Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Elie and the Boo Boo Bags

Elie has been so sweet about the Boo Boo Bags. Every time he hears someone say they got hurt, he confirms that it's a "Boo Boo" - like, "Aba, Boo Boo?" When he's told yes, he runs off to get the Boo Boo Bag. It's so funny because he doesn't say where he's going, just runs off to the kitchen. This morning, Jer had a scratch and we were all upstairs in the bedroom. When Elie found out about the boo boo, without saying a word, he left the bedroom, closed the door behind him, ran downstairs where we heard the freezer open and then close and then he came up a minute later with Boo Boo Bag in hand. After a minute on the scratch he asked if Jer was done with it and when Jer said yes, Elie ran the bag back down to the freezer.

The other cute Boo Boo Bag story is that, since having these, Elie seems a little confused about what belongs in the freezer - Yesterday I opened the freezer to find the Boo Boo Bags, a few bean bags, Elie's heavy gnome/doll and another small doll LOL.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Another Heavy Baby



Made another little heavy lavender-filled gnome/doll (this time for Elie). This one is a little bigger and the face is a little more substantial - eyes are satin stitch instead of lazy daisy and mouth has two stitches to make it more mouth-like... I filled this one with millet and lavender for the bottom 2/3 of the doll and the top third is stuffed with wool. I really like this one - still just need to get the wrinkles out of the neck a little more - I'm thinking I can pull the fabric over the wool with the hole on the top and cover it with the hat. Not that I need any more of these, but they're really fun to make and I made most of this one yesterday while the kids were awake. I need more daytime handwork projects. Especially since good yarn is hard to come by in Israel - my knitting has slowed a lot...

Elie carried this doll around with him for a good portion of the day today. The heavy feeling of it makes you want to hug it and care for it ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heavy Lavender-Filled Gnome Doll



I made this little gnome/doll tonight! I saw a similar one at a natural toy store in Neve Tzedek (Omer Shop) today and thought they were so adorable! I've gotten to the point where, if I think I can make something, I prefer to spend the money (well, less) on fabric/materials so I can try my hand at it - in this case, for half the price of one store-bought doll, I can probably make ten dolls ;)

Anyway, the doll at the store was more doll-like but I couldn't find a pattern, so I did the best I could and am very pleased with my first attempt! The fabric is red cotton velour (Yoav picked the color - it's a bit bright for my taste). It's stuffed with lentils and lavender. I think the one at Omer must have been sand and lavender. It was heavier than mine. It was a little bigger too and more doll-like - mine looks more like a gnome - maybe because there are some wrinkles in the face or maybe the shape of the sack. I'll look around online later to see what I can improve. The idea is that a child can sleep with the Lavender Doll to help with sleep. I'm going to put this one next to Yoav tonight, close the blinds and hope to make up for the time I just spent making this when I should have been sleeping :)

Update from Friday: Yoav LOVES the doll! He woke up this morning (after a cozy 11 hour sleep!), saw the doll and was so excited. He immediately said, "I love it!" He kept saying he loved it and showed Jeremy and said, "Emily made this." He was pretty in awe of it! It certainly made my morning, especially since he had very little interest in the heavy doll in the store - it was really me who wanted one ;) It's very empowering (for both of us) to see that if we like something in a store, it's possible to figure out how to duplicate it - that goes for food, clothes, and crafts so far...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yoav's Thoughts on Marriage

Today Yoav asked if I was born when Jeremy was 6 (no) and that led him to wonder who his future wife would be and if she was born yet. Then he said, "You only get to pick one, right?" I said yes. He said, "It's not like toys when you can pick something and put it back and pick something else." Usually not, LOL. Then, "Kids you don't get to pick at all, right? You just get what comes out..." (The questions were really used in a rhetorical way - he was just talking and thinking aloud).

Another funny comment from yesterday - we were at the small organic grocery store nearby and Yoav was talking to the check-out guy, who he's very friendly with. Then the store owner came in and the check-out guy told Yoav, "That's who I work for." Yoav said, "I thought you work for us?" Both guys got a good laugh out of that!

