Friday, December 4, 2009

sweet words

Can you see the snowflakes falling in this picture?

Sweet words from my girl..."it's like there are decorations falling from the sky!"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

half way there

I bought myself a little time...I got the first 12 stockings done. They look a little silly on only one half of the window, but I know myself. Non-centered stockings will drive me crazy and motivate me to finish the rest. Sydney is very excited about them, which also makes me excited to complete the project.

Now that Thanksgiving is over I feel the need to kick it into high gear with Christmas festivities. I think the advent activities will be good for all of us to relax and remember what the season is really about.
Happy December!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm thinking somewhere around this time (2 years ago) I started making miniature felt stockings to use as an advent calendar/garland. And to give myself credit, the stockings have been made for about that long. But they required numbers embroidered on them before they could really be used (why oh why do we do this to ourselves?) It is now my goal to have these ready to go for the 1st of December! I made a list of activities to put in them, and I will add some sort of little presents to fill out the rest of the days. Just in case anyway else out there is procrastinating I thought I would share what I came up with so far. Most of them are pretty obvious, but sometimes it helps to have a starting place. (Hopefully next week I will have pictures to share!)

Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
Have hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.
Wrap a Christmas gift for someone special.
Give to someone we don't know.
Make Christmas cookies.
Make a Christmas gift for someone special.
Make a Christmas CD and sing to it all day.
Watch a Christmas movie as a family.
Read 5 Christmas books as a family.
Make garland for the Christmas tree.
Eat supper with only the lights from the Christmas tree on.
Decorate your bedroom for Christmas.
Write a list of the things you are thankful for this Christmas.
Make Christmas cards and mail them.
Play a game as a family.
Invite friends over for supper.
Read the Christmas story as a family.

And please, don't wait until you have the most beautiful advent calendar to start the tradition like I did. Grab some paper bags and a sharpie and do it already. I'm pretty sure the memories will last longer than the embroidered stockings.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

confessions of a craft geek

Okay, so here's my confession. I'm hooked on Project Runway. I watch it hiding away in my craft room because no one else in my house will watch it with me. The designers work on their projects and I work on mine like we are all in the same room. (Hope I don't catch that nasty virus Carol Hannah had!) And honestly, I get so much done! For some reason Lifetime feels the needs to have 4 hours straight of the same 2 shows over and over and for some reason I feel the need to watch all 4 hours. Here's what I accomplished tonight! Three more checks marks on the Christmas to do list!

Friday, October 30, 2009

close knit

I've been knitting pretty much constantly lately. Thanks in part to this.
Close Knit is a knitting and crocheting group that my sister and I started at our church. We wanted a fun, relaxing place to meet people in our church and knit with them or teach them how to knit. (And yes, a logo was very necessary!) We have had a blast! We've been meeting weekly for about a month now and have been surprised and blessed by how much interest we've had in the group. We are focusing our knitting efforts on items to donate to a local homeless shelter. This is one of my contributions.

A scarf/neck warmer with coordinating hat.

Not only are we knitting for a good cause, but I'm cleaning out my yarn stash too!

I want you all to know that starting a group like this is completely out of my comfort zone. Meeting new people and leading a group are not exactly my strong points. But it's amazing what you can accomplish when you use your passion in a way that can help others. God has strengthened my confidence and stretched me as a person and I am very thankful for this opportunity. I'm not telling you this for a pat on the back, but to encourage you to step outside your comfort zone, try something new, volunteer. You'll never regret it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

enjoying the season

Hope you are doing the same.

Friday, October 16, 2009

ready to go...

I've got my knitting all packed up for our trip to the funeral. I could probably be gone for 2 months and not knit all that yarn...but you just never know!

A couple things that have caught my eye recently:

Why not to sew your kid's costume (yes NOT!) Personally I'm looking for any excuse I can find!

Transferring images from your inkjet printer to wood. Using supplies you already have on hand. Seriously. Haven't tried it yet, but my brain is spinning a little from the possibilities.
Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In Loving Memory

Great Aunt Nellie
August 12, 1909 - October 12, 2009

A very special lady who will be greatly missed. We love you Nellie!

Monday, October 12, 2009

the simple things...

