Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Christmas Crafts

I love our homemade Christmas tradition. :) Here are the little gnome and fairy dolls I made for my youngest daughter's stocking. The patterns for these are available at That has become one of my very favorite blogs to frequent. :) The wooden "people turnings" are from Casey's Wood and the felts and flosses are again from Prairie Point Junction.

My husband loved them so much that he suggested I try a design of my own. We live in Amish country, so these are very fitting Wisconsin dolls. :)

I cut the "body wrap" for each doll using the Wee folk pattern from blue felt. Then I cut a longer piece of black, but only half as high for the man's pants and two strips about 1/4" wide for his suspenders. I found that my son's leather glue works very well on felt and wood. The lady's skirt was a longer half-high strip of blue which I gathered and then sewed the ends together at her back. Some glue made sure it stayed in place. A smaller piece of gathered black felt became her apron and another longish 1/4" strip was glued on, covering the gathered edges of both skirt and apron and wrapping around to the back.
For the man's hat, I traced around a quarter, and then drew a larger circle around it. I cut out both circles and used another 1/4" strip to create the crown of the hat. The lady's bonnet is harder to explain. I've made so many little girls' bonnets, that I know the basic shape of the pattern pieces and just faked it cutting out a little one. One of these days I'll try to draw out the patterns for everything.
I sent these two cuties to my secret sister as part of her Christmas present. I hope she likes them. :)
And off the topic of cute little wee folk...
Here are the finished decorated altoid tin necklaces for the little dollies in the post below. :)

Think those will light up the faces of my 5 and 7 year olds? Especially when they peek inside? I can't wait to see their faces. :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Altoid Tin Dolly Tutorial

Tina requested that I do a tutorial on making these teeny tiny dolls, so I thought I'd give it a shot. These are made to fit into a *mini* altoid tin, like the one shown here.

Start out with a 3/8" wooden bead and a pipe cleaner. I pushed one end of the pipe cleaner up through the hole in the bead, then bent it into neck, left arm, body, left leg, right leg, body, right arm, and neck. I cut off the pipe cleaner with enough room to push it up through the hole in the bead and bend the ends over to secure.

You can snip the ends of your pipe cleaner shorter if they are too long, just make sure it folds over enough to really secure the bead. Kind of ugly looking, isn't it? ;)

Start winding the pipe cleaner doll with yarn (I used wool, but I think any yarn would do.)

Keep going, fattening up the doll as much as you like. Leave a longish end so you can tie a double knot before snipping off the end.

Here it is all wrapped up. I did have a bit of trouble with some of the yarn wanting to come off the end of one hand. I guess I wrapped too close to the end. But a bit of glue convinced it to stay where it belonged.
Laying the doll on a piece of paper, I traced a dress shape around it.

I cut two of these out of my lighter colored felt. (I purchased my wool felts and my matching embroidery flosses from Prairie Point Junction.)

Separate two strands of floss and thread a needle, matching up the ends and knotting so that you have four strands to sew with. Start at the neck and sew the top of one sleeve with a blanket stitch. Run your needle through your stitch before pulling tight and do this twice to make "knot stitches" knotting off the end. Start again at the bottom of the sleeve, and continue down the side of the dress to the bottom.

Place the dress on the doll and then stitch the other side of the dress. Now rethread your needle with two strands again, this time knot one end, leaving the short end free.

Use this to make a running stitch all around the neckline of the dress. Pull tight, gathering the dress around the doll's neck and secure with a couple of "knot stitches".

Sew your thread through the bottom of the sleeve where the "wrist" would be. Leave yourself room to work when you cut the thread.

Wrap the thread and knot it tightly around the wrist, tying with a double knot and snipping off the ends of your threads. Repeat with the other wrist.

With the length of your skirt as a guideline, cut out a string of petals a little shorter than your dress skirt out of your darker felt.

Gather the top edge of the petals, place it around the doll, and stitch the ends of the petals together.

Work your way around the petals again with your needle and thread, securing them to the dress, and cinching them up tighter and tighter as you go. Finish with a few knot stitches.

Choose a color of embroidery floss for hair. Fold it back and forth on itself until you have what looks like enough for a wig. Cut a shorter piece of floss and tie it around the center of your wig. Double knot it.

