Whittling a Wooden Spoon

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I greatly enjoy whittling wood.  It is a lost art, one of which is very soothing and calming to the soul, it busies the hands and provides time for reflectiveness— a thing I don’t often have time for.  I also enjoy making things by hand for my children.  When my weest expressed interest in solids, I though a first spoon was in order!  Down to my studio for some much needed creativeness!

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Materials:

  • Found wood— preferably a soft-ish type— in 6in x 1nc branch style (not rotting!)
  • A set of wood whittlers
  • A dark pen/marker for outlining
  • Sandpaper
  • Beeswax 

About a half an hour of time

Gather your supplies, and create a space where you can get a bit messy!  There will be wood shavings all around!  I took my materials out of my studio and brought them to the couch (yes it’s white, but I was arm’s reach from my Dyson!) Get comfortable and grab the marker and mark out where you will be carving the spoon.

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Notice my red line?

Start carving away at the branch opposite from your body!  Don’t learn that obvious rule like I did!  Ouch!

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Keep whittling until it resembles a spoon. IMG_3078

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Gouge out the middle part of the spoon towards one side of the branch at the end.

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Whittle until wood resembles a spoon, sand smooth and finish with beeswax!

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Happy Belated Earth Day, Good

Friday and Happy Early Easter!

Easter projects are in full swing as we meet our deadline luncheon tomorrow at 2!  As you can imagine cleaning is on my list, but ever so hard to complete will littles (and very little ones I mean) in tow.  We will do the best we can, but mostly we enjoy crafting and cooking and other busyness as opposed to cleaning!  I was born on Good Friday some odd 20 some years ago, and it’s always special to me, as we celebrate Jesus’s death for us on the cross and of course tomorrow as he is resurrected! But no matter how religious or not you are, I hope this weekend finds you well as you gather with your family and friends and enjoy each other’s company… as life is short as you know!

 

WIP: Spring Projects

With Spring FINALLY rolling in, WE HAVE LOT’S OF PROJECTS ON OUR PLATES!  This was supposed to be yesterday’s post….opps!  But we’ve been busy indoors with lot’s of arts and crafty things like a star lantern to celebrate Easter with.  It’s been a great math project for the older because we have been studying shapes and measurement.  Soon a tutorial will follow.

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I’ve been busy crafting more Waldorf Dolls in my spare time— when I haven’t been knitting, painting, homeschooling, changing diapers or nursing that is! These will go in my shop, certainly check out what’s there if you are interested.

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Starting seeds!  Heirloom German Pink to be exact.

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Finished knitting and felting this diaper cover I just need to needle felt some embelshments to complete this project.

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Knitting up a Spring bunny for our handmade Easter celebration.

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What projects are you working on?

Homemade Beeswax Crayons 

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Our family is in big-time love with crafty-ness!  When you walk into our home that is clearly evident when you see the piles of paper, paint, yarn, tissue paper, fabric, boxes and blocks all strewn about on nearly every flat workable surface!  Thankfully all family members tolerate the mess and eventually we see the floors and dinning table when they are needed. 

For coloring our children use Stockmar beeswax block crayons for the under 3 crowd and Lyra colored pencils for the school-aged crowd.  Recently our coloring stash need to be replenished and when the very thought of using something to create with, can BE created, well that had me in search of the perfect coloring crayon recipe.  I came across this one and frankly have been more than pleased with the subtle and beautiful results that ensued. The children also greatly enjoyed the home-making of such a well used item in our art corner!

The simple recipe is as follows:

Homemade Beeswax Crayons

– 1 part grated bar of soap (Ivory works wonders)

– 1 part beeswax

– Concentrated Food coloring paste

(the food coloring paste is actually cake frosting gel, located in the baking aisle of major grocery stores)

– A washed out, clean aluminum can (as many as the colors you are going to create)

– A saucepan big enough to hold cans

– Aluminum foil

-cardboard or a mold of your choice for finished crayon design

-Shorting

First: cut your cardboard out in shape you want your crayons to be; for us I cut out block shapes as for block crayons and taped it together.  If you have a pre-made mold—skip this part.

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Second: line your molds with aluminum foil.

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Third: use shortening to cover all sides of foil.

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Fourth: grate beeswax and soap set aside in bowl

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Fifth: Bring water to boil, add aluminum cans

Sixth: Add grated beeswax and soap to cans and allow to melt

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Seventh: Add food coloring paste (cake decorating gel) to each can, keeping in mind the whole can will make one color—to make more than one color you need more cans, soap, beeswax and colors.  Of course you can mix colors to create new ones Smile 

Eighth: Pour melted mixture to lubricated foil molds and allow to cool.

You are now done.  You can also test the colors by drawing on white sheets of paper—if you want to alter the color some, just gather the crayons and re-melt them and add more color accordingly.

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Enjoy the many wonderful hours of imaginative, creative, free-thinking drawing and coloring time Smile 

Special Notes:

After all was said and done, I think I am going to try liquid soap next time— or perhaps take finished product and soak them in water and re-melt and shape them, as I found the grated soap bar bits unable to melt and leaving chunky white pieces in the crayons.  Also I will add twice the coloring, maybe even add actual food coloring itself as I found the crayons, while pretty to look at were just not dark enough to color with.

If you try this recipe out, please let me know how they turn out!

Simple Knot Doll

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My little boys really do love their dolls! My middle one especially loves taking care of his little babies, taking great care as if he was really the daddy of a live, little, wee one.  It is very sweet to watch the nurturing unfold as they both have experienced being nurtured first hand by their parents.

