Hey there, I’m popping in this afternoon to share some of the knitting projects that I’ve recently finished, am working on, or are on my mind. I’m exciting. You may need an extra cup of coffee.
After I finished up the big sweater project, I immediately cast on a sweater of my own, Wolf River. I love how this turned out and now have a case of sweater fever (there are so many good patterns out there!). I haven’t even worn this one yet and I’m already itching to start another sweater, but as you’ll read below, there are a few other little projects that I’m hoping to get out of the way first.
Wolf River is a boxy sweater – no waist shaping at all – and it got me thinking that this is a great characteristic to look for if you’re new to sweater knitting. Of course, this sweater’s lace pattern may not be the easiest thing for a new knitting, but there are other simple boxy designs out there.
This sweater was knit with less than two skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool, one of my favorites. I have two more skeins in my stash and am thinking that it would be fun to make a second Aidez since I wear my first all of the time.
Last year I designed and knit a fair isle hat for Alex and realized that it would be fun to knit the boys new hats every year. I made this one over the weekend (after knitting a sweater, little hats are a breeze!).
Jingle bells batman smells… We’re back with another round up of Christmas crafts, but this time they’re ones you can gift to your friends. On Monday, we shared delicious treats that are perfect for giving and today we’ll round out your gift list by adding a few non-edibles for your loved ones. These DIY gifts range from easy to advanced (mostly because of the ingredients), but we explain everything you’d ever need to know in the posts, so hop to it! We also sell a few of these items in our Live Seasoned etsy shop if you’re low on time. All of these homemade gifts have natural, gentle ingredients perfect for any loving home. We also love to pair these items with other handmade goods to really amplify the maker aspect of these presents. We love supporting other crafters and creators so after you whip up these potions, browse around on etsy for perfect pairing gifts if you think your loved ones deserve a little more this holiday season.
Today we’re rounding up past Christmas crafts. While Sarah was busy ordering gifts yesterday, I was finishing up the decorating. I love to get everything up as soon as possible so that there’s plenty of time to enjoy it (plus, I need the decorating out of the way so that I have every extra moment left to think about gift shopping!). If you’re taking your time and in need of decorations, we put together a list of past DIY projects that we made, love, and were excited to put out again this year.
This list provides a range of projects from those that can be finished in 30 minutes to others that may take a few hours, and the skill-level required varies from the simple to the more complex. In addition to decorating your house, some of these projects like the felt and cinnamon ornaments make great gift tags. What we have here is a little bit of something for everyone.
Merry Monday everyone! Christmas is coming quicker than I can handle, so while I shop online today, I’m also going to whip up a few homemade Christmas gifts that everyone on my list will enjoy. I love giving and receiving edible gifts. Knowing the treats were made with love and care in someone’s kitchen makes them extra enjoyable. If you still don’t have a present for me, here are a few suggestions 😉
Hey there! If you’ve been following along, you may know that Calder and I bought a house in March and moved in a week or so before little Luc was born. It could have been a crazy and hectic time, but all in all, it wasn’t that bad (really!). We were lucky that our new house was in great shape did not require any major work. In fact, the only thing I want to change about the house are the colors of the walls. The walls are painted shades of beige. It’s nice enough that we can live with them for a while, but eventually I would love to brighten everything up and paint most rooms white.
To give you an idea of where I’m going: between the mountain views outside our windows, the wooden trim and furniture, and eventual white walls, I’m feeling inspired my many of the elements common to Scandinavian design. I want to add pops of color with the artwork on the walls, the furniture and other elements that can easily be changed within the rooms. That said, we took a big risk and added a huge mural across one wall in Alex’s room. Luckily it turned out great! Today I’m going to share snapshots from his room and in a follow-up post I’ll provide a more detailed tutorial and tips about how we painted the mural.
Hands down, one of our favorite perks at the beach is the outdoor shower. We love it for clearing away the sand after a day at the beach, but we also love to bring sand INTO the shower in the form of scrubs. Today’s lemon, sugar, and sand scrub is the perfect zesty indulgence as we’re looking to make the most of these late summer days.
How many times have you google searched cheap prints? I have a l o t. Pretty much every time I have a show or event. I’m always trying to figure out the best way to produce LARGE photographs inexpensively. Katie recently introduced me to a new method: Engineer Prints. Engineer prints reproduce line drawings and graphics with high definition and contrast, but they’re also really great for making large black and white photography prints. Engineer prints are the perfect low-cost option when you’re looking for a statement piece without the price tag. Since these prints range from only a buck to $10, the quality is obviously not fit for The Louvre, but they’re definitely awesome enough for a wall in your home or as a focal point at your next art show.
In addition to sharing our love of engineer prints, we also wanted to show you a simple way to add some structure to your print before hanging it. This will help to turn the image from something that looks like a poster into a more substantial piece of art.
