Crafting and time at home.

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Early last Saturday morning, my youngest daughter had to have two teeth removed under sedation 😦  She has had two poorly teeth on and off for almost a year. We have been able to keep infections under control using homeopathy, (so we didn’t have to resort to antibiotic use), but unfortunately the teeth were very weak due to my daughter grinding them at night (what a horrible sound!), so infections have kept returning with the ensuing pain…poor poppet. We were also advised that her next teeth could suffer if she keeps having recurring infections, so this weekend my daughter and I bravely went to have her teeth taken out.

Despite it being rather stressful, when they couldn’t find my daughters vein on the back of her hand (she still has lovely chubby hands…), the actual treatment was over in less than five minutes. So quick – not even time to get out my knitting – not that my trembling hands could have really knitted anything! She was drowsy for a little while and was sick in the car on the way home, but generally it was a good experience. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let us take the teeth home for the tooth fairy, as they were so decayed 😦 This really upset my daughter, so the surgery gave her a special picture to colour in, so the tooth fairy would know how brave she had been. Of course the tooth fairy paid a visit and the next morning my daughter was delighted to find two lovely crystals and a couple shiny coins.

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We were told that she should rest at home for at least 24 hours, so we brought down her duvet cover so she could lie on the sofa and watch a favourite film. By the afternoon she was pretty much back to normal; playing with her sister.

We spent a quiet Sunday at home too. It felt very restorative just being at home for a a couple of days. There was time to do some weeding and general tidying in the garden and I finally got around to sewing the flower children I mentioned here. I also started knitting the cardigan that I am planning to make for my youngest daughter’s birthday – in 11 days time – the countdown has begun!

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I am not too sure whether I will finish it in time. Let’s see. I have other projects to make for her birthday, so whatever gets done, will be her present. I am staying optimistic but not putting myself under pressure. The cardigan is loosely based on this pattern. I have been following the instructions for the yoke up to the sleeves, but won’t be doing any more lace detailing as my daughter wants the rest to be plain, apart from the diamonds on the yoke. I knitted her a little short sleeved cardigan in the same colour, with a very similar pattern on the yoke, when she was four years old (that she wore until she was six, even though it was very short by then). It was a favourite and since I can’t find the pattern again, I searched ravelry for the closest option. My concentration isn’t too great at the moment, so I am grateful for not having to do the diamond pattern throughout as I even struggled with copying the pattern on the yoke!! It will be short sleeved like the original version, so that will speed up the process. Wish me luck!!

The girls also really enjoyed a whole Sunday at home with plenty of time for imaginative play. The weather was glorious and they set up their own version of what they experienced on our visit to Batemans last weekend:

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There was face painting,

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a reading session,

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a cafe with home made food,

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and an open air gift shop.

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Naturally, my husband and I visited and enjoyed the ‘full treatment’! Later on, the girls set up a craft corner too, making hairbands. It was very sweet. I think half the fun with these kinds of things is the set up. The girls enjoyed putting it all together almost as much as playing.

During this time, my eldest took time out to make a turtle out of a coconut shell and papier mache with my husband.

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It has since been painted and varnished.

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She is in the fourth grade and this is the first school project she has undertaken, at 10 years of age. The current main lesson theme is “Man and Animal” and each child has chosen an animal to write about. My daughter chose the green sea turtle (after reading about it in this wonderful resource – thanks Helen!). The project involves writing several pages on a chosen animal, writing a short poem, designing an A3 poster and making a model of the animal.

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These will be displayed for other students to see. They then present their project to the class and take questions. My daughter did her presentation today and says she really enjoyed it and it went really well 🙂 My daughter is quite shy by nature and needs a safe space to flourish, without any pressure to perform. I feel so grateful for our school; that it has allowed her to have the confidence to proudly stand in front of her class and explain her project. That sort of thing used to petrify me at school!! Waldorf education at its best allows the individual to find their voice and to be proud of their own work. It is so helpful for the class to have the same teacher over many years as it allows the teacher to know each pupil deeply. My daughter’s class may have some challenges, but they do encourage each others work and work cooperatively.

