| July 14, 2011 | 11:12 pm
I’ve been composting for the garden for years, but I was using this make-shift system of tossing everything compostable into one of two trash cans and kinda rolling them around every so often to get them turned. As you can imagine, this system was a major fail. I never had compost at the beginning of the season, and by the end of the season the cans got so heavy it was really hard to access the compost I finally had. Something needed to be done!
So I got three untreated (as far as I can tell) oak pallets from someone who didn’t need them anymore and put them to work. I cut them with my hand saw into three 4′ x 4′ squares and nailed them together like this:
Then with the 1 1/2′ x 4′ pieces left over I nailed one to the bottom half of the open front, and just stacked the second piece on top of the bottom piece. It’s held on by a bungie so that I can easily get in and out of the composter to turn it and shovel compost out. Already my compost is breaking down more quickly, and it just looks so much better! Yesterday I found Olivia pulling dandelions on her own and tossing them into the bin, so it’s basically a win-win-win-win situation now. Plus, the whole project cost me a whopping $2 for nails and 2 hours time! Unbeatable!
| February 18, 2011 | 5:38 pm
I’m volunteering with Zero Landfill tomorrow & next Saturday. So if you decide to come for some free carpet & wallpaper samples, binders, fabric, stone, tile, etc., please say hello!
It’s open noon-3pm.
30 North High Street in Akron.
| February 17, 2011 | 11:39 pm
Olivia is in Kindergarten, which means that our whole family is blazing new trails. She is reading and making friends. I am being asked to be the craft mom for holiday parties.
OK, her accomplishments are a little more ground breaking than mine. True. But I do have to struggle to keep to my ideals of crafting– upcycled, useful, valuable, beautiful, etc.– while making a craft that 24 six year olds can do in 15 minutes. And it’s a bonus if no one cries.
Which reminds me! Have I ever shared my ethos on children’s crafting? People have often asked me to teach crafts to children. Upon seeing what I have planned to do they tell me that kids can’t do such and such. I’ve sewn with 3 year olds, made stained glass with pre-schoolers, and finger knit with Daisy Scouts. And I believe that kids can do all of it, just not as well as an adult can do it. They may not finish. It might not be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. It might even get thrown away on the way out the door. But if the children were able to keep themselves busy doing the work you gave them, and no one cried, it was a well planned craft. The kids could do it, and they learned something new. End rant.
Well, for the Valentine’s Day party I designed these little magnet clips for the kids to make. We used felted sweaters for the hearts, glued them to clothes pins with magnet strip on the back. To decorate the hearts I punched out heart shapes from my Zero Landfill wallpaper books and the children added their pictures. No one cried, and all the clips looked great hanging on the white board while they dried.
I can’t wait until the next party!
I like to make good use of what I already have for the good of the environment and the budget. This year I challenged myself and was determined not to buy any wrapping supplies but only to use what I already had. Since I save every piece of ribbon, I had plenty to make the gifts look lovely. We were going to be driving from Florida to Ohio and I wanted all the gifts to be in boxes for easy & safe transport. I kept a few boxes that new shoes came in as well as check boxes and any other box that I thought would work.
After I packed each gift in the smallest box possible (many of them without tissue paper- I decided it was unnecessary), my husband did the wrapping. I was then the finisher and decorator of each gift. I made gift tags using the front of Christmas cards we received in years past, white business cards that were leftover from a work project, rubber stamps, fabric, tags I bought at the office supply store, and of course, leftover ribbon.
One of my favorite gifts this year is a yellow & white fabric wrapping containing handmade cards & stationary, with a tag made of a Christmas card front that has been circulating my family for years.
I should mention that my husband’s family birthday tradition generally involves gifts wrapped in pillowcases to avoid using wrapping paper. Because her birthday is Christmas Eve, I always wrap my sister-in-law’s birthday gift in paper. This year hers is wrapped in heart paper and the tag is from the front of a Christmas card she made & sent us a few years ago.
I enjoyed the challenge this year and will definitely be saving ribbon and cards this Christmas to use next year.
| December 16, 2010 | 4:35 pm
This is one of the few handmade gifts I’ve made this year. I’m still adjusting to life with two kids and taking life at a more relaxed pace. I’ve opted to make less & give more books this year.
