if you were there

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Thanks to some late night crafting, the kids found these heart pocket necklaces waiting for them this morning. I filled each with chocolates (which might have been their favorite part! Hah!). And yes, my kids had chocolate for breakfast.

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To You

I think I could walk

through the simmering sand

if I held your hand.

I think I could swim

the skin shivering sea

if you would accompany me.

And run on ragged, windy heights,

climb rugged rocks

and walk on air.

I think I could do anything at all,

if you were there.

~Karla Kuskin

Happy Valentine's Day, my wee ones. I am a bigger, better and braver person because you are here.

a house, a hat & our week in links

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Wrapping up our handmade holidays, the two gifts I gave my sweet Mama for her birthday (Christmas Eve!) and Christmas. The top is a portrait of her current house and the second is a custom handknit hat by Revolutionary Woolens on Etsy. I also commissioned matching mitts, but didn't get a picture. I have ordered from this shop many times now and am thrilled every time. Remember Elsa's norwegian hat? Oh my! That scrumptious little face!

We had a nice week. After all the holiday craziness, I feel like we are really settling back in to a normal routine. I've done a lot of work on the house, focusing on the kids' playing and learning spaces. I can't wait to share some new spaces in the coming weeks.

I'm joining in on the Friday links thing this week. I'm thinking it's a fun way to document the little things that are happening in our house each week...

We got the Christopherus Early Years Curriculum in the mail this week. We're officially homeschoolers, I suppose!

We read Pocketful of Posies many, many times. Fiona has much of it memorized. I just love it. The illustrations are so gorgeous.

After a long absence, bliss balls are back! (How did we kind of forget about these?!)

Another thing I kind of forgot about? Pinterest...

Oh right, I can sew. I should do that again sometime. I'm pretty sure Elijah needs one of these.

I have a cabinet that I keep my fabric in that needs this treatment. Now I just need to convince my husband.

Hope you have a lovely weekend! xo

homemade matcha gift set

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My brother recently spent four months in Japan. We all missed him terribly, but adventures are important, and exploring the other side of the earth on your own is nothing short of a great adventure. Of course, if he moves there, I most likely will have a complete big sister I won't allow it and I'm in charge, did you forget? freak out. Until then, I am quite supportive of his adventuring. :)

I had planned on getting Eric a specific book for Christmas until my mom informed me that he just ordered it for himself! I was glad to know that I knew him well enough to buy him something he would actually want, but that left me giftless. Something health related? Something inspired by Japanese culture or food?

And then I thought of it! A matcha gift set. (And I do think I'm quite clever to have come up with this little set!) I had seen a link to this video tutorial for Matcha Salt on Angry Chicken a couple weeks before and thought it would be perfect. Then I consulted Organic Body Care Recipes and a few online resources and put together my own recipe for Matcha Sugar Scrub. I gave him the salt and scrub along with a new tin of Matcha.

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Matcha Sugar Scrub

1 cups granulated sugar

1/8 cup coconut oil

1/2 tablespoon matcha green tea powder

1/2 tablespoon vitamin E

Place everything in a bowl and mix it!

This recipe will fit in a 1/2 pint mason jar perfectly. I decided to also give this sugar scrub to all the ladies in my life who I knew liked body products and made many batches over the course of the holidays.

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The Matcha Salt also turned out really well and we were able to put it on our eggs on Christmas morning! Isn't it pretty? (For this recipe, and for everyday use, we use Real Salt.)

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I think this set makes such a nice gift! Is there anyone in your life who might enjoy this set?

from the kids

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According to Fiona, this was the most "elf-like" activity of all our holiday projects. She loved coating the little jars with the watered down glue (half water, half elmers glue), sticking on the pieces of ripped up tissue paper, then giving them another coat of the glue mixture.

These candle holders were Fiona's gifts to Daddy, who made his own stained glass pieces in a past life, when he had time to do such things. I thought these were very reminiscent of stained glass, so would make a special gift from the kids.

I had originally thought about using a metalic sharpie to draw lines between the colors to enhance the stained glass quality of it, but never did get to it. Maybe I still will. If it turns out well, I'll let you know!

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They turned out really pretty and looked great on our Christmas table.

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Elijah and Fiona both filled in bare books with their own stories. Elijah's book was a gift for his Mom, Stepdad and sister, Sylvia. His was one cohesive illustrated Christmas story. For Fiona's book, she drew whatever popped into her head and dictated a story to me that I then recorded.

I think these books are such a great way to preserve a child's artwork and imagination from a specific moment in time. Plus, the kids really work at their drawings since these very official feeling books are so special! I have several more blank ones stored away for another inpired afternoon.

Tomorrow, I have a post planned that I'm really excited about. For my brother, I made a matcha green tea gift set. I'm sharing my own super easy recipes, too! Come back to check it out!

kitchen elves

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Fiona's fascination with all things Santa carried through the whole holiday season, so any time we were making anything Christmas related, we were playing the parts of little elves. Much of the elving happened in the kitchen, as usual. Some edible, some not.

This Candy Cane Playdough is SO cute. We followed Jean's directions in her e-book, The Artful Winter. The directions are also on her blog here. The best part of the recipe is that it includes peppermint essential oil, which really adds to the experience of making the dough. It just smells so good!