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There is nothing more important to a child’s developing senses than a traditional doll in the simplest form. With a doll, important childhood work can emerge as the child learns the act of love, responsibility and caregiving at it’s finest. Giving a doll to a child is an amazing gift— and ironically doesn’t have to be expensive or even store bought.

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(Okay this is not a knot doll, but my middle will wrap up any *baby* in this case it’s his kitty)

I usually start my littles with a simple knot doll.  The knot doll serves two purposes: one is that it’s simple for the littlest child, as a younger one doesn’t need a doll with a distinct face, clothing or even pose able limbs.  Secondly, is the knot’s serve as a teething function and as a tactile piece that often occupies a little one for hours.

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I make my knot dolls out of soft cotton flannel, but I have also made them out of quilter’s fabric, and recycled cotton knit, all said fabrics work good, each with their own pluses and minuses. I also stuff them with warm un-carded wool and use silk embroidery floss for tying off the head.

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When I present them to my little children they adore them as they have seen mama busy with the handwork creating, these simple dollies out of love.

Materials needed:

  • 12×12 inch cotton flannel, soft quilter’s fabric, or silk
  • silk or cotton embroidery floss
  • clean un-carded sheep’s wool
  • Scissors

 

 

Gather some wool and ball with your hands in the middle of the piece of fabric to create the head.

Tie off with floss and knot tightly.

gather hands on opposite sides and tie small knots creating hands.

Cut bottom evening to create body.

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Allow your children to see you making these, even ask older children to help create these dollies and the end result will sure to be a lovey your littles will treasure!

 

Sew much Knitting!

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My sweet grandmother brought lot’s of her vintage fabric stash for me to pick over and find some fun fabrics to re-cover my dining room chairs! Imagine my surprise when nearly all of her stash is as lovely and beautiful as the memories that go with it.  Each piece a wonderful memory from her childhood, her motherhood, her farm life.

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I even scored a wee piece of fabric that was soft and sweet and just happened to be a part of her maternity shirt that she made when she was pregnant with my mom. 

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I am savoring each unique piece she brought over and delighting in the fact that all of her memories and timetables in her life are now back to the future, dusted off and re-purposed into  new much loved and much used dining room chair covers.

 

I have fond memories of my own involving her fabric stash.  I think a lot of little girls, now finding themselves creative mothers, have memories of their own mothers or grandmothers teaching them how to sew, knit or crochet.

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My grandmother taught me how to sew and whenever I visited her home I headed right to her fabric trunk and pulled out all types of fun pieces.

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things that I imagined would some day be a dress or pants or a blouse, or even chairs like my mom had.  How ironic is it, that the very same fabric I envisioned would someday be a chair or pillow will now be a chair and if I have enough fabric left over—- a pillow.

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I also have other ideas for leftover vintage fabric that I’d like to tackle this year.  Baby crib shoes, a diaper bag, a Spring skirt for myself, a Spring skirt for an upcoming birthday present, pillows, table runner, placemats, napkins.

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Ouy!  Lot’s of sewing!  Which leads me into my next topic!!!  Besides sewing which I absolutely adore comes knitting.  I love, love, love, knitting!!

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I am almost finished with my first ever sweater!!  You’d think that after knitting for 10+ years I’d have knitted quite a few of these—- but no!   So lot’s of knitting in my future!

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What fun projects are in your future?  Do share!

Hand SPINNING

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I’m very much enjoying my low-whorl drop spindle, my sweet amazing great aunt gave me as a gift (along with above pictured wool).  Hand spinning happens to be so much fun, I’m really not sure if I’ll ever buy yarn again.

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It seems that all family members enjoy this ancient art as well!  My middle just loves to watch me and pretend to spin along with me, he loves the colors we create and the uniqueness the spinning does to the fiber.

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Hand Spinning is an art defiantly worth learning, it can be relaxing, fun, stress-releasing, and super easy and convenient (if your using a drop spindle).

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One of the reasons why I love spinning so much is the ability to create a truly unique piece— by using your own handspun and hand dyed yarn, you can take an ordinary pattern and beautify it ten-fold.

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How wonderful a garment made of this yarn could be?  And yet how too easy is it to just go to the big box store and grab some yarn for a knit item?  But surely it is not as fun or can bring you as much satisfaction as creating a piece from your own spun fiber.

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Setting the twist 

Bonus points if you have the sheep that provided the wool for spinning (or other alternative fiber giving animal).

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There are several types of tools or *machines* used for fiber spinning—- drop spindles (low whorl, high whorl, Turkish, medieval, support, Navajo, tahkli) and  spinning wheels (the Saxony, castle wheels, Norwegian wheels, modern wheels, electric spinners, and spindle wheels).  Each spiining machine or tool has it’s positives and negetives, and each one is favored by different induvials and some are better used for different types of fibers.

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All spinning tools and machines can very widely on price as well, a good cost effective tool for spinning—especially suited for beginners would be a drop spindle, and particularly a high whorl one at that.  High whorls seem to be easier to learn on and can be lighter weight and easier to handle that low whorl drop spindles.

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Drop spindles are a very good investment as they can easily be obtained for $20 and can give a beginner good spinning experience suitable for using a spinning wheel.

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Drop spindles are also very convenient for smaller houses or for people that travel as they take up very little room and can be used virtually anywhere (and for this camping junkie, a drop spindle is invaluable after I’ve finished my breakfast and coffee on those chilly mornings).

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Off the Spindle, before setting the twist

I don’t have much experience with wheels, but when our land is finalized and our sheep, goats, and rabbits have lot’s of fiber to give, then we’ll have to much too process on a small drop spindle.

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what experiences have you had with spinning?  What do you like to use and why? I’m always looking for more information and stories related to spinning and fiber! 

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~Samantha

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