This blog is now exclusively devoted to crafting in general, and the shop in particular! Pretty much all of my personal content has been moved to a new blog, one that is intended primarily to help keep our family and friends in the loop. (If you are interested in following the new blog, you will find it here.) This blog will continue to feature shop news, new listings, sales, giveaways, and all of my share-worthy crafting exploits.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday at The Green World

It's Cyber Monday, and that means all the best internet deals are out today!  Naturally, I want to get in on the action.  I've had a sale going in the shop all week, but now I've beefed it up just a bit more in honor of Cyber Monday, and I really want to get the word out!   So here you go, Green World Fans, I have two great coupon codes for you to use today:

SPECIAL25 will get you 25% off your ENTIRE PURCHASE in my shop!


SHIPITFREE will make your shipping disappear if your spend more than $50 in the shop!

Not too shabby, right?  Happy shopping!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Malcolm's Nursery Set

Or, More Proof That I Haven't Been Idle.

Shortly after learning that my brother- and sister-in-law would be having their first child late this summer, I found the perfect nursery panel on clearance at work.  There were only 3 left on the bolt, so I bought all 3.  One panel is still being made into a quilt-style blanket.

The panel itself consists only of the various-sized animal blocks.  I added the light brown border to it, and backed it in the same fabric.  (It's a Keepsake Calico print from JoAnn's.)  The part that looks like a white border is actually a lightweight cotton batting.  I went over all the straight lines in the panel with the sewing machine to help it look more genuinely quilted, and I'm still in the process of outlining all the animals by hand.  Once I'm done with that, I'll cut down the extra batting and square it up before binding it.  

I cut up the second panel to make all sorts of fun things.  The large giraffe and crocodile block became a small, lightweight baby blanket.  There's no batting, but I did back it in a soft yellow cotton flannel, and bind it with pre-made double-fold bias binding from Wrights.

The twelve tiny squares became a set of two plush cubes, one of which has a rattle inside, so that little Malcolm has something soft and bright and colorful to look at and play with.  I used a mid-weight stabilizer to help reinforce the fabric, and help them to hold their shape.  If I do something like this again, I think I might use a heavier stabilizer, but I don't want them to be too stiff.  Hmm...

And the three large blocks I turned into wall art for the nursery.  I bought 3 12x12 canvases from Michael's and decoupaged the fabric squares onto the canvases.

Cute, right?  I haven't done anything with the last panel; maybe I'll make a blanket for my own little boy, now that I'm expecting again.  But I didn't stop there on Malcom's goodies.  I've had this Heather Bailey pattern since before we left Germany, but I'd never made one.  I thought this would be the perfect time to give it a try.  The fabric (a fat quarter from JoAnn's) and the bit of ribbon (for the tail) both came from my stash, and match the rest of the set very well.  Unfortunately, he's so tiny that I had to stitch him entirely by hand and I'm not sure how much abuse he'll be able to take.

A few weeks after discovering the panels in the clearance section, I found a coordinating fabric still with the rest of the nursery fabrics.  There was only a little left, so I bought all of that too, even though at the time I had no idea what I would do with it.  As it turns out, I had just enough to make a Boppy cover for her.

I used this pattern that I found on Etsy, and holy cow, it could not have been easier.  The pattern says that it's a 30 minute project, start to finish, but it took me about an hour.  (Maybe Corinnea or Kelly could have done it in half an hour, but I've not reached their Guru status yet.)   I think that I will be making some changes next time, though.  For one, I want to try using a zipper next time, instead of the overlapped opening that this one has.  It was really super easy to put together, but getting the pillow into the cover is a bit of a pain.  And the cover ended up being a little too big for my Boppy, so I think I will widen the seam allowance a bit.  We'll have to see how it fits Carrie's Boppy, first; hers is newer and may be bigger than mine.

The last thing is a fitted crib sheet.  I used this tutorial, and it was every bit as easy as making the Boppy cover.  The finished sheet fits both of our crib/toddler mattresses to perfection, so I won't be changing a thing when I make the next one.  (There will be a next one.)  I'd wanted to use that leafy fabric (that I ended up using for the Boppy cover) for the sheet, but I didn't have quite enough of it.  With the help of one of the other girls at work, I found this Quilter's Showcase print that's a perfect match for the orange in the panel fabrics, and compliments the rest of the set rather well.

