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Thursday Project: It's still Summer Here

Even with the start of school, we’re still feeling the summer heat in my neck of the woods. These Branch Suns from Tonya of Plain and Joyful Living perfectly capture the nostalgia of the last days of summer as they wind their way into fall.

We embarked on our own creative process. I encouraged the children to paint their own circles. We used birch slices.

As they painted their branches, my brain was swirling with the possibilities. The very tips of birch branches are these lovely multi-branch pieces. With holes drilled closely together around the slice, maybe a fuller branch wreath might take shape.

Here are the children’s finished painted pieces. Today they are going to finish them up and we will screw them on the top of our rustic branch fence that borders a small portion of the pond.

Here is my piece that I left unpainted and applied our homemade beeswax oil finish to the faces. I applied a bit of wood glue to the ends of the each branch before putting in the drilled hole.

Here it is finished and hung on the side of our home (the side you see as you drive up our driveway.

As KnittingMomma on Etsy, Tonya uses natural materials that can be returned to the earth without harm to create gnomes, cars, play silks, matching games and blocks – to name just a few of the products in the Natural Earth Farm and Fiber Studio.

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Thursday Project: It’s still Summer Here

Even with the start of school, we’re still feeling the summer heat in my neck of the woods. These Branch Suns from Tonya of Plain and Joyful Living perfectly capture the nostalgia of the last days of summer as they wind their way into fall.

We embarked on our own creative process. I encouraged the children to paint their own circles. We used birch slices.

As they painted their branches, my brain was swirling with the possibilities. The very tips of birch branches are these lovely multi-branch pieces. With holes drilled closely together around the slice, maybe a fuller branch wreath might take shape.

Here are the children’s finished painted pieces. Today they are going to finish them up and we will screw them on the top of our rustic branch fence that borders a small portion of the pond.

Here is my piece that I left unpainted and applied our homemade beeswax oil finish to the faces. I applied a bit of wood glue to the ends of the each branch before putting in the drilled hole.

Here it is finished and hung on the side of our home (the side you see as you drive up our driveway.

As KnittingMomma on Etsy, Tonya uses natural materials that can be returned to the earth without harm to create gnomes, cars, play silks, matching games and blocks – to name just a few of the products in the Natural Earth Farm and Fiber Studio.

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forest living

Congratulations to Erin of ImaginationKids, whose beautiful wooden toys were featured this week on the fabulous Australian kids’ blog Babyology.

“The hedgehogs had me at hello,” writes Babyology’s Jaime Purnot. “Then the Rainbow Stacker caught my eye. Finally, the bunny family, ladybug push toy and the robin came into view and my heart melted.”

Here are some other beautiful NaturalKids artisan-created forest finds for kids:

owl friends branch peg rack by MapleShadeKids

fall pixie doll by fairiesnest

set of 4 mini mushrooms by katsinthebelfry

needle felted forest fairy by nushkie

old man of the forest by EvesLittleEarthlings
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Make birdseed cakes

Today’s fabulous how-to is by Emily from yarn miracle. Her beautiful shop specializes in companion animal placement, including the most luxurious cashmere bears and bunnies. Thanks, Emily, for this great & very summery tutorial!

How to make birdseed cakes

It’s nearly summer and there are birds everywhere. When Ellie and I woke up last Saturday, Birdseed Cakes just seemed like a great idea.

Neat right? To make your own, you’ll need

From the pantry:
• 3/4 c. flour
• 1/2 c. water
• 3 T. corn syrup
• 4 c. birdseed, or a mix of birdseed, raw nuts, dried fruit and other seeds
You can create combinations that are suitable for the native birds in your area, or just pick pretty ingredients if you want to use these as gifts or party favors!

From the kitchen:
• a sheet pan – line it with parchment or wax paper if you don’t want to scrub the sheet pan later.
• a rolling pin is helpful but optional
• another piece of parchment or waxed paper if you don’t want to scrub the rolling pin later.
• every cookie cutter you own
• jute or twine to create hangers

Pour the flower, water and corn syrup into a bowl and whisk it all together until it is well combined. Add the birdseed and stir everything until all the seed is coated and sticky. The mixture will be loose and messy and you’ll think you made a Terrible Mistake.

