About Me

My name is Christine. I'm a visual artist, musician, traditional storyteller, DV survivor, and have been a fulltime caregiver for an individual living with various diagnoses. After my marriage, I learned how to play various instruments, started exploring various means of creative expression, worked with at-risk teens/families, volunteered with the local crisis lines, participated in starting up a family resource center, completed my BA, furthered my studies towards becoming an art therapist, managed homes for adults living with disabilities, and facilitated therapeutic music/art sessions. I was doing everything I could so my children and I could have a brighter life, present and future. My physical health, however, continued to show evidence of too many chronic stressors over many decades. This blog is about my journey in discovering peace and better health by meeting life in the most basic and, in my opinion, the most rewarding of ways - by focusing on the riches of simplicity. If you're a new visitor to my blog, you might be interested in starting here: Finding the Riches.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Felting Soap, Roasting Chestnuts, Making Tutus

A few weeks ago during one of my frequent trips to our local thrift shop, I realized that there are often bags of batted wool (for using inside homemade blankets/quilts) sitting up on one of the shelves. Knowing that wool has all sorts of lovely benefits (anti-fungal, mildew-resistant, naturally warm, highly flame resistant http://www.duofiberworks.com/journal/2010/12/30/super-non-scientific-fire-testing-felted-wool.html, etc.), I bought one of the bags, brought it home, and starting researching wool projects online. I soon stumbled across a myriad of information about felting and fulling wool, and decided that felting soap would be a good introductory lesson.  I won't include the "how to" on this blog, since there is already so much information available online and mine would just be repetitive. My first two attempts at wet felting look like more or less like tiny, woolly sheep bodies without any evidence of the wool felting to/over the soap bar. I sought out some help from folks at a wool shop. Yes, I'd used a textured mat. Yes, I'd used hot water. After a few more minutes of discussion, I left with some of the shop's roving. My third attempt showed some evidence of felting but was horrendously bulky. The blue/pink bar below was my fourth attempt - still learning!

And, using less wool and using a nylon produce bag, I finally figured it out! The photos below show both sides of the successfully-felted bars of soap. As you can see, the bar in the middle is larger/bulkier than the others.
I tried again with the thrift shop wool but to no avail. Lesson learned - figure out some other creative use for the wool bats.

We came upon some chestnuts at a local store a couple of weeks ago and bought a few to try them out. Having never actually eaten them before (other than their cousins, canned water chestnuts), I read a couple of websites then soaked the nuts, sliced an "X" across their flat sides, and put them onto a pan and into the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes. I  was less than enthused at first, but popped them back into the oven for another 5 or 6 minutes and tried them again. The added time produced a nuttier/starchier, sweeter flavour.
They didn't stay in the basket very long.

With two little granddaughters, I decided fairy skirts would be a suitable gift for each one. When I went over to the fabric store to price them out, I realized I'd be spending close to $40. per skirt to get the fullness I wanted. Hmmm, back to the drawing board. When I went to the thrift shop later that day, I was happy to discover some mosquito netting for $8! As you can see, this one isn't quite finished yet (the netting has taken more cutting time than I'd anticipated), but is turning out quite nicely.


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