other crafts

I have been making my own cleaners for several years. I ran out of a few of the essential oils I use regularly a while ago, and let my husband replace my cleaners with store bought stuff.

Yesterday I got my Young Living kit. Today, I got rid of some of the yucky stuff that had made it’s way into our house and made new stuff.


I started with bug spray. This is a 2 oz glass bottle. I put 15 drops citronella, 15 drops rosemary, 10 drops peppermint, and 15 drops lavender. I then fill the bottle 3/4 of the way full of witch hazel, and the rest of the way with water. I had the citronella and rosemary oils on hand. We have used this in the past, and it works well. It should also keep ticks away with the addition of peppermint! I have read that you can make a good bug spray with Purification oil (a Young Living blend), but I know this one works and has most of the stuff on hand.

The next cleaner I made was an all purpose/bathroom cleaner. I used the same size bottle (I have a ton of them). For that one, I put 15 drops of Thieves oil, a splash of witch hazel, then I filled the bottle 3/4 of the way with white vinegar, and the rest of the way with water. It makes my bathroom smell like Christmas!

In the past I have made my bathroom cleaner with Castile soap and tea tree oil instead of Thieves oil. The Thieves smells better and doesn’t leave a soap residue that has to be rinsed. I am very happy with the new recipe. I will probably invest in some of the Thieves household cleaner in the future. I also need bigger glass spray bottles.

That was my big Saturday project. After I made my cleaners, I cleaned all my bathrooms. I then took my baby and the dogs (we are dog sitting a friend’s dog, so I have two dogs this weekend). We put the bug spray on (a little goes a very long way). It was a lovely afternoon!


Washable cover and rice therapy bags
I am still not able to knit, so my Valentine’s gift plans had to be rethought.  I decided to make a rice therapy (boo boo) bag for Logan’s teacher.  First, I made the inside rice therapy bags. I embroidered one with “HOT”  and one with “COLD”.  She can leave the cold one in the freezer, and use the other when a little heat is needed.
Rice therapy bags
Then, I made a washable cover out of some red microfleece.  I made it so that back of it is made from two overlapping pieces. In the past, I have used velcro.  This time, I wanted to make it really easy to use.

Back of washable cover
Since it is micro fleece, I didn’t need to finish the edge!  I really like how it came out.
Love notes book
My other project is for my husband.  When we were first dating and engaged, we used to write love notes to each other.  Life has gotten busy, and we don’t do that as much. This is a notebook just for writing to each other.  The outside fabric is a scrap of  cabin themed fabric.  We were married in the mountains in Wyoming and our house has a cabin theme in the living room.
Love notes book inside
The inside is a fishing/map theme.  Zack is really into fishing, and he loves old maps and such.  I think he will really like it!

I had a rough week.  We had a death in our circle of friends.  Those kinds of weeks are never fun. Despite the sadness this week, there has been lots of good. That is what I am focusing on today.

From January 2011 Pictures

1. I got to hang out with Lo today.  He needed new shoes, so we went shopping together.  We talked about school, his friends, how farts are made, and what he wants to be when he grows up. The typical stuff with a 6 year old boy!  He is a great kid!  He loves crafts with a passion!  He has been making woven pot holders, melty bead animals, and all kinds of cards.  He helped me pick out embroidery thread colors today. He begged me to let him sew with me.  I am going to get him a scrap piece of fabric and teach him some basic stitches.

From January 2011 Pictures

2. Wy says the funniest things.  He can’t say “fingers”. He says, “Sing-gers”.  Sometimes they are “singers”.  It makes me giggle. He calls marshmallows “smushmallows”.  He calls fistbumps “piss-pumps” (we have been working on that).  Besides his unique pronunciation, he just lives in his imagination.  He makes me laugh all the time. In the picture above, he is eating his fourth piece of pizza.  If he could, he would eat pizza for every meal!

Cables and Twists in progress

3. I am really loving the Cables and Twists pattern.  We have a lady in our knitting group who is very ill.  We are making a prayer shawl for her.  Each member of our group is making a 8 1/2 x 11 rectangle.  I decided to use this pattern with a larger needle.  It is almost the perfect size.  It is a clever pattern. It looks a lot more complicated that it really is.

