Monday, November 23, 2009

Crafty Quote of the Day: With a Thankful Heart

"Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed." Mark Twain

I think Twain is saying that if it weren't for the foolish, we'd have no basis of comparision for the brilliant. However, I personally am very thankful to be a fool. I think the life of a non-fool would be very boring indeed....and besides, wacky, out there ideas have to come from somewhere, right? Perhaps my completely lack of fear when it comes to failure is not such a good trait....but then again, how was anything remarkable ever created?

Every year we are thankful for those around us and all the good things in the world. Perhaps we should start including in that list something we have never embraced about ourselves....maybe I never become anyone or anything truely great. This year, I am going to be very thankful for what I do have: a completely foolish idealism about life and that keeps me busy, smiling and pretty darn happy.

Now we're ready for some turkey and a 4 day calorie coma. Bring it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Seven Years of College Down the Drain....

Oh my. How I love Halloween.

This is Chadson's costume #1 and may be his only one judging by how fantastic it came out! Just goes to show the power of simplicity.

Now you can buy this tee shirt but the easiest thing to do is track down a blank (this was $7 at Target) and iron on your own letters ($3 at a craft store). It really is that simple!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween: Make it Original

Last year I did a post about my favorite Halloween costumes that people I know have MADE. I am of the school that for Halloween, regardless of your sewing skills, you do not buy a costume. It's the perfect excuse to come up with a crazy idea and do your best with cheap and creative materials to execute your vision.

So this Halloween I challenge all of you to forgo the ridiculous trip to the crowded and crazy halloween/costume shops. Besides, what are you going to find there? For women it's a bagged costume of every animal imaginable only "sexy." For men, it's the line of inflatable penis jokes or a caveman. One word: LAME.

So please: Just Say No to the Un-imaginative. Even if you don't have mad sewing skills (I'm living proof of that people!) you would be amazed at how far a glue gun, a trip to Goodwill and a little creativity will get you!

Take for example my brother. He is stationed in the Extreme North of Cameroon volunteering to make the world a better place. That's Africa people. It takes him 3 days and a series of motobikes, overcrowded bush taxis and trains to get to a major you can imagine, there is no such thing as a costume store and I'm pretty sure anyone who shows up as a "sexy nurse" would be run out of town.

But in the true creative spirit of this fantastic holiday, he and his fellow volunteers threw a costume party. After sifting through the pictures, I'm amazed! With nothing around but a few local weekend markets, the pictures show a Bunny, a Greek Goddess and my brother, The Castaway complete with Wilson the Loyal Sidekick. Awesome.

So again, I encourage your originality. Take a chance and try to make something with your own two hands. Better yet, get your kids involved and have them try to make something with their own two hands. It's the one day a year you can look ridiculous and get away with it....why not be able to take full credit for it?? Poo poo for PreMade. Hip Hip for Handmade!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Sweatshop Makeover: Part 1.

Anyone who crafts understands the constant battle to get and stay organized. I'm usually pretty good at existing within chaos but when I looked around this weekend and realized that I couldn't walk into my craft room let alone finish Chadson's elaborate and totally kick ass Halloween costume, it was time for reform.

Since we've moved in, I've tried numerous configurations for said room and nothing has really worked. My brother calls my crafting space "The Sweatshop" in reference to the fact it always looks as though Martha Stewart ate a fabric store and then did her best Exorcist impression, projectile vomiting flotsam everywhere.

The one thing that HAS worked is my fabric storage solution. The closet in this room has a slanted floor which is ever so practical. So my very handy husband and father installed this lovely Rubbermaid shelving system and voila! A few $2.99 Target crates and on a good day, you can actually FIND fabric. Deeeelightful.
So what prompted this sudden spurt of cleanliness? Well, it was 3 giant plastic tubs of individually wrapped Utz pretzels my office purchased for a fair. Say it with me everyone:

Now I have one for ribbon, one for fabric scraps and one for trims. I plan to track down one more and use it for my sweet little wooden men that will someday become a clever checkers set.
Closet? Check. Scrappy tubs? Check Check. Space for all my books? Darn.

