Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

We are celebrating leaving 2010 and embracing 2011!

Out With the Old....

Cleaning up the yard and turning the compost pile 

 Finishing books that are partially read

Pulling out those "UFOs" (unfinished objects) to finish or recycle

Putting away holiday decorations (except these cute wood and felted snowmen from Daddy...we'll keep these out!)

In With the New....

Creating new crocheted and felted items for the Etsy shop

Blending aromatherapy sprays for the home and school

Designing the Summer garden and ordering organic seeds

Changing the nature table (pictures of the Three Kings to come!)

Have a Happy, Peaceful, Balanced, Joyous 2011!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Handmade Holiday Gifts

Joey's Sewn Horse for Wilson


This year, we made an effort to handmake the majority of our gifts for the holidays.

Scarves for aunts, brothers, cousins and great-grandma.

Herbal tea for uncles and neighbors.

Tunisian crocheted hats for the children.

Ricky crocheted gnome puppets for Wilson.

Crocheted bookmarkers from Wilson for family and teachers.

Ricky felted/crocheted a headband and choker for his cousin.

And...wood sprites for nieces, felted ornaments and more, but already wrapped up before we got pictures!

Hope your handmade holidays are blissful and sweet.  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

King Winter Is Here!!

 Everything You Need to Celebrate King Winter's Arrival in Your Home or School! 41 Pages of Waldorf Crafting, Recipes, Stories, Songs, Verses, Poems and Activities.

Introducing Little Acorn Learning's *NEW* King Winter Theme Book!

Including special appearances by Jack Frost his Ice Fairies

~ A collaboration of love from Little Acorn Learning to help you celebrate the coming of Winter in your home or school

With Contributions by:
~ Eileen Straiton, Little Acorn Learning
~ Jodie Mesler, Home Music Making
~ Jennifer Tan, Syrendell

*Create a Magical Needle Felted King Winter Puppet
*Read All About How the Ice Fairies and Jack Frost Prepare for King Winter's Arrival!
*Enjoy Two MP3 King Winter Songs Written JUST for Little Acorn Learning Along with Song Sheets and Pentatonic Song Music to Use with the Penny Whistle or Flute in Your Winter Lesson Plans
*Enjoy Verses and Fingerplays in the Waldorf Tradition
*Make a Winter Solstice Wish with Your Family
*Enjoy a Bowl of Baked Winter Oatmeal and a Frozen Treat!
*Play Winter and Jack Frost Games
*Explore Ice with Your Children!
*Read a VERY Old Tale of King Winter
*Enjoy Additional Book Recommendations from Little Acorn Learning to Bring into Your King Winter Theme
And...some exciting giveaways!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Waldorf Watercolor Postcard Giveaway!

Please visit Jen Dimonte's beautiful blog, Ancient Hearth this weekend!  If you leave a comment, you will be entered to win one of Rick's postcards.

Tunisian Crochet Video!

Our Tunisian Crochet Video is now available through The Bearth Institute!  Come and see Jennifer show the basics of Tunisian crochet.  It is easy and fun to learn as a whole family.  Tunisian crochet is not quite knitting, and not quite crocheting.  It is easier on the hands and wrists, quicker than knitting, and uses less yarn than traditional crocheting. Fun to learn over winter vacation!  Also compliments our new Gnome Hat pattern in our Etsy shop.

Learn how to Tunisian Crochet in record time with this 20-minute video by Jennifer Tan. In the video she shows you how to cast on, crochet your beginning rows, modify your pattern, and create a scarf, muff or blanket. You will be amazed at how quickly you can finish a project with this crochet method and how easy this is to teach to children ages five and above. Jennifer tells you all you need to know in this video - from how to purchase Tunisian crochet hooks to what kind of yarn you should use. You could download this video and finish a holiday gift in less than an hour!  DVD Download

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gnomes at Home!

"The gnomes, particularly from autumn on and through the winter, in their wanderings through ore and rock, bear with them what has trickled down to them through the plants.  They are the beings within the earth which carry the ideas of the whole universe on their streaming, wandering journey through the earth."  -- Rudolf Steiner, Harmony of the Creative Word.

Gnomes have been visiting our home lately.  So lucky!

Wilson Gnome
Hat pattern is available in our Etsy shop.  It's Tunisian-crocheted and very easy to make!  Wilson loves to wear this hat during the cold mornings.

Joey Gnome
A variation on our hat pattern.  Joey and Mommy share this hat which features the Tunisian simple stitch and knit stitch.  This also makes a cute baby hat!

Garden Gnome
A gift from Grandma and Grandpa.  Haven't see any slugs eating the veggies since he arrived!  Our garden protector.

Morrie Gnome
Wilson's 8th grade buddy Morrie, at Davis Waldorf School, knitted this beautiful gnome and blanket for him.  Wilson named the gnome "Morrie".  She likes to watch Wilson knit on the couch.

A wonderful article on Biodynamic Gardening, gnomes and composting can be found in this month's Lilipoh magazine.  Hopefully the gnomes are enjoying our compost pile!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Tea - Rhythm of the Home

As many of us know, Rhythm of the Home magazine is a beautiful resource, full of inspiration, ideas and joy!

The new Winter edition is out today.  Hooray!  Our article on how to make Winter tea is in the "Warmth" section of the magazine.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Learn Knitting, Crochet, Spinning and Aromatherapy

Upcoming Syrendell Workshops!  Go to our website to register.

