It's been a few years since I baked a good ol' double-crust pie. This one has blueberries (which I picked this summer, and froze) and local Jonagold apples inside. I used Mark Bittman's easy food-processor pie dough recipe. The proof will be in the eating, tomorrow afternoon. Happy Thanksgiving!
What's better than a squishy, wrestle-able, moldable chair? One that is also adorable, of course. Italian maker Il Saccotto makes several animal-headed beanbag chairs for about $200 each. Not cheap, but these are high-quality items, with features such as removable covers and zipper-concealing pockets.
Did you notice that the chosen animals these chairs are based on are all big and sturdy enough that you wouldn't feel guilty sitting on them? (Just me? I anthropomorphize inanimate objects a bit too much? Ok, I'll own that.)
They have an even pricer, limited edition, gold-vinyl elephant that wouldn't look out of place in a spread in Dwell magazine.
Make a child's holiday season the Best Ever, here: Il Saccotto.
Posting has been/will be light (but not totally absent) for another week or two, for a very good reason. I've been working hard creating these guys, for a craft market on December 5:
These are just the most recent ones I've completed. I've been enjoying making them, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they're received by the general public. If you're local, here are the deets of the show:
Yeti Market, at Eastworks (Easthampton, MA)
Saturday December 5
rom noon to 5
There'll be live music from Wishbone Zoe, plus you can get your photo taken with an actual yeti! I hope you will stop by.
My dog has a thing about swiftly-moving water. He must bark at it, and occasionally bite it. Today the waterfalls on Mt. Toby were running extra heavy due to overnight rainstorms, so Franklin had to let them know what he thought about it. I like to imagine he's having a conversation with the spirit or ghost of the stream, ala Spirited Away.
Guys, I couldn't help myself; I went back to the place (the wonderful, inspiring Knack) where I got my McCall's crafts annual magazine and bought several more, including this issue from 1967. I find the ideas in these old craft mags frequently inspiring, often strange, and occasionally disturbing. For an example of the latter, see this page of children's ski masks to knit, which includes a gently-racist Indian option (though the little girl's one is more nightmare-inducing).
Anyway, today I wanted to share a couple of pages of truly wonderful Christmas/holiday cards. Some of them are reminiscent of the Tiny Fawn artwork I linked to yesterday!
And, the directions, which I believe you can enlarge by clicking on 'em.
Hope you get inspired to try one or two of these, with or without kids!
Have you met Darrah Gooden, a.k.a. Tiny Fawn? She's a Texan mom and artist who makes enchanting tissue-paper collages, mostly of animals. She's licensed her work for a few selected retailers such as Land of Nod, but I like her work just as it is on her etsy site, as high-quality prints. They're both lovely and affordable; almost all of them are $18 each! (Click on each image to go directly to its shop page.)
I love how she uses the translucency of the paper to build color and mass. They make me want to pull out a sheaf of multi-colored tissue paper, cut out some shapes, and experiment with overlapping and stacking them. Fun!
I truly love giving gifts. Advent calendars are extra fun for me because I can fill them with whatever silly, cute things I think the recipient would like; no wish-lists need to be checked, no relatives will be conferred with to make sure we didn't both get a kid the same thing. Everything given is tiny and cheap and purely for fun.
This advent calendar idea is the result of combining a few of my favorite things: wool-blend felt, mini clothespins, garlands, and my new circle punch. Though it takes a couple of hours to create, you can use it year after year. If you be sure to use colors other than just red and green, and switch out the clothespinned numbers for letters, you can even use it for a birthday or other celebration. Here's how it's made.
Start by cutting 24 rectangles (mine are 3.5 by 4.5 inches) out of felt. I used a rotary cutter and a quilting ruler, but it's not difficult to use scissors, especially if you make a paper template to follow (so you don't need to mark the felt).
Next, take a rectangle and fold it in half, long-ways. Pin it, then sew one side closed, with the seam as close to the edge as you can comfortably go.
Once all 24 of the pieces are sewn on one end, you'll be attaching them to a length of grosgrain ribbon. Open up a pocket like so:
At this point, plot out where on your walls you'll be hanging your advent. How wide of a space do you have to work with? Divvy up the pockets among two, three, or four separate lengths of ribbon, accordingly.
About a foot from the end of a ribbon piece, fold the long, straight edge of the pocket over the ribbon, encasing it. Pin it in place. Use a zig-zag stitch to secure the felt to the ribbon.
Add another pocket about an inch from the first, and repeat with the pinning and the sewing. I ended up pinning and then sewing three or four pockets at a time.
Make the numbers 1 through 24 any way you like. I used a one-inch hole punch to make disks from some green scrapbooking paper, and I painted on the numbers with white acrylic paint. Glue your numbers, however you depict them, to mini wood clothespins. [Note: link goes to Amazon; I get a few cents if you make a purchase after clicking. The items I've linked to are the exact things I used.]
Tie simple loops on each end of the ribbons, and hang them from nails on the wall. Attach the clothespins to the tops of the pockets.
I wrapped a bunch of tiny and inexpensive toys and candies with glitter-infused white and red tissue paper. If you don't want to give more stuff, you can always just write on slips of paper notes of admiration, or jokes, or coupons for favors ("with this coupon, you are entitled to choose the toppings for the next pizza ordered"). I recommend a combo of notes, stuff, and candy, just to keep your kids on their toes.
Happy holiday planning!
A few years ago, these cardboard deer head mounts were seemingly everywhere. The company that makes them, Virginia-based Cardboard Safari, is still going strong. They offer many different wall-mounted species, from elephant to dragon, in cardboard that's natural brown, white, or the occasional print. Most of these are also available in wood.
I am a believer in the awesome power of cardboard, so it's not surprising to find the company now offers actual furniture. Namely, this rocket-inspired table.
I dig their retro aesthetic, which is shown most richly in its iPad stand. Resembling a space-age TV set, the case has the added advantage of giving a subtle, "hands off, we're watching something" while it is in use.
These sets make great gifts for tweens and teens, who (as you may know) can be particularly tricky to shop for. Do I need to even mention that once your cardboard item has run its course and has become no longer wanted, it can be recycled? They have many more items to see, so go browse around!
I am lucky to know some very fabulous and creative people. One of them is my friend Anya, who somehow found time between parenting her son and working as a jeweler's assistant to make this elaborate advent calendar two years ago. It uses a 25-nook typesetter's drawer (sometimes called a printer's tray) as its structure. Each space is covered by a paper square, stamped with a number, and attached to the tray by a tiny glue dot. I like the non-traditional colors and motifs, which give it a happy, playful vibe.
Each day, a new square is removed, and a tiny scene revealed. Here's December first:
Anya used cut out illustrations from vintage books and cards, along with dollhouse miniatures and other toys she's collected. Many of the scenes have nods to her family's special interests or stories . Anya's favorite bird is the chickadee, who shows up in December third.:
I particularly like the use of a section of wool sweater as a snowy mountain, here:
I also like this 8-pack of the teeniest of rooms.
And here, I love the miniature lights framing the house, the milk and cookies left for Santa on a toothpick-legged table, and the stocking, which is an exact replica of her son's full-sized one.
I just adore the whole thing, especially how obviously full of love it is. Which is what the holidays are all about.
If you are now feeling super inspired to make one for your own family, do a web search for "printers tray" or "typesetter tray" and see what you can find. From what I've seen, eBay has much better prices than Etsy, though Etsy is where Anya found hers; they may have a nicer selection than the 'Bay.
Of course, if you don't want to spend a bunch, you can always build your own multi-cubby display out of paint sticks!
Happy sugarplum dreams...
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.