While trying to devise a way to hang our holiday cards one year, my husband helped me to craft a magnetic display.  Now that Riley is in preschool and bringing home lots of artwork, we made a few more strips to display his creative handiwork.
Two of the three magnetic strips we placed in our hallway. I removed the artwork from the second strip so you could see the craft paper.
With the lower two magnetic strips at Riley's level, he can easily view his get well cards and artwork from his friends.
Last week, my mom helped me to make the new strips in the photos above.  We made 3 for our hallway, 1 for Riley's room, and 1 for her to take home.  We decided not to dress up the magnets this time but I may go back later to finish decorating them.  These new magnets are from Target as Home Depot was out both times I went looking for them.  The Target magnets aren't nearly as strong so some of Riley's heavier and/or thicker work does not stay up, even with multiple magnets.  Hold out for the stronger ones - it's worth it!!


Magenetic strip I used for this project
* Galvanized Steel Hanger Strap 3/4" (found at Home Depot or Lowe's in the plumbing section)
* Measuring Tape
* Sharpie
* Metal cutter (we used tin snips)
* Craft Paper
* Paper Trimmer (OR rotary cutter & memory mat OR scissors & ruler)
* Mod Podge
* Paintbrush
* Round magnets 3/4"
* Clear flat marbles 3/4"
* E6000 (or your favorite super strong glue)
* Scissors
* Pencil
* Level
* 3M Command Poster strips

1) After you decide where you want to hang your art display, use your measuring tape & Sharpie to mark the length of the magnetic strip.  Use the metal cutter to snip the metal on your mark.  I also used the metal cutter to round off the edges so they weren't so sharp.

2) The next step is the most fun - select and trim your paper!  It could be a theme, a mix of leftovers, whatever you like!  The first strip I made had a winter theme for our holiday cards.  The new strips were leftover scraps that sort of went together and then I also made a couple of rainbow strips. 

Trim your paper down to 3/4" strips. Double check the first strip to make sure it covers your magnetic strip; you may have to adjust trimming the paper accordingly.  Since I was making a few magnetic strips, I just trimmed a bunch of paper at once so I could easily mix & match as needed.

3) Time for the Mod Podge - I think this was my mom's favorite step!  Use the paint brush to glue the paper strips to the magnetic strip.  When everything is in place, use the mod podge once again to paint a coat over the top of the paper.  You could also use a clear sealant but the Mod Podge was already out so I just used that instead.

4)  Magnets!  Hopefully by now you have decided if you'd like to decorate them or leave them plain.  If you leave them plain, move on to step 5 - you're nearly finished!

For the holiday card holder, I decorated the magnets with paper scraps & clear flat marbles. Cut out squares of paper slightly larger than the flat marbles.  Use a dab of the E6000 to glue the paper to the marble.  Trim off the paper around the marble with scissors or a razor blade and memory mat. Use the E6000 to glue the marble to the magnets.

5) Hanging the strips can be tricky...at least for me it was!  It took two of us to measure out the spot with the aid of a level, mark it with a pencil, then attempt to center all three strips one above the other!  I recommend using the pencil to mark on the wall where you'd like to place the bottom of the strip.  Follow the directions on the 3M Command poster strips to attach your magnetic artwork strip to the wall.  I used three of the poster strips - one at each end and one in the middle.

6) Hang up your children's artwork or perhaps your holiday/birthday cards.   Stand back and admire your new magnetic artwork display!! 
Christmas 2009
You can see in the photo above how I decorated the magnets as well as the magnetic strip for the artwork. I learned the hard way that hot glue is not the best option for really strong magnets - the glass marbles kept separating from the magnets! Which is why I now recommend E6000 - it has a lot more strength to hold things together.

~Be sure to share your photos of your magnetic artwork displays with me on my Facebook page or link to them in the comments below!
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!  We enjoyed a week long family vacation including visiting friends & family, a trip to the zoo, a bed & breakfast, and attending the Alamo Bowl (Go Beavs!).  We have spent this last week recovering from the one thing we didn't want to bring home from our trip...a nasty virus!  Althought I didn't get the bug, I was still home all week taking care of the boys.  So, I used my down time to make some no-sew fleece pet beds.
Sasha & Dione, trying out their new beds
I bought the dog bed pattern at Hancock's for $3, fleece on sale for $2-6/yd, and spent $10 on used blankets & pillows from the thrift store for the stuffing.  I still have fleece left over to make more beds (I bought a ton...it was on sale and I had a coupon!!!) so I may make a few more beds for donating or gifting. 
Onyx on the smallest bed
As you can see, there are three different sizes, and two different shapes.  For the first bed I made, I followed the dog bed pattern to make the largest bed with contrasting colors and made the orange circular bed.  Following the pattern left me wasting too much fabric and taking too much time to cut the fringe.  So after I completed the first bed, I decided to make it simple - a rectangle using the maximum amount of fabric from the 1 3/8 yards of fleece I had already bought for the pattern.  Essentially, I made a no-sew blanket then stuffed it to make a pet bed!  Easy peasy!  Bonus - they are completely machine washable!!

