Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Ornament Making!

In December's Family Circle magazine there is a crafting how-to for making gorgeous ornaments! I am obsessed with making these sequined ornaments. They are very simple and anyone can make them. Here are some steps and photos:

1. Supplies you will need: Foam balls, ribbon, pins (get shorter ones depending on the size of the foam), and lots and lots of sequins!!!!! You will need more pins that you initially think. One ornament I made had about 180 pins in it!
2. Pin the ribbon into the ball.
3. Pin the sequins in any shape and direction you want around the ball.
Here are some pictures of my finished products. It takes awhile to do one ornament, but it's a good activity for a rainy day or while watching tv! Try it! It would make a great holiday present too.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Wreath Making!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! I'm still getting over a cold, but at least it's not swine flu!

Since Thanksgiving is over, I had to clear my pumpkins away and make a new wreath for the door. I used the same wreath form that I bought from Jo Ann Fabrics to make my Autumn wreath, and am using the same door hanger. Here are the steps and materials to making your own inexpensive holiday wreath!

1. Gather local shrubbery around your neighborhood. This morning we took out the dog with a bag and some scissors, looking for different greens and reds and some pine cones. We found a great mixture of pine, juniper, rosemary, eucalyptus, willow, and some berries. You can use any kind of plant or tree you can find that goes well with the color scheme you want.

2. Layer in the base green layers. Tuck in different kinds of greenery through the twigs in the wreath base. It doesn't have to be perfect, just layer in different sizes and types of the greenery throughout. Figure out where you want the top of the wreath to be (where the hanger goes).

3. Add in red leaves and berries. Depending on what you collected you may have red leaves or berries, or another accenting color. Weave in the contrasting color leaves or berries into the greenery and twig layers. Be careful if you're using berries and have pets around to make sure they don't eat them. No one wants an emergency holiday trip to the vet!

4. Add pine cones. No glue gun necessary! Just find some twig layers that can accommodate the size pine cones you find. I used the baby ones that had dropped to the ground. You may need to use wine to secure larger pine cones. Picture hanging wire is easy to bend and use for this kind of project. Also, fishing tackle (the clear thread you can find at a sporting good store that is sold is spools) is great for attaching all kinds of holiday decorations and is a great strong material to add to your crafting tool collection.

5. Extra material accent jars. If you have extra greenery left over, use cleaned out mason jars (see the previous blog entry) and fill them up. Place them around your house to add accents of greenery or holiday cheer to bookshelves, coffee tables, etc.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Preparation

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's a thought to make your Thanksgiving more eco-friendly and cheaper!

Recycle bottles and jars by re-purposing them. I've been saving wine and champagne bottles to use instead of water pitchers at the table. The next time you buy wine, look for beautiful bottle colors, or ones with etching to make a particular statement for your table. I've also been cleaning out mason jars that had pasta sauce in them. You can use them for multiple purposes: as a vase, a drink container, to package leftovers, house safety pins or other sewing essentials, etc. You can also use garlic jars or baby food jars to keep your sewing or jewelry making pieces in. It just depends on what size jar you have or need. You can also re-purpose small jars by melting wax and putting a wick in them...making your own candles!

Remove the labels with hot soapy water. You might need to encourage the labels off with a knife depending on how patient you are. I also run mine through the dishwasher.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cleaning ideas....

Yesterday my mom and I took Ralph out on a long walk. When we got back to my apartment she told me that my house smelled. Obviously, anyone with a dog can relate to the smell that lingers from a wet pet in the house in winter. My boyfriend hates when I spray any kind of "air sanitizer" in the house so I came up with a more natural way to make it smell better.

I sprinkled some dried lavender sparsely across the carpet (and only in places I knew I would be able to suck it up with my vacuum). I used about 1/4 cup of lavender per 100 square feet of the house. Then I sucked up the lavender with my vacuum. It leaves behind a refreshing scent without putting extra chemicals into your home.

