In honor of earth week...
Spring is here. Something about digging in the dirt makes me smile. Gardening mixes therapy with sunshine! So grab some seeds and a shovel.
One of the best parts of gardening is the fact you don't need a lot of space. A corner garden with some sunshine works. Or plant seeds in a container garden on your patio or deck. Planting seeds is a fun activity for the whole family. My kids love to design their own gardens. Keeping the plants happy with regular watering teaches responsibility too.
Purple Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susan, Bachelor Buttons, Purple Prairie Clover, Mexican Hat, Rocky Mountain Beeplant, Sulphur Flower, Butterfly Plant, Indian Blanket, Goldenrod, Penstemon, Aster, Liatris, Cosmos, Daisy, Bee Balm, Blue Flax, Larkspur, Lupine, Sunflower, and Coreopsis.
Go to this link to check out the Wildflower Garden Seed Mix. $3.29.
(Photo of wildflowers from the Etsy page of Thebearfootshaman)
Feeling a bit flaky? I know the feeling. In the morning when I put on layer after layer of my favorite cotton candy gloss, sometimes the flakiness won't go away.
If you are longing for the days when your lips felt soft and smooth, then try this homemade lip scrub to make your lips ultra kissable. The sugar in the recipe exfoliates and softens your lips and the Vaseline moisturizes and soothes your lips.
Sugar Bliss Lip Scrub:
Gremlin dolls are mutant plush dolls with any number of funky button eyes, some big white teeth or fangs, and crazy yarn hair. In the gremlin doll world, the crazier, the better.
The popular Uglydolls like Jeero featured above started the trend to adopt the craziest doll possible.
Make your own gremlin doll
On their blog, Rosie and Anna show how to make their own version of these crazy creatures they call Chelsea Dolls. In their video below they take you step-by-step through this easy sewing project. On their website they include complete sewing instructions plus a PDF pattern for the doll.
In a future post I'll share some of my gremlin doll creations. My favorites are the "ugly" gremlin royalty--Queen Bex and King Lexi.
(Tutu Photo: Design Mom blog)
This cheerful Hippity Hop Bunny Dots basket is perfect for toddlers to gather eggs. Or fill it with decorated eggs--the perfect addition to a springtime dinner table. Fanciful citrus shades celebrate the season on this fully-lined Easter basket by Sew Gracious on Etsy.
Each handmade basket is unique. Dimensions: 8" wide at the bottom, 6" deep, 6" tall at the highest point; excluding handles. ($18)
Ever wonder how you and fellow knitters can raise funds for a charity by knitting? Avid knitter and bestselling author Debbie Macomber's book Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: Charity Guide for Knitters includes tips, knitting patterns, and guidance to help your craft bring comfort to individuals in need. ($16.95)
Book includes simple to intermediate knitting patterns that can be used to support newborns in hospitals, the military, and many more charities. Patterns include:
For more great reads, check out my reading list on Momathon books.
In this unique craft series by Debbie Macomber, book lovers and knitters unite. Macomber's latest knitting book in the series, Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: Hannah's List, is the companion book to her novel in the popular Blossom Street Series. The book will be available March 8th. It includes 15 projects inspired by the characters in her book. This is her 10th book in the Knit Along with Debbie Macomber series. ($12.95)
A few of her other knitting books:
For more great reads, check out my reading list on Momathon books.
The Frames wallpaper in the The Land of Nod collection is perfect for every kid who loves to draw--on the walls or on paper. Made for doodlers and young Picassos, hundreds of blank picture frames in a myriad of shapes and sizes cover the wallpaper. All you need to do is hand your kids (or the grownups) a box of markers. (Frames Wallpaper, $40.00)
(Photo: The Land of Nod)
Pia Jane Bijkerk is an internationally acclaimed stylist, photographer and author specializing in interiors, still life & food. Her first book titled Paris: Made by Hand is available now. The photos in her book are so lovely. I want to live in her book! Time to book a flight to visit this city again.
Here is what Pia has to say about her new book on her blog:
"This is a book for lovers of all things handmade, the chic and unique, and of course Paris. In this book I take you off the tourist streets of this incredible city in search of Parisian artisans whose work is truly inspirational, and secreted studio boutiques filled with exquisite Parisian handmade treasures. I’ve been collecting these special addresses in my stylist’s little black book over the past couple of years and now with great delight, share them all with you in Paris: Made by Hand. Expect to see this fine city in a whole new light…"
Luminous. Dreamy. Fabulous. That's my take on the lovely Dew Drop Moonstone ring by OneGarnetGirl at her shop on Etsy. Ring features a 10mm (slightly less than 1/2 inch) white moonstone cabochon and bezel set in a sterling band. Available in size 6.5. $74.00.
Etsy is the place to find wonderful handmade items.(image by onegarnetgirl on Etsy)
Every year I do the same thing. I wait too long to buy my Halloween pumpkin. I tell myself (and my kids) that I am waiting till I see the right one. Plus, I don't like storing the pumpkin at home because no matter where I put it, the pumpkin eventually rots. Yuck.
So when should I pick my pumpkin? According to the pumpkin experts on the internet, here's the scoop:
In cold weather areas, pumpkin pickers should wait until the first frost has killed the pumpkin vines. BUT harvest before a heavy frost.
Okay, I have already blown it. We have had two snowstorms in September/October in my area. The heavy frost has arrived!
