Saturday, June 30, 2012

Please Welcome our New Sponsor...LITTLE WOOL!!!!

Beautiful friends...Today I'd like you to meet our good friend and newest sponsor Karen from
 Little Wool 
Little Wool makes the MOST delightful hand made wool felt creations...please go and check her out...read her blog, and help us support another mama run business!!


Please tell our readers a bit about yourself...
 I am a stay at home mama to three lovely girls. In the moments that aren't spent filling the mama role, or homeschooling, or gardening, I make things. Things for them, for me, for my partner and for our home. I am still waiting for the day when I figure out what I want to be when I grow up....


How did you come up with the name "Little Wool"...
The name LittleWool is meant to be funny. If one were to walk into my basement, one may stumble on piles of wool blankets and sweaters. It may be that if someone were to peek into my closets they may find more of the same....maybe. It is actually a LOT of wool...just saying.
This fact, combined with my love of making toys and things (as mentioned above) has led me down the path to selling these creations under the name LittleWool.

Who or what inspires you creatively...
During my 18 years under the title of "Mama", I have read and re-read countless childrens books...so it should not be a surprise that many of my creations are inspired by the pictures that appear these books.
I also spend many hours outside. Whether we are at our local beach, or hiking in the nearby Gatineau Hills, I am always somewhat preoccupied with the beauty that surrounds us. Many of my creations are inspired by these sights and sites.


Thank you Little Wool! 
I adore your handmade creations and I know our readers will too!
Now onto the giveaway!

Little Wool has generously offered to give one lucky reader the chance to win this beautiful handmade sheep, (the the one just above on the Little Wool button)...
Please enter by leaving a comment below...
additional entries can be had for
Adding the Little Wool shop on etsy to your favorites list OR
"following" the sheepish blog
AND if you tweet, pin or blog about this giveaway you can have one extra entry per action!
Please leave a separate comment for each entry!
This giveaway will run until next Saturday at midnight.

Go and support handmade today!!
xo maureen & shanti

Friday, June 29, 2012

On Love and Loss and LOVING again!!!

Right now you will find me wallowing in a nice little pond of self pity. You see, this is a pity party for one...for me...and I will happily wallow here for a week or two. The soundtrack in my pond is Elliott Smith...he's about the MOST depressing person I can think of to listen to...and the food is slim to non existant...I can't eat when I'm coping with heartache.
So...I want to share my story...of how I lost at love, but will live and trust in the universe that I will love again.
Dont' know where this image came from...but I truly LOVE it!!
When my 10 year relationship with the father of my children ended, I fearfully decided to start dating again...after being with one man for that long, this decision was terrifying. You feel unloveable...you feel like a failure at love...you are terrified that NO ONE will love you again. And so, I put on my rubber boots and waded back into the pool. Let me tell you...I had some good dates, and I had some horrible dates...one man I'll refer to only as the "feral cat boy"...it did indeed have something to do with the noises he made while I kissed him at the end of the night. Some of my dates ended with me feeling compelled to write a song...especially the bad dates...some of them ended with me feeling hopeful again.
Then I met a guy who seemed awesome...sweet, kind, caring, compassionate, sensitive, and a little bit warped...he was someone I wanted a "something" with...and I've been seeing him consistently for the past year. Everything was going so well...and then, reality hit square in the jaw...and we both knew it was over. His daughter lives far away...and he wants to be with her...and he is soon going to be in a position to move. The sad reality of it all is that I am not in a position to be a part of those plans. Of course there is other "stuff" too, every relationship has "stuff"...and it comes from both sides. The end result is, two very sad people who are heartbroken.
Do I know this heartache will lift...YES...I'm 36...I've been here before. It doesn't really negate the fact though that love endings tend to make us feel "unloveable"...they make us scared that we will never be loved again. And so I will continue to wallow...and with every passing day, even this will lift. I am SO ready to find someone awesome to have in my life...and I'm sure that person is out there waiting for an awesome lady like me to come in and shake things up,
(I even bake homemade cookies and muffins from scratch for crying out loud)!!!
My reason for sharing...maybe you're feeling heartache too...maybe you can relate to feeling unloveable, or you have other loss issues in your life...it's all a part of this crazy human experience...and in anything we go through we are not alone...I know at least that much to be true.
and so I sign off...in heartache and with LOVE
xo maureen