I had another piece of low budget black and silver furniture hanging out in my closet housing years worth of promotional tee shirts. I thought, this piece of crap furniture has a higher calling! Presto: I have a crafty reading nook and the perfect spot to do a little stitching. I need to upgrade the chair but I also need to paint the room...all in good time. The plan is to have it be a lovely steel like grey with sunny yellow accents and a pretty ikea chandelier.
And now my sewing table isn't quite so cluttered. All I need is a shelf in the middle to hold numerous mason jars full of colorful buttons, glue on rhinestones, beads, pearls and anything else that needs a home.
Presto Chang-o....and Eat that Martha!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Blog!

I made it!

That may sound silly but if you look back at my first posting, I was not convinced that I could keep this up. But I have a year under my belt that included becoming an Auntie, decorating a new house, a holiday reflective of the current economic situation, a wedding, several living room redos (the latest of which I have yet to post), LOTS of gifts, LOTS of ideas and my Etsy shop of which I am exceedingly proud. I also just finished my paralegal certificate...yay me!

So today I'm patting myself on the back and reliving a year of crafts. It makes me feel like I've accomplished something! To celebrate, I have a new addition to the Sweet March collection...and I rather like her.

So for those of you following along...thanks. It's been fun and I promise more crafty to come!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When you become your mother....

I do believe that one of the big difference between men and women is that men always carry a little bit of their mother with them. Women always carry a lot of their mothers in their brain. And right now she's reading this and saying "Uh! should BE so lucky."

So what does this have to do with the craft du jour? My brother, sister and I were notorious for coming to my mother the day before a school event and saying "Oh the way, I need a colonial shirt/a pioneer dress/a turkey costume/a pink poodle skirt for tomorrow." And while she would roll her eyes and let us know she was not pleased with the timing of our requests, the next day, we had what we needed. She would hand it over to us, sigh and say "Well it's just going to have to do." And always we would be the best dressed kid in the place. She's pretty magic like that (you should see the curtains she made for my niece's nursery. They are divine. But my niece is the only grandchild and of course, the favorite...she's my favorite too.)

I never picked up on my mom's perfectionist gene, but when Chad asked me to make him an apron for an Associate Appreciation Cookout tomorrow (guess who's manning the grill...), the part of my brain that is my mother snapped into action. Voila!

While I didn't have many fabric choices, Chad picked this one. It's an outdoor fabric, so it has good shape and will clean up easily. Especially important when you're cooking hamburgers for 2,000 odd employees.
This is a Butcher Style Apron and is incredibly simple. Click here for a good tutorial I found! Otherwise, if you understand the basic shape, just wing it (like I did). Fold the fabric in half long ways and cut out a rectangle. It should be the size of your chest to how far you want it to wrap around on the side. Then figure out where you want it to stop on the top of your chest and cut a curve to accommodate your arms. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, pull out an old apron, fold it in half longways and use it as a pattern.
To avoid hemming the sides and neck (because I hate hemming soooo much), I decided to back it with a little of the corresponding fabric I had in the ol' stash. So cut the same shape on the fold for the lining. Obviously sew right sides together with the neck loop and back ties sandwiched in the middle of the two fabrics in the appropriate locations. Stitch across the top first, then do the sides. Flip inside out and's truly that simple. I did top stitch the made it look a little more finished.

For added fun, I took an old GEICO tee and backed the graphic with iron on interfacing. Interfacing makes things stiffer and ensures that the fabric won't fray. And like magic, there's a Gecko hanging out on Chadson's apron. Obviously you can get creative with this. I fully intend on recreating this craft and having some fun wit add ons. Think of the possibilities: Pockets, slots for grill tools, pictures, sayings, the list goes on and on.

TA DAH!!!! He's so handsome :)
By the way...if you know me, you're probably getting an apron for Christmas.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Busy Hands are Happy Hands

After going Etsytastic for the past month or so, I am completely burned out and the sight of my sewing machine makes me itch.

Thankfully, like in Mary Poppins, the winds have changed and my favorite of all seasons is upon us. I love fall for its amazing holidays (Halloween is like Christmas for crafters and drag queens alike), there are gourds of all shapes and colors, the fact I can wear my sweaters again (because you know, chubby girls look better in sweaters) and I love football season. I can think of no better Saturday than having the windows open with a lovely breeze and the TV on with game after game. I particuarly enjoy sports because the plot is always simple: someone will win and someone will lose. No love triangles, baby daddies, class hierarchy, eliminations...just a winner and a loser. It is uncomplicated, fall bliss.

