Monday, December 29, 2008


“The greatness of a craft consists firstly in how it

brings comradeship to men.”

~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Well I did a ton of Christmas crafting this year. I think, I again, bit off more that I could chew...but I chewed...and swallowed...and actually completed most of what I had on my list. I failed to take pictures of most of my completed projects. Call it delirium, or exhaustion, or both.

Fortunately I have now slept, and traveled south with a couple of works in progress. My peeps in Texas are patiently awaiting their finished products.

I began my holiday mania, with a trip to Marshall Dry Goods, in Batesville. It is like a thrift store of designer fabric. Oh, how I love this place. I have to pace myself because it is a bit overwhelming. There are stacks and stacks of fabric to choose from. In addition, there is a whole other gigantic section that is open to wholesalers only. This will hopefully, someday, encourage me to get a tax number for my little fledgling Wild Violet Goods business. In the meantime, I am sated by the great deals I can find in the public warehouse.

So you ask...What were my Christmas projects? They consisted of...

...three art wraps...

The inspiration and basis for my pattern were culled over at Soule Mama's blog...have I mentioned yet that she is one of my personal heroes? They were pretty simple to put together and fun to design. I made them a bit bigger to hold a large moleskine sketch book, and some drawing pencils. I added an extra pocket on Mimi's to hold stationary (perfect for throwing in her bag as she is whisking away on one of her trips to New Mexico...or Arkansas, yes please).

...two Wild Violet aprons...

a pattern that I created by morphing a couple of vintage apron designs. I am still perfecting it, as I add something a little different every time I make one. The recipients of said aprons were pleased. That is always rewarding.

...a check book cover...

I broke out my stash of felted wool sweaters and my felting tool and Bam, I had a check book cover.

...a fairy baby in a hickory nut shell...

This turned out cute. I am working on a Daddy and Mama. They were supposed to be accessories along with this adorable mushroom fairy furniture set, (that we picked up over at Willow Tree Toys) for a fairy house that Kalin was creating. We had a lot of other things for her and sometimes you just have to let things drop off our list, for the sanity of it all. Violets fifth (oh my goodness) birthday is rapidly approaching. We are going to complete our project for this event.

...and Art Magnets...

I bought magnet sheets, cut them into smaller pieces, gave Violet my Bic permanent markers (Man I love these), and let Violet draw little pictures on them. She was inspired by an episode of Mr. Rogers that we watched, where he visited am African batik artist's studio, and made a "batik" magnet for her Grand Daddy. I don't know if he has this effect on anyone else, but to this day, after 30 years of watching him, Mr. Rogers still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

...clothes for Berry Sue...

With the falling out of the fairy project, I decided to make Berry Sue a few new duds to go with the baby sling and baby set we purchased for her (also from Willow tree).

I made her shirt and hair ties with a some old t- shirts, a pair of tights from one of my stripy socks, and a new coat from a felted sweater.

This year I resolved to use only wrappings that I had on hand, and recycled objects. I found some vintage patterns at the neighborhood thrift store. I used the instruction sheets for wrapping paper, and the patterns themselves for tissue paper.

All in all a very crafty handmade holiday season. Thanks for sticking with me in my ramblings and run on sentences.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!"
~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836

So maybe it is a four-year old thing, hopefully a very short phase, but everytime that I pull out the camera and aim it in my daughters direction I get this

and this....

and this...

and this...

and if I am oh so lucky I might even get a fraction of this

I hope everyone has been having a happy holiday season. This year I admit seemed a bit like a race. I am sorry I flailled on reporting our days of Christmas...better luck next year.

Santa was good to us this year, and we all feel fortunate to have the things that we do.

Well we are heading to Texas tomorrow to visit family. I am looking forward to it. We were stalled out a couple of days due to Violets cold and fever. UGG!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! ~Frank Church

Well hello again. Things here have been a bit hectic, and I temporarily misplaced my camera. Castle was fun but exhausting. It took me a few days to recover and recharge. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season.

I really love this time of year. I am trying to remind myself to slow down and have moments reminiscent of the spirit and excitement that I felt as a child. My parents always worked hard to make the holidays special and I want the same for Violet.

I know now, how hard that must of been because these moments, have to be carved out of our normal daily lives. Oh, but how those moments are enriching to the soul.

On that note, here is what we have been doing during our days of Christmas. They have not all been in the order that I planned, and some of the activities have stretched out of a course of a few days, but we have been having fun doing them.

6: Make Bird Feeders

We read Counting to Christmas which came from Mimi and Grand Daddy last Christmas. It sort of mirrors what we are doing and is a really sweet book. The bird feeders were constructed with orange and apple slices, pine cones, orange bowls (we cut them in half, scoop out and eat the fruit, and smear crunchy peanut butter in them), thistle seeds, and dried fruit. We had a lot of fun and they turned out cute.

