Monday, November 30, 2009

Fabric Garland/Advent... with Tutorial

This year, I decided that we'd countdown to Christmas a little different.... without spending any money! I love, love fabric garlands so I thought that I would incorporate that idea into an advent calendar type thing. I made 25 links, put them in a pretty glass vase, and each day in December one link will get added until it looks like the picture above. I figured out that by the end of the second week, the chain will be long enough to drape nicely. Until then, they will just snake along the mantle.

If you'd like to make your own, here's what I did.

You'll need:
-(25) 4.5 x 12.5 in. pieces of fabric (I went with random scraps, but you could be more coordinated if you are so inclined.)
-(25) buttons (I let my daughter rummage through the buttons and pick them out.... shear 5 yr old girl heaven!)
-You could use a light interfacing if you want, but I didn't.... just starched them well instead.
-Your basics - needle, thread, scissors, rotary cutter, ruler

Once you get your fabric pieces all cut out, iron them in half lengthwise, right-sides together. Then, with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew up the long edge and one of the short sides. Clip the corner and trip the seam allowance. You've made a tube that looks like this:

Then, carefully turn your tube inside out. Be careful about using pointy things when turning, you don't want to poke a hole in your fabric. Once they are right side out, iron them well. To finish the other end, turn the raw edges in about a 1/2 inch and press. Use a teeny seam allowance to close it up. (hint: Start stitching on the folded side instead of the seam side. My machine likes it much better that way.)

Now here is where I had to really overcome a major fear.... buttonholes. If I can do it, so can you! Mine are not perfectly perfect by any means, but they work (glad my machine has good instructions). Here's one before I opened it up. See, not so perfect. I put the buttonholes on the "pretty" end, the one without machine stitching because that is the side you are going to see when you button them up.

Once you have that done, all you have to do is sew a button on the other end!.... Easy Peasy!
This entire project took me a few hours. The bulk of the time was spent choosing, cutting, and ironing the fabric.

Happy Holiday Crafting!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks so a group of students at the local high school vo-tech, you can now find plenty of bike parking in downtown Jonesboro. The kids made 21 of these 2-bike racks and one nice mulit-bike rack and installed them all throughout downtown. The project didn't cost NEABC or the City a dime because the class did this as their community service project. However, as a "Thank-You", we presented the kids with a nice check to help cover their costs when they go to the state welding competition later in the school year. I love that we were able to partner with them! We got great racks, the kids got experience designing and building, and the community gets to see what a great program the vo-tech is.

In other news, I am officially a grad student!! I'll be starting my masters in community development in January.

I've also been a little bit crafty... I can't post pictures because the item I made is for a swap. But, I'll be sure to post once the person gets it. :) I've also been trying learn sock knitting. It is very, very, very slow going. I have about an inch (maybe a little more) done of one cuff. Maybe I'll have the pair finished by summer??

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I love Arkansas

This weekend, a few friends and I took part in the first annual Tour duh Sunkenlands.... a tour through the flat-lands and small museums of Northeast Arkansas. It was a beautiful fall day, although the wind was brutal which is par for a warm November day, the traffic was low, and the company was fantastic. The highlight of the ride was the rest stop at The Painted House Museum (of John Grisham fame). The picture above is the barn where they house the movie memorabilia, and the actual house is next door. The folks there were super happy to have us (as all the stops were). They welcomed us with homemade lemonade and brownies and were just as welcoming as they could be.... but, ya gotta love Arkansas.