May – Finished Projects

Thanks for the kind emails and thoughts on family business, you guys.  I’m just going day by day and doing what I can to focus on bright spots as well.  ….Which is why I’m posting on some crafting even though I guess the month isn’t quite over yet.

I’m really happy with the way this little car cozy turned out.

I used this tutorial at Homemade by Jill to make this for Jude.  We already used it the other day at the pediatrician’s office as we waited for our well-check appointment, and I know it’ll be useful in all kinds of waiting situations like restaurants or appointments.  It rolls up compactly to be thrown in a purse or diaper bag.

Halfway through the project I discovered I was out of black thread, but I wanted to press on so I just continued with what I have since it’s made from an old cut-up pair of Scott’s jeans and contains a few mistakes anyhow.  It definitely looks homemade, but I love it, and Jude adores his tiny Hot Wheels cars, so it’s nice to make a cozy little home for them.  On a side note, I think it would make a perfect birthday gift for boys of all ages, so it will be tempting not to make this for every little boy I know!

I also worked on Jude’s second year album, and I decided to focus on his increasing interest in all things “boy” – bugs, dirt, tractors, motors, wheels……

I can’t deny that I loved the opportunity to use a favorite Mark Twain quote, and Jude has been obsessed with tractors and basically any moving vehicles lately, so I included some photos of him with my uncle’s four wheeler and my grandad’s tractor.  The Gender Studies minor in me hates to say things like this, but he really is “all boy” in the traditional sense.  It’s so funny to watch in contrast to all my frilly nieces.


Lastly, there’s also another BIG project that I finished this month.  A long time ago, I told you about the year-long photo project I was in the midst of, and May 18 marked the date I began.  Unfortunately, my Project 365 morphed in to a Project 313 since I left out a few days, but I essentially took a simple photo almost everyday to document my first year home with Jude.  I’m happy I did it, but I’m also happy it’s over. I found that taking the photo was the easy part, but remembering to upload it, label it, etc. was a pain at times and didn’t always happen.  Nevertheless, we began one year ago with this shot


And finished with an attempted replication that went a little differently with a wiggly toddler, so this was all I got

365 ??  Full Circle!

Even though this was tedious at times, I’m really happy to have one year documented like this.  Most importantly, I think it inspired me to experiment with my camera and get snapshots of everyday life.  And of course just to keep taking pictures and know that every once in a while, something good pops up if you keep snapping the camera.  The traditional “rules” of the project were to include yourself in the photos, set the camera on your own, and upload to a Flickr group.  In the beginning, I tried to follow the those rules, but as usual, I threw out the rules eventually and just focused on finishing – hopefully with some creativity every now and then.  I’m not kidding that one year ago, I didn’t even know where the self-timer button was on my camera, and I always just shot in “auto” mode!  I’m not a perfect photographer, but I can surely say I learned a lot by doing this.  Here are a few of my favorites from the project.

365.3 - Sleepy Head
6:00 am wake-up for a 7 month old baby. My old working routine.
365.1.11  Making Baby Food
making baby food last summer
365.1.32  library day
trip to the library with my then 8-month-old and my niece
365.49  tofu success
the first time I attempted tofu!
365.57   nap time
a rare still moment in Seattle last summer
365.123  stuffing diapers
mundane chores. stuffing cloth diapers as I watch a curious kid.
365.156  early, quiet breakfast
early breakfast.
365 ???  Saturday morning lounging
Saturday morning lounging with the dog
playing with a Viewmaster as we waited for an oil change. Taken with my phone.

I think I’ll take a break from an organized photo project, but I might start a photo-a-day attempt again for next year in January of 2012. We’ll see. Either way, I’ll be snapping pictures even if I never upload.  So that’s my crafting round-up for the month.  Somehow stress makes me craft and cook more.  Does that happen to anyone else?  It feels good to be busy.  June will bring more knitting (almost complete on a secret project!) and more sewing and some scrapbooking.

Happy weekend!

April Crafting

Another month come and gone, and it’s summer in Atlanta really soon.  I loved flipping the calendar to May when I was a teacher because that meant summer vacation was around the corner.  It’s still exciting because I look forward to flowers and swimming pools and outside grilling and all the other great things about this time of year.  This is a short post, but I’m checking in quickly about my crafting accomplishments for April before it slips from my mind.

It was a slow crafting month, as I knew it would be because it was a busy month otherwise, and Costa Rica kept us away as well.  All I really have to show for it is a few pages on Jude’s second year album.

I find that the most difficult thing about working on these albums for him is that I tend to want to write far too much, and I have to limit myself to make things interesting for him one day rather than just interesting to me – which typically means I need to ramble less.  These pages were especially challenging though because there was so much I could have said about our trip, but I tried to keep it pretty simple.  The yellow is also out of character for my usual choices on the book, but I wanted something different and sunny, so I decided to go for it.  Hopefully it will print looking bright and happy and not blinding.

I also threw an Easter page together as well.

Other than those quick projects, I don’t have much to show.  I am making some progress on a knitting feat, but I can’t reveal too much because its eventual recipient is a reader of this blog.  The yarn is so delicious though.

And that’s about it for April’s finished work.  In news unrelated to crafting, I did manage to set up a Facebook page for this blog.  I’d been really resistant to connecting the two despite advice from blogger friends.  I gave in this week though because I’m realizing that it’s another way to subscribe for those of you who use Facebook rather than a feed reader or email subscriptions.  Plus, to be honest, I am sure all of my personal contacts were not interested in what was happening on this site, so I would sometimes want to share a link to here or to an article related to things I talk about here, but I assume my friend from third grade or a former student might not be interested.  Creating a separate page seemed like the best thing to do.

So hop on over and join us (or “Like” us) because I just got this started so nobody really knows yet.  (If you are an RSS or email subscriber, I appreciate you dearly, but I’d also love for you to join us there.)

Happy weekending, everyone.  I plan to catch up with friends and babies and maybe plant an herb garden.  What are your sunny weekend plans?

March’s Finished Projects

I can’t believe another month has passed.  It’ll be summer in Atlanta before long, and I’m ready for some steady warm weather!  I’ve written before about my crafting resolutions this year, and essentially – to catch you up if you missed it – I just want to actually finish things instead of having all of these unfinished craft endeavors lying around my house all the time. The hardest part about this monthly committment is accepting some mistakes along the way and realizing that complete and imperfect is better than any kind of incomplete.  At this point in my life anyway.

On that note, check out my yarn and needles hanging out in their new home.

I cast on for a felted cable bag way back at the first of February, and I am just now wrapping it up.  I am really practicing the art of embracing imperfections though.  Behold.  The eye sore.


The problem with this pattern (or, ahem, the user of this pattern ) is that it’s repetitive enough that you feel like you can knit it from memory once you get the rhythm and watch television rather than stare at the written pattern.  Then again, it’s not so repetitive that a newbie knitter like me should do that — hence the funky problem on the cable where I went the same direction twice.  I know how to backtrack and fix a mistake if it’s simple in nature, but I got all twisted (no pun intended) in whatever was happening with the cables, and I was too lost to fix it at that point.  But the good news is that it’s done, and the old me might have given up, but instead I said it’s almost the end of the month and I want to finish this, so imperfect or not, here we are. It’s my second completed knitted project ever, so I’m thinking one day that ugly mistake will be sentimental.  Awwww, look at my mess-up before I was any good at knitting.  …..Probably not, but whatever.  It’s done.

It holds a lot actually, and it is designated for the important job of holding my knitting gear because if my yarn is overflowing that bag, it’s a sign I need to buy less and knit more.  I got a shelf for my little craft area, and it fits nicely atop the shoebox of paints and next to the file of patterns.

I also finally put together a sewing machine cover for the same craft area.  I’ve been needing to do this for a while because my machine tends to sit for weeks between use and get a little dusty.  It’s a sweet little cover with a large pocket for scissors or a current pattern or scraps or whatever.  I got the pattern from this book, and I want to make one of everything as I flip through the glossy pages.  So many awesome ideas!


Last but not least, I completed some of Jude’s second year book as well. We had no real major events this month and no big holidays, so I decided to do something fun and casual and telling of where we are right now.


