7 November 2014

learning. weaving.

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I ordered a loom back at the beginning of September...birthday money that I'd planned to spend on a coat but got seduced by the lure of the looms at Loom and Spindle!

I have wanted to learn to weave for ages but it always seemed to be bumped to the bottom of the list. So, the other night, I unpackaged the loom and got out the wool I had gathered. 
There's something about the newness and freshness of a new skill.
And I found it so therapeutic when I got going. 

The slowness of weaving the shed stick into the warp.
Pushing the weft down with the weaving comb.
Working out how to thread through the tassels.

It's definitely the start of a process and I'm hoping to enjoy creating some woven wall hangings.
Will post this one when I'm done!

I'd love to hear from you if you've done some weaving or learned a new skill!
Check out my Pinterest board for some weaving ideas and go see Loom and Spindle for techniques and tutorials.

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5 November 2014

la vie est belle.

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Saying as we were on a bit of a roll with embroidery hoops I thought I'd share this wee one I made for my niece.
Hand stitching is so relaxing and great as you can sit alongside the family as you stitch.
Inspired me to dig out a few more quotes!

3 November 2014

simple living. the beach.

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There's nothing simpler...a deserted beach on a blustery day, mountains rolling into the sea and a picnic.

A perfect day.

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2 November 2014

kids sewing skills: running stitch. buttons.

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We've been a bit hooptastic of recent...see these pumpkin hoops! But this is a really easy little sewing activity if you've an hour spare and it's a rainy afternoon! I had seen the idea here and thought it would be a perfect way to teach the girls how to sew on buttons and keep their running stitch straight.

You'll need:
embroidery hoops (I used 7 inch) || plain fabric || green embroidery thread || buttons || fabric pen

While my older two were doing this you can see how I kept my 4 year old busy at the end of the post!

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When we had our fabric taught in the hoop I used a fabric pen to place a dot where each running stitch row should begin and end.  This gave them a bit of an ideas although they wanted some 'stems' to be shorter than others so it simply worked as a guideline.

They knotted their thread and completed their running stitch between the 2 points. At the top they sewed on their button and knotted at the back.
They repeated this for how many flowers they wanted.

Abi wanted to make it for her cousin so she used the fabric pen to write the name and simply stitched along the letters.

When they were done I trimmed the fabric, snipped around the edge (see here) and used the glue gun to glue these to the back edge of the hoop.  You can see the workings on the back of the hoops but I quite liked this and didn't feel an urge to 'finish' it. If you would prefer a neater look then you could glue a circle of felt into the centre of the back like in Maddie's hoop below.

And that was it...so simple but a really good wee exercise in some of the basics of hand sewing.

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While we were doing this I gave Maddie a smaller hoop (5 inch) and hand stretched some hessian in it.
She chose some different colours of embroidery thread and I knotted them together, as well as knotting the thread to the needle. This kept it from slipping out and meant she was engrossed for longer, freeing me up to help out the other 2 as needed.

I just focused on getting her to move the needle 'down' and 'up' through the fabric. She kept repeating this like a little mantra.  She was so pleased with her colourful hoop.

We glued the edges down with a glue gun and fluid a piece of felt to the back to keep it neat.
It's now sitting pride of place in her bedroom.


To see who I'm linking up with head here.

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31 October 2014

why we like our kids to get messy.

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I love to watch our girls engrossed.
Engrossed usually within the process of something...there doesn't even always have to be an end result. 
Just simply the enjoyment of doing, creating.

Left to their own devices, the vast majority of time our girls will end up messy. Completely absorbed, engaged and totally covered in whatever they're using.

We have always tried to embrace this. Allowing them space to play and create without the structure and direction of an adult...yes there should be space for these moments too, but with life within the school system so structured for them, time free of these instructions is one where they are able to embrace imagination and creativity.

A time to paint, to make magic potions, touch gooey things and insects and worms. To rescue starfish, get sand between your toes and do cartwheels in the waves. To make mud pies and staple leaves together, to jump in puddles and get wet up to your waist. To skink at the sink and get bubbles on your belly.


A life lived, enjoyed, savoured.
Not in a rush but content to be in the moment.
To feel the soil in your fingers and water on your skin.
To explore and experience the world at your own pace, unhurried and immersed.


This messy childhood, this pure and unadulterated joy of childhood which we must not allow ourselves to steal from them.

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Linking up with the messy kids competition on The Mad House

30 October 2014

diy. natural all purpose cleaner.

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I have been intending to do this little shift from regular cleaning products to a more natural cleaner since the summer but I think somehow in my head it was going to be a bit of hassle and an extra job to do on top of the whole other list of daily things to be done!

It partly started during a period of sickness which led to me cleaning our house to within an inch of its life...followed by the paranoia and thoughts of the toxic chemicals which now coated every surface that our kids would touch!
I spent an age researching loads of different ideas and cleaners and eventually seemed to find a common ground within many of the different ideas and recipes out there...

White Vinegar || Castile Soap || Distilled Water || Baking Soda || Essential Oils

I decided to start with an all purpose cleaner:

1 cup of distilled warm water
1 tbsp castile soap
10 drops of lemon essential oil

Pour these all into your spray bottle, give it a shake and you're ready to go!

I have to say I have loved the smell and found it has cleaned really well...I'm definitely a convert!

Check out a few of these websites I found to be really useful if you want more information:

28 October 2014

kids diy. pumpkin hoops.

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We did these simple little pumpkin embroidery hoops for an activity at Abi's birthday party. This one is Abi's finished one and the second in the last picture is Annie's...you can see the difference a couple of years makes in the result, but I have to say I love both.

It was relatively straightforward and I made it easier on myself by having all the hoops pre-prepared...the felt in position and glued onto the rim of the hoop (see here for more details on how I did this), I had sewed the eyes in place, threaded a needle and knotted it into its starting position. 
This was because I had 14 girls at the party...if you're doing this with one or two, sewing the buttons and threading the needle is an invaluable part of the lesson!

I also tied a green (stalk) ribbon from the top to allow them to hang it when they got home.

*As I didn't know how much sewing experience the girls had, we kept it very simple...needle up/needle down and we created a zigzag mouth slowly together.

*I had cut out some triangle of black felt if any wanted to create their own wee nose, which a lot of them did. Those that were more confident added eye brows and even warts!

There were quite a few who had never down any sewing before and loved having something they had made to take home and they were so proud of what they had done. After a naming session for their pumpkin hoops and a few games and a movie we were done. Literally!

But loved this simple wee craft...would definitely do it again!

To see who I'm linking up with go here!

For more embroidery hoop ideas check out this and this. Also, we're on a bit of a hoop fest and have a post coming next week...teaching your wee ones how to thread a needle, sew a button and a running stitch and they'll have a lovely little hoop at the end!

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