Sunday, November 29, 2009

By candle light

Giving thanks for this loving light, which fills my heart with serenity through the long nights of winter. Happy first Advent.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A walk in the fairy woods

Yesterday, it was the perfect autumn day. The air was warm, the sun shone brightly. So we put away our books and projects, ventured into the woods, and enjoyed the afternoon in all of its natural splendor. Around every turn, we found something mysterious and beautiful.

Singing within myself ~thank you for this day, thank you for this day... this healing, this healing day...
p.s. more pictures to come of Mia and her cute new haircut!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lantern Walk

Tonight we took a lovely walk in celebration of Martinmas. The story of the kindness and generosity of Saint Martin was told, and we learned beautiful songs around a bonfire. Then, through the meadows, we walked and contemplated. We had quite a few stops to relight lanterns, as the winds were blowing strongly, but it was wonderful time. One of my favorite songs is a traditional German one, "I walk with my lantern." I found a lovely recording on this nice blog. (Thank you, Farida!) I am so happy to have found a way to revisit the sweet lyrics and think of the beautiful procession of handmade lanterns.

Mia and Vivienne made these beautiful beeswax lanterns (thank you, Ines!)

Here is our version of the translation from the German Ich geh mit meiner Lanterne

I walk with my lantern,
My lantern goes with me.
Above the stars are twinkling,
And twinkling, too, are we.
When my light goes out, it's time to go home,
rabimmel , rabammel, rabum.

May the light shine brightly!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November delight

Now that the days are shorter and the air is cool, we are blessed with the return of a favorite special treat. In the late afternoons in front of our local grocery store, an old world vendor roasts chestnuts. The vendor, Sakshi, moved here many years ago from the Swiss village of Laufen. I cannot think of anything nicer than this wholesome, warm snack on a cold, damp autumn day.


Monday, November 9, 2009

A Tale of Two Crowns

My kids have been hard at work on various projects, just filled with creative excitement. Vivienne made a glorious woolen felt crown yesterday. She has a particular gift for getting an idea in her head and then just going for it. She cut the felt, fit and sewed it, decorated it and , Voila!, project complete!

The girls have had much fun in re-purposed clothes and scraps lately. I feel pleased that my family knows how to make the best out of what we have at hand. I also feel less mastered by my material wants than in the past. I realize that much of my materialistic desires have often been from a place of disconnect from my own creativity, as well as a well-tread habit of thinking. These days, I keep cancelling the catalog company mailings and try to stay true to my path of less is more. I have a strong dislike for malls and big box stores. If I can only rid myself of the habit of shopping thrift stores! I am always excited about the prospect of finding discarded treasures... whether they are bit of woolen yarn, fine ceramic dishes, cashmere sweaters, fabulous dress-up, or books. I have even found several beautiful Waldorf dolls in thrift shops! I suppose I can have this one vice! In fairness, I love to find treasures for other people, too, and take joy in uncovering a thrifty surprise. Balance is always good, and I pass up many more treasures than I used to. I try to remember to savor and enjoy what we already have.

Now that the days are drawing me inward, I hope to get out my sewing machine and have some fun! Here was my project from yesterday. I took a tunic top of mine that was coming apart, and used the beaded sash on it to make a pretty crown. I added a few buttons where sparkling bits were missing, and sewed a layer of woolen felt to the back. Mia took the body of the tunic to make a wonderful stretchy knit scarf. I love recycling!

~And a footnote about the new blog title photo... the lovely sun soap was a gift from my dear friend, Jen, who has been teaching me about soap making. With gratitude ~

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Learning about Norse Myths

Mia and I are having a splendid time learning the about Norse Mythology. The gods and their stories are very dramatic, complex, sometimes humorous, and well, tragic too. I love learning alongside Mia, and I find that I often think of the symbolism and the stories. As I go about my usual day, their characters and dilemmas come to mind. Our favorite book is the D'Aulaire's Norse Myths. This husband-wife author/illustrator partnership has been one of my favorites for some time. Their artwork is so inspired, so brilliant. We also have Padriac Column's Children of Odin ( available free online) and Kevin Crossley-Holland's book. Each have some good information. I appreciate the D'Aulaire's glossary because they give the proper pronunciations and I refer to it often in the telling of a story. I have enjoyed using the D'Aulaire's book to inspire my blackboard drawings as well. Next, we plan to make the runic alphabet in clay or wood. It is fascinating to look at some of the old runic stones of ancient times and imagine so long ago. Many days of the weeks have been named after these gods, and I am only now learning about them...I find that odd! Tuesday is named for Tyr's day, God of War, Wednesday- Wotan's day (old English for Odin, Father of All), Thursday- Thor's day, God of Thunder, Friday - Freya's Day, Goddess of Love, Beauty and Fertility. Here is a glimpse into our work...

blackboard drawing

Mia's main lesson drawing

Balder had a golden glow about him, and flowers sprouted from his footsteps.

Another interesting project that we did recently was make a Multiplication Clock (or Sun as I prefer to call it. ) The idea come from Robinsunne's webpage. It turned out beautifully, and it is really fun to see the number patterns laid out in this way. Math is one of those subjects that I feel need to be anchored in the practical and in the imagination, both. One source that we have been enjoying is a book called Life of Fred, which explains math concepts in a quirky story format.

One more favorite resource that I would like to mention is One to One: A Practical Guide to Learning at Home by Gareth Lewis. He has a website here. He has a lot of wonderful practical suggestions for home education for children up to age 11.

Monday, November 2, 2009

November Days: making things

It seems that we are starting to get busy around here with making things. The holiday season of giving is soon upon us, and I need to start to think about what I am planning to accomplish. Mia will be attending the farm enrichment classes doing a variety of handwork: knitting, felting, paper craft, and beeswax crafts. The squirrel is my first felted animal. I was reading the fairy tale The Squirrel's Wife, and got really inspired by the wonderful illustrations. I love how quickly the felting needle works it's magic.

Vivi's leaf banner and foil heart ornament

Mia's dreamcatcher

I love getting to support my friends and local artists in their creative endeavors as well. These sweet little cups are made by our dear friend, Heather Tinnaro. There are a number of local art sales that I plan to attend, including The Big Crafty and The River Arts District Studio Stroll, and farmers markets. I love etsy for wonderful handmade items as well.

Jasper sharing popcorn with his new friend

Whisky, frisky, hoppity hop,

Up he goes to the tree top!

whirly, twirly, round and round,

Down he scampers to the ground.

Furly, curly, what a tail!

Tall as a feather, broad as a snail!

Where's his supper? In the shell.

snappity, crackity, out it fell.

~from Wynstones Press's Autumn