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How To: Knit a Pumpkin

It’s Fall! It’s October! It’s pumpkin time! Dust off your knitting needles for this great little pattern by Linda. Her original post on her blog, Natural Suburbia, has plenty of pictures for step-by-step guidance and some handy suggestions for pumpkin use.

Materials Needed:
Wool needle for sewing up
Circular needles
2 double pointed needles
Orange yarn for your pumpkin and green for your stem.
Fleece for stuffing

I have knitted this pumpkin using the magic loop technique.

Pattern:
With circular needles cast on 9 stitches.
Round 1: Knit the first round.
Round 2: Increase into every stitch in the second round, you will now have 18 stitches.
Round 3: Knit 1 round.
Round 4: Increase into each stitch in the 4th round, you will now have 36 stitches.
Round 5 to 9: Knit
Round 10: Knit 2 together all across the round.(18 stitches)
Round 11: Knit.
Round 12: Knit 2 together all across the round. (9 stitches)
Round 13: Knit.

Leaving a long thread, break yarn and thread onto a wool needle, thread your wool needle through your stitches, stuff and pull tight. Do not overstuff as this might make your pumpkin look too round, I understuffed my pumpkin and the convolutions of the pumpkin’s skin showed up quite nicely. The wool I knitted him in was also a little on the chunky side and handspun and this worked quite well:)

Once you have closed the top opening of your pumpkin, take your needle, push down through your pumpkin, pull out on the other side and pull tight. This makes a depression on the top of your pumpkin. Sew tightly underneath.

Pick up 2 stitches in the middle of the top of your pumpkin, attach your green thread and knit an I-cord for a stalk.

Sew in all your ends and you are finished, enjoy!!

(This pattern is for personal use only 🙂

Linda gives her four children the credit for inspiring her to create the wonderful Waldorf inspired knitted and wooden farm animals, gnomes and other toys that inhabit her Etsy shop. Knitting patterns for toys and finished treasures are all available from Mamma4earth.

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happy earth day, today and every day

From all of us on the NaturalKids team on Etsy… may today be a day of connecting and reconnecting to nature and celebrating our earth as we protect it for generations and generations to come.

(photo above by Fairyfolk)

We’ve tried to make it a little easier for families to choose all-natural, eco friendly gear for their kids and homes by having a gigantic 56-shop-wide sale, so please check our shops out for all the details or search on Etsy for “naturalkids team earth day”.

And you can receive a free e-book filled with tutorials, kids crafts how-tos, ideas on connecting to nature and fantastic, wholesome recipes… just by finding a drawn gnome hidden in the listings of so many of our shops.

Happy EARTH DAY!

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the greening of a family


Today’s post about Earth Day and raising eco consciousness in our families is from Amy Turn Sharp of Little Alouette – you can visit their lovely shop of heirloom wooden rattles and toys here.

(photo above from Little Alouette)

Earth Day 2010 celebrates the 40th anniversary of a wonderful movement started by Senator Gaylord Nelson. He had a great idea and kept working at spreading the word in a grassroots way, starting with a Scholastic Magazine article that the schools across America read and shared. It seemed that everyone began working together to focus on starting this special day. It started small but has grown into a promise by many of us to protect and nurture Mother Earth.

photo via Flickr

I love the story of the movement being started by the small ones! Yay for wee ones and educators! You can start today to make life a bit greener in your home in simple and affordable ways. The greening of a family can start slowly with simple deliberate actions.


photo via Flickr

Here are some ideas for raising eco consciousness in your family:

• Make your own household items like detergents and cleaners. I made laundry detergent last year and have fallen in love with the economical and greener clean I get from the mix. Check out our blog here to find out how!

• I like to use vinegar for most of my cleaning. You can dilute it and add water and presto you have a perfect cleaner that is very inexpensive. Baking soda is perfect all-purpose scrub and won’t harm little ones. I love using natural products and I find that adding essential oils can give you a fresher scent and mood lift while cleaning.

• If you can give up a paper towel addiction turn to washable cloths and kitchen towels. I love micro fiber cloths!

• Teach your children well! Talk about recycling and head to a local landfill and recycling center for a field trip. Have a simple recycling center in your home and let even the youngest place items in the bins. Label bins with pictures and word and encourage your children to recycle each day. Try out backyard or kitchen composting. For a load of fun and science try vermicomposting! WORMS! (We do it and it is a blast!)

Art for kiddos- talk to kids about thinking first about the supplies we have in the home for art. The recycling bin is a perfect place to check first.

