Friday, July 29, 2011

The latest and greatest

Haven't done a thrifting post in a while.  And I've been going a lot lately.  I'm finding that the best thing to do if you're a thrift find addict like I am, is go at least once a week, on any day other than a Friday or Saturday.  That's when all the rookies are out, gummin' up the works.  A couple times a week is best - but let's get a grip, right?  (I'd probably camp out near the back room to watch the stuff go out to the floor if they let me...)

So here are a couple of my absolute favorite finds as of late...

An awesome German calorie calculator!!

I think, anyway.  I mean, I don't speak German, but if I did - I think I would find that this is a calorie table of some sort.  After I do some more research, this one will be going in the shop.  Look at the adorable graphics!!

Next we have a lovely Saltines tin.  I love this tin.  I'm not sure what I'm going to use it for yet - but I love it.  That seafoam green/red/cream combo is one of my all time favorites.  

This awesome piece of craftiness was headed for the shop, but now I don't think I want to part with it.  The frame is a bit dinged, so maybe someday I'll replace it...

...but look at that detail!  

How cute.  It must've taken a long time.  And a lot of love.  I wonder who made it.  I often wonder things like that with the pieces I pick up.  Everything tells a story.  I love that about thrifting.

And last but certainly not least as this guy could possibly be my favorite thrift find of all time...

Aaaaaacccckkkkk!!! The coolness!  The total, utter awesomeness!  Look at those colors!!  His little beard!! His bright yellow POM POM HAT!  His little GINGHAM BAG!!! Can you stand it??

I'm telling you I almost peed my damn pants in excitement when I saw him sitting on the shelf.  Ok.  Maybe not.  But I did almost hurtle over Jon like it was the thrift store Olympics when I turned and saw him.  Not that anyone else was even around.  But I could not take that risk - I grabbed him up with lightening speed and ooohed and ahhhed Jon's ear off about him all the way home.  I don't know if I'll ever actually use him since most incense gives me a headache - but I love him I love him I love him.

What about you?  Do you have a favorite thrifting spot?  Been to any good estate sales this summer?  Have you had any great finds lately? 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

DIY: Yo Yo Bouquet

Hi folks!  Sorry I've been a bit MIA lately.  I've been really busy lately runnin' my buns off getting ready to apply to a real live (my very first!) craft show in November.  I'll fill you in on the details of that later.  Eeeeee!!

Today, I want to share with you a little project I've been working on as a gift for Jon's mom's birthday this Sunday!  So shhhh!

Have you ever made a quilting yo yo?  Me neither.  Well, now I have - but up until a couple days ago I had never tried.  But they're super fun and super easy and I think you should totally try this.

You'll need all of this (minus a Moe cat):

Here's the fabrics I chose up close - aren't they pretty?!

Supply list:
  • Coordinating fabrics 
  • Pinking/sewing shears
  • Pins
  • Needle
  • Matching thread for your fabrics
  • Scrap paper to make templates
  • Pencil
  • Circle objects for tracing
  • Faux flower stems (easy thrift store find!).  Make sure they have THIS part of the flower - otherwise you'll have nothing on which to attach your yo yo.

Step one:  Find three different-sized circular items from around your house.  I used a bowl, a canister of PoppyCock and a can of tuna. :)  Whatever you use, you want your smallest item to be about half the diameter of your largest item (even smaller is probably better).  The other one should be in between those two.

Trace the objects onto your scrap paper and cut out your circles.  Voila! - templates. Alternatively, you can skip making templates and trace the shapes directly onto your fabric.  But since I'll be making more yo yos in the future, I wanted to make patterns that I could use again later.

Step two: If you don't know already, try to get an idea of how many flowers you want to make total so you know how many circles to cut.  Pick a template and situate it on your first fabric, pin it down, and cut it out.  Do this for as many flowers you want to make -- times two.  You need an outer and an inner yo yo for each flower.

Step three:  Iron your circles. You could've actually done this as step one and just ironed your whole fabric, but since I hate don't love ironing, I find just having to do the little shapes makes it more fun. :)

Step four: Remove the flowers petals from your flower stems.  On my stems, I had to remove the plastic centers, slip the fabric petals off, and put the center back on the base/stem.  I'm sure there are all different ways to do this depending on the flowers you find/use and how they're constructed.  The main thing is that you want the "base" to be left on the stem and that's it.  

