Archive for the ‘1 Crafts’ Category

F is for Felting

Today, my eight-year-old, two-year-old, and I learned about the ancient craft of wet felting by making beautiful soft felted balls at Heartfelt,  a charming shop in the heart of Linden Hills offering a multitude of crafting classes for children of all ages. 

 First we balled up un-dyed wool then carefully wrapping two different colored pieces of wool in a ball shape. Then with very soapy hands we slowly poured water over the balls then shaped them. We continued pouring water and putting more soap on our hands and shaping the balls until the owner of the store and instructor Lisa told us the ball was finished.  Each of the balls had noticibly shrunk in comparison to before putting water on them. 

For extra fun, you can stick a little jingle bell in the middle of the ball before you begin wrapping it.  Makes for a really fun cat toy or just soft balls for kids to “gently” toss in the house or juggle.

There are a variety of classes for preschoolers and older children including free classes designed to introduce you and your children to the relaxed atmostphere Heartfelt provides.  In addition to classes, Heartfelt offers many creative birthday party themes without the preparation and clean-up of a party at home.

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C is for Cat Toys!

Cat Toys are the perfect gift for the cat lover on your gift list.  Hand painted wooden sticks with ribbon tied around two bells and pretty feathers are attached.

My 8-year-old daughter makes these and tests each one meticulously on her 2-year-old sister.

Each toy cost $5, however, if you contact me via email – meganmmc@yahoo.com or Facebook to purchase this item, you will receive a 10% discount.

50% of Cat Toy profits benefit The Children’s Tumor Foundation.

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A is for Art by Ann

My friend Ann makes these amazing water colored and wire pictures insp(w)ired (sorry couldn’t resist) by Biblical verses. They are simply beautiful.

The piece on the left was a gift to our younger daughter for her 2nd birthday.  The Christmas wreath on the right will be for sale at the craft fair on Saturday.  Please come check out her work.

She also does commissioned pieces, perfect for all occasions  including Christmas, Mother’s Day, and sacraments such as Baptisms, First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage.


A portion of Ann’s profits will benefit Feed Zambia.

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Please join us on Saturday, December 3 at 6030 James Avenue South in Minneapolis for a craft sale to help prepare for the Christmas giving season AND raise funds for several wonderful charitable organizations. Refreshments will be provided.

Crafters include:
Ann Hotz Creations -framed pictures and ornaments combining re-purposed wire & paper with watercolor and The Word. A portion of the proceeds go to Feed Zambia

fungirlcandles made by Lynn Barnhart – 100% soy wax candles in recycled, hand cut wine bottles. $10 each or 6 for $50. Each candle comes in a gift bag. A portion of sales on December 3 will benefit Baby Space.

Unique Jewelry by Tammy Anderson:  Specializing in fun unique jewelry. Show casing a new line sea glass earrings and pendants from Lake Michigan, Agates from Minnesota and a fun vintage jewelry collection. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Joyce Food Shelf in Minneapolis.

Crafty Kitty – 8 year old Maddie will be selling hand made cat toys, American Girl doll sleeping bags/pillow sets, Christmas cards, and melted crayons. 10% of the proceeds will benefit The Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Pearl Girl – A variety of hand sewn items including ornaments, headbands, little girl’s dresses art aprons, coffee cozies, bobby socks.  10% of the proceeds will benefit Haite Teen Challenge.  A drawing will be held at 12 PM December 3 for this brand new Christmas  set of Raggady Ann and Andy dolls and hand towels pictured below. Names and contact information were collected at the November 19 craft fair also.  Phone numbers will be used only to call the winner of the drawing and email addresses will be used to send updates on Pearl Girl’s Alphabet Adventures.

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The end of summer is quickly approaching and this week in particular flew by.   We kicked off the week by inviting our cousin Katie (who will be going into 3rd grade although she is just six weeks older than Maddie, that’s what you get when you have an August and a September birthday!) over for a sleepover.  She was a total angel and even played “First Communion” to get Maddie excited for her upcoming sacrament.  We treated Katie and ourselves to a little Jamba Juice action then walked around Centennial Lakes and jumped ahead to next week when we sat in the Gazebo.  Katie in particular really liked the place and said she enjoyed how calm it was with the classical music playing and thanked us for taking her there, like I said, a real angel. However, she is an angel who sleeps like nobody’s business.  The morning after the sleepover we were scheduled to have a new gas line put in to replace our old one and they moved the gas meter from inside the house to outside (oh the joy of living in an old house!).  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when they pulled the tractor right into my precious green grass and tore it right up. I had been seeding and watering the lawn for at least five week.  The words I used under my breath were not in the least bit kind. I am glad that I kept them to myself and didn’t say them aloud given the fact that these men were working with our gas line!!!!

