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!
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 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!)
March 15, 2011
It has been hard not to think all the time about the tragedy that struck Japan. I´ve been following the news since Friday, glued to the computer screen. I watch the NHK streaming online but my Japanese language skills are limited to understand everything (wishing I could be with my mother and my father, they would help me out with that)
So I kept my streaming on and read @makiwi updates on twitter to know the news. Makiko Itoh is the owner of Just Bento and Just Hungry, an extraordinary person who has been translating non-stop the Japanese news for us. She says doing that helps her to cope with the situation, but I say, her efforts help us in another bigger dimension we wouldn’t be capable to describe and to thank her in any way.
My warm thoughts are still for people in Japan. Be brave. It will be a long journey to rebuild the country and heal the deep wounds. We are still thinking of you. Friends, hang in there, know we wish you the best, from our ♥’s.
I´ve been trying to write a post about subjects this blog is about. It doesn’t feel right somehow. It doesn’t feel right to mention we are sick here for almost three weeks in a row (3yo, 5yo and I with flu, fever and cough). It is so small problem, can´t be compared to what´s going on.
I had a long talk with my mother yesterday. Seeing her (via skype) and chatting with her brought peace to my heart. She also reaffirmed our relatives are fine and safe in Japan. She made me see how blessed we are and how we must value the precious things in life, no matter how smallest they might look like.
Quite comforting and cheering up thoughts .
So.. there is one thing I want to share today. It is small. But it cheered me up and brought me a smile.
I got a message on Friday from a friend who lives in Brazil. She wanted to let me know that at least one thing was good amongst that chaotic sad day: a gift I sent her far ago finally reached the destination.
It was a handmade gift, with a story. Last year I sent this friend a package of goodies, including an amigurumi bear. I crafted it thinking about her, a big fan of Japanese sweets.
Anyways, this exact bear never arrived there. My package did… very spoiled. It was a rainy season in Brazil and there were floods here and there. Still, can’t justify the condition the package was delivered her: wet, full of mold, with worms. Sealed in a
trash plastic bag. Yes, to cry. I got extremely sad. Some things could be saved but she never found the bear I made her.
I promised myself I would craft a copy of that bear and send it again. It was taking long to hear from her about the mail. I can’t be that unlucky, can I?
So there he is, the bear. Actually, it is the bear I made the first time. I made pictures of the new one, but I forgot to put memory in my camera when doing so. Yes, laugh, I can be absentminded sometimes too. :/
The new bear was assembled as a keychain. This one, was a mobile charm. I tried to make them exactly the same, so there aren’t much differences from this one in the picture.
I know is silly it enlightened my day.
February 12, 2011
Last year a sweet friend of mine asked me if i could craft a small charm to a little dude she knows that is fanatic for anything octopus. She saw one felt octopus in my Flickr sets and requested if I could create something similar.
I tried to make a little tako (that´s what I call him :), octopus in Japanese) using the crochet amigurumi technique. I think he became really cute ^_^.
And for some extra treats, I also crafted two bunnies (celebrating 2011, the year of the Rabbit) to my friend´s lovely daughter and her best friend. I hope they enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making the little buddies!
Please check out my friend´s lovely blog too! Chantale writes about the adventures of her sweet daughter as well as darling discoveries in the world of childhood and design. It is pure delight !