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A Pony for Sara

We have a new pony! It’s a long story how I found him, but this pony needed a new home. I didn’t know how badly, until he got here. His hooves have possibly never been trimmed (our horses get their hooves trimmed every 2 months). Underweight, although not drastic. Still a stallion (never neutered). Shedding in weird patches.But the biggest thing wrong: Terrified. Scared to death. Literally shakes all over. Runs away. Cannot catch him. Abused.

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This is Winslow, day one.

So, got his hooves trimmed. My blacksmith was so kind and patient. Spent a week working with him everyday, several times a day. Very hard to catch him. Usually takes two people – have to corner him. Left his lead line on him, so when you get close can either grab or stand on the lead line. Once caught, his terror is blatant.

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Then he got gelded (neutered). This is major surgery. The vet was awesome. My friend Elaine, who came to lend moral support, fainted in the stall. 🙂

Winslow eating grass

This is Winslow, no longer a stallion. Very wary of me. Now he must be exercised twice a day, to help his incision heal. At first I thought, how will this ever work? But, bit by bit, he got a tiny bit easier to catch. And lead. It was a great day, when he would trust me enough to put his head down and eat grass (instead of watching me constantly in fear). The bonding and trust between us has grown. I bring sweet feed with me to his stall, and he will usually come to me, although not always – sometimes it is as if his fear was never even slightly abated. I exercise him every day. We go on walks. I’m teaching him that it is ok for him to be brushed, and washed with a hose. I now have him in a stall next to my “big” horses, and Belle (my mustang mare) has fallen in love with Winslow.
He’s still scared, but not as bad., usually.

Winslow yesterday

He is so adorable, and so sweet. Not an aggressive bone in his little body; just wants love. I try to imagine a day when his fear is gone.

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My love of horses began for me at age 2. It gives me such pleasure to knit little horses. I call them Earth Ponies, and you can request them in practically any color of the rainbow.

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Earth Ponies at Woolies on Etsy!

Thank you for reading about me and Winslow!

Woolies Shop
Buster N Boo Shop
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BirchLeaf Designs a Farm

Playsilks and Swords and Shields, OH MY! We recently came across a photo of a boy who was not afraid to play. His imagination was wondrous!

Boy who was not afraid to play.
Boy who was not afraid to play.

Wondrous and amazing…very much like this mosaic shield. Made from a blank shield from our shop and then sold at an auction to help raise funds for the Portland Waldorf School in Portland, Oregon.

Mosiac Shield. Photo courtesy Portland Waldorf School.
Mosiac Shield. Photo courtesy Portland Waldorf School.

The mosaic shield reminds me so much of our life…with the family in the center, the heart, the hearth, the fiery life-force. Then, branching off of the heart center are our many activities in which we are involved. Each day is filled with a bit of this and a bit of that…from eating healthy foods, to homeschooling, to farming, to making toys. These past few weeks have found us in the woods. Many blessings are upon us!

Maple Sap is flowing!

Pro Maple sap taster!
Pro Maple sap taster, Kiah.

Little baby chicks are healthy and here!

Baby chicks are a'peepin'.
Baby chicks are a’peepin’.

And little lambs have arrived!

Meet Patience.
Meet Patience.
Kiah and her lamb, Patience.
Kiah and her lamb, Patience.
Milo and his lamb, Temperance.
Milo and his lamb, Temperance.

It only gets livelier from here on out! Garden starts are ready to be planted. Piggies are due to arrive April 20th and bees shortly thereafter. Festivals and art shows are in the not so distant future…which brings us back to our shop…BirchLeaf Designs…Playsilks and Swords and Shields, OH MY…

Wendy, Mojo and their 2 children, Kiah and Milo live, homeschool, farm, and make toys off the grid near Marquette, Michigan. Please visit their shops at http://www.birchleafdesigns.etsy.com and http://www.northernchildren.etsy.com

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Natural Easter Egg Dying

Easter egg dying is a fun Easter tradition! The weeks leading up to Easter are pretty hectic around our home with getting Armadillo Dreams orders shipped in time for Easter delivery. We always make sure we still have time to enjoy some fun activities with our kids on Easter weekend. This past weekend we did some egg dying and had a great time!

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We really wanted our egg dying to be a little more natural and safe this year. We were excited when we found Eco-Eggs egg dying kits! They are made using natural plant, fruit and vegetable extracts. The kit comes with three dyes that can be mixed to achieve 6 different colors, a color/time chart, a wire egg dipper and a piece of wax. The kit is also packaged in super cute and recyclable packaging.