Wrap first one end of the tying thread around, under and over the ends of the pipe cleaner that stick out of the top of the head. Repeat with the other thread end.

Snip the loops of the wig so that each strand of hair is separated. You can even up the ends later if you wish.

Arrange the doll's hair as desired, snipping a few pieces of floss in the front short to create bangs. Spread some glue on the bead and press the hair down into it where you want it to stay.

It's done! And it fits perfectly. Now I just have to decorate the little tins. :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Preparations

I love this season of getting ready for Christmas. All the fun traditions, yet the freedom to change them if needed or wanted. When I was a little girl, every Christmas eve we had a "Christmas tree picnic" - a special meal eaten as a picnic by tree-light on the living room floor. Mike and I adapted the tradition to fit our own family, chosing to have our Christmas tree picnic on the night we set up the tree. Traditionally that has been the first Sunday in Advent.

Well, this year, we wanted to do things a little differently. Part of it was that I wanted to do the tree differently. We've had the same pink and white and gold theme for at least 15 years and to be honest, it was getting boring - to me at least. I wanted an old fashioned tree to fit our old fashioned house. So I convinced Mike to wait a little longer this year.

Meanwhile, I started felting popcorn. I wanted strings of popcorn and cranberries, but ones that could be made once and used year after year. So I got out my wool roving and picked off little bits, squishing and squashing them in warm soapy water until they turned into something that looked quite a bit like pieces of popcorn. It was kind of fun - but slow. Each piece of popcorn needed to be squished for 5 - 10 minutes. At the end of the first evening's work, I had 30 pieces of popcorn. Only about 300 some more to go at least. LOL

I think Mike was watching me felting away and was beginning to realize it would probably be next year before the tree went up! One night he came home with a huge bag of foam bits (meant for stuffing) and some pretty red beads. They look remarkably like popcorn if you don't look too close. Within an hour or so, we had 3 six foot strands of popcorn and cranberries ready to go on the tree! It was wonderful!

I strung the felted popcorn I had done with some beads and made one strand which I put on top of the piano. As Mike pointed out, if I just do a few pieces of popcorn a night, I could have close to 1000 pieces felted and ready to go for next year.

So that opened up the possibility of getting the tree set up and decorated. Hooray! We have several birthdays to work around in December plus our anniversary, so we decided to set it up on Saturday - the 5th. The kids and I made candy canes and gingerbread men from sculpey and painted them. My son, Jeremi glued tinfoil to paper and made origami stars. I *love* how they turned out! I switched out my old precious moments angel tree topper that I bought when I was about 16 years old, for a pretty more old fashioned looking star. I really wanted candles. I've always been fascinated with the old pictures I've seen of Christmas trees with candles on them. My friend Chautona helped me find a place online to order strings of lights that look like old fashioned candles! Way cool! We decided to do as my parents did and have the picnic part of it on Christmas Eve this year.
Now there's the cookies and carols and all the presents to make. :) Our family tradition is to do a homemade Christmas. All the gifts must be homemade. It gets gloriously overwhelming at the last minute - sometimes simplifying the grandiose plans we made at the beginning, and even once in a while putting an IOU under the tree, but nobody minds. It's so much fun to create something made specially to bless that precious person. Here's one I'm working on right now. (My little girls don't read my blog, so I'm safe) ;) It's a tiny little fairy doll that fits into a mini altoid tin. I plan to decorate the tin too. I also made some little gnome and flower fairy people for my Emilie like the ones at . They are so CUTE.

I am so looking forward to Christmas Eve when our youngest child will put baby Jesus into the manger in the Nativity scene and we'll read Luke 2 and open all the wonderful homemade presents and have our Christmas tree picnic.
What a glorious time of year!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

For Today 11/4/09
For more information, see

FOR TODAY November 4, 2009

From my photos... - above: Amanda Grace with her new birthday dolly
...Outside my window - It's looking like it might clear up after all. It was trying to snow this morning

...I am thinking - about the next chapter of the story I'm writing. My mom and I are challenging eachother (in the spirit of nanowrimo, but not officially so - ) to finish our respective books by November 30th.

....I am thankful for - health, no swine flu at our house yet :)

...From the learning rooms - we're working a new song to sing for Thanksgiving. It's an old hymn called, What God Ordains Is Always Good. I chose to use a different melody.

