Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Candy Wrapper Zipper Pouch - less than successful (not quite a pin fail)

Cotton (the dog) and the Candy Wrapper Glasses Case
I'll refrain from calling this a Pin(terest) Fail, but it wasn't the roaring success I envisioned.  I saw these candy wrappers turned into zipper pouches and thought, "this would be so fun to do with a group of teens." Um, glad I tried it out first. And since then I've had no desire to try it out with a large group.

The basic idea is to use iron on vinyl (I found mine at a sewing machine store, but I've since seen it at Walmart) to laminate the candy wrapper. Then sew it into a pouch with a zipper across the long side.

Here's my first attempt:
Melted Vinyl and wrapper!
Good thing I was using a piece of fabric between the iron and the vinyl and then under the wrapper too! If a little heat is a good thing, more heat is better, right? Wrong!

The iron on vinyl makes the candy wrapper "fabric" sewable but like you are sewing vinyl (funny how that happens).

The hardest part of the project isn't ironing on the vinyl. It's actually turning the pouch right side out. Three of us completed (or attempted to) complete this project together. The Spree wrapper didn't make it past go. The Skittles wrapper attempt tore through the seam when turning right side out (too small), but the M&M wrapper made it to completion. The corners aren't nice and neat, but they are functional and the dog is still looking for the missing M&Ms!!

If you try this type of project here are my suggestions (learn from my mistakes):
 1. get the largest wrapper you can (it would make turning the project right side out easier)
 2. test out your ironing temp and duration on a scrap before using the real wrapper (more excuses to eat chocolate are always a good thing)
 3. don't consider this a beginner sewing project
 4. don't mentally consider this a fabric-like pouch, just pretend you are sewing a plastic pouch
 5. vinyl sticks to the sewing machine foot. I used tissue paper between my foot and my wrapper to solve this problem, but maybe putting tape on the bottom of the sewing machine foot would work as well? (anyone tried it?) Because I was using tissue paper I used small stitches so the paper would be nicely perforated and easy to tear off, but it also made the vinyl more perforated and easier to tear (bother).

Not so awesome results
So remember, not every awesome looking project will turn out awesome in real life, but have fun trying and remember that failure is an option and I'm not afraid to admit I failed on this project.
Awesome picture though! Thanks Katrina and Cotton for the pic.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sew San Antonio - Virtual Fabric Shop Hop - Sew Special Quilts

Karla of Petite Chalet (home of super cute baby bibs and burp cloths - take a look and I know you'll agree) visited our third stop.

For our third stop on the Virtural Fabric Shop Hop, I visited Sew Special Quilts, and let me tell you, I think I’ve found my new favorite fabric store in San Antonio! From the moment I walked into the store I felt very welcomed. The staff was friendly, warm, and incredibly helpful. They are located at 5139 N. Loop 1604 West, Suite 110.

Sew Special Quilts is the perfect shop for quilters. They carry large amount of designer cotton fabric (perfect for quilting). Sew Special Quilts stock Michael Miller, Moda, and Riley Blake fabrics, just to name a few. Because they stock high quality fabrics, the prices are a bit higher than Joann’s, but they have a frequent buyers club program, that I think will help to make their prices more reasonable. The Frequent Buyers Club cost $20 a year, but you get 10% off your purchase every day, and on the 15th of each month you get 20% off of your purchase. I joined the frequent buyers club when I visited, and I ended up saving the $20 that I spent on joining, so it has completely paid for itself already.

Sample of fabric offered at Sew Special Quilts:
  • Cotton Fabrics
  • Quilters Cotton
  • Moda Solids
  • Small selection of Flannel
  • Batting
  • Interfacing
  • Cotton Apparel Fabric