Not too shabby, huh?  It's only taken me....what, 6 months to get all this together?  I'm such a procrastinator.  Now that my poor nephew is more than 6 weeks old, I'm finally getting around to sending a box for him... He'll have to wait for his wall art, because I haven't been able to find a box to fit them, and the big blanket is going to be a Christmas gift, but everything else will be heading his way this week.  :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kayla & Justin's Wedding Invitations

In spite of what my recent lack of posting may have led you to believe, I have been crafting over the last few months.  I just haven't been photographing any of it.  Or, as was the case with this project, I just couldn't post it until it had reached its many intended recipients.  :)

Thanks to a referral from my friend Rebekah, I had the honor of making the invitations for her sister-in-law's upcoming wedding.  I worked closely with Kayla to design both the invitations and RSVP cards, to create something perfectly tailored to her style and colors.  She's a very classy, rather traditional kind of lady, and I think what we put together reflects that well. We started with a mock-up that I put together in Photoshop using my digital scrapbooking elements. 

Then I had to track down all the supplies I would need to make the digital mock-up a reality.  It actually took quite a bit of searching to find everything.  It all had to be just the right color, without being too expensive.  And once I had all the supplies, I had to figure out how best to assemble the invitations.  I had a plan going it, of course, but as so often happens, my initial approach just wasn't practical.  It took a bit of trial and error before I found a method that worked, and I actually think that this was the part I enjoyed the most.  Unfortunately, I quickly realized that assembling the invitations was going to take a whole lot longer than I'd originally anticipated.

I'd initially planned to one piece of lace long enough to span the width of the invitation and wrap around to the back of the top piece of card stock, and two equal lengths of ribbon.  I glued down the lace, secured the ends of the lace and the ends of the ribbon between the two layers of cardstock, and then tried to tie the the ribbon in a pretty bow on the front.  I ran into a lot of problems with that approach.  The glue didn't dry quickly enough for the ends to stay put if I tried to tie the bow right away, so I let the glue dry and tried again.  This time, the ends stayed put, but I had a very hard time getting the tension on the ribbon just right, so that it would lay flush against the paper without flapping loose or being so tight that it bowed the paper.  I also had trouble tying tying a bow that looked just so; they kept coming out twisted sideways and funky-looking.

I finally realized that I was approaching the whole process from the wrong side.  Instead of starting with the papers and working up, I needed to start with the bow and work down.  So, here's my process for making one layered, 8.5" x 5.5" wedding invitation:

You'll need:
1 8.25" x 5.25" cardstock invitation (the top layer)
1 8.5" x 5.5" cardstock mat (the bottom layer)
1 6.5" length of lace, approx 1.25" wide
2 lengths of 7/8" ribbon, one 9" and one 12"
sewing machine & coordinated thread
heavy book

First, go ahead and cut your papers down to size.  I used one of these to cut mine.  The measuring grid was great for cutting the standard size card stock papers in half, but when it came to the 1/8" cuts I needed to make all the way around each of the invitations, I had a lot more success just eyeballing the measurement.  Using the rulers on the tool always left me with crooked cuts. 

Put a few drops of the Zip Dry glue along the top of the invitation, when the lace will go.  Smooth it out with your finger tip, so that there are no large globs and so that the sticky part covers a greater surface area.  Center the lace across the top of the page, and press.  Set it aside to dry.

Take the 12" length of ribbon and cross the ends over the middle to create a general bow shape.  Pin it, then baste vertically down the middle to hold it in place.  Don't worry about back stitching, this is just to hold the bow shape together while you're working on the next step.  (Since I was making a whole lot more than just a single invitation, I just did them in big long strings that I just cut apart later.)

Next, tie the 9" piece of ribbon around the bow shape.  This will cinch down the center of the bow and cover up the stitches.  It's pretty tricky to do, because you have to get it centered, so that you're left with 2 even tails, and you have to tighten it a little at a time to get the ribbon of the bow shape to cinch prettily rather than just folding back.   Also, if you're using 2 sided ribbon, as I was, you'll need to make sure that the knot is on back side of the ribbon shape, so that when you flip it over, it looks like a normally tied bow with only the satiny side showing:

The glue holding the lace to your invitation should now be dry, and ready for the bow.  

