felted eggs

Lately our little boy has been quite fascinated by chicken’s. So much so that his Lito (or Grandpa) actually got him two chicken’s of his very own to help take care of. He loves to give his chicken’s big hugs and even kisses. Oh how this boy needs a farm! Along with his obsession with chicken’s comes an interest in eggs. He just loves when we get to crack an egg when baking something yummy, unfortunately I never let him have a turn at breaking open the egg. I’m not quite ready for that mess just yet! So I thought it was time for him to get some little play eggs of his own for his play kitchen. I had seen some play eggs before online but made of wood. I thought that felted eggs would be just as great, maybe even better! All his other play food is already made of felt so I thought they would tie in very well together. In plus I love any excuse to felt some wool.

I decided that wet felting would be the best way to go for this project, pulled out my natural undyed wool and got to work. I tried my best to get Kai involved in the process, as I love the idea of him being able to help out to make his own toys and especially to be able to play with water and wool. However, it is quite hard for a two year old to understand or be able to have the fine motor skills to be able to shape an eggs out of a wet glob of wool. So I simply have him his own little ball of wool and let him do as he pleased with it. He enjoyed this very much. To make these felted eggs you will need the following.

Materials:

  • Natural, undyed wool
  • A bowl of warm water
  • Dish soap
  • A small towel
  • A felting needle (not nessasary but helpful)
  • An empty carton of eggs (I cut a 12 dozen carton of eggs in half that I had in the crafting closet for this project)

To get started fill your bowl of water (warm water works best), have your dishsoap and other supplies nearby and now begin by pulling out some wool. To begin you must start shaping thin layers of wool into an oval (egg shape). The technique I like best is to take a thin strip of wool about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide and start by placing my index finger in the center of the wool strip then wrapping the wool around my finger then folding over the wool under my finger and continuing in till I achieve a tiny ball. I then take another thin strip of wool of the same size and wrap it around this ball. I continue this process in till I achieve the shape and size I desire. This is where a felting needle can come in handy. Poke the needle into your shape when peices of wool seem not to be staying together tightly enough or it can also help you achieve the specific shape you are going for. For example when making felted balls I never found I needed a needle but with the eggs I found since the shape was a bit harder to achieve the needle was of a lot of help.

Once you have got the shape and size you want (make sure it is larger than what you want the final product too look like as the wool will shrink when put through the wet felting process) hold your egg either between both hands or just one and submerge under water. You want to hold your wool securly enough that it retains its shape under water but not so tightly that you smooch it flat or into an unreconizable shape. You will see air bubbles emerging to the surface and once all the air bubbles have stopped you may lift the eggs out of the bowl of water slowly. Be very gentle here, as if holding a baby chick in your hands as you do not want your wool to become a big glob of nothing resembling an egg. Now add the dish soap to the wool and begin to rotate the egg between your hands gently. You will soon see lots of lather building up, this is a good thing. Continue this process till the egg becomes firm and as the egg gets firmer you can handle the eggs with a bit more vigorous touch. Once near the end of the process you may gently squeeze the egg between your hands to ride of some of the water inside the wool, however be very careful not to do this too early as it can cause you shape to become all wrinkly. Once the wool looks well felted and your shape is nice and firm you may let you egg out to dry on a towel. This can sometimes take up to 2-3 days. A good video tutorial I like about wet felting can be found here. It is how I learned to make felted wool balls and I find it very helpful.

The end product: a half dozen of life size felted eggs for my little boy to cook and bake with. Love, love, love!

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cozy feet

I first saw these booties on Soule Mama and soon after found the pattern on ravelry. I thought they would be the perfect knit for this new baby of ours. Every little newborn needs cozy warm feet and it was time for me to learn how to knit some booties! Since I had never before knitted booties I was feeling a bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to pull this off. They looked pretty hard to knit since they were just so cute and not that simple looking. However, I did find them under the search “easy baby knits” at one point and told myself then and there that if I really put my mind to it I could knit anything. So my attitude going into this was to just go for it, not to hold back and not to be overly causous either because sometimes that is what causes me to stop and give up when it comes to a new pattern because I simply get overwhelmed thinking it is too hard and that I can’t do it, when really I never even give myself the change to really try in the first place.

I was so excited about making these little booties that I got started in quite the hurry. I stared into my basket of yarn and chose my favorite yarn, then my favorite needles, not paying any attention to following any sort of gauge. I soon discovered these booties would not be fitting my newborn baby any time soon but kept on knitting as I thought they would look equally adorable on my Kai. In plus I just couldn’t stop knitting these things. It became such an easy knit and I was having so much fun learning all sorts of new techniques I had never used before. Four hours later I had one complete bootie; well not counting the straps. The straps are actually very challenging. I ended up taking them in to my local knitting shop to get some help and even she said the pattern was quite confusing when it came to the straps.

