Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Participating in World Book Night

Today is none other than World Book Night.  Of course, you already knew this, right? ;)  It is also the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday!  World Book night was chosen to be on this day in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare). In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one.  Isn't that a great activity?  World Book Night was first celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011 before making its way to the U.S.  I hadn't heard about this event until my daughter, who is a total bookworm, told me about participating in it a few years ago.  I've been involved with it ever since and have loved every minute of it. 

Here are a few fun facts about it:  
  • It was organized to encourage adults and older children who are non-readers to read.
  • On this day, 25,000 volunteers pass out books to about 500,000 "to-be readers".
  • An additional 2,300 bookstores and libraries serve as a location for the givers to pick-up their books to hand out before this date.
  • There's a huge list of companies that help to make this event happen like UPS, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and a lot of publishers!  Here's a complete list of those who help in case you're curious.
  • All books are given away for free!
Last year, I passed out the first book in a series of adventures about Percy Jackson, called "The Lightning Thief."  In this book, Percy Jackson discovers he's half-God.  I chose to give these books to a class of 6th graders, who live in a poverty-stricken area in my region. I coordinated this with a friend who was teaching at a grade school there.  
Today, I get to once again participate in this event by passing out 20 free books to the seniors in my community.  Before this event, I called my local senior center and talked to the events coordinator there.  I told her about World Book Night and asked her when a good time to visit on the 23rd would be?  Of course, she told me to come right before Bingo, when it was sure to be crowded there at the center. Well, she was right, there was quite the crowd waiting to play Bingo when I arrived.  I had fun talking to everyone, explaining what I was doing and handing out a large print copy of "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford to those who indicated they weren't readers.  I read this book a few years ago and loved it!  I hope they'll enjoy reading this book too.  These cute recipients couldn't believe that this book was free, some wondered if I was the author...ha ha!
World Book Night is such a fun way to try to lure people in to reading a good book. Of course, the hope is that the free book they receive will hook them on reading for life. 

As an avid reader, I have a few new recommendations for you: Last week, I finished reading "The Rent Collector" by Cameron Wright.  This was one of the best books, my full review on Goodreads is here.  In honor of the real reason for celebrating Easter, I also finished reading "Killing Jesus: A History," which I also thoroughly enjoyed. 

In honor of this day, go bury your nose in a good book.  What are some of your favorites?

-xoxo Grandma

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lace Decorated Baby Shoes

I have another granddaughter due to arrive in May.  After I made this lace embellished dress for her, I decided it would look so cute if she had shoes to coordinate with her dress. 

I found these newborn, soft sole shoes at Hobby Lobby.  Next, I dug through my lace to find a few scraps that would coordinate with this dress.  After pinning the lace onto the shoes, I flipped on my television and watched a couple of shows while I hand stitched the lace onto the shoes.  Sometimes crafting calls for some cheesy shows to help pass the time.

My final step was to use white embroidery thread to sew the pearl beads onto the straps. 


 I think these little shoes turned out so sweet!  The total project time was around 1 1/2 hours.
xoxo Grandma

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Valance into a Top

Let me start by saying when you're a red head, as I was growing up, you are limited in the colors you should wear. Certain colors just aren't flattering on a red head. It's something I learned to deal with over the years. So, when a friend gave me some brightly colored coral knit, my first instinct was to use this fabric for someone else. Certainly, I could not wear such a color. But, after some contemplation, I decided there was enough to try making a top for me.  

This friend told me that she'd had the fabric for 20 years and could hang onto it for another 20 years but she knew I'd make something out of it.  She was right, of course. But the coral needed something to calm the color down a bit. So while looking through my refashion pile, I came across a lace valance that once accented the window in my daughter's bedroom.  This lace seemed a perfect choice for a spring look.
So, here's what I did:
- I cut two groups of flowers from the lace valance.  
- Using a very narrow zip zag stitch, I sewed the lace pieces onto the lower center of the        elbow length sleeves.
- With sharp scissors, I cut out the coral fabric, creating a little "peek-a-boo" to the skin look.

