Getting ready for the Christmas Bazaar

For the story so far click here 🙂

Friday 29 November

In history we studied more about Boudicca and her battles with the Romans.  She sounds brilliant.  I like that she had long red hair.

This afternoon we made treats for the Christmas bazaar! I made chocolate hazelnuts and fudge, while Jude made chocolate oaty treats and peppermint fondants.  Fondant is great because you can do anything with it.  You can dip it in chocolate or stick leaves to it, or make it shaped like mice, or turn it pink with beetroot juice.  The fudge was so nice I wanted to eat it all.

I am really looking forward to the bazaar because it’s so much fun. There is always a raffle and a bric-a-brac stall and a stall where you can buy knitted tree decorations and a games stall and a lucky dip where you close your eyes and pick a prize.

They also have a mystery jars stall which has lots of glass jars wrapped in Christmas paper and you pay fifty pence to buy a jar without knowing what’s in it!  Sometimes the jar will have cotton wool in it, or sweets or toys or buttons or jam or anything.  Once I got a jar full of mint imperials, which I wasn’t too keen on at first, but after I ate some I really started to like them. They also sometimes have a game where you have to name a teddy bear, which is how Jude won those bears we drew in art.

Find out what Jude and her sister got up to in December – Chapter 3 coming soon 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, home-school, education, learning, children, reading, books, literature, veggie kids, vegan children, vegan family, home-education, Christmas Bazaar, home-made

Make your own Reflecto Girl doll

Reflecto Girl doll

Here’s how:

First, find a pattern.  I used this one but there are plenty of others to choose from, including lots of free ones you can download.  So, I won’t give you pattern details, you can just download whichever pattern you fancy and then make her look like Reflecto Girl.  If you don’t know how to knit you can learn

Or, if you don’t want to do that, you can make a rag doll instead 🙂

Anyway, this is what I did:

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As per the pattern, first I knitted the legs.  I used DK  (Double Knitting thickness) acrylic yarn from the bag of oddments in the attic – no need to buy anything new, and if you don’t happen to have lilac, I know Renée wouldn’t mind her outfit being a different colour.

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Then I pinned and sewed the back of leg and top of foot seams

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and stuffed them with cut up bits of an old cotton T-shirt (no need to buy stuffing – recycle all the way!)

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Then I knitted the body.  I thought Renée would like a pretty cream vest with a pink decorative stripe close to the bottom edge.

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I sewed it, stuffed it and attached it to the legs.

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Then I made and attached her head,

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followed by her arms.

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Then it was time to do her hair, which I was very much looking forward to.  I started with the fringe by  just sewing some gorgeous orange yarn into her head making sort of loops between the top of her head and her face, just above where her eyebrows would be.

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Making her gorgeous long locks was quite time consuming but worth it.  I sewed the yarn into the back of her head, alternating between a small stitch to hold the yarn in place and then a long loop which reached down her back.  Then another small stitch, then another long loop.  The stitches began at the top of  her head and gradually covered the top three quarters of it so that she wouldn’t have any bald patches.  When her scalp was covered I cut the loops so that she had thick, long hair.

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Then I sewed on some eyes and ….

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… some lips.  I’m not a neat sew-er but that doesn’t matter, just have fun with it 🙂

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Then I made her top (included in the pattern) and embroidered – if you can call it that 😉 – the Reflecto Girl logo on the front 🙂

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And then of course she needed a mask!  This is not included in the pattern so you’ll just have to make it up – you can do it!  What I did, if you’re interested, is

  • cast on 70 stitches, using size 10 needles (3.25mm needles);
  • first row: back stitch;
  • second row: Purl 29 stitches, cast off 4, P2, cast off 4, P 31
  • third row: Knit 31 stitches, cast on 4, K2, cast on 4, K29
  • Cast off purlwise

 Then I sewed in the ends of yarn and tidied up the eye holes with a couple of stitches sewn with the same yarn so they’re invisible 🙂

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Yes, ok, I know it looks like a giant sleep mask, but if you look carefully you can see her little eyes through the holes.  Come on, use your imagination 😉

And that’s not all –

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she had to have her red Wonder Woman bag!  Accessories are the best!

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For this I cast on ….. oh, you know what, I can’t remember how many stitches or rows I did – basically you need it to be about this big against the doll.  Knit a simple rectangle that can be folded and sewn into a bag this size.  I attached a press stud so that it can be fastened.

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Her bag has a picture of Wonder Woman’s face in a circle on the front – remember?  Luckily I had a scrap of fabric with circles on, just the right size.

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So I drew Wonder Woman’s face in the circle, cut it out and sewed it to the front of the bag 🙂

Oh, and I knitted a long handle to make it a shoulder bag.  Three stitches, size 10 needles, stocking stitch (ie 1 row knit, 1 row purl) until it’s long enough for the doll to wear over her shoulder like so:

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Now, Reflecto Girl wouldn’t be Reflecto Girl without her …

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Dounto!  So I made one.  It needed to be just the right size to fit in her bag 🙂

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The card I used was quite thin so I cut out two to stick together and make the ‘mirror’ stronger.

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On one side I drew round a smaller circle to make the mirror glass.

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Then I added the Celtic-ish symbols and letters …

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… and coloured it in 🙂

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All done!  Reflecto Girl has everything she needs to get the job done!

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Let’s play!

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Why don’t you make yourself a Reflecto Girl doll?  There’s lots of fun to be had.

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Now, I need to make a Distracto Boy, and a Venus Aqueous, and a Megan and a Flos , oh, and an English Family Anderson! – it’s a good job I’ve got a big bag of yarn oddments 😀 It’s going to be a busy weekend 😉

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crafts, home made, knitting, toys, action figures, vegan, veggie kids, vegan superhero, things to make and do

The Cake!

