Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I can hardly believe that it is Christmas eve already. Time goes by so fast! and I still have so much to do! Last night I wrapped our kids gifts and I have everything ready for Rich's family, but I am still scrambling on some last minute things for my family. We aren't getting together until Friday so that buys me some time!

Here are some pics of the gift I just finished for my niece and nephew:

It's a set of art supplies!

I also made them little notebooks and aprons.

I put lots of foam stickers in this coffee can and attached the lid to the can with a ribbon so it won't get lost.

Last night I finally put together my Christmas cards! They are going out in the mail today. Better late than never right! I didn't mail out too many, in the name of being green, (and saving on stamps)! So if you don't get one in the snail mail, here is yours: (and you should feel special, cause your actually getting it before everyone else!)

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We need your help- PLEASE READ!

As of February 10, I may no longer be able to sell the children's items and toys that I have been making and thousands of others in the children's industry will be deeply affected financially and or will be out of business. Our favorite Hopscotch Children's store would be in major trouble.

Remember the outcry last holiday season over lead in imported toys? In order to combat such safety issues, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has passed legislation called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The law sets stringent guidelines for children’s products containing lead and phthalates (a chemical used in some vinyl products).

It is supposed to go into effect February 10th, 2009, and after that date any product intended for children ages 12 and under must meet these guidelines, and have a certificate of compliance from a CPSC-accredited laboratory. This includes not just toys, but clothing, jewelry, blankets, sheets, books, bibs, strollers, carriers, and anything else that a child under 12 might come in contact with. Sounds great, right?

In theory, maybe. But in actuality the law is so far reaching that it may succeed in turning the economy upside down. For starters, the CPSIA requires end unit testing on every product intended for use by children under 12. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to do this testing, regardless of how small the business. That means that manufacturers (like myself ) will have to pay to get every different product they offer tested. These tests have to be done at a CSPC accredited lab, and cost tens of thousands of dollars. For example if you offer 3 different types of dresses. Each dress contains 2 different fabrics, as well as buttons, and thread, so that's potentially $600 to test one dress. But if you have 3 or more styles, that's $1800. And when you get a new bolt of fabric, you need to start all over again.

At present, there are no exemptions for small businesses and "micro" manufacturers and most handcraft artisans. There is no exception for quantities made, where the garments/products are made or anything else. Nor is there an exception for unadorned fabric components, unfinished wood components, materials which, by their nature, are free of lead and phthalates.

Also, the Act takes a "guilty until proven innocent" approach, which would treat a handmade, unfinished wooden toy that doesn't meet the certification deadline of 2/10/09 as a "banned hazardous substance" which would be illegal to distribute in this country. Each infraction carries a $100,000 felony charge. This legislation is also retroactive for any pre-existing inventory as of February 10th, 2009. This means that everything on the shelves in those big (or small) stores will also be "banned, hazardous substances" - contraband.

Larger corporations that can afford testing will incur thousands, maybe millions of dollars in fees, and this expense will be handed down to the consumer, probably making the prices for children's products go through the roof.

This also means that after that date, even selling your kids old things on eBay or Craigslist will be illegal. Charities will not be able to accept donations without a certificate of compliance either. February 10, 2009 is being dubbed “National Bankruptcy Day” by many people in the apparel and toy industry. If this legislation is not amended, it will affect everyone from port workers to parents looking for legal products. Billions of dollars worth of children's products will have to be destroyed because they can’t be legally sold, and this will cause major environmental problems.

While I am all for higher safety standards and keeping our kids safe, this law is so overreaching as to put thousands on manufacturers of children's products out of business -hurting our economy and causing even more loan defaults. Though this legislation was well-intentioned, it cannot be allowed to stand as is.

Please help us defend the American dream and our entrepreneurial spirit! This law affects every stay at home mom trying to help put food on the table and every grandmother knitting blankets for the local craft fair. It makes the thousands of us who have found a niche in the burgeoning children's market have to make a tough decision - continue to produce items illegally and possible incur a $100,000 fine, pay the enormous fees and raise costs of goods sold, or close up shop!

