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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Purchases in Omaha

Here are the fun purchases I made while shopping in the Old Market area in Omaha.

I bought 66 more vintage ornaments to use in wreaths at Second Chance Antiques. I love this shop!
Latest vintage ornaments
I also found this cute little shelf or rack or whatever you want to call it. I’m going to use it to display probably bracelets or pendants when I need to set up a jewelry display. I love to find old items that I’ve repurposed to display my jewelry. I was just about done looking around and getting ready to leave the store when I found this. Black tray
Then we went on to Cornerstone Gems and Beads. It was getting pretty warm out so my husband and son were very happy to just sit in the nice cool shop while I looked around and talked to the very nice owner of the shop. While last year I bought a boulder opal stone to use in a necklace for myself (I have not yet made my necklace), this year I found two stings of stones that I really loved and they were very different. I’ll make something for myself and also make some items to sell. This first photo is dolomite.Dolamite beads
And this is green opal jasper. Green opal jasper beads
I thought they were both very different and had to come home with both of them.

Come back tomorrow to see how I filled some of my spare time in the hotel room in Omaha.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tourists in Omaha

The baseball tournament in Omaha was supposed to start on the Monday that my son played in the game at Kauffman Stadium. He was going to miss the two games that day and we were going to drive to Omaha that evening. However, because of all the rain in the Omaha area, the Monday games were both cancelled so he didn’t miss any games. The schedule was redone and we didn’t have games until Tuesday afternoon, so we went to Omaha on Tuesday morning. As it turned out, those two Tuesday games were the only ones we played. It stormed all Tuesday night and the games Wednesday were cancelled. While we toyed with the idea of going home Wednesday morning, we had tickets to the College World Series Wednesday night. And Wednesday was our wedding anniversary so we decided to stay in Omaha and be tourists for the day on Wednesday and go to the game that evening.

We went to the Strategic Air Command Museum. They have two huge hangars of planes on display. While I’m not overly into bombers and aircraft, I enjoyed the museum. My favorites were the B-52 (it’s huge!) and the B-1 bomber. They also had on display the pod racer from Star Wars. That was kind of fun to see!Strategic Air Command Museum
After the museum, we had lunch in the Old Market area. I think that’s a very fun area. Lots of interesting shops and restaurants. Then we went to the great junk/antique shop that I discovered a year ago, Second Chance Antiques on Jackson Street. What a fun shop! Then we went to Cornerstone Gem and Bead Company, another shop I discovered last year. I’ll show photos of my purchases tomorrow.

After my shopping, we headed to Rosenblatt Stadium for the College World Series game. In case all you craft fans are not aware of this, 2010 is the last year for the World Series at Rosenblatt. They are building a new stadium downtown. Rosenblatt will be torn down and the space used to expand the Henry Doorly Zoo. While I love animals and zoos (I used to be a docent at the KC Zoo), it’s kind of sad to think a nice stadium, with all its history and 60 years of baseball, will be torn down. We bought tee shirts before the game then watched a pretty exciting game between Florida State and TCU. While I wasn’t rooting for either team, it was still fun to watch. TCU won 11-7. It was pretty exciting to see a grand slam in a CWS game!Rosenblatt Stadium
TCU - Florida State game at Rosenblatt
If you live in the Midwest, or are there visiting sometime, I highly recommend a trip to Omaha. There is a lot to do there and it’s a nice sized city. Not too big, so it’s easy to get around. And not too small, so there’s a lot to do. Check it out sometime! And come back tomorrow to see my Omaha purchases.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Metro All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium

While my blog is mainly about all my various craft projects, the disclaimer in the description about “other favorite things” lets me put just about anything on my blog. :-) So here are some photos from one of my very favorite baseball events ever – the day my son got to play in the Metro All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium!
Joe and Richard at Kauffman StadiumMy son Joe is on the right. He is with his high school teammate.
In the dugout before the gameHere they are in the dugout before the game. I think everyone else had gone to hit but they hadn't left yet.
Joe at batJoe up to bat
Another dugout photoAnother picture in the dugout

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Graduation Gift Bracelet

Another very busy week is behind me. Since my last post, I've watched my son play baseball at Kauffman Stadium, been to Omaha for a couple of his games (the ones that didn't get rained out), did some shopping in my favorite junk/antique shop in the Omaha Old Market area, as well as the bead store I discovered last year. I've been to a College World Series game, the last one I'll ever see at Rosenblatt Stadium, and visited the Strategic Air Command Museum. I managed to get a couple half days of work in there, then went to four baseball games in the Warrensburg, Missouri area. If I get all my posts organized tonight, I should have enough photos to last for a week of blog posts!

