creating


In between our holiday madness I got some crafting in, some for presents and some just for us 🙂

The year of the banner.  I LOVE making banners for different holidays, birthdays and just for any day of the week.  Some friends received holiday banners this year.

and one for us

This year I moved the village out from under the tree so we needed a new tree skirt.  I saw one at a store that inspired me – it was simple just red with snowflakes – I took that basic principle and envisioned a red skirt with different antique doilies attached (as the snowflakes). So began the quest for a red tree skirt (I was going to make one but thought I’d check the thrift stores first).  I was at one of my favorites digging through their uber amounts of doilies and I ask the lady behind the counter if they have any tree skirts and what do you know…. she’s about ready to open a big cardboard box that said “christmas stuff” and the first thing she pulls out is this adorable old tree skirt that is absolutely perfect.  So I pick up my stack of doilies and my fabulous find and head home to make my new tree skirt.

As I said this was the year of the banner….. here’s one the kids made

I’d have to say this is my favorite 🙂  They did such a good job – my little crafters!

A little something for my friends in Chicago.  I did the embroidery in the car on the way to The Skunk Train and I think I was a bit dizzy from the winding roads – as I look at the finished project 😉  Whoops – well this is part of the appeal of handmade to me, nothing is perfect and no two are alike –  let’s just go with that.  Hopefully they won’t mind.

And the dowel rod was a bit rough on the ends so I had to figure out a little finial and I found my new favorite thing to do…..

 

felt balls.  I had no luck making the felt balls with the soap and water method and then I bought felting needles – and ta da – it’s a miracle – I can make the felt balls 🙂  I am totally jazzed about my new found crafty love.

There was a bit more crafting/creating during the season but in all my rush to get the gifts to their rightful owners (some being back in Chicago) I failed to take pictures 😦  but hopefully they are all enjoying their gifts made with lots of love.

What kind of wonderful crafting did you do during the holidays?  Did you receive any great crafts or handmade items? 

One of my favorite was a lip balm and soap made by my muli-talented girl Kendra over at a sonoma garden.  She makes all of these wonderful salves and lotions and potions and gardens and cooks and sews beautifully, etc etc. while raising three kids and I think they are up to 6 chickens now too!  I saw she had started to make lip balm and was secretly hoping I’d be getting some this year.  And yippee, I did…… Thanks Kendra 🙂

Phew, this was a whirlwind of a season…..  we have been enjoying every moment and are now getting back into the rhythm of our “routine”. 

The season starts on Thanksgiving.  We have spent the last few Thanksgiving dinners at our good friends house in their arbor out in their vineyard doesn’t get better than that 😉  It includes, good friends, lots of kids running around, good conversation, good food and beautiful fall weather and sun.

After a day of good food we went for our post Thanksgiving hike.  We headed out on a new trail that lead us to an ancient Redwood that looked like there should be dinosaurs walking around it – it was magnificent!  Then we headed up to this reservoir for some good old fashion echo calls – the kids got a big kick out of that – not sure all the animals around the area were thrilled but hopefully it scared off the mountain lions!

The next day was spent trudging around Moon Mountain for the perfect tree!  We always like to get the tree and the holidays kicked off early, it really gets everyone in the mood.  It was a great day spent looking for our tree.  Of course, Mama likes to walk around the mountain looking carefully at every tree while the kiddos run through the trees squealing with delight and Milo and Doug saunter along waiting for the call of “WE FOUND IT”!  For some reason it always ends up being one of the first trees we were eyeing.  I enjoy cruising around enjoying the sights and the smells, I don’t really think I’m looking for the “perfect” tree, I think they are all great, I just enjoy the time spent out there with the family – so I will keep taking “forever” to find our “perfect” tree 😉

Next comes the decorating….

Then began the baking.  Oh the baking, cookies, breads, more breads, more cookies, fudge.  I have found two lovely recipes at rhythm of the Home that I have added to my holiday arsenal – so delicious – orange, cranberry walnut bread and cranberry ginger bread and so easy.  The kids had so much fun making all the goodies to be passed out for our friends.  Baking and singing was the theme throughout our house during December – good times 🙂

The first weekend in December marked the first Christmas recital for Ryder and what was supposed to be Saige’s second recital, but…… a little bug took Saige down for the day/night (luckily she was back in the game the next day – of course) but Ryder made his debut in a hip hop routine and rocked the house 😉  He was a bit nervous but as soon as he got up on stage with his buddies he was a natural and then he came running off the stage after the performance just flying on adrenal and saying “that was too short, I want to go back and do it again!”  It was priceless.  Very proud of my little elf, but sad my little mouse missed her performance – oh well there’s always next year.

The next adventure was the Santa Skunk Train in Mendocino.  We usually go on The Polar Express but that was sold out way too quick – which I am now glad for – because the Skunk Train rocked!

