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Felted Wool Cell Phone Case Tutorial

My cell phone is forever getting lost at the bottom of my purse.  I wanted to make a pretty cell phone case that would make it easier to keep track of.

 

First I knit a rectangle with easily felt-able wool yarn.  Knit it larger than you need because it will shrink when felted.  I simply guess-estimated making it about twice the size as I needed on size 8 needles.  I knit 30 stitches across which ended up being too wide. Make sure it’s a wool yarn that can be felted.  Stay away from yarn that says “machine washable” or “superwash” as it will not felt.  You can knit it or you can upcycle an old wool sweater by felting it in a hot wash cycle.

HOW TO FELT OR UPCYCLE WOOL:

To do this, take your knitted wool rectangle or wool sweater and add it to the washer tied in a pillow case.  (this is to save your washer from wool fuzz.) Wash on hot with other sweaters or a few thick towels or pairs of jeans.  These will help agitate the wool.  Add a small amount of detergent.  Wash once or twice in hot water.  Check your sweater or knit piece to see if it’s tightly felted.  If it it’s felted well then dry it on high. Check often to make sure it doesn’t wrinkle while drying.  Once it wrinkles it’s wrinkled for good.  Now, when you cut your wool the stitches won’t pull apart or fray. If it does fray then repeat the felting process.

My felted rectangle ended up a little large so I cut it to size.  Use one long rectangular piece.  The bottom of the case will be the folded edge.

 

Now the decorating begins.  I used some scraps of wool yarn I had on hand.  I needle felted a single strand of green wool to make a leaf design.

 

Needle felt it well so that it does not pull off when rubbing against things in your purse.

 

Next I chose a brighter peach/pink wool for my flower.  I simply started in the center and wrapped it around and around to make a spiral or circle.

 

Then I needle felted the stem.

 

Blanket stitch the sides together.  Begin by hiding the knot inside at the bottom of the case.

 

 

Blanket stitch all the way up on both sides.  You can add a string so you can wear it by finger knitting the string and sewing it on.  Or you can finger knit a latch and button. Mine works well without a button and surprisingly doesn’t slip out in my purse.  I wanted to be able to easily pull it out in a hurry with out having to fumble with a button.  Though if you want to add a strap to wear it a button might be wise.

I think I’m going to have to make another with a strap for when we go on our walks.  How decadent of me!  Enjoy your lovely, new cell phone case!  And if you make this please link back to us here at Natural Kids so we can see.

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Tutorial: Bubble Wands

One of summer’s biggest outdoor fun is to blow bubbles. But when you have little ones around, loosing the tiny plastic bubble wands is a very easy thing to do! Plus, they only make tiny bubbles. I decided I would try my hand at making wire ones like I saw around on the internet and I was pleased at how easy they are to make! Let me show you how we (me and my 4 year old) did!

 

You will need:

  • Cooper wire, like the one we use in jewelry
  • Wood dowel, or found sticks. We used drift wood like in the Solstice wand tutorial
  • Cookie cutters of various shapes
  • Cutting tools (jewelry ones works great)

Wrap wire around chosen cookie cutter. Take care to leave some loose so the wire overlaps itself.

This the excess around itself, and leave a good length of the other end before cutting. Wrap your shape around your stick.

That quick, that simple! and you have an awesome magical bubble wand! Now you only need to mix one part dish soap with one part water and pour the mix in a plate. Dip your wand in it and blow, or wave you hand!

You can let your creativity go from the basic shape, and even choose not to use cookie cutter as a guide. Kids like them so much better then the little plastic ones. Go try to make one, but I warn you, it’s addictive and soon you’ll have tons in stock- perfect for summer birthdays!

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Tutorial: Felt Lettuce Tutorial

When my daughter got in age of playing with playfood, I became obsessed at making them. She now has a bin filled with various food I made her from vedgies to dessert to sushies. Today I want to show you how I made a lettuce!

Cut 3 vague peanut form. Run stitch an inch at the bottom. Gather.

See how they look together, edit the cut if needed.

Cut 3 smaller pieces, pin together. Sew following the piece on top untill 3/4 up.

Cut a rectangle, square or circle (I used a leftover) And push it inside.


Sew at some corners, so that you don’t see any edges from the top.

Should look like this. Stuff with wool.

Attach the biggest leaves to see where you place them.

