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The Artful Winter: Celebrating the Season & Holidays with Family Arts and Crafts

Well, my intention is to post here often, but then my real life gets in the way and days go by with nothing. Ah well, all the pictures are on my camera and at some point they may make an appearance here.

In the meantime, I’ll help my friend Jean over at The Artful Parent promote the winter installation of her e-book series, The Artful Winter: Celebrating the Season & Holidays with Family Arts and Crafts. I just downloaded it and have been pouring through the beautiful pages.  I am so excited to try, well, just about everything. She has it broken into sections on Christmas (even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, lots of these ideas can be adapted for your own traditions), recipes, winter projects, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day and books for kids relating to the holidays/winter.

I am not even sure where we will start but we did make a list last night and the Tiny Gingerbread Houses topped the list, followed closely by the Salt Dough House Lantern. I will do my best to post pictures as we go.

Get your own copy of The Artful Winter: Celebrating the Season & Holidays with Family Arts and Crafts here!

Tiny Gingerbread Houses

Well, I am officially a terrible promoter of things – I wrote this post in November, almost a month ago. I am just getting around to posting it now, so I thought I would do a couple of updates. First, Jean is having a Pay What You Can sale on the e-book. A great time to snag one at great price. Second, we have tried several of the activities and enjoyed them all very much. The Tiny Gingerbread houses were a huge hit with all 3 kids, even though only 1 of the houses actually stood up. That didn’t stop everyone from decorating like crazy.  And third, well, there is no third right now. I’ll try and get my act together and put up some pictures of the Salt Dough House we made as well. And some other stuff of our own, Christmas presents and whatnot.  Soon. 🙂

Tiny Gingerbread Houses



Look at this awesome skee ball game that my friend’s husband made for their girls. Here is my boy rolling (or maybe throwing!) a tennis ball. The game is complete with ball return an everything. Great job B.

In case there is anyone out there reading this little old blog, I thought I’d help Jean at The Artful Parent promote her new e-book, The Artful Year Autumn: Celebrating the Seasons and Holidays with Family Arts and Crafts, by hosting a giveaway. I’ve never done a giveaway before, but I have been lucky enough to be the winner a couple of times on other blogs, so I figured I had better share the love. I posted about the book before – it really is worth a read – although you most  likely won’t want to stop at reading with all the great projects she has included.

So, if you would like a chance to win a copy of your very own, leave a comment below telling me your favorite thing about fall. I’ll close the giveaway on Friday (10/5) at noon (EDT) and choose a number at random from the comments.

PS. She is hosting a big giveaway too, so hurry over for another chance to win the e-book!
Giveaway is closed. The random number was 1 and the e-book goes to Chelsey (I’ll email you with details). Thanks!


A Soule Mama Friday tradition – just a picture, no words. (Except these few where I explain!)

This summer we took our first ever camping trip with the kids (aside from the backyard, that is). It was a huge hit and also fairly exhausting. We went with some friends who have kids very close in age to our own, which made everything extra fun. Our family did make an executive decision at the last minute to go only for one night instead of two because there were big storms forecast for the first night and we decided that it would be more fun to start early and have dry weather than to suffer through putting up the tent in the rain.

We made campfires, ate smores, took hikes, visited an aviary and, maybe the best part of the whole trip, made fairy houses. Somehow the two year old managed to include in her backpack of essentials, an entire package of multi-colored feathers from Discount School Supply. Although they didn’t exactly “match” the rest of the natural elements the kids found, they certainly did make the campsite quite a bit brighter. The boys worked together in one area and the girls in another, helping each other out from time to time with sticks or rocks or whatever was needed. It was a wonderfully collaborative effort and beautiful to boot. (And, we did take down all of the colored feathers when we left!)

(Sorry for the shaky pictures, taken with my phone’s camera in a darkish woodsy area!)

I’ve always wanted to do Elsie Marley’s Kids Clothes Week Challenge. Somehow I have never managed to make it happen. I think it is a great idea and I love to make things for the kids, I just can’t seem to do it when prompted. Maybe this year though. If I write it on the blog it has to happen, right?!

I was, however, able to make the girls back to school dresses this year though and I was rather pleased with how they turned out. I didn’t make any back to school clothes for my boy, but I have made him a couple of cool dress up things lately, so that counts for something, eh?

For Ada, I used (and then adapted like crazy) a pattern from Carefree Clothes for Girls, a book which I have never before made anything from but have had on my shelf for an embarrassingly long time. I made her the 4 size, which turned out a little big (as I expected), but I am hoping she can wear it in the spring and summer next year as well.

For Eleanor, I used the most adorable Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress pattern. I am no pattern expert but I thought this one was very well done – clear directions, easy to follow. The hard part was picking fabric! I love the way it turned out, the pockets with their little V details are my favorite. I might make her another version of this dress, but with a dark linen this time. I also might have to buy ALL of their other patterns. They are just so cute.

Well folks, this is it, your lucky day. Jean, over at The Artful Parent, has just released the first in a series of new e-books just in time for the fall art making/crafting/baking season. It is called, The Artful Year Autumn :: Celebrating the Seasons and Holidays with Family Arts and Crafts, and it is fantastic. I’m going to go ahead and say right now, I am an affiliate, which means I get a cut if you buy the book from my link, but even if I was not an affiliate, I would be telling everyone to go and get it anyway. I have been following The Artful Parent for a long time now, I have always felt a connection to the things she does, in part because my daughters are similar in age to hers and in part because I share her love of creativity and making it a daily part of life. Frankly, I don’t know how she manages the blog, the newsletter and now this e-book series but I am so thankful she does because she has made our household (and I am sure many others), more creative and willing to try new artful adventures.

Okay, so about the book, it is filled with amazing, well thought out ideas for seasonally relevant projects. The photographs are colorful and inviting and I can tell you from personal experience that the Apple Cheddar Hand Pies are out of this world. (I really should have taken some pictures of the pies I made, but alas, they got eaten much to quickly.) I have a bunch of other projects from this book marked for us to work on as Halloween and Thanksgiving approach. Some of the ideas she shares are familiar from her blog but many are new and look equally as interesting to try. One in particular I know my kids will love is the Leaf Rubbing Stained Glass – we have a door that would be perfectly suited to this!

So, head on over to The Artful Parent and check it out for yourself.


We were up on (my favorite place) Lake Superior this summer and my sweet son and husband brought me this bunch of flowers and driftwood. What a lovely gift. I’m hoping to get back in the groove of writing occasionally now that everyone is back in school. We had a busy summer of making things (messes mostly) and there are a few things in particular that I’d love to share. Now, to download those photos…

Not exactly “making things” but my 2 year old is rocking the creative play. Pompoms as bubble bath. Fun stuff.


I’m feeling anxious for the spring and gardening so I have been repotting inside and am quite pleased with everything.

The begonia on the left has been cut several times and you can see the new plants in water. I often give these as housewarming gifts because this plant has always been a part of my life an it feels right to share it. My mom got it as a gift probably 30+ years ago and it has been cut and repotted so many times I’ve lost count. (We also have a piece of it in our bedroom!)

The aloe plant in the middle is in a new pot I just picked up at Anthopologie (here) on a really fun girls day out with my dear friend Leah. I love it.

The yellow pot, from our local hardware store, holds a lavender plant I got at Trader Joe’s. I think I will move it outside when it gets a bit warmer and put something else in the yellow pot. I do hope it flowers, I don’t know much about lavender, I’ll have to do a bit of reading to see what it likes best.

Anyway, makes me happy to look at these plants while I am washing dishes!