Entries categorized "holidays & celebrations"

elving......

Elving2_sweetbrierfarms

Elving3_sweetbrierfarms

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Elving5_sweetbrierfarms

Elving6_sweetbrierfarms

Elving7_sweetbrierfarms

 

We got the last bit of the packages out in the mail yesterday. Both to family and customers. (thank you to our customers for the amazing support this season - it was our busiest yet and we are so grateful!) We're not heading to NY to visit family until after the holidays so I have a bit of extra time to gather up the last few pieces of those baskets.... and a baking date with my kiddos this Friday.

There is a lot of elving going on too. The kids have reached the age where very little is needed from me in their gift buying/making process. They tend to squirrel away in their rooms or slip away at art fairs and come back excited and wide-eyed and accusing me of peeking. (I never peek!)

I love watching them all carefully wrap their treasures-to-be-gifted and place them under the tree. Joe & I never put anything out until Solstice - and then only one gift each for the kids. The rest we save for Christmas Eve. Santa only fills stockings here and we keep things pretty simple, but it is still fun to have gifts the kids have not seen around the tree Christmas morning. I must admit to rearranging and fluffing everything up to make less look like more. I often wonder how these simple holidays will transfer over into their own traditions someday...

We got a few boxes from my mom yesterday and they had so much fun opening them and handing them to the recipient to put under the tree. (mom, I put the books under - I didn't even peek inside them!) There were a few things in the box from their oldest brother who moved out this fall and up to Alaska - he wrote a few funny things on the tags which made me laugh and brought tears to my eyes all at once.

I've got a bit of last-minute knitting to finish up at some point today and then I'll have a little handmade something for everyone here to accompany solstice pajamas - a long-standing tradition of ours.

Gosh, I managed to wander all over the place in my thoughts while writing this post. I suppose it's time to leave this cozy spot by the fire and start checking off that to-do list a bit more.

Happy elving to you.....

xo,

s

  


making......

making......

making......

making......

making......

making......

making......

making......

It's been such a dreary warm December.

Lots of rain and overcast days. Damp and dark. 

The weather does not slow the flurry of activity indoors though. When I downloaded the photos from the camera, I smiled at all the making before me. Some of it everyday-ish, most of it holiday-ish.

Crafting, baking, wrapping. Trips to the post office. One day we sent off 15 packages!!

Most of the outgoing parcels have arrived safely, so I can give you a peek at some of what we've been doing.

Last year when my nephew visited, Joe traced his hand onto some clay. Many months later I painted it with that fun design. We tucked it aside to send to him for Christmas. His mama loved it! And I think he did too.

Lots of jars of jam, honey and salsa made their way out the door. All but one unusually tardy package has arrived. You can download those lovely labels here.

My little guy knitting. He is nearly finished with his first scarf!

And the stockings!! I may have gotten a bit carried away! I got the idea for these on pinterest. Have you seen the little paper bag advent calendars on there? I thought it would be fun to take that idea and use it for wrapping a few trinkets for my nephews. They don't read the blog, so I can tell you inside each one is some cocoa, candy, fruit snacks, lego mini-figure, and three one dollar bills folded into origami (thanks to Sophie & her friend for folding!). I drew the stocking shape onto paper bags I had cut & turned inside out. Starting at the top right, I stitched around until I got to the top left. I stuffed the goodies in and then finished stitching up the top. I trimmed the excess with pinking shears and used a black sharpie to decorate each one. (the tiny one is my new nephew, he got a little blue playsilk.... of course.... to match his favorite blue blanket).

What have you been making? Crafting? Baking?

Share if you can.....

xo,

s

  


handmade holiday gifting {3}

Today I have a simple recipe for a homemade bath soak. Enjoy!

handmade holiday gifting {3}

handmade holiday gifting {3}

handmade holiday gifting {3}

 

My favorite way to soak in the tub is to use this relaxing bath salt recipe. Many natural health practitioners suggest epsom salt & baking soda are gentle aids in detoxifying the body. The added essential oils in this soak further the relaxation and cleansing properties.

In this particular blend, I used a combination of lavender, juniper & patchouli oils. I found this on pinterest to give you some more ideas and I just added to my essential oil collection this winter with this company (lots of good recipes on how to use oils on their blog too!) Now, on to the recipe.....

 

Aromatherapy Tub Soak::

1 1/2 cups epsom salt

3/4 cup baking soda

20-30 drops of essential oil

Mix the epsom salt & baking soda together, breaking up any clumps of baking soda as you mix. Slowly add the essential oil, mixing well after every ten drops. I use a metal spoon to gently break apart any clumps of oil. Mix until you no longer see any clumps. Store in an airtight container. I use 1/4 to 1/2 cup per bath.