7: Decorate a tree for the birds

8: Make Cinnamon Ornaments

9: Hang Stockings

The stockings were hung on the bookcase with care (we don't have a chimney...yet)

10: Eat Cinnamon rolls for breakfast

11: Donate food to a food bank

12: Pick out Christmas tree

Kalin found the perfect tree in the woods, and brought it home to us.

13: Make a Gingerbread house

14: Make orange coconut balls

My sister and I used to make these no bake cookies every year. They are so easy and delicious. I will try to post the recipe on another post

15: Do a Christmas project

I got this idea from the Kids Craft Weekly book. We used colored card stock, glitter glue, buttons, beads, and sequins. Oh yeah, and some felt balls.

16: Make Snowflakes

I was totally geeking out on this one. Violet was kind of in to it. Her snowflake (on the bottom) turned out cute.

17: Decorate the Christmas tree.

This one has not quite happened yet. Hopefully we will be able to do it later tonight.

18: Take Violet Christmas shopping at Dollar Tree

This will be the third year that we have done this. We always find cool presents. She gets to pick them out herself and everything is $ it is easy for her to count how much she is spending.

19: Bundle up and watch Christmas lights with a thermos of cocoa

We had a plan change and are going to do this activity tomorrow night. I thought that it would be fun to use this thermos. I picked up it up at a thrift store for 2 bucks. I love it!! I did a test run and tried out some chai for my on the go sword boxing, shipping, fabric and Christmas shopping extravaganza day. Whew. It works so good and kept my chai hot all day long. Wahoo!!!!

In addition to these activities we have squeezed a parents night at ballet:

my nieces band recital, two icy days,

Santa Lucia Day (Kalin's family has Swedish roots), a ton of sword shipments,

and a bunch of work done on our house. Yippee!

Our friends Chris and Irish stuck around after Castle to help us. They are the true angels this Christmas.

Oh yeah, we can't forget the prerequisite viewing of White Christmas. It is one of my all time favs. Violet loves it too. Especially the sisters number. Good stuff.

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope that it won't be so long until my next post. I have really missed it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I just realized that my links to the finger play and song sources did not work. If you were interested, and want to give it another try here they are:

the holiday


"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million."
~Walt Streightiff

5: Eat a Christmas Cookie

I have to say that there is A LOT going on and I am feeling very scattered today. In my disorganization I have misplaced my I don't have any pictures. Today was the first day of our Castle event. Violet had a lot of fun playing with her cousins and needless to say the Christmas cookie thing did not happen...but other memories were made.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Days of Chrismas: 4

4: Learn a Christmas Rhyme

So I thought that Violet would be totally jazzed about this one. She normally loves learning new songs and finger plays. She did them with me but, well...rather unenthusiastically. I will try again another day.

Oh yeah I got the finger plays here, and here.

This one seemed to be her favorite:

Here is the Chimney

Here is the Chimney
(Make fist, enclose thumb)

Here is the top.
(Put palm of hand on top of fist)

Open the lid.
(Remove hand quickly)

And out Santa will pop.
(pop up thumb)

....So in the world of castle baking preparations I made 5 giant pans of my Grandmother's yummy cheesy grits and 8 doz muffins. The festivities start tomorrow. It should be fun.

Cheesy Grits

Cook 2 c grits in 8 c boiling salted water.
Add 1 c sharp cheddar cheese, 1/4 lb butter, 3 eggs beaten
Season with 1/2 tsp garlic, salt, tobasco
Bake @ 400 for 30 min

....And if you are still reading and interested...I made this recipe times 12...yes times 12...and failed to read the little words in front of 2 c. of grits...COOK. I proceeded to measure the proper amount of grits into a GIANT bowl and pour boiling hot water over them...this produced a liquid soupy like mix...because in reality you have to COOK the grits in the boiling water...I then poured the whole darn mess of a thing into a GIANT pot and the proceeded to stir them for oh about an hour until they finally reached the thick and creamy grit status. Oh my was this a fiasco. My sister in law Joy helped my stir the giant vat of grits (which by the way anyone who walked past us stirring the vat said " Wow that is the biggest pot of grits I have ever seen!" ) and calm me down from a freak out. I have to say my track record/ baking chi is a little off this year. i had a similar experience on a much smaller scale with Mama's sweet potato delight. Oh well I guess I will just chock it up to a great learning experience. I now know how to cook a GIGANTIC vat of grits and will always make sure to check and double check a recipe before diving in.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."
~Charles Dickens

3: Make glittery stars

A few stars to deck the halls...constructed with some empty cereal boxes and glitter glue.


