Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wet felting - our first time & some history on the technique...

This was really fun, and faster than needle felting I think?  Well, if you consider the playing w/ bubbles & clean up....maybe not!  Not sure what we'll make with our balls - maybe a little summer person to put on the science table.  They are drying now so I have time to figure that out.  I found the tutorial at this site:
Hot soapy water & left over wool from the fox

After rolling them in our hands for about 10 minutes, we had these nice little hard balls - great for making people or animals or even stringing into jewelry!

A little history of wet felting from  :
 Felt is the oldest textile fabric dating as far back as 6300 BC. It is created from wool or other animal fibers that are densely matted together. Felting predates spinning, weaving or knitting and for centuries, this non-woven fabric has been used for yurts, blankets, rugs, hats, boots and clothing. Felt has the ability to protect against cold and insulate against heat, and can absorb and hold moisture, and can be cut without fraying.
Wool locks, washed and unprocessedThe creation of felt using traditional techniques simply requires wool, water, soap and two hands. A few other items can aid in the creation of felt - but no machinery is required to create this amazing fabric.
Wool may be used in it's natural state, or processed, dyed and carded.
Wool is layed out in layers with each layer going in a different direction. Hot water and soap is added, gentle agitation begins. The process of agitation varies depending on the methods of the felter and the piece being created, but the result is the same. The more agitation, the tighter the resuting fabric. Wool fibers have scales -- the process of felting causes these scales to grab onto neighboring fibers and interlock.
Felting wool To emulate what people created with wet felting, industry created the felting needle. Thousands of these needles were used together to "needle punch" wool into a fabric and allow the creation of felt without soap or water. The felting needles have small, downward barbs that entangle the wool fibers together. It is from this process that industrial felt is made - the kind you find in the craft store, in your car's air filter, etc.
Needle Felting"Needle felting" is a term for using one or more felting needles by hand to create flat felt or felt sculpture. The first use of felting needles in this manner that we know of was in the early 1980's by artisans David & Eleanor Stanwood who took a tool from the woolen mill industry to use on a small scale and began needle felting by hand. David & Eleanor taught Ayala Talpai who then created some fun books and shared needle felting with others in the quest to promote the craft. Needle felting is currently less practiced than wet felting, but it is gaining popularity amongst crafters, doll makers, bear artists, and artisans.

Geometry for Flash & crafting a woolen whale

Ok, so it's just a shot of my big guy doing geometry, not the actual work ;0)  But my posts are weighed heavily with little people & I want to include everyone....while he worked on that I made a whale!
That's Math U See...found it at a yard sale for 85 cents w/ the videos & unused workbook.  Some day he'll finish this & I can pass it along to someone!

This is an old sweater of mine that I don't wear anymore (obviously!).  I washed it in HOT water to felt it & cut off the sleeve.  I didn't even have to sew the top & bottom because that was where the seam was already....the reason it looks like it has a nose?  So I can stuff it in to make a mouth!  I actually just free-handed the sewing w/ HB's machine & then cut it out - a little backwards but it made it SO easy!

Emroidered some eyes & now he is eating Jonah!  I think he ate Thomas the Tank Engine this afternoon...but hey, someday we'll get our bible stories straight. 

What a busy day! Homemade ice cream & cream cheese

Somehow we did so much today - where did we have time for it all??  And I don't even have any pictures of our 2 hours at the park!  While we were there we made chalk rock drawings, played tic tac toe w/ rocks, and retold the whole story of 'Madeline's Rescue' using rocks!  It was funny, but they loved it!  Here are the 'cooking' things....
Tweeters spooning homemade yogurt into a tea towel set in a strainer over a bowl to make cream cheese

My helper - in a dress made by her great-grandma for HB 14 years ago!!  Wow!

showing how the whey drips down into the bowl - should be done by this evening & then we can make more cream cheese & cucumber sandwiches tomorrow for lunch!  (well, if there are more cucumbers ripe in the garden...).

got 4 gallons of milk yesterday - one went to making yogurt, and there was enough cream to make ice cream!  We added strawberries & it was delish :0) Thank you Big Mama (my great-grandma) for the wonderful recipe - still bringing us joy & awesome ice cream!!

