🐸My Etsy Sh🌎p🐸

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

When your to do list is long...

 Don't judge me.
I am a list maker, notoriously so.
I just recently learned that my mother in law is a list maker, too!
I make lists.
Paper lists.
Yellow sticky notes.
Notes on my phone.
 It keeps me on task.
It gives my busy life order.
I like to know what needs to happen.
That's just how I am.
My lists are written, scribbled, jotted down. Then, they change. I cross out my done items, but more often than not...I add to my list. And add. And add.
I have too many ideas that I HAVE to write down or risk forgetting.

I have passed on the note taking gene to my daughters and my nanny girls, too! It makes me smile to see college notes and preschool & toddler notes!

Do you make lists?

Have a fun and playful day

Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday calls for playdough

We used the recipe found on Pinterest from smart school house. Just yogurt and corn starch. Easy. And it smells heavenly!

Photo credit smart school house

Have a fun and playful day

I love Blue Hydrangeas

I love Blue Hydrangeas, because she loved Blue Hydrangeas.

Let me tell you a story. It was a Saturday just before Mother's Day and I was in my local Kroger. I saw the most beautiful blue flower. Blue Hydrangeas. I didn't care that they were $29. I just knew I had to get them for Grandma Helen.

I drove the hour trek to get to my hometown to surprise her by going to church with her and giving her the Blue Hydrangeas.

She said, "You find the best things in the city." oh Grandma, I don't really love in the city. But to her 35k people in my town compared to 100 in our hometown, I guess it did seem like the city.

She loved the flowers, told me again and and.

So that was our new tradition. I would buy her Blue Hydrangeas for Mother's Day e.very. year. I love them, because she loved them and because I loved her.

Inspiration comes from all around. When I saw these felt Blue Hydrangeas, I knew I needed to make a play mat with them. I sit now to write this, tears streaming down my face, because I miss her every day. Every. Single. Day.

So I am taking inspiration from many places and turning that into magical places that children's imaginations can flourish.

Have a fun and playful day

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Inspired by places I want to go

 I have a restless spirit. I want to travel. I want to see all the beautiful places that I see in photographs. But I am also a homebody.
 So I make magical places. This above play mat is based on a photo I saw of Cornwall UK. (I really want to go there!) A sleepy little fishing town. A quiet cove. I would need a bigger camera card to hold ALL the photos that I would take!
 So, as I flip through Pinterest and Instagram, I am inspired to create new play mats and dream of real places I might one day see.
Have a fun and playful day

Not always a fairytale

When we were little, we read Cinderella. Sometimes, my life feels like that - more on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor than dancing in a ballgown. (you laugh, but you've been there!)

I love my husband. He is a prince most of the time. We both came from not so good precious marriages and I think that makes us appreciate each other more. We are a team - is against the world. But we like each other. Read that again. We LIKE each other. We laugh and joke and have so much in common and encourage each other.

Sometimes, he surprises me. We like to take day trips, just get in the car, pick a direction, and go.

One day, we ended up at this castle. I think we got lost getting there if I remember correctly and it was clear out in the sticks, but we got there. They were only taking guided tours.

As we stood at the back of a small group only half listening to the monotoned man talk about this man's grand gesture to build a castle for his wife having it shipped over from Europe and put it back together stone by stone, I tried to talk him into sneaking off to dance in one of the empty rooms. He smiled like he was thinking about it but said we shouldn't. I do remember him holding my hand though.

It was a Cinderella moment - a good kind of Cinderella moment indeed.

Have a fun and playful day

Saturday, August 27, 2016

My imagination is a colorful place

 My imagination is a colorful place to visit. I am constantly think of what colors to paint my peg dolls or color combinations of felt.
 Kiddos are attracted to color - especially rainbows! I incorporate that thinking into all the pieces I create.
 As most of you may know, I taught preschool for 12 plus years. I have been working with children since I was 11. I began babysitting at 11. When no one would teach a Sunday school class of 4 year olds, I took it over - I was 12. My whole life has been in the early childhood field.
 Making handmade imaginative play items is both a creative outlet to me and way to share my crafting and love of early childhood education.
 Plus, I am obsessed with small toys! I mean obsessed. The tinier the better. My husband doesn't buy me flowers - because "flowers just die. It's a waste of money." Instead, he buys me toys.
 I am always planning, plotting, thinking of new things to create. If you could visit my imagination, it might be a jumble of colorful chaos. Colorful chaos with lots of little yellow sticky notes. I love little yellow sticky notes!
 I have a new version of a old play mat (that previously sold) to be photographed tomorrow morning. It reminds me of Cornwall in the UK - a place I desperately want to visit. I am saving to hopefully take my mother in law to Europe. There are so many places that I want to see.
For now, I want to see my pillow. It's late. Really late for me. 12:14 am I have been working on Etsy stuff since 8:30 am yesterday. Yikes!

