Winter 2012 Issue of Modern Handmade Child

Page 1

Winter 2012

handmade gifts for every budget

delicious & allergen-free recipes make a pinecone gnome ornament!


winter 2012

WELCOME 5 ... letter from the editor


WEAR - fashion trends 7... over the river and through the woods CREATE - crafty tutorials 12.... pine cone gnome ornament 59.... color wheel bowl


TASTE - cooking fun 19.... it’s time for christmas cookies SHOP - buy handmade 31.... holiday gift guide MEET - interviews 43.... rachel kovac


INSPIRE - quotes & illustrations 49.... sharing DECORATE - home décor 54.... let it snow


LEARN - education at home 56.... all about color CARE - growing up green 63.... new year reflections SHARE - by moms for moms 65.... get organized

Editor in Chief, Layout and Design Shannon Hanley/The Clever Kitty

mhc sponsors - click on the ads to be brought directly to the shops

Advertising Coordinator Linda Phrakhansa Treasurer Ahmelie Skistad Contributors WEAR..........Taci Zahl CREATE........Donni Webber Michelle Vackar TASTE.........Bonnie Thomas Drea Carbone DECORATE...Shannon Hanley MEET...........Taci Zahl SHOP...........Shannon Hanley INSPIRE.......Shannon Hanley LEARN.........Michelle Vackar CARE...........Tanja D’lyn SHARE.........Michelle Vackar CopyrightŠ modern handmade child 2012. All rights reserved. Reproduction or redistribution in whole or in parts without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.

Madeline Jacket and Hat in Black and White by Linda Marie Stitchery photography by Beth Strong Photography

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letter from the editor As I was digging out all of our winter gear a few weeks ago, searching through a big box of hats and mittens and snow pants and boots, I was reminded that, at this time last year, we were packing for a move. It hardly seems possible that an entire year has gone by since then, and that many of these hats and mittens and snow pants and boots have been outgrown already. My, how time flies! While we can’t slow down time, we can make an effort to pause and really enjoy all that this very busy season has to offer. From festive holiday celebrations to quiet cozy evenings snuggling by the fire, winter is full of moments to cherish. So if you feel yourself getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, take a step back and remind

winter 2012 yourself of what is truly important: spending quality time with your loved ones. If you are tempted to plan an elaborate party with a perfectly planned menu and complicated decorations, I encourage you to instead try to just keep it simple. Take the time to bake cookies with your kids or invite some friends over to make ornaments – trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Shannon Hanley I love to hear from you! Send your comments and letters to

Shannon Hanley lives on the coast of southern Maine with her husband and two daughters. She works during the day as a floral designer, and from home at night as an artisan dabbling in many mediums, from knitting and felting to jewelry making. Inspired by the vibrant colors and beauty of nature, she loves creating things that are both fun and functional. You can find out more about Shannon and view her work online at and, and read her blogs at and

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picks by Taci Zahl of Pish Posh Style

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Handmade Holiday threads just in time for the yearly trek over the river and through the woods to the special family gathering spot.

previous page: christmas peasant dress by coco’s cute creations opposite page: boys’ christmas tie by the trendy tot shop this page: houndstooth christmas cape by haddy grace

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this page: top: holiday hair bow by suugarr babies bottom: merino wool mary jane baby shoes by kathy dee opposite page: coordinating sibling christmas lounge wear set by addie kat shop

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by Donni Webber of The Magic Onions

here is a special kind of magic that radiates from a handmade Christmas Ornament. When I was 21, I spent a Christmas in Kitzbuhel, Austria. While there I met an Austrian lady in the market and, being quite taken with this young South African girl traveling alone on Christmas Eve, she invited me to have Christmas dinner at her home. Little did I know that she was Austrian gentry! When I arrived at her beautiful manor and entered her grand living room, I was dazzled by her magnificent Christmas tree. It was 10ft tall and decorated from top to bottom with handmade ornaments. Each one was more exquisite than the next. There were golden walnut shells, gingerbread snowflakes beautifully painted with white icing, and snowy pine cones. There were sewn ornaments, wooden ornaments and wool ornaments. Together, on that beautiful Austrian Christmas tree, their handmade quality was utterly enchanting. The image of this delightful tree has stayed with me all these years and I try to recreate it in my own home each Christmas. But, making beautiful Christmas ornaments takes time and I have grown to accept that one day, many years from now, my children and I will have collected and made enough to rival my Austrian vision. Making ornaments has become a Christmas tradition in our home and I treasure the time I spend with my children as we create together. There was an ornament I remember on that Austrian Christmas tree above the rest. It was a pine cone gnome... quite the sweetest thing I had ever seen. My children and I have made one just as I remember it and we share it's secrets with you here...

