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Beaded Baby Teether Necklace

Have I mentioned that Leo LOVES hair? Grabbing it, pulling it, playing with it, burying his face in it and even eating it. Sometimes after holding him I feel crunchy places in my hair where he has been sucking. He also sometimes rubs and pulls his own hair to soothe himself. Perhaps I’m raising the next Vidal Sassoon? All I know is that what once was cute when he was less strong is now becoming a bit painful at times. Just ask his poor sister. She basically cannot come within reach of him or she gets grabbed or scratched. Oh yes, he’s also a scratcher. Naturally, he doesn’t mean to, but those little fingernails… well… ouch. I’m just hoping that scab on my nose doesn’t scar.

I made the teething necklace above as an attempt to divert his attention. I’ve seen several fun and funky looking ones, and they are easy enough to make. Basically, you

1. Sew a tube of fabric big enough to insert wooden craft balls.
2. Tie a knot in the fabric between each ball
3. Sew the ends closed and add a ribbon to tie it (or twill tape, in this case).

Leo, however, is only minimally interested. It isn’t hair, after all. And so it doesn’t get  a ton of wear. I tend to prefer smaller jewelry anyway (which I don’t wear now, so as not to have it yanked off and swallowed). Ah, well. Gentle admonishments will have to suffice for now…


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Handmade camera accessories

I love to see the creative things people sew for cameras. At one time I was all proud of myself for sewing this camera strap cover, but that was peanuts compared to the beautiful patchwork versions from House on Hill Road. The blue one in colorway thirty-six is my favorite.

And check out these SLR camera covers by Pixbag. Talk about stylish.

Then there are Lens Pets by Mandee Franee – perfect for anyone taking photos of children. I’d smile if I saw these, too. What do you think? Over the top or just really fantastic?

(Thanks to greenclogs for the facebook shout out about the straps, and to my husband for sending the camera cover link).


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Baby Boy Quilt

Check out baby boy’s beautiful new quilt, handmade by my mother-in-law. She took Chloe and I to the fabric store the last time we were in Colorado and helped me choose complementary patterns in the colors I liked. They are all Robert Kaufmann fabrics except for the floral. I love how it turned out, and can’t wait to see our baby boy snuggled up in it. Alternate photos here and here.

The cradle is one I found for a steal on craigslist several months ago. It is basically a DaVinci Futura Cradle, although mine says Million Dollar Baby. I had  a craigslist-purchased co-sleeper with Chloe, but it never fit next to our bed properly because the side of our bed frame left a gap. I ended up selling it back the same way I bought it. I know the cradle won’t last as long, but it’s narrower profile is easy to move from room to room, and it rocks. The only problem was fitted sheets for the cradle pad were hard to find. I did spot these Jill Mcdonald swaddling blankets the last time I went out looking. I know. Swaddling blankets are also short lived, but I love the modern simplicity of these and hope they’ll make for cute newborn photos.


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Wonderland Skirt

This darling skirt came in the mail from Australia for Chloe last week. It was handmade by my craft swap partner, Doreen. I adore the Wonderland fabric she chose, and that she thoughtfully left a small opening in the back, so I could fit the elastic waist perfectly on Chloe. Good thing Chloe and I wear vastly different sizes, or I might find myself stealing this little gem right out of her closet.

Some of Doreen’s other projects can be seen on her brand new blog Phil and Jack.


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Making Paper-Covered Binder Clips

Every once in a while I participate in a craft swap. It is interesting to get a package in the mail from another participant, sometimes from across the globe. As a matter of fact, the partner I send to this time lives in the Philippines. Anyway, it gives me an excuse to make a couple things, including these paper-covered binder clips (first seen here). I cut out small pieces of origami paper, added a little glue on the clip body and then wrapped and pressed the paper around it. Pretty!


