I Made A Thing in February

I’d got off to such a strong start with my resolution in January but I don’t have much to show for February.

It was obviously a short month and we were away on vacation for the first nine days. When we got home I had some billable work to take care of. Then, two weeks ago I dropped my Aeropress full of coffee grounds and freshly boiled water on my hand and gave myself a mild 2nd-degree burn. It covered about 75% of my right hand – my dominant one, which made doing stuff kind of uncomfortable for a week or so. As my hand began to heal we had some warmish nice sunny days, so I got outside to do some yard work. And now it’s March!

The only craft I managed to complete this month was a set of Valentine’s Day cards for Little B to hand out to her pre-school friends. This almost didn’t even happen because I’d forgotten all about until about 7:00 PM on the 13th. Jeremy and I don’t really observe Valentine’s day, for many reasons, but mainly because I’m a cheap-ass who doesn’t want a grossly overpriced bouquet of flowers or to be rushed through a lukewarm inflated Prix-fixed meal in a crowded restaurant because the greeting card industry thinks we should.

But that’s just me.

Anyway, this idea was blatantly ripped off from Pinterest. I printed them on some 65lb cardstock that I already had but if I was going to do it again, I’d defiantly buy something thicker. The balloons were from Party City and the quality is quite impressive. We’ve had one blown up and kicking around our house for about a week and it doesn’t look like it’s lost any air at all. The Washi tape was from Dollarama.

Now I have a few spring-themed projects on my mind and a few other things on the go already. I don’t know yet what March will bring for leisure time, but I’m really hoping to carve out some space in my life for some creativity over the next few weeks.

What are you working on this month?

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I Made Things In January

I am not a big resolution maker but I did do a bit a soul-searching at the end of 2017 and thought a lot about what I wanted 2018 to look like.

I’d taken a step back from paid work last year. I worked quite a bit the year before and I’d found that I just didn’t have enough time to work part-time hours (even from home) and still be an adequate mother with time to take care of myself.

I still work on small manageable projects as they come up and for the most part, I’m satisfied with the way things are going. I still needed a small goal though to fill that void that I used to get from being employed. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying what I’m doing now is not work. Let me tell you, spending the better part of my day with a two-year-old is more frustrating and exhausting than any paid position I’ve ever held. Toddlers, as it turns out, are demanding, often ungrateful and sometimes cruel. I just need something to make me feel good about myself after having my spirit broken by my three-foot high tyrant on a daily basis (she’s so freakin’ cute though and I just love her to bits!)

I’d spent a lot of time in my craft room around the holidays and I was reminded of how happy I am when I’m making things. So, my goal for 2018 is to make more stuff.

I have also added an extra challenge to go along with this goal though – I have to use things I already have in my craft room. I can’t buy new supplies unless I need something to complete a project. For example, I can buy thread, but not fabric to start something new. This should keep me busy for the next year because I have a lot. Like seriously, a lot and my craft room is a disaste because of it.

This is a crappy iPad photo I took back in September of my shame. To be honest, it’s always looked a bit like this and I really wish it didn’t. I’ve actually made some headway in cleaning it up but it still looks like a scene from a show about compulsive hoarding.

There are countless unfinished projects in here, along with some toys that need repair and documents to be shredded. See that screen hung up on the wall? It isn’t even usable because the speakers are buried under a mound of stuff and the remote has been missing for two years.

I got off to a great start. Here’s what I made in January.

Car Seat Poncho

This is the second car seat cape I’ve made for Little B. Current safety guidelines suggest not putting children in their car seat wearing snowsuits because the bulkiness prevents them from being strapped in tight enough. These are recommended for the car for cold days. Unfortunately, she would rather asphyxiate herself trying to get it off while I’m driving, than wear it. We’ve had to settle for a thin winter coat instead, while this one will probably get donated with our old clothes by the end of the season. I tried.

Bowl Covers

We never buy plastic wrap. I usually just use containers with lids or when a lid isn’t available, I just cover a bowl with a plate or something flat and round. I had some beeswax left over from a project a while ago and an endless supply of fabric scraps, so I used this tutorial from House of Hawthornes to make reusable covers for my bowls.

Doll dress

I loved my dolls when I was a kid and I probably played with mine well past the age where it was appropriate. Little B prefers her stuffed animals right now and it’s too soon to tell if they’ll interest her in the future but that isn’t stopping me from getting a jump start on making doll clothes. This is a wrap dress made with a pattern of my own design.

Linen Tunic

This is a free pattern from Purl Soho. I’ve made a few other projects from their website and the instructions are really clear and easy to follow. This top can be whipped up in a few hours.

