17 Jun

Bullet Journaling

bulletI love technology, I really do. But for some reason, I’ve been unable to find just the right system to help me with time management. I’ve tried a million different apps, I’ve created custom google doc pages to try to fit my needs, and I’ve read, and read, and read. No luck.

About a month ago, I stumbled on bullet journaling. It is old school, pen and paper, in a lovely moleskine journal. I have to say, it’s awesome.

The drawback is there is no built-in month-at-a-glance calendar in the method. So I put in a few hours on illustrator and set myself up for the rest of 2014 (available in my Etsy shop, if you’re interested). I keep two months at a time in my moleskine, with the rest tucked into the back pocket for easy reference. About 4 weeks in, I’m still really happy with this system. Ridiculously happy, in fact.

In the back, I have pages for the classes I teach, for the two vacations we are hoping to take next year, for gift giving, and for craft projects (of course!). I’ve also hacked a way to attach my pen to the cover so that it’s always handy. The whole system tosses easily into my tote, and allows me quick reference on the train, standing in line, or in waiting rooms.

21 May

Crochet Rug from Fabric Yarn (mini tutorial)

Crochet rug from fabric yarnWe needed a little rug for a sweet reading spot in the kids’ bedroom. I wanted something round and something chocolate brown (translation: won’t show dirt too quickly) and something deliciously soft. Very hard to come by, as it turns out.

I kept reading about all these people who make fantastic rugs from t-shirts and scrap fabric and such, but much of it seemed too thin for what I wanted in this rug. When I fingered through a bunch of fabric at my local fabric shop, however, I found this amazing stretch velour! Stretch velour! Just the words sound soft and sink-your-toes-in. And as it turns out, it absolutely is. I bought 9 yards.

Following the very clear instructions on how to cut continuous fabric strips at Micah Makes, I cut 1-inch strips.  I chose to do 1 yard at a time to keep things manageable.  The trouble with this fabric is that it sheds like crazy when you cut it.  One solution is to stretch out those strips outside.  But in the Miami heat, that was pretty uncomfortable.  And it left me covered in chocolate brown lint.  The other solution, which works really well, is to toss the cut yardage into the dryer on tumble (no heat) for about 15 minutes.  This definitely gets the lint out.  But it leaves your “yarn” in a very tangled mess.  So if you’re not a patient person, this might push you over the edge.  For me, it was the perfect thing to do when I was too tired to Crochet Rug from Fabric Yarndo anything else at the end of a long day.

From there, it’s all crochet.  Using a size N crochet hook, I started with a magic loop, put 6 double crochet stitches in there, and then 2 stitches in each of those stitches for round 2.  I continued increasing from there, each round increasing the number of stitches in between:

Round 3:  1 dc, 2 dc in next stitch – repeat around

Round 4:  2 dc, 2 dc in next stitch – repeat around

Round 5:  3 dc, 2 dc in next stitch – repeat around

After 5 rounds of straight increases, I started to add in some rounds with no increases (1 dc in each stitch around).  After each round, I laid the rug out flat to make sure I wasn’t increasing too quickly, or not quickly enough.

Though I’m not quite finished, I have about a yard of fabric to go, I have a lovely rug that’s about 3.5 feet diameter.  My most recent row was 8 dc, 2 dc in the next stitch, so you can see I slowed down the increases as the rug got larger.

It’s a fun project, and I really love how the rug feels under foot. Though I spent less on fabric than I would have on a commercial made rug, the time spent is definitely more “expensive.”  In my case though, it’s exactly what I wanted, so that makes it worthwhile :).

15 May

Free Printable Lunchbox Love Notes for Kids

lunchbox-love-notesOne of my favorite things about sending a homemade lunch to school with my little one is tucking in a little love note among the crackers and juice and other goodies.  He’s a little too small to read, but his teacher always helps him out.  And I love thinking of the myriad ways I love the little guy.

Today I’m making my lunch box love notes available as a free printable here at the blog.  I sell these in my Lucky Duck Designs shop at Etsy in both digital and paper form as well.

If you’d like to print a few and spread the lunchbox love, just click on the image to download the file!

13 May

Fabric Covered Embroider Hoops (a mini tutorial)

elephant embroidery

I love all the miniature embroidery that’s popping up for nurseries, kids rooms, and even adult spaces.  But what I don’t love are those unsightly and boring wooden embroidery hoops.  Yes, they are inexpensive (love that!), but goodness, can’t we do better for framing these lovely little works of art?

I converted the clip art of a favorite artist over at Etsy into an embroidery pattern and whipped up this sweet little elephant.  Isn’t she darling?  Then, using about 25 inches of 1″ single fold bias tape, I carefully wrapped the wooden hoop and turned it into a coordinating, fabric-covered, frame.  Just perfect.  And you can’t believe how easy it is.  You don’t even have to glue or sew the fabric – just tuck under that first piece, wrap all the way around, and then tuck the end right before securing it to the inner hoop.  Everything stays in place!

