Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Baby boy accessories

As promised, although I am posting this much later than I originally intended, here is my queue of sweet baby accessories (hats, socks, booties, toys) that I'd love to make for little one due this March.

And there you have it: twelve adorably kiddie patterns. But which to do first?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday organization

Don't you just love when two of your favorite things are molded into one? For me, blending holiday decorating and nerdy organization is like a little taste of heaven.

I came across the Christmas card wreath on Martha Stewart's website this fall and knew instantly that I had to make it. I'm one of those lucky people who is blessed by receiving tons of Christmas cards (not complaining- seriously, I love them, keep them coming!) but has zero place to put them.

This craft couldn't be easier. All you need are some clothes pins, an enormous embroidery hoop (which are super cheap, by the way), glue (the directions say to use wood glue, but I used a hot glue gun and it turned out fine) and a ribbon. That's all.

Here is what my wreath looked like on December 2.  I added a few non-holiday cards to help balance it out and create the effect of what it might look like later.

And here is what it looks like today, December 15.

Clearly, I should have purchased a bigger hoop!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments

Last year, my daughter and I started (what I hope will be) an annual-Christmas-ornament-making-day. She was only a year and a half at the time, so we made very simple (aka idiot-proof) felt ornaments from a Martha Stewart kit.

Now that Emma is older and much more into crafting, we made salt dough ornaments to give out to friends and family and, of course, add to our tree. I got the inspiration from another blog- a wonderful blog- called the Artful Parent, where the blogger shares nearly-daily crafts that she and her daughters enjoy. It seems like every time I read her blog, I say out loud, "Oh! I want to do that too!" Seriously, she is so clever. Check it out.

So the other day, she posted about making stamped salt dough ornaments.  Looked easy enough to me! Enter the mother-daughter ornament making for 2011:

The recipe is simple. Mix 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 and 1/2 cups of water together. Knead and roll the dough into a flat disc and chill. Then roll out the dough and cut your shapes using cookie cutters. Be sure to make a hole for the string! I've read several on several blogs that a straw works great for this task. However, I didn't have a straw, so I used the fat side of a chopstick and that worked just fine. Place the shapes on parchment paper on cookie sheets in a 225 degree oven for 3-4 hours. Once the shapes have cooled, start painting!

This recipe made 37 ornaments (about 2 dozen large and the rest small). Although I admit I had to toss a handful because the holes closed up on them, making it impossible to thread the yarn through. But  honestly, we didn't need this many ornaments so it was a great loss. I used Crayola washable paints (remember that my daughter is in the throes of toddler-hood = messy-hood), glitter and a sparkly yarn for decorating.

And after a morning of painting and glittering, this is what we ended up with!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Big 5

Yes, I've been away for quite a while. And I'm very happy to be back to share all that is fun and crafty in my life. But before I can go any further with this blog, I have to acknowledge something... or rather, 5 big somethings.

During the month of November, most people take the time to reflect on their lives and recognize all that they are grateful for. The Thanksgiving holiday forces us (in a good way) to be conscience of the things, experiences and most especially people who make our world, our bubble, a better and more special place.

The past month has been particularly difficult for me. My family suffered a tragedy, the loss of my dad, and so Thanksgiving came and went with very few words of gratitude shared. So today, I'd like to take a moment to recognize the 5 things/people/experiences I'm most grateful for, which have helped me get through the difficult days of late.

(and in no particular order)

1. Crafty friends: I am grateful for every single crafty friend, those I've known for decades and those I've known for months, who have introduced new skills, designs, fibers, and overall silliness (because we crafty ladies do get silly from time to time) into my life.

2. Appreciative customers: I am grateful for the orders placed on my patterns and more importantly the emails of questions, appreciation and excitement from happy knitters. You have brought a great big smile to my face each morning.

3. All things baby-related: It may sound odd, but to have a baby shower after a week, which included a funeral and Thanksgiving, was an absolute blessing. My dear friend (who is super busy with her own life of children, family and work) organized this for me and it couldn't have come at a better time. It's been a comforting experience to prepare for this new life (due in exactly 3 months). Picking out paint, making curtains, knitting itty bitty hats and feeling this little nudger's near-constant kicks and tumbles reminds me that life goes on in a beautiful way.

4. Knitting: The distraction of picking up my needles and rhythmically moving yarn from left to right, watching the fabric grow, has been incredibly soul soothing. I always felt that I put a little love into each stitch I made, especially if it was a knitted gift that I was making. Now, I can feel the difference. Knitting while grieving allows you to put a piece of love from your heart and relieve a little weight of the pain simultaneously.  It truly is a blessing to have this experience because knitting can be done in the quietness of your own home and thoughts or in the presence of friends and/or strangers.

5. The men in my life: I am exceptionally blessed to have three deeply caring men in my life: my two big brothers and my husband. No one has helped me breathe a little easier and better than these three fellas. It flat out sucks to lose a parent that we have loved for so long, but we will come out stronger and closer despite it.

Thank you.