30 April, 2011

April 2011 Favourite Photo

Baby gecko who (mistakenly?) ran up my leg.
Isn't he SO gorgeous...
Lucky me!
A favourite snapshot ~ of our lives.

From this month.
This moment is forever preserved.
To be remembered always.

29 April, 2011

Books by Angelika Wolk-Gerche

Born in Germany in 1951, Angelika Wolk-Gerche studied design in Hanover before becoming an art teacher. She now works as a freelance illustrator and textile designer, as well as leading courses in arts and crafts.  She has written several books, which are printed in both English and German. She currently lives near Stuttgart.

I am loving ALL of Angelika Wolk-Gerche's felting books!
I had heard rumour around our Steiner School, of using templates to make hollow fantastical creatures. 
So, when I recently came across another of Angelika Wolk-Gerche's books at the library ~ Creative Felt: Felting and Making Toys and Gifts  2007 I was so excited!
It's full of templates. For felted gnomes, treasure bags, dolls... Oooh!
It also has a sweet 'History of Felting' in the introduction &
many useful facts about the wool, natural dyeing and tools you require.

She has also released the following that I know of:
Creative Felt 2009
Making Fairy tale Wool animals 2002
More Magic Wool 2001
Papercraft - 
Though I haven't opened this last one myself yet
 This is only the tip of the iceberg.
Wait until I get started on other books by her publisher!
...and then on to other craft books and magazines I'm in love with...
Gracious Me, I need much more time-
To read, make and share with you!

28 April, 2011

Crocheted Rocket Finger~Puppet

Recently we visited a wonderful 2nd hand store that we pop into regularly.
The owner gave my eldest  'Mr Turtle' an astronaut and moon mobile...
And a new childhood obsession was born!

 We've moved on from 4 year old Dinosaur Devotion to
5 year old Outer Space Obsession.

I just had to join in!

 From the cutest book - Crochet Finger Puppets

27 April, 2011

Bright & Happy Little Gift Cards - repurposed stickers!

My youngest, Little Pipkin, loves stickers.
I always used to love stickers as a child. I would gently peel them off and place them carefully in my 'sticker books' to keep forever.
Not Little Pip!
He peels them off and sticks them anywhere and everywhere.

These stickers I thought were just too cute to be binned, 
so I collected & repurposed them!

 It took me about 20 minutes to make ALL of these cards. I was in fact On The Phone, the whole time and just put them together with scraps of paper I had to hand.
(Yes, I keep scraps of pretty paper!)

Very handy when I find we're going somewhere and a gift card is required last minute (this has happened more than once, now that I have children!).

Hope they've brightened up your day too!


25 April, 2011

An idea to make kid's lunch fun!

I'm sure I'm not the only parent to get the odd complaint
at the breakfast/lunch/dinner table!

 This may be one idea I can pass on to you that gets my boys eating!

I make many different toppings on the crackers and 
put them all in the centre of the table.
Then we all takes turns choosing whichever one we'd like to eat next.
One at a time.
 It really is simple.
And often, if they get to help apply the toppings,
I hear shouts of 'That was MY one'!

Trick of the Trade

24 April, 2011

Why the Easter Bunny?

There are many customs surrounding EASTER.

Some of us may know that Easter possibly derives its name from Eostre, the Saxon great Mother Goddess. Or the Norse goddess of Spring named Ostara.
Also Eastre is believed to be an ancient word for Spring (obviously with Easter being originally celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere).

Many of us know the Christian Bible story, traditionally told with the celebration of Easter. Commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

My knitted Hares from Easter 2010,
hand~sewn felt Bunnies &
a needle felted Rabbit made for this Easter 2011.
But why the Bunny?

I've done a bit of research, to find:
The 'bunny' is thought to have originated in Germany. The idea spreading throughout Europe and the US. Hares & Rabbits & Eggs had long been the symbol of fertility (new life of Spring). Rabbits would 'lay' eggs in nests during Easter Eve, and be found by children Easter morning. Cakes in the shape of hares & sweetened breads baked with a boiled egg, where some of the original sweets eaten at Easter.
Other symbols of Spring like lambs, ducklings and chicks soon followed.

Happy Easter!

23 April, 2011

Making Easter Cards

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in these annual celebrations.
Such as Christmas, Easter or Birthdays.
Our minds are so occupied, wanting to remember our gifts for everyone.
It's possible at these times, to forget that our young children
- mimicking our every action - want to give something too!

