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Saturday, December 25, 2010

What the Grinch and I Have in Common

Imagine my delight when, watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the umpteenth time in my life, I connected with the fact that the Grinch himself is a fellow crafter?! Working on an old fashioned sewing machine nonetheless!!!


I mean, we crafters are lurking everywhere. Hopefully, most of us with more nice than naughty. And none of us using dogs like child laborers. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ice Skating in L.A.

Amid all the holiday hustle and bustle, there's always time for some fun. 

                                        

There's something oh so kitch about skating in 70 degree weather, two blocks from the beach. 

And I love it! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Compostess with the Mostess


Did you know that it's easy to compost?

You don't even have to have a big, smelly, worm infested pile in the backyard (although that would be nice). Instead, you can contribute to your city's compost program. 


A while back I bought one of these nifty little counter top composters. It looks nice and it has a filter and a tight lid so that you don't have to smell your fruit and veggies fermenting. I even found a biodegradable liner so that when it's full I can transfer the whole bag. 



                                                          


                                          Where do I take it, you might ask?


Why out to the green bin. Do you have one of those? All of the lawn and foliage clippings go in there and in many cities, so can compostable material including fruit and vegetables. I'm still researching to see if coffee grinds and egg shells are permitted. From what I can gather, our green bins are vegan. 

Between recycling plastic and paper goods and composting, we have really cut way down on our landfill garbage. 

Check out your local green bin laws (sometimes it's as easy as reading the directions on the bin) and see if you can start a composting program in your home! It could be a practical New Year's resolution! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cork Forest


Apparently, I'm not the only one looking for things to do with all my spare corks. Check out this project by Family Chic! 


(photo by Family Chic)



Drink up! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

We Have A Winner!

Laurie Anne is our latest winner and had the following comment about the giveaway:


"I haven't read this, and would love to!"





Laurie, I will contact you today to get your mailing address. 


Everyone else, thanks so much for participating in the giveaway! Look for many more in 2011 - year of the giveaway (totally Oprah style, yet, totally not.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Soup's On!

I like to make my son's teachers gifts for the holidays (although perhaps they'd rather a Starbucks card instead?) Last year, I sewed little mini Kleenex cloth cases. This year, I decided on soup. 


I layered all dry ingredients (garbanzo beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, curry powder, parsley, red pepper flakes, onion flakes and garlic powder.) 


Then I printed the directions (add vegetable broth and coconut milk and simmer on low for two hours) and tied them up with a bow around the jar. (I had them face the wrong direction in the photo in case Mr. P.'s teacher didn't want to be featured on my blog.)





And of course, they each got a bottle of wine. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cork Tree Ornament

The holidays roll around and somehow my cork storage drawer begins to overflow with the stuff! What to do with all that cork? I could just sit around waxing poetic about how corks are so passe these days and that twist offs are the new cork and cork rot this and cork rot that......or....


I could turn the cork into a Christmas tree ornament. 



I was inspired to make this tree ornament our of corks after reading a Between The Lines blog. Click here to see the link. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

As an Aside

I have been off the radar for a few days now. It's Mr. P.'s 5th birthday on Friday and I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done in time including dinner party preparations, small birthday gathering, teacher holiday gifts and planning what in the world we will do with over two weeks off of school!


I love vacation!!! 

Since there's been a lack of crafting over the last few days, I leave you with an easy and pretty side dish....




There's something soothing about eating a dinner that is aesthetically pleasing. 


This purple kale (from the farmer's market) with fresh cilantro made me smile!


I threw both into a pan with olive oil and when cooked, i added some feta cheese and a handful of walnuts. A perfectly simple side dish. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Salty Dough Ornaments



What you'll need:
1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water
cookie cutters
1 chopstick (to make hole in dough)
tempera paint in many colors
brushes


Mix everything together until the dough is formed. You may need to keep adding flour little by little until it's no longer sticky. 

We used cookie cutters (both Christmas-themed and Star Wars-themed) to mold dough into shapes. 

Using the chopstick, place a hole at the top of the dough ornament.





Place in microwave and begin zapping on high in 30-second increments until ornament is hardened. For most ornaments, this took about a minute and thirty seconds. The uber-thick ones took about two minutes. 





                            Wait for ornament to cool and then paint. 


            


            
                           Let dry and add string to hang from tree! 





Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Want To Go!

       I wish I could go to this!



If you get a chance to go....let me know how it was!



Friday, December 10, 2010

Gingerbread in da House

So, you probably think I'm a DIY kinda girl. Surely I'd scoff at the idea of a prefab gingerbread house! Well, you're wrong. I am a crafter from the land of lazy and sometimes, the activities just have to come out of a box because Mama is tired!  


I picked this kit up at Trader Joe's.


It even came with candy and little candy characters (I think they're supposed to be Hansel and Gretel). It came with a box to make icing, but I was feeling so lazy that I just used the store-bought kind I had leftover from Halloween. 


We assembled the walls. 


Then the roof.


Worked a little, ate a little. 


Decorated the roof. 


Ate a little more. 


Admired decorations. 


Admired while eating a little more. 



Prefab joy! 


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shopping Cart Tree


I was hanging around one of my favorite craft stores (Urban Craft Center) in Santa Monica when Doodlebop and I came across this crazy Christmas Tree made out of shopping carts!



I came home and investigated.

It turns out it’s designed by artist Anthony Schmitt. The idea was born out of Schmitt’s memories of a 1960’s aluminum tree and the platinum hair sported by his friend’s mom.

The tree has returned each year since 2007.