But today's post is about a graduation gift that I made. A classmate of my son will be going to school next year at Nebraska. She's a huge sports fan, so I thought she might like a Huskers bracelet. From what I've heard, she likes it and wears it quite a bit. Here's a photo of my Huskers bracelet.

Huskers Bracelet

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sewing Hints for Making a Skirt

If you’re new to sewing, the pattern for the skirt in yesterday's post really is very easy and would be a great project to work on. I have a few hints for some things to keep in mind when making something from a pattern similar to this one.

• When you are cutting out multiple pieces that are seamed together, try to line up the fabric design the best you can so that it matches nicely at the seam line. I hate it when I see garments in the store where it is obvious that there was no effort made in planning how the pattern pieces are laid out on the fabric and the fabric design on each side of the seam doesn’t go together at all. A little planning makes a huge difference in the look of the finished garment. It’s kind of like matching up wallpaper seams…

• This skirt was very easy. The hardest part, and it wasn’t really hard, just the piece that took the longest, was attaching the ruffle to the skirt. One thing I would do differently the next time I make this is to gather the ruffle in sections. I think there would be an easier way than to do the gathering (sew around the top of the ruffle with a long stitch length so you can pull the bottom thread and create the gathers) than by sewing all the way around the ruffle in one continuous piece. Next time I would break up that gathering stitching. Probably do it in three sections, corresponding to the seams of the ruffle. Then you wouldn’t have to pull on the bottom thread in one place and redistribute the gathers halfway around the skirt. Would be much simpler that way.

• When you stitch the casing for the elastic at the waist, leave the opening to insert the elastic at one of the side seams. Since it’s a little trickier sometimes to insert the elastic by a seam, you only have to do that once and not twice if you leave the opening of the casing at a seam.

• An easy way I always use to pull the elastic through the casing is to put a safety pin at the leading edge of the elastic. Push the safety pin through the casing to insert the elastic all the way around the casing.

• When you have the elastic inserted about halfway around the casing, pin the other end of the elastic (the one without the safety pin) into the opening in the casing so you can continue to thread the elastic through the rest of the casing without worrying about pulling the elastic too far and losing the back end from the casing opening.

• When the leading edge of the elastic is all the way through the casing, pin the ends of the elastic together and try on the skirt. Adjust the overlap of the elastic so that it is exactly as you want to have it sewn and repin.

• Sew across the elastic back and forth several times where it overlaps, having your stitching perpendicular to the long edge of the elastic.

• After you have sewn the opening in the casing down to the skirt, stretch the waist of the skirt to help adjust the gathers evenly around the waist. Once you have the gathers adjusted the way you like them, sew over the side seam line in the casing to hold the elastic in place on each side. This will help keep your elastic from twisting or curling and will help keep it nice and flat in the casing.

• One thing I never thought about since I’ve never made anything with patchwork fabric like this before is how the seams of the patches would affect the seams of the garment. If I had this skirt to do over again, I would make sure that where the casing was turned under and stitched was in the middle of the patchwork squares. In parts of my casing, the top edge of the skirt, which became the part of the casing that was turned under and stitched, was very close to one of the patchwork seams, making it a little more work to make the casing lay down nicely and smoothly. Plan how your garment seams will work with the patchwork seams as you are placing your pattern pieces on the fabric.

I hope some of these tips will come in handy if you make something similar to this skirt and if you are trying some techniques that you have never done before. If you make a garment, please post a photo in a comment…I’d love to see your creations!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My New Skirt - Super Easy!

I’ve always loved to sew. I used to make a lot of my own clothes. But then I became a mom and developed many other new crafting interests, like beading, stamping, scrapbooking, etc. and I just never made enough time for sewing. Every year, I made my son a Halloween costume and was reminded how much I liked to sew. But that was about it.

When I was finishing up my baseball tee shirt quilt several weeks ago, I went to JoAnn’s to look for fabric for the quilt binding. While there, I found a fabric I fell in love with. I had to have this fabric! It was a patchwork fabric. It didn’t just look like patchwork, it was made from squares of several different fabrics that had been sewn together. It was rather pricey, but with my 50% coupon, became much more reasonable. I love pink, and this fabric was mostly pink, blue and green. Here’s a picture of my wonderful fabric.
Patchwork fabric
“Skirt” jumped to mind when I saw this fabric, so then I had to go search the pattern books to figure out what to make with it and how much to buy. I found this great Butterick pattern. Butterick pattern
I decided I wanted to make view C, the one in the center of the pattern envelope picture. This really was a very simple pattern. Two pattern pieces – cut two pieces on the fold for the front and back. Cut three pieces on the fold for the ruffle. That’s it. Stitch the side seams of the skirt. Stitch the three ruffle sections together. Narrow hem the ruffle, gather the top of the ruffle, attach the ruffle to the skirt, make the casing for the elastic at the waistline, insert the elastic, stitch the elastic together, finish the casing. That’s all.