I especially love that my husband and I watch football together, but I am not one to veg. Not to say that he's a couch potato, the man can seriously get things done. After the house is clean, chores are completed and he's gotten a bike ride in, he definitely loves a good veg. Me? My hands have to be busy, working, doing, creating. If I'm sitting still I only think of more projects I would, could and should be doing.
So I restarted a project I had attempted wedding sampler. Originally, I was going to complete this project on linen but there was total drama. And that would completely ruin my drama free football season. So I started over using 18ct Aida which is small enough to have the same effect. Stitching Snobs would say differently but why would I subject myself to an annoying craft? Completely not the point.
Above is the design. I am very unimpressed with any hint of country decor, and stitching walks a fine line. I like to think of this as more of a vintage colonial look. However, it's testing my ability to finish a lengthy project. This one is going to take all of football season!

Obviously I've done the date. On either side of the couple will be our names....and the dog will have a head. Eventually :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

For the Love of Etsy: A Little Love Goes a Long Way

I'm so excited because yesterday a fellow Etsian contacted me to say that she was featuring my shop on her blog this morning. And low and behold:

So while I've been spending the last few weeks critiquing my shop like crazy, taking and retaking photos and evaluating whether or not anyone will ever think what I do is as cool as my sweet and supportive husband does, I think today I will just enjoy this.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

For the Love of Etsy - Lightboxes and Photo Drama

I LOVE Etsy....But one of the keys to operating a "successful" shop is having amazing photos.

This is something I've always struggled with as you can tell by the photos on my blog. I am currently using a Canon PowerShot's a great camera, but it's not a professional camera. So in order to better my chances of actually selling something, I needed a bit of help.

Enter Chad: he found this tutorial on building a lightbox.

So we purchased the supplies and the background for a total of $20. Not too shabby! I will say that my photos are better than they ever have been, but as far as being up to Etsy Showcase status, only time will tell. But if you're interested in selling anything on the internet, I think the investment is definitely worth it.

This is where the magic happens!

And this is an example of a finished product:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oh joy, rapture....I've got a SHOP!!!

So after promising myself I would actually get my etsy shop up and running...I made it my New Year Resolution. And I am happy to report that I have officially posted 3 "Ragdoll Couture" pieces that I'm very proud that's officially half the battle, right?

Stop by and have a looksie loo...I feel like my favorite item!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sweetie Darling: Zoo-tastic!

For a friend's baby shower (she's having a girl) I got the perfect excuse to make another Sweetie Darling! The baby's room is already put together and very, very cute...and full of zoo animals.

So I thought to help out with all of those animals, Baby will need a Zoo Keeper!
Now I realize this is not a true baby gift, however I like the idea of a few special things that can grow up with the little while she can't play with it now, in a few years, this Sweetie has been made to withstand some serious kid love. This is the first I've made with flannel as the body and I love how it worked. Not only is she soft, but she's also more durable than the previous muslin models.
It was so very nice to branch out of my normal girly girlness and try something a little different...I think she turned out quite well.

The monkey is made out of felt, everything else is different kinds of cotton I had in my stash. The outfit is a little skirt and long jacket complete with pockets and embroidery. And I LOVE the boots...I tried to make them have a little tread on the bottom so they'd look more like hiking boots and not just random polka dot moon boots. Because that would just be silly.
I am reenergized to do some more and see how they go on my etsy site....stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Crafty Quote for the Day

"Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it." Greg Anderson

After 5 years my ski house mural is done. My parents were very happy about that as they've been waiting a long time. My father even built the frame around it in hopes it would spur me to get it done. And while I'm pleased with the outcome, I believe I will truely miss the process of creation. I am not the best painter in the world but having a little piece of me at the house is pretty cool.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Diaper Cake Tutorial

I often find myself looking at something and thinking: I can do that! And then I try...sometimes it's a total Fail, but most of the time after a little trial and error, it comes out looking quite nice.

You've seen them on websites loaded with goodies, toys, books, blankets, etc. But I found something very interesting and cool about just the diapers, the ribbon and a cute topper. So here it is, a tutorial on this fun and quick project that makes a big impact on a Parent to Be with something he/she will totally need.


