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modern handmade child Editors Gretchen Jakub Fabre Shannon Hanley Layout and Design by Chichiboulie The Clever Kitty Head of PR Michelle Vackar Advertising Coordinator Linda Phrakhansa

contents autumn 2010 WELCOME 12 the editors 13 ....letter from the editors WEAR - fashion trends 14....back to school essentials 16....the first day of school 20 ....accessories around the world


Treasurer Ahmelie Skistad

on the cover

DWELL - home dĂŠcor 22 ....time to organise 26 ....getting cozy PLAY - toys and activities 30 ole softie 39 ....picture day self portrait CREATE - crafty tutorials 36 ....hodgepodge bracelets 76 ....pumpkin seed necklace 77 ....creepy crawly marionette

hand knit pixie cap by Charbridge Knits

TASTE - cooking fun 40 ....easy peasy weekday dinners 42 ....warm and cozy cooking

photography by Captured Images by Cherise

CELEBRATE - holidays and parties 44 food



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Create Love to craft? We’re always looking for fun and beautiful projects to show off in our magazine. If you’d like yours to be featured, we want to hear from you. More die-hard crafter? We’re looking for someone to head up our Tutorials department. If you think you’re the person for us, please contact us at

modern handmade child

contents autumn 2010

Contributors WEAR........... Marissa Fischer DWELL.......... Becky Harris PLAY............. Nancy Keesling Kristi Duchon CREATE........ Linda Phrakhansa Rosalie Zingales MEET............ Shannon Hanley CELEBRATE... Kristen Davis CARE............ Gretchen Jakub Fabre SHARE.......... Kristie Piacine Michelle Vackar

MEET - interviews 48 ... kayce quevedo - world of whimm 54 ... sonia ortiz - neskita


GROW - child development 60 ... starting preschool 64 ... everything you need to know before you go to kindergarten


SHARE - by moms for moms 66 ... if you only knew what i’m going through 81 ... starting a book club

GROW...........Julie Hartman WORK........... Liz Murphy Please send all article submissions and ideas to:

CARE - growing up green 70...teaching children about energy consumption 75 ... the learning corner

Note that submissions are welcome but are not guaranteed inclusion in the magazine. Copyright© modern handmade child 2010. A l l r i g ht s r e s e r v e d . Reproduction or redistribution in whole or in parts without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.

LISTEN - songs and music 80 ... free song - itsy bitsy spider 86 ... music picks from the mhc staff


VIEW - from a kid’s eye view 88 ... photos taken by kids

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meet the editors

gretchen jakub fabre and shannon hanley

Gretchen Jakub Fabre is an illustrator living in northern France. A mother of 3 children and one Scottie pup, her days are spent chasing after one small being or another. When not looking after her small brood, she can be found in her studio creating- usually a mess, but at times paintings, prints, felt objects and ―fabrications‖. A self-taught artist, her work focuses around the world and whimsies of children and the young-at-heart, many inspired by her own daily experiences. Gretchen‘s illustrations have been sold worldwide to both large companies and individuals alike. Her work can be seen online at and in her portfolio Shannon Hanley lives on the coast of southern Maine with her husband and daughter. She works during the day as a floral designer, and from home at night as an artisan dabbling in many mediums, from knitting and felting to jewelry making. Inspired by the vibrant colors and beauty of nature, she loves creating things that are both fun and functional. In addition to her creative work, she is the leader of the EtsyKids Team, which she founded in 2006. You can find out more about Shannon and view her work online at and, and read her blog at

letter from the editors gretchen jakub fabre and shannon hanley


fter few wonderful summer months, we start to recognize a change in the morning light, the days growing shorter and perhaps mornings with a hint of chill in the air. Everything pointing towards the arrival of autumn. Although I do love summer, and all of the seasons actually, each for its own reason, I have a particularly soft spot for autumn. I love the coziness that comes with cooler evenings, beckoning you to open up that fireplace again and enjoy an evening in front of the warming flames. The smell of autumn air and the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot. Apples in season again, as well as notebooks and school supplies! It‘s all source for inspiration and leads me to look inside to prepare for and enjoy the colder months to come. We have put together this issue with that in mind. Tips on getting ready for back-toschool as well as recipes to keep your family

warm (and fit into a tight schedule that inevitably comes along with school and activities) will surely inspire you. Looking for something to get yourself through the cooler days? Check out our article on starting a book club. There‘s plenty to read so sit back and enjoy. The Autumn 2010 edition of modern handmade child online magazine. This issue marks the start of a new year for us. We have learned a lot over the past year and still have much to learn as we go forward. We hope you‘ll continue to join us for the ride!

Gretchen Jakub Fabre Shannon Hanley We love to hear from you! Send your comments and letters to

finds by ahmelie skistad - ahmelie

A place for everything, and everything in its place! Keep your little student organized with this essential back to school gear.

Messenger Bag


This adorable backpack is made out of recycled fabrics, so it‘s green in more than one way! Perfect for hauling gym clothes, school papers or necessities for a sleepover at a friend‘s house.

military style messenger bag by the bare tree

Laptop Sleeve You can never be safe enough with your laptop. This padded sleeve makes mobility with a laptop even easier. You don‘t have to carry a large bag with you to run to the coffee shop. Get yours in the print that matches you!

recycled fabric drawstring backpack by au clair de la lune

Lunch bag Love this bag for a little boy! It‘s got plenty of pockets for the necessities for school, like legos, a super bouncy ball and a snack for the bus. This would also make a great diaper bag, and I bet your husband wouldn‘t mind carrying it either.

This insulated lunch bag is great for on the go snacks and pack and go meals. Wipe it out with a damp cloth and you are ready for the next use. Comes in great stylish prints and velcros shut to keep everything contained—ditch your brown paper bags and make an environmentally friendly choice! lunch bag by farfalla gialla

Pencil Case This boxy zip top case would be great for pencils, markers or crayons. Perfect for keeping what you need all in the same place. You can even clip it to your backpack or diaper bag so you don‘t need to dig for it! zippered pouch by sew darn simple

Crayon Roll Keep your crayons all rolled up in this cute little wrap. Each crayon has its own spot, and the entire roll has a strap to Velcro it shut and keep crayons secure. Great for kindergarten classrooms, diaper bags or travel bags. Get one for each spot! ipad sleeve by bertie’s closet

crayon roll by mom n mia quilts

this page: weekend blouse by 1 crown 3 tiaras, t-rex shirt by the trendy tot, twirly skirt by bridget & co, rosette headband by ivy and mae, hoot hoodie by dig this chick, boys cord bootleg pants by little star clothing


rowing up, the first day of school outfit was a big thing in our house. I have vivid memories of putting together the perfect ensemble for the first days of school. One year in 2nd or 3rd grade I wore a bright purple jersey top with a matching ruffle skirt. Of course my sister wore the same outfit, only hers was turquoise. In the 8th grade it was overall shorts with the perfect sea green tiedyed baby doll top. My specially chosen outfit made me feel confident and ready for what in all other respects was a potentially nerve racking day. The outfit worn on the first day of school is a big deal for a lot of kids. On one hand kids want to wear something special and cool (whatever the current trends may be), while on the other hand they don‘t want it to be so trendy that five other people are wearing the exact same outfit. Most important though, is that they want an outfit that will provide that extra boost of confidence. This year instead of making the typical last minute trip to the local department store with all the kiddos in tow, consider saving yourself

by marissa fischer - rae gun

the stress by finding their first day of school outfits online. The handmade marketplace is full of trendy yet completely original options that will give your children that extra boost of assurance that a first day of school outfit should. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few tips to get you started: Get the Kids Involved If your child is old enough to participate in the decision or picky enough that you want to make sure he or she okays the outfit, save time and arguments by doing most of the legwork ahead of time. Search for something you think is appropriate and pick out three or four outfits. Then and ask him or her to choose one of them. Read Carefully Since you can‘t try things on when shopping online, be sure to read the listings thoroughly. If the sizing or other details are vague, don‘t hesitate to send the seller a note with your questions. Does the outfit run big or small? How long is that dress? Ask for

This page: crocheted beanie cap by southern baby boutique, boys backpack by bratsacks, textured scarflet by two seaside babes, organic cotton R2D2 hat by babbidge patch. At right: boys messenger bag by mee a bee, cat pouch/pencil case by tokyo inspired

measurements. Most handmade sellers are eager to help and want to make sure you get what you think you are getting. If it‘s not absolutely clear be sure to ask. Check Shipping Times Finally make sure to pay attention to shipping timelines. Some sellers make items to order, so you need to expect to allow time for fabrication and shipping. Other stores may have products ready to go. If you get shopping early, you don‘t have to worry, but if you put things off be sure to make note of the turnaround time so that it will be there in time for the big day. And once again if you are unsure it‘s best to ask. Also it doesn‘t hurt to let sellers know in the notes section of an

order that you are hoping to have the item by a certain date. If you need it sooner than their estimated timeline be sure to ask them if it is possible before placing the order. Sellers often are more than happy to accommodate special occasions as long as their schedules permit.

