Friday, November 27, 2009

Softie from a Child's Drawing: take 2

I had done some transferring of children's drawings to embroidery at one point with pretty results. In the Spring I tried my hand at making a softie from a child's drawing. I used felting wool for that project, but had really been wanting to make a really soft softie. The opportunity presented itself recently when a very lovely four year old who I will call GB, kept making these gorgeous drawings of girls. I could see how it would translate to a softie in a fun way, so I asked her if I could take her drawing and quietly set about making it in 3D.

With the help of Miss Six (formerly known as Miss Kinder) we chose fabrics and got out the embroidery thread. I started with the legs, figuring if they came out cute I'd go on to the body and face. The project was really fun, and pretty quick. I spent about three hours on her and gave her to the mother of GB just before Thanksgiving. It was well received, and I can't wait to do more of these.

Now it's time to focus on Christmas gifts!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today I had a delicious day. Food, friends and family here in this cozy town that we like best. I also had the opportunity today to wield a glue gun, a curling iron and a champagne glass (at different times). I've got projects to share with you and some etsy to round up, so stand by. And Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teacher Gift Idea

It was last minute, but I put together a small reusable container full of little things for our new first graders teacher. Which gets me thinking, Should Miss Kinder now be Miss Firster? Not as cute at all. I'm going to have to think on that one.

I used a small plastic container with a lid from IKEA and filled it with a selection of teas, vitamin drink mixes, some great hand cream and a small sized hand sanitizer. I tied it up with a simple ribbon and a note to the teacher wishing her a great year and letting her know I'm available to help in the classroom with anything she needs.

My hope is it helps her know she is important to us and we wish her well with the year, as well as to let her know we are here to help.

Good luck to all of your schoolchildren. These days are very bittersweet.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wrapping up Summer

Just two more days before school begins, and we're making the most of it. Hang tight friends, I'll be back to you when my six year old is tucked safely into first grade.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Giveaway Winner

The winner of my 100th post giveaway is:
I would love to take a chance on the Take a Chance bowl!

Lovely picks!
Congratulations, Iris! If you don't know Iris be sure to check out her lovely blog, Creative Endeavors in a Busy Life. As soon as I get a mailing address, I'll be sending her this beautiful bowl...

And thank you to everyone for all your support since I started this little blog. Keep coming!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Treading Lightly - Drawing on Rocks

It turns out that both my girls are huge camping fans. This is great news to me, because you never know what your kids will run fast away from that you'd hoped to share with them. Some of my greatest memories from childhood are from camping trips. It was music to my ears when Miss Kinder asked me this weekend, "Am I dreaming, or is it really real that we are camping?" Her favorite part of this two-day stay, hands down, was kayaking.

LEB's favorite part of camping was the same as her favorite part of everyday: marveling at and trying to keep up with her big sister.

On one of our walks around the campsite, Miss Kinder found a feather. She tucked it into her pocket and brought it back to the site and proceeded to do some rock drawings, using the feather as a pen. It was her idea to use juice, "So it would be like the real older times, except we don't have ink."

If you want to give this a try, I'd suggest using grape juice so that your work comes out a bit darker. Miss Kinder only had cranberry juice to work with, so they dried on the lighter side.

After a dewy night, the drawings were gone, which was perfect, because we were heading home and didn't want to leave anything behind that would take away from the natural landscape for the next lucky campers. Maybe next time we go camping we'll look for berries or leaves to crush up and see if we can get create some natural paints. Leave a comment if you have tips on that for us.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Etsy Giveaway! 100th post & Power Animal of the Month: Pets!

What better way to celebrate my 100th post than with an Etsy giveaway! And can I just tell you that I'm super excited that this very 100th post happens to be a Power Animal of the Month one?

To celebrate I am treating one lucky visitor with the Etsy item of their choice from this PAOTM montage. This collection serves as my July and August Power Animal of the Month and celebrates various pets I had growing up. As I write this, old lady Peaches sits snoring at my hip and I'm reminded of the solace pets provide us in difficult times. And I've selected items from sellers that I really, really love. I hope you do, too.

To be eligible to win, leave a comment here on this post before midnight, August 20th. Be sure to say which Etsy item you'd like to win. I'll post the winner on August 21st!

