Hello precious friends! I hope your Thanksgiving was beautiful! Such a wonderful holiday but I am now wondering if its better to just scarf down all that pie really fast so it is out of sight and no longer taunting me with it’s cinnamon goodness or to meter it out and eat sensible portions… I never have been good at pie rationing.
I’ve got some new designs going up over at Snapdragon Snippets: great paper-crafting SVG shop with Wintry Christmassy yumminess!
These designs will also be available through my Etsy store soon!
Well darlings the autumn is softly creeping into The Sweet Little Wood.
I love autumn. Like so many of us: it is my favorite season. There is so much magic in the darkness of the morning- not on school days when it would certainly be more convenient to be woken with light- but at the weekends when you wake and the light is still low, it’s cold enough to keep wrapped up in the duvet and a hot cup of tea in bed feels like utter luxury. What I adore the most about autumn is the cinnamon scent of fallen leaves and the rustle of stepping through them. I can’t help but want to hurry the leaves along: it feels like fall but here we sit waiting for fall to… er … fall.
We always get leaves in the spring a few weeks later than the dryer, hotter valley over the hill. We also start to go to ocher and rust a few weeks after them too so here our trees are still resolutely green. The days are still reaching the 90’s but they feel cooler with the lower angle of the sun and brisk sea breezes. Positively cold temperatures are settling in to the evenings and waking us in the morning with a nip. My daily routine has changed with the seasons: now I don’t have to worry so much about over-heating the house my mornings are filled with bread making and dinners are being planned for roasting in the oven.
In order to satisfy my crafting lust and my yen for fall I have been decorating with my favorite thing: BUNTING! Americans don’t seem to use bunting as much as the British do. I find it completely charming; I would hang it on every strait line if it didn’t collect so much dust! So this week I have been pinning up strings of paper leaves (I just staple the leaves to the string so they slide into the right place… very little actual work involved!) and adorable acorn bells all tied up with raffia. Its is totally comforting. The adorable little bells are from Michael’s. They are so sweet I want to add them to every thing in my house! I wonder if I would look too eccentric with them on the toes of my shoes..
The leaves are from my Autumn Leaf Collection SVG I cut on a Silhouette Cameo. The SVG is available on my ETSY shop and soon in a NEW LOCATION!! There have been secrets being kept in the dark recesses of the forest where quiet conversations stay private… but more on that very soon.
Now all my doorways are festooned I can get on with the real business of making cookies and hot chocolate to have while I watch my favorite fall film: Practical Magic !
So my friends have you seen the Dragons in the Sweet Little Wood? There… by the lake sunning themselves and admiring the shining of their scales in the water. They are mostly friendly. Though I would be careful of the green one named Esme- she is having a bad day and hasn’t taken a liking to the little black usurper that has entered her territory! All the bunting is still dangling from the trees and I continue to find little remnants of the celebration in the long grass but we are simply remembering with pleasure all the bounty of family and friendship because of birthdays in the wood this last few weeks!
I want to show you a little detail on the cute squishy dragon sat on the GOLDEN THRONE: the birthday girls always get to sit in the GOLDEN THRONE on their special day! Every other day of the year its just a big yellow chair but on special days it transforms overnight into a cornucopia of gifts and pride of place!
I’m not sure what possessed me but a week before J.’s birthday (I think it was Tuesday the 2nd) I got this idea I could make a Toothless dragon for J.’s birthday on the 10th. She loves the books and the second movie has been something of an obsession for some time. Having been possessed of the idea I could not let it go and I found a cute design on Ravelry and added it to my library but I cannot get the file to open… still. So in my fevered count down to the day I decided to buy a pattern instead and found This One over on Etsy. Yeek! I am not a slow crocheter but it was already a busy sort of week and the pressure to get it done was gnawing at me!!
I worked as often as possible on him all week and had to announce my intention to continue working on the “Ninja Suit” as a distraction from the dragon forming in my hands. In the end he really stole the show. J. adores him and has not spent a day not playing with him since he arrived. BTW: isn’t it lovely when a kid who seems like they might be little to old for toys continues to play. Its a beautiful thing.
