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Gift Guide Handmade holiday shopping ideas

Fabulous selection of recipes for your holiday baking

10 ideas to reduce the stress

modern handmade child Editors Gretchen Jakub Fabre Shannon Hanley Tyann Marcink Layout and Design by Chichiboulie The Clever Kitty Advertising Coordinator Linda Phrakhansa Treasurer Ahmelie Skistad

on the cover

contents autumn 09

WELCOME the editors 7......letter from the editors WEAR - fashion trends 8......dressing up like the good old days 10....wearable gifts kids will love 12....keeping warm while looking cool SHOP 15 gift guide: gifts for every budget DWELL - home dĂŠcor 26 ....deck the halls PLAY - toys and activities active imagination giving the best gift


CREATE - crafty tutorials 36 ....making applesauce ornaments 38.....recycled wreath 39.....15 minute sassy skirt 43.....mommy & me mittens

Christmas hat & mitten set by tip top applesauce photography by Shelly Baisa

MEET - interviews 46 ....nadezhda horn - green thread shop 51 ....donni webber - fairyfolk

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modern handmade child

Contributors WEAR........... Marissa Fischer DWELL.......... Michelle Nicholson Kristi Duchon PLAY............. Kimberly Gachnang CREATE........ Nancy Keesling Nicole Pankratz Rozzi Hamilton MEET............ Shannon Hanley CELEBRATE... Kristen Davis Kristi Duchon TASTE.......... Jenica Carlley Nicole Pankratz CARE............ Gretchen Jakub Fabre Lisa Delzer SHARE.......... Kristie Piacine Tyann Marcink Kathleen Gordon-Ross EXPLORE....... Tyann Marcink WORK........... Liz Murphy

contents autumn 09

CELEBRATE - holidays and parties 56 ... handmade stocking stuffers 60 ... invitingly handmade TASTE - cooking fun 66 ... cookie exchange 72 ... a duo of delicious drinks to keep you warm CARE - growing up green 76 ... slow food for kids 80 ... eco friendly gifts SHARE - by moms for moms petite artiste 87.....simplifying the holidays party 101: tips for classroom parties

Please send all article submissions and ideas to:

EXPLORE - the outdoors & travel 96 ... surviving the holidays with family

Note that submissions are welcome but are not guaranteed inclusion in the magazine.

WORK - business topics for moms 101 . creating an online presence this holiday season

CopyrightŠ modern handmade child 2009. All rig hts reserved . Reproduction or redistribution in whole or in parts without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.

VIEW - from a kidâ€&#x;s eye view taken by kids

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meet the editors

gretchen jakub fabre, shannon hanley and tyann marcink

Gretchen Jakub Fabre is an illustrator living in northern France. Her work focuses around the world and whimsies of children and the young at heart. Gretchenâ€&#x;s illustrations have been sold worldwide to both large companies and individuals alike. Her work can be seen online at and Shannon Hanley lives on the coast of southern Maine with her husband and daughter. She is an artisan dabbling in many mediums, and 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 Tyann Marcink is an artist, photographer, and writer living west of St. Louis, Missouri. She precariously balances her family and work while keeping clean clothes and fresh food ready for her husband and three boys. Her quilt clips and other nursery decor have been sent worldwide, and her photography is carried at a local art store. Her children's items can be seen online at and her photography at

letter from the editors by gretchen jakub fabre, shannon hanley and tyann marcink

The winter season is a time of year rich with traditions. Whether your family celebrates Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, chances are there are customs that your family has passed down through generations. Maybe you have fond memories of baking Christmas cookies with your mom, attending a community Karamu, or lighting the family menorah. No matter what holidays you celebrate, thereâ€&#x;s no better time of year to celebrate the tradition of handmade. For as long as people have been alive, they have been making things by hand. With the advanced technologies available today, it would be easy to let the handmade tradition go by the wayside. But instead of this sad fate, something amazing is happening modern technology is enabling handcrafters to share their work with a worldwide audience in a way that would not have been possible in the past. We at modern handmade child see the value of the creativity and skills involved in

making things by hand that have been passed from generation to generation, from family to family. Using todayâ€&#x;s technology, we are able to introduce people to these values, and help you to incorporate handmade living into your life like never before. This holiday season, instead of shopping at the usual big box stores selling mass produced goods, why not reconnect with the small artisans who make handmade possible. Together, we can keep the handmade tradition alive.

Have you taken the handmade pledge?


dressing up like the good old days by marissa fischer - rae gun

festivities. Women would seek out or draft the perfect pattern, take a trip or two to the fabric store to pick out just the right fabrics, and then spend hours upon hours piecing together one-of-a-kind creations to adorn their little ones. The result would be unique, high quality, dresses and ties made with love. Unfortunately, most of us these days just do not have that kind of time.

scarlet dandy a-line dress by mette


here was a time when a part of the Holiday routine included mothers and grandmothers painstakingly slaving over sewing machines and needles and thread to hand make beautiful, often coordinating outfits, to help their children celebrate the

While today‟s moms can hardly find the time to mix up a batch of sugar cookies let alone dedicate days and days to building their children‟s holiday get ups from scratch, they don‟t have to settle for the limited selection found in the big box stores. Thankfully the handmade revolution has made it possible for today‟s families to enjoy the same handmade goodness that past generations took for granted. Not only does buying handmade for the holidays guarantee that your little ones will not be wearing the same thing as everyone else, but because many sellers happily take custom orders if you want your kids to coordinate without being matchy matchy, you‟re in luck.

clockwise from top left: red riding hood smock apron by izzie bebe boutique, navy blue polka dot bow tie by me and matilda, blue silk party dress by poppy and boo, moss green mirror dot tie by ivy and mae, shirred overdress, peasant top and ruffle capri pant set by sew so nancy

wearable gifts kids will love by marissa fischer - rae gun


ost people don‟t think of giving kids wearables for the holidays with a realistic expectation that the kiddos will really love the gift. Don‟t get me wrong, I‟ve got no problem with padding the space below the tree with things the little ones need, but I want to challenge people to think outside the box this year. This holiday season think of making a dress up chest that your kids will enjoy all year long. Whether your child has an unnatural ability to watch the Incredibles on repeat until you pretend like you lost the dvd just to give yourself a break, knows every word in the latest Fancy Nancy book and longs for the day she can don her own boa and tutu, or lives and breathes all things cute and furry, the handmade community has just what you need to make a dress up chest perfectly suited for your little one. Here's a few tips for making the perfect dress up chest for your family.

This holiday of making chest that you enjoy all y

clockwise from bottom left of whimm, ice cream tutu b ears by cuckoo boo, person love, star bellies khaki pant

season think a dress up ur kids will year long

t: super hero set by world by lexi lou designs, tiger nalized chef hats by stitch n ts by hullabaloo boutique

Make it Personal. Think of what your child loves: books, movies, activities, etc. Does your daughter have a love for all things princess? You might want to look for a princess dress or crown to put in the chest. Do your kids love being in the kitchen while you cook? How about a little apron filled with wooden spoons? Does your son rope imaginary hogs and ride pretend horses all over the house? What about a cowboy hat or star studded pants. The possibilities are endless. Savor Variety. Be sure to get a good mix of different types of items in the chest. Have some costumes, some accessories, and even some tools. Remember little details can be a great platform for an imaginative adventure. Finally remember that your chest can be a tote, a tub, or whatever fits your familyâ€&#x;s personality. So what are you waiting for? Start thinking of how you can assemble the ultimate catalyst for feeding your little onesâ€&#x; imaginations and consider giving them wearables theyâ€&#x;ll love this holiday season.

keeping warm while looking cool by ahmelie skistad - ahmelie


eg warmers arenâ€&#x;t just for girls anymore. Whether they are knitted, sewn, argyle, or polka dot, they are definitely hip no matter the age or gender. Traditionally worn by dancers, designers have totally broken out of the dancing box with bold patterns and colors and new ways of wearing them. For a fresh new look, add leg warmers to a shorts or capris outfit, layer them under a skirt, or do a flipper-roo and use them as arm warmers for your son to wear with his favorite t-shirt. The baby version of leg warmers are often aptly called crawlers. They protect your adventurous babyâ€&#x;s knees and legs while providing warmth as she scoots around, exploring her new world. Designed to rest at the upper thigh, they are great for any diapered diva or dudeâ€&#x;s changing pleasure. No more tugging on tights, dealing with snags or continuously having to snap those hard-to-reach inner leg areas that always seem to pop open on active kids. baby whales legwarmers by crawler covers & more

clockwise from top left: kool kid legs by mama runs with scissors, hand crochet leg warmers by rocking horse lane, crawler covers by crawler covers & more, knotty legs by knotty baby wear, melon and mango kids arm warmers by artish


Feeling adventurous? If you want to make your own leg warmers, you’ll find some handy step-by-step directions on

When Kim Hanks had her 4th child, a little girl named Layla, she started making fashionable items for her to wear. Kim says leg warmers “are the latest craze for keeping your baby's legs fashionably warm. Although many Moms purchase them for babies, they are also loved by teens and fashion friendly women.” When she came across Etsy about a year and a half ago, she fell head over heals in love with it and set up her shop at, where she began selling her „LaylaLegs‟. Kim is releasing 75 new styles of leg and arm warmers this winter, so you‟re sure to find a pair to suit your child‟s individual style.

left: birdie diaper cover and matching baby leg warmers by bushel and a peck co. right: grey baby leggings by itzy bitzy baby

layla legs stripes by layla legs

Holiday Gift Guide Grab a hot cup of tea and settle in. Take a few moments to browse through the following pages where you will discover a wide selection of wonderful gift ideas for the holidays this year. All are handmade, and with such a large choice of products and price ranges, you’re certain to find something for every child on your list!

