31.12.13

happy new year



 From our home to yours...


 Wishing you all the best in the coming year!


8.12.13

a fun day at the sf waldorf school winter fair



Riding the Tricycle-Carousel


 Around and around and around...


 Opening up a golden box with a treasure inside...


A beautiful banner hanging from a tree...

 

And another beautiful banner...



Some beautiful music, a fishing game, gnome bowling, a castle-quest obstacle course, a visit to the fairy house and the cookie house...



 A petting zoo with chickens...


Plus goats, ducks, rabbits, the tiniest piglets...


 And a very sweet pony...


Two very happy boys (along with all the other happy children, not depicted here) at the San Francisco Waldorf School Winter Fair today...

3.12.13

gnomes at knitionary


dolls, bag and photo by Kristen: Knitionary

About a month ago, I heard from Kristen over at the blog Knitionary.  She had acquired a copy of my book and wanted to say hello.  Now, as you can see, she has made some gnomes (and a gnome-home toadstool bag) from patterns in my book!

bag and photo by Kristen: Knitionary

You can see more photos of Kristen's gnome-making and gifting adventures here at her blog Knitionary.  And on Thursday, if you go back again to visit her blog, you will be able to read about a chat we had over coffee a few weeks ago.

dolls, bag and photo by Kristen: Knitionary

1.12.13

winter angel give-away: forest fairy crafts style!



doll & photo by Lenka Vodicka-Paredes: forest fairy crafts


Hello friends!  Today I have a wonderful surprise for you.  To start off your winter holiday with some extra angel-sparkle, Lenka Vodicka-Peredes, author of Forest Fairy Crafts, and I are teaming up for a tandem give-away.  But before we get to the give-away, please let me tell you about Lenka’s book.


Forest Fairy Crafts, C&T Publishing, 2013

Forest Fairy Crafts (C&T Publishing, 2013) is written with such love and so much joy that I get a happy glow every time I see the bright cover.  The gorgeous photos and fun, inspiring text make this book very inviting, especially for children. After spending a few minutes looking through the book, I personally couldn’t wait to start creating magic, “Forest Fairy” style.

Once I got started, it was fun to step out of my usual craft mode and try something new  (I was utterly charmed by the fairy hat shop, dress shop and hair studio!)  It was also wonderful to watch my 10 year old son design and customize his own wizard and warlock figures. If you get your hands on a copy of this book, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

doll & photo by Lenka Vodicka-Paredes: forest fairy crafts

Now for the information about our giveaways… Here on my blog, I will be choosing randomly to give away this sparkling winter angel created by Lenka, while over at Lenka’s blog, she will be giving away a tiny pegdoll angel-ornament which I have created!  

To enter the giveaway for Lenka’s angel, just leave a comment below this post, and if you wish, please tell me about your favorite holiday ornament (mine is the little blue fellow you can see here in this post -- he lives tucked in my bookshelf to bring light all through the year because I cannot bear to put him away.) Also, please be sure your comment is linked to an email address so I can get in touch if you win.  (It’s as easy as that…) 

Comments for the giveaway will close Monday December 9th at 12:00 noon, Pacific Standard Time. A winner will be chosen via random drawing and announced at that time. 

If you’d like to see the angel I’ve created and have an opportunity to win it, please visit Lenka’s blog Forest Fairy Crafts.

doll & photo by Lenka Vodicka-Paredes: forest fairy crafts
  
Good luck to you if you are entering our giveaways, and to everyone, I wish a shining winter holiday season.

NOTE: COMMENTS FOR THIS POST/GIVE-AWAY ARE NOW CLOSED.

dolls & photo by Lenka Vodicka-Paredes: forest fairy crafts


27.11.13

happy thanksgivukkuh!


image from infographic journal

Tomorrow we will celebrating Thanksgivvukkuh.  In my house that will mean turkey with latkes & applesauce, and over supper we will play our favorite Thanksgiving alphabet-game: the first player must name something for which they are thankful starting with the letter A, the next person must name something for which they are thankful starting with the letter B, and so on, around and around the table until finally someone names something for which they are thankful starting with Z. Last year there was much hilarity when family members stated they were thankful for things such as "sensible underwear" (the letter S) and "toes" (the letter T).

image from JewishBoston.com

If it's my turn when the letter F comes around, I will say that I am thankful for both food & fun, which brings to mind a few more Thanksgivvikkuh-related web links I've enjoyed over the past week.  There was this article full of wonderful recipes on the Cosmopolitan Magazine website, this article on the Bon Appetit website outlining options for "The Worst Thanksgivukkuh Menu Ever," a link to the Zucker Bakery in NYC where they are offering cranberry-turkey donuts, and finally some Thanksgivukkah coloring pages which you can print out at home.

image from JewishBoston.com

I hope your day is also filled with things, from A to Z, for which to be thankful.

25.11.13

hans my hedghog


Hans my Hedgehog has always been one of my favorite fairy tales and a few days ago I got it into my head to knit some hedgehogs.

