Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year-end catch-up

Due to other priorities, I haven’t had much time for crafts in the last couple of months. The biggest thing I worked on was Child Two’s hippy-girl Halloween costume. Fortunately it was an open-ended project; what got done got done, and it was fine. Even better, the only thing we had to buy for it was a pair of jeans and a ball of Handicrafter cotton yarn. Everything else we already had.

I used this pattern for her hat. It was quick and easy. Here's Child Two enjoying hot chocolate and fireworks after a busy evening of trick-or-treating.


Child Two drew on the jeans with a chalk pencil and then I spent many hours surrounded by stitch dictionaries and my boxes of floss as I embroidered them.

This is the first kind of needlework I ever learned, back when I was her age, and it was fun to just go for it without a pattern or much of a plan. She was so happy with how they turned out that she now wears them all the time. We’re going to add more embroidery to them, and I just might start a pair for myself.

Other than that, I’ve gone to a few classes I had signed up for before work took over my life: a mother-and-daughter workshop on English paper piecing, a workshop on bookmaking (the paper kind, not the betting kind), and a class on making bath products. I haven’t had time to use what I learned yet or to do much else except start a pair of fingerless gloves for myself, but now that my workload is more manageable, I have lots of plans for the new year.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Origami cards

Last week I needed two cards to include in some swap packages for a stitching group I’m in. Even though I am busy with work, slogging my way through the Manuscript That Never Ends at a lightning-quick rate of three pages an hour, I couldn’t bring myself to use store-bought cards. It’s the peer pressure, you know. The stitchers in this group are so talented—and not just at needlework. Some of the cards I’ve received have been amazing. I couldn’t send a mass-market card, now, could I? The shame!

I braved the mess in the craft room to look through some books and decided to make these origami cards from Klutz’s Handmade Cards (yes, I realize that Klutz kits are meant for kids, but this klutzy adult has been known to buy them for herself). While I was at it, I made one for the senior I write to through Senior Angels, since over the years he’s seen every note card I have in my extremely large stationery collection.

Although these cards are simple and not nearly as impressive as the ones I’ve received, they were quick, easy, used stuff I had on hand, and turned out well enough that I wasn’t ashamed to send them. And when I’m old and gray and finally finished with the Manuscript That Never Ends (I know it doesn’t make sense to be finished with something that never ends, but after several intense hours of sloooow editing of someone else’s writing today, I’m not too picky about my own), maybe I’ll finally find the time to get some stitching done.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Licit soap deal

After taking a soapmaking class last week, I put in an order with the teacher for what I need to make two more batches of soap as well as some shampoo (I’m getting so self-sufficient that soon I will be hewing my own wood and drawing my own water from the forest in our backyard. Somebody please stop me when I start making cookies out of tree bark). The teacher lives in another part of the Lower Mainland but comes to this area fairly often, so we agreed that the next time she was going to be over my way, she would bring me my order.

Tonight I got a call. She was just leaving her place and heading to my town. Could I meet her in half an hour at a certain gas station? Twenty minutes later, I ran out the door, yelling to my husband that I had to go meet my supplier in a gas station parking lot.

I really crack myself up sometimes. My kids, though, who are used to me doing strange things (like taking pictures of jam in the rain), didn’t bat an eye about the fact that I was (a) very excited about going to pick up soapmaking supplies and (b) pretending it was an illicit drug deal.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Two Ladies on a Bench

Yesterday afternoon a friend and I were sitting on a bench on the school playground, waiting for our kids to finish cross-country practice. I was crocheting a cap that is part of Child Two’s Halloween costume and telling my friend about an absolutely-from-scratch soapmaking class I’d been to the night before and how I could hardly wait until tonight to take the soap out of its mould. She was telling me about the sweater she’s knitting—she hasn’t knit much since the leg-warmer days of the 1980s—and how she stayed up until 1:00 the night before because she just couldn’t stop.

