Sunday, July 31, 2011

Autumn 2011 Issue out now!

As we head into the last long, hot month of Summer, it's time to start thinking about all things Autumn:  back to school time for the kids, crisp days, old favorite sweaters, a warmer and richer color palette...

Here at MHC, we have been doing just that.  Hot off the virtual presses, our Modern Handmade Child Autumn Issue 2011 is out now!  Packed full of Autumn inspiration, this issue is sure to put you in the mood for Fall.

Enjoy inspiring interviews, delicious new recipes, the latest handmade trends for back to school fashion and Halloween costumes, quick and easy craft tutorials, tips for living green, and much, much more.  Simply click on the cover below to jump into Autumn!

Your feedback and ideas are always welcome...send us an email, chat with us on facebook, or just post a comment right here!

Wishing you a warm and cozy Autumn,

The Staff at Modern Handmade Child

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Finds: Cute as a Bug

While not everyone is a bug lover, I've long had an interest in insects.  Ladybugs and inchworms are so tiny and adorable, while the wings of butterflies and dragonflies are so intricate and delicate.  Even if you don't share my fascination with the real live insects, I think we can all agree that these handmade items are, as they say, "cute as a bug".

- Shannon

Monday, July 25, 2011

Create: Ladybug Bean Bags

These ladybug bean bags were a big hit at my daughter's 4th birthday party.  Not only are they fairly simple and inexpensive to make, but you can play some fun games with them, too.  Plus, they can double as party favors for your guests to take home.

black felt
red felt
black thread
googly eyes
small dried beans
white grosgrain ribbon (optional)

sewing machine
hot glue gun
permanent marker (optional)

If you are making a few of these, it's a good idea to make a pattern first.  To create the pattern for the ladybug, all you need is a large circle for the body, and a smaller circle for the dots.  I just looked around the house for something round to trace that was about the size I wanted (I made mine about 4" in diameter).  I traced two large circles onto card stock, then cut the side of one of them off to use as a pattern for the wings, and traced one small circle for the dots.

1. Trace your pieces onto felt and cut out. For each ladybug, you will need two large black circles, one red semi-circle, and four small circles (or as many as you like!) for dots.

2. Place the red semicircle on top of one of the large black circles, and stitch along the straight edge of the red piece.

3. Stitch a straight line down the middle to mark the middle of the wings.

4. If you want to add a ribbon to label the ladybugs with your guests' names (this comes in handy for one of the games suggested below), now is a good time to do that.  Cut a 3" strip of your grosgrain ribbon. Fold under about 1/4" of each cut edge, and stitch to the back of the other large black circle.

5. Place the two body pieces together, right sides facing out.  Stitch around the outside edge, leaving a 1" opening to fill the ladybug with beans.

6. To fill the ladybugs with beans, insert your funnel into the opening, and add a few beans at a time until you reach your desired bean bag consistency.  I think we used about 1/4 cup per ladybug.  Depending on the size of your funnel and the size of your beans, you may need to shake it around a bit to keep them from jamming up in the funnel.

My daughter had lots of fun helping with this step!

7. Stitch the opening closed.  Now the body is done, and it's time to add the details.

8. Use your hot glue gun to attach the spots and googly eyes to each ladybug.

And that's it!  Here's a couple of fun games we played with our ladybug bean bags:

Ladybug Toss:
Mark your starting point.  We used a couple of flower pinwheels stuck in the ground.  Set up a few empty clay plant pots at different distances from the starting point.  Have each child stand at the starting point and try to toss the ladybugs into the pots.

Fling the Ladybugs:
To play this one, you will need to mark each player's ladybug with their name.  I did this by writing their names with permanent marker on the ribbon labels. Gather all of the labeled ladybugs in the center of a blanket.  Have the kids grab onto the edges of the blanket and heave it up and down to fling the ladybugs off.  While this is certainly a fun activity on its own, you can increase the excitement by playing like musical chairs...the last ladybug to remain on the blanket gets to be the first to pick out a prize.

Have fun!

- Shannon

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meet the MHC Team: Rachael

mhc:  Tell us about yourself.

rachael:  Hello.  My name is Rachael, and I am a sometimes blogger, occasional crafter, infrequent Etsy store-keeper and all-the-time mother of 2 and wife to 1!  We recently moved from just north of Sydney, where we lived in our old blue house close to the beach, to inner city Melbourne in Australia.  I once worked in HR. I have been on extended maternity leave for over 5 years, but will perhaps return to this career once baby Louis gets a little older. 