Unfortunately, the gathering looks too poofy on my narrow shoulders and the straight cut of the bodice really emphasizes my spare tire. It looks great on my dress form but it’s just not a great style for me at all. I’m going to try another one of their tunic patterns this month though.

What are you making these days?

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Dryer Balls

Back in May, we took a vacation. Or more accurately, enjoyed a temporary change of scenery. The term vacation would imply we were relaxing while sipping cocktails somewhere. We were travelling with a two-year-old, so we were really just going to unfamiliar places, trying to prevent her from harming herself others, while attempting to deflect public tantrums.

One of the many stops on our itinerary was Kings Canyon National Park. We’ve been going to Califonia annually for over a decade and we still hadn’t seen a giant Sequoia. In retrospect, this wasn’t the best adventure with a toddler in tow. I really need to remember that when I start planning our next holiday.

Anyway, we saw some big ass trees. Then, we decided to take the scenic route back to our hotel in Bakersfield, where we were stopping for the night before heading to Palm Springs the following day. It was scenic indeed as we wound our way down from the High Sierras, going back and forth, making sharp turns every mile or so.

Suddenly, we heard some strange noises from the backseat. Little B still sat rear facing then, so we couldn’t immediately see what was up- literally. Until the smell hit us. Trying not to panic (or dry heave), we kept driving until we found a turnout where we found our poor baby absolutely covered in regurgitated milk and crackers – her snack of choice earlier that day. Of course, we felt like the shittiest parents in the world because it never occurred to us that a drive like this might cause her motion sickness. Not only that, but there really wasn’t much we could do up there. We were on the side of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with limited cleaning resources in our rental car. We stripped her down, wiped her up the best we could with some take-out napkins and put her back in the seat with one of Jeremy’s t-shirts between her and the mess. Next, we gave her some fresh water and continued on the two-hour drive to our destination.

Later at the hotel, we cleaned the seat and aired it out of the balcony overnight. Thankfully, we were headed to our friend’s house where we could properly machine wash our soiled clothes.

Two things of note about my friend’s laundry situation.

First, she had the most fabulous homemade laundry detergent. You can find the recipe here.

Seriously – it was AMAZING. It only took one cycle to get the barf smells and stains out of our stuff and in my (thankfully) limited experience with baby puke, it usually takes at least two washes to completely get that odour. PLUS, these clothes had been marinating for nearly 24 hours in a plastic bag in the trunk of a hot car!

Second, she had wool dryer balls.

For the uninitiated, dryer balls are a greener alternative to dryer sheets for adding scents to your clothes and reducing static cling. They also help cut down on dryer time absorbing some of the dampness and by creating more space between your clothes.

They’re not expensive, so this is one of those crafts that if you had to go out and buy supplies you would likely spend way more than it would cost to just go out and purchase them already made. However, if you’re like me and have a bunch old wool sweaters tucked away for felting projects you’ll probably never get around to, then this is a great project to use up that stash.

I started by cutting my sweaters into long continuous strips and rolled them into balls in the same way you would wind yarn into a ball, tucking in the loose ends as I went along. Your balls should be about a bit larger than a softball or and they will shrink to about a baseball. I used four small women’s sweaters to get this size.

These look pretty messy, but that’s ok because they’ll be covered with a layer of worsted to tidy them up.

I bought two of these from a clearance rack at Micheals, keeping this project at about $6.50 – still well below the cost of buying them.

There. Much better.

If you were born after the baby boom, you might not have any pantyhose around, but this is what you need for the next step. I had some because despite being born in the mid-70s, I’m a bit old-school when it comes to foundation garments. Sure, I’ll do bare legs in a dress the hot summer, but for the rest of the year if I’m getting really dressed up I believe a slip and a pair of very good quality sheer nude nylon hose makes one look polished. If you don’t want to take my word for it, just ask Kate Middleton.

So, I shoved the balls into the leg of my old stocking tying each one in tightly. (I suppose tights would probably work too). This is going to help with the felting process.

Next, I soaked the balls in a bucket of very, very, hot water. A few tutorials I’ve seen recommend just throwing the balls in the washing machine on a hot cycle, but our high-efficiency front loader doesn’t use enough water to effectively bind the fibers. After wringing them out the best I could, I dried them (with a load of bed sheets) on the highest heat setting. Then, for good measure, I repeated the process.

All finished!

As you can see, some red from one of the old sweaters bled through one of the balls. I won’t use that one with my whites, obviously.

There is a downside to dryer balls. They’re noisy as heck. It sounds a bit like a herd of bison are charging through the laundry room when they’re in motion, but since they cut down on drying time at you don’t have to listen to it for very long.

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