1:09PM

crafty things…Bunny bags

Make it stop! Everything I see is a potential canvas for screening. It's so addicting. These bunny bags were so easy whip up, I made big stack using 18x18 wool felt from a previously abandoned project. These guys will be for D, his cousins (8 boys!), and a few friends.

While I'm in love with the original bunny, this hipster bunny (another Shutterstock acquisition) takes the carrot cake for me. Admittedly, this guy was a bit harder to print due to the fine line work and printing on felt was an added challenge. I think I'll have more success printing on a finer cotton or linen. Stay tuned. I'm not done with this bespectacled Bunny yet. 

Being a hipster, this bunny is more likely to be appreciated by D, now, according to him, that he's "not a little kid" anymore.

Since he's such a young gentleman, I added some almost breath mints, lip balm, a handmade handkerchief and chocolates to his bag. I'll fill a few of these up and stuff them in his Easter basket and save them for future Easter Sundays.

 

 

 

If you want to make some of your own bags - with or without screen printing - you'll need these tools and materials:

 

  • 18"x18" wool felt [this will yield 3 bags]
  • 24" ribbon per bag
  • rotary cutter with pinking blade + straight edge
  • sewing machine or sewing supplies [thread or embroidery floss & needle]

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

  1. Fold fabric in half. Measure and mark at 6" and 12" from short side.
  2. With rotary cutter and straight edge, cut at marks from folded edge to top of fabric. You will now have 3 bags. 
  3. Trim outside edges of two bags with rotary cutter.
  4. Cut ribbon to 24" and fold in half.
  5. Line up edges of bags making sure the scalloped edges are aligned. Pin ribbon 2" from top of bag between layers of fabric on the right side. Place a pin 2" from the top on the left side.
  6. Sew each side of bag from pins to bottom. Make sure you catch the ribbon!
  7. Trim top of bags with rotary cutter.

 

Happy Crafting,

F&N

8:50PM

crafty things…screen printing the Easter Bunny

Screen printed notecards.

Continuing our in-house rabbit theme, I screen printed this awesome bunny I purchased at Shutterstock. I've always wanted to learn screen printing, but was a bit put-off by all the materials, space and sink necessary to do it. Then I discovered EZScreenPrint! It's nothing short of life changing…at least in my own craft world. 

It's pretty darn easy to make a screen, but not fool proof. I feel it's on the pricey side, but if you plan to do it a lot of printing, than you may be able to justify the cost. I certainly did with this one stencil. After several cleanings, the screen is still holding its detail. I'm pretty damn happy with it.

So far, I've experimented with paper and fabric. Paper is pretty easy. Fabric takes a bit more practice and results vary from fabric to fabric, but I was able to pull some great prints as the photos show. 

Ceramics are up next for screening. I'll also enlist Doc and D for original artwork. 

Having fun! F&N

 The screen + squegee + ink

 

 Bunny onsies for some special babies.

11:02AM

family…Easter 2014

Each year I share ideas with D and Doc about "Easter themes".

"Let's do bugs, birds, nests, lambs!"

And every year, it's met with the same skeptical look and response, "Whatever you want." 

What this reaction really means is, "You're a bit crazy." As I start to think through the ideas, I realize, begrudgingly, they're right. It's really hard to break away from the iconic symbols of bunnies and eggs, so this year I decided to strike a balance between the bunny and the egg.  

The egg already has  A LOT of love in our house…


Our egg collection has steadily grown over the years. They're beautiful objects with such a range of size and color. I find them fascinating. Our collection includes duck, goose, emu, ostrich, rhea, chicken and some unidentified bird eggs. 

Adding rabbits to the mix was a challenge, and I'm not convinced I've pulled it off. Doc and D are a tough pair with lots of opinions, but they also bring good ideas to the table. I'm sure we'll pull it all together over the next few years.

A bit of change is nice and it definitely added an injection of crafting mojo in other Easter projects which I'll post soon. 

Hoping you have a hopping Easter!  F&N

 

Jack rabbit plates from H&M 


Rabbit cake stands from SHOPBOP.

1:03PM

hello…welcome back!

Where to start? I've had another hiatus from this blog. A very, very long hiatus as the dated entries show. I've been tempted to remove Fiddlesticks&Nonsense from the blog-sphere once and for all, but couldn't bring myself to do it, thanks to little nudges and encouragement from family and friends.

