19.12.14

the stumpers give-away winner


Congratulations to Robin (lucky #7) who said, "That looks wonderful!!  What a fun idea!"  Thank you to everyone who joined in & cast their names into the metaphorical hat...



18.12.14

mice are nice



I've been busy stitching tiny mice.  They look really sweet in grey with pink ears...


And they are lots of fun in assorted colors, too.


I used a pattern from this book, and packed up mice for gift-giving with copies of my favorite mouse-related books: Tumtum & Nutmeg by Emily Bearn, The Mousewife by Rumer Godden and Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel.


I made an adjustment to the pattern and added a bit of extra fabric to the base, so these tiny pocket-friends are also finger puppets.


 Someone around here is fond of this blue one. This mouse will be staying at our house...


17.12.14

another mason jar cozy :: tutorial



How about an idea for making gifts out of old socks.  I'm serious.  I like to buy Smart Wool socks for my older son because they keep his feet from smelling bad (apologies for TMI), and also because the stripes are so darn cute.  But the socks aren't cheap, so when he wears holes in them, I cannot throw them away.  Enter the upcycled-sock mason jar cozy (and the easiest tutorial ever).


SUPPLIES
-- A sock or two with holes worn in the heels and toes.
-- Needle and thread
-- Scissors


Step 1:  Cut off the top of the socks, just above the reinforced heel.


Step 2: If your sock does not have a thick cuff (where the fabric is doubled), turn sock inside out, roll a 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) hem and pin in place.  If your sock does have a thick cuff, turn the sock inside out, bring the edge up to meet the bottom of the cuff, and pin in place.  Use a needle and thread to stitch hem. (If you've never sewn a hem stitch, here's a link for how to do it.)


Step 3: All done!  Now you or your gift recipient will not burn fingers on hot jars of coffee or tea (and no one needs to know that their gift originated as an old, worn out sock... shhhh...I won't tell.)




Hey! Are you noticing that cool drinking lid cover in the photo above?  It's called a Cuppow and I love it. You can buy Cuppow lids to fit regular mouth jars or wide mouth jars -- and then you never have to use a disposable cup again!


Another use for old socks?  The cutest knee patches ever for the bluejeans of a certain 4 year old boy!



16.12.14

happy hanukkah!



Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah.  We will be lighting the Hanukkiah, eating latkes, spinning dreidels, eating chocolate coins, singing songs, and maybe even opening a few gifts in my house.  Happy Hanukkah to everyone else celebrating the festival of lights!

Note: this peg doll Hanukkiah is a project from my first book.  In my second book there is a dreidel project!

solstice sun catcher :: tutorial



Hello Dear Friends!  Winter Solstice is nearly upon us... Here is a quick project in time to bring a few rainbows, even during the darkest days of the year (or brightest days of summer solstice, if you are in the southern hemisphere).  I've hung my sun catchers in the window, but you could also hang them on a Christmas tree.

 

SUPPLIES
-- Wooden cut-out shapes such as stars or moons (I used these)
-- Beeswax polish or paint (you can make your own polish or buy some here)
-- Glass crystals (I used 3/4 inch/18 mm crystal beads from my stash)
-- Small beads (1/8 inch/3 mm)
-- Electric drill, small drill bit & workbench vise
-- Heavy weight button thread & needle
-- Ribbon
-- Scissors
-- Pencil


Step 1: Using a pencil, mark where you plan to drill in the center of one of the points of the star, and directly below, where you plan to hang your crystal.

Step 2: Secure your wood piece in a workbench vise and, using a small bit, drill holes. (safety note: to protect your fingers, always secure wood in a vise before drilling!)

Step 3: Rub your wood piece(s) with beeswax polish or paint them if you wish.

Step 4: Draw a 10 inch (25 cm) length of heavy weight button-thread through the bottom hole in your star (or other wooden shape) and tie a knot close to the wood.

Step 5: Thread a needle with both ends of your button-thread.  Run the threaded needle through the crystal and through the small bead.  Decide how long you would like the crystal pendant to hang, and adjust the height of your crystal and bead, then knot the thread above the small bead (the knot will go around the thread between the small bead and the crystal).  After you have securely knotted the thread, run your needle back up through the crystal and cut the threads from the needle just at the top of the crystal.

Step 6: Find a pretty piece of ribbon and thread it through the top hole, then hang your sun catcher in a window where it might find even a bit of sun during the darkest days of winter.  Or pack up your sun catcher and send it to a friend (note: if your initials are ES, you know you shouldn't be peeking at this post, you naughty thing!!)


15.12.14

presenting the stumpers (& a give-away!!)



Today I would like to present to you this beautiful book: The Stumpers

The Stumpers live, work and play together in harmony with each other and with the earth, using dedication and cheer to bring forth bounties of food, love and life-sustaining goodness.  When you step into the hand-crafted forest home of the The Stumpers you may just end up wanting to stay!

