macaroni necklaces


Mouse turns three in ten days, so this Sunday we are having a brunchy celebration with a few of her little friends. As requested, there will be chocolate cupcakes with "brown frosting and rainbow sprinkles," which, according to Mouse, should be referred to as "fairy cakes" from this point forward. Mouse could string and string and string and string things for hours, which is what made me think of having the children make colorful macaroni necklaces. Plus, there aren't enough accessories in the world to please my wee one - sunglasses, umbrellas, sunscreen, headbands, scarves, mittens, more mittens. She likes to pile it all on, and we tend to celebrate her "way with textures and colors."

A little tutorial.

You will need:
macaroni in interesting shapes
food dye
rubbing alcohol
bowls
paper towels
baking sheets
plastic bags (optional)
yarn
beads
tape

How to dye the pasta:

1. In a bowl, mix a 1/2 cup (approximately) of rubbing alcohol with some food dye. Stir.
2. Dump a bunch of macaroni into the bowl. stir until fully coated. If you want to make the process a bit easier, use a plastic bag instead of the bowl and shake and mush with your hands. It will help distribute the dye.
3. Cover the baking sheets with one layer of paper towel. Use a spoon to lay the dyed pasta onto the baking sheet. Let dry overnight.

Confession: We ran out of rubbing alcohol, so I used vodka (the cheapest I had) for my last batch. The macaroni seemed a bit more damp than the others, but it ended up creating fine results. It was a great stand in, but I wouldn't use it instead of the rubbing alcohol.

In preparation for the party, I made 20 ready-for-little-three-year-old-hands strings.

1. Cut the yarn into 18" pieces (approximate).
2. Tie a bead onto the end as an anchor. This way the macaroni won't slip off the end.

I kind of fell in love with my beaded strings. More on that to come in another post.

3. Tape the ends of the strings, which will make it easier for little hands to thread the yarn through the macaroni beads.
4. Present the prepared string and bowls of colorful macaroni to a bunch of children and watch them create.
5. Make your own.


Here I am wearing my new necklace.


I will will post pictures of the children's necklace creations here next week.

xo e





the happy garland


In the midst of doing all that I do, I've been practicing being mindful and present in whatever moment I find myself in. This practice isn't so much about apple juice spills on the floor being viewed as splendid play as it is about focusing on all that I have rather than on all that might be. Think: less what-ifs and more look-at-what-I-have-right-nows. This is where the happy banner comes in handy. With its simple images of woodland creatures and a cheery home, the garland serves as a clean slate, a reminder not to get too deep in it. When I feel the what-ifs coming on, I've taken to looking at this string of cheer, and it makes me smile.


And so, I whipped up a whole bunch of them because the more cheer the better, right? I used soft Kona cotton (in turquoise and tomato red too) for the base, earthy muslin for the flags, and my little block prints with black ink on the flags.

What else? Miss Mouse has taken to saying "whoopsie daisy" when she drops something and Chick is writing sentences where she spells the number six like this: seks. They kill me.

I am thankful for all that I have.

xo e

wee birdie shirts


My today consisted of playing with Mouse and sewing shirts for the craft fair season, which, for me, begins next weekend. I'll be selling my wares at The Hartsbrook Fair on *11.20 and at The Crafty Rumpus on 12.4. Hoorah!


In the next week or so, I'll be stocking my shop with some of these new t-shirt designs, and I'll be sure to let you know here when I do.

A little off topic, but does anyone else feel tense when huge groups of geese are flying overhead in the wrong direction? I saw a bunch flying north this morning, and I had an incredible desire to redirect them traffic cop style. Then I relaxed, and enjoyed watching their sleek hourglass shapes gliding through the sky.

Happy weekend.
xox e

* I originally wrote the wrong date. The Hartsbrook Fair is this Saturday (11.20). Thanks, dear Katie.

a tiny pumpkin



I baked a pumpkin pie for my family this weekend, and here is what I have to report:

1. The crust was flaky, light, crisp, and rich. Perfect.
2. The pumpkin filling didn't set, so it was, literally, a flop. We decided it was a sort of fall pudding in a crust dessert, so we piled some fresh whipped cream on top, and ate it all up.

And, 3. I carved a cute little pumpkin out of some of the remaining pie crust and decorated the center of the pie with it. It made the pie a bit more fall fancy. For those of you interested in making your own mini pumpkin decoration for your pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, the tip is to use a knife to cut out the pumpkin and stem shapes. Then, use the knife to "draw" little curved, vertical pumpkin creases. Plop it on top of the pie, and bake it the same way you normally would.

I spent this morning searching for my old pumpkin pie recipe, which always came out of the oven firm with a nice balance of sweet and spice, and I have plans to bake a redemptive pumpkin pie this weekend.

It is a rainy and blustery morning in Massachusetts, and I am left feeling like the time between summer sandbox play and pumpkin pie season was a blurry, quick flash. At some early morning hour this weekend, I peeked outside and watched the children running outside while Tom raked the leaves. They were bundled up with red cheeks and noses, running in that quick, trying-to-get-warm kind of way. And, while, part of me is not quite ready for the early fall warm days/cool nights to be over, I am reminded of how comforting it is to feel like this moment, whatever the moment, is the right moment.

xo e

mouse in the house


Recently, I've had customers ask me to list some Story Stones in my shop. So, there I was, a few hours ago, at my desk, quietly updating my shop when I felt something tug at the tip of my sock. Thinking it was my cat, I kept typing. But then I felt little, unfamiliar feet scurry across the top of my foot and I knew it was a stranger. I jerked my foot away, looked down, and a little mouse zoomed under the heating vent.

And, guess which two stones I was listing at that exact moment? Yuppers. The little mouse n' cheese set. Our little mouse in the house wanted to vote for the stones she loves best.

And, where was Sophia the cat you ask? Asleep. Like she always is. Except she isn't asleep in the above picture because I woke her up to tell her that there is a mouse in the house. She's now curled up in a tight cat ball again.

Story Stone update in the shop here. This time around, I'm offering them in tiny sets packaged in tiny muslin sacks.

Happy weekend.

xo e

p.s. Tom just brought the teeny tiny mouse to her new home in the conservation land at the end of the road.

truckin'

I'm really excited to be participating in two wonderful local craft fairs in late fall - The Hartsbrook Winter Fair and The Greenfield Center School Rumpus. And, I'm super excited to release my new line of kids tees, which feature 100% natural muslin, hand carved print designs, and bright colored thread. I'll be sharing more of these new designs in the coming weeks.

Oh, and this truck is my newest hand carved print design. My friend Stephanie requested that I carve a truck stamp, and so I did because I am very easily persuaded. And, I really liked the idea of adding a big old truck to my line-up.

I'm still going to sell the popular appliqued shirts (birds, carrots, trees, etc.), but these will be in the mix as well.

xo e

mer-sisters

Who knew that JoAnn's Fabric sells mermaid skin fabric? I sure didn't. I went in looking for some sort of green iridescent fabric for cutting individual scales, and came out with fabric that has all of the individual scales painted on. It even feels kind of wet and rubbery just like real mermaid tails probably feel like. Tom and I spent some time figuring out the dimensions and the shape of the fin, and then I made a template for each kid. I traced the template onto felt and then onto the faux mermaid fin skin. After sewing the right sides together, and turning it inside out, I sewed a wide grosgrain ribbon across the top (for tying on, apron style). These have already become an integral part of their dress-up bin.

And, here are some jack-o-lanterns from over the weekend. I hope your Halloween was mostly fun and just a little bit spooky.

Happy November.

xo e