Paper Dolls for Boys

Raising 2 crafty boys and thrifting every chance I get.

Alphabet Sunday :: D November 30, 2008

Filed under: Project Alphabet Sunday — twlowenstein @ 10:40 am
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Lauren says, D is for Dad:


Tracey says, D is for Deconstruct:



Science Museum & Through the Viewfinder November 27, 2008

Filed under: Craft,Family & Friends — twlowenstein @ 11:55 pm
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I will share with you, but only you, the trick of getting the Museum of Science in Cambridge all to your self.  Go first thing on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  It was lovely.


I’ve got my Alphabet Sunday shot all cued up and ready to roll.  D will be for the Science Museum this week.  Don’t worry I used to teach kids to read, you are in the hands of a licensed professional.


Something I am really really excited about is this Flickr group. The TtV or Through the Viewfinder shots are so inspirational.

Today at my father-in-laws place I borrowed his Minolta Autocord dsc_0112 and fashioned a sleeve from a cracker box and took some shots off his balcony.  His camera was busted and couldn’t be focused but I was giddy to be taking the shots up there on the scary high balcony.  I took the shots with my Nikon through the box and ultimately through the viewfinder of his old camera.  Check out the Flickr group and see some of the elaborate contraptions that folks have made.

I am feeling an awakening of creativity lately, more like a redefinition of what craft is. I haven’t sewed much, made a collage or crocheted something but I have been taking photographs and it makes me feel so connected to others and then back to myself somehow.  And then there is thrift.  I told my husband the other day that thrifting was my craft and we laughed but now I think maybe it’s true.  I feel like I’m exercising my creativity when I see something in a thrift store and think of a new use for it or know that it would sell and that someone else, somewhere, will treasure it.

Ok, is it the turkey overload or maybe the wine?  I don’t know but I’m getting weepy tender feelings about thrifting and/or TTV photography.  I guess I am grateful for new things.  For learning something today I did not know yesterday. I am thankful that we have the option to not be stagnant.

Here is my first TtV shot:


Slightly different perspective.


Another one from today.


This wispy hair in this one brings me back to being weepy.  If I am this reflective and weepy on Thanksgiving, what in the heck am I going to be like on New Years for sh#t sake?!!!


Celebrate the Turkeys November 24, 2008

Filed under: Craft — twlowenstein @ 5:31 pm
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But who is the Turkey?


I saw this turkey craft at Bella Dia and immediately envisioned it on the Thanksgiving table.  What cuteness, what family goodness, what bragging rights…what a mess!

I invited a friend and her son over for dinner and to get in on the crafty fun.  We talked up the project to the kids, traced their hands and I want to type that we had a loving conversation about all we were grateful for while humming kumbaya but it very quickly turned into a grumpfest of epic proportions.  The kids were running around banging objects with vigor and warning bells went off in our heads fairly early that this was not going to be the simple craft we originally thought.

Their hands were at once so pudgy and so small.  We traced and my friend started sewing the little hands, like sides together, while I worked on cutting life sized turkey feathers out of the felt.  An aside, did you know you can get eco-fi felt made from post-consumer plastic bottles?  Messed up crafts for the Earth!

Here is the first frog turkey:


So this one was abandoned and we moved on to plan B, sewing but not turning the turkeys inside out.  But imagine in the meantime kids doing kid stuff (pandemonium) + craft-frustrated moms with short tempers.  I’m just thankful it’s over.

The potato bar helped sooth all frayed nerves.  That’s right, dinner at my house is first class all the way. Butter AND sour cream baby.

We went with bigger hands and managed to construct the wonkiest birds this side of Thanksgiving.

And for comedic value here is a comparative between the talented Miss Dia’s Turkey and ours:

belladiaturkeysoftie-1 dsc_0053

Yeah.  They can’t all be beauties.


Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Keep on Truckin’ Turkin’ ,



Alphabet Sunday :: C November 23, 2008

Filed under: Project Alphabet Sunday — twlowenstein @ 10:53 am
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Lauren says, C is for Completion.


Tracey says, C is for Cuckoo Clock.



How is YOUR Day Shaping Up? November 21, 2008

Filed under: Random Bits — twlowenstein @ 10:24 am
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Feeling Rather Wonton-ish November 20, 2008

Filed under: Craft — twlowenstein @ 11:25 am
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Last night was craft night, a rockin’ good time as usual!  I decided to make a pair of pants for my little one out of a thrifted sweater.  I gained inspiration here and here.  I bought a couple of sweaters on half-off day, for a buck each.  I have a really cool nubby one on deck but I started with the fake chenille sweater.

