Travel journals

In all of 10 minutes this afternoon, I made travel journals for my 3 older boys and myself. I bought spiral notebooks for the boys and a journal for me, plus vacation-themed scrapbooking materials -- all on clearance, of course.

Our first bagpipe band-related trip is this weekend. Writing about our little weekend trips should get them used to it by the time we go to Scotland in August. I want to get back to putting ideas down on paper so I can write on the computer once we get home. Don't want to forget the little details.


This week's thrifting finds

Hinged box -- wooden on the outside, lacquered on the bottom and inside, decoupaged -- $2.95
5 Pyrex custard cups -- 59¢ each
Green glass pitcher -- $1.99
The Gourmet Paper Maker -- 99¢ (one of my boys wants to make paper from fruits and veggies now, better than having to eat them, I guess)


I've got the blues

I brought my oldest sneaker shopping last night and was on the lookout for plain sneakers I could relace with ribbons for myself. Score! I found these blue suede Nikes that came with laces AND ribbons. Comfy too!

The sneakers match my latest purse -- made from a vintage men's tie with just enough room for my keys, cell phone, wallet, camera and sketchpad.

Here's my youngest playing with one of his favorite toys. Not really baby-safe so I watch him like a hawk with it. A friend from Arizona sent me the strand of beads, bells and trinkets called "kitty beads." The artisan was inspired to create the dangling strands after her cat upset their containers. The baby liked to handle them, so I created a loop out of it and keep it in my backpack when he needs to be entertained.


Thrifting finds

My dh knows when I head out to run errands alone on a Saturday morning, I stop at my favorite little church thrift store. Yesterday was no different.

Didn't find too much. The Depression glass refrigerator butter dish was $2. The butterfly house dress was a buck. It looks like it will fit me but more likely the fabric will be used for something else.


Hovey Pond, Queensbury, NY

Just about the only spot of bright color in the whole park.
Crocuses (crocii?) in bloom in the Robert Eddy Botanical Garden.

View of the wooden walkway that goes into the swamp.
In a few weeks, the cattails will be so high
you won't be able to see very far.

We paused for a little while to build boats
from cattail reeds, long grass, oak leaves,
flowers and tiny pinecones.

Under the bridge and over rough water to the end,
where they were rescued with a stick --
pretty much intact despite their wild ride.

Pussy willows! We brought some home
along with loads of pine cones and other little
remnants of last year's growing season.

Since we are travelling to Scotland this summer,
we've been reading up. We learned about cairns and
plan to build them whenever we get the chance.

The boys' favorite spot in the whole park --
remains of the waterway at the north end of the pond.

Creating cards

For the past month, I've been creating gift tags/cards/ornaments from the well-loved (read: pretty much destroyed) kids books I've collected for years. I knew they'd be good for something eventually. I just needed to wait for inspiration. Now to do something with the books' covers...

I spend most of my evenings in front of the tv, selecting and cutting out images, gluing them to cardstock, adding embellishments and packaging them together.

My 3rd grader thought of me when one of his school friends said she had a book she didn't want anymore. He brought home a coverless copy of the 1962 Rand MacNally book "Little Tiger." What cute jungle animal illustrations, some in full color and others in black, white and fuschia. I'm really glad he has caught the thrifting bug from me and knew the book was worth saving.


Crandall Park, Glens Falls, NY

The sun was out and it finally hit 60°,
so we visited the park after school.

These are Muscovy ducks.
My boys called them Darth Maul ducks.

There were very friendly and let us get really close.
This one seemed to stand guard.

While these three followed each other around.

This is Snappy the baby snapping turtle.
The boys found him sunning himself at the edge of the pond.
We think he came out for the first time today since it was so warm.

Good morning! Wake up!

Caught this guy early this morning. The noise he was making made him easy to find.


First pretty little apron

I've had various floral pillowcases, trims and ribbon belts sitting out waiting for inspiration to strike. I finally decided to make a little girl's apron. I need to borrow some of my nieces for future photo shoots. The bottom photo came about only after I bribed my preschooler with candy.