I mentioned this to my friend Kristen who suggested I have a look at this knitting pattern over at Purlbee.  The pattern is accompanied by a lovely essay which reminds me of the fact that there are no hedgehogs native to the United States, and, like the author of the essay, neither have I ever met a hedgehog in person (aside from Mrs. Tiggywinkle).


I wanted a simpler pattern than the one at Purlbee (as many of you know, I'm a lazy knitter) and so below you will find the result of my efforts to create an easy pattern. 

MATERIALS REQUIRED

To knit the bodies of these hedgehogs I used Jamiesons's fingering weight held double in a color called Moorit.  For the faces I used a DK weight from Jamieson's in a color called Mogit, but any earth-tone heathered yarns in DK or worsted weight would work well.  In addition to two shades of earth-tone DK or worsted weight yarn, you will need a scrap of brown wool felt for ears and a 1/2 yard black 6 ply cotton embroidery floss. Tiny buttons or black beads would work nicely for eyes, too.

NEEDLE SIZE

I used a size US 3 needle, which is smaller than this yarn would normally require.  You can see here that I like knitting tiny animals using size 3 needles -- it keeps my stitches tight so the stuffing doesn't peek through.  And I don't enjoy knitting in the round with DPNS, so this pattern is knit flat then seamed up at the end, but you are welcome to adjust my pattern for DPNS if you prefer.

STITCHES USED

Seed Stitch: Work rows as follows:  (k1, p1), repeat to end.  On alternating rows you will start with a purl stitch i.e. (p1, k1) thus purling into the knit stitches and knitting into the purl stitches.
Stockinette Stitch: knit on RS, purl on WS


PATTERN

LARGE HEDGEHOG (approx. 9 cm finished length)
Cast on 24st using darker colored yarn for the hedgehog body
Rows 1-18: Seed Stitch (k1, p1 alternating with rows of p1,k1)
Row 19: Switch to lighter colored yarn (k2, k2tog) repeat to end of row (18 st.)
Row 20: Purl across row
Row 21: (k2, k2tog) repeat to end of row (14 st.)
Row 22: Purl
Row 23: (k2, k2tog) repeat to end of row
Row 24: Purl
Row 25: k2tog across row (6 st.)
Row 26: Purl
Row 27: k2tog across row and, using a tapestry needle, draw yarn through remaining 3 st.

Using the tail end of the lighter yarn, stitch up snout area of hedgehog and weave in end.

Using the tail end of the darker yarn (where it's joined to the lighter yarn) stitch up the body and weave in end to secure.

Stuff hedgehog, but not too firmly.  Use the tail end from casting on to create running stitches around the end of the hedgehog. Pull tight to gather, and secure end of the yarn to hold the gathered stitches.

If you would like the nose on your hedgehog to turn up, position the hedgehog body with your seam on top, along the back of your hedgehog (don't worry -- the texture of the seed stitch will hide your joining seam.) Then, using black embroidery floss, embroider eyes and nose (note: you can pop in some ball-head straight pins to help decide on eye placement -- see photo below.)   Add ears by stitching on small, rounded bits of felt.


SMALL HEDGEHOG (approx. 6 cm finished length)
Cast on 16st using darker colored yarn for the hedgehog body
Rows 1-12: Seed Stitch (k1, p1 alternating with rows of p1,k1)
Row 13: Switch to lighter colored yarn (k2, k2tog) repeat to end of row(12 st.)
Row 14: Purl across row
Row 15: (k2, k2tog) repeat to end of row (9 st.)
Row 16: Purl
Row 17: k2tog twice, k1, k2tog twice
Row 18: Purl 2tog, p1, p2tog
Row 27:  Using a tapestry needle, draw yarn through remaining 3 st.

See instructions above for finishing.

Note: If you use my pattern, I would be delighted if you would hop over to Ravelry and post a photo of your version.  You can find my hedgehogs here on Ravelry.


And now, Dear Readers, a public service announcement: Did you know that, even if you "Like" we bloom here and/or Making Peg Dolls on Facebook, you may not be seeing updates and messages from me in your Facebook feed?  Did you know that you might be missing tutorials for lovely, quick-to-whip-up gifts?

Here's what you can do so you don't miss anything: once you’ve liked the we bloom here and/or the Making Peg Dolls page on Facebook (thank you!), use the dropdown menu under the “like” button to select “get notifications” or "see first" in your news feed. This lets Facebook know, going forward, that you really do want to know when I've posted a new tutorial or other assorted nonsense. 

Another way you can hear from me is to have a look at the right-hand sidebar of this blog, and find the widget which allows you to "follow by email."  Once you've typed in your email, you will get notifications delivered directly to your inbox.  I don't have access to information about who signs up for email through my blog, so there is no way I could send you junk-mail (not that I would ever consider doing such an annoying thing anyhow, I promise).

xo mb

24.11.13

hans: a knitting pattern


Did you know that there are no hedgehog species native to the United States?  So then how did I end up with hedgehogs in my garden?

