Friday, January 9, 2015

Holidaze 2014- Thanksgiving and falling behind!

 Holidaze is my term for the complete craziness that starts with Thanksgiving and goes through New Years. i typically take a break with my craft business and spend all of december making cookies, handmade gifts and focusing on family. This year i took a break on blogging as well, and this is my attempt to catch up.



Winter came early this year. We were hit with a pretty good snow storm on November 26th.  


The kids were excited to play in the snow and go sledding.  i went outside just long enough to snap a couple pictures then came back in to warm up.  i'm really not a fan of snow.


Earlier this month we purchased a small woodstove as a supplemental heat source. i had some pretty mixed feeling when we first brought it into the house (i may have even cried a bit), but i was truly glad to have it when the storm hit and our power began flashing on and off. We have plenty of firewood too get us through the winter, thanks to the beautiful oak tree we had to cut in order to build the house. We had so much wood that we shared with several neighbors that were in need of firewood. 


The day before thanksgiving, i was just beginning to prep food for our feast and the power went out. We spent our day outside in the snow, reading Harry Potter and playing board games.  The woodstove was very appreciated, keeping us nice and toasty and heating water for my tea. 

On Thanksgiving day we were still without power.  This was our first Thanksgiving in the new house  (last year we were in the camper) and we had no way to cook our meal. The roads had cleared and most of the snow melted away.  So we ended taking a drive to NC and having a rather non traditional thanksgiving meal at the Golden Corral. :)   When we returned home that evening we found the power was back on. 


We decided to celebrate our traditional feast on Sunday instead of the day after. As always my favorite part of the feast is that it is almost entirely homegrown.   This thanksgiving we had a beautiful garden salad, roasted root veggies, green beans and mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes with garlic and rosemary, garlicy greens, deviled eggs, apple sauce, canned peaches and a blueberry/blackberry cobbler. i did purchase a Quorn roast as our vegetarian 'turkey' substitute. 


It was a small feast with just the four of us, simple and nice.  We are constantly reminded of our blessings; a warm home, food on the table and a family to share it with.  Although i believe we should thankful every day, and not just on Thanksgiving it is still nice to take a day together to truly reflect on all of our blessings. 

Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture. ~Kak Sri



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bee Kind Family Farm Feature and Giveaway!




Bee Kind Family Farm is a homesteading family of 3 located in the Mountains of NW North Carolina. Rob, Jaime and their daughter Norah  live in a Solar/ Off Grid home in the Pisgah National Forest where they organic garden, raise chickens and honeybees. They sell their goods at local farmers markets and online.



i've known and admired Jaime for many years. We first met (online) back when she was selling patchwork on the website Back Porch Boutique . It has been amazing to watch their family grow, their business evolve and follow along on their off grid/homesteading journey! They are truly an inspiration.

What started off as a garden, some chickens and a few beehives, has turned into an incredible off grid homestead that include 65 bee hives, multiple vegetable gardens,  laying hens, meat birds and shiitake logs.  In the summertime Bee Kind Family Farm can be found  set up at the local farmers market, selling fresh produce, chicken, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, honey, candles and cold process soaps.




In 2013 they added solar panels, disconnected from the electric company and officially went off grid. They heat their home and cook with wood, heat their water with wood and solar, grow and preserve much of their food and live as simple as possible,  All of their gardens are organic. They do not treat their bees , their honey is not heated (it is raw) and it is minimally filtered, leaving all the good stuff, pollen, trace vitamins in there. When you purchase honey from Bee Kind Family farm you are getting honey straight from the hive!!!  They also make lovely candles with the beeswax, and have started making cold process soaps as well.   By purchasing from Bee Kind Family Farm you are helping them support their dream.

You can connect with the folks from Bee Kind Family Farm in the links below. 
Bee Kind Family Farm on Facebook This page is for their honey and product sales.
Off Grid Homestead on Facebook  This page follows their daily life and homesteading journey. 
Bee Kind Family Farm on Etsy.  This is where you can purchase their non-perishable goods.
Off Grid Homestead Blog   A glimpse into their offgrid daily life, recipes, tutorials and more.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!

Bee Kind Family Farm is generously giving away a sample pack to one lucky reader!
The Sample pack includes a bar of homemade cold process soap, a beeswax candle and a 2.25 oz jar of raw honey. 


To enter, wait for the rafflecopter to load.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Maleficent and Elsa themed bendy doll and new projects.


Just showing off a few of my new dolls. This one is Maleficent inspired.  She was a bit tricky to make, so i'm not sure how many i'll have available before xmas, but i am hoping to have a few. They'll be available on my FB page.


Snow Queen Elsa, was a special request from my daughter. i listed a few on my page for sale and will have a few more soon.


i have lots of Elves available for immediate purchase!. 


i made my daughter a few playsets several years ago and enjoyed them so much i decided to make them again.  These are definitely going to be a limited edition thing, i don't plan to make a bunch but you can expect to see these available on my page soon. i also plan to have a few mermaid playsets and a 'Frozen' themed set as well.

To keep up with my new work and see what is aailable for for sale  head over to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Enchanted-Tree/339122860346


Monday, November 10, 2014

The 4th Secret Stocking Project -Orion Strong



The Butterfly Fund is a non-profit organization that was started because of the need for awareness and help of those children who suffer from the horrific disease Epidermolysis Bullosa-also known as EB.  EB children are known as Butterfly Children, due to the fact that their skin is as fragile as a butterflies wings. 

The Butterfly Fund has since expanded it's hope and is dedicated to helping families who have a child diagnosed with any serious life altering disease or event in their lives. Any child who is FRAGILE is one of their Butterflies.

