Sunday, December 9, 2012

Elf Antics

Next year I'm waiting until mid-December to bring out our elf. 

We've got two weeks to go, and we're already running out of places to put him!

Looks like he had a good time with the tramp last night though, doesn't it?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter Swap: Goodies

I'm so excited about all of the lovely items I received in the swap that I just had to take pictures of everything to share here. It's like I got a box full of all of the things I would love to make if I knew how!

Most of the toys will be going to Maxine. She loves playing with little dolls and gnomes and things. I know she'll adore this fox:

And these little guys are all so cute, aren't they?

This one has a removable hat and beard!

 And look at this happy smile.

 Of course, they'll need somewhere to sit and eat:

And who knows what this might become?

Isn't this little play mat darling? It wraps up, which makes it the perfect size to stash in a purse:

I'm really excited about this "swisher" too. Maxine just asked for one like Lissie's the other day. Lissie's is from Sarah's Silks, and it's nice, but the quality of this handmade one is so much better!

And this crown to wear while she plays with it all:

Won't this angel will look pretty hanging in Maxine's room?

Don't worry, Lissie won't be left out! This pillow is perfect for her. Maybe a nice, warm pillow on her shoulders or forehead will actually help her relax for once.

 And this sweet fairy necklace has "Lissie" written all over it:

I think a few of these will be fun to use with our elf, Christmas. Can't you see him hanging in a window with this star some snowy morning? If we ever get any snow, that is.

And these?

Bowling, perhaps?

I think one morning he might be "sleeping" in this little bed:

And isn't this adorable? Its a little bunting that you can write on with chalk! I wonder what kind of message "Christmas" might leave on here?

We also got two pretty dyed silks; one red, one green.

And last, but not least, I'm keeping these for myself!

I feel like I should be sending thank you notes to everybody who participated, but I can't, because I don't know who anybody is. I hope that if any of you are readers of my blog and see this post, you'll consider yourself thanked. I love everything!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter Swap: Pocket Dolls

I had so much fun doing last year's handmade stocking stuffer exchange, that I jumped at the chance to do another one this year. And I was having so much fun making these sweet little pocket dolls I'd just learned how to make, that I thought, why not double the fun, and make 20 items to swap this year?

The instructions were to make 10 (or if you're feeling carelessly ambitious, 20) Christmas or winter themed items. I decided to split them and do ten Christmasy dolls and ten wintery dolls. Of course, it occurred to me after dyeing and buying a zillion different shades of red, green, blue, and gray felt that pretty much anything wearing a hat and scarf could already be considered wintery.

It also occurred to me, after cutting out 20 different body shape and color combinations, that they wouldn't all be going to the same person, and therefore, didn't all need to be completely different. But I think I'd have been terribly bored after making the second one without a little variety!

The dolls are made from wool/rayon blend felt. I found that a thinner felt works best for these guys, because they are so tiny. I used wool roving to stuff them, and wooden beads for the heads. The instructions I used also show how to make a felted wool head, which is darling, but I'm afraid that making 20 felt heads would have meant these dolls wouldn't be finished until next Christmas!

Are you loving the smudge on the left side of that picture? I had a greasy fingered little helper, but didn't notice until after I'd packed these for shipping.

Each doll has one embellishment. Some have an appliqué, others have an embroidered star or candy cane. I made a few tiny knitted scarves, and I loved the way they turned out, but there are only three because Lissie borrowed, and lost, my spool knitter before I could make more. The rest have little wool poms on their hats.

I found the instructions from Anna Branford's blog on Pinterest. In her post, she links to another blog which has a tutorial for making a similar doll with a fabric head. I'd love to try those sometime too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Elf on the Shelf

This is our Elf on the Shelf. His name is Christmas. I didn't name him that. It's what happens when you let your seven year pick the name.

So far, we haven't noticed any improvement in behavior, but the girls do love looking for him in the mornings. I kid! We totally aren't pushing the behavior side of it. We're just doing it for fun.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


This wasn't our favorite Halloween, due to the loss of a good friend a week and a half before (and the incredibly stressful last month of his life leading up to it). Sometimes a holiday is just what you need to take your mind off things and cheer you up. Other times, the holiday is just a cold, rainy mess, which does nothing to improve your spirits. Add a couple of whiny kids--one of whom refuses to trick-or-treat (fine), then falls asleep halfway though (not so fine), and, yeah.

But at least the costumes were cute!