I started my Etsy store ‘grandy and baa’ when Stella was a baby (she is now 5 ½ ), as I found that although I loved being at home with her, I needed something else to focus my energies on.  I had learned to sew as a young girl and thought I would list a few appliquéd bodysuits and see what happened.  ‘Grandy and baa’ was named after my mother (my daughter's ‘Grandy’) and me as Stella called me ‘Baa’ instead of Mama when she was little.  The plan was that Grandy was going to help out with some sewing.  Although my mother is a super star sewer and has top billing, she has never worked on any of my projects!  That may have to change… 

When Stella slept, I sewed and ended up having some very busy periods, stocking stores in Sydney and Melbourne and on online sites.  I also started my blog early in my Etsy adventure,  which although is quite neglected, has been a lot of fun.  Louis is an adorable baby that does not sleep very much so I have been unable to dedicate much time to my sewing.  I miss sewing and really hope to return to it in the future.  When I am not rounding up the 2 children, I love thinking about houses and the perfect design, mid-Century furniture, op shopping (thrifting), cooking, and planning holidays. 

mhc:  What made you decide to become involved with MHC?

rachael:  I have been selling on Etsy for a number of years and had been a member of the EtsyKids group when I heard about the development of this new online magazine.  The magazine was about things that were right up my alley – sewing, craft, embracing handmade, and parenting.  I got very excited when I found out that the editors were looking for a new contributor from the Australia/New Zealand region, so I put my hand up I was absolutely thrilled when I was asked to fill that position.

mhc:  What is your job with MHC, and what do you hope to give MHC's readers?  What do you get out of it?

rachael:  I am the Australian Correspondent with MHC – it feels like such a grownup title, like I am working on the “New York Times!”  Although I can’t imagine that the “New York Times” would have as many interesting articles as we do… 

I focus on writing stories that highlight the talents of crafty types that live in the Australia and New Zealand region, and hopefully other parts of the Asia Pacific region. I hope that readers enjoy the opportunity to meet these people and to learn a little more about craft across the globe.  I have already been so lucky in being able to interview some of my crafting heroes and plan to chat with as many as I can!  I also enjoy being involved in the crafting community in a different way during this period of my life when I am unable to be tied to the sewing machine.

mhc:  What is your favorite section of MHC?

rachael:  I love reading recipe ideas in the Taste section, as I am a bit of a foodie.  I wish my passion for food (and especially for eating) was shared by our 5 year old – she would happily live on cheese and crackers, and cherry tomatoes!  I also enjoy the Dwell and, of course, the Create sections as they are always full of inspiration and ideas for keeping me and the little ones entertained.  And of course I love reading the interviews with the oh so clever people that MHC chooses to write about.

mhc:  What is your favorite season, and why?

rachael:  I love spring.  I love it because it is the promise of things to come -  of holidays, warm weather, Christmas and great summer fruits.  Before I moved south, I most enjoyed the late spring days before the humidity of summer gets too much.  Now that I am in a colder climate, I think the height of summer will be my new favourite! I love sewing little skirts for Stella, and appliquéd tee-shirts are a great summer look for Louis.  However, autumn and winter are great seasons for warm snuggly fashions.  Perhaps I should have just answered that I love all the seasons?

mhc:  And lastly, what's your favorite kind of candy and why? 

rachael:  In Australia we have the most amazing little lollies (our name for candy) called ‘Fruit Tingles.’  They are, as the name suggests, fruit flavoured, and they tingle and fizz when you eat them! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Strawberry and Almond Overnight Oats

Do you love oatmeal, but don’t feel like eating hot cereal during the warm summer months? Overnight oats are for you!

They’re made by combining equal parts yogurt, milk, and rolled oats. This mixture is refrigerated overnight, allowing the oats to absorb the liquid and become soft and chewy.

In the morning, you can top your oats with fruit, nuts, jam, applesauce, or whatever else sounds good to you. In this recipe, the oats are flavored with vanilla and almond extract and topped with strawberries and almonds. Use it as your starting point for coming up with your own creative combinations.

