Category Archives: Making Things

Sunday Progress


I spent much of this afternoon working on pottery glazing–I had forgotten how many pieces I had ready to be glazed! These will go a long way to finishing my Christmas presents without buying anything new. I glazed a platter and 18 small plates today–and that is probably not even half of what I have at the studio waiting for me to complete.

Before I did that, though, I took my daughter and a friend out for brunch. We had a great time, and it was a nice way to start the day. I made them laugh hard, which is always fun.

laughing girls

I went out to dinner with a friend tonight, and now I am tired but ready for the work week. Fun with kids, pottery, catching up with a friend–that’s a good day!

Buy Nothing New Christmas: More Ideas


foil painting

I feel like I write this post, or some version of it, all the time. Even though other people seem to have this reuse/recycle thing down, I struggle with it mightily. It is just so much easier to head the the craft or hardware store to buy supplies! You can get exactly what you want! I do like working within the constraints of only using what you have available, but sometimes I have a clear vision and no patience to wait to find the things I need.

I already talked about some ideas in my last Buy Nothing New Christmas post, but I have been thinking further, and I wanted to document these ideas as well. Only the first idea below is really new to me, but I like the idea of pulling these together under the BNNC concept.

  • My son and I have been working on Arduino a bit. I bought some kits and a soldering iron this summer, and he was very enthusiastic for a while, but it got put aside. I have to confess, I haven’t encouraged it as much as I might because those electronic parts are expensive! I found this great tutorial on Make for salvaging parts from old electronics though, and I am inspired to at least investigate.

  • I have been determined to go to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for a while now, but I just haven’t made it. Part of my problem was that the original store in our area is closed on Sundays, and Saturdays just seemed too busy for me to make it out there. The new store is open on Sundays, though, so maybe I will make it out there soon!

  • I find my yard to be a great place to find craft supplies, as suggested in this post on free supplies. I do have a lovely birch tree with peeling bark and a creek with many natural supplies, but I have also found many non-nature supplies there, like the lawnmower-chewed DS game and the metallic square I used in the mixed media painting at the top of this post. I know where the game came from–my son dropped it and could not find it until after lawn mowing day–but I have no idea where the square came from. I liked the look of it, though, and saved it. It was just what I needed when I did this piece.

  • I really want to do something with all the outgrown children’s clothing I have in my basement–either T-shirt yarn or a denim blanket or possibly some other idea I haven’t come across yet.

Does anyone have other creative supply ideas I am missing?

Making Things: A Cowl for Me


I actually made this a few months ago, but I forgot to save the pattern, and it took me this long to find it again!


I should have looked on Make: Craft sooner– I love that blog. This was a quick, easy and fun pattern to work up, and a nice use for some yarn I had bought off a clearance rack. It was actually an accident I was wearing matching colors in the picture above–I took that picture as soon as I finished the project, and it just happened to be a good outfit for the cowl.

Pink was wonderful last night. The show was so much fun. I loved the circus theme and the acrobatics, and of course her voice is amazing. I am so lucky to have good friends who are good to me!

Friday Fragments


Fridays are not a good day for coherent thought, I find. Or, at least, I have to save all of my coherent thought for work. So, I thought the Friday Fragments idea I found on Blogher was a great idea for today.


Awhile back I made some shaving scrub for my daughter to use when shaving her legs, and she complained it was hard to see and said she wasn’t sure about it. The other night, though, she came downstairs and demanded that I feel her legs, then told me I should make some more scrub, because she has almost used it all. Score one for homemade!


I am making good progress on my handmade gift list. I have 5 blankets and 9 scarves and several small stocking ornaments done, 1 blanket nearly done, and a shawl that is probably 75% complete. Oh, and several spa cloths! I haven’t made much progress on my aunt’s collage, but I have plans to work on that this weekend.


My son and I are going to make more wands this weekend for a Harry Potter party at a friend’s house. We did it last year and had so much fun.



I should say we are going to make wands if I can find my glue gun. I really need to reorganize my family room into a crafting studio so I can find things.


It is 49 degrees outside right now. The forecasted low is 43. This is important, because my daughter has friends over and they are sleeping in a tent in the backyard. Personally, I am glad to have my bed in the warm house.


that’s all I can think of at this point. It is nearly bed time on Friday night, and I am glad to have made it through the week. How was your week? Any exciting plans for the weekend?

Linking up to the current Friday Fragments post–check out the other fragmenters!

Buy Nothing New Christmas – Some Ideas


christmas gifts

Since I stumbled across the concept of the Buy Nothing New Christmas, I have been thinking about how I could do this, and if I really want to completely forego new things in my gift giving. I found an interesting webpage, Buy Nothing Christmas, that helped me think through what this concept means to me, and what I would like to get out of it.

To me, the point is not to save money, or at least that is not the main point. The main point is to get out of the disposable mindset of our culture. The level of stuff our society produces is simply not sustainable, especially if you are giving any thought to raising the standard of living for third world countries and for poor people all over the globe. The waste produced by one household is staggering to me–4.4 pounds per person per day, or 1600 pounds per person per year.

I don’t want to opt out of gift giving, though. I love giving gifts and I think it provides an important social role, bringing friends and families together. I just want to be a bit more thoughtful about how I do gifts. I am also a bit hesitant to take on a project with strict rules. I have a problem with perfectionism–it often leads to an all or nothing mentality where you either do something perfectly, or this is no point to trying at all. I think that sort of thinking is detrimental to actual change. For instance, if everyone was able to cut down on buying just a few new things, it would have a much larger impact than a small handful of people foregoing new things entirely.There is benefit to doing something even if it isn’t technically *all* that could be done.

With all that in mind, here are some guidelines and tips I am going to use to buy less new things this year.

  • Making things is the best gift in my eyes; I will try to make as many gifts as I can
  • Any supplies I already have don’t count as new, although I may have bought them new originally
  • Consumables don’t count as new things: restaurant gift certificates, tickets to events, and food (especially ingredients for something I make) can all be bought new
  • Upcycle Exchange is a good local source for used craft supplies–thanks for the reminder, Hilary!
  • I will be checking in with friends who make gifts to see if we can trade supplies or possibly even finished products
  • Goodwill is a good resource; have been thinking about going to the dollar store to buy mugs, then crocheting cozies for those mugs, but I could find mugs at Goodwill, I am sure.
  • My first thoughts will always be to reuse something I already have, trade with someone else, or purchase something used, but if I have a great gift that needs a small purchase of something new to complete it, I will not get too upset over that

What do you think of the Buy Nothing New Christmas concept? Is anyone else attempting it this year?

buy nothing new christmas // the first of a new series


I think this is a great idea, although I am not sure I can fully do it. If I buy new crafting supplies, does that count? Plus, the kids might be disappointed if they don’t get some new things. I have definitely given a lot of thought to giving only gifts that I have made, though, and we could certainly do clothes from the resale shops and stay in this challenge. What do you think? Can you go without buying anything new for Christmas?


A few years ago, in the spirit that I like to do most things in – completely last minute – I decided I was going to have a Buy Nothing New Christmas. There seemed to be a lot of chit chat going on in the blogosphere about having periods of buying nothing new, and nothing motivates me more than a challenge! So I dove in head first and have to say it was such a satisfying experience that I have *almost* done it every Christmas since. In fact, I was so motivated, my Buy Nothing New challenge continued for the first six months of 2011!

It made me realise not only how much we consume needlessly in our daily lives, but how much we can do without, and more to the point, how much great stuff is circulating the planet as rubbish, because we are constantly, obsessively…

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