The intent was to take a small break, work on a new layout and find a "focus" for the blog. I believed if I could find that focus or point of view, then creating and sharing content would be easier and simpler. Plus, the blogs I find the most compelling are those with a (mostly) singular focus: food, beauty, health, style.

The cold hard reality…I'm not a focused gal! I'm way too curious to buckle-down and think about a single topic. I love to learn new skills and crafts, design and create experiences, and explore the outdoors with my family. Fiddlesticks&Nonsense is the sweet spot, the nexus, my happy-place, of all these things I love and enjoy.

So, instead of a refresh, this is "welcome back!"

I made this banner for our friends who have been living abroad for the last several years and just returned to the Bay Area. 

Simple to make. Silhouette Cameo to cut letters and embroidery floss to string them together. Once I had the desired spacing and drape of the message, I knotted the strands of floss and crocheted a chain to finish it off.

Hugs & Kisses!                                         F&N

9:57AM

crafty things…hot coco kits

Christmas is just around the corner! I thought I'd share our version of hot coco kits as Christmas gifts: a hand drawn mug, marshmallows, candy canes, and ohh so yummy hot coco mix. 

D was responsible for drawing on the mugs, and I knew he would love the job. I aslo knew he could easily spend 30 minutes to an hour per mug. Since we needed to make quite a few of these, we needed some simple, quick inspiration. Ed Emberley to the rescue! D grabbed his favorite Ed Emberley books off the shelf and got to work. I think the results are perfect! I hope his cousins and friends enjoy them.

While he was drawing, I was making labels and packaging up the ingredients. Doc packaged them up in shipping boxes and braved the Post Office lines. Phew…pretty good teamwork. 

The Pebeo Porcelaine 150 Paint Marker is easy and fun to use. The possibilities are endless. Here is some Pinterest inspiration.

Merry Crafting & Happy Holidays!

F&N

 

3:41PM

family…ikebana + nerf guns

My son never fails to surprise me with his wide range of interests from learning ikebana to modifying Nerf guns. 

11:24AM

crafty things…advent calendar

I hope your holidays are off to good start and that the stress that can come along during this time of year is not getting the best of you. For me, our Advent calendar has been a source of stress the past few Christmases. As D got older, I found it challenging to find small gifts that generated enthusiasm each morning leading up to December 25th. The forgotten toys and trinkets became accumulated junk, a reminder of an unsuccessful advent calendar.

Now that D is older, we've switched our Advent focus from "getting things" to "doing things" where the activities are inclusive and all of us can participate and enjoy. This year's calendar consists of little cards with envelopes, courtesy of my Silhouette machine, hung from a branch. Doc or I handwrite the day's activity in the dark morning hours while D is asleep. 

With a little planning,  24 activities aren't as challenging as you might think. Here are some activities in our line-up:

 

  • "A Christmas Story" movie night with popcorn and eggnog 
  • Writing Christmas cards to our soldiers
  • Ice skating and burgers
  • Make hot chocolate kits for cousins
  • Gifts from the kitchen
  • Decorate Christmas tree and house
  • Dinner around the tree
  • Donate new toys and books

 

So far it's been a success, and watching D's excitement each morning as he locates the day's envelope has been so fun.

Happy Holidays,

F&N

 

 

7:59PM

family…almost a pet

This beauty has taken up residence outside our kitchen door. I like to think of her as our guardian and bringer of good luck. Every morning, I check on her and the state of her web. She is meticulous  about keeping her web in tip-top shape, making repairs as necessary. We think she is garden spider.

It's hard to tell scale in the photo, but she is approximitely 2" and her web is probably 20" in diameter. We'll all be sad when she leaves.

Best,

F&N

1:38PM

around town…Bodie ghost town

Every summer (it's been 15 years now!) we head to the Eastern Sierras to our favorite place on Earth, Hot Creek Ranch, for some family and fishing time. I love this area beyond words. The giant, expansive, as far as your eye can see, vistas are beautiful, and I find them to be calming and relaxing. Besides fishing, we spend a few days exploring the town of Mammoth and the Mono County Lake area. 

In our rotation of sites-to-see is Bodie, a mining ghost town and California State Historic Park. It's described as a "town frozen in time" and in a "state of arrested decay". By all accounts, it was a rootin'-tootin', tough-as-nails place to live. If violence or illness didn't strike, the inhospitable climate and weather would surely find you. The wind alone would drive to me to distraction, up to 80 mph, and the winters are unimaginable. 