A Second Flaxseed Boo Boo Bag



It will come as no surprise to anyone reading my blog lately that we now have two Flaxseed Boo Boo Bags ;) This one is with fabric I bought for another niece who's obsessed with Hello Kitty. Yoav now loves this fabric and wants me to make him a Hello Kitty quilt ;)

Flaxseed Boo Boo Bag



Just made a little flaxseed "Boo Boo Bag". I love it. I've been wanting to make one of these for a long time. I love the feel of the flax and the size seems perfect. It's 4.5"x4.5" finished - a little bigger than the beanbags so we don't get confused. The fabric is "Sunbonnet Sue" linen/cotton blend. The fabric is so sweet - the fabric alone is enough to cheer you up - I got it for an apron I made my niece. Sunbonnet Sue is a classic quilt block that originated in the late 1800s. I once saw a beautiful Sunbonnet Sue quilt on exhibit in NYC. You can read more about her here.

A flaxseed Boo Boo Bag can be stored in the frezer and used like an ice pack. Flax lasts a long time and has high oil content so it holds the cold longer than other grains (and doesn't drip like the actual ice cube Boo Boo Bag Yoav made recently LOL). For reference, these are filled with 4oz flax.

Craft Project - Box Aquarium



Our craft project today was this cute cardboard box aquarium. The idea is from here - be sure to look around the rest of the blog if you check it out - some amazing craft ideas there!

It was a perfect project for us! I found a suitable cardboard box last night. In hindsight, it would have been better to cut the slits at the top myself last night also because it was not ideal to do with Elie grabbing at my knife... I used a sharp knife to cut the lines and then a bit of sandpaper to make it a little smoother. We used square pieces of egg carton instead of buttons (just because I don't have many spare buttons). Yoav drew designs on the egg carton cardboard and then I cut them out - our fish/boats are actually two thicknesses because we used the egg carton which had colors on the back. Yoav drew a fish, jellyfish and two boats. He also drew a seascape on paper which we taped to the back to cover up the bottom of the box. He LOVED the project and played with it for a while once we finished.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Knitted Horse





I finished this little knitted horse today. The design is from "Toymaking with Children" by Freya Jaffke. The kids love it. I made it for Yoav (he asked for it) but Elie actually took it before we put the mane and tail on and was trotting (like a horse) around the house with it, laughing hysterically, hiding behind the curtain with it. It was so cute! I did got a video, but, as usual, he was naked, so I won't post it...

Like the knitted cat, a second horse has been custom ordered by Elie ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We're Moving!

It's hard to believe, but we've FINALLY signed for a house for next year (starting Aug 1).

We will be moving to a house in Moshav Mata. It is a beautiful farming town nestled in the Judean Hills, along the Jerusalem Corridor (between Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem).

It is as close to perfect as I could have possibly hoped for! There are so many nature reserves, forests, parks, caves in the area - the last photo below is of the kids in a forest only five minutes from Mata! We will have no problem continuing with our Waldkindergarten plans in the Fall!

(These aren't the best photos and I forgot to take any inside because we had decided that if it was "decent" we'd take it and it's so beyond decent that I went into shock!!!)

Photo of the house:


Side of the house:


Front garden:


Cul-de-sac (house is last one on the right):


Kids playing in forest five minutes from Mata:


Things I love about the house:
* Close to nature - forests, parks, caves;
* The town is mixed religious/secular;
* Ten minutes from my wonderful (homeschooling) friend L and her amazing family, which includes one very sweet 6-year-old girl who Yoav is thrilled to be moving close to ;)
* The town is gated and has almost no theft - we were told there are occasional car thefts but no break-ins (this may seem odd to be on the list for Americans reading, but there is a disturbing amount of theft in Israel);
* Relatively safe location-wise in Israel - about as far from Gaza and Lebanon and the West Bank as you can get without being too close to one of the other ones ;)
* There are a LOT of young kids in the town and the neighbors all seem very friendly (we tested out the playground about two weeks ago)
* The house has a stone floor so I no longer have to worry about the kids dropping things and scratching the wood floor!
* The house is on a cul-de-sac!!! OMG!!! Amazing! We grew up on a cul-de-sac and I loved it - I have such fond memories of playing in the cul-de-sac and it will be a perfect way for Yoav to learn to ride a two-wheeler!
* There is a front garden that I can do as I please with and I can put raised bed gardens in the back (where there is a stone floor);
* There is a beautiful path leading to groves at the end of the cul-de-sac and trees/woods just behind and to the side of the house;
* I can get organic produce delivered from Ben's Farm in Tirosh;
* Beautiful views;
* Cooler weather than the center of the country;
* A rural town, but still 15 minutes to Beit Shemesh (big city) and 25 minutes to Jerusalem - where can you find that in the States?!?!?
* A homebirth midwife lives in Mata! I'm hoping that we'll click and she'll be delivering my next baby!
* I'm saving the best for last - the house has a basement apartment that the owner said he usually rents for 2000 shekel/month that he's renting to us for half price so JEREMY WILL HAVE A SEPARATE OFFICE!!!!! YEA!!! I love having Jeremy working at home since we obviously see him more, but I *don't* like having to occasionally rush the kids out of the house so he can return an important call...

