Saturday, December 4, 2010

Felted Advent Mats

This week we wet felted some mats to hold our advent treasures and candles on.

The children helped to lay out the fleece on some bubble wrap, and add their designs...

then sprayed them with warm soapy water.

Some more bubble wrap on top, then a gentle massage to hold it all in place...

before moving it over to the bamboo mats for lots of rolling.

Even our littlest one enjoyed the motion.

And here are a couple of the designs (with mums help of course)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Something from Nothing

In the spirit of building up to a creative christmas we have been making our own 'something from nothing' creative craft boxes and telling the story (a simplified version) "Something from Nothing" by Phoebe Gilman. During story time the children loved to watch as a baby's wonderful blanket - frazzled and worn, unsightly and torn - instead of being thrown out, was transformed into a wonderful shirt. Then the wonderful shirt - shrunken and small, doesn't fit you at all - became a wonderful handkerchief. The wonderful handkerchief - used till its tattered, splotched and its splattered - finally becomes a wonderful button. What a wonderful story to inspire re-using, recycling and creative thinking.

The children cut, tore, hole punched and pasted bits of paper, wool, and buttons to decorate their wonderful boxes.

I have filled them with some little treasures to take home over our holiday break - beads, buttons, scraps of felt and flannelette, wool, string, sticks, gumnuts, shells - I wonder what they will inspire? And a challenge - an old curtain ring. I want to see what creative ideas mums and children can come up with to use this!

And I just wanted to share this little creation - our dancing dolly was created from our something from nothing box purely by chance. The scrap pieces of felt, wool arms, button face and wool hairbow were randomly sewn together by my 2 year old to take on a life of their own, and literally create 'something from nothing'. We then spent the morning singing and making our little puppet dance merrily around the room.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spring Ponies

For the past few weeks we have been busy making spring ponies.
The children have been waiting with much anticipation for their ponies to be finished. The time and energy that we put into these for our children is truly an expression of love, and each of these is unique and beautiful because of that.

Week 1 - Making the head
You will need
  • a mens sock in 'pony' colours, or other for something a little magical
  • felt for ears and eyes, and maybe a pair of buttons
  • wool for the mane
  • around 200g stuffing

Stuff the wool quite firmly into the sock for a nice thick head.

Sew on the ears and eyes. Then sew the mane by looping a long length of wool over and over, catching it at the neckline. Cut the loops at the bottom, and tie the strands together at the neckline to hold. (I hope that makes sense - hopefully the picture helps)

For more definition you can also give nostril indentations by knotting a thread and sewing it from side to side in the nose area, pulling tight.

Week 2 - Making the bridle
Rope Twisties!

You will need 2 long lengths of wool, approx 3 1/2 m each. Tie the wool together at one end, and have someone hold it. Then start twisting. Make sure you don't let go!
This was lots of fun.

When you've twisted all the way to the other end, bring the ends together to fold the length of wool in half (this can be a bit tricky without it twisting up on you). Hold on to the loose ends, then 1..2..3.. let go of the folded end.
Smooth out any knots.

To make the bridle
Tie twistie rope (at the folded end) around the horses nose

Bring the rope up over the head, then tie off on the other side of the nose piece.

Bring the rope back around to the other side (this creates the reins) and tie on to the starting point. Add some bells and any other decorative pieces.

Week 3 - Attaching the stick

Cut a length of reasonably straight, smooth stick around 80cm long and 2-3cm thick
I just collected fallen ones from our surrounding gums and native trees.

Drill a hole around 15cm down the length of stick.
Give the stick a light sand and polish with beeswax, it smells beautiful and brings out the rich natural colour of the wood

Attatch the head, pushing the stick up through the stuffing almost to the top.
Sew the sock (head) to the stick through the drilled hole, round and through a number of times for strength, then tie off.

Finally, let the fun begin!
Galloping galloping ho, galloping galloping hey
Running in the fields all day...
(from Restless Red Pony by Susan Perrow)

Hmmm, I wonder who is having more fun...

A butterfly came to add some magic fairy dust to this beautiful unicorn...

What a beautiful project this has been!
And a little peek at our nature table...

...simple and beautiful.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Flutter flutter Butterfly

This week we made some lovely floaty spring butterflies.
But first, Cat, one of our mamas made us a real treat for morning tea.
Isn't it gorgeous - the children loved eating their caterpillar sandwhiches!

To make our floating butterflies we used some rectangles of tissue paper (approx. 9x13cm) in a range of lovely spring colours, pipecleaners around 15cm long, sticks collected from our yard and lightly sanded, and string.

For each butterfly take 2 pieces of tissue paper and curve the corners for a softer shape. Wrap your pipecleaner around the centre and twist to make the antenae. Tie one end of the string onto your butterfly and the other onto your stick.

The children loved their butterflies, they look beautiful, and what a cheap and easy activity. This idea was from the book Earthwise, which is full of cheap, easy and environmentally friendly ideas for young children.

Flutter, flutter butterfly
Floating in the springtime sky.
Floating by for all to see
Floating by so merrily.
Flutter, flutter butterfly
Floating in the springtime sky.
(author unknown)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spring Celebration

Finally the weather gave us a break, and we were able to hold (although a little belated) our Spring Celebration. Mother Nature blessed us with a divine spring morning, in the words of Margaret Wise Brown "The sky was wild with sunshine" and the garden full of spring blooms.

We set off to find a perfect picnic spot.

Through the meadow let us walk
See what wonders spring has brought
Skipping skipping let us go
As the breeze blows to and fro

The children recieved their crowns and wands with a sprinkle of glitter and a magic verse

A faery crown and a faery wand
A sprinkle of faery glitter
You become a faery Queen/King
Flutter flatter flitter

Then time to walk and skip around the maypole as we sang some simple maypole songs

A delicious spring feast fit for Faery Kings and Queens

We planted seeds of beans, marigolds and sunflowers, the seeds of which we collected last Autumn.

And the creation of our Garden Goddess (lady scarecrow) complete with magic wand, to protect our wonderful new vegetable gardens

And finally the face behind the camera, one of our wonderful mums Cat, who took these gorgeous pictures for us. It was so hard to choose which photos to include! Check out her site

What a beautiful morning we had!

Craft Night

Here also are our Spring Maidens from our craft night a few weeks back. They all looked so beautiful, a look just lovely adorning our nature tables.