Posted on

Making Bird Feeders with Harvestmoonbyhand

My daughters and I recently made a variety of homemade feeders and seed mix for the birds. We have enjoyed watching a variety of birds eat at the feeders: nuthatches, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, downy woodpeckers, gray catbirds, house sparrows, and purple finches.

These recipes are easy and fun to make; and watching the birds provides entertainment, enjoyment, and educational value for people of all ages…especially children.

Peanut Butter Bird Seed Balls
Peanut Butter Bird Seed Balls 
before they were placed in the freezer.


2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour (use whole wheat if possible)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 cup unsalted nuts
4-5 chopped apples
1 cup raisins
1 8 oz. jar chunky peanut butter
1 cup bird seed
1 c. suet


Mix ingredients well. If necessary you can add additional suet or even bacon drippings if it is too crumbly. Shape into balls. Freeze.

These can be placed in a mesh bag and hung outside on a tree limb for the birds to enjoy. Otherwise, do as we did: place them on top of birdseed in an open feeder.

Popcorn Bird Treat

Popcorn Bird Treat before was placed in mesh bags.

Peanut Butter
7 cups popcorn (no salt or butter)
Blanched peanuts, Craisens, raisins, and/or dried blueberries
Egg shells
Cracked corn
Black oil sunflower seed


Mix all together and put in a mesh bag. Hang in the tree for the birds to enjoy.

Hanging the feeder filled with popcorn, fruit, and 
other goodies for the birds.
Suet and Meal Worm Log Feeder

Log – about 2 feet long that is dry
Eye screw
Drill with various size drill bits
Dried meal worms
Twine or heavy yarn

Place eye screw in one end of the log. Using a drill and various size drill bits, place many holes in the log that are about 1/2 deep.

Drilling holes in the log.

Fill with suet and dried meal worms.

Placing suet in one of the holes.

Put twine or heavy yarn through the eye screw and hang onto a tree branch. Make sure the branch is thick enough to support the feeder.

Two birds at the feeders.

As a side note, within one minute of coming indoors from hanging the log feeder in the tree, a black-capped chickadee found it. From that point on, there were many bird visitors of different types (mostly chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers).

Ann Rinkenberger is the owner of Harvest Moon by Hand that offers natural, hand-embroidered and needle-felted toys; Waldorf-inspired window stars; and homeschool supplies. 

To see other hands-on projects, tutorials, recipes, and homeschool ideas, please visit Harvest Moon by Hand’s blog. Harvest Moon by Hand also can be found on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Window stars available through Harvest Moon by Hand.

Posted on

Weekend Tradition

Our family lives far far away from our relatives.  While we live as expats in Kenya, the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all live in the Netherlands, Germany or the USA.

Our kids are growing up in a mix of Dutch, German and host culture traditions and customs and they have been third-culture children their entire life.  We have five different countries of birth among the six of us and four different nationalities (our latest addition is still in process and you can read more about it here)

Since we are so far away from our families, my husband and I feel the need to create a lot of family traditions and ground the children in their various cultural backgrounds.  One of our traditions is a nice weekend breakfast!  It’s an activity that involves the entire family in the preparation.  Our current favourites are either thin pancakes, from a Dutch recipe that our nine-year old has down to a science, or German waffles!  The latter involves a lot more adult assistance and supervision, but the results meet an exciting crowd each time.


Our waffle iron is the exact same waffle iron that my husband had waffles from when he grew up in Germany.  My dear mother-in-law brought it over to Kenya at one point in time as she saw it to be more useful here in Kenya, than it would be in Germany between her and my father-in-law.  Boy, was she right and her grand-kids have been very grateful for that!  The 70’s waffle iron gets pulled out on a regular basis and we enjoy the German waffles!

Do you feel inspired to make waffles sometimes?  Then try this lovely recipe for some yummy waffles!  It was originally from a German Cookbook, but has been altered (or perfected?) to suit our family’s taste!

