Monday, 31 May 2010

Making Giant Dens

We all went to The National Botanical Gardens of Wales today,
I can't rave about this place enough!
Different things there each time we go, and it's sooooo beautiful.
I won't bother putting pictures of it on here as my camera won't do it justice at the moment. big pile of giant sticks.

Grandpa, what can we do we these?
I like swinging them around and throwing them... what else?

We can build a giant den!

But what about the pile of sticks that are left Grandma?

A giant hopscotch!

Tomorrow as Big Seed has acquired this new skill,
he can build mini dens for teddy bears and gnomes in our garden...
if it doesn't rain!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Seashell Chimes

Off to the beach to look for Sea Treasures.

we collected a big bag of seashells.

However, 3 year olds do not have a filter so he picked up each shell he could see!

And this one, and this one and this one...

When we got home, Big Seed cleaned each one with a toothbrush
and was fully engrossed for 30 minutes!
He naturally sorted them as he went along.
Oh yes, and washed the pine cones he found too!

We only found 5 shells with holes in...
so I had to get out the power drill and make holes in the rest.
You wouldn't believe how tough some shells are..I needed a masonry bit!
Tied them up with rainbow wool to a sturdy piece of branch which was going to be firewood.

This is the one made for the garden. Looks prettier in real life.
I wanted to tie it to our tree but our branches were not co-operating...

So I tied it to our greenhouse to keep the birds away from our blueberries.
Mobile/windchime/scarecrow all in one.

This is the one for Big Seed's bedroom tied to a nice piece of driftwood.

Now what to do with the 200 shells leftover?
We made crayon rubbings and made imprints in playdough.
Now where can I find a nice glass jar to store some of the rest?

Friday, 28 May 2010

Design Your Own Gardening Clothes

Following on from the huge success of the Seedbag,
I thought Big Seed could design his own gardening clothes.
He has old clothes he wears outside anyway, but this makes them
more special.

I got this T-shirt free from Dharma Trading with an order a long time ago.
Big Seed told me what he wanted and I drew the outline and he coloured in with fabric crayons.
It was the best colouring he has ever done...perhaps because he enjoyed the purpose.
I did the rainbow for him as he asked me to.

Inspired by this huge Angelica plant outside the window we dabbled with some printing.

We used an old lid, some wooden play shapes and fabric paint.

I did help with the positioning...

I really love this! I am going to print a shopping bag with this idea.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Exciting Observational Drawing

I don't know about you but my memories of observational drawing
were sitting at a desk staring at a vase.

This wouldn't do for us!
We were off to the bird sanctuary to see and feed some birds...
and do the odd drawing of course!

Big Seed and Fairycake holding hands to the entrance.

They watched some swans and ducks from a window
and made some lovely crayon drawings.

Here is Big Seed throwing bird seed at them.

This is my favourite picture of today.
You can't tell what it is?
Well it's a large group of flamingos obviously !

Note to self... must get outside more with the crayons,
so simple.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Garden Wish Flags

Big Seed has been busy with his Seedbag so
we decided to help give his seedlings some good vibes.

We made some good wish garden flags.
Inspiration came from Maya Made and ours are a great deal smaller.

I cut up some small rectangles out of leftover lining fabric.
It is a good project for old T-shirts or shirts.
Big Seed drew pictures of vegetables he had grown, bugs, rain, sun and flowers.
I wrote the wishes for him in fabric pens.

Ironed them, then sewn by hand onto string.

Tied them to two old sticks.

Here they with the breeze blowing his good wishes around the garden.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Seed Markers for Preschoolers

Big Seed has taken over small patches of the garden,
now that the one we have given him is full.

Here is an example, outlined with old pegs and twigs.

He surely cannot read these seed markers, and they don't weather very well.

So we decided to make ones that he can read,
using some pebbles from the beach which are quite flat.

Big Seed looked through an old seed catalogue for
pictures of crops he has planted.
He cut them out by himself.

He painted the stones white, then after they had dried
he painted them with appropriate colours with his poster paints,
e.g. red for strawberries.

He then painted PVA glue on the back and stuck them on the stones.
I then painted the whole of it for him to smooth down the edges.
If I let him do it, he would have painted in all kinds of directions and the pictures
would have come off.