Holiday Gifts

Whether you are looking for hair clippies or jewels, artwork or accessories, check out handmade selling sites where you will find a multitude of gifts to fit the small budget. Perfect for stocking stuffers!

for under $10

left to right: handsewn felt tulip hair clip by the clever kitty- $7, felt toadstool mushroom toy by harvest moon by hand - $9, oh deer charm necklace by zuzu girl handmade $9, vintage button hair elastics by sheeps clothing - $9.50, needle felted baby in nut cradle by fairyfolk - $7, 123 roadtrip silkscreen print by kaching design - $8

Adorable and

top row, left to right: owliver th celebrations - $18.50, classic wo dreamer - $24, snowflake tee by beginning sounds flipboard by to

bottom row, left to right: lotus t tiny giraffe - $24, nathan croche beberagz - $15, screen printed te creek - $18, floral delight ribbon handmade - $18


he owl tote by everyday ooden toy saw by pretty plum tree studio - $24, ootsie bear - $14

tea box jumbo blocks by et earflap helmet by ee with paints by daisy n headbands by zuzu girl

clockwise from bottom left: felted high top baby shoes by the cle poster by kaching design - $48, paisley peasant dress by noah an canvas wall art by paint me a picture - $37.50, 3 little dresses wa prima tutu filled with flower petals by tutu cute and moore - $30

ever kitty - $27, limited edition animal alphabet nd lilah - $26, how does your garden grow atercolours by chichiboulie - $40, baby’s first

top row, left to right: boutique classic cut kimono coat in ginseng by candy ahmelie - $75, bow head club 12 month membership by kind living designs bottom row, left to right: grow with me school days owl poncho by the tren $75, garland of circus theme origami window stars by harvest moon by ha

y stick lane - $68, purple paisley rag snuggle quilt by - $65, winter snowflake skirt by spiced sugar - $60 ndy tot - $50, little forest organic blanket by green thread and - $63

Heirlooms in the makin

top row, left to right: boutique christmas kimono co candy stick lane - $100, wooden horse stable by ch ‘n boop - $250 bottom row, left to right: custom waldorf inspired d imogen’s garden - $130, child’s teepee by gracie be baby - $130, birds on a wire hand painted child’s ro chair by bobs and bits - $145, wonderland quilt by n and lilah - $120


oat by hubbas

doll by ean ocking noah


deck the halls

by michelle nicholson - flirty bird

of school, the visit to Santa to put the official requests in and, my favourite, decorating the house with all the Christmas decorations.


yarn wreath by knock knocking

hristmas Day has to be one of the most exciting times of the year for children, young or old. Opening presents, seeing family that they may not have seen for a period of time, not to mention all that yummy food to eat. Sometimes, as parents caught up in the busy Christmas period, we can forget that the lead up to the actual day can be just as exciting as the actual day. The count down to the last day

Today, preparing your house for Christmas can be considered an art form which can stretch the already super stretched Christmas budget. To have a beautiful festive house does not have to leave you with an empty pocket and nothing left to purchase gifts. Involving your children in making your own decorations will not only save you money, but it will make your holiday more meaningful and memorable. A large clear vase brimming with traditional red and green paper chains, a handmade silver paper angel, and some collected pine cones for your table's centrepiece will be much more of a talking point than the expensive flashing centrepiece from the leading department store. You can find little, inexpensive craft kits that encourage your children to be creative. From simple kits that toddlers will be overjoyed to stick and paste with, to more involved kits that will mesmerise older children for hours, there are many options for all skill levels.

clockwise from top left: snowman kid kit by and then, cinderella ornament kit by fantastic toys, diy kirigami partridge pop-up card by pop up card making, pdf mary jane christmas stocking pattern by sew lola

Even if you aren't the creative type, you can still enjoy beautiful handmade

items. On the facing page you will find 25 inexpensive handmade Christmas decorations to make your home beautiful this Christmas. Starting at just a mere $1.75, these items are sure to make you merry. Top Row Pick up a few reindeer baubles to brighten your tree from paper and string bulk or a string of hand cut natural garland from nature’s cabinet. Sweet hand felted acorns from kim’s etsy boutique will be a tiny surprise among the branches of your tree. Paper snowflakes would look great on the dinner table from end of the day crafting while this stunning yarn Christmas wreath from knock knocking will welcome all your visitors. Second Row Colourful recycled paper baubles from artsy rubbish are sure to brighten wherever they hang, as will these felt stockings from rikrak. Hoping for a white Christmas, try these window decals from verdigris dye to add a little bit of the white stuff to your festivities. Bauble wall decals from elephannie will add holiday cheer to your children‟s doors, and this snowman from the cottage cupboard will make the whole family smile. Middle Row A classic yarn wreath from knock knocking, along with this tall snowman from the north forest help signal the upcoming celebrations, and santa’s cookie plate from serendipity crafts will prove a big hit with the kids. Sparkle green baubles from darling gifts look great on the tree or in a tall vase, and this gorgeous Christmas lighting from like deco adds a bit of glitter to any room. Forth Row Such sweet robin ornaments from snowy side drive! A cheery Christmas cushion from asmus home interiors adds a burst of colour to your sitting room, especially when combined with these bright Christmas stockings from rikrak hanging from the mantel. For your holiday meal, try these Christmas napkins from me 2 designs and hang red and green bunting from snow fish for something extra special. Bottom Row A woodland deer moss terrarium from green briar brings the outdoors in and provides festive greenery in a compact form. Christmas tree ornaments from snowy side drive and this simply elegant Christmas angel from glass and garden will decorate the boughs, along with these Christmas star lights from like deco. Top it all off with a nativity scene from walking bear studio.

clockwise from top left: kaching design, le petit papillion, southern sassy pants , chickadee vinyl, love mae store, rockababy designs, whimzee baby

greenbriar, party poms, my

play an active imagination - giving the best gift by kimberly gachnang - tootsies bear


ow does the joke go? Toddlers are more interested in the packaging than the gift inside? Well as it turns out, those toddlers are on to something!

In her book Playing to Get Smart, Betty Jones, Ph.D., urges parents to understand that children and adults who are skilled at play with both things and ideas, have the power, influence and capacity to create meaningful lives. They are more receptive to ambiguity than those who are stuck in the way things are or were.

Creative, open-ended play is about much more than just playing. It offers children a chance to practice The American many brain Academy of boosting Pediatrics' skills that 2006 Report princess meets frog paint kit by goose grease undone will serve on the them as they grow, as well as later in life: importance of play emphasizes that all skills such as imagination, vision, patience, children need free, undirected play for problem solving, creativity, cooperation and creative growth, self-reflection and many more. decompression. It works because, with no

predetermined outcome, the focus isn't achievement, allowing children to focus on creating something based on inner inspiration. It encourages trial and error, which allows children to pause and wonder. Children enjoy making choices themselves, and open-ended play fosters initiative and self-direction. Creative Art Of course just giving a child paper and crayons or markers is a start toward encouraging creativity, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to materials that can be used to create works of art. The focus isn't on the project looking like anything in particular when finished, but rather the process of creating it. Paints of all kinds, as well as clay and doughs, are all perfect materials for open-ended play. Collage is another easy place to start. For smaller children not yet ready for using glue, tape a piece of clear contact paper to the table, sticky side up, and let them cover it with collage materials. Older children can handle the glue themselves (hint: even large puddles of glue are a learning experience). This activity can be adapted to any season or holiday by varying the colors and/or shapes of the materials provided.

critter abc blocks by tiny giraffe

Blocks and Manipulatives Providing children with blocks of all kinds, including Legos, Lincoln Logs, cardboard bricks and accessories extends the play to help children learn about spatial relationships, math concepts, architecture and balance. From plain wooden blocks to elaborate Lego systems, children have the freedom to create anything they wish. Blocks can be a house, a street or a whole city. A zoo. A fort. A castle. Small wooden or plastic people and animals can be added to further develop scenarios. Even pictures of people, animals, or buildings taped to wood blocks will spark a child's imagination.

Be prepared for a rainy day and let your child’s imagination run away with him or her. ribbon sequins feathers fabric foam shapes poms poms popsicle sticks

buttons felt beads stickers stickers wiggle eyes ric rac

natural items such as sticks, leaves, pressed flowers paper that can be crumpled, rolled, cut and glued

and work through sometimes complicated social situations. Play food, aprons dolls, and household items can let children work out family dynamics, develop caring attitudes, consider gender roles and how boys can take care of babies and girls can go off to work. Providing dolls that don't do specific things or are specific characters lets children use them in many ways. A child might be inclined to play with a Madeline doll by acting out scenes from Madeline books or movies. A baby doll can be incorporated into any scene the children think up. A colorful royal crown by world of whimm scarf can be Manipulatives are well suited to growing with a a cape, a child. They can start with large fabric and skirt, a wooden blocks and giant Lego type blocks as dress, a toddlers and advance their way up to Lego sets blanket. Not that contain hundreds of pieces that they can only does use to build anything their imagination can the play dream up. promote creativity, Dramatic Play but the recycled tee shirt mask by nue to me Children engaged in dramatic play have many choice of opportunities to develop social emotional skills, props can too. cooperative play, imagination, self help skills, compromise and self-confidence. When So the next time you are out choosing a gift allowed to create play scenes, from playing for a child, why not think in terms of its uses house to cops and robbers, children are given a and creative value and give your child the gift chance to imagine themselves in various roles of imagination.


making applesauce ornaments by nicole pankratz - lil boo & co


making oatmeal raisin cookies, hard here is just something about the winter cinnamon candy or even mixing up fresh months that makes me want to sprinkle holiday potpourri, cinnamon was a staple everything with a little bit of cinnamon. ingredient. While cinnamon is a very common and everyday spice that One particular recipe though, always we use in a multitude of recipes made a huge impression on me – and projects all throughout the Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments. year, for some reason during the When we made those ornaments, I winter months it seems to take knew that winter was officially here. on a particularly special role. Is We made batches to give away to it the warm feeling it gives us our classmates, batches to hang on when our world is full of snow our Christmas tree and even batches covered streets and freezing to hang on gifts that we handed out cinnamon tree ornament by zviolet nights? Perhaps. But what is for over the holiday season. certain is that for many, the sweet and spicy smell of cinnamon Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments have been instantaneously conjures up thoughts of a very common winter adornment for many winters and holidays gone by. years in households all over the world, and this year with my own children helping me in As a child, I can remember my mother the kitchen, we plan to make many batches of allowing us children to help her make these delicious smelling winter ornaments for delicious goodies with her in the kitchen all of our friends and neighbors. After all, during the winter months and Christmas who wouldnâ€&#x;t want that sweet and spicy season – many of them, of course, containing fragrance of cinnamon wafting through her a fair amount of cinnamon. Whether it was own house?

Ingredients: 1 cup cinnamon 1 Tbsp ground cloves 1 Tbsp nutmeg 1 Tbsp allspice 1 Tbsp ginger 3/4 cup applesauce

Remove ornaments from the cookie sheet and bake directly on the oven racks for another hour and a half.

Directions: In medium bowl, combine cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger and nutmeg. Add applesauce and stir to combine.

Creative tips: For extra sparkle, mix decorative glitter into the recipe.

Work mixture with your hands for 2 to 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out using cookie cutters of various shapes. We use all sorts of holiday cut outs including snowflakes, gingerbread men, stars, Christmas trees and jingle bell shapes. Use a straw or pencil to make small holes in the tops of the ornaments – the holes will later be used to string ribbon through to complete the ornaments. Place cutouts on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 150 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 70 degrees Celsius) for 1 hour.

Let cool on parchment paper then string ribbon through the holes of the ornaments.

Make your own shapes by trimming the dough with a table knife following around patterns you've cut from cereal box cardboard. After cutting out shapes, use a drinking straw to create holes for jewelery or ornaments. Use toothpicks to make smaller holes for threading. Leave in dough until dry and remove. For a wall hanging, thread a colored ribbon through the shape. For a brooch, decorate with fabric paint and glue a metal clasp pin to the back (available at craft stores).

Important note: Adult supervision and participation is required for this activity. These are NOT for eating!

recycled wreath by nancy keesling- tutu cute and moore

Kids will love making this upcycled wreath to give to grandparents, aunts and uncles or for their own bedroom door. Not only will it keep your little ones and their imaginations actively engaged, but it also reinforces the benefits of recycling. Try adapting the theme to suit the season for an all-year fun activity. Materials: Sturdy paper plate, to avoid frustration and a limp wreath Gift wrap, ribbon, tissue paper scraps, cotton balls, yarn, etc. Glue or glue stick

a slightly more sophisticated wreath, made by rolling wrapping paper, by haru


ooking for a festive way to recycle your holiday wrapping? Familiar with children who want to “help” when you least need it? Why not keep your kids occupied while you are completing your “to do” list by giving them the opportunity to be creative with your leftover pieces of gift wrap, tissue paper, or ribbon?