For some reason I find Lego sorting strangely satisfying.

(Cute stackables courtesy of Ikea.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

book making

Okay. Time to get back to blogging. Don't even ask where I've been, or what I've been doing. Couldn't tell you, just wasn't feeling it I guess. But time to jump back in. And just in time for Christmas projects. I love to make gifts for my family and friends but it makes blogging so hard! So there will probably be lots of tiny sneek peeks around here for a while. But rest assured I am taking lots of pictures and will have a big Christmas roundup at the end of the year.

Here's a bit of what I've been working on. Books made from recylced kid's books. I've been on a kick with these for a couple weeks. And last week I hit the book sale at the thrift store - a grocery bag full for $2. Should keep me busy for a while! Sydney constantly scolds me for taking books apart (I've taught her well I guess!) But I am careful to buy the grossest worst books they have, the ones that are practically falling apart already that no one else in their right mind would buy. So, I don't feel too bad about it.

I'm no pro at book binding but I enjoy faking my way through it. I recently ran out of PVA glue and tried to subsitute everything else I had with no success. So that's one thing I do know...glue matters. I think I offered to do a tutorial on this once, but realized I didn't know what I was talking about then. Still not sure if I do but I would be happy to give some guidelines to anyone that's interested. It doesn't have to be quite as technical as you might think.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Second Hand Summer

I haven't shared my thrifted/garage sale finds in a while, so I thought I would show you them all in one post. Ready?

Unique wooden candle holder (the wood theme is pretty constant throughout.)

Round mirror which I love and only paid a quarter for!!

Another wooden piece, this holds Sydney's latest "nature hike" find.


Interesting white pot. The previous owner used it as a flower pot, but it has measurements on the side like a mixing bowl. Not sure what I'll do with it but it was too pretty to pass up.

Wooden bowls. I have a certain attraction to wooden bowls.

The softest towels ever.

Magnet board/calendar for Sydney. Luckily we have the same taste in old junk! I spotted this expecting a huge price tag and was shocked it was only $1.

Not pictured...miscellaneous books for both Sydney and I, mini molds and tart pans for her kitchen, and a couple zippers. Crossing my fingers for more good luck!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Growing Up

Today my baby girl goes to her first day of preschool. I'm not sure who is more excited/nervous. She is growing up way too fast. And some days not fast enough. I guess I'm just another mom trying to stop the clock and enjoy every moment.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gloves, or glove I guess

I knit myself a glove! This has been one of those projects that just seemed way too hard to tackle. All those fingers, and worse yet the space in between them...I just wasn't sure I was ready for them. But I don't really like to wear mittens. I end up taking them off too often - to find my keys, to buckle my kid in the car, etc. So I determined it was time to make gloves. And honestly it wasn't that hard. They were rather time consuming knitting all those fingers in the round, but not really hard. Granted I have only made the one glove. We'll see how it goes, I might have a new appreciation for mittens!

A couple details...
Yarn: Reynolds Cricket, a rayon/wool blend that is really soft, knit on size 3 needles.
Book: Knitting New Mittens and Gloves which has a couple really cute patterns including some mittens I'm looking forward to making! :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More Gifting

It seems like I am in gift making mode around here...I should really keep it up and get going on Christmas gifts. For now though I am focused on birthdays! My nephew turned 6 last week. I purchased part of his gift, but decided he needed just a little handmade love too. He has a very drafty closet in his room so I made him a felted snake to keep the cold (and the monsters) out of his room. It was a huge hit! Of course, as soon as Sydney saw she insisted on one of her own - in pink of course!
Each snake took about an hour from start to finish. The most time consuming part was picking out which sweaters to use! They are both stuffed with a combination of poly-fil and rice and weigh just enough so they seem pretty real. I really didn't anticipate the level of play these were going to endure. If I made them again I would reinforce them a bit more. Also Sydney's snake's head was made from a cabled sweater that wasn't felted far enough, so from time to time a piece of rice escapes. Someday I might take it apart and line it, but so far she hasn't let it out of her sight long enough to accomplish this. My nephew's snake was made with pieces that were 12" wide, and was meant to be used as a draft blocker. Sydney's was only 8" wide because I knew she would mostly play with it. As an added bonus these work great as a neck pillow in the car for both kids and grownups!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baby Julia

