Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Teaching Handwork

Teaching handwork is....

Introducing natural fiber through the senses.

Warming up the fingers, hands and body.

Songs, verses and stories.

Winding yarn into balls.

Knitting and crocheting projects.

Naturally dyeing organic wool yarn for future projects.

I have the pleasure of teaching Waldorf-inspired, Sacramento-area homeschoolers and their parents handwork each week in our Community Handwork Circle:

Here is one of my favorite books: 
A First Book of Knitting for Children

Casting on Verse (J. Tan)
Look up at the sky (hand pulls yarn resting on index finger upward)
Turn towards the sun (index finger turns away from body, yarn twists into loop)
The sun is setting (loop comes down the needle)
Now the day is done (tighten the loop on the needle)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Biodynamic Gardening and Composting

Biodynamic gardening is a work in progress!  There is so much to learn.  We are starting off with a compost pile, built according to biodynamic principals.  Mommy took a workshop at Steiner College and got to see some large compost piles in action at Raphael Garden.

At home, we created our own pile with layers of straw, manure, greens, and lime/ash.  Soon, we will add the biodynamic preparations to it.





The kids helped shovel, cut and cover the pile. 

Once or twice per week, we check and record the temperature using a really long thermometer. We are hoping that the pile will get to around 130 degrees F.

Signs of decomposition!  Mushrooms, bugs, earthworms.... 

We drew about composting in our Main Lesson Books, showing how we layered the pile, the stages of decomposition, and the biodynamic preparations.

Next, we learned about the Zodiac and drew a wheel showing days that are good for planting and harvesting.

The Astro-Calendar is helping us learn more about when to sow and harvest.

More biodynamics to come....
The Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar 2010
Gardening for Life - The Biodynamic Way: A Practical Introduction to a New Art of Gardening, Sowing, Planting, Harvesting

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Naturally Dyeing Easter Eggs

Dyeing Easter eggs with natural ingredients is a lot of fun to do as a family each year!  We now have a little eBook that shows you how to do it, including pictures and a list of resources.  The eBook is just $3.50 and is emailed to you in pdf format the day that you order.  There is a link on the left side of this page, or you may order it through our Etsy shop.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Learning German at Home

German is truly a "foreign" language to us parents.  Fortunately, we have connected with a wonderful woman, Margaret, who is teaching us German in exchange for spinning lessons!  We love bartering.

On Fridays, we venture over to Steiner College where Margaret goes to school.  We enjoy a healthy biodynamic lunch and learn German from her.  She reads to us and we plan to sing songs in the future. 

The older children write German phrases in their Main Lesson Books, and Mommy reads the same book that Margaret reads to us after circle time.

As we've mentioned in our eBook, learning a foreign language is all about speaking, singing, moving, and repeating!  The more we do it, the easier it gets.  And, we get more confident along the way. 

We are enjoying finding the similarities between German and English words, just as we've done with Greek and Latin.  One new resource that we love is & Nancy's has a few books in German, as does Steiner College Bookstore. Now, it's time to make a puppet that we can use for German conversations at home!

Frohliche Weihnachten: Learning Songs & Traditions in German Book & Audio CD (Teach Me) (Teach Me...) (German Edition)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

St. Patrick's Day and Easter in the Dell

We are decorating our Dell "nooks" to celebrate the upcoming holidays of St. Patrick's Day and Easter.  Fun!

Wilson found some beautiful Emerald stones at a new age store this week. They are at the feet of St. Patrick!  He was felted by Jen DiMonte and is available for purchase in her new Etsy shop:

Lucy Leprechaun is happy to join St. Patrick when she has a chance.

Our Candlemas pictures are down, so we watercolored greens and yellows as backgrounds for our oil pastels of St. Patrick's symbols: clovers, rainbows and a pot o'gold!

The wood basket was a nifty-thrifty find at a Goodwill store.  We filled it with one of our naturally dyed velour fabric pieces, a crocheted nest that Joey made, and a felted bird from Mama Rose Wickler. The fairy flower garland on top is from last year's fairy swap with the Bits of Goodness yahoogroup.

Ricky's bowl that he made in ceramics class this month is the perfect color to hold a  baby chick in a basket, also felted by Jen D.

The kids' latest watercolor paintings serve as backgrounds in the nooks.  The three kids are taking Waldorf-inspired watercoloring, Eurythmy and handwork classes for homeschoolers:

Our winter nook is slowly changing from Winter to Spring....

Joey spun up some pink yarn for Valentine's Day.  Ricky crocheted it into a nice hanger for our Syrendell Academy sign.  Wilson learned how to crochet flowers this week out of his handspun yarn, so we added them to the sign.

Our Etsy shop is full of yarns, streamer sticks and sprites, perfect for the upcoming holidays.

Looking forward to reading stories, creating puppet shows and felting eggs! We can't wait to try the Ukrainian egg dyeing kit from Steiner College bookstore. A friend of ours is going to show us the technique next weekend.Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring

Magical Window Stars
Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs: The Story of the St. Patrick's Day Symbols