Friday, April 29, 2005

for the birds

My daughter has always risen with the sun. No matter how dark we make her room, she is awake at dawn. "I can hear the birds," she says.

Now that she is older (well, 5), she usually lets us sleep in and reads to herself in her room or comes downstairs to draw at her art table. She must have been hearing the birds again, because here's what she drew this morning:

She had Ed Emberley's Drawing Book open for inspiration. This one is in her nest of eggs:

And I'm particularly fond of this striped beak:

I'm thinking these might appear as applique somewhere soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


A Nikon Coolpix 2100 digital camera is on it's way! (Where are you Brown?) My apologies to everyone who thought I was going to simply disappear. When a few different readers suggested taking up a collection to buy a new camera, I figured I better get my bottom in gear and start posting.

I've had Weezer's "Undone-The Sweater Song" in my head all day as I've been busy happily unraveling a gigantic hand-crocheted poncho I found at the Goodwill. It is providing me with a wealth of beautiful yarn (six balls so far with more to come). My frugal nature and commitment to reuse attracted me to the salvaging of yarn, but my previous experiences have been less than positive. Primarily, it is difficult to find a knitted garment appropriate for unraveling. Most have serged seams, are too worn, or are made of an undesirable acrylic yarn. Even with a sweater that looks like a good candidate, the process is tedious and aggravating with only moments of bliss when the yarn flows freely. This poncho, however, was a breeze.

If you'd like to give it a try, here's a good tutorial.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

felt beads/the day my camera died

This post was supposed to be about the felt beads my kids and I made from wool roving this afternoon, but when I went to upload my photos this is what I found:

followed by picture after picture of total blackness.

sigh. I don't know if this is fixable (it's already a hand-me-down camera), and I don't know when we'll be able to get a new one, so don't expect much at mama unraveled for the next little bit.

I can't show you mine, but here's a few felt bead tutorials:
Lili la Malice
Martha Stewart Kids
I'd like to try this:

(at a Japanese craft site found via craftlog.)
Time to buy a trinket out of the gumball machine, I guess!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

no happy books for me

Ever since Angry Chicken posted about her great book finds at the Uwajimaya Japanese super-store in the suburbs of Portland, I have been determined to go check it out. It should be known that while I have lived in Portland for nearly 6 years, I have stuck to the metro area. My attempts at finding things in the suburbs often end in tears. There is something about strip malls and car dealerships that sends me into panic mode.

Mapquest in hand, I set out this lost, found my way again, and arrived at Uwajimaya. Oh, all the cuteness! Japanese kitchen supplies and housewares, beautiful stationery, office supplies, all my favorite stuff. There were, however, no craft books of interest to me (Amy did say it was hit and miss). I did some grocery shopping and picked up some great stuff for packing my kids' lunches like little fish and pig-shaped containers that we'll use to hold soy sauce.

and porcelain spoons for noodle-eatin'.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

embroidered octopus tee

My three-year-old son just began doing representative drawings after years of being frustrated that he couldn't draw "the way Mia (his big sister) does". He was quite proud of one particular drawing ("an octopus"), so I thought I'd memorialize it for him on a t-shirt.

I added some iron-on interfacing to the front of the shirt and used transfer paper to trace the image. Not the best embroidery job, but it gave me something to do while I watched The Amazing Race last night.

Miles was thrilled with his shirt this morning, but not really in the mood for a photo shoot.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

apron strings

There is something about putting on an apron that makes me feel like getting things done. I have collected quite a few vintage aprons over the years, and I love to wear them all. They are a ritual, "I'm putting on my apron; let's get to work!". They are also practical, providing me with pockets, protecting my clothing from splashes, acting as a hand towel, folding up to carry loads of tiny toys across the house.
Here is my "lucky" apron.

It's always been one of my favorites, but it became "lucky" last Christmas Eve. I used to have a children's resale business and held periodic sales at my house. I had my last sale in November and wore my apron to hold supplies and serve as my cash box. I was slightly disappointed with sales at the end of the day, but didn't give it much thought. Fast forward to Christmas Eve. I put on "lucky" to do some baking and reached in to find a stack of checks in one of the pockets! I abandoned my baking and ran out to deposit the checks in the ATM and grab a few more gifts for my husband. Now I smile everytime I tie "lucky" around my waist.

Monday, April 18, 2005

month of softies: recycled monster

I usually like doing a month of softies because it challenges me to create something I wouldn't ordinarily be making. Recycled monsters are kinda my thing though...and here's another one. This is Aster. She's made from a felted sweater and stuffing from a discarded pillow. Her skirt is from a vintage sheet (the rest of which was made into a duvet cover for Mia).

The last few days I have felt like I was under a "crafter's curse". Everything I attempt seems disappointing, my normally trustworthy sewing machine has been acting tempermental, I have started and abandoned several projects. I had to force myself not to toss Aster! It was Mia who saved her from the trash heap.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

fabric cards

I made these after my sister-in-law sent me a beautiful card for my birthday that was simply fabric adhered to a plain card. It's a great way to use up fabric scraps and create original cards.

I used Heat n' Bond Lite (of which I am not a big fan...but this was a good way to use it up) to adhere the fabric to a blank card. My favorite was this vintage silky fabric that I was able to cut such that it had a unique front

and back.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

placemat pillow

When my mom was visiting we went to Crate and Barrel and I bought one of these placemats just because I loved the colors and construction. I soon discovered how easy it would be to transform it into a pillow.

Rip the seam open a few inches between the front and backing. Cut two pieces of batting the size of the placemat and place inside, fill between the batting with polyfill, and blindstitch closed.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

My kids have been sick with the flu this week, so I haven't accomplished much, although I did manage to acquire more fabric (on sale at Jo-ann and at a great vintage sale).

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

cool stuff

Thanks Karen at Kraf-o-la, for reminding me how cool Blu Dot's website is. Go watch their short film and get yourself a free desk top clock.

Via design*sponge, thwart design's "Design w/o Reach" project which includes a mini Wassily chair made from paperclips and electrical tape and the Nelson ball clock made from tootsie-pops.

Monday, April 04, 2005

more goodwill hunting

I don't know if it's just in Portland, but all sweaters are 50% off at Goodwill. It's a good time to stock up on wool sweaters to felt (or just buy yourself a new sweater, we've been doing some of each around here). This one will probably become a monster:

I also found this beautiful tatami mat for $10. It's going in my dining room.

See the leaves?