I originally posted this project on Instructables for their Lazy Life contest (I won!) and wanted to also post the instructions here: however, there was a lot of amazingly creative and productive discussion in the comments over on Instructables, so be sure to check out the notes from other makers who tackled this blanket and found some other fillers/ideas. See the Instructable -->
Targeted advertising has me pegged--I was recently scrolling through facebook when an ad for a "relaxing gravity blanket," claiming to be "like Advil PM for your whole body," grabbed my attention. The blanket, weighing in at 15, 20, or 25 pounds, promises more restful sleep, to ease stress and anxiety, and help your mind and body relax...all by laying under the heavy blanket.
Weighted blankets have long been used therapeutically for people with sensory sensitivity or restless leg syndrome, as well as to increase focus (particularly in classroom settings). Newer studies are finding that these heavy blankets increase serotonin and melatonin levels while also lowering cortisol levels. Your mood improves, and because the weight minimizes movement during sleep, it helps your body stay in a deeper sleep for longer.
I have several family members who struggle with sleep and/or anxiety, so weighted blankets sounded like an amazing solution. I was sold--but yikes! This blanket carries a price tag of nearly $300. I set out to make my own with a budget of $50, using plastic pellets for the weight.
Camping is one of my all-time favorite pastimes. Growing up in Colorado, this meant long family drives to national parks with a pop-up camper in tow or treks into the mountains for weekend backpacking adventures, with surrounding views of the Rocky Mountains.
In Florida, most camping I've found is far from those picturesque peaks --overcrowded campgrounds full of satellite-tv-equipped trailers are peppered along alligator-ridden rivers--but the Sunshine State also has a beautiful network of spoil islands. These small, vacant refuges are accessible only by boat and are free for the nightly mischief of camping.
When I was in middle school, everyone "joked" about making out with pillows for practice. I'm assuming that I was not the only one for whom the jokes had some truth. Let's just all admit that we all practice made-out with our pillows and we looked really silly doing it. Those poor pillows.
There seems to have been little innovation in the make-out practice pillow department despite the rise in popularity of decorative "Let's Make Out" pillows and cuddle pillows so it is time that I step in and offer a new solution to the middle-schoolers or lonely hearts of the world: a pillow with a mouth. You are welcome. You are so welcome.
Welcome to another year of life on our delicate little planet. While I love Christmas very much, I'm glad it's over--crafting gifts for giving and for selling is super fun, but I'm excited to get back to painting for awhile. Making journals and jewelry does not so much satisfy my artistic needs.
One of the gifts I made for Christmas this year was for an incredible couple, Adam and Annie. Adam is a graphics and web designer who makes awesome stuff out of leather, and Annie crafts all sorts of fun and delicious things. They both love being in the mountains and hiking in the woods, and they are a super creative couple.
The "Crafty Christmas" handmade gifts sale is running full-blast at Felicitous right now, and it is going great! I spent so much time the last few months crafting like crazy to prepare for it, and things are selling quickly.
Along with the annual favorites (T-shirt Journals and Geeky Earrings), I also made these super simple "Lucky Penny" charm bracelets--I used pennies from 1980-2005 since Felicitous is mainly a college hangout for the University of South Florida.
I was not confident that these would be a hit, but to my surprise they are one of the most popular items from the sale so far.
Making a Lucky Penny Charm Bracelet is super simple, and it makes the perfect Christmas gift or stocking stuffer for almost anyone you know who wears bracelets: give your mom a bracelet with a penny for each of her children's birth years, your lovey a penny from the year you met/wed, or just give anyone a bracelet with the year they were born. The hardest part is sorting through your change jar/couch cushions/car to find the right penny.
Because this is such a simple project, I dressed up the how-to presentation a bit by making a little instructional video. I hope it makes this quick project more fun for you.
November is just around the corner, and I have been madly creating jewelry and thingies and gifts for the 3rd annual handmade sale at Felicitous. A big seller from past years has been my mismatched trinket earrings--I make them from whatever random bits, charms, and dongles I have collected over throughout the year that didn't make it into another project. Pieces from thrifted board games are my favorites, and there are always a handful of Monopoly-piece and Clue-weapon earrings hanging off my laboratory bulletin board ready to be gifted.
Well, apparently everyone in my neighborhood decided Clue is boring, because the thrift store was chock full of the old mystery game. I grabbed a few for $2 each, thinking I would make some earrings out of the weapons like always. When I got home and opened one of the boxes, the game pieces were super detailed characters and the board was in perfect shape. Our Clue game growing up just had colored pawn pieces, and I was totally mesmerized by these miniature people. I couldn't toss them out, so instead I upcycled the game and made coasters out of the game board and wine glass charms from the characters.
This Clue Drink Set for Six makes a fun hostess gift for a murder mystery party, adds flair to board game night, and pairs perfectly with a viewing party for the movie "Clue," which is hilarious. Best of all, it is easy to make yourself and, with some creative adjustments, could be replicated with pretty much any board game.
I wanted a comfy place for people to sit if they were visiting my studio, but the space is so small that the piece of furniture needed to be an odd size and visually lightweight. Figuring out this little conundrum was not on my radar at all--the studio still needed a lot of work, so furnishing the new space seemed far off. BUT THEN I found these gross chairs.
It has been a suuuuper long month for me. The problem is that I am not very patient. Dave and I are buying a house (hopefully we will be closing on Thursday), and as soon as we decided what house we wanted I was ready to move in--we were already packed up, and what's a girl to do without her art supplies?
Like I said...it's been a long month. All I've done is pack, clean, and dream about the wonderful place our first home will be. I didn't feel like I had anything to blog about, because I didn't feel like I was doing anything interesting.
But alas! Now that I look back on the last month, there are some exciting things that I did (other than fall in love with a cute house)!
Wednesdays are 50%-off-all-clothing-day at The Salvation Army by our house, and since Dave and I choose to spend as little as possible so that we can be all artsy and musiciany, our entire wardrobes are from the thrift store.
There is one big problem: Dave hates shopping but always needs new awesome t-shirts to replace old worn-out t-shirts (after all, it is his signature style). Without Dave to try on the shirts, I end up just buying anything that looks cool (or ironic) (or hilarious) (or nerdy) no matter the shirt size--hey, at fifty cents each, why not?
Every time I go, this shopping adventure results in about four new shirts for Dave and two new shirts for Emily's Pile o' Craftin Cloth. Soon the pile became enormous.
At the time my craftin' shirt collection reached its most-gargantuan state (Late October), Felicitous Coffee & Tea was preparing to sell loads of handmade gifts for Christmas time. I wanted to reuse the shirts in a way that was massively sellable for the holidays, but that was also easy to reproduce in quantity. I came up with making fabric-covered, single-signature sketch journals. They sold very well (and still do) at the coffee shop, and Dave and I gave out quite a few for Christmas ourselves.