Put a pea-sized drop of the Aleene's glue smack dab in the center of the lace, and press the center of your bow into it.  This is where you need the heavy book, since the bow will not stay put or lay flat unless you press it down into the glue and onto the paper as it dries.  Very carefully position the book on top of the bow, keeping your finger pressed in the center of it until the last possible moment, so that it doesn't move on you.  I'm not exactly sure how long this takes to dry, since I was working in batches or five or 6 invitations at a time.  By the time I'd rotated through all the other batches in their various stages and come back to the ones at this stage, they'd be dry--or at least, dry enough to work with.  But, if I had to guess, I'd say it needs about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the book, and flip the invitation over.  Put one small drop of the Zip Dry glue about a quarter inch from each edge of the invitation, right behind the lace and ribbon.  Wrap the tails of both the lace and the ribbon around to the back side, and press them into the glue.  Hold them in place for 15-30 seconds, then quickly and carefully transfer the invitation, backside down, to a crafting mat and cover once more with the book.  Sometimes, the glue will seep out from behind the lace and ribbon on this step, so be careful that you don't set it down on anything it might stick to.  As you can see in the photo, I used my large cutting mat as a work space, and I had no problems.  The times that it did stick to the mat, I only had to pull gently and perhaps twist the paper a bit to get it to come off.  Nothing remained behind on my mat.  This glue dries faster than the Aleene's, so it should be safe to work with again after only 5-10 minutes.
Once it's dry, and the ends are secure, remove the book.  On the backside of the invitation, put a thin line of the Zip Dry about 1/4" from the edge along each of the 4 edges, including over the tail ends of the ribbon and lace.  Center the invitation over the mat, making sure that the mat shows evenly on all sides, and press it down.  You have to do this kind of quickly, because the glue will dry on you if you wait too long.  It is possible to re-position it a bit after you put it down, just by sliding where it needs to go.  (DON"T try to lift it up to move it.)  When satisfied with the positioning, I put mine back under the book to dry, just to ensure that they thoroughly adhered.

This last step was always my favorite, because it was the last step, and when it was dry, it could go on the "finished" pile.  And, since I made more than 100 of these beauties, putting one on the "finished" pile was a big deal.  I was really, really pleased with the way that they turned out.  I was a little amazed at how close the finished product was to the initial mock-up that we put together.  I mean, I know that was the goal, but still.  I have to admit that I was a bit nervous anyway, when I boxed them up and shipped them out at the end of July.  I knew we had worked closely through everystep of the design process, and she approved every element that went into them, but still....what if?   I think anyone who's ever crafted anything from someone else knows the feeling.  You have to kind of wait with baited breath until the person gets to see what you've made, whether it's a gift, or a custom commission for a customer.
I shouldn't have worried. Kayla and her fiancee were thrilled with them.  So thrilled, in fact, that they've asked me to make the wedding programs as well.  :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

USN Paper Dolls

I just made a whole slew of paper dolls based on the uniforms of the US Navy.  Don't ask me why, but I did and it was fun.  

I started out with this generic, cookie-cutter shape, and added in the uniform details using the line and shape drawing functions in PSE7.  This one is supposed to be the blue camo uniform, or the Navy Working Uniform, as it's technically called.  

I actually did all 5 uniforms, the first 2 being the Blues and Whites, respectively, followed by the Navy Service Uniform, the aforementioned NWUs, and a PT uniform:

And then I added a bit more detail and colored them in.

Super cute, right?  It's a little ridiculous how much fun I had with these.  And how many variations I made...I also have uniforms for officers and women.  :)

PS:  Does anyone else want gingerbread cookies now??

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garden Tuesday: A Baby Opossum

I've seen Corinnea over at Created Blissfully post about her garden for Garden Tuesday, and while I don't actually have a garden, I knew as soon as I saw our wee little visitor that I'd have to share:

My husband found this little guy along the side of our house a few weeks ago, when he was doing some yard work.  (He'd migrated from the side of the house to the fence by the time I got my camera out.)

It's a baby opossum and while I'm not too impressed with the adults, he was pretty stinking cute. His body was only about 4 inches long, and we could tell from the way he was moving that he wasn't very old at all.

    But, I did a bit of checking online, and he was apparently old enough to be on his own so we brought the girls out so they could see him, snapped some pictures, and let him go on his merry way without interfering.

