Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

I saw this idea somewhere between Back Home and Natural Home (& Garden), and I can’t figure who to credit this idea to, however, as we start to employ less toys, but more that are visible, it became obvious that we needed a row of hooks for silks and other play fabric and scarves.

Since we’re on a new “living within our means” commitment, I needed something functional, fast and free (my favorite f-words!).

So, the twig row of hooks was born.  It was fun to make and involve my nearly-3-year-old in, scavenging twigs and branches from around the house, using the loppers to get the right cuts, sanding the rough edges and banging the nails into a discarded piece of lumber hanging out in the garage, just waiting for a purpose in life.  Fun activity, no need to “fetch” supplies and just what I needed–quickly!


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Tutorial: Doll Sling

(note: I wrote this post last summer; it’s the one I became frustrated with and abandoned–along with this whole blog.  I’m posting it with all it’s warts in an effort to move forward, both blog-wise and universe-wise.)

It happens that my wee’est was two last week!   It seems just yesterday I was revelling at my HBAC (homebirth after cesarean) success and a brand-new baby girl.  Since she’s the second, she endures many hand-me-downs.  (Luckily she’s not a complainer about this–yet.)  But, coming up with a birthday gift for the second child who has everything and more was hard.  In the end, we decided to invest in a custom-made waldorf doll.  It is just beautiful and I hope she gets years of play.  Since I’ve been a little bit crafty these past couple of weeks, I thought maybe a doll sling would be in order as a complimentary, made-by-me, gift.  Turns out it was the easiest and quickest thing I have made in a long time!  Her elder sister gawked and swooned about it, so as a surprise, I made her a larger one.  And, because the first one was so easy, I put together a tutorial!

Baby Doll Sling
adapted from an Elizabeth Lee Designs pattern

*It should be noted that these slings are toys and are in no way appropriate for a living baby. Only a properly-made baby sling should be used for babies.*

Supplies: 1/2 yard for smaller size, 1 1/2 yards for larger size (makes 2); pair of 2″ craft rings

Cut your fabric: You’ll need a rectangle of fabric.  Cut a 18 x 44 piece for a small (2-4 yrs) child or 18 x 50 for a larger child (5-8 yrs).

 Hem the sides:  Fold a 1/4-1/2 hem over twice for a finished edge on each of 2 long sides and 1 short side.  Leave the remaining short side raw.  Iron in place (I also pin the folded corners down to help me keep them aligned).

Sew a basic stitch down both long sides and then on the short side, securing the corners in place.

Attach the rings: On the raw edge, fold the fabric in to the center twice so that the folded width is 1/4 the unfolded width.

Fold unfinished edge over once, and thread through both rings.  (I find it easiest to pin this edge in place while threading the rings.)

Attach to body of sling with a reinforced stitch straight across.

 Create sling: To make the sling operable, thread the body of the sling through both rings and the end through a single ring, as pictured.


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We’ve been struggling with random glasses all over the kitchen (and house as well), so, out of necessity comes invention:

A quick little whipped up place mat with a place for every person’s cup.

This way, we are limited to one cup each, and there’s no confusion about which cup belongs to each of us.  Sweet!

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Exactly What is Needed

My eldest’s jewelry pile is getting out of control.  And, because she has a toddler sister who is fascinated with everything she does, they have managed to spread this massive amount of jewelry all around the house from one playtime to another.  I love to see them get all dressed up, G trying so hard to mimic her sister and Em loving dolling up her sister.  But, the mess had to go.  At least to a centralized place.  So, I pulled out my most handy book, One Yard Wonders, and looked for a solution.  What I found was a sewing notions travel mat, which was close to what I was thinking with a portable, flexible place for all the jewelry to be stashed, moved, emptied, refilled and put away again.  So, I improvised, using the sewing notions pattern as a guide.  This is how it turned out:

getting things pinned down and figuring which stitches to do first for the “overlapped, but separate pockets” look


a little closer detail

I was able to make it in less than an hour!
(After, of course, lots of time trying to figure out the right fabric and thread…)

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Project: Complete

Well, I was able to finish Em’s lap quilt in time for cozy quiet time yesterday…not the most fancy or meticulous, but made with love and hopefully durable!  I did a simple 10″ square, 4-by-6 quilt and backed it in a light yellow flannel.  I finished the edges with a zig-zag stitch with varigated thread and tied it at the center of each block and at each corner with thicker, silk DMC floss.

Cozy up on the couch…

…and a little game of drag your sister around the house.

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Projects in Progress

We have been battling the winter demons: sick germs. Our house has been riddled with colds, pneumonia and all sorts of sickness that has taken out 3 of 4 occupants, including me. However, because it has been so long since the last post and because sleeping children make for more mama-crafting time, I have pictures to show you about my latest projects:

These are the fabrics I chose to make my daughter Em’s lap quilt.  I was hoping to inspire a feeling of oldness, to capture a simpler time when the quilt of one’s grandmother felt like hugs from generations past and was so helpful in times of illness.


G got a new pair of soft wool leggings, repurposed out of a thrifted wool sweater that I felted.


Em and I sat down to make some paper heartstrings and talked about the kind of people and things we hold in our hearts.  Some of the hearts are named after family, friends, teachers at school, and the elements like Sun, Snow and Rainbows.

Having Em home from school all week because of illness gave me a newfound wish to keep her home and homeschool her.  It might have been that sickness made her physical needs less, or maybe it was that she’s getting closer to being 5 years old, but it was delightful to have her around to talk to and project with, even though we were all sick.  It was such a nice change from the daily battles I seem to have with her.

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Yearning is ingrained in my personality. No matter how much I try to take time to live in the moment, appreciate what I have or smell the proverbial and literal roses, I yearn for more and better.  Sometimes I can justify this constant yearning by thinking that those things for which I yearn are worth yearning for: peace, quietude of soul, independent gardening to feed our family, better playthings for my children, time to learn a new craft (time to craft at all), most of all “time”.  However, after pouring over beautiful Waldorf-inspired mama blogs, I find that I spend more time reading about the life I want than living the life I want, and all that time goes away.

I’m a lifelong learner.  I suck up information and try to keep it all at a convenient place in my brain to be called up at the perfect time.  Like parenting advice when I’ve locked horns with Em and haven’t found a way out yet.  Or, when I have some spare time and need the perfect little craft to start with her.  But, by nature, I’m also not so creative or resourceful, so I blank until the next time I read something that’s inspiring and file it away again.

So, I have amassed the resources to be creative and join in with imaginative play.  I have saved the websites so I can peruse them at a different time and use the good times to do productive things.  We are putting together plans to move out of the heart of our small city and on to  7 acres of woods that we will have to work for years to fine-tune our homestead.  And, because it’s still winter and the magic of the holidays is long past, we fantasize about moving to coastal california.  Since the rest of it isn’t enough to preoccupy my stay-at-home-with-two-children self. (I’m hoping the sarcasm was obvious there.)

However, despite all my hopes and dreams and plans for the future, I did manage to capture a moment of peace and happy reading: 

And I also repurposed my mother-in-law’s discarded skirt into a “wedding dress” that Em has been clamoring for for ages.  I simply cut off the elastic waist, corrected the height, sewed in a little pink and green ribbon accent at the top and used the elastic waist to fashion straps.  Ta-Da.  Wedding dress.

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