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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for Craft

Geography: Format

First Monday: Location. (I’ve found a world map I’ll use, and just set him to find the country in the atlas, and identify it on the map)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language.
First Thursday: Animals.
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing)
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Famous People.
Second Wednesday: Language.
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion)
Second Friday: Art/Craft. (if there’s a related ‘My Family Feast’ episode, we’ll watch it)
Second Saturday: Food.


My Inspiration!

The Virtual Quilting Bee is getting closer to the end! I’m nearly the last to send my fabric!sept2010

I finally had it all packaged up in preparation for sending out, when after sealing all the envelopes, I realised I hadn’t actually included any information about why I chose it:-)

I used to do bellydancing. During that time, I fell in love with the Moorish aesthetic found in places like the Alhambra, and the wrought iron work of some of the room dividers (I was also teaching metalwork at the time… so the work involved was really obvious!), and henna.

The two fabrics remind me of those images. The brown one particularly calls to mind henna designs, as well as Alhambran arches. The floral is reminiscent of some of the room dividers (sadly, I can’t find any images of the ones that particularly struck me!)

(Not that you need feel obliged to use this information! But given I was attracted to them for a particular reason, I did want to share:-) )

Paper Dolls

The new topic we’re doing for French is clothing. So I thought it would be a fun idea to find paper dolls for the kids to dress. Ideally, I wanted some they could colour themselves. I found I was rather overwhelmed with options! Eventually though, I found this collection which seemed to work:-) I collected them together on a couple of sheets, and we gave them to the kids.

They loved them! We were quite surprised at just how much they did:-) (I knew Puggle was looking forward to working with them, because we recently started reading Little House in the Big Woods, and in the chapter we read just recently, Ma Ingalls had made paper dolls for Laura and Mary. And Bilby too, just because of the doll aspect, I think.) The bigger kids kept working with them for most of the rest of the afternoon, and Puggle got them out again as soon as we got home:-) All together, they were a great success. I plan to print out some more blanks for them, just to have around:-)

Geography: Thailand

First Monday: Location. (Once again, he’ll use the atlas to identify Thailand on a world map.)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language.
First Thursday: Animals.
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing) Some links from youTube are here.
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Famous People.
Second Wednesday: Language.
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion)
Second Friday: Art/Craft.
Second Saturday: Food.

*Welcome to Thailand
*Thailand (World of Recipes)
*Thailand (Festivals of the World)
Elephant Hospital
Culture in Thailand
Thailand (Focus on Asia)
Thailand (Countries of the World)
A Tale of Two Rice Birds: A Folktale from Thailand

Geography: Vietnam

First Monday: Location. (I’ve found a world map I’ll use, and just set him to find the country in the atlas, and identify it on the map)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language. Milet Bilingual Visual Dictionary: English-Vietnamese
First Thursday: Animals.
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing)
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Famous People. Ho Chi Minh It’s really a bit old for him, but it will do. There’s a reasonable timeline at the back, and decent pictures throughout.
Second Wednesday: Language.
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion) Tet: Vietnamese New Year, Asian Holidays, Festivals of the World: Vietnam
Second Friday: Art/Craft. Weaving. (We’ve got some of a guy on SBS visiting Vietnam and learning about the food, we’ll try and watch that in preparation for the food.)
Second Saturday: Food.

(These seem reasonable… but there are no stand out books this time.)
Vietnam: Land/Vietnam: Peoples/Vietnam: Cultures
A Family from Vietnam
Vietnam: Still Struggling, Still Spirited
Australia’s Neighbours: Vietnam
To Swim in Our Own Pond: Ta Ve Ta Tam Ao Ta : A Book of Vietnamese Proverbs
The Vietnamese in Australia

Geography: India

First Monday: Location. (I’ve found a world map I’ll use, and just set him to find the country in the atlas, and identify it on the map)
First Tuesday: Flag.
First Wednesday: Language.
First Thursday: Animals. (Asian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, King Cobra, Indian Walking Stick, Peafowl, Dhole)
First Friday: Music. (Folk songs/dancing)
Second Monday: Features. (Cities, Mountains, Rivers)
Second Tuesday: Famous People. Mohandas Gandhi, Mother Teresa
Second Wednesday: Language.
Second Thursday: Culture. (Currency, festivals, population, religion)
Second Friday: Art/Craft
Second Saturday: Food.

(These were the ones that seemed particularly useful, as were the two biographies above.)
Taj Mahal
Welcome to India
India (Festivals)
India (A World of Recipes)
Tiger Child

(other books we had, they seemed reasonable and age appropriate [I left more at the library:-)], but they as useful as the above books)
Indian Food and Drink
Indian Subcontinent (I know that’s not the listed title… but it’s the book we had—just with a different title)
Jamil’s Clever Cat: A Folk Tale from Bengal
Demons, Gods & Holy Men from Indian Myths & Legends
We Come From India
Country Insights: India

2009, the year that was

In spite of the evidence of my blog, it’s actually been a pretty productive year! But it was rather one of those ‘if you’re doing, there’s no time to be writing about it’ years.

