Monday, January 16, 2012

Progress and Completion

I am officially done with my Valentines Day craft swap (not pictured yet are the candies I will pick up at the store on my way to to the post office)! I really enjoyed dreaming up this little gnome set, wet felted heart ornaments, and sachet. I am slowly realizing that crafting gnomes and embroidering are coming more and more easily to me, which is good and validating. I also find that the artistic/crafty medium of wooden pegs and felt have endless possibilities once you have a basic method down. So all in all, I can't really take full credit for the gnome peg people and sleeping bags I make, since they were all inspired by Wee Folk Art's tutorials. The designs at this point are my own, however this really isn't about artistic integrity for me, since I make these for my children and friends as gifts. I want to keep it that way too. But I also want to give credit where credit is due! 

Deirdre helped me wet felt the purple heart ornament. She was very proud of it and is even more excited to send it to our swap partner in New Zealand. I pulled up photos on the computer for her and map. She concurred that  New Zealand  is beautiful but far away from us. I find that to be one of the really neat things about blogging though. I am making connections with people, different yet like minded at the same time, worldwide. It helps me feel not quite so alone in my homeschooling and Waldorf journey. Plus it's the next best thing to travelling (which Craig and I fully intend on doing again since we'll barely be in our forties when our kids are grown). Don't get me wrong, we totally plan on travelling some with our children as well but I am still looking for my money tree to make that happen ;) Let's hope I can still speak a few of the languages I studied by the time I find it! 

Enjoy the photos and feel free to use them to craft your own little Valentine sets. I will post a tutorial later on to explain how we wet felted the hearts as well as a spool table and spool mushroom tutorial. I realized that I did not give directions on how to make your own! Opps!

Until then, Happy Monday! (And enjoy some photos of the littles!) 

Yes they do help me cut them and it is helpful. Deirdre did one whole by herself (with a butter knife). Jonas tried really hard but ended up eating the raw potato more than cutting it. 

Homemade pound cake- yum! The kids helped with this too. They're great egg crackers. 

We are slowly replacing TV time with planned nightly activities. We started again to watch more TV when I was very ill with hypermesis. So far it is working. They also totally clean up after themselves collectively. I am very proud.

For the Kids Friday

Friday, January 13, 2012

{this moment}

A Friday ritual birthed by Soulemama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some of our day... (and a yarn along)

The lavender sachet and valentine gnome sleeping bag for Natural Suburbia's swap. I'm not done yet but these are a start! I got the idea of the sachet from my friend Stephanie from church. Thank you! 

A doll cardigan for Valentine's day that I am beginning today. I hope my pattern turns out well! For my next yarn along I plan of actually reading something else besides my own pattern as well ;) 

Deirdre's, my 4 year old, sky scarf. She is getting so good. I am proud at her effort.

Deirdre and I are joining in with Ginny again today for a Yarn Along over at her blog, Small Things. You should join in too! She is reading one of my favorite books, Organized Simplicity. You should check it out. It was a game changer for me. 

Well it has been a few days, hasn't it? Thankfully both my children have kicked their colds.  I love it when they have their first uphill day. I miss their laughs and happy spirits when they're sick. I think they miss them too! 

This week we also began our new Winter circulum. My co-op partner and I spent the month to December creating our own curriculum to follow Advent, St. Nicholas, St. Lucia, Christmas, and Epiphany. It also allowed us to take a break without feeling guilty because we paid for 4 weeks of material and used maybe 2. This past Autumn we used Little Acorn for all three months and I liked it a lot. There was a lot of material in their package, so much so that I can use it next year and cover stories and crafts we just never got to- and trust me we did a lot! 

So for Winter and Spring we are trying a new circulum out from Wee Folk Art. Best of all it is free and a perfect mix of Waldorf for us. I plan on adding to it as I see fit for my kids and where they are at. I have lots of extra Waldorf resources and enrichment guides that I have gotten through Earthschooling and Little Acorn. That is the beauty of homeschooling for me. Through my education I have been given the tools to effectively teach my children and understand on a deep level where they are at developmentally. That peace gives me more freedom to add and subtract where I see fit, without second guessing myself. I feel immensely blessed to be able to teach them and to have found Waldorf education. If I had not, I think I would feel very lost or torn when it came to their schooling (which really at this point, since it is the preschool years, is not serious at all- as it should be). 

