Thursday, April 30, 2009

Over due Friday Finds....April 24th

I have about 3 posts I need to do but haven't had the sorry. It's been a crazy busy week. I will try to get caught up this weekend. Here is last Fridays finds as this week's is only 2 days away!

Babushka's Mother Goose book of poems .99 cents
Stacking doll set (only 3 so some missing) $1.99
Glass container full of marbles $1.99 (Not sure what I'll do with them but they are pretty)
Vintage Ask Mr Bear book .99 cents
Vintage Pinocchio and newer Raggedy Anne and Andy dolls in bag for $1.99

Hope you've all had a good week. Don't forget to enter in for my draw to win a felt story HERE. Good luck!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another Giveaway, and a Felt board tutorial

***this giveaway is now closed***

Sierra is all about stories lately! We read a lot of books at home. At daycare she enjoys the flannel stories the teachers tell her, and playing with the story pieces to make up her own stories so I thought it was time for her to have her own board from home.

To make this felt board you will need:
A canvas board (your choice of size, I used one which was 20 X 16 inches)
A single piece of felt to cover your canvas and overlap to be stapled to the back
Staple gun and staples
Wide ribbon
Hot glue gun and glue
Felt for back pocket

First lay your large piece of felt out on a flat surface. Place your canvas on top of it and trim around it leaving about a 1 1/2 to 2 inch allowance on each side.

Turn your canvas over and put a single staple in the middle of each side. Be sure to pull the felt taunt as you staple it to avoid sags in your felt piece. (Also be sure to keep your staples in the centre of the board. Don't get to close to the edge or the ribbon might not cover it later)
After there is one staple in each side you can begin to gradually put in more staples on either side, Again, pull the felt taunt as you go. DO NOT do one complete side at a time. Do a few staples on each side, turning as you go so the felt lays evenly on your canvas. Continue stapleing until all side are stapled and only the corners are left.
To do the corners, I folded in the flaps, trimmed with scissors and stapled them down.
When all for of your corners are done, using scissors trim the sides of the felt so it does NOT over lap the wood.
Next using some wide ribbon, cover the back of the boards to tidy up the staples. This step does not need to be done but it does finish off the board nicely.
Next Cut a pices of felt to fit inside the back of your board. Hot glue the felt to the board on 3 sides, leaving one side open to store your felt pieces in.
Now your board is ready to be used. Turn it over and have fun telling your favourite stories!
As another giveaway in celebration of getting my newspaper flowers on One Crafty Place I am giving away this story that is pictured above. It is called Mushroom in the Rain. It is the perfect springtime story, especially for those of you, like me, who love mushrooms and woodland creatures. This story also has a great message to your children about cooperation.

This felt story was made by my eldest daughter Meadow who sells on Etsy as A11ThatJazz. If you would like to be entered into this giveaway be sure to check out Meadow's shop at Etsy, come back and leave me a comment here about which item of hers, you like the best. It's that simple. Contest is open until 5th as I will be going out of town next week and will do the draw when I return.

Good luck everyone!

I also found these other felt board ideas

JCasa Handmade I love how she used scrap felt pieces to make story pieces for her child

Adventures with Mimi I love how she made hers into an easel!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A short but sweet post

Just a quick post to wish you all a very Happy Earth day tomorrow! May you all find ways in which to reduce, reuse and recycle. I do hope you try our newspaper flowers as they are fun to make and oh so pretty on the table and don't forget to check out the other links from the same post here as there are some great ideas for reusing newspaper.

I found this cute poem, and tomorrow before we do our neighbourhood garbage clean up and plant our new Lilac tree, I will go over this poem with Sierra and we will make our own badges out of recyclables when we are done.


I'm proud to wear my Earth Day badge
I give the Earth a hand.
I pick up litter, care for trees,
Recycle what I can.
I'm an Earth Day helper
Each and every day.
I take care of Mother Earth
In oh, so many ways.

This poem is from here and has some other cute little poems in celebration of Earth Day.

And last but not least, tomorrow we will celebrate the fact that tests have come back negative and our little Aayla does NOT have Cystic Fibrosis! YEAH!!!! Now we just have to figure our why she isn't absorbing nutrients, but not having CF is the biggest hurtle so the doctor says :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day! Newspaper Flowers and more...

I think reducing, recycling, and reusing are important all year but with Earth Day approaching, I figure it's a good time to refresh on crafty recycling ideas.

There are so many wonderful ideas out there but I decided this year we would focus on newspaper. We made these beautiful flowers:

First off, gather your materials:
Paint and Brushes
Pipecleaners (I didn`t think of it when we were making these but you could recycle twist ties to use instead of pipecleaners)
Thrifted Colourful Buttons
Scrap bits of green yarn or ribbon
Small branches or twigs
Empty cereal box or something similar for template making
Ability to draw 5 different sized circles or have objects to trace
Optional: Vase to display them in (we used rice for support for the branches)

Next paint the whole sheet of newspaper in pretty flowery colours

Next put the wet newspaper aside to dry and then draw or trace 5 circles to be your templates, each a little bigger then the next, onto your recycled cereal box. Cut them out.