  • 125 g softened butter
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence)
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 g flour
  • 375 ml buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. First split the eggs (egg whites in one bowl, egg yolks into another small bowl).  Add the salt to the egg whites and beat them until they are stiff.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator.
  2. Mix the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar until creamy
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter mixture and beat until creamy
  4. Slowly add the flour and buttermilk to the butter mixture until all are incorporated
  5. Carefully fold the stiffened egg whites under the dough

Preheat the waffle iron and put about 3 table spoons of dough into the iron for yummy waffles!

Delicious with powdered sugar / lemon juice and sugar / maple syrup / honey!


Posted on

The Wonder and Why of the Willodel Shop

I love any opportunity to reach out to all the wonderful people who share common ideals of embracing what is best for our children, our homes and the planet.  And in the very heart of this matter,  is what my work and the Willodel shop is all about. All my life I have been passionate about the natural world, about art, about self-sufficiency, about creativity and original thought.  What began as “play” as a child when  I asked to build things out of wood and was given my grandfather’s old woodworking hand tools, turned into a life long journey and “work” that helped me raise a family and support myself all along the way. I was also given encouragement and freedom to make art and sew. This kind of path and journey is one that I think all children should have the opportunity to explore, to find things they love doing and that they develop into life long passions.  This is a primary reason that on my blogs I regularly create tutorials for families to learn new things and learn from what I have learned.  I hope to make more learning materials in my shop as well.

This is a learning set of the metamorphosis life cycle. It includes all the stages of the moth, a pouch to put them in and wooden branch hook to hang it  on. Also an information sheet.
This is a learning set of the metamorphosis life cycle. It includes all the stages of the moth, a pouch to put them in and wooden branch hook to hang it on. Also an information sheet.
This piece is made from hand gathered, windfall aspen and hand milled cedar. It is sealed with beeswax and natural oils.
This piece is made from hand gathered, windfall aspen and hand milled cedar. It is sealed with beeswax and natural oils.

I have found that if children are encouraged to develop their natural inclinations through their play, they develop a “can do “ attitude towards life and also take pride in their accomplishments. I think this is just as important for adults, to find creative processes which give them that sense of accomplishment and fulfillment .  I encourage this activity through my blog tutorials.

Wonderful "dishes" can readily be made with handtools out of seed pods such as acorn caps and gum nuts. This is a lovely adventure of gathering, making and using!
Wonderful “dishes” can readily be made with handtools out of seed pods such as acorn caps and gum nuts. This is a lovely adventure of gathering, making and using!


Developing the yard for natural habitat and making it a wondrous play space that children can help with is delightful!
Developing the yard for natural habitat and making it a wondrous play space that children can help with is delightful!

In the Willodel shop you find ususual things, made to inspire, to delight and to learn from and with.  They embody the spirit and beauty of Nature, whimsy to stir the imagination and provoke creative play. They also invite  making things to go with the pieces themselves.  The materials, natural wood and bent twigs, hand made felt and wool naturally dyed wool, lovely artwork and wee folk, create a stage upon which stories and adventure can come to life. Everything you find in my shop are things that I love and have a great desire to share and inspire more of it’s kind.  The colors, the textures and the feel of it all is very important. It is as unique as the each of our souls are unique and as different as the individual story we each have to tell.

The Gypsy Wagon! Stirring romantic notions in us all! The Elves, the Wrens, the Gnomes~ they all want to come!
The Gypsy Wagon! Stirring romantic notions in us all! The Elves, the Wrens, the Gnomes~ they all want to come!

The wonderful people that I have met through my work enriches my life every way. Their joy and thoughts forever inspire and provoke me to make and share more!  Without them this work would not be the same. The interaction with the families that receive my pieces is part of the larger picture of the whole process. It is the great vision of the beautiful network of people embracing similar values and desires , very much strengthening the belief that what is truly good is still very safe in the hearts of many.  This contact inspires more and greater creations, just as each time a piece of my work travels to a new and loving home and spreads happiness and joy, it is a completion of a circle.  This, of course, confirms that I am doing exactly the right thing!  Thank you all and keep busy with all the wonderful things you aspire to do!

