two sets of grandparents, a few dear friends, a party in the park, two missed naps, three late nights, playgrounds, an afternoon at the children's museum, fountain splashing, window shopping, meals out on the town.....and we are all worn out!
when i have said my evening prayer and my clothes are folded on the chair and mother switches off the light, i'll still be two years old tonight. but from the very break of day, before the children rise and play, before the darkness turns to gold, tomorrow i'll be three years old, three kisses when i wake, three candles on my cake.
sienna loves wet felting playmats for her wee dolls, gnomes, fairies, and animals. in the past she has done many a lake, pond, and river playmat. when she received wee mermaids for solstice, she knew right away that a new playmat was in order....an ocean and beach scene! here's how we did it:
you will need:
wool roving in the colors of your choice dish soap bubble wrap or bamboo blinds a pitcher or large cup
begin by spreading the fibers of your roving. this is an important step in the felting process! you don't want any clumps. pull it thin.
as you lay your fibers out on the bubble wrap, be sure to criss cross the layers. some strands go vertically, the next horizontally. this will aide in the felting process, too. also, if you are abutting two colors like we did here, be sure to overlap them a bit so that they can felt to one another more easily.
you need to add many more layers than you would think or you will end up with holes. you will have a big puffy cloud when you are ready to begin.
here is what ours looked like before we began the felting.jasper wanted to do one, too. here's his creative layout.next, fill your pitcher with a dash of dish soap (i don't believe that brand matters, but some folks swear by dawn for felting) and hot water. if you are doing this with children, be mindful of their threshold when preparing the water. carefully pour the water over the fibers wetting the entire surface.fold the bubble wrap carefully over the top, sandwiching the playmat in between.
at first, you will want to gently massage the wool through the bubble wrap. the idea here is to get the fibers to stick together before you start the vigorous felting.
you can lift up the plastic and check your progress. if you see that you have obvious holes or thin spots, now is a good time to add some more roving. when you see that the fibers are starting to stick together in one piece a bit, you can begin more vigorous action. sienna firmly agitated the wool through the plastic.rolling it up and smooshing it (technical term) under your weight is very helpful. encourage your child to put their body weight into it.jasper had his own techniques. ;) he even used a mallet! i wouldn't suggest it, though it did work out for him.
continue this action until firmly felted. it could take 15 minutes or so. add more soap and hot water as needed. you can even *flush* it with cold water in between. the change from hot to cold shocks the fibers and aids the felting process.when they were finished, i rinsed the mats well and put them in the dryer with some tennis balls. (it's true!) this firms them up a bit more and made the finished product a bit thicker. we only left them in for a few minutes and let them finish drying on their own in the sun.here's her finished mat!
here's jasper's. he says it is part of a dog. ??sienna wanted *four blue sea stars washing up on the shore*. so, i needle felted those on for her.
the finished mat in action.i love that i can tuck the mermaids and some shells inside and roll it up. we are going on a long road trip next week and this will come in handy!
i had to add these last two pics as i found this after i had already started writing this post. she said the mermaid was admiring the sea star. so sweet!as soon as she received the mermaid couple, she went and found this wee wool baby from a story set of mine. here she has tucked the baby into a shell cradle. i never tire of the imagination and creativity that open ended toys provide!
a great way to do this with younger children is inside a ziploc baggie as described here. this is how we started a couple of years ago.
we hope you enjoy making your own playmats! we'd love to see them if you do!
several months ago, i joined with many women to make an ornament for kelly via the wellness tree. sadly, cancer has claimed kelly and she has left behind her husband, matt, and her young son, ari. there is not much i can say here, as honestly this is still difficult for me to process. i just never believed that she wouldn't recover. i can not imagine the pain and loss her family has been left with. i knit this square to be a part of a very special blanket for sweet ari. tonya, of plain and joyful living, has graciously taken on the task of stitching together squared from mamas all over the globe to create a blanket of love for kelly's son. thank you tonya for taking up this mission and creating a way for us to all put our creative energies to use in the wake of this tragedy. thank you, nicole, for sharing kelly and her story with us. it has touched a part of me that will never be the same. thank you to kelly's family for so allowing us into your lives and to send our love to you.
we celebrate each turn of the season in our home. the night before the solstice or equinox i change out our seasonal table. our children awake to a couple of gifts to enhance their seasonal play wrapped and waiting at the breakfast table. typically, they get a seasonal book and a handmade toy (either made by me or an etsy artist).
we incorporate activities to celebrate the changing season into our daily rhythm and prepare for our celebratory dinner throughout the day. today the children chose burgers on the grill and corn on the cob, both summer favorites, for our special meal. i made another pavlova and did my best to capture the essence of the sun in this scrumptious dessert. seasonal celebrations, or any festival for that matter, need not need be elaborate. simply laying the table with a fresh cloth and adorning it with fresh flowers helps to set the mood for a special meal. including children in the preparations is just as important as the celebration itself! we sing songs and often i tell a special story to mark the occasion. today, we found ourselves singing about our friends the bees all day.