 

Don't forget to keep some for yourself!

xo,

s

 

week 1 * week 2


handmade holiday gifting {2}

Yesterday sort of ran away from me. I had a heap of errands to run and braved the grocery store in pre-turkey-day-plus-pre-first-big-snow-of-the-season chaos. This meant there was no milk, toilet paper, or cream cheese.  At the register with my giant turkey, the cashier balked at the price and made sure it was right. Yes, I told her. And I'll be back the day after turkey day bright and early to see if there are any hippie turkeys left that might be on sale. That's about the only "black Friday" sale I have interest in. Something tells the grocery store will be quiet that day.

While I ran endless errands, the kids listened to Percy Jackson on audio. The library trip in the beginning proved to be a lifesaver for us all. We made it home with enough time to put farm veggies and groceries away. Make a quick salad and huevos rancheros for dinner. And head back out the door for parent teacher conferences at the high school. Phew. And if that was not enough excitement, the FIRE ALARM went off at 2:15 a.m!! Causing great chaos as Joe (in his undies) and I bolted from our room where Sam met us wide-eyed from the top of the basement stairs and the three of us checked the other kids and the house. At least three times over. Finding nothing. Thank God. Joe & I were both still a little rattled this morning and decided we needed to do a fire drill and let the kids practice sliding from the roof. 

But gosh, I guess I got completely distracted. I'm really here to share another simple giftable project with you.

Silk & lavender eye pillows!

handmade holiday gifting {2}

handmade holiday gifting {2}

handmade holiday gifting {2}

handmade holiday gifting {2}

handmade holiday gifting {2}

 

There is really nothing like rewarding yourself with a few quiet minutes of relaxation. (especially if you've an esepcially chotic day!)

This luxurious eye pillow can be filled with buckwheat groats, wheat berries, or rice for gentle pressure on the eyes. Lavender adds relaxing aromatherapy benefits. This thick charmeuse silk is durable and fairly easy to sew. It can be purchased at Dharma Trading. The 6x24 inch silk scarf is big enough for one eye pillow, but I suggest buying the 15x60 scarf and making up a few eye pillows as gifts (the larger silk will make 5 eye pillows!). You can purchase it by the yard too. Also at Dharma, you can purchase a small 2 ounce jar of Dharma Acid Dye to dye your silk scarf. They have many tutorials on how to do this. It’s fun, easy, and makes a beautiful one of a kind piece of fabric for your project. (this dye works on wool too!) Be sure to rinse your dyed silk well, dry and gently iron on a low setting before proceeding with the project.

 

Materials:

silk fabric (see details above)

a fresh sharp needle on your sewing machine

thread for sewing

1 cup dried lavender

2 cups un-toasted buckwheat groats, wheat-berries, rice (or other small heavy grain)

 

Instructions::

Cut your silk fabric into two 5.5 x 12 inch rectangles. Right sides together (this is the shiny slippery side), pin and stitch the silk pieces together starting about a half inch in from the top corner. Stitch all the way around and then turn the silk & stitch back where you began, creating a double seam all the way around the silk. See the photo for illustration. Backstitch to prevent unraveling & remove from the machine.

Clip the corners as shown, being careful not to get too close to your seam. Turn the silk pillow right side out, you can use a knitting needle or similar blunt tipped item to help turn the corners inside out. Fill with 1 cup of dried lavender and 2 cups of your chosen grain. You can use more or less grain to create the fullness you are after.

Hand or machine stitch the opening closed. If you use buckwheat groats, find un-toasted ones. I find toasted ones to have a strong scent that interferes with the lavender. Gently kneading the pillow will activate the lovely lavender scent. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the grains instead of the dried lavender if you'd like a different scent. Just adjust the grains to make up for leaving the lavender out.

You're all done. You can sew a few of these up easily in an afternoon. Be sure to keep one for yourself!

Lay back, place your eye pillow over your eyes & relax.....

xo~

s

   

week 1 * week 3 *


handmade holiday gifting {1}

Pssst.....

I don't want to alarm any of you. But do you know what today is?

Six weeks until Christmas.

Well, six weeks and three days to be exact. I usually notice it's almost Christmas sometime around December 10th. And then I'm trying to pull together a whole lot of handmade gifts and I'm running crazy getting things ready. It's insane. This year I'm trying to be more mindful. And while I know you super organized ones are weeks ahead of me on this handmade gift thing, a girl has to start somewhere. 

So......

For the next six Mondays I'll be sharing a post on diy handmade gifts. Mostly super simple. Minus a patchwork project that may find it's way in here.

Happy crafting friends!

 

handmade holiday gifting {1}

handmade holiday gifting {1}

handmade holiday gifting {1}

handmade holiday gifting {1}

handmade holiday gifting {1}

 

Lavender, Chamomile & Oat Bath Sachets

These simple sachets are quick & easy to sew up. They make a lovely addition to a gift basket or thoughtful hostess gift for winter parties. Oats & chamomile are soothing to dry or irritated skin, and dried flowers offer a subtle scent when steeped in a hot bath.

