The BIRTHDAY BOOK IS DONE!!!

At long last I am actually writing this post. I have dreamed about this for almost as many years as I have been authoring this blog. It is with great satisfaction I can finally say–and mean it–The birthday book is done! 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays
I have told my husband and the kids so many times “the birthday book is done” that it started to loose meaning. Draft after draft, after frustrating small-tweaks-here-and-there draft, it is really truly completely, no-more-to-do done. I invite you to to pop some champagne for me… no not really, I can do that myself, but geez luize, it is good to put this one on the shelf and say fini! 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays
It was a project my good friend Robin and I started back when the kids were little. We traveled through so many stages of our lives and I have lived in five houses since we started. I guess I like to move! Or it has just taken a long time and finding the place that is home takes a long time too. 
But anyway, enough about that, here are some of my favorite images from the book:

Filled to the brim with step-by-step instructions for making original gifts, favors, cakes, wrapping, decorations and games, BIRTHDAYS: HANDMADE, HOMEMADE is interwoven with stories, photographs, illustrations and anecdotes. We invite readers to pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea and spend the afternoon making and creating. Our goal is to offer inspiration on how to make a birthday handmade, homemade and your very own.
Readers will love the creative ideas that make this book so personal and tangible. Projects range from fast and easy . . . Dinosaurs in real eggshells, to more timely and in depth . . . Dining table forts. Young parents and do-it-yourself enthusiasts will find endless help onhow to prepare and execute a homemade birthday party.
At a time when it seems like families are trying to take back just a bit of their own and blogs hum with self-reliant know-how, this book is a great jumping-off point for those aiming to leave commercialism behind and bring it all back to the ones they love. 
Birthdays: Handmade, Homemade is available online. 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays

Hope everyone is enjoying summer!
                                   

                                              Cheers~
                                                         Marica

P.S. I have one copy to give away, so if you live in the United States and would like to enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below. I’ll pick a name at random and post a winner Sunday July 23rd.

Autumn Projects…

Something about the fall, the change of temperature, the leaves, the moister in the air. It’s all so good and such a hearty invitation to sit down and get to work. Thread and needles, sewing machines and felting. I want it all, and I want a wealth of quiet mornings with mild sunlight or dripping rain and tea, and hopefully a friend to sit with. These are special days, not as easy to come by as I’d like, but I’ll take what I can get.

 


                                                                 Cheers ~
                                                                               Marica
P.S. Please add links to your projects, I would love to see them!

Thoughts… creation… a doll maker… a circle back round…

Ooo, I just read a wonderful post, by a most wonderful doll maker. I love hearing from people who feel similarly about the process of making things. Too often and too easily we are “taught” how to do things. I make an immense effort to guide rather than teach artistic processes. I notice this most lately via the pie-truck. Teaching people how to cook is such a tender occupation. I don’t mean they come for classes, I mean more that the folk so far who have helped out at the pie-truck are far from experienced or knowledgeable in the practice of cooking. 
Right from the beginning I was very sure I wanted, not to have them follow my recipe, for even I don’t bother to do that most days, but to hone the understanding of what was happening as they put ingredients together. They do use the recipes, but more as bench markers and arrows pointing in the direction of a fabulous pie, or amazing soup. 
I notice the same thing as my kiddos grow with their drawing, or my daughter asks for help with her sewing. I am terrified of giving too much instruction, scared they will rely on rules rather than discovered notions. 
As a somewhat impatient person, I loath directions, recipes and instructions. Trial and error are my best friend. I have tried to discover why, and finally thirty-three years into this life I truly understand my determination to make several disasters before I finally find the correct path. It is because I feel like an explorer; I feel my own discovery is mine, and to top that, I understand why and how what I did worked. 
I wrote a similar post several years back, it made me smile because somehow we can never get away from ourselves. I have found bits in my teenage diaries that ring true like I am writing them for the first time today.
Thanks for reading my rant, I recommend you check out Fig & Me, she got me inspired even after my dawn to dusk day at the truck. 
                                                                   Cheers 
                                                                                      ~ Marica

