A Case for Art

I made these fold-up art cases for the cousins, who are traveling and love to draw. Perfect!

I followed this tutorial for the dimensions. Half the fun was picking out contrasting fabrics that I thought each child would like. What was not fun was being sent the wrong size Moleskin notebook from Amazon.... I found a close-in-size drawing pad from Target and used the Exacto knife to trim it to size. My thumb is still numb....


Fake Tree

The idea for this project came from Under the Table and Dreaming. I used painted balsa wood on ticking fabric stretched over a canvas. (I had a little helper for the painting.) After everything was glued down I thought, "It needs a star...." I tried to cut one out of the balsa wood, but it didn't work out. Lo and behold, like the shining star of Bethlehem, a piece of dried starfruit peeked its head out of my holiday potpourri bowl. Glue that sucker down!


For the Dogs

I had a request to make a pair of snow booties for a furry friend. Turns out the request was a joke, but I was up for the challenge. I used this tutorial, and after some sewing machine versus leather wrangling, I whipped up four of these.

The fleece was from a Dollar Store blanket, and the leather (pleather?) was a remnant from the craft store.

Here she is, kickin' it in the snow with her warm booties. They stayed on and, more importantly, her feet stayed warm and dry!


In Barbie News...

It continues to be all Barbie, all the time around here. Even Santa has been dragged into it -- everything on K's Christmas list this year was Barbie themed. The only saving grace was, the other day in the bath, she kept referring to one Barbie as Melissa Block, as in the NPR news correspondent. Good to know that the public radio I play in the car is sinking in. It's all about balance....

Slippers Galore

Or, shall I say schleppers?


The Head Turner

THIS hat is the epitome of the phrase "third time's a charm."

In order to make it according to the custom order ("I want a pom pom, and ear flaps, and those dangly things") I had to piecemeal patterns together and, at first, ended up with very unhatlike results.

All in all it turned out cute. Just like its wearer. :)


Friendship Blanket

A dear friend, who knew how much I love to crochet, gave me a bag of her late mother's yarn from ages ago to use for my projects. Here is the yarn.

And here is the lap blanket I made her for her birthday!

I was so pleased to be able to give back the yarn as a functional piece, in a way that, hopefully, honors her mother. Who knows, it may even become a keepsake for her daughter too, someday. That is the beauty of crochet, and the thrill of making and giving a handmade gift -- it can be shared and passed down with a story for years to come.


Ear Hat

Crocheted this simple silly fun hat.

...and more to come!


Thankful for...

Today I experienced such wonderful kindness, from two different people, on two completely different paths. Each bestowed upon me lovely vintage treasures they had found--two ancient sewing spools and a sheet that traveled a great distance (and to think, they found their way to MY cubicle....)

More than the items themselves, however, it was the givers' thoughtfulness that has made my day. They are both busy, working moms, and the fact that they found the time to not only find these treasures, but remember to bring them in, during a time when we're all so busy I can't even remember to bring my lunch....

I am so grateful for their friendship and appreciative of everyone in my life who knows that sometimes it's the simplest acts of kindness that mean the world....


Crocheted Washcloths

Handmade Teachers Gift - Check! I combined multiple tutorials and experimented on these. Really, it's just a 10 inch-ish square, so anything goes. The yarn was exciting (woo.hoo.) -- LB Organic Cotton. It was kind of linty, but the perfect softness.


Día de los Muertos

This is a big weekend -- hub's birthday, Halloween, our anniversary, and the Mexican Día de los Muertos. So what if the cake looks like Eric Stoltz's skull from Mask....


Hot Towels

This was my first time using Heat and Bond for applique. It does make for a more finished looking product, and adds some quilted puffiness to the letters. Now, will these monogrammed towels help save a few loads of laundry? Doubtful...


Pumpkin AND Chocolate?

I'm in!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Recipe adapted from All & Sundry

• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 1 tbls baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp ground ginger
• 1/4 tsp ground allspice (I omitted)
• 1/8 tsp ground cloves (I omitted)
• 1 cup canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie filling stuff)
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons of molasses (I used 1 1/2 T of light corn syrup and brown sugar)
• Some amount of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400˚ and lightly grease a 12 muffin tin (paper liners are even better).

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk, oil, and molasses.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix. Stir in your desired amount of chocolate chips (I recommend a “shitload”). Fill the muffin cups 2/3s full.

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.


Shell Loop Scarf

Look, ma! My new scarf. Strayed from the norm and tried out a new stitch -- the Shell Stitch.

Here's a closeup of the pattern.

For the scarf: chain 28. In fourth chain from hook, *DC, DC, CH1, DC, DC,* Skip 3 Chains, do it all again. Next row do *this* in the CH1 space of the previous row until it's approximately 52". Stitch the ends together to make a loop.

Some of you have been wondering about hooks, which to buy, which to use, especially if you're not working off a pattern, which should tell you what to use. Actually, I've only talked to one of you about this, but others may be wondering. So, I present to you: a hook primer.

Starting with the smallest, blurriest hook at the bottom (that's a G). It will make very small stitches and is for very thin yarn. For normal every day items, use an H, I, or J. The scarf above was made with a J. An afghan could be made with a J or K. That N hook is for very thick wool yarn, which I've never even used. Not sure why I have that, actually....


Yarn Pumpkins

Are these not the cutest fall decorations ever? Maybe I'm just yarn-biased, but I can't wait to share this craft with my daughter's class during pumpkin week. I hope I have enough yarn leftover after I make my own tiny pumpkin patch! Step-by-step instructions for the apple version on Make and Takes.


Toy Story Party

Alien Cupcakes
These were so much fun to make, and the highlight of the party.
*Chocolate cupcakes (of course!)
*Neon green food coloring added to vanilla icing
*White chocolate chips for the eyes
*Black icing gel for the pupils and mouth
*Half of a green Fruit Loop for the antennae

The Party Room
Best. Party. Location. Ever! A party assistant helped set everything up and she even lit the number 5 candle for me, which, promptly started to lean and fall over as soon as we started in with the song. The exhibit at the Children's Museum was "games" which tied in nicely with the Toy Story theme. And, for 1.5 hours, the kids got to PLAY. Endless fun....

This was pretty low-key since we weren't spending a lot of time in the party room. We had dollar store purple table clothes, handmade Happy Birthday banner (felt and fabric), Toy Story plates, and some Toy Story cootie catchers* scattered in the middle of the table. The highlight, of course, was the museum's birthday girl chair.

*These cootie catchers were a modified version of draw pilgrim's. Love that blog!


Bum Wrap

I modified the tissue pack holder to a larger size to accommodate.......diapers! At the request of a friend, I made something to prevent the inevitable diaper smoosh that comes with throwing a spare diaper in the purse. Someone special is going to receive this very soon for her soon-to-be-born GRANDSON :)


Montessori Method

We had our first official parent teacher conference at our five-year-old daughter's Montessori school. It was never a hard decision to choose Montessori, but it was difficult to change schools after four years of on site daycare. Due to public Kindergarten cut-off dates, we were faced with the challenge of her needing a new environment in which to learn and grow. We are so pleased with the choice we made. The atmosphere is so relaxed, the teachers are wonderfully attentive, and I couldn't have dreamed up a more inviting education landscape. Here are some photos I sneaked with my phone before today's meeting:



Look, ma, PINK GAK.

After taking a knife to it, she said "I made an octopus!" So, out came the googly eyes :)

We've made gak before with liquid starch, and it came out pretty sticky. I prefer the following recipe which calls for Borax:

1 teaspoon Borax (dissolved in the water)
1 1/2 C water
1/2 C Elmer's white glue
food coloring