I did manage five of these hair flowers so far. I researched how to melt the fabric edges from a tutorial at Simply Vintage Girl. Her flowers have more of a petal look while mine are rounded. For mine I cutout stackable circles from silky fabric, then melted the edges over a candle. I sewed the layers together, sewed beads in the center, and glued on a piece of fabric to the back to hold the clip in place.
| December 9, 2010 | 11:37 pm
Boy, it’s been a while since we posted a good ol’ tutorial. But man does life get away from you when you’ve got a Kindergartener. Now we’re two weeks out from Christmas Break. How did that happen? So, since it’s almost Christmas Break, that must mean it is almost Christmas. And therefore we are decorating the tree!
This year I am having the kids slowly add ornaments throughout Advent. I thought it was a good alternative to just getting all the ornaments out and rushing through putting them on the tree. The bonus of doing it this way is we are making a bunch of new ornaments instead of just using the same ones we’ve always used. This tutorial will show you how to make the “wrapped candy” ornament pictured in the middle of my tree over there. It’s a very kid friendly, and almost free project using things commonly found in your house. And, they’re very cute! Read more »
| December 7, 2010 | 10:24 pm
I washed a red crayon with my laundry over the weekend. I had to toss out about 6 items because they were all covered in red smudges. It was kind of sad. But I decided I would look at it as an opportunity to hit the local thrift store.
I found some great things for my whole family, even my husband, but was having a hard time finding something for myself. I scored an Ann Taylor Loft t-shirt in my size, but otherwise it was mostly granny stuff (and not the quirky-cute kind). I did find a nice gauzy turtleneck t-shirt in my size in a dark chocolate brown for a dollar so I brought it home even though I really really dislike turtlenecks.
I took out my scissors and I hacked the turtleneck off into a scoop neck. Then I had all this nice fabric to play with so I ruffled it up on my machine and made an asymmetrical ruffled collar to dress it up. Then I cut off the sleeves at 3/4 length and used the scraps to make a ruffle at the waistband. Let me just say, this is my new favorite shirt. Not bad for a dollar and an afternoon!
| November 19, 2010 | 12:20 pm
I must admit that I am sort of band-wagon jumping here, but how could you not? The best craft “fad” I’ve seen yet is the mustache. It’s just so funny. Something about the awkwardness of a bad mustache makes me really love the idea of putting them all over stuff.
For Crafty Mart (which was fantastic by the way, loved seeing many of you there!) I made “stir-staches” or a mustache on a stir stick for your cocktail glass. I held one up in front of my face for most of the day, and enjoyed making conversation with shoppers incognito. A good deal of people borrowed one for conversing with me. We enjoyed the silliness of it a great deal.
These guys are going to be for sale in my etsy shop soon. I’m waiting for the next sunny day to grab my camera and photo everything I have left over from the fair. As much fun as it is having a suitcase full of crafty-wares, it is more fun to have people out in the world wearing them.
| November 12, 2010 | 10:37 am
Making, making, making. All of my evening craft time is consumed with making little flowers for Crafty Mart. The fabric for the flowers is scrap strips from these scarves I’ve been making. The idea came to me all of a sudden, as all the best ideas do, while I was driving to pick up Olivia from Kindergarten. They are so simple, and classic. They’re also very fashion current, given the “deconstructed preppy” look (which I am in love with, by the way).
I love to leave little remnants of an item’s former life when I upcycle things, so these have the shirt tail hem left at the ends of the scarf. The contrast seams are both attractive and functional, in navy blue. There will hopefully be a gold trimmed version, if I can find a gold metallic thread that doesn’t hate my serger.
By the way, what do you think of my cashmere sweater? Someone gave it to me to felt it. But I love it, so I washed it and blocked it, and now I want to wear it every day!
| November 8, 2010 | 11:21 am
While making a wallpaper turkey with my daughters I found some amazing burlap wallpaper samples. They were so attractive I really wanted to use them in my decor since they seemed so “autumn” but there really wasn’t very much of it. I thought of framing them and placing them in the dining room seasonally, but then the texture would be kind of lost.
Then I remembered my mums I had in a cheap blue vase, not really making a statement at all on my piano. I thought it would be awesome to have a vase kind of like these to display them, but in brown. But I’m lazy, and I wanted them now, and to make something like that would require a trip to the store and multiple steps. So instead I grabbed my stapler and rolled the paper into a tube and stapled the seam shut. Then I put the tube over a heavy Ball jar of water and put the flowers in the water. The only “technique” required is making sure the ugly part is in the back!
I do really like the look of these, so maybe when I have a free moment I will make them for real, but for now I have the look, and that’s good enough for me!