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Monthly Archive for November, 2011

Tiny Treasures- Rainbow Rocks

Rainbow Rocks are the second project in a seasonal series of  little, quick-to-make gifts we so often need for the holidays. For planned or last minute occasions; for tooth fairies, pocket ladies, and winter fairs; for classmates, neighbour’s and host’s children; for advent calenders and stockings! Tiny treasures that can be made with a small amount of materials and a small amount of time- 20 minutes or less!

Children love to make these felt geodes, and are always amazed when they are cut open. We have been making these to be given out at our Winter Faire, along with a short story about The Rainbow Rock, and instructions on how to “break” them open.

Materials:

0.5 ounces/  13 grams assorted colors of wool roving

small piece of bubble wrap

dish soap, warm water, bowl

Use a small amount of wool roving and wrap the roving tightly into a ball about the size of a cherry or grape.

Wrap the ball with another color of wool roving. It can be helpful to divide the roving along the length into thin strips, to make it easier to wrap evenly. Continue adding layers of color, completely covering the ball with each new layer. To help keep the ball evenly shaped, roll it in your hands for a minute or so, after adding each new layer. This is a wonderful tactile experience for children.  Add about 5-6 layers of color, or until the ball is about the size of an orange. If you want your Rainbow Rock to look like a stone, finish with a layer of white wool roving and then grey or brown for the last layer.

 Holding the wool ball securely in both hands, dip it gently into a bowl of soapy water. A good felting mixture is 1Tablespoon of dish soap to 1 quart (1 litre) of water.

Hold the wool ball in both hands and  gently squeeze the wool while cupping it. This will help to keep the wool in place and after about 5 minutes of squeezing, a felt “skin”will develop. It is important not to roll or squeeze the delicate wool ball too much at the beginning.  Dip into the bowl as necessary to add a more water and soap. The wool ball should roll easily in your hands, with some lather on the surface, and be wet all the way through.

For about 15 minutes, alternate between rolling the wool ball in your hands, rolling it on your bubble wrap piece, and squeezing it. Apply more pressure as you work to increase the felting.

If you working on these as a group, especially with young children, pass the felt stones around in a circle, each taking a turn to work on each one. In this way stronger hands get to work on the wool stone and help with the felting.  This also adds a playful co-operative element to the craft, and keeps children engaged in the activity.  Just remember which one is yours, so everyone ends with their own one back!

Once the wool rock feels quite firm, rinse well, squeezing under running water to get out the soap.  Then finish the felting by rolling the wool rock under your hand on a towel, to get out any excess water.

Shape into your desired stone shape and leave to dry.

Use very sharp scissors or a kitchen knife to cut open the Rainbow Rock. Start with cutting into the rock , just under the surface, making tiny clips with the points of the scissors. Continue working around the rock in this way, cutting a little deeper with each round. Children love to see the layers opening as you go.

Once you’ve cut in through about three layers, you can probably cut the remaining layers all at once by cutting the Rainbow Rock in half.

Open up and take a moment to enjoy the array of colors and shapes formed through the felting.

We first made these when my oldest son was three years old. We passed a thread through the top of each half and used them as Christmas ornaments.

Watch for more in our Tiny Treasures series- we’ll be featuring at least one new tutorial each week until Christmas,  including wooden castle blocks, tiny frost gnomes, and poppy pod people, plus other small and simple natural gift making inspirations.

If you’d like to accompany this craft with a story, you could read  The Rainbow Rock . This story would also be nice to go along with a real crystal geode as a special Tiny Treasure!

Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.

In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at www.kattikloo.com and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Nov 26, 2011 06:07 PM | 21 Comments

Tiny Treasures- Quick Natural Gifts in 20 minutes or less…

This is the first in a seasonal series of projects and ideas for those little, quick-to-make gifts we so often need for the holidays. For planned or last minute occasions; for tooth fairies, pocket ladies, and winter fairs; for classmates, neighbour’s and host’s children; for advent calenders and stockings! Tiny treasures that can be made with a small amount of materials and a small amount of time- 20 minutes or less!

Our first tiny treasure are these magical needle felted toadstools, lovely for many occasions as gifts and as seasonal home decorations or a nature table.

