13.6.19

forest fairy crafts blog tour!




Six years ago, C&T Publishing released the book Forest Fairy Crafts by Lenka Vodicka-Paredes and Asia Currie. The joy with which this book was written is contagious, and it overflows with magic.


So, you can imagine my delight when I heard that a follow-up book, titled Forest Fairy Crafts Through the Seasons, was in the works. C&T Publishing shipped out a copy to me (via fairy-mail, of course), and it was a happy day when the book landed on my doorstep.

Please keep reading to the end of this blog post for more information about the blog tour for Forest Fairy Crafts Through the Seasons plus information about a GIVE-AWAY to win an ebook version.


As with all craft books which arrive on my doorstep, they are immediately commandeered by my younger son.  This book is 143 pages long, however my son didn't make it past page 42, where he was enchanted by the idea of stitching a tiny fairy baby.


At nearly 9 years old, my son hardly needed my help with this project. I cut the felt body for him, threaded a needle and knotted the end of the thread -- he did the rest. NB there is a helpful section at the end of the book with ideas for ways to assist children of varying ages + skill levels with sewing projects. Given my son's comfort with sewing, I was free to sit with him and stitch up a fairy baby, too.


From start to finish, gathering supplies to gluing acorn caps, this project took us 45 minutes -- a perfect after-school activity.


Now for information on how you can win an ebook version of  Forest Fairy Crafts Through the Seasons:  

1) For 1 entry please leave a comment below this blog post.

 2) On FACEBOOK there are 4 opportunities to enter your name: follow my page (or let me know you are already following), like, comment and share my post about Forest Fairy Crafts Through the Seasons.

3) On INSTAGRAM there are also 4 opportunities to enter: follow me (or let me know if you are already following), like, comment and tag a friend.

This give-away is open to participants anywhere in the world. A winner will be chosen by random number on June 25th, and an ebook will be sent via email. Thank you to C&T Publishing for providing an ebook for this give-away!


Please visit all the blog tour participants for inspiration plus more opportunities to win an ebook of Forest Fairy Crafts Through the Seasons!

June 12 Annette Bay Pimentel http://www.annettebaypimentel.com
June 13 we bloom here http://webloomhere.blogspot.com
June 14 Clever Chameleon  https://www.cleverchameleon.com.au/blog
June 21 Thank You and Wrap Up  https://www.forestfairycrafts.com/journal



FTC Compliant Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book 
by C&T Publishing to facilitate a review, however, all 
opinions expressed above are entirely my own.

Thank you to everyone who entered this give-away 
via blog comments, Facebook and Instagram.  
Congratulations to Sharon Beacham.  
C&T Publishing will be sending you an ebook!

20.3.18

spring

In Just-
spring           when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles             far              and wee
and eddieand bill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring
when the world is puddle-wonderful
-- e e cummings


When I was ten or eleven, I had a teacher who required us to memorize and recite poetry.  It seemed like a strange, old fashioned exercise, but as an adult, I'm glad to have memorized these poems (and continue to be amazed that I can still remember them).  So today, humming through my head are the first lines of the poem by ee cummings, "and it's spring when the world is puddle-wonderful..." (you can read the full poem HERE).


And what could possibly be more "mud-luscious" and "puddle-wonderful" than frogs? Bean bag frogs from THIS pattern over at Purl Soho! I made these guys a few years ago; when they are not flopping around the house, they spend their time reclining languidly on book shelves (and posing as hats).


How are you welcoming spring this year?


6.3.18

birthday


"I mean, what is an un-birthday present?"
"A present given when it isn't your birthday, of course."
Alice considered a little.  "I like birthday presents best," she said at last.
You don't know what you're talking about!" cried Humpty Dumpty.  "How many days are there in a year?"
"Three hundred and sixty-five," said Alice.
"And how many birthdays have you?"
"One."
-- Lewis Carroll

My birthday was last week. I made an ice cream cake (above), received cards, phone calls, emails + messages from near and far, a hug from one son, a hastily scrawled card from the other, and the most horrible bouquet of flowers from my husband. I adore flowers, but apparently the aroma of Stargazer lilies makes me nauseated (and in an odd twist, my sons felt sentimental about the flowers and became upset when I suggested that the best way to deal with the offending smell would be to send the flowers on a quick trip to the compost; so the flowers hung around the house, making me ill for several days).


On the heels of what shall heretofore and forever be known as "the horrible birthday bouquet," a magical parcel arrived on my doorstep from my dear friend Christine in France.

The first thing this parcel-of-marvels revealed was a birthday card; you can see the P.S. which Christine wrote at the bottom of the card. After reading this, I went through each item in the parcel, mystified.

