Monday, November 30, 2009

And the winner is….

We went to visit some dear family for Thanksgiving and had trouble pulling ourselves away!!!  We were in the woods and didn’t have great internet access so I scheduled my blogs for the first time and was so pleased with how it was able to take care of itself for a few days…I just didn’t plan on not coming back right away!!

I’ll post about some of our adventures soon!

But now…the winner of the 100th post giveaway is….


quirkygranolagirl ·

I just woke up from a nap with my little guy. That is a delightful simple joy indeed :)
Reading your blog and getting inspired by your crafts is another of my simple joys. Thank you for the giveaway.

Thank you everyone for participating.  It was wonderful to read your simple joys! 

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Mask!

Don't forget about the 100th post giveaway!

I have been working on a few custom gifts for some friends for the holidays. One little package made its way out the door recently. A fairy wand and mask for a spunky little girl in NH. Do remember the fairy wand for my own little girl earlier this summer? The mask is made with the same technique as the wand but without any plastic canvas. I just drew a simple cat eye glasses shape for a pattern and sandwiched quilt batting between the front and back fabrics. Simple machine stitching outlining the edges, some elastic, and it’s done. Super simple…but just right for a fairy (and Mom!) on the move!!!

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Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy 100th post!!! Check out the giveaway!

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We are thankful for oh so much this year! Much too much, and much to close to my heart to share here…but I would like to say how thankful I am for you!

Thank you for sharing this space with me, thank you for your encouragement, thoughts, comments, and inspiration. Thank you for sharing this blogging joy with me!

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


***Just a reminder about my 100th post giveaway!*****


Is there anything more delightful for children than supplies, materials, space, and time…just for art making.  We spent a fantastic bit of time recently art making with a lovely group of little hands.  It is marvelous to see a child create. 

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Journey…and a GIVEAWAY!!!

Starting a blog was not easy for me.  It was new…it was a bit scary…it involved learning a few new things on the computer…and mostly it meant sharing myself, my creations, and the life of my family in a way anyone could see.  Vulnerable!!  That’s what I expected, weighed back and forth, and mulled over when I was making the decision to blog.  What I didn’t expect was the friends that I would make, the incredible community of mothers, crafters, and artists that I would discover and feel part of, and the clarity with which it would help me see my children and our lives together. 

You see I post about our joys, our creations, and our adventures.  I blog about reality…but the positives or our reality.  Photographing and blogging about those positives has helped me see them more clearly and more often.  Which is invaluable to the happiness, fulfillment, and mental sanity of this mother! 

I am nearing 100 posts.  Which seems huge to me…and seems to deserve celebration!   

So…there’s going to be a giveaway…a Matchy Matchy giveaway to be exact.  It will be a little bundle of a few vintage lovelies, and a handmade wooden Matching Game.


My 100th post will be Thanksgiving Day…which is wonderful, as I am very  thankful for this blog in so many ways.  So, in that spirit of thanksgiving…to enter the giveaway simply leave a comment on this post and tell me a simple joy in your life that you are thankful for.  It is the season of reflection and gratitude after all!  Comments will be closed Friday at 12am EST, I’ll let the kiddos choose a winner at random, (random is their style after all!!!) and I’ll announce the winner on Saturday! 

Thank you friends for making this blogging journey so joyful!!!

*I will mail the package out first thing so you can count on it by Christmas if you plan on giving the game as a Christmas gift!*

Monday, November 23, 2009

Loving to Work

Do you know the satisfaction and wonderful fatigue that follows a full days hard work?  I hope it is a familiar feeling to you also.  While a bit of calm relaxation and rest is wonderful and very needed at times…it is so good to work hard.  As children naturally want to be doing and helping with whatever is going on, teaching a child to work, and to love to work is just a matter of letting them do, letting them help, and showing them how much you love it!!! 

I had little helpers (I always have little helpers) as I gathered bits of nature for the wedding celebration.  We had such fun searching for beauty to create a lovely and inspiring event.  It is one of my truest joys to see my children learn to love to work and explore and discover true beauty outside.  I am filled to overflowing to see the healthy happy little souls the fresh air and good work creates.  

