Saturday, December 22, 2007

Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons- Winter

I thought it would be fitting today, as the first day of winter, to post this piece of music. I love Antonio Vivaldi. He has been my favorite composer for a while. Summer is my favorite movement of his Four Seasons but I love to listen to all of the movements. I love stringed instruments, I think that is why I love Vivaldi so much. Hope you enjoy listening.

If you are interested in studying a little more about Vivaldi you can check out the Harmony Fine Arts Free Dowload (Vivaldi is on page 8 of the PDF). It has links to biographical information and online listening.

If you want to purchase a Vivaldi CD from Amazon, here are some to get you started (We own the first one and highly recommend it.):

And if you haven't seen my winter themed art, handicraft and nature study kit, check it out here!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Winter Nature Walk Worksheet

I've put together another free printable nature journal page. It is a Winter Nature Walk Worksheet.

A nature walk is more than just walking or being outside. It involves stopping to really enjoy and explore being outdoors. This worksheet is designed to get you and your kids outside and looking for specific things. Once you get outside I am sure you will find lots of other interesting things to record in your nature journal.

For my other free printables see my page here.

(You can also check out my Fall Nature Walk Worksheet.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Some ideas for a boy's sewing box

Last week I posted about putting together a sewing box for a child. I had some questions about how I would put together a sewing box for a little boy. It seems that the actual things put in the box would be the same:

  • Fabric (cotton and felt are the easiest)
  • Thread
  • Needles (needles with larger eyes are better)
  • Pins (pins with round plastic heads are best)
  • Safety pins (they are sometimes easier to use than straight pins)
  • Scissors (they should be sharp, so be sure to supervise)

Other things you could add:

  • Measuring tape
  • Thimble
  • Needle Threader
  • Buttons
  • Ribbon

I think the main difference would be the colors and prints of fabric and thread you would include, as well as the container you put it all in. You would also probably not want to put it in a cute wicker basket. Perhaps a tackle-style box would work instead. (I like this idea because tackle boxes usually have trays or compartments that would make it easy to stay organized.) Or maybe you could use an old tin lunch box. Or a plastic lunch box of your boy's choice even. Get creative! If you have any other fun ideas, be sure to leave it in the comments!

If you are inspired to put together a sewing box for the boys or girls in your life, I would love to see photos of what you come up with. Feel free to email me photos or links to posts inspired by this post. (

And be sure to check out my post for the instructions for an easy no sew fleece project. It's perfect for a cold winter day!

Here are some things I found on Amazon to get you started:

And I still have quite a few Hearts and Trees Winter Themed Art, Handicraft and Nature Study Kits available, so be sure to check out the post here if you haven't already done so!


No Sew Fleece Blankets

Another great and easy project is to make a no sew fleece blanket. If you haven't made one yet, you have to try it. Everyone in my family has their own. There is so much fun fleece out there, the hardest part of this project is to decide which fleece you want! Of course it wasn't until after I made my blanket that I found Hawaiian print fleece- how awesome is that!

Here is my middle brother with his flame fleece blanket.

And here is my youngest brother making my dad's fleece blanket.

And here is my youngest brother's bed with his Nemo blanket and fleece tie pillow.

****To print these instructions you can download them as a PDF here.****

No Sew Fleece Blanket Instructions:

You will need:

  • Two lengths of fleece. (The length size is up to you. My brothers each used 1 yard lengths for their blankets and they are perfect for curling up with, but don't cover their whole beds. My fleece blanket is made with 1 1/2 yard lengths and I use it to cover my double bed. My father's blanket is made with lengths that are 2 yards each and if perfect for a covering everyone on the whole couch, but it is really heavy.)
  • Scissors
  • Yard stick or tape measure
  • Ruler


~Here is a diagram I made to sort of illustrate the steps below.~

1. Trim the salvage edges of each length of fleece. (That means trim the sides which are usually folded in and have little holes in them.)

2. On a large, flat surface lay the two lengths of fleece out. Lay the first length face down and the second length face up on top of the first.

3. Trim both layers of fleece to make them square and the same exact size.

4. Cut 4" squares out of the four corners of the stacked fleece.

5. Now you are going to cut fringe along all the sides. Lay a yard stick or tape measure from one inside corner of the cut square to the another.

6. Cut every 1" (using a ruler as a guide) from the edge of the fleece to the yard stick or tape measure. (That will be 4".)

7. Cut fringe on all the sides.

8. Tie the fringe together. (The first step when you are tying a shoe, do it twice.)

9. Work around the whole blanket tying the fringe.

And that's it!

Have fun with this project. As seen in the third photo, you can adapt this to make a pillow. Just work with smaller lengths of fleece and before you finish tying around the whole blanket stuff the fleece with cotton batting.

As always, you are welcome to share any photos of completed projects using the ideas on this blog. You can email me photos or links. ( Now, go find some fleece!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Some Completed Projects

So, I've had some emails of photos and links to posts about completed Hearts and Trees projects. First up we have hippiechyck's two sons completed Hearts and Tree Winter Kit fleece hats. I love this project because it is so easy and yet it makes something fun and useful. I had another Mom, Doris, send in this photo of her daughter Beth wearing her completed hat. I think the smile says it all.
If you check out Penny's blog you can see two posts of her son Levi completing the easy felt bear project. I love the way it turned out. The button eyes are the best!

If anyone else has photos or links they want to share, feel free to email me.

I will be back Monday with some ideas about putting together a sewing box for a boy and another easy craft project. Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Child's Sewing Box

"The Handicrafts best fitted for children under nine seem to me to be chair-caning, carton-work, basket-work, Smyrna rugs, Japanese curtains, carving in cork, samplers on coarse canvas showing a variety of stitches, easy needlework, knitting (big needles and wool), etc."

