Thursday, March 31, 2011

a baby boy

He came to me on the brightest spring afternoon
my tiny baby boy,
We have named him Reid Wyatt
and this love is gentle and kind and sweet and right.

Reid Wyatt
March 24, 2011, 2:00 pm
6 lbs 4 oz, 2902 kg

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I'm not generally fond of having my photo taken, but lately I've been thinking that perhaps I should have at least one photo of this pregnancy, and my big belly... so here it is!

I am now 38 weeks along, but so many times I find that I forget that I am pregnant - second baby syndrome(?)! So it's surreal, to realise that in 2 weeks or so we may be lucky enough to have a new little soul here with us.

Adelaide is thrilled. Can you tell? And I am hoping that her elation lasts!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

creating simple treasures for little children

Because my daughter Adelaide turned four last month, I spent a couple of weeks - here and there - thinking up many simple treasure for little children. Because of these projects, Addie and I were able to both fill many grey and dark winter afternoons together, and also use their finished results as simple gifts for her to give to her friends at her Birthday Party. A couple for each child, tucked in a little bag pinned with our little homemade personalised buttons.

My goal was to come up with ideas which are inexpensive, simple to put together, and, hopefully, that little children will adore and get some joy and use from. I heard great feedback from both children and their parents, and so I've been wanting to share these simple projects - some new and some old - which Addie and I were able to plan and assemble, together.

I have also found that it is nice to make lots of these treasures and keep extras around as well. (Because of my work it is my logic and habit to make things up in larger batches - for time and budget management.) They are great to keep around in a pinch, perhaps for Adelaide to have as a treat (she never seems to grow bored of them), or to give to visiting children, or to tuck in a package which is being mailed away. I've also found that our friends without children love them and often take a few home with them too, to have on hand when their nieces and nephews or other such little people come and visit them.

A Little Collage Kit(s)

I was inspired to put together some sweet collage kits for kids after Adelaide discovered mini bottles of Elmer's school glue at Michael's. She was just so delighted with these miniature bottles of glue, but I balked at the price tag - no way! Then several weeks later, I found that I could purchase these same little bottles of glue in bulk from a teacher's supply store - for around .45 cents each! I decided then and there to create the kids collage kits using them.

When planning our kits together, Addie and I first went through our house and gathered up supplies to use from the collage kits. We found assorted coloured and textured papers, tin foil, cotton balls, felt and fabric scraps, ribbon and rickrack bits, star and circle stickers, and buttons. We also punched and collected up shapes from paper with paper punches. We then set a budget of (maximum) $10 to supplement collage materials, which we took to our neighbourhood dollar store. There she helped me pick out simple items like glitter glue (6 for $1), feathers, googly eyes, sequins, and wooden cut outs.

I designed up a simple folded bag-top in Adobe Illustrator for the packaging. I made a goal from years back not to use any more plastic packaging for the products I create and sell, however, I have random plastic bags left over from the old days when I first began selling my goods, and so I've been wanting to use them up. I had a few dozen 7x10" cellophane bags, and I decided to use them for these collage kits. I realised that the bags would be good to store and protect the child's finished artwork in, and so included this idea with the "instructions" on the back of each bag-top.

On another afternoon, Addie and I sorted all of our materials into kitchen bowls, and made an assembly line, a few of each material in each bag along with 3 tag board paper background sheets, a mini glue and 1 glitter glue. I stapled the bag-tops to the top of each package. Adelaide loved this, and we put together 2 dozen kits quite quickly. And any extra materials went right into Adelaide's arts and crafts material box for other days.

Beads + Bits jewellery kits

One day I came across a large bag of wooden beads for $5 - at Walmart of all places - and I thought it would be a nice idea to put little bead kits together for children. I also picked up an inexpensive packet of beading twine in assorted colours (I believe for around $3. I combined these beads with a few other types of wooden beads I already had, and together one afternoon Adelaide and I put together many little bead kits.

We sorted all of our beads by colour into kitchen bowls, and made an assembly line, selecting out bead combinations into our own bowls, calculating the correct amount to either create a child's necklace or 3 child's bracelets. (Adelaide adored this activity). We included a length of twine with each of our kits, and carefully poured each kit into 4x6" glassine envelopes which I had on hand. We sealed each kit up tight with a glue stick, and tucked them aside for later.

