Friday, August 29, 2008

Register to vote

It's no secret that I'm a solid Obama girl this election (and, yes, loved the speech last night. What I hoped for: finding common ground, reaffirming mutual patriotism, direct plans. The man is a born leader!), but whether or not you agree, please register to vote.

Lots of us are in the moving-around stage of life, so if you need an update, here's an easy way: fill out this online form to have a voter registration form e-mailed to you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Today was blessedly rainy (or are those tears of gratitude on the previously-parched lawn?), and painting posters for the girls' pending Kool-aid stand out on the porch was perfect.

Our little PA town hosts a Corn Festival (crafts galore & 35,000 visitors with good weather) on the last Saturday of August. The second day in our new home, we woke up at 4 am to the gentle but unfamiliar noises of hundreds of white tents being set up on the street outside our house (we live on the central street in town). Last year the girls threw together a Kool-aid stand and, to their great delight, netted $116 in 2 hours. Of course, their cutie-pie helpers from last year were ready to be included, and came to help. Oh, yes: this year, plans are big...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

handmade holidays: fabric dollhouse

In no particular order, I'm starting to post project ideas I run across for handmade holidays. First up is this fabric dollhouse.

there's a barn, too :)Read the tutorial at UK Lass in US.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

doll making

A friend who joined me in my first doll-making experiment 5 (Is that right, Meg?) years ago e-mailed me about my last post, and I spent enough time searching out helpful links that I thought I'd post them here. I could do some tutorials, but frankly they've been better done elsewhere. As I come across them, I think I'll post...hmmm...this is making me think of a whole "ideas for Christmas gift-making" line of posts. I cannot for the life of me get anyone (one exception: thank you, Shannon!) to craft with me here in small town, PA (I even hit up the grandmas at church, to no avail), so maybe I'll get a little vicarious joy sharing ideas via web. Oh, that's why I type away here: I already do. Thanks for "listening."

(the girls wouldn't agree on where to pose with their dolls this evening, so you get both...)

Hi, Meg :).

I bought our doll kits a few years ago from Magic Cabin, and still feel like their kits are pretty economical, considering how hard it is to find good-quality dollmaking goods. Here's the link to their doll-making kits.|0|Normal%20Search%20Result|P1

They also sell materials separately.

Magic Cabin does sell pocket dolls off and on, but I haven't seen kits for them. I'm sure kits are available from other sources, but you can find pocket doll or waldorf doll tutorials pretty easily online. There are great Waldorf toy books that have sweet patterns and ideas, too. We own these:

The Nature Corner: Celebrating the Year's Cycle with a Seasonal Tableau

Feltcraft: Making Dolls, Gifts and Toys

Making Flower Children

Toymaking with Children

and OH THERE ARE MORE! And more in print (back in print?) now, I just saw as I searched for links on Amazon, than when I bought those 3 years ago.

My favorite sites for Waldorf doll-making materials are A Child's Dream Come True ( and Weir Dolls and Crafts ( Weir sometimes offers velour and wool felt scrap packs, which are perfect for wee dolls. I've especially had a hard time finding cotton velour. Recycling old clothes (lots of velour baby sleepers & I've dyed cotton tees for skin fabric, with walnut shells or tea) is a great source, too.

Have I said that I really, really, really love handmade toys for my children? The natural materials just are good for our souls. And kids treat them differently, even our visitors, not necessarily as firmly trained by their mama as mine are in handmade LOVE.

Please do share your results!
Love, V

Monday, August 25, 2008


There was no creativity at our house. Only laundry. (From me, anyway. The girls spent a large part of their day with their Cranium FunFolio books. Highly recommended, though I'm a little afraid that they're being phased out because we bought one of them on clearance. Marian received the Junior edition for her birthday from her grandparents.) But I did hear on the phone today that my cutie-tootie niece likes the creative bits I sent her for big birthday #2. I photographed those good bits & (true to form) never got around to posting them.

