Friday, November 30, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #42 - The White Dove

For fairy tale forty-two, I am sharing a German fairy tale that was included in my childhood fairy tale book, called The White Dove.  When I was looking for more information on this tale, I kept coming across other tales called The White Dove that were different than the tale I grew up reading, then I found out that The White Dove story I was familiar with is more commonly called The Old Woman in the Wood.  This tale was collected by The Grimm Brothers.

The tale begins on a cold and blustery day, a coach is traveling through the woods when a band of robbers stops the coach to rob it.  During the robbery a girl is able to escape out of the coach unnoticed and runs away into the woods for safety.  The girl ran deep into the woods until she was very far away from the coach.  She realized she had run quite deeply into the woods and was frightened that she was alone in the deep and dark forest., she sat down on a log and began to cry.

As the girl sat crying on the log, wondering how she would ever find her way out of the woods, she heard the flutter of wings above her, and looked up to see a white dove with a small key in its beak.  The dove dropped the key at the girls feet, and told her to look in the tree behind her for a lock which she could open with the key.  So the girl turned and looked in the tree, and found a tiny keyhole hidden in the bark.  She put the key in the lock and opened up a tiny cupboard that held milk and bread.  The girl thanked the dove and ate the bread and milk.

When she was done eating the dove dropped another key at her feet, and showed her another tree with a hidden door.  The key opened up a tiny room in the tree, just big enough for a bed.  The dove told her she would be safe sleeping there.  

Days passed, and every time the girl needed something the dove would bring a key that would open up another door in a tree with what she needed.  One day the dove asked the girl if she would do something for him.  The girl gladly agreed to help.  So the dove gave her careful instructions, she must follow a path deep into the woods where she will find a small cottage.  In the cottage will be an old woman by a fire, she must not speak to her, and pass by her on her right side, and enter the room behind the old woman.  On a table there will be treasures of rings and jewels, the dove wanted the girl to get the golden ring.

So the girl went and did as the dove instructed, she kept her hand over her mouth so she wouldn't accidentally speak to the old woman, when she came to the table of jewels she did not see a golden ring.  But then she saw the old woman sneaking away with a bird cage hidden under her shawl.  The girl thought the ring must be in the cage, so she quickly snatched the cage from the old woman, and in the cage was a bird holding the golden ring.  The girl gently took the ring, and ran back to the tree where the dove had told her to wait.

The dove was not there, the girl waited and waited, and then she began to cry, wondering where her friend the dove was.  The girl leaned against the tree, and suddenly the tree felt different, it felt softer and as though it was growing arms that wrapped themselves around her.  "Do not cry" said a kind voice.  The tree had changed into a prince.  The other trees around her began changing into people as well.

The prince explained that the old woman was a witch, who had cast a spell on him and his friends, since he was a prince, he was allowed to fly around for two hours a day as a dove.  The prince was her friend the dove!  He explained that when she took the ring from the old witch it had broken the spell.  The prince and the girl fell in love, and became married.  They lived happily ever after.

I love this tale, I love the thought of hidden compartments in trees, what a fun thing to imagine.  For my craft, I decided to sew a dove from white wool felt.  I found a basic template online for a bird and modified its tail a bit, then cut it out from felt and stitched it together with a blanket stitch, it is stuffed with wool roving, and I decided to stuff the wings as well.  You can find a multitude of bird patterns by searching online, it is easy to modify them into the shape you need. Here is the pattern I started with- (dove pattern). Because the is a fairy tale bird I couldn't resist adding some crystal colored glitter to the wings, tail, and head, I also added a string so I could use it as a Christmas ornament.  This dove would also be nice with a little key in his beak, so I will have to keep my eye out for one.

This tale has a few similarities to the fairy tale Jorinda and Joringle which you may also enjoy.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales #41 - The Princess and the Pea

I have been looking forward to the craft for this week's fairy tale for quite some time.  I have chosen a well known tale for week #41- The Princess and the Pea.


The tale of The Princess and the Pea is a short and simple fun little tale.  It begins with a prince who has had very bad luck in finding a proper princess for a wife.  One evening the princes luck changes, it is a dark and stormy night, and a knock is heard at the castle door.  When the door is opened, there is a rain drenched girl standing outside, she was caught out in the storm and wishes to seek shelter in the castle and claims to be a princess.

