Monthly Archives: March 2013

Gratitude Sunday–The Easter Edition

Easter MuscariSunday – The first muscari of the year bloomed!

Monday – The sunset reflecting off the lake today (as in a real sunset, with the sun and everything!).

Tuesday – Pumpkin Jack has completely decayed (except for the stem) and one of the seeds has started to grow a new plant!Cherry Blossoms 9Wednesday – Cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom and the streets are lined in pink!

Thursday – The grandmother who helped me at the park today so that Dora could ride the zipline without being scared.

Friday – Finding the hidden gnome at the local preserve at the very end of our hike with friends, just when we thought we would be leaving without having found it.

Saturday – Feeling pretty good, despite the previous day’s long hike in the sunny weather, proof that the rheumatalogical medicines are beginning to help!

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Easter, Gratitude Sunday
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Naturally-Dyed Easter Eggs

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs 1As we’ve been trying to do things more “au natural” around here, I thought that we’d try making natural Easter egg dye this year. I read several posts about it and kind of winged things in regards to making my dyes. I filled large mason jars about 3/4 full with my dyes, added a tablespoon of vinegar to each dye, added our eggs to the jars, and left the eggs sitting in the dyes for about 24 hours.Naturally Dyed Easter EggsWe did run into a couple of obstacles. We did two batches of eggs. For the first batch, we used eggs that I had blown out. These tended to float at the top of the liquid and thereby, only get dyed on one side. I tried holding the eggs under the liquid, so that liquid would fill the empty eggs, but I found that the egg membranes would create a seal over the hole I used to blow out the eggs. I then used a toothpick to try to hold back the membrane so that the egg would fill with the liquid and sink. This worked, but was time-consuming and then the next day, I had to repeat the process in reverse to drain the eggs.

For our second batch of eggs, we used hard boiled eggs. The big challenge with these was that I had to make sure that all of the dyes had cooled to room temperature or else the eggs would often crack. These eggs sunk just fine, obviously, but wherever they pressed against the glass of the jar, the dye color did not take. So, in general, I’d say that whether you use blown eggs or hard boiled eggs, you need to check on them several times and move them around to make sure that they get colored all over.

Overall, I liked the look of the natural dyes. They definitely aren’t as intense as store-bought dyes. They also produce a less consistent look, but I personally liked that. I did have problems with some of the dyes not producing the color that I had read that they would produce. For example, I read that boiling carrots would produce an orange dye, but after several attempts, I never was able to produce more than a pale orange liquid. I also was never able to get a dark green. Next year, I might just make the orange and green by blending the other colors. I did achieve several good colors using these items:

  • Yellow – turmeric (add turmeric to boiling hot water until desired color achieved)
  • Blue – boiled red cabbage (the liquid looked pink, but turned the eggs a light blue)
  • Indigo – grape juice
  • Pink – boiled red beets
  • Brown – tea, boiled chamomile flowers, and red onion skins all produced different shades of brown

No matter what coloring agent you use, be sure to add a tablespoon of vinegar to the finished dye to help the egg shell absorb the color.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Arts and Crafts, Easter
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Gratitude Sunday–March 24

Sunday – Dora’s response when our garage door opener broke and we opened the door manually. In order to open the door manually and keep the door in sync with the motor, Mr. Mo and I had to physically force the extremely heavy garage door up, while Secunda pushed the button. As soon as we got it all open, Dora yelled, “Yea for Secunda! She did it!”. Nightstand Reading

Monday – Books! They are like blood transfusions for my mind…

Tuesday – A working garage door. Yea for quick and efficient service at a reasonable price!Snow - Spring 2013 - 2lomoWednesday – The first day of spring.Thursday – Having a warm, safe home to shelter from the storm in. Ironically, we had some snow this afternoon, after having no snow all winter.Daffoldils 2Friday – Picking a vase full of daffodils and finding one tiny daffodil that is the perfect size to tuck behind a certain four-year-old girl’s ear.Tiny Daffodil 3Saturday – My new lotion recipe, which I will post when I have it absolutely perfected.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Gratitude Sunday
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Edible Flower Lollipops

