun wood blocks with scrapbook paper and vinyl decals. We painted the blocks first and then added scrapbook paper to the front if we wanted. I precut the vinyl on my Cameo. The cut files for the decals were purchased from Etsy shop Lilly Ashley

There are 8 different designs in the set, and it comes with a commercial license! I also created a fun name block for one of the kids’ teachers, and it was a big hit.

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Hodge Podge End of Year Update

Guys. Come on now. You didn’t really think I was going to go the whole rest of 2015 without blogging again, did you? Okay, okay, so I’m cutting it close, but I’ve been a little busy. Here’s all that’s been happening:

First of all, the house. We got the foundation work all completed, and it is now completely steady and under a transferable lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, the buyer ended up backing out with no real explanation the very day we were having the work done. So that was disappointing, but the foundation repair needed to be done either way, so we are more prepared than ever for when the right buyer comes along. We also put in new kitchen counter tops and new backsplash along the sink wall, so it went from this:

to this:

Halloween was definitely better this year than last, but I didn’t do anything crafty in the costume department. Or take really any pictures, apparently. This seems to be the sole picture I have of the two littles who trick or treated. Lily was either Rapunzel or Sophia the First, depending on her mood and whether or not she wanted to wear the wig. Sawyer was a little more put together as a pirate. But seriously, what was the deal with this picture? Mom/photographer/blogger fail.

We also had a couple of things going on with the ladies ministries at church. Our Teachers of Good Things group had their quarterly craft meeting, and this time around we made easy burlap wreaths. Nick came up with a pile of wire coat hangers and helped me (mostly just did it for me) shape them into wreath forms. Then we just unhooked the top, accordion folded burlap ribbon, threaded it on, and rehooked the top. My awesome mom, who is a licensed florist, whipped up burlap bows for everyone.

My SIL Leah the wreath model.

We used basically this tutorial on Just Call Me Homegirl although as I mentioned, we accordion folded the burlap instead of zigzagging/twisting to save on time because our church life center had a second event happening after ours. In retrospect, I wish we had followed Homegirl’s tutorial more exactly, because folding it the way we did required more burlap (about 15 yards a wreath) and I found that over time it tends to compress and sag down to the bottom. I think it would work well this way if you were to first use a fabric stiffener on the ribbon.
We also did a fun Christmas Sock Exchange/Cookie Party. Everyone brought a fun pair of new Christmas socks filled with goodies and we all baked cookies and exchanged socks. So fun!
In other news, I finally got to upgrade to a Cameo, and I did a lot of fun projects for Christmas with it, I made a couple of cool guy gifts out of paracord, I made some awesome drop cloth Christmas stockings, and I participated in the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange again, all of which deserve their own post. Happy New Year, guys!
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Teachers of Good Things Fabric Pumpkins

So clearly I’m making up for lost time with the posting tonight, but it’s about to get CA-RAZY up in here, so I’m doing it while I can. I mentioned a couple posts ago that we did another Walridge Baptist Church Teachers of Good Things Quarterly Craft Meeting. You know, the WBCToGTQCM for short. This month was so fun! We made fabric pumpkins, and they turned out SO CUTE!

We took our inspiration and general game plan from this post at Coastal Farmhouse, and if I can ever get my hands on some of that gorgeous snowy vintage chenille I’m going to make some just like hers!
Rachael and I hit Joann’s for supplies and went a little nuts (within the budget of course). I’m so pleased with the fabrics we ended up with! Rachael graciously took on the task of cutting all the circles out because, hello, have you met my scissor skills? She cut 2 sizes, 18 inches and 9 inches, which made roughly 12 and 6 inch pumpkins. The tutorial linked very helpfully gives you measurements for a lot more sizes. We also cut freehand leaves out of all the fabric.

This is more of a list tutorial than a photo tutorial, because I was so busy making pumpkins that I mostly got photos of finished items. But here are the basics:

Supplies:
Fabric circles in various sizes
Polyfil
Needles and thread
Deer corn
Stems/short sticks
Various embellishments like buttons and twine
Hot glue guns

Start by threading your needle, tying a large knot in the end, and sewing a loose running stitch all the away around your circle, about a half inch from the edge. Loosely gather the circle into a pouch, right side out.

