Bouncy Bunny Pattern Give-Away!

I'm excited to announce that  many of my old patterns will be coming back to my shop, and some new ones, too! I'll be adding a few each week this summer, including some old favorites like Smile Crocodile and George and the Dragon Flip Doll, as well as some new loves like the Bright Ideas Computer and Bird on My Shoulder. I'll also have 7 limited time give-aways this summer starting today! As always, the best way to find out about those is to subscribe to this blog by email or whatever feed reader you use. (I don't do mass emails, and I don't blog that much - so that's the best I can do!)

So what's up first? This week Smile Crocodile is returning to the shop with new friends Elephant Parade and Cat and Fish Turnover. Plus, Bouncy Bunny has been added to the shop, but you can get her free this week (June 1-7, 2017) RIGHT HERE. These bunnies are some of my kids' favorites because they are so fun to bounce. Their legs stretch out long when they jump, and those haunches are easier to make than they look!

Bouncy Bunny has long floppy legs, filled with pellets
and an elastic string to help her bounce.

Elephant Parade is a set of 6 Elephants that hook together to form a parade!
Play barrel of elephants, form a circle or use them as a bunting!

This pattern comes in two sizes, and is super fun in lots of colors.

Cat and Fish Turnover is an optical illusion in a plush.
A goldfish on one side, and a pretty kitty on the other. 

The great news is that the regular patterns will be only $5 and flip dolls will be $7 in the shop, so stay tuned!


Orthodox Liturgy Quiet Books

Ancient Faith is still stocking the Liturgy play mats and the printable pattern, but I also made 7 Quiet Books with some of the same elements for my Etsy shop. They don't have quite as many features as the play mat, but the do include real coins, jingle bells, and sticks dipped in real beeswax for the candles. They are for sale on Etsy.

Now that these are all finished, I'm packing up my sewing machine for awhile to focus on painting! I have a solo exhibit this fall - so many of my paintings have been removed from Etsy to be included in the show along with a whole lot of new work. So, expect to see about 30 new paintings in the shop in November!

Orthodox Liturgy Quiet Books

Ring the bell, drop in pennies in the money box.

"Light" a candle and place flowers by the icons.

Swing the censer, peek in the royal doors...

...to see the Bread and Wine.

Read the Gospel book!


Orthodox Liturgy Play Mat Pattern

I haven't been doing much pattern design in recent years, but our newest little one inspired a little project this past Lent. The Orthodox Liturgy Play Mat is kind of like a quiet book for use at home or church. It is available to purchase through Ancient Faith. (If you're new to my blog, you can find my other sewing patterns here, and my Orthodox educational printables here.)

The Liturgy Play Mat includes 12 ways kids can touch and participate in the Liturgy. Children can ring the church bell, feel the sun, and find a bunny hiding in the grass on their way to church. Inside they can drop coins in the money box, light candles, and place flowers by the icons. An angel flies above as we read the Gospel. Help the little girl bow her head as Father censes the church. Open the royal doors to see the Holy Gifts, and receive antidoron from the bowl. Use this play mat to teach children at home about what they’ll see at church, or tuck it in your bag to occupy little ones during long services. Either way, this is a fun way to introduce children to the real ways we participate at church.

The pictures below are from the initial mat made for my daughter, but the pattern and mats for sale on Ancient Faith have been cleaned up a bit. :)


Painting Sale - 40% off!

I'm cleaning house and saving money for a summer workshop. On Etsy, use the coupon code: WORKSHOP to get 40% off until Easter. Thanks for your support!



Hi friends! Hope you're doing well during this beautiful season.
I've put some of my paintings on Etsy. You can also purchase prints here.


Goodnight Jesus!

pom pom balls in a can

I've returned to the how-do-I-manage-my-crazy-toddler-in-church?! stage of life. I haven't been here for awhile, and, although I think I'm more patient this time around, I had forgotten how hard 18 months old can be. I hold her while we sing and carry her around to see the icons, and when she gets restless I keep her quiet with this little can of pom poms. She's really into books lately, so recently I tucked some of her favorites in my bag, ...but later, when she wouldn't stop moooooing, I regretted bringing Mr. Brown Can Moo to liturgy.

So, I was super-excited to see the new Orthodox board book from AFP, Goodnight Jesus, and really grateful to receive a copy to review. Of course, AFP has tons of great kids books, and we usually bring a couple to church for the big kids - but there aren't a lot of options for this little age.* Like Mr. Brown, the best books for kids at this age are repetitive with a nice cadence, and give the little ones a way to respond. While Mr. Brown's sound effects weren't so appropriate for liturgy, the kissing encouraged by Goodnight Jesus will fit right in.

She snuggled in to read the book with me right away, immediately pointing and saying, "Zeezus!"in her sweet baby way. The pages are nice and sturdy, and I think that makes turning them more fun for littles. The little poem leads you through a list of people to kiss goodnight, starting with Christ and Mary, then saints from the Bible like John the Baptist and the myrrh-bearing women. We also kiss a gospel book and cross, then all the members of our family and a picture of those far away.

