Monday, December 28, 2009

herbal roots - january 2010 is ready!

it's all about ginger! go to herbal roots zine to read all about it and purchase a copy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

the illustrated garden

these garden journal sketch pages are simply gorgeous, don't you agree?! be sure to check out her sketchbooks!

Monday, December 21, 2009

our solstice morning

everybody sat quietly, digging through their stockings...

greg took the opportunity to take a little nap on all the pillows and blankets piled up...

then the presents were passed out and the ripping commenced...

sage dressed in his costume and greg knighted him...
he was quite unsure how to act or what to do...
then, he looked over and saw nina's new baby doll...
he threw down the sword and shield, stripped off his costume and ran over to snatch up her baby...
he was not happy when she held the doll at bay and managed to wrestle it from her hands...
then went back to daddy so he could cuddle with it...
upset that his son preferred dolls over armoury, greg donned the outfit and took off on a rampaged after the children...
first up was claudia...

next, he took out sage, then turned...

and took out nina...
caleb thought it was a joke...

poor jaden didn't know what hit her...

and finally ridge...

looking quite smug after conquering the masses...
i'm glad the toys i make span all the age groups in our house!

happy solstice everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

handmade holidays - progress update 3

i ended up buying a few of the gifts because it is hard to make for the older kids. more about all that tomorrow. we celebrated solstice this am due to scheduling issues with the older 4 kids but today, i'm only going to post the pictures of what i made.

i don't think my step daughter liked her clothes i made for her which was a little depressing as i thought she'd LOVE the fabric but, with teenagers, it's always hard to gauge. more than anything, i feel bad that she didn't like it. i would have come up with something else if i really believed she wouldn't.

the skull/crossbone sparkly shirt:the 3-d skull/poetry skirt:
both together (although not intended to be worn together):

i made jaden a doctor's kit. i started out planning on making felt instruments but then when talking to a friend, decided to go with real items whenever possible. i made the bag from felt with a velcro closure:
i still need to add the stethoscope. i purchased it from a midwifery supply shop and am waiting for it to arrive (a couple friends and ordered a huge lot of stuff to save on shipping). the kit includes an eye chart, bandaids, an ace bandage, a percussion hammer, a thermometer, an otoscope, a syringe and a tongue depresser:

the only faux item was the blood pressure cuff. i made it from felt and filled the bulb with a crinkly plastic bag for effects:
i didn't get a chance to finish adelena's owl bookmark so i threw together a kit for her to make it. i copied the directions from the website, added a picture of the finished product plus all the thread and felt parts and viola!:all packaged nicely in a ziploc bag:

i made jaden's faux kirsten doll clothes: a short sleeved dress...
(back of dress and apron):

and my most proud accomplishment: tights (made from a real pair of girl's tights that had a run in them) and moccasins. i embroidered flowers on the shoes but forgot to photograph that:

Monday, December 14, 2009

calm down!

i noticed that i was very testy and irritable today so after facebooking my mood and intent to self medicate with lemon balm and motherwort, a few friends gave me their own formulas for the same experience: catnip and borage.

borage! i had forgotten i tinctured up a half gallon of it a few months back. i decided to whip up 2 oz. with: borage, catnip, lemon balm and motherwort. when i poured off the borage i had to play with it as the color was an amazing jewel green. i would have taken a picture but the lighting was bad due to our (seemingly) permanently placed cloud cover. i'll try again tomorrow if the clouds decide to shift away from the sun.

premilinary reports from this mama: feeling better! what did i name this lovely mixture? why, calm down! of course. i think my kids will be happy that i'm taking it tomorrow.

giveaway blog listings

go here for a list of blogs who are hosting giveaways.

Friday, December 11, 2009

handmade holidays - progress update 2

the fleur de lys for sage's knight tunic.

sage's gifts are just about done. i'm still waiting for a shield but i've sewn all i can for him at this point. jaden happily modeled for me.

the knight's chain mail hood. tabitha graciously drew the pattern up for me and i enlarged it and cut it out on architectural trash paper. i used a t-shirt i bought at the thrift shop just for this purpose. the hem became the hem of the hood.

side view of the hood. jaden loves to draw on her face with markers so notice the lovely designs on her face.

i'm very pleased with how it turned out!

in between trying to work out jaden's doctor's kit gift, i found some cute ideas for stocking stuffers.

a turtle and frog (i have an idea for a frog pattern in my head) for sage

an owl bookmark for nina

mermaids for jaden

so much fun! i also got my step-daughter's skirt finished. i made it a bit bigger than i thought necessary with the ability to make it larger still or smaller depending on how it fits her. i'm still waiting on the shirt pattern to arrive so i can sew it.

