December 22, 2012
Only this weekend for Christmas!!!
I couldn’t write much on the blog since my post about the Advent Calendar… life becomes quite hectic in the holidays season… right? ;)
Well… all I wanted today was to wish you very heartwarming Holidays and a Merry Happy Christmas (with my troop of silent snowmen >_<)!!
Hyvää joulua & onnellista uutta vuotta 2013 :)
November 29, 2012
Christmas is around the corner! And nothing is more exciting than counting down the days for Christmas with an Advent Calendar right?
Keeping the tradition I crafted a new one this year too, for something unique, special and interesting :).
Well, at a first glance, it looks complicated and without much resemblance to an Advent Calendar…
The idea started from those socks I made a couple of years ago (to refresh your memory: each day my daughters would find a paper with an image inside the mini socks showing where I placed the small gift-of-the-day). My oldest daughter is a a first grader now and husband suggested I could make some type of riddle for each day, to practice her reading and calculating skills (yea, we are such nerds…).
So how to do that in a sane way? Inventing a game of course! More like a letter puzzle (hangman anyone?).
2012 Advent Calendar – Letter Puzzle game
Each day my girls will receive one envelope (numbered from 1 to 24) containing a card with a question and a letter-sticker. Simple math problems or matching games to practice letters and words. I added couple of “easy” ones for my 5 yo daughter too.
“How many (snowflakes)?”
“Is the image a : skier, skater or runner?”
“How many syllables are in the word snowman?”
Solving the question of the day will show them where to glue the sticker-letter in the puzzle display board. By completing the diagram they will be capable to read the “mysterious sentence” : The present (the Advent Calendar big gift) is hidden at grandpa´s place (written in Finnish conveniently using 24 elements :)
We thought that getting a “big” gift instead of little small things each day is as well fun. Besides, a “pre” Christmas present is not that bad (stand the wait for Santa!!) and everyone can enjoy it together. The gift is a board game to be played on Christmas Eve ^_^.
- And! To deliver the envelopes, a Christmas mailbox I crafted using an empty cereal box and red card stock. Awesome isn´t it? The front door is attached with magnets (Oh… I am so happy with the result!). Maybe my daughters will find some treats there too… who knows? ;)
For now, fingers crossed the girls will enjoy this year´s Advent Calendar. Poor little ones to have such mad mad loony mother … >.<
Happy December friends!
PS. Isn’t that polka dot fabric tape the cutest? ha!
Summer time here, yay! That means… my kids are home 24-7… trying to keep the girls busy and entertained is driving this mama crazy ;)
Oh well… I am trying to enjoy the vacations too (ahahah, *lol*)… not much time/subject for blogging…
Aren´t these two friends lovely? I crafted them for a very sweet friend of mine (and her BFF <3). The big teddy bear is crocheted with my own pattern and I added a little Swarovski heart crystal pendant to his ribbon lace. The little buddy was needle felted with wool felt and I built a little charm from it (and forgot to take a picture!).
Must say… I was obsessed with needle felting a month ago after making my daughter´s preschool staff thank-you gifts. The results are always so fuzzy! Uncontrollable wool wanting to go against the shape I want! Grrrrrrr.
(Little thank-you gifts: mobile charm with bear faces)
I was very happy to create all of these and it was double joyful to hear my sweet friend liked the teddy bear I sent her :).
(wish I could be as tall as you!! =^o^= )
Hope you are having happy Summer days!
April 17, 2012
Back to writing with a crafty post!
It is quite funny I know… a chicken drumstick?
Well… all started with a request from my youngest daughter (and I am so lame to say no to them…): “can you make a meat-food to my Bowser toy? You know mommy, Bowser needs to eat, you could make that chicken thingie.”
(little intermission: Pikkusiili got a Bowser plush toy on her birthday. It is one of her favorite plush characters so far and she treats him like a teddy bear >.<. Oh! And you know who’s Bowser, that one from the Super Mario bros video games! )
Took me a while to understand what she wanted exactly. I asked her to draw an example and then I figured out it was a Chicken Drumstick, an item from the DS game Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. I bought the game to myself but eventually my girls ended up playing it more than I (*mimimi*) !
Here´s the screenshot with the item:
So, you can use different types of Drumsticks to restore the health of Bowser during the game. The “spicier” the item, the more it heals :D.
I wasn’t so sure about the size of the Drumstick so I just free styled the pattern and started sewing it right away. Must say, my daughter was very pleased with the result!
Not bad right?
April 4, 2012
Trying to enjoy the wonders of Spring, we decided to grow our own Easter grass this year. There´s no sign of green outside yet (we just had snow this week!) so I thought girls would be delighted to get their own piece of green for Easter.
We usually travel to my in-laws on Easter holidays, main reason I didn’t encourage my daughters to have their own baskets at home before (they often get pretty ones from their grandmother!).
You see… it was really exciting for them to watch the grass grow from seeds to “bush”. Too bad our lack of experience resulted in irregular surfaces :P. Next time I figured we need to use more seeds (even if the package says the opposite!).
