Pocketful of Posies

Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes
                                                                 Image credit

Have you seen Salley Mavor's latest? Her artistry is just so beautiful - the detail of the stitching, the layout of the scenes - wonderful!

We survived - we even thrived a little!

The first day back homeschooling was the stuff of nightmares as I dealt with children who had forgotten how to be good students! Thankfully, it got progressively better as the week continued and now we're well and truly back into a good routine.

I even got a little time to sew and dye.

Little Miss 3.5 has been asking for one of my twirly circle skirts for some time. I received the cotton lawn I'd been waiting on and once she saw the roll there were no more excuses!

In her favourite colours - purple and pink. I think she likes it!

This one is an elasticated A - line that I dyed in a spiral.
It's destined for my Etsy shop.

I love the summery colours!

It's so rewarding to be able to make clothes from scratch.

"This is the first lesson for the Christian wife and mother today: to let go of what may have once been - and under other circumstances might now be - a recollected self, and take on, with both hands, the plan of God. Indeed it is the lesson for every Christian in every age: it is the gospel principle of dying on one plane in order to live on another".

Hubert van Zeller from Holiness for Housewives and other working women.

Another homeschooling year begins...

Don't be surprised if I'm not around much - we start back tomorrow.
Mixed feelings here, I think I've enjoyed the break too much, plus I haven't achieved everything I wanted to over the break. I'm also faced with teaching a 10 year old, a 5 year old who has started reading, a 3 year old who wants to learn everything her siblings are learning and an 18 month old who gets into everything all the time!!
At least I'm pretty organised:

Books - check
Timetable written - check
Enthusiastic and motivated teacher and learners - umm.. we'll get there I think!

All the best to those who are homeschooling this year, especially newbies - if you need help or advice give us a shout.

Waldorf softie doll tutorial - Part 1

It's high time for a tutorial here so I'll teach you one of the things I know best - dolls! This tutorial is for the style of doll you see above in a small size (9 - 10 inches). You can scale things up for a larger doll or just make a little one. They are great as a first doll for a younger child because there are no small bits as choking hazards. Please use this tutorial and pattern for personal use only :)
Today we make the head. I have a lot of pictures for beginners who want to have a go.

Materials list for head -
Finger bandage (or other bandage you can sew to size) approx 4 inches long x 1 & 3/4 inch wide
Approx 8 x 8 inch piece of cotton tricot
Clean, carded wool
Strong tying thread
Basic sewing kit and machine.

Your piece of bandage should fit comfortably over your index finger (to give an idea of width). Run a gathering stitch around one end with needle and thread, gather up tightly and knot.

                                                       Turn right side out (RSO)

Stuff very firmly until the head measures about 4 inches from the top and tie into a knot to prevent the stuffing from slipping back down.

Now tie about 3/4 of the way down with some of your strong cotton or linen thread. I find it easiest to tie  doubly around to get it super tight. You may find it easier to get someone else to hold the knot initially.

Now with the same thread tie half way between the top of the head and the first tie.

Lay the head with knotted ties to the back on your piece of tricot doubled over. Trace a rough outline around the shape of the head, allowing a bit of extra room. Use a disappearing or water soluble pen for best results.

Place a couple of pins to hold the layers together. Don't cut this out! With your sewing machine set to a small stitch, using matching thread and with a ballpoint needle (important!) sew on the line you have drawn. Don't sew up the bottom as you'll need to fit this over the inner head. Cut out close to the stitches and turn RSO.

Fit over the inner head like so. A little peak of tricot will stick up at the top, pin it back.

Using your strong thread as before tie tightly around the neck with the knot to the back. 
Using a few pins, play around with the placement of the facial features. See how close set eyes differ to....

..widely set eyes. Your choice.

Using the pins as your guide, draw some small circles at the eyes and mouth. Use a disappearing or water soluble pen, it makes life much easier when mistakes can be removed!

 Using 2 strands of embroidery floss (knotted end) and entering from the back of the head come out at the top of one eye. Work sating stitch to fill in eye. Let the stitches float on the surface of the skin rather than pulling tight.
Here's a tip for needlework facial features: Use a larger (doll) needle to take the thread through the head. Once through, switch to a normal embroidery needle with a smallish eye. This works in 2 ways - you don't make too many larger holes in the skin so your stitches look neater and you never lose a needle inside the head!