Edible Lollipops 4

This project was not one that I had planned for us to do this year, since it entails cooking candy at extremely high temperatures, but Dora started arguing with me that people could not eat flowers and I felt that I just had to show her that some flowers were not only edible, but yummy. We bought our flowers from our local food co-op. They were labeled as edible and were 100% organic. Obviously, one shouldn’t go picking flowers from any old garden and eating them and one should be 100% sure about which flowers are edible before eating them. Ironically, Tertia (age 18) came in while we were making these and started arguing with me about the edibility of flowers also, so clearly this is a gap in my kids’ education that I have failed to address.

Edible Lollipops 3

I used theses directions for making spring flower lollipops. Some notes that we came away with are:

  • The flowers kind of shrivel up when you put them in the candy, so you can use a mold that is smaller than your flowers (Tertia insisted this was a case of cruelty to flowers and it kind of did seem like the flowers were crying out in pain as they were scalded to death with the candy mixture Smile )
  • SprinkleBakes mentions using a candy mold, but I couldn’t find any that were safe for using with hard candy, which gets much hotter than soft candies, so we used the powdered sugar method
  • These lollipops are extremely sweet, so I recommend making them when you know you’ll have a lot of people over. They look lovely, so would add an added extra to your table and people wouldn’t feel the need to eat more than one.
  • Use real white sugar to make these (we used a pseudo-white sugar that we get from the food co-op, because it is fair trade and slightly healthier than regular white sugar – our sugar made the lollipops kind of yellow-tinted, such that they looked a bit jaundiced).

All, in all, this taught Dora (and Tertia!) that some flowers are edible, but I wouldn’t make these again, unless I was doing it for a party. It might have been the cherry candy flavoring that we used, but I just found these to be too cloyingly sweet for our family.

Edible Lollipops 5

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Arts and Crafts, In the Kitchen, Nature Study, Spring
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Waldorf–Inspired Poetry, Song, and Movement Books for Preschool and Kindergarten

One thing that has proven extremely frustrating for me while pursuing information about Waldorf-inspired education, is the inability to see previews of Waldorf books before I order them. My library system carries very few of the books, so I can’t peruse them that way, unless I want to deal with an interlibrary loan, which may or may not get filled and even if it does get filled, usually takes months to receive. Then, many of the stores that sell Waldorf books have a “no refund” policy on books or charge restocking fees or only give store credit. So I’ve ended up purchasing several books that I have regretted. In an effort to help other people avoid the same pitfalls, I thought I would try to give you all the previews and information that the online Waldorf stores do not provide. I do want to note that many books were written many years ago, before computers were available, and had to be self-published. Also, some books were written by Waldorf pioneers, who have since passed on. I am going to be honest and tell you if the typography on such books leaves something to be desired, but I  mean no disrespect to the authors’ hard work.

Today I am only going to be discussing the books of songs and poetry, which often form the very foundation of a Waldorf-inspired preschool or kindergarten education. The three things that I have found most lacking in these books are good typography, indexes, and accompanying CD’s (I can read music, but I prefer, whenever possible, to listen to someone else sing a song before I sing it to Dora).

To go directly to a particular book review, click on the title below:

For a list of online merchants that sell these books, click here or scroll to the end of the page.




Dancing As We Sing CoverLet Us Form a Ring CoverAcorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten and Nursery has released two anthologies, which are distributed by The Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN)Dancing As We Sing and Let Us Form a Ring were written with the Waldorf teacher very much in mind and are more appropriate for larger groups of children than are available in most homeschools. They both provide a variety of seasonal and other circle plays and singing games. Each circle play/singing game is comprised of several poems and songs put together, tied by a theme. There are some movement directions provided for the teacher. It so happens that Dora and I are very good at improvising with circle games, so these work very well for us and I have a soft spot in my heart for these two books. At the same time, I must acknowledge that the print quality of these books is not great. The music and lyrics are handwritten and the poems are typed. The tables of contents leave much to be desired. There are no indexes. I am unable to find a copyright date or ISBN number for either book. Each is spiral bound, with a cardstock-like cover. The books are not illustrated. They measure 8.5” x 11” and are 70 pages each. Each book does have a companion CD available. These sample pages are from Let Us Form a Ring:Let Us Form a Ring 3Let Us Form a Ring 4 Go back to the top of the list of books




