Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Candle wraps and mats

For our fall decor I made these from a kit. I love love love felt applique.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Embroidery for toddlers

Kitten always asks to sew (usually she takes an accessory box from my sewing machine and plays with tools and doll clothes pretending to sew them) and I thought she might enjoy some real sewing. I stretched some burlap on a small embroidery hoop, threaded a big blunt yarn needle with a piece of yarn and tied a big knot on the end.
Surprisingly she understood the concept pretty well and enjoyed it. Here is what she made.
Apparently she thought she was sewing a hat :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

New drawing milestone

I was very excited a couple of weeks ago when Kitten suddenly started drawing arms and legs for her people, so I thought I'd share a couple of her drawings:
 That's Marfa, our Waldorf doll, with a small Cheburashka under her (I guess he is sitting in her lap)
The whole gang - Marfa on the left, big Cheburashka in the center and small Cheburashka under the big one (we have two brown ones now) - I don't know why but she is always drawing the three of them

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Baking together - Cream cheese Pudding

This recipe is adored by my whole family. I so much miss Russian farmer's cheese, which of course you can buy here but it is prohibitively expensive and is not sold everywhere. Oh, all the wonderful recipes that you can make with it! This recipe uses cream cheese but really tastes like it is made with farmer's cheese - for all my Russian readers. For the rest of you - a very easy tasty everyday dessert/snack. Is isn't really a pudding, I guess, my dictionary translated it as baked pudding, but I have never heard of such a thing. Just try it and see for yourself. Kitten could almost make it herself, it is so easy.
2x 8oz packs of cream cheese - softened
3 tbsp sour cream
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
5 tbsp semolina or flour
Raisins if desired

Mix all the ingredients except raisins together.

Add raisins, mix.
Grease a 7x11 inch pan.
Pour the cream cheese mixture in it and bake in a preheated to 350F oven for 50 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in a center comes out clean.
Serve with sour cream. If you try it, let me know how you liked it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our early fall nature table

Thought I'd share how our nature table looks at the moment. I haven't made anything new this year but I did not show it last fall, so here it is. The felt leaves, pumpkin and gnomes are from Wee Folk Art free tutorials (if you don't know it, I highly recommend this site!) and the Harvest Goddess (or however you like to call her) is from the book "More Magic Wool". She has seen her share of child play, that's why she looks a little battered. Oh, and there you can see my only felted acorn, it is bright blue (I plan to make several more of different color and make up a story about magic acorns, that all represent diferent strengths of character but Kitten is still too young for such stories, so it is just an idea so far).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Easy dry erase board

I was very excited to find a roll of sticky back dry erase roll in Michael's for $1 (as well as a sticky back chalk board roll, which I haven't tried yet). I cut a piece of it and stuck it to our wall. It peels off easily but doesn't stick too well to the rough paint on our wall, so I added a border of yellow masking tape, which doubles as a border of "allowed to draw on" surface. No easel needed and no space taken!
It works great with an addition of dry erase crayons. Kitten's favorite part is to clean it afterwards (the included with crayons mitten does not work very well but wet paper towel works like a charm). It cleans easily off the wall too, although Kitten is pretty good about staying inside the border.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wool blanket

I am so excited about finishing this blanket! I worked on it for 4 years (intermittently, of course) because thread painting stressed me out. I am not an artist and, even though I had a picture and instructions, each stitch was still up to me to place. After I finished the elephant, came the kite border. Easy but A LOT of kites.
I am ashamed to admit that I started it for my little sister, who was 6 at the time and her favorite toy was an elephant (Mr. Yell was his name). Now that she is 10 and much taller, it no longer suits her and so became Kitten's blanket. It is stitched on 100% wool blanketing with wool thread and backed with cotton flannel with piping. It is very soft and heavy and I think it will keep Kitten comfortably warm through the winter. I love surrounding my baby girl with things I made and dreaming about my grandchildren using them one day.

Friday, October 7, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment :: inspired by soule mama}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Tree printing

I got this idea from Frugal Family Fun blog (love it!). I drew a bare tree on a piece of blue card stock with a marker and gave it to Kitten along with yellow, red and orange paints and a cork.

I really love the outcome (although I had to finish it a little). For some reason she thought that she needs to push as hard as possible at the cork (may be because we were using a paper punch not long before that) and it was slipping and smearing, so I corrected her several times, after which she lost interest :( I need to remember to interfere less and not to be such a control freak.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Her knitting basket

Kitten loves to do everything with me, whatever I do she wants to do as well. After she partially unraveled a couple of projects that I forgot to put away I decided to give her her own knitting basket.  I filled it with some yarn, a knitted square, row counter, cable needle, crochet hook and knitting needles. She loves playing with it pretending to knit and finally left alone my knitting!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Play Moments

A couple of my favorite moments from Kitten's play. I just love these little evidences of how her imagination grows and her play evolves. I enjoy cleaning up after she's gone to sleep because I get to find different play scenes, like little glimpses into what was going on in her mind.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pencil Roll

We needed a place to store our Lyra pencils and I came up with this roll. It is about 12x7 inches. It would have been better to make it taller but I was running out of wool felt that I used for lining. It really adds nice stability and cushioning to the pencils.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Michaelmas Celebration