Explanation and hello again

Hopefully you have missed me since June when my blogging life got put rather abruptly on hold. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that my whole life got put rather abruptly on hold. In mid-June my mother suffered a massive stroke and passed away ten days later. It was a shock for all of us, and I have been really grateful to everyone who knows me and who as reached out to me since this happened. It's meant a lot.

Peaches, my mothers 12 year old dog. Now, Peaches, my 12 year old dog

Three days after that, a good friend became suddenly and unexpectedly very ill after giving birth to her first baby. She bravely endured three surgeries within ten days (many of those spent without being able to see her baby). Without hesitation I went from my mother's funeral to my friends home, where I spent the next three weeks helping take care of the baby while she recovered in the hospital and got home and settled. Six and a half weeks later I am super happy to say that she has recovered, her baby is (and always was) perfect and she and her husband are as tired and blissed-out as any new parents would be.

LEB and Miss Kinder soothing baby Nugget

I have looked longingly at my knitting needles and attempted a pair of socks which are coming along. I've purchased tons of fabric from my favorite shop for a slipcover project which I am excited and terrified to start, and I've felt really sad that I missed July's Power Animal of the Month.

June and July were spent in two different states, in two different ICUs, at one gravesite saying goodbye and at a newborn bassinet saying hello. Life is different for me now, but I'm back. And I've really missed you all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Early birds

We had a yard sale over the weekend, which Miss Kinder used as a good reason for selling lemonade and cupcakes. The sale went very well, and the yard sale early birds were no match for our early birds. [They got us up at 5:30, allowing us to be fully set up by 7. I think only one or two cars had done a drive by.]

It was a lot of fun for the girls, who managed to sell nearly fifty cupcakes and half as much lemonade. At one point during the morning I had to run out for more eggs to make another batch because they were running out.

We've had the most amazing stretch of days, and have been outside for most all of them. I'm sort of excited by today's rain and the gloomy forecast because I've been wanting to have a good excuse to hole up and craft indoors.

Monday, May 18, 2009


It's really hard to keep up with all I want to do that looks like this

When it looks like this

As the days get longer and longer, the indoor craftiness time seems to get shorter and shorter. This is great, but the blog suffers! We'll be moving our crafts outside to the garden in the coming weeks. The plan is to make a fairy house and an herb spiral. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Campground Fever

The camping trip was fantastic. It was rainy sometimes, and cloudy the rest, but we all had huge fun. Our campsite had a perfect view of Penobscot Bay and was steps from the beach. We could sit at the campfire and watch the girls walk down to the shoreline in their boots and fleece jackets and did our best to keep their feet dry between stompings. 

The view from our campsite (site #2) from Searsport Shores Ocean Camping flickr site

The owners are the most committed and friendly couple, Steve and Astrig, who have created a really special place. I learned about it from stumbling on Astrig's blog where she talks about living in Midcoast Maine in a place where her home sits among 100+ campsites. As hosts go, these two are tops. Every Saturday in the summertime they host a lobster bake, once a week they have a family movie night in the lodge, and while we were there we had the chance to enjoy homemade donuts and hot cocoa complete with homemade marshmallows covered in toasted coconut. Astrig's small touches made the place super sensational. The girls favorite was the iced water, which Astrig dropped violets in just to make everyone happy.

For our part of the cleanup, my other half dusted off his carpentry skills while the girls and I spruced up the dressup area of the lodge, going through a huge trunk of gowns and costumes and selecting their favorite 15 to hang up for the season. You can imagine how much they enjoyed this "chore."  

Camping events the girls loved most were using glow sticks and flashlights, and helping gather wood for the fire. They also loved beach combing for sand dollars, beach glass and smooth stones, staying up extra late, being in the rain at night in the tent, getting as dirty as they wanted, and meeting the goats that live on the property. Oh, didn't I tell you they have two goats? This place is paradise.

Photo of Lollipop the goat, from Searsport Shores Ocean Camping website

One packing note: I remembered from my old days as a scout to pack your clothes by day and seal each day in a gallon-sized ziplock bag. This prevents overpacking and most importantly, it keeps everything dry. This was really helpful because it was wet most of the time, and when we got home I didn't have to wash the clothes we didn't wear since they were sealed up and didn't smell like a campfire. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Campers

In a couple hours we leave for our first family camping trip. The car is packed, the hobo packs are ready, and I hope I've remembered just about everything. Here's to my girls loving it as much as I did as a kid!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This End Up

Miss Kinder insisted that her best friend receive a riding pony-on-a-stick, a request I couldn't deny her since the pair of ponies-on-sticks are the favorite pretend play item of choice by her and V. when they are at our house. 

