Showing posts with label crafts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crafts. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our Little Waldorf Crafts Through the Year

I am in the thick of this upcoming year's home schooling planning. Last year we used Oak Meadow, but we won't be doing it again. I have learned so much from that process and about myself as a mother and teacher. While I think Oak Meadow is great for some, it was not the right fit for us. 

Primarily because as I was going through it I realized, I had already been doing what they were planning for us. None of it was new or innovative for me. I did not gain anything from it. Maybe that's because I am a trained teacher or that I have worked in pre-schools. However it wasn't worth the price, if I could just as easily do it myself. (As a side note, I do recommend Wee Folk Art's free curriculum guides for older preschoolers if you're new to doing school on your own at home. I also have used Little Acorn in the past- you do have to pay- and have liked it. Just don't try to do ALL of it. She packs a lot in there and you can get overwhelmed.)

My other issues was that it wasn't really Waldorf. Honestly I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to just re-read 'You Are Your Child's First Teacher' and saved my money! Now I can see myself when Deirdre is in the upper grades, and not a true Kindergartner, getting some help in the form of curriculum. But it won't be Oak Meadow. (Again this is not an attack on OM, I think they are a lovely company and school and great for some- just not us).

This year, armed with helpful guides, I will not be using a formal curriculum rather I will be making and using my own Waldorf one. I am very excited about it. It is very simple honestly because truly it will be just Jonas and Deirdre. Both of them would be in a Waldorf kindergarten class together (which has ages 3 1/2 to older 5s in them). Daily life is really all the learning they need at this age. We will be having fun, learning stories, rhymes, songs, and doing crafts. We'll be baking more and doing lessons less. For Deirdre as she shows interest we'll be working on reading and some math (Deirdre learned to read this year) but I won't be pushing either since in a true Waldorf school she would not be formally learning either for another year. 

It is more work in a way to make my own, but better in many many ways. Cost is one, confidence is another, as well as being able to really tailor it to what I think works well for us and trying to incorporate more rhythm into our days. We, myself included, could be more well rounded in our lives. In that way I end up wasting less time by re-tailoring it our needs like I was doing with OM. 

So I wanted to share with you some of what we ended up doing last year from January to May (when we gave up on Oak Meadow). These are mainly just kid crafts that I snapped a photo of in the middle of making them. They're not great photos but I was on the run! They also aren't overly Waldorf. We watercolor paint, model beeswax, finger knit weekly and do one big project once a month. The rest of the days we do little bitty fun crafts. Ones that I mostly find from pinterest. Here are a few:

January: Winter, Animals in the Winter (Epiphany)
February: Winter, Clouds (Candlemas/ St. Valentines)
March: Spring, Mushrooms (St. Patrick/ Lent)
April: Spring, Frogs (Lent/Easter)
May: Spring, Butterflies and Flowers (May Day)

What sorts of crafts do you do through the year? If you home school, what do you use and how do you plan it? I'd love to know!

Until next time-

Linking up this week with Frontier DreamsMagic OnionsNatural Suburbia, and Crafty Moms Share and a few others! Please check out my 'where I party' page! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Nook for Our Little One

Has it been a week already since my last blog? Shame on me for not being in this place more. Truly, I had lots of blog ideas floating around in my head but alas a little nook was calling to me, and demanded my attention. 

I am happy to say that for all intensive purposes my baby's nursery is complete. I even finished the Beatrix Potter quilt today. It was very surreal to see if all stitched up, given I chose this fabric for my unborn child before I was even pregnant. 

All in all, I am quite happy with this room. When I walk in I feel calm, content, and peaceful- all the things I want for my baby. We were lucky when it came to room color on this one since the room was already this color when we moved in! I have always been a fan of yellow. Even though green in my favorite color, I still prefer yellow or blue on walls. Go figure, eh? 

