Quiet Name Book

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      Hello again! It’s been a crazy, wonderful couple of months. Between traveling to visit family and dealing with snow one day and 70 degrees the next, I am tuckered out! But I am glad to be back home because it means I can get back to my craft projects. 🙂

      My niece is turning one this month. She’s growing so fast! I wanted to make her something, but I wanted it to be something a 1 year old would enjoy. Not just a blanket or another dress, but something she could play with. So I racked my brain and I almost gave up when I stumbled across something called a quiet book. Some of you probably already know what these amazing books are so I’ll just get to the point. A quiet book is basically a fabric book that often times has small puzzles or fine motor skill activities, such as zippers and buttons, for kids to keep themselves busy. They are really great for long road trips or doctor appointments. Plus, they help kids develop their fine motor skills, which is always a plus in my book. 🙂

     So, I looked up a few quiet books to get some ideas, but a lot of what I found just wasn’t age appropriate for a 1 year old. So I just decided to do a quiet name book. It’s pretty straightforward. Just letters of the child’s name, one to a page. It’s never too early to know how to spell your own name.

     Off to Hobby Lobby I went! Here’s my shopping list:

  • Felt – I used the pre-cut pieces found in the craft section
  • Matching embroidery floss * optional – you can use fabric glue, but I liked the look of the thread
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Matching sewing machine thread * optional – again, you can use fabric glue
  • Scissors
  • Stencils – I free handed my letters using a ruler, but stencils would help keep things even

     Step 1: Picking out Colors

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     The first thing you want to do is decide what colors you want to make your book pages and letters. Since I am making this for my niece, I went with pink, purple, turquoise, and different patterned felt for the letters. It’s really up to you. You can make it simple using only two colors, or get as wild and crazy as you like. Just pair up your fabric to see what looks best.

     Step 2: Cutting out Letters

    Now it’s time to cut out your letters. I used my niece’s first name. If you are using stencils, then it’s pretty straight forward as to how to use them I would think. If you are free handing your letters, just be sure to use a straight edge and mark your letters off so you won’t have any wavy edges. It will really show up next to your background.

     Step 3: Applying Letters to Background

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      For the next step, you can either use fabric glue to glue your letters onto the backgrounds or you can sew around the letters. I sewed my letters to keep them in place and to keep little hands from peeling the letters off. This is just my personal preference.

     If you are using fabric glue, apply with a paint brush or sponge. If the bottle has a nozzle, you may want to go back after squirting the glue and spread the glue as close the the edge of the letter as possible. This will help to keep anyone from getting their fingers under the letter to pull it off. Do this for every letter.

     If you are sewing your letters, set your stitch to a zigzag stitch. If you want, you can make your stitch length short or wide. I set my stitch length at 2.5. Now you are going to sew all the way around each letter. Make sure with each stitch you are going into the letter and then into the background fabric. Otherwise, your letter won’t stay down. When you are ready to make a turn, go all the way to the edge of the letter and leave your needle down in the fabric. Lift up the presser foot and turn the fabric to begin sewing the next side. There’s a really great tutorial on how to do this here:


You are basically appliquéing the letters onto the backgrounds, but without using backing. Anyway, once you go all the way around the outside of the letters don’t forget the inside if there is one.

Step 4: Connecting the Pages

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     This step can get a little tricky if your book is more then 2-3 pages. In order to bind the pages together, you can either sew them or glue them. I chose to sew, just to make sure things wouldn’t be pulled apart.

     If you are gluing your pages together, just make sure the glue goes all the way to the edge. You only want about one strip of glue down the side. Too much glue will get messy. Once you have all your pages glued together, set a heavy object such as a book or sturdy box along the glued spine to keep the pages pressed together while the glue is drying.