I finished the gift for baby Julia, with plenty of time as we haven't been able to go meet her yet. I decided on this sweet hat pattern from the book One Skein by Leigh Radford. I used the softest bamboo yarn (on clearance at my LYS.) It turned out cute, but super tiny. I'm going to have to give it to her quick so she gets a chance to wear it. The first 18 rows of this hat look like a jumbled mess until you get done with them, but then they pretty design finally shows up and it all seems worth it. The rest of the hat is a breeze. I also made this very simple baby quilt. It's about 40 inches square, made with simple fabric from JoAnn's with a vintage chenille bedspread backing. With the heavier than usual backing and the batting in the middle, the quilt turned out pretty thick and heavy - perfect for a play mat I think.

Gift giving is one area that I try really hard to stay on budget mostly by using what I already have to make something. I bought all the fabric for the top specifically for this project instead of using my stash though (just nothing baby-ish in there.) But, I bought enough fabric for 2 baby quilts, and used a coupon so the total cost per quilt was around $6 since I already had the batting and the chenille on hand. I already pieced the other top, so it will be a quick finish when the next baby girl comes around. I think it turned out to be a special gift at a great price.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baby Knitting

Over the weekend our little family spent a significant period of time in the car to travel to a very special lady's 100th birthday. Not only did we listen to the entire audiobook of The Swiss Family Robinson, but 10 hours in the car provides an ample amount of knitting time. I finished two sets of booties (which just need some buttons, I'll share them soon!) On Monday I was still on a roll with the knitting and whipped out this super cute baby hat (here's the ravelry link to the pattern, or the direct website link.) Some friends of ours are expecting and don't know what they are having so I figured I would make a set for a boy and another for a girl and just have an extra set for any future babies that come along. So, the boy set is done! Feels good to be ahead of the game. The baby is due in a couple weeks so hopefully I will have time to finish up something girly.

ETA: Okay, you knew this was going to happen, right? My husband just called. Our friends had their baby last night - it's a girl! Time to get busy!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A little something exciting...

I think I am finally ready to share a little exciting news with you (No mom, I'm not pregnant.) I got published! Two of my projects are in the latest book in the Pretty Little Series by Lark Publishing, Pretty Little Presents! I've been waiting to share the news until the book was in my hands - didn't want to jinx it or something! But now its finally here. Check it out!

My projects, a flower baby rattle
Eek! That's really my name!

and fabric napkin rings

The book as a whole is really cute and has some projects I will definitely be trying out. I'll try to do a more thorough review soon, but for now you'll just have to gaze at my projects!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A little freshening up

It was time to freshen things up in my living room. Remember this? Seems art in this spot has a shelf life of about a year. Anyway, here's my latest version.

I like that I can change things up a little just by swapping out a few pictures rather than starting from scratch. We'll see how long this one lasts!

A few notes, not that you were going to ask, just because I can actually remember right now! From bottom left, going clockwise:

  • original art from Sydney displayed on a magnet board made with metal roof flashing
  • a matryoshka doll from my grandma displayed on a shadow box shelf
  • scrapbook paper in a shiny frame
  • Sydney crossing a bridge last summer in Alexandria, MN
  • Looking up a tree, last summer, Edward Lake, MN or was it Lake Edward?
  • Fabric on embroidery hoop
  • Lily pads at the lake last summer
  • Sydney's folded hands at 3 days old
  • An abandoned bird's nest we found in the yard this spring, displayed in a shadow box
  • My sister's photography
  • Patterned paper from Paper Source

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Birthday Kitchen: Before & After

My how the time flies! I can't believe I've been away from here for so long, and I also can't believe my baby turned 4 this week. We had a great party over the weekend with lots of family, food and fun. We finished Sydney's kitchen just in the nick of time, and I even got my house clean before everyone showed up!

