Thursday, June 30, 2011

felt barettes

I've been whipping up several of these super cute hair barettes in different styles made from felt the last few days.  So easy to do, and I like the fact that they are all hand sewn - I don't have to be sitting at my machine to make them.  I'm also waiting on a stash of alligator clips in the mail (dang Canada Post and the strike back-log) to make some grosgrain ribbon clippies.  Gosh I'm glad Lexi finally grew some hair to do something with!

mommyhood: lessons learned

Lesson 1:  You are the only person who cares if your dishes are washed, the laundry is done, and if there are toys all over the floor.  Leave it for later, and have another tickle fight with your kiddo instead.

Lesson 2:  Never say 'never.'  Before my daughter was born I said we would never let her sleep in our bed.  Also avoid using the words 'never' and 'tv,' 'junk food,' and 'pacifier' in the same sentence.

Lesson 3:  Don't judge the other mommies.  We are all trying to do our best for our children.

Lesson 4:  Let your husband (or mom, or friends) help you when they offer.  In fact, take the help and then RUN, not walk, to your nearest coffee house for a well-deserved break.  YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL BY YOURSELF.

Lesson 5:  IT'S ONLY A PHASE.  Yes, you will
a) sleep again
b) be able to use the bathroom or shower without a little person watching you
c) wear underwire bras again
d) eat food with both hands, before it gets cold, and have a proper convo with your hubby while doing so

Lesson 6:  Your child is ALWAYS watching you and learning from you.  Be careful about what you say, and how you say it.

Lesson 7:  Make time to play pony castle for the third time that day, and pull out the paints even though you REALLY don't want to.  Soon they will be coming home from school, going in their rooms, and closing the door.

Lesson 8:  Make the effort to put on a bit of make-up, do your hair, and put on a cute top.  It WILL make you feel better, even if you only got 3 hours sleep.

Lesson 9:  Learn to buy and make REALLY good coffee (or get on a first-name basis with your local Starbucks barista)

Lesson 10:  Enjoy every moment (and find the humor in them, even when you don't feel like laughing) because they go by way too fast...

Friday, June 24, 2011

make your own labels

When I started selling my handmade cards several years ago, I had a custom stamp made up with a logo and my email address on it.  This stamp still gets lots of use, although I'm starting to think the logo could use a re-vamp.  I had a custom return address stamp made up by tickled pink paper ink on etsy and love it (and love her aesthetic) so I'm thinking of getting her to do a new one for me.

Anyhow, now that I'm starting to make other things, I was trying to figure out a way to put my name on them.  I love the natural look of cotton twill tape, so I looked into having some personalized for me.  Yikes, expensive.  My good friend Mr. Google led me to this fabulous tutorial about making your own.  Luckily I realized we own a laser (NOT an inkjet) printer BEFORE I put the transfer paper in it, so off to Mom and Dad's I went to print there (and Mom made me a childhood favorite for lunch to boot - thanks Mom!)

They turned out really well!  I still need to try the 'parchment paper re-iron' trick to get rid of the bit of shininess, but alas, there is no parchment paper in this house, and I am MUCH too lazy (and pregnant) to go to the store JUST for that (although it's always a good excuse to buy more ice cream... hmmm....)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Felting Wool 101

After my doctor's appointment this afternoon - I'm in my 36th week - yikes - how did THAT happen - I wandered into the thrift store across the street.  I had heard some of my crafty friends talk about felting wool before, and my interest was piqued.  I only had time to check out the sweater section (mens and womens) and scored two 100% wool sweaters for 10 bucks.  I actually considered keeping one for myself, as it's 100% cashmere from Barney's and cost $5 (and like I'd EVAH be able to afford whatever that cost retail), but it's a turtleneck, and just not my style.  The other is a lovely brown wooly men's sweater.

My understanding of how to felt wool is basic - throw it in a hot wash with something abrasive like a tennis ball, and then dry on high heat.  I'm sure many people do this as an oopsie (or perhaps innocent hubbies trying to be helpful have accidentally felted their wives' cashmere) but I'm gonna chuck them in there on purpose (after a trip to scour my local SA around the corner as it's much bigger and I expect a better score).

What can you do with felted wool?  I plan on trying my hand at making some accessories - flowers for hair clips, hair bands, or necklaces.  With larger pieces you could do a little clutch bag, or even cute stuffy toys for baby - the possibilities are endless.

