New story starts today: it’s a wonderful vegan life

What Me And Jude Did While Everyone Else Was At School

Chapter One:  I left school aged 9¼

Tuesday 1 October

This morning we cycled to the swimming baths.  We have decided to go swimming once a week, Mum, Jude and me.  The curtains in the changing rooms were blue and yellow, and we needed a pound coin each for the lockers.  I always try to pack my clothes away with my shoes at the bottom, and my towel on the top.  

Mum is teaching us to swim the breaststroke, you have to keep your fingers together and push the water behind you, at the same time you bend and straighten your knees.  Mum said to picture how a frog swims.  We swam for about an hour and then we went to the library.  

The library is a really comfortable place to browse books and read.  There’s a whole section of children’s non-fiction and fiction, I once found a really good bouncy ball on the floor near the toddler books.  Today I found a Sabrina the Teenage Witch novel for my new reading book, and a book about dogs.  I needed a new reading book because I finished The BFG on Sunday.  Jude chose The Worry Website by Jacqueline Wilson, one of her favourite authors.

At home in the afternoon we read David Copperfield together.  We each have a copy, and we take it in turns to read it aloud.  I’ve written my name in my copy.  David Copperfield is a really long book by Charles Dickens, we started reading it the other day, when Mum got us each a copy from the Heritage Centre.  We finished the first chapter today, it is really interesting.  It starts off when he is born, and then carries on.

 

Wednesday 2 October

This morning we learned that all energy comes from the Sun.  Plants use the Sun’s energy to grow, and so when we eat plants we are eating the energy the Sun gave the plants.

We had a needlework lesson this afternoon.  Mum showed us how to hem, and how to sew running stitch. I really like sewing, we used little pieces of fabric scraps to practise, and then we stuck them in our purple scrap books which is where we record our sewing.

Jude finished her sewing first and she used the rest of her lesson time to flick me with elastic from the sewing box.  This was annoying but it was funny too.  I carried on sewing and finished my running stitches, Jude said she was impressed by my reflexes.

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continues tomorrow 🙂

The Andersons’ knitted bus part five: The floor and the wheels again

If you look back at Part 3 of the bus-making process you will see how I started work on the wheels and the floor.  This is how I finished them:

knitted model bus

It turned out after all that the toothbrushes weren’t quite long enough to use as a single axle between two wheels so I used four – one for each wheel.

  • First, by whatever means you have available, cut off the bristle end.  Careful – watch your fingers!

knitted model bus

  • Push a toothbrush into the centre of the wheel (see how to make the wheels in part 3) so that it reaches all the way through but doesn’t stick out further than the width of the wheel.  Then hold a pen loosely against the other side of the wheel and mark a line across the toothbrush inside the inside edge of the wheel.

knitted model bus

  • Then take the wheels back off and securely tape the toothbrushes to the underside of the bus floor (the card you have already cut out as shown in part 3) so that the pen marks line up with the edge of the card as shown above.  The wheels won’t be exactly in line across the bus because each wheel has a separate axle but that doesn’t matter, you won’t be able to tell when it’s all finished.

knitted model bus

  • Then turn the ‘floor’ over and stick some decorative paper to it.  It can be anything you fancy – it’s going to be the Andersons’ lino floor.  If you don’t have any decorative paper that you like you could draw/paint/print some tiles of your own design, either directly onto the card or onto a separate piece of paper that you then stick to the card.  Just don’t get the card wet.

knitted model bus

The paper I used wasn’t quite long enough to cover the very back of the bus floor (see above), but since I knew the bed was going to cover the back I decided it didn’t matter.

knitted model bus

  • Get the bottomless bus and carefully turn it upside down.  Be especially careful of the piece that sticks up at the front so as not to bend it – I made sure mine was hanging over the edge of the cushion the bus stood on.  Position the bus floor like so   and lay the knitted rectangle you’ve made (which is almost, not quite, the size of the floor – see part 3) across the top of it.

knitted model bus

  • Put a couple of stitches in each corner to hold it in place …

knitted model bus

  • … and then sew all the way round, stretching it in line with the bus ‘walls’ as you go.  When you get to the wheel axles, just sew around them and keep going.

knitted model bus

  • When you’ve done that, you can put the wheels back on 😀

knitted model bus

And there you have it! 😀 Be gentle, those wheels will come off quite easily.  And of course, if you’ve used toothbrushes like me, they won’t go round.  But they will look nice and, after all, Old Red has retired now so she just wants to sit still 🙂

knitted model bus

And there’s a nice new floor!