Have a fun and playful day

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Are you on Instagram?

Are you on Instagram?

Me, too! I love sharing new things on my feed @melanieshanks35. I have always been a visual person, so this is right up my alley! I have made lots of friends on Instagram and love the feeling of community.

If you are looking for an amazing education feed for toddlers through preschoolers, check out @simplylearning. You won't be disappointed!

Have a fun and playful day

Are you mermaid dreaming?

 Dreaming of mermaids? Just because Summer is drawing to a close doesn't mean that mermaid dreams have to go into hibernation!
 Imagination is a powerful thing! I have some NEW mermaid themed play ideas in my Etsy shop.
 Check them out at www.mybigworld2015.etsy.com
Have a fun and playful day

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tell Me A Story Tuesday - Twig, Mossy, and Acorn

Once upon a time, there were three sisters - Twig, Mossy, and Acorn. They lived in the heart of the Happy Forest. Every day, just as the sun was showing his face over the treetops, the sisters set out.

They explored the forest, searching for Lost Ones. The Lost Ones were sometimes children, sometimes animals.

Twig was the nuturer, giving hugs and encouraging words to the Lost Ones. Mossy was the cool, who seemed to know Just the right food that every Lost One needed. Acorn was the nurse, tending to the hurt when needed.

The three sisters walked the forest every day looking for any Lost Ones they could help. One day, they found three babies AND a small Pegasus with a hurt wing. Twig, Mossy, and Acorn took them back to their tree stump cottage to care for them. Soon, the Pegasus wing was strong enough to fly and the babies were reunited with their family.

The end

Have a fun and playful day

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Busy Weekend

 It's been a busy weekend. ALL of this has happened since Friday evening. I think I might be addicted to creating :) is there a help group for that? Craftoholics Anonymous??? Is that a thing?
 I watched my niece and nephew (they wore me out!), so my brother could take his wife out for her birthday.
 I had a nice lunch with my mother in law at Brio. Good food. Good conversation. Great company.
 Lots and lots of painting!
 Lots and lots of sewing.

Hope your weekend was great, too.

Have a fun and playful day

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Education is a powerful tool

I believe in the power of a quality education. I KNOW that it can change lives. I taught preschool for 14 years. My husband began his 17th year of teaching elementary school today.

As school starts for another year, let's pray for a good year. Let's pray for the children and their willingness to learn. Let's pray for the teachers to teach and make learning, fun, meaningful, and spark their pupils interests. Let's pray for the administration and that they will make decisions based on the best interests of the students and teachers.

When my youngest daughter started kindergarten, the teacher handed us a pie chart split into 3 equal parents. She said, "Your child's education is one part their responsibility, one part mine, one part the parents."

Parents NEED to be involved in their child's education, help with homework, read to your child, be present, and communicate with the teacher. Let's help these kiddos be successful. Let's raise them to be kind and giving not entitled and selfish.

New school year. New adventure. New beginnings.

Have a fun and playful day

(photo found on Pinterest not mine)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

While waiting...

 What do you do when waiting for the men to deliver your new dryer ?

I paint.
Our dryer just when ka-putt on Friday - right before back to school laundry! I was waiting and waiting on the special delivery (seriously, I could think of about 30 different ways to spend $600+!).

The "window of delivery time" ran late and gave me a "window of opportunity" to paint. I have to use my time wisely as I prepare for the upcoming holiday season!

The dryer is here and works like a charm.

Have a fun and playful day

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Grandma in the Garden

There are days even two plus years after my grandparents' passing that I just cannot believe that they are gone. I have talked about their amazing love story here. Married 70 years, 8 children, 23 grandchildren, 46 great grand children, died 15 hours apart.

