30 August 2011

books - ye olden tymes


over the weekend thehobbit & i went through his books. the much needed culling was brought about by a certain toddler, who had taken to pulling the homeschooling books off one shelf in the big room, & tossing them. fun if you are the toddler, not so fun if you are the rest of us. in the going through, we found long-forgotten treasures. i thought i'd share a few.

* the forgotten crafts (pictured above) is a how-to for building things they way they did long ago, sans electricity. need a new rake? well this book will show you how to make one! honestly, i don't think this book was meant for kids, but thehobbit has always liked it. & no, he has yet to build me a rake. wretched boy.

* the american boys' handy book was definitely written with kids in mind. actually, only with boys  in mind - the book was originally published in 1882. many activities to fill their days with adventures great & small. 

* the american girls' handy book - you guessed it, for girls only. whilst the boy version is all out-of-doors adventure, the girl version focuses on activities to be done at home. i recommend letting your kids poke through the boy & girl versions. there's fun to be had in both.

* the dangerous book for boys is similar to the handy book. lots of activities that could bring about harm adventures. thehobbit says it's not as old tymey as the other. most likely because it was not written over 100 years ago, so was meant for kids of this age. still, great old tyme fun.

* the daring book for girls is one we do not yet have. i thought i should mention its existence, however. i can't have you thinking there wasn't a female equivalent. sad, all this time later, & still  we are separating boy fun, from girl fun. sigh.

there are more books i want to share, but that shall have to wait for another day. a certain wee elfling wants some snuggles :)


27 August 2011

messing around


please let me know if things look wonky to you. i began messing with my blog's template, whilst having a bit of a drink. :)

have a lovely one, do!

26 August 2011

a chalkboard station for your toddler


elfling  has been sick all week, forcing me to come up with alternatives to his beloved not quite a water park. like every other toddler on the planet, he loves coloring with chalk, so i set up an out-of-doors chalk station! it was easy to do.
1) move the chalkboard easel to the lawn.
b) stick a little table beneath it.
also) add the mug of chalk & an eraser.

brilliant of me, no? look at him up there, chalking away. for. all. of. three. minutes. he then took his mug of chalk on an adventure.

here we have chalk on a chair:

wait! is this the chalkboard?

nope. that was the shed.

& this would be the back of a bench.

let's make sure the steps are good & chalky.

we don't want the worm bin to feel left out, so let's make its table pretty.

ah, look. instead of encouraging the wee artist to use the chalkboard station, daddy-o & big brother drew on the patio.

it's a happy bench!

yes. he was going for the camera with that piece of chalk.


i still think it is a fabulous idea. just not for my toddler. good luck with yours!


24 August 2011

boot gnomies


isn't this boot gnomie adorable? i used to make these for craft shows, but as i hadn't done a show in over a year, i had forgotten all about the wee fellas. this guy was found a few days back, buried in a jumble of felt scraps. he never did get completed - he still needs the space between his legs widened. let us pretend that didn't sound wrong, shall we? anyway, if you look at the photos below you'll see why.

he isn't meant to teeter so high above the boot. oh. i forgot to say what a boot gnomie is for. when you line up the family's (or class', etc) rain boots, you keep them in order by clipping each pair together with a boot gnomie. this not only keeps pairs together, but, in the case of large families or classrooms, each person can quickly spot his/her boots by the gnomie.

so you see, he should be lower down on the boot. also, he should not be on a boot, he should slip over one side of each. i have yet to find a clothespin that is wide enough, so have had to widen them myself.

don't worry. i make sure to stop short of their private bits ;)


23 August 2011

farm, the dinky


health woes have forced me to scale back on everything this month. only parts of thebelfry that have to be clean are getting cleaned, i've had to buy more ready-made groceries than i'm comfortable with, & the amount of time i can spend sitting down is minuscule when compared to how many things i do that require i sit (sewing, reading, blogging, crafting, etc).

bending & lifting has been curtailed as well, so i have had to make do with the farming i'd already begun before this whole mess began. sadly, that wasn't much. still, i am thankful for dinky bit of farm i have for tending. i thought i'd share a bit of what is growing. 

this is thehobbit's favorite cucumber to grow. it is a lemon cucumber. the one pictured still has a bit more time left to grow. those black dots disappear when it's ready. they aren't blemishes or dirt, they're teensy spikes. all cukes have them when immature. by the way, the lemon cuke is perfect for container gardening. delicious, as well.

here is a nearly ripe better boy. this plant hasn't gotten very tall (not hot enough here), but it has been a constant provider of spectacular fruits. i won't say that we fight over these tomatoes, but there has been more than one hey! where did that tomato go? i was planning on having it for lunch!  heard coming from the kitchen.

lastly we have our pumpkin patch. it may be the dinkiest patch in existence, considering it consists of two plants, surrounded by old bricks. illusions of grandeur? perhaps. that's ok though. if i can get one good pumpkin from each plant, i'll be more than happy.

not much else is happening in my dinky farm this summer. between not being able to do much farming, & the summer having been milder than usual, well, it just is what it is.

what are you growing?

