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Dragon Wings Tutorial

My children are really into slaying dragons right now. If you come by our house in the middle of the day, you’re most likely to find them, sword in hand, running around screaming at dragons. And if you saw my toddler’s face when I handed him his very own pair of dragon wings to wear… It lit up! He put them on and off he went…With mama trying to get a good picture of this little beast!

To make one for your little dragon you will need:

  • A strong fabric; I used wool.
  • Jewerly wire, but a hanger could work fine
  • Two bands of elastic (those in the picture were too short, I advice you to go longer)
  • Tools: wire cutters, fabric scissors, safety pins

Make your wire frame. I went with a simple, small baby dragon style.

Double your fabric and cut along your frame, leaving enough clearing for sewing.

Sew the bottom part of the wings, leave to top open so you’ll be able to insert your wire frame.

Flip your wings outside out and insert your frame.

Close the top with an overstitch and, if you feel fancy, overstitch details.

This is also optional; Make cover for your elastics.

Flip right side out and inset elastic.

Sew both elastic in the middle of the wings.

Use wire to give shape to your wings and you’re done!

And see your little one fly away, away from the camera!

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Celebrating St-Jean-Baptiste

In the huge country that is Canada, there’s a province in which its people speaks proudly French ever since we arrived. There you will find a land of many rivers and luscious forests, and on June 24th, every city from the biggest to the smalls will lit a bonfire for its resident.

Weather on the shore of the Saint-Laurent or in the middle of a parking lot, people will assemble to celebrate what we truly feel is a nation apart from others. People sign and dance.

What our ancestors brought us was a pagan celebration of the Sun in this longest day, christianized to please the Church. St-Jean-Baptiste is still celebrated around the world, much in France, Belgium, Spain. There’s always a purifying fire. But here, it involved into a urge to celebrate our identity. Our uniqueness.

June 24th is our own July 1st, 4th or 14th. We celebrate our chore values like love, friendship, sharing,  justice, equity, loyalty, humour, charity, truth.

I like to believe we are a nation built from the best of every nations that stepped in to conquer the native’s land.  Our blood is full of French, English, Scottish, German, Irish, Italian and Native, and more recently African, Asian and Middle orient origins and we speak the most beautiful language in the world (well, to me!). Our faces shows so many different features, our skin goes from porcelain pink or red to the deepest brown. Our hair can be almost white (like my son!) to the darkest black (like my mom!).  The eyes of a baby will always be a surprise. Our French language borrows English and Dutch words for a wide range of expressions, and expressive we are!

So on the eve of June 23rd, have a bonfire and know for certain that 8 millions people celebrates with you. Sign and dance and have your favortie food and tell your family you love them!

And when midnight pass soon after the darkness arrives, tell everyone Bonne Saint-Jean!

 

 

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Summer Solstice Celebrations

Tomorrow is the Northern Hemisphere’s Summer Solstice. And one of my very favorite celebrations.  The longest day and the official kick-off to the summer season. We’ve only been observing this day in my little family for the past couple of years, but I think we’ve already got our traditions pretty much down for this one.
This year our festivities were joined by some very dear friends and celebrated a couple of days ago. It’s one of just a few days my little ones are allowed to stay up well past their bedtime, as we don’t started til after that time anyway. My husband makes a fire for us to roast veggie dogs and marshmallows over and we allow about an hour before the sun begins to go down to eat and blow bubbles. We spread blankets over the ground and ate picnic style.

My rosemary plant is growing like crazy so I made these yummy Rosemary-Lemon Cookies. We also have plenty of cold lemonade and blackberry cobbler. Don’t you love the foods of summer?!

After everyone has gotten full and it’s dark enough we all run around catching fireflies. They were being rather elusive the other night so instead we sat on the hill and watched them flickering in the distance.

Our celebration is simple, but I think that’s why I love it so much. Happy Solstice, everyone and have a happy summer, too!

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May Day

Here’s a branch of snowy May

A branch the fairies gave me

Who would like to dance today

With the branch the fairies gave me?

Dance away. dance away

Holding high the branch of May.

Dance away, dance away

Holding high the branch of May.

