Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Birthday Part 2: Gnome Forest Terrariums

For Charlotte's 2nd birthday party, continuing in the Gnome Forest theme, I made terrariums as party favors. Everyone was able to keep a little piece of gnome magic by bringing home a tiny perfect world of their own.

Parts: I used gnome, deer and mushroom cupcake toppers from this etsy shop. The glass containers were found at Ikea. (I tried to thrift some, but came up empty handed.) The soil, rocks and baby tears were found at my local Lowe's. Activated charcoal - or carbon - was available at the pet store.
Assembly: First layer, at the bottom, is pebbles for drainage. Next comes the charcoal (for enclosed terrariums to filter water and air). Thirdly, spaghum moss keeps the soil from slipping. Now your soil, and finally, your plants. This site has a wonderful plant list, but I found most items were out of season. We settled on a flat of baby tears.

Care: The baby tears have already grown and are easy to pinch back. The terrariums are pretty much self-sustaining. They require only a little watering every 2-4 weeks. If there is too much condensation, just pop open the lid. When the soil starts to look dry or cracked, add some water. That's it!

For a wonderfully visual step-by-step tutorial on terrariums, you'll want to visit Pretty Little Things.
Thanks to my dear friend, Julie, for her wonderful photography. It is well worth hiring a professional to take all the candid shots while you enjoy your child's party. If you're local in northern California, I highly recommend Julie (contact me for her email address.) Here's her much better shot of my gnome army of cupcakes...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Welcome to the Gnome Forest: A 2nd Birthday Party

My Charlotte turned 2 years old today. She celebrated with all of her family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. at a Gnome Forest birthday party. I made cupcakes for the very first time...
with a recipe from my birthday cookbook for angel food cupcakes. After two attempts at the frosting, I deviated from the recipe and made my own cream cheese frosting with 8 oz. of cream cheese, 4 tblsp. of butter, 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar, lemon zest and 1 tsp of vanilla.

Martha helped with the red polka dot and brown cupcake wrappers.

The little gnome cupcake toppers were made from photos from this handy book. I found my copy at the local library. And while the pictures were helpful, most of the crafts are a blast back to the 80's. (I really don't feel the need to go back to that era unless I'm listening to music.) I resized the photos and printed out enough for the fronts and backs of our little gnome friend, then glued them onto toothpicks. There were more than 2 cupcakes to start the day, but this is all that remained at the end of it.

Also new, my woodsy cake stand placed upon the red-with-white-polka-dots-simulated-giant-mushroom tablecloth. Stay tuned for more crafty details...

As mothers always say, "I can't belive my baby is (insert unbelievable age here)!" In my case, it's 2. I'm afraid to blink because she'll then be 35. Happy Birthday, Charlotte. You'll always be my baby girl.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Bunch Of Sickos

This is a picture of my kitchen counter. Well, actually, it's all the homeopathic remedies I have on my counter because my husband and daughter are sick. You think I'd remember by now, but noooo, every year I forget to invest in Kleenex before the cold/flu season starts.

We avoid taking traditional medications due to the numerous side effects and generally just being disappointed with the results. We have found great success with homeopathic and herbal remedies. Plus, the tablets are yummy.

There was the time last year when Charlotte got her first ear infection and I took her to the pediatrician. He wrote a script for antibiotics. Ummmm, I think I'll try the mullein garlic eardrops and some G.S.E. first. Guess what? In two days time, she was back to normal. The doc said, "Wow! That antibiotic really worked! Usually, I have to see kids back in 2-3 weeks and there's still residual infection, but her ears look perfect." I had to break the news about my remedies and he said, "Well, it certainly worked!"

My dear H has to avoid cold medications due to his high blood pressure tendencies. (Who wants their heart to race from medication anyway?) So, he takes kali bichromicum, elderberry cough syrup and Yogi tea which work even better.

