Home Ec Flashbacks

My mother-in-law gifted to me these lovely publications from a thrift store: a 1979 issue of Simplicity's 76 Great Gifts and a 1986 Wilton Baking and Decorating Yearbook. Inspiring....

"Disco devotees will enjoy the newest attire--a sequined bowtie for him or her."

Remember these wall hangings?!

I wonder if this Fabric of the Month Club still exists? Let's write them at PO Box 402098, Miami Beach, FL 33140

Oh, yeah.....

I've always wondered what to do with the top of a fresh pineapple....

There really are some timeless tips in these, er, artful books. Embroidery stitches, how to make a flower petal with icing. I can envision the terrycloth exercise mat tutorial as an updated Yoga mat. And, who knows, maybe sequined bow ties will be making a comeback??? {Wouldn't it be funny if I made all the projects and blogged about it, a la Julie & Julia? ha ha ha}


Crayon Wallet

I made this cute crayon and notepad holder using a tutorial over at Skip to My Lou. Hopefully it will encourage the four year old to use Crayola and NOT Sharpie anymore. (Each time she uncaps one, I worry, not about my walls, but her brain cells. She loves her some "Black. Permanent. Marker.") I didn't have a "shank" button within reach, so I used Velcro as the closure. I am making a little notepad to put in the center slot. The glue is drying, but so far she has enjoyed carrying it around the house, even without the paper....

Scarf Wrap Up

Done. No more scarves in 2009. Down with the Scarves.

These are all being gifted tomorrow:

1. for Kennedy's grandma (Ruffle Pattern crochet)
2. for Kennedy's girl cousin (Double crochet)
3. for Kennedy's baby girl cousin (butterfly fleece) <---E A S Y: cut the fleece, cut a bunch of strips at the ends
4. for Kennedy's boy cousin (polar bear fleece)


Little did I know...

My fluffy and soft wristwarmers would look like chainmail. Just in time for the RenFest! They work though, and next up is a cowl to match.



We made some ornaments today, using mostly felt, some paper, and FLUFF. The gingerbread person has fluff for hair. The Russian nesting doll, no matter how much fluff we stuffed, looks too skinny. The photo frame ornament is a faux Polaroid. I had help with a lot of the stitching, stuffing, gluing and coloring. We have enough ornaments for the time being, I think....


Doggie Biscuits

Olive coveting a yummy homemade biscuit under the tree, where she loves to lay and ruin my tree skirt. (Note the "cookies" ornament. Completely unintentional product placement!)

This batch was supposed to be heart-shaped, but....The dogs loved them nonetheless. The were crunchy and just the right size. One batch made enough for their biscuit jar, which should last, oh, two days! I used the first recipe listed on this site.

Little Crochet Hat

With flower embellishment. I started out intending to make this, but after one failed attempt at following instructions (and one HUGE hat later) I started over freehand. I wonder if I'll ever be able to read crochet directions....


Tam o'shanter

It started off as a yarmulke, a joke. But I kept on going....


Better than a tissue cover...

...although that is probably next. I saw this cute jar cover tutorial and tried it, but thought the sleeve would be better placed on the bathroom cup dispenser. It has a metal bottom and always leaves a rust ring, so this piece is long enough to tuck under the bottom and prevent that. Form AND function-YAY. It also fit nicely around my wrist, but I thought the colors were a little too Rainbow Brite for wrist warmers....NOTE: The second ring from the top is actually a dark turquoise, not black.


natural phenomena (and hot cocoa)

This little owl on a branch appears to be telling the little birdie next to him a secret....

It is 28 degrees here tonight. I saw daylight snowfall for the first time. My eyelashes still feel the cold....

Happy Challadaze

Love it: the hair, the glasses, the Jewish women in my family gathered 'round the Christmas tree. I look slightly frightened. And I see where I acquired my love of stripes....


