Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Finger Puppets

Thanksgiving is here! I'm hoping this last minute project will be another distraction to keep our little ones in their chairs at the "kids table". We'll see. At least they were fun and easy to make, and hopefully will become useful at some strange time when kids need distracting. Like waiting in line at the grocery store or at church. I'll add it to my finger puppet stash. I saw the idea here and went with it. Just a little sewing and hot glue. I had all the supplies on hand after a random (but very discounted) shopping spree at 25 cents for a bag of 100 googly eyes... who can resist. (Obviously not too many people. Looks like they are sold out.) Anyway, I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with good food and good company. And of course gratitude.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

family pajamas

You know when you get the catalog with the family all in matching pajamas? They sell them everywhere at Christmas. Well, I always feel kind of sorry for the dad in the picture. It's usually some cheesy model, but still, does he really want to be wearing those red plaid flannel pajamas that his wife, son, daughter, dog and cat are wearing? I doubt it. And if he does, he still looks kind of ridiculous. Despite my opinions on matching holiday pajamas I thought it might be a fun and easy project to make our family pajamas. I wasn't going to have them all be some red plaid tackiness, but had a hard time finding a print that would be cute for Kate and Paul. So I decided we could sort of match. Sort of. I made Paul plain black pj pants, for myself I used a printed cotton and I made Kate's a red flannel with a ruffle made from the left over material from my pants. I like them...ok. I guess I should have gone with my instinct and skipped the "sort of " matching idea. I think next year I'll just make pj's for the kids. My girls. (Wow, that sounds weird.) Because kids are allowed to match and not look silly. They can wear as much plaid or flannel or crazy bird fabric as they want and I'll still think they look pretty cute.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pilgrim Party Hats

Thanksgiving is 4 days away! Where has this month gone? I am really looking forward to the party that Thanksgiving will be--and hoping my turkey comes out ok. We are doing a kids table this year, mainly because of our lack of space at the adult table. We may have to tie them to their chairs to get them to sit through dinner... so I thought I'd try to come up with a few things to distract them while the adults are chatting away. I saw this pilgrim hat idea to store treats in and thought I'd modify it to be a party hat. They are a little elementary looking, but I didn't want to spend too much time on something that will likely just get stepped on and ripped apart. But maybe it will hold their attention for a few seconds? We'll see. Hope everyone's Thanksgiving preparations are going well!

Monday, November 17, 2008

leaf garland

Only 10 more days until Thanksgiving! This leaf garland was a fun and very easy Sunday afternoon project. Outside most of the leaves have fallen and turned brown so it was great to see these vibrant colors again that surrounded us only a few weeks ago. I got the idea to make this garland from a friend and I love decorating for free! We collected these leaves about a month ago and put them away in heavy books so they would dry flat. We pulled them out yesterday and they were in perfect shape. I used some thread and a needle to sew through each leaf and hung them with thumbtacks. The entire project took about 20 minutes. Kate tried to help, but mostly liked crunching up the extra leaves. I'm sure older kids would love this project. I really like the way it looks hanging in our house and it's getting me very excited for Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

knitted hat

This simple hat is my first project to be checked off the list after my shopping spree at Purl Soho in NYC. I noticed such a difference knitting with good quality yarn, I don't know if I will ever be able to go back to using acrylic. This yarn is a nice quality cotton that is so soft. Perfect for a sweet baby's head. I originally thought Kate might be able to wear it, but it will have to be saved for a new baby. The pattern for this hat came from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. It's been rainy and cold here lately--perfect weather for knitting!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Advent Stockings

I am so happy, excited and relieved that this project is finished! These stockings will serve as an advent calendar for our family this year, and hopefully many years to come. The original inspiration for this calendar came from a mittens advent calendar I saw in a catalog last Christmas. I loved and if it weren't so expensive, I probably would have just bought it. I waited for it to go on sale but never did, instead sold out. I considered this year (for a brief moment) to knit mittens for all 24 days and quickly realized that the calendar probably wouldn't be finished until 2020. I then searched around and was inspired by this and this stocking advent calendar and decided stockings it would be. I love a little sparkle in holiday decorating so that's where the sequins and trim ideas came about. I used corduroy for the stockings and made 2 different patterns. The stockings are small, they will just hold slips of paper with different advent activities that we will do each day leading up to Christmas. Maybe someday I'll incorporate small gifts or tokens, but for now I think we've got enough stuff. Kate is still a little young to get really excited about this but I'm hoping in the years to come the kids will really look forward to each day's activity. And if they don't, I know I will. I do love the holidays!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Gentle Art of Domesticity

I checked out this book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket, from the library a few weeks ago and just had to pay a late fee when returning it because I didn't want to send it back. It is different than any other craft book I've picked up. If you're expecting a collection of project ideas and patterns like I was, this book is not. Rather it's a compilation of beautiful photographs and inspiring essays on the gentle arts. Baking, sewing, knitting, quilting, etc. It also explores art, literature and film that can inspire or were inspired by the gentle arts. The author put her PhD on hold to pursue the gentle arts because she found they made her happier! I found the book to be really inspiring and refreshing. One of my favorite quotes from the book was:

"Despite the fact that domesticity is a deeply unfashionable concept, experience tells me that it is a wonderful means of building and supporting and sustaining relationships. A creative domestic space is one that not only enables individuals to flourish, but also encourages shared lives and experiences."

This quote reminds me of a portion of this talk I heard last month. Now let's all go create something beautiful!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

knitted mittens

My practical self has decided that large knitted things just aren't going to work for me. I have this thing with finishing things and crossing them off the list. And big knitting projects take too long. I've decided to stick to smaller projects like mittens, hats, baby booties and socks. Well here are my first pair of mittens. Check. Again, my knitting skills are extremely novice but I've now mastered knitting in the round! It's really pretty simple, but I feel like it looks hard with four needles flying around. At least I fool Paul. I found the basic pattern for these mittens here. I'm happy with how they turned out, although I need a little help with my finishing skills. Any tips from knitters out there?