festive drinks are a favorite treat. here a glass of sparkling apple cider sits with a jar of clover picked enthusiastically by sienna for our table.
we intended to end our evening with a backyard fire and some firefly chasing. however, during dinner there came a sudden and intense thunderstorm that poured down solid sheets of rain. this mama loves a good thunderstorm so i was not complaining! the children were disappointed though so we scheduled a rain date with the fireflies. hope you all enjoyed your day, however you celebrated and even if you didn't! happy summer to you all!
we enjoyed a lovely father's day together. daddy got to sleep in while we made him french toast topped with fresh raspberries and blueberries. the kids gifted him the branch necklaces they made for him and handmade cards. we lunched at a downtown indian restaurant followed by a walk around town. he had an evening soccer game so we joined him at the field and picnicked together afterward. lots of daddy love!
my own father stopped speaking to me just over a year ago so this day holds its challenges for me personally. it is helpful that matt is such a wonderful father and i can just focus on helping the children enjoy their daddy time.
happy solstice to you all!! summer is officially here. off to set up the summer nature table.....
this week we had nature art camp at dandelion hill. we made so many beautiful crafts! we pounded flowers and leaves with hammers to make these gorgeous banners. i forgot to take my camera to class that day, so this is a picture of the one i made hanging on our classroom door. we made these beautiful works by taking a piece of paper out to one of our beloved walnut trees and doing bark rubbings. we then did a watercolor wash over them. i LOVE how they turned out! jean and i are thinking on the same wave length this week! some of the children also did rubbings of leaves and flowers we had collected. i was so excited that we were having camp the week before father's day and would have an opportunity to make a gift for dad. i was inspired by this post. we sanded the tree slices smooth, hand stamped them, and rubbed them with beeswax polish. hope the daddy's enjoy them! it was such a joy to have both of my children in camp with me. these days are limited with sienna headed off to first grade next year.....
yesterday we had a play date at ms joy's house. since our days are numbered with our sweet mulberries and there were plenty on the ground, we collected a bucket full before we headed over. little did i know that she had scored some organic cherries for $1.99/lb at our local discount grocer and was wanting to make preserves!
she has wholeheartedly taken on the nourishing traditions diet. it is impressive the amount of time and energy she spends in her kitchen. with our cherries and freshly picked mulberries, we made preserves from a recipe in the book that uses lacto-fermenting and best of all, no cooking! funny thing was we had exactly the same amount of cherries and mulberries. so we each got to keep a cherry pint and a mulberry pint. the preserves need sit for only two days and then we can enjoy the deliciousness! what a lovely way to spend the day. the kids running around outside and us busy in the kitchen. i really like this idea. now that my kids are a little older, i would like to have more play dates like this. where the moms can be engaged in a project together while the children are entertaining each other. sure makes food prep more fun to have a friend by your side! naturally, when we left her house we had to go get some of those very affordable organic cherries for ourselves!! mmm-mmmm!
here's to the season's bounty of fresh fruit and berries!
i spent my whole life singing the refrain *here we go round the mulberry bush*. it wasn't until we moved into this house three years ago that i learned it is really a tree. we are very fortunate to have a very large one in our backyard. every june, it showers us with mulberries, so sweetly divine. they don't keep well so you won't find them in the grocery. the berries on our tree are a gorgeous deep purple when they are ripe and quite lengthy. the harvest doesn't last for long so we try to spend as much time under that tree collecting her fruit as we can. this year we have made mulberry cobbler (gluten-free and delicious!), many a mulberry smoothie, and today i am making my first batch of freezer jam. this morning, sienna grabbed the berry basket and went out first thing to harvest enough for our smoothies. mostly though, we gather under the tree and munch. the berries fall when ripe so it is a good idea to keep the grass cut short during this time.....or lay sheets (that you don't mind getting stained) out across the grass. the berries are so tasty that we have taken various measures to shake the limbs, begging them to release their sweet fruit for our delight. in that way, the mulberry tree also provides great entertainment! i was watching a friend's daughter yesterday. when my friend came to pick up her daughter after getting off work, she tasted her first mulberry ever. the ground had already been picked pretty clean by the kids so she scaled right up that tree high above our heads.....in her beautiful dress and all! her daughter was very impressed and cheering for her the whole time. one fell right on jasper's head with a loud thump, staining his blond hair purple.
the berry stained lips, hands, and feet are so sweet, too! they do make the birds poop purple which some are not too keen on.
we love you mulberry tree!
***don't forget to enter the giveaway on the post below. my sweet friend, emily, has caught the giveaway fever, too. visit her here.***