Despite the challenge and frustration of finishing the straps I thoroughly enjoying making these booties and can’t wait to get started on my next pair. Which will hopefully fit a newborn! My due date is actually in two weeks now so not too sure if I will be able to complete them before this baby arrives but one day I will master newborn size booties, I will! As for now our little Kai has toasty feet and how adorable will it be for him to have matching booties with his little brother or sister!!

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this moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you all a peaceful and beautiful weekend.

-April

 

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outside in

Although Owen still sleeps in our bed he does indeed have his own bedroom. As it does not get used very often it has been left alone for quite some time with empty walls and bare corners. However, with my nesting instinct in full gear I was feeling it was finally time to make this space special for Owen. The walls in his room are very tall and so I could never picture simply decorating them with paintings or photographs and new some kind of mural would be the way to go. Birch trees are the first thing that came to mind, I played a bit with wanting to add in some animals but finally decided so keep things simple. Birch trees are one of my favorite kind of trees and I was excited to be able to bring a little of the outdoors into our home.

To get started I googled birch tree sencils to get an idea of how I wanted my trees to look as I knew I had many options. I choose a few pictures I liked best and read a blog (which I now cannot find for the life of me!) about what steps to take to paint birch trees freehand and was blown away at how simple it was going to be to actually do this. I was feeling a bit nervous about painting freehand on our house walls, so it was great to see the process broken down into simple steps. I am a painter but painting on our actual walls was really freaking me out. These three easy steps however really calmed me down and reasured me that I could do this without it looking like a total disaster.

Materials Needed:

  • Roller brush (I used one 4 inches wide)
  • Different sized paint brushes to paint branches and make touch ups.
  • Paint and paint tray (Note about my paint color choice: In Owen’s bedroom three walls are of a light blue and one of a darker hue so I simply used the paint leftover from this to create my mural. Using the darker hue of blue paint to paint the trees, this allowed me to use the lighter blue paint to touch up any mistakes I made. This made the whole process incredibly forgiving).
  • Blue tape

Step One:

Tape off base boards and ceiling in areas you will be painting your trees. Using the roller brush make your tree truck from the bottom to the top of the wall, this could be a straight line or curved, up to you, I choose to do some straight trees and some curved. I also choose not to make all of the tree trucks the same size. To do this I would only press down on one side of the roller brush instead of pressing the entire brush down to the wall. I would then use the smaller sized paint brushes to make touch ups along the sides of the trucks.

Step Two:

Add branches using smaller sized paint brushes.

Step Three:

Using the same color as backgroud wall color (here I used the lighter blue paint) paint lines into the trees to create the look of bark on the trees. Once this step in complete you are all done! Step back and admire your work.

I am really happy with the final product of this project. His rooms finally feels alive and like a fun place to be. As for Owen, he definitely seems happy about this new addition to his room. He’s been pretending to climb the trees and talking about monkeys and owls playing around up in the tree tops. Now I just gotta get Papa to build him some wooden shelves for his books and toys and his rooms will be complete. It took me about a year to get around to this project so lets see how long it will take Papa.


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finding comfort

In these past few weeks my belly has been getting bigger and bigger, with that has come some real discomfort. I’m experiencing tense round ligament pain and aches in my lower back while trying to sleep. Also, with these being the last few weeks of my pregnancy I have had birth on the brain 24/7. I’m also in high nesting mode and constantly thinking about how to better our home environment for this new babe and for the birth. With all that in mind I thought it the perfect quick sewing project to make myself a heating rice bag. I think it will be of great help to relax the ligaments around my belly, help me fall off to sleep and also be of great use during labor.

Now to get started you will need the following materials:

  • 1/4 yard linen
  • 1/4 yard of your desired fabric for outside of rice bag (I used 100% cotton)
  • 4 lbs short or medium grain rice
  • essential oil (I used lavender but some others that may be nice are tangerine or)
  • 12” of 5/8” wide velcro

1. Cut Fabric

  • two linen pieces; 20” x 9” each
  • two pieces of fabric which will be on the outside of bag; 22” x 91/2” each

2. Place whatever fabric you chose for outside of bag right sides facing each other and pin together, folding back 1/4” of one of the both back and front of pieces. Press well with iron.

3. Now fold that same edge under 1” and press well with iron. Making sure that both back and front are exactly 1” wide.

4. Turn pieces right side up. Open up the crease that you just ironed (but not 1/4” fold). Center and pin the velcro to the right side of the fabric. Pin the hook piece of velcro to one side of the bag and the loop piece to the other side of the bag.

5. Sew velcro in place.

6. Close velcro and sew around the three sides of bag.

7. Trim seam allowance.

8. Fold velcro edge to wrong side, using your crease as guides of where to fold.

9. Now place linen pieces together (right sides facing each other) and sew together leaving a 3” opening on one of the short sides.