I really feel like a giddy child myself too when it comes to new material. I get really excited about the lessons plans and the upcoming days we will have with each other. I guess that is how it should be? 

At any rate, we are chugging right along. The new ciricuum went off well this week so far and the kids are having fun. I am enjoying watching Deirdre learn to knit and Jonas how to draw and paint. His forms are so cute and purposeful. 

In Nicole news, I submitted my article proposal for the Spring edition of Rhythm of the Home magazine. They accepted it, so now the writing and creating begins. If all goes well this will be my 3rd article with them. I feel so humbled and excited to share a bit of our world with others. I will be cmbing crafting, reading, and teaching in this article. My three great loves, not to mention the book I will be discussing is The Story of the Root Children! I love connecting with new and different people. I also am almost done with my craft swap for Valentines day. Deirdre and I even wet felted some heart ornaments today!  I can't wait to share all that we made. I hope my partner enjoys it! 

Until then!

Daily Quote or Verse:

Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
-Psalm 119:111

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Snow Child and Poppy (plus a tutorial!)

Both my little ones have been sick with a nasty bout of the common cold. Jonas was the first to get it, in conjunction with getting his two year molars, then Deirdre. Together they make one pathetic pair between their banshee like coughs and runny noses. However both seem to be in fine spirits, just very tired- as they should be! 

Needless to say it could be worse. I hate seeing them sick but at least they are allowing me to comfort them. Thus enters the little above Snow Child and Poppy. 

Every once in awhile I order something and stow it away, for a rainy day or a special event, to give to the kids later. I bought this book about a month ago and wanted to save it for after Christmas.

So during the kids' extra long nap, I sat down and whipped up a peg Snow Child and Poppy to go with the book. I knew the kids would appreciate it and since they felt so awful, I hoped it would cheer them up. Well, it worked! 

Right now Deirdre is sleeping with Poppy and Jonas with the Snow Child. Reading the book while holding their new friends warmed my heart. If you don't already have a copy of the the Snow Children, then I would encourage you to get one. Right now they are only $12.21 from Amazon (which is pretty good since the large hardback version is usually $20). 

Making the peg dolls were pretty simple. I use large peg dolls from Michael's and they seem to work best for little ones. However my directions are general enough that you should be able to use any size peg person to make these. You just need to use you peg person to measure the felt pieces that you're going to cut out. 

To make The Snow Child and Poppy peg person:

1. Cut one small white Snow Child and one small red Poppy felt rectangle (large enough to wrap around the body of your peg people).

2. Hot glue both the body wrappings in place to their respective peg person. 

3. Cut another rectangle in both Snow Child white and Poppy red, three times as large as the previous piece. 
(To check that you sized it right- try wrapping the piece around the peg head. If the piece totally covers the head and hangs mid way down the peg body- then you got the size right.)

4. Thread some light blue embroidery floss for the Snow Child and blanket stitch all the way around the large white felt rectangle. 

5.Repeat the same with the large red Poppy felt piece, but use white floss. 

5. Apply hot glue to the entire head of each peg person, except for the face.

6. Press the middle of the stitched felt piece to the head of the peg person, cinching it in the middle. 

7. Stitch the neck closed with the left over embroidery floss. 

8. Hot glue the back and the front of the Snow Child's coat to the peg body. Then shape the sides of the cloak to resemble wings. Glue the insides of cloak together if necessary. 

9. You do not need to glue the cloak to Poppy's body.

To make Poppy's white hand muff: 

1.Fold a small piece of white felt over three times to form a thick tiny rectangle. 

2.Glue the layers together.

3. Braid three strands of white embroidery floss together. 

4. Tie the ends together to form a necklace (the necklace should fall to the middle of Poppy's body)

5. Glue the tiny white rectangle to the middle of the necklace and viola! 

And you should be done! Enjoy you little people! 

