Apr 9, 2008

THE BLOG HAS MOVED TO TYPEPAD!

Here ye, here ye! I'm finally saying goodbye to blogger and my inability to reply to comments! From now on, you can find me over at www.sewliberated.typepad.com. (Yes, the blog has a new name, too! Read more about it here.) Please, please, please ... change your blog feeds/readers to my new address ... I would hate to see you go, especially now that I will have the chance to reply to all of your thoughtful comments through the wonder that is Typepad.

So stop by, say hi, peruse my new "about and FAQ's" page, and read my review of Amanda's new book, The Creative Family. The only sad thing about my move is that most of my previous comments have been wiped out. I'm working to fix the issue, and will be slowly going through the blog and redirecting certain links, so please excuse any goofy links or formatting as I work through the kinks.

Thanks for reading!

Apr 6, 2008

how to make recycled paper

recycled paper journal 1

I've recently been bitten by the paper recycling bug. My symptoms? Ogling over multi-colored paper scraps and a strong desire to never buy construction paper ever again.

open recycled paper journal

Some of the mothers in my school make beautiful things with recycled paper, such as this journal which is hand-bound with string coated in beeswax. The edges of the cover are delicately burned for a real artisan touch. (You can find beeswax here, which you apply to a single strand of hemp string, working it in with the heat of your fingers. Bind the book by sewing the layers together with a large-eyed needle, then thread some beads on each end.)

let scrap paper soak

The process of making recycled paper varies from one source to the next, which can only mean one thing - the process is the kind that is open to experimentation and variation. I encourage you to do just that. Children will love experimenting with different kinds of paper and procedures. This little tutorial illustrates what has worked for me thus far.

What you will need:

-Keep a bucket of water handy next to your recycling bins. Shred by hand any used paper (a perfect job for a toddler!) and throw it into the bucket to sit for at least a day.
-An old blender
-Used frames (minus the glass and backing) of various sizes. The size of the frame will determine the size of your finished sheet of paper.
-Very, very fine plastic screening which will be stretched over the frames and used as a sieve
-Thumb tacks for attaching the screening to the frames to make the sieve
-A tupperware bin large enough to so that you can easily submerge the frames in it
-Newspaper cut slightly larger than the dimensions of your frames for blotting
-Absorbent sponge
-Rolling pin

blend well-soaked paper into pulp

1.) With a ratio of about 1 portion of well-soaked paper scraps to 2 cups water, blend into a pulp in your old, trusty blender. Blend in short spurts so as not to burn out the motor. You will need about two half-blender-fulls (shown above) of pulp per tupperware bin batch. *If you would like to make your paper scented, add 6-10 drops of essential oils during the blending of the pulp.

pour pulp into tupperware tub filled with water

2.) Fill the tupperware bin with several inches of water and pour in the pulp. Swish the mixture around so that the pulp is evenly distributed in the water. *You can add dried flowers, leaves, etc. at this point in the process, or you can wait until you have lifted the sieve out of the water and press them neatly onto the paper.

slowly lift framed sieve out of water

3.) Submerge the frame-sieve into the bin and slowly lift out. Place a piece of blotting newspaper on top of the pulp/paper. Using a sponge on top of the newspaper, blot away all of the excess water. Flip over the sieve and carefully remove the paper. It should still be attached to the newspaper on one side.

4.) Place another piece of newspaper on top of the paper. The paper sheet is now sandwiched between two layers of newspaper. Roll out any excess water using a rolling pin. Remove the top piece of newspaper and let the paper dry completely in a sunny spot. Carefully peel the recycled sheet from the newspaper.

Here's a video that demonstrates a slightly different way to go about it. Figure out what process works best for you. Before you know it, you'll be planning to write down all of your recipes on recycled paper, too!

Apr 2, 2008

it's an aprony april thus far

Amos and Adelaide's Children's Aprons

I think I've gotten myself tangled up in some hard-to-meet expectations. Ever since test-running this new chef's get-up in my classroom, all they can say is "Are we going to have a chef's outfit for baking cookies? And one for baking bread? And one for preparing snack? And one for making granola? And one for cracking nuts? And one for making tortillas?" One child wanted to do his math work in the chef's costume. Hey... now that's a good idea. It might add a bit of pizazz to tax preparation process.

Amos and Adelaide's children's aprons

A few of you might recognize this apron from the earlier version that I sold briefly as a PDF pattern. It's been jazzed up with an appliqu├ęd kangaroo pocket and will be available in various sizes. A smock-style child's apron will also be part of the same pattern - I'll post some pictures of it in a few days' time.

Things are getting done here, but why does it seem like the "getting done" occurs at the speed of poured molasses, while the passage of days happens at the speed of light? I must be getting older. I'm reminded of this every time a child says to me something along these lines:

Meg, do you remember when, a long, long, time ago ... when I was REALLY little, and we made ornaments to put on our Christmas trees?

Why, yes. For me it seems like last week that we were making holiday decorations in the classroom. Oh boy. I know what this means. Measuring time as I perceive it, we will be moving back to the US in a little less than a week.

Holy Crimeny! I'd better get to packing!