Totally in Love With. . .

. . .Snow!!!!

And, the fantastic feature on 686 brand snow jackets that extends the sleeves, meaning we don't have to buy a new jacket this year, too bad they can't do that with boots.

And big sisters who help littles get ready to go outside, and then, ride with them down the "big" hills.

And the way the sunshine makes it all look so sparkly.

And that we're able to be here, at home, together, to enjoy it all.

Craft Gift Reveal Part 1

I started writing this craft reveal post and realized it was very long so, I've broken it into two separate posts. Today, the planter box and caramels and coming soon, the kid made books, sugar scrubs and lip balm.

My husband and I each drew one of his parents names so, we decided we'd make them a bigger, joint gift together, instead of our own smaller ones. Both of them had admired the beautiful garden boxes he built this summer so, we decided to use the scrap wood he had from those to make a smaller, deck box version. Then, I made a finish mixing mineral oil and beeswax, following the directions at this site. I love how it turned out, it deepened the natural color and really brought out the character in the wood. I'll be adding the finish to our own boxes.

My middle girl was determined to make some sort of sugary treat for her uncle, so it's a good thing he likes sugary treats almost as much as she does. We usually make chocolates at Christmas, some for gifts, some the kids sell to friends and family to earn a few dollars for recital costumes and other sports fees.

They do a lot of the work themselves, under my very close supervision to ensure clean hands and no spoon licking, well, not until the end at least. The candies I've made with the kids in the past basically consist of melting and pouring or mixing chocolate, nothing too complicated, so when my girl decided she wanted to attempt caramel I was a bit nervous.

I knew it would involve a thermometer and that timing would be important. I also knew there were lots of opportunities to mess it up. But, thanks to AmberLee's failproof Homemade Caramel recipe  it was simple and stress free and so very delicious. It's fabulous, melt in your mouth yummy. This recipe is being added to the yearly candy making for sure.

Totally in Love With . . .

. . . the way he wears his daddy's hat

All. day. long.

And the gift it has inspired me to make.

Pumpkin Fairy

My sweet baby girl wanted in on the tutorial fun her brother and sisters were having. She found a dress her big sisters had worn in a wedding when they were her age and decided she wanted to be a pumpkin fairy. This is what she had to say about her costume.

"My dress is orange. I got the dress from (my big sister) for Halloween. I love it so much. My wings are BIG, they are parent size. And I put sparkles on me. It's Halloween! BOO!"

Photo taken by my niece

Thanks for playing along with our very late and now out of season posts. We hope you find some inspiration for make believe fun. Or maybe even plans for next year's costumes?  I know we've already started planning :)

Iris the Goddess of the Rainbow Costume Tutorial

After spending some time with Rick Riordan's books about Greek gods, demigods and mythical beasts, the 10 year old decided she wanted to go as Iris. This is her tutorial.

 You'll need:

  •  rainbow colored piece of fabric or shawl
  • some sort of headdress or crown
  • white fabric long enough to fit a round you (with extra)
  • string
  • sparkly ribbon
  • sewing Machine
  • sewing scissors
  • sewing needles
  • thread

Under Dress
The under dress is pretty simply what you need from the lists above are:
  • white fabric
  • string
  • sewing Machine
  • sewing scissors
 (Mom note, the purpose of the under dress is simply to make sure nothing peeks out under the wrap dress, it's not really necessary for dress up play at home) Take the white fabric and measure it to fit a round you, make sure you have enough room to walk and it is about from your ankle to your armpits (I used about 1 yard ).

Cut the measurements straight up so when you sew it, it looks like a tube, like the shirt of The Pirate Girl costume, except it is a lot longer.
Sew the two ends together to make a tube.

Cut out arm holes and make a casing at the top like a pillowcase dress.
Cut the string in two pieces that can tie above your shoulders.
Thread the string in the casings.


