Thursday, June 23, 2011

summer solstice crafts

We celebrated the Summer Solstice a few days ago at the lovely home of our gracious friends Patricia and Jonathan.  It was an incredible day to proclaim the arrival of Summer in the company of a small group of wonderful friends.  Father Sun shone down on us all the day long as we ate a delicious variety of potluck food, ran and played in the grass and, in the end, gathered quietly around the Solstice fire.
The night before, a group of mommies had come together to prepare for the festivities.  The crafts and games all those loving hands created helped in our commemoration of the day and served as a reminder of the change of seasons during the playful pandemonium of the afternoon.

Using a pattern from the book The Children's Year, we sewed a chorus of frogs (stuffed with flax seed) for the ever popular frog toss.

The children threw them into baskets, over the badminton net, to each other and even tried to launch them into froggy flight from a teeter board.

As a fun and longer lasting version of a garland, we also put together some cheerful headdresses.  These simple wreaths were made from hand cut felt flowers, moons and stars.  After piercing the felt with two slits, we ran ribbon through the various emblems and then glued them into place with Tacky Glue.

The stars and moons were left with the ribbon showing through while we covered the slits in the flowers with little felt rounds.
These were also held in place with just a touch of Tacky Glue. 

We tied a few extra ribbons onto the main band to hang down the sides of the head.

They were held in place by tying a simple bow in the ribbon band at the back.

We also put together wrist streamers by tying ribbons onto elastic bands that had been measured to fit the children.

Naiya ran through the Rose Garden flapping her "wings" through the rows and rows of blossoms for several hours before we took them to the afternoon celebration (where they were mostly ignored).

(I didn't get a shot of the outdoor play so days later, when our little one fancied her flappers once more, I snapped a picture in the play room.)

We didn't do these this year, but in case anyone is looking at this post for Summer party ideas, I thought I'd add that at last years Solstice I also made fairy (or butterfly) wings out of construction paper, colored duct tape and little elastic bands that ran round the shoulders of the kids as they frolicked in the fields.

I found a bunch of different wing shapes and patterns by searching for butterfly images on Google and then free hand drew them and cut them out of the giant thick card stock.

Additionally, last year instead of frogs to toss, I instead made these cheerful suns.  Since they're just, you know, round, they were much easier (and I think actually much cuter) than the frogs.

The edges were cut from felted sweater scraps in a straight edged crown shape and then bent along the curve as they were sewn onto one half of the sun.  I added a few ribbons for streamers then the other half was sewn on before they were turned right side out and filled with flax seed.

A craft carry-over from last year's gala were the sprays of herbs.

As the daylight faded, the last remaining guests at our festival gathered around the fire to ruminate about the fullness of the season and make wishes as we threw our little posies into the flames.   (These aromatic bundles were composed of rosemary, sage and rue bound with jute twine.)

Later in the darkness we could still smell the fragrant herbs as their sweet scents filled the shortest night of the year.

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