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Life Lately & Saying Aloha to 2018

It’s so hard for me to believe that we’re already well over a week into 2018! Things have been quiet here on The Artisan Life over the holidays, but now we’re home from the Mainland and ready to get back into a more regular routine (or, at least, as regular of a routine as possible with a new baby!) Today it’s time to play catch-up and share a bit about the last three weeks and a little look ahead to what 2018 has in store for The Artisan Life and my Etsy shop.

Traveling with LG was simultaneously easier and more difficult than I expected. We don’t use an infant carrier-type seat or a stroller, which meant we didn’t have to worry with lugging these items through the airport. That part was pretty nice! Unfortunately, our first flight from Hawaii to the Mainland experienced a lot of turbulence so we had to stay in our seats much of the time. Our LG loves being walked around so she wasn’t always happy with staying in our seats! We also had to keep her in a sling, usually the K’Tan, instead of having her in our laps because it was more secure for her while there was turbulence. She loves her slings and naps in them quite well, but she also loves her floor time and wiggling so it was more time confined than she enjoys. On the way back she had more freedom and was so super sweet the entire trip. It was probably actually her least fussy day ever, which made a long trip more bearable.

I’m so glad we traveled with our baby in slings (we tend to alternate between her K’Tan and this ring sling) instead of a stroller. Getting our luggage, even when we were down to only carryon items, through the airport was difficult enough. I can’t imagine doing it with a battleship-sized infant carrier system, too! Additionally, our LG is just about the only baby who hates being in a carseat/strapped into things so she probably would have screamed the entire time in a stroller. My Brest Friend nursing pillow was also key to a successful trip with baby. My husband and I kept swapping the pillow back and forth so she’d always have a “large,” soft surface to lie or be held on. It made our lap the same height as the arm rests so we could then put a blanket across the entire surface and give her somewhere to play around a bit. Even if you’re not breastfeeding, I can’t recommend the My Brest Friend pillow enough for flying with an infant in arms.

Like both her parents, LG was totally exhausted by the trip and ready to sleep a lot after arriving in South Carolina. After that first night her sleep schedule was way off while she adjusted to the time zone change, but since it was vacation we were able to sleep in somewhat to make up a bit of the difference. For the first couple of days back home the time change has worked in our favor and she’s currently going to bed and waking earlier than before, which is exactly what we want. Fingers crossed that we can make the change stick!

LG was a very lucky girl who received lovely, thoughtful Christmas gifts from family and friends. Hand knits, mini play silks, wooden toys, and a couple adorable onesies from Etsy shop Bitty and Boho were waiting under the tree for her! She also received a couple of absolutely perfect books from a family friend and a lots of new clothing from her Miami abuelos. I’m excited for her to grow into an adorable 3 month size black and white panda dress and a 9 month size owl shirt/pants set from her Miami family!  Her new things were all thoroughly play tested by my mom’s “helpful” indoor cat.

The weather in South Carolina was unusually cold during our visit. Although we didn’t see snow, parts of the state (mostly along the coast) received several inches that stuck around for days due to freezing temperatures. Although it was warmer in SC than many other parts of the country, nighttime lows in the teens and highs in the 30s several days made us happy to cozy up by the fireplace! The weather helped our trip feel special because it was so out of the ordinary for us. This time of year the temps in SC could have easily been 60s/70s, which wouldn’t have felt as different and special. Again, the K’Tan was very helpful because we were able to keep LG close and warm on walks.

As usual, we did LOTS of craft store shopping while on the Mainland. My Etsy store has been largely inactive since early October (I have about a half dozen printables for sale), but I’m looking forward to gradually reintroducing items for sale. In the coming weeks I’ll be launching a new line of knitted bracelets – look for more info on them soon! We went to the local Hobby Lobby three times and made sure to take advantage of the 40% off coupon you receive each week with their free phone app. I was surprised to learn Hobby Lobby actually has an app, considering they don’t even use barcodes. If you shop at Hobby Lobby and don’t already have the app, get it!

Our flight home was bittersweet, in a way. Hawaii is beautiful, but it’s also time for us to leave soon. I know part of me will always miss living in Hawaii, but we’re excited to move to the Mainland in a few months. We look forward to being closer to family, the space/affordability, and working on the family property in WV that I’ve mentioned so many times. Shopping after returning home was a real wake up call after time on the Mainland – a 10 oz package of spring mix was $7.99 at the Commissary and gas was over a dollar more than what we’d paid the previous day in SC. It was strange to think that this might be our final trip to Hawaii, so I had to take photos out of the window when we flew over the neighbor islands.

Now that the holiday season is over, I can blog about a few projects I’ve been itching to share but couldn’t because they might have spoiled some surprises. A look at a Craftsy class, faux-ceramic gift tags, and naturally dyeing with cabbage are all on the slate for early 2018!