Summer play area set up

We moved the play kitchen back out to the playhouse by the garden - we thought it would get more use out there with us in the garden more, and now we are seeing more mud pies!  We've had it in the house since spring when we first started our Waldorf journey, so it was time anyway.  We also added in a science table of sorts, which we've had for years but never really did a lot with.
So now it is a dress up area!  Great find here on this commercial childcare dress up piece - $7 at the thrift store (and it's on wheels!!)!!  It also has a mirror on the end, see?  And the little wooden dolly cradle was $5 at another thrift store...I'm telling you, we have the best thrift stores!!  That pink dress on the left was made for Tweeters by HB about 2 years ago but it still fits ;0)

The handy shelf on the wall was a Goodwill find when we were in Florida, toted all the way back in the RV...glad we picked it up though.  I want to add a few more things but it is a space in progress as the season goes by.  When veggies start coming on in full force I plan to add the wooden velcro food for Jam to practice cutting & imitating what he'll be seeing us do!
How do you change your play areas as the seasons change or your children grow?  I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Yard sale finds, homemade & saved

Home-made balance board - easy peasy w/ wood we had lying around. The 1/2 circle piece is just slab wood that we burn in our wood furnace!
I am a firm believer in reusing or making what you can - and that includes lots of thrift stores & yard sales.  Resisting the temptation to buy what we DON'T need is a little hard sometimes though!  Guess that's how we ended up with 'Mac' & 1/2 a dozen other characters from the Cars movie.  Jam sure loves them, but oh how I really don't like toys from movies!!  I would say normally that it kills the creativity & imagination, and perhaps he is just recreating scenes from the movie....but he has done this for hours and hours and hours. 
Yard sale: No way!  I was gearing up to learn how to make some beeswax candles - even planning a trip to a bee supplier for real beeswax!  Friday we went to some yard sales & voila!  A $2 pillar (the price tag said $45!!!).  We bought another pillar like this but round, and 2 small pillars (so $4 for all 4 candles!!!).

Saved!  HB & Flash's dress up clothes....I especially love the white cotton cloves & "The Butler Hat" of our summer spaces including dress up area coming soon.  By the way, the gloves are from my great-grandma who HB & Flash got to know, but Tweeters & Jam weren't born yet when she died.  Flash got the hat in when HB pulled the sword out of the stone in Disney ages ago!
What are some of your great yard sale finds?  How about things you make yourself?  Do share!

Welcome Baby M & more sewing projects

She's a beaut!  HB drove an hour to the hospital to visit her & can't wait to get her hands on her again!  For a girl who wants to be a midwife it's a great thing she loves babies so much ;0)  PM was born 2 weeks ago....

The happy couple & their boys came out here to the beach to swim just 3 days before the baby was born!

The elephant we made 2 weeks ago was for Baby M...but another friend had a baby this past week so we had this little guy to make.  The corduroy is luxuriously soft & a bit stretchy (women's pants!), but darker than I had invisioned.  I really wasn't going for the 'black cat' look!  Anyway, he turned out so soft & cute I hardly want him to go!  SH will enjoy chewing on this kitty's ears & hearing the soft bells we put in his head & one more to go for now....our neighbors had a baby Thursday!

Tweeters loves to sew, and chose this over legos w/ the boys!

I think a bow around the neck will finish him!

Today in the garden

Grey zucchini - Flash ate one of these raw today, the whole thing skin & all.  My vegan boy...

zuchhini & a butternut squash plant in near bed, then tomatoes, then sweet potatoes where the trellis is...beyond that is a carrot bed, salad bed, strawberries (done now), blackberries (coming soon!), asparagus & horseradish

This side has potatoes (not shown), cucumbers (need a trellis!), green peppers (by Jam), tomoatoes, carrots, onions, greenhouse

Last week's art - Henna & foot painting!

HB has recently become interested in started w/ henna in her hair b/c it is of course, natural.  Now she is creating some awesome temporary tattoos!  She's been practicing on our house guests (who after a full month are heading home tomorrow!  Wow!) & I think she could even earn some money doing this.  It started when a missionary came to church to tell how she had learned the art of henna while in India, and used this to tell bible stories to Muslim women.  They would later tell their children & husbands the stories.  We have a small e-book of hers but she is also working on one that includes the stories to tell as you do the's a link if you want to learn more:

This is mine...I didn't want it too big.  It lasts about a week & this took an hour!

She's got this size down to around 4 hours I think - had both arms done last week!  I think she got tired around the elbow....

Not henna, but still lots of painting fun ;0)  They love this!  I think we'll try mouth painting sometime.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Papa J is a Father's Day Hero!

