Two sisters, two coasts, one blog

Moms Gone Crafty

Beautiful lambkins crafted by the ridiculously talented Sandy Fong Whetsone

WEST TWIN:

Late nights getting crazy with ice cream sandwiches and glue guns. Yeah, it’s dirty at the kitchen table.  Putting all that beer and wine detritus to use.  For weeks it’s all we do….

Girls gone wild?

No.

Mamas gone crafting.

Yes, it’s that season again. Crafting seasoning: winter fair time, handmade gifts, ambitious new projects. It’s the time of year that myself and many, many other mothers and women I know bust out their box of craft supplies, dust off their knitting needles and other implements, and get to work crafting for fun and profit. (Regular readers may remember that I’ve chronicled this phenomenon before on this blog)

The main motivation for me comes in the form of our annual winter fair at Alice Birney Waldorf Inspired School  which my children attend. It is one of the major fundraisers for the specialty arts programs that they offer. The thing that I love most about it is that it is a chance to see all the talented, creative and resourceful people that are involved in the school community and all the fantastic handmade items they create.

We set up a temporary children’s store, The Enchanted Forest, where the little ones get to shop on their own, and all the items are made and contributed by first and second grade parents. And then there is a parent/teacher run store, Illuminations which raises money for the school through the sale of quality crafted items and gently used Waldorf toys.

Lots of late nights of staying up finishing all the “quick little projects” that I thought I would “get finished in no time”. Lots of grand ideas whittled away into whatever could get done at the last minute. And a least one or two moments of ‘what did the hell did I get myself into?’. That’s usually how it goes for me this time of year. But on the day of the fair it always seems so totally worth it when I see all of the amazing handwork and artistic goods for sale. There are so many creative ideas and impressively made items that in the end  I am always in awe.

The fair was yesterday in fact, (the first Saturday in December, mark your calendars for next year!)  so I can’t do a gift guide BUT I can show off some of the gorgeous things I found (and brag about one of two of my little offerings also).

There are some very talented artists/moms that you just gotta see! And besides…if you weren’t there then you should definitely check out what you missed out on. (p.s. Sacramento locals – the school keeps a stocked ‘store’ in the display cases in the office, if you are looking for unique Waldorf-y gifts stop by anytime!)

                                             Here are some of my favorites:

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I adore these felted bowls made by Melissa Szpik Serrao, a mom at the school who has an etsy shop with the awesome tagline:

“waldorf inspired + architecturally designed”

(click here to see more of her goods on facebook)

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Easy and impressive: fabric-wrapped bracelets at the childrens store. (I want to wear all these at once!)

IMAG3044_Anne

Lovely felted critters by Sandy Fong Whetstone  who also makes incredible ceramics (that I’m kicking myself for not getting pictures of), at her BlissMeArts studio. Check out her art at Panama Pottery.

Project3

So perfect! An up-cycled choir of singing angels and miniature toadstools made from corks and bottle caps in the childrens store, by crafty mamas Tricia Stirling and Yvonne Macias. Very creative re-use ladies!!

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More drinking meets crafting: an army of catapults, made by yours truly, for the childrens store. These work great by the way – especially with little pompoms, dried pinto beans or even seed balls (see later in this post)

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Color of the Day gnomes, lovingly made by cottage industry in some mother’s home. I might need to invest in these for my preschooler….

who made these cutie clips? oh, I did. (hehe)

who made these cutie clips? oh, I did. (hehe)

Project2

The felted votive holder on the left was so precious with the glowing candle inside. The elephant was a cast-off project that was embellished and given new life (before my very eyes) by Eva Grinnell, an Alice Birney parent and talented fiber artist.

Also  made by Eva Ginnell. Her blog this week at www.klaraluna.com gives a  little sneak peak into behind the scenes of  crafting for the winter fair.

 Also made by Eva Ginnell. Her blog this week at klaraluna.com gives a little sneak peak into behind the scenes of crafting for the winter fair. Looks like it was her little elves that made all those rainbow gnomes….Project4

 More sweet simplicity. This holiday garland is easily made of rolled-up strips of red and white felt and strung with wooden beads. The walnut candles made with beeswax in large shells are perfect and safe little votives.

