Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And now for something a little different

This is what the mindless stitching turned into - a set of four framed mini quilts, one for each season. My favorite is fall:

Now available in my etsy shop - get 'em while they're hot!

I don't think I ever showed you how this turned out

Remember the matchy-matchy borders I previewed for you a few weeks ago? Well, that was the MoYo Throw prototype. I've sold the quilt already, but I had the presence of mind to snap a couple photos before it headed home on the plane with my mother-in-law:

I really love how this one turned out. This was a project where the dimensions were fudged to match the amount of fabric available, the yo-yos were cut using my Corelle dinner plates as templates, and the fact that the border ended up presentable was a freakin' miracle, as I totally didn't measure it before I started. So basically I did everything wrong, and it still looked good. Behold the power of the yellow/blue/white combination!

Trivia: The original title for this design was "Puckered Plates" because I thought the blue/white yo-yos looked like porcelain and I used my dinner plates as the templates for them. I still like the name, even if I like "MoYo Throw" better ;)

Come, learn from me!

I'm now officially in the Birds of a Feather online catalog:

Monday, May 19, 2008

WIP Monday

So, what are they? Not telling yet ... but I will give you a hint. The next step involves a hammer and an awl. Any time I get to whack holes in stuff with pointy tools, I'm a happy, happy girl.

Genius at work

Proof that my daughter can now draw almost as well as I can ... and she's three.
Not bad for her first attempt at drawing a person, huh? I love the feet - they crack me up. Now, just wait until you see what I have planned for Lazy Kid's first portrait masterpiece ...

Buy me!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Lazy Kid shows off some of the results of our craft binge:

The individual-sized-cereal-box puppet, which is significantly more complicated than the construction paper ones that inspired it (find them in Incredibly Awesome Crafts for Kids by Better Homes and Gardens). We added a polar fleece sleeve to make this look more like the "alligator" it's supposed to be ... the hot pink fleece Lazy Kid picked out kinda takes away from the effect, doesn't it?

Next up: Using glitter glue to make prints for birthday thank you cards.

This was supposed to be "use glitter glue to make pictures on craft foam," but Lazy Kid prefers to make huge blobs of color, and I thought those would take forever to dry. So we pressed pieces of paper onto the craft foam and made prints from the blobs, like these:

We got about four prints from each set of glue blobs, and the remaining glue washed off of the craft foam really easily so we can use the foam again next time. We got a couple extra prints by pressing paper onto the first (somewhat globby) print from each series.

Still in process: Salt clay figures, most of which are painted a hideous Pepto-Bismal pink. Yum.

Keeping the kiddy crafts corralled

Lazy Mama HQ was Kid Craft Central yesterday, with no fewer than three ridiculously involved craft projects begun and sorta finished. Go, us!

While we were in the thick of it, it occurred to me that my method of keeping the kid craft projects corralled might be of interest to my readers, some of whom might not have come up with it on their own. Our house is somewhat small, you see, and while we managed to find a small closet to house all the kid craft supplies, Lazy Kid doesn't have a dedicated craft table or anything like that. Instead, she's got sort of a corner of our kitchen counter, and for larger projects we spread out on the dining room table. So being able to keep the craft surfaces clean - and pick them up quickly when we're done - is important to my sanity.

Enter the plastic serving tray. We bought several of these from Target a few years ago, originally as a way to contain the cat food that our messy eaters nudge out of their bowl when they're famished. Then the trays got cleaned up and actually were used as serving trays when we ate out on our patio. And now they've been drafted into duty as craft stations, keeping crayons from rolling off the table, paints from staining the tablecloth, and cotton balls from blowing all over the house when the door opens.

They wipe clean easily, and best of all, when I need room on the dining room table or kitchen counter, I just pitch all the craft supplies onto the tray and throw the whole thing back in the closet. Cleanup doesn't get much easier than that, unless you count the old "fingerpaint in the bathtub and hose the kid down afterward" trick.

So if you're doing kid crafts, keep your eyes on the clearance rack at Target - they change plasticware designs every month or two, and when they do, you can get one of the older designs at a significant discount.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Class - MoYo Throw, June 22 and 29 2008

The lovely folks at Birds of a Feather in Avon, Ohio, have graciously invited me to teach a class based on my MoYo Throw pattern. In case you've been living under a rock this week, the MoYo Throw features yo-yos that are almost 5" across, made from fabric from the Benartex line "Gilded Opulence." I am in love with that fabric, and I think you will be too when you see it in real life.

I'll be covering the whole quilt from start to finish - the only out-of-class work will be the initial cutting and maybe some of the hand-gathering on the yo-yos. It should be a lot of fun, and the quilts should be showstoppers when we're done.

Liz is selling kits for the project in two different color ways - one lime/fuschia like my sample, the other a more muted one based on the red/gold colorway for the yo-yos. Kits are available either as part of the class, or separately if you don't feel like being social while you work on the project. I understand. Just remember, though - where I go, chocolate follows, so you might want to think about that class after all :)

Anyhow, if you're in the area and interested, I'll be teaching the 2-session class on June 22 and June 29 from 1-3pm each day. Contact Birds of a Feather at 440-934-2374 to register or to order a kit.

