Archive | September, 2011

Scrap Fabric Soft Shapes Book Tutorial

29 Sep

I’ve been working on this project over a period of a few days.  Normally, I only like to work on something if I can finish it all in one sitting.  With four kids (one of them being a tornado), it’s no fun to start, stop, move your stuff, lose stuff, look for missing stuff, get back to the project, repeat.  I was disciplined on this one and I actually finished it in a reasonable amount of time.  There was a lot of looking for missing stuff in the process, but I finished, and I’m happy to say that the little tornado loves it.  As do all the other members of the Fantastic Four.  The littlest one is also very territorial about it.  I’m so glad that she loves it.  I would be so bummed if I spent all this time on it and she didn’t care.  I know your little one will love it as well!  I think having all the fabric pieces around that they weren’t allowed to touch for a few days helps in the excitement department too 🙂

Here’s the tutorial for your Scrap Fabric Soft Shapes Book


14 – 8″ x 8″ Fabric Squares (Choose a color that will allow the fabrics to stand out)

7 – 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ Quilt batting squares

Fusible Web (I prefer Heat n Bond).  They come in different sizes or rolls, so just have enough to cover all your pieces.

About 1/4 yard worth of Scrap Fabric…or just a whole lot of scraps!

1 – 3″ x 8″ piece of solid color fabric for the title “shapes”

1 – 3″ x 8 1/2″ piece of fabric for the binding

Thread colors to match your scraps

Needle and Matching thread to hand stitch the “spine” of the finished book.

Print out your pdf file of choice at the bottom of this post.


First, get out all your pretty scraps.Fuse your scraps to your fusible web of choice.  Since I was working with scraps, I decided that this would be the method that would limit the amount of wasted stuff.  I just laid out my scraps in this “puzzle” over my large piece of Heat N Bond.  Then I simply took the iron to it.  This may not be the best method for you, as you may prefer to do a piece at a time.

If you’re not comfortable with applique, here’s a great tutorial.Next, flip your fused pieces over and start marking your shapes.Cut out all your shapes.  Look at them and check to see if you have a good variety of colors for each page.  (You could call this a colors AND shapes book!)

Organize your pieces and peel off the paper backing.

For the cover, be sure that if you use your own font that you use a “mirrored” pattern piece for your words.If you haven’t already done so, cut out fourteen 8″ squares.  Lay out your pieces on the square.  Keep your pieces about an inch from the edges of the page to allow for seams and binding.Press your pieces down according to the instructions on your method of fusing your fabric.

Next, go ahead and stitch all your pieces down.  Stitch your pieces according to thread color so that you don’t waste time changing thread constantly.  This is the setting I used for my applique.After all your pieces are stitched down, organize your book in the order you’d like it to be in.Now, figure out which pages will be back-to-back and place them right sides together.  Line up the corners on the side of the pages that will not be bound.  It doesn’t matter if the bound side is a bit off because that can be trimmed and it will be covered with the binding.  Place one of your batting squares over the top of the pages it.  It’s okay if the batting is a bit larger.Pin all three sides that will be sewn, leaving the book bound side open.Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.  The edge of your fabric will be the guide for the seam allowance and NOT the batting.  Notice in this pic that the guide is up against the fabric regardless of how large the batting is.

Stop 1/4″ before you hit the end of a side and pivot 90 degrees to the next side.  Here is a really awful picture of three sides sewn shut and one end open which will be the side we bind.Trim your batting down to the fabric edges and clip the corners to reduce bulk.  Be sure not to cut off your stitches!Turn your page right side out and then sew a top stitch around the same three sides using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Again, stop 1/4″ before the end of a run and pivot 90 degrees to the next side.  Go ahead and repeat for all your pages.  I did one full page at a time instead of assembly line style because I was paranoid about matching up the wrong pages.  Now, Prepare your book spine / binding piece.  Use your 8 1/2″ x 3″ piece of fabric.
Fold up the short edges (wrong sides together) 1/4″.  Press it down.Then, fold your piece in half length-wise and press.

Press your long outside edges in towards the center line and press.  It should look like this.  Just leave this piece on the side until we’re ready for it.Initially, I was going to hand stitch the binding on, but I think this was a much better idea.

