Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

There is something so incredibly peaceful about baking gingerbread at the crack of dawn. I don't mean those brown sugary cookies with a slight hint of ginger that you can buy at the store, but real soft and savory gingerbread.

There is something so incredibly joyous about the sound of the neighborhood children decorating said cookies. Such clever little fingers. Such happy little smiles. They made so many fun characters on these blank cookie canvases.

I hope this will become a new tradition for us. It hasn't felt quite like Christmas up until now; and it was nice to put aside everything to just have a bit of fun. Have a blessed and bright Christmas.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tribute to Wooden Toys

There is something extra special about wooden toys. There is a softness, beauty, warmth, feel, and connection with nature to them. Bear and I have been filling our home with these beautiful treasures for the neighborhood children and hopefully our future child. Children seem natural drawn to them as they help promote imaginative play.We thought it would be nice to share some of our favorites with you. This is part of our kitchen. We found it on Craigslist but I have seen some similar to it on sale on Amazon. This is by far my nieces favorite toy when she visits. There are three other little girls in the neighborhood who are especially drawn to it. This is our vintage farm. The wood has a deep golden color that can only come with age and love. Bear and I are working to put wooden animals similar to this into Apple Crate Toys soon. These toy boats can be described only as 'The Worlds Greatest Bathboats' and that they are. They are so bright and cheery. The boat with the fish believe it or not is from 1985 and yet it still looks like new. I attached a link to the photo. Click on it and it will take you to their store. They even do custom name orders. A nice thought with Christmas on the way. These little boats will last a life time and then some. Bear and I will only be getting one more boat for this collection. It will be a custom order when our wee one arrives.This adorable house was purchased off of Craigslist. I added some furniture to it, but there were several pieces already in it. It came from a wonderful mother and daughter who are planning to move to another country and could not take it with. It is the newest toy in our collection and has been used and loved the most so far. I would have loved a house like this as a child. The woman we purchased it from said she bought it in Spain, but it bears a striking resemblance to Melissa and Doug doll houses if you are interested in finding one for your wee one. I first saw this little family on Waldorf Mama's blog. They were so beautiful but I could not find a justification to get them till Bear and his father surprised me this year for my birthday with the money to get them. The best part is watching children pick them up for the first time and seeing slow smiles of sheer delight spread across their faces. Bear and his father could have given me no greater gift. They are beautifully hand carved and painted by a company called Buntspechte. You can buy them at The Puppenstube.
Carved, sanded and painted with love. Wood toys will last a life time. They are a gift to pass down from generation to generation. Lets hope the tradition never ends. Have a blessed day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Carving Alternative

For a pumpkin carving alternative we decided to put our pumpkins into costumes this year. This way we can still use the pumpkins for cooking later. It's a small craft, but worth sharing.
I carved my first pumpkin when I was 26. No joke! Since meeting Bear, the annual pumpkin hunt has been a much favored activity.
So there had to be one casualty.. The rest will make it into the ovens ;)
Have a blessed Autumn wherever you may be and have fun.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fall Wreath

Just a quick post today. Bear and I have been so busy, but this weekend I made the time to make my annual fall wreath. I've had this wreath for a while and have been holding on to it just waiting for the right project. The mini corns I picked up at a garage sale for ten cents apiece and the mini pumpkins I needle felted and scented with cloves and cinnamon. There is such a yummy smell that wafts through the air as you open the door. I used a corn husk doll with a swaddled baby for the centerpiece. There are several corn husk dolls nestled around my home. I don't really remember where this one came from but I'm willing to bet it was a garage sale or a thrift store. Bear is rather fond of this year's wreath. It will stay up till the end of November and then it will be time for me to make a new Winter wreath. I wonder what I will do this year. I think I used a star shaped wreath with jingle bells last year. Take care and have a blessed week and Have Fun!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ehlers Danlos Ring Splint Review

As some of you know I have a condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome or EDS. EDS is a genetic mutation that effects the production of collagen and makes it easy for me to hyperextend and sublux all of my joints among other symptoms. For years I have been wanting Silver Ring Splints. They are incredible splints designed to hold your finger DIP and PIP joints in place preventing you from hyperextending and subluxing your finger joints. The problem is they can cost anywhere from $80. to $200. apiece thus rendering them out of even my hyperextended reach.
Recently I discovered Rebecca of EDS Jewelry Creations on Etsy. It is her goal to make functional rings splints at affordable prices. She was kind enough to send a large lot of her ring splints in various styles and metals for me to try out. Here is what I've found.. The rings that have oval or flat beads on the ends are comfortable but can catch and rub on things and other fingers. They are rather pretty and could see them for a night out, but for everyday use I would recommend a different style. The rings that have round beads on the ends are somewhat uncomfortable but not as much as I thought they would be. The lower ball is virtually undetectable but the upper one I found myself rubbing and catching on everything. The rings that have flat spirals on the ends are my favorites by far. They lay flat against the fingers and are the most comfortable for me. They do not rub on other fingers or catch on things, and they are also easily adjusted. It is easy to forget they are on. Out of all the metals (copper, brass, and stainless steel) stainless steel worked best for me. The copper is functional but slightly soft and the brass tended to bend out of shape (that could also be because of a smaller gauge). I have also ordered a sterling silver ring and am happily waiting for it's arrival. Rebecca is now offering rings with different sizes and in sterling silver. I would recommend finding what ring size fits for you before ordering.
After sewing and crafting with them for a few days I must say that these are incredible. If this is your first experience with ring splints you may only want to wear them for a short while at first as you get used to them. Though it is tempting to never take them off. These are an amazing alternative to the more expensive and harder to obtain silver ring splints. I would definitely recommend them to anyone with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Take care.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