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fairies For Tea


FAIRYLAND
A Fairy's house stands in a wood, Midst fairy trees and flowers,
Where daisies sing like little birds
Between the sun and showers, And grasses whisper tiny things
About this world of ours.
Such flowers are there beside the way, Lilies and hollyhocks:
Blow off their stalks to tell the time
Tall dandelion clocks; While harebells ring an hourly chime
Like a wound music-box.
Some day shall we two try to find
This strange enchanted place?
Go hand in hand through flower-lit woods
Where living trees embrace--And suddenly, as in a dream, Behold a fairy's face!
~~Author Unknown.~~


We have been deeply immersed in fairyland over here. 
 We were inspired by The Magic Onions Fairy Garden Contest and decided to bring our own fairy garden to life! 
It has been wonderful. I love how easily I can lose myself in creating miniatures for our fairy friends (yes that is my hand pouring tea for the fairies ; ).
I laugh to myself when I catch myself more immersed than the girls ~ mama's time to play!

Here's one of our wee creations for our fairy garden...

 and a quick how to.

Gather
Acorns
Birch bark
Pine cone 
Small twig
Glue gun

Cut your twig for the spout.
Glue it on.
Cut a thin strip of birchbark and glue on for a handle.
(It helps to fold the handle a bit a both ends for the glueing)
Glue on your acorn cap lid.
Brew up some fairy tea!
For your itty bitty tea cups ~ cut out a small circle of birchbark.
Glue on an acorn cap.
Cut and glue on a birch bark strip handle.
After creating our tea set, we realized these fairies would surely appreciate a fairy flower snack.
So we created this little plate out of pine cone scales and an acorn cap.
We filled it with fresh flowers and invited the fairies to tea!


In Fairy Love
~ Shanti ~

Sunday, June 24, 2012

All Spunk No Junk...Guest Tutorial and Link Up!!!!!

Beautiful Readers...
Please help us welcome Jennifer from Dark Blue Dragon.
Jennifer also runs a business called Mariposa Forest 
that is definately worth checking out!

First off, thank you to Shanti and Maureen for having me over on their fabulous site. You have been missed and I am so glad to see you back again.

Here in our house we like bees. I dream of one day having bees and my littles know how important the bees are to help the flowers and vegetables grow, so I thought a bee themed craft would be appropriate.
So here you have it, a Bee and Hive Mobile.


To make this you will need:

one small terra cotta pot (think seedling sized)
some wool roving in golden, yellow, black, and white
small pine cones, or any small oval shaped nut or seed that has a bit of texture to it
two sturdy sticks
small piece of a twig or stick
twine
glue gun or craft glue
invisible thread or fishing line

First up, we need to make the hive. To do this, take some of the golden colored roving and rub it with slightly dampened hands as if you were making a snake (remember those playdough days?). My coil was about 45 inches long, but you can do smaller ones and just attach them on the pot.



After you have your coils made, we need to glue them to the pot. I use a glue gun for this because it is faster than craft glue, but use what you have. Starting at the bigger side (so the pot will be upside down) apply some glue and start coiling the roving around the pot, take care to keep the rows close together so no bits of the pot show through.


Keep going all the way around until you get to the top of the pot. Now, coil around the top of the pot, stacking it a bit to shape the top of the hive.


Using a blunt needle, thread some twine up through the hole on the inside of the pot and tie a small piece of stick or twig or even a bead to the end keep it from pulling through.

Now that we have a hive, we need some bees.


Using the pine cones or nuts or whatever you have, take a small bit of the wool roving and pull it slightly to make it wispy. It doesn’t take much here, just a pinch.

Wrap this wispy bit around the pine cone and roll it slightly in your hand to adhere it to itself. Now taking a very tiny amount of black roll it between your fingers and then wrap it around the yellow to make the stripes.

I found it easier to attach the string to hang these little guys before putting on the wings. If you like to live on the edge, go ahead and put the wings on first then tie the invisible thread on to hang them. If you are a rule follower, put the thread on now, just wrap it around the belly and tie, and then proceed to granting them their wings. To make the wings, simply take a small little pinch of the white roving and using your fingers, shape them into wings.

I like to make a little rectangle, then pinch and roll the middle bit. Once you are happy with them, glue them on using hot glue.

