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Archive for Tag 'Toys'

Tiny Treasures- Frost Gnomes and Giveaway

Frost Gnomes are the third 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!

We love making these tiny frost gnomes, to adorn a gift, slip into a stocking or even hide in the forest or garden for someone small to find. They are made in icy, crystal colors of wool felt, and have a Swarovski crystal atop their cap. They fit happily in a pocket or purse and are lovely for little stories in the car, in line at the grocery store, or on holiday visits.


small amounts of wool felt in icy colors. Shown here are pastel blue, lavender, lilac and ecru, all from BearDance Crafts.

wooden peg person 1 11/16″ tall x 5/8″ base, available at Stockade, Woodworks Ltd., Caseys Wood Products, or most local craft stores.

sewing needle and threads to match felt


a small length of mohair yarn (about 16 inches) or wool locks

optional: Swarovski crystal or glittery crystal bead

Frost Gnome Pattern Pieces

Apply a small amount of glue over the body. Wrap the tunic around the body and sew up the back of the tunic using whip or blanket stitch. Sew around the neck of the tunic using running stitch. Pull tight to gather the tunic around the neck.

Sew across the top of the cape using running stitch. Leave long ends on both sides to tie the cape securely around the neck.

Apply glue around the back of the head and a little under the chin. Wrap the mohair yarn around the head- higher at the back and under the chin at the front.

Sew the crystal or bead to the tip of the hat. Fold the hat in half and sew up the back using blanket stitch.

Apply a ring of glue around the inside rim of the hat. Slip the hat onto the Frost Gnome’s head until it is in just the right position. If he gets any glue on his face, gently wash it off before it dries. A clean frost gnome is a happy frost gnome!  Allow the glue to dry for at least one hour (ideally 6-12 hours) before play.

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, wool painting boards, and poppy pod people, plus other small and simple natural gift making inspirations.

Enjoy our earlier tutorials in this series:  Tiny Toadstools, Rainbow Rocks


Bear Dance Crafts is giving away a collection of 5 holiday craft kits from Atelier Pippilotta to one lucky Living Crafts blog visitor.
Included in the giveaway are the kits: Little Star Child, Three Little Angels, Little Winter Hut, Three Holly Children and Three Little Light Bearer’s.

These are such sweet kits- to make yourself for your loved ones, or as a perfect crafty gift for a creative friend.
Please leave a comment by Thursday, December 8th, sharing your favorite holiday decoration, to be entered in the draw.

Use the comments section below the full tutorial post, rather than the individual picture of the giveaway- Thanks, and Good Luck!


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 and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Dec 5, 2011 12:48 PM | 247 Comments

Flying Felties!

We’ve been having so much fun making and using these flying felties with our young visitors this summer.  I think they are better than fireworks and just as beautiful as they fall from the sky! Children from the age of three can make them, with some assistance, and both children and adults have fun tossing, flying and chasing them!


1 wooden or plastic egg 2.5-3.0 inches (6.5-7.5cm)  long

0.3 ounces (8 grams) wool roving or batting in assorted colors

5 x 30 inch (75cm) lengths of ribbon in assorted colors

1/2 cup beans, rice or lentils ( we used black turtle beans)

bowl filled with warm water

natural dishsoap

small piece of bubble wrap

sewing needle and thread

Tip: sometimes we’ve used the felted pouches that remain once we’ve finished using a felted soap scrub- perfect for flying felties, or little felt treasure necklaces!

Open up the wool fibers by gently stretching them, keeping the wool in long strands. Wrap the egg completely with the wool,  turning and wrapping like winding a ball of yarn.  The egg should have about three layers of wool wrapped around it. Play with alternating colors.  Feel for any thin spots and add more wool with an extra wind covering that spot.

Cup the wool egg in your hands, add a drop of dishsoap, and dip into the bowl of warm water.

