Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kid Craft: Earring Holder

My daughters have had their ears pierced for about a year. I think during that time they've lost at least half of the earrings I've bought them. My youngest is a bit of a magpie and loves to collect and then hide things. I am always finding interesting "treasures" under her bed pillows and stuffed away in little purses and bags.
So I collected all the remaining earrings I could find and we made these little holders to hang on their wall to keep them organized.
I found this super bright and very cheap lace at Walmart.
I glued the lace in place inside the hoop and we added some ribbon to the bottom to hold necklaces.

My girls were a bit young to be much help. I don't trust them with a glue gun yet. But they spent the afternoon dividing up the remainder of their earrings and hanging them in the hoop.

Since we've made these I am happy to say we haven't lost one set of earrings yet! :)


Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Favorite Cities *NEW PATTERNS!*

 Paris, London, Salt Lake City.  




As I stitched up these little patterns I dreamt off all 3 and my favorite things about each one.   
What is your favorite city? 
My Favorite Cities pattern is available now on my ETSY shop and at Pine Needles Quilt Shop

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I'm so lucky to have such a beautiful and inspiring quilt shop 10 minutes from my house.

Being able to handle the fabric and physically put projects together is so much nicer than buying online.

Recently my favorite quilt shop, Pine Needles, changed locations and expanded it's store.
The children's area is invaluable and certainly encourages me spend more time there, which translates to "spend more money there" :)

I also recently switched out my sewing room from this instead...
I lost my own sewing space but my daughter gained her own room. She's growing up. 
So now my local quilt shop has become even more important as a place to be inspired and creative.
And what is inspiring me right now? Travel...countries I've never been to but hope to travel to someday. Is that surprising after been cooped up inside all Winter? 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bathroom Makeover

I thought I'd just quickly show you a project I worked on over the Winter. Sorry for the iphone camera shots, I wasn't paying much attention.
I needed something to keep myself occupied in doors so I decided on a little home improvement.
My guest bath before... boring. 
(Painting tip: cover surfaces with Glad Press and Seal, worked like a charm!)


My guest bath after...

I had never done wallpaper before. There were quite a few little mistakes but with the help of this curtain they are mostly hidden from view. In the end it turned out and kept me busy inside during a major snow storm that day.
I love having such an elegant little room in the house. I threaten the kids daily to keep it clean ;) 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

One Block, Two Block... Red Block, Blue Block

Last night I caught my middle child, P, sitting up in bed reading at 11:30pm (we put her to bed at 8:30pm). As I walked into her room to turn out the light before heading to bed myself, I saw her quickly hide her book "How To Train Your Dragon" under her covers and pretend to be asleep. She knew she was caught and opened one little eye, looked at me sadly and said "I just love to read. Sorry mom."
Of course rather than be angry my heart filled with joy! I told her I completely understood, but she had school in the morning and needed to be done now. I couldn't hide my smile as I walked out of her room.
(my youngest, C, reading an all time favorite)
All five of us Fransons love to read. My children's over-active imaginations have gotten them into plenty of trouble and plenty of fun (remind me sometime to tell you about the universe they have created, complete with a species of animals called a "menygee") 
We each have our favorite books. I love to read anything written in the 1800's (Bronte, Austen, Dickens...), my husband loves adventure stories and books that keep him turning the page (as a lawyer I think he finds it a relaxing break from reading serious court cases all day). I think The Boy may have read every Goosebumps book ever written and is currently on a series of Doctor Who books he can't put down. P is now on the last How To Train Your Dragon book (there's 9 of them) and C's favorites are Doctor Seuss books. 
So, when I was contacted by Shannon Fabrics and asked if I'd like to do a tutorial for them, I jumped at the chance to play around with these ultra soft and cuddly Doctor Seuss prints that fit our family so well. Ahhhh, minky! I wanted to climb inside this box for an afternoon nap.
Of course the best spot to read is anywhere comfy and soft. These big soft blocks stacked in a corner next to a shelf overflowing with books makes the most inviting reading nook. To make plenty of these fun blocks I ordered two of Shannon Fabrics Cuddle Quarter Kits. Each kit came with 8 quarter yard strips of fabric. I loved mixing up all the different prints and textures! Each strip measures 9 inches wide. I knew I wanted these blocks to be big and fun so I cut each strip into 9 inch squares. For each block you'll need six different 9 inch squares.

