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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014
I do not like mending (really, who does?).
But I love the idea of turning a gaping hole in a favourite pair of jeans into an adorable monster! 

And at this time of year... Trying to stretch that pair of jeans through until spring arrives (and for us that is usually May!), I thought this re-post of one of our most popular posts might come in handy!
monster, knee patch, mending jeans, jeans, mend, hole

My daughter loves to play in the sand.
her pants, however, don't enjoy the experience nearly as much!
Her favourite jeans are missing both knees.

I saw a great fix on Pinterest (the pinned post in dutch HERE) and snagged a little time to do it this morning.... Monster Knees!
◘ A scrap of fabric larger than the hole (allow 1/4-1/2" around it)~ denim, cotton, flannel
◘ Embroidery floss
◘ Needle
◘ Felt (wool is preferable to acrylic for durability), or other fabric scraps in white

1)  Cut Out your Pieces:
Trim your fabric scrap to fill the back of the hole, with an allowance of at least 1/4" beyond the tear.
Cut 'teeth' out of your white scrap, wide enough to fill the 'mouth' hole and as long or short as you prefer, you may need to do some dental work as you go along.
Cut out two roughly round eyes from the white fabric.
tutorial, mending, kids, pants, holes, monster, fun, simple, fast, no machine, jeans, patching

2) Sew on the Teeth:
Attach them to the mouth piece with a row of running stitches.

3) Fit the teeth into the mouth and stitch the mouth in place.
With small pants, it is tough to get your hand inside while stitching, you may find it easier to turn them inside out and do your best at making a rough oval around the hole, firmly securing the patch and making sure not to catch the teeth in the stitches.

4) Stitch the Eyes:
Have fun and be creative! Be sure that the eyes are well anchored~ they will get roughed up in the wash, but it will just add to the monster's charm.

As Rowan had both knees out, I simply patched the other knee with a felted wool sweater scrap~ overcast stitched with the embroidery floss.
Now, don't you want to do some mending?!
Friday, 14 March 2014
Easter is just around the corner.
And when it comes to spring symbols, why let the rabbits have all the fun?

Despite the enormous snowbanks and icy roads, we are anxiously awaiting signs of spring here in Northern Ontario. And my daughter is eagerly awaiting CHICKENS.  She has been saving and studying for her own little laying flock to be established at our new home this spring.

So between my reading up on predators and parasites, breeds and egg production, I have gathered up some wonder-full (and all natural) handmade toys.  

Wouldn't they make great additions to an Easter or Equinox gift?
Please click the links below to visit the lovely shop where these items are found.
{Click to view the image larger}

1. Yellow Chick (Felted Wool) by Full Circle Wool.
2. Baby Chick Crayons, by Doodler Farms.
3. Felted Wool Chicken and Chick by Song and Season.
4. Wooden Hen and Chicks by Monkey and Bean Designs.
5. Needlefelted Farmer with Chickens, by Kalle Jasper.
6. Vintage Book and Toy Chick by Mama Roots.
7. Needlefelted Hen and Chicks by Little Elf's Toy Shop.

Enjoy! ♥♥
Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Ooh! Super easy and cheap...
(let that not be said about *me* however!)
Tshirt yarn is so much fun!

Earlier this week I posted my top 12 favourite tshirt recycling ideas ~ one of which was making yarn out of old tshirts.  This has been on my 'to do' list for a long time (especially since I have a heaping box of old tees awaiting new life!).

So I gathered up the larger tees~ definitely look for large and plus size ones to get the most yarn out of them.
(And stole  few of my big husband's worst looking tees from the laundry, score!).
Dyed them ('cause that's how I roll).
And made yarn.

What you'll need:
Sharp scissors
Rotary Cutter & Cutting Board (optional)

Depending on your intended project(s) you may want to avoid tees with side seams.
Most ladies fashion tees have side seams, most promotional and basic tees do not.
If your tees do have seams, there will be little bobbles of seam throughout your yarn...
fine in my case as I plan to make a rag rug.

