Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Checking in on the Acorn Rainbow - March 2010

The snow has finally melted and been replaced with warmer days (at least for now...) so I thought it was time to go check on the acorn rainbow.   It has been a few months since I last checked in and I wasn't sure what to expect.  As I was meandering towards my destination, a flash of purple in the leaf litter caught my eye.  It was the purple acorn, from my rainbow, some 30 feet from its stump.  How did you get here, little friend?  His cap has been broken, probably from someone's size 10s. (ahem, me, aka sasquatch)  In November, Mr. Purple was still on his stump.  Poor little guy.  I left him there, to finish out his days.

The blue acorn had previously been missing, but I found him north of the stump, still surprisingly blue.  In fact, all of the acorns have retained their colors remarkably well. 

The red was hidden beneath some leaves as well, south of the stump, and the orange had been incorporated into some kind of web, to the southwest.  All in all they look pretty darn good considering the elements they've been exposed to.

I'll check back in on them in a month or two when the woods are thick and green. 
Until then, little rainbow.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Button Monday

I'm a sucker for natural materials, especially those with patina and wear, so it stands to reason that today's buttons are amongst my favorites.  Here are some wood, bone, and tagua nut or "vegetable ivory" buttons. 

wood buttons

a wooden button carved in the shape of an oyster shell

 I love these make-do buttons made of cross-sections of walnut shells.

Vegetable ivory buttons were used as an alternative to ivory, and come from the nut of a type of palm tree.  They have a beautiful feel to them and a lovely patina as they age.

Bone buttons were often cut from cow shin bones.  These were common during the civil-war era. 

Hope you've enjoyed the buttons.  Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Tonight is Earth Hour and here in the Jordan house, this event is met with giggles and anticipation.  Last year we armed each of the boys with a wind-up flashlight and let them loose.  Whirr whirr whirr went the flashlights.  Run run run went the boys.  They loved it.  The smaller guys are too little to understand why we were sitting in the dark, but my 10 year old got it.  They are all looking forward to tonight at 8:30 when we turn the lights off again.  We've been talking about nocturnal vs. diurnal animals lately and we hoped to sit outside and watch for flying squirrels and listen for owls, but it looks like some cold rain will keep us in tonight.  Wind up the flashlights, boys, it's flashlight tag time!  Whirr whirr whirr...

What is Earth Hour?  Why do it?  According to the Earth Hour website, the event started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating.

It's a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community throughout the world. It is a call to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to Asia to the Americas will stand in darkness. People across the world from all walks of life will turn off their lights and join together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.

Won't you join in?
Tonight.  8:30pm local time.

Earth Hour - Proudly Committed

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bunny Finger Puppets

After seeing this simple tutorial for these adorable little bunny finger puppets on the Purl Bee website, I had to give them a try. 

I used some thin wool felt that I made from blazers and coats, along with some pink felt that I found at a garage sale a few years ago.  I needle-felted a small ball of wool roving for the tail.  I cut the bunnies free-hand, but the template is provided in the tutorial (which, by the way, was really clear and detailed)

I think it took me about 20 minutes to sew one of these guys up, and they're so cute I think it was well-worth the effort.  The boys have already been playing with them so I know they're a hit with the 3 and 4 year old set. 

If you have some felt hanging around, you should give it at try.  I think they'd be adorable made of corduroy or something too, don't you?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Golden Eggs - Dyeing Eggs With Turmeric

Here's an easy and natural egg dyeing technique for you to try just in time for Easter ....give turmeric a whirl.  It produces a lovely golden color and it smells nice too.  You can find turmeric in the spice aisle at your local supermarket. 

I started with some white, light brown, and green eggs from my girls.   While they were hard-boiling, I heated up about 5 cups of water in my crockpot and added roughly 4 tablespoons of turmeric.  I let the turmeric and water simmer for about 15 minutes, then turned the heat off.  When it had cooled slightly, I added my now-boiled and slightly cooled eggs to the mixture.  

I looped rubberbands around a few of them as a resist, but you could also let the kids add designs with crayons too.

I let the eggs sit  in the dye bath for an hour and when they emerged, they were a gorgeous gold. 

Here are the dyed eggs and their pre-dyed counterparts.  The green egg had a sort of olive green tone to it.  Lovely!

I've read that you can add vinegar to the dye bath to help the color stick more.  I added a splash of vinegar to the eggs while they were boiling so I did not include more vinegar in the dye bath.   Of course, I had to taste test them too to see if the flavor of the turmeric came through, but it had not.  Nothing but eggy goodness.

As far as getting a good hard-boiled egg, here's an interesting article on the subject.  I find that older eggs do in fact peel easier, so I typically use store-bought eggs for boiling.  (our fresh eggs get eaten up pretty quickly around here)

What kinds of natural egg dyes will you be trying this year?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Button Monday

It's a little overcast and grey here today in the north woods so I thought I'd share a little sunshine for this button Monday.