That’s one groovy looking Santa Train 😉  We made a weekend out of it with another family and had such a great time.  We stayed on a bluff with access to the beach – which we enjoyed making our version of snow angels!

Then we made it to Glass Beach – I have been dying to go there.  There is polished glass all over the beach.  We had lots of fun collecting and trying to find unusual colors (only found blue and red in really tiny pieces).  We all wondered what caused all of this glass to wash up on this little cove – much to our dismay, this area was an old dump – yes, we were frolicking on an old dump!  UGH!  It was still gorgeous, maybe the years of crashing waves has washed this area clean (and unfortunately dragged it all out for the rest of the world to enjoy!)  Seriously who would build a dump on the oceans edge!

polished glass

great tide pools to play in, lots of urchins, a few crabs, some fish hiding and lots of anemones – which all equals lots of fun and exploring 🙂

The annual lighting of the snowmen happened Friday after Thanksgiving – which turned out to be a volatile stormy day and night.  We were all ready to go but right as we were getting ready to put on our coats the sky unleashed its fury and we decided to sit this year out.  So instead we visited the snowmen on a different occasion. 

The deal with these snowmen is…. every year Cornerstone sets up these vintage snowmen (lots of them) and then lights them to start the holiday season.  They have marshmallow roasting, frosty and rudolph played on a wall of one of the buildings with hay bales set up for seating, hot chocolate, etc.  Everyone who has kids in Sonoma comes.  It’s a great time – too bad for the weather.  I just love these snowmen – I would love one for our yard.

This little guy showed up at our house the first week in December.  Not sure if you’ve heard of Elf on The Shelf?  Well I heard about this a few years back, we had elves that looked just like him when I was growing up (they weren’t elf on the shelf) but my mom always had them hanging out on the banister heading upstairs and I simply LOVED them!  It was my favorite thing to get them out and line them up.  I would pretend they were alive and I would talk to them.  Well fast forward to somewhere around 2008 and here is a modern day version of what I used to pretend.  So the story goes, the elf arrives, he is named by the kids, they can not touch him/her, they can tell him/her all their wishes, he/she reports to Santa every night whether the kids were good or bad and then he/she flies back to the kids home and is in a different spot every morning.  So the fun part is when they wake up the first thing they do is look for the elf.  Ours is named Nutcracker Boy 😉  Let’s just say Mama had a couple close calls, a few mornings I heard Ryder’s voice and I bolted out of bed, ran to Nutcracker boy and replaced him (once he got thrown across the room into the christmas tree!)  Ugh!  That got me a few times throughout the month.  Ryder swears he saw his head move 🙂  On Christmas eve the elf flies back home to live in the North Pole until next season.  He usually arrives sometime around Thanksgiving. 

We had so much fun with this tradition this year.  We even wrote our letters to Santa and gave them to Nutcracker boy to bring with him one evening 🙂

In between all this craziness I still remembered to enjoy the beauty of the season

And I think it was a little too much excitement for these two 🙂

 

New Years came in quietly – thank goodness 🙂

Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season.  Would love to hear how you spent your season.

Peace and Blessings to you in 2011 – hope to see you all back here

Finally completing our Thanksgiving sign!  I started it last year and didn’t finish it in time for Thanksgiving 2009, so I put it away and pulled it out 2 weeks before Thanksgiving 2010 and finished it!  Yes, unfortunately, that is how I roll.  I wish I would have just completed it last year, but nothing like a little fire lit under you to get you working, right?!  Much to my parents chagrin, this is also how I rolled  in college (sometimes it worked, sometimes not so much).

Something else I finally completed was Ryder’s name banner.  I have been meaning to get this done and after seeing how happy he was when I did finally hang it, I wish I would have done this a long time ago.  But I guess that’s what happens when life “happens”.  Balance, that’s what I keep trying to remind myself of. 

Of course I am grateful for so much more, my beautiful family, great friends, beautiful whole food from our yard, the sun, the sky, the earth, a good glass of wine, a nice dark beer, our four legged friends and our inner peace (that I sometimes lose but usually can find it if I look a little).

I’ve been doing  a lot of creating, crafting, sewing these last few weeks.  I signed up for a holiday boutique at Ryder’s school about a month or so ago and then thought “holy crap” I better get some things together!  So began a frenzy of cutting, pinning, sewing, crocheting, etc…….. In my madness I finally made Ryder a banner for his room – he was so happy to hang it up. 

Now if I can only finish my skirt I’ve had sitting on my table for months 😉  But I’m glad my little man is happy – he’s been waiting so patiently.