Yesterday we celebrated Michaelmas, which is one of the four cornerstone festivals in Waldorf traditions (along with Christmas, Easter and St. John's Tide). Archangel Michael has conquered Lucifer (the dragon) and thrown him down from the Heaven, and this festival helps us gather our inner strength before long winter to conquer our own inner dragons. St. George is thought of as the Earthly representative of Archangel Michael, so his story is often told during this week. Since this is our first year of celebrating it, we kept it simple. I made the Dragon bread and told Kitten the Harvest Loaf story as I made the dough using the recipe and the story in "All Year Round".
The ingredients are added one by one as the story unfolds, for example the frothy yeast mixture is the dragon that destroys the land (flour), sugar and salt is the ice and egg yolk is the sunlight that Archangel Michael throws down from the sky to help people. Kitten really liked the story.
Here is our dragon before baking (I know, he looks a lot like a dinosaur!)
He got quite puffier with baking but tasted great and Kitten ate three slices with butter and milk thus conquering her dragon :)
I also decorated a regular candle with a dragon using modeling beeswax. This is the first time I've worked with it and my sculpting skills can definitely be worked on but I love how it turned out and even my husband was impressed. The flame represents a sword with which Archangel Michael conquers the dragon (as the candle burns).

I tried telling Kitten the story of St. George but she was not interested, she is still quite young for it. I plan to make the dragon and other figures for next year and then tell it properly.

It is amazing how festive I felt the whole afternoon even with such simple actions. Perhaps it was because suddenly a thunderstorm started, it finally felt like fall (it is still 100 degrees down here!), and the smell of baking bread and beeswax along with candle light ought to make you feel good. Fall is definitely my favorite season and yesterday was a great start for it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Magic Starch

Kitten loves to play with this stuff! It is probably no news to a lot of you but I have never seen it and was as amazed as Kitten. Basically you mix 2 parts of cornstarch with 1 part of water. The resulting mixture looks like liquid but feels like solid. I also like to let Kitten play with the starch before I add water. To play I assemble spoons and cups, sometimes I add a little food coloring and just let her explore.
Last time I added a sheet of blue paper and encouraged her to dribble the mixture on it, it is quite interesting, unfrtunately when it dries it crumbles off paper, so no keepsake value here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Latest Waldorf doll

I have not realized how hard it would be to go back to regular blogging once you take a break! We've been back from visiting family for a month now and all this time I have been telling myself to get back to blogging. I will try to get back into the routine, I promise!
And for now let me show you my new Waldorf doll, made for Kitten's best friend. I did not give her a name since she was not to be ours and her new Mom has not told me what they named her yet.

She is a medium doll, about 12 inches tall. She had to have long brown hair and blue eyes but otherwise I was allowed to decide myself. She is a jointed limbed doll from Making Waldorf Dolls. For her hair I used almost a full ball of mohair yarn. For the first time I tried knitting a wig cap and figured it out pretty quickly, although I do not crochet (but now want to learn!). It was tricky to achieve full head coverage with hair and allow for multiple hair styles without making her look like a cave person. I ended up putting a strand of hair in almost each loop along the hairline and on both sides of central parting. It would have been better to crochet a chain, put hair in each loop on both sides of it and stitch it on top of parting but I was running out of yarn, so I made it like that. Then I placed the remaining hair randomly and sparsely in between. It turned out very good, you can pull all hair behind or divide it. And even though it still looks like tons of hair when not made up, since mohair is pretty thin, it compresses neatly and makes wonderful hair styles.
I am also pretty proud of her boots, which I made according to directions in Baby Dolls and Their Clothes: Dozens of Projects to Make, but as you know if you have read this book, the patterns are very tiny and there is no way to know how much to enlarge to get the desired size, she just tells you "enlarge the pattern to fit your doll". So I spent probably 2 hours resizing it, adjusting and making trial boots until I found a perfect fit.
 Look at her cute panties!

Kitten understood from the start that this is a doll for her friend and did not give me any trouble asking to play with her or keep her, she would point at her and say "M's doll". She is such a good girl!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cereal box marble run

I made this trial marble run following the tutorial here. It came out a bit wobbly and I should have cut the holes bigger, soetimes we had to push the marble a little bit, but we had fun with it nonetheless.

Monday, June 27, 2011

St. John's Day celebration

We did not do anything fancy, being away from home and all but I did want to start some traditions going this year. So I made this simple centerpiece with a big golden candle, seashells, rose petals and waterlilies, the lilies being the most exciting part. I found directions in All Year Round and they are closed to start with but when you put them to float in water they slowly spread their petals and look so life-like (well, except for the rainbow one but I couldn't resist)! Even my Dad (who is kind of a mad scientist) was impressed.
We had Berry pudding for dessert, which was very simple but good. It was basically just layers of Italian bread and fresh berries - raspberries, blueberries and strawberries - pureed with sugar, all covered with sweetened whipped cream (after being left to soak overnight).
We left some treats for fairies to dine on after their ball: honey to drink, blueberries and caramel to eat, all served in mother-of-pearl dishes with rose petals for chairs and vases.
In the morning we found that fairies left a piece of moonlight and starlight in the vases (in the forms of Swarovski crystals). I really enjoyed celebrating this day for the first time and hopefully next year, when Kitten is older, we will add some more traditions.