Showing posts with label crafty craft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crafty craft. Show all posts

Monday, December 2, 2013

little wooden houses as waldorf classmate christmas gifts

Every year as we snuggle down during Advent and try to spend the long winter nights together with stories and baking and wholesome good work, we attempt to come up with a simple craft that we can create together for little classmate gifts for Christmas.  
(Spoiler alert, dear Waldorf friends, we've got a basket of these little houses coming your way on the day before winter break!)

This year, since we're still house hunting and living at my mum and dad's, we had access to some good tools and even better helpers.  Opa and his table saw started us off in our production by sawing a pointy edge from a regular ol' 2x4.  (Cost: about $3)

He then chopped it up into smaller pieces.

Then Naiya, Oma and I sanded down the rough edges.

Sanding can be messy business so we stood out in the 30-something degree weather smoothing down those splintery corners.

Back inside we mixed up a platter of rainbow goodness and set to work with our acrylics.

They sat on the table for a couple of days and got more and more elaborate with glitter, fancy paper and lots of painted embellishments.

We finished them off with a screw eye and bit of ribbon for simple ornaments we hope the kids will enjoy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

autumn garland

As in year's past, we've been collecting all the gorgeous colors of Autumn on our occasional nature walks.  We dipped our leaves in our crock pot of bees wax and, this time around, strung them together to display all their glory.

Oma and Opa's mantel was the perfect exhibition ground.

Monday, October 7, 2013

treasure yarn

My favorite of all the gifts Naiya received for her birthday was this beautiful wool treasure yarn.
As it is unwound, tiny, magical gifts are revealed...

This one came from her dear friends and held shells, beads and little clay and glass figures.  The tiniest beads were held inside on mini safety pins.  

I imagine that finding the little treasures is supposed to inspire the child to knit or crochet in order to bring forth more of the goodies, but Naiya said she would get to that later and just wanted to unwind the whole ball at once.
Being pretty excited myself, I let her unravel the entire thing.

At the heart of the ball was a sweet little heart.

The perfect, simple, useful gift to inspire hours of focused handwork, play and creativity.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

solstice celebration

You know, the thing about having a strong rhythm in one's life is that, when it comes to blogging, one keeps rhythmically blogging about the same things each year, each season and each day.  Forgive the constant repetition friends.  We've just, you know, got this rhythm going...

Once again we gathered for a small Summer Solstice celebration with some of our dear Waldorf friends.  The day was overcast but still festive and, as always, a gentle and enriching commemoration for this seasonal quarter turn.

Mostly these festivals are about the getting together and, for the children, the play!  We adults hold the inner meaning in our hearts and plan a few games and crafty crafts for the kiddos but they just enjoy the fun of it all.  So, we set the stage for joy and frolicking and also put out some Fimo oven fire clay.  (I know... it looks like cheese.  All the kids thought so too.)  The children crafted little clay suns (and various other objects) that we later turned into refrigerator magnets for them to take home and display.

Then they were out in the grass, jumping on the trampouline and fishing for shells in the pool with their toes.

While they were distracted, Green Man crept into the yard...

He spoke his now traditional verse:
"I am the Sun -
And I bear with my might
The earth by day, the earth by night.
I hold her fast, and my gifts I bestow
To everything on her, so that it may grow;
Man and stone, flower and bee
All receive their light from me.
Open thy heart, dear child, to me,
That we together one light may be."
                                                           (by Ch Morgenstern from Summer by Wynstones Press)

"With these crowns and gifts of the earth, I knight you all princes and princesses of the Summer.  Together we'll hold the sun in our hearts to light the world all year long..."

The little ones loved their shells and gorgeously warm and sunny stone orbs.

Some wore their crowns and a few sat with we grown-ups to weave some flowers into the ivy wreaths.

Of course there was a fire and a delicious pot luck feast.

And, as the season turned, we embraced the new summer rhythm of long days and warm nights, free time and unscheduled outings. 

Welcome all (at least in the northern hemisphere) to afternoons lazing in the shade and enjoying bare feet on the grass.  May the goodness and fullness of Summer fill your days.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

midsummer's eve preparations

There's a lot of Solstice preparation going on over here today.  We woke and made the dough for mini cookies and cakes that we'll bake and decorate later to offer to the fairies who live in our back yard.  We did this last year and they seemed to really love it. 

(this is last year's offering)
 Of course Naiya loved it too. 

