Sylvanian families/Calico critters DIY – Crochet adult dress

Dress is made from the shoulder working down to the feet with crochet cotton twine (I havent pulled one apart yet so dont know how much twine is needed but it aint much,) and a size 3mm crochet hook. Please do forgive me for the format as I have never written a crochet pattern before.

Row 1: 19 chain stitch.

Row 2: 19 single stitch in all chains.

Row 3: 3 single stitch in previous row, 4 chain stitch, 4 single stitch with a 5 stich gap from previous row, 4 chain stitch, 3 single stitch in previous row with a 5 stitch gap. (Total of 17 stitches) and one join into round.

Round 4, 5 & 6: 2 chain stitch, 1 double in first stitch of previous row, 1 double in each stitch of previous row x2. Then continue the 2x 1x 1x double stitch around in previous rows for all three rows, (offset the 2 double every round by one stitch to make it fan evenly).

Round 7: 3 chain joined to every second stitch in previous row. Finish with sewing on a bead for decoration. ๐Ÿ™‚

image Note the tails are just pushed between posts in the double crochet section or left under the dress. I have also left the back of the torso open for easy on and off for a three year old but you could just as easy add a press button, sew on a strip of elastic or add some velcro. It doesn’t need it though.

If anyone would like me to make one or a few for them please do contact me, happy to sell for (AUD) $2 each in whatever colour plus postage via Australia post. Otherwise… get to making! ๐Ÿ™‚

Short Thought of the Week – Passion

I’m reading Ken Robinson’s the Element book at the moment. I’ve always though that effort surpasses talent and you can be good at anything if you try hard enough. That’s wrong, what you need is passion. Passion is like this weird combination of both effort and talent. You are reasonably good at something, not great but ok and you really really want to get even better at it just because you like doing it so much. You can but don’t always find flow easily with something you are passionate about, you experience “moments of perfection” when you are passionate.

Wednesday Craft Wrap

Very quick craft wrap this week.

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Rough buttons by Kiall for my crochet projects.

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Working on third journal design this week. So far have done a mandala, soul words and currently messing with this steam punk theme.

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Big lad was keen on doing lots and lots of perler bead patterns this week. Everything he can think of from terraria. ๐Ÿ™‚

Fun was had but it’s been a very busy week for us. Night night all I’m bailing now. Soooooo tired. Will be back in the swing of things come January. Have a great week. From Becca.

Wednesday Craft Wrap

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Spent most of this week crafting with things we already have around the house. Big kids pulled out some blank tee-shirts and created their own designs with permanent markers. Middle miss made a mistake and was a bit stuck because obviously the marker doesn’t come off. Lesson in incorporating mistakes into the design, very happy with the result. Big lad took his design from a movie alien but was struggling with transferring it onto the shirt, he is going to finish on another day. Lesson in freedom to quit and trying again later. How very unschooly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Middle miss also made a Ojo de Dios with yarn and popsticks. Its a fun way to introduce very simple weaving to young kids. She now wants to try more complex designs but we need some extra supplies first so will come back to that craft later.

From the wee miss K we have a current obsession with everything lava and volcanoes (as per the lava painting, requesting yellow and red paint only) She loves watching lava videos online. We discovered that although K likes to eat with her hands she does not like paint on them (finger painting isn’t her favourite thing, but at least she tried and promptly washed her hands and brushed her teeth… that was just in case I think) Had a play with clay making lots of tiny little bits and messed around with the letter stamps. She has figured out who’s name starts with which letters and we stamp them in their favorite colours.

I also have all these little bits of yarn from various crocheting projects so hubby Kiall made me a picture frame loom. Been using a hair clipper attachment to push the threads where I want them and a ruler with a hole in it to do the weaving. It looks quite random but it works. Also taught myself the waffel stitch via youtube, (I learn everything from youtube, it’s the coolest!)