Sew them on with an overcast stitch.

Cut a circle, Blanket stitch it to the bottom so we don’t see any stuffing.

 

Voilà!

 

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Photo Tutorial: Summer Solstice Sun Wand

The Summer Solstice might be my favorite holiday.  The earth is at last warm again and the lilac trees are full of flowers. School is over and pools are opening!

To celebrate the longest day, I made this very simple wand that takes no time to assemble.

You need

  • A twig of any sort. I used driftwood from our beach.
  • Yellow, red and orange felt
  • Lace, strand of yarn, ribbons….

What to do:

  • Cut a sun shape in your yellow felt, double it. I went really pointy with this one, but you can make a rounder one.
  • Embellish it to your imagination
  • Blanket stitch all around, but leave one point open

  • Cut your stands of lace and ribbons the length of the twig

  • Attach it to one end of the twig.

  • Place inside the Sun.
  • Here I blanket stitched over the lace to firmly attach the Sun to the stick

And you’re done!

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Make it yourself: Toothpaste

One of the reason I hated to brush my teeth as a kid was the taste. Synthetic mint that leaves your mouth almost burned and aseptic never felt good to me, and the huge toothbrush made me gag (I’m still using kid sized one, I have a little mouth!). I stumbled upon a recipe for homemade toothpaste on pinterest once and tried it that very night after. After making it several times and adjusting it to my taste, I have for you my somewhat “final” recipe. It’s VERY easy to make, you’ll see!

You need:

  • A tea spoon of baking soda
  • 2 tea spoon of coconut oil
  • 2-3 tea spoon of cinnamon, or cinnamon essential oil (add drops to your taste), or mint oil, whatever fits your taste.

You mix with a fork and it’s really do use!

It seems a little but for my 4 person family it last a week. You don’t need lot on your brush. You get used really fast to the texture and salty taste.

And your teeth feel clean afterwards, without the aggressive aftertaste of commercial products. You can add stevia powder for remineralization of the teeth.

Of course there are some people who don’t agree with making your own toothpaste, so please inform yourself to make an informed choice if you want to use it.

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Photo Tutorial: How to make a mei tai doll carrier

Children love to pretend, and do just like their parents. Seeing mommy and daddy with a baby on the back is something usual for my children, and soon enough my daughter requested for a ring sling so she can carry around Victoria, her waldorf companion doll. This spring, I’ve checked on my longtime to-do list one item I really wanted, a mei tai. Both children wanted one, their size. I made two of those while they were naping at the same time…It doesn’t happen often, but today they did so I’ve jumped on the occasion and thought you might like to see how I did them.

First find 2, 3, 4 fabric you like, your child like and that goes well together.

Cut two rectangle that would be around the size of your child’s front. The bigger the easier to carry a big 18″ doll, the smaller the easier to wear for a child. This one is smaller 9×12″, I suggest to go bigger. I have an easy trick for the top strap angles later.

Cut the straps. The longer the better. I first went with 20″. This is okay for the bottom ones, but I’ve added 16″ after trying it on my boy. They are about 4″ large, so I cut them 8″ and folded them. Right side facing, sew/serge on top and the side, and flip them right side up.

Take your rectangle and place one strap in a corner. Cut. Fold vertically (on the longer) and cut the excess corner.

Take one rectangle, facing right side up. Roll your straps, it’s so much easier. Pin your longer ones at the angles.

And pin the short ones at the bottom. Leave an inch or so at the bottom.

Place the other rectangle (right side must face!) and pin around. Sew/serge the sides and top, but leave the bottom open.

Flip everything right and unpin straps. Enter the excess fabric at the bottom in and over stitch it.

If you realize, like me, that the top straps are too short, here’s how I manage to add on without unsewing anything; make straps like you first did, and tuck in a half inch inside the strap.

Inside end of strap in and overstich.

There you go! A beautiful, playful doll carrier for your little person to take his/her doll everywhere!

My son’s been carrying Albus ever since I tried it on him. He only took it out to get in the car twice and promptly asked it back both times. He also took it out to sleep, but I’m pretty sure he’ll ask for it tomorrow.

Hoping I made some of you try to make some! It’s very easy and takes no time. It’s a really good way for your child to carry around his/her doll everywhere while optimizing the chance for it to stay clean!

