A Faerie Garden Party

My baby turned six, so we had a little faerie garden party. Six friends for an afternoon tea feast. Musical statues, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and some duck-duck-goose. A toadstool cottage cake. An impromptu cicada hunt. And, of course, faerie garden kits to take home and remember our little faerie tea.

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Where do the years go?

 

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A Day at a Steiner School Fair

If you’ve ever been to a Steiner school fair you’ll know they are a brilliant family day out and last Sunday’s Kamaroi Fair was no exception. I tend to shy away from events where “kids activities” equates to a jumping castle, a snow cone machine, a dodgey face painter and a gawdy entertainer shouting instructions into his microphone. You don’t get any of that at a Steiner school fair, and that’s part of their charm. What you do find are nurturing environments with natural spaces, artisic signs, beautifully colourful handmade decorations and a joyful atmosphere. The food is generally homemade, delicious and nourishing. There’s usually plenty of Steiner handicrafts and complimentary stallholders (sometimes even Elfin Trail!).

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The main attraction, however, is the wholesome, engaging children’s activities. Gracie spent forever panning for gold in a sandpit full of muddy water which rewarded her efforts with a variety of crystal chips. Her delight was equally in the Treasure Hunt, this time a dry sandpit which required digging for crystals. The older children tested themselves on the coconut shy, archery game and climbing a tall pole to secure a pretzel. Sweet craft activities this year invited you to make a fabric charm bracelet, decorate a beeswax candle or make a pompom flower. Highlights for me were a visit to the Gnome Cave where Gracie carefully chose a treasure from the gnomes and a simple storytelling, the kind that truly warms your heart.

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I find each Steiner school fair has it’s own personality and charm so you can easily attend them all without feeling you’ve done it all before. This year we’ll make the pigrimage to Lorien Novalis Spring Fair on 31 August, Glenaeon Family Fair on 2 November and, of course, Central Coast Steiner School Spring Fair on 8 September 2013. All of them are amazing events, created by caring communities with lots of love. All of them are highlights in my children’s memories.

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Gift Voucher Giveaway

I’m chuffed to be featured on the Mindfully Green website this week. With the rising tide of people choosing to live more simply, eat more healthily, consumer more consciously and protect the planet more actively…it’s great to meet someone who shares all these values with a passion. I love Amber’s blog….check it out here, leave a comment and you might just be the lucky one to win a $50 gift voucher from yours truly.

JUST TO LET YOU KNOW: We’ve extended the deadline for entries to Friday 24 May – so don’t dilly-dally….enter now!

A Trip to Gloucester

Dr Foster went to Gloucester in a shower of rain

He stepped in a puddle right up to his middle and never went there again.

Time for climbing mountains….

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and fording streams.

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Time for chasing butterflies, watching wallabies and moaning at moo cows…

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Time for board games and soccer games…

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Time for picking flowers, lazing on lilos…

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and playing with pebbles.

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Time for exploring world heritage wilderness…

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and marvelling at Mother Nature…

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and time for dreaming about our own patch of rural paradise.

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Thank you, Mr & Mrs Foster x

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Gumnut Gnome Tutorial

Maybe it’s a dominant tribal gatherer gene, but somhow I am incapable of passing a eucatyptus tree without checking to see if it drops some kind of craft-friendly gumnut. Imagine my delight when, lugging my gear to a recent Olive Tree Market, I discovered a grand patch of large gumnuts. Of course, gumnut experts will tell you the best gumnuts are found in WA (luckily I have a reliable source who freights me top-shelf pods from Perth) but this Newcastle variety I stumbled across was still a welcome haul. Enlisting Gracie’s help, we gathered the lot, inspired to make a batch of gumnut gnomes. Inspired too? Here’s how you do it:

You’ll need:

  • Gumnuts: check that they stand straight on a flat surface and don’t wobble.
  • Natural wooden beads: I used 18mm for my smaller gumnuts & 22mm for the larger ones.
  • Felt: I always use 100% wool felt, it looks and feels so much better than acrylic, and you’re supporting a sheep farmer instead of a polluting factory.
  • Embroidery thread
  • Scissors & needles
  • Glue: I used 450 Quick Dry Adhesive & E-6000.

1. Start by sanding a small flat surface at the top of the gumnut (only about 1cm diameter) so the bead has an even spot to adhere to. I used a belt sander, but you could hand-sand or file it flat.

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2. Glue the wooden bead head to the gumnut body. I used indstrial strength E-6000 glue for this job so there’s not risk of decapitation, I imagine any superglue would do. Allow to dry, sometimes I need to rest the head against a book so it dries in place before slipping off.

3. Paint or draw a face onto your gnome. I use the ends of a skewer to make the tiny eyes and mouth with acrylic paint. Allow to dry.

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4. Cut out a strip of felt, 8cm by 1.5cm. I recently treated myself to these scalloped pinking shear scissors, so used them to cut along one long edge to neaten the decorative trim, but this isn’t essential. With small, sharp scissors cut slits along that edge, leaving about 5mm uncut.

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5. Using two threads of embroidery floss, sew a tiny running stitch along the uncut edge. Pull to gather together. Wrap around the neck of the gnome, pull tight and then stitch and tie of a knot.

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6. Cut out a hat. For the 18mm bead this is a triangle about 6cm along the hairline and 5.5cm tall. For the 22mm bead this is slightly larger – about 6.5cm along the hairline and 7.5cm tall.

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7. I like to blanket stitch a contrasting rim along the hairline of the hat, using three or four threads of embroidery floss, but this isn’t essential.

8. Blanket stitch the sides of the hat together.

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9. Dab a little glue on the crown of the head of the bead. I use 450 Quick Dry Adhesive but a gluegun would do the trick. Stretch the hat gently and then slip it into place on the bead, removing excess glue.

