Friday, November 30, 2012

diy: lickity split advent

I know, I know you're probably thinking Jessica, you are totally pushing it, December is...afterall...tomorrow but I meant to get this finished sooner and well...I am an ace procrastinator if I do say so myself so this was just finished, as in an hour ago and the light was slip-slipping away and the rain has been coming down for a few days and I was cursing at the yarn that kept falling and the tack that refused to anchor the whole shebang and then I couldn't find the bag of wrapped sweets to add to a few of the pockets so those pockets are empty (shhh, don't tell anyone that part) and there are still massive piles of stuffity spilling and all topsy-turvy around the tiny casa but I did it. I finished it and the photos are servicable and now I am typing this all while enjoying a happy jar of eggnog that I can actually taste (yay sniffer!) and so I do hope you enjoy it...the calendar that is, eggng is not so easy to share over the internet.

coffee filter advent calendar
*25 cone coffee filters
*white paper
*colored scrap paper
*glue stick
*scallop punch
*wooden spoon
*tiny trinkets and sweets

Type in advent calendar into any search engne and you will certainly see dozens and dozens of brillianttly pretty ideas. From envelopes to matchboxes to tiny wrappd packages there is no shortage of ways to display a happy bit of advent for the holiday season. This calendar came about when  I wanted to create one using items I had on hand. The coffee filters are perfectly shaped for a unique spin and the natural unbleached color is pleasing to the eye. The yarn, a small ball of varigated yarn that I had picked up at the Goodwill outlet for a dime was already out on the table and well, I seem to have more wooden spoons that any households need.  
Gather up your supplies and punch out 25 scallops using a decorative punch. You can use stickers or write up the numbers using a marker or two. 
 Glue your numbered circles to strips of colored paper for a pop of color and glue those happy bits to your coffee filter. Punch holes through the top of each filter and fill with tiny treasures and trinkets.

Cut out thirteen lengths of yarn in a variety of lengths and knot all but one, twice; once at the end and again about six inches or so above it (if your yarn is skinny, you might need to double or triple knot each knotty knot).  Knot the remaining bit of yarn once at the end and thread filter number 25 onto it. Double up the other 24 filters until all the yarn is cozy cozy with the filters. 
Wrap your wooden spoon with yarn or give it a hapy coat of paint. I used the tried and true friendship knot on my spoon. It seems there is very little I will not wrap with yarn. Give your wooden spoon a hanger of yarn by looping a bit over each end and hanging it on your door or wall.
 Tie all the happy trinket filled filters to your spoon so that you have a happy party going on and get to counting down! 

Tis the season! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

a little filler

 ...while I scramble to get my act together and get some crafting accomplished! Here are some goodies I picked up on our summer road trip. The awesome quilt and pom-pom trimmed bedspread were gifts from Tara, the brown gingham mugs are from my sister and the rest was thrifted in either Arizona or Oklahoma...wheeeeee! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

never was the sky so blue blue. I don't think there is a single crayon in the box that could match the sky that stretched over us as we moseyed our way past moss, concrete and a wandering bear or two...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

time for tiny trees {a slight misadventure}

I am a big fan of making stone towers. Anytime we're out in the great wide world and I find myself around a rock-opolis I tend to tower them up. A few weekes ago I thought how cool would it be to make a tiny stone tower tree? 

And so I did...

With much failure...
Turns out there are a bunch of things one should do to make smooth stones ready for sticky-glue, otherwise it simply pops right off!  So before you do this, make sure to wash your stones in warm soapy water. Next, place stones in a warm oven while you wait for your hot melt glue to heat up unless the air in your home is super warm already, the cool surface of the stones kept my glue from sticking until I heated them up. A good sanding to rough up the surface will help as well. Mister thinks a silicone glue might be better but all we had was hot melt so that is what I used.

I wonder how the stones would look if given a dye bath? Perhaps an ombre effect? I might try that! Have fun! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

deconstruct a doily

I picked up a pack of gold paper doilies to use as props for sweet november. Of course, in the middle of setting up a photo I ended up deconstructing one of the doilies into a pile of pretty. I then took the pretty to the sewing machine and whipped up this happy garland. 
All you need is one large paper doily, a pair of scissors and a sewing machine. YOu can also weave a length of embroidery floss or yarn through the doily pieces instead. 
 Tis the season! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

make a last minute trivet

Okay, this project was much prettier in the noggin but I am certain that if I had had more time the prettiness would have matched what was inside my tired brain. 

