Cute in the Kitchen

Posted on

Happy Sunday, all!

The unseasonable warmth continues here in the midwest US but that does not mean that I’m not spending time with a warm oven on! I do spend a great deal of time in my kitchen as I have an especial passion for baking. Creating comfort foods is one of my favorite activities for stress release. If you’ve followed the Sunday posts for a while, you may have also grasped that I love all things cute. So imagine my surprise and delight to come across many of the adorable Studio Ghibli oriented kitchen utensils in Zeniba’s Attic:

No Face, Catbus, and Totoro spoons for that geeky chef in your life!

Joanne, the artist, burns the images into the very functional pieces to create these wonderful and adorable items.

Some soot sprites to help scoop with the spatula?

I think many of them would make fantastic gifts for any Ghibli enthusiast.

Like this Totoro cutting/cheese/serving board!

She not only creates cute kitchen utensils but also paints ceramic items to match!

Maybe you shouldn’t have a Calcifer oil burner near your bacon, though.

Since she makes her items to order and they are shipping from the UK, it may take a while to receive your lovely pieces but it looks like all are well worth it! Zeniba’s Attic can be found on Etsy and Facebook.

Have a wonderful week, everyone – I’m off to bake!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Sweet Messages

Posted on

Happy Sunday, all!

Only 2 more days until V-day and perhaps you or the child in your life still hasn’t made up their mind about cards to give their friends. I’ve found some great, quick ideas for DIY Valentine cards that leaves a lot of room for personalizing and creativity. First up is a throwback to one of my other posts dealing with peg dolls:

Make them as nerdy as you want!

I could just imagine making some Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter peg doll Valentines with sayings like “Be my precious” accompanying a Gollum or “I’m mad about you” with a Mad-eye Moody (find the tutorial here). No? Just me? Ok, then. How about something slightly simpler that could help you reduce your fiber stash? The saying could also be adjusted to the situation:

Perhaps you could go with “Why knot be my Valentine?’ or for closer friends “You make me feel knotty.”

These are definitely customizable to favorite colors and appropriate puns, tutorial found here. Or maybe you already had a little bit of a splurge and find yourself with a bunch of chocolates that would be better off going to new homes PLUS it could help reduce a stash of scrapbooking materials:

It’s like a mini piñata!

Small toys or (if you are actually sending an anti-Valentine) glitter would also fit well into it, tutorial found here. Finally, if you find yourself with a lot of time or want to make a really big impression, I highly recommend taking a look at the hexagon explosion box:

Adding quotes, pictures, and rose petals is highly recommended. Glitter is not.

These beautiful three dimensional cards are simply amazing! When you do peruse the tutorial, make sure to scroll down to examples of what others have made because there are some that create a tower when you pull on the center! Again, the geek in me is super excited to turn this into a Tower of Sauron with hearts and pictures of the ring all around it. I know, not for everyone. Well I hope I am leaving you with some great ideas to send to your friends/sweeties/worst enemy (that glitter thing I mentioned, seriously). Have a great week!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Some Heartfelt Decor

Posted on

Happy Sunday, all!

There’s less than two weeks until Valentine’s Day and I’ve been feeling quite crafty lately (not that there isn’t truly a time when I don’t feel it) so why not dig up some cute V-day DIY décor ideas? I found a few that seem easy and look great, including, of course, one that helps with a little recycling. On that note, first up is this very tasteful cork heart:

Classy and an excuse to drink a little more wine!

The tutorial (found here) is pretty straight forward – use some corks, hot glue, paint, and cardboard backing to give your place a bit of flair! Next up, I was never really a big fan of those little conversation hearts as they all tasted pretty much the same…like chalk. But they are cute to look at! So why not personalize some super sized ones for your wall:

Even if you don’t want to include names, you could make these naughty hearts as well!

Again, this tutorial (found here) seemed straight forward and simple – find the heart shaped wood (I’ve found them at local craft shops), add some paint and ribbon and voila! A sweet little decoration for the home. What about personalizing things a bit further? Do you have some pictures of family sitting around? This next one I simply love and don’t think it should be relegated to JUST Valentine’s décor:

I simply adore the idea of including pics of grandma and grandpa or mom and dad with the kids.

