Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hand Made Gifts for Dana

My beautiful puppy, Dana, turned 7 yesterday! Time really flies! She is such a blessing, such a grounding and loving force in our lives. We had a party for her on the 13th since last weekend DH was out of town and this weekend is Memorial Day.

One of her presents I gave her yesterday was this bone shaped pillow. She is so snuggly and just adorable when she rests her head on a pillow, so when I saw this cute fabric, I knew I just had to make something for her and a bone shaped pillow it was!

I free-handed the bone shape onto the fabric (used less than 1/2 a yard); cut out; stitched up leaving a hole for stuffing; clipped the curves; stuffed; realized 3/4 of the way through stuffing that I probably should have drawn on the "wrong" side of the fabric because it was looking more like a capital "I"; stuffed with organic cotton loose batting (a chop stick helped get it in the corners); used a blind stitch to close the hole; curled down the corners and stitched them to the sides so it looked more bone-like and less "I" like; gave it to the birthday girl and much tail wagging and doggie smiling ensued. :)

See how cute these doggies are? Remember how happy it made me just to serge the edges of this cloth? Actually working with it brought back those giddy feelings and they lasted longer. :)

This super sweet bag was Dana's Christmas present. Long ago, I tried ordering a bag with a black lab and Dana's name embroidered on it only to be sadly informed they were out of black lab bags. Having forever been thinking Dana needed something wonderful for travel, I made this. It is in dainty girly colors for my wonderful little girl.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend! May you sit in peace when you remember those who have gone before us.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mixed Media Collage Workshop

I'm really excited about this workshop! I'm taking a different approach for those of you who have taken before, so take a trip to Pittsburgh!! Join us!!! :)

Please check out the Face Book page and share it and this post with friends!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mama's Special Tea

Little Mr. came down with a cold, so I mixed up some cold care tea using herbs from my big order. I used a 25.5 oz jar (old marinara sauce jar) and approximately these amounts of the following:
about 1 cup of linden flowers and leaves
about 3/4 cup of elder flowers
about 1/4 cup of peppermint leaves
about 1/2 cup chamomile flowers (may cause an allergic reaction in those with allergies in the daisy family)
about 1/2 cup meadow sweet (apparently acts enough like aspirin you shouldn't give to children with chicken pox or to anyone with an allergy to aspirin.)

I've provided some informative links to the ingredients so you can know more about them should you try this mix on your own. There are also plenty of books out therethat tell more about herbs. (Just a disclaimer, I am not dispensing medical advice, just telling you what worked for us. :) )

When I took the picture, I'd already made a batch of the tea, so my amounts were a pretty good guess for filling the jar in any case. First, I poured the ingredients in a large bowl, mixed them up, and then made a funnel out of a piece of paper to pour it in the jar, about a cup at a time (using the measuring cup I used to scoop out the herbs from their bags... when I used a measuring cup, that is. :)

My proportions were largely based on what we had the most of and the fact that the peppermint is very aromatic, so I assumed the mix didn't need much. However, since Angelo was pretty stuffy, I used 1 tbs. of mix and 1 tbs. of peppermint in about a cup and a half of hot water. I used our small french press, which is so easy for loose tea, especially when you want more than one serving. Adding some raw honey to the infusion (once it's in the cup) makes it extra taste-y and you also get the anti-bacterial and mucus-clearing properties of the honey.

