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As a passionate listmaker, it goes without saying that I love all kinds of notebooks and paper products, and it is even better when I get the chance to make them unique with my own drawings. Lately I have been on a kick of drawing on MUJI plain notebooks in a coloring book style, and adding color with markers while I am in the train commuting to and from work. I am so used to drawing in the slight motion and shaking of the train that whenever I sit on a solid seat to draw it feels odd! Most of what I make ends up as a gift to someone, but I also make them for myself, of course. The ones I know I will keep are usually where I experiment with new ideas, knowing that even if the result is not great I will still love and use it.

Another way to experiment is on my old-time little notebooks made of scrap paper. At work I end up with a lot of printouts that have only a brief time of use. I always feel bad throwing out paper, and the pages usually end up in a messy pile next to my desk. Every now and then I get the urge to create something, and then I cut and fold them to various sizes according to need and simply use a staple to bind a few pages for instant gratification.

I have been making and using and giving away these notebooks since I was in primary school, and over the years they have been given away on Earth Day at the Library reference desk, made into light and portable expense notebooks to keep close track of expenses, sticker books for the boys, or simply a place where I keep a specific type of information gathered in one place.

The covers change according to whim, from laminated collages to being covered with stickers, to a simple drawing with or without color. I made the one on the last photo above just now, when I simply had to make a 10-page booklet from some almost blank pages I printed out.

A few more past projects. My first attempt in making soft toys, from this great book: Sweet & Simple Handmade. Although it came out good, and pretty much just as it was meant to be, I am not sure I was very happy with it. I am saving it as a Christmas gift, though, so we ‘ll have to wait until the boys give their verdict.

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From their crawling times, the boys had managed to open holes on almost every pair of pants they had. I actually like patched clothes, so I used a couple of old t-shirts and added circles, triangles, and in this case a banana (there is a monkey at the butt). I am very pleased with this project, and the boys like to talk about the extra shapes on their knees.

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Probably the project I am least happy about, is this giant pumpkin. Instead of carving it (I am definitely not good with knives) I drew some doodles with a permanent marker on it. I am not very good with doodles either, so I kind of gave up before I was ready to consider it finished. Never mind, I ‘ll try again next year!

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I can’t believe it’s been so long since I was here. For a while, of course there was no point. No crafting was being made, and even the cooking was of the “what can I make in under 25 min. before we all starve to death?” kind. Come to think of it, that would have been very blog-worthy, had I had the time to write about that!

In any case, crafting has slowly resumed, and I can’t think of a better way to keep track of it for future reference than entering all here. So, let’s see, what have I done lately? In no particular order, and with minimal detail for now:

Fabric cubes

Fabric cubes, stuffed with polyfill. They were received with enthusiasm but soon ignored. It was fun to make, though, and a quick project for instant gratification.

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Recycled tin cans, painted with acrylic paint and later on decorated with more color (sorry, no photos of final product.) They are very useful for storing pens, markers, crayons etc. Also quick and easy, plus I feel better about reusing something that would otherwise end up in the recycling bin.

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See the two boxes next to the armchair? They are cardboard boxes covered with fabric, and they have been my biggest hit so far. The boys love to run around with them, and great for storing books and toys. For this size, all it takes is less than a fat quarter and a little glue. I am already planning making more for the crafts room and other areas in the house. And, of course, another great recycling project!

new cardigans

The weather is getting cooler, just a little bit each day.  The light is this beautiful diffused brightness that turns everything golden, and the trees whisper the husky song of drying leaves. It was time for new cardigans for the boys!

I have been waiting for the chance to make the kimono-style cardigans with long sleeves, especially as it seems to be quite difficult to find long sleeved sweaters for babies. I used a shirt that fits well for sizing, and two sweaters from my robust stash of sweaters for repurposing. I used one of daddy’s old grey ones (he has many), and a purple one that used to be my aunt’s. I made the sleeves extra long, to ensure they last this winter, and I am very pleased with how they fit the boys. I still have to add bias tape to prevent fraying, so although I let them wear their new cardigans on Saturday, I don’t consider them done. I make my own bias tape, which I find quite time consuming, perhaps because I haven’t done it enough to find all the shortcuts.

If you want to make your own (the pattern is actually so basic and simple, it could work for any size, up to an adult cardigan – think of those nice ballerina wrap around tops!) there are lots of tutorials out there, like this one, this one, or this one. I actually winged it, after having made the pattern a couple of times before. For closure, I am planning to sew snaps in strategic places, instead of trying to fumble with strings on wriggly babies.

More pictures when they are all done. Stay tuned!

After their bath, the boys morph into elves, thanks to these baby hats I made for them. I traced another hat we found in their pile of cousin hand-me-downs, and made a simple pattern for it. This one is made with the knit cotton fabric of an old pajama of mine, and I really like the way it looks. As their heads grow, I plan to adjust the size and make more for them- until they are old enough to say “enough, mama!”
I have the secret hope they won’t be in a hurry to say it!

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July 16, 2011

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