123 diapers - Yes, that's a lot...but that's what makes this project so cool!

Rubberbands - 2 LARGE, 2 Regular size, 123 small
Ribbon - Really depends on your could have all the same, each different, but you need at least 2yards.
Presentation Surface - Large platter, something that the layers can be stacked upon.
Topper - Use your imagination because I totally know you have one.

The "How To":

1. Each diaper will need to be rolled individually. To do this, pour yourself a glass of wine, put in a movie you love and have seen so many times you know the scenes in your head and the dialog makes you happy....that's the best kind of background noise!

Start your roll by folding the outerside of the front waistband into the center of the diaper....Then begin rolling ensuring that the leg elastic and velcro side attachments stay folded into the center of the diaper. Use your small rubberbands to hold the rolled diaper together, but do not double the band....remember the Parents to Be will have to unroll these eventually!

2. Once all 123 diapers are rolled, you can begin assembly. Start with the top layer and 7 diapers. Make the shape of a flower (ex. one diaper for the center and six around the outside like petals like below). Secure your first bundle with a regular sized rubberband. This shape will henceforth be called the "Core" and will be repeated for the 3 other layers.

3. For your second layer, make another Core of 7 diapers following the same steps as above and like before, secure with a regular size rubber band. Then continue to place another row of diapers on the outside of the core, tucking each diaper inside the rubberband one at a time. A regular sized band will allow for another row.

4. Repeat step 3, only using a LARGE rubberband and adding another see where this is going?

5. Repeat the same steps for the last cake and add another row! I actually left space for a teddy bear to be tucked technically my cake was only 120 diapers.

6. Tie your ribbons around each layer thus hiding your rubberbands....a little piece of scotch tape on the underside of the bow will keep the ribbon in place.

7. You can get all nuts and stick a dowel rod down the middle to hold the whole thing together, but really, just stacking the layers on top of each other is super cute and gives the desired effect. Another option for attaching the layers to one another is to use safety pins, but be sure to pick it all up from the bottom.

8. Top your cake! I'm still using my imagination to come up with something lovely.
Happy Crafting!

Monday, June 15, 2009

"There are only 2 types of people in this world..."

I like to think of my blog as being a bit like Barefoot Contessa episodes (minus the whole cooking/food thing and the millions she's making in merchandise and book sales)...she always has stories behind her dishes that really, only she finds incredibly interesting and "Jeffrey" her husband is like a pretend person. She's constantly talking about what he loves, funny little anecdotes about their life together, she wrinkles up her nose when his name is mentioned but rarely do you ever actually see him. Sometimes, at the end of an episode, Jeffrey pops onto camera like he's been there the whole time, completely oblivious to the hoopla surrounding his wife.

Like the Barefoot Contessa, I really enjoy being inspired by and making things for my husband. And that's what I did with my latest and greatest craft. And below is my sweet Chadson (my nose is totally wrinkling) playing along with all of my crazy.

So onto the a birthday gift to Chad, I made something I thought he would enjoy. We've been focusing on some good 2 player games and there is no better 2 player game than checkers! And even better than that I made him a fully customized set...

The "how to" is easy but the "that's awesome" factor hinges on the theme you choose. It really should revolve around an archetypical dichotomy (that was for my mother...see, I learned big words in college!) Example, Chad has never been able to decide if he's a Beatles man or an Elvis man. If you're reading this and don't get the reference, there is a link below to a deleted scene from Pulp Fiction. Enjoy!

I will eventually craft a few more featuring other archetypical dichotomies (I really think I made that phrase up...but I love it): Ballerinas vs. Strong Men, Hippies vs. Suits, Goths vs. Preps, Meghans vs. People Who Make Sense, you see where I'm going with this.

The little wooden men are available in craft stores but are hard to find in large quantities. You need 24 men total and 8 large "kings" for a good game of checkers. The best online retailer I found is here. Get some craft paint and create...don't forget to use a good varnish to seal your teams and give them that glossy "we're gonna win" shine!

For a board, use a piece of 12"x12" wood. The men at Home Depot always look at me like I'm nuts when I ask them for crafting supplies, so don't take it personally. The individual game squares are 1.5" and made out of theme appropriate scrapbook paper...I used some matte medium to collage and then sealed the whole thing with varnish. ModgePodge would also work well.

