Saturday, April 25, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015


Spring is here. The season of rebirth, new life and new beginnings. It seems that much of the country is still covered with snow, but here at our house, the purple and yellow wildflowers cover the ground and little buds are popping up on the new citrus tree. The green pollen is thick, the bees and butterflies are busy fluttering around the windows, and the sand hill cranes frequent our yard every few days to forage for meal worms and bugs. The hawks are louder than ever as they swoop and dive through the tree canopy. They don't care much for the crows or anything else that flies too close to their nests. The alligators are croaking quite loudly at dusk and the possums that live under the deck are waking much earlier to snack in the back yard, no doubt because the days are longer.

I found this inspiring spring project on Pinterest and it motivated me to wash the giant windows and clean up all of the crayon wax and old sticker glue from this past season's artwork. I ordered a pack of peel and stick foam sheets and started cutting. The end result was 2 complete sets of everything associated with spring. This kept them completely busy for about 2 hours as they ran back and forth to the workshop asking for more. "Mama make me a lady bug! Mama, make me an egg and a chick! More flowers please and a basket! Spring is here, Mama! Soon it will be Easter and we can have candy!" 

Yes my loves, spring is here, Easter is coming and candy is on the way.

“Following dark winter's strife, a warm air rises, teemed with life. Birth, rebirth, as the waiting die. Old love, new love sprouts wings to fly.”
― Phar West Nagle

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I Heart Crayons

There's something about crayons that brings out sheer excitement in me. I'm not kidding. I fancy myself a crayon connoisseur and I don't care for poorly made, cheap crayons. Believe it or not, I can tell the difference. The way the crayon feels and sounds on the paper is important to me. And also the way they smell. A fine quality crayon has an amazing smell. Especially those made from beeswax. I don't have the heart to throw good crayons away, so I'm always saving the broken ones so that I can melt them down and make new ones. 

Beeswax and soy block crayons are my favorite.

My friend gave me a few silicon heart molds (love them) and once I saw the size of the hearts, I knew crayons would be perfect.

It's weird I guess that I'm writing about crayons, but it makes me happy that my little ones have good tools for their artwork. I want them to appreciate art and to make beautiful creations. I consider these heart crayons another handmade tool and I hope they color their hearts out.

Waiting for the crayons while they melted and cooled.

Beauty without colour seems somehow to belong to another world. ~Murasaki Shikibu

Felt Costumes

I'm obsessed with felt. The great thing about felt is that you can make your own patterns, and no matter how simple the design, the finished product looks fantastic. Felt is easy to cut, it's pretty forgiving with covering up mistakes and you rarely have to sew because glue works just fine. I made these costumes (warrior king and queen) for the kids this past Halloween and they've been a great addition to their play and dress up time. I had to sew the felt for the crowns, but the tabards were really basic and only required a simple neckline cut. I borrowed the pattern from Small Things Blog (homeschooling mom) and I ordered the wooden swords and shields from my favorite Waldorf toy store, Bella Luna Toys.

"We're off to slay some dragons. But not the nice ones, only the mean ones." Sage

"Creative play is like a spring that bubbles up from deep within a child." - Joan Almon

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Day for Crayons

We've been collecting broken crayons for a long time.  Three oatmeal tubs were filled to the brim -- mostly casualties from my son's love of breaking new crayons in halves and thirds.   Broken things become new again in some sort of fashion here, so our buckets were actually filled with treasures enough to make 50 new beautiful crayons.  We all worked together with sorting, peeling, and color coordinating before melting them down. I was surprised that the end product didn't actually mean "color time."  The new crayons actually became trains, towers, and birthday cakes. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tree People Craft for Reading Time

I bought a most delightful, imaginative book for Sage and Indigo entitled "The Knottles" by Nancy Mellon.
When a family builds a new home at the edge of a pine forest, the children go to sleep in their new bedroom for the first time. As the full moon shines on the beautiful new pinewood floors, walls, and ceiling, they have the most surprising dream...out of a large pinewood knot climb seven little Knottles, who are the guardians of the pine trees. The Knottles sing and dance with the children.... When the children wake up in the morning, they are inspired to plant pine tree seedlings with their parents, and they promise to take good care of all their trees for evermore.

I loved the book and imagery so much that it inspired this craft.  It was really neat for Sage to see the Knottles come to life in her own home.  These little guys make great finger puppets and you can create your own story each day.  We cut pieces of fern and glued them to toilet paper rolls.  We collected small twigs and used them for arms.  If you don't have ferns, I imagine there are several other types of leaves or greenery you could use.  At the end of the day, our little tree people sit happily on our nature table. 

“Storytellers have as profound a purpose as any who are charged to guide and transform human lives. I knew it as an ancient discipline and vocation to which everyone is called.”
Nancy Mellon, The Art of Storytelling
 Nancy Mellon has guided storytelling and writing groups for many years. A former Waldorf teacher, she has given storytelling and art therapeutic courses at many locations in the US and UK. Her books include Storytelling and The Art of Imagination. She practices therapy through the arts and is a member of the visiting staff at Emerson College in the UK.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall Garden & Tree Planting

Tonight is the harvest moon.  We were too late with Fall planting to enjoy even a small harvest today, but we've had fun with watching our plants grow and learning all about seeds. The Florida weather is more forgiving with a late summer planting.  We were finally able to get our nectarine tree planted, which I'm happy about.  We'll have to cover it on a few winter nights, but it will be big enough to survive on it's own. These past few weeks, we've planted kidney beans, butternut squash, tomatoes, basil, mint, roselle, and rosemary.  Each time, the kids worked hard with shoveling, watering and weeding.  They sweated and played and enjoyed making mud pies with the water hose at the end of planting.  We'll celebrate the Harvest Moon tomorrow with apple bread, popcorn necklaces and a leaf project to decorate the windows.   I'm also excited because we'll be creating our very first fall nature table with the items that Sage has collected in the past few weeks. I think the season is going to be extra special because of her age.  Oh to be in the company of a 3 year old!

Patting the soil down.

Indigo watering the new tree, but we wandered off course a bit and watered everything else too.

Kidney beans sprouting.

Butternut squash sprouting.

I knew the hundreds of wine corks that I've been saving would come in handy one day.  

"Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives." -Thomas Berry