Tuesday, August 31, 2010

WIP Wednesday ~ Handmade Holiday

OK, so my WIP Wednesday is actually being posted late Tuesday night, but I have a few minutes to do it right now. This is my first post for our Handmade Holiday. Tonya over at Plain and Joyful Living is hosting "Handmade Holiday 2010" and I've joined in on the fun. 

I am working on making Claire her first baby doll. I've never sewn anything like this before... but I like how she is turning out so far! Now I have to find a type and color of wool that resembles my Claire's soft brown hair.

I first discovered Waldorf (dolls, toys, and crafts) just before my daughter was born last Christmas-time. I was very pregnant and had been looking at typical commercial toys for little ones. Nothing I saw really appealed to me, there was nothing that I wanted to get for my little girl to play with one day. Then I stumbled across a website for natural toys and saw my first Waldorf type doll. I was smitten! I loved everything about those soft dolls. They were handmade, out of natural materials, they had sweet little faces, and soft little bodies. Just the thing for my soft, sweet, little girl. I started doing a bit of research, and the more dolls I saw the more convinced I became that "I could do that!" I had time after all... I was still pregnant!  I love the idea of giving my baby a doll that I made by myself... So here I am now working on a baby doll for Claire for Christmas 2010.

We decided to make most of our family's Christmas presents this year. For the past few years we have talked about it, but this time we are really going to try and do it! I'm so excited and full of plans. So when I saw the goings on over at Plain and Joyful Living, I knew I had to join in! We've been joking with the boys for the past few weeks that I am going to crochet a bullwhip for each of them for Christmas. Matthew actually believed me and he has been telling everyone excitedly about the Crochet Bullwhip he is getting from his Mama this year.

Oh, this week I also made those little wooden children and the turkey in my blog's header image, but those aren't a work in progress any more... :-)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thaumatropes, Oh My!

Today we made Thaumatropes. Very simple to make and lots of fun to design and play with. A thaumatrope is a simple optical illusion toy that was invented in 1826, it is credited with being the first cinematographic device. It is simply a piece of stiff paper with a picture drawn on both sides and attached to a stick or two pieces of string as a means to spin it. Thauma means "magic" trope means "turner" in Greek.

First we traced circles onto heavy card stock, 2 circles for each thaumatrope.
Then everyone drew their own designs. Logan made a country scene, Matthew made a bird on a tree limb, Ethan made a house with a tree beside it. The idea is to draw part of your picture on one side of the paper and the other half on the other side (or piece) of paper, so that when it is spun quickly the two separate pictures merge to appear as one. A classic design is a bird cage on one side with a bird on the other, when spun the bird appears "magically" inside the previously empty cage!
After we had our designs drawn we cut out the circles and glued them together with a small stick (bamboo skewer) placed in between the layers.
Then the fun part! They held the thaumatropes between their palms and spun the quickly back and forth.

"Mom, this is so cool! It really works!"

Friday, August 20, 2010

Exploring the Museum of Art

Yesterday we had planned to go swimming at my brother's place. But the all day thunderstorms had a different idea! So we decided instead to visit the Museum of Art.

Sometimes it's nice to get a new perspective on things!

Sorry all of the pictures are rather fuzzy! No flash photagraphy was allowed and since I was wearing Claire in the sling and had left the camera's tripod at home... I wasn't being that still while taking photos! Especially since Claire really thought the camera's cord looked tasty, she tugged on it constantly!

Logan wanted to hold Claire and show her the sculptures in the Museum's garden.

Matthew and Ethan were more interested in jumping across the garden's benches!

Once back inside the museum we wandered into what was to be our favorite room! A room full of miniature rooms!

As we left in the late afternoon, the boys were asking when we could do it all over again! No one even remembered that we had left the house with plans to go swimming!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Matthew's Puppet

Matthew often comes to me with ideas for making himself new play things or interesting craft projects. He had been asking me for the past couple of weeks to teach him to sew but hadn't made up his mind what it was he wanted to sew yet!

Last weekend we stopped by a yard sale and we found a box of old doll clothes from some boy doll (as opposed to the dresses and little girl stuff that one usually finds for dolls). I gave the box a quick once over and decided that I was not interested in it. However Matthew found it a few minutes later and he decided that that box of old doll clothes was just the thing he needed! He came to me with the request that we get the clothes because he had an idea of a puppet he could make that would be "just the right size to fit into all of those cool clothes!" So we got the box of doll clothes, and home we went!

Early the next morning Matthew set to work looking through a some old toy making books until he found a pattern for a doll he thought would be just perfect to modify for use as a puppet. He studied the pattern then carefully drew a similar one onto a piece of paper. Then he cut out his puppet pattern and traced it onto two pieces of felt that he picked out for his puppet's body. I showed him how to sew the two halves of his puppet together, and then there was no stopping him! He worked on his puppet all morning long, tracing, cutting, sewing, and stuffing.

He chose buttons for the eyes, and carefully embroidered on a happy little mouth. Once he had finished his puppet he dressed him in a snappy looking tuxedo and played with him all the rest of the day! The puppet has gone with him to visit his Uncle and Aunt and play in their pool, it has gone to spend the day at Grandma's house with him... it has been his constant companion for the past few days. He is so proud of his creation and the fact that he designed it and made it all by himself!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hot Pink Ink!

Ethan brought me a large chicken feather and asked if he could make some ink and draw some pictures with his quill pen. So we headed out to the yard to find some berries with which to make ink.
We decided to use pokeweed berries for our ink. (Please note: pokeweed is toxic and should never be ingested!  So don't ever try this with little ones that might try to eat the berries or leaves! Follow link I included to read more about pokeweed.) Ethan picked a small handful of berries and we took them into the house to prepare his ink.

We put the berries in a very small pan and added a tiny bit of water. Then we placed the pan over high heat and crushed the berries with a fork.


After that we let the mixture boil for a few minutes until the water had reduced some and the color was a nice rich pink. Then we strained the mixture into a small cup and let it cool a bit. And that was it! Ethan had his ink.

The best part was using his quill pen to draw with ink he made (almost) all by himself!

*Update~ We have since tried making this ink using blackberries as well as blueberries. We followed the same procedure. Both work beautifully and no worries about toxicity! :-) 

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Look what Ethan found today...
Four tiny eggs! Our little chickens that we got this spring have been growing and growing and today 4 of them finally decided to lay their first eggs. Ethan was so excited when he found them! See how tiny they are compared to one of our older hen's eggs...

Nothing beats the taste of a "homegrown" egg!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


We have been enjoying our summertime! Lots of trips to the lake and the pool! This has been one hot summer, so being in the water makes it much more fun! Local public schools just started up this past Monday! We feel like that is much too early for us to sit back down and start "school" again! We plan on celebrating the wrapping up of our summer season all this month, with lots of swimming, picnics, playing with friends, bonfires, cooking outdoors, fresh veggies from the garden, in other words all the good stuff that summer entails!

Here are a few pictures of our most recent trip to the lake.
The boys playing lets all climb on top of Daddy's shoulders and see how high we can get.
Ethan joining in the game!
Claire has decided she likes the water, Thank you very much!

We finished the day with a bonfire and sparklers!
Making happy memories of their childhood summertime!
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