Happy shopping!

As the weather turns cooler outside your usual shopping whom are more than happy warm scarf or colourful hat from the comfort of your ow

beanie hat by charlie mai, penquin wool felt hair clip by may crimson, three striped merino beanie by natural star, hairband by aeiou kids, wool felted beret by stemellina

and you need that extra little layer to keep out the chill, why not try looking g areas to discover a multitude of international handmade artisans, most of y to ship to your home address. Maybe a special autumn knit hair-band, a t. You’ll surely be pleasantly surprised at the gorgeous items you’ll find, all n sitting room. finds by laura jaquemonde - blueterracotta

wool felted scarf and flower brooch by stemellina, newsboy beanie hat by amber nee crochet, crocheted flower

Time to clean up the desk supplies and get ready for serious studying. What don’t have to head to your local shopping mall to find what you need. In fact the globe, all specifically made to help you and your kids keep things tidy. So m

better way to help get organized than with a few new desk accessories. You t, a few clicks online will lead you to many quality crafted items from around many choices, and you don’t even have to leave the sofa!

big fabric and burlap box by paleolochic home dĂŠcor, mini art case by play to learn, 2-in-1 cup holder by tanya besedina, organic kids messenger bag by sewn natural, organiser basket by the spotted barn, boys crayon roll by gifts to give, family box set by paleolochic home dĂŠcor, chore board by soap star mom, altered vintage journal by vintage paper works

finds by laura jaquemond - blueterracotta

this page clockwise from top left: pencil zipper pouch by simbiosis, princess tower organiser by besedina, personalised art box by gifts define, pretty pencils by b’spoken, kids journal by nico papergoods. right page clockwise from top left: fabric flower pencils by little cat, spiral bound recycled notebook by ivy lane designs, hand-carved rubber stamps by studio mo, children’s chalkboard set by gribouille.

becky harris - the bubb report

of raking leaves, when our reward was jumping into the big pile of them after we were done. You can hang those great leaf craft projects your kids bring home from school, frame your own photographs of leaves, or simply order up a colourful print from renie britenbucher art.


hen the temperature starts to drop and the days get shorter, we all get that urge to stay in to whip up comfort food, wrap ourselves up in wool, and turn our homes into cozy nests. Here are some quick and inexpensive ways to get yourself into the mood for fall. I call these tricks "decorating switcheroos." Switcheroo your artwork As I listen to the constant cacophony of leaf blowers operated by men who are decked out like Ghostbusters, I feel nostalgic for the days

Switcheroo your bedscape If you use a neutral color like tan or white for your duvet all year round, it's easy to change the entire look seasonally with a few pillow covers and a quilt or throw. Pull out that warm wool throw and cover decorative pillows in a mix of autumnal tones - deep red, burnt orange, chocolate brown and yellow are perfect hues for fall nesting. This change is made extra

simple by keeping your existing inserts and simply switching out the covers. Try a geometric pattern like this dandelion cover from kalla (pictured left) that will keep things bright and will work well through many ages as your child grows.

Since we've picked a mix of throw pillows, we'll keep the throw simple. This blazing red mohair throw from jonathan adler is just the right weight for an extra fall layer.

Kids will love this cheery needlepoint apple pillow from jonathan adler and it does the

switcharoo for you - when you flip it over, the back side shows part of the inside of the apple. For a fun retro modern look, this woollen knit owl pillow from tamara beth does the trick.

Switcheroo a throw rug Clean and store summer jute rugs and ground the room with something that's softer on those wee feet. This warm rag rug from snug as a bug rug company is perfect for straightout-of-bed little feet first thing in the morning. Your child will love to play and sprawl out upon this cozy recycled felted wool sweater rug from five forty. Its bright colors and graphic pattern are perfect for kids. And if they ever tire of it, you can give it a second life as a modern folk art wall hanging.

Switcheroo your accent pieces. This opens up wide range of items to pick from. Consider changing a lampshade for example. If you're crafty, you and your child can give a plain white shade your own take on fall style. Not so crafty but still want handmade? Consider this lampshade from drawflowers with its tones of orange and brown. Perhaps your picky pre-teen desires a dash of regency sophistication for his or her room. If so, consider chocolate houndstooth and this rug from jonathan adler, handwoven in Peru. As an added bonus, when the next finicky teen stage hits, you can reclaim it for use anywhere else in the house. Swicheroo anything a decal will stick to Decals can be added to everything from a small bedside table to an entire wall. This fun decal from graphic spaces is personalized and its colors are perfectly suited for an autumn inspired room.

Or take it one step further and invest in the entire lamp like this one from an element of style. There is a multitude of choices for adding a splash of warm fall colour to your children‘s rooms. All you have to do it have a look around and get creative. But the best thing about fall besides all the cozy decorating fun? Crafting is free and plentiful! A walk in the warm autumn air and you‘ll bring home bagfuls of colourful leaves, acorns, pinecones and more for hours of handmade fun with the kids.

opposite page clockwise from top left: brown and orange dinosaur baby blanket by banana bear boutique, fabric organizer basket by baffin bags, the all star quilt by the trunk show, Olivia owl by banana bear boutique, set of 3 cloth play blocks by knit style.

rachael ashman fritsche - grandy and baa

The ideas & inspiration behind these colourful toys that are sweeping the market and types of soft toys. Differentiating themselves from mass produced soft toys, softies are usually handmade, designed by crafters and small independent designers, and showcase a wide range of fabrics and trimmings. Unlike more mainstream soft toys, softies can be found in the form of anything you can imagine: from rabbits to reindeer, dolls to dolls by hop skip jump donkeys, astronauts to anteaters and carrots to cowboys. This amazing range of designs means that if you he cute, quirky and sometimes odd soft are looking for a specific toy, you will either toys, known as ‗softies‘, have been cropping find it somewhere or you will find a designer up all over the globe in the last few years, who can bring your idea to life. particularly on design websites and craft blogs. The term ‗softies‘ (or ‗plushies‘ as The popularity of these toys can be measured they are know in the United States) by the number of craft books, online tutorials, encompasses a wide range of designs, styles and craft blogs on how to make softies. Enter


‗softies‘ in your internet search engine and you will be inundated with links on where to buy or how to make a softie. Making and collecting softies can be addictive and for many it is a passion that has turned into successful enterprise. Three designers that are leading the softie revolution in Australia are Fiona Dalton of Hop Skip Jump Handmade, Kate Hendersen of Two Little Banshees, and Jodie Carleton from Ric-Rac. MHC was lucky to speak to these designers about their creations and the huge popularity of these little creatures. MHC - What inspires you when you are designing your softies/toys? Fiona - Anything and everything! I have two young children, and they are a big inspiration. I started making toys about 6 years ago when my daughter was a baby. I also love children's books, fabric patterns and textures and, of course, the thousands of design and craft sites all over the internet. Kate - I think it is different every time. Sometimes it is the fabric that just wants to be made into a certain animal, sometimes my children want me to make something and sometimes it is a challenge to see if I can work out how to make an animal, or a new shape. Often when I am making one softie I get an idea to change a few things to make something completely different. Jodie - Sometimes I think of a little story and make the softie to fit the story. Or I can pick up a piece of fabric and it will just scream one

softies house by ric-rac

animal or another at me. Other times I'll get an idea, like the softie tea-set and initially decide it is too hard but it will bubble away in the back of my brain until I give it go. MHC - Do you think fabric choice is as important as the design of the softie? Fiona - I think what is great about softies is that they can be made from anything. Having said that, I am particularly fond of using natural fibers for my toys - especially wool flannels, because the weight and feel of the fabric gives the toy a lovely substantial feel. Plus it's natural and sustainable and all of those fabulous things. Good quality, natural fibers also mean your toy will live longer and not harbor so many germs (wool has antiseptic qualities!) disco bots by ric-rac

Kate – Oh

definitely. I think bright fabrics really appeal to children (and to a lot of adults) and some fabrics just seem perfect for different toys. I also like to use different textured fabrics on toys like corduroy and felt so they aren't just interesting visually but also tactile. My children love to sleep with toys backed with corduroy Jodie – Oh yes. Even though I am devoted to making softies out of wool, I have made them from polar fleece and cotton, corduroy, vinyl, silk - anything. The right fabric can suggest so much - whether a softie is warm like wool or cool like vinyl. The right fabric can make a huge difference. Now that I have released some of my toys as patterns I get to see other people’s interpretations and it’s great. I guess I sometimes get stuck on a certain look for a toy and then someone makes it in their way with their fabrics and I get blown away by the different personality they have created. MHC - Why do you think that these little toys are so popular? Fiona - I think softies are popular as a sewing project because they are quick and reasonably straightforward to make. Softies are very forgiving - even if they don't turn out exactly as you'd hoped, it doesn't matter there are no hard and fast rules about what a softie should look like. In the end, they have