     If you are sewing your pages together, you will only be able to sew through 2-3 pages at a time. I pieced two pages together and sewed them before sewing the whole book together. I just found it easier to keep the book together while sewing the spine. After machine sewing your pages, put all of the pages together and pin into place. Now take your embroidery floss and thread it through the needle. You are going to do a whip stitch down the spine. Basically, pull the needle through one side only. You do this over and over all the way down the spine. Tie it off when finished. I tied my ends on the inside of the last page so the knots would be hidden.

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     Now you have created your very own quiet name book! There are several tutorials out there for more elaborate edges and different ideas of what to put in a quiet book, so get out there and find what you like! I hope this tutorial helped you out as far as the basics go. Let me know what you think or if you have questions, comments, or concerns. I’m always open to new and better ways of doing things if anyone has suggestions!

     I hope you all have a great day and stay tuned for more DIY projects in the future!


Holiday Wreaths

I have always loved those cute wreaths that people hang on their door for different holidays or seasons. The only problem: in order to buy them you have to fork over an arm and a leg! So, I started looking at all the different wreaths on Pinterest and I set out to make one on my own. My aunt also inspired me. She did my bouquets, decorations, and the cakes at our wedding. They looked AMAZING!!! The silk flowers we found looked so real hardly anyone knew we weren’t using real flowers! I love rustic things, so my aunt took that and ran with it. The theme of our wedding was sort of country sunflower, but not cheesy country. More like an actual day in the country. Anyway, this is the wreath she made for our wedding:


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It’s hanging on a wall in my kitchen, but for the wedding it was hanging on a post at the gazebo where the ceremony was held. She made three and each wreath was connected by a streamer of burlap. It was beautiful. I might post some pics for wedding decor ideas.

So after seeing how beautiful and simple this wreath was, I saved it and took it to my new home. For the summer months, it was perfect to hang on my front door. Then all the leaves started changing and I decided my front door decor did not match the outside scenery. So off to Hobby Lobby I went. I found some grapevine wreaths and went directly to the fall decor sale items. I picked out some oranges, reds, and yellows and put them together kind of how I wanted it on the wreath. Then I thought I would add a monogram to it. This is how it turned out:

2013-09-19 16.15.35Pretty good for a first try, right?

So then I thought about something to do for a Christmas/Winter holiday wreath. I wanted something simple, but something different from the other two. So, again, off to Hobby Lobby. I found the same grapevine wreath I’d used before. Then I went to the Christmas decor. Most of the items were on sale, but not everything. I picked out some evergreen and holly. I also found this cute little bird in a nest with some snow frost. I liked it so I grabbed it. I wanted something else to go with it, but I wasn’t sure what. I found a pre-made burlap bow and thought I could do something with it. When I finally finished, I wasn’t extremely happy with it, but for a beginner wreath-maker, I thought it wasn’t half bad. Here’s what it turned out as:

2013-12-03 19.26.14Pretty simple, but I feel like it needs something else or possibly a complete redo. Any suggestions?

My sister also made a few holiday wreaths. She still lives with my parents, so she had more of a budget than a newly-wed housewife such as myself 🙂 She did a fantastic job on both. I suggested she get an Etsy account and start selling! She would definitely have a customer out of me. Check them out!


Sorry for the blurriness and bad lighting. Camera phones…but didn’t she do a great job?


This is the one she made for fall. I like the pumpkin 🙂

She also made a centerpiece and a yard piece (not really sure what you call those hay bale and mum things.) I really liked them.



She has some real talent! Most of the “greenery,” if you will, was purchased at Hobby Lobby. The figurines and pumpkin were gifts my mother already had. The hay bales and mums were also purchased from the local high school Ag department. The Welcome sign was from Hobby Lobby as well.

I hope you like the holiday wreaths and decorations. Remember to pin and tweet about the DIY projects you see! Happy Crafting!



Minky Dot Football Blanket

It’s getting to be that time of year where we all start thinking about what we’d like to get our loved ones for Christmas. Well, this year I have set out to DIY most of my gifts. Thanks to my wonderful husband who bought me a brand new sewing machine for my birthday! Anyway, I saw this really neat Minky Dot Football Blanket on Etsy and I thought, “I can do that.” So I did.


