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Monthly Archive for April, 2012

Wabi-Sabi Felt Needle Book by Pardis


My friend Carrie and I decided to take a small hand-sewn project with us when we took our girls to Florida in February.   Each of us grabbed a few pieces of felt scraps, needle and thread, and made a needle book for our sewing box.  Originally, I planned to use 3 longer rectangular pieces and fold them to get 6 pages, but the felt pieces were too small so I decided to hold the pages together by sewing a spine on it, just like a hard cover book!  Coming back home, I found this old button which is carved from a seashell, and painted.

I  love how the colors go with my scissors cover … by accident!  Instructions on how to make our Mother’s Day Scissors cover are here.



This is a perfect project to use whatever felt pieces you have on hand; wool felt scraps, favorite collected pieces or felt from old sweaters are all ideal.   A good size for a needle case is about 4 inches x 5 inches, give or take a little!

Cut 4- 6 rectangles of felt. Cut a strip 1 inch wide and the same length as your needle book for the binding. Arrange the colors as you’d like to see them as you open your case.

Pin the strip of wool felt around the long edge of the needle case, like a book binding. Sew up, close to the binding edge, making sure you go through all the layers of felt. Use backstitch to get a good tight seam. Trim the felt squares as required to even them up.

Cut a 1 inch wide by 3 inch long strip of felt to make the closure. Sew onto the back cover, using backstitch again. Make a slit in the felt using sharp scissors. The opening should be just slightly bigger than your button. Add a special button to the front of your case, and it’s ready to use!

If you like, you can sew around the edges of the buttonhole to keep it from stretching, using blanket stitch. You could use a fancy embroidery floss and blanket stitch around the edges of your needle case- a canvas for your beautiful stitches as well as a perfect organizer for all your future stitching!




——————————————————————————————————————-
GIVEAWAY!
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The winner-chosen at Random.org is:
Michelle, who wrote “I have just done a course on felting yesterday and really was suprised by what I had achieved in one day and will be doing this as an attachment to my craft list.”
Congratulations Michelle!

National Nonwovens

National Non-Wovens has generously offered a wool felt assortment pack for the lucky winner! Their gift includes eight 100% wool felt sheets, in a collection of gorgeous colors.

Please leave a comment on this post by Tuesday, April 24th, 2012,  for a chance to win this wonderful giveaway.

——————————————————————————————————————-

Posted by Living Crafts on Apr 20, 2012 03:56 PM | 399 Comments

Soaked Almonds

Years ago, I learned from a nutritionist that the raw dried almonds I was proudly snacking on every day contain phytic acid in their skin, which makes digestion difficult and can rob the body of nutrients. Ouch!



I learned soaking decreases the amount of phytic acid and makes them way easier to digest, so your body can enjoy the benefits of protein, fiber, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and zinc …   all those good things we look for in a nutritional snack. 

Although I started soaking both almonds and walnuts in water to minimize the acid, intending to dehydrate them again, they tasted so good, I preferred to eat just the way it was without dehydrating, and never looked back.  Children, especially, love chewing the softer nut, which resembles its original form before they were dehydrated.


- Start with raw almonds- unroasted and unsalted.
Place them in a glass vessel twice the size of the amount of almonds- they will expand as they soak.

- Add about 1/4 teaspoon af salt for each cup of almonds and cover with water. Leave to soak in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

- Drain off any remaining water. You can now eat the almonds as they are, or dry them in a dehydrator or oven on the lowest setting for a crunchier snack or later use.


Soaked nuts remind me of when I was growing up.  We ate almonds and walnuts fresh before they were ever dried!  It is a delicacy that still to this day people sell at the street corners in Tehran and other cities in the Middle East, when they are in season.

Posted by Living Crafts on Apr 17, 2012 11:39 AM | 5 Comments

Friday Gallery

Our Living Crafts Friday Gallery winner for this week: Kristen

Kristen's Hand Dyed Play Silks

“I’ve been wanting to dye playsilks for a year or so now, I just wasn’t sure if my kids were too old. I finally ordered some, thinking that I’d dye them myself and use them instead of Easter “grass” in their baskets. I realized though, that they would miss out on the fun stuff if I did that. Instead, we took an afternoon to have fun in the kitchen. They each picked 3 colors from my Wilton dyes (we even used Kool-aid on one) and helped me dye the silks. My 5 year old daughter had the most fun rinsing them out and hand washing them in the sink. She said it was like washing clothes in the “old days” like Laura and Mary (we’re reading the Little House books!) They were so pretty hanging outside to dry, that I had to snap a picture. What a fun day. “
Kristen from Two Raccooon Hollow