Lift the wool egg out gently and start squeezing it between your hands, turning occasionally. Do this for a couple of minutes until the wool develops a felted skin. Start rolling the wool egg in your hands. Rolling…rolling…rolling….Roll the wool egg under your hand on the bubble wrap.

Bowls of soapy water and bubble wrap hold lots of potential for play!

To finish felting, roll the wool egg in the bubble wrap and roll for a few minutes.

Squeeze out any excess water and leave the wool eggs to dry.

Cut open the bottom of the wool egg in a cross. Squeeze out the egg. Fill with beans or rice.

Sew up the opening at the bottom of the feltie, leaving a small opening to insert the ribbons.  Tie your selected ribbons together  in a knot at one end, insert the knot into the opening in the feltie, then finish sewing up.  Be sure to stitches are tight so no beans will fall out and to secure the ribbons well!

Ready for flying!

Hold the feltie by the ends of the ribbon, wind up and toss and watch the feltie fall to the ground, ribbons flying brightly behind. Make a chalk target on the ground and see if you can get your flying feltie to land inside.  Toss and juggle with a friend….Hours of summertime flying fun!



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 and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Aug 21, 2011 10:04 AM | 37 Comments

Playhouse by Artful Parent

I don’t know how I ever missed this wonderful playhouse project posted on Artful Parent blog more than three months ago. Everything about it is so perfect. It is easy to sew. It is easy to recycle sheets, pants, table cloths and other items for making it. It is easy to store, and use! Every child uses the dining table or desks for making forts. Why not give them something to make it easier to play? Got some fabric? Go for it!

Posted by Living Crafts on Jan 14, 2011 09:41 AM | 3 Comments

Good Toys Bad Toys

This is a great discussion on toys by Touch the Future.

You’ll read two interviews on Good Toys – Bad Toys. The first on open-ended toys is with Jane Krejci, a grandmother, early childhood educator and former consultant to Brio Toys, USA. The second is with Dr. Toy … Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., an educator and author of Smart Play – Smart Toys, How to Raise a Child with a High PQ. We all know about IQ – the Intelligence Quotient. In Stevanna’s book she describes PQ, the Play Quotient: a child’s capacity to play which is actually related to intelligence. The more a species plays the greater their intelligence. A child’s play quotient depends on the parent’s ability to be playful. (I am now feeling bad about all those times I was not playful!)

I’d love to hear from you on your thoughts about it, and how it relates to your family.



Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 19, 2010 05:32 AM | No Comments

Wooden Tops

by Fiona Duthie

These wooden tops are easy to make and fun to use! Make them with your children by putting them together but letting the kids do the coloring and painting (or help them complete the entire process). Over the years, my children have spent hours and hours with these toys, making up games with the tops as characters and seeing how long they can keep them spinning.

Wooden Tops


  • 2.5″ wooden wheel
  • wooden dowel 3/8″ wide x 3″ long
  • wood glue
  • optional: watercolor paints, pencil crayons

You can use any size of wooden wheel for these tops. Adjust the dowel size to the hole in the wheel – it should be a tight fit.

Wooden wheels are available through many crafts stores and online at specialty woodworking shops such as:

Cut 3/8″ dowel into 3″ lengths. Sharpen one end with a pencil sharpener. The tip should be a little flat at the end – not completely pointed as for a pencil. Lightly sand the flat end of the dowel to smooth the cut edge. Push the dowel through the hole in the wheel. The closer the wheel is to the point, the more evenly it will spin; the further away, the more wildly.  If your dowel is a tight fit, you can test it in different spots to get the spin you would like. Once you have the placement, remove the wheel, apply a small amount of wood glue inside the wheel hole, and push the dowel through to that placement point. Wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth and leave to dry for an hour. If desired, paint the surface with watercolor paints or color with pencil crayons. Let the spinning begin!

Wooden Tops

Wooden Tops

Posted by Living Crafts on Dec 14, 2010 08:08 AM | 4 Comments


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