Thereâ€™s a whole world of pop culture that my kids are just now nearing the age to take in. Key word: nearing. (The oldest came home from book character day saying that one friend had dressed as another friendâ€™s dad. It was like pulling taffy to figure out one boy came as Luke and the other as Darth Vader, at which point, it made perfect sense.) So while the Death Star cookie jar is still a little bit beyond them, thereâ€™s still something pleasing about the gray goodness of the thing. 12 x12â€ and $49.99 from the geniuses at thinkgeek. â€” Sarah L.
Repurposing items for nifty and imaginative alternate uses is where itâ€™s at, but repurposing Ikea items? Now thatâ€™s where youâ€™re bound to get a project at a price you canâ€™t beat. Iâ€™m always amazed by the projects featured on Ikea Hackers, but for those of us with less time, space or power tool prowess, nothing compares to a straight up, no-mess repurpose. Lillian of Domestic Simplicity has a great one with her use of Ikea spice racks, $3.99 each, to store childrenâ€™s books. With their slim design, the racks are the perfect way to let little ones see the covers of their favorite books while preserving floor space in small bedrooms. â€“Sarah C.
Is it just me or is *everyone* having babies right now? I can count at least four of my friends who are expecting or just gave birth in the last 6 months alone. With this baby boom comes countless showers and parties, and I often feel like some of the things I gift may not be the most useful, especially with NO experience with babies outside of being a sitter in junior high/ high school. So when I ran across this post at Lilly and the Brothers (written by one of my favorite bloggers, Greta), I couldn’t have been happier with the timing. There, she linked to a list at doula Gloria Lemay’s blog of 10 things a family needs after a new birth — things like “come over at l0 a.m., make me eggs, toast and a 1/2 grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw out everything you are in doubt about. Donâ€™t ask me about anything; just use your best judgment”. A great set of ideas, yet not completely appropriate in my situation, as I live hours away from some of the expectant mamas in my life. So I look to you, faithful and awesome readers — what are some absolutely dynamite and fantastic gifts for new moms? — Megan B.
Image courtesy of Greta Eskridge
As a child, one of my favorite activities included writing and illustrating the scenes to stories I made up and binding them into volumes that I crafted in my basement. Now as an adult with friends working in the book publishing industry, Iâ€™m constantly saddened by how hard it is to get a manuscript published by one of the traditional, big book publishers. Thatâ€™s probably why the author in me is intrigued and thrilled by the concept of TikaTok.com, a Barnes & Noble company that gives children and adults alike the opportunity to see the books they write published in a professional format. Creating a free account is the first step in the process to creating your very own hardcover, paperback or eBook. With prices starting at just $15 for a paperback with 7-8 interior pages and $0.18 for each additional page, a gift card to the site might be the perfect birthday gift for budding authors everywhere. What do you think, readers? Has anyone tried TikaTok? â€“ Sarah C.
Yarn-wrapped sticks may not be your idea of dÃ©cor, but are you willing to give yarn flowers a go? I spotted this idea in Februaryâ€™s Country Living and thought it was worth trying. Crafter Lauren De Bellis came up with wintery blossoms, using a tool from Clover to make her perfect poms. I tried it the old Girl Scout way, wrapping the yarn around three fingers, and while mine lack the perfect circular form, they were quick and fun. For the flower stems, I snipped some wild grapevines and attached with a dab of glue, then got out an old milk bottle. A smaller-necked bottle would definitely work better, given the weight of the yarn, however. â€” Sarah L.