Sample of Sewing and Quilting Accessories at Sew Special Quilts:
  • Quilting Books
  • Machine accessories for Bernina and Baby Lock Machines
  • Scissors
  • Quilting Gloves
  • Stabilizers
  • Rotary cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Rulers
  • Zippers
  • Thread
  • Quilt patterns and other various patterns
  • Precut fabric
    Fat quarters
    Jelly rolls
    Charm packs
    Mini charm packs
    Layer cakes
    Machines at Sew Special Quilts
  • Bernina
  • Baby Lock
  • Sergers
  • Embroidery machines
Classes at Sew Special Quilts
  • Buy a Machine and you can attend free classes as many times as you wish, to learn your new machine.
  • $5 quilt
    • Registration is $10 and with an additional $5.00 charge at your first class.
    • Meet once a month to collect your quilt kit and learn a new technique
    • Bring your completed quilt block to class the following month, and receive the next month’s kit free.
    • Class Starts in October and runs for 1 year.
    • At completion of the class you will have enough quilt blocks to construct a quilt top.
  • Various classes
    • Embroidery
    • Serger Basics
    • Silhouette Cameo Cutter
    • Hand Applique
    • Bag Lady
    • Stitch ‘Till Midnight
  • Visit their website for a schedule of classes available

 How to get a deal at Sew Special Quilts

  • Shop their sale and clearance items
  • Join the Frequent Buyers Club
    • Remember to shop on the 15th for 20% off your purchase

My Favorite Features of Sew Special Quilts
  • Very helpful and experienced employees
  • Current and modern fabric choices
  • Designer fabrics
    • I usually buy these fabrics online, but will be buying them from Sew Special Quilts using their Frequent Buyers Club.
  • Variety of classes

Least Favorite Features of Sew Special Quilts
  • Higher prices than Joann’s and Hobby Lobby
  • Doesn’t have a variety of fabrics other than cotton fabrics
  • They are only open until 6:00pm on Tuesday and Thursday, and 5:00 pm on Monday and Wednesday.
Thanks Karla for the amazing review. Be sure to check out Karla's fun and modern baby products. This one is my favorite at the moment (did I mention Karla's fun modern quilts too?). 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fleece on Fleece Applique Tutorial

Today I'm showing you how I made my fleeceYoshi pillow. I used the same technique to make a butterfly pillow too. Just think of the soft fluffy possibilities!

Step 1: Determine what image you are going to use. I used a Yoshi headshot found on wiki. Find it on my pinterest board. I thought about doing Mario - but I didn't have the colors I needed.

Step 2: Enlarge and print your picture (I used B&W to save ink) using whatever software you are familiar with. I used Silhouette studio because I'm very familiar with that software. I created a box the size of my finished pillow and then sized the image to look good inside that box.

Yoshi likes the garden!

Step 3: Use your handy "light table"/window to trace an outline of your image onto freezer paper. In an effort to think ahead I used a piece of freezer paper the size of my finished pillow (16"x16"). Then I made a second outline on freezer paper for later. 

Three color design - green, white and black
Step 4: Label the colors you will be working with on your freezer paper. You can see below that I thought of putting a white light reflection spot (new technical term from a crafter with a degree in nursing not art!) on Yoshi's black pupil but later decided that was too small of a detail to include.

Step 5: Now I have to be specific to Yoshi but apply the same guidelines to whatever design you are using.
  • Decide what color is your background color (green) and what color goes on top next (white). Iron the freezer paper onto the top layer (white). 
  • Keep in mind that fleece melts if the iron is too hot. And the iron will not glide over fleece like plain cotton. 
  • Use the iron in one place at a time just long enough to get the freezer paper to adhere to the white fleece. 
  • Then place the white fleece over the green fleece and pin in place.

Step 6: Sew on the lines of your white jowls and eyeballs using a very short stitch. The stitch will act as perforation for the freezer paper. And the shorter stitch will make it easier to go around curves too.

White "jowls" trimmed, white eyeball area untrimmed, black fleece ready to applique on.

Step 7:  Carefully peel up the freezer paper so that you can use it again on the black layer of applique. Then use scissors to cut the excess white fleece away.

Step 8: Repeat the process for the black fleece (iron on freezer paper, pin in place, use short stitch to sew on, trim excess fabric).
Ready to put on background fabric

Step 9: Iron your second freezer paper outline onto your green yoshi face.

Step 10: Pin your yoshi face onto your background fabric (blue). I used a 16"x16" pillow form so I cut a blue piece of fleece 17x17 (actually I made a boo boo and cut it 16"x17", but lucky for me fleece stretches and I was still able to use a 16"x16" pillow form).