So the queen decides to test the girl to find out if she is really a princess.  The queen puts a pea under twenty mattresses and feather blankets.

That evening the princess has a very uncomfortable night of sleep tossing and turning.  In the morning the queen asks the princess how she slept.  The princess replied that she had a very uncomfortable night of sleep, and was kept awake tossing and turning by something hard in her bed, which has most certainly bruised her.  The prince hears this, and is overjoyed, only a true princess  could be so sensitive as to feel a pea under so many mattresses.  So the prince marries the princess and they live happily ever after, and the pea is put on display in the royal museum.


I think this is a cute little tale, I remember, as a child, thinking how fun it would be to climb upon twenty mattresses, and wonder if you really could feel a pea underneath them all.  I thought it would be fun to make a little Princess and the Pea doll and bed set, along with a little green pea of course.  I decided to only make 10 mattresses, as twenty would probably not stack very well, and because the doll is a tiny bendy doll.

I made a simply dressed little bendy doll, using instructions from  Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects by Salley Mavor.

Then found 10 different prints of cloth from my fabric stash, cut out two rectangles from each print, and stitched them together like a little pillow, lightly stuffed them with basic fiber fill, sewed them shut, then stitched an X across the top to give it a semi quilted look, and help hold the stuffing in place.  Like this.
(You can also see the little needle felted green pea)

This would be a fun and easy project to make for story time, I look forward to showing this set to my youngest niece when she visits for the holidays.

I hope everyone is having a nice week, our house is all decorated for Christmas, except the tree, which will go up a couple of weeks before Christmas so it doesn't dry out.  I am looking forward to all the fun Christmas meals and projects this coming December. :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend 2012

We had a very nice Thanksgiving celebration this year.  I cooked a big traditional Thanksgiving meal, and we enjoyed it with family and friends.  We ended the evening with the first lighting of the Christmas lights on the house to welcome in the Christmas season.

Today, after a nice lazy morning with pumpkin pie and coffee, I have begun my Christmas decorating.

I really enjoy all of my fall decor, time to say goodbye to my owl candles for awhile.

The harvest fairies are marching off to be stored along with the other harvest decor.

Last weekend we had a fun holiday outing, we attended a local craft bazaar.  There were so many wonderful crafts to see, the air was filled with yummy spicy Christmas smells from vendors selling candles and other scented goodies.  We had fun seeing everyone's hard work, and chatting with the crafters.

One table really caught my attention, an old man selling the most wonderful wooden items, there were so many beautiful rustic looking bowls, candle holders, and lot of other beautiful items.  If I could have, I would have purchased every thing he had!  I settled on a few items that really called my name.  The first item I picked out was an amazing cooking utensil, like a giant wooden spatula, I can see myself using this in the kitchen for many years.  I also decided on a stunning oak cake stand, and a wooden bowl, and a very pretty candle holder made from a knot of oak.  Thankfully my husband got his name and number, and he lives just outside of town, I hope I can purchase more of his beautiful items!

Here is the knot of oak candle holder.

Here is the oak cake stand, bowl and wooden spatula.

Another surprise that arrived this week in  the mail, this seasons Tomten Catalog, I love the picture on the cover, and I love pouring through the pages looking for treasures for Christmas!

Well, I am off to get my Christmas decorations up, the nutcrackers are leading the way!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #40 - Aladdin

This week I have been down with quite a toothache, it is surprising how one little tooth can cause such a disruption! I am very much looking forward to my dentist visit tomorrow (even though I am a a big scaredy-cat when it comes to dentists) I was happy to have my visit done before Thanksgiving.

Today I was glad to spend some time with my crafting, and had fun sewing up a little ornament to represent week #40's fairy tale.  This week I am sharing the tale of Aladdin.  Aladdin is a tale of Middle Eastern origin and is part of The Book of One Thousand and One Night (Arabian Nights).

This tale, in a simplified version, was included in my fairy tale book growing up, and it is my favorite version of the story.


