Hi, my name is Carmen. Welcome to Beyond The Fringe!

I am a mother of 4 boys and grandmother of 7 adorable grandkids with a passion to create! I love sewing, crocheting, paper crafts, drawing/doodling and more. I also like to create digital stamps and sometimes offer vintage graphics, many for free.

Check out my Etsy Shops!

Please see my Digital Stamps page for terms of use on freebies and some helpful information on digital stamps. My Freebies page has a list of the freebies on this blog.

Jul 24, 2015

Sew There's This Baby Coming...

Another four months or so and there will be another member added to our family. These are exciting times and it's a good excuse to make more things. Right? Lol...Well I think so anyway

A couple of weeks ago my son and daughter in law came to stay with us a couple of nights so she and I worked on some baby projects. First we had to go to the fabric store and buy some flannelette for a baby blanket. 

You know, I have a lot of craft stuff and sometimes I feel a smidgen of guilt over that (sound familiar?). It sure comes in handy though! We grabbed my cutter and quilt mat and cut the flannelette into squares. 

About 160 of them! 

She was going to cut them all out by hand....by HAND! Can you imagine? So, you know, I'm so glad I have these tools especially since I still use them for cutting up sewing projects. 

After that we went into my closet and pulled out a bunch of wool felt that I have. Again -- so glad I have craft supplies because you can't get wool felt locally. She looked online and found some cute pictures, and we turned them into little woodland animals. 

Wanna seeee? 

Aren't they adorable?

She took them home and sewed them all by hand. Wait until you see what she made with them. In case you're wondering, the top right is a medley of leaves, and the bottom right is an acorn.

I used freezer paper and carbon paper....remember that stuff? It worked great for this project. I just traced the pictures onto the back of the freezer paper, then I cut them out about a quarter inch outside the lines, and then she ironed them waxy side down onto the felt. This makes it easy to cut and won't stretch the felt while cutting it. Each pattern piece really only sticks once on the felt.

She also picked up a wreath and tied some fishing line onto it. Can you see the fishing line in the middle of the wreath? Are you wondering what it is yet?

Then she picked up some of these. Confused?

Okay, I'll stop teasing you now! She is going with a Woodlands Animal theme for her nursery. So this mobile will fit in perfectly. She tied the animals on to face a bit downward so that the baby can see them.

I think it's adorable! 

Now onto the blanket --

We had some cutting to do, about 1 1/2 hours worth. We're very exact! That's the top 4 colors, and for the back we cut some striped fabric. Then she took it home and put it all together. Lots of sewing and cutting.

Here's the front of the blanket. Looks great doesn't it? 

And a photo with the backside showing -- see the stripes. She did an amazing job! I love it.

As an aside, we also made up a new removable cover for a nursing pillow her friend gave her. We did find a free pattern online but ended up having to alter it quite a bit, and it's still kind of tight. We'll probably make another cover or two for it. 

I felt like we accomplished a lot over the weekend.

And if you're wondering where I've been the last while, I went for holidays to Victoria. Always a great time!

Since then I've been studying...I have a bible study to put together for the middle of September and it's finally just coming together. It's lots of work and there's much more to do, but it's so worth it!

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!!


Jul 10, 2015

Tall Sew Together Bag and a Tip!

The other day my grandson was over and happened to see the Sew Together Bags I have in my sewing room. I made his mother one last Christmas that she uses as a medical bag. He really liked that one and so he asked if I would make one for him, only bigger and made out of transformer material.

We live in Kamloops, B.C., so I didn't know if I would be able to find that type of fabric. We are a small city with a population of about 80,000 but sometimes it's still hard to find exactly what you want.

I used Tonka Truck fabric for the inside and Spiderman fabric for the sides. Quite appropriate for a 6 yr. old, don't you think?

Here we have the zippered pockets in blue, yellow and red.

I love the red accent on this bag; here's the side piece completed.

Lucked out! Transformer fabric!!

The completed bag.
 It looks different than the other bags because it's 2 inches taller, but it's still  the same width as the original bag. All my measurements worked out just fine. I surprised myself! The other side has a couple of the transformers pictured.

Here's an idea of how much taller Kai's bag is. See the zippers in the orange bag on the right? Match them with the zippers in Kai's bag and you'll see how much taller it actually is. 

Kai's bag isn't completed in this photo, so it's even taller than it looks here. Sure is roomy too. The pockets are about 5 1/4" deep instead of 3 1/4". I'm happy with the way it turned out and so was Kai.


Here's a little sewing tip! Well, it's actually a threading tip. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be so I have quite a time threading my machine needle. The other day I figured out a very easy, no cost tip that makes it so much easier. I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it sooner! If you're like me, you may appreciate this little tip.