Inspired to make your own softies? There are no hard-fast rules, so no right or wrong. What‘s stopping you from jumping in? pink and green giraffe by two little banshees

personalities of their own. It can be a very addictive craft. Kate - It amazes me that they (my designs) are, but I think it is because of the bright fabrics and (because I can't draw) they all look slightly odd. Jodie - Softies, whether they are funny or sad, make people smile. Perhaps they make people feel like kids again, I'm not sure. I love softies and buy them regularly for myself and friends. The popularity of these handmade toys is perhaps another signal to a return to a slower pace of life, where crafted items are no longer a poor cousin to those mass produced. After a number of global plastic toy recalls, safety concerns make many softies are great choice for babies and small children. Many

To get you started on your softie making adventure, here are some popular websites containing free softie patterns: Softie Making and Tipnut. Also, visit the blogs of Fiona, Kate and Jodie for free patterns, patterns to purchase, softie making tips and links to their online store. Fiona is at hop skip jump, Kate can be found at never enough hours, and Jodie blogs at vintage ricrac. If you are looking for softie books filled with great patterns, information and simple, clear instructions, I highly recommend Softies and More Softies by Penguin Books . of the popular designs made by these designers are suitable for very young children as they do not feature loose, moving or detachable parts. And as Jodie from Ric-Rac told me, ‗Who wants a pair of socks or jocks when you can get a softie as a gift?‘

left page clockwise from top left: little dog by two little banshees, ruby by made by maisie, red ted by made by maisie, ishmael’s whale by flying star toys. this page: bunny by edward and lilly, puppies by hop skip jump, silver gull by flying star toys.

Create Hodgepodge Bracelets with leftover material from oth these cute and st Materials: Elastic scraps Fabric scraps Ribbon scraps Assorted buttons Needle and thread Permanent glue (such as Fabri-Tac)

Extra Tips:     

Create simple bows with small squares of fabric. Scrunch the square in the middle and tie with Create fabric streamers by cutting thin strips of fabric or ribbon for children. Place a dot of glue Create flowers by layering fabric circles (as seen on author‘s bracelet). Add a small felt circle o You may also purchase pre-cut felt or foam shapes (animals, letters, etc.) for younger children. You may sew a child's embellishments for extra security after he or she decorates it.

her crafting projects. Kids and teens can make, swap, and keep tretchy accessories.

by linda phrakhansa - linda dearie

Instructions: 1. Measure around the child's wrist with a piece of leftover elastic. Using a pencil, mark the elastic where the bracelet fits comfortably. Trim the elastic if needed. 2. Sew the ends of the elastic together using needle and thread. If several children participate in the craft, you can sew the elastic prior to the activity. 3. The bracelet is ready to decorate! Teens may sew buttons, jewels, and fabric scraps independently. Younger children may dab Fabri-Tac glue (with adult supervision) to attach embellishments.

thread. Then attach to bracelet. e in the center of the strip and attach to bracelet. on top and attach to bracelet.


by nancy keesling - tutu cute and moore

reating a self portrait and autobiography helps children of all ages develop selfawareness, artistic expression and build appreciation for the arts. And with school picture day quickly approaching, include your preschooler in the excitement by using simple supplies, such as, construction paper, glue, markers, crayons, yarn, string and ribbon to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Allow them the freedom to choose their favorite materials and colors. So what if they want a green face and purple hair? Remind them that this is their portrait, and it can look however they want it to look. This is sure get their creative juices flowing. Who knows, you could have a little Picasso in the making!

After completing their portrait, ask your child to tell you why they selected particular colors and materials. Continue to ask questions about their likes and dislikes, favorite places, food, etc., and give your undivided attention to this churning little mind‘s responses. Once they‘ve given you every detail, write the information below the portrait, and display the art at the child‘s eye level in a special family location. Be sure to share the portrait and story with other family members too, but most importantly, admire the art often, and watch your little one beam with pride! When your children‘s school pictures arrive home, place them next to the self portrait so that all can be enjoyed together.

Red Beans and Rice

michelle vackar - hi mamma

1 16 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 package of turkey sausage sliced into nice size bites. 1 onion finely chopped 2 Tbs butter 2 carrots sliced into bite-sized pieces. 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tsp basil Red pepper flakes and salt to taste 3 cups of brown rice Cook the rice. While rice is cooking, cut the sausage into 1-inch pieces (or smaller depending upon the age of your eaters) and sautĂŠ. After the sausage has been cooked, add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery, basil, red pepper flakes and salt. SautĂŠ a little longer until the onions are translucent and your vegetables are also the desired tenderness your family enjoys. When your brown rice is done, toss in your sautĂŠed items above, red beans and toss together. You are ready to serve. Tip: try varying the amount and types of vegetables and sausage for more variety. You can also add black beans for more color. Be sure to drain them well to avoid adding too much liquid to the rice mixture.

Sausage Broccoli Bake 3/4 lb Italian sausage, casings removed 3 green onions, chopped 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, cooked and drained 8 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided 1 pinch cayenne pepper seasoning salt (or use white salt) 1/4 cup milk 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese black pepper 2 firm plum tomatoes, thinly sliced 1 cup ricotta cheese or cottage cheese depending upon your preference Set the oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees C). Butter an 11 x 7-inch baking dish or a medium-size oval casserole dish. In a skillet, cook the sausage meat and onions over medium-high heat, stirring until the sausage is browned. Drain fat and transfer to a large bowl. Add cooked broccoli and 3/4 cup shredded cheese. Toss to combine then transfer and spread into bottom of prepared baking dish. In another bowl, combine the eggs with remaining cheddar cheese, cayenne, ricotta cheese and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over broccoli-sausage. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and arrange the tomato slices over the top. Bake covered for about 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

michelle vackar - hi mamma

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies 3/4 cup butter 1 cup white sugar 1 cup light brown sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 eggs 2 cups sifted whole wheat pastry flour 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups chocolate chips 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (180 degrees C). Generously grease cookie sheets. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and eggs. Combine the two different flours together with the baking soda and salt, then gradually blend into the creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts if desired. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Tip: to make these into bar cookies, press the dough into a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Apple Pear Almond Pancakes 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 egg 1 1/2 cups milk 1 apple, peeled and chopped 1 pear, peeled and chopped 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg Handful of sliced almonds

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine milk and egg into the flour mixture and stir. Add the apples, pears, almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir together. On the stovetop melt butter in a skillet, pour the pancake mixture into the skillet to the size of the pancakes that you desire. Try a variety of sizes from extra large to silver dollar pancakes that are a real kid pleaser. Cook until brown on one side, then flip and cook on the other side until done. Tip: try different combinations like adding1/4 cup of oatmeal. When you do this, you may need to add a little bit more milk, due to the batter being a little thicker.


by kristen davis - mary had a little party

any of our fondest memories often include shared meals and gatherings for the special celebrations in our lives. While for some, the meal planning for invited guests can be an daunting task, it need not be so in planning the perfect party. To make it the easiest and most enjoyable for both host and guests alike, there are a few things to keep in mind:

door sign by whimzy creations

What is my party budget and how do meals fit into this plan?

What time of day is my event planned, and what is the general age group of guests invited?

What is my theme and how can the foods be incorporated into what I envision?

In reality, all three of these components work hand in hand when planning the perfect setting. The cost of the food can often make or break your entertainment budget. Considering the time the event will take place, as well as the guests themselves, is a good way to start planning the foods that will be served and can help determine the budget. Parties planned around meal times (lunch and dinner) will often call for a more structured meal plan for your guests, while those that are planned for in between meal times can simply offer a variety of snacks and ‗fun food‘.

For older children, lunch is often served. However, an afternoon get together past the lunch hour is also a viable option. If a great cake and ice cream are the only items on the menu, it can make a huge difference in keeping the food expense within your planned budget. Although, be careful! There are many wonderful cakes that can quickly eat up that budget if being ordered from a commercial baker.

first birthday set by little one boutique

For the very young crowd, first birthday parties for example, you‘ll definitely want to schedule around the little ones‘ nap times. The time of the event and the young age of the invited guests themselves will certainly determine what foods are being offered. Although the birthday crowd in this instance may not eat up your budget, you‘ll need to keep their parents in mind when planning as well and a small buffet for them can add up quickly.