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Last but not least middle miss has been creating on 3d program blender. I should really get back to helping her with the tutorial of this earth she is working on (she did a bit more past this but we got stuck on a texture modifier.) So many other things happening along the way that we both moved on. Such is life ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope you are all having a happy and creative week, from Becca. xo

Wednesday Craft Wrap

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Hello again, lotsa fun was had this last week in our house with creativeness. Here is a few bits and bobs from the week that was. ๐Ÿ™‚

Miss K has been missing her baby from her sylvanian families set for months. She had stopped playing with them because it was her favourite character. We decided to go against the previous rule of not replacing toys and we replaced it yesterday. I don’t actually know why we had that rule to begin with, I think it was something to do with trying to teach the kids to value their toys. That idea is almost funny with this mob as they so rarely break anything that it becomes a problem trying to keep the toys to a manageable amount because nothing can be thrown out due to breakage. Anyway, she was stoked and has played with it and the rest of her sylvanian stuff once again.

We also put up the Christmas tree yesterday. Yeah, a little early I know, but who really cares. Random fact, there’s no such thing as a sylvanian Christmas tree so we decided to make one. Found this tiny model pine tree at the hobby shop in the trains section while we were out. Beads, bottle cap with a hole and some crochet twine and we had that problem solved. Even made gifts with coloured in MAB unit blocks and some washi tape. The mini bunting was washi tape too just cause I go overboard like that. I probably shouldn’t mention the twine wreath for the front sylvanian door at this point either or you’ll think me a bit whacky… Miss K loved it.

Seen as how the tree went up early we were inspired to make some decorations. Middle miss and I were wandering around online and found these cute beaded snowflakes on pinterest so decided to make our own to add to the tree. They are very twinklee and sparklee when the lights shine on them ๐Ÿ™‚

Middle miss has also been drawing various styles of Miku this last week from her collection of pinterest anime bits, she even made a clay one cause she is super random like that. Oh that reminds me, we need to get some refill’s for her skin tone copic markers which could have had something to do with her switching mediums. I don’t think she can breath without creating something.

Two felting projects this week, one was a bowl that I’m still beading the edge of as you can see. The other was a failed attempt at felting soap without the use of a stocking. Discovered it’s way hard without that and totally doesn’t work, so it became a juggling ball as it is quite satisfying forcibly smooshing a failed project into a pretty ball for the kids to play with. I think it would make a better story ball, you know, that whacky game where you start a story, toss to the next person to continue into obscurity and giggles. I reckon if you miss catching this one, the hurt is less than the big ball we usually use so your part of the story doesn’t start with Owch! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, hope you are all having a creative fun week. Thanks for reading.

Becca.

CREATIVE CONSTRAINTS & INGENUITY

Eliminating the paralysis of unlimited choice.

Recently we have been playing with embracing limits in creativity through unusual constraints. I remember from art school the almost exciting nature of forced ingenuity that came from only being allowed to work in gray marker renderings or having an almost impossible time constraint on a design or not being allowed to use an eraser on a pencil drawing in our illustration class. I have treasured memories of constraints in art and working through the challenge of setting interesting limits just to see if it could be done.ย  Sometimes I offer the challenge to my children too, if they accept it is always an enjoyable experience as they get a buzz out of it too. Not having endless possibilities means that one has a starting point to actually do something creative. There is no writers block or staring at a blank canvas/page. Within the restraint is where the mind begins to tick away. It’s no longer lost.

As an example, seemingly insignificant journaling prompts create images and words within the mind and they get drawn out in literally hundreds of ways by any number of different people because all of their experiences leave a different impression in the minds eye to start that creative spark. Even those who think they are not creative can flourish within the creative constraint environment. It’s fascinating to watch, especially in the kids who start off thinking it’s impossible and end up with something they love.

One of the more pressing question within this idea for me is does it have a place in an unschooling philosophy? First and foremost, I personally see it as a way to embrace scarcity where it exists naturally, as a means to raise the bar and practice thinking creatively with what you do have rather than what you wish you had. This then can be applied to any scarcity that exists in your life (or your childs life) and they/you can then begin to enjoy the challenge it presents.

I also acknowledge that it brings a certain level of discipline in the new format of connecting with your creativity that one may previously not have experienced. This can be terrifying at first but it’s kinda like jumping into cold water for a swim, if you just do it, commit, you’ll get over it ๐Ÿ˜‰ and have fun. This would apply in situations of abundance where you apply the constraint intentionally to force your creativity into action.

Some may know this of me others may not but I’m intrigued by the concept of minimalism, whether that be by force as we don’t have a gigantic income and never have or whether that be by choice as I can not function in a crowded space and crave simplicity. Recognizing a huge difference between need and want and very rarely want for anything physical is also part of that. This concept of self imposed constraints resonates with the minimalist in me because it can be applied as a need or a want.

While asking in the Australian unschool community on-line about this topic another member put me onto the (mainly French) writing group called OULIPO who use creative constraints in writing as a means of idea generation. Its a fascinating system of missing words with particular vowels and segmenting sonnets to be read in a huge quantity of permutations. Poets have used writing constraints since forever as have some of the best songwriters. Even Van Gogh’s vision was a constraint in his latter works that was embraced as is Stephen Hawkins diagnosis of ALS at the age of 21 which was eventually embraced and helped him become one of the greatest scientific minds of 21st century science. It seems that the greatest creative minds in almost all aspects of human civilization are brought about by some sort of hardship whereby it is the initial catalyst for these minds to escape the occasionally overwhelming nature of creative choice.

A very important point to keep in mind is that one must not confuse working within creative constraints with making sacrifices. Working within constraints bears no disappointment, or grudge. You embrace an enforced constraint or you enforce a constraint on yourself to enhance creativity. Sacrifice makes one feel disillusioned and resentful, this isn’t about that. It is freeing ‘inside the box’ thinking not removal of what is vital to creativity.

Anyway, your thoughts on this idea? There is more information here and the TED talk is kinda groovy too. Let me know what you think or if you recall any experiences where creative constraints helped you become more creative. ๐Ÿ™‚

Edit: excerpt’s from this article are featured on The Educating Parent, it’s a great page and the go to for information on homeschooling and unschooling within Australia. Very worth a snoop around hehe. Thank you Beverly. ๐Ÿ™‚

Edit 2: this idea got some extra attention this week, I was a little scared to share it on a group I’ve just joined called Journal 52 but it was well received and some of my words had enough meaning to inspire an artist by the name of Katie across the globe from here to create this page, I feel very honoured that someone felt like that about these words. People are pretty amazing sometimes. โ™ก thanks for letting me share this Katie.
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Wednesday Craft Wrap – on a Thursday with a life update.

Don’t hate on me, it’s my not my fault. It’s all cause of freak weather, well actually its pretty normal for here. Weather also made us have no power and gusts that caused trees to break, yes trees not just branches.

General wild weather fun was had by all except middle miss who was totally overwhelmed by the whole crazy wind (it reminded her of the mini twister that took off our patio roof 4 ish years ago) and decided that hiding in the hallway wih all her plushies in a blanket would be a good idea.

So in conclusion Wednesday was crazy. O.o

Ok so now it’s Thursday. We started a few things but lots of failed craft this week. I managed to make a felt needle book but failed horribly while trying to convert an old planner into an art journal and my crocheting project for the week is in the process of being salvaged (needs decoration but the bag to carry more crochet is almost finished) it got thrown more than once across the room because of hot and general frustrationess.

Middle miss attempted to paint some clay work and that was an epic fail too as it broke in the process. She ended up doing a copic picture of a rwby character and a bunch of digital art on paint as well as mucking about on Terraria with the xbox and some scratch programing, now on big brothers computer as she rage quit on hers (didn’t end well for that poor old laptop).

We have just started digital strewing on pinterest for the big kids. Gave them both accounts and installed the app on their tablets. They have made some boards so I can pin stuff to them and they can do the same for me. Very cute with lots of chibi pictures to draw that dont take up all of our download, (very groovy as middle miss watches the same youtube tutorial vid at least five times over… just for the music…) gotta get that saving vids app Lynette lol.

