Friday, December 17, 2010

Let There Be Light ~ Illuminated Ice Lanterns

With winter solstice approaching I wanted to share this simple idea for an ice lantern. A wonderful way to beckon back the light....

Gathering all the pieces... Greens, berries, pine cones...
Two containers ~ one bigger than the other

To create ~ place your smaller container into the bigger one. Add your cutting from nature into the outer circle. Place rocks into the inner container. Fill outer circle with water. Place outside to freeze.

Once frozen, pour hot water into inner circle and let sit until the inner container slides out. Then pour water on outside container until your lantern slides out.

* Ready to shine so bright on a cold winters night *

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.--Buddha

These lanterns shall be aglow on Solstice night, as many wonderful women walk the illuminated path up to my home to share in the longest night of the year together.  In this big beautiful bloggy world I shall envision each of you wonderful women present in the spirit of light.

Twig and Toadstool shall be signing off until later in the new year.
Maureen and I want to wish each and everyone of you a * Peace~filled * Joy~filled * Light~filled * Solstice and holiday season!

 Light & Love 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Felt Shooting Stars Tutorial!

Here's a super sweet craft for the wee folk in your life.  Shooting stars!
I know my stockings are going to be stuffed with shooting girls just LOVE anything that has ribbons, (especially in rainbow hues), attached to it!

So here's how you can make one of your own...
You will need:
wool felt (yes use wool holds up so much better than cheapy felt)!

First cut out 2 stars...if you don't want to free hand your star just google "star templates"'ll find printable templates in every shape and size.
Then cut your ribbon into 3 ft lengths...we did rainbow ribbon on ours, but you can use whatever colour(s) you wish!

Starting in the middle of 2 points start sewing your way around...I recommend using a blanket stitch, only because it makes your end project look neater.  I typically also split my embroidery floss and use 2 strands at a time.
Sew until you get to the last point...leaving a gap to stuff.
Using a pencil or knitting needle, stuff stuffing into all of the points of the star...then fold your ribbon in half and sandwich in your ribbon in between the can hold it in place with a pin, or just use your fingers.

I sew through a few strands of the ribbon just to attach it in place, (using blanket stitch)...tie it off and you're finished.  
If you're a pretty good sewer it should take you about 10 minutes from start to finish!

Now toss to an adoring child and have fun! 

xo maureen

Monday, December 13, 2010

Celebrating Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia Day is on December 13th and celebrates the life of Saint Lucy and light for the longest night of the year (under the old Gregorian calendar this was the Winter Solstice). This day usually begins before dawn, the tradition is that the youngest girl in the family shall wake the others, walking from bedroom to bedroom singing a special Santa Lucia song and offering lucy cat  buns (also known as Lussekatter).

Our St. Lucy for today

This is a family tradition I remember with such fondness.... slowly waking up in the dark of dawn to my mother's sweet soft voice and her guitar... my sister, Lucy glowing in candle light, dressed in a white dress and a felt crown of candles. In my half asleep state I would listen to the beautiful song  and then Lucy would place a warm lucy cat into my hand and they would quietly move on. I would usually fall back asleep, warm lucy cat on my chest and the soothing sounds of singing in the wee hours of the early morn.

The felt crown made by my mother and used when we were children

I asked my mother to share her memories and she wrote this...

I have such warm and tender memories of celebrating this feast day each year. It is a beautiful feast to celebrate at this darkest time of the year, as St. Lucy's name means "light" and is such an apt preparation to celebrate the birth of the Light of the World. 
Your Dad said it was his very favourite celebration, and it would bring tears to his eyes each year. 
Preparing the Lucy cats the day before with you kids and touching your excitement and anticipation fueled my own. We rose early on the morning of the 13th, while all was dark, trying to be so quiet so as not to wake everyone before we were ready - making hot chocolate, warming the buns, dressing our "St. Lucy" in a white dress with a red sash. The child who was St. Lucy would carry the Lucy Cats in a basket, and she would wear the "candle" headdress. Until Lucy was born, this was the youngest child (who could walk!) - as soon as our Lucy could toddle, she took on the role with awe and determination. I would pin the words and chords to the song "Santa Lucia" to her back. If someone else was up, they would carry a votive candle, and I would play guitar as we all sang and processed to each sleeping person's bed, stopping to wake them by singing them a verse, and then giving them a Lucy Cat and a cup of hot chocolate. 
My biggest problem, besides trying to see the words and chords on the little excited Lucy's back in dim candlelight, was the lump in my throat and tears which kept coming unbidden, and making it hard to sing. The lump and the tears were just overflowing love and awe at this wonderful gift of motherhood, the precious family I had been given, and great gratitude for the gift of faith which had been bestowed on me by such a loving God.

Thank you mom for sharing your memories... brought tears to my eyes.