-For the bodice, I centered the bottom edge of the valance to the top portion of the bodice.  After pinning the lace in place, once again I used a really narrow zig zag stitch to attach the lace onto the bodice. Once all the lace was added, I sewed the top together. 
Total cost of the project = zero.  
Pattern:  taken off a favorite winter top.

Since the top was free, I did what any sensible woman should, I purchased a new pair of shoes to go with it.  A woman who makes their own top deserves a new pair of shoes, right?
I think the lace adds a touch of vintage to this top, don't you?
NOTE:  This top was the winner of Week 3 Hint of Vintage on Skirt Fixation.  
Thank you to all those who voted for this top!
xoxo Grandma 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Refashioned Turtleneck

While going through my closet, I found this grey, short sleeve turtleneck top that I hardly ever wear.  It's a short sleeve top which means one would wear it in the spring or summer, but since it's a turtleneck I would get much too hot in it in the summer.  Turtlenecks need to be worn in the winter....right? See, tricky situation here. So, I had to do something about it.

First step was to unpick the turtleneck off that shirt.  Then I cut the front neckline into a modest, comfortable scoop.  Using the removed turtleneck fabric, I cut a couple of stripes on the bias to make some seam tape. I took out the rushing from the side seams because a woman my age does not need any more inches at my waist.  Then I added some seam tape to the sleeves to keep the hem from flaring up.  Once all that was done, I now had a shirt I can wear comfortably!

I love that I'm finally brave enough to refashion things for myself. It feels good to be thrifty!

Transforming Three Shirts Into an Easter Dress

Week 4 of Project Run and Play theme is "my style".  
My style is to creatively refashion:
This project came about when my daughter emailed me a photo of a dress she wanted me to make her three month old daughter for Easter. It happened to be from a popular children's clothing company called Persnickety. For those of you familiar with the line, you know the unique style I'm talking about (the dress she liked is no longer available, but similar to this style here). So, my creative juices started flowing on how I could make it work. 

While my daughter and granddaughter were home a few weeks ago, I had my daughter go through my stash of fabric and clothing to see what we could use. We came up with three old shirts to make it happen. Then I tried to duplicate the style of the outfit she liked using the three items she selected (as shown above). Here's how it turned out. Pretty cute, if I do say so myself:


My style is to add detail to whatever I make, whether it's embroidery, smocking, applique, or a little vintage lace, as you can see below:


My style is to make sure my grandchildren know their grandma loves them a lot!


I hope you've enjoyed this cutie modeling her Easter finery.
I'm really wishing I could kiss her happy baby cheeks right now...


 But she's thousands of miles away... so, so sad!

Happy Easter Everyone!
xoxo Grandma

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Super Simple Carrot Container


If you are like me, you enjoy giving away treats to neighbors and friends during the holidays. Easter is no different at my house. Of course, I am always trying to find ways to spruce up holiday containers to stash those treats. This year I am using these cute little carrot containers. 

The best part about them, besides being darling, is they are super easy to make! This carrot gift container requires just one straight seam. That's right... just ONE! 

Let's get started! Download the pattern here. Now follow the steps below:
Now for the fun part, fill that carrot with a treat! 
Add a little green raffia and your yummy carrot is ready to give away.
xoxo Grandma
Linky Parties: The Dedicated House: Before and After

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dress Pocket Pick-Me-Up

Do you have an outfit that needs a little pick-me-up? Try adding a pocket to give the outfit a little punch of personality. Below, I chose a simple striped dress and added a hand painted pocket. And as simple as that, this dress has new life breathed into it.  

To see how this pocket was created using white fabric and Sharpie markers go to this post This technique is fun and a little bit addictive!  
For another example of a hand painted pocket see this post. Let your imagination be your guide! 
Now, go have a fun day!
xoxo Grandma
Linked:  Nap-Time Creations, Crafty Allie: Worthwhile Wednesdays, Creating my way to Success, A Round TuitThe Dedicated House: Before and After