As Child Two and I walked home, another mom—one I don’t very well—stopped me to admire the felted bag I was carrying my project in. She asked me if I’ve ever felted (I haven’t. I bought the bag at a fundraiser for Grandmothers to Grandmothers. When I’m a grandmother, I’m definitely joining a group like this) and told me I just had to try it because it’s so cool.

When you’re a crafty person, life is full of joy, isn’t it?

The soapmaking class was a lot of fun, especially because I got to wear goggles and rubber gloves and use a thermometer and all sorts of scientific stuff. Remember that group of girls who set fire to the table in 8th-grade science class? I was one of them. The only part of chemistry I ever liked was balancing chemical equations, and that was only because it’s like math and I was way better at math than at science. Who knew chemistry could be so enjoyable—and result in something more useful than a charred table, an exasperated teacher, and three very embarrassed girls?

I haven’t made a Halloween costume since Child Two was young enough to dress up as Winnie-the-Pooh. In many years, we’ve been lucky enough to get hand-me-downs. As for the other years? Well, you know that mom you’ve seen rifling through the slim selection of costumes less than a week before Halloween because somehow—even though the stuff has been in the stores for months and even though the year before she vowed that she would not be doing this again—she’s completely forgotten to buy costumes? That’s me.

This year Child Two wants to be a 1970s girl. She’s inspired by her love of the Julie series of American Girl books (if you’ve got a daughter, try these books. Each series is about a girl in a different era in U.S. history). Child Two loves all of the series that she’s read so far, but she’s drawn especially to Julie. Julie, who has long, straight blond hair, lives in San Francisco. In 1974, she’s 9-turning-10 and her parents are divorcing. Her best friend is a different race from her. All of this is appealing to Child Two because in 1974 I had long, straight blond hair (which I still grieve for); I lived just outside San Francisco; I was 9-turning-10; my parents were divorcing; and my best friend was a different race from me.

I don’t know how many years of Halloween costumes we’ve got left—or at least, how many years before I’m screeching “You’re wearing that? Put some decent clothes on!” and she’s rolling her eyes and slamming her door. Child One has stopped trick-or-treating and Two may not be far behind. So I’m happy to help her with a costume this year.

I’m crocheting her a little Juliet cap. I haven’t found a pattern with flower motifs like Julie’s (if you know of a pattern, I'd love to hear about it), so Two’s cap will be plainer, but I’ll put a shell edging on it. We’re going to buy some flare jeans this weekend and she’ll design something for me to embroider on them. She’s already got a shirt that will do if I don’t have time to make one, as well as a denim purse and lots of peace buttons. I have my mom’s “War is not healthy for children and other living things” pendant, which Child Two will wear on a leather string just like her grandmother did decades ago.

The two best things about this costume? First, she’ll be able to add all the new stuff to her regular wardrobe. And second, I won’t be one of those moms desperately searching for a costume at the last minute.

So over the next few weeks, as Two runs along the forest trails, I’ll be sitting on the playground bench with my crochet hook or my embroidery needle, talking to my friend about the things that make up our lives right now—knitting and gardening and soapmaking, husbands and kids, and work (with a little gossip thrown in, I’m sure).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Insight from the young

Lately I’ve been trying to make more time for what I think of as “ponytail activities”: those things, like baking, crafts, and gardening, that I tie my hair back for. The other morning, Child One commented on the fact that I’ve been doing a lot more cooking and gardening recently. Then he added, “And you seem happier these days.”

You know what? He’s right.

I knew that I missed these things. But I didn’t realize just how good they were for my soul—or for my kids.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #27--Faded glass

Taken April 25, 2008, in North Vancouver, BC.

This photo is also being posted for Carmi's Thematic Photograpic theme of the week, faded.

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #26--Why I've been so quiet lately (Trip 1)

Taken August 15, 2008, in Roberts Creek, on the Sunshine Coast, BC.

This photo is also being posted for Carmi's Thematic Photograpic theme of the week, colorful.