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

That’s it for now.  Today I’m going to make a wood-burning stove out of this pill bottle ↓ I’ll tell you about it tomorrow 😀

knitted model bus

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Click here for Part 6

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vegan, vegetarian, toys, homemade, crafts, needlework, knitting, sewing,

The Andersons’ Knitted Bus, Part 4: a bed for Mr and Mrs

 knitted model bus

First you need a large, empty matchbox.

 knitted model bus

Find some decorative paper that looks like it would make good-looking bedding …

 knitted model bus

… and wrap up the matchbox like a birthday present.  Then find another matchbox.

 knitted model bus

Measure it and mark the middle.

 knitted model bus

Take out the drawer and cut the insides and outsides in half.

 knitted model bus

Now you have two drawers.  Put them back in.  They’re going to provide the Andersons with under-bed storage space.

 knitted model bus

Cut out some more of the decorative paper and stick it to the front of the drawers.

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

Tape the drawers together, side by side, ….

 knitted model bus

…. and stick the ‘mattress’ on top of them.

 knitted model bus

Now you need some pillows:

 knitted model bus

Find a scrap of pretty material.  Cut it, fold it (right sides together), sew it (leaving one side open), and …

 knitted model bus

… turn it right side out, stuff it with cut up bits of rag, or yarn or whatever soft stuff you’ve got lying around, and sew up the open side.

 knitted model bus

My bed still needed something more to make it cozy so I found this lovely beaded doily (the kind used to protect a glass of lemonade from flies at the picnic) and thought it would make a lovely bedspread.

 knitted model bus

And I knitted a little blanket for warmth.

 knitted model bus

Et voilà!

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

Now I must get the floor done!

😀

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Click here for part 5

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vegan, vegetarian, crafts, knitting, paper crafts, sewing, homemade, homemade toy, model bus, model furniture, children’s toys

Andersons’ Knitted Bus – Part 2

For Part 1 click here 🙂

Ok, on Wednesday I got as far as sandwiching the stiff card between the inside and outside of the two long sides of the bus, so on Thursday I did the same with the front and back ends:

knitted model bus

As with the long sides of the bus yesterday, I drew around the knitted pieces on stiff card (tidy up the lines with a ruler) and cut out the insert.  If you find, as I did, that your inside and outside pieces are not exactly the same size (due to one being made with slightly thicker yarn), then draw round the bigger piece and stretch the smaller one to match.

knitted model bus

The green inside piece (above) came up smaller than the outside front of bus so I stretched it to cover the card as you can see.  It’s a fiddly business.  I found the best way to make sure your cardboard is the right shape and size is to sew together (wrong sides facing) two adjacent edges of the knitted pieces before inserting the card.  Then slot the card into the corner you’ve sewn and stretch the knitting to meet at the opposite sides and pin them.  If you find when you try to do this that the card’s just too big, or your window is too small, for the pieces to be sewn together around it, then you can pencil in the correct lines, unpin it, trim it and try again.  Eventually you’ll get it all sewn nice and tight.

knitted model bus

The front of the bus needed some finishing touches so …

knitted model bus

… I drew some buttons and dials onto some of that gridded material they use for cross stitch which I happened to have some of (it’s amazing the stuff people donate to charity shops – Miranda picks up loads of discarded craft items from the Raystede Charity Shop where she volunteers).

knitted model bus

Then I sewed it inside the front of the bus.

knitted model bus

I did the same for the ‘Old Red’ sign and the number plate.  After that I put together the back end of the bus.

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

You will notice that the back has more height above the window than the front.  That’s because when it’s put together it folds over to make a partial roof.  You’ll see what I mean when I put it together.

knitted model bus

I thought these pretty, heart-shaped, wooden buttons would look nice under the window in Mr and Mrs Anderson’s bedroom 🙂 (If you read episode 3 of The English Family Anderson you will see what their bus interior looks like.  The back end is a little bedroom for Mr & Mrs)

knitted model bus

I had knitted the back number plate in the appropriate golden yellow colour so I didn’t want to cover it with a white or cream number plate (cross stitch material).  So this time I just wrote the registration directly onto the knitting with a black felt-tip.  You can’t read it but I think it looks like letters and numbers in the distance which are out of focus so I’m happy with it 🙂

knitted model bus

All four sides done.  Now it was time to put the bus together.

knitted model bus

I began sewing with two adjacent pieces lined up together as above (NB – Miranda found some more bright red yarn after I’d finished knitting!).  Then, when I was over half way up …

knitted model bus

… I was able to stand the pieces up in their correct position, enabling me make the front piece follow the curve of the side piece.  Again, don’t worry about neat stitching.  Imperfections have their own charm and, don’t forget, this is an old bus which has probably been patched up plenty of times so it wouldn’t be authentic if it looked pristine 🙂

knitted model bus

One at a time I sewed together all sides of Old Red.  You can see below how the back piece folds over, above the window, and is sewn to the top of the back of the sides, making a partial roof.  In the pattern from which this is adapted, the front also folds over but I wanted to keep my front upright because it has the bus name above the window.  Plus I wanted there to be a bit more light in, and easier access to, the inside.  I forgot to mention yesterday that I also slightly altered the pattern for the front of the bus to make the windows slightly bigger by making the vertical strut in the middle narrower (only 2 stitches wide instead of 4) so that it looked more like the front of Old Red in my illustrations.