 

The Stumpers spring from the heart and imagination of Karima Cammell. Karima is not only the keeper of the keys at Castle in the Air in Berkeley, California, a wonderland emporium where treasures from the far corners of the earth can be found...... she is also an illustrator, artist, author and founder of Dromedary Press.


Karima has invited us into her world through this beautiful video (click above to view), and she has also generously taken time out of her non-stop, holiday magic-weaving to answer a few questions about her artistic process. Plus, keep reading to the end, because at the bottom of this post you can find out how to *win your very own copy* of The Stumpers plus a set of lenticular postcards & a very sweet wool-felted gnome created by Forest Whimsy in Portland Oregon.


An interview with Karima Cammel, founder/owner of Castle in the Air & author of The Stumpers:

MB: How did the idea for The Stumpers first come to you? 
KC: The family of dolls in The Stumpers is really the meeting of two worlds. One is my inner world as a lifelong doll-maker and storyteller. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve made dolls and built spaces for them to live in. The other world is the outer world of my family and my friends. We all have “families we create” made up of people we love. I’d been playing with combinations of doll-making materials that were new to me, but the dolls in The Stumpers and their forest home were really a reflection of all the coziness I’ve been lucky to have in my life.

MB: How did you come up with the way the family in The Stumpers looks, their unique appearance with warm smiles and cozy, peaked hats? What was the inspiration behind their clothing?
KC: Traditional gnome imagery and art was a big inspiration. I’ve always loved it, from Elsa Beskow to Rien Poortvliet. The look of The Stumpers is my way of trying to be part of the conversation. It felt so good to get lost in that world and find my way out using my hands and eyes, crafting this little family and telling their story. The clothing is a mix of felted wool, C.P. Shades remnants, and other scraps and bits I had stashed around my studio.

MB: What was your favorite part of creating this project?
KC: Each time I finish a book I throw a launch party at Castle in the Air, my shop in Berkeley. This is my sixth book, and so when I was planning the party I thought I had it all figured out. But the celebratory spirit of The Stumpers kind of took over, and before I knew it I was organizing a forest feast, digging up gnome outfits from my costume collection at home, and flying my dear friend and musician, Laura Cortese, to California so she could be a part of the bash. Laura narrated the e-book version of The Stumpers and wrote a song especially for that recording. The shop staff pitched in and we made a faux fireplace for Laura and me to sit at for a “fireside chat” about the book. It sounds cheesy but it was really delightful, and the aesthetic fit right in with the scenes in the book, which are nature scenes 100% handmade from paper, felt, and other materials. A bunch of little kids settled in at the front, and when Laura and I finished talking she led a jam session with other fiddlers and friends dressed as gnomes, all of them dancing and partying just like The Stumpers do. Seeing my imagined world reflected back to me in that beautiful way—seeing people living it—that’s been the best part so far.

MB: What is your advice for doll-makers and storytellers like yourself?
KC: Follow your dream and see where it takes you. One of the wonderful things about creating a visually rich project like The Stumpers is that the art isn’t limited to the book itself. I made a series of lenticular postcards with pictures of the dolls. You tilt the cards and the dolls move—they hug each other or turn their heads, make little movements. The cards were an homage to my memories of lenticular images in storybooks I had as a kid. Working up the pictures and seeing them come to life in all their jittery, hazy glory, really authentic to the art which inspired them…it was kind of a career high.

All this is a long way of saying that as artists we dream really big, even if in the end our dreams become these little books, or little postcards, or whatever. That’s okay. It’s easy for an art project to grow massive and take over your life. Don’t feel bad about devoting yourself to making it just how you like. How people respond to it once you’re done is something completely separate, and honestly it’s something you have no control over. So just dive into the project. I can’t speak for other artists, but in my process I enjoy getting lost in the woods and taking as long as I need to come out. I’ve learned techniques for keeping the end product in mind as I go along, such as the number of pages in a book, or their shape and size. But my advice it to give yourself the time, wander off in different directions, and remember that the joy is in the work itself. This is important work, using skills and imagination to create a tangible world you can share with others.

MB: In The Stumpers we see a family that “lives, works, and plays together.” What message do you most hope families and children discover as they journey through this beautiful new book?
KC: My hope is that they see that it’s possible to live an intentional life. Make your own world, one you love to live in.

MB: On behalf of my readers & myself, thank you, Karima, for giving us a peek into the joy of your creative process, and thank you also for offering us the generous give-away below!!

 

And now for the *give-away*!

Karima is offering a copy of The Stumpers plus a set of lenticular postcards & a sweet wool-felted gnome (created by Forest Whimsy) to one lucky reader.  To enter this give-away, please leave a comment below.  A winner will be chosen via random number generator on Friday, December 19th, at 10:00 p.m. (PST time), and the prizes will be shipped out post-haste, in time to arrive for the holiday.

