Thursday, December 9, 2010

Target's 2010 Christmas Album

A free download on, this is a MUST HAVE for the holidays!  An amazing album of holiday music like you've always wished for.  Tired of listening to Dean Martin singing "Baby, it's Cold Outside" for the 100th time this year?  Check out "Electronic Santa" by Blazer Force or "Toy Jackpot" by Blackalicious to rock your socks off.

Looking for the unexpected in your holiday listening this year?  Try these downloads too:
Christmas Tree - Lady GaGa
Nutmeg - Stephen Colbert & John Legend
Deck the Rooftop - Glee Cast
It Snowed - Meaghan Smith
Christmas is Interesting - Jonathan Coulton

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Beloved Childhood Toy

It is so fun when you can take a toy or game that you played and loved as a kid and play it with your own children.  I brought out "Blockhead" today to see if Ronan would get a kick out of it and we played for ages!  It is so simple, you just each take turns building a tower until it falls and then you shout and giggle and try again.  I highly recommend this toy for the winter months!  It is still sold on Amazon.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Elephant Quilt Update

I have finally found the photos of the completed elephant quilt!  I am really pleased with how it turned out.  I wanted satin edging since kids always seem to like that on a quilt.  The coloring is off compared to the blue cotton edging which bugged me at first, but now I don't mind it so much.  When I first showed it to Ronan he said "No, I don't like that one!" and rejected the quilt outright.  But he has since warmed to it, and is in turn warmed by it.  :-D

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Elephant Quilt

 I started a quilt for Ronan a couple of months ago and was able to finish it up just be fore we left Minneapolis.  These are shots of the quilt as I was pinning it to machine quilt.  It is part of my stash busting year in which I use only fabrics that I have on hand.  I had to cheat a little bit to get a small amount of grey fabric for the elephant and Ronan's name.  Also, I think I had to buy the satin binding, but other than that it is all stuff I had!   I am glad to report that the batting was even left over from another quilt. 

I designed the quilt myself with a lot of inspiration from Red Pepper Quilts and Handmade By Alissa, two of my favorite blog quilters right now.  The elephant image was taken from a Quilting magazine and the letters from the Arial font enlarged and printed out on our computer.

More shots of the finished product soon!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Google Eye Adventure

Since our move, I have had the pleasure of being a stay at home mom for a little while until we get a little more settled in.  Each week I organize a couple of crafts for Ronan and I to do together.  Usually he doesn't get what I'm going for and gets bored but sometimes I pick a good one for him.  This craft began as an exercise in making egg carton caterpillars but became much more interesting when we cut them up into one egg carton aliens and monsters!  Ronan loves using "google eyes" and in enthusiastic about any craft that involves them. 
We just used google eyes, markers, misc. stickers and colored pipe cleaners to make our creations.  This is definitely one we would do again!  Oh, and I also was able to pull a string through one of the aliens and tied it around his neck for a necklace.  Also a thumbs up from Ronan. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

We're Back!

I didn't anticipate taking such a large hiatus from the Family Craft Blog, but the summer can just sort of get that way!  Our family made the huge and difficult decision to pack up and move to Wisconsin.  We're now living in a small rural town in Southern Wisconsin instead of the bustling metropolis of Minneapolis.  There are a lot of differences (hello, no Starbucks within 25 miles!) the main one being a slower pace of life, which we couldn't be happier with.  While Blake and I are sorting out the job situation, we are getting settled in at my Mother's house which she has generously opened her doors for us while we get on our feet again. 

And now that we are mostly settled in, and computer set up and moments here and there of free time, we can bring back the blog!  Thank you for patiently waiting for our return! 

Kristen, Blake & Ronan

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Fabric

Just as I was composing a post in my head all about using up scrap fabric and stash reduction, I found myself at Crafty Planet and picked up a yard of this.  Erin McMorris' line for Free Spirit called Weekends.  This is the "Go By Bike" print that I immediately fell in love with.  I seldom pick up a yard of new fabric the way I used to since we are trying to be tight with money these days.  But Crafty Planet is a dangerous place to be with a tenner burning a hole in your pocket.  Luckily I had just gotten a 15% off coupon, so I felt that justified the purchase.  :-D 

So.... next post will be about using up existing fabric!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sounds of Summer

I thought I'd share a playlist of family-friendly songs we're listening to this summer. Blake and I come from the "mix-tape" generation so we love the challenge of putting together a playlist that we will all enjoy. Here are some of our favs!