The story of the kitchen:
I've wanted my daughter to have a play kitchen for as long as I've had a daughter. We had one when I was a kid that my dad made and I have many great memories of playing with it. I've been scouring the Internet for great deals, but man those things are expensive! I knew it could be made, but my construction partner (my husband) was not really on board. After much pleading he finally relented after I gave myself a deadline - one week to find a second hand table to start with or I would give up the dream (until Christmas at least!)
I bought this table at a thrift store for $20 that Thursday. I spent more than I thought it was really worth, but it was sturdy, the perfect height and at least partially made from real wood. The other cabinet that was going to be the fridge was purchased at an auction sale several years ago for $12.
As so it began. Lee added sides and a back to the table and an extremely sturdy shelf to the inside. I primed and painted both pieces with paint I already had on hand. I chose black so it would at least somewhat "go" with our family room where I wanted it to live and to match the fabric I had already chosen for the skirt under the sink.

We "installed" a faucet we found for $2 at a Habitat for Humanity Restore* and new knobs that turn, a towel bar on the side, oven knobs, a long fridge like handle for the cabinet and cut a hole for the bowl sink in the table.

The oven door I made from wool felt. It has a velcro door with a vinyl window. We thought for a long time about making a real door for the oven, but decided this was a much easier, cheaper, safer method.

So here is the breakdown:
$20 Table
$12 Cabinet (although since I was cleaning out the garage I think this shouldn't count)
$ 2 faucet
$43 for oven knobs, faucet knobs, towel bar, shelf, tension rod and misc. supplies
$ 3 acrylic high gloss spray finish (my black paint was eggshell so this gave it a nice shiny, cleanable finish)
$ 6 stainless steel bowl
$86 Total Cost (not including a whole Saturday and several evenings of labor)

Used black paint, silver spray paint, screws, plywood, fabric, felt, and velcro already on hand.

And...the finished product.
I love it! And thankfully so does Sydney. She was also lucky enough to receive some super cute accessories from a crafty friend and a crafty Nana!
A little funny story for you in closing...I purchased several plastic baskets for Sydney to organize her food, dishes, etc. in her kitchen. Monday morning I was trying to help her get everything set up. She insisted we leave one basket empty under the sink which I insisted was where her dishes should go. She informed me that was the dishwasher! Of course! Why would she think she should wash dishes in the sink - I never do! :)
* If you have a local Habitat for Humanity Restore be sure to check it out! Not only are you supporting a great cause, but they have some great finds there for super cheap!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Memory in Fabric

My kiddo's birthday is coming up soon (she'll be FOUR already!) so I've been trying to get a little head start on some gift making.

I first saw this idea here months ago, via the Craft Magazine blog I believe. They have been on my mental to do list ever since and it feels good to cross them off. I get a little sick of all the commercial toys out there...can you even buy Memory without some sort of TV show or Disney character on it? Regardless, what could be better than fabric?

They were very easy to make [cut cardstock 3"x 6", cut circle, create fold line, coat with rubber cement, place fabric, fold and press firmly. Repeat many many times.] I used a fiskars circle cutter set at 2 inches. Also would be a great reason to invest in a large circle punch which would have many other uses. I think these will be one of the standby kid gifts that I make ahead of time and have on hand. Wouldn't it be fun to do themed versions with Christmas fabric?

I'm not sure how long these will last. They are just cardstock after all, but I'm hoping the little pouch will help increase their lifespan a bit.

P.S. I just got back from the thrift store with the table I've been searching for. Check back soon, I'm going to need your help to transform it into a kitchen! I am really excited about this project!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

My return to the thrift shop!

It's not that I've been avoiding the thrift stores lately. Just haven't been in the mood lately I guess. But I decided yesterday I was on a mission this week to find a piece of furniture that could serve as the beginning of a kitchen for Sydney. So off we went. Of course I didn't find what I was looking for...

Instead I found this fun chair for only $4. Its in good shape and pretty comfortable. I just need to find it a home before my husband comes home! For some reason he thinks we have too many chairs.

And the ultimate in thrift store finds...Japanese fabric!! I think its adorable. I especially love the odd little sayings.Hmm, burning hot fried eggs don't sound that great to me, but whatever! I paid more than I normally would for it, so I'm considering selling a couple yards of it just so it doesn't hurt so bad! If anybody is interested in a little Japanese cotton fabric just let me know.