Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wool felt donut tutorial

List of requirements for 1 donut:
30 x30cm piece mushroom coloured wool felt
15 x15cm piece of wool felt for icing
Carded wool or polyfil for stuffing
Embroidery floss
Sewing thread

These can be sewn either by hand or machine. Machine will give a neater finish, but I have made them both ways.

Print out the pattern from here. Make sure your printer settings are at 100%.
Trace pattern pieces onto felt and cut out. This picture has a mistake! The top piece should also have a hole, I took the photo before I cut out the hole, sorry about that!


Pin the icing onto one piece of the mushroom wool felt.


Sew around the outside of the icing, either on the machine or with a running stitch or backstitch by hand to secure it.


For sprinkles, use your choice of embroidery floss (here I've used a variegated one by DMC) to make short, straight stitches randomly on the icing.


Put your undecorated piece of wool felt on top of the decorated one so that right sides are facing. Sew all the way around the outside (backstitch if you're hand sewing).


Turn the donut right sides out so it looks like this :)


Starting from anywhere around the centre hole, close to the edges blanket stitch by hand with a floss matching the icing, 3/4 way around. *Note - if you're not confident with blanket stitch you can do either a small running stitch or backstitch. The reason I like blanket stitch is it looks extremely neat and leaves no holes.
When 3/4 of the way round begin to stuff. Poke the stuffing with your fingers to ensure a firm donut with even consistency right around. When you're happy with the stuffing, continue to stitch around the inner circle until completely closed, knot and sink the finished end in.


Ta da! Isn't that easy? Don't you want to make heaps and heaps? 

If you need a wool felt stockist Winterwood Toys is my favourite.

Please respect the fact that I am the original author of this post, that I have spent time and care in putting together this tutorial and drawing a pattern to share with you. Therefore, I ask that you do not steal from me or fail to give credit. Thank you!

*If you have any trouble printing the pattern or following the instructions please take the time to let me know -I can't fix it if I don't know about it!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

3 ways to save money today - volume 3

1. Make your own deodorant:
 I've been using this for 9 months and it's absolutely fantastic. I was a total skeptic that this would work as I've always felt I "needed" an anti-perspirant. I've been very pleasantly surprised that the body odour I was masking with those freaky chemicals simply does not exist with the natural deodorant.


1/4 cup bicarb soda (baking soda)
1/4 cup cornflour
4 tablespoons organic virgin cold pressed coconut oil (I use the Melrose brand, available in the health food section at Coles).
10 drops essential oil (optional)

Mix all ingredients together until creamy. If the oil is solid it can be melted with heat to combine with the dry ingredients more readily. After your daily shower, just rub about a choc dot sized amount of paste onto the armpit area. In hot weather, your deodorant will melt unless kept in a cool spot, I keep mine at the bottom of the cupboard in the ensuite which is a very cool room so mine only melts on really hot days. If it does melt, it won't affect the quality, just give it a stir and pop it in the fridge until solid again.

*A note about the coconut oil. The stuff ain't cheap ($10) a jar. Don't let that turn you off. One jar will make several quantities of deodorant and each quantity will last ages. Compared to roughly $6 a pop for a can of anti-perspirant (if I remember correctly!) you will definitely save money using natural deodorant not to mention the huge benefit to your health.

2. Shop around for insurance.
If you've been with one provider for some time see if they can do a better deal. When comparing companies, write figures down and present them to possible providers (who are keen to go one better than their competitors).

3. Give regularly to charity.
What? I hear you say - aren't we talking about saving money? You can take or leave this advice but in my experience God will provide for those who provide for others.

My wool felt order has arrived and I hope to have the wool felt donut tutorial up within the next few days. Until then, God bless you :)


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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bright Rainbows


Since I spend a bit of time on my artist page on Facebook I forget to come here and show what I've been doing. There have been a few brightly coloured rainbows coming out of my dye studio. My laundry I mean.


This one came out so pretty and the 10 ply means it's beautifully soft and squishy. It's what I'm knitting with at the moment, but I have a spare 100g skein in my Etsy shop, as I thought someone would be bound to want some.


Here is the felt piece laid out. The colours bled a little in the steaming process, which I really like (and someone else did too - it sold very quickly!)


I dyed this skein to contrast with the bright rainbow yarn for Anna's Green Apple dress. The pattern says "adventurous beginner" but I've hit a stumbling block already, hopefully I can figure it out and go on with the dress, it really is a gorgeous pattern.


Hello! Last week was my birthday, so this is me at 37. What a good age it is too :)


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Easing into unschooling?

This year has been quite a happy one for me personally and for my family too. Pondering over this recently led me to realise how drastically my approach to the home education of our children has changed.



Although I think of our style as "classical", in my heart and mind I've been leaning towards what some have termed "unschooling". I guess the term can apply to anyone who chooses not to send their child/ren to a typical school, but it does seem to receive a bad rap.

Does unschooling mean that Mum flits around doing what she pleases while the kids languish in boredom and nothingness? Of course not! To me, unschooling is living a lifestyle of learning, having the time to follow your own learning pursuits and build skills independently as well as together.

