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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!

We were having a superhero figurine crisis earlier, so I sent the kids to “school” to work on nature journals. The idea came from Mariah Bruehl’s Playful Learning book (which I am loving). We made these simple books and I told the kids to find leaves, grass and flowers to fill the books with. They collected handfuls of nature from our backyard and set to work with their glue sticks. I think once the glue dries I will press the books (and their contents) and we can label them or add our own drawings.

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Very much motivated by an interview Jean did with Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord over at The Artful Parent, we made books today with recycled materials. The part of the interview that really inspired me was this:

The process of making books with recycled materials is liberating. When we start by cutting a panel out of a grocery bag with a pair of scissors, the edges are crooked. We are freed from the burden of precision.

Let me repeat that last part: freed from the burden of precision.  Perfect.  So, we cut up a couple of boxes, punched some not-at-all-precise holes and away they went.  I’ll stop with my own words here and let the kids pictures and my transcriptions of their words speak for themselves.

The Alien by Eleanor
Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue by Henry
Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

I have been on a total book and blog binge lately.  There are so many amazing people out there writing about what they enjoy doing, it is kind of addictive.  I already mentioned the books by Amy Karol and Amanada Soule (here and here), and both of those ladies also have blogs (here and here respectively), which makes for additional interesting reading almost daily.  And, they both have children so it is nice to see what they are doing for and with their kids. 

So, the book of the day is Lotta Jansdotter’s Lotta Prints (she has a blog too, not one that I have explored though).  I want to try every project in here but I started with something relatively easy and light on specialized materials: printing leaves onto fabric.  I plucked a few ferns from our front yard and spread out all over the floor and washing machine with an old pillowcase to practice on.  I mixed two colors of paint, green and gold, to get the subtly sparkly green. It was SO much fun, I couldn’t stop and totally missed my bedtime.  The results were pretty darn good, though the photography  on wrinkly fabric isn’t so hot:

Leaf Print 

Then I was left with the conundrum, what to do with the prints?  Again, lots of ideas.  Here is how the first one turned out.  I would have liked to get a shot of it on, but my uncooperative model has not wanted to even try it on yet, no matter how cool I try and make it seem. 

Leaf Print

Leaf Print

Eleanor's Embroidery

This isn’t my project.  I do love it so very much, though.  It is my 2.5 year old daughter’s first embroidery project.  I was inspired by Amanda Blake Soule’s book, The Creative Family to get a needle and embroidery floss and let her try her hand at sewing.  We went to the store together and she picked out the colors, this redish orange and a green that she is currently working with.  I think she made some nice color selections, though I am not sure if she conscientiously chose or just randomly grabbed.  Either way, she did a nice job.

I should also note that I LOVE the book.  Love, love, love.  I enjoyed it so much in fact that I cried reading while I read and thought about raising my babies in a creative, encouraging and loving environment.  What can I say, I’m a bit sappy when it comes to the kids.

At any rate, I thought this would be appropriate to include, even though it is not mine, since it sort of (really) makes me want to do some embroidery of my own.  I haven’t done embroidery before, only a bit of cross stitch when I was younger, so it might be fun to try something new.  I am always up for trying something new, in fact I need to stop reading other blogs because I have more projects lined up than I will ever be able to do.  But, since this little blog is my own way to keep track of creative endeavours, my inspirations should probably be recorded as well.

Now that I have the booties up for the Craftzine.com contest, I’m going to jump back in time a bit and put up some other little projects that I have worked on.   Not too far back, I think I’ll try to stay within 2008, or I might just make myself crazy.  Once I feel sufficiently up to date with past projects, maybe I’ll have enough free time to actually make something new! 

So, here are a couple of little projects from Amy Karol’s book, Bend the Rules Sewing.  This is a great book, by the way, perfect for a novice on the sewing machine, such as myself.  I imagine someone who knows how to sew well might also find these projects fun or at least find the book lovely to look at.  Anyway, I made this smock and bibs for some friends who welcomed a baby fairly recently.  Obviously, the smock will be for down the road a bit but the bibs should work out now. 

Smock

Bibs

I didn’t actually bend the rules too much on these patterns.  I did use terrycloth instead of cotton flannel for the backing on the bibs and I think they turned out fine.  Target sells inexpensive packages of washcloths, which just happen to be the perfect size for the bib pattern in the book.  I now have a bunch of extra washcloths waiting in the wings — just need an excuse to make more bibs.