little projects

{ valentines day } making

Fidget's Valentine's day party is tomorrow, on the 10th.  This has completely thrown me off this year. The 14th seems like sooo much more time to get things done, somehow.  At any rate, this week I went in to panic mode, because

a) Valentines are due on friday

b) No candy is allowed (so no awesomely easy photo w/ dum-dums this year.  drat.)

c) I'm head room mom so I have a party to throw.  Tomorrow. So I'm blogging.


I totally could have gone the easy route and printed out valentines, especially with this year's mandate of 'No Candy!!'   However, that Fidget is used to mom being all crafty, and I wasn't crafty enough to talk her out of felt and thread and irons and what not. Oy. 

So just in case you DON'T have to turn in your valentines tomorrow and DO have the weekend to work on them and you're a little bit crazy like me, you could do what we've decided to do:

rose barrettes from the purl bee for the girls:



pirate eye patches from ashley ann (at under the sycamore) for the boys.

We printed out some little cards to hand them out, all legit-like.  And now we're going to throw a party with homemade picture bingo cards -- because there is a chance some kids don't know all their numbers, five kinds of hypoallergenic treats -- so no one feels left out, a photo booth-- because that's what people are doing these days, and musical chairs. I think next year I'm going to let the excited first time mommies take over. 

And then I'm going to take a nap.  (But not before my dear friend, Lina, makes fun of me...I'm sure.  I'm laughing, too, lady. Happy Valentine's Day.)

The end.

{ sewing } teacher apron gift

As soon as I said 'this year I'm not going to commit to making any gifts', Fidget reminded me that I always make aprons for her teachers.  Always.  And the thing is, the teachers at her school know this.  Miss Jane might already be expecting one.  I don't know.  (She might be dreading it.)

At any rate, Christmas Teacher Apron 2010, is done and ready to wrap. I added a bit of tif's dottie angel styling to the pocket and used some vintage crochet trim on the bottom.  The pocket itself is made from a piece of an old eyelet bedskirt.  It is one of my favorite items in my stash.  So many, many uses.

I have also been finagled into making crocheted hair clips for Fidgie's friends.  That girl.  She can be awfully convincing, especially when she is talking about giving handmade... Fortunately those little crochet flowers whip up quickly whilst snuggling in front of a movie under a giant patchwork afghan. ;)

Happy weekending, friends!
miss chris

ps: and also... if you haven't yet seen this delightful little movie featuring tif, her mossy shed, and the chickens, treat yourself to 3 minutes of happy.  You'll be glad you did.  xoxo

pps: there is also still time to sign up for the W O R D giveaway -- midnight tonight (12/17)!

{ making do } thrifted skirt holiday pillow

December always comes flying at us -- like everyone -- with a list of things to do and places to be and rehearsals and functions and wishlists and hopes and anxieties.  It's all with the very best of intentions, too.  We've started our week here with a reminder to slow down, check our priorities and take care of each other.  Everyone at the house is at various stages of some ailment, and today the littlest one is getting is the worst.  I say that, but hubs is at the doc for the flu, so maybe it's a toss up.

Anyway, I'm keeping my spirits up (take that, bronchitis!) and am thankful that it is all hitting us now and not in a few weeks when we have family in town and lots to celebrate.  We may be miserable, but we are all in this together and we'll be better before long.

The ick certainly brings holiday prep to a screaching halt, though, doesn't it?  It's really ok.  Those priorities I mentioned earlier?  I have them fully engaged and my heart is full. 

However, with a few minutes to spare this afternoon (courtesy of a schedule conflict and priority shift), I have a few minutes to sneak in and share a little holiday pillow I made last week from a thrifted skirt and shirt.  It was quick and dirty -- I didn't even make it as a cover, as I usually do.  Just sewed it together and stuffed it closed.  And then I realized it needed something, so I added a little stitchery.


Last night we went to the Christmas Cantata at our church.  (I have three talented friends who sing!  I so wish I could join them.)  Before the performance, there were some slides shown up front. 