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Wooden Name Puzzles

When I was visiting Colorado for the wedding, I came across an old wooden name puzzle from when Andrew was a kid. I loved it – the colors, the size of the pieces, and more importantly, the font. The maker’s name was stamped on the back, but an internet search came up empty, which is no surprise since it’s probably almost twenty years old. Then, just yesterday when we were over at a friend’s house for dinner, I noticed their little boy had his own name puzzle, too (I meant to take a picture, but I forgot). Anyway, here are a few that I’d consider for Chloe:


mooo.com.au $30.95 for 5 letters, $14.95 for box


personalizationmall.com $5.95 per letter


personalizationmall.com $52.95 one name, $64.95 two names


puzzlepeople.etsy.com $21.00


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Sewing Machine Cover + Smallest Sewing Table Ever

My sewing machine has a new dress! The ugly plastic one it came with finally got the heave-ho. Looks nice, doesn’t it? I got all ambitious and added a back pocket and a hole on top for the carrying handle, except I couldn’t figure out how to properly fold inside corners with bias-tape. It ended up oval, except I had already cut a rectangle in the fabric and the bias-tape didn’t “catch” the corners. I fixed that with a little fabric glue. Just don’t look too close.

Before Chloe, the “spare” room (that is now her nursery) used to be where we kept the TV, the sewing table, and the futon. With Chloe’s arrival, we had no choice but to move the TV into the living room and the sewing table into our bedroom, wedged between the dresser and the hamper, because there was literally nowhere else in our little house to put it. Luckily, it folds down really small, as you can see. I also took a photo of the table fully opened.

I was this close to using Alexander Henry’s Mocca for the sewing machine cover, but after walking it and the Joel Dewberry Ginseng into the bedroom, I realized right away the Mocca wouldn’t jive with the serenity of the bedroom. Much the same way that I wouldn’t have been able to stand the TV in the bedroom. The walls are white, the curtains white, and my favorite duvet cover is white with only a few oversize, very abstract, pale blue, taupe and brick-colored butterflies. It was meant to be.

Good tutorials and inspiration for making sewing machine covers can be found at Chez Larsson, Spool, and Creative Reveries.


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Blossom Blouse

I finished this child’s Blossom Blouse for Chloe over the weekend. It is a pattern from the book Sew Liberated: 20 Stylish Projects for the Modern Sewist. I think it is just adorable, and I love this print. The smallest pattern was for size 2-3, so obviously it is way too big for my tiny daughter, but the fact that  I sewed something that came out okay is pretty miraculous. The last time I tried to sew a piece of clothing without help, I ended up getting stuck in the middle and giving up. It didn’t matter much though, because I could easily see that it was turning out more than double my size.

It is hard to see, but what drew me were the 3/4 bell sleeves with the little gathers just above the elbow. I love details like this, even for my own clothes. However, mine didn’t turn out quite right, because I couldn’t get my stitch to lengthen to the specified size, even though I turned the thread length indicator as high as it would go. I’m okay with that though, for a first try.

Now that I’m feeling a little of that “I’m sorta getting it” feeling, I’m trying to decide what to make next. Maybe a new sewing machine cover to replace the ugly plastic one. Or maybe a matching, mommy-size Blossom Blouse…


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Gratitude

I am happy to find myself with a number of reasons to be thankful for my friends lately. To express my gratitude, I made more thank you cards using my trusty butterfly punch and pieces of Chloe’s finger paintings. Just one more way to spread the baby artwork love (even on the inside – see bottom photo).

It is hard to see, but the Fastenator staple on the card in the second photo says thank you. The first photo uses a rub-on, which worked pretty well considering the cardstock has a little bit of texture. I haven’t used a rub-on transfer since I was a kid, but it was a nice option when working with dark paper.

Postscript: I just read a great idea on Twig & Thistle that an easy way to sharpen your punches is to use the punch on some aluminum foil. Sweet! See the post here.


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What nifty device can you make with paper, film and a Coke can?

I found a very interesting book on the new arrival shelf at the library yesterday. A book called Build Fun Paper Cameras: Take Eye-Catching Pinhole Photos. My first thought was Hmm, those look pretty cool! My second thought was They still make 35mm film?! It is almost hard for me to believe that everyone just doesn’t use digital these days. I love the instant satisfaction of seeing an image onscreen (especially handy when I notice a detail that needs fixing). Film cameras don’t give you that amount of control, and that idea is… intriguing.