After the card, next out of the box was not one but two(!) chocolate bars.  And no door to open.  Then, a pretty little paper packet of acorn caps came out of the box -- each variety of oak tree, across the world over, bears different shape acorns + caps, and I love receiving them. But there was no door here either.  I dug deeper into the box: a fancifully embroidered bag containing two ceramic feves for inserting into a galette des rois(!), plus two paper crowns (for setting atop a galette des rois)!  But no door.  And then...


The final little paper packet revealed... a door! Christine and I laugh when sharing peculiar vocabulary, and so, describing the little house as "biscornu," she asked what the translation might be. The best words I could come up with were lopsided, tumbledown, ramshackle, or simply crooked, which brings to my mind the traditional nursery rhyme, "There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile, He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked style; He bought a crooked cat which caught crooked mouse, And they all lived together in a little crooked house." Can you imagine a little crooked cat (and mouse) peering out of that tiny window beneath the roof-peak?


And then I did finally open the door to find a tiny bird, chirping a happy birthday message...


Detail upon detail... when I turned the bookmark over, there was a tiny apple tree.  The little crooked man, the little crooked cat, the little crooked mouse and the birthday bird, must surely feast well on tiny apple tarts, baked in a little crooked oven, of course.

And can you tell that Christine is part fairy?  Her stitches are so small, surely only a fairy could have sewn them. And surely only a fairy could have imagined such a bookmark...


Thank you, Christine, for this beautiful gift -- a perfect companion for my literary wanderings... xo

3.3.18

hinamatsuri


 Let's light the lanterns on the tiered stand,
Let's arrange the peach blossom branches.
Five court musicians are playing flutes & drums.
Today is a joyful Dolls' Festival.
-- Traditional Song

Hinamatsuri is celebrated in Japan on March 3rd. For this festival, families bring out a special set of dolls dressed in traditional court costumes of the Heian period, and modern doll designs are popular, too.  


This tradition inspired me to design a set of Hinamatsuri dolls for my first book (Making Peg Dolls, Hawthorn Press 2012), but this morning, I felt like updating my design and making a new set (see photo at top of the post).

photo courtesy of folkeshi

And my recent entree into the world of Instagram has sparked a renewed interest for me in kokeshi. Via Instagram, I've become acquainted with Laetitia Hebert who runs the shop Folkeshi where she carries a beautiful collection of vintage and modern dolls -- I've become especially enamored with the modern designs of Hiraga Teruyuki and Tayama Izumi.

Below are two videos of kokeshi artists at work.  They're mesmerizing.






Happy Hinamatusuri!

27.2.18

book review :: stitch camp!

FTC Compliant Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book by Storey Publishing Co. to facilitate a review, however, all opinions expressed below are entirely my son's and my own.


Last fall, this gorgeous book arrived in my mailbox, and since then, it's been living on the kitchen table in constant use.  The moment I pulled it from the envelope, my 7 year old son grabbed it and got to work.  First was the bean bag sewing project. Then crochet.  Then weaving.  And about a month ago he learned to knit.  Looking through Stitch Camp, his enthusiasm is hardly surprising.  The photos are bright & bold, and the projects are super kid-friendly.  I could go on and on about this fabulously fun book, but honestly, I'm not the one who's been using it.  Hence, my 7 year old (LB) will be writing the rest of this review.


LB:  I like this book because you can learn all this cool step-by-step embroidery, weaving, crochet and knitting... It can teach children of all ages and grown-ups.


LB: I chose this beanbag sewing project first because it would be fun to play with.  It was a little bit hard to do the blanket-stitch, but I figured it out.  I started off doing the whip-stitch, but then I got good at the blanket-stitch!


LB: And the weaving was very very very fun because you can go over and under and over and under, because it's just like swimming where you go underwater, then you come up to take a breath, and go under water again, and keep doing that again and again.


LB: This weaving necklace was very easy and fun to make!


LB: I made this beaded crochet chain bracelet for my mom. I added a pink button because it matched the pink yarn!!


LB: My mom said maybe knitting would be too hard for me and that I could learn when I was nine.  But I kept asking her to show me, and then she showed me and at first I was very frustrated and then I learned.  And I'm not nine.  I'm still seven!  I love knitting -- I want to knit all day and never stop.


Thank you Nicole Blum & Catherine Newman!  Thank you Storey Publishing for this fun book!  Thank you LB for helping me write this review!

14.2.18

happy valentines day



Who can take a rainbow,
Wrap it in a sigh,
Soak it in the sun 
and make a groovy lemon pie?
The Candy Man...

The Candy Man can
'Cause he mixes it with love
And makes the world taste good.
 
lyrics: Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley

12.2.18

valentine door mat

We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God's family.  (Desmond Tutu)


I originally made this door mat in 2011, and have made new ones since then, replacing the mats when they wear out. Is there any better way to create a welcome than with a big, bright symbol of openhearted love?