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual birthed by SouleMama. A single photo - few words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

. . . . . . . .

Her first row of knitting on her sky scarf!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Reconnecting and Planning

The kids and I rang in the new year by ourselves. Craig was working, as he usually is, and I am so grateful that he is willing do to so. His hard work allows me to stay at home with the children, which at times makes me feel guilty because let's face it, my job is a lot more fun than his. 

Every few months however I begin to feel a bit anxious and then he and I have a sit down to sort out our plans for the next few months (like things that need to be done) to even long term goals (like deciding to not put Deirdre in public pre-K next year). I really love these times because it really reunifies us in out joint endeavor to raise our little ones and care for our home. 

So last night we got to have one of the reconnecting evenings and this morning I feel so so much better. I was beginning to pile a lot up on my plate, when we both knew what I wanted and needed to do was be focused on the home, the kids, the impending baby, my one mother's ministry outreach, and their schooling. I guess I just needed him agree that those things were most important before I would allow myself to let go of the rest.

This morning in turn I woke up feeling quite refreshed and unburdened as a result. 

So here is to a new reaffirmed direction! I have a few projects in the works and lots of list making to do. I can't wait to share them all with you! 

Below you'll find a mini-tutorial on how to make floating beeswax candles. It is very straight forward if you already have molds and a double boiler. We enjoyed it so much that we will be making some more again very soon! 

The kids in their New Year togas- Jonas of course wanted to copy Deirdre.  I love his over zealous cheesing in the photo. 

Their New Years painting of fireworks with our plant based water colors. 

Daily Verse or Quote: 

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
– Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Little Friend Doll Sweater Tutorial

I am joining Ginny from Small Things this Wednesday for a Yarn Along. Hop over there if you want to join in too! 

A while back we purchased this doll for Deirdre from Nova Natural. She was our first Waldorf doll and is quite well loved. So well loved that her arms began to fall off and she went out of commission for awhile. Amid my hyperemesis this Fall and a move this Summer, poor Vera stayed in my mending basket for far too long. When Christmas rolled around I was determined to mend her and also make her some new clothes. 

I adore Waldorf doll clothes. They are so cute and well made. However as much as I love them, I am not willing to pay $20-$30 for one outfit plus shipping. I have had a hard time sewing clothes for dolls as well so I decided I would try to knit some. 

Then enters this dolly sweater. I am by no means a talented knitter. I'd describe myself as passable, mainly because I am self-taught. I have lots to learn still and little time and patience...haha... so I need to work with what I got. 

So I devised a super simple, super easy pull over sweater for Vera. The head  and arm openings are extra wide so children can put the sweater on themselves. I also knitted with large needles and bulky yarn so that the sweater would give a little (again to make it easier for my daughter to pull it on). 

Vera is 11 inches tall. The pattern is designed for her and other "Little Friend" dolls or 11-12 inch Waldorf dolls. If you have a larger or smaller doll and want to make one for them as well, message me and I can do the math on how to adjust this pattern to fit your doll. 

-Size 10 Needles
-Bulky Yarn that knits up to 4=14 stitches on size 10 needles (I used alpine wool)
-Yarn Needle

1. Cast on 30 stitches 
2. Knit 10 rows 
3. Cast off 7 stitches
4. Knit 16 stitches
5. Cast off 7 stitches 
(At this point you should have 16 stitches in the middle still on your needle)
6. Knit another 20 rows. 
7. Bind off loosely at the end. 
8. Then knit another identical piece following the same steps from above. 

Once you have your two pieces...

1. Sew up your seams along the outside of the sweater, except for the bottom, the ends of the sleeves, and the neck portion. Make sure to leave the neck portion wide. (See photo below)

2. Turn your sweater inside out and weave in any loose ends. 
3. Viola, you should be done and ready to put the sweater on your Little Friend! 

Enjoy! And please let me know how it goes if you knit one ;) 

Daily Verse or Quote: 
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
– Proverbs 1:5-6 (NIV)