I am a great believer in the "play mat". I think it creates a  special space and place for the stirring of the imagination and ones own creative ideas. It also is an opportunity to work with wool and felt, which I love just as much as wood.
I am a great believer in the “play mat”. I think it creates a special space and place for the stirring of the imagination and ones own creative ideas. It also is an opportunity to work with wool and felt, which I love just as much as wood.
This is a project I am working on now, with home dyed natural felt, the inspiration being wild peony flowers, which are felted on the sides and the roof.
This is a project I am working on now, with home dyed natural felt, the inspiration being wild peony flowers, which are felted on the sides and the roof.


The Fairy Garden is our Summer project. It was started in a large rectangular cement mixing tub, so it can theoretically be moved in winter. Adding details  such as a creek and a pond and many small things will be endless fun!
The Fairy Garden is our Summer project. It was started in a large rectangular cement mixing tub, so it can theoretically be moved in winter. Adding details such as a creek and a pond and many small things will be endless fun!

For more inspiration and information, please follow these links and thank you so much!

Posted on

Introduction to Outside Everywhere

We’re still fairly new members here in the Natural Kids Team, so I thought I would start off with a little introduction to our family and our shop.

I’m Allison – the designer and one of the makers here at Outside Everywhere. Daniel, my partner, is the wood-cutter and sander. Our nearly 7 year old son, Eden, gives us ideas for toys to make, and sometimes he helps paint toys as well.


Our home is in Asheville, North Carolina. We feel so blessed to live in such a beautiful place surrounded by absolutely breath-taking mountain views in every direction.  I stay home with Eden,and this year we’ve begun homeschooling. We’re having a great time figuring it all out. Daniel works during the days at a local natural foods store. In the afternoons, we are most often found in our backyard outside of our home studio. We spread out blankets, have picnics, sand toys, and take breaks to play with our dogs.

We consider our pets members of our family, so I just had to include them here…and plus, they’re really cute!
We have 3 dogs: Mason, India, and Gemma. We also have 2 cats, Beatrix and Poki.


Here are a few fun little things about us:
I love: cats (I’ve been obsessed since age 5), succulents, and I collect vintage pyrex dishes.
I do not love: onions, snakes with triangle heads, hot hot weather.

Eden loves: cats (he is his mama’s son, for sure!), bird-watching, and nature hikes.
Eden does not love: getting water up his nose, growling dogs, and brushing his hair.

Daniel loves: Harry Potter, reading books about religion, and birds.
Daniel does not love: being cold, impatient drivers, and cheap beer.

For the past few years we have been very fortunate to have an opportunity to take a vacation at the coast with my best friends. We all live so spread apart (Portland, Oregon; Columbus, Ohio; Charleston, South Carolina; and us here in Asheville, NC) that this trip is often the one time a year that we get to see each other. It’s so, so wonderful to be able to be with my closest friends and their families for an entire week. This year I got to meet the new daughter of one of my friends, as well as see another friend’s daughter I haven’t seen since she was 6 months old.




In thinking about our upcoming trip, we were inspired to make a few beach-related animals.

This great white shark is one of them:


We spent our vacation in Folly Beach, which is a turtle nesting site. Here’s our sweet little turtle:


And how could we resist making an animal as adorable as the manatee:


We came home with some new toy ideas -they will be in our shop soon!

You can find our shop, Outside Everywhere here
You can keep up-to-date on our shop stuff on our facebook page here
And here is our very new, still in progress blog here

Posted on

A Pony for Sara

We have a new pony! It’s a long story how I found him, but this pony needed a new home. I didn’t know how badly, until he got here. His hooves have possibly never been trimmed (our horses get their hooves trimmed every 2 months). Underweight, although not drastic. Still a stallion (never neutered). Shedding in weird patches.But the biggest thing wrong: Terrified. Scared to death. Literally shakes all over. Runs away. Cannot catch him. Abused.

winslow terrified

This is Winslow, day one.