I buy my lavender at They are located in Watsonville, CA, and I used a regular shipping method and my lavender arrived within 24 hours of my order! This is a great online store for crafting or setting up for a party or holiday celebration.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Project Runway...what were you thinking?

I am so disappointed that they didn't choose Carol Hannah Whitfield as the winner of Project Runway. Her whole collection was amazing, and her focus and design aesthetic throughout the competition was impeccably executed. And fun! Everything she made I could see myself wearing. She will inspire generations of designers to come.

If I had 1/100th of her talent I would never have a day of self doubt. Carol Hannah, you are a fabulous designer and I wish only wonderful things to happen to you!

Mill Valley Craft Fair December 5th 10am to 5pm

Above are some scarves that will be featured at the Mill Valley Craft Fair on December 5th.
Here are some of the baby hats I've been working on. My nephew tried on the bright blue hat today...such a cutie pie.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Left Over Yarn Blanket

Have a ton of yarn you don't know what to do with? Have a lot of left over yarn from projects that have been completed that you can't make a hat or scarf out of because there isn't enough yarn left over?

Start your own left over yarn blanket! I've been slowly working on mine since 2005. As I have extra yarn that I can't seem to use for anything, I divide it into types (i.e., worsted, chunky, angora, etc.). Then I start either a ball of yarn with all the different yarns, or throw it in a bag until its big enough to start a full blanket.

The picture above is of my far. You might think it's ugly, but I absolutely love it! Making this blanket is so fun because you don't waste any yarn and you also don't get bored because the yarn is constantly changing. Try it!

Also, if you've had a problem with keeping your yarn from getting tangled, put different projects that you're working on in different bags. I like using EnviroSax: They are light weight and easy to throw in your purse. If you keep all over yarn in bags ready to go, it's easy to grab one and always have a crafty project with you when you get stuck somewhere and have free time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My lexicon is perplexed...

With health care leading the fore of polite, impolite, and political debate, a troubling bit of diction has entered the lexicon: the living will.

The "living will" is a total misnomer. A will is a testamentary instrument. To say that it is "living" to me implies that the language involved is merely precatory and not testamentary, thereby rendering the instrument invalid. And every time I hear it discussed on the radio or TV I want to rip my eyes out...almost like the time my boyfriend said "irregardless."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Autumnal Wreath

I wanted a cute wreath for my door this season that wasn't expensive and that I could make most of myself. I bought the base which is brown twigs wrapped into a circle formation from Jo Ann Fabrics for about $3.

On a walk with Ralph, I collected a ton of different colored leaves. Some I let dry and some I pick "fresh" from the ground every day to add new color and patterns to the wreath.

I found a bouquet of rose hips (the reddish orange berry type things that look like tiny tomatoes) at Safeway. The whole arrangement was inexpensive, and I can add to it daily! It would be a fun project for a family, or if you're just bored walking the pooch. Also, you can reuse the wreath for Christmas by sticking in holiday festive trees and pine cones! No glue gun necessary...just stick the stems in through the woven branches in the original wreath form.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tis the Season to Craft!

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Halloween. The bf and I were sick with the flu for the last week so our Halloween was scary only because of the amount of tissues and Law and Orders we went through.

Now that winter is coming, it may be time to hunker down with some yarn or make a quilt. You know, an activity you can do while you're curled up in your Snuggie!

Have you checked out Martha Stewart Living lately? Her November issue has some amazing crafting ideas with glitter of all things! I absolutely HATE glitter but have spent the whole day imagining a 32 by 40 blown up photo of my beagle...glitterized. Oh Martha, thank you! Make sure you have a vacuum. Also, you might think of hitting up a party supply store for a cheap plastic tablecloth you can reuse and shake outside. It will get everywhere.

Have you picked up a crafting book lately? There are a ton out there now to give you different ideas for holiday gifts. Amy Sedaris has a great book out called I Like You, which is a combination of humor, crafts and recipes. It even comes with excuses and "etiquette" for situations you may encounter while entertaining. Seriously a good read and an even better present for the crafter in your life.