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see
my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What I've been doing with my summer vacation

Although it may seem like there’s been no creating going on here lately, I have been doing at least a little bit.

Inspired by the book Journal Revolution, Child Two and I made calendar journals in July. Her theme was flowers; every day she found or drew a picture of a flower.


I used words cut from magazines and junk mail to make a note about my day.


As I mentioned in a post on Always an Editor, doing this calendar journal helped me notice that I spend quite a lot of my time in rather serious pursuits, so I’m paying more attention to doing something fun or relaxing every day. The calendars themselves were a lot of fun to make and, apparently, they also make a fine place to rest.


I’m using my August calendar to remind me of one of the items on my list of things I’d like to be doing. I studied French for many years in school, and although I’ve never been truly fluent, I could understand it and make myself understood pretty well, and it was always one of my favorite subjects. (I am such a language dork that I actually love doing grammar exercises. Is that sad?) I'd really like to improve my French again; I'm determined to go to France one day, even if I'm 85 and tottering around with two canes by the time I get there. So this month I am reading something in French and recording one new-to-me word on my calendar journal every day.

I spent much of last weekend working on lined curtains for Child One’s room. I’ve had the fabric for ages (where ages = years), but for some reason I was hesitant to get going on them. I’m not sure why I was intimidated, considering I’ve made curtains lots of time and Child One is not one to demand perfection (or to even notice imperfection, for that matter). Part of the problem was not having a place to spread everything out, but now that that’s been solved, I’ve decided that I must get them done because I won’t settle down to any other sewing projects until I do. I’ll be too busy over the next two weekends to work on them, but given how long he’s been waiting, a couple of weeks more is nothing.

As usual, I’ve had some help,

although I’m sorry to report that there were some arguments over whose turn it was to guard the fabric.


I had hoped to spend a lot more time being creative this summer, but instead I’ve made major progress in my work and much-needed changes to how I run my business. It hasn’t been the lazy, freewheeling summer I’d hoped for, but the result is a much more manageable workload. If I stick to these changes, I won’t be working nights and weekends regularly and my stress level will drop, so in the long term I will get the creative time and energy I crave.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #25--Seasonal rows

Taken August 5, 2008, in Vancouver, BC.

This photo is also being posted for Carmi's Thematic Photograpic theme of the week, patterns.

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thematic Photographic--Signs

Taken August 13, 2007, in San Francisco.

Carmi's thematic photographic theme this week is signs. I've posted another one on Always an Editor, along with links to the other sign photos I've posted in the past.

Of all the sign photos I have, this is one of my favorites. I keep a copy hanging above my desk to remind me--especially on those days when my life seems an endless cycle of laundry, driving, and editing other people's writing--that the steps I'm taking are leading somewhere and that the path is as important as the destination.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Simple pleasures

Last Saturday, just a few days after writing a post on my other blog about the sad fact that I rarely have reason to put my hair back in a ponytail anymore, I went to our organic produce market, as I do most weeks. On a whim, I bought an enormous amount of gorgeous local blueberries. When I got home, I put my hair back, dug the canning equipment out from the shed, got rid of all the dead spiders, washed off the five-inch layer of dust, and made blueberry apple jam.

I’d forgotten how much I love this: filling up the huge canning pot, chopping the fruit, watching the honey stream out of the measuring cup, taking the jars out of the boiling bath and setting them on towels, hearing them seal with a satisfying ping. All week long the jars have sat on my counter—it’s been raining and there hasn’t been enough natural light in the house to take pictures without the flash—and I keep picking them up, admiring their color.

I finally gave up on waiting for a brighter day. Embracing the weather, I rolled up my jeans and went outside barefoot—it is summer, after all—and took pictures with this poor sodden bouquet, which has been sitting in the rain all week. I have to say that taking clear photos while squatting and holding an umbrella in one hand (to protect the camera, not me—I was already soaked) was not so easy.

It’s a sign of how strange my kids know me to be that when I said to Child One, “I’m going outside to take pictures of jam in the rain,” he said, “Okay” without batting an eye. Just another one of those things Mom does.