Directions: Cut out the center of a paper plate. For a perfect circle, trace around a CD or a smaller plate. Cover a portion of the plate with glue at a time, and give your child the freedom to create the wreath to his or her liking. Use a paper punch or cut a small opening 1” from the edge of the plate on what is to be the top of the wreath. Thread a ribbon through the opening and knot the ends together for a neat little hanger.

15 minute sassy skirt by rozzi hamilton – rozzi‟s sweetpeas

Create a fun skirt for your little girl in no time at all. Choose a variety of coordinating prints to add even more sass to your skirt! Materials: Fabric 3/8” wide elastic Rotary Cutter & Mat or Scissors & Ruler Sewing Machine Needle Thread


Please see page 42 for information on measuring and cutting your fabric. 1. Cutting out Fabric Determine the sizes needed and cut out your 3 rectangles of fabric for your Yoke (a), Body (b) and Trim (c). 2. Attaching Yoke to Body Gather one long edge of the skirt body (largest rectangle of fabric). You can do this by hand-sewing a basting stitch or by stitching a long running stitch with your machine. Hint: a double row of basting stitching will give you a more even gather.


2a. Attaching Yoke cont’d Pull the threads on one end to gather the fabric and adjust to fit the long edge of the yoke. Right sides together, pin yoke to body. Set your sewing machine to straight stitch and sew the yoke to the skirt body. Finish edge with zigzag stitch or serge edges.


3. Attaching Trim Create the trim by folding remaining rectangle of fabric in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and iron. Sew this to the bottom edge of the skirt body. Zigzag or serge the seam to finish.


You will now have three rectangles sewn together. Next, fold the pieced rectangle in half, right sides together and stitch the open side creating a tube. Zigzag or serge the edges to finish, then iron your seam flat. This will give you a tube with a top (the unfinished edge) and a bottom (the trim).



4. Creating Casing On the unfinished edge, you will create the fold or casing for the elastic. Turn under 1/4" of fabric on the unfinished edge and press. Make a 1/2" fold again so that the unfinished edge is tucked inside what will become the casing. Sew a straight stitch around, leaving a 1" opening to insert your elastic. (Length of elastic is determined by measuring your child's waist and subtracting 2�).

With a safety pin attached to one end, thread the elastic through the casing. Stitch the ends of the elastic together with a tight straight stitch, back stitching several times to reinforce the elastic connection. Sew the opening left for the elastic closed with matching stitches.

When you try out any of our projects or crafts, be sure to take photos and send them with your stories to, and you could be featured in our next issue.

Measuring your fabric - two methods to determine the length & width of the fabric rectangles METHOD 1 Yoke (or smallest rectangle): measure your child's waist and multiply that measurement by 1.5. This will be length of the yoke. Body (largest rectangle): Width will determine the fullness. For moderate fullness, measure your child's hips and multiply by 2. Trim: Cut to the same length as the body piece. Drop: Measure the length you desire for the skirt by starting at your child's waist and measuring down to where you want the hem to fall on her body. The combined length of all three fabric pieces (yoke + body + hem + seam allowances) should be equal to the total length with the yoke and hem being the smaller numbers. *Be sure to add in your seam allowances on all fabric pieces. METHOD 2 Pre-calculated measurements including seam allowances of 1/4" Size 6-12 Months: Yoke: Cut 1 3.5" x 20" rectangle Body: Cut 1 5" x 34" rectangle Trim: Cut 1 3" x 34" rectangle Elastic: 14” of 3/8" wide elastic

Size 18-24 Months: Yoke: Cut 1 4" x 21" rectangle Body: Cut 1 6" x 35" rectangle Trim: Cut 1 3" x 35" rectangle Elastic: 15” of 3/8" wide elastic

Size 12-18 Months: Yoke: Cut 1 3.5" x 20.5" rectangle Body: Cut 1 3.5" x 34.5" rectangle Trim: Cut 1 3" x 34.5" rectangle Elastic: 14.5” of 3/8" wide elastic

Size 2 T: Yoke: Cut 1 4" x 22" rectangle Body: Cut 1 6.5" x 35.5" rectangle Trim: Cut 1 3.5" x 35.5" rectangle Elastic: 16” of 3/8" wide elastic

mommy & me mittens by shannon hanley – the clever kitty

treated to be washable). Those with a dry clean only label are sure to full nicely. Be sure to also look for a large sweater with wide sleeves, as it will shrink considerably during the fulling process.


here is no doubt that wool is great for keeping you warm, and when it is fulled or felted*, it is even warmer. These easy matching mittens for you and your toddler will be sure to keep you both extra warm this winter. All you need to make this easy set of matching mittens for you and your toddler is an old wool sweater and some thread. Not all wool sweaters are alike (some have been

Step 1: Full the sweater. The quickest and easiest way to do this is in your washing machine, using hot water and plenty of detergent. You may need to run it through two cycles, but it really depends on the particular sweater and your washing machine. Dry the sweater in your dryer using a hot setting. tip: Placing the sweater in a zippered pillowcase before fulling will help cut down on the fuzz that ends up in your washer and dryer. Step 2: Make the patterns. Trace around your toddlerâ€&#x;s hand, leaving a little wiggle room. Add a quarter-inch seam allowance to the edge, and cut out. Repeat with your hand.

*Although commonly called felting, the technical term for the process of shrinking woolen fabric or garments is fulling.

Step 3: Cut out the mittens. Place the pattern for your mittens on the sweater with the wrist opening at the bottom hem, and cut out. Repeat for your toddler‟s mittens, placing the wrist opening at the sleeve hem. tip: If you want to do any embroidery on the mittens, now is a great time to do it. It’s much easier to stitch a design before the mittens are sewn together.

Step 4: Sew the mittens. Once felted, the wool doesn‟t really have a right or wrong side, but if you‟ve done any embroidery it will, so make sure to put the right sides facing. Stitch two mitten pieces together around the outside edge, using a quarter-inch seam. Repeat for the remaining mittens. tip: The felted wool is thick and can create a bulky seam, but you can trim the seam allowance down a little bit to make the mitten more comfortable. Clipping the curve where the thumb meets the hand also helps to make that area more flexible. To do this, simply make a couple of snips, running perpendicular to the seam and just to it (see above pic, far right). Turn right side out, and you‟re done!

meet nadezhda horn - green thread by shannon hanley - the clever kitty

very happily married with two wonderful children and a dog. We presently live in California, enjoying sunny weather. mhc: Aside from creating things, what do you love to do? nadezhda: I love to spend as much time as possible with my husband and children. We love the outdoors. We love to fish, hike and camp.

mhc: Tell us a little about yourself. nadezhda: My name is Nadezhda Horn. I was born in Eastern Europe but spent the majority of my youth in Australia where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. In Australia, I worked as a fashion designer for an evening wear company, designing beautiful dresses. One day, accidentally, I bumped into a US Navy Deep Sea Diver and fell in love. Now I‟m

I also adore anything vintage. Some of my weekends are spent at antique stores and estate sales. It feels like a treasure hunt every time. mhc: What is your favorite vintage treasure you've bought, and where did you find it? nadezhda: An old piano. I would like to give credit to my mother-in-law for finding this „treasure.‟ We bought it from a retired piano teacher. It‟s beautiful and fills our house with great melodies every day.

mhc: How did you get started making things? What is the first thing you remember creating? nadezhda: From the time I can remember, I wanted to be a designer. From a young age I was sketching, painting, knitting, crocheting or sewing. I first learned to sew on my grandmotherâ€&#x;s old treadle machine. The TV was out of question in her house when I

visited, so she gave me sewing lessons. She taught me all the possible seams, ways to finish edges, proper pressing techniques and tailoring. I still refer back to those lessons every time I sew. She always has been a perfectionist, so the first thing I made was a perfectly sewn and pressed bag. mhc: Sounds like your grandmother was quite a knowledgeable seamstress. Do you hope to pass the skills you've learned onto your own children and someday, grandchildren? nadezhda: Absolutely! Anyone who wants to learn is welcome. mhc: When did you decide to start selling your work? nadezhda: As a baby, my son had very sensitive skin. I tried my best to buy good quality cotton

blankets and clothing for him and only used mild detergents to wash them. There was not as many companies back then making organic cotton baby clothing, so the idea for a label was born. mhc: What is the name of your shop? nadezhda: Green Thread - my husband came up with it, and I thought it reflects our product perfectly. mhc: What‟s your favorite item to make, and why? nadezhda: That‟s a very hard question to answer, because all of my items are unique in their own way, and I love something about each one of them. mhc: What‟s your most popular item? nadezhda: „Homegrown‟ blankets. I think it‟s because they are made from beautiful organic cotton, grown in Texas, USA. The fabric quality is fantastic, and it‟s also a great way to support our local economy. mhc: What‟s the best part about earning a living making things?

nadezhda: Exploring the creative boundaries and a feeling of pride in each item produced. mhc: Where does your inspiration come from? nadezhda: As a child I used to collect greeting cards, because I loved the illustrations on them, and still do. So I often flip through my old collection looking for print inspiration. Also children‟s fairytales and stories play a big part. Right now „Little Red Riding Hood‟ is a popular tale in our house, so you might see some items influenced by that theme in my store. At times, inspiration comes from fabrics, where I try to visualize the best design for them. mhc: What is your creative process? nadezhda: I broke it down into steps: reviewing inspirational work deciding on a color palette choosing fabric brainstorming by doodling refining and pushing my ideas further getting feedback from people (and children) around me executing the final design

mhc: What handmade item do you cherish? nadezhda: With my addiction to vintage, we accumulated lots of fantastic examples of handmade items. Although the one that I hold dear to my heart is my engagement ring. This 1940‟s ring does not hold a big diamond, but it‟s priceless and the most cherished, because it was given to me by the love of my life, and it once belonged to his greatly loved and missed grandmother. mhc: What to you is the importance of buying handmade? nadezhda: Craftsmanship and care put in producing each item. While discovering new designers, you will always get one-of-akind items as individual as you are, and made with love by someone who loves what they do. Handmade items are hard to discard and often turn into keepsakes that you will cherish for years to come. You can be proud knowing that you‟re supporting small businesses, new ideas, freedom of design and vision. There is nothing better.

