Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Let's Wrap This Up: Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping and Etsy Finds

Inspired by Karen's Christmas pledge over at The Art of Doing Stuff I am trying my hardest to stay ahead of the holiday madness and not over commit myself this year. She's pledged to be done (DONE!) her christmas preparations by December 4th so she's free to enjoy the holidays.

I'm inspired, but as the earliest we can put up our tree is the 12th, we're doing it a little differently.
Around here the promise is to not leave things to the last minute along with not starting any new projects this year. We're ploughing through the list and nothing anyone can say will entice me to host anymore meetings, make anymore crafts, or host anymore dinner parties than I'm already committed too. Sorry but this doesn't mean I'll finish my Christmas cards on time, it means I'm simply not sending them.  Also, we'll be breaking tradition with no Christmas renovations.

So, on that note today we starting wrapping and wrapping might be my favourite part of Christmas.

Wrapping is serious business round these parts.  It typically involves folding bones and guillotines.

After coming across a really nice download for these little birds from Lisa Rupp over on thatshappy I printed some off on the kraft paper all the Cubit's seed packs are made of and we were off!

Some cutting resulted in a nice pile of kraft paper birds that was mounted on black mi-tients paper (I'm a total paper nerd if you don't know that already). All our supplies came from the local Danforth location of Deserres Art Supplies where I worked for a few years in my former life of working with/for other people.

Then some more cutting and voila! Bird tags.  Nice black backs to write on with a white pencil crayon. Preferably the omnicrom water soluble ones, but I'm also a pencil nerd so feel free to ignore me.

Our shopping this year has been pretty enjoyable.  We've been able to do a ton of it on etsy and some coworkers from another gig in my former life have opened a fabulous toy store just down the street from us and right beside the art supply store.  This could be dangerous.

All the little girls on our list are getting skirts that were handmade in Alaska by Bohdi Handmade along with the some critters from Tracey and Shamie's great new Danforth toy shop Silly Goose Kids.

I love how so many etsy purchases come wrapped so beautifully.  This is Rebecca's new apron from local etsy seller BirdbyJill and something special from Leah Duncan. Almost seems a shame to wrap them.

Good bubbles are important (also from Silly Goose Kids).

Good Earth's Good Jam all ready to wrap along with some nice tea and Leah Duncan's gorgeous design.

Combined with oodles of rick rack and a stack of washi tape (also from Deserres) I'm pretty pleased with it all. Cute and environmental friendly what with the 100% recycled paper, reusable cotton rick rack, paper tape and reused bags.

That's it.  I've wrapped quite a bit and am almost feeling on top of it.  Now to host that one last party, meeting, pack these orders and finish the renovations so I can show you my pimp that preserve entry and get on with Christmas.

Friday, December 2, 2011

project365: week forty five November 26th, 2011 - December 2nd, 2011

November 26th, 2011 We had visitors all day including a painting session with Alden.
November 27th, 2011 Spinach tastes even better if you photograph your salad before you eat it.
 November 28th, 2011 Cookie Baking Monster
 November 29th, 2011 Rebecca draws a self portrait. She's about to add hair.
November 30th, 2011 Spilling hot chocolate from her little Christmas mug onto her brand new christmas skirt from Bohdi Handmade.
December 1st, 2011 Time to sit down and get down to business Pimping those Preserves for Well Preserved.
December 2nd, 2011 Spent the afternoon upcycling felted wool sweaters into new cashmere and angora longies for Rebecca to wear to bed.  Fuzzy pants are pretty much the best way to end the week I can think of.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Felted Wool Balls for Busy Toddlers

Let me start by saying that my family has a slight wool addiction.  We all have thick wool blankets, there's a pile of wool coats in the porch, we suggest wool CSA's from Stoddart farms as Christmas gifts, Rebecca has an outstanding assortment of hand knitted hats and wore wool diaper covers in her babyhood.  My mother is actually a famous rug hooker, having even won the Stanley cup of rug hooking.  No really.

So when I feel crafty it tends to involve mounds of roving. Last christmas I made these great felt balls for the gazillion babies in my life.  I shared a photo of them in my christmas gift round up and promised a tutorial and then, well, life happened.

