Saturday, January 29, 2011

More handmade gifts

David had his birthday this week and the kids really enjoyed making presents for him. Vivi got a new embroidery kit and decided to make one for him. It is neat that she chose a rooster, since that is his chinese zodiac sign. Mia made the sweet paper holder, and the girls worked together on the framed drawing.

And here is Vivienne's birthday poster. I love the Russian fairy tale influence.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Party Time

It is birthday season in our house. One after the next, we get to take joy in celebrating each member of the family. Well, except for me, the summer baby. It has been fun to share in making thoughtful presents. I loved Vivienne's Matryoshka theme for her party. It was so sweet and represented her love for other cultures, fairy tales and dolls. It also sparked my creativity and I realize that I love making dolls.

 This beautiful knitting kit was made by my friend, Tracy and her daughter , Emily. Can you see the adorable matryoshka knitting needles?

Other birthday handmade items: Sweet little bags made by sweet girls, Francesca's (left) and Savannah's(right).

and here is my soft matryoshka inspired doll for Vivi.

Happy birthday, my sweet eight-year-old!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wool Pets

I pulled out my wool roving and got inspired to make some critters. They are so gratifying and  fun. Some of my favorite books are Wool Pets and Wool Toys and Friends written by Laurie Sharp, as well as Little Felted Animals by Marie-Noelle Horvath.

I am also busy at work on some little matryoshka dolls for birthdays party favors and a fun handmade swap that I am participating in. I am combining needle felting and wet felting to make them really well felted and durable. Here's a little sneak preview...

Here is the first stage, then all the little details...

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Days

It has been a peaceful week of snow play and relaxed home school. So much more gets accomplished around here when we don't have the option of bustling around town for classes. Vivienne is enjoying her Russian Fairy Tale block, with thanks to Mrs. Marsha's free files. In fact, she is planning a Matryoshka theme for her birthday party this year. Mia is busy with learning North American Geography. Yesterday she cooked Boston Bean Soup and  Colonial Brown bread, delicious! It is quite a task to cover the whole continent and it will take us several blocks to do so. But one thing that I find about home schooling using the lesson blocks, is that the themes of previous lessons tend to carry through the year and enliven daily activities. We will continue our geography game Scrambled States of America, cooking regional foods, listening to American folk music, learning about Native American tribes, reading American poets, and so on, long after we have moved to the next block.  I am awed by how often the Norse Myths jump out at me since our grade four block, and Ancient India continues to deepen my understanding of the world. No doubt about it, home school is an education for myself and my kids. If you want a fun pop culture version of the Ramayana to enjoy, check out Sita Sings the Blues, it streams from the artist, Nina Paley's website for free.  I would not recommend it for kids, but the music is terrific and there is a fun dialogue that happens in the narration.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Hello, snow. Good-bye, Christmas tree.