… when the buzzer went off he put on his oven gloves and carefully removed the cake from the hot oven.  He took it out of the tin and put it on a wire rack to cool.

vegan children's story

When it was cool, Cedro sliced it in half and spread jam in the middle to make a big jam sandwich cake.

vegan children's story

Next, Cedro weighed out 4 ounces of icing sugar and sieved it into a bowl.  To that he added about 3 teaspoons of water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and stirred until the icing was thick and smooth.

vegan children's story

He spread the icing on the cake.

vegan children's story

Then he decorated it beautifully with deliciously sweet organic raisins.

vegan children's story

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continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole story now 😀

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vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, vegan picture book

Knit A Jumper For A Chilly Chicken

chilly chickensAt least twice a year Raystede (where Miranda volunteers) rescues ex-egg laying chickens who would otherwise be sent to slaughter at the tender age of 72 weeks.  Unfortunately, these girls have had it rough and some of them arrive with very few feathers intact.  So, at this time of year, they are very chilly and need a little help keeping warm until their feathers grow back.

So, if you feel like doing something lovely with your spare time and spare yarn, why not make some chicken-knits?

STOP PRESS:  Thankfully Raystede received so many chicken knits after they put out an appeal on local television that they’ve got all they need at the moment and they’ve taken the downloadable pattern down, so before you put yarn to needle, contact them to ask if they need any more, or find out if any other sanctuaries need them 🙂

And if you’d really like to do this but don’t know how to knit, there’s a couple of brilliant videos below to get you started:

For right handed knitters:

And for the left handed:

Knit your own Father Christmas

A bonus of Miranda working at Raystede animal sanctuary‘s charity shop is that she comes across lots of useful things like old knitting patterns and left over yarn that people have donated, which she can then buy and make use of.  And now you can make use of this one too 🙂

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And I know you might be thinking it’s a bit late in the day to start making this – the day before Christmas! – but it’s only a couple of hours’ work Miranda says, so, if you want to do something with your hands while relaxing in front of that Christmas movie, this is it! 🙂

Now, bear in mind that Miranda is very much her own person, who isn’t one for following patterns too closely, so it’s no surprise that her Father Christmas doesn’t exactly look like the picture on the pattern.  But he is very cute just the same:

right turn

smile

there he is look

Oh, and just in case you don’t know how to knit yet – these videos (for left and right handed) will solve that problem 😉

A Good Book and some Upcycling

Unqualified Education

When we began our home schooling adventure all those years ago we were very lucky to find this wonderful book.  Unqualified Education is full of inspiring ideas and information, advice and encouragement.  It is an absolute joy and still a great resource after the children have grown up.

contents

We decided to home school when my eldest daughter was just 12 and my youngest was 9.  It was not because they were bullied or anything, and they were not struggling with any of the work.  It was just that life is short, and childhood so short that they should be able to enjoy it all.  In school they were forced to conform to the ‘norm’, to study a set curriculum.  It was so rigid.  My eldest was so stressed.  She got detention for wearing the wrong colour socks for PE; her friend who had cut his hair into a mohican, and had assured his teacher that he would wear it flat and combed tidily for school, was told “Absolutely not!  Shave it all off!”  They simply weren’t allowed to be individuals.

At home we were free.  They could study what they wanted, how they wanted.  We went bike riding and swimming.  We grew vegetables and cooked and sewed and painted and, yes we did maths and English, but we read and read and read – really good books.  We did history and learnt Welsh (a bit).  What I knew I taught them; what I didn’t know we learnt together.  It was the best time.

This book was a wonderful support and inspiration.  Mind you, it’s a good book for anyone, whether home schooling or not.  As you can see from the Contents page, there’s a lot in there, and the recipes in the cooking section are all vegetarian and nearly all vegan!  There is the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe – mm mmmmm!

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Anyway, I needed a new apron so I got out the book, looked up the apron pattern and upcycled myself one:

how to make an apron

(You can click on the pics to enlarge them by the way)

first

first pic

I didn’t have a broadsheet newspaper but luckily Miranda had an old pad of flip-chart paper which she’d rescued from the bin at work and that was just right for this job.

second

second pic

I upcycled an old duvet cover – thoroughly washed of course!  I didn’t do the little pocket because I wanted a big pocket – read on 🙂

cut out

third

fold, pin and hem

You can sew it by hand, it just takes a while.  Luckily I had use of a sewing machine – thanks Mum 🙂

After the hemming was done I attached the ties as shown in the instructions.

vintage tea towel

I decided to make a pocket out of this gorgeous vintage tea towel Miranda bought at the Raystede Christmas fayre a couple of weeks ago (she said I could!)  I cut off the bottom row of dogs and hemmed the raw edge.

fold and hem top edge of pocket

Then I put on the apron so that I could position the pocket and put in a pin to mark the position of the centre of the top of the pocket.

put on apron and mark with pin where centre top of pocket will be

Then I sewed it on.  With a pocket this size you have to sew up the middle, effectively creating two pockets.  No dogs were harmed by this procedure – I was very careful not to sew over any of them 🙂

All done!

finished

finished apron

The Hungry Compost Bin

compost bin

The compost bin was hungry

And it wanted something new.

It’d reduced old fruit and lettuce leaves

To gloopy, slimy goo.

“Enough with all the green waste,

For now I’ve had enough.

I need something dry and brown

Like paper and card and stuff!”

So strips of card were fed to it

And more and more and more,

‘Til finally an old paperback

Was swallowed whole and raw.

paperback swallowed whole