Dump the mixture on the lined sheet pan, cover with the extra sheet of parchment and use a rolling pan or your hands to compress the mess tightly to about 1/2″ thick. The more tightly you can pack it, the better it will hold together when it dries. Toddlers love this.

Once you are satisfied with the depth and density, press the cookie cutters into the “dough” and leave them in! No matter how tightly you’ve pressed, don’t take out the cookie cutters or it will still fall apart! Just fit as many cookie cutters into the dough as you can.


(Yes, those are her pajamas. I *did* mention it was Saturday morning.)

Now let them dry just like that for about 6 hours. When you are able to handle them without disaster, you can remove them from the cutters, flip them over and leave them to dry for another six hours. Plain shapes hold up better (hearts, flowers, leaves, some rabbits), things with arms and sticky out bits (gingerbread men) tend to loose their fragile arms and sticky out bits. I’m convinced that the cat’s tail survived because Ellie loves cats and the Universe didn’t want to break her heart. If you run out of cookie cutters, grease your hands and shape the remaining dough in to donuts/wreaths (these may need to dry a little longer). The scraps can be dried the rest of the way and then placed in a basket or scattered on your back porch. No sense in wasting them.

Once the cakes are completely dry, wind them with twine to create simple, rustic hangers. And now they are ready for the birds to enjoy!

Speaking of birds, here’s a beautiful little lemon yellow knit bird from yarn miracle (and organic to boot!)


handknit organic cotton little ittie birdie toy

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Thursday tutorial: Make dandelion curls

Today’s tutorial is by Waldorf doll-maker Marie from KnechtRuprecht. She also blogs here. With so many dandelions about this time of year, this is a lovely (very kid-friendly) activity.

How to make dandelion curls

I remember when I was a child we made lots of dandelion curls. We used them as little figures and created hairdressing salons for them in the medow or we made beautiful dandelion necklaces using the little curls as pearls.

You will need dandelions and water.

Split the stem with Your fingers.

Put the stem in the water and voila! dandelion curls.

Ringel, Rangel, Löwenzahn,
buttergelbe Scheibe.
Schaust die liebe Sonne an,
dass sie bei dir bleibe.
Pusteblume, blühe auf,
weh‘ in alle Winde,
wehe über unser Haus,
dass dich keiner findet.
Langer Stiel und nackter Knauf,
glatzekahles Köpfchen.
Morgen blühen neue auf,
lauter blonde Schöpfchen.

Here is a new rose Waldorf cuddle baby from KnechtRuprecht’s shop!

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Make a No-Knit Yarn Nest.

Hi, I’m Donni from The Magic Onions blog. My shop is Fairyfolk.

A few weeks ago, to K’s utter delight, we discovered a little nest in the eves inside our front porch. We have been watching Mr and Mrs House Finch building this nest from our front window. K has been consumed… it reminds me, a little uncomfortably, of myself when the first Big Brother came out.
Whenever I ask if she’d like to make something, the answer is always… ‘a nest! Oh please, Mommy, can we make a nest?’
So today, we made a nest.
As I’m no knitter… (I can’t knit… shock horror!) I have been thinking of ways to make a nest using yarn that doesn’t require knitting. This is what we came up with…
What you’ll need is:
* Glue or Hodge Podge
* Water
* A baloon
* Scissors
* Yarn

We blew up the balloons to the right size for a nest.
We cut long strips of the yarn.
I lined a glass dish with a plastic packet for easy clean-up later and filled it with glue. I added enough water to the glue to make it about the consistency of milk.
We dipped the yarn into the glue mixture and wrapped it around the balloon, making sure to keep the yarn in a nest shape.
When our nests were wrapped around the balloons, we set them in the sun to dry.

When they were dry, we popped the balloons with a pin and our perfect little nest were left.

They have been treasured playthings all day and K is so delighted to be able to play ‘Birdie-in-a-nest’!
Visit The Magic Onions to see our post on our real nest of chicks and how we watched them grow from eggs to fledgelings.
Blessings and magic.