I wanted to share some great links with you for celebrating.

Here is the song my mother would sing

Santa Lucia
(English translation)

 Night walks with heavy tread
round farm and byre, 
dark sun-forsaken earth
shadows attire.
Then in our winter gloom
candlelight fills the room:
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

 Silent and dark the night
now hear descending
rustle of wings in flight,
all darkness ending. 
Then she comes, dressed in white, 
head wreathed in candles bright: 
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Shadows will soon be gone
from earth’s dark valley
wonderful words anon
us cheer and rally. 
Day will soon dawn anew
in skies of rosy hue: 
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

(I have the chords if anyone would like.)

Swedish Sankta Lucia

With Light & Love
~ Shanti ~ 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sharing Some Toadstool Love!

I wanted to share this simple tutorial as an enchanted offering for those wee folk on your Christmas list ~ or for those young at heart, woodland lovers.

Toadstool Potato Print Tees!
(or bags, pillow cases, cards, baby clothes, gift boxes or wrappings...)

To make these you will need
Fabric paints
a potato 
paint brush
a tee shirt

To begin cut your potato in half and cut out "handles" on the top of your potato stamp (not absolutely necessary but it makes it easier to stamp with). 

Next cut/carve out your toadstool shapes ~ (the top and bottom are from separate pieces of potato).

    and then firmly press down on your shirt.
Place a piece of cardboard on the inside of the shirt to prevent  it from leaking through.
Blot the surface of your potato to dry up any moisture.
You can dip your toadstool cap into paint or (what I prefer) use a paint brush and paint on the color

Next stamp your stem.

Then with a paint brush carefully add your white dots and a little green grass if you like!


In woodland love
~ Shanti ~ 

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Cranberries on an evergreen tree...  a little magic.

A simple, sweet ornament to make with your little ones is wire strung with cranberries.
After the stringing is done, the flexibility of the wire allows you to create shapes of all sorts!

  The girls seemed to love the simplicity and satisfaction of stringing, shaping and hanging.

 I enjoyed too. It has been wonderful to craft with them and slowly decorate our tree
 piece by piece ~ day by day.

So many way you can shape it and dress it...

Circular with a spinning Orange ...

Oranges make a sweet solo appearance too

 A birch bark center...
(If you want the branch in the center ~ Martha Stewart has the best craft punches for this!)

Hanging Hearts...

So many options! 

 With Love
 ~ Shanti ~

Monday, December 6, 2010

Family Traditions

Each year as my girls get a bit older, I continue to look for ways to carry on my childhood family traditions.  Coming from a family of ten, my mother was truly inspiring in all the thoughtful, beautiful ways she found to bring tradition and celebration into our home.
Celebrating St. Nicholas (also known as Sinterklaas) was one of our family traditions growing up. We looked forward to it almost as much as Christmas. I so clearly remember the sleepy, smiley faces and the high pitched, delight~filled voices as the stockings were opened... I remember doing plays and puppet shows of the St. Nicholas story with the siblings... I remember the St. Nicholas shaped speculaas cookies...
Fond memories.
My husband is dutch, so this tradition (celebrated a little differently) runs deep in his family too.
 This year we thoroughly enjoyed passing on these traditions to our girls ~ I think they enjoyed it too!

Their stockings ~ (finally completed this year!)

 That sleepy smiley face of delight 

A morning play silk dance ~ enjoying her stocking stuffer

Decorating their St. Nicholas shaped cookies

Such handsome fellows

Their puppet version of the St. Nicholas story ~ with wonderful felt puppets made by my mother (from when I was a girl).

We read the story together last night before bed and then took time today to take a deeper look at the example St. Nicholas set in giving generously, anonymously and with love. A wonderful opportunity to teach about the richness in self-less giving and helping the less fortunate ~ in this season and always.

Heres to celebrating family traditions and true gifting from the heart
~ Shanti ~ 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pine Cone Skier

Today is a beautiful snowy day in my part of the world, so I have been inspired to share these festive pine cone skiers with you...

To create you will need

Embroidery floss
Pine cone
Pipe cleaner
Blue gun & glue

To begin wrap your pipe cleaner around your pine cone to create little arms

Cut out your  felt pieces ~ mittens, scarf, a rectangle (for your hat), feet and your circles for your ski poles.

Cut your skies out of birchbark

Wrap your felt around the acorn head, add a dab of glue and seal.

Tie your embroidery floss around the hat and knot.

Cut your tassels

Brush the scales with glue and sprinkle on your glitter 

Glue together

These fun folk shall be skiing down our tree and across our nature table all winter long.
As well, a wee warning ~ in the hands of a child they seem to zoom all over the house, up down and all around ~ who could resist ; )!

Wishing you warmth and wonder this season
~ Shanti ~



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