rings and things :: a valentine's day tutorial


We are making rings and things for Valentine's Day this year: heart button rings, wool felt heart rings, heart button hair ties, and some bracelets too.

A pile of little wooden hearts with a fresh coat of paint.

Chick is partial to the wooden button heart ring.

Mouse loves the soft, wool felt ring. This is more of that earthy, soft, thick, locally dyed wool that I picked up while I was selling at a local craft fair this past fall.

The hair tie in action.

And, Chick's favorite: the heart button bracelet. I snipped a hair tie elastic, threaded it through, and then tied it, so is just the right size.


This is my 1980's hand-in-the pocket shot. It almost looks like I am wearing stone washed jeans, right?

How to:

Materials: paint, wooden hearts (wood section in your local craft store), black 1/4" flat elastic, scissors, thread, wool felt, elastic hair ties, and a drill.


After painting the little hearts, drill holes in them to make them into heart shaped buttons. The size of the holes depends on what you wish to do with them. Tiny holes are perfect for sewing them onto the black ring elastic, and larger holes are better for threading hair tie elastic through.

Make the elastic rings. Measure little fingers and snip off a piece of flat elastic. While sewing the elastic into a ring, use a slightly larger piece with some overlap, and then snip off any part that hangs over.

Once you have a bunch of black elastic rings, sew wooden hearts, felt hearts, or whatever you want onto the rings. We are planning to have a little ring decorating afternoon where Chick and Mouse will help design rings and things. I bought a bag of tiny paper flowers too, and the kids loved how those turned out. I'll show you pictures of those in another post.

I did all of the sewing for this project, but I do plan on having the kids use some glue to decorate some rings on their own.

xo e
* treasured *

Each Wednesday I post about some sort of treasure I found during the past week. It might be thrifted or found on a walk or whispered in my ear or discovered on a dark shelf in the basement. Something. Anything that makes me feel lucky and thankful. It doesn't necessarily have to make its way home with me - it just has to be noticed. The idea is for it to cost very little and feel very big. After all, this isn't about acquiring new things; it is about paying better attention to the world around me.


If you discovered a treasure this week (a new friend, a snow fairy, a fancy dish at the thrift store, a birds nest) please do share it, as well as any links, in the comments section below.

*****


My dear, lovely friend Ariana gave me these spools of silken thread as a winter solstice gift. I found them this week while I was dusting (read: clearing off heaps of tools and materials) my craft table.

What makes them triple special is that, two years ago, I saw crates of these while I was at the Bouckville Antique fair. I almost bought a handful, but then I went to find some water and the bathroom, and the next thing I knew I was lost in the old washing buckets tent. That is just how it goes at antique fairs. I did think about those bright spools of thread on the drive home, though, and I wished I had bought a few.

Thank you, Ariana, for just knowing. I imagine I'll be using this fiber for many, many moons.


xo e

small and big things

Life has felt unsettled and surreal over the past week as we care for my very sick Nanny. I've been sitting a lot. Holding my Nanny's hand. Singing with her. Reading the same page in the same book. Remembering. Pacing. Taking small bites. And, now I'm back home in Massachusetts feeling a bit distant from the caring that is taking place in New York. Miss Mouse went up for nap awhile ago and I was just sitting on my couch - staring into space - kind of lost. So, I decided to post about this little craft thingy I did last week. I'm so thankful for this space of mine. It allows me to be happily lost - dreamily lost - in the best of ways.
*****
One evening last week, I was feeling inspired to create, but not so sure what I wanted to make. I felt like I wanted to make lots of tiny things. Not so much of a surprise (story stones, story discs, etc.), right? I started with the felt carrot, and then decided to make a pile of things for Mouse's little bunny (a favorite stuffy). I also decided that it didn't all have to make sense, and so I allowed myself to be led by color and texture and quirk. And, it was so easy and relaxing and fun.


What is the circle on a green stick, you ask? I don't know. But, I'm pretty sure her bunny really likes it.

