beautiful love

Yes, I have been crafting like crazy as of late but no I have not been carrying around my camera. To be honest, I have been finding it harder and harder as of late to capture beautiful pictures of my work and as this has been a struggle I’ve simply decided to just focus on my work and forget the photography. Sadly this means no posting of my new projects because really what is a blog without pictures? (not much of anything exciting to me especially being such a visual person) So I’m going to have to find some inspiration and technical advice somewhere soon but till then here are some beautiful photographs by the one and only Jenna Shouldice.

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lessons in becoming a knight

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This boy of ours has been obsessed with stories of knights, Robin Hood and hunters as of late and so I thought it in order for a family hike up in Mount Madonna County Park. They have the perfect setting for a young boy to let his imagination run wild. Tall majestic trees, white fallow deer, wild turkeys, an archery range and the ruins of the old Henry Miller estate make for the perfect “castle” to practice your sword fighting techniques or play hide and go seek, because hey who doesn’t like to play hide and go seek!
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All in all it was a fabulous day only it did leave our boy whining on the way home wishing he had a real bow and arrow to go hunting with and Mama yearning for more time in the mountains amongst tall trees and natures animals. One day, we will have our country mountain home and our children each their very own bow and arrows.

 

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Made by Ninos

made by nina

knitsweater

Well it’s winter and yes even though we live in California it is time for woolens and family time by the fire. So we were so happy when we received a gift by mail from our Compadres. Onawa received a beautiful sweater from Nina (Jenna) and she just adores it!

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Owen received these cute grey knit gloves from Nino (Tristan) and I personally cannot get over just how precious these look on him. They will be perfect for riding his bike on cold, foggy days. Thank you so much Compadres for these beautifully hand-made gifts!
 

 

 

 
Owen also got the gift of warmth from his Nina. Gorgeous new gloves to keep his little hands warm while playing outside.
 
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fall fairies

Inspired by my friend Alixandra Mullins we decided to make our very own fall fairy house for our garden. We started by taking a nature walk through the woods. As we took our walk we spoke of fairies, we noticed the changes around us,  and we collected items for our fairy house. Everything from the falling leaves to the acorns on the ground, spoke to us that fall was indeed in the air. For our fairy house we collected leaves, moss, and acorn tops and soon both Owen and Onawa were fast asleep. I continued my walk enjoying the quite of the woods, and letting the beautiful wonders of mother earth rejuvenate me. Back at home I got out our metarials. For this project you will need:

  • A hot glue gun
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Wooden bird house (we purchased ours from Beverly’s)
  • Items picked up from nature (leaves, acorns, moss, etc.)
I laid out all of our items found on our walk on the table next to the bird house and let Owen apply the Elmer’s glue to the bird house and start adding the nature items on. I added hot glue to parts that were not sticking so well. Once we felt our creation was complete we let it dry and once ready we moved it out to our garden. The fairy house has been a great addition to our garden. Owen has fun checking it out everyday, inspecting it for new critters or maybe even a fairy that has moved in.

We have yet to notice any visitors to the fairy house but we are sure to check it everyday in anticipation of a new friend.

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rain of leaves

Leaves

Little  leaves, little leaves,
High up in the trees,
Little leaves, little leaves,
Swinging in the breeze.
Autumn comes along
And they change from red to brown
Winter comes along.
And they flutter to the ground.

Inspired by this little poem and our valentines painting activity I brought out our stack of coffee filters and started cutting them into the shapes of leaves. I then set out some fall water color paints for Owen on yogurt lids that I collect and keep for such activities and he was off painting.

Then as he would finish up painting leaves I would hang them up to dry on some yarn I had strung across our kitchen window and give him some more blank leaves to paint. Once completely dried we added some glue to the leaves and stuck them to our sliding glass door for all to enjoy.


This is the paper that was set under the leaves Owen was painting. Doesn’t it just look gorgeous?

