Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Handmade Holidays: Progress Report

On this, the last day of November and the last day of my daily posting challenge, I thought it appropriate to report on my progress with my handmade holiday plans. Despite my tendency to add things to the list, I'm not in bad shape. I've been busy in November!

This is the status of my embroidered pine cone project. They're sewn up and just need to be stuffed and sewn shut. At first I thought these might be mainly stuffed with wool with some pine needles added, but as I sewed them (by hand, which meant I could sit in my rocker upstairs and chat with my husband while I sewed) I realized they wanted to be filled with cedar chips, and then they could hang in a closet or among woolens and be pretty and useful, a combination that I adore. After thinking it through, I realized a pet store or perhaps garden store was my best bet for red cedar chips. I've confirmed this, and next time I'm up near the big pet store, I'll buy a bag, and then these will be finished.

As for teacher gifts, I knit the final pair of cabled mitts and made a bunch of cute notebook covers, so that's a big ol' check mark--done! My daughter made her bookmarks (no photo of those, though), but the boys haven't made their chosen handmade gifts yet--school takes up SO much time. My daughter and I also made recycled crayons, which are so cute I just had to include the photo here again. Then I decided to make something else for my youngest nephew--I have the material, but it's a sewn something, and getting a chance to use the sewing machine is still a Big Production around here.

So remember how I thought maybe I'd use beeswax to make some ornaments? I decided upon seashell candles instead, and those are done too.

That brings us to my own kids. I've spent the month knitting them hats and mittens, which are not for Christmas, of course, but still need making. I haven't made the spare mittens yet (although there are plenty of spares floating around from prior years anyway), since I took a break to knit my daughter a sweater just because (almost done, too!). In between, I started a boy dolly for her. This is what he looks like as of last night, in a poorly lit flash photo because he only comes out at night, of course. His stuffing hole needs to be sewn (I like to let it sit for a night so I can see if I'm still pleased with the stuffing level) and he needs a face, hair, and some overalls, I think. I also wanted to sew up some play felt envelopes for my daughter--I ordered and received the wool felt, I just need to trace out a template and get sewing and embroidering.

So, as of right now, I need to finish the dolly, make the envelopes, and make my nephew's gift. That sounds completely reasonable, right?! Unless I forgot something, or I see something else I really want to make for somebody...

How are you doing with your handmade holiday plans?

See more super creative people here!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

(How To) Make Quahog (Clam) Shell Candles

(When I had this idea, I assumed others had as well and went looking for tips. I found some good information here, here [PDF link], here, and from the local beekeeper of South County Honey who sold me the beeswax at the farmers' market.)

Materials: Quahog shells (that's what we call clam shells in Rhode Island), beeswax, wick (large cotton braided), hot glue gun, old pan (not used for cooking), and large tin can.

When I looked online for information on how to do this, I found lots of pieces here and there. I've put it all together in case you want to try this too. I'm not only loving the final product here, but I love how it's so very local. The shells were collected at a local beach, and the bees who made the beeswax live down the road.

To start, I rinsed any sand from the shells and boiled them gently, just to make sure they were clean. I used the same pan I later used for the water bath (same water, too). Once again, I borrowed the pan I long ago handed over to my kids' play kitchen. You don't want to use a cooking pan for this, just in case you get wax on it. Once the shells were dry, I used the hot glue gun to attach the lengths of wick to the bottom of the shells.

The beekeeper suggested large cotton braid wick. He said the melting point of beeswax is high and you need a large wick to create a large enough flame--something like that, anyway. I was able to find it locally in a craft store by the spool. I cut the lengths of wick generously; they'll get trimmed later.

Next I needed to hack off some of that big block of beeswax so I could put smaller pieces in a clean tin can and melt them. Easier said then done. Eventually I managed.

This is an old knife and not one I'll ever use for food again, clearly. Here it's holding the tin can down so it doesn't float around in the water bath. The PDF I linked to above had some useful tips for melting beeswax, including the melting point of beeswax (about 145 F). This is far below the boiling point of water (212 F), so I set the burner to medium and kept a close eye, turning it down as necessary. I stirred the wax (with that knife again) once it began to melt, too. Once it was completely melted--and it smelled so nice!--I poured it into the shells. Since the water wasn't boiling, the can wasn't too hot to handle with my bare hands, which made pouring the wax much easier.