The Bento Box Bag

The new bento-style lunch box arrived, and it needed a carrying case. I picked up this cute little bag at IKEA for $2 and the box fits inside perfectly with enough room for an ice pack. Of course, I had to embroider her name on it, freehand. She picked the color thread and was pleased with my work. Now, onto planning yummy eats to put in the box!


Second Finished Scarf

Why didn't I pick up crochet sooner? I'm "hooked."
This adult scarf has stripes lengthwise, two rows of double crochet stitching of each color.
I used an H/8 hook. It is 88" long.

TP Roll Tree Topper

This is a variation of the tree toppers the teachers made last year at school. I used a cut-out of a rejected holiday card design, empty toilet paper roll, scrap paper, and glitter. Instead of gluing on the wings, I cut slits into the cardboard tube and inserted them, after rolling the tube in glitter (which was the best part). We put it on the 4 foot tree in her room. I can't believe she is as tall as that tree now!


First (Finished) Crochet Piece

I say "finished" because I have started many a crochet project over the years, but always gave up when I realized the piece that began as a rectangle turned into a triangle. This time I kept it simple and ended up with the perfect child-sized scarf.

There are 11 stitches of double-crochet per row, and I tried to stick to blocks of 6 rows of black, 6 rows of pink, and 3 rows of white, but I think I may have left off a few here and there now that I look at the picture.

The hook was an I/9, whatever that means. It was the only one I could get back from the clutches of the 4-year-old.

The best part is, I started it around 11 pm last night, and finished by lunch today! Hooray!
Here it is on the model:


Hi there.

Great idea for an exchange of cheery hellos.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT: Take a moment to say hello and let me know you were here. I'd love to hear from you and come visit your blog if you have one. See you soon!



I just received these tiny food cutters in the mail. They have the weirdest packaging copy:


Napkin Rings

I have one thing complete for Thanksgiving -- the napkin rings. Using one cardboard paper towel tube, one piece of scrapbook paper, and free printable labels from this wonderful blog, I was able to make five napkin rings, enough for next week's feast.


Found Book

Counting Rhymes. Amazing what you find when you go through the bookshelves in your own home. The pages were so worn and yellow (but smelled, ah, terrific) and the cover was falling off, so I decided to frame it. I think I will go back and paint the frame white....


Gag Me With a Spoon

K ennedy, Kennedy, what are they feeding you? Tonight I took cookie cutters to pork chops in an attempt to get the girl to eat meat (they were thin). She didn't even want to touch the heart smeared with ketchup, knowing mom was up to something. I told her they were chicken nuggets (lying=bad). She was too smart for that. Comments heard frequently these days: "For REAL!" "That's GROSS!" "No you did not!" I am living with a 4-year-old vegetarian valley girl with a slight twang to her obstinate speech. Rad....


owl, originally uploaded by melissa.coats.

A wise old owl lived in an oak.
The more she saw the less she spoke.
The less she spoke the more she heard.
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?


Boo (Hoo)

Nothing wraps up a predominately boring Halloween weekend quite like the sound of a seal coming from your daughter's bedroom. Croup. I knew what to do (steam, alternated with cold air) but the sheer horror of that cough is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. Scary-sounding stuff. I am still recovering from a sinus infection, so the double whammy illness, one month after the whole house having H1N1, is irritating. Fingers crossed that this just means we're getting our winter colds out of the way early this year.

In an effort to relax, I've made hot cocoa, even though it's probably 80 degrees outside, but the early darkness put me in the mood for it. Speaking of in the mood, nothing says "let's celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary" like having a barking seal splayed out in your bed asleep. Instead, I curled up with my new lover, Mac.

And, no, I didn't shut my finger in a door -- that is leftover pumpkin-face on my thumbnail.


Bandana Quilt

Kiddie Quilt, originally uploaded by melissa.coats.