They help families in many ways including, but not limited to, minimal financial aid, clothing, services and care. The Butterfly Fund does not discriminate any anyone and everyone who has a child within the US with a serious illness or event, may inquire with us. The Butterfly Fund is run solely by volunteers and no salaries are paid.


i was introduced to this organization through Orion Strong, the son of a friend.   On June 15th, 2013, 14 year old Orion Strong was diagnosed with AML , a rare type of leukemia, with long treatments and many expenses.  

After four successful rounds of chemo and complete remission for five months, Orion went to his six month check up to learn that his white blood cells are super low again or "neutropenic". His heart check also showed signs of weakness from the prior chemo. On May 19th he was readmitted into UCSF, where he was expected to remain inpatient for several months for chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. His first round of chemo after relapse was unsuccessful and he got a fungal infection in his lungs and colon. The doctors were very hesitant to go forward with transplant and after discussing the risks, Orion has made the very brave decision to spend his life out at home with his friends and family.

Orion is home on hospice care. He was given a few weeks to live. The family is trying to savor the moments and make his last wishes come true. They have a Youcaring  fundraiser link set up to help with the expenses and allow the family to stay together through this time without stressing about bills as well.  If you are able, please consider donating. 

Orion told his mother he wanted to be a hero in his life and that he feels like he's gotten that chance... He said that if there was one thing people could do to remember him, it would be that... When you walk into a room and you see groups of people hanging out, take a moment to look around and notice the one or two people not hanging out with anyone and take a minute, to go say hi. To make EVERYONE feel like they count. To let them know they're not alone. :)

Another simple act that you can do to honor  Orion's kind spirit and make a difference in the life of a child is to help bring a smile to other children who are medically fragile, by purchasing a gift for the Secret Stocking project. 


* At 1:35pm, Nov 10th Orion Elijah Strong passed on. He was surrounded by family and his transition was very peaceful. He was blessed to know that his dream of becoming a HERO had been realized and continued to want to serve even after his passing




The Butterfly Fund organization has been helping Orion and his family. This is how i came to learn about the organization.  They are currently collecting gifts for children who are medically fragile and their siblings. 

There are HUNDREDS  to choose from - each one guaranteeing our Butterfly Children a wonderful Holiday! We thank you for your beautiful support!!!


Christie’s list: goo.gl/Vp4Lkx
Dana’s List: goo.gl/5rLNzF
Elizabeth’s List: goo.gl/GcNm8s
Kim’s List: goo.gl/W9w9W9

Purchasing a gift is easy,and there are all different prices ranges. On each wish list you will see a child's name, age and gift they wish! Simply add the gift to your cart and checkout. A shipping address will show for this volunteers location. You ship directly to the Volunteer. On the gift tag you can write 'In Honor of Orion Strong', if you'd like.

Please do not choose gift wrapping, the volunteers will wrap the gifts when they receive them. Also please do not purchase multiple gifts from different wish lists and have them shipped to the same address. Each wish list has it's own shipping address.

The deadline to purchase gifts from this list is Nov. 24th.

Thank you so much for helping to honor this amazing young man and help to spread smiles and love to those that need it.  Thank you!

Formore information on The Butterfly fund, Secret Santa Stocking Project and Hope For Orion click on the links.
https://www.facebook.com/sonomabutterflyfund   
https://www.facebook.com/4thsecretstockingproject
https://www.facebook.com/hopefororion






Monday, October 27, 2014

Handmade Doctor Who Halloween Costumes!

i have always loved halloween. In the past i would dress up every year, always making my own costume.  Now that i have kids i make their costumes almost every year.  Sometimes the costumes are easy to put together and sometimes they really challenge me!  This year both kids wanted to dress up as characters from the BBC show Doctor Who.  My daughter's first costume choice was a Weeping Angel, and i admit i was a feeling a little stress on how i was going to pull that one off. Thankfully for me, i knew she would change her mind several times before deciding on a final costume choice. 

i was right. She bounced back and forth between a few different ideas before deciding on a Sister of Plenitude (Cat-nun) from the New Earth Episode of Doctor Who.  


This is an image from the episode.  The costume is pretty straightforward. A gray dress/robe, white apron, white gloves, a headscarf and a flying nun's hat.  The most challenging part of the costume would be the cat nun's hat. Lucky for me, i found a tutorial for a Sister of Plenitude hat online. You can view it here and  here.   i had a really hard time following the tutorial, but still managed to come up with something that resembled the hat. 



Here is our finished costume!  i'm super pleased with how well it turned out!!  i need to work on the face paint a bit, but this was just a test run and i didn't want to use it all up before Halloween.  Her costume was made from a mens xl dress shirt. i cut up and sewed into a dress/robe. The apron was made from Sequoia's Saruman robe from last year, that was made from a sheet. Lots of recycling and repurposing around here! 


My boy's costume choice was the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith).  He wanted to go for this look, with the 'Silence' eyepatch which is from the Wedding of River Song episode.  He always wanted a fez which isn't in this episode, but is often associated with this doctor. 


First thing we did for his costume was hit the thrift store. We were able to find a tweed jacket, black skinny jeans and suspenders!  He borrowed the dress shirt from his dad, and already had the Sonic Screwdriver which can be purchased on amazon or at Hot Topic.



 Next we needed a faz!  although they can be purchased online, i knew it was something i could easily make. i found the burgundy-red felt at Joanne's craft store, and lined it with stablizer. i did a quick search online for a 'how to make a  Fez' tutorial and found this one which included a pattern. The first one i made was too small for my son so i gave it to my daughter. i made another just a little bit bigger, and it was perfect for my boy.


i'm pretty excited about the costumes this year (total Doctor Who nerd  :) )! i really think they turned out great and the kids love them! i'm just hoping it's not so cold that they have to totally bundle up to go trick or treating.  :)