Rope, clothesline, piping bowls (updated)

Yes, I drank the koolaid! I love this project, it’s quick, easy, customizable, and USEFUL!
rope bowl from 1/4" piping BIG SIZE
A BIG bowl I made from 1/4″ piping.
I’ve made these small and large, with and without handles, colorful thread, and more subtle.
I have found this post by Amanda to be a great resource (and some eye candy! Look at all those beautiful vessels!). She links to this Creative Bug class, but I don’t have a subscription there so I used a free online tutorial. Here is a video of a popular vessel maker, Gemma Patford, in action if you want to see more than pictures.
Comparing materials and costs for rope bowls.
 
I’ve found clothesline to be the most popular material for making these online, but it is not the only choice. If you want a higher cotton content I would suggest trying some other materials. Here is a breakdown for you of things I’ve tried:
rope bowl from clothesline
Clothesline, 100′ ranges in price from $5.49 on Ribbon Jar and up. My local hardware store had it for $6.79. These are all reinforced cotton, they are usually about 60% poly and 40% cotton. To me it feels like cotton, and I like the stiffness (the clothesline on Ribbon Jar actually is 100% cotton). It’s 3/16″ which is right in the sweet spot for thickness on these bowls. This is going to run you about 17 cents a yard.
rope bowl from 1/4" piping
Cotton piping, 1/4″ natural $4.49 on Ribbon Jar. This is a 33 yard bundle. I like that it has natural specks on it. The cotton material is held together with stitching wrapped around it. This blends really well after you sew the bowl together. It is a poly/cotton blend (83% cotton 17% poly). It also has a bit of a thick and thin look to it. This is going to be about 14 cents a yard.
rope bowl from 100% American made cotton braid
You want something American made? We finally found it and I bundled it up for my mom’s shop. Cotton solid braid $21 on Ribbon Jar. It is SUPER sturdy, the most sturdy of any product and the finished look is so nice. A very consistent product. This is going to be about 64 cents a yard.
rope bowls from organic cotton and spindle cord
Another option is to buy cord by the yard. These materials are not bundled specifically for making bowls, but work great.
Organic cotton cord is $1.85 a yard at the Ribbon Jar. Very beautiful, and expensive, as organic things tend to be. It also comes in a toast color. What a beautiful gift it would be to make a basket out of this for a new baby. I love doing treasure baskets for little ones who like to touch, explore (and eat!) everything!
Spindle cord is something I use a lot for bags, but is esspecially fun for bowls because of it’s vibrant color! Sprindle card is 75 cents a yard at The Ribbon Jar. I used this amazing green color for the bowl above (that’s a five yard bowl).
I hope all of this was helpful. I haven’t had my mom order very many things at the Ribbon Jar since she bought the business from me, but I really had trouble finding what I was looking for with these bowls. I love that she was willing to try these new materials, thanks so much mom! And thanks for the free samples!
*UPDATED

I added a new post with details about trying this project with recycled twine. Check it out here.

