Monday, May 28, 2012

shop girl apron

Our youngest daughter is home from college so, for our family, summer is officially here! My family and friends know how I love to have a summer theme. Why? I don't know. It is just fun and gives me something to plan for and share with everyone else. My friends and I get excited. My daughters become wide eyed and wary. But even they eventually succumb! This year is going to be an Arts and Crafts Summer! I will be sharing all kinds of simple fun projects as well as recipes and ideas. I hope you join us. It is going to be a lot of fun! What better way to start Arts and Craft summer than with this darling shop girl apron? I first saw this little gem when my friend, Kori Turner of Olive Grace Studio, made them for a fabulous bus trip she organized a few years ago. She had tied an apron around the back of each seat so the pockets faced the person behind and filled it with all kinds of trip goodies. Genius. It is incredibly simple and so functional. I wear mine all the time. It can be worn to craft in, to garden ( especially if you need to carry an epi-pen and cell phone), to stash away loose little treasures you find while cleaning up the house and, of course, to be shop girl! Wouldn't you be snazzy wearing this at your yard sale or when it is your turn to work the concession stand or community tag sale! Kori has kindly agreed to share with us how to make the shop girl apron so grab some fabric and let's get started-Arts and Crafts Summer has begun!
2 fabric fat quarters or 2 pieces of fabric approx. 22 in X 18 in
2 yards cotton twill trim or your choice of trim for apron ties
1. Fold twill trim in half and cut. You will have two 36 inch lengths for apron ties. On one end of each tie, fold raw edge under 1/4 inch then fold again another 1/4 inch. Stitch in place. Leave the other two end edges raw.

2. Place 2 fabrics right sides together. The 22 inch measurement will be the length and the 18 inch measurement will be the width of your apron.
3. Fold the top fabric back and down approx. 6 inches to expose the fabric underneath..
4.  Measure down 3 1/2 inches from top of the fabric underneath and place twill ties with raw edges meeting raw edges of the fabric. Pin in place. Sandwich the 2 ties in-between the 2 fabric pieces towards the middle so that they don't get caught in seam stitches.
5. Fold top fabric back up to meet raw edge of fabric underneath. Pin in place all around the apron.
6. Beginning in right lower corner, stitch a 1/2 seam around the apron until you are approx. 3 inches away from the point that you started. Stay stitch and remove from sewing machine. This will leave an opening to turn your fabric.
7. Clip corners and turn inside out through opening. Press.
8. Lay the apron face down and fold the bottom up to just meet the bottom edges of the 2 apron ties. Pin the sides of the apron and sew close to the edge. This will close off the opening you used to turn the fabric.
9. Measure down the middle of the large pocket you have just created and mark. Using the mark as a guide, sew down the middle of the pocket stay stitching at the beginning and end. This will create two roomy pockets.
10. You're done! Put on your new shop girl apron and enjoy! Gee, you're cute!
This pattern could easily be cut down to fit a child. It takes about 1/2 hour to make.
Here is another  shop girl apron idea using recycled jeans!
So darn cute! 
If you just don't want to make a shop girl apron but would like to have one, check out my Etsy Shop for aprons and apron kits.
Have a good week!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Polaris Project

In an earlier post this year, I mentioned my interest in the subject of human trafficking in the USA. I was aware that trafficking was an issue in other countries but was surprised that it had such a presence at a national and local level. I began researching the subject and discovered Polaris Project. Polaris Project is named after the North Star which guided slaves on the underground railroad to freedom. The organization provides excellent resource information at international, national and state levels. the video below gives an overview of the Polaris Project effort and how it came into existence.

Visit Polaris Project at
It was through information I read on Polaris Project that I learned that human trafficking was a current and growing nightmare right in my own state. My heart aches at the thought of  little girls, teenagers, or women being forced into any type of slavery. I wish I could save them all. I really do.  Where to even begin? It is such a huge problem with so many different organizations claiming to provide aid. I wanted to do more than write a check. I decided to focus my efforts domestically, in my own backyard. Cleveland, Ohio. I began calling local organizations that I found on the Polaris Project state resource list and became involved. I also began thinking of how I could use some of my talents to help.The biggest motivation for me to create Fe++ Butterfly Creations was to turn my crafts into cash so that I could help contribute some of my profits to help victims. Other than the fact that we are stronger than we think, there is also beauty and strength in hope and truth. The hope of rescue and healing in any circumstance and the truth that those things do exist for everyone without blame or judgement. I found there are other ways to help too. There are hot lines to man, communities to educate and many other volunteer opportunities. Below, view how you may be able to help by simply recognizing a problem and calling the hot line.

