In between our holiday madness I got some crafting in, some for presents and some just for us ūüôā

The year of the banner.  I LOVE making banners for different holidays, birthdays and just for any day of the week.  Some friends received holiday banners this year.

and one for us

This year I moved the village out from under the tree so we needed a new tree skirt.¬† I saw one at¬†a store that inspired me – it was simple just red with snowflakes –¬†I took that basic principle¬†and envisioned a red skirt with different antique doilies attached (as the snowflakes). So¬†began the quest for a red tree skirt (I was going to make one but thought I’d check the thrift stores first).¬† I was at one of my favorites digging through their uber amounts of doilies and I ask the lady behind the counter if they have any tree skirts and what do you know…. she’s about ready to open a big cardboard box that said “christmas stuff” and the first thing she pulls out is this adorable old tree skirt that is absolutely perfect.¬† So I pick up my stack of doilies and my fabulous find and head home to make my new tree skirt.

As I said this was the year of the banner….. here’s one the kids made

I’d have to say this is my favorite ūüôā¬† They did such a good job – my little crafters!

A little something for my friends in Chicago.¬† I did the embroidery in the car on the way to The Skunk Train and I think I was a bit dizzy from the winding roads – as I look at the finished project ūüėȬ† Whoops – well this is part of the appeal of handmade to me, nothing is perfect and no two are¬†alike¬†–¬† let’s just go with that.¬† Hopefully they won’t mind.

And¬†the dowel rod was a bit rough on the ends so I had to figure out a¬†little finial and I found my new favorite thing to do…..


felt balls.¬† I had no luck making the felt balls with the soap and water method and then I bought felting¬†needles – and ta da – it’s a miracle – I can make the felt balls ūüôā¬† I am totally jazzed about my new found crafty love.

There was a bit more crafting/creating during the season but in all my rush to get the gifts to their rightful owners (some being back in Chicago) I failed to take pictures ūüė¶¬† but hopefully they are all enjoying their gifts made with lots of love.

What kind of wonderful crafting did you do during the holidays?  Did you receive any great crafts or handmade items? 

One of my favorite was a lip balm and soap made by my muli-talented girl Kendra over at¬†a sonoma garden.¬† She makes all of these wonderful salves and lotions and potions and gardens and cooks and sews beautifully, etc etc.¬†while raising three kids and I think they are up to 6 chickens now too! ¬†I saw she had started to make lip balm and was secretly hoping I’d be getting some this year.¬† And yippee, I did…… Thanks Kendra ūüôā

I found this pillowcase at the thrift store the other day and had to buy it.¬† I had this dress in mind when I bought it.¬†¬† I just love the colors and how summery it looks.¬† I had purchased some elastic thread a couple months back and have been wanting to try to sew with it (I’ve never used elastic thread).¬† I love the little smocked tops and dresses – they are so easy to just throw on and go.¬† So this was my first attempt with the elastic thread – and I think – not so bad ūüôā¬† And I can’t help but LOVE that this is an old pillow case (no hemming needed).

I did add straps to the dress to help it stay on better.  I love the elastic thread.  Super easy to use and super easy to create a quick top or dress or skirt.

Give it a try and let’s see what you create.

Saige¬†is now 2 1/2 and growing quickly.¬† We have been looking, for sometime now, a big girl bed for her.¬† Her crib converted into a daybed¬†and it has worked well, but for the last couple months we’ve noticed she’s usually got an arm or leg hanging off the bed – good sign it’s getting a little too small.¬† I had in mind a particular style/look and purpose for her bed.¬† She, unfortunately has the smallest room in our house so we have to make every square inch work for us and every piece of furniture needs to be functional (extremely functional).¬† So we wanted a captains bed/chest bed with a few drawers, a cabinet, possibly a door to get access to the back side of the bed, white shabby chic style with beadboard.¬† Not too much to ask right?¬† Well we looked and looked – mainly on the internet and craigslist.¬† We found a couple but just hated the thought of paying all that money for a junky piece of furniture (new).¬† I never gave up hope with craigslist but just no luck.

