Friday, February 18, 2011

The Tire Swing God Sent

Well, perhaps it was the landscaping truck that abandoned its tire that could be given the direct credit for our tire swing but God had them put it right there where we could find it. I have to admit ~ the idea of being "green" was not foremost in my mind when my children and I went to snag the abandoned tire that was littering up the side of the road. No, it was the proximity of a perfectly good somewhat large truck tire that would answer a need. I had wanted to get a tire swing for my kids but felt unmotivated to do the necessary research into where one goes to get one. So, God solved that problem for me.

When we got it home it sat around for a few days. The kids were eager to get it up but I wanted it cleaned first. So, on the weekend my husband oversaw the crazy affair of the "washing of the tire". I was happy to not be involved. Upon hearing that it had been cleaned I set out to get good durable spray paint to not only liven it up a bit but also put a barrier between that black tire rub-off residue and my children's clothes. Yes, I admit it. I do like them to look somewhat nice. We are counter-cultural enough without looking like our children are forced to work on a pit crew.

So, I purchased some mellow green spray paint and strong nylon rope and set to work spraying it that evening. It was a sunny Sunday morning, after Mass, when my husband put up the tire swing. There was excitement in every quarter. Everyone loves it from my son who uses the rope to climb to the tree limbs above to my baby who just likes to sit in the inner arch and sway in the breeze. There is something authentic and real about a tire swing.

Of course I do believe in being "green". I just don't think you have to spend a lot of money to do it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sewing Some Silly Cell Phones

For Christmas my girl's received a book called Sewing for Children by Emma Hardy. I am so excited to have cute projects to do with my kids that they can play with over and over! The project they chose was the felt cell phone. I cut out the pieces and they (haphazardly) sewed them together. My oldest girl even embroidered the numbers. She chose numbers other than in the pic ~ she always likes to be original. I have to say the felt I purchased didn't hold up nearly as well as the felt I use in my dolls for my Etsy store but they don't seem to mind and there is no worry in wasting it! We are currently working on Valentine's hearts. Hopefully I can post them soon!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Star Wands and Recycled Sweaters

Here are some fun star wands my girls made from recycled wool sweaters. For my younger daughter I actually used a leather punch to put holes in her's so she wouldn't have to struggle to get the yarn and needle through. You could even create projects for your children from felt. They are so proud of them and they are super cute!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Some Clotherspin People

Here are some clothespin people I recently made with my children. It is such a rewarding craft as after they are finished they can play with them! Using some fabric scraps and trim we have turned ordinary pieces of wood into little works of art. Also, I am always surprised and delighted to see how much they enjoy playing with the things they make even if they are "imperfect". Also, it is a great way to introduce a little sewing to your child. There isn't too much of it so they don't become tired of it. Once finished they have their own dollhouse doll! My son wouldn't go for the sewing however. He thought his "man peg" looked fine without. I tried to convince him to make his into a bear as his mouth reminded me of a bear snout but he decided to keep him the way he was.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Hallow's Eve Pictures

Here is a St. Joan of Arc costume I made for my daughter. My other daughter was St. Elizabeth of Portugal.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Need For Silence

I was watching a documentary called Into Great Silence with my husband last night which one would either find very boring or very illuminating. It is a documentary made by a man who spent six months living with a group of Carthusian monks who live in a secluded monastery in the French Alps. He takes you through their days working, praying, fixing a pair of hiking boots with glue and a fun sledding excursion. All was silence except when they chanted or went on their hike during recreation. It occurred to me that silence is indeed golden. It opens one's mind and soul to God. It allows God's whisper-like voice to come through and not be drowned out by the blare of all that vies for our attention.

Ironically, earlier that day I had been very frustrated about the unending task of keeping all of my worldly possessions (as well as the kids') in a decent state of order. I would call this material noise. It is everywhere. I have a problem getting rid of useful things. So, like all Americans, I simply have too much. I need to pray to cure myself of this dreaded disease!

If you would like a little mini-retreat I would highly suggest this movie. If you want to be entertained in a frivolous way then perhaps don't. There is a little speech given at the end by one of the monks on the reasons NOT to be afraid. Basically, the reason is God's love. He does look after His own - but we need to become His own and welcome Him.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Simple Homemade Brown Scapular

I made this scapular recently for my husband after the one he was wearing was basically a tattered shred of brown wool fabric hanging from a cord. That scapular was made by a dear friend of mine that is now a cloistered nun. I knew the scapular he received would have to be special to replace that one. So, using the pure wool felt I use for my dolls, I made him one with a mixture of hand-embroidered stitches and machine stitches. It isn't my fanciest piece to be sure but he likes it. It will be a good test of how durable my wool felt is! I took this picture a few weeks after he had been wearing it ~ I am not sure how much longer it will be photogenic! He gets rips in his pants and breaks cord rosaries regularly. So, if this lasts him six months I will be pleased ;).

The construction of this scapular is very simple. In order to function as a brown scapular it needs to be pure brown wool. So, I cut four pieces of wool felt and embroidered an M for "Mary" and a cross underneath on two of the pieces. Then I measured a length of black embroiderey floss on my husband so it would be a comfortable length. I knotted the floss every so many inches (you can tell I kinda "winged" it, LOL) and placed the end pieces of the floss so they are parallel between two pieces of felt ~ one embroidered and one not embroidered ~ and stitched around the rectangle. Then I took the other two felt rectangles ~one embroidered and one not~ and found the direct opposite side which would be the middle of the length if it were still in a straight line. I didn't bother cutting it but sewed the two pieces of felt over the "u" so that the floss is parallel again. After stitching it around your scapular is "good to go"!

The tradition of the scapular was taken from religious who wear a scapular which is a long piece of fabric which is placed over the head and hangs down the front and down the back. I have included my St. Teresa of Avila as a visual aid. Although it started as a practical piece of clothing, it has come to symbolize consecration to God. Likewise we, the laity, wear our scapulars as a sign of our consecration to God. A priest or deacon "invests" the lay person in the Scapular Confraternity. The devotion to the brown scapular comes from the apparition of Our Lady where she conferred the brown scapular to us saying: "Those who die wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire". This cannot be taken supersitiously or magically but just a promise that those who seek her aid she will lead to her Divine Son. The scapular is a way of life not a ticket to heaven.