Friday, February 27, 2009

Long Weekend

This little family is headed out for a long weekend. We need a little recharging with friends and time outside our chilly routine. I have a bag of crafty things ready to be whipped up in the car or wherever we happen to be. And tune in Monday for a fresh update from yours truly. Be kind to yourselves.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Gift for the Jetsetter

I stitched up a very simple luggage tag for my sister's birthday and dropped it in the mail this week. It was a wee bit past her birthday, but I'm hoping my tardiness will be forgiven. She travels lots and lots for her job, which requires her to talk wind

I am still pretty happy with Maize Hutton's nesting dolls, because the kids love them and they look so sleepy and pleasant, so that's exactly what I stitched up.

In other news, my hankies were well received! Rumor has it that one of them is in the front pocket of the birthday boy right now. I'm excited to do more of these when I think of the just right person.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tagged: Sixth Picture, Sixth Folder

My favorite Midwestern craftastic mama, Lisa at 5 Orange Potatoes, tagged me for this, which is another reason for me to like her. I am consistently blown away by her knowledge of the natural world, and the ways she explores nature with her two girls. She also creates the cutest things with felt that I wish would come to life and be my pets.

This is the picture I found in the sixth folder, in the number six position. It shows Miss Kinder, at age 2.5, walking just outside our front stoop and past the Carrot Top Bakery in Inwood, NYC. This bakery has great carrot cake as you might imagine, but my memory of it is the giant cookies that lined the case inside, and of Madeline who worked there. This wonderful woman would wave Miss Kinder inside and tell her to point to any cookie she wanted. And each year on Miss Kinder's birthday, this same lovely woman would have Miss Kinder decide what color flowers she'd like on a small carrot cake which she would then decorate as a gift to her. 

The main thing about this picture is that it makes me miss our old neighborhood and all the amazing people who live there. My friend MaryElizabeth takes pictures of these very people and has a great flickr set, right here

I'm new to the blog world and don't know many of the wonderful people whose blogs I frequent. I will tag a few anyhow, because I'd love to see what picture lurks in their 6th folder, 6th picture.

How To: Rolled Hem Hankies

I've been wanting to make hand rolled handkerchiefs for a while, because they are lovely and really handy. I used the Purl Bee tutorial which has great step-by-step photos. Each handkerchief took about an hour to hem, and the result was well worth it. I am gifting these to the friend in my life who I know uses hankies everyday, in the hopes they will be most appreciated. 

I also made some for the girls, but ran a quick zigzag stitch on the machine instead since I didn't know how much they would use them. They are a huge hit. They loved choosing their own fabric, and then tucking them into their coat pockets as we head out in the cold. But make no mistake, the hand rolled hem is where it's at. 

Hand rolled handkerchief
  • 9" x 9" cotton squares in the fabric of your choice
  • thread -- match well for a hidden hem look, or a contrasting one if you prefer
  • size 9 or 10 needle
  • make sure you are hydrated. The hem requires you licking your thumb and index finger to roll the hem tightly as you go along. You could use a wet sponge too, but where's the fun in that?
  • Lick your finger and thumb and roll the fabric toward you, with the wrong side of the fabric facing you. 
  • Slip stitch the rolled hem. Every 1/4 inch you'll catch a few of the threads from the backside just under the roll. This is the thread that will show on the front of the hankie if you choose a contrasting thread. See the Purl Bee tutorial for great pictures of this.
  • Take your time on the corners. They are a little tricky, as you are going to roll the next edge into the one you are finishing and tucking it together. It's hard to explain, but when you get to the edge it should make sense. My first corner was a bit wonky, but I got the hang of it as I kept going.
  • When you finish the edges, embroider a little design or initials if you like. 
  • Iron the hankie, but not the hem. You want it to be rolled and stay that way. 
Have fun!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Cure for February

One surefire way to cheer yourself up when holed up in late February is to make some gifts. Fortunately for me, I have three really big birthdays this time of year, so I spent the weekend getting these gifts together and packaging them up for today's mail. I'm excited to share them with you, and will, just as soon as I locate the missing cord that connects my little camera to this dandy macbook. 

I also had the fortune of getting to attend my very first ATC meetup and make, at the Rockport Public Library. I learned how to needlefelt and am looking forward to doing much more of this. My card came out pretty neato (my fuzzy red bird, right, linked from Iris' blog), and was promptly snatched up by Miss Kinder for her growing collection. 