"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
~Norman Vincent Peale

2: Make Christmas Cards

Violet and I got out the old Christmas cards, paper and glue. I let her just be creative. She made this one for Maia.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play."

~Friedrich Nietzsche

1: Snuggle, Watch a Christmas movie, and drink hot cocoa.

Kalin stayed home this morning. The three of us snuggled and watched Shrek the Halls while sipping cocoa. It is really cold here and snowed on and off all day yesterday. Winter is definitely around the corner.

We are also getting ready for castle. What is castle you say? Well it is sort of like the Hollow Earth Swordworks' company picnic...but on a much grander scale. Friends and family come in from all over to attend.
It begins on Friday and ends Sunday evening. We usually have an attendance of at least 100 people on Saturday. There is much sword fighting, feasting, and merriment. I have a little faery hut set up for the wee ones where we craft, read and play games. It should be a lot of fun.

We have a lot to prepare for this event. Today I baked 2doz banana muffins, 2 doz cranberry orange muffins, a six batch of baked oatmeal, which by the way is a great quick and easy breakfast dish. You can bake it plain and sprinkle with dried fruit, nuts, or granola, and/or you can chop fruit and add to it before you bake it.

Baked Oatmeal

3 cups oats (I substitute 1/3 c corn meal, or any whole grain flour, or wheat germ whatever you want)
1/2 c sugar (you can use white, turbinado, or brown)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c butter or oil
2 eggs
2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp spices (any combination of cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves)
2 c chopped apples or any fruit (optional)
3/4 c nuts (optional, you can add coconut)

Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. Pour in a 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.


... oops I realized that my link to Kid's Craft Weekly did not work. It is a great site and worth checking for those of you that are interested click here.

Tomorrow is the first day of December. We get to open out first envelope. Wahoo!!

Friday, November 28, 2008


"Every year at just this time,
In cold and dark December,
Families around the world
All gather to remember,
With presents and with parties,
With feasting and with fun,
Customs and traditions
for people old and young."

- Helen H. Moore

These are the first signs of December. I have not unpacked the decorations yet, but I had these tucked away and decided hang them up this morning.

I also watched The Holiday...again...and made an advent chain. I got the idea from my weekly email from Kid's Craft Weekly. She has great simple ideas and I look forward to her newsletter. I am excited. I think that it will ensure that I do one fun Christmas thing with Violet everyday. Christmas can be a very chaotic time around here. We always stay so busy trying to make and ship our sword orders. My goal this year is to remember the meaning and spirit of the holidays. I think it will be a lot of fun!


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. "
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

No, this is not a deleted scene from the Labyrinth (remember the helping hands?), I got camera happy and started doing a series of just hands. They can tell a lot. I was able to get four generations of helping hands. Pretty sneaky huh? This is my Arkansas family portfolio. Texas family look out!

There were several new traditions brought to the table this year. First off, Kalin prepared his Grandma Lois' oyster patty recipe. Apparently these are a New Orleans tradition. When we were in Hammond, Louisiana this weekend...visiting Kalin's Grandpa and working the show ...we picked up the pastry shells and oysters for the recipe. They were a big hit.

I decided to make my Mama's sweet potato delight and Cranberry Orange Salad recipe. Yum! Everyone raved about those as well. My other contributions were green beans with bacon and onions (deglazing the pan with wine is the secret) and Grandmother's buttermilk pie. We had a very small attendance this year, which made it rather nice! (16 instead of 30-50)

Violet had her own contributions this year. She made pumpkin cupcakes and her own teeny versions of the pies that were being created around her.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Over the last week, I have been flooded with memories spent with my family during the Thanksgiving at our farm in Texas. It was such a wonderful placed filled with some of the best times of my life. Upon dressing up the table for fall, I was moved to take the picture of the farm house off the wall and place it with the other fall things that had collected there. I have enjoyed looking up and seeing it there. I am so thankful for those wondrous memories, for family and friends, for good food, and the hope for good things to come. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008


"I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines. "
~Henry David Thoreau

Well we have been home in Arkansas for a few days. I spent those days organizing and tiding up. Wahoo! Isn't a clean house grand!

Violet and I managed to squeeze some fun projects in as well.

I was inspired by Lois Ehlerts Leafman, an awesome and beautiful book. She collages fall leaves that have been scanned, and printed as soon as she finds them, in order to retain their color. Violet made her own versions - A leaf girl and and adorable rabbit by the name of "Piggy Pinkie." We also looked up some of the leaves and acorns that we had collected in our tree field guide. It was a fun project.

On another note, I have finally gotten my craft area organized. It is amazing how creative one can feel in and organized space.

I was able to finish several projects that I had been working on, including my flower broaches. I will post pictures later...I have to go finish packing, we are leaving for Louisiana in T-minus two hours...and counting...