Check out the Crafty Crow for amazing recycled art activities!
I found this amazing Springtime fun on the site this week….


boats from cork!

Save those corks!

Another fun activity for Earth Day and beyond is stamp making in the recycling bin

You can start small and teach your children that tiny steps in the right direction will help us all and truly honor Mother Earth.

Thanks! Amy Turn Sharp of Little Alouette xo

Be sure to check out Little Alouette’s beautiful teething trees, made from Ohio maple wood (and much love), and all the other beautiful handmade pieces in their shop.

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Earth Day how-to :: make an upcycled shipping envelope {and another GIVEAWAY!}

Earth Day is just around the corner, and the NaturalKids team here on Etsy is having a huge (56 shops!) sale and promotion to celebrate. With the Earth as our muse, today’s tutorial is timely and fabulously functional. It’s by Kat from katsinthebelfry, her lovely shop full of gnomes, toys, kits, crowns and more.

Oh, and you can enter another beautiful GIVEAWAY of natural kids toys and more over at the beautiful blog, NaturalSuburbia

(a beautiful playsilk from PolkadotDragon, a felted snail from MuddyFeet and a wooden iron from PrettyDreamer)

Now onto the tutorial….
New (upcycled) shipping envelopes – the tutorial, by Kat

People have been emailing, asking about the envelopes I talked about recently. Since I needed to make a few the other day, I thought I’d photograph the process for you.

*prepare the bag: carefully remove the handles, & toss them into your recycling bin. Next you’ll need to cut the bag open; do this by cutting down one corner seam, then around the base. now your bag should lie flat.

* place your item on the bag, & measure 2 inches around. you can either cut out 2 of of this size, or fold your bag over, then cut once. i did the latter here. definitely fold if your item is bulky.

*with your machine set to zig zag, stitch around three sides. leave a bit of a seam allowance, & don’t forget to back stitch.

*slip your item in. make sure you ease it to the bottom of your envelope, so you don’t accidentally sew through it. for a bit of padding you can first wrap your item in some of the tissue you saved from your birthday prezzies.

*sew the fourth side closed, back stitching once more to avoid ravelling.

*if your bag has a fancy design, as does mine, add a label for the address.

*a reminder to recycle your envelope would be a lovely addition. perhaps i should have gone with a color not in the bag’s design.

*make more! my bag made 1 small, & 1 large envelope.

these are fun to make, & take very little time. happy envelope-making!
~peace.

Here’s something lovely from Kat’s shop!

Sunee, a Shakespearian wooden doll, clothed in Shakespeare’s writing, and sweet as can be!

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Happy Earth Day!

April 22 is Earth Day and the Natural Kids Team is celebrating in a big way. 55 member shops are having sales, promotions or giveaways. Check out the complete list of shops here.

To help you celebrate, many participating shops have generously donated several of their earth friendly items to be given away to a lucky winner. There are a total of five Natural Kids Team giveaways this month and one in May, including one on our own Natural Kids Blog.

This Earth Day giveaway features terrific earth friendly items from Knitting Momma, Curly Monkey, Muddy Feet and Elemental Handcrafts. These items are all crafted using natural materials and are a beautiful way to connect your child to the earth, naturally.

Knitting Momma has donated a hand knit ball. This hand knit woolen ball will provide lots of fun for toddlers and preschool age children. This ball is knit with wool and stuffed with natural stuffing.

Curly Monkey has provided an organic onesie, silk screened with a sweet eco print, using non toxic ( lead and phthalates free) soft water based inks.

Muddy Feet is donating a tiny felt snail. Perfect for a pocket or to add to a playset, the snail is hand sewn using plant-dyed wool felt (70% wool, 30% rayon) for the body, hand felted wool for the shell, and cotton thread. They measures a whopping 1.5 inches long (well, just over), and are about 3/4 to an inch inch at the widest and tallest.

Elemental Handcrafts is providing a gift certificate for a personalized wooden baby spoon.

To enter is simple, you must be a follower of the Natural Kids blog. Leave a comment stating that you are a follower and leave a contact email.

For additional entries:
~ become a fan of Natural Kids Team on Facebook
~ tweet about the contest (maximum once per day)
~ visit Knitting Momma, Curly Monkey, Muddy Feet and Elemental Handcrafts and leave us a comment telling us your favourite item(s) from each shop

Remember to leave a separate comment for each additional entry and remember to please include your contact info. Contest is open until April 22, 2010 at midnight. A winner will be announced on April 23, 2010. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn.

