Showing posts with label crafting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crafting. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crafting our Home

Our window nook

Hello Dear Friends!

First off welcome again to all the new followers here from my current Nova Natural Giveaway  on facebook, pinterest, and google +. I find it immensely amusing just how connected I am now. I tend to be pretty regular on FB and pinterest (which is where I do the bulk of our home school planning). However Google + is growing on me. 

I do however take frequent black out computer breaks for media fasting and meditative purposes. Trust me, it's good for the soul :)

I thought I'd share a little bit more of our new home with you all. We moved to Willows Oaks back in mid-December from our house on Blount Point. We're renters and have been for the past 6 years. I have a hard time making a new place a home, especially since I feel like I just have to pack it up and leave every few years. But more and more as I have been in this new place, I have tried to make it ours. To breathe life into it. I find if I don't do this, then I begin to dislike my surroundings a bit. And that just won't do if your surroundings are where you work, teach, and spend most of your time. 

Rainbow heart mobile I made for our window nook

There has also been a neat series that my church has been doing on work, not just career work, but all work (including that of a homemaker). And more specifically that our work, regardless of what it is, should be an act of worship done in love for your creator (or if you don't believe in a higher power I think doing it out of love for your family and yourself is also very appropriate). 

So over the past few months and weeks I have been thinking more about this work of homemaking. Most of the little touches I add to our home are crafted (another act of worship and a reflection of creation that my Creator has endowed in me IMO). And so as I walked around today and snapped photos of our home, my work, my worship- well it was a very sweet reflective time. 

Rahima Baldwin Dancy talks about how the work of a homemaker and caretaker (female or male) is devalued in today's society. I feel that this sentiment is pretty prevalent as well. Real work = money, and well last time I checked I didn't receive a paycheck last month for staying at home. I also don't think many take into consideration mothers and fathers who do work and then come home to work a second shift taking care of the children, cooking, cleaning after a long day away. Not to mention those who do this alone without helpmates... you're angels in disguise.

I applaud all of you who do this work, at home or away. If you haven't heard in awhile that the work you do for your children and your home is vitally important, well it truly is. The work of keeping a home and raising little ones who will thrive in their environment and unfold there is immensely important and beautiful. 

I hope this post finds you all well! Do you have bits of your home to share? I'd love to see them. Do you feel your work around the home is an act or worship? 

Until next time,
Love and Light-

I love this one too much to take it down- it's in our dining room! 

Our last remaining preserves from last year (apple butter, peach, and blueberry!! 

A favorite quote

Another little nook in our living room with a sweet photo and quilt for the kids

My all time favorite photos from my summer in Morocco and Europe! 

A watercolor that Jonas did that I love

Our weekly planner

In our kitchen

Linking up this week with Frontier DreamsMagic OnionsNatural Suburbia, and Crafty Moms Share and a few others! Please check out my 'where I party' page! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Speeding Along

I apologize for the double post, but blogger deleted my first draft of this blog! 
Dyeing play silks for the ocean sprite  swaps- see photos below. 

Wouldn't you know, it's mid-July already! It also means that summer is half over already. As a child July always seemed to speed by, much to my dismay. I was, and always will be, a beach girl. The ending of summer always was sad, since it meant less time near the sea. But in the same token, I loved getting back to school. School was an escape in itself from my tumultuous home life. 

On the subject of school, we still haven't made a firm decision yet for Deirdre. However, Jonas' speech assessment is in 12 days. Hopefully by then we will know more, as well as if school is in the future for him to help his speech vs. in home therapy. 

I spent some time in the book of James this week. I know that God is really speaking to me through chapter one. As I continue to meditate on it, I am hope it's specific application to my life will elucidate itself. Until then, I know I have asked God for wisdom and I believe that he will give it. I am not a wave on the ocean tossed about by the wind. I never have been

On the 4th of July we made firefly crafts from Kiwi Crate! And the even glowed! 

The kiddos on the 4th.  