If you‘re hosting a more formal affair, a sit down setting, or one where a complete meal is offered, makes a lot of sense. When planning for the younger crowd, as I‘m sure we can all recall, less time is spent thinking of the food to be eaten (with the exception of that great cake of course!), and more time is spent being enthralled in the excitement of the party and the playtime with friends. A lunchtime affair for a young birthday crowd still can be easily managed if you keep it simple. A sack lunch provided for little ones can be a quick and fun way to feed a young crowd, and now there is a variety of styled boxes available, a fabulous change from that ordinary brown printable tags by tom kat studio

paper bag. Gable boxes, for example, are a popular option with room enough to pack delicious sandwiches and on-the-go beverages. They can also be decorated with stickers and images to carry out your theme. A party set for the afternoon hour (typically from 1 p.m. on), however, is generally not expected to be a meal time event. This certainly does not limit your options though, as there are many wonderful ideas for the "sweets" hours to make your party a success. One of the biggest trends of the day is a candy buffet - a station of candy jars dressed up to coordinate with the chosen scheme and a little one's dream come true! Another favorite sweet option, and a wonderful double for a sure-to-be-loved party favor, is decorated sugar cookies, bagged and bowed for little ones to carry home. It is simply amazing the detail and creativity that a baker can express in these little treats. Probably the focal point of birthdays from the first planned event, nothing shouts celebration more than a great birthday cake lit with candles and accompanied by song. From simple to extravagant, cakes today are more extraordinary than ever and offer a great deal of room for expression. From a decorated sheet cake, to an elaborate tiered sweet, to a simple cake adorned with a wonderful cake topper, the possibilities are endless. Another party favorite, and often an easy way for little ones to enjoy cake, is cupcakes. While

cupcakes can accompany a cake when a larger crowd is expected, cupcakes also alleviate the time involved in cake cutting and serving, freeing you up to participate in and enjoy your event. From themed versions to simply iced and decorated with wonderful cupcake toppers, these too are a great option for the sweets planned for your event. Want to try your hand at baking yourself? Not only can this often save a great deal of expense, there is something quite special about putting your hands together to make the memories special for your loved ones. Baked goods need not be fancy to delight a little one; the time spent together is undoubtedly what makes the celebration one to last a lifetime. No matter what type of food you are going to be serving, always be sure to keep potential food allergies in mind. Let families know what ingredients are being used in case a guest has an allergy concern. And above all else, make sure that the foods planned for the event are a compliment to what matters the most: a wonderful day spent together sharing the amazing celebrations in our lives! opposite page, top to bottom: printable candy buffet labels by blue sugar press, teacup sugar cookies by sugar and flour, hedgehog cupcake toppers by paper circus this page, top to bottom: custom cake topper by cute nation, cake toppers by mary had a little party

interview by shannon hanley - the clever kitty

kayce: Creativity is a big part of my existence, but I love to spend time with my family, plan our “garden” and rummage through thrift stores. mhc: How did you get started making things? What is the first thing you remember creating?

mhc: Tell us a little about yourself.

kayce: Growing up, my mom used to watch a bunch of kids during the day for many of the teachers from our local elementary school. She was sure to always have art supplies at our fingertips. I’m sure it was this which sparked my interest in the arts.

kayce: My name is Kayce, and I keep a chaotic house in Everett, Washington with my husband (whose name also happens to be Kasey) and two kids. My oldest, Robbie, is nearly eight now, and my youngest, Alyssa (we call her Lyssie) is four.

I can remember making things with a friend and setting up a store in the doorway of my room. I don’t actually remember selling anything, but even now, I think it’s just the enjoyment of sharing my creations with other people.

mhc: Aside from creating things, what do you love to do?

mhc: When did you decide to start selling your work?

kayce: I quit my day job about 6 months after having my daughter. With my health (I have Fibromyalgia) and the two kids, the stress became too much for my body. But I’m also someone that needs to stay busy, so I decided to start making a few of the many ideas running through my head. At the time, it was imaginative play costumes for the kids. I was having trouble finding the quality costumes that I grew up with (my mom is also a seamstress and made our Halloween costumes every year). I think it’s essential for kids to use their imagination through role playing, and I wanted costumes for my kids that would last more than a few months. mhc: You must have had a lot of unique costumes for Halloween when you were a kid. What was one of your favorite costumes your mom made for you?

kayce: The costumes I remember most are either the ones that were a little out there, or the ones she made for my younger brother (he is 7 years younger than me). One of the favorites that she made for me was the Hershey Kiss. This was before they had a pattern for it and even before they had silver fabric! I remember my mom spray painted the fabric silver... and by the end of trick-ortreating, I had silver arms from resting them on the side of the costume. But I remember my brother's costumes the most. He had some great costumes including a California Raisin, a Ninja Turtle complete with muscles, a hockey puck and Iron Man (which was before anyone even knew who he was). She was great. She would either make them up herself, or she would take a pattern that was close and alter it (normally beyond recognition) into whatever was in our imagination. Those were often my favorites - where she brought our imagination to life.

mhc: What is the name of your shop? kayce: My shop name is World of Whimm. I wanted a name that would encompass any crazy ideas that I might come up with. I added the extra “m” at the end because I liked the idea of it relating a bit to “Grimm”. mhc: What‘s your favorite item to make, and why? kayce: My favorite regular item to make is probably the crowns as I like to challenge myself to make each one look a little bit different. But I think really my favorite thing to make is anything new. Summer time is often my favorite time in my shop because people challenge me with custom orders for Halloween costumes. I don’t take a lot of custom orders. It is important to me that I maintain artistic freedom. I find that the end result is enjoyed more by both me and the client if I use my vision rather than theirs. mhc: The months leading up to Halloween must be a busy time of year for you. How do you prepare for the costume rush? kayce: I wish I could say that I have a method, or that I'm organized enough to have a plan. I really don't. I take it one day at a time and when I feel overwhelmed, I stop

taking orders. With two kids who also have their own costume ideas, I usually have to allow a week to a week and a half for their costumes, so I try to encourage people to get their orders in early. It's always disappointing to me when I have to turn people down... especially when they present me with a great challenge.

mhc: What‘s your most popular item? kayce: All of my items are popular at one place or another. The mermaid tails are often one of my best sellers, and the crowns are always a big hit. During Christmas time, all the super hero pieces seem to sell really well… after all, who doesn’t want to be a super hero? mhc: Where does your inspiration come from? kayce: I am inspired from everything around me: my kids, nature, the television, even just color combinations in a stack of dirty clothes. You can find inspiration anywhere as long as you are open to it. mhc: What is your creative process? kayce: When I’m coming up with new items, ideas can build up in my head for months (even years) before I’m ready to bring them to fruition. I like to work out all the details and issues that I might come up against long before I bring out a piece of fabric. Then I start sketching. I’m a visual person so I need to have it drawn out before I can make anything, even if I never refer back to the sketches. Then I start the long process of prototyping. This can take many, many months. It’s a long process, but I love the

feeling of accomplishment when I’ve made a truly unique item. When I make regular stock items, like to prepare for a show, I sew by thread color. I’ll spend a day or two cutting out items and then I’ll start sewing them together depending on the color of thread I have in my machine at the time. I know it only takes a few seconds to change colors in the machine, but it’s my least favorite thing to do – especially when I have to do it often. So I could sew for seven days and not finish a single thing, but have a pile of completed items on day eight. mhc: What‘s the best part about earning a living making things?

kayce: I am my own boss. Granted, this can also be a drawback, but if I want to stop my day and spend time with the kids, I can. If I want to take a week off and do nothing around the house, I can. The flexibility has also been necessary during those times when I experience Fibromyalgia flare ups. When I was working a regular job, it was stressful to have to meet strict deadlines when my body just wasn’t cooperating. It was also stressful to try to get others to understand my limitations.

mhc: Sounds like there's a lot of creativity in your family. Do your children have creative abilities?

mhc: What handmade item do you cherish?

mhc: What to you is the importance of buying handmade?

kayce: I love every one of my Grandfather’s pots, not just because they remind me of him, but also because they remind me of a creative childhood. My Grandfather used to be a gardener, but would make and sell pottery on the side. I grew up at craft shows and gem shows (my father sold lapidary) and it makes me happy to be giving my kids the same type of experience (even if they don’t currently agree!).

kayce: I love buying and giving handmade. To me, handmade gives material objects meaning. Having my morning tea in a factory produced mug is okay, it gets the job done, but when I have it in my handmade mug by LAS Designs, it’s an experience. It’s an experience because thought went into every detail of it… the shape of the mug, the size of the handle, the bumps around the outside… it has meaning. I love handmade.

kayce: My children are still pretty young and are still exploring their interests. They both love to draw, and my daughter loves her "art center" where she has access to scissors, glue, paper, pom-poms, sequins - the list goes on. But I can tell you they are very creative. My daughter's responses when she's in trouble are very creative.

