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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Friday, 31 December 2010
Something new for the new year~ some sweet little finger puppet sets. I am having a ball spending some time with wool felt and a needle. Not what I had planned for the holiday break, but neither was the 180/100 blood pressure which is kicking my butt and put me off work for the next 6 weeks.  So something sweet and simple and sedentary has been good for me (along with some dedicated exercise time!).
Be back soon♥
Thursday, 23 December 2010
People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way. (Eleanor Farjeon, 1928)
To quote one of my favourite Advent hymns.

However you celebrate in this season, we wish you and yours a safe, bright and joyous time.
Thank you for stopping by my little blog space and for all of your love support and patronage for the crazy passion for play that is Beneath the Rowan Tree.♥
Monday, 20 December 2010
It is very difficult to find a good quality coloring book.
And I'll admit it, I love to colour.

So does my daughter.

Sometimes the blank page is too daunting and you just want someone to give you a start.
And you don't want it to be Dora or a misshapen Pony.

We do enjoy the Dover Coloring Books for straight up, colour within the lines, colouring.

But last Christmas we discovered a whole new world (and it was sort of like "hey! why didn't anyone tell us about these books?!").
The doodle, scribble, silly, inspiring coloring books that start with a simple concept or doodle and challenge you to take it from there!

We have tried several different series and love the ones by Taro Gomi best, but then what's not to love from the author/ artist who brought us 'Everyone Poops' ?
Rowan is pictured here responding to the request to dress these two people:
And this page followed one of drawing what the pirates were shooting at each other from cannons (balloons, cheese and flowers), which came after the one where she was asked to draw the animal tracks for various creatures...
The grownups love them, too ~ my sister and I had a throwdown last summer, drawing the prettiest marionette (mine is on your left!)...
And then a contest for who could say the saddest thing:
'You're being mean to me on my birthday' vs. 'I only had four fingers to open the door all by myself and it was the hardest thing I had to do in my whole life' (a direct quote from my daughter).

These are now our favourite gifts for kids (and grownups~ who usually need you to supply the crayons for them, too).

The new books from Canada's Owlkids are great, for those who want to shop Canadian!
Happy Doodling♥
Friday, 17 December 2010
Time flies! It was last March that I first hooped some fabric for daughter Rowan (then age 4) to try her first stitches (you can read that post here). And we just got back to it again.
Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that - one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
Again, at Rowan's insistence, we broke out the thread, hoop and blunt tapestry needles.

Having misplaced the aida cloth, we snagged some 'monk's cloth'~ perfect with its silkier texture and wide open weave.  It does however unravel rapidly from the edges. Next time I will put a running stitch around all four sides to reduce the loose threads entangling in the stitch work.
We talked about possible images for stitching and while I could not convince her that a T-Rex might be too tricky, I did get her off that particular path by sharing my recently acquired Woodland Cuties collection by Annie Oakleaves. She chose a mama and baby bird.

I drew the shapes onto her cloth, freehand with pencil,  although a lightbox, transfer paper and so on would be more suitable for more complex designs!  For this outing we worked on running stitches and Rowan did very well.
 The sense of accomplishment and pride was palpable~ and much needed after a difficult fall with troubles at school. She felt confident and capable, a wonderful combination.   While working, she was able to discern when stitches were out of line, and to ply the needle in both half and full stitches to create the shapes. A little help on tangles was about all she needed, and I finished the piece with french knots for eyes and sewed up a quick pillow and applied the blanket stitching.

Rowan sat for nearly 3 hours working on her piece without flagging or losing interest (!!) (even as the winter afternoon grew dim and evening came on). I worked beside her on my own embroidery endeavours, practicing some new stitches in the spirit of shared learning! Lessons about patience, attention to detail and care for our work unfolded as we talked about clean hands, smooth stitches on back *and* front and preparing and tidying our materials.  Throw in some wicked fine motor skill development, a sense of personal pride and this project was a delight and a productive adventure.
(And I have a sweet little pillow that I will cherish and someday share with my grown daughter as I recount the pleasure of those hours stitching together).
Thursday, 16 December 2010
These simple accessories are perfect for using up felt scraps!
Stack circles, stars, flowers and more... the sky is the limit and they only take a stitch or two, or even glue, to finish.