Add between 1/2-1 cup of deer corn in the pouch, then fill the rest with Polyfil. Carefully pull the thread tight to close the circle at the top. Tie the thread off, then choose a stem.

Squirt a good glob of hot glue down into the top of the pumpkin, then push the stem in all the way to the bottom and twist. Hold it there for a second to let the glue set.

Add embellishments of your choice like fabric leaves, buttons, and twine.

About our supplies:

The deer corn came in a 40 pound bag from Walmart for something like $6. We had plenty left of course, but we also play cornhole at church camp every year, and the bags have to be repaired about once a year, so any excess will be used for that. Funny detail – the first bag we bought was actually half deer kibble, which we didn’t realize until we opened it up right before the event. Fortunately Walmart is about 5 minutes from the church. 🙂

You will need lots of Polyfil for this project. If you’re doing this for a group, you will probably need more than a 3lb bag.

While we did have a few real pumpkin stems, most of our stems were just short sticks Rachael gathered from around her home, and I liked them even better than the real stems. Before using, you will want to bake any natural items like this in your oven for a couple of hours at 175 degrees or so, checking every 15 minutes to make sure they don’t catch fire. This will kill any little creepy crawlies that may be hiding in the bark. Another awesome (but more expensive) option is to use a small bundle of cinnamon sticks as a stem.

The twine was just basic $1.97 a spool stuff from Walmart. We bought a 1/2 inch wooden dowel at Hobby Lobby, and I wrapped it tightly with the twine, then coated it with fabric stiffener and let it dry for 24 hours. The dowel was 36″ long, and we cut it in small sections when it was dry, but we still ran out, so I would recommend making more than you think you’ll need.

We got our buttons in big bags at Hobby Lobby for $5.99 minus the coupon savings, and I couldn’t get enough of them! (Not an affiliate link)
This craft was a huge hit, and most ladies made more than one. My mom and my sister-in-law Leah, who is the pastor’s wife, were on vacation with my dad and my brother and nephew, so I made some for them too.
These were my Mom’s.
And these were Leah’s. When she got back from vacation, she made a couple as a thank you gift for the neighbor who got their mail while they were gone.
I made these for the sweet lady who did the cooking for the event and for a dear church sister who unfortunately lost her husband the morning of the event and of course was not able to attend.
I also made some for Lily’s teachers at school for Teacher Appreciation Week, and when I went for a parent teacher meeting this week with her main teacher she had them proudly displayed on her desk and told me how much she loved them!
This was a craft that was doable for everyone, and even Lily made a couple.

We all had a great time, and they were all so different, yet all so adorable! I just couldn’t quit with them. I think I made 15 in all. The five at the top were the ones I took home, and they make me smile every time I see them. 

A few tips:
More corn means a heavier pumpkin that is going to stay put, but if your fabric is light and thin (like the muslin one above), it may show through if you add too much. Also, if your pumpkin is heavy, you will need to leave it sitting on the table while you’re pulling the thread closed at the top so you don’t break the thread. If you are making your pumpkin from burlap, it helps to tie the end of the thread to the burlap before running your stitch so that it doesn’t just pull through. Also, burlap will tend to poke out around the stem if you stitch too close to the edge, so it’s best to make your stitching line about an inch from the edge and tuck the raw edges into the top of the pumpkin before inserting your stem.
This was such a great craft, easy and inexpensive, especially if you are doing it for a group. Of course if you are just making a few for yourself and don’t want to buy a 40 pound bag of corn, you can weight them with rice, dried beans, dried pasta, or poly pellets. Or you can leave them unweighted and just stuff them with Polyfil or scrap fabric. Rachael made a few from old sweaters as a test run that were unweighted and they turned out amazing!
Hopefully we will be in a new house next Thanksgiving, and I just want to make these and put them everywhere! And I love that they can be made to match or complement any color scheme. Make up a few for your holiday decor or to take as a thank you gift for your host on Thanksgiving – there’s still plenty of time!
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Teachers of Good Things Craft Day

At my church (shout out to Walridge Baptist Church!) we have a monthly Ladies Meeting for our women’s ministry, Teachers of Good Things. Up until now it’s consisted of a potluck/Bible study combo, which has been wonderful (and tasty!). But recently we have decided to change things up a bit. We’re going in cycles each quarter, with one month being focused on missions, one month a prayer meeting, and one month…a CRAFT DAY!!!