How to stitch through 18 layers of fabric (binding counts for four layers) PLUS seven layers of batting:

Take off the entire shank.  So, don’t just pop off the foot, you need to unscrew the attached shank.  It should look something like this (if you live in Hawai’i, there will be a little rust 🙂

Next, stack your pages in the order you want them to appear.  It’s important that you line up the sides of the pages that are not bound.  Uneven-ness on the bound side is okay because we can always trim those, plus it will be covered by the spine/binding.Hold your stack nice and tight so that the pages don’t move around.  Make sure your “presser foot” is raised up.  Drop your feed dogs.  If your machine doesn’t give you that option, it still works fine.  It just makes more sense to drop them if you can.  Place your book’s center of the open side under the needle where you want to start your stitching.  I used the 1/2″ as a guide, but it will vary depending on how much trimming you had to do.  Just make sure that you’re not coming too far in that you are cutting off shapes.  And don’t go too far out that it doesn’t bind well.  Check to make sure that your placement will penetrate through all the pages (if you have a short page in there, make sure the needle goes through it).

Start from the middle so that the pages don’t move around like they would if you start from the top.  I learned that the hard way.

Drop your “presser foot.”  Stitch a lock stitch.  Then, lift your presser foot up.  Manually move your book in the direction it would move if the feed dogs were naturally moving it through the machine.  Go about 1/8″.  Drop the presser foot.  Press your pedal and do two stitches.  Lift the presser foot.  Move forward again about an 1/8″.  Stitch two stitches in place.  Lift up, move forward, lower, stitch, lift up, move forward, lower, stitch, lift up and so on until you reach the end of the book.

When you are finished, it should look like this.Now, turn your book around and flip it so that you’re on the front now.  You have to turn AND flip so that you can see your guides on the metal plate.  Start again in the center and repeat the process above.

When you are finished, it should look like this with the whole side bound.  You just stitched through a whole lot of fabric and stuff.  Wait…there’s more.

Now for the “spine.”  Grab your strip that we prepped in the beginning.  Place it around your book end to make sure the length and width is good.  If  you want to make adjustments to either, now is the time to do it.Check to make sure that you have enough slack to cover the stitches we just made.If everything looks good, go ahead and pin down your binding.  Like my new shapes pins?  How appropriate!

Flip it over and do the same thing to the other side.  This time, make sure that the tips of the pins are sticking out so that you can pull them out as you are sewing along.Following the same process we used to bind the pages, we’re going to attach the binding.  Since the book is already stitched together, we don’t have to worry about pages moving around, so we can start at the top this time.  Plus, it would look funny if we started in the middle.Continue the process of moving the book manually about 1/8″ per double stitches.When you get to the end, go ahead and stop with either a back stitch or a lock stitch at the end of the pages.  Don’t stitch all the way to the end of the binding.Now  you’ve really sewed through a huge stack of stuff!To close those endings.  Think of wrapping the end of a present.  Flip the middle section down.Then, lay each side down, one on top of the other.Finally, use a matching thread (or neutral if you don’t have a match) and do a whip stitch to close that up.Here are the inside pages.

And here’s the back.I’m happy to say that my little ones LOVE it.  She takes it with her everywhere and loves to show it off.  Now that I’m finished, I need to clean up the mess she made while I was off sewing this.Below are the downloads for pattern shapes pieces.  I have them divided up on to individual pages by shape.  Or, if you’d like to print them all together, use the second link.  Now go make a little one happy!

Fabric Scraps Shapes Soft Book Pattern Tutorial

Fabric Scraps Shapes Soft Book Pattern Pieces Together Tutorial


Leaf Printing

27 Sep

I think most of us have done leaf printing at some point in our lives.  Well, I ran across these tonight and wanted to post them.  This is from my daughter’s class last year.Look at all the pretty colors.  I talked about how they mix their own colors in this post.  This would be great for wrapping paper.
Wouldn’t this be a beautiful in a big frame hanging on a wall?

One of My Favorite Photos

26 Sep

I was searching for some files and I ran across this picture.  It’s one of my all time favorite photos.  I love that they are standing on a table that my grand-dad built.  I love that the backdrop is “my grandma’s ocean.”  I love that their faces depict their personalities so well.  I wish my #4 was in this shot.  She was busy hangin’ out in heaven waiting to come down and hang out with these monkeys.   

Fish Wish

24 Sep

My son’s portfolio is due to his school this Monday, so I have some catching up to do.  This past Thursday we read, “Fish Wish""” by Bob Barner.  It’s a simple fun book about sea creatures.  The pictures are so colorful.  There are so many things you can do with this simple book.  Together, we created a graphic organizer of all the underwater creatures featured in the book.From there, he decided on three animals that he wanted to sculpt with this non-drying clay.  I’m not sure what I think of it.  It’s definitely harder to work with than play-doh (great for strong hand-writing fingers).  I do like that compared to the $1 colored clay we normally buy from Wal Mart, the color does not get on your hands or other things for that matter.I don’t like the colors much.  This is green.  I was hoping for more of a grass green.They are really pretty when you see it like this.  But that pink in there is actually red.  Oh well.  He enjoyed it.I love that after he made his trumpet fish, he wanted to measure it.  Don’t mind the rusted measuring tape.  It’s one of the perks of living in Hawai’i.These were his final creations.   Now off to organizing his portfolio!