So, got his hooves trimmed. My blacksmith was so kind and patient. Spent a week working with him everyday, several times a day. Very hard to catch him. Usually takes two people – have to corner him. Left his lead line on him, so when you get close can either grab or stand on the lead line. Once caught, his terror is blatant.

winslow just got gelded
Then he got gelded (neutered). This is major surgery. The vet was awesome. My friend Elaine, who came to lend moral support, fainted in the stall. 🙂

Winslow eating grass

This is Winslow, no longer a stallion. Very wary of me. Now he must be exercised twice a day, to help his incision heal. At first I thought, how will this ever work? But, bit by bit, he got a tiny bit easier to catch. And lead. It was a great day, when he would trust me enough to put his head down and eat grass (instead of watching me constantly in fear). The bonding and trust between us has grown. I bring sweet feed with me to his stall, and he will usually come to me, although not always – sometimes it is as if his fear was never even slightly abated. I exercise him every day. We go on walks. I’m teaching him that it is ok for him to be brushed, and washed with a hose. I now have him in a stall next to my “big” horses, and Belle (my mustang mare) has fallen in love with Winslow.
He’s still scared, but not as bad., usually.

Winslow yesterday

He is so adorable, and so sweet. Not an aggressive bone in his little body; just wants love. I try to imagine a day when his fear is gone.

custom earth ponies 003
My love of horses began for me at age 2. It gives me such pleasure to knit little horses. I call them Earth Ponies, and you can request them in practically any color of the rainbow.

Woolies Unicorn
Earth Ponies at Woolies on Etsy!

Thank you for reading about me and Winslow!

Woolies Shop
Buster N Boo Shop

Posted on

BirchLeaf Designs a Farm

Playsilks and Swords and Shields, OH MY! We recently came across a photo of a boy who was not afraid to play. His imagination was wondrous!

Boy who was not afraid to play.
Boy who was not afraid to play.

Wondrous and amazing…very much like this mosaic shield. Made from a blank shield from our shop and then sold at an auction to help raise funds for the Portland Waldorf School in Portland, Oregon.

Mosiac Shield. Photo courtesy Portland Waldorf School.
Mosiac Shield. Photo courtesy Portland Waldorf School.

The mosaic shield reminds me so much of our life…with the family in the center, the heart, the hearth, the fiery life-force. Then, branching off of the heart center are our many activities in which we are involved. Each day is filled with a bit of this and a bit of that…from eating healthy foods, to homeschooling, to farming, to making toys. These past few weeks have found us in the woods. Many blessings are upon us!

Maple Sap is flowing!

Pro Maple sap taster!
Pro Maple sap taster, Kiah.

Little baby chicks are healthy and here!

Baby chicks are a'peepin'.
Baby chicks are a’peepin’.

And little lambs have arrived!

Meet Patience.
Meet Patience.
Kiah and her lamb, Patience.
Kiah and her lamb, Patience.
Milo and his lamb, Temperance.
Milo and his lamb, Temperance.

It only gets livelier from here on out! Garden starts are ready to be planted. Piggies are due to arrive April 20th and bees shortly thereafter. Festivals and art shows are in the not so distant future…which brings us back to our shop…BirchLeaf Designs…Playsilks and Swords and Shields, OH MY…

Wendy, Mojo and their 2 children, Kiah and Milo live, homeschool, farm, and make toys off the grid near Marquette, Michigan. Please visit their shops at and

Posted on

Natural Easter Egg Dying

Easter egg dying is a fun Easter tradition! The weeks leading up to Easter are pretty hectic around our home with getting Armadillo Dreams orders shipped in time for Easter delivery. We always make sure we still have time to enjoy some fun activities with our kids on Easter weekend. This past weekend we did some egg dying and had a great time!


We really wanted our egg dying to be a little more natural and safe this year. We were excited when we found Eco-Eggs egg dying kits! They are made using natural plant, fruit and vegetable extracts. The kit comes with three dyes that can be mixed to achieve 6 different colors, a color/time chart, a wire egg dipper and a piece of wax. The kit is also packaged in super cute and recyclable packaging.