I have been trying to soak up this time with the kids. Bit by bit I am getting out more. Bit by bit I am able to do more. I am starting to feel back to my old self, but a better more centered version. I also have been taking more time for myself, which means getting to the gym and waking up early for some quiet time. I have also been spending more time in the kitchen too. I am hoping to cut out more and more processed foods from our diet because for one it really is bad and two, it's expensive! Plus I do enjoy cooking as I have come to find out, especially since my little chef Jonas likes to help. Deirdre likes to bake more, she leaves the cooking for Jonas. Some of my more recent adventures have been making icecream, yogurt, fruit rolls, and just cooking more of our meals in general. 

We made ice cream on the 4th too. 

I also have been crafting a bit for the swap group I joined called bits of goodness. Here are my finished projects for the wizardry and summer swap. Being a part of this group is so much fun, plus my kiddos get great toys. 

Until next time, 

An ocean sprite, ocean silk, and mermaid table card.  
The sprite was wood burned. Then I dyed him with Stockmar watercolors. Then I finished him with shellac and added the wool roving wings. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bud the Blackberry Gnome

With Virginia's berry picking season upon our doorstep, I received some much needed crafting inspiration. I am happy to introduce to you all, Bud, our blackberry gnome. His job, according to my 4 year old daughter Deirdre, is to guard the berries from 'pesky animals' whom 'take more than their share of the blackberries'. He also keeps the 'unfriendly insects' at bay- as well as 'helps the berries ripen up just right'. 

I made him using 50/50 wool felt. I find that using blends is easier to embroider, after using 100% wool felt for awhile. His blackberry hat was made using french knots. His cloak and outfit were made using Wee Folk's pattern and a running blanket stitch. 

The blueberry bush and cherry tree behind him were made by myself last summer. If you're interested in how I did it, I wrote an article for Rhythm of the Home magazine detailing the process. Bud now resides on our Spring/Summer nature table. I plan on also making him some other berry friends to keep him company! If you'd like to read about our blackberry picking trip last year you can find it here

Summer is still officially a month away, however we are having days up into the nineties already. With a tiny baby, I am finding it hard to enjoy the outdoors as much since she can't wear bug spray or sunscreen yet. But I am making do. I set up our back yard porch (which is just a large paved area surrounded by our plum tree and fairy gardens) so that my older kids can play out there alone. 

Now when I say alone, they're really not alone. They just think they are! I am actually right next to them, since our living room sliding glass and screen door opens up right out onto the porch.  I can and hear them as if they were in the next room, yet they're outside. I have a mud kitchen, wading pool, chalk, art supplies, trucks, a table and chairs, our fairy garden, and some riding toys all out there for them. And once Brynna is asleep, I then set her in a cradle near the door inside, so I can hear her, and then join Deirdre and Jonas outdoors. Let's just say this set up has been a hit on both ends. Now they don't have to wait for me to stop nursing to go outside. 

Plus I think that this little bit of perceived independence helps build their confidence and let's them play a bit more freely. Jonas and Deirdre have been working out their sibling squabbles more on their own out there too, which is nice. 

I will post some photos of our porch soon, behind the star is a glimpse. I lost my camera for a few days but I've found it again, yippee! Oh and yes, we've been making Waldorf window stars over here. Deirdre and I are addicted! 

I also am starting up my craft for the 'Bits of Goodness' Wizardry World themed swap I joined. Thank you Kelly over at Happy Whimsical Hearts for introducing me to this group. I am making 5 wooden Hungarian Horn-tail dragons and 5 golden eggs, as inspired by the Harry Potter series. I hope they turn out well. 

Until next time, 

Daily Verse or Quote:

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

– Matthew 18:2-3 (NIV)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A New Rhythm and Baby Bunnies

Ah hello my long lost friends! It feels like forever since I've been back in this place. I've been blissfully enjoying my newborn baby and soaking in all her sweet goodness. Maybe since she is my third baby and most likely our last, I finally realize how fleeting babyhood is? The newborn stage is so short and really one of my favorite stages- so it is so wonderful to sit back and cut out the rest of life's busyness. 