Another great digital creative thing we found is an app called mirrograph. Such a basic looking app but the kids have had a ball with it, messing around with multiple reflections and pattern creation, (there is a free one and the paid version without the add)

On the plus side miss K (3 and a half) is finally using the toilet properly, this took up a substantial part of this week (and is probably why I haven’t done much with the other two kiddies). No more nappies. We just picked a day and stopped using them and then she decided the toilet was pretty neat. Few extra rolls of paper down the dunny but she’s pretty much got it after forever trying to train her and her being totally and vocally against the idea. Yet another thing she has taught herself in her own way.

And after over a month we have our car back! Amaze! Have to pay for the silly thing but at least we are not in limbo anymore with our travel plans Yay! I don’t like weird weather or living in limbo. It’s icky.

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Have a great creative week.
From me xo

Wednesday Craft Wrap

I haven’t done much crafting of late, been too depressed about our car being in the shop for over a month and all that hoohar messing up my savings for our travel plans. However, this week I’m aiming to get back into it with a purpose. Once a week I will post our crafting bits both to keep a record and to remind myself to actually put time aside to be creative for stress relief and my own enjoyment and also to foster a connection with my kids through facilitating craft activities. I hope you enjoy this ongoing series and maybe even get some ideas to try yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

Working on a granny square thing with crazy colours, teal, magenta, orange and black. Kids love it cause it just looks really trippy. I can only do three stitches and granny squares work up quickly so I end up playing more with colours than fancy stitching but it is all still super fun. Middle miss 8 can do a chain stitch now too, she’s very impressed with herself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also found a tutorial on making mini note books here out of cereal boxes. So cute! Still trying to figure out neatly binding things so I just used cotton rather than fancy embroidery floss, just as well as I have wonky stitching. Gonna keep practicing that one. They would make nice little gifts.

Kids also did these little angels for decorating the Christmas tree (I’m not huge into the commercial Christmas, but the tree I adore) that their great Oma sent over. They look nothing like the picture on the packet, self design happiez from my kidlets lol.

Hope you are having a great week.
From Becca.

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Being “educated” as a status is a egotistical lie.

Education is not a set of tasks and tests that ends when you complete any particular institutions curricula.ย  It is a lifelong pursuit, with the ever unattainable goal being to know it all.

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Thatโ€™s the point of it all really, humans are brilliant at collecting data and gathering knowledge. We have measures for everything, from the decay of atoms to measure time through to the activity of molecules to measure temperature. We have so much data that we actually have problems keeping it all accessible to study. (data from the accelerator at CERN is a good example) we file it, store it, compare and correlate it in an attempt to understand everythingโ€ฆ Why? We could just as easily live without all that and be blissfully ignorant. Why then do we search for answers beyond even what the human senses can perceive? Why do we create vast machines whoโ€™s only purpose is to collect data and help us gain knowledge?

โ€ฆBecause its exciting, knowledge is like a drug to our brains, we crave it and function at joyful highs when we learn new things. The more we do it the better we get at it. We are capable of devoting our lives to this relentless pursuit that seems never ending, yet we are always hopeful we will eventually know it all.

I love those stories where you see 80 something seniors going to university just cause. They get it. Learning just for the joy of learning.

I love watching TED education animations with my kids and listening to the conversations that happen when they think Iโ€™m not there. They get it. Imagining, beyond what is immediately presented into some extended cavity of their brain that adults have lost to paying bills and working stressful jobs.

Craving knowledge is a life long thing, donโ€™t be fooled by tests, peers and those delivering education that it ends when you leave school. That institution can occasionally show you some basics but it is, by no means, the full story.

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Living outside that system (in part, whole or whatever format) gives young people the scope to experience education without walls and lets them incorporate that vivid imagination into their learning experiences without limit before they are faced with adult problems. Hell, maybe they can live a life without a few of those issues because of that imaginative ingenuity.

One can only hopeโ€ฆ