Materials and Tools:        

A small pine cone for his body (foraged from nature) One white 1- inch felt ball for his head (found at craft stores or on A 1- inch wooden ball will work just as well) One red half-inch felt ball for the pom-pom on his hat Two white half-inch felt balls for his hands A piece of green wool felt for his hat and scarf (found at craft stores or on, or you can use a felted sweater) Green thread and a needle A tiny button for his scarf (found at craft stores) Glue (a hot glue gun works the best but any glue will work with a little added patience)

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Directions: 1. We will make the sweet little hat first. Cut the green wool felt into a triangle. Each side of the triangle should be about 3 inches long. With your needle and thread, sew two sides of the triangle together. When the two sides are sewn together, flip the little hat insideout to hide the thread. Look how neat and tidy it looks! 2. To finish off his hat, take the red felt ball that will become his pompom. Before we stick it onto the green felt hat, we want to make a thread loop from it so that our little gnome can hang on the tree. With your needle and thread, pass the thread up through the center of the red ball and again down through the center, knotting it where the two loose ends of thread meet and leaving a hanging loop at the top. Add a bit of glue to the bottom end of the red pompom, and stick it onto his green hat. 3. Add a bit of glue to the inside of his green felt hat and stick it onto the larger 1-inch white felt ball that is his head. Winter 2012 路 MHC 路 15

4. Use your glue to stick the head onto the base of the pine cone. Your gnome has a body! 5. Now he needs a scarf. Cut a narrow length (about 5 inches long) in the shape of a scarf from the scraps of the green wool felt left over from his hat, and drape it cozily around his neck. Dab a little glue in the spot where the two ends of the scarf cross over at the front of your gnome. 6. We glued the tiny button right in the middle of the scarf. Then we glued the two small white felt balls on the sides of the pine cone for his hands and there he is...the cutest little Austrian pine cone gnome for your Christmas tree. He is sure to delight! 16 路 MHC 路 Winter 2012

If you have enjoyed this craft, please join me on my website The Magic Onions for a lot more crafting with children and nature. And, if you want to make this pine cone gnome but know you'll never get around to finding the materials you'll need to make him, please have a look at The Magic Craft Box. This is a new concept in seasonal crafting with children – at the beginning of each new season, subscribers will receive a beautiful package, filled with Donni Webber is mom to two all the materials you and your children will need to sunbursts of joy, wife, crafter, make four magical creations relating to that season. knitter, gardener, explorer and traveler. Join her on her The Winter 2012 Magic Craft Box is available now and Waldorf inspired website, The includes everything you'll need to make our gorgeous Magic Onions, where the pine cone gnome and 3 other even-more-wonderful wonder of childhood and the magic of nature collide to make crafts. each moment a precious gift.

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clockwise from top left: baked food tags by 33 paper lane, personalized holiday hang tags by the paper kingdom, christmas gift bags by favors 4 fun, vintage style cookie tags by little paper farmhouse, cookies for santa printable bag design by print your party

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by Bonnie Thomas and Drea Carbone

re you finding that each year it becomes harder to do your holiday baking due to everyone’s dietary needs and allergies? Whether you’re looking for gluten and dairy free, tree nut free, or dye free, we have some delicious Christmas cookie recipes for you to try!

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by Bonnie Thomas


hen I was a little girl we had a family tradition around Christmas cookies. A dear friend of my grandparents was famous for her holiday baking, and each Christmas she would send a plate or box of her cookies to all her friends and family. They were notoriously known as “Townsend’s Cookies.” They were the highlight of each Christmas— a large plate with an assortment of cookies 20 · MHC · Winter 2012

that was the envy of every baker. There were several types of icebox cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, cookies with swirls and cookies decorated with simple but elegant candies and nuts. Her cookies spanned a palate that was remarkable—everything from spicy to sweet to exotic. And I loved them all. One of my favorites was her Chocolate Almond Slice and Bake cookies. The combination of dark

chocolate and almond extract, with just enough salt, was deliciously decadent. This is a gluten and dairy free remake of her recipe—if you are not a person who is allergic to butter or gluten, then you can simply replace butter for the soy margarine, replace the rice flour with an equal amount of regular flour, and omit the xanthan gum.