I started making the skirt Friday night. Sewed a little bit this afternoon and finished the skirt tonight. Ready to wear to church tomorrow! Very easy.
Here’s a picture of my finished skirt. My finished skirt

Come back tomorrow to see some sewing hints regarding how to make a skirt like this one.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My New Bracelet and Earrings

After I made my beaded belt, I never quite got the leftover beads I used put away. That was partly on purpose because I had it in the back of my mind that I might make some matching jewelry. Last night, I finally made a bracelet and a pair of earrings to match my belt.
And I haven't put my leftovers away yet. There might just be enough left for a necklace...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pearl and Crystal Jewelry

Last night I commented that I wanted to make a pearl and crystal bracelet after finishing my custom jewelry order. I had put together some possible bracelet designs to show my customer and really liked them. Since I had some leftover beads, I decided to make a bracelet and earrings.

I had wanted to alternate pearls and crystals, but I didn't have enough crystals left, so I used two pearls, one crystal, two pearls, one crystal, etc. Here is my finished bracelet. Pearl and Swarovski bracelet
And here is a closeup. Closeup of bracelet
And of course, I had to make some matching earrings. Pearl and Swarovski crystal earrings
Last night, I hadn't decided whether I would list the bracelet in my Etsy shop or keep it for myself. Since I made myself another bracelet tonight, I decided to list the bracelet and earrings. I will do that within the next couple of days. And I'll show you the bracelet and earrings I made for myself very soon, too. They match the beaded belt I recently made. Need to wear the outfit that goes with the belt (sounds a little backwards. Usually one wears a belt that goes with an outfit!) and my new jewelry one day this week!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Custom Jewelry (and Baseball)

Life just keeps on being busy! The year-end baseball party for the high school team was last Wednesday. I was very surprised when the seniors gave their moms a pretty basket of flowers in the school colors. But later I realized I didn't get a picture of me with my son and my flowers at the party. I would have liked that. Oh, well. Here are my pretty flowers. I took them to work with me on Thursday to enjoy since I was going to be be out of town the next two days. And on Monday night, they still look great!
My flowers
Thursday night we drove halfway to St. Louis. Friday we spent all day on tours and in meetings with people from various departments at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, including 3.5 hours with the baseball coach. We have now confirmed that my son will be able to play baseball at UMSL and have decided this is where he will go to school next year. It's good to have that decision finally behind us.

Saturday was the East-West Missouri class 3 All Star game. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative. After 2.5 innings, the game was rained out. We have had a ton of rain in the midwest recently and too much of it decided to come not long after this game started. At least Joe got to bat once. Some members of the team hadn't even been up to bat yet by the time the game was cancelled. But I guess that's baseball!

Next exciting news that we learned last Friday is that Joe was chosen to play on a Metro team representing Missouri. There is also a Kansas team (although we live in Kansas, Joe went to school in Missouri). Next Monday, Missouri plays Kansas. And will this ever be exciting! The game will be played at Kauffman Stadium, home of the KC Royals! Hopefully this game will not be rained out!

For weeks now, I've been trying to finish a custom jewelry order that I had received. I donated a bracelet and earrings to a benefit auction that my husband's company had about a year ago. The woman (a co-worker of my husband) who bought my jewelry for her sister-in-law wondered if I could make a matching necklace. Fortunately, I still had more of the beads used in the bracelet that I could use in a necklace. Here is my finished necklace. Finished custom necklace
This woman had lost one earring of a favorite pair of hers. She wondered if I could make some similar and sent the one remaining earring to me. Here is the lone earring on the right, along with the new pair I made on the left. Pearl and crystal earrings
She also had a necklace that matched the earrings. She sent that to me and wanted me to make a bracelet to match. Here is the necklace she sent.Existing necklace
And here is the bracelet I made to go with it. Matching pearl and crystal bracelet
Fortunately, this customer was in no hurry for any of her jewelry pieces. She was very understanding when I was tied up with graduatiom, my party, and all the baseball games I wasn't expecting, like the state final four. It's very nice to finally be finished with this jewelry and give her the finished pieces!