First, some freezer-paper stencil fun for Miss Ellee (who really does a most fantastic elephant trumpet) and her new baby brother Will. I've been LOVING the freezer paper stencilling this summer and will someday share more photos. Very simple. You can easily find tutorials. Since I used a little tutorial in a freebie Craft: mini magazine I got at Art Star this year, here's a link from their site. I used Versatex screen printing inks and Jacquard textile paint with similar results.
One of my favorite sweet nature books is Sibylle Von Olfers' The Story of the Root Children (We read it at Marian's birthday party). I really want this quilted version, btw... Anyway, after first reading it, I needle-felted little root babies a couple of years ago that I loved so much, and have been wanting to make little Waldorf velour root baby dolls for forever. Two little darlings turning two this month finally pushed me to it (okay, one isn't finished yet...). I'm not quite pleased with the result, but I'm comparing my efforts with the super-skill of Aunt Boo of aunt boo's babies (this article in the Storque includes a sweet photo that shows how excited Audrey was when she received some of her great work for Easter this year. The dolls pictured just below Audrey's photo are some of ours).
Marian took this photo after she decked the root baby in all of her summer finery.
I hoped that little fingers would be successful dressing this wee doll, especially with the flower skirt-cape-hat options all available. I hear she's close.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

this week

"One kiln load by the end of the summer" has morphed to "one kiln load before baby...", but I did get into the studio one day for a little batch of bowls.

Provides a bit of a belly shot, too :), though this particular angle and smoosh definitely understates it. We vacationed on Chincoteague Island. We camped, the weather was perfect, and I came home with a rested soul.

Monday, August 18, 2008


...on the phone with her uncle Cody. I do not know how this conversation thread got started, but suddenly it was Valentine's Day: "I like it. You get to make cards with red, white, pink...and also it reminds me of the people I love!" [later: Bye! Airhug! *loud smooch: Mmmmmwwwah!*] She's really into the phone calls. This one was to wish Cody well in his first day of medical school. She originally left a message: "...and I was just thinking if you were really scared, I could give you some good things to think about."

And this I had to post:We still have a long, long way to go, but for a girl who transitioned straight from breastfeeding to tubefeeding & hasn't deviated, this has been a miracle week.


Las chiquitas and I did our first stamp/block carving yesterday. I bought some for-real linoleum blocks, but decided to start with a grayish sheet I bought from Dick Blick that is easier to carve. We each tried out our technique on the fancy erasers I bought at KMart first, then I tucked into my olive branch print. The carving was easier than I anticipated, but going back and trying to smooth out edges, especially on the tighter rounds of the olives, didn't work as well as I would have liked. The material "gave" too much as I pressed into it. I think the stiffer linoleum material will be nicer for that. But long curves were like butta' :). This particular material is supposed to be thick enough to carve stamps on both sides, but since the image I carved is so big, I mounted it on wood to give the stamp stability. I used a stamp pad to mark the pretty aspen, and the image was fairly clear, but the ink absorbed into the carving material almost too fast to use, and didn't wash off, either. I do have some lovely screenprinting inks to try when this transforms my new cloth napkins...I think these might be inspiration for our next set of kid carvings. I think my ladies would love a bunch of stamps that can be used together in a scene (from the most recent angry chicken post).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wednesday was Wood day

I found a bag full of branch bits in the attic this week, leftovers from a fairy furniture Christmas project a couple of years ago. The girls caught the woodworking enthusiasm (I finished a bunch of this-Christmas wood puzzle first cuts) of the day. and designed/built fairy furniture for hours. I did a bit of custom sawing for them, we all trekked to Pague & Fegan (our 152-year-old hardware store a block away) for new wood glue, and a lovely new set emerged. Marian's self-assigned area was transportation: two cars and one roller-coaster train resulted.

Audrey had "furniture": her beds and table & chairs (Audrey designed the new chairs, which she thought would work better for our bendy fairies):
She also continued her Olympic obsession with this balance beam. When our friend Sarah joined us, she added a diving board.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I am constantly, annoyingly-to-some-in-the-house taking photos of everything we do. Project-wise, I'm always intending to post them here...and y'all know how often I actually post. So many goatgirl projects never shared! (I know, you're dying...). Tonight, I'm actually taking action:
A quick synopsis of what living with the Goates is like. Or was like today.