All that is left is to make something to hang them from. Taking the two sticks, tie them together to form a cross. Then attach some twine to the top of it to hang when you are all finished. Now simply attach the hive to the middle, and the bees flying happily around it. I put a drop of hot glue on the top of the sticks where I tied the bees just to keep them from flying away.

There you have it. It is perfect hanging above a Nature Table or Seasonal Display or above your dining table like we have it. The best part? These bees won’t sting!

Thank you SO much Jennifer for sharing your creativity with our readers!! 
Now it's your turn...link up your beautiful crafts and recipes below in our weekly


With LOVE
xo maureen & shanti


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Twig Stories by Jo Marshall...and a GIVEAWAY!!


Beautiful Readers...Please help us welcome
 author
Jo Marshall!! 
She writes a series of books called "Twig Stories"...and is generously offering our readers a chance to win a copy of her books! 
 Please read on to learn more about Jo and 
her "Twig Stories" 
The beautiful Jo Marshall
Twig Stories by Jo Marshall
Hello, Twig and Toadstool’s fans and followers. What a delightful blog!  So many fun ideas and talent here!  I want to thank my new friends, Maureen and Shanti, for their generous invitation to introduce my books, Twig Stories.
My name is Jo Marshall, and I write Twig Stories with the help of my young daughter,
Ali Jo.
In elementary school, she studied about the harmful impacts of climate change happening here in the Pacific Northwest. Three volcanoes loom over our valley in Snohomish, Washington.  Lush rainforests of British Columbia and the Olympic Peninsula are nearby, along with shrinking glaciers, vanishing species, and extreme weather.   So we invented Twigs – little stick creatures that live in old growth forests.  Twigs battle specific events associated with a warming world.

You may be wondering how to make a Twig story, so here’s a great method to try at home:
You will need the following supplies:

1.      Young readers, 8+, (or listeners 3+) who love a fantastic, adventure story
2.     An assortment of brave stick creatures –
Twigs about as big as a robin are best


3.     Animals plucked from forests & prairies – usually endangered

4.     Floods and goliath beavers:

Hint: In Leaf & the Rushing Waters Leaf and his friend, Rustle, try to find goliath beavers, which may be strong enough to build a mighty dam. Leaf hopes the ‘chompers’ can stop a flood from destroying Leaf’s old tree home, the Old Seeder.  (You see, beaver dams naturally mitigate flood and drought!)


5.     Bark beetles and trapped Twigs:

Hint: In Leaf & the Sky of Fire Twigs battle a swarm of “barkbiters” in an infested, dying forest.  Twig babes are trapped in a cave there, and Leaf flies off on a bird named Pesky to try and save them.  Fortunately, there are researchers working to save our forests, especially the endangered species like the white bark pine trees.


6.     Guidance from enormously gifted people in the environmental field who generously offer their advice and support to be sure the best stories are created.


7.      A great design team to develop a fun website with games and puzzles for kids, educational information, and discounts for shoppers.



8.     A talented Disney illustrator, who enjoys creating Twig art, and a stubborn writer



Weave it all together, and you have an eco-literary fantasy series call Twig Stories!
Leaf and the Rushing Waters



Leaf and the Sky of Fire

If you’d like to find some of these stories already put together, please follow the links below. You can find them online worldwide!

Oh yes! Leaf & the Long Ice and Leaf & Echo Peak will be available soon, too.

(It also helps if you are a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Read a Book Make a Difference, and many environmental nonprofits.)

Twig Stories books are available in paperback and kindle versions from online book stores such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.   

Links:
1)      Website: http://www.twigstories.com  Discounted books are available via my Estore (direct from publisher) Just follow the links from the Twig Store.

Thank you Jo for sharing your talent with us here at Twig and Toadstool!!

And now for the giveaway!!!
Jo has kindly offered to give one of our lucky readers a copy of one of her Twig stories. 
If you win you will have 2 choices...
you can get the books via Kindle,
(and Jo will give you both copies of her stories)
OR
if you want a hard copy you will get your choice of one of the two books.
To enter simply leave a comment...
for extra entries
or blog, pin, facebook or tweet about this giveaway and you can get an additional entry for each action.
This giveaway will run until next Saturday at midnight...the winner will be announced
on Sunday!  Good luck to all who enter!

The winner of our giveaway was Bug!!
thanks to all who entered!

For more information about Twig Stories drop Jo at line at
Have a great weekend everyone
xox maureen & shanti

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Get Your A** in the Seat!!!