The tale of Aladdin begins with an evil magician who wants to get his hands on a magical lantern that lies deep in a cave in China.  The cave is cursed, and even if your clothes touch the walls of the cave, you will die.  So the evil magician befriended a Chinese boy named Aladdin, and sent him down into the cave to retrieve the magic lamp.  Before the boy went down into the cave, the magician gave him a magical ring to wear for extra protection.

Aladdin went into the cave, and found the lamp.  When Aladdin went back to the mouth of the cave, and told the magician that he had found the lamp, and was ready to be lifted out, the magician became impatient and wanted Aladdin to hand him the lamp first.  Aladdin became suspicious of the magician, and put the lamp up his sleeve, and told the magician that he would have to pull him out of the cave first.  The magician became angry, and lost his temper, then closed the mouth of the cave with a spell, and left Aladdin down in the cave.
Aladdin didn't know what to do, as he sat in the dark trying to think, he began rubbing the magical ring.  There was a hiss, and out of the ring appeared a genie!  The Genie told Aladdin that he was the Genie of the Ring, and that he would do as Aladdin commanded.  So Aladdin wished that he were back home, and in the blink of an eye, he was back home.  He took the lamp out from his sleeve, and brought it to his mother, in hopes that she could sell it for money to buy food.  Aladdin's mother began cleaning the lantern, because it would need to be cleaned before they could sell it, when she rubbed the lantern, there was a hissing noise, and a Genie appeared.

Aladdin asked the Genie who he was, and he told Aladdin that he was the Genie of the Lamp, and that Aladdin's wish was his command.  That is how Aladdin and his mother became rich, anything they wanted the genie would provide.  Aladdin soon fell in love with a princess, and they were married and lived in a castle.  However, Aladdin never told his wife the secret of the Genie of the Lamp.  

One day, when Aladdin was out, the princess heard an old peddler out in the street, calling out " New Lanterns for Old!  New Lanterns for Old!"  Although Aladdin had never told the princess the secret of the lamp, she had seen the old lamp, and when she heard the peddler, she thought she would get Aladdin a new lamp.  So she went into the street, and exchanged Aladdin's magical lamp for a shiny new one.

Unfortunately, The peddler was really the evil magician in disguise, and as soon as he had the lantern, he threw off his disguise.  He summoned the Genie of the Lamp, and ordered the genie to take him, along with Aladdin's palace, and Aladdin's wife, the princess, to far away Africa.  

When Aladdin returned home, nothing was there but dirt, his wife, and his castle were gone!  Aladdin figured it was the old magician, and so he summoned the Genie of the Ring.  He asked the Genie of the Ring to bring back his castle and Wife, but the Genie of the Ring was less powerful, and could not undo the Genie of the Lamp's magic.  So instead, Aladdin asked if the Genie of the Ring could bring him to where his wife and castle were, that, the genie of the ring could do, so Aladdin was transported to Africa.  When he arrived, the princess was relieved to see him.  Aladdin and his wife came up with a plan to get the lantern back from the evil magician.  They put sleeping powder in the magician's wine, and when he was asleep, they took the lamp out of his pocket.

Aladdin summoned the Genie of the Lamp, and had him bring the castle, along with it's possessions, and him and his wife back home.  Leaving the evil magician in the middle of Africa, alone, on a sand dune, confused as to what had happened.  Aladdin and the princess lived happily ever after.


This is a fun and adventurous tale, and it is always fun to think about what I would do if I had a Genie in a lamp, I used to enjoying imagining about that when I was young. :) 

I knew as soon as I read this tale that I wanted to make a little felt lamp.  So I drew a few different patterns until I came up with a shape I liked, and cut the shape out of wool felt.  I had intended to add some beading to the lamp, but realized I have no needles small enough for my seed beads.  So instead I kept it simple.  I sewed the two sides together with embroidery floss, with a simple little running stitch, and stuffed it with wool.  I attached a string to the top so it could be hung as an ornament.  I think it would be such a fun project to sew up a bunch of colorful wool felt ornaments for a tree, this is also a great project for a beginning sewing project.

Here is another look at Aladdin's Lamp.