Back to Katie, the kid slept so hard that she didn’t even awake to the jack hammering right outside the window.  I tried to wake her up so I could bring the kids to Perkins for breakfast. Even though they said the work was perfectly safe, I just thought I’d feel better not being there, what with at least three gas related explosions within 5 miles of our house over the past two years and all….but Katie slept and there were no problem. I guess the angels heard my prayers and protected us that and we had a really competent crew doing the work. Maybe they were the angels, you never know about these things.

I canceled next week’s craft camp because it was scheduled during our school orientation time so this week’s was the very last craft camp of 2011.  We had only 2 kids and 1 helper show up, most folks were AWOL at the State Fair which was fine by me because it was kind of nice to have it be a low key event.The kids worked on kindness coins based on our trip to Tucson, Arizona.  While we were visiting my Uncle Tom at his darling ooo! store right next to the University of Arizona, we stumbled upon this wonderful little courtyard with a blue water fountain and painting stations set up for anyone passing by to paint bells for wind chimes that are handed out every April to unsuspecting folks around town.  The idea is to pay homage to a little boy named Ben who died at a very young age.  The organization is called Ben’s Bells.  If you are the recipient of such a kind act you are simply asked to spread as much kindness as you possibly can.  Ben’s Bells also sells ceramic “Kindness Coins” which you’re supposed to spend when you see someone doing something kind. You give them the coin and tell them that you saw them doing something kind and now it’s there turn to pass it on when they see someone doing something kind.

Using Pluffy clay, the kids rolled it out and used cookie cutters in the shape of a little flower or a heart then we pushed the end of a straw into the middle of it to give it a hole to place a ribbon to connect a piece of paper that said, “I saw you do something kind. Please pass this coin on when you see someone do something kind.”  Then at the bottom of the paper was a quote like this one:  “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” ~James Matthew Barrie and this blog address. I baked the shapes for 15 minutes at 250 degrees and then they painted them after they cooled.

While we waited for the coins to bake, we prepared for the Smiley Face party by filling dozens of yellow water balloons.  It was tricky to tie them off, but I finally got the hang of it.  It was a big watery mess and the kids loved it!

The girls also worked on Goofy Glittery Glasses to honor next week’s letter “G”.  This craft was fun to do but was a total flop and the glasses didn’t work to well other than everyone looked like Elton John.

We made HUGE progress this week on ALL of our outdoor projects and I’m filled with joy to announce that we are all done with the garage and driveway as it was approved by the city inspector.  The porchio (patio + porch: thanks Jen B. for the name) was finished thanks in great part to all of the help of neighbor boy Brandon and our buddy Fletcher who both had previous experience with patio pavers.  Our friend Aly came over and stained the inside of the swing set and kept an eye on the baby while I ran a few errands.  I thanked the kids by buying them all lunch from Jimmy Johns.

One of my errands was to return eight pieces of particle boards to Menard’s. Speaking of Menard’s I made great friends with Ashinta at the Customer Service return desk, Justin, and Kevin who helped me haul all the crap I bought and returned.  I must have looked like a real jack ass carrying them in the van. Every time I stopped they pushed the back door open. I could only drive 15 miles an hour and had to cling to the stupid OSB.  Luckily I was able to take side streets nearly the who way there and only had to stop five times to push it back in. Of course, I found our rope and bungie cords later in the week in the basement where many of the contents of our garage have been stored all summer.

Speaking of storage, we finally moved all of our junk out of our neighbor Katie’s garage. She and her husband Paul were so kind to allow us to put so much of our crap in their garage nearly all summer long.  It’s been really nice to finally have all of our stuff in our own garage and to finally start biking around town.  The baby finally got to use her little red Radio Flyer bike that we gave her for Christmas.  She loves it and loves to zip up and down the driveway.

We finally made it to Sebastian Joe’s which is one of my favorite ice cream places.  I wanted to go during our “S” week but never got a chance. We went to the Linden Hills location and despite her lactose sensitivity, I gave in and let the baby eat a whole cone by herself.  The next day is never pretty but it was worth it in her eyes.  There was a lady sitting at the table next to us who looked at Angie and said, “She is doing justice to the ice cream cone, justice.”  I thought that was pretty funny.

After we finished our cones and hosed off the baby, we walked down to the Bibelot (where I used to sell my Meal Magnets) and Creative Kid’s Stuff in search of a new umbrella for those rainy days at the bus stop.  We found rainbow colored umbrellas (in honor of next week…at the end Alphabet Summer the whole thing turns into a big mish mash of letters as we’re trying to get it all done kind of like the grand finale of a fireworks show).  So now we’re all set for those worm filled street days coming up.

