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Three children *** One big, grey dog *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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autumn crafting

Jam Jar Labelling

group of apple tags

When a problem can be solved using fabric, thread and paint, I can’t help feeling good. A crafty solution at its best.

For the next few weeks, I will be processing apples as if they are going out of fashion. My expansive collection of empty jam jars, will start to deplete as I use them to store the apple pulp.

Some recycled jars are better suited than others and I have refined my collection over the years. I have also worked out which jars labels are easy to remove. Some are near on impossible and go straight in the recycling bin. I don’t want to spend time, or chemicals, trying to remove the very last lumps of glue. Other labels will slip off in the dishwasher. Often to be found stuck to an innocent plate or cup.

I’m not a big fan of stickers on jars.

(Sometimes I don’t label my jars at all, but that is another story.)

So last night, I came up with a recyclable labelling idea, that tickled my creative tendencies. First off, I cross-stitched an apple logo or five. Each slightly different.

making rubber stamp

Next, I found an old eraser that had been spurned by the children as it had become to hard to rub out. Using my craft knives, I cut out an apple stamp.

painting the stamp

Mesmerized by the stamp making, I had attracted a happy band of children to put to work. I had them applying fabric paint to the stamp. (I find fabric paint is less splodgy if it is applied using a paint brush to the stamp.)

printing the apples

Then applying it to circles of recycled fabric. They used fabric pens to write on the jelly name. (Must remember to add the date)

top of jelly jars

Once the paint had dried, we popped them over the apple and rosemary jelly, I had made earlier, and fixed it on with rubber bands.

group of jelly jars

Tied on the apple logo tag and the jars were ready to go. Either to be put aside as Christmas presents or into our pantry. Once the jelly has been eaten, the jar can be cleaned and returned to my collection of empty jam jars ready for next year, with no label aggravation. The cloth top can be cleaned and set aside, with the apple logo, ready for next year. Recycling at its best!

Plus I can see the type of jelly from the top of the jar and the side. Better than guessing.

apple tag and rosemary

It is completely incidental that the cloth and the apple logo make the jar look pretty. Complete accident!

(Recipe for Apple and Rosemary Jelly here)

Joining in with all the fabulous and crafting inspiration over at Craft Schooling Sunday


Knitted Acorn

I love oak trees. I love acorns and I love knitting, so the idea of knitting an acorn appealed. I wanted to knit some for our seasons table. A way to celebrate the season through my own creativity. I looked at a few knitting patterns and adapted them.  Each time I knitted an acorn, I made it slightly different. They were so quick to knit. After five, I hit on the perfect acorn. So I stopped.

I used moss stitch to knit the cap of the fifth acorn (above) and that seemed to work. Mission accomplished, or so I thought.

I thought it would be fun to photograph them as part of an autumn setting, but it just didn’t work. I took too many photos, in various settings. None of them worked.

After a while it struck me that my acorns would never look right sitting next to anything that Mother Nature provided. I think it is the contrast between the dull, knitted texture compared to the beautiful colours and precision of the flowers and pumpkins. My knitting efforts seem clumsy. Nature completely outshines my effort to emulate it.

See, its much better when I focus on the flower. These acorns are great for playing with and that is their purpose now. The children are pleased. Very pleased. They were fun to knit, but they are heading for the play kitchen and not the seasons table. We have a good collection of real acorns on the seasons table.

Maybe I should just stick to looking at the flowers in future.

Acorn paintings

We are so fortunate to have a number of interesting trees in our garden. At the moment it is the hazelnuts and oak that are fascinating the children. They are a great source of nature finds. The children (OK, me too) eagerly collect nuts, seeds and leaves on our walk home from school too, which they then squirrel away in their individual collections of nature finds. Today, I took a little basket, when I picked them up, and asked if they would collect the nuts for me, this time, as I had an idea for a crafting project.

In all fairness, its not my idea. I read about it on GreeningSamandAvery.

Due to no acorns, Abbie and her children didn’t have the chance to make the paintings. From Abbie’s description, it sounded similar to rolling marbles through blobs of paint on a tray. Mostly, I loved the idea of painting the acorns at the same time.

I set all three children up with a box, brown construction paper, blobs of paint and a selection of things to roll. I gave them acorns, pine cones and hazelnuts. Then I stood back and watched. I should have known it would end up messy, when our dog made a hasty retreat from the room. How do they know?

The problem was that the nuts and cones were too light to build up enough momentum to make it through the gluppy paint. So we added a couple of marbles to spice it up.

It added speed, but not enough, so the children decided to quit rolling the box and start using their hands. I still do not know how, or why, TF ended up with such a good covering of paint on his hands. They all loved this activity. I wish I had captured the giggles when they started spinning the longer acorns in the paint. I had to plead for them to stop in the end, as I needed to start supper. They were still asking for more paint when I was serving up.

The paper had more coverage than I expected.

As did the nuts and cones. I think the pine cones turned out the best. So pretty. The acorns and hazelnuts look more like plasticine after all the colours are mixed together. I might experiment with some oil or wax and see what happens.

Pretty as the sheets were, I cut them up into the shapes of acorns. TF and I used glitter glue to add a hint of magic. TF’s acorn had more magic than most. We have blue tacked them to one of the kitchen cupboards. I hope we add more to this collage, as our Autumn banner, in the same way that we added to our insect mobile back in the summer.

Fun? Yes.

Objective met? Yes. And more.

In terms of messiness? Around the 12 out of 10 mark. (You should have seen the sink after they had washed their hands. On the other hand, maybe not.)

Did the children enjoy it? Most definitely!

I’m linking this up to The Magic Onion’s Friday Nature Table. Go and have a look at more nature inspiration.

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