window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-54570621-1'); Keeping it Real: January 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Valentine's Sewing Cards for Kids - free printable

Remember the Summer Sewing Cards I posted last year? My kids love sewing cards and it's a fun way for them to spend those lazy weekend afternoons, while developing some fine motor skills and concentration (and allowing mom to do some crafting of her own).

Valentine's Sewing Cards for Kids - free printable

Recently I reprinted the summer sewing cards for them and then I thought maybe I should make a winter set. But weeks passed and suddenly I had a brilliant idea: why not make some Valentine's sewing cards?

Well, here  they are, a brand new set of sewing cards, all Valentine's inspired:

velentine's sewing cards for kids free printablevelentine's sewing cards for kids free printable
velentine's sewing cards for kids free printable

velentine's sewing cards for kids free printablevelentine's sewing cards for kids free printable

If you want to use the cards, just download the file here, print the pages on lightweight cardboard (or print them on paper and then glue them on cardboard), punch holes where indicated and give them to your kids, along with matching thread and round point needles.

Have fun!

keeping it real, craft blog

Thursday, January 29, 2015

No clutter in 2015: week 4 update

This is the last week of the month and to be honest I expected to see more results, but unfortunately when I look at my house I still see a lot of clutter.

We sold two more books, but it is a slow process. I'm thinking donation my be a faster way to just get rid of them. I thew away two more bags of VHS tapes (I hope there is a way to recycle them!) but I still have more around that I plan to go though next weekend.

And I found a box full of floppy disks. Seriously? There must be over 200 floppys in there and I have no idea what they have stored. None of our laptops reads floppy disks anymore, but I'm afraid to just throw them out and them remember there was something important I should backup some other way (though if I didn't use the floppys in the last 7 out 8 years, probably I'm just freaking out for no reason...). Anyway, my father in law still has an old computer with a floppy drive and the next time we visit I'll take the box with me (and not bring it home again!).

Anyway, I have come to realize that truly decluttering the house is not going to happen overnight and that in the meantime we will have to change some of our habits. We all need to make an effort to put away things after we use them and I need to finish or just discard a lot of projects that I started and then never picked up again. And there are still a lot of closets to go through. Not to mention the garage.

It doesn't help that we decided to restart painting our house. Last year we painted the bedrooms, earlier this year we finished the bathrooms and now we are going to paint the hallways and the stairwell. Wish me luck....

I have decided nevertheless to keep writing these weekly posts even if there isn't a lot to report, as they will be a constant reminder of the goal I have committed to in 2015. If you've lasted this far, thank you for your support, I'm not sure this decluttering journey would have been possible without this blog.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday 28/January

An evening at the beach - part 1

Last Sunday we went to a birthday party for one of my son's classmates and afterwards took a walk down the breach. Not many people around, just a few strolling in the sand like us, a lone surfer (not that you had a lot of waves in the low tide) and a couple of fishermen.

Although it's fairly close to home, we'd never been here before. It's a strip of sand at the edge of the southern side of the Tagus, the exact point where the river meets the ocean. When you look north, you can see Lisbon on the other side.

I have yet to download the rest of the photos, so I'll post them next week...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Knitted Hats & Scarf...Doll Sized

My daughter is a very concerned "mother" to all her dolls. Whenever she receives a new one, the first thing she needs is to find a bed for the doll to sleep in.

Recently, because we've been having a very cold winter, she has been worried that her dolls don't have enough clothes and accessories to keep them warm. Since I've also been trying to get back into the habit of knitting, I searched my craft closet for some year leftovers and offered to make the dolls some winter hats.

The hats are very simple to make, just a piece of straight knitting, sewn at the sides and the top (pulling towards the center to create the pointed edge), and with a matching pom-pom on top. I made two because she has two similar sized dolls. Then, because I still had a bit of yarn left, I added a matching scarf.

And here are the happy dolls. Since the brunette was already the lucky owner of a fluffy scarf, the just got one hat:

The blond one got the other hat and the scarf (though if you ask me, she's bound to be still cold in those clothes, but I preferred not to remind my daughter of that because I was out of time to make anything else...).

It was a quick project but I think it turned out cute. Actually, my daughter loved the hats so much that she decided she wanted one for her too, in pink and purple, her favorite colors. I'm currently knitting it and I will probably post a small tutorial as soon as it is finished.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Flower Felt Notebook Cover

Today I bring you a very easy project: the flower felt notebook cover.

It comes together pretty quickly and it is the perfect handmade gift for girls. It was not something I had planned for this past weekend, but my son brought home an invitation for the birthday party of one of the girls in his class (turning seven) on Friday and I was not in the mood to go shopping. The party was on Sunday right after lunch and I managed to make the notebook cover on Saturday afternoon, in between several loads of laundry and some much needed vacuuming.

Inside there is a small notebook and a matching pen. The design of the notebook came from this pin I found on Pinterest. I just uploaded the image to PowerPoint, added the lines and printed it.

The flower and the pink circle are felt and the top brown polkadot circle is fabric, chosen to match one of the flowers in the notebook. They were cut using the Sizzix and they are simply glued on the cover.

This time I did not make a tutorial, but of you want to make something similar, just check the Themed Notebook Covers tutorial I posted a while ago. The principle is always the same: pick a notebook you like (whether it is store bought or made by you) and then make a matching cover for it. Like I said before, it is simple, it doesn't require any specific sewing skills (the two pieces of the cover are sewn together in the example above, but you can easily use fabric glue and get the same effect) and it makes a very cute homemade gift.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 "Grow your Blog Party"

Hi everyone! I'm a little late writing this post but I want to thank Vicky @ 2 Bags Full for hosting this amazing "Grow your Blog" party and give everyone of us a chance to increase exposure and reach new audiences. The purpose of this party is to meet new bloggers and find new friends and sources of inspiration. According to Vicky, there are over 400 blogs participating this year, so it is huge!!!