However really with three children now under five I am finding it is a bit impossible to really get a lot of rest. But I don't mind since my recovery has been fantastic and co-sleeping helps a lot with getting better sleep. While this labor was much longer than my others and Brynna's pregnancy had a lot of ups and downs (primarily my hyperemesis), it is so surprising just how great I feel. I mainly attribute my feeling so well to my lovely OB who really made sure I had a great delivery as well as the placenta encapsulation that I had done. I highly recommend placenta encapsulation and if you're interested in more information this site will answer all your questions. Also if you're local to Hampton Roads I can connect you with my encapsulation specialist- her site is here! Again I could go on and on about how great I think encapsulation but I guess it can be summed up for me by the simple fact that at four days postpartum I did not physically feel like I had a baby at all!

But on to the fun stuff :) Before and after delivery I have still been crafting and sewing. I finished with the help of my mother-in-law Brynna's Beatrix Potter quilt. I also completed knitting the oat fields and baby chicks for the knitted farm swap I am participating in! I also have a bunch of fun sewing projects lined up as well as the beginnings of a fairy garden. 

Baby Brynna continues to just amaze me. She is such a calm sweet baby. Really she is the perfect baby for a Momma with a two year old boy! Jonas and Deirdre are smitten with her and life goes on just as it did before with no jealousy issues that I can see. 

I am just so excited to get back into the swing of things but at the same time I am also happy to embrace a totally new family rhythm for my new family of five. I am so very blessed. 

Always, Nicole 

PS: the day Brynna was born, we woke up to find a litter of baby bunnies in our bunny hutch! Hoppy Peter and Brownie welcomed two babies into our growing home. I think it so neat that they share a birth day with Brynna and that her nursery is bunny themed to boot. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011


In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.  
~William Blake

Two winter gnomes, the red has mistletoe on his back and the blue has the nativity star.  Inspired by Wee Folk Art!
A new creation. A stuffed felt mushroom wood table for the gnomes. 

Drooly from teething! 

Fresh cranberry and dried orange garland. 

We are certainly busy over here. Quite a few last minute gifts that need to be completed for the kids. My Christmas cards are finally all addressed and stamped. They'll go out on Monday. 

However amid this self imposed hustle, I found time with Jonas today to string some garland. He sure loved helping and he is quite precise for an almost 2 year old. Poor fellow though, he is getting his 2 year molars in right now. No fun for Christmas. 

We also gave Deirdre an early present today, a new pet Dutch rabbit. She named him 'Hoppy'. He is only six weeks old and adorable. He is inside with us in a cage for a few weeks until he is older. He was just weaned. Hopefully he will fill the hole in her little heart that Snow White- the hen which a predator got- left. 

My broody mother hen, Precious, still seems to be a good mother hen and is setting on the nest. Please pray that this lasts. I would really hate to see the entire clutch go bad. 

Tomorrow is Deirdre's official birthday, even though we celebrate it earlier in the month. She is spending the day with her Omi and Grandfather. They are going to a special kids concert. I should have some time then to finish up her  and Jonas' quilt (plus some other goodies). Then on Monday I am taking her ice skating. Really it is Craig who will be skating with her.  I think this pregnant lady needs to stay away from the ice. 

I hope you all are having a relaxed and productive weekend too! Feel free to share the gifts you're working on! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

::right now::

Lovely and happy co-play- it warms my soul. 

Co-op Martinmas- minus Jonas who was running around like a crazy man! 

Fake snow courtesy of the Yankee Candle store! 