Notice all the shiny silver? Pretty, but I can hardly see the hole in the needle, even with my glasses on. Okay the truth is I can barely even see the needle with all this shiny silver stuff going on.

Here's my fix. I ripped off a piece of used white card stock I had sitting around and put it behind the needle. It takes away the sheen of the silver and allows me to see the hole in the needle. Yay.

I threaded this sucker first time I tried. :) I can't believe how much easier it was. 

So, nothing too exciting here, but it sure does make threading and re-threading my needle easier, quicker and definitely less frustrating. A win, win, win situation!

My DIL came over last weekend and we prepared some things for her next few projects. I helped her with some of the prep work, so I'll be showing some of that on my blog in the near future. They'll be baby themed! 

Have a good weekend!


Jun 30, 2015

Rain, Hail, Mud and Rainbows!

I know that talking about the weather is technically considered a boring subject, but honestly, the weather has been crazy around here the last couple of days!

We just came through the second heatwave of the year (over 40-42C -- that's 104-107F y'all), then yesterday the thunder and lightning was so loud that it actually threw one of the breakers in my house! Suddenly I had no internet, phone or cable! Right now I'm listening to an intense hailstorm while the news is reporting flooding and mudslides in the area. 

Not to make light of a bad situation (200 evacuated from their homes), but I decided I needed a little color in my life while the storms were raging about me. So I made a rainbow tutu for my granddaughter. This was such an easy little project. There's no sewing required. All I used was tulle, ribbon, a cutting mat and a pair of scissors. Soooo easy!!

I had no idea how much tulle I would need, so it was hit and miss. I will go through my process with you, in case you'd like to make your own. First some pictures:

Six metres of tulle, one metre each color and some white satin ribbon.

To be honest I'm not terribly happy with the white satin ribbon, but I only had so much to choose from and the white seemed like a choice I couldn't go wrong with. Should have gone with the red! 

Oh well, I hope my 4 yr old granddaughter will like it anyway. 

So here's what I did: 

I measured her waist: 20 1/2" and from her waist to her knees: 14"

Ribbon Length: waist measurement, plus 18" X 2. 
(So for me that was  18" + 20 1/2" + 18" = 56 1/2")

Place a knot 18" into the ribbon...then measure out the waist measurement (for me 20 1/2") and place another knot there. There should be 18" of ribbon left on the other side. You will be adding the tulle in between the two knots.

Each piece of tulle will be 3" wide and TWICE the measurement of the waist to the knee. 
(For me that was 14" X 2, or 28")

If you're using the tulle that comes as a ribbon (6" wide), you'll have to cut each piece in the length you need (for me that was 28") and then fold them in half a few times so that it's easy to cut each piece 3" wide. 

If you are using tulle per metre, you'll have to measure and cut out the length and then fold it in half a few times to make it easy to cut it into 3" chunks. Each piece of tulle should be 3" X the length.

I used 3 pieces on top of each other for each color wrap I attached. I had 40 wraps (each 3 strips) for my 20 1/2" waist. 

I completely used up a metre of each color of tulle (6 colors). In fact, I squeaked by with a few 26" pieces because I came up a bit short. I have nothing but a few scraps left and I'm not even sure it'll make a tutu for her seahorse...I don't think so. 

Anyway, here's how it goes together. You place 3 strips of the pre-cut tulle together, fold them over in half and make a loop (so now you have 6 strips altogether). Slip this loop under your ribbon and then pull the tails up through the loop so that it attaches to the ribbon. Pull the strips taut. That's it! Just keep doing that and you will soon have a tutu. 

The extra 18" on each end of the ribbon is to tie it all together into a bow.

It was really quite an easy project. However, if you need something to look at, here's the video I used to make mine, by Just Add A Bow.

I hope you're all having much more reliable weather than we are.

In any case, I have a beautiful rainbow to look at.

Have a good week, :)

Jun 14, 2015

Just In Time for Father's Day, Free Digital Stamps

Hi there,

Well, it seems Father's Day is just around the corner, so if you haven't made up your cards yet, here is a compilation of a few of my free masculine digi stamps.  

It's short and sweet today! 


Steampunk Snowman, Etsy

Hi there,

Just popping in to give you a peek of the next image I will be offering for sale in my Etsy shop soon. (see sidebar)

This little steampunk snowman was inspired by a clay figure I saw a while back. I love steampunk images -- I don't know why because I'm really a pretty traditional type of girl...I just like the look of them I guess. 

So if you're into steampunk maybe this image will fit the bill for Christmas.

The downloaded image will be darker than shown here.

Hope your kids all had fun collecting candy last night! I went over to my DIL's place for dinner while she handed out candy. She got so excited every time someone came to the door. She was more entertaining than the kids costumes were. 

