I'm in the middle of a busy albeit invisible productive week. Invisible because most my work is tucked away in my sketchbooks. Some of you have asked to see them, but to be honest I totally shy away from being that open with my ramblings and doodles. It would be like showing my underwear drawer—although I'm sure none of you are interested in that! I've always admired people that open their sketchbooks to the world.

Now work in progress is another story... That I don't mind showing you at all. Strange?

You've seen these little animals before here (worked from my Animal Friends fabric). They were framed and completely sold out. I ordered some more of the same designs and I'm trying to figure out how I will work with them this time. A combination with paper is a sure bet and small bits of fabric are a possibility. We shall see.

For now, I do know that if I don't start on the little doll that C asked for I won't hear the end of it. But I'm honestly worried if I'm going to do the design any justice—specially since she wants me to combine two designs. Gulp.

• • •

Friday Tidbit
I'm completely inspired by Abigail Reynolds' work. Amazing.

Have a crafty weekend!


simple idea: gift wrapping with double-sided paper

gift wrap idea

I know what I'm about to say is something of a no-no to some people, but the truth of the matter is that I don't really enjoy gift wrapping as much as I should—or I think I should. It is a paper related activity after all... But, umm no. It doesn't really quite qualify as the most exhilarating of activities for me. Having said that, I do like showing up with something decent looking and that at least looks like I put some effort into it.

gift wrap idea

Over the weekend I needed to wrap a baby shower gift and I decided to take advantage of the fact that the 'wrong' side of the paper was white. Instead of hiding it, I made it the main feature.

The idea is really simple and one that can be used if you're either short on wide ribbon or extra colored strips of paper to achieve the same effect.

All you have to do is wrap the paper as shown in the side-view graphic below. Fold over the colored side/patterned side of the paper twice towards the 'wrong' side of the paper. Wrap the gift with the wrong side of the paper facing out and tuck the opposite end under the folded edge. Attach all paper (top and sides) with double-sided tape or a little roll of regular tape (sticky side out). I added a ribbon to give it a final touch.

Technically I didn't use double-sided paper, but if you happen to have some, all you need to do is decide which pattern you'd like to be dominant (the white) and which to be the accent (the dark blue) and fold accordingly.

That's it!
gift wrap idea

see? spring is really here!

Even if our hay looking lawns say otherwise. This is a gift from little C. I get several of these every year from her & our obliging yard.


simple crochet

I finally got to pick up the crochet needle again and I'm so excited about it. The only thing is that I have to learn when to put it down. I have the same trouble when I'm into a great book. I just can't stop myself—I want to get to the last stitch, the last sentence.


I made these slippers that are on the cover of a book I just ordered, Simple Crochet by Erika Knight (more photos on my Flickr page). They're really comfortable and warm. My little C has already requested a pair. I told her I'd be happy to make her one as soon as finished mine—because I have to figure out how to make them in her size. I think I'll be able to pull that off.

I want to make almost every project in the book. It falls within the same style of the Natural Nursery book (by Ms. Knight as well). The photography alone makes every project very enticing. I'd say it's not a book for someone looking for a crocheting challenge. It's more of a book for someone that's either starting out or that enjoys very simple design, wants to make something pretty and to relax while making it. I fall in the latter category and it's perfect for me.


My next non-paper project is going to be more of a challenge. Little C has requested a doll and it's not going to be an easy one. I also ordered Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love by Hillary Lang and she wants one of the dolls in that book. But before I tackle that, I'm going to do a little surgery on a doll I made when C was 2 (also inspired by Hillary's work). Her hair is all over the place and just needs to be fixed and trimmed. The sweater that I made for that doll is still my favorite part of that project.

Ordering this sewing book comes totally from my love of dolls as a child (I played with them until I was about 12!) and seeing the same feelings in my daughter. The sewing part of this will definitely not be as relaxing as crocheting or knitting. Gulp.

I think the feeling of warmer weather has definitely kick-started my project making. Spring does that to me every year. Am I the only one?

he said what?

Picture this scene...

It's a fancy 6 course lunch and you're the photographer of the event. One of the guests summons you over with two fingers (à la annoying rich man). He signals you to lean over and he whispers into your ear.

He says, "My compliments to the chef."

You nod and say that you're happy that he's enjoying his meal. He then waves you away with his hand and says,

"You may go about your business now."


This happened to me on Monday.

The fancy lunch was in fact the 5th grade manners (ironic, no?) banquet at school. The 'annoying rich man' had the most I-know-this-is-going-to-get-a-reaction-from-you grin from ear to ear, isn't rich (at least not financially), he's eleven and just happens to be my son.

He got me good. When I leaned over I was totally expecting something like "Do I need to eat this salad?" or whatever else. I couldn't stop laughing.

Lessons learned:
a) The apple definitely doesn't fall far from the tree. He's totally getting back at me for the times I've teased him in a similar fashion.
b) Don't take life too seriously. Yeah—that may be stretching it. But that just popped into mind when I saw the twinkle in his eye as he realized that he caught me way off base.

the basics - a kid-friendly "light box"

Today's tip is a simple one that was was born out of necessity. I did something similar in college using glass but this time I needed to come up with something safer.

A few weeks ago our son wanted to trace the face of a tiger for a drawing that he wanted to do. He was having a hard time with the paper against a window thing, holding it up to a lamp, etc. I don't own a light table so...

Light bulb moment—literally!

I told D to sit down on a kid-sized chair which is actually too big for him now—but worked perfectly for this idea. I pulled out an old white cutting board (the cheap Ikea translucent type) and told him to put the board on his lap, but to keep his feet and legs apart. I placed a small lamp on the floor between his feet. To keep things safe I made sure the lamp had a eco-friendly bulb because they don't get hot. He placed his sheets of paper on the board and it was perfect—he even mentioned how cool it was!

• • •

I can't mention the kids working on projects without showing off a bit.

Here are recent creations of my resident artists. The 2nd graders worked on horses (copied from a drawing on the blackboard) and the 5th graders worked on Picasso inspired hearts. I love all the colors!

2nd grade

picasso inspired heart

striking a balance

mesh house

I'm so glad that many of you enjoyed making the Valentine's Day match box. I still really, really like that project. I say 'still' because many times I go back and look at things and wish I had tweaked this or that—the matchbox just seems right the way it is.

Last week I was struggling with what to focus on. You see, there are some things that I've had to take care of that require me to put my 'mommy hat' on exclusively. When I'm in that mode, craft and work take second place. It fades and becomes a blur.

Somehow it seems suitable that my latest SVG home decor project is a Mesh House. As corny as it sounds... our home, our family life, is where my heart really is centered. I can't move forward until all is well with them—which it is again.

I don't mean to sound secretive... it's just that sometimes I still have a hard time with the what's-too-personal vs I can-tell-all line—so I'd rather err on the side of caution. It's a tricky thing where it's my instinct that takes the lead. I'm sure you've all been there at some point.

The important thing is that we're all ok and I'm back in the saddle.

• • •

By the way, I realize that there are many of you that can't tackle the SVG types of projects because you simply don't have the digital cutters. I don't want you to feel left out. So, I'm trying to balance my ideas between what is doable with fancy tools vs what is doable with what you have at home. In other words, fear not, more ideas are coming!

happy valentine's day!

dual use

I will be celebrating with the G man in my life and our two little sweet hearts. When I say celebrating, I mean we will be taking it very easy at home with maybe an extra chocolate or two.. or three for dessert. All we need is to be together and we're good.

I hope that you have a wonderful day with your loved ones too.

Sorry for the late post today... but that's what happens when you run off in the morning to volunteer at the kids' school and don't plan ahead. You forgive me, right?

(ps- in case you're curious... it's another photo of the project I did for Craft)

valentine's day matchbox card

valentine's day matchbook card

If you're still looking for an idea for Valentine's Day check out my new project on Craft . It's not as difficult as it looks and you'll get some good practice with simple paper cutting.

This photo is a just a little teaser. But there is a little more than meets the eye. I'm fond of this project because it has several of the elements that I like to use:

- Using paper in 3D form
- Multi-layered work
- Trees. Of course!
- Multi-functional
- Can be customized (you'll see! - it's tiny)

There will be more of these soon and they will be available in SVG format in the shop.

Head on over to Craft to see the whole project, so you can make one yourself—and let me know what you think!
• • •

Welcome to those of you that are visiting from Craft or Lifehacker (memo holder feature)! If you'd like to see other DIY ideas please use the menu at the top above my blog banner.

It feels like it's going to be a very productive week. Happy Monday!

the basics - editing

I've always preferred the 'less is more' approach for any project. The trick of the matter is to avoid falling over into the stale or uninteresting side. But what happens if you'd like to go in the opposite direction and make something more elaborate. Does it always work the way you think it will?

Remember this piece from the other day?

the basics - editing

What if it was like this instead?

the basics - editing

How do you feel about it now?

I mentioned in my newsletter that I couldn't wait to see this in a more repetitive form (9 pyramids). But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that with this particular design the idea really wouldn't work. After a bit of Photoshop work (so glad I thought of doing that first) I realized that I was partially right. Part of me thinks it's too busy, part of me prefers the original.

Always edit.
I tried out the busier option after the fact and found out that my initial instincts where accurate. I edited before realizing that I had done that. Typically it goes the other way around. I start with something more elaborate and then I edit, edit, edit.

I think the best ideas are the ones that take a concept to it's minimal point without losing their twist or interesting point. Editing is just another way to create. Think of it as applying carpentry to an idea.

Minimalism vs Editing
They are not the same. I'm a minimalist at heart and many of you may not be, but editing benefits every single project. Where you draw the line at editing or where I draw it, if we're working on the same project, may be very far from one another. The point is that we've each taken the time to make our ideas more solid. That's what counts. From that point forward, taste and style take work to another level and keep the world interesting.

Next time, you work on any given project ask yourself:
Does everything there have a purpose? The answer may be "No, but I like it anyway"—and that's fine too.
Can I get rid of anything?
Does anything look like it's an afterthought?

Tight ideas make for better design.

• • •

Talking about minimalism and editing... here are interesting examples of how they affect packaging.

Now I think it's time for some tea. Have a great day!

february calendar

freebie for february

Can you believe it? January just flew by. I'm immersed in some projects so this will be a quick one.

This is a simple project for you to make and enjoy this month—it won't take you more than a few minutes to make.

Download here.