Please help us! For more information and ways to help, please visit the following links:

Contact your Congressperson using this link:

It only takes 30 seconds!

If you have an extra minute send a hard copy of the letter as well!
To sign the online petition:

Read more about it here:

Please copy and paste this on your blogs, we need all the help we can get!

I copied this article from KnuckleHeads Clothing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Celiac article in Parents Magazine

A friend just alerted me to an article in this month's issue of Parents Magazine about Celiac disease. It was actually a great article and I was surprised to find it in such mainstream media. It seems as though Celiac is starting to gain some attention.

They have lots of good tips and info on their website in the featured this month section. Here is a link to the article. I am planning on making some gluten free playdough with the kids soon and I am hoping the recipe they gave will be a good one. Playdough has always been a favorite activity for our kids. We have a ton of playdough toys, but no playdough anymore. I'll let you know how it turns out when we get time to try it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pumpkin bread recipe

Here is the pumpkin bread recipe, as requested!

It's from my favorite cook book:

     Pumpkin Bread

1cup gluten free flour mixture
1cup brown sugar -- packed
1tbsp baking powder
2tsps cinnamon
1/2tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt
1/4tsp cloves
1cup pumpkin, canned
1/2cup milk
2 eggs
1/3cup shortening
1 cup more flour
1/2cup raisins (optional)
1/2cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven at 350. Prepare a 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pan with cooking spray and
flour; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking
powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, ginger, and cloves. In another
mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, skim milk, egg whites, raisins

Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients just until moistened. Pour
batter into prepared pan. Bake 60 minutes.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

NOTES : A recipe calling for 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour can be baked in the
following pans: 4 mini loaf pans, 12 muffin pans, 1-9 x 5″ loaf pan, 1-9 x
13″ baking pan, or 2-8 x 8″ baking pans.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Home sick

Don't look for me today at the Montessori craft show. I won't be there. I am home with a sick family. This awful flu bug has been making it's way thru the family this week. Daisy had it earlier and last night Rich and Rosie came down with it too. I was still going to try to go, but how can I leave Rich with sick kids, and I am not feeling so hot either. It's a bummer, I made lots of suff. If your looking for handmade gifts for Christmas, you know who to call! Also watch for my etsy shop to open in a couple days.

Here are the finished little Christmas tree ornaments:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Baking- Gluten Free style

I made a really good pumpkin bread today. It was so great, I will be making more for sure. I didn't get a good picture of it, we ate it too fast. :) A friend of mine emailed me to ask about ideas for gluten free holiday baking, so I thought I would share it here too. I have been meaning to post more recipes, but can't seem to find the time in between all my crafting!

We keep a canister of a gluten free flour mixture (I'll explain below) in the kitchen and just substitute it into our favorite recipes. With very rich flavorful things like brownies and pumpkin bread you really can't tell the difference. We have a hard time getting the texture right with cookies, but we just got a good little cook book at the kids Celiac support group we've been going to and I think the recipes will work better. Here is a loaf of bread from the book. We made it for stuffing on thanksgiving and it was great. I made another loaf today to use for sandwiches.

The gf flour mixture I use is 6 cups white rice flour, 3 cups potato STARCH (NOT flour) and 1 cup of tapioca flour. I just found out that the cheapest place to get these flours is at the Asian market. I should have thought of it, I have been paying way too much at the health food store. It's about $6 for enough flour to fill a big canister with the mix. Also keep cornstarch on hand, that's called for in alot of recipes. If you don't have any also pick up some xanthum gum. It's very helpful to add a teaspoon or so to bread recipes to bind it together better. You can buy a small bag in the bulk section at Harvest Health, rather than the big bag which is like $12 or more! Sometimes adding an extra egg or oil is helpful too.