Most original costume? A dill pickle. Lol....


Jun 9, 2015

Freezie Holders for Little Fingers!

Somebody throw a bucket of water on me! Please!! 

Well, maybe I'll just take a cold shower.

Seriously though, it is 83 - 85F in here the last few days. I have two portable AC units running all day, the blinds are all closed and it's still hot in here. Cooking is not happening this week. We are in the middle of a heat wave and without central air, we have to deal with the heat. 

So what do I do? I crochet, of course. Too hot to do anything else! Lol --

My DIL in Ft. McMurray sent me a photo of some adorable freezie pop holders/covers/cozies - whatever you'd like to call them. They're made to keep little fingers from freezing while sucking back a freezie. So I looked at a few and then went about making my own. Well, they're for the grandkids, of course.

So far I've made a minion, minnie mouse, an owl, a zombie and a frankenstein. I only had little freezies to put in them today, but these are open ended so that you can slide the bigger ones up as you eat them.

And yes, I'm sucking back a freezie as I type! 

The older kids like the zombie but they haven't seen Frankenstein yet. I'm working on a Mickey Mouse and a Ninja Turtle. I also plan on making a few others. These are fun and they work up in an hour or so. Great while watching TV or listening to music. Plus they'll keep those little fingers from freezing up in this heat! Freezing up in this heat? Us humans are a conundrum, aren't we?

Gotta say I'm looking forward to this -- especially the heat part right now:
"They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat -"
Rev 7:16

Have a good day!

Jun 5, 2015

Save Money!

                                                                        Source: Cliparts.com

I have a friend. Actually, I have several friends, but this particular friend loves to go to Garage sales. I've watched in fascination as she supplied her daughter with a hope chest filled to the brim with almost new stuff from garage sales for pennies on the dollar. Her other daughter received many items in almost new condition to fill her baby room. It's amazing how well she does at these sales. She says that she often finds things that people received duplicates of that are in brand new condition. Toasters for $2, for example.

Since I've been in the mood to simplify (so far I haven't missed a thing), I've given away or got rid of a lot of things. However, there's something to be said for garage sales, as long as you're buying what you actually need!

The other day my pregnant DIL and I went to some local garage sales. I could not believe the deals she found; a baby swing in almost new condition for $5; a milk pumping kit (these are $200 and up new) for $20, plus quite a few other things.

I found a 12 place setting of dishes in almost new condition. I needed them and I was looking at about $100 for an 8 place setting, but bought these for $15. I'm happy and I don't care that they're not brand new. I threw them in the dishwasher and they're ready to use.

Yes, I'm SOLD on garage sales. I'm starting a list of things I need and will be looking now that garage sale season is in full swing. Getting a great deal makes me feel good and saves me money. What's not to like about that?

Have you ever gone to garage sales? Do you find good stuff and do you save lots of money? I'd love to hear.

Anyway --

Here's a little BONUS video tip I found. I love using binders for my stickers, handmade cards I've received, even stamps!

Have a good weekend everyone!


May 29, 2015

Letter to Myah and a Free Digi.

I love Face-timing with my family in Fort McMurray, Alberta, but in spite of that I still feel it's hard to truly keep in touch with my sons' youngest children, who are both under 4 years of age. I want them to know me, to look forward to seeing me, to love me as I love them. So I decided that one way to do that is to send them letters. I am starting with the oldest of the two, Myah. 

At first I was a bit lost about what to write, so I looked it up on Google and found Grandma's Briefs, a site about all things Grandma! I'm not a stranger to this site as I was a Grilled Grandma once! Here's the link "Grilled Grandma, Carmen" if you're new and haven't seen it. It needs updating, but that's okay.

Anyway, back to my story. So I read her article on 'How to Write a Keepsake Letter to a Grandchild' and found it very helpful. Do check it out if you have grandchildren that live out of town or country! It was a good introduction about how to write to a grandchild no matter what their age. 

I found some paper that I had bought on sale ages ago and wrote a letter out. I used different colors of ink because she's young and it's fun. 

I also made up a cute little kitten for Myah and called her 'Myah's Kitten' -- she's a digital stamp. I'm sure Myah won't mind if I share her with you all! She's a sweetheart! :)

Myah's kitty just wants to play. She will be a good little digi for a grandchild to color, so I ran her off on white cardstock and added her to the letter along with some colorful glittery stickers. What little granddaughter wouldn't love that? 

I used lined cardstock for the letter because I thought it would last longer and maybe even be kept as a keepsake. All that's left to do is find an age appropriate postage stamp and leave it in the care of our postal service. Since it's going to Ft. McMurray, AB, it'll take about 10 days to get there. I know - unbelievable, but so worth it anyway!  

