Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pinterest Lessons learned: A story about a Nap-Mat

Who would have thought when we started the DIY blog that we would have the year we have had. Unfortunately there are only so many hours in the day, but we are here and have been super busy creating for a great fall.

So, tonight I come with a project and a few questions. I (as many of you, I imagine) have a new found source of humor: The wonderful blogs who share with us the many failed attempts of many Pinterest projects. As a crafter, I absolutely adore Pinterest and the seemingly unlimited sources of wardrobe, recipes, crafts, projects for kids. . . . you name it. . . . that it provides.

We had a need this evening for a new nap mat for pre-school. Now, I'm not one to throw down the aesthetically bland red and blue plastic nap mats and expect my three year old to nap peacefully.However, he has used his brother's hand-me-down fabric nap mat (with built in pillow) for a few years now and the poor mat is showing its age. I realised this after trying to wash it for the umpteenth hundred time tonight.

I quickly remembered all the adorable nap map tutorials I had seen on pinterest (and even re-pinned a few) and thought to myself  "I've got everything I need upstairs, I'll just make one".  My children are always asking me to sew for them. Since most of what I do is girl oriented my own children seem at an unfair disadvantage and are always pleased to help with my sewing process by choosing fabric or being the recipient of one of my creations. I probably should tell you here that there are no terrible pictures to follow of a failed attempt at a nap mat. But I have definitely learned a great deal in the past hour and wanted to share these finds with you.

First, unless you own a huge industrial machine you WILL NOT be able to quilt the entire nap mat without a great deal of wrestling. I also had a difficult time coercing my machine to sew through all the batting. This clearly reinforced my lack of desire to ever quilt. . . anything.

Second, I really should probably read directions. No clue what any of the helpful bloggers out there put on their blog for tips and suggestions to avoid frustration because I didn't look. In my true Type A personality (and a little ADD thrown in for good measure) I just dove in head first.

Third as adorable and soft and precious as minky dot fabric is. . . it is a pain in my hiney to sew with. Seriously. I don't enjoy it.

So, with those thoughts in mind if you have made it this far in the post you should be good to go (or at least in a much better position than I was). My nap mat is about 55 inches long by 20 inches wide. The minky is one large piece (45X40) and the orange pillow at the top is a foam square piece wrapped in additional batting. Currently it doesn't have a closure but it looks comfy and it rolls up, therefore I count this as a win.

Happy Crafting :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Philanthropy Friday – Project Have Hope

There are so many wonderful organizations that combine philanthropy and crafts that we have decided to highlight one each Friday. This week for our first Philanthropy Friday article I have asked a dear friend and family member to tell us about a group that is near and dear to her heart. I have purchased beads from this group and love them all! Here is a note about Project Have Hope from Heather. . .

Project Have Hope  (PHH) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower women in the Acholi Quarter of Kampala, Uganda by providing education to both the women and their children and assisting the women to establish business opportunities to promote economic stability and sustainability.

Project Have Hope (PHH) works with a group of one hundred women, most of whom were displaced during the ongoing civil war in Northern Uganda and forced to relocate to the capital city of Kampala in the southern part of the country. PHH strives to fulfill its goal of giving each woman the tools needed so that she can become self-sufficient by providing a number of programs such as adult literacy, sustainable agriculture, microfinance loans, vocational training, and other educational opportunities. The women of the Project Have Hope community are strong, hardworking, and inspiring; however, their needs and responsibilities are great, often beyond the reach of their limited resources.  They consistently struggle to feed their families and send their children to school, which results in entire families becoming entrenched in an ongoing cycle of poverty.

In response to recognizing the greatness of these needs and the gap between resources to meet them, PHH created a relationship with these women. Through this relationship, Project Have Hope has tapped into the artistry and industriousness of these extraordinary women. The women make beautiful, colorful jewelry from paper - individual works of art, really. PHH has developed markets in the United States for the sale of the jewelry and the revenue is used to fund educational and economic programs. In this way, the women are actually using their skills and hard work to help pull themselves out of poverty.

PHH started buying beads from its members in 2006 and through this partnership, sales have increased significantly. Our product line has grown and expanded and now includes: various bracelets, earrings, necklaces, anklets, and cloth bags. These products are sold in U.S. markets, with the revenue returning to Uganda. In addition to a volunteer network that sells beads at craft fairs and private events, we also have a thriving online store.  In 2010, each of PHH’s 100 members earned about $75 per month. These women receive monthly payments so that they can depend on a steady income. The portion of the money not paid back to the craftswomen goes to the numerous PHH programs. Currently, this is the key funding component of the educational and vocational training programs offered by Project Have Hope, which have set numerous women on a path towards self-sufficiency and success.

The women of PHH have the skill and desire needed to pull themselves out of the perpetuating cycle of poverty that currently entrenches their families - they just need a little help. More information can be found online at: There are many ways to get involved including: hosting a bead party, volunteering, sponsoring a child and shopping in the online store. Your contribution will help feed a family, educate a child and empower a village. Support the women of Project Have Hope today!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Take advantage of the holiday sales!

Now's the time to look for holiday/winter flannel sheets to be marked WAY down. . . buy them and put them away for next Fall/Winter.
Last year I found these warm flannel sheets marked WAY, WAY down around mid January. Now, understand I HATE flannel sheets. . . they stick and spark and just are NO fun in my book. However, I thought they would make some adorabel pajama pants and after a little math to convince myself that the sheets (now discounted) would cost less that if I bought that many yards of flannel fabric I got them!

The twin set made 1 pr 3T, 1 pr size 6, 1 pr ladies size large and one men's pair of boxers. . . not bad for a clearanced set of warm sheets :)


Welcome to the Duck Soup DIY blog. . . after many attempts at working a daily craft blog I am hoping and praying I have finally found my medium. First you should know about Duck Soup
Duck Soup began as a crafters cooperative. An idea for many of us to work together to help promote our crafts. Most of us were just starting out, becoming new stay at home moms or just wanting a crafty hobby to enjoy outside of our full time jobs. We have had around a dozen crafters who have participated in craft shows and events with us over the past couple of years and we have had a wonderful time doing it.
Last year the core group decided that it was time to move forward. Many of our items were beginning to be carried in local boutiques and it was time to raise the bar. In November we were able to have our first official trunk show hosted by a dear friend, customer and supporter of Duck Soup. To April: we cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for us.
However, I am constantly asked. . . "how do you do that?" or "are children's clothing all you make?" . . . and I would love to share all of these things. Be prepared, I was never a journalism major (theatre and marketing actually) so my english may not always be proper and I might forget to hit the spell-check button from time to time. But I am resolving that I will post at minimum every-other for our new Duck Soup DIY blog to give tons of ideas on sewing tips, crafty ideas for the house, craft ideas for your kids, decorating ideas (probably just link those from pinterest :) ) and any other crafty messes I can get myself into.
I would also love to highlight guest writers so if you have ideas and would like to share, please feel free to contact me! I look forward to crafting, learning and growing with you throughout 2012. HAPPY NEW YEAR!