::right now:: a tradition birthed by Soulemama 

Right now, I am...
:: surrounded by signs of the holidays in my home, city, and daily rhythm. And I love it!
:: sewing up a store. I have two Christmas quilts to finish (see below photos), and a birthday gnome quilt to bind by Saturday! 
:: thinking up last minute ways to decorate for Deirdre's 4th birthday party this Saturday. She is having a gnome party and well if you hadn't noticed stores don't carry gnome party supplies. While this usually is not a problem for me, being sick and pregnant for the greater part of the past three months has taken a HUGE toll on my productivity! 
:: wondering if it will snow on this Saturday like it did last year on Deirdre's birthday. I sure hope so! 
:: letting go of my grand plan of hand making all my Christmas gifts. I had to outsource some of my gift-making to other sweet Etsy mothers. But, as I wanted, all my children's gifts and most of my immediate family gifts were handmade- and fair trade. A few were also made by yours truly! (By the way check out three places I bought from on Etsy: Natural Earth Farm and Fiber Studio , Christina Guenther Artisan JewelryWyoming Rose!)
:: praying my family and I remain cold free this winter. When I am pregnant my colds linger much longer than I prefer. 
:: planning the rest of my co-op curriculum this month. My partner and I decided to not buy one this month and make our own since we don't really need extra help coming up with stories and crafts. Here's hoping the kids love it! 
:: dreaming about my new baby as my body continues to gently remind that indeed there is a baby coming this Spring. 
:: reading the winter edition of Rhythm of the Home magazine. My new article on handmade holiday soaps is posted in it as well in their 'Warmth' section, so check it out!  
:: listening to Paradise by Coldplay and letting it take me to a nice melancholy place that I sometimes like to visit. 
:: treasuring the fourth year of marriage Craig and I will celebrate tomorrow. My degree, research, awards, scholarships, publications-basically any achievement I have- pales in comparison to the amount of work a happy and healthy marriage takes. And I am proud to say I consider our marriage my (and our) greatest achievement. Even more so than the effort we put into parenting. I just love Craig so! 
:: backtracking a lot past co-op adventures that in my hyperemesis haze forgot to tell you all about- see our Martinmas photo above! But rest assured I will get there. We are still loving every moment of co-op! 

:: and finally wishing you and yours a blessed week! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Rainbow of Toadstools

About February of this year I began telling Deirdre a bedtime story. Our usual bedtime rhythm before was bath, lotion, pj's, a short TV show on Momma's bed (while I nursed and put Jonas down), then a craft, snuggles, 3 books, prayers, and then bed- commencing at about eight o'clock. 

Soon however Jonas weaned himself and I no longer needed to put on a show for her. Also let me just put it out there that I do dinnertime and bedtime alone without any help usually every night of the week since my husband works nights. So to keep my (at the time 2 year old) safely occupied, a 20 minute show of Maurice Sendak's Little Bear seemed justified. But now there was no more breastfeeding and Deirdre was older so she now plays quietly in her room while I put the baby down. 

All of a sudden however, she and I now had a longer span of time between Jonas' bedtime and hers. I did not want to fill this with a TV show anymore because it was unnecessary, so I decided to try something new to help wind her down. Then viola while I was reading about Waldorf education this February it came to me. I can tell her a story! It seemed simple enough but let me just say that coming up with an original story each night was not so easy or relaxing for me at least.

At first I told her my rehashed versions of fairy tales- Jack and the Beanstalk is a big hit at my house- but  conversely I also felt a desire to tell a her contiguous story. A story in which each night I could add to yet have the same characters. A story that could evolve to include trials and issues she faced during her day. A fun teachings story. So after thinking some more and revisiting my childhood I remembered one of my favorite characters- David the Gnome

The funny thing is that I do not remember much about the show. It was on Nickelodeon in the late 80s, but not for very long. However I do remember that David wore a red pointy hat, that his wife's name was Lisa, that he ate a hard boiled egg for breakfast (weird, right!), and he helped animals as well as hated trolls. 