Nadezhda is offering 15% off your entire purchase* Just mention this article in the ‘message to seller’ box at checkout, and she will send a revised invoice or refund for the discount amount. * custom and wholesale orders excluded, offer expires May 1, 2010

donni webber - fairyfolk by shannon hanley - the clever kitty

mhc: Tell us a little about yourself. donni: My name is Donni Webber. I am Mom to two sunbursts of joy‌ K is my precious flower fairy. She is almost 6. I love her curly brown hair, the freedom of her imagination and her deep, sweet innocence. T is 2. He is my blond, blue-eyed teddy-bear boy. My husband is from New Zealand. He is my love, my very best friend and the one who keeps me grounded as I tend to go off with the fairies now and then. He was a professional Rugby player and coach. His rugby has taken us to live in so many

beautiful places. We have lived under the yellow sun in South Africa, amongst the emerald moss in Ireland, dabbled our toes in the silvery streams of New Zealand and even slept with the fairies in the bluebell forests of England. When our daughter arrived, we knew it was time to settle down, and we chose to pursue the American Dream. We live in Los Angeles and have fallen totally and utterly in love with the diversity, opportunity and friendship given to us by the City of Angels. mhc: Other than your current home in LA, which was your favorite place to live? donni: I have truly loved all the places I've lived in. If I had to choose my favorite, I'd have to say South Africa...I grew up there during a time of radical transformation, and I am so proud of what my country has accomplished. The very first time I voted, when I was 18 years old, was for the inspirational Nelson Mandela. It was a very exciting time for me, being a part of the rebirth of a nation...the Rainbow Nation!

mhc: Aside from creating things, what do you love to do? donni: Being a mother is such an honor, and I feel truly thankful to my husband for working the long hours he does to allow me to be a stay-at-home mom. Growing up in South Africa, I had a wonderful childhood. My motherâ€&#x;s natural style of parenting was very in line with Waldorf philosophies. She ignited a magic and love of nature that I have found so very valuable in my adult years. I strive to provide this same nature-inspired childhood for my own children. Through them, I am constantly awed by the magic of childhood. I try to fill their days with enchantment and creativity, while always being a soft place to rest. There are daily challenges, some I do well at, some, not so much, but I am ever so grateful that I get what a gift these children are. Sometimes I long for more time to myself so that I can craft to my heartâ€&#x;s desire, but then I quickly remind myself

that this time, when my children are so needful of me, is precious and fleeting. There will come a time in my life when I have all the hours in the day to craft, and I know I will look back on these special days with an overwhelming longing to relive them. I write a daily blog called The Magic Onions,, where I chronicle the nature and Waldorf-inspired activities and crafts we do together. It is a wonderful way to record these precious days and the fun we are having. I have been happily surprised at the following it has received and have found great support from others in the blogging world.

mhc: Do you know of any great resources for anyone wanting to learn more about Waldorf Education and philosophies? donni: I am so very excited to be sharing a Waldorf Education with my children. It is a learning philosophy that educates the whole child, integrating arts and academics and encouraging the development of each child's sense of truth, beauty and goodness. I love the sentiment that Waldorf Education creates a well rounded child - head, heart and hands. There‟s lots of great information on Waldorf Education at the website 'Why Waldorf Works'. mhc: How did you get started making things? What is the first thing you remember creating? donni: My craft is needle felting. I enjoy creating magical children‟s toys made from natural materials that inspire creative and imaginative play...dolls, play scenes, fairies, gnomes...all handmade from wool. Needle felting is an amazing process. I start with wool roving and, with my sharp, barbed needle, I poke the loose fibers thousands of times until the desired form is achieved. It is very labor intensive, but I find it therapeutic and relaxing…the slow, deliberate poking

motion, the crunching noise as the needle enters the wool, the gorgeous colors in front of me…it is such a wonderfully creative activity. The very first needle felted item I made was for a Christmas present for my daughter last year. Having rediscovered Waldorf Education, I wanted to give her handmade toys made from natural materials. My friend introduced me to needle felting, and I caught the needle felting bug in a big way. I needle felted ALL of her, and her brother‟s, Christmas presents! It was the most rewarding thing I had done in a long while, especially on Christmas morning when I saw their utter delight in my very own, handmade creations. mhc: When did you decide to start selling your work? donni: I loved the needle felting process so much that I continued making needle felted toys until they spilled out of every drawer in my home. My husband suggested, in an effort to reclaim his house, that I try to sell them, and that is when I found Etsy. I opened my Etsy shop in March 2009. mhc: What is the name of your shop?

donni: My shop is called Fairyfolk. It is named for the fairies and gnomes that I make. mhc: What‟s your favourite item to make, and why? donni: I love making the Flower Fairies. I love to look at a particular flower and see how I can turn wool into its likeness, and then make a little fairy who symbolizes that flower‟s particular essence. mhc: What‟s your most popular item? donni: My Felted Acorns have been very popular. They are wonderful little additions to home décor and help bring the magic of nature indoors. My customers have enjoyed choosing the colors that suite their homes. My Felted Acorns are such fun to make, too. I felt the acorn part from colored wool. The caps come from Mother Nature herself! In the fall, when the acorns are falling, my husband takes us up into the mountains, and we become a

forest family, foraging for acorns caps. It is a fun family activity… seeing who can collect the most, who can find the biggest acorn cap. mhc: What‟s the best part about earning a living making things? donni: I am still totally amazed that I can make things that people want to buy. I feel honored with each and ever sale. mhc: Where does your inspiration come from? donni: My inspiration comes from my children. They have such fertile imaginations, and I am constantly awed by the freedom of their spirits. mhc: What handmade item do you cherish? donni: We love to go to garage sales...there is something thrilling about finding a treasure amongst the tables of dusty kitchenware and boxes of forgotten trinkets. We found my most cherished handmade item

leaning against a wall at a garage sale one morning. It is a framed needlepoint scene of animals in the forest. There is a beautiful big tree and, gathered all around it, are the sweetest forest animals. There is a fox, a bear, a skunk, a bunny, a mole and so many others. It is enchanting. It hangs in my daughter‟s room, and we gaze at it often, making up stories for all the animals. I know how much work someone put into making it, and I just can‟t believe that someone else gave it away for a couple of dollars. I just wish I could let the person who gave it life know how much we truly cherish her creation.

into something handmade, a love that is tangible and magical and infuses our souls. Blessings and magic!

mhc: What to you is the importance of buying handmade? donni: I am hoping that we are on the cusp of a new era, a collective movement away from the frantic, shiny, plastic longing for more, bigger, better. My family and I have opted to take a step sideways, toward a simpler, calmer, more handmade life. It takes longer to bake a loaf of bread, but there is so much joy in the baking that is missed if we had not taken the time. The flour on my son‟s nose, the smile on my daughter‟s face as she bites into the warm, buttery slice she has just helped me bake. We have come to realize that the reward is in the human love that has gone

Donni is offering a Free felted acorn with any purchase* Just mention this article in the ‘message to seller’ box at checkout, and she’ll include it in your package. * offer expires November 30, 2010

celebrate handmade stocking stuffers by Kristi duchon - zuzu girl handmade


ow does one begin to build a handmade stocking? Well, with the stocking of course. There are innumerable options when shopping for a stocking. Fortunately, it‟s something that you only need to buy once, and it can be used for many years to come. If you are crafty, this is a great project to do with your kids. With just a little felt, some glitter, glue and maybe a few embellishments, you can make your own stocking that will be cherished for years to come. If you‟re not quite so crafty, turn to the experts. One of our favorites is by Rikrak. These felt stockings are made of ecospun felt, which is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. They are not only adorable, they are also fully customizable.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, And filled with handmade goodies Once you‟ve settled on a stocking, it‟s time for from just about everywhere! the fun part. Let‟s fill it!

Stocking Toppers Essential to every stocking is a “topper.” This is a large item that will reveal itself from the top of the stocking on Christmas morning. It is also an easy way to fill up some space if you have a large stocking and are on a tight budget. A new plush doll is a great option to sit on top of the stocking, like the sweet little pirate bunny we found at Bit of Whimsy. For older children, toys like sidewalk sensations‟ non-toxic, washable sidewalk paint is, well, a sensational idea. And at only $3.00 a set, it‟s affordable too. What little princess wouldn‟t be thrilled to find a fabulous floral wand poking out of the top of her stocking? There are many options out there, but we‟re somewhat partial to the fully customizable fairy princess wands at zuzu girl handmade.

Stocking Stuffing Now you need to choose the bulk of the stocking without breaking the bank. There are endless possibilities out there, so we‟ve broken it down to some of our favorite handmade items for you. If you have a large stocking, consider these non-treated, chemical-free wood blocks from the Tiny Giraffe Shop. They come as a set of six, 1-1/4 inch blocks featuring numbers 0 through 9. The set pictured depicts classic zoo animals, but the company offers dozens of other options to suit your child‟s taste.

1. bit of whimsy prims 2. annie and olive 3. enna design shop 4. flashy fish 5. lil boo and co. 6. daisy chains 7. sidewalk sensations 8. lil b designs 9. tiny giraffe shop 10. zuzu girl 11. vm designs 12. under the rowan tree 13. little bitty bakery 14. rikrak 15. happy squash toys 16. think outside the box

Lil‟ B Designs creates whimsical yet practical handcrafted products like their Roll.n.Go™ crayon roll. They come in a variety of colors and fabrics and are suitable for children of any age…and some adults too! They are also makers of Lil Scribblers™, unique recycled crayons for hours of Christmas morning fun. Small wooden cars from Happy Squash Toys are the perfect size for stockings and for tiny hands. They are hand-crafted and finished in a variety of bright colors. At only $4.50 each, these are a sure hit with parents as well as little drivers. Stocking Treasures No one wants to be disappointed when arriving at the bottom of a stocking, so why not hide a little bling there? A special little trinket or treasure fits perfectly in the tiny toe of the stocking. No matter what you choose to fill your child‟s stocking, they will know it‟s filled with love. If it comes from the heart, it is sure to please. And a little candy never hurts!

fabric bead bracelet from annie and olive; crystal flower matryoshka hair clippie from enna design shop; personalized necklace from daisy chains.

invitingly handmade by kristen davis - mary had a little party


he first sight of a wonderful party to come, an invitation sets the stage for your special celebration. Today‟s choices offer such a wide selection that one can easily find the perfect invitation well within a variety of budgets. Whether you make them yourself, have them printed at the photo shop, or enlist the help of a wonderful artist to help you set the stage, the choices are practically limitless.

as an hour you can have a package of personalized invites ready to send, all with the click of a button. Another great option is one of the many online shops specializing in photo cards. With an even greater selection of designs, some even custom made, the process is just the same. This is an especially nice alternative for distant relatives you‟d like to include in the announcement, as it provides a current photo of your loved one, a memento in itself.

for something even more unexpected, why not enlist the help of the celebrant...