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Knowing that the eggs would be safe to eat even if any dye seeped in through the pores in the eggs was a great feeling. Did you know that a single egg shell is covered with as many as 17,000 microscopic pores? Egg shells are a “semipermeable membrane”, which means that air and moisture can pass through its pores.

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First we hard boiled 2 dozen eggs. Then we put the dyes into three cups filled with just enough water to fully submerge an egg. Next we used the piece of wax that was included in the kit to write/draw some fun things on the eggs. Next we dyed all of the eggs six different colors. To get the different colors some eggs had to be in the cups for up to fifteen minutes, some for just a few seconds. A few of the colors required putting an egg in one cup and then a second cup to mix the colors. The eggs turned out really neat and looked a lot more earthy than a lot of the very brightly colored eggs I remembered as a kid. They looked a lot more appetizing since they weren’t all screaming in neon! The wax writing on the eggs really showed well.

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Lucy and Lincoln had a lot of fun hunting for the Eggs…

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We hope everyone had a great Easter! We had a wonderful Easter and we will be doing natural egg dying again next year for sure! Has anyone else ever used natural egg dyes before? We would love to hear about your experiences with them!

– The Cowell Family (Dustin, Amanda, Lucy and Lincoln)

You can also read more about our family on our blog, Wild Armadillos.

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~ It’s time for a new spring/summer wardrobe !!!

I don’t know if you are like me, but every time spring is near I’m anxious to go to my wardrobe and start wearing my little dress and skirt again ! Not to mention that I love to go shopping for a couple of new sets…I don’t know why but it’s not the same for fall…do you feel the same !? Spring is really a  ”blooming” season, you want everything to look fresh, clean…all new !!  Also it’s that time of the year we, as parents, need to find new clothes for our children…omg they grow so fast ! I think my daughter gained 2 inches more this winter !?? She is going to turn 12 soon, and shopping for her is now a bit of a headhache. She’s not an adult yet, but children’s clothing don’t fit her anymore…boy oh boy..I have to be really creative to find something decent for her ah!ah!

Sometimes I kind of miss the time when she was younger, to dress her up in little colored shorts and skirt sets, with bows and frills…you know what I mean !? I used to work as a fashion designer for children and I’ve always loved clothing…to mix and match them and not to mention to design them. I just loOoove designing clothes…sketching, drawing… it’s another passion of mine!

I’m now the creator behind FeeVertelaine, handmade natural toys and dolls. Lately I did offer myself a treat ! I started a project that I’ve been dreaming about for many years now…Creating my own paper doll !! As a little girl, paper dolls were one of my ABSOLUTE favorite things to play with! So I took my pencil away from the cobwebs, and started to draw Emilÿ…it so reminded me of my time in fashion school. I also loOove watercolor,  so I told myself why not do the coloring this way…so I did ! Every little step of the creation of this project was a pure delight for me.

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After many months of sketching, coloring, editing…she finally came to life. This was pure joy for  my daughter, who was my assigned tester 😉 She and her friend had such a great time playing.. humm sorry testing…all the new spring/summer wardrobe that Emilÿ comes with. It was so sweet to watch them mixing and matching everything together…4 hands on one doll is a true test !! So I knew she was ready for the world to meet her !

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My heart is filled with excitment to introduce her to you today…Emilÿ my first paper doll…all ready for spring with her new wardrobe !! Enjoy !!!

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You can find her here in my Etsy shop.

 

This lavender dress reminds me of a dress that I sewed recently for one of my winter fairy dolls…a last glimpse of winter just before spring shows up  at our door !

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If you wish to see and read more about my creative process, I invite you to visit my Facebook page where I add pictures of my everyday work and things I cherish…. I will soon offer Emilÿ as a giveaway…keep an eye open !!

Happy spring !!

Warm regards,

~Julie xo

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A day at the office, 3 parts //mosey handmade, morning glory garden & mama

merry spring//bread day
merry spring//bread day

 

We have an early start to our day around here…

early light//sleepy heads
early light//sleepy heads
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naptime//mealtime

The littles wake with the sun, and there is work to be done. We have a little school in our house! This means many things, like bread day, soup day and rice day. All with their own set of recipes and each with their very own song.
we chippity chop, we kneed the dough and stir that rice pot.

table set//bunny hop
table set//bunny hop

Our school follows the rhythm of a Waldorf kindergarten and that means that as much as we work we also play!
There are carts of wool to be sorted, towers to be built, train rides to take and even some traveling to far away lands, like Boston!