Simple pleasures like this used to be part of just about every day for me. The smell of fabric under a hot iron, pausing in my knitting to look at the rows of even stitches, writing a letter to a friend (by hand!), eating cookies still warm from the oven, or kneading bread dough and feeling a connection to the millions of women who have spent countless hours doing the same thing—these things might seem boring to some, but they grounded me, slowed me down, and quieted my monkey mind.

My goal is that by the end of my Year of Living Differently, I will have once again built room in my everyday life for these simple pleasures.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #24--Windows

Taken July 18, 2008, in Kelowna, BC.

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see
my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #23--Pears

Taken July 19, 2008, in Kelowna, BC.

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Giveaway winners

I've drawn four winners for my very small giveaway.

But first, a question: Whose bright idea was it to schedule a dentist's appointment for 7:00 this morning?

The winners are Hanna, Jess, Eva, and Jean. I've emailed all of you for your addresses.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #22--Driftwood frame

Taken November 21, 2oo7, in West Vancouver, BC.

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A very small giveaway

I've been thinking lately that I would love to find more craft supplies that are environmentally friendly and/or fairly traded. Well, Child Two and I were in Ten Thousand Villages recently and we saw these packages of skeletal leaves, from Salay Handmade Paper Industries, that are made by women in the Philippines who are paid a fair price for their work. I've seen these types of leaves in craft stores, but not fair-trade ones.

It's hard to tell just what they look like from these stunning photos (it's not easy to take pictures of a stack of paper-thin leaves in a plastic envelope on a sunny day). They're very, very thin and you can see all the veins in the leaves. They're used in collages, scrapbooking, cardmaking, and decoupage (on the second page of Salay's "gifts and novelties" section, there's a picture frame decorated with them). The guy who sold them to me told me about a woman who made a mobile out of them. I have four packages: green, dark blue, teal blue, and red. It looks like there are eight or ten leaves in each package.

If you'd like to win a package, leave a comment here. If there's one color you desperately want, please say so. I'll leave this contest open for a week or so and then draw one or more winners randomly and contact them for their addresses. This is open to anyone, anywhere. Cat not included.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Crafts using old magazines

On Always an Editor today, I posted about reusing magazines. I thought I would post some links to projects here. But first I'd like to give a plug to Laura of Little Orange Kitchen, who makes wonderful things from reused paper. I'm eagerly awaiting a wallet I recently ordered from her Etsy shop.

Here are some projects that use magazine pages:
Woven purse
Bowls
And more bowls
Boxes
Coiled baskets
Coasters
Paper beads
Decoupage Easter eggs
Handmade postcards
Homemade stickers
Envelopes

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #21--Jellyfish

Taken October 7, 2007, in Vancouver, BC.

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thematic Photographic: Sky

Taken December 28, 2006, in Vancouver, BC.

I'm posting this photo for Carmi's weekly Thematic Photographic project. The theme this week is "sky."

This picture, like my other entry this week, was taken on a sunny winter's day.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #20--Through the padeye

Taken June 21, 2008, aboard the Ecuadorian tall ship Buque Escuela Guayas, docked in North Vancouver, BC. Another picture from this ship can be seen in last week's WW post on my other blog, here.

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Calendar journal

I recently bought the book Journal Revolution and I’ve been eagerly waiting for a new month so I could start a calendar journal. Basically, you start with a blank calendar page and fill in a square every day in whatever way you want.

I’ve got several ideas for themes, but being a word person that’s what I’m starting with. For a while I’ve been collecting words from magazines, catalogues, and junk mail to use in collages and other craft projects. For each day in July, I will find a word that has something to do with my day and glue that into the square.

Child Two is joining me this month. She’s chosen a flower theme. She’s planning to fill each square with a flower image—cut and glued, stamped, or hand drawn. If she enjoys it and decides to keep going, I’m sure we’ll see a cat theme sooner or later.