American Girl doll bed making – super fancy style

For Tuesday’s birthday (her seventh!!!) we gifted her a vintage sewing machine in a desk we got from the lovely Elizabeth over at Oh Fransson. She has taken to that thing and is sewing, sewing, sewing! I filled a box with goodies for her (think needles, thread, etc.) and set a pattern out on it to give her some inspiration. Turns out she’s more of a make-up-my-own pattern kind of gal. BUT she did love the pattern and decided she wanted help making it. I didn’t think a lot would come of it because once I really looked at the pattern I realized the bed was giant and took a ton of materials. Thanks to a $30 gift card to Jo-Anns and some saved pennies she decided to go for it and we spent a whole afternoon picking materials out. I sewed my butt off for a few days and I present to you the most crazy fancy doll bed:
McCall's M7338 American Girl 18" doll bed
I know! If you’re thinking damn that looks like a lot of work, well folks, you would be right! BUT Tuesday loves it and I think it turned out super well. Considering one look at the directions and my head was swimming. The pattern was bought on a whim during a sale (of course) and is McCall’s M7338 “Embellished Beds and Linens for 18″ Dolls”. Yes that title should have given me a clue it was going to be a giant bed. We currently do not have any 18″ dolls living at our house. Wait. That’s what my kids think. I have a Kirsten doll from my childhood who is tucked away. I changed her into her nightgown (I think this is actually an undershirt) and got her out to see if this bed really would fit an American Girl Doll….
McCall's M7338 American Girl 18" doll bed
Kirsten I missed you! The bed is a perfect fit for an American Girl doll, or any 18″ doll.
McCall's M7338 American Girl 18" doll bed detail
After exhausting her gift card and an additional nine hard earned dollars Tuesday and I decided none of the really terrible ribbons at Jo-Anns were worth any more of her pennies. We did find the pleated trim in the home decorating clearance, but a lot of the lace was almost like pressed onto plastic. I don’t know how to explain it, but it looked cheap and terrible (yet was still expensive!). I knew who we had to call… grandma! AKA The Ribbon Jar. The one thing we just couldn’t find at all at Jo-Ann’s was the lace to go around the bed. My mom suggested a stretch lace so it would have a bit of a gather to it and it worked great and was very forgiving.
sewing the bed - adding trim from The Ribbon Jar
There were a few modifications I made to this pattern and sewing on this lace was one of them. The pattern calls for you to put together the bed and then sew on the lace. No, no, no, how?!?! That seemed like a recipe for disaster. So I figured out with seam allowance where the lace would fall when finished and sewed it on first. It was almost perfect all the way around and almost perfect is good enough for me! Plus the finished edge on the inside (white quilted area) looks much nicer with out a seam going through it. The other change I made that I didn’t take a picture of was to hand stitch the mattress to the bottom edges of the bed (vs. sewing on a sling type thing to hold it up… which you are supposed to do after the whole bed is made and foam core is inserted in the sides. I think this would be impossible).
McCall's M7338 American Girl 18" doll bed detail with trim from Ribbon Jar
Tuesday took her fabric, pattern and ideas on how everything should look over to Grandma’s office and they got to work looking at different ribbons and trims. The pattern called for a tiny pom-pom trim (we used 10mm) for the canopy, but Tuesday also wanted a mini ric-rac. I think they look very nice together with the satin bow over the tulle. The sheet and pillowcase are also embellished (of course) with mini ric-rac and a very pretty white lace trim.
McCall's M7338 American Girl 18" doll bed detail
The “flower” on the headboard was made with wired ribbon. Here is a good tutorial on how to make one. I should have watched this with Tuesday before we attempted ours. I meant to tell her not to pull so hard, but she pulled the wire totally out of one side, oops. I think she has plans to add some rhinestones in the middle. Because, obviously.
McCall's M7338 American Girl 18" doll bed
All in all I think the project turned out great. Tuesday told Grandma we would take some pictures and write up about the bed on the blog in exchange for the ribbon. She loves it and is using it for her beloved  Tootsie (a doll I had when I was little that is very, very well loved… and has the hair to prove it!).
I’m so glad I’m stretching myself and my crafting skills. I have been sewing with knits, hand sewing, and tackling tricky things like this. I really miss writing about the process and the end product on my blog. Mostly because I like having that record for myself. I have multiple quilts that haven’t made it on here that I would like to blog about, as well as darling things for the girls. We’ll see if I get time to get them up. I liked having the motivation from my mom to get this up. And I will be back at the end of the week because I am speaking at the Corvallis Modern Quilt Guild and I have a companion post I want to get up. It’s all about making those super popular rope bowls (no surprise, I’m addicted to them!). If you’re interested in coming please do, they welcome guests. Check out their facebook page for details.