I have managed to keep my handmade pledge all year, and I wasn't sure this one infraction was all that bad. I eased my mind on this front in two ways: I bought the pony locally, and then I set my mind to making a box for it that would conceal its identity and allow me to make something as well.

So, what kind of box can you make to hide a stick pony? And it came to me. Ta da!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Softie from a Child's Drawing

For V's birthday, I took one of her imaginary animal drawings to make a softie. Using some colored wool, I needle felted it into shape and then did a blanket stitch to make a small pillowy animal for her. 

This animal is named Stripey. It eats stripes, drinks polka dots, and is the protector of all jungles. How could I not try and bring it to life a bit?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Power Animal of the Month: Honeybee!

Here in Maine, the dandelions, tulips and daffodils are alive with the buzzing of honeybees.  It's such a welcome sound after six months of crunching through snow and ice. No bees were harmed in the making of this power animal roundup, though my sensibilities were offended often from really awful bee-based puns [see: bee mine, bee kind, you're bee-u-ti-ful!] 

I also included a lovely bee box (#1) for bees of the real-life variety. Like Miss Kinder says, "Without bees LEB, you know what!? We'd be so poor and starving, we would even have no food for a million years!"

Twirling into Spring

I've been wanting to make twirly skirts for both Miss Kinder and LEB, because they like them and because it's a good way to practice on my sewing machine. I found two tutorials online that inspired me to cut into the IKEA hippo fabric and polka dots that I'd been saving for something special. 

I approached the project carefully. I got all my materials out, read and re-read the instructions, and dutifully used my seam ripper when I did something wrong. The resulting skirt has me prouder than all get out. It's been very well received.

I'm the kind of mom who likes to indulge the dancer in both her girls, and who also demands that they not be precious about dresses and skirts. I've always maintained that they should play in their clothes, and that getting dirty is a pretty important part of most days. That said, there is no reason that the dirty clothes piled up next to the bathtub shouldn't be as girly as a girl might like. 

I love how Miss Kinder immediately began to dance in this skirt. I also love that she remembered to put good shoes on her feet in case of a quick game of tag or if she needed to scale some big rocks on the beach. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, V

Today, we're celebrating Miss Kinder's best friend's birthday.

After school there is cake planned, and before school there were popsicles for breakfast. After all, V is six!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The View From Here

I found my camera. The culprit was a pile of crafty things I stashed away, of course. Works in progress. Under the felt was some fabric, which had some embroidery under it, which had some origami under it, which was covering the camera. Tsk, tsk. 

Here were some pictures I found on the camera of what we'd been up to on the day leading up to our visitors. 

New journals for the girls to write in. LEB chose blue, Miss Kinder went with pink, and Miss Kinder's best friend V went with red.

Socks for my own two feet. Miss Kinder took this picture, and about ten others of me in various places in the living room, knitting socks. 

Early morning bubbles on the porch. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

DIY Kits I Need

There is no end to the ways to DIY. Every angle of my life now seems focused through this lens, and I have mountains of enthusiasm, good doses of patience and moderate skills in some of the areas. Here is a roundup of what's on my hope-to-do list. Do any of you have experience in any of these? Am I biting off way more than I can chew? Wait, don't answer that last one! 

Don't forget, any of these would make lovely Mother's Day gifts for those crafty mamas we all know and love. Happy weekend, everyone. We're sailing into the 70 degree area here in coastal Maine, with plenty of sunshine to go around.

Celebrate Etsy Day Today

Today is Etsy day! Support a local crafter/artist, or a faraway one who makes something really lovely.

You don't need a reason, but there is always someone's birthday or Mother's Day, or a spring skirt that needs making. If you need more ideas, here's a link to all my Etsy posts

Missing camera

When you are having guests, sometimes that dash of cleaning leads to problems. Like how my camera is completely lost. I've issued a reward to all children in the house. Even that has not managed to help the camera surface. So this explains my lack of blog posts. Hopefully it worms its way out from wherever it is and I can post again with abandon. I have lots to share!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hedgies, take two

Lots of my friendly visitors arrive here on skipthechips via my February Power Animal of the Month post on that wonderful animal that is the hedgehog. I looked back at that post and found it a little lackluster, so here is a proper PAOTM roundup on that snuzzly-but-pokey furball.  