I’ll post some pictures once we’re further along.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thematic Photographic: Wood (again)

This is another entry for Carmi's weekly Thematic Photographic theme.

Taken today, June 29, 2008, in North Vancouver, BC.

Today we went for a walk at Maplewood Flats, a wildlife conservation area. It's both an unattractive and a beautiful place, depending on where you are. Some of the viewpoints look out over the chlorine plant next door or the mudflats. But there is a lot of simple beauty there, too, like these birdhouses (is that the proper term, Margerie, or are they nesting boxes?).

We didn't see many birds today, nor did we see any bears, although we saw where they had crashed through a fence to get to the berry bushes. Nor, thank goodness, did we see any cougars which a sign warned us were in the area. But we got within a couple of feet of this lovely creature:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thematic Photographic: Wood


I'm posting this photo for Carmi's Thematic Photographic theme of wood: a wooden rowboat on a sunny winter's day.

For another wood photo, see my other blog.

Taken December 26, 2006, in Vancouver.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

CD cover cards

Have we done some actual creating at our house after all this time? Unbelievable!

Today my kids have their last music lessons for the year so we are following an annual tradition we started several years ago, making thank-you cards for their teachers by photocopying the front and back covers of a CD and gluing them onto cardstock. The kids each choose a CD with a song they've learned this year. As you can see, Jamie approves of their choices.

Today is also the last day of school and--although our weather is no indication of it--summer vacation has officially begun. This means that bags and boxes of partially used school supplies have come home, adding to our mountain of art supplies. Here at our house, we are up to our eyebrows in supplies of all kinds, including almost every type of writing and drawing implement from Blo-Pens to smelly markers to watercolor pencils to oil pastels. Child Two and I have set a goal of using each kind of art supply at least once this summer. I hope we'll reduce the clutter while making some fun projects that we can share with you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #19--Ride if you dare

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thematic Photographic: Glass

I'm posting this photo as part of Carmi's "Thematic Photographic" project. The theme this week is glass. At the time this was taken, I was taking a picture a day for my 365 project (now my Might-Reach-365 project). I hadn't taken a picture yet on this day and desperately looked around for something to use. I snipped some sweetpeas from my garden and lined up these jars on the windowsill.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #18--Zinnia

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday # 17--An unexpected encounter

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's, see wordlesswednesday.com.

Friday, June 6, 2008

All work and no play

If you read my other blog, you might know that in June I’m trying something different: monotasking. Like most mothers, I am capable of amazing feats of multitasking. I’m also a freelancer, and in my work it’s very difficult to schedule jobs with much accuracy. Often the projects I have so carefully laid out on my calendar come crashing together in a big heap. Add to this the fact that my schedule is flexible and I have a hard time saying no, and you end up with someone who is always trying to do several things at once—work, helping my mom, volunteering, appointments, and so on and so on and so on.

I have been fully booked with work for a long time. I keep thinking it’s a temporary thing that I have to muddle through and then it will calm down, but I’ve been muddling for several years. Right now I’ve got three large editing projects going on in addition to some smaller ones—not to mention writing projects of my own, which are constantly placed on the back burner (isn't it funny how we say "not to mention" as a way of mentioning something?). Because I’m always worried about letting people down, I try to work on everything at once. Instead of making me efficient, this actually slows me down and makes me worry more. So I try harder to get everything done at once and the cycle continues.

During my ridiculous number of years at university, I constantly felt that when I was not working I should be working. And when I was working on Project A, I should be working on Project B. The work was always right there and there were few boundaries between school and the rest of my life. Self-employment can be like that too. Because I don’t have a regular work day and my work time is often interrupted, I feel like I’m never getting enough done. Between my years in school and my years as a freelancer, I have been living this way—never fully focused on what I’m doing and always worried about what I’m not—for over 20 years (I feel so old every time I say something like that).