Truly a beautiful expression of how V-day doesn’t have to be about romantic love but love of family, as well. The tutorial (found here) does recommend using high quality paper and a laser printer simply so the images come out crisp and don’t smear but if you wanted to give them a dated, antique feel, I’m fairly certain regular will do just fine. The last tutorial I discovered actually introduced me to a new paper folding technique that I fully plan to put into use in the future, iris folding:

Just like the iris in a camera, these folds draw your eye to the center!

Named after the iris of a camera, this folding technique purposely pulls the eye towards the center of the piece. The tutorial and many others on the technique can be found here. You could make a whole series of these out of different color schemes, frame them, and then arrange them on the walls! I hope you are all feeling the love right now. Next week I’ll have some follow-up ideas on creating some of your own unique Valentine’s greetings.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


A Hand Warming Experience

Posted on

Happy Sunday, all!

While we are enjoying some unseasonably warm weather this week, it’s still winter and the Midwest US is famous for it’s sub-zero temperatures. So how to keep warm? With a little help from some grains (or seeds)! I’m talking hand/feet/neck warmers here. If you spend any time at all on Pinterest, I am quite sure these have popped up in your feed at one point.

If they have unicorns on them, even better!

They are pretty fantastic and a tutorial for the rice type ones has been posted before on Craft Hackers (here) but I want to go a little more in depth because these things are super effective, easy to make, and great for gifts. I’ve seen tutorials for rice, corn and flax seed types but hadn’t quite settled on which one would suit me. Lo and behold, someone has actually done some informal research on the subject! Sew4home compared the three for the time it take for each type to cool down (read the entire article here).

Which will it be? Will longer grains prevail? The seeds? The round kernels?

It turns out that flax seed keeps the heat steady for the longest period of time but there are other parameters to consider such as smell, feel, and cost. Each has a bit of a smell when heated but this can be reduced by adding in some aromatherapy (a great tutorial with different smells can be found here).

A little lavender can go a long way!

As far as feel goes, corn with all of it’s round bead-like size can be the most soothing against the skin. Corn also heats up faster and has great heat staying power as well. My favorite tutorial for making corn bags comes from the PlaysWithNeedles blog where she has a handy dandy tip sheet for making a “Cozy”:

The final parameter they mention is cost but I would also put in an honorable mention for availability. Rice is generally cheapest and most widely available but if you have a feed/grain store nearby, corn and flax can still be very economic. Flax does recommend itself as a reasonable option, especially as it is a seed and won’t need replacing as often (a purely flax tutorial can be found here).

Although I can just imagine the mess that comes with flax vs rice vs corn cleanup.

Whichever you may choose, there are some items they all share in common when making a warmer/cooler (yes, these can be stored in the freezer for soothing ouchies and headaches as well):

  1. Only use 100% cotton fabric, flannel is preferable for feel but not a necessity.
  2. Only partially fill the bag so that it still has movement and is not as hard as a rock – this also helps when sewing the end closed.
  3. Ensure that before the first use, you zap it a couple of times in the microwave to kill off any possible bugs and eliminate moisture.
  4. A funnel is your best friend when filling.
  5. Put a double seam around the edges to prevent these from breaking open (the temptation to toss them like bean bags is great).
  6. A cover is a great way to prevent these from getting too dirty but again, not a necessity.
  7. Heat in a clean microwave as I’m fairly certain you don’t want them to pick up the smells of leftovers.

That’s everything I’ve saved along my way in the quest for fantastic hand warmers! I think I’m going to use some of this good weather to open the windows while I get some sewing done, in prep for colder temps I know are just lying in wait.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Uniquely Cute

Posted on

Hello Sunday readers!