Step 11: Sew around the outline of Yoshi. I used a short straight stitch. Remove the freezer paper. Trim the excess green fleece. (I then decided I wanted a little more of a black outline around my design so I used a short zigzag over top of my straight stitch.)

Step 12: Finish your pillow top by adding the back fabric. I used the envelope method so I put two pieces of fleece 17"x10" overlapping in the middle and sewed all around the square.
Peek a boo Yoshi!

Step 13: Turn your pillow case right side out and stuff with your pillow form.

Hug your fleecy friend!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sew San Antonio - Virtual Fabric Shop Hop - Walmart

Stop number two on our Virtual Fabric Shop Hop wasn't originally on my list, but then I hit a patch of good luck and decided it was worth mentioning Walmart. Yes, Walmart has fabric again (at least all the ones in my local area do). The selection is small, but occasionally the surprises are worth the time it takes to check it out.
Walmart fabric - 2 - $1 bandanas, 1 batik fat quarter, blue bird medallion fabric $1.50/yd, yellow yard $2.50/yd

Things you may or may not find in a Walmart fabric aisle (because it really is more like one or two short aisles than a store):

  • interfacing (iron on vinyl too - surprise, surprise)
  • polyfil (stuffing)
  • packaged batting
  • fleece at rock bottom prices
  • flannel
  • precuts (surprisingly sometimes better quality than prepackaged fat quarters at other stores)
  • twill
  • a few more formal fabrics, lace, etc
  • maybe some seasonal fabric (4th of July) or trending fabric (chevrons)
  • patterns (the $0.97 pattern I bought wasn't worth my money)
  • 2-4 different sewing machines
The good things about fabric at Walmart:
  • the prices are usually great 
  • no coupon gimmicks
  • the occasional happy surprise (love my yellow butterfly fabric)
  • you may frequent Walmart for other items so it's convenient :)
  • if you're an out of the box thinker, try the accessories section for $1 bandanas - it's like a $1 fat qurter only bigger and it has a border print too
The downers:
  • despite being a 24/7 store I was unable to find anyone to cut my fabric at 9:30pm
  • the staff who cuts your fabric probably doesn't know how to operate a sewing machine (at least in my local area - I'm sure there are exceptions)
  • prices are not well labeled (again exceptions exist, but fabric isn't a priority for most Walmarts)
  • no classes
  • no advertised sales

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yoshi Fleece Pillow - a DIY gift

 Need a birthday gift for a video game fan? That was me just last week. I sewed up this fancy (not) fleece Yoshi (from Mario) pillow in one morning. I love the results and so did my son. The hardest part of making this pillow was giving it away! Pics and tutorial coming 5/20 Fleece on Fleece Applique Tutorial featuring Yoshi
Yoshi pillow for a video game fan

Loved already!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sew San Antonio - Virtual Fabric Shop Hop - JoAnn Fabric

Welcome to the Sew San Antonio Virtual Fabric Shop Hop. I've teamed up with some local crafters to bring you a fabric store review every Friday (till we run out of stores).

If you're new to the area or new to sewing it's hard to know where to go for fabric sometimes.

We're starting with JoAnn Fabric. I have the most experience with this fabric store. (Disclaimer - a few years ago taught sewing classes at JoAnn. I am currently not affiliated with JoAnn in any way and I am not receiving any compensation for my time or opinions).
exterior shot - JoAnn fabric and crafts
 JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts is a national chain with two stores in the San Antonio area. According to my best guestimate (a quick survey of the large floor tile design) the store appears to be 50% fabric and 50% crafts. I won't even attempt to cover all the crafts!