So, the first batch of wax that took me soooo long to hack off the block? Yielded two candles. Sigh. Anyway, you can see I propped the shells just a bit to keep them level, and on that back one, I clothes-pinned the wick to keep it straight. On most of them I was able to carefully drape them and it was Good Enough. My oldest was home sick while I was doing this, and we were trying to figure out a way to rig up a wick-holder-upper, but we settled for Good Enough in the end.

I repeated this process until all the shells (13, some larger than others but none huge) were filled.

I have a corner of the original block of wax left. The beekeeper also told me that beeswax burns straight down, so as these burn it probably won't burn all the wax on the edges. He suggested two wicks in a large shell, but I ended up going with one in all of them. I think it'll be fine on the smaller shells; I'm not sure on the slightly bigger ones. There may be some unused wax around the edges--perhaps the recipients will collect it and make new candles?

Here are the candles, wicks not yet trimmed, in boxes on my slightly messy dining room table because it was time to feed the kids lunch and I needed my kitchen counter.

And one last photo, of a candle in hand so you can see the size.

I love these!! I made enough so that we'll have some for us, too. Because these are holiday gifts, of course--a very local handmade Rhode Island gift.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Project: Teacher Gifts

Have you been following all of Sew, Mama, Sew's Handmade Holiday posts this month? In the Passion for Writing post, they featured these adorable mini memo-book covers, created by Larissa at mmmcrafts. I've had it in my head to give the boys' teachers, aides, and so on little notebooks along with the coffee gift cards, and I thought I'd make recycled scrappy notebooks, because really? They are very, very cute. But then I wondered if it would look a bit snarky to take all those one-sided pieces of paper from school and send them back to school as gifts, even if a main focus of the school's mission is environmental stewardship. I fear I already walk a fine line. So when I saw these adorable notebook covers, I decided to go with it. I already had everything I needed--except the mini notebooks--right in the studio. (I love that. I love a well-stocked studio!!)

Because I am absolutely enchanted with Kraft card stock lately, that's what I used to print out the template. I made a couple on Friday night, and learned that the fastener has to be quite loose and that I didn't like using embroidery floss so much for the tie closure, because it frayed quickly. (I think waxing, as she suggests, would help there. I did that on the second one and it was better.) Then the next day I began making these eight assembly-line style.

Here's a notebook-in-hand photo to give you an idea of scale.

I just can't get over how cute these are! I used the same paper on the spines of all eight (assembly line!) and twine for the closure, because I thought it went well with the brown cover and the colors of the paper (which is from the "Down Under" assortment of these decorative papers). These took the weekend mainly because of the gluing. At each gluing step, I pressed the join between the pages of a heavy book (my art history book gets so much use in the studio for pressing leaves and gluing things) before moving on. For the flaps on the side with the fastener, I had to do one flap at a time, with the covers sticking out from the book at an angle. The fastener gets in the way of doing both flaps at once.

Some of the notebooks wouldn't fit into the book covers correctly. For five of the eight, I sliced a teensy bit off one of the notebook covers--front or back, doesn't matter-- and that did it. I swapped them around to check; it wasn't the covers, it was the notebooks. A wee bit off is all it takes, since these covers fit just right.

When I began, I was thinking I'd stamp the front covers with something, but I don't know. I kind of like them plain. What do you think?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Photos: Autumn Beach Walk

Beautiful beach
The waves come in, full of rocks and shells
More collecting--we can't help ourselves!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Preparing For The Countdown

December starts next week, which means it's almost time to fill the countdown calendar with surprises. I have some things I keep in mind when making my list:
  • I include things we're going to do anyway, like cut down the tree and then decorate it.
  • I make sure to ask the kids to tell me their must-do activities for the holiday season; those go on the cards, too.
  • I like handwritten cards, so if I need to change something, it's not a hassle. For instance, if I see a local activity coming up that sounds perfect, I'll trade out cards for that day; or if the weather doesn't cooperate on tree-cutting day, we'll adjust.
  • I like a calendar that allows me to peek, because I'm liable to forget what's coming up.
I printed out some simple business-card-sized rectangles in Publisher, using a green or red star border. I printed eight per page, for 24, but it'll be easy enough to print some spares in case I need to change anything. I also have some chocolate and I'll make sure each child gets some. (We have three kids, and the calendar has three colors--easy enough to assign and keep track!)

Here are some of the items I'm including in our countdown calendar this year. Some are more involved than others, and some--such as reading Christmas stories and listening to music--we will likely be doing all month long. However, experience has shown that even the simplest activities are special and exciting when packaged in a special envelope and opened one by one.