Ingredients:         

¾ cup + 3 Tbsp soy margarine 1 cup sugar 1 egg 1 ½ tsp almond extract 9 Tbsp cocoa powder 1 ¾ cup rice flour 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt ½ tsp xanthan gum

Directions: 1. Cream together ¾ cup of the soy margarine, sugar, egg, and almond extract till smooth and set aside. 2. Melt the remaining 3 Tbsp of the soy margarine and mix with the cocoa powder. Add to the first mixture, creaming the ingredients together until smooth.

3. Blend in the remaining ingredients. 4. From here you can choose how you want to roll your cookie dough. In general, you form the dough into a log shape that is about 1½ inches across in diameter. It is easiest to plan on making 2 rolls (split the dough in half and make a roll out of each half). 5. Wrap the rolls in wax paper. If you want to add coconut or chopped nuts to the outside of the roll, lightly sprinkle them on the wax paper prior to wrapping. You can roll your dough over the coconut or nuts to make a layer of it on the outside of your logs. You can smooth out the shape of the roll once you have it wrapped—roll it a couple times like you would a rolling pin to even out any lumps or unevenness. Chill the dough for 2 hours. 6. Remove the rolls from the wax paper. Slice the dough to about ¼ inch thick and place on parchment paper lined or non-stick cookie sheets. 7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool fully before handling. Makes about 72 cookies. Winter 2012 · MHC · 21


y great-grandmother Pasqualina made these cookies for as long as anyone could remember. She passed the recipe to her daughters, including my grandmother, Josie, who passed it to her daughters, who passed it along to my sister and me! Now my sister makes them with her two young sons, and I make them with the kids I nanny. Pasqualina would roll her cookie dough into long, thin snakes which she would twist up, coat with an egg wash, sprinkle with sugar or nonpareils, and bake. The cookies are light and delicate and look pretty. It was Josie who started rolling out the dough and cutting it into shapes, which makes it more fun for kids. I remember icing these with a simple glaze made from confectioner's sugar, a little milk, and food coloring. We’d spread our thin icing on, sprinkle with colored sugar sprinkles, and let them dry. We would make

by Drea Carbone of Bunny Beads Christmas stockings and personalize with kids’ initials or names, or make trees that can be decorated with small candy “ornaments.” Add a red-hot to a reindeer’s nose to make Rudolph! Or be totally weird and use random cookie cutters and decorate in Christmas colors (think red and g re e n Ea s te r bunnies or Thanksgiving turkeys), and just have fun! You can either ice these after baking and cooling or use the egg wash before baking. For the egg wash, mix 1 tsp water with one egg and beat well, then brush a thin layer onto the cookies. Sprinkle with sugar (plain or colored sprinkles or brown sugar) or with nonpareils. To make Pasqualina's twists simply roll dough into long snakes about ten inches long and half an inch thick, fold in half and twist! Bake as directed on the following page. Winter 2012 · MHC · 23

Ingredients:       

1 stick butter ½ cup sugar 3 eggs 1 Tbsp vanilla 3 cups flour ½ tsp salt 3 tsp baking powder

Directions: 1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla. 2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture about a cup at a time. 3. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface, cut into desired shapes, and place on an ungreased (or parchment paper lined) cookie sheet. 4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. 5. Cool and frost! See article for decorating ideas. Makes about 3 dozen, depending on how big your cookies are.

And now a couple haiku from me, before I pass you back to Bonnie… From Pasqualina To Jo, to Donna, Linda Cal and you!

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Baking is so fun Decorating is better But eating is best!


t our house we have a child who is sensitive to artificial food dyes – all of them. Over the years we have grown accustomed to inspecting food labels and informing teachers and friends about what our child can and cannot eat. Special occasions have become the most challenging to address since many treats and holiday foods are

by Bonnie Thomas laden with brightly colored, artificially dyed foods. Over time, however, we have culminated a list of ways to make our own treats and holiday foods without artificial dyes. Many of these ideas work well for gingerbread house decorating, too, in case you are tackling that project this holiday season as well.

