Thursday, October 29, 2009

Seed Packets

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We have been enjoying a lot of growing around these parts.  It has provided endless launching points, endless sources of questions, endless discoveries, endless beauties.  Our latest discovery has been watching the plants create seed pods of every variety.  It turns out that little eyes are very good at spotting them, little fingers are very good at getting the seeds out of them, and little minds are infinitely fascinated by the whole process.  It has been a joy.  It is also a wonderful way to carry one growing season over to the next. 

We have made simple seed packets for our collections out of Amy Butler’s delightful papers that will find their way into Christmas gifts this year.  Very simple, very beautiful!  That’s all we ask! 

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Picture Story!

Wow…there has been quite a lack of posts about things I’ve actually made lately.  Making is definitely getting done…just not getting all the way done and photographed and downloaded and blogged.  Whew!  I’ll get that far soon…and then you’ll get a deluge of handmades!  Which will be wonderful. 

But in the meantime…here is a moment…a story…that has brought me great joy! 

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My cup runneth over!!!


Oh…and there’s a story that goes with that big scab on her nose…but it’s long…and a bit traumatic for momma.  It involved a food mill, a lot of boiling hot apples, and too many hands!  And that’s all we’re going to say about that!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Day…

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There is a great focus on the handmade around here that’s for sure.  But today as I followed and played and discovered with my children, letting them lead and choose the flow of the day (not everyday do they choose the flow…but today this was best) we marveled at and enjoyed and were thankful for the work of other hands.  Great hands.  Divine hands.  And we were very happy! 

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Can you see his scowl!!!  She was “encouraging” him to go back with her!!! (He won!…this time)

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We also noticed quite a bit of knitting!  On this counter, on this table, hanging in a tote here, ready for hands whenever hands, any hands, (they certainly won’t only be mine!) are ready to knit.  Warm, cozy, comfortable knitting. 

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Fall 368 Fall 371  Fall 375Happy day!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Handmade…and Pumpkin Crisp

Fall 323 Under the riot of fiery fall color that is bursting forth everywhere there is an abundance of handmade happenings!.  Halloween costumes, Christmas presents, Montessori materials…the studio and workshop are buzzing…and getting rather messy (okay…maybe a bit more than messy!).  There is something very invigorating and inspiring about all the amazing color that surrounds us these days.  It is marvelous. 

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When I was in college I worked for the university’s catering company…which was a lot of fun…and very yummy!!!  Sure beat the “starving artist” dinners I made for myself!  We served a delicious pumpkin crisp at a lot of fall banquets that was amazing…and secret.  But that can’t be the only pumpkin crisp recipe out there!  So I’m looking for my own tried and true pumpkin crisp recipe!  Let me know if you have one…!!!Fall 328

Saturday, October 24, 2009


My husband has been and will be out of town for a bit.  (Feels longer than a bit but somehow that little word helps me keep things in perspective…which is crucial!!)

I’ve been feeling like this the past few days:  !!!Robinson Photos Sept. 2 050

…a bit old, my battering horns a bit beaten, a bit scruffly…just wanting to bask peacefully in the sun!!  But isn’t he magnificent?!…the mothering is always magnificent (the big picture of mothering…not always the moment to moment nitty gritty) …even if the mom is a frazzled worn out old goat!!! 

On the other hand…my children are feeling like this:Fall 131 Fall 125 Fall 126 Fall 129 

So…we will weekend no matter what!  After all…there are leaves to jump in, vegetables to print, paper mache to make a glorious mess with, Christmas lists to get to work on,…and possibly….housework to do!

Happy weekending. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Bit of Thrifting Fun!

I had my eye out for something completely different…but as it usually happens, other treasures found their way to me instead.  A few workshop tools made their way into the studio for (noisy) bit of repurposing fun!!!

I loved this cork board right away because of its size and that its frame was flush with the cork…not so much for the words…!

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(more like…tacky tacky!!)

I knew immediately what I was going to do with it!

I chose a delightful upholstery fabric sample that I have been saving for years…I loved it, and knew I would have the perfect project for it one day!  I stretched it over the cork board and stapled it onto the back and made a darling little board for myself!!!

Here's what I did…if you have any questions past the pictures let me know and I’d be happy to help!

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Ta Da!!! 

I also picked up a fantastic little rocking chair that is in progress.  I had the hardest time choosing a fabric…I kept falling in love with wonderful little florals but wanted something that would work a bit better for both my kiddos.  Fall 268

Loving the upholstery fabric I chose…perfect!!Fall 280

Now what to do with the rest of it?  Paint it…sand it down…strip it…what to do, what to do?!?!?!

