Monday, November 30, 2009

Two Projects Done!

I loved making the fairy door and the checkers set!!!
I think I may make another one for my Etsy store- pink ninjas vs. purple ninjas possibly?
I definitely want to make more fairy doors... I can't wait to put it on the wall and see the girls' reaction!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Obsession- Wooden Dolls of All Kinds!

Spool Dollies by Sonia

Aren't these so wintery and pretty? Again, by Sonia!

(She has lots of them on Flickr that are stunning!)

Here are some more links to Kokeshi Dolls!

Seriously, I have an addiction and I may have to seek help..
"Hello, my name is Connie and I am addicted to doll-making!"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Just What I Do

This is what I am up to late at night.... gifts galore!
I was painting away so that I could varnish everything all at once,
the checkers set for Gabby, the fairy door for the girls, and lots of little dolls for various people.

I took this photo at the beginning of my painting session, about 8pm... now it is shortly after midnight and I can tell you that the fairy door is done, the checkers board is done, and the dolls are almost done. Yay! Everything needs varnish and finishing touches, but a successful craft night all in all!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Usborne Black Friday Sale

And to make it even better for you, if you buy 3 books you get one FREE!!
Just shop and them email me the 4th book choice!

Go here to shop and remember:

There is no greater gift than the gift of reading!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I am so thankful this year for all the goodness in my life....
It has been an amazing year and at the same time a very challenging year.
Here is what I am thankful for:

1. Two amazing and healthy little girls who may drive me nuts, but are my life
2. A wonderful husband who supports me in all my endeavors
3. A beautiful home full of happiness that I love to share with others
4. All my jobs that keep me challenged, allow me to be at home, and provide my family with extra income
5. My husband's job, although it may not be a perfect fit, it is a job with awesome benefits!
6. My creativity that is never ending and has taken me down paths never dreamed of

I am so lucky to have readers like you guys, who comment on my rambling, and keep me thinking everyday about what else I can share- Thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Craft: Strawberry Walnut Ornaments

As you all know by know I am nuts about anything strawberry!
How could I pass up the chance to make some strawberries to hang up on my Christmas tree?
This craft is super easy for little ones and will be a keepsake for years to come! 

  • Large whole walnuts in the shell
  • Green felt
  • 4 inches thin gold cord or ribbon
  • Paintbrushes
  • Red and black acrylic paint
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Magnet (optional) 

  1. Have your child paint a walnut red.
  2. When the paint is dry, use a very fine brush to paint tiny black dots all over the walnut.
  3. Cut a 1 1/2-inch square of green felt.
  4. Then cut a 4-pointed star from the felt. Poke a small hole in the center of the star. Glue the ends of the cord or ribbon onto one end of the walnut shell to make a hanging loop.
  5. Slip the felt star over the loop and glue it onto the walnut. Voila - a strawberry! 
  6. Or you can omit the cord or ribbon and glue a small magnet onto one side of the walnut.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Make and Do

I am a huge fan of Make and Do and am getting tons of awesome gift ideas from them. I love winter and making snowmen so I think that this wonderfully easy Snowman Kit is a perfect gift for all the little ones in my life. Really, all you need is a few supplies and then sit back and wait for the snow! (Which shouldnt be too much longer for us Clevelanders!)
Another really yummy idea that I am going to make for all the adults I know is this recipe for Peppermint White Chocolate Popcorn. I have had the pleasure of eating White Chocolate Popcorn in the past and found it sooooo addicting. Add in the peppermint and I don't know if I want to share now that I think about it! Super easy recipe and beautiful presentation!
Really, you can't go wrong with any idea from this site. Everything is really easy and will make that special someone on your list feel extra important that you took the time to make them something that they will love. (Unless you make them the yummy popcorn and they eat all of it and can't fit into their jeans.... that might be a problem... better not share that one!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pretty Ornament Wreath

Isn't this beautiful?!
I know what I am making now for our door, in pretty girlie colors too, complete with the pink ribbon!
Find easy peasy directions here!

(photo by Eddie Ross)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some new projects!

Aren't these little gals cute?
You may have noticed but I deleted my Etsy store in lieu of some remodeling and rethinking.
Instead of so much made to order items I am switching gears and am going to create then list.
I got really tired of all the back and forth with strangers who don't get graphic design.....sigh...
but for all my friends reading this
I will still create all your wonderful posters, birthday invites, and baby announcements!
I have a big weekend of book selling and will also be featuring these little present toppers,
but I am thinking that these will be hitting my store soon!
I already created the new store, just have to work out the shipping and store policies!!

Along with these cute dollies I am also going to sell some knitted items, maybe some hair clips...
who knows!
I have a whole craft armoire to choose from! =)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The List 2.4

How is it that I have gone so long without making a List? There are so many things that I find everyday here on the web and with Christmas speedily approaching, the list is a bit lengthy this! Let me know what you guys out there in blog-land think!