I am blessed to have a safe environment that I can enjoy "a flair for the domestic" and share fun projects, recipes, tips and a story or two with all of you. I would like to pay my good fortune forward and I encourage all of you to do the same. There are so many people who need help. Some need just a little, others need a lot. What ever cause you have a passion for, no act is too small. Whether it is joining a community-based  effort, a large organization, checking in on an elderly neighbor or ensuring a safe environment for your own family, there are many ways to help make a difference. This brings up an important subject. If you should choose to support an organization, how do you know that it is legitimate? If you donate money, how do you know how much of your contribution goes to actual program support and how much goes to payroll and fundraising? The answer is research and more research. One really good tool I have found  helpful is Charity Navigator.
 Go to to search organizations and see how they rank in the responsible use of donations.
So, while we enjoy a great summer of fun projects, vacations and get-togethers, let's lend a hand where we can! It matters to someone. Maybe someone you don't even know.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chocolate No-Bakes

When we lived in Oklahoma City, one of my favorite lunchtime haunts was a tiny cafe and bakery called Mclarens Pantry. It is owned and run by a couple of robust Scotts women who knew how to feed a crowd. One of the most popular items on their menu was chocolate no-bake cookies. Oh my gosh were they good. Because I have the self discipline of a marshmallow when it comes to tasty snacks, my little girls and I found ourselves in front of the bakery counter frequently at Mclarens. I blame myself for their current addiction. We eventually moved away from Oklahoma and I thought my love affair with chocolate no-bakes had surely come to an end. It was not to be. My daughter, Kristyn refused to be denied her all-time favorite treat so she found a recipe and made them. Bless her soul. There was much rejoicing. While the girls all still lived at home we had a plentiful supply. I never worried about over consumption for myself because the majority of them disappeared practically before I could blink. The girls are all grown up now and have left home. What hasn't left is my deep affection. For chocolate no-bakes cookies, that is. Seriously. It is a dilemma because to make an entire batch produces about 2 dozen cookies. I will eat them. Every last one. They are just as delicious at breakfast time as they are for a little midnight snack. They can really get you through an afternoon slump or fuel your creative juices. You can see where this could lead to unwanted excess fleshiness in time. So, rather than completely severing all contact, I have cut the recipe in half. This has worked out very well because they are so quick and easy to make that small batches here and there won't lead to button popping despair. You just have to give these a try. With summer at our doorstep, they are great for picnics and cook outs. Whip up a batch for the weekend! This recipe makes about 1 dozen so, if you need more, double it. Enjoy!
Click to play this Smilebox recipe
Create your own recipe - Powered by Smilebox
Another free printable recipe card by Smilebox