April12013 011

Knowing that the eggs would be safe to eat even if any dye seeped in through the pores in the eggs was a great feeling. Did you know that a single egg shell is covered with as many as 17,000 microscopic pores? Egg shells are a “semipermeable membrane”, which means that air and moisture can pass through its pores.

April12013 010

First we hard boiled 2 dozen eggs. Then we put the dyes into three cups filled with just enough water to fully submerge an egg. Next we used the piece of wax that was included in the kit to write/draw some fun things on the eggs. Next we dyed all of the eggs six different colors. To get the different colors some eggs had to be in the cups for up to fifteen minutes, some for just a few seconds. A few of the colors required putting an egg in one cup and then a second cup to mix the colors. The eggs turned out really neat and looked a lot more earthy than a lot of the very brightly colored eggs I remembered as a kid. They looked a lot more appetizing since they weren’t all screaming in neon! The wax writing on the eggs really showed well.

April12013 027

Lucy and Lincoln had a lot of fun hunting for the Eggs…

April12013 067
April12013 046

We hope everyone had a great Easter! We had a wonderful Easter and we will be doing natural egg dying again next year for sure! Has anyone else ever used natural egg dyes before? We would love to hear about your experiences with them!

– The Cowell Family (Dustin, Amanda, Lucy and Lincoln)

You can also read more about our family on our blog, Wild Armadillos.

Posted on

~ It’s time for a new spring/summer wardrobe !!!

I don’t know if you are like me, but every time spring is near I’m anxious to go to my wardrobe and start wearing my little dress and skirt again ! Not to mention that I love to go shopping for a couple of new sets…I don’t know why but it’s not the same for fall…do you feel the same !? Spring is really a  ”blooming” season, you want everything to look fresh, clean…all new !!  Also it’s that time of the year we, as parents, need to find new clothes for our children…omg they grow so fast ! I think my daughter gained 2 inches more this winter !?? She is going to turn 12 soon, and shopping for her is now a bit of a headhache. She’s not an adult yet, but children’s clothing don’t fit her anymore…boy oh boy..I have to be really creative to find something decent for her ah!ah!

Sometimes I kind of miss the time when she was younger, to dress her up in little colored shorts and skirt sets, with bows and frills…you know what I mean !? I used to work as a fashion designer for children and I’ve always loved clothing…to mix and match them and not to mention to design them. I just loOoove designing clothes…sketching, drawing… it’s another passion of mine!

I’m now the creator behind FeeVertelaine, handmade natural toys and dolls. Lately I did offer myself a treat ! I started a project that I’ve been dreaming about for many years now…Creating my own paper doll !! As a little girl, paper dolls were one of my ABSOLUTE favorite things to play with! So I took my pencil away from the cobwebs, and started to draw Emilÿ…it so reminded me of my time in fashion school. I also loOove watercolor,  so I told myself why not do the coloring this way…so I did ! Every little step of the creation of this project was a pure delight for me.

IMG_5721 crop


IMG_5727 crop

After many months of sketching, coloring, editing…she finally came to life. This was pure joy for  my daughter, who was my assigned tester 😉 She and her friend had such a great time playing.. humm sorry testing…all the new spring/summer wardrobe that Emilÿ comes with. It was so sweet to watch them mixing and matching everything together…4 hands on one doll is a true test !! So I knew she was ready for the world to meet her !

IMG_5794 crop

My heart is filled with excitment to introduce her to you today…Emilÿ my first paper doll…all ready for spring with her new wardrobe !! Enjoy !!!

IMG_5914 crop

You can find her here in my Etsy shop.


This lavender dress reminds me of a dress that I sewed recently for one of my winter fairy dolls…a last glimpse of winter just before spring shows up  at our door !

IMG_5987 crop

If you wish to see and read more about my creative process, I invite you to visit my Facebook page where I add pictures of my everyday work and things I cherish…. I will soon offer Emilÿ as a giveaway…keep an eye open !!