The theme that I wanted for this room is Peter Rabbit. However it really turned out have more of a meadow/bunny vibe- which I am totally fine with! I think themes can feel a bit contrived at times. I also wanted to incorporate some Waldorf into this room, as I did for Deirdre and Jonas. Simple, natural, beautiful, and pure... yes I think I did squeeze a bit of Waldorf in there :) 

I am happy to say that besides a few exceptions, most of the room is second hand or crafted (I splurged on the valances and canvas art though, shhhh!) I even had one very sweet college friend see my blog and remember I was doing a Peter Rabbit theme. So when she was cleaning out her Grandmother's closet, she set aside a lovely yellow blanket and a HUGE box of fabric for me. I used lots of it too, and will continue to. The fabric is in the hoops on the wall over the crib and I hung the blanket over the bookcase. So thank you sweet Emily :) 

Once the quilt is quilted, (I am sending it off to be top-stitched by my local long-arm quilt lady) I will post a photo and tell you more about it. I have to say it was not my easiest quilt, lots of very close stitching, but it is made with love (and the quilt lady's top-stitching covers lots of little boo-boos that were too small to pull apart and fix, but just big enough to bother you)! 

But that is enough about the room. I think the photos speak for themselves. Lots of love went into this space from Craig, the kids, and I. Oh and if you look closely enough, you'll see bits of art Deirdre and Jonas have made and then crept up into the room and left in there for the baby. Talk about melting my heart! 

So until baby is ready to sleep in this space (since baby sleeps with Mama for quite awhile), this room will happily wait for her. 

Wishing you all a blessed weekend!

Always, Nicole 

I love this knit rug. It reminds me of soft meadow grass.  The sheet is organic  and has a cute Peter Rabbit print on it. 

The rocker will go in that corner once I can bribe someone to move it there for me!  I also still need to put some goodies on the shelves. I have time, right? Any ideas? 

Linking up with Magic Onions and Natural Suburbia today! 

Also thank you for the love Lysa! Lysa featured my blog in her post today. I am honored :) Feel free to stop by Lysa's Reviews and say hi to her! She write some great reviews! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Progress and Completion

I am officially done with my Valentines Day craft swap (not pictured yet are the candies I will pick up at the store on my way to to the post office)! I really enjoyed dreaming up this little gnome set, wet felted heart ornaments, and sachet. I am slowly realizing that crafting gnomes and embroidering are coming more and more easily to me, which is good and validating. I also find that the artistic/crafty medium of wooden pegs and felt have endless possibilities once you have a basic method down. So all in all, I can't really take full credit for the gnome peg people and sleeping bags I make, since they were all inspired by Wee Folk Art's tutorials. The designs at this point are my own, however this really isn't about artistic integrity for me, since I make these for my children and friends as gifts. I want to keep it that way too. But I also want to give credit where credit is due! 

Deirdre helped me wet felt the purple heart ornament. She was very proud of it and is even more excited to send it to our swap partner in New Zealand. I pulled up photos on the computer for her and map. She concurred that  New Zealand  is beautiful but far away from us. I find that to be one of the really neat things about blogging though. I am making connections with people, different yet like minded at the same time, worldwide. It helps me feel not quite so alone in my homeschooling and Waldorf journey. Plus it's the next best thing to travelling (which Craig and I fully intend on doing again since we'll barely be in our forties when our kids are grown). Don't get me wrong, we totally plan on travelling some with our children as well but I am still looking for my money tree to make that happen ;) Let's hope I can still speak a few of the languages I studied by the time I find it! 

Enjoy the photos and feel free to use them to craft your own little Valentine sets. I will post a tutorial later on to explain how we wet felted the hearts as well as a spool table and spool mushroom tutorial. I realized that I did not give directions on how to make your own! Opps!

Until then, Happy Monday! (And enjoy some photos of the littles!) 

Yes they do help me cut them and it is helpful. Deirdre did one whole by herself (with a butter knife). Jonas tried really hard but ended up eating the raw potato more than cutting it. 

Homemade pound cake- yum! The kids helped with this too. They're great egg crackers. 

We are slowly replacing TV time with planned nightly activities. We started again to watch more TV when I was very ill with hypermesis. So far it is working. They also totally clean up after themselves collectively. I am very proud.

For the Kids Friday

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Snow Child and Poppy (plus a tutorial!)

Both my little ones have been sick with a nasty bout of the common cold. Jonas was the first to get it, in conjunction with getting his two year molars, then Deirdre. Together they make one pathetic pair between their banshee like coughs and runny noses. However both seem to be in fine spirits, just very tired- as they should be! 

Needless to say it could be worse. I hate seeing them sick but at least they are allowing me to comfort them. Thus enters the little above Snow Child and Poppy. 

