Since I didn’t post hardly at all over the spring and summer, I guess I should fill in a few of the things we made and did. I took a lot of pictures with the intention of posting here but somehow in a lazy summer stupor it never happened. (I blame the heat!)

We did a lot of painting. A LOT.

We started a toddler art group and painted outside with hands and feet on big paper.

We stacked and glued pompoms. (This was entirely her idea/design/execution.)

We made sculptures with play dough and tooth picks.

We tinkered with stuff from the recycling bin and ended up with a pretty cool house for “guys”, complete with secret hiding places and a jail.

We made our own Harry Potter wands by finding the perfect stick and covering it with Mod Podge. (This one was a HUGE hit.)

And that, my friends, is a brief history of some of the things we did in the spring. Next up, a few of the things from summer.

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.

The Halloween insanity begins for us tomorrow and I’m frantically trying to finish costumes. Part of it is going well (Eleanor’s bird) and part is a disaster (Henry’s Silver Surfer). Luckily, Adelaide is wearing a hand-me-down.

Here are some pictures from Eleanor’s bird costume. Inspiration came from The Artful Parent’s wings and from Elsie Marley’s owl mask. I used some wool (from old clothes, felted in the wash) from a rug hooking project that I haven’t worked on in a LONG time (a whole other story). I thought it might add a bit of warmth on a chilly fall night. The colors are not traditional, but I’m liking the way it is coming together. (Sorry the pictures are dark, the basement is not very well lit, especially at night.)

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I was just looking through old drafts and I am not sure why I never published this one last year. -Edit to add that it appears it did actually get published. So happy re-reading! – Ah, well. I’ll add a little more and publish it now. It just so happens that I finished a set of bat wings for my sweet boy this evening so the timing couldn’t be better. I modeled the bat wings off of the bird wings from last year. I’ll still have to make him a mask but that will have to be another post or this will never see the light of day.

I used some black wool from an old pair of pants (or maybe it was a coat), which I fulled in the washer/dryer. The effect is nice, the wings have a good weight but won’t fray since the wool holds on to itself when washed and dried. The only problem I foresee is a possible allergy to wool. We will cross that bridge, if necessary, when we come to it. (Again, sorry about the lousy photo, I need to get out the better camera!)

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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.

Flowers

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.

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I’ve been wanting to make a mud pie kitchen in our backyard for some time now but I was waiting to find a table or old play kitchen at a garage sale. Turns out I just needed to rearrange the junk in our backyard!

Adelaide has been happily playing with a couple of little buckets of water and some containers of varying shapes and sizes for well over an hour. I don’t actually have any mud in the kitchen yet but am trying to figure out where I could dig a little and not do too much damage! I figure I will just put it in one of the old buckets or maybe the small square cooler with a lid and let the kids go to town. The other upside…the rest of our yard is looking relatively neat and tidy. For the time being at least.

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My big man and I made a simple bag of nesting materials for the birdies in our neighborhood this morning. The weather feels like we skipped spring entirely and went straight to summer but the bare branches hint to the fact that the birds will be nesting.

We used a mesh onion bag to hold our nesting supplies but did cut a few of the openings to make them slightly larger. We included things such as bits of the scraps from the quilt I made for my brother and sister-in-law, pieces of wool felt used to make our Christmas stockings, a bit of wool roving and other bits of cotton and wool fabric. We hung the little bag from a bare branch in our back yard and are eagerly watching to see if and when the birds find the little treasures we assembled for them.

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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!

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I was thinking it would be fun to try the paper bag challenge over at Tinkerlab. I suggested it to my big man, explained that he could make whatever he wanted with a paper bag, and without a moment of hesitation he said, “I’ll make a ship.” A couple of folds and one (yes, one) staple later he presented me with his boat. His description: “The boat has a flap on top for rain and the passengers and the driver go below the flap and the leader looks out.” I asked him if he wanted to make some passengers or paint it and he firmly said “no” and started in on his Legos. Done and done. (Except that he is still talking about the boat. So maybe not entirely done!)

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