VERY IMPORTANT: Your brush hairs will come loose and leave themselves forever implanted on your gaming surface. Invest 20 cents in some of those craft sponge brushes and you will not be disappointed. Twenty years from now while your children are playing on your totally awesome handmade game, I will still be picking rogue bristles out from under the coating of my board.

Finally, get a bottle of wine, some snacky poos and your sweet love....let the games begin!

Watch the Pulp Fiction Deleted Scene HERE.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Baby Shower Invitations

A good friend and her husband are expecting their very first little one (a Boy!) at the end of the summer and I'm so excited I could burst. Another dear friend and I decided to throw her an afternoon tea/shower as most of her family is out of state...I'm so looking forward it!

Below are the invitations I made...I'm very lucky that my co-hostest has access to free color printing! I used Microsoft Publisher/a vertical postcard design and printed 4 per sheet of cardstock. The belly band is simple cardstock as well, wrapped with a sunny yellow ribbon and held together with a cute red brad. Paper is such a fun medium...I'm quite pleased with the way these turned out!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Discovery of a Great Show

In channel surfing last night, I came across a great series that I was so excited about I almost called into PBS to make a donation!
It was a three part HD(!!!!) documentary filled with crafty goodness called Craft in America. I watched with childlike awe and enthusiasm. Poor Chad had to sit through constant "Oh my, that is amazing!"s and "Holy Crap, did you see that???!!"s.
Every crafter featured was not so much a Crafter, but more an Artist. I guess it's fair to say that in general, all crafters in one way or another are artists...these people were just highly specialized, highly thoughtful and incredibly skilled! The documentary also placed a strong emphasis on those who had learned their craft through their history. There was a segment about a basket maker who has taught her daughter and her granddaughter....three generations of crafters creating.

Below is a picture of beaded tennis shoes just to give you an example of the supreme awesomeness that is this series!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Birthday Tote/Guestbook

Another birthday and another fabulous party!! My friend Sarah had her 5th 25th birthday this weekend and celebrated with a giant moonbounce in her backyard! (Never under estimate the power of a moonbounce on "adults." I use the term loosely.)

So as a gift/memento of the occasion, I crafted her a tote bag!
So here's how you do it:
  • Buy a blank tote available at your local craft store. You can also make a tote as I did for my bridesmaids' but actually, I like this a little better (sssshhh, don't tell).
  • Find an appropriate photo by doing my favorite thing: A Google Search! This one popped up and it was perfect for the party beat out a picture of a really creepy guy lounging in a moonbounce (my quote for that was going to be "Who invited him?")
  • Add a quote. I like to use this vintage typewriter font I found and downloaded here.
  • Make a publisher file. I love Microsoft Publisher and could find 8million ways to use it. For this, it's great for arranging your "artwork."
  • Print art onto transfer paper. You can get this at craft/office supply stores. If you're transfering onto dark fabric, be sure to get the paper appropriate for your project. Since this was light fabric, I had to mirror image my art and words (VERY important and spelled out in the directions that will come with your paper.)
  • Finally, use your creativity to add a few little goodies. In this case, the transfer was not a 100% the buttons were not just a cute addition, but also the perfect way to hide my boo boo.
The markers were a happy accident...I found them at Old Navy and they are specifically for writing on tees, totes, jeans, anything fabric related. So everyone signed and now Sarah has a tote and guestbook from the super fun night!
Happy Birthday Sarah!

Quick Gift for our Four Eyed Friends

I made one of these for my grandmother years ago and it recently she needed another. You can buy glasses chains, but beading is such a nice break from real life. You get to play with sparkly things and it doesn't take too much time. Also, they are very popular with the ladies in her I'm sure you have someone in your life who would like one!

I get my supplies from Beadazzled in the DC area...if you're ever there, these shops are amazing and worth a visit! My good friend Chelle works at the Tyson's location and makes the most amazing jewelry and also teaches lots of classes. Visit her!