The recipe is very simple and for frosting I think we just used powdered sugar and food coloring:
Simple Sugar Cookies
     1 1/2 cups butter
     2 cups sugar
     4 eggs
     1 tsp vanilla
     5 cups flour
     2 tsp baking powder
     1 tsp salt
Cream the butter and sugar then add the eggs one at a time and mix.  Stir in the vanilla.  Combine the dry ingredients then add them to the sugar mixture.  Mix until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least an hour (or overnight).  Roll the dough out quite thinly (perhaps 1/4").  Cut by hand or with these nifty mini cookie cutters.  Depending on thickness, bake at 400° for 5 - 8 minutes.  Decorate, stack, fill and nibble as you please...

We've also just finished our newest fairie house.  This one is actually for a letterboxing gathering we're attending but leaving out treats and gifts for local fairies is a fun way to celebrate the change of season with children I think.  This house is a temporary letterboxing "box" (that will only be up for the day) and the stamp will sit inside.  We didn't originally plan it this way, but when the logbook wouldn't fit in the tiny door, we made the book the welcome mat!  (This tiny wooden house was purchased at Joann Crafts and with a glue gun, watercolor and natural goodness found in our backyard, we transformed it into its fancier camouflaged state in no time at all.)

Finally, since Green Man was such a hit at last year's Summer Solstice celebration, we're hoping for a visit from him again this year.  It's amazing what one can do with silk leaves and a glue gun...

Man, I love me a good glue gun. 

We're still running around frantic with sausages to pick up, camping supplies to sort through and some secret mama work to do...  It seems that Green Man could use some assistance in fashioning ivy crowns for the wee ones for tomorrow afternoon.

I hope all of your seasonal festivities are bringing joy and wonder for you and your wee'ns.  We're hoping Father Sun will actually make an appearance to help us celebrate the first glorious day of Summer.  Perhaps you can dance us a little dance or sing a little song to help us encourage him to visit...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

screen-free week: play dough

Painting, drawing, sculpting and crafts of all kinds are great ways to give children
a creative but focused outlet for their imaginations.  

Many parents find that meal preparation times are an especially difficult hour to keep kids occupied and free of screens. When having children help with cooking is not an option, dough modeling can be a fun way to engage a child’s hands, heart and mind while parents are busy.

Every child loves to shape malleable materials and children can parallel adult kitchen activities by pretending to bake and cook or they can use whatever inspires them to sculpt shapes, figures and even tell stories through the medium of dough.

 I can make it 
You will see 
I roll and squeeze 
Then one, two, three 
From my hands 
Something will grow 
What it will be 
I don’t yet know...
a castle... 
an elephant...
a spider... 
a vase... 
a flower...
a snake... 
a cave... 
a tree...
what will it be? 
what will it be?

 “Children love to practice rolling out with a rolling pin and cutting shapes with cookie cutters. I have a collection of small animal- shaped cookie cutters, and after they have rolled and cut a few, I then encourage the children to play with them at the table. They can roll a little more play dough to make fences, or a barn, or nests. This encourages them to use their hand- dexterity in service of their imaginative skills. Great training for life!”
                                                        - from Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer

To make your own play dough, try this easy recipe:

 Play Dough
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/3 cup salt
2 Tblsp. cream of tartar
1 Tblsp. vegetable oil
food coloring

In a medium sized pot mix flour, salt and cream of tartar.  Add water and oil. Stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

Once the dough forms a ball, remove from heat and allow it to cool. Once cool, knead the dough on a floured surface. 
That's it!  You've got play dough!  If you'd like to add some color...


Separate into various balls (depending on how much of each color you would like).  Indent each ball and drop food coloring into indentation.  (For the colors seen here I used 10 drops.)

Knead until the color is distributed evenly throughout the dough.  Once the coloring is mixed into the dough it will, oddly, not stain hands or surfaces.  (During the initial kneading, however, watch those clothes, countertops and hands!)

Store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag.

“Artistic expression is an essential element of a balanced “diet” of experience for our young children. In artistic work, we accomplish two essential tasks of childhood: the training of the hand and the training of the heart. Together these lay a firm foundation for the training of the mind.”
                                       - from Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer

Monday, April 29, 2013

screen free week: clothespin airplanes craft

Today marks the first day of Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood's SCREEN-FREE WEEK.
"On April 29 - May 5, people around the country (and world!) will turn OFF TV, video and mobile games, and other screens they use for entertainment, and turn ON the world around them!"