I may have been a little excited about it. Our first craft day was this past Saturday, and I was really nervous about it because Leah, our pastor’s wife (who is also my sister-in-law and married to my brother Toby, er, our pastor) asked me to head it up. We decided to do cards this month, and Leah and I went on several crazy, madcap supply runs that may have involved various milkshakes and some total geeking out over craft tools.

I was up till I-don’t-want-to-share-this-info-with-my-husband o’clock the night before, slicing cardstock, die cutting circles, and embossing all the things I could reach. Here’s what we ended up doing:

First of all, Christmas tags. These were crazy simple. To make them, I first used my Sizzix to die cut a crap-load (that’s just for Toby, who teases me because I recently stood up to give my testimony in church and managed to include the word “crap” in it twice, because I’m way classy), anyway, a crap-load of circles from cardstock. The circles were about 1.5 inches, and I used various colors of cardstock, including some pretty shimmery red and white that we got at Tuesday Morning, 25 sheets for $1.99. All of these I embossed with winter/Christmas designs using my Sizzix Big Kick and various embossing folders. I also cut scalloped circles the same size from plain cardstock. To assemble, the ladies just used Elmer’s Glue-All to glue a scalloped circle to the back of an embossed circle, punched a hole through both layers using a hole punch, and attached either jute twine, baker’s twine, or ribbon.

Next, we did note cards, both a Christmas version and an everyday use version. This is where all my paper slicing came in. Leah and I found tons of gorgeous cardstock stacks at Tuesday Morning, Joann, and AC Moore. The stacks were all 12×12 or 6×6, and we needed the cards to measure 4×6 before they were folded. So I cut the 12×12 sheets down into six 4×6 pieces each, and just sliced 2 inches off one side of the 6×6 sheets. Those 2 inch remnants were put to use as well, which I’ll tell you about in a minute.

We folded the cards in half, then punched the front edge with Marvy Uchida Border Punches, like I did for Nick’s grandmother here. I love my border punch system, and I got one for my friend Amy for her birthday last month. She was kind enough to let us borrow it for the craft day, and Leah and I found another for the church on one of our trips to Tuesday Morning. Then I found two more on another day and snatched them up for an early Christmas gift for Leah and a birthday gift for Nick’s sister Rachael. So we had 5 to go around, but honestly we could have used twice that many.

We had all 8 different cartridges on hand, but most ladies chose the ribbon stitch one, and they had so much fun choosing pretty ribbon to weave through the slots.

The border punch does 2 inches at a time, so a four inch card was perfect. Also perfect about that size is the fact that an envelope made with a 6×6 inch sheet will fit it perfectly. We had several 6×6 stacks that we used for some of the envelopes, and I cut down a couple of 12×12 stacks for the rest. We had three of the WRMK Envelope Punch Boards on hand, and I wish we’d had more of those too. But several ladies said they planned on getting one of their own, so perhaps next time we’ll have more. 🙂

The other project we did was to turn some of those 2 inch cardstock remnants into gorgeous bookmarks using the border punches and more ribbon.

I was really afraid that it wouldn’t go well, that maybe I had too many projects planned and maybe the border punch and the envelope punch board might seem overwhelming to some. But every lady there picked right up on it within a few minutes, and the mistake pile was surprisingly small. I was also afraid that maybe they just wouldn’t enjoy it, but most of them stayed over an hour past the scheduled end time!

I’m so excited it all went so well, and I can’t wait for next quarter!

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