Onto birthday crafts….as I mentioned my youngest daughter’s birthday is only eleven days away!  She has requested I make her a dress rather than a skirt this year. I have had the Geranium pattern for several years, hoping to make a dress for my girls, but they only ever wanted me to make them skirts for a long while. Finally I am getting a chance to get a sew a dress! My youngest suffers from tummy aches and doesn’t like her clothes to be too tight, so she has been wearing pinafores and dresses a lot more lately 😦  This dress looked nice and loose and flowing around the tummy, so we are hoping it will be a favourite.

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I allow my daughters to choose the yarn and fabric when I make their garments as they have very specific ideas about what they do and don’t like. We went to a lot of fabric shops before finally deciding on this gorgeous fabric. It is called “Grandmother’s Garden” and I think it’s a really lovely choice. When choosing fabric or yarn, I explain to my daughters that I too need to like it, as I will be spending time working with it. This makes it a bit challenging to find something we both like and it certainly narrows down the choices (!), but we always get there in the end 🙂

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I am also making her another crayon roll as her teacher has been giving them a lot of crayons this year – much more than my eldest had at this point – and the one I made her in September is too small now, so she is going to use it at home instead. I love the fabric she has chosen and will enjoy working with it and following my own tutorial – so handy that I wrote one and know where to find it !!! 🙂

When I was at Ikea last week, I bought my youngest a little wooden doll’s bed. I got her sister one from a charity shop years ago and we found her a little moses basket, but lately she has been hinting that the moses basket just isn’t up to scratch anymore (!) and I haven’t managed to locate another bed anywhere, so whilst I was in Ikea I remembered her wish and treated her to one for her birthday. I am glueing on some floral material onto the bottom to make it look pretty and making a red and white spotty duvet and pillow set (with material that I already have).

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Hopefully it will be a nice surprise for her. Then her Phoebe mouse finally has a proper bed like her sisters 🙂

The costumes are coming along well. I still have the gloves to work on and the ears, but the skirt, waistcoat and tails are done. I am going to use a press stud to attach the tail to the skirt I think.

That’s all my news for now. Looks like I will be doing plenty of crafting in the next week or so, not to mention having to think up some kind of cat-themed crafts for the party….It’s my favourite kind of busy 🙂

Wishing you all a happy Friday and a peaceful, enjoyable weekend. 

Joining Nicole for Crafting On

Spring felt flower children

 

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A little while ago, I wrote that I was making some little felt ‘flower children’ to adorn our Nature Table. I have since made three more daffodils (during the time they were abundant in nature) and this weekend I made three bluebells and another tulip child. I have had the felt cut out since our holiday in Cornwall, but I never found the time to sew them up somehow. We had a quiet weekend at home, so I finally had a chance to finish them off and add them to our nature table.

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I started making these ‘flower children’ before I realised there were instructions in the wonderful Waldorf craft resource All Year Round . As I made them up myself, my measurements and directions are a little different. There are instructions for making snowdrop, primrose and crocus ‘fairies’ in the book, so I won’t share how I made those, but I thought I would share a little tutorial on how I made the bluebells, tulips (and daffodils) with you as they are still abundant and spring is still in the air 🙂

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For this project, I would recommend using 100% wool felt. I buy mine from Myriad Natural Toys. Items made from 100% wool felt look lovely for a long time; there is no degradation or pilling  – except if you have a moth in your nature table box like my eldest did – several of her wool decorations have been nibbled at 😦

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Materials for flower children:

* 100% wool felt in the colours of your choice.
*  Flesh coloured stockinette – I used this fabric left over from making our Waldorf dolls, but any light coloured stretchy fabric would work.
*  Cotton thread in green,  thread to match the felt chosen and a strong cotton thread.
*   Stuffing wool (or toy stuffing).

All the heads are made as follows. I made several at once in a mini production line:

  • Cut a 7cm x 7cm square of stockinette. Take a small amount of sheepswool and place it in the centre of the stockinette.