polishing day//birthday
polishing day//birthday

We have a full day here in this house, me with my youngest on my back and my oldest playing about with her friends.
And at the end of that day a new day begins, one of snuggles and books read, one where usually my two little children curl up and fall fast asleep and then my life as a crafter and blogger begins. i have joked many times that my bed is my desk and in many ways it is. My children all nested in and my computer perched on the edge, me sitting Indian style on the floor rearranging my etsy shop or writing a blog post.

my littlest//bed as a desk
my littlest//bed as a desk

This is how we live and work. This is how I help support my family and stay centered, this is also in many ways my “me” time. My time to step away for a minute as wife and mother, and work at my craft. Then I suppose in someways isn’t it all a *mother’s craft*? The toast cut just right in the morning, the outfits for the children laid out and ready, the songs we sing and the way we apply ice pack after a fall and kisses after a scuffle. The way we write our to do list and check it off and gently add to it all day long.

setting the table//fancy slippers
setting the table//fancy slippers

that’s the thing about being a mother, it doesn’t have an ending. there is no closed sign to be turned over, and the lights may go out but we are always open for business.
and in a world that tries to put a name on what a wife and mother should be i say we are all crafters, lovingly eeking out what it means to us to be a family, and i hope a beautiful one at that.

You can read more about our days here:
www.littlebitsandbobbin.blogspot.com
See our little school here:
https://www.facebook.com/morningglorygarden

See what we sew and create at our etsy shop:

www.mosey.etsy.com

Follow us on instagram to see all the amazing dinners my husband cooks me! #morningglorywaldorfschool

 

 

 

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MamaWestWind, Stories…

Once there was and once there was not, a magical meadow on the edge of an enchanted forest. The forest was home to many magical beings. MamaWestWind knew them all…

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I fell in love with story when I was little.  As a child I loved nothing better than to lay outside under my favorite horse chestnut tree, feel the cool breeze on my skin, smell that green earthy smell of the grass, wildflowers & trees and be carried away by a book.  In my books I could travel to distant times and places all over the world.

When I became a Mom I really wanted to impart my love of story to my children.  One of the books that has captured our hearts is “Old Mother West Wind” by Thornton Burgess.  My boys and I really love the creative way in which the forces of nature are personified.  There is Old Mother West Wind who is the wind, her children the Merry Little Breezes, Old Dame Nature, Old Mother Moon and many others.

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So when I began making peg dolls for my three year old son and couldn’t stop, I knew an etsy shop had been born.  I didn’t have to look very far for the name of my shop, MamaWestWind.   I loved the idea that “Old Mother West Wind” being the wind, the very air around us, would know every creature in the forest. She would know the animals, the gnomes, fairies & all. My littles call me “Mama” & so MamaWestWind became my alter ego, my friend, my creative outlet & so began her story.

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Since that time my little shop has grown and I am so ecstatic to be doing what I love.  I get the privilege of creating little playthings, friends. that children then take into their worlds and imagine the most wonderful stories.  And so the circle is complete.

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(picture by a happy customer & photographer Jacqueline Leigh)

Please visit me at my blog, Chocolate Eyes where I blog about crafting, homeschooling, gardening , just life with three boys in the sunny Southwest.  I recently wrote a post about my brand new studio, so come for a tour!  Also check out my shop MamaWestWind on etsy.   For shop updates and giveaways “like” my MamaWestWind Facebook page.

MamaWestWindblog

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My Enchanted Life

As the weather gets warmer my days get busier so I need meals to be simple. I run a full time business, The Enchanted Cupboard, while running my household and homeschooling 4 children. I need to keep our meals healthy and nutrition filled! I love this recipe because it is what I make with the last 2 chicken breast when I am doing big batch cooking and it is packed full of yummy veggies. Dicing up the veggies and adding it to chicken salad is a great way to boast your kids diet with lots of color that are full of antioxidants! I serve this for lunch on whole wheat bread and a cup fruit salad. You could easily make this low carb. and gluten free by serving it on big lettuce leaves like a wrap! If you like this easy recipe and want more come checkout my own blog and see what is cooking in my kitchen.

Mama’s Chicken Salad

Ingredients

2 skinless boneless precooked chicken, diced
2 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 med. size onion dice
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow or orange pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, veggies and herbs. Set aside.
Add mayo and mix gently until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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On my work table I often have much smaller versions of play food just right for Waldorf Style dolls. I work with wood and paper clay to make play food.

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This sweet little set is made of wood and is just right for doll house dolls. I so enjoy creating for this miniature world of childhood play. Come on over to the Nature Table and see what is cooking at the Acorn Cafe.