I am still trying to figure out gluten free apple pie. I have made two attempts already this season and they have not worked out so well. The crust is too crunchy and the inside kind of gritty. I'll let you know when I discover the trick! I am trying to be gluten free now too for Daisy's sake, since she is still nursing, so now the whole house is officially gluten free.

If you eat gluten free too, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know if you try any of them how they turn out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

and the winner is...

Jodie from Bloomington, IN!!

I will be shipping the notebook cover out tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who entered! I wish I had time to comment back to all of you, but I have wasted far to much time in front of the computer this week entering all these giveaways! Wasn't it fun?? We should do it again sometime!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I won, I won!!

So I stayed up way to late entering all the wonderful giveaways listed on the Sew Mamma Sew blog! I just couldn't stop. The prospect of winning something (especially such cute things!) was just too much for me. My eyes hurt from starring at the screen, but I just kept telling myself, "just one more."

Well all my hard work paid off! I have one one of these cute little bunny things from Strange Little Bear! I think I will give it to one of the girls for Christmas, I just don't know which one???

And it's not over yet! Maybe I could still win that awesome camera strap!!??

I will be picking the winner of my giveaway tomorrow, so if you haven't entered yet don't be shy, leave me a comment HERE!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Join the giveaway fun!!!!

This is the most fun I have had in a long time!!! You've got to check it out! I've been lost in blogland all night!

Here's a fun one:

and check this one out!! But don't enter!!! I am going to win this stuff!!!!!:

and would you look at this!!! Wouldn't I look sooooo much cooler when I shoot if I were not toting my camera by such a lame plain black camera strap!??

you can visit her blog and giveaway at

Oh, I hope I win!!!!

It's give away day!!!!

It's give away day!!!!

Leave me a comment today and you'll be entered into a drawing for this cute little (4.5x6.5 inches) notepad cover. It comes with a notepad, and it has an extra pocket to hold a second notepad, or a pack of crayons... Great gift for any girl, or for your own purse! Great for kids drawings, or the grocery list! I will draw a name Friday afternoon and announce the winner.

Don't forget to come see me and all the crafty stuff I am up to at the GR Montessori Craft show at Fountain school on December 13th from 9-3pm!

Isn't this fun! Click the giveaway day box, to visit the Sew Mamma Sew blog for a master list of all the bloggers participating! Good luck!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Our Family Portrait

by Lily

Quite a work of art! and very accurate too! She's been drawing lots of pictures since she was very little and I love what I gain from them about her perspective on her life! In this portrait from left to right, there's Rosie holding Daddy's hand, Me and my dreadlocks, then Lily holding Daisy's hand. Down on the bottom left she has drawn all our pets, Luna our dog, Little Bear our Cat, and Rita and Harriet our Rats!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

another crafty day

We went to the Santa Clause Parade this morning. It was very cold, but very fun! It left us all feeling like we have entered the Christmas season. So can you guess what I did as soon as we got home? You got it, crafty crafty!

I saw a cute tutorial for these little trees at the small object and I had to try it. I decided to use my serger instead of a zig zag stich on the edges and I think it worked out pretty well. I am very excited about the rolled edge I learned to do with my serger. When I showed Rich, he laughed. I think it was a good laugh, he said they were cute, and then just like a man, he said "what are they for?" I think I am going to make them into ornaments with a little ribbon on the top. What do you think? DOn't laugh!

The girls and I made these wreaths with all the scraps of wool from the slippers I made. They had fun and I think we'll make some more.

Oh, I can't beleive it's that time of year again!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Give away day!!

Coming to a blog near you! If your a fellow blogger then you should consider doing it too! Check it out.

I am going to participate. You know I have been making stuff like crazy, so stay tuned to see what I will be giving away!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Crafting in overdrive

Just like every autumn, the weather turns cold and I am suddenly overwhelmed by an urge to get crafty. It has hit me harder than ever this year and I just spent the entire weekend sewing and creating (most of the time with a fussy baby on my hip or hanging on my leg). I have been staying up way too late and I am absolutely sleep deprived, but it's worth it when I finish something!