We’re also very much looking forward to attending Promoting Passion 2018 in early October in Joshua Tree, CA. Longtime readers may remember that I attended Promoting Passion 2016 and had a wonderful experience. This time my husband will also be attending and we’re stoked! If you’re a creative, I encourage you to check out Promoting Passion. It’s such a wonderful place to find your ‘tribe’ and be inspired.

Additionally, in summer/fall of 2018 we anticipate launching a second Etsy store with an entirely different vibe and theme. My husband and I will be working together to create wooden baby furniture and children’s toys, so expect to see more about this project in a few months.

2018 will be full of changes and challenges for our family, but we are all very excited about the year ahead. I hope you’re excited about the new year, too, and that it’s off to a great start for you!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, The Artisan Life will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

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Like many people, we’re preparing to travel for the holidays. Things will be less active than usual here on The Artisan Life for the next couple of weeks during the Christmas -> New Year’s time frame. The holidays should be about connecting with the people who are in front of you, not gluing yourself to a keyboard! Before we depart on our cross-Pacific, cross-country trip with a newborn (yikes!), I wanted to leave you with this lovely quotation from columnist and author Marjorie Holmes:

At Christmas all roads lead home

I hope that, no matter where you are and what you’re doing, you’re able to find a piece of “home” for yourself this holiday season. I’ll see all of you lovely folks again in the New Year!

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I promised in my post on free printable high contrast cards for newborns that I’d have more high contrast cards coming soon. Here some of them are! Today I’m sharing free printable Christmas high contrast cards for babies. These cards are a little more detailed than the previous ones to offer a more challenging visual to a slightly older newborn. At this point, LG’s eyesight should actually be slightly better than my uncorrected vision (yikes!), so I wanted to give her something a little more complex to look at. These high contrast Christmas designs are still fairly simple, though, and perfectly suited to young babies.

free printable Christmas high contrast cards for Babies

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It’s December so, as promised, it’s time for free blog planner printables for 2018! I’m doing things a bit differently in the coming year; the printables are even ‘bigger and better’ than ever before! This year’s printables are easy to adapt into a motivational planner whether or not you use the blog stats tracker pages thanks to some new sheets that help you plan and achieve annual and monthly goals.

free motivational blog planner printables for 2018 [click to continue…]

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Upcycled Llama Ornament Tutorial

I recently came across a super cute Pin for something that, apparently, no longer exists. Isn’t it annoying when that happens? I was looking for Andean knitting projects (inspired by the hat my husband is preparing to make, as I wrote about in my recent Currently Crafting post) when one thing turned into another and I went from seeing photos of actual llamas and alpacas to ornaments with camelids. The Pin featured a set of llama ornaments from Crate and Barrel that doesn’t appear to be on their website anymore. Luckily, I realized it would be fun and easy to make my own! Today I’m sharing an upcycled llama ornament tutorial complete with a printable template so you can make cute llama ornaments too.

upcycled llama ornament tutorial

As regular readers know, I’m all about upcycling. It’s fun, rewarding, inexpensive, and saves a trip to the recycling bin! These llama ornaments are perfect for upcycling any pasteboard box from cereal, crackers, granola bars, packets of oatmeal, pasta, etc.

Materials needed to make an upcycled llama ornament

  • Your free printable llama ornament pattern! Snag it on Google drive here
  • A box to upcycle
  • A pen/pencil for tracing. I love my Sakura Sumo Grip pencil for things like this
  • A white gel pen or whiteout pen
  • A dark pen for decorating. I used a 05 Micron pen. A roller ball or gel pen would work, too.
  • Scissors
  • Yarn and or embroidery floss. I used Lion Bonbons on one sample ornament and embroidery floss on the other
  • A small hole punch or an awl.
  • Embellishments, optional. You could add pompoms, bells, beads, or whatever else you like! If you’re adding embellishments, you’ll also need glue or a needle/thread to attach them.

How to make upcycled llama ornaments

Cut open the box, then trace and cut out as many llamas as you’d like.

You can make your ornaments single sided our double sided. One sided upcycled llamas will obviously have the box’s design on the ‘back’ side, but you can glue two together so you have un-printed faces visible on both sides. If you do this, make sure you flip the template to cut the llamas in pairs, like this set shown below:

Decorate your llamas! I added eyes, a mouth, and nose with my Micron pen, then made little “w” shapes with my white gel pen to represent the llama’s wool.

I also cut a small rectangle from my box and used it as a template to make some mini tassels with embroidery floss. If you don’t know how to make a tassel, this post from Tiny Modernest is a good resource for you!

Wrap your llama’s belly in yarn or floss. I made one each way for demonstration purposes. Although you could just wrap the floss, I made a ‘finger braid’ cord and tied the ends together on the back side of the ornament. I made this video on how to finger braid for an ornament tutorial a while back if you don’t know the technique. The end result is the same as chaining with a crochet hook, but I think it’s very annoying to use a hook with floss. Use glue, thread, or whatever you’d like to add more embellishments, if you want to.