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  • Bring all the sides together and hold firmly as you tie a strong cotton thread a couple of times around the neck until it feels firm. Tie a knot and cut.

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I am going to give detailed instructions for making the tulip child. The other flower children are made in a very similar way, except for the hats, which I will describe separately.

For the Tulip, you will need to cut

  • 8cm x 6cm of red/purple/orange etc felt for the body
  • 8cm x 3.5cm of medium green felt for the leaves
  • 14cm x 3.5cm of red/purple/orange etc felt for the hat

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  1. Cut the felt into the shapes shown above for the leaves and hat petals.

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2. Knot a length of green thread and sew the green leaves onto body using a simple running stitch at the top. Leave a long thread on the needle.

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2.    Use a separate needle and thread to sew the short sides of the body together to form a tube. This can be done with blanket stitch or any preferred joining stitch. Secure thread.

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3.    Place the head inside the body and using the green thread from stage 2, pull the thread tightly to hold the head in place. When you are happy, take the needle through all the layers – neck, body and leaves – several times at different angles to make sure the head stays in place.

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4.   For the hat, place the head on the felt and roll it around the head. There will be two layers. Try to ensure that the petals aren’t right on top each other for the best effect.

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5. Once you have worked out the size of the hat, remove it. Take a thread in a similar colour to the felt and sew the hat together as seen below, going through both layers,  using your preferred joining stitch.

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6. Place the hat back on the head and using the same thread sew through all the layers including the head several times to secure the hat to the head. NB: best to match up the bodyseam with the hat seam.

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7. Place some stuffing wool inside the body so it can stand happily.

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And here you have your proud tulip children

For the bluebell child, cut:

  • 8cm x 6cm of purple felt for the body
  • 8cm x 3.5cm of medium green felt for the leaves
  • 8cm x 3.5cm of purple felt for the hat

 

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  • Follow the instructions for the head and body as shown with the tulip child, cutting the felt out as shown above.
  • For the hat, knot the thread at one end and do a running stitch along the top.

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  • Pull the stitches tight and pull the thread through the top from one side to the other side of the hat a couple of times to make it secure.

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  • Using the same thread, secure the hat to the head by sewing through the hat and the head a few times.  

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And here is the finished product 🙂

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For the Daffodil child, you will need to cut:

  • 8cm x 6cm of yellow felt for the body
  • 8cm x 3.5cm of medium green felt for the leaves
  • 8cmx 3.5cm of yellow/white felt for the daffodil hat
  • 4cm x 1.5cm of yellow/orange felt for the daffodil trumpet

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1.  Follow the instructions for the head and body as shown with the tulip child, cutting the felt out as shown above. There should ideally be six petals.

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2.  For the hat, knot the thread at one end and do a running stitch along the top. Pull a little together but wait to insert the trumpet before closing the gap.

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3.  For the trumpet, sew both short sides together as shown.

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4.  Do a running stitch along the bottom with the same thread and pull it tight and secure.

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5.  Insert the trumpet into the petal part and pull the thread (from stage 2) tight around the trumpet as shown.
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6.  Sew the hat onto the head, by sewing through the hat and head several times at a  pleasing angle.

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I love these bright and cheery daffodil children!

I have grouped the flower children in threes as my husband, who is a Garden Designer has always said three is the magic number for groups of plants. You know I think he is right. 🙂

Of course there are lots of variations on all of these. Daffodils come in all different colours and styles, so I made three different ones to reflect that. Bluebells also come in different shades of purple (and even in pink and white). And tulips of course come in a gorgeous array of colours.

You can add hair to any of these if you like. I prefer them without, but my daughters think they look bald otherwise. Personal preference 🙂

We are thinking of making tiny daisy children and dandelion children for the summer months and perhaps some buttercups 🙂 Let’s see….

Hope this has inspired you to make some more items for your nature table, or just to have a go with a simple craft like this.

I love making time for Nature Table crafts 🙂  

 

Sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party

 

 

 

 

One step forward, one step back….

It’s been a funny week so far with trying to get things done in the garden or creatively. I feel like I am getting somewhere and then it doesn’t work out at all and I need to start again or rethink. Ho hum…

*   I ordered some yarn for the two cardigans I am going to make for my daughters and was excited to be getting started on new projects, but when I knit up a gauge swatch, it became clear that the yarn we had chosen wasn’t suitable, despite loving the colours.

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It’s cotton yarn which I haven’t used before. I was hoping it would make a nice light summery top, but it isn’t suitable for the patterns I have chosen – “too gappy” my daughters have told me and I agree with them!

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So back it went on Monday to loveknitting (who do free postage and returns – thank goodness!). I just received the new order this morning and knitted up a swatch. I need to work on smaller needles to get the gauge and surprise surprise, I don’t have any 3.25mm circular needles so have had to order some! I have most other sizes of needle funnily enough  😦

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Hopefully this yarn will meet with everyones approval. It’s tricky sometimes ordering yarn online, but the local shops don’t have much choice, colourwise, so it’s the only way to get a nice selection to choose from.

*   I have also started painting the girl’s playhouse at the back of our garden.

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It has been dark brown for a year or so because the original wood became very stained so we decided to cover it with a darker colour. It looks o.k but my daughters are keen to make it more girly and would like to paint rambling flowers on the outside, so we need to paint it a lighter colour.  Unfortunately the two colours I have tried so far are not suitable.


They are too light or too bright I am told by my husband and I tend to agree. The playhouse is right at the top of our sloping garden and really stands out now more than we would want. The colours on offer for sheds/fences are very limited. It looks so patchy now, I wish I’d just left it dark brown!!! But I shall persevere and hopefully find a solution soon that will please everyone.  Thank goodness for tester pots!!

*  I sowed all our seeds in the last few weeks and things were looking good; lots of little happy seedlings …

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but when I went into the greenhouse on Tuesday, rows of them, especially the fruiting plants, had been decimated overnight by snails! Sob!

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Back to the drawing board….Late on Wednesday evening (I could sow fruiting plants  from 8pm to midnight according to my biodynamic calendar) I was up in the greenhouse, sowing more pumpkins, sweetcorn, courgette and butternut squash seeds and scouring the greenhouse for snails! I found three big juicy snails 😦  I was tempted to feed them to the chickens, but my daughters would be horrified, so I took them for a little drive to disorientate them – I used to take them to the local park, but we marked some snails one year to see if they would find their way back as we had heard they could and they did!!! 😦

So I begin again. That is just how it is with this gardening lark. We always need to sow extra to share….

Anyway, onto something that I have accomplished…

I finished my Wurm hat (only to have it warming up again!!)

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I am pleased with it. It is lovely and slouchy and nice and warm around the ears, which I will appreciate in the winter and a nice bright colour, which always gets my vote!

And in progress..

My youngest daughter wants to celebrate her birthday at the end of May with two friends from school and she would like them all to dress up as cats. We went fabric shopping and came back with some leopard and tiger print fabric which I am going to turn into skirts and little vests. And the furry fabric is for ears and possibly gloves and a tail. Let’s see….I suggested trousers, but my girls prefer skirts, so skirts it is.

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I just spent a bit of time cutting and sewing on the leopard print set. Lovely to be sewing in our new studio and actually getting something done!!

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I am copying a vest that we already have for dressing up – from when I was a girl – and making a simple rectangular skirt for my eldest. My youngest has other ideas, that I am not yet clear on (!) so I thought I would start and see what she thinks.

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Hope you are having a fruitful and creative week! 

Joining Nicole for Crafting On

Joining Kat for Unraveled Wednesday

 

I

Breathing in and breathing out…

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I find it is so important to strike a balance in our lives between ‘breathing in‘ and ‘breathing out‘. Physically we need the exchange of air from the in and out breath for our survival, but metaphorically speaking, we also need the ‘in-breath‘ of work, activity and concentrated effort balanced by the ‘out-breath‘ of relaxation, rest and play.  With too much activity, we can feel exhausted and overstretched and with too much rest, we can become lethargic and demotivated, so the balance is important.

