Monday, June 25, 2007

Tooth Jewelry

The last portion of school was pretty crazy... Some of the girls that had graduated before us told us, "Oh, spring semester is EASY." The instructors said it, too. Well, I dunno if they were being cruel or what, but we all decided that was basically bull honky. And in the midst of it all, we had to do a final craft sort of project. It was to represent our philosophy of dental hygiene. It could be anything we wanted.

Some girls dreaded this more than I probably did, saying that if they could draw or sew, would they be in this program? But I loves the crafty stuff, and I had been unable to do practically anything for two years because of homework. So I enjoyed doing this AS homework. I decided to do a necklace, mostly because I had already purchased a lot of the stuff to play with. I had Sculpy clay, and I fashioned the tooth beads out of that. You just shape it, and poke a hole in it, and bake it at a very low setting so that it dries out. Ma and I had played with Sculpy many times in the past, resulting in many deliciously tacky earrings that I often wear.

I painted the teeth with acrylic paint after they cooled. I made them white on the crowns, and then added a coat of gloss to simulate enamel. The roots are a matte finish, and just off-white or pale yellow.

The word-beads were a lot of fun to play with. They are shrink-plastic, or what they used to make Shrinky-Dinks with. They sell them at craft stores in clear, white, black... The stuff I bought was supposed to work on an ink-jet printer, but, uh, no. The sheets printed nicely enough, but the ink never dried. Hours later, it would wipe right off on either side I tried it on. So I busted out my sandpaper, and took off the glossy finish. The ink still smudged, but not as badly, so I just handled it carefully while cutting it out. I would have just used permanent marker, but I wanted very neat, legible letters.

The shrink-plastic tells you what percentage it will shrink down to, so I used my basic math skills to see what size they should be before shrinking, in order to get them to the final size I wanted. A hole puncher worked great to put holes in the ovals I printed, and when they came out, they were perfect beading size!

I strung them onto jump rings with small beads, between the tooth beads, and put a clasp at the back. For display, I cut out a felt tooth and sewed it onto scrap fabric with a running stitch, then placed it atop a bucket that narrowed at the base.

I had some tooth beads left over, so I made some earrings for a "white elephant" auction we were having at school. I liked these the best. I may not actually wear the necklace, but I will wear the earrings. They were a really big hit, and when people bid like crazy, I was so flattered.

I made a couple pairs with blue/green beads, and one with deep pink/red beads. I don't know if the photos do them justice, but they are actually pretty small and not easy to photograph:

Some of the girls said they wanted to buy them, and I sold four sets to a couple of instructors. I made forty bucks! I'm sending an email to see if anyone else wants these today... Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Crafting Trifecta!

Apparently I've had more time on my hands lately than the other posters to this blog! But I made one more thing today that I thought I'd share with y'all. It's another easy, yet cute baby gift: monogrammed onesies!

These two are for twins (TWINS!) Sophie and Addison who were born last week. They were five weeks early, but in good shape, both weighing in at almost 6 1/2 lbs!

So all you need for this craft is some good quality onesies (I like Old Navy & Carter brands...I hate Gerber onesies) and some very basic embroidery knowledge. I drew my letters with tailor's chalk first, then embroidered them with a chain-stitch (at least I think that's what it is called.) I'll do my best to describe it: Poke your thread up through the fabric, pull it all the way through, then poke the needle back down through the same hole. Pull until the thread is almost all the way though, until it kind of looks like a little teardrop, but stop when there's maybe a half inch of thread still looped on the front of the fabric. poke your needle back up through the fabric, and thread your needle through the loop of thread still on top of the fabric from your last stitch. Pull it fairly tight (you still want it to kind of be teardrop-shaped) then stick the needle back down through the second hole, making a new loop. Repeat as many times as it takes for this to make sense. You'll end up
with lots of little loops making a chain.

On the arm holes I did a little crosshatch thing on the "S" onesie, then a alternating straight stitch on the "A" one. I made one of these for my daughter when she was a baby and did some stitching on the neckline, only to realize that babies have no neck so you can't see the cute neckline while they're actually wearing it. So now I just stick to sleeves. If you're doing a long-sleeved onesie, be careful to stretch the wrist hole out after you stitch it, and before you tie the thread off. If you are making it for a chubby baby, those wrist holes need to be able to stretch to accommodate big fat wrists! (I think I learned that one on my own daughter, too!)