I think that instead of buying AJ an expensive doll from Pottery Barn I will make her a cute Black Apple Doll instead! (@ Martha Stewart)

I have a thing for Kokeshi dolls and so does Gabby now. I am loving these adorable friendship dolls and you can even stick a sweet love note in there for that special girl! (@ Garnet Hill)

I have made legwarmers in the past for my girls using this tutorial, but never did I think about using thigh high socks to make arm warmers for myself! Genius! (@ Little Birdie Secrets)

Parents are always looking for cute holiday crafts for their kids that can actually be taken out and displayed every year. This easy peasy hand stuffed turkey is on my list for crafts this week! (@ Tangled and True)

Sometimes it is hard to find a cute way to package all those little gifts that you want to give, this innovative use for a regular can into a gift can is simply crafty! (@ The Idea Room)

These apple cranberry pocket pies are making my mouth water..... yummo! (@ Birthday Girl)

Finally! A clock that both teaches the kids about telling time and lets them know when it is ok to get out of bed and pounce on sleeping Mommy and Daddy! (@ Amazon)

And last but not least, a beautiful and easy wreath suitable for any home that is bookish and stylish! (@ Living With Lindsey)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christmas tags from me to you

Hope you like these... a little something from me to you!!
download the full PDF here!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Consuming Childhood

This video is a perfect example of why we don't have TV in our house as all... and definitely opened my eyes to all the other ways markets try to get to our kids! (thanks Prasti for the link!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Printable: Thankful Turkey

One of my favorite Usborne books is 365 Things to Make and Do. It takes cute crafts from all of our other Make and Do books and created a huge list of crafts to keep little ones busy and creative. There are crafts for princesses, monster lovers, little travelers, and gift givers. I love that no craft takes lots of supplies, usually some tape or glue, crayons, paper, and scissors are as complicated as it gets.

I wanted to do a craft with my little ones about Thanksgiving and decided to do a Thanksgiving Thankful Turkey.  Here is what is will look like when done and there is a lot of room for variations. You can use felt for the body, add some real feathers, etc. The point though is to get the kids thinking about what they are thankful for and let them put that reminder on their doors so they see them when they wake up and when they go to sleep.
Here are the templates I created:

If you want you can also use foam door hangers or whatever, I like to keep these projects open to imagination!

Here is the Door Hanger Template
Here is the Turkey Template
(each makes 2 completed projects!!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DIY Strip Rag Doll

One of my good friends showed me the other day a lovely colonial rag doll that her daughter had from a festival. I loved the simplicity of it, the lack of sewing needed to make it, and the fact that little ones could even make their own with a whole bunch of them really easily. Here is how I made one for AJ:

Muslin or other fabric for head, arms, and skirt 
Other fabric for apron and head wrap
pinking shears or scissors

1. Decide how big you want your doll to be from head to bottom of the skirt. Double that length and add a little bit extra. Cut 20-30 strips about an inch or so wide.  Use pinking shears if you don't want the fabric to fray. Also decide how long you want the arms from tip to tip (arm/body/arm) and cut 15 strips also about an inch wide.

2. You can use a small ball to help shape the head or just leave it a little flatter, but just fold the strips of cloth in half (front to back) making sure that the strips are angled various ways at the bottom to form a skirt. When two long strips are left take one and fold it in half left to right to give more shape and then use the very last long one front to back which will make the face.

3. Use a thin piece of fabric or some yarn to tie off around the neck to form the head.

4. For your arms, lay all your strips on top of each other and tuck the pack under the topmost skirt strip right under where you tied the head off.

5. Use a piece of scrap fabric for the apron, I used a piece big enough to cover the body and form a longer apron. Lay it on top and tie a piece of yarn or thin scrap around to form a waist. This will also trap the arms in between the neck and waist. I tucked the top part of the fabric under the neck tie to hold it up.

6. Lastly take another piece of scrap and tie it around the head. You can tie it like a gypsy or a colonial woman. (AJ liked the gypsy head cover!!) I also took a bit of thread and tied the ends of the arms to make hands which is totally optional.

Voila!!! Instant doll for your little one! Super easy and there is room for sewing on button eyes,  making yarn hair, etc.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I am loving this room so much that I am ready to go out and buy paint right now!
Love love love the color (of course!) and have already checked out
that bedding. This is one theme that both my girls could get into!!
This creative mama definitely outdid herself!

Here is the bedding set, which is from a totally adorable store with
lots of goodies for me to snatch up!!
Klint and I are thinking of letting the girls share a room,
but one of the things that stops me is how to combine two totally
different tastes.... this may be the answer!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sorry to interrupt this regularly scheduled program

So here is what has happened in the last 3 days... we have a custom computer nicknamed Natasha. (Klint spends so much time on it that I needed a name for the other lady in his life!) Natasha is an awesome computer with top of the line software, spyware, hardware.  Klint checked his email on Natasha, went to sleep, nothing unusual. I came home a few hours later, shook the mouse to do some design work.... nothing. Black screen, wouldn't reboot or POST. Nada.