Since a box of Traditional Medicinals Kids' Cold Care Tea costs an average of $5, (which we really liked and where I got the idea to use linden flower and chamomile) I am guessing this jar of tea is equivalent to at least $20 worth of tea, and I know it did not cost me nearly that much. It only took a few minutes to mix up, so I'm not sacrificing convenience as far as I'm concerned and I also don't have to deal with any packaging.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pom Pom Smoothies

I was over at the Pink and Green Mama blog and saw this cute kids' craft on making Pom Pom Milkshakes. She uses the caps from spray on sunscreen, but we had some apple sauce containers that I thought would work nicely. Though she recommended either hot gluing or letting the "straw" dry completely against the cup, I thought I'd experiment with the last one and just put the pom poms in securely around the straw. It worked just fine. We called ours smoothies since we aren't really milkshake people. Mine was a strawberry smoothie with blueberry toppings. Angelo was excited to have such big yummy blueberries in his multi-colored smoothie. This was fun, used up some of those versatile pom poms and also snuck in some fine motor activity and nutritional education.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Mother's Art

Interestingly, I came across most of these pieces when I was working in the attic on Mother's Day. In the attic, where I'll be working on my art, I was bound to ponder how my Mother's art and craft has influenced my creative life. Though I no longer do pottery (I have a few pieces around here that I made as a young child, most likely with my Mom) and most of my paintings are either backgrounds for collage or just messing around, I know that growing up seeing my Mom create has encouraged me to do so myself. She also sewed, knitted, crocheted, macramed, airbrushed, made candles, did woodworking and surely some other things I've missed. We may not work in the same mediums, but I've either inherited or learned my Mother's "just try it" attitude. Except for knitting... for some reason, I have some sort of resistance to learning to knit. Weaving, however, is high on my list of "things to try".

So, it's really my Mother's fault that I have so many supplies in varying mediums. Ha Ha!

Thank you, Mom! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Castle

I hope you had a great Mother's Day! I had a lovely time myself, spending time with my guys and my pup and getting a whole lot of the attic cleared out. Though I'm not ready to show you the space yet, it may be safe to start creating in there...

Today's post is a little bit of catch up with Easter. Just a little kit that I picked up at Michael's and thought Angelo would enjoy. While I knew I would be putting most of this together because it says ages 6 and up, it took longer than it might normally because I let Angelo punch all the pieces out before we started assembling. This was before I looked at the directions, which are only a diagram with numbers on each each edge. So, eventually, we put the pieces back so we could figure out which sizes of the odd shaped pieces corresponded to the numbers on the diagram. We glued the roof and tower pieces together since they just wouldn't stay otherwise. Once again, Aleene's Tacky Glue came to the rescue. It works great and is non-toxic. Eventually we will color this; that's the plan. I'm thinking markers and glitter glue, but we will see what Little Mr. has in mind. :)

We're having our second sunny day in a row and are going back to the park! Enjoy you day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

DIY Facial Toner Parts I and II

You can see the ingredients I used on the first attempt in the picture above. I was trying to skip the whole "wait 2 days to make the rubbing alcohol and lavender oil become floral water" part because I waited until I was out of toner to look up the recipes again. In this case, hoping for the best just didn't work. In any case, I have sensitive skin, so I avoid toners with alcohol in them anyway. Duh. So after a few days of using the first formula, I gave up and cleaned the sink with it.

My second attempt I am much happier with. No bright red face and "ow, ow, ow"; just a nice, effective toner that does what I want it to do. It even works better than the toner I was just using, which was all natural, but too harsh for my skin. Keeping in mind that I have oily and sensitive skin, I came up with a formula that I thought would work:

-almost 4 oz. witch hazel extract (which is in alcohol, but the witch hazel would not keep otherwise and this variety has more witch hazel than the drug store versions.); soothing, calming

-about 20 drops of lavender essential oil (soothes acne, increases elasticity of skin and is one of the most gentle essential oils there are. It can even be used neat. Even so, I used less than what might normally would be called for.)

-about 6 drops of vegetable glycerin (moisturizing)

Even with my "learning curve", this toner still probably cost less than the 4 oz. of toner I just ran out of. Or is at least a wash and the next batch with be "free". Also, it gave Angelo a chance to help Mommy in the kitchen again- observing the scientific process, learning about solutions, measuring, fractions, volume, practicing pouring and one his favorite activities- opening things (building more fine motor skills.)

The sky is beautiful here today! If yours is not, I hope it will be tomorrow! Have a wonderful day!