25 August 2016

4 Kids Christmas Swap 2016

I am addicted to swaps, and now my kids are too!
They love it when mail comes in but get very sad when they find out that it's not for them (mommy gets most of the packages)
So how about we do a swap that is just for our kids or gandkids!

In order to participate in this swap you must have an OPEN IG account, I'm sorry no Private accounts, I realize some people don't want family/children's photos out there, and you can make an account just for swapping, but I also believe especially in this swap that you will want to see at least one photo of the child you will be sending too.  Thank you.

This will be an open swap this year,  YES, this is the second year doing this and last year was very successful and fun, but last year we did it as secret partners, but I really enjoyed getting to know the lady who was making for my kids since I assigned partners I knew who had me and she of course knew she had me and it was really nice and simple for her to ask me more questions about the kids.  SO technically this is for our kids it will still be a big surprise for them and that is what it is all about.

What we will be Swapping:
1.   You will make one medium SEWN item, ie. pillowcase, dolls, hoop art for the wall, purses, bags, on the go art bag, etc.
2.   Now lets include our kids and make something together, that doesn't cost money.  If your child wants to learn to sew maybe a mugrug with your scraps.  Or for example last year one of the participants had their grandkids make Christmas tree ornaments together, it looked like so much fun.
3.    Okay now we will spend money, $5-$10 , purchase a small gift item and have it nicely wrapped for the child, this is a Christmas swap, in fact try to wrap all the items, this item can be a few things adding up, say a small toy and candy.  I will leave the price set up to you guys to discuss I know last year I really wanted to buy my partners daughter something that cost $10 but since I set the cap at $5 I didn't want to look like I was trying to show off or something so instead I limited, so please discuss this with your partner.
4.     Send some information about where you live, a post card is good, or maybe a magazine clipping, so they can see where in the world their gift came from.
5.      For EACH child you sign up for you will also send a FQ (Fat Quarter, or same amount of scraps) for the sewing/swap addicted Mama/Grandma/Man.

Okay, got it, 3 gifts PER child, you sign up to swap with 2/3/4 children you will be partnered with someone who has 2/3/4 children and you will be sending 3 items to EACH child. You don't have to send a postcard to each child, but the gifts need to be separated AND labeled, but of course can be shipped in the same package.  The only time this is not the case is if you sign up for just swapping for 1 child and then you send 3 gifts to just that one child and one FQ for the mama.  For each child you sign up for you will be sending 1 FQ (or equal amount) of fabric to the mama, (hey I also like presents too!), sign up for 1 child/1 FQ, 2 children/2 FQ's, 3 children/3 FQ's, 4 children/4 FQ's.

How do I sign up?
Please send me an e-mail at grecomara at gmail dot com and in the subject line write how many children you want to swap with.  I have 2 children but this year I will only be doing this for one, my daughter really appreciates all things handmade, I can't say the same thing for my son he just like to play with bottlecaps, his military men and things he finds for free, lol.
I will send you a link for filling out a Google form, sign ups are open from August 25th to September 4th, I have extended the sign up till September 9th a Friday and will send out partners over the weekend.

Shipping Time 
Please have International gifts shipped by November 20th, for same country still try for an early shipping date, but I will put the shipping date at December 11th.

RULES:  Very important and I am a stickler to rules and will contact you via e-mail if I feel you are not participating correctly or following the rules, you will have 5 days to respond to me and if not you will be dropped from the swap.  I will also try you on IG, 5 people got dropped last year, but everyone got presents and it was a wonderful Christmas! Got it okay!
  1. You must make a post/mosaic about your childs/childrens desires and loves before signing up, I love using Pinterest, but you can also write a blog post or make a mosaic and let your partner know about these options via a picture or post to your OPEN IG account and use the hashtag #4kidschristmasswap2016  I have written a Flickr post on how I like to do my mosaics here.
    I did Katerina's this year with PicMonkey, it allowed me to do her favorite colors in each box, cool huh!
  2. Post a fabric pull or a pattern design/ free tutorial idea that you think would look wonderful for the child you are making FOR by September 25th.
  3. I want to see a progress shot by October 25th, this is important, if I don't see anything by this date, I will give you five days to contact me (I will be contacting you, trust me) and if you do not contact me with some kind of communication (really I am open with the communication, e-mail, IG DM, or just even a comment on one of my pictures to let me know where you are at in this swap) you will be dropped!!!
  4. SHIP DATE: International shipping date is November 20th.  Same Country ship date: December 11th.  We want these packages to arrive before Christmas, so if you can ship early please go ahead and do so and let me know (@mara.creates) know when you have shipped. Thank you.
  5. Please, Please if you can respond/heart/comment on at least 3/4 or 2/3 of the photos shared to the hashtag, input, praise, and friendship is greatly appreciated in this swap.  I will really love this to happen and if you feel you have an especially quite partner, please inform me and I will give a friendly nudge to them so they can participate in this fun for the kids swap!!!
Are you ready!
  1. You are making something beautiful for a kid!
  2. Please make sure that what you are sending to this child is of a quality that you would like your child to receive. 
  3. Trim away all threads, ensure that all thread ends are tied off, sunk in. (a real pet peeve of mine, come on, how easy is this)
  4.  That all seams are finished and stitched in properly. (kids are really hard on their stuff, and this is very important, they can't be constantly warned to be careful)
  5. Have FUN!  And include your own children as you see fit!
Send me an e-mail at grecomara at gmail dot com
Also be sure to follow me on IG @mara.creates

