Monday, March 29, 2010

spring + waldorf elementals (how to get rid of ants)

i remember hearing a story about one of our illustrious waldorf teachers, wrestling a dusty vacuum and exclaiming that these were not the type of elementals he wanted in his classroom!

i get it. suddenly there are so many paw prints, so much hair, sand, and dust. and i know i'm not the only one feeling spring! the ants have also begun visiting our kitchen... and i've taken the advice i've given so oft, and taken it up with the ants themselves.

here is a lovely offering i built for them, outdoors. made from dates gone bad and skewers, and adorned with fruit scraps and a bit of honey.

and a little something for the gnomes (i have it on good authority that a shallow dish of beer and cream are appreciated). and they have it in with the ants, i hear.

i escorted some of the kitchen ants directly to their new haven. but most of them found their way without my help!

this was really fun to do, and i think i just might have gotten through to them. now i just need to keep on sweeping!

Friday, March 26, 2010

tutorial - waldorf-inspired sock doll - 4. body + legs

here's the links past for this multi-post tutorial on waldorf-inspired sock dolls:

make your own, from materials you already have! this is a great way to repurpose holy socks with no other use and create a friend for your child, or another!

for the legs and body, you'll cut up another sock in the same manner you did for the arms (if you haven't already).

1. turn cuff inside out, and place the foot inside, so that the right sides of both pieces are facing each other.

2. sew together, again using a knit stitch.

this is how it looks now, right side out - the cuff will be the body (you will be able to shorten it if you need), and the foot will become legs the same way the arms did.

3. see arms. measure down the middle and sew a knit stitch up on either side of this line. you may want to shorten the legs (if you are doing a small doll), or simply round or otherwise shape the feet.

there you have it. i'll be showing how i sewed my sock doll together next. i was thinking of doing a video of the stitching, but i bet some great ones already exist. does anyone know of any particularly good hand stitching videos?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

i heart art - etsy workshop #1: selling on etsy

how about that i heart art workshop i promised to write about? our guide, ryan, of littleput books gave us the rundown with many helpful pointers. she shared insight on what makes a seller stand out, and gave advice on branding your business. seriously. go check out her shop critiques, they are an absolute wealth of info if you have an etsy shop. for instance, a short intro, or even a non-existent intro might display your work better than a lengthy one. users will see your work immediately! especially if your banner is beautiful, or displays your products well. on the other hand, shop titles are searchable by google. so you might want to include a few keywords there. good to know!

i must confess that i wish i had been better prepared for the workshop. ryan generously looked over everyone's shops. mine came up first, so i didn't even have time to think of something coherent to ask! in truth, my mind was reeling a bit after hearing that etsy's top sellers list 18 (eighteen!) or more items per day. i don't even have that many things in my shop! really, i needed to take a step back to absorb all the etsy wisdom already imparted, but she did give me some gold by complimenting this photo:

why? well, it's engaging. it looks like i might even be giving it to you. models help people visualize how it might look if they had it, or wore it, or hung it on their wall. we all love pictures that tell stories. this post by susan b. anderson really spoke to me on this concept!

now wouldn't by hand at home be truer if pictures included hands? of course! yes. going forward, i've got lots of great ideas to incorporate. i'm not talking about eighteen items a day though! this is strictly an at-home-mama operation. always growing as organically as possible, with my family by my side. but oh, i do love sharing my creations! some of my favorite shops are on the smaller side, like maribeth's! so! are you on etsy? thinking about etsy? thoughts on etsy? what do you think about sellers with smaller offerings? please share!

p.s. i realized my linkage may have been a bit indiscernible, hope the update to underlined links helps!

happy spring - vintage hankie parade!

forgive me for being a few days behind the equinox, but these hankies were all in heavy use. i thought a celebratory parade was in order!

with the help of my beloved, a spring-time banner is up, and a little spring cleaning is happening all over the page. you can find me on facebook, twitter, flickr, and of course, etsy.

speaking of which, i know i owe you a post on the etsy workshop i attended! it'll be up this week, along with more steps on the sock doll. (still with me there?)

bright spring blessings to you and yours!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

tutorial - waldorf-inspired sock doll - 3. arms

here's the links past for this multi-post tutorial on waldorf-inspired sock dolls:

now we're on to making the arms.