JoAnn carries the widest variety of fabric in San Antonio - quilting fabrics of varying quality (see pic), home decor fabric, vinyl (great for protecting your table from youngsters), upholstery fabric and viny, silky fabrics, flannels, interfacing, burlap, fleece, etc.
different quality quilting fabric
Sample of the types of fabrics at JoAnn
  • kona solids (great for quilting)
  • fleece
  • vinyl by the yard
  • burlap
  • formal wear type fabrics
  • outdoor fabrics
  • knit fabrics
  • lace by the yard
  • prequilted fabrics
  • interfacing
  • denim
  • drapery fabric
  • marine vinyl
  • headliner (for cars - yep, really!)
  • flannel
  • licensed designs (Marvel, Disney, etc)
  • batting
  • special order interior design fabrics - samples in store
  • sample brand name quilting fabric - use coupon or sale!!
 Sample of Sewing and Quilting Accessories  at JoAnn
  • quilting books
  • quilting rulers
  • small label quilting patterns
  • block of the month kit (nationwide and rarely used)
  • precuts (a few)
  • fat quarters (precut and packaged - variable quality!)
  • buttons
  • zippers
  • ribbon
  • embroidery stabilizer
Machines at JoAnn
  • Singer models
  • no service available
  • buy in box, no machine orientation or classes
Cricut at JoAnn
  • Cricut brand machines (currently the Cricut Explorer) (if you're considering this machine you should really check out the Silhouette Cameo before making a decision - I own one and love it!) UPDATE - the silhouette cameo is now available at JoAnn!!
  • Accu-Quilt - fabric die cutter

 Classes At JoAnn
Classroom at Bandera location
  • taught by independent contractors or JoAnn employees
  • "trend classes" are determined by local store
  • classes in printed catalog are determined on a nationwide basis
  • hand sewing/crafting classes for ages 5 and up
  • classes with machines for ages 8 and up
  • other crafting classes also available
  • sewing machines available to use in sewing classes - just reserve one when you sign up for the class
  • sewing and quilting classes are beginner to intermediate level, but I wouldn't consider any of the classes advanced
How to Get a Deal at JoAnn
  • use coupons - JoAnn will accept competitor's coupons, and multiple coupons as long as they have different numbers on them (and aren't expired)
  • sign up for the mailing list to get coupons in the mail and/or email
  • bring in your Hobby Lobby coupon (usually a 40% off one item printable coupon every week)
  • Hancock coupons are also accepted 
  • visit the sales - I buy my flannel on Black Friday 
  • buy remnants 50% off current sale price (so if something is 50% off from the bolt a remnant of that fabric would be 75% off) 


My Favorite Features of JoAnn
  • I can get great deals by using sales and coupons.
  • Variety of fabric
  • And yes, I get stuck in the craft section frequently too!

My Least Favorite Features of JoAnn

  • cotton quilting fabric and especially the fat quarters are sometimes low quality (especially hard to tell with the fat quarters because of they way they are folded onto a cardboard)
  • fabric may not be cut straight on the bolt (employees use scissors not rotary cutter)
  • take a ticket system (but my kids love taking a ticket)
  • the lines - on sale days this is especially bad
So there you have it - my lengthy review of JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. What would you add? What would you respectfully disagree with?  Come back next Friday for another fabric store review!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Pin Worthy Pin Cushion

In the summer I will be teaching an adult begin to sew class at a local fabric store. The first project is a simple pincushion. I wanted to make a sample, but of course I couldn't just make a boring pin cushion. ................

Presenting the Pin Worthy Pin Cushion (feel free to pin it ;)

6x6 black duck canvas with heat transfer vinyl cut on the silhouette cameo (siser metallic red)

Friday, May 2, 2014

YW theme frame - simple frame option for odd size items

At church the girls ages 12 to 18 recite the Young Women's theme every Sunday. I noticed that they are using a simple poster held up by a thumbtack. It would look so much nicer framed. But as I did some research I quickly discovered that 14 x 20 is NOT a common size and would require a pricey custom frame.

Sounds like the perfect problem for a determined DIYer like me!

Plan A: My first option was to glue the poster to a black foam board and use a simple geometric or scroll-ish accent to imitate a frame. Problem #1 - not enough gold vinyl.

Plan B: Having already found/created a design for the gold accent I bought some gold paint and used a contact paper stencil to spray paint on the design. Problem #2 - for whatever reason the foam board and the paint don't like each other enough to stick well. Every time I touched the dry paint it flaked off on my finger. Ick!

Plan C: Spray paint white vinyl (oracal 631) and then apply the "gold" vinyl to the foam board in a much simplified geometric design. SUCCESS!! Proving that if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.

Lengthening a Toddler Dress with a Contrast Band

I love cut little girl dresses, and I love cute little girl dresses that come at least to the knees even more. I recently found a $5 dress at a big box store, but it was a little on the short side (and even shorter after a wearing and a washing!). I can't even buy the fabric and pattern to make a 3T dress for $5 so I decided to buy the bargain dress and alter it myself.