Thrifting finds

While we were in Albany on Saturday, I got to prowl around a new-to-me thrift store -- The Shop at St. Andrews. Pictured above is most of what I found (minus two Scotland tartan hankies and puzzles for my boys). The bright green and yellow daisy fabric, Holly Hobbie Mother's Day plate, unused owl crewel kit and Pyrex lemonade pitcher will all probably go on eBay. The handles will be used on totes and the brown McCoy mug is going to a relative. It is etched with "New York" and this relative's first name. I'm not saying who cause it's going to be a surprise.


For the birds

I need to remember to always carry the camera with me, even if I'm just going out on a short errand.

I just pulled back into my driveway after driving kids to preschool and scared about a dozen birds from my barely budding lilac bush. One stayed behind, so I sat in the van for a minute just watching him trying to figure out what he was. His friends soon flew back. They were yellow finches, some bright and some muted, but all really pretty especially as a group.

I put down the driver's side window and tried to sneak out as quietly as possible to come in the house to retrieve the camera. Came back out and sat in the van for another 15 minutes hoping they would return. They didn't but I did get to watch (and listen) to two huge crows cavorting in my backyard.


St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

Albany, New York

I love the warm tones in the wooden door and stone and...

...the patina of the lanterns that flank the door.

I love that the sun actually came out for awhile.
(We're getting another 10-15" of snow today. @@)

I love that the crocuses made an appearance...

...and the trees were budding.

I love that we got to go inside to look at the gorgeous stained glass windows...

...including this one of a bishop and his dog.


Give a kid a camera


I love it when the kids ask to use the digital camera. I never know what I'm going to get. Along with lots of blurry shots of Legos or Star Wars characters, they take great ones like th
is one of our kitchen/living room ceiling.

When we added on a second-floor addition a few years ago, since the popcorned ceiling had to go (yea!!!!), I asked if it could be redone in beadboard. I meant the panels like you would use on a wall, but the contractor had his men put it up, board by board. He was concerned that the knotholes would show but I wasn't. I love the rustic look. Makes our main living space resemble an outdoor porch.


Shipping him out

A few weeks ago, I asked for and received boxes and packing materials from Freecycle. I've got more than enough stored in the basement now.

While packing some eBay items this morning, I asked one of my boys to go down and get me some packing peanuts. He decided to bring up the biggest box he could carry alone. His younger brother thought it made a good bathtub. And the oldest brother thought it would be fun to try to bury him completely and close the box.

Boxes are often more fun that what comes in them, but not in this case. I told the older boys they couldn't mail their little brother anywhere, no matter how well packed he was.


Spring break with the girls

I had a little bit of girl time yesterday. In a house full of boys, my only regular female companion is a dog named Alice. I don't have anyone to do girly things with unless my nieces visit.

It wasn't little girl, princess dress up or pretend tea time like we used to do. It was a nearly grown-up discussion on what is trendy now with the preteen set -- all while they tried on some of my vintage clothes and handmade scarves.

It was really nice to bounce ideas off them, ask what they liked in fabrics and look at finished crafts on etsy together. Too bad I didn't have any projects they could help me with besides sorting trims and folding scarves. I think it is much more fun to work with an auntie than your own mom, even though we are identical twins.

They were especially helpful in coming up with ideas on how to wear the scarves I've made from vintage ties. I started making them for myself when I found two ties in identical paisley patterns but different colors. I knew I needed to do something to put them together. I sew the narrow end of one tie next to the wide end of the other to form a long scarf, line the back and add trim. I've never been one to accessorize much so I wear them in a rather plain way – usually dangling down under my winter coat or pinned in the center to form an "X."

The girls had other ideas. Around the neck with one end slung over a shoulder. In a loose knot with one end up over the other. Even as hairbands with the fringe dangling below their hair. We used an old kilt pin but I think it would work well cinched together with a hair elastic or even a barette.

I want to take them along on my next thrifting trip. And I'll be sure to have some projects they can work on for themselves back here.


First post

After spending way too much time reading crafting and thrifting blogs lately, I knew I needed to start writing about my projects too. Just knowing what other people are doing around the world has inspired me like nothing else ever has. I haven't crafted like this in years. Other things have kept me pretty busy -- mainly my four boys ages 13, 8, 5 and nearly 1 -- and creativity typically comes in fits and starts.

Having a place to share what I do will keep me motivated. If I figure out the technology of blogging. Wish me luck.