1. cut the sock as above, cutting out the heel. we will be using just the foot portion to make the doll's arms.

2. turn the foot portion inside out and pin the foot together flat. then measure and draw a line down the down the middle.

3. sew a line slightly to the left side of the drawn line, then another to the right. backstitch to secure your ends. i used a knit stitch since we will be stuffing these, and this is a stretchy knit material.

3. cut on your drawn line, in between the sewn lines. at this point you can also draw and sew, or free-sew a more hand like shape for your doll. turn the arms right side out, and you can even begin stuffing them. you may also want to adjust their length to an appropriate size for your doll.

simple, yes? the legs are exactly the same, but we'll also sew the sock cuff to the foot for the legs plus body. i'll go into further detail on that later. let me know if there are questions!

Friday, March 19, 2010

knitting practice + irish soda bread

practicing knitting a different way. i learned to "throw" and hold the yarn in my left hand pinky, but when i taught we showed children how to "pick" with the yarn and tension over the left forefinger, and it's a much more fluid movement. i think you could knit this way quite a bit faster too, but i'm so habituated to the way i learned. i'm thinking of videoing so i can show you. interested? do you know which way you knit?

we made these irish soda bread, only with the following modifications for what we had:

20 ounces gluten-free flours (i used my vitamix to grind heaping 1/3 c.-fuls of millet, white rice, and brown rice plus 4 tbsp. of flax, then i added a heaping 1/3 c. tapioca starch, and 1/3 c. coconut flour and garbanzo bean flour mixed. i lost track somewhere in here exactly on amounts, and then just added shredded coconut to 20 oz. weight (1/2 c. maybe?), since i was actually using a scale.)

1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/4 cups soy milk (normally we don't have this, but it was left by a friend)
2 eggs (we don't normally have these either!)
1 cup dried fruit = chopped apricots and dates

i liked them, but i am for anything breakfast pastry-ish to have with tea. i thought they were finer than any irish soda bread i've had.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

belated w.i.p. wednesday - impasse

so i'm not actually working on this. in fact i have been avoiding it. i began this project before colden was born, with a yarn that was way too big for the pattern (followed directions for the smallest size): classic cashmere leggings in simple knits for cherished babies by erika knight .

so i had plenty of time to procrastinate sewing the legs together and finishing it up.

only to discover when i did, that i had knit one foot backwards.

the pants barely fit over his cloth diapered bottom now. and for the feet, i am thinking of taking them out and adding some ribbed, roll-up-able, cuffs. what do you think?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

tutorial - waldorf-inspired sock doll - 2. finishing head

busy exciting fun weekend! now a bit under the weather. so on with the doll:

1. to finish the head, first take a look and decide where the face belongs. you will tie a string around the center of the head for the eye line, and you will want to put the knot at the back of your doll's head. tie very tightly, even have a helping hand hold your knot, and clip the ends of the string when you are done. i know it seems like the eye line ought to go higher, but it goes right in the middle, really! for the larger doll i made, i used the double head tying technique shown in this tutorial.

2. cover the head with yet another sock - this layer will be the final face for your doll, so you can also substitute another material here. (see the tutorial here for making a similar star baby, with instructions for sewing on 'skin' fabric.)

3. to secure this final layer, slide your string tightly from the top down, and smooth out as many of the neck wrinkles as possible. you can gather them toward the back even. i doubled this string around the neck and tied very tightly. also clipped.

if you're raring to go, cut up a lot of other socks for stuffing! for the arms and legs i used two socks of the same color as the final face sock, so gather yours up for the body too!

any questions? i have a work-on-hiatus to show this week, and i hope to share about the fabulous i heart art and etsy workshop i attended on saturday at the museum of contemporary craft, led by ryan of littleputbooks.