This easy trivet diy can be whipped up with a sewing machine in less than thrity minutes. Ten if yer quick and fearless. All you need is two scraps of denim and one or two equal-sized scraps of wool. My wool came from two thrifted sweaters.
Create a pattern by tracing around a small plate on a piece of scrap paper. Cut out your pattern and pin to four layers of fabric scraps. Bring to your sewing machine and stitch al lthe way around with a straight-stitch.
Trim your new circle with scissors and pop it all back into the mahcine and quilt it up however you like. Travel-around the entire edge of the trivet with your machine, using a zi-zag stitch. Snip threads and put it to us! 
You can also use your trivet as a potholder! Make a handful, some round and some square for a more cohesive look. If you have more time, you can totally patchwork up your denim to make it snazzier! Have fun! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Mister went down to L.A. over hte weekend leaving me solo. I had of course, grand plans for my girlie days for crafting, cleaning and baking but then the sick settled in and all I did was wallow on the sofa under a pile of blankets watching Glee and Doctor Who and the rain outside the tiny casa.
On Sunday it finally stopped raining and the light was really pretty. I opened the front door to take in some fresh air and check on my plants when I noticed the entire lawn criss-crossed with the gossamer evidence of spider webs. I tried. I really tried to capture it with the camera.

I sat on the wet stoop and took it all in.

That's just how I roll (raon soaked pjs and all).

We're heading out of town for Thanksgiving to spend time in the land of giants, may all of you have a most sincere and warmth-filled weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

gifties goodness for the hiking girl

gifties goodness for the hiking girl

Here is my go to wish list for items I use and/or want for our many mini adventures. Now, I  am not a serious hiker. Nope, not me. I am in fact a bit of a wandering lazy hiker who may or may not be prone to whininess when the wheeze kicks in or the hills get too steep. This odd assortment of goodies helps me get through it all. If you are just starting out or have a friend or two who are prone to the wander any or all of these items would be well received (within reason of course).

My very first pick up there is that pink thing. See that pink thing? That is a pstyle and is every girl's best friend for hiking, campingm outdoor events and/or any place that is prone to sporting a port-o-potty or two. Seriously, the pstyle is my saving grace for doing the deed when I need to most with nary a rest stop in site. You can read more about the pstyle here and here.

Next up is a good pair of socks. I am wishing for some smartwool socks for myself. Mister swears by his and so it is about time I get my own pair and so should you. Along with a good pair of socks, every gal needs an extra pir of gloves and a warm hat to keep the chill off. The cheapie magic stretch gloves are not a bad bet for having a pair or two stashed in the car or various jacket pockets. Sure, a fancier pair of gloves will better keep your ands warm but even the slightest protection from the chill is a good thing. There are all sorts of nifty etsy sellers creating upcycled gloves and mittens. I'm kinda in love with these zombie funk mittens by madhadher and these hobo gloves from ReWoolables. As for hats, etsy is also my go to place for a handmade chapeau. Harry and the Hippie Chic have a nifty assortment in their shop. If you have a pile of wool sweaters at home, you can also try your hand at making a hat or a headband even.

Other bits such as sunscreen, lip balm and moleskin are things we tend to forget about. Sunscreen will both protect you from sunburn and keep you moisterized. Lip balm will keep yer lips from getting all chappy-chapped and moleskin will ease any blisters that decide to pop up. Diaper cream is no joke and will greatly soothe any chafing that happens on longer hikes (I speak from sad expeirence). A small tin of pastilles can help with nausea when gum is not around, a whistle can save yer life and a small first aid kit packed with ointments and such isn't too shaby either. Trail mix will keep your energy up and a water bottle will of course, when full, keep you hydrated.

And lastly, for summer hiking, a banadana is a lifesaver. Tying a wet bandana around your neck keeps you cool when it is warm out and is also a handy tool for cleaning up yer dusty face or washing dishes even if you must. This skull bandana is all kinds of cool.

So here ya go, a gift guide for the outdoorsy type full of things that will both come in handy and be quite useful. Enjoy! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

i'm too sick to post so look at this bit of pretty instead...

I've been sick, stupid sick. I caught a virus to end all viruses. I cannot remember the last time I was this sick. I know you might be rolling your eyes thinking eegads but she's always sick but that's not true. I'm not always sick though I am more often than not under some sort of allergy attack. So yeah, I've been sick...ick enough mister dragged me to our urgent care for a rapid strep test to rule out that bit of nastiness which it was...ruled out...that is. Also ruled out is mono and so it looks like I was walloped over the head with a simple evil virus that nestled in my throat laying shard upon shard of pointy glass pains with each breath. It has been seven days of sleep, fever, chills and unhappy swallowing (thank goodness for scheduled bog posts and a burst of energy that had me ahead of the game) so I thought I would post some pretty pics of the welcome jar Tara made for me when we visited her town back in September.
I have to say that I am quite over this whole sick thing. I've even grown bored with pinterest, that's how over it I am. I could really use some outdoors and fresh air...and food...good food and sleep....peaceful sleep...okay, enough whining, I am on the up nd up, I hope. I better be. We're heading to Sequoia National Park for Thankgiving and it would be most helpful for me to be healthy...right? 
Isn't all this pretty? That Tara has some mad skills.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

a good kind of cry

I often marvel at the chaos that floats around my noggin. Last week I had the thought that I haven't cried in a long time. I thought how I hadn't felt that sad, sad, gloomy gloom in so long that I could not remember the last time I felt it. Usually I feel it when I miss my mom or I am mourning my infertility but lately, I haven't wallowed and so I have not cried.

