You Could Make That: Tote Bag Idea, pt. II

Just came across this tote bag painting project; linking it here so I don’t forget:



We’ve been Christmastiming it up around here in the arts ‘n’ crafts department, and I’ve been loving it.  N had the fortuitous idea that we should put up our tree and lights over Thanksgiving weekend so we’d have plenty of time to enjoy them before we travel for the Christmas holiday.   We run the risk of things falling apart by the time we return home and for our own Epiphany celebration, but maybe I’ll be excited to re-craft when we return from our trip.

Today I’m planning projects for the next week, small gifts the kids can give to their grandparents and aunts and uncles.  I’m still planning on that felt wreath–must pick up my good scissors from having left it with NCN supplies after the fall fundraiser.  Additionally, I think Artful Parent’s tape resist paintings will be really fun for the kids to work on and could result in some terrific pieces.  Here are photos from the article on Rhythm of the Home:

Totally cute, eh?  I’d love to put that on my walls.

Still looking for another project or two….

A Place For Everything

oh, ya know, that could be the title for so many dreamy posts…. I do long to be the sort of person who wisely allocates funds to storage, investments in household sanity, who has a designated place for everything and who deftly maintains everything in its place.

As I look up to the mess calling to me in this time between kids-to-sleep and parents-to-sleep, I see that I need a place for stuff that belongs in the kids rooms when I cannot go into the kids rooms.  I also need an out-of-the-way spot to deposit items for donation.  Enter cute, labeled tote bag idea.  Cute so that they can hang on door knobs during the day, labeled so they won’t be scooped up to suit another purpose.

Here’s some inspiration from Under the Sycamore, or ashleyannphotography.com

Snatching a peaceful moment to relay a recent inspiration:


Twisted Felt Garland, from The Purl Bee.

On the tree?  On the mantle?  Across the wide living room door frame?  On the front door?  I have some felt on hand, although my color selection might not fit this holiday time of year.

Coincidentally, I made a really great Purl Bee felt craft this past weekend.  My co-worker organized a Crafty Christmas Extravaganza and this was one of the projects available:

I’d like to make a ton more of them, but I might adapt the pattern a bit.  First, I’d be sure to use thicker embroidery thread than the type I used; you can’t see my stitches from more than a couple feet away.  Also, I might put something in the middle to stuff them up a bit.  For some reason, mine looks pretty flat.

All photos courtesy of The Purl Bee:

Project Fail

I turned to The Artful Parent for activity advice today.  We had tempura paint on hand and not much else, so I took an idea from her “Thirteen fun art activities with tempura paint” that looked great to me, puffy paint made of tempura, salt, flour and water.    Kiddo hated it; he just wanted to straight up paint another “car garage,” aka, a Costco box, which he never actually uses to house his cars.

I think the biggest problem was that I improvised with frosting bags instead of using the squeezy things, but the paint came out so quickly, which I would think would also be a problem with the squeezy things.  I would like to try the project again with the proper materials, but maybe I’d try to make the paint thicker.



Image from The Artful Parent.

Of Pinterest

I’m really excited to start using Pinterest.   I’ll probably use it most, at least initially, for my perpetual decorating ideas.  I don’t know photoshop, although I hope to learn, say sometime in the next five years; crude word doc cut and pastes aren’t doin’ it for me.  I hope Pinterest will be energizing and artful to put together, fun in and of itself since all of my pinned dreams may not become reality.

I read about Pinterest first on Making it Lovely, a terrific design blog out of Oak Park.   Here’s how Making it Lovely recently used Pinterest to catalog items for her basement remodel:

Image belongs to Making it Lovely

Anticipating holidays

I’m not excited about winter, but I’m ready for the festivity of holidays.  As we drove home from church today, N commented on how the air felt like winter, and I became fearful at the prospect of winter days cooped up with kids.

Here’s a project I found through Better Homes and Gardens100 Days of Holidays:

Super cute, eh?  It’s pieces of felt strung onto wire and tied into a wreath shape.  Since Kiddo and I threaded fall leaves with needle and sewing thread, I’m certain he could handle this project.  Babycakes might even like to take a crack at it.  Depending on their size when completed, they might look nice on our fireplace.

Why You Could Make That:


A craft that uses materials which would otherwise be trash is totally up my alley.  Even as folks who endeavor to conserve, we have so much stuff; I love an opportunity to put rubbish to use in an unexpected or transformative way.  (I’m just gonna risk sounding pretentious and leave it at that.)  I have tons of old sweaters and felt from previous projects that we can use for this project.


We happen to be low on our usual arts-n-craft staples, so a new-to-us-material, fabric, will be fun for the kids and me.   I realize fabric is not an unconventional material, but I’m not an efficient sewer, so I’ve avoided fabric crafts that require sewing.


I’m not a neat freak or super organized, but creative projects win big affection from me when they don’t require lots of clean up.  In fact, it’s because I’m not a neat freak or super organized that I value neat projects, otherwise we’d be walking on our scraps for weeks.   Plus, I need quick turn around for our “craft table” to transform into our dining table.  I plan to have most of the sweater/felt pieces cut out beforehand, so the kiddos can jump right in, and clean-up will be efficient.


Pretty, pretty, pretty.  This sweet butterfly art is created with patterned paper and a Martha Stewart scrap-booking punch.  Doesn’t get much easier than that, eh?  Find a full tutorial at the blog Sixty-Fifth Avenue.

The truth is, I’ve been in the middle of another scrap-booking punch project for over a year, but that never stops me from collecting more ideas!   I think this would be a great project for Babycakes’ room, as a butterfly theme is slowly emerging there.

genious art: so simple, why didn’t we all think of that?

Oh, my goodness.  This is just ingenious.

I love that this runner is made out of doilies, something easily found, either lying around one’s home or in a thrift store, just waiting for relevant repurposing.   If the doily table runner hasn’t already taken over craft/diy blogs, I predict a massive trend of  upholstered headboard proportions.  Seriously, is it already everywhere?

Further poking around Under the Sycamore reveals more incredibly innovative ideas that are brilliant for the ways they transform very average objects into something totally other that they seem to have been made for.  Check out the reuse of these yardsticks, for example: a yardstick backsplash!  As a backsplash, the conventional function of a yardstick is separated from it’s texture, it’s aesthetic.  Who even knew a yardstick had an aesthetic, right?

The image of Ashley’s kitchen also demonstrates the way a collection can make a positive impact; the globes atop her cupboards are a great color border to the room.  I do have a penchant for circles and globes, so it’s a bit inevitable that I would be drawn to the globes.

Today I made…

…chocolate chip cookies, favorite recipe of Phoebe Buffay and me.

Mine looked a bit white and puffy compared to the styled sample above.  Kiddo and I thought they tasted great anyway.  Also, I added roughly 3/4 cup craisins to 1 and 3/4 cups chocolate chips, rather than using just 2 cups of chocolate chips as the recipe instructs.