Thursday, June 12, 2008

Birthday Month Wind-Down

We're finally done with birthday season--OK we've been done for a couple of weeks, but it's taken me this long to recover--with the exception of writing thank-you notes. I thought I'd take this opportunity to de-brief on the buy-nothing birthdays x three.

For M, who turned 7:

A book and a DVD that I had ordered for Christmas but that didn't arrive until January.

A nature backpack and colored pencil roll (I had planned on making it for Christmas, but ran out of time--I had already bought the sketchbook and field guide last year and the cute little colored pencils were something I bought a long time ago and had used maybe once; the fabric, thread and ribbon all came from my bins).

An embroidered pirate picture, inspired by Soulemama. I found the pictures that M drew in the recycling bin, traced them on muslin and embroidered. This was such a fun project to do--I loved tracing over and then sewing over the lines M drew; it was so amazing to see what kind of detail he had included in this drawing (which was originally on notebook paper). I did buy the pirate material for the framing (but the muslin, ribbon, batting and dowel were all in the scrap bin).

A ribbon bulletin board for M's "office." I made it with a flattened cardboard box rather than cork or homasote (recycling!), but I bought the cool space material. I got the ribbons at Margaret Smith--a business that made handbags locally but just went out of business, due to overseas competition. They sold out a lot of notions and I came home with a huge bag of ribbon, rick-rack, buttons, elastic and zippers (does that count as new or used? I'm not sure).

C bought him a tackle box and some fishing accessories (C does not have to abide by the buy-nothing rules; it's just me) and I got him a fishing vest at a consignment store.

For birthday party favors, I made little drawstring bags and the kids went on a quest in our woods and loaded up with wooden acorns, apples and eggs and chocolate Earth balls and yummy pops...Oh and I also made brownies (using No-Pudge Fudge mix!) for the party because I was sick of baking cakes. I think it has to have been my most brilliant idea ever--you don't need plates or forks or cupcake cups and they are fast and easy to make and almost every kids ate his/hers!

For E and Z, who turned 3:

Magic Cabin babies. This is another project I had planned for Christmas but never got around to, so I already had the materials. My friend AA and I spent about four or five weekend afternoons just putting together the bodies (she made one for her daughter), and then we still had to make clothes and hair. At the last minute I decided to make sleeping bags for our camping trip, inspired by Emma Bradshaw. E and Z mostly like to strip off their clothes. E will sleep with his, but Z launches his across the room. He said he was going to "put it outside animals eat it," which is surprisingly similar to the sentiment M had about the prospect of a younger sibling (or two).

Superhero capes. I got this idea, which I thought was great, from Sara and I found a pattern, which is so clever, at Puking Pastilles, and whipped out five of them (one each for E and Z and three more for little friends) in one night. They turned out so cute...but E and Z refuse to wear them! So much for so much.

For all three of them, plus a little friend, who also celebrated her birthday on our camping trip: Birthday crowns, inspired by Soulemama. I also made two more (not pictured) for the other set of twins who joined us on the trip and I have been delighted to learn that they wear them all the time.

In the end, it was not completely "buy nothing"--I bought materials and I'm not sure how to count those items I had alread purchased last year--but it was "buy a whole lot less," which I feel much better about. Of course they all three got tons and tons of other presents from friends and family so none of them seemed to feel deprived (even though I had the in-laws get them rain coats instead of toys). I had fun making stuff, but it was a little exhausting--I stayed up late nearly every night last month cutting or sewing or gluing--and I never took the time to reflect on the fact that my babies are THREE and SEVEN already. Now I know the answer to "how does she do it all?" when I read a craft-blog: she doesn't sleep, she neglects her kids, her mind wanders at work to what she needs to get done at home, her house is a disaster and she might just be a ticking time bomb.

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing these gifts you made. Very cool. You've done a remarkable job with your 'no buy' policy and May was a big test!

    I am totally & utterly intimidated by SouleMama. Another friend sent me the link to her blog & I almost cannot face it...


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