Knitting Book Basket

Monday, January 25, 2021

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Every January I question my choice to remain in Illinois. It's just so dang COLD. This year I told myself I would do everything I could to make my winter warmer. I bought slippers, a good coat, and tried to think of warm thoughts.

Keeping in the spirit of warm things and warm thoughts, when it was time to put together our next book basket I knew just what theme I wanted to use: knitting! I grabbed some props from around my house (knitting needles, yarn, small knitted objects) with the intent of giving Ronan some tactile examples of the things we were reading about.

For our activity, I put together a tp roll loom and made him a cute little bracelet! He liked watching the knitted cable come out the end of a tube. Here is a link to a tutorial so you can make your own!

I really loved the books I chose for this basket. They were sweet, silly, and inspirational. And they were especially beautiful. Jon Klassen, the illustrator for "Extra Yarn" is one of my favorite children's illustrators. Links for the books are below the pictures!

If you would like to find more book baskets check out the tag here!
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My 12 Mood Boards of 2020

Monday, January 18, 2021

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This project wasn't born to be a blog post. Heck, it wasn't even born to be a project. It was born out of a need to organize my OVER 15,000 PINS on Pinterest in a better way. (Maybe I have a problem, but I'm a visual person through and through... so I make myself feel better by telling myself that.) At the start of the year, I created a board for just that year, then added sections divided by months (and projects.) By the time March rolled around I realized that both January's and February's sections had a distinct FEEL to them. As an experiment, I tried to keep the trend going. And lo and behold, here we are, 12 months later, with 12 different mood boards.  It's so cool to see a visual representation of how my mind worked (especially THIS specific year.) Some months flow into the next nicely, while a few stand out in high contrast. I love them all, but February and September are my favorite. There was something about those months that just really felt... right.

Source links are below the photos, starting from the top left. I hope you enjoy this little journey through my mind!


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 1 - 2 - 3 (mine) - 4 - 5 - 6 (mine)


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YA Gotta Read This Episode One

Saturday, January 16, 2021

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I never wanted to make a podcast. I love listening to them, but I didn't think it was something I'd be interested in. Then I realized that I could use it as an excuse to force my sister to talk to me about books for an hour. I proposed the idea, and she was just as into it as I was. So this little podcast was born.

YA Gotta Read This is a podcast where my sister I discuss Young Adult books and things having to do with YA. It was born out of a need to have time to talk about silly things and serious things and everything in between. Both of us are heavily involved in the YA literature world (she is a high school English teacher and I am the Young Adult Coordinator at our public library) so it is really just a natural fit.

In this first episode, we thought we would introduce ourselves in the best way we know how: by describing our favorite books, the ones we come back to again and again. 

Chapter One: Books We Call Home

In which our heroines reveal the books that have become their home.

Join us as we discuss the books that we find ourselves visiting again and again.

Links to this episode:, Spotify

Listed below are links to all of the things we talked about in this episode!

Air Awakens by Elsie Kova

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Prague Astronomical Clock

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Holly Black Books

Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You by Holly Black (Author)  Tony Diterlizzi (Illustrator)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Stargate Atlantis


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Unwind by Neil Shusterman

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Twilight by Stephenie Meyers

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyers

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos

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My 2020 Christmas Wish List

Monday, December 7, 2020

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"Braided" Wreath DIY

Monday, November 30, 2020

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I've been thinking a lot recently about how this Christmas is different, and how I can use that to create something special. One of the methods I would like to try is really embracing the theme of HOME, in all of it's cozy, cuddly glory. 

There was one specific piece of decor that embedded this idea for me, and that was this gorgeous wreath from Etsy shop King and Eye Crochet. I wanted my own simpler and smaller version for inside my home. So I made this cozy little wreath out of a surprising supply that I bet you already have in your home: cotton balls!