Party With Children - Ratatat
Woody's Roundup - Riders In The Sky
Day-O - Harry Belafonte
Lovely, Love My Family - The Roots
Hold Him Joe - Ziggy Marley
Sticks and Stone - Jonsi
I Love to Boogie - T.Rex
Fast and Slow - The Laurie Berkner Band
We're Going to Be Friends - The White Stripes
1234 - Feist
Everyday - Rogue Wave
Electric Car - They Might Be Giants
Hold On Tight - The Backyardigans
The Mighty Mighty Elephant - Robbert Bobbert
The Ninjas - Barenaked Ladies
Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag - Minnutes
Your Personal Penguin - Sandra Boynton feat. Davey Jones
 I Made You Smile - Jay Condiotti
One and One Makes Two - Johnny Cash

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wedding Quilt Done!

And just in time to visit my brother and his wife this weekend! I'm so pleased with how it looks. I machine quilted the entire quilt and then made custom white bias binding that I hand sewed on the back side (machine sewed the top). It has its share of imperfections, but I think it all works together to make a really sweet quilt. I hope they like it!!

Have a happy & safe Memorial Weekend!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quilt Love

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before on this blog, but I am in love with the quilting site "Moda Bake Shop". (There is a button for it on the sidebar) Every couple of days is a new, free, inventive tutorial on a sewing project. Mostly quilt projects and all using a variety of Moda's fabric in the form of jelly rolls. This one pictured above is from fellow Minnesotan Doug Leko. It is one of those designs that is fairly simple but so elegant when put together. I really like the modern colors he picked out for the project too. If I didn't already have a half completed Christmas quilt waiting for me based on Elizabeth Hartman's design, I would be cutting into my stash for this one. I just love it. But you can't really have too many Christmas quilts. Right?

photo used with permission by Doug Leko.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Summer Shorts

I made these cute shorts for Ronan last weekend. They are from a Simplicity pattern (the specific number eludes me at the moment) and I think they turned out super cute. It is tricky to try and work in enough length around the waist to make sure that you can fully cover the diaper, so he has to have them ride a little low to look right. But he doesn't mind that. :-) I think when I make the next pair I might try the next size up. Most boy's shorts (even Toddler boys) that I see in style right now are longer and pretty much cover the knee.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The "Let's Make Fun Happen" Project

I am doing a design a day with the phrase "Let's Make Fun Happen". Each will be available on my tee shirt store.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My New Website!

I finally have a professional illustration web site up after 2-3 years of fits and explosions!

Wedding Quilt Update

Well, the top layer of the quilt for my brother and his wife is completed!  Actually, I might add one more solid stripe on the left side, so that it has a more even look, but other than that, it is done!  Not sure what fabric I'll use to bind it, but that can wait until it is quilted anyway.  I am going to attempt to machine quilt this one!

This design is from one of my favorite quilting magazines, Fons & Porter's Easy Quilts.  It was the Winter 2009 issue.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blame Charlaine Harris

One of the reasons that I haven't had much to post lately is because I am completely addicted to the "Southern Vampire Series" written by Charlaine Harris. I can't put these books down and go through one every couple of weeks. What the heck! I'm getting close to the last book published and will have to wait another year to get the next installment.

Luckily, or maybe unluckily she has written about 3 other series that I'm sure will end up on my summer reading table. :-)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This Spring has brought a lot of mixed blessings to the Himsl Hunter household. We couldn't be happier with how beautiful the weather has been this year and being outside with Ronan is nothing short of inspiring. But the season started out sad for us with the unexpected and tragic death of my cousin, Jesse Himsl as well how difficult it has been for Blake to get a job in this economy. Winds of change are blowing here, and I'll be sure to update you all when I get it figured out myself. :-)

In the meantime, I am determined to find some balance and inspiration in the every day. I don't get in front of my sewing machine nearly as much as I would like and in fact spend most of my time daydreaming about doing so... I am still working on a wedding quilt (from last November, ahem) for my brother and his wife, and I'll highlight in photos later this week. I'm loving how it is turning out.

Inspiration for this week:

1) Amanda Soule - Whenever I am feeling creatively dry I look at Amanda's website and the raw desire to create like a kid hits me like a cartoon mallet.

