I've been busy entertaining kids indoors during the rainy (and surprisingly cool) weather the past couple of weeks, but the sun finally peeked its way through the clouds today and I decided to share some photos of what we've been up to. Eleanor's in her rocking chair above wearing the knitted cardigan Gran made for her first birthday. She loved picking at the big pink flower buttons!
I went out and bought a bunch of extra yarn to crochet some washcloths and other goodies I'm getting ready for a craft show in November.
Thankfully Liam loves to color (and paint, and cut), so the rain didn't leave us completely bored inside.
He decided to color on a paper towel tube I had stashed in my recycling drawer...
...while I did most of the work on this color book inspired by The Crafty Crow, who was inspired by Hearthstone House.
And last, but not least, we've been blessed with rain lilies popping up in the yard--these are one of my favorite flowers (although this picture doesn't do them justice!)--they seem to magically appear overnight! Hope you're all enjoying the weather wherever you are!
I taught myself to crochet over the summer and have started a project for a certain unnamed niece's 3rd birthday next month. I started off learning by making washcloths, and have been driving myself nuts trying to perfect making these triangles. After many tries (and a handful of online tutorials) I think I finally have it down. I'll share the final results later next month!
So for those of you who may not be familiar with Etsy, it is an online forum where people can sell (or you can buy) the totally awesome stuff they make. It's one big community of crafters, artisans, and all things handmade (also a great source for vintage finds to make stuff). I could surf through Etsy all day long, and have plans to open my own little shop on their site in the (hopefully) not too near future. I've posted a video portrait of one of their online sellers who makes some pretty gorgeous dolls--which I think I may be leaning towards making more of, we'll see!
Okay, I have a confession to make. I am a sucker for free finds during bulk-pickup. Yes, those mounds of brush and miscellaneous household discards are one of my favorite places to scrounge for free finds.
Here's my strategy: I pack up the kids in the van and drop Skyler off by 8 a.m. at school. Early in the morning is best because most people are off to work so you won't look too crazy digging through their junk. And it's crucial to make sure I have plenty of snacks/toys/music to keep the other two occupied while I'm crawling the neighborhoods. This morning I told Liam we were going on a treasure hunt and that kept him content in his carseat for about 30 minutes. I begin by systematically driving down each street scanning the piles for anything that catches my eye. With the kids in tow it has to be something worth grabbing to get out of the car. It definitely takes a bit of pride-swallowing to dig through other peoples junk in broad daylight, but I've found enough great finds that it's proven worthy.
And this morning I found this snazzy blue vintage suitcase. I pulled over as soon as I saw it, waved hi to the junk pile's neighbor, and snatched the case in less than a minute. It seemed to be locked (and without a handle) when I got it home so like and idiot I tried prying it open with a screwdriver only to realize it wasn't when Chris got home and suavely opened it for me. I plan on cleaning it out and using it to store fabric and craft supplies since my storage space is limited to a computer armoire and an old wicker chest (which I also found free during last year's bulk pickup!). All in a day's work for this fantastically frugal stay-at-home super-mommy!
Labels: favorite finds
Chris' parents were in town over the weekend and we had lots of fun visiting and celebrating Eleanor's first birthday! We went to the Botanical Gardens Saturday afternoon to see the new Big Bugs exhibit (hence the giant praying mantis pictured above). Here are some more photos from our weekend:
Skyler pretending to be a bug.
A giant spider.
The birthday girl!
Birthday cupcake which the birthday girl didn't actually eat. She stuck her fingers in the frosting and made her yuck face. She did like the icecream though.
The Complete Peter Rabbit Collection received from my parents. This was a very special gift because I spent most of my elementary years living in England and my parents took us to see Beatrix Potter's house.
This was another favorite gift--a hand-knitted sweater from Christi, Chris' mom. After teaching myself to crochet, I can only imagine how much work (and love) went into making this! Thank you Mom & Dad and Christi and everyone for your generous gifts and coming out to celebrate with us.
And last but not least, what's Labor Day without a little bit of work, right? This is a picture of the new compost bin Chris made for us out of some pallets we found along with the van-load of books we brought home last week. We've been collecting produce discards to add to the brush from out back and hope to do some serious gardening as the weather gets cooler.
Hope you all had a fruitful weekend!
I am loving these dolls by Emily Martin of Inside a Black Apple. I've thought about upgrading from sock animals at some point and her little Helpful Hannah dolls make me eager to sew! I have tons of other projects lined up right now, but will be filing this away for future reference!
Thanks to my wonderful husband Chris, we scored 11 boxes of free kids books from Craigslist today! The boxes were filled with a couple hundred old library books a woman was clearing out of her home. We almost didn't have room for all of them in our van! We unloaded them all after the kids were in bed and (slightly) narrowed down the books we decided to keep. We're definitely going to need some more shelves! Here are a few of my favorite finds:
Do Bears Have Mothers, Too? illustrated by Eric Carle, Pigs from A to Z (a favorite from the library), Homer Price (a book I read and loved in elementary school) Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing Book, and Hattie, Tom, and the Chicken Witch (a childhood favorite of Chris').
I also found these gorgeous picture books with paintings by Carl Larsson. The first book, A Home, was originally published in Sweden in 1899 and tells about the artist's life, home, family, and paintings. If you ever see one of these books, grab it! You can view some of his artwork here.
I'm also keeping a pile of books to use for making new papercrafts and will keep you posted on any projects. I can't wait to share the rest with the kids!
So I've decided to hop on the bandwagon and start a new blog dedicated to creating, family, and life as a mother of three. I've been addicted to my daily list of blogs to read--often inspired by their own creations--and have found myself crafting/sewing/making more and more.
I'll start by sharing some photos of the purple sock cat I made for my daughter Eleanor's first birthday. I used an old (clean) pair of purple socks, with one sock as the body and the second for the ears, arms, and tail. I liked the color on the inside of the sock better, so I turned it outside in before hand sewing and turning it back out to stuff and close. I usually use buttons for the eyes and nose of my sock creatures, but since Eleanor's still a bit wee I opted for embroidered ones. She has seen me working on it, but I haven't let her play with it yet. She'll probably play with the wrapping paper more at first anyway. Hopefully I'll get some cute photos out of it.
Most of the items I make are upcycled from old clothes, scraps, and other various materials I recover from the trash (or am able to find inexpensively). I love making toys and stuff for the kids and am constantly thinking of what to make next. I look forward to sharing with you and I hope you enjoy! Here's a close-up of the sock kitty: