I have been neglecting this blog very sorely. Part of it is general summer laziness; the fact that our schedule is rather–how shall I put it–fluid. I do the minimum amount of everything needed. The least amount of cooking, the least amount of cleaning, and the least amount of blogging. It’s nothing personal; just a lack of mojo.

Not helping the situation has been my computer which has been so naughty and disfunctional, but seems to be liking me once again. Sort of.

I’ve been doing some odds and ends around the house. Not cleaning or anything. Just crafty-type things (I haven’t been entirely useless. Just mostly useless). Nothing is as satisfying and therapeutic as making stuff. (Eating is a close second but there is nothing to show for that but an empty Oreos package and fat thighs.)


Mister has very sensitive skin so I make most of our soap. Our bathroom is black, white and green so I thought making some matching soaps would be in order.

I tried two very different designs. The one on the left is a shea butter & babassu soap that has more of a funky, rustic vibe. For the life of me I can’t remember what I scented it with, but it smells fantastic. Hopefully it will be really moisturizing. I tried a new recipe but it won’t be cured for another month. I’ll let you know.

The soap on the right is glycerine and is very pretty and tailored-looking. I scented it with Vera Wang which is my favorite perfume these days. Mister probably doesn’t want to smell like Vera Wang, but I guess he’ll have to make his own soap.


Did your mom have one of these pincushions? I use one when I sew because it’s so convenient, but this stupid thing is always falling off and the chintzy plastic band is really itchy.


So I made an adorable wrist pincushion out of felt. I got the pattern (free!) from Heather Bailey, although I tweaked it a bit. I buy my felt online from Giant Dwarf on Etsy. Her prices are excellent (don’t use that vile stuff from the craft store. Please). My pincushion is super comfy but most importantly it’s cute!


Also going on recently was the adult Pinewood Derby at church. Most of the couples did a car together but Mister wanted no part of my design. Wonder why?


Tacky? Check. Girly? Double check.

My car is called “Put A Bird On It”. Which is named after the funny skit on Portlandia (I’ll link to it down below). I must say “put a bird on it” at least once a day.

Mister made his car out of a slab of chocolate-chip cookie.


There are no holds barred at the Derby and people (men!) were adding tons of weight to the cars in between races to make them go faster. Since we didn’t think to bring pocketfulls of lead, Mister was left to improvise. Watermelon seemed like a nice, heavy choice.


His car came in dead last, but it got the biggest laugh, which as everyone knows is more important than winning. Put a Bird On It came in second to last. But it was by far the prettiest Pinewood Derby car to ever grace the church gym.

I have decided that this week shall be Hobby Week here at Beehive and Birdsnest. I like to collect hobbies which isn’t surprising considering I was born to two people who always had some “thing” that they were into. My dad leaned toward things that go. He was on the pit crew for a few race car teams and then fell madly in love with sailboating. My mother liked to do practical things: make shoes (which she learned from the monks at the monestery down the road from us), weld, make jewelry (we’re talking lost wax and pouring molten metal; not stringing beads). She also happens to be a very good artist as well.

When I was five my parents built a house. Quite literally. They hired a crew to pour a foundation and build a frame. Then Mom and Dad did everything else. Themselves. They ran the wiring, plumbing and ductwork, framed the walls, built every cabinet from scratch and hung the doors and windows. It turned out pretty darn nice.

Our unofficial family motto is We Learn How To Do Things.

I inherited my parent’s practical practical streak. But I also have a love for pretty things. My mother leans heavily on duct tape and making things work. The way they look doesn’t really matter that much. But if I’m going to do something it had better be beautiful or what’s the point?

I started sewing early on. I was always picky (and poor) so the only way to get the really cute clothes I wanted was to make them myself. Fortunately my mother is a crackerjack seamstress. She can create anything you show her. She taught me well and the rest I picked up through the years.

Sewing is such a great skill to have. It can save so much money. For example, I decided that I need a bag of a certain size. It needed to have a top that shut somehow and it needed to be cute. I searched Etsy and couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. So instead I bought a pattern on Etsy (from EmiShimosato), changed a few things and made the bag myself out of fabric I already had on hand. It wasn’t hard and took maybe two hours from start to finish. That’s the thing about sewing. Depending on the pattern, it’s not too difficult. It’s more like learning a new operating system on your computer or doing very strange origami. Once you’ve done a few projects it starts making sense and getting much easier.

For example, who would guess that this bizarre inside-out ring:
Would ten minutes later look like this? Just what I wanted!

I’ll bet that there are some excellent sewing tutorials on You Tube. I’ve had great luck buying patterns on etsy. The directions are really well explained and there are usually tons of pictures too. These are great especially if you’ve been burned in the past by trying to make something from one of the big name pattern companies (those are sooo hard to figure out, even for people with lots of experience.) I haven’t tried every pattern on Etsy, obviously, but the ones I have tried have been so nice to work with and incredibly easy to uderstand. Add to that the fact that the patterns are almost always downloadable immediately (yay instant gratification!) and the designer can usually be emailed if you have a question.

If you’ve tried sewing in the past and have been scared off, let the internet help you out. There are online tutorials and lots of people who are willing to help you.