....I am wearing - my white peasant chemise and my green and white gingham colorgrown cotton jumper

....I am creating - purple dresses for my girls to wear for Thanksgiving

...I am going - no where. The blue van is in the shop today getting that tie rod end replaced.

...I am hoping - to hear my baby's heartbeat next Wednesday even though it's still pretty early
...I am hearing - the washer and dryer humming

...Around the house - Lissa and Juli are singing while they work :) Jeremi's playing with Emi, Abigail and Amanda are straightening up their room, and Micha and Terran are working on their papers due in their Literature class soon

....I am wondering about - what to write for the Rosenow (my mom's side of the family) newsletter. I just got a request this morning to participate with a family update.

...One of my favorite things - listening to my kids sing in four part harmony :)

...A few plans for the rest of the week: find all the winter coats, boots, etc and figure out what fits whom and where we're going to put them.

Monday, November 2, 2009

November 1

What has not just one...

but TWO favorite meals,

tons of presents

and TWO cakes??

It's November 1st at our house. :) 5 years ago yesterday, Terran received a baby sister, Amanda Grace for his 11th birthday.
We had a really lovely day yesterday. Terran chose Chinese for his meal at lunch time. Chicken stir fry, rice, Terran's General Tzo's sauce and another less spicy sauce, egg rolls, and pot stickers. It was So good and we were So stuffed!
Then we let the birthday boy and girl open their presents. Amanda got a new doll and a stuffed horse. Terran got a big roll of craft leather and a book on tanning deer hides. Both got a package from Nana and Papa full of all kinds of things as well.
Amanda choose fried chicken, corn, and coleslaw for her birthday meal. No one was very hungry yet, but we made one piece for each person and it was very good, leaving just enough room for...
The cakes. :) Mike made a beautiful fairy castle cake for Amanda with pink strawberry cake and a dragon made of fruit roll ups. And Terran made his own ice cream cake - crushed oreos on the bottom, a quart of coffee ice cream, and crushed up heath bars on top. Yum!

One more year. It's hard to believe they're 16 and 5 already! We are so blessed!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Presentation Night

Every once in a while, an informal group of homeschooling families in our area gets together for what we call a presentation night. It's kind of like show and tell. Each child who wants to can get up and show everyone something they've been learning or doing. 5 families came last night with about 30 children.
Each of our children participated with a presentation, though unfortunately, my camera died halfway through. :(
Micha and Terran, with their friend Zac wrote and performed a skit of the Biblical story from Judges 3 - King Eglon and the judge Ehud, through whom God delivered Israel.
I had to include this photo. ;) In their version of the story, the mean spirited King Eglon decided he had not yet that day taken candy from a baby. So he forced his servant to play the part so that he could check it off his list of evil things to do. (They did warn everyone that it wasn't *exactly* like the Biblical account.)
Jeremi created an animation of Noah's ark. He explained how the animation process works. (Of course, he did so in his own style - as "Abu" rather than as himself. LOL)
Lissa read the story she wrote for Vision Forum's 2010 essay contest.
Emilie played her reading game in front of everyone. She sounds out the three letter word on each card, then finds the little object to match. Her favorite is "cat". I have to make sure that one is last so she doesn't get totally distracted by wanting to play with the tiny pink cat.)
Unfortunately, my camera died before Juli played "Jesus Loves Me" on the harp so beautifully and Abigail read a story out of her reading book complete with a voice change for the "Billy Goat" character and Amanda recited her memory work passage, Eph. 4:32 flawlessly.
I think Mike got pictures and maybe even video on his Blackberry, if we can figure out how to get them from there onto the computer. :)
It was a wonderful evening. Mike even surprised us by being there. We were expecting him to have to work late. Wonderful presentations, delicious snacks, and lovely fellowship. God is so good!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

For Today 10/21/09

FOR TODAY October 21, 2009...It's not even fully light yet at 8:30 in the morning. Winter is coming way too fast!

...I am thinking - I need to clean up my summer kitchen and find room for the stuff that was moved to make room for the freezer we were just given.

....I am thankful for - God's provision for vehicles. Just found out that the minivan needs a new tie rod end, but God already provided the funding.