Kayce is offering 15% off your entire purchase from World of Whimm to MHC readers. Mention this article in the "notes to seller" at checkout to receive the discount. Custom orders excluded. Offer expires October 31st, 2010.

interview by shannon hanley - the clever kitty

mhc: Tell us a little about yourself. sonia: My name is Sonia Ortiz and I'm from Chile. My mother is British and my dad is Chilean. I lived in England for a few months when I was little, so that's how I learned English. When I finished school I did a couple of months of design at a local university and although I really liked it I thought, “There's no way I'll be able to earn a living doing this.� So I quit and did a BA in English Literature and Linguistics, and then I got a degree in English-Spanish translation. Looking back, I have no idea why I thought translation would be more profitable than design, because it obviously isn't, but what can I say, that's just me. The fact that I married a graphic designer makes even less sense, I know, but I love my life. I now work from home as a freelance translator but spend almost half of my time creating things for my Etsy shop. Although

have to make more. I also love to make furniture. My latest project was a big bookshelf for my study, which I made with the help of my husband. I think one of my few non-creative hobbies is reading - I am an avid reader in English and Spanish. mhc: How did you get started making things? What is the first thing you remember creating? sonia: I've been making things ever since I can remember. As a kid I loved all kinds of crafts (I mean, what girl doesn't?), but probably my first serious project was a

we still haven't had children together, my husband has an 8-year-old daughter who stays with us on weekends every fortnight. She is a willing “guinea pig� for all my children's products. mhc: Aside from creating things, what do you love to do? sonia: We recently moved to a new house, so right now I love to decorate! Actually, almost all of my favorite activities have to do with creating. I really enjoy sewing clothes for my husband's daughter, for example. I love the fact that she grows out of them and I

dollhouse I made when I was about 16. Dollhouses aren't a very common hobby here in Chile, so I had to order almost everything from abroad. That's when I realized it would be wiser (and cheaper) to make the house and furniture myself. It was so much fun! I grew up watching how my dad made furniture for our house and how my mom sewed and knitted clothes for me and my brother, so I guess I couldn't help but follow their steps. mhc: When did you decide to start selling your work?

sonia: When I first discovered Etsy, my idea was to sell clothes. However, when I found out about shipping rates in Chile I instantly knew I couldn't send anything by regular mail. So that's when I decided I could make cute printables and send them as PDF files via e-mail. That was exactly one year ago. I spent the following months investigating - I wanted to sell something nobody (or very few people) were selling, and that's how I came up with my printables for children. I opened my shop in October 2009 and my sales have been steadily growing.

mhc: What is the name of your shop? sonia: The name of my shop is neskita, which has been my Internet nickname for almost fifteen years, and I thought it would be a good idea to use it for my shop as well. It's short, it's simple, and I'd like to think it's a name people can remember. I don't think I could've used any other name for my shop neskita is just who I am.

little girl, it didn't come as a surprise that it was the first product I sold, and that it quickly became the most popular item in my shop. mhc: Where does your inspiration come from?

mhc: What‘s your favorite item to make, and why? sonia: I really enjoy making printables for children, but I don't have one particular favorite. I love to imagine how children might enjoy assembling and playing with the printables, because I remember how I used to enjoy similar things when I was a kid. mhc: What‘s your most popular item? sonia: My most popular item is my printable paper bedroom. It was the first product I made for my shop. I was so convinced it was the ultimate printable for a

sonia: My inspiration definitely comes from memories. It's the younger me who I have in mind when I create my stuff. I always try to imagine what I would have liked, and that's how I envision and design my products. It may sound a little self-centered, but it really does work for me. I'm still a child at

eventually reach the hands of a child who must put it all together. And of course, all of my products are things I love. A perfectionist by nature, I take my time to make them as simple, pretty and interesting as I would expect from an item I'd be willing to buy. mhc: What‘s the best part about earning a living making things?

heart, and it's not hard at all for me to connect with the girl I once was. mhc: What is your creative process? sonia: Creating a new item is always an exciting adventure. This is especially true with my paper sets for children. I envision a scene and take note of the essential elements it must include, always leaving room for extras. Sometimes my imagination goes way overboard and I have to force myself to bring it back down to earth, knowing that it will

sonia: Actually, I don't make a living out of this, but I would absolutely love it if I could! I'm doing my best to reach that point when I can dedicate my days to making printables and nothing else. Since I'm self-employed, I already know what it's like to work at home, so I really wish I could do what I truly enjoy. I hope it doesn't take me too long! mhc: What handmade item do you cherish? sonia: I love everything handmade, regardless of who made it. I've bought a few

handmade items on Etsy and every time I look at them I can't help but imagine the person behind it. But I do have one favorite handmade item. It's a sewing box made by my dad and my brother when I was a girl. It's a beautiful little box covered in blue fabric and although I can't use it for its original purpose (my sewing supplies have grown a bit), I keep it as a treasure and love the fact that it was made especially for me by two people I love. mhc: What to you is the importance of buying handmade? sonia: I think it's got a lot to do with empathy. I know what it feels like to make things with your own hands, and I understand the lovely feeling that comes when someone else appreciates your hard work and your creativity. To me, buying handmade means giving the thumbs-up to someone who, like myself, enjoys creating things. Besides, everything that has been made by hand has a little bit of the person

who made it. And when I buy something from someone who lives miles away from where I live, someone whom I'll probably never meet in person, I feel that I do know them somehow, that they've somehow entered my life.

Sonia is offering a free gift with purchase to MHC readers. Purchase any item from Neskita and select a second item (of lesser value) for free! Offer expires August 15th, 2010.

Child Development Skill of the Season


julie hartman - petite fish

o your little one is starting preschool this Preschool is a beautiful time for a child to autumn. Congrats! You‘ve made it through develop his or her student identity: the value, effort, focus, and self-esteem associated with the research, selection process, interviews, and paid the tuition. You being a student of learning. have worked hard on It‘s the part of a child that toilet-training, mastering feels proud when they learn the alphabet, reviewing something new and are able colors, and maybe even to share that new found knowledge. It‘s the part of started some discipline practices, like ‗time-outs‘. him or her that focuses, Maybe your tyke has been studies, analyzes, and uses in daycare, so transitioning trial and error as well as to preschool feels simple. repetition, to understand But if you are one of the something. Up until now, that many parents who had type of learning has been solely attributed to being a their ‗baby‘ at home until top: felt number set by evgie now, preschool seems like toddler, a developing person. a big step. Either way, there are several things Now that she‘s off to preschool, learning also you can do to help get his or her student happens within a role – the role of being a identity off to a strong start. student in the classroom and that role involves specific rules, habits, and expectations associated with performing it. What is a student identity and isn’t preschool a little young to be thinking like that? Oh it sounds so clinical! Behold, this Crafty

Shrink is on a mission, a mission to help Moms with simple, easy and fun tips for teaching a child development skill. How do we cultivate student identity in a Preschooler? A student identity involves three parts: looking like a student, acting like a student, and feeling like a student. You can start with this script and repeat it nearly every day for a couple weeks before he or she starts preschool: ―something very exciting is happening in September (circle the day on the calendar) – you are becoming a student! Students have lots of fun with friends, learn all kinds of cool things like reading books and arts and crafts and nature. You’re going to a school with other students to learn these things together.”

choose from to play student. My faves: student collage (for the tot who likes to sit and do art), student treasure hunt (for the tot who likes to be active and ‗race‘), and student social (for the student who likes to be social and show-off). While your child‘s attention span may only allow for 5 minutes of activity, with repetition and revisiting it, he or she will learn the concept and gain important student skills as well.

Here are some crafty ways to help your precious blossoming student develop his or her identity: Looking like a student Invite your preschooler to pick out what he or she will wear to the first day as a student. Then have a dress rehearsal and play student dress-up. When they wear that outfit, compliment how they look so much like a student. Ask what they want to learn about today. Offer a few structured activities to eco-friendly nap mat by sewn natural

Student Treasure Hunt (advance preparation required): hide items of his or her student outfits in different locations throughout your home or yard. Play ―hot, cold, getting warmer‖ when your child is near the hiding place. When all the items are found, he or she‗wins‘. Student Social: put on the student outfit, grab the student lunch bag and a small book in hand, and go around your local shopping area introducing your child as a student. Say, ―this is Simon. He is becoming a preschool student in September. We’re practicing being a student.”

Student Collage (advance preparation required): cut out pieces of several outfits from a children‘s clothing catalog (or print from a website like Gap, Inc). You can even make copies of your child‘s head to put at the top of the outfits. Play mix and match and invite your tot to arrange the student outfits, using a gluestick and paper. Say, ―find the student clothes and make a student outfit collage of YOU as a student.” You‘ll see I am being repetitive using the word student to help reinforce the identity development.

Acting like a student Any time your child is exhibiting a studentlike behavior, such as sitting quietly, highlight that as a student behavior. In addition, times when she is examining something, like a leaf, or being social, or trying something new, like riding his purple ―motorcycle‖ down a small hill by himself, say ―when you are playing with others that’s like being a student. When you’re looking closely at that leaf, that’s like being a student. When you try something new, that’s like being a student.” You can also invite your child to ‗play school‘ with dolls and school items. Practice by pretending that there is a teacher present

who guides the students in their learning activities, that there are directions to follow, and just like at home, sometimes students need help to make good choices and teachers can help with that.

that he‘s telling you how he feels. Your child will likely spend the next 20 years in the student role, so spending the time to nurture her student identity is a worthy investment. I hope these crafty tips make that process a little more fun.