Last week we were at MAGfest and you know what that means! New vendors that we’ve fallen in love with gushy posts are imminent! This first one has so much to offer, I almost don’t know where to start. ALMOST. In our wanderings through the crafty rows, the lifemate and I stumbled across a booth that had chubby little ornaments hanging from a dowel and I HAD to pop in for a better look. They were animal ornaments! Hooray! To my very great pleasure, upon closer perusal, I found that there were some very odd animals on display:

WailesTapir WailesPangolin WailesCoelacanth

Do not adjust your screens, folks, those are indeed a baby tapir, a pangolin, and a COELACANTH. A COELACANTH, PEOPLE!!!!! Ok, I know I’ve obsessed over cute animals before but I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that my actual degree is in Geological Sciences so this sort of thing just runs right up my alley, squeezes my tush, and tugs my heart strings before dashing off again. Much to my dismay, we had such a busy time that I did not have a chance to go back to purchase some amazing creations from artist Kelsey Wailes, also known as eattoast. I assure you that this shall be remedied in short order. I was so distracted by the “cnute aminals” that it took husband directing my attention to her other wares for me to find her re-purposed ponies. I’ve seen other versions of ponies over the years but not always with the same level of detail:

I mean, just look a My Little Immortan Joe! With his wittle face mask and wittle killer eyes!

I mean, just look a My Little Immortan Joe, with his wittle face mask and wittle killer eyes!

Once I tore myself away from the cutie cute animals and the ponies, I noticed the things I truly regret not purchasing as gifts for certain Trek fans in my life:

Redshirt Deadshirts. Yes, a little pile of very unfortunate redshirts that still makes me giggle uncontrollably.

Redshirt Deadshirts. Yes, a little pile of very unfortunate redshirts that still makes me giggle uncontrollably.

Besides her very obvious talent with clay, Kelsey is a very gifted pen and paper artist as well. If you, too, would like to own some of her creations or just squee over her works (like I just did for the last hour), she can be found on DeviantArt, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and most importantly, Etsy. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go put in an order for a Peacock Spider ornament that will really tie my room together.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


Keeping Those Resolutions

Posted on

happynewyear

Happy Sunday and a very happy new year to you all! Last year definitely had it’s ups and downs but I do hope that your own ups outnumbered the downs. I, like a good majority of people, tend to make some kind of new year resolution that I totally intend to keep and then end up getting sidetracked/give up on/push until next year for any number of reasons. The biggest roadblock to keeping mine usually stems from one of my greatest aspirations and biggest adversaries: organization. I love the idea of organization but execution always seems to fall short of my expectations. Like I am just going to magically become this domestic organization goddess that knows exactly what I am doing with my life because I finally got all of my yarn out of the plastic bins overtaking the office and into cube baskets on shelves.

Uh huh, sure. I've heard that one before.

Uh huh, sure. I’ve heard that one before.

Let’s be honest here, one of the big reasons I am obsessed with Pinterest is because it gives me all of these innovative ideas for de-cluttering my home by going to the dollar store/covering this cardboard box in washi tape/building new storage out of toilet paper tubes but I can count on one hand the number of these solutions I’ve actually attempted. Organization is also my foe in other parts of my life…I adore planners. Back when I was a wee student and discovered the themed student planners, part of my prep for the year was always picking out just the right one. I very much enjoyed filling out assignments, important dates, and social events. I also love the idea of journals, as my untouched but pretty journal collection can attest to but I never seem to be able to keep up with it. Add into that my accomplishments as a list maker and you have my ultimate organization conundrum. Is there something that exists that can help me keep better track of everything while still letting me following my meandering route and also act as a creative outlet? Turns out there is.

bulletjournalven

Enter, the bullet journal. One of my very good friends (who may be picking up some blogging duties here – yay!) introduced me to this concept at the end of last year and I had yet to investigate it thoroughly. WARNING: a search may suck hours of your life away if you are not prepared for the black hole that is “bullet journal ideas”, not that I know from experience or anything. So what is a bullet journal, exactly? Well, this world being what it is, of course someone actually gave the concept a title and bought the domain name so you can go to the official Bullet Journal Website for a description or this article from Buzzfeed gives a pretty good background but I think I truly got interested because of this article on The Lazy Genius Collective. Not only do they keep it real, they are wonderfully witty as they go about describing what the basic pieces *usually* consist of.

This is cute and all but I have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many books on both of those lists to ever set it up this way.

This is cute and all but I have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many books on both of those lists to ever set it up this way.