From Festivals, Family and Food

Today is the first day of May. Happy May Day, everyone! Do you celebrate this day? I’ve never really paid it much mind but this year I’m getting into the spirit. Flowers, dancing… I love it! We homeschool but we’re planning on making a trip to the local Waldorf school to join in the festivities this weekend at their May Faire. But today we will make flower chains for our hair, paper cones for holding flowers to hang our our neighbors door knobs and make a sweet cake, too!

To use as we dance and sing the above verse we made some very simple ribbon wands. Even the littlest one enjoyed picking out colored ribbons for hers. Andrea, of ZieZo Designs showed us how to make another variation here.

You can learn more about May or Beltane customs and traditions here. How are celebrating?

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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Nine Awesome Earth Day Giveaways!

The NaturalKids Team is devoted to protecting the earth and it’s natural resources; it is a critical part of what our team represents.  We strive to encourage sustainability and the use of natural, renewable, recyclable, compostable and biodegradable materials throughout the year.  Earth Day, however, provides us a perfect opportunity to go “all out” and really celebrate the choices we make.  Please join us in our celebration by participating in, and sharing, the amazing giveaways from member shops you will find below.

 

 

 1.  Birchleaf Designs – 2 Playsilks in your choice of colors.  Winner – Angela Vullo (comment #99)

“We like use playsilks when we Celebrate! Here are some ways to use silk rather than paper or balloons: 1. Wrap up a gift to give and include the silk as part of the gift;  2. Hang colorful silks around instead of using balloons;  3. Have a basket full of silks for everyone to dress up for the occassion.” 

2.  Mosey Handmade – 12 Hand-painted Wooden Counting Mushrooms.  Winner – Tracey (comment #55)

“My best tip for celebrating is get your kids involved!  They love to see things grow and I think it’s a great day to get out in the garden, plant or transfer those seedlings and dig!”  Check out this article on planting with children for more!

3.  Woolies – Earth Pony of winner’s choice.  Winner – SidewalkGoddess (comment #98)

“Earth Day is a special reminder to the world to honor our Mother Earth. I always spend this day planting, or taking care of our garden. I’ll also make sure to play with our horses, they love Earth Day too!”

4. Long Mountain Art – Organic Cotton Recycle Tee.  Winner – MamaAshGrove (comment #29)

“I teach art so I love to do projects that reuses artwork that my students dont want to take with them. I also find my own kids have an abundance of  doodles that I just hate throwing away!  This is a link for rolled paper bowls. You can use almost any paper but I prefer to reuse artwork that I am not attached to.  You can make coasters or placemats or whatever comes to mind!”

5. Willodel – Set of 3 Cottontail Rabbits (*open to US and Canada only)  Winner – Mel (comment #76)

“The celebration of Earth Day & the welcoming of Spring with it’s burst of new life all around us make April a very special month. At the Willodel shop you will find carefully hand made items out of natural materials full of inspiration and love for the natural world. These qualities are passed onto our children through the toys and sets that they hold and play with. This goal is always a part of everything found in the shop. Celebrating Nature everyday is the very best way to learn from and love the Earth that is our home and be the keepers of it.”
Here is wonderful link to learn about caring for wild life, and two blog links to look at too:  Garden Toad Watch and Willodel

6. MudHollow – Mushroom Bowling, Wonderland Edition with Soy Paints  Winner – Michelle (comment #47)

“Earth Day is a great reminder to get out and have a great time enjoying this amazing planet.  You could make a video for a chance to win a seat at a NASA Rocket Launch, have a Picnic for the Planet or work on creating a Certified Backyard Habitat.  There are so many activities happening around the world, and so many possibilities for projects at home too!  You can start a compost bin, plant a garden using native seeds (desert southwest for me), or find an activity  from our site!”

7.  This Cosy Life – Blossom Mama and her Petal Baby.  Winner – Carissa (comment #80)

“I make all of my own houshold cleaners. A little vinegar, baking soda, and sweet smelling essential oils go a long way toward a cleaner house! And without the toxic cleaners my little ones are happy to scrub right along side me.”