And, I got to meet blogging mama librarian and fellow ATC fan Iris E! I had stumbled on Iris E's blog, Creative Endeavors in a Busy Life, in some internet act of random fate, and was super excited to meet her in real life. Check out her blog for more ATC love, and some real badass knitting. Don't even get me started on how jealous I am of her chickens.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

10 of my favorite craft supplies for kids

So you've got your origami, card stock, plain paper, construction paper and various lined paper. You're stocked up on scissors, glue sticks, pompoms, pipe cleaners, feathers and beads. You have glitter, if you are insane and enjoy being glittery wherever and whenever the glitter wants. Markers, crayons, colored pencils and paints are on the shelf, if not in the couch cushions. 

But you crave more! Or, they do at least. If you are ready for the craft version of the iTunes Essentials "Deep Cuts" here are some craft supplies that make life enjoyable here with Miss Kinder and the ever fickle two-year-old LEB.
  1. mod podge - this is fun and easy to use. kids can make collages on paper, cardboard forts, tins for their treasures and just about anything else there is. I prefer the glossy, but they sell a matte version as well. You can find it in any craft shop.
  2. tape -  I've talked about this before, so I'll be brief and simply say that you can never have enough tape. Feel free to check out the tape roundup I did, here
  3. embroidery floss - another easy to find item (any craft or fabric store will carry this) it makes a great first thread for tiny hands. We use it for embroidery work as well as for beading necklaces and bracelets. 
  4. silver ball chains - these are inexpensive and make great chains for lots of different pendants. 
  5. alphabet stamps - we have a few sets of these, and they are great for my new reader & writer. She likes spelling out words with them and embellishing letters and just about any other project.
  6. postage stamps  - it's always a good idea to ask at the post office what kinds of pretty stamps they have on hand. That said, I love the idea of buying up older stamps and using them in combination to get the postage just right. 
  7. bakers twine  - a simple and pretty way to gift-wrap. Use tissue paper for the gift and then wind around like you would with ribbon and tie a nice bow.
  8. wooden doll bodies - kids can paint their own characters and use ribbon, cloth or ricrac to decorate the bodies.
  9. stickers - great for letters, affixing to best friends, and for countless other uses your kids will think up. I love these sweet faces from thesmallobject.
  10. oil cloth - Use it as a dropcloth on the floor for finger painting or cover a craft table, or countless craft projects. Here's a list to get you thinking.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

10 indoor activities to do with kids

When you are stuck indoors with kids, coming up with ideas can be hard. Here are some that we've had luck with, even in the longest winter.
    1. Scavenger Hunt. Make a list of things to find and give a basket to your kids to gather them in. For toddlers, draw shapes or simple items (a ball, something green, something fuzzy, etc) Older kids like more of a challenge (something noisy, something smaller than your pinky nail, something with buttons). You can also hide clues around the house and draw a map to where they can be found, like this. Don't forget the prize at the end!
    2. Use an old shoebox or packing box to make a dollhouse. You can cut your own dolls out of paper, or download some from this list and have fun decorating the room with origami paper or pages from magazines. Use fabric scraps for rugs and blankets.
    3. Build a fort. These are always a hit, but adding some height can make for more excitement. Three plastic stacking bins in a closet make a great perch, with a kitchen step-stool as the way up. The shelf above them in the closet is perfect spot for keeping a notebook and crayons, a snack, and a flashlight. 
    4. Encourage your budding photographer. With some instruction on being gentle, and using the strap on the camera so they don't drop it, let them take your digital camera around the house and document their favorite things. Ask them to set up photoshoots, or make a well-lit area for them. Import the pictures and make a memory book, or have them write a story to go with their photos.
    5. Swap ATC's with your kids. I've gushed about this before, but we've had a great time making these using markers, magazines, scissors and glue. But the possiblities are endless. Try a new technique like crayon resist painting, or drawing from real-life
    6. Play a game of crab soccer. The rules are simple, and it's great when the kids get squirrely.  Sit on the floor and then lift yourself up with your hands and feet, like a crab would. Using only your feet, you try to get the ball past the other team and into their goal. 
    7. Have a picnic or elegant lunch. Set up a blanket on the floor or a short table with cushions. Ask them to design the menu for the occasion, and set the table as they would like. 
    8. Make a magic potion. Dig out the mixing bowls, wooden spoons and measuring cups, and give your kids an assortment of potion ingredients: water colored with drops of food coloring, spices, sprinkles, flour, jello, ice cubes, dry pasta, couscous and a few goldfish or soup crackers are some ideas.
    9. Bring the outdoors indoors. Take an underbed storage bin, fill it with snow and bring it inside. Give them some spoons, scoops, cups and some little people, animals or cars. Or, fill the bin with water or sand-- the same rules apply. 
    10. Do something silly. Kids get stir-crazy, too, and sometimes it's great to let them "get away" with something they couldn't normally do. Give them a skein of yarn and see how long they can make it go around the house. Encourage them to wrap it around the legs of tables and go up and down stairs to make it even longer.  Also in this category are pillow fights, jumping on the bed and lining up all the stuffies on the staircase.
    11. Bonus! Newspaper sculptures. I haven't tried this one yet, but rolling newspaper into tubes makes a great medium for sculptures of all shapes and sizes. I've seen these tubes used for making the frame of a fort or teepee, which could be a really fun way to make a fort (see #3!).
    Please leave me a comment with your ideas, because I could use more!

