The Crayon Monogram

The Crayon Monogram.
Yup, I did it for my kid's preschool/daycare teachers.  And really, I wasn't going to post about it.  They are all over blogland in various forms ranging from really cool... to really bad (c'mon... you should have just gone with the Starbucks gift card). Do you really need another crayon monogram blog post?

You do. Here's why.

This project is a pain in the booty. No really, it is. The concept is simple: Glue a bunch of crayons to some paper in the shape of a letter. The execution is the painful portion. No one tells you that.  This is why I felt compelled to warn you and also why there are so many bad examples out there. I mean, let's be honest.  There are several out there that I gave the stink eye to, but I'm not about to call out someone's effort in thanking a teacher. I know better. The thought really is what counts and any sort of appreciation someone wants to show a teacher is good with me.

That said... let's dive right in.  Here is my list of reasons why the crayon monogram is not as easy as you think: 

1. Cut crayons are messy. You will be cleaning up crayon shavings for weeks. They will smudge all over any surface you work on or near.  They will be on your floors, on your tables, and stuck to your kid's shoes.

2. Hot glue melts crayons. Hot glue is my go-to glue for any project because it dries almost instantly. It works great on the paper part of the crayons, but melts them as you cut and the pieces get smaller. I had to switch to another glue for the small parts then find a place for this sucker to dry without my kids touching it.

3. It takes a lot of planning. I used 6, 24 piece boxes of crayons for 2 monograms. I wanted it to look like one giant crayon running horizontally across my letters. Lots of cutting, lots of planning. (Tip: ditch the black, grey, white, peach, and brown crayons for the gradient look)

4. You must work and glue on one piece of paper, then cut your letter from that paper and transfer it to another without smudging or marking on the new paper.  Did that make sense?  It was a bit like transferring a layer cake from your baking pan to your serving dish.

I must say, the "V" was much easier than the "W".  And I can imagine a "T" would be even easier.
See how I had to cut the crayons at the bottom to keep a consistent look?

 Ikea frames.

There was a lot of complaining during this project, I'll admit.  But when I gave it to Kaley's teacher and got a tearful thank you in return, it was worth it. They turned out pretty awesome.

Now you know the truth. Will you still tackle it?


The Pixie Shirt

Don't really know why I named it The Pixie Shirt.  Too much Tinkerbell maybe? I don't know.

If this shirt looks familiar it's because it's made from the Ikea duvet cover I got at Goodwill in Thrifty Finds part 1. I love that thing!  Still have tons of fabric left over. It's probably been washed a thousand times and still vibrant.  I especially love it paired with my favorite color of bias tape both as the straps and the hem.  I think I've used this same teal on 5 projects now.  Sorry people of Central Florida looking for teal bias tape.... I bought it out. My bad.

I started with Simplicity pattern 4203 to make this shirt.  That said, I really had no idea what I was doing with the pattern. It was an impulse buy at Walmart one day. I kind of read the directions (what the H are those little triangles for?!) then just cut what I thought I needed and made up most of the sewing myself. Welcome to sewing with Sarah!

I really like swirly effect the bottom has with the bias tape.  And, the thick elastic across the back makes it really comfortable. (Did you notice I tinted the garage door in this picture?... kind of looks like pee to me now...hmmm... bad call).

Even if I didn't do it like the pattern intended, I discovered a new method of making shirts/bodices that I'm loving; A tailored bodice in the front that's two pieces of fabric thick (that's probably called something) and elastic across the back only. The flat front makes it look so much neater and you can sandwich your straps in between the "lining" and the outer fabric completely hiding the raw ends.

Perfect for hanging out.

And twirling of course.

And picking up random rocks or mulch as your plumber's crack hangs out. Maybe I should make the next version a smidge longer. : )


Consignment: The ultimate kid stuff thrifty source

Photo from Spring Sale 2011 - Boutique for a Week.

Most people that know me know that I have no problem dressing my kids in Goodwill or thrift store finds. You can find the same clothes and shoes you find at Gymboree, GAP, Target, and elsewhere for under $3 (They just need a run through the washing machine).  This wasn't always the case.

When I got pregnant with kid #1, I was clueless.  I bought everything new.... EVERYTHING.  Furniture, toys, clothes, gear, etc.  Oh the money I might as well have flushed. The thought of buying someone else's use toys (EEgad!) for my baby girl was just gross... like gas station bathroom floor gross.  Then, the kid came out, and instead of thinking I knew what it would be like to be a mom... I knew what it was like to be a mom. (Harder than I ever imagined, but that's another post). Let the life lessons begin.

I saw how few times she actually wore each outfit (some never got worn), how easy it is to take the cover off the swing and wash it, how quickly the top of her new dresser/changing table got scratched up, how if I bought used, I could get a much better quality item for less than a new flimsy version would cost.

