Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to School Banner

The kids heading back to school is a cause for celebration in our household.  They love school almost as much as they love being home, and I love them more when I don't see them 24-7.  Call it cold-hearted, but it's the truth.  And here in Florida, being in an air-conditioned schoolroom is as good a way as any of spending the hellish summer months, so I'm glad they head back mid-August.  If the state had any sense, we'd have them in school through the summer and let them out for vacation in February.

Last year, I bought a celebratory flag for the event:

And this year I thought I'd make a banner for the front room.  A few years ago a sister-in-law introduced me to the gem of an idea of decorating with banners - a lot of sparkle for an itty bitty storage space.  And with just felt, black fabric, heat-n-bond, and a measuring tape holding it all together, it's an inexpensive and easy little way to celebrate the newfound peace and quiet at home.  And the excitement of welcoming them home, of course, with celebratory cupcakes around the kitchen table as they recount the day's adventures.

 You'll need:
 6 sheets of 9"x12" tan felt, cut into twelve 6"x7" rectangles
black felt or fabric
white felt for letters
paper-backed fusible web (heat-n-bond, Wonder under, are a couple of brands)
scrap felt in  assorted colors
10' measuring tape

Iron enough of the fusible web onto the black fabric to back twelve 5"x6" rectangles (it's easier to just iron on a large sheet and then cut the rectangles out of that).  Peel off the paper backing, center rectangles on the tan felt ("frame" of the blackboard), and fuse with iron.

For the letters, print out the desired font (I used a Zaner-Bloser font which I'd be happy to send you in a pdf, just e-mail), then trace onto your fusible web against a light box or window.  Be sure to reverse your letters when tracing them, since they will be flipped when you fuse them on to the banner.  Trust me in this.  I have mindlessly made this mistake many, many times.

See?  The "B" is backwards.  FLIP THE PAPER OVER BEFORE TRACING IT.  Or flip the font before you print it.  Either way, make sure it's backwards.

Fuse the web onto white felt, then cut out the letters.  Peel paper backing and fuse onto the blackboards.

Decorate the chalkboards with colored felt cut in the shapes of apples, crayons, books, whatever.  Then cut a 1/2" slit in the felt on each side of the chalkboard, thread through your measuring tape, and you have a back to school banner all ready to hang.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Socks for Supper

One of my favorite childrens' books is Socks for Supper by Jack Kent.  In it a poor old couple who subsist entirely on turnips from their garden have the idea of knitting socks to trade for cheese with neighbors who own a cow.  When she runs out of yarn, the old woman starts unravelling her husband's one sweater to make more socks.  Meanwhile, the dairy farmer's wife is busily unravelling the socks to put toward a sweater that she is knitting for her husband's Christmas gift.  Christmas morning, he tries it on to find that it is too big.  But they noticed that the old man seems to need a sweater, so they give it to him for a gift - and it fits perfectly.  The book has it all - yarn, cheese, and a heart-warming lesson in economics. 

It came to mind recently when baby girl asked for a pony, and in digging through my stashes of pink cotton yarn, I came across an old baby shrug that she had outgrown.  I've unravelled things aplenty, but only to correct mistakes; this is the first time I've actually recycled yarn.  There's something almost magical in it - that a long, long piece of string can be turned into a sweater, worn until it is outgrown, then undone and reworked into a pony.  Though I do hope she doesn't barter it for cheese.

The cutest pony pattern in existence:  "Clop & Ali" by Fran Goreham, Crochet World,  June 2004.
Meanwhile, the pony is hidden away to await Baby Girl's birthday.   

Don't you just love her brown-leather eyes.

Posted by Picasa