Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Healing the Ocean

One little prayer, one little deed at a time. This is the only way I can find to bring healing to the ocean right now. My heart sinks each time I see photos and read reports of the devistation. We have a huge responsibility on our hands, as caretakers of mother earth, to care for her and love all of her inhabitants. I found a way to incorporate the wishes of my children to help, through Craft Hope's Project #8 Cleaning up the Gulf Oil Spill. The kids and I measured and cut used towels to send off, packed them in groups of ten, and boxed them to send. This has been the biggest project ever for Craft Hope. It is a tiny little step, but worthwhile for showing that every effort towards a hopeful future unifies us all.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roots Camp

Mia had a wonderful week of learning and creating at Roots camp. The camp is led by two phenomenal local educator/herbalists, Lena and Fox at a local community garden. She came home with Cherokee songs, stories,  special handmade items, knowledge of plants, and experience with local elders that they took field trips to see. Every afternoon, she came home grimy, sweaty, tired and contented. Just like summer days should be.

Plantain seed pods, taste like asparagus when fried up (Be sure you can identify correctly!)

Jasper got inspired to design his own pouch, too

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shades of Blue

Today, the kids and I had a wonderful time with Indigo. I found that my local craft shop carries Indigo dye that is pre-reduced which means that it can be used right away. Earth Guild also has good information on natural dyes and mordants on their website. Generally it can take some time to make an indigo dye bath. Instead of using lye, as in the traditional method, washing soda is used to maintain the pre-reduced dye. (In addition to sodium hydrosulfate, which needs to be handled with care-we wore gloves, and masks are recommended when handling the powder)  It was interesting to see the rich green color of the bath slowly oxidize in the fabric when it met the air, to a deep blue shade. It seems to be the perfect solution for stained socks and t-shirts. 

We also gathered with the local Waldorf handwork group to dye playsilks, as we did last summer. Some of the natural dyes included clematis (pale yellow), red onion skins ( earthy orange) and  black eyed susan (pale purple/ green). We also had some food coloring dye baths to make the brighter shades. A photographer took some images for an article on the Waldorf education movement in the area coming out in the WNC Parent next month. It is really exciting to be a part of  the community, and watch as it grows strong.  Azalea Mountain School will be opening the first Kindergarten class in the Fall.
indigo, red onion skins and black eyed susan (the onion skin dye faded a bit in the hot wash)

Mia's indigo and pink food coloring scarf

Blue~ the color of summer skies!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Midsummer Celebration

We gathered with friends on Summer Solstice to celebrate the longest day of the year. It was a beautiful evening of fireflies, potluck picnic, story and dancing round the bonfire. Ines read a beautiful tale, called The Midsummer's Bride by Barbara Leoni Picard.

Additionally, we have been spending time on our CSA (community supported agriculture) farm, Full Sun Farm. The kids love to help planting, weeding and harvesting. Of course, they especially love wandering into the strawberry or blueberry patches, and swimming in the pond at the end of the day. I have a great appreciation for my food after experiencing what effort goes into growing each veggie. We come home exhausted, in a good and fruitful way.

Another big midsummer event was a dramatic storm that brought high winds, torrential rain, thunder and lightning and hail. I watched the huge hundred plus year old neighborhood trees bend and wave in the wind. All of a sudden a huge crack sounded and a giant oak crashed down onto the street, a few houses down from ours. It did some damage to a car but thankfully, did not harm anyone. After the storm, the sunset gave a rich pink hue to everything.

Happy Midsummer to you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tutorial: Making Lavender Wands

My friend, Tracy, was so kind to share this wonderful project with the Foundation Studies group today. We are on a summer break from the workshops, but a small group gathered today to discuss the temperaments, work on an art project,  and learn beautiful songs together. Thanks, Julie, for leading the group today!

Tracy brought lavender from her home, and walked us through these simples steps to making the wands. They smell so wonderful, I plan to make a bunch more to give as presents.

*Fresh lavender stems (9-11 per wand) *3-4ft  ribbon or yarn per wand (I would recommend a 1/4" satin, organza or other lightweight ribbon) *scissors

Step one: gather 9 or 11 lavender stems,(you need an odd number) and line up the blossoms at the top of the stem. Leave a tail about 10 inches on one side, longer on the other side. Tie a double knot just below the blossoms.

Step two: Turn the stems blossom down. Gently fold the stems over the blossoms, enclosing them in the center. Allow the shorter end of the ribbon to flow down in the center of the blossoms, and take the long end and reach it out at the top.

Step three: Begin to weave the long end of ribbon in and out of the stem, enclosing the blossoms. Try to arrange the stems so that they are evenly spaced around the flowers and take care to get the pattern established. Over, under, over, under... Stop to gently get ribbons lined up properly.

Step four: Once you have reached the bottom of the flowers, tie off the shorter ribbon and long end, wrap a few times and make a bow, if desired. Trim the stems to desired length, and voila! It smells so wonderful!

My younger kids did not have the patience to weave, so they just wrapped the ribbon around the blossom after step one. They still smell wonderful and look sweet, too. Enjoy!

Is there anything more beautiful?

I felt so honored to be a part of this most amazing blessing way for my friend, Tiffany. The evening was full with bellydancing and singing, delicious food, bonfire, converation, henna painting, and joyful time together with friends. Beautiful setting, beautiful women...full of love and blessings for this new little one getting ready to be born. And all the little friends also getting ready to join the world!

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.
Not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, ...
but trailing clouds of glory do we come.

                                                          ~by William Wordsworth

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Little Folk Fun

The kids have been into making  little people and little furniture lately. Here are some cute family portraits. I think the wedding couple are darling.

Mia's sweet little family

The baby sleeps in a little shimmering seashell

Jasper's scarecrow doll

Vivienne's paper cup fairy furniture

Our summer seasonal table

The darling pop-up seashell elf made by my friend, Tiffany.