I'm so excited -- I made my first quilt, thanks to this easy online tutorial from i have to say! It was intended as a project for younger girls, but I have no shame. It's for my little girl, does that count? Kennedy liked watching me sew and mimicked the machine's noise. That's the crafting stage she is currently at.

My quilt consists of 6 bandanas from the craft store (the tutorial uses 4, but I wanted this one longer - tall girl and all), a twin sheet for backing, and batting. I've never bought or used batting before, but luckily it comes precut in bags. Who knew? I started it this evening, took a break for bath and bedtime, and finished in time to blog about it. How easy!

Here are some tips, should you try it:

* Make sure all your bandanas are the same size. Mine weren't, and I didn't know this until I started sewing them all together. It just means some extra cutting before the final stages.
* Pre-wash and iron everything, except the batting of course.
* If you don't have a disappearing ink fabric pen, use chalk to mark lines for the 8" opening for turning.
* When she writes that the turning inside out stage is like wrestling, she was right. In fact, it was sort of like birthing a baby....

Now I've got to sneak into her room and cover her up with it. She'll be so surprised when she wakes up in the morning!


Pumpkin Cans

Pumpkin Cans, originally uploaded by melissa.coats.

This year I decided to upcycle some cans from the garage to make a pumpkin family for Halloween. We each decorated a size-appropriate coffee can, and in K's case a vegetable can. Her face is so tiny you barely see it. :-)


* Coffee or other cans
* Orange spray paint
* Sharpie markers
* Tea lights for the inside (optional)
* Drill for holes (optional)


Way to Blue-updated

The lighting is completely different between the two pictures, but you get the gist. Of all the rooms, of all the colors I've painted over the years, this is by far the one I've been the most pleased with.


Coo Coo for Cookie Jars

Vintage Cookie Jars, originally uploaded by melissa.coats.

The cupcake belonged to my grandmother Ross. It sat on her kitchen table, and I remember always peeking in at its contents, usually coupons and receipts, maybe some recipes. I wouldn't be surprised if the few small chips by the lid were caused by me. After acquiring this piece, I had to look for more. That's how collecting goes. I found the ice cream cone to pair with the cupcake, and the owl was just too cute to pass up!


Call Me

Call me, originally uploaded by melissa.coats.

This was the week of new phones. I (finally) purchased an iPhone, after patiently and responsibly waiting for my T-Mobile contract to expire. When I pulled out my Razor phone in the Apple store the "genius" laughed, not only because it was so old-school but because it was in such a state of disrepair. It was only two years old.

Then, after seeing some REAL old-school phones at an antique mall, some wheel dial, some push button, I thought it necessary to give the lone candlestick phone in my collection a mate. I knew I wanted a working model though, so Kennedy can have a REAL phone to see and use. They learned about dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency and our cordless house phone has three steps to go through just to dial out, once you locate the thing.

After some searching online, I found a new model on eBay, and it arrived two days later. It actually rang a few minutes after hooking it up, and the whole house filled with nostalgia at that REAL phone ring. Then, I realized there was no caller ID.

It's funny how I can be so excited about something so modern and something so retro at the same time. I suppose that has always been a part of my personality and taste. I can trace it all the way back to my own childhood when my mom would take me to an antique clothing store called Pink Flamingo. I used to love looking at the dresses and purses and jewelry. Take me to a mall, and I would kick and scream, but take me a vintage store and I could stay for hours. Even today I get lost browsing amongst all the memories and treasures of years past. The day I spotted those old phones, Turner and Kennedy went to a toy store. They came to get me in the antique mall, finding me in a booth with old baby dolls and Raggedy Anns, touching them and thinking, "Who had these, and loved them, and when? And how did these dolls make it here, in my hands?" Everything has a story, and I didn't want it to end. "You guys are done already?" I asked. "You've been in here almost an hour," Turner informed me. Leave it to the present to bring you back to reality.


Treasure Jar



The only craft project I could muster after flu week: one empty applesauce jar + paper + gems = Treasure Jar!