In 40 days, I’ll be *gulp* 40 years old! I was checking out the Crafthope blog a few days ago and discovered that they’re participating in ConKerr Cancer’s Miles of Pillowcase Smiles project. ConKerr Cancer organizes sewists around the country who sew bright and cheery handmade pillowcases for children who are seriously ill. It just so happens that the deadline for this project is September 15th–my 40th birthday. So, I’ve set a goal for myself to sew 40 pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer in the next 40 days.
I finished up my first four pillowcases today. They were so quick and easy! I’m sure there are zillions of tutorials online for pillowcases, but I thought I’d put together one to show my method. I timed myself to see exactly how long one pillowcase takes. Including cutting out the fabric, the total time was 9 1/2 minutes! You do need a serger to use this tutorial. (If you don’t have a serger, check out the ConKerr Cancer website for a tutorial using your sewing machine.) Just click for The 9 1/2 Minute Pillowcase Tutorial.
If one pillowcase only takes 9 1/2 minutes, surely you have time to sew up one or two, too! If you do, I’d love to see them!
I finished two skirts for the Sewing Seeds for Haiti project this afternoon! These are just simple 6-panel skirts with elastic waists, sized at about a girls 12-14. 12-year-old Samantha is modeling them in these pictures.
A nine-year-old little boy from the local church where we’ve worshipped for the last several years passed away a little over a week ago. His name was Montana. Although we weren’t close friends with the family, we worshipped with them and our children went to Sunday School together, and my heart breaks for them. I can’t even begin to imagine what a difficult time this is for them. Montana had a four-year-old little brother who’s left to grow up without his big brother now, and I really felt the leading to craft something for him–something that might bring him a little comfort.
I’ve posted before about the I-Spy Quilt that I made for Jamie and how much he loves it. Collecting all those different blocks left me with quite the collection of blocks leftover, and I knew right away that would be the perfect thing.
The finished quilt measures about 40″ X 50″. A good lap-quilt or nap-quilt size for a preschooler. I like that the I-Spy blocks make it fun, too. In fact, Jamie and I played “Can you find the race car, dinosaur, football . . . ” with it before I threw it in the wash when it was all finished.
I left out batting and backed it with minkee. I love the way this makes a nice drag-around-the-house quilt that’s easy and compact to fold, but still feels soft and warm.
I also added a label to the back to remind Dooley of how very much he’s loved by family and friends.
I’ve always loved the idea of having an Advent Calendar with an activity to do each day of December up to Christmas, but I’d never found just the right one. Early in November this year, I saw and fell for this one on the Sew Mama Sew Blog: Advent Calendar. I modified the calendar slightly (I really am planning to practice free-motion machine quilting one of these days). Overall, though, I followed the instructions there, and the result is exactly what I was hoping for.
It actually took me more time to come up with the activities than it did to sew up the calendar. I really wanted activities that were centered around spending time as a family and giving to others.
Here’s my list of activities–feel free to use any or all of the ideas! In fact, I’d love to hear what you think!
1. Make button wreath ornaments.
2. Color pictures for troops overseas.
3. Visit a relative (or a friend) for lunch. (We’re driving out to visit our oldest daughter at college.)
4. Go see a family Christmas theatre production. (Our local playhouse is doing A Christmas Wizard of Oz.)
5. Walk in (or you could just watch) the city Christmas parade.
6. Buy gifts for a needy family. (We choose one from the Angel Tree at our church, but there are many organizations that you can give through.)
7. Have a family game night. (Board games and popcorn! Our favorite family games are Mexican Train and Speed Scrabble.)
8. Buy canned goods and deliver to a local food pantry. (You might want to call ahead and ask what they are specifically in need of. Our church’s pantry actually told me that need meat and bread more than canned goods right now.)
9. Watch Frosty the Snowman (or any other classic animated movie).
10. Make jar mixes for our Christmas dinner guests. (Jar mixes are nice gifts to have on hand for expected or unexpected Christmas guests. They’re fun and easy for kids to put together, too.)
11. Attend company (or ministry or other group) Christmas party.
12. Visit a living nativity. (We have a local church that does a beautiful one each year.)
13. Make Christmas card ornaments.
14. Make cards for Nana and Papa.
15. Make cards for MawMaw.
16. Bake cookies.
17. Take cookies to the local firestation. (We’re actually going to invite some other local homeschool families to join us in this one.)
18. Go out for dinner. (Enjoy a special night out at your family’s favorite restaurant. I’m not sure whether it’ll be Italian or Mexican for us.)