My modifications were this:
*Line up my two fabric choices & straghten up the edges with a rotary cutter and quilting ruler. 
*Trim off a 5x5 square on all the corners. 
*Use THIS amazing tool to quickly & easily cut 5" fringe, 2" apart with a rotary cutter.  (I am not kidding - if you want to make any fleece blankets/pillows - go buy this ruler!)  I must note that I used pins to hold the blanket together as it made lining up the ties a whole lot easier when I took the whole thing to the couch to work on in front of the TV.
*Leave open about 5-10 ties so you can stuff it with a blanket/stuffing. 
*Finish tying and voilia!  A cozy, no-sew, fleece pet bed!
Onyx decided that he needs to sleep in the biggest bed...of course!
~If you decide to make your furries a cozy, no-sew fleece bed, be sure to share your photos with me as I'd love to see how they turn out!
~Also, check out this tutorial on how to use your fleece scraps to make dog chew toys - fleece is great way to help clean their teeth!
After I saw this pin on Pinterest, I knew I had to do this craft with Riley!  Lucky for me, Hobby Lobby is always having great sales and the canvases were on sale in a pack of two...one for Riley and one for his friend, Noel.  
After you remove the tape, I recommend coating the painting with a clear spray to help protect your lovely artwork.  We used washable finger paints so a clear sealant was a really good idea to make the artwork last.
Now we have some great artwork to hang in the boys' rooms!
This is going to be a good year for Sleepy Little Dragon...why??  This is the Year of the Dragon!!  The year of the Water Dragon to be precise, two of my favorite things!

The Chinese New Year Day is on January 23rd and the year of the Black Water Dragon begins on February 4th, 2012.  Check out this page to learn more about the Chinese horoscope for this upcoming year.  Find out more about how to celebrate the Chinese New Year here.

Also, be sure to check out Appreciate a Dragon Day on January 16th!!  Check out some dragon books from your favorite library and read all about them.  Then you can do dragon-themed craft (see ideas below).

In honor of our namesake, here is a compilation of all things dragon.

Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus 
'Never tickle a sleeping dragon'.
~ Hogwarts' school motto, of the Harry Potter series  

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup. 
~ Dilbert by Scott Adams 

If you don't believe in dragons,
It is curiously true
That the dragons you disparage
Choose to not believe in you.
~ Jack Prelutsky 

No doubt but there is none other beeste comparable to the mightie dragon in awesome power and majestie, and few so worthie of the diligent studies of wise men.
~ Gildas Magus, Ars Draconis, 1465 

If you ignore the dragon, it will eat you. If you try to confront the dragon it will overpower you. If you ride the dragon, you will take advantage of its might and power.
~ A Chinese Proverb 

How to Train Your Dragon - Toothless & Hiccup
How to Train your Dragon - Toothless
Pete's Dragon - Elliot
Mulan - Mushu
Dragonheart - Draco
Harry Potter series
The Neverending Story - Falcor
Shrek - Dragon
Sleeping Beauty - Maleficent 
Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Eustace 
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville
The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind
A Song of Fire & Ice by George R.R. Martin
The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkein
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Puff, the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow & Lenny Lipton
DragonSpell by Donita K. Paul
Dragon's Milk by Susan Fletcher
Who wants a Dragon? by James Mayhew  
Saint George & and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
Jane and the Dragon by Martin Baynton
Flying Dragon
Nature shows on Dragons
The Dragon Chronicles on PBS
Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real on Animal Planet
Wow!  I can't believe how much sewing I have done in the last couple of weeks!  I think that perhaps it is trying to take the place of knitting....not sure yet, but it is definitely filling the gap I have right now in between knitting projects.  

Anyways, what have I been doing??  I decided I needed some Halloween linens and created my own table runner and placemats.  For the table runner, I took inspiration from this quilted design to get a layout for my fabric.  The placemat design is from this tutorial.  However, I just made guesses on the measurements, based on the length of my table and placemats I already own.

Until now, the only other thing I have quilted are coasters.  So I just made things up as I went along.  I used Excel to create a pattern so I could visualize how many inches of fabric I would need and where to place the fabric.  This helped me to get prepared so I didn't go crazy chopping away at my Halloween fabric!  There were a few "oops!" along the way but I was pleased with the outcome.   
As you can see, it is also reversible!  And here are the placemats...nothing fancy, but fun to look at!
I really enjoyed making Riley's trick or treat bag!  I learned how to make a double bag (a bag inside a bag) and was reminded about how much I enjoy doing embroidery.  I am already eager to begin another project involving embroidery!
Next, I have a craft project I have been wanting to do for quite awhile now:  Halloween countdown blocks!  I was ambitious and prepared two sets of countdown blocks so that I can also make a Christmas countdown set as well...those are yet to be finished.  If you like these cute blocks, you can find the tutorial here.
Finally, I have glowing Jack O'Lanterns that I made 2 years ago.  They are from the same crafty lady as the countdown blocks, over at the Not So Idle Hands.  I may decide to make a monster set to keep these guys company!
Do you have a favorite Halloween craft??