Mar 03

How to Make a Sun Map

by Hannah Holt »

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We’re landscaping our backyard. By “we,” I mean my minions and me.

Line Level

{Aren’t my minions cute?}

My top priority for landscaping is food: I want my yard to grow stuff I can eat. So the first step of this insane exciting project was making a sun map.

Growing fruits and veggies takes sun and lots of it. So I need to know how much sun my yard gets and where.

First I made a sketch of my backyard (I traced over a google satellite image):

blank yard

Then I made ten copies and waited for a sunny day. Here in Oregon that can take a while…

When a sunny day arrived, I kept watch for the first hour of sun in my yard and sketched the area with direct sunlight


Every hour, I made a similar map until the sun went down. I’ll admit, I couldn’t stay home and watch the sun all day. I made my maps over a few days. However, you’ll probably want to make your map within a week to avoid sun shifting (more on that later).

After I had charted out all my hours of sun, I made a cumulative map:

February Sun Map

The purple area gets 6+ hours of sun, so that’s the best space for planting. The white area gets no direct sunlight (at least in February), so I probably want to avoid planting along the southern fence.

FYI, I did this same process at the end of January. Here’s my  sun map for January:

January Sun Map

Notice my January yard has fewer places with direct sunlight and those places get fewer hours of sun. Soooo….

1) Why does my yard get fewer hours of sun in January than February?

2) What do you think my sun map would look like in March?

(Answer 1: I live in the Northern Hemisphere, so the sun angle is lower in January compared to February. My southern fence casts a longer shadow in January. Answer 2: The angle of the sun continues to climb until mid-summer, so my March map will have more areas of sun and longer hours of sun than February.)

Dec 29

My Christmas Project

by Hannah Holt »

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This year we did a homemade Christmas. I thought it would simplify  the season and make it more meaningful.

It did make the season more meaningful, but simplify…not so much.

I made a personalized fan art for my nieces and nephews.

The first step was easy. I googled high resolution images of their favorite characters, printed these, and copied the scene using tracing paper and pencil.


After the initial sketch I went over all the lines heavily with a #2 pencil.

Then using a family photo, I traced in an additional character (or in this case a new face):


{Here I taped the tracing paper right to my computer screen using masking tape. This made it easy to zoom in and out until the picture was the right size for the picture.}

Once I had all the lines the way I wanted them. I took my tracing and transferred it to 140lb watercolor paper by placing the drawing face down and rubbing the back with pencil.


This makes a light mirror image copy on the new paper:


From there on out it just became a a process of coloring in the lines with watercolors:


Peter pan fan art

So it wasn’t overly difficult, but it was time consuming, especially considering I made five of these this month. But it was fun and it felt good when they finally all went out in the mail.

Happy holidays all!





Jan 02

Printable Thank Yous (with Toys)

by Hannah Holt »


This year I wanted to do something special for my Christmas thank you cards.

After Christmas I took pictures of the gifts we received and fashioned them into cards like this:

You can click on the pictures for a larger image.

I should perhaps explain the nails. This year for Christmas my mother gifted us a few family heirlooms. Among the collection of antiques and nostalgic items were four square nails. This type of nail was common in construction in the early 1800’s. Nails with round heads and shafts weren’t developed until the late 1800’s. So there you have it– four printable thank you cards and a bit of nail trivia for your next cocktail party.

Also, if you are looking for more crafts to do this New Year, I’m running the Twelve Days of Craft-mas on my Facebook Page. Come on over and check out some of the festive crafts we’re doing, including pudding portraits:

Dec 28

DIY: Personalized Journal

by Hannah Holt »


The New Year is almost here. I’m not a resolutionist. Resolutions seem more like ultimatums than goals, and I’m not a big fan of ultimatums.

Instead I try to go with the flow.

Along with my goal setting, I keep a regular but eclectic journal. My journal is part meditations/part shopping list/part brainstorming station.

“Goals that are not written down are just wishes.”

~ Unknown

I like my journal to reflect a bit of me was well. Here’s how you can take a common composition notebook and fancy it up.

What you’ll need:

  • a foam brush
  • Mod Podge glue
  • scissors
  • a composition notebook
  • scrapbook paper

1) Measure and cut your paper to the size of the notebook.

2) Paint glue onto the outside of the notebook.

3) Press the paper onto the notebook, and firm it into place by scraping over the top of the paper with a plastic card.

4) If needed, trim the edges. Let the glue dry completely before using.

Happy (almost) New Year!

Oct 02

Astroturf Dress

by Hannah Holt »


Last year Josh went to our Halloween party as a golfer, and I went as the green. Here’s how my turf frock came into being…

A while ago Josh and I picked up Astroturf at Lowe’s. We needed something to cover the splintery wood on our back deck until it gets replaced. The Lowe’s sales-rep sold us the end of a roll at a deeply discounted price. That left us with yards and yards of extra fabric. I took one look at all that turf and knew just what to do:

front back

Since I’m feeling rather expertish on the subject of Atsro sewing (and I KNOW you are all DYING to get you one), I thought I’d share a few tips.

-Pick a pattern with few seams. No gathers or darts. This is essentially carpet sewing.

-When cutting, you don’t need to allow for much seam. You’ll be sewing and gluing the pieces almost edge to edge.

-Immediately after cutting, apply a sewing glue to ALL the edges. This will keep it from fraying to pieces, and enable you to sew the edges without it falling apart. This will need drying time.

-Do NOT use a sewing machine. Hand sew a simple stitch down each seam to draw the edges together. Then hot glue all the seams.

-You do not need to hem. Just cut a straight line on the bottom and fray check.

-Make the dress a tight fit. It will loosen up after a couple wearings.

-To clean, spray with hose.

-I was too lazy to line the dress, so I just bought a simple under-dress from a thrift store.

-Don’t forget your matching masquerade glasses.


Yes, this is my first (and only) handmade dress.