  • Felt (wool, eco or acrylic, thicker felt will offer a lusher finish)
  • Sharp scissors
  • marker
  • paper
  • needle and thread (embroidery floss is perfect)
  • hair elastics (we like Goody Ouchless) or bobby pins, alligator clips etc. (available most places that sell jewelry findings)
  • white glue/ tacky fabric glue as desired
  • if using metal findings, choose an appropriate adhesive
  • Buttons, beads, sequin, ribbon as you choose
1) Decide on the shape of your hair pretty.  Draw the smallest (center) piece to the desired size. Cut out this template, pin to a scrap of felt and cut it out.

2) Using this small piece, cut each succeeding piece slightly larger to create the stacked effect.  Cut as many pieces in as many colours as you heart desires.  Keep in mind, that if pieces grow too large, they may begin to flop over on themselves.

3) Once you have cut and stacked your pieces, choose a coordinating or complementary thread and stitch through the center several times to attach the pieces.  You could also glue the pieces together, but keep in mind, if you plan to stitch on any details, it is difficult to stitch through glue stiffened felt!  Keep it simple OR add decorative flair!

4) Embellish as you wish!  Beads, embroidery stitches and ribbon are great additions!  Buttons, too.

5) Attach your finished piece to the hair accessory of your choice.  Stitch securely to hair elastics. Glue to other findings.  You may find it hard to get your felt to adhere to the metal.  If you do, spread a thin layer of adhesive on the back of the felt piece in the area you need to glue. Let this dry and adhere it to the finding (this creates a surface more suited to connecting with the metal).

Turn these into brooches, ornaments, gift tags and more... and have fun! ♥

This written tutorial is the property of its author. 
The text and photographs are protected by copyright law.
The finished items are yours to keep, give or sell!
©Beneath the Rowan Tree, 2010.
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Many thanks to Heathert who shared sweet pictures of her littles enjoying the Alice in Wonderland interactive room at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia.

The hedgehogs (giant wool balls!) were made by yours truly in the spring ♥.
 I understand that the hedgies are looking a little worse for the wear (and a few have rolled right out of the display, pesky critters!), so I do need to look into some hedgehog refurbishment in the new year!
Monday, 13 December 2010
Winner! Congratulations to Danielle, who said:
"Maria is definitely my favourite - jumps right out at me and says 'make something beautiful with me'!"
And thank you to all who took the time to check out Diane's fabulous art and enter the giveaway!  Stay tuned for more awesome (and free!) stuff after the Christmas break!
(the 19 comments on this post were also included in the drawing!)
Now, I am still of the opinion that the dogs should *not* be expecting a visit from Old Saint Nick this year (bad dogs!), however, we live in hope.

I was charged with creating stockings for the canines, and wanting to stretch my embroidery muscles a little, I went to work on Archie's stocking.
I drew out the stocking shape and used it as a template for front and back. All the pieces are cut freehand from wool felt (thank goodness for shaggy dogs~ no precision required!).
Some creative piecing and a stylized Sheltie emerged.
I 'tacked' all the pieces in place with a bit of glue, worked a simple few stitches and it came together rather nicely!
I machine stitched the front to the back when all the handwork was completed.
The great news is that Rowan has decided that this design will suit Puppy just fine, as long as I add the jingle bells. And Hooligan needs one, too!
Saturday, 11 December 2010
Yes, yes it is true.
I have a superpower.
I can make just about anything my daughter dreams up.
Or so she thinks.
Really, like most superheroes, there is a very mundane explanation for my perceived powers. 
Radioactive spider.
Planet Krypton.
A hoarders worthy stash of craft supplies and a tendency to try everything once.
You know, the usual superhero beginnings.

And so when Rowan flashes the Bat Signal into the Gotham sky I can usually come up with the required item.
A superhero costume.
A matching hair pretty.  
A shirt for Puppy or some glitter paint for the finishing touches on an art project.
I have got it covered.