Some inspiration:

                                        Marang Studios


                               felt food by homemade by jill

why ducklyandjuicy?

Duckly and Juicy were born from a wee little girl's vivid imagination about 30 years ago.  Shortly after my sister was born when I was 2, I created some imaginary friends for myself called Duckly and Juicy.  Please don't ask me what we did together, or what they looked like (although you could ask my mom, as she loves to remind me of stories like this), as I don't remember.  I also created an 'alter ego' for myself that would usually make an appearance as my sister got her bath.  Her name was 'Deely.'  This I do remember.  I would dress up (usually accessorizing with a hat, purse and some of my mom's costume jewelery), and have a lovely, civilized visit with my mom - gossiping and having pretend tea - while she bathed my sister.  Poor Deely suffered the trauma of having a wooden bangle bracelet stuck on her arm up past her elbow (and having to have it removed forcibly with the help of some vaseline) and funnily enough, she can out to play less and less after that.

I have been interested in crafts for as long as I can remember.  I adored coloring as a child, and I could spend hours coloring in the pictures of make-up my mom drew for me.  I was certainly lucky to be born first  so I couldt have a little sister and brother to boss around.  I remember playing the role of dictator often, announcing when we would play barbies or 'pretty girls, NOW', which, if I remember correctly, involved dressing up, playing with make-up, and doing EVERYTHING I SAID.  Sorry Cath...

I have many a crafty lady in my family.  My Nana is a killer knitter, my other Nana put together the most beautiful picture albums and scrapbooks, my Auntie M made her living running a craft store, and my Mom is an amazing cook, and all around craft diva.  I first picked up a pair of knitting needles as age 8.  My Nana taught me to knit some simple projects, and soon I was knitting clothes for my barbie dolls.  Lessons from my Mom in crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, and simply sewing followed.  I was the kid who wore homemade smocked dresses in family portraits and Mom-fashioned costumes at Halloween (I think I had to wear that damn clown outfit at LEAST 3 years in a row).

I was a fairly quiet, somewhat artsy kid.  I loved to read, and also loved to sing (I also get that from Mom).  I did choir, and learned to play the piano and read music.  Other interests have come and gone over the years, but these are the ones that even as an adult, I always come back to - crafts, music and reading.

I wanted to be several different things growing up, most notably a lawyer and then an accountant.  After 1 year of pre-commerce, I knew being a number cruncher wasn't for me.  I ended up, based on one undergrad elective course, getting a degree in psychology.  This didn't leave me many practical career options - so I faced the decision about what to do heading back to school - get a Masters in Psyc, pursue law, or do a teaching degree.  I had taken a job working as a teacher's aide in the school system, and I enjoyed the classroom atmosphere.  After signing up to take the LSATs, I balked, and signed up to do the PDP teaching program instead.  Boy, am I glad I did.  Teaching is a great career fit for me, and I have found my niche as a primary teacher.  There are days I want to pull my hair out after answering the same question 38 times, and the noise and bustle of 24 kids can get to me, but at the end of the day, I love being around children, and take huge pride in being one of the people who helps these kiddos learn to read and write, and add and subtract.

I met my wonderful husband eight years ago this summer, and we got engaged 8 months later.  We were married in 2005, and our beautiful daughter was born in 2008.  Being a mother has changed my life in every cliched way I could say.  I consider it my most important job.  I will know, at the end of my life - whenever that moment will come - that my life was well-lived if my children can say that the person they look up to the most is their parents.  I know that this is certainly true for me.  My mom is the most caring, gentle, and strong woman I know, and my dad has always been the concerned protector, encouraging me to be the best I can be.

I am blessed to be expecting our second babe in the next few weeks - a little boy.  Everyone says 'oh, how lucky, one of each.'  I am just content to have healthy kids.  Hubby and I bought our first home together (and we hope, our last, as we LOVE it here) a year and a half ago, and while it has had many updates to it, there is still a lot to be done.  Going on maternity leave again, I'm hoping, will afford me some time to revisit my love of crafting and work on some of these home improvement projects.

So - ducklyandjuicy - what's it about?  my love of all things crafty, where I draw my inspiration from, home improvement, cooking, reading, fashion and style, and day-to-day life as a mommy and wife.  It's my place to just be 'me.'  I hope you'll enjoy :)