The past year has seen my life go through so many changes.  One of the big hurdles I've had to overcome is letting go of the "good mother".  I've had to accept myself, and my motherhood journey just as they are...completely and totally imperfect and flawed. 

A few months ago we were at a dinner party, and my good friend is telling us all the mature things her three year old says...how she answers the phone and sounds like such a little grown up.
I had to mention that MY three year old says the MOST grown up things too...like just the other day as we were getting in the car she looks at me and says,
 "I know mummy...get my ass in the seat!"

Matilda and me!
Moments like this allow me to reflect on the sheer humour of this parenting journey...they allow me to accept the fact that I'm just not going to win Mother of the Year this year...or any year for that matter...and you know what?  I'm okay with that.

I look at my 2 little girls and I can see that they are turning into such cool little people...
they're going to be the kind of people that I would want to know. 
 I am guilty of swearing, yelling, losing my temper AND my cool, but I also possess a heart that bursts with kindness, laughter, JOY, love and light...and those are the qualities that shine through in spite of all my flaws as a mother. 

I encourage you to embrace your humanity as a parent...embrace your flaws...your JOYS...your heart that brims with love, fear and all those other crazy emotions...and every now and then stop and laugh at yourself and get your A** in the seat of your OWN parenting journey!!

I would LOVE if you shared some of your imperfect parenting moments with me!!
In perfect imperfection
xo maureen

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice Sun Child!!

Happy Summer Solstice!!!!
Today being the first day of summer, I thought we'd share a
sweet little SUN child craft!!!


You will need:
wool felt (in yellow and orange)
one wooden bead
paint & brush
roving (for hair and stuffing)
embroidery floss and needle (in contrasting colour)
beads or wool balls


I used a 250ml mason jar as my circle template...tracing around the lid cut one circle out of your yellow felt, and then cut another "sun" shape out of your orange felt.



You will need to cut a small circle where your wooden bead/head will go...start out small, you can always cut it a bit bigger if need be.



Fit in your wooden bead (head), where you want it to go...add some roving hair if you wish and glue gun into place.


Now sew your yellow circle onto your sun shape...before you close it off, stuff with some wool roving, just to give it some "depth".  I'm a big fan of the blanket stitch...makes it look nice and tidy!


Now add some embroidery floss to hang it with...and some glass or wool beads...



Lastly, if you desire you can paint on some eyes and a sweet little mouth...ready to gobble up some summertime fun!!

Now hang it somewhere to bring the sunshine in!!!
Happy Summertime!!!

xoxo maureen

PS...Don't forget to enter our GIVEAWAY to win a copy of the book
"LOVE is the Color of a Rainbow".
Enter by leaving a comment under the post...and look for ways to get extra entries.
The giveaway closes on Saturday at midnight!
(and stay tuned for another fabulous literary giveaway this weekend)!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Queen Summer

With summer solstice arriving this week...

Queen Summer 
joined us to welcome it in!

She is now gracing our summer nature table and would love to come to you too...

To bring her to life you will need to gather

silk flowers 
 felt 
wooden doll pin and stand 
 glue 
pipe cleaner 
roving 
acorn cap 


To begin wrap your pipe cleaner around the body (twisting it once in the back to hold better) and trim your arms to the length you desire.


Cut out a rectangle (double the length of the body) out of your felt and fold in half.


Draw what ever shape you would like for your dress and cut out. Remember to leave the top folded and mostly uncut. 
Cut a small hole for the head.


With your glue gun ~ glue down the sides and the sleeves.


Pull apart your silk flowers. 
 Fold them in half...


and cut the hole in the center just big enough to accommodate the felt covered doll pin.


Slide on your colorful flower petal skirt!


Glue on your roving for hair and then your acorn hat.
(She also asked for a wild strawberry flower for her hat ~ and that she got!)


We had pressed some wild strawberry flowers and wild strawberry leaves a couple of weeks ago and they seemed to just belong on her.


I can't help but smile when I pass her in our home.
To me she speaks of....
sunshine filled beach days
the taste of warm, juicy wild strawberries
the smell of bonfires
late night skinny dips
watermelon juice dripping down chins
feasting on the garden's bounty
sleeping under the stars
sunkissed skin
bold and beautiful flowers
floating on the water
and the glorious abundance that summer brings.


Happy Almost Summer Friends!

~ Shanti ~





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