November 2009

  • Cyber Holiday Shopping at Home Based Small Businesses.

    Are you making gifts for the holidays this year?  I know many people are - including me!  

    However, if you aren't feeling all that crafty this year, or you still have gapping holes on your gift list and you are allergic to busy malls, or you want to support small, home based businesses with your gift purchases this year  -


    We will begin with unique, small home based businesses with on line shops:

    A chocolate house?!  Yes!  Can you imagine the look on any child's face when you give them a totally edible CHOCOLATE house!

    If you read no further - be SURE to follow this link to see the chocolate house kit by Chocolate Craft Kits!  Peggy just shipped one to my grandson as a gift from Diane and me!!!

    Peggy, a trained pastry chef, is currently remodeling an old doll house in Portland to serve as a workshop!  You will be hearing more later.  I am so excited about her plans I can't stand it!

    Know anyone on that list who is a confirmed hot sauce addict?  Or would swoon over a jar of Margarita Marmalade? Or who would love a beautiful 10" Pequin Ristra wreath? Or collects out of the ordinary cookbooks?

    Visit New Mexico the easy way by dropping by Chimayo To Go.  Terry and Mary Cordes will see to it that "Alexander the shipping cat" gets your order out the door and on it's way!  Terry and Mary have been supporting small New Mexico businesses with their in home mail order shop for over 10 years!

    Take a short break and pop over to Mark J Music to sample keyboard magic produced in his very own studio!  Christmas Joy is my absolute favorite Christmas CD.  I don't care how bad is was at the mall - this one CD will lift even the most dampened spirit!

    If you live in Portland, check out the schedule page on Mark's site.  What better gift to yourself than taking your BFF out for lunch or happy hour snacks and listening to Mark weave his magic?

    If you know a child who will no doubt be loosing teeth this coming year, why not let Christina custom design their very own Tooth Fairy Doll!  

    Christina has been making these dolls for her own children and her friends children for years!  This is the first year she has made them available to the rest of us!  What I love the most is that you can customize your doll to match favorite colors or special interests.

    Mineral of the Month Club!
      I kid you not! It's true!  Richard and Cheryl Sittinger have been mailing out hundred of specimens every month for over 10 years!  With over 600 members, they still manage the whole thing from home!

    If you have an enthusiastic rock collector on your list - young or not so young - a gift membership would give them something fun to look forward to every month of the year!  We have been members for years and never cease to get excited when that little box arrives in the mail!

    Now for some Crafty Goodness to be found in On-line Shops!

    Long Legged Fly  :  See where Hope's new found passion has taken her! And all proceeds go to her favorite charities!  I own two trilobites!!

    The Bellwether  :  Amelia's handspuns are the perfect choice for your favorite knitter.

    Kitty Grrlz  :  More handspun goodness!  Oh the colorful bounty here!

      :  Even more handspun!  Or perhaps a gift certificate for one of her kits!

    Lucie Wicker Photography 
    :  Share Lucie's fabulous photography as cards, coasters, notebooks.  Or a 2010 desk calendar!

    Cathy of California  :  Flower Loom Kits perfect for children  - from ages 10 to 99!

    Spoonflower  :  Kim and Stephen work tirelessly to support home based fabric designers - why not put together a packet of unique fat quarters for your favorite quilter!  Go to Shop and click on the fabric image!

    Sew Mama Sew :  More great fabrics in already made up packets of fat quarters and charms.

    Eyesaflame  Etsy Shop  :  Island Breeze earrings or Red Planet earrings.  One of a kind! Don't wait!

    Happy Owl Glassworks  :  Oh my!  Just look at those Owl Christmas ornaments. Not an owl fan - check out this page!

    Felting by sqrl*Bee Studio  :  Make haste to score one of Melissa's clever felties!

    And just in case you are feeling just a LITTLE crafty

    Louise Elliott Dolls and Animal Kits :  Kits include the pattern already printed on gorgeous fabric!  I am going to gift MYSELF with one of these!

    Funky Friends Factory
      ;  Purchase instantly downloadable e-patterns - and make one of these charming creatures using a Spoonflower fabric!

    Books, Books, and more Crafty Books!

    Bugs in a Blanket by Beatrice Alemaga :  Charming story and fabulous, witty illustrations!  Perfect book for a family! Perfect book for me! Perfect book for you!

    Kanzashi in Bloom  by Diane Gilleland 
    :  Signed copy includes a kit to make up to four flowers!  (While supply lasts!)

    Pioneer Woman Cooks by our much loved Pioneer Woman!  :  It is finally here!  Perfect for every cook on your list!

    Bead Simple by Susan Beal:  Beautifully illustrated, simple projects for every avid bead enthusiast on your list!

    The Embroiderer's Handbook by Margie Bauer  :  Perfect stitch guide for every embroidery buff!