Mix up your pieces and lay them out like you see I've done below. I tried to mix up the different textures. Kids love the feel of the smooth next to the bumpy paired with the fuzzy... So FUN!

Your next step is to sew your 4 center blocks together. I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance for all my seams. Minky has one side that is very stretchy and one side that's not, plus it's pretty slippery fabric. It can sometimes be a challenge to match your seams perfectly, so pin well! I also found it helped a lot to sew stretchy side to stretchy side (or bias to bias) in order to keep my seams matched up. It may take some practice and lots of pins but I also find minky's fuzziness hides a lot of sewing imperfections, which makes it is pretty forgiving fabric to work with.
After you've sew your four middle squares together, sew the 2 side squares to the 3rd block in the row (refer to the above picture for placement).
When you are sewing this piece on, leave about a half inch on each side unsewn like you see I've done below. This will help your blocks have nice square corners.  

Once you have those pieces sewn together, it's time to form your block. It's a little tricky to explain so I've drawn up a diagram below...

You're going to start by sewing side "a" to side "b". This is where it helps to leave that 1/2 inch unsewn. It will make turning your fabric and getting a sharp corner much easier. As you are putting your block together you'll see what I mean.
In the picture below you can see how your fabric will look folded when side "a" matches up to side "b".

Here's my little helper holding up the block for you after I've sewn one side "a" and side "b" together.

This next picture is a shot when both sides are sewn together.

You can see how it's starting to form the block shape. Continue sewing each of the sides together in the same way until you have a completed cube. 
On your last seam, leave a small opening to turn your block right side out.
Ready to be stuffed.

Stuff your block through the opening and hand stitch your opening closed. I used polyester fiberfill to stuff my blocks. If you wanted a stiffer more "building block" less "pillow block" look (which would also be SUPER CUTE), stuff each block with an 8 inch square block of foam. You can find sheets of foam at places like Joann's Fabric. This will make your blocks even more square and stackable. Either look will turn out soft and oh so fun!  


Our completed blocks getting stacked, thrown, loved...

and enjoyed with a good book!

Materials List:
2 Cuddle Quarter Kits by Shannon Fabrics
(You can find those HERE)
Matching thread
Polyester fiberfill or 8 inch foam cubes, one for each block


Friday, April 5, 2013

Easter Lie-in

(That's some terrible picture quality, sorry!)
In the past I've woken with the kids at 6am on Easter Sunday and pretended to care and be surprised at what the Easter Bunny brought this year.
This Easter morning you know what I did? Slept.
The kids ran into our room to wake us up, super excited that it was Easter morning. I rolled over and half smiled and told The Boy to take a couple pictures. Then started snoring once more. I think they were a bit confused.

(Doctor Who in the background while we dye eggs!)
When I did roll out of bed they were happy and excited to show me their mess of candy wrappers and little toys. I was rested and excited to see it.

(Walmart bag Easter basket... another first this year)
Do I feel guilty about it? No, if anything I'm proud of it! 
As my kids grow their needs change. I am so happy I get a complete full nights sleep every single night. I am thrilled that my kids get up with their alarms and get dressed for school and pour their own bowls of cereal (leaving me time to jump in the shower at a reasonable hour). We share books, we like the same movies (no more Finding Nemo for the 111th time), and heck, me and the boy even wear the same shoe size now (ha ha, though I won't let him borrow my pumps!) 
11 years later I think I've earned a lie-in Easter Sunday. I'm proud of it!
P.S. Christmas morning is a different story. The whole family's up at 5am, loving every minute of it!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sneak Peak

It was a good day today. The UPS man brought me a box of goodies from Shannon Fabrics and I finally started quilting my pin wheels quilt.

A box of minky so incredibly soft I wanted to climb inside for an afternoon nap.
I can't wait to get started on some projects, so many fun ideas bouncing around my brain right now!