Hot cocoa & marshmallows for after-school snack
Make presents
Go ice skating
Wrap presents
Make luminaria for solstice
Listen to Christmas music
Watch Christmas specials
Take a drive tonight to look at holiday lights
Celebrate solstice
Bake cookies
Make countdown rings
Write letters to Santa
Send out cards
Plan Christmas dinner
Buy gifts for donation
Read Christmas stories
Make ornaments for our tree (I like this time capsule idea!)

Are you planning a countdown calendar this year? Do you have any suggestions for activities?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pinecone Stamp

From this...

to this.

I'm working on some ideas for gift tags and/or stamping onto Kraft paper for gift wrap. (I still love brown paper packages tied up with string best! But I want to add some stamps here and there.) This is a different carving block than I've used before--it's Speedball Speedy Cut. I find it very easy to carve but a little crumbly and probably not the best choice for anything with detail.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Family, Food, Football: Happy Thanksgiving!

And beautiful autumn flowers from our dinner guests!
We had a great afternoon with my husband's family, I didn't ruin the turkey (even though it cooked way faster than expected), and although I've seen just about no football yet today, I'm looking forward to sitting in one spot and watching the night game while I knit. (I hope I can stay awake!)

I am thankful for so, so much, including a husband who does dishes.

I hope your Thanksgiving (those in the US) was full of whatever you like best. Thank you for being a part of this little blog.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Finished Knit: Another Hat

I was hoping to share another handmade gift this week, but I did Something to my back that spread to my hips, and Tuesday was pretty much a complete loss, as I gave in to the inevitable and lay on the couch with my hot sock--a fleecy wool sock filled with rice and sewn shut, given to me during my first pregnancy. You put it in the microwave and then hold it against the pain, and the nice thing is it's portable, too. I've been cuddling with my hot sock for a couple days now, because I need to be functional for Thanksgiving tomorrow, when I am (drumroll, please!) roasting a whole turkey for the first time. I've roasted just the breast, and I've roasted whole chickens, so it's really just a difference in scale. Still, I hope I don't mess it up.

So, I didn't make candles this week, like I'd hoped, but the hot sock fits right behind my back while I'm knitting, so that's no problem. I made the girl a hat and mittens.

We woke up to a deluge Wednesday morning, so these photos are inside and poorly lit. She picked out black yarn for her mittens--Cascade Lana D'Oro, which is like knitting with butter it's so soft--and since I have some leftovers in the same yarn in purple and a deep rosy pink, I thought I'd do some stripes. But her mittens are so small that the stripes were narrow and the jog was really obvious and it pulled a little funny when I twisted in the new yarn...I didn't like it. So I frogged back and made the mittens all black.

Then I decided, since she wanted a new hat too (I am a slave to my children's woolly winter needs), to make another Vertigo Hat. This is a little smaller than a small, since I cast on fewer stitches (to make it shorter). I still made eight wedges though, four in black and two each in pink and purple.

So sorry for the poor lighting. It pains me a bit. Anyway, so the stripe sequence goes black-pink-black-purple-black-pink-black-purple, and I'm quite pleased with it. It's cute as anything, isn't it?

It's very handy, having matching hats for all three kids. Different colors, yes, but the side-to-side striping is distinctive enough that I can usually pick all three kids out in a crowd, plus it's obvious to other people that they go together. I can always locate my boys immediately at school pickup!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Doodle Rocks

I love the idea of painting on rocks. We pick up so many on the beach in the summer, and the flat, smooth ones seem to want some sort of decoration. And I've seen so many lovely ones, some of my favorites being those by JenMun(a). Mine are nowhere near that nice; hers are just so stunning. I'm still figuring out the proper tools. Jen at PaintCutPaste gave me a hint when she said she used a script brush for hers. Saturday, after parent/child art class, we actually (for once!) didn't have to rush right off to someplace else, so we went into the art store and I bought a script brush. I also bought some acrylic ink in white and black--Jen is using white ink for hers.

Well. The first two I did are on the right--the heart and the spiral. The black ink showed up fine, but the white didn't show up at all. I've since read that the brand I bought might have to be stirred with a toothpick to get the pigment to really mix in enough. I added to it with a silver metallic Sharpie. You can sort of see some white lines behind the silver lines surrounding the spiral--that's the ink. It kind of looks like dried milk, not quite what I was hoping for.

The three on the left were painted mostly with liquid acrylic craft paint. I really do love that stuff. It's cheap and accessible, which is not a bad thing when it comes to art supplies! The weeping willow-ish tree is all purple. The far left, which is supposed to mimic leaf veins, is red paint with some black ink added in after, and the "Choose to be Kind" is a mix of metallic Sharpie and red and purple acrylic craft paint.