Here is my little one this morning on the way to drop his brother off at school wearing the pants that I crafted with much help from my group.


It took me three tries to get the seam right.  Kate dubbed my first attempts, “Crotch-hawk pants”.  Seems a little wrong now that I write it and there are sweet little shots of my bubulah in the pants but last night it was tear inducing hilarious.  I just could not visualize how the two arms would come together to make a pair of pants.  Chris saved the day, moving next to me and basically holding my hand through the process (Thank you muchly!).  On the third attempt they came out looking like pants.  Pants that fit my 6 year old but with a generous roll up at the bottom they are pants that fit my 2 year old as well!  The best part is that Lauren turned the body of the sweater into pants for her son, matching buddy pants!!!  I have hilarious shots of her first pass at the pants which I’ll post later with her after shot!  Funny how I didn’t manage to capture my wonky stage.  The last bit of the sweater was turned into a dickie which I can’t wait to give to my secret swap partner at the next craft night!  She’s going to LOVE it!  So don’t fret, no sweater was wasted in the making of these pants.


I encourage you to give this a go.  It is the best kind of craft; cheap, fun, a little challenging (for me anyhoo, maybe you are an A+ student) and can be done in one sitting!

Now if this was someone else’s blog they might write about how I feel asleep in this chair kate-room during Top Chef after eating a few too many wontons but since said person has not put a blog together we won’t be speaking of it.


Is the Heat On? November 19, 2008

Filed under: Family & Friends — twlowenstein @ 12:34 pm

This was the scene in my house yesterday:


The temperature  got down to 56 degrees inside yesterday and 54 this morning so we broke down and turned the heat on.  We were hoping to hold out until Thanksgiving.  The problem is our apartment isn’t insulated. At all.  Built by an owner not planning to reside in it is the only answer I can come up with to the question of why someone would build an uninsulated house in New England.   So it always feels like we are paying (SO MUCH) to heat the great outdoors. We’ll supplement the heat with fleece ponchos I made.

Here’s a winning tutorial: 1) buy a couple yards of fleece, depending on the size poncho you intend to make 2) figure out the middle and cut a spot big enough for your noggin (or the noggin belonging to the person you are making the poncho for) 3) stick it over your head and curl up on the couch with your similarly poncho-ed loved ones.  Don’t say I never taught you anything!

(poncho not pictured!)

And if you want a tutorial on how to make sock mittens, just leave a comment and I’ll email you some special instructions.  😉

Stay warm.


Family Fun :: Open House Style November 18, 2008

Filed under: Random Bits — twlowenstein @ 10:46 am

I don’t know about where you live but where I live the cost of a house is KAH-RAY-ZEE.  It’s come down, a little tiny bit with the whole economy in the crapper thing but not that much.  At this point we’re “following the market”  doing a little research and tracking prices, narrowing down which town it is we want to settle in, balancing the pros and cons of condo verses single family and really figuring out what we can afford (hard to with unknown factors like employment for me – that’s a stress filled posted for another day).  Last week, while obsessively checking researching, I fell in love with a house.  It kind of feels like I’m participating in online dating.  (NOT speaking from experience on this one folks)  He looks great in the photos most of the time but you figure once you meet for coffee the magic may wane.    Not this time.  We were 1 family of a kazillion at the Open House.  People were snapping photos (me included), measuring, and walking around with intense faces that led me to believe a few of the folks were prepared to knife someone for the place.


Excuse the  blurry kid in the moustache shirt (Freezer paper stencils for the win), I was focused on the thing of beauty behind him!  Isn’t it beautiful?!!! It has a yard, a BIG yard for around here standards, a little kid playhouse, a garden, 2 swings, a picnic table and a 2 car garage that could be turned into work and/or play space in the future.     A great backyard.  And the front and inside are not too shabby either.  The owners have great style.  I wish I had gotten a shot of the fabric on the pillows in the chair in the living room.  It was vintage amazing and my first thoughts were, “I bet she has a crafting blog”!  The house is on a big busy street but not abutting the highway like another single family we looked at .  To quote my husband, “If it were any closer to the highway we’d have to pay a toll”.

It’s a 2 bedroom but with character and break out spaces.  The closet in the kids’ room  was huge and funky and could be turned into a playspace or sleep space down the road.  The “master” had a little office connected that would be perfect for etsy and crafting.


