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My favorite colors are green and blue, preferably together. There are lots and lots of green and blue pairs of things around the house, and that was also the case of our main snuggle spot in the house: a large mattress covered with pillows, where many of our games and naps take place.

Yesterday I felt very much in a rut, ready for spring and some bright colors. The fastest way to fix that seemed to change the pillows. So I eliminated all greens and blues, and used some of my most favorite fabrics in my stash choosing from among pinks and oranges. Most of our pillows now are with fabrics directly from India, but there is also that shiny floral in the middle, made with a Chinese fabric my niece brought for me in one of her travels. The brightest of them all, bottom left, comes from a dress (size xxl, I believe) I found at Goodwill – I love buying fabric by the pound :-)

Keeping things simple and quick, they are all made “envelope style”, where the fabrics overlap a bit at the back of the pillow. With yet another blizzard coming our way spring is a long way away on the outside world, but things are already blooming in our house!

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I went to Home Depot the other day, just wandering around for inspiration. I came home with plenty of both, materials and inspiration. My first project was some canvas storage bags for all the soft, bulky items we all have around the house. Soft toys, yarn, socks… they all found a home, in style.

The process was very simple: I lined a table or the floor with some paper to protect from spillage, spread canvas (I used the cheap one used to protect floors when painting the walls) and then L and I painted / splashed / dabbed with color. I was in a blue and white mood, so we kept the colors simple. The large piece of canvas we made was enough for 3 bags, so I divided it in equal pieces and just sewed around the edges. Then, to create a wide base, I folded the corners and sewed along the crease there as well. Done!

I also picked up some paint chips during my inspiration trip, with no specific project in mind. The first thing I made with them were small open boxes, which I then held together with some pretty duct tape (another Home Depot score I couldn’t resist!) I plan to use them for organizing the tiny scraps of fabric that come out of other projects: I have plans for all those little triangles and rectangles from trimming corners and seams!

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The holidays came and went, and slowly we are getting back to our rhythm at home. We are working on a couple of adjustments and improvements, as a long time away and a fresh start is a great time to assess habits and introduce changes.

Among the slight changes around here is the use of more homemade body care products (an old passion of mine.) A day before the end of our holidays I bought two large bags of lavender flowers without a real plan for them, other than vague intent to make some lavender sachets for our closets and drawers. Two bags turned out to be A LOT of lavender, and the inspiration was immense. So I started the year of crafting with some bath luxuries.

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Oats and Lavender powder:
I mixed equal amounts of oats and lavender (2 Tablespoons each, to be exact) and ground them finely in my trusted baby bullet. It gave about 5 tablespoons of fragrant powder, which I separated into equal teabags. They can be put in any kind of bag, paper or canvas, and then held under running water when filling up the bathtub. The bag will make a great scrubber too, after the luxurious soak comes to an end.

I also happen to think they make a great post-holiday gift as well, and I plan to do just that: send some to a friend who always enjoys a good bath in winter time!

Meanwhile, “Ggyg. LcmiiJJUI” is the post one of the boys had tried
to write on my phone… They start so early these days…

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Before leaving for the airport this time I made ID tags for the boys, who are now very capable of running away in a crowded place. I wanted something that would be attached to their clothes instead of hanging off, which might fall off or choke them. So I cut a piece of fabric with pinking shears and used a permanent marker to write our names, phone numbers and e-mails on it. Then I sewed it on the back of their t-shirts. We can always take it off after we come back, and save it for the next trip.

The boys enjoy painting and coloring, and thankfully there are lots of recipes out there for kid-friendly (i.e. edible) paints. My favorite is yogurt and food coloring, which I add to a plastic egg case and let the boys go to town with their sponge brushes. One thing that parents of single kids probably don’t get, though, is how much more intense it is to supervise two kids who run wild while yielding paint brushes… The boys obviously have aspirations to become mural painters, as all our walls (in our rental apartment) have been decorated (by the way, baking soda and water paste helps with crayons, but not with markers…)

Here are some of their early drawings, and the “gallery” where we display them: just a string with clothes pins, for easy mounting and unmounting.

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Lately I also give them my own version of coloring pages, with shapes and drawings for them to paint over. My drawing skills are minimal, which works well for this kind of activity, but I seem to have overcome myself already. The other day I tried to draw a dog and ended up with something that resembled more a sheep instead. Nevermind, I wrote πρόβατο under it and problem solved!

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I also made playdough for them, using one of the numerous recipes out there, but I guess they were a little too young for it, and ended up throwing it around, stepping on it (it really does feel good oozing between your toes!) and then mixing all the colors together so now my 4 distinct basic colors became a big boogy-colored chunk.

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Occasionally we use bathroom crayons too, which are lots of fun for the whole family!

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