Posts Tagged ‘projects and tutorials’

matching merry men

In projects + tutorials, toddler activities on 04/27/2010 at 7:22 pm

colored markers
wooden clothes pin pegs
bowl (be sure the pins will fit on the width of the rim)
white stickers

We’ve had so much fun with this little game and it has gotten us through more than one wait at a restaurant. Match the numbers/colors of the men to the numbers/colors of the stickers on the bowl. This requires some coordination as well since the pegs have to be turned “just so” to slide them onto the rim. I have seen this done with regular clothes pins (the sort with metal springs) but this kind is much more of a challenge for her.


simple toddler doll house

In handmade, projects + tutorials, toddler activities on 01/13/2010 at 11:41 am

I never got around to showing you the handmades I scrambled to finish for Christmas (except for the quilt, of course). I’ve wanted to get her a doll house…something small, portable, and simple. She’s at that age where “less is more”, if that makes sense. This was actually an unfinished CD rack that I purchased from Michael’s for a meager $5. I just painted it with acrylics and used Mod Podge to adhere some colorful scrapbook paper to the floors. This little family seems to be settling in quite nicely. Happy momma. Happy toddler. Happy wallet. In case you weren’t here yesterday, I’m giving away a vintage hand-tied mini quilt. Details here.

UPDATE 1.14.2010: Yesterday evening I received an “anonymous” comment from a reader who was kind enough to point out that the very talented Amy Karol originally introduced this idea back in 2006 and reprimanded me for failing to “give credit where credit is due”. I can honestly say I had never laid eyes on Amy’s version (which is actually much cuter than mine!) until last night when it was brought to my attention. Obviously concerned, I immediately contacted Amy and was graciously assured no harm done. The truth of the matter is that two crafty mommas purchased a pre-made item from a craft store, painted it (the same colors…yes, we had a good laugh) and blogged about it four years apart – a reminder that there is really nothing new under the sun. There are probably a zillion other mommas who have done the same thing. I hesitated to share this little diversion with you but thought that my experience might help you in the future. Misunderstandings and miscommunications are inherent problems in the blogging world. And unfortunately, if you blog long enough, it will probably happen to you in one form or another. I’d like to offer one piece of advice. If you suspect something is amiss in blogland, please address the “offending” party in person. A sincere attempt at rectifying the situation can go a long way. This morning I am happy to report that Mrs. Karol has a wonderful sense of humor and I have a clear conscience.  

tutorial archives





yarn lover’s wall decor: a tutorial

In handmade, our home, projects + tutorials on 01/11/2010 at 11:45 am

knitter's wall hanging 
One thing I love about crafting is that so many of the mediums and tools are beautiful, even in their “raw” state. I’m always looking for ways to display them in our home since they add a personal touch and speak of this beautiful season of life that we’re enjoying. I’m particularly fond of my bamboo knitting needles and this wall hanging allows me to enjoy them in my favorite corner, while keeping tiny hands at a safe distance.

This project is so simple, and can be completed in a matter of minutes once your materials are assembled. It can function solely as a piece of art or you can insert more needles and use it as a creative way to store and display your collection. If you don’t knit, tuck it away as a thoughtful gift idea for someone else.

pinking shears
fabric for background
frame (The frame pictured is 11×14)
thread (same color as yarn)
large sewing needle
knitting needles (as many as you like)


1. With pinking shears, cut a circle out of cardboard to the desired size, depending on the size of your frame. (Pinking the edges helps to keep the yarn from slipping). 

2. With the tail of the yarn on the back side, begin wrapping the yarn around the circle in whatever pattern strikes your fancy. It’s entirely up to you. It should look like a squashed ball of yarn when you’re finished. 

3.  Trim off the excess and tuck the loose end of yarn in wherever you like. 

4. Cut a piece of background fabric suitable for the size of your frame. I recommend cutting it slightly larger than the frame so you can tug on the edges after inserting the frame backing and get it to lay flat. 