1984 Avion 30R partially updated

So I shared pictures of our 1984 Avion 30R here as it came to us (I think the most I did in those pictures was pull up the carpet and clean). I’m still working my way through 47 yards of pleating tape (!!!!). But here is the state of things as we started off the summer adventuring around Oregon.
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We slept in it as soon as it was clean enough to do so. Here it is bare bones, with the floral drapes and burgundy bolsters removed.
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The ONE drape I managed to finish. I also made all new sheers, which was a PROJECT people. Slippery mothers… The bolsters were done in the rich blue fabric. I turned to Air Forums a lot (they have a vintage kin message board, but a lot of the general Airstream hints help). I also decided to set up an Instagram account for our trailer adventures, it’s called avionlife if you want to follow us on there.
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I did outsource the furniture recovering. My plans had to change a little after we decided not to paint the interior at all. It is all in such great condition that we just could not bring ourselves to do it. And after camping I have to say the idea of having an all white interior seems a bit dubious at best.
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I found a pin about recovering basic folding chairs (ours were a gift a few years ago – from Costco I think). Super easy and highly recommend doing this. So much more fun. Use Rustoleum paint, Krylon was a POS for this project!!
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Our couch made into the bed for us…. It’s not so comfy. Bj can’t stretch out so we’re trying to figure out exactly what we want to do. We have ended up moving a kid out here and taking a twin before.
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We decided we didn’t need a microwave when we traveled so we ripped that out. Eventually we ripped out the wood around the window and put in aluminum blinds. We did the same in the bathroom. So hard to get a picture of, this is the best I have:
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By the way the little lid on the counter is for the laundry basket and might be my favorite feature. That and the tub!!!
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Note: best used when you are fully hooked up or you’ll fill up your grey water tank fast! Oops, rookie move.
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The awning is not the one we specified, the repair place put this on by mistake but we’re living with it. I have dreams of a black and white awning, that is what was originally on this, I believe.
We took this thing all over the state this summer, and beyond a bit (Mt. Saint Helens). We went to the beach, the mountains, crater lake.. it was all amazing. The family time in this thing is second to none. Now I now why they say GO RVing!

1984 Avion 30R

Oh hey we got a “vintage” trailer. It’s an Avion 1984 30R. That means it’s an Avion (by Fleetwood) from 1984, it’s 30 feet long and has a rear bedroom (two twins we’re using for the girls). Upon first glance most people comment on our “Airstream” but it’s not. It’s not related at all. We’re biased but we think it’s better. All the cabinetry is solid wood, it’s better insulated and 6″ taller inside (which is very important when your husband is 6′ 4″. Also they are way, way cheaper. The parts are more standard so it’s a little easier to replace things. Of course we swoon over awesome Airstream renovations like anybody else, but it just wasn’t in the budget to go that route.
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And we’re totally in love with it. Here are some before pics.
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The seller was in Arizona, so the window trim stuff was all dried out. We spent most of our budget fixing things that were pretty basic, and we still have things like that to fix (our fresh water tank leaks, for example). But we decided to clean it up as best we could and go camping this summer. It was AMAZING. And I can not wait to go on more adventures with this awesome trailer of ours.

Oh, hello.

Oh dear me, my poor blog has been a bit neglected, hasn’t it! I haven’t quite decided what I want to do with it. Though Bj does ask me every time we get a bill for something blog related. I do feel I need to check in and tell everyone who has been asking that we are fine. In fact we’re wonderful! The girls are 3 and 6.5, can you believe it?
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Bennet on a walk yesterday. With her baby Tommy in a carrier Tuesday made.
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Recycling all my ideas from when Tuesday was little. A bean sensory bin for Bennet… This one is being used for dolphins and whales, of course. She’s obsessed with them.
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Homeschooling is going great, hahahaha. Tuesday wanted to play old fashion school (we have been reading a lot of prairie girl stories) and I realized I fit into this old costume of mine from high school (just lost 20 pounds!). We were trying to be VERY SERIOUS here.
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Tuesday is enrolled in a charter school for first grade. It’s only for homeschoolers so nothing much has changed at home, though she does get to go on field trips with the “school” (above we’re at a pumpkin patch).
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Horrible cell phone picture (my nice camera was involved in an incident no one wants to own up to). Ballerina fairies! My costume is from high school (I know, why do I still have these things?!?!).
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Look for us around town, we’re the crazy people still biking in this weather. Tuesday will ride on the back if we’re going in lots of traffic, but she does quite well on her 20″ bike (such a big girl!).
I never thought I’d have one of those blogs that dies a slow death, so we’ll see what I can do about prioritizing it. Right now it’s just too far down on the list. I think if I can do shorter project based entries that might work best. And those are the entries I always come back to (How did I make that cleaner? What quilt did I make last for so and so? How old was Tuesday when we tried that art project?). And of course I have things from the last year I would like documented. But Bennet needs my help to look at the North American Continent box and Tuesday wants a new song on her mix to listen to while she finishes making a cardboard dog. Here’s hoping you’re all well and happy too!

