Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours. I hope your Christmas is joy filled and peaceful.

Thank you for stopping by our little blog.  Its been fun sharing our house and adventures with farmyard in tow.  I've appreciated all of your comments and the friendships I've made through the blogosphere this year.

I'll be back in the New Year.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Favourite Christmas Decorations

While at Sallies recently I spied  a bag of wooden rings apparently used for hanging curtains.  We've found they make great xmas decorations.  This is one Ella made.  I love how shes finished it with a plaited hanger.

 Gosh it looks like I've been on the turps taking this blurry photo!

This is made from a wooden peg.  Acorn cap for hat, mohair wool for hair, artificial flowers for wings and hat and felt for body.  This one I made for Laura.  I thought we would make more but I'm running out of time with a list of other things to finish.

Ben made the decoration on the left last year when he did embroidery lessons.  He made up the design himself.  He embroidered three strips of craft felt and then plaited them together.

We were given these by dear friends Paul and Evie years and years ago.  They're probably the kids favourite.  Most importantly they're able to hold a candy cane.

I bought this from Trade Aid years ago and its my all time favourite.  It sits on the eating table and when its dark the light shines through the stars in the pottery.  I recently added the large angel while buying some stocking fillers for the children, also from trade Aid.  Its earthy and handmade and it sums up my wish for xmas, simplicity, handmade and giving from your heart.

Monday, 19 December 2011

So Far This Summer........

We've been to a watercolour painting class in the park.  Luckily the weather was dry and sunny.  It was a lovely day and the children really enjoyed the class.

Babysitting a friend's two brown shavers while they went for a holiday to Australia.  Its nice to be getting a regular supply of eggs again.

Thinking and planning and making some things for xmas.  Some of them will be wraps for xmas presents and others like the puppy fabric are destined to be a gift for Louie.

Enjoying the beginning of a (hopefully) long strawberry season.   Really enjoying picking our own raspberries this year and beating the wild birds to them!

Enjoying this gorgeous boy.

Looking forward to a long family holiday with lots of time in the garden and at the beach and lazing about enjoying the weather.

Hope your Summer (or Winter) is going well whereever you are.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

How To Make A Yo Yo Brooch

Ella has been making a few of these lately. 

These are called Suffolk Puffs or Yo Yos.  We found these at the 2nd Hand Shop.  Theres all sorts of things you can do with them.  Made into a brooch they make a great gift.  And when you're short of time a 'make in a flash' gift.  This is what you'll need:

* fabric of your choice, think xmasy colours, silver, gold and quilting fabrics are great.  Keep in mind it can't be too flimsy otherwise your brooch will be floppy with the weight of the button on it.

* brooch backings from the craft shop.

* various buttons from your extensive collection.  Lay them out on a tray and choose what takes your fancy.

* needle and thread.

* something round like a jar to trace a circle from.  Experiment with different size circles.  Remember they get a lot smaller when you've gathered them in so make a few yo yos and try them with different size buttons in the middle.  The bigger the yo yo the stiffer the fabric needs to be because theres more fabric to flop.  You could stitch/hot glue a circle of felt on the back to stiffen it if you want to use flimsy fabric.

Heres where you can go for a how to for the fabric part.

So you've got all your supplies and you've made a few yoyos.

Making the brooch

Attach the button to the gathered side of the yoyo and the brooch pin to the flat side.  Remember if you think your yoyo needs stiffening attach the button to the front first then glue or stitch a circle of felt on the back then sew on the brooch pin.  Check that the brooch backing is is the middle to the top part of the yoyo and that the brooch when its finished doesn't flop, before you sew it on.  If its a bit floppy attach the felt first or the put the pin higher up.  When choosing and deciding the endless combinations of yo yos and button possibilities remember you can layer the buttons.  Start with a larger one on the bottom and a smaller one on top.  Don't feel that it needs to end with a brooch you could make this into a necklace instead.  Just finger knit or crochet a chain to the length you desire.  You could just hot glue this to the top back of the brooch or attached it to the brooch pin and let the receiver of your wonderful gift decide if its to be a brooch or a necklace.

We bought the cardboard boxes at the $2 shop.  Try and decorate with the same colours as your brooch.  You could attach a circle of the same fabric to the top of your box, use buttons, something from nature or whatever takes your fancy!

Hope thats clear enough.  If you've got any questions just leave a comment and I'll clarify.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

What Is An Education?

I sat wondering this today as I watched Ben (aged 9) reading Captain Underpants to Laura (aged 5).  He read with such enthusiasm and invoked different personalities into his voice for each character that Laura was riveted and I could see from the expression on her face that she was enjoying the experience of being read too.  I asked her what she liked about the story, she said what she liked best was the way Ben told the story.

Since beginning our journey into Home Education more than 7 years ago, what is an education is a question we have frequently asked ourselves.  For me education is about planting seeds of possibilities for themselves as individuals and members of a community.  I don't see my children as empty vessels that need to be filled with information or that need to be tested on that information on a regular basis.  I see them as diverse individuals whose particular talents and interests are to be nurtured.  I want them to be life long learners.  That learning isn't confined to a time of day or particular day of the week.  There are no time restrictions placed upon it.

In order to create life long learners its so important that children are nurtured in their learning.  We read aloud to our kids every day despite the fact they are able to read themselves.  Sitting and reading side by side with your children on a regular basis nurtures them in their own learning.  We call it a ruddle - a read and a cuddle.  I think its why Ben enjoys reading to Laura because its always been a great experience for him.

  For us, the emphasis is about the development of our children not the adherence to a certain curriculum.  Don't get me wrong, we do use some curriculums some of the time.  But for us a homeschool education is about learning from real life and creating life long learners.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Books To Inspire

Ella and I have been reading this book lately and really enjoying the humour and the recipes.  We tried the cleaning paste in the weekend.  It contains baking soda, cream of tartar, Dr Bronner liquid soap and peppermint essential oil.  It worked fantasticly on the toilet (thanks Ben) and smells like a bar of peppermint chocolate.  Theres also food recipes too and others for the garden and even beauty products.  Wendyl is a New Zealander. So the monthly stories are seasonally based for our part of the world.  Heres a link to the author's site.  She sells some of her products there and includes the recipe for you to make your own.  Great idea!

Monday, 12 December 2011

This Week In The Garden

The Calendula is in flower and we've been drying the heads as they've opened for skin care recipes.  Last year I filled a jar with petals and filled it with oil, left it on the windowsill for a few weeks and then sieved out the petals.  Calendula is the great cure all of many skin ailments. 

The rhubarb is flourishing.  I'm still planning on making rhubarb relish before xmas.  (Laura took this photo)

The Gooseberries are ripening.  I think they'll be ready just after xmas, earlier than usual.  We like eating these straight from the bush.

The Acanthus is looking at its best.  We've had lots of rain over the past week or two and the garden is looking alot better for it.

The bees have been busy and I'm going to check them this week to see if I can extract some honey off before xmas.  It makes a wonderful gift.  Last year we gave away most of our harvest away and the bees died a few months later, so this year we'll be holding onto some.

 And the potato competition is continuing.  Its due to finish on xmas eve but we might continue it for another couple of weeks.  Watch this space!

Ella, Tony and I have been busy building a no-dig garden. (1 of 3)  It wasn't until we finished that I realized I hadn't taken any photos of the process.  I'll try to remember next time to show you what we do.  A method that I've used for the last 14 years that gives great growing results.

Thanks for stopping by.
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