Monthly Archives: March 2017

Barley, Pumpkin and Orange Salad

On occasion Miss K’s kindergarten has a surplus of food left over from their lunch. Yesterday it was cooked barley and I was given a large container of it to take home. I love surplus food – what an opportunity!

After perusing some possibilities and feeling inspired to experiment, I decided to make a salad to take to pot-luck dinner tonight. It’s turned out quite well and so I thought it worth sharing.


I would describe it as a sweet-and-sour salad. For those of you who need to avoid gluten, you might replace the barley with a gluten-free grain. The salad is vegan as well.


  • 2 cups of cooked barley
  • half a medium-sized Hokkaido pumpkin
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 medium-sized clove of garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • sweet paprika powder
  • half a lime
  • optional: some mango or mango-nectar
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves
  • a handful of chopped spring onion


  1. Cut up carrot and pumpkin into small cubes, place into a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic, salt, pepper and paprika powder. Bake in the oven at 175-200°C until golden brown
  2. Place cooled barley into the salad bowl. Peel the oranges and divide into their parts, cut these into smaller pieces and place in with the barley. Mix together with the handful of chopped spring onion. Set aside in the fridge.
  3. Into a small blender (or you could use a hand-held mixer) place the clove of garlic, mint leaves, 3 tablespoons of olive oil the juice of half a lime, one tablespoon of balsamic, salt and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (plus optionally mango/mango-nectar). Blend until smooth and salad-dressing-like. Mix this into the barley and orange in the salad bowl
  4. Add the cooled pumpkin and carrot into the salad bowl and mix carefully.
  5. Serve!

Spring is here, the sun is out and salad is glorious!


Knitted Chickens and a Rooster

Many years ago I learnt to make knitted chickens during my Waldorf/Steiner teacher training. This is a quick and easy craft idea that can be used as a last-minute gift or an addition for the nature table this time of year. It’s also really great for using up your odds-and-ends yarn ends stash (I know, I just can’t bring myself to throw them out either!)


The basic pattern is just a knitted square using garter stitch. This project is also perfect for a beginning knitter and does not really require counting or measuring.

I suggest starting with a smaller square – I often cast on 10-20 stitches using size 4-5 needles and corresponding wool in a ‘chicken’ colour. I knit until the piece looks like a square (you can fold the square in half diagonally to get more accuracy, matching length and width) and then cast off. Keep the yarn end long to stitch the chicken up.

I fold the complete square diagonally to make a triangle and use the left over yarn end to stitch up one side to the ‘right angle’ point of the triangle, and then a little more on the next seam. I leave a space through which to stuff the chicken, making sure to get stuffing evenly (not too full) to the ends of the triangle. I then sew the rest of the seam up.

If there is still a yarn end long enough, I guide the needle back through the body to the ‘right angle’ point. I secure it with a knot at that point and then bring the thread through the stuffed body out the back and back down again to the secured point. I secure the yarn again and this creates a dip in the back. I then weave the yarn in and cut it.


To make the beak and other wobbly bits (they have a proper name right?) I use a crochet hook and another colour of yarn.

To be honest, I’m not a crochet expert, so explanations of my haphazard approach are rather futile – I just crochet until it looks about right. Maybe you are able to glean something from these photos? Sorry if this doesn’t really help…

And just to show what you can do with some embellishments and different coloured yarn, I made a rooster as well this year!


As a basic guide with the rooster, I gradually changed from grey to green on one corner of a larger knitted square. Once I’d sewn it together (same as the chicken) I crocheted a series of chain loops at the tail end and added a few more flat chains where the wings are for extra colour.

I also found this blog post with more detail and a slightly different approach.

This really is a great last-minute make and a stash-buster. Enjoy making!

Felt Butterflies

Hello Dear Readers,

It really has been years since I last posted and I’ve been feeling the blogging itch recently. I am determined to begin my sharing again!

I had been super busy working at my school in Berlin and so have not had the space to share my creations of the last years; there have been so many creations, so I may from time to time introduce a previous project to you.

Today I would like to share a spring/Easter project I completed just yesterday: a felt, embroidered butterfly. I saw something similar in a children’s nature-toys catalog and had to try make one. Miss K also made one herself! (She can now confidently thread her own needle at 4 years old, which makes my hands more useful for my own projects.)

If you would like to make one, I have included instructions and a pattern below. Happy sewing!


You will need:

– coloured felt sheets

– coloured thread

– a needle

– pattern (printed and cut out)

Felt Butterfly Pattern


1. Once you have cut out the pieces of felt in the colours you have chosen (4 pieces: 1x big wings, 1x small wings, 2x body) place pieces together and baste-stitch the body together.


Haphazard blue basting-stitch on yellow body-part.

2. Blanket stitch around the body (you may need to do this on each side respectively around the wing-area).

3. Embroider the wings as desired. I used detached chain stitch to make the antennae as well.