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Etsy finds: Wintery Mix

    It's the time of year when winter can start to feel long. It hasn't happened to me yet, but surely it will. I'll wish I were somewhere warm, where every step doesn't need steadying. For now I'm still enjoying winter's grip. Here are some beautiful etsy finds that feel very wintery and very wonderful.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    ATC's and the Story Behind the Blog Name

    Artist Trading Cards are keeping me up at night. The very simple rule/parameter in size (they MUST be 2 1/2" x 3 1/2") is giving me one million ideas. If you don't know about ATCs or you want to know more, check out this website

    Miss Kinder and I spent a good part of the weekend working on these. We are doing work related to the Kids ATC swap that was organized by these crafty women in the blogosphere. We got out the pens, markers, watercolors, magazines and gluesticks. She woke up this morning asking if we could go do some more. It was 6:15. Can you tell which of these was done by me, and which were her handiwork? I put the answer at the end of the post.

    I think now is as good of a time as any to give you the story behind the blog name. I like words, a lot. So much that I owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans from my MFA in creative writing. Weren't the 90's hilarious?

    Anyhow, skipthechips makes me think a little of skipping to my lou, or skipping rocks -- fun activities which I do a lot of these days. Then there is the healthy angle of skipping the chips that it could conjure. You might think I'm the kind of girl who would say, "would you please substitute the chips/fries for a side salad?" I like that you might think that of me. I sometimes wish I were that girl. She's really got it together.

    But here's the truth: when I was pregnant with my second daughter I had these cravings for Subway sandwiches. I knew well the risks of eating lunchmeat during pregnancy, and I believed they were important. But these were cravings, and these things defy rational thinking. So, I asked my Other Half (OH! as I will refer to him) if he would please pick me up a Subway sandwich on his way home. The insanity line was crossed when I phoned OH! on the cell and shouted, "skip the chips and get the footlong!"

    He didn't even laugh at me. That's how crazy he'd gotten used to life with me being. I guess it wasn't much different than the first pregnancy, when he presented a gorgeous broiled salmon and steamed veggie dinner to me and I barked "That's NOT gravy!" Which gives me a terrific name for another blog come to think of it.

    Answer: top row, Miss Kinder; bottom row, me

    Related posts:

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Hard Boiled

    Making hard boiled eggs is one of those things that used to be pretty frustrating. They came out with grey edges, a sign of overboiling, or the shells were so sticky that it was nearly impossible to peel them. They are a popular snack here with the kids, and really shouldn't be hard to make. My other half has it down to a science, and now I will share that science with you:

    Fail safe hard boiled eggs:

    Fill a pot with enough water to cover the eggs by a couple inches.
    Put the eggs in the cold water and turn the range on high.
    After 12 minutes, take the pot off the burner and let sit for 5 minutes.
    Pour out the hot water and fill the pot with cold water (a few ice cubes won't hurt).
    Add a big splash of white vinegar to the water. This is what makes the shells come off easily.
    Dry and mark with a permanent pen.

    Friday, February 13, 2009

    Forever 21 to Forever 5

    I found this Forever 21 shirt in the local thrift shop and thought it might be a good one to try altering into a dress for Miss Kinder.


    It was super easy. I cut up the back of the shirt and took it in, measuring Miss Kinder and being sure not to skimp on pinning. I also cut the seams of the arms and took them in as well. The neck was easy to take in without too much trouble, by pulling the fabric in under the buttons on either side, since the buttons were big enough to cover up my work. 