You know what? It’s not a healthy way to live. So I’ve decided that right now the majority of my energy has to go toward work. I need to get these three big projects done—for the clients’ sake, of course, but also for the good of my own soul. Once I do, I can build the boundaries I need. I’m cycling through the projects, working on just one each day and trying my best to ignore the others until it’s their turn. I’m making significant progress and, to my surprise, I’m finding new enthusiasm for my work. I can also see that in the near future I’ll have more time for the things I love to do and because these projects won’t be weighing me down, I’ll be able to enjoy them more.

But as the saying goes, all work and no play makes this a dull blog (well, it doesn’t go quite like that). I haven’t started my sweaters yet—not even the swatches. My sewing machine is covered by a pile of almost-done baby blankets. I haven’t had much time to wander around the Internet and look for weekly inspiration. I hope the two of you who read this will bear with me. If the coming weeks are as productive (workwise) as this one has been, I’ll soon be crafting more than I have in years.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #16--Bloom



For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's see wordlesswednesday.com.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The mosaic game

I've seen this game on at least two blogs this week, and since I've spent most of this sunny Saturday doing the dreaded grocery shopping and working (oh, what a life I lead), I decided to take a break and try it out.

You enter your answers to a bunch of questions into Flickr's search engine and then make a mosaic out of them. You can find the questions and instructions here.

Now, given the answer to "one word to describe you," I'm going to bed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hectic, hectic! And weekly inspiration

It's been an absolutely hectic week, full of happy things, sad things, busy things, and deadlines not met. Unfortunately there wasn't time to knit a single stitch, plant a single flower, or spend even a moment crafting.

But I did manage to wander around the Internet craft world a little bit. Here are some interesting things I found:

Tess has written a comprehensive tutorial on seam finishes for Sew, Mama, Sew’s Women’s Clothing Month. Whether you’re new to sewing or a veteran, you’re likely to learn something new. I gained a new respect for my 25-year-old sewing machine and no longer feel that my life is incomplete without a serger.

Canadian Living, one of the major women's magazines here, has an easy-to-sew cat tunnel on its website. With three cats who are currently imprisoned inside for a variety of reasons (not least of which is coyotes), I'm going to make one of these.

Margerie commented once on finding a good, long-lasting way to mark garden rows. Family Fun magazine's site has instructions for painted garden stones.

Two projects from Craft Stylish are going on my to-make-sometime list: little embroidered pincushions made from pop bottle caps and felt scraps and an incredibly easy note card (because goodness knows I need more note cards).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday #15--For Karen

One of my far-away friends is going through some scary medical stuff with her mom tomorrow. I told her that I would keep my fingers and toes and eyes crossed for her that everything would turn out well. Because she's never seen a proper picture of me, she's having to imagine the colored-light silhouette in my profile picture with crossed eyes.

I took this photo of my daughter two years ago. We look a lot alike so, Karen, if you imagine this picture going through one of those age-progression processes to age it by about 35 years, you'll have a good idea of what I would look like with my eyes crossed. Unfortunately I can't actually do it this well--she inherited her amazing eye-crossing talent from my brother.

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's see wordlesswednesday.com.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Projects for me! And weekly inspiration

These days (meaning in the last 13 years, since I was pregnant for the first time), I rarely make anything for myself. The last made-by-me sweater that I owned was a cute, short crocheted tank top, back in the days when I was still young and skinny.

But recently I stopped in at my favorite yarn store. I really wasn’t planning on going there and I certainly wasn’t planning on buying anything at all, much less anything for myself. I’d had a hard day and I wanted to go for a walk to clear my head; I just happened to choose a favorite walking spot that’s in the same neighborhood as this store.

I wasn’t looking for a retail therapy session, and besides, my form of retail therapy is usually very modest: a notebook or a magazine. I just planned to wander around in this store, looking at and touching the yarn. It was meant to be more of a quiet escape than a shopping trip.

But I ended up buying patterns and yarn for not one, but two summer sweaters for myself, one knitted and the other crocheted. Yikes! Neither is an in-front-of-the-TV project (as this is what tends to happen when I knit while I’m distracted), so I have to find some free time to devote to them.