Handwork in the Dell Workshop - Beginning Knitting December 5, 2010
10:00am - 12:00pm
Davis, California
Price includes yarn used during the workshop, a pdf handout (emailed), and organic snacks. Knitting needles available to use. Spindles, knitting needles, crochet hooks, wool roving, yarns, fiber arts supplies, books, silks and other items available for purchase at a discount during the workshop. $30

Handwork in the Dell Workshop - Beginning Crochet
December 5, 2010
1:00pm - 3:00pm
Davis, California
Price includes yarn used during the workshop, a handout, and organic snacks. Crochet hooks available to use. Spindles, knitting needles, crochet hooks, wool roving, yarns, fiber arts supplies, books, silks and other items available for purchase at a discount during the workshop. $30

Aromatherapy in the Dell
December 20, 2010
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Fair Oaks, California
Price includes all materials (including oils used during the workshop), a pdf eBook, snacks and two aromatherapy products. Supplies, books and other items available for purchase at a discount during the workshop. $40 (Note...this is in Fair Oaks)


Handwork in the Dell - Beginning Spindle Spinning January 9, 2011
10:00am- 12:00pm
Davis, California
Price includes all spinning fiber used during the workshop, a pdf handout (emailed), and organic snacks. Spindles, knitting needles, crochet hooks, extra roving, fiber arts supplies, books, silks and other items available for purchase at a discount during the workshop. $30

Friday, November 26, 2010

Felting a Winter Queen Tutorial

O Winter Queen!
Thy crown silver and bright
Snowdrifts spiral from your cape

O Winter Queen!
Thy dress blue, purple, white
Long hair curls at the neck's nape

Give us light!
Wisdom and sight!
O Winter Queen
1.  White wool roving (corriedale, romney, other)
2.  White wool locks for hair
3.  Blue, purple, flesh-tone or other colors of wool roving
4. Angelina fiber for sparkle
5.  Tin foil
6.  Needle felting needles and foam base

Step One - Prep The Fiber
If needed, card your wool fiber so that it is easy to needlefelt. 

Step Two - Body  With one piece of white roving, wrap around and around until you have a long cylinder shape, a bit longer than the height that you want your queen to be.  Needlefelt until it feels connected.  The body does not have to be felted solid unless you prefer it that way.  Tie a piece of yarn at the neck and needlefelt the head portion into a more spherical shape.  Turn the body upside down and needlefelt the base to be a bit wider so that it will stand.  With a wisp of flesh-tone roving, wrap the head and gently needlefelt in place.

Step Three - Cape and Dress
Pull apart wisps of white roving for the cape.  Each piece will be needlefelted into the neck area, drape downward (lightly needlefelt to the body), and then swirl outward from the body in snowdrifts.  To make the ends spirl/swirl, pinch the end with your fingers and roll the end in one direction, then needlefelt to hold the shape.  Add as many of these cape pieces as you want around the sides and the back.  You might want the cape wool to be a different wool or shade of white than the body.  With wisps of purple and blue roving, spiral and layer along with white on the dress portion that shows in the front under the cape.  A circle brooch may be made by twisting slender pieces of roving and then spiraling around into a circle.  Add wisps of angelina fiber as you felt for an icy sparkle. Needlefelt until you feel that everything is attached and shaped the way that you like it.

Step Four - Hair
Wool locks are wonderful and provide instant curly hair!  Layer these on the top of the head and needlefelt into the head and neck and (carefully) into the cape, as needed.  In our pictures, we had slender strips of wool that we layered and twisted instead of locks.  You can also take roving, pull into strips, twist, and create your own hair.
Step Five - Crown
With tin foil, fashion a crown by cutting and folding to fit the head of the queen.  A tin foil scepter is another option.

Continue to needlefelt with a smaller needle, all of the finishing touches, including shaping hair, head, body and cape.  Make sure that the base is balanced so that she will stand on her own.  Now, place her in your nature table, showcasing the coming of Winter!  Sing songs, write stories and read poems to her and thank her for bringing wisdom and light during this darker time of the year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Waldorf Watercolor Calendar

Based on requests from loyal customers, we are now offering Rick's wet-on-wet watercolor art in a beautiful wall-size calendar! 

Twelve of his original paintings are within the calendar, one for each month of the year.  We have a couple available in the Etsy shop, and can order more upon request.  Beautiful for homes, offices, and classrooms.

Click here to order.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Music at Home

Music is a large part of our lives.  We often get asked how we infuse music into our home. 

We do this every day!  We sing when we rise and we sing when we go to sleep.  We sing as we walk around the house.  At times, we sing together with the piano and work on harmony... everything from serious songs to silly stuff!

Taking lessons on the piano, guitar, harp and wind instruments occurs at certain ages.  The children select wind instruments based on interest, and Jennifer checks their fingers and embouchure.  Piano is learned first which gives a strong basis for understanding music theory and note-reading.  When possible, we perform together and in groups (band, jazz band, ensembles, recitals).  Next up is auditions for honor bands and attending music camp!

Watching professional performances, listening to CDs, and listening to Mommy and Daddy play and sing occurs regularly.  Sometimes a local symphony offers special shows for families!  We also watch each other perform at recitals and concerts.

Music theory and composition are part of what we learn at home as the children grow older.  Composition can be as simple as making up a song and singing it, to writing out the music for multiple instruments/voices. A basket full of percussion instruments (small drums, claves, afuche, guiro, triangle, bells, shakers, rattles, tambourines) and basic wind instruments (tin whistle, ocarina, kazoo) is a nice way to get everyone involved in music-making... even guests!  Learning the pentatonic and diatonic wood flutes and the lyre also occur and become a part of circle time, ritals and celebrations. 

There is no doubt that surrounding ourselves with music makes life more interesting...and brings us joy!