Thursday, June 2, 2011

In My Absence

Much has been happening since my last post. As for many things, things had to get worse before they can get better. I have much to catch up on. The plan is to look over the past year and pick out the better projects and the ones I can laugh at or learn from to post over the next few months.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Green Holidays

This year the holiday was a bit greener. I've been trying to use less wrapping paper. Sure it is pretty but it is used once, maybe twice and then it goes into the recycle bin or worse the landfill. I've been meaning to make some reusable fabric gift bags but haven't seemed to be able to find the time.

This year I came across an article on "furoshiki", a Japanese style gift wrapping. This simple and beautiful form of gift wrapping uses fabric to wrap presents. The fabric can be single or two sided, a specially made piece or a scarf or bandanna. The article ( was complete with a YouTube video and a link for a wrapping guide posted by the Japanese government ( It seemed too simple not to try. For the kids Hanukkah presents I wrapped 5 of the 8 nights gifts in dark colored bandannas. The kids didn't even blink. They still recognized a present when they see one and were able to get them open to see what surprises were within. We also reused a few gift bags too for the larger gifts.

We might not be up to a carbon neutral holiday but every little bit to make it greener is a good change.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Juice Box Straws

I love the Rubbermaid juice boxes. They add a nice flexibility for the kids of juices I pack for the kids and they reduce the waist of buying juice in juice boxes. But hate that it is so hard to clean the straw out. I have discovered that a nicely soaped up skewer will nicely clean out the inside of the straws. So simple and something many of us already have handy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shawl "Pin"

I have just received a beautiful shawl, which is perfect for keeping my shoulders warm and looking business like. The problem was all of my shawl pins are very dated and I do not mean in a good “vintage” way. Therefore had a dilemma of how to keep the shawl in place as I went about my day. I found a quick solution, which looked nice and worked well, my hair scrunchie. A basic black fabric scrunchie wrapped around the ends of the medium weight woven fabric worked very well. I plan to get a fancier beaded scrunchie to see if it will work as well and look a bit dressier. Having a multifunctional piece in the jewelry box makes organization and packing to travel much easier. It also fits the reduce part of the overall recycling plan J

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flock Party: Final Fleecing

I will sheepishly admit there is just one more Shaun the Sheep item to write about.

Before the party, I spent some time with the kids. No cable TV. No Wii. Just the three of us and a big quiet lake. It was a wonderful long weekend. It was a great opportunity to show the kids some of the things I grew up with. One of the things I shared with them was my Mom's shape board. Mom made us felt boards and many shapes to move around and just be creative. We did have some Colorform kits but mom's was best. I gave each of the kids a full size sheet of felt. They both asked many questions to figure out what I was doing. Then I started to cut out shapes. Squares, triangles, circles, trapezoids, hexagons, and any others I could using my single quilting guide and things left in the kitchen cabinets. They thought it was great. They made all sorts of pictures from the shapes.

They were happy and entertained and I was getting bored. I did not want to just keep cutting shapes. I wanted to make something too. I pulled out a copy of Shaun the Sheep and started to cut free hand a sheep's head, then a set of ears and eyes out of a piece of glittery black felt. The scraps were trimmed up and added to the kids shapes. I arranged the sheep parts on a piece of white felt. By then I had the kids' attention again. After saying, I was thinking of making a pillow. I was told I needed to make two. I cut out a second set and they were packed up to be brought home with us. A month later after the party they were finally stitched together and stuffed.They are being loved to death. I might need to make another pair out of a more durable fabric.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flock Party: Take Homes

Shaun the Sheep website has a lot of coloring pages and other activities. I took advantage of these wonderful items for the kids to take home and hopefully fall in love with Shaun and the flock as much as my kids have. Each birthday bag had print outs of the coloring pages and directions on how to make a bobble Shaun from recycled yogurt cups and a Shaun note holder. The goodie bags also had a small stuffed sheep for them to play with. The kids also had their flying disc creations to take home.

I had printed out mask from the site for the kids to make at the party but we didn’t use them this time. I’m holding onto the print outs for the next flock gathering.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flock Party: Carnival Toss

Shaun the Sheep has an episode where the flock goes to a carnival. In the episode Shaun is left behind to cover for the missing sheep while Blitzer tries to find and bring back the flock. While at the carnival the sheep play the bottle game – throw a ball to knock down the bottles. I decided we could have our own version of this game. If you want the show the field has the farmer’s junk pile which the sheep managed to salvage things to make whatever Shaun dreams up. So for our version of the game we saved some of our own junk. I saved several cat litter containers (14 pound size). I had purchased bean bag for a different game.

We stacked the containers in pyramids of three on top of picnic tables and gave each child several bean bags. They took turns trying to knock down the stacks. A brave parent volunteered to fetch bean bags and re stack one of the pyramids and we tried to keep up with the overly enthusiastic kids. They loved the game!