Category Archives: Handmade Projects

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

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Well, It’s back to school time which always gets me excited to hunker down and get some good work done. The momentum gets a bit muddled near Halloween and has usually completely petered out by January, so I’ve got to jump on it while the feeling is there!

To help me and my family stay focused, I like to make new chore and evening activities lists so our school day evenings don’t turn into a nightmare of arguing whose turn it is to set the table and pointless negotiations for TV time.  Most of the items on our chore list are things the girls always do, this makes it not so overwhelming. The two new chore items, that after a summer of seemingly endless pick-up, I really want my girls to incorporate into their daily routines are hanging wet towels back in the bathroom and putting dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher after meals.

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We started our new chore list yesterday and so far so good! The girls are always excited to check things off the list and like I said, most of these chores are things they were already doing so it feels like getting something for nothing. Ha! Next Tuesday evening I’ll tally up the “checks” and whoever has the most marks gets to decide the family activity for Friday night. My girls were super stoked with that prize. I’m going to fill a jar with Friday night ideas that they can pull from if they are having trouble. 

This Friday night we’ve been saving to watch the finale of So You Think You Can Dance. We were out of town visiting my parents when it aired. PZ is beyond excited. She has declared she wants to be Mary Murphey for Halloween. I’m not sure how I’m going to do that costume!! HAHA! 

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Last night out evening family activity was Family Dinner. This is where one child, last night it was PZ, gets to decide what we have for dinner and help prepare it. We ended up having a twofer last night; meatloaf AND tomato sauce from our garden. The meatloaf PZ and I prepared along with cooked carrots and steamed broccoli (all her choices). The tomato sauce happened because of the ridiculous abundance of gorgeous tomatoes we’ve grown and the need get them off my counter before we are infested with fruit flies! 

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It worked out great! PZ had real pride in her work. The meatloaf tasted great! And everyone except for Q loved it. PZ asked Q not to make scrunched up faces while she took her two “no thank you” bites, because it “hurts my heart a little”. I don’t think PZ will be making any faces next time she doesn’t like a meal. She learned a valuable lesson and I actually had fun cooking dinner, a chore I’m not always fond of. Next Wednesday will be Q’s turn. We’ll see what happens when the shoe is on the other foot. 

Tonight is Music Night. This is a chance for us all to perform for the family whatever we’ve been working on musically. I’m teaching myself guitar, so this is great for me! Q is learning piano, PZ takes trumpet and ballroom dance, and Hubs plays guitar and base. My hope is that this encourages us all to practice, memorize, and perform. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have a family band one day! 

I’d love to hear about what kind of evening activities you and your family do. Drop a line and let me know how the first day of school was at your house!

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Metro Parent

Hey,

We made it into Metro Parent! Check out the September issue’s article Handmade Birthdays to see pictures and details of Quinby’s 3rd and 5th birthday parties. 

 

                                                             

Fall catchup 3 – home projects

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Hubs, the best husband in the world, made me these glorious jewelry racks. They are on the wall leading to our master bath. So, so nice. I smile a little every time I walk by. And I’m wearing more of my jewelry and in different combinations than I was before. Buh bye dusty jewelry alcove!


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Fall Catchup 2 – decorations

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The family and I went on a gorgeous, autumn-day walk a few weeks ago and collected leaves. I pressed them between some heavy books for a few days then let the girls go to town with the modge podge and some paint brushes. After letting them dry for an hour or so I tied them with some hemp rope I’ve had in the craft supplies since the late 90’s and my small stint with macrame.
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I wanted to do a quick solo paper crafting project and I saw this tutorial with free template. If it seems like my mantle is covered in every thing that doesn’t have a home in my living room, that’s because it is!

My gal pal Anne and I crafted these origami stars for the holiday season. I’m not sure yet where they are going. I’ll figure it out this week. A garland maybe? I also want to doing a felt ball garland. I’ve got the roving all ready, now I just need to get to it!
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Fall catchup 1

So much to catch up on! First off, I never showed you our costumes. The girls were sick on Halloween, so we missed trick-or-treating. Bummer!! But luckily, we got to attend a neighborhood costume party before the big day, so we all got to wear the costumes I worked so hard on! Q went as Rapunzel and PZ was Pippi Longstocking. I used the following tutorials for Rapunzel’s dress, Pippi’s jumper, and their wigs.

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PZ and I tie-dyed her “long stockings”, which was fun.  We just used the legs from one of the pairs of tights I cut during wig production. And if you don’t know why Q is carrying a frying pan, you obviously haven’t seen the movie, Tangled, enough times.
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I got to do some fun make-up for myself, and these fake flowers in my hair were just held in with bobbi pins. So easy! I was by far the scariest face at the party! But I don’t think I scared too many toddlers. Boo!

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Hubs went as a pirate. PZ thought this was appropriate since Pippi’s dad was also a pirate. In case you are wondering what PZ is holding, she’s got Mr. Nilsson (Pippi’s monkey) around her neck and her horse, Old Man. She’s also got an umbrella, because it’s Portland.

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Did anyone else make a Rapunzel or Pippi. Feel free to link! Next I want to show you my DIY autumn decorations, but that’s a-whole-nother post!

October = Month of Sickness

So basically at least one if not both of my girls and myself have been sick every day this month. Yesterday was the first day in two weeks that I’d had both girls back in school. Today, Q is back on the couch. Boo!

Needless to say my Random Object Illustrations have been sidelined, but I do have some pictures from the month that I wanted to share from those rare moments of sun and health.

An ROI

A Foundry find

The Rapunzel Halloween costume I made for Quinby

Nana’s knit dress on Q

I chose the materials and my friend Yancey hand-knit this gorgeous sweater. Yay!

Emily Alexander’s shadow puppet theater

Nature walk find

PZ and I made Pippi’s “long stockings”

Everyday is Halloween when you have your favorite skeleton

I’ve finished Q’s Rapunzel wig and am almost done with PZ’s Pippi wig. Fingers crossed that we are all healthy in time for our friend’s Halloween party on Sunday and of course trick-or-treating on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Inspires Art

It has been a gorgeous September here in Portland, OR. Aside from being sick (for the second time this month!!), we’ve been trying to enjoy it to the fullest. Q and I have been going on nature walks every afternoon after her preschool lets out. I take the dog, she takes her little basket, and we walk and talk and collect whatever we spy as pretty or interesting. No picking from gardens allowed!

A friend in the neighborhood has a huge chestnut tree or conker tree across the street from her house. Q and I gathered as many as we could this early in the season. We especially like the ones still in the seed.

Before long, we started creating art with our findings. This brought an idea to my mind and I’ve decided to try it – Random Object Illustrations. For the whole month of October I’m going to try my hand at drawing on found objects. They don’t have to be from nature per say, just whatever item catches my fancy.

I’ve bought new pens for the project, talked my friend Anne into participating in it with me, and even had a trial run with this leaf. If any one else is interested in sharing their own Random Object Illustrations feel free to contact me and we can link up, or if there is enough interest I’ll make a Flickr group.

Flexing and improving my drawing abilities is something I’m always striving for. Having a project ensures that I’ll actually set aside some time everyday for practice. And as we all know, practice makes perfect. Anyone else a total failure at piano?

Speaking of practice, I’m trying to get the hang of dairy and egg free (vegan) pancakes. I made these pumpkin, apple cider, and chocolate chips ones last week and while they were okay I wouldn’t exactly recommend them. Any tips or recipes would be much appreciated! Happy Autumn! Happy drawing! And Happy eating!