Trace around your cereal box templates ontop of your painted newspaper and cut out the circles. Crumple up the circles, then partially flatten them again.

String 2 or 3 coloured buttons onto a pipcleaner (or long twist tie) Make sure to go up through one hole and down through another. Twist the ends together. Poke this tie carefully through each crumpled circle; starting with the smallest and ending with the largest circle.

Secure the flower by the pipecleaner or twist tie to a twig stem. Stand your flowers in a vase. I used rice in my base for stability of the flower stems.

Tie a bow on each twig stem with the scrap pieces of green ribbon and lace. These become the leaves.

These were fun to make, cheap to do, used many different recycled materials and look great as a table display for Earth Day! Perhaps mom or grandmom would like a vase full for Mothers Day. They look wonderful when they are grouped together and are sure to bring cheer to anyone near!

I wanted to pass on some other great ideas I found using newspaper as well:

Zakka life shows how to make these paper roses

Makingfriends shows how to make a kite

Junk Mail gems shows how to make these gift bags from junk mail

Highlightskids shows how to make this basic newspaper hat

Maya*Made has a tutorial for these gorgeous party hats

Make-Stuff has a recipe for papier mache

Learn how to make paper here

This dome would make a wonderful fort if it were layered with playsilks

Paper YARN...yes I said yarn made from newspaper, find out how to HERE

And when you are all done crafting, Craft Bits shows you how to make a dustpan

Esprit cabane shows how to make these adorable fairy lights (OK they are not from newspaper but I had to share them as I think they are adorable!)

May you all have fun reducing, reusing and recycling in celebration of this years upcoming Earth Day! May you enjoy these activities, and others you find or come up with yourself. Fell free to drop a comment and share your great recycling activity, or anything else you would like to comment about :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

100 Species Challenge, Rules, Entries #1,2,3,4, and 5

We are joining the 100 Species Challenge!
The Rules are as follows:

1. Participants should include a copy of these rules and a link to this entry in their initial blog post about the challenge.

2. Participants should keep a list of all plant species they can name, either by common or scientific name, that are living within walking distance of the participant's home. The list should be numbered, and should appear in every blog entry about the challenge, or in a sidebar.

3. Participants are encouraged to give detailed information about the plants they can name in the first post in which that plant appears.

4. Participants are encouraged to make it possible for visitors to their blog to find easily all 100-Species-Challenge blog posts.

5. Participants may post pictures of plants they are unable to identify, or are unable to identify with precision. They should not include these plants in the numbered list until they are able to identify it with relative precision. Each participant shall determine the level of precision that is acceptable to her; however, being able to distinguish between plants that have different common names should be a bare minimum.

6. Different varieties of the same species shall not count as different entries (e.g., Celebrity Tomato and Roma Tomato should not be separate entries); however, different species which share a common name be separate if the participant is able to distinguish between them (e.g.,
camillia japonica and camillia sassanqua if the participant can distinguish the two--"camillia" if not).

7. Participants may take as long as they like to complete the challenge.

We however will be expanding our search to include our park visits and nature walks. This will allow us to see more native plants and will be more eciting then walking around our neighbourhood over and over again in search of plants. We see so many great species on our walks and I'd like to share some with you as well as challenge myself to acrually find something out about the plants we see which I have no idea what they are!

In my original posts I will add what I know... and will edit the posts with what I have learned as I find out more about the plants I post. These edited posts will be in italics.

Entry #1: (and my inspiration to join this challenge) Small Purple Flowers
What I know: These little flowers brought back memories from my childhood of being a cushion to land on when jumping off our grandparents swing, their small and purple....I don't know a lot!

What I have learned:

Entry #2 Trilliums

What I know: These are called Trilliums, they are fragile, delicate, hard to find, have 3 petals and 3 leaves, are red in NS as well as white-here in BC I have only seen white, grow in wooded areas.

What I have learned: These are called Western Trilliums or Wake Robin (Trillium ovatum) These are one of the earliest spring flowers in Southern BC, their blooms turn purplish with age and blooms from March to May.

Entry #3 Fern

What I know: These ferns grow on the side of trees usually with moss

What I learned: Licorice Fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza) Are often found on bigleaf maple trees, but also grow on logs, rocks and wet mossy ground. This ferns whitish rhizome (kind of root like stem) tastes like licorice. First Nations people used this for colds and sore throats as well as sweetner for foods, medicine or just chewed on them for a bit of flavour.

Entry #4: Salmonberry

What I know: Similar to blackberries, have pink flowers and edible fruit

What I learned: (Rubus spectabilis) Common as shrub, blooms April to May

Entry #5 Unknown

What I know: has pink cluster flowers. I think it might be a currant?? Leaves resemble raspberries I think?

What I learned:

Derby Reach Park Walk

Today as the sun shone, it called us out to play. We went to Derby Reach Park in Langley.

