30 Days of Christmas Ornaments starts tomorrow

30 Days Christmas OrnamentsIn a recent post, Paws || Walk On – 10.19-11.1, I mentioned that I was going to be busy this week organizing and prepping for my November blog series, “30 Days of Christmas Ornaments.”

I started this blog two years ago this month and I started it with a series called “31 Days of Committing to Change”.  I love series and really anything that is thematic, so as I was planning out my posts for the next few months, I knew I wanted to do a series in November.

As you might guess, I came up with the Christmas Ornament idea while I walking the dogs, but also because I have a board on Pinterest devoted to Christmas ornaments especially hand crafted ones.

Every day in November, beginning on the 1st, I will feature a handcrafted ornament made by me.  It should be no surprise, that about half of the ornaments will be dog-related.  I will have a random drawing on December 1st for a lucky winner who will receive one (1) ornament from each day of my blog series – a total of thirty (30) ornaments in all.

Giveaway details:
1)  Leave a comment on each day’s post by answering my “Question of the Day”.  The “Question of the Day” will be right above my closing.
It looks like this :: Grace

2)  Over the course of this blog series, you can enter a maximum of 30 times.

On December 1, 2014, I will have a random drawing for one (1) lucky winner.  I will contact the winner for their mailing details and will mail to anywhere in the world.

Speaking of Pinterest Boards…

Quest46LogoItem #22 – Work 52 items off my Pinterest Boards.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I LOVE Pinterest.  I was an early adopter, in fact, I came in when you had to request an invitation and wait to sign up.  It’s a marvelous site and full of DIY project potential.  So much so, that my Pinterest boards and project ideas will outlive me.  I want to be intentional about not just pinning, but actually doing.




Woody Reindeer


I know my mom loves Christmas and is excited about the 30 Days of Christmas Ornaments, but I need to say that I’m not pleased about the reindeer antlers.  This is my “not pleased” face.

Posted in Dogs, Homemade, Christmas, Accountability, Pinterest, sewing, Decorating, Goals, Challenges and Contests, Quest46, 30 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dyeing to try a new craft

I know many of you are thinking, “wow, she really can’t spell”.  Actually I’m trying to be funny.  Now I know you’re thinking, “wow, she really isn’t funny.”  And that’s okay because really I was trying to be clever.  I know, I know….

gardentodyeforActually the new craft I want to try during my Quest46 challenge is dyeing fabric and wool with natural dyes.  My interest in this was piqued while listening to a podcast by Jennifer from CraftSanity.  She was interviewing Chris McLaughlin, who had written a book called “A Garden to Dye For”.  Here’s how the book is described, “Garden expert and dyer Chris McLaughlin profiles more than 50 dye plants that the garden-crafter can grow for an all-natural, customized color palette.  This richly photographed book features garden layouts, easy dye techniques and step-by-step recipes – with fun, creative projects, like tie-dye, playsilks, watercolor paints, playdough and Easter eggs.”  Just listening to Chris talk on the podcast about her passion for gardening that translated into this creative craft made me want to order the book immediately.  I held off, though, knowing that I was going to make this one of my Quest46 projects.

008 (3)006 (2)I’ve dyed wool using Kool-aid and really enjoyed the results, but the notion of taking flowers, onion skins or leaves and creating beautiful materials with them really appeals to me.  I love the idea of using colors produced by nature and creating lovely things.  Just like my ventures in soap making there is a chemistry component to this craft – with this I need to learn about mordants.  I really just love the sound of that word.

Quest46LogoItem #21:  Learn how to dye with natural ingredients.

I’m even wondering if I can tie-dye cotton cloth for dog collars.  Don’t know if it will work, but I’m certainly going to give it a try. Obviously I’ll blog about it ;-).


Are there any new crafts you want to try?  I’d love to hear about them in the comment section.






Just so you know – blue’s my favorite color.  Keep that in mind when you get around to this dyeing thing.

Posted in Accountability, Education, Gardening, Goals, Homemade, Quest46, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

DIY Ironing Board Cover

Before Ironing BoardI don’t know about you guys, but we do a lot of ironing and since I’ve been making dog beds and collars, the ironing board is a semi-permanent fixture these days.  Last year we bought a new ironing board that was longer and wider, but I felt like I had to settle when it came to the covers.  It’s not that I needed something colorful, but I did want one that didn’t look and feel thin and skimpy. And the covers only wrapped around the board maybe a 1/2″ on all sides making it very easy, over time, to scooch off the board.

As I usually do, I thought to myself when we brought it home, “I will make myself a cover.”  And then I didn’t – for about a year.  As time went on all the things I didn’t like about the cover continued to irk me, but apparently not enough to do anything about it.  I was advised to just buy one, but that felt like I had somehow failed in a DIY-crafty fashion.  So I plodded on.