All I can say is that we've come a LONG way from 14th Street in Manhattan!!

Yarkon Park

These are photos from Yarkon Park - we went with M and H on Tuesday. This is a National Park with a guard and trash cans ;) It's not ideal since it can sometimes get more crowded than an actual forest, but we got a yearly family pass and I plan to use this as our "forest" for our Waldkindergarten for now. I like that it's guarded, has water fountains and bathrooms and it's really beautiful and has many areas to explore...









I plan to do our standard Waldorf morning and go to the park in the afternoons.
Rhythm will be:
Wake
Breakfast
Walk around the block / nature walk / try to get kids to run home to get heartrates up
Snack
Circle
Story
Activity (M: watercolor; T: baking; W: craft)
Lunch with Jeremy (this will be our big meal of the day)
Quiet Time
Outdoor play at park
Home for story / settling in
Dinner prep and dinner
Nighttime snack
Bedtime routine
Bed

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eugene Schwartz - Raising Balanced Ch...

These are my brief notes from a podcast by Eugene Schwartz called "Raising Balanced Children in an Unbalanced World"
Podcast is available free here:  http://www.millennialchild.com/Resources/podcasts.html
I really enjoyed it - definitely want to listen to more of his podcasts!


Speech
Need to find a place where child can have a place in the home/hearth:
* waldorf kindergarten - no hardware, no software, no books - where modern world finds a balance
If not Waldorf Kindy, child should (ideally):
* spend time in nature
* sleep - 12-14 hrs a night for 6-7 yo; 9-10 yo - 12hrs; 12-13 - whatever you can get out of them
* healthy rhythms - every morning will be awakened at 6am, breakfast at 6:45 (times not precise but flow should be consistent) ; solid lunch at same time every day; dinner served at same time everyday WITH family with conversation;
* try where ever possible to put children in environment that is natural, low-key, not too many distractions - and that mealtime is that way as well
* Mealtime - maybe verse, maybe candle - with family
* Quality of ritual - regularity and predictability - builds security of kids
* Have to give children feeling that they are in a safe/secure world, no matter whether parents feel safe or not (talked about 9/11)
* Between ages 6-11, esp between 7-10, child needs to have authority of adults - need to feel that adults around them know what they're doing and are like captains of the ship and will lead them ahead safely - not authoritarian - but to counterbalance lack of leadership in our world today - need strong parents - maybe she'll choose which winter coat to wear, but she's going to wear a winter coat; son can choose one of 18 woolen hats, but he's going to wear a woolen hat - he did a GREAT little monologue/skit sort of thing at 50 mins pretending to be a mother waking up her kid - are you ready to wake up?  are you going to go to school today?  do you want to wear the ralph lauren shirt?  no?  the dk ones, no, the these ones, no these ones, no?  the ralph lauren kids one that makes you look 30 years old?  no..  hmm ok...  Also did a sketch about flying on an airplane how you'd be scared if the pilot asked over the intercom if people would like to fly at 30k feet (standard), 40k feet (they could go faster), or 20k feet where the view is better.
* If they don't have authority figure from 6-10 yrs, they will spend the rest of their teenage lives searching from an authority figure (gangs, drugs, etc)