It used to be that the photo invitations you could have printed at the local drugstore or photo shop were quite bland. Not the case anymore! Stores now offer a huge variety of cute alternatives, making this a viable option to announce an upcoming affair. Have a favorite photo of your little one? It‟s as simple as uploading pictures from your computer into the template of your choice and placing your order. Sometimes within as little

Another option in setting the stage is creating the invites yourself. Party supply stores offer a wonderful selection of pre-made cards and envelopes making the task easy. It‟s as simple as decorating the card to coordinate with your theme and preparing them to mail. For something even more unexpected, why not enlist the help of the celebrant, in particular if he or she is older and able to cut and paste. Not

only does this help build excitement for the coming event, but children thoroughly enjoy having a hand in the process and letting their creative juices flow. When choosing the handmade route, quantity is one important point to keep in mind. An intricate design can become quite tedious when made in large multiples. Handmade cards offer many possibilities that make them a wonderful choice. Themed parties are great fun and are easily announced with a thoughtfully crafted invite. Imagine cut out paper dolls that unfold with the party details for a tea party or princess soirĂŠe. Or a decorated space ship cut

out from folded cardstock and adorned with glitter for a space themed event. Imagine a hint of whatâ€&#x;s to come with an eye patch included for a pirate themed bash or perhaps a folded bandana for a western affair - the possibilities are endless. Office supply stores or your local craft store will offer a wide array of envelopes or, if need be, these are simple enough to make. A fantastic resource, too, is your local scrapbooking store. Not only will you find a vast selection of beautiful themed papers, many stores also offer a workshop area which allows you to use the tools needed to make both invites and envelopes as well. The novelty of a handmade invite is sure to spark the imagination of both celebrant and guests alike!

Make your own envelope enlarge template to size needed and photocopy onto cardstock of your choice cut along solid lines then fold along dotted lines cut open slit in bottom part of envelope fold in sides and tuck top into opened slit decorate as desired

Personalized & Customized unique gifts made just for your child

clockwise from top left: custom initial or number tee shirt by lisa gorno, personalized letter art and fine art prints by twinkle star art, custom hand painted hair bow holder by t tot boutique, calico bird personalized print by chichiboulie

clockwise from top left: winter snowflake long-sleeve tee by molly caroline designs, turkey thanksgiving t-shirt by my duck duck goose, custom birth print by trendy peas, dinosaur friends by caroline soer designs, custom wall letters by candice n katie’s art, note card set by the english pea, appliquÊd minky pillow by southern sassy pants

taste cookie exchange jenica carlley - pumpkinâ€&#x;s boutique

Now what starts with the letter C? Cookie starts with C! Let's think of other things that start with C. Oh, who cares about the other things! ~ the Cookie Monster


ne of my favorite things about the holidays is cookies. Chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, shortbread cookies, sugar cookies – I love them all, especially around the holidays. And what is the only thing better than homemade cookies? Lots and lots of homemade cookies! A cherished tradition my daughter and I have started in the past few years is to have a cookie exchange (or cookie swap) with all of our friends. Each invitee makes six dozen of her favorite holiday cookies, and we each go home with six dozen cookies in many varieties. Now, six dozen may sound like a lot, but many recipes already make three dozen, and it is easy to double the batch. pdf homemade cookie recipe pack by t.r. brown

I like to send out my invitations about a month in advance, to give everyone plenty of time to check her schedule and buy the ingredients. Make sure you include the rules or suggestions you want your guests to follow. Here are some wording ideas: A little sugar and a lot of fun, we’re having a cookie exchange, so please plan to come. It's the time of the year when the best cookies are made. What fun to make extra in order to trade! In all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday, come join us for some relaxation, friendship and fun. The rules: 1. Please bring six dozen homemade cookies. Try to bake your cookies 2-3 days before the exchange so they will transport well. 2. Please bring copies of your recipe to hand out to attendees. 3. Arrange your cookies in a basket or platter and bring a container to carry your cookies home. I like to use a long table covered with a festive tablecloth and dÊcor. I serve only drinks,

such as tea, coffee, cider, eggnog and water. This makes it a casual party with less prep for me, the hostess, and less stress for the guests. Plus, that way all the food focus is on the wonderful cookies. I play holiday music and encourage everyone to dress for the season. I also try to find a time that doesnâ€&#x;t compete with all the other holiday plans my guests might have. That might be the end of November before the rush or on a weekday morning, depending on your group. In my circle of friends, we make it a kidfriendly event. I host it on a weekday morning near the beginning of December. My daughter and I choose the recipe well in advance, pouring over all the books on hand. Then we shop for ingredients and, of course, bake them together.

What is the only thing better than homemade cookies? Lots and lots of homemade cookies! lavender cookies greeting card gift set by southampton creations

Once the guests have all arrived, displayed their cookies and had a chance to chat, it is time for the swap. Each guest takes the container they brought, goes around the table and takes 4-5 cookies from each platter, until all cookies are divided. Try some of these ideas to make your exchange extra special: 1. Have each guest bring some non-

perishable food to donate to a local charity. 2. Have each guest tell the story behind their recipe before the swap. Maybe how they chose the recipe or how they burned the first batch. 3. Have the guests e-mail you their recipe before the party and make a little book for everyone to take home. 4. Give away prizes for the best seasonal outfit, the best cookie story, the prettiest display, etc. No matter how you do it, your cookie exchange will be sure to become a holiday favorite every year! top: cozy mitten and sweater set cookies by something sweet shoppe bottom: ginger molasses cookie recipe by recipes by k e cookies

Frosty’s Colorful Cookies

Mocha Crinkles

1 ¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar ¾ cup Butter Flavor Crisco 2 Tbsp milk 1 Tbsp vanilla 1 egg 1 ¾ cups flour 1 tsp salt ¾ tsp baking soda 2 cups red & green M & M‟s

1 1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar ½ cup vegetable oil ¼ cup low fat sour cream 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla 1 ¾ cup flour ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 tsp instant espresso or coffee granules 1 tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt 1/8 tsp ground black pepper ½ cup powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 375° F. Spread foil on countertop to cool cookies. 2. Place brown sugar, shortening, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add egg, beat well. 3. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to shortening mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in M&M‟s. 4. Drop dough by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. 5. Bake one sheet at a time for 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Do not over bake. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely.

recipe provided by jenica, pumpkin‟s boutique

1. Beat brown sugar and oil in medium bowl with electric mixer. Mix in sour cream, egg and vanilla. Set aside. 2. Mix flour, cocoa, espresso, baking soda, salt and pepper in another medium bowl. 3. Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture; mix well. Refrigerate dough until firm – 3 to 4 hours. 4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place powdered sugar in shallow bowl. Set aside. Cut dough into 1-inch pieces, roll into balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar. 5. Bake on un-greased cookie sheets 10 to 12 minutes or until tops of cookies are firm to touch. Do not over bake. Cool on wire racks. recipe provided by jenica, pumpkin‟s boutique

Amish Ginger Cookies 3/4 cup butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 egg 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda extra granulated sugar 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and 1 cup sugar until creamy. Add egg and molasses; beat until combined. 3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. 4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the extra granulated sugar. Place balls on ungreased baking sheet. 5. Bake for 5 - 7 minutes until barely turning brown. 6. Allow to cool for 1 minute on baking sheet and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

recipe provided by tammy, t.r. brown

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisp Balls 1 (18 ounce size) jar of peanut butter 2 cups Rice Krispies cereal 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup chocolate chips 1. In a double boiler over low heat, melt chocolate and set aside. 2. In a medium sized bowl, combine all other ingredients. Blend well until mixture forms a dough. 3. Roll into 1-inch balls. Using a toothpick or fork, dip the balls into the chocolate until well coated. Place onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. 4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

recipe provided by tammy, t.r. brown

If you like the two recipes on this page, you’ll love Tammy’s pdf cookbook of over 400 homemade cookie recipes! holiday variety sugar cookies by sugar cookie couture

a duo of delicious drinks for keeping warm by nicole pankratz - lil boo and co


here‟s nothing better than a cup of something hot in your hands when it‟s almost freezing outside. Whether you‟re all bundled up at home, peering through your window as the snow falls outside or on your way to a hometown football game, these recipes for delicious hot drink mixes will be a sure way to keep you cozy during the cold winter months. And since they are dry mixes, they are also perfect for gift giving this holiday season. Fireside Coffee Mix Yield: 6 1/2 cups dry mix 2 cups non-dairy coffe creamer 1 1/2 cups hot cocoa mix (you can use the homemade recipe or a simple store bought cocoa mix) 1 1/2 cups instant coffee granules 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions: Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Store in an airtight container. For 1 cup of coffee: Spoon 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of coffee mix into a cup. Add 1 cup boiling water. Stir until well blended. Hot Cocoa Mix Yield: 4 cups of dry mix 2 cups of non-fat dry milk powder 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer 1/8 teaspoon salt Directions: Measure all ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together until evenly blended. Store in an airtight container or package as individual servings to hand out as gifts.

holiday hot chocolate tee by winney and bea

To Make: Spoon 3 to 4 generous tablespoons of hot cocoa mix into a mug, add boiling water and stir.

Each portion can be measured into a small plastic bag and tucked into a cup or mug. Add some mini marshmallows, candy stick stirrers, and a spoon to the cup for a complete package.

Gift Giving Ideas: The recipe makes enough for four gift-size portions (about 1 cup of dry mix each).

Wrap each filled gift cup in cellophane and don't forget to include a tag with the instructions.

clockwise from top left: merino wool cardigan by sew katie pie, baby blue checkerboard tunisian blanket by oh baby dotcom, fuzzy swirl scarf by sunny brook farm designs, cozy hooded bath towel by two little tots

clockwise from top left: chocolate raspberry minky blanket by cuddle baby, girls pure wool open knit hat by sheeps clothing, adeline blanket by ciuccio, lux baby earflap hat and mitten set by knittles

care slow foods for kids by gretchen jakub fabre - chichiboulie


low Food? What is Slow Food? Some of you may have heard the term, but remain unsure about its meaning. Some of you may never have heard of it at all. But for all of us concerned with our own health and the health of our environments, it‟s something to think about.

slow food is good, clean and fair The Slow Food movement began in Italy in the mid 1980s with the belief that everyone has the “fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible.” - Slow Food is good, clean and fair food and encourages people to recognise the strong connections between plate and planet. Slow Food is based on the following principles: That the food we eat should taste good That it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health That food producers should receive fair compensation for their work. With the incidence of child health problems ever increasing, Slow Food principles are something we should all consider and pass on

to our children. But how can we do that? It‟s not as difficult as it may seem. Grow your Own Growing your own food is a wonderful project for kids. Don‟t have a large garden? Don‟t worry. Many things can be grown in pots. Think tomatoes, green beans, lemon trees even. Growing your own food not only teaches kids where our food comes from, but it also gives them the opportunity to learn to care for their plants and thus their environment. And what pride they will feel when their first crop of cherry tomatoes makes its debut on the family table! Buy Local and In Season Strawberries in December? Not something we should be seeing in most regions. Buying food out of season is something many of us have gotten used to, and we now expect to be able to buy what we want when we want it. But if we stop to think about what is behind this, we soon discover that it‟s best to buy foods in season. Buying summer foods in winter and winter foods in summer means that those items have travelled a long way to get to the shop shelves. This transporting has the dual impact of contributing to polluting our environment and providing fewer nutrients in the food.

Easy Winter Vegetable Soup A super simple soup sure to warm you up on cold winter days. And yes, a way to get your kids to eat brussel sprouts, too! 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped 4 carrots, peeled and chopped 1 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed 6 c organic beef broth 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 Tbsp olive oil 1)

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Toss in your chopped and trimmed vegetables and let cook, stirring, for a few minutes.


Pour in beef broth and let cook, simmering for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.


Add minced garlic and let cook 5 minutes more.


Ladle out and serve with toasted crusty bread.

