Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sophia Laying Out Her Quilt

This is the quilt that Sophia is working on for the county fair. She picked out the fabric, measured, cut, pinned, and is sewing the pieces together.

The top of the quilt is made from 100% cotton fabric; and the backing is flannel - so she has two different textures to her quilt which is nice.

She's very excited to see it come together. It's the largest quilt she's made to date.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Olivia Cutting Fabric for her Quilt

County Fair preparation are underway. The big project Olivia is entering this year is a quilt. She picked out the fabric at a quilt shop in Pella, Iowa and at Joanns.

The central focus is the dog print fabric from Pella. The other fabric she chose ties into the dog print fabric (red, white, and black).

With the exception of measuring and pinning, Olivia is doing the quilt herself. She selected all her fabric, is cutting it into strips, and will sew it by machine. The finished quilt will be 48" x 72".

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Olivia and Hoss the Miniature Horse

Finally...a horse that is Olivia's size. Adopted Hoss on Sunday, July 19th. He will be coming to the farm as soon as the girls and I get the barn ready.

Hoss was rescued and taken into the care of the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation. Adopted him from MHARF.

He stands 31" at the he's very small. He's calm, stood patiently while he was groomed, let Olivia lead him on a walk with no problems.

His body has been shaved because his coat was pretty heavy and the weather was hot. His normal color on his body looks more like his face.

Because he is young and healthy, Olivia can do obstacle courses, jumping, and other activities with Hoss. From a homeschooling perspective, this is great for phy ed as well as learning about responsibility and caring for an animal.

She's eager to start doing chores, she said. Already on Monday morning, she asked twice about when she can start working in the barn to get it ready for Hoss.

Also would like to see if Hoss may be good for visiting nursing homes and seniors who have memory loss issues, like Alzheimer's Disease. Have seen this done in other states, but nothing like this exists in Minnesota (to my knowledge). He certainly has the perfect temperment/personality for it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sophia and Cocoa Jumping

Sophia is doing jumping with a miniature horse. This horse isn't's one that is owned by a family who helps the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation.

Sophia is trying to find either a miniature horse or small pony that would fit two needs: (1) riding - both trail riding as well as jumping; (2) doing obstacle courses/jumping like is shown in the picture.

From a homeschooling perspective, this provides a child with lessons about responsibility, caring for an animal, and exercise.

The MHARF is looking for a miniature horse or pony that fits these needs. The other good thing...a horse or pony that was once neglected or abused goes to a loving home. Everyone benefits which is the ultimate goal.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gingerbread House Christmas Ornament

This is a gingerbread house Christmas ornament that is my own design. I found a picture of gingerbread house cookie that I liked and modified it to be a Christmas ornament.

The ornament is made from wool felt and cotton embroidery floss. It is about 3 1/2" tall and 2" wide. It is hand-embroidered using the blanket-stitch.

I posted this ornament in my shop on Etsy, Harvest Moon by Hand. Within an was gone. So, I've made another one and it is available in my shop.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Eco-Friendly Envelopes Made from Wallpaper

3 Sets of Envelopes
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann
How many trees worth of paper have you used in your lifetime?

It's not a question that most people think about...or WANT to think about. It is so easy to waste paper. Yet, by making a conscious effort, you can reduce the amount of paper you consume each year.

One way to reduce the amount of paper you use is to make envelopes from wallpaper that is in wallpaper sample books.

I had several wallpaper sample books on hand, and wanted to find a use for them rather than just having them sit in my closet. Looked through the wallpaper, and chose some pages that I thought were pretty.

I hand-cut, folded, and glued each envelope. Made three different sizes of envelopes, and then wrapped each set with a bow.

If you don't have the time to make your own envelopes - or prefer to purchase handmade items for yourself or as gifts - the envelopes are available in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.


Letter writing is a great way for children to practice their writing skills. It's even better when the envelopes are pretty and make an environmental statement!

The envelopes are great for bill paying, book making, scrapbooking, or organizing craft supplies. Tuck an envelope with a special note in a lunch bag, a suitcase for a young adult headed off to college, or under a pillow.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sophia and Me Playing the Gongs

We went to the annual Dragon Festival at Lake Phalen this year. The event showcases the 2,400-yr-old tradition and sport of dragon boat racing. There also are performances, displays, and activities that help increase cross-cultural understanding.