 The Rainbow Wrap
    Take the rainbow fabric and hold your arms straight out with the fabric behind you.
    Then, take your left arm and wrap the fabric around you to your right sholder. Have somebody hold it.
    Then take your right arm and wrap the fabric around you to your left hip.
    Take the piece on your right sholder across your back to your left hip and tie together.

    Take the sparkly ribbon and cut to fit around your wrists and neck.
    Add any jems or buttons.
    Use velcro, hook and eye fasteners or just sew the ends together.

    Finish it off
    Add a pair of gold or silver wings, a pretty headress or crown and now your the Goddess of the Rainbow, Iris.

    (All photos except the first and last were taken by my daughter, I'm still not sure how she managed since she's the one in those photos and I don't think she can work the timer?)

    Pirate Girl Costume

    The 9 year old saw a fancy pirate girl costume in a magazine, it cost around $50. I gave her a $10 limit on costume materials and access to my scrap fabric bin. This is her tutorial:

    You'll need:

    • 1 yard of knit skirt fabric (The black velour we had from previous costumes)
    • 1yard of pirate skirt fabric (the scull and crossbows tulle we found at Jo-Ann's)
    • 1/2 yard pirate shirt fabric (found once again at Jo-Ann's on sale)
    • scraps for the hat
    • Optional: eye patch (not pictured), fake dagger, (both found in target party supplies) scrap of fabric for sash, red hair dye
    The Skirt
    Pick out any color of stretchy knit fabric you would like. About one yard.
    Then, cut it into 2 pieces. Smaller at the top, but bigger than your waist. (see photo)

    Sew the sides together. Make sure not to sew the top or bottom.
    Make a casing at the top for elastic or a belt. (here's easy waistband casing instructions from
    Then, take a piratey net fabric, cut the same as the knit skirt and sew up the sides.
    Sew the nety fabric to the knit skirt at the waist.
    Put elastic or belt in.

    The shirt
    First pick out stretchy fabric
    Wrap it around you and measure how big you need it.
    Then you sew it together like a tube.
    We took a tank top and used it to measure, then cut out the arms and the neck. Then, we cut the front to a point. (a V-neck)
    Sew the shoulder straps together.
    Keep trying it on to make sure it's right. (If you use a knit, like t-shirt fabric, it wont fray, so the edges don't need to be finished, which looks just perfect for a pirate)

    Do rag/bandana hat
    Take a piece of skirt fabric and tie it around your head.

    The Knight Costume Tutorial

    "This would make a perfect tunic Mom! Can we make this into a tunic? Now!?" He says to me. I look up from the story I'm reading his little sister. He's holding a brand new pillow case from my new sheet set up to his chin as if it's a shirt he's considering wearing.

    Wow, I think, he's right. "OK," I say, "but, not that pillowcase."

    I'm always surprised at the things this boy comes up with, I never would have thought of turning an old pillowcase into a knight's tunic. This is his tutorial.
    You will need:
    • A Pillowcase
    • Cardboard box
    • Fabric scraps
    • (Mommy note, you may also need some tin foil, heavy duty scissors or utility knife with parental supervision and a shield pattern to trace)
    Pillowcase Tunic
    Find a pillowcase and ask your mom if you can cut it up. Cut a hole for your head. Fold the pillowcase in half and then snip (gesturing with fingers snip snip snip)

    Cut the arms. Fold again and snip just like the head. Cut the leg flaps
    (Mommy note: If this will be used for dress up play after Halloween you may want to zigzag or serge around the raw edges so they won't fray or rip further.)

    Shield Decoration
    Take 2 pieces of fabric and cut them in the shape of a shield.
    Then you take a sewing machine and sew the shield together. (Mommy note: right sides together, like a pillow, leave an opening or use some fusible webbing to create an iron on shield that wont fray).

    Flip it right side out and then push your fingers so you have nice sharp edges. Well, they won't be that sharp, but they'll still be sharp.
    Then, you put a dragon on it. You can color one with fabric markers if you want. If you don't, sew the dragon on with fabric (applique).

    The original dragon sketch
    And then sew the shield on (to the tunic). Be careful not to sew the back and front together.

