If you have signed up for any retail emails you have probably been bombarded in the last few days. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 50% off, buy one get one free, free shipping… I can hardly keep up. There have been so many emails lately about buying stuff, piles and piles of stuff. Stuff that doesn’t do much for anyone except maybe the buyer, and even then, it’s questionable.
I will admit that I joined in the Black Friday madness, and fought my way through the throngs of people with piles of bags on my arms. When I got home I began questioning my purchases because I bought so much and I didn’t really need any of it. Not one thing….well maybe I can quantify the vacuum. I am a sucker for a good deal.
Had I bought a pile of Cuddle + Kind dolls I would not be racing back to the mall making returns right now. Do you want to purchase a product that has a positive impact on the lives of others? Me too! Join me in supporting Cuddle + Kind on giving Tuesday, and every other day. Cuddle + Kind ethically produces hand-knit dolls that feed children. When you purchase a Cuddle + Kind doll, or poster you are also giving meals for children in need. How cool is that?
Cuddle + Kind produces 21 hand-knit dolls made of natural, premium cotton by artisans in Peru. They are ethically produced through fair trade employment. Every doll gives 10 meals to children in need, 1 doll = 10 meals. Cuddle + Kind has donated 1,527,878 meals in just two years!
Oliver the bear recently came to live in our “wild” house. With our wild boys. I hope he can keep up with the pace. I have one son reading him “The Very Cranky Bear” and the other teaching him how to growl. As Oliver would say “Stay wild at heart”.
I am often asked to promote products, and occasionally I say yes. When I do say yes it’s because the products are in line with my own values and I believe in the companies that I support. Oliver the Bear came to live in our wild house courtesy of Cuddle + Kind, as did his inspirational poster. But the opinions are 100% mine.
Sunday morning my oldest has drawing classes, and he was refusing to go recently because he was “too busy” pretending to be a cowboy. He and his brother were both galloping around wearing cowboy hats. After I promised that, he could return to playing cowboys after drawing he dropped the hat and off we went. As soon as we returned, I was roped into their pretend play.
“Where are your horses?” I asked
“We don’t have horses,” they said
“Do you want horses?” I asked
“YES” they said
“Where do we get some?” they asked
“We make them,” I said
My kids have a small obsession with camping. I do not. Camping isn’t my thing. Going to the cottage or cabin is more my speed. I am a big fan of my bed, running water, electricity and flush toilets. Walls and doors are not overrated in my opinion. I like a lot of protection from mother nature and a piece of cloth between me and the elements isn’t quite enough.
I do however love my kids and I love that they use there imaginations when they play. One of their favourite things to play is camping. Sometimes this involves a couch fort, a ball tent or their teepee. Years ago I made the boys a teepee to play in and it now has a few miles on it. They have been roasting marshmallows on chop sticks over a red pillow with every camping adventure and I though that it was time to make them a campfire.
My timing could have been a little better because I finished it at midnight on Christmas Eve. I am guilty of running to the craft store on Christmas Eve to get supplies. Even among all of the store bought gifts that they received for Christmas this is what they were up to after Christmas dinner. My oldest opted for marshmallows for dessert in lieu of pecan pie so that he could try out the new camp fire.
As luck would have it the sixth day of Christmas is also the release of the new Star Wars movie. I was talking with my mom the other day when she mentioned that if I needed something for the 6th day of Christmas she had a few projects. My mom sent me the picture below of the Star Wars finger puppets she had just finished making for my 6 year old who is obsessed with Star Wars. Grandma has magical crafting skills and amazing timing.
She also made a set of Paw Patrol finger puppets for my 3 year old. She really nailed it with these for the kids. Who would have guessed that crafting, Star Wars and Paw Patrol could have been combined?
On the fourth day of Christmas four little monkeys came to play. I made a batch of these last year to give as gifts, and these little guys stayed to live with us. There are four of us and four monkeys so they kids play family with them. Because I made them all a little different they fight over who has stripes and who has dots.
Here is the full post with instructions to make your own.
This is one of my favourite things that I have made for the kids. I made these 3 years ago when my oldest was 3. Surprisingly they are still all intact. On the third day of Christmas we went fishing. Link to felt fish.
There are two people in my house that love to wear socks, and there are two of us that don’t. My husband and oldest son are the sock wearers. They seem to go through socks so quickly. I am not a fan of socks, and only put them on with sneakers, or in the winter. The rest of time I am barefoot, as is my youngest. I rarely wear out a pair of socks, usually the elastic goes before I wear holes in them. This is not the case for our resident sock wearers, they are constantly wearing through socks. I have been saving them because it seems such a waste to throw them out.
I am also an avid recycler. Pants, shirts, doors, milk jugs, new socks and now even the holey old socks in our house gotten a new lease on life. Meet our newest house guest, “Sunday” the sock snake. He is constructed of mainly of my husband, and eldest son’s holey socks. He is named Sunday because one of the pairs of socks said Sunday on the bottom, so I though that it was fitting. He is also the only snake that I know that has a mustache, or many mustaches.
If you are interested in giving your old socks a new lease on life, check out this tutorial from Grosgrain. I made a couple of alterations to the tutorial with the main one being using quilting batting instead of stuffing. I learned when making sock monkeys that it’s really hard to get the socks stuffed with out having big lumps, so for the snake I used batting. Here are some pictures of my battle with the batting. It was a full body workout to get Sunday stuffed. Now I will need to make a second one because I still have a pile of holey socks.
There are lots of things that I should be doing and making sock monkeys is not on the list. I was in Michaels a couple of weeks ago buying these socks with the intention of wearing them as socks when the cashier mentioned that she had bought some to turn into sock monkeys. Obviously I thought that was a good idea because now we have a family of Christmas sock monkeys. Using the great tutorial I found here and a walking foot for sewing knits on my sewing machine it was pretty easy to make these little monkeys. Sasha was quite involved with the little striped one that he has claimed as his. He helped by turning the body parts inside out, stuffing them and selecting the eyes. I am going to have to teach him how to sew next!
Just over a month ago my parent came to visit. No visit from the grandparents is complete without presents, at least in my experience. Parents (myself included) can be a little picky about toys and gifts for their kids and often for good reason. Those little people are always putting things in their mouths, so parents want to make sure that the toys are BPA free, non-toxic and age appropriate. But sometimes the list goes beyond safety. People can have preferences about toys with TV/Disney characters, noise, plastic versus more environmentally friendly materials, the quantity of toys, the quality of toys and the list goes on. No judgement here. Parenting is a tough gig. I personally have a preference for handmade versus mass manufactured toys, but that same preference stretches to furniture, coffee mugs, cookies, socks… It’s no surprise that I also want my kiddies to be surrounded by handmade objects. That being said, I am happy when anyone is thoughtful enough to remember my kids and send them gifts of any kind. Variety is a good thing too.
So when Grandma and Grandpa arrived with their bag of tricks imagine my delight when these little guys came out.
Don’t eat me
Peg Knight, Dragon and Castle
My mother is a maker and these are her creations. They are made of birch wood, non-toxic paint, and real felt (not that recycled pop bottle stuff from the dollar store that I use). But most importantly because they are made by my mom for her grandchildren they are made with LOVE and that is much more important that anything else.
PS. Mom I sent you a pic on Pinterest of a rocket and some astronaut peg dolls. Hint, Hint.
Below are some of the toys I made for my kiddies. Click on the pictures to link to the blog posts.