Saturday, August 25, 2012

Math Educator T-Shirt Design

Did you know that the Guinness World Record for 'most t-shirts worn at once' is 257 t-shirts! Wow! I think the most tees I've layered on is 3 and that was two too many.

You might remember this image from last week on my FB page. The project that I was working on is a t-shirt design!
I have the privilege to work with 29 educators who love math just like me! So, I thought it would be fun to have a t-shirt that represented the group. I started with asking all of them which color they thought would best represent them. I took all of those colors and put them on little squares.
You can see from the graph that over two-thirds of the math educators love cool colors. Almost one-third of them picked green!
Since I had 30 squares (including me) I decided to go with a 5 x 6 area model. I wanted 5 rows of squares with 6 squares in each row. I arranged and rearranged and rearranged about 30 times more than I thought I would, but it was worth it.
This arrangement was pretty close to the final design. Once I had discovered the pattern I loved it was time to draft it on the computer. I guess I could have just started with the computer but some things I just need to do hands on!

I think this shirt is awesome for a couple of reasons. 
1. It has an area model. This representation is very useful in helping children (and adults) learn about all kinds of math concepts.
2. There are multiple responses to the question, "What is the question?" Even a kindergarten student could come up with something. If you are a teacher, ask your students...see what they say!

All in all, I'm pumped to wear this shirt! I'm going to record every question that people come up with in my journal! This should not be a surprise to those of you that know me. You could help me get started on my list by commenting below...

Yay! Thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Smiley Face Puppet

Have you ever been told 'turn that frown upside down'? For some reason I always think of a smiley face when I hear that expression. This next puppet is my version of a smiley face puppet!

My lovable friend, Dana, is just beginning a new stage in her education career as a school counselor! I know that she is thrilled to begin her new position and I am confident that she will be wonderful. I've had the pleasure of working with Dana for the past few years and her passion for student learning just radiates off of her! I was not surprised when she told me she needed a "Smiley Face" puppet because Dana herself is always smiling! It's a perfect fit!

At Dana's elementary school, the faculty, staff and students participate in different activities to promote kindness. They wear smiley face t-shirts on Monday to promote kindness throughout the week and the school even has a "Wall of Kindness" where students are recognized for their kind actions. So, I can totally understand why Dana needs this puppet!

Let me tell you a little bit about my inspiration for the design:
When I sat down to draft a plan for this puppet, I started to think about all of my favorite "smiley" icons. The one that stuck in my head was my boyfriend Henry's 1971 vintage smiley face heart character piggy bank. I knew that the puppet wasn't going to be exactly like this, but my favorite part of the piggy bank is the pink heart that sort of puffs out from the chest.
Next, the school t-shirts have a smiley face similar to this picture so of course bright yellow fabric was a must! The trickiest part about my puppet design was making this 2-dimensional picture come to life as 3-dimensional puppet.

Lastly, I wanted to check out the history of this well known happy face! It's earliest appearance was in the late 40s/early 50s. In this picture, the smiley was used in a film called 'Lili' in 1953. I particularly like the *You'll love* heart.  I won't go on and on about it, but click here if you want to read the Wikipedia article. I'm always fascinated with the history of these types of things because smiley faces are everywhere but they had to start somewhere! : ) <------Smiley face! See, they are everywhere!

And without further ado, I present to you....
Kindness Kathy! 

I believe this is the name Dana has picked out! Love it! She doesn't know this, but Kindness Kathy already made a new flower friend. I can't seem to separate them so she is going home with Kathy. Positive energy attracts positive things!

Here is a close up of her heart. See how it puffs out! *LOVE*!
And just one final and appropriate thought to remember....

I hope you like her Dana! I'm sure you two (well, three) will have great year at your new school! : )

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Earthy Log Cabin Quilt

Log cabin quilts have intrigued me lately. I've learned you can do so much with this type of quilt block, but I kept it basic and used fabric choice and color to liven up the design. Here we go...

This baby/lap quilt is being made for my cousin, Nicole, who lives in Chicago, Illinois. She is a hardworking, loving mother to Nolan and Nina. Aren't they precious? When I mentioned to Nicole that I recently began making quilts, she told me, "Oh Beth, we are quilt people!" Nicole loves earthy colors and I feel blessed and challenged to make her family something they will enjoy visually and practically. I mean, she's got two babes...(actually 3, her husband Kevin is not pictured) this quilt needs to look good and serve a purpose! Love you guys so much! xoxo

I started by finding some earthy fabric. I have a personal connection with bright colors so I had to incorporate some pops of color into the quilt. Using the basic log cabin block, I made 8 different blocks using my own formula:  4 blocks with pattern fabric on the outside and 4 blocks with a solid fabric on the outside, 4 solid colors for the inside and each group of 4 has one of those colors on the inside. Then, I doubled the 8 original blocks for a total of 16 blocks. I knew that I wanted the quilt to be square, so I tried to pick a square number to work with.