Susie`s Spring Girls


“What I appreciate most about making this craft is how the process centers me and just feels “right” from start to finish. I love that I am taking minimally-processed materials from and of the earth, and gently molding them into another type of perceived beauty. People off all ages can love dolls – and dolls that are handmade, with natural materials, are the ones that make it for the long haul in our home. Not just because the materials hold up well, but I sincerely believe that, when one holds in their hand an item carefully made with love, made of natural fibers, there is some sort of connection to the life that surrounds us. My kids know their dolls’ hair comes from a sheep, or a goat. That the cotton dress began in a field. That the special yarns were carefully spun by another artist. It’s an honor to be part of the crafting community, and making dolls has allowed me a connection to this community and the life around me in ways I never expected.“
Susie Hendricks from Treehouse Wonderland


Every Friday is Gallery Day at our blog. Please provide us with a link in the comments section below or email us (fiona@livingcrafts.com) by midnight, a photo and description of your projects- they don’t have to be Living Crafts projects (but of course we LOVE to see those too!). We’ll pick our top four to six pictures of readers’ projects selected from the previous week to feature on our blog and our top pick will win a free one year subscription to Living Crafts Magazine. Please spread the word and don’t forget to leave a link below to your recent project- we love to see what you make! Please send with a comment starting with: What I appreciate most about making this craft is …

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 Apr 13, 2012 11:02 AM | No Comments

Fairy Garden – Part II

I hope you enjoyed the photos from yesterday.  Here are some more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for more tomorrow morning.  Here’s the link for Part I gallery of fairy garden photos.  Thanks for looking!

Posted by Living Crafts on Apr 12, 2012 08:00 AM | 3 Comments

Fairy Garden – Part I

Here are a few of my fairy garden photo collection.  I will share more with you tomorrow!

love the painted box on this one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow! there are so many of them to enjoy …

Posted by Living Crafts on Apr 11, 2012 07:34 AM | No Comments

Pencil Roving Felted Shawl

In the Fall 2011 issue of Living Crafts, we shared some beautiful resources for Pencil Rovings and some projects for inspiration on how to use them.  Here is another wonderful project that uses pencil rovings in feltmaking to create a delicate, lightweight, perfect- for-Spring shawl. 




One of the great advantages of using pencil roving is the ease with which we can draw out refined patterns, words or shapes. Pencil rovings speed up our layout time, allowing us to complete a complex looking project more quickly and easily.  Our Scribbles Nuno Felt Shawl plays with this quality, creating a beautiful, random pattern in a lightweight, lovely to wear felt shawl.

Materials:

36 x 30 inch silk gauze or chiffon

1.5 ounces Hampton Artistic Yarns pencil roving, shown in twilight colorway

dish soap

warm water

2  lengths of bubble wrap, each 36 inches by 80 inches

1 length of plastic sheeting, like a plastic drop cloth, 36 inches x 80 inches

pool noodle or pvc pipe 36 inches long

Method:

Lay out the plastic sheeting on your work surface. Lay out one piece of bubble wrap on top, bubble side up.

Cut the silk length in half, diagonally, into two triangles.



Place the short edge of each triangle together, overlapping slightly.



To help the fibers move more easily through the silk, we will draft the pencil rovings. This means gently pulling and opening up the wool fibers. We can do this ahead of time, drafting the entire length of pencil roving by holding the fibers with our thumbs, about 6-10 inches apart and gently pulling until we feel the fibers release, but not come apart. We can also draft the fibers as we work, stretching them out as we “draw” with the wool on the silk. Outline all the way around the edges with a single strip of pencil roving and connect along the middle where the two silk triangles join, with two strips. This will felt the two silk pieces together and create a nice finished edge to our shawl.



“Scribble” a random pattern of loops working over the entire surface of the shawl. The beautiful dyeing of the pencil rovings will create their own patterning.  Try to work fluidly, working from one side to the other and back. Have some of the scribbled loops touch or even overlap the outside edges of the shawl.





Mix about 1 teaspoon of dish soap with 1 quart of warm (not hot) water. Apply this mixture evenly over the surface of the entire shawl using a watering can, a plastic sports bottle or by pouring the water through a colander. We want to lightly water the surface, without moving our wool designs; just enough for the fibers to be wet, but not sitting in a pool of water.



Cover the shawl with the second piece of bubble wrap and press down with your hands. This flattens the wool fibers, bringing them into closer contact with the silk, and distributes the water and soap mixture. Press down on each section of the shawl 10-15 times to thoroughly wet out the fibers, before moving on to the next section. Work over the whole shawl in this way.



Lift the bubble wrap and check that all the fibers are flat and wet.