Thought that it was the power source since Natasha is on 24/7, but even when we installed a new one it was the same deal.... Natasha in a coma. So we decided to drop her off at a computer place in town and hook up Grandpa Hewitt, our old computer. Now mind you all of our important things, our music, my Photoshop files etc are on an external hard drive, so no biggie... right?

Fast forward to last night when Klint decided to play Warcraft... Grandpa Heweitt decided to self reboot... weird... 15 minutes later did it again... 5 minutes, again.... and then.... POOF! Grandpa Hewitt black screened and was in a coma, just like Natasha. $*&#^()(*&^^*@@^&#^$&!!!!!!!!!

So there goes our ability to put new music on the iPod, for me to design, basically a good portion of our life... gone. Again, F@&K!!! And that dear readers is why I have been MIA. While I do have a netbook to work on, it is slow and is a b*tch to type on.

We are thinking that it was a power surge (or two) that took out our computers  so we have some heavy cash shedding to do to get them back in working order since they are going to require a new motherboard and such. Sigh...

Meanwhile, I will try to get some more posts up about the projects I am working on, just don't look for any new graphic designs... tear.... light a candle to the tech gods in my name and pray that we can fix this problem!!! (I miss my photoshop!!!!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gabby's "Want" Present

For Christmas Gabby requested a checkers board for us to play and I couldn't resist a DIY Pirates vs. Ninjas Checker Set.  I saw this on Etsy a while ago and lucky for me I live near a craft store (Pat Catans) that has all the supplies I need so I don't have to have them shipped here and waste precious painting time.

I toyed with a couple of themes, Pink Ninjas vs. Black Ninjas, Batman vs. Spiderman, Monkeys vs. Bears... but I know my girl and pirates are totally her thing!!

I will post pics once I get the varnish on some of the little ninjas I started with! If you don't live near a store that stocks these cute little wooden peg dolls, I totally reccomend this great Etsy store!  Here is a link to some other neat ideas for the peg dolls... what do you think? Is this something your kids would dig?

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's The Most Nutty Time of the Year!

Well my friends, it has begun.... the frenzied holiday season. Today I saw workers draping lights on trees outside of a mall, heard Christmas tunes in a bookstore, and am seeing "HOLIDAY SALE" signs popping up left and right.

It is really hard to resist overspending, especially with "deals" everywhere telling you that you need this and that, making you feel guilty for not buying your child the newest toy, and pushing you into decorating your house befitting the cover of Southern Living.

This is the 3rd year that we will be doing our Rules of Christmas and I have even higher hopes of it's success now that Gabby is older. She can recite the rules to us when we are out and she definitely understands that she needs to make her choices wisely. I mentioned in my previous post that we are going to make the girls a fairy door and there are a few other things that we have in mind for them from Santa, but nothing that is going to push us into financial ruin.

I designed this notepad so that I can keep track of the ideas that I get for each person in my family, and so that I can mark off what I get and am not tempted to get yet another shirt or a toy that isn't on the list.

Here are directions on how to turn this into a real notepad which is nice if you have a large family that wishes to try this tradition out. And here is the PDF to print out, you can fit 2 sheets on a page if you landscape it.

In the next couple of weeks I will be sharing with you things I am giving the members of my family, since I don't have to worry about the kids reading the blog and ruining the surprise! Any ideas, hints, and tricks that you know are very welcome!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Importance of Fairy Tales

Lately I have been thinking a lot about fairy tales and their importance in a child's life. With me selling children's books, many of which contain classic fairy tales, I am re-reading many beloved stories such as Cinderella, Snow White, and Alice in Wonderland.

I really believe that there is a special place, an important place, in childhood for fairy tales. I know many people believe that fairy tales should not be taught to children because they are too scary, will confuse the child as to what is real, or that they are immorally wrong and go against religious beliefs. But what I think is that fairy tales help children understand how the world works, that evil does not win in the end, that the underdog can rise to the top if they believe they can, and that cheating does not pay.

I know that as parents we want to protect our children from the evils of the world, but the hard truth is that there are evils out there. Difficult decisions to make, battles to be won, and evil to conquer. What better place than in a story to introduce these concepts?

In an effort to keep the fanciful imagination alive in our home Klint and I decided that we are going to put up a fairy door in the house on Christmas Eve while the girls are asleep. A little door where the girls can leave notes, trinkets, and pennies along with their imagination. I imagine too that the Christmas Fairy (who will have to be named of course!) will also leave notes and bits of fairy magic in the house.  I am not scouring the web for a mini mailbox and some teeny numbers to go on the fairy's door. Here is a great little article about where to get some fairy supplies! This is where I shall be getting my door from, I can't wait to paint it and make it a one of a kind fairy door!

(EDIT: I now offer custom made fairy doors in my Etsy store here!! They are a wonderful addition for any space, even in little shops!)

(picture from Monkeytail & Wellington)

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