Showing posts with label kindy handwork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kindy handwork. Show all posts

Monday, April 25


"easter bonnet"

Daddy likes to do these bright dyed eggs

Mama and Toucie tried some eggs dyed with onion skins

pretty golden eggs!

We threw some yarn in to make the most of the leftover dye

Hmmmm...why not?!

Onion skin dye...the darker yarn was soaked longer

Oooh! pretty variegation from the commercial egg dyes

Visiting family for an egg hunt

Naya and Sodie too worn out from college life to hunt eggs

Mmmm...beet greens for supper

Salad and pizza, too (carmelized onions and kalamata olives)

Bunny bread :)

Sunday, March 27

Introducing Beeswax Modeling

Here is a story I created for Toucie when we were ready to begin beeswax modeling this spring.

We spread a blanket under the lilacs where the bees were working, had a pretty tray of apple slices and crackers and a tiny bowl of fragrant honey to dip them in, and a brand new package of golden Stockmar beeswax at hand. Toucie began dipping into the honey and apples as I began the story.

Nestled deep in the woods there is a tiny city. The folks that live there love their city very much (after all they built it their very own selves!) and take very good care of each other there. There is always plenty of delicious food, the babies there are always well cared for, and the rooms (each one exactly like the other) are all snug and well crafted. It is a very busy place as each one has special work to do and does it cheerfully and well. Even the Queen, in her royal chambers at the center of the city, stays busy with her special work of tucking new eggs each into their own cozy cradle. 

This tiny city is a beehive and the folk that live and work there are, of course, the bees!

In the Spring and Summer and Autumn, when flowers are blooming, I’m sure that you’ve seen the bee-folk humming merrily as they move all about over the land visiting blossoms. Look, here is one now…watch her as she forages, sipping a little nectar here and a little nectar there. Sometimes as she flies she gathers yellow flower dust into her little leg-baskets as she goes. But today she is gathering nectar. She visits hundreds of flowers! She is collecting nectar to bring home to the hive-city, sometimes sipping a little for herself. Now both her tummy and her nectar bag are quite full of nectar and she is flying home with her heavy load. 

In the city, there are many sisters waiting to help her. She gives them the nectar from her bag and they take it away to make it into golden honey. (This will be the food that all the bee folk will need in the cold months when there are no flowers blooming on the land.) Sometimes our little bee brings her nectar to her sisters and then flies right off again to collect more, but today her tummy is so full that she must rest. She climbs to the ceiling of the hive where some of the other full bee-folk are already gathered. She tucks up her wings and smooths her pretty yellow-and-brown jacket and takes a nice, long nap. 

While she is resting something wonderful happens….for when she wakes up and stretches and straightens her little jacket, she finds that all eight of her jacket pockets are full of wax! She takes it out of her pockets and presses it, and pulls it, and pushes it, and kneads it until it is smooth and soft, fragrant and golden. This beeswax is precious and important…it is what the bee-folk use to build their entire city! Beeswax forms the perfect walls of all the snug little houses, all the little honey pots and their lids, all the little cradles for the growing baby bee-folk…what a wonderful thing our bee has done! She takes her bit of beeswax and puts it together with the wax that her sisters have made, then off into the blue sky she buzzes, in search of more blossoms.

The bee-folk work so very hard that they often make more honey and more beeswax than they need for their city. Sometimes there is a gentle and careful person, a “beekeeper” who cares for and protects bees in their hive-city and is able to share in their honey and beeswax. So, somewhere there is a city of beefolk and a careful beekeeper who together made it so that we could have this treasure.

I split the Stockmar bar in two and gave Toucie her piece of wax during the part of the story where the bee "kneads it until it is smooth and soft, fragrant and golden" and we warmed it in our hands for the rest of the story. 

It was wonderful to watch her as she held the beeswax knowing how much work had gone into making it and what a treasure it was! She worked for a long time to draw a form out of her lump of beeswax...when she was done she showed me- it was a honeybee!

Here is the verse we say when we begin work with beeswax...I borrowed bits and pieces of other rhymes to formulate this one:

From the bees, this gift of gold
Is here for us to warm and hold.
Fragrant beeswax in our hand
Is full of goodness from the land.

Wednesday, January 12

Winter Handwork...working with yarn: dye it, wind it, knit it

Our homeschooling rhythm relaxed over the holiday season...we continued to sing, and craft, and bake, but in a looser fashion than usual. Toucie has been working with some wool in a rather casual, long-term-project sort of way.
It started with a skein of wool that we "ruined" last fall...we tried to dye it in our goldenrod dye bath..after we'd already dyed our shooting stars and our cape of light...there was just enough color left in the dye bath to turn the wool a nasty, dingy color :(   We abandoned the yarn, leaving it hanging outdoors until just recently.

Well, no wool deserves such a fate! After the Yule season passed, my attention turned back to that forlorn skein and I decided to have Toucie help me give it a facelift. With Koolaid.

We didn't use any measurements or follow any instructions...we just winged it. I purchased 3 colors of  Koolaid: purple (Grape), red (Tropical Punch), and blue (Berry Blue). On the first afternoon we prepared a saucepan with about 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup white vinegar plus 2 pouches of Grape Koolaid. We prepared a second sauce pan the same way, using Tropical Punch. We set them to simmering on the stovetop and dangled one half of the yarn in the purple dye and the other half in the red dye. We stirred the dye around until the color started to disappear from the is really magical the way the pigment leaves clear water behind as it latches onto the wool! A quick rinse in cold water and we hung the skein up to dry.

The next day we prepared the blue dye and dangled the portions of yarn that were still undyed into the saucepan. That is what you see Toucie doing above. Another rinse and another day to dry.

Here is what we ended up with...I think it turned out quite beautifully. Toucie says it smells "like artificial candy", so perhaps a more thorough rinsing would have been good...oh well.

The next job was winding the wool into a ball. This took several sittings and a bit of discipline. I've heard Handwork teachers say to children that they are "winding for the world" as a way to create a picture for the child about this important task. One winds the wool for all, not just as if one were going to use it one's is important to wrap the yarn carefully and beautifully. (We unwound some of Toucie's work a time or two so that she could try again to make it just right). One always wraps the wool in a motion directed away from one's self...outward towards the world...winding for the world.

I bet the world would love to have that yarn ball, Toucie!

This winter, Toucie received this knitting tower as a gift. This type of knitting device it known by many other names: knitting nancy, knitting noddy, corker, bizzy lizzy, knitting spool, and probably more! The act of using one of these is called by several names, too: French knitting, corking, spool knitting, (and likely some other terms, too). Once a child has achieved some finger dexterity and control (developmentally speaking), this type of knitting is easy to pick up. Toucie took to it after one demonstration. Her endurance only allows for about 2 or 3 inches of knitting at a sitting, but it has been very pleasant to have this kind of project at hand. It sits in its basket waiting for that 20 minutes of attention that Toucie gives it on cozy, dark, winter evenings.

Now the question is...what do you do with several inches, feet, or yards of corking? We made a spiral dollhouse rug with her first effort, and we have plans to make a headband, but after that....?

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 16

November Handwork....Necklace of Indian Corn

Toucie removes kernels from dried ears of Indian Corn...
...sorts the kernels into colorful piles...
...softens the kernels by soaking them in water...for 2 or 3 days (!)...
...and uses a needle and thread to string them ...
...creating careful patterns with kernels and beads.

Math - check
Botany - check
Art - check
Handwork - check
Fine Motor Skills - check
Patience and Concentration - check
Proud and Happy Kid - check!

Friday, November 12

Special Handwork....Tooth Fairy Pillowcase

We've dropped everything around here for some urgent handwork...Toucie has her first loose tooth and it could fall out at any second now...we need a special tooth fairy pillowcase.

We have a very special pillowacase that that my grandmother made for me when I was small. It has sweet embroidery and a tiny pocket stitched on where one can stash one's tooth in case a tooth fairy should come in search of a trade. I used it faithfully as a youngster, and so did Naya, Sodie, and Mado when they were small. Well, it is Toucie's turn and the pillowcase is nowhere to be found. Time to whip something up!

I thought I would zip up a little case out of linen, add a pocket, and maybe a bit of embroidery like my grandmother did, but Toucie had grander visions. After a peek in the scrap box, she was committed to a plan that involved color and variety and a lot more work than mine. So we turned it into a homeschool handwork project. Toucie tore strips of favorite fabrics and ironed them all smooth. We laid them all out side by side.

I stitched all the strips together and pressed all the seams flat. Toucie used marks that I had drawn on the fabric to cut a neat rectangle. This made a 4 inch border for the pillowcase. I pieced this together with a blue fabric and constructed the case.

Next we chose a bit of fabric for the tiny pocket and stitched that on by hand.

And here is a not-so-good photo of how it turned out...but wait a minute...

Toucie had further plans...she made a pocket all by herself  and wanted to stitch it on the other side of the pillowcase.

Can you see her little pocket there above the bunny? (I think she incorporated some packing tape, too, but who am I to question the methods of an artist?).

So now we're ready. Oh, and guess what I just found?

Thursday, November 4

November Handwork...Heavy Sandbags


During handwork this week, Toucie and I made half a dozen 5 pound sandbags to use during circletime. Right now we incorporate them into our movements as we sing about hauling corn and meal to and from the mill, but they have endless other uses for Toucie to discover.

There is not much to them...they are just like giant beanbags (filled with sand instead of beans). To make the project child-friendly we took it slow...worked 2 days to complete them. I divided the steps of construction like this:
1) I measured the fabric, Toucie tore it into the rectangles needed
2) I stitched the pairs of rectangles together on three sides to make a "pillowcase", Toucie turned them all right-side-out
3) Toucie filled each "pillowcase" 3/4 full of sand, I stitched them closed as she completed filling each one.
4) I put away all the materials and supplies, Toucie swept up all the stray sand with her wisk broom.
Voila! Done...

I like to have alot of ideas in my pocket for indoor movement and exercise as the cold months approach...playing/working/building/pretending/stacking with soft, safe, heavy sandbags (great to pair with beanbags!) are some ways to get muscles moving indoors :)

Thursday, October 14

Halloween Handwork......a ghost tee-shirt

This is what we did for handwork recently, using  homemade stencils and acrylic paints.

It started with the little orange book on the right. It is a list of  ideas that Toucie made for herself :
blak cat

The word gost is circled.

She had doodled some funny ghost faces on a piece of construction paper, so I carefully cut those features out to use as stencils. Then I made a stencil for a ghost body.

We used pale green paint to stencil on the ghost bodies and black for the faces.


Sunday, September 26

Michaelmas handwork....Cape of Light!

The goldenrod dye we made for our Shooting Stars was still quite strong so we saved it to dye a silk. In celebration of Michaelmas, we are using this silk as a cape and calling it the Cape of Light just like the golden cloak that Michael wears. (Inspired by this Michaelmas article.)

Take a plain silk playcloth, soak it in mordant (2 - 3 Tbs.alum dissolved into a 1/2 gallon of water), immerse it in the dye, hang to dry, wear with pride. There is not much to this project....the magic is really in the details: telling Michael stories and singing songs; being in the outdoors working together, gathering dyestuffs and preparing the dye; watching the simple transformation when flower blossoms turn a white silk into a golden one; letting the imagination run when the cape is ready to be worn and paraded about!