12 August 2016

My Summer Sewing

All about the SEA...
One of my utmost favorite themes, is the Sea, I just Love, love all Sea related things.
I made the kids matching Tooth Fairy Boat's, this is a free pattern offered by the Fat Quarter Shop (it is even available as a YouTube video if you are a visual learner), but instead of pillows I made mine bed post hangy things (is there a name for that?) Because I personally know the Tooth Fairy and she has a difficult time getting to the pillows, or under pillows and she thought it was a great idea to hang the "tooth" off of the bed post.  I personally think she is brilliant :)
Flat Tooth Fairy Pillows for the bed post.
 I put the tooth in the small sail and the Tooth fairy puts the money in the big sail.  Katerina recently lost her tooth at the beach, when we were on our trip in Sarti, and really I mean it came out at the beach.  Sadly the fairy couldn't find us at the Hotel (in reality Katerina was on the pillow and I couldn't get the darn tooth out from underneath it)

A picture at the hotel we were staying at.
She has a way of loosing her teeth in the most interesting places and always on trips, she has lost a tooth at the Praktiker (like Home Depot) in Larissa and a tooth at IKEA (I don't need to explain that shop, right?) in Ioannina.

Just yesterday, I finished up some matching Nautical Treasure Bags, from the book "A Spoonful of Sugar", by Lisa Cox , this fabric is Daysail by Bonnie and Camille for Moda. 

I always like the kids to clean up their room before bed, so these will also conveniently hang from thier bed post in case they need a place to stash some toys before bed.
I thought it would be fun to add charms to the tags and my good friend Betti had just sent me the most perfect Sea themed ribbon to use as the ties, which was a life saver since I couldn't find the cording suggested in the book.
I kind of fucked one up, you see how you trace around the boats with black thread, well I accidentally had the backing fabric along with the front while I was doing this "sewing illustration" and it really perforated the fabric after I used a seam ripper to remove the black stitching, so I had to make another boat and decided to play with it and make it facing the opposite way.
Also from the book is this SEA Doorstop, it's the first project in the book and the first project I did at the beginning of the Summer.
 Can you see how the S and A stand up a little better than the seahorse, it's because I used a piece of cardboard behind them and since this doorstop has a zippered bottom I can take them out if needed or if they get wet, but it helps keep the doorstop a little more formed in my opinion. Next time I make one of these I will use a thicker interfacing than suggested, or double it.

I have been hoarding this fabric for a while, LOVE IT!  It is Seascapes by Deb Strain for Moda, this is from the panel, isn't it fantastic!  And perfect for my Sea themed/rainbow themed hobby room, I have a verandah door down there that doesn't stay open with out some kind of prop, so I use this now.
Using fabric from the same line, I made these cute Starfish Pincushions.
Aren't these the cutest things EVER, this is a FREE Pattern that I have had printed out for a while just waiting for the right time to make it.
If you can see from the back, I do the pattern a little differently
 I do make the Stars a little differently, I'm lazy,
I do 2 full legs and 1 half leg, for each side for the top, when I get those sewn together I trace them out on the backing fabric, and then sew both halves together, for the back I leave a 2.5" gap, so I can later turn the Starfish inside out, instead of what the directions call for leaving a gap along the leg, it makes it harder to keep the shape and if you are using the pompom trim harder to make it look pretty.
I first started with these 3, to see which color way my #underthesea swap partner liked and she liked the blue one, well so did I :)  So I made 2 more, for a total of 3 that you see in the pictures above, the one I sent here says "Ocean" since she lives along an Ocean, I kept the Sea one since I live along the Sea :)
I gave my swap partner these options

I sent the Mendocino one along to a girlfriend of mine who admired it along with a beach themed banner that she liked from one of my swaps last year.

The back
Since my partner liked the blue colors of the Seascape fabric I could continue the larger project I was making her. You see she is an underwater photographer and her feed has some really beautiful pictures, but I was taken with the one that she did of a Jellyfish, just gorgeous and was so excited that I got to be her partner.
I debated with myself in keeping the embroidery all white and now I wish I had, but oh well.
 Using different colors of white to off-white, cream, and grey I embroidered a Jellyfish onto some Batik fabric that I have had in my stash since I began to sew, I love Batik fabrics for water, what do you think?
Interior Patchwork Panel
Using 2 blocks for the Seascapes Panel and a few strips from the same fabric line along with 2 batiks and 1 fabric from Alison Glass I constructed the interior of the Sewing Portfolio.
Sewing Portfolio
 The Sewing Portfolio is also a pattern available from the book "A Spoonful of Sugar" , the instructions show you how to make the hourglass block that you see that I did for the back of the portfolio.
I guess I had a thing for Starfish while I was making her gift :) also sent along a Handmade fridge magnet.
I really hope she likes it, crazy enough it had a shipping incident luckily enough it made it back to me with out incident and I was able to re-mail it, this time sending it with tracking which doubled the cost of shipping, but I really can't complain cause my shipping from Greece is still so much cheaper than what my American and Australian friends have to pay each time they mail Internationally.
Sorry for such a long post, it's just I haven't written anything in ages, enjoy the rest of your summer, the kids here don't start school till September 15th, can't wait.