How learning looked -January 2015

I know, I know! Yes I am still here and nothing is wrong, except the girls are getting older and time man, it’s just escaping me! Someday we are going to try one of those schedule things and I’m going to put blogging back on it. Until then, it will be sporadic.
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Learning in January. Oh how I love looking back on the month. I feel like we do so little “school” since we’ve slipped into full on un-schooling mode. I would like some kind of schedule, for my sanity more than anything. But I love that learning happens all the time.
We did a lot of sensory play, baking soda was big over here (did you know you can buy huge bags at costco?). The girls love it when I put a pan of it out and then give them colored vinegar and droppers, the fizz! I also figured out from Asia’s book (150 Screen Free Activities – affiliate link, so good, I highly recommend it!) that baking soda and water makes a simple dough. One that Bennet just loved. And of course water play for a two year old can’t be beat. We also got tons of that silicone sand from Jo-Ann’s on black Friday and gave it to Bennet for Christmas. They both loved having this out for a few months.
An extension of sensory play was our shaving cream marbling. It turned out wonderful! I really loved the results of this project; plus the girls kept playing with the colored shaving cream so it was a double win.
Spelling and writing was huge over here. We had a major break through one Sunday. We were all downstairs, I was sewing and had my felt design board out and Tuesday was saying, “B-O-O bad Bj!” for fun. Only it wasn’t so nice and finally we’re like, hey, you’re spelling boo! I had the felt letters handy and showed her. She started sounding out and spelling a ton! I showed her how rhyming words work, just change one letter. She thought it was amazing. We got back out the movable alphabet (a wooden alphabet that is using in Montessori education) and she has been crazy for spelling ever sense. When she first started she could spell a lot but not read it. It’s so interesting how the mind works. She would write out a bunch of words and then ask, “what did I write?” That phase was pretty short though.
Tuesday was also interested in time so I got out some various things I’ve collected and set them out for her.
Speaking of things I’ve collected. Oh man, I can’t stop with the books and the coloring books and the manipulatives and the school stuff… I love it all! So much so that our basement was looking crazy! Pair that with the fact that my mom moved out of her house of 21 years (where I still had much more than I realized stored!) and I needed to get it under control. I did for the most part, but we’re still figuring out what is going to work best for us space wise. I love the basement for it’s size but the girls like to be in the light and around the main living area. We’re thinking of taking over Bj’s office and walling in the lightest corner of the basement for him (lucky it’s tall and has sunny windows). I did decide for now to move one shelf up, and make the dining room wall more eclectic with projects, maps and posters. Can’t hid that we’re homeschoolers now! Ha!
Tuesday also turned six! I added a covered wagon figure to our little Waldorf type ritual (which I described here). She remembered and loved the tradition of walking around the table as if it were the sun. She took us on a spy walk that had me choking from trying not to laugh at my little girl with a fake mustache diving on the ground as cars were coming. She made cakes for her Tootsie, oh how she loves that doll. Magnatiles all the time. Listening to stories on the CD player in the living room. Inventing games. Dance lessons, gymnastics lessons, and now violin lessons. Forest school. My dreamer and creator. I just love her.
Bennet. I just love when I can find activities that hit her right where she is at. This month I found a puzzle that was just challenging enough. I love her face when she completes it, such pride in her “work”. She hears Tuesday asking how to spell things and asks me as well. Then scribbles marks on a paper as if writing. She’s got a great pencil grip, all the early work in that area paid off again. She got to start dance, finally. She is so happy to have her own dance class, but so wee I had to make the required red leotard. She had no interest in modeling it, as you can see. She really loves when we do things all together, like the painting night we had. I just love to talk to my little snuggle bug, she’s always surprising me by what she notices and I just love that!
More to come!

