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Archive for 'Spring'

Felt Floral Scarf

Perfect for Spring!

We can feel that Spring buzz in the air….the time for fresh colours and flowers and pretty things! While most of us may still be yearning for the return of our flowers in the garden, this scarf can brighten the transition from Winter to Spring!

A great project and tutorial by Amy  at Watch Me Daddy

Posted by Living Crafts on Mar 3, 2013 10:00 AM | No Comments

Celebrating Candlemas

On February 2nd, we celebrate Candlemas,  also known as St. Brigit’s day or Imbolc-the midway marker between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.
Candlemas is a celebration of light and transformation as we mark the sun’s growing strength. As the days grow longer we start to look forward to Spring and with this growing momentum, engage our own dreams, ideas and ambitions to bring them to fruition.

Candlemas has always been a special celebration in our family.
We celebrate the day as a time to start bringing all the thoughts and ideas that have come forward during the quiet, contemplative time of winter, into a period of germination. Just as the plants are starting to wake up underground; as the sap is starting to flow again through the trees;  the young animals are growing within their mothers, preparing to be born, so are our hopes and visions.

Becoming aware of Candlemas, many years ago, also led us to take a greater pause through the winter; to be sure and slow down and use that time for meditation and clear thinking, so that we are ready to grasp the strength of spring renewal and shoot forward towards our goals.

Each year we plant a Wish Garden, sometimes with close group of friends, some years as a community party, and some years, just as a family.  We usually dip candles in our own beeswax from our hives and prepare a planter filled with earth, through the day.

This evening, before we start our evening meal, we write out our wish for the year. When the boys were younger, they would draw a picture to represent their wishes.

We each dig a little hole in the pot, fold up our wishes and plant them deep within the hole, then cover the wish with a spring bulb or some seeds, and some more earth.

Then we plant our candle on top and light it, representing the returning sun warming the earth so the seeds can came forth and flourish. The wish garden sits in the middle of the table, alight, and we leave the candles burning in the planter, until they burn down completely. Then the planter stays in the kitchen where we can watch and wait and as our little plants start to sprout, coming into full growth 4-6 weeks later- for Spring Equinox.  A warm welcome to spring and it’s renewal.

  This has been a wonderful tradition to share with others….in some years we have made one large wish garden created by our community. One year we made a wish garden outdoors in a special spot on our new porperty- a way to connect to the earth with a sense of beginnings and renewals in that new place.

One of my favourite occasions was one Candlemas that we invited everyone we knew from our different social circles to come and join us. The house was full of children and conversation and laughter. We dipped candles, had a potluck meal,  and each family created their own wish garden to bring home with them.

Just before the end of the evening, all the gardens, alight,  were together in one room- a shared community wish, full of light and warmth. It was a sacred moment.

Here’s to family celebrations, beginnings, and giving our dreams room to flourish!

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 Feb 2, 2013 02:07 PM | 10 Comments

Mother’s Day Felt Flowers Tutorial



Felt flowers are fun, fresh, and best of all super simple to make. Even very young children can make the most delightful blossoms. These are an ideal craft for young children because they don’t have to be fully felted to be beautiful and wearable as pins, so when the child is finished felting the flower can be considered finished also!  Although generally children do love to play with the soapy bubbles and wool and this project can take as little as 15 minutes to felt! Every flower will be as unique as the child who makes them!



Materials:

Small amounts of wool roving or batting- ideally a quick to felt variety like merino

piece of bubble wrap and/or bamboo sushi roller

small amount of warm/hot water and a drop of dish soap



You can work on either a piece of bubble wrap, a bamboo sushi roller or a combination of the two, as we have. Any of these will work beautifully.
Lay out the wool fibres from the center, spreading out at the edges. There will be more wool at the center, and the outer “petals” will be more light and airy. Encourage children to work with thin wisps of wool, as though they are fairies painting the flowers.



Add some details to your petals by laying on wisps of wool in other colors. You can add a bright flower center too.



