Sock Puppets

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Only teeny tiny this week as I have a wedding to arrange for Sunday the 20th and so all my energies are otherwise tied up.

It’s a kit for children aged 3 and above which I’ve had for an awfully long time.

Although it’s ‘glue free’ ours needed a little bit of help.

With great results though. What’s more they have played with the end results, way out of our comfort zone.


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Two for one

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Only tiny ones for us after our four day weekend.

One:-

Read and weed some, so that the pile goes down.

And two:-

Each child to reproduce a picture of ‘cat’ to inspire “Nonna” to get on with her commissioned portrait of next door’s moggy

= done.

That’s about all I can manage for “today.”

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Quick Fix

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I somehow thought I would have more time, but I don’t. If you, like me, need a quick solution to the ever hungry masses, try re-introducing dessert to the menu, both a filler and a bribe for the very average meal. My difficulty, or one of them, is how to add this whilst we have two diabetics in residence. There are lots of diabetic and other healthy alternatives but if I make two versions of the same thing I can guarantee that no-one will take the diabetic option. [I know, I’ve already tried that] As I’m still keen to encourage my “little chef” with something mouth watering, we’ve compromised. Bite sized desserts. These little parcels taste a bit like pain au chocolat, but don’t take my word for it, give it a go yourself.

You will need:-
1 packet of puff pastry thawed to room temperature
Some Nutella
Parchment paper on a cookie tray

Unfold the pastry and cut into nine even squares
Put a dollop [teaspoonfulish] in the centre of each one
dampen the edge of the square – brush with water
pull up the corners to form parcels and squeeze tight
bake in a pre-heated over at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes

Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes on the parchment paper [if you transfer them they will glue themselves to whatever you put them on / in

It you place them closer together you could probably cook them in a toaster oven outside in the garden to avoid heating up your house.

Don’t forget to add your name to the “book giveaway” and spare a thought for “Nonna.”

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Equalization of skills

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I have no time to tackle anything right now, or rather to post about it.

Suffice to say that I am busy reorganizing my kitchen cupboards to take account of a couple of changes.

One change is that we have my “Mother in Law” living with us, a person of diminished stature.

The other change is that the boys’ stature appears to have grown exponentially the last few weeks. Not only have they grown in height but they have more than mastered self help by clambouring up onto the counters to retrieve something out of reach. I wish to avoid another new exchange. All exchanges are conducted at 50 decibels because Nonna frequently forgets her hearing aid. The new exchange is where Nonna yells at my son to get down and he yells back that he is actually helping.

“Get down from dere you little monkey!”
“I be help you big monkey!”

p.s. Please note, as my son pointed out, “Nonna” does not really look like a curly frog. What can I say, I was in a hurry!

And don’t forget to add your name to the “book giveaway,” and spare a moment for “Nonna.”


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Take a walk on the wild side

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The Scribbit Message Board

I don’t know about you but at this time of year I like to kick back a try a little escapism in my summer reading. So I’d like to challenge you to step into someone else’s shoes, just for a couple of hundred and sixty three pages. Generally speaking my first choice would be a whodunit, preferably one I can solve myself well before the end but not too soon after the first few chapters. That’s my kind of escapism from what I am apt to call ‘my miserable existence.’ Although I call it that, it’s because I love a good moan and I am so exceptionally good at it too. I could take up grumbling professionally, a second career and then rub my mucky hands on the glass ceiling when I bump my head on it. That said, every once in a while you come across a life changing story, like Vicki Forman’s ‘A Lovely Life, a memoir of premature motherhood.’ If you should happen to come across such a story it can be sobering to realize that it’s not a story, it’s true. If you read a true account of someone else’s life, even if you are an expert moaner, it may just be that you might gain a different perspective on your plight. I did. Will you?

If you would like the chance to win a free copy of Vicki’s book, signed by the author herself, all you have to do is read the “review” over “here” and leave a comment there, or here as the linky thing is bust. I’ll send them all along to her together with the winner’s name to be announced on Tuesday 1st September. You could invite your chum to join in too, you know the one, the misery guts who never has a good word to say about anything.

Wouldn’t that be subtle?

This might be a good one to stumble or tweet to help spread the word, should anyone feel so inclined?


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Coiled baskets

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

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You will need:-
plastic darning needle
rope or washing line
scraps of fabric torn into strips
glue if you’re a bad coiler!

It’s the beginning bit and the end bit that are the most tricky.

You can find helpful step by step instructions at this site called “craft yarn council” of variations at “Craftypod” as well as variations at “DIY”

Yup short and sweet. Makes a great wine warmer and catches the drips.


Probably not suitable for younger people but I’m hoping it will prove to be a useful occupational therapy for an older pair of hands.

Hence I’m a couple of Christmas presents ahead and it’s only August but I have a suspicion that it’s all “downhill” from now “on.”

Wish me “luck,” I’m going to “need” all the help I can “get.”


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How to make your own mouse

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You will need;-
A 12 inch square of felt
Another scrap of felt for the shawl
A scrap of thick yarn for the tail [knot both ends]
stuffing
Two small buttons for eyes [optional]
Sewing thread and needle
Scrap of fabric for the skirt
Scissors

Cut out the shapes in felt from the template
Sew up the back [curved] seam
Insert the stuffing
Stitch the circle on the base inserting the yarn as a tail and check that the mouse stands upright

[Understuffed will produce a concave base which is much more likely to remain standing]

Sew on the buttons [or stitch eyes in place so that it would be safe for a baby]
Stitch the whiskers and ears [folded]
Hem, join and stitch a drawstring runner through the top of the strip
Gather the strip and attach to the middle of the mouse
Cut the scrap of felt into a triangle and snip the edge to make a fringe, stitch in place

Voila!

A Tale of Foolishness:-
The why? Why bother to make your own mouse when you can buy a dozen from Petco at $3.99?

Well as you may recall, currently my son is still at the ‘part cat’ stage of development but loathes the smell of catnip. Anyway whilst we were at Longleat in England he fell in love with a very similar mouse, a mouse manufactured for the princely sum of many pounds sterling. I resisted the purchase and a great pall of gloom descended upon us. The only reason I managed to extract him from Longleat at all, was the faithful promise that I would indeed, given time, produce a mouse. It was so tempting to indulge him especially as he mewed so pitifully but apart from anything else, Longleat’s version was a doorstop and hence it was weighted down with a hefty rock inside, not ideal for international travelers with a weight limit!

In addition, we endure a daily craft during the summer holidays. In this instance we were able to introduce the concept that a sewing needle is not necessarily an instrument of torture but may indeed be the means of achieving the current motivational goal, a mouse. Fine motor skills limitations meant that he was an observer rather than a sewer, but he managed to remain within the same room and peek through his fingers at the scene. Clearly most crafts can be adapted to suit the individual needs of any particular child, but if we achieve joint attention then we’re on a winner, which indeed we did. He was quite happy to stuff the mouse so we did have a little hands on experience.

Of course, if I had been more sensible I would have saved myself a whole heap of bother by not going into the shop in the first place. This is one of the reasons why so many parents of autistic children become hermits, it’s just easier that way. However, we continue to venture forth as the easy option is not always available.

Lastly, I know that this kind of parental indulgence frequently evokes criticism, maybe you have been on the receiving end yourself? All I would say is that people who criticize, [usually ‘Anon’] generally do not have first hand experience, long term with autistic people. If you actually live with an autistic person who has no interest in anything, or maybe only one or two things, to the exclusion of all other things, then part of a parent’s job is to help expand those interests, gently and gradually. Our job is not to eliminate the one or two special interests, that would certainly be a mistake, unkind and probably cruel. No, instead we offer all and everything that we can think of to tempt them into other things. Given time and encouragement there may just be a tiny little spark and it is those little sparks that ignite us into action, no matter how trivial or obscure. I tell you truly, it’s worth every effort.

This design is available in an out of print book called “My Learn to Sew Book.” It is a bit dated but has easy to follow instructions.


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Lost Leader

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It’s summer time and the living is tricky, so I only have a whizzy quicky fix this week.

The problem?

How to rid my household of the less than perfect. We have quite a lot of “less than perfect” around here, a thoroughly disgraceful ratio of good to bad. But what to do with all the “rejects?”

Simple.

Photograph the perfect next to the imperfect. Mark with a tick and a cross to help some people see the fault that is all to obvious to my family. Figure out the right price for the “perfect” deduct 25cents and then offer one perfect and one imperfect at 25 cents to the clientele with one rule:-

if you buy the “perfect” then please also buy the imperfect, buy both.

It’s a gimmick but ever so gradually we are whittling down the reserves of imperfect stacked in the garage.

And yes you’re right. Whilst we were away in England my daughter whisked away the tables and replaced them with a market stall! Home made! All from recycled materials. What a little star she is!


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How to make a Luigi cake topper decoration

You may not need this right now if you have little ones but this is a mere glimpse into the future.

You will need several tonnes of white fondant / sugarpaste or ready coloured packs available from Wilton. Start the project several weeks ahead of time to allow the figurine to dry thoroughly.

Start with the head, roll until smooth and mount on a stick.

Add features and details.

Shape body torso and hands / gloves.

Roll out lower body and divide into legs.

Mould the shoes.

Add each additional part with sugar glue [take a small amount of white fondant and add a few drops of boiled water until the required consistency is achieved.

Leave figure out of direct sunlight to dry, preferably hidden to maintain the surprise factor.

Pop on the cake, light the candles, step back and admire the view of unencumbered freefall delight.

Why bother? Because sometimes speechless really is priceless.

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How to make a moss stick

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Devil’s Ivy is an attractive plant with dark green leaves with yellow streaks and marbling. It’s real name is Pothos [Epipremnum aureum] but commonly known as Devil’s Ivy or Golden hunter’s robe or Ceylon creeper.

Whilst it hales from the Solomon Isles, it is also the most common houseplant around. I am reliably informed that it is only toxic if eaten in very large quantities.

Most people cultivate it by allowing it to cascade down from a high point but since it is really a climber it will really thrive given some support in the form of a moss stick.

As it turns out, moss sticks are unheard of in my local Home Depot, so that made for another very curious conversation for another time.

All you need for this tackle, apart from the plant is a bag of moss and an interesting stick, freely available from most wind blown beaches, string and elastic bands. It’s a good idea to check the source of your moss to make sure it hasn’t been raped from your local rainforest.

Wrap the moss around the stick and secure in place with string in the same way that you would truss a joint of meat.

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As some people may already know, string is one of the many tools of torture around here and hence this task can easily be modified for those averse to string, knots and tying anything, by using elastic bands. Elastic bands are also hideous, but slightly less hideous, just slightly less hideous enough to allow tentative digits to come in contact with moss.

Lastly, do not permit a moss stick to have house room if you share your accommodations with a dog. A stick, even if covered in moss, is still a stick. It’s like a present: a tantalizingly wrapped stick.

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