Anyways, girls acquired a new skill and had fun at same time :D.
A beautiful package right? This was made by Luonnonvoima in her pre-school. It has barley grass in. Yep, I admit, it is prettier than ours >_<!
Girls trying different styling: LV has the orange basket and little PS the purple :) *the chick is flying mommy!*
We are off for the holidays and as you might have guessed already, we are spending the long weekend with my girls´ grandparents.
Wish you all a very Happy Easter! Hyvää Pääsiäistä! Feliz Páscoa!
February 7, 2012
February has arrived! And inspired by a sweet Valentine´s card my girls received today from their great-grandparents, I made a bento with the love theme ^_^.
Contents: Iri-dofu (tofu scramble), mini plum tomato, steamed broccoli, nectarine slices, mandarine orange and a cute cup (ありがとう M!) with carrot sticks and red grapes. The brown puppy is made with rice mixed with shoyu and the white one is a plain onigiri with nori details. *SMOOOOOCH*
Pikkusiili said I should have put more ketchup on the puppy´s cheek, because it was too “pale”. Did she mean no blushing enough? XD
Ah yes… some friends have been asking how are we doing with all the news about the severe winter in Europe. We are doing fine :), there is indeed plenty of snow and some very cold days… I guess we are used, it doesn’t bother us so much.
When the girls can’t go outside to play we try to do some activities at home. They got mini baking equipment toys on Christmas from my in-laws and grandmother taught them to make salt play dough to use with the stuff.
I made the dough again, it is a very easy no-cook recipe. So simple but surely delivered a few hours of entertainment to my daughters! Our “fake bakery” was a success then ^_^.
Taikataikina / no cook salt play dough
adapted from here . Taikataikina means “magic dough” also called suolataikina in Finnish (suola=salt, taikina=dough)
- 6 dl wheat flour (about 3 cups)
- 3 dl salt (11/2 cup)
- 3 dl warm water (300ml , warm enough to dissolve the salt)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
- food coloring if desired
Combine the salt and flour in a mixing bowl. The coarser the salt, the more the granulous effect.
Make a well in the dry mixture and gradually add the water, kneading until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Add the vegetable oil and combine everything again.
For the colored dough, I divided the neutral dough into 4 pieces and added food coloring (red, blue and yellow) to each, kneading until getting an even color. For the other colors, I just let the girls mix the basic balls and have fun with the discoveries.
While playing I recommend covering the unused dough with plastic because it tends to dry very fast.
The salt dough can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Happy week friends!
November 30, 2011
Tell me what that means… Christmas is coming! Am I stressed? Nah…
This time I decided to take it easier… too much happened during the second half of the year, end of it should be more relaxing… (< did you just giggle there? I mean, I think I saw you smiling at least :)
As I told before, I invented this tradition to make a homemade Advent Calendar every year. After many rejected ideas (the most from my husband I must say :P) I decided for this Christmas Wreath, not as superb as the previous calendars, yet hopefully good enough to celebrate each day of the month and the most important: to get my girls excited about the upcoming holiday :)
I really considered skipping the tradition this year. I changed my mind when the other day, while browsing for ready chocolate-filled Advent Calendars at a shop, I was asked by my daughters if I was going make one for them… “because they still remember how the last year´s was”… *swoon* I melted.
2011 Advent Calendar – Christmas Wreath
Keeping in mind “it must be easy and fun”, this no-frills calendar was quite quick to assemble. I used a silver vine wreath (from a craft shop), “goodies” wrapped with red crêpe paper, wires and embellishments.
Brilliant right?! :D
I diminish the amount of treats they will receive each day considerably. Pretty much into a no-waste/keepsake style, using a 250 pieces puzzle for the filling (and plus! I can keep the wreath afterwards! Yay!). My girls love puzzles (we recently built a 1000 pieces puzzle together) and I thought it will be thrilling for them to build the puzzle during the countdown, not actually knowing what the final image is. Once I used the same idea with small Lego kits (Technic and Star Wars) and the results were quite funny and interesting!
How I made it:
- Dealing with the treats: after cutting the colored paper into 24 large squares, I put about 10 puzzle pieces in each, wrapping to form a ball, twisting the ends. Note!!! Sharp pieces and crêpe paper are a no-no combo… I totally recommend to use gifts that won’t rip the paper :P. Perhaps a cool option would be to use that sort of metallic plastic wrapping paper, if you have it on hands (I didn’t)
- Now the hard work. Using a craft wire (0.3mm), which I found to be more controllable than thread, I tied the little packages to the wreath, firmly so they stay on place. Be careful to hide the wire ends when done with the attaching.
- Finishing it: I decorated with small polka dots jingle bells, sparkling snow flake stickers, ribbons and a red bell. At very last, I added the numbers on each paper-ball.
I think it will be very easy just to pull apart the little packages from the wreath during the countdown… let´s see! ;)
Happy December friends!
