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Make Wet-Felted Rainbow Eggs

Wet Felted Rainbow Cracked Egg tutorial by Jen from SewnNatural

Spring brings new babies throughout nature, and the magical, enchanting process of watching wee ones hatch from eggs. There’s a turtle sanctuary on an island near where we live, and my daughter loves discovering the beautiful white eggshells left behind. Here’s how to make a wet felted, rainbow wool egg for gentle play, your nature table and even spring celebrations like Easter and Passover.

You’ll need:
• an egg to wet felt around (we use old marble eggs we have around, you can also use a plastic egg shape, or even a real egg, but I’ve never tried it with a real egg)

• wool roving and various bits of colored feltable wool (Corriedale is one of our favorites, but Merino and others work too)

• organic, non toxic soap

• 2 big bowls of water, or 1 bowl + kitchen sink

• towels to mop up the inevitable spills and to dry the egg afterwards

• a little elbow grease

My daughter says the most enjoyable part of the process is actually choosing the colors for her egg.

Next take your egg shape (we use a small-sized one for the kid projects) and wrap wool roving around it, placing narrow pieces of wool in different directions, wrapping it neither super tighthly, nor super loosely.

It’s far from an exact science, and the felting process will make the apparent “messiness” of the wrapping disappear.

The thicker the wool coat on the egg, the thicker and sturdier your final rainbow egg will be. You should not be able see the egg clearly through the wool (that would mean it’s best to add more wool).

Now hold the wrapped egg in one hand, and have your child (or your other hand) pour some liquid soap right onto it, turning the egg as the soap is applied. I’ve found this to be an easier method to felt the eggs.

I have yet to use too much soap in felting!

Now quickly immerse the egg in hot, hot water. Gently squeeze the soap egg, turning it in your hands (or your child’s hands). Keep the wooly coat on the egg warm by dipping it into the hot water every so often (the warm/hot water relaxes the fibres of the wool which allows for easier felting).

Keep gently squeezing and patting the wool, and as you work and the wool begins to felt you can work it more vigorously. This process take a little bit of time, but the results are well worth it!

Once you begin to feel the fibres felting around the egg, and solidifying somewhat, it’s time to add the “rainbow”. Your child can gently rip off small pieces of colored wool, and place them onto the egg in varying directions.

The wispier and more spread out the wool bits, the better (the more easily they will felt to the woolen egg).

Then pour some soap onto the egg, immerse gently in hot water, and gently squeeze the soapy egg to help felt the rainbow wisps together to the wool roving.

Keep squeezing and rubbing it vigorously in your hands.

You can also use something with texture to help felt the fibers of the wool. I use an old wire rack for this, and roll the egg around on the rack for a few minutes. Then I take it back into my hands, warming up the wool in hot water, and squeeze it some more.

Once you’re done, you can dip it into cold water to help strengthen the felting. The shock of the cold water tightens the fibres.

I wrap the egg in a dishcloth to remove some excess water, and place it near a vent to dry.

Once it’s dry (anywhere from a few hours to a day or so), you or your child can carefully cut the egg open, either in a straight line across the long part of the egg, or a cracked jagged line.

The cut need not extend the length of the egg, just enough to “birth” the egg from it’s woolen coat, so to speak.

You may also choose to blanket stitch the edge of the cracked part of the egg with embroidery thread, but my daughter prefers her “au naturel.”

You can find more how-to’s and eco living articles on our blog, the SewnNaturalstudio.

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Crafts with Kids – "Baked Crayons"

One of the very best things I can think of to do is to spend time with my daughter doing yet another project around the table.  This project is oh so simple.

Use little nubs or broken crayons. Baked in a muffin tin at 150 degree oven (or the lowest setting your oven has) for about twenty minutes or so. Cool to room temperature or if needed 20 minutes or so in freezer. That is it … lovely multicolor crayons for your little one’s next drawing project.

Originally published on “Whither Will I Wander”.
posted by prettydreamer
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Crafts with Kids – “Baked Crayons”

One of the very best things I can think of to do is to spend time with my daughter doing yet another project around the table.  This project is oh so simple.

Use little nubs or broken crayons. Baked in a muffin tin at 150 degree oven (or the lowest setting your oven has) for about twenty minutes or so. Cool to room temperature or if needed 20 minutes or so in freezer. That is it … lovely multicolor crayons for your little one’s next drawing project.

