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At 2 1/2, the boys have fully transitioned away from having a nap during the day, which is not as healthy for them (I fully believe in the power of siesta) but I have to admit it is great for me! By 7 pm they are sound asleep, and I get some time to myself. This is largely craft time or rest time, and it manifests in small details around the house. In the interest of keeping some kind of record for past projects, which is mainly what this blog is all about, here are a few, in no particular order:

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I tied a ping pong ball, after I painted a few flowers on it, at the end of a silly string that turns the kitchen light on and off. The loose string was driving me crazy every day!

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Clothesline basket (temporarily head cover). I really enjoyed making this project, and plan to make more baskets, perhaps after I paint the clothesline first.

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Cozy corner in the bedroom. In fact, it is actually behind Sunny, but cats always make things even cozier, don’t they?

IMG_8304Cheap yellow bucket for our toothbrushes, enhanced with some flower doodles.

Banner over the boys’ beds. Another cheerful project, intended to add some color to the horrid dark grey the boys’ room is painted in. I will show more on the boys’ space in a future post, lots of fun things happening there!

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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!

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Fall means apples abound. I never used to like apples that much, but the boys did, so since last year I have become an avid appleyvore (yes, I know this is not an official word – yet.) And since apples are among the dirty dozen, according to EWG, I was very excited to find a store where I could buy a huge bag of organic apples within walking distance from my house. Double yippee!

To celebrate, I made these two zippered bags with checkered apples. After studying the boys’ clothes, I decided to copy what retail baby clothes do with their applique designs, and first added some iron-on interfacing to the fabric. This helps it from fraying, and gives it a little more strength. It also allows you to use any stitch you like to attach the applique, so I used a simple running stitch with thick embroidery floss, as I really like that look on the finished product.  I made two bags, with reversed zipper / design. One for right-handed and one for left-handed people 😉

I also made apple sauce for the boys, in the hope that they will at least like that, and stop having that surprised look on their faces every time I try to put in their mouths something with a spoon (right before they spit it out, that is). I got the recipe from here, and it is very simple: cut and core apples, add them cut part down on a baking tin with a little water, stick in oven and bake for 30 min. on 380 F (or until the flesh is soft and skin is wrinkly.) Let cool, peel off skin, throw in blender and blend. Add baking water to thin, if necessary. Pour to ridiculously tiny food containers and hope boys learn that eating is a good thing soon! (optional)

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yes, I know, that’s only two!

Where do we find supplies for our crafts? I ‘m sure most of us have several sources for the raw materials, so to speak. This is certainly true for me. I try to recycle as much as possible, and always look for projects that use t-shirt material, as we seem to have an abundance of them in our household. I would like to go to thrift stores more often, but I find them (at least in New York City) quite unappealing and, frankly, borderline disgusting. But whenever I do go, I appreciate the variety and the prices.

I would say, though, that the most inspiring kinds of fabrics for me are fat quarters from JoAnn. They are like candy to me, I can’t stop buying them, and they are the first place I go to when looking for fabrics to make things. Thankfully (for the sake of our budget) I have no easy access to a store on a regular basis, and I can only go there when visiting my in-laws. That is usually during a long weekend, and long weekends always mean sales, which means I can get the fat quarters for a bit over a dollar each.

A couple of weeks ago I had one such trip to the “local” store, and sure enough I came home with a rainbow of fat quarters. I couldn’t resist, and used one immediately to make three little drawstring bags (have I mentioned how much I love drawstring bags? ha!) They are very simple, just the one fabric, no embellishments. I just wanted a quick and simple project, but the fabric is so pretty I don’t think they need anything else anyway. Their size was determined by how you can fold a fat quarter in six. I am using the one already to keep some embroidery thread I also bought at same shopping spree, and the other two are going into my stash of bags for future use (which probably means until our next weekend trip, or before.)

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