Black Plastic StreaksUntil 2 days ago.  I was ironing away and all of a sudden a black streak of whoknowswhat appeared down the center of the board.  It was a complete mystery to me.  As it cooled it hardened and felt like plastic.  I noticed on the base of our iron there was a chip of the plastic base missing.  It must have finally broken loose and I happily ironed over it leaving a lovely mark.  The cover was now completely unusable and all my excuses had run out.

Ironing Board CoverJoann’s was having a sale on utility fabric and they carry an ironing board cover material that has a unique aluminized coating that gives a smooth, resilient surface.  I bought 2 yards plus some 1/4″ elastic and with my 20% coupon I was out the door for under $13.  I also wanted to add a thicker padding surface under the cover and had quilting batting leftover from previous projects.


Ironing Board Vew 1I found a tutorial from The 36th Avenue blog, followed her excellent directions, and voila, our new ironing board.

I laid the material on the carpet (over a drop cloth), cut out 3-4″ from the edge of the ironing board, ironed over a 1″ hem, sewed that down then turned the material over and sewed 1/2″ from the hem edge to create a tunnel for the elastic.  I used 1/4″ braided elastic attached to a safety pin, thread it around the cover, attached the cover to the board when the elastic was all the way through and tied it off.  I wanted to ensure a tight fit before I put down the padding so I popped the cover off, laid the padding on top of the board, replaced the cover and then cut away the excess padding from underneath.

Cut Ironing Board FabricSew 1 inch hemSew half inch tunnelMove ElasticPadding



After Ironing Board Cover



I’m so pleased with the results. And it only took 20 minutes.  Once again, one of those projects that feels like it will take 20 years, but in reality is really quick.  Like doing the dishes.  Obviously, I’m kicking myself for having waited so long.

Do you have any projects that you’ve “been meaning to get to”?



Quest46LogoItem #20.  Paint our kitchen cabinets.

This project is another one of those that I “keep meaning to get to”.  We’ve lived in this house for 24 years and I’m ready for a change.  I already know what I want to do, I just have to do it.  So this year, it will be accomplished.

Ellie helping with ironing board



I helped mom by holding the fabric in place on the ground.  I really don’t think she could have completed this without my invaluable help. My eyes are closed because I was concentrating on my important task.


Posted in Accountability, Goals, Homemade, Quest46, Saving Money, sewing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Once you’ve used handmade soap, you will never want to go back.

SoapI know that’s quite a claim, but it’s true.  Really.

I was taught how to make cold process soap by a friend a few years ago.  In fact, I think she was the one who made that claim and I must admit I wasn’t quite ready to throw out the proverbial store-bought soap with the bathwater.  But then I had never used handmade soap!

100_3928I wrote about my soap-making adventure a couple of years ago when I made Cinnamon Spice soap.  I was enamored with the chemical process of soap-making and still am to this day.  I still consider myself a complete newbie to this craft, but can honestly say that I haven’t used store-bought soap since that day.

A full batch (48 bars) will last Mike and I about 48 weeks (that’s almost a whole year).  In my last batch I used a scent called Spiced Mahogany (amazing scent! I’m over the moon for this smell) and we used that soap all up.  It’s definitely my go-to soap smell, but there are so many others out there that I want to try.  The recipe I use makes A LOT of soap and I have to commit to a single scent when I use it.  I have the exact same recipe, but for half the amount and want to start experimenting with different scents.


Made soap for wedding favors

I’ve been able to teach this craft to a few friends and pass on the gift that was given to me.  It’s so gratifying to be able to take an idea like “saponification” (a process that produces soap, usually from fats and lye) and break it down for people.  And there’s the added bonus of just being able to say a word like saponification in a group setting.  Sure- you get a few weird looks, but every now and then someone asks you about it and you get to tell them about soap!

Quest46LogoItem #19.  Make a different scented soap every month.  As I thought about my Quest46 projects, I knew I wanted soap making to be apart of it.  I want to try some different oils as well as different scents.  I’m going to build a smaller soapbox and use recipes with a smaller yield.







“How about making soap for us?  When our friends come over to play we get really dirty and having our own special handmade soap would be great.” –SAID NO DOG EVER!


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

Christmas has come early… for cards that is.

IMG_3653I’ve always loved cards for all occasions.  I love giving them as much as I love receiving them.  I’ve kept almost every card that was ever given to me – birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, wedding, thank yous, Christmas and many others.  I love the serious ones as much as the silly ones, but mostly I love reading what people have written in them.  Since my book binding ventures the past couple of weeks, I’ve thought about binding the cards from each year into an album of sorts.  I haven’t worked out all the details, but I think it could be cool.

About 15 years ago I was introduced to card making through a friend (Thanks Jenny).  Up until then I was a regular at the local Hallmark store.  As much as I enjoyed playing with paper, inks and stamps, I found more pleasure in designing the card for whoever I was making it for.  I would spend hours just thinking about the things they loved and the words they liked hearing.  I remember the very first card I made – it was for my sister-in-law’s birthday and the sentiment said something like “I like your style”, which I obviously did :-).