It really is cute: the pattern itself is pretty good and the finished product is very professional looking. The pattern is in English and Czech however the English is clearly translated by Google or someone who has no clue about the functioning of the English language. In general it was totally OK however where the instructions veer away from pure pattern speak (2sc, 1ss, 3hdc etc etc) the language barrier breaks down and the pattern dissolves into an unclear photography tutorial and confused instructions. I got there eventually but had to change a few things en-route just because I didn’t have a bloomin’ clue what the pattern was saying… and the photos (crochet in black yarn is hard enough to see stitch detail in person!) were not very big, well lit, or detailed. So all in all- yes I’d would buy the pattern again (the final thing is gorgeous) but I would like to be more prepared for the moments when head-scratching confusion ensues!!
I used a black cotton worsted yarn of some in-determinant origins but it was inexpensive and on sale ages ago and I had to use a 3.5 mm hook rather than 4 mm like the pattern calls for. Having finished the crochet I had a sudden sinking feeling because Toothless has very distinctive green eyes. I thought it was hopeless! None of our craft stores are great and they had nothing suitable: there was no way I was going to be able to order the right eyes in time for the gift giving on Wednesday. I won’t bore you with my stupid mistakes and failed attempts using felt and crochet- which were all appalling BTW and resulted in much grumpiness with myself. BUT as I was going through my buttons I suddenly had a wonderful idea- why couldn’t I try to make his eyes myself by painting on buttons?
LOOK! It totally worked!
I used simple green buttons with posts- not holes. Using black acrylic paint I painted on the almond shape of Toothless’ pupils and made them wide like they are when he is happy! Then I used two layers of Aleene’s Jewelry Gel which is an awesome clear liquid that dries into a thick glossy varnish which I have used for so many things it was never intended for it might be my favorite craft ingredient! I thought afterward I could probably have draw on the buttons with black sharpie rather than paint and make them even easier.
Have a lovey day my friends… I am just going to move Toothless off the GOLDEN THRONE before Esme’s envy gets the better of her.
Oh! Its Okay: she found some gold ribbon, that will help.
Joanna the dragon tamer
We are almost there! We are on a final countdown here in the Sweet Little Wood. Next week begins all the joy and madness that is fair time.
Our local county fair is called The Apple Show. It is a wonderful country fair in Boonville held at the beginning of September. We love it, but it hasn’t got a livestock auction so if you want to sell your market animals you have to go to The Redwood Empire Fair which is held in Ukiah the first weekend in August. The thing about Ukiah is this: it’s a bigger town with all the social issues that go with that PLUS we are in California’s “Emerald Triangle“. Now I’m not going to enter the fray on that subject except to say that cannabis is rife in Mendocino County and I don’t like the thought of my children being exposed to it. Plus Ukiah is generally several degrees hotter than we are in Anderson Valley- so you know- that kind of sucks. I’m not sure if we will do market animals next year. It kind of limits our summer fun as we are tied to the animals and fair time in prime campout season and M. is not a fan of missing out on prime campout season!
So the girls and I are in crazy mode: getting goats ready for show, finishing paperwork (why are there so many freaking pieces of paper?!?), finishing off posters, making up buyer gifts (more about those later), and packing for camping at the fair site.
I am making t-shirts for our 4-H group. A different design for each project group. I have the luxury of cutting Vinyl on a Silhouette Cameo but this project is totally do-able without a craft cutter using almost free materials. I am not going to reinvent the wheel but I will totally direct you other people who have done it before. Better.
So first of all: for 4-H there is a free SVG online get it and use it if you need it. Its pretty awesome that its freely available. At the bottom of this post I will include a JPEG, SVG and Silhouette file of my 4 leaf clover which is a little different to the 4-H emblem on wiki-commons. Print your clover and whatever else you need on normal paper to use as a template for cutting wax paper or as I understand (but haven’t tried) you can print directly on a piece of freezer paper and the design will iron onto your t-shirt- the tutorial is over here– just be sure to reverse the image. The font I used (basically it is my favorite font EVER) is called Lobster and is widely free on the internet. It is also really easy to cut out being nicely chunky with lots of strait lines. Our 4-H t-shirts were designed by me and made on a Silhouette Cameo. The 4-H goats are my own SVG design available along side other 4-H animals in my Etsy shop. There are loads of animal SVG outlines out there that are totally free but I needed my animals to be accurate, detailed and in a “show” position for my design. If you want an animal for free I suggest you Google the animal, find a photo that is copyright free and print it out and just cut out around the animal and use it as a template.