That's about it...a nice personalized gift that you can be sure no one else will be giving the new baby!
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Saturday, June 9, 2007

It's My Special Day!

It was my special day last Thursday when I went to a pottery shop in Peoria to paint my very own piece. The place is called "Fired Up" and it's got a ton of unfinished ceramics. You just pick out what you want, paint it up, then they glaze and fire it for you. You really don't have to be an artistic genius to make something that looks great. And they've got little tiles painted with all sorts of fantastic-looking (but easy to do) finishes if you need a little direction. I had such a great time there, I couldn't believe I've lived in Central Illinois for 14 years and never done this before. The other town I lived in, Bloomington, has a sister store (also called Fired Up)that used to be "2 Pals Pottery."

Anyway, I modeled this plate after one my mom had for us when we were growing up. We'd pull it out for birthdays or if you got a good report card, or whatever. I don't think she got the plate until I was a little older (maybe 9 or 10) so we didn't use it for a long time. But I figured with a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old in the house, they'd be thrilled to use it for years to come.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Teacher Gift

So this year I was a room mother for my first grader's class. Basically, this meant I was in charge of calling up parents before each holiday and reminding them to bring the napkins or cupcakes they signed up to provide for the holiday "party."

But there was one other responsibility that came with the job: the teacher gifts. At our school, it's accepted practice to do a class gift at Christmas along the lines of a gift certificate that everyone contributes to, another smaller something for "Teacher Appreciation Week" in May, then another token at the end of the year.

Being a teacher myself, I know that the reason good teachers teach is because they really do love the kids. Even the rotten ones. Good teachers can find something redeeming about every single kid. And I can imagine that for a classroom teacher who spends 40 hours a week with the same kids, leaving them at the end of the school year can be a little sad. I mean you're happy to see them growing up, but a little sad that you won't be a part of their lives anymore. (I avoided this problem by being a music teacher, so I get to see the same kids year after year, some for 5 years or more.) Anyway, I decided a good end of the year gift would be something for her to remember the kids by.

I made a mad dash around town taking pictures of all Evan's classmates and asking them "What did Mrs. Getz teach you that you liked the best this year?" They came up with great stuff, from "How to be nicer to other kids", to "I liked it when she told me the names off all the flowers we saw on our hike at the camp we went to last month. I made up pages like the one I posted of Evan for each kid. But, afraid of being sued for posting pictures of other people's children on the internet, Evan's is the only page you're gonna get to see.

As my grand finale I wrote a little poem. I got the idea from a little story she read us at "Meet Your Teacher Night" at the beginning of the year. It was written by a teacher who said her job was to "polish the stars" and how that was an awesome responsibility, blah, blah, blah. It was a little over-the-top for my taste, but half the people, including Evan's teacher, were crying while she read it. So, my little poem was kind of a "response" to that story. Jason thought I stole it off the internet, but after he googled the first line and didn't come up with any hits, he conceeded that I wrote it. Hopefully it will strike the right chord for Evan's teacher, and she'll enjoy the pictures and quotes from each kid. And when she sees them in the newspaper as graduating seniors, she can look in her old scrapbook and laugh at how they thanked her for "teaching me how to read the big words in a sentence" and "how to count to 100 and how to count to 10 in Spanish!"
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Monday, June 4, 2007

e & e

by Brooke

Some more scrapbook loving. I scrapbook chronologically because that works for me. Some folks like to jump all around a collection of pictures. I just sort of scrap as I go. Some folks do all "event-based" scrapping. Some eschew that all together...scrapping just feelings and thoughts. I do both. This lo is one of the more "thought" kinds...sprang out of how much I love this picture of the kids and what a neat little pair they are. I don't know if we will add to their party or not, so I am enjoying them as a duo right now. The 8 x 10 was printed by You can add those borders for free. I printed it on metallic paper (which is a little extra). The background is graph paper by Scenic Route. I had fun with all the little embellishment stuff around it...just pulling from my scrapbook stash and other silly little stuff I keep around (like the Curious George matching cards the kids stopped playing with and My-T-Fine pudding box) to create with. Some of the ideas were also "scraplifted" from The Look Book by Autumn Leaves---a layout by Tara Whitney in particular. Love that book.