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Fiona and Elsa were both able to help mix, knead and add the natural food dye and glitter. I think these little playdough sets would make cute Valentine's Day gifts, too. This project reminds me of another playdough idea on Sew Liberated where she mixed in googly eyes. Love that!

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This is the second year in a row of using this recipe for peppermint bark. So, so yummy. I think this tradition is sticking around. After it had all been given away or eaten, I had a couple evenings in a row where I had a lingering feeling that something was missing... then I realized it was the peppermint bark. Wah! I had made such a nice, sweet bite before bed.

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Then, of course, sugar cookies. They were originally meant to be brought around to some of our neighborhood friends, but then Fiona got a diagnosis of pneumonia (you may remember I had it a week or so before she did), and since she had taken such a huge role in making the cookies, I decided we'd keep our germs to ourselves. It worked out alright, though. More for us! ;)

But phew, I have to admit to being kind of relieved to have less sweets in the house after all that holiday feasting. Anyone else feel kind of bloated?

homemade organic lip balm set

Okay, I promise that this is the last Valentine's Day related post. I think I am really just looking for excuses to make things now that I have my energy back after that exhausting pregnancy. Yay! It's over! ;)

Anyway, I made this cute lip balm set to share with family and friends this Valentine's Day! It was really fun and quite simple. I thought it would be cute to stick with the theme of the holiday and made peppermint lip balm and cinnamon lip gloss, naming them "Play it Cool" and "Keep it Hot." Hehe.

I followed Amanda's recipe on SouleMama for the peppermint lip balm. I left it untinted so that I could give it to the guys in my family, too. I love it and it got great reviews from everyone. Even better, I had everything except for the essential oil already in my house. Love that!

I bought the tins from Mountain Rose Herbs and the stickers from Paper Source. I also bought the book Organic Body Care that Amanda recommended. I can't wait to try some of the lotions and bath salts.

 

For my first batch of cinnamon lip gloss, I just subbed in cinnamon essential oil for the peppermint. It was nice but I wanted something a bit glossier with more color. I improvised a bit and made a couple different batches and settled on the following recipe. I LOVE it. I think you will, too. Enjoy!

Keep it Hot
Organic* Tinted Cinnamon Lip Gloss

3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Beeswax (1/2 Fluid Ounce)
1/2 Tablespoon Raw Honey (Local is great if you can find it!)
10 Drops Cinnamon Essential Oil
1/2 Stick of Natural Lipstick, Chopped (I used Hemp Organics)

*I used all organic ingredients.

Place coconut oil, beeswax and honey in a double boiler or heatproof bowl and sit atop a saucepan of simmering water. Heat until melted, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Add cinnamon oil and lipstick. Stir until blended.

Place the pan or bowl in a larger bowl full of cold water. Stir quickly until the mixture begins to change in consistency and turn opaque. (If it starts to change consistency on it's own while stirring in your essential oil and lipstick, because it's cool in your kitchen, you can skip this step!)

Spoon mixture into containers, filling to the top, and smooth the surface of the balm with the back of a spoon. Place covers on, and let it sit to cool for a couple hours.

Fills approximately four 1/2 oz tins. Double or triple the recipe for gift-giving!

I packaged each set in a little muslin bag with my logo. I bought the custom logo stamp and drawstring bags from My Rubber Stamp on Etsy. Then I printed out the Valentines I designed for DBFA at a 50% scale for the tags.

I think this little Valentine's lip balm set turned out quite cute, don't you?

soaring hearts for my littles

Valentine's Day is a good excuse to make cute little things and eat chocolate, yes? This year, I wanted to sew something out of wool felt. Something shaped like a heart. Hmmm... Then I thought of it! A soaring heart! (Similar concept as shooting star bean bags I have seen around before.) I chose felt and fabric that reminded me of each kid. Elsa's is on the left, then Elijah's, then Fiona's. I think they'll like tossing them around.

I kind of love these. They are so cute and a sweet way to tell your kids that they make your heart soar. Which mine most definitely do.

I wish I had thought of it earlier, because I could have made a couple extra to put in my (very bare) Etsy Shop in time for Valentine's Day. Maybe I'll put together a tutorial? I think they make such a sweet gift for little loved ones.

It's nice to keep the holiday handmade rather than going too commercial with it. Have you been doing any Valentine's Day crafting?

handmade holidays: personalized sketch books

What a crappy week we're having! Fiona has croup. At one point, her fever went up to 103.8! She was shaking. It was horrible. She is finally perking up a bit today. Though, after 4 days at home, despite being a bit of a homebody, even I feel like I'm going to lose my mind cooped (crouped?) up in this house. Sheldon suggested that we take a ride to the drive thru Starbucks. Good idea! I used to do that with Fiona during her early, colicky days. But before we go, another simple little project from Christmas...

So, I went a little crazy this year with the Martha Stewart alphabet stickers. They are such a fun way to personalize without having to get out every crafting material in the (already messy) house. It's nice to have the kids make something for each other and since Elijah's sisters love to draw (barring the one whose only interest is nursing at this point), sketch books seemed like a great idea.

Elijah placed the letters for each of the girls names on the front cover and then included a note and drawing on the first page of each book. He is such a sweet and thoughtful boy. For several nights, after Fiona went to bed, Elijah worked hard on each book creating a personal message and drawing especially for each sister.