Feeling like a student Being a student is an emotional experience. Learning can be simultaneously pleasurable and frustrating, filled with surprise and boredom, mixed with feelings of pride and defeat. Going to preschool often feels like excitement, anxiety, fear, and joy, all rolled into one. This sometimes leads to resistance, not because of the content of the classroom, the teacher style, or even being a student, but simply because all of the feelings can flood his or her young system. Shutting down or clinging is sometimes the best he or she can do at that moment. Giving your child permission to feel all the feelings associated with being a student is an important first step in student identity. Accepting the emotional student will create a communication freedom that enables him or her to come home, day after day, year after year, ready to tell you ALL about his or her student life. A Crafty Shrink activity? Praise your child for each emotion he expresses. Label the feeling – even draw a picture of the feeling and post it on the fridge. Normalize that every student feels the same way sometimes, and you like

top: abc tee by petite fish, bottom: slurpy the dog backpack by boutique id

Before Y


indergarten is often a child's first experience with school–he or she belongs to a large classroom, learns to count, read, and draw, and most importantly, becomes aware of the surrounding world. For parents, kindergarten means letting go of their precious baby. Moms, dads, grandmas, and grandpas, don't fret! He or she will be in safe and caring hands. Before the first day of school, families may prepare their children for kindergarten in a variety of ways. The following tips apply to many public schools in the United States. Check with your local school district for the most accurate information. Establish a routine. In the weeks leading up to kindergarten, discuss schedules with your child. In kindergarten, the teacher will use the same schedule everyday. You can emphasize your family's schedule, too. Create a chart together detailing important activities such as getting dressed, eating breakfast, or doing homework (or another age-appropriate activity).

Visit the school. If your child has an older sibling, he or she may already be familiar with the school. If your child hasn't visited the school, call the front office for information on school tours or kindergarten round-up. The school should also provide you with a specific supply list. Strengthen basic skills. In the fall, students will practice beginning skills such as letter identification, counting,

You Go to

by linda phrakhansa - linda dearie

Meet the teacher. Before the first day, many elementary schools host a "Meet the Teacher" night for families. Children may visit the school, meet their teachers, see the classrooms, and walk the hallways. Look forward to kindergarten together. Children can sense an adult's apprehension or nerves. Stay calm and cool. Take your child back-to-school shopping and allow him or her to choose the color or decoration of a folder, lunch box, or supply box.

and printing their names. Kindergarten students usually begin to read and write full sentences toward the end of the year. Offer support and encouragement. Kindergarten students are young–it's normal for them to feel frustrated during new activities or situations. Children will be successful in kindergarten if they feel confident about themselves.

On the first day of school, classroom teachers allow parents to drop-off students at the classroom and linger. Of course, tears may shed and many hugs may occur before you depart. Just remember that your kindergartner will return to your arms in the afternoon with school stories, and these stories will continue for the next twelve years. Linda Phrakhansa is a kindergarten teacher in San Antonio, Texas.


‘m going to whisper this so get real close. Ready? Sometimes I will think, ―When am I going to get these kids out of this house?‖ I hate to admit it, being a stay-at-home work-from-home Mom, but I do, I wish my kids away! Guilt Alert! How awful is that? I think it for a few moments as if it is all sunshine, blue skies. A choir is singing and vacuuming becomes invigorating all because the little feet aren‘t in the way. I learned my lesson the hard way. How much I missed her. How hard I cried the first day that bus pulled away. How empty the house felt. How I would have given anything to hear, ―Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mama, MOMMY!‖ You, too? This is the eternal merry-go-round: the morning routine that starts my blood boiling because of the fights over clothes and

by kristie piacine -

practicing her math and what she‘s eating for breakfast. And then she goes to school and I feel awful all day long. If she only knew how much I truly miss her. So how do we connect with our children and tell them how much we miss them? We say it but do they really hear it? My little girl is heading into 2nd grade now, so I‘ve had lots of practice at this – practice at connecting throughout the day while my little one is away. The first idea, and the most obvious one, is lunch box notes. Take the time to pack a little love in their lunch, a time when they are with friends, free to chat, and sometimes free to sit with their emotions from school that morning. Maybe there was a friend who didn‘t smile back, a teacher who was a little too firm, a memory from that fight over which shoes to wear – that little note will do more than you ever thought possible. Make your own from scrap paper around the house or buy a little set to use over and over again.

- kind living designs

At our house Daddy is already gone by the time the kids get up in the morning but that‘s no reason not to get the big guy involved too. My hubby started a tradition that ran through the entire year of kindergarten. Everyday he left her a note. EVERYDAY. We have all of them. We‘ve hole-punched them now and strung them on a string in her memory box. It‘s so much fun to look back at them every now and again and remember.

keepsake box by the present place

On those days where I find I‘m choked up thinking, ―how did she grow up so fast?‖ I get out the videos and prepare her favorite snack. When she gets home we watch home videos of her as a baby, as a toddler just learning how to walk, being silly with the dog, tackling me and smothering me with kisses. Oh, how it makes us belly laugh and I‘ve found no better way to really hit her over the head with my love. She watches it and says, ―Mom you really love me, don‘t lunch box notes by kind living designs you?‖

If she needs a bit more because we‘re having trouble at school with a bully or she‘s anxious about a test, we get out the special trinkets. In our case it‘s her favorite locket (really a piece of junk metal) and it‘s much better than any worry stone. Or that special shell we pretended was a magical key to the fairy realm last summer? That too. I‘ll sneak it into her pocket so when she gets dressed it is discovered. We chat over breakfast. Why I put it there, why I thought she needed it. It gets us talking about what‘s making her anxious without the actual anxiety being present and interrupting the flow of communication. It sits in her pocket all day

hand bound journal by earmarks

long. If she feels the tiniest bit anxious she just puts her hand in and feels it there. ―Mom, I felt so much better. Like you were there.‖ Now that she‘s getting older, I have another trick up my sleeve that I‘m just dying to try out: our Mommy-Daughter journal. A special journal that is just for us – when we‘re happy, when we‘re sad, when we just need each other but somehow never fit it in between dinner, homework, softball, dance, tennis, bedtime routines. Lastly, we have our song. That one is really for me. Barry Manilow, I love you, thank you for the memories. I remember sitting in the back of the car, my mother driving, me, leaning over the huge bench-like front seat belting out Barry Manilow along with her. Our song? ―I can‘t smile without you, I can‘t laugh without you….You came along just like a song, and brightened my day.‖ (Was I even buckled in back then?) But I remember it so

vividly, me and my Mom. Now, it‘s my turn. I‘m the Mom and it‘s me and her, alone from the outside world, belting out the tune in unison. Little does she remember me holding her, she‘s about 14 months old and we‘re just spinning and diving and twirling to Barry, me singing like a little birdie to my baby girl. I know I can‘t ever get back these days. And while she‘s at school, my little man is with me. Old habits are hard to break. There are certainly the days when I think, ―when do you go to school?!‖ But we‘re building up our own set of get-through-it routines. Perhaps that will be another article – how to communicate your love to your little man now so that he can communicate his love freely for the rest of his life. He‘s only three. I haven‘t got it all figured out yet. For my growing girl, I don‘t wish these days away as much, but looking to the future, I can‘t wait until the day we dance together to Barry – at her wedding.

“Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow You know I can't smile without you, I can't smile without you, I can't laugh and I can't sing, I'm findin' it hard to do anything. You see, I feel sad when you're sad, I feel glad when you're glad, If you only knew what I'm going through, I just can't smile without you. You came along just like a song and brightened my day, Who'd've believed that you were part of a dream Now it all seems light years away. And now you know I can't smile without you, I can't smile without you, I can't laugh and I can't sing, I'm findin’ it hard to do anything. You see, I feel sad when you're sad, I feel glad when you're glad, If you only knew what I"m going through, I just can't smile. Now some people say happiness takes so very long to find. Well I'm finding it hard leaving your love behind me. And you see, I can't smile without you, I can't smile without you, I can't laugh and I can't sing, I'm findin' it hard to do anything. You see, I feel sad when you're sad, I feel glad when you're glad, If you only knew what I'm going through, I just can't smile without you

by gretchen jakub fabre - chichiboulie


he autumn and winter months are creeping up upon us, and with them, we know that the utility bills will also be doing some creeping, in the upwards direction. With energy prices on the rise, now is the time to think about ways to conserve energy and help save not only money, but a little bit of the planet as well. Energy conservation is an important idea for children to learn, but not one that is easily taught. While even the most unbudging adult can usually be convinced to save a little here and there if it will make a difference in his or her wallet at the end of the month, children aren‘t so easily persuaded by Upcycled hot water bottle cover by this argument butterfly garage and rightly so.

