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.

handstitched hearts

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Valentine's Day really is the perfect excuse for sweet crafting and homemade goodies. I got the idea for these Valentines from my friend Liz, who had a stack in progress when we visited last week. They are so very sweet and such a beautiful opportunity for handwork with the kids. We have a stack of wet-on-wet paintings from the last couple months and this seemed the perfect way to use them. I can envision making many versions of these cards throughout the year in different shapes and color schemes reflecting the season or holiday.

I put together a tutorial for wet-on-wet painting recently. If you're interested in making these Valentines and haven't used this painting technique before, you should start there.

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Materials:

Dry wet-on-wet painting

Tapestry needle

Embroidery thread

1. Cut or tear your painting into cards. I like the rough edged look for these, so I tore ours. To tear a straight line, fold your paper along a ruler and crease it, then fold in the opposite direction and crease again. This will make it easy to tear along the line.

2. Draw a heart on the white side of one card, then draw dots along the line about every 1/4". Make sure there is a dot on each of the center angles of the heart shape. dont worry about doing this perfectly. These are handmade and are allowed to look it! :)

3. Use your tapestry needle to poke holes through the paintings on each of the dots. Make sure to pull your needle all the way through the paper each time so the holes are big enough. (Thanks for that tip, Liz!)

4. Using your first card as a guide, draw dots and poke holes in the remaining cards.

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5. This is when the children get involved! Help them thread their needles and tie a knot at the end of their thread.

6. Use a backstitch to create the heart design on each card. This type of stitch creates a continuous line rather than having gaps between each stitch. Fiona needed some guidance throughout on where to put the needle next, while Elijah was able to sew them independently. Fiona finished one card completely on her own and then chose to draw on the backs while Elijah and I finished the rest. I wouldn't expect young children to make more than one or two cards, while older kids can probably plow through many of them.

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7. This last step is optional. We cut rectangles that fit on the back and hot glued them on to cover the back side of the stitching. Elijah wrote notes and Fiona drew pictures in that area.

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All of us were so pleased with the results! Don't you love them? I love that they were truly a family effort. Fiona's painting is on the front, Elsa's is on the back. They are mostly sewn and written by Elijah with drawings by Fiona.

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I am still trying to come up with a quick little handmade gift for the kids. Last year I made soaring hearts. Any ideas for this year? Are you doing any Valentine's Day crafting? Or baking? Maybe Valentine's Day baking is the answer! Hm.

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?

more printable valentines! this time on the aMuse Blog!

Yesterday, I posted about the printable Valentines on the DBFA Blog and now I'm excited to show you another set of printable Valentine's I designed for another favorite client, the local and independent toy store, aMuse Toys. I think these would be especially great for kids who may not be feelin' the heart theme of the holiday!

Head over the the aMuse Blog to download them!

cranberry pistachio dark chocolate bark

Sheldon's birthday is this Saturday and for every holiday I get him truffles from his favorite chocolate shop a couple blocks away. I decided to step it up this year and make him some homemade chocolates, too. I thought I'd share this super easy recipe with you in case you have a loved one who might appreciate some homemade treats for Valentine's Day.

16 ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pistachio nuts

Turn a baking sheet upside down and wrap it with tin foil. You'll use this to spread the melted chocolate on. Fill a small plastic bag with the pistachio nuts and hit them gently with a glass jar to turn them into coarse bits. Save for later.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and sit it over a saucepan of simmering water. The bowl should not be touching the water. Stir here and there until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add the cranberries and gently fold them in.

Spread the chocolate and cranberry mixture on the foil covered baking sheet evenly to desired thickness. While the chocolate is still hot, sprinkle the pistachio bits and a bit of sea salt over the surface. Chill for about a half an hour in the fridge until cold and firm.

I like the look of simply breaking it into uneven pieces, but you could also cut with a sharp knife if you'd prefer even squares. Triangles could also be cute. Store in the fridge.

If you're giving the bark as a gifts, this batch would fill about 4-5 half pint mason jars. Fabric and a sweet tag complete the package.

And because this is MY BLOG and I do what I want, I'm going to indulge myself by getting all sentimental about the fabric. The last time I used it was in college when I sewed complicated things like hoodies, laughed like crazy, cried like crazy (literally. crazy.) and had some really awesome roommates (move back to Baltimore, you jerks!). I got out my old laptop and found this picture. See the fabric on the shoulder?

Look at that confused little girl. Hot, though. Maybe I'll put this picture on my fridge as a reminder to NOT EAT (too much) CRANBERRY PISTACHIO DARK CHOCOLATE BARK. ;)

Sorry about all the caps. Happy Valentines Day! And happy birthday to my dear husband! I love you, Sheldon, you sexy thing.