Please come back and share if you make one, we’d love to see it!

 

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Thrift, Repurpose & Beautify

Earth Day is coming up.  I love to think about how I can live more simply and enjoy what I have.  I like finding ways to get the things I need for less and beautifying what I already have.  In line with this I recently did a project I’d love to share.

I wanted a painting bin.  When we do our watercolor paintings, in our Waldorf inspired home school, I am forever looking for our supplies and making multiple trips from our art closet to the table.  A simple cardboard box would have been fine to keep all my materials together but I love beautifully crafted things.  I wanted a paint box that inspired us to paint!  With this thought I found my way to the thrift store and picked up a possibility.  This sturdy wooden garden caddy was only a $4.  I brought it home cleaned it up and set to work.

This project has so many possibilities and variations to think about.  Art bins, garden bins, anything you need to organize can find a beautiful home.  I did a similar project, though not quite as thrifty, making a beeswax crayon caddy out of an herb box.  You can see that project on my blog, Chocolate Eyes.  I can imagine finding an old wooden box to plant veggies in and beautifying it.  Recently I found a wooden cd crate that is going to be a perfect home for a couple of herb pots.  I’ll be wood-burning that as well. Warning: once you get the wood burning bug it’s hard to shake.

For this project Beatrix Potter kept coming to mind.  We love Beatrix Potter books!  So giving a nod to the garden aspect of my garden caddy and the painting aspect of Beatrix Potter’s beautiful watercolor illustrations, I chose an illustration from The Tale of Benjamin Bunny. In this Illustration Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny have found Peter’s clothes and are now stealing onions from Mr. McGregor’s garden. Those mischievous rabbits remind me of my two little ones.

  • Begin by finding your inspiration.  Draw something or find something online that you would like to add to your wooden item.  Google “coloring pages” of the theme you’re interested in and you’ll find all sorts of free print outs.  Here’s one with fairies, dragons, elves & all things magical.   And here’s another for Peter Rabbit coloring pages.  This is where I found my line drawing print out. You can do something very simple like a flower or a few leaves, a sun, moon, rainbow or a henna-like design of dots, whatever sparks your imagination & is meaningful to you!
  • Also before beginning look at your wooden item.  Is it unfinished wood?  Does it already have a stain on it?  Does it need sanding?  If it has a patina than it’s probably been stained. If you want to paint it using watercolor you may need to lightly sand it for the watercolor to sink in the wood. Or you can use acrylic paint and not worry about sanding it.  Your choice.


  • Gather your materials.  You will need…
    a freshly sharpened pencil, powdered graphite or graphite sticks or charcoal, scissors, tape, wood burner & watercolors or acrylics, if you want to paint it. Plus beeswax wood polish to seal the wood.

  • Cut your print out to the dimensions of your wooden box or bin. Then darken the back of your print out by using the side of a graphite pencil. Or you can use graphite or charcoal sticks or powdered graphite, whatever you have on hand.  If all you have is a no 2 pencil that that will work just fine.  I had some powdered graphite so I used that. Fill in the back of your print out with your chosen graphite or charcoal.  Cover the entire back, leaving no white.

  • Then draw over all of the lines in your print out with a freshly sharpened pencil.   This will leave a pencil line on your wooden item.  Make sure to tape it down so it doesn’t move. When you feel you’ve gone over every line check for lines you may have missed by pulling up one end & peaking under.  There are always a few lines missed.

Here is the penciled illustration. It looks dingy because of the graphite. (Sorry for the glare.)

  • Then go over your lines with your wood burner.  I use the flat edge tip on my wood burner because I like the clean line it makes.  If this is your first time using a wood burner practice on a scrap piece of wood first.  Try burning long lines, short lines, wide and narrow curves.   Twirl the burner on its tip to make dots.  Go slow and have fun with it! ( If you don’t want to wood burn you could even use a permanent marker to draw your design.)
  • When finished with the wood burning clean the graphite or charcoal off with a damp rag and a mild cleaner.  I like to use vinegar & water.

  • Then you can decide whether you want to paint it.  I added a little color with Stockmar watercolors.  I like how it makes the illustration pop.  Once it dries, go over your painting & the entire item with beeswax wood polish.  You can make your own, here’s a recipe from this blog.  Or you can buy from an etsy seller like Natural Kids Team shop, Birch Leaf Designs.