Replace the top layer of bubble wrap, and roll up all the layers, including the plastic sheet, around a pool noodle or length of pvc pipe. Roll applying steady gentle pressure for 3-5 minutes.  Open up felt and check surface for even wetness. Apply more soap/water solution as necessary. We all have different felting rhythms, so you may roll up tightly and roll vigorously for 10-15 minutes total, or roll more gently for 30-45 minutes. Periodically open the roll, check the felt surface and re-roll.  Check by rubbing your finger over the surface to see how much the fibres are moving, or by pinching to see how much the fibres lift. Once your fibers have started to move through the silk, and you can feel that they are attached well, you can roll without the pool noodle inside and alternate the rolling with tossing the balled up shawl down onto your open bubble wrap. This really helps to shrink the wool felt.  Continue until the wool is quite well fulled, and feels firm.





Remove from roll and rinse well under warm water, to finish the fulling and remove any soapy residue. Lay flat to dry, or run through the spin cycle on your washing machine and steam dry with your iron. This gives the wool felt a tight smooth finish.



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 Apr 10, 2012 02:19 PM | 20 Comments

Grow Your Own Celery

Next time you buy celery, just cut 1.5″ off the bottom, put in water for 24 hours or more, and then plant it in the garden with the top of the celery level with the soil.  Watch it grow!  I saw this idea on Pinterest from Farm Bell Recipes blog and just had to try it myself.

cut it

 
 

soak it

  

plant it

 

day 1 

 

day 2

 
 

day 3

 

day 5

  

day 7

 

 

day 9

 
 
 

day 12

 
Please email photos of your celery so we can post here OR leave a link to your post/photos on comments below.  Thank you! 
 
 
 

Posted by Living Crafts on Apr 9, 2012 07:36 AM | 7 Comments

Happy Easter!

 

Posted by Living Crafts on Apr 8, 2012 11:08 AM | No Comments

Knitting at Knoon- Sunhat Kit Giveaway



Knitting at Knoon produces beautiful, timeless knitting patterns for the whole family. Imaginative patterns for everything including shawls, hats, bags, sweaters, coats and a very fun line of toys.

Just in time for the return of warm, sunny days, Knitting at Knoon is offering one lucky Living Crafts reader a kit for making the Petal Princess hat shown above from the Li’l Sunhats pattern collection. The kit will include the full Li’l Sunhats pattern (all six versions) and the two skeins of yarn needed to make it, courtesy of Tahki Stacy Charles.



Visit the Knitting at Knoon website and leave us a comment below with your favorite pattern from the website, by Friday, April 13, 2012, Midnight pst.

And the winner-chosen at Random.org is:
Liz Kool who wrote, “The hats are so cute, great for my grandgirls. I am always looking for fun and interesting things to knit for the girls, the Salsa sweater and the winter hats would be a big hit along with the leg warmers.”

Congratulations Liz!

Posted by Living Crafts on Apr 6, 2012 04:39 PM | 90 Comments

Friday Gallery

Our Living Crafts Friday Gallery winner for this week: Katja Magus

Katja's Gnome Hat and Cape

“What I love about this craft is that it keeps him warm and happy! He hates “crunchy” coats, so wears a sweater or this wool cape if he can get away with it! Gnome hat from the Fall 2009 issue of Living Crafts and cape from Oliver + S Little Things to Sew.” Katja Magus




“What I appreciate most about making this craft was the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes when she kicked up her heels in her new outfit and did a crazy little rumba dance of her own creation! We had fun choosing the cottons at the fabric shop for this outfit –she chose them all and I absolutely love her sense of vibrant color. The pattern was from the book Little Girls, Big Style by Mary Abreu published by Stash Books. Love it! It is so gratifying to me to sew a garment that my daughter loves so much and that she had a part in the making.” Suzanne Lovejoy at UndertheMulberryTree

Joy's Wooden Boats

“Here is a picture of the boats that the children made at summer camp.
This project was the most rewarding project I have ever made at camp. The children enjoyed playing with them throughout the entire week.
I am looking forward to geting more fantastic ideas from Living Crafts for this years camp.”
Joy Williams



Every Friday is Gallery Day at our blog. Please provide us with a link in the comments section below or email us (fiona@livingcrafts.com) by midnight, a photo and description of your projects- they don’t have to be Living Crafts projects (but of course we LOVE to see those too!). We’ll pick our top four to six pictures of readers’ projects selected from the previous week to feature on our blog and our top pick will win a free one year subscription to Living Crafts Magazine. Please spread the word and don’t forget to leave a link below to your recent project- we love to see what you make! Please send with a comment starting with: What I appreciate most about making this craft is …

Posted by Living Crafts on Apr 6, 2012 09:30 AM | No Comments























  




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