Friday, May 29, 2009

slowly but surely

I just love these little guys! And I appreciate that they will always stay still long enough for you to get a decent photo of them. We found this one while on a short hike yesterday in one of our favorite local spots, Fontenelle Forest. We were delighted to find all kinds of new areas they had added since the last time we visited including a touch table full stocked with great nature finds like these:
I love that place! Another adventure from this week was Play Doh cookies. This is a recipe we tried last Summer and Peter spent the next 9 months begging to do it again. It is a hit with kids and pretty easy too.

Here's the recipe we use:

3/4 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
assorted colors of food coloring (we used the 'neon' colors from McCormick's)
In a bowl cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir till soft dough forms. Divide dough into fourths. Tint each with a different food color. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Dig in and have fun making whatever shapes you want. You can roll it flat and cut it with cookie cutters or just make cookie sculptures. Place cookies 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. ( we had so many different sizes of cookies that I had to leave some in longer than others and take a few out a little earlier) Cool and store in an airtight container.
And yes, I am squeezing in some crafting time here and there. I am working on a set of 3 patterns and I hope to get them listed next week. I am working on my samples which is really fun. In fact, that is probably what I should be doing right now.
What should you be doing right now?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

garden love and buried treasures

look what's blooming in my garden!

It seems like all of blogland was a little quiet over the past few days and my guess is that I will be just one of many logging back in to say 'hello'. Vince had Friday off work so it sort of felt like a four day holiday weekend to us. I did get a chance to do quite a bit of work on a new pattern I am hashing out. No photos of it yet but I'm sure I'll have something to share this week (fingers crossed).

more bloom love

Friday morning we decided to go garage sailing. We didn't have much luck at the garage sales but stumbled upon an estate sale that was absolutely delightful to a crafty-type like me. [I'd like to take a quick moment right here to say that estate sales creep me out, and I usually avoid them even though I know there are often real treasures to be found. I did have to shake off some heebie jeebies before I stepped inside] Up on the second level was an entire craft room clutter with bags and boxes of fabric, trim, and other unfinished projects. My heart skipped a beat a little when I walked in and I quickly handed Adam over to Vince so I could dig in. (toddlers at estate sales...hmmm, avoid if possible). So I found some fun things and only parted with 5 dollars.
I actually unearthed a small box from the bottom of a bag that had about 10 squares of an unfinished quilt in it-are your ready for this? Postage stamp sized squares of beautiful white and vintage print cotton - hand sewn together. wow. I was promptly informed that they were not actually for sale as the box was snatched up and tucked far away from the vultures. I wasn't too upset though. I know I would have felt guilty owning something that so clearly should be handed down to family members.
So maybe I'll be braver about estate sales from now on - I don't want to miss out on the good stuff.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

the power of guilt

I know a lot of parents give their children's teachers a little something at the end of the school year to say 'thanks' and that crafty moms often make or give something handmade (they are just like that you know). I, however, was leaning toward more of a verbal farewell this year with Peter's teacher. Funny how a five year old can talk you into things. Peter asked me last week what I was going to give his teacher and then piped in with "you could make her something - why don't you embroider something for her?" Well, since you put it that way. He also offered to help so that sealed the deal. So we came up with this:

Not exactly a huge creative leap since I have made something like this before for the shop. I had Peter write out the letters though and he even helped with some of the embroidery! He's not too bad actually.

A month or so ago he laid on the kid-guilt again with this doozy: "Mommy, why did you have to open an Etsy shop? It makes it a lot harder to have fun." ouch.

He redeemed himself a few days later with this: "Mommy do you think we could take both my Star Wars t-shirts and cut them in half down the middle and then sew them back together so I have two t-shirt that are different on each side?" um... yes :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

3 more days

vince and I breaking in the new fire pit last weekend

...til the unofficial start of Summer! I am so amazed at how quickly the school year passed. It had it's ups and downs and I have to admit that I have some regrets about it as well as some higher expectations of the next school year. I'm not sure I was as strong an advocate for Peter as I should have been. Next year I hope to get more involved.

I am getting geared up for the months ahead and finishing up my "summer of fun" book (that's what we call it around here). It's just a regular old binder that I fill with activity and outing ideas. I try to have something planned - even if it's just a 5 minute activity - every weekday of the summer. I know it sounds tedious, right? But it is actually really helpful. Without a plan I think we would all spend too much wasted time wondering what to do with all that free time.