Here is the finished product, football side up.2013-11-21 19.09.38


Fleece side up.

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Both sides, just for contrast.

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I was really happy with the finished product. It’s a super simple project, but the material is kind of expensive. I took advantage of Hobby Lobby’s sales, but the total price still cost around $25. The Collegiate material is what gets ya and I’m not even an Auburn fan! ROLL TIDE!!! Unfortunately (just kidding)  🙂 my little niece is apparently destined to be an Auburn Tiger. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did making it for her!

If you want to give this a try, here’s a detailed list of steps I took to make this blanket. Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures during the project, but it’s pretty self explanatory if you’re familiar with a sewing machine. I hope to make another for a friend’s baby so stay tuned for pics.

Materials Needed:

  • Minky Dot Fabric 1yd. – I made a football so I used brown, but you can use any color you like.
  • Fleece  – I chose the Collegiate material 1yd. and white 1/2 yd. for the football markings
  • Thread – color to match material
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Sewing Machine

Step 1:

Since this is a baby blanket I only used 1yd. Feel free to use more material for a larger blanket. Take the minky dot material and fold it in half hamburger style and in half again hot dog style. This is how I cut my football shape to be as even as possible. Cut an arch from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner. Make sure you are starting on the raw edge side in the lower corner. you will end up on the folded side in the upper corner. After unfolding the material you should have a shape similar to a football. Fold the Collegiate material the same way and use the minky dot material as a template. I didn’t unfold my minky material before cutting the fleece.

Step 2:

Now you are going to cut the white fleece for the football stripes and stitches. I chose to curve mine simply because I liked the way it looked. You can make the stripes straight if you like. It’s easier to measure and sew that way. If you want them curved, lay the white fleece on top of the unfolded minky dot. You can’t see through the fleece, but you should be able to feel the outline of the minky material. Use your finger to trace around the minky and imprint on the fleece. I just eyeballed my stripes. I’m not sure how else to tell you to do it without requiring some math and other such things that I just didn’t have time for. So, eyeball it as best you can…it’ll look great! Cut out your stripes and stitches. The stitches are easy. One long strip of white fleece about 8-10″ by 2″ and three short strips about 3-4″ by 1″  You can add more stitches if you have a bigger blanket. It’s really up to you.

Step 3:

Now it’s time to pin and sew. You want to sew all the white fleece onto the minky dot before you sew your two sides together. Pin the fleece into place. Use the zigzag stitch on your machine and stitch around the stripes. You don’t have to stitch the tops and bottoms. They will be sewn shut when you sew the two sides together. To sew the stitches, do the same thing, but stitch the long strip first and then add the smaller stitches. This gives it a more uniform look and nothing poofs up in the middle.

Step 4:

Once you’re done with the white fleece, you can piece and pin together the two sides. Remember you want RIGHT sides together. If you’ve ever made a pillow this is kind of the same thing. After pinning, use the straight stitch on your machine and stitch all the way around the edge of the pinned pieces about 1/4″. Be sure to leave enough room to turn your blanket inside out. Then take a needle and thread and sew the opening shut.

NOTE: I chose not to quilt my blanket because minky tends to pull and tug. It is open in the middle, but the seams are heavy enough that it doesn’t get twisted around all that much. If you choose to quilt your blanket, do this before sewing the sides, otherwise you’ll have lots of loose strings to trim. You may need to get some binding if you choose to do your blanket this way.

WASHING minky dot material: Wash normally. DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER. Tumble dry low or hang dry. Minky dot will keep its softness wash after wash!


I hope this helps if you decide to make a Minky Dot Football Blanket. Have a wonderful day! Be sure to like me on Pinterest and remember “Teach Yourself, “Teach the World!”

