My mom's birthday was last week and I decided to give her a trio of brooches. One ceramic and two felt. They are so fun to make and she's the only person I know who wears brooches.
This needle felted pumpkin is kinda large. I kept trying to fix it by adding more felt. Needle felting is super fun but takes some practice.
The acorns are also needle felted and the oak leaves are two layers of wool blend felt machine stitched together with coordinating thread. The stitched veins were the start of this project--inspired when I stitched the letters for the superhero capes. Which reminds me, I don't think I blogged the superhero capes but here's the inspiration shot.
And finally, for those who, like me, were wondering how the word brooch is pronounced, according the the "reader" on Merriam Webster it rhymes with roach. I love the internet.
I was talking with friends recently about water color painting--a topic about which I know nothing. The friends had recently taken water color classes and one described how her teacher described "oopses" (like a blotch of orange on the white part of your painting) as "happy accidents" that you were forced to then incorporate into the work.
Doing art and crafts with a four year old is a guarantor or happy accidents. And so fun!
We're loving the gourd painting lately.
I've only had the supplies for this sitting on our washing machine since...oh....last Thanksgiving. Time to get these puppies painted!
I like to cook and bake but I am 100% a follow-the-recipe kind of gal. So when Biscuit requested strawberry cupcakes to take to school and I couldn't find a recipe that didn't involve jello I was in a quandary. Believe it or not, I partially developed my own (successful!) recipe. And now I will type it here before I lose the sheet of paper I wrote it on.
Strawberry cupcakes (adapted from the "busy day cake" from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
1/3 c softened butter
1/4 c sugar
1 3/4 c cake flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup strawberry puree (combine ~1 pint chopped strawberries with 1/4 c sugar, let sit until liquidy than puree in blender or with stick blender. You should have about 3/4 c so enough for the frosting)
1/3 c strawberry jam (I used a low sugar strawberry rhubarb jam that I made that didn't set so it was pretty liquidy. I think regular jam would also be fine but I wouldn't use one made with sugar substitute. Have you ever baked with that stuff (like Equal?) YUCK)
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 egg plus 1 more egg white
1/4 c milk
Blend butter and sugar. Add dry ingredients and then wet. Beat until well combined and pour into lined muffin tins. This batter didn't rise much so fill the cups pretty full. Bake at 375 for about 18 minutes. These were light pink and not too sweet with a pretty good strawberry flavor.
Beat 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter with 3 cups powdered sugar. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and then beat in strawberry puree until desired consistency is reached (seemed like about 1/4 cup but I didn't measure since Biscuit was "helping" at the time.
Tomorrow Biscuit takes cupcakes and favors to school to celebrate her birthday. She assembled all the bags herself including three packets of smarties (four if the child in question has a sibling ;)
Inside is a box of crayons (my organized mom wisely suggested that when Target had 24-packs of Crayola crayons for 25c during back to school that they would be good favors. I'll be doing that again next year!) Also the aforementioned Smarties (yuck, but Biscuit picked them). And a special coloring book.
Inside I turned (crappy) snapshots of the kids at school into coloring book pages using this tutorial.
The results are far from perfect but it was super easy and fun to do. I just resized everything and cropped to 6x6 inches and photocopied double sided.
Then Biscuit wrote names on card stock and we stitched it all together.
And just because I'm a fan of Swistle Baby Names and the discussions of commoness of names and likihood of repeats in a given classroom, and just because I have just reviewed over and over the class roster, and just in case you find this sort of thing interesting, here are the names of all the 3-5 year olds in Biscuit's suburban Sacramento pre-school class (of nearly all white kids): Boys: Carter, Stevie (Steven), Marcus, Adam, Ryan Girls: Mia, Francesca, Grace, Paige, Madelyn, Sierra, Emma, Emelia, Recently departed/soon to arrive children: Silje, Anders, Maria Sofia, Paige.
Ever since working on this garland last night I cannot stop singing "oh m' garland, oh m' garland, oh m' garland, clementine..." Ack! At least the garland making was fun.
At the park on Sunday I looked down (while cleaning up shards of my coffee mug that was lost in a minor bike mishap) and found a bunch of cute acorn tops and striped acorns. Biscuit helped me collect a few handfuls.
Then I looked up and realized the oak leaves were just starting to turn in a few spots so I plucked a handful of leaves. Lucky I did it as I'm sure they all blew off in today's storm of the century.
After loosely pressing the pile of leaves under my trivet for 24 hours, I started needle felting multicolor acorns and Biscuit started gluing everything together and onto some yarn.
I told you I was really in love with felt lately.
I'm also in love with collaboration with my almost-four-year-old. I'm not a perfectionist anyway but trying to work with her really keeps me from stressing too much about a perfect result and enjoying the process more. And I usually end up liking the end result more anyway. The crooked leaves add charm, eh?
Speaking of perfect imperfection (or is that imperfect perfection?) I am totally loving Biscuit's art lately. The totally out of perspective houses CRACK ME UP. Case in point:
From top to bottom clouds and "a sun you can't really see." Below that, a wall (orange) and then the sideways house complete with chimney and smoke as well as people hanging off the side at a table. To the right of the house is the bed with pillow, blanket and legs. Below the bed is a (four cushion?) couch and on the bottom you'll find the rug and door. Hilarious. And cool. It already has a place of pride on the wall.