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felted eggs

Lately our little boy has been quite fascinated by chicken’s. So much so that his Lito (or Grandpa) actually got him two chicken’s of his very own to help take care of. He loves to give his chicken’s big hugs and even kisses. Oh how this boy needs a farm! Along with his obsession with chicken’s comes an interest in eggs. He just loves when we get to crack an egg when baking something yummy, unfortunately I never let him have a turn at breaking open the egg. I’m not quite ready for that mess just yet! So I thought it was time for him to get some little play eggs of his own for his play kitchen. I had seen some play eggs before online but made of wood. I thought that felted eggs would be just as great, maybe even better! All his other play food is already made of felt so I thought they would tie in very well together. In plus I love any excuse to felt some wool.

I decided that wet felting would be the best way to go for this project, pulled out my natural undyed wool and got to work. I tried my best to get Kai involved in the process, as I love the idea of him being able to help out to make his own toys and especially to be able to play with water and wool. However, it is quite hard for a two year old to understand or be able to have the fine motor skills to be able to shape an eggs out of a wet glob of wool. So I simply have him his own little ball of wool and let him do as he pleased with it. He enjoyed this very much. To make these felted eggs you will need the following.

Materials:

  • Natural, undyed wool
  • A bowl of warm water
  • Dish soap
  • A small towel
  • A felting needle (not nessasary but helpful)
  • An empty carton of eggs (I cut a 12 dozen carton of eggs in half that I had in the crafting closet for this project)

To get started fill your bowl of water (warm water works best), have your dishsoap and other supplies nearby and now begin by pulling out some wool. To begin you must start shaping thin layers of wool into an oval (egg shape). The technique I like best is to take a thin strip of wool about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide and start by placing my index finger in the center of the wool strip then wrapping the wool around my finger then folding over the wool under my finger and continuing in till I achieve a tiny ball. I then take another thin strip of wool of the same size and wrap it around this ball. I continue this process in till I achieve the shape and size I desire. This is where a felting needle can come in handy. Poke the needle into your shape when peices of wool seem not to be staying together tightly enough or it can also help you achieve the specific shape you are going for. For example when making felted balls I never found I needed a needle but with the eggs I found since the shape was a bit harder to achieve the needle was of a lot of help.

Once you have got the shape and size you want (make sure it is larger than what you want the final product too look like as the wool will shrink when put through the wet felting process) hold your egg either between both hands or just one and submerge under water. You want to hold your wool securly enough that it retains its shape under water but not so tightly that you smooch it flat or into an unreconizable shape. You will see air bubbles emerging to the surface and once all the air bubbles have stopped you may lift the eggs out of the bowl of water slowly. Be very gentle here, as if holding a baby chick in your hands as you do not want your wool to become a big glob of nothing resembling an egg. Now add the dish soap to the wool and begin to rotate the egg between your hands gently. You will soon see lots of lather building up, this is a good thing. Continue this process till the egg becomes firm and as the egg gets firmer you can handle the eggs with a bit more vigorous touch. Once near the end of the process you may gently squeeze the egg between your hands to ride of some of the water inside the wool, however be very careful not to do this too early as it can cause you shape to become all wrinkly. Once the wool looks well felted and your shape is nice and firm you may let you egg out to dry on a towel. This can sometimes take up to 2-3 days. A good video tutorial I like about wet felting can be found here. It is how I learned to make felted wool balls and I find it very helpful.

The end product: a half dozen of life size felted eggs for my little boy to cook and bake with. Love, love, love!

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cozy feet

I first saw these booties on Soule Mama and soon after found the pattern on ravelry. I thought they would be the perfect knit for this new baby of ours. Every little newborn needs cozy warm feet and it was time for me to learn how to knit some booties! Since I had never before knitted booties I was feeling a bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to pull this off. They looked pretty hard to knit since they were just so cute and not that simple looking. However, I did find them under the search “easy baby knits” at one point and told myself then and there that if I really put my mind to it I could knit anything. So my attitude going into this was to just go for it, not to hold back and not to be overly causous either because sometimes that is what causes me to stop and give up when it comes to a new pattern because I simply get overwhelmed thinking it is too hard and that I can’t do it, when really I never even give myself the change to really try in the first place.