    Next time, I want to try one with long sleeves, so I can make the cute leg warmer like Amy Karol did over here on the inspirational angrychicken.

    Related posts:

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Tucked Away

    These are the envelopes I made for Miss Kinder to address and tuck the felt love nuggets into for tomorrow's Valentines Day party. I settled on "hugs" and I think they look pretty, but somewhere in the back of my mind I am wondering if I could have thought of some other words to change them up a bit. At the end of the day, hugs are always great in the five-year-old world.

    I made the envelopes from origami paper, folding them up sort of like this, but making them a little more square. And the labels are cut with fancy scissors from, yup, paper plates. Perfect.

    Related posts:

    Chewy on the Inside, Crunchy on the Edges

    For years, we ate entirely too many chocolate chip cookies from The Read Cafe in Williamsburg. Since moving from Brooklyn, it's been a quiet obsession of mine to figure out how to replicate their most delicious chewy-middle-crispy-edged cookies. With a little tweaking of a couple recipes, I have come pretty close. Here is where my recipe stands. If I get it even better (I'd love for them to spread out a little bit more) I will update you promptly. These things matter!

    2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
    1/2 c white sugar
    2 tsp vanilla
    2 eggs, room temperature
    2 1/3 c flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 tsp hot water
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 c chocolate chips

    preheat the oven to 350 degrees. cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl. stir in the vanilla and eggs. mix the baking soda in the hot water and then add to the mix. in another bowl mix together the flour and salt. stir the flour and salt into the wet mixture. stir in chocolate chips. chill for 30 minutes at least.

    get a heaping tablespoon (or more, if you are like me) and flatten them on the pan. they don't spread out much, so you should press them pretty flat. bake for 13 minutes, or until they are good and brown on the edges. let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then place on a cooling rack. 

    I made a few, and put the rest of the dough in the refrigerator. Three days later, the dough bakes up even better. A friend tells me this lets all the wet ingredients mingle. 

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    On Being Brave

    I interrupt the making of crafts to mention how the birth of my second daughter brought me to my knees with postpartum depression. It's related to the crafty blog contained herein because the happiness I am immersed in as of late was hard earned. The first two years of LEB's life, coinciding with the 3rd and 4th years of Miss Kinders, were full of darkness. PPD is really cruel; it doesn't care that you are smart, that you love your husband and children, that you wish you didn't feel the way you do. It just keeps coming at you, making everything harder. Even simple things like taking a shower, making a phone call, kissing a scraped knee. Crafts? Forget about it.

    There were strangers along the way who really helped. Not just the doctors. I'm talking about the woman from a PPD support group who walked me to the subway and rode it with me, to my neighborhood so far out of her way. This was wonderful because one of the symptoms I had was feeling disoriented, and not exactly knowing where I was going or sometimes not being sure of where I was. She told me that being able to help someone else showed her how far she had come with her own struggle. I understand this now.

    I keep an eye on PPD research and recovery, especially through the wonderful blog, Postpartum Progress. She recently linked to this entry on a blog called Magpie Days, where a woman shows two photos of her and her son on his birthday. The first, when she is deep in the clutches of PPD, and the second, when she's back to herself. I know this well. Speaking up is brave.

    Kinder Love Nuggets

    I had quite a bit of yellow felt leftover from the nesting doll project, even after making 2 sets of them. I decided to spice up the valentine scene by making these puffy little love nuggets for Miss Kinder's class. She has been agonizing over which friend will get which one. These couldn't have been easier to make: I made a template out of a manilla folder, cut out 30 of them (for the 15 children in the class) and then got out the dark pink, light pink and red embroidery thread. I stitched the fronts up, lined up the back with a little puffy stuffing between them, and stitched them up with the trusty blanket stitch.

    Etsy Finds: The Way Life Should Be

    Here are some really pretty handmades, all from Maine. It's great to buy something made by hand, but even better when it comes from one of your neighbors, or one of mine!

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009


    Poor Victoria. I don't even know what to say. If you would like to do something to help people who have lost everything in the bushfires, visit Handmade Help and buy something. Proceeds will go to help victims of this awfulness as they try to rebuild their lives.


    The Universe Sensing my February Power Animal

    It should be noted that this very lovely and free embroidery pattern was posted today on lollychops blog. It's embroidery week; she said so! Fun and hedgie, to boot.