Make a felting solution of about half a cup of water with 2-3 drops of dish soap-not too much or this will slow down your felting!)
Wet out the felt flower by flicking water over the surface. It takes only a very small amount of water for such a small project. Use less at first, and then add more as necessary to wet out.



Cover with another square of bubble wrap, or fold over the piece you are using, and press down on the wool to wet out. Don’t rub, just compress with your whole hand. This flattens the wool and moves the felting solution evenly through the fibres. Check to see if you have any fluffy spots, add more water if necessary, then finish compressing.



Roll up the flower, and roll under your hands for 5-10 minutes, opening it up every now and then and changing the direction that you roll in. It is fine just to roll just with the bubble wrap if that is what you are using. It may be helpful to roll a pencil in the middle, to give the bubble wrap roll a little more structure.



Your flower should be quite felted at this point. Remove it from the roll, squish it up in a ball, dip into some fresh warm water and squeeze at and roll it in your hands for a few minutes to finish the felting. Rinse well and wring out any excess water.


To shape the flower as a pin, we need to create a flat backing. Place a coin in the flower center and gather the edges over the center and secure with an elastic band. Allow the felt to dry. The felt will hold the random ripples created by shaping this way.

Sew a pin onto the back and voila! A quick and totally individual gift every Mum and Grandmother will love to wear! You could also glue a magnet onto the back to brighten your fridge door!







You can also shape the flower to create a pendant, or to attach it to a felt stem. We used this method once to make a felt flower fairy garland for a forest tree house. Place the flower center over the eraser end of a pencil, or a piece of dowel. Gather and secure with an elastic band and leave to dry.


To make the Flower Stems:



To make the felt stem (or any felt cord), use a small amount of wool, roving laid out on your work surface. The wool should be about 1 inch in diameter for the stem, or the thickness of a carrot.

Wet out as above and then roll up in your bubble wrap. Try the keep the wool as round as possible as you gently roll.



Now place your wool right into the fold of the bubble wrap or sushi roller, place your hand on top of the fold and press down, pulling it towards you. The felt stem will roll along, under your hand, staying in the fold. This keeps the stem round, and will firmly felt it. Each time after pulling the roll towards you, you’ll need to open it up, reposition the stem at the top of the roll and then repeat.



Remove the felt stem from the roll and squish it up in your hand, dipping it in fresh warm water. This will finish the felting. Rinse well, and squeeze out any excess water.



Pull the stem straight and leave to dry, and create a curly stem by wrapping around the end of the pencil. The stem will hold it’s twists once dry. Sew stem to the flower back. These can be enjoyed as a table centerpiece, made into a pin or hat decoration. You could also use the directions above to make a long cord, working on one section at a time, then sewing on a group of flowers as a garland, or use each stem individually and join like a daisy chain.

A lovely May Craft for everyone!

GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment here by Sunday, May 6th midnight and enter in a drawing to win enough wool to make two of these beautiful flowers.

 

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 May 2, 2012 04:09 PM | 33 Comments

Happy Easter!

 

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

Felt Chick in Egg Tutorial

This is a super cute, super simple craft to make for or with children to welcome Spring!
Click here for the full pdf tutorial…Felted Wool Egg and Chick

These little chicks can be used as finger puppets, or maybe they will be found with a wee egg, hiding inside!

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 2, 2012 08:06 PM | 2 Comments

Doily Basket

Doily Basket by Martha Stewart

This doily basket by Martha Stewart is so easy to make. Perfect for Easter eggs.

Posted by Living Crafts on Apr 18, 2011 03:02 PM | No Comments

Glass Egg Beads

Glass Beads

If you like beading, these eggshaped blown glass beads are a treasure for Easter.

They also have fabulous German-made egg-shaped papier mache boxes for decorating. I’ve used them once to the delight of many.

Posted by Living Crafts on Mar 31, 2011 02:50 PM | 1 Comment

Grow Your Own Dirt-Free Grass!