My 3T super model with her favorite bag and matching dress
Step 1 - Cut the fabric. I measured around the bottom edge of the dress and added enough for a seam allowance. Then I considered how much length I wanted to add and doubled that plus a seam allowance. So my piece of fabric was approximately 38" long by 8" tall.

Step 2 - Sew the end of the fabric so it is one long tube.

Step 3 - Fold the fabric over on itself so the tube is half the original height. Iron!!

Step 4 - Sew the top end of the tube shut. I used a serger just because I can (thank you craigslist for the ancient but great serger).

Step 5 - With right sides together sew the top of the tube to the bottom of the dress. (Yes pins would be nice, but sometimes I sew without.)

Step 6 - Iron the seam down.

Step 7 - Admire your just washed baby in her just lengthened dress. Although these pictures don't show it the dress is now just below her knees. If I ask her to pose for a picture I get a scrunched up squinty eyed picture (she hates the flash and always thinks it's going to go off).

Note - long dresses are great for babies old enough to walk, but are terribly frustrating to crawling babies.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Threats and Vigilance

Earlier this week a troubled soul made a threat to the local schools by emailing several school officials and claiming that on April 24th (today) there would be some sort of mass violence at a local elementary school. A letter was sent home to parents regarding the threat and although the threat was most likely a hoax sending the letter was the right thing to do. Parents then were faced with the decision of whether or not to send their children to school on April 24th.  Law enforcement agencies worked together to trace the source of the threat and deemed it a hoax.

I opted to send my children to school, but I will admit that my confidence faltered a little as I drove up to the front of the school without any wait (unheard of) and realized that about half of the students would not be at school today. Was I making the right decision? Should I go back and take my children home?

I drove past the school several times during the day and saw at least one police officer each time. Obviously law enforcement was stepped up and working overtime to protect and defend our children. And for that I am grateful. (And now the school day is over and every child is safely home.)

The threat of violence at our local school is relatively low even on days like today, April 24th. But different threats face our children every day. Will they succumb to negative peer pressure? Will today be the day they are accidentally exposed to pornography? What kind of language will be used around them? What kind of media will they be exposed to? Will our children know how to stand up for their beliefs and standards?

Are we as parents, teachers, and leaders as vigilant as we need to be in preparing for and defending against the day to day threats our children face? Are we strengthening our own defenses against evil so that we can have the guidance of the Lord to help us strengthen our children's defenses?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Handprint Family Tree Quilt

Completed quilt with autographs
I wanted to do something special for my parents so when I knew a family reunion was being planned I jumped on the bandwagon and got this quilt done in a six weeks (that's a big deal for someone with 5 kids not to mention 40+ handprints that have to go on the quilt).

My siblings quickly sent me via USPS or email the outline of their hands and their children and spouses hands. Then I set to work. The funnest part for me is the planning and choosing a color scheme.

Work of art on display on the kitchen table!
My parents have green trim in their bedroom so I decided to go with green leaves. And yes, each leaf is the size of that person's hand at the time the quilt was made. I gave my mom the leftover fabric so she can add more handprints or leafs or flowers or whatever as more people are added to the family if she wants to.

Prior to pin basting
So that I can remember how I created this quilt and you can create one of your own if you like here are the basic steps I followed.

1. Spend tooooo much time on pinterest trying to find the perfect family tree quilt idea to copy.

2. Decide to create your own pattern. Draw that pattern out and decide you don't really like the chunky geometrical style after all.

3. Muster all your artistic energy and a roll of white paper and draw what you think should be the perfect tree. Show said tree to your husband and a visitor who both declare it looks like a roach. (They are both right.)

4. Give up on your freehand artistic skills and instead use your Silhouette Studio software to alter an existing tree to fit your needs. I am one of 10 children so I wanted a tree with 10 branches.