Use a small hole punch or a sharp awl/needle to make a hole so you can add a hanger. I punched my hole below the llama’s ear and added a loop of yarn.

upcycled llama ornaments

And that’s that! Enjoy your fun new upcycled llama ornaments!

upcycled llama ornament tutorial

Ever since I decided to make these upcycled llama ornaments, I feel like I’ve been seeing Christmas-y llama things everywhere. Is it just my perception, are are llamas going to be the new unicorn or something?

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, The Artisan Life will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

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Free Printable High Contrast Cards for Newborns

LG already has a large library. She has at least two dozen board books plus several less physically baby-friendly books of rhymes and stories for reading to her. Although many of the books have pictures she already enjoys studying, particularly the high-contrast Look, Look! and her Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? board book,we didn’t buy her many high-contrast books or cards because I wanted to design them, myself. Today I’m sharing a set of free printable high contrast cards for newborns that can be made into “flashcards” or set up accordion style!

free printable high contast cards for newborns

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Currently Crafting! Although I was super tempted to highlight another baby knitting project, I though it would be a little more interesting and inclusive to give a quick preview of some upcycled llama ornaments I made recently. I’m all about upcycling! For one, it saves me a trip downstairs to the recycling bin/dumpster area. That’s a pretty big bonus when you have a newborn! For another it’s just plain fun to turn ‘trash’ into something fun, functional, and desirable.

Although these upcycled llama ornaments are already finished, I still have to find the time to edit photos and write the tutorial. I seem to run into this problem every holiday season, even before I had a baby. I have all these ornament and decoration post ideas but then time gets away from me and I struggle to finish any of them before Christmas!

What’s upcycled about them, you ask? The llama! I made them out of a cracker box! Pretty much any chipboard or pasteboard box will work for these.

It turned into a bit of a stash-busing project because I used yarn and embroidery floss scraps I’ve had sitting around for about three years. Yarn was also my inspiration for creating these upcycled llamas. My husband recently became very interested in Andean knits and signed up for a Craftsy class called “Knit Faster with Peruvian Knits.” The class project is an Andean-style hat that uses six different colors of yarn! I’ll probably need to write updates about that project, even though it won’t technically be mine, because it seems pretty cool.

That’s it for this week’s Currently Crafting – I hope you come back soon for the full tutorial!

What are you making right now?

Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, The Artisan Life will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

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I seriously just can’t help loving the unicorn trend. I don’t like ‘girly’ things and I usually don’t like trendy things, either, but I have been all about unicorns for the past couple of years and hope the trend keeps going strong! I also really enjoy sewing, but I know not all of my readers are sewests. That’s why today I’m sharing an easy unicorn banner with a simple no-sew option! If you can trace, cut, and glue, I’m confident you can make this cute unicorn banner for your wall. 🙂

No-Sew Unicorn Banner [click to continue…]

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Hi and welcome to another week of “Currently Crafting!” This week I’m sharing a look at a recent knitting project, a sweet little dress called the “Fiona Baby Sundress” available for free from Very Pink.

As regular readers know, I am (obviously) a huge fan of handmade. This enthusiasm extends to items for LG, including clothing. As I mentioned in my color splash lotus blossom shirt tutorial, a lot of modern baby clothes really annoy me. I believe that babies are people and deserve to be treated as such, even if the are very small, immature people who are currently totally dependent on others. I really like classic baby clothes made with natural fibers featuring tasteful, timeless elements. LG obviously doesn’t wear only handmade items, but we try hard to make her commercially-aquired clothing as sensible as possible (no rhinestones, sequins, ‘cutesy’ sayings, etc.). Since we’re planning a trip to the Mainland for Christmas, I wanted LG to have some hand knit items and this cute pattern was the perfect project for me!

fiona sundress by very pink knits

The Fiona Baby Sundress pattern is a great choice for beginning knitters who want to learn a few new skills. Very Pink is currently my favorite knitting blog and YouTube channel because Staci is not only an accomplished knitter, but also an excellent teacher. She has many well-filmed videos explaining a variety of knitting and crochet techniques – I highly recommend you check out her channel if you have any knitting questions! [click to continue…]

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Easy Polymer Clay Christmas Tree Earrings Tutorial

Okay, I admit it. I’m a crafting addict! Whenever I have a spare moment, I can’t help breaking out the crafting supplies, even if I should probably be doing something like actually folding the laundry. Meh, the laundry’s not going anywhere, right? Because my crafting time is currently pretty limited, today’s tutorial is for some super easy polymer clay Christmas tree earrings. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never touched polymer clay before, you can make these earrings! You don’t need any special clay tools whatsoever and they’re super cute, so let’s get started!

Easy Polymer Clay Christmas Earrings Tutorial [click to continue…]

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