Yeah, yeah, another month has passed by since my last post. But you know what? I have really been getting focused for the new year trying to accomplish some projects which have been laying around for far too long. I have talked about them before — my genealogy research/book and my cookbook! Connor has been helping me a lot too, and we are making some serious progress! It has felt really great and I feel like so far the New Year has been treating me well. Along with these big projects of mine, I have a whole box full of small crafts I have wanted to get around to as well. One of them was finishing my re-usable handwarmers. I bought the fabric for them quite a long time ago, and I wanted to finish them before winter was over! I found this idea on Pinterest and just thought it was really handy, and not as wasteful as the disposable ones. I already made my own rice bag for muscles aches and cramps, and these handwarmers are basically the same concept, but small enough to fit in your pockets to keep your hands warm on those bitter-cold days. It took me less than an hour to do!
I started by cutting down my fabric into rectangles. I folded them in half (one less side to sew), and I made sure to do this so when I sewed it, it would be inside out. (It looks nicer and leaves a cleaner seam when you pull the fabric out the right way). I then stitched the remaining three sides, leaving a small gap so I could fill them with the rice.
^^ I then had to pull the fabric through the small hole so it would no longer be inside out. It then looked like this (notice the little wing on the top right? it is the hole to put the rice through):
^^ All full of rice and now ready to stitch up the hole!
^^ And finally, complete! I made two sets, a pair for Connor and a pair for me!
To use, just throw in the microwave for a minute or two. I have found with my rice bag that if I do it for a shorter amount of time, it feels hot at first but quickly releases the heat. If I warm it for a bit longer, it holds the heat for much, much longer (although it is way too hot in the beginning!). Test out times to see what works best for you. Enjoy, and stay warm out there!
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 01/14/2015
Today, I wanted to share the Advent Calendar I have been working on the last few weeks, as it is finally complete! I went back and forth about many different ideas, but felt super inspired by the tags, fabric, and textures in this little project by Jones Design Company and all of a sudden I was ready to go for it.
I went to the craft store at a perfect time, too. All of their holiday fabrics were on sale (not that I needed much, anyway), and I got the holiday fabric and burlap for a total of $5.00. Woohoo! I had the doilies from some of the projects we used at our wedding, and they were ready to be re-purposed into snowflakes! (Another doily project here from our wedding). The large tags were just a couple dollars, and the wooden dowel was $1.00. So, not only was this project a fun and useful Christmas decoration, it was SUPER inexpensive!
I cut the holiday fabric into little squares and sewed them onto the paper tags. I am still learning to sew, and this was a great project for practicing straight lines, which from the close-ups photos you can tell I still have a lot to work on! Then we stamped the tags with numbers for each day, 1-24. For the burlap, I just folded the edges over to get clean looking sides and used a hot glue gun to secure it. I also used hot glue to attach the doilies. Finally, I cut down a wooden dowel, slipped it through the top of the fabric, and used some hemp twine to hang the whole thing. The tags were fastened using little pins through the burlap. I debated using an actual bulletin board behind, but I chose to go without so the whole thing can be disassembled and rolled up for easy storage!
Last year, a friend and I came up with advent activities, so I printed those out, selected the ones we would do this year, folded up the papers, and put each activity in a fabric pocket. I realized we definitely need more adult-friendly ones, as most of the activities we came up with were more aimed toward kids. Any activity ideas you can share would be much appreciated!
Day 1 of our advent activity this year will be setting up the Christmas tree, and I am just so excited to get started!
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 11/19/2014
Clean up from last month’s wind storms is finally wrapping up around here, including the giant pine that fell behind our house. The men of the household have been busy with the chainsaw, cutting it down into pieces and loading it up in the truck. At the same time I have been inspired by the craft projects I have seen on Pinterest using wood logs. The first one I wanted to make was these wood bookends, so I snatched up one of the logs from behind the house and had Connor cut it into quarters. Then, I used a chisel to remove the bark (much easier than I was expecting, thankfully!). I let the wood sit out in the sun for a few days to dry out, as the bark had left a mushy residue behind. Now that it is all dried out, I just need to put on a clear coat to protect the wood from bugs and crumbling over time.
(The same day, I was re-potting some overgrown plants, so I took some photos of them using the wood, and it inspired me to use them as plant stands as well!)
A few of my favorite wood projects that I am hoping to do in the future!
1. Stump and ink prints…Absolutely stunning!
2. Wooden Christmas tree ornaments…So cute! It reminds me of an old tradition we had where every year my dad would paint a wooden piece like these with a mural from a vacation or big event from the year. It was a great way to reminisce each year while setting them out for display!
3. Log planter…Love the two natural elements being used together.
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 08/20/2014
I tell you, over the last few weeks it has felt like we brought Colorado storms/tornado season back to Washington with us. Over the last month, we have had two extremely large and dangerous wind storms that knocked over so many trees, damaging hundreds of houses and leaving thousands without electricity, some for over a week. Thankfully for us, each time we were only without power for a day, but unfortunately others are still recuperating from their losses of homes, vehicles, and food.
It was interesting to see how different age groups responded to the loss of electricity. My nephew (now 5 years old and efficient with iphones/electronics since the age of 2 or 3) practically broke down when he couldn’t watch his favorite movies or download games on the iPad. And on the opposite spectrum, those 30 or older were found sitting in their running cars outside of their houses, charging their phones and watching videos. Connor and I about died when we saw this. What happened to the old days when losing electricity meant playing hide and seek, or board games by candlelight? Is it only the 90’s kids that reminisce over these days, and try to relive them when we have the opportunity? I find it funny when parents and grandparents say my generation is terrible for being addicted to technology or having bad etiquette. It was just the other day that I was in the doctor’s waiting room and I listened to a full conversation of the 50-some year old woman behind me about her not being able to find a good pair of shoes for some family gathering. In the opposite corner, a 30-some year old woman flipped through magazines while her 8-year old daughter obnoxiously and loudly sang along to the songs she was listening to on her ipod. Meanwhile, I sat quietly in the waiting room with my phone on silent while I waited to be called back. And my generation is bad?
Anyway, I got off topic there.
Needless to say, Connor and I were pretty excited when the power was out. Not at first, as we quickly bought bags of ice to save our food. But rather than sitting around complaining about it, we pulled out the board games and played, and then I decided to do some sewing on an ipad case I had been meaning to make for several months. Nothing to get you motivated like no power, right? I designed it as I went, but maybe these pictures will spark some of your own ideas for making a custom case for your own devices. All it takes is some fabric, needles, and thread. At least when the power goes out, the electronics can be stored away in style!
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 08/13/2014