Materials:

small amount (0.1 ounce- 3-4 grams) white wool roving and red wool roving -or color of your choice. A fairy dyed wool gives a lovely woodland effect.

felting needle

sponge

Use a piece of wool roving that is about the size of your hand. Roll it up so that it is about the thickness of your thumb, and about 4 inches (10 cm) long.

Needle felt all over one half of the length of the toadstool stem, turning it regularly to keep it round. Leave the wool at the other end of the stem unfelted.

Using a sponge as work surface is really helpful with these small crafts. Try to always be felting  with the sponge under where you are working- it can be tempting to pick up the toadstool and work with it in your hands, but this often results in more needle pricks- and they hurt!

Needlefelt the bottom of the toadstool stem by felting well into the end. Alternate working around the the stem, and flattening the bottom of the stem, until it is very firmly felted.

Wrap the red or colored wool around the unfelted part of the white stem. Be sure and cover all the white at the top of the toadstool. Add more wool at the bottom of the toadstool cap to create a conical shape.

Needlefelt all over the toadstool cap, turning regularly to maintain the shape. Work the needle well into the wool, to create a solid felted top.

Try working with the needle at diffrent angles to help shape the toadstool top-just always be sure to bring the needle out at the same angle as it went in. Felting needles are brittle and can break if angle is changed or used to pry the fibers.

Felt into the underside of the toadstool cap. Keep felting wherever more is needed to make a firm felt, making sure the needle is going right into the wool.

Add some dots to the toadstool cap by using the tiniest anount of wool, and just needling it right in the middle of the fibers- in the same spot. Most the wool will be drawn into the toadstool. Then you can felt in any stray fibers around that central spot. This creates a nice dot, without making an indent or crater in the surface.

Run over the surface of the toadstool with your thumbnail to remove any needle felting marks.  A tiny treasure, ready to be given and enjoyed!

Watch for more of our Tiny Treasures series- we’ll be featuring at least one new tutorial each week until Christmas,  plus other small and simple natural gift making inspirations.

GIVEAWAY

Please leave a comment on this post by Tuesday, November 22nd, and receive 4 years of Living Crafts! Your package will include all of our 16 quarterly issues starting witht he Premier Issue, Winter 2008 and ending with Fall 2011.  The lucky winner will be chosen through a randomizer, and announced following day.

 

We have a winner!

Patty P. Submitted on 2011/11/18 at 5:59 am

How adorable. These would be cute tree ornaments as well. Let me get my needles!
Thanks for the amazing creativity Living Crafts gives! The magazine is awesome.

 

Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.

In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at www.kattikloo.com and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Nov 16, 2011 10:04 AM | 381 Comments

Homeschooling Curriculum and Giveaway

True intelligence arises when children are given the opportunity to engage their hearts and hands as well their minds. That’s the educational philosophy behind Oak Meadow’s uniquely creative K-8 homeschooling curriculum. Oak Meadow involves the whole child by including assignments that not only ask children to read, write, and think, but also to paint, draw, play music, write poetry, and build things. Check out www.oakmeadow.com to learn more about what Oak Meadow Curriculum and School has to offer your family.

Giveaway

Oak Meadow Curriculum and School is offering Living Crafts readers the chance to win a complete homeschooling curriculum package for one grade of your choice (K-8) . That’s a value of up to $400! Simply visit www.oakmeadow.com to view their homeschooling curriculum and resources, and then post a comment here letting us know what you like about Oak Meadow. Deadline to post your comment is Friday, December 2nd midnight. We will pick one lucky winner!

We have a winner!

Susie H. Submitted on 2011/11/17 at 1:27 amA friend had recently mentioned she was considering Oak Meadow – I went to peek at the website then and ended up devouring and soaking in much as I could. I am THAT intrigued by the program! I have considered making the switch to homeschooling (my oldest is 1st grade) and this would be the one.
I love how the curricula is based on matters relevant to the child. Neighborhoods, nature walks, fairytales, etc. – and learning seems to be a process of discovering via these relevant areas. It seems like a method that will encourage the child to take the initiative to learn even more.

 

Posted by Living Crafts on Nov 15, 2011 09:33 AM | 653 Comments























  




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