I still have a long list of blogs to check out, but I wanted to leave a word for all new visitors about me and my blog.

I have been blogging for a little over a year now. Actually, my first blog anniversary was last week, but I was down with the flu so I kind of missed it. I was planning a special post that ended up not being published, so I'm taking this opportunity to reflect on this past year and leave some hints of what I'm planning for the future.

For years I have been reading and following other people's blogs. Last year I decided I was ready to create my own blog, to share some of my crafty creations. It was not an easy decision. Although I love to craft, I'm also married, have two kids, and work full time out of the house, so time is scarce. I didn't want to start blogging and then discover I had no time to continue posting regularly or, even worse, just give up. I needed to make sure I was ready for that type of commitment.

Well, a year has passed and I'm a very happy blogger. I may not have the best blog in the world, I may not share the most interesting projects around, and it is not always easy to find the time to write coherent posts, but blogging has helped me to be more organised in my everyday life. I have completed more projects in this past year than ever before.

Although I write my blog exclusively in English, English is in fact my second language, so please excuse any spelling or grammar mistakes. I'm Portuguese and I live in Portugal but I love to read (another of my hobbies) and rarely wait for the Portuguese translation of any book that has been written in English, French or Spanish. English was my natural choice when I started blogging. I recently received a Liebster Award, so check out that post for more random facts about myself.

I have started to craft very early in life. My mother is an avid knitter, my grandmother loved to crochet, and they both passed on bits and pieces of their knowledge. I also love to cross stitch and I have been trying to learn to sew ever since my husband gave me a sewing machine a couple of years ago. As a general rule, I like to make stuff, so my blog is a mix of all those things.

I feel that I've evolved a lot this past year and I'm ready for new challenges. I'm thinking about updating the layout (have to learn more about html), I want to design my blog buttons and I'm planning to create and host a link party of my own.

Along this past months I have tried to create specific pages to organise my main posts into categories, so check them out if you want. The "about me" pages also contains links to my social media pages or you can reach me by e-mail: If you send me an e-mail or leave me a comment I will always try to get back to you, though (realistically) it may take me some time.

If you've survived this post, you may also want to check Vicky's post with the full list of bloggers participating in this event. Have fun!

In the meantime, thank you for stopping by and I hope you come back again and share my journey though the blogging (and crafting) world!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Valentine's Day Bookmarks - free printable

Valentine's Day Bookmarks - free printable

I know I'm cutting down on paper books (in case you haven't read my previous posts, I'm on a decluttering mission this year and converting a large part of my books to digital format), but I still can't resist a cute bookmark, and Valentine's Day bookmarks are just about the cutest of all. 

So I decided to make some to print and give to friends and co-workers that I know love to read (and maybe keep some for me in the process). 

Valentine's Day Bookmarks - free printable

While I was working with Powerpoint to make these, my daughter decided to join in and asked why there were no princess bookmarks (she's four, so she's still not reading, but she wants bookmarks anyway). So I let her choose some images and we came up with the girly versions:

Valentine's Day Bookmarks - free printable

And then of course my son wanted a boys version, with more manly colors:

Valentine's Day Bookmarks - free printable

In case you want to make your own, just download and print any of the files below on lightweight cardboard. Cut to size and laminate them to increase their duration. And you have a cute and ease Valentine's Day gift for book lovers!

General Valentine's Bookmarks: download here

Girl Valentine's Bookmarks: download here

Boy Valentine's Bookmarks: download here


keeping it real, craft blog


Thursday, January 22, 2015

No clutter in 2015: week 3 update

This past week I spent a lot of time going though my books (still). I now have a list of 137 books that are marked for sale/donation. Since I'm converting them to digital format, I would like to sell as much as I can, to compensate the cost of going digital. My husband is in charge of the sales but it is a slow process, especially since most of my books are in English and it is not very easy to sell them locally. 

On a brighter note, I went though my old VHS tapes and thew away two bags full of old movies and series recorded from the TV. We still have a VHS at the house, though it has stopped working a long time ago and will definitely have to go away as well. 

I also finished three reuse & upcycle projects: the tutorial on how to lengthen girls' skirts and two others I still did not have time to share here.

I still have more books to go through and next weekend I'm going to try to check a couple of closets and get rid of some more clutter. 

How about you? Are you decluttering as well? If you are, share your progress, we need all the motivation we can get!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Double ribbon hair clips

This is the ideal project to use ribbon, felt or fabric scraps. And since my daughter is prone to loosing hair clips on a daily basis, once in a while I need to make a new batch...

For the double ribbon hair clips, start with two long pieces of matching ribbon, one wider than the other and one shorter piece (double the numbers if you're making a pair of hair clips):

 Add a drop of glue on the edges of the wider pieces of ribbon...

 ...then place the other ribbon on top (the glue is optional and just helps keeps both pieces of ribbon in place when you fold them):

Fold both edges towards the back and add a small stitch at the center (or another drop of glue), to create a bow-like shape:

Then just add the center piece of ribbon, pulling it slightly to create the creases. Sew or glue it on the back.

The same technique can be used with felt & ribbon instead of two pieces of ribbon:

 Once the bows are secure, glue them onto plain hair clips, let the glue dry and they are ready to wear!


After making the pairs above I decided to make one using a large blue ribbon and pieces of folded fabric (again, scraps). It turned out OK, though in the pictures it looks more like a bow tie than a hair clip:  

And here is the whole set (though this was taken at night and it's not as clear as the other pictures):


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