Posts Tagged ‘For Kids’

Guest Post at Meremade

September 30th, 2011 by zoe No Comments

This week I was excited to be invited to be a guest post over at Meremade where Jennifer is rounding up a month of Back To School projects.

Head on over to Meremade and you can see my 5 Minute School Lunch Napkins tutorial and loads of other Back To School projects, recipes and organizational ideas!

Rock Collecting

September 30th, 2011 by zoe No Comments

The weather dipped warm again and we headed for a bike ride to our favorite river spot to picnic, swim and gather rocks.

From the Civil War until the 1930′s this river was used to power grist, corn and saw mills. Now there are just remnants of the old foundations covered in moss. Nature has taken all those years of industry back and there is just a trace of what were once bustling factories.

As we ride down the old road I cant help but think of the stories this brook could tell.  We have been doing a lot of projects with stones lately and here as the base of this little waterfall we find the most lovely river rocks.

River rocks perfect for our fun number and letter games.

Making A Playful Learning Space

September 18th, 2011 by zoe 9 Comments

With growing children in a smallish house I have to stay on top of how we play. I am constantly rethinking our space and shifting things around for the children’s ever-changing growth and development.
Recently I became inspired by the realization the my boys don’t so much play with “toys” but instead prefer to “work” at tasks. It made me think about all the learning they do at home and how much better they play when their “tools” are set up properly. Clean, forward facing presentation makes all the difference.

I have been super inspired by how creating a this desk has totally changed the way I work. I simply love to sit there and be productive, I feel clear and motivated by having a well designed space. After reading this new book Playful Learning by Mariah Bruehl I hoped to create a learning space  for the children that would be similarly inspiring.  Her website is chock full of ideas!  Excited, I set out to commandeer this corner of the living room to be our new Playful Learning Space.

First I painted the walls in the entire living room a hue of gray that I “mostly” like.  A story that involved MANY paint samples and those late night “it’s half painted but I’m not sure I like it” doubts. But that is a story for another day!

We are still working out the types of learning toys we will welcome into our new space but currently there is

  • A basket for nature watching, binoculars,magnifying lenses bug boxes and nature guide books.
  • A manual typewriter, bought at a tag sale for $5,  for finding letters and making words come together.
  • Sketch paper and an array of colored pencils, crayons and pastels displayed at their level for self inspired art projects.
  • A toy shelf that partitions our learning space -  for holding the favorite toys of the moment.
  • A nature table bowl, made with the guidance of my friend Kristin, using a technique similar to this.
  • A globe for — seeing the world.
  • Shelves for storing our science books.
  • Math and sorting games printed and found here.
  • A tiny vase for holding the feathers we collect on our nature walks.
  • A magnetic strip with metal clips for hanging our freshly composed projects.
  • Lots of handmade  journals for them to fill with their thoughts and stories.

I moved most of the more commercial toys to the children’s room and Waldorf -ed out this downstairs space. It makes a HUGE difference in the nature of the games invented. Because even though batman is a “good guy” he still seems to start a lot of trouble at our house!

All in all, these changes have shifted the energy in the room and the way the boys play together. They seem to find a project and get started at it all by themselves.

They seem more focused, peaceful, engaged and …..  they clean up all by themselves!!!!

We simply LOVE it.

 

A Life in the Circus

September 16th, 2011 by zoe No Comments

I am so very busy in this fast and furious season of Fall. In an effort to ward off complete panic I keep taking deep breaths and reminding myself to focus, reminding myself that it WILL all get done. And yes – things are slowly being crossed off lists, and yes – the studio sewing work IS getting stitched together.

Leather wallets, hand stitched T-shirt baby wear, polka dot dolls and baby bird bean bags.

With all the hurry and furry of Fall some  days it feels as though I am directing a three ring circus!

To print your own Color By Number Circus Sheet click the photo, save to a file and print.

Dyeing a Rainbow of Play Scarves

September 7th, 2011 by zoe 5 Comments

Whenever the kids ask me what my favorite color is I say RAINBOW. One of my boys loves hot pink best of all, this makes me happy beyond all belief. I wonder when he will be hustled into believing colors belong to different genders? A few weeks ago he approached an older woman at the lake – “Excuse me, I really like your dress because, you know, hot pink is my favorite color!” Big smile.

I imagine before long hot pink will not be a favorite, but for now, I happily ride this wave of color neutrality.  Children always seem to make color allegiances with other kids, they bond through color, it’s one of those cute ways in which kids make friends …..” Hey I like your green bike dude, did you know, green is my favorite color?”

I am pretty happy to have brought some new rainbows into our lives lately. A good friend and I managed to have a day of nature hikes, and rainbow creativity with a whole passel of kids — we were quite proud of ourselves and the awesome results.

We ordered blank silk scarves through Dharma Trading Co. and looked all over for tutorials on how to Kool-aide dye them. Some the sites we found helpful can be found

here and here .

But mostly after looking around we realized you couldn’t really go wrong!

We dumped our scarves in hot, hot water and threw in a few cups of vinegar. We took medium-sized bowls with a bit of hot water and added three to four packets of Kool-Aide to each one and let it dissolve. Next we dropped a scarf into the dye and stirred a bit watching it quickly soak up the dye. So quick and easy and fun!

The Saffron Yellow and Sky Blue were done using a dozen drops of  McCormick Food Coloring. The colors came out less marbled and a bit more vibrant. I am loving that!

After our scarves were washed in cold water and dried we used them to put on a weather performance. There was thunder, lightning, sunshine, floods and in the end a beautiful rainbow!

Kool-aide flavors from left to right -

Cherry, Orange, Yellow (food dye), Pink Lemonade, Grape and Blue (food dye).

After so much rain these last few weeks I am ready for the rainbow!

 

 

 

 

Growing Pants

August 30th, 2011 by zoe 1 Comment

The big storm brought in cool fall air, last night we put on longer layers and jackets, gasp.

We are busy getting ready for the first day of school and realizing – the little ones around here aren’t so little anymore. They have sprouted up this summer and ALL their pants are too short!  I got to thinking, who says I can’t just add length to those piles of pants in their dresser… I got to experimenting and this is what I came up with.

On the first pair I added jean cuffs to the bottom. We tricked them out with some funky matching patches. I have some  green zebra fabric left over from making some new pillows … loving the pillows, loving the green zebra print!

The second pair of pants I cut just under the knees. I then took 4″ slices out of the sleeves of an old adult sweatshirt and sewed them in. It worked perfectly – I didn’t even have to alter the seams, or deal with a new hem.  Oliver demanded his pair have a dinosaur on them so I cut out a little Brontosaurus felt patch and stitched it on. Now he is requesting a palm tree on the other side, oh the demands!

The pants are not insanely expensive or some fantastic fancy brand, they are just plain old pants.   But they kids really still like them and they still fit in the waist.  It’s about trying to use what we have, not buy more than we need & reduce our consumption.  Plus I am a big fan of kids in funky handmade clothes. Oh, and I am a big fan of green zebra print too!