Saturday, December 31, 2011

A rainbow of fruit

Our appetizer tray for tonight's New Year's party - a rainbow of fruit.

Wishing you a fruitful and colorful 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Photo safari

My brother has been home for a week from California. Today, we took our cameras, along with new lenses and bags from Santa, on a little photo safari. Here are a few shots to share - including one of my somewhat elusive brother (thrown in for friends who have yet to meet him after all these years).


Wishing you some fresh air and adventure today!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just a little something...

Yesterday was one of those days I just wanted to sew something simple.

Since putting away the Christmas decorations, the house felt a little bare, and my milk glass dish looked a little lonely on the table.

I raided my stash and made up this simple mat/coaster - lined with cotton batting for a bit of cushion.

My milk glass dish looks cheerier and my sewing craving was met.

Wishing you a satisfying project kind of day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Felt bird ornaments

Each year, we like to treat our family friends to a small, meaningful gift for the holidays. We have friends that are known for their granola, hot chocolate and gingerbread men. While I've made peppermint bark in the past, I wanted to do something different this year.

Little E had planted sunflowers in the garden that yielded beautiful yellow heads full of seeds. When they dried up, we got the idea to save them and give them out as our holiday gift - something to either save and plant or share with the birds now.

After a few trial runs, I came up with a felt bird ornament with a fabric applique wing and bell to accompany the sunflower. Unfortunately, when we went to retrieve the flowers, they looked less than gift-worthy. Plan B? A sack of seeds the birds will enjoy in the coming winter months along with a handcrafted ornament I hope our friends will enjoy in the years to come.

The bottom right was my first bird - the wing came out a bit too big. I love the paisely brown one, probably for the sheer luck that the print landed on its eye. In the end, I opted for the simple felt birds - I love the striking contrast between the saturated color of the felt and the fabric print.

Here are two gifts, packaged and ready to deliver (can you tell my color ink was running out?).

Wishing you the joy of creating and giving!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Candy cane heart pops

While cleaning out my craft area, I came across an old Family Fun magazine. Before recycling it, I flipped through quickly and found these great Valentine pops.  A simple recipe with few ingredients and a few steps makes for great holiday treats to wrap up for friends.

With a change of sprinkle color, they are now perfect for the holiday season.

Candy cane, white chocolate and festive sprinkles...

...all packaged and ready to go (into my tummy?).

Hope you find time to try something new today!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Just in time for Santa: felt carrot tutorial

Cookies for Santa are great, but I think the reindeer deserve a healthy snack after all that pulling, don't you? Here's a quick and fun project to make sure that sleigh makes it wherever it needs to go!

Materials: a small amount of green and orange felt
polyfill or other stuffing

Cut felt according to above measurements.

Put these out for Santa's team on Christmas eve and you'll be sure to avoid any coal in your stocking! Make a few more for your little one's imaginary horse, too!

Wishing you delicious treats this holiday season!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Advent stockings

The countdown to Christmas is a magical time but often gets overshadowed by Advent calendars that hold treats and candies. My preference is for a simpler kind which helps children and adults prepare for the holiday with actions of friendship, love and kindness.

I have had these sweaters in my repurpose box for years but never wanted to cut into them. Once I saw this decorating idea on Martha Stewart, I finally braved the scissors to my felted beauties. I'm so happy I did because now we have our own Advent calendar tradition.

Borrowing some prompts from Noodlehead's Advent calendar and coming up with our own, we now have 24 days to show acts of kindness, love and fun as we prepare for the Christmas holiday.

Wishing you moments to stop and enjoy the spirit of the season!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday dog treats

This guy deserves a treat! He puts up with a two year old climbing all over him, an almost-five-year-old practicing her dog training on him, and waiting his turn for attention. While he is our first-born, he often comes third in the line-up.

So, to give him a special treat for his birthday (seven!), we found this dog treat recipe. He LOVES them, and I love that they are all-natural and easy to make. The girls love to help roll and cut, and it's really fun to find cookie cutter shapes to match the season.