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

Look – you can peek inside 🙂

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

Our Old Red is approximately 30cm x 15cm x 15cm, not including the name sticking up on the front.

Still to do:

  • Make and attach floor
  • Make and attach wheels
  • Sew a ‘door’ on the left side front
  • Make and insert furniture

So I’d better get on with that then 😉

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Click here for Part 3

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needlework, knitting, sewing, homemade, crafts, vegan, vegetarian, toys, homemade toys, model bus

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:

2

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.

3

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

4

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

5

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.

9

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.

10

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 🙂

14

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 🙂

15

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 🙂

22

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

23

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

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25

Then I added the Celtic-ish symbols and letters …

26

… 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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31

32

33

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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

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

Recycle an old shirt or two

Here’s an idea I got from this book:  Sewing Green Click on the pic find it on Amazon

At least, I think I got it from this one but I gave it away a while ago so I’m not 100% sure.  Anyway, if you’ve got a couple of old shirts – preferably big men’s ones – lying around with nothing to do, why not cut them up and make a new apron?  My husband decided these just weren’t him any more.  Excellent! 😉

1 old shirts

So, you’ve got your hands on a couple of old shirts that nobody wants – actually you could do this with one shirt but it’s nice to have contrasting patterns and colours to work with.

2 cut the back out

Cut out the back of the shirt which is going to be the main piece of your apron.  If, like me, you don’t want to be bothered with hemming or edging, cut outside the seam (as shown here) and then your edge is already hemmed.  Cut up to the arm pit on both sides of the back and then straight across.

3 back

It should look something like this.

4 collar waist band

Cut off the collar of the other shirt (or the same one if you prefer) – this is going to be your apron’s waistband.  You only want the bit that would go around the neck, not the triangle-ish bit.  Again cut outside the stitching so that you don’t need to edge it yourself.

5 unpick collar

Then you need to unpick the bottom edge of the collar …

6 pin collar on

… so that you can slightly gather the top of your apron and fit it inside the collar (now waistband).  Pin it in place.

7 sew waist band on

Sew on the waistband.  I like zigzag but you could easily do this by hand.

8 cut out letters

Now for your design.  You could cut out the breast pocket from one of the shirts and attach it to your apron.  I think that’s what the book tells you to do and it does look lovely but I thought “I don’t need a pocket on my apron” so I decided not to.  You could do anything you like … or nothing at all 🙂 I went with lettering.

Cut your design out of the contrasting material ….

9 pin them in place

… and pin it to your apron.

10 sew the letters on

Sew it in place.

Nearly there.  Now you just need ties.

11 ties

I used the shirt button bands for the simplicity.  They’re already stitched and you can attach them to the collar/waistband with buttons!

12 finished apron

13 button band ties

14 back view

15 front

16 hanging apron

Crafty Vegan

Veganism should be happy and it should be everywhere.

You can say it loud and proud without ever having to open your mouth!

sewing

Show the world your happy veganism by writing it on your stuff!

vegan upcycled bag

vegan upcycled bag front and back

vegan upcycled pencil case

No pattern needed for these make-it-up-as-you-go bags and pencil cases made from upcycled old jeans and shirts.  Just put your imagination behind your scissors and get snipping.  Then sew your designs to your background.  The lettering (above) is made by sewing knitting yarn onto the material with zigzag machine stitch.

vegan smile bag front

This bag is different from the others in that it has no zip at the top.  Instead it has a fold-over flap that keeps your bag closed.  This is easily done by taking a rectangular piece of fabric which is a little wider than you want your bag and a bit longer than three times the depth of your bag.  Place a piece of contrasting material the same size (for the lining) with it’s right side against the right side of the outer fabric.  Then sew around 3 sides of the two of them and turn them right side out.  Tidily sew the open end together with the rough edges tucked in.

Then sew on your design(s).  If you’re doing a design on front, back and flap like this one, make sure each design will be the right way up when the fabric is folded.  Pin it first if you’re not sure.

Now, with your designs on the outside, fold the bottom of this piece up to 2 thirds of the way up – the last third will be your fold-over flap – then sew up the two sides (sew it inside out if you don’t want the stitches to show).  You should now have a bag (minus the strap) with a fold-over flap.

vegan smile bag back

  So, you’ve got your bag, you’ve got your design on your bag, now you just need to cut your strap, sew it together if it’s in two pieces, and attach it.  This “Smile – U R Vegan” bag is made of an old shirt and some oddments of material.  The strap is the button bands of the shirt.  Make sure your stitching is strong but don’t worry about neatly hemming it – I think it looks good being a bit rough around the edges.  Button hole bands are good to use for this because half the work’s done for you as it’s already sewn double thickness.

And that’s pretty much it.  You could have a different one for every day of the week! 🙂