These are the ways you can TOTALLY do this project for free with stuff in your house:
We like to make freezer paper shirts with t-shirts that are stained on the front (damn coffee).
The metal signs are for our goat pens again cut from my own SVG by my cousins talented husband Bob Gaston at Gaston Farrier and Forge. He isn’t online yet but if you are interested in his work I can hook you up. He can make virtually anything with his CNC machine. Serious awesomeness!
The actual writing was cut from removable vinyl by Cricut. I LOATHE their vinyl. It was so difficult to use and I cursed it long and loud at almost every step. I shall be looking at a different brand in future.
I have terrible crafter’s block. I might have to go and sit in a cool shady spot and just stare at the sky for about a year! Filling out pedantic 4-H handbooks with the “who, what, when, how, with what purpose, for how long, did you pick your nose or pee while doing it” questions is draining me of the will to be productive!
Its such bad timing because this week is the big 13!
Its a tradition in our family (after doing it once when K. turned 13 it’s now EXPECTED) to watch Kevin Becomes a Teenager on You-Tube. I find it incredibly painful to watch and I cringe throughout feeling like a fraud every time I laugh at Keven’s transformation!
Anyhow- I digress again… Yes. E. is turning 13. And I haven’t made her anything. In our house that is a big deal. A big poopie bad deal.
So this is my get out of jail free card. It is the easiest and most appreciated gift I ever give; I have given it lots and lots of times before!
A sketch book.
Some paints & a little time.
The hot air balloon is my own design but this is so totally easy to do with any shape or stencil design! I used a paintbrush for the sky and a simple facial cotton swab for the clouds and stenciling (can we all have a cheer for cheap household things that are just going to get crapped up with paint). Genuinely I just slapped that junk on anyone can do it! For other ideas see HERE.
Until later y’all I leave you with this:
I’m hoping this little shot of love makes your Monday all the brighter because I have another Free-Bee for you! Yay!
But I am afraid this one has a limited life span. Boo!
This week is my wedding anniversary! M. and I have been all tied up for 17 years! I really can hardly think how we suddenly fast forwarded to 17 years! He is wonderful, we are rather perfect together and 17 years doesn’t seem nearly long enough! We have already nixed any anniversary gifts for each other in lieu of a BIG summer holiday driving across the states. We will spend our anniversary having a little early ride on his bike then the rest of the day with our beautiful girls probably floating in the river or some other suitable body of water and then have dinner out on Friday with friends.
So without further ado:
Mason Jar Love Card.
As before you can get the files at the bottom of the page in SVG format, Silhouette cut file format and JPEG format. If you have a craft cutter its easy-peasy to use otherwise the JPEG is there to use as a template. My files are for private use only please do not reproduce the files, sell the files, or sell products made from the files without my permission. Sorry but the files are no longer available.
My card was cut on a Silhouette Cameo. I cut the card and then a color paper insert just a tiny bit smaller than the card. The lid is cut from Bazzil card stock in a shimmery zinc and my old faithful baker’s twine makes another appearance. The little circular seal is just two round stickers stuck back to back sandwiching the string to hold it in place- you could easily use punched circles or whatever.
i am limiting the availability on this Free-Bee because the design is in the process of being approved for sale elsewhere… soooo I am hoping to leave it up about a month if I can but then like Cinderella’s ball gown… Sorry but the files are no longer available.
The left over bits of card after cutting make really cute confetti. I save it up and put in in a little bag for using later.
Pop in Wednesday for more ideas using the pattern- especially for those of you without a craft cutter!
Stay sweet lovelies!