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Ingredients: 

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter

2 tsp. almond extract

2 eggs

3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking soda

Directions: 1. Cream together the sugar, butter, almond extract, and eggs until smooth. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Cover and chill for 2 hours. 2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 3. Generously coat a smooth surface with flour and roll out the dough – thicker cookies will be soft and puffy; if you want thinner crunchier cookies then roll the dough out thin. Cut out shapes as desired. Place on non stick cookie sheet or use parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes till cookies start to brown. Allow to cool before decorating.

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Icing for the cookies: 

2 cups confectioner sugar

2 Tbsp milk

1 Tbsp butter

1 tsp almond extract

Combine all ingredients and beat until creamy. If icing is too thick, add a little more milk; if icing is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.

Dye Free Decoration Ideas: 1. Organic naturally dyed candies including crushed candy canes, gummies, and hard candies can be found at your local health food stores or online. At you can search through categories of candies based on allergen/ dietary needs.

outlining a shaped cookie). You can also melt chocolate chips and use a piping instrument to pipe in melted chocolate like I did with the gingerbread men shaped cookies. I also used melted chocolate to fill in some hats

2. has specialty colorants and cookie/cake decorations that are dye free. Check out the “Nature’s Colors” section of their shop. 3. Shredded coconut is a wonderful decoration which works well with snow themed cookies. I add coconut to my snowflake and snowman/snow-woman shaped cookies – spread a thin layer of icing on the cookie, then sprinkle with coconut. They are beautiful and delicious! 4. Chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, and melted chocolate chips all work well with cookie decorating. The regular and mini chips can be used for eyes, noses, buttons, ornaments, and creating designs (i.e. Winter 2012 · MHC · 27

for the snowmen. I love the contrast that these cookies provide in a selection of cookies. The cookies decorated with melted chocolate stand out from the others and enhance the variety of cookies. 5. You do not need to add icing to all of your cookies. One method I have used is to use a toothpick to create dotted lines of designs in

the cookie before they bake. You can also add other patterns using cleaned/dried vintage buttons (pressed into the cookie and then removed – it leaves the pattern of the button in the dough), cookie stamps, or pressing a fork down on the cookie and then repeating this in the other direction to create criss-cross patterns on top of cookies. 6. Create patterns in your cookies using chocolate cookie dough and vanilla cookie dough – look at tutorials online to see the variety of combinations from swirled Pinwheel cookies to checkerboard patterns. 7. Jam can be a gorgeous addition to your cookie decorating when used in sandwich style cookies. To make the sandwich style star cookies I use a square cookie cutter and make half of the squares with a small shape cut out of the middle. As long as the shape of the cookie cutter is smaller than the square it works beautifully! Hearts and stars are my favorite. If you want to make 10 of these cookies then you will need 10 plain squares and then another 10 squares that have a shape cut out of the middle. Sprinkle sugar over them and then bake as usual. Once cooled, spread

28 · MHC · Winter 2012

organic jam across the square cookie then lay the other cookie (the one with the shape cut out of the middle) over it. 8. Nuts and dried fruit can be used for cookie decoration as well. Slivered almonds and sliced almonds are beautiful on top of cookies and can also be used as tree trunks, hedgehog quills, shingles on a gingerbread house, and for decorating various parts of gingerbread people. Raisins, currants, dried cranberries and blueberries, chopped dates, and even goji berries can be used as ornaments on tree shaped cookies, facial features and buttons on gingerbread people, and for reindeer noses. Do not bake the goji berries, however…I learned this the hard way (they burn quickly and lose their beautiful red color). Crushed nuts can be sprinkled on iced cookies for a simple but elegant decoration.


And lastly, a haiku about Christmas cookie baking By Bonnie Thomas:

I’ll have a cookie and then another cookie and then another.