The yarn and patterns have been sitting in their bag in my sewing room for a few weeks now and summer is fast approaching (although with our weather luck lately, we may still be wearing rainboots in August). I’m telling you about them in order to make myself find the time to work on them, instead of having them get buried in the to-do-someday pile. Keep me accountable, please. Just ask me how those sweaters are going once in a while.

***************

In other news, here are some fun ideas I found in my Internet travels this week:

Kathryn Ivy has a tutorial on dyeing yarn with Easter egg dyes.

Unplug Your Kids shows how to make beads out of straws and paper. You could use any kind of paper with this project—a couple of years ago Child Two and I used wrapping paper to make Christmas garlands.

Meg at Elsie Marley gives instructions on how to make fabric covers for tin cans. Hers are embroidered and she kindly shares her patterns.

Are your sewing tools little boring? According to Better Homes and Gardens, you can paint your shears!

At Big Huge Labs, see how to print eight photos on one piece of paper and then, using their folding instructions, turn it into a pocket-sized photo-album. I’m going to send some of these to far-away friends and family.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Buttons-n-Dollars

My good friend Hayley, breast cancer survivor extraordinaire, recently met a woman named Heidi Marble, an eight-year survivor of inflammatory breast cancer. Heidi has established a registered charity called Buttons-n-Dollars to raise money to help under- and uninsured breast cancer patients with their treatment. Using donated buttons and costume jewellery, she turns broken mannequins into works of art, which she then sells or leases.

If you have costume jewellery or buttons that you're not using, please consider sending them to Heidi to help her continue her great work. You know all those mismatched earrings in the back of your jewellery box? And how about your overflowing button box? Declutter your drawers (or for those of us with a teeny tiny craft supply addiction, make room for more) and help Heidi at the same time!

To learn more about Heidi, her book Waiting for Wings, and her art and to find out how you can help, visit her Undone website. Her shipping address is

Heidi Marble
Buttons-N-Dollars
25017 NE 188th Court
Battle Ground, WA 98604

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #14--Shadow boys

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's see wordlesswednesday.com.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #13--Dogwood

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's see wordlesswednesday.com.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oma's spoons

You might think, from my lack of posts, that I haven’t been working on much over the last few weeks. I have, but unfortunately I’ve been working more on work than on any crafts. I’ve done a bit of knitting, even more ripping out (oh, how I hate backwards progress), and some sewing, but no actual finishing for a while.

I’m posting today because the Apron Queen tagged me a couple of weeks ago and one of the options was to do a Vintage Thingies Thursday post. It’s taken me a while to get to it because the vintage thingy I had planned to write about requires ironing and—alas, it’s the story of my life—I could not find time to iron and take pictures and write.

But yesterday my mom gave me some of my grandmother’s old spoons—no ironing required! These ones are my favorites:

They’re about 4 inches long and each handle has the name of spoon’s flower written in what I assume is Dutch.


Here are the flowers:

There are also several assorted spoons and forks. The longest is about 6 inches.

One is a baby fork—I know this because it has the intended recipient's initials and birthdate engraved on the back.*

I’m guessing that the other fork might have been for something like pickles and that the spoons were for coffee or tea. There weren’t that many babies in the family. The three matching spoons (and two others not pictured here because they have a mysterious red substance stuck to them and need cleaning up) are stamped on the back with the year (1947), the manufacturer (Rogers Bros.) and the pattern name (Flair).

I’m not sure what I’ll do with them all. Maybe I’ll start having tea parties!

*If you are reading this, intended recipient, I will give it to you the next time I see you. I was going to send it to you along with your favorite meatloaf recipe and a message saying "Put a fork in it!" but I didn't want to trust it to the mail.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #12--Love on the beach

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's see wordlesswednesday.com.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #11--War memorial

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's see wordlesswednesday.com.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #10

For another one of my Wordless Wednesday photos, see my other blog. For other people's see wordlesswednesday.com.