i also found ideas for the equinox for jaden and sage.

quarter moon cookies

i'm a bit late adding this post but i wanted to share a tradition we've been doing around here to help mark the passage of time in a more gentle and pleasing manner. i love being in tune with the cycles of the moon and started this tradition years ago to mark the full moon each month. this month though, i decided to take it one step further and mark each quarter of the moon.

it all started with baking 'full moon' cookies each month to mark the full moon. we'd bake sugar cookies in the shape of the round full moon and ice them with white or pale yellow icing. i had fallen by the wayside with this tradition and my oldest daughter kept bringing it up, right about the same time i remembered the lost tradition and had considered doing it.

last week, when i baked some cookies for the full moon, i saw a recipe for crescent cookies in my fannie farmer cook book and had an aha! moment: i could bake cookies each week to mark the cycle of the moon! sugar cookies for the full moon, almond crescent cookies for the waxing and waning/1st & 3rd quarters and chocolate cookies for the dark/new moon!

jaden and sage both helped me make the cookies. we had a grand time and the cookies were delicious! i have 2 different crescent cookie recipes so i'll use one for the waxing and one for the waning. now, if only we could make enough at a time to last us the entire week instead of entire day!

waning moon cookies

2 sticks butter softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup ground almonds

more powdered sugar for coating

preheat the oven to 300 degrees f. cream the butter then add the sugar, flour, almonds and vanilla and mix thoroughly. pull a nickle sized ball of dough, roll in your hands and create a crescent shape then roll in powdered sugar, arrange on a cookie sheet or baking stone and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges start to brown. cool and roll in a 2nd coating of powdered sugar.

Monday, December 7, 2009

handmade holidays - progress update


i've completed 1 gift so far and have several in the works. sage's wooden toys are finished, finally! i purchased them from an etsy shop called clickity clack. they have great wooden unfinished toys made from pine. there are some pros and cons in working with pine but for the price, you can't beat it. since we don't have the proper tools to cut out the toys, this is the next best thing (although i've put greg on notice that this may be in our futures because woodburning and painting them was a blast!). they smell really nice and they were very inexpensive (generally about 75 cents to 1.50 per toy). the downside is that the grain of the pine wood made it a bit difficult to burn. perhaps drawing the design on with a permanent marker would have been better but i really like the wood burned look.

the trees i made 2 sided so they could use them in more ways as well as on the seasonal nature table...spring and summer...the bush i tried to make as a blueberry but it looks a little hoakie to me. i was going to make the round tree an apple tree but after the blueberry turned out so crappy, i decided not to.

a mixture of spring, fall and winter

fall and some boulders...the boulders i suppose were supposed to be trees/bushes too but i liked nina's idea to make them as rocks instead.

the backside of the same...

wintertime! (these are my favorites along with the autumn tree from above)


the steps to completing these were to sand the edges down (my older daughter and a friend of hers helped with this step), sketch the images with a pencil, burn them in, water color them, rub a beeswax polish on them (made by melting 3 parts of beeswax and adding 2 parts of almond kernel oil and mixing) then buff with a soft flannel cloth. i'm pleased with the results!

dragon mama and daddy

the castle

the royal family plus the flower fairy for jaden, i still need to make some wings for her

we've also been making lots of beautiful beeswax star ornaments. i may try making some pine needle ornaments, perhaps in the shape of stars instead of hearts depending on how much time i have once i've completed the rest of the kids' presents.

so, in progress or ready to make are:

~clothes for jaden's fake american girl doll kirsten

~a knight costume set for sage: sword (found a year ago at a thrift shop, needs the point sanded down), a shield (if greg is able to make one), a tunic (in progress, making with wool felt), a hood (thanks to tabitha for the pattern) and a matching velvet cape (bought a bit of fabric that will match the tunic).

~a doctor's kit for jaden. now that i've decided to make one, i need to get to work designing it. i haven't given it much thought.

~a shirt and skirt for my step-daughter. she is into skulls and i found some great halloween fabric on clearance. i'm waiting for the shirt pattern to arrive but i think the skirt i will wing, just using a rectangle of fabric.

that just leaves caleb, adelena and ridge. i have no idea what i'm going to get or make them...hand making things for kids that age can be difficult. adelena will be the easiest as she likes a lot of stuff that i make. i have a few ideas up my sleeve that i need to think about more.
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