As a family of introverts (who get our energy from time alone), we really need our downtime between activities or social times. With too much activity, we can become tired, frazzled and frankly quite antisocial (especially to family members!). So after a full week followed by a busy Saturday, we were all relieved to have a lovely long ‘out breath‘ on Sunday, an unrushed, playful and restorative day before the ‘inbreath‘ of the working/school week.

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I finally ‘undertook’ a trip to IKEA on Friday, which is a three hour round trip. My husband refuses ever to set foot in the place again (too overstimulating – I know what he means!) so I made the trip alone. My eldest was due to go to a friend’s party followed by a sleepover, so I seized the opportunity to arrange for my youngest to play at a friend’s house after school. This was her first proper ‘play date’ without me or her sister. It was a big step for her, but she loved it, so this could be the start of a new era for her and for me 🙂

Ikea was thankfully very quiet and I found most of the items I came for, so it was worth it and I got to listen to my own music in the car which was an added bonus!

We had an early start on Saturday, picking our eldest up at 8.30am and driving into town so she and my husband could take part in our city’s annual Children’s Parade. Every first weekend in May, all the local schools pull out the creative stops and parade through the City in wonderful costumes, heralding the start of the City’s month long Arts Festival.

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Both my daughters took part last year, but my youngest found it too loud; with all the drumming, whistling and chanting, so she took a break this year. My eldest still wanted to participate, so we have been attending weekly workshops after school to make costumes and willow waves.

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The theme this year was poems and our school chose the nonsense poem The Akond of Swat by Edward Lear. We are blessed to have some very creative parents in our school, so the willow main structure was amazing. The costumes were relatively simple this year, but there was still plenty of sewing, glueing and painting to be done!

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Last year our theme was Alice in Wonderland and a wondeful costume designer, whose children attend our school, designed the costumes. Here are the girls at last year’s parade 🙂

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My youngest and I waited in the quiet of a cafe for the parade to begin and so I could take some photos 🙂 Here are are a few of the impressive main structures we saw.

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It’s a very creative City we live in 🙂

My youngest daughter and I escaped for half an hour or so for some peace and quiet whilst the Parade was on – we spent the time in a field, cleaning up (or poo picking as they call it!) after our pony. Not glamorous, but just the ‘outbreath’ we both needed 🙂

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In the afternoon we headed out to the circus, just me and my daughters this time as Daddy needed his own ‘outbreath’! We always try to catch a circus show once a year as the girls really enjoy seeing the feats that the artists can perform. This circus was in our area for the weekend and as it was only ten minutes walk from home, I could find no good reason not to go!  It was certainly good fun, if rather loud again 🙂

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My eldest has so much more stamina now she is ten. She used to find sleepovers exhausting and it took her days to recover. But this weekend she managed a sleepover and a full on day and was still in good spirits by the end of it all. She is stepping further away from home slowly and has some more sleepovers lined up over the next couple of months. It is heartening to see her venture out and become more adventurous (especially as both her and her sister tend to be very cautious and anxious about anything new).

We had a slow start on Sunday and later took a trip out to visit the home of the well known author Rudyard Kipling,  Batemans in Sussex. It was our first time there.

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 Rudyard Kipling lived there from 1902 until his death in 1936. He and his wife Carrie fell in love with the property and gardens at first sight, despite it being rather dilapidated at the time and he is said to have referred to it as a “good and peaceable place” and what a beautiful place it is!

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On her death, Kipling’s wife entrusted the property to the National Trust as a memorial to her husband. Kipling was a world famous author and poet in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. His books are still well loved today, including the Jungle Book, Kim, Puck of Pook Hill and The Just So Stories.

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Last weekend they just happened to be celebrating the story “Rewards and Fairies”

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so there was a fairy-themed trail, with four gorgeous fairy houses to discover amongst the grounds – perfect timing for our fairy loving girls!

