A little bit of everything…

Category Archives: DIY

The darling @marymg has been a loved member of my Twitter family from the beginning. She tweets about many things including fountain pens, cooking and the antics of her grandchildren. You can imagine my delight when I saw that she had gotten her darlings a puppy!

cecelia & abby copy

I love making Iggy Pup sweaters but I can’t do ruffles or flowers for him – he’s too macho. Not long after the puppy announcement I messaged Mary and the plotting began. One skein of Red Heart “Monet” yarn and an “H” hook later and the sweater/dress was taking shape.

dog sweater/dress in progress

Abby pup is tiny and its hard for me to create a form-fitting outfit if I can’t do fittings as I go. My idea was to create an outfit that would fit her now and when she is full grown, with just three measurements – neck circumference, length from neck to tail, and her widest girth at her ribs.

Finished dog sweater/dress

(Click for Flickr page - including multiple notes and large views)

Here is the final sweater dress. I crocheted a flower for the back. I hope its not too much girlie-ness with the ruffled edge. I thought it was the perfect amount of cuteness. The button and belly strap was a fun adventure. I created multiple buttonholes just in case pup grows a bit or the dress hit her at a different area than the widest. The neck line also has a crochet button but instead of a button hole I created a simple loop. Ideally these features will make dressing her easy and fun.

Finished dog sweater/dress

Here’s a side view. Imagine a puppy inside! This weekend I’ll be mailing this sweater/dress off to Mary, her adorable granddaughter Cecelia and the darling Abby pup. I’m crossing my fingers everyone likes it. I hope I can bribe them for a photo or two.

This was such a fun adventure. Crochet without a pattern is a lot of fun; I encourage everyone to try it … It’s worth it!

Take care and be well.

I have been meaning to post but I haven’t really been up to much worth blogging about. I finished reading “The Lovely Bones” and Matt and I finally watched “Ponyo.” I recommend both! Work has been work and Iggy has been adorably mischievous as usual.

I did reach one milestone recently. March 9th was my one year anniversary on Twitter. To celebrate, I put together a recycled jotter notebook this afternoon. It is 4.25 by 5.5 inches and is made from security envelopes, 20# copy paper – both hand rescued from work recycle bins by yours truly, and an empty Cheerios box. The pages are mostly blank but some have one or two lines of text printed on them. I used bright blue embroidery floss to stitch the pages to the Cheerio’s box cover. The outside of the notebook has a security envelope pocket (with removable tear shapes) and the inside of the cover is the same security envelope pattern. There are 20 pages (40 sides). Keep in mind that this is a handmade recycled item so it is imperfect ~ just like me ^^

The Front
Inside front cover
The middle

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment. On Sunday, March 28th I will post the winning comment and ask that person to contact me via an email I will list in that post. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me before I pick a new winner. Please only enter once and feel free to spread the word about this giveaway!

Thank you. Take care and be well.

I spotted Moleskines on sale at Barnes & Noble and spent a good long while picking up and examining many of the available options. The small versions are around three by five inches which would be a nice size to tuck in a back pocket or kangaroo pouch in my hoodie. In the end I walked away empty handed like so many times before. So much money for a tiny notebook. So much money for something that… I could DIY!

Mock-skine Cahier

The chilly weather led to the opening of a new thermal shirt this past week. The packaging included a piece of cardboard. I saved it like I save so many odds and ends that might come in handy. I chopped that piece of cardboard down and then opened my new ream of 22lb paper. I chopped that down.

Then came the great debate. Should I hand sew the binding like I have done for all my previously made books or should I give the sewing machine a try. Out came the sewing machine. I tried to adjust the stitch length to the longest but had some trouble keeping the stitches exactly in the center. I was thrilled that this ended up not mattering in the final cahier.

My Mock-Skine Cahier

Having the signature and cover piece in hand, I opted for the DIY easiest method. I have to admit by this time I was feeling a bit lazy and grabbed the closest bottle of Elmer’s school glue. (Yes, I have bottles of glue lying about the house.) I made sure to apply glue along the stitches to ensure nothing came unraveled and then pressed the signature into the cover. I folded that baby up and put it under my ginormous stack of library books to dry.

Moleskine Cahier ~vs~ Mock-skine Cahier

After some corner rounding and gentle spine manipulation, I admired my Mock-skine Cahier. Best part – it was made for just pennies and reused some packaging materials! The above pictures shows a large sized Moleskine Cahier (5.25 x 8.25 inches), a pocket sized cahier (3.5 x 5 inches) and then my slightly smaller Mock-skine. Not too shabby, eh?

My apologies go out to @michaelramm for not getting the bookmark included in this post. I promise it will be the next to appear here.

Take care and be well.

You may have asked yourself, what does Sara look at all the time? or you may not have and this post will just be another addition to the giant list of rambling posts you read to pass time.