One of the performances was by the Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble led by Joko. When I use to run Create & Cultivate Art Camps for children at the farm, Joko was one of the artists who taught the children. He's a great artist/educator, and I was so happy that Sophia and Olivia were able to see and hear the Gamelan Ensemble.

At the end of the performance, Joko asked if anyone from the audience wanted to learn to play the gamelan. Sophia and I volunteered. We were guided to the gong section.

I started out with the little gongs and Sophia was going to play the large one. She wanted to switch, though, and play the smaller ones.

It was such a fun experience, and one that both of us will remember for many years.

So, what is a gamelan? Here's the definition from Wikipedia:

A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included.

The term refers more to the set of instruments than to the players of those instruments.

A gamelan is a set of instruments as a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together — instruments from different gamelan are generally not interchangeable.

Friday, July 10, 2009

All Natural Toys for Children

Pink Frosted Donut
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann
This is one of the donuts that I make that was featured in the LIVING CRAFTS magazine (Winter 2008-09 issue) under the "Good Finds" section.

It is made from all-natural materials. The base of the donut is made with 100% wool felt that has been plant-dyed by hand. The frosting is made from 100% wool felt.

I hand-cut, blanket-stitched, and filled the donut with 100% clean, carded sheep wool. The wool came from sheep that I raised.

This piece is meant to provide a rich, sensory experience and intended to be enjoyed for many years by children.

They are great for imaginary a play kitchen, pretend bakery, or a tea party.

Children who have low vision or are blind will enjoy the different textures of the wool and the toppings. (My daughter is legally blind in both eyes, and loves to play with toys with different textures.)

It is available in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Four Handmade Fabric Covered Buttons

My daughters and I have been enjoying making fabric-covered buttons recently.

These are four buttons that I recently made from two different cotton fabrics. They would be good for replacing plastic buttons on clothing, as special embellishments for a knitted or crocheted item, crafting, or for pontail or clip holders.

This set, as well as other sets of buttons, are available in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Olivia on the 4th of July

Olivia wanted to wear her horse costume in the 4th of July parade. Told her about Paul Revere's horse which she found interesting.

She wanted to know the horse's name. Apparently Paul Revere borrowed the horse he rode when he made the announcement/gave the warning. Some sources say the horse didn't have a name. Other sources say the horse's name was "Brown Beauty."

She's going to stick with the Brown Beauty name since it reminds her of one of her favorite stories "Black Beauty."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Buttons for Crafting or Math Activities

Went through my button jars and created this melon-inspired button collection in pink, green, and white that's available in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand. The colors remind me of summer, watermelons, and picnics.

With over 75 buttons to choose from, you could use them for a variety of projects: sewing, quilting, ATCs, ACEOs, scrapbooking, art journaling, jewelry...the possibilities are endless.

Buttons also are wonderful, tactile objects to use with math activities with children. Here are some ideas:

- match and sort the buttons (by shape, color, number of holes in the button, texture, pattern)

- addition and subtraction

- count and skip count (by 2, 3, 5, 10)

- create pattern series (green, green, pink, white, green, green, pink, white)

- introduce the concept of greater than, less than, and equal

- make different graphs using groups of buttons

- guess the number of buttons in jars

There are so many ways to use buttons in math. Having something tangible...something a child can manipulate...can make all the difference in helping introduce a new concept or comprehending a concept with which a child is struggling.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Work in Progress...Create a Picture with Felt Shapes

I've been working on an activity book for Sophia and Olivia when they travel in the car or want something to do at home.

These are all the items needed to create this page in the activity book.

The book is made from wool felt. All the pieces are hand-cut and then hand-embroidered. When two sheets are complete, I blanket-stitch them together to make a "page." I use the grommet tool to put two grommets in each page.

In addition to being a good book for children, it also would be appropriate for people for who have Alzheimer's Disease who are looking for soft, sensory-rich activities to do.

After the book is complete, I will be making a PDF pattern and making it available at Harvest Moon by Hand (my shop on Etsy).