2) Life Series on Discovery Channel - Nothing puts me in my place as a spec on this planet like the awesome documentary footage and storytelling of "Life". Blake and I have been watching this series with wide eyes and slacked jaws on our HDTV and I can't get enough of it. We even watch a couple of the episodes with Ronan and I love when he shouts at the screen to the animals.

How are you being inspired by every day life?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review: M'Liss Rae Hawley's Scrappy Quilts

Book Review:
M'Liss Rae Hawley's Scrappy Quilts
C&T Publishing 2008

I'm new to quilting and new to a lot of the well known quilters out there.  I found out about M'Liss Rae Hawley when my mother bought a yard of her fabric at JoAnn's, it was a celtic knot fabric to go along with a nautical line that she designed.  Once I saw the fabric I noticed that she also has a number of quilting books.  I checked out "Scrappy Quilts" from the library and really loved it!  In the first chapter she talked about the basics of quilting and I was delightfully surprised to find two tips that would immediately change the way I put quilts together.  One about binding and one about sandwiching the quilt together & basting.  (that is still the hardest part for me!) 

The second thing that I liked about this book is that it featured fewer quilt patterns than the typical quilt book.  But the patterns that were featured are explained very well and then they show 3-4 other versions of the same quilt using different fabric styles and themes.  This is perfect for me.  When I see a pattern that I like it is so hard for me to picture it with different colors and especially hard to picture it with fabrics I already have in my stash. 

I recommend this book for beginners especially but I'm sure that even seasoned quilters would enjoy looking at the different varieties of quilts, and to find ways to reduce their scrap piles! 

A limited edition of this book is available on Google Books:

P.S. She was super nice when giving me permission to use her photos for this post too!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Banner Tutorial

Festive banners are all the rage on blogland lately, and I decided to make a quick and easy Irish themed banner for St. Patrick's day. This banner spells out "Sláinte" which is Irish for "Cheers". There are a lot of ways to make banners, and I liked this because it was so fast. The key is to use "Fray Check" on the fabrics to keep the edges from fraying instead of folding them over, or backing them. I don't ever intend to wash this, so I was happy with this solution.

You will need:
9 green or Irish themed fabrics (fat quarters will do)
1.5 yard ribbon
1 yard pom pom fringe
Black Felt
A computer and printer
Triangle Pattern (see below)
Fray Check

First, print out the triangle shape and cut it out. Use that to trace triangles on all of your fabrics. Cut them out. Use your bottle of Fray Check and put a small amount of the liquid on both of the long sides of the fabric (on the back side) Set aside to dry.

Choose a simple font that you like (I used Arial) and print out the letters S-L-A-I-N-T-E in a 200 point font. Print, trace, and cut the letters out of the black felt. Assemble in order to read "Sláinte" (note that there is an accent over the "a" and I just copied the dot from the letter "i" for that). Using black thread in your machine sew them onto each of the triangles. There should be one triangle at the beginning and end of the word that don't have letters on them.

Next, lay the poms along the top of all of the triangles. On top of that lay down the ribbon. Pin in place. Then you can zig zag or straight stitch along the length of the triangles and you are done!

If you click on this triangle pattern it will appear full size for you to print out:
Enjoy! Sláinte!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Looking for a Good Book to Read this St. Patrick's Day?

If so, check out "Bridget and the Magic Shoes", an adorable book that my sister Gretchen wrote and Blake illustrated. Only $8.50 at!! The official book summary is "Young Bridget helps a leprechaun out of a sticky spot and the leprechaun gives her a surprise in return!"

This book is based off of stories that my sister would tell her daughters of life in Ireland and using our Great-Grandmother Bridget McHugh (when she was a little girl) as the main character. It is so charming and I'm so proud of her for writing it!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Embroidery Projects

I've been working on some projects from Blake's new embroidery series "Monster Babies". He'll have iron on transfers up in his Etsy shop soon! Above is baby Swamp Monster (I love his water wings!), below is Baby Dracula. I'm not sure what project they will end up as, possibly a pillow or zipper bag? I'll be sure to post the final results.

*** These patterns are now available as a .pdf in Blake's shop!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Review - Irish Quilting Magazine

Irish Quilting Magazine is an import from Ireland and so it combines two great loves, Ireland & Fabric. Because it is an import it can be difficult to find, and a little pricey at $9.99. But the fact that it is quarterly and is chock full of projects makes it worth the effort. Even if you haven't a drop of Irish blood in you, this magazine offers projects that would be interesting to people of all skill levels. It includes reviews, tutorials, and pattterns you can cut out. The stories often feature a historical landmark of Ireland and the photography is charming and inspiring. I highly recommend seeking this out if you are looking for a new magazine that will take you out of your usual quilting zone.