Happy spring !!

Warm regards,

~Julie xo

Posted on

A day at the office, 3 parts //mosey handmade, morning glory garden & mama

merry spring//bread day
merry spring//bread day


We have an early start to our day around here…

early light//sleepy heads
early light//sleepy heads
PicMonkey Collage9

The littles wake with the sun, and there is work to be done. We have a little school in our house! This means many things, like bread day, soup day and rice day. All with their own set of recipes and each with their very own song.
we chippity chop, we kneed the dough and stir that rice pot.

table set//bunny hop
table set//bunny hop

Our school follows the rhythm of a Waldorf kindergarten and that means that as much as we work we also play!
There are carts of wool to be sorted, towers to be built, train rides to take and even some traveling to far away lands, like Boston!

polishing day//birthday
polishing day//birthday

We have a full day here in this house, me with my youngest on my back and my oldest playing about with her friends.
And at the end of that day a new day begins, one of snuggles and books read, one where usually my two little children curl up and fall fast asleep and then my life as a crafter and blogger begins. i have joked many times that my bed is my desk and in many ways it is. My children all nested in and my computer perched on the edge, me sitting Indian style on the floor rearranging my etsy shop or writing a blog post.

my littlest//bed as a desk
my littlest//bed as a desk

This is how we live and work. This is how I help support my family and stay centered, this is also in many ways my “me” time. My time to step away for a minute as wife and mother, and work at my craft. Then I suppose in someways isn’t it all a *mother’s craft*? The toast cut just right in the morning, the outfits for the children laid out and ready, the songs we sing and the way we apply ice pack after a fall and kisses after a scuffle. The way we write our to do list and check it off and gently add to it all day long.

setting the table//fancy slippers
setting the table//fancy slippers

that’s the thing about being a mother, it doesn’t have an ending. there is no closed sign to be turned over, and the lights may go out but we are always open for business.
and in a world that tries to put a name on what a wife and mother should be i say we are all crafters, lovingly eeking out what it means to us to be a family, and i hope a beautiful one at that.

You can read more about our days here:
See our little school here:

See what we sew and create at our etsy shop:

Follow us on instagram to see all the amazing dinners my husband cooks me! #morningglorywaldorfschool




Posted on

My Enchanted Life

As the weather gets warmer my days get busier so I need meals to be simple. I run a full time business, The Enchanted Cupboard, while running my household and homeschooling 4 children. I need to keep our meals healthy and nutrition filled! I love this recipe because it is what I make with the last 2 chicken breast when I am doing big batch cooking and it is packed full of yummy veggies. Dicing up the veggies and adding it to chicken salad is a great way to boast your kids diet with lots of color that are full of antioxidants! I serve this for lunch on whole wheat bread and a cup fruit salad. You could easily make this low carb. and gluten free by serving it on big lettuce leaves like a wrap! If you like this easy recipe and want more come checkout my own blog and see what is cooking in my kitchen.

Mama’s Chicken Salad


2 skinless boneless precooked chicken, diced
2 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 med. size onion dice
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow or orange pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste


In a mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, veggies and herbs. Set aside.
Add mayo and mix gently until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



On my work table I often have much smaller versions of play food just right for Waldorf Style dolls. I work with wood and paper clay to make play food.


This sweet little set is made of wood and is just right for doll house dolls. I so enjoy creating for this miniature world of childhood play. Come on over to the Nature Table and see what is cooking at the Acorn Cafe.


The Acorn Cafe


On the first day of Spring the world was a buzz of activity at the Acorn Cafe.


Everyone was enjoying the wonderful food made by Miss Dandelion.


Grandpa was having his favorite tomato sandwich.


A few fairies stopped in for tea and sweets.


Four forest friends enjoyed an after noon treat.


All were happy on this bright spring day.

Items on the Nature Table:

Wooden toys, playsilks, and dolls can be found at The Enchanted Cupboard.

Felt Woodland Friends can be found at Muddyfeet.

Acorn Cafe  and table & chairs were created by Willodel.