I left a couple of flowers on the smaller stems b/c I liked the color. :)
Step five: Make your yo yos!  To make a yo yo, all you do is:
  • with the wrong side of the fabric up, run a basting stitch (also known as a "tack" stitch) all the way around the edge of the circle
  • when you get back to your start, pull tight to gather all the fabric together (at this point your yo yo looks like a pouch)
  • flatten your work (helps to look at it from the back so you know you're making a good circle shape) 
  • stitch through the center a couple times to secure

Here is a great instructional video to get you going if you're lost on yo yos. 

Step six: Attach your yo yos to your flower stems, add your button to the center aaaaand done!!

Whoa whoa whoa.  Done?  What?

Well I left this tutorial fairly vague in parts because I know there are a variety of skill levels who visit my blog.  I'm sure some of you will read the above and be good to go.  Woohoo!  Others are staring at their screens going, "What is this crazy chica talking about?"   Therefore, keeping in consideration that I'm all for whatever works for you and that I know there are a lot of different ways to get from point A to point B in this project, I will leave you with a couple notes on how I did things...

  • Before making my yo yos, I first paired all my circles together so I knew what my bouquet would look like when I was done.  This way you can tweak the color choices/combinations before you start sewing.
  • I made all my center yo yos first.
  • Regarding step six: I started by sewing the larger, outer yo yo directly onto the plastic center of my flower stem. About 6 stitches or so.  Then I attached the center, inner yo yo to that with about 4 stitches all the way around.  Then I attached the button in the middle, on top, last.  
  • I tend to over-do things when it comes to crafting in the "securing the heck out of it" department.   Unless you plan on sword fighting with your bouquet, you really don't need a lot of stitches to attach everything together.  The estimates above, give or take a stitch, is plenty.
  • If you use a thread color that matches your large, outer yo yo when you attach your "flowers" to your stems, I found your stitches almost disappear.  You can also hide a lot of your work under the plastic center thing of your stem.
  • I found it easier to take the plastic center base off my stems while I was working on them.  I originally tried gluing the bases on the stems (see?  over-doing it again) and then working on them, but it made the project unwieldy. 

And there you have it!  A gorgeous and simple, yet thoughtful gift!!  I'll probably make a bouquet like this for my own home - they're so darn cute and happy.  I hope she really loves them. :)  I still have to find the perfect vase to put them in.  Wish me luck!  And as always, if you have any questions or need help - let me know!

Update: It's Sunday night and it's been a long, loooong day.  But a great day.  I gave Cheryl her flowers and she loved them.  She really did.  :) And dinner turned out wonderfully.  So happy - can't ask for any more than that.  But I just wanted to pop back in here and share with you the final product.  Hope you guys are having fun w/this!

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Music I'm Diggin Right Now

I love this sound.  I love these words.  I love his voice.  I love my Canadian radio station that turns me on to beautiful new artists. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vintage Fabric Score!

I found a great scrap stash of vintage fabric for sale on Ebay the other day.  Could not even help myself.

(Coopie approves.)
Can you blame me?  Look at those colors!  The textures!  The patterns!! I cannot resist me some good vintage fabrics.  I already cut a few up for future gnomes. Hooray!

Aren't they great!?  These are my favorites:

Well at least I got one good picture in before...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Doin' my Gnomework

This weekend I went on the hunt for some vintage -- or at least vintage-looking -- sheets for crafting.  Struck out. :(  Boooo.  But I did find a bunch of other good clothing items that I can break down for material.

Woohoo!  And some of those pieces were vintage - bonus!  (Not cute vintage though - like weird uncle vintage.  Not good for wearing, but great for crafting.)

I'm currently working on a bunch of projects - the biggest of which being a new art doll, and my dragon of course.  But I spent most of the weekend working on my gnomes.  :)  I'm in love with them.

So now, after some serious crafting sessions this weekend, here's the latest lineup of the gnome-squad.

Now featuring Wee Gnomes!

Aren't they cute?! (My first gnome is available in my Etsy shop.  Other gnomes can be seen on Pooknflip's Facebook page -- are you a fan yet?!)