Joy is... Dancing. Joy is... Singing.  Joy is..Love. 
Peace is... Joy at Rest. 

I loved that.  Peace is joy at rest.  So true!

Anyway, I'm not 100% sure I love the pillow (could be the ruffles that are throwing me off), but I do love that when I pass through the living room, I have a subtle reminder to exhale and savor it all.  Even the icky stuff.  Extra snuggles, you know.  Soup.  And popsicles for breakfast. 

I'm hoping you and yours are doing well or making it through whatever ick has thwarted your to-do lists... snuggles and all. 

Take care, friends.  I'm wishing you some Peace this holiday season. 
miss chris

ps:  I also finished the afghan I started in September on my dottie angel weekend in Seattle.  She's already in full use and I do love that I completed something our family can use.. perhaps she is worthy of her own post though.  Soon, perhaps.  xo


{ holiday } anthropologie inspired crochet garland

When I was in Austin, Jade and I made a stop downtown at Anthropologie before heading on to the airport.  The window dressing is always something to ooh and aah over, and this time was no exception. 

And what to my wondering eyes did appear, but crochet in the form of garland!  Garland itself!  Brilliant.

anthro garland

Without haste (and certainly without any know-how) I took my seat on the aisle, whipped out my hook and started making some mantel garland of my own.  I'm quite sure the girl next to me thought I was about to start the widest blanket ever.  I kept her guessing.

crochet chain garland

I never got any fancier than a simple loose chain on a 5.5mm hook, but I like them all the same.  I think they'd be lovely in all sorts of colors, draping a tree. 

crochet chain garland

{ tutorial } festive candle cuffs

Are you ready to get your holiday crafting on?

I told hubs that I would not be stressing myself out this year with all the Making.  I am going to do a lot of shopping on Etsy.  I am going to set realistic goals.  It is so easy to get overwhelmed with making things.  I have this problem with thinking that since I can make xyz, it is my obligation to do so. 

Oh, the furious last minute late night sessions are fun, but I don't want to be disappointed with myself if I don't do it All.  This should be a time for celebration, not stress.  I need to keep telling myself that. 

So with that in mind, here's a quick and easy totally do-able, 5 minute project.  You can check off 'handmade' without also checking off every night of the week.  If you have your supplies ready, you can whip out several of these while watching Modern Family.

Just saying.


You will need:

Glass pillar jar candles (or just wide-mouth glass jars)
a strip of felt cut to wrap and overlap the jar, about a half inch
lace trim, also to overlap a bit
embroidery floss
spare buttons


Wrap the felt around the jar, pin it, and stitch it closed.  On some I used decorative stitches, but it doesn't really matter.  Also, you can slide the cuff off the jar to stitch if it's easier.


Take the lace trim and wrap it around the felt.  The friction of the felt should keep in place for you without pins and such.


Sew your button onto the cuff, making sure the embroidery floss goes through all the layers.  I didn't use any glue between the cuff and the jar-- or anywhere -- and they appear to sit tight just fine.  Also, this means you can always reuse these supplies later without too much hassle.  (Always a bonus in my book.)


Repeat on multiple jars and candles, mixing up your cuff widths, laces and buttons. 


I have already gifted two of my bigger ones and think I'll be rounding up some more for hostess gifts and friends.  Everyone likes an extra cozy candle, right?

{ bit o green } happy St. Patty's Day

I'm not Irish, but I sure do like to herald the coming of Spring with green around here.

bits o green

in the dining room,

bits o green

in our makeshift greenhouse of a kitchen, and

bits o green

on unsuspecting little sweeties who will wear whatever their mama pulls over the head.  She loves shoes already.  Oy. 

I love this green print, by the way.  It reminds me of a favorite dress my mom had made me when I was about four years old.  It had capped puff sleeves and a short hem. White or yellow Rick Rack, too, I think.   I wore it with knee socks and red t-strap buster browns.  There is a photo somewhere.  I have a short boyish mop of super straight white-blond hair and a pixie nose. 1976.  Sweet.

