Archive of ‘paper’ category

the easter egg garland

happy easter all!

our household is straining under  the not-yet-arrived warm weather; the smell of dirt and other unfrozen things; and thoughts of seed plantings and outdoor projects that feel just around the bend.  easter always seems to mark the promise held in springtime.
easter garland

it’s a promise we are ready to cash in on.  we are starting lists with titles like “things we will do when it is warm out” and the boys are so ready to play outside they eagerly shoveled dirt in pouring rain this afternoon.

little J, who is days away from turning 4, is clearly navigating through some heavy kid transitions.  he is ready to do so many things by himself, out from under his brother’s shadow, but not quite capable enough.  after 40 minutes of red-faced frustration he got himself dressed this morning while managing to put on a shirt upside down (and rip it), underwear and pants on backwards and socks inside-out.  only to walk out of his bedroom and have his brother point out his shirt was backwards, which sent him into a flailing tantrum.  sigh.

truth be told, I’m the one most desperate for the cleansing, shifting tide of spring.  my parenting fuse is short and my longing to organize, sort, and clean without interruption isn’t helping my patience.  the result has been that each day ends with a bucket full of self-doubt and a much-needed beer.  I think, we can all feel spring starting to emerge but not yet be fully realized.  we need some serious sun on our faces…and right quick.

there have been some great inspired moments in the midst of all this strain.  this past week is our spring break and during a quieter moment we made a paper egg bunting inspired by two straight lines (I posted about it in one a happy happenings posts recently).

watercoloring for eggs

using watercolors on thick paper we made various designs…just C and I.  some of the designs were straight watercoloring, some involved wax resist using crayons and others involved cutting shapes from masking tape that were then painted over and later removed for a stencil effect. easter egg making

next, we used an egg template (hand-drawn and free-formed) to cut out an egg shape. cut little slits in the top and strung it through a length of yarn. egg garland template

he thought it was amazing.  it was exactly what I needed…to be amazing for a moment.  easter garland

they get used to me, these two lovely brothers.  I am around to get them home after school and to open their yogurt and to watch them learn to put on a shirt and to turn the car into an irresistible rocket ship when they are reluctant to leave the house.  it is a blessing to be that person and also a job that sometimes feels bigger than me.  garland overhead
so, here is to the arrival of spring and all of the painful but beautiful growing sure to come along with it.

march happy happenings

march is here, somewhere.  in these parts that has meant some rain, mud, and finally..snow.  um yeah, we were out building snowmen two days ago.  but the spring flowers are still working their way toward the sunshine.  and that means it is time for some happy happenings…my round-up of awesomeness living out there in the internet this month (or in prep for next month).  I was so happy to have stumbled on and can’t wait to share.



I am a huge fan of breaking bad and so I nearly flipped my lid when I saw this round up of breaking bad inspired crafts  over at make:craft.  I really want  need  the bald Walt softie. I mean, who doesn’t?




it is true that brooklynites are having the most arty-fartsy fun.  especially now that they have brooklyn craft camp on march 16th!  this day long camp-for-grown-ups is a d.i.y. heaven filled with good food, cocktails and craft workshops.


a full day (!!) with amazing teachers and making, making, making…everything from knitting to paper cutting to printmaking and even terrarium making.  the fact that I can’t make it only solidifies my long-standing belief that I need a clone.



my husband is Irish and ever since we started dating I have enjoyed St. Patricks Day just that little bit more.  it’s hard not to, considering how loudly and passionately he can sing the irish rover.  this martha stewart project seemed like a good one to get the kids into the spirit, too.  she uses a heart stamped in 3 directions and a green stamp pad to make easy decorations.  sometimes you gotta hand it to her.  so fantastic!




another kid project, this lovely paper egg bunting project from two straight lines has been on my to-do list for a long while.  just love the simple design and the pleasantness of it.  it’s a great easter project with the kids that doesn’t look overly Easter.




baseballs, puppies, cars, trucks and product placement…that pretty covers the options for boys clothing.  in short, it is nearly impossible to find funky, fun clothes for boys. even most sewing patterns are all girls, girls, girls.  and that is why it a good thing that dana met rae and together they created  celebrate the boy.  it’s a crazy, mind-blowing collection of handmade clothing for BOYS! it seems the whole world has joined in and the results are unreal.

celebrate the boy

things are really getting hopping in the boy world! three cheers for that!


the inimitable heather ross believes that anyone can learn to draw and she is holding  a contest to prove it.  sketch something every day for ten to twenty minutes for three weeks and send it to her…the person who improves the most wins some of her newest line of fabric. how sweet is that?!