19. Go Christmas shopping for siblings. (We give each of our children a budget and let them shop for each other.)
20. Watch A Christmas Story (or another live-action Christmas movie).
21. Drive around to see Christmas lights. (You could drive around your neighborhood or go see a big light presentation somewhere close by.)
22. Make playdough and play with Christmas cookie cutters. (This is one of my kids’ favorite activities, and we don’t do it often enough. We like to make Kool-aid playdough. I thought this one would be a great calming activity for just before Christmas when things can get a little overwhelming.)
23. Visit and take pictures with Santa Claus.
24. Make a birthday cake for Jesus. (This a traditional family activity of ours that helps us to put the focus back on what the Christmas season is really about. We even gather around the table, light candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.)
I have a two back-up ideas on hand in case something doesn’t work out, too: string popcorn to hang outside for the birds and plant an indoor herb garden. My husband also suggested that next year we see if we can ring the bell for the Salvation Army one day.
Here’s our calendar hung on the wall and ready for Tuesday:
The kids are really excited about finding out what each activity is going to be. (We’re keeping them a secret until they open the envelopes each morning.) I’m really excited about getting started, too!
Our homeschool group is doing multiple volunteer projects this year, and we were really excited to get involved with this one! Elevate Him Ministries collects boxes filled with over-the-counter medical supplies that are often difficult to obtain in other countries and distributes the supplies through their medical clinic in Talanga, Honduras. Our youngest three children had a great time filling their boxes with everything from vitamins to antacids to toy cars.
Sorting out the supplies:
Jamie filling his box (if you look closely, you can see that Baby Charlie sneaked into this picture, too):
Boxes filled and ready to go:
I’m a little behind in posting my Week 1 accomplishments because of the weekend’s camping trip. Week 1 of the HGP is Lists and Front Porch. I’m making great progess on my Christmas lists. I set them up in a MS Excel spreadsheet on my laptop, so that I can add ideas as I think of them, along with links to tutorials, patterns or recipes when I find something that I’d like to make for a gift or a meal.
With our month-long trip in June followed by two months of morning sickness, my front porch had definitely seen some days of neglect. Note the flag left over from the 4th of July. It was nice to get out there and do a little work.
The kids and I bought some nice fall plants and then repotted them so they’ll hopefully keep blooming for a few months. (We do live in Dallas, so it’ll be warm enough here for flowers for some time.) We also swept down the porch and the walls to clear off the dirt and cobwebs. Painting that bench red to match the front door is on my list–we just ran out of time to get it done last week.
This week is Questions and Livingroom. There’s not much to be done in my livingroom, so I may add another space . . . maybe my messy backporch.
I also got my IBOL packages shipped off yesterday right on the deadline.
That third box is for IBOL Guy’s Super Secret Project 3: Operation Old Mother Hubbard. I can’t tell you what’s in it yet . . . it’s super secret!
Okay, first off, a challenge for my lovely readers! Is your fabric (or knitting) stash overwhelming? Does it need some cleaning out? Well, now’s the time to get working on that! You can have a beautiful organized stash, and give to someone else who loves to sew and doesn’t have access to the incredible fabric stores we have here in the US. Iraqi Bundles of Love is an amazing project that will warm your heart! Check it out here:
Yesterday, I went through my wovens stash and put together these two bundles:
(There are some knitting supplies hidden in these, too.) Aren’t they pretty? They’ll be heading out to Iraq this morning!
What did I get out of this, you ask? Of course, I don’t feel like I have to get something back for giving to others, but this time, I was rewarded with neat, clean, organized fabric cabinets . . . well, at least, my wovens and miscellaneous fabric cabinets . . . we’re not discussing the wardrobe that holds my knit fabrics. It’s on my list for next week.
I’m actually a little embarrassed to post my before pictures. Don’t judge me, please. I had terrible morning sickness and a house full of little ones to care for. Okay, here goes:
Cabinet #1-Cotton Quilting Fabrics. Before and After:
Cabinet #2-Flannels, Diaper-making PUL, some misc. fabrics on top shelf. Before and After:
Cabinet #3-Solid Cotton Quilting Fabrics, solid knit scraps for neckbands and such, misc. sewing supplies. Before and After:
In addition to the packages for IBOL, I packed up three paper bags of fabric for my church’s sewing group and a bag of fabric for the local thrift shop.
Now, it’s your turn! Clean up your stash and put together a bundle or two for IBOL and be sure to come back here and comment. If you blog about it, I’d love to see, so be sure to add the link! And, hurry! The deadline for shipping packages for this project is September 7th!