I need to try to get the pics off my phone, but they don't tell the story at all.  I was shaking too hard to try to figure out the video feature in time to get the shot of my dear, brave, strong, hubby catching babies out of the second story of a burning house yesterday!!
That's right: we were visiting a church in a nearby town & afterwards we were looking for an art fair.  On the way downtown Tweeters said, that house is on fire!  I pulled quickly into a nearby parking lot, my hubby jumped out, ran across the street & started banging on the door.  Another man came up & helped him knock down the door; but oops, flames started shooting out.  They heard a woman shouting from the upstairs window that there were children upstairs - they told her to throw them down!  My hubby caught the first one, still in diapers, and handed him to a woman who had run over from next door.  The other man caught the second, my hubby caught the third, and then he & another man caught the (rather large) woman!  I was out of the car but right next to it, across the street.  The little ones were locked in just in case I got distracted.  I couldn't help crying!  I think if I had been right there holding those little babies I wouldn't have cried til later, but as it was all I could do was watch.  When my hubby made sure they were all ok he came back across the street, shaking.  Firetrucks came up pretty quick & we waited awhile before we left....we came back later to show HB & Flash & one of the men who had helped Papa J said the woman had taken the babies & drove away in her car!  Yikes!  Maybe doing something she shouldn't have been doing?  They did catch her & got the babies to the hospital, and the news story was very pathetic - since the firement didn't get there til there was fire coming out of the second story window they jumped from they didn't actually see the family being saved.  They simply reported that everyone made it out ok!  Ah, well, I saw it, and 2 dozen neighbors & driver's by saw it....God saw it.....he's a hero!

A few birthday pressies

Some belated, others early, but we selected a few things online for the littles to purchase w/ their bday money.  Here are a few - not pictured are: The Reading Lesson, Snip It cutting book, The Rhetoric Companion, You are Your Child's First Teacher, & a 4-in-1 Betsy-Tacy book (Tweeters loves chapter books as well as picture books!).
Ben got rainbow blocks!  Very cool for looking at the world through rose-colored glasses

Very nice STURDY stockmar crayons...the book at Tweeter's elbow is for Flash - Show Me How to Survive (was on my wish list from Timberdoodle!)

Ha!  Even the 2 year old can't break 'em!!!

Nice wooden boat from Hearthsong, but the paint is cracking after just 3 times in the water :0(  Supposed to be real ship's paint but now I wonder...might send it back.

Graduation party for Honey Bunches!

Flash, JG SR, Papa J & JG JR all cooking together!

Wow!  A very sweet friend (ND) made these cakes for HB & JG!  Yes, that's pig latin (although we did study ecclesiastical latin ha ha) & the plane was made by very sweet friend's younger brother whose initials are also ND!  By the way, the plane is CRASH LANDING like HB's website go check it out!

Here they are getting 'roasted' by family & friends!  All in good fun ;0)

Thank you so much to MM & JH for letting us use your shop space for the party!!!  Awesome!!

Although HB was really finished w/ formal education last year, she decided to make it 'official' this spring so she could have a big party w/ her friend JG.  They have so many mutual friends, it just made sense!  It was really a blast, and we had a wonderful time :0)

How do homeschool families in your area celebrate graduation?

A little shelf or 2

 Here's the tree we painted on Tweeter's wall awhile back...we found some $1 butterfly wall stickers & hung the fairies from the ceiling that HB made for her mobile when she was tiny.  I recently found a small shelf to put on the tree, so animals & fairy friends could live in the tree!  We've since added another little .50 shelf so it really makes it more 3-dimentional.
Fairies from grandma & an old owl

More June Crafts

Yes, brain is coming back - either from littles getting older or the fact that I am challenging myself a bit & learning how to do some new things.  A friend had a baby last week so we made an elephant from one of my old skirts - had to sneak into HB's (Honey Bunches) room to use her sewing machine though ;0)  I wanted it to be pretty babyproof & I don't trust my hand sewing.
first I laid the skirt flat & cut top & bottom at the same time (I freehanded w/ chalk first)

right sides together, just like 7th grade home ec class, pinned


turning it right side out

done!  Well, I embroidered blue eyes & added her initials on the rear, but mostly done here

Wool felting

A sweet little felted fox...I bought the kit for myself for my birthday!  I needed a crafty thing to do & this was super easy & fun.  Now that I 'get it' I feel free to find tutorials online & maybe pursue the amish about selling some of their wool to clean, card & dye!!

 Here's Tweeters - she REALLY wanted to try it.  Even though that needle REALLY hurts!  As you can see we are just using whatever is on the desk & not a foam mat, but it works fine.  She is making an owl but I've been told it looks more like an 'angry bird' from a video game?!


Thank you, Patricia Polacco!  We love your books :0)  We made Thundercake when our now 17 year old was in kindy, and now we got to do it again w/ he & the 5 & 2 yo.  It was very unplanned, actually: we were out picking strawbs (as the 5 yo calls them) in the garden, when dark clouds started rolling over & we heard thunder.  Tweeters looks up from picking/eating & says, "Mama!  We should make Thundercake today!".  We had read the book before but not had the opportunity.  Well, no fresh tomatoes yet, but the ones in the freezer from last year worked just fine once we got them thawed out!  Here are a few picks...I guess all that's missing is the kick cow, peck hen & all the other farmy things we don't have yet.....

yes, true dorks!

Wild & Free in Tennesee

So so happy to have taken the plunge!  This gathering of nearly 900 homeschool mamas gathered in Franklin, Tennessee for the weekend & ...