Friday, August 23, 2013

Mushrooms and Acorns

We first saw this house while it was still on the market almost exactly one year ago now. Our old house had sold, and the deal on the house we had planned on buying fell through 4 days before we sold our house. We spent hours every day on the internet searching the listings over and over looking for some place ~any place please God!~ for our family to live. I found this property one afternoon shortly after Rodrigo arrived back at my parents house from work. It wasn't too far down the road from their house so we decided to run out, drive by and take a look. I called our realtor while we were driving to find out if she could meet us here and show us the house. We knew it was a foreclosure and was sitting empty from the pictures in the listing, so I wasn't worried about inconveniencing the owners on such short notice. The realtor was busy, but she got permission from the listing agent to give us the combination for the lock so we could let ourselves in and look around.

When we pulled into the driveway, I saw the woods behind the house, and below all of those great big huge trees were mushrooms. Everywhere! I love mushrooms!

{This picture was taken on the day we came to look at this house for the first time last year} 

And those towering trees, well most of them turned out to be Oak trees! Covered in acorns!! I love acorns too! I loved the land here! The house, well, honestly not so much. Rodrigo did, he saw the potential were I just saw depressing. Mainly it wasn't a pretty little Victorian farmhouse with a turret. So at that point nothing really seemed good enough for me, but I was ready to have a place to live after more than 9 weeks without a home!

This place finally feels like it's really ours. In October it will be a year since we signed the papers and moved in. I am so happy that this is the house we bought now. Occasionally we drive past that old Victorian farmhouse, and now I am just filled with gratitude that God led us where he has. It was not an easy lesson to learn, I tried my best to convince God that He really should just let us have the pretty white house with the turret, but I am so glad now that He didn't! Letting go of what I want is never easy! But those mushrooms and trees filled with acorns, well, they still thrill me as much as they did on the day we first saw them! And now even the little ones come to find me and show me when a pretty new mushroom pops up in the woods!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Simple Weaving with Kids Tutorial

This was another post I've had in draft for a couple of years. I originally made it as a guest post for the Home-Spun Threads blog. I was going through my list of posts and found a few drafts for fun tutorials and wanted to share them on my own blog!

Today I am going to show you how to make a simple loom out of cardboard and introduce your children to weaving.

For this project you'll need the following:
Cardboard for the loom, scissors, tape, yarn and a large tapestry needle.

We used an empty cereal box for our loom. I just helped the boys cut out the back of the box and then we folded it in half and secured with tape to make a sturdier loom. The nice thing about this type of weaving is you can make your loom (And finished project) any size you want. Remember if you are working with little ones that the bigger the loom is, the longer the weaving takes to complete! Our looms where about 5 by 7 inches.

 Mark the top and bottom edges of your loom every 1/4 inch. I found it works best if you begin and end your marks about 1 inch from the edge of the cardboard.

 Make small cuts about 1/4 inch long on each mark for you to wind your vertical threads (called the Warp Threads)

Begin winding your yarn for the Warp. Do not just wind all the way around the loom.  You only want the warp threads looping over the tabs cut in the top and bottom of the loom and you do not want them winding from top to bottom on both front and back of your loom. (This is a bit difficult to explain, but in the next picture showing the back of the loom with the warp threads wound you can see what I mean.)

See what I mean? The warp threads only loop over the tabs cut in the loom and do not cover the back of the loom like they do in the front. The ends of the yarn are taped onto the back of the loom to keep them out of the way while  your child weaves.

Now the fun begins! Have your child choose the first color of yarn for his weaving and thread it onto a large (blunt) tapestry needle. We used about 4 to 5 feet of yarn and had it doubled through the needle so each child had about 2 feet of yarn to work with at a time (A bit longer for bigger kids.) Leave a tale of yarn so it can be tied off later. We taped our tales to the back of the loom before beginning weaving  so they wouldn't get in the way. Start weaving by going over and under every other Warp string.  When you reach the end of the row, come back the other way going "over" where you went "under" and "under" where you went "over" before. The yarn that goes back and forth is called the Weft string, we like to double it because it helps the weaving go a bit faster the bulkier the yarn is!

 After you have 4 or five rows completed you will need to push all of your Weft strings to the top (or bottom) of your weaving. A fork comes in handy for this.

Or you can use your fingers to tighten the weft strings!

It's easy to make stripes and change colors while you are weaving. Simply cut your weft yarn off the needle, leaving a tail and tape it onto the back  of your loom. Then string another length of different colored yarn onto your needle and tape the tail onto the back side of the loom and start weaving where you left off with the last color, always being careful to follow the over, under, over, under pattern! 

 When your weaving is complete it is time to tie up all of the loose ends. Younger children may need help tying everything off. Start on the sides tying the weft string tails into nice square knots close to the edge of the weaving. You can cut the tails pretty close if your knot is secure.

 Next slip the loops off of the tabs of your loom. We found it easiest to snip each loop one at a time and knot it, rather than cutting them all at once and then trying to figure out which ends went together!

The ends can be left like this as a fringe or they can be trimmed to make a neater edge.

My kids' finished projects. They couldn't wait for their daddy to get home to show him what they had made! 

Linking up at Made by you Monday!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Comet throwing toy tutorial

I just found this post as a draft from a little tutorial for Comets that I made up last summer for the girls over at the blog Twig and Toadstool. I realized that I had never posted it here you go!

Today I wanted to share with you an easy little tutorial on how to make Comets! Comets are really simple throwing toys that are a lot of fun for all ages!

To start with you'll need the following supplies:

  • A small rectangle of fabric (mine is about 12 inches by 6 inches or 30cm by 15 cm)
  • thread 
  • needle for sewing or a sewing machine
  • ribbons (4 or 5 ribbons about a yard or meter long each)
  • Comet filling (I used popcorn, dry rice or beans also work well!)
  • adhesive tape or straight pins

 Now lets get started! Take your rectangle of fabric and fold it in half with the right sides together:

 Then take your ribbons placing them as I did in the picture below and fasten them. I used tape because it was what I had on hand...

Fold the comet back in half, remember to make sure the pretty side of your fabric is on the inside! and that the ribbons stick out past the end (in the picture below the are going to be sewn in on the left hand side of the rectangle). See the faint marker lines I made to show you where to sew? Leave the long tails coming out of the other end of the fabric(on the right hand side in the picture below). You aren't sewing that side shut yet because you'll need to turn the comet right side out when you've sewn it and then you'll need the opening there to fill it!

 Here is our comet sewn together on two sides. Where the ribbons are I sewed over that seam 3 times since it is going to get a lot pulling and tugging and I wanted to be sure everything was secure!

Turn the comet right side out and fill with your popcorn (or rice, or beans...)

Once it is filled (loosely so you can still have room to sew it shut easily.) fold over the top to the inside as shown in the picture below:

Pinch the sides neatly together and sew it up. I just top-stitched across the top with my sewing machine...

Yippee!! Your comet is finished and ready for play!

Now for some fun, grab a few kids and head outside to play with your new toy. Children love playing with comets. They are very easy to throw. The long ribbon tails are perfect for holding on to and swinging around before launching your comet.
 They are also easy to catch. They are feel soft and very little children can learn to catch with them easily because of their long ribbon tails, plus they won't bounce or roll away if they do hit the ground...

And especially important: the ribbons look really pretty fluttering through the air while the comet sails on it's way!

They really are fun for all ages!

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