Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hexagon Table Topper

Growing up, my Grandmother (AKA Grandma Chin, my Dad's mother) has eaten her meals at the same kitchen table for as long as I can remember. It's a square table with an area of about 16 square feet. 
This is Grandma Chin sitting at her table counting the silver after Thanksgiving one year. It's a classic photo of her! I need to get it framed!

Back to the point...she usually prefers some sort of centerpiece as opposed to place mats. For Christmas this year I thought it would be appropriate to sew a hexagon table topper out of her favorite colors. Of course, since she's a coffee drinker, this centerpiece is complete with a matching mug rug.
 Back (or front I guess!)
I tried to quilt some flowers all over it because the fabric had them. They're wonky but yet cool at the same time!
I looked away for one minute...
And now I have a turtle kitty!
 Mug Rug Front
 Mug Rug Back

Those last two photos were so you could get the full effect! ; )

And so, here are the tutorials that inspired my creations today...One from My Cotton Creations and one from Oh, Fransson

I won't be able to physically see my Grandma open her gift this year, but I know she'll love it. 
Happy Holidays, Y'all! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scrappy Christmas Tree Skirt

Holiday season is here once again!
The Christmas tree entered the house with only a few swear words to add the the word wall! I say it was a successful delivery!

Once I had this Noble Pine in our living room, I realized that it needed a tree skirt. So, using all of the purple, green, blue and yellow fabric scraps I collected over this past year I began sorting and sewing!
This large board was perfect for designing each section of the circular skirt.
What do I say about this?
It's definitely not traditional...but, hey, I was working with what I had! I dug this project because it allowed me to use up lots of leftover fabric. A refreshing way to wrap up the year.

Now, I've never been one for decorating, but I have this empty tree, it's the Christmas season, and I needed ornaments...
So last week, I made the lined drawstring bags for my Mothers and several little triangular pieces were about to go in the garbage...until I got the Christmas tree. All it takes is a little holiday cheer and BAM...snowball ornaments! 

Then I added ribbon, candy canes and anything else that worked from the Christmas box...and the tree just magically started to get a little character! Hopefully by Christmas I'll find enough ways to decorate all of the bare spots! :)

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Gifts That Keep On Giving

Recently, I have been spending most of my time planning to move, moving out, moving in, buying new appliances, organizing my bills with my new address and all of those little things that add up to be a lot of things...but it's all worth it because...

I have a sewing room that is 10 feet by 12 feet! 

So, as I entered this new sewing room...I just wanted to learn how to make a few new things. Learning takes my mind off of everything. It's a stress relief. Luckily, there are several awesome tutorials by some talented bloggers. Little do they know, (or maybe they do) that they give a gift that keeps on giving.

As you may know, my Mothers mean the world to me. My Mother is my right hand lady, my Grandma Marge and Grandma Chin are my other two Mothers. I wanted to send them something just because I know they will appreciate it, enjoy it and be proud of me. I think that is the reason I love to sew. Just for those three ladies. 

Jeni at In Color Order has a Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial that rocks! I peruse her blog from time to time and I love all of her work. So, naturally I went there and found inspiration to make my Mothers these bags!

Grandma Marge
 Grandma Chin
I was searching for a creative way to send these items, so I found this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess by Elsie and Emma. I love their site! So much inspiration!
Here are the items I wanted to send...
I took a paper bag, folded it up with sharp creases, and sewed the sides with a couple different decorative stitches.

I love tutorials and the beautiful people that put them out there for learners like me. Someone shares their talent with the world by writing a post, I read their blog, get inspired, make a gift, send it to my family, they smile, share with their friends and pass on the love. Tutorials are the gifts that keep on giving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Recently, I bought a house! So, as you may gather, it has been hard to sew this past month. Somewhere between closing on a house, working on making math come alive and moving into the new house, sewing has been put on the back burner. Well, the back burner of my mind! I'm mentally sewing all sort of goodies for this house! However, since I haven't been able to physically sew, I thought I would share some pictures....
Front View
Cat Ledge! Annie has a perfect spot to look out! I'm thinking it's a cozy place to put a long quilted pillow so she can lounge and watch birds. Actually, a bird feeder would be a nice addition to that window!
Not quite sure what to do with all of these windows! I love the open living area. I can't wait to sew up some pillows for the couch, place mats for the table, art for the wall...
The house has new carpet, so the stairs have film to protect while we are moving in. Annie's going to love running up and down these stairs as soon as she gets used to the house. 
Here is a photo of her right before she took her first step down! I took some priceless video of this moment! 
Master Bedroom!
Kitchen! I'm making Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday!
Looking out at those oak trees...
Math photo! Can you figure out the area of the kitchen floor?
Front bedroom AKA sewing room! There is a ton of natural light in the room. This sewing room has inspired me to think about all of possibilities for organizing. I can't wait to get my room set up...high on the priority list.
Here's a before photo....Stay tuned for the after...
I feel so blessed and thankful this week for a new place to call home! Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Multiplication Mug Rugs

