Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Crafty Handmade Holiday

This post is part of the series A Crafty Holiday put together by Angela of the Artists House where bloggers have been posting about what and why they are doing for a handmade holiday.  You can see a great post from yesterday by Gina Hief and tomorrow visit Three Ravens for more.

Now here's my story....
I can no longer sit on my sofa.  It’s not that I don’t want to, I am no longer allowed to - my son has turned it into a freeway inhabited by his fleet of cars and trucks.  I don’t think I have actually purchased a single matchbox car or tonka truck, even though we have over 30.  I am grateful for the gifts but coming downstairs every morning to a house full of STUFF makes me feel claustraphobic.  So this year the only things I am bringing into my life are the things that bring me joy.  What can make me smile when I step on it the morning?  A handmade toy - something made with love and attention to detail that is lacking in mass produced items.

Here are a few things I would love to get for the little guy in my life:
1. Baby Deck Chair by Board Games
2. Toy Boats by Friendly Faries
3. Shinkansen Bullet Train Shirt by Namu
4. Robot Blocks Toy Set by Woodmouse

When I buy handmade I know that I am supporting someone who loves what they do.  Somehow when my house is littered with handmade toys I do not feel claustrophobic, instead I feel like my life is filled with cheerful clutter. I smile when I pick up my sons handmade wooden boats and place them back by the bathtub.  I enjoy dusting off the artwork I have accumulated through the years.  I relish washing the ceramic mugs my hubby and I drink out of every morning - we each have our favorite handmade one (well maybe relish is a bit strong, but you catch my drift).  

And for my bigger guy some fun things:
1. Computer Terminal Retro 80s Fridge Magnet by Moddy Boy 80
2. Bear Cup by Mie Kongo
3. Repurposed wooden clock portable amp/ipod speaker by Rdallum
4. Dewey the Itty Bitty Robot Embroidery by Naomi Cayne

I will also admit that buying handmade is a little bit of a selfish act – because I know that no one else is going to be giving my gift.  I am going to stand out as the thoughtful gifter who sought out that amazingly unique item for someone I loved.  So I hope you all have a wonderful handmade holiday - what would you like to find in your stocking?

ps.  Santa, if you are reading this - here are a few hints for me - I've been a very good girl this year!

A Woodland Wonderland Mural for Samantha

After the tofurkey was done and the presents were bought on Etsy, Joe and I geared up to paint a mural for a very special little girl here in Philadelphia.  So after 2 days of hard work I am excited to present to you the final pictures from Samantha's Woodland Wonderland.  Filled with little animal families, this mural got the seal of approval from Samantha when she toddled into the room and started going around with a huge smile saying "Mommy - Babeee" and petting all her new friends. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A woodland wonderland mural

I have been neglecting the blog because I have been blessed with lots of work lately.  I am currently getting ready to start two murals here in Philadelphia for private clients and I wanted to share an image of one with you today.  So without further ado I give you the design for Samantha's Woodland Wonderland.  The client really wanted to feature animal families so there are lots of little pairings.  The best part was when I showed the mural design to Samantha (who is not yet 2) she pointed to the animals and said "baby...mama" over and over with a huge grin.  Now that's why I do this!  The painting will start this week and then I will post some pictures of the completed project.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Psst, I am having my first sale at the Baby Jives store - starting tomorrow, 11/25 at 4pm all ready-made mobiles will be 10% off and there will be free shipping on select items.   The sale runs until 11/29 at 11pm.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A little bird told me - a Giveaway starts today!

I  wanted to let you know that I am doing a Giveaway this week on the blog City of Dionne. Visit the post and leave a comment letting me know which colors you would love to see in my shop and you may win a custom "a little bird told me" single bird on a branch. The winners will be posted next week on her blog - so check back in.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

If you are like me, there are some days when getting your child to eat vegetables can be a bit challenging.  I'll admit somedays I count Gavril consuming veggie Pirate Booty as eating his greens.  My kid, like most, is a carb-o-holic and would pretty much consume crackers all day if I would let him.  That's why I love making muffins.  They are the perfect place to hide his vegetables - or supplement if he's having one of those days where he will gladly eat his broccoli, avocado, and carrots (he does actually eat them).

Here are the muffins I tend to make once fall hits and little man loves to help me cook them - he gets to do the flour and spices.  This is a recipe that I adapted from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin.  I would guess that each muffin has about the equivalent of 3 tbsps of pumpkin, not bad.   I have even tried them with a cup of shredded carrots or zucchini mixed in - up the veggies and the yum quotient.

Have fun cooking - we did!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat  pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 large egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins or chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup shredded zucchini or carrots (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 18 muffin tins with paper liners or grease. Then combine flours, spices, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.  Beat egg in a medium bowl then mix in brown sugar, then pumpkin puree, oil and milk until well combined.  Add shredded zucchini or carrots if using.

Mix the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Do not over mix - this will cause your muffins to lose their tenderness.  Stir in the pecans and raisins or chocolate.

Divide mixture into muffin cups and then bake for 15-17 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  These also freeze well so you can keep on hand for a daily snack.  Happy Baking!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's Raining on Ohdeedoh

I was cruising around the web tonight and found out that Ohdeedoh did a nice little post featuring Rainclouds on Etsy and mentioned my raincloud mobiles.  You can see mine and the rest of the wonderful bunch here on Ohdeedoh