Friday, 17 February 2012

wire bending

Recently when we were experimenting with the wire bending for the frame of the wooden hearts, I got a little carried away and decided to explore this project a little further, as you do. So began by twisting garden wire into a heart shape, very easy to do with thick gloves and a pair of pliers, I'm also thinking of doing spirals.

This is what I ended up with... it will be a plant support and I am going to be hanging something in the middle with the name of the seedling on but haven't quite got that far yet. As it has a rounded top you won't accidentally poke yourself in the eye whilst gardening either unlike normal canes.

I also had a go at writing with wire as you can see above.... it's a bit shaky but it is definitely still readable... just about. I have used a much thinner, red wire for this and pushed the end into a small piece of wood so that it stands up alone and can be used as a quirky photograph or memo holder.

Although I am tempted to fix the wire to the top of our family pin board along with the two little photographs.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

First Sewing - Felt Heart

My youngest children have been asking quite a lot lately for me to teach them how to sew, knit and crochet. They are very young so I thought I would begin by making some threading cards so they could practice the actions of sewing before moving on to making the felt hearts with real needles.

As it was coming up to Valentine's day we made our threading cards out of red paper hearts which were then laminated. Any picture could be laminated for the budding sewing enthusiast, it could be something that sparks their interest or even a drawing of their own. If you don't have a way to laminate paper, any plastic or stiff card could be used like a box or a picture from an old board book. Holes were then punched all around the outside for the stitches.

Shoelaces would be the ideal thing to use for the stitches, the rigid ends make a good needle substitute but we didn't have any colourful ones to hand so we have used wool instead. I wound a piece of sticky tape around the end of the wool tightly to try to imitate the end of a shoelace and to make it stiff for easy threading. If you look at the end of the pink wool in the above picture you will see what I mean. They played around with these cards for a while, getting a feel for how the stitches looked and made many different patterns.

Then we moved on to the 'real sewing', a cookie cutter was used to draw the heart shapes in the felt and two hearts were cut out and put together for each child. Using quite large chunky needles and wool as  thread, they both managed to do a simple running stitch all the way around the heart. Each heart was stuffed and had a piece of ribbon stitched to the top to finish off.

The children were so excited about this project and very pleased with the results, I have to say I love them as much as they do. A perfect first sewing project to keep forever, very simple and very beautiful.

They are now hanging in pride of place on our pin board for all to see.

Inspire Me Beautiful

Monday, 13 February 2012

Wooden Hearts

It is nearly Valentines day and we have been doing a few heart related crafts, many of these seem to involve sticks this year. This first heart was made with bendy twigs and copper wire, any wire or string would do here but if you are interested in getting some free copper wire from broken electrical things there is a guide here (you may need to scroll down).

This photograph shows what I started with, first pick two large sticks and bend into a heart shape, wrapping the ends with the wire to get the basic shape.

Then to create the interior design, sticks were bent and wired in place where they touched another stick, I went for a swirly pattern.

To add a finishing touch I have wired some wooden beads into the pattern and added a hanging ribbon. Here it is hanging on the wall, although I may end up putting this in the garden as a tree hanging or small garden trellis, copper ages well outdoors and goes a lovely verdigris colour.

I also tried another heart using the sticks that were left over from drying eucalyptus leaves, these sticks had an interesting colour but were much harder to work with as they weren't very flexible.

This time I started by bending some garden wire to the shape of a heart and used a hot glue gun to stick small pieces of the twigs into the shape of the heart.

I haven't quite achieved the woven twig look that I was aiming for as the stick was very brittle but it is very simple to make. I also have to show you the wooden heart my husband made. It is gorgeous and you can see how he made it here.

That's it for now although I will be back soon to show you the hearts the children made.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Natural Deodorant

Since reading an article a couple of years ago about the hundreds of chemicals we have in our lives, many of these we liberally apply to our skin every day, I have been on a quest to get rid of as many as I can. The latest change has been deodorant, you have probably read a lot about the dangers of these chemicals (a quick search will tell you all you need to know) and I have decided to try a more natural approach. So I have given up wearing deodorant.... I saw you all take a large step back, but it has been a pleasant surprise. I collected quite a few home made recipes but decided to try the crystal deodorant first as one was on offer.

Here it is... it is made from natural mineral salts, the one above has been shaped to fit into a roll on container and it also comes in a natural crystal shaped form, which I am tempted to try next as it will look good on the window ledge. I have been using it for six months and it has barely got any smaller, maybe just half a centimetre so the five pounds I spent will last a long time. You have to apply it very liberally to a wet armpit but it really works well for me, much better than any conventional deodorant that I have tried.

I know it sounds weird... and believe me it still sounds weird to me, but I am never going back. My nose is very sensitive and with normal deodorant, I didn't smell that fresh even after short periods of time, plus it left me sneezing and with rashes. The crystal doesn't make you smell all pretty like exotic flowers, in fact it doesn't make you smell of anything... my armpit now smells and feels exactly like the rest of my skin. It works by stopping the bacteria growth which causes the smell, it doesn't stop you sweating.

I have also tested this whilst working out to give it a bit of a challenge, I got my poor husband to smell my armpits after cycling 40 kilometres at quite a fast pace and he agreed, no smell. A double win as not only have I managed to get rid of the chemicals but saved a lot of money in the process.