Fluted ceramic little wren flower vase by little wren pottery
This fluted vase was handmade from white Devonshire stoneware clay. Its outwardly curving shape was created by working with my potters wheel, a throwing rib was used to skim the surface of this pot as it was being created to give a smooth finish.
The perfect necklace
This beauty is made from hand forged pieces linked together to make the perfect necklace.
Jasmine, Lilac and Freesia Hand Rolled Soap
This alluring soap is a blend of jasmine oil with just a touch of lilac and freesia to deepen and really bring out the scent of the jasmine. This is an all-natural, detergent free vegan soap made with organic ingredients. details »
April 22nd is Earth Day. For 40-years, activists and non-activists have been using it as a platform to raise environmental awareness. It has evolved over the years into a month-long event, where on any given weekend in April, you can volunteer to help clean up the parks, beaches, forests, any green stretch of earth; or plant new earth.
Here at Try Handmade we have our own resident Going Green guru, but in the spirit of Earth Day, I decided to find out for myself what fabulous things other people do in the spirit of recycling and renewing.
The most popular act (aside from separating recyclables) that anyone can do is to bring your own market bag shopping with you, passing on plastic bags whenever possible. There are so many options to choose from, like this cool, upcycled coffee bag tote from Its Our Earth. Similar to Sea Bags (one of my favorite shops, located in Maine; they create bags from discarded sails), Its Our Earth uses discarded burlap coffee bags to create everyday bags.
If you want something less earthy, but still 100% repurposed, there’s a bag for you, too, like this tote, that uses a vintage army laundry bag, repurposed leather straps, and vintage blue and white cloth.
Some people happily recycle their trash, but aren’t as quick to buy recycled and refurbished products because they think they look used. Some of the most fabulous finds are these exact products. These white baskets from Tuuni are one example.
Some items aren’t what they seem at all, but still exquisite. This stunning chandelier from Metamorphosi is made of recycled plastic.
Crafters are some of the best resources you can find for people who creatively repurpose, recycle, and recreate. I’m repeatedly amazed at the outcome.
I have always had a special affinity for owls. One of the living room walls in my childhood home was home to my mother’s extensive collection and it was literally covered with images of all sizes and types of the beautiful birds; from simple pen-and-ink drawings to beautiful oil paintings. I could sit and stare at them for hours and I’m sure my wide-eyed stillness mirrored the very pictures that I was so fascinated by. It was years, however, before I saw a real, live owl in the wild and, even then, it was just a glimpse. I have seen only a handful since then, but that initial thrill still hasn’t worn off.
My favourite species of owl has always been the fittingly-named Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa). Bold and beautiful, the Great Grey Owl was made the official bird of my home province, Manitoba, in 1987. Said to be the largest species of owl in North America, the Great Grey Owl boasts a wingspan of up to 5 feet; however, even for such a large bird, sightings are rare. Standing at a mere 3” tall, this needle felted depiction of Strix nebulosa (above) makes up in cuteness what it lacks in stature. The tiny creature was handmade by Melanie Anne Green and is a member of the fabulous flock found at The Felt Menagerie. Melanie Ann is also the artist who created the lovely owl print at the top of this article. Her illustrations and prints can be found in her other shop, Ink Me Up.
Although they have been depicted in art for thousands of years, owls have recently moved up the ranks of pop-culture, thanks in part to the young Mr H. Potter and his schoolmates. Easy to identify by his pure white colouring*, Harry’s own owl, Hedwig, is a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus). Living up to their name, Snowy Owls are well-suited for life north of the 60th parallel, with their thick plumage and heavily-feathered feet. Should you find yourself in a northern clime, a good pair of woollen mittens like these ones from For My Darling (pictured above) will keep you toasty-warm. Upcycled from a pre-loved sweater, they also feature reinforced leather palms; perfect for gripping both steering wheels and flying brooms! (Be sure to check out For My Darling’s shop for adorable upcycled owl toys, as well.)
I am sad to say that my mother has long given up “her owls”. Once people found out that she collected them, she was inundated with owl trinkets and tzotchkes from well-meaning friends and family. Rather than allow her carefully curated collection to be sullied by dollar-store “treasures”, she packed up her art and replaced it with a very large picture of an empty branch; a rather symbolic move, now that I think about it. I would love to get her back into it, though, but on a much smaller scale. I know that she would love this beautiful 8×10” watercolour by Italian artist DIMDi, pictured above. I think this painting perfectly captures the sweet expression of the Barn Owl (Tyto alba), which are recognizable by their heart-shapes faces and lack of “ear tufts”.
*While the male Snowy owls are as white as the driven snow, the females’ feathers have dark markings. Now you know!
The idea of recycling isn’t just about separating your household waste into piles of glass, paper and organic waste. Like the above photo from Skip To My Lou, recycling is a cute way of having fun – as well as keeping little people busy and entertained with these juice carton boats.
I love the idea of simple, easy to make crafts and home made treats – especially when minimal mess is acquired making said crafts and home made treats!
Much like these yummy looking Ritz cracker snacks, made by my sister-in-law, Amy.
These are a straight forward make and you will need:
Ritz crackers/a cheaper alternative.
Chocolate (Amy has used white chocolate, but you can probably use just about any variety.)
Melt the chocolate: you can try the bowl in the pan method or the microwave method. Sandwich together 2 plain crackers, spread a little peanut butter in the middle (to hold the crackers together) then dip into the melted chocolate and add sprinkles to them – the last two steps my 4 year old nephew helped out with meanwhile my 2 year old nephew sat that part out and was on hand to taste-test.
I was so impressed with these cute little treats and it further affirms to me that from simple things come great things – and you don’t need to break the banks doing it, or expend a lot of energy making things.
Much like these sweet (literally) building block marshmallow straws from Makes and Takes, a crafting blog jam-packed full of crafty ideas for kids, family time, recipes, home projects and so on.
For instructions to make these marshmallow/straw building blocks.
So when keeping it simple on the craft and making front with kids, make it accessible and inclusive to kids of all ages. Devise tasks for all age groups according to their ability levels, encourage (but don’t over bear) their creative and crafty sides – and remember to get them to help with the cleaning up process, too!
Commercially speaking, Easter doesn’t really get the attention Christmas does. No matter how hard the Bunny tries, he will always play second-fiddle to the Big Man. This is okay with me. I can only handle one big holiday a year, which is why Easter, the most low-key, is also perhaps my favorite. (Daisy photo from Country Dreaming.)
Growing up, I looked forward to getting the Easter basket. What kid doesn’t love a basket full of chocolate eggs, marshmallow candies, and a over-sized chocolate bunny? I couldn’t tell you what the basket looked like, but it had that green plastic grass in it that hid lots of chocolate treats. The Easter egg hunt was also a lot of fun. My brother and I would run around the house finding plastic eggs filled with jellybeans. My brother, four years younger, needed help from my parents
A grown-up Easter basket from All Decked Out Boutique
I wouldn’t mind a basket full of these delicious-looking cookies from Holiday Candy Lane.
The second part of Easter after the egg hunt and basket unveiling, was less exciting at least for a kid. It involved getting dressed in a new dress, going to church, and then having a big family dinner. Frilly white dresses with lace and Easter bonnets were popular among me and my fellow 10-year-olds.
A stylish hat from Katrina Couture.
Laid-back yellow halter dress from One Avian Daemon.
25 years later, Easter is a bit different. There are no baskets or Easter egg hunts. However, we still go to church in the morning, I still manage to eat chocolate, and we do have a big family dinner. Also, I always find an excuse to buy myself something new—not necessarily white and frilly, but something for Spring.