Originally published on “Whither Will I Wander”.
posted by prettydreamer
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How to make your own knitting needles by Elemental Handcrafts

How to make Your Own Knitting Needles with Kids

by, Stephanie of Elemental Handcrafts

A wise woman once told me that the best way to teach your child to knit is to start at the beginning; by having your child make his or her own needles. In this tutorial, I will teach you step by step how to make your own wooden knitting needles, with your child. Wood is the best material for a person to knit with as the wood holds the warmth of the hands while you knit. The smell of the beeswax polish acts as natural aromatherapy as the needles click-clack their way through the yarn and into what will hopefully become a lifelong love of knitting.

We’ll start at the beginning. The “ingredients” you will need are as follows:

  • one 36” wooden dowel -size and wood type depends on your preference
  • sand paper – coarse, medium and fine
  • beeswax or other natural wax or oil (an almost used up candle or crayon works)
  • a bit of wool roving
  • dish soap
  • warm water
  • a soft cloth
  • glue
  • scissors

Start with your store bought wooden dowel. The easiest to find is likely to be birch wood. You can also special order cherry, walnut, maple or other hard woods if you prefer, but the birch is easy to work with and easy to find. The size to buy depends also, on your preference. Bringing a knitting needle sizer, (found at craft or knitting stores) is a good idea. For a child just learning, large easy to handle needles are best. Choose a dowel that is smooth and straight.

Knitting Needle Sizer

Have an adult carefully cut the dowel down to knitting needle size. Ten inches is a good starting size. The child can now help sand one end of each needle into a point, using the coarse sand paper. It’s easiest to lay the paper flat on the ground and rub the needle on the paper, turning it often so the tip stays relatively even. Help her with this and assist so that you don’t end up with too sharp a point. The tip should be gradual as it flows into the rest of the needle. Do this for both needles.

Once you are happy with the shapes of your needle tips, use your medium grit sand paper to sand the whole needle, tip to end, and follow this sanding by repeating with the fine sand paper until your needles are as smooth as can be. Then finish the wood with your wax. I like to use a beeswax based polish made for salad bowls. If you’d like a vegan alternative, you can use a crayon or non beeswax candle, or just a simple olive oil. Buff it to a shine with a soft cloth.

Now comes the top. You can use many things for a personalized and colorful knitting needle topper. In the past I’ve used wooden or glass beads, acorns, slices from a branch, clay sculptures and even small pebbles glued into place with strong glue.

Today we’ll make felted wool needle toppers. To do this we will make a wool bead. Take a small piece of carded wool roving.

Roll it into a tight ball and while holding tighlty, dip the ball into very warm soapy water. Roll the wool ball in your palms until it starts to tighten up. It will get softer and mushy feeling before it tightens. You might want to get this started for your child. Once you feel it tighten, keep rolling it and dipping as needed until you have a solid, wool, bead. This should take about two to three minutes. Practice rolling the dry wool and felting it a few times to determine how much wool you need to get the size bead that looks best on your needles. This can take a little practice, but is fun to do.

Once the bead is dry, (a sunny window will speed things up), have an adult use sharp scissors to snip a little sclice in one side of the bead. Try the bead on the flat tip of your needle and once it fits nicely, add a little strong glue and put the bead back on the needle and let dry completely.

You are now ready to knit!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through my shop: www.ElementalHandcrafts.etsy.com.

If you prefer your knitting needles already made, visit my shop in March as I’ll br re-stocking my stash of colorful and unique knitting needles! Thanks for reading and have fun!

Stephanie

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Tutorial Thursday – Sweet Little White Ghosts.

Hi, I’m Donni of Fairyfolk. My blog is The Magic Onions. Today I’m going to show you how we made sweet little ghosts for Halloween.
Both my children love to play with my wool roving. I think they enjoy the feel of it… it’s smoothness, it’s lightness in their fingers. Wool is so wonderfully tactile and I find it soothes them. So, today, when the tensions from being stuck inside from the rain started to fray our nerves, I decided it was a good time for us to make Little White Ghosts…

