Valentine’s Day is coming up, fast and furious. Here’s a compilation of some of the ‘Love Day’ crafts we’ve done in the past.
I have to say that the ‘hoop art treasures‘ are my favorite. Both of my children LOVED them so much and both still have them on the wall in their rooms. I smile whenever I see them and remember the little mites that they were.
I have something special for you coming up too. I have put together my first needle felting video tutorial :: Needle Felted Mini Hearts. I’ll be sharing it with you soon. You’ll be able to watch as I needle felt magical little mini hearts and you’ll be able to work along with me too.
A few mornings ago, I found Teddy sitting on the comfy couch in my room, playing “Kind Hearts in the Garden” on his recorder. The morning sun was streaming in through the window and kissing him. His shadow danced and played on the wall behind him. It looked and sounded so beautiful and touched my heart so deeply that I started to weep.
I have thought of that moment often in the last couple of days. The warmth of the sun on my boy. The remarkable sounds he was making. And the sense of overwhelming love that enveloped me. It was one of those moments that made time stand still. And it reminded me how amazingly lucky I am to be me.
Life has been so busy here at the Sunny House. So busy and full.
Kitty has been painting endlessly. Her skill continues to blossom and grow. I am happy to see her trying new things… being brave and bold.
Teddy is drawing too and is growing more confident in his own creativity. Music comes easily to him but art is a challenge. As with most things, he is learning that practice makes everything easier.
Mother’s Day was wonderful. A delicious pancake breakfast was cooked for me and my beautiful family made me feel so special. I am proud to be their mom.
I have been working hard in the studio and many new lines are on the horizon. I have a particular project that I am almost ready to unveil and am so excited to share its magic with the world… stay tuned.
Our garden has been bountiful this season… fruit and flowers galore. We have made jam and eaten berries until our tummies are full. The best news is that the passion fruit seems to have worked out its kinks and lots of little passion fruit are growing happily on the vine.
Even better news is that, at last, Teddy has fallen in love with a book. Of course it’s Harry Potter! We read at every possible moment. In the last photo of us reading, do you see the crocheted blanket we are sitting on? My Great Grandmother crocheted it when she was 101 years old! How precious is that?!
Here are some photos from our happy days in the Sunny House …
We had a wonderful time watching honey bees collecting pollen from the prettiest of flowers on our hike on Sunday.
They worked tirelessly until their leg sacks were full to bursting and they could hardly fly.
Then we followed them, hoping to find their hive. Over bushes, under trees, around a stream. It was a treasure hunt indeed.
And then, eventually, we spotted them going into a hole in a tree trunk… hundreds of them, the trunk humming with their song.
It couldn’t have been more perfect!
When we got home, we looked up bees on the computer and learned so many interesting things about them.
Gosh… they sure are important!
Kitty and Teddy agreed that these things stood out the most :
Bees fly up to 6 miles to collect pollen on each trip. We estimated that that is about 3 times what we had just hiked. Wow… the kids agreed that this is far!
They visit about 1500 flowers a day!
1 out of ever 4 bites you eat comes from something that needed bees to pollinate it.
All the worker bees you see collecting pollen are female.
1 out of every 3 honey bee colonies has died in the last 3 years. This is bad! The reasons for the dying bees are the increased use of pesticides (which we decided to never use, ever, even though we already don’t) and the fact that many of the plants we buy in the garden shops have been modified to produce less pollen and nectar… making life so much more difficult for the bees.
This loss of bees shocked us and made us decide to plant many bee-friendly plants in our garden this spring and be mindful of thanking bees when we see them.
Spring has burst forth in full regalia here in Southern California. the trees are so pretty in their pinks and whites and magentas. And the birds have started to busy themselves building nests.
Spring is full of crafting inspiration and we have been making pretty needle felted spring nests too.
One of the things I love most about needle felting is that it can be a wonderfully quick and easy craft. You can sit down with a basket of wool and be holding a delightful spring nest in your hands in just a few minutes.
Needle felting requires three tools :
a felting needle
a protective foam board.
Wool roving looks a bit like cotton candy. When the sheep is sheered, the fleece is washed and dried and then it is ’carded’ – brushed so that all the knots and clumps are brushed out and the fibers of the wool all run the same way. It is then dyed… any wonderful color under the sun. This roving can then be spun into yarn (for knitting) or it can be felted with a needle.
The protective foam board is not always necessary but it is definitely recommended when you are learning to needle felt. The needle is very sharp and if you don’t have a board upon which to steady your work, you will find yourself painfully stabbed more than once.