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Drea Carbone is a Bonnie Thomas is the nanny in the author of two books Washington, DC focusing on creative self area. She loves to expression with children create art in all and teens: “Creative forms, not just with Coping Skills for Children: food! She has two Drea & Bonnie E m o t i o n a l Support shops on Etsy: BunnyBeads, Through Arts and Crafts featuring her handmade Activities” and “Creative jewelry, and BunnyBaubles. Expression Activities for Teens: featuring her handmade hair Exploring Identity Through Art, accessories. Drea lives in Craft and Journaling”. She is also Virginia with her dog, Jack, a mom, a child and family and fish, Rutherford. counselor, an artist and a writer.


z x




clockwise from top right: felt strawberries by kenna’s felt forest, crayon roll by kate williams designs, fairy tale doll patterns by gingermelon, jointed animal printable paper dolls by amanda may, wooden yo-yo by indie bambinos, recycled crayon necklaces by one craftivist


j clockwise from top right: nature memory game by fourth avenue, winter & holiday activities idea box by the idea box kids, custom name puzzle by quarry designs, plush elephant toy by coffee county crochet, gluten free therapeutic fun dough by peachy and keen, superhero mask and cuff set by baby dear


clockwise from top right: roll up c kids, patchwork pillow ball by dar dolls, wooden car set by bannor t paper doll by sandy ford design

car play mat by handmade therapy rci beth, linen mouse doll by leilalou toys, printable personalized color-in


clockwise from top right: sock e jungle wooden blocks by stack b blanket, lil boo’s bakery in-a-box balls by jack’s beanstalk

elephant by gus and ollie, modern blocks, eco-friendly doll by babe in a x by mama may i, felted alphabet




clockwise from top right: waldorf rock table tent by studio big, puppet theate castle set by maggie boogie, needle fel


ker board by open ended creations, er by coffey creations, felt play lted animal set by asher jasper

Do you love Pinterest? We sure do! We’ve been having a great time pinning all kinds of handmade goodness and crafty fun to our boards. Come check follow us on them out and join us at!

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interview by Taci Zahl of Pish Posh Style

Rachel Kovac, Mom to 4 lil dears and writer of the blog Stitched Together, joins us to talk sewing, being a mommy and a subject near and dear to her heart: adoption.

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Taci: Hi Rachel, thank you for agreeing to an interview, we are so pleased! Can you start by telling us about yourself, your family, your work, etc? Rachel: Thanks for having me! I'm the mom of four kids: Jude (7), Indigo (5), Evangeline (3) and Iris (1). Evangeline came to us through adoption from Ethiopia. I'm

passionate about supporting women as they become mothers, and I'm crazy about babies. Becoming a doula and lactation counselor was a natural outflow of these passions. Prior to Iris' birth, I worked as a postpartum doula and lactation counselor at a transitional home for homeless pregnant women and mothers of young infants. Now my work is at home. As much as I can, I try to make it an art form. I love working with my hands, and I thrive on the energy that comes from creating: sewing, cooking, baking, or doing art with my kids. I also enjoy working with herbs and making natural remedies. It's fun, easy and empowering. In so many ways, my children have been my spiritual gurus. They keep me present. I l ov e h ow th ey experience the world with a sense of wonderment. They find magic in the ordinary. It inspires me. They've also stretched me in lots of ways, too, which hasn't always been easy, but I'm better because of it.

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Taci: Tell us about your blog, Stitched Together. How long have you been blogging, and what types of posts we can find there? Rachel: I started my blog in 2008 as an adoption blog. Meanwhile, I discovered my passion for sewing. I also found the sewing/ craft blog world, which is such an incredible resource. We came home with Evie in early 2010. After spending time in Ethiopia, my husband and I felt moved to support causes which help keep birth families together. We also learned that 99% of the world's orphan population will never be eligible for

adoption. These are complex issues and the conversations surrounding them were ones we wanted to have with others face-to-face, not over the Internet. So I've really backed away from blogging about adoption/orphan issues now. In 2011, I changed my blog name to Stitched Together, which acknowledges our adoption but my blog is now mostly a craft blog. I post my current projects, and I write tutorials. In a series called "Around Here" I link up to our favorite recipes, crafts, books, and music. From time to time, I also reflect on life with our kids. Winter 2012 路 MHC 路 45

Taci: Your blog frequently describes your on-going journey with your adopted daughter, Evangeline. Please fill in the blank: I had no idea adoption would be so__. Rachel: Complicated. Adoption always starts with loss. International adoption involves loss of first family, culture and ethnic identity, to name a few. Adopted children often come to us hurting, and healing takes time. But, of course, there is so much beauty, too. We feel incredibly blessed to have Evangeline in our family. I think of 46 路 MHC 路 Winter 2012

Evie's first mom often, and I wish she knew how loved and cherished her daughter, our daughter, is. I pray she feels that deep down. We're honored to now be an EthiopianAmerican family. We love Ethiopian culture, and the Ethiopian people have been exceedingly kind to us. I have also met the most amazing families in the adoption community. They've taught me so much. I'm really grateful for it all. Taci: Would you describe a typical day in your household? You certainly seem to do it all so well!