Note: in order to win, I must be able to contact you via email.  If your comment does not link to an email address, you may include your email address in your comment (or email me privately prior to the end of the give-away with your email address).  This give-away is open to US residents only.

 

In case you cannot wait one minute longer and would like to have a copy of The Stumpers shipped to you immediately, you can order your very own copy here!


We have been enjoying our copy of The Stumpers...


Won't you join The Stumpers in their merry music, too?

Comments for this give-away are now closed.  Congratulations to Robin (lucky #7) who said, "That looks wonderful!!  What a fun idea!"  Thank you to everyone who joined in & cast their names into the metaphorical hat...

13.12.14

winter candyland



Marilyn Scott Waters (aka The Toymaker) has a website with the loveliest paper toys which you can download and print out for free.  Her newest creations are Ginger & Snowy in a fun, candyland scene which you or your children can cut out and set up in no time at all.  The figures could be used to play with like paper dolls or they can be set up as decorations.  To find them click here...


 P.S.  Marilyn is also the author of several books.  Her newest one is A Year in the Secret Garden.  You can find out more about it here.

SecretGardenCoverLeft

12.12.14

favorite tutorials


http://webloomhere.blogspot.com/2014/11/knitting-fairy-cup-cozy.html

Dear Friends -- Are some of you new-ish visitors to we bloom here?  If so, maybe you haven't had a chance to fully explore, so I wanted to draw your attention to a particular area of my blog.  Did you know that there is a place where you can quickly look over the various tutorials I've posted over the years? You can find them right here on my craft tutorials page (usually accessed via the menu bar beneath the photo of those gorgeous golden mirabelles).


Are you looking for some hand-made gift ideas you can quickly whip up?  This list of tutorials might help!


Speaking of tutorials, I've been working on several for you.  I realize that gift-giving season is upon us, and I am running a little late with these; however, between hosting Thanksgiving & children underfoot, things have been delayed (I'm sure you understand...)  Anyhow, please know that I'm doing my best and will have a couple of new ideas for you next week.

Also... a *give-away* on Monday! What am I giving away?  It's a book plus a few more surprises. Not one of my books, but trust me, it's utterly delightful and seriously wish-list worthy. Okay, twist my arm... do you really want to know?  Have a look here...


A final note: did you know that, even if you "Like" we bloom here and/or Making Peg Dolls on Facebook, you may not be seeing updates and messages from me in your Facebook feed?  Here's what you can do so you don't miss anything: once you’ve liked the we bloom here and/or the Making Peg Dolls page (thank you!), use the dropdown menu right under the “liked” button to select “get notifications.” This lets Facebook know, going forward, that you really do want to know when I've posted a new tutorial, give-away, and other assorted nonsense.

Another way you can hear from me is to have a look at the right-hand sidebar of this blog, and find the widget which allows you to "follow by email."  Once you've typed in your email, you will get notifications delivered directly to your inbox.

See you Monday --
xo
mb

9.12.14

photos from new book plus important message



Dear Friends,
For your amusement here are a few photos from the new book, and also an important message.  Did you know that, even if you "Like" we bloom here and/or Making Peg Dolls on Facebook, you may not be seeing updates and messages from me in your Facebook feed?  Did you know that you might be missing tutorials for lovely, quick-to-whip-up gifts? Missing information about the upcoming blog tour? About book give-aways, and other give-aways? (yes, an assortment of give-aways coming soonish!!)  What can you do so you don't miss blog posts, updates & messages from me?  Keep reading...


Here's what you can do so you don't miss anything: once you’ve liked the we bloom here and/or the Making Peg Dolls page (thank you!), use the dropdown menu right under the “liked” button to select “get notifications.” This lets Facebook know, going forward, that you really do want to know when I've posted a new tutorial, give-away, and other assorted nonsense.

Another way you can hear from me is to have a look at the right-hand sidebar of this blog, and find the widget which allows you to "follow by email."  Once you've typed in your email, you will get notifications delivered directly to your inbox.  I don't have access to information about who signs up for email through my blog, so there is no way I could add you to some list and send you junk-mail (not that I would ever consider doing such an annoying thing anyhow, I promise).


I hope your December is off to a good start.  I will be posting some more tutorials soon, and meanwhile, please stop by and say "hi" any time!

xo
mb


1.12.14

hmmm...

Hmmm... It seems, despite the fact that Amazon has been listing the release date of my new book as December 1st, the book is still only available for pre-order and there no indication that the book is currently shipping.  So sorry about that!

However, please know, that Book Depository in the UK is currently shipping books for free world wide, and The Book Store at Steiner College also has copies in stock and ready for shipment!

Again, apologies for any confusion...