Here are a few tutorials with instructions for cutting and finishing your yarn:
DIY Tshirt Yarn from Polkadot Pineapple
Tshirt Yarn from Let Birds Fly
Yarn from Tees at Craft Passion

Now what?
You can knit, crochet, weave, braid... you name it!
Try some of the projects I have pinned on my Tshirt Recycling Board!
  • coasters
  • placemats
  • bath mat
  • dish cloths
  • 'swiffer' duster attachment
  • bracelets
  • flowers
  • pom poms
  • scarves, oh so many scarves!
Good luck! and have fun ♥♥
(republished from August 2012)
Monday, 10 March 2014
One sure thing in parenting is that your children will surprise you.
And they enjoy experimenting with language!

I suppose I should be somewhat thankful for a short memory, because I had forgotten my daughter's adventures with swearing until it happened again this week.  And, until whatever internal machinations of irony my blog has going on decided to spit up a couple of posts on this very topic to remind me.
Potty mouth at age 2.5.
Get the Swear Jar at age 6

We aren't a foul mouthed family.
We aren't perfect, but we don't swear regularly.
We also don't make a big deal about swearing -- words are words, and if they bother others it is respectful not to use them.

Rowan is 8.
Like many 8 year olds she likes to make an impression.
And her behaviour one day last week was most impressive.

I'll admit it started with the 'anti-joke chicken' meme, which Rowan stumbled across while researching chickens. This joke:

She read it aloud, blushed and immediately told me she knew there was a 'bad word'.
The one she learned about last summer.

We were camping and Ro and a friend were pretending to be warriors of some sort, hoisting stick swords and running through the woods. When I heard her yelling "Ship! SHIP!" I looked to the other mom and we both shrugged, assuming that she was saying "ship" --'they must be pirates'.  The woods were ringing with the word.  She yelled it again, running close by me.  I stopped her and asked what she was yelling.

She looked me in the eye, and honestly said, "Shit.".
"That is not a word we use when playing -- it is a swearing word."
"OK" and off she went.
End of story.

So when she read the meme, she knew it was not a word we use.
Except that she went to her sitter's for the afternoon, she lost no time in regaling the sitter and her boys (age 6 and 8) with the horse joke.

And when she retold it, that horse made a very big mess. Over and over again.
When she was chastised for her language, she replied with two baffling statements.
1) "Right, I shouldn't use that word in front of children".
2) "I am working on not using it as much as I used to".

What? I can't even.
Thank goodness I learned all of this while alone and by text.
Because I couldn't stop laughing at the brazenness of my child.

{for one awful moment I worried that it had become a tic! Although only 10% of people with Tourette's experience foul language tics 'coprolalia'... What if?! Thankfully it subsided and a good discussion about appropriate language use was sufficient.} --PSA, please do not ever share or use Tourette's jokes that suggest people who swear have the neurological disorder. It is an incredibly difficult condition to live with, found most often in children and teens, and spreading false info hurts them all. Thanks xo

And that folks, is, I hope, my last post about my foul mouthed little girl.
But somehow I suspect there may be more to come.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
So many lovely, natural and handmade horses and ponies!

Here at BTRT we love to round up the natural goodies for you to enjoy, almost as much as we love horses. Almost.  
With spring just around the corner (hear that Spring? just around the corner!), the thoughts of a young girl and her mother naturally turn to horses.

We have had enough of the snow and we are ready for leather and buckles and peppermints, manure, rubber boots and whiskery chin rubs and head butts for treats.

Until then, we will make do with these truly wonder-full finds, all handmade by Etsy artisans.
Click the links below the image to visit their shops...
and maybe bring home a pony of your own.
 1. Natural Wooden Stable , by A Toymaker's Daughter.
2. Wool Felt Unicorn, by Deb's Steiner Dolls.
3. Palomino Mare & Foal, by Holly's Meadow.
4. Wooden Horse Family, by Baumstammbuch.
5. Earth Pony, by Woolies.
6. Pegasus Foal, by MOLICA Australia.
7. Felted Wool Horse, by Beneath the Rowan Tree.
8. Mini Twinkle Pony, by Star Village Toys.
9. Horseshoe Teether, by Smiling Tree Toys.
10. Needle Felted Rainbow Unicorn, by Happiness Bluebird.

Giddy up! ♥♥

Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Make your own pretty spring brooches with wool felt (and your kids!).

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to get us little seasonal pins from Avon, with solid perfume hidden in the back. I still have several Easter ones in my jewelry box (probably the most valuable things in there, too!), minus the perfume.
Looking for a Sunday afternoon craft on a rare Sunday off, Rowan and I got sucked into Pinterest and as usual, spent more time looking for an activity than doing it. I hate that!