A Child’s Seasonal Treasury (ISBN #978-1-300-11492-5), by Betty Jones is a 2nd edition  book, with a 2012 copyright. It is a softback book, that measures 11” x 8.5”, and is 139 pages long. It has beautiful, color illustrations and very professional typography (a cheaper black and white version is also available). It has a complete table of contents, and “Subject and Title Index”, as well as an “Index of First Lines”.  The poems, songs, riddles, and activities are grouped by season (there is also one category for all year round) and then sub-categorized by “verses and poems”, “fingerplays and riddles”, etc. The crafts are good for inspiration, but I don’t consider the directions to be sufficient to consider this a craft book. The recipes are well-written. Unfortunately, there is no companion CD available, that I am aware of. Here are some sample pages from this book:A Child's Seasonal Treasury 1A Child's Seasonal Treasury 5 Go back to the top of the list of books




Clump-a-Dump and Snickle-Snack (ISBN #978-0-936132-23-5), by Johanne Russ, is a 8” x 5.5” booklet of 47 pages of songs. There is no companion CD offered. The copyright is from 1966. It has a complete table of contents and due to the nature of the book, an index is unnecessary. It is a black and white collection of pentatonic songs, with a couple of basic illustrations. The music and lyrics appear to be done by hand. While the lyrics are neatly done, the music is a bit hard on the eyes. Here is a sample page:Clump-A-Dump and Snickle-Snack Go back to the top of the list of books




A Day Full of Song (ISBN #978-0-9816159-7-4), is a book from The Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN). It has a 2009 copyright. It is spiral-bound, measures 8.5” x 7”, and is 64 pages long. It contains a collection of 42 original work songs in the mood of the fifth from a Waldorf kindergarten. It has a complete table of contents and due to the nature of the book, an index is unnecessary. A companion CD is available. The entire book is done in black and white, with some cute illustrations throughout. The music and lyrics, though very neatly done and easily legible, do appear to be done by hand. Here is a sample page:A Day Full of Song Go back to the top of the list of books




Gesture Games for Spring and Summer (ISBN #978-0-972223-80-5) and Gesture Games for Autumn and Winter (ISBN #978-0-972223-89-8) are both written by Wilma Ellersiek. They are translated and edited versions from The Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN) and were published in 2005 and 2007, respectively. They are 8.5” x 11” softbound books with spiral ring covers and are about 140 pages each. They are printed in black and white, with illustrations showing the gestures. The text is professionally printed, but the music looks suspiciously like it may have been done by hand, though it is easily readable. Companion CD’s are available. They have complete table of contents and due to the nature of the books, indexes are unnecessary. Wilma Ellersiek has also written two other books of note. The first, Dancing Hand, Trotting Pony (ISBN #978-0-979623-28-8), is a collection of gesture games, songs, and movement games. Unfortunately there is no CD to accompany Dancing Hand, Trotting Pony. Giving Love, Bringing Joy (ISBN #978-0-979623-26-4) has an accompanying CD, but the book is comprised mostly of lullabies. Here are some sample pages from the Gesture Games for Spring and Summer book:Gesture Games of Spring and Summer 1Gesture Games of Spring and Summer 3 Go back to the top of the list of books