The little book is supposed to be a journal for her bunny.

I recommend spending time doing some free form crafting. Let go of your creative plan and allow yourself to be drawn to whatever is at your fingertips. It felt like a little gift to me.

*****
My heart thanks you for your emails, comments, and kind thoughts. Each thought, each kind gesture is such a gift to me right now. Thank you.

xo e
*treasured*

E
ach Wednesday I post about some sort of treasure I found during the past week. It might be thrifted or found on a walk or whispered in my ear or discovered on a dark shelf in the basement. Something. Anything that makes me feel lucky and thankful. It doesn't necessarily have to make its way home with me - it just has to be noticed. The idea is for it to cost very little and feel very big. After all, this isn't about acquiring new things; it is about paying better attention to the world around me.


If you discovered a treasure this week (a new friend, a snow fairy, a fancy dish at the thrift store, a birds nest) please do share it, as well as any links, in the comments section below.

*****

My mom's Girl Scout compass found in the depths of my grandmother's basement.

I'm going to keep it real in this little space of mine. This compass was passed to me during Thanksgiving, and I rediscovered it this past week. I felt drawn to it because of its paired down adventure design and because my kids really dig it. So, I took pictures and I had planned on asking my mom about the kinds of memories it conjures for her, but I haven't had the chance because my mom has been caring for my grandmother, my Nanny, for the past week.

My Nanny whom I love in a second mother kind of way isn't feeling well. She is 91 years old and when I spoke with her last night, I heard fatigue and a bit of sadness in her voice. It reminded me of the ache that comes along with loving.

So, today I'm still going to post about this funny old compass even though I don't have any idea as to what my mom thinks about it. Mostly, I am holding my breath and hoping that my grandmother can pull through.

xo e

our guests, the dogs.

Our friend visited for the weekend and brought his sweet pups.

This is The Little Man. He is a greyhound and he is big. And, beautiful. And, not very interested in participating in any shenanigans.

Mouse insisted on calling him The Big Man.

And this is Millie. She is a sprite. Bouncy. Pouncy. And, very sweet.


The girls spent hours petting them the right way (with the grain). And, there was a lot of sleeping in sun beams (humans too).


This is Chick's drawing of the dogs. I love how long she made The Little Man. And, Millie's coloring is just right.


xo e

with cake


Today we will listen about dreams of the most important kind.
And, I will shed some tears.
And, then we will celebrate a life of

bravery
compassion
equity
empathy
kindness
fortitude.

With cake.

And, candles. And, maybe some dancing.

I will feel hopeful (about the hardest things to feel hopeful for) because the alternative doesn't work. Not now. It won't get us anywhere.

Then, I will pause to remember how far we have come and how much farther there is to go.

What will you do on this day? I'd love to know.

xo e

Five things I like.


1. Check out Ariana's driftwood mobile. It is a beautiful way to bring simple color and texture into a winter home.

2. Christine Mason Miller is giving away the most beautiful treasures on her blog for the entire month of January. I think her blog posts are little daily gifts in and of themselves.

3. Catherine Newman writes about fondue in her perfectly witty way and it gave me a hankering. Plus, after reading the post, I feel like it is less of an event and more of a humble family meal sort of thing. As much as I love cheese fondue, it always makes me pine away for a pot of warm chocolate. I can't decide between savory and sweet, and doing both makes it feel a tiny bit less easy. Thoughts? I'm easily convinced.

4. This crocheted stool cozy is such a clever, happy project. I feel like it makes the stool so much more seat worthy and throne like (in the humblest of ways).

5. Jennifer Rosner, friend and local author, wrote this honest, beautiful memoir which chronicles her family's journey with deafness (both past and present). This is a short video with clips from one her book readings. Just listen to the first passage - I well up (with joy) every time I hear it.


xo e

drifting

Early morning snow drifts.