Peter at the sprinkler park last summer - you can find us there again this summer as well.

I would love to say that I create my own fun activities but I usually don't. I get a TON of them from Family Fun magazine. You could say our Summer is sponsored by Family Fun I think. I also noticed that Craftzine.com will be running a series about crafting activities to do with kids - yea! I'm really looking forward to that. I'll try to post as many of our adventures as I can and hopefully it will help out another mom or two out there who is looking for some Summer fun ideas.

If anyone out there has some other good resources for fun Summer activities please share! thanks!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

and so there you have it

Whew! I am feeling relieved today. I posted THREE items in my shop today. (for me that is a LOT) They are just some things that I have been plugging away at slowly and steadily since... oh I don't know... January! I am a slow and deliberate creature, what can I say?
And yes, I realize a 2010 calendar certainly seems like something that can wait - we aren't even half way through 2009 after all, right? Here's the thinking on that: In about one week my days are going to be packed with a lot more kid time and probably a lot less crafting time. Yep, school's out on the 22nd. So I will have both boys home all day. (not too terribly different from having just having one around but still...) I am excited about it and am looking forward to so many fun activities (saving details on that for another post though!). Last summer, however, I had not yet opened 'SeptemberHouse' or started 'So September' so this will be my first chance to really put my multitasking to work. Oh, have I mentioned I suck at multitasking?

So with that in mind I knew I would have to get this going before school was out. I know I need to invest some serious time this Summer to holiday season prep and I want to make more calendars too. That's what I am hoping to do at least. When I'm not at the pool of course. Sounds nutty, doesn't it?

I also have some fun little items in mind that I would love to get on the shelves this summer too. We'll see how it goes.
Tonight: a good beer and the LOST season finale - anyone else?

Friday, May 8, 2009

i'm detecting a pattern here

Okay so making up embroidery patterns is way fun. I mean really, people. The only bad part is that I can so easily get carried away. I worked out this pattern and really liked it but as I started stitching, and stitching...and stitching it I wondered if maybe it's just a little..too much! I really did enjoy working on it but I'm just not used to working on patterns that large and that detailed. Even though a quick little project can be so satisfying there is also something to be said for chipping away at something a bit more...epic. (I actually would love to take on something HUGE one day - perhaps when both the boys are in school).

I'm also sharing some photos today of my neighbor's ferns. Happily they are creeping their way under her fence and growing in our yard too so I am claiming some of them too. Every Spring I say I'm going to go take pictures of them as they are uncurling but this is the first in our 7 Springs here that I actually did it.


I think I like this one the best even though it's all wrong in a lot of ways. Look away Kristine, look away!


Doesn't it look like these three are having a conversation or something? Or like the 'mama' fern is scolding her two 'baby' ferns who are hanging their heads in shame? Oh boy, how many readers did I just lose with THAT?

Now that Spring is in full swing does anyone else find themselves thinking an awful lot about Summer? It's heading this way fast!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

it's a small world after all

So here is the moss terrarium complete. I find it endlessly amusing. It was lovely when it just had moss in it - a sweet little green oasis under glass. But add the little figures and you've got a whole little world going on in there. I thought this was so much fun to make and I already have plans to make another since, sadly, I will not be keeping this one. No, this one will be a Mother's Day gift for my mother-in-law who is truly gifted when it comes to plants and also has a wicked sense of humor.I think she'll love it. That is assuming I can keep it alive until the weekend. You see, apparently one of the tricks of moss terrariums is NOT over watering them. Every plant I have ever killed has been killed by over watering. I just can't help myself.

Hopefully when my fingers get itchy to grab the watering can I will take one look at these little guys working so hard in their "yard" and will resist the urge to "help" them out.

What's growing in your garden?

Friday, May 1, 2009

progress


I'm pretty sure one of the rules of blogging is that if you don't really have anything to say then it would probably be wise to just back away from the keyboard and come back some other time. But here I am anyway with...well...not much to say.
The moss terrarium: not quite done (but looking good so far!)
My latest embroidery project: not quite done - it's a biggie but I can finally at least see the end even if I'm not there yet.

So, for now I will share a couple of photos from our family hike last weekend in which we found ourselves in the middle of a thunderstorm while in the woods - I'm pretty sure that is not a situation you want to find yourself in - especially with your two little kids. It seems I was wrong about the weather forecast. We survived, however - and took pictures to boot.

Have a wonderful weekend!