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We easily bridged the B and Q week over to S and I by slipping off to the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul with our friends Melissa, her son Bray and his little sister Ella.  We started our visit by bouncing up and down the stairs that make sounds. I remember these from when I was a kid and visited the Science Museum for school field trips. The kids enjoyed nearly every exhibit but the one about the body made me feel kind of sick.  They especially loved seeing their shadows during the spectrum exhibit.

We loved playing in the Big Back Yard’s maze.  I ran into the building and climbed many steps up a few stories to take this picture of the kid’s in the maze where they looked so small. Our little friend Ella got soaking wet while playing with the water exhibit in the back yard.

Maddie continued her second and last week of swimming camp at a super cool swim center where the topic of the week was science. The kids studied various aspects of science including water, fish, rockets, and Isaac Newton’s third law of motion.

On Wednesday we enjoyed a full house at Bellies to Babies Story time.  There were at least eight kids running around the store and some of them even listened to the stories we read.  I forgot all the books I had picked out the night before that started with the letters S & I so I had to be spontaneous and read the books the store had on hand. We brought along our safari hat and binoculars so we could spy on words that started with S & I.

After story time, we stopped off at Jamba Juice which I was saving for next week (J week!) but Maddie insisted and I thought we could certainly find the letters we needed there..or we could just go there and forget about the alphabet for a few minutes. Of course!  Sunrise Strawberry Smoothies.  These things always have a way of working out.

On Thursday we enjoyed smiley face ice cream sandwiches. I started with my little childhood smiley face nightlight. I washed it of course!  Then we used it to press into the sugar cookies before we baked them. The kids had lots of fun putting yellow frosting on them and making the eyes and mouth with black frosting.  I thought they turned out both adorable and scrumptious. The kids loved them!


We had a morning and afternoon group of kids and this change in structure has allowed me to have accomodate more crafting kids without the insanity of a big group all at once. It also got me out of lunch duty and helps me transport Maddie to either morning or afternoon camps.  I really enjoyed the longer days we shared with the kids earlier in the summer, but this change of schedule has been very beneficial for most I hope.

We worked on several crafts this week including little foam smiley face magnets, cutting smiley faces out of paper plates and painting them. We finally got around to last week’s craft that had been cancelled because we were sick with some sort of illness.  The kids stenciled butterflies, bugs, and bumble bees onto book bags and then we sewed little butterfly buttons on them.

The afternoon group whipped through their projects very quickly so we decided to spend some time outside playing in the driveway. The kids used sidewalk chalk to trace their shadows and draw snowman and the kids who had overdosed on sugar raced with each other to see who was the speediest.  One of the kid’s mom’s stopped by during her run to see how we were doing. My goodness, she was very stinky and sweaty so we sent her home to shower.

After craft camp, I had to run to pick up Maddie at her last swimming lesson.  When we returned, there were fire trucks and police cars all around because a crew had broken a gas main less than a 1/2 block from our home. That was just plain scary. We headed to South Minneapolis to enjoy BLTs fresh from my friend Ann’s garden then returned home a few hours later when everything had been sorted out and it was safe again.

Friday morning our neighbor Jan rang the back door nice and early to spring us with a little surprise. She escorted us to her backyard where we saw a HUGE spider and a super sized spider web. Not sure if you can see it in this picture.  It really doesn’t do it justice.

We had to back up a bit on Friday to cover a few things that got left behind last week while we had a little bug.  So, right after that we hopped on the bus with our buddy Bridget and her mom and rode the 4B down to Peter’s Billiards which is a billiards store that looks just like a billiard table on the outside kinda like a visual onamonapia. We had lots of fun looking at all the game room games and even playing with some.  The girls loved the foosball table. I really loved this huge picture of the Beatles that was on one of the walls.

Bridget’s mom Julie really got into the swing of this alphabet thing when started noticing the big black bean bags the girls were sitting on and the Blues Brothers statues on a blue pool table.  She admitted that she had become downright addicted to the whole alphabet summer deal when I caught this picture of Bridget sitting next to a bird. It’s nice to have at least one person understand me.

When it was time to leave, the girls were very brave and took the glass elevator without us while the moms raced down the stairs to try to beat them.  Shortly after that we headed up a block to Bachman’s. This was one of the few things that we repeated from last year’s adventures.

The girls had lots of fun looking at all the blooming flowers. Maddie really had her heart set on buying a bamboo plant but the buyer had not bought any for a long time. I bought a birdhouse for our pixie nook and Maddie used her money to buy a little chair for her pixie to sit in after a long day of golfing. We enjoyed having a little snack at Patrick’s bakery. Bridget picked out a little birdie for her pixie garden and the girls insisted on each getting a gum ball.

I loved seeing this beautiful blue orchid plant and had to take a picture of it….which reminds me that the girls all dressed in blue and I wore black just for the occasion. It was important to remember that we were actually supposed to be celebrating the letters S & I so Julie pointed out that cactus plants are called succulants and I enjoyed seeing this little advertisement for Sturdy, Sassy, Succulants.

