Spring time Egg Suncatcher

I’ve been wanting to introduce some type of activity with clear contact paper for some time now. I thought Ellie would enjoy sticking things onto the contact paper and she’s getting older to where projects of this kind may be of more interest to her. I stumbled upon this easter craft on pinterest and thought it would be a lovely way to bring some natural elements into the home as well as enjoy a lovely walk with my little girl.

picking flowers
We took a walk around our neighborhood and I explained to her that we were going to collect flowers to bring home for a project. She wanted to carry her nature bag AND the little gathering basket we sometimes take on walks and we talked about only picking the flowers we found that were NOT in our neighbors yards. Luckily for us, we discovered a whole new world of weedy flowers I never knew existed until now.
through the gate

purple flowers

flower basket

I let her pick a few flowers from our yard and we found some flowers and petals that had fallen off the plants too. So we came home with quite an array. I cut out an egg-shaped piece of contact paper, taped it to her table and we worked together to place the flowers on the sticky side. She liked laying all her flowers out first and then liked pulling petals off of flowers and sticking them to the contact paper.

arranging

arrangement too

cut out

flower petal placing

flower petals all over

finished project

When Ellie was done, I stuck another piece of contact paper against it and then stuck it up on our back window with washi tape, to create a stained glass flower egg.

close up egg

easter egg extraordinarie

Gramma’s Easel

When I was a young child living in Hawaii (my Dad was in the air force during my early years) , my mom would take me to a local park for “play mornings”. I don’t remember much about it, but I think it was like Gymboree or Mommy and Me before there was such a thing. Anyway, at play mornings we got to do all sorts of fun things like painting and playdoh. My mom took those ideas home with her and I remember many childhood days of arts and crafts at home, my mom cooking playdoh on the stove for us or creating tabletop easels. The other day, I asked her how she made those easels so I could make one for Ellie. A couple of days later she showed up with this box, all ready for some contact paper to complete it.

box easel

She took a large box and cut it just so, to create a triangular shape, one side being larger than the other.

other side

contact paper

Then I added some pretty contact paper to cover all of the sides of the box. And then cut two slits in the top for the clothespins to attach.

set up

I set the easel up outside (because it was such a lovely day and for easy clean up). Ellie wanted to use finger paints and not the paintbrushes so I placed the paints in a plastic bin (her palette) and let her do her thing. As you can see, she enjoyed the process very much.

feet and paint

mixing colors

front view

 

hand

 

side view 2

palette

Thank you Gramma (Mom)!  Just like I so enjoyed painting on an easel like this one so many years ago, I’m certain Ellie will enjoy her experiences with this homemade easel as well!

 

Happy April! (and another swap)

As always, I  start every first of the month with “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!” (A saying of good luck my family has been using for decades). I can’t believe it’s already April! My, the year is already going by so quickly.

rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

calendar switch

I love switching out my calendars every month. It seems to give the month a fresh slate.

april kitchen

We’ve been busy around these parts. Gardening, reading, playing and crafting. After finishing up with the lovely blogger swap a couple of months ago, another blogger mentioned wanting to do one for the children. I know how much Ellie LOVED receiving the beautiful nature satchel from my swap, so I thought it might be fun to do another one especially for her. So I signed us up. Ellie, I believe, is the youngest of the children swappers but she can paint and collect rocks like the best of the them and so that is exactly what we did.

And I added in a little spring time fairy I hand sewed to complete the swap gift.


DSC_0264

These were all rocks and shells Ellie found on the beach and one pine cone from our local park. And Ellie was happy to paint for a new friend. We packed everything up this morning and sent it off to our blogger swap buddy. We’re hoping she likes it.

the goods

burlap satchel

spring fairy

Thank you to Marcela for putting on the children’s blogger swap! We had a fun time participating! And Happy April to all of you!

Spring Making

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve really blogged. I fear I’m in a blogging lull as well as having a hard time these days fitting any kind of blogging in. My very busy toddler who dislikes sleep is part of the blogging lull culprit. Wanting to create and paint and read and play is the other culprit. I finally got my act together this week to take a few photos of what I’ve been making in the home and I thought I’d share (and hopefully I’ll be back to regular blogging soon).

I’ve been working on new felt characters for Ellie’s felt board. Like any young child, she is enjoying Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. And I thought it very appropriate for spring-time to make her, her very own felt board set to go along with the book. It’s a bit slow going (as you can see I’ve only made it half way through the fruits) but I’m hoping in a week or so I can finish them up for her.
hungry caterpilar

on the board

I have also been debating how to set up a “spring table” for Ellie. I love the concepts and philosophy of Waldorf and when I taught preschool even incorporated some Waldorf philosophy into my classroom. One such thing was the nature table. I always try to have a basket of nature items Ellie has collected on her walks for her to explore at her leisure but I really loved the whimsical nature of having a playspace for spring time. Something that helps a child understand the colors and the development and the magic of the season. Since Ellie is still so young, I wanted to keep it simple. She’s very much enjoying periods of independent play with the little Ostheimer animals we got her for Christmas and so I bought some bunnies and a goose for her Easter basket (for this photo shoot, I brought out the bunnies and goose but shhh! Ellie won’t see them till Easter). So with those wooden animals in mind, I went to work on a fabric playscape for her table. Something she can move around if need be. I used wool felt and batik fabrics and created a lake, grass, a little bunny cave and some stepping-stones. It was a joy to make and she is using it now with the animals she has already. I think I’m going to have to make one for each season!
spring playscape

playscape with animlas

stepping stone bunny

 

cave

 

goose

 

the whole shabang

play time

the cave

horse play

 