this project is absolutely going to happen at my house and soon.  in fact, I  bought fabric dye today.  they are amazing hand-dyed tea towels with wax resist, basically writing with wax crayons on fabric and then dying it!  think of the possibilities…wedding day readings, song lyrics, quotes from kids books!  I am so excited to have found this idea from the lovely women behind a beautiful mess. a beautiful mess, indeed.




if you are a modern quilter then you were probably either at quiltcon or wishing you were at quiltcon.  I did not head to Austin, TX for this inspiring and amazing modern quilt guild event and, consequently, I was singing the ‘quiltcon blues’ but I was heartened to learn that there are highlight from the event and quiltcon lectures over on craftsy! yay! now, I can put down my banjo and watch away.



and last but not least is the covert robin, of course.   what kind of co-host would I be if I didn’t mention it!?  if you signed up, you should have your partner’s information and possibly even be doing some making.  if you need inspiration, check out this helpful blog post from clover and violet and the mega-tutorials list from made with moxie.

covert robin

enjoy! swapping handmade is like hatching goodness, little chicken.

playing with hand printing

I’ve been a wee bit obsessive about hand printing lately.

hand print options

it probably started back when we did the stamping art project with the kids for valentines day.  but, it became urgent (URGENT!) when I bought three little kraft paper covered moleskin books.  it’s not the kind of thing I normally buy, moleskins seems like such an indulgence.  but, I kept having ideas that I was certain I would remember and didn’t need to write down…well, you know how that story ends.  so, I caved and bought these little books that will fit anywhere, anytime. the moleskins are filed with graph paper and the combination of a kraft paper cover and graph paper interior was like some kind of kryptonite.  I was too weak to resist.

the beautiful, blank look of kraft paper always screams WHITE PAINT at me.  so I dug up some of my old hand printing things…carving tools, etc. and I went to town decorating them.  of course, once I had made a stamp I had to try it on fabric as well

clear stamp

my favorite was actually this ‘lily pad’ design..made by cutting a foam sheet and gluing it to the clear stamp base.  I bought the clear base literally years ago and never used it, waiting for the ‘right’ project.  but, in line with my 2013 goals I pulled it out and just used it.  my habit of saving nice things is so, so ridiculous and slowly but surely it is a habit I’m breaking.

I’m pretty sure the clear base is a martha stewart product.  I really, really like it.  because the stamp is clear I can see exactly what I’m doing and line everything up well.  I’ve used wood bases before and it’s so much more difficult to line things up just right when you can’t see what you are doing. 
lily pad press

I especially wanted to be able to see what I was doing with this stamp because I didn’t print the repeat in a conventional way.  instead, I bounced around, deciding which direction to place the stamp as I went.  it made it so easy to create a one-of-a-kind design with some flow.  the picture above was just my practice/playing around effort.  I promise to share more finished projects soon.

but, the moleskins books really are making me happy.  I used regular old white tempera paint, actually stolen from the kids art cabinet.  (in case you are curious, I did use fabric paint for printing on the fabric.)  I’m already using the moleskins, I keep one in my purse.  good idea bookI named my favorite one.  it’s called “good idea!”.  because, you know what?  I noticed something.  I am excellent at recognizing when I’ve been a terrible parent and have done everything wrong;  I do a great job of berating myself over a sewing or professional failure; I even excel at noting when I’ve been an impatient friend or wife.  but, I’m not nearly as good at allowing myself the compliment of a good idea.  so, this is my good idea book.  even when I glance over at it; it says to me good idea!  it’s going to fill up with good ideas…even the bad ones will be good ones in this book. I’m starting to think I should have always carried a good idea book.

handprinting fabric swap

speaking of good ideas, I took my renewed hand printing enthusiasm and joined in a fabric swap at maze and vale.  it is hosted by the inspired and lovely leslie keating and she has been so gracious, providing tons of inspiring hand printing tutorials.  I’m so excited.  can’t wait to make something beautiful and unique with the hand printed fabric I receive.

make it :: decorative envelopes!

peeking mustache man

when I was making my mustache man cards they were looking sort of glum in their plain white envelopes and, quite frankly, they deserved better.  so, as I mentioned, I dressed up the envelopes.  it was so easy to do and made for such a cute envelope that I threw together this quick and dirty share. decorative envelope suppliesas far as supplies, I used plain white envelopes, an exacto knife, a glue stick and origami paper (whose length wass less than the length of the envelopes).