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The Acorn Cafe

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On the first day of Spring the world was a buzz of activity at the Acorn Cafe.

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Everyone was enjoying the wonderful food made by Miss Dandelion.

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Grandpa was having his favorite tomato sandwich.

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A few fairies stopped in for tea and sweets.

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Four forest friends enjoyed an after noon treat.

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All were happy on this bright spring day.

Items on the Nature Table:

Wooden toys, playsilks, and dolls can be found at The Enchanted Cupboard.

Felt Woodland Friends can be found at Muddyfeet.

Acorn Cafe  and table & chairs were created by Willodel.

 

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Tools of Trade: Washboard for Wet Felting

Remember my post about my journey with felting? I recently tought myself how to wetfelt. Most of the things I needed I had at home already. Soap, hot water, old towels, roving. What was missing was one of those cool washboards for agitating the wool.

Luckily I finally got a hold of one.

 

You can read the story of how I came across it here.

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Indian Flatbread Recipe

The other day our family made some Indian food. We love to cook together as a family. Now that the kids are turning into teenagers I find it is an important task for me as a parent to teach them how to prepare food. I can’t help but have these horror-images of the children moving away when they go to college living on junkfood and instant soups. They may still end up living that way but as  parent I feel I must at least try to give them the skill set to cook and take good care of themselves…Right?

Our son loves hot food. Our daughter not so much…

But she really enjoyed making Indian flatbreads we served with the chicken dish we prepared. It’s kind of funny how people on the other side of the world came up with a type of bread that is a lot like tortillas made in the Americas…Since my husband is part Mexican we eat a lot of tortillas in this household. So we were really excited to try Naan.

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You don’t need very many ingredients to make Naan.  All it takes is 4 different items and a bit of time to rest the dough. That’s always a tough one. Who has time in this fast-paced life? But we try to make time on weekends for our cooking adventures together.

Ingredients:

3-4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups plain low-fat yoghurt

How to make it?

Step #1  Combine all the dry ingredients and mix them together well.

Step #2 Slowly pour in the two cups of yoghurt and stir it until the dough stiffens. When you can’t stir it any more it’s time to knead the dough with your hands. We first worked it into a big ball inside the bowl.

Step#3 Dump out the ball of dough and knead it into a nice stretchy consistency. It shouldn’t be too wet nor too dry.

Step#4 Put a touch of oil in the bowl and put the dough back in the bowl. Roll the dough around in the oil. Cover with a towel and let it reast for one hour or more if you have time…

Step#5 Shape the dough into 10-12 even little balls. Depending on how much flour you use you get more or less bread…

Step#6 Roll out the little balls and shape them into thin flatbreads. We made ours round and of about 1/4 inch thickness. But I remember seeing them in Indian restaurants looking kind of rectangular.

Step#7 Put the flatbread one bread at a time in castiron skillet on the stovetop. Brown it on one side for a minute or two then flip it over and do the other side. Put your flatbread in the oven under the broiler. Leave there until the breads puff up then remove and put in a basket with a dishcloth in it.

This bread is so yummy. It has a slightly sour taste from the yoghurt. And guess what? There was none of Naan left after dinner.

 

Naan Indian Flatbread
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

This bread is so yummy. It has a slightly sour taste from the yogurt.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Author: GermanDolls for NaturalKidsTeam.com
Ingredients
  • 3-4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups yogurt plain low-fat
Instructions
  1. Combine all the dry ingredients and mix them together well.

  2. Slowly pour in the two cups of yogurt and stir it until the dough stiffens. When you can't stir it any more it's time to knead the dough with your hands. We first worked it into a big ball inside the bowl.

  3. Dump out the ball of dough and knead it into a nice stretchy consistency. It shouldn't be too wet nor too dry.

  4. Put a touch of oil in the bowl and put the dough back in the bowl. Roll the dough around in the oil. Cover with a towel and let it rest for one hour or more if you have time...

  5. Shape the dough into 10-12 even little balls. Depending on how much flour you use you get more or less bread...

  6. Roll out the little balls and shape them into thin flat-breads. We made ours round and of about 1/4 inch thickness. But I remember seeing them in Indian restaurants looking kind of rectangular.

  7. Put the flatbread one bread at a time in cast iron skillet on the stove top. Brown it on one side for a minute or two then flip it over and do the other side. Put your flatbread in the oven under the broiler. Leave there until the breads puff up then remove and put in a basket with a dishcloth in it.