I had (as has been the case the last couple of years) resolved to make more music and play more games. Although we sang a little less than we have been (basically in the last couple of months, although, I’m getting better again now), we did do occasional ‘Music Nights’, and I did a lot more recorder with Puggle (and Bilby:-) ) Thanks to Swancon, and their fabulous Gaming Stream, I played a lot more games than usual—sadly, I didn’t really maintain the momentum for the rest of the year…

I hadn’t ‘signed on’ for the Handmade Holidays challenge, but I did kind of decide to attempt it. I did pretty well when it came to kids presents! (I think) I basically made all bar 2—which were both a couple of days after Swancon. Certainly that was the case for other people’s children. I made some stuff for ours, but I’m not making books yet, and lego is still beyond me:-)

I didn’t do so well on regular blogging (obviously:-( ) But I am still thinking about it, so I anticipate returning:-) I took more photos, and managed to upload a number—haven’t managed our usual family photo calendar yet, but I hope to very shortly (it’s a great way to actually use some of the photos:-) )

Aside from the handmade presents, most of my crafting this year has been patchworking. B and M’s wedding quilt got me enthused enough to start a Virtual Quilting Bee. We’re in our fifth month now, although I’m still finishing block 3:-(

All up, it’s been a pretty reasonable year:-) It is of course a constant learning curve with the kids, just as soon as you think you have a handle on where they are, they go and change… but mostly it’s been good:-)

Christmas 2009

A couple of years ago, the Advent season was when I started blogging daily (or nearly so). I maintained it until probably May-ish last year, and then a few times a week for about another 12 months. This year? I think I managed a couple of Food Posts through Advent, and that’s about it.

Mind you, this Advent has been lacking in a lot of my usual preparations! I have Ice Cream Plum Pudding in the house, because that’s essentially what I was doing for our family Christmas dinner. I have Gingerbread Dough in the freezer, because I made a double quantity when we made gingerbread houses at Halloween. I have the makings of Fruit Mince Pies (pre-rolled pastry in the freezer and a bottle of mince). We’ve read a pile of Christmas books. We made an Advent Chain. But that’s about as far as any similarity to previous Christmasses goes.

Before I get too disappointed though, I should point out that we have made quite a few presents this year! There should (I hope!) be several individual posts, once I download photos, but Puggle and I have been woodworking, and Bilby and I have sewn. Puggle made a small wooden boat for Cygnet, and a set of stilts for Bilby (as well as a pair of stilts for his Secret Santa, and he helped to sew an apron for Cygnet’s Secret Santa). Bilby made a woodworking apron for Puggle, five balloon juggling balls and a grab bag for her Secret Santa, and some Chocolate Coated Almonds for her grandparents. Me? I have finally finished the Pink Tower and (almost! still have to put the finish on) the Brown Stair. I’ve made (with some help from Puggle) several sets of Tree Blocks for some of the smaller children of our acquaintance. I have made three Bench Hooks (two to suit western saws, and one for japanese saws). And I’ve made a wooden forest (barring the dye-ing and finishing) (like blocks, but shaped like trees, rather than trees made from tree branches). I’ve sewn bags for the tree blocks (I still have one more to go, and a similar bag for the wooden forest), and three apron/chef’s hat sets… with accompanying bag. I’ve also been painting the IKEA abacus we got for Cygnet, to match the colours of the Right Start one:-) We did also make jam as part of our Christmas preparation.

I’m still anticipating doing our usual family calendar, and I’m hoping we’ll get to the cards—but obviously that won’t be happening by Christmas time!

So, a bit of a hit and miss. I keep reminding myself though, we can’t do everything! And we have been doing a lot of French during this time:-) Reminding me of more posts I have been meaning to write!

Hope your Christmasses were all lovely, and that the rest of your Festive Season is safe and joyous!