These are what I started calling the 'solid blocks'.

 These are the 'pattern blocks'.
 So... 4 solid blocks, 4 pattern blocks---doubled!
(4 x 2)+(4 x 2)=16 or 2(4+4)=16 or 4+4+4+4=16
However you want to write that with numbers!
I did lots of arranging to meet my desired pattern. I love how it turned out.
These were the fabrics for the binding and the backing of the quilt.
I sewed the binding by hand. Serious concentration!
Action shots. Gotta protect that thumb with a homemade bandage.
Diagonal lines were used for quilting. I love how they turned out.
(insert Nolan and Nina) Perfect picnic!
Ta da!
Zilker Park Magic!
I hope you enjoy this quilt, Nikole! Made with love from Austin to Chicago*

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Last Week of Summer Break

This week has been full of inspiration! So of course, I have lots of 'irons in the fire' and quite a few things that I want to finish up before summer break is over. Oh wait, that's only one day! I better get on it!

A few months back, my friend shared an apron pattern she found on Pinterest and I would like to share the link with you! This site is called sew4home and it has several projects to browse. I’ve made some pillows, bags, and other odds and ends using tutorials on this site. Clear directions, clear pictures…very helpful.

So, here is an apron that I finally shipped out this week. Last year, I made a few aprons of this style for Christmas gifts and my Aunt requested one with specific colors that coordinated with her kitchen. I didn't have an extra person around to actually model the apron and someone just wasn't feeling like taking pictures!
Thanks for the help Annie Kitty! ;)
 Anyway, you get the idea!
Wooden buttons
 There is even a place for a dish towel!
Convenient Pockets
Trying out my decorative stitches...they add such sweet details sometimes! These were little flowers.
You could definitely wear this reversible, however, I didn't put pockets on the back. It looks cute either way though!

In other quilt-y type news, I’ve recently learned about AND joined the Austin Modern Quilt Guild! WOW! This is an amazing group of quilters and I am thrilled and inspired to be a member of this group. If you are interested, they meet every second Thursday of the month at this fabulous shop called Remnants:fiber[culture]. You have to 'Like' this local business on FB! The energetic and super friendly shop owner Jessica rocks! She’s got all kinds of modern quilting fabrics in her store and so much going on that I don’t even know about yet, but I know I will be back. She helped me pick out some fabrics for a baby quilt that I am finishing up.  
Seriously, I learned so much from her in the 20 minutes I was there and as a new quilter I appreciate all the help I can get. Check out her blog and definitely visit her store! I'm sure I'll be talking more about this place in future posts. Thank you for everything, Jessica!

In puppet's a tiny sneak peek at a new friend...
Let's just say that positivity and smiles are the center of this one's heart. Blog post coming soon!

Lastly...My Love is For You! Thank YOU for reading my thoughts and thank YOU H+TI for creating these beautiful songs!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Primary Pouches

I've created quite a few zippered pouches in the past, but now that I have learned about quilting I thought I would take the zippered pouches to a new level and try quilted zippered pouches.  In this post, you will see three different pouches using the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow). I designed the front of each pouch unique but still used the same fabrics. They all have the same backing fabric and lining as well. I plan on sewing up many more of these especially since school will be back in session soon. I'll need to make custom sizes for my iPad, computer accessories, plugs, pencils, journal, etc!
Each pouch has a different color zipper.

Pouch #1: Yellow Zipper
This one is quilted using straight vertical lines and yellow thread to match the zipper. I also made a matching card holders to go inside each pouch.

Pouch #2: Blue Zipper
I quilted this one using diagonal lines and blue thread to match the zipper. There is no wrist strap on this one because I envisioned it to be more like a pencil pouch or money bag.

Pouch #3: Red Zipper
Straight line quilting with matching read thread on this one.

And last but not least, let me introduce you to my new friend! I learned that my seam ripper always gets hidden for some reason. I decided to make him a little more obvious to find. Meet 'Mac the Ripper'!