If you're at all interested in a more natural approach to healing, then I highly recommend this book by Andrew Lockie.Hope you and yours are feeling well this Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

No, I didn't win this Martha Stewart Crafts Stocking Kit in Vegas, but over at Rebecca's blog Thrifty Goodness. She hosted a giveaway when posting about her crafty day making Christmas banners. (Check 'em out.) I correctly guessed which banner was hers, and jackpot! Thanks Rebecca!

Lately, Charlotte has been pulling down the dog's Christmas stocking and trying to wear it like a thigh-high boot. I should hang this Martha stocking near Silly's stocking so C's not stomping through the kitchen monostockularly. Did you like that made up word?? I can hold my own at Balderdash :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

We're Really Not Rednecks

This does not work on Christmas tree branches.
This only sort of works. Yes, it's duct tape. On our Christmas tree.

We bought the biggest Christmas tree this year. It was impossible to pass up - only $10! Our tree is 8 feet tall - twice the size of our usual tree, but only one quarter of the price. We didn't have to traipse through the woods to get it. Nope, it was on an actual lot where all the trees were the $10 flat rate.

Our tree is full, lush and green. But, as we were lifting it into place, a branch snapped. Not just any branch, but one in a prime location... eye level, down front. It would leave a huge empty spot, so I pulled out the super glue. It failed. At last resort, we pulled out some duct tape and, well, stepped into redneck territory for a few minutes.

I keep worrying that someone will blink near the tree and down the branch will tumble. So far, so good. But please, nobody sneeze!

(with and without flash)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Last Minute Gifts

This screenshot is from my latest inclusion in a treasury, put together by leahkl . I'm very honored when an item is chosen to be mixed and matched for a collection of goodies. Thanks Leah!

It may appear that I've abandoned ship here, but I have not. I've been reeeeally busy making things for the shop. Many sellers are still shipping in time for Christmas delivery, so if you're still shopping - you might try browsing Etsy. You may search by color, items, theme, person, new, vintage, etc. The possbilities are endless.

Here's a peek at my last treasury (expired):
Hope this helps a few of you stumped gift-givers. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Frosty's Friends

Lera's done it again. She always has fun ideas. I saw her button snowmen hand towels and ran with it. She had a tough time deciding between white thread or black, so I used both. I also practiced my french knots for the eyes.

A local thrift has a big bowl of buttons for a dime a piece. I found exactly what I was looking for to make my snowmen. The dollar store had perfectly red striped hand towels. The thrift + dollar store = low cost crafting. One big note to self: digging through buttons is addicting.

On a completely random tangent... I have such a difficult time coming up with things for my Christmas list. There are plenty of things that could go on my list, I just don't think much about what I need. I've put myself on the back burner... it's official: I'm a mom!

Case in point: my husband has been sick and the air is quite cold. To prevent him from getting pneumonia, I've been taking our Scotty dog, Silhouette, for all her walks and potty breaks. Silly (as she's affectionately known) likes to run occasionally. This was the case a couple of nights ago. So, after she did her business, I picked up the pace and ran for home - watching Silly smile the whole time. Once home, I realized, something doesn't feel quite right. Yup, the elastic in my underwear is so shot, that my undies had slipped down over my hips, inside my pants. Actually, the only thing holding them up was the fact that I was wearing pants.

I guess now there is one thing I can add to my Christmas list: new underwear.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Needles In A Crimson Forest

It all sounds so mysterious... but it's actually just a needle book. I've been needing/wanting a needle book for quite some time. All my needles have been in disarray (no joke). Picking up my dumb ol' tomato pin cushion to constantly examine which needle I need, only to find the particular needle in question still stuck in some small piece of fabric somewhere, just wasn't working for me.

I've been working non-stop to fill orders and to keep my shop well stocked. While making more dolls, I saw a perfect little leftover piece of fabric for my needle book. Stop the presses! I am making something just for me!My book is made from a thrifted pajama top, from American Eagle Outfitters, with little, red, leaping deer. I inserted four pages of white wool felt, added a grosgrain ribbon loop and the sweetest little green tree button - voila!

I liked it so much that I made another one for the shop. The second one is better. It has a pocket.

No more searching for needles in a haystack... now I just look in the forest :)
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