Friday, September 30, 2011

returning to centre

Oooff guys we have been sick! On Monday night Rebe and Benny and were struck down with a horrible, nasty v&d bug. Tuesday it was Joa's turn and Wednesday Andy's. It has wiped us out. I feel illness like this knocks us right off our axis'. We wobble and shake our way through the days of illness in a fog and it takes me a good few days to return to centre and to find our natural balance again.
But, we are on the other side of it now, we are sleeping again, eating and drinking and playing.

As always bouts of illness have brought development and growth. For poor old Benny this has been protracted, he had a full week of an ear infection and straight away after got sick with this bug. Has lost quite a lot of weight and adding that to a hair cut makes him look older. His language has also developed and he holds wonderful conversations and has become quite descriptive. Of course it is all in Benny's usual humorous way: We have a little visiting black cat coming to the garden and sharing Tiny's food with her, Rebe thinks 'Blacky' a good name but Benny came up with 'Smack-bum-Gilly'. Also, much to my amusement, I have discovered that Benny calls my bra 'stop- Joa-drinky-boob-all-the-time' ;-P

But all is returning to normal in the Angel household;

the duplo is out

as is the knitting.

As always Rebe has been crafting away.

This is a wee field mouse she cut from a magazine. She stuck him onto cardboard to make him stronger. She made him a home out of this box lined with some wool and wool stuffing and then made loads of nuts for him to nibble out of brown tissue paper crumpled up and sellotaped into balls.

At the moment he is living on our nature table in the kitchen...

Do you remember the apples Benny and I made a wee while ago? Well, they are for this felted tree. It's still not perfect or finished.

I wanted to make a centre piece for our natural table that we could add to as the seasons changed. I'm thinking of felting a wee pocket in the trunk for an owl. Perhaps the winter will bring hanging icicles of some form. The spring blossoms and root children.

(sorry the pictures not great - perhaps the camera is poorly too).

I also want to add that I am completely overwhelmed by the response to my Waldorf doll give away. I feel so flattered by you're wonderful comments and I am loving the names you are choosing. Keep the comments coming, there is still plenty of time to enter.

I hope that you are all well,

hugs x

Sunday, September 25, 2011

waldorf doll giveaway

*****The giveaway is now closed****

On the 9th of October 2010 I very tentatively opened my Etsy shop selling Waldorf dolls. It has been an amazing year and I have been bowled over by the response to my dolls. To celebrate Under Rainbow's birthday and to thank you all for the support and encouragement you have given I am having a give away:He is a 16 inch Waldorf doll. He is made of cotton interlock and stuffed with clean carded wool. He is very cuddly and sweet. His eyes and mouth are hand embroidered and his expression is left neutral to allow your child to project any emotion onto him making him the perfect play companion.

His hair is of really soft brown mohair boucle. This is knitted into a cap that is then firmly stitched onto his head. Each strand of his hair is then hooked into that.He is wearing a very sweet button down shirt with a green check. This is made of upcycled cotton, his trousers are made of upcycled brown corduroy with little knee patches to match his shirt.

Over this, as it is autumn and there is a chill in the air, he has a little knitted jacket buttoned at the side with autumn leaf buttons. He also has a striped knitted pixie hat and little woolie socks to keep his toes warm.

(Please keep in mind that mohair can shed a little and that there are buttons on this doll, it is your parental choice whether you think your child is old enough to play wiht this doll)

****The giveaway is now closed****

So here is how you can win this doll:

All you have to do is leave a comment, tell me what you would call this wee man if he were to come to live with you .

*each comment counts as one entry

For extra chances to win :

*Like Under Rainbows on Etsy

*Become a follower of this blog

*Blog about this giveaway (feel free to use a picture of the doll)

*Spread the love, tell people about this give away on forums or fan pages

Be sure to come back and tell me about it by leaving a comment, remember each comment is one entry so leave a comment for each action.

If you don't have a blogger account, fear not you can still enter by leaving a comment on face book and if you don't have that either then you can email me and I will leave a comment for you.

