December 7, 2009

Favorite Children’s books

I just finished the illustration above of a father and his children camping and reading.

While creating this illustration I started thinking about different children’s book and what I liked as a child and what I like now as an adult. I have hundreds of favorite children’s books. There are so many wonderful books published that in my opinion it is impossible to select just a few to label as favorite. That was different when I was a small child. I had books I loved: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban and Apple Pigs by Ruth Orbach, for example. But two books stick out in my memory as being my favorite: The Very Little Girl by Phyllis Krasilovsky, and Shoes for Angela by Ellen Bartow Snavely. The reason I like the book The Very Little Girl so much was because the story has a lot of word repetition in it and I loved the way my mother’s voice sounded when she read it out loud to me. In the book Shoes for Angela the main little girl gets to own lots and lots of shoes and honestly I thought that was a lovely idea. I had such a good time looking at all of the illustrations of shoes. What were your favorite books as a child? Why did you like them so much?

December 1, 2009

Reusable Produce Bags

I think it is wonderful that it is so easy to obtain reusable grocery bags; but I realized that I was still using plastic bags to gather my produce. So I decided to make my own reusable produce bags! I wanted to pick a fabric that is see-through so the casher can see what I am purchasing. I went to my local Goodwill store to see what they had. There is a wonderful Goodwill store that just opened up in South Attleboro, MA. I wasn’t sure what I would find to use, but I found the perfect fabric, shear window curtains! I could make six bags out of each curtain. I also found a few shirts that made great bags too, but I liked the curtains the best because I could make so many out of them and it was more cost effective. I ended up making 30 bags total so I could give some to family and friends. Along with the picture of the final bags you will see instructions that I drew up on how to make a bag. It is very easy!

1. Estimate where you think the middle of the curtain is and cut the curtain in half.

2. Then take each half and make two cuts across to create three rectangles.

3. The other cool thing about using curtain fabric is that the top of the curtain is already folded over to create an area to put the curtain rod through, or in our case a drawstring. So you only have to create this folded over area on 4 of the bags instead of all six. Decide which end you would like to be the top of your bag, then fold down the top about an inch or ½ inch. (depending on how wide your ribbon is). Pin the edge down. With a sewing machine sew along the line that you pinned. Now you have an area to push your drawstring through.

4. Now you want to fold your bag in half (inside out) and pin the bottom and side. When pinning make sure you don’t close up the ends of the area you just sewed for your drawstring. Sew the bottom and sides. I sewed a double seam on the bottom to make the bag stronger. To do this, just sew one seam and then a couple centimeters above the seam sew another one.

5. You are ready to put the drawstring in. Turn your bag right side out. Take a safety pin and pin it to the end of your ribbon. Push the safety pin with the ribbon attached along the drawstring area that you sewed in step 3. For my ribbon I just found left over ribbons that were hanging around the house.

6. When you have pulled it all the way through tie the two ends together with a double knot or a double knotted bow.

7. Congratulations! You now have a reusable produce bag!