I have knit, cross-stitched, sewn, collaged and decoupaged, wood burned and hot glued, felted, spun, quilted, embroidered, scrapbooked, stamped, painted, crackled and polished and sealed ... shall I go on?
I have beads and bells and fabric and wood and paints and pastels and watercolours and silk and several kinds of dye and a bucket of adhesives and a box of pinecones and a bag of pompoms. Yarn, roving, old sweaters, floss, thread, ink, stamps, sewing machines... one person's sickness is another's super power, no?

Today Rowan submits the plans for Puppy's Christmas stocking (Puppy being her well loved lovey).
And I am stumped.
And touched.
Honoured, really, that she thinks so highly of my skills.
But this time I think I have been beat.
Riddled and left holding the kryptonite.

This will be my un-caping.
My return to Peter Parker-hood.
Yes. That is a Christmas Stocking pattern.
Complete with name, hugs and kisses, funny faces, a row of jingle bells on the bottom and some sort of Elephant Dog Hose Nose creature that may or may not be a likeness of Puppy himself (or herself, depending on the time of day~ Puppy changes gender).
Should it be knit? painted? quilted? stamped? I am so befuddled.
Maybe some sort of fabric markers and she can do it herself, right?
I must have one of those around here.

It isn't so bad just being Diana Prince, right? ♥
Friday, 10 December 2010
Winner! Congratulations to Danielle, who said:
"Maria is definitely my favourite - jumps right out at me and says 'make something beautiful with me'!"
And thank you to all who took the time to check out Diane's fabulous art and enter the giveaway!  Stay tuned for more awesome (and free!) stuff after the Christmas break!
(winner chosen from all qualifying comments, including the 19 on the 'scroll down' post!
~ using a random number generator)
Become a fan on our BTRT Facebook page to get the latest giveaway news 
and follow this blog, too, so you won't miss a thing!
(see 'Followers' box on left hand side).
 Bugsnugger is home to beautifully dyed yarns with a gentle and appealing spirit, as well as original designs by owner/ artisan Diane. I love Diane's dry sense of humour and that she is a working mom (something to do with water and earth and other cool stuff beyond my ken!) who pursues her passion for yarn and knitting, too.

Diane is a knitter's dyer, someone who really understands the interplay of pattern and colour in the finished items created with her yarns.  It is Diane's gorgeous work that my dogs made merry with a couple of weeks ago~ dyed in my favourite among many. 'Soar'.
With the holiday season upon us, I asked Diane about her favourite holiday tradition:My favorite holiday tradition it decorating the tree with the kids.  They are getting old enough they are excited to pick out the perfect one and they remember the ornaments from year to year now.  They love to bring out the ones they have made in years past and add them to the tree.  I love the lights and the tree!

What excites you about your business right now and looking ahead to 2011?:
What's exciting to me in my business right now is branching out to new people.  I have some yarn in a local shop now.  And after selling on hyenacart for over 4 years I am moving over to include Etsy.  I have also been doing some fiber shows which I love.  I have one in January local to me whcih I am very excited about and I just found out this morning I will definately be at Sock Summit 2011 sharing a booth with my good friend Scarlet (Huckleberry Knits).

What is inspiring your work right now?:

My inspiration lately has been coming from my own knitting and the project I envision for myself and my family.  I have been dyeing more from what I want to see in my own finished knitted items, although I continue to be inspired by color combinations I encounter on a daily basis.
 Want to learn more?
Ravelry Group
Hyena Cart Shop
Etsy Shop (add Bugsnugger to your Favourites or your circle to keep tabs on new stockings!)

For this week's giveaway, Diane is offering a one-of-a-kind colorway dyed just for us!
It is on the Stellar Fingering weight (80/20 BFL/nylon) picturd below. Approx 420 yards/ 4 oz skein. 
The giveaway is open to everyone, everywhere.

