Tried It: Wooden Beads & Tassel Necklace

Recently, I’ve spotted a number of bead and tassel projects on Pinterest. Chunky beads plus mini pony-tail tassels equals a kind of folly that appeals to me. I followed instructions from to make a multi-colored tassel, but if you don’t mind going monochromatic, this how-to from is even simpler.

I used 3/8″ wooden beads and bead cord (twine? I’m not sure what it’s called–sorry!) and embroidery floss for the tassels. I have to confess that the necklace is probably too chunky for me to wear (I’m afraid it bears too near a resemblance to the painted macaroni necklaces preferred by preschoolers). I plan to break mine up into stretchy bracelets with tiny tassels. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Make: Table Runner

This runner was crazy easy to make–a fabric sandwich edged with bias tape. Sadly, I couldn’t be bothered with photographing each step because as I was sewing, I was binge-listening to all 12 of the Serial podcasts. (Which further illustrates just how beautifully mindless this project is: you can devote your whole brain to murder courtroom drama while you work).

Materials: 1 yard cotton canvas (this print is from the Outside Oslo Collection by Jessica Jones), 2 packages of extra wide, double fold bias tape (3 yards in each package), matching thread.

1. Cut two rectangles to desired length (mine were 55″ long, the width of the canvas).

2. Sandwich the two pieces, bad sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam allowance along each side.

3. Sew on bias tape. As a self-taught seamstress, I didn’t go to bias tape school so I followed these helpful directions from oliver + s.

That’s it. As I mentioned, it’s so simple, you can annex your mind toward more worthy goals, like gobbling up whodunit podcasts.

Creative Kid: Valentine Boxes

We didn’t reinvent the wheel this year. Or the valentine. We trotted out last year’s idea and produced in bulk. My third-grader and I used one of our six snow days here in Boston to assembly-line these valentine matchboxes. I glue-sticked and covered in red construction paper and Zeke heart-stamped. The boxes fit exactly 12 M&Ms each. We ate the extra. (I’m not sure what to do with the surplus matches.)

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Make: Snow Day Embroidery

How many ways can I sew a quilt without actually sewing a quilt? My ingenuity at procrastinating finishing my quilt project (yeah, it’s been 2 years–why are you bugging me about it?) is impressive even to me. About a year ago I tried to trick you (who, really?) by making a dollhouse-sized quilt. 

This time I’m inspired by LUCKY JACKSON, an illustrator and artist who created & embroidered an art work every day for a year (see her fantastic 365 Project). This image of 2 pairs of feet sneaking out from under a quilt comes from her work. 

Lucky’s original is far more charming than my pale copy–I love how she uses vintage bed sheets and fabrics. Also, I’m noticing her stitches are lighter and sketchier. I outlined with a stem stitch, which, in retrospect, I realize is too heavy. I may have to try again with an original image or with one of Lucky’s patterns, but it was a good challenge and a small-enough project for a blizzard-bound snow day. Stay warm!

Mouse House!

Mouse Mansion reading

For those of you who share my love of little things, here is a mouse house that is deliciously diminutive, and, well, kind of big. The teetering tower of rooms, packed with tiny details, is the creation of Dutch artist Karina Schaapman.

Mouse Mansion

If you feel the need to scrutinize this warren of miniatures as I did, pick up the recently published U.S. edition of the Mouse Mansion. The book includes stories about two mice friends, Sam and Julia, but I can’t quite bother with words when I just want to look and look. In fact, I like the end papers best, with its view of ten of the rooms. I wouldn’t mind if the whole book were simply that: an inventory of the hundred little cubbies and the treasures they hold.


The Mouse Mansion cover