Sunday, November 30, 2008

So that's how

Here's my latest theory. Helium is involved. Lots of helium.
What do you think? ; )

Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Frustrations

Happy day after Thanksgiving a.k.a. Black Friday to all! There is plenty of holiday shopping silliness going on today which begs me to reveal holiday frustrations. ranting or raving kind of frustrations here. Just a friendly reminder to keep a sense of humor, remember the reason for the season and know that everything will be okay if 16 varieties of candy don't get made this year (do you hear me self?? will be okay! ; )

Here's one way we're keeping our stress levels in check. I incorporated some holiday in our frustration pencil crafting. My kids are having soooo much fun with these pencils. They've been crafting pencils of their own and pencils to give to special teachers for Christmas. I also made a bunch of kits to give to several of the younger set on our list this year.

I've included easy-to-follow-illustrated instructions with this kit. The kit will make 4 Merry Mops (that's the red fur pencil with candy cane arms and a long green felt scarf) and 2 Radical Reindeer. Merry Mops have white fur on the inside and red fur on the outside for a tie dyed kind of pencil. The deer feature pipe cleaner antlers and a little bell around their necks. You can purchase a kit over at my Etsy shop if you're interested. These kits take me a bit more time to assemble so there will be a very limited number available over the next couple of weeks. Got to keep that holiday stress in check.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Check this out

If you've been hanging around here at all you may recognize the lunch survey on page 42 of the December/January edition of Family Fun. I posted my idea here first, and now have been honored to have it included this month in one of my very favorite mags. You can go to Family Fun to download a copy or since you're here scroll over to the right in my "Printables" section. Click on lunch survey to read about the inspiration and then click on the survey itself to print. Try it out on your kiddos. It's a great way to hear more about their day at school. Plus they'll love it. promise.

And while we're on the topic of surveys to check, here's another post from last year that is once again perfect for the season. I created these Thankful coloring place mats for the kids at our Thanksgiving table.The idea was to start the wheels turning about all the big and little things to be thankful for and why we celebrate this holiday. Poor Thanksgiving sure gets overlooked what with Christmas decorations hitting the stores before Halloween. You can click on Thankful coloring sheet link in my "Printables" section to the right. Then click on the image itself (private use only please) for your Thanksgiving festivities.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My opinion regarding shoes

This might just be my opinion, but I totally believe it as truth. I have to. Okay blog friends, here's a reveal. I have big feet. Size 10, sometimes 11. I would be the perfect size 10 1/2, but for some reason the shoe people don't make such a size for American feet. Why do all the other shoe sizes get a 1/2?? I'm guessing they figure once you hit the world of size 10s it really doesn't matter anymore. Hope is lost. Good luck sister.

These days I'm okay with my big and archless feet...really I am. Growing up, I listened to my mom say over and over in response to my complaints..."well at least you have feet." Amen. My point is when I stumble upon the rare discovery of a size 10ish shoe that not only fits, but is comfy and somewhat attractive those shoes are mine. End of discussion. No questions asked. Footwear purchases justified. BTW what time does DSW close?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We interrupt this blog for a special unpaid message plugging handmade..

The only thing making the unseasonable cold, snow and rain that has hit my part of the world a wee bit tolerable is the package I received in the mail over the weekend. I ordered a handmade scarf (with the cutest matching flower pin) from a fabulous Etsy store... cosy up your closet.

Etsy (if you're not familiar) is a handmade marketplace i.e. treasure trove of incredibly talented sellers who are making beautiful items with an attention to detail that you can only find when you buy handmade. Just look at how that box arrived on my doorstep. Beautifully packaged, a handwritten note (is there really such a thing?!) and even a little surprise gift that I didn't order, but have already pinned to a coat with a big smile at the seller's thoughtfulness.

When determining where to spend your holiday green, I'm suggesting peeking around over at Etsy and also considering other handmade outlets. From what I'm reading in the paper, the big guy that rhymes with Dull-Mart is doing okay. And trust me he will never, ever package up your purchase with this much love. Now back to your regular programming.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

IF: Pretend

I created this piece for Illustration Friday's topic of the week: pretend. My first thoughts drifted to the pretend pink, dress-up world of princesses and ballerinas where my three year old currently lives. Then I went back to the dreams I recall having as a child many centering around the ability to grow wings and fly. The piece became more nostalgic than I had originally intended, but that's the great thing about the IF challenge. Every once in awhile it takes you to places that you could only imagine.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Our take on "those" dolls

Lately, my 9-year-old and I have been loving those eclectic little stuffed dolls that seem to be everywhere. Regardless of what you call them, they are fun creatures to make since there is no right or wrong. Awkward shapes, uneven stitches, and mismatch-ness make for all the better and at the same time sum up my sewing ability. The other plus is that they are a great way to use fabric scraps, lonely buttons and leftover pieces of trim.

Cara made the doll above with very little help from me. We were inspired to go at it after reading this article which helps with the basics for those of you with limited sewing skills like us. I think any type of fabric would work just fine although Cara and I opted for softer varieties. We're dreaming up some holiday versions as we strive for more handmade gifts this season. Ideas are welcome!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The dish on pumpkin bread

I've been craving this every since the calender said "Fall" and the leaves turned autumn colors. How can you let the season pass without a loaf or two of pumpkin bread? (and it's even kind of good for you)

PUMPKIN BREAD (courtesy of Ms. Betty Crocker)
1-16 oz. can of pumpkin
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I sub nutmeg...not a clove fan)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired
1/2 cup raisins, if desired (I leave these out...not a raisin fan either)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans. Mix pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into pans. Bake 50-60 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Then wink at Betty, put her cookbook away and add...

a generous slathering of cream cheese icing sprinkled with cinnamon.

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of milk

Mix ingredients together and apply generously to tops of pumpkin bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Slice and enjoy.

dish note: same favorite thrift store as the trunk find. I scored a box of Louisville Stoneware (16 plates, mugs, bowls) for $45. I can hardly sit here and type as I think what treasures they could have today...

Friday, November 7, 2008

IF: Wise

"From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow. "
—Aeschylus or that Greek poet much wiser than I

I love this quote and often remember it when I have an idea that seems small, silly, trite or not much of anything. As I've experienced, many seeds fall by the wayside. But every once in awhile, there are a few seeds that with the right combination of water, sun and timing, take root.

Wisdom is having the courage to throw your seeds to the wind. Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Everything seems a little brighter out after the election results. The leaves remind that moving forward into a different season brings change. Change whether those vibrant colors are red, gold, and orange or red, white and blue. Differences aside. We're in this together. Yes we can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote today...

The big election is finally here and I am soooo thankful. I am tired of e-mails filling my box often containing derogatory messages or half truths about a certain candidate. The nasty TV ads that cut one opponent down in order to build the other up truly bother me. I trust that we will vote out of a very core place in our hearts based on our existential world views. Whether we agree or disagree on the right party to get us out of our current mess, freedom has allowed that we as a nation choose. We owe it to our little ones to get out there and exercise our right. And I really have to believe that whomever is elected will do their best to set America back on track. It's important that we vote today, but just as important that we unite tomorrow. They are counting on us.