Tuesday on the prairie

We are going to the end of the Oregon Trail center soon with our homeschool group and I need make Tuesday another Prairie girl dress. The last dress I made for Tuesday has gotten lots of wear, she has it in rotation with her regular clothes, so it’s not just dress up to her. It went with us to Hawaii, she’s worn it in the snow, in the sun, in the rain… everywhere! I wanted to look up the details about it and realized I never blogged about it. Since this is where I keep all details about my crafty pursuits I want to record it.
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I made her a bonnet first, then the dress, apron, pantaloons and another bonnet that coordinated a little better. I used an old Holly Hobbie pattern for everything but the pantaloons which I stitched from another pattern. I really like the tucks in the hems on the pantaloons. I already let one out to make them longer. I self drafted the short sleeves, the pattern came with long sleeves and she didn’t want them. She’s wearing my simple yet effective shawl (Ravelry link), which was my first shawl and I didn’t make it big enough. I also wore dresses like this that my mom made me and loved them. I’m so happy that Tuesday loves her so much. She hasn’t requested a larger dress, but she’s been wearing this one for a year. The pantaloons especially are small, and when she has the apron buttoned on it’s quite tight. Still it never looked overly big. This was a size four, and I think I’m just going to go up one size, though maybe add more length. We bought her these boots (affiliate link) that she also wore with her Santa costume. They really work well with this outfit to  round out the whole Laura look she is going through (bonus they look hipster cool and she wears them with EVERYTHING). We’ve read through the whole Little House series and are now onto her daughter, Rose. Starting with The House on Rocky Ridge.

How learning looked – end of 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve recapped our learning, so I thought I’d do a post to finish off our learning in 2014. There was lots going on with the holidays, but my favorite things during this time were all the game nights! After counting and organizing our games I decided we needed to play them more, and we did!
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(for some reason these photos are in reverse order, but I’m going with it!)
Lots of indoor activities, but they still wanted to play outside if at all possible (even if 32 degrees!). They’ve made friends with the neighbors, older kids who they love to run around with. So fun, I love our neighborhood. No problem with “socialization” at our homeschool 🙂
Tuesday (5.5 here) has talked us into having her rest time downstairs (as opposed to playing or reading in her room). This gives her lots of time to set up things safely out of the reach of her 2.5 year old sister! She also LOVES to listen to audiobooks on our CD player (a high school graduate present I never imagined would last this long!). We get them from the library. She loves Clementine books, as well as any of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Farmer Boy is a particular favorite. She can listen to them over and over. Usually doing a little something else at the same time (patterns, knitting, drawing, etc.).
In the Farmer Boy book Almanzo talks about putting popcorn in milk, equal sized glasses, and how the popcorn will fit in the glass of milk without overflowing. Can we try this mama? Yes!
I love saying yes. Can we paint our faces? Yes! Can we paint your face? Yes!
Lots of sensory play. We love Asia’s book 150 Screen Free Activities (affiliate link). And now buy baking soda in 13.5 lb bags at Costco! Also a garlic press + play dough, try it! By the way Tuesday made the “corset” in the picture of her playing with baking soda and colored vinegar. She is so so so proud of that thing!
A giant cardboard house thanks to a new light fixture at grandma’s. We had this set up in the living room but had to move it for the tree. When we brought it downstairs I let them go nuts painting it.
We hit up lots of independant game shops on Black Friday and randomly grabbed My First Carcassonne (affiliate link). If you want a game that is awesome to play as adults but even young kids can pick up on, this is it. We love it.
Tuesday made “Christmas” cleaner. Here is a link to our cleaner. So easy, and she loved giving it an extra minty smell for the holidays.
Writing, writing, writing! I made a little book for Tuesday. Small slips of paper hole punched and bound by a binder clip. I write words she’d like to spell out on them, so she can go back. It currently has all of our friend’s and family’s names, “happy” “birthday” and many others.  I can’t remember where I saw this, but I didn’t come up with the idea. It works great and she references it a lot. Speaking of writing… found an old Mad Libs. Oh the hilarity!
Perhaps the most exciting thing for an unschooling mom like me to see is the moment an idea solidifies for my child! This happened in December with math equations (or word sentences or whatever people call them now). She had been adding things up for a while, but never wrote out the equations. I found this little old slate, which had been mine. Since Tuesday is so into “prairie girl” things she, of course, loved it. She wrote ” 5 + 5 10″ so I showed her what an equal sign was. Boom! She’s all about equations now, so fun.
Extra curriculars: Tuesday and Bennet are in gymnastics now, homeschool bounce at the trampoline place for both of them, and our local children’s museum has a “homeschool hangout” class once a month that Tuesday loves. She’s all, “Ok, see you later mom!” and I pick her up three hours later with her bubbling with what they’ve learned. Wild that she’s so self confident and outgoing. I just love her!
I really want to show you how I’ve changed things around for the new year, but for now I’ll leave it at learning from mid-November through December 2014!