One of the photos I showed this customer for a possible bracelet was too much like a bracelet she already had. But I really liked the bracelet idea. I had just strung beads on some beading wire without finishing the bracelet to show her a photo of the idea. Now I'm going to make this bracelet soon. Then I'll need to decide whether to list it on Etsy or declare it mine! Stay tuned for the new bracelet...

Monday, June 7, 2010

My New Discovery - Podcasts!

If you’ve read my blog lately, you know that the two things that have been keeping me busy lately have been graduation and baseball. That combination just introduced me to a whole new world of great info – podcasts. Here’s how this happened.

GRADUATION My son’s graduation gift was a laptop that he can take to school with him. While my husband and I have always been PC people, and my son has a desktop PC at home, after doing some research, Joe decided he wanted a Mac. He knows a lot of people who have Mac’s and has seen what they can do. So we headed off to our friendly neighborhood Apple store. After a research visit, we headed back the next day to make the purchase – a Mac Book Pro. And one of the promotions going on was a $199 rebate on an iPod touch, the price of the basic 8GB version. Joe already had an iPod touch and saw no reason to get a new one that was just like his old one, so the new iPod became mine! My first iPod. I had always kind of wanted one, but never spent time looking into them to actually put it on my birthday or Christmas list. So Joe came home with his MacBook and I came home with my iPod touch.

BASEBALL I had stayed up too late a couple nights playing with my new iPod and seeing what I wanted to do with it first. And then I discovered free podcasts. Although I got a new Android phone last fall, there is so much you can do with it and I had so much to learn about it that podcasts were nowhere near the top of my list. But with my new iPod, they were way up there on the list. All the podcasts in the Apple store are free, both audio and video podcasts. The night before we went to our State baseball games, I searched for podcasts to load to my iPod for entertainment in the car. Of course, the first topics I searched for were crafts, beading and jewelry. I loaded some podcasts from several sources but the one where I found the most episodes of interest to me was www.craftypod.com. Loads of great topics! While many topics cover selling your crafts, marketing and interviews with craftypreneurs, there are lots of topic of interest to general craft lovers, too, on a wide variety of topics, such as yarn crafts, paper crafts, food, books, you name it! And even if you don’t have a new iPod like me, you can listen to the podcasts online. :-) The episodes also have online notes that you can reference for even more information, some with links to other resources. There are also tutorials, videos, info on books and links to other podcasts on this site. What a wonderful site! I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg here!

One of the sites that I learned about on a podcast was www.oneprettything.com. This is a totally amazing site! I’ve touched even a smaller iceberg tip here. I heard an interview with Rachel, the site creator, and she is amazing. It made me have to go look at this site. She checks out thousands of craft blogs and sites to round up the best of tutorials and how-to info. I have to warn you now – you might want to go here just to see what the site is like, but try to check it out when you have a lot of time available because you won’t want to leave this site!

With more baseball travelling coming up this summer, hopefully I’ll find lots of time to dig deeper into all these great podcasts I have discovered!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Exciting Baseball Weekend!

My son’s high school baseball team made it to the final four in the Missouri state championship this year. Friday and Saturday, we played games in Springfield, MO. Unfortunately on Friday, we faced a very good pitcher with a low ERA and lost 3-0. But today we played in the game to determine third and fourth place and played a fantastic game, winning 13-7! Although down 6-2 early in the game, we came back strong. My son Joe had a great game, going 3 for 5 with a single, double and triple. He drove in the go-ahead run and we never trailed again. It was a very fun way to end his senior year of baseball! Here are some photos after the game.

Here's the team with their trophy and individual medals.
Pembroke Hill Raidesr - 3rd in state
Here are the captains with the trophy. My son Joe is on the left.
Team captains with the trophy
Here's a closeup of the trophy.Third place trophy - Missouri class 3

And this is pretty exciting…there’s even a link to the video of the game online!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Denim Quilt

Denim Quilt
I have an aunt who makes a ton of quilts. She made one for my son’s graduation. It’s all denim jeans pieces on the front and the backing is a plaid flannel. What makes it even more special is the fact that it includes an old pair of my son’s jeans – very old. Size 3! Can you see the little jeans on the bottom left side and top left? These are his jeans. I used to give the clothes he outgrew to my cousin (her daughter) for her son, who is a couple years younger than mine. I guess she somehow got an old pair of these jeans from my cousin. So that’s kind of fun to have his little jeans in the quilt! She embroidered the names of the schools he attended, in the appropriate school colors, on the quilt, too. And then she put candy in the pockets of the jeans to add even more fun to the gift.

Here are more photos of this wonderful quilt!
Top half of quilt
Bottom half of quilt with backing
School names embroidered on quilt