Monday, November 29, 2010

Whistling on an Acorn Cap

Do you know how to whistle on an acorn cap? It takes practice...

but you can do it!

Click on the title of this post for directions!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Golden Friday

Golden Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. A day to stay home. A day to sit in a patch of sunshine drinking hot tea, crocheting. A day to cuddle on the sofa with a child, reading a good book.

A day for quiet, color, firelight, family.

A day to rest after a busy family holiday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! love, Beth

Friday, November 19, 2010

Make A Pomander Ball with Your Young Child

This craft is appropriate for all ages, but I have adapted it for a tiny friend. In preparation for making a pomander ball, place some favorite spices, including whole cloves, on the table in small dishes. We used cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger.

You also need a clementine, a piece of brightly colored fabric measuring about 10" by 10", and a piece of colorful ribbon measuring about a foot and a half. And you need some time, so that you and your child can relax and have fun without a rush. Remember, it is the process, and not the product, which are important to your child, and spending time with you. Also, remember to be your child's assistant. Let him decide how many cloves, which spices, how much to sprinkle, and when his pomander ball is done. If you start to itch to hijack his craft, you need to make one of your own!

Now, let's get cozy and make something. Start by letting your child smell the clementine.

Now place the clementine on the wrong side of the piece of fabric.

Introduce him to the whole cloves, letting him smell and touch them.

Make a few pilot holes in the clementine with a skewer or toothpick, so that it will be easy for your child to push in the whole cloves.

He may only want to put in three, four or five. He might want to do more. It's up to him.

This little one worked a few minutes with quiet absorption.

When he is ready to move on, let him smell and touch a spice. You don't want him to get any up his nose or in his eyes, though, that could hurt.

If he likes the way it smells, show him how to take a pinch and sprinkle it on his clementine.

He can sprinkle all his favorite spicy smells onto the clementine. In the picture below, he is having fun drawing in the nutmeg with his finger.

When he is finished, you can help him bundle the clementine into the fabric.

Knot the ribbon on to the fabric above the clementine. Now make a loop and knot it at the top, so that you can hang the clementine on a doorknob.

"Can we take it home?" he asked me. Of course you may, my sweet, wee friend! Hang up your pomander ball at home and let it all dry out. It will last a very long time.

Photographs are by artist Coral Woodbury, the little one's mother!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Autumn Sunset

I took some pictures as the sun sank low, the day before we turned the clocks back.

I felt that this was the last truly golden sunset of the season.

As Autumn wears on, the sun drops before we are ready. We aren't waiting for it.

We hurry home to get there before dark,

but the dark catches us.

We fumble with the dark keyhole when we arrive home with the children in the afternoon.

We go into the house, lighting lamps, turning on the front porch light, trying to create a spot of glow and welcome in the dark street.

In the kitchen, we bustle about, making warmth and cheer to welcome our husbands home.

We cluster there together, the fireplace flickering nearby, more than ever needing this time with one another at the end of the day.

It wasn't the last sunset we would see, but it felt like it.

There seems to be a big difference between these long golden sunsets of summer, which are like a pageant unfolding before our eyes, and the later, quick sunsets of winter, with the sky all lavender and chilly.

Soon, the greens, golds, oranges and reds will be replaced by browns, grays, blacks, and tans.

All the seeds will blow away or be eaten by the hungry birds.

The rosehips will shrivel and dry, a few of them clinging to the stems even in the snow.

The bright bittersweet fruit will drop.

Our eyes will seek out the most subtle gradations of color.

Bright color is gone, but it has left texture behind to interest and comfort us.

Winter is coming.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Gnome's Day

A little gnome was sent forth by his Mama. As he stepped out of the hollow tree, he blinked his eyes a few times. His burrow was dark and cozy, but outside it was a beautiful sunshiny autumn day.

He looked to his right.

He looked to his left.

He sallied forth.

The little gnome strode through the forest with a confident step.

First he stopped to check his moss garden.

Then he stopped to explore a rotting birch log.

He pretended it was a wild forest horse, and rode it for a little while.

Then he crawled up the log, to see how high he could go.

He stood up tentatively, holding onto a small tree.

Even though gnomes live underground in cozy burrows, they love to climb, too.

Then off he went again.

Gnomes in a hurry are a blur of movement.

But mostly, they like to take their time and look at everything.

This little gnome likes sticks. He loves using his stick to whack at everything,

to poke at things on the forest floor,

to wave as he walks,

to steady himself as he climbs rocks,

to explore little holes in the ground,

to knock leaves off trees,

and to use as a walking stick.

When he discovered one of my cameras in the woods,

the little gnome hurried home.

He popped back down into his burrow, and in a flash, he was gone.

Old trees of the forest, what magic secrets you conceal.

Copyright 2009, Beth Curtin.