What I remember most about my Grandma is her being in the Garden, pullu,g those weeds, watering those flowers, snapping those peas, sometimes humming a hymn. Her garden was enormous. She always planted too much, but nothing ever went to waste. What they didn't use, she gave away in the truest Christian spirit. She knew that there were people in town that needed a little help. She gave away veggies and pies and flowers with a kind heart.

Grandma in the Garden. That's how I remember her. If there's a garden in Heaven, you can bet she has pulled ALL the weeds!

Photo found on Pinterest with the heading "Jardinage"

Have a fun and playful day

Friday, August 12, 2016

Happy World Elephant Day

Happy World Elephant Day!

What BIG things are you doing today?

We are visiting the library and having a campover this weekend. I plan on finishing up a few projects and making some new listings in my Etsy shop.

Have a fun and playful day

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Confessions of a Mom Workaholic

 I have had a job since I was 11 years old. I babysat for the summers to buy those super cool but slightly more expensive school clothes.

I worked two jobs while I was in college, because my parents couldn't afford to help me.

When I found out that I was pregnant with my first child, I took on a 2nd job as a hostess at a local restaurant to pay for all the "baby stuff".
 I didn't want to work when I had my children, but I guess it wasn't in the budget for us to go down to one income. But I worked as little as possible and still maintain our lifestyle, so that I could be at home with my girls.
When my marriage came to an end and I found myself a single mom, I took a position as an assistant director of a preschool. I was working and I could see my girls all the time. I took paperwork home and did it after they went to bed.

When I did my book tour, I mostly traveled when the girls were in school as to not miss those precious waking moments. I wanted to hear about who likes who and who wore what conversations.

As my girls got older, gained their independence, and started doing their own thing, I found myself working a second job again to help pay for those "extra" things like homecoming dresses and basketball uniforms and, yes, slightly more expensive school clothes (for them!).

My priority has been time (precious time!) with my girls. I know not everyone has that luxury. I consider myself blessed to have had flexible hours. I do put in 12, sometimes 15 hour days now. I sometimes sew for 12 hours a day, but I am accessible to anyone that needs me.

Yes, I am a Mom Workaholic, but being a mom part comes first.

Have a fun and playful day

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Three Billy Goats Gruff with a Twist

One morning, The big troll took his son to the bridge. "Now, son, I need you to guard this bridge. I can't have those silly Billy Goats trip, trapping over my bridge today."

"Okay, Dad." said the little troll.

The big troll went home to cut down all the weeds, so he could plant a garden.

It wasn't long before a line of goats came to cross the bridge.

"I am sorry," said the little troll. "I cannot let you trip trap over this bridge. My dad said so."

"Why is he such a grumpy troll?" asked one of the goats. "He is always complaining about us trip, trapping over this bridge."

"Oh." said the little troll. "The weeds are making him VERY grumpy."

"Weeds?" asked the goats collectively.

"Dad wants to plant a garden, but there are sooo many weeds!" The troll told the goats.

"We can help with weeds" said one goat.

"We love weeds!" said another.

"We will eat ALL of his weeds. Even the ones with thistles." said a third.

So the little troll let this goats trip trap over the bridge and back to their farm.

"Dad, Dad! The goats said they will eat our weeds!" The troll told his father.

And they did. Those goats are ALL of the weeds in the field. The big troll was impressed.

"Thank you, Goats. You can trip trap over the bridge any time you want."

From then on, the big troll was a little less grumpy. The goats were fat and happy. The Little troll made friends with the littlest goat.

The end

Have a fun and playful day

Tell Me A Story Tuesday - Three Billy Goats Gruff

This version of the Three Billy Goats Gruff is found in worldstories.org

Have a fun and playful day

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Birthday Party

 The theme was American Girl Rainforest birthday party. Yes, it WAS picked by a 6 year old. Inspired by the new American Girl Lea, who explores the rainforest, we went "wild" with Palm leaves, toucan, sloths, butterflies and more.
 The party took place at our community pool. But I added a craft table to the mix. Every hour, the whistle blows and little swimmers need to get out of the pool and take a break. I knew little hands needed something to do in their break.
The funny thing was, the kiddos SWARMED to the craft table, even choosing to do crafts OVER swimming. At.a.pool.party.

We made turtle charm bracelets (charms found on Etsy), ocean animal bead necklaces, mini terrarium (pictured above), and sloths in a leaf sleeping bag.

They had a ball!

The crafts were simple yet engaging and unisex. Add a craft or two to your next party. The kiddos will love it.

Have a fun and playful day