5. Realize that with the one directional design of the brown fabric piecing the tree together would be a difficult job.

6. Create your own "whole cloth" applique technique. It goes something like this:
  • place the brown tree fabric on top of the white background fabric
  • print your tree from Silhouette Studio with a grid on top of it
  • use lots of rulers and chalk to make a grid on your brown fabric
  • refer to the grids to enlarge the tree from 8 1/2" x 11" size to queen size quilt size
  • use a short straight stitch to sew the brown fabric to the white fabric (no wonder under involved)
  • be sure to backstitch or tie off your threads
  • carefully cut off the excess fabric to reveal the brown whole cloth tree
  • (not the cheapest technique and more wasteful than I like, but I have lots of scraps and I'm very happy with the result)
7. Use three different techniques to transfer handprints to fabric with wonder under or similar fusible interfacing.
  • iron green fabric onto an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of fusible interfacing then use the copy feature on your printer to copy the handprints onto the paper backing of the interfacing 
  • realize that construction paper handprints are going to use all your printer ink if you copy them so decide to cut them out and then trace them onto the fabric directly
  • use your sliding glass door as a light box to trace handprints onto fusible interfacing and realize it's faster than using the copier method because you don't spend time troubleshooting the printer which doesn't always like interfacing (sometimes low tech is the best method)
8. Watch a long movie while cutting out handprints. Remember to label who is who because 40 handprints later you won't remember.

9. Decide where to place all the hands and quickly iron them on before you change your mind or lose one of the handprints.

10. Decide that straight stitch outlining of the handprints will work just fine and will be much faster than zigzags.

11. Do all that straight stitching around every single finger times 47 hands. Thank goodness I didn't do right and left hands!!

12. Realize that your calculations are a bit off and you need a border for the quilt top. Find your inner frugal self (which self had to disappear in the early stages of production) and use leftover green fabric to make a border.

13. Wait a few days for your back to heal from the latest "I lifted the baby the wrong way and now my back hurts" episode before pin basting the quilt.

14. Use the largest available surface in your home to layer your quilt sandwich. Since that surface happens to be the living room floor, take advantage of the carpeting and just use straight sewing pins to pin the layers directly to your carpet  while wondering how in the world you will manage to pin baste this without pinning the carpet.

15. Employ your creative and frugal resourcefulness and realize that your daughter's trundle mattress slides on a piece of hardboard an eighth of an inch thick and the size of a twin size mattress. Carefully slide said hardboard (like pegboard but without the wholes) under quilt sandwich and pin away!!

16. Decide how to quilt the quilt. I opted to quilt along the tree line using invisible thread on top so it wouldn't show when I went over leaves. I used dark brown thread on the back so the back of the quilt has the winter version of the tree. In large unquilted areas quilt clouds or birds or hills to complete the scene.

17. Don't forget the binding!

18. At the family reunion have everyone sign their name with fabric markers (marvy uchida bold point markers because no heat set is required).

19. Remind your parents that yes this is a nice quilt but it was intended to be used and it's okay if it gets dirty. It does wash. I didn't make it to be a wall hanging. ;)

20. And that's how you make Handprint Family Tree quilt in 20 steps or less!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mom takes a sample STAAR test - 4th grade math

Tomorrow my fourth grader takes the STAAR test in math. Today she had a dentist appointment and missed most of the math review. Lucky her, instead of relaxing and having a homework free night she came home with a 12 question sample STAAR test for homework. She made sure I knew that her friend in another class had no homework and instructions to relax and get lots of rest.
STAAR - Apparently the state of TX isn't great at spelling, but at least you know what STAAR stands for now.

I try hard to support my children's teachers and although I was tempted to just tell her to forget about that sample STAAR test I bit my tongue. Instead I told her I was going to do the sample test and write a note to her teacher explaining that this was the best effort of a college graduate who frequently uses math in crafting and quilting and I don't expect any better from a 4th grader.

My daughter kept looking over my shoulder and wanting to help me with the test, but I wouldn't let her. I told her it would be cheating. After I finished writing my answers down on a separate piece of paper (her request), she insisted on taking the test too. Then we compared answers. Out of 12 questions we only disagreed on 2 answers. One I was right (mass is not effected by difference in gravity but weight is). One she was right ("read the directions Mom it says to add the number of vertices and edges together").

Here are my un-professional notes from taking the 12 question sample test:

#33 "What in the world?" the graph - #of computers and #of classrooms really didn't make sense and would be useless in the real world. What they really wanted students to do was figure out the ratio of column x to column y. It would have been easier without the confusing graph data titles.