So, I’m curious. I decided to check the book out and experiment. What if I had to physically rely on myself to manage the exposure (and not just tell my digital camera how long to do it for me)? I mean literally open and close the shutter by hand, and not with the press of a button? What would it be like to manually make my own equipment? And wind the film myself? I’m guessing the worst that can happen will be that none of my photos come out, but even so I’ll have made some pretty nifty little paper cameras. So, if you’ll excuse me – I have a Coke can to cut and pierce, film to find and purchase, and 8 sheets of freshly printed card stock to cut, fold and assemble.

To be continued…


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Valentine Idea: Day 10 – Origami Love

Origami Love – Paper is truly a remarkable material, and an inherent part of Valentine’s Day! How about spreading a little love around by folding a batch of these beauties to share…


Origami Kusadama Flower


Origami Fortune Teller


Sweet Origami Hearts


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Valentine Idea: Day 8 – Hair Accessories + Giveaway!

Hair Accessories + Giveaway – If only I could get my baby to grow more hair, she might be wearing a set of these conversation heart hair clips some day. For now, I’ll just have fun making them. And guess what? One lucky reader gets to keep them! Just leave a comment on this post for your chance to win and I’ll announce the winner on Saturday the 13th. Want to make your own hair clips? It’s easy! Here’s a link to my hair clip tutorial. If you’re not the crafty type, below are links to several adorable handmade hair accessories available on Etsy.


Heart Ponytail Holders (set of 2)


Love is in the air – pony and clip set


Wool Felt Hearts Hair Clips


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Valentine Idea: Day 3 – Handmade Stamps

Handmade Stamps – I’ve always liked stamps, but I’m pretty picky about the few I end up buying. I need to know I’ll use them again and again. Heart and love stamps can be particularly useful, from cards and envelopes to gift wrap and fabric. Here are a couple fun ideas and tutorials to make your own, or you could buy one handmade.


Heart Stamps from Potatoes


Stamp your own conversation hearts


Handcarved Valentine Stamp, Cupid


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Showing off my sparklies

This winter I’ve been a very lucky girl in the necklace department. I was perusing Etsy for Christmas gift ideas when the Ice and Snow necklace popped up. I hemmed and hawed about buying it for myself, since I was supposed to be looking for gifts to give, not to keep. A while later I found it again, but the price had gone up. I hadn’t realized that it had been on sale! A quick convo to a very understanding Erin brought the price back down, and that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I love the balanced trio of coin pearl, white topaz briolette and the handstamped silver snowflake charm.

The center Skipping Lilies pendant was given to me by my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Aundrea. I am looking for a chain to wear with it, although it would look equally good on a simple leather or silk cord. The style is based on a stained-glass technique and seals tiny dried botanicals within its casing. I know it will get a lot of wear, plus the solder is lead-free which makes it safer around baby.

The third necklace was handmade for me by my sister-in-law, Liza. You can see some of her other lovely jewelry creations here. This particular necklace is moonstone with pearl and iridescent grey beads. It is quite elegant and unlike anything else I own. I always feel good wearing it, which is the point of nice jewelry, don’t you think?


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Make Your Own Last-Minute Father's Day Card

As usual, I put off making David a Father’s Day card until the very last minute. Being his very first Father’s Day as a father, I didn’t want to just let it go, either, so I whipped up this card with a few minutes to spare. As you can probably see from the photo, I took a blank card and cut the word “Dad” out with an exacto knife. Then I glued some colored paper behind it to make it pop. Normally, pink wouldn’t have been my first choice, but being a last minute project didn’t make for many options. I figured David was man enough to handle it anyhow. Want to make your own? You can download and print this pdf template (originally sized for a 5×7 card).


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Swap Package

I just want to share this amazing swap package that I found in the mail yesterday. It is from Pina, my thoughtful blog pal from Slovenia. The photo just doesn’t do justice to the fine details in her handmade creations – the lovely pouch with pink button and felt bird, the sweet scent of lavender from the felted stone, the perfectly chosen fabric on the elephant softie for Chloe, plus a gorgeous bar of dark chocolate to boot! See how talented she is?! Thank you so much Pina. You inspire me with your talent and generosity!

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