Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Make Cute Bean Bags

May 15th, 2011 by zoe 4 Comments

Little Bird Bean Bags are whipped together with the wool from a shrunken sweater and scraps of craft felt.  If you have patient child you could work on it together.  I made them with a cosmo, and an episode of Treme’ after the kids were asleep!  Something about them really appeals to kids.  When my boys were little it was hard to come up with games that toddlers could play or relate to.  One game they loved to play we called baby bird – we would create a nest with a blanket and they would chirp and ask for worms – these little birds are just waiting to be snuggled in a nest. Just waiting to be tossed in the air or juggled!  They also work as pattern weights – super fun to line up on the window sill in the sewing room or stitch up for a friend.

parachute toy

May 8th, 2011 by zoe No Comments

We had a blast yesterday!  I thought it would be fun to design a better version of those cheap parachute toys out of recycled tyvek fed-ex mailers.  It sewed up in minutes and an older child could probably make this project all by themselves.

The boys and I tried every stuffed animal and toy to see who flew best off the back deck and the top of the tree house.  In the end with the help of a plastic cup it became a hot air balloon and a little doll house girl got the very best rides of the day.  See which of your favorite toys parachutes best!


Click pattern, save to a file, and print directions to make your own parachute toy!



Kickin crockpot beef stew

May 2nd, 2011 by zoe No Comments

Here on our little farm we are lucky enough to raise our own hormone free grass-fed cattle.  This is a slow cooker beef stew recipe I made that turns out delicious every time. It takes very little time to prepare but a whole day to cook,  so worth it.


Zoe’s Kickin Crockpot Beef Stew

prep time 20 minutes (even with children clinging to your legs), cook time 6 hours


2 lbs. Lean beef stew meat cut into 1×1 chunks

1/4 Cup White flour (salted and peppered)

6 Medium size carrots peeled and chopped

5 Red potatoes cut into 1×1 pieces

4 Leeks  (or 1/2 cup finely cut onion slivers) white part only thinly sliced

2 Cups water

1 Cup red wine

2 Cups beef broth (I use ox-beef bullion rather than liquid stock)

1 TBL Brown sugar

1 TBL Paprika

3 0z Tomato paste

1 tsp  Fresh or dried tarragon and thyme

1 1/2 Cups frozen peas

Salt and Pepper to taste


Turn on your slow cooker and let it heat up while you prep your vegetables.  Cut off and discard the leaves and roots of your leeks leaving the white to light green middle part, slice them length wise and soak them in water for several minutes to remove dirt and silt residue.

Take your trimmed and cut stew meat and put it in the crockpot, add flour and toss.

Add  water, red wine, carrots,and leaks, potatoes to the pot.

In a separate container add tomato paste,paprika, herbs, and brown sugar to beef broth and whisk to fully mix. Add mixture to the pot.

Lightly toss stew ingredients and cook on high setting for 5 hours.

In the last hour add frozen peas.

Salt and pepper to taste, serve with fresh crusty bread.

Serves 8