If you are lucky enough to find a pumpkin unaffected by frost, you are ready for step two.
Let the pumpkin skin cure or harden by allowing the pumpkin to sit in the sun for about 10 days. (If you have less than 10 days till Halloween, don't sweat it. But pumpkin gurus warn against leaving the pumpkin inside for too long.)
Never stack the pumpkin. Stacking causes bruising and rotting.
This is a problem. Because I didn't pick a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch, I have to buy one at the grocery where they always STACK them in huge wooden crates.
If you are lucky enough to find a pumpkin that was never stacked or exposed to a hard frost, then I must repeat myself: You are very lucky.
When you bring the lucky pumpkin home, the optimal temperature for storing the pumpkin is 50-60 degrees. This could be a problem for many of us because in October the temp is often below 50. Hint: If you can see your breath when you go out to pick up your newspaper in the morning, then it is probably too cold to keep it outside over night.
If you have failed steps 1-4 like me, then don't despair. Jump in your minivan and go to Target or Michaels craft store and buy an artificial jack-o-lantern with lights in it. If you feel even the tiniest pangs of guilt over this, remind yourself that Halloween is all about having the house with the best candy and not pumpkins. (Don't tell my kids I said that.)
Kids and adults love to sink into cozy bean bag chairs. My favorites are the ones with interesting fabrics. Now you can create your own comfy place to read a book with the bean bag chair tutorial by Joanna Armour. Check out the tutorial here.
The sewing directions look easy. You only need 3 yards of lining fabric, 3 yards for the outside cover, hook and loop tape, and bean bag pellets. Great photos included to help you complete your project.
You can check out more sewing projects at the Making It Fun blog by Michael Miller Fabrics. Thanks also to the clever editors at the blog Apartment Therapy Ohdeedoh (home design for children) for featuring this sweet sewing project. You can view more cute fabrics for sewing projects at MichaelMillerFabrics.com
I love to make things: Sew, cook, draw, paint, knit, bead, and more. Reading a crafting book always motivates me to start a new project.
Now more and more women are turning their love of crafts into a business. Here are a few books that just might inspire you to do the same.
My kids love to decorate eggs and our success depends on the quality of the decorating kit we buy. That's why I was so glad when I found a great article by Beth Dicarbo in WSJ.com. She tested four egg-decorating kits including
Dudley's Speckled Eggs by Paper Magic Group Inc.
Store: Kmart and other major retailers
Bright & Shiny Eggs by Easter Unlimited
Egg Scribblers by Paas
Store: Hobby Lobby
Mark-it Easter Pack by BIC
Beth's comments on each kit she tested include comments on ease of use and if they are fun for kids to use. This year I am opting for a no-stress and no-mess option so I think I will buy the Mark-it Easter Pack by BIC.
I dream about a world--or maybe just a weekend--without a Wii, Xbox, or iPod. My kids would talk to me and other real people in real time. Their eyes would enjoy looking at real things like books, bicycles, broccoli, and basketball courts. Their arms and legs would move with real things like the vacuum cleaner!
As a kid growing up in Minnesota, I spent more than a few chilly afternoons bundled up in layers and sent outdoors to go sledding, skiing or skating when the temp stayed in the single digits. My mom was very inventive and she knew how to dress us properly for practically any winter condition--including lining our not-so-waterproof snow boots with plastic bread bags. Even though it must have been a pain to get us ready to venture out, now I know why my mom didn't want us to stay in the house. She knew we would have more fun outside. Of course, there were also many winter days when even my mom thought it was too cold to play outside. That's when the kids in the neighborhood gathered at the houses of friends and played indoors. My favorite house to visit had a play room stocked with a million Legos. The play area stayed super toasty right next to the furnace room. We even took our socks off. On those wintry days walking barefoot in our cozy Lego land, my friends and I almost forgot it was winter.
I love making cards with my kids. We get out the jars of glitter, fancy papers, pens, and markers. We even recylce old cards and make them new again. When I saw the famous (and very talented) pop-up book illustrator Robert Sabuda making pop-up cards with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on the TODAY Show I had to share his ideas.
Thought you might enjoy checking out one of my favorite blogs--Sew Liberated by seamstress extraordinaire and former Montessori teacher Meg McElwee. Her blog is filled with lovely photos that inspire the craft diva inside all of us.
My kids see the giant wooden crates overflowing with pumpkins outside the grocery and beg for just one more pumpkin. If I would give in each time we see them, we would have a yard full of pumpkins. With over a week to go before Halloween, it's a bit too early to carve your favorite pumpkin. According to my kids it's never too early to find the right pumpkin. Of course the best pumpkins are basking in the sun at the pumpkin patch. I love that pumpkin hunting ritual when I have enough time. Thank goodness you can find some wonderful pumpkins waiting for a good home at local stores too. I love finding the biggest pumpkins, but from experience I've learned that getting one that is easy to hold and has a sturdy stem makes the carving project simpler.
Summer is the perfect time to exercise your imagination and try a new craft project. You can even take the craft project outside for less mess and less stress. Encourage individuality and let your kids draw any way they want with the painted sneakers craft featured on Marthastewart.com and included in Rosie O'Donnell's new book Crafty U. If you are looking for a fun craft project for girls of all ages--even for moms--this one is for you. All you need is a clean pair of canvas sneakers, fabric or acrylic craft paint, craft/artist paint brushes, fabric paint pens, and newspapers to cover the workspace.