-joining in with our Making part of Making + Listening with Dawn.

It Feels Like Spring

I know living in California, we don’t have the definitive seasons like elsewhere in the world, but I’ve learned to really notice the subtle differences in my environment  that seem to announce that spring is coming. It’s greener, there’s a crispness in the morning air, the flowers are brighter and already blooming. I start to get antsy in wanting to replace the heavy winter quilts with light colorful ones. I start decorating with more greens and yellows. And in any spare time I have, I start organizing and purging like mad. Oh how I love the coming of spring.

spring flowers

 

Daffodils bringing greens and yellow into the home.

oranges

 

Some of the last of the winter oranges from our tree.

corys quilt

 

ellie likes it

 

New quilts to cherish (made by this lovely lady, thank you Cory, as you can see we both LOOOVE our new quilt) plus a bumble-bee bib to brighten up  the home.

mushroom

 

Spring time fairy garden terrarium drawings… I can’t stop making them!

mushroom

Handmade mushroom’s on top of newly dusted off spring time runner (I love taking this runner out of its box)!

nature table

Getting Ellie’s nature table ready for spring!

getting the garden readyAnd maybe one of the most exciting things… getting the garden ready. Our new boxes built by Jeff and his Dad.

Oh spring, I’m so glad you are almost here!

 

 

 

 

 

A Very Thoughtful Gift (a blogger swap update)

This past weekend I received an incredible package in the mail. My blogger swap package!

I was so excited to see what I had received and from whom. I was so delighted when I opened up the box and found a menagerie of lovely handmade, incredibly beautiful gifts from this wonderful blogger. In fact, I was touched by the genuine thoughtfulness of the whole package.

lovelies

She sent a lovely handwritten card, two beautifully made wash cloths, two bars of soap, peppermint honey lip balm (which I’ve used every day since, it’s wonderful!), an incredibly lovely shawl for cooler days and my two favorite articles, the nature bags. There’s the beautiful oatmeal colored one for Mama and the darling sherbet colored one for Ellie! It was so fun presenting Ellie with her very own nature bag. We took them both down to the beach for a bit of nature collecting right away!

trying on her new bag

ellies beach bag

carry it with me

This bag will surely be treasured for years to come. As you can see, it’s already become one of her favorite things. (We even brought it to the library yesterday morning). We also received some artifacts of nature from across the country to add to our collection. I’ve never gotten anything like that before and it’s an extra special kind of gift to receive.

chinese lanterns

My goodness, I was surprised by how generous my blogger swap partner was. This whole swap filled my heart with gladness and joy. It’s made me want to really start sending mail to friends and family, something I long got away from doing. I’m trying my best to keep up this simple joy and pass it on to others who may need a bit of cheering up or even a little note to remind them of how much they mean to me. I’m thankful I participated in this lovely blogger swap. Thank you Amanda for hosting and ten million thank you’s to my swap partner! It’s as if we’ve been friends for a long time. Your handmade treasures will be well-loved in this home.

I am hoping the recipient of my handmade items enjoys them as much as I enjoyed my things. Before sending my package off (it should have already arrived or arrive this week, I hope), I ended up making a couple more things. I found a recipe for citrus salts a while back and wanted to send something “Californian” her way. So, I plucked one of our backyard lemons and made her some Lemony Salt to rub on meat or sprinkle on top of salad or a baked potato. I also added a hand-drawn beach stone into the mix as well. I’ve never made one before, but it was so much fun and turned out lovely I think. I hope it added a bit of the beach to the gift.

lemon salt

beach stone

gifts

Making + Listening: Blogger Swap Edition

MAKING (or made): I’ve finished my blogger swap gift and will hopefully be sending it out tomorrow. I did a little snooping around her blog and discovered she liked the color purple as well as lavender and was a big coffee fan as well (I’m hoping all these clues do not give it away), so with those things in mind I set to work on some hand-sewn coasters, so that she may have a lovely resting spot for those cups of early morning coffee. I made her a card of lavender with pen and watercolor and I had to throw in a bag of Ventura’s best local coffee as well. I’m hoping she enjoys these things. I know I sure enjoyed making them for her.

coasters

 

coasters side view

 

lavender card

 

the whole shibang

 

inside view

 