This is part of 2 yards I picked up at a thrift store over a year ago and I'm always chicken to use it. (because of the nostalgia, mostly) This morning I decided something festive was in order, so I got brave, cut into it and made this simple dress that does look very handmade, but I love it anyway.   I'll share another view of it eventually -- but I couldn't wait and it had to be worn. 

Crew-to-Cardigan how-tos soon.  Specifically, the t-shirt trim.  I am obsessed. 

Happy St. Patty's Day. 

{ sewing refashion } the ruffled tank

Oh my.  When I ask for ideas, I sure get them.  Thank you!  Some bags have already been given away, a few others are on hold for a friend, and the others are coming to coffee with me on Friday...  (I liked the idea of cutting them up to use as cards or tags, too.  Of course, I'd feel compelled to keep them all if that were the plan.  And we might be back at square one.  Ahem. )


I've been a little obsessed with the ruffles I'm seeing everywhere this spring.  In every catalog.  In every store window. On tons of blogs. In magazines.  And at Target.  Oh Target, how I love thee!

Knowing that I would not be happy unless I tried my hand at ruffled applique, I picked up two tank tops last week at one of my local thrift haunts.   I cut one up into strips and ruffled to my heart's content.  The other got a hefty dose of iron-on stabilizer on the inside.  Knits tend to stretch out every which way when you are sewing with them and, while I don't always use stabilizer for my smaller appliques, this project would not have been the same without it.

thrifted tank, ruffled

I didn't pin the ruffles, but sewed them on as I went, stopping and turning the tank on my machine every few stitches.  It wasn't elegant stitchery -- which might explain why I have this giant ruffly flower that should probably be about one inch to the left and about two inches higher -- but that's ok.  I'm going to chock it up to experience and wear it anyway. 

thrifted tank, ruffled

My almost fourteen year old wants me to make her one in black with tan ruffles. Love that.

thrifted tank, ruffled

It looks better worn than draping and sagging from the hanger.

But it's March.  And I'm nice.  And I am NOT going to expose you to the lily whiteness of my upper arms today and risk scarring you for life.  


(I get a lot  of comments and questions about my crocheted hangers. I pick them up thrifting whenever I can, rarely paying more than a quarter.  It's such a great deal, and a fun item to keep your eye out for...  We might have about 20 now, and they are wonderful for some items that usually slip off hangers.)

{ snowed in } making the best of it

Fallen leaves from an indoor plant, placed on the windowsill to get some sun. 

big snow 2010

Yesterday was -- day four? five? whatever -- of being snowed in here in KC. Like really snowed in.  The streets haven't been clear since before Christmas and we have 4'+ high snowbanks -- on either side of our driveway!  Plus, the cold.  Oh my.  I could handle this all a lot better if we could go out and romp outside a bit, but these little piggies are staying inside when it's -30 and windy.  Oh well.  

Here's to the optimism of almost-four-year-olds. 

in the oven, getting squishy

I took the cue from little Fidget and decided to make the best of it yesterday.  We got out some crayons, ripped off the paper, broke the crayons into pieces and tossed them into mini cupcake tins. She thought this was the best thing ever, AND it kept our fingers busy for almost a half hour.  Even the 13 year old played along.

Preheated to 275, and left them in for 8 minutes. I sprayed the tin with cooking spray, but I don't know if that part was necessary.

[edited to add: I guess the spray is necessary.  Glad I did.  Also, this is sooo not an original project, just something I've seen several times online over the last couple years and finally got around to doing...]

after about 8 minutes at 275

I put them in the fridge for a few minutes to set, and then in the freezer to further harden. They just popped out of the tin on to a towel and were ready to go.

mini tin crayons

One thing I had to do was cut off a fine layer of clear wax from around the bottom of some (you can see it in the pink one above).  I used a box cutter.  Fancy, I know.  Once I did that, the new crayons worked perfectly.  They nearly all have names.   The pink one in the middle is the Sleeping Beauty crayon, and the blue sparkly one to the left is Ariel, and the green and red one is the Christmas Crayon. 

