WIP: Spring Projects

With Spring FINALLY rolling in, WE HAVE LOT’S OF PROJECTS ON OUR PLATES!  This was supposed to be yesterday’s post….opps!  But we’ve been busy indoors with lot’s of arts and crafty things like a star lantern to celebrate Easter with.  It’s been a great math project for the older because we have been studying shapes and measurement.  Soon a tutorial will follow.

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I’ve been busy crafting more Waldorf Dolls in my spare time— when I haven’t been knitting, painting, homeschooling, changing diapers or nursing that is! These will go in my shop, certainly check out what’s there if you are interested.

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Starting seeds!  Heirloom German Pink to be exact.

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Finished knitting and felting this diaper cover I just need to needle felt some embelshments to complete this project.

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Knitting up a Spring bunny for our handmade Easter celebration.

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What projects are you working on?

Homemade Beeswax Crayons 

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Our family is in big-time love with crafty-ness!  When you walk into our home that is clearly evident when you see the piles of paper, paint, yarn, tissue paper, fabric, boxes and blocks all strewn about on nearly every flat workable surface!  Thankfully all family members tolerate the mess and eventually we see the floors and dinning table when they are needed. 

For coloring our children use Stockmar beeswax block crayons for the under 3 crowd and Lyra colored pencils for the school-aged crowd.  Recently our coloring stash need to be replenished and when the very thought of using something to create with, can BE created, well that had me in search of the perfect coloring crayon recipe.  I came across this one and frankly have been more than pleased with the subtle and beautiful results that ensued. The children also greatly enjoyed the home-making of such a well used item in our art corner!

The simple recipe is as follows:

Homemade Beeswax Crayons

– 1 part grated bar of soap (Ivory works wonders)

– 1 part beeswax

– Concentrated Food coloring paste

(the food coloring paste is actually cake frosting gel, located in the baking aisle of major grocery stores)

– A washed out, clean aluminum can (as many as the colors you are going to create)

– A saucepan big enough to hold cans

– Aluminum foil

-cardboard or a mold of your choice for finished crayon design

-Shorting

First: cut your cardboard out in shape you want your crayons to be; for us I cut out block shapes as for block crayons and taped it together.  If you have a pre-made mold—skip this part.

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Second: line your molds with aluminum foil.

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Third: use shortening to cover all sides of foil.

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Fourth: grate beeswax and soap set aside in bowl

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Fifth: Bring water to boil, add aluminum cans

Sixth: Add grated beeswax and soap to cans and allow to melt

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Seventh: Add food coloring paste (cake decorating gel) to each can, keeping in mind the whole can will make one color—to make more than one color you need more cans, soap, beeswax and colors.  Of course you can mix colors to create new ones Smile 

Eighth: Pour melted mixture to lubricated foil molds and allow to cool.

You are now done.  You can also test the colors by drawing on white sheets of paper—if you want to alter the color some, just gather the crayons and re-melt them and add more color accordingly.

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Enjoy the many wonderful hours of imaginative, creative, free-thinking drawing and coloring time Smile 

Special Notes:

After all was said and done, I think I am going to try liquid soap next time— or perhaps take finished product and soak them in water and re-melt and shape them, as I found the grated soap bar bits unable to melt and leaving chunky white pieces in the crayons.  Also I will add twice the coloring, maybe even add actual food coloring itself as I found the crayons, while pretty to look at were just not dark enough to color with.

If you try this recipe out, please let me know how they turn out!

On Motherhood and Redundancy

Sometimes motherhood can be painstakingly the same.  Everything can feel like pulling teeth, like life is going in both slow motion and like it’s being catapulted at full force and speed, like it could never stop.  AND of course it doesn’t.  So you get stuck in the day to day chores, and the day to day monotony of diapers, dishes and child rearing, life is the same.  

  Yet, in between those moments are moments of joy and bliss and moments that are different and will never be the same, moments that you try to capture again, but can’t because it’s like trying to grab water, the moment slips away. 

   moments like those bring us happiness and can be savored and remembered and served as reminders of what the future will hold. So in-between the redundancy of motherhood lies little gifts of renewal and joy and  other moments of love (the kind that come at you in the most unexpected ways) and those beautiful times are what keeps us mothers going.  Because without those precious occasions motherhood would be redundant.

Watercolor blocks and benefits of block play

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Here in our home we love our blocks!  ‘What kids can create from them always amazes me to no end!   I’m always impressed to see my boys cleverly designing grand buildings, towers and garages of great structure and creativity.

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Of course building with blocks helps their little brains grow and develop, and while one could certainly draw the conclusion that perhaps my little ones would gain enough spatial capacity to go on to become famous engineers they could equally go on to become wonderful little artists of their time—- as block play uses both left and right brain abilities. 

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Our un-schooling life allows us the freedom for tons of block play!  I love watching the two little brothers make believe lot’s of little stories and play so sweetly together.  Other benefits of block play are; Spatial skills, math skills, fine and gross motor  skill development, hand eye coordination development, creative and divergent problem solving skills, cooperative skills and even language development.

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Grimm’s Fairy tale blocks courtesy of Little slices of green

Clearly you can learn a lot of different life skills just from the very simple act of block play.  For a lot more information on block play as well as a host of other great parenting topics please visit the website the Parenting Science

We have a simple set of Haba blocks that get used often, I love the plain color of them as it always allows hours of imaginative play, but I also love these marvelous colorful ones my husband got on a business trip to Delft NL, some years back.

Feeling like we need to add to our block stash I decided homemade was the way to go.

materials NEEDED:
2X4 PIECE OF WOOD OF YOUR CHOICE (WE CHOSE PINE FOR OUR STARTER SET, BUT YOU COULD UPGRADE TO MAPLE OR OAK FOR MORE ADVANCED WOODWORKING SKILLS)
A POWER SANDER OR BELT SANDER
A CIRCULAR SAW
WATERCOLORS
BEESWAX OR MINERAL OIL

First You take your 2×4 and sand all sides smooth with the belt sander/power sander then  mark where you want to make the cuts, you can make longer blocks, shorter ones, even slices!  This is where you can get creative!

Bring the piece outside, and proceed to (very carefully) cut your wood in the marked places.

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After cutting the wood sand the newly exposed sides well, with a sander (it works well if you have a vice onto which you can rest the block in while sanding)Once the blocks are smooth you can bring them inside to paint.

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Enlist lot’s of little hands to get the job done quick!

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Paint as fun and funky as you like!  We choose simple watercolors for their soothing effect on the senses, as well as the transparent beauty the envelopes the natural wood. 

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After the paint (or marker) is dry, lightly rub with beeswax or a non-toxic oil and let dry again.  Once dry to the touch get those blocks into those little hands and watch the magic unfold!

May you enjoy the uncomplicated hours of block play with your little ones!!