April 18, 2011
Wow! Another “monday bento” ! I said “wow” because my mondays are usually so busy I don’t even think about making any bento to the girls…
But this time was special. I promised myself I was going to make an Easter-theme bento this year and I had to hurry to make it today. We will be traveling for the Easter holidays and week will be short… not sure when I’ll be having time, I made an effort to post something today.
My girls went all “aaws” “ooohs” when they saw their meal ^__^! “Pääsiäistipu!!” (Easter chick in Finnish) … Luonnonvoima added also that the girls look like them :)
By the way, to make the chicks I used the same design from a felt magnet I crafted years ago, when my youngest daughter was born.
Inside the boxes: romaine lettuce, homemade chicken meatballs braised in yakisoba sauce, tofu with caramelized onions (under the meatballs), steamed asparagus spears (briefly fried with the meatballs), raw baby carrots, pearl tomato, grapes and clementines. Onigiri “chick” made with rice, soy wrap, nori, cooked carrot for the beak and a little ketchup for the cheeks.
That´s it! Have a great week friends!
PS: my Bento Box Toy set is still being auctioned! Please check the eBay page ;)! Happy bidding!
April 15, 2011
Update on 27.04.2011: The box has been sold for $107,50! I am so happy it reached such price :). Thank you very much for everyone who got interested about it and specially, to the auction winner! The set is already on its way to WA ^_^!
As I posted here before, a group of bento lovers across the globe got together to raise funds for Japan. My fabulous fellow bento bloggers have been working hard keeping the Bento4Japan alive and at full steam.
The charity auctions on eBay have been terrific! Lots of bento boxes and gear had found new owners and I can only thank to the beautiful people´s generosity.
Everyone knows that I wanted to offer something to be auctioned for the cause. The problem is that I really can’t find anything suitable for the theme where I live. Bento gear is rare, most of my personal purchases were made online.
It is true I selected stuff from my own collection to offer in the Bento4Japan raffle (by the way! The winners had been picked already, just give us a little more time and we will announce them :). My contribution is already traveling to the lucky one!).
So I thought… would it be bad to offer something handmade? Inspired by my friends who always support and keep me going ahead, I decided to craft my offering for Bento4Japan ^__^.
Bento box food play set – eBay auction
I handcrafted this lovely take away style bento box meal, perfect for pretended play or for display. The items are about life-sized and hand stitched with love and care for details.
I really try my best to make things in a way they last but felt and yarn creations are not as plastic ones, they won´t probably last as much as they would have been made from another “long lasting” material.
This set will be a joy for your little one to serve you obento anytime! (And you can also sneak to the play and practice making your bento too ;))
Most of the items which belong to the box were featured in my previous post , with addition of these little ones:
So… without further ado, what is inside the box!
- 1 lettuce leaf
- 2 onigiris (rice balls)
- 1 shiozake piece (salted salmon)
- 1 lotus root (renkon) slice
- 1 kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) wedge
- 1 broccoli floret
- 1 shiitake mushroom
- 2 tamagoyaki (omelet) slices: spinach and traditional
- 1 carrot flower
- 1 edamame pod
- 1 cherry tomato with wooden pick
- 1 usagi ringo (apple bunny)
- 2 grapes
- 1 strawberry
- 1 orange slice
- 2 food cups (paper and felt polka dot)
- 1 pair of bamboo chopsticks – not disposable type
- 1 origami chopstick “envelope”
The full description of the materials and other important information can be read in the auction page for the bento box.
I hope this can raise some money. Remember, 100% of the proceeds will go to to GlobalGiving’s Japan Relief fund. If you win, be sure you are getting something made from the heart.
Please take a look, this is the auction page! Check out the other Bento4Japan auctions too ;).
April 13, 2011
Yes… I know, I haven’t posted in this blog for about a week. It hasn’t been intentional, but I have been lacking time to do so…
But hey! I am still here ;)
Aside from the normal chores… Today I show you what I’ve been doing lately, on late nights, children´s nap times and squeezed times of freedom: crafting… and creating. It is just madness, ideas keep popping in my mind all the time and I can’t keep on with them in normal levels.
Crafting what? Toy food! I must admit there´s a reason behind these … and I’ve been working on the items for about 2 weeks already.
Many alpha versions got kidnapped by my girls (also some beta ones…). I needed to repeat doing same stuff many times until I got a result that I found acceptable (HAHAHA, am I this weird).
Just to mention… my girls really adore when I make toy food. They kept asking me every second “is it ready?” ” can we take it now” “are you going to end the onigiri today”. To the extreme they arranged a little box and left it by my side, demanding “here mama, you can put the ready ones”.
….wondering if they are spoiled little ladies… >_<
You will notice that most of the foods have a Japanese-style tendency (*hint* *hint*)…
Japanese nimono anyone?
Lotus root, carrots, shiitake, broccoli…
Pan fried shiozake (salted salmon)
Traditional tamagoyaki and spinach filled one
Little fruit cup
Apple bunny (usagi ringo), grapes, strawberry and an orange wedge
These were really fun to craft ( ok.. ok.. I had some nervous breakdowns during the process :P ). I liked the results… there´s room for improvement but I am very happy anyways :).
(Hope you like them too!)