15 August 2011

caspar babypants


elfling is in love with caspar babypants. the songs are sweet & catchy, yet not terribly annoying like a lot of kids' music can be. the above video is elfling's favorite, the island hop. the entire family's favorite, actually. we have all been sporting what elfling dubbed baby baby fingers for well over a month now. watch the video & see if you don't do the same. i double dog dare you.

second in the list of favorites is their rendition of the itsy bitsy spider. how cool is this?

i know!

ps ::  we do wash our hands, quite often, actually. there is a great deal of re-drawing of the baby baby fingers that goes on. just thought i'd clarify :)

13 August 2011

hello there

i'm sorry to have disappeared without warning. it was not my intent to do so. i am dealing with a health issue right now. as soon as things are under control, i shall be back to my babbling ways.

i hope you have a lovely weekend :)

ps - that's one of the bunting i made for elfling's birthday party. it looked so nice hanging in the garden, so i left it.

01 August 2011

photographic proof of partiness

the day began with every other thing going wrong. when i finally gave in, & stopped trying to make everything look just as i had imagined, things righted themselves. most never did turn out as i'd planned, but elfling & his guests had great fun. lesson learned. mostly. ;)

on to the photos! whilst i still have not mastered baking, it turns out i can make a mean frosting. i adapted this recipe, at the suggestion of my dearest friend (& master baker) spryte. she said to cut the sugar by half. i did, & heartily recommend you do as well. it was perfectly sweet that way. i piped it onto vanilla cupcakes (above) & spice cupcakes (below). after piping i just dipped them gently into sprinkles.

these spice cakes were gluten-free. originally i'd skimped on the frosting, not knowing if i would have enough for all 24 (there was more than enough. manlyman & i ate the remaining. with spoons.). in the end i was glad i had, because it made it easier to see which were the gluten-free. i did put them on their own tray, with a gf sign (flag on skewer), but forgot to take a photo of that to show you.

here are some shots of the food. i tried to stick with things you'd eat at parties when i was a kid. fruit, chips, & so on.

funny how the food matched the party's color scheme.

i have to admit that i am ooged by kids hands in my food, so kept the popcorn safe for adults by setting out decoy popcorn.

the decoys worked well, with a bonus! once emptied, the kids filled their bags with other snacks through the rest of the day. i shall definitely do this at future parties.

there wasn't enough time to make chex mix; a staple of every party when i was little; but i managed to toss pretzels & whales into a bucket. mock mix, if you will. a little mug from our picnic kit made the perfect scoop.

i loved the drink station. it was set up on a sturdy old bench, with a cooler to the side. oh! i found retro sodas at the grocery store! pepsi & 7-up made with the original recipes -  no corn syrup! i made a few pitchers of iced tea & had waters chilling, but when i saw those? well, how could i resist? they fit the theme. i digress.

the little wagon  kept the cups from getting blown over, & the pen from rolling off the bench. that red utensil caddy usually houses blank mushrooms & people turnings. you would have been horrified at the amount of dust it had accumulated. apparently the house elves don't clean my studio as well as they ought. digressing again - back to the cups. look at the stickers i made for each:

not to self - the item you want to feature should be in focus, not the background. we always put out a pen, with cups & bottles, for guests to write their names. to make things more fun, i created these stickers. i altered (in picasa) a hello my name is sticker to read hands off my drink. i like how they turned out.

here we have the photo booth corner. had i taken pictures of it before the kids set about mugging, the backdrop would not  appear as if i'd been drinking when i hung it. sigh.

a closer shot of the sign. do you recognize the bunting? those were from thehobbit's party last year. only a few guests asked why the newspaper was written in japanese :)

i had meant to have more props, (an empty frame, harry potter glasses, etc) but waited too long to gather things from about thebelfry. as it was, guests had arrived before i'd put these few items out. the mustaches were great fun to make, & a huge hit. i had them stuck in the holes of a parmesan jar. the jar kept them safe, & the dried lentils, which filled them, kept the jar safe.

that's the top hat thehobbit used to wear, pretty much daily. i miss his fancy ways. i found the straw hat at a thrift shop a few months ago. elfling loves to wear it around the house. both made for wonderful props, i must say.

my favorite of the mustachios. perhaps i should have inked the edges.

thehobbit took this photo of  his friend h. doesn't he look like a carnival rock star? oh. i forgot to ask the kids to frame the shots so only the sign & backdrop were in the shot. ah well.

my gorgeous manlyman. swoon.

even swoonier? the birthday boy himself.

i hoped you enjoyed the photos. thanks for the visit!
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