Well, we had been searching craigslist¬†for some thermarest¬†pads for camping (which we scored big time and found some!) – makes it more comfortable when sleeping on shale.¬† While looking for the thermarest I thought, let’s try again for the bed – and much to my delight there was a listing (no picture of exact bed but one of similar) so we called and Doug talked to the woman and it sounded great – plus a mattress to boot.¬† Doug headed out that evening to San Fran to pick it¬†up (about 45 minutes away) and was back about 2 hours later with, literally, exactly what we wanted (and all for $100) and two little baby doll strollers thrown in ūüôā

Of course in our tiny little house it takes a lot of rearranging to fit things in (plus we were leaving to go camping in the morning) so we had furniture on the front porch, in the kitchen, the garage – all to get this bed into it’s spot.¬† But once there – it’s perfect!¬† I’m so over buying new (have been for some time now) but after buying this bed I felt so good that we didn’t buy something new, that we kept something out of a landfill and gave it a whole new life and then I read Farmama’s post (it couldn’t have been more appropriate and perfect timing) and remembered this video I had seen a while ago (it’s an awesome¬†video –¬†you must watch)¬†and it made me even happier to know that we didn’t buy new.¬†

And Saige LOVES her new bed!¬† She tells EVERYONE about it!¬† It’s precious and a bit sad all at the same time, our little girl is growing up.¬†

A couple weeks ago I was laying on the couch, feeling miserable and sick, Doug had taken the kids out for the day and I get a phone call.¬† It’s Doug, he’s at the thrift store down the street from our house and he has found an old kitchen hutch, with no back or shelves and needing some TLC but it was a great price and he thought we could restore it and try to sell it (and maybe make a little bit of money – imagine that).¬† I didn’t feel like thinking about it so I just said “sure” bring it home and we’ll figure it out.

So he loads this thing in the truck and brings it home.¬† I finally drag my bum off the couch and peak out the window to see what we have gotten ourselves into……. it’s huge!¬† Holy smokes – this thing looks like it’s been sitting in someone’s barn for the last 30 years!¬† This is going to require some work.¬† But as I get closer and I see the adorable (and original) green glass knobs, the wavy glass in the top cabinets ( I love old glass and mirrors – the wavy look of the glass or the darker look of the mirror – it just screams vintage) and the three dowels on the side for towels – I quickly fall in love!¬†

Fabulous eye Doug!¬† But it just looks so big there is no way we could keep it.¬† Our house is, well let’s say quaint, and we already have a lot of antiques we have restored and they all have their “spot” and I don’t want the house to feel crowded.¬† We rope our neighbor into helping us bring it into the backyard to store it until we can start cleaning it up and restoring it.¬† So there it sits, and there I sit in the sun porch eyeing it.¬† I think it was on Tuesday morning when I finally went out there and started measuring it up, then I went inside and started measuring the wall in the kitchen that it would look GREAT on.¬† According to my measurements it would fit perfectly, except there is already a beautiful antique buffet on that wall.¬† Hmmm, so I start measuring up different spots to start moving pieces of furniture.¬† Well, after about 30 minutes of measuring and checking and re-measuring I decide – that’s it we are keeping it and moving furniture around so it can fit in the kitchen.

So begins the process of cleaning and restoring. 






It actually wasn’t bad since we were just going to paint it white and then add the shelves and the beadboard backing.¬† It’s a lot more work if you have to strip the layers of paint, sand and then stain.¬†




So after two weekends of TLC we moved it into it’s home and now have a place for my grandmother and Doug’s grandmothers China (which have been sitting in our garage for almost a year).¬†


Oh, I’m so happy with this restoration.¬† It just feels so good to give life to something that was going to be discarded and keep it alive.¬† Things aren’t made as good as they used to and I love knowing there is history with this piece of furniture.¬† Again, we’ve saved something else from meeting it’s demise at the landfill.

So I was thinking about different ways everyone can make Earth Day everyday and these are all very simple and easy ideas that don’t take much effort but are very beneficial to our environment.


First and foremost we all must start REDUCING our consumption.¬† It’s insane how “throw away” our society is.¬† Just keep buying and using and buying again.¬† With no thought about where these products come from, how the production of these products are affecting our enviornment and what’s going to happen to this product once it’s lifecycle ends.