I will close the giveaway and will randomly select a winner on October the 9th 2011.

Good luck and thanks for all your support over the last year.

hugs Laura x

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mabon 2011

Yesterday was the autumn equinox; when the days of daylight and darkness are equal. It is the traditional final day of the harvest, so in that spirit the kids and I went into the garden to harvest the final gifts our garden (and Andy's hard work) has given us this year. We picked the last few little tomatoes, still green and hard. We will riped them on the window sill.

We also collected the last calendula blooms for making into salve over the winter. Rebe really got into the spirit of harvesting and it became a wonderful game (surely that's all it is anyway?). She found a few flowers, 3 black currants and then resorted to grasses (being corn and wheat and straw in her game).

Joa joined in bringing random leaves ripped up :-)

Benny is starting to feel a bit better, but I decided we still needed an easy morning. We skipped playgroup and rolled up our sleeves and made a huge batch of tattie scones (potato cakes for the non-Scottish of you).

To make tattie scones is really easy . All you need is left over mash potato, add plain flour until it is like a dough and not too sticky to roll out. We also added in extra salt and pepper and some fresh parsley. Roll out to about 5mm thickness and either cut with a knife or if you're making it with kids (or just like doing so) use shape cutters then fry on a hot griddle/ pan with margarine or butter. Eat hot or cold and in a Scottish accent :-)

We made this pile of tattie scones and another apple cake as our offering to the Autumn Equinox celebration we have been waiting all year to go to...

We went to this last year and it was one of the highlights of my year, as it was again this year. Pairc a Tobain is such a magical place. Please do read more about this amazing place here

As soon as you walk through the gate you enter a peace, a reverence for all life around us. There is such a magic to the evening. It is a celebration of the fullness of life, a gratitude to the world, God and nature. Each person at the celebration brings something to the circle. There was music, and poetry. Singing together songs old and new. We watched the sun set and gave thanks for the sunlight and the life it has given us all. We danced old and sacred dances around the fire, the steps representative of the turning earth, fire, waves, air and the opposites of night and day.

We are so welcomed there, although not part of the community the rest of the year, we are welcomed with open arms and drawn into the work of the celebration. The children were asked to help hand out song sheets and forks and silks for the dance. They were truly drawn into the celebration. The magic and the reverence for the evening was so clear to them and you could see it in their little faces and when they would skip over to me and hug my legs looking up with pleasure flushed in their cheeks.

When we had sang and danced our gratitude to the earth and it's bounty we shared in a feast together. Vegetable soup reaped from the gardens and cooked over the fire, fresh soda bread, tattie scones (only a little bit dropped on the floor), quiche and then cake and cake and cake. We drank hot tea and chatted as the dark gathered around us. The children spotted stars and Benny who made a complete recovery while we were there (judging by how much he ate and how happy he was) sang Twinkle, Twinkle at the top of his voice.

After we had eaten our fill and the kids had a chance to play in the dark whilst I talked quietly with some other guests, we set off the Chinese lantern that we had brought. My mum had sent it to us for our Angel Day but as it had been so wet we couldn't use it then. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful celebration.

I sent my thanks with it, deeply feeling my gratitude for the growth I have experienced this summer. I have learnt so much and am full of so much information. In return for my thanks I received my message: I must also stop gathering/harvesting now. Like a wee field mouse I need to take all the information I have amassed over the summer and store it away. I need to put down books and stop researching online. I have grown so much I need to take these winter months to stop and stand still and assimilate what I have learnt. After all it will be useless doing all this learning if I don't spend the time to absorb, understand and internalise all I have learnt. Autumn needs to be a time for my head to slow down again, to re-read only, to think slowly and re-think. To knit and sew old and tested patterns, to cook familiar recipes. To s-l-o-w down and just be.

Happy Autumn to you all :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

a wee spikey craft tutorial

Yesterday the children and I sat together in the afternoon and made little hedgehogs.