I am getting ready for a craft show at Grand Rapids Montessori, Rosie's school, on Saturday December 13. Mark your calendars! It is a fun day and a great fundraiser for the school. Here is a few things I am working on to sell,

Sketchbook covers in two sizes:

Recycled wool sweater stuff:

ipod case

I am also planning to make some felted recycled sweater bags and scarfs, as well as some photo notecards and prints. I'll share more pics as I finish more stuff.

So all you crafters out there, what are you up to?? I'd love to hear about your projects, leave me a comment!


Rosie needed a pair of tennis shoes she could tie all by herself but I really didn't feel like going out shopping for some, and it wasn't really going to fit in the budget anyway. Don't get me wrong, she has lots of shoes! Too many actually, but they all have laces and on our way out the door, I am not going to put on and tie 3 little pairs of shoes and my own, so I really wanted a pair that Rosie could put on herself. So here's the solution- I had her pick out her favorite shoes we already had and I pulled out the laces and replaced them with Elastic. I stitched the ends and tucked them to the inside where they didn't show and viola!:

I can't take all the credit though. The idea was actually Amy's and I am forever grateful! It saved me lot's of time and money! Your a genius!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hang in there...

It's almost over!!! Here's a couple videos for you this beautiful election day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Handmade Holidays

Yes, now that it's November, I have Christmas on my brain! I actually have been thinking about it since the kids started school! But I have to get an early start because I am determined not to buy anything this year!!! I am going to make it all! I have come close in years past, but this year I plan to do it all! We'll see... I will keep you updated.

My favorite blog this time of year is Sew Mamma Sew and they always have the cutest ideas, inspirations and free tutorials. The whole month of November will be filled with ideas and free patterns everyday! Check it out:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

From Lily the cow, Rosie the scary ghost and Daisy the little mouse!

I wasn't sure how we were going to handle Halloween this year considering most of the candy collected most likely wouldn't be gluten and dairy free. I had wanted to plan some kind of a party with healthy fun snacks, costumes and games... but like I have time for that! So after sometime pondering the dilemma, I came up with the idea to have the kids trick or treat and collect all the candy they could, bring it home and count it up and use it to buy some fun toys from me with it! It was a win win for all of us. They had fun trick or treating, didn't consume hoards of sugar or wheat or dairy, got a fun new toy, and I have a whole bag of chocolate to eat after they go to bed!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gerald McBoing-Boing

Dr. Suess was way ahead of his time!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


To see all the pics, click here!

A fun fall family day!

Rich is on vacation all this week, so we are spending lots of time together trying to fit in those last outdoor activities before winter. We had a wonderful day Sunday at Historic Bowens Mill. If you're looking for anything fall and fun to do, I highly recommend it!

Lily loved the one room school house. We are reading the Little House books to the girls right now and they were so excited to see firsthand what Mary and Laura Ingalls school was probably like, bonnets and lunch pails and all!

Rosie is especially interested in animals right now and was so happy to pet them all! Daisy is also very excited whenever she see's animals. You should have heard her squealing!

I have been trying so hard for the last few weeks to get a good shot of all three of my girls together, but they are making things very difficult! They are so cute though!

Click here to see the rest of the photos from our day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

School Pictures

What goofy girls! I can't believe they are both in school!

I think we may do retakes for Lily. It's a cute picture, but something about her posture doesn't seem right. Rosie has a whole new range of facial expressions lately, all very animated.

Fall photos

Here are some photos I took of the girls the other day in this beautiful fall weather. We have been spending as much time as we can outside, trying to soak it all in while we can.

It's very hard to get a photo of Daisy lately, she just doesn't stop moving now that she can walk and she is so serious when she is exploring!

We have been inside for the last couple days though. Lily came down with a sudden case of Pneumonia Sunday night. We ended up in the ER till about 7am. They gave her an injection of an antibiotic and sent us home with an oral Rx. She is doing much better today. Please pray that she would continue to recover quickly.