We are happily soaking it all in, and rejoicing in each bizarrely mild fall day before the cozy indoor days of winter begin…well at least I am rejoicing in the mild fall!

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Yes, that is a sled.  It is used for any conceivable reason!  She is very excited for snow.Fall 715

Saturday, November 21, 2009


As I have been reading and learning more about the Waldorf philosophies over the past few months I have become more and more sure that there is nothing on earth more beautiful than the creations all around us.  There are no words for the beauties that surround each of us in all of our different corners of the world.  As I prepared the decorations for this wedding I felt so strongly that there was no other direction to go but towards those beauties.  I wish you all could have been there.  Grab a bit of gourmet cheese, some grapes, and your favorite crackers…a slice of cheesecake and some truffles enjoy the pictures.  It’s really not close to actually being there…but its a taste!!  Enjoy friends!!

Fall 780Fall 781Fall 791  Fall 793Before food…we did serve the guests!!!  This table was piled with cakes, cheesecakes, truffles, eclairs, cream puffs, and a massive (frosted styrofoam) chocolate cake.  Positively indulgent!

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Fall 833Bliss!    This shot is the Daddy-daughter dance, and the figurine was the cake topper.  I love it!

It was fabulous party…with great music and lots of dancing.  Kicked off by my own little girl…who somehow was born with a need to dance.  And she’s good!!! 

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Did you make it all the way through!!!  If so…you definitely deserve another piece of cheesecake!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I do.

There’s going to be a wedding celebration!!Fall 732 Although I’m not the one saying I do, I sure am doing…and doing and doing! 

Many more pictures to follow! (When I can catch my breath!) 


Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Make Printed All-Purpose Totes!

After reading this, and this book I have been absolutely itching to get my hands on some printing projects.  It really didn’t matter what I printed.  Walls, cards, clothes, bags….I just wanted to print something!!!  I have several printing projects lined up and decided to start with some simple freezer paper stencil printing…except I used contact paper!  Contact paper was something I had on hand…it removes a step (ironing)…and had the same effect as freezer paper. 

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I plan on doing several holiday projects using a few different printing methods with the kiddos (or at least one of the kiddos…the other will help by taking a nap…how do you print with a 1 year old that seems to have 5 hands and ridiculous speed?!)    but this project came out of the studio made just by Mama. All-purpose totes became a wonderful canvas for a very fun and satisfying introduction to printing.  Whether these are used (by whoever is getting them for Christmas!) for groceries, bits of nature, or inside storage they are just lovely.  Oh, I do love to make pretty things!!!

So here you have it:

How to Make All-Purpose Printed Totes

1.  From 45” wide fabric cut 2 2” strips and one large piece ~20” wide.  All pieces are cut against the grain. 

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2.  Sew the 2” strips into a long tube to make the handles by folding them in half width wise…stitching using a 1/4” seam allowance…turn…press. 

3.   On each of the short sides of the large fabric piece fold and press a 2” hem.  Stitch close to the pressed edge. This will be the bags top edge.Fall 644

4.   Sew the side seams of the bag using french seams:  With wrong sides together stitch the side seams with an 1/4” seam allowance. Fall 645

Turn.  Press.  Now with right sides together sew the same side seams with a slightly larger seam allowance ~1/2”.  Fall 646

Now the raw edges of the side seams are completely encased leaving very polished seams.  Turn.  Press.

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5.   Press the bottom of the bag open so the bottom corner makes a triangle.  Make sure to line up the side seam and the middle of the bottom carefully.  Measure ~2 1/2” from the corner and stitch perpendicular to the side seam to make a triangle.Fall 650

  *Note* In the image I measured 3 1/2” but decided that wasn’t the right proportion for the bag so started again with 2 1/2”. You’ll have to decide what measurement will give you the bag dimensions you’d like.  Repeat on the other side.  This will make a bottom for the bag.  Press.Fall 652Fall 653

6.   Stitch the triangle to the bottom of the bag. 

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7.   Determine how long you would like the handles and trim off the excess.  Place them on the bag where desired and pin.  Stitch them in place securely. 