 Make a sweet little white wool roving Halloween ghost with your children

It’s a wonderfully simple activity, needing only white wool roving, a needle felting needle for me and some google eyes for fun.
Supplies needed to make a wool roving Halloween ghost
To make our ghosts, I gave each child a small tuft of wool about the size of a golf ball. They rolled the wool softly in their hands until a rough ball was formed. Then I used my needle felting needle to ‘catch’ the wool, securing it in place so that it kept it’s round shape.
Needle felting a white wool roving Halloween ghost
Then I gave each child a tuft of wool about 3 times as long as the ball. They stroked this tuft flat, gently smoothing all the fibers in one direction (you don’t really need to do this as the fibers are generally in the right direction, but it is a wonderfully soothing and calming action and children like this step immensely.)
Then the children held the long tuft in one hand and placed their ball in the center. They gently closed their hand, folding the longer tuft of wool over the ball.
With my needle felting needle, I once again secured the shape by poking it gently just a few times, smoothing around the ‘head’ of the ghost and leaving the ‘tufty’ bottom of the ghost free.
The children gave their ghosts eyes (the google eyes we have are self-adhesive but you would use a little glue if yours aren’t)
I used a needle and thread to hang the ghosts and we found just the right spot for them on our porch. (You might notice that K didn’t want hers to be scary like the others, yea right!, so I needle felted a smile onto his face).
Cute hanging wool roving needle felted Halloween ghostsThey are just wonderful little ghosts… they spin around happily in the breeze. We were all enchanted by them when we arrived home from a trip to the post office this afternoon. They were clearly excited to see us… twirling as if to say ‘welcome, welcome… yay, you are home!’
Blessings and magic.
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How to get crafty at snack time

A TUTORIAL ON HOW TO REALLY PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD !
It is Thursday and time for a tutorial, and I am Joshua the Dad of Dad’s Wooden Toys. I could talk about woodworking and tools that you are unlikely to have in your home. But instead I would like to teach you something simple that has brought me a lot of joy since I was a little boy. This craft has now become a favorite activity of my own kids. With this craft you stand a good chance of having everything you need already in your kitchen.
Some of the fondest memories can be surprisingly easy to make. I still remember how excited I would get over 20 years ago when my mom would announce that we were going to have ants on a log. Perhaps many of you are familiar with the traditional recipe which is just celery, peanut butter, and raisins. My mom who always had more than her fair share of creativity didn’t just make “ants on a log” we had “ants on a car” ,or “ants on a dragster”. Now that I am a dad I have added “ants on a plane”.
Here is what we will need:
  • Celery
  • Raisins (for passengers)
  • Peanut butter (to hold the passengers in place and for protein)
  • Carrots (preferably full size)
  • wooden tooth picks. (or uncooked spaghetti)
  • knife
  • Scissors

For the simplest of vehicles all we need is to add 4 wheels to the celery “frame”. Wheels of course are made by cutting cross sections of your carrot. Take a tooth pick and run it through the first carrot then through the celery and out the other side where the second wheel is put on. Then using the scissors cut off any part of the toothpick that sticks out beyond the wheel. repeat this for the back wheels. I like to put an extra small wheel on the top as a steering wheel. Viola, you have an edible car! It recently occurred to me that if you wanted the creation to be total edible you could use raw spaghetti instead of the tooth picks however since the spaghetti is more fragile you may still want a tooth pick around to make the initial hole in the hard carrot and celery, you could then hopefully get the spaghetti into the carrot without it breaking.

Now that we all know we could make an easy car that is sure to be a hit with the kids, we can begin to add some pizzaz. Give your creativity a chance to really shine. With a few extra raisins your car turns into a bus. Cut a carrot length wise into a board and and with a toothpick in each corner to suspend it you now have a roof for your car. There are so many possibilities. The plane is made much the same way. We start with the celery stick and cut a couple of carrots into slices length wise. Find two that can be trimmed to the same size and then round the ends . These are our wings. We will need a few more flat carrot boards for the tail wings, and some skinny long slices for the propeller. Remember that the wing slices must be thick enough to receive the toothpick. You will be sticking the tooth pick into the flat end of the carrot wing deep enough to stay put, then trim the toothpick short enough that it won’t stick out the far side of the celery which is the body of the plane, and stick it in, repeat for the other wing. I put my propellers onto another carrot coin and one toothpick stabbed through them all sticks the propellers to the front of the plane. The wheels for the plane are not difficult but they are probably the most challenging part of this simple creation. After sticking a wheel on each end of an appropriately sized toothpick to create what looks like a dumbbell, stick two more toothpicks into the wheels each pointing up and inward almost completing a triangle. Those two upper points then push into the bottom of the plane and you have attached the wheels . There you have it an edible aircraft. Add peanut butter and raisins to suit.I guarantee the kids will enjoy it. I do suggest that you take a picture or two of your creation especially if you decide to get elaborate since in the end all the evidence will be eaten!! If your kids are older than mine, perhaps they would enjoy it if you just cut the materials for them and then let them build their own custom machines. I should give fair warning to those of you who enjoy crafts not be surprised if you get a little carried away. There is so much that can be done with other veggies and fruit like radishes, and apples to increase your possibilities. Radishes make great wheels or a small slice of the side of a round radish makes a neat red hubcap for a carrot wheel. Go have fun playing with your food! If you get inspired and do this with your kids or on your own, we would love to see a link to the happy kids and creative vehicles in the comments section.