    The New Crewel: Exquisite Designs in Contemporary Embroidery by  Katherine Shaughnessy
      :  Everyone on your list who embroiders will swoon over this one!

     Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
    :  Give your DIY cook the foundation for creating their own recipes!

    Knitting the Threads of Time: Casting Back to the Heart of Our Craft by Nora Murphy : a lovely tale of women connected over centuries through making.

    The Complete Guide to Wire and Bead Jewelry by Linda Jones
      :  Read Diane's review here!

    Happy Cyber Monday everyone!



  • Make Candles for Advent

    Next Sunday, November 29th is the first Sunday of Advent .  And this is the wreath I will be using to celebrate the season.

    For those of you unfamiliar with the meaning of the Advent season, or who may want to know a little more about the history of Advent wreaths and calendars, check out Advent and the Wreath.

    The symbols on each candle are designed to remind us :

  • More Tips for Making Holiday Baking Easier

    Baking cookies  - one of the best parts of Christmas!  But waiting until a few days before the holiday to bake several kinds of cookies can be a recipe for holiday stress!  Cookie baking takes time.

    Why not just bake one very favorite cookie at Christmas, and bake several of your other favorites NOW and pop them in the freezer.

    I can tell you from personal experience there is nothing so satisfying as putting together a plate of home made Christmas cookies long after the hours on your feet in a hot kitchen have been forgotten!

  • Make a Felted Dala Horse Ornament

    Felted Dala Horse!  A perfect ornament to make to celebrate Santa Lucia Day on December 13th!

  • Do You Have Any Questions for Pam?

    Hi, everyone - this is Diane, Pam's daughter, chiming in.

    I'm getting ready to have Pam on my podcast, CraftyPod soon. I'll be interviewing her, and I wondered if you all had any questions you'd like me to ask her.

    (Pam has been on my show before - in 2007, I interviewed her about gingerbread houses, and in 2008 we discussed holiday traditions from around the world.)

    In this upcoming podcast, Pam will answer as many of your questions as we can fit in a 20-minute show. So, please post them here in the comments!


  • Festive Gourd Ornaments and Baubles

    I am having way too much fun playing with gourds and I just have to share!

          - I decorated the two larger gourds in the background last winter and I have enjoyed them so much I decided to make a couple tiny ornaments using the same designs.

           - I had one little gourd that just begged and begged to be a snowman! 

           - During the past year, I tried my hand at drying  a bunch of those colorful, knobby, little gourds we see in every fall produce display.  And I found a very simple way to make them very festive!

  • Making Wheat Stars and Festive Photo Frames!

    This started out to be a tutorial to show you how to make wheat stars. And then I got this idea that they could be used as wheat star frames for photos of your kids, pets or favorite relatives!  And then I got to playing around with fabrics and... well I am getting ahead of my self!

    Let's start with making the wheat star!

  • I love the ornaments in this brand new e-book "Crafty Tree Trimmings"!

    This beautiful collection of holiday trimmings,  a collaborative effort between six super-star crafters, offers six easy and festive projects that can be used as ornaments, garlands, gift tags, and stocking stuffers.

    Since almost everything you need is probably already in your house and the book includes full size templates,  you can start your holiday crafting the minute the book is downloaded!

  • Blog Birthday Giveaway Winner Announced!

    Congratulations, Dawt!  Your packet of fabrics and the star kits will be in the mail soon!

    I know they are going to someone who will especially enjoy them because  Dawt recently wrote these words about my daughter:

    'Sister Diane, one of THE most crafty guru-mentors-most-awesome-human-beings I have had the pleasure of knowing'

    Music to a mother's ears!

    I enjoy reading Dawt's blog The Little House Out Back and the comments she leaves for me here on mine are always heartwarming. But this one, left during my "Christmas in July" giveaway is one of my favorite sentiments - I have stored it away in my personal book of quotes and inspiration.

    Given that the winter holiday season is almost upon us, I thought I would share her lovely words with you in case you missed seeing them in the post.

    "I love the general atmosphere the winter holidays bring. People smile more (or is that I take more notice?) and seem to have a more tender heart toward others (or am I missing it the rest of the year?)"

    A big holiday hug to each and every one of you for joining in the celebration of my first blog birthday!

    You have overwhelmed me with your kind words, appreciation, and encouragement.  And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


  • Antonio's Gift - How to Make Pressed Fall Leaves Into Sparkly Ornaments

    Antonio gave me these beautiful leaves the day I went to his house to teach him to make fall leaf candles.  And since they make perfect Christmas tree ornaments, I just had to share!

    I love how children can teach you things you would have never thought of making or doing. We started the afternoon together making fall leaf candles.  I had also brought along red, blue and silver glitter so Antonio and his sister, Sophia, could decorate pine cones.