Saige and her new big girl bike (big 3 year old!)

soccer practice and soccer games – Doug is coaching this year too 🙂

painting the bean bag toss game for the birthday party

Snuck away from the party planning to go to Power to the Peaceful to see our boyfriend Michael Franti 😉  Yes, Saige and I are quite infatuated (as well as Doug and Ryder ).  What’s not to like about the man!  Saige was bummed we were so far back we couldn’t see him – too cute!

Figs are coming in

and so are the tomatoes!  Yippee!  I am thrilled.  Not sure if you remember my previous post about my tomatoes not being so big or great, well we got a nice little heat wave and BAM  they all turned red and were decent sized and I’ve been hauling in 8lb + baskets of tomatoes weekly – I’m loving it!

So with that said I’ve been doing a lot of sauce making and storing.

something else we’ve been making a lot of …. hula hoops – 30 to be exact.  These were the “reward” for solving the mystery at the kids party (Scooby Mystery party).

our big 6 year old (yes that’s right 6!) got his first skateboard for his birthday.  He got to go to the local skateshop and had his board built and got to tour the shop and learned the “skater” hand shake – the red carpet treatment.  He was so stoked!

Shaggy and Daphne before the party.  Mama had a late night – I had some costume adjustments to make.  It was going to be 95+ degrees that day and I had to make a new dress for Saige (or I should say Daphne) one that was sleeveless.  Doug was Fred (unfortunately we did not get a picture of him) and I was Velma (yes, the smart one 😉  ).

picked some berries in the morning for a raspberry/strawberry curd for the filing of the cake.  I tried my hand at a red velvet cake and was thrilled with the outcome. I usually try out new cakes on my friends and they don’t usually turn out good (I am not the best baker) but this one turned out good 🙂

In the haste of frosting the cake (15 minutes) before the party I forgot to cross the “T” in birthday.  And no that isn’t a spelling mistake – it is supposed to say Rappy Rithday (in the words of Scooby).

The hoops were a success and Velma really liked them too 😉  yes that is me under the wig and glasses – it was way too hot to rock the turtleneck!

So after this all this, I woke up and it suddenly was October!  Ugh!

And during this time Ryder started kindergarten, I (and a few others) are trying to get the schools garden built, I started doing a daycare co-op with a friend and her two kids and Saige is back in tap and Ryder is taking hip hop – phew! 

September always seems to sneak up and fly by.  The good thing is the “gang” has their costumes ready for Halloween – no costume sewing for Mama.  Now back to my quilt (and the other 50 projects I have half finished).

I can catch my breath now

As you can see we’ve been having some fun with tie dying. 

We’ve done two batches this summer.  Of course the first batch was to outfit our household and the second batch was to cloth our friends and family in Chicago. 

We recently headed back to Chicago for a visit and brought back a little Cali love in the form of tie dyes.  My kids LOVE their tie dyes – how can you not – groovy colors swirling around – just makes you want to smile 🙂

Our friend Kendra made a trip down to Dharma Trading Co. and unfortunately I couldn’t join her, but she came back with some tie dying goodies and made lots of fun gear for her kids and her new bambino.  Luckily our local art store had this lovely little kit that makes tie dying sooooo much easier than the good ‘ole bucket method.  It comes with 4 squeeze bottles with pointy nozzles and has the powdered dye already in the bottle – just add water.  It also comes with the soda ash and a fun little video showing all the different designs you can do.  The owner of the art store told me that he has all kinds of powdered dye to purchase so I can reuse the bottles.  It’s perfect.  I highly recommend the kit – it was only $19 and we ended up tie dying about 14 shirts, a pair of underwear and 2 pairs of socks and had left over.  The video was fun to watch too.  Ryder was all jazzed about the different designs to make.  And all in all it was not too messy.

While we were in Chicago we headed out to the Shedd Aquarium (one of my favorite places ever) and we took my nieces so we decided to all wear our tie dyes.  Let’s just say we really stood out in the crowd 😉

I’ve got some white sheets waiting for the next round of tie dying – Ryder really wants a set of tie dyed sheets.  He also wants to make Papa and Grandma some tie dyes (which is a hysterical thought if you knew my folks).  I think that will be on the christmas list this year 😉

I found this pillowcase at the thrift store the other day and had to buy it.  I had this dress in mind when I bought it.   I just love the colors and how summery it looks.  I had purchased some elastic thread a couple months back and have been wanting to try to sew with it (I’ve never used elastic thread).  I love the little smocked tops and dresses – they are so easy to just throw on and go.  So this was my first attempt with the elastic thread – and I think – not so bad 🙂  And I can’t help but LOVE that this is an old pillow case (no hemming needed).

I did add straps to the dress to help it stay on better.  I love the elastic thread.  Super easy to use and super easy to create a quick top or dress or skirt.

Give it a try and let’s see what you create.

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