I said we named them. Not that they were terribly original. ;)

. . .


We stayed inside this morning and wrote Christmas thank-yous, ate a late breakfast and played with baby.  We remarked at how lucky we are that if the sun can make her way out in the winter, our house can still feel all kinds of warm because of our southern exposure. Our 11 year old golden retriever (who does not retrieve) enjoys long naps in the sunshine.  I like it that tiny pj-feet are warmed by the floorboards.

The little girls went down for a nap a while ago and I happened to walk through the living room still not picked up from this morning.  Bathed in a gentle warm glow, it made me catch my breath. I had to stop and take a photo, just as it was.  It felt so beautiful to me.  The remnants of where Daddy played with baby.  The chair where someone was sitting with their back to the sun.  The toys scattered on a little quilt, quickly discarded for something more interesting to a 6 month old.  The sun streaming in, warming up all of our cabin-fevered hearts and frosty grumpiness.

evidence of a good saturday morning

It was a nice morning.

Optimism is obviously catchy. 

{ crafting with kids } go-cup wreath

About two years ago, I asked my ever-so-patient mother in law to teach me how to crochet, with the delusion of making my own ripple quilt.  I would throw it over my sofa and my children would snuggle under it.  I would use it to keep warm while I read.  The candy colors would be ageless and my girls would fight over who got to keep it someday.  Ever the enthusiastic pupil, I ran out and bought a LOT of yarn. 

I did not count on two things. 

  1. I have tendinitis in my hands and wrists. This doesn't mix well with yarnwork.
  2. The tendinitis as a really good excuse for the fact my attempts at the doomed quilt created nothing but a gigantic ruffle -- not a ripple in sight. It really was hilarious.

And it is ok.  Now I can just appreciate the work of others and get on with my own stuff.  However, I still have a lot of yarn at my house. It's so pretty and soft. I like to look at it and imagine someday I will make something with it.  So it struck me as funny when I went out last week and bought yet ANOTHER skein of yarn with no plans of weaving it into something useful.

Instead, this is what Fidge and I did today while the littlest girl was napping (it is happening these days!  finally!!!) and it kept our fingers busy for about 20 minutes.

three year old helper

We used discarded plastic 32-oz to-go cup lids and cut circles out of the middle.  (It's easy to do if you use the straw hole to start your cutting.)  Then we wrapped some extra thick yarn around and around to create a wintery wreath.  This wrapping part kept her almost-four year old fingers busy for a while, which is always nice.

Fidget's is not done, or so she says.  She has started putting sequins on it, and we know how long that can take. 

yarn wreath

It reminds me of the kind of country-craft that I would have done back in second grade in the late 70s and am still taking out of my ornament boxes every year.  However, the fun thing about having small kids in the house is that you don't have to explain the prominent display of cutesy art projects.  Even if you made them.  Am I right??  :)

Next up, pom-poms and braided barrettes.  I'm kidding.  Sorta.

{ crafts } easy-peasy candy houses

Saturday night, while hubs and a friend watched some football (and, might I say, even as a Mizzou Tiger fan, I was felt awful for the Huskers... ouch) the kids and I decorated graham cracker houses with some friends of our own.

little village on my countertop

The fun part is decorating them, right?? Last year we spent a lot of time trying to get the houses to stick together with mortar alone... but this time I took the advice from an article in the December issue of BHG and made right angles with the squares beforehand.


I melted some sugar in a pan and, when it turned brown, I dipped one side of a square in it and used it like glue to attach another. I let them cool off on a sheet of waxed paper.  Putting the houses together from that point was super fast and easy.

Because it's really all about the decorating, right?

big sister's

We had some leftover peices of foam core that worked out just fine for the bases.


And lots and LOTS of candy.  Yum. 

babygirl and momma

Babygirl and I had a few minutes to kill the other day before we had to run to preschool and get Fidget.  So we had a photoshoot with a tripod and a remote.  Happy Monday!!