Golden Beetle Books publishes a series of four handbooks, entitled Lono & Coco Boato, Snowdrop and Ulba Bulba, Silver Story of Silver Stork, and The Flower Flamers and The Earthy Men. The books are 5.5” x 4” and are about 100 pages long. They are bound in pretty, shiny cardstock and tied closed with pretty ribbons. They are obviously self-published, though lovingly so (there is even some glitter on some pages!). They have some cute illustrations, but the photographs are of poor quality. Unfortunately, the print borders on the microscopic at times, so the books can be a real strain on the eyes (I do have 20/20 vision, BTW). They have table of contents, but no indexes. No companion CD’s are available. These books are greatly loved by many Waldorfians, so I hate to disparage them, but I have not brought myself to use them yet, simply because of the hard-to-read print. I would love to see someone professionally re-edit and reprint them as the stories are quite cute and the books exude a deep love for children. Here are a couple of double-page spread samples:Lono and Coco Boato 1Lono and Coco Boato 2 Go back to the top of the list of books




Let’s Dance and Sing (ISBN #978-0-936132-82-2), by Kundry Willwerth, is a spiral bound book, with a card stock-ish cover. It measures 8.5” x 11” and is 55 pages long. It contains 13 circle play/game types of arrangements with drama, music, and movement intertwined. It is has many beautiful and elaborate black and white illustrations. The music appears to be hand written, but most of the lyrics are printed.in a professional manner. There is a good table of contents and an index is unnecessary. The third printing copyright is from 2012.Let's Dance and Sing 1Let's Dance and Sing2 Go back to the top of the list of books




A Lifetime of Joy (ISBN #0-9722238-6-X) contains a collection of circle games, finger games, songs, verses, and puppet plays. It is a softbound book with a 2005 copyright. It measures 8.5” x 11” and is 113 pages long. The music and lyrics are handwritten, though easy to read. The rest of the book is professionally printed. The book contains a thorough table of contents, but no index. Here are some sample pages from the book:A Lifetime of Joy 1A Lifetime of Joy 3 Go back to the top of the list of books




Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures CoverMovement Journeys and Circle Adventures, like the Acorn Hill anthologies, was written with the Waldorf teacher very much in mind and is more appropriate for larger groups of children than are available in most homeschools. It provides a variety of seasonal and other circle plays and singing games. Each circle play/singing game is comprised of several poems and songs put together, tied by a theme. There are many movement directions provided for the teacher. As I mentioned previously, I have a soft spot in my heart for circle games, but once again, I must admit that this book is not the most professionally printed book in the world. It is more professionally printed than the Acorn Hill anthologies, however, with all of the music and lyrics printed in a professional manner. The table of contents is fairly thorough, but no index is provided. There is an accompanying CD. It is a comb-bound book, with a cardstock-ish cover. It has a 2006 copyright, but no ISBN number that I can find. There are no illustrations. The book measures 8.5” x 11” and is 113 pages long.Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures 1Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures 3 Go back to the top of the list of books




Naturally You Can Sing publishes song books that were arranged and sung by Mary Thienes-Schunemann. Each book has a an accompanying CD included. The book I refer to the most is Sing a Song of Seasons (ISBN #978-097083970-1). The books measure 8.5” x 11” and are spiral bound with stiff, semi-laminated-like, covers. The copyrights vary with each book, but are from the early 2000’s. Each book is about 60 pages long. The printing is very professional and the book includes adorable black and white drawings. The books have complete table of contents and some have an alphabetical-order list of the songs in the back of the book. Here is a sample page from Sing a Song of Seasons:Sing a Song of Seasons Go back to the top of the list of books




Pentatonic Songs, by Elisabeth Lebret is a 38 page, 8.5” x 5.5” booklet of pentatonic songs. There is no companion CD offered. It has a 1985 copyright. It has a complete table of contents and due to the nature of the book, an index is unnecessary. It is a black and white collection of pentatonic songs, with a couple of basic illustrations. The lyrics were typed and the music appears to be done by hand. Unfortunately, the print quality seems more like the pages were photocopied, so overall, the book can be a strain on the eyes. Here is a sample page:Pentatonic Songs Go back to the top of the list of books