Serves 1
361 calories per serving (211 calories without toppings)

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. roasted almonds, chopped (salted or unsalted)

The night before:
Combine yogurt, milk, oats, syrup, and extracts in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and
refrigerate overnight.

The next morning:
Stir oats. Top with strawberries and almonds. Enjoy!

- Margeaux
  Mux Originals

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Finds: Mermaids

Mermaids are making a big splash in the handmade-for-kids world this summer!  From wall decals and art prints to decorate with, to handmade plush and wooden toys to play with, there are plenty of ways to incorporate this fun fantasy into your little ones' lives.  They can even live out the fantasy with their very own mermaid fun is that?

- Shannon

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Quite possibly the perfect pair, rich chocolate and crunchy peanut butter come together once again in this delicious treat. Our sweet friend Erin has made these every year for the holidays and given them as gifts. Now, they are highly anticipated by all who are on her list. These Peanut Butter Cups are easy to make and store beautifully in an air tight container in the fridge. The only challenge is making sure you don’t eat all the filling before you fill the cups! Enjoy!

Makes 30

2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
½ cup butter
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
 cup graham cracker crumbs

30 mini muffin cups
a new small paint brush
mini muffin pan

1. In a 1-quart saucepan, combine chocolate chips and shortening. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth (3 to 5 minutes).

2. Loosen top paper cup from stack, but leave in stack for greater stability while being coated. Drop a heaping teaspoon of chocolate into the cup. With small paint brush, coat the inside of the cup evenly, bringing coating almost to top of cup but not over edge. Repeat until 30 cups are coated. You will use about half the chocolate, set aside the remaining chocolate for the last step. Refrigerate cups until set, about 15 minutes.

3. In 2-quart saucepan combine butter and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until melted (4 to 6 minutes). Stir in confectioners sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Press about ½ tablespoon filling into each chocolate cup.

4. Spoon about 1 teaspoon melted chocolate on top of filling (you may need to melt the chocolate again if it has become too firm); spread to cover.

5. Freeze until firm (about 2 hours). Carefully peel off paper cups. Store peanut butter cups in the refrigerator.

By Jen Dwyer and Mindy Hertzell
Recipe by Erin Pettengill

Monday, July 4, 2011

“If I had a Magic (Ribbon) Wand...”

Ribbon wands are really fun – my three year old loves moving the wand up and down and watching the ribbons twirl. She is completely fascinated by them and whenever her friends come over, they want to play with her collection of ribbon wands, too. So, here’s a tutorial. These are so easy to make! 

    • grosgrain ribbon in red, white and blue, cut into 36 inch strands (the blue used in this tutorial is called Capri)
    • hot glue gun
    • 12 inch wooden dowel rod

    1. Put a little spot of hot glue on the end of the blue ribbon strand (approximately 1 inch from the tip of the ribbon).

    2. Place the red ribbon directly on top and press down firmly to adhere.

    3. Put a little spot of hot glue on the end of the red ribbon strand (approximately 1 inch from the tip of the ribbon) and top with the white ribbon.

    In this way, the red ribbon is sandwiched between the blue and the white ribbon.

    4. Loop the ribbon as though you are going to tie it. Then, slide your dowel rod in the middle of the loop.

    5. Put a dab of hot glue on the dowel rod, approximately 1 inch from the tip. 

    6. Now, tighten your ribbon loop so that it is knotted on the hot glue.

    For children under the age of 4, I use ribbon that is 12 inches long. The long strands of ribbon could be a strangling hazard for little ones so make sure they are being supervised!

    - Tali

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Friday Finds: Summer Picnics

    I love a good picnic, it's the quintessential summer activity.  It also involves two kid favorites...being outside and eating!  OK, mine too.  I put together some of my favorite picnic accessories and necessities for all ages.  Bon appétit!     

    1. Strawberry Fields Quilt by Quiltville
    2. Reusable Sandwich Bags by Bag It Conscious
    3. Gingham Rainbow Mini Pinwheels by Paper Polaroid
    4. Fruit Play Food Set by Felt Playground

    7. Mason Jar Solar Lights by Treasure Again
    8. Red & White Baskets by Tipico
    12. Scrappy Fabric Garland by Yoyo Cottage

    - Kari
      little mr. moo

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