Powerpoint presentation
* Shows a waldorf school - I think Green Meadow in NY
* some wool on the floor to play with
* blocks are tree blocks i think - no blocks alike ; unlike legos where everything fit into everything else
* Waldorf doll - simple face to leave room for creativity
* Toys powered by love of play
* Then shows a plastic doll that might be given to a mainstream girl (I think it's a barbie) - Waldorf doll is the counter-barbie
* Older kids - main lesson books - child is creator of his/her own lesson books
* I stopped listening - just a tour of the school

Q/A
* How does Waldorf work with children with Asperger's, autism, add, etc.  - Most important thing is that 20-25% of boys have ADHD; Reality is that in the Waldorf kindy, 5-10% of kids will come out as ADHD - Waldorf kindy pre-emptively helps them - we're baking over here, here we're sewing, there you can play --> child is aloud to breathe out - what might have been ADHD in one setting, is not so in Waldorf.  Those that come through Waldorf kindy as ADHD, they will continue to be helped in Waldorf grade school will be minimized so at least no meds needed. 
* Don't let a child unsupervised at computer until at least 8th or 9th grade (he says that's even fairly radical in the Waldorf world).  Not an issue of seeing it, but that there must be an adult presence.  If you're not near them, don't let them near the computer.  Waldorf kids who stay away from TV are better learners, more creative, better artists - says recent research is starting so show this - even that kids w no screen time are doing better on standardized tests.

Yoav's First Loose Tooth

Yoav has his first loose tooth. I can't believe it. He seems so young to lose a tooth! The average age is between 6 and 7 to lose a first tooth. It seems related to when the first baby tooth came in, or maybe more related to when the last baby tooth came in. I know the first one came in at 7 months but have no idea when the last one came in. Anyway, seems fine - I've read that it can happen up to a year or two (!) earlier or later than average. The loose tooth is his bottom left tooth. He noticed it was wiggly at breakfast - he said he heard a crack, which was probably the sound of it breaking loose. He was careful not to bite on it for the rest of the day, so it's still there. I guess I have to figure out what to do and say about it when it does come out, since that will probably be tomorrow.. Boy, kids really do grow up fast.

Multitasking in the Kitchen / Yoav

Just have to post for the record that I have four things on the stove (matbucha, lentils and rice and oatmeal for the kids), challah in the oven and hummus whiring in the food processor. I think that's my record! We're going to see a few houses tomorrow in Zichron Ya'akov and have friends coming for dinner so I'm trying to get almost everything finished today.

Also, this is a cute Yoav comment from a few days ago that I've been meaning to post - There seems to be a trend for kids to wear sports-related paraphanelia younger and younger. Yoav even got a sports shirt for a baby gift with "his" team number. Anyway, the other day all of Yoav's favorite shirts were in the wash and Jer tried to put a surfing shirt on him. Yoav said, "But I don't surf." Good point. We found him another shirt. It's really a very silly trend IMO!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

I'm really having a hard time getting my meal plan to stick. I think partly it's because I don't print it out, so I only know what it is when I think of it and look at the computer... Breakfasts have been hard for me - both banana bread and pancakes are just too much of a pain, particularly because I've had some failures with the banana bread and I'm just getting tired of dealing with it.

SO, I've revamped my menu into spreadsheet format so I can print it out and stick it on the fridge. Also I'm hoping it's easier for me to read and think about in this format.

I'm also trying to slowly eliminate grains for Yoav so he can go onto the GAPS diet. So I've mostly changed our breakfast to eggs. He likely won't even eat the sourdough bread but certainly it will be easy to skip that for him when he starts GAPS. This week I'm going to try eating our main meal for lunch - this works for our schedule because Jeremy has his family time in the middle of the day - between a morning class and starting work at 2PM, so he'll join us for lunch. Plus, the energy from the protein at lunch will help the kids get through the afternoons. This is really just a start since I'm changing a lot. I want to get to something that I can pretty much use week in week out, so I can have my grocery list set and meal plan and can just make minor changes...

Click here to see the meal plan.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grammar

Yoav asked one of his first grammar questions, and it was quite entertaining!

