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DIY Owl Tote

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Last year, I made this advent calendar counting down until Christmas. Always one to cram extra projects into an already exhaustingly busy month, on day nine I had written, “Make a Christmas present for your teacher.” Blah.

I have a few friends who are teachers and I know they often receive the same gifts. So, I wracked my tired brain for an idea that might be somewhat original, cheap, and also something the girls could make, preferably having to do with owls since their teacher has a fondness for them.

I came up with nothing. HOWEVER, while I was browsing the aisles of Walmart in search of other last minute craft supplies, I stumbled across canvas totes, all under $3. Score. I snatched one up and scurried home, giddy with anticipation and self-congratulations of being so thrifty and clever.

This bag took less than an hour, and if we’re being honest here, it could have taken half that time had I not enlisted the girls to help me out with this. Ah! I love them. They are precious, but heaven help me! Let me get this out of the way because if you read any of my posts you know I like to keep it real, lest you think this was some Hallmark, Kodak moment so when you try this out with your kids you are cursing me and my family for generations to come because I made it seem like this project was sunshine and kittens and lollipops. Sugar and spice and everything nice it was not.

First, I had the girls help me cut out pieces for the wings (I don’t have a pattern, but it was pretty easy to freehand them) and was trying to make sure we all had ten digits on each hand by the time it was all said and done because Ev couldn’t keep her eyes on what she was doing and the dogs were wrestling and bumping into us. I asked Nora to keep an eye on the pieces to give her a “special job” while I was trying to sew pieces on. She lost them. Twice. Poor girl tries so hard, but is slightly absentminded like her Mama. Then I had the girls take turns helping me by pressing down the pedal while I guided the bag through the machine. StrEEEEEEssful!! The dogs kept looping around my legs and under the table, digging in my garbage and stepping on the pedal. Again, fingers were counted after that fiasco. I discovered also, much to my great annoyance, that I had to rip out one side of the bag so I could fit it into my machine, then I stitched it back up when all was said and done.

So, that out of the way, I will tell you how we pulled this together. Let’s start with the supply list, shall we??

-canvas tote

-scrap fabrics for eyes and wings

-large buttons for eyes

-sharpie paint marker

-fabric markers

-glue gun

-sewing machine

We started out by making a wing pattern out of paper and making two, cutting them out along a fold so you have two mirror images. Then I traced something round for the eyes and drew large circles in the middle of large buttons (also found in the craft section at Walmart). I pinned the fabric pieces to the bag (after opening up one side so, as aforementioned it fit better through my machine) and went to work sewing the pieces on. I chose to do a straight stitch because I like the raw edge look, but you might prefer an applique stitch. Once the fabric pieces were on, I stitched the open side back up and hot glued the button eyes on. Once all of that was done, the girls wrote on the back of the tote. Pretty easy peasey, my friends. I think they turned out cute, don’t you? Oh. Yeah. The bag is pretty cute, too. 😉

norawriting girlswithbag eviewriting backbag

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3 Hour Teacher’s Rag Quilt

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Schooooooooooooool’s out for summer!!

How did THAT happen??!!!

Where did the time go???

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was taking these first day of school pictures of our girls and in what seemed like a matter of moments we went…..

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In the meantime, I chopped off about a foot of my hair and the girls grew nearly three inches! I’m also pretty sure in the last nine months these two little angels also gave their teacher an innumerable amount of gray hairs. I am so super duper thankful for their A-MA-ZING teacher! I was often answering texts from her, having chats in the classroom, and often commiserating with her about what a handful our girls are. A blessing, mind you, but a handful none-the-less. So, I wanted to do something special for her. The last few months have been a whirlwind and the end of the year really snuck up on me, so by the time this idea occurred to me, I knew I didn’t have much time to pull it together (two days to be exact). I mention this so you know how easy peasy this was!

I wanted to have each of the kids trace their hands on fabric and write their names on it, then applique them on a quilt square and machine embroider over the names so they were more permanent ,which is exactly what I ended up doing. Sooooooo, without further ado, here is the pattern. It took me only 3 hours to make, beginning to end! I made this according to the class size which only had fourteen students in it. You may have to adjust the pattern according to the size of your classroom.

Supplies:

*1/4 yard each of six fabrics of your choosing (I got all of mine at  Walmart!)

*1.5 yards of flannel for backing

*fabric pen

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Choose fabrics that you want to use for handprints and using a fabric marker trace each student’s hand and have them print their name in their hand. I also cut out a heart for the bottom right hand corner of the quilt to put the teacher’s name in. Choose three fabrics for your smaller squares and cut them into 60  4.5 inch squares. Cut the remaining three fabrics into 15 8 inch squares. With the flannel, cut the same amount of squares (60 4.5″ and 15 8″).

Since this is a rag quilt, it is important to just fringe the edges of all of your squares with a small pair of scissors so just the outer 1/4 inch is snipped. To start appliqueing hands on the squares, I put the flannel piece on the back first and machine appliqued them, then used a free motion foot to embroider the names on. Pretty simple! Once that was all done, I sewed my little squares together in blocks of four, making sure (again, because it is a rag quilt) that I put a flannel piece on the back first (I DID NOT use any sort of batting because the flannel is a little heavier but still kept it pretty lightweight and good for cool summer evening snuggling). So, take two of your pieces (one front and the flannel backing) and put them together, wrong sides and then sew them to another sandwich like this so that your seams are on the outer, front side. I, again, preferring the haphazard look, just sewed fabrics together at random, just making sure the same two weren’t side by side. Once I had all my blocks together (15 total) I then sewed them to my hand blocks, starting in rows horizontally first, then attaching the rows together.

It was pretty simple and sooooooo worth the effort! I snuck in when the kids were having lunch so their teacher didn’t know what I was doing so it was a total surprise to her. She cried and grabbed me in a big bear hug which made it all worth it!

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Here she is with the quilt and kids!

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 We have had so many talks this year we have become good friends!

I am truly going to miss her not being the girls’ teacher (though I’m not so sure she can say the same thing) 🙂