Friday, March 12, 2010

tutorial - waldorf-inspired sock doll - 1. head

and here's how to make your own waldorf-inspired sock doll:

1. to begin, you will cut a sock into long continuous strips like you would for making a rag rug. you can cut up and down the length of the sock back and forth, leaving the ends connected, or you can cut around the cuff of the sock in a spiral all the way down.

2. begin rolling your 'sock yarn' into a ball. stretch and smooth it as you go, wrapping fairly tightly. when i made my first doll, the head was made from wool roving, pulled into a fine strand and wrapped the same way. i think you could even use yarn for a base, if you wanted. give it a go!

3. keep wrapping, crossing directions all around, smoothing all the way, tightly.

4. you can stop at any time if you're making a small doll, or add more 'sock yarn' material for a large one. just tuck your end under a few other strands at your stopping point.

5. use another sock over your sock ball base. smooth it down as much as possible and tie around the neck with a piece of sturdy string. the material used for this on the traditional waldorf doll is stockinette (at bottom of linked page), which is sort of like, well, sock!

make sense?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

works-in-progress wednesday

inspired by kyrie, here, i've been gluing in a journal. most source material = flower catalog. here's my herb garden visioning. look at all that catnip and echinacea!

inspirational exchange with erin, here, prompted these little sweater chicks. this one was quickly invited to colden's tea party before it was decided that he needed some wings. i was probably channeling that sweetie bird too.

excited to brew up some ginger water kefir! i finally did clean out the refrigerator, so there is room for filling it up again!

with wings and in flight! i was going to stuff and sew up this little chick, but he turned into a finger puppet instead! who knew? i simply traced a cut out a drawing, and then sewed it up on my machine leaving a little hole at the bottom to turn it right side out. i stitched around the raw edge at the finger hole with my embroidery thread after i sewed on the wings. let me know if you want more specifics, or a look at the pattern i drew. if you're feeling pattern-shy (i can relate!), you could also try tracing an image from a book or web search.

what works do you have in progress? and (if you can remember your inspiration),what were they inspired by?

p.s. i forgot to mention, diane is hosting a free class on blogging value, pop in today if you can!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

handsewn waldorf doll

i made this doll for colden when i was pregnant and working as a handwork assistant at cedarwood school. we did think colden was a girl, but i always figured i could cut the hair too. however, i did intend to make the hair brown, having no foresight of his gorgeous red curls. we just happened to be out of curly brown yarn and i went for the auburn i adored.

i was a bit intimidated to be making this doll, all by hand; i worked veeery slowly. but after i made it, i felt very empowered. the hand sewing has let me explore so many three-dimensional figures i could never before conceive of, and i love the freedom of being able to shape the piece as i sew.

my friend shanoah needed a baby doll, and her third birthday was right around colden's second. i took lots of pictures of the making of this little recycled sock doll, because i want to share the process. in using recycled socks, you can make a durable playmate for no material cost. though i encourage you to make with all natural wool and cotton as well. we all know how valuable our handwork truly is. you can still make playthings when resources are scarce, or to repurpose your used up clothing.

i think i will post a series of step-by-steps, because it's a long-ish explanation of the making. so gather up your single socks and holey socks and other bits of scrap if you are interested!

here are the links so far

waldorf-inspired sock doll tutorial

Sunday, March 7, 2010

saturday inspiration - outdoors

the blue walls of the sewing room + plum blossom view = incredible.

reminding me of this pink on blue fabric... what to make?

divided garlic - or maybe onions? {photo by marc}

peas have sprouted! {photo by marc}

a lucky shot of the ladybug on my dress. i am thinking of tracing her shadow for a stencil.

colden wants to hold her. wow! another saturday, another winged creature on my hand!

playing on the upside-down wheelbarrow. i have an obscene amount of cute photos of this.

i love doing these saturday inspiration posts that jcasa started on her space. i find ever more inspiration! what's inspiring you?