January…

I love thin winter sun. I love the day we get to take the Christmas tree out of the house. I love the day we put the tree in the house too, but there is always that fresh feeling of space when the tree goes out again. I love hot tea and quiet outdoors. I love the days at home with no school. It makes me nostalgic for homeschooling, even if I love the kid’s school—and I mean LOVE!

january, handmade puppet, handmade felt horse
I love no planned meals and no company, I love putting the house right and trying not to think about tomorrow. I don’t love trying not to think about tomorrow, but I love that tomorrow is tomorrow…
                                                  Hope Everyone is well!!!
                                                                Cheers ~
                                                                             Marica

Christmas . . . And yes, poppy seed cake with brandy sauce . . .

Well the whirlwind of Christmas just is sputtering to a close . . . I realized I think I might enjoy the lead up to Christmas more than the actual day, or days, themselves. Here a a few pictures of what happened over on this end of the world. I didn’t record the hurried messes or grouchy voices, I caught a few glimpses of the pretty things . . . Like my eight-year-old’s last minute made Christmas dress . . . She always reminds me the day before or so, and then I remember, “Oh yes, we need to do that too . . .” So we hurry to the fabric store and somehow, it always gets finished in the hours before it is worn, and threads just barely snipped, and then it looks as though we had planned it so well and she has had it hanging in her closet for weeks. Shhh, I like that part of the last minutes before it all begins . . .
And the deep yet bright colors of Christmas eve . . . 
And the quiet light the of the morning . . . The day so many children dream about all year . . . 
 And then there are the chocolate Santa’s that look so much better than they actually taste . . .
 And lastly, poppy seed cake with brandy sauce and pecans . . . 
Poppy Seed Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl mix:
2 cups butter soft
2 + ½ cups brown sugar

Add:
Tangerine rind
1 + ½ cups sour cream
8 eggs, one at a time then stir
½ cup milk

Mix in a bowl:
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
 Combine ingredients then pour into a buttered budnt pan. 
If your pan is not very big, pour excess batter into a loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
For the brandy sauce I just pour brandy in a pan over medium heat, 
added brown sugar and a couple tablespoons of butter.
I also threw in a cup or so of pecans
Once everything is desolved turn off the heat.
When the cake is cooked and turned out onto a plate,
poke toothpick size holes all over the top of the cake.
Pour the brandy sauce with pecans over that and
if you want to make it extra fancy, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
                                               Hope everyones holidays were fabulous ~ Marica

Tid bits of lately . . . Christmas cookies, making ornaments and gingerbread men . . .

Well it feels like forever since I’ve had time to sit down for a minute and post anything about anything. We have been so busy and done so much, but somehow things keep slipping past my camera without being captured. 
 We made ornaments with styrofoam balls, scraps of cloth and a whole lot of sticky glue . . .
 I really like the way they came out, but the process wasn’t as easy as I’d imagined in my head. 
 We made gingerbread cookies . . . And found out they date back to over a thousand years ago. 
In the fourteen-hundreds Swedish nuns made them to ease indigestion . . .
 We began reading Holly and Ivy, one of my most favorite books ever . . .
 I highly recommend it, the artwork is so pleasant to look at that as a kid I would 
spend hours pouring over the pictures. 
And we made Christmas cookies . . . Yeay for a real working oven!!!!
Christmas Cookies
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl combine:
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon guar gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Add and crumble with your fingers until evenly combined:
1 cup butter soft
Add and mix into a ball:
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 grapefruit squeezed (a lemon or orange is fine)
If the dough is too dry add a tiny bit of water until it is 
the right consistency. 
Roll out, cut into shapes and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes
or the cookies are slightly golden. 
For the icing I didn’t measure the powdered sugar so:
Mix:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup or more citrus juice
and then add powdered sugar until it is thick and smooth
but still spreads. 
                                              Cheers ~ Marica