****The Singing Year (ISBN #978-1-903458-39-6), by Candy Verney is a very thorough song book that includes a CD. Were I to have to choose one, and only one, book from this list, this book would be it. The songs are grouped by season, with an extra section devoted to “Anytime”. It is a black and white, softbound book with a 2006 copyright. It measures 8” x 10” and is 136 pages long. It has a thorough table of contents and an index of first lines. It is very professionally printed, with a scattering of illustrations throughout the book. The end of each section of the book contains a small nature study and seasonal craft section. Here are some sample pages from this book:The Singing Year 1The Singing Year 2 Go back to the top of the list of books




Wynstone Press offers a 6 book set of poetry, songs, and stories. Four of the books are seasonal books. The books are softback and measure 8.5” x 6”. They all have original copyrights from 1978, with various revisions and final reprints in 2010 (except Gateways, which, at least for my copy, was reprinted in 2005). The books are all black and white, with professional typography, and no illustrations. They have good table of contents, which are in alphabetical order, rather than page order, so are kind of like indexes??? Though I do have one Seasonal Songs collection CD from Wynstones School, it does not appear to correlate whatsoever with the books.

Spring (ISBN #978-0-946206-46-9) – 88 pages longSummer (ISBN #978-0-946206-47-6) – 112 pages longAutumn (ISBN #978-0-946206-48-3) – 88 pages longWinter (ISBN #978-0-946206-49-0) – 96 pages longSpindrift (ISBN #978-0-946206-50-6) is the largest of the books, at 224 pages, and contains a very general collection of songs, poems, and stories.Gateways (ISBN #978-0-946206-51-3) is 96 pages long and offers songs and poems about mornings, evenings, and fairytales (not the full fairytale). Here is a sample two-page spread from the Spring book:Spring Go back to the top of the list of books




Online Merchants That Sell These Books

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Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Maureen

Labels: Circle Time, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Music, Poetry, Preschool, Waldorf
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Gratitude Sunday–March 17

First Daffodil of 2013Sunday – Living in a country where freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution. (Last night, I read a very upsetting story about the Partition of India and it really made me grateful to live in a country that, while having its flaws, does not have such large scale episodes of violence based on religion and/or race.)

Monday – Secunda taking Dora out for the morning, because she was feeling that I don’t get enough of a break and that she hasn’t been spending as much time with Dora as she would like to be. She took her to a pottery place, where Dora glazed a preformed pony. I thought it came out really pretty. It was all Secunda’s idea too and she wants to do it weekly! I am a really lucky mom to have such wonderful children!Ceramic PonyTuesday – The first daffodil of the season bloomed

Wednesday – Seeing Primo, who is in a special college program for students with disabilities, give a speech about job interview skills to a large roomful of people. I was so proud of him!

Thursday – Going to a bookstore and treating myself to a hardback fictional book! I feel so decadent, I usually only buy non-fiction books that I want to have in my home for reference. I get all of my fiction from the library, but I just couldn’t help myself, there were too many good books calling my name. So, not only did I actually buy myself a fictional book, but it was a new release, so only available in hardback. I feel like I just bought myself a Lamborghini or something! I’m definitely going to be making myself some cups of tea to savor this book with. Maybe I’ll even make some shortbread to go with the tea!

Friday – That Dora is old enough to entertain herself long enough for me take a nap on the couch on occasions.SeedsSaturday – Finishing planting all my seeds! I still have a few items to plant later, such as sweet potatoes, but am done for now!

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Gratitude Sunday
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

 

Green Happy Saint Patrick's DayThis was going to be a “Homeschool Mother’s Journal” post, but I really just don’t have that much to say about our homeschooling right now. We didn’t go anywhere particularly special or do any spectacular homeschooling projects this week, so I just don’t have anything to say about it all. I started to write about Saint Patrick’s Day for the “in my life this week” portion of the post and decided that I had enough to say about Saint Patrick’s Day, that I’d just roll with it. Before you read about my apathy towards Saint Patrick’s Day, I’ll ask you all, “What do you do for Saint Patrick’s Day?” Besides wear green, of course…

So Sunday is Saint Patrick’s Day and I have absolutely nothing special planned. Every year on Saint Patrick’s Day, I feel like I am spitting on my Irish heritage (both Orange and Green), because I never do anything to honor the day. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fear of being pinched, I probably wouldn’t even remember to wear green. I don’t  know why I don’t feel more strongly about the holiday…. Maybe it’s because the one time that I decided to go all out and wore ALL green, during junior high school, Andrew Cunanan, who later went on to become the famous spree killer that killed Versace, told me, loudly and dramatically of course, because that was how Andrew did everything, that I looked like a giant tree (I was 5’ 10” in 8th grade, so taller than most of the kids in my grade). I’ve never felt good about wearing green since and I have refused to wear Kelly green, in particular.