Stapler and hammer, or needle and thread…whatever the tool its marvelous to be working with my hands…making things for my little ones (or for me!!)!!!!  Nope…there is nothing better.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Frog and Toad…well actually just Toad

Have you ever “met” Frog and Toad.  They are positively delightful!  The books are written by Arnold Lobel and are widely available.  We checked out the books on CD (narrated by Arnold Lobel) a while ago to listen to on a car trip…and decided this was the only way to car trip!! Even if you’re just going around the block!!  So entertaining, so classic, so silent (well everyone but Arnold…!), so perfect for independent thoughts and imaginings.  Bliss!

Well….while putting the garden to bed we met Toad…not just any toad…the Toad…just hopping about saying goodbye to summer and finding a good home for the winter.  

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Goodbye Toad…see you in the spring!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Apple, Peach, Pear, Plum…and How to Make Printed Gift Wrap and Happiness Cards!!

Yup…this is a doozy of a post!  You might want to make some popcorn…and get out a notepad while you’re at it cause I think you’ll like some of these ideas!!

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Do you remember the peach and plum abundance this summer?!  Well we’re reveling in it again…this time with apples and pears.  It’s marvelous!  My father was an apple grower for much of my life…and my father-in-law has been studying and working with fruit trees (mainly apples) for most of his life…so our little family is used to fresh produce being around…in abundance…and very consistently.  It’s a blessing that we are aware of and very grateful for. 

So right now on the porch are bushels and bushels of apples and pears!!  It’s beautiful to look at so much crunchy, healthy goodness!  But every single bit of that goodness has to be processed…sliced, diced, sauced, and canned…!  Yikes!!!  Blessings with stipulations…still blessings!!!  Fall 220

Fall 224Today we sauced.  Which was perfect because it is a very forgiving process in regards to interruptions…which were constant I tell you!!! Fall 228

::We use a very basic process.  -wash –chop into sixths –cook in large stew pot filled with water until soft –drain water – run fruit through squeezo (big food mill) –pour into jars – can in steam canner.  *our sauce is eaten by very little children so we don’t use any sweeteners on the batch…cinnamon and sugar are added by taste when eaten. 

And while momma was working on sauce little hands were very busy making wrapping paper for Christmas. (Littlest hands were blessedly sleeping!!!) It is a priority in our family to teach our children how to do things.  Instilling the knowledge that there is a value and lasting effect from making something with your hands that lasts longer than the item or activity itself.  Buying wrapping paper for gifts isn’t going to break the bank…but this is very green, very worthwhile, and very fun!!!

Printed Wrapping Paper

Materials:   Large roll of paper*

                    Apples and Pears

                    Acrylic craft paint

                    Cookie sheet

*Nearby there is a small printing factory that prints brochures, pamphlets, maps, etc.  The enormous rolls of paper used for printing are only used until ~98% gone.  Which leaves a large amount of beautiful paper (well…at least large for home use) on the roll that is useless to them as the machine can’t feed it through.  The point…they recycle it…and are happy to give it to away!!!  Our family has gotten so many rolls over the years.  It is invaluable to have unlimited amounts of paper at children’s disposal.  So check out your yellow pages for a printing company that may be able to hook you up!!!

Step 1.     Cut the pears lengthwise, and the apples crosswise…making sure you make a very flat cut. 

how to make apple prints

Step 2.     Depending on your little ones age and hand size you might want to cut little notches to make it easier to hang on to the fruit.

how to print with apple and pears

Step 3.     Pour a generous amount of paint onto your cookie sheet.

Step 4.     Rub the cut side of the fruit onto the paint until it is completely and evenly covered. 

Step 5.     Print once on a scrap paper then print on the wrapping paper repeatedly in a random or planned design until the print becomes too light.

  how to make wrapping paper with printed apples and pears

Step 6.     Rub the fruit in the paint again and repeat the process.

Step 7.     Allow to dry. 

You now have beautiful wrapping paper that was a joy to make…is a joy to give…and will be a joy to receive!!!


Printed Happiness Cards

hand print cards with pears

We used the same process as used for the wrapping paper and printed cards to be given as sets for gifts.  It is something that can be made almost entirely by little hands…which made the little hands in this house very happy!! 

We cut 4 1/4” x 10 1/2” papers, folded them in half and printed a single pear on each.  There is something so perfect about the shape of a pear… I wonder why we don’t like it when we are shaped like pears…ah well!!! 

We weren’t picky with placement on the card…though we tried to center them…the irregularities in placement and printing add so much to their charm though.

how to hand print cards with pears

Allow to dry and write  “Happiness…” underneath…or anything else that suits your fancy.  I thought having something written underneath would work better compositionally, and “happiness” seemed to leave things open enough that the card could fit many occasions.  And the prints make me happy…but maybe that’s because I’m the momma!!

how to print with pears make your own pear print cards

Super easy, super fun, and just darling!!!

Bundled with envelopes and tied with twine, string, yarn, or a bit of fabric I think they will be lovely gifts from a lovely little girl.

I hope you are enjoying lots of wonderful apple and pear days in your homes as well!!!