I think this was Lissie's first year with a store bought costume. I love making costumes for the girls, but she had her heart set on Wonder Woman, and I didn't feel up to the task (especially not this year). She loves it though, and I'm thinking it will get a lot of use in the dress up bin. I don't normally buy specific dress up outfits like this, but she pretends to be Wonder Woman all the time anyway, so I don't see the harm in just this one.

Maxine wanted to be a black cat, which was all well and good, until we looked up cat costumes on Amazon. And she saw the one with the lavender tutu. So then she wanted to be a black cat, with a lavender tutu. At least, as costumes go, it was an easy one to put together. She wore black clothes that she already had, and I made ears to go on a black headband I found at a craft store. I used wool felt for the ears, and they didn't take long at all. The tutu came from Target, and like the Wonder Woman costume, will likely see a lot of use even after Halloween is over!

We did the Halloween Fairy again this year, and the girls loved it. They actually looked forward to getting their treats this time, and weren't at all sad about not being able to eat the candy--which once again, we got home early enough to hand out to late trick-or-treaters, and Lissie had a great time doing it! 

An early, rushed Halloween gathering where we met more neighbors, and pizza with friends after trick-or-treating were fun, so the evening wasn't a complete bust.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Room for Posterity

Well, I entered a room in Apartment Therapy's Room for Color contest again this year. This time, in the "cool" category. I wrote about last year's entry here. Unfortunately, we had a lot going on, and I didn't have a chance to post about the contest while it was was still going on. I'm going to post about it now, even though the contest is over, because I still think it's exciting!

This is our "green" room, which I already posted about here. Here is my entry: Natasha's "Outside In" Room. Be sure to check out the other entries too. Even though you can't vote anymore, there is some great inspiration there!

Here are the photos from my entry, along with a couple that didn't make the cut. I took new photos, because I wasn't thrilled with the first ones I took right after I painted the room.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Sun Egg

The girls got this book for Christmas, and Maxine has been pretty much obsessed with it ever since. 

I was inspired by these sweet little Wind Children that are all over Pinterest right now, and I thought the girls might enjoy having a few little figures to go with it. At first, I was only going to make the little elf and the orange, but then I decided it would be fun to make all of the characters.

And so I did. Except for the frog. Ariana made the frog, and I think it's adorable. I'm glad she thought of making it.

I haven't figured out how to attach a stick to old Crooked-Root yet, but we're working on it.

And yes, the first thing Maxine said after seeing the set was "where's the squirrel?" I just can't win.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Craft: Ribbon Streamers

Nothing exciting here. We revisited this craft from last year. This year, I had the foresight to go to the dollar store by myself.

Action shots, too:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We're Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

Today was the perfect day for one of my favorite things about homeschooling: an impromptu field trip!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blessings Book

One of my favorite things about Waldorf education is the use of little poems and verses. It's also one I haven't done especially well with. I'm great at finding them, organizing them, categorizing them, basically everything except actually using them (I know! Story of my life). I think the problem I have, is that I just forget. When I'm in the kitchen baking, I don't have my binder with verses neatly labelled and categorized, I don't have my books with pages thoughtfully marked and folded. I don't have anything to remind me.

I got the idea from a couple of different places. My mother-in-law went through training to become a Love and Logic instructor a few years ago and when she was done, she went through all of the materials with Brad and me. When we were done, she gave us a little ring with laminated papers of different colors and sizes on it, each with a little tip printed on it. And then I saw this post from the Chocolate Eyes blog, and how she used watercolor paintings as covers for her index cards for circle time. I thought that a combination of the two would be a perfect way to put together a little collection of verses to use throughout our day. It's small, it's light, it's convenient to carry around, it's beautiful, and it put a nice dent in our accumulation of watercolor papers!

I included a few centering verses for myself:

Some morning verses:

Mealtime verses:

Verses for work:

For peace:

And for bedtime:

I was going to write the verses directly on the watercolor paper, but it's not the easiest thing to write on, and I wasn't happy with how they were turning out. Instead, I printed the verses and cut them out. I debated whether to make all the papers the same size, but in the end, I decided I liked the idea of each verse being its own size and shape. I think that will help me remember what's what.

Lissie had a lot of fun matching each verse to paper. I just taped the printed paper onto the watercolor paper where I wanted it, then cut around leaving about 1/2 an inch around the edges. Then, we punched holes in the corners and put them all on a ring. The ring makes it easy to add and remove verses if we ever want to change things.

This was so much fun to put together, and I'm so happy with the results that I'm thinking about making another one for seasonal verses. I imagine it won't take me too long to memorize a lot of these and get into the habit of using them, but in the meantime, I'll be happy to have this lovely little reminder with me throughout the day.