Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Fun of Swaps

I've been slightly obsessed with aprons lately so I joined the Great Apron Swap 2010. My partner lives in New Zealand. Joanna has a wonderful blog called Little Minx. It's been fun reading Joanna's blog and e-mailing back and forth. If you stop by her blog check out her shops, she makes beautiful bags and wallets.
This was Joanna's first swap so I wanted it to be a good one. We weren't supposed to send extras, just an apron. I couldn't help myself. It was her first swap, and she has two little ones who needed some goodies too. So we packed up a few extra goodies along with this apron I made after her after reading her posts on yellows and vintage fabrics. I took a picture but Joanna takes the loveliest pictures so you can see a much nicer picture here. Besides my picture doesn't really show the apron as it's not being worn but I can't model the aprons as I keep gaining and losing the same ten pounds this year - STRESS eating! Joanna and her daughter are pictured wearing them and look much nicer wearing them than I would.
Sorry I got on a tangent there, back to the main topic at hand, the fun of swaps. I participate in swaps for several reasons but one of the things I like best about swapping is the people you meet. I've met some amazing, kind and generous people through swaps and blogging. It's a great way to restore your faith in the goodness of humankind and you get a lovely package filled with goodies! We've also learned about different places across our country and around the world. Needless to say there are many benefits to participating in swaps. And high on the list is that swaps are just plain fun!

We're also working on items for the Fairytale Swap. Our partner Victoria has a lovely blog here. The theme for this swap is Snow White. We hit the Disney store but surprisingly there wasn't any Snow White merchandise so we came up with a different plan. I can't show our goodies yet but hopefully they'll be finished and mailed off by the end of the week.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gift For Friend

I made this bag for a friend at school. She is always helping me out and she takes good care of the kids I work with(that's right Robyn I'm talking about you.) It's her birthday and I wanted to make something special that she could use. A bag that could be used for summer beach trips or carrying books for summer reading seemed like a good idea. Besides I've made too many aprons lately and had to change it up.

In the spirit of changing it up so as not to become too obsessive I made two pin cushions. I made the square pincushion first to give as a gift but didn't like it. So I made the round one instead. I was amazed at how easy and quick it was to make. Plus it looks so much better than a plain old square one.

Aprons have become an obsession for me lately but zentangling is an even bigger obsession! This is a wood clipboard that I painted white, then drew on.

Of course the front will be covered with paper as that is the major purpose of a clipboard. So I had to decorate the back too. I like the back better! I tried it on a transparent yellow clipboard and it looks pretty cool, though I think it will look even better on a clear clipboard. I wanted to make one for Nature Girl's teacher as an end of the year gift, so I think I'll try a clear one for that.
I have the kids at school doing it and Nature Girl has even joined into the fun. This is Nature Girl's first zentangle. It's the poison apple from Snow White. Her partner for the Fairytale swap likes Snow White. She worked hard and had a great time making it. See zentangles are fun for all ages and very addicting! So try one today.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Making Aprons

While I was on spring break a few weeks back I started sewing aprons again. I had joined a couple of apron swaps and had two aprons to sew. Sewing and creating was the perfect way to relax and recharge my batteries. This is the apron I sewed for Kathy as part of the Hot Mamas apron swap. The theme was 50's pinup girls. You can see Kathy's post on it here. I also made a zentagle for her. I discovered this idea on Barb's blog and just had to try it. Now I'm addicted to zentangling and even have the kids at school doing it with me at snack time each day. We've been making bookmarks with zentangles.

I had such a great time sewing aprons for the swaps that I wanted to make more. I used some left over fabric from the polka dot pretties apron swap to make this striped number. It was inspired by the Klassy Kitchen Bistro Apron but I had to make it my own so it's long and pleated with long ties. It's hard to see but it has one big polka dot pocket on the right side. It was easy to make and I just love it!

Well, I couldn't leave out Nature Girl so I sewed this apron for her using bird fabric from Feathered Friends. She picked out the fabric herself. This apron is my version of the Lilly apron. I refer to it as a Jilly. I saw a picture of the Lilly apron and knew I could make that myself. Of course it would make sense to use a pattern but where is the fun in that?!! For those of you who know me, you know I'm famous for looking at something and thinking I can make that. Of course we've had our fair share of failures along the way because of this way of thinking, but I think these two turned out really well.

With Nature Girl's leftover fabric I made myself a cute little matching apron. I got a little carried away with making aprons but I just love them! I have a few more just waiting to be cut and sewn.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Polka Dot Pretties Apron Received

I know this is unprecedented, it's only the beginning of May and this is my third post this month! I haven't done three posts in a month in forever! Summer is making it's way here so hopefully I'll be able to post more often and keep up this three post a month streak!

My Polka Dot Pretties apron swap arrived. My partner Micki made my apron reversible. I love reversible aprons!

These are the goodies Micki sent along with the apron. She sent a cookbook, some dotted ribbon that is destined to become drawstrings for some new summer pajama pants for Nature Girl and two Rachael Ray magazines. I love Rachael Ray! Thank you Micki!

This is off topic but don't you love a good deal? I finally visited a nearby fabric store I've been hearing about for the last year and a half. Look what I found . . . ribbon. It cost just $6 for all of these spools of ribbon! I think I'll be using some ribbon as trim on aprons, tote bag handles and to trim gifts.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo

So tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. Honestly, I can never remember what Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates. To me it means eating yummy Mexican food. This year my husband and I are planning a dinner at home with jerk chicken nachos, margaritas and mango salsa. My friend and co-worker Ann shared this yummy mango salsa recipe with me. It's simple and delicious! You have to try it!

Mango Salsa


1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 1 1/2 cup)
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 JalapeƱo chile, minced (include ribs and seeds for a hotter taste if desired)
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Also good with diced red bell pepper and jicama.


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salsa ends up being a little too hot or acidic for your taste, you can temper it by adding some diced avocado.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Polka Dot Pretties Aprons Sent

I joined Shawnee's Flirty Apron Swap. The theme for this swap was polka dot pretties. The aprons had to include polka dots. You also had to include a new cookbook for your partner. Polka dots, aprons and a cookbook how could I not join this swap?!!!
I finished my apron before spring break started. I was so excited to find that my partner had a young daughter. Nature Girl and I have been lucky to receive surprise mother and daughter aprons in a few of the apron swaps I've been in. Nature Girl was so excited to receive a surprise apron and we love wearing our matching aprons! I decided to share the apron love and made matching mother daughter aprons for my partner and her daughter.

This is what I sent to Alice and her daughter. Check out some of the other polka dot pretties aprons here. I had a great time sewing and wanted to sew more so I signed up for the Hot Mama's Apron Swap and The Great Apron Swap of 2010.