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Business Is Born

Fe++  Butterfly Creations
One of the most exciting things I've been up to for the last 3 months is creating my own little business! I have always imagined having a shop of my own where women can gather to create and inspire one another. I am so fortunate to have such talented friends who come over for mini retreats where we work on projects and share new ideas. We have so much fun and all leave so inspired. Of course, the addition of  good food and a medicinal drop of wine adds a great deal to the comradery. Perhaps we enjoy more than a mere drop of wine. Ok, it's not medicinal either. ANY HOW, I have been hesitant to take the next step to develop my love for creating and hostessing into something beyond my own home. Someday, I hope to have a "brick and mortar" shop but not quite yet. So, until that time comes, I am excited to say that I have taken the first step by finally opening a shop on Etsy! My shop is about eclectic whimsical creations that make me smile while I am creating them. They are fanciful fun creations that I have made for myself , my daughters or have given as gifts in the past. I love handmade. I love old fashioned. I love whimsy. I love good quality at an affordable price. I really love distressed, re purposed, and anything with a positive message. I have started with a few things in stock and will be adding more goodies as I go along. Come visit me at Etsy! You can click on my Etsy store badge in the upper left corner of this page to be directly transported to my shop.
You may be wondering what the heck is Fe++ Butterfly?
Here is the readers digest version of how I named my business:
Once upon a summer I decided that I would show my family just how adventuresome and physically sturdy I was by signing up for a one week backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. 
They were so supportive but I could tell that they were a little concerned that the physical challenge would be more than I bargained for. I don't know why. I mean, really. I ride my bike when the weather is pleasant. I mow the lawn WITH a self propelled push mower. I'm just saying it isn't a riding lawn mower. I have even embraced jogging on occasion as long as it is on a downward slope. My adventure turned out to be one of the best things I ever did. It was hard at times but I powered  up those hills with my 30 pound backpack with determination and a smile. I did it! 
Maybe, somewhere deep inside, even I was a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to keep up or make it to the end. Anyway, part of the AT culture is that you receive a trail name. You really aren't supposed to name yourself. Supposedly, the Trail names you according to an experience you have while hiking. Part of the fun is anticipating what your trail name will be. One day, we were up in a mountain meadow eating lunch. We always took this opportunity to take off our packs and boots and rest a bit. While I was resting, a butterfly came and landed right on my big toe and just hung out for a while. 
My travel companions became very excited and determined that the Trail had just given me my name. "Butterfly." One of the much younger and very athletic women added, " She should be the Iron Butterfly because she is stronger than she looks!" Good grief. Do I really look that fragile? 
In the last few years my trail name has come to have significant meaning for how I view myself and other women. We are all so much stronger than we give our selves credit for. If we find the courage and the right resources, we can do so much more than we allow ourselves to believe. When I was trying to think of a name for my business, "Iron Butterfly" kept creeping into my thoughts. That experience was 3 years ago but it just kept coming back. It fit what I want to convey in my creations and mission statement. When I was researching the domain name, I found that Iron Butterfly was already in use by a band of very free spirited band members from the past who were definitely flying. I mean really flying. High flying, if you know what I mean. That wasn't exactly the direction I was planning on traveling so I began thinking of alternatives.  
Iron means strength, right? How about the periodic table symbol for iron? I liked it. Hence, 
Fe++  Butterfly Creations! 
It's going to be a fun summer! Next week I'll tell you what my theme for THIS summer will be. Some of you already know and we have ourselves so excited that we're almost embarrassingly giddy. Last year was "Lake House Summer". You can read about it in one of my older posts if you would like. Have a great week!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

alis volat propiis

One of my traveling destinations earlier this year lead me to a weekend that had a huge impact on my life. I went there to learn how to art journal, paint, tool leather, meet new friends and eat promised gourmet goodies. I went to Brave Girl Camp in the beautiful mountains of Idaho. Yes, Idaho. I was expecting potato fields! Honestly, I mostly went to learn how to make the very cool leather cuff bracelets that were advertised as a mini class on the camp information page! Brave Girl Camp turned out to be so much more than art techniques and good food. I got so much more out of it than a leather bracelet. The art journal prompts were designed to encourage us to dig deep and examine the things in our lives that might be holding us back from realizing our full potential as artists. As women. As human beings. It occurred to me that we are really all artists in the sense that we are always designing, dreaming and creating our own journey. To me, the question is, are we impressionists or are our lives original works of our own imagination. After my weekend revelation I decided that I am much more interested in originality! And bravery.  Brave Girl Camp is part of an amazing on-line community of thousands of incredible women. 
                               It is called Brave Girls Club.
Brave Girls Club is the brain child of two sisters, Melody Ross and Kathy Wilkins. It is designed to encourage women and girls to move beyond fear, negative experiences and insecurity in order to find peace and confidence. Brave Girls is not a religion based community. It is a sisterhood of women supporting women. I met Melanie, Kathy and many of the staff members at camp and I can tell you that they are authentically some of the most compassionate dedicated women I have ever met. The results of my trip? Life-long friendships with some very talented loving women and a new attitude! Alis Volat Propiis!  
" She flies with her own wings." In other words, shed the expectations, roles, labels and definitions of self worth that others have clothed us in and discover the beauty of who we are and what we can accomplish in our own skin. To see just how far and high we can fly with our own wings! Exciting, right? Check out Brave Girls Club on-line by following this link. I love the Daily Truth e-mails available to  sign up for called "A Little Bird Told Me" These are great little reminders of just how valuable we each are. There are also daily truths and encouragement for girls called "A Little Butterfly Told Me".The website has even more to offer with on-line workshops, art projects and  even mother-daughter classes to list a few. Check it out because, seriously, who couldn't use a little nudge or some encouragement from time to time!
 Now, I am off to my craft studio to prepare for a fun announcement that I plan for tomorrow. Stay tuned!