So why am I churning out gnomes like a mad woman you may ask?  (Especially when I should be working on other stuff right now.)  Other than the fact that I just think they're so darn cute, I'm strongly considering trying out my first craft fair this year.  :)  I've never been to this particular event before, so I'm not really sure if it will be for me.  I do know it's just a small, high-school hosted holiday event (which is perfect for a first-timer like me) - but that's about it.  I want to check it out...ask a lot of questions...see if it would be something I could do.  Ultimately though, I need to pump up my inventory.  The show is in November, and it might seem like a long way off -- but it's really not, considering how much plush I would need to make between now and then to have a good show.

So I've been a bit pre-occupied with that.  But I did get another wing sewn  for the dragon this weekend too. And I've got some great fabric bits I picked up for the art doll order I've got.  He's gonna be like Eustace - but he'll be a hurly burly mountain man.  I'm excited.

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Brooke!  You were the lucky number 13 commenter.

I hope you really like these. <3  I'll send you an email, get your info and ship them out Monday.

Thanks to everyone for participating!  I really liked doing this giveaway.  Maybe I'll do another one - sooner than later.  Since the brooch was the second item of choice from the poll, maybe I'll do another giveaway with that for a prize.  Actually, I've been meaning to try my hand at some new items for the shop anyway - specifically brooches.  I've had a ton of ideas, but haven't really started anything solid.  Great excuse to get my buns in gear, right?!

Edit: FYI, my blogger time must be off somehow.  It's currently 2:52 am, Sunday.  (Just wanted to make sure you knew I wasn't jumping the gun on closing the giveaway.) ;)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On my Soapbox about Soap Nuts

This is kind of a long, potentially preachy, post.  My intention is never to offend anyone - or tell you what to do.  :) I share what I do in my home in the hopes that maybe something I say will positively effect someone else in their home.  Having a voice on this blog, as small as it might be, I can't help but to occasionally share things I learn and feel passionate about.  And I'm telling you right now, once you learn things (about our food, the products we use, the impact we sometimes completely unthinkingly have on the earth), you can't "un-know" them.  You've been warned.  ;)  Read on...

Have you heard of soap nuts?  Actually, they're technically a berry.  So have you heard of soap berries?  They are a magical little fruit which hails from faraway lands.  And I bought some recently.  Actually I bought 2 lbs of them.  And they just came.  Super excited!

In a nutshell (ha!), soap nuts/berries are an excellent, superior in fact, alternative to our chemical-laden commercial laundry detergents.  They are 100% natural (they really are berries!), totally toxin & chemical free, and are very effective.

Here's a pic w/me holding my big fat bag of soapnuts for better perspective.  Oh, and that's a sample package for my sister. :)
I'm slowly trying to wean our house off of any kind of unnecessary chemicals.  It's amazing what we (society) have been brainwashed to believe.  For instance, just using one product - laundry detergent - as an example:

  • Suds = Clean.  Wrong!  Soap nuts contain saponins and are highly effective cleaners - but produce almost no suds in the laundry.
  • Scented clothing = Clean.  Wrong!  Using scented detergents do nothing but leave potentially irritating residue on clothing.  This applies even more to fabric softeners.  I can't stand fabric softeners.  Haven't used them in years.  They're full of useless toxins, give me a headache, and did you know, over time, they can actually "eat" your clothing?
  • Chemicals = Clean.  Wrong!  Well, technically right - but at what cost?  The FDA does not currently require our cleaning product companies (or cosmetic/lotion/etc, for that matter) to fully disclose the ingredients in their products.  Ever wonder what they mean exactly by "fragrance"?  Yeah.  And who knows what else is in there?!  I do.  After doing a little, and then a lot, of research regarding what exactly goes into the products I was using everyday...and what their effects are on my health, my family's health, and my earth...I started looking for alternatives real quick.
So anyway, we're slowly but surely eliminating all that kinda stuff from our home.  One thing I'm happy about - I haven't used shampoo or conditioner in...2 years?  Give or take.  And no, I don't smell like a rhino.  ;)  However, I do support other artisans (here & here & here are some of my favs) whose livelihood revolves around creating 100% toxin-free, natural and environmentally-friendly handmade soaps.  There's another brainwasher - you do not need 20 different soaps in your shower, ladies.  I use the same bar for my hair, body, face and shaving.  (FYI: There is definitely an adjustment period regarding quitting commercial shampoos, but it is so worth it.)