I'm scrap, scrap, scrappin' it up over here this week!

If you remember, the last two math quilts I made were about multiplication concepts. Needless to say, I had lots of little square inches left over.

Since basic multiplication facts are always at the focus of attention in elementary school, I decided to use those scraps and make some multiplication mug rugs! A 'mug rug' is a bigger than a coaster and smaller than a place mat, so it makes the perfect size 'rug' to have at your desk or table. I use them all of the time for my drink and a snack. Everyone needs one or three.

These mug rugs are extra special because they also show how the distributive property works with basic facts. There are certain facts that are harder than others. When you talk to a student, they might say, "oh yeah, the fives are easy, so are the tens, twos are doubles." It is facts like 8 x 6, 8 x 7, 7 x 6, 7 x 7, 8 x 8, 8 x 9 etc. that are the hardest ones. WHY? Well, because generally we combine other facts and patterns to help solve these. Yes, my friends, there is so much to learn beyond memorizing them. If your teacher only told you to memorize them and not conceptually understand them...I am so sorry! Don't worry, you can still learn them in a different way! Here's an example:

Fact: 6 x 9 = 54
The front of the mug rug is an area model showing 6 rows of 9 inches in each row.
If you didn't know 6 x 9, you could break up the area model and use a fact you do know to help.
Do you know your 5s? Look at the colors on this mug rug.
Green: 6 rows of 5 (6 x 5 = 30) Orange: 6 rows of 4 (6 x 4 = 24) So, 30 + 24 = 54.

(The bottom photo is the backside...another enjoyable place to put your mug!)

Fact: 6 x 9 = 54

Can you figure out how I broke this fact up differently? I split up the rows instead of the columns this time. Try to write the number sentences!

Okay, check yourself:
(4 x 9) + (2 x 9)
   36 + 18 = 54
Fact: 6 x 9 = 54

Similar to the first rug mug, yet different. Why is that?

Also, this one has a really scrappy backside! I tried to use every leftover piece!

Fact: 6 x 10 = 60

I started running out of square inches, so I partitioned this one into 4 different parts. Can you figure them out?

This mug rug is for Annie Kitty's food and water bowl. She needed a little extra room so I added a column. How many square inches did the rug increase?

Fact: 6 x 9 = 54

Yet another way to partition this fact! How many more ways can you do this same fact?

If you know a student who has trouble memorizing their facts...Get some grid paper and have them draw an area model for the one they are having trouble on! Tell them to split it in as many ways as they can do it.

One thing I know for sure, they will be doing more math this way than they would have done with flashcard drills.

All in all, my main point is that there are lots of different ways to use smaller facts to help you solve larger problems. Find what works for you! Over time, you will begin to automatize your facts and become fluent. The best part of truly understanding facts in this way is that pretty soon you will begin to multiply 2 x 2 digit numbers mentally!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Square Bottom Bag

I sure love a good bag. Without actually trying to be a bag lady, sometimes I settle into the role quite comfortably. Does anyone else feel my pain? ; )
This last weekend I attended the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conference in Dallas. Although the conference wasn't even three full days, I packed all of my belongings in 4 different bags: One suitcase, one computer case, one ATPE bag and my new square bottom bag!
I truly tested this bag out the past two weeks and guess what? It passed the durability test! One night I even stuffed it full with 10 books, a purse, shoes and my iPad. The best part of this bag is the sturdiness of the handles...I love quilting parallel lines!
My label completes the look. These bags are also helping me practice my free motion quilting, too!
Here is a red square bottom bag that will soon belong to my awesome math friend, Dana. I'm confident she's going to love it! Do you need one for your bag collection? Let me know your favorite color and I'll stitch one up for you!