You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2008.

Just for fun, I searched cygnet on Etsy, one of my very favorite places to window shop/gather inspiration. Only a few things popped up but look at this adorable needle felted Swan and Cygnet from the shop Wool Pets:

Cute, eh?

Advertisements

I haven’t been feeling very posty lately.  I guess it is because I haven’t really had much time for being crafty either — the two things must be linked, eh? 

Anyway, I thought I would post up another past project in hopes of inspiring some new creations.  I made a Waldorf doll a while back for Eleanor.  It was really fun but took a while to complete.  I did a large 20″ doll, and if I do another, I think I will opt for a smaller size — the doll is nearly as big as my daughter!

I got a complete kit from Weir Dolls & Craftsin Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The kit contained all of the supplies and directions I needed to make the doll, as well as directions for clothing, which (embarrassingly) I still have not made.  The materials were lovely to work with and the directions were quite good, even for a novice like me.  Everything is natural, cotton knit for the body, wool for the stuffing, mohair for the hair, which makes for a beautiful finished doll.  And, you can customize the look of the doll with hair/skin colors and hair appearance. 

Here is the finished doll, recently dubbed “Big Girl”, wearing a dress made for a 16″ doll (hence the snug and rather too short appearance):

Waldorf Doll

Giraffe Stool

Here is another old project, which I thought turned out pretty well.  although you wouldn’t know it from the poor photo quality please forgive, I’ll try to take a better one and replace it (new photo!) When my daughter was starting to brush her teeth and wash her own hands at the sink, she definitely needed a stool. All the children’s step stools I saw at the stores were quite boring, so I decided to make her one with a bit more personality.

I am sure there was some inspiration for the paper cut and Mod Podge combo that I ended up using, but I can’t remember what it was. For the design, of course, I decided to do a giraffe because my girl has a special lovey named Dear Giraffe (or sometimes Giraffey). 

I sat down with a very rough, hand drawn pattern, which I cut into three parts and spread across the stool, which was purchased at a craft store (Michael’s or AC Moore, probably). Then I disregarded the pattern almost completely and started cutting scrapbooking paper with a small pair of scissors. Last step was to cover the paper with Mod Podge, which I chose since it claims to be non-toxic. The Mod Podge does smell fairly strongly though, so I waited until everyone under the age of five was asleep. I applied several layers with one of those sponge brushes on a stick, being sure to let it dry in between applications. I only Mod Podged the top since it was going to be in our bathroom and I wasn’t certain how it would react to being on a damp floor.

(Turns out, the Mod Podge was fine with repeated drops of water on it, but the wood from the stool didn’t like being damp very much. The stool has found a new home in our living space and a plastic stool now occupies the space in our bathroom. Ah, well.)

Here is a detail with a baby hand for size:
Giraffe Stool (detail)

I don’t know why but I have been having a hard time writing about this blanket.  Maybe it is because I haven’t given it to the recipient yet.  Maybe because I like the way it turned out so much that I want to use just the right words to describe it.  Whatever the reason, I need to just get on with it and make my post!

Flannel Baby Blanket

When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for the impending arrival of my dear friend’s new baby, I new it had to be cool. She, her husband, and their little girl all have impeccable taste and I wanted to make something that she would really like and use. Even though I know that families are often gifted tons of blankets for babies, there is something special for me about the handmade ones. I had a handmade baby blanket that I loved to pieces, literally, and my daughter also has a special blankie that was a gift before she was born. (Thanks Aunt Glee and Mrs. P.) So, the decision was made — a blanket for Nancy and the babe.

I wanted it to be thin enough to swaddle tightly with, big enough to use for more than one or two months, and also warm enough to use on a regular basis in the winter. I chose several shades of blue flannel (1/2 yard of each) and a blue and white stripped flannel (1 yard) for the back. I don’t know what my deal is lately with my monochromatic ideas (the baby boots also turned out in shades of purple) but it just seems to be what is on my mind. I choose all 100% cotton fabrics because little babies often tolerate natural fibers better (I know from experience) and I also like the way they feel when I am working with them.

Flannel Baby Blanket

After staring at the fabric for a good long time, I decided to lay it out as you see in the picture. I cut the fabric into nine inch wide pieces and sewed them together on the machine. I decided against any batting to give the blanket more flexibility. With right sides together (monochromatic front and striped backing), I machine sewed around leaving a small hole. I pulled the blanket through the hole to turn it right side out, tucked the flaps back into the hole and topstitched, close to the edge, all the way around.