Cotton Balls
White Paint
Exacto knife
Clear Tape

Step one: Cut out your wreath.
On a piece of corrugated cardboard, draw a bigger outer circle and a smaller inner circle. I traced a dinner plate for my outer circle and a small bowl for my inner circle. Cut it out with an Exacto knife. In the end, the edges will be hidden, so don't stress too much about keeping your cuts smooth.

Step two: Paint your cardboard.
I knew that the cotton balls wouldn't cover the cardboard perfectly, so I gave the front of my cardboard a quick coat of white paint. I almost wish I had gone a shade darker, though, because it was hard to see the details when there was nothing to contrast with in the background. I would like to see how it looks with a beige!

Step three: Pull apart your cotton balls.
I had a little helper for this step! I thought that cotton balls were squished bits of stuffing, but it turns out they're more like a roll of fluffy cotton (at least the ones that I had were.) When I unrolled them, they were about 6 inches long, so I cut them in half so they were about 3 inches. To completely cover my wreath I used about a third of the bag.

Step four: Create your "braid."
This "braid" was created by layering the strips on top of each other at an angle, then taping down both ends. I  would lay one strip down at an angle, tape the end, then wrap it around and tape it to the back. Then I would lay another stip perpendicular to the first, covering up the tape from the first strip, and tape it down. Repeat the process until you've covered the whole wreath.

Step five: Perfect and add your ribbon.
Before I put away all of my supplies I went through and covered any tape you could see or added cotton where I thought it was looking a bit flat. Then I just wrapped the ribbon through the hole and hung it. So simple.

In the mood for something more complicated? Check out my "Hogwarts Letter" wreath!

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Thanksgiving Printable Conversation Starters

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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We all have felt the effects of this year, and as we get closer to the holidays I don't see it getting any easier. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the holidays... we just have to think a little outside of the box. This year I'm adding conversation starters to my printable Thanksgiving kit. In the spirit of thinking outside of the box, I tried to make sure the questions I supplied in this printable were unique. Maybe even a little weird. But hopefully, they will help you learn things about your family that you never really needed to know... like what kind of food they think should be put in Jello.

This .pdf contains three different types of cards. One page is weird questions, one page has multiple cards that ask "What are you thankful for today?" and the third page has blank cards. You can use these blank cards to fill in your own questions, or they could also be used as place cards!

These conversation starters might complete the set that I've been working on for a few years. I have linked to the downloads for all three .pdfs in the kit below!

Download the Conversation Starters printable here.

You can download the Thankful Tags here.

You can download invites, place setting wreaths, and a gratitude journal here.

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Recycled Fall Puzzle

Thursday, November 19, 2020

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I enjoyed the challenge of making my last geometric puzzle so much that I just had to design another. Maybe this blog will just be all DIY puzzles all the time. Hello, Wild Puzzles.

This beautiful puzzle is fall inspired, and it's kinda tricky to put together. But it's not impossible, which is the level of difficulty I like for my puzzles. Not impossible. 




Exacto Knife


Template (not required)

The first thing I did was measure out my puzzle. My original template was 5"x7", but I wanted it to be a bit bigger so I cut my cardboard to be 7.5"x10.5". After that, I drew a line down the center (at 3.75"), and then drew a 1.5" grid. The grid isn't necessary but it helps me line up the ruler to make drawing easier. All of this can be skipped if you decide to use the template.

After I drew all of my lines and had the look I was going for I label my pieces by the colors I wanted to paint them (DT for dark teal, etc.) and used my Exacto to cut it out.

Next step was paint! I made my browns by mixing orange, a bit of green, and a bit of red. The teals were made with blue, green, and a bit of red to tone it down. It can take a lot of mixing to get the color just right, and if that sounds daunting you can always go to a craft store and buy the exact colors you need!

Let your pieces dry and you have a puzzle!

I am kind of in love with the texture using corrugated cardboard gives these puzzles. If you prefer a sleeker look try using foam core board. 

Here is a template if you want to attempt making this puzzle on your own. Or, you can skip all of the complicated steps and just cut up the template to be your puzzle! 

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