This is my first Orthodox-baby, and I've enjoyed seeing how quickly she learned to kiss the icons. She still kisses them more consistently than she kisses me! This book nicely ties together our love for Christ, with our love for the saints, the scriptures, our family, pets and dolls. The act of kissing is such a simple way to teach our children about love and tenderness and reverence, and the participatory nature of our faith. 

My big kids enjoyed the book, too! The oldest especially loved the picture of Christ just about to break open the gates of Hades; and the other laughed and laughed at the fish blowing a kiss. We all love the illustrations - which are bright and beautifully done. So it seems there is something in it for everyone, and I think we'll all enjoy taking turns to read it to baby.

The book is uniquely Orthodox because, of course, we like to kiss both people and things (like icons and the Gospel book). Still, its also simple enough that I think Christians of other traditions who can appreciate kissing will enjoy it, too. I'm thrilled to have such nice books for our kids! Be sure to check it out at Ancient Faith Publishing.

*We also love What Do You See at Liturgy, the only other Orthodox board book I've seen, and perfect for toddlers, too!
**Cross-posted from Many Mercies



It has been a while since I have posted anything. It seems now that we're deep into homeschooling, I have less time for blogging (or craft tutorials). Here's a quick peek at our school year so far!

First day of school, jumping right in!

Learning about mosaics via bean art.

Field trips to see local art shows at the Ned. 

And bigger field trips to see the Matisse retrospective at OKMOA!

Enjoying Dale Chihuly at OKMOA, too. :)

Blessing of the students for the new year at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church.

Winning at the State Fair for bean art!

And blue ribbons for blue haired mermaids! Nothing like external validation!

Diagramming sentences with the Sentence Family.
(Seriously, the girls beg to do this grammar program.)

Finishing our read aloud, The Cricket in Time Square, with cricket crafts.
We made paper cricket cages and pipe cleaner crickets. We didn't have a pattern for either, so they're a little messy.  

More trips to the Ned!

Minecraft Legos bought with State Fair winnings!
Simple cubby dividers to cut out distractions during quiet work time. I can't find the link where I originally found this idea, but its pretty simple. I bought one display board, and cut it in half horizontally to make two cubbies. We're seeing what works for now, and adding as we go. Right now, each girl has a handwriting chart, and a math chart (relevant to her grade). They also have little flags attached with brads which they raise to quietly ask for help or let me know they're finished. Maybe eventually we'll paint?
We love the dividers, although distractions continue.

That's all for now. How's your school year going?


When God Made You (a book review)

I like to include books in our Easter baskets each year, and this year I found one so lovely I bought it for my godchildren, too! I love a book that puts beautiful illustrations and poetic images in children's hands, and even better, this book challenges them to think poetically, too. When God Made You is a delight. We don't celebrate Easter until later this year (see why here), so I'm still waiting to share it with my kids, and I can hardly wait!

Each page introduces a new child from a different culture and with different gifts. It goes on to explain the unique recipe for each child: seeds, fizzy candy, drum beats and wood. My oldest daughter loves drawing connections to metaphors, so I believe she will like thinking about how these "ingredients" work together to make each child's unique skills and strengths. The book ends by asking, "What beautiful things was God thinking when He made you?" I expect we will have silly and serious conversations about what beautiful things in our world might make up each of us.

The book clearly presents God as the maker of people (and beauty!), but doesn't go much farther to explain God. This has the lovely affect of encouraging children to see God through his creation, and leaves the door open for you to discuss your faith in the way you choose.

The illustrations initially look like fanciful watercolors, but the more you look, you can see illustrator Megan Elizabeth Gilbert included collage elements as well. The pictures are full of new things to find with each reading.

The author Jane Meyer encourages children to write or draw their own page for "When God Made You," and send it to her! Here are some instructions I put together to get my kids started, with my own little entry below. I'll have to share later when the kids do their own.
1. What do you do really well? (an action, e.g. painting)
2. What do you like about that? (looking, color, being playful)
3. What kinds of things help you do it? (brushes, pigments, flowers, icons)
4. Where do you live, and where do you do your action? (Tennessee, upstairs)
5. Write your explanation of what God was thinking when He made you!
6. Draw a scene of you doing your thing in your place. Be sure to show what is unique about where you live, and include the elements that you like and that help you. Hide some of these elements here and there so people don't see them all at first (because isn't that how God hides things in us?).
When God made Laura, he spattered her cheeks with copper and tickled her fingers with foxgloves. Then he gently opened her eyes and brushed her lashes with sunlight and clay and gold leaf. Stepping aside and pointing, God said, "Laura, paint!"

*This book review contains affiliate links, but I bought the book and reviewed it out of my own delight!