10. Turn bag inside out and it is now time to go get your rice ready.

11. Place 4 lbs. of rice into a bowl, add 7-10 drops of essential oil and stir.

12. Add rice to linen bag and stitch closed. (I shook all the rice to one end and machine-stitched the bag closed, up to you!)

13. Place linen bag into outside bag and velcro closed.

Voila! You now have yourself some comfort in a bag!



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blackberry cobbler

Berry season is on in our little corner of the world and so the other day when I returned home with a box full of blackberries which we picked with some of Owen’s little friends I knew some baking was in order. I’m personally not a huge fan of blackberries, and neither is Owen, a bit too tart for us so I also knew something very sweet would be in order.I had never attempted to make a cobbler before, nor had I really ever had one but it sounded great so I picked a recipe off of cooks.com to try out and crossed my fingers it would taste good. And well it was AMAZING!! I can’t wait to go pick some more berries to try this out again or maybe venture out and try something else new!

Blackberry Cobbler

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen blackberries, thawed

Melt butter in a 2 quart casserole. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and milk in a small bowl, mix well.

Pour mixture over melted butter, do not stir. Spoon blackberries over batter; do not stir.

Bake at 350°F. for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

 


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this moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you all a peaceful and beautiful weekend.

-April

 

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banana crumb muffins

Once again I was faced with ripe bananas in our fruit bowl this morning. This is a usual happening in our house as we do consume a lot of bananas, but simply not always as fast as they need to be eaten. And so we are often (almost every week!) left with two or three ripe bananas that are simply not too appealing to eat on their own and so I usually resort to making a banana bread. I’ve spiced it up a few times by adding in blueberries or chocolate chips but we’ve been making banana bread so much around here that it was really time to try something new. In plus I was really graving something sweet today. I was actually day dreaming of making vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting but new I had to use up those bananas today. And so I found this delicious recipe with a sweet kick. By no means are these muffins healthy, they definitely have their fair share of sugar but hey thats what I was going for! Owen as always had a blast helping me out in the kitchen and had a very hard time waiting for them to be ready to eat. He downed the first one like it was the best thing he has tasted in ages and soon asked for another helping. I told him no more after that however since they really aren’t the healthiest snack, if it was up to him he’d probably have had all 12! He will simply have to wait till tomorrow. Now if your looking to indulge in that sweet tooth of yours but not go all out with cupcakes give these a try; they are delectable!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

 

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a blanket for babe

Finally, this blanket is done! It’s truly a bit embarrassing to admit how long ago this blanket was first cast on to the knitting needles but as easy as this blanket is, it certainly isn’t the fastest to knit. Unless you have oodles of time to simply sit and knit that is. I did try to make it a priority to at least knit a row or two a day but with that sort of rate it takes a long time indeed to finnish this project. None the less I did love this project. It was great to always have a constant easy knitting project to come back to. Something I could work on in the middle of chaos and not have to really think about what row I was on or if there was an increase or slip to make. Nothing but garter stitch row after row and that I found to be very zen; a great way to come back to mindfulness. I loved the simplicity and consistency of this blanket so much that I am yearning to cast on another already…maybe soon!

I found the pattern for this blanket on ravelry and used 100% Peruvian Highland wool by Cascade Yarns in an assortment of colors but what I love about it is that you could really make so many different changes to it so easily; the size, the colors, the pattern of the stripes, they are all up to you! I can’t wait to wrap this blanket around our precious little one’s body as I find it to be the perfect weight to keep a little one snug and warn. Also the rows upon rows of garter stitch really make for a cushiony blanket, perfect for a wee one!

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belly casting

Today my friend Sydney came over to cast my pregnant belly. She also helped cast my belly last time when I was pregnant with Owen. When casting my belly last time, Jenna was there to help us, as well as the boys (Tristan and Sal) to keep us company and take pictures. This time however Jenna nor the boys could be there and so it was just Owen, Sydney and I. Again I found it to be a great experience and a time to slow down and think about this new baby’s arrival. Owen had a great time watching the whole process, giving the baby tons of kisses and showing the baby his dinosaurs. He was also very curious about the plaster itself, we will surely have to do a plaster art project at some point soon. From watching the whole process I think he finally understands what the cast hanging on our wall of him is all about. It’s great to see things come full circle.

Sydney did a fantastic job of wrapping my belly in plaster and I actually found it took less time than when we casted my belly last time, maybe because we didn’t have the boys around to distract us! I did find however that waiting for the cast to dry felt a lot more uncomfortable this time, as did the process of taking the cast off, so possibly we did not use enough vaseline. All I know is that I am happy with the outcome and can’t wait to paint on to this cast and hang it up next to my other pregnant belly. Thanks Syd for helping cast my belly!

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