I limited our possibilities to those for which I had the supplies and which did not involve glue or paint. I just couldn't do messy and now that my daughter is old enough to really develop some skills, I can hide my loathing for sticky hands (sensory issue for me) behind the virtue of teaching her new skills. Sneaky mom.

Which lead us to making spring /Easter pins to wear on our clothing, or, in Rowan's case, to pin onto an elastic or hairband.

* wool felt** in small amounts
* sharp scissors, pinking shears if desired
* embroidery floss and sharp needles
* small amount of wool or other stuffing (optional)
* beads, ribbon or any other embellishments
* paper and pencil, and/or printer, sharpie or other dark marker
* straight pins
* locking bar pins
made a prim style bunny and Rowan, obsessed with all things chicken (she is getting birds this spring), chose a hen.

To make a little template for your pins, choose an image (or draw freehand-- would be neat for a child to create their own shapes!) and draw or trace it.  Google search is great -- use the 'images' tab and look up 'bunny outline', for example, for lots of simple line drawings (I searched 'primitive rabbit' and found a simple template offered for crafting). Searching 'silhouette' and 'template' are helpful, too. You can further narrow your search by size and so on, using the google search tools above the search bar. Be mindful of copyright, especially if looking to sell your creations!

You can print your image and trace with Sharpie for cutting out cleanly.
I drew freehand from various images we liked, with Rowan carefully determining the look of her chicken (see those eraser marks on the image above?!).  As I wanted Rowan to get a feel for cutting out a pattern and building her pin's layers, I marked the pieces and let her do the cutting as indicated by the marks on the pattern.
Use straight pins as needed for cutting out.
We took a few moments to puzzle out the sewing order for the pieces (great sequencing and logic work for kids... And me!).

As we were making two layers for the body of each pin, I started Rowan off with a knot in the tail 
  thread so she could concentrate on making accurate and even stitches. The knot would be hidden inside.  We then sewed down any details on the front piece of felt, generally using a simple running stitch.  

I finished my bunny front to back with a blanket stitch (personal preference) and used a teeny bit of wool stuffing in its belly and haunch. Finally, I stitched on a locking bar pin.
Rowan did very well with her surface details.  She had a little more trouble keeping the front and back pieces lined up while stitching (even with them pinned -- see my note at the bottom about wool felt), so in the end I had to do some fancy trimming to even it all out.  For another time I would cut out her edges with pinking shears to help guide her stitching and lining up.
Once her chicken was stuffed and pinned we introduced our critters to one another and took their pictures! 
Pretty darn sweet! 
This simple process could be used for all sorts of shapes and would make great teacher or grandparent gifts.
Total Time: 60 - 90 minutes
Costs will vary.

**OK, the scoop on the felt. I am a felt snob. Through and through. I wrote THIS article a while ago about my findings in relation to wool vs. acrylic (including eco- variants) felt. I have good reason for my snobbery.  That said, I guard my felt like Gollum with the One Ring. So when Rowan insisted in using the piece of yellow FUO (felt of unknown origin) I didn't fight too hard. I really should have.

The FUO slipped and tore, it sent fuzz through with every stitch, making a fuzzy mess on the front of her pin. When she tried to keep her edges together, it separated and became too thin to hold her stitches. I had to do a lot of fussing and trimming to clean it up.  If she had worked with wool felt, much of this frustration would have simply not existed. And when kids are learning a new skill, they need to be able to move forward with confidence and success... The FUO very nearly undid that for her (as an easily frustrated perfectionist kind of gal).

Like investing in a few quality toys as tools for play (kinderwerk --the work of childhood), good crafting supplies make a difference in creating skilled and confident handiworkers.

So share the good stuff!
Gollum. ♥♥
Monday, 3 March 2014
Transforming an old highboy dresser into the cottage/ shabby chic style for mud room storage was lots of fun -- there is something wonderfully counter intuitive in remaking something old into something that looks really old!
{click any image to view larger}

Given that our new-to-us home is a 90 year old refurbished schoolhouse with original hardwood flooring and wainscoting (which will be remaining in their current condition for a while), shabby seems to be the right chic.  Perfectly imperfect!

This dresser, along with its full sized mate and headboard, came to me as a community donation on my first Pastoral Charge nearly 20 years ago.  It has fulfilled various functions-- for the last five years it has been storage for all of my felting fibers.  I have always been fond of its unusual details, especially the large drawer handles with the pink shell-ish bits (and it carries the warmth of the generous folks who set up a poor furniture-less student in her first manse!).  