The highlight of this trip though was seeing two beautiful monarch butterflies doing… well… how else can I put this…bopping? It was pretty interesting to watch and downright entertaining.

Friday night I found a babysitter and headed out for little down time with the neighbor ladies for our first book club meeting. It was a jolly and silly good time.

On Saturday, Maddie and I snuck away to see the Smurfs movie then I surprised her with a visit to this charming little store called Little Enchantments in Edina which is filled with every kind of dollhouse, miniature, and fairy need you may ever have.  It was so fun and I broke down an bought a tiny little bird bath for our pixie place.

A few more things about this week. I consigned some of my old clothes and made a little money selling them but had a really successful sale with Just Between Friends and worked on Saturday afternoon with the sorting process.

The garage really took shape this week and was finally all shingled and sided. The only thing we were missing  was the garage door. I even set up the electrical inspection for next week. We ended the week by finally getting the swing set fixed and moved so the kids could play on it. I stained it and then felt incredibly sick from the fumes. But it looks splendid!

Lastly, I just had to share this smile because after all that was the theme of the week and my whole purpose in doing this whole Alphabet Summer thing!

Last year we had fun sticking the baby in a safe and surrounded baby jail, eating Sun Chips, going to see the Sousa band with our little friend who ended up sick with strep throat, getting all set for school, attending St. Paul’s Irish Fair and playing in sand, being silly, seeing a super sized sun flower by Super America, Seeing the sunset form the sky, taking a stellar picture of the St. Michael church, selling the saucer, dressing as some kind of super hero, going on a Sponge Bob Safari, setting up a savings account, playing softball, making a scrubby skirt, getting soaked in slimey sand, speedy babyIspy at Ikea,

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We had a relatively quiet week because I tried to quit the busy pace we’ve been keeping this summer.  I started the week off with a bug of some sort or another.  Feeling queasy and absolutely exhausted.  By Wednesday I felt all better but Maddie developed a bad cold and a bit of a fever and missed the last day of swimming camp on Thursday. I also thought it best to cancel B and Q Craft Camp this week so we didn’t spread the bug.

I broke down and called my friend’s boy who’s nickname is Buddy to help me out with my patio porch project.

Hopefully this week we can squeeze in the quilted butterfly busy bags in with our I and S crafts. I decided to live dangerously and went out for ice cream at the Pumphouse Creamery (never made it there for our “P” week). The line was very backed up but no one was the least bit crabby about it and the wait was well worth it but that’s probably because of the company we kept with neighbors Melissa and Ella.

Despite not feeling the best, we did have some fun.  On Wednesday morning, we went to the Q Kindness Cafe (the “Q” is for Quality) for breakfast in downtown St. Paul with our buddy Quinn, his sister Zoe, and their mom Sheila.  Sheila made a couple of Qs on Quinn’s pancakes with syrup. The restuarant was a wonderfully inspirational place.  It was fun to talk to the owner Lisa who’s husband is made our delisious blueberry pancakes and to hear about all the kind acts that happened there when peopled pay it forward for future customers.  After we ate, we checked out the bronze Charlie Brown and Snoopy statue. Everyone seemed to come into the place with a smile including this guy who just stuck his smiley face in the camera so I took his picture. As we got into the car, we encountered a guy who’d definitley had a bit too much booze (by 11:30 in the morning, love downtown!)

On Friday morning our neighbors invited us to go to the Science Museum with them. Although our “S” week starts in a few days, we were able to identify quite a few “B”s during our visit.  We spotted several big fat bumble bees in the Big Backyard exhibit. We stepped back 60 million years to learn about the Age of Behemoths. The girls got to see how big the belly of these beasts really were. We also enjoyed checking out the big bookshelves filled with books about dinosaurs.

Since we moved here, I’ve been trying to tour the Bartholomew House but the hours it is open are so limited.  We’ll have to try again in the future weeks.


We made it to the Penn Lake Library in Bloomington to pick up some more fairy books and even stopped at Augsburg Park library to pick up some books that were in my reserved in my que. The camera broke and I’m unable to use the auto focus feature…oh well, I’m getting better at using manual focus and actually starting to like it.   I worked quite a bit on our backyard this week in preparation for our end of summer party and to be honest, we’ll be pretty much broke after we finish paying for all the work we’ve had done on our garage and driveway this summer. Two last pictures for you I took today: Ella and Angela in their little cars going “beep beep!” and Angela blowing bubbles, her  new favorite thing to do, “out-thide!” Hoping we’re all feeling better this week!

Last year we spent our B and Q weeks by: taking the bus to Bachman’s with McKenna (we’re still hoping to do this with our buddy Bridget this week because she was out of town this week), ate at Quiznos and Q Cumbers,  and made Daddy a Quit Kit.

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