So I took a shot in the dark and told her a story about David. And each night since February she has gotten a new David story from me (unless she is with Omi overnight). That's almost five months of stories, woo-hoo! It is pretty miraculous to me how much she loves and looks forward to these stories. I do not fancy myself a famous bard, but in the eyes of my daughter I am. Each night I repeat the same introduction as follows:

Once upon a time there was a little gnome named David,whom lived at the base of the old oak tree.
Every morning when he wakes up, he puts on his red pointy hat and goes downstairs to eat his breakfast.
Every morning for breakfast he has a hard boiled egg in a little blue egg cup.
When he is finished, he gives his wife Lisa a kiss good-bye and puts on his shoes and walks out his door into the forest.
You see, David is a forest helper gnome.
His job is to help and protect the animals of the forest. 

When I am done with the introduction, I recap what David did in the story from last night and then he continues on his adventure. Deirdre now has the introduction memorized and she likes to say it instead of me. It really is quite a treat and a sweet unique mommy-daughter time. 

Now you might be wondering what this has to do with crafting! Well I will tell you. Have you ever seen a gnome toy, clothing, books, or quilt at the store? No, you say? Well me either! 

As a result of the David stories, Deirdre has taken a keen interest, nay obsession with gnomes. The hard part is that I cannot buy gnome things at most stores. So this Momma buckled down and decided to make some gnome toys and a quilt for her gnome obsessed daughter. (An obsession I whole heartily support).

My latest gnome crafting addition has been her rainbow of toadstools. I am not sure why gnomes and mushrooms are linked to one another, but she asked and I obliged. 


These were very simple. I just wood burned a line between the stem and dome as well as dots. Then I did a watercolor wood stain and sealed with beeswax polish. Its very similar to the wood gnomes I made. You can get the wood blanks from this site, and soon *hopefully* my tutorial will be published. Until then feel free to email if you want to make a pair of your own and need help!

Always, Nicole 

Their new gnome treehouse. I traded her all her old Little People sets for this. It was a good trade.

Their new barn and animals. I also traded her for it. She and Jonas love this. The only Little People sets we kept were our nativity and Christmas Town, both special gifts form relatives. 

Her new set-up, or so she calls it! 


Thursday, June 2, 2011

::right now::

I wanted to have a gnome tutorial posted tonight but alas, life happened. My husband works night shifts generally, he is a sommelier and maitre'd, but tonight he actually had the night off! That was until another employee called in sick so he had to work a double. 

Oh well. So instead of having a rare family dinner- in our house we have to do family lunches- the kids and I had a picnic dinner in the park (since that was the most bearable time to be outside). I think it was about 90 degrees here today and no breeze. 

So tonight I will steal another SouleMama tradition of doing a 'right now' blog with promises of crafty goodness to come tomorrow. 

All done! 

The sleeping gnomes and owl

The flower fairies- but I might call them sprites. 

The were so much fun

From Amanda Soule's Book: The Creative Family. An art display rack. We were in desperate need of one and the best part is I found it thrifted. Then I sanded it and repainted it. Nice for $1 right? 

The Tomten Sweater and felt fairies in progress. 

And new embroidery that I cannot wait to start!!! 
right now, I am...
:: feeling hopeful and excited about our futures here in the Kleemann family. This summer will be a fun transition for all of us to a new home with lots of changes in store. 
:: cooking up ideas for the aforementioned new home. Places for thought and retreat for the entire family await us.  
:: loving my baby boy's sweet spirit and budding personality. He loves life and I wish I could remember to love life like he does more often. 
:: making a mess with paints galore. The art display rack, gnomes, fairies, and owls are all done. 
:: remembering just how much I miss living right next to the ocean on blistering peninsula summer days. 
:: marveling at my daughter's imagination and curiosity. Neither of which I can take any credit for and I like it that way
:: smelling the wet smell of the earth mingled with my tomato plants. That smell reminds me of my Grandfather
:: hearing a drove of cardinal fledglings eat the suet that we set up for them yesterday near the playroom window and being able to share that moment with Deirdre. 
:: relishing every milestone and moment at home with my kids. Seeing the world through their eyes is such a wondrous gift and I thank the Lord for allowing Craig and I to be their guide. 
:: wishing you and yours a lovely day and a beautiful start to your weekend!