I don't know German in the least, but by clicking on links in JenMun(a)'s post (and using Google translate, which is only so-so), I'm thinking she used fine-point markers for the drawings on her stones, after painting them first. I may try that next. In any case, as the title says, I was doodling here--trying it out, randomly adding things, figuring out the best way to approach it. I carved out a few minutes here and there over the weekend to play with paint and stones. I'm not done playing! I definitely like the last two best--the leaf veins and the weeping willow--and I will build from there.

Do you give yourself time to play with something new, with no idea how it might turn out?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why Handmade

Happy Monday! I'm over at Kidoinfo today talking about why it's so important to me to make at least some of my holiday gifts by hand. I know most people who read this blog also love to make things by hand--if you want to jump on over and chime in on why, please do! You can read the full article here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gratitude Tree

Let me start by saying I don't believe thankfulness should be confined to November or that we should only turn our thoughts to gratitude because Thanksgiving is approaching. I believe an attitude of gratitude is directly linked to the habit of happiness, and that is how I try to live my life. Many many years ago, during a difficult time, I told myself to find something to be happy about every day, no matter how small, and then write it down. When you turn this into practice, it becomes a habit of the very best kind. Thankfulness is there at the core of me; I recognize my life is full of loveliness, both big and small. I no longer need to write it all down.

But because we are hosting Thanksgiving this year, I wanted a centerpiece that visually represented in some way this life full of reasons to be thankful. So I decided upon a tree. I picked up a fallen branch in the yard, stripped it of its dead leaves, and placed it in a clean glass jar, held in place by pebbles and stones. (The bag of pebbles--the only purchase I made for this project--cost about $2 at a craft store. The larger stones at the top are from the beach.)

Using the maple leaf template I traced for the thankful banner, I sized them to fit some tags I already had (bought in an office supply store) and sandwiched the tag inside two leaves.

I had to cut the tag so it tapered, and the leaves are printed on and cut from brown Kraft card stock.

Once the glue dried, they were ready to be written upon and hung on the branches. If you want to make your own, the PDF file with the smaller leaves is here. The left leaves are a mirror image of the ones on the right, so when you cut and sandwich, the cutting lines will be hidden. You also could simplify this by punching a hole in a single leaf to tie a string on.

The tree sits in the middle of our table, with leaves and a metallic Sharpie next to it. Anytime someone is moved to do so, he or she can add a leaf to the tree.

"The house"
I think I'll also be using this leaf template to make our place cards for the dinner table. If our guests want to, they can add their leaves to the tree with something they are thankful for written on it.

For big things and small--the house and Legos, my marriage and coffee, the people in our family and imaginary friends--we are thankful, every day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What's On My {Knitting} Bookshelf

My newest knitting-related book purchase:

Coastal Knits by Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig. Why? Because I figure any pattern book with "coastal" right in the title is probably going to be a good fit for me, that's why! I didn't pre-order it, preferring to wait to see if any store near me would be stocking it (and thus not only buy local but save the shipping cost), and hurrah! I was able to buy it at one of my local yarn stores. This makes me doubly happy, because I'm not a very good yarn store customer, because I already have so much stinking yarn. (By all rights I should never buy sock yarn again.) So I'm happy for the opportunity to buy a pattern book, at least, from the local store, because it's the only place locally that sells Cascade 220, and I don't want it to go out of business. (When I need Cascade 220 because it's hat-and-mitten-knitting-season again, it's so nice not to have to wait for it.)

So, back to the book. I've read some grumblings here and there because it's not available to download, but I have to say, it's very lovely to look at, and I'm not sure an electronic copy would do it justice. (Although I wish it were spiral bound. All pattern books should be!) Alana lives in California, and Hannah in Maine, and they're both influenced by the natural environments around them when designing. Each pattern has an intro/inspiration/story board preceding it.

As someone who is drawn to and inspired and really grateful for the natural places where I live--also on the East Coast, a little further south from Maine--I like this addition. There are many lovely cardigans in this collection, but I'm thinking this is probably the one I'd make first:

The Water's Edge Cardigan, although I'd quibble with the assertion that it's a cardigan for all seasons. It looks like a late spring/early fall cardigan to me, and I'm not sure I wouldn't lengthen the sleeves even so, but then I'm shivering from October through April.

And then there's this little shawlette. I can't imagine when or where I'd wear this...