Day 1

Soak a cup of wheat or lentil in a bowl of water overnight (minimum 12 hours).  For a list of items needed, click here, when I thought i could do this day-by-day, but the lentils took longer …

Lentils can be stubborn, so this year, finally after 3 days I saw the first sprouts of my lentils, which you can see here:

 

Basically the difference in growing lentil and wheat is that wheat sprouts within 12 hours or less, but lentils take longer.

Once you see the first few sprouts like this, you can take out the lentils out of water and spread them in a dish or vase.  If the dish is deep, be sure to place some pebbles at the bottom for drainage.

 

Day 2

In the morning, spread the soaked grains flat on a plate, terra cotta, or any other dishes,

with approximately 1/4 inch thickness. For deep vases and bowls, place rocks at the bottom

and spread the grain on top to establish desired height.

Soak a piece of cloth with water and place on top of the soaked grain. During the day check on the cloth and make sure it stays wet.

Two or three times a day, while you hold the dish towel over the sprouts, rinse with tap water and drain.  In the morning, when you wake up run to your baby sprouts and rinse them and wet the towel as it gets dry overnight.  Continue to do this a few days until you see roots going down and all the grains are holding together through the roots, and sprouts start to shoot up.  That’s when you’ll be able to take off the dish towel and let them see the sunshine and the spray bottle goes to work.

 

Day 3 and Beyond

You’ll notice the grain has sprouted with tiny roots. Once you see the tiny roots, take off the wet cloth, and let running tap water go through the grain and wash any bacteria it may have built up. Keep rinsing the grains at least 2-3 times per day to make sure they stay moist and bacteria-free. Make sure you drain excess water after rinsing, so the roots do not sit in water.

Depending on the temperature and climate you will see the greens shoot up on the third or fourth day. Once you see the grass, it is helpful to also keep a spray bottle handy filled with water, to spray the grass to keep it moist. Children love to do the spraying!

Still, you’ll have to wash the roots 2-3 times a day to keep them moist.

Assembling the grass in the basket:

When ready to place in a basket, place a large piece of newspaper inside your basket and cut out the pattern for the bottom to find approximate measurements.

Then take the grass out of the dish and place on a cutting board. With a sharp knife cut the grass to the shape of basket.

Line the basket with plastic and fit the grass inside.

Now you are ready to delight a loved one!

Special Tips:

It is helpful, although not necessary to mix a spoon full of 8% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide with the water for spraying, to keep bacteria away, although repeated rinsing will do the job. Once your grass reaches ½ inch in height you can leave it outside to enjoy fresh air and the sunlight (outside temperature should be 45 degrees or more).

You can download the PDF for this tutorial for easy printout here.

Posted by Living Crafts on Mar 8, 2011 09:39 PM | 6 Comments

Grass Grow-Along – Day 1

a peek of my spring table with lentil grass

a peek of last year's spring table with lentil grass

As I get ready to grow some home-made grass for the arrival of spring, I thought of doing it in a cyber group this year, to share tips, ideas in a group and to grow our knowledge on the subject through your comments and suggestions. A lot of people grow their own sprouts for consumption, in jars or with special appliances designed for growing grass dirt-free. The method can be used for grass that we grow with our children, for our spring table, although the same method can be used with dirt, if you wish.

Before I confuse y’all further, here are the supplies you’ll need for this grow-along project:

1 cup wheat
1 cup lentil
A dish for each
Spray bottle
Water
Dish towel

Today, soak your lentil or wheat in a bowl of water. I will do the same. Tomorrow, I’ll share a photo of what the sprouts look like when they are ready to take out of water and into a dish.

Meanwhile go around your house and see what kind of dishes you want to use to grow your grass in.

Different dishes

here are some terra cotta and pottery dishes i used last year

pottery

this easy-to-make wooden container is made like a deep frame and painted

and here's my favorite cake stand i bought from a yard sale when we went to Cumberland Lake in Kentucky

pottery

when using a deep container like this i place small rocks at the bottom for drainage

this basket is lined with plastic ... nothing like real grass in an Easter basket

Posted by Living Crafts on Mar 4, 2011 08:19 PM | 15 Comments























  




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