Sampler in progress
4. I am also loving embroidery. I have a ganglion cyst on my wrist. It is bothering me for the last two days (I had it surgically removed several years ago. It comes back from time to time, but it doesn’t hit the nerve like it did before). I have not been able to knit or crochet (leaving my square only as done as you see in the picture).  Since I can’t do that, I decided to make a sampler.  I am doing the Spring Sampler from the motifs book I got.  I have only done one color (DMC 907 for those who may wonder).  I am learning all kinds of things (chain stitch, stem stitch, and lazy daisy stitch…all learned yesterday)!  I am just using a scrap piece of linen. I doubt I will do anything with it.  Maybe I will frame it.  Mostly, I just want to be able to practice without having to worry about perfection.

5. My husband is the best. Right now, he is learning how to write Android Apps.  Why would he do that?  Because I want an app that helps me keep track of what colors of embroidery floss I have.  There isn’t anything out there, so he is figuring out how to make me what I want!  That is love!

I have a pretty great life!

dog cloth

Here is a new puppy for my boys!  It is a baby washcloth that I embroidered!  I am reteaching myself embroidery. When I was small, I did a ton of cross-stitch.  In high school, my mom taught me a bit of traditional hand embroidery. I did a single project and stopped.  Now I am re-learning!

closeup dog cloth

I have been using the videos that Wendy Gratz.  She also has some really great sewing videos!  I also got myself Doodle Stitching and Doodle Stitching: the Motif Collection.  The little dog is from the motif book.  Between the videos and the clear instructions in the book, I found that I picked it back up pretty easily. I need some practice, but I love how the puppy turned out.  My boys are excited to take a bath and use him!  I will say this, using a baby washcloth is not the best idea for a first project. The terry cloth did not like having thread pulled through it.  Many of the loops caught and then left strings.  I think I should have started on some linen or cotton.  It would have been easier (especially learning a split stitch for the first time).  Despite the snags, I still like the little washcloth. I am now looking around my house for things to embroider!

Tabletop iron pad inside/outside I have a really old ironing board. I hate it!  It is large and very squeaky.  I have wanted to replace it, but haven’t really found another that I liked. I have also wanted to set up my spare table to use for cutting, but I don’t have room for both my ironing board and my table.  A few weeks ago, I saw this tutorial for a table top ironing pad.  I knew that I had to make one. It is the perfect solution.
Tabletop iron pad in use
I got a few Jo-Ann’s gift certificates for Christmas.  I used them to get ironing board cover fabric, cotton batting, and Insul-Bright.  Last week, I got some pretty cotton fabric and bias tape. I also got some basting spray.
Tabletop iron pad rolled up
Last night, I finally got a chance to make my ironing pad. It came out very nice. I am really happy with it. I am also happy with the new arrangement of my office.  The table is not in the way that the ironing board was. I can roll up the ironing pad and use the table for other things.  It is perfect for most of my ironing. So handy!

The only modification I made is that I left off the ribbon to tie it.  I didn’t feel it was necessary and didn’t have a ribbon that I liked with it!

Every year, we have a big New Years party.  This year was no exception. We did have the big party.  It was a blast.  I love welcoming the New Year in surrounded by friends and fun.  Then we spent a day recovering. The boys and I had a jammie day.  Today was church and then knitting group. I  never really feel like it is a new year until work starts back up. That is tomorrow.  I really feel like my year starts tomorrow.  So I have spent today doing what most people do on New Year’s Eve, thinking about the upcoming year.  I don’t really like New Years Resolutions.  I prefer to think of New Year’s goals.  So, here is what I have come up with in the crafting realm:
Christmas 2011 cloths 2
1. Every year I make a Christmas crafting plan in January. I assign different gifts to each month and work on them through the year.  This year is no exception.  For my Christmas dishcloths, I chose the Nubby Dishcloth pattern.  I have already made 6 1/2 cloths. I will need at least 20.  I am working on them in January and February.

