Tuesday, November 3, 2015


My husband and I opened five Zazzle storefronts within the past few months and we've been posting (hopefully useful) articles online to gain attention and help drive traffic to our offerings.

We're been publishing those articles to corresponding web site, which is hosted on Google Drive. Unfortunately, Pinterest won't let us link directly to the web pages, because it considers it to be a redirect. It will, however, allow links to this blog. It's complicated and frustrating to both us and the people wanting to read our articles.

If you arrived at this page from Pinterest and would rather not select the "click here" link above, the content of the "How to Clean Your Child's Stuffed Bear" follows. We're glad you're here and invite you to tour the rest of this blog (which is devoted to our life in, and slow renovations of, our humble 1970s fixer-upper.) If you'd like to learn more about our Zazzle sites, we've published the links below the article.


  • Read and follow the directions on your bear's care label. These supersede any information you'll read here or elsewhere. When in doubt, consult a professional.
  • Don't use harsh detergents or cleaners on washable bears.
  • Keep bear out of direct sunlight to help prevent fading.
  • Keep bear away from moisture/mist/water/liquids, to prevent mildewing and mold.
  • Dust bear regularly.
  • Insect damage can happen in even the cleanest homes. Check bear regularly for signs of infestation.
  • Keep bear away from hear/fire sources.
  • Check for loose pieces (arm sockets, eyes, nose, etc.) Fix any issues as soon as practicable.
  • Protect bear from the elements.
  • Don't store bear in plastic: it encourages mold growth.

Our Zazzle Stores

Keeping Busy

We've had a pretty past few months, but none of it has been terribly glamorous.

  • We had some trees taken down in our yard, to hopefully prevent the tree falls we had last winter. The outside looks like a tornado went through, because we elected to do the cleanup ourselves. (Something we'll likely never do again.)
  • We also replaced the rest of our 30+-year old windows a few months back. We heat our house primarily with electricity, so we're hoping this will help lower the bills.
  • We're replacing a few 1970s square recessed lights.
  • We ordered a replacement bathroom light/fan, to replace one that sounds like a jet plane.
  • The Halloween decorations went up (and came back down this AM)
  • I hit the 80% off sale at Michaels and found fake flowers in just the right shades for the "new to us" tree we'll be putting up for the first time in the family room right after Thanksgiving.

As it write this, the weather is in the 70s and I spent a few hours outside today doing fall cleanup work. I smell like wet leaves and couldn't be happier. While it's a lot of work, it makes me feel truly appreciative for all we have.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Trick-or-Treating Cards

I wish I'd thought of these when my daughter was a child. (Great for shy kids or those too young to say "Trick or Treat!)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Glow-in-the-Dark Day of Dead Craft Project

Because traditional Halloween decorations look out of place in the Ladybug House, L decided to create some Day of the Dead wall hangings, reinventing traditional Mexican designs with an African twist.

Here's a preview of how they turned out (NOT where they'll eventually be hung):

Want to create your own? They can be made fairly affordably if you plan ahead. (Consider making multiples, as L and D did. Cost per unit goes down and you can gift, sell, or keep the extras.)

SUPPLIES: (prices and availability not guaranteed):

  • balsa wood skull cutout (about $3; Michael's)
  • weathered grey Minwax stain (already had)
  • twine (already had)
  • several types of specialty yarn (price varies; Michaels)
  • craft paint (already had)
  • ***clear*** glow-in-the-dark craft paint (about $3 for a small bottle; Michaels)
  • small paint brush (already had)
  • paint sponge (under $1)
  • wooden beads (about $5; Walmart)
  • feather picks (about $3-4 each at Michaels: L was lucky and found a bag of 13 picks for $2 total in a thrift store)
  • copper wire (already had)
  • small glass beads (already had)
  • thick wrapped florist wire (about $6; Michaels)
  • glue gun and glue sticks (already had)
  • fake flowers (about $2 per pick of 5; Michaels)
  • fabric butterflies on wire ($2 for 3; Michaels)
  • clear fishing line

INSTRUCTIONS (results not guaranteed; use at own risk):

1. Stain both sides of wooden skull and let thoroughly dry. Apply second coat if necessary: L liked some of the grain still showing through.

2. Paint face as desired. Leave space for clear "tattoo." Let dry completely.

3. Tattoo rest of face with clear glow-in-the-dark paint and let totally dry.

4. Female figure only: create "crown" from heavy florist wire to fit on skull. Place crown on skull and adjust size as needed. "Decapititate" flowers from pick and affix with hot glue to front of crown. Add decorative "silk" butterflies. Brush butterflies lightly with clear glow-in-the-dark paint. String glass beads on copper wire as desired to make "earrings" and affix.

5. Male figure only: create nose ring with glass beads and copper wire and affix.

6. Cut yarn and twine to twice your desired length. Fold in half and fasten with fishing line at center fold to make "hair" or "beard" tassel(s). Tie tassels to skull and add wooden beads as desired.

7. Wire feather picks to hair/beard.

8. Cut short piece of thick yarn to hang and lace through top of skull. Add wooden bead to each end.

9. Keep wall hangings in a bright spot during the day and they'll look even more interesting when the lights go out.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Return of the Art Lamps

Picked up a pair of lamps at a thrift shop last summer for the sunroom L hopes to build someday. The backstory we were told by the shop was that they were donated by a prominent Vermont art gallery. (Obviously, they were sold without the vintage shade shown here. )  After a year in storage (and no start date for the sunroom in sight), L thought it was time to get some use out of them.    One is in her home office/study (see below); the other is in the family room.

Rest of New Windows In

Last year, we replaced half our windows. This year, we replaced the rest (except for the window in the main bath, which seemed fairly new when we moved in.). Everything went well (no surprises with ants this year.) Only problem is that I inadvertently directed installation of shutters on the side of the house which ended up being too small for the windows. #MeasureTwiceInstallOnce.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

French Bulletin Board

After searching unsuccessfully for a "grownup" French bulletin board for my home office, I decided to create my own.  

Here's how:

- 11x14" Vintage wooden frame (I love how mine was "well-loved" in a few corners and already has a hanging hook on top)
- 1 sheet foam core
- 1/2 -5/8 yard fabric of your choice. Might be more depending on your pattern repeat.
- 1 container upholstery tacks
- Fishing line (if patterned fabric; otherwise, use your choice of ribbon, yarn, etc.)
- Staples, to stretch fabric over foam core (optional; I used tacks on the back instead to make it easier to wind the fishing line properly)

Varies.  I paid $1 for the frame at a thrift shop, about $3 for a sheet of foam core; just over $2 for the tacks, $4 for the fabric on clearance, and a few dollars for fishing line.  I have enough leftover fabric to sew a pillow cover.

- Measure inside dimensions of frame
- Cut 2 pieces of foam core to fit. (You want it thick enough that the upholstery tacks won't go through entirely. You also want the fit to be snug, but not tight, since the fabric and fishing line will add to the size.)
- Lay foam on top of fabric and cut fabric, leaving enough extra fabric to wrap around foam and affix.
- Wrap fabric tightly around foam core, being mindful of your pattern, if any.
- Staple or tack excess fabric to back.
- Flip over and add tacks to front as shown in photo.
- Wrap fishing line around tacks in front. Fasten loose ends on back.
- Insert fabric-wrapped foam core into frame.
- Hang  and enjoy!

Here's how mine looks in the room...