Knitting, Sewing and Dusting Off the Blog

Holy cow, what a week! We had two sets of old friends visit, back-to-back, and did a lot of catching up and making meals and drinking wine. One set came all the way from London, and the other from our old stomping grounds, NYC.

While they were here, three of them learned how to knit! It was fun to show them some of the very basic basics, and then make a trip to Belfast's local yarn shop [where all of April the sock yarn is 20% off! This picture is from their website] 

Everyone did some knitting and playing around, and the star pupil cast on 48 stitches, divided them onto three double pointed needles, and did the first inch of a 2x2 rib for a socks. How amazing are you when your first knitted project is a sock?

I also learned about a new-to-me website,, which came up randomly three different times. It is a knitting community site, I gather, and I hear it's addictive. Nothing can be worse than my sock addiction, which at sock number 10 is nearing intervention time. 

I have a yard of Alexander Henry Juicy Lemon fabric and have in mind to have Miss Kinder whip up Angry Chicken's 5-minute skirt. I think it will take slightly longer by her five year old hands, but the end result should be well worth it.

It feels good to be back! I missed you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Swap-CHOO! Results

I am fairly certain my hankie has landed in Vancouver, so I'm going to unveil what I sent for our Swap-CHOO handmade hankie swap. It was such a fun exchange, and I loved thinking about the 14 of us stitching up a tiny and sweet handmade item. A hankie seems both practical and romantic, and I'm hard-pressed to come up with another item you can say that about.

I embroidered a dandy red bike on it for my swap partner, Holly, who I learned from her blog has a lovely red bike that gets her all around. And, of course, the fabric came from Alewives (check out their site, because it's all redone and so beautiful!)

On the poem front, I considered ignoring the fact that I write poetry because I felt sort of shy about it. When it came time to put pen to paper, it felt super genuine to go ahead. I chose one from last year, one I wrote for a Valentine's Day poetry contest here in Belfast which landed me 3rd prize.

Check out our Swap-CHOO! Flickr pool for pictures of all the great hankies swapped so far.

Needle Felted Weekend

Someone suggested that the girls use a chopstick to hold the felt down while poking with a needle into the felt, and it was brilliant! 

We had a wooly weekend, making little animals and jewelry with the roving wool. 

To make the ring, I cut a small strip of felt that would fit around the ring finger and poked a small tuft of roving wool at the seam to join it. 

But the little nest/bowl is my favorite, because it reminds me of these sweet nesting bowls on Etsy. I think I will make a couple more in larger sizes to go with this one that is being used temporarily as a nest. 

With Easter behind us we are on to planting and cleaning up in preparation for spring, learning to ride without training wheels, and having friends come stay for the week. I will try to keep posting, but there is a chance I get spotty as the week goes on and people arrive from Tuesday through Saturday. Rest assured, I am staying crafty and snapping photos all the while!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Needle Felting Kids Drawings

Inspired again by Lisa at 5 Orange Potatoes, Miss Kinder and I decided to make felt bracelets from two recent animal drawings. We followed Lisa's tutorial with one exception -- we used roving wool for the insides and did some needle felting! 

Disclaimer: The felting needle is super duper sharp. This activity involves poking a sharp needle in and out of the roving wool and requires concentration. Probably you shouldn't let your nearly six year old do this. But I did. I watched her like a hawk and her temperament has always been careful and not impulsive. I know I wasn't much older than six before I was using a pocketknife and learning to whittle sticks. I'm done with my disclaiming now.

We cut the felt bracelet shape out and I embroidered the outline of her animal onto the felt. Then she chose the colors and we pulled out small tufts of dyed wool and began to poke the needle through them and into the felt. The fibers of the wool poke through the felt and sort of hook onto each other, and you get a lovely wooly color block. 

The more you poke, the more the wool flattens down and takes shape. You can use the needle to shape the wool, being sure to go carefully. Once I got the basic color down, I let Miss Kinder take over the poking, so she could do some.

They came out really cute, and were sent out as small gifts to some loved ones. In a couple of years, she'll be needle felting without supervision and who knows what she'll come up with!
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