2. I want to do more scrapbooking. One of my big holiday plans is a 2011 scrapbook for my mom and mother in law.  In the January/February 2005 Simple Scrapbooks magazine, there was a “Scrapbook 200 photos tonight!” article.  The idea is that you use a “two-up photo album” (an album that holds 200 4×6 photos).  I loved the idea and bought two albums back in 2005. I also cut 400 4×6 pieces of coordinating cardstock.  Then, I put it away. All I have to do is print out photos, attach them to the cardstock, embellish, and do some quick journaling. My plan is to do two identical albums and to do a few pages each month.

3. Each year I have a goal to learn something new.  This year, there are two things that I want to learn. The first is that I want to learn to really use my serger. I have used it a few times for very simple stuff.  I know that it will do a lot more than I have ever used it for in the past. I got a book called Ready, Set, Serge.  I plan to make some of the things from the book (and put them in my future gifts basket).  I am really excited to do a rolled hem. One of my Christmas gifts next year will be cloth napkin sets!

4. The second thing I want to learn to do is make soap.  I don’t really have a plan on this one, but I will soon.  I would like to make soap for gifts next year too.

Wee block jar

5. This is the cookie jar I bought for $3 today. I put my very small sock yarn balls in the jar.  These are for my sock yarn blankie!  These are only the ones that have not been put into the blankie yet.  After I use a ball, I put it in a bin. Later, they will be put back into this jar to be used again (just not too close to the first block).  One of my goals is to work on this blankie more consistently!  I really think the jar looks beautiful. It will be a nice reminder to work on it.

6. I also want to finish some unfinished projects.  My February Lady Sweater needs one sleeve.  I need to assemble Logan’s blankie from 2009. I need to finish Wyatt’s block borders and then assemble his.  Neither will take me long, but I just need to buckle down!

7. I want to start an Etsy shop. I am working on getting all of the legal stuff in order. I am hoping to announce more and launch in early this year!

8. My last crafting goal is to blog regularly.  I think this is self-explanatory. I love blogging, but I don’t do it as regularly as I would like.

I also have some personal goals. The first is to get pregnant. I know this seems a bit weird, but we have been trying for about a year. I had an ectopic back in March. Since then, no luck. I really want another baby (my last).  The second is to go through Operation World as a family.  We have “family church” every night. We read a bible story and pray as a family.  We are really excited about a more guided prayer experience as a family.  My last personal goal is to keep my house up.  We have been doing a pretty good job.  I want to keep that going.

Well, that seems like quite enough for one year!  Happy New Year to you!!

Most years, I intend to make most of my gifts.  Then I run out of time and then spend a ton of money at the last minute to make up for the gifts I didn’t finish.

This year, I planned ahead.  I made dishcloths all year long. I also made sponges. I also made some small items and bookmarked the best recipes. I made a schedule of what I needed to make and when.  I gave myself extra time.  This year, I have a mostly handmade holiday!  The only thing I didn’t do: take photos of everything before wrapping it up!!  Here are some of the pictures of the gifts I made:

1. Fabric covered notebooks.  To make these, I took a composition notebook and cut fabric just a bit bigger than the notebook (remember to wrap the fabric around the the closed notebook). Then I Heat n Bond to stick the fabric to the notebook. I then used my rotary cutter to trim the excess.  These are cute journals for my nieces.

2. I-spy bags: I have linked to the post where I describe how I made them.

3. One of the magnetic paper doll sets, a fabric covered notebook, and my hand sanitizer sock.  I have linked to the paper doll tutorial, and my explanation of how I made the hand sanitizer sock. I made around 10 sets of paper dolls. I also made 5 hand sanitizer socks.

4 and 5. Capes

6. Gathered clutch.  I used this tutorial.  This is for my mom. Not pictured is the the tiny composition book covered in matching fabric.

Some gifts that are not pictured are my crocheted dishcloths, crochet dishsponges, candy, coupon holders, and the contents of the magnetic dolls.  I am really happy with everything I made.

In the past years, I have had a lot of guilt around handmade holiday gifts. I make something, and then I worry that the person will think I didn’t care enough to buy them something.  This year, I haven’t felt any of that guilt. I know what goes into my gifts. I am not going to worry about it.  I was going to write a whole blog post about my attitude this year, but then the Yarn Harlot so perfectly summed it up. I can’t do better than her, so I will link to her post!

Merry Christmas!!!

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