8.  Gypsy Forest – Winner’s Choice of Linen Bag.  Winner – Jenny P (comment #84)

I carry chico bags made from recycled plastic in my purse. I love the kind that fold into their own pouch. AND I love the look on the cashier’s face when I pull out my stash of bags to bag my own groceries.

9.  Armadillo Dreams – Spring Tulips Wooden Flower Toy.  Winner – Dandyrae (comment #18)

Earth Day is a great day to get outside and explore nature with your children. A little walk/hike is always fun. Geocaching is also a great way to explore and appreciate the outdoors.

*10. In case you missed it, The Enchanted Cupboard is also giving away a wooden playset!

Make sure you leave a comment if you haven’t already!

Giveaway is now closed!  The winners are shown next to each item above.  Winning comment numbers chosen using Random.org’s random number generator.  Winners may
Contact Us
to claim prizes if they have not been contacted.

Here’s how to enter:

Leave a comment on this post. Don’t forget to leave us a way of contacting you.

For additional entries (leave a separate comment for each entry, if you don’t, they count as one)

  • Follow teamNaturalKids on Twitter AND Tweet this (include @teamNaturalKids in your tweet)
  • Like Natural Kids on Facebook AND share the giveaway on Facebook (include @NaturalKids)
  • Blog this giveaway and post the link
  • Follow NaturalKids on Pinterest AND Pin your favorite photo from this post (include @NaturalKids)
  • Visit all nine participating shops, and add them to your favorites on Etsy (nine shops = 1 entry)

Giveaway is open worldwide (exceptions noted above). Natural Kids team members are not allowed to enter.

We will choose 9 winners randomly on April 30th, 2012. (Please, make sure we have a way to contact you!)

In addition to the giveaways above, several shops are running Earth Day sales or other promotions!

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Helping Garden Friends For Earth Day

The celebration of Earth Day and the gift of Spring it is a wonderful time to focus on what I call “garden friends” with family and friends. These are the creatures that Mother Nature created to keep balance, health & harmony in our garden and yards and beyond. Learning about them and being aware of them fosters understanding and compassion towards the Earth we are all a part of.

Wild life such as the common songbirds, that can even be found in urban areas, and native toads found in more rural areas are tremendously helpful to all yards and gardens. And on the smaller side, lady bugs, praying mantis & dragon flies do their part in consuming harmful bugs and garden pests as well. Honey bees, native bees & butterflies pollinate our crops for us. It is always nice for children to learn about how helpful insects can be and to respect them and care for them. The experience of watching a pair of House Wrens build a nest, sit on the next and feed their young until they leave the nest is something they will always remember. They can watch how busy mother and father wren are, collecting insects to feed the young. When children learn about these creatures at an early age, to love and respect them and think of them as friends, it establishes a life long relationship with nature and a sense of being apart of this greater family.

To help establish this awareness and care, there are simple things families can do to participate in the support and longevity of these creatures. It is very important to find a balance of this kind of activity so that human intervention does not create a co-dependency of wild life on mankind, but rather encourages them to care for themselves naturally by supporting and protecting a healthy wild life habitat. A simple example of this would be feeding the birds. It is better to plant flowers and vegetables that are favored by the birds, such sunflowers, coneflowers, rudbeckias and elderberries instead of putting out commercial birdseed regularly. I only put out birdseed in deep winter when there is snow on the ground. Sometimes birds that should have migrated south & do not, like robins, need our help to get through the winter. Over all want to make wild life strong, but not dependent on us. We want to protect and create ideal habitat for them so they can prosper. Human development of homes and commercialization of land is one of the main problems for loss of natural habitat. Many common birds are what are called “cavity dwelling “ birds and their natural habitat is a hollow tree. As one can imagine, there are fewer and fewer hollow trees. We can help remedy this situation by putting up birdhouses, often called “ nesting boxes” or “bird boxes”, all being the same idea. This is a tremendous help to native bird populations and has helped bring back our native bluebird populations. The important note here is that the bird house is of the right dimension and design and mounted in the proper way. This information is readily available on line and in books. In a similar vein, nesting boxes can be put up for native bees, which are also called solitary bees. They are great pollinators and are very non-aggressive and do not live in hives. A native bee house can be hung in an orchard to great benefit of all. Houses and water can also be put out for our native toad population. Often referred to as the “the gardeners greatest friend” the common toad, harmless to all but the bugs— will consume literally thousands of bug a month. Native toads were once everywhere, have diminished from disease The toads diet includes all of our gardens greatest pests, such as earwigs, snails, slugs, squash and rose beetles, flies and many more!They feed mostly at night and only need a small water source for soaking in, such as a pot tray or crockery dish. Toads respond to human kindness in amazing ways, even learning to come when called for a bit to eat. They live 35 yrs or more in the same place and always come back to it after winter hibernation. To help toads we can create habitats for them with a water source, a house or place for them to dwell and lots of plants for them to find food around. My experience has always been that when I created a toad habitat, with water, vegetation, shady places, etc. toads would always come! Imagine the the excitement!

