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Friday, February 25, 2011

This Moment

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pine Cone Fun

I am thrilled that our 2-year old is happy to play with simple pine cones just as much, if not more than, plastic, battery-operated toys. (Pine cones always sit on our nature table awaiting play.)

When I watch the boys play with objects of nature I am convinced that simplicity in their toys and surroundings is beneficial and attainable.

With this post, we are joining Beneath the Rowan Tree in an international playdate.

Come join us!

See others' nature inspiration at:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One More Time

Last week we had one lovely spring-like day with a high of 65! Last night it snowed...one more time. It was 6 inches, but felt like more since we have been inundated with snow this winter. I know we have had alot of snow when the boys don't want to play in it. Nevertheless, I do love a fresh dusting of snow. It makes the landscape look so clean and pure! Here are a few pictures...

Views from the bus stop:

Back home:

Happy not-quite-spring to you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Nature Table and a Fairy Ring

"But one lovely day, Spring came driving through in her airy carriage drawn by white butterflies. Then Ollie saw Mrs. Thaw, as she stood by the side of the ditch, wearing a brand new apron. She curtsied to Spring, beaming with delight."
-Ollie's Ski Trip by Elsa Beskow

Mrs. Thaw is having her way here in central Pennsylvania. To usher in the changing of seasons, we are reading Ollie's New Skis and The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow. Just as the transformation from winter to spring is a slow process, so is our transformation of our nature table.

Every few days, the boys will see changes in our winter nature table as we embrace the warmth and beauty awaiting us in Spring. Today, our snow child left the nature table as did our snowmen. Our elf stepped forward to a new fairy ring.

To make the fairy ring, I purchased dowel rod buttons. (Mine are the 3/8 size and can be found at your local Home Depot, Lowes, or craft store.) I left the stem unpainted and used red watercolor, which spread evenly and dried in less than a minute, to paint the tops. For the white dots, I used a tiny brush and acryllic paint. In less than 5 minutes, I had several tiny mushrooms setting on the nature table awaiting discovery by two little boys and a fairy who surely is coming soon...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wool Roving & Penelope

Today, I visited West Earl Woolen Mill and stepped into wool roving heaven. There were so many colors and it was very affordable.

I have done very little needle felting before, but after feeling how soft the wool was and seeing so many lovely colors, I just had to try. I bought a rainbow of colors and set to work at making my first person. It would be a Valentine's Day present for my mom. I felt like a 5-year old bringing home a handmade craft from school - which my mom always adored and saved. This was no exception. With all it's flaws, my mom enthusiastically accepted her felted lady and named her "Penelope".

A Mother holds her children's hands a short time, but their hearts forever.

I think I will try a felted playscape next...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bean Bag Snake

A few weeks ago, on a rather windy day, I noticed a cold air coming from Aidan's window and decided to whip up a long snake bean bag snake to block th draft.

I used fleece, buttons for the eyes, small microsuede squares (to make it a diamond back) and, of course, beans.
It was so easy:

First I sewed on 4 triangles and 2 button eyes. Then I sewed the bottom, leaving the mouth open.

After I filled it most of the way with beans, I turned it so the mouth would face forward and sewed it closed.

There you have it. A ten minute bean bag snake. It fits great in the window and a certain little boy loves it - so much so that the snake slept with him in bed it's first night home.

This Moment

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Little Felted Chickadee & the Great Backyard Bird Count

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes ...
Ah, that's the reason a bird can sing -
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.
-Douglas Malloch
You Have To Believe

I have always enjoyed birds - big and little, loud and quiet. I could watch barn swallows swoop and soar and listen to song birds for hours.

During the winter we fill our birdfeeder and throw birdseed on our back deck. Mr. & Mrs. House Finch visit us each morning for breakfast, along with the occasional Mourning Dove and Blacked-Capped Chickadee.

We have images of birds throughout our house.

And the boys often play with their singing Audubon plush birds.

This year we are going to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count held from February 18-21. It is a wonderful way to encourage my sons' love for nature. Want to join us?

To start us off on two weeks of learning about birds, I needle felted a tiny mountain chickadee for our nature table. (It is my first effort at needle felting, and it shows.)

I made two balls - one for the head and one for the body - by taking a small piece of fiber and soaking it in the soapy water and gently rolling it in a ball. After about 30 seconds of rolling the ball, the fibers began to interlock. About a minute later the balls were hard and I rinsed out the soapy water and let them dry overnight.

The next day, I felted on his tail, wings and eyes and placed him in a nest made of dry moss.

Welcome to our nature table little bird. The boys will have alot of fun learning about you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This Moment

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine Crafts

Today we put our crafty selves to making Valentine gifts and decorations.

First up are some beeswax candles Aidan made for his teachers. We purchased the beeswax sheets from Hinode Farm. He used a cookie cutter to cut out the hearts.

Next, we made stiff yarn decorations by soaking yarn in watered-down glue and outlining words and shapes on a glass cutting board. After they dried, we hung them in the window.

Later in the afternoon, I made a garland using the wet-on-wet technique found here and wrote some of my favorite quotes on the hearts.

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece -John Ruskin

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Light & Candlemas

During the past few weeks, I thought about what brings me particular pleasure during the cold winter months, especially snow, comfort food, wool, picture books, and light.

Some of the draw I have to light during this season is, of course, for warmth. I find myself following the natural morning sunlight that streams in our living/dining room windows, to the point that occasionally the cats and I vie for space.

Other times, I will sit in front of the fireplace until I am too hot to stand it any longer.

Often, the attraction is for the sheer beauty of the light.

We have little white lights on our mantel and banister that have been there since the holidays and I cannot bear to take them down. They are so lovely.

Year-round, we have candle-lit dinners to set the stage for a relaxed evening and we keep a lovely small lamp lit in our kitchen window to guide us through the dark night.

On some nights I stand outside in awe of the brilliance of the light of the moon and its' reflection off the snow covered ground and trees.

The more I thought about what kind of light I like most and why, I remembered that we were coming up on Candlemas tomorrow. Candlemas is in general a celebration of the longer days ahead and to some, considered to be the beginning of spring. In Christian circles it is also a reminder of Jesus, "the light of the world," being presented at the temple. An explaination of Candlemas and it's various meanings can be found at the insightful blog
Parenting Passageway .

In consideration of Candlemas tomorrow, we made candles from beeswax.

The boys are too young to obsorb the deeper meaning behind Candlemas, so we will simply light the candles and look forward to the unique joys of spring.
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