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and we heard “How the Camel got its Hump”, one of the Just So stories narrated by Kipling himself (well, sort of!)

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There was even some beautiful fairy face painting, which my eldest could not resist.

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The gardens are extensive and are both formal and informal. There was certainly plenty of space to run around and let off steam, including weaving in and out of a row of pleached trees. Great fun!

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We had a lovely day out and will definitely visit again.

And on the subject of breathing, I leave you with some wise words from Thich Nhat Hanh – I use them as a meditation tool when I want to calm my system down and practise gratitude 🙂

“Breathing in I calm my body down, Breathing Out I smile”

“Breathing in, I dwell deeply in the present moment. Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment”   

May begins….

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We enjoyed a lovely long weekend, with it being a May Day bank holiday on Monday and my husband’s birthday on Tuesday.

On Saturday I took a trip to London to meet a German friend of mine and her family and be a tourist for a day. We did a lot of walking along the river and caught up on each others lives too, which was nice. Her boys are the same age as my girls and are very sweet. We met them in Germany a couple of years ago and had a lot of fun together. My daughters didn’t want to come this time – they find London too busy, overstimulating and tiring and I must say I came to the same conclusion by the end of the day – I was so exhausted I missed my bus stop twice on the way home!!!

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On Sunday we met up with friends in Sussex for a walk amongst the bluebells. What a deep joy it is to see that lovely blue haze amongst the trees. The place was literally carpeted in these beauties.

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We met our very best friends with their daughters – who are like sisters to my girls – and we all had a wonderful time, playing fairies and just enjoying each others company amongst wonderful scenery.

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I even spied a pheasant taking a stroll through the bluebells.

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I love May and bluebell time – it is such a joyful season.

On May Day (1st May – Beltane), I added our little May Pole to the Nature Table.

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I made these needle felted children when my eldest was still in Kindergarten and I didn’t have much needle felting experience. I was determined to make some children dancing around the Maypole! They are rather “rustic” and don’t stand up very happily, but as with many of the rustic items for my nature table, they have been imbued with some special quality after years of use and so will continue to dance for  years to come 🙂  Who knows how many more years my daughters will still appreciate the Nature Table? I imagine I will continue to decorate regardless for a while as I love having a Nature Table – it is nourishing for me too!

I did have to make some new decorations for the mobile over our dining table as the tissue paper flowers were looking very worn after years of use.

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These paper flowers are so easy to make and bring a smile to my face. The May Day mobile is probably my favourite mobile of the whole year, so it was worth the small effort to make them anew. I thought I would share how I made them, just in case anyone out there fancies having a go and isn’t a regular crafter.

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Cut out two identical circles of paper by folding some tissue paper in half and tracing  a circle around a tiny plate, bowl or play doughnut (!)

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Cut petal shapes into it or just snip many many times into the sides of the paper for daisy like flowers

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Scrunch up a little green piece of tissue paper and stick it in the middle with glue, making sure to putthe glue on the green tissue paper not the flower itself or it may tear.

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Take hold of the centre of the flower on the underside and let it fold into itself naturally – when it is opened, it looks very natural that way.

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Pin the flower to the mobile – using a pin in green or a similar colour to the flower itself.

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Make lots of tissue paper flowers and pin them to your mobile with ribbons for a May Day Maypole effect. Add a candle below and let your mobile dance 🙂

My youngest had a party to go to on Monday, but before she went, she and her sister sowed their beds with (plenty of!!) meadow flower seed. We have given each of them a small bed to grow things in. They have decided to grow flowers this year, with the bees and butterflies in mind and because they, like me, like to bring cut flowers into the home.  My daughters love to watch the visiting wildlife and since it was “flower” day in the biodynamic calendar, we seized the moment!

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There is always Maypole dancing at school, which we are invited to, but it will take place later in May this year because of the late Easter. There is quite a bit of practising to do I believe – there are some quite intricate dances! Here is a favourite photo of my daughters dressed in their May Day finery when my eldest was still in Kindergarten. We gave it to Daddy for Father’s Day at the time. They have grown up so much since then….