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8.   Voila!!!  You now have a simple and very practical bag…and better yet…a canvas for printing.

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9.   Draw or transfer the design that you would like to print onto the contact paper.  Remember that the sticky part is on the front…so pay attention to how you orient your design to assure it is going to face the right direction.  

10.   Cut out your design carefully with an exact-o knife or scissors.  Peel off the back and place it where desired on the bag.  Press it down carefully, especially at the edges to ensure no paint will find its way under the contact paper.

11.   Place several layers of newspaper inside the bag underneath the area that you will be printing.

12.   With your chosen acrylic paint or fabric paint, and with a stencil brush, begin to paint your design.  When applying paint make sure to use the dry brush technique and to apply many successive thin coats rather than one or two heavy coats of paint.

        *Dry brush technique:   Put a small amount of paint on your stencil brush.  Dab much of the paint off on a rag so brush seems “dry” and paint is applied very lightly. 

        * If paint is applied to thickly than it will saturate the fabric, soaking through to the back and make a bit of a mess, and not look very polished. 

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13.   When your print is saturated with color carefully peel off the contact paper.  Stand back and admire…it looks great!!! 

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14.   Recognizing that you have been bitten by the printing bug start planning more projects that use this and many other printing techniques.  Pish-posh N1H1…this is much more contagious and much more fun!!!  Fall 748

Happy printing friends!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Home for the Brushes

There is quite a lot of art making that happens around here.  Which I love.  I love to see the part of my child that can only be seen through her artwork.  I love to see her hands hold, use, and create with bits of color.  I love to see her ability to see and do and make take form.  It is important to me that her hands be very familiar with a wide variety of art materials.  This is so beneficial for children on so many levels.  The ability to take creative and individual thoughts and put them onto paper using their hands is the foundation for further critical thinking, writing, self expression, and creating. 

So now, as we are forming the foundations for further learning, we are also forming the absolute love of art making…in all its forms.  Fall 699

This love affair with art making has created quite a stockpile of artwork…a stockpile that is constantly being added to.  Daddy’s workroom actually looks much more like an art gallery than an office as many pieces are (very specifically!!) designated to be hung there. 

In answer to the challenge of mountains of artwork…which is a joyful challenge I do say!…I will be sharing several Christmas card ideas using your child’s art in the coming weeks. 

But today…I bring you a new home for my little girl’s very first, very own paint brushes.  It was incredibly quick and easy to make.  Really…15 minutes top!  Oh…and don’t think for a minute that those 15 minutes were in one stretch.  That is a blissful (and rare) occurrence around here.  No…this was a several day, minute here, minute there project.  The fabric and ribbon were chosen by the artist herself…!  We left room for the addition of new brushes… “for new kinds of painting”…!  We’re both very big fans of the result!  Fall 707

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Harvesting…and How to Make Nut Ornaments

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“It doesn’t have to be ordinary!”

This is an Osage Orange!  Isn’t it delightful!  It is anything but ordinary!!!  I love the color, texture, and shape of these bizarre little fruits!  We harvested a bounty of them today for use as decorations for an upcoming wedding.  I think a bowl or two will find their way onto a few tables in the house as well.  Nature is marvelous isn’t it?!?!

We did a bit of harvesting during a recent exploring adventures at Braddock Bay Park, and in nearby woods recently.  We looked a bit like squirrels I imagine as we hunted among the leaves for nuts.  Fall 675

Already eaten nuts that is!  We filled (a very obliging) Daddy’s pockets to the brim with treasures and brought another bounty home to inspire.  And inspire it did!!!

We made Christmas ornaments by stringing the nuts (and some wooden beads) on twine.  The nuts already have a hole in them so you don’t need to drill!  We used a pipe cleaner for needles as some of the holes are a bit tricky for a straight needle, and because we were using twine as string. 

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I do love to see those hands work! 

Fall 686 Fall 690Very simple…very easy.  Very natural…very beautiful!!!   Just my style!!

Happy harvesting friends!