Shcmitt says on his shopping cart website:

“The shopping cart tree symbolizes both generosity and abundance, as well as acknowledging those less fortunate where their whole world may be housed in a cart.  We see shopping carts everyday and take them for granted.  Individually the beauty of an everyday object may become invisible, but in quantity you can’t miss it.”

The tree is comprised of 86 carts!

A tip-of-the-crafty-crafter’s hat to you, Anthony Schmitt!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Free Giveaway: Girls and Dragons

This is my last giveaway for the year 2010!
The winner will receive one free copy of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. 
The copy I am giving away is a new paperback (not the hardcover.)





I have not read this book, but I know that it has a cult-like following...if you can find someone to give it to who hasn't read it yet.


Here's the Amazon synopsis (by Dave Callanan): 


"Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo."


You can win this book three different ways:



- Become a follower of this blog = 1 entry
-  Add a comment to this or any other post on my blog + become a follower = 2 entries.
-  Add a link from your blog to mine (i.e. you can mention the free giveaway in your own blog with a link to my blog - if you do this, please be sure and let me know you've done so in the comments box.) + become a follower + add a comment to this or any other post on my blog = 3 entries. 

You can mix and match these options any way you'd like!

This contest closes on Sunday, December 19th (in hopes that I will mail it out on the 20th so it arrives to you by Christmas!!!)





Monday, December 6, 2010

Big Brother Luvvie

(CHECK OUT MY FREE GIVEAWAY HAPPENING NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 19th - CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS!)


Have I mentioned how much Doodlebop loves his big bro Mr. P? And vice versa of course. I mean, these two are seriously in love (photographic proof).






Since they sleep in separate rooms,  I thought it would be fun to make something for the little one that allowed him to snuggle with his older brother every night.


Materials Needed:
1 fat quarter material #1 (I used a natural, white linen)
1 fat quarter material #2 (I used this cute linen robot print)





fabric scissors
batting (I used organic bamboo fiber)
matching thread
paper for pattern making
printable fabric sheets (Joann's)
pins

Here's how I did it:


First, I chose a photo of Mr. P. that I thought his brother might enjoy cuddling with. This one worked nicely because his face is pretty big in it. (It's from our camping trip in August.)




Then, I got my handy dandy fabric paper from Joann's and loaded one piece into my printer (this does not work on laser printers), fabric side down so that the image would print on the fabric side. I let it dry for thirty minutes or so and then peeled away the paper backing from the fabric, leaving me with a piece of fabric, the size of a sheet of paper,  with Mr. P's face on it.






I cut out the portion of the fabric I wanted to use (his face) NOTE: Life would have been much easier for me had I just cut out the fabric in a even circle as opposed to following the contours of his face. This made sewing this awkward shape onto my white fabric quite challenging. So cut it out in an even circle!



I placed his sweet face on a large piece of paper (for those of you interested in the scale of this, his face is about 4 or 4 1/2 inches long) And I proceeded to sketch the relative shape of the finish product that I wanted to make. I wanted it to look somewhat like a Russian Doll shape. 



Once I had the shape nailed down, I traced his head on the paper. (that's the outer most line.) Then I traced a second line inside that. This would serve as my sewing allowance. (If I cut it out at that outer circle, I'd have no fabric from his head to sew to my natural fabric. So I needed to make the hole I used a bit smaller than the circumference of his head.)




Here's a view of what the whole shape looked like that I envisioned. So the top panel would be Mr. P's face on white linen and the bottom half would be the robot material. Again, those of you wondering about scope - my drawing was almost two feet tall and one foot wide.



I cut out my paper pattern and traced it over the natural linen and cut out the shape. (don't forget you have to make a matching shape for the back of the luvvie - minus the hole for the head. I just doubled up my white fabric and cut two pieces out at once.)


Then I cut out  the space I created for Mr. P's head. 





Now the tricky part. I had to attach the fabric with his head to the white fabric. Challenging!!! Very slowly and with right sides facing, I began pinning my way around his head (ouch!), making sure that his face covered the entirety of the hole I cut out. This took a few tries to come out right. 


This is what it looks like from the wrong side - pinned all the way around. 



And this is what it looks like from the right side. This photo shows how wonky it was the first time, so I had to take the pins out and start over. Eventually, I got it right (if I had cut out his head in a circle shape it would have been much easier!) I ran to the sewing table and sewed the head to the white fabric. 




I cut out my bottom, robot panel (again, you have to do two shapes, one for the front of the luvvie and one for the back. And again, I doubled my fabric and cut both out at once, using my paper pattern as a guide.)



I pinned my robot (lower) panel, right sides together and sewed around in the shape of a C (so just the curved, lower part) leaving the waist or straight end of the luvvie unsewn.



I joined my upper and lower panels, right sides together, pinned them and sewed around the waist of the luvvie. The upper panel, at this point, is still open. But not for long! I then sewed up the left side of the upper panels and then the right side, leaving about a three-inch opening at the top. 



Here's a shot of the opening at the top. 



Everything else is sewn together at this point. You're almost done!



Turn the whole thing rightside out, grab your filler and start stuffing! If there were any kinks in the image that you've sewn, you can manipulate your stuffing so that it pushes the photo image evenly out. Because of the odd shape of the head I attached, the photo looked a little scrunched at the bottom, but when I added the filler, it all evened out.  (I used Bamboo Fiber - it's so soft!)



The stuff really stuck to my sweater. 



Then all you have to do is either hand sew or machine sew that little three-inch opening you have and....




Voila! A luvvie that can be used for decoration or comfort! Had I been more ambitious or more creative, I might have added arms and legs (making him look more like Humpty Dumpty.)

Wrap, place under tree and get that sweater washed so you don't walk around looking like an unkempt sheep.