Finding the Perfect Balance!

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Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.                 -Robert Fulghum

I wanted to whip-up a little birthday gift for my friend, and this is the perfect quick and easy handmade present!  I don’t know if it’s a by-product of being a former English teacher, a librarian, and of course, a lover of books, but I adore any project that uses letters and words. So, I’ve been collecting board games from the thrift store and using the pieces to make Scrabble tile message boards for the special people in my life.  Today, I met my dear friend for a birthday breakfast, and wanted to reminder her to cut-back, just say “no”, and quite simply make more time for herself!  (Good advice, wouldn’t you say?)  Just take a Scrabble tile holder and a little glue (I use E-6000) and admire your “instant message.”  Once you start, you will be thinking of all the important words you want to share!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

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And all your future lies beneath your hat.–John Oldham

Just a little crochet “show-and-tell” for a crisp, cold January day!  There have been LOTS of babies arriving in my circle lately, and I’ve been having so much fun whipping up hats for all of them.  There’s  nothing more rewarding than a baby hat…. it comes together quickly and looks so adorable on the recipient. I don’t know if they do it to be polite, but lately my parent-friends have been donning their little ones in my handmade originals.  So sweet!

These two are for sisters Anna and Ruby.  They are as precious as their names.

His-and-her bombers for big sister AnnaLynn and newborn brother Decland.

We’re still waiting for word that the latest boy baby to our school-family will arrive, but when he does, he’ll be sporting the right team colors – blue and green!

I wouldn’t know what to do without all of the generous creativity out on the Internet!  Here are the sources for the patterns I used:

Earflap Hat with Pom-Pom:  Neanners Shop. (http://neannersshop.blogspot.com/2010/10/ez-earflaps-pattern.html.)

Bomber Hat: http://www.etsy.com/listing/33857277/the-bomber-hat-pattern

Flowers:  http://crochet-mania.blogspot.com/2009/02/chain-5-join-round-1-10-sc-through-loop.html

Perfectly Pumpkin

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“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”   -Henry David Thoreau 

I’ve had a lot of fun lately, enjoying some fruitful thrifting, some bountiful fall blooms in the garden, and some happy crafting for Halloween.  First of all, let me say that two years ago, when I toted home a small Chinese Lantern plant from my farmer’s market, I had no idea that it would spread so eagerly.  I has literally taken over my front flower garden.  So, what’s a crafty girl to do?  Find a way to use them for fun fall decorating, and to make cute decorations to give away! I found this cute idea in the Martha Stewart magazine for turning Chinese Lantern pods into small pumpkin favors.  I’ve also had some exceptional luck at the thrift store lately.  The orange pot in the background is McCoy (I’m kind of a pottery snob!) and the pumpkin is a vintage Haeger planter.  I found these things just hiding among all of the other Halloween “crappity-crap.” (thanks for the term, Dottie Angel, it’s perfect!)  Fall decorating is my favorite, and I only wish the season wasn’t so short.  Right now I’m pressing some leaves for another crafty idea I saw on Martha’s website… I’ll be sure to share the results.

Crafty Team Spirit…. Princess Lasertron Style!

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“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  -Helen Keller

So, I work at a high school, and this week is Homecoming Week.  I don’t care how old you might be, you probably remember the buzz and energy of Homecoming.  The team building, the buzz, the energy, the traditions…..  It’s about theme inspired dress-up days, and class competitions, and parades and of course, the game!  That’s why I’m so excited about the prize ribbon I made at The Creative Connection Event.  I was so fortunate to be able to take a class by Megan from Princess Lasertron.  We all made these enormous, over-the-top, but oh-so-cute, prize ribbons.  In my daily life, I just don’t see myself donning it for groceries or the mall.  However, Homecoming is the perfect occasion to sport some extra big team spirit.  I was so excited to choose my school’s blue and green, as well as embroider a big “G” on the center button.  All of the ladies who attended this class were so much fun, and we truly enjoyed each others’ company.  It reminded me of what old-fashioned sewing circles must have been like.  I’m going to stock up on some more felt and ribbon, some fabric covered button kits, and I’m going to make some more of these beauties to share with my colleagues for next year.  Who says that team spirit can’t be crafty? Go Team!!

Clownin’ Around!

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“Dare to wear the foolish clown face.”           Frank Sinatra

My college roommate and I have stayed close for the past 20-some years, and after marriages, children, and all sorts of life-experiences together, she is getting ready to turn the big 4-0.  She epitomizes the phrase “forty and fabulous.”  One thing that she has always loved is clowns.  Some people hate them, but she used to dress up as a clown to entertain children in hospitals, and the interest became a collection.  I used to always look for cute clowns in second-hand stores and antique shops.  Last summer I found this great antique clown cookie jar in a dusty little shop in my home town of Libby, Montana.  However, someone and painted it with a hideous gold paint.  I though, “I’ll just strip the paint, and it will be fit for display.”  Well, the paint removal became a huge task.  I thought it would scrape right off, but I didn’t want to scratch the ceramic, nor did I want to remove the shiny glaze.  I finally found a trick on e-how (http://www.ehow.com/how_5561574_remove-paint-ceramic.html).  I had to go to my local health food store to find the whiting material, and it required several applications, but I finally got the paint off.  I love the way it turned out, there are some flaws that show its age, but give it character.  I guess you could say the same for us 40-somethings!!