For the mouth you really only need one straight stitch. Using matching thread, sew down that little peak at the top of the head I mentioned earlier, just some small, neat stitches to hold it down.

Well, there is your part 1, I really appreciate feedback for tutorials - even if it's just pointing out mistakes! So, let me know what you think.

Welcome to the jungle!

My husband took some photos of our backyard from the roof.

Having a wet summer has done amazing things for the garden.
When we moved here 5 and a half years ago this was an empty, barren space. We are surrounded by other houses and had no privacy in our yard.

Now it is green and beautiful every direction you look. My husband has worked very hard to make our unattractive suburban block into something a bit more special. It is a truly wonderful thing.

Computer + me = disaster!

I've just spent (wasted?) a goodly amount of time making a new banner for my blog following a tutorial using Picnik. Very easy to follow. Only problem is, when I place the banner on my blog it suddenly becomes a headache inducing pixellated blur. Tried to fix it. A lot. Can't.
Any ideas?

SHE team toy finds

Yes, today's focus is on toys or objects that inspire play. Enjoy...

Tawashi - Lime Green Octopus
Tawashi - Lime green octopus by flutterbugcreations

Knitted Farm Animals, Farmyard, Merino Yarn

Knitted Farm Animals by mamma4earth

She Makes Me Smile Crochet Pattern

She makes me smile crochet pattern by chriscrochetcrazy

Wooden Doll,  Goldilocks and the Three Bears Playset  -  Waldorf Inspired Toy

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Waldorf Playset bytheenchantedcupboard

CRANBERRY CHILD'S POUCH SLING for Dolls or Teddies suitable for children from 1-8yo

Cranberry Child's Pouch Sling for Dolls & Teddies by earthslings

You can visit the SHE team blog here to find more great Etsy pieces.

Home made potato chips

We recently harvested 6.5 kilograms of pinkeye potatoes from the garden which is our biggest haul yet. A really beautiful potato too and organic of course. Here is what I did with one batch and yes - they are as good as they look!

Clean your potatoes but leave the skin on. Cut into thin chips. Place into a hot frying pan coated with olive oil (much healthier than deep frying and you get to taste the chip more than the oil!)
Leave to fry on one side until really sizzling and browning, then flip over roughly. Be careful - they spit!
Keep cooking and turning until all chips are browned. We like ours a bit crispy, but you choose how done you want yours.

Tip onto paper towel and salt to your liking. Make as many batches as you need.
Let cool slightly and eat!

On embroidery, business and list writing

So I didn't get time to stitch lastnight as I'd hoped but I thought I'd share one of the embroidery projects I have on the go. One of my Mother-in-law's oldies that was never started, a printed linen table cloth. I was really unsure of colourways but eventually decided on a fresh and modern take, so nice and vibrant but harmonious colours.

I was more than a little excited to open a little box of my very first business cards! Surely someone will take me seriously now? (Total tongue in cheek). At least I don't have to hastily scrawl down my details when someone is interested in my work now, and these certainly look better than my handwriting!

Now for the list writing. Last year when I was homeschooling with a baby and life was mostly an insane and hardly bearable chaotic rush I let a lot of things slip - including the writing of lists. I'm determined to start afresh and make this year different.
Yesterday I crossed off 8 items out of 11 - pretty good for me! What wasn't completed yesterday transfers to today's list. This is so important for my organisation, crossing items off my list makes me feel in control and makes a sometimes overwhelming day of tasks achievable. (I can just imagine Posie nodding emphatically!)
If you feel snowed under try writing lists - even if you only get one thing crossed off it is a way of laying out your tasks so that rather than feeling that you're drowning in work you can have a detached sense of what you have to do.
Once you have a basic daily list you will probably find yourself writing a list for everything - goals (short and long term), shopping, trips away, purchases needing to be made, schedules....

Some wee waldorf dolls

The winner of my Christmas giveaway was Tas and she requested some wee waldorf dolls for her daughter. They are only 6 inches (15cm) tall. I can show them here now because they have been (well) received.