The important point that I’ve gotten from the articles is that this is not something you should feel pressured to keep precisely organized. All of the pieces are your pieces and they should be done in a way most effective to YOU. It is part planner, part to-do list, part diary, and part whatever else you need. It definitely does not need to be the most beautiful thing you have ever produced and I would caution you to not be intimidated by all of the cute doodles or calligraphy level entries you may find in an initial search. One of the biggest parts of making this useful, however, is the index page. This is your guide to your bullet journal that will tell you where to find all of those different thoughts, lists, and dates. Along with “signifiers” which are like your own secret code of symbols for giving quick look assignments to tasks or notes, this truly seems like something that I would not only keep up with but may also enjoy. If anything I have described above resonates with you at all, I do highly recommend checking out this lovely madness I am about to plunge headlong into. On that note, we have MAGfest coming up this week and I have to make my packing list! Have a fantastic week, all!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Recycled Gifts to Warm the Heart

Posted on

Happy Sunday, all!

There is only one week left until the big holidays hit so if you still have some gifts to find, I have a few suggestions that are not only budget and environmentally friendly but also rather thoughtful. First up is a tutorial to help you make a nice new pair of warm mittens out of old sweaters:

Just think about how many mittens could be made out of some thrifted ugly sweaters!

Just think about how many mittens could be made out of some thrifted ugly sweaters!

Even if you don’t have many older sweaters to use, the second hand stores (pun intended) should have plenty in all kinds of awesome patterns. One sweater usually has enough fabric to make a few pairs of mittens OR you could use this tutorial to make a matching hat.

So now that you’ve made some gifts to keep warm outside, I think an inside warmer is in order. Let’s make sure that it’s fun and stylish, too! A tea wreath is a cute present for those tea drinkers in your life:

This may also help to get rid of some of that excess tea in the cabinets. Or is that just me?

This may also help to get rid of some of that excess tea in the cabinets. Or is that just me?

Using recycled cardboard, old clothespins, and bright paper with some colorful teabags would make a wonderful, functional decoration. Maybe tea isn’t their thing? How about music? I don’t know about you but my ear buds always get tangled or lost in my purse. I could really use something to keep them contained and I bet others could, too. This earphone holder made from a recycled mint container is just right:

Super adorable and just the right size. No more tangled cords!

Super adorable and just the right size. No more tangled cords!

I think the only issue would be mixing up mints and earphones when digging around in the carry-all. The last tutorial I have pains me a little because it requires you to cut up a book but I think the prospect of “saving” an old book from the trash is incentive enough to make this neat portable art case:

Never fear, the tutorial also includes links to further crafts you can use the pages for.

Never fear, the tutorial also includes links to further crafts you can use the pages for.

Any artist on-the-go should be well equipped with it in hand. So there we are, folks! I hope one of these at least inspires an idea or two for that hard to buy for relative. I’ve got a lot of crafting to do in the next week so I’d better get to it. See you in a week for the big day!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Stockings to be Stuffed

Posted on

Hello Sunday readers!

We now have some ornaments and wreaths that have been made out of recycled materials so to make the place even more festive, let’s make some stockings! I’ve seen a lot of tutorials on upcycling sweaters and this one is pretty straight forward:

Super cozy stockings for lots of swag.

Super cozy stockings for lots of swag.

Or how about that favorite pair of jeans that you just can’t seem to part with but have holes in embarrassing spots? Let’s make them into a festive memorial:

More pockets = more room = more treats!

More pockets = more room = more treats!

Do you still have some ties leftover from last week’s wreath project? Use them to make a matching/accenting stocking:

So colorful!

So colorful!

This last one was actually pretty near and dear to my heart. What if you have a quilt that is just so old and loved that it is literally falling apart? You don’t want to completely trash it and there is really no saving it so make part or parts of it into some beloved stockings:

Just don't pack it too full unless you line it with something heavy duty!

Just don’t pack it too full unless you line it with something heavy duty!

So now that you’ve got all of these lovely stockings to hang by the chimney with care, what if you don’t have a mantle, let alone a chimney? There is a recycled solution out there for you, too. It involves an old headboard, paint, and some pegs:

Just make sure to mount it properly otherwise there will be new holes in the wall from the weight of the loot!

Just make sure to mount it properly otherwise there will be new holes in the wall from the weight of the loot!

