Sunday, April 29, 2012

Handmade Baby Shower Decoration

Inspired by The Handmade Home, I decided to make a name banner as a decoration for a friend's baby shower.  It didn't require many materials, and is something that can be reused as a permanent decoration in the child's room or for future birthday parties, etc.

It got a little wrinkled in transit between Milwaukee and Chicago, but was fun to make.

-Burlap (1/2 yard should be fine depending on length of name) or other background fabric
-4 fat quarters in at least 2 complimentary fabrics (I used 4 different fabrics in shades of orange and green), possibly more depending on length of name
-needles, matching thread

Cut the burlap squares to the desired size.  Hand-draw or trace letters on fabric.  I did two copies of each letter, one larger than the other, so each letter would be outlined.  Cut out letters and applique or sew to burlap.  String the banner together with twine or string.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Valentine's Cold Process Soap

This soap used a blend of olive oil (55%), coconut oil (31%) and cocoa butter (14%). I added rhassoul clay (about 1 tablespoon per pound of oil) and a blend of lemon, peppermint and lavender essential oils and a bit of rosemary oleoresin. I used a heart-shaped silicone mold. It smells very nice, but it will need to cure for a few weeks before I can test it out. This is my first batch of soap since moving to California so I'm feeling a bit rusty. I'm looking forward to trying it!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Meet Huntington

On Christmas Eve 2010 Tom and I adopted a kitten from our local vet, TLC in South Pasadena. They sometimes have kittens available that staff members have fostered or when shelters have an overflow. We met each of the five kittens they had at the time, and decided to adopt a 6-month old cream tabby male. Because his fur is the color of sand on a California beach, we decided to name him Huntington, largely after Huntington Beach (where all the surfers hang out) but also because when we first met him he was on Huntington Drive. We often shorten his name to Hunter.

As you can see he made himself quite at home.

Because we already had a nearly 5-year-old cat, Rusty, at home, we did a very slow introduction over the course of several weeks. Rusty had been getting lonely as the only cat in the house (up until a few months before Hunter's adoption, we were a three-cat household). Although he doesn't always appreciate Hunter's energy level, Rusty's mood has generally improved since getting another feline companion. Here are a few photos of the two of them together.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Daffodils in February

These lovely daffodils actually started blooming in our Los Angeles yard in January, but I just got around to taking photos the other day. As a native Midwesterner, it is hard for me to grasp daffodils blooming this early in the year!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Handcrafted Christmas: Seashell Ornament

This ornament was a snap to make. I made it for my step-sister who grew up on an island in Florida. I think it looks pretty and is a nice reminder of a special place. This would also be a nice ornament to commemorate a beach vacation.

-glass ornament ($3.99/4, not on sale at JoAnns)
-two strands of souvenir seashell necklaces

Take the lid off the ornament, insert the seashell strands. Replace lid, hang a ribbon on top.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fall Leaves Kirigami

When I saw the beautiful fall leaves kirigami at Zakka Life I had to give it a try. There are four templates available for download and easy instructions to follow. Although I had never heard of kirigami before, it was very similar to making paper snowflake decorations.

For the project I used 12x12 scrapbooking paper that I cut down to the suggested size. I enjoyed the project, and had I found it earlier in the fall, I would have enjoyed making enough of them to decorate our windows or string a garland. Its a project I might return to next year. It definitely helps to have a sharp but small pair of paper scissors on hand for cutting the angles of the leaves.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How to Send Plant Cuttings by Mail

My mother has a very green thumb. Each year she takes cuttings from one of her wandering jew plants and plants them in the front garden. By the end of the summer, they have gone gangbusters.

Since my mom lives near Chicago, any plants left out after the first frost die off. My mom is always able to grow enough plants indoors to start over outside in the spring, but when possible we like to make cuttings to share with others.

My mother-in-law in New York had been on the hunt for this variety of plant for several months without success. So I decided to send her some cuttings in the mail to transplant.

First, I took the garden clippers and cut some clippings. I wanted to make them reasonably long (sometimes below the first set of leaves) but not too long to fit into a small USPS Priority Mail box.

Then I soaked some paper towels in water and wrapped a soaking wet paper towel around each stem. I then put each stem + paper towel combo in a small plastic baggie (not a ziplock, because I figured they'd need some oxygen).

I then packed them up and shipped them off to upstate New York! I made sure to give each of the ladies at the post office a clipping as well.

They arrived a few days later generally no worse for wear. My mother-in-law repotted and watered them and they have held up nicely.

A few caveats: some states, like California, may have rules against importing cuttings. Also, I sent this during fall when the weather wasn't too hot in any of the states it traveled through, and luckily none of the states had freezing temperatures, but take the weather into consideration before you put plants in the mail.

Photo credit: Final photo courtesy of Margo Downes.