Now, I don't think of my family as unschoolers. But I do know this. Since I relaxed our formal learning schedule things have changed for the better. We all have more time and we all use our time effectively (for the most part). We appreciate not being tied to a strict schedule that dictates what we do and when we do it. Isn't that one of the reasons I don't send my children to school anyway? It sure is!



Yesterday a few events highlighted the positive changes. My husband is usually home on Mondays, so we use it as a day off rather than a "school work day". In the morning the two older girls (6 & 7) read books about dinosaurs together and had discussions about the same, then the older girl worked on her knitting and stitching projects while the younger one played with Lego. Meanwhile, the littlest in our family (4) was in her room setting up a "farm". Our son (13) went out with his Dad to run errands the spent the larger part of the afternoon formulating and testing mathematical equations that I've never seen before! A year ago, this boy hated maths. Other parts of the day are used for art and craft work, writing, exercise, playing (individually and together), reading (lots of!), prayer and family activities. There is always plenty to do.

I was asked the other day whether we are unschoolers. My reply was "can we be in-betweeners?" We're not throwing our "school" books away, there is a lot of value in sitting down to do bookwork, especially from a self disciplinary aspect and ensuring that basic education is covered. But I do find it truly amazing what a child can achieve when given the space to breathe.



*If you're interested in reading more about unschooling, Sue's blog is excellent and truly inspiring.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Come, thou fount of every blessing - acoustic

I've deliberated for ages over whether to post this or not, but this blog is meant to be for sharing and I haven't shared my love of singing with you before.
It's an awfully, awfully long time since I sang for anyone and this was just done on the spur of the moment when the kids were outside playing and I had some rare quiet time. It's very rough, recorded on Garage band without a microphone, so, be kind :)
Inspired by Audrey Assad's recent version of this beautiful song of praise.


3 ways to save money today - volume 2

1. Make food from scratch. Not only will this save you a lot of money but it will be healthier for you and your family. How often do you use a packet mix to make a meal? Or heat something from a jar? Yes, it will take extra time to cook from scratch but it is worth it for our family.

Here are some things I make from scratch rather than buy pre packaged.
Yoghurt
Bread and rolls
Pasta sauce
Casseroles or stew
Beans and lentils
Cakes and biscuits
Pizza
Hot chips


2. Buy in bulk
If there is a food item (say flour) that you use constantly and fairly quickly, see what the bulk prices are like - for most things the savings are significant.

3. Make ahead and freeze.
If you manage to get your hands on some cheap minced beef, why not buy a few kilograms and cook it all up at once, divide into freezer bags and freeze. You only have to deal with the meat once and all at one time. This means you don't have to do the dishes for that particular meal over and over, you don't have to turn the gas or electricity on and off as you would if cooking each meal separately and best of all your freezer is stocked with some heat and serve meals! (By the way - I'm not suggesting you eat this meal repeatedly, stretch it out over a couple of months so that you don't all get tired of eating the same thing).

Wishing you all a happy and holy weekend, God bless you!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shop update


I've been working on my Etsy shop a little and must say, I'm pretty happy with how it's looking at the moment - it really reflects what I do and the different skills I have, plus the things I love.
 I wanted to get a full screen shot but as I'm possibly one of the least tech savvy of people, I could only get half!

Why not pop over and have a look for yourself (then you'll get to see the whole thing!)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Silkies and soap making


I have to show off Mary's new silkies, they are so gorgeous! If you have ever considered having them, I do recommend them, especially as children's pets. Don't those feathers look soft, they're more like hair than feathers. Look at those comical hair styles :)


I'm not sure how old they are (forgot to ask!) but they're not laying yet, so still young.


These two are classic, they're totally inseparable, even though the dark black one is much younger. They spend their days roaming our backyard and the best part is they don't scratch up the garden and make a mess like the Isa browns do!


Soap making revisited. My second attempt - a different recipe this time. While the last batch of soap was nice it was nowhere near what I expect in a bar of soap. Too slimy and soft. This time I've opted for a castile recipe using beeswax and palm oil (sustainable of course!) to hopefully make harder, long lasting bars.



Looks like custard, the beeswax gives a beautiful golden glow and a really lovely, honeyish scent.















And finished! After resting overnight I'll be cutting bars tomorrow, then curing for 4 weeks (that's the worst part - waiting).

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Felt food and wrist warmers


It's cold. It's wet. It's the perfect weather for working with wool! I knit these wrist warmers for myself originally, but they fit my eldest daughter better. In fact, the morning after I finished them they had disappeared from my sewing table and were seen on the wrists of a smiling lassy ;)

These were a really easy knit from leftover yarn. The pattern is in "Learn to knit love to knit" by Anna Wilkinson.


Today is also our youngest daughter's 4th birthday and I found myself in a bit of a panic 2 days ago when I realised I didn't have any hand made gifts for her and my sewing machine is still being serviced. It's a bit of a tradition now for me to give at least one Mama made gift.

I went through my wool felt drawer and thankfully found some pieces big enough to make some donuts. Since my eldest daughter started sewing and embroidering, my wool felt stores have been seriously depleted!


What's your favourite flavour, strawberry?


Choc?


Or vanilla? 

Once again, if you would like a tutorial on how to make these, just let me know. I don't mind doing tutorials and sharing patterns but I mostly only do tutorials nowadays if somebody asks.