Rachel: Our days have a rhythm to them, but we don’t operate on much of a schedule. We’ve created structure around the things that are important to us. The kids don’t do any screen time during the week, but on Fridays we have Family Movie Night. We eat dinner together as a family every night. It often feels like quite an event, and it’s one of my favorite times of the day. We read books together before the kids’ bedtime. The rest of our day is largely unstructured. One of the many lessons my children have taught me is the importance of flexibility. When I first became a mom, I had ideas about how much I w a nte d to accomplish in a given day. Then, when my son only napped for 30 minutes, I felt frustrated and disappointed. Now I've learned to have very few expectations, but to use my time wisely. If Iris is having a high need day, I might nurse her while reading to Evangeline. Or maybe I’ll wear her in a sling while preparing

dinner. If she’s playing happily or napping, I might set Evie up with some paints while I work on one of my projects. The truth is my sewing time has been extremely limited since having our fourth baby. She's a baby who knows what she wants. She's our only baby to have never slept in a crib and she doesn't give me much downtime, that is for sure. I always try to remind myself, I have my entire life to sew/blog/create but my time with my baby in arms is short. That’s been my mantra. Taci: How did you learn to sew? What was your first sewing project?

Winter 2012 · MHC · 47

Rachel: My mom has six sisters and most of them did stitching in one form or another, so, in part, I learned through osmosis. But when I was in 7th grade, I babysat my cousins in return for sewing lessons from my aunt. I sewed a jumper for myself. While it may not have won any fashion awards, I sure was proud of it. In high school, I made a Marvin the Martian bag in Home Ec., but otherwise took a long hiatus from sewing until Jude was born in 2005. After I got my first non-malfunctioning sewing machine (a Brother), my interest in sewing really took off. Taci: Before you leave us can you share a few of your favorite blogs? Rachel: Boy, there are so many fantastic sewing blogs. My favorites right now are No Big Dill, Probably Actually, and How About Orange. 48 路 MHC 路 Winter 2012

collection by Shannon Hanley of The Clever Kitty


we possess becomes of double value when we have the opportunity of sharing it with others.” - Jean-Nicolas Bouilly

Hedgie and Mama print by Debra St. Germain - Jasper

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“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be s h o r te n e d . H ap p i n e s s n e v e r decreases by being shared.” - Buddha

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Elephant, Birds and Balloons print by Eva - V T Designs

Share Fun nursery art print by Dorota 呕ebrowska - Emu

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“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.” - Brian Tracy

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Possie Blossom art print by Poss and Wom

What I Love Most print by Maya - Design by Maya

Winter 2012 路 MHC 路 53

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When it’s too cold to go outside, bring the season indoors with a little cozy handmade winter decor! clockwise from top left: felt craspedia flowers by fairy folk, needle felted trees by felted rainbow, snowflake garland by heidi bg, upcycled vintage chenille pillow cover by more chenille chateau, needle felted fairy Christmas tree topper by made 4 u by magic, framed chalkboard sign by lily and val Winter 2012 · MHC · 55

All A

58 路 MHC 路 Winter 56 Autumn2012 2012

About Color! by Michelle Vackar of Hi Mamma


ne spring afternoon my oldest daughter asked me, “Over the summer, you know what I would like to do?” I anticipated it was something related to a summer trip that she would like to take, just by the way she phrased her question to me, but instead she said, “I would like to do an art project every day this summer.” At first I thought to myself, how can we do that? But after brainstorming on ideas, I realized that there is just so much you can do and learn if you just take the time. Just take it stepby-step, and the ideas will surface. As we progressed through the summer it turned out to be an awesome experience for our entire family. She grew in her ability to draw, the steadiness of her hand in using paintbrushes increased, we experimented with different mediums, and we delved into a little art history as well.

