lucy is eight months!!!

"eating the sign? i'm not eating the sign..."

latest talents include:

~crawling small distances--preferably naked.
~chowing down on pancakes, cheerios, pasta and bread, while politely spitting out her vegetables. (i think we have a carb-addict in the making).
~banging two toys together--the louder the better!
~calling ME by my real name (mamma mamma mamma mamma mom).
~raising her hand to speak when she's got something super-important to say. not kidding.

this girl becomes more and more fun with each and every passing day. i still fear that i might wake up from this magnificent dream... but until then i'm seriously enjoying the ride.



our lovely loot...

christmas certainly had an eco-friendly aspect to it this year. klean kanteens and resuable bags were in abundance! i was a bit worried about all of the "stuff," what with the fact that babies often = loads of toys. but i have to say that it seems nearly everyone we know understands and appreciates our outlook on superfluous baby things.

don't get me wrong--lucy still got her fair share of gifts! but it was easy to see that they were thoughtfully chosen: the green toys tea set & green toys cooking set, california baby hair & bodywash, some used (and a few new) books to enjoy. organic clothing. a set of balls to roll around. a secondhand hat and mitten set. a pair of sparkly converse... okay, the shoes might not be eco-friendly but they are soooo cute!

my mom made lucy the most darling cloth book, complete with pictures on printable fabric. this book, like all of lucy's handmade things, is something we will treasure forever. knowing that my mom took the time to put it all together makes me smile everytime i see it sitting on lucy's dresser. grandma really took handmade holiday to the next level!

for me, from my dad: a handpainted box that opens to reveal a hand-cut wooden puzzle. i think this is such charming little thing. lucy and i will no doubt have lots of fun putting it together when she gets a little older. i think my dad picked this up at a street fair in berkeley--good things can always be found there. not handcrafted, but sure to inspire: a gift for lucy and i from her cousins. instructions and patterns for creating the cutest little creatures i have ever seen. i guess i'll be the one doing all the work, and lucy will get to cuddle the finished products!

finally, here were my gifts to lucy--not handcrafted (by me, anyway), but certainly secondhand. a vintage dollie. the hands & head are handpainted porcelain, the body is cloth. dollie was nakkie when i bought her, but i managed to dig up a dress that fit her properly at another antique shop. she looks a bit concerned that lucy might play too rough, doesn't she? no worries, dollie. we're teaching lucy to be gentle with pretty things such as yourself!

lucy, by the way, gets all squealy when she gets to hold dollie. i think it's because she looks so real...
last but not least, i got lucy a wooden elephant pull-toy. i think this little guy is from the mid-seventies, but there's no real telling of just how vintage it might or might not be. i do know one thing: the leather string seems very, very yummy. i look forward to the day that i see little lucy toddling around with elephant behind her.

hope your christmastime was just as wonderful as ours was! now we've got our eye on the new year... there are a couple of resolutions in the works. all so very eco, of course!


christmas craftiness, revealed...

we had a super-lovely christmas day, complete with lots of great gifting. here's when i finally get to show what i've been working on for the past month! some things didn't get pictures, unfortunately. i told myself i wanted to take photos of things being unwrapped, and then i sorta... well... forgot. anyway, here's what i've got to show:

sugar body scrub for the girls. really easy to make, loosely based off of a recipe for salt scrub i found in the book gorgeously green. basically just sugar, oil and essential oil. a nice (italian made) glass jar (the container store) added presentation points, i think. and jeremy designed and laminated the tags for me. good guy!

a dog bed for my brother's new pup jenna. kind of a strange picture, the flowery print is our curtain, not part of the bed! i made the bed out of sunbrella fabric--it's mildew & fade resistant, and anti-microbial. muddy pawprints can be easily wiped off, instead of having to wash the whole cover. one side has a velcro opening, into which i stuffed 2 king bed pillows. i searched the thrift shops for used pillows, but the whole idea of buying that kind of thing used really skeeved me out, even if they were to be used only for a dog bed. in the end i bought them new at ross, for only a few dollars more than they would have cost used. now i just need a picture of jenna enjoying her new bed!