Yoav: "Why does Aba say 'half an hour' instead of 'half a hour'?"
Me: "Huh?" (not believing that he'd actually be asking a grammatical question when I was hoping he'd fall asleep!)
Yoav: "For the horseback lesson, why does Aba say 'half an hour' instead of 'half a hour'?"
Me: "Hmm, I wonder!"
Yoav: "Half a hour... Half an hour.... Is it to make it sound better?"
Me: (surprised again!) "Hmm, maybe!"
Yoav: Goes on to sing a made up song... "Half a ho-ou-ou-ou-er...Half a ho-ou-ou-ou-er...Half a ho-ou-ou-ou-er...Half a ho-ou-ou-ou-er...........Half an ho-ou-ou-ou-er...Half an ho-ou-ou-ou-er...Half an ho-ou-ou-ou-er...Half an ho-ou-ou-ou-er...Half an ho-ou-ou-ou-er..." (trying to decide for himself if it sounds better with an rather than a)

I love watching the learning unfold...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Learning from Older Sib

This is just a funny little story to share.

Yoav is a perfectionist. Yesterday when he was drawing, he wasn't happy with something and yelled, scrunched up the paper and threw it.

A few minutes later, Elie got a sly look in his eye, went over to the drawing table, drew a few squiggles on a piece of paper, then made a cute frown (since he was trying to hide the smile) and pretend sad noise, crunched the paper and threw it over his shoulder. Then he went for another piece of paper and did it again. Yoav was actually watching and laughed.

Elie really does want to do almost everything just like his big brother. It's very sweet to watch. Too bad he doesn't want to wear clothes like his big brother ;)

Craft Project - Embroidery on Linen





This is a basic craft project, but today we did it on linen, which worked much better than the burlap that we've done it on before. I got some white hankerchief linen from Gray Line Linen in NYC that Jeremy just brought back from me. Yoav wanted to do some embroidery today, so I thought I'd try it out. It is a perfect fabric for children's embroidery! It's easy to push a fairly dull needle through and the fact that this particular linen is thin and white meant that Yoav could turn the embroidery to the backside and see the drawing he made with vanishing fabric pen, so he was able to embroider easily along the lines he'd drawn (the pattern is of a few flowers in case you can't tell...)

Searching for a Forest

Today we went with Jeremy on Day 2 of our forest search. I feel nervous going around to forests on my own, particularly since it's in Israel and I'm just not that comfortable here :(

Today we went to Nahshonim Forest, which is near Elad - it's 15 minutes from our house, which seems reasonable. J - I know, I know - the carbon footprint! I'm just trying to figure out first if this is an *option* and then I'll figure out *how* to do it. Nahshonim isn't a good fit, because it's not dense enough so there's not enough shade, but it was certainly fun for today.





We're actually considering buying property in the Judean forest - it would be AMAZING for this. The problem with the land is that a) the plots are only 1/8 acre; b) it's a second sale - the plots were sold by the government four years ago, so the plots available now seem overpriced; c) It would be two years before our house would be built; d) I don't know where I'd get food - there's a great organic farm nearby, so I'd be better off I think in terms of produce, but I'd have to figure out the raw milk, grass-fed meat, eggs, etc...

Anyway... For the meanwhile, there's a few other forests nearby and I'm hoping one will work for us. My goal for this is to spend as much time in a forest as works for us. We'll see what that means...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Steiner and Math

I just read this in Steiner's "Practical Advice for Teachers" - p. 7-8:

"This is how I have taught the children to add. I did not start with the separate pieces from which a sum would be derived. This would, in fact, be out of keeping with the original nature of the human being. It is actually this reversed procedure that is appropriate to human nature—first the sum is considered, which is then divided into the separate parts. We teach children addition by reversing the usual procedure; we begin with the sum and then proceed to the addenda."


Interestingly, I was just noticing in the past week that Yoav twice did a math problem in this form. When I made the beanbags, I said we'd make four for my sister's family - two for each kid. Yoav said, "Or we could give one to four people." When I was making kombucha, I told him I split the scoby in half so I could make two batches at once. He said, "Then next time we can cut these scobies in half so we can make four at a time!" He's clearly thinking in a top down way - sum to parts...