Since that day, I’ve made hundreds of cards, taught people to make cards, broadened my skills and moved on from birthday cards to just about any card style you can think of.  It definitely takes more effort and time than just running down to the store to pick out a card (and there are times when I still do that), but for me, it’s how I show my love for that person.

0108882479d89f55bcef8f6d47d52183871b46e85c018a0cb2f5d99fc1f18c8482fe570ca49641523d1f01450522d2477c21efab8b7bee9a18ef26c04ee156This past weekend, I spent a few hours with friends making Christmas cards for a church fundraiser.  I designed three cards and we made 12 of each and then packaged them to be sold.  Each was a little different, but all were really easy to assemble.  I’m always amazed how complicated some projects can look when they’re really simple to produce.  It’s spurred me on to make Christmas cards this year and to find time every week to play with my paper, stamps, ink and glue.

I shared in previous posts (here and here) how I want to make birthday cards for friends and family as well as send “thinking of you” gifts to 24 people during my Quest46 year.  And as much as I put a lot of thought into the actual card, and I love the “creating”, it’s the words that I write inside that are the most important to me.  I like to think that the people in my life who are the most special to me know how much I love them, but recently it’s become very important to me that I make a point to be sure.  I was at a funeral recently where a man shared that he regretted not telling his friend that he loved him.  It’s so easy to just go through life thinking that our loved ones know, and one day it’s suddenly too late.  I don’t want to have regrets.

You don’t have to make cards or even send cards to let your loved ones know how you feel.  Find the way that makes the most sense for you and do it.  Sure it can be awkward, but it will always be appreciated.

Lots of love,



Quest46LogoItem #18:  Record 12 card-making video tutorials.

I’ve done a couple already, (here and here) but I want to do more.  This is a craft that isn’t difficult and certainly doesn’t require lots of money or supplies.  The basics will work and I want to show people how.

I’ll leave you with three of my favorite card making video tutorial people.  These ladies are amazing!

CaringHeartsLogo-03-600x388Jennifer McGuire – Jennifer is hosting the Caring Hearts Card Drive.  Such a worthy cause and a great use for handmade cards.
Vicky Papaioannou
Kristina Werner

We’re cool with all the card making stuff, but Woody wanted me to remind you to NEVER use that one paper cutter than made me so scared he jumped the fence to get away from the sound.  Remember that one? 




Posted in Accountability, Cards, Christmas, Goals, Homemade, Paper Crafting, Process Video, Quest46 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paws || Walk On – 10.19-11.1

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 10.19-10.25

• planned and prepared for my Mom’s 70th birthday.
012a5e97f136bca66defa3ee459f1de283d2ec2da9• continued to work on a book binding class for my friends Girl Scout troop by binding an actual book.
• called my Grandpa in England.
• picked up some great books from the library on the subjects of weaving and macrame.
• stockpiled supplies for my Pen Pal Kit for my new pen pal in Australia.
0194316f73b77ef36b0997de0ba857f39737ed18ec_00001• spent the day hanging out with my 10-year-old niece.  We walked the dogs, watched hair styling and makeup tutorials, made iPhone case covers and DIY Crayon Lipstick.  Yes, we made lipstick using crayons.  Turned out okay.  I recommend a nice blend of fuchsia and magenta from the Big Box of Crayons.




• made Christmas cards with my Pinterest gals.
• made dog beds and collars to sell on Etsy.
01616447b8ea26b567466a888e8e6e4f3e48da72ae01bcf8af6c99e7257b4a05fcead6f9b15f88d1c8fd• made collars for Woody and Ellie.
• decided to postpone prepping and painting exterior lights.
• managed to clear leaves and debris in the area where the pavers will go in the backyard.Shattered
• started reading Shattered by Dani Pettrey.  Halfway done. (It’s a fast read)


Walk On | Week of 10.26-11.1

• final touches for my Mom’s 70th birthday.
• call my Grandpa in England.
• make more dog beds and collars to sell on Etsy.
• prep, organize and schedule my November blog series, “30 Days of Christmas Ornaments”.
• take Mindy to the vet for a procedure.  Prayers appreciated.
• take Ellie to the vet for a follow up from her dental surgery.  Prayers also appreciated.
• pay bills.
• buy large quantities of candy for neighborhood kids for Halloween.
• make birthday cards for November birthdays.
• finish reading Shattered by Dani Pettrey.

My favorite quote from the week:  “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  Dr. Seuss.

Have a wonderful week,

Quest46LogoItem #17 – Learn to weave.

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  I follow the CraftSanity blog and podcast and a couple of months ago Jennifer interviewed Chiaki O’Brien, a SAORI weaving instructor.  Jennifer remarked at the beginning of the podcast that anyone listening to this interview was in grave danger of wanting to start weaving after listening to Chiaki.  She was right.



Hey dad – You know how mom takes us walking in the morning and then both of you take us for a walk at night?  I really like that.  We should do that EVERY night.  It’s awesome.

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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