There are no set proportions to this soup so feel free to add and subtract as you prefer. But no cheating, you must leave in the sprouts!

Winter in-season vegetables Avocados Belgian Endives Bok Choi Broccoli Broccoli Rabe Brussel Sprouts Cabbage Celery Root Cauliflower Chestnuts Jerusalem Artichokes Kale Lettuce Parsnips Salsify Winter Squash Sweet Potatoes Turnips

Winter in-season fruits Bananas Blood Oranges Clementines Cranberries Grapes Grapefruit Kiwi Oranges Passion Fruit Pears Persimmons Pomegranates Pomelos Tangerines Satsumas

By shopping locally, we are helping to promote items that are in season. It is something we can all do and something that will make an impact. Take your kids to the local farmers‟ markets for a wonderful experience and fabulous fresh food. Don‟t have a farmers‟ market? Supermarkets label food sources. Point these out to your children and prefer those items that come from local producers. In doing so, you are helping to support your local growers and thus your local economy. In return, you receive produce that is fresher and contains more nutrients for your family. You are also helping to reduce carbon emissions that come from shipping food long distances. Learning to eat with the seasons has the added bonus of opening up a wider variety of tastes that children (and grown ups) may not be exposed to otherwise. Children will learn from an early age to be familiar with vegetables that they may not know, and a wider variety of food sources equals a wider variety of nutrients. Ever wonder what to do with celeriac? Try it the next time mashed potatoes are on the menu. Cook it along side the potatoes, mash them both together and For a list of local farmers’ markets by state

you‟ll get a delicately flavoured mash and a change from the ordinary. Buy Organic Whenever possible, choose organic foods. Not only will this reduce your exposure to fungicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, but you will also indirectly let others know that you don‟t want others (neighbours, community, farmers) to be exposed to those things either. It is taking a step in protecting your family and your environment. Get Cooking Once you have started to incorporate some of these ideas into your daily routine, it‟s time to get cooking with your kids. Kids love to spend time in the kitchen, and it can be a moment of true family interaction. Teaching your kids how to cook is giving them the basics of a wonderful lifelong habit and skill. Start with easy recipes that they will be happy to taste knowing they made it themselves. By teaching children the joys of cooking, you are also helping them to avoid the fast food trap and starting them on their way to healthy living. To find out more about Slow Food, you can visit their website at

by lisa delzer - chubbas „n boop


t‟s the season for giving. Everywhere you look, you can see advertisements telling you to spend more money. But, that line of thinking isn‟t in synch with those of us trying to consume less and make better choices about where our money goes. I sometimes feel conflicted this time of year. I feel like a lot of the „green movement‟ is moving away from over-consumerism - away from overspending and over consuming. At the same time, I also really love giving presents. Who doesn‟t! Living an eco-conscious life does not mean you shouldn‟t go out and buy gifts for your friends and family. We all love finding that perfect little present for those special people in our lives and watching them open it up. But, we can avoid getting caught up in the “buy more” mentality. The backbone of living an eco-friendly lifestyle is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. So, how do we apply these principals to gift giving, especially gifts for our children?

Reduce. Do your kids really need that huge mound of presents? We hear it all the time, but when it comes to giving gifts, less definitely is more. When you look back on your own childhood, can you remember every single gift you received? I canâ€&#x;t. But there are a few very special presents that I will always treasure. Why not start a new tradition that limits the amount of presents each person in your family receives? Then think about each gift carefully and make sure the gifts you give matter.

Another way to reuse is by visiting secondhand shops while doing your present shopping. Many such shops specialize in gently worn items and can save you money while protecting the environment from more waste. I often find beautiful dresses for my daughter in excellent condition while out thrift store shopping.

Reduce Reuse Recycle

Reuse. Consider the long term when making your purchases. Think about quality. Will your gifts be able to be used for many years, or will they break and need to be replaced? Heirloom quality toys are a great investment because they last and can be passed on through the generations. Not only does this create special memories from generation to generation, it has the added benefit of fewer toys in landfills.

Recycle. Upcycling is a hot new trend, and many handmade selling venues such as Etsy feature items made from recycled materials, from clothes to toys and everything in between. If you are crafty, you can even make something yourself. Children love handmade gifts, especially when it is made by mom or dad. So, why not go the extra mile and buy or make things from recycled materials.

Donâ€&#x;t forget to think about how you package up your gifts. Saving and reusing your wrapping materials for next year will help reduce waste, but why not try cloth gift wrap that can be used over and over again? Remember, it is the small things that add up. Eco-friendly gifts make a big difference, not only to the environment but also in the message they send to our children.

101 funny things to make and do reinvented journal by useful books; montessori verb box by amy kuhl cox; leopard tutu by zachary dickory dock; wool felt birthday crown by paper and cloth stash

five eco-friendly gift ideas by lisa delzer - chubbas „n boop 1. Books.

Buy good quality stories about nature that will teach your children the importance of taking care of mother earth. 2. Dress up Clothes.

Scout your local thrift store (or your own closet) and put together a dress up box. You don‟t need “costumes” – kids are pretty dang happy with old dresses, men‟s shirts, and fun hats. But, if you do want to purchase some costumes, check out jillybeanskids 3. Lessons. Or other special activities that

your children will get excited about. Not only will these lessons have less impact on the environment than a plastic toy, they help our children learn and grow. 4. Donations. Make a donation to an

make a nice card and tell a story about how he or she is helping the baby animals or other children in the world. Pick a charity that is about something important to your child. This can become a family tradition that will teach your son or daughter the importance of giving, while letting him or her feel like he or she is a part of something that matters. For a list of charities, check out this website: 5. Anything handmade. Whether it is something you make yourself, or something you buy from a talented crafter or artist, your child will appreciate the thoughtfulness behind the gift. Handmade gifts made out of recycled materials make it even more special.

organization in honor of your child. You can

Do you have some eco-friendly living ideas you would like to share? We‟d love to hear them! Send them to us at

share la petite artiste kristie piacine - kind living designs


hey say necessity is the mother of invention. It was necessary to dive in and clean up around the house, both inside and out. Who knew that what I would find was one of the best gifts I‟ve ever given for the holidays. Sentimental. Personalized. Eco-friendly. Inexpensive. JACKPOT! As a parent, I just couldn‟t help myself. The pile. It just kept growing and growing. Every day my children would bring home artwork from school. “Mommy, I know what a circle is…look!” said my son after a few weeks of preschool. “Mommy, we studied Van Gogh today, aren‟t my sunflowers lovely?” beamed my 1st grader. How could I toss any little bit of it in the trash? Each drawing, cutout, collage was a reminder of how he sticks his tongue out while learning how to use scissors, how she hums little songs as she colors. They were my babies‟ masterpieces, not trash. Eventually, though, that pile started to mock me – it was

small at first, but before I knew it, it had taken over my dining room table. The collection of artwork spanned four years. What? How? I‟d stare at it day after day and never get the courage to tackle it, too afraid that I‟d go through it and end up with the same pile. What was the solution? I kept telling myself to wait for the day when I would turn into the frantic cleaning machine and would have an unbiased eye and clean through it with a minimalist‟s approach. Yeah, right.

The holidays were coming up, and I was at a loss for the perfect gift for the grandparents

The holidays were coming up, and I was at a loss for the perfect gift for the grandparents. A do-it-yourself girl at heart, I had just about created every personalized gift imaginable. I was running out of time, and to be honest, didn‟t have it in me to get crazy-crafty anymore. I stared at the pile and finally it dawned on me. A Club-of-the-Month. An Art Club-of-the-Month. I called my daughter into the room and told her about my idea. She was

beyond excited. “You mean they get to belong to my art club? I get an art club?!” It took an afternoon to sort through the pile and determine who would get what. Not only did we tackle gifts for the grandparents, but also close friends and relatives who we knew would appreciate the gift. Once we decided on the pieces, we took out a notebook and made a list, measuring each piece so that we could present the first masterpiece framed. Some of the gifts were being mailed, and we didn‟t want to purchase bulky boxes and packing materials to ship the larger sized artwork. An easier alternative was to select 8 1/2” x 11” pieces, which left us with options to purchase traditional frames or the clear magnetic pockets that would instantly transform the artwork into a fridge-friendly masterpiece.

We weren’t simply giving them one piece of artwork, we were giving them a whole year’s worth of artwork: a mini gallery of her childhood creations

After a quick trip to the local craft

printable colouring pages by melloheads

store, we had chosen the poster board mattes we could have imagined. Her pride in her work and different framing options. All that was left and sense of self-esteem grew in abundance. was to create the piece that would tie it all Even better, she experienced a new way of together. We weren‟t simply giving them one communicating with her relatives and friends: piece of artwork, we were giving them a whole the written letter, the power of words, the year‟s worth of artwork: a mini-gallery of her excitement of a package in the mail. She and I childhood didn‟t just shop creations. We among the crowds needed a of consumers in membership card. Target, but walked I made a template up and down aisles and printed talking about our several out on loved one‟s tastes, cardstock. She what we thought filled in the each piece of blanks, again artwork stood for, creating a piece to evenfiguring out be treasured, her what frames and kindergarten mattes to use handwriting so included a great full of hope and math lesson. La Petite Artiste with her grandparents wonder. In the end, I conquered that pile. I fought her That year, many tears were shed during the hard for those special pieces I couldn‟t give up. opening of presents. I‟m not sure if it was the It also dawned on me that most of the pieces gift or the way my daughter couldn‟t contain we‟d pass on would make it her way again. her delight in being „la petite artiste.‟ The first The excitement of knowing that one day, 20 month‟s masterpiece was delivered. and every years from now when we‟re sitting around month thereafter we slipped a new piece of celebrating MomMom‟s birthday, we‟ll look artwork in the mail, accompanied by a little through pictures and piles of correspondence note from the artist. and find her membership card. On that card will be my grown daughter‟s kindergarten This gift gave so much more back to her than handwriting and it will cause my heart to burst.

simplifying the holidays kathleen gordon-ross - tiny stitches


udgets are tight, and so are schedules. We all intend to have meaningful holidays, but how do we obtain it?

spend more quality time with extended family

Surprisingly, it does not mean we have to buy our child the latest and greatest toys, blowing our budget with just one purchase. Nor does it mean we have to go to every party, to bake and decorate 1,000 cookies and 10 gingerbread houses to deliver to the neighbors or to buy gifts for every Tom, Dick, Harry, Mary, Sally and Jane we come in contact with during the year. Keeping things simple is a challenge for me and something I struggle to achieve year after year, especially during the holidays. Here are five basic strategies I am trying this year. I hope that they will help you identify spots in your holiday routine that are not adding to your enjoyment of the season, so

you can cut them out entirely, or just cut back a little. Strategy #1 – Organize what is important Take fifteen minutes and ponder what you want this holiday to be. What would your ideal holiday consist of? Would it be to spend more meaningful time with your children? Or provide memorable experiences for your entire family? Maybe you want to spend more quality time with extended family and friends? Or help your children focus on the

true spirit of the season rather than on making out wish lists and writing letters to Santa? Turn the elements of your ideal holiday into short phrases or statements and write them down. These ideals will help focus your holiday plans and decide whether or not something is worth your family‟s time, money or energy.

important to them, and what is the one thing that has to happen for them to feel like the holiday is special. As a parent, this is an eye opening experience. This conversation alone will help you know what really matters to your children. Knowing what needs to happen and what can instantly get cut will hopefully eliminate stress, right then and there.