It was funky with tons of character.  Not what usually pops up in our price range.  We went to 8 Open Houses on Sunday and some were down right depressing.  One was cute, perfect for a gnome family with a polka dotted mushroom garden out front and a mini-deer for a pet.  Not so much for our family. Being sold “as is” for $379,000 I believe.  It did have an amazing view of the Boston skyline off in the distance.  Someone is going to buy it, knock it down and build up something new.  Betcha.


My scanner, the fussy diva that she is, just decided she no longer wants to obey me. I was going to scan the sheet from the OH with more photos and stats. Ugh.  Basically it’s a 2 bedroom (the first house not the hobbit abode above) with 1 1/2 baths and 1130 sq. ft of homey goodness.  Not a huge house but one that feels like a home we could happily live in.

I wish I had thought to take photos of some of the other clunkers.  In summary, we looked at a condo located above a chiropractor, a townhouse sandwiched between the high school and a grocery store parking lot, the house on the highway, a crime scene looking single family with a layout designed by monkeys, the fairy cave with the view, an overdone condo conversion with a laughable asking price, a tiny house apparently occupied by a cigar smoking dog and the house of my dreams which is now under agreement after 3 days on the market.

It’s probably best that we weren’t ready to buy because I feel certain it will go for well over the listing price ($399,000) and that’s a bidding war we would have lost.  I will work to not compare all future homes with this one but it will be a difficult.

I’ll update with the final SOLD price.


Fill ‘er Up November 17, 2008

Filed under: Random Bits — twlowenstein @ 10:56 pm

My brain is everywhere at once and no one place with success.  I think it’s because I let my monthly calendar lapse and am now trying to hold everything in my head.  All appointments, playdates, soccer practices, teacher conferences, etc.  It is not working for me.

Here was my brilliant idea.  A while ago I bought one of those dry erase calendars from Staples.  One of the HUGE ones.  It’s just a grid and you fill in the information yourself (this will be important later).   I figured it would save money as I’d “never have to buy another calendar again”!  And good for the earth to boot.  It was good for a spell but then I fell behind and then, well:


See those months there?  Let’s just say it’s less than current.  We’ve patched things in here and there and I have used other methods, like scribbling on scraps of paper!  I am trying to back peddle and make it not so bad but I can’t.  It’s bad.

All this sharing of my calendar failure was supposed to lead up to my filling the car up with gas story which showcases my current state but now just feels like I flashed a boob or something.  Whatever.

I am slightly phobic about filling up the car.  Luckily Massachusetts is mostly a gas station attendant kind of state.  Usually my husband deals with filling up the car (how very stereotypical of us).  Today I was feeling brave, and running on empty, so I pulled in to the station.  The WRONG way.  Had to get out to check which side the tank was on.  It’s funny because I always remind my husband which side it’s on when he’s pulling in to the station but I panicked or something. Instead of tearing out of there, I turned around to deal.  I was proud of myself until the guy I thought was pumping gas into my car said he was waiting for me to release the lever for the tank.  Uhhhhh.  “Do you know where it is?”  He just looked at me funny.  I wanted to shout, “I have a Masters degree.   I have trekked in the jungles of Thailand and done many daring things by myself!  Please don’t judge me.” Then I just accepted that this man was now and forever going to think me a weak dingbat and so I asked him for directions.  He spoke slowly for me.  He did everything but pat my hand and say, “bless your little heart”.  I had to laugh as I pulled out of there with a full tank and the directions being yet another thing filling my head.

I think this lack of calendaring is one of the ways I don’t take care of myself.  So in addition to my newly implemented earlier bed time (which is slowly increasing my brain power), I am going to update the calendar and write all the things down that are sliding around my brain. Tonight, after packing up some Etsy sales, I am going to write lists.  Lists of things to do around the house, a list of folks to call to make and or confirm appointments for us all, a list of stuff to donate, give away, store and sell, and maybe if it’s not bedtime by then, I’ll write a little list of my hopes and dreams!

I welcome any and all suggestions for how you keep your family or personal information stored.  Do you use a program on your computer?  A hand held device?  Old school calendar you’d like to reccommend?  Write it on handmade paper using a pencil you crafted from spit and crushed rock?  Help a blogger out.


Alphabet Sunday :: B November 16, 2008

Filed under: Project Alphabet Sunday — twlowenstein @ 10:54 am
Tags: ,

Lauren says, B is for Biscuits


Tracey says, B is for Bowling


Link back to A and an explanation of our new project.