Hope to see you there!

MoYo Throw Pattern Page

MoYo Throw Pattern
What do you call yo-yos that are almost 5" across? Mo-Yos! They're "mo" simple, "mo" fun, "mo" quick, and "mo" stunning than any yo-yos you've ever seen. What a great way to showcase a couple cool fabrics (or make a unique gift in record time!).
Approximate finished dimensions: 40"x50"
A person with average sewing skills should be able to finish the machine sewing in about two naptimes (4 hours). This project requires several hours of additional time for handsewing, but this time can be squeezed in whenever you have a few minutes.
Photos from the pattern directions:
Closeup of the yo-yo

Sewing the yo-yos before gathering them:

Pattern includes illustrated directions and suggestions for additional variations on the project. It is packaged in a resealable plastic bag (6"x9"), ready to hang and sell.

Wholesale price: $4.00/pattern
Suggested retail price: $7-$9, or whatever the market will bear in your area

Free shipping on your first order! Shipping charges for subsequent orders will be the actual charges for USPS Priority Mail to your destination.

I am willing to make free samples to display in your shop, if you are willing to provide the materials. Please contact me for more information on this service.

For more information or to place an order, please contact Gretchen Woods at Lazy Mama Designs: lazymamadesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com.

NEW!! You can also place orders through my shop at - just convo me with a request, including the number of patterns you'd like to buy, and I can post a custom listing for you at the wholesale price.

Thank you for your interest, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Teaching a young child to sew

Yeah, okay, maybe I'm a little ambitious here, but Lazy Kid has mad skillz when it comes to small motor play, and she's bored with sticking laces through beads, and the laces on her lacing cards are so long they get tangled or so short she pulls them all the way through each hole. Plus, she just sort of laces the cards in a random order from random directions, so they don't look like anything when she's done. She gets really frustrated when she ends up with this tangled ball of nasty yarn with a cute cow lacing card buried in the middle. So what's a crafty mommy to do? Get all DIY with the problem, that's what.

And so, I proudly present a free tutorial on making your own learn-to-sew card for really young kids. Please note that this is a supervised activity - young children should NEVER be left alone with needles, even blunt plastic ones.

  • A piece of cardboard (preferably corrugated, but definitely sturdy) about the size of a sheet of notebook paper
  • A pair of scissors sturdy enough to cut through the cardboard
  • A hole punch sturdy enough to cut through the cardboard (mine's a cheapy from Office Max, and it worked fine)
  • A marker/pen/pencil/crayon
  • A scrap of yarn about 2 feet long
  • A button that's larger than the holes the hole punch makes and that has holes large enough for the yarn needle to go through
  • A BLUNT tapestry needle, yarn needle or plastic canvas needle - preferably plastic


  1. Punch a series of holes along one side of the cardboard, about 2" apart and as far in from the edge as the hole punch will go. Label the holes with numbers, either from left to right or right to left.
  2. Cut two smaller pieces of cardboard, each about 3-4" square. Punch two holes in each piece of cardboard, at approximately the same distance you used in step 1. Label these holes with two consecutive numbers, as in the photo below.
  3. Thread the yarn scrap through the needle, then even up the ends and tie them so that the needle will not come loose from the yarn. Thread the needle and yarn through one hole on the button, pulling the knot snug against the button. This will keep the child from pulling the thread all the way through the holes.
  4. First show the child how to sew on just the larger piece of cardboard, with the needle coming "up at 1" and "down at 2" and "up at 3" and so forth across the piece.
  5. Next, show the child how to "unsew" the yarn by backing the needle out through the holes, "down through 3" "up through 2" "down through 1" etc.
  6. Finally, show the child how to "sew" the smaller cardboard pieces onto the larger piece by holding them over top while sewing. You may need to make the holes in the smaller pieces a little larger (two hole punches side by side) so the child can easily see to put the needle through both holes at once.
Lazy Kid "sewed" the cards in the photo above with only minimal guidance from me - mostly I just had to remind her that the needle didn't always go in from the same side of the board (which wraps the yarn around the edge of the card instead of making a nice running stitch).

After she completed this she wanted nothing more to do with it that day, and the next day she just wanted to hold the needle and swing the yarn around, which was all fun and games until the button on the other end of the yarn hit her in the face (which is why you NEVER leave a child alone with a needle - did I mention that before?).

So no, my three-year-old won't be entering any embroidery at the state fair this year, but she DID have fun with this the first time, and I think it will be popular in the future once she gets over the button-to-the-face incident. And once she gets good with the cardboard, it's on to more floppy materials like felt (and quilting cotton!).

Let me know how this works for you!

Looky where you can find me now!

more on this later ... it's way too late to be blogging right now. And yet here I am - it's a sickness, I tell you, a sickness.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What's on the way?

Giant (almost 5" across!) yo-yos, fussy cut from "Gilded Opulence" by Paula Nadelstern for Benartex. Thanks to Birds of a Feather for providing the fabric - you ladies rock!