SUPPLIES
-- A coir fiber mat
-- A sheet of newspaper
-- Masking tape (optional)
-- Fabric paint (or other waterproof paint)
-- A paper plate or other disposable container
-- A foam paint brush/applicator


STEP 1 :: Use scissors to cut a heart shape out of the newspaper sheet.  Place the newspaper with the cut-out heart over your coir mat. Tape in place (optional).


STEP 2 :: Pour some paint onto a paper plate (or other disposable container), dip brush into paint and dab paint inside the newspaper heart stencil.

STEP 3 :: Allow paint to dry and...


STEP 4 :: Welcome all who cross your threshold with an open heart.

8.2.18

tutorial :: felt heart sachet

There is only one happiness 
in this life, to love and be loved.
-- George Sand


Not just on Valentine's Day, but every day, shouldn't our actions always come from a place of compassion and our words express what is good + true within our hearts? Perhaps this is why I have been stitching, sewing, knitting and felting heart shaped projects. Without stop. Without end.


SUPPLIES
-- Wool felt
-- Paper, pencil and scissors
-- Pinking shears + a pin
-- Embroidery floss + a neeedle
-- Dried camomile, rose petals + lavender
    (if you don't have dried herbs on hand,
     you can cut open a chamomile teabag
     and use the little flowers inside!)

STEP 1 ::  Use a pencil to draw a heart on your piece of paper, and cut it out with standard scissors. Note - the heart I cut out is 3 in. (approx. 7 1/2 cm) high, but you should feel free to make your heart pattern as small or large as you please.

STEP 2 :: Use pin to secure paper pattern to a single layer of felt. With pinking shears, cut around the outside of the pattern (i.e. do not cut the paper), leaving a 1/8 inch (3 mm) pinked perimeter. Then repeat and cut a second heart from your felt. Note - if you do not have pinking shears, don't let that stop you from making these little hearts... you can use a regular scissors to create hearts with smooth edges.

STEP 3 ::Thread a needle with embroidery floss in a color which contrasts with the color of your felt.  I used red felt and white embroidery floss, but you should use whichever colors make your heart happy!


STEP 4 :: Use a running stitch to sew the two felt hearts together, leaving approx. 1 inch (25 mm) open for filling.

STEP 5 :: Fill with dried flowers (and if you don't have dried flowers on hand, you can cut open an herbal teabag -- chamomile or peppermint teabags would be perfect for filling these little sachets).

STEP 6 :: Sew up the opening, add a loop of embroidery floss at the top (optional), and you're done.

There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. George Sand
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/george_sand_383232?src=t_love

6.2.18

tutorial :: valentine velvet hearts

What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
It's the only thing that there's just too little of.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some, but for everyone...
 -- Dionne Warwick


These velvet hearts are so soft and simple.  I have given them as tokens of friendship and also offered them at times when friends or their children (or my children) needed comfort.  They are small enough to keep in a pocket or on a bedside table, and they feel lovely when rubbed between the fingers or against a cheek.


SUPPLIES
-- A small scrap of velvet or velour fabric
-- Paper, pencil and scissors
-- Needle and thread
-- Stuffing (wool or fiberfill)


STEP 1 :: Use a pencil to design a heart shape on your piece of paper and cut out with scissors to create a pattern. Note: my hearts are approx. 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) tall, and so, to account for seam allowance, my pattern is approx. 4 inches (10 cm) tall.

STEP 2 :: Fold your velvet with right sides together, pin your heart-shaped paper pattern to the fabric, and cut out velvet per the pattern.


STEP 3 :: Remove paper pattern and pin the velvet hearts with right-sides together. Thread your needle and use small stitches to sew around the edges, leaving approx. 11/2 inch (3 cm) open for stuffing.

STEP 4 :: Use the unsewn section to turn your heart right-side out, add stuffing and sew closed.

STEP 5 :: Give your heart, with love, to someone you care for.


5.2.18

tutorial :: peg doll valentine stamps

 

This little peg doll craft is a repeat from two years ago, but these sweeties are so perfect for creating peg doll gifts and Valentines, that I just can't help pulling them out of my hat again this year.


SUPPLIES FOR MAKING A PEG DOLL STAMP

-- 1 sheet of craft-foam (this stuff)

-- Larger size peg dolls, at least
    2 3/8 in tall (6 cm) like these

-- water color paint

-- beeswax polish (tutorial HERE)

-- Scissors + glue


INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING A PEG DOLL STAMP

STEP 1 ::Use watercolors to paint your peg doll, and allow to dry.

STEP 2 :: Cut a shape from craft foam.  The shape you cut should be smaller than the diameter of the peg doll base.

STEP 3 :: Glue your foam shape to the bottom of the peg doll and allow the glue to dry for at least an hour or two.

STEP 4 :: Have fun using your stamp!


Note: If you use water soluble glue, be careful washing your stamp.  I find it's best to clean these stamps by dampening a paper towel and gently wiping off ink residue.