Another holiday season is fast approaching and we were recently invited to participate in a "Toddler Busy Bag Swap" by our overly ambitious friend Alanna.  She was inspired by this great post over on The Rigneys and has roped 9 toddler wrangling mamas into making 9 copies of an activity to swap with each other.

It's going to be fun! Glittery dough, little bags to fill, matching games and puzzles are all in the works.  I have felted a million or so little indoor friendly balls to sort and toss all winter. As overwhelming as this time of year is, this was actually pretty painless.

First you'll need some balls or a form or some sort to start with.  You can start with yarn left overs or we used tennis balls last year and little cat jingle balls this year.  8 in a pack from the dollar store.

Next ask your rug hooking mother or your knitting and crocheting friends for their scraps of wool.  We're going to make a base layer of wool to stick the roving to.  Wrap you ball with the yarn tightly. Watch out for kittens.

Ready for the first round of felting? Take all your little balls and toss them in an old pair of panty hose or tights.  You want to stretch them tight and tie them into place with more of that scrap yarn. 

Toss them in the wash on hot.  Soak them first if you have an HE machine, the more water the better. You can toss them in with a load of laundry at this point. Don't bother with the dryer, it makes them all lopsided.

After the wash, the felting will have started.  Carefully cut all the little separating threads and have your toddler pull all the felted balls out of the tights. You should now have sturdy little felted yarn balls.

Now the real fun begins!

You'll need Roving.  Piles of fluffy unspun wool.  I buy mine on etsy where there are lots of shops selling directly from their own sheep farms along with fibre artists dyeing beautiful colourways.

 Pull and stretch it out with your hands.

Then start wrapping and stretching it around your felted yarn balls.  I like to build up thinner layers and mix the colours a bit.  I do a layer and then put it back into the tied off stockings in the wash.  One layer a night for a few nights with the day's laundry. I do the last polishing round in the washer without anything else as certain things can cause pilling and I've never figured out what so I do the last round alone just to be safe.

Before you know it you have a wonderful pile of simple fun for the little people in your life.

This year we're keeping them simple for good matching and colour sorting fun. 

Last year we had a really good time doing appliqu├ęs with bits of old sweaters.  We sewed them on and them felted them one last time.  They're holding up really well.  We play with these constantly.

We're headed to the swap this weekend and I hope they are as big of a hit with the other toddlers as they are around here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday Etsy Sale on Cubit's Organic Seeds

This is it! Last Minute - Top Secret - Special Savings just for Cubit's readers!

Use coupon code CYBERMONDAY25 for 25% off all seeds in our etsy shop.  Each order placed on Cyber Monday, November 28th will receive a free package of organic basil seeds and another coupon for 20% in the new year!

Order one of our package dealsseed of the month subscriptions, or gift certificates and receive free shipping on your entire order.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

project365: week forty four November 19th, 2011 - November 25th, 2011

 November 19th, 2011 Rebecca Rides!
November 20th, 2011 The contents of our new weekly winter CSA from Highmark Farms and the Leslieville Farmers' Market.
 November 21st, 2011 Crayons are very serious business around here.
November 22nd, 2011 More Romanesco Brocoli, and I hear I'm getting another one tomorrow.  Great thread about preparing different types of cauliflower and broccoli over on our facebook page.
November 23rd, 2011 Just finished felting 42 little balls.  Tutorial coming up soon!
November 24th, 2011 More molasses cookies.  Toddles has quit napping so we've been baking too many cookies.
November 25th, 2011 I hosted a Toddler La Leche League Metting with 17 toddlers and baby Yuri. Pure Madness.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Cyber Monday 2011 Seeds on Sale in our Etsy Shop

To help you Shop Local, Buy Handmade, Shop Indie and Support Small Business Saturday (I think that's all the tag lines) we're having one last promotion before the holidays and it's a big one!  

Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY20 for 20% off all seeds in our etsy shop.  Each order placed between Black Friday, Novemeber 25th and Cyber Monday, November 28th will receive a free package of organic basil seeds and another coupon for 20% in the new year!

Order one of our package deals, seed of the month subscriptions, or gift certificates and receive free shipping on your entire order.