5. Using a large sewing needle and matching thread, tack your yarn ball tightly to the fabric. I just tacked it at the top, bottom, and on either side. One or two stitches in each place is sufficient. You can either let the tail hang down freely or you can tack the tail to the fabric in a trailing squiggly design with your sewing thread. 

6. Frame (without glass, of course) 

7. Insert your knitting needles…just two, or as many as you like. 

 Hang and enjoy! 

UPDATE 1.19.2010: If you’re looking for some fantastic new blogs to add to your daily travels, be sure to check out the “Regulars” in the sidebar and prepare to be inspired!



projects + tutorials: the archives


hospitality lessons

In projects + tutorials, toddler activities on 01/08/2010 at 12:43 pm

ladybug house

When I spied the first one inching along the window ledge, I really thought nothing of it. Big deal. But in a matter of days, I concluded that our kitchen window symbolized a beacon of hope to every ladybug within a twenty-mile radius – an escape from winter’s frosty pursuit. They kept coming…and coming…and coming. In fact, they’re still coming. And before you chide me for my sentimentality and tell me to fetch the bug spray, I must explain that somewhere in my subconscious, something precludes me from taking murderous action against such a trustworthy creature. They’re actually quite well mannered, keeping to themselves. And she’s been watching them zipping and zinging about like tiny fairies, red wings buzzing and flashing as they go. More than once I’ve been met with pleading brown eyes and a request to fetch one for her off the ceiling. At first I gave in to the temptation to complain, any moment expecting to lift a cup to my mouth and find myself nose to nose with one. But watching her continued fascination with our uninvited houseguests, I decided we might as well make the best of it.  

Kraft Parmesan cheese container makes a fabulous bug habitat because you can crack the lid for airflow or snap it shut for short periods of time while your little one totes it around. After doing a bit of reading, we discovered that ladybugs are attracted to pink, yellow, and light blue and that they actually like raisins. Who knew? We put a layer of soil in the bottom and added twigs and colorful coffee stirrers for climbing. A wadded wet paper towel in the bottom provided a water source and she enjoyed dropping in a daily ration of raisins (now referred to as “wadeebug food”).

Plague turned plaything. I’m fairly certain there’s a lesson here for me about keeping life in perspective – the proverbial lemons to lemonade.

I’m a bit behind making my rounds to visit all of you who have introduced yourselves over the past couple of days. The weekend is here and I will do my very best to respond to you either in the comment section, by email, or on your own posts. Thank you for being so patient.  There are new additions tothe regulars“, so drop in and introduce yourself to them when you have time. Don’t forget to add your nominations for The Poppies!

I have a little d.i.y. surprise lined up for the beginning of the week. Enjoy your weekend!

| days of doing one thing = 11 |

repurposed ribbon storage

In projects + tutorials on 01/05/2010 at 12:18 pm


I would not venture to guess how many cups of chamomile tea I drink in a week’s time. But I do know that I have less spools of tangled ribbon cluttering up my workspace than I had a week ago. Each tea box comfortably holds six average sized spools and the pre-cut slot for dispensing tea works like a charm. The best part is that a thumb tack pushed through the back side allows me to mount them on the bulletin board above the sewing table. Thank you, Stash Tea!

If my blogroll’s disappearance escaped your notice, don’t fret. I was half hoping you wouldn’t. My weekend decision to vaporize it was filled with trepidation over how the act might be perceived so I’ll take a moment here to explain. First, let me begin by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the traditional list of linky love but lately I’ve noticed that everyone’s lists are beginning to look exactly the same and have grown so long. My list was no different. Then I started thinking about some of my favorite new reads and how I discovered them. As I went through the list, I realized that many of them are people who have taken time to  introduce themselves here and I want you to meet them too. So in lieu of the traditional blogroll, check out the revolving list of “regulars” in the header. They’re a creative bunch!

tutorial archives

| days of doing one thing = 8 |


mail sorter: a tutorial

In handmade, printables, projects + tutorials on 12/29/2009 at 1:22 pm

I always feel better greeting the new year with a clean house. At least, as clean as our house gets. It seems I’m in a losing battle with our mail. It ends up heaped in the office where things are buried, lost, and forgotten. I’ve tried different filing systems but they never last. I prefer a tidy workspace. My husband prefers to have the important stuff in his line of sight as a reminder to deal with it. I managed to put this little number together in less than an hour. Super simple.

Materials:unbleached cotton fabric

coordinating thread

1/2″ wide elastic or ribbon (depending on where you’re hanging it)


off-white cardstock

Steps:1. From your fabric, cut a rectangular panel measuring 27.75″ by 16.5″ (or whatever dimensions you deem appropriate depending on your needs).

2. On each of the long sides, fold in the edge about 1″ and press flat.

3. Top stitch both folds closed using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

4. Determine which side you want to be “the front”, and top stitch a second time 1/4″ below the first line of stitching. (See the image if you’re confused.)

5. Fold the panel in half, lengthwise, right sides facing, and stitch up the sides. (1/4″ seam allowance again)

6. Now it’s time to add the pockets. I chose the size of mine based on the widest piece of mail that we receive on a regular basis. Using a straightedge, simply pencil in a faint line from the top to the bottom of the front panel to show you where to stitch in your dividers. This makes it easier to sew in a straight line and you can’t see the pencil mark after you sew over it.

7. Stitch in your dividers, following your pencil line, beginning at the bottom and stopping when you reach the lower top stitch line. (Again, refer to the image if I lost you.)

8. Print each of the four labels, below, onto cardstock and cut them out. I left a very narrow border around each one. [UPDATE: The reason for the “action required” label is that invariably, we have pieces of mail (not bills) that require a written reply or a telephone call in response.]

9. One at a time, position each pocket under the foot of your sewing machine. Place the printed label in the desired spot.  Top stitch across the top edge of each label to secure.

Whether you add elastic or ribbon at this point is entirely up to you. Ribbon loops or ties would be ideal for hanging on the wall. I chose elastic because I wanted our door to be able to wear it. To accomplish this, I stretched the elastic snugly around the door to determine a good size. Then I stitched one end carefully to the upper back side of the organizer. Just be sure you don’t stitch both ends, as you’ll have no way of getting it onto the door!!! Using a door is a bit tricky, I recommend hanging it just above the middle hinge. This gives the elastic something to catch on and it just so happened that one end of the organizer rests comfortably on top of the doorknob, which keeps it from sagging. The unstitched end of the elastic is secured to the fabric with a sturdy safety-pin.




tea tree advent calendar

In handmade, projects + tutorials on 12/15/2009 at 12:13 pm

Yes, yes. I know. I said I’d have holiday gift tags for you today. They’re coming. I just wanted to share this first. It’s a bit late to be tossing out Advent calendar ideas but perhaps this one can be safely tucked away until next year. Even if you’d prefer to leave all of the bags on the tree, it can serve as a reminder to carve a few minutes out of your holiday bustling to take a deep breath and introduce your palette to a new variety. Better yet, it might bring a bit of cheer and a cup of calm to your busy office or holiday gathering if you just forgo numbering the bags and set it out for everyone to help themselves. 

To assemble, collect a handful of twigs and secure them in a container of your choosing. Gather an assortment of tea bags and wrap each one with embroidery thread. Tie with a bow to secure as shown. Cut strips of festive colored scrapbook papers to fold in half and cover each tea tag. Write the name of the tea (and a number if using as an Advent calendar) on each folded strip.  Use a glue stick on the inside of each strip, insert tea tag into the fold and press to secure. Hang using the string on the bag.

p.s. The link to a complete list of projects and tutorials has moved to the navigation bar in the header.

UPDATE: Check out “Childhood: The Fine Print”, a new collaborative on Flickr. Jump in anytime!