I still miss my mom, I miss her greatly especially around this time of year, and the lack of parenthood as a defining thing for me and the mister still hits me like an arrow and takes my breath away but my head is still held high, my shoulders back and my laughter comes quick when something makes me smile.

I'm just thinking out loud up there, interested in how our minds are connected to our emotions, our hormones, or moods.

That said, not long after I had that thought, I had it again and then a few days later I found myself driving home along a favorite road. The air was so crisp, the sky so blue, the time of day caused the light to bathe the surrounding hills so they looked like velvet and I felt myself give in to the weep as it was simply to beautiful to contain.

 I swear I was all weepified for the remainder of the drive. The hills made me cry, the geese flying over head made me cry, the egrets in the dried out grass made me cry, the pink barn made cry, the horses and their foals made me is what I call a good kind of cry.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

experiments in cookie baking: chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal goodies

When I get a hankering for a cookie, I generally go to the kitchen, plop 2 cups of flour into a bowl, add a smidge of this and smidge of that, a teaspoon or so of baking soda, about a cup of sugar, one egg and one stick of butter and mix, mix, mix. If the dough is too sticky, I might add some milk or an extra egg, too wet then more flour or flax meal or perhaps oats. I dollop a scoop or so of dough a dozen times onto a parchment covered cookie sheet and pop into a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes, keeping my fingers crossed that they don't taste awful. 
 These cookies were much like that and I really wish I wrote down what I did because these cookies are keepers. All I remember is that I used brown sugar and oats and a cup of peanut butter and chocolate chips. I am sure I used only one stick of butter but it is posslbe I used a half cup of oil instead. 
 I highly recommend this method, you never know what you might get. And I kinda lied up there as I generally mix the dry ingreients separate from the wet. The butter is most often "softened" in the microwave then hand mixed with the sugar before I add an egg or two. I often also add a teaspoon of vanilla and usually only a pinch or a twist of salt. I use my trusty wooden spoon for al lthe mixing unless the butter is not very soft at all then I use a handmixer. Sometimes I add a package of instant pudding mix.
Depending on the appearance of the dough, I may use my cookie scoop and leave as is or I may flatten with the base of a juice glass sipped in sugar. Sometimes I roll the dough into a ball though I admit I am far too lazy to roll out flat and use cutters though I do have some pretty nifty cutters, I should get over that.

Friday, November 16, 2012

make your own facial scrub

Back in the days when my reading material consisted of young miss and Sassy I faithfully tore out pages on skin care and make up how-tos. My routine generally was to slather my face with Noxzema and call it a day but after my sister gave me a heap of Estee Lauder products I found I liked the fancy-pants department store goodies far better than my drugstore knock-offs. My favorite bit of goodness was a tall aqua container that contained a scrub of milky goodness called Cleansing Milk Grains. Eventually I used up that whole container and marched off to my May Company to pick up a new container only to find that there was a reason I stuck with drugstore knock-offs...ahem...the fancypants cleansing grains cost thrity-two smackeroos! I feared my sixteen year old self would forever be a Wet N Wild girl (in some ways that holds true but we won't talk about that) until a study of the ingredients revealed I could kind of, sort of make my own and so I did and still I do. Here is an updated version for you to make and share. 

Calendula Milk Mask
*one envie powered milk
*1/4 cup corn meal
*1 T calendula blossoms
*mortar & pestle
*drop or two of lavender oil (optional)
*happy jar
 This diy facial cleanser/scrub/mask is ridiculously easy to put together. Simply combine ingredients into a mortar and crush out any lumpy bits to a fine powder. You can skip this if you like but powdered milk and cornmeal tend to be pretty gritty. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, place ingredients into a plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin or pour into a food processor and pulse until fine.
 Since you are going to be using this on your skin I would recommend using organic cornmeal and milk  though you do not have to. Back in the 80s when I first made this I used our basic non-organic kitchen staples. Calendula blossoms are not necessary but they do add a bit of pretty if you are gifting this. Calendula is often used in products for people with eczema and/or sensitive skin and can be found online or at your local organic market where the bulk herbs and teas are usually displayed.

Blend it all together and pour into a small happy jar or container. If using lavendar essential oil, add a drop or two (no more) to the mixture and blend. 
 To use, splash warm water onto your face then place a small spoonful of mixture onto your palm, add a few drops of water and mix using your pointer and index fingers on the opposite hand until you get a paste. Apply to face in a circular motion and rinse or leave on until dry then rinse. I do this on mornings when I am going to be at work or out and about (two to three times a week). I find it invigorates my skin and it makes me feel a smidge more presentable.