 Please leave a comment which includes: your fave colorway from the Bugsnugger Gallery AND an email address at which you can be contacted if you win.
The winner will be drawn randomly from all qualifying comments 
on Tuesday, December 14 at 10 PM est.
As a thanks to all of our customers and friends this season, I have published a fun little tutorial.
 One of Every Reindeer includes 9 pages of instructions, pictures and template to create your own sweet little (3") reindeer out of felt (or fabric).  I have listed 10 copies in my shop for $0.20 (the smallest increment Etsy will allow), available to the first 10 people who snag them.  I have also listed more of the pattern at a very special price of $3.50 for the remainder of the month.  Your pattern will be emailed to you within 24 hours (usually less!).
Note: The pattern is for the reindeer only.  The painted toadstools are made from our own tutorial (here)
and the trees from a pattern in Fa La La La Felt.
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
I am grateful to be finished all of my BTRT orders for the year!
Yes, I am now in 'hibernation' mode until the new year and I am loving it already.
I actually cleaned something.  On purpose.
OK, so it was my art room so I can make new stuff, but it counts!

I have a stack of new ideas I want to work on developing and I created a drawer (while cleaning) for unfinished projects or pieces yet to be used ~ like a pregnant woman's torso, felted, no head and some knit and fulled cottages waiting to be decorated and some precut fabric squares. It is an eclectic mix, to be sure. I am hoping to challenge myself to 'go to the drawer' every once in a while and see what comes out of the mix!

I am also hoping to rebuild my BTRT website and re-do all my copy for my Etsy listings.
I don't stop moving very well.

Most of all, I am glad for more time for my family and home.  To play and create solely for fun and love.
It has been an incredibly difficult autumn for Rowan at school, dealing with bullying (yes, at age 5, girls are mean), general mayhem of the public system and her own sensitive nature. I have lost many nights' sleep wrestling with the very limited options that being a working mom and living in a small town present.  I have been spending a lot of time at school and a lot of time snuggling and working through important life lessons with my baby girl.  We do a lot of role playing and a lot of 'playful parenting'. At this point, staying in school is looking more positive, although we are exploring our few alternatives and keeping them in our back pocket.  On the upside, Rowan is reading and the whole world has opened up to her in a new and fascinating way!♥

So at this moment, with the dogs having wrestled themselves into an exhausted heap, with Rowan asleep with Puppy in her arms, with a little light knitting to do and maybe a movie to watch or even, going to bed early... at this moment, I am grateful and my heart is full, and I think, for me, the Christmas season has begun!
Thursday, 2 December 2010
"Play is the free expression of what is in a child's soul."
Many thanks to Donni of 'The Magic Onions' today for sharing a post about playscapes I wrote a while back for her blog.  It was a pleasant surprise! At the end of a very busy month of making toys~  with cracked and wrinkled and dye stained hands, a crick in my neck my chiropractor described as a 'block of concrete' and one last day to get things in the mail for international shipping for the holidays ~ I was touched to see this article again and to remember why I make toys in the first place.  For the children, for the play, for the wonder of it all!

Monday, 29 November 2010
I am a card carrying member of the Handmade Club.
And I believe deeply and passionately in the value of making and buying handmade.
And I especialy love giving handmade gifts.
(Hand Soap by Foliage on Etsy~ I *am* giving these this year!)

I am also a tired working mom (full time job, two business, and a family business, but who's counting?).
At the moment I am spending every extra moment I can between Advent and Christmas prep and orders (it is like Santa's toy shop around here, but I am short on helpful elves!) at my daughter's school, helping in the classroom, and trying to navigate through a sea of girl issues (I still hesitate to use 'bullying' with 5 year olds, but...).

So our Christmas is looking a little less handmade than usual.

I do have a Neverland 'Wendy' sweater (by Greenstrings) to finish for Rowan before she grows out of it (it is not looking good!) and a whack of glass marble magnets to finish for family, teachers and neighbours.  And stockings for the 'boys' (Archie & Hooligan).  And then there is the stack of patterns and tutorials I have been saving for my holiday hibernation (I always close up my shops once the international shipping deadline has passed) which may or may not get done. And....

I decided to give myself a break.
From the guilt and expectations and then from the feeling that I should feel guilty (you know what I mean!).
Forget the stuff and focus on the experiences.