i also made another bed for a much smaller dog--little mo-mo who weighs about 12 pounds! i used pink and green striped canvas on one side and a pink and green english rose-type print on the other. i stuffed it with a euro pillow and gave it to my friend kelli, who promptly told me it's to pretty for a dog and she's using it as a decorative pillow instead. :)
jeremy and i collaborated on this next one. his "ama" (grandma) (lucy's great-ama), who loves lucy dearly, is mostly blind. jeremy had the idea of recording lucy's voice so that ama could enjoy hearing her at any time. i knew that build-a-bear sells 10-second voice recorders that can be reprogrammed over and over. we got lucy to giggle for a bit, captured it on the recorder, and i made a little l-shaped pillow with velcro closure to put the recorder into. as lucy grows, we can keep capturing cute little snippets for ama to enjoy. needless to say, this gift was a huge hit. i want one for myself!
i made a few of these totes. the shape is based on the amy butler nappy bag pattern, but i did my own thing when it came to the pockets... the original pattern had way too many for my taste. i made 4 of these bags, all in different prints. just when i thought i had it all down pretty good, i found myself struggling, breaking needles and muttering about heading down to the mall. note to self: do not become overconfident. in the end, they all turned out. i'd like to make one for myself, but i think i need a bag-crafting break for awhile. let the wounds heal, you know?

my sister-in-law asked for seed packets, and since we happened to have pumpkin and butternut squash seeds drying on our windowsill, i made these little cloth bags and stuck in what we had. the bags were made out of scrap from a vintage baby blanket (that's where the pretty embroidered edge is from) and they fold closed with velcro. the pumpkin and butternut squash (it's not a pear, people) are cut from felt and ironed on using stitch witchery. the bags are also not the same size, as you can plainly see. this is because i am not careful in my measurements--or because i simply didn't measure. i'll let you guess which is true in this case. little kids got bookbags (complete with books inside... and a lil' candy). no pattern here, i just whipped them up to the best of my ability. they are very similar to the picnic blanket tote i made awhile back. the bags are lined with coordinating fabric and have little front pockets for stuffing cool things. it's never to early to get kids start on resuable bags, right?
jeremy got in on the crafty action--he made this shirt for his dad using a freezer-paper stencil and paint. the picture is not good but the shirt is very nice--it's made to look like a street sign. i want one too, jeremy! i made a few aprons from a few tea towels i picked up at anthropologie--but never remembered to get a photo before wrapping them up and giving them away! bummer, because i think they really turned out nice. the idea came from a book called bend-the-rules sewing, which basically attaches twill tape or grosgrain ribbon to a width-wise tea towel, and adds a couple of pleats. i made them a bit fancier by backing the tea towel with coordinating fabric and making my own apron ties out of the same. perhaps i can get a photo of them in action sometime.
i also made a photo slideshow set to music. the photos in the slideshow were taken at a group camping trip over the summer, and copies were given to everyone that attended. i used imovie-- a great program that is pretty user-friendly. i highly recommend playing with it if you own a mac!
i did rely on etsy for one gift--a pair of slippers for my brother. despite not showing up on time, they are very nicely handmade. much better that i could have done. and i get to extend the joy of the holidays by giving them to him tomorrow.
well, that's pretty much what we gave. i'll be back tomorrow to post about what we got!


merry (almost) christmas...

i'm taking a blogging break over the next couple of days to relax and enjoy the holiday. after finishing up on all of my handmade gifts, supplementing with a few very consciously-store-bought gifts i am finally done with christmas preparations. i can't wait to post pictures of some of the things i've made--there are a few that i am especially excited about. but more than that i'm excited to experience the final bit of "handmade holiday": the giving! this past month has been an entirely new experience for me. i didn't hit up a major mall, i stood in very few lines, and i didn't even partake in the black friday craziness, except to hit up joann's for supplies.

making so much of my gifts proved to be difficult. miscut patterns, missing supplies, huge messes in my crafting studio, 831,000 broken needles on the machine. for the most part though, all of my frustration stemmed from my own procrastination. i really did wait too long to get started. thankfully jeremy stepped in and took lucy out for a couple of afternoons so i could buckle down and get some real work done. 

aside from handcrafting, i bought a few things (books, mostly) gently used. lucy is getting a couple of vintage gifts that i am totally excited about. i won't divulge what they are just yet--she totally reads the blog when i'm not looking--but both items are great finds that i picked up in a local antique shop. i'm also finishing up a quilt for her, but i haven't committed to getting it done by the 25th. i mean, i have to have something to work on after all this christmas madness is over, right?

handmade or store-bought, i hope that everyone enjoys their holiday to the fullest! we are so lucky to be blessed with wonderful family & friends to surround ourselves with in the coming days. check back in after the holiday--i have new diapers to show off, plus i'm working on some sort of eco-friendly giveaway for the month of january. yay!