    I don't think I could give you a very good rational for why the first continent on the Kinder-Curriculum is Antarctica. Maybe it's easy because it doesn't have many inhabitants, seasons, cuisines or languages. The good news is that the wrap-up of the work on said continent was a dandy art project with clay and paint, and now we are the proud owners of a map sculpture complete with a gigantic penguin nest, fortress wall and mama penguin at the end of the peninsula trying to find her way back to her babies.

    Monday, February 9, 2009


    mandate, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    I found this in the kitchen this morning. My other half clearly had something in mind for me today. I hope I can live up to it.

    Music for a Winter Monday

    Cash, the Caufield Sisters
    Evolution, Gloria Deluxe
    Pennywhistle, Augie March
    Is There a Ghost, Band of Horses

    Saturday, February 7, 2009

    All Things Hedgehog

    I'm having a thing lately where the hedgehog keeps finding its way to me. From pictures to jewelry and this most amazing project that Miss Kinder and friend have been working on every morning before school. I'll take photos of that for you soon, but I will tell you it's the most beautiful animal world you've ever seen. In the meantime, have a look at hedgehogs you can arm yourself with. They are my February power animal.

    Friday, February 6, 2009

    Valentine Fever

    We are gearing up for the weekend, and this one promises to be filled with kinderthings. Next week marks the 100th day of kindergarden, which is a great reason for celebration and reflection. Miss Kinder has her 100 things picked out, and has settled on the design. Of course you will be seeing the finished project. The other item on the weekend agenda is making the 15 valentines for her classmates and teacher. We've done lots of practicing -- cutting out paper hearts, writing names, gluing beads and buttons, and even some fabric hearts stitched to paper. None of these seems quite right, and since the felt doll project yesterday, I am thinking it might be nice to stitch up something tiny, lovely and puffy for her friends. 

    Thursday, February 5, 2009

    Nesting Doll Love

    The littlest member of this Belfast crew, the one we shall refer to here as LEB, recently discovered the joy of matryoshka dolls and has been requesting some of her own. I found this great pattern for a felt version, and figured it would give me a chance to make her happy as well as figure out how to do a blanket stitch (that's the one on the edge that looks really pretty when done properly.) I used yellow felt and lots of different embroidery thread, mostly letting her pick the colors. She hasn't let go of them yet, and won't let anyone hold them. So that makes me feel pretty darn good.

    Maize Hutton, who designed the dolls, has the free pattern for download on her site if you want to give it a go.

    I used this video tutorial to learn how to make the blanket stitch. I did get pretty good at it, by the time I got to the tiniest doll.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    Bagel Experiment, Take One

    Bagel experiment, take one, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    Cliche, yes, but so real: I miss the bagels from the city. I even miss the ones from the donut carts; it's that bad. Luckily, we have the internet and a lot of energy for this kind of thing. I set out to find some recipe that sounded promising, and settled on this. The hard part about making bagels is not the boiling, which is the part that kept me from trying it sooner. It is the kneading -- this is some tough dough. We don't have a mixer to do the work, and I'm not exaggerating when I tell you we kneaded the dough for about an hour before it came together. In hindsight, this was probably the fatal flaw. And I think next time I'd add another tablespoon of water or two and try to get the kneading to 30 minutes. The boiling was easy (just drop them in for a few minutes per side) and then into the oven they go. We all gave them high marks when they were warm. The issue with these was the next morning, when they were rock hard in the ziplock bag I had stored them in. Again, I think they were kneaded to death. But, aren't they pretty?

    Reworking Crayons

    Reworking crayons, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    With a string of cold, grey and snowy days, the craft scene here seems to have blossomed. Here are some crayons the girls made with about 40 crayons hand selected from their box of roughly 1,000,000 crayons. They liked peeling the wrappers off, but their favorite part seemed to be snapping them into tiny pieces. We sorted them by color and then I gave them a muffin tin to fill however they wanted. To melt them, just heat the oven to about 150 degrees, then turn it off. Put them in the warmed up oven for 15 minutes and take them out. They will be really soft, but not totally melted. Let them dry and pop them out of the muffin tin. Presto.

    Tuesday, February 3, 2009

    Sneaky Little Elephant

    elephants, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    Little 2.5 snuck off to the my photo taking area, and set this up. I had to snap a picture because it was so pretty, I wish I'd done it myself.