Materials::

1/4 yard cotton muslin or lightweight linen

1 cups oats

1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers

1/4 cup dried lavender flowers

 

thread for stitching

 

Directions :: Cut the fabric into 4 inch squares, one quarter yard should yield roughly 20 4 inch squares. Starting at the top right corner, stitch all the way around a square, sewing each of the four corners, but leaving the top open for stuffing. Repeat with each set of squares.

Mix together the oats and chamomile flowers in a bowl. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of the oat & flower mixture into each square.

Stitch the top closed, being sure to backstitch over the seam on both corners. Trim long threads. For the look above, trim the sachet edge with pinking shears for a nice finished look.

Muslin or another more open weave fabric, even cheese cloth, is best for these sachets as you want the healing oats to steep and let their goodness into the warm water. Get creative! Try other dried flowers like lavender and rose, or add a few drops of essential oil to each sachet. Use one to two bags in a tub of warm water for a soothing bath. Gently scrub your skin before getting out for an herbal exfoliation.

I like to make a half dozen and present them in a mason jar tied with pretty ribbon as a gift.

Makes 10 sachets.

Enjoy!

 

xo,

s

p.s. we'll be making all the things you see in that last photo over the next few weeks!

 

week 2 * week 3 *

 


{12}

{12}

Happy Birthday to our (not-so-little) Miss Sunshine. 

A little throwback of her in 2006 just a few months before her fourth birthday. (love that face!)

Twelve trips around the sun today.....

This is the first birthday her gifts do not include a single toy. She asked for bright yellow converse and a jean jacket. And ice cream at the local creamery for dessert. I'm pretty sure we can handle pulling all that off....

xo,

s

 


{16}

{16}

{16}

{16}

{16}

{16}

{16}

We pulled off two birthday parties in the midst of the usual busy-ness this week. The first with around 23 teenagers. The big girl invited all of marching band and nearly all of marching band came. Much pizza and snacks were eaten. Lots of laughing. At one point the entire lot of them were playing and singing in the sunroom, our basket of small percussion instruments divided among them. I imagine the bus rides to and from marching band competitions sound similar. Joe & I really got a kick out watching them all, it was a good time for sure.

The second celebration was just our family. I baked her a pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting from this recipe. Oh my goodness, delicious. Especially for breakfast with a cup of coffee the next day. I decorated it with wildflowers and calendula from our backyard. She loved it.

And now that big girl is 16. It's kind of amazing.......

xo~

s

  


{eighteen}

eighteen

the sticky hand you once held and later instructed to hold your belt loop in the grocery store while you pushed the cart and held their baby sister is no longer there, even though in your mind you still see them running through the woods.... not letting their little sister win even once on the trail to the beach. you can hear their eight year old laugh. it's stuck there, in your heart. but time moves on...

sometimes easily, other times hard. you stumble through adolescents and then the teenage years. oh my do those years keep you busy, praying for wisdom. and patience.

they get taller than you. especially those boys.

they become men and you finally figure out what your own mama meant when she said she would always worry about you....

yes, just like that, they become grown ups.

happy 18th birthday to my big boy.... 

xo~

mama

 


a pollinator house for mother's day.....

a pollinator house for mother's day.....

a pollinator house for mother's day.....

a pollinator house for mother's day.....

a pollinator house for mother's day.....

a pollinator house for mother's day.....

a pollinator house for mother's day.....

We're pretty no frills around here when it comes to Mother's Day.... a few handmade goodies from the kiddos and some yummy meals pretty much sums it up. The big girl always gets creative with cards & helping her younger siblings make them. The one from Luke is a moon that says "I love you to the moon and back." Which is the sweetest because I tell him (and all of them) that when I tuck them in at night. Sophia made me a lovely log book for my bees, and she and Luke (with a little help from Joe) made a pollinator house for the garden.

We recently attended a local event on helping native pollinators and I really wanted to build a bug hotel for the garden. We have lots of bumblebees and I hear there are mason bees in the area too. I was so excited at their creative version.... that little chimney (or chim-en-y if you say it like Luke!) just puts the whole thing over the edge for me. I tucked into my favorite corner in the garden. It will be fun to see who moves in!

Happy Monday......

xo,

s

 


{39}

{39}

{39}

{39}

{39}

{39}

39 only happens once, right? So I made him a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. It involves far more chocolate ganache than a sane person should ever make for one dessert. I think it's about nine zillion calories a sliver. Seriously decadent indulgence. Totally his favorite combination of flavors.

He loved it.

(also, if you make this & it cracks. don't worry. the chocolate ganache fills in the crevasse, making the unsightly top beautiful again. it also becomes the tastiest cooking mishap. ever. also your dead-head husband will think it looks like a lightening bolt, and you can pretend you did it on purpose.)

But back to 39. I mean, wow, right? I remember stealing glances across a room of strangers some 17 years ago. We had met a week earlier. Him & me. He was turning 22. TWENTY-TWO. And I remember thinking he was so much older than me. By the end of the night we were hip to hip. Side by side. Laughing. It's pretty much been that way ever since. 

Happy birthday to my sweet man...... 

This whole crazy life is all the sweeter with you by my side.

xo~

s