My Fabric Monsters

22 Sep

My older daughter has always been fascinated with my fabric.  Whenever I’m sewing, she always asks if she can have the scraps.  Then, she goes and creates something imaginative…very imaginative.  I’m working on a super awesome project right now that I can’t wait to share in a few days.  My daughter couldn’t stop staring at my scraps.  I finally let her have in on it and I didn’t even notice she had created this beauty.She even wrote up a tutorial for it!  I’ll post more on in when she’s finished.  She pinned all the pieces down, so hopefully we can get to sewing it up this weekend.  While working on my project, daughter #2 couldn’t resist the stack either and she was getting so frustrated that the fabric strips weren’t staying on her as she tried wrapping them all over her.  In an effort to give myself some time to work without interruption, I tied all the fabric to her.  She was so happy.

Here she is in all her fabric glory.Maybe this fabric lovin’ is genetic.

My Oldest Is Nine

20 Sep

My oldest recently had a birthday and I can’t believe how old he is.
I know how much my kids love birthdays, but they make me sad too.  I do a lot of, “It was just yesterday that…”  I’m really sappy like that.I couldn’t have asked for a better oldest kid.  He’s cheerful and fun.  He has an incredible imagination.  When he’s playing, I wish that I was in his make believe world for just a moment.  He loves his family and his friends.  He’s so loyal.  Sometimes my sisters try to tease me and they say to him, “your mom’s crazy yeah?”  He always looks at them like, “No…my mom’s the best!”  I love it.He always writes me sweet notes about how I’m the best mom and the best cook and the best sewer and the most talented mom.  He even makes “Super Mom” logos for me.  He’s so thoughtful.  Once I said that we couldn’t afford something and since then, he’s always saying, “I don’t need that mom, I don’t want you to use all your money.”  It’s hard to believe that the kid who cried for THREE MONTHS STRAIGHT!!! turned out to be such a happy-go-lucky smiley kid.  I love his smile.  It’s infectious.  I love that he has an actual sparkle in his eye when he smiles.  He had a teacher who told me that once 🙂  I wondered if my husband and I were the only ones that saw it.A boy on his soccer team described him to his mother as, “the boy that always smiles.”  What a great compliment.  I love this boy.  I’m so grateful for his love of learning, his patience with us as learning parents, his love for God, his loyalty and his love for his family.  Son, I’m so blessed that God gave me you, sweetie.

Homeschool Lesson Planner Free Downloads

17 Sep

When I started planning out the year, I couldn’t find a lesson plan book that was exactly what I wanted.  I’m a very digital girl, but certain things like lists, note taking and lesson planning, I need to hand write it.  There were a few that almost had everything, but nothing exactly what I wanted.  I’m a visual person and I need to see things a certain way or else I get frustrated.  I want the week, month and year view.  I also want enough space to write in particular spots.  Some planners had too many sections that I wouldn’t use.  Some had not enough.  Too many lines, not enough lines, down instead of across and on and on.  Well, I finally ended up just making my own.  Hopefully some teacher or homeschooling family will find something here that’s useful.  I’m happy because it’s exactly what I need.  And if I ever decide to go digital on this, they are all excel files.  Oh, and for those of you who are like me and spend an hour trying to decide what to do for lunch every day, I added a slot in for that too!

Emmie’s Homeschool Daily Lesson Planner 1 of 2

Emmie’s Homeschool Daily Lesson Planner 2 of 2

Emmie’s Homeschool Daily Lesson Planner With Lines 1 of 2

Emmie’s Homeschool Daily Lesson Planner With Lines 2 of 2

Emmie’s Homeschool Lesson Planner Wish List

Emmie’s Homeschool Lesson Planner Month At A Glance 1 of 2

Emmie’s Homeschool Lesson Planner Month At A Glance 2 of 2

Emmie’s Homeschool Lesson Planner Year At A Glance 1 of 2

Emmie’s Homeschool Lesson Planner Year At A Glance 2 of 2

Emmie’s Homeschool Lesson Planner Year At A Glance Single Page