here are a few lucy christmas pictures--since we didn't hit up the mall we never did get to see santa, but i think we did okay on our own. there's a family picture too. just 'cause i like it. merry merry christmas! 



i can post pictures of something i've been working on! 

a "let's get messy, mommy" smock! this isn't technically a christmas present--lucy and i gifted it today to lucy's good friend rain, who has just turned a year old. the idea came about after i made a big mistake while cutting out a pattern for another gift. (what that gift was i can't say, but i was very near tears while staring at my huge chunk of expensive, yet wrongly-cut fabric).  

i kept staring, and noticed that the shape of it looked kind of like the waterproof smocks that lucy wears while playing in the water at habitot. so i just rolled with that idea, making things up as i went. and since i'd not only cut out the pattern wrong once--but twice!--lucy will have a coordinating smock to wear while she and rain get dirty on playdates in the future. partners in crime, those two!

the smocks both have a divided front pocket for stashing good things, are reversible, and are fully adjustable size-wise. i tried one on lucy but didn't get a picture as the camera battery had died. anyway, it fits her perfectly when fully cinched. i tried it on myself later (fully let out) and it fit me pretty well too (though a little narrow across the top!). here's to hoping that these smocks get a lot of use in the coming years!

i'll be making more of these--they're just too cute and really simple. if there's any interest, i'd be up for putting together a tutorial!

of to go bury myself in last minute christmas crafting now... 


cloth bag how-to

let me start by apologizing for the quality of the pictures. i am well aware that they are crappy! anyway, here are the is what i'm doing this year for some of my gifts--not all of them, i just don't have time or fabric to do them all. but i think this is a nice way to package a gift without creating more trash: 8,000 tons of wrapping paper and 2 billion cards are thrown away during the holiday season! and that's just part of the 300,000 tons of extra trash that piles up at the holidays. yikes.

here we go....

start with a piece of fabric that fits the item you intend to wrap--it should be roughly 1/3 of your fabric.

fold side each side of the fabric 1/4" and press. then fold again another 1/4". press. when all 4 sides are completed, make sure your item will still fit width-wise!

now sew all around the edges that have been folded under, so that they're nice & secure, and won't unravel through all the years of use that this bag is gonna get.

cut a length of ribbon double the length of your fabric. more is okay, if you are adept at tying big, fancy bows. i am not.

center the ribbon on your fabric so that the "extra" on both top and bottom are roughly equal. pin in place--think of your fabric in fourths--and do not pin ribbon in the top fourth section. leave it loose.

stitch down ribbon, making sure not to stitch the top fourth. this is where the ribbon will tie in a bow.

you now have a piece of fabric with nice edges and a ribbon sewn to most of it. congrats.

this next step is not needed, but it is all the nicer. take a bit of velcro and stitch it:

a) on the reverse of the fabric where the ribbon is stitched all the way to the edge (this will be the top half of the bag).

b) and on the front side of the fabric 1-2 inches above where the ribbon that didn't get stitched all the way leaves off.

fold the bottom of your fabric piece upward so that it will make the pouch to fit your item.

stitch the folded bit with a 1/4" seam--down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side--making sure to backstitch at both ends. again, this will make a pouch to hold the gift. an d remember, nice & sturdy. we want this thing to last forever.

slip your item into the bag. close with the velcro, if you used it. (if for some reason the velcro doesn't match up--because of the bulk or height of the item--you can simply curse for a moment, take it off and reattach where it should go).

tie a pretty bow. fluff said bow. give gift with love, eco-friendly, handmade (and only slightly wonky) holiday joy.

the word is out...

we're an eco-family. and apparently, everybody knows it. 

jeremy went out to his truck this morning and was surprised to find a cardboard box in our front yard. the box was placed with great intent on a patch of dirt on one side of our driveway. this patch of dirt was, at one point, a patch of grass separate from the main lawn. jeremy has dug most of it up--we plan to plant either a clover lawn or a "victory garden" there next year. anyway, all that doesn't so much matter. what matters is what was in the box. 

12 bottles of used motor oil. 

our greatest thanks to whomever decided that we were the best home for all that old motor oil. we really appreciate the thought. and just think--we didn't even have to wait until christmas for the gift. 

really? would it ever cross your mind in 100 years to leave something like that in somebody else's yard? i mean, ours isn't the nicest house on the block, but it's light-years away from being a dumping zone. why not have placed it across the street, at the house that keeps a mirrored headboard and 2 floor lamps on the front porch? a much better match, don't you think?


poor jeremy has taken the box to an auto store down the road, where it will be properly disposed of.