I'm calling these giants "mo-yos." snort So fun, so easy, so cute when they're done!

The sample quilt is complete, and the pattern should be ready to release early this week. And I'll be teaching a class based on this pattern at Birds of a Feather in June, so check back soon for dates and times if you're in the area.

Look, someone actually made my yo-yos!

Thanks to the anonymous block of the month participant who allowed me to photograph her beautiful block, which features pansies made using my yo-yo technique. Huzzah!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sign that it's time to go buy more $0.10 stamps:

Yup, that looks professional.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How I'm milking the system for all it's worth

Yesterday I put into place the first part of my plan to mooch as much free cash out of my purchases as I can. It was easy - I went to the grocery store and bought a combined $100 in gift cards to other stores where I was planning to shop.

My grocery store shopper's club keeps track of your purchases, and every $50 you spend gets you $0.10 off per gallon of gas at their stations. Given how expensive groceries are now, it doesn't take much to whack quite a bit off the price of a fill-up ... especially since the gift cards count as double points toward my gas discount. So $100 = $0.80 off per gallon, which if I wait until I'm on fumes and almost fill my gas tank translates to as much as $12.

And I paid for the cards with a credit card that gives me cash back on my purchases ... where I earn twice as much for grocery purchases. That means I earned about $2 from the credit card company.

And when I made my purchases today, anything in excess of the amount of cards I purchased went onto the same credit card, which is the one linked to my UPromise account. I earn UPromise money at Bed Bath and Beyond for any purchases made with that credit card, so that's another $1 or so. And I get the cash back on the credit card purchase, too, which is another $1 or so.

So basically it boils down to this: Buying the gift cards at the grocery instead of just paying with the credit card at the store earned me up to an extra $13, in addition to the $3 I would have earned if I just used the credit card linked to the UPromise account. Not too shabby, considering I was at the grocery store anyway, and I was going to buy the same stuff at the same stores whether I had gift cards or not.

Now, I know why the companies offer their cards for sale at the grocery. They're hoping that if you spend $25 on a gift card from Bath and Body Works, and your total comes to $22, you'll throw in an extra purchase so you won't have to carry around a piece of plastic that only has $3 left on it. If you buy one extra thing in addition to what you would have bought if you weren't using the gift card, they're making money off of you. But if you have the willpower (and purse space) to walk away from the extra purchases, gift cards that earn you extra grocery store credit can be a very deal.

Now I plan to go clean the store out of Home Depot cards so I can buy a new sink for our bathroom ... bwahahahahahahaha!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Crafty birthday

LazyToddler is now officially LazyKid, having turned three years old earlier this week. We had the party today, complete with garden-themed birthday cake and food. I'm not usually a theme party kinda girl (last year she got cheap pizza and an ice cream cake, and the year before that we gave her a Kroger cupcake three days late), but I had fun this year. The cake was the best part ...

LazyKid helped make the "seed packets," and she helped mix the cake, but I decorated the whole thing after she went to bed so the final product would be a surprise. Decorating a cake after 10pm leads to flights of fancy that may include (but are not limited to) ...

... giant worms ...

... and bunny turds.

I was a little bit worried that the cake was going to be awful - I monkeyed around with the size of the pan so I'd have plenty of "garden" to decorate, and it took almost twice as long to bake as the original recipe suggested. I even had to wrap the edges of the pan in foil partway through to keep them from getting overcooked. That worked pretty well, actually, and the edge piece that I had was just as moist as the middle.

I was also a little bit concerned because I didn't notice until I was halfway done making the frosting that it never gets cooked or heated after the raw egg is added. But I solved that problem by feeding a healthy dose of extra frosting to LazyHusband last night and watching him carefully for signs of food poisoning. It's excusable to throw your spouse under the bus in an effort to keep kids from dying of salmonella, right?

All in all, it was a fun party, even if I didn't get to do some of the more elaborate things I had planned. I guess if I had gone all Martha Stewart on the decorations and games, my friends would have had to slap some sense into me, and that would have been unfortunate. So we'll just save the "pin the center on the flower" game we made for next year, and thank our lucky stars that the "toss the bunny in the rabbit hole" game never got finished.

And if there's any lingering doubt about my ability to give Martha a run for her money, you need look no further than my attempt at Ladybug Pizzas to see ... I'm not even in her league.

Who knew canned chopped olives looked so disgusting? Oh, well, at least they tasted better than they looked.

Out of retirement

I retired my large rotary cutting mat a few months ago when I switched to using a piece of antique furniture instead of my wobbly cutting table. Since then, it's been languishing in the attic ... until our friend forgot to bring his terrain maps when he came over to play Dungeons and Dragons minis with LazyHusband.
Yes, they were so desperate for "adult" game time that they made a war map out of a rotary cutting mat and some of LazyKid's blocks. I wish I had a photo of last weekend's Bristle Block cavern of doom, or whatever they were calling it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

In retrospect,

... maybe it was a bad idea to let LazyChild help pull out the stuffing I needed for a project for her birthday party this weekend.

Maybe this will finally push me over the edge and give me an excuse to buy a Dyson. Yeah, right.