Driving into Bodie is quite an experience. It's a bit like waiting in line for rides at Disneyland. You travel along thirteen miles of winding road enjoying the scenery and wondering what's around each corner. Abruptly, you are met with four miles of unpaved and very rough road. Winds kick up the dust impacting visibility so much, you are forced to stop (take a look at the collage photo in the slideshow). Once the dust settles, in front of you is Bodie - or the remains of Bodie. It's an interesting, if unintended, clearing your mind for the experience ahead experience.

Once you're out and about you'll encounter huge pieces of mining equipment are strewn about the landscape, buildings still standing on their own accord, and a beautiful church waiting to hold a Sunday mass. Venture a bit off the beaten path, you'll find a cemetery where the hard living conditions of Bodie is evident. 

What strikes me most while wandering through the streets is the variety of decaying and weathered textures and the beautiful colors and patterns they create. I easily get separated from Doc and D while they move along and I'm photographing odd details.

IF YOU GO: You'll only find bathrooms and a few garbage bins near the parking lot. That's all this park has for ammenities. So, be prepared and bring food, snacks and water. It's also windy as all get-out here, bring jackets and sunglasses. Sunscreen and camera highly advised!

Happy Exploring!                                                                                                                                    

F&N

3:48PM

around town…ollaileberry picking

Have you ever had an ollalieberry? Unless you live on the California or Oregon Coast, chances are slim you have savored this marvelous hybrid berry. My first taste taste of ollalieberries was many moons ago [20 or so years] at Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero. One slice of their world famous ollalieberry pie and I was hooked. Yummy indeed.

These berries are not something you find in the market or even at the farmer's market [at least the ones I frequent]. I just assumed all these years that Duarte's had cornered the ollalieberry production. [I did read they freeze 30,000 pounds each year to keep up with their demand for pie year round. 30,00 pounds!]

Imagine my surprise when I discovered u-pick berry farms just an hour south of San Francisco. I believe I was reading about Pescadero in Via or Sunset magazine and they listed Phipps Country Store as a picking location. After some on-line research, I opted to head a bit further south to Swanton Berry Farms. Not only could we pick our own supply of ollalieberries, but we could also pick blackberries! 

I have to admit, D was not overjoyed when I announced our Sunday activity. He just could not conceive how driving an hour down HWY 1 on a cold, cloudy and wet day could be fun. [Cold and dreary summers are the price we pay for warm Februarys.] Even the prospect of homemade ollalieberry pie was no comfort. 

By the time we arrived to the farm, the fog had cleared and sunny blue skies warmed us while we made our way down the aisle of berry vines. D came to life at when he saw row after row of berries just waiting to plucked. Seeing this city boy eating fruit  from the vines and exclaiming "this is so fun!" and "these berries are heavenly" made me so happy…and relieved.

Fortunately, ollaileberries and cultivated blackberries are not thorny, so we only suffered purple stained fingers and hauled in nine pounds of berries between the three of us. I'm sure D consumed a pound taste-testing along the way. With the fruits of our labor, I was able to make a batch of ollalieberry jam which yielded seven half-pint jars and a most delicious tart. The remaining berries, we froze for Thanksgiving pies…if we can wait that long.

 

IF YOU GO: Make sure to check their "hot line" to see if berries are available. Ollailiberries are done for the season, but blackberries are still waiting. It's prime time I think, so get there ASAP. Swanton also has a u-pick strawberry farm just south of the berry farm. It supposed to open with strawberries available until October.

Dress in layers. The farm is on the coast and can be quite chilly and windy. 

Pack a picnic. They have a small picnic table or bring a blanket and eat in the berry aisle. If you can bring a wagon, do it. They do supply wagons, but there aren't many. It's great to pull the kiddos around or gives the kiddos something to do.

TIP: I read to freeze berries on a baking sheet in a single layer. Once frozen, transfer to ziploc bags. This methods provides you with individual berries as opposed to a block of frozen, mushy berries.

I used this recipe for the tart, substituting the ollaileberries for the blueberries and ommiting the lemon.

Please let me know if you go and what you did with your berries! So many exciting jam recipes to try.

Enjoy!

F&N