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A favourite book for May Day is Little Grey Rabbit’s May Day

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This lovely book tells us of some of the pagan traditions for Beltane. The animals wish to decorate the May tree for May Day and Hare has to ‘obtain’ a couple of Crown Imperials for the top of the crowns. I smiled when I recently discovered this row of Crown Imperials at a garden we visited, They are quite remarkable.

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My husband celebrated his birthday yesterday. We spent a quiet morning together in a village nearby, enjoying a leisurely breakfast and walk.

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We picked up our daughters at lunchtime as we always like to celebrate our birthdays as a family – luckily my eldest was only missing out on handwork and eurythmy so it was fine to come home early. We went for an afternoon of fun at a nearby National Trust Property. As it was midweek, it was nice and quiet, so the girls and my husband managed to have the rose garden all to themselves to play chase in. I joined in towards the end to give my husband a break. Great fun!

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We were all hot and out of breath by the end of it!

Of course there were the usual birthday traditions and decorations. We wouldn’t have it otherwise 🙂

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My eldest made up this cross stitch book mark for her Daddy in a couple of hours on Monday, whilst her sister and I were at the party and my husband was working from home.

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I know I am probably biased, but i love it and find her so creative.

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and my youngest, knowing there was little time to make a present, chose to make Daddy some birthday bunting in coloured card, which looks lovely and festive and will no doubt take pride of place for many birthdays to come!  🙂

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Since I last wrote, I have been doing a fair bit of care for our little guinea pig ‘Pipkin’; dosing him up on medicine and special food via a syringe and also giving him water by a pipette as he wasn’t drinking either. He patiently let me look after him and didn’t struggle when I wrapped him in a towel to keep him still whilst administering all these things.

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In fact it has been a really lovely bonding experience. Caring for a sick animal is quite humbling – a real soul to soul experience. My daughters also spent a lot more time than usual with him  (and his friend ‘Bubble’) and we think he is recovering quite well. His abdomen is still a little tender and swollen, but he is eating well now – mainly hay at the moment as we heard that greens, especially new spring grass can be very gassy for guinea pigs.

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We have been doing quite a bit of research online – thank goodess for the internet! We have now re-introduced carrot and parsley and have been giving him a twice daily tummy massage with an electric toothbrush, which seems to help and he finds it relaxing!! The things you do for those you love!! 🙂 I do hope we have turned a corner. He certainly seems to be back to his old self – fingers crossed!

Apart from all the above, I have been trying to put the house back together after the school holiday (!) and had a good session sorting our new ‘studio’ space out on Thursday.

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It is getting there – it just needs a bit of prettying up and an injection of colour/inspiration, but those are just the finishing touches, important at they are 😉

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I am so looking forward to getting some sewing done in there. It has been a while since I have sewn anything much, except little things by hand. My youngest daughter’s birthday is coming up at the end of the month, so I had better get started!

I hope you have had a enjoyable start to the Merry Month of May! 

 

 

Reading, Knitting and musing…

I thought I would write a little about the books I have been reading lately, with pictures of the knitting I have been doing on the side 🙂

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I took the The Friday Night Knitting Club on holiday with me and really enjoyed this book. The main protagonist is Georgia Walker, a capable single mum and owner of a knitting shop in New York’s Broadway. She is doing well, making ends meet and raising her 12 year old daughter singlehandedly with support from an older friend and mentor Anita. Not long into the book, she is faced with two people from the past unexpectedly returning into her life and long buried betrayals resurface. The Friday Night Knitting Club comes into being quite by accident, but familiar characters return every week to knit and unlikely friendships and connections are formed. The book is well written and is an easy yet engaging read. I won’t go into too much detail, but I was in tears by the end. A good read with an unexpected ending. Also great to spend some ‘virtual’ time in a knitting shop 🙂

