A felt fall leaf garland.

Moving the canvas to the living room has given me an empty wall to fill with something seasonal. I’ve been trying to reinvigorate my crafty side, so when I saw this super cute leaf garland on Pinterest I knew I wanted to make one. I found some red and yellow felt and a felted orange sweater in my stash, but since the fabric was pretty obviously different I thought I’d change up the shapes as well. So, this is what I came up with.

It looks so nice when the kitchen table is clean. However, I’m trusting that yours is that way about as often as mine is…

The felt leaf garland.

In the photos above, you might notice that I painted the phone jack outlet thingy that someone planted off-center in the middle of our kitchen wall. It was the reason why I hung the canvas there in the first place (you can see a different half-hearted attempt to hide it here) since it sticks out like a sore thumb. So after I switched things up I stood there looking at it unhappily and realized that, in a cheap apartment where nobody really cares about quality, you can just deal with that sort of problem yourself. A bit of craft paint and voila! Not invisible, but much better.

I’m almost done embroidering my second-to-last Advent calendar number, so it looks like I’m going to have something to replace the leaf garland in a few weeks. Can’t wait to show you how it is turning out!

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She had a birthday party.

The theme was Circles + Dots.

Camilla's birthday invitation

I tried not to go too overboard, but when you’ve been waiting, like, your whole life to do this and you only have one (napping) baby to worry about it’s pretty easy to decorate.

The food table.

I re-used some of those circle garlands, made some new ones, and borrowed a few paper lanterns. Total cost for the decor was about $10 worth of paper and thread.

Camilla's first birthday decorations.

The big garland thingy on the wall has a photo for every month of her sweet little life. I love looking down the row to see how she’s grown.

A circle for every month of her life.

I tried to serve round food as well, as long as it wasn’t too goofy.

Cupcakes!

We picked a lot of blueberries the day before the party. I didn’t realize how many we had fed Camilla along the way until she pooped blue for four days afterward.

Fresh blueberries and watermelon.

Then again, she also got quite a few berries while we were waiting for the guests to arrive.

Eating some blueberries before the guests arrive.

Blueberries are her new favorite food.

I tried to move some of the birthday cheer into the living room as well.

I hung more paper garlands all the way around the room.

Paper garlands in the living room.

I guess this also serves as a sneak peek of my recently redecorated living room.

The on-time guests...

Which filled up pretty quickly once the guests started to arrive.

Her "god-aunt" Sophia.

I feel kind of bummed that I didn’t get a photo of everyone who was there.

Playing with Madison.

Since Camilla won’t remember the actual party, I want her to be able to make her own memories after the fact when she looks at the photos.

I know that I did that with our old family albums.

Lots and lots of babies.

At least you can imagine the sort of chaos there was with many babies in one rather small apartment.

(Not to mention the adults!)

I am so happy that she is finally getting old enough to really “play” with her friends. :)

The birthday cupcake.

I decided to do cupcakes instead of one big cake. The polka-dot wrappers may have had something to do with that.

Oh, is that for me??

Taking her first bite.

Contemplating.

Going back for more.

Feeling pleased.

Camilla giveth…

…and Camilla taketh away.

There was a very lovely pile of presents to be opened.

It seems that one year is when present-opening really starts to make sense.

A baby finally realizes that these things are for her.

What's in here?

Opening presents.

Hello Kitty was the biggest success of the afternoon, although I know that all her presents will be used in turn.

Hello Kitty was the most exciting present of all.

Some of you may remember we have not yet reached yet Camilla’s real birthday, which is June 27. We are leaving for a short bit of travel and then a big long trip to WA and ID and this was the only time to have a party with our Pensacola friends. As part of our packing shenanigans I am sending my computer ahead of us, so this will be the last blog entry for a while. That’s kind of a shame since I have a few more sewing projects to share, but we’re switching to the summer schedule here and blogging just doesn’t rank up there with “visiting grandparents” and “going to the beach.” Thank you dear readers for continuing to check back here despite my very spotty blogging record…I promise to return with photos of our visit home.

A bit of paper crafting.

I am typing this in between pairs figure skating performances, so we’ll see how that works. Why are my favorite olympic events on so late at night? I have a 5 am alarm clock that never forgets to reset itself.

Belated Valentine's decorations.

I told my mum that I would post photos of a little bit of crafting I did for a Valentine’s Day luncheon at church. I forgot to take my camera on Sunday but I put a few of the garlands up in our apartment since they’re so pretty that I can’t bear to put them away for an entire year. I’d forgotten how much I like red and pink sometimes.

I got the idea from the Purl Bee and wanted to make them in felt but felt wouldn’t fit into my circle cutter and I just didn’t have it in me to cut them all out by hand (I made 54 feet of these).

Paper circle garland.

So, in case you’re wondering, the instructions work just as well with cardstock. The only real problem I had was with the invisible thread: after some practice, I learned to sew a few blank stitches in between circles in order to create some extra space. If you sew them one after another the thread tends to tighten and pulls the circles together, which means that they aren’t free to spin.

Sewn with invisible thread.

I really liked the method of cutting out all your colors, putting them in a bag, jumbling them up, and then just seeing what you get. I think the randomness makes these look more modern, which is something I wanted.

This is unrelated, but here Bean is modeling one of my new(ish) kitchen improvements: I added window film to our sliding glass door. She’s a little miffed because I took away her view, but now she doesn’t bark and wake the baby so much since she can’t see all our neighbors walking their dogs. And I feel free to leave the curtains open most of the time since I don’t think that everyone is using the opportunity to scope out our apartment.

Back to the garlands, though…I made 6 strands of red and pink, 6 of red and white, and 6 of a red/pink/green/blue combo that I’m going to use for Camilla’s birthday (hey, I used to get paid to plan ahead). So now I have plenty to rotate through the different seasons and I have paper and plans to make up a few more colorways. If you’re looking for a cheap craft that looks good on the ceiling, I really recommend these garlands: we think they’re pretty great!

Camilla approves.

A quick ‘n’ easy flower headband.

I had a rare burst of both creativity and energy when I was walking past the faux flowers at Joann’s yesterday (40% off!) and finished this little crafting project last night. Other than the flowers, I happened to have almost all of the ingredients on hand already…if I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have even started. But since I had the time and a camera handy, I took a few pics and thought I’d make one last crafty-type post before baby comes (puleeeeeeaaaaasssse, let this be the last post!).

Flower Headband Tutorial

Materials
Skinny plastic headband (I got a set of 5 for $3 at Ross)
Florist’s tape (it helps if it is a similar color to the headband)
Fake flowers (mine are made of balsa wood)
Scissors

Making a flower headband, step 1.

Step 1
Disassemble your flowers and cut the wire stems so that they are only 2 or 3 inches long. Move them around the side of your headband until you find an arrangement you like, keeping in mind that they look better when they are closer to your ear (at least, that’s what I think…if the flowers end up in the middle of your head, the headband will have more of a Ren Fair vibe).

Making a flower headband, step 2.

Step 2
Wrap the florist’s tape tightly around the headband a few times in the spot where you intend to place your uppermost flower. Then, hold the flower on the headband with the stem/wire on the outside and secure with tape.

Making a flower headband, step 3.

Step 3
Continue to add flowers working from the top to the bottom by wrapping tape around the stems. Trim stems as necessary if they seem too long or want to poke out.

Making a flower headband, step 4.

Step 4
After all the flowers are secured, wind the tape around the bottom a few times and cut. You can also add florist’s tape to the other side of the headband so that it feels and looks the same on both sides (I think the tape really helps it to stay in your hair, too).

Making a flower headband, step 5.

Step 5 (Optional)
Pick out a matching shirt and wear your new headband to church, hoping it will attract attention away from your unwashed hair and hugely pregnant stomach. Try not to get annoyed when your plan fails.

The final product.

I think I might make a few more of these after the baby comes. It really only takes about 15 minutes, and it’s so fun to have jewelry for your head!

Did I mention I got a haircut?

Thanks.

Many thanks to those who chimed in with advice on the last post. I had actually (more or less) made up my mind to quit, but when I was blindsided during a meeting by a segue into “work you’ll be doing for us after you move,” I didn’t have my little speech about how I’m sorry, but I just can’t work for you ever again ready to go and I didn’t say anything. Which is probably for the best, right?

Now I have to do a lot of budget-related planning, like deciding if I can last longer on our old Mac or if I need to get a new computer (which will also require a new set of software since I’m using Adobe CS 1 and they’re up to 3.3 now). This is going to cost quite a bit of money, even if I find something used, and kind of negate the benefits of the job. But the old one is sooooooo slow!

Unfortunately, I already know that the position will not be entirely graphic design related given the kind of projects we were discussing. It will also involve maintaining databases and emailing lots of people, the kind of stuff which I hate about my current job. But maybe it won’t seem so bad when I’m sitting in my living room instead of in my office chair.

Okay, enough pondering. How about something fun and artsy-craftsy? I sent in a belated entry for the new PikaPackage, and you can see my stuff here. The PikaPackage (and Pikaland in general) is SO awesome — be sure to look at the rest of the contributions. I think that you get entered in the drawing if you subscribe to the mailing list, which something that I would seriously consider doing.

I hope you all have a good holiday tomorrow…I hope to do a lot of house-cleaning before we head off for some afternoon/evening fun. We are heading to the “west side” on Saturday to see family, so it will be a few days before I’m back. Sorry I’ve been such a lousy poster lately — everything feels really topsy-turvy right now. But that’s what moving is always like, eh?

Finally, some gocco.

Lest you think that I never make anything anymore, I have proof of progress. I finished another big big project a few weeks back but cleverly didn’t take any photo evidence, so let’s just say that gocco’d cd cases look awesome but 200 (x 2 colors) is a lot. And they take up a lot of space while drying.

 The water jar (preview).

I printed all of these last Saturday but ran out of screens + bulbs before finishing the last one (the boots). They are all part of a series titled “From the sketchbook” that will be going into the new shop.

The water jar (preview).

And speaking of the new shop, I am expecting my business cards and packaging supplies to arrive any day now, so as soon as my screens and bulbs show up and I finish the last print I will be finally ready to go. Oh yeah, and I have to take some photos. Gar. It seems like there’s always one more thing to do. But I think that I can tentatively look at the middle of next week (the 11th or 12th, maybe?) as Grand Opening time.

The perfect chair (preview).

And yes, there will be a drawing for you to enter. You know I love drawings.

The perfect boots (preview).

Anyhow, I am very excited to show you photos of the final pieces in a few days. I am very pleased with how these turned out, since they are almost exactly the way that I wanted them to look. And we all know that that doesn’t happen very often. :)

What, she still knits?

As the final leg in my project-finishing marathon, I present to you…my new hat and scarf set!

New hat & scarf.

(Am I the only one who feels like a dork while trying to take photos of one’s self in a semi-public location? I stepped into the alley next to our apartment to take these, and I think that some people were watching. And wondering.)

I didn’t follow a pattern for either item, unless you count “knit until you come to the end, and then stop” as a pattern of sorts. Nope, as soon as anything resembling gauges and counting and needle size comes into the picture, I become all thumbs. (Okay, I still count, but it’s in a very laid back 80-sounds-like-enough sort of way. )

I started the scarf a couple of months ago as my on-the-bus project, which means that I only worked on it for about 15 minutes a day. It’s actually not a bad way to knit, if you’re patient…it’s just really slow.

In retrospect, I should have made it thicker or something because it tends to fold over on itself and get really skinny. Or may I should just say it’s a skinny scarf and that I wanted it to be that way.

My first ear flaps!

So, after finishing the scarf, I had enough yarn left to make a hat. I’d been envying other people’s hats with earflaps for a while, so I decided to make my own. I thought and thought about the best way to attach the earflaps without a seam, and in the end I decided to take a new-to-me approach and start at the top rather than at the bottom. I had to work out the pattern on top a few times since anything that disrupted my counting meant that I forgot what my pattern was and I had to start over (mm, I guess this is where written instructions would have helped).

I started from the top and worked my way down.

You can’t tell from the photos, but the cords on the earflaps have cute bouncy pompoms at the end. And then I stuck some on the scarf, too, for good measure.

Pompoms everywhere.

(Note the cute new shoes, courtesy of Ross.)

This will probably be my last post of the week since I need to work on the Ren Fair poster tomorrow…it turns out that I made my painting a little too small, which means that I have to re-scan it at a higher resolution and size it up. This is not particularly good news, since illustrations almost always look better when they are made smaller and very rarely look better when they are made larger. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

Thank you all for your kind comments this week, and I guess we’ll find out on Monday who the Amy Butler contest winners are!

Trying to get the shot (and missing).

(Oh, yesterday’s favorite search term: “fat chihuahua.” ???)

It came!!

I have been a very good and patient girl as I have waited (and waited and waited) for a special Etsy order to arrive. It wasn’t the seller’s fault–she said very clearly that she wouldn’t be shipping anything until January 15. But when you’ve placed the order on January 2, it still seems like ages.

And what, you might ask, have I been waiting for?

I bought my very own Gocco!!

So tune in next week for Paulabirdy’s new adventures in screenprinting!

And because it feels like a shame to have a post with no pics…

Quail cards.

Sparrow cards.

Bye-bye lino cuts, hello gocco!

A good old-fashioned Christmas break.

These were the Christmas ornaments I sent out for the 2007 Holiday Ornament Swap. I got some lovely ones in return, so I hope the recipients didn’t find mine too plain – believe it or not, they took ages to paint and glue and varnish!

Holiday swap ornaments.

This will be my last post here for a little while: I’ve decided to take a Christmas break. Today is my last day in the office until January 2, which will be my longest work-free time since I don’t know when. And I’ve decided that it’s going to be blog-free, too. (Sorry, Uncle Ted…no Christmas photos until January.)

The only thing that will keep on movin’ on is my Etsy shop. There won’t be any shipping until January 3, but you can still make a purchase. I’ll be adding a bunch of handprinted cards and starting a special after-Christmas sale on December 26, so stop by then to see if something you want is on sale!

………………………………………………..

Do you remember those wonderful days in grade school and college when break came between semesters and you really, honestly had no homework to do? I think that I was woefully unappreciative of the freedom of those times. Not having anything you have to do is a quality that pretty much disappears when you “grow up.” Instead, you have to a) forget, b) ignore, or c) stress about everything that you know you’re not doing. A time of rest becomes something that you have to create, not something that just happens.

I’ve been thinking about this because, as I sit at my desk for the last time until January 2, I can tell that I am not going to have enough time to finish a bunch of projects today and that I’m going to be really amazingly swamped when I get back. And that thought is quite stress-inducing. Potentially so stress-inducing that I won’t really enjoy my break because I’m worrying about what will be waiting for me when I come back.

So I’m going to choose not to think about that. I’m going to walk out the door at 5:15 today, and then I’m going to stop thinking about work. I’m not even going to think about blogs or blog articles.

Instead, I’m going to think about my husband and my family, about Christmas, about giving, about art, about the ocean. About Jesus. About how thankful I am that I have all of these things (I might think about work here for a millisecond so that I can learn to be grateful, but that’s it).

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.

I have learned the secret of being content
in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry,
whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

I hope your Christmas is full of rest, and I look forward to sharing with you again in the new year.

Christmas at the Office.

(Speaking of which, what will The Office do about a Christmas episode this year? I hope they still have one…I’m a sucker for Christmas episodes. Who could ever forget the “year of the iPod”?)

One of the little joys of working in an office is figuring out what to get everybody for Christmas each year. In my situation there are 12 “office staff” (rather loosely defined, since a bunch of them work in a greenhouse), and I’m not very good at guessing what they like. Last year I gave out biscotti – which I love – that met with rather lukewarm praise. This year I decided to make vintage fabric/button pins for all the women after receiving a couple of compliments on the one I was wearing. I made a lot of pins + barettes last Christmas, but they involved hand-sewing and were rather ridiculously time-intensive for something so small and unassuming.

This year I went with the glue gun, baby.

Office gifts.

The new + improved model is made with vintage fabric scraps backed with interfacing, wool felt, and vintage buttons that conveniently had the backs knocked off of them. I don’t think they look all that bad without the hand-stitching, and I’m pretty sure that no one in my office will notice. There’s also a handmade ornament tucked inside each envelope (pics coming tomorrow), so all-in-all it was a very handmade affair.

Oh, and for the guys? A mini bottle of Johnny Walker Red in lieu of a pin.

Come to think of it, maybe I should have done that for everybody.