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Tutorial Thursday

How to make your own organic lotion at home – eco and money conscious! AND ALL NATURAL!

As a mom to a young toddler with eczema, I learned firsthand how making my own skin cream could be healing (I could customize the ingredients) and save me a bundle of money. Making one’s own skin cream is a wonderful, easy thing to do for anyone – it’s luxurious, and you can re-use (sterilize first) all the glass jars you may have, including jam jars.

You can experiment with different oils and even use cocoa butter or coconut oil – the recipe is not super exact, so you will either end up with a thicker or thinner cream depending on the combo of ingredients you use. The only challenging bit is at the end: once you add the water and the oil mixture together in a big bowl you need to stir constantly without a break for 15 or even 20 minutes until it thickens. I’ve learned from experience you can’t shorten this process: if you do, your oil and water won’t mix together properly and you’ll get a really lumpy cream.

What you need to start:

EQUIPMENT – not much, just stuff in a regular kitchen
2 cooking pots that fit into each other (to make a bain marie), 2 big mixing bowls (again, that fit into each other so you can make a bain marie to cool the lotion down faster), a spatula, plenty of glass jars and lids

INGREDIENTS – mostly things you can find at a health food store
your favorite essential oils (organic is best as these can carry chemicals as they are so concentrated), note: benzoin essential oil is great as it acts as a natural sort of preservative, carrier oils (high grade, cold pressed, unrefined and even organic oils are best – olive oil, hemp seed, almond oil, grapeseed oil, macadmia nut oil and in small percentages, you can use rose hip oil, hazelnut oil, wheatgerm oil), emulsifiers to thicken your blend (I use beeswax), and a little time… maybe 30 minutes tops.

RECIPE – feel free to adapt this and see what works best for you

2 cups oils (of choice)
1/3 cup of melted beeswax – if you buy it in chunks lik me, just cut it up first
1/3 cup of cocoa butter or coconut oil
1 cup distilled, or filtered water
about 30 drops of essential oils of your choice (or less if you want just a whiff of scent)

Warm the oil, beeswax and cocoa butter/coconut oil in a double boiler until melted. In another pot heat the water until it’s roughly as hot as the oil (neither should “boil”). Meanwhile put a big bowl into an even larger bowl filled with cold water. This will chill the bowl a bit and cut down on the amount of time you need to spend stirring in the next step. Now pour the oil/beeswax mixture into the big empty bowl and then pour the warm water very slowly into it, stirring constantly. Whip it constantly until it cools so that the water and oil don’t separate. When it’s cool and has become more opaque, stir in essential oils, and let it cool completely. Than spoon it into your clean, dry, sterile jars. I store mine in the fridge, just to help them stay fresh longer.

Big thanks to Jen for sharing this awesome tutorial for Natural Kids Team’s Tutorial Thursday! You can go check out Jen’s shop at http://www.SewnNatural.etsy.com

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Tutorial Thursday – How to Dye Wool using Kool-Aid.


Hi. I am Donni of Fairyfolk and my blog is The Magic Onions.
I was working on a needle felting project and needed orange wool. Alas, I had none. NONE! Three boxes full of different shades of green, but NO orange, anywhere! Ordering from my online source would have taken a week… much too long for an impatient like me! What could I do but dye my own? Kool-Aid to the rescue.
Kool-Aid is a great light and color-fast dye for protein fibers; wool, silk, alpaca. (Sorry, it does not dye cotton or synthetic fabric.) It comes in an array of fun, bright colors and, best of all, it does not need a mordant to set the dye and so can be used as a dye with no prior preparation.
All we needed was a glass or porcelain dish, three packets of orange Kool-Aid, natural wool roving and hot water.

K poured the Kool-Aid into our dish.
We added about 4 cups of very hot water and stirred to dissolve the Kool-Aid.
We carefully soaked our white wool in the Kool-Aid, gently submerging it in the orange liquid. We were careful not to agitate the wool too much as this would have felted our wool.
We left it to soak up the orange color.
After about an hour, it was clear that the wool had soaked up most of the orange.
We took it out of the Kool-Aid and rinsed it gently in cool water. Then we hung it on the line to dry. Look what a bright orange it became…
When the orange wool was dry, I got down to some serious needle felting and… Pumpkin Gnome was born!