Flannel Baby Blanket (detail)

The blanket feels wonderful, soft and cuddly. And, I think it turned out looking pretty cool too. My husband actually said it looked like something from Pottery Barn, which was just the kind thing I was going for. I think I will definitely make more of these!

Bumbleberry Cobbler
[I need a better picture — this one doesn’t do it justice.  But, until I have one, I might as well put the rest of this post up because it is ready to go!]

My grandmother taught me this recipe and it is my very favorite summer treat. This recipe is fun and flexible — I am always adding, subtracting and substituting ingredients. I have been making this almost every week recently, the rhubarb at the farmer’s market has been exceptional. I’ve been substituting extra rhubarb (5 stalks or so) for the apple and adding a bit of sugar to the filling (when I remember) and cooking it as a cobbler instead of a pie. The only problem is that I can eat the entire thing in one sitting. Can you tell I’ve got a sweet tooth?

The Crust:
1 1/3 cups flour, plus some for rolling the dough
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, chilled and cut into pieces
3-5 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour, sugar and salt together in your bowl (or your food processor bowl).
Add the pieces of chilled butter.
Use a pastry cutter to combine flour mixture and butter until it has a crumbly texture (or process in the food processor until crumbly
Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, and use a large spoon or spatula to press the mixture together.
Once the dough sticks together use your hands to pack it into a ball.
Flatten it a little and set it on floured parchment or waxed paper.
Roll out slightly larger than your pie pan with a rolling pin.
Gently, flip the dough and paper into your pie pan and peel off the paper.
Press the dough into the pie pan and make sure that the dough reaches the top edge of the pan all the way around.

The crust is easier to make with a food processor. A pre-made pie crust or no crust at all can be used to make the recipe simpler and faster.

The Filling:
2 apples, skinned and chopped (I like Macintosh apples which are readily available at many grocery stores — they cook in pretty well. Other good varieties of pie apples are often available at our farmers market.)
2 cups mixed berries; fresh or frozen (I like the packages of frozen mixed berries.)
2-3 stalks rhubarb, chopped
1/4 cup tapioca

Mix all ingredients in the mixing bowl with a large spoon.
Spoon the mixture into pie pan until it is full but not overly full. (Don’t want it to boil over!)
If you have extra filling you can put it in a small oven safe bowl and top with a bit of extra crumble for a mini-cobbler.

The Crumble:
1 stick of butter, chilled and cut into pieces
3/4 cup oats (whole or quick, both work just fine)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I like dark brown sugar)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup flour (I like whole wheat flour)

Mix oats, brown sugar, sugar and flour in a bowl (or food processor bowl).
Use a pastry cutter (or food processor) to combine ingredients until they form a crumbly mix.
Top the pie generously with crumble.

The crumble is also easier to make with a food processor but I often do it by hand as well.

Baking your Bumbleberry Pie:
Bake at 350˚ for 30-45 minutes until crumble and pie crust are golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Time will be slightly shorter if you use fresh fruit and slightly longer if you use frozen fruit.

It has been a while since I have seriously sat down to draw.  I love to draw but I just never seem to have time to do it.  Turns out, I should sit and doodle while my daughter draws.  She loves the company and I can let my pencil (or in this case, crayon) wander.  I guess it still isn’t really serious drawing, but it sure is nice.  And, my big man (a.k.a. my baby boy) is also getting in on the fray.  He has recently started putting the crayon down on the paper instead of into his mouth.  Hooray.  Family art time.  I must get sketchbooks for each of us so we can keep our little works of art in one place.  (Thanks again Soulemama for the ideas in The Creative Family.  Oh, and I should also mention that the remnants of strawberry-rhubarb muffins in the picture are also from Soulemama’s blog post.)

Doodles

I must mention, I love these crayons — the ones in the box (the others are good, old-fashioned Crayolas).  I LOVE them.  They are Stockmar crayons and they are from Germany.  They are made of beeswax and pigment.  They smell lovely and draw beautifully.  We got a box that has crayon sticks and blocks, which gives my girl (and me) different shapes to work with.  I had read about them somewhere and was so curious to see if they really are worth the extra expense.  I would have to say they are.  Definitely.