As for LISTENING: We are still heavy in Elizabeth Mitchell music. Ellie loves having it on in the morning to dance to, snack to and play to. I have had on George Winston’s Winter Into Spring record playing in the afternoons. It helps to relax me and helps to set a calmer mood for the rest of the day.  And, I have to confess, life with a toddler has me quite out of the loop of musicals and movies (stuff before baby, I was very much current on). Well, I kept seeing all this talk about the new Disney movie Frozen on social media. I haven’t seen a movie, let alone a Disney movie in over 2 years, so I really had no clue this movie even existed. I know, I know. But, because of all the talk, I finally you tubed some clips and oh my goodness, I had no idea my favorite singer Idina Menzel was the vocal talent! And the music (that I’ve heard so far) is so very lovely. I may just have to sneak away sometime soon to see the movie for myself. And being a fan of Disney music like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, it will be fun to share some of my favorite songs and movies with Ellie one day.

 

-joining Dawn for her Make and Listen Along!

Valentine Goodies

I never shared the little Valentine goodies I made for Jeff and Ellie, so I thought I’d pop in real quick with some photos.

ellies vday loot

I whipped up a little batch of felt shapes sewn onto flannel for Ellie. She’s been really interested in shapes (specifically hearts, triangles and ovals). She has a lovely book about shapes that she brings to Jeff to read every night and also has a new-found love for her shape sorter we got as a Christmas gift. I thought having some soft little shapes to go up on her board might be fun.

heart

I also discovered this wonderful book, thanks to my online breastfeeding support community. A beautiful story about the joys of extended breastfeeding.

mamas milk

shapes on the board

shape sorter comes out

When Ellie realized what the shape felt pieces were, she ran to her board and placed them on and then went to find her sorter and got out all of those shapes relating the two. This girl is a smart cookie!

banjo quilt

For Jeff, I whipped up a little hand-sewn and embroidered banjo. I had been wanting to try my hand at embroidering a banjo for a while now and thought it would be a nice little gift for Valentines Day. He now has a banjo and a hop plant. I’m thinking about maybe putting these in a quilt for him one day. As for now, they’ll hang in his office or somewhere in the house and hopefully remind him of how much I love him. Here is the card I made for him too. Hope everyone out there had equally lovely Valentines Day’s. xoxo!!!

vday card

Making + Listening: Valentine’s Edition

MAKING: There has been lots of making and listening around these parts. Now that Ellie is feeling better we’ve had some painting sessions…

paint away!

look at my hands

collecting

And some afternoon walks where we collected sticks for another Simple Things Notebook inspired nature craft. Ellie did the stick collecting, I did the hot glueing.

heart wreath

And the big project I’m working on is putting together something special for the blogger swap. After spending an evening visiting all of the blogs involved in the swap, I can tell you I am a little worried my contribution won’t match up. These bloggers are AMAZING at what they do! I started working on a set of hand-sewn coasters to begin with. I’m excited about the fabrics. A couple of them are from the Downton Abbey collection which I find just lovely. I hope my blogger swap partner will find them lovely too.

coasters for blog swap

LISTENING: Little Bird has been on repeat for many days now, but we have also managed to have some classical playing in the evenings with dinner. I had picked up a lovely french classical c.d. on my honeymoon in Paris. It used to reside in my classroom and was played often in the early mornings upon the children’s arrival. Now it’s come full circle. Playing in my own home for my own daughter to enjoy.

-joining Dawn for Making + Listening!

Little Birds

Ever since those regular beach days we had a few weeks ago and chasing sea gulls over the sand, Ellie has been noticing birds a lot more. While she was sick we you-tubed some Elizabeth Mitchell music videos and one of them was this one. She loved it so much we downloaded the album (I, myself am a big Mitchell fan so downloading the whole album was no big deal) and Little Bird, Little Bird has been on repeat ever since. I have also been wanting to replace the hot air balloon residing in our master bedroom (we have three from Ellie’s birthday, placed all over the house) with something a bit more natural looking. I loved Dawn’s Alphabet Glue migration birds and I thought it might be something my 18 month old and I could work on together. I cut out some card stock birds using  the pattern from Alphabet Glue and let Ellie paint away (this child surprises me every time with her painting skills. She knew to stay right on the birds and did a marvelous job).

ellie paints birds

 

ellies birds

 

bird guide

And during an afternoon nap one day this past week, I was able to sneak away long enough to paint two of my own little birds. I used our Western Bird Field Guide as inspiration and decided to try for a sea gull look inspired by Ellie and my favorite beach visits.

mamas birds

 

sea gull

 

My pictures do not showcase the light, airy colors Ellie and I both chose. It’s hard photographing a mobile.

But, I’m enjoying it hanging in the bedroom next to the nightstand. It gives the room a natural feel with the beachy stick we found on our weekend seal walk and it makes me happy to think that Ellie and I both worked on it. Ellie smiles and signs “bird” every time she sees it.

ellies bird in flight

 

the mobile

 

quiet beauty