    The Helmet

    Take a cardboard box and make sure it is not too fat.
    Make the eye holes. Put the helmet on and mark the spot for the eyes, take scissors and cut eye holes and it might be a little hard. If it's too hard use sharper scissors. (Mommy note: ask for mom or dad's help)
    Put tin foil on it and then you poke the eye holes through the tin foil.

    Finish it off
    Add a belt.
    Yell out loud. AAAHHHH!

    It's Never Too Late for Halloween Costumes, Is It?

    This and the following 4 posts were supposed to be published the weekend before Halloween, but life happened and it didn't get done. I was ready to scrap them, but so much work was put into them I just couldn't do it, even if I didn't get the best pics.

    This year the kids came up with their costumes on their own. I was there to help with some of the problems and to rip out a few seams, but for the most part they made them. They put some time into making tutorials too and we think others would still love to add these costumes to their dress up collection so, for the next few days I have scheduled our Halloween costume tutorial posts, written and created by my not-so-little, littles.

    Be sure to check back and see how these regular kids transformed into a Girl Pirate, a Noble Knight and Iris the Goddess of the Rainbow. (The sweet little pumpkin is hiding behind the knight)

    No Dolls were Injured in the Making of this Post

    I can tell by the piles of laundry left unfolded, the stacks of books not returned to the shelves and the baby dolls abandoned and left to fend for themselves, the craft gift making has begun.

    It's true, our yearly Thanksgiving craft gift exchange has us abandoning our usual chores in the hopes of finishing just a little earlier this year.

    The supplies have been purchased, a few crafts are well under way, some of us have teamed up to work on bigger joint crafts, all in the hopes that this year we wont be putting the finishing touches on our projects as we walk out the door Thanksgiving morning or worse, showing up with a half completed gift with promises of finishing it later (it's happened)

    In our house, we craft all year long and for Christmas we usually make at least a few of the gifts we give. So, because some of our gift giving is handmade anyway, we like to take the time for this exchange to try something new.

    This year, we are attempting some body care treats and, if all goes well, a few of those will make their way into the Christmas gifts too. And, unable to sway my daughter to something more predictable, caramels. Yikes! I have scheduled some long overdue posts for the next few days so that we can focus on our crafts and I'll be back after Thanksgiving with photos, details and links to the recipes we're using. Enjoy your week, Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends and happy crafting.

    Totally in Love With . . .

    . . . the new chalkboard wall

    And the poems, with illustrations, that find their way onto it.

    And the conversations they inspire, "This is like us homeschooling." Big kids, are pretty awesome.

    A New Cover for the Ironing Board

    It's silly how happy this new ironing board cover makes me. I've never made one before, I've never really thought much of ironing boards, and spending time and money to recover one always seemed, well, silly.

    This one will be hanging on a wall, within easy reach of the sewing table, and I thought it would be a fun opportunity to show off some pretty fabric. It was a lot tougher than I thought it'd be to choose and I'm surprised I chose this one actually, it's pinker than I usually like, but all those greens and browns, love it.

    It was super quick and easy, I didn't do anything fancy and I'm pretty sure anyone could figure it out on their own, but quickly, here's what I did.

    I traced the old cover, and by traced I mean I layed the old cover on top of my new fabric and cut, no pins or anything. I made it slightly wider than the original because it seemed to slide up on the sides at times. I had some bias tape laying around so I sewed that to the edge leaving a gap at the top, threaded the rope from the old cover through that with a large tapestry needle and pulled tight.

    There you have it, started and finished quickly on a Saturday afternoon while the kids watched a movie and the hubs brewed some beer. Oh the beer, I'll have to tell you about the beer soon. I'm so glad he's back to brewing.

    It's Late

    It's after midnight. I should be asleep, but silly me, having a cup of tea just before dinner. The first snow is covering the deck. The moon is full, it casts such an eerie light on everything. We've been sick. He's been working too much, early mornings, long days. I miss him.

    He mentioned I needed to post something, I didn't think he followed.