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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine Crafts

Looking to do some crafting this weekend? Here is the link to Last Year's Valentine Crafts.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Needle Felted Tomten and the Fox

On a recent trip to the library, we found two books that are wonderful for the winter season: The Tomten and The Tomten and the Fox by Astrid Lindgren of Sweden, and also the author of the popular Pipi Longstocking. The Tomten books are delightfully illustrated and tell of the Tomten, a spirit-being in the folklore of Sweden, adding a new wonder and delight to our seasonal reading.

Unlike the Gnomes of England who live in the forest, Tomten live on farms in barns or cellars. In these books, the farmer's children leave food for the Tomten each night. As the moon rises, he walks silently, never seen by people, in the snow to make his rounds checking on the farm animals and even giving a mischievous hungry fox some of his tasty porridge. When they wake, the children see the Tomten's footprints in the snow. (The tile below has set in our home for years. Little did we know we had a Tomten in our midst.)

Last night, I made a peg Tomten and needle felted a fox who now stand on our ever-played with nature table.

Our home is surrounded by Amish and Mennonite farms, so barns, cows, chickens and crops are a common sight. Surely Tomten are there. Perhaps after the next snowfall we will go on a search for little Tomten footprints.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Handmade Holiday - given & received

This Christmas, I was determined to make some of the gifts I would give to family memebers. To my delight I received some handmade gifts as well.

I found several easy gifts to make for stocking stuffers and included the boys in the fun.

I collected some yummy scented soaps and set out to make felted soap using the tutorial found at
Rhythm of the Home.

I never thought I would actually use the old washboard my mother gave me.

Next, Aidan and I made little felt star ornaments for teachers and friends.

It is easy for little hands if you use a cookie cutter to hold the shape.

Peppermint Lip Balm. It smells so good that I even put it in my own stocking.

The recipe is from Soulemama.

We also made beeswax votive candles to give to teachers at church and school. The boys had fun rolling the beeswax around the wick and pushing on beeswax stars. Teachers also got yummy peppermint/chocolate pretzels: Mix 2 cups of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of Crisco over low heat. Once melted, dip in pretzel rods then roll in crushed candy canes.

I also made the boys growth charts. Here is a sneak peak. You will be able to read more about making making in the spring edition of
Rhythm of the Home, set to be released in early March.

Have I mentioned that I come from a talented family who makes lovely handmade gifts?

My older sister made herself, me, and our younger sister matching pillows remeniscient of gifts she gave me from
Middle Sister Wines.

My niece, an artist at heart, made me a lovely felt broach for my birthday.

She also made the boys fun felt food. Quite an accomplishment considering she has 2 young boys of her own.

My younger sister is so creative and makes lovely one-of-a-kind cards.

My husband, who never gives himself enough credit for his artistic talent, has a woodwork in progress for me. Hanging in our home, it will be a lovely reminder of our love.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

To "Embrace" 2012

Each morn is New Year’s morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.

-excerpt from New Year's Morning
by Helen Hunt Jackson (1892)

Saying goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012 is a slow process in our home. Although 2011 held its share of sadness, we are a sentimental bunch and tend to hold on to the joyful moments, especially the wonders of the last few week.

A welcome scene

A moving live nativity at a local farm

Anticipating the celebration to come the next morning.

A few homemade gifts (mint lip balm, felted soap, star ornaments)

(More on that in a future post.)

As the decorations come down, I look forward to the renewed hope, growth, and adventures that 2012 holds. What does it hold exactly? I do not know, but I do know that I can live purposefully. With that in mind, Jessica, from the blog Bohemian Bowmans, encourages her readers to pick one purposeful word for 2012. This year, my word is "Embrace." I will allow myself to embrace my life for what it is and not regret what it is not. I will embrace my family for who they are. I will embrace the day that is given to me, not just set back and watch, although I tend to be a wallflower.

I am not the resolution type, but I do have goals for the year. I am going to try new crafts in these cooler months. I am in the process of making a Waldorf Doll, and look forward to making wool roving scapes, people, and animls. As the months move on, I hope to relearn the piano and teach my oldest son how to read music, I might even break open my cello and our dulcimers. I will teach my children about cooking and in a perfect world, will learn to enjoy hours in the kitchen. We will see. Regardless of it all, I will Embrace what comes.
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