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10. Gorgeous! Well done!  A bunch of these in Autumn tones will look great on your seasonal table or how about a gumnut gnome family for your child’s playscape?

 

 

Autumn fairies

A Table for Autumn

And so our Easter grass evolves into our Autumn Nature Table. Nature tables are a beautiful, simple way to celebrate the seasons, at the same time supporting our children’s development in a profound way. Children thrive on rhythm, it gives them a sense of security and wellbeing to know that what has been, shall be again. Creating and tending a small space in your home, gently drawing awareness to the change of seasons, also supports us as adults to live consciously with Mother Nature’s distinct soul moods instead of just being swept along with the passage of time.

After all the joyful work of creating a beautiful space for Advent and Christmas, I often slack off over the holidays and usually forget to create a nature table for Summer. As the hotter months draw to an end I usually find myself re-inspired to create some little homescape for my extended family of Autumn faeries. With a collection of nut shells, acorn caps, tiny buckets and baskets they’re busy gathering their own Autumn harvest of red, orange and yellow berries.

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Our table will keep evolving as the season evolves. Although still so warm now, when it eventually cools enough for leaves to change colour and fall, Gracie will collect the finest specimens from our wanderings. No doubt our little geologist will find some amazing rocks that need to be displayed as well. Already this season’s table has served as a storytelling table, with a lovely rendition of a tale of some untidy gnomes living under the log and making a mess of the baskets of berries and nuts.

Is there a place for a littlle Autumness in your home?

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Easter Nothingness

It’s been a mad couple of weeks organising an awesome surprise party for a close friend’s milestone birthday, so I’m loving the rare change to two days of nothing. We’ve been sleeping in, enjoying breakfast waffles in bed, venturing outside to hunt for treasures left by the Easter Hare before somehow ending up in bed again for soup, hot cross buns and a welcome afternoon nap. Monday has seen another deliciously lazy day of board games and leftovers.

 

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A decade worth of painted eggs hang on the Easter tree.

 

Still some treats on the Easter centrepiece.

Still some treats on the Easter centrepiece.

Kids at the park with Dad and the dog, I’m relishing the peace of a sleepy autumn day. Even my lawn-obsessed neighbours have managed to leave their mowers and blowers in their sheds for a day….bliss.

Happy relaxing.

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Easter Grass

A tradition for us, as Easter approaches, is to plant our Easter grass. The story we share is that Easter Hare has woken and soon will be on his way to hide the coloured eggs the Autumn faeries have decorated so beautifully. All around the world he hobbles, oh, how very tired and hungry he must be, how lovely for him to have somewhere to rest and nibble a little.

Wheatgrass seeds (the ones I use in my Faerie Garden Kits) are perfect. With careful watering they sprout within days and seem to almost grow before your eyes. Each morning my children exclaim “Look at the Easter grass!” as they enter the kitchen for breakfast and then again in the afternoon as they come home from school, “Look at the Easter grass!” Has it really grown while they’ve been away? I just love the tiny jewels of dew that sparkle on the tips of the grass each morning, a gentle reminder of Mother Nature’s beauty. Soon we will move the Easter grass to our table centrepiece where perhaps Easter Hare will rest, have a nibble and leave some coloured eggs.

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Woodland Folk

Woodland Folk

I’ve had a stack of freshly dyed felt waiting to have some life breathed into it….so last week I found time to whip up a batch of wee woodland folk. The green felt I created with a brand of liquid chlorophyll I haven’t tried before, but its bush green tone has come up quite nicely.

I love these woodland folk en masse. It’s like they’re all engrossed in their own conversations at some kind of woodland convention.

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Or at an important neighbourhood meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Or a weekend BBQ.

 

 

 

Say good-bye woodland folk.

Block Play

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Okay, so these pics might look like a blatant attempt to brag about my new carpet… (Seriously, how good does my new carpet look? And the walls I painted. How good do the new walls look?)…but truly they’re not. Pleased as punch as I am with my newly transformed loungeroom, I’m actually showing you the blocks, or should I say, the block playscape Princess G built this morning before going to kindy. I just love the way a basket of wood is the most engaging play material – pretty much a basic essential for any house-with-kids.

I do admit to helping with the jars of sand to hold up the stick trees – we were heading for a serious melt-down last night because, as great as they are, blocks don’t hold up stick trees. Aside from that, this is all the kids’ own work  - The Bear joined in to sticky tape the leaves onto the stick trees. block playspace 4 pm

I’ve lost count of how many times over the years, aiming to distract a small person, I’ve got down on the floor and started building with blocks. Not telling them what to do, or gabbing about what I’m doing, but simply, silently leading by example in creating my own playspace, and then quietly exiting the scene once they’re entrenched in their own work.

We’ve amassed quite a collection of blocks over the years. Plain squares and oblongs are a good base for any building and short planks serve as roads, walls and bridges. Dragonfly Toys and Honeybee Toys both have good sets of branch blocks. Of course, half the fun could be making them yourself. Collect some solid fallen branches and untreated timber offcuts from your local hardware store and cut them into assorted lengths. I find 5 year olds do great work with a block and some sandpaper. A big wicker basket from your local op shop and you’re in block business. Simple pleasures.        Did I mention we’ve got new carpet?

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Welcome faeries

Heaven’s to betsy! Got my own blog. Feels a bit like having your first baby….you know people have been doing it for a bezillion years but still feels amazing when you’ve finally done it too.

It’s taken months to get our website up and running, still not perfect but that’s okay too. Looking forward to sharing lots of Elfin-related news in the future.

all the best, ange