But it was time for a makeover --and I need porch storage for all the many and various items that tend to get deposited by the front door.
I needed to begin with sanding. And I admit, I have never sanded furniture before.
I dug out the old orbital sander I gave my husband a number of years ago, plugged it in and pressed the power button.
In the house.

You know those men who keep their tools in pristine condition, never putting them away dirty?
I didn't marry one of them.
The one I did marry must have sanded drywall last.
Because white chalky dust blew everywhere, especially up my nose, in my eyes and in my mouth. And in my house.

Very calmly, through the haze of choking dust, I went against my own habit of charging headlong into things and spent a little time with the kind men and women of YouTube who taught me how to sand wooden furniture.
Especially the bit about doing it outside. 
And wearing protection.
Of course, the YouTube teachers don't live in Northern Ontario, in February.
But we Canadian girls are tough.
Once I removed the hardware and set it aside, I took all of the pieces outside for sanding.
And it started to snow, hard.
I imagine the passing cars enjoyed the sight of me in sunglasses, dust mask, mittens and toque, sanding furniture in a snow squall.

I used a 120 grit on the sander (Black and Decker Maxi Mouse) to start and quickly learned not to remove the hook and loop backed sandpaper and try to reapply-- it won't stick due to the sawdust.
Also, not to lift the sander from the surface while in operation, as this tended to make the sandpaper disc fly off (and not reattach). It is a vicious cycle!

I can't be sure if this is normal... Since my partner (see below) had eaten all of the packaging off of my sandpaper and left all the discs a wee bit abused.
I sanded until all of the old varnish was removed by the 120 sandpaper and then switched to 180.  As I didn't require a super fine finish I stopped there.  All of the surface details on the drawers came off in sanding, but I went a little more lightly on the top drawer and maintained the texture of the scaly strips top and bottom.  I also left the dark colour in the detailed grooves on the top drawer and dresser base for character.
There are a number of suggestions for treating wood before painting to achieve a distressed finish.
I chose to use beeswax on the corners and edges -- after it is painted over, the paint will come away more easily with sanding as it has not adhered to the wood. Honestly, I wouldn't bother on a future project as it was easy to remove the paint and the wax actually resulted in less control over the paint removal.

I used two coats of the green paint chosen for the porch floor (latex porch and floor paint), applying with a small roller -- super quick!
Giving this several hours to dry, I followed it with two coats of white latex paint, completely covering the green. This was left to dry overnight.
Then came the 'ugly duckling' stage.
I took the dry and sponge brush and lightly brushed on green paint in strategic spots,
where I wanted more wear to show.
I followed the dry brushing with a quick wipe down with a wet rag.
(You can see how this brought out the texture on the drawer above).

At this point my daughter, who is clearly not a fan of the shabby, announced that the green paint was the colour of 'turkey poop' and 'now you smeared it all over! Gross!'.
Everybody is a critic.

And honestly, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the green messiness, too!
To mitigate the turkey poop effect, I sponged some more white paint over top, applying and wiping down as I went.
This was followed with some deep brown craft paint, applied only in the areas most likely to show the wear of (imaginary) age, and rubbed back off with the damp cloth.
Finally, I was ready to shabby it up!
I thought I could do it by hand, but quickly realized that I wanted the power sander for the task, both to save my wrists and to blend in the various layers of paint.
Using the 120 grit on the corners, and the 180 on the surfaces I gradually removed paint, layer by layer, until I was happy with the appearance, playing up the textures and details.
I was thrilled with the final result once I got the drawer pulls back on!
(Although one has gone astray over the years).
I am going to give it a coat of matte water based finish once it warms up a little for better drying and ventilation. And I may finish the top surface with some shabby paper to make it a little more durable for the likely wear it will take in the porch. 

My daughter still thinks it is an awful way to ruin a 'beautiful wooden dresser'.
Wait until she realizes the whole porch floor is being painted in turkey poop green!

Overall, I spent very little (sandpaper and cheap little paint roller) as I already had the paint for the room.
And total time would be about 4-5 hours, with sanding taking the most time.
No need for chalk paints, stains and other specialty products.

So go on and distress something (but please don't make it cry!). <3
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