~Charlotte Mason Volume 1 Page 315

Sewing is a great handicraft for children, especially because it is also a useful skill a child is likely to use later in life. Sometimes though it seems that parents are not sure where to start. Sewing to me is like all other artistic mediums. It seems like we need to first let children become familiar with the supplies, next provide some guided instruction and then let the children explore the possibilites on their own.
This post is going to explain how to put together a sewing box for a child. It doesn’t take much to put together a box of fun stuff to inspire some sewing. And at the end is a link to an easy sewing project tutorial also posted on my blog.

Here are the basic you will want for a sewing box:

Fabric (cotton and felt are the easiest to start with)


Needles (needles with larger eyes are better for little hands to thread)

Pins on a cute pincusion (pins with round plastic heads are easiest for little hands)

Safety pins (they are sometimes easier to use than straight pins

Scissors (they should be sharp, so be sure to supervise)

Other fun things to add:
Cute measuring tape
Fun thimble
Needle Threader

Put all these items together in a cute sewing box and you are set.

You can also include instructions for the easy felt bear I have posted. The link to the post is here. I would love to post photos of your sewing boxes or bears you have sewn using my instructions on this blog, so feel free to email me photos or links to your photos at

I can usually find little travel sewing kits at my local DollarTree store, which has assorted thread, pins, needles, and buttons. Walmart also has little sewing kits already put together. Or here are some links to get you started.

You can even buy felt on!

And I still have quite a few Hearts and Trees Winter Themed Art, Handicraft and Nature Study Kits available, so be sure to check out the post here if you haven't already done so!

Easy Felt Bear Instructions

Easy Felt Bear Sewing Project

You will need:
Bear template (found here at
Two 9”x12” sheets of felt (you can use two colors or one)
Cotton stuffing
Buttons and permanent marker (optional)
1. Gather your supplies. 2. Cut out the bear template. Stack your two sheets of felt. Pin the bear template on top of the two felt sheets.
3. Cut around the bear template. Remove the template and re-pin the felt together. 4. Starting at the top on one ear sew around the edge of the bear with a whip stitch.
[To sew a whip stitch you will start at the back of the two sheets of felt, about 1/8” away from the edge, and come to the front. Your next stitch will be the same- back to front. Your stitches will cross over the edge of the felt. Make your stitches close together and tight.]
5. Stitch all around your bear to the top of the other ear. Leave the top of the head open to stuff your bear. When you reach the other ear knot off your thread. 6. Stuff your bear with cotton stuffing. Use small clumps at a time. Use the eraser end of a pencil to gently push the stuffing down into the bear’s legs and arms. Use more stuffing for a stiffer bear and less for a floppier bear. 7. When done stuffing your bear, pinch closed the top of the bears head and whipstitch between the two ears.
8. You can draw a face on your bear with a permanent marker or you can sew on buttons if you like.
**I would love to see photos of any bears made using these instructions. So, feel free to email me photos or links to photos of this project at Hope you have fun!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pre-Orders...Ready to Go!

So today is the pre-ordering ship date. As you can see I received a lot of pre-orders. In the first two days I sold more than my original goal! Thank you all so much for your interest and your support. This afternoon I am having a special carrier pickup for all of these. I am so glad I don't have to get them to the post office! If you haven't purchased a kit and are interested, don't worry I still have kits available. I put together plenty, so hopefully everyone who wants one will get one. For more information about purchasing winter themed kits please see this post.

Check back here on Monday for instructions for putting together a child's sewing basket and a pattern for an easy cloth doll!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Sneak Peek at the Winter Kit!!

This post will stay on top as long as I have kits available.
The Hearts and Trees
Winter Themed Kit is here!

So I am busy putting together the Hearts and Trees winter themed art, handicraft and nature study kit. We have a lot of fun projects to include in this kit. Here is a sneak peek at the contents:

The plan is to have the kits ready to ship December 7th. I will be accepting pre-orders in the meantime. I am putting together more winter kits than I did fall themed ones, but the supply will still be limited, so be sure to get yours early.

A more complete kit content list is available here, but briefly I will mention that included in this kit are the materials and instructions to make a fleece hat, the materials to put together a weather nature study themed lapbook (which among other things includes a pocket-sized winter nature journal) an artist notebooking page, a 4"x6" winter scene art print, a worksheet discussing cool colors, the instructions and papers for a cool color crayon resist night scene and the materials and instructions to make Sculpey bug thumbtacks.

These kits were gathered with children ages 6-12 in mind. The parent will need to be involved in some of the more complex projects such as the hand-sewing activity. You will also need to provide basic art and office supplies, including glue, watercolors, crayons, a hole punch and markers.

We are offering this Winter Art, Handicraft, and Nature Study Kit for the low price of $9.95 plus $4.60 Priority rate postage. (If shipping outside of US or Canada, email us for shipping costs.)

Each kit is enough for one student but we will be offering additional student kits for $8.00.

If you are ordering two or three kits, please note your shipping cost will be $7.00 Priority.

**If you are interested in purchasing a kit, please see this post.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Our house has turned into a kit making factory!

Our artistic shot of cut and folded fleece. The colors are off,
but it makes for a pretty photograph.

So, our house has turned into a kit making factory... we are busy cutting fleece, printing, collating, packaging, etc. We went and bought more fleece! So I have more cutting in store for me!
I can't wait to get the kits off in the mail to all of you guys. Just a few more days!
If you still haven't ordered your Hearts and Trees winter kit, the information is here.
Cutting and folding...
The printing factory...lapbooks, notebooking pages, worksheets, instructions....

I'd love to stay and chat, but there is still so much to do. ~ Amanda :)