I started to search Craig's List and garage sale after garage sale.  That method was okay, but it was a lot of work, time, and driving to find sales with kid's stuff in decent condition.  On one of my garage sale outings, I went to an address that I thought was just a garage sale.  Turns out, it was a kid's consignment sale.  I felt like I hit the jackpot of kid's stuff deals!  The giddy-ness was hard to control. Tons of great-condition kids items all in one place.  After a few internet searches for kid's consignment, I found Boutique for a Week.

What is it? Let me see if I can sum it up in a sentence.  It's a few women who collect good-condition kid's stuff from local moms, rent out a space for a week, set up a "store" with those items, and make it easy for you to shop (and sell) in one place for every kid's item imaginable.  Make sense? Here's how they describe it.

Boutique for a Week is held for one week, twice a year.  Once in spring and once in fall.  I consigned this past spring and made... drumroll..... $250!  On top of that, I got rid of a TON of my kid's outgrown stuff and freed up some space in my closets.  The best part for me is that I drop it off and they do all the work.  I absolutely hate haggling... ask my husband.  I'm so bad with confrontation and pushy people... which is what you get at garage sales.  At Boutique for a Week, you tag your item with a price, drop it off, and pick up your check when it's over. Simple.

I also shopped.  Want to see some of my finds from the spring sale?

First, a pair of genuine Crocs for $4! I think Austin has worn these almost every day this summer. I would have paid more... well worth it.

Next up, a complete outfit from OshKosh. Best part about this one is it has shorts built in.  Perfect for daycare.  Kaley refers to this outfit as "comfy outfit"... as in, "Mom, can I wear comfy outfit today?" Can't remember how much this one was, but probably less than $5 knowing me : )

I also got, count em, 2 bathing suits for my little dude.  One is Old Navy and the other is Circo and I paid $2 each!  These have also been worn almost every weekend this summer.  I know this past weekend he was neck deep in mud in the green one.  Still looks great!

Another great daycare/summer outfit in green... which I love.  Don't you get sick of pink sometimes?  I know I do.  Any cute girl clothes in an alternative color are very welcomed here. This one is from The Children's Place.  Can't remember how much this was was either.

Last, and probably the most complimented, is this GAP beach cover up for Austin.  It looked brand new when I bought it and I think I paid $4.  Woo hoo!  I still love it and am sad it's getting a bit snug.

This is just a small sample of what I got.  Like I said, these are from the spring sale so they've been well loved by my kids for the past few months.  And they have way more than just clothes.

To sum it up, I spent around $60 for a wardrobe full of clothes for both of my kids.  Since I sold clothes and gear, I really just traded their outgrown stuff for new stuff and made a little cash.

They also take bedding (I sold my daughter's crib bedding for $50!), furniture, toys, swings, pack and plays, Bumbo seats, bouncy chairs, high chairs, strollers, etc...

The next sale is open to the public September 21st - 23rd at Metro Life Church in Casselberry, FL if you're local.  And if you're not, don't sweat.  Visit consignmentmommies.com to search for a sale close to you.

Happy shopping.


Thrifty Finds

I've been thrifting it up lately (and sewing) but I'm a little more excited about the thrifting right now.  Maybe it's sewer's block?  Hmmm.  It occurred to me that I might be drawn to bright pink as I put this photo together.

Here's the rundown.

New with the tags Target toddler girl shoes for $3.99!  My Goodwill gets all the Target clearance Target doesn't sell... how great is that!?

Speaking of Target shoes, I was just hunting ebay for some new fall boots for the kid when I walked in and saw these.  A little worn but for $3.99 well worth it and her size!  Circo brand and way cute with some fall skirts and dresses.

Staying with the pink theme, I found this straw beach tote with the tags still on for $1.  Can't beat that.  I thought I might do some sort of craftiness to it, but the more I look at these pictures, the more I kind of like it plain.  hmmmm.

Still hanging in there with the pink?  Dupioni silk at Goodwill!  I'm not kidding.  Occasionally you come across someone's fabric stash they donated.  Today was one of those days.  1/2 yard of hot pink dupioni silk for $1!  Yes please.

Ok, departing from the pink now... are you a little sad?  No need, I have some cheery yellow for you in the form of spray ink, brand new.  Had no idea this stuff even existed.  I did a tiny bit of internet research and read it's good for wood and paper.  I plan to use it on fabric.  I'll let you know how that works out.  $4 at Goodwill, $8 online.

And my all time prized thrifty find to date!  A set of 8 Marcrest Swiss Alpine dinner plates made in the USA from the 1950's in perfect condition! Best part you ask?  99¢ a plate!  I paid less than $8 total for these gems.  After a smidge of Googling I found the same plates on replacements.com for $17.99 each!  I'm slightly excited about them. Can you tell?

And that's it.  My thrifty mojo has been strong lately.  Stay tuned this week for an awesome resource for kids thirftiness. Happy shopping.