Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Elf Dolls!

My new elf dolls are ready! These dolls are safe for babies but enjoyed by older children, too.

I love the way waldorf dolls have individual little faces and personalities.

Their cotton jersey skin comes in all the colors of people: chocolate brown, dark mocha, light mocha, golden, peach, and fair.

They are stuffed with wool so they warm up when you hold them and feel real. Their jumpsuits are cotton velour, velvety soft.

To visit primroses doll shop, look for the primroses.etsy.com link in the column at right. They will be appearing there one by one over the coming days. The hot pink one, Geranium Elf, sold the day I put it on etsy! Hooray!

Blow Bubbles with a Trumpet Flower

Trumpet vine is blooming where we live right now. The trumpet flower is fun to use for blowing bubbles.

How big of a bubble can you blow? Can you blow a bubble as big as your head?! Can you fill a bowl with a bubble?

If you need a bubble solution recipe, check out the posting for April 30th.

Raspberry Time

It's raspberry time.
Picking time,

looking time,

jamming time,

tasting time.


Me: Where are you going, inchworm?

Inchworm: To a party in the garden, for rosehip tea.

See if you can find the inchworm at the tea party.

How to Make a Cattail Duck

I learned this craft from the toy section of a book of American Indian craft, and added my own touch, a feathery tail.

Find a stand of cattails in a freshwater wetland, pond, or ditch.

For a little flock of ducks, bend some stalks sideways. They should crack off at the bottom. You want to have the thick white part from the bottom of the plant, too. It will make your ducks very buoyant.

Make a head with an overhand knot, using the top of the stalk. I pinched the beak shape with my fingernails, but I think it would look more like a duck if the beak were slanted at the top, and flat at the bottom.

Make a right angle fold for the body.

Wrap the cattail stalk around and around until there is a foot or so left.

Use the last part of the stalk to wrap the body together.

You should have enough of the white stalk left to push up between the last blades for a tail. Adjust if necessary. You can fray the tail a little to make it look feathery.

Let your ducks swim!

Let someone have fun playing with your little flock. The children at the little pond where I made these ducks were fascinated. The littlest ones wanted to play with them. Older ones wanted to learn how to make them.

The wonderful book I used to learn this craft is Indian Handcrafts by C. Keith Wilbur, M.D.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Harvest at the Community Garden

We picked a huge bag of green beans this week. I like their rough texture and raw fragrance.

My daughter's first fennel was ready to pick. I got down low to peer beneath the fronds. It is like a dappled forest down there. I began imagining the Monkey Twins camping out among the fennel trees.

We picked beets for a cold salad,

and a huge bag of lamb's quarters. Lamb's quarters was brought to this country long ago by Europeans. It is a tasty green and I like its taste better than spinach when it is cooked. My youngest wanted seconds the first time he ate some. Most people regard it as a weed and toss it. I explored all the wild and weedy areas along the fringe of the community garden, and picked to my heart's content.

This is the garlic I grew from a sprouting bulb in the refrigerator.

Here is my first sweet pea crop. They have loved this cool and rainy summer.

I love the way each color has its own sweet fragrance. I will plant them every year from now on.

The Monkey Twins Eat Too Many Tomatoes

Tomato season had come at last.

How the Monkey Twins loved tomatoes. They loved, loved, loved tomatoes. They begged to have them for every meal. For lunch they wanted tomato sandwiches.

"More, Grandpa Bear, more," The Monkey Twins begged. Patient Grandpa Bear. He wanted them to like what he cooked. So for dinner he gave the Monkey Twins spaghetti with tomato sauce.

"More, Grandpa Bear, more," begged the Monkey Twins. So patient Grandpa Bear made fried tomatoes for breakfast.

"More, Grandpa Bear, more!" begged the Monkey Twins. So Grandpa Bear made tomato burritos for lunch.

"More, Grandpa Bear, more!" begged the Monkey Twins. So Grandpa Bear made tomato slices with mozzarella, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil for snack.

"More, Grandpa Bear, more," begged the Monkey Twins. So Grandpa Bear made tomato pizza for dinner. And so it continued for days on end....tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. They never seemed to get tired of them.

But Grandpa Bear was running out of ideas. So one day for breakfast he gave the Monkey Twins toast with tomato sauce spread on top. It was all he could think of. The Monkey Twins quietly stared at their breakfast.

Pippo whispered in Pazzo's ear.

Pazzo turned to Grandpa Bear.

"No more, Grandpa Bear, no more," he said. "We're tired of tomatoes. No more tomatoes, ever, ever, ever."

Grandpa Bear was relieved. He was tired of tomatoes, too, and tired of thinking of new ways to fix them. He hoped the Monkey Twins wouldn't have any more food fads, ever, ever, ever. Anyway, tomato season would be over soon...

and corn season would be beginning. How the Monkey Twins loved corn.....

Copyright 2009, Elizabeth F. Curtin

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Visit to Skansen Museum

This wonderful open-air museum in Stockholm, Sweden, was founded in 1891. Costumed interpreters people the buildings: the manors, cottages, shops, and workplaces which were collected from all over Sweden and brought to this island in Stockholm's archipelago. Skansen preserves different times of Sweden's history and its tradition of handcraft. It also features Swedish wildlife and farm animals.

This man is weaving a fishing net.

Here is a picture from the fascinating machinist's shop.

Here is the pastry shop. The interior photographs, for which I did not use a flash, seem glowing and still, like a Vermeer painting.

This little boy is having a pastry.

These are the storage drawers in the hardware store.

This is a toy oven from the hardware man's home at the back of the shop.

This was a tea towel in the kitchen of the hardware man's home. I would love to know what it says.

This is the dairy shop. The dairy lady is showing my son how to use the scale.

This interpreter is dressed as a Sami woman. She is carving a little wooden spoon. Watching her made me want to learn to whittle.

This interpreter is a homemaker putting the kettle on the stove.

These geese were in front of the schoolhouse.

Traditional Swedish rural architecture.

If you are interested in learning more about Skansen, click on the title of this post.