Steiner Study Group

I've joined an online Steiner Study Group - it's at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Steinerstudygroup/

We're reading his book entitled "Practical Advice for Teachers". It's available for free download here. And if that doesn't work, here's the full link:
http://www.steinerbooks.org/research/archive/practical_advice/practical_advice.pdf

I'm finally feeling a sense of relief and clarity as I'm reading this. I just wrote a bunch and scrapped it - I'm having a hard time putting into words what I'm feeling.

Basically, I'm just loving the book. I love that I can just read Steiner straight. I'm seeing bits of light shining into my future and I see myself following Steiner, but not following a curriculum - just reading and digesting straight Steiner and finding a way to make it work for our family.

We'll see. I'll post more thoughts as I get further.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Waldkindergarten













Today was our first day of Enki-inspired Waldkindergarten. About a week ago, a friend (thanks J!) sent me this article about Forest Preschools (otherwise known as Waldkindergarten) cropping up in the US.

I had read about such schools years ago while living in Manhattan, but didn't really think much of it since it wasn't a feasible possibility then. But now, living in Israel, there are forests all over! It occurred to me that this could be an option for us!

So I read more about it here and posted on my Enki Yahoo group and found out that a fellow Enki-er is Forest-School-inspired! I read some about her journey here.

I've had such a hard time coming up with a suitable rhythm for us (as you can probably tell by the many posts of updated rhythms I've posted this year!) I like the Charlotte Mason idea of spending up to (at least?) four hours a day outside, but I also think that Yoav is a Melancholic (temperament) and *needs* a strong rhythm. My in-laws were recently here for two weeks so our rhythm fell apart and Yoav fell apart with it and then I fell apart. There were more tantrums, more bickering with Elie, more negativity, etc etc etc.

So within a few days of reading the article, I knew I wanted to try (besides, Yoav was driving me NUTS and I needed to find a way to get outside!)

We did a trial on Friday - we went to Park Ra'anana for the day. We had a pretty smooth day - anxieties from Yoav about sand on our grapes and he got a thorn stuck in the palm of his hand, but all-in-all, it was promising.

So, today, we had breakfast and headed out to the Ben Shemen Forest - a few minutes away from Yoav's horsebackriding lesson, which was this evening.

It was GREAT! We found a quiet spot and the kids just played. They climbed on rocks, balanced on fallen logs, dug through rocks and dirt (yes, the boy in the photo smearing dirt all over his arms IS the same boy who demands a new shirt if he gets a drop of water on his shirt!), climbed on trees, played with sticks... The only failure was that Yoav prefers cold water (yes, I know lukewarm is healthier - somehow he was introduced to cold and now that's his *strong* preference), so we had to leave after three hours to get cold water.

For food, we ate a big breakfast at home, then had fruit for lunch in the forest, banana bread for snack in the forest and leftover roast chicken for dinner at the horse stables.

What I think I'll try is to do the rhythm I've been doing but now it can be out in the forest so I solve the problem of not spending enough time outside! And I'm going to do the Circle movements strewn in as they work. Today I did two fingerplays - one when you turn your hand into a nest of birds and one of a snail crawling - I just did them as they fit in - so for the bird one, at one point I felt inspired and just said, "oh, look!" and held out my hand with the birdies (fingers) inside so it seemed like I had found a bird's nest. Same for the snail one - we were looking through dirt and Yoav found a bug and then I started doing the snail one. Yoav actually followed along with the birdies one, which is very unusual for him, so I'm thinking I can probably do Circle better in the forest than at home.

I can also do crafts in the forest. I can't do baking but we make challah every Friday and plenty of cooking, so that's enough. I want to continue doing watercolor painting once a week so I'll have to think about where to fit that in.

This is my list of what I think is needed to bring along - I'll add to it as I come up with more:
* First aid kit (mine has holistic emergency care book, arnica cream, arnica pills, calendula cream, Histaminum hydrochloricum, Epi-pen, tea tree oil, organic cotton balls, band-aids, natural insect repellant, Boiron Combuderon Gel for insect bites) - Please comment if I'm missing any essentials!
* Sun hats
* Sunscreen
* Sunglasses
* Cloth hand towels
* Plastic bag for trash
* Food: For us, ice water in a cooler - two 8oz sippy cups full and three 18oz Kleen Kanteens, lots of fruit, sourdough or NT banana bread, crispy almonds, boiled or leftover meat, mejadra for Elie is a great snack

We're picking Jeremy up from the airport tomorrow so we'll have a break tomorrow, but for Tuesday, I'm going to try to figure out a good place close to home.