To begin our experimenting, we created a color wheel. The color wheel is a great tool for you to share with your children to demonstrate all of the different colors that can be created with just the three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue). You begin to open an endless world of coloring mixing. Our color wheel chart is available for free on the Downloads page of the MHC website. Download and print your own blank color wheel to use and learn all about color mixing with us. You can create the colors using any medium that you would like. We chose colored pencils, as I thought the kids might have a little bit more control in the color mixing and learning about the color wheel. Winter 2012 · MHC · 57

Primary and Secondary Colors The three primary colors (red, yellow, blue) are located in the center of the wheel. These three colors cannot be mixed from other colors. Color in each area with the labeled primary color. After you have completed the primary colors let’s move to the secondary colors. Secondary colors are orange, green, and violet (purple). These three colors are made by mixing two primary colors together. On the color wheel, if you mix red and yellow (which are primary colors) you then create orange. Same with red/ blue which creates purple, and blue/yellow which creates green.

top: color wheel quote print by noelle o’reilly bottom: wooden color wheel puzzle by puzzled one 58 · MHC · Winter 2012

Tertiary Colors On the outer circle of the color wheel are the tertiary colors. What is unique about these colors is that they come from mixing a primary color with a secondary color directly adjacent to it on the color wheel. So for example, when looking at the color wheel, you see the primary color red with an adjacent secondary color of purple. To create the tertiary color red-purple, you will start by coloring red first and then purple. For purple-red, you will color purple first then red on top of the purple. When all the outer segments are colored in, you will see how the color wheel has developed into further colors as you go around the circle.

C o l o r W h e e l G l a s s

by Michelle Vackar of Hi Mamma

B o w l

This is a great project to show how different colors of tissue paper, when overlapped, can create another color. Plus you’ll end up with a nice handmade item for your home. For our container we used a glass ice cream bowl. We have it on our kitchen table with a tea light inside of the bowl so that when it lights up, the colors really shine through. The girls have really enjoyed seeing how the colors blend to form other colors. Supplies: 

An empty glass container – it can be from a jar of jam, a drinking glass that you will not drink from, a glass bowl, or anything that will allow color to come through it

Small squares of colored tissue paper, roughly 1-inch X 1-inch

Mod Podge

Paintbrush (to spread the Mod Podge)

Wax paper or anything that will protect your table

Directions: Using your paintbrush, coat the outside of your glass container with Mod Podge. We started out doing small sections of the glass at a time to cut down in the stickiness of the glue for the kids. Spread the Mod Podge evenly on your glass, then place tissue paper squares onto the Mod Podge covered glass. Gently spread out the tissue paper so that all corners are secure. Continue all around the container overlapping the tissue paper as you go. We did not Mod Podge the inside or bottom of the bowl. When you have completely covered the container, check for any gaps between the tissue paper and cover them up with more tissue paper. This will also provide an additional overlapping look that will enhance the observance of color mixing. Once everything has been sealed, apply a layer of Mod Podge on top of the tissue paper. Be sure to smooth out the Mod Podge as you apply it with your paintbrush. This extra layer seals and protects the tissue paper. Once sealed, allow the project to dry. The color wheel glass bowl makes a great centerpiece for the table, a bowl to place money and knick knacks in, paperclips, mints, A native Indiana nuts, etc. Just keep Hoosier, Michelle in mind that the Mod Vackar lives with Podge does not her husband and make the project two daughters. Michelle loves to waterproof, so be create handmade projects for the careful that you do not get the outside home and with her daughters, where their goal is to do art of the bowl wet or projects every day. Michelle’s the Mod Podge and creations can be found at tissue paper could and at her blog at get soggy or peel. Winter 2012 · MHC · 61