What a rush this past weekend was. Stiftungsfest was so much fun. My dear friend SARN came with for the day. Here we are setting up bright and early. The vendors on either side of our stall were such a delight. One of them sold knit items for infants and the other stall sold beaded items and polar fleece shawls.After being inspired by Bending Birches I could not stop making these Story telling Puppets. The children at Stiftungsfest loved them. The parents were not so sure about these faceless dolls but one little girl stole my heart when she came in and said, "whoever made these has talent. They are beautiful". I bought this apple hat from the vendor next to my stall. She also had a pumpkin hat and I went back and forth all day as to which one I would buy for my future baby. The apple won out in the end.... But you probably saw that coming even without the picture ;)One vendor was selling these cheerful found object flowers. They were so happy and sunny. I wanted to get one.... or twenty... or forty..... But I was trying to be good and just snapped this picture instead.

Bear and I are already looking forward to next year. We took so many notes and are already dreaming up what we will be adding. Bear wants to make some wooden boats, play stands, and doll cradles. I will need more Happy Birthday Bunting banners and some sun block ;) Take care and have a blessed day. And thank you once again, everyone who helped make this all happen.

Friday, August 26, 2011

~Thank You~

It's here. Tomorrow Bear and I will be attending our first major craft show at Stiftungfest in Norwood Young America. This is the oldest celebration in Minnesota and we've worked hard. We've pushed hard. We've painted, sewn, dyed, folded, pounded, carved, bled, sweat, cried, laughed, danced, and sung ourselves to this place in time. It is a big step and I just wanted to say Thank You to everyone of you who has encouraged, prayed, sent positive energies, inspired, tutored, coaxed, prodded, pushed, and carried us to this place. You know who you are. Thank you. Your love and generosity has made this possible. You are always in our hearts. With love and gratitude. Appleshoe~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Knitting Thank You

I've always wanted to learn how to knit. I can carve or build anything out of wood, mold anything out of clay, draw, paint, photograph, cook, crochet (kind of), and sew.... But Knitting leaves me dumbfounded. Luckily I am blessed to have an amazingly beautiful and talented sister in law. Rina of Rahardjo-Knits. I swear that she could knit the dew drops on to spiderwebs. She makes the most amazing, delicate, and beautiful creations and truly would make a magnificent teacher.

Last weekend I asked her to show me how to knit. In the past I've only managed to make a small square that was only fit to be a shawl for a lumpy porcupine. Rina is an amazing teacher with more than a good dose of patience. I still have a ways to go but I'm off to a good start with her wonderful help.This little bunny is my first ever completed knitting project. I had so much fun that I think for Christmas I will make a family of them with a carrot shaped carry bag for my niece. Thank you so much Rina for teaching me this new skill.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Waldorf Star Lantern

When I first started making Waldorf Star lanterns I had a hard time with some of the steps. The instructions were hard to make out in pictures. I really needed someone to 'show' me how it was done. I was unable to find any videos on how to make them. After much frustration I figured it out and since then many people have asked me how to make them. Last night my wonderful husband Bear helped me put together this video tutorial. It's a little rough around the edges; this was our first time using this video editor. We hope that it is clear enough, you enjoy it, and that you Have Fun!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Light and Color on a Rainy day

This weekend Bear and I woke up to more rain. The sky was dark as night and the rain came down in torrents.To fight back the darkness Bear and I snuggled up and lit many lanterns. These are a few of my favorites. Our home was now full of light, but we needed color as well.

I introduced Bear to wet on wet watercolor painting. Bear forgot to wet his paper a few times, but I loved seeing how much fun he was having. The colors swirled as the rain came down and so we just kept painting.And painting.... And painting...Soon every table and counter top was full of our paintings; so we made Waldorf Star lanterns out of them. Each one was a work of art. We put a candle inside each one and then put them to work keeping the darkness at bay. Soon our house was shining, full of color, warmth, and light. I would imagine that this is what living inside a rainbow would look like.