Beanbag / Tutorial

My sister asked me to make some beanbags for her girls. I've made a few beanbags for my kids in the past, but an OT my sister knows added a few key elements:
* Fill the bags with rice (not beans as I've done in the past)

* Put the rice first in sewn up stocking feet so if the bag tears or a seam rips, the rice won't end up all over the floor (of course, the rice is all over the floor of my sewing room due to the oh-so helpful nature of my two Helpers, so the stockings don't help much on that end )
* Fill the bags "pretty full" of rice, so they make a good thud when dropped on the ground.

They came out GREAT! The kids love them - they've been throwing them back and forth to eachother - it's so cute watching Elie learn how to keep his hands together to catch. We're going to be making a LOT more of these!





SO... here's my non-visual tutorial:
1. Let the kids choose fabric - what a joy for them, and not so stressful for me, since they were only choosing small pieces;
2. For each fabric, cut 2 4"x4" pieces
3. Iron fabric
4. Fill stocking foot with 2.5oz sushi rice (this rice seems perfect b/c it's a very small grain, but any small grain would do)
5. Sew up stocking foot - be careful not to catch it on a fingernail or the stocking will get a tear in it and defeat the purpose - I wonder if it might actually be better to use little baby/toddler socks instead since they'd be stronger - I'm going to try that on a bean bag and update these instructions if it works...
6. With right sides together of fabric, sew with 1/4" seam, leaving about 1.5" in the middle of one side for putting in the rice bag;
7. Trim corners, turn inside out, poke out corners with a knitting needle or sushi stick or similar...
8. Tuck in the little 1.5" section of fabric that wasn't sewn up yet.
9. Iron
10. Put in bag of rice
11. Topstitch all around
12. Cut any hanging thread


Update:  If you don't mind the risk of rice all over the floor, a much easier method is to skip the stocking and fill with 3oz rice (instead of 2.5oz).  Better if you have a child looking over your shoulder waiting for said beanbag ;)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One Small Chane - June

I'm just starting this month with One Small Change - making one environmentally-friendly change a month...

Check out the details of the challenge here to follow along!

My change this month is to start using cloth tissues (we already use cloth in lieu of paper towels). To make this easier for people (my husband) to swallow, I'm going to have to make sure the new tissues are easy-access. I made the tissues from 100% organic 4oz flannel that I got from Organic Cotton Plus. They're cut to 8"x8" and the edges are double hemmed with a zig-zag stitch. I actually tried serging the edges with my new serger, but I'm going to have to spend more time with it - it's harder than I thought it would be ;)

I love the way the tissues look - it's the same fabric I used for my recent receiving blankets. I can't wait for my first cold ;)

I'm going to make a little cloth case for them to keep in my purse. For home, I'll use these 1/2 pint canning jars I think.



And a close-up of the hem job:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Handmade Baby Gifts

My SILs both finally had their babies, so I got to give them their gifts and can stop thinking about if and what to add to them!

Both got these packages plus an organic cotton newborn hat and both got mobiles - one butterfly one that I made and one with balls that Yoav made - I think I actually forgot to get a photo of Yoav's :(



Each package included an organic cotton ribbon blanket, organic cotton knot doll (pattern from "Toymaking with Children" by Freya Jaffa - fabric is hand-dyed with plant dyes from Dharma Trading), wool felt ball (pattern from "Feltcraft" by Petra Berger), a wool pilot hat (pattern from Little Turtle Knits - highly recommended), wool booties (Baby Moc-a-Soc pattern from Bekah Knits), and a playsilk, hand-dyed with plant dyes.

Also, one SIL (the one having her first baby) got scrumptious receiving blankets I made with 4oz organic cotton flannel I got from Organic Cotton Plus - one is 26" x 40" (recommendation in the Kwik Sew for Babies book) and the other is 40"x40". I did a double hem with a straight stitch. I'm really happy with them and will definitely make more of these in the future - they're so much softer than any of the receiving blankets that I've used...