I started by laying the triangular portion of the envelope over one end of the origami paper.

set up for pretty envelopes

once I had it well positioned, I used my exacto knife to cut away the exposed origami paper leaving behind excess triangles.  this ‘house shaped’ piece of origami paper mimics the shape of the envelope when the top flap is open.

step 2 of pretty envelopes

next I flipped over the envelope and the origami paper so that the pretty side of my decorative paper was showing and I was looking at the opening of the envelope.  using the glue stick I applied a little bit of glue to the square portion of the origami paper and carefully slipped it inside the envelope until the triangular portion of the origami paper matched up with the triangular portion of the envelope.  basically, I just tucked the origami paper inside the envelope .

step 3 of pretty envelopesonce, I had it tucked inside I then used the glue stick to glue down the triangular bit of the origami paper into place and ta-da! pretty envelopes!

pretty envelopes

so much more exciting and pretty than a standard old white envelope.  the perfect place for my mustache men to live!  hope you make some dressed up envelopes, too!  it’s like wallpaper on the house of your beautiful cards!

valentine cards ideas

when it comes to going handmade, valentine’s day is one of my favorite holidays.  since expectations are pretty low, relative to christmas at least, I feel at liberty to make a few things to make the day special and everyone is pleasantly surprised.  job done!

our tradition in the past few years has been to decorate the table and enjoy a special breakfast, usually with smoothies….real ones, the boys would tell you, not the kind that include spinach I’m trying to trick them into eating (want to trick your little people? blend bananas, spinach, strawberries, lemon juice and water.  they will never know…or at least they won’t realize for a few weeks).  the paper heart table runner I made is now a regular at our breakfast as are the felted heart pillows (even more on those next week).

but, I’ve been especially fond of stepping away from the sewing machine and doing some card making in the past few years.  I don’t work with paper very much and it’s so satisfying to do something new.  plus, paper is just a lot more forgiving than fabric and cards come together so fast, at least compared to, say, a quilt.  so, I thought I would share some of my card ideas from years past.  tomorrow, I will post my method for this years card, including an easy-peasy decorative envelope!!

but for now, here are a few from years past.  last year I made this mustache-on-a-stick out of shrinky dinks and popsicle sticks.  the boys loved these and still play with the mustaches sometimes when they want to be ‘grown ups’.

mustache card

I’m not usually ‘on trend’…I’m more of a classic kind of gal.  but, I cannot get enough of the mustache trend.  it’s just so funny! and, somehow funny every single time.  am I right?

a few years back I also made these cards (which joyfully uses up a bunch of fabric scraps) and are another of my favorite paper projects.  I love the feeling of sewing on paper…it’s like ‘going rogue’ for a sewer.  just plain wild!


this year I kept rolling with the mustache idea but more on that tomorrow!

a very mustache valentine

happy valentines day all!!

this morning my three boys (the two littles and the one big) got a little morning chocolate (!) and a love note in their felted pillows. but, we celebrated valentine’s day officially on sunday.  we had smoothies and pancakes for breakfast at our heart filled and decorated table. then we went bowling, it was big brother’s idea and it was great fun.

I had some last minute inspiration and pulled together  this year’s valentine’s card on saturday.  I’ve been seeing so many great uses for handlebar mustache props and then one night at dinner the boys made up an imaginary guy named Mr. Mustache and they couldn’t stop laughing about it. it gave me the idea to make them mustaches for their valentine.  it seemed a little more ‘boy’ than the hearts, sweetness and light I’m typically drawn to.

I made the mustaches out of shrinky dinks by drawing big mustaches and coloring them with permanent marker.  once it was cooked, I superglued them to popsicle sticks and stuck it through two slots I cut in the card. the card is just a flat red card stock I had around the house.  I printed the note on regular paper, cut around it with fancy scissors, cut out a heart in the middle and glued it on the red paper, then I used an exacto knife to cut two slits for the popsicle stick. it was easy enough that I was able to accomplish all of it while they were at the library with their papa.


we had a pretty good time playing with them.


hope your valentine’s day has a good dose of silly, too.

p.s. I have identified one thing that can suck all of the joy out of valentine’s day and it’s forcing my kids to crank out what felt like hundred of valentine’s for school friends.  sheesh! that was a little scary.

valentine idea :: paper heart table runner

 I love a decorated table but not in the fussy-perfectionist-way….more in the extra-special-fun way.  this paper heart table runner is exactly that.  I made it last year by cutting out hearts from a mix of red and pink papers and simple running them one by one through the sewing machine.  alongside some red placemats and berry smoothies it made for a great way to greet an otherwise ordinary valentine’s day breakfast. the best part? I get to pull it out and use it again this year.

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