So how to teach your children to become savers and not wasters? The best way to do so is to get them involved in finding ways to save energy around your house. If you can make it fun for them on top of that, even better! Here are a few ways to get them thinking about energy conservation: Turn it Off Have your kids guess how many light bulbs you have in your house and then go around and count them all and count those that are on at the moment. Now do the same thing with all your other electronic devices including those that are in stand-by mode (this uses more electricity than you‘d think!). You‘ll all probably be surprised at the number. Take time to explain to them how much each light bulb or appliance costs to use, maybe even estimate the cost of 1 hour of usage and show them in coins. Teach them the importance of turning off the electrical devices when they leave a room or when they aren‘t in

Making a Draught Excluder use. Give them an incentive to turn them off. Make a scoring chart to award them points for each time they shut off an unused lamp or turn off an electronic. At the end of the week, reward the winner with a small treat. Keeping out the Cold When the first chill of autumn hits, most of us have the habit of turning on the heat, turning it up a degree or two as the days and nights become colder. This year, before you turn on the heating, why not give some alternative methods a try? Have the kids walk around and check out all your doors and windows for draughts. Accompany them with a lit incense stick to show them how to detect air passing. When the smoke from the stick wafts, leave some kind of marker on that door or window so you will know that it needs attention. Then you can either add calking or weather stripping or, for certain doors and windows, you can make it into a craft project and make draught snakes or draught stoppers with the kids. Not Just for Grandma Anymore Before the days of central heating, our relatives had other ways of keeping warm during the cold autumn and winter months, many of them very environmentally friendly and easy too!

This simple and fun project for kids is a perfect way to introduce them to sewing as well as teach them to conserve energy. Materials: Fabric of your choice Stuffing (eco-friendly fill, rice, beans, sand) Thread Needle How To: 1) Measure the width of window or door, and add 1 inch to this length for seam allowances. 2) Cut 1 fabric rectangle using the above measurement making it approximately 10 inches in width. 3) With right sides together, fold fabric in half and sew down the open long side and across one of the open ends, leaving the other end open for stuffing. 4) Turn fabric right side out, and use a long stick, yardstick, or chop stick to poke the corners out. You will be left with a fabric tube. 5) Stuff the tube with the filling of your choice. 6) Turn the raw edges of the open end in and hand-stitch closed using small, tight stitches.

Hot water bottles are making a comeback and with good reason. They are very inexpensive to purchase and easy to use. Just fill them up with hot water, tuck them into your bed a few minutes before turning in for the night and enjoy a nice warm welcome. And children love them! To make them even more inviting, create covers for your hot water bottles by recycling old woollen sweaters. Let your children help select a few patterns from what you have on hand (and are willing to cut up!) to include them in the project. Of course, make sure the water is not too hot for little ones, just in case they decide to get curious. Slippers are another easy way to keep the chill out. We‘ve all probably heard our mothers tell us at one moment or another that if you keep you head, hands and feet warm, you won‘t feel the chill as much. Well whether or not it‘s scientifically proven, the fact is that not walking on a cold floor will indeed make you feel warmer. So invest in a cute pair of slippers for every member of the family and get your children (as well as yourself) in the habit of slipping them on during the day and evening. They‘ll help keep your floors cleaner and save you on socks as well! Add Another Layer Another trick from our elders… add another layer. Too many of us have gotten spoiled when it comes to the inside temperatures of our houses. When it‘s freezing outside, we

shouldn‘t be walking around in lightweight clothes, but many of us do. Experts will say that you should keep your house temperatures between 64°F and 68°F for daytime temperatures during the cold months (18-20° C) and even lower at night. ―What?!‖ I can hear many of you screaming. It‘s true. And for every degree you lower your temperature, you will see a percentage saved in heating costs depending on the set temperature and your house‘s insulation. So now is the time to teach your children to conserve and find other solutions. The next time you‘re tempted to turn up the thermostat, think twice and look at what you have on. Invest in warm winter woollens for all the family to keep warm and dress in layers. At night, a cooler bedroom will allow for healthier sleep (did you know that higher temperatures dry out your mucus membranes that are there to filter pollutants from the air we breathe?). Think about woollen blankets or natural feather duvets if allergies permit. Not only are they environmentally friendly and made of natural materials, but the children will also love the loftiness of a cosy bed. Check out these sites for energy saving tips and games for your children: touchstone energy kids recycle more

Clockwise from top left: upcycled lambswool slippers by wooly baby, hot pink hot water bottle cover by amanda sainsbury, merino wool baby blanket by merino me, denim booties by me and reekie









































































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Concrete ideas for implementing an eco-friendly living plan for your family

Step 3 - Recycle Create a recycling center in your own home. It doesn‘t have to be fancy – a couple of boxes or bins will do. Have one each for paper, aluminum and glass. Let your child decorate the boxes each with a different colour or theme to help differentiate them. Look for products made from recycled materials and teach your children to spot the recycled materials symbol. Toilet paper, kitchen roll and printer paper are excellent examples of this. Make this a game during your weekly shop. Teach your child about recycling outgrown clothes and toys as well. Many places gladly accept gently used or worn items that are no longer useful to you. Look for collection spots in various places around town and in shopping centers. Make it a family habit to recycle your compost. Instead of throwing vegetable peels into the kitchen bin, make a compost instead. Organic waste makes up a large percentage of households trash. By composting instead, you‘ll be helping reduce the amount we throw into landfills. Be creative - recycle old magazines into wrapping paper or fun notebook covers. Teach your children about all the other items that can be recycled. Paper, metal and glass are the most obvious items, but make your children aware that old batteries and electronics can be recycled as well as many others.

This pumpkin seed necklace shows traditional fall colors, but may be painted with any colors you choose. by nancy keesling - tutu cute and moore

Supplies: Pumpkin seeds (roasted in a warm oven) Acrylic paint Needle and thread Aluminum foil Instructions: For easy cleanup, spread pumpkin seeds on a large piece of aluminum foil. Select your paint colors, and paint each seed on one side. Allow the seeds to dry completely before turning them over and painting the other side. When your seeds are completely dry, thread the needle with a length of thread long enough to go over your head with 4 to 6 inches to spare. Place your seeds on a pile of newspapers or a thin dry sponge, and push the needle down through the seeds*, one at a time. Once you have pierced a seed safely, pick it up and pull it along the thread. Continue this process until the thread is about two thirds filled, then knot the ends together tightly. When you‘ve finished, you will have a true one-of-a-kind necklace for yourself or to give as a gift! Enjoy. *Because you will be working with a sharp needle please be sure to supervise a child while threading the seeds, or let the child do the painting and you do the threading.

by rosalie zingales - studio rouge

This fall we decided to make a creepy crawly puppet for Halloween. Charlie & Natalie came up with a spider. They wanted it to dangle, so we made it be a marionette-type critter. They had lots of fun making it, and I’m sure you will too!

Supplies: foil or a small balloon newspaper paper mache paste black pipe cleaners

popsicle sticks string black poster paint

Try these options for the mache paste recipe: •OPTION 1: 3/4 white glue to 1/4 water (or if using a good, thick glue, like Elmers, you can do 1/2 and 1/2) •OPTION 2: COOK METHOD: 1 part flour to 5 parts water... boil about 3 minutes and let cool (my favorite! it's the cheapest method and is nice and smooth) •OPTION 3: 1 part flour to 1 part water. Stir together. NOTE: if you add a couple tablespoons of salt to your paper mache it will not mold.

Instructions: Note: This can be a messy project, so make sure your work surface is covered for protection. 1. Create a form for the body. A ball of foil works well and is lightweight. Alternately, a small balloon can be used. 2. Prepare your paper. Tear newspaper into strips that little hands can manage about 2‘‘ wide by 10‖ or 12‖ long. 3. Prepare your paste. Using one of the recipes at left, mix up your paper mache paste. Pour the paste into a shallow bowl. 4. Build the spider’s body. Working with one strip at a time, dip the newspaper into prepared paper mache paste. Make sure the newspaper strip is saturated, then hold it over the paste bowl and run it through your fingers to squeeze off excess paste. Stick the newspaper strip over the body form, and smooth it down with your fingers. Continue to add newspaper strips, over-lapping them and running them in different directions, until you‘ve completely covered the body form.

5. Add the legs. Before you finish putting on all of the newspaper layers, you will need to attach the legs. Add the pipe cleaners, one at a time, by attaching them around the ball and securing with strips of glued paper. After all of the legs have been secured, let your spider dry completely. HINT: Making the last layer of mache with white computer paper or paper towel makes painting the spider easier., as it takes far less paint to cover. 6. Add the puppet strings. Glue two popsicle sticks together in a cross to form the marionette handle. Tie one end of the strings onto each leg at the bend. Tie the other end of the strings to the top cross, with one string for each tip of the cross and two for the middle. HINT: If you attach the strings prior to painting, you can use them to hang your spider, making it easier to paint. 7. Paint your spider. After the mache has completely dried , paint your spider with black poster paint.

