Saturday Snippets | October 25, 2014

Welcome to Saturday Snippets.  This is where I share links and odd bits of info from the past week.

LittleFreeLibraryMap1.  As an ardent book lover, I was so excited when I learned about Little Free Libraries.  As a worldwiOriginal Little Free Libraryde movement, their mission is:

  • To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
  • To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.

2.  Next time you’re in England or Scotland and you need a book, here’s a list of 19 Bookshops every book lover must visit.  I’m intrigued by the Book Barge, Word on the Water and the Honesty Bookshop.

3.  Next time I travel, I want to fly Air New Zealand.

dog christmas tree4.  I think this needs to be in our house this Christmas.  The dogs think so too.







apollo 135.  This NPR article on the Slide Rule made me want to watch Apollo 13.  One of my favorite scenes is where Jim Lovell, while under the pressure and threat of imminent death, performs the required calculations to activate Aquarius, in his head, while trying to keep himself and the rest of his crew alive. He asks Mission Control to double check his numbers, which they do with slide rules and pronounce his calculations accurate.

Well that’s all the snippets I have for today.  Have a wonderful Saturday,

Quest46LogoItem #16

Learn 12 new recipes.  Because our diet has changed so radically in the past 11 months, we tend to eat the same dishes every week.  It’s time to expand our horizons and learn a new recipe each month.







Did you say “new recipes”?  I’ve been meaning to talk to you about the predictability of our kibble.  Could use a little something.

Posted in Books, Christmas, Dogs, Education, Movies, Quest46, Recipes, Saturday Snippets, Travel, TV & Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sporting some spiffy new Dog Collars

IMG_0654IMG_0659About three weeks ago, I made this dog collar for Mindy and blogged about it here.  Woody and Ellie are in dire need of new ones as well, but it hasn’t been until now that I’ve been able to make them.  I finished them yesterday, attached their tags and they look marvelous.






I chose a blue print for Woody because while he’s a black and white dog, he has one blue eye.  Ellie has been wearing a purple collar for the past nine years, so I chose purple for her.  It really is striking against her tan coat.

I used this tutorial, followed the excellent instructions, but needed to make some adjustments along the way.  The biggest change I made was in the materials I ordered.  Amazon carries a deluxe dog collar kit that contains enough hardware for 10 collars.  The kit comes with a heavy duty nylon webbing that makes my sewing machine want to cry.  When you take the width of the webbing, add interfacing and material folded over twice, you have a really thick piece of material and most standard sewing machines can’t handle the thickness.  I broke two needles in the process.  Amazingly enough I managed to finish Mindy’s collar, but knew I needed to investigate the webbing if I was going to make two more.

polypro webbingI found a Polypro webbing made by the same manufacturer that is just as strong, but without the extra width.  I used this to make Woody and Ellie’s collars and it worked out beautifully.  No broken needles and just as durable.

These worked so well, I decided to make few for my Etsy shop.  If you’re shopping for dog collars or you know someone who is, head over to my shop for some one of a kind collars.

Quest46LogoItem #15.  Make Christmas stockings for the dogs.

I know I’ve just set off a tidal wave of eye rolling with this Quest46 item.  All I can say is they’re my kids and they don’t have Christmas stockings.  My real dilemma is whether to go traditional with an actual stocking or a dog-related shape like a bone or a paw.  Thoughts?





Picture 260


We want you to know that we would never roll our eyes at you.  We actually don’t know what that is, but we’re pretty sure we’d never do it.  We love the idea of stockings especially the stuff that comes in them.

Posted in Accountability, Dogs, Education, Goals, Homemade, Quest46, Saving Money, sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Creative Pen Pals

globeI’ve always felt fortunate that I have relatives and friends who live in different parts of the world.  I have aunts, uncles and cousins in Australia, a grandfather, cousin and friends in England, and a dad and friends in South Africa.  With Facebook, email and even texting, it’s so easy to keep in touch (no exactly like seeing each other in person) but the time delay is seconds versus days or weeks when we mailed letters.

letter from momletter from USAOn our last trip to see my grandpa, my mom and I found letters that she wrote to her letter from SAmom and dad when my brothers and I were toddlers.  There were only a few, but they gave us a glimpse of what was going on in our lives at that time and they were hysterical.  My mom used airmail letters and would often send several in a row because she needed more space to wrote.  The first letter would say “1 of 3″, the second “2 of 3″ and the third “3 of 3″.  Even though she mailed them on the same day, that was no guarantee that they’d all arrive in that order.  While writing an email should take thought before the sender hits return, these letters required time, thought and an element of commitment.  I know my grandparents cherished them because in those days, phone calls were pricey and only used in emergencies.

