Happy Earth Day!

Who would have guessed that the Earth has it’s own day? Apparently, this event has been going on for a long time and I was just not aware. It’s kind of embarrassing to tell the truth. I’ve been around a long time and I didn’t know anything about this.

In fact, as you can see, my own daughter has a shirt that sort of rips on the idea that the Earth–you know the big, huge, all-the-people-in-the-world, EARTH only gets one day–when it appears it would like more — all 365 in fact.

So, I did a tiny bit of research, and found that this has been going on since the 70’s—I remember them–and has evolved to the point that the more earth-conscious folks actually, you know…like…DO stuff.

At first, I figured that it was just one more rigged plot to make me feel guilty–but I was wrong. The more I read, the more I learned about how easy it can be to do things a bit better–and really help a lot. It made me feel a bit super heroish. Just doing my part to save the universe.

So first, we should all take the Green QUIZ to see how green we are really living. Don’t be afraid. It is fun. You might be surprised at how well you’re doing. If you need some new tips that’s ok too.

Then, I read about this cute idea for making a compost bin. As long as it doesn’t stink up the place or attract rats or bears or anything–I’m game. It looks pretty cute and my dad used to swear by compost for his garden.

Next, I stumbled onto an adorable paper mache globe that is easy enough to make during nap time. I love globes–they remind me of that little baby that had memorized the map. So cool. Anyway, this globe would be a fun activity for the day.

If you need a Mall adventure here’s one. Take 3 plastic bottles to a Disney Store near you and they will give you a free reusable tote bag , or reusable water bottle.

Earth Day Tips:

Plant some flowers or even a tree.

Step up your recycling efforts by calling the city and ordering a recycle bin.

Find alternatives to bringing your groceries home in plastic bags.

Drink from a reusable water bottle.

Reuse the bags that you have to give them a new purpose–forgive the shameless plug.

Pick up and throw away litter in your neighborhood.

Walk somewhere instead of driving.

Send an Earth-Day greeting to a friend.

Turn off the lights.

Open the windows for a nice cool breeze.

Smile at someone you don’t know.

Buy the organic version of a product you love.

Finally–as a nice bedtime story—watch Wall-E.

I know this post is a link-fest, but there was just so much good stuff–I couldn’t help myself. I hope you’ll click on them.

Even more cool Earth Day Stuff!

Let me know what you’re doing to celebrate our planet.

Happy Earth Day.

Thankful block…

Here is a pretty great thingy that we made a while back–which I positively love—so I want to show it to you. It never hurts to have a reminder to be…

Of course, we didn’t free hand this–fear not. It was a big, old block of wood that we painted, sanded, roughed up a bit, and then “dirtied” with some black stuff–no idea what it was. Then we took a rub-on stencil and a tongue depressor, and applied the sticker. Pretty dang easy.

People ask me all the time where I got it, but since it was an Achievement Night Class project–I have know idea where the stencil came from. However, if you love this and are interested in something like it, I’m just real sure that Katrina– over at Katrina’s Kreations could likely hook you up.

Steiner Baby

I first saw these little dollies on a site called Sooz. They are tiny and simple to stitch together from felt scraps, T-shirt fabric and some cotton thread. They just looked sweet to me and it was easy to imagine them sneaking into a six-year-old’s pocket as she’s on her way to church. I’ll show you my adventure with this fun thing.

I folded a piece of paper and sketched a basic pattern. It wasn’t anything complicated. I’ll post a pattern here by day’s end–but really it’s quite simple. Cut two from felt–wool felt is wonderful, but I had a piece of earthy brown regular felt and I couldn’t resist using it.

This will give you a good idea of the size. Just right for your Goldilocks. Use a blanket stitch to sew the front and back together.

I didn’t have a flesh colored piece of interlock for the head and none of my kids had a T-shirt the right color either or it would have been in great danger. I finally bought a 4″ strip at the fabric store. Fold a 4″x 4″ piece and sew a 2″ wide casing. Gather the top into a bunch. Turn it right side out.

Stuff the head and body with cotton or wool batting.

Sew it onto the body.

I made a brown braid from cotton thread, and cut out a bandana from red sparkle felt.

After tacking on the bandana, sew two simple stitch sleepy eyes.

The End

Baby Flower Headbands & Clips

If there are babies or young girls on your gift list this year, these go together quick and easy–and are cute and trendy to boot!

Here’s what you need to get going:

  • Some double pronged salon clips. I bought mine at a local hair supply store, a box of 80 for about $6.

  • Glue Gun and glue sticks
  • 3/8″ ribbon. I used grosgrain because I like it. Twill tape works well too. Satin is a little hard to work with, and with organza, you’ll likely get burned with the glue coming through. If you’re like me you might get burned anyway.