Here is how to make one for yourself... First, cut out two pieces of brown felt in the shape of a raindrop. Put them together and sew the edges leaving a little gap for stuffing with clean wool. (Isn't Rebe's sewing getting really neat?) Sew up the gap.

Next knit a little rectangle for the back. Any kind of spikey yarn would work well like mohair. I have no idea what kind of yarn this is (possibly for rugs?!) but it certainly makes lovely hedgehog spikes (If you'd really like some to knit some hedgehogs I have a whole ball and if you send me a SAE I will post you enough to make a couple :-) you can email me The rectangle we knitted was: CO 8 st, knit SS (1 row knit, 1 row purl) for about 10 rows or until it would cover your hedgehogs back. BO

Sew the spikes onto the hedgehog leaving the little face/head free.

Sew on beads/buttons/scraps of felt for eyes and nose and any other embelleshment required (Rebe's needed a bell - of course)

I sewed a little scrap of brown felt over a safety pin on Benny's so he can wear it as a badge.

Here's my poorly wee boy wearing his hedgehog. He called it 'Enemy', although I am pretty convinced he meant Henry, but 'Enemy' it is :-)

I've also been working away on this wee man...

Watch this space for a chance to win him :-)

I have another couple of dolls I would love to make right now, but I can't seem to find any wool roving anywhere...

but all these little kittens keep appearing ...

Oh look and there's another one :-)

What autumny crafts have you been working on?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

a day of highs and lows

It was an odd day to say the least. It seemed to swing from wonderful highs to rubbish bits in the blink of an eye. But you know what? Throughout it all I remained happy, like a wee boat bobbing on top of the waves. Riding it out...I think yoga really might be teaching me something :-)

I was the first to wake (which is pretty much unheard of). I woke to a beautiful sky and peace and calm. I got dressed with no-one hanging off my legs (in my book this is a luxury), I got lunches ready and even had my own breakfast before making teas and waking my wee family up to get ready for the day.

Oh the bliss, Andy and Rebe left for school and I marked myself down as wonder woman, zen master, and then did this....Good god, I can't believe it. Pure stupidity. I've been keeping a small glass bottle of special bubble bath on top of one of those long, skinny bathroom lights just above the sink. Well, I knocked it, it fell in the sink and you can see the results for yourself! WHOOPS!

Still I stayed calm and didn't let it stress me too much, I mean what would be the point, I can't fix it through pure stress. So I shrugged and spent the morning with my friend going through gorgeous wooden toys online choosing things for the playgroup to spend it's funding on. I found these ( and covet them for the boys (sorry about the massive links, for some reason I can't seem to hyperlink at the moment).

So, although that was nice and we did have a few cups of tea and a lovely banana cake that she brought, poor old Benny was feeling really rough... Even with two 'Go Away Benny's Bug' pictures above his bed I decided to take him to the doctor. He gave him an antibiotic for yet another ear infection. Poor mite, I hope he feels better soon!

Still going to the town meant I could post this wee guy... A Peter Pan doll requested by a lovely lady for her daughter's Christmas present.

So when we got home from town I started to make dinner, Joa decided to help...

...and smashed my very favourtie mixing bowl MADE for me by my mum :-( But then Rebe showed me this dog she made with Andy out of scraps of wood :-)

After dinner I enjoyed my coffee sitting outside on our new benches and table that Andy got for free from work.

*picture taken by Benny*

There is a definited autumn nip in the air but it was as beautiful and as peaceful as this morning.
After a nice play the kids were ready to get into the bath....Joa decided to throw Lambie in too!

aaarrrggghhhh! Thank goodness we have a tumble dryer.

...but then Rebe gave me this lovely (strongly smelling) posie of chive flowers.

And now the kids are in bed, the cat is fed, the dishes are done and I am going to have a bath and read my book.