I was so excited about making these little booties that I got started in quite the hurry. I stared into my basket of yarn and chose my favorite yarn, then my favorite needles, not paying any attention to following any sort of gauge. I soon discovered these booties would not be fitting my newborn baby any time soon but kept on knitting as I thought they would look equally adorable on my Kai. In plus I just couldn’t stop knitting these things. It became such an easy knit and I was having so much fun learning all sorts of new techniques I had never used before. Four hours later I had one complete bootie; well not counting the straps. The straps are actually very challenging. I ended up taking them in to my local knitting shop to get some help and even she said the pattern was quite confusing when it came to the straps.

Despite the challenge and frustration of finishing the straps I thoroughly enjoying making these booties and can’t wait to get started on my next pair. Which will hopefully fit a newborn! My due date is actually in two weeks now so not too sure if I will be able to complete them before this baby arrives but one day I will master newborn size booties, I will! As for now our little Kai has toasty feet and how adorable will it be for him to have matching booties with his little brother or sister!!

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this moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you all a peaceful and beautiful weekend.

-April

 

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outside in

Although Owen still sleeps in our bed he does indeed have his own bedroom. As it does not get used very often it has been left alone for quite some time with empty walls and bare corners. However, with my nesting instinct in full gear I was feeling it was finally time to make this space special for Owen. The walls in his room are very tall and so I could never picture simply decorating them with paintings or photographs and new some kind of mural would be the way to go. Birch trees are the first thing that came to mind, I played a bit with wanting to add in some animals but finally decided so keep things simple. Birch trees are one of my favorite kind of trees and I was excited to be able to bring a little of the outdoors into our home.

To get started I googled birch tree sencils to get an idea of how I wanted my trees to look as I knew I had many options. I choose a few pictures I liked best and read a blog (which I now cannot find for the life of me!) about what steps to take to paint birch trees freehand and was blown away at how simple it was going to be to actually do this. I was feeling a bit nervous about painting freehand on our house walls, so it was great to see the process broken down into simple steps. I am a painter but painting on our actual walls was really freaking me out. These three easy steps however really calmed me down and reasured me that I could do this without it looking like a total disaster.

Materials Needed:

  • Roller brush (I used one 4 inches wide)
  • Different sized paint brushes to paint branches and make touch ups.
  • Paint and paint tray (Note about my paint color choice: In Owen’s bedroom three walls are of a light blue and one of a darker hue so I simply used the paint leftover from this to create my mural. Using the darker hue of blue paint to paint the trees, this allowed me to use the lighter blue paint to touch up any mistakes I made. This made the whole process incredibly forgiving).
  • Blue tape

Step One:

Tape off base boards and ceiling in areas you will be painting your trees. Using the roller brush make your tree truck from the bottom to the top of the wall, this could be a straight line or curved, up to you, I choose to do some straight trees and some curved. I also choose not to make all of the tree trucks the same size. To do this I would only press down on one side of the roller brush instead of pressing the entire brush down to the wall. I would then use the smaller sized paint brushes to make touch ups along the sides of the trucks.

Step Two:

Add branches using smaller sized paint brushes.

Step Three:

Using the same color as backgroud wall color (here I used the lighter blue paint) paint lines into the trees to create the look of bark on the trees. Once this step in complete you are all done! Step back and admire your work.

I am really happy with the final product of this project. His rooms finally feels alive and like a fun place to be. As for Owen, he definitely seems happy about this new addition to his room. He’s been pretending to climb the trees and talking about monkeys and owls playing around up in the tree tops. Now I just gotta get Papa to build him some wooden shelves for his books and toys and his rooms will be complete. It took me about a year to get around to this project so lets see how long it will take Papa.


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this moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you all a peaceful and beautiful weekend.

-April

 

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