At Naiya's Waldorf school (where many families are already screen-free all year) I'm once again helping to organize some little activities and offerings in the Early Childhood classes to coincide with this national week of recognition.  I thought I'd share our goings on here each day as we offer up crafts, storytelling suggestions, play ideas and more.

(this is last year's hallway display but this year's is basically the same :)

Today in the hall under our display we're offering little kits to make...

     Clothespin Airplanes

          We will build a plane and soar 
          Over woodland, sea and shore 
          Over woodland, sea and shore
          And fly back to you once more

Simple crafts are a great alternative to screen time and offer a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to learn something new and create something together.

This super simple clothespin and popsicle stick airplane can be made by parents or children and then decorated in myriad colors and patterns with crayons, paint, colored pencils, pens or even strips of tape. Try personalizing each plane with a child’s name or attaching a magnet to the bottom and use it as a handy refrigerator magnet clip!

In addition to a clothespin, two large and one small popsicle stick, you will need some kind of glue. Craft glue, white glue or even hot glue all work fine.

There’s not much to it really. About a half an inch behind the nose (the clipping end of the clothespin) glue one of the larger popsicle sticks to the top of the pin then glue the other directly underneath it on the opposite side.

Glue the tail piece about a quarter inch from the tail end of the clip and you’ve got yourself an airplane!

After your plane has dried, decorate or embellish in any way you choose.

For lots of other craft ideas for you and your children check out the many ideas under the "crafty craft" label.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

felted wool wall hanging

Much like last year, this year Naiya's kindergarten class, teachers and parents created another beautiful felted wool wall hanging to donate to the school auction.  The children helped make the flowers and also enjoyed a lot of the wet felting.

This time around one of the parents (thanks Jennifer!) added some gorgeous touches of embroidery with both machine and hand stitching...

Monday, February 25, 2013

super quick doll clothes

   Like many Waldorf moms, over the years I've hand made my daughter some beautiful dolls only to have her cast them aside for simple store bought versions that relatives and friends have given her.  It took me quite a while to figure out that it wasn't so much the manufactured playthings she loved more than those I lovingly and painstakingly crafted; rather, it was their fancy clothes collections and ease of dressing that were the magical draw!    (How come our children won't just love the toys WE love?  A post for another time...) 
  Of late, her favorite dolls for dressing and playing are two Groovy Girls.  There's something about the size (and freakish proportions) of these particular dolls that just really appeals to my daughter.  I've embraced them but, if you're not familiar with these gals, they often come with some pretty racy outfits.  We use them but have tried to add some fun, more young-girly ensembles through our crafting.  Oma's been knitting them sweaters and skirts and I've sewn a few pairs of pants and skirts as well.  But last week, Oma had a designer breakthrough and came up with this super-quick-and-easy-doll-clothes-in-minutes idea!  

Basically, it utilizes the sleeves of old pajamas and whatever trim is laying around.  In no time at all Groovy Rainy and Groovy Toni had garments for nearly every occasion.

We're always outgrowing cotton pajamas and they come in  a pretty interesting variety of colors and designs.  Simply chop off the sleeves, finish the cut edge (or don't) and add a little something to give the wardrobe some style...

Since Naiya started gymnastics, she wanted Toni to have her own leotard.  We cut holes for the arms to go through and put in a few stitches by hand to separate the two leg holes.  (Naiya insisted on the little circle of yellow felt for "decoration".   The kid loves adornment.)

This cute summer dress has a ribbon sewn around the stretched bottom.  Stretching the fabric as the trim was sewn on caused it to curl into the frilly pattern seen here.  Straps and buttons (those were Naiya's idea) finished this summery selection.

Pants are basically a skirt cut and stitched for legs up the middle.

Roll those pants out and pull 'em up for a trendy jumpsuit.

(Wait... are these ridiculous things still in style?)

It's hard to tell in this shot but this mini dress has a white lace layer on top of the printed under layer. 

A little gold lame fancies up any simple design.

Who doesn't have packets of mint green ric rac just waiting for the perfect project?

(And a child that thinks a bell would make for a fine bit of embellishment?)

Another gown dressed up with a small bit of lace and ribbon straps that tie around the neck.

Thanks Oma!  Now we've got playtime outfits for every occasion for weeks to come.
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