Her daughter loves pink and is warming to red, so the dress colours were chosen accordingly. The blondie has mohair yarn for hair and the brunette has curly dyed mohair (one of my favourite materials ever!)

Plenty on the "to do" list today but unfortunately no crafting on the agenda, too much "important stuff" to be done.
Perhaps I could sneak in a few minutes of hand embroidery tonight?.....

SHE team finds

 From the team this week I've selected fun and happy colors!

FIBER BEADS We asked her if she would take us to the fiber store next time she goes. She told us if the fiber store wants us, they'll let us know.

Fibre Beads from Ebrown2503

Big Rainbow Bling ...a novelty heart-shaped cocktail ring full of glitter for a girly girl... handmade by isewcute

   Big Rainbow bling from isewcute

She is. Notecards.Set of 4.Bringing Hope

Bringing Hope Notecards by Wellofcreations

Hand dyed silk mandala scarf

Hand dyed silk mandala scarf from me! (Blowing my own trumpet)

Pointed Waldorf Rainbow Window Star Multi-Color Kaleidoscope Intricate Stained Glass Effect Birthday Wedding Blessingway Anniversary Baby Shower Gift Color Wheel Inspiring Waldorf Montessori Homeschool Art Education Etsymom SHE Team UWIB FFEST

Rainbow Window Star from harvestmoonbyhand

          I hope these beautiful items have brightened your day!

The Schooling at Home Etsians blog is here.

New goodies in the shop

Hand dyed rosette brooch

I've been very busy this morning with these new listings for my Etsy shop. I sort of wish I could skip the whole listing part and just get on with the creating part!

Hand dyed circle skirt to fit 3 year old

Remember the bright shibori dyed fabric? Now it's a skirt.

Hand dyed reversible cotton scarf

           This is pretty cool - a reversible scarf. One side is bright.

Hand dyed reversible cotton scarf

                        The other is dark.

                        Do you like?

Posts from the past

Considering I now have 510 posts on this blog I figured it was about time to actually look back at what I'd written (weird that I'd never done it before!) Perhaps I was worried about being haunted by things I never should have posted. I'm happy to report there are no such skeletons. Apart from the things I was "going to do" and never did. This time last year I was gearing up excitedly to release my first doll pattern..... it never happened.
I was also a little confused as to how I deemed the quality of my early photographs as suitable eye candy. Thank goodness that has improved! It seems I also neglected how to post a link properly, another issue that has thankfully been fixed.

So I've been thinking about my goals for this year and will be posting them shortly. They will be decidedly realistic and attainable - one thing I am slowly learning is to not set myself up for disappointment by aiming too high.

I've been enjoying reading other's goals for the year in all their variety.

Talk soon. God bless.

Mandala toddler skirt

Oh so cute! I cut out the skirt then folded, tied and dyed in a mandala.

The colours are so vibrant. Most astonishingly it wasn't too difficult to get some good photos of my 18 month old model.

This skirt is available in my shop now.

Now that grabs your attention!

I've been experimenting with the shibori technique which is really fun and interesting. I was quite surprised when I unwrapped this yesterday after leaving it for hours in plastic in the hot baking sun.

I didn't exactly get the fine lines I wanted but it certainly doesn't lack for brightness! I'll see how it looks as a skirt.

"Second Chance" book review

"Second Chance" by Sandra J Gerencher is a story based on the author's own family and involves the adoption of a new dog - "Chance". The tale is told through the eyes and perceptions of the Chance, who had been living in a shelter.

Chance has many adjustments to make to his new life. There are other dogs in the house and he also notices that there is something different about his owner, Ryan. As Chance learns more about his new family he finds that he and Ryan have a great deal in common.

"Second Chance" offers readers an interesting insight into both adoption and autism. The themes that really stand out in the book are love and hope.

Sandra Gerencher has extensive experience in special education and has also adopted a son who has autism and other special needs. Sandra has a personal mission to save dogs from high kill animal shelters through adoption. You can read more about Sandra here or at Tribute Books.

Make do and make a start

I thought I'd share with you a little reality check today. It is easy for us to imagine that people we see on social media, on websites...