Busy Bees Sewing

witsand-xmas-marketIt has been quiet over here at Practical Pages this past month because we have been busy sewing and I put our homeschooling on the back burner.  We were given a last-minute spot at the fabulous Witsand Christmas Market to sell our handmade items this December.  Not having much time to prepare, we plunged in full-time!

My product line is called Birdie Bags and I am trying to generate enough stock to last the full month of Dec into the New Year.  I am sewing bags, mostly quilted drawstring bags and pencil and other zip bags.  These bags fold open to become a basket-tray, making it an ideal travel bag.  birdie-bags1

 

 

birdie-bagsMy daughters created a pyjama range and my eldest sews the beautiful tops, while my middle daughter sews the shorts and pants.  They have a wonderful friendship and an amazing collaborative business.  They are setting up their Facebook page and Instagram pages and already have orders, but their Christmas market stock is a priority.  img-20161102-wa0007

So, as this school year draws to a close and South Africans plan for their long-awaited summer December break, I trust you are finding your end of year flow and rhythm.

Much grace, Nadene

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Creative Crafts ~ French Patio Ideas

I recently created some wonderful crafty decor for our patio in French Provence style.

Bunting always creates a festive atmosphere!

Using unbleached calico I made some French Style Bunting with fabric painted details ~ use the free stencil download below for ideas).  Baste the triangle pieces edge-to-edge on wide ribbon and then fold the ribbon over and serpentine stitch the ribbon to cover the top of the bunting.  (Remember to add at least 1m of ribbon to either end of your bunting to use to knot over poles or around trees.)

French patio1

My daughter and I created a Printed Table Runner.  Pop over to my Project Page for the tutorial.

French patio

I painted some patio cushion covers for my bench and wicker chairs.

French patio2

Lastly I hung a few lanterns on blue ribbon over the table for some ambient light and intimacy.

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A week of creative fun transformed my patio into a festive French-styled outdoor area.

For some French Provence stencil ideas here is a free download ~ Provence patio stencil ideas

Blessings

 

Make Memories with Hands-on Activities

Revisiting earlier posts ~

Way back in 2009, when I re-used our Sonlight Core 1&2 World History with my youngest 2 kids, I ignored the time-frame suggested in the Sonlight schedule and followed it as a mere guideline.  Adding hands-on activities to our themes made homeschool come alive and filled our school day with fun!  

But, more importantly, it really helped my kids learn.  In fact, when I asked them what they remember of their studies, they mostly only remember the hands-on activities!

I am re-using Core 1&2 with my younger 2 girls and decided to relax, stretch the schedule and do hand-on activities when we could this year.

Buiilding castles

building castles

The girls have made models and built castles.  They have created interesting project pages.  They have dressed up and acted out scenes from read alouds.  They have cooked and baked and then ate foods from the country or era.  We have visited places and museums.

Dressing the part

Dressing the part

During school they have played online educational games and they have created interesting notebook pages.  We have made lapbooks for as many themes as we could find or create.

Mapping World War II

Mapping World War II

These activities have been the highlights!  I highly recommend that you allow more time to ‘flesh out’ the schedule!  How can one spend only 1 day covering Japan?  Or take just 2 days to enjoy the Knights and Castles?

Sonlight has offered me a great framework and I have enjoyed this approach SO much more than my first year of homeschooling tick-the-box-stick-to-the-schedule approach!

Life is the learning journey!

Especially while you are teaching your young children, even up to junior high, add and include hands-on activities!  Make time for it!  It is an investment in your children’s learning experience that will last!

Blessings,

Rustic Wedding Decor

This past weekend our family celebrated our son’s wedding!

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We created lovely rustic wedding décor, and almost everything we used was recycled and simple and very inexpensive.  We used a lot of seed pods, acorns, nuts, dried maple leaves and hessian (burlap) and twine.

I created a new project page Rustic Wedding Décor” with all our décor ideas including ~

Wedding decor & flowets2

  • Succulent pot plants in tins
  • Tin lanterns
  • Table Seating Board
  • Flower wreaths for the bridesmaids and flower girls
  • Protea and fynbos flower arrangements in metal buckets
  • Table decor
  • Flower hearts
  • Palm pod signs
  • Bunting and hanging beer bottles

Pop over for some décor ideas!

