Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Chickens

First of Spring and a new block in our homeschooling journey - gardening! After many cozy days working indoors, it feels so great to get out into the sunshine and explore what the garden has to share. I have been reviewing what Steiner describes as the Twelve Senses lately and plan to bring a more conscious awareness of these senses into our daily activities. Rhythm, movement, balance, artistic work, time in nature - all of these are so vital to the healthy development of the senses! I can certainly feel the positive effects upon myself.
Our own chickens are clearly happy that the days are longer and sunnier! They are full of fresh feathers and laying just about an egg each day (except Olivia, our senior hen, now entering her 5th year! This is a record in our coop on the edge of the forest! The hen in the photo is one of our younger Buff Orpingtons, a fabulous layer of large brown eggs.

Last week our homeschool group met and made wet felted wool eggs. What fun! The warm, soapy water was very inviting, and the finished eggs are just the right size for a tiny needle felted chick to live inside. I enjoyed the activity so much that I decided to make more with Rowan this week. He was feeling a little sick on Monday so we focused on crafts and indoor activities. It seemed to me that the practice of molding and shaping the wet wool around an egg form was a calming activity for the two of us.

Here is how we made the wool eggs:

1. Take a layer of natural wool roving and wrap it around a closed plastic easter egg.
2. Add additional layers of colored wool on the outside to cover white wool.

3. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to wool, dip quickly in and out of a bowl of warm water.
4. Gently massage the soapy wool egg, trying not to allow any of the plastic egg to show.
5. You can layer small "patches" of dry wool to cover any weak spots or white areas.
6. Continue to massage the egg for 2-5 minutes.

7. Rinse gently in cool water and squeeze out excess water.

8. Slide damp egg into a clean dry sock.
9. Put the egg-sock into the dryer for about 15 minutes.

10. Remove the egg-sock from the dryer and remove the egg from the sock.

11. Carefully snip open the wool egg, making sure to cut through all layers of wool, making the opening just big enough to pull the plastic egg out.

12. Toss the loose wool egg into the dryer for a few more minutes to help it gain a tighter shape.

13. Make a little needle felted chick to live inside your egg if you like!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Forward

So spring is really here and our Shelters block is finishing up just in time for a nice spring break! I feel the spring fever in the air and it is a good thing that I have planned a gardening block to begin next week!

Here are some of our recent paintings. Although the block focused on shelter and clothing, we took opportunities in our painting to explore different landscapes and animals who might live near certain types of shelters.Horses in Africa

Alpacas and llamas in Peru.