Tag Archives: Spoons

Life’s little surprises…

It feels a little redundant to say life has been difficult lately. Is there anyone I know who couldn’t say that? Everything is turned upside down by the pandemic and it feels as though the whole world is holding its breath and hoping the great orange asshat doesn’t blow us all up by inadvertently sitting on the big red button. Still, life has been difficult lately.

I’ve been struggling. Really struggling. The kind of struggling no amount of Pollyanna-ing can get you out of. The kind you just have to sit around with until you acknowledge it enough you can move on.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk, one might say.

Then my husband gave me a box from my mother in law.

I knew what was in the box, it was a quilt. She makes these lovely quilts for people who are struggling and I love seeing her quilts come through the house as we help her spread her love around the world. It was strange that he would bring one upstairs but ok, cool. I knew it wasn’t for me because she has already given me an absolutely stunning comfort quilt that I curl up under all the time. While I would cheerfully hoard all the quilts in the world I try not to be greedy. I know how much work they are to make and I know how many people could use cheering up.

His face was weird. He was up to something.

I opened the box. There was indeed a quilt in it. I said something like “Who’s it for?” and he answered something like “It’s for you.” I told him I already had a comfort quilt and it couldn’t be for me. He told me it wasn’t a comfort quilt.

And that’s when I pulled out the lovely fleece backed quilt, saw the messages and signatures from my family and friends, and promptly scared the life out of my husband by bursting into tears and burying my face in his chest.

I cried for a while. Kind of a long while.

You see, there were several things going on in my non-verbal head at that moment. One was the recognition of the sheer amount of effort that had gone in to such a gift along side a feeling that I didn’t deserve it. Another was a sense of just how lonely I’d been feeling. Despite speaking up on Facebook or here now and then I keep my pain pretty private. I don’t want to intrude, you see. Also, I feel like there’s nothing new to talk about, that it’s boring, that it makes people uncomfortable, etc. So I’d been carrying it around with me all day every day and mostly ignoring it, all the while feeling more and more isolated by it.

And here was a lovely, soft, amazing quilt with loving messages from the very people I’d been feeling isolated from.

“You are loved. “

“I know it’s hard”

“Thinking about you.”

Messages of love, messages of hope, messages of humor. All sewn together by a woman who loves me so much she went to this much effort, herded all the cats, to get me a tangible example of exactly how alone I am not.


I’m a don’t be nice to me or I’ll cry kind of person. This was so far beyond nice.

When I finally stopped bawling in general I began reading the love notes and began bawling specifically until I had read each and every one. Then I called my mother-in-law and cried on the phone with her for a while as I tried to thank her and accurately express my messy morass of feelings. I’m pretty sure “I have all the feels” was as close as I got.

Then I thanked everyone on Facebook and curled up under my amazing new quilt and took the first successful nap I have taken in ages.

The lovely, amazing, deeply personal and out of this world quilt
The world’s best signature block from the world’s best Mother-in-law.

Life is still difficult. I still really struggle. Now, however, instead of feeling isolated and sad when I struggle, I curl up underneath all the love wrapped up in this amazing gift and I remember; I am not alone.

Yep, there’s a big headache in that head there. Guess what though? There’s also a great big pile of love working on mending it.

Making all the things… Part Two.

Back again after an interlude of extreme involvement in the art of forging metal into pretty shiny things. I am not sure why I am utterly entranced by this process but it makes me feel as though I have come home. Perhaps it’s the fact that all the problems that arise are so easily fixed with a reapplication of heat or a polish here and there. Whatever the reason, I am basking in the sheer joy of turning sheet metal and wire into pendants and bracelets.

Of course, not every will want pendants or bracelets for the holidays so I am back with another handmade gift suggestion list. Last time we focused on college age people, so let’s look at tweens and teens this time around.

Easy Sharpie Tie Dye


I love the look of tie dye but I have always been intimidated by the actual process of it. After some savvy internet research I discovered a simple way to create tie dye decor.

