Natural Dyeing of Eggs

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Friends in town invited us for a natural egg dyeing date today. It was a new method to me and the results are beautiful! In years past we have water colour painted, drawn upon, dyed in stockings with onion skin and parsley, wax crayoned and dyed and more. something in the natural plant and berry dyes pleased me so much today. the shades are unpredictable and all the colors are well, edible.  it brings to mind my natural dyeing of silk joy which has been put aside for many months. i keep opening the carton to caress these wonders. thankyou hens.

it was a pleasure to share one of our/their Easter rituals as often I hold festivals for my family alone. we spoke about festival traditions in the family and I realised with the weekend approaching fast i am ill prepared! {apart from having lots of eggs}. I look forward once again to seeing what authentically comes for the festival this year. it’s an interesting time to marry Easter to Autumn and i have found a few stories and inner images which sit peacefully for me. our Autumn table evolves slowly and soon the Egg tree will appear.

this book Easter in Autumn is helpful for southern hemisphere dwellers. i am seeing how contributions can become tradition in a few short years and the grounding this gives my children and myself. if you want to bring more depth or tradition to festivals, i recommend beginning simply, or adding just one or two things you can easily uphold and add to over the years.  i enjoy Lily’s anticipation of events, Cedars current enjoyment, worry expectations {my own mostly} may not be met, {can i really make sourdough hot cross buns this year?} witness her recounting past festival highlights to others and propel myself to find my Zopf recipe!

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Natural Egg Dyeing/Eco printing method

Using just herbs, ferns, flowers and weeds from the garden; press the leaves and petals over the egg (white shells for best color results, this year i found them in the library, raised by the High School kids garden chooks) and carefully wrap with sewing thread. this is tricky with a T at first. so be patient and help the little ones. leave a tail of thread hanging at the beginning so you can use it to tie up at the end. the more you wrap and press the leaves onto the egg the better your chance of a print. leave the north and south pole of the egg bare so you can blow your egg out afterwards. {thankyou for your wise counsel today E}

carefully blow your eggs and then pop into boiling water/dye bath for up to 10 minutes. for the dye bath use any plant/food matter which has a great colour content such as berries, onion skins, coffee, tumeric, red cabbage, etc only 500 mls or so is needed to do batches of 4 eggs.

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a brew of red hibiscus flowers in water dyed the shells a subtle blue, the pot of mixed squished up berries had more success with mauve to rich purple. keep turning the shells in the boiling dye brew to get an even colour as they will float on top of the liquid. remove and once cooled remove the thread and plant matter with a thread cutter, unpicker, seam ripper??. (technical name eludes me right now) useful sewing tool. everyone needs one!

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so for our Easter tree we have these beauties. we will break up matches and tie string on them to slip inside the eggs tomorrow.

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after all that fine work the children gallop exuberantly around the field. picking up ticks no doubt….

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a natural dye note to myself for next year.

marigiold petals dyed a wonderful gold.

waxy ferns made a resist to the dye

basil made a resist

chocolate mint left a lovely green

hibiscus left blue

parsley left green

and there where many surprises.

try a tumeric bath

*let each child have a different colored thread so you can easily identify them and wrap wrap wrap them very well.

*have a dog handy to lap up any dropped eggs

*make a potato and goats cheese frittata with the eggs….

*if you only use edible plants you could hard boil the eggs to eat them. though who gets hungry at a blue egg….

i have this post on my Easter and blowing eggs from last year.

 

so, what are your Easter traditions?

have you natural dyed eggs or anything before?

x

ps is it as odd for you as it is for me to be here writing and sharing once more? many reasons behind my blog holiday and i have written eggsplicitly about it all. it just isn’t where im at today. call it writers block.

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Wet Felt a play mat/cushion piece/anything rectangle

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This one is dedicated to my dear friend M

who has patiently waited a year for me to complete this request on how to felt a playmat!

you may already have just You Tubed a wet felt tutorial or taken a lesson elsewhere

but dear one, as this unfolded i thought of you and so

enjoy

xx

Lily felted this piece as a backing for a giant granny square cushion for her chair at school.