...but I want to knit it. It's the Sand and Sea Shawlette, and I'd need that exact yarn in those exact colors, simply to mimic the sand and sea. Every time I have my camera at the beach, I try to capture the chevron-like pattern the in-and-out of the waves leaves on the sand before it's washed away again, because I want to try to re-create the pattern in a knitted something that then flows into something else that mimics the foamy wave curling over the sand. But, right, I haven't quite gotten to that yet. Did you know, Alana and I taught ourselves to knit the same year (2002)? Sometimes I think I'm just plain doing something wrong, that I can't manage to do anything with my ideas... maybe if I'd taught myself to knit before I had the first kid...

So, that's what's on my {knitting} bookshelf. But the reality is I most likely won't be knitting anything from it anytime soon. I'm still working on mittens, and my daughter picked out yarn and then decided (when shown some options) that Like Sleeves For Kids would be a good use for it. And I kind of want to knit myself something crazy-stupid-easy to crawl into; it's been that sort of a week month.

Or maybe I'll just knit myself a little piece of sand and sea to tide me over...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Knitting Progress

Since my last knitting post, I've finished the green Vertigo Hat and whipped up a pair of mittens, too.

I really do love those greens together. Who knew? I need to make another pair of mittens in the other green, and a spare set for my oldest in grey, and mittens for my daughter, but before I began any of that, I started on the boy dolly for my daughter for Christmas.

Here he is, waiting to be felted. Then I'll need to embroider his face, give him some hair (I'm thinking some loops), and knit him a pair of overalls, probably from my head rather than a pattern. The pattern for the doll is f.pea's Scrappy Doll, which is actually a girl, so it comes with a dress pattern. I knit her as a girl last Christmas (you can see it here). This time around I made the head smaller because it's kind of ginormous as written. I also eliminated the thumbs, because I thought they came out sort of funny on the one I knit before.

So, the boy dolly. Last Christmas Santa brought my daughter, then two, a sweet little Waldorf-style doll, but at the last minute I decided to knit a doll, too, and they sat in the Christmas-morning stroller side by side. Before too long, my daughter decided the knit doll was the mama and the other one was the baby--she likes to pair things up that way. Sometime over the spring/summer, she let me know she needed two boy dollies, because in our family we have a mama, two boys, and a girl. Of course. So for her birthday, she received a Waldorf-style boy dolly, and the second boy dolly will come for Christmas. She likes to give her dollies band-aids and cover them with blankets and take them for wild, speedy runs through the house in the stroller.

See more creative folks here!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rocks + Leaves

It's been a rocky week thus far in the background here. When I get a chance, I've been cutting out more maple leaves--small ones this time. Focusing on getting those little leaf points just right, cutting out another and another and another, is soothing in its own way.

More on this project later, when it's complete. Before then, I have more leaves to cut.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How To: Make a Scrappy Recycled Notebook

This whips up so quick, yet it's so cute. The idea of using duct tape to cover the staples comes from Amy Karol's sketchbook tutorial (my kids and I each made one of those, and they're great for travel), and folding paper over so the printed side is on the inside is all over the place, but closest to me, it's in my copy of How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith. I wanted to do something quicker and easier than stab binding though, so I combined the ideas.

Materials: Sheets of 8x11.5" paper printed on one side (stuff you'd be comfortable recycling, not stuff that needs shredding); 8x11.5" card stock printed on one side; metal ruler (to help tear); x-acto knife (if you don't want to tear; also for the duct tape); duct tape--I used sheets because it's neater; stapler; binder clips (not shown); bone folder (also not shown, and optional)

Select 4-5 sheets of the paper (this is going to depend on how strong of a stapler you have) and tear them in half. If you want it neat-neat, cut it along the ruler's edge rather than tearing. You'll end up with 8-10 pieces of paper. Tear or cut a piece of the card stock in half, too.

Fold your sheets of paper in half with the printed side inside, and do the same for the card stock. (If you don't have any card stock to recycle, use new sheets. Perfectly fine.) All the print should be hidden now, so you just see the blank sides. Make sure your folds are nice and crisp. Your fingers should be fine for this with the paper, but a bone folder helps with the card stock. Arrange your folded paper in a pile (if you have some colored sheets, you might want to arrange them in a certain pattern, or maybe that's just me) with all the open edges to the left. Place one piece of folded card stock on the top and one on the bottom, open edges also on the left. All the folded edges should be on the right.