...From the learning rooms - Abigail is reading well enough now to join in reading passages on Sunday morning!

....I am wearing - my white blouse and my purple and blue peasant skirt (LOL Would you believe I've got the same outfit on today? - 5 outfits and this one just happened to come around again today - I need to make myself something new to wear.)

....I am creating - a bonnet for a customer's rush order

...I am going - hmm I could say "crazy" but that would imply that I wasn't already there!

...I am hoping - my sister and brother in law have safe travels and wonderful experiences on their mission trip to India

...I am hearing - a couple of pine squirrels chasing eachother up into the pear tree, down and around the back porch, and back again and again.

...Around the house - Micha's making french toast (kind of a late start this morning after a late night.), Terran, Juli, and Lissa are reading in the livingroom, Jeremi's playing with Emilie, Manda's digging in the community shoe box, and Abigail's setting the table.

....I am wondering about - lactose intolerance. Everyone in my family has it. Mine's been mild enough to be in denial, but the slowed digestion of pregnancy seems to be making it much less ignorable. :(

...One of my favorite things - the smell of coffee and french toast in the morning

...A few plans for the rest of the week: sewing projects, planning what to serve on Saturday when Mom comes, hoping to start working on a few Christmas presents. (We do all homemade gifts and there are only 60 some days left)

From my photos...
Another third birthday - 7 years ago. :) Julihannah Kristine
Don't forget to scroll down to the last post and leave a message for a chance to win a copy of Chautona Havig's latest book, Argosy Junction!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book Review - and possible prizes :)

Title: Argosy Junction
Author: Chautona Havig
Publisher’s Synopsis: The romance of the Montana Rockies has a pull on Matt Rushby that he's never fully understood. Sheep, mountains, and a family wounded by the spiritual abuses of a cult capture his heart on his first vacation from the metropolis of Rockland. While he learns how destructive the church can be to its own, the Argosys discover a Jesus they forgot.

My Review: Chautona's second book to come out in print, this book was a joy to read. This work of Christian fiction tells the story of the meeting of Matt Rushby - the boy who grew up in the inner city - and Lane Argosy - ranch owner's daughter. Talk about opposites attracting! Both are introduced to a world they've never known.

First, Matt sees life through the eyes of the Argosy's who have been shunned by The Brethren, a church that they had originally been a founding part of. Seeing the way they've been treated, Matt understands Lane's reluctance to have anything to do with the Lord, but he is determined to show her what true faith really is.

Then Lane and her sweet and naive little sister, Patience come to visit Rockland and experience the inner city. "A little child shall lead them" rings true as Patience finds joy in helping the homeless and showing love to a prostitute who visits Matt's church.

Chautona does a great job of showing balance in this story. The point of separation for the Argosy family from the Brethren was over an incident with a young lady wearing jeans and she does a good job of showing how easy it is to slip over the line into legalism. Yet it would be easy to portray all people who wear dresses and long hair as being legalistic, and for a while I was a bit concerned that that could be where the story was going. (At the same time as I was sure it couldn't be, knowing the author!) I loved how Chautona brought into the story a lovely family who outwardly may have looked like the Brethren but inwardly they truly loved the Lord and others and understood the concept of Christian freedom.

This book is part of Chautona's "Rockland Chronicles". I love how each story stands alone, yet she weaves characters from one to another. (You can read one of her ongoing stories called Past Forward here: Matt and Lane peek into that story too!)

The Contest: Chautona is doing a contest. If my name is chosen from those who have blogged about her book, you will have a chance to win too! Just comment on this post and if my name is chose, one of your names will be chosen also to receive a copy of Argosy Junction.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to my 3 year old!

3 years ago, yesterday, Emilie Lynnette joined our family in the wee hours of the morning. Truly joy came in the morning, and she is such a joy!

Here is a picture of her "cake". Emi requested chocolate cake with mint frosting. Terran made the cupcakes and the frosting for me and let me decorate it. I made fondant to create the little characters. (Some of them turned out better than others. LOL) Emilie LOVES Winnie the Pooh. She has nicknamed herself Pooh Bear and calls Micha: Owl, Terran: Rabbit, Jeremiah: Tigger, Julihannah: Eyeore, and Elisabeth: Kanga.