Often at these times we're so busy,
that having to stop to come up with an idea for our child to be able to give too,
might seem like time we don't have to spare.

In our home, that's when making CARDS save the day!
(They're also great at the last minute)
Pull out all of your art & craft items and let them create their own 'gift'.
And quite often, especially for Grannies, Grandpas, Aunts & Uncles,
these are the best gifts of all!

And just a quick tip on threading...

Instead of using a needle,
you can wrap a small piece of tape around the end of your wool yarn
to make it stiff enough to easily pass through the holes.
Then snip that end off once your child has completed their project.

Happy Easter!

21 April, 2011

Felt Easter Bunnies - blanket stitched

It seems any excuse these days and I am hand~sewing.
It truly is so therapeutic!
(& faster than I had ever imagined)

This year I have hand~sewn felt Rabbits.
Last year I knitted Hares.
(Next year - I am thinking Bilbies!)

I found a free template on Lisa Bunting Thoms blog - here
Then set to work:
I've used wool felt & wool fleece to stuff them with.

I used gather stitch at the base of the ears, after I had blanket stitched the 
inner and outer together.
This helped the ears to stand up. 

 I had to (i.e. wanted to) do one for each of my boys
for their Easter gift.

I needle felted the puffy little tails on.
They are just as sweet with their ears up or down I think!


19 April, 2011

Ever so yummy Easter (Hot Cross) Buns

I've always loved Easter Buns at any time of year.
I've made them by hand, in the bread machine and using the food processor.

They may seem complicated at 1st glance, but have a go!
(Recipe is below)
They're really quite easy to homebake and are
therefore much healthier for you too.

My kids are blown away by the magically frothing yeast.

Lots of things little fingers can help with!

 One of the most fun bits!
Punching down the dough to allow the trapped air bubbles to escape.

  I used to just make Easter Buns.
But this year, my little guys have been insistent on the cross!
(The batter used is wholemeal, that's why it's not white!)
Our Hot (crossed) Easter Buns
 14g dried yeast
1 C warm water
¼ C rapadura sugar
4 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1t mixed spice
½ t cinnamon
1c raisins
¼ C chopped prunes
¼ C chopped apricots
⅓ C milk
80g butter melted, then cooled
2 eggs

Blend yeast, water & sugar in a medium jug/bowl.
Set aside for about 10mins until frothy.

Add flour, spices, dried fruit in a mixing bowl. Stir together.
Make a well in the centre, pour in frothy mixture, milk, butter & eggs.
Use a knife to mix to a soft dough.
Knead dough on a floured bench top , then place in a lightly oiled large bowl.
Cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (20mins - 1hr)
 Punch risen dough down to avoid the ‘yeasty’ taste in your buns.
Then knead again and divide into 12 equal pieces (for 12 large, or into 24 for 24 smaller).
Roll/knead (or squish) each dough piece into a ball and place each next to each other on a lined lamington tray.
 Leave to rise again (15 mins).
Mix 2T water & ¼ C plain flour. Mix to a paste & place in a sandwich or piping bag. Cut off corner and pipe a cross onto each one Bake in a hot oven (210), for 10mins. Reduce temp to 180 and cook for remaining 20mins or until buns are golden brown & sound hollow when tapped.

Truly Yum!


17 April, 2011

Wet Felted Treasure Eggs

An Easter craft that really is hands (and heart) on for
those with the littlest fingers!

My Spring 2011 Issue of Living Crafts magazine
arrived recently! I LOVE this magazine.
Yes, it's from the other side of the world from here and thus the seasons are a bit different, but the celebrations and festivals are often the same.
Within this issue's pages is a project for Wishing Eggs.
Oooh ~ let's make OUR version!

 I couldn't find any wooden eggs, so styrofoam had to do - for the shape.
We cut up lengths of variegated wool to have colourful felted eggs.

 Water as hot as we could stand (Mama helped with this) &
some eco dish soap.
Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Then roll, rub, roll.
(Mama's help was not required for this extremely FUN part!)
Left out in the sun until dry. 

 Then I cut off the tops.
We kept the tops to 'close the door over our treasures'.
My boys like the 'What's the Surprise inside?' element...

Their lovely idea is then to place a word or a Wish inside
(hence the title of Wishing Eggs).

But my boys wanted to fill them with treasures instead.
So that's exactly what we did!

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