I use Google Reader as my RSS feeder. I enjoy using the RSS reader since I enjoy so many different types of blogs and websites and rarely have enough time to visit each one in a day. Also, I find myself unable to relocate projects, templates, giveaways, freebies, ideas, artworks, etc etc again after the initial visit. Google Reader allows me to slack off on days when I’m busy and catch up on days I have time.

Here comes the fun~!
Are these awesome or what:

  • I’m always curious about what’s going on over at Doodlers Anonymous. Fun peaks into sketchbooks and other related posts about the artists and artworks.
  • Have you been bitten by the creative artsy-fartsy crafty bug yet? No? Stop over at Craft and I bet it won’t be long before you dive into a new project.
  • One of the reasons I am dying to learn to sew well and quilt is Comfortstitching. She is amazing. Her blog is so colorful and beautiful just like her quilts.
  • I just added Unconsumptiontonight. I am very sure I will be digging around more soon.
  • Are you loving paper goods? Cards, stationery, journals, letterpress goodies and more can be found and drooled at over at Crow and Canary.
  • I love losing track of time browsing at Design*Sponge. Prepare yourself for a showcase of many delectable examples.
  • Ever heard of letterpress? Enjoy It will get you acquainted with Elise Blaha and her love of letterpress and small books. I love both and her approach at it all.
  • Unclutterer gives me hope. I just need the motivation and time now. :wink: The Unitasker Wednesdays crack me up sometimes.

This is obviously only a tiny schampling of everything that sucks my free time away faster than I can drain a strawberry shake. I hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse of what amuses me and maybe have acquired a new addition for your RSS reader.

Take care and be well.

My Mum called this morning and informed me that Dad and her were heading over to dig in my gardens. I was in one of my “no sun – no energy” moods and planned to sit on the futon until forced to move by bodily need or human intervention. I grabbed my overalls and gardening shoes and headed out. Oh and my bandanna. I live in my bandanna when I don’t have energy. I really need a hair cut but that isn’t really the point of my post tonight.

We removed all the maximilian sunflowers from the south end of the east garden. They never did much even with improved soil. Sad really. The ones out in the county get so tall and have millions of blooms on each stalk. Mine bloom so late in the season and topple over from their own weight – unable to hold up their dinky blooms.

My parents have come to terms with my own physical weakness. I have no rippling muscles and have tendinitis in both wrists. I’m still in denial but both my parents help so much. Matt even joined the fun. The south end of the east garden is now de-rooted and revitalized with peat moss and compost. I planted my new blue delphinium and a couple perennial lobelia. I’m excited to get things moved around. Oh and my orange poppies have been relocated to the sunny part of the south garden. Oh how wonderful orange poppies will be!

Orange is such a powerful color. Friday was a deadline day and I took a breather – just one moment and glanced around my work area. I had so much fun orange I just had to capture it.

Unofficial Orange Day

Click to go to flickr - more sizes and notes available.

I grabbed my Rose Art colored pencils on the way to work Thursday and colored a blue corner in my journal. Then later did an orange arch. Friday I was majorly craving fresh fruit so I drew a strawberry. Today I drew the orange and kiwi slice. I’m going to write “but i had Taco Bell for dinner” since we ended up stopping there before taking Iggy Pup to the dog park to see his German Shepherd Dog girlfriend Sammy.

Journal Spread

Click to go to flickr - more sizes available.

I don’t mind not finishing entries on the day listed any more. Journaling has become free and enjoyable. I don’t feel rushed or pinned to finishing the entry in daily order. A page for each day is okay and I can finish it when I feel the motivation or have the time. Life is strenuous enough without adding journaling to the list of must-dos.

I have so many ideas for art projects now its unreal. I bought gel medium so I want to work on collages. I also have all my new fancy edge scissors to experiment with. I bought some clearance art pens at Hobby Lobby this week and haven’t uncapped any of them. I am getting CraftyChica’s book Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing: Fabu-Low-Sew Ideas for the Everyday Crafter for becoming her 4,000th follower on Twitter! I’m am SOOO excited! I’ve only made one item with my new-to-me sewing machine – a bag – and I’m falling in love with the idea of making more things. I do need to find out how to make my machine to a zig-zag stitch so I can sew paper for my collages. I have a sick desire to learn to quilt. Comfortstitching has the most exquisite quilts that inspire and tempt me to try one for myself.

I could go on and on but I’m sure you’d rather I just do something and post about than post about wanting to do it, right?
Take care and be well.

Spring is in the air... think GREEN

My Daffodils are sprouting! Spring is in the air... think GREEN

It’s occurred to me that being “Green” has become fashionable more out of hype than necessity for many people. This greatly saddens me but I’m happy that its catching on.

I have leaned toward a low impact lifestyle my entire life. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and recycle everything you can. My mother taught me to put a bucket in the sink during the summer and let it fill up during regular activities like washing hands or your afternoon snack apple. When its full, run outside and water your flower gardens! She also instilled the value of less is more. I adore my mother and cannot thank her enough for all the lessons she has taught and continues to teach me. (I love you Mum!)

Here is a quick list of things I do to help limit my “footprint” on mother earth. They are easy to do and I encourage you to take steps to minimize you impact as well.