Missing the Past

I’ve been missing teaching (in a manner of speaking!) over the last couple of weeks… (So, you know, not so much of the teaching🙂 )

In preparation for Christmas, and attempting to have a largely home-made one, I’ve spent a couple of hours over the last few weekends, in my Dad’s workshop. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it:-)

I’ve been working on my Brown Stairs and Pink Tower (almost done, bar painting), and I was using a thicknesser. It made a huge mess (which Puggle really enjoyed vaccuuming up!), but it was so aromatic, I was really struck with a pull to do more:-)

I’d already been meaning to do a number of other wooden projects, but wasn’t sure if I’d actually get around to them. But now, I’m all inspired, so I’m just back from getting a whole bunch of pine with the kids, for some more projects of mine (and also a couple of Puggle’s:-) ). More updates to come as we actually finish some stuff:-)

October Block

Redbraids' Block
I had other ideas, but finally decided that the front runner was a particular one I’ve had my eye on. I delayed starting it though, because at the size it would end up, it would either be really plain, or excessively fiddly. Then, other people started posting theirs, and there was a definite theme:-) (Unsurprisingly, there were a couple with Japanese motifs… given the inspiration information referenced ‘The Wave’:-) ) I went searching, but still hadn’t found anything else, so I went and bought the third material I’d need for my design.

Then inspiration struck:-) I decided to do a Zen Rock Garden:-) Half an hour to find some specific images to set me going, and I had it plotted out and cut out. It took very little time to appliqé the rocks on (and oh my goodness! How much easier appliqué is when you use Vliesofix!) and probably an evening to blanket stitch the edges of the rocks.

Then, I just had the ‘rake’ lines to embroider.
Redbraids' Block

In my original searching I’d discovered Sashiko embroidery. I thought this would be a good idea for the rake lines. I think I was right… but it did take a while! I finally finished the block a week into November!


And here’s a sneak peek:-)
b's teaser
(More once B has seen it:-) )

Birthday Cake

InspirationBilby is now three. She had been insistent for nearly a year that she wanted a train cake.

A couple of weeks ago though, she decided that she wanted a ‘hammer cake, like Dada’s… and a Humpty’ (I made Paddington a pinata cake for his birthday, and she was quite taken with it, she’d also been looking through some of our cake books, and come across a couple of Humpty cakes).
Humpty cake

I was very pleased with the end result—even if we couldn’t find the hammer! We ended up using a softish mallet, that made no headway on Humpty (until we turned him side on:-) He was much easier to crack through his seam! )
Broken Humpty

Virtual Quilting Bee

We finally began Virtually BeQuilted at the beginning of this month. The fabric arrived the day after posting, and I got to work:-) (My mum was the first to send her fabric, so I’d had a sneak peek, and had already chosen my design:-) )
I blithely cut it all out—only to find I was a little short of one of the fabrics:-( My design was mostly green, and with all the seam allowances necessary, it just wasn’t going to make it:-( Fortunately, I was able to aquire sufficient extra, but that held me up a bit, because I hadn’t considered the possibility when cutting, and some key pieces were left uncut until a couple of days ago.
Geese block for mum

I had seen the circling geese pattern some where on Patchy Work of Mini Grey‘s blog, thanks to a pointer from Feebeez (or at least, I think that’s where I found it). The version I saw only had eight birds though, so I was all set to draft up my own pattern, when Redbraids posted a link to this collection. The very first image was a picture of exactly what I had planned to draft—and a link to the pattern! A few minutes fiddling with the printer to get the size just right, and I was set. I printed four copies (one for each quarter of the block), and one more just for the record… Oh, how glad am I that I printed that extra copy!
I had originally planned to use English Paper Piecing… but realised I was avoiding basting the pieces (narrow seam allowances, and points far away from each other meant I really was going to need to iron them). I finally decided to revert to Foundation Piecing. So I retraced my steps, to print out extra patterns to use for the sewing. I thougt it would take me the first couple of minutes of this month’s Craft Sunday, and then I could start sewing…
I have no idea what the problem was, but nothing I tried would allow me to get anything like the same size block! Printing it at 94% of the original was a couple of centimetres too large, at 93% it was a couple of centimetres too small… even scanning my correctly sized copy and printing that didn’t work, even when I adjusted the print size of that as well:-( In the end, I reverted to tracing my correct copy! At that point, I was able to get half of it done by the end of the afternoon. Another small block in the evening, and all the sewing was done. I was rather dreading trying to remove all the paper, as I’d seen comments that it could be difficult, but I’d followed the instruction to use a very short stitch, and it pulled off really easily. A touch of ironing, and it was ready:-)

Bonus Block for Mum
And just because I could, (and I rather liked the look of the wonky trees here) and I had some material left (the green in this is all that was left from my original green! I cut about five very narrow pieces for the geese from the extra that I got). A Bonus Block, a Wonky-ish Tree:-) It’s not the right measurement, but I don’t know that it’ll be used for the tablecloth… (although, if I’d been a bit more thoughtful about cutting the white bits for the tree, I probably could have made it the correct size!)

I couldn’t wait to post it, so we dropped it off at dinner last night:-)

And Another!

Bonus block teaser for mum
Just because I can:-)

A Teaser for Mum!

teaser mumI’ve finally (almost… just need to remove the paper, and iron) finished my block for the Virtual Quilt this month. I thought I’d let you have a peek as I get ready to post it:-)

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