The felting needle is about 3 inches long. It is very sharp. The tip of the needle has a number of small barbs and it is these barbs that felt the wool. You can see the barbs if you look closely at the tip of your needle. The outer surface of each fiber of wool has tiny, microscopic scales on it. When the fiber is agitated, the scales hook into one another, forming a tighter and tighter mass. The barbs of the needle ‘grab’ the fibers as you stab it into the wool, depositing the fibers deeper. The little scales on the fibers lock together, ensuring that the fibers stay in their new place. By stabbing the wool hundreds of times you can shape the wool into any form you wish.
DIY Needle Felted Spring Nest
You will need :
green and blue wool felt (found online or at a craft store)
a needle felting needle (found online or at a craft store)
a foam 4cm ball (found at a craft store)
Pull the green wool into a strip about the length of your hand, palm to fingertips, with a width the same as the tip of your thumb. Roll this strip of wool evenly around the bottom half of the foam ball.
Carefully stab the needle around the outside of the nest, poking the needle through the wool and into the foam. It is important to stab the needle in and out of the wool at the same angle. Changing the angle as you pull the needle out of the wool will increase your chance of breaking the needle as you work.
Evenly needle felt the inside of the nest.
Remove the foam ball from the nest by pulling it free. The nest will hold it’s shape but it will be very fuzzy. Using the protective foam pad, needle felt the nest, on the inside and the outside. The more you needle felt the nest, the less fuzzy it will become.
Pull the blue wool roving into a strip about the length and thickness of your index finger. Knot it in the center as you would a length of string. Fluff out one end of the knot, smooth it down over the knot and needle felt it evenly, rounding the end of the knot into a ball. Do the same with the other end of the knot to form a needle felted ball.
Make three Needle felted eggs to put into the your nest.
NOTE : For those of you who want to decorate your home for spring with your own needle felted nests, I have put together a DIY kit to make three spring nests in shades of green, available for purchase for $26 in The Magic Onions Shop : DIY Needle Felted Spring Nest Kit.
My children and I picked a few spring branches to put in a vase (here’s a tutorial for making our rainbow yarn vase). We carefully placed our needle felted nests in the twigs and added some feather butterflies for whimsy.
Beauty is all around us and inside us, all of the time.
Hi, Happy Friends… I have some exciting news for you. The Spring Magic Craft Boxes are on their way to lucky children all over the world!
THEY ARE ENCHANTING!
The Spring’s Magic Craft Box is delighful. It is filled to the brim with the wonder and newness of Spring!
As usual, the fairies, elves and I have paid great attention to the feeling of enchantment that you and your children will get when you open your Spring box… it will, quite literally, feel like you have opened a package from Fairyland itself, complete with moss and butterflies and fairydust. Just imagine the wonder your child will experience!
Every Magic Craft Box contains 4 Spring-inspired crafting kits, including all the materials and instructions you’ll need to make each magical project.
Here are photos of my own children enjoying each kit. Oh, what happy guinea pigs they were! We perfected each craft until it was just right for your little ones.
1. Make Woolen Chicks in a Nest
Spring Chicks in a Nest
2. Make Colorful Easter Eggs using Scraps of Pretty Silk
Silk Dyed Easter Eggs
Scraps of colorful silk are used to make the most wonderful patterns on Easter Eggs.
3. Make a Sweet Fairy Garden and with a Mini Washing Line for Hours of Spring Play
A tiny Fairy Garden made with magic Emerald seeds from Fairyland.
A Spring craft that keeps on growing.
4. Make a Gift for the Birds so that they can make wonderfully colorful and comfortable nests this Spring.
A special Spring gift for your birds to help them make enchanting nests.
Many Magic Craft Boxes are on their way. Some may have arrived already… some may even be in a mail-man’s truck on their way to your lucky children. Once again, our fairies and elves have alerted fairies and elves everywhere to ensure that there will be excited fairyfolk fluttering around your children as they open their Magic Craft Boxes… watching the delight unfold on their beautiful faces as they behold their packages from Fairyland.
If you haven’t purchased your Magic Craft Box yet, don’t fret, there are still many Spring Magic Craft Boxes available.
If you are ready to purchase your Magic Craft Box, please click the orange box below.
4 Seasons :
For more detailed information about the Magic Craft Box, please CLICK HERE!