You can find the recipe here: a super easy peanut butter dog treat recipe

One batch makes two cookie sheets full, so bake some for your favorite furry friend and share some with others. This is the perfect holiday gift for a dog-loving friend!

I guarantee your dog will come running for these treats!

Wishing you delicious moments baking this holiday season!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry and bright

Hello, my friends.

It has been a long time since I last posted - not for lack of crafting, taking photos or thinking of posts to share. We had a busy, eventful fall and it felt like every week was a call to tend to family, house and friends.

After little A turned 2, we faced a long stretch of illness. Luckily, through it all, we were blessed with good spirit and love, and now health again.

We then experienced the October snow storm that took out our power for close to a week. Again, we were blessed with good spirit, a sense of adventure and good friends to help clear the debris.

November brought two craft fairs that kept these fingers busy sewing for weeks. Both events were successful and fun - a chance to connect to community and friends new and old. We also celebrated two birthdays in our house - one for a furry friend and one for yours truly. While the number hit a bit harder this year, I am thankful for so much and consider myself a very lucky lady.

December is now here and we are in the throes of preparing for Christmas. The decorations are up, the tree is lit (cut from our backyard - it is beautiful!), gifts are purchased and parties are beginning.
It is a magical time of year and I wish all of you the very best for your seasonal celebrations.

P.S. The photo is of a holiday swag I made for a friend using many of the broken tree limbs from the October storm and berries picked on the side of the road. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A monkey applique shirt, some news and a chalkboard mat tutorial...

First off, look who's two!

I can't believe how grown up she looks in this photo! The shirt is mommy-made, based on the monkey fabric in her party favors - Urban Zoologie Monkeys by Ann Kelle. 

Second, some quick news: I have a line of reusable snack sacks currently for sale at a local farm stand.  The pairing of the snack sacks and a business promoting local produce feels like such a good fit.  If you are a leaf-peeper in Western Mass, be sure to swing by M&M Green Valley Produce to check them out!

Last, but not least, I gave you a sneak peek at some chalkboard fabric a while back.  Now, that fabric has magically transformed into chalkboard mats!  These roll up for easy travel, and are perfect for entertaining little ones at restuarants, in the car, etc.

Interested in making one?  Here's how:  

 Materials: one 13.5 " x 11"  piece of cotton quiliting fabric
                 one 4" x 4" piece of cotton quilting fabric
                 one 13.5" x 11" piece of chalkboard fabric
                 one package extra wide, double fold bias tape, 1/2" width
                 12" piece rickrack (or ribbon) for tie

 1.  Round corners of both fabric pieces.

2. Pink top and left edge of 4 inch square.  Align with bottom right corner of chalkboard fabric and baste.  Trim along rounded corner.

3.  Use a spray adhesive to baste the wrong sides of fabric together.  My spray adhesive of choice?  Sulky KK 2000 - non-toxic, non-flammable and safe for the environment!

4. Beginning in the middle of the bottom, sandwich chalkboard fabric and cotton fabric between bias tape.  Note: the photos show me sewing with the chalkboard side up, but it's better to sew with the cotton side up.  This way, you can make sure you encase all the cotton fabric.

 5. Once you have sewn the bias tape around the entire chalkboard mat, overlap the ends by about an inch and a half.  Cut the tape.


 6. Open the tape and fold the end, wrong sides togther, about a half inch.

7.  Fold the sides of the tape back, enclosing the raw edges.  Now, re-sandwich the mat in the fold of the tape, sew and backstitch. 

8.  Fold your piece of rickrack or ribbon in half and sew to the right edge, half way up, on the cotton side.  Note: I used Fray Check on the ends of my rickrack.

9.  Write a message to your little one, tuck the chalk in the pocket, roll and tie your mat, and off you go!

Here are the ones I made for the party - perfect for a two year old girl and her friends!

And, for the two babies who came, their very own monkey bibs (because they'd probably just eat the chalk!). 

Wishing you lots of reasons to monkey around today!


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