IMAG3057_HagridI don’t know who made this bear that I spotted in the Illuminations shop, but it is really special. With his checkered markings and his sporty poncho, he is sweet but stylish. Just what you want in a new best friend right?

felted sea life

Project1

My Cottage Industry offerings:  I got inspired to make up packages of seed balls (or ‘bombs’ as juanita appleseed likes to call them) to sell, and the  felted sea life including urchin and anemone with fish inside (complete with roe) were a last minute idea that were so fun to do. I plan to make more…feeling a sea theme comin’ on.

Project1We had fun getting creative in decorating for the fair too! I’m always grateful for my years in retail and the ‘ Gap bootcamp’ that was being a visual display merchandiser because I learned how to do so much. These wall sprays and centerpieces in the dining area were all put together out of scavenged greenery and twigs, recycled cans, thrift store ornaments and a twist of ingenuity. Get a few crafty moms’ heads together and there isn’t much that we can’t do!

handmade holiday ornaments and beanbags, awaiting little shoppers at the children's store

handmade holiday ornaments and beanbags, awaiting little shoppers at the children’s store

So although taking on making things for the winter fair, or any other mass-produced crafting, can sometimes feel like indentured-artistry (you know how you feel when your knee-deep in unfinished homemade Christmas presents days before the big event, wondering why you ever thought it was a good idea??), it’s also true that the results are always exciting and inspiring.

Keep it up crafty mamas! We’ve got just over three weeks left – plenty of time to get in over your head and let your creative juices flow. May your dining room tables be covered in projects and dinners be eaten on your laps!

And remember women, be careful of Pintrest and it’s gateway-like influence; it’s truly a slippery slope.  Because, as the great american director Cecil B. DeMille once wisely said:

“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.”

***

11 Responses to “Moms Gone Crafty”

  1. Jacquelyn Marie

    One of my most incredibly crafty Goddess daughters!! Yea, Rucha!

    Reply
  2. tricia

    There is so much talent at our little school. It’s like the carnegie hall of crafters. (I don’t consider myself among the talented, but I’m a happy gleaner! Maybe some day!) And thanks for the links–I didn’t know Eva kept a blog and it is a good thing to know indeed.

    Reply
  3. virginiakaser

    I hope you can find time to send out a reminder ahead of time next year. This is about the only type of Christmas shopping I’m interested in.

    Thanks, Virginia

    Reply
  4. mary

    We are so bummed we missed the event! I’ll mark next year! And I love your stuff Rucha (imitation is best form of flattery right?) 🙂 I will copy what I can! 🙂

    Reply
  5. nerponline

    It’s all such cute stuff…the felt bowls, the cork angels, your caterpillar clips and seed bombs, and that fabu teddy bear, ect. My man-heart favorite thinga-ma-jigs, tho, are the sweet popcicle-stick catapults. Inspiration!

    Reply
  6. Eva Ginnell

    Just got a chance to read this…great review of the day! Your display really proves what a huge variety of hand-made things are delivered every year. It is amazing.

    Reply
  7. oami powers

    The little lambs are so sweet, the elephant is adorable, but I have to say my favorite are your amazingly awesome felted sea creatures. Whoever got those was a lucky soul.

    Reply
  8. Julio Davenport

    my mom is very much into crafts – especially making discarded items into new things. The problem is i don’t have buckets of cash and because this seems to be the new “craze” discarded no longer means affordable. So any ideas? And no i am not going to dig through a garbage can – so need other ideas.

    Reply
    • ruchapowers

      Thanks for your comment Julio. I would say, and this is just MY opinion,but most Americans have more than enough ‘stuff’ laying around the house that can be re-used or ‘up’cycled into something new and lovely without buying anything new to use. Old wool sweaters can be washed, shrunk, and make into an endless variety of woolen toys, hats, gloves etc. I made those catapults using things I already had at home – popsicle sticks, rubber bands and bottles caps. No need to go digging through a garbage can, just look around you and see what you have to work with. If I had to recommend one investment I would say a glue gun – they are great for everything! Good Luck.

      Reply

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