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.