CreativePenPalSwapI was thinking about all of this when I came across a blog post by Mel from  She’s a gal from Australia who blogs about crafts, family and fun.  She’s also a firm believer in snail mail and sharing her creativity with others through letters.  I read her blog every day and the day came when she announced that we could sign up for her next Creative Pen Pal Swap.  So sign up I did.  You’re asked to list your top three favorite creative interests (it was a challenge picking only three ;-)) and generally where you’d like your pen pal to live (own country, overseas, or don’t care).

Within 24 hours I had an email waiting for me with the name and address of my Creative Pen Pal.  Her name is Sarah and she’s from Australia.  We’re discouraged from emailing (for obvious reasons), except for the first contact.  Sarah emailed me a couple of hours later saying that she’d be happy to send the first letter.  I must say I’ve been checking the mailbox every day even though I know it will take a bit to arrive from Australia.  We’re not required to mail anything craft-related, but I’ve already been stockpiling some ideas of what I’d like to send Sarah.  This should be fun.

Quest46LogoItem #14.  Learn how to make paper.making paper

I have always wanted to learn how to make paper.  Since Pinterest came on the scene, I’ve pinned countless tutorials on paper making.  And with my new Pen Pal, I’m going to put this DIY paper to good use.

Have you ever had a pen pal?







Are you going to tell Sarah about us?  I think it’s fair to say that we’re MAJOR contributors to your creativeness.



Posted in Accountability, Goals, Homemade, Paper Crafting, Pen Pal, Quest46, Recycling, Repurposing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bound books, Journals and Girl Scouts


I must confess that while I love journals, I’m not terribly good at keeping or using journals.  I think I’m attracted to the “possibility” presented by the blank (or lined) pages bound in the hard or soft covered journals.  I’m lured in by the colors and patterns, promise myself that “this time it will be different” and end up with a couple pages filled and a whole pile of unfilled books.

January3651A couple of years ago I came across this blog post from talking about a 5 year journal.  Funnily enough, a five year journal is a journal you keep for five years.  Now you would think given my confession in the previous paragraph that my fate would be the same.  But this journal is different.  (No really it is)  Each page in the journal represents one day and you write one line every day for five years.  Just one line.  The blog post includes daily questions for each month and ideas for different types of “journals”.

Girl Scouts

I have a friend who runs her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop.  The girls earn badges and the next one they are working for is Book Artist.  My friend mentioned that she was having difficulty finding bookstores that were willing to teach a group of Girl Scouts about the art of book binding.  I had dabbled with book binding and stitching techniques in the past so I said I would teach the girls.  Secretly I wish I could still earn badges.  I was a Girl Scout for a couple of years, but didn’t take it seriously.  I would totally need several sashes for all the badges I would collect if I was a Girl Scout today.  And this brings us to, wait for it…

01dab9ffb1111099006236400aaf256da51600f9fdBound Books

As I was compiling my Quest46 list, the 5 Year Journal was definitely on my list.  I also knew I would want a special journal for this project, but was having trouble finding journals with 365+ pages.  Since I needed to prepare my lesson and project for the Girl Scout troop, I decided to make my own book for my 5 Year Journal.

I used 5″X8″ index cards folded in half and assembled into 3 page signatures.  This book required 31 signatures.  I’m not entirely sure what stitching method I used, but the tutorial was very instructive and easy to follow.  The tutorial called for a fabric cover, but I chose to use patterned paper adhered to chipboard.  I was so pleased with the results, I think I’m going to make a larger book to use as an art journal.  Keep an eye out for that post. ;-)

Here’s my bound book process in pictures.















Quest46LogoItem #13 – Start 5 Year Journal

Do you keep journals?  If so, do you have a secret to keeping up with them?