The Cheater Quilt

When I graduated from high school (yes that's me above), my grandfather knitted me this blanket to take away to college. He taught himself to knit years before and for my very special blanket, he used a picture from a coloring book to create his own pattern of Tinkerbell (brilliant, right?). I was the 2nd grandchild to receive one (my older sis got a Pooh Bear 4 years before) and my brother received the last (Cleveland Indians...Wahoo Wah!)

We have since lost my grandfather to Alzheimer's and he is always missed and remembered fondly as an amazing man. Perhaps I connect most with his creative abilities. He was a Marine who taught himself to not only knit, but to play the piano and paint. So I wanted to carry on this special tradition. Knit, I cannot....but quilt? I could try!

So as a gift for the first high school graduate in my family since my brother in 2001, my cousin is getting this: I dub it The Cheater Quilt!

I had the best intentions to piece and quilt but am under a bit of a time constraint and trying to actually quilt with my machine proved very difficult. But with practice I will get better. So instead, I made the front one color (fabric A) and the back another (fabric B). I had to do the math (I consider myself a "word person" and I had multiple trips to the fabric store) with 44" wide fabric I got 4 yards of A and four yards of B. I split both fabric A and fabric B into for pieces measuring 22"x72" and stitched them together to create a front and a back that measured 88"x72"....almost exact to the 72"x90" twin batting! Very important....get a good iron and press your seams. It just makes everything lay better....sewing 101, I know.

So actually quilting this thing was not easy and after attempting one 9" design I was done. Instead, I tied little hot pink ties all over the top and it looks quite cute! To do this, use a tapestry needle and yarn...make sure the knots are square knots!! Otherwise with wear and tear, they'll come undone. For those of you who did not spend years in the girl scouts/boy scouts/traveling the world on a sailboat, learn to tie a square knot here.

Once all the knots are tied, it's time to bind. I needed 2.5 yards of fabric C to make sure the binding was without seams. I split the 44" fabric into 8 strips of 5.5 inches each. With wrong sides together I sewed them into 4 strips and then folded them in half again. Lay all layers of fabric and batting inbetween and stitch. I actually stitched the bottom and the top of the binding...again, it just made for nicer finishing.

For the initial block, I traced a computer print out onto fabric C and hand embroidered using a back stitch. The block was then stitched on using a small zigzag stitch on my machine. The effect, I think, is quite cute. I'm sending it to Cleveland tomorrow and I can't wait until she gets it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Using Microsoft Excel for Crafting Purposes

I may just be reiterating things tech savvy crafters already knew. But I was so excited I figured this out and keep thinking how handy it will be for all KINDS of different projects.

I wanted to make a computerized grid without spending loads of money for a new program. With Excel it seemed easy but there was some math I had to figure out. In Excel, the size of the "cells" are preset when you open the program. The size can be changed, but it's not as easy as setting the Row Height to 5 and then the Column Width to 5. No no...excel recognizes the width of the column by how many letters can fit into the slot so making it the same "size" as the row height isn't gonna do much good.

The way I figured it out was the Row Height has to be an incriment of 5 and the Column Width is the division of the Row Height by 5...make sense? So if your Row Height is 30, then 30/5 = 6...and your Column Height becomes 6. Tah Dah!!!

So here's a little tutorial to explain exactly how to make this magic happen:

First, select all the cells in your book. To do this, click on the cell to the Left of the "A" and above the "1". Your entire sheet should turn blue like so....
Next, go to your top tool bar, click Format. On the drop down menu, select row and click on "Height." A box will appear and you select your number (remember to make it one divisible by 5!) For this one, I chose to make my Row Height 15.

Next, repeat the same steps for Column by going to the FORMAT option on your tool bar, selecting Column and selecting width. Imput the correct width...for example, as above I chose 15 for the height so therefore the Column width would be 3 (15/5 = 3).

When you're finished you will have a graph...which as you see below, I have used to help visualize a quilt I'm going to attempt. As with every graph, each cell/block is equal to a certain measurement. I did this to help myself figure out how many 9" quilt blocks I needed for a twin quilt. And to be honest, I wanted to play around with some different color combinations. All of this can be accomplished with the color fill button. And the great thing about Excel is it even has the option to throw in some patterns!

So my other thinking is that with this program you can plot cross-stitch patterns, create other tutorials (which I plan to do in the future!) and in general be a crafty nerd! Woo Hoo!