Make sure it's all lined up evenly, then place a binder clip around the side with the folded edges (this is where your book will be open) to hold it in place. Use a piece of scrap paper between the clip and the book so the clip doesn't leave marks. Using your metal ruler and a bone folder, gently score a line about 1/4" in on the raw edge side. This is your mark for the staples.

Staple it three times, one in the middle and one near each end. Just eyeball it; they'll be covered up soon anyway.

Slice off a piece of duct tape to fit. The sheets have a grid on the back, so it's easy to cut a straight line with the ruler and x-acto knife.

(See that little bit of card stock hanging off the bottom? I sliced that off right after I took this photo!) Again, I just eyeballed the width of the duct tape. You want enough to cover the staples plus some; mine are about 3/4" inch or so on each side of the book. Peel off the backing, line it up, and cover your front staples. Then bring it around the edge and cover the back staples.

Voila! Isn't that a cute way to recycle some one-sided paper? We have piles of it. Most of it came home in my sons' backpacks from the school office--I have doubles of a lot of notes, too! Now that you have your cute recycled notebook, you can decorate it any way you'd like.

I decided I wanted a leaf stamped on the second one, so I cut and carved one. I'm thinking these would make good gifts, too, for grocery lists or jotting down ideas. How will you decorate your quick & easy scrappy notebook?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cookie Break

I had one or more sick kids home all last week. (One went to school today, but my weak-lunged kid has a free pass for another couple of days. The doctor reckons he's not contagious but his horrible-sounding cough would get him sent home anyway.) I cheerfully and patiently made lemon-honey "tea," fetched juice, fluffed pillows, disposed of tissues, set up art projects, read aloud, buttered toast, and warmed soup. I leapt up several times a night to attend to a coughing child, then began my day by 5:30 am when the one healthy child woke up full of sparkle and gab. I rocked as a nursemaid, I tell you.

But Sunday afternoon, when I decided to try a new peanut butter cookie recipe, it was on the condition that nobody "helped" me. In fact, I didn't even want anyone in the kitchen. If the room had doors, I'd have closed them. You get it, right? And since they all wanted cookies, they agreed to my terms.

These are Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, from the December issue of Real Simple magazine. (I can't find the exact recipe on their website--this is close, but the recipe I used called for a cup of each sugar and no vanilla. Pity. I like vanilla.) Because I have celiac and we keep a mainly gluten-free kitchen, usually the baking recipes in mainstream magazines are Not For Us. But this recipe is gluten free as written; no substitutions or special ingredients needed. And we all liked them.

This afternoon after we picked up the one child who went to school today, I melted some chocolate chips and we drizzled chocolate on top. My teeth ached, but it's been that sort of day: peanut butter alone wasn't quite enough. Chocolate was required.

(My daily posting goal may yet be derailed by the sick child/lack of sleep combo, but I'm trying to hang on!)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Links

Back again with some interesting things I've pinned lately (and not-so-lately).

Source: via Pinterest
 Zaaberry posted this tutorial in May as a teacher gift. I agree, it would make a great gift, teacher or otherwise. She's got quite a few lovely tutorials on her site. I should make some of her toy bags, since my daughter also hoards and steals plastic Ziploc bags for toys (I know not why, but at least  now I know it's not unusual). I have to get over my fear of sewing vinyl first, I guess.

Source: on Pinterest

Then there's this amazing Creative Suitcase Tutorial that was featured on Whipup. Honestly, I'd like this one for myself, but if you have a favorite child and lots of time, what an amazing holiday gift this would be! I have children (no favorites, of course) but doubtful that I'd be able to claw out the time to make this. Isn't it wonderful, though? All those pockets! I'd have loved something like this as a child (did I mention I still would?), and it's just too fabulous not to share, in case anyone out there hasn't already come across it.
Source: on Pinterest

Speaking of finding time, I really, really want to set aside time to play around with a bleach pen. Look at the lovely linen table runners created by Dora at Show Tell Share. She also shares some tips on using bleach pens. (The problem I've been having is that almost all of my t-shirts have stuff printed on them, so I don't have an old beat-up solid color shirt to upcycle.) But I love these table runners; the colors are so brilliant, it really goes well with the bleaching. So simple, yet so pretty, and wouldn't it make nice napkins as well?

Source: on Pinterest

And my last link for today--these surprisingly (given the method) beautiful acorn cap jewels featured on the Kiwi Crate blog. It's just acorn caps, markers, and glue--really. Last year we had so many acorns that they covered the driveway. We drove on them, we crunched on them, they were everywhere. This year, not so much. We're going to have to go hunting for some, because truly, these are so pretty.

Happy Saturday, everyone!