For gift giving the possibilities are vast. You could purchase small canvas bags and create personalized tie dyed lunch bags for your kids. Go bigger and you’ve got overnight bags, beach bags, sport totes, etc.

You can certainly make gorgeous shirts for not a whole lot of money with this technique. Hanes has a crazy sale going on and their shirts are soft, durable, and come in light colors that would be easy to tie dye over. You could even check out their sweat pants sale and tie dye up some super comfy lounge wear for the cold holiday season.

Finally, make some small zippered coin purses/dice bags/make-up bags with tie dye decor for a cool stocking stuffer.

DIY Bleach Design

Image from By Hand London

On the opposite end of the DIY shirt spectrum we have bleach. A good friend of mine taught me this technique and it’s fairly simple. You choose a stencil, leaf, shape, etc, that you like. Lay a dark shirt flat on cardboard and place the stencil on it where you want the negative of the shape to be on the shirt. Spray with a bleach spray and toss in the laundry to rinse. You may want to scrunch the fabric around the shape or stencil to get a more even look.

If you want to take this idea to the next level and add additional materials, like fabric paint, the folks over at By Hand London have posted a DIY Galaxy Shirt idea.

Once again, Hanes is a great resource for well made and comfortable shirts, this time in a variety of dark colors, to assist you in making your teen or tween (or anyone really) a well made hand decorated shirt worth wearing.

Duct tape is your new best friend

Source: JoAnn Fabrics. 

You can do nearly anything with Duct Tape. As we are approaching Halloween I felt a DIY Halloween Candy Bag was a good image example for duct tape madness. Before you dive in I suggest a visit to diyready.com for their basic duct tape fabric tutorial video. You don’t have to master making sheets of duct tape to make a project, but you do if you want to make a duct tape project easy.

A few ideas for gifting with Duct Tape:

Source: Duck Brand

Make a Duct Tape necklace as a cool stocking stuffer, or assemble the necessary parts for said necklace, slip them into a small gift box with several small rolls of colorful duct tape and printed out directions and gift your teen/tween with a duct tape necklace kit.

Owl Tote Step Out Final
Source: Duck Brand

You can go a little bigger and create this stunning Owl tote bag. (Remember, it’s a sew free project!)

If you are looking for a fun gift for your technology lover (That doesn’t cost a small fortune) try your hand at a DIY tablet cover.

Source: The Craft Train

Does your tween or teen have a younger sibling? They can make these charming Duct Tape and sponge boats for the bathtub and gift them with something they made themselves, in addition to a great deal of bath-time fun.

I could do several months worth of blog posts on the power of duct tape. I strongly suggest you check out the Duct Brand websites craft section or just google “duct tape diy” and your browser will be filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas ranging from fashion accessories to waterproof beach totes to wedding dresses.

Friendship Bracelets: Fun and Easy Accessories 


Whether you are making them for your teen or giving your teen handmade gift ideas, the friendship bracelet is a time honored gift. Once again I’ll turn your attention to DIYReady.com. They have assembled 19 different styles of bracelet for your imagination to feast upon.

DIY Sites of Interest

The world of DIY is vast and there are so many people putting together lists of ideas for your holiday crafting. Here are a few of the sites I have found the most useful.

  • Boys often get the short end of the DIY stick. DIY Projects for Teens has a post devoted to them. From splash bomb trebuchets to skateboard shelves these project ideas are sure to delight your kiddo.
  • Moms and Crafters have a number of good DIY posts for both boys and girls, with one focusing on teens.
  • Craft Forest is filled to the brim with great DIY ideas, including the good old standby – the marshmallow shooter. However, they peg the meter of coolness with a DIY Lightsaber tutorial!

There’s more to come! Younger kiddos are next. I hope you enjoy some of these project ideas and have fun getting started on your handmade holiday!