The program I use is far from professional, so the text wrap doesn’t really work that well.  I’m still trying to tweak the captions to look better, but for now, it’s complete!  So those are March’s crafty projects, and when I look back, it actually makes me feel like I got a lot done this month.  I was afraid my less-internet rule would cut in to crafting time since I’d want to get online at night or during the occasional free naptime, but that hasn’t really been the case. On the whole, being online less seems to make me want to be online even more less. (Is that even a logical phrase?)  And I usually spend evenings checking in for a minute, sharing an idea or link I’ve run across, browsing what others have shared that day, and logging off until the next day.  The rhythm is developing so well that I think I’ll leave those apps off my phone even after Lent.



Crafting is on hold for a little while, and April’s project will have to be something super quick and easy because I’m heading for Costa Rica in a few days.  Did I mention that yet?


That's the actual resort we're visiting!


I’ve been busy checking off lists and will soon be packing our bags.  We’re cashing in the husband’s travel points for a big 30th birthday bash (5 weeks later) for me!  I’m super excited, and I’m pretty sure taking a toddler to Central America means I’m either adventurous or insane; it’s a close call. But Seattle last year was pretty smooth sailing, so I’m super excited.  We’ll be reading and relaxing indoors everyday during naptime, so I’ll post likely post a photo or quick hello from there next week.  (If there’s one thing I’ve learned about traveling with a baby or toddler, it’s don’t skip naptime.) The resort offers all sorts of cool day trips to some rainforest areas and some really cool volcanoes, but with a toddler in tow, I’m thinking it might be easier to hang around the resort  or only venture to the couple of closer neighboring towns.  We’ll see. I have a feeling my gratitude list will be pretty long next time I post.


I hope you’ve had a lovely March and welcome the warmer days of spring ahead.  Until then, pura vida, friends!





February’s Finished Project

It’s month two of my 2011 resolution to complete at least one crafty/creative endeavor a month.  January’s was my first-ever knitted project, and I’ve been working on another knit this month.  It’s taking a while though, and I took some time away from it last week, so I’m thinking that will be March’s completion.

This month wasn’t great on the crafty side, especially with the pseudo-summer weather we’ve been having lately that calls me outdoors.  I did get a few things done, though.  The first one is a great homemade gift idea for any kid.

homemade play-dough!

Jude is pretty much a play-dough fanatic these days, so I thought I’d use the same recipe we make for his stash and give his little cousin some of her own for her second birthday this past weekend.  I had Jude “help” me a little so I could make the card from him to her and give him a little ownership.  The recipe can be found here, but I’ll walk you through it.

Gather your materials: flour, salt, cream of tartar, vegetable oil, water, food coloring. First mix about 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of salt, and 2 tsp of cream of tartar in a pot on the stove.  Add 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of oil, and about 1 tsp of food coloring.  Cook this over medium heat, and just keep stirring and stirring until it makes a ball-ish form in the pot.  Then turn your dough out of the pot onto a floured surface, which for me is the leftover 1980’s countertop in my lovely kitchen.

Then you just knead, knead, knead until it begins to firm up, and you’ll be adding some flour along the way to be sure that happens.  (This is when I had Jude’s help “kneading” but didn’t have a free hand for the camera.)  This is easy-peasy and done in less than ten minutes! You can also use kool-aid to color it, but I haven’t tried that yet.  In my experience, the homemade version lasts way longer than store-bought play dough which tends to dry out in just a week or two.  We’ve had the same stash since December and play with it daily.  Plus if you add a homemade card, it makes for a sweet little gift from one cousin to another.


Other than that, I haven’t finished much except a few scrapbook pages that are long overdue.  My 2011 once-a-month resolution was the push I needed to finish then though.  (For more details on how I print this, see my previous post on last year’s book.  For other details, see this previous explanation.)

Here are a few from the holidays, and you can get a larger view by clicking on the picture.


I also worked on one about our snow days, but I really was holding off on it because I expected another round of winter weather in February or March.  I don’t know though; with these freakishly spring temperatures lately, I might not have to edit after all.

So there you have it – February’s few completed crafts.  I hope to have more in March with a finished knitted bag and maybe a sewing endeavor.

Surviving and Thriving. Crafting not Cleaning.

The husband is still in Paris, and I am surviving – despite detailed accounts of his decadent chocolate dessert or play-by-play explanations of buttery breakfast pastries.  Or that gorgeous photo he emailed of the Notre Dame Cathedral all decked out for Christmas.  But Jude and I? We’re getting by on this side of the ocean.

