Press the berries through a strainer with a wooden spoon and add the vinegar and salt- that's it!
Step 2. Put into pretty jar. We found these at a thrift store.
Step 3. Finding the goose feather was a bit more tricky... We drove around looking for one of these:
If we can find this in the middle of the desert I'm pretty sure they can be found anywhere.
Step 4. Take pictures of neighbors cute chickens and think of Sally, our old chicken.
Step 5. Knock on door of farmer to ask if you can poke around his yard looking for a couple of lost feathers from his geese.
Step 6. No answer. so...sneak to side yard where geese are on the other side of chain link fence, reach hand through fence and grab two feathers from the grass without looking like a crazy thief. Do not stop to photograph the honking geese! Wave to the neighbor watching you from across the street with raised eyebrow and drive home quickly.
Step 7. Snip the end of the quill on an angle and tada!
I always like to have some sort of gratitude ritual going on with the girls. The other weekend we found the most magnificent manzanita branches dead on the side of the road. Someone had been pruning their much larger tree. The branch was huge and way too big to stick in my car so I drove to the local hardware store where I bought a pocket saw. I can't believe it had taken me this long in my life to own one of these things! It folds up and can be kept in my car or my purse! It seems I'm often in the situation where one of these could come in handy. I've kept rose clippers in my car for years, but a saw!!! ohhh, the possibilities! For all those out there that make treasures out of things found on nature walks but haven't been able to get them home will understand- that branch that would just be perfect for blocks, or a postcard holder, or something to whittle into a little... you get the idea.
So, here is one small piece of the excellent manzanita tree that we are using for our gratitude tree this month. We just write something we're grateful happened each day and tie it to a branch.
We found these bamboo drinking straws in the clearance bin at a local supermarket. I thought they were a great find in general for use as a straw, but then we thought we'd try making flutes out of them.
The power drill was our weapon of choice for this. It worked better to drill tiny holes first and then bigger ones because bamboo does split easily.
We rolled up sandpaper to smooth out the holes after they were cut and put a wad on bees wax in the bottom of the flute to block it. The girls just spaced all the holes in whatever way they wanted. It was definitely an experiment in how it would sound with the holes in random places and different sizes. There are instructions online for making a toned accurate flute, but we were just playing around.
We also experimented with the angle at the top. The one that worked best was the slant on the opposite side of the lip, like a Japanese shakohachi. This activity is not those without patience. It look quite a bit of effort to get this to sound like a flute. I would definitely recommend 7 and over and make sure a child can first get a good sound off of a glass bottle before trying this.
These were inspired by small bamboo flutes found in every little souvenir shop in Japan. It would be fun to decorate with paper like this as well. Also, check our amazon store for lots of bamboo flutes!
These necklaces make a great craft and can be personalized in so many ways. Here we took the kanji (Chinese charter used in Japanese) for "friend."
I've done similar ones as a craft for our church using the the sanskrit symbol for 'om,' which also came out really cute. The key is using materials that you'd actually want to wear. Here we used a hemp cord and wrote in permanent bronze marker on a stone purchased at a craft store in the jewelry making section. It already had a pre-drilled hole.
Just google whatever symbol it is you're wanting, then print it out and of course practice a few times before you put it on the stone.
Other ideas are using small seashells, little pieces of driftwood, a found stone, small paper mache. There are so many languages that use different alphabets, Thai, Arabic, Korean just to name a few. It's a great way to learn something about another country and of course makes a great conversation starter as people always want to know what it says.
The girls are really into theses paper cut outs these days and I seems to find them all over the house.
I like using origami paper for non-traditional origami paper crafts and vice versa.
We are lovin' these necklaces out of Japanese paper from a fabulous Etsy shop, gamiworks. It came in a matching little container and spurred many ideas for future crafts.
Jacaranda trees are in bloom! They have excellent seedpods for making little 'kiddies' out of. We sometimes make angels out of the in which case we glue wings to the back and usually omit the beret.
The nice thing about using natural materials for crafts is that they not only make for beautiful objects, but they have children looking at nature in a different way. All seed pods are potential treasures. Acorn tops are hats, bark becomes boats or blocks, etc. We usually come home with stuffed pockets from our walks. I was once with an adult running group and I was constantly bending over picking up treasures to take home. After a few weeks of ridicule there were quite a few in the group joining me in finding the perfect acorn cap or twig or eucalyptus pod. Appreciation of small beautiful objects is contagious.
I small wooden ball is glued to the top of the pod, wool roving glued on as hair with the cap on top. super simple. I did this with a first grade class and then we hung them up from the ceiling. The whole room was full of floating angels. beautiful.
The girls usually do freeform embroidery. Occasionally they will draw out a picture first, but usually they just start right in with needle and thread.
I recently had an excellent ebay win for a dozen linen hankies for under $10 including shipping! I know I get a little too excited about the winning aspect of ebay sometimes, but alas I've known I have a somewhat addictive personality for quite some time now.
The little sister usually sews with her teeth!
We have so many beautiful items in our home made out of silk that I like to raise a batch of silk worms each year as a reminder to the kids as to where all these beautiful items come from. It is a lot of work to create silk!
First he selects himself a good site and begins the process of spinning his house. There. Now the rough form is in place and he fills it in.
His home is finished. Now the inner transformation takes place. In a little over a week he will emerge with wings and leave his silk home behind to be spun into all sorts of wonderful things.
Here he is transformed. I only use 'he' because of those eyebrows! I just can't imagine a 'she' sporting those whompers!
They emerge as flightless moths. Usually in commercial silk production the cocoons are boiled while the caterpillars are still inside. Only a small portion grow into moths for the eggs.
The silk, which is then boiled, cleaned and spun into tread.
Then the eggs are laid. At this point (luckily) they can be frozen until next spring when we raise another generation. Once a year is plenty for me.
Thank you silk worms for all your beautiful gifts!
This is an easy way for children to connect with where things come from aside from 'the store.' There is a process to all things and that realization has been absent from many peoples' awareness in the recent generations.
it's always all about connection...
I try to keep the same standard of responsible consumption for our art supplies as well. I try to use things that can eventually end up in the compost and return to the earth. I also like the girls to know and realize the connections of where things come from. Our crayons are made of bee's wax, the paint brushes are wooden, the paints we use are from minerals. We order them online or buy them at a Waldorf school but they know that before the store it came from the earth, a tree or an animal. The separation many children have from the origin of the things in their life are very common these days. Their things come 'from the store.' I believe that if people were more conscious of the link between where things came from and the production side of things they would be far more likely to care for our planet.
I like to have jars of goodies around for the girls to create from.