After they had dried we varnished them with varnish used for acrylic paint.
I always look for non-toxic things, however, I couldn't find any kids' varnish.
I did think if you could rinse your brush in water, and buy a tiny bottle of it
it was better than the standard stuff from a DIY store.

Here is the carrot one it is in its new home.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Hanging Baskets

Such a fabulously sunny day today ...we were out in the garden.
Today Big Seed made lovely hanging baskets.
These don't take long but last for months.

First buy some baskets, preferably with plastic inner liners so you don't have to mess about with buying liners separately and cutting them to size.

Fill them with ordinary garden soil, not soil bought in a bag as this tends
to dry out too quickly resulting in water just passing through.
This we learnt through experience.

As the baskets are small it's a good activity for little ones
as they will be able to fill it themselves.

Get some cheap bedding plants from the gardening shop.
Make sure you buy trailing plants.
These will tail out of the basket and look beautiful in a few weeks.
We put a normal one in the middle to grow upwards and bulk out the middle.
Big Seed is putting in a Petunia.

Then he put in 3 trailing Lobelias and 2 trailing Geraniums.
Don't worry about spacing them out as it says on the labels,
instead pack them in for a full blooming effect.

Water them like they haven't had a drink for weeks.
Here they are all finished ready to hang up.

If you haven't made hanging baskets before you will have to attach
a metal bracket to your wall with a drill and screws,
but once it's done it's there for ever.

These baskets have been used for 3 years already.

Let's see how these turn out in a few weeks.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Spring Fairies

Look who has come to our table...

2 gorgeous spring seed fairies.
The large one has a plaited necklace with a seed stuck on it.
The tutorial to make these flower fairies is here at Wee Folk Art.

Here they are on our spring table...
with snail shells, fossils, plasticine spirals
and a plasticine rainbow amongst other things.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Honeybees and Honey Teacake

Following on from beeswax...honeybees and honey.

We made this honey teacake in 8 minutes!

We used this simple children's recipe.

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix all the dry ingredients in another bowl.
Then add the dry to the wet and pop into a tin.
In the oven for 15/20 mins.

It isn't a very big cake, about 2 inches high, perfect size slices for children.

Then make handprint honeybees while you wait for the cake to cook.
Who said they look like fish?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Bees and Beeswax

We have just started to light a candle at mealtimes,
and we all take turns to say something we liked most that day as the beginnings of a blessing.

I ordered supplies from Ebay.

Now I knew that Big Seed would ask... what is beeswax? Hmmm, tricky.

I soon realised my little knowledge of bees could be written on the back of a postage stamp!
But why didn't I know about them?
In 21 years of schooling no-one covered bees!!! Shocking. No wonder they are in trouble.
I didn't know bumblebees and honeybees were different just for starters!

My first attempt at Steiner style storytelling.
We made some bees out of wool with wet felting.
Made felt flowers and used fairy wool for pollen which the bees then took to the egg carton beehive.
When the beehive was full of pollen the wax ( yellow card) sealed the "rooms".

My first go was not that bad as I had to tell it 3 times
...and that was just before lunch! Each time he joined in a bit more.
I think I can get into this.

Ok now... for the real beeswax.

I tried grating the wax blocks with a grater - no go.
Instead I gave myself a blister with a knife...
This stuff is hard!

Some coloured beeswax sheets.

Action shot of Big Seed rolling the wick up into the candle shape.

We made different sizes.
Now there are no pictures of the melting process as it was all hands on deck!
It took a while to melt the wax in the pyrex jug in the pan, I ended up microwaving the last bit.

I poured what I had left into a paper cake case, and half an eggshell.

Our cornucopia of crazy candles.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Cutest Seedbag Ever

This has to be the cutest seedbag I have ever seen.
It took no time to make as I had all the felt materials in the house anyway,
and easy blanket stitch all the way.

I even found ribbon with daisies on in the house!
Been storing that for 4 years for a special occasion!

The pattern comes from Sugar In My Bowl and I just cut out the seedling on the front freehand.
It has two pockets for seed packets.

When I gave it to Big Seed it was like I had given him the best thing ever and he proceeded to run
around the garden in a crazy fashion while wearing the bag and then tried to see how many packets he
could fit into his bag!
Of course he wanted to get planting straight away.

Found some fantastic carrot seeds called "Parmex" for children.
They grow in the shape of a ball and can grow in pots.

Only another 10 packets to go...

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