Yesterday, we had the kind of snowfall that makes you stare a little longer. It was just so much snow - more than the eyes can see, really. I felt like we were overdoing it or something. Kind of like how I feel when I make way too many mashed potatoes, and I put the huge bowl on the table and stare at it imagining how much will be left over. And, I begin to plot who I can give some to. I caught myself doing that yesterday. How sad it was that we couldn't send just a little bit of our snow over to Chick and Mouse's cousin in California.

The flakes were clumpy and fluffy at the same time, which made for lots and lots of fluffy, beautiful, drifting snow.

Chick loved it! She rolled and rolled, and jumped off of the highest point of the swing set again and again. Mouse really wanted to like it, but the snow is up to her arm pits, and she kept getting stuck. "Mama! Get meeeeeee. I'm so stuck!" She is so capable and agile that I sometimes forget how small in stature she is. This deep, deep snow reminded me. And, her, I think.

xo e
* treasured *

E
ach Wednesday I post about some sort of treasure I found during the past week. It might be thrifted or found on a walk or whispered in my ear or discovered on a dark shelf in the basement. Something. Anything that makes me feel lucky and thankful. It doesn't necessarily have to make its way home with me - it just has to be noticed. The idea is for it to cost very little and feel very big. After all, this isn't about acquiring new things; it is about paying better attention to the world around me.


If you discovered a treasure this week (a new friend, a snow fairy, a fancy dish at the thrift store, a birds nest) please do share it, as well as any links, in the comments section below.


*****



With the new year comes a few new blog changes, which I will be making during the next few months. Today, I am feeling pretty excited about this sparkly new thing, my first weekly feature.

This week, I found burlap. It was at our local coffee shop. These beautiful coffee sacks instantly reminded me of dear Maya and her beautiful burlap buckets. I took a class at SAW with Maya this past spring, and I am still feeling thankful for her kind ways, deeply inspiring classroom, and friendship. So, in a roundabout way, the burlap reminds me of my time at SAW.

I haven't yet decided what I'll use these for, but, for now, I am simply thankful for their beauty and for the memories they elicit: rainy afternoons, sloshing through the woods, ink, twinkle lights, crackling fires, and porch rocking.




xo e

resurfacing and a nut grinder

Oh my. Well, it isn't Monday and I told you guys I'd be back on Monday. I blame it on Weeds (we found the series on Netflix play now) and the holidays and an exciting new project I have been working on (which I will tell you more about in the next week or so).

The bustle of the holidays completely swept me away. Throw some car troubles, a few deadlines, a trip to Boston, and a huge pile of new/old furniture (generously given to us by my Auntie Lynn and Uncle Michael) into the mix and it was packed to the brim with activity.

Oh, and good news! I overcame my irrational fear of being a passenger in humongous vehicles! Tom drove (and I sat in) a 14 foot truck to Willow NY where we picked up our furniture and my new nut grinder.

Which do I love more - nut grinder or furniture? I'm not telling.

The adventure was pure loveliness. I spent the afternoon caressing (and packing) many of my Aunt's sweet treasures, and we got three hours with one of my most favorite people - my cousin Chris. (Missed you so much Nick. This year is our year.) On our drive home, we ate amazing brick oven pizza at an authentic NY pizza joint. My crispy, warm slice had broccoli sauteed in garlic, slices of tomato, blobs of ricotta, and a thin layer of mozzarella. So good! Once we returned home, there were three days full of rearranging, rotating, and switcheroos.

And, here I am. Taking photos of our snowy surroundings, and preparing for a our next snowfall. By preparing, I mean making sure that the kids brought their snow pants home from school, bringing our snow shovels in from the backyard, and buying buttermilk, so we can bake muffins and maybe pancakes during the snow day tomorrow.

A shrinking, frozen sugar pumpkin.


Doesn't it look like this bush made its own beaded garland string in celebration of winter?

The little patch of woods beside our house.


Happy winter day to you - wherever you are.

xo e