Above Bed Canvas Art

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So, after getting married, I moved into my husband’s duplex. Needless to say it was on mancave overdrive! I had my work cut out for me, but with some feminine touches here and there, I made it our home.

One of the projects I took upon myself to complete was adding some bedroom decor. All of the walls are kind of a neutral warm grey color. I love the colors blue and green so I wanted to incorporate that into the theme. I love to paint and I had an extra canvas so I went to work. I came up with this canvas art of our initials.

Here’s what I used:

  • 16×20 canvas
  • acrylic paints
  • brushes – 2” wide, assortment of small detail brushes
  • letter fonts

You can really use any size canvas. I chose a 16×20. It was on sale and I hadn’t yet figured out what I was going to do with it. I prefer bigger art over furniture, such as the bed or couch. This size is not huge, but it works for small spaces.

As far as paint scheme goes, you can use any colors you like. I really like earthy tones with splashes of color here and there. I chose a sandy brown for my background color. I kind of had to mix some of my acrylics to get the look I wanted. If you like this color and don’t want to mix paint sometimes craft stores will have an array of colors in small tubes. If you want to mix, I started off with cream. You can use white as well. I mixed a small amount of yellow and a very tiny amount of brown. I really just had to play with it until I got the color I liked. It’s best to use small amounts so you don’t end up with a lot of leftover paint. Try using a dot about the size of your pinky fingernail.

Once I got the color I wanted, I brushed my entire canvas. To give it some extra texture, I dipped the paintbrush in water, dabbed it on a cloth, and brushed over my paint. This made it lighter in some areas.

Next, I wanted to add some color. I chose a light, muted green and a light blue. I didn’t want my colors to be neon or too bright. I then started in one corner with one color and brushed towards the center. I did the same with the other color in the opposite corner. I always started in the corner and brushed outwards, so the paint would be less saturated in the middle.

When I finished with my color, I decided to add some detail  in the corners. I picked a dark brown and lightly added a small branch. Then I took some of the green and blue paint and added green leaves in the green area and blue leaves in the blue. I didn’t use very much paint because I wanted the leaves to be subtle.

I love adding my initials to things. And now that I have a new last name I like to let everyone know about it. 🙂 So, I decided to put our initials as the main focus of my painting. Note: Make sure your painting is dry before adding initials. (If you don’t let the background dry, the paint will just mix and look yucky.) Since my last name begins with “B” I looked up different fonts and chose one I liked. I did my best to pencil the outline of the “B” in the middle of my painting. Then I put his initial on the left and mine on the right using the same method. If you mess up with the pencil, don’t worry. Once everything dries you can go back and paint over the marks with the right color.

After I finished the letters, I still felt like something was missing. So I took my paintbrush and dipped it in some water, dabbed it, and lightly brushed around the edge of my painting. Not over the letters, just around them to create a worn sort of look. I liked it. So did my other half apparently. He said it looked like something from Hobby Lobby. I suppose that’s a compliment? Anyway, it’s up and I’m happy.

Now I have a nice painting hanging right over our heads as we sleep at night. This was a really easy canvas art project and I hope you enjoyed it!

Stay tuned for more DIY projects for home and classroom. Have a great rest of the day! 🙂

Interesting Subjects…Interested Students

eager students

Hello again! So the last time we left off, I was kind of on a soap box about hiring new teachers. This is still a touchy subject with me, since I have yet to be hired and I really, really, really want to teach. I have all these ideas I would love to do in my future classroom.  Which brings me to the subject of this post: Interesting Subjects…Interested Students. (emphasis on InterestED)

In today’s world, with all it’s technology and fast paced everything, it is really hard for schools and teachers to compete for the attention and interest of their students. However, with a few tips that I have collected over the years I spent working in preschool/childcare, I hope to at least equip you with the knowledge of how to win back your students interest. Here goes!