I will be going into more detail of how to create habitats for these garden friends in future postings! Please feel free to contact me with questions.

 

For further learning you can go here: Garden Toad Watch.

 

 

 

Lucinda Macy has been making delightful, functional & eco friendly homes out of found wood and recycled materials for many years…….time tested and loved by all. To learn more please visit her websites;

http://gardentoadwatch.blogspot.com/

http://elucinda.com/

http://willodel.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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Earth Day Giveaway From The Enchanted Cupboard

Comments on this giveaway are now closed. The winner is…

 

Carrie @ Crafty Moms Share

 

I’ve already contacted you, Carrie, and you have through 4/28/2012 to respond before a new winner is drawn.

 

Our giveaway this week is coming from Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard. I’ll let her tell you more about it.

Earth Day is really important to me, it reminds me of why I started my business. I wanted to make child-friendly/earth-friendly toys! I wanted to use sustainable supplies and make toys that would be cherished for generations.
It was also very important that I reflected all children and all families. When I first started there was not much diversity in similar toys being offered and I wanted to fill in the gaps. I offer a range of skin tone and have worked with many different combinations of family. It is so rewarding to hear parents say how happy they were to find my shop because they could not find dolls that represented their family!

When I started making my toys there was very little educational item on etsy. I developed and work on a collection of fun and educational toys to spark a child’s imagination. Recently a new customer came to me with a new need they were a Family Therapist and need simple dolls of many skin tones. This again I saw as something that would also work in a school setting.

In celebration of Earth Day I would like to offer, Dolls of The World and Earth Box.

These simply painted dolls are part of my Educational Toys. These are great for learning about the different shades of humankind and teaching children to appreciate their beauty. They are nicely stored in a hand painted Earth Box. You get 8 dolls in different shades of skin tones. The Earth box can be painted with any Continent as the main one .

 

Beccijo is also offering a discount code to everyone. Simply type in NATURALKIDSTEAM during checkout in her Etsy shop to receive 10% off your order. Good through 4/28/2012.

 

 

Here’s how to enter;
Leave a comment on this post. Don’t forget to leave us a way of contacting you.

For additional entries;

(leave a separate comment for each entry, if you don’t, they count as one)

Tweet this (include @NK_Store in your tweet)

Share on Facebook

Blog this giveaway

Follow the NaturalKids blog

Like Natural Kids on Facebook

Like The Enchanted Cupboard on Facebook

Add the Enchanted Cupboard to your Etsy favorites

Follow Beccijo’s blog

 

Giveaway is open worldwide. Natural Kids team members are not allowed to enter.

We will choose a winner randomly on April 26th, 2012. (Please, make sure we have a way to contact you!)

 

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Never Ending Onion Dip

This is one of our families New Favorite recipes. It is very simple, 3 ingredients, and super yum! It is also a great treat to serve on Earth Day. We love this with raw veggies but it is also good on chips.

 

Never Ending Onion Dip

 

1 Bunch of Green Onions ( tops only)

2 cups of sour cream

Sea Salt to taste

 

Finely chop green onions. Mix in sour cream. Salt to taste

Simple…

 

Now here is the never ending part. Take the onion bottoms and add then to a recycled jar ( we used jelly jars ) half filled with marbles, find out about my Marble Relocation Program here. Fill water only to the top of the marble level. Place jar in a sunny window and the green tops will keep growing back!! We have several jars going at the same time and just cut off what we need with scissors.