I’m staying busy which helps a lot. On Monday evening, I attended a community meeting about the very real possibility of a birth center here in Atlanta. Woohoo!  Not sure what that VBAC status will be with the issues surrounding liability insurance, but even if I am never lucky enough to deliver there, I am truly excited about the possibilities for Atlanta women.  …. On a side note, as I sat in that meeting surrounded by lots of faces I’ve come to know in the past year or more of my life, I feel really grateful that my path has led me to so many strong women.  The “earthy birthy” movement in Atlanta is so active, and I love having these women as sounding boards and mentors for all sorts of parenting issues that extend far beyond labor and delivery.

So the rest of this week has included a birthday dinner on my husband’s side of the family and some visiting and playing and lunching with friends, and tonight I get to visit a tiny little baby and catch up with girlfriends over hot chocolate and doughnuts, so really Paris, you and your fine wines and beautiful architecture can suck it.  [I don’t really mean that, but I’m trying here.]

God knows there is plenty to do around the house, but it’s Christmas time and I’d rather make bigger messes crafting or cooking than clean up the existing ones, you know?

Exhibit A: Jude’s new flannel board. It turns out that $6 at Hobby Lobby and a little work can buy you a super fun and easy way to learn shapes and colors.

365.191  happy things #4

I simply wrapped black flannel around some foam board, hot glued it in place, and cut colorful shapes to go on it.  The felt easily clings to the flannel, and Jude really likes rearranging them.  Kinesthetic learning, as my teacher colleagues would call it.  Perfect entertainment for a cold day.

Then there’s been the baking, the browsing cookie recipes, the last minute gift buying on Etsy, the drinking too much coffee.  Effectively staying distracted and having a good time in the process.

Nothing else to share here, really.  Except maybe some finished scrapbook pages for Jude’s SECOND year book.  It seems so weird to say second year.  We’ve waved goodbye to babyland for sure.  Toddlerville, here we are.




So that’s pretty much it for us this week.  Surviving in the cold on this side of the Atlantic. Crafting but surely not cleaning.  Husband returns tomorrow and lots of cozy slow cooker meals and general laziness planned for the weekend.  Happy weekending to you, too.

It’s the holidays.  Go bake something.


Easy, Creative Scrapbooking

I was quite the scrapbooker years ago.  I have one MASSIVE scrapbook that encompasses my four amazing years spent at a women’s college, and I have a great book that details my summer study abroad in 2001.  I still look at them from time to time and love reliving those moments as I turn the pages.  I can remember spending Saturdays or lazy afternoons hunched over a table with mounds of scraps and paper, and I think it was time well spent.  They are books that still make me feel happy when I peruse the ticket stubs and photos that I matted and glued to patterned paper, and I know I’ll keep these albums for a long, long time.


The problem now, however, is that I obviously don’t have the time I used to when it comes to crafty projects.  Aside from that, scrapping in the traditional sense creates a HUGE mess.  I don’t have the space or the patience to have glue, scissors, cut outs, and piles of paper in my house right now.  I discovered digital scrapbooking a couple of months ago, and I decided to invest in some software and give it a try.  Y’all this is addictive and so incredibly easy!  There’s no mess because it’s all held on your computer, and if you mess up or decide you don’t like it, just start again.  I love it.  As I said before, completing part of this book is on my enormous summer to-do list. This weekend, I thought I’d get started with a page or two and I made 26 pages in one night!  In ways, it’s not as sentimental as traditional scrapbooking because you can’t store things like the first lock of hair or a hospital bracelet, but I intend to place those somewhere else less artful, and use this for presentation of my photos.  I’m approaching mine as a sort of letter to Jude to give him on his first birthday because that feels most natural for me, but you could do whatever works for you.

Here are a few pages I’ve finished, and I’m not exaggerating that they take minutes.   I use Memory Mixer software, and it’s really simple, but I know there are a number of programs out there that are easy and affordable.  When the whole book is complete, you can order a hardcover, bound version on Shutterfly or Snapfish, or whatever site you choose.

the title page of our first year scrapbook

Simple, quick, creative scrapbooking works for me!  For more Works for Me Wednesday, head to We are THAT Family.