The fondant recipe is super easy -
1 cup of mini marshmallows squished down and stuffed as full as possible,
1 T water
microwave for 30 seconds and stir until liquidy (is that a word?)
then stir in (and knead in) powdered sugar until you have a modeling clay consistency.
You can separate it into different bowls and use food coloring (and extra powdered sugar as needed) to achieve different colors.

Here is Emilie with her cake. She loved it! :) (Terran and Jeremi decided that the Eyeore looked more like a leopleuridon. - those who have experienced the insanity of "Charlie the Unicorn" will know what that means. - you can look it up on youtube, but maybe you'd rather not know. ;)

And Emilie in her new birthday dress from Nana. (I promised my mom I'd get a picture and let her see it. Hi, Mom!)

"Behold, children are an heritage of the Lord."

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trying something new and simple

I've come across this "Simple Woman's Day Book" recently and have enjoyed reading the entries on my friends' blogs. For more information, see

FOR TODAY October 13, 2009

...Outside my window - The sun makes it look like a warmer day than it really is. Snow flurries yesterday!

...I am thinking - about a story I'm writing. I'm stuck.

...I am thankful for - God's incredible blessings - a beautiful home, land, wonderful children and husband, a reliable job for Mike, provision for our needs, and a precious little one that God is knitting within me. :)

...From the learning rooms - found a great website this morning on teaching spelling. I have children who are voracious readers. I thought spelling would come naturally. Um, maybe not.

...From the kitchen - our neighbor filled up our kitchen with apples and my mother in law blessed me with more jars. Just have to get going on making the apple sauce.

...I am wearing - my white blouse and my purple and blue peasant skirt and my warm turquoise wool sweater.

...I am creating - dresses for customers and working on a new song

...I am going - no where. :) Snugged in our warm house while we get over our colds.

...I am reading - Bible reading today:;2thessalonians%201:1-12;psalm%2083:1-18;proverbs%2025:11-14&version=NLT and DragonLight by Donita K. Paul

...I am hoping - to see my mom, sister, nieces and nephews later this month!

...I am hearing - my Judy Rogers cd (a wonderful gift from a reader here!), my daughter washing dishes and the little ones playing

...Around the house - Micha and Terran are reading Ivanhoe for their literature class, Jeremi is just coming in from taking out the trash, Lissa is working on spelling, Juli's doing dishes and planning lunch, Abi's playing the computer, and Manda and Emi are playing with Emi's "Little Einsteins" toys.

...I am wondering about - our country's future. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

...One of my favorite things - afternoon naps :)

...A few plans for the rest of the week: apple sauce! lots of apple sauce. :)

From my photos...

I'm so thankful for the relationships between my oldest and youngest children!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I've been talking for a long time about how I was working on publishing a version of Savannah's scrapbook and about the cd project to go with it. Well, it's finally finished :) I worked out all the pages in a digi-scrap format and got it printed through - then added little bits of special touches - rhinestone stickers, 3-d elements, mini books - one that even has a buckle to open it.

Then I conned my sister, Cheri into helping me with my cd project.

And it all came together today - (It only took 7 months hehe) and I finished the website :) Let me know what you think. :)

God bless you!
- Heidi

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Neat Blog I Started Reading Today

I ran across a link to a really neat blog today. It is the journey of a family who buys and old Amish farm and lives without electricity etc.
I imagined when we were looking to buy this house that our life would look a little bit like this. Of course, God had a slightly different plan in mind. :)
Anyway - just wanted to share a blog that I'm sure you'll enjoy!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer Fun

A few weeks ago, we had one of those really hot August days that have been so rare this summer - the kind of day that makes the kids wish we had a pool - the kind of day that makes you actually consider really crazy things like going to a water park. :) Fortunately, we have creative people around here who can come up with better ideas!

Mike pulled out a large tarp and the boys set it up on a small hill with some rocks to hold it in place. Micha didn't want to go down the makeshift water slide so he was conned into holding the hose.

Going down the slide is fun, ending up in the mud at the bottom is a little more concerning!

I don't know what Lissa said to earn the extra spray. Wow, that well water's cold!

Manda says, "Whee!"

Terran comes *flying* down the hill!

Maybe that was a little TOO fast!

"My turn! my turn!" Emilie needs a push.

What a fun way to spend a hot summer day!