What could be more EARTHY on Earth day, we recycled and reused!! ENJOY!

 

 

Article written by Beccijo. Find her creations at The Enchanted Cupboard and blogging here.

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Painting Wooden Easter Eggs

Spring and Easter is a fun time to paint eggs. Not just the edible ones but wooden eggs as well. Keeping kids occupied during their spring break can be easy with a few crafts around. My kids love to paint up these wooden eggs and egg cups. We also like to use the egg cups all year long for our breakfast eggs. Check out this link for how to make the perfect Soft boiled egg.
Tips for painting with kids:
Have a cloth for them to dab their paintbrush on. Teaching them to follow these steps will keep the paint from getting to runny; Rinse, Dab, In the Color, and Paint.

Use an ice cube tray to keep wet things off the table and round things from rolling away.

Keep a basket under the sink to hold water cups and paintbrushes – this lets the kids clean up and set up by themselves.

Child safe paint for wooden toys:

 

Use Certified  AP Non-Toxic, such as Plaid Folk Art Acrylics.  Larger well know toy companies like HOLZTIGER are painted with non-toxic, water-based acrylic paints and wooden figure has an additional topcoat of satin-finish water paint to make it resistant to perspiration and saliva.”

Certified as AP non-toxic watercolors is also a nice paint for children and will need to have a finish added like a beeswax wood polish, there will always be a chance that the color will come off if it gets wet. Check out this link for how to make homemade watercolors!

To find items like these check out these shops:

Egg and Cup Kit

Beeswax wood polish
And
Lavender Beeswax Polish

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Easter Egg Treat Pouches

If your family is like ours, you might have quite a few paper bags from the grocery store piling up in your pantry. We mostly end up with them as a result of our impromptu shopping trips, those last minute runs to the market when we’ve been out and happen to not have our cloth bags with us. Most of the time, these paper bags end up re-used as garbage bags but can be re-incarnated as handmade envelopes, parcel wrapping paper or even as table liners for the children’s enthusiastic watercolour sessions.

This Easter, we are recycling some of these paper bags to make Easter egg treat pouches. I never really quite know what to do to portion the loose candy (jelly beans, jordan almonds, etc.) in the baskets each year; in the past, I have used little plastic bags tied with ribbon to divvy up the goodies. So instead, I thought that the paper bags could

be used to do a simple craft (either on your own or with your little loved ones) to house all the little bits and bobs they receive from the Easter Bunny. The threading and lacing involved also presents a wonderful opportunity for youngsters to sharpen their fine motor skills.

 

You will need the following materials:

 

1 large paper bag (grocery store-sized)

Scissors

Twine (hemp, raffia, or any other natural cord that is easy to thread)

Paper + pen (to draw your egg pattern)

Hole punch

 

Begin by drawing a generously sized egg shape on your paper and cutting it out. This will serve as the pattern for your egg pouch.

Next, you will need to remove the large flap from the bottom of the paper grocery bag.

 

Cut along the bottom seam, through both layers of paper, until you are left with a bottomless bag. Then, cut out the thin side strips of the bag so that you are left with two large rectangular pieces of paper.

 

 

Remove the handles from your shopping bag (if there are any).

 

Trace your egg pattern onto the paper twice, giving you a front and a back for your egg pouch. Put the two identical eggs together and using your hole punch, punch holes about every half-inch or so around the perimeter.

 

 

If your paper is particularly plain, you can certainly enlist your child’s help to decorate it with crayons, stampers or whatever craft supplies you have in your home.

Start threading and lacing up your egg, being careful to leave the very top hole unthreaded – this way you’ll have an opening to slip the treats through later. The rigidity of the cord makes it especially easy for young children to complete this portion on their own.

 

 

 

Once you have finished lacing, add your sweets and thread the remaining cord through the very last hole.

 

 

Tie with a flourish, flash a smile…and you’re done!

 

 

This tutorial was shared by Ariana Lyriotakis-Macdonald of Niko &  Nonnie