Tutorial to Wet Felt a Play mat

materials

a pile of roving (fluffy wool)

warm water in a bowl or bottle

detergent/soap

curtain netting

if it’s large a bamboo roll blind to roll the piece in

work in a water safe zone and have a towel on hand to mop up excess waterIMG_0308

 

begin by making three even layers of roving, alternating the direction of each layer.

to do this, grasp lightly a section of roving with your hands about 20cm apart, pull and you will release an even section of wool. too close and the wool fibres will not seperate easily

fluff up and lay these sections working one side to another in rows

once you’ve done the three layers {backing, filling, top layer} pat all over and patch any thin places

then

place your fluffed out decorations on the top layer {Lily put her name}

these decorations can shift during the process so dont begin with anything complex

for a playmat place on appropriate colours for fields, water and maybe a road…

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place your netting over the top and sprinkle with water until all is evenly wet and then squirt with soap

initially you are simply patting lightly to get the water through and the soap to begin penetratingIMG_0314

soon you can gently rub, light hands make beautiful feltwork at this stage,

the aim is to get the wool fibres to begin binding together and all the layers in cohesion, including your decorations

lift off you net carefully and check it’s all laying in place, adjust as neccessary

you can begin more vigorous rubbing, it should be wet all through and bubbly at this point

three keys to good felt

soap, heat, friction
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keep rubbing until you reach pre felt stage, tested by pinching and lifting a small section. if it lifts together it’s pre felt if the fibres lift off or seperate keep on rubbing {see photo below}IMG_0319

at pre felt i like to flip the work and make sure the back is pre felted. at this point no unbound fibres will join in.

to create neat edges, rub your hand in a wave motion along the edge of the piece, gathering in the edges tidilyIMG_0320 IMG_0321

after pre felt you can handle it more vigorously as everything is in place. rub rub away and then if you want to shrink and final felt it in a fun way, squeeze out excess water, thrash the piece around and scrunch it and toss it down on the table. {therapeutic also}IMG_0323 IMG_0327

Lily did’nt care for an even edge as you can see below, but do notice there are no stringy bits hanging off the border.IMG_0329

when the wool has reached a good thickness, sturdiness and strength, you will notice small ridges/wrinkles forming, i usually stop at this point but some like to continue pounding it until this is really formed and the piece will become a bit thicker and smaller. as you feel

stretch it slightly to create flatness and a good shapeIMG_0330Lily’s complete piece ready to lay flat and dry.

you may see glimpses of the production of two other playmats of mine here

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Cedar’s mat ready to beginimg_3808

nearly complete, Cedar is impatient to playimg_0758working on my niece’s playmat with my sister

 

 

Rainbow slippers and a non slip soul

my crafty fingers have been springing forth a multitude of projects in the past weeks

the creative processes soothe me while my inner processes spin me

there has been much sewing (a dear friend has lent me a machine while mine is still in the depths of storage, she needs a cake or something in gratitude…) of trousers, a skirt, a dress, curtains, mending, a witch hat, a witch dress, many cutesy felt toys {more photos and tutorials soon}

just the sunhats on my list did not eventuate…

some knitting of baby bonnets and some crotchet of boy slippers

he chose the yarn, row by row and the pom poms (bom boms)

this means he is more willing to keep his toes warm because he was a part of the creation journey…

clever mama moment!

lily made her own pair, proclaiming about how much faster crotchet is to knitting… IMG_0087

i painted on latex to make a slip free sole

{if only sometimes i could paint my own life with latex to prevent slip ups}

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the rainbow slipper tutorial

crotchet yourself a rectangle which is as long as the foot and wide enough to meet over the top of the widest part

gather the toes and stitch up the topside about half way

stitch up the back of foot section

you may want a gathering string around the foot entryway particularly for children

make and join on pom poms {essential for good humour}

if you can get a little paint on rubber latex, coat the soles evenly for non-slip and longer life

be warm toes and soul

xx

ps remember to make a second one…

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cedar loving being spooked by a hiding papa

{yes i made his vest and his doll… she had  bath later this day}

{did you enjoy all the bracketing in this post?}

Baby Babushka toy {a tutorial}

 

A babushka doll made for baby D by Lily

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An easy soft stuffed toy, easily modified or decorated at your whim.

Lily created this doll one day while we visited friends, it really didn’t take long and she was proud of her efforts.

