Here Comes Peter Cotton-Tail

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The Easter Bunny is a busy guy.
Sometimes he drops stuff off at the wrong house because he is just too busy to remember where he’s supposed to be.
Here is what he left with me for my two favourite kids this year.

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Egg-shaped sidewalk chalk, “magical” zoo animals that expand in water, and bubbles in ice-cream cone-shaped bottles.

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Being a crafty sort, the Easter Bunny popped each set of goodies into a cellophane bag, painted some wooden tags with neon pink and pearly mint paint & hand-lettered each one. He plucked some brightly-coloured feathers from his Easter egg-laying hens and tied them on with some pretty bakers’ twine.

Did somebody say "Feathers?!"

Did somebody say “Feathers?!”

Hoppy Easter!

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Hop To It!

With Easter coming up, you may find yourself looking for a cute hostess gift or two. Here is an easy one.

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I believe in using my prettiest tea towels, rather than “saving them for good.” The result is that they get stained and end up in the rag bag. The good news is that they make great dust rags and  it means I can update my tea towels a few times a year! The humble tea towel is the kitchen equivalent of buying new lipstick: it gives you a quick, inexpensive lift and brightens your day.

Look for pretty, seasonal tea towels– they are everywhere, from the dollar store to Williams & Sonoma. What hostess doesn’t need more sweet tea towels? I found a set of two cheery gingham ones (useful year-round) and a bright Easter egg print.

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Tie a fancy ribbon around them and, with a nice bottle of wine or some good olive oil, you’ve got yourself a lovely little gift for your hostess!

You can see that this idea meets with approval from my resident photo-bomber:

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Blinded By The Bright


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On a budget? Who isn’t, really?
Here is a way to brighten up for spring (in the northern hemisphere, that is) without breaking the bank.

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Take an IKEA blind and a table runner (or any pretty bit of fabric!) and stitch the latter to the bottom of the former.

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Ta-da! Bright, cheery, custom blinds on a budget!
Total cost: under $25 per blind.
I made two and it took me all of two (very fun) hours.
I love (near-) instant gratification, don’t you?

These are for a friend’s kitchen in her new place. Since I can’t yet show you how they look installed, I made a (blurry!) little gif.

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Happy weekend, everyone!

Peek-a-Boo

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I love the peek-a-boo effect of glassine envelopes. They are so chic and tactile and lovely.
These ones, and the groovy cards inside them, are from Gus and Abby.
I got them in my swag bag from Blogshop last summer.

Because the ostrich and the camel work so well with the colours of the confetti garlands, they were the perfect “thank you” cards for this project. I think it’s fun that the girls will get a sneak peek at their garlands before they even open the envelopes. I added some confetti to each one because I love opening an envelope or package and having confetti fall out– it’s such a festive touch!

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Wraparound

Because they are long and a bit delicate, packaging up paper garlands can be a bit tricky.

I decided the best way to do it was to wrap each one around a cardboard tag. That way, I could write an explanation of the garland and give some suggestions for how to use it on the tag itself (in case the recipients wondered why I was giving them a string of paper flowers…).

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To make it coordinate with its garland, I stitched some confetti to the bottom of each tag.
No sewing machine? No problem. Use glue to attach the confetti or add some washi tape to pretty up the tag.

Next, I wrote a little message on the tag and then started wrapping the garland around it.

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Finally, I put a bit of washi tape on the garland to hold it in place. Ta-da!

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Confetti Garlands

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This weekend, I had the pleasure of making some thank you gifts for a couple of teenaged girls. Both of them are currently at boarding school and will be off to university next year, so I thought they might like a little something to personalize their spaces. I decided that confetti garlands would be cute.
When I Instagrammed a photo of the process, the lovely Kate Durie asked for a tutorial. So here it is!

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I made myself some of these a few months back and it is an easy, fun craft.
You will need a few little supplies.

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I decided to use one “main” colour, plus three complimentary and contrasting colours. Punch out more of the “main” colour and successively fewer of each of the next two colours. For the “accent,” or contrasting, colour, punch out only a few. I used my little floral punches, but any shape will do.
How about hearts? Circles in varying sizes?
Don’t have a punch? Why not cut out squares?
Try using patterned paper or a mix of patterned and plain.

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Arrange your piles of confetti by colour and then fire up your sewing machine.
(You will need to replace your needle after you are finished– you don’t want to be sewing fabric with a needle you have dulled by sewing paper!)
Place the first piece of confetti under the needle and slowly stitch across it; line up the next piece and repeat.
Keep going, stitching a long, looooong row of confetti together.
For the colour pattern, I was just pretty random, but you could be more mathematical about it if you prefer. To keep the thread from unravelling at either end, I sandwiched the ends between a bit of glitter tape at each end of the garland. You could use washi tape or sandwich the thread ends between two bits of confetti with a dab of glue.

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Use the garland swagged over a curtain rod (I do!), as “ribbon” for wrapping gifts, draped over a mirror, or just taped to the wall or the ceiling with some fancy tape. Use it to pretty up your daily decor or for a party.

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No sewing machine?
No worries– check back here on Wednesday for the “by-hand” version of the project!

Sweet Liberty

I toyed with calling this post “Hoop-de-Doo”….

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I have always had a (probably sort of weird) thing for embroidery hoops. I love the ingenious nature of them– so simple and elegant, so clever. I also love to embroider, though I haven’t really done it since my early 20s; I love the way it feels to hold a hoop full of fabric in my hand as I stitch.  The kind of hoops I like are not your newfangled plastic ones; rather, I like the old-fashioned wooden ones. I think of what they would have meant to ladies back in the day when embroidery was one of the very few things it was considered acceptable for girls and women to do with their time and energy. I imagine hoops being passed down from mother to daughter to granddaughter. I think of all the news and chatting and gossip and joy and heartbreak a hoop would be privy to over the course of its life.

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I also LOVE fabric. I have a lot of fabric. Much of it I love too much to actually use it– ain’t no project good enough for my most gorgeous textiles– antique French cottons and linens; funky retro prints; more-precious-than-gold, swoon-worthy 1/4-metres of Liberty prints.

So of course I am all over the trend of using your hoops as a way to display pretty fabric. It’s a great way to show off (and save!) your prettiest bits of precious textiles. I got these beautiful images on Pinterest; they are all from the clever girls over at PurlBee.

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Come Sail Away


There I was, surfing the Pinterest (as you do), when I came upon a vision of loveliness straight out of Thumbelina.

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Little, gilded, pastel walnut shell boats-as-place-cards with tiny, washi tape flags? Mais, oui!

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Best of all, in the process I also discovered the gem that is Knot Magazine.
I think this is the start of a beautiful obsession.