If you'd like to see more gardens, just click the big butterfly button at the top of my post, and make sure to cruise on over to Created Blissfully to check out their blog, as well!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

10 Reasons for You to Visit The Green World Shop

Over the last few months, I've practically buried myself in new jewelry without posting any of it, but now I'm finally starting to dig myself out.  Here is the first batch of new items to go up in the shop!  If you happen to see something that you like, just click the picture to go directly to the listing for that item!  How convenient, right?

And that's not even all of it.  :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Robin's Aprons

Now that she's married, Robin has been doing a bit more cooking.  And, now that she's doing more cooking, it occurred to her that an apron or two might come in handy.  This is where I come in.   She asked me to make two aprons (one to wear and one to wash) in greens and purples.  I already had the Emmeline Apron pattern in my stash and she liked it, so that's what we went with.  

All of the fabrics for this one came from JoAnn's, except for the green trim on side one, which came from my stash.  (I still have a ton of that green, and I really love that combination...I may need to do something else with it in the future...)

This time, everything is from JoAnn's except for the main fabric on the green side.  As you can see, the belt can be tied in the back, or wrapped around to the front.  The top straps can be tied around the neck as a halter, or crisscrossed over the back and tied to the belt.  I added a pocket to both sides of both aprons, as requested. 

Unfortunately, almost immediately after finishing these and moving on to my next project, I started having issues with the tension on my machine.  The bottom thread is so tight, and the top is so loose, that I can just slide the bottom thread right out.  I have no idea how it got that way, or how to fix it. I tried adjusting the tension both on the top and the bottom, with no discernible change.  Someone at work recommended that I try oiling the machine; I'll give that a try tomorrow, and hopefully I'll be back in business!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 St. Augustine Celtic Music and Heritage Festival

While I was in Florida, I went with my Mom and sister to the Celtic Music and Heritage Festival in St. Augustine.  The night before, I was lucky enough to be able to meet up with Corinnea and Jess of Created Blissfully--yay!! This was the first time I'd seen Corinnea since she left Germany (a few months before we did), and only the second time that I'd seen Jess in person.  It was just so nice to be able to catch up!

That was on Friday.  We stayed that night in a hotel within walking distance of the festival, then got up and headed over to the fair grounds in time for the official kick-off parade. Some of the stuff at the festival was hand-made, but most of it was not.  There was, however, an area set aside for the artisans.  One of these artisans not only offered fused glass plates and baubles, but had a station set up where people could make their own fused glass pendants!

I didn't take any other pictures of all of the lovely hand made treasures.  I think I had gotten tired of the camera for a little while.  Now I wish that I had.  There were lovely hand-carved wooden boxes and hand-thrown and painted urns and vases and blown glass and I don't even remember what else.  In my defense, though, I did take about a billion other pictures that day.  If you're interested in seeing my full post from that day, you can find it on my family blog.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Robin's Handmade Wedding

I got to help our friend Robin plan her wedding, which incorporated as much handmade and DIY as possible.  The venue was a converted farm, so everything was very country-kitsch. These re-purposed pallets were painted with black chalkboard paint for use as directional signs.  The lettering was done with chalk pens.

Another friend of hers makes beer, and so made them a custom brew for the wedding.

Instead of a traditional guest book, Robin elected to do a signature quilt and a thumbprint tree.  She and I went together to pick out her fabrics, then I cut all the squares and brought them to the wedding for the guests to sign.  When she gets done reading them all, she'll send them back to me and I'll get it all put together.  (More on that later.)  For the signature tree, yet another friend of hers drew a picture of "their" tree in Michigan, where Matt proposed.

Our friend Sam, who also did the flowers for her wedding last summer, made the burlap roses using this tutorial over the winter.  Then they ordered fresh flowers from a local wholesaler.  Sam did all of the flower arrangements the Friday and Saturday before the wedding.


Robin and a few of her bridesmaids made the bouquets.

And of course, I did the jewelry.

As always, I had a lot of fun designing the jewelry with the bride.  I know I've said it before, but I love working with someone on a custom piece.  Sadly, the photographer hasn't finished with her official wedding photos, so we'll have to make do with the ones that I took.

But you get the idea.

The wedding itself was lovely, if a little cold. 

 I was honored to be able to be such a big part of it all.
Congratulations, Matt and Robin!  Here's to a lifetime of happiness for you both!