Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Autumn!

Happy Autumn!

We are taking our time celebrating Autumn this year. Something little each day.

Star Lanterns from our old watercolor paintings.

Sandbox for Letters/Numbers, Finding Treasures, Meditation (see for more info. on making the sandbox)

Needlefelting Dwarves Mining and Wet-felting Cave (instructions and more pics to come!)

Reading Autumn Poems and Singing Autumn Songs

Making Cornhusk Dolls

Cutting, Needlefelting, and Sewing Autumn King & Queen Crowns

Baking Vegan Harvest Herb Bread and Carrot Cake

Exploring the Magical Five Seeds in Apples

Felting Acorn People Finger Puppets
What are you doing to celebrate Autumn?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Creative Family Workshop

We hosted a Creative Family in the Dell workshop this past weekend. Three lovely families joined us for watercoloring, Steiner philosophy, fiber arts, music and more!

Steiner College provided yummy, biodynamic veggie enchiladas, and we had a salad with veggies from our garden and Sacramento Waldorf school's garden. We explored the garden and yard, looking for nature's treasures.

For fiber arts, we carded wool with two different sizes of hand carders and a drum carder. We did some needlefelting and spinning on spindles. With wooden finger puppet bases, we glued on acorn caps and some of our felted fiber to make little woodland people puppets.

We played some percussion instruments, sang songs and wrote verses to our children. We ended the day with a song that we made up as a group:

The day is done
Our work's begun
Singing in a circle
Thank you friends
For this time
The kids have played
And had some fun
The day is done

Thank you to the wonderful families who made this such a special day! More workshops to come. For more details about what we learned and shared, please see Rick's blog:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moving Picture Books

We made our first moving picture book!

In the book Pentatonic Songs by Elisabeth Lebret, we learned the song "The Dwarves". We played it on the lyre and sang the three verses together.

Following instructions in the book Moving Picture Books with Movable Figures by Brunhild Muller, we began making our book.

1. Stockmar beeswax crayons
2. White paper
3. Cardstock (construction paper or think cardboard work also work) for the covers, and a thin piece for the handle of the dwarf
4. Yarn
5. Scissors
6. Glue

Since there were three verses to the song, we decided to make three pages. First, Mommy, Joey and Wilson drew three background pages, then three foregrounds, all on white paper. We cut out the the foregrounds, then glued just the right and left edges to the backgrounds.

Next, Mommy drew two pictures of the same dwarf facing opposite directions, cut them out, then glued them together with the thin piece of cardstock in-between.

Wilson and Joey made a "twizzler" out of 4 pieces of yarn (twist two sets of two pieces in one direction, then twist them to each other in the opposite direction, tie a knot).

Mommy wrote the lyrics to the song on white paper and Joey colored them in, using colors that matched the background of the picture pages.

We drew the covers, glued the pages back to back, then punched two holes in everything along the left side.

We used heavy books stacked on top to help keep everything flat while the glue dried.

Once the pages were dry, we tied the twizzler through the holes and knotted them so that the book would open and close easily. We practiced moving the dwarf in each page while we sang and played the lyre. What fun! We definitely will make more moving picture books in the future.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Dell - Where We Learn

Our homelearning space is known as the "Dell", short for Syrendell. In our new home, the Dell is located in our dining room. We utilize a bookcase and a table that Daddy made. The dining room opens up with two French doors to a large deck, so when the weather is great, the Dell includes the outdoor space.

We have an easel from Grandma and Grandpa that we cleaned up and refurbished with some new chalkboard paint. This is located on the deck where we often do our form drawing, letter and number formations. We also love doing yoga and circle time on the deck, so we recently added a rug and meditation pillow. Comfy!

The book case has nine "nooks" which rotate. One nook features a nature table.

The other nooks feature math, language arts, fiber arts, science, music and more. The lowest nooks contain blocks, bean bags and other items that are within easy reach for Wilson. Each nook has one of our naturally dyed silks, or one of our woven or crocheted runners. It's nice to feature items that the kids helped make!

A bunch of our naturally dyed silks in different shapes are rolled up in one of our handwoven baskets on the floor. The kids' artwork is displayed in branch picture frames, or on the windows of the doors, or as backgrounds in the nooks.

The kids work and Main Lesson Books are located in our file cabinet within easy reach, and the cabinet features a project that we doing on top (right now there is a bird's nest that we found this summer in a wood bowl). The bookcase also has three cabinets where we keep art supplies, science equipment, reference books, paper. Storage is important!

In one corner, we have a naturally dyed piece of velvet covering some of our supplies (looks like a table!). On top are the library and other books that relate to our social studies for the week, as well as some foreign language books. Sometimes there is a manipulative, such as the Tubespace polydedra that you see in this picture. Also in this corner is a wood container for the recent artwork, kite paper for making window stars, and watercolor paper. Underneath is a sheepskin, making it a nice place to read or play.

Other items, like spinning wheels, small chalkboards, math gnomes, molding beeswax, wood dishes with acorns in them, planters growing herbs, or hands-on projects might be found here and there both inside and out on the's always a challenge to keep it neat, creative, and usable! Our goal is to make the Dell a space that the kids can use, and easily reach everything that they need. We will redecorate and clean the nooks in about a week when we celebrate the coming of Autumn...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Please Vote for Ricky's Handspun Yarn!

Ricky's handspun yarn got nominated by Etsy for "Which Yarn Gets You In A Knitty Mood?". Yay! The yarn is called "Candy" and our shop is tlwoldc. Please come vote! Each registered Etsy person can vote for one. Thanks, in advance! Here is the link to take you to the voting: