Monthly Archives: April 2011

An impromptu crafty yard sale


Ok, this is not normally what I do on this blog, but today something sad happened. My sewing machine died! I bravely took my screw driver and tried to investigate the problem, but (not being a sewing machine repair person) I really can’t tell. It’s an inexpensive machine so it’s likely not worth fixing though I may try. Right now the needle is still sunk into a tote bag I was working on so I’m going to have to figure out how to get that out in any case. In the meantime, I’m going to use this opportunity to sell some stuff I don’t really need and see if I can get money to just buy a better machine.

If you want to buy something just message me. I can ship for the cost of shipping if you’d like or if you’re local we can work something out.

First, I will sell the jewelry I made two weeks ago and just make more for myself. $15.00 for the green pendant necklace and matching earrings, $20.00 for the red and amber set, and I think I’d have to charge $40.00 for the blue because those are really expensive beads (I bought them when we were DINKs, and I think they actually may have been that price for just the beads!).

This is a needle-felted flower. It’s 4.5 inches from leaf tip to leaf tip. I will glue it to a headband or attach a pin clasp at no additional cost, or you can use it for something else as it is. I safety-pinned it to my gray wool coat once and loved it, then forgot all about it. $7.00.

Cotton batik purse. 12 inches at widest point. Fully lined, velcro closure. Never used.  $15.00.

Tote bag. Made from cotton upcycled from a never-used body pillow cover. Velcro closure. 15 inches wide, which is just the right size for carrying a standard-size notebook or a small load of groceries. $7.00.

Baby hat. 7 inches wide, I think it would fit about a 6 month old. (It is too small for Worth, though he has a particularly large head.) It is made from yarn that was gifted to me, but I would guess it to be a wool blend, though it could just be a better-quality acrylic. $5.00.

Last but not least, this is a fall-colors scarf. It’s really pretty and I should go outside and take a better picture of it but I’m too lazy. I paid $25 for the really yummy wool, so I’m asking $40.00 for the scarf. It’s not been blocked yet but I’ll block it if you buy it!

Painting again


Watch out! My mom and I are wielding paintbrushes again. The guest room here has been acting as a great big closet and dumping ground since move-in and now I’m finally getting it into shape. Rob took down the wallpaper; I dragged boxes to their proper locations and put stuff away that was collecting in piles. Mom came to help and we puttied holes, sanded, and got the whole room primed.  Hooray!  Next up: buttery yellow walls. Watching the transformation from the old, unpainted walls to the fresh clean look of primer is amazing. Now I’m excited for the paint!

I feel like my son has been getting the short end of this blog lately. He’s always the little person in the way, and to be honest, that is often is role in blog-making projects. But in the rest of life he’s dear, and today’s remaining photos today are in celebration of his cute little ways.


…sometimes sleeps with his bottom up in the air.

…likes to play in mud but not the taste of it.

…uses nonverbal communication to make demands, looking ridiculously like a Baroque cherub painting. And

…cleans up pretty well.

Matching Easter dresses


Dorothy was in her ballet recital this weekend. The cuteness of a dozen girls in fluffy tutus under bright lights really can’t be exaggerated–it’s priceless. We love the low-stakes casualness of the recital our studio puts on. The girls have every reason to feel good and no reasons to feel anxious. I took Dorothy to the park near our house last week to take some informal pictures in her recital costume.  This one is my favorite. Such a free-spirited dancer!

I finished our Easter dresses yesterday, just in the nick of time. Dorothy’s is Simplicity 2237 and mine is Butterick B4443. I lined both of them fully in a lighter lavender. I made hers in a size 5 but it is a bit wide for her. It’s still cute and I’ll use the pattern again but next time I’ll cut it to be more narrow.  I made mine in a size 14 even though I’m usually a size 10 because the pattern measurements suggested that’s what I’d require, but it was wrong.  The dress is too big all over, especially the armholes. I felt discouraged when I looked at our pictures because after going to the trouble of making us matching dresses I wanted to like the way I looked! It is never flattering to wear clothes that don’t fit. Now I’ve ripped up much of the bodice and taken in the seams, so next time I wear the dress it should look better. I will probably make this pattern again because I still like the overall style, simpleness of construction, and that it doesn’t take much fabric, but next time I’ll make it in my usual size.

I used inexpensive cottons for our dresses so they are both comfortable and washable. The contrasting bands around the waist are of a pretty batik. I glued fabric and ribbon flowers onto plain white headbands so we could match in accessories too. I suggested that Dorothy make a practical footwear choice like me but she’d have none of it! As it turned out the rain stopped, so I could have worn my (planned) white sandals after all.

The little imp edging in our picture here is my niece Lila. She doesn’t need a purple dress to look like me, does she? Don’t tell her that, though–it makes her furious!

Wooden Easter eggs


I bought these gorgeous eggs before my first married Easter. We were still setting up our little household and I wanted some non-hokey holiday decorations. I had previously seen Pysanky eggs at a display somewhere and I found that I could order a whole box of similar ones on eBay to be delivered right to me from some enterprising woman in the Ukraine. They were spendier than plastic ones, but they’ve been worth every penny. I don’t think they are considered true Pysanky eggs because they are wooden and appear to be painted rather than done by wax-relief, but they’re so beautiful and I love getting them out every year. I keep them in a glass bowl on my dining table.


This year I decided to use my Ukrainian eggs as inspiration for an Easter project with Dorothy. I showed her the eggs and told her a bit about them, then we made our own. Like the inspiration eggs, ours are made of wood. I first painted them a solid color, some with acrylics and some with the latex paint sample jars I’ve been collecting during our home renovations. Then we used permanent markers and acrylic paints to put on our designs. Ours are not as intricate as the Ukrainian eggs, but maybe the Ukrainian artists weren’t trying to paint just beyond the reach of an impatient toddler! Once the designs were finished and dry I sealed them with a high-gloss glaze. That made them look shiny like our Ukrainian eggs and it seems to have made them more durable, seeing as how they’ve hit the wooden floor any number of times thus far but don’t seem worse for wear. We only painted some of the wooden eggs I bought; it’s my hope to do this project for several years in a row and see how our skill progresses.

I’m also hoping this project excuses me from dying hard-boiled eggs this year because I secretly dislike that project. I think hard-boiled eggs taste and smell nasty and the project is so messy. Dying shirts is worth the mess because after the project is over you get a shirt. After you dye eggs you just have colored hard-boiled eggs which taste just as bad as the originals! Plus Dorothy already dyed some at school and at Grandma’s. Now I’m just justifying, because clearly I’m a bad mom who is trying to get out of dying Easter eggs.  🙂

Spring jewelry


Lately I’m really taken by the Groupon-like website Heartsy, which offers deals from Etsy sellers.  The beautiful jewelry in the offers (some of which I’ve also purchased) has inspired me to get my jewelry-making supplies out. I’ve been taking apart jewelry that I made in the past and using the pieces to make “new” items that are more in tune with my current style and clothing selections.

I did purchase a few update supplies, such as 100 inches of this black chain and some matching black findings (the clasps, etc.).

The colors in this red and amber set were inspired by a necklace I wanted from a Heartsy offer.  I would have bought it but the deal sold out too fast.  I may still ask for the inspiration piece for Mothers’ Day or something, since mine really only resembles it in color.  The other had pretty handmade clay beads that I do not have the tools to make, plus I wouldn’t want to just flat out copy another design.  I do like my set in the same colors in the meantime.

I also put together some earrings to match.

April camping


We made our first 2011 trip in the little camper! The trip was the perfect mix of length of travel (not long), length of stay (not long), and low-key activities.  We visited General Butler State Park, which is only about an hour from home. Last fall when we started camper camping I noticed that all the big outfits had family name signs they put out in front of their campsites, kind of like campground calling cards or announcements.  I liked the friendly idea but didn’t think one of the large, imposing wooden signs would go very well with our streamlined setup so I designed and ordered this little lightweight yard sign. It says “It’s all right to be little bitty.”  Now we’ve really got it all!  (wink)

We toured the historic home on the premises, we hiked, played dominoes, and checked out no fewer than three playgrounds. We ate a dinner of pasta that I’d prepared at home.  Dorothy made friends with the girl at the camper next door and created beautiful art at our picnic table.

Worth developed what I’m afraid may be an abiding love of mud puddles.  If you think this brownie-streaked face and pea-smeared hair looks bad, well, you should see his mud-stained bottom. 

At home I’ve been working on setting up a square-foot garden in our new yard.  I recently used colored yarn to mark off the squares.  I brought the rest of the yarn I used for the squares (it’s all acrylic) to our campsite and taught Dorothy how to make God’s Eye weavings. I love that she’s now old enough to do some projects that are fun for Mom too. We sat cozily in our camper before bed and wound our yarn around sticks we’d found at our site. The simple weavings looked pretty on our camper wall last night (photographed), and now they look great hanging on the trellis of our garden bed.

I think one-night camping excursions are just right for where our family is at right now.  We all had a good, relaxing time, got to spend quality time without the distractions of home, were able to fully take notice of the changes spring was bringing to the outdoors, but were able to tote home dirty dishes for our dishwasher and skip the icky camp showers.  Perfect!

Pillows and a lamp shade


I finally found time this weekend to finish the throw pillows I’d been working on for the sofa.  I used a really thick cording around the edges which looks nice but is such a pain to do that I may never do it again.  I broke four needles in the process and am making a mental note to use thinner cording in the future (if at all–what a pain). The pillows look pretty good but I don’t think I needed to put as much work into them as I did.  With such punchy fabric I could have just sewn very plain pillowcases and they’d have looked great. Now they are done, though, and I like them.  They are really comfy, too, because I sprang for nice, down-filled pillow forms.

I also worked up a lamp shade for the living room. I couldn’t find one that was just the right color so I bought a white one and painted it myself.  I mixed the blue paint from the dining room with the living room’s green shade to get just the right color.  The edging is more of the Pop Garden fabric I’ve used in the curtains and pillows. I don’t know what I did before I owned a bias tape maker.  Who new that such a small, inexpensive item could be so handy?