  • Turn the lights out. When you leave the room or close your book, flic the switch and save some energy.
  • Bored with the tele? Nothing on? Shut off the boob tube. Still need some background noise? Try the radio or internet music options.
  • Driving somewhere? Slow down! Speeding wastes gas and on average you only get there 3 minutes faster. Don’t believe me? Try it some day. Oh and coast… I love coasting… from red light to red light… a little bit of gas can go a long way and saves you money too.
  • Compost. Don’t have a compost pile? Does a friend or family member or your community have one you can contribute to? Don’t throw that bag of spoiled veggies away – recycle it back into “black gold.”  Afraid of odor? Keep a bucket with lid or bag in your freezer and stash your banana peels, potato skins and all that green goodness until you can get to a composting site.
  • Cook and bake efficiently.  Cooking for two? Make food for 4 or 6 or even 8. The freezer is your friend. (Labeling is recommended for anyone like me who forgets). Also, listing what is available in the freezer might sound a bit overboard but can help on those nights when you’re hungry and don’t want to forage.
  • Get your clean on! I use vinegar and baking soda all around the house. Vinegar may not smell pretty (still reminds me of Easter egg dying with Nani) but it sure does work. Baking soda is awesome at attacking and defeating stains on counter tops and scrubbing tubs and sinks (without scratching delicate surfaces too). Tough grease mess on the stove top? Give it a try! I have also dumped baking soda down drains followed with a vinegar chaser and cleared up some serious clogs. Vinegar is also great for windows and safe to use around pets. (I use vinegar during my weekly tank cleanings for my pet mice).
  • Unplug things. Done with your laptop and the battery is charged? Unplug. Leaving for a weekend – unplug the unnecessary electronics like the television. Don’t leave your cell phone chargers or the toaster plugged in when not in use. Surprisingly they do still draw energy and run up your bill.
  • Recycle everything you can. Run unwanted junk mail through the shredder and recycle. Plastic, paper, and more. Mulch your grass clippings back into the lawn or use around your garden to keep the moisture in the soil. Grind up leaves and use them as a mulch in your gardens. (We do this every fall. Its great to protect your plants and can be dug into soil when Spring rolls around).
  • Clean out your street’s gutters! You may not realize that what goes into the sewers often is not treated before it runs back into local river or lake. Don’t let things go down the drain. Also, keeping the gutters clear helps your street not flood in rain storms. (My city is on Lake Michigan and I have seen neighbors dump chemicals down the sewer EEK). Pick up trash in your yard… it is likely going to end up in the gutters anyways.
  • Second hand is okay. I love rummage-sale-ing and thrift store shopping. Ask friends if they want to swap clothes or even hand them down to younger generations in the family. Don’t forget to donate to local charities if you have a stash of unwanted items.

So… I hope this has given you a new idea or at least inspired you to think a little greener today. If everyone does a little bit – it will add up to a big difference.

Here a few links to blogs that I’m subscribed to. I find them informative, inspirational or just plain fun:

Anything I missed? Do you have an idea or currently do something “green” that you want to share? Know of a great “green” site? Please add a comment.

Be well.

JetPens carries the Hello Kitty Hi-Tec-C or if Hello Kitty isn’t your thing, they also offer regular Hi-Tec-C pens and retractable versions.

I received a 0.3 Orange pen to review. Orange is my new guilty pleasure… its warm and bright. It just adds enough to my day to keep me thinking of brighter and warmer seasons.

I had never used a 0.3mm tipped pen before.

At first I was hesitant – I didn’t want to hurt it. It had to be delicate, right? After a while I caught myself writing normally with it. I tend to write “hard” and it didn’t mind one bit. The tip is durable and reliable.

The ink flow is smooth and writing is effortless. I had no issues with skipping or blobbing. I wish all gel pens wrote this well!

The cutest part of the pen is the Hello Kitty topper… I turn 30 this year and I consider Hello Kitty a guilty pleasure! Definitely a subtle way to bring some cheer and cuteness to the office. The toppers are removable. It took some coercing to remove the topper. It straddles the cap’s clip and slides up for any of you having trouble like I did. I have 0.4mm Hi-Tec-C in a rosey pink color and will migrate Hello Kitty accordingly.

I recommend the Hi-Tec-C to any person looking for a smooth writing thin barreled cap pen. The ease of ink flow prevents the “death grip” I often get on pens when they write inconsistently or too lightly. For daily writing or long writing sessions, I prefer the 0.4mm over the 0.3mm – but this is personal preference.

This pen is the newest member of my pencil case arsenal. I have a 3.75 by 6.75 inch circa/rolla notebook with tiny monthly calendars I pasted onto pages and this pen is perfect for recording info in those teeny tiny boxes. It is also handy for check book registers and squeezing a lot into a little space (like in our frequent Boggle games).

Here are some pictures of the pen in action.

Thank you JetPens for providing me with a great pen to review and enjoy! Also thank you for your excellent customer service…

Be well.