So the first thing to remember is you need to reduce your consumption.¬† Some ways to reduce your consumption ….

turn off the water while brushing teeth

turn off the lights when you are not in the room

when you can walk or ride a bike

instead of using paper products (paper towels, napkins, paper plates) use cloth napkins and cloth rags and regular plates

instead of buying new, buy used – there are great consignment stores, thrift stores, antique stores and garage sales.¬† Also now with ebay and craigslist – it makes it even easier to buy used.¬† Especially with kids – why buy new?¬† it’s just going to get thrashed anyways or they will grow out of it before they even wear it more than once.¬† By buying used you are keeping that item out of a landfill and also you are preventing more natural resources to be used to create another item.¬†


As I mentioned above – buy used- this is the best way to go for Mother Earth and your pocket book

instead of plastic baggies for your kids lunches use reusable containers (BPA free). 

don’t buy bottled water- purchase a reusable water container (Sigg, Klean Kanteen, etc) and get the water out of your faucet (which has more stringent regulations than bottled water).¬† Plus they have super cute designs for kids – it makes them more apt to use them.

bring cloth bags when shopping.  Keep a couple in each of your vehicles so they are always there. 

do clothing swaps with other parents in your community


most garbage companies offer curbside recycling – take advantage.¬† If your service makes you separate- keep a couple small containers in your house to make it easier.¬† If you can combine all recyclables – well, there’s no excuse not to be recycling.¬† Get the kids involved.¬† My 4 1/2 year old loves to differentiate what goes in the garbage and what goes in the recycling.

These are all just a few easy things that we do and that are easy for you to incorporate into your daily lives.¬† It’s simple and it feels good to know you are doing something to help keep our planet green and it is a great lesson to teach our children.¬† Our children are going to be born knowing the 3 R’s.¬† It will just be a part of their life – there will be no question about whether they should or shouldn’t, it will be a given.¬†

I hope you and your families can find a way to make every day Earth Day!

Today I had to go to the “mall”, not a big fan of the “mall” but I needed to get something there and I was in the area so I detoured to the “mall”.¬† (I have it in quotes b/c Doug and I usually say it in a certain tone- anyways) I always leave with such a weird feeling, the first being a feeling of filth – not really crazy about the “mall” clientele and it just always looks dirty and second it’s this weird anxious feeling b/c there is this energy in the air of frenzied shoppers just buying to buy something.¬† Especially now, with the economy, I noticed most all stores had some kind of sale going on and people were just scooping it all up.

So my point being…. I have really been focusing on buying handmade and/or local.¬† This particular purchase today was lingerie (for my cousins bachelorette party) and there just wasn’t anything in our little, wine country town that screamed bachelorette party (not that I was looking for something totally sleezy) but something sassy.¬† So I succumbed to the “mall” and found the item I was looking for.¬†

I let myself wander every so often, and wouldn’t you know it the day that I do, what should I find in my email inbox tonight?¬† But a new “Green Mom Finds” – “Big Green Purse” Book – a book about shopping with an eye for environmentally-safe, socially responsible products and services.¬†And it teaches¬†about how you can use your dollar wisely when it comes to purchasing eco-friendly, fair-trade items.¬†

So after seeing that it just reiterated my desire to continue to try to buy local and/or handmade when buying presents.¬† I can say more than 80% of the time I shop local/handmade for my family and I (we love thrift stores, consignment stores and garage sales – even Ryder has learned how cool garage sales are!) But when it comes to presents I sometimes fall back on the “convenience”¬† of going to the “mall” or another retailer ( I hate admitting that).¬† So I am trying to make a vow for the upcoming holidays to either make the presents myself (I do have a lot of canned goods now that will be given as gifts), or buy from another local crafter or the thousands of wonderfully talented artists/crafters on Etsy.

Check out Green Mom FindsРsubscribe to it and get daily emails about great green items.

Try to buy local whenever possible and handmade, support your local artists.¬† This holiday season seek out some local craft fairs or check out Etsy and if you can’t buy everything, maybe just one item (more would be good, but you have to start somewhere).


Another great store at the local children’s consignment store.¬† I went in looking for a present for my niece and spotted this absolutely sweet dress for Saige.¬† It just screams innocence.¬†

the detail work is the sweetest.

Of course she wore it the next day.  I just love consignment!

blog pics 343, originally uploaded by funnytrees74.

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