I hope everyone is doing well, and enjoying the preparations for Thanksgiving, I am looking forward to the kids having a few days off, and having some family time!  We have been having quite the rain storm these past couple of days, and it just makes me want to get out board games with the kids and spend time hanging out inside by the fire!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Ideas Gift Series #5 - Fun Ideas for Everyone

This is the last in my mini series of posts on Christmas gift ideas.  I had fun looking back through Christmases   Past, and remembering some of our families favorites.  This year I am purchasing gifts mostly for teenagers and adults.  Some of the best gifts are handmade, my sister once surprised me with the most lovely hand crocheted afghan, that was a treat!  I also enjoy practical gifts, like new items for my kitchen or a new specialty pan.  Today I thought I would share some fun ideas for everyone.  You can follow my Amazon affiliate links for more information.

What's Under the Tree?

#1- Books- This is one of my favorite categories, I love giving and receiving books.  This is a fun time to gift a beautiful boxed set, or a beautiful coffee table book.

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen: Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Lady Susan (The Heirloom Collection)

Just in time for the movie release of The Hobbit!

I loved this book! Full of wonderful inspirations and even some yummy recipes.

Lotta Jansdotter's Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style

#2- Movies- DVDs can be a nice treat, classic action movies beautiful nature videos, and of course you might have to do a bit of scouting to see if they already own the DVD, or to find out a new favorite to surprise them with.

Here are some of our favorites.

I love a good Poirot or Miss Marple Mystery!

Agatha Christie Poirot: Definitive Collection

Turner Classic Movies has a nice selection of classics on DVD, plenty to pick from!

TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Comedy (Arsenic and Old Lace / A Night at the Opera / The Long Long Trailer / Father of the Bride 1950)

#3- First Aid Kits and Flashlights- I love practical gifts, you can never have too many flashlights and it is always nice to have an extra first aid kit for on the go.  The fun little LED flashlights make wonderful stocking stuffers as well.

MAGLITE GX01016 Lite Pack 3-Cell D Flashlight and 2-Cell AA Mini Flashlight

#4- Cookies- If you are a baker, a nice gift is a tray of cookies, my mother and grandmother used to send out the most beautiful boxes and trays of cookies to their family and friends, I love making up a few boxes and trays every year my self.  You can line Christmas gift boxes with wax paper for an inexpensive way to deliver your cookies or you can find pretty tin trays in the store.  Here are my Christmas Cookie posts from last year. Part 1  and  Part 2.

Here is a cute tray from Amazon that would be fun to put cookies on.

#5- Tools- Another practical selection, tools are always nice to give, especially for younger families who need to build their tool supply.

#6- Blankets  I love giving nice cozy blankets as gifts and often pair them up with hot cocoa and a book.

Northpoint Cuddly Regal Microsherpa Throw, Chocolate

#7 - Gift Baskets- I love making gift baskets, you can make them themed, like Italian Dinner, or Movie Night, or Relaxing Spa, etc.  It is fun to gather up a bunch of goodies and arrange them in a basket.
#8- Gift Certificates and Gift Cards- I think Gift Cards are fun, there are choices for every age and interest, and it can be very fun to pick out your own gift.  I do like to personalize them a bit though, wrap them with a special candy or other small gift so they still have something to enjoy right away. Gift Cards - In a Greeting Card - Free One-Day Shipping

#9- Hand made or locally made items- there are some amazing crafters out there, making all sorts of wonderful items that might make the perfect gift.  I love to visit local craft fairs as well as  There are always such beautiful ornaments and other goodies.

#10- Lastly- I cannot forget our four legged friends- our two labs provide up with so much love and entertainment- we all enjoy buying them goodies for under the tree and their stocking.  We always include their favorite treats as well as a new toy or two.

This Nylabone stick is something I am considering.

Nylabone DuraChew Hollow Stick Bacon, Wolf

Back before we realized my son was allergic to cats, the cats we had loved these play mice, and would play with them for hours.

These are out dogs favorite treats, they have never grown tired of these goodies, perfect sized little treat.  They would love finding this under the tree!

Milk-Bone Original Dog Treats, 40 oz.

I am looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am eager to start watching Christmas Specials and singing carols with the family, as well as finish up my gift purchasing.  When do you begin your Christmas shopping and decorating?