I hope she loves getting mail! I personally still enjoy getting something in the mail, particularly a letter or a card from a loved one! 

Have a wonderful day! 

May 27, 2015

Is It Really An Empty Nest?

Okay, so we officially have an empty nest!

To be truthful I feel a bit misleading calling it an empty nest, as we have hardly seen my youngest son Tony in the last few years. So the nest was usually empty, as long as we were awake anyway.

Let me explain; in addition to school and work (through the summers) he did a considerable amount of volunteer work with St. John's Ambulance, Big Brothers, Homeless Youth, Science Camp, etc. He even did a year of youth pastoring at the church where he also led worship many Sunday's.  I'm not sure how he fit it all in, but he was gone first thing in the morning and back late at night. He was either just heading out, or just getting home and tired, or we were already in bed. 

Time flies. After 4 years of university and 2 years of Respiratory Therapy (plus 1 yr through the summer), my baby has left home. Only he's 25 -- and he's not a baby anymore. Now he's starting his practicum in Kelowna, B.C. and will be finishing it in Vancouver, B.C. 

It was a bittersweet moment watching him leave here with his girlfriend Katie by his side. Now they're heading into a long distance relationship, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I love this girl. She is the sweetest, smartest, happiest, kindest girl!! She is perfect for him! She's no slacker either and has a good future planned. I'm happy for both of them.

See that look on his face? My boys do that. They like to tease me by refusing to smile or hug since I'm so needy. So you know, I just steal hugs whenever I can, plus the girls get after them..."Hug your mother!" Hehehe -- I love my daughters! 

                                      She's adorable, right? Enough said!

Yeah, I couldn't help myself. I ran down the driveway to try to get another picture, but I was too late. Kind of sad, isn't it? Of course, it was raining that day.

Then I walked back up the driveway and was faced with this. So I took a picture. Sigh....silly girl.

So here I am a few days later. It's quiet and I can hear the clock ticking the moments away. That's okay. I have a granddaughter to write a letter to, and some leggings to fix for my other granddaughter. There's always something to do and someone to make happy. Life is good and though he will be missed, there's a bright future awaiting him.

So in answer to my Title, yes, it's an empty nest, but it has felt that way for a while. He will still be here in spirit, as are all my boys. The house may feel a little bigger, but only for the little bit of time that no one is here. Now we have 4 boys, 4 girls, 3 grandsons, 4 granddaughters and one more on the way! That's right, my son Mike and his wife Mandy are pregnant! They were in Mexico when they announced it on Facebook. Of course, we knew ahead of time.

Life is full! We are blessed indeed!


May 21, 2015

Time to Relax!


Sometimes I just want to grab something to do that involves a couple of small tools rather than pulling out a sewing machine, cutting machine, or a bunch of different supplies. Do you sometimes feel that way too? 

Drawing is such a peaceful, relaxing medium while watching TV or listening to music. In fact, I love doing that with just quiet all around me. I crave quietness and simplicity. Anyone else out there relate?

My last few weeks have been wonderful, but busy. We've had company from Holland and gone on a short holiday to Harrison Hot Springs where we enjoyed the pools, went on short walks and then also rented a boat one day. Fun! Since then I've been babysitting grandkids and cleaning away yard waste that was left out last winter. Plus I've been to the dump with a big load of wood, metal, and more. 

My husband had a couple of bad days one of those weeks, which unfortunately involved one trip to emergency. My husband has some serious medical issues, but trips like that take up a whole day and are usually stressful. In between all of that I've been having coffee dates with friends that keep me sane! Lol...thank goodness for my wonderful friends and family! I am definitely blessed.

The bible study I was teaching is over for the Spring. I wasn't actually finished, so we pulled in another day to complete it, covering the last 3 chapters in that time. Now I'm taking a little break and then I'll be getting ready to teach the Fall study.

I am currently attempting to get that whole study onto my inspirational blog as a teaching tool for other teachers out there. We covered Genesis 1 - 11 and most of the information was from The Genesis Record by Henry Morris. It was an incredibly interesting study, but not really geared for beginners. Anyways, I'll let you know when I start posting them so you can have a look if you're interested. 

In the mean time I have been doodling a bit for relaxation.  I really just do these for fun. 

I don't know why, but for as long as I can remember, I've always loved to draw eyes. The left one, specifically.  I'm not sure if that is quirky or what, but that's what I seem to do.This one is a bit dark. I'm having to use an old iphone for pictures right now. :(

So, that's been my last little while. What have you been up to? I'd love to hear.


PS: Genesis Chapter One is on the Bubbling Springs blog, The hand outs will be there soon too! :)