{i am learning to stay out of the way of her inspirations more and more as her skills develop

and i know she is capable to see it through}

Begin with two large rectangles of felt fabric and a scrap for a face circle

needle and strong thread of various colours

fluffy wool to stuff it

half a cup of rice or similar large grain to fill the bottom of the body

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sketch a babuska-esque pattern, fold in half and trim the shape to mirror each side

trace this pattern onto your two felt rectangles {front and back of body}20130505-073528.jpg

 

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cut out a circular piece in contrasting colour to become the face,

stitch the face circle into position with small neat stitches around the edge

adorn her with features, hair, etc at this point

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lay front piece on top of the back and begin stitching around the body, Lily began at a shoulder and left the head open to stuff the body

pour the grain into the base of the doll so she will stand up

fill the rest with fluffy wool

stitch up your last opening

adorn as you wish, with embroidery, buttons or fabric clothing etc

20130505-073546.jpggift it to a little person who will surely enjoy chewing on the arms….

 

 

Felt Animal Eggy Cosy or Toy {tutorial}

I bought my second ever Frankie magazine to enjoy while having long soaks in this great claw foot bathtub here~!

the first one i bought because the cover image was completely embroidered tiny replicas of everyday items did you see that one?

anyway, somewhere in it’s depths {the mag not the bath} I found an article about Eggy Cosy Critters and was inspired to felt craft with Lily.

She completely was not interested, {oh poor me, I’ll have to do it myself….;)}

until it turned out too small for an egg and I gave it up to be transformed to her liking! I think you will like the end result! I’m wondering which friend she is planning to give it too…
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Here are some guidelines if you’d like to make your own or similar…

We started with 2 rectangles of wool felt fabric 7cm H x 8cm W {bigger if you want to put a real hen egg under it, you could always run another stitch line in closer}

and some scraps for ears. I used craft glue to detail the ears.

make sure you cut the ears with an added 1cm bottom length as it will tuck between the two larger pieces.

embroider on a cutesy whiskery face…

IMG_0225 IMG_0226lay the ears on top of the backing, then place the face on, secure with pins and stitch about 3mm from the edge leaving the bottom open.IMG_0227ahh soooo cute! but too small mumsy… Another possibility at this point is to pop a couple of holding stitches between the fingers and make a finger puppet… or two or three…

so I surrender it over to Lily and she creates….IMG_0228 IMG_0002  with a couple of nifty outfits…

this girl could be a fairy’s dressmaker…IMG_0001have fun with this** i’d love to see a pic if you make one…

ps had a nap, had a massage, had a hug, had some friendly phone calls, feeling better 🙂

thankyou for your support lovely people

Our Easter in Autumn Story

IMG_0703 on Easter eve we are visiting friends on the journey north from Sydney. The children go out in the sunset pink to cut grass to line the easter basket and to feed the Easter hare
IMG_0710 while they cut I retell an Easter story about the journey of the Easter hare and the purpose of the eggs as i have adopted it from this great book. Easter in Autumn. i deeply enjoy storytelling without a book in front of me as i took the time to learn the story and make it my own. They are both captivated and i feel peaceful with this serene wash of calm coming over me as i bask in the moment and the beauty of the simple now-ness and connection we are sharing. i am inspired to learn more stories to tell.
IMG_0713this basket was woven in Arnhem land, jesse gifted it to Lily on return of his trip there last year. {i got a lady version for my birthday}IMG_0714the light is soft and pastelly and embracing and look below, it hints to the sky of the dawn…IMG_0723Lily and I have made a date to silently watch the sunrise on Easter morn.

we are camped by a river and the light bounces from the water in a myriad of pastel delicacies..IMG_0725Pelicans join us and we are gifted this close observation of a much loved birdIMG_0730 IMG_0747Lily points out the Pelican has made a heart with it’s own reflectionIMG_0748 i resolve to make more dates with Lily, the peace of simply being together touches us both deeply. It is grounding and loving and sets us up for a rich connection through the day.
IMG_0749 IMG_0758 finally a golden peep through the clouds melts the dew from waxy leaves

a new day

a new beginningIMG_0759 as we walk back we pick golden sunny flowers to decorate the bus and the easter baskets, glistening with dew

Cedar and Jesse are awake and after the children exclaim over the gifts from the Easter hare in their baskets, they go outside with a poem of clues to find the Easter treasures
IMG_0775 oh whats under here??

skip to a quick ant bite interlude….

then the treasure hunt is back on….
IMG_0779 IMG_0786looking looking looking, Lily can see the silver paper on the tyre and is encouraging Cedar to find it and giggling about his looking but not seeing… i remember Lily at this age needing very obvious eye level treasures to find… IMG_0787 I found it!!
IMG_0790 and up here Cedar!