I hope one of the questions in your journal isn’t, “Who’s your favorite dog?”.  ‘Cause that’s going to be awkward when you have to write “Ellie” every year.  You won’t be able to let Woody and Mindy see that page.  They wouldn’t understand.

Posted in Accountability, Books, Education, Goals, Homemade, Paper Crafting, Quest46 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going back to school – sort of

encyclopedia 11th editionI always enjoyed school.  Mostly I think I always enjoyed learning.  As a kid, we had a set of encyclopedias and I loved just sitting quietly reading through them.  (Nerd alert!! – I discovered you can download the Encyclopedia Britannica – for free – on your Kindle.  I’m in heaven)  I’m not sure what my fascination was or is with encyclopedias.  I imagine it’s two fold – first, they are organized alphabetically and orderly and second, they are crammed full of incredible information and facts and history and plain old fashioned knowledge.  With access to the internet, it’s no surprise that Encyclopedias have gone the way of the dinosaur, but I still have fond memories.

With the internet, there’s nothing you can’t learn.  Obviously you need to employ wisdom and good old common sense, but if you want to IMG00343-20110409-1954learn something, just Google it!  Many of the craft projects I do, I’ve learned from various tutorials.  If I’m stuck on a knitting project, all I have to do is go to YouTube and search my particular problem and within seconds I’m on my way.  It’s borderline miraculous.  This is how I taught myself to insert letters into knitted hats.  My favorite channel to subscribe to is Very Pink Knits.  Staci produces incredible tutorials and is an amazing teacher.

IMG_3953The other thing you can do with the internet is take online classes. I’m always drawn to classes that teach me something new about crafts or art.  They’re usually very reasonably priced and very well executed.  ‘Art Class with Wilna’, a class I bought and finished, is offered by Wilna Furstenburg.  Here’s a description of the class:  “If you are looking to learn simple techniques that will fill you with wonder and bring the fun back into scrapbooking, then this workshop is for you!  The 10 chapters encourage you to play with stencils, Modge Podge, stitching, wax, fabric, found items, washi tape, glitter, pens, paint, masking fluid and molding paste.  You’ll learn to work with these mediums as design elements, with 50 creative pages from Wilna and her contributors to reference and spark creativity.”  I made these scrapbook pages from techniques I learned in this class.








Other sources for online craft classes are:

Big Picture Classes
Dirty Footprints Studio
Balzer Designs
Shimelle Laine
Online Card Classes
Wild Olive Stitching Club
Ali Edwards


Quest46LogoItem #12:  Complete 6 online classes.

All the classes I own are self-paced classes.  This is good because I can set my own pace based on what else is going on in my life.  However, this is also bad because there’s no deadline motivating me to finish.  This is why I’m going to complete a class every 2 months during Quest46.

Do you like to take classes??




Woody & Ellie


Just a suggestion – You might want to do a scrapbook page on Mindy.  We don’t want her to feel left out.

Posted in Accountability, Art Journal, Cards, Dogs, Education, Goals, Homemade, Knitting, National Scrapbooking Day, Paper Crafting, Process Video, Quest46, Scrapbooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Overcoming an irrational Bow-making fear

0164a95620fe46e1d528eb07167ee67f7dc68ced4eYes you heard me correctly.  For about 20 years, I’ve had this irrational fear of making bows.  You know, the kind you put on gift packages or baskets or wreaths.  I’m in awe of the people that can make them and I often stroll the craft store aisles drooling over the beautiful designs, colors and widths of ribbon.  Now I’m not easily discouraged by challenging crafts, but I’ve kept bows at a distance for 2 decades.

This fear all began 20 years ago when my mom and I signed up for a bow-making class at our local craft store.  It was a pretty comprehensive class, covering all styles and designs and we were so excited to finally learn and possibly master this elusive craft.  Unfortunately the class was taught by someone who was a master bow-maker, but a horrible teacher.  In retrospect she obviously had some self-esteem issues because she actually criticized our work and made us feel as though we had somehow missed out on the bow-making gene.  If this happened today, I would probably write a letter, but 20 years ago I was more shy and unwilling to make a fuss.  So we both left pretty much knowing that this was an area of the craft world that would elude us.  (A lot of what I’ve just written is tongue in cheek, but the experience was one of those that stays with you and left a real sour taste in our mouth.)