Here’s my caddy mostly filled and ready to be used!  It could even fit a small pad of paper inside.

I hope this gets you thinking about what you can thrift and beautify.  Let’s care for and give new life to the material items already on this earth. Make the earth happy and have a happy Earth Day!

 

 

 

Becca Thornton is a creative stay at home Mama of two sweet, little boys & wife to her high school sweetheart. They are Northeast transplants living in the sunny   Southwest.  A typical day finds them soaking up the sun playing, gardening, baking, crafting & homeschooling.  Find her at her blog, Chocolate Eyes. & visit her shop, Mama West Wind, where she upcycles wool & sells Waldorf inspired toys & decor.

 

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Butterfly Feelers Tutorial

Did you participate in the give away of the Silk Rainbow Butterfly Wings on this blog on Friday (ends 4.19.2012)?   If you already did, you might want to take the next step to make a set of feelers to complete your kids butterfly or other insect costume in a few easy steps.  If not, there is still a chance to do so by leaving a comment, and then get working on this tutorial.  This is an easy craft that you can do for or with your children.

Materials needed:

–         Simple plastic hairband

–         1 pipe cleaner (I used dark green here)

–         About 50cm/19” of narrow satin ribbon

–         Craft Glue

 

 

 

 

 

 

1)      Find the middle of the pipe cleaner and the hairband, and fold the pipe cleaner along the hairband to measure

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)      Put glue along the hair band and press the pipe cleaner onto the glue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3)      Put a dot of glue onto the pipe cleaner and start winding the ribbon tightly around the ribbon and hair band from one side to the other.  Secure the final end with another dot of glue (secure and put pressure on it with a laundry peg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

4)      Bend both end of the pipe cleaner up and roll the ends around a pencil or wooden dowel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5)      Once the glue has dried thoroughly, put the hair band on your (child’s) head:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the play!

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Stick Streamer Tutorial

We recently had my son’s fourth birthday and I wanted to do an activity that was easy for a group of children to do: we painted a stick streamer and had lots of running fun with it later during the party.

While I prepared the stick streamers in advance for our party, one can also make them with children.  Here are the directions of how I made them.

Materials needed:

–        A wooden dowel of approximately 25 cm/10”

–        A small eye screw

–        A key ring or curtain ring

–        An eyelet

–        Satin ribbon – I used 1.5 mtrs/60” of 2.5cm/1” wide

Tools needed:

–        Scissors

–        Hole Punch

–        Eyelet punch

 

1) Screw the eye screw into one end of the dowel and put it aside

Stickstreamer 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Fold over the two corners of one end of the ribbon into a triangle and then fold over again

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Take the hole punch and punch a hole in the triangle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Insert the eyelet and punch it in with the eyelet punch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Connect the ribbon and stick together by hooking the key ring/curtain ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stickstreamer 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready for play, or if desired, ready to paint the ribbon with water colours. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For painting or material inspiration, also visit MamaMoonTime

Happy Playing!

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Lavender Filled Flower Necklace Tutorial

I made these little necklaces for my little girls and a friend of theirs to tuck into their Easter eggs. They’re made very simply of wool felt and filled with sweet smelling lavender buds. They work up quite quickly and can be made in a variety of shapes…. stars, heart, circles. Here’s how I made them;

You’ll need;

Wool felt scraps in two colors

Embroidery floss (I used 2 plys)

Dried lavender buds

Yarn

Any kind of paper to make pattern

 

First I cut out the flower shape with plain paper to use as a pattern. I also cut a circle to fit in the center. Size is unimportant, whatever feels right to you or works with the size of your felt scraps. I pinned them them onto my felt pieces and cut out one of each.

I chose to decorate the front of  my circular piece with french knots. Here’s a good how-to on them. Or you could leave them off. They add a nice texture but are optional. After you’ve finished the front use a blanket stitch to attach the circle to the flower.  You will be stuffing the lavender buds between these two pieces so be sure to keep your stitches  pretty small. Leave about an inch or so opening before you close it up and fill with the lavender. Continue sewing closed and tie it off.

 

Now size your yarn… to go over a child’s head I cut a piece that just barely fits over my own. Use a tapestry needle to sew it to the backside of the flower.

These are the perfect size to stuff into Easter eggs. I’d love to see yours if you make them!

 

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.