Strategy #2 – Curtail the family “do” list Sometime this month, before things start to Strategy #3 – Think creatively get busy, have a dinner conversation with your children about what they want to do this Look for activities you can piggy back, holiday. With your older children, talk openly accomplishing multiple goals with one about your desire to have a more meaningful experience. If holiday this year and to your family loves cut out the things that are to spend time Move the timeline of not making the family baking holiday some activities from holiday perfect. treats, use those December to a less treats as Have a list already neighbor, teacher stressful month. prepared of the activities or co-worker you typically participate gifts. If there is a in during the holiday (i.e. traditions, parties, family you really school/public concerts, plays). Then tailor the want to spend conversation to the ages of the children in time with this your family. You may even want to talk with holiday, invite them one on one over a cup of hot chocolate them to or while you are in the car running errands. experience one of The ultimate goal is to find out what is really your family

traditions or join them on one of their traditions. Move the timeline of some activities from December to a less stressful month. A tradition in our family is making gingerbread houses. We used to decorate them the first weekend of December, but we now do them the weekend before Thanksgiving. This slight change has worked well, and it still makes a great opening to the holiday season. Another holiday activity that can be moved is the family card. Some years the task alone nearly sent me over the edge, getting the picture, writing the letter and addressing, stamping and stuffing the envelopes. My cousin figured this out years ago. She sends out a family Easter letter each year instead of the traditional Christmas letter. It is much less stressful for us to send the holiday cards after the New Year than feeling forced to cram it in during December.

purchase tubes of sugar cookie dough to roll out and decorate versus mixing the dough from scratch. Or you could have a dinner party catered or held at a restaurant rather than hosting and serving it yourself. Take advantage of gift wrap options and even ship directly to the recipient, which is fast and economical since you are shipping once. Many sellers offer this option even if it is not advertised, so be sure to discuss it with them prior to making your purchase.

Outsourcing is a fantastic way to creatively approach the holidays.

Outsourcing is a fantastic way to creatively approach the holidays. Outsourcing is not always the least expensive route, but when time is money, and you are able to, it may be more beneficial. For example, you can

Do not get paralyzed by the “but I could do it myself� mind trap. Even though you could do it yourself, it does not mean that doing so will make your holiday better. Chances are that there are plenty of areas within your holiday plans where outsourcing would save you time and headache, allowing you a better, calmer and easier holiday. Strategy #4 – Take control This holiday belongs to you and your family, so do not let outside influences that are not supporting your efforts to achieve a less stressful holiday creep in and take over.

Take control of your gift giving list. Make a list of who you need to purchase for, and stick to it. Can you get one family gift for your brother, his wife and three kids, rather than purchasing five individual gifts? Is your family ready to do a gift giving rotation or to draw names? Do you need to do individual gifts for your coworkers, or would a case of potted poinsettias or a large basket of fruit in the office break room convey the needed sentiment? Take control of your holiday budget. Over spending, either from not paying attention to the budget or feeling obligated to purchase more than we can afford, is a major cause of holiday stress. Know exactly how much your budget is for each gift and stay within the limits. Save receipts and write down each purchase and who it is for, along

with what it cost so you know exactly where you stand. Look for ways to cut costs. Consider trading

Consider trading baby sitting with a friend so you can both get your shopping finished without paying for a babysitter. baby sitting with a friend so you can both get your shopping finished without paying for a babysitter. Barter with friends or neighbors who offer a service you need. Or consider creating coupon books, which are a great way

to provide a personalized gift of time that your friends and family can enjoy all year. Take control of your schedule. Fill out a calendar with all of the activities and events from your family “do” list. Do not be distracted by last minute invitations or requests that are not on your “do” list or that do not support achieving your ideal holiday. A perfectly acceptable response is, “Thank you for the invitation, but I am sorry we cannot participate as we have previous plans.” Strategy #5 – Make conscious choices Focus on the fun, the enjoyment and the little pleasures of the holiday. Live in the moment of each new day, of each new experience this holiday, and you will find your holiday is more meaningful. When you are mentally and physically present for each special holiday experience, enjoying

each moment, you will find that stress does not enter into the experience.

Focus on the fun, the enjoyment and the little pleasures of the holiday. Is it possible to completely eliminate holiday stress? I truly hope it is for you, but for me, I am ready to acknowledge that while I may not be able to eliminate all of my tendencies to stress during the holidays, there are many things I can do. I can do a better job of taking control and staying in control of my holiday. I can talk openly with my husband and children about their hopes and expectations and make accomplishing them our priority. I can make the conscious decision to focus on the fun, and not the stress of the season, and let go of the stress. May we each find ways to achieve a more meaningful and enjoyable holiday, ways that are closer to what we each believe is the true meaning of the season. That is my holiday wish for you.

share room party 101: tips for classroom parties tyann marcink - little elephant company

less, time of organized chaos within a classroom for the students to celebrate. Many of the themes that a party may be focused on are Halloween, fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter, Valentineâ€&#x;s Day, spring, Easter, or even the end of school.


ager little faces follow the parentsâ€&#x; every move through the classroom with keen interest. It is party day at school, and each student knows that at some point in the next hour he has a very good chance of reaching a sugar high. Nearly every child is familiar with classroom parties, which are usually focused around a holiday or a season, but not every parent party helper is aware of what is expected from the short parties by the students. A Room Party is a brief, normally an hour or

Having a small party in the classroom is a way for teachers to observe a specific holiday or season that the class has been learning about. As the students discuss and read about specific celebrations, a momentum of anticipation builds, and a party is a release of that energy. There are three main components to a Room Party – a craft, a game and a snack. Although not always economically feasible, the fourth component is a take home treat bag filled with candy and small prizes. Before planning out the different components with a group of parents, be sure to check with the teacher about classroom limitations of food allergies, physical restrictions, and space

confines. Because of space constraints, some teachers may allow only a couple of parents to attend and run the Room Party versus letting all available parents into the classroom. After each component has been agreed upon, do not hesitate to meet again with the group of parents to pre-fill treat bags or to precut any portions of the craft. Just separating the different pieces for a craft into individual bags for each student will cut down on time consuming chaos during the party.

Crafts When deciding on the perfect craft to reflect the theme of the party, be aware of the students‟ ages. An age appropriate craft will go much smoother than a craft that is a bit too difficult, with the parents completing the craft for the students. Also keep in mind that the craft should not take a whole of time to construct. The children are very aware that it is a party, after all, and there is a lot to do in a short span of time.

Have a plan, but always be ready to tweak an activity if necessary.

In addition, once the planning is on a roll, do not be shy about requesting that other parents contribute to the party. Many parents may be unable to attend the party but still desire to be involved in some capacity, so having these parents contribute the drinks, plates, napkins or parts of the treat bags or crafts is an excellent way to include them.

Most importantly, focus on the students‟ enjoyment of the time and be flexible. Have a plan, but always be ready to tweak an activity if necessary.


Game time is an excellent outlet for the students‟ pent up energy. Whether the games include relay races or require thought processing, do not hesitate to plan several games. Have a couple definite games that the students will play, and then have some additional games that can be played at a moment‟s notice. Many times students are so excited and wound up that they may finish a game or even the craft in much less time than was anticipated. This is where the back-up games would come in handy, to round out the remainder of the party time.

Bendy Legs Spider Hats Materials: Black construction paper or cardstock Pipe cleaners Wiggly eyes Red yarn Staplers Glue Preparation: Pre cut for each student a 3 inch circle and (18) 1 inch strips from the black paper. *Hint: Have the local copy shop cut the strips in advance. They can slice an entire stack of paper at one time at a minimal cost, saving quite a bit of time. Then staple a pipe cleaner between two strips to create the bendy legs. How to do it: 1. Glue the wiggly eyes and a small piece of yarn to the circle to create the face. 2. Measure with two strips of paper around the studentâ€&#x;s head and staple together according to the proper size. 3. Staple the spider head on the front. 4. Staple four legs on each side of the band, making sure the flat edge of the staples are on the inside of the hat. 5. Bend the legs in any direction for a crazy looking spider hat.

Snacks Homemade goodies for the snack used to be the highlight of the party snack time. However, double check with the school rules on homemade foods. Many schools now require that all food shared in the classroom be store bought. Donâ€&#x;t let this be a setback for an amazing snack though. Options include cupcakes or cookies from local bakeries or grocers, as well as assembling the snack during the party.

Treat Bags Treat bags are terrific post-party reminders to the students on how much fun they had. Various candies and chocolates, themed pencils and notepads, bouncy balls, stickers and activity books are a few of the diverse options. The order in which the party proceeds is usually up to the organizing parents. However, always be sure to hand out any treat bags at the end of the party and have the students place the bags into their school bag immediately. But, most importantly, have the treat bags sealed with tape or a sticker, and instruct the students not to open the bags until they are home. This will avoid any arguing amongst the students about favorite candies or treats. A memorable classroom party is a great achievement in an elementary studentâ€&#x;s mind. Here are a few activities that are kid-tested to be unforgettable.

Mixed Up Dress Up Materials: Various costumes and accessories Preparation: Lay out each costume and accessory across one end of the room so that each piece is readily available. How to play: 1. Divide the students into small groups of 5 or 6. 2. Designate one child in each group to be dressed up. 3. At “go,” one student from each group will run across the room to the array of costumes and accessories and choose one piece. 4. Child brings the piece back to the designated child and helps him to put it on. 5. The next child in line for each group retrieves a second piece, and so forth until every child in each group has retrieved a costume piece or accessory and placed it on the designated child for each group. Gather the dressed up children for a quick picture and repeat until every child has had an opportunity to get “dressed up.”

“BAM” Sugar Cookies Materials: Sugar Cookies Frosting Sprinkles Chocolate chips Other candies (i.e. M&Ms) Bowls Spoons

Preparation: Separate sprinkles, chocolate chips and candies into several bowls and add spoons to dish out the treats onto the cookies. 1. Spread frosting over the sugar cookies. 2. Let students decorate according to their sweet tooths. 3. Savor the delicious candy and cookie combinations.

explore 10 tips for surviving the holidays with family by tyann marcink - little elephant company


lthough family gatherings can often create a little tension, it‟s the routine of gathering together and sharing life that creates the lasting family memories. Stress during the holidays is probably unavoidable, but there are several ways to help diminish it and make the events more relaxing for everyone. Here are ten common stress points and ideas on how to diffuse the stress before it grows: 1. Too many places to visit Families grow and suddenly there is not just one home to visit, but several. Michelle Eubanks, mother of one, doesn‟t do family visits all on the same day. “It is too much stress on all of us. We do one family on one day and the other the next day.” Spacing out visits is a way to make everyone‟s day a bit more relaxed, allowing you to enjoy the day without thoughts of when you have to be moving on to the next. Another helpful tip is to make sure to focus

Vacation home in Branson, Missouri decorated for Christmas.

on your immediate family. “We always make it a priority to have our own traditions and family time first, then we spend the rest of the time with the extended family,” says Michelle. 2. Lack of space for larger families Choosing a location for your gathering can be stressful. Many families‟ ideal location would be large enough for all the ages to spread out and each have his own space, but often no one member in a larger family group has a

place big enough to accommodate everyone. It has become popular for some families to gather at a vacation home. Meeting in a neutral spot can not only offer more space but has the added bonus of diffusing a lot of tension. The kitchen is no longer just one woman‟s domain, but now belongs to all of the cooks in the family. As an added bonus, there is no mad cleaning for several days before family arrives, as the vacation home is ready for guests. Your holidays can become more relaxing and focused on family since the distractions of work and home are gone.