62 路 MHC 路 Winter 2012

clockwise from top left: paper crane mobile by spare bedroom studio, vintage recycled art print by mirabilia art prints, upcycled cat in the hat book paper lampshade by frootkake, upcycled vintage book journal by gabblehatch, leather book necklace by nicopapergoods

by Tanja D’lyn of Inspiring Design Studio


he New Year brings on a fresh new perspective to revamping one’s life. It is a time of reflections, a time of change – conjuring up ideas of organization, New Year’s resolutions and dreams of a new beginning! One of my favorite times of the year is when the snow hits the ground, the trees are winter white, and the air is crisp cold. It is almost as if it gives me permission to be a kid again. Playing in the snow is a tradition in our family. And we love the first snowy day! The scent of hot cocoa, warm soup and corn bread muffins will linger in the house. Sounds of the first footsteps in the house and the roar of the laughter of the kids rushing in the house, “mom, we are home”, followed by “what smells so good?” This fun winter tradition brings a flood of wonderful memories of the children and the simple things in life. Once the kids have settled down, I find myself reflecting on the year past and the road ahead! It is this quiet time of winter that brings the most wonderful ideas for the New Year ahead.

This year I have thought of some wonderful ways to help families with important ideas of green living. These positive steps will help with saving energy, planning, new goals and family activities that make a difference. And to kick start it off, I have a fun sewing craft project that will inspire you to plan your New Year with inspiration! Here are some of our family’s New Year’s resolutions that lead to living a better quality of life with fresh living green perspective. 1. Giving the gift of time together: One thing we do as a family is set up time for each other, friends and charity in our community. We look at the year ahead and find areas to strengthen our relationships with others. 

Family: We plan time as a family once or twice a week by making homemade meals, talking, playing games or watching a show together. Winter 2012 · MHC · 63

Friends: Once a month we plan time with another family or friends that we can all enjoy by gathering together at one of our homes for a potluck, book club, or game night. Community: We take a look at giving back our time to our community throughout the year. We help raise money for great causes and give back our resources and time through fun runs, helping in soup kitchens, donating clothing & food to shelters, and visiting help centers. These simple acts of kindness are a wonderful way to help others and to live a holistic lifestyle.

2. Planning our family goals together: Talking about how we spend our money and save for items we want to purchase and things we want to do this year is important. It might be family reunions, vacations, things we would love to have (new car, new cell phone, new bikes) or camps and activities that each of us would like to do in the coming year. 3. Keeping fit and healthy together: Finding time for exercise is important for the whole family. The beginning of the New Year is the perfect time to check in to see how the family is doing with being healthy and with keeping exercise goals. We look at sports, gym memberships, and outdoor activities that worked for us over the past year, and we add new ideas to our game plan. A healthy family is a happy family! 64 · MHC · Winter 2012

Living Green Ideas for the New Year: 1. Be more organized and plan ahead. Take all of the family ideas and set up a game plan. Whether it is starting a compost bin, growing your own vegetables, buying more organic items, or bringing reusable bags to the store, you will be more successful with a weekly, monthly and quarterly plan! 2. Think about it before you purchase it. Ask yourself key questions about each purchase, such as: How will I dispose of this and the packaging? Does it need batteries, and could I find a similar one that does not take batteries? How will this item impact the planet? Will the materials have a negative affect on the planet? 3. Look at the ways you are wasting energy. Can you turn off more lights? Start by replacing lights with compact florescent light bulbs (CFL’s). If you have a fireplace, use it once a month or more. And once a week, turn all lights off and use candlelight in your home in the evening. We have candles in most of our rooms – this one idea has saved us money on our energy bill, and the kids think it’s fun! 4. Be proactive with greening your home. Take some simple steps to keep your house up to date with the latest green technology. Insulate your hot water pipes, buy an energy efficient heater, and install a programmable thermostat.


hen we moved into our home 8 years ago, the previous owners had placed manuals of different appliances and past statements of home maintenance in a binder. Because of this binder, we knew the cost of the appliance or repair, when it was purchased/done, and from/by whom. We have made reference to it many times, and we have also updated it when we have made purchases or repairs for our home, making it an integral part of our home management system. Since this has been such a wonderful tool for our family, I thought that other families would also benefit from having their own

by Michelle Vackar of Hi Mamma home management binders. So, I have created several sheets to get you started – stop by the MHC Downloads page to download the free pdf files. I have also provided two designs for the front cover and spine of your home management binder. To make it fit with your style and décor, try printing the cover on top of scrapbook paper of your choice. Over the course of the next few weeks we will be adding more files that will hopefully be a part of your organizational tools to help you and your family. If you have a type of file that you think would be helpful to you, we would love to hear from you.

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