All spiders belong to the family called Arachnids. The word Arachnid is derived from the Greek word arachne meaning spider. In mythology Arachne was a Greek maiden who was turned into a spider after defeating Athena in a weaving contest. Other members of the Arachnid family include scorpions and ticks. All spiders have 8 legs. Spiders have and jaws and teeth but cannot chew. All spiders have a spinneret that spins silk. This silk is used to make webs but also for climbing, for building egg sacs and for wrapping their prey. All spiders have fangs and most have venom in them. Spiders use this venom to paralyze their insect prey, but most of it is too weak to harm a human. However, there are some spiders with venom strong enough to hurt or even kill a human, such as the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. Tarantulas, one of the spiders we often see in scary movies, do have venom but their sting is more like a bee sting and not like the Black Widow! Many spiders use their webs for catching prey. The webs are sticky, and if an insect flies into it, it cannot get out. The spider will then locate the victim (or its next meal!) through the vibrations on the web. Some spiders, called Hunters, don’t use webs to catch their prey. They have other ways of catching a meal – some will camouflage (hide) themselves and wait for an insect to come by, while others will chase their prey. Spiders are important to the earth as they eat many kinds of harmful insects. They also help in the pollination of plants and are a source of food for many types of birds, fish and small mammals.

The itsy bitsy spider went up the waterspout Down came the rain and washed the spider out Out came the sun and dried up all the rain And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again Modern Handmade Child offers you a version of this well known children’s song, as performed by Melonade Parade. Click here for a free download from our website.


ne of the most fun things I have become involved in is joining a book club with fellow friends. If you would have said to me a couple of years ago how much I‘d enjoy it, I would have thought there is just no way! A variety of reasons may have come to my mind such as, ―I need to take care of the children‖, ―I have work that needs to be done‖, ―I just don‘t have the time‖, ―I am tired‖, ―It is too cold outside‖ and so on. But this past year, I joined a book club with a group of women I know and it has been so much more fun and rewarding than I ever expected. We meet once a month at the café of a local bookstore, a convenient location for most of us coming from all areas of the city.

michelle vackar - hi mamma

On special occasions we will change venues, getting together for a holiday party at a members home or carpooling on a Saturday to a local tea café. Each of us knows ahead of time when meetings are organised and our reading list is prepared in advance. One great way of communicating this is by printing the reading list upon a bookmark given to all the book club members at the start. Additionally, blogs are an easy way to send updates to members. ―I like that it forces me, or rather provides me, with an opportunity and incentive to read quality literature that I wouldn‘t normally read of my own volition. I enjoy the night out and

come home feeling intelligent and sophisticated,‖ comments Jodi McKenna. Deciding on which books to read can present a challenge - everyone has different tastes in books. But the book genre doesn‘t really matter. Be it a classic or nonfiction, autobiography or mystery, social awareness or romance novel, the important part is that you have fun and broaden your horizons. With each book you read, you gain more knowledge, learning while having fun. A good idea to get started is for each member to share a book that they‘ve enjoyed and feel

others might also enjoy reading. The ―group leader‖ then can make the final decision on which books make the list and in which order they will be read. Sarah Ronk, an Indianapolis book club organizer commented, ―As far as selecting books, I'm into good literature. I like the classics but I‘m not so set in that where I like to read them only. I found many, many lists of book club books so I usually select the books from them. I would also ask my friends what books they were interested in. There really isn't a way to keep everyone happy, but I always take all suggestions into consideration. For the most part, we have read the few books that have been suggested. Because there are millions of books out there and hundreds of types of books, I have had to draw a line of what types we read. We don't read romance novels -there are so many out there that could be a book club of it‘s own. We also don‘t read deep theology/ bible study

books. Again those could be a whole different club. The book Honey for A Woman's Heart has been a favorite that I always go back to. It's inspiring and motivating. The author is so encouraging about all the benefits of reading, reading all types of books. Some of my favorites have been were the ones I never thought I would read... Sherlock Holmes, Wooster and Jeeves (British Comedy) and coming up this summer we are reading a classic Western, Shane.‖ Once the book has been read, starting the discussion can at times be challenging. Of course, there are times when we don‘t have any trouble starting to talk about the book that everyone has read. But just in case, get creative! For example, an ice breaker like

playing telephone where you write a phrase, pass it to the next person who tries to illustrate the message and then the person beside you tries to translate the illustrations. Another interesting tool to get the conversation flowing is Table Topics Conversation Cards by TableTopics. These conversation starters provide a different viewpoint on the book and don‘t just ask simple questions, but help make the discussion a little more thought provoking, or even add some whimsy to the conversation. There are also a variety of guides that book clubs can use as discussion points. I have found such reading group guides and summaries at Book Clubs Resource Even different publishers will have a publishers reading group guide on their websites. Something to keep in mind, and something I feel is a true strongpoint of my book club, is that if a member hasn‘t had time to read the entire book, it is all right to admit it. The important thing is that you are all sitting down at the cafe, relaxing, having a cup of coffee or tea, and just having fun together. See next page for ideas on starting your own book club.

Interested in starting a book club and wondering what other book clubs have read? Here is a list of ideas to get your started:                      

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens Muslims, Christians and Jesus by Carl Medearis Miniskirts, Mothers and Muslims by Christine A. Mallouhi The Sunny Side: Short Stories and Poems for Proper Grown Ups by A.A. Milne. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Poto Suzanna Wesley by Arnold A. Dallimore Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe The Ninth Daughter by Hamilton, Barbara The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Thee Cups of Tea, and Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson

Looking to find books at reasonable prices? The library is always a good place to start. If you know you have a book coming up, you can often request that a hold be put on that title so you‘re sure to get it when you need it. Many local libraries also belong to a wider network of libraries which allows for a greater number of available titles as well as a larger number of each title, therefore less competing for that one specific book! Beyond the library, there are many other places to look as well. Here is a list of a few ideas:         

Paperback Swap ( ebay Half-Price Books Used bookstores Barnes & Noble Borders Books-A-Million Your local bookstore

Or, you may luck out and find your book at a garage sale.


usic is as an important part of every child‘s life as it is for adults. It is one thing that can be taken for granted in our lives. We can be humming a song, singing out loud with our children, our children singing out loud while playing, dancing, in the backyard or in the car. Studies have confirmed that music can directly

michelle vackar - hi mamma

enhance learning through increased spatial development. Math and reading are improved by learning rhythms and decoding notes and symbols. So there appears to be cross disciplinary learning in music! Many times though, it is hard to find a good CD to listen to with your children. You visit the library and select music but then when you get home, it just really was not quite what you were looking for. Sometimes the best music is in your own home. For example, try exposing your children to all different types of music such as guitar, classical music, jazz, opera, and much more. We asked several moms who write for Modern Handmade Child to provide recommendations of music that they enjoy listening to with their children. Michelle Vackar: We share the earth ~ The Bee‘s Knees | Waking Up Is Hard to Do ~ Neil Sedaka | House Party~ Dan Zanes | Yellow Submarine ~ The Beatles.

Gretchen Jakub Fabre: Cow Tunes for Kids~ Brent Holmes‌ very silly and singable and all the kids love them from the 3 year old to 10 years old! | Henri Dès in French, these are really cute songs and fun tunes that he sings. If you are interested in exposing your child to French, this is a great introduction.

Jenica Carlley: Cedarmont Kids series | Sandra Boynton

Liz Murphy: We listen to a lot of Laurie Berkner | Mr. Ray and Greg and Steve... both in my kindergarten class and at home

Rachael Ashman: Bob Marley | Bee Gees | Cold Play | One of our most played CDs is the Jack Johnson sound track from the Curious George movie -'Singa-longs and Songs and Lullabies for the film Curious George' | Chopin!

What are your favorite music selections? Send us an email at and let us know!

Mom Picture


Photo taken by Brody, age 3 Milton, Washington,USA

Photo taken by Stella, age 3 1/2 Adelaide, South Australia

―One sunny afternoon as we sat out on the back deck, I pulled out the camera to take pictures of Brody and his sister. He had to have his camera also, so all the pictures I took of him were of him taking pictures, and I guess he got some great shots of me taking pictures also.‖ - Karen

―Stella is a very keen little photographer. She took the giraffe photo when we were visiting her great grandmother – her Little Big Nana (Shirley)– in Adelaide, capital of South Australia. Whenever we went there, we visited the Adelaide zoo. Stella, like me, loves the giraffes and we spent a long while watching them. ‖ - Rachael

Buckled In

Steve the Frog

Photo taken by Mary, age 3 New Jersey, USA

Photo taken by Davin, age 5 Dickinson, Texas, USA

―My daughter likes to play with my iphone and take pictures of just about everything. She took this one while in her car seat.‖

―Davin caught a frog and named it Steve, then gave it a story. The story goes like this: Steve was hopping along and came up to Davin, they became friends. Steve told Davin she had babies, so Davin let her go, happily ever after.‖

- Amy

- Jonie

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contributors & staff

Autumn 2010 Issue  

Autumn 2010 Issue of Modern Handmade Child, a seasonal online magazine helping families to embrace the handmade way of life. In this issue:...

Autumn 2010 Issue  

Autumn 2010 Issue of Modern Handmade Child, a seasonal online magazine helping families to embrace the handmade way of life. In this issue:...