I will make what I can and what I feel moved to make.  And I will make concessions to expedience over 'labour of love' in some cases ~ something my husband will love since I have a habit of teasing him about his family's tendency to choose the efficient and expedient over the meaningful, and sometimes, even, the practical (like closing in the carport as a garage but never ever parking a car in it for fear of getting grease on the floor).
The skirt I planned to make for Rowan for the holidays has become the little knit dress I have been eyeing in a shop (and by 'shop', I mean grocery store. That's right. We love Joe Fresh. Go ahead and take away my Handmade Club members' card now, because I also bought the cheap silver sequined shoes to match!) . And our usual handmade Advent Calendar consisting of  felt envelopes carefully planned and filled with family activities and simple handmade trinkets hung on a coordinated garland/ line became the Playmobil Advent Calendar (Pony Stable version).
And you know what? It's ok! I can live with it.

Hours I could have spent driving, choosing fabric and sewing  have been happily used snuggled up with my girl watching cheesy old Rankin & Bass holiday specials in November.  And that Playmobil Advent Calendar has been a godsend~ day one  (well, the day I made day one because I needed it to be!) was a horse that lead to three hours of deeply engaged play while mommy got a ton of dyeing done! Yes, I can definitely live with it. ♥
Saturday, 27 November 2010
The staples of our playsilk line are the 'Palettes' of solid silks available in 11" or 35" sets (and 22" and others by special order).  This week I had the opportunity to dye three palettes at once~ it is not unusual, it was just that it was the three most similar palettes and an overcast day great for photography!  So I snapped the three together for comparison.

The Summer Garden Palette is our most popular option to the standard Rainbow Palette (only differing by adding pink in place of red).  But we also have a Soft as Spring muted palette and a whisper soft Watercolour Palette.
If you start at the brightest pink and move around the pinwheel clockwise you will see them in order of: Summer Garden, Soft as Spring, Watercolour.  Or look at it this way:
Ahhh, have I mentioned how much I love silk? ♥
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Give your feathered friends a festive treat this winter (and make your trees look pretty, too!) with these fun, simple bird feeders! Hang vertically, or create unique garlands to decorate the outdoors for the season!

If your house is anything like ours, we are often over run with crafts, so this craft, being consumable and meant to go outdoors, was just what we needed on a sunny day home sick from school and seemed just right for the season!

The tutorial shows the craft being done (almost) independently by a just-turned-5 year old.  Younger children will enjoy picking the elements for their own special garland and leaving the needle work to a grownup.  This craft helps to build fine motor skills and is *great* pattern building exercise for those kindergarteners who are starting to work on math skills by detecting and predicting patterns.

Age: 3+
Time: 15 minutes or more

This craft is easy to make with items commonly available throughout the holiday season.

  • Walnuts (halved, save the meat for a holiday recipe!)
  • Bird Seed
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cranberries(frozen or dried), raisins, apples, popcorn and other bird safe treats
  • Tapestry needle
  • String, yarn or floss cut half again as long as desied garland/ feeder

Prepare ahead of Time:
  • halve the walnuts and drill a small hole in each half shell.
  • if using fresh cranberries buy frozen or freeze : they are easier to thread and *much* less messy!
  • if working with younger children, or concerned about mess, fill the walnut shells with peanut butter ahead of time, cover with bird seed as shown in the directions below and chill.  This means less peanut butter slopping about, but the kids can still get a needle through.
1)  Gather your materials and prepared supplies.
Tie several knots in one tail of your string. Thread the other end through the tapestry needle.
3) Invite your child to lay out the elements they wish to add to their garland feeder, or just get started threading pieces onto the string. 

 4) We have pictured adding peanut butter and bird seed to the walnuts after stringing the entire garland. An alternative, as suggested above, is to fill and chill them in advance.
 5) Once the garland feeder reaches the desired length, remove the needle and tie a loop and then hang this on your favourite limb outdoors for the birds to enjoy!

If you have any leftovers, there are sure to be some little creatures to eat them up...
...and the birds will help, too! ♥

We love to share our crafts and encourage you to share them, too! A link back to our original tutorial is always appreciated!
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