#34 Not a multiple choice question and I didn't have an answer blank to bubble in so I wasn't sure what format they wanted the answer in. So I guess you really do have to teach the test for questions like this. This was the "read the directions Mom" question.

#36 I'll admit I hazarded a guess and when I realized it was one of the multiple choice answers decided I must have used the correct process. Question was something about how many t-shirt combinations can you make with 4 different colors of shirt, 4 different colors of ink and 3 different designs. (multiply 4x4x3 to get the answer).

#38 Just made me mad - toooooooo picky. What is the width of 4 of these video game controllers rounded to the nearest whole number? It showed a picture and even defined where the width was. Then you had to use their ruler to measure. If you were the least bit sloppy it looked like 1.5 inches which would round up to 2. But in fact it was only 1.45 inches which would round down. Then multiply that times 4. Fortunately the answer 8 was not a choice neither was the answer 6.

#39 After #38 I was mad at the test and felt that this question was unfair also but for a different reason. You have x number of containers that hold 24 quarts. How many quarts of water do you have in total? Simple multiplication question after an extremely picky question. x times 24 = your answer. Here's my beef with the question: nowhere does it state that the containers are full. It just says they hold 24 quarts. Every time I buy a tupperware from the store it tells me on the label how much it holds, but that doesn't mean it's full! So how much water do you really have? It depends on if any of the containers have water in them!

#48 My only other questionable question I actually had a clue from helping my 4th grader with homework earlier this school year. It's basically a vocabulary question. The question shows two figures and asks how they have been changed. The answer choices are a) rotation, b) translation, c) reflection, and d) none of the above. The correct answer is reflection but even my design program for my craft cutter refers to this as mirror image. I wouldn't have had a clue what translation is (sliding the figure one direction or another) except for the homework I helped with. And I graduated with honors from high school and college!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jobs for Moms - Part I Piano Teacher

I've probably read a dozen articles about jobs for stay at home moms. Most of the time I'm not impressed at all. This series will explore jobs for moms as researched by a Mom (me). I'll even try to interview some people I know who successfully work from home while being a mom. I'll start with jobs that I have done successfully in the past or currently.

Part I: 
Piano Teacher

Skills Needed: you must play the piano well
      you must be enthusiastic and work well with children
     organizational skills to keep track of payments

Equipment: piano!!

Not Necessary But Nice: a music related degree (you can charge more and should charge more if you have a music degree)

Potential Income: depends on your particular market. I've heard of piano teachers who charge as little as $8/lesson (crazy in my opinion) and it goes up from there. I personally would charge $12 per half hour lesson in my particular market. I started teaching at $10 per half hour lesson.

Cons: after school hours (unless you have homeschool piano students)

My choice: I currently choose not to teach piano because I need to be available for my own children after school. I found that I couldn't take care of an infant and teach. Then I noticed that my own children weren't learning to play the piano because I was too busy teaching other people's children.

Works for Others: My sister teaches piano lessons and allows her kids to watch a video or has someone else babysit for her while she teaches. Her teaching funds the family food budget. She has a music related degree and taught choir at the college level prior to having children of her own. (Did I mention she plays better than I do too?)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Clean Dirty Dishwasher Magnet Tutorial using Silhouette Studio

Hi Friends and Fellow Crafters,

Today I'm sharing how you can create your own dishwasher magnet using silhouette studio. I sell this item in my Southpaw Crafts etsy store. It's so simple and fun to make I thought I'd teach you how to do it yourself. This tutorial is for personal use only. :)

Even brand new silhouette users can go from zero to dishwasher magnet hero using my comprehensive tutorial. I put the tutorial in PDF format because honestly I'm better at using silhouette studio than using blogger and uploading the pictures was driving me bonkers. Maybe you can relate?

You'll need your silhouette, a small piece of vinyl (outdoor vinyl is recommended but indoor vinyl would work as well), and magnetic sheeting. Silhouette sells magnet sheets as do craft stores. You might also find magnet sheets at your local hardware store sold as magnetic vent covers. (Now you know my secret source.)

So without further delay click on over to my google drive PDF document:
Full Dishwasher Magnet Tutorial PDF.

Happy creating! 

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