Then there is the 2nd time that I decided to really give the whole “Saint Patrick’s Day” thing a good ‘ol school try and went with some friends to a pub that was having an Irish singer. The Irish singer had canceled at the last minute. I don’t even know what type of music the new singer sang, but he had a unique talent. He could sing any country song that you could name in reggae style. He challenged the crowd to name a country song that he couldn’t sing in reggae style. The crowd was pretty drunk and pissed that the Irish singer had failed to show up and they weren’t cooperating. I felt sorry for the guy and it so happens, had gone through a Kenny Rogers phase, so I suggested The Gambler. Sure enough, he sang The Gambler in perfect reggae style. It had everyone laughing hysterically and broke the ice, but we still left the pub shortly thereafter and I’ve never tried to see an Irish singer on St. Patrick’s Day since…

I guess another issue I have with St. Patrick’s Day is the food – corned beef and cabbage rank really high up on my “disgusting food combinations” list. Actually, corned beef and cabbage both rank really high up on my “disgusting foods” list, period, much less combined.

This year, as I am trying to embrace the Waldorf method, I felt compelled to try a bit harder to celebrate the festival, so I got some St. Patrick’s Day books for Dora. There really wasn’t one that I particularly liked. They all seem to revolve around characters that are selfish and like to trick people or around the religious aspects of Saint Patrick’s life (which is fine, but doesn’t fit in with our religious beliefs). Dora did get excited about trying to catch a leprechaun and was very interested in various aspects of the “end of a rainbow”. That’s really as far as we got though…

I hope that you all are able to enjoy your Saint Patrick’s Day, even if it doesn’t involve anything green!

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Saint Patrick's Day
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