There is another Earth Day giveaway on one of our member’s blogs, featuring more of our talented members’ items: visit the Magic Onion’s blog for more details. Stay tuned for details on our other upcoming Earth Day giveaways. To find other earth friendly items from the Natural Kids Team, search “Naturalkids team earth day” on Etsy. Happy Earth Day!

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Making Egg Candles for Easter.

Hi, I’m Donni. My shop is called Fairyfolk. My blog is called The Magic Onions.
Making sweet Easter candles has become an Easter tradition in our family. We make a few variations and save them all to put on our Easter table. It is a treat for the kids when they are, at last, allowed to light them… each child taking turns with the taper. The anticipation of having saved them through the Easter season shines from their excited eyes… it’s too delightful.
Today, we made colorful Easter Egg candles.
Waldorf Beeswax Easter Egg Candles
We needed:
* empty egg shells (here is a tutorial on how to clean out eggs)
* beeswax
* colored crayons
* candle wick (found at craft stores)
* sticky tape
* an recycled egg cup
* scissors
Prepare the eggshells for the melted wax by sticking a little sticky tape over the small hole on the egg shell. Make sure the tape is stuck fast to seal the shell well.Turn the eggshell upside down and place it in the egg cup so that it is secured.
Cut a length of wick. Tie it around a stick and balance it in the middle of the egg shell. Your shell is now ready for the melted wax.
I use a recycled jar to make a bain-marie to melt the beeswax (here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to safely melt wax).
We adore the wonderful golden color of melted beeswax and breath deeply of the honey aroma. My house always smells so sweet on beeswax craft days.
When I am doing a craft using melted beeswax with the children, we are very careful. Melted wax is extremely hot and would cause a horrid burn. As a precaution, I always work with a bowl of iced water nearby and my children know to put their hand into the cold water if they do get burned.
To color the beeswax, add a little colored crayon to the melted wax and stir until the color blends evenly into the beeswax.
Then carefully pour the melted wax into the eggshell and allow it to cool.
Cut the wick to the desired length and… Voila! Beautifully colored Easter candles.
Blessings and magic for your Easter preparations!
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Easter/Spring NaturalKids Team Blog-A-Thon

The NaturalKids Team was started by woodmouse in 2007. Early members included faerierebecca, fairiesnest, cozycottage. It was a small group, with a small presence on etsy. Since that time members have come and gone but our mission has stayed the same. To be a group of sellers dedicated to creating natural products for children. We are a diverse group of artisans who make natural toys, utensils, clothing and accessories for kids. Our sellers work with materials from the Earth, such as wool, cotton, silk and wood. Our goal is to support, promote and have fun together while building our businesses. 

One of our 1st Team Blog Post read as below and it is still true today….
We are a diverse bunch from all over the globe who have at least one thing in common:  we all work with natural materials in our products for children.  Oh yeah, and we’re all pretty darn crafty & talented too!  Wool, wood, cotton…just simple materials direct from the Earth.  


So who are we?  
Some of us are mothers of small children.
Some of us are mothers of grown children.
Some of us make dolls, some of us make hats, some of us make toys.
Some of us have been selling our wares for many years.
Some of us are just starting to discover our talents and start selling.
Some of us work with natural materials for environmental reasons.
Some of us work with natural materials as part of the Waldorf educational philosophy.
Some of us work with natural materials because we believe they are healthier and safer.
Some of us just like working with natural materials.
Some of us sell our wares for a living.
Some of us sell our wares as a hobby.

Since that time, some of us are fathers.

To see more items from The NaturalKids Team go here!

Thank you for reading and now join in the fun to take a trip to see what you may find at these NaturalKids Team Members Blogs! Happy Spring!!!
Visit these Blogs:

 

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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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Waldorf Toys and the the free play fun over the holidays…

I love to see my children use their beautiful imagination while playing with free play toys and games. I enjoy watching the brilliant process of free-thought and spark cross their faces as they learn to think and be creative.
I want my children to be active in their play!
I want my children to learn through play.
I want to feel confidant that they are happy and engaged.

I also love to give these type of toys to other children and introduce the idea of simple and creative toys to others. I find that parents are very receptive to toys that promote independent thought and NO batteries. Give the gift of exploration and creativity this year!

Here are my top five Waldorf Holiday toys to give over the holidays and for birthdays:

Waldorf Dolls: ( simply beautiful and fosters creative play)
Found Here.

Play silks (Gorgeous!Anything! A Cape! A river! A tent! Clothing!)
Found Here.

Waldorf Wood figures (thoughtful and free play fun! Make up stories! Dream!)
Found Here.