First of all, technology is not your enemy. Even though there are times when I have wanted to throw my computer on the ground and stomp on it, I choose not to because my husband would probably croak. He just built me a new computer and needless to say I think he felt like stomping on it a few times during the process. Anyway, that’s beside point. Ever heard the phrase “Technology is great…when it works?” Well there is definitely truth to that. Kids today are raised on iphones and ipads and xboxes from the time they open their eyes to when they are packing up to move out of the house. Technology is constantly changing. Therefore the way the minds of our students work are constantly changing.

If you are one of those teachers that has the mindset of the way you’ve done it for years has always worked so why change, then please hear me out. I am not berating you for your teaching methods. I’m just asking you to keep an open mind when it comes to accepting technology as a resource in the classroom, not just for you, but for your students.

I have a younger cousin that I know would love to have a teacher that brought technology into the classroom as a learning tool rather than just a testing tool. I interned at his elementary school and I got to see first hand how technology can either grab a students attention or make him hate coming to school or even the thought of computers. The only time the students were allowed to use the computers were for tests. Long, multiple-choice tests. Who in their right mind would want to take tests only on the computer? What I’m trying to say is why not use computers for teaching in the classroom.

Smartboards/ Promethean boards are really big right now. Most schools have at least one in the building. Personally, I love the things. I found so many cool things to do with them that allows the students to be involved, not just the teacher. Let the students use technology. It’s not just for you. As long as you establish rules, go over them often, and stick to the consequences your students will treat the technology the way you want them to. You demonstrate proper care and they will mimic you. Allow the students to explore the new technology first in small groups or one at a time. Once you feel confident the students are able to handle themselves properly, then you can use the board as a center. There are several websites where teachers have created activities for smartboard or promethean boards. These are often great reinforcers for subjects and skills you have already taught. For younger grades, this is also great for writing sightwords. Students always want to write on the board. Why not give them something useful to write?

ipads are another big thing in the classroom today. With all the apps you can access, how is it that teachers are not making the ipad a center? I have taught many students that would have been so much better behavior-wise if they had been given the chance to use the ipad during the day. They saw the teacher use it and they probably already have one at home. The interest of that student was not on what they were learning. It was only on the next time they will get to use the ipad. Some kids are just geared for technology. They love it and want to use it everyday. Teachers, we need to hone in on these interests and incorporate them into our learning day. So my second tip is to make the ipad or smartboard/promethean a center. There are several great learning apps that can be incorporated into lessons or for reinforcement of a previous skill. For younger grades, there are sightword apps, letter and number recognition apps, patterns and beginning math apps, the list just goes on. And the best part is, most of them are free! I have dealt more with lower than upper grades, but I am sure there are several apps that can help students with the skills they are learning or have already learned, but need that extra help.

My third and final tip for you is to collaborate with your fellow teachers. A teacher should never have to set out alone to do something. If the idea of having to allow your students to use the ipad is a frightening one to you go to the teacher that embraces technology in the classroom and ask them how they do it. Get some pointers on what to do first. It is never a good idea to throw several new things on the students at once. Spread them out over the year. Start out with the ipad for a month or so and then put it away and switch to the smartboard. This allows the students to focus on one new item at a time and not be so overwhelmed and excited.

I do not believe that all activities in the classroom have to involve technology in order to grab your students attention. It is the job of a teacher to find out about the students interests and plan the lessons around those interests. That being said, I believe it is a matter of teaching methods and pure joy in your teaching job that allows your students to be interested in what you are saying. This can be as simple as having an attention grabber at the beginning of the lesson that involves a student’s favorite movie character. Kids want to learn, whether they act like it or not. Give them something they want to learn. Help them relate to the subject.

I hope you have learned something from my rantings and ravings. I truly believe that to be a teacher is a calling. Not just someone who can read from a book. I mean a true teacher. One that shows passion in how they teach and a true concern for the well-being of their students. So, I leave you with this: Go forth and teach!