February’s Cheep Trills

Chirped by Cass and Tina

Oh February! Even though it had an extra day this year, it still seemed to fly by. The weather didn’t help, being very mild, warm and wet here in PA – hurrying us along towards spring. Our shortest month did, however, yield some efficient days of crafting, blogging and catching up. We squeezed a lot in! Here are our top ten favorites from this productive month…

Favorite Books

February’s choices for both book clubs had mixed reviews from our members. Cass’s book club read Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood. It describes a mother in the ’70s trying to save her daughter (born with Downs Syndrome) from a cruel institution and manipulative in-laws. The novel is based loosely on a 1971 exposé of horrific care inside a Massachusetts “school for the feeble-minded”. A guest speaker came to talk about her adult son, who has severe autism. The writing was good, the discussion interesting. Some of us were dubious about how quickly Lucy adapted and rebounded from her first two neglected years. But hey, kids are resilient, right? Continue reading

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Frugal Fibers for Budget Crafters

Chirped by Tina

Any devoted fiber artist or crafter probably has an overflowing stash of yarn for new projects. But let’s assume for the moment that you don’t, or that you’re new to crochet, knitting, etc. Maybe you want to test the waters with some small beginner projects – without breaking your budget on materials. Or perhaps you’d like to help a non-profit with a crafting cause, but can’t afford skeins of expensive wool? Sure, you can find discount bins at the craft store. But why not give the Earth a high five and try some of these upcycling ideas instead?

Thrift Store Gems

For many projects, used or re-purposed supplies may be perfect. If you’re making things like rescue nests or a potholder, you don’t need brand new yarn. You also don’t need perfect technique, so it’s a great way to learn and practice! Allow me, therefore, to introduce you to the Goodwill Outlet Store! These and other pay-by-the-pound-type thrift Continue reading

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Photo Tiles 3 Ways: A Bird’s Eye Review

Chirped by Tina and Cass

Cass and I have been bombarded with ads for Mixtiles for a while now on our various feeds. I guess all the advertising worked – we were curious! So for Christmas, we decided to give our kids some personalized photo art for their dorm rooms and apartments. Key selling points for us were ease of hanging and the minimization of wall damage. With those in mind, we tried out three different photo tile companies to see which we liked the best. (No, we don’t get any kickbacks!) If you’ve ever been in the market for some inexpensive wall art, and wondered how different manufacturers measure up, read on for our review!

For the purpose of our informal comparison, we ordered 8”x8” unframed tiles with adhesive hanging mechanisms from all three companies. Odd numbers are aesthetically pleasing, and nine seems like a good starting point for an impactful arrangement. Our price analysis is therefore based on a hypothetical order of nine tiles.

The Contenders…

Photo Tile Company ReviewMixtiles got our first order. I’m guessing you’ve seen their ads, too – with happy people sticking and resticking the same tiles on a wall until they get the look they want. (Image courtesy of Tina’s Galapagos Getaway: a zoom-in on a land iguana’s spiked head!)

Snapfish has traditionally been our go-to website for photo gifts, so they got the second Continue reading

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After the Holidays Cheep Trills

Chirped by Cass and Tina

The holidays have come and gone, along with the college boys, and we are back and resettling into our empty nest routines. Time to compile a top ten list of cheep trills from our long hiatus!

Favorite Book

Cheep Trills - Favorite BookIf you’ve never ventured into the genre of post-apocalyptic fiction, A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, by C. A. Fletcher, is a perfect place to dabble your toes. I can also heartily recommend the Audible version, voiced by the author himself. Fletcher does a fantastic job of narrating, and you know you’re getting all the right nuances when the writer is also the story teller. Plus, it’s a terrific story, at least as stories of what happens after the apocalypse go. It’s easy to be transported to this future landscape, a hundred years or more after most of the world’s population has died of old age. It’s a world Continue reading

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Ten Christmas Decorating Joys

Chirped by Tina (and Cass)

We love having an excuse to mix up our decor for the holidays, especially at Christmas time. Unboxed memories catapult us into the past, then boomerang back to brighten our season. Here’s a list of ten Christmas decorating joys, and why they make us happy…

#1: The Tree

Ten Christmas Decorating Joys

For me, the tree is the show-stopper. My family loves the look and smell of a real Frazier fir. Fraziers tend to have branches strong enough to support our heavier ornaments, too! In our house, the motto (ever since the boys got big enough to help haul it in) has been “Go Big or Go Home!” This year’s specimen is 10′ 8″ – but that includes the “antenna” that my husband refused to let me trim down to size. I love the afternoon we spend each year trimming our tree. I even look forward to the day I devote to taking it down by myself. It gives me a chance to savor every ornament, and Continue reading

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