Come back tomorrow for a sweet little knitting pattern I put together for you -- just in time for whipping up some wee hedgehoggy holiday gifts!

22.11.13

3 Queens




This is so very beautiful and answers the question "What do stay at home parents do, anyway?" Thanks for the tip Rachel.


20.11.13

thank you!



Dear friends -- Writing this post has been on my mind for quite some time.

Every so often I have a peek over at Amazon.com to see how my book has been doing, and I notice a new review.  A few of the reviews were written by people I know, and I have thanked them personally for their kind words.  However, most of the reviews on Amazon for my book were written by people who I do not know, and it touches me deeply to know they have taken the time and effort to write these lovely reviews.

So, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has supported my efforts by acquiring a copy of my book, and to send an especially big thanks to those who have written reviews.  Your thoughtful words make my heart shine.


Look! All the little peg dolls are smiling, too...

18.11.13

Alice in Wonderland: Suzy Lee


cover of Alice in Wonderland by Suzy Lee

I had been trying for three years to get my hands on an edition of Alice in Wonderland by Suzy Lee and hit the jackpot recently when I found an Italian edition listed on Book Depository.

from Alice in Wonderland by Suzy Lee

I was intrigued by the concept of this wordless book, where Alice navigates her way through a toy-theater tableau, alternately chasing and being chased by the white rabbit.  The end has a funny surprise, where worlds within worlds are revealed (a sort of alternative "through the looking glass" world, if you will.) Suzy Lee, herself, describes it as a "dream within a dream..." You can read about her process of visualizing and creating the book here.

cover of Open this Little Book, by Jess Klaussmeier, illus. Suzy Lee

Besides enjoying Suzy Lee's Alice in Wonderland, we've generally been on a Suzy Lee kick.  I cannot tell you how many times my three-year-old has requested to read Open this Little Book (by Jesse Klaussmeier, illus. by Suzy Lee.) Now he knows it by heart and I love hearing him "read" it to himself...

cover of Wave by Suzy Lee

We also love this book, too!

14.11.13

bloo-ti-ful


My 3-year old normally sleeps though the night, however, he has been waking in the wee hours for the past week.  He wants a hug, to visit a bit and have something to drink before going back to sleep.  This leaves me feeling exhausted.

 

But every night, when I go to him, he greets me by saying, "Oh, mama! You look bloo-ti-ful."  Tousled hair, rumpled pajamas and all, I am bloo-ti-ful.  In that moment, I don't mind those wee-hours wake-up calls in the least.

What do your children say which, in that moment, makes your life seem perfect and takes your breath away with joy?

p.s. Rachel has such a way of seeing, understanding and writing about these sorts of moments.  You can find her inspiring words here, here, here and here...

11.11.13

Sky High: a book trailer



Doesn't this look like a delightful book?  You can learn more about it here.

7.11.13

Thanksgivukkah


photo by john gara: buzzfeed

This year, the first night of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving, and so November 28, 2013 has been dubbed Thanksgivukkah.  I learned about Thanksgivukkah from my father who sent me a link to this post on Buzzfeed.

photo by macey j. foronda: buzzfeed

The clever folks at Buzzfeed have come up with an intriguing Thanksgiving/Hanukkah related menu: potato latkes with cranberry-applesauce, Manischwitz brined turkey, sweet potato bourbon noodle-kugel, challah-apple stuffing, horseradish-chive mashed potatoes, rye pumpkin-pye, and pecan-pie rugelach.  You can find links to all their recipes here.

I'm not so sure about sweet potato bourbon noodle-kugel, but I mentioned the recipe for pecan pie rugelach to my brother, and we might just give it a try...


You can read more about Thanksgivukkah here at the SF Chronicle and ABC News websites.

asher weintraub: menurkey.com

And you can also click here to find out about a turkey-shaped menorah called a Menurkey.


Anyone else out there planning to celebrate Thanksgivukkah?




1.11.13

flutter-kite craft



I posted about these flutter kites a year ago, and they are still one of my favorite crafts.  They're easy to create, fun, and great for rainy days when everyone is feeling cooped up.  We always seem to have one or two among the book shelves for a quick run around the house when the mood inspires. Just grab the end of the string, take a dash around the sofa, and these little kites will flutter & fly satisfyingly in your wake (or you can take your kites outdoors on fine autumn mornings as we did today.)


I usually make these kites from construction paper, but today I decided to get fancy and cut up some watercolor paintings.

 

Besides oak leaves, some of our other favorite shapes for kites are butterflies, fish and ladybirds.


Generally, I use cellophane tape to attach short pieces of yarn (about 15 inches long) to the kites; however, for this kite (made from heavy-weight watercolor paper) I trimmed a scrap and glued it to the back of the leaf, sandwiching the yarn between the leaf and the triangular scrap (see photo above.)


The kite is ready & now it's time to fly...


(or sit on a bench and give it a hug.)