Blessings,

Menu Planner

Practical tip of the week ~

After finding lots of inspiration on Pinterest, I finally made my own

Menu Planner

Menu Planner

Now, once a week, the girls and I will sit together and allocate meals and days and jot our menu on the white board.

Simple and practical!

Pop over to my Projects page for the simple tutorial and my free Menu Planner download!

Blessings,

Bible Cover

Take an ‘ordinary’ store-bought Bible cover,

add some dividers,

a zipper pouch,

embroider and add beads

to make a lovely personalized Bible cover

that holds a notebook, pens and highlighter pencil and Hymn booklet.

Pop over to my Project Page for the full tutorial.

Blessings,

Corn Starch Clay Decorations

Thanks to Pinterest I have discovered some wonderful ‘new’ recipes!

           This lovely baker’s clay from woodsidekitchen.blogspot.com is cheap and simple to make,

smooth and easy to work with,

 comes out the oven white and hard,

and looks pretty even un-painted!

We used our normal play-dough cutters,

and I gave the girls our rubber stamps to use for texture and embossed designs.

Fun!

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 Cup Corn Starch

1 Cup Bicarbonate of Soda

3/4 Cup Water

* Mix all ingredients together in a pot.

* Stir over heat until the mixture thickens and resembles thick mashed potatoes (really!)

* Remove from the stove and place as a ball in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth until it cools.

* Roll out, cut, shape and decorate.

* To make the holes we used a drinking straw – press down, twist, and lift, then blow out the little centre into your hand to re-use the with the scraps.

* Bake@ 180○ C for about 10 minutes or until firm and hard.

* Cool and paint, varnish, or enjoy as is.

Great for Xmas decorations, place-name settings, gift tags and gift embellishments.

Give it a try!

Blessings,

Painted Heart Rocks

Here’s a fun rainy-day project!

I have collected loads of heart-shaped rocks on my walks on the farm.

During a cold, raining afternoon the girls and some visiting friends and I sat and painted rocks.

I wanted mine to match my outdoor color scheme and used mostly blues and browns.

The girls were much more creative and came up with lovely decorations, pictures and messages.

Whether they are for mere decoration, paper-weights, gifts, or table decor, have fun painting rocks and pebbles.

We used craft paint and coated the painted rocks with a layer or two of Modge Podge.

Look at some more Pinterest inspiration.  Pop over to my project pages for more practical, creative ideas!

Blessings,

Decorated Frames

Friends visited us for a week during our winter school break.

While we sat through a rainy spell, the older girls asked to do a craft.

We decided to use a few old frames lying in a box.

I wanted them to make this a special frame,

decorated with things found on the farm.

It could be made into something useful;

with hooks or wire or mesh to hang jewelery on,

or simply a pretty memento of the time together.

Miss. T made a jewelry frame as a gift.

First she painted the wooden frame in a lovely light teal green, left it to dry and then scraped off some paint to create a distressed look.

She covered the back of her frame with some lace and fabric off-cuts that she sewed together and ironed flat.

Then she pulled the material over the hard board back and taped it down.

She used a piece of rusty old chicken mesh to cover half of the material.

Now she secured the frame to the back.

She glue-gunned some dried rose buds she had in her stash to one side of the frame,

added some interesting pieces of lichen she found on an old tree,

and completed her frame with 3 brass hooks which she embellished with some buttons and ribbon.

Lovely!

Her friend, Miss. C, found a lovely picture of a heart and a crown in a Christian magazine as her inspiration.

We made a colour-copy of the original.

She spent some time embellishing the picture with pen, glitter and then glued some crumpled brown paper edging.

As she felt that her frame was a little narrow, she wrapped her rusty mesh over the sides of the frame.

She found some rusty tin which we carefully snipped to form a heart.

Her mom had crocheted a cotton heart and Miss. C attached the hearts to her mesh with the same thread.

Beautiful!

Both frames were so unique.

What a lovely rainy-day craft.

Pop over to my project pages for more crafty inspiration!

Blessings,

Frugal Dish Mat

I saw my first dish mat on Jimmie’s Collage last year and filed away the idea …

When my bath towels became so worn that I had to replace them, I thought of frugal ways to re-use them.

I remembered Jimmie’s dish mats and thought that this would be an easy-sewing project for my children.

Pop over here for the tutorial or to my Projects page for other sewing, crafts, and creative projects.

Blessings,