The whole place should be looking cheery and festive now! There’s only one more Sunday before the big day so I’ll be back next week with some recycled gift ideas.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Put a Wreath Around It

Posted on

Greetings Sunday readers!

I promised recycled holiday goodness and I aim to please! Last week I offered up some recycled ornaments so the next progressive step to decking out the home for the holidays should be fairly easy – a wreath for the door. I had some fun finding a variety of different materials to use while just staring around the house at possibilities. The first and most obvious for me is magazines. We don’t have as many physical subscriptions as we used to but we still get enough to put some solid weight at the bottom of the recycling bin. This first DIY is one of the more time intensive ones on the list but the results are just lovely:

Gardening or floral magazines would work best but even junk mail catalogs could work!

Gardening or floral magazines would work best but even junk mail catalogs could work!

Really, you could probably just use any kind of paper you have laying around for this but I think the glossy paper in magazines give it that shiny, leafy realism. Ok so now I’ve used some of the old magazines up, what else? In the kitchen I have…corks! We don’t drink nearly the amount of wine in this house as beer but we still occasionally bring out a bottle with the evening meal. I definitely have enough to do a slightly larger wreath than this:

This would make a great gift for those wine enthusiasts in your life, too.

This would make a great gift for those wine enthusiasts in your life, too.

I keep all of the corks and bottle caps I want to save in a clear jar on the counter under the cabinets. What’s in the cabinets? I have some canning jars that were used for projects/preserving last year and they have lids. So what could be better than candy-striped canning jar ring wreaths:

We always re-buy the lids every year so I have a ton!

Remember to use a couple for those shadow box ornaments from last week, too.

I wandered into the closets at this point and thought about all of those old ornaments we had packed away that are getting replaced with handmade ones. What should I do with them? Toss them or donate them? No! Let’s make them into another wreath!

You could even ask the parents or grandparents for some of their old sets for nostalgia purposes.

You could even ask the parents or grandparents for some of their old sets for nostalgia purposes.

While in the closet, I had some of the husbands clothes brushing the top of my head and I wondered if there were some cool recycled clothing wreaths out there (of course there are). He’s not really into wearing ties so we’ve accumulated quite a few that were gifts. I think there are enough colors to do a variation on this:

If you don't have enough/any, I'm pretty sure the local thrift store does.

If you don’t have enough/any, I’m pretty sure the local thrift store does.

Whew, not only did we get some great craft ideas but it allowed me to clean out a bit! Just in time to receive more gifts and start the cycle over. Have a great week, crafters and next time we’ll try our hand at some recycled centerpieces.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Recycling for the Season

Posted on

Hello Sunday readers!

Now that all of the turkeys have been eaten here in the US, it’s time to start gearing up for the next round of holidays. This means it’s time for some decorating! But instead of just going out and buying a whole bunch of things, what about recycling some items you may have lying around the house? Maybe you’d like to start small because it really isn’t even December yet, so how about some recycled ornaments?

First, I don’t know about you but I get a ton of holiday cards around this time of year and quite frankly, I don’t know what to do with them. I mean, I know most people don’t expect us to keep them but it seems like such a waste to throw them away. In this lovely tutorial, we are presented with an alternative to that waste that creates a lovely keepsake ornament in the process:

Festive, artsy, and responsible!

Festive, artsy, and responsible!

If you want to bump up the wow and interactive factor a bit, might I suggest this recycled card “shadow box” ornament:

A little bit of snow and 3D thrown in for more fun.

A little bit of snow and 3D thrown in for more fun.

Now I’m not one to dismantle books because of my great love for them. But if I were to “rescue” some that were bound for the bin, this Swedish-style star ornament would be the best way to keep those pages in the house:

The folds are a lot less complicated than they seem.

The folds are a lot less complicated than they seem.

Finally, I used to love puzzles as a kid but inevitably at some point, pieces would go missing. What do you do with a puzzle with missing pieces? Recycle them into ornaments, of course:

I'm sure snow or gingerbread people could also be accomplished using pieces.

I’m sure snow or gingerbread people could also be accomplished using pieces.

These were just a small fraction of recycled ornament ideas I came across in a quick search. There are plenty more, I assure you! I plan on featuring a few more recycled holiday ideas in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

Stay crafty!

~Laura