01865a25d80c4b7f8744e6e829523d783e987eed7601f105920881d3d86c20cad3f48a91dc31b7ac5d3d01eba911673ff1fbf6967ed2d07cfe54192fb646a30126cd9a16d07bbeb03b019381928986f8b4db6774Recently a friend of mine showed me the beautiful bows she’d made for some gift baskets.  Once again, I was in awe and remarked that I could never make anything like that.  She responded, “Oh it’s so easy.  All you need is a Bowdabra.”  Intrigued by the name alone and ready to overcome my crafting fear, I and a group of friends went over to her place so she could teach us how to make beautiful bows.  In one afternoon, I conquered my fear, made 3 marvelous, huge bows and am ready to acquire ribbon like it’s going out of style.

01e8794e097d533d1fb0cfa80d4256dce3a12153660195db2b5abca406cf1f7836ff6d4bd6ee41828836This new found ability (with Jolene’s excellent instruction and Bowdabra’s help) couldn’t have come at a better time.  You just know that all my Christmas and birthday gifts are going to be adorned with 01758cefbc6e18c38f3a4adc6fa513cf7aa4567ae7beautiful bows.  I might give bows away as actual gifts (Just kidding!)  In addition to Christmas and birthdays, one of my Quest46 activities will require bows.

Quest46LogoItem #11  —  Send two “thinking of you” gifts each month.I LOVE giving gifts and especially gifts when the recipient has no idea it’s coming.  It’s the best feeling in the whole world and I want to make this a regular part of my life.  I’ll probably do more than two, but with all the other activities, I wanted to be realistic.








I love getting gifts also.  Want to know my favorite???  Can you guess???  It’s yellow, round, you throw it and it’s in my mouth right now???  Come on guess….


Posted in Accountability, Decorating, Education, Goals, Homemade, Quest46 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paws || Walk On – 10.12-10.25

Every now and then when I’m walking dogs, I will just stop, ask them to sit for about 30 seconds and then I will say “walk on”. That is there cue to start walking again. I do this for a couple of reasons: 1. They’re super focused when they’re on the walk and I like to know I can get their attention any time I need it. 2. It’s good to continue to incorporate training into their daily routines. Just as we need to continue to refine our skills, so must dogs.

This always reminds me how important it is for me to pause and reflect on the past week and then think about the next one as I “walk on”.

Paws | Week of 10.12-10.18

• celebrated my brother’s 44th birthday.
• Skyped and knit with a friend in San Diego.  Such a great way to keep in touch.
• designed 3 Christmas cards to make for upcoming Pinterest Party.
010215a6b0f12d60ae8f7bc2b9064eff3132472aeb• took Ellie to the vet to have a broken tooth removed.  Turns out there were 3 broken teeth.  Made mushy kibble meals for her all week. Yum!
01865a25d80c4b7f8744e6e829523d783e987eed76• balanced the checkbook and paid bills.
• learned how to make decorative bows using the Bowdabra.
• returned library books via my computer.
• worked on a book binding class for my friends Girl Scout troop.

015a70237c1c243867edaff45d6c5d233cc83c58f00147d8c3ca5820c8f05e14d7d3df433087adb90575• finished dog beds for Woody and Ellie.
• finished reading book #17 by Monica Ferris, The Drowning Spool
• had dinner with our oldest friends, their parents and our parents.  Such a great evening strolling down memory lane.
• went to my niece’s soccer game and saw her score a goal!

Walk On | Week of 10.19-10.25

• plan and prepare for my Mom’s 70th birthday.
• continue to work on a book binding class for my friends Girl Scout troop.
• call my Grandpa in England.
• make dog beds to sell on Etsy.
• prepare my Pen Pal Kit for my new pen pal in Australia.
• make collars for Woody and Ellie.
• prep and paint exterior lights.
• start laying pavers in the backyard.
• start reading Shattered by Dani Pettrey

My favorite quote from the week:  “Never mistake motion for action.”  Ernest Hemingway.

Have a wonderful week,

Quest46LogoItem #10

Make birthday cards for family and friends.  I used to do this all the time and really love it.  Designing the Christmas cards this week reminded me how much I enjoy the process.





I love my new bed.  It’s so squishy soft; I could just hang out here all day.  Thanks mom.

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