    Monday, February 2, 2009

    kid artist trading card swap

    This project has all the elements that bring joy to my five year old. Sending mail, receiving mail, and drawing/painting/gluing paper. Read the specifics here, but know this: if you have a child age 4 or older, you can sign them up to participate in this swap, easy peasy. They will create five small artist trading cards of their own fancy (they have to be 2.5" x 3.5" and no bigger or smaller). They will receive five cards from five other kids in exchange. I can't wait to see what is made here, and what lands in the mailbox.

    eco tawashi

    eco tawashi, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    Maybe you already know this, but you can wash dishes really well with a simple scrubber made from acrylic yarn. It's called an eco tawashi.

    I found a set of acrylic crocheted coasters at the thrift store (pictured) and repurposed them as our first eco tawashi experiment. The review: they are like soft scouring pads that do a great job on nearly everything. I've read that you don't need to use soap, but the jury is still out for me on this one.The best part for me, aside from how cute they can be, is that they can be washed with the laundry. Never face that stinky sponge smell again.

    Instructions on how to make your own eco tawashi are available here, if you already know how to crochet. I am not ready for this tutorial, though, because the last time I crocheted anything it was for a badge in girl scouts around the fifth grade.

    I am going to give it a go, using this youtube video on how to crochet in a circle. Perhaps this is insanity, but I'll show you how I do.

    If you have the eco tawashi itch, but don't want to make them, has some really cute ones you could buy, or keep your eye out for something at your local thrifty shop.

    scavenger hunt

    scavenger hunt, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    Finding things always makes the girls happy. Easy-to-follow maps, like this one Ethan drew, give you time to reheat a cup of coffee and almost read a whole article in the newspaper. The longer you make it, the more Sunday funtime you get.

    Rainy Day Woman

    If you haven't had a chance to see Jean Shin's work before, you are in for a treat. With an eye for making lovely what many of us simply toss away, Shin creates absolute magic. From stitching together abandoned umbrellas in NYC after storms (pictured above), to creating a house of cards from discarded lottery cards, your eyes will be just a little more wide open as you go to throw out a prescription bottle, hemmed pant leg, or take out chopsticks.

    A listing of upcoming shows can be found at her website

    peek-a-boo, sourdoo

    peek-a-boo, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    Did you know that to make sourdough bread, you need a starter? And did you know that this starter takes time to cultivate, and you keep adding to it, using it, adding more...It's good to date the starter, so you know its birthday. There are starters dating back to the civil war, passed down generations. Ethan started ours sometime in January, 2009, and we've had 4 loaves of it so far. I hope he can pass it down to our girls when they get start their own families. This idea is so sweet, it makes my heart hurt.

    Sunday, February 1, 2009

    Trial and error: my first sewing project

    As promised, here is a photo of the first dress I sewed on the machine using the men's-shirt-to-girls-dress tutorial. I learned a lot during this project. The straps from the tutorial didn't work for me. They were way too short for 5 year old shoulders. So I took the collar from the shirt scraps pile, cut it exactly in half and voila! I also reused the pocket that I had to seamrip from the shirt and stuck it on the front of the dress because a girl needs a place for stowing treasures.

    scarf hat

    scarf hat, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    Each week, many pieces of paper come home from kindergarden. This one is my favorite of the bunch I unstuffed from underneath the snowpants in the backpack this week. I would very much like this hat.

    change chores

    change chores, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    On the weekends we do change chores. I write up a few things that need doing on some paper, fold them up and put them in a dish (or bowl, if things are really out of hand) and we all draw one. If you are five years old, once you are finished, you get all the change that mama and daddy have kicking around.

    thrifty finds

    thrifty finds, originally uploaded by skipthechips.

    Yesterday's thrift finds included this gwonky copy of Raggedy Ann, an origami-a-day calendar, and a $2 bag stuffed with lace, ric rac and embroidery hoops. Also, I love this list that my daughter made and it goes so nicely with all these valentiny things.

    Cupid strikes again

    Be a sneaky valentine with Tamara Shopsin's "The Best." And then buy this for yourself, as a reward for your sneakiness:

    This five year diary designed by Tamara Shopsin was my favorite Christmas gift. Start any day of the year you like and write a sentence or two. Repeat. At the end of five years, each page is a day of your life over five years. You don't have to be too literal on the diary front -- paste a picture that inspires you, the song that's stuck your head, a sentence from something you read, or something else equally sweet. 

    See more of Tamara's work at her website, or Shopsin's General Store, or poke around the New York Times.
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