New issues and back issues are available at, and we sometimes find the most recent issues at Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Seapup's Treasure

Can't remember if I posted this or not...

find it at my t-shirt store

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Seapup's Life

Finally got done with this!
Available at My T-shirt store.

Jewelry Making 101

For Valentine's day this year Ronán and I made bead & pasta necklaces for his Texas cousins, Mairead and Aine. One night we brought out the Sculpey clay and made some beads. It was fun, we added our own sparkles and shaped the beads into different sizes. I made sure to use the end of the shoelace-like string that we were going to use for the base so that the bead hole was big enough when they were baked. Unfortunately, the clay shrinks juuuust enough so they didn't fit on the strings any more once they were done.

Oh well. A few days later, I found some basic embroidery floss and we used that as the string for the necklaces. The necklaces turned out pretty well but in the future I will a) not use whole-wheat pasta because it doesn't look as nice. And b) use ziti pasta instead of penne. The penne's ends didn't fit well with each other, where as ziti would have blunt ends that would work more like beads.

Despite that, the necklaces were made with heaps of love and affection and I hope it came through when the girls opened up their packages. Happy Valentine's day Texas cousins!!

Roses are Red
Texas belles are blue
We think of you always
And miss you a bunch too!

Monday, February 15, 2010

One Yard Wonders II

I just found deep in my inbox that the writers of "One Yard Wonders" are putting together a follow up book! They are looking for submissions for the next volume. The submission deadline is April 1, 2010. I submitted a holiday project for their first book, but it wasn't accepted since it didn't fit in any of the categories. This time around the focus of the book is on projects made with non-cotton fabrics. Very interesting! I'll have to really think about what I could submit this time around. Congrats to Rebecca and Trish for the new book deal!!

More details on their website.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

some t-shirts done on the fly

One lazy afternoon + cheap t-shirts + Illustrator + iron on paper = a new wardrobe for Ronán.

1) Backrubasaurus Rex

2) Toddler Frankenstein's Monster getting ready to go to sleep.

3) Ronán in a helmet, getting ready for BALL! BALL!

4) In time for St. Valentine's day

eventually some of these will work their way onto my t-shirt store

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Bread

I found a great recipe for Banana Oatmeal bread that I made yesterday when I was at home with Ronan. We whipped it up together before his nap, and had delicious warm bread ready for his after-nap snack. I'm still getting used to baking with a toddler so there aren't any photos of the mixing of ingredients (too much potential for disaster there...). But here is a photo of our finished product.

The recipe can be found at a fellow Minnesotan's blog, Chez Beeper Bebe.

This bread is SO GOOD. Holly's blog post was written with suggestions on how to use over-ripe bananas or other foods that you just don't want to throw away. The day before I had thrown away 2 over-ripe bananas and felt terrible, but did not realize you could freeze them and store for later. So her post was perfect timing for me to avoid it in the future!

Holly's recipe calls for 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. I accidentally inverted those but it seems to not have any affect on the deliciousness. It also calls for 3/4 cup of oatmeal (not instant). I only had rolled oats and even though they are kind of big, they worked fine and again did not really affect the tastiness. I would definitely make this one again! (but would use the more crushed oatmeal) :-)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Art Easel Hack

We were lucky enough to inherit a wonderful wooden art easel from our neighbors. The now teenage twin girls next door clearly loved this easel and it was fun to find that it was originally made in St. Paul, MN. One side is a chalkboard and the other side is a white board as most have. Ronan made a lot of use of the chalkboard but I felt that giving even a white board marker to a toddler is asking for trouble. So, we decided to make the white board a felt board. I cut a piece of neutral colored felt a little bit larger than the size of the board. Blake unscrewed the board and then put the felt on top and screwed it back in. It works great!!

Here I took some basic shapes and added foam letters and numbers (they had adhesive backs) on top of the felt. They stick very well and then it brings another dimension into the felt designs.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Celebrating the Boy

Browsing my Google Reader on the down-low today at work... I was so excited to see that "Made By Rae" is dedicating the entire month of February to Boy related craft projects! I agree that it is a lot easier to make crafty things and clothes for girls, so I can't wait to see what tutorials and projects they come up with for boys! Weeee!