4. Keeping young children amused Children don‟t always appreciate the wonderful conversations we adults look forward to during the holidays. So “pack a backpack with toys and activities to occupy the kids,” contributes Gussie Schmitz, mother of one with another on the way. Pack it with “something new that the kids haven‟t seen yet or haven‟t seen in awhile” adds Laura Schaefer, mom to two with a third on the way. It‟s a sure way to keep them occupied while you get on with the chit chat.

I do a lot of prep work the night before, and ask everyone to bring something –Jill, mother of 3

3. Too much to prepare All these guests need to eat! Try some advanced prep work or better yet, share the work when it comes to feeding the family. “I do a lot of prep work the night before,” offers Jill Brewer, mom to three. “And ask everyone to bring something.”

Amber Eads, mother of two boys, agrees. “What we do to get ready is to prepare everything we can beforehand so that it doesn‟t take forever to get dinner prepared. We also have all the families coming over bring something so not just one person is left to do everything.”

5. Sudden meltdowns We‟ve all lived through it. The toddler (or older child) meltdown, and it‟s not something we look forward to reliving. Many meltdowns can be avoided with a little planning. Jennifer Nolen, mother of two boys, does her best to “make sure to always have the kids well rested and take drinks and snacks.” Sometimes something as simple as a change of pace will avoid a tantrum, so to break up the scenery, mother of two Jeanetta Stowe‟s solution is to send the children outside. “Playing outdoors is a good idea, so if it‟s cold, be sure to bring warm clothes and jackets for the weather. Kids get cabin fever too quickly.”

6. So much to clean-up “Lucky for me, my family is very informal,” says Jill Brewer. “We all think that the most important part is the time we spend enjoying each other. So, we use paper plates, plastic forks, and plastic cups. Clean up time is cut way down.” Using a Sharpie® or other marker to write names on plastic cups will help everyone to keep track of his cup and reduce the number of plastic cups that are thrown away. For recycling, designate a specific wastebasket

Try packing small portions of carrots, crackers, and fruit slices in little sandwich baggies and bring in a festive reusable lunch box like kotibeth’s

for the plastics and another for aluminum cans. 7. What to do after the food Family ties strengthen when family spends time together. This is an excellent time to pull out the favorite board games and decks of cards or sit down for a small craft or other activity. Jennifer Rocha, mom to two boys, decorates gingerbread cookies with her family to relax. “When family gets involved in being creative, they usually don‟t have time to bicker with anyone.” This Fold.n.Go Art Folio™ by DINE.n.DOODLE is ideal to toss into backpacks or purses. One side holds a few crayons and a piece of chalk, and the other side is interchangeable with a small chalkboard or a notepad.

Have each family bring a stash of games so there is plenty of variety for all ages and personalities. Games help to teach basic skills

like taking turns, colors, math, and thought process. Shy personalities will have a chance to step out of their shells and shine through role-play games like Charades, while loud personalities will be able to practice toning down their voices to not tip off another team in a game like Pictionary. 8. Who got what “When do we open presents?” is many times the first sentence uttered by the kids after saying “Hello.” The shotgun start for ripping open the gifts can be fun and crazy at first, but it soon becomes chaotic and weary for parents trying to keep track of the new toys. Help keep things organized and create a

larger sense of appreciation by following Jennifer Rocha‟s tip to take time opening the gifts. “I mean really taking time. We let one person open one gift at a time and everyone watches. We let the kids play with each new toy before they can open another gift. We can sometimes start opening gifts on the 23rd and not be done until late Christmas evening.” Keep a small note pad and pencil nearby to note each child‟s new gift and who it came from so thank you notes can be sent out in a couple of days. Becoming a lost tradition, thank you notes are much appreciated by gift givers. Whether it‟s a snapshot of the gift in action with a scrawled “Thank you” on the back of the photo, or a lengthy handwritten

Make a leaf sun catcher from a craft kit from Smart Bottom Everything is included in the kit, even the leaves. However, the sun catcher is even better with the real thing, so first take a walk outside to find some spectacular leaves.

note, be sure to send the notes in a timely manner. 9. Going home Departing can be just as stressful as any other time during a family gathering. After making the rounds of hugs and kisses, the children still need to be pulled away from games or scooped up from a nap with Grandpa in the rocker. Kids need to be rounded up and new gifts must be found and packed away. So be sure to make leaving easier by picking a departing time and sticking to it, and remember the small things that will comfort your little ones. “We always make sure to bring „blankie‟ even though she only uses it at bed time,” adds Gussie Schmitz. “It comes in handy after a busy and tiring day.” 10. Reflecting Don‟t forget what it is all about. Chaos may reign for a few hours or days, but as long as “everyone remembers that it is about making happy memories, the kids and spending good quality time together, things go so much smoother,” comments Jill Brewer. “I often think that people really forget about what it really is about. It‟s about the good times with each other. As long as everyone is happy and fed, that is the important part.”

For the sleepy heads on the way home, tuck a small pillow behind their necks to make the ride more comfortable. Try this adorable kitty cat neck pillow by Paula and Erika. All of the details are embroidered on the face, so there are no worries about loose parts.

Search for a holiday vacation home at one of the popular vacation rental sites found online Search results can be refined by location, size, and amenities of the homes and condos. Many home are very affordable, but the best ones go fast and are often reserved 9 to 12 months in advance for the popular family holidays. So don‟t put it off until the last minute, another tip for reducing holiday stress!

work creating an online presence this season by liz murphy - daisy creek designs


ith the holidays quickly approaching, crafters and artisans are busy making new products and listing them online. But with so many online marketplaces popping up all over the internet, it can be difficult to know which venues are most suited to your business needs. One main consideration when choosing an online marketplace is cost - cost of membership and cost to list product. Most sites, such as Etsy, 1000 Markets and Craft Is Art require only an email, username and password to join, whereas Handmade Catalog charges anywhere between $4.95 to $12.95 per month depending on the level of membership. The cost to list an item and the fees associated with selling products are what really set these venues apart from each other. Selling an item on Shop Handmade, with sponsorship, costs nothing to list and only 3.5% for PayPal. In contrast, ebay charges a combination of the insertion fee,

the final value fee and a variety of listing upgrades, making it quite difficult to calculate the final cost of selling. Another important consideration when choosing where to list your products online is site exposure. Some sites, such as Etsy, ebay and Artfire, clearly have reputations as places to go when looking to purchase items directly from the seller. They have a strong online presence, and future customers regularly visit these sites in search of the perfect product to meet their needs. Typically, advertising on your end helps to guide new customers to your shop in particular when listing on less well-known sites. Finally, consider the type of support or networking opportunities each site offers. Chat rooms, forums, teams and promotional tools are just some of the ways sites are helping sellers get in contact with new customers and other sellers. Such contact and teamwork is essential in building an online presence and developing a customer base.

Whether you choose an online marketplace because of cost, ease of membership, exposure or the c you need to choose which ones are best for you to create an o Membership

Cost to List

Length Of Listing


5.5% commission + .50

No time length


No time length


No time length


Basic is free Verified - $12 a month

Basic - 12 listings at a time

Payment Sourc

Verified - unlimited 3.5% commission


Special add ons .15 to .75 each

Free Store option starting at $15.95 a month

Combination of insertion 10 days, 30 days fee, final value fee and or “Good Until listing upgrades Cancelled”


.20 plus 3.5% commission

Basic – up to 50 items

$4.95 / mo. + 15% commission

Standard – up to 250 items

$7.95 / mo. + 10% commission

Professional – up to 1000 items

$12.95 / mo. + 5% commission



PayPal, ProPay, Moneybookers, Paymate, credit ca through an interne merchant accoun

4 months


No time length


3% commission

No time length


Free with sponsorship

No time length


control you have over the look of your shop, the chart below will provide you with the information online presence this holiday season and throughout the year.


ard et nt

Support & Networking

Number of Photos

Types of Products


Control of Shop

Organized by markets

4 per item

Handmade, food, earth friendly

Established site

Can organize items by category

Social promotion tools

Up to 10 photos per item

Handmade, design/ media, Supplies and vintage

Established site

Banner and avatar Customizable

Handmade, crafts, art Automatic UPS shipping rates

1 per item

Chat rooms and discussion boards

1 included per item, more are available for an additional fee

All types including commercial and mass produced

Established site

Forums, chat rooms, teams, virtual labs, connections to Facebook and Google Analytics

5 per item

Handmade, supplies and vintage

Established site

Banner, avatar and can now modify order of listings


1 per item

Handmade and supplies

New site



1 per item

Handmade, supplies, items made by kids

Moderately established site



1 per item

Many categories of handmade products

New site


No commercial or mass produced

New site

Can add multiple options and create coupons Banner only Store option also allows logo, additional text, picture boxes, store colors, store pages (customization on some)

view photos from a kid‟s eye view

Planting the Spring Garden

An Exciting day!

Photo taken by Noah, age 2 Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA

Photo taken by Sierra, age 5 Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

“We have quite a few raised beds in our backyard and try to grow as much as we can in them. Noah loves to help in all aspects...planting (as seen here), watering and especially eating! Not too many of the berries actually make it into the house!”

“Sierra grew this sunflower on her own. She planted the seeds inside during the late winter, and by the time spring came the sunflower had started to grow. Sierra took such good care of it. The day the sunflower opened up, she was so happy and proud of all her hard work she just had to take this picture!”

- Sherri

- Jocelyn

Baby on a Fence

The Parking Lot

Photo taken by Jordan Fae, age 3 Long Island, New York, USA

Photo taken by Paige, age 4 Corning, California, USA

“We were in Pennsylvania for a family function and decided to take a hike by the local waterfalls. I set my camera down to look at the scenery...Jordan picked up my camera (while she thought I wasn't looking but was through the corner of my eye). She set up the doll and shot the picture. I am a photographer, and my Jordan Fae is always interested in what I am doing.”

“After we landed in Germany, Paige asked if she could take some pictures with one of my cameras. She took this one while in the stroller looking for Morfar's car (that's grandfather in Norweigan). In this photo, she was able to capture her daddy's silliness!”

- Carrie

- Liz

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modern handmade child - winter '09  

Winter '09 issue of Modern Handmade Child, a seasonal online magazine helping families to embrace the handmade way of life. In this issue:...

modern handmade child - winter '09  

Winter '09 issue of Modern Handmade Child, a seasonal online magazine helping families to embrace the handmade way of life. In this issue:...


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