2014

Though I didn’t blog a ton (oops took all of December off!) we had a wonderful year.
January was forest school, birthday fun, friends, and cozy time at home.
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February was full of snow! More than we usually see, which made it so special. Tuesday still has a little in the freezer. The end of the month saw us in Hawaii.
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The first of March we were still soaking up the sunshine, and we came home feeling the need to be outside, warm or not! Tuesday finally took an interest in her balance bike, the addition of a cardboard baby doll seat sure helped. We started 100 days of happiness and ended the month with our 7th wedding anniversary.
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April was full of lots of everyday goodness, including a return to some warm (unseasonably so!) weather. We even had our first dinner outside of the year. Forest School continued on, but in tee shirts instead of full rain gear. Started planning and scheming the garden, even buying olive trees. Plants started blooming. Tuesday and I took a homeschool train trip to Seattle and back… in one day. And then left for California; a quick trip to visit my dad. It got so hot by the end of the month apparently we all needed tank tops and naps with out blankies!
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In May I tried to hire someone to work in our yard, but it turns out I’m only satisfied with me being the one to do all the work (and oh do I love it!). So I let perfection in the yard go and dug in. Dinners on the front porch were back on. Chatting with neighbors as we lounged and ate, nothing better. The muddy river looked quite different once the sun came out at Forest School. Tuesday enjoyed herself at a sheep to shawl show, we were about halfway through Laura Ingalls Wilder series by now and in full on “prairie girl” mode! By the end of the month we were covered in dirt by early afternoon nearly everyday.
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June wrapped up Forest School, dance and girl scouts for the year, along with most obligations of any kind and it was full on summertime bliss. I pared my clothes, accessories and shoes down to a total of 33 items for the summer and LOVED IT. I easily stuck to this and feel so much more in love with myself with much less! Started composting, and reading more about permaculture.
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July was rag curls, playing in the creek in undies, first sparklers on the forth of July. Camping in the backyard, bouncing in the bounce house. Impromptu trips to the coast to cool down. Eating lots from our own yard. The bounce house. Beading in the cool basement. Bennet turning two! The canning madness started. Water fountains were splashed in. We had a grape arbor built.
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In August I got a pressure canner so I could do something with all those beans. We participated in Salem Harvest picks, and I said yes to zucchini from everyone. There was a drive in movie, and of course more canning. Ceara and I had a crazy week that involved watching Bruno Mars, then flying to California to see a taping of So You Think You Can Dance (barely!). I took Tuesday to her first Girl Scout camp. We said goodbye to my mom’s old place, where she lived for 21 years and hello to having her and Bill in the neighborhood for good! I turned 34 and went to the State Fair, of course.
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September was no spend month, our favorite. We cleaned and organized and of course I canned some more (somebody stop me!). We camped by a creek on my grandpa’s property with the whole family. I picked way too many onions, canned way too much grape juice (all in one crazy marathon day!). I flung doors wide open and smiled at still warm breezes coming through. Bennet got a bob and Bj cooked everything possible in his new Big Green Egg. We saved seeds and made pizza, and played in the sink.
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In October we were still getting lots of yumminess from our garden. Even eating melons at the beginning of the month! Then Bj, Bennet and I went to beautiful upstate New York for a wedding of a dear friend.  Bennet slept through the night, which we celebrated at the carousel (sadly this didn’t last). There were harvest festivals to go to. A girls craftcation weekend which was exactly what I needed. Meanwhile Tuesday was getting so proficient on her bike she managed to get up some big hills at the park. I made the girls’ costumes for halloween.
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November saw us turning to the inside, playing lots of games, writing lots of notes. Tuesday started playing more with neighborhood kids, and often bunches of them will be in someone’s driveway playing. I love the sound of it. I finished a quilt for my friends, my favorite to date. I started knitting again. The living room was taken over by a large cardboard house. We spent Thanksgiving at my in-laws in the Tri-Cities. Probably our last… They put an offer on a house in our neighborhood and it was accepted!
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Finally December, in which I ignored the blog completely. We made Christmas scented cleaner. We played lots and lots of games. I started sewing a lot again, mostly my quilts. I counted at least 20 UFOs, for shame! Lots of sensory play (baking soda dough, water play, etc.). Tuesday listened to so many audiobooks, many on repeat. I knit a lot of washcloths. Carmen came for a girls weekend in Portland with me. I hosted another crew girl Christmas. We went for a lovely Christmas walk and came up with new traditions for our family. And we played games, and read books, and played more games.
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Along the way we did lots of learning at home, had fun with Daisy Girl Scouts, Bj rocked his job (and traveled a freaking ton!), and I managed to be crafty more often than not. Tuesday wore her prairie girl outfits constantly. And her baby “Tootsie” was with her more often than not. And if all that seems pretty wonderful, it was! I didn’t put a single negative thing in this post. There were hard days and many more hard nights (still no sleep for the weary around here!). But I love looking back on all the positive things that happened! I’m feeling so great about 2015 too. One of my dearest friends is getting married, and I’m sure that will be a huge part of it. So exciting. Tuesday and Bennet are growing and learning by leaps and bounds. I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a stride with homeschooling, or at least most of the panic has subsided.
I’ve realized when you go to look for wonderful things in your life surely you will find them. And this picture heavy post proves that. I don’t like to call it luck. But damn, I have it good.