A Spring Felted Play Set and How to Needle Felt a Bunny

Needle felted Spring Play Set From Homeschool Mo 4I finished my first needle felted play set, which I posted about a couple of weeks ago. It definitely took some unexpected turns, as things didn’t form quite the way I had envisioned. Also, Dora grew really impatient for me to finish the set and rushed me on some of the finishing touches. Dora is very enchanted with the set, however, and has even taken to “needle felting” her own things with wool and a dull embroidery needle.Needle felted Spring Play Set From Homeschool Mo 1I am hardly an expert needle felter, I’ve only been feting for about one year now and have only finished a handful of projects, but I guess there just must not be that many needle felters out, because people are constantly asking me questions about needle felting. So I thought I would show you how I made one of the bunnies from this set. I really, really, really want to emphasize that I am not an expert and I have no formal training and so please take this tutorial with a grain of salt. I have kind of formulated my own approach to needle felting from reading other people’s tutorials, looking at other people’s work, and experimenting on my own.Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 1The first thing you need to do is gather your supplies. I am going to provide you with links to the Woolery, whose products I have been very pleased with, but whom I am in no way affiliated with. You will need some sort of protective surface to felt on, which protects your work surface (AKA “my lap” in my case) from getting stabbed by the needles and helps to protect your needles from getting broken. You will need wool roving in whatever color you want your bunnies to be. You will need needles, I use up to three needle gauges for my projects. I use a #36 at the start of my bigger projects. It felts quickly, but coarsely. I then clean things up with a #38. Finally, I may put the finishing touches on my projects with a #40. . You may or may not want a needle holder. If I am only using one needle, I just hold the needle in my bare hand, but I also have a tool that holds four needles, which is nice when I am trying to felt a large amount of wool. Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 2Take a bunch of wool roving, there is no right or wrong amount. Just know that the wool will felt down to about 1/2-ish the size of the amount of wool roving you start with. Separate the strands of roving and kind of criss-cross them in layers, so that they aren’t all facing the same way. Now start stabbing the wool. As you stab, be sure to lift your roving off of your work surface, or you will felt it to your work surface. Also, you will want to roll it and rotate it so that it gets felted evenly on all sides. Shape the wool as you go, by stabbing it in the direction you want it to go (I think of it as being like working with modeling clay). You want to aim for a shape that looks something like this body shape.Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 3This is the rough “outline”, so a general shape is all that is needed. It should be fairly firm, but not rock hard. Now, take a smaller amount of wool and start to shape the head of the bunny. Leave some strands of wool loose on the end where the head will attach to the body.Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 5Wrap those loose threads around the end of the body and felt the head to the body. You will now have a rough outline of the body and head that looks like this:Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 7Now take small bits of wool to make two hind and two front legs.Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 9Attach the legs to the bottom of the sides of the bunny’s body.Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 10Looking at your bunny from the bottom, it should look something like this:Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 12Now, felt a small round ball for the tail and attach it to the bunny’s rear end.Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 14Now make two ears shapes, leaving some of the end fibers loose to help attach them to the bunny’s head. Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 15If you want to line the ears with another color, this is the time to do it.Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 16Try not to use too much wool when lining the ears….Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 17…because it may show up on the back of the ears. In my case, since I was using pink to line white ears, I had to add more white to the back of the ears to hide the pink that came out the backside.Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 18Attach the ears to the head.Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 19You will now have a very roughly shaped bunny. Now is the time to add more wool, as needed, to fill out the shape and then clean things up with your finer tipped needles. Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 21And now you have a little bunny to play with! Note that these bunnies are meant for gentle play and should not be given to children who still put things in their mouth.
Needle Felting a Bunny From Homeschool Mo - 22Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Maureen

Labels: Needle Felting, Spring
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

They Are Retiring Google Reader?!?!

image

Well, I had been expecting Feed Burner to be retired soon, but not Google Reader (July 1, 2013 will be the doomsday for all us Google Reader lovers). I guess Google is trying to force people to read blog posts in G+???? Any thoughts? I guess I’ll have to figure out a new way to read my blog subscriptions…. Where/how do you read your blog subscriptions?

Maureen

Labels: This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Decorating Beeswax Eggs

Easter Egg Candles 2Last week, Dora and I decided that we would decorate some beeswax eggs that I purchased last year. We used the Stockmar decorating wax, which I have blogged about before. I tried doing more research about this wax since we last used it, to see if there is a better way to work with it and the best that I can tell is that this wax is just too brittle to be modeled and shaped like modeling wax can be. It seems that it just meant to be cut into designs with knives, cookie cutters, toothpicks, etc. and then pressed on to a candle or other smooth object. I haven’t read anywhere that this is the only way the wax should be used and some blogs/vendors imply that the wax can be molded like modeling wax can be. I did, however, find two .pdfs from Stockmar, Experimenting with Decorating Wax 1 and Experimenting with Decorating Wax 2, and and in each of them, they demonstrate various ways of cutting the wax to use it. I believe that the people who make really elaborate candles, with 3-D designs and so forth, must actually be using modeling wax to decorate their candles (the 2nd .pdf from Stockmar even discusses using modeling wax instead of decorating wax). Please, if anyone knows otherwise, feel free to correct me! Since we went into this project thinking we would use the wax like we do modeling wax, Dora found the whole exercise to be very frustrating, so we just decorated two eggs and left two blank. I may try decorating some more candles with modeling wax in the future, so that she can model the designs she wants. If I do, I will post about it to let you all know if it works any better for us. Next time we go to use the decorating wax, I may just cut out geometric shapes ahead of time for her to adhere to her candle in any design she wants to make with shapes.Easter Egg Candles 1I honestly thought the eggs candles were pretty enough just as they were!

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Labels: Arts and Crafts, Beeswax, Easter, Spring
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff