Wet-on-wet wonders

July 27, 2009

I love to watch the shapes emerge when painting wet-on-wet, starting out just playing with the colours and seeing what comes into form.  Sometimes we use a story to guide our painting, today we were just playfully using up the last of some mixed up paint from the back of our fridge. 


One child found a pine forest and the moon


another found a  giant peach with a pip inside


I found a snowy tree in front of a starry sky


What can you find?


Snowflake garland

July 14, 2009


We have had a lovely time in a cabin in the snowy mountains for our winter holidays, and tried our hand at many crafts in between the igloo making, tobogganing, snowman making, snow train and train track making, coloured ice ball making, skiing and snowballing,  …. and one of the favourite indoor crafts was snowflake cutting.   We have ended up with so many paper snowflakes, we selected the best ones and strung them up as garlands by threading ribbon through the holes. 


our winter gnome was kept busy each night collecting up the stray paper scraps that eluded tired and busy fingers and left neat little paper trails to the fireplace to be discovered in the morning.  Our eldest declared that if you carefully collected the paper trail and threw it in the fire with one go, you could make a wish.  I think he wished for a weeks worth of snow, and he couldn’t have been happier with the result.

Whitsun dove

May 31, 2009


I tried a little tutorial for our whitsun doves this year… of course you can just make the simple versions with just body and wings, but we added a few firey embellishments to ours which don’t look out of place with the last of the Autumn colours on our trees right now. 


Step 1 – gather your materials

wooden bead, wool with needle for threading, small paper doily, two matching dove shapes cut out of paper, tissue paper in flame colours cut into leaf or flame shapes, sticky tape, and glue

Step 2 – thread the bead onto the end of your wool and tie in place.  this will give a little weight to the bottom so it hangs nicely and stops the dove sliping off. 

Step 3 – hold both bird shapes together and snip a cut from the middle of the back down to the middle of the birds. (This will hold the wings later)

Step 4 – tape the end of the wool and the wool above the bead onto one bird cutout, so the bead will hang just below the bird


Step 5 – glue the second bird over the first to hide the wool ends.  Make sure the length of  wool comes out at the slit.


Step 6 – fold up the doily concertina fashion, and thread the wool length through the middle, making a hole with the needle. 


Step 7 – hold the concertina folds together in the middle and slide down the wool until it sits in the slit you made in the body of the bird for the wings.  Once in place, gently fan out the ends of the doily to create open wings.


Step 8 – thread tissue paper flames onto your wool above the dove, poking holes through with your needle as you go. 

Step 9 – unthread the needle, tie a loop at the top of your wool and hang. 


Saints and Dragons

April 23, 2009

I posted our St George story last year, so this year I thought I would share some autumn dragons which have appeared around the house. 


 Our dragon bread always seems to get eaten before anyone has taken a photo!  He must be a very ellusive creature.  This year we used the point of scissors to snip scales in the dough after I had shaped it, (the boys really enjoyed this) and painted him with tomato paste and pesto for green and red highlights before baking.  Delicious!  No wonder he was eaten quickly. 

Instead of dying some capes of courage, we took the opportunity to over dye some of our old faded clothes with golden yellow, and the results were lovely.  Instead of faded navy and washed out reds and yellows we have a two toned green and bright oranges,  and golden yellows again.  Perfect for our autumn colours just starting to turn here. 

Have fun overcoming your dragons this St George’s Day

Good Friday Eggs

April 10, 2009

Today marked the start of the Easter long weekend, and with that we embarked on our hard boiled eggs.  We started with three food dye baths (1 teaspoon colouring; red, blue or yellow, one teaspoon vinegar, 1/2 cup of water and a wax candle was used for a few drawn designs before dying) and after a few casualties ( three egg omlette now planned for dinner, one hard boiled egg eaten for lunch)  and a little mixing from the eldest,  voila, a rainbow of eggs ! 



February 3, 2009

Usually at this time of year the winds start blowing some wisps of cooler air through the evenings, and the worst of the summer heat has been quenched by thunderstorms and a few welcome overcast days.  NOT THIS YEAR!  Usually we spend candlemas melting down our old stubs from christmas  (and the rest of the year) making sand candles, dipping candles, or even rolling fresh beeswax ones.  This year it was just too hot still, so all we could do was sort out our stubs into colours, and put fresh candles from our supplies in the holders and candlesticks, … and we wait for the cooler weather …


Above is one of last year’s sand candles on our nature table this year.  The boys love to set shells in the sand before pouring in the wax to create little sandcastle looking candles.  We like to say this little blessing as we make them.  

Bless this little candle light

May it shine so true and bright

May it catch the warmth of sun

and shed it’s glow when darkness comes. 


Our storytime candle  (verse below)

Fire faeries come to earth,

and the fire faeries come,

bringing golden light from the sun…

We snuff our candle at the end of the story so we don’t “blow away” the mood the story has set

Goodbye fire faeries,

time to say goodbye, 


Golden wheat

January 24, 2009

Something we have done for a few years now is to set aside a 1m square plot somewhere in the garden in spring, and sow some wheat.  The golden heads drying out in the summer heat really evokes seasonal change in a good way (as opposed to the rest of the garden wilting and struggling).  


We have harvested the grain heads now (we have a little hand sythe, but scissors work best for the kids)  and it sits waiting next to some baskets, sushi mats and small rolling pins to husk or thresh and winnow the grain.  We also have two small hand coffee grinders which we use to grind the grain, and some jars to hold the outcomes from all the different processes.     Once enough flour is produced, we make some pancakes or bake bread, and continue grinding with renewed enthusiasm.  The children (and their friends) love to have a go at separating or grinding the wheat, and having it set up in a corner of the kitchen means they are free to give it a try any time they feel inclined, and it always amazes me just how much a 1m plot can yield. 

Above is last year’s plot next to the cubby house (this year it was at the back of the garage, not so picturesque).   The straw (stalks) have been saved (earmarked for Christmas ornaments later this year) and a handful of grain carefully put away for next year’s plot.  We also tried oats this year, but we are not sure how we are going to roll them yet.