Photo credit: OwlNaturals 
This is the site where I purchased my bag-o-nuts.  Actually - there is a limited number of their products offered on Amazon too.  If you're gonna try out some soapnuts for yourself, I highly suggest doing a bit of basic research. (Great place to start here - tons of info.)  This is not one of those "buy the cheapest batch you can find" dealys.  One concern I originally had with this soapnut thing was, where do the berries come from?  Are they being sustainabley grown and harvested?  Are the workers paid fair wages?  Is the soapnut industry depriving the local users of their native product?  (Well, I guess that's a number of concerns.  I can get carried away.)  But everything seems to be on the up and up with this company.  Actually, they seem to be the best on the market from what I can tell.  They have a very informative site and seem to be just as passionate about my health and our earth as I am!  

Anyway, like I said, the point of my post today is not to try to tell anyone else how to live.  But just to offer some facts and some food for thought.  :)  If anyone is interested or would like more info on anything I've mentioned today, or similar topics, feel free to comment or email me!  I'd love to chat with ya!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New label love!

My new labels came!  Aren't they pretty?  Look at the gorgeous colors I got this time.  I love them!  I got them primarily for the gnomeys.  I needed more, brighter colors.  Because gnomes are all about fun and cheery colors and happiness. :)  I can't wait to use them.

PS: If any of you crafters out there are looking for a great label gal, I highly recommend Angie at RememberWynn.  She's great to work with and super helpful.  And her products are top notch!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Bloggiversary, Flight of the Pook!

Today is my one year blogging anniversary!  Can you believe it?  It's been one full year since I started this blog.  We've seen and done a lot of things together on here.  I'm so happy and thankful for each and every one of my followers too.  All of you. :)  Because the fact that you stop by...and keep coming back...means that what I say and do on here is enjoyable and inspiring, at least in some small way, to you.  And that makes me really happy. <3

To celebrate, I'm having my very first giveaway!!  Are you excited?  I am!  I took a poll, and it was decided that a pair of earrings is what the people want.  So earrings are what the people get.  I made these just for the giveaway and I hope you like them!  I think they're really pretty.

Now the nitty gritty.

  • The mandatory entry is to follow my blog and comment below that you've done so.  Make sure you leave your email address!  (If you're already a follower, just let me know & leave your email.)
You can do any or all of the following for additional entries!  (You must leave the above-mentioned comment/entry and then an additional comment for each of the entries below that you choose.)
  • Go to Pooknflip's page and "like" me.  Because you know you do anyway. ;)  Leave a comment telling me you did so.
  • Go to my Etsy shop and "favorite" me, and leave a comment telling me what your favorite item is.  
  • Follow me on Twitter.  Comment that you did so.
  • Post this giveaway on your page (blog, twitter, FB, wherever) and post the link in a comment below for each place you post it.
K, that's it!  Since this is my first giveaway, I'm not totally sure what the norm is, but I think I'll let this run for a week.  So the giveaway will officially close at midnight on July 9th - the winner will be randomly chosen and announced next Sunday, the 10th.  I'll post the winner here and email you - so again, make sure to leave your email!  Good luck and thanks again for a great year!

Update: Giveaway is closed!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hummingbird Juice

Last summer we bought this really cute hummingbird feeder at one of our favorite nurseries.

Haven't even used it yet.  Geesh.  So when I came across it today while cleaning, I decided to give it a whirl.  We've seen a couple hummingbirds on our property.  So I know they must be around.  And once I get my little reading, wildflower, garden "nook" set up out by the side of the house, I think our yard will be a lot more attractive to them.  In the mean time...

I found a super simple recipe for hummingbird nectar here.  They also give a lot of good pointers and Dos and Don'ts on how to be a good hummingbird friend. :)

In a nutshell, you take 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, bring it to a boil in a pan...

...remove from heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.  Easy peasy!  Then I made a big sticky mess filled my feeder using a turkey baster...

...and hung it outside.  I really hope they - the hummingbirds - like it!  They're like these tiny little magical elusive creatures, aren't they?  Or is it just me?  I'll let you know how it goes!

Oh, yeah.  PS: A couple hours after I hung this - we had a crazy flash storm complete with massive winds and hail.  Really.  Hail.  But my feeder survived!  And we really needed a break from all this heat so it's ok.  Look at how weird and orangey yellow everything was after!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fourth of July Sale in the Shop!

Photo credit
If you are a Facebook fan then you already know!  But if not, and you should be, ;) then now you do.

Wait, what?

A sale!  Where!?  A sale in the shop!  A happy Fourth of July sale. 15% off anything and everything.  Hooray! (And a happy Canada Day sale to boot - b/c the more I learn about Canada, the more I'm loving that country - good music, beautiful views and lots of great crafters!  Ahem, Kami.)  So if you're in need of a some happy - and who couldn't use extra happy? - head over to the shop and see what's new!

A DIY Spool Holder Rejuvenation!

Ok!  So on one of my recent thrifting trips (of which there are many - I try to go once a week) I found a pretty cool, in mostly good shape, but pretty sad and dated-looking spool holder.  Here it is in all its glory.  With the tip of Moe's tail.  Of course.  Can't get a picture of anything in this house without a cat in it.  Anyway, here it is:

Looks sad, huh?  But pretty useful, right?  I thought so.  I got it for $5.  Which is actually kinda high by my thrifting standards.  But I've been keeping my eye open for one for so long that once I saw this one, I had to buy it anyway.  It's missing a couple of the pegs.  But I can replace those later once I go buy the right-sized dowel.  I was too lazy to do it this time around.

But not too lazy to do some sanding!  I wasn't going to do any sanding - I've re-painted stuff before and skipped this step altogether.  Just give it a good cleaning and good to go.  But Jon said it would turn out better if I put some effort into it.  *Sigh*  Fine.  So here I am in my sweatpants...sanding away.

I'm not actually left handed - but I am not a good, steady picture-taker with my left hand so whenever you see action shots - it'll more than likely look like I'm a lefty as my right hand is playing photographer. :)

So I sanded it pretty well.  Not down to wood.  Just enough to take the top layer of finish off and get rid of the gloss so the paint would stick better.  Then I took it out in the middle of the yard, laid it on a flattened cardboard box, and painted it over the course of a morning.  It took one whole can of spray paint.

When spray painting - be sure to read the can really well and stick to the directions.  I've found that different paints are set to dry at different times and all brands/types are not equal.  A lot of the time you have to let the paint dry for very specific times between coats (for example: either under 15 minutes OR over 24 hours) because of how the paint reacts to itself or whatever.  If you don't - if you add another coat too soon, or wait too long - you risk ruining your piece.  Believe me.  And of course, ALWAYS paint in a well-ventilated area.

Wanna see what my spool holder looks like now?!

I think it turned out really well.  I'm thinking of still possibly adding more detail of some sort (endless possibilities - eek!) but for now - it's perfect.  And cute!  And shiney! :)  It holds almost all of my thread too!  The rest are in the largest matryoshka doll cup.

I'm really happy with my little sewing nook.  Actually, the chair's too high, there's no leg room and it's pretty crowded over there.  But I'm working on a desk that will replace the shelves and I'm on the lookout for a very specific kind of chair so I'm hoping this part of my room will be all done by the end of this summer. :)  But overall, I am really happy with it.  I do like my inspiration board.  Very much.  And do I like that I have a place to leave my machine out all the time - I'm much more inclined to use it that way.  And I do like my spool holder. :)  The end.

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Takin' care of business

I got a ton done tonight.


I came home, tried to tame the chipmunk who lives in our rock pile with a peanut again (no go), cleaned up the house, finished a gnome, got excited about it, went outside, took some gnomey pictures, saw that the bush I bought last weekend & never put in the ground was dying in all this sun and heat we've been having so decided to do an impromptu planting....

...Jon objected to my planting attire - I can't imagine why...either way, my bush got planted, then I came back in, sewed another gnome (it'll be finished tomorrow), and hung the spool holder I recently bought and fixed up.  Phew!

That was a whole lot of stuff for one night.

But now it's late.

So I'll be back to share about my DIY spool holder project tomorrow and hopefully sometime this weekend, I'll update you on all my gnomey goodness and share some more work on my dragon too!  G'night!