Every once in awhile I order something and stow it away, for a rainy day or a special event, to give to the kids later. I bought this book about a month ago and wanted to save it for after Christmas.

So during the kids' extra long nap, I sat down and whipped up a peg Snow Child and Poppy to go with the book. I knew the kids would appreciate it and since they felt so awful, I hoped it would cheer them up. Well, it worked! 

Right now Deirdre is sleeping with Poppy and Jonas with the Snow Child. Reading the book while holding their new friends warmed my heart. If you don't already have a copy of the the Snow Children, then I would encourage you to get one. Right now they are only $12.21 from Amazon (which is pretty good since the large hardback version is usually $20). 

Making the peg dolls were pretty simple. I use large peg dolls from Michael's and they seem to work best for little ones. However my directions are general enough that you should be able to use any size peg person to make these. You just need to use you peg person to measure the felt pieces that you're going to cut out. 

To make The Snow Child and Poppy peg person:

1. Cut one small white Snow Child and one small red Poppy felt rectangle (large enough to wrap around the body of your peg people).

2. Hot glue both the body wrappings in place to their respective peg person. 

3. Cut another rectangle in both Snow Child white and Poppy red, three times as large as the previous piece. 
(To check that you sized it right- try wrapping the piece around the peg head. If the piece totally covers the head and hangs mid way down the peg body- then you got the size right.)

4. Thread some light blue embroidery floss for the Snow Child and blanket stitch all the way around the large white felt rectangle. 

5.Repeat the same with the large red Poppy felt piece, but use white floss. 

5. Apply hot glue to the entire head of each peg person, except for the face.

6. Press the middle of the stitched felt piece to the head of the peg person, cinching it in the middle. 

7. Stitch the neck closed with the left over embroidery floss. 

8. Hot glue the back and the front of the Snow Child's coat to the peg body. Then shape the sides of the cloak to resemble wings. Glue the insides of cloak together if necessary. 

9. You do not need to glue the cloak to Poppy's body.

To make Poppy's white hand muff: 

1.Fold a small piece of white felt over three times to form a thick tiny rectangle. 

2.Glue the layers together.

3. Braid three strands of white embroidery floss together. 

4. Tie the ends together to form a necklace (the necklace should fall to the middle of Poppy's body)

5. Glue the tiny white rectangle to the middle of the necklace and viola! 

And you should be done! Enjoy you little people! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Much Merriment

Gnome Sleeping Bag and my original creation- a bed side spool table
A pair of Wee Folk Art inspired gnomes and another original creation- a padded mushroom spool table

Ready to see Santa

Momma's cookie helper and taster

Momma's cookie theft (look how guilt yet innocent he looks!) 

Opening their annual tree ornament

The tree is done, phew! 

Crafting a snowflake garland

Gingerbread house with Daddy

Greenery from our yard for pillar hangings- we made 6... we have lots of pillars. 

and they were free, all materials from our yard. Beat that Traders Joe's for $7 a pop! 

I am going to take a break until after Christmas. I would encourage you all - and at times even myself-to enjoy this time with your children. Include them in everything. It doesn't have to look perfect or pretty. The memories and experiences are far more valuable than a nice photo. I also am pretty sure that no children were included in what Martha Stewart makes either! What fun is that? Children learn through being included in all aspects of our lives. Let them enrich yours as well. They will remember it always

I might pop in to post a few photos of any last minute elfing, but until then- Merry Christmas!  

Here is a poem I read the kids today. They loved it! 

'Christmas Bells' poem by Henry Wadsworth

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Little Bit of Advent and Crafty Advice

Daily Verse or Quote: 
“The soul should always stand ajar. Ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” 
- Emily Dickinson

Our Winter Nature Table 

My Glass Nativity

Things are really beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! We've had most of our decorations up since the day after Thanksgiving but much fine tuning has been going on this week. 

We do have a nice advent tradition- going on three years strong! I have a small pocket calendar for each day of this month that I fill with candy and a slip of paper for either a present, craft, or trip each day. We also read a different story each day as well. I do not use the same crafts each year but the trips have been staying the same. I have a good mix in there. 

Today we made clay ornaments. You can find the directions on how to make them here. I love that you can pick your own shapes and paint them as well. My kids loved this craft. We used acrylic paint and a mod podge shimmer  seal to make sure that they last. I also suggest using lots of corn starch to roll them on. Another bonus is that these are totally non toxic. Jonas ate a bunch and well the corn starch and baking soda won't hurt him in the least. 

Someone asked me about this recently. In order to get extra crafts done during the holidays, or really any day with young kids, I have a few suggestions-

1. Plan ahead. Pre assemble during nap time all the needed supplies, pre-measured if necessary. I store my supplies in a plastic tub so that once we are done it all goes in the tub and away. This prevents them from getting into it and I then don't stress over not having a clear table. If you need to re-organize your supplies, wait until later. It will wait for you safely in the tub until then. 

2. Make clean up easy. Use a drop cloth and then just bundle up the mess for clean up after dinner. I use an old plastic table cloth for this. Keep baby wipes handy for cleaning up quick messes. Oh and just strip your kids down or use and old t-shirt. We have designated paint shirts here. 

3. Make a crock pot dinner. I tend to craft after naptime with my kids on non co-op days. My husband works nights, so it is just me and them. In order to have time to eat I make an easy crock pot meal that night. I put it in in the morning or during nap so that it will be ready about the time we finish crafting. This book is awesome for dinner ideas: Fix it and Forget it

4. Make the craft with them. I always enjoy myself more and engage better if I paint along with them. I have no big expectation for what I do but it keeps me from being tempted to do something else instead of spending time with them and their craft. 

5. Let go. Since we crafted tonight, I have yet to do my dishes and fold my laundry. Oh well. It can wait. We had a great time. We made memories, and tomorrow when we won't be crafting so I can catch up. 
If being creative with your kids is a priority, and I believe it should be in what ever form you choose, then you need to put it first and make time for it. If you don't then it probably won't happen.

6. Forgive yourself.  Please remember, it is also fine if something unexpected comes up and you need to postpone the project. Life happens too. Mother guilt is evil and totally self inflicted. Rise above it. You will get around to doing something fun once life calms down. Your kids will be fine in the meantime.  Just remember this extra preparation that you need to do when they're little, will end. Once they're older- they can and will want to do this on their own. Embrace and enjoy the craziness! 

So there you have it! Enjoy and I hope you get some crafting done. Pleas feel free to comment and share a link to some of your crafts you all have been doing. I love to see them and get new ideas!!! 

Advent Calendar 

My Noels! 

More table 


Co-op Christmas tree, soon to be decorated!  
Winter seasonal ring 

My hearth 

More Noels 


Mid-sentence talking about her green ornament. 

Jonas is intense about painting. I love it! 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Works in progress (WIP) Wednesday

Please excuse my Casper white legs. I am Irish so I come about it honestly! 

Today was a good day. After a busy morning of running around to some public relations for the non-profit mothers group that I volunteer with, I was able to relax and knit this afternoon. Earlier this Spring I began knitting an Elizabeth Zimmermann Tomten sweater. However after knitting it to the sleeves, I got bored as well as frustrated and did not knit for three months! I was so sad. Not mention I was quite busy with school and then the move. 

So taking some of Elizabeth's advice, I just started a new project and gave up on the sweater for now. It was not worth the frustration and boredom I was experiencing. I cannot force myself to do something that I do not want to do, especially when I naturally love it! I want knitting to be fun and relaxing for me. True Nicole time, and well it was turning into another chore. No thank you!    

So today I casted on a little knit gnome or as I call him a tomten. I am using a free pattern from Plain and Joyful Living found here. This is just as good a sweater right? So far I only have his legs done but I think I might finish him by tomorrow. I also plan on knitting some play apples and a pumpkin! In addition I am also working on some reclaimed wood blocks. I need a saw though so they are tabled for a few days. 

Well I am off to bed. I also had a great music filled night. By happenstance I walked in on an old French class friend playing an open mic night at our local coffee shop this evening. Total surprise. I love life. Its so rich and endlessly rewarding. 

Watching Mary Poppins while I finished baking! Love it! (FYI we are down to 15 minutes of TV a day from 1 hour a year ago! ) 

Daily Quote or Verse: 
I like to be surrounded by harmonies and fullness and richness and vitality. 
-Al Jardine of the Beach Boys