Happy Earth Day (again)! We’re excited to check in this afternoon with a second post, especially one about making a space for native bees in your backyard!
You may not be aware, but the honey bees that we all know and love for the pollination services and delicious honey are not native to North America. The bees arrived in North America by Europeans in the 17th century, and they are such efficient pollinators that over time our agriculture became dependent upon the insects. This dependency is due in part to honey bees living in such large colonies that we are able to easily move from field to field in portable hives. I love the idea of fostering different habitats in our backyard for a variety of animals from birds to insects to mammals; especially since observing these animals in our backyard is such a simple way to introduce and connect Alex and Luc to nature. As such, one day I would love to have a colony of honeybees in my backyard, but I know that requires time that I don’t have right now to learn about their care and monitor the hives throughout the year, not to mention the work that would be required to collect the honey. Meanwhile, our native bees are really interesting insects that receive relatively little attention yet are the perfect guests for a low maintenance backyard! Knowing that, we thought Earth Day was the perfect time to encourage everyone to invite these gentle creatures into your yard!
Today when discussing native bees, we’re referring specifically to Mason Bees, of which, there are over 100 species in North America. Unlike honey bees that live in large colonies, Mason bees are solitary insects and they do not produce honey. Another difference between the two types of bees is that Mason bees do not sting unless squeezed or stepped on. For that reason and for their interesting nesting habits (read more below!), they are a great bee to encourage to nest in your backyard; kids will enjoy watching them create their nests without the threat of being stung!
Macrame has long been my favorite fiber art. Although there are some crazy complex macrame pieces out there, when it comes down to it, you’re just tying knots! Making macrame plant hangers are similar to making friendship bracelets except on a slightly larger scale and at the end of the summer you don’t have to cut them off. This project is great for beginngers and advanced fiber artists alike (yes, you’ll be a fiber artist if you create one of these plant hangers 😉 ) because you can tie a couple familiar knots or mess around with complex combinations of knots – it’s totally up to you. I’m basically giving you an outline of how to make a plant hanger, but I want you to flex your creative muscles and make it your own unique macrame piece. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of the finished pieces either, so feel free to tag us.
Hey Spring Cleaners! Ok, I know it’s a little early for that. Hey, conscious cleaners! (How was that?) Do you buy green cleaning products for your home? Ones that aren’t so harsh and better for your kids, pet, waters and earth? I hope you do! I currently use Green Legacy garbage bags because they’re big, tough and biodegradable and for cleaning I use Legacy of Clean products. Personally, I cannot use Clorox or any other really smelly cleaners. I quickly develop a really big headache that just doesn’t go away. It’s probably because the chemicals are poisoning my brain or because I’m really sensitive to smells, who knows, I’m no doctor.
Anyway, if you don’t use natural cleansers, you can always start now with this easy natural orange cleaner. You just need a couple of items and a little bit of time to brew a batch. It’s super simple and you might even enjoy the smell of your cleaning products! This concoction uses white vinegar which is high effective at killing mold, bacteria, mildew and other household germs. If you don’t have a big jug of vinegar, go grab one! Vinegar is cheap and you get to leave the harmful fumes and toxic counterparts of other cleaners at the store. Vinegar is also biodegradable so you can wash it down drains and toilets without adding more chemicals to our water system.
Natural Orange Cleaner Ingredients:
1 16-ounce jar (or any glass container with a lid)
a heap of orange peals (I used about three oranges worth)
vinegar to cover
Natural Orange Cleaner Instructions:
Eat a few oranges. Place the peels inside of your empty glass jar.
Cover with vinegar. Screw the lid on and place in a dark, cool spot for a couple of weeks.
After a few weeks (or a few months – if you forgot it like I did) strain the concoction so you’re left with only the vinegar. I like to add one part orange vinegar + one part water to a spray bottle for general cleaning.
Katie here: if you want to make a cleaner that you can use immediately, a quick and dirty trick is to use orange essential oil rather than soaking the fresh peels. Make a mixture of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon orange essential oil, then you can further dilute it with water as Sarah does.
I’ve used this mix on everything in my kitchen, bathroom and living room. Counters, tables, floors, sinks, molding, walls, etc. and it has always worked like a charm. Like I said, I dilute my mixture by 50% with water to tone it down a bit. I also always finish cleaning by wiping each surface with water so there’s no vinegar left sitting on my wood floors and other sensitive areas. I have read that vinegar is capable of deteriorating exposed window seals, dishwasher gaskets, and unsealed grout over time, so these surfaces should be rinsed with water after they are cleaned. Like any cleaning product warning, I suggest test cleaning on inconspicuous areas first to make sure this product is safe for your purposes. You could also google the specific materials you’ll be cleaning to see if there’s any information on how vinegar will react to them. So far I’ve only had positive results and lucky for me, this product keeps me headache free!