Posts Tagged ‘montessori’

DIY Felted Wool Balls for Busy Toddlers

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Let me start by saying that my family has a slight wool addiction.  We all have thick wool blankets, there’s a pile of wool coats in the porch, we suggest wool CSA’s from Stoddart farms as Christmas gifts, Rebecca has an outstanding assortment of hand knitted hats and wore wool diaper covers in her babyhood.  My mother is actually a famous rug hooker, having even won the Stanley cup of rug hooking. No really.

So when I feel crafty it tends to involve mounds of roving. Last christmas I made these great felt balls for the gazillion babies in my life.  I shared a photo of them in my christmas gift round up and promised a tutorial and then, well, life happened.

Another holiday season is fast approaching and we were recently invited to participate in a “Toddler Busy Bag Swap” by our overly ambitious friend Alanna.  She was inspired by this great post over on The Rigneys and has roped 9 toddler wrangling mamas into making 9 copies of an activity to swap with each other.

It’s going to be fun! Glittery dough, little bags to fill, matching games and puzzles are all in the works.  I have felted a million or so little indoor friendly balls to sort and toss all winter. As overwhelming as this time of year is, this was actually pretty painless.

First you’ll need some balls or a form or some sort to start with.  You can start with yarn left overs or we used tennis balls last year and little cat jingle balls this year.  8 in a pack from the dollar store.

Next ask your rug hooking mother or your knitting and crocheting friends for their scraps of wool.  We’re going to make a base layer of wool to stick the roving to.  Wrap you ball with the yarn tightly. Watch out for kittens.

Ready for the first round of felting? Take all your little balls and toss them in an old pair of panty hose or tights.  You want to stretch them tight and tie them into place with more of that scrap yarn. 

Toss them in the wash on hot.  Soak them first if you have an HE machine, the more water the better. You can toss them in with a load of laundry at this point. Don’t bother with the dryer, it makes them all lopsided.

After the wash, the felting will have started.  Carefully cut all the little separating threads and have your toddler pull all the felted balls out of the tights. You should now have sturdy little felted yarn balls.

Now the real fun begins!

You’ll need Roving.  Piles of fluffy unspun wool.  I buy mine on etsy where there are lots of shops selling directly from their own sheep farms along with fibre artists dyeing beautiful colourways.

 Pull and stretch it out with your hands.

Then start wrapping and stretching it around your felted yarn balls.  I like to build up thinner layers and mix the colours a bit.  I do a layer and then put it back into the tied off stockings in the wash.  One layer a night for a few nights with the day’s laundry. I do the last polishing round in the washer without anything else as certain things can cause pilling and I’ve never figured out what so I do the last round alone just to be safe.

Before you know it you have a wonderful pile of simple fun for the little people in your life.

This year we’re keeping them simple for good matching and colour sorting fun. 

Last year we had a really good time doing appliqués with bits of old sweaters.  We sewed them on and them felted them one last time.  They’re holding up really well.  We play with these constantly.

We’re headed to the swap this weekend and I hope they are as big of a hit with the other toddlers as they are around here.

How to Have a Perfect Day

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Take 1 mini muffin tin
add 8 types of heirloom beans
and 1 bad cat 
and a mother with a new lens 
for hours of pure bliss.
Hours (!) of bean sorting by Rebecca and bean chasing by Zooey.
My gorgeous beans all mixed up.
May Flower and Poltschka Pole Beans. I think they are sorted by size.
Gold Rush and Cannellino Beans sorted by colour.
Poltschka beans from the populuxe seed bank.
The sun even came out just in time to build the beans some trellises much to Hazel’s dismay. She was pretty sure we went to the park to bring her home a stroller full of sticks.
Zooey guarding his bee house and the first new bean trellis.
Then she took a miracle nap.
So I got to admire our great find…
…and play with the new macro lens.
If you need some of your own beans, please check out the Seed Bank’s Etsy shop.  All money raised from the selling of heirloom seeds go towards supporting the seed bank’s efforts to preserve heirloom varieties.

(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday: Ditch / skip the sippy cup

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Recently over on Twitter, Amy from Hearts into Home was asking about skipping the sippy cup.  So I thought I’d share a few photos of Becca and her mad cup skills. 

You can google why you’d want to skip one as I don’t really feel like hosting another round of the great sippy debate here.  I’d just want to share this to demonstrate that it is totally possible to move straight from breast or bottle to a cup.  Feel free to add your experience to the comments.

We have used one here and there, mainly when we’re at someone’s house where spilling will equal screaming but generally Rebecca has used a cup.  We sometimes use a straw for fun and have some unbreakable silicone ones, but what she likes best is this little vintage juice glass with cherries.  
A shot glass works well too and its helpful to just start with a bit at a time and have them help mop up any spills with a dish cloth.

Homemade pickles and local apple cider
Lots of dipping 


She’s saying mmmm…

Wordless Wednesday: The Quilt is Finished

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I finished Rebecca’s Christmas present on Christmas Eve.  It’s my very first quilt, and although its a little wonky in places we’re all quite pleased with it.  It’s just the right size to sleep under or drag around the house.

Its a three braid quilt, the red one is for Rebecca, The green one is mine, and the blue is Ryan.  The fabrics are all nice prints of bees, flowers, birds, trees, acorns, leaves.  There are pieces of her 1st birthday dress, scraps from my childhood dresses,  and I dyed some of the fabric because I wasn’t finding the right hues.  The solid purple is from Simply Solid Fabric over on Etsy.  I’ll be ordering from them again.

I’m thinking about making a bigger one for her bed that uses all the reds, pinks and purples from this one. 

I love how these pictures demonstrate the floor bed in action.  Everybody loves it!

Wordless Wednesday: Not even remotely gardening or food related

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Since this week is all crafty I thought I’d share these even though they’re a little off topic.

Rebecca has been painting or drawing every night after dinner for weeks.  She gets out all her supplies by herself and then really gets into it. She eats crayons though. ::Shudder::