Mom was in search of a place to take the photos of her gnomes for her Etsy shop she will be opening soon. Here is the one I received for my birthday. I just love him.

We think we found a great spot and in the next couple of weeks we will get back there to take the photos of the whole gnome family. Mom is just finishing up her little girls.

While walking I came across these little purple flowers.

I am not sure what they are called which is why I have decided to join the 100 Species Challenge. I will be tagging all blog entries related to this challengs as "100 species challenge" to keep track of all my entries. The first entry will be my next post and will have all the rules as well. I look forward to finding out more about the native plant life.

I will be changing my challenge a bit to extend the circumference of the search from 1 mile, to all the neighbourhood parks and walks we go on. (I do hope this is OK to do...for me I want to join to be held accountable for all those plants I don't know what they are, to actually go and find out!) I also think this is a great way to share with Sierra and the world; some local, native plants as well as some others which may not be so native....but will be really pretty, or at least, will help me solve a puzzle as to what they are.

Back to my purple flowers...These flowers remind me of my grandparents house when I was little. We had a old swing between a couple of trees and these little purple guys used to cover the ground where we jumped off the swings, flying through the air, to land in a bed of them.

On our walk we found this great old hollow tree. I love all the Licorice Ferns growing on it.

Sierra thought it was the greatest. She found a back entrance and a "secret seat" out back. She was so cute to watch playing in and around it; using her fantastic imagination, making up little stories as she played. Aayla was right in there with fresh dirt to play in too!

(Sorry about the quality of some of the photos as my little point and shoot failed me a bit. My battery was dying on my Rebel and I think they are cute enough and show a memory which I'd like to share)

Can you spot Sierra? She's sitting on her secret seat!
Aayla has become a walking machine! She still needs the aide of a hand or just about anything she can use to hold on and she'll walk for miles...literally!

While walking we had a special treat. A little chickadee darted out of this nest
And watched us from a branch for a bit.
When we didn't leave he flew over to his nest again, popped inside and back out again in a flash to lead us away I surmize, as he flew out of sight this time.
I thought it was quite special to find him in his home.

Some other pictures from our walk....Little Robin Red breast
Some fungi

Some pink flowers which I think are currants (check out the next post coming soon about our 100 species challenge)
A little or rather, a pretty big black bug
An abandoned nest
Wild bleeding hearts
This trail borders the Fraser River and had little pebbly beaches. Sierra didn't want to get close to the water but she loved the rocks and found a little lady bug.
And to end the day....I even got a cute smiley photo of Sierra. A rarity these days!
So happy that Spring is arriving, and bringing warm weather, sunshine and family times with her! Thank you Mother Nature for all the beauty you bring to us, when we stand still enough to stop, look and listen.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Butterflies Flutterby

Sierra had a blast today making butterflies!

I am sure most of you have made the melted crayon shavings between wax paper to make a sun catcher before but have you tried this method? It's much easier, safer and kid friendly then the traditional way.

These suncatchers were made with a warming plate (instead of an iron), wax paper, old crayons, and some construction paper cut in the shape of a butterfly body. I picked my warming plate up at a thrift store for $5.99. It's older but it worked like a charm!

The warming plate does get hot to the touch so have little hands becareful! Sierra will be 3 in June but she was quite capable of doing this activity with the warming plate. She did touch her fingers a couple times, and it is hot, but not hot enough to burn when turned down low. (at least mine isn't. Be sure to check your temperature after it is warmed for at least 5 minutes, to see how hot your plate actually gets.)

First we laid the wax paper onto the warming plate, then we used old crayons (remove all wrappers) and rubbed them over the wax paper. The plate is warm enough to melt the crayons and leaves streaks of beautiful melted wax colours on the wax paper. Crayons can be used by rubbing their sides, or as a writing utensil. Sierra was quite amazed at watching the colours melt and mix.

After Sierra decided her paper had enough colour, we set it aside to cool. (this only takes a minute or so) I then cut out a butterfly body shape from black construction paper, she drew on a face, white I cut the wax paper into a butterflies wing shape. Then the body was taped onto the wings, and we hung it in our window. It looked great with our left over Eggs we made for Easter. (I guess I should really clean my windows before posting any more pics of things on my windows. Finger prints and smudges are free at our house if any one needs some! )

Sierra then had fun with the magnifying glass looking at butterflies, flowers and pinecones.

I though this would be the perfect time to share with Sierra our newest shipment from mamakopp. We just received her wonderful wooden butterfly lifecycle set as well as these two adorable gnomes.
(The felt butterfly puppet, caterpillar and egg set I made today, and will be listing one set in the shop after this post)

The picture is a bit blurry but Sierra spent quite a bit of time searching through our butterfly books for the one that matched her puzzle piece and she was so ecstatic when she found it!

I hope you give this melted wax idea a try. It's simple, cheap, a great way to use up unwanted broken crayons, just in time to get in the recycling mood for Earth Day!