I just want to add: Yesterday I thought Joa was blowing me sweet little kisses, turns out he was just sucking the snotter from his upper lip. (Rab you're right it deserves to be here, Nestled Under Rainbows)

Did you break anything today?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

baking apple cake

This weekend has been blowy and blustery but very nice. I have been crafting, knitting, visiting the library, doing the supermarket shop and baking and baking. We made 2 apple crumbles; one for me (using an Ayurveda recipe...but I'm sure I probably wasn't meant to eat it all in a single weekend...oh well) and one for everyone else.

We also baked this delicious apple cake a few days ago... Begin with some apples: scrumped, stolen, windfall or given are the best tasting this time of year.

Use child labour to do the chopping.

In all seriousness I can't recommend these choppers ( enough. They have no sharp edges but the way they are designed means that even Joa can chop raw apples and carrot. He really enjoys this; to have a chair pushed up to the work surface and having a real, grown-up job to do.

So here's the recipe. It's from Earthwise by carol Petrash

100g melted butter, marg or oil

200ml syrup or honey (we used honey)

1 tsp of vanilla

200g whole wheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1.5 tsp cinnamon

50-75g raisins

100g chopped nuts (I didn't have any nuts so we used mixed seeds instead)

4 medium apples chopped small

Preheat oven to 180C, lightly grease cake tin, cream wet ingredients, mix dry ingredients in another bowl. Combine both but don't over mix, add apples and raisins. Plop into tin and bake for about 45 mins (knife test).

Allow to cool ...

Put cut out picture of choice on top of your cake then shake icing sugar out of a sieve over the picture. Gently remove and serve to friends.

We shared this cake with my friend and her mother and we, as cake experts, would recommend this be eaten with custard or vanilla ice cream (I thought you went a bit far with the scooshy cream idea Amanda ;-) )

We tried to get out as much as we could as although it was windy it was still fairly nice.

Look at those tiny red wellies :-)

Benny's been working on ploughing this field...

Unfortunately it's right outside the back door so we had to stop him and move him elsewhere.
After he came in from this he started to feel a bit under the weather and has been ever since. I think it is the same thing that Joa had a few weeks ago. I hope it won't linger long, poor wee man.

Hope you had a good weekend and also ate your weight in apple related baking :-)

Friday, September 16, 2011


'I always ate my piece of bread-and-butter up straight away like a good girl, but my naughty little sister didn't. She used to bend her piece in half and nibble out the middle soft part and leave the crust on her plate.' ~ from My Naughty Little Sister and Bad Harry by Dorothy Edwards

My kids don't eat crusts either and as we have no hens of our own we were throwing them all out into the garden for the birds. I think we have been single handedly responsible for feeding the bird population of Southern Ireland.

Last week Benny and I devised a plan for our crusts.
A crusts bag.
I try and do little projects with Benny as often as possible and there were plenty of things he could do to help make this.

First he designed the duck picture on the front and chose one of our old (and horribly stained dish towels).

We folded the top over and machined it to make a wee tunnel for a ribbon to be threaded through.

He chose a fabric (green of course) and we transfered his picture onto the fabric by loosely drawing the shape of a duck on the wrong side.

He practiced cutting out using the snippy scissors.

I don't think he did too badly at all :-)

I tidied up the edges using the pinking shears (to save from having to hem it).
We machined the duck onto one half of the tea towel, then added a felt beak and a button eye.

Benny loves helping to sew on buttons.

We folded the tea towel in half (with the duck on the inside) and machined around the side and bottom edges to make a bag. We threaded a ribbon through the top that will draw the top closed
to keep the crusts in.

To finish it off we drew on the legs and I wrote 'crusts' with fabric pen.

Our crusts bag hangs in the kitchen and all our crusts go into it.

Wow that is very full of crusts!

The ducks at our local pond were delighted with the crusts.

I think this would make a lovely gift for a young child of 2 or 3. Obviously made with much nicer fabric and finished better. A little crusts bag and a copy of the Ugly Duckling or something. Will have to keep that one in mind.

What do you do with your crusts (apart from eating them)?