  • Fake flowers. There are several ways to acquire these. Scrapbook stores sell them as embellishments, but make sure you’re getting fabric/felt ones, not paper. You can also buy stems of flowers at a craft store and take them apart. Finally, you can buy felt squares (they were 25 cents a piece at my local JoAnn’s) and cut out your own flowers.

  • Flower middles. These can be anything from buttons, to little rhinestones, to scrapbooking brads. Use your imagination. I like using brads to hold all the layers together, and then gluing buttons or rhinestones on top.

Here’s how to do it:

  • First, cover the alligator clip with ribbon. Using the glue gun, start on the underside of the clip (that’s the straight side, without any angles). Glue the edge of the ribbon down then fold it over to continue covering the clip. This gives a nice folded edge look, that won’t fray. Glue the ribbon all the way around the clip, stopping on the underside of the top set of prongs. The bottom set will remain exposed so that we can clip it to things later.
  • Assemble your flowers. Combine different sizes, colors, and shapes for visual interest. Also, keep in mind what colors are popular or favorites for children’s clothing. I had fun with mine and made some seasonal, even. Try to incorporate 3 or 4 layers so that the flower has some depth.

  • Put the layers together with a brad, or glue them together with your hot glue gun (careful, or your fingers will look like mine).

  • Add some flair by putting glitter, rhinestones, buttons, fuzzy yarn, or brads. I used some glitter glue on a few of the petals and it turned out really cute.

  • Glue the flower to the alligator clip you covered earlier. Try to align the clip over any brad prongs so that they don’t catch hair.

You’re done with the flowers, now on to the headbands. I use crocheted baby headbands that I bought online. I’ve also seen them in boutiques and even a grocery store or two.  They are cute, and stretchy and feminine, and the alligator clips can clip right into the fabric.

Alternately, you can make headbands out of knee-high nylons. Just take the nylon, cut off the toe and the ribbing at the top. Now, take the long middle part of the nylon and glue the two cut ends together, making a loop out of the remaining sock.  Then, you can make a loop (with the ribbing) to wrap around the area you just glued together. Leave part of it not glued down so that you can slip the alligator clip in, and voila! A cute, interchangeable headband!

P.S. If you’d like to scrap the headband idea and just make some cute flowers to clip in hair (these work better for older girls, not babies), you can always assemble the flowers as above, but instead of using alligator clips, use the spring loaded clips. Again, purchaseable at a well stocked craft store.

Happy headbanding!

~April~

Gingerbread House Festival

With my dad being the official “Gingerbread Man” in these parts–we couldn’t stand to let the season go by without that cinnamon and cloves scent in the air. So the girls got together at daddy’s shop…

And made a busload of honeycake dough.

The official recipe is called Lebkuchen. It’s a very stiff dough, so daddy’s mixer came in pretty handy. My little Kitchen Aid would have been smoking with this stuff.

Each one of these dough balls will make one pan.

One pan will make one house.

Here they are after being baked and cut and stacked.

Each of us had our own idea of what the “perfect” candy was–so when we got together on Daddy’s birthday, to actually put the houses together we had a ton of candy.  Just looking at all this stuff gave me a sugar rush. It must have been the vapor of sweetness in the air.  :]

**The most important tip for having a successful gingerbread house experience is to decorate the front, back and sides of your house BEFORE you put the pieces together.

This will save you from having to work in tight, crazy places and also keep you from knocking your house down while trying to glue candy to an upright house–not cool.

Once you paste the house together, then you’re ready to frost the top. We use Royal Icing to glue it all together and Fluffy White for the roof and yard “snow.” April is really good with the icicles. Me…not so much.

So, here are the results of our Gingerbread fest.

April’s professional house

Jacob’s house–ready for snow!

december-12-2008-025Lyndi’s Orange Tree House

december-12-2008-027Lyndi’s stained glass star

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Rhen’s Angry House…don’t ask. You missed the Teddy Graham hanging from the rafters and the snowman with a rifle. It was not pretty. I should have known there was just too much laughter coming from his end of the table. Boys can be so odd.

december-12-2008-0211My silly little house with pink malt balls. Ummmm…. Note: Cream Savers are not particularily good team players. They slid off my roof all night. They get a D in behavior and staying put.

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Pretty crazy about that chimney though.

presents-029Jillian’s Whoville House

presents-032Back of the Whoville House

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Our very own Gingerbread Babies and their first taste of Great-Grampa’s Honey Cake.

Daddy would be so proud!!

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Sue Sheets…because she remembers.

We’ve been translated into French!! See this post on Blue Marguerite.