Draw string bag tutorial (and giveaway!)

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I don’t know about anyone else, but the beginning of this year (hello 2015!) has made me want to organize! I have loved this tutorial by my friend from quilt guild, and asked her if I could update it a bit to show off my mom’s lovely cord. I made a bunch of these bags a few years ago, so I thought it was time for a fresh set.
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Here is a diagram for cutting on dot matrix paper, because I’m so fancy like that. One of the 12.5 x 20.5 inch pieces can be pieced, if you want to use up scraps, or orphan quilt blocks. Megan’s tutorial has more information on making custom sizes, I just chose this one size for ease of the tutorial.
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And this is the finished bag size. It can be reversible if you choose to hand stitch the opening closed (see below).
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After you cut the pieces take the long skinny strip and use wonder tape to tack down about a quarter inch of the edge. It’s basically a sticker so it’s super easy to use.
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After this fold and iron wrong sides together.
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Lay the inside fabric right side up, then center the strip you just iron with raw edges facing the top, and finish the sandwich with the exterior fabric on top, right side down. If you have a directional fabric you need the pattern to face up. I tried to pick a very obvious pattern for the tutorial so you can see what I mean. Pin all along the top and stitch with a quarter inch seam – too wide of a seam and you won’t have room to thread the cord through.
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After you stitch that seam your bag will look like this opened up. You can see here I’ve pressed the seam down, so the little casing we’ve now made for the cord stands up.
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Next fold the bag like so and pin all around the edge. Again you are going to sew with a quarter inch seam allowance, leaving the small gap you see between the scissors and pen open to turn the bag right side out.
After sewing clip corners, to get rid of extra fabric and push out. Then flip the bag through the opening.
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You’ll need to sew closed the opening. I decided not to worry about the bag being reversible, so I just did a straight stitch over the opening. Then I tucked the inner lining down into the bag and threaded cord through the casing.
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Ribbon Jar has so many awesome cords. I loooooove the neons.
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There are a couple types you can use. Either the toggle, which has two openings or stops, which has one. Both are a tight squeeze, which is really what you want anyway. Use a paper piercer, large needle, awl, or tip of very sharp scissors to get the ends through (and be careful!). I like to tie the two sides together so you can hang the bag.
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Super fast, awesome project! And like I referenced in my last post about these, they make great reusable gift bags.
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Here is a pieced version of the same bag.
Supplies needed for easy drawstring bag:
Fabric cut list:
(2) 12.5″ x 20.5″ pieces of fabric (piecing optional)
(1) 18.5″ x 1.5″ piece of fabric for casing
Cording: I used about 26″. It’s sold by the yard, so if you buy a couple yards of a color, you’ll get three bags worth (that would give you 24″ per bag).
Cord Stop: You can get them here at the Ribbon Jar
Wonder Tape: Also at the Ribbon Jar
 
***********Since the Ribbon Jar has all the awesome supplies you need (minus the fabric, which if you’re anything like me you have a stash of!) they have given readers a coupon for 15% off all cord, just use CORD15 when you check out (good until Sunday, January 11th).
My mom also gave me a pack of cord to give away! I’m going to throw in a big bag of scraps so you can do a scrappy version if you like. Just leave a comment by Sunday and I’ll announce a winner Monday.
Giveaway closed. Winner is Julia! Thanks for playing!
Happy sewing!