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I have just finished The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul which I found on a book shelf at our holiday cottage (I left another book in exchange). I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is written by Deborah Rodriguez, an American writer who used to own and teach at a beauty school in Kabul, Afghanistan and also co-owned a coffee shop there. She is well placed to write about the region and the people, having spent five years living and working there. The story centres around five women: Sunny – an American who runs the coffee shop, Halajan – the owner of the building who has a modern outlook, but must hide this from her son, Yasmina – a country girl, pregnant and abducted from her uncle’s house, who works in the cafe, Isabel – a British journalist with quite a past and Candace – a rich American divorcee, looking for her calling in life. Their lives entwine as they get to know each other in the cafe and good friendships are formed through adversity. There is once again the theme of women connecting and together they get things done. We learn about how women there are oppressed and devalued by their culture and have to live under a strict code of conduct. The book is set at a time when the Taliban were starting to get a stronger grip on things and life is unstable in Kabul. We learn a lot about Afghan culture, traditions and the different ethnic groups. It was quite eye opening in some ways for me and certainly makes me appreciate the freedoms I have as a woman in the West. The characters are believable and it left me wanting more. I just saw there is a sequel to it and a couple more books by the author so I will certainly be ordering more 🙂

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And at the weekend I started reading Tomorrow There Will be Apricots. There are two female protagonists I believe, an eighty year old and a troubled teenager, Lorca, who I am just getting to know.  So far so good.

As you can see, I have started a new knitting project. I didn’t work on with my sweater this week as I had to wind another ball of yarn before continuing. As it has been getting cooler here again, I decided I would finally knit myself a hat! So this weekend, on the train to London to see friends, I cast on to knit a Wurm hat

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and after two train journeys and a couple of car trips, I am nearly there 🙂 I have made a Wurm hat before and found it a very flattering, fun shape. The bright, soft blue/green Merino yarn is also making it an enjoyable knit.

I have noticed the books I am gravitating to are about women’s relationships and the need to form a supportive community.  I think women’s groups are so important; be they friendships, reading groups, craft groups or political groups or even an antenatal group. Women need to connect and support each other and not be in isolation as we go through life’s stages and challenges. We thrive in a supportive environment where we can feel safe to be a woman, to express ourselves fully; our passions, joys, fears, doubts and vision for the future. We all have our own individual strengths of course, but I believe together we are stronger, and confiding in each other we can feel more validated and thus become bolder and wiser.

I feel the world needs women’s wisdom now more than ever, perhaps even for its very survival. I have heard it often said that women will change the world for the better – as creators, nurturers, communicators, visionaries and peacemakers – we understand what the world needs to mend its broken heart and to safeguard the future of the world. As mothers we are perhaps even better placed to want (and need) change and perhaps to create it, one child at a time;  by encouraging in our children a deep love and respect for our planet, for our fellow beings (including animals) and for all of nature.

Recently I became impressed by the vision and work of Clare Dubois and Tree Sisters. I am enjoying contributing to their cause, albeit only financially at this time. It is so inspiring and encouraging to see women standing up for what is important so we can create a viable future for our planet.

Even through this little blog here, I hope to build some form of community, however small, through sharing and connecting with other women (bloggers or not) with similar values. We need to support each other; to applaud each other for our womanly skills – It is another way of sharing and valuing what we do.

Gosh I didn’t realise I was going to write that, but it is something that dawns on me often; that if we women listened to our deepest longings – for peace, harmony, connection and community, then we have all the answers. We just need to subdue our fear of being too much, too powerful (we have generations of female ancestors who were devalued and belittled for being women whose voices still whisper their fears to us, but would, I think, want us to be free).

Finally, I would like to share a couple of things with all you lovely women out there, that have struck a chord with me. I hope you like them!

This video clip was sent to me by a friend.

And do have a listen to this free meditation by Scott Brandon Hoffman –  It is called a “I See You” – a Love Letter to women. Take some time out alone and enjoy this warm bath for the soul. You deserve it!

Dear Woman, never doubt how special you are.

 Sharing at Unravelled Wednesdays