Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Out with the old and in with the new...

I found a cool blog on Yahoo Green today called New Dress A Day. The writer of this blog is going to make a new dress everyday for a year... and she is doing it on a budget of 1 dollar a day using recycled clothing from thrift stores.
Now I don't know much about the art of making clothes... but this seems like a really cool and interesting project... and it got me thinking... What kind of recycled materials can I incorporate into my crafts? How can I make something new out of something old? And how can I make something that is original out of something that already has a purpose and form? I have a few ideas already... but I still have a lot of thinking to do...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Boredom Buster

Today I made something for my kids called a No-More-Boredom box... or a crazy can. All you do is cut a bunch of index cards in half... and on each card write an activity. Get your kids to decorate the box while you write up some cards. I found it helpful to list the supplies they would need to do the project right on the card... that is unless it is self explanatory. You can list toys and games they already play with, crafts, science experiments, pretend prompts... whatever you come up with. You can even put small toys or craft projects right in the box. The Busy Books series by Kuffner has some really great ideas.... they even have a list in the back called Crazy Can Activities that you can pick from. Any rainy day or activity book would work, however, or just use your own ideas. Here are just a few of the long list of activities I put in the box:

Sock/beanbag basketball
Doll and baby play
Hand art (trace hand and decorate)
Indoor tent
Musical instruments
Funny face (cut out noses, eyes, etc from magazines and create your own funny face)
Counting (have kids count all the light bulbs or canned goods... anything really)
Hide and Seek (hide a timer and have kid find it using the sound of the ticking)
Sidewalk chalk
string beads
Lego mania
crayon rubbings
bubble play
washing plastic toys
cleaning the windows (with a spray bottle filled with vinegar and water)
painting the house (with water of course)

And the list goes on and on and on.... I think I made about 50+ cards... and as a result my daughter is quietly absorbed in drawing pictures of animals in her own homemade animal science book.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hula Hoop

I was hanging out with a good friend last night and she had a whole stack of homemade hula hoops... the girls were having a ball showing off, goofing off, and playing together. There were even a couple of adult size hoops so we all got in on the action. I was thinking that making hula hoops would be a fun and different gift to make for people for the holidays (or any occasion really). It could even be decorated by using double pointed needles to knit a colorful cover for the poly tubing. You can find instructions on how to make your own here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Christmas in August...

Not really... but I need to start thinking about the holidays now if I'm going to make all my presents this year...and I am going to make all my gifts this year... I came close last year... and this year I'm going to do it! The only store bought presents under the tree this year will be from Santa... and we all know those are crafted by elves anyway.
I thought that I would use this blog as a way to brainstorm and talk about making the holidays about something more than just spending a bunch of money... and there is no better time to begin than now... before the rush and craziness of the holiday season comes knocking.

I've always loved to make gifts for people. I'm sure I made presents as a child... but as an adult it began with a cookbook that I made for several years and gave to all my friends and family. I loved doing it... and I am thinking about doing it again someday... I already have a surplus of recipes ready and waiting... all I need to do is get my husband's butt in gear so that he can help me illustrate it.

Another handmade gift I've given in the past were baskets. I took a basket weaving class one year and I was determined that I was not going to let the skill go to waste. Since that time I've made baskets for just about everybody I know. I always find it odd to see one when I go for a visit. Last year my daughter and I made homemade spa products (bath salts, soaps, etc)... and so maybe this year we could whip up some more and put them in homemade baskets.

My most recent crafty obsession has been knitting... it has spawned this blog... and over the past few years I've knitted gifts for my friends and family. Last year was the year of the scarf. I'm not certain how many scarves I knitted... but it was a knitload to be sure. I've also knitted gifts for most of the baby showers I've attended recently.

This year I don't know what I'm going to do... Since I'm starting early I hope to personalize it more and select special gifts for each person on my list. I'm starting to search for patterns and collect finished objects in my closet.... but first I've got to decide to do it.... I've got to promise to do it!

I, Jennifer, pledge that I will make Christmas gifts this year for my loved ones (and other holidays and occasions as well), and request that others will do the same for me.

Who wants to take the handmade pledge with me?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Gifts....

I have been knitting up a storm lately for my nephew who will be born at the end of September. Here are a few of the gifts that I made for him. The links go to my Ravelry project pages... and you can find the free patterns there.

These Chucks were so fun to make. They were my first booties... and my first project with a color change in the middle of the row. They were not particularly difficult... in fact I'm sure I will be making more of these for expecting friends in the future. Some of the ladies at the shower put in requests for friends.
I made this ribbed baby hat to go with the Chucks... No hip baby should be without a black beanie and matching shoes! I know the doll modeling this hat is a bit creepy... but hey creepy is good!
Here is babies first tattoo. Since it is illegal to ink your little brat... I thought this classic tattoo design would be more appropriate done in yarn.

And here is a little sock monkey. I used the anything animal pattern... added a sock-monkey-esque mouth and wah-la!

I also threw in a couple of these easy to crochet wash cloths and a bib I made with a monkey on it (which I forgot to photograph).
My husband threw in a set of Thank you cards from our Etsy shop and we had a fun homemade gift for my brother, his lovely wife, and there soon to appear little boy.
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