**and then I went to sleep**

So, yesterday...

We add handwriting practice to our usual "practice time" (guitar for Audrey & reading for Marian), and the girls insist that I practice handwriting, too, and get me some calligraphy pens. My quick efforts do not impress me & I have plans (recommended Christmas presents: dip pen & inks. I don't need a kit: I have manuals & such...)I also spend some time sketching ideas for my foray into block printing. Olive branch and flying dove.Audrey (who usually shies from my crafty obsessions on principle) actually asks if we can have craft time after practicing, because she wants to build a beach volleyball set for her Olympic seasonal table set up. It's awesome. (and she says she's not crafty! "Well, except for origami...")Marian works on her Wall-E and Eve sculpey figures, which have been sitting amid bits of Sculpey on the kids' craft table for over a week.And takes photos of me. She did start to use the tripod after a couple of clicks, but...more practice.I've been borrowing a friend's scroll saw for, um, a bit too long, and have yet another burst of wood-project-finishing so I can return it. I work on plans for a shelf I want to build for the nursery. I pull out the birch branches I brought back from a trip home to Idaho a couple of years ago and lay them out on the lawn with the Lowe's-aquired poplar plank that has been gracing our back porch for a week in waiting. I'm birch mad & have planned to use the branch segments for shelf supports for years.Nathan gives me an engineering consult on my shelves' support issues. I head out to Lowe's to buy another poplar plank, and am now on my way to FRIDAYS ON THE LAWN. The others ride their bikes. Our family joins a couple of others for field fun, including Marian's favorite: kickball. Everyone plays, and she's totally wild about it.(look closely: you can see Audrey on base in the background)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Because I pretend to be a craft blog, I will not post a thousand wedding photos. Yet. But the Frandsen women did get crafty in our one groom's family responsibility: the wedding breakfast. [though I must credit my gracious sister Mindy for work beyond that, since the reception was in the backyard of their lovely home]. Also I have to note here that I successfully coerced wee family members into participating in a goofy but so-awesome-to-me program, mostly so I could show a video of Marian singing "You are my Sunshine" for Paul & Christine. I hope to figure out how to post it on her blog soon. (edit: watch Mare sing her little heart out here)

So it's another page-of-pics, including a shot of my too-beautiful Audrey, who won't put on her blog what I want her to. Ever. [hey, Audrey, don't you want me to show you how to put this blog on your blog? No. Audge. I won't make you write in your journal today if you write something journal-y on your blog. No.] So I'm going to show more of her here :).


I mentioned before my plot to buy beeswax for a useful purpose. I was feeling a little sad to miss wedding preparation details (because I lived across the country and because I am part of the groom's family, which means a big fat MYOB!--though sweet Christine has been kind enough to ask for my input a couple of times). I had used the Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667 Anglican bishop “Shakespeare of Divines”, as I so-usefully indicated on each slip) quote for a cousin's bridal shower years ago, and thought first to tack it to a couple of sparklers (recent Fourth enthusiam still with us) before I had the beeswax candles inspiration. A lucky change of plans: my new sister-in-law has since told me the details of a rather traumatic dress-on-fire incident when she tried to use sparklers to transform into Tinkerbell...

My first beeswax-of-my-own acquisition was a few years ago (for pysanky), and the girls and I dipped a few candles then. I thought I was pretty much a nature girl when I purchased the unbleached beeswax from a chain craft store, but this year's golden purchased-from-the-keeper tiny tapers make the old ones look positively drab. A few process shots (click on the page & it won't be so wee):

steamroller prints

I have fresh lino blocks on the shelves of my newly-organized closet, ready to carve soon. So this I found crazy-delightful.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

happy birthday, Marian

When Marian survived the summer before she turned two, her pulmonologist looked at me very seriously during our just-pre-birthday appointment and said, "You better be having an awfully big party this year."

Here's celebrating SEVEN!!!
Your birth was beautiful, one of life's great events, but your life and joy multiply ours daily.
I love you, little darling.