08 May

DIY Cloth Diaper Inserts

diy cloth diaper insertsWe are a cloth diaper household, a very happy one. The early days are so easy if you’re breastfeeding – just toss everything in the pail. But as those babies get bigger and start venturing into solid foods, it gets a little trickier to figure out how to handle the poop.

Like any new mama, I read and read and read. A diaper sprayer seemed unlikely to be useful in our tiny bathroom. I worried that toilet dunking would be too messy. And liners seemed a reasonable alternative, but flushables were out of the question for our 1950′s plumbing and septic tank.

But washable liners seemed realistic for our plumbing, a reasonable alternative to dunking the whole diaper, and economical. The question was, what material to use?

I ended up purchasing a yard of Babyville Stay Dry Fabric. I ran it through the washer and dryer (using my cloth diaper soap, and no fabric softener – just like I wash my diapers) to see how it held up: beautiful! Almost no shrinkage and NO fraying. So I cut 12″ by 5″ strips with a regular scissors, and started lining my diapers with them. They work LIKE A CHARM. Easy cleanup, in fact, the poop kind of rolls off of them, so I rarely even have to dunk. My diapers stay stain free, the wicking fabric keeps baby relatively dry, and we continue to be a happy cloth diapering household!

 

 

 

 

Note:  The links to the Babyville fabric, the cloth diapers and the cloth diaper soap are Amazon Associates links.  I only link to products that I personally use and support!

05 May

Crochet Pacifier Clip (mini tutorial)

Our littlecrochet pacifier clip one needed a new pacifier clip when the shoestring we were using (yeah, I know, questionable parenting) got lost on a recent walk.  Knowing we needed something that would “clip” better, I dug through the sewing box and pulled out a mitten clip.

Perfect!

Using a small crochet hook (size F) and some kitchen cotton yarn, I was able to crochet 5 single crochet stitches directly onto the mitten clip.  From there I just used half double crochets until it was about the length I wanted (roughly 12″), using a chain-one turn at the end of each row. In the last row, I did the following:

2 hdc
ch 15
skip stitch
2 hdc
finish off

I made sure to weave the ends in tight.  To attach the pacifier, I just put the whole chain loop through the little hole and then fed the entire length of the pacifier clip, including the clip, through the loop. We are ready to roll once again!

02 May

Handknit Boyfriend Scarf

handknit boyfriend scarfSeed stitch (you know just alternating knit/purl stitches – tutorial here) makes such a nice pattern for menswear.  This boyfriend scarf is short, designed to be tucked under a winter coat, and he can even hide that little heart if he wants to keep it to himself :).

Though you could easily go with some fancy yarn as you don’t need much to finish this project, I went with an acrylic wool blend and it turned out beautifully.  The upside is that blend can be washed, because let’s be honest, winter can be sweaty business (though no match for Miami summers!).

The heart appears on both sides of the scarf so that the embroidery stitches keep both hearts on, and there isn’t a “back” side. A quick project to warm him up on the cold days!

 

02 May

Adorable Handmade Fabric Napkins

adorable fabric napkinsWe are paper towel diners – there, I said it.  Even for big celebrations, we sit down to a lovely table, with paper towels for napkins.

Shameful.

So, I crafted these sweet little fabric napkins.  There are a million tutorials out there about how to get that rick-rack just right  (here’s a good one).  Honestly, it takes a little practice.  But it’s worth it.

I chose a woven fabric, and made sure to choose a pattern rather than solid so that stains weren’t quite so obvious.  The woven is a nice weight – light enough for a lunch box.  They wash beautifully.  And the options for colors and patterns is endless!

 

 

 

We’re at the Tatertots & Jello Link Party this weekend!

02 May

Handmade Mother’s Day Gift and Card Combo

 

handmade mother's day card and giftA couple of adorable vintage beads from this shop at etsy, some sterling wire, and about a half hour practicing my very rusty jewelry making skills, and presto, a cute set of earrings on a cheerful Mother’s Day card.

I tied a little loop of embroidery floss loosely to the branch before gluing it down, and then just slipped the earring loops through.

A quick little project with big results!

07 Apr

Handmade Easter Stickers

handmade stickersWe needed some easy, non-food, treats that the little guy could share with his friends on the Easter Egg Hunt day.  Once again, my Xyron Sticker Maker saved the day!  These adorable graphics are from this delightful Etsy seller, and were on sale right when I needed them.  I think they cost me less than $1.

I printed them in 1.5 inch columns, cut the strips and then ran them through my sticker machine before cutting them again into individual stickers.  In less than 20 minutes I had 35 stickers for our little one to share with his friends.

He was thrilled and I was too :).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:  The link to the Xyron Sticker Maker is an Amazon Associates link.  I only link to products that I personally use and support!