In South Africa we have a saying, ‘n boer maak a plan’. Translated, it means ‘a farmer makes a plan’. So, next time you are frustrated because you have to delay a project as you don’t have the materials you need, think again… perhaps, with a little preparation, you can turn what youdo have into what you need.

Blessings and magic.

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Tutorial Thursday: Making Felt

How to Make Wool Felt
by Kerstin of Chimera.etsy.com

Elephant by Oritdotandolls

So many of my favorite toys are made of wool felt. It’s not always easy to find nice felt in your local store, but it is not hard to make yourself. It’s a fun and soapy ( and sometimes soggy!) activity that your kids might want in on too. You need only a few simple things to get started: wool roving-a fine wool like merino is best (NOT superwash), a sheet of bubble wrap, a piece of tulle or netting, soap and water. Two rubber bands and a towel to soak up extra water are a good idea to have on hand as well.

1. Lay the bubble wrap bubbles side down. Pull thin wisps of wool off the roving and begin laying it on the bubble wrap with the fibers running horizontally. Begin at one side of the bubble wrap, but keep roving 2 inches from the top and bottom and 4 inches from the side opposite the starting point.

2. Make another layer of wool with fibers running perpendicular to the first layer. These fibers should be running vertically. Continue layering wool, alternating the direction of each layer of fibers, until you have 5 to 8 even, thin layers.


3. Place netting on top of wool. Add a few drops of dish soap to a bottle of warm water. Sprinkle some soapy water over the netting, pressing down and making sure all the wool is wet.


4. Get hands wet with soapy water and rub one hand vigorously across the top of the netting for 15-20 seconds, while holding the netting in place with the other hand. Put a little extra soap on your hands to help it slip.

5. Starting at the edge the wool is even with, tightly roll up the bubble wrap, keeping the netting on top of the wool…like a plastic and wool burrito. Keep it rolled up by putting two rubber bands around it. Begin quickly rolling the bubble wrap bundle back and forth on a counter or table, exerting a little pressure.

6.After you have rolled for a minute, unroll the plastic and check your felt. Remove the netting and carefully flip the felt over and rotate it 90 degrees so you will next be rolling it in a different direction. Stretch out any wrinkles, add more soapy water if it is dry. Tightly roll up the bubble wrap again, leaving the netting out this time. Secure with elastic and roll for another minute or two.


7. Unroll the bubble wrap and check the fiber by pinching across the top of the fabric. The fibers should be sticking to each other and you should be able to pull up the whole fabric without separating the layers. If this is not the case you must re-roll the wool until it is so. If the fabric passes the pinch test you are ready to get rough with the felt!


8. Rinse the felt with hot water, sprinkle with more soapy water and rub the fabric back and forth across the rough side of the bubble wrap. Really rub vigorously, changing direction and flipping felt over frequently. You will feel the wool getting thicker the more you agitate it.

9. When the fabric is at the thickness you desire (1/16 -1/8 inch), rinse in cold water and throw the felt against a hard surface a few times. This is fulling and should make dimples appear in the surface of the wool. Rinse wool again, roll in a towel to get out excess water and set it out to dry. What kinds of decorations or toys will you make?

Felt Donuts by HarvestMoonbyHand Leaf Pins by Chimera

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Making an I-spy Jar.

Hello to all you magically creative minds. I’m Donni, from Fairyfolk. My blog is The Magic Onions.

Have you ever made an I-spy Jar?


It’s great fun and a fabulous thing for your little ones to take with them in the car. It’ll keep them occupied for ages!

Here is my 2-year old searching for a marble.
You’ll need a glass or clear plastic jar, rice and various TINY treasures.

These are what we found at first… we have been adding to our I-spy Jar all day… the more little items you have, the merrier your little ones will be.
Put the rice and treasures in the jar, making sure to leave an inch or so of space between the top of the rice and the lid as you want the rice to be able to move freely inside the jar.
As your children (to be honest, I hogged it for quite some time today too… it’s rather addictive!) turns the jar, the rice falls over itself in the jar, revealing and then covering the hidden treasures.
We play I-spy Jar with K, my 5-year old, in the car too. As I know what’s inside the jar, I say… ‘Find me an acorn hat.’ She LOVES it!
The coins are the hardest to find, so be sure to add a couple. They hide out in the middle of the rice and it is a ‘Great Achievement’ to spot one!
I love to watch my children playing with a toy we have made together, knowing that they are learning that they can make precious things with their very own hands. And I love that they are learning that toys don’t only come from stores but are even more abundant in creative minds.
Fairyfolk blessings and Magic to you!