Honestly I’m not in love with sewing. I’m not passionate about it. The whole time I’m sewing I’m just waiting, waiting to get the finished product. Very few things are as gratifying, though, as sewing. It’s such a money-saver (although most kids clothes can definitely be bought cheaper!) If you need curtains for your house sewing can save you a ton.

All in all this is one hobby that, while not the funnest thing ever (them’s fighting words to a quilter!), should be taught to everyone. It’s just so darn useful!

Are you a sewer? If not, why? Have you ever taken lessons or anything like that?

Stay tuned for more hobbies all week long.

Don’t you love buttons? They are just so cute. Why? I’m not sure. But etsy has about a million different cute button-related items. These would be perfect for so many pretty projects:

Handmade ceramic buttons from MeltinMuddStudio

This bracelet would be perfect for fall (only $15!)

You have to see all of the darling buttons this artist makes by hand. It will make you want to whip up a dress for your daughter just to use some of them.

Aren’t these just crying out to be used on beautiful handmade sweaters?
Yes, please! How adorable is this ring? ($10!)

Love these. Blue and green are my favorite!

I met Kristi, the creator of these fun bracelets at The Creative Connection. She’s as sweet as can be and so is this bracelet.

This is only sort of button related, but what do you think of this sweater for your apple? Brilliant or completely laughable? I happen to HATE bruises on my apples, so I really like this idea. I can’t imagine my kids remembering to bring these home in their lunch boxes, though.


September 24, 2009 · 6 comments

in Etsy

I’ve been browsing a bit on etsy lately.  It’s very addictive and I can find all sorts of non-useful things that I really must have.  Some favorites:


This cake platter is perfect for me; I love cakes, I love flowers, I love mosaics. I wonder if I could make something so cute . . .

This print is pretty much my dream come true:

I have neither a baby nor the climate for such a hat, but a girl can dream!

I realized after I finished my exercises in the Slipcover book (see this post earlier today) that the things I like best are lots and lots of pattern all mixed together, as well as bright pastel colors.  If something is plain and simple I usually don’t like it. After I did my last post about decorating my family room, it’s weird that I didn’t include photos (thanks for the complaining emails everyone!) Here they are:

Here is the sofa I knew in the Pre-existence. I was instantly smitten with it. It is such a nice change from all the gender-neutral furniture we’ve had our entire married life.  And as I like to remind Mister, a happy wife is a happy life.  After being married for (almost) 17 years he knows to pick his battles.

The accessories are all things that I really, really love.

(Notice the beehive box and the bird’s nest picture?  I’ve got a theme here, can’t you tell?)

The candlesticks are clear since there is a lot already happening in the room.  But they’re still busy in their own way.  And I like busy.

I found this brilliant mosaic on etsy.

The blue in this room was really hard to create.  I wanted a warm blue (if it can be called that), that didn’t look like a little boy’s room.  So if you’re in the market for a lovely blue color (it’s actually greyer than it looks in most of these pictures), here’s the recipe.

Hap Val Day

February 13, 2009 · 8 comments

in Etsy, Kids

Technically it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  But if you have kids you know the real Valentine’s Day revolves around class parties; thus Valentine’s Day is, for all practical purposes, today.  I’ll be making the rounds later on to watch my children get completely strung out on sugar and red dye #12. I’ll also be stealthily comparing looks with the other moms which will make me feel both happy (love those moms who waited til they were 40 to have their first child!) and anxious (hate those moms who had their first and only baby at 18 and are now looking hotter than hot. But who cares because I have way better skin. I mean, everybody notices your skin, but how many people notice your stomach? That’s what I tell myself.)

Here’s our contribution to the elementary school sugar rush: cookie pops. For the first time we live in a state where homemade goodies are allowed to be passed out at school, so I’ve got to take advantage of that. The kids picked out the Valentine’s treats based on looks alone, so they don’t taste too great (can you say bland?).  But you know kids, if someting’s sweet they’re suddenly not so picky.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are a few grown-up treats from Etsy (but they’re cute enough that you could use them year round.) If you want to know more just click on the item’s caption.

Weird etsy

November 16, 2008 · 10 comments

in Bad Things, Etsy

I love Etsy.  (In case you’ve been living under a rock, it’s a huge site for selling handmade things. Like the world’s biggest craft fair.) I have bought so many cute things from Etsy sellers (who are fantastically nice, by the way). But I have also seen some incredibly strange things.  Things that are downright perplexing.  

How about this skirt? (Because I know you already have the rest of this ensemble.) A 35-year-old woman who’s into Animé?  The fourth graders in your son’s class will definitely think you’re cool.  

Your husband probably wants this necklace. Won’t it be a hit at his next P.P.I. with the Bishop?

Here are some baby socks that cost $4.00. They are “tie-dyed”.  Or, as I like to call it, “whites accidentally washed with darks”.

Nothing says “par-tay” like frowning broccoli.

I have no doubt you’ll be the talk of Thanksgiving dinner with this lovely showpiece on your head. (Sorry folks, this listing is just for the pattern.  You’ll have to spend 70 hours crocheting it yourself.  That’s a lot of work just to get a chuckle out of Uncle Bill.)

I always see baby mermaids wearing Mickey Mouse ears throwing up in the toilet, don’t you? You know mermaids!  What a bunch of drunks!