May I present...yellow!

Most of these are plastics, but there are a few glass and at least one Bakelite as well.

lovely yellow flowers

and finally....quack.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Workin' on the weekend, that's me. 

I'll be listing a few new brooches in the shop later today, and a set of heart ornaments (it's been a while) too.

I'm running low on birch rings for my brooches so I think today I'll be digging through our firewood pile and looking through the back woods for dead birch limbs.  When I find one that's suitable, I'll be cutting, sanding, and waxing these little babies.  Then I'll need to make more felt...  I'm trying out some other woods too and hope to continue working in this theme.  Combining the wood and wool has hit a note with me and I'd like to see where it takes me, so bear with me sweet readers because I am bound to bore you to tears with images of wood and wool...

It was 14 degrees when I woke up this morning but I see the sun shining so I have high hopes that this first day of spring will be a warmer one.

Have a great day.  Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Interview With Lynne from BlossomBabies

I'm a mom of 3 boys which suits me well, I'm a dig in the dirt, play hard kind of girl, but when I found out in 2008 that I was having a baby girl, (and after I recovered from the initial shock), I squealed (well, like a girl)and clicked my way over to the most adorable little dollies ever, in Blossombabies' shop on Etsy.  I had known Lynne's work already but now I had a legitimate reason to own some!  I bought my daughter her first baby doll, one that was made with love, and one that is cherished by both of us.  I wanted something special, made of natural materials, and well-made, and what I found was that not only is Lynne a talented doll-maker, but sweet, caring, and funny too.  Yeah, I'm a fan.  I bet you will be too.

Tell me about you:

My Name is Lynne and I live in a small(ish) German town near Frankfurt.

What do you make?

I make Waldorf-inspired toddlers dolls and I also free-lance design toys and plush things for babies.

Is there a particular theme in your work?

My work is really focused around simple, unobtrusive playthings. I don't like to have anything complicated or artificial on a children's doll or toy, because I really believe that simple playthings and simple natural toys inspire gentleness and nurturing in children. Especially fabric toys. They help them to be more attentive to subtlties. How fabric feels, how it ages with play and loving, how it acquires a certain scent, these are all experiences a child takes with him his whole life. A simply designed toy made by hand has a value children intrinsically appreciate.

Where do you find inspiration?

I am most inspired by my own children and their nurturing play. My children are just moving on from doll play but their deep love and care for the many dollies and animals always touches my heart. I try to capture this feeling and even that wistful bit of nostalgia in my heart about these beautiful growing children of mine when I make my dolls.

What do you love about what you do?

I really love the fact that I can create things which may, ideally, become a very special part of a child's life. I don't think that every single child who receives one of my dolls will connect in a special way to it. But of course, I really hope some may. What an honor that would be for me!

Tell me about a favorite piece that you've made

My favorite piece is the very first Sweatshirt Baby I made. The afro! The afro! He was special, and I kept him.

What do you do when you're not creating?

I am a manager and a key buyer for a shop here in Germany. I love my job because I get to work on a lot of interesting projects (we design some of our own products as well) and I also get to visit some of the biggest and most interesting trade fairs in the world. I love it. Its a big job, so I can't always keep my personal projects going at the speed I would like, but I try to make room for everything.

How can people find you?

Thank you Lynne!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Playing With Packaging

I'm so excited about the new tags that I'm using for packaging my brooches that I just had to show it off.  A few weeks ago I found PulpArt's amazing plantable paper and featured it in my Sunday Window Shopping finds.  I knew immediately that they would be the perfect compliment for my brooches. 

They're handmade paper, made of recycled paper, and embedded with flower seeds so that once planted these tags will actually sprout flowers.  That just makes me happy.  I consider these a business expense, not a craft supply, so I have not nullified my New Year's resolution to buy no craft supplies for one year.  (yay me!)

I decided to do what I call a "poor man's" letterpress on them.  OK, OK, it doesn't really look like beautiful letterpress, but this is in my budget and the sort of imperfect nature suits me.  I have these metal stamps and used them to pound letters into this lovely paper. 

I just picked out my letters, lined them up on the paper, and...whack!  A couple of smacks with the hammer and I have my shop name down the side.  Pretty sweet, methinks.  There is also a little poem to go along with the tags.

If you haven't already, you should pop over and have a look at PulpArt's paper offerings.  Lovely stuff. 

So it makes me wonder, what kind of packaging do you like?  Have you seen something that really made you stop and say "wow" or "that's so innovative" or "that's really smart".  Have any eco-friendly packaging tips you'd like to share?

Speaking of eco-friendly packaging tips...I'm a member of the Eco Etsy Street Team and our team blog has lots of good information and tips so while you're at it, you should stop over there too.  :D

Happy Tuesday, everyone!


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