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Here are of the messages I’ve received from those who have purchased Magic Craft Box in the past:
“The Magic Craft Box was beautifully done, both in quality and the enclosed instructions. Both of my children have each completed all of the crafts and enjoyed the process so much. I would recommend these craft boxes to anyone! There are so many possibilities within the crafts. The shipping was wonderful and there was SO much attention to detail. Thanks so much!” – Vanessa
“The Magic Craft Box is pure delight! Straight from the fairies! My daughter is loving them and the magic packed in. I love them too, having everything ready in one easy package. Thank you so much!” – Lindsey
“My goodness, this is such a brilliant concept. I can’t tell which craft my children enjoyed the most! Opening their Magic Craft Boxes was such an experience for them… it made even my 11 year old start to believe in fairies again! My 3 year old loved being part of making the crafts too. All around, this was a wonderful experience for my whole family. I have already purchased our One Year Subscription – keep the magic coming!” – Denise
We visited our local garden shop yesterday to buy strawberry plants to plant in the cinder-block holes of my new ‘bunny-proof’ vegetable garden. Before I left home, I voiced my intention NOT TO BUY ANYTHING BUT STRAWBERRY PLANTS to my Good Man (I’m a well-known impulse plant buyer and hoped that if I committed to my intention out-loud, it would be easier to stick to the plan). BUT, who can resist these sweet miniature pansies?!! They sneaked into my cart, knowing full well that I can’t plant them in the garden as they are a favorite bunny delicacy.
Lucky, as are they not the perfect little flowers to plant in Easter Eggs?
I made a frittata for lunch just so that we could have eggshells to plant them in. I made sure to break the eggshells evenly around the narrow end of the egg and washed them out thoroughly.
Kitty got to work, gently loosening the soil from the roots of the tiny pansies and planting them in the egg shells.
Are they not the sweetest Easter decorations around?!
And, in an egg cup… oh my!!
My kids love to garden with me and we are so excited for the fun gardening ahead.
Oh my gosh… it’s SUCH a joy to watch the birds begin to build their nests. We are hoping like mad that a bird will build a nest in our garden. More than anything, we are preying that one of the hundreds of hummingbirds that visit us will build a nest in our avocado tree. A few years ago a friend found a hummingbirds nest in her avo tree and it was the sweetest thing we had ever seen. Mr Hummingbird had fastened two leaves together and had built his teeny-tiny nest between them. It was smaller than a golf ball in diameter and was woven with string, moss, lichen and minute little feathers.Oh the enchantment!
I was thinking about this little nest the other day and, remembering how sweet it was, I could not resist the urge to make my own… with wool, my felting needle and a myraid of little nature treasures I collected, ofcourse. After seeing it, I’m sure you’ll want to make one for yourself and so I have put together a tutorial for you to follow. I have also made a needle felting kit available in my shop with EVERYTHING you’ll need for this wonderful little felting project – you can buy it here : Needle Felting Kit : Hummingbirds Nest.
Materials you’ll need :
a foam ball about 2 inches in diameter
a foam board and needle felting needles
variegated brown/grey wool
Start by wrapping a length of the variegated brown wool around half of the foam ball. Needle felt it where it overlaps. The foam ball will allow you to needle felt through the wool and into it. I love this method for making a hollow nest shape. Felt all around the ball until your nest shape is pretty firm.
Use your needle to round the edge of the nest by poking your needle between the ball and the inside layer of wool (as in photo #4)
Gently pull the foam ball away from the wool nest and there you have it… a perfect little hummingbirds nest.
Now we want to add the nature bits that are so enchanting in hummingbirds nests. Hold the little nest in your hands and gently pull the outside layer of wool into loose tufts.
Wind a few strands of burlap string randomly around the nest and secure by pulling the loose tufts of wool over the string and felting into the nest with your needle.
Lay some fluffy white wool in the palm of your hand and place a few feathers on top of the wool.
Place the nest on your protective needle felting board and line the inside of your nest with this fluffy, feathery wool. Needle felt gently to fasten.
We also want to fasten some feathers to the outside of the nest. Pull off the bottom part of the feather to expose the quill. If your feather looks too big, break it to the right length and use the top half to feather your nest.
Insert the sharp quill into the wool and needle felt it in place, pulling a little wool over the quill where you need to fasten it.
Now, randomly add moss to your nest… a little inside and some more outside.
There you have it… the sweetest little hummingbird nest in existence. If you are like me, you’ll place it in your avocado tree to try to start a trend and show the real hummingbirds that this tree is a VERY nice tree to build a nest in.
I’m delighted to report that our plum tree has a gentle dusting of white blossoms on her happy branches, our birds are busying themselves looking for nest-worthy twigs and our bunnies are shedding their thick winter coats… Spring is in the air!
In honor of Spring, Kitty wanted me to share some Spring Babies we found for our ‘Beautiful Things’ post today… starting with our very own photo of Baby BunBuns. We took this photo last year when he was only 6 weeks old… wasn’t he a darling! He still is, of course but there is something just SO adorable about a baby bunny.