i am wondrous to see Lily turn the seeking into a game for Cedar in which she is showing and helping him in a thoughtful way, instead of rushing around claiming all the treasure. it reveals the change out of early childhood i am seeing into a less selfconcerned world view. beautiful.IMG_0798the treasure is in and unwrapped and eaten.

after struggling in the night with my staunch anti chocolate stance, i realise the experience of my uptight stress is less beautiful than the joy the children will have when unwrapping 2 squares of organic chocolate before breakfast!

and it was fine, and they were so happy, and they did not have sugar meltdowns!

it’s good to let go a little now and then. but yes i am pretty strict about sweets in our own home and prefer to savour these type of treats for specials.

later in the day we prepare eggs to decorate and enjoy an omelette for lunch

you may know how already but here

  the simple steps to blow eggs ready for decoration and hanging
IMG_0803use a large pin to pierce one end of an egg, i use a series of punctures in close proximity to open a 2mm hole, repeat on the opposite end and remember to have a bowl ready to catch your egg insides {make an omelette or cake…}IMG_0805apply your lips and lungs to the task of blowing a stream of egg insides to the outside. rinse by submersing in water and blowing out once more. towel dry and there they are, light and ready to decorate. we often use water colour pencils or paints, or dye with onion skin…IMG_0808in the weeks coming up to Easter i scout around town for white shelled eggs.. {In Bellingen they are sold at the Providore from a local farmer….} this year we had little choice as we travelled…IMG_0809the easter bounty which the children are happy happy happy withIMG_0814during our afternoon drive i watch Lily singing out the window like a puppy with her face in the wind…

i imagine her reflecting on the day and she is singing her happiness to the world…

some sweet sweet moments in our day

blessings and happy new beginning to us all…

make a paper bag…

on a cold and rainy day

we had school at home

after songs and circle games

for morning tea some nuts where cracked to accompany our fruit

our morning craft lesson was making origami paper bags from an old phone book

then a ‘shop’ game evolved between the children

go get yourself a piece of paper, any size will do, try newspaper or an old telephone bill…

here comes the method to make a handy paper container to use for a multitude of purposes

including gift wrapping, games, shopping, seed saving, storage, envelopes and and and…

{hover your mouse over the images and the written instructions will magically appear}

lay out your paper in the landscape position

i just think that’s a great re-use of our waste paper!

Lily made a bunch of little sacks to package little craft items in for the school stall.

today i feel like making a big sack to put over my head…

 

with giggles

R

ps let me know what you use your paper bags for

 

 

 

tutorial ~ make a pocket gnome

assemble materials

  • cut yourself a pattern of the square body {6cm}  and cap  {5×2.5cm} has come curvature to it
  • two colors wool felt fabric
  • a wooden bead for the head 12mm or so
  • thread and needle {if child is making it, be kind and use bigger needle and thread/embroidery floss}
  • scissors
  • fluff to stuff {wool or cotton wool}
  • craft glue

 

cut pattern pieces

1x square for body

1x cap in matching color

1x square for pocket

1x triangle for pocket front

 

mark centre of doll’s body and firmly attach wooden bead head upright

use a dab of non toxic craft glue to secure the thread in the position of the ear line

stitch seam of the cap {i prefer blanket stitch, but over stitch is equally good and easier for children who are at the beginning of their crafting life}

insert a finger into the cap to open it out in readiness for the head bead

use a dab of glue to secure the cap on gnomes head ensuring you cover the strings

begin at one hand and stitch around the body two thirds of the way to the other hand

stuff your gnomes body with fluff

continue to stitch to other hand and bind off

tie off hands at the wrist with a little string

your gnome is complete,  Yay for you!!

decorate if you wish

to make the pocket lay your triangle piece over the diamond piece and stitch the two outer sides

decorate with fancy stitchin if you wish {stars, flowers, colorful lines, beautiful embroidery etc}

{children can do ‘dolphin stitch’ simple in and out stitch in a line, like a dolphin diving up and down for decoration}

then pop your little gnome into bed!

too cute!

very sweet gifts, children’s activity, stocking fillers and a friend for special times

in a childs {inner children too}  life when they need a comfort in their pocket

 

a little felting

a mysterious ball of fluffaround a hollowed giant passionfruit of all things!rubbed with dish detergent and water and patient handsmakes a sweet little nest for a little friend
I love being able to help my children live out their creative inspirations and see what is yielded…