Sometime this week I will be posting direction on how to fold a Waldorf Star Lantern. Till then take care and Have Fun!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Natural Waldorf Math Gnomes

I love Math Gnomes. The first set I made over a decade ago for my nephew. They were finger puppet math gnomes made of felt and wool roving. I looked high and low for a photo but could not find one of them. I have been wanting to try staining with natural dyes as an alternative to paint, but I found it to be a bit intimidating. A couple of days ago I read a post by BendingBirches; she dyed play silks with turmeric and I was encouraged to take this first step. Please stop by her blog. She has such a sweet and gentle spirit that shows in her writing and in the beauty and warmth of her photos. Her blog is both peaceful and inspiring.
Staining the wood with Turmeric
Out of the Vat and Drying. I am so pleased with the colors.
Here are my old painted gnomes and my new stained gnomes; finished with natural non toxic oils. Their symbols have been burned on with a wood burner. Bear and I are pleased beyond belief with them and can't wait to make more. Using natural and non toxic stains as an alternative to paint can be rewarding. If you want to start small, try dyeing eggs, but most importantly Have fun!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Felt Crowns

Crowns, crowns, crowns and more crowns. I've been fast at work spinning these out. 26 crowns made and I sure hope to make my goal of 60 before the end of August. Wish me luck. I love felt crowns. They are perfect for children. They are playful, soft, colorful, and open wide the doors to imagination. I've given several crowns away and have joyfully witnessed a multitude of different characters surface. There are of course the princes and princesses and birthday girl/boy persona's that emerge when crowned. Then there are the wizards, fairies, mad hatters, gas station attendants, magicians, pirate king/queens, and superheros that I've also watched emerge. My newest favorite happened this past Saturday when I gifted my niece with a new crown and she promptly tried crowning a very old and very tolerant cat. I would love to get a hold of some play silks to have on hand. They make wonderful tools for the imagination and would pair well with these crowns. Does anyone know a place online where I can get a good deal on un-dyed play silks? I've seen wee ones running around using them for butterfly wings, capes, doll blankets, forts; not to mention using them for seasonal scaping on the nature table. Take care everyone and have fun!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I've been fascinated with pointillism ever since my sister brought home a pointillism clown face drawing she made in elementary school. She carefully explained that if I looked closely the entire picture was made up of itty bitty dots and not "drawn" in the traditional sense (at that age I think 'Traditional' meant bright orange color crayons). This past weekend I worked on this portrait for a little girl we sponsor. I hope she likes it. I've done portraits as far back as I can remember but have only recently been branching out to do portraits in pointillism. I like the feel of it, but am still a bit shaky. One of the drawbacks of using Ink was that I could not erase when I went to far up her cheek so she looks a little like she has the mumps, but I hope she will like it anyway. Her name is Kalkidan and she is the second child we have had the honor and joy to sponsor. We sponsor her through World Vision. SO, it's a bit rough around the edges, but do you think she will like it? Take care and wherever you are Have Fun!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Recycled Crayons

Yesterday with the help of three fabulous helpers, we made recycled crayons. Fun new shapes can be easy on little hands and less fragile. I used flexible silicon ice cube trays to make the long crayons, and chocolate molds to make the zoo animal faces pictured.
First sort your colors out, like colors with like colors.
Next peel off all of the paper and chop them up using a knife. My helpers also smashed them in a plastic bag with a hammer. That worked very well. The smaller the pieces the faster the crayons will melt.
There are many ways to melt crayons. I use the double boiler method because the crayons are less likely to burn or ignite. Crayons melt between 128-147 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the chopped/smashed color crayon pieces in a soup can and put it on the stove (I put it on high) in a pan of water.
Stir the pieces as they melt (I used old chopsticks). You can see some bumps in the yellow where the crayons are not completely melted yet. We poured the yellow crayons this way. There were bumps in the finished crayons, but I kind of like them that way. The other colors we waited till the wax was smooth like milk before pouring into the molds.
Next pour your wax into the molds. Careful, it is very hot. The crayons will harden quickly so you have to work a little fast.
Beautiful colors Thank you helpers, this was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy your new crayons.
Have fun!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Leather Collar Artist

Hello, I have to share an amazing artist with you today. Geralyn of Design a on Etsy makes the most amazing collars for your four legged friends. They are beautifully stamped and painted, yet rugged and fairly priced. Geralyn will work with you to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for. The green I requested was a tricky one. We wanted this collar to be a light feminine color because Muse is always being called Marley, Sport, or Buddy when we go out. This is the collar she made for Muse's birthday. The stamping, playfulness of the colors, and letter type she used are all beautiful. She sent us three collars in all to make sure that the collar was exactly what we wanted. The two that we don't want will be donated to the Humane Society. Another thing to note is that Muse played with her friend Mickey out in the yard with the hose yesterday. The colors did not run or stain her fur and the collar retained it's shape very well. It did not stretch or shrink even though it had a water hose typhoon blasted on it. Muse loves her new collar. It is more rugged than her cloth one yet it is also lighter. In just one day I've noticed that she has not been scratching around her new collar. Her old collar made her neck itch. Maybe using natural leather instead of the synthetic cloth is helping her. I don't know, but I do know that she seems to be more comfortable.
Thank you Geralyn for your beautiful work, attention to detail, open communication, and incredible patience.

If you want to spoil your pup or have an extra special one of a kind collar Please check out her store. Take care, get outside and Have Fun!