Many days later when I had some time, I designed up another bag-top, and simply trimmed off the side of each of the filled glassine envelopes with an exacto blade. I then stapled on the bag-top, and, done!

Children's Notebooks

This is an old project of mine, and I wasn't planning on making more of these little books anytime soon. But then a little friend of Adelaide's came over to play one day. He spotted one of Adelaide's note-books, and said excitedly to his mom: "Mama, I have this book, but mine is a Dolphin book!" I was quite touched by this, but then I realised that we had given the book to him over two years ago when he was only 2 years old, and that he remembered and kept his little book all this time. I then knew that I should really make up more of these lovely little books. (More information on this project and a description how-to is here).

Making Cupcake Flags

Another old project which Addie and I recycled for her birthday (and probably always will) was our cupcake flags project. You are welcome to download our finished template and make cupcake flags, too - more information is located here.

Together on a particularly dark and grey afternoon, we printed out and made a little box full of dozens of these cupcake flags, ready to poke into cupcakes at her birthday party (I managed to convince her to have homemade cupcakes instead of a store-bought birthday cake - cheaper, easier, cleaner, and zero utensils or plates required).

Addie - well - she really just loved gluing up and folding her flags up over toothpicks, and so I let her go at it. (Secretly, I placed her glue-gucked fingerprinted flags aside when the time came to poke them into the fresh little cupcakes... shh!) No harm done, she was so pleased to help, and it was sweet for me to watch the little boys at her birthday party playing and waving their little cupcake flags. It's funny, sometimes, what little children find joy in.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

waiting days

These days are waiting days, and I've puttering away in my workroom, wrapping up orders, and preparing to close my shop for a few months when my new little baby comes in the next few weeks.

I am still accepting a few last orders - including orders for my black walnut address files, which previously have been out of stock for many months. If you would like to make a purchase, please do so sooner than later - as I will be closing my shop in the next week or so.

Thank you for visiting me, and wishing you all the best and a lovely springtime! xox sharilyn

Saturday, March 05, 2011

making sweet paper + fabric pennants

One afternoon while playing, My daughter Adelaide offhandedly announced that she wanted to "make flags for all of her friends". With this little comment, she inspired me to find a way to do just that.

We also found that they could be personalized with letters of the alphabets, and would make lovely cute + inexpensive gifts for the children at Adelaide's upcoming birthday party.

After brainstorming and a few prototypes, I was able to come up with a plan and template to make personalized pennant flags out of paper and fabric, and a few other simple materials.

These little pennants are quite simple to make and to personalize, but because I made 20 of them, I began several weeks in advance, working on a few in batches here and there. Because of this I found that they were quite an enjoyable project to work on.

If you would like to make your own paper + fabric pennants, I have created a tutorial, with all the information and steps you will need to do so. You will need to download it along with the pennant tracing template, and they are located here:

I greatly appreciate your thoughts and feedback! Please do let me know if you try these pennant instructions out - how it goes and if you have any thoughts on corrections which should be made, and how I could make them better.

In most projects I try to have my daughter "help" out as much as possible with both the decision making and crafting process. This is not always easy, and often requires incredible amounts of patience and preparation. And often have to catch and remind myself to chill out! But she loves to help so incredibly much, and I have found the rewards of teaching and making with my daughter to be phenomenal.

With this project, we took some time on an afternoon to simply make a project out of gluing the wooden beads onto the ends of the bamboo skewers, which we eventually would use for the "flag poles". Adelaide loved this activity and I found her to be really quite good at it - I found myself only having to trim the pointed ends off the skewers, and wipe any excess glue.

I also had Adelaide involved in the decision making with fabric and colour co-ordination choices according to each child. It is often very interesting to me to see how she thinks about things, and her reasoning behind her decisions - for example: "Nyomi is always smiling, so she should have yellow like the sun!"

I am hoping that my daughter and I will always inspire each other.

These little pennants were a hit at Addie's party, and they make lovely gifts for birthdays, special events, or for no reason at all! You can make one, or many, it is really up to you.