Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rainbows and Rain Clouds

Kia Ora Koutou!  I think it has been six months since I have had free hands and free time to post.  I have been a shocker in the last year - when it comes to writing.  In my head I have shared a lot on this blog.  My hands have been much busier than I could ever have anticipated with two little treasures in my life.  In fact treasure number two is in an interesting sleep stage and in order for us to get her to sleep more than she thinks she needs, I need to sit with her.  Usually I knit ( the better choice while I keep her company) but today I write!

Little E has just had her first birthday.  We celebrated with a rainbow party.  I will share this soon.



KB having turned three has started kindy and after two weeks is loving the rhythm.



Finally, the rain clouds above my head are lifting.



These events have shifted the clouds for us and we are loving the rainbow of colour we can all see now.  KB really needed kindy.  E is flourishing as her sister the tall, strong Kauri (tree) is stretching her boughs and letting more light shine down on her.  And, I am finding time for me.

While I write this blog for me - to reconnect, to connect and reflect, it is lovely to hear that others enjoy my posts.  My last post occurred around the same time a friend from long ago posted me a thoughtful gift and a thank you note for sharing here.  I was quite blown away.  Thank you Jackie!  Then as I sign in I find a new comment from a passionate playcentre Mum who found me via google.  Thank you Tara.  I have also been told there are other readers out there who wait with anticipation for my next post!!  I find that hard to believe, but I am very grateful.   Perhaps, if you have time you could share why you have enjoyed reading my posts.    Let's hope I get time to write more often, and then if I don't know that I am having too much fun with my little rainbows!



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Carpentry Play

The carpentry corner at Playcentre is a very empowering corner for play indeed.

My daughter's creation, "The dolphin diving in the sea"

Full of real tools - saws, hammers, nails, screwdrivers, screws, drills, vice, wood and the complete trust in our little people that they will enjoy the tools in their play.



Our playcentre carpentry corner has had its tools refreshed and the kids know it.  With every tool working as it should the children are relishing each one.

Our role as parent at Playcentre is to provide, observe and extend when and if possible.  With carpentry that can be intimidating for a myriad of adult reasons - safety concerns, limited personal experience even frustration that screws, nails and tools are being tipped out and strewn every where by children!!!

After attending a carpentry play workshop I have had my lenz widened to so many pathways children play through when exploring with this type of play.

My kitchen cupboards and draws are often emptied of cutlery, pots, bowls and tea towels because even with all of the "play" or "toy" equipment provided - you just can't beat the real thing. And why not, it's good enough for Mum and Dad right?  Of course then carpentry tools are viewed by children in the same way.



If you imagine how your baby and toddler play and explore the home kitchen then we can draw comparisons to stages of development in carpentry play :

Experimentation Stage
In the kitchen we might see our children....
                        watching family members,
                                      grabbing for and playing with kitchen utensils
        handling and playing with spoons, bowls and pots
                                                             carting the pot around like a treasure
                          emptying cupboards

                       (sound familiar?)

With carpentry play this stage might look like
               tipping out accessories
                                               chewing on wood
        watching other children
                                                           handling or carrying tools around

Abstract Building Stage
In the kitchen we might notice our children.....
                                                use all the utensils in ways they have seen them used
                         begin to stir in a pot or bowl
                                             put plates or bowls or pots in ovens or fridges
          put their toys in the pots!

With carpentry play this stage might look like
                          hammering nails without help
         controlling saws                                        imitating adults
             using tools for their correct purpose
                                      no plan

Specific Creating Stage
In our kitchen I see this ...
                  child requesting a recipe
                                         understanding that certain types of baking requires certain ingredients

gathers ingredients from cupboards and fridge or garden
                            models Mum and Dad's methods
    insists on variations
                                       
During carpentry play you might see children in this stage...
      Pre planning construction
                               adding accessories
                                          modeling own things
completing and naming their creations
                                                      experimenting




What I love the most about these identified stages is that it begins with experimentation and upon knowing more and understanding more returns to experimentation.  That to me is what is exciting about learning through play and in my opinion what learning is.  How often do you find yourself mastering something, then experimenting once you feel you have reached a certain point?

Ideas for making carpentry more accessible at Playcentre or at home:

Provide the basics if you can - wood (untreated pine off cuts are usually free around the place), nails or screws, hammers, drills, and saws.

Be present during this play - observe, offer language (hit, screw, up, down, together...) provide ideas to enable the child to realise their plan.

Holding a nail can be hard while little hands hammer.  Try starting the nail, put clay or playdough around to hold the nail in position.  This is a much more appealing option than your fingers around the nail while the child takes aim with the hammer.

Wood can be hard.  Bars of soap are a great medium for hammering into - if  the child's goal is to hammer.  Pumice is an accessible medium to saw, drill or hammer into.

Hammering/drilling holes into shells can end in shatters.  Use a masonary bit (has a spade like tip).  Hold the shell round side down and squish into play dough or clay to hold in position.

Tree stumps make excellent hammering tables for toddlers - they are lower, a little more forgiving and provide a large and defined work space.

Once nails are hammered into wood, thread wool around to create a pattern.

With the child's imagination and exploration nurtured by the adult's support through observation, offer of language and scaffolding to make their pathway possible there are no limits - follow their lead.

Carpentry play grows problem solvers, develops fine/gross motor skills, is both scientific and mathematical amongst many other values and most importantly is fun.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Show and Share: Painting Biscuits

This week Miss two and two thirds would like to share how to paint biscuits with a pastry brush.




We hope you enjoy sharing this idea and movie with your little people.

video

Fifty Cent Sun Dress: Lessons Learnt in Sewing with Knit Fabric and a Giveaway!





Finally, I have turned a market bargain into a sweet little sun dress!

A metre square of turquoise coloured stretch terry cloth for 50 cents caught my eye in a cardboard box last spring.
My favourite colour of course and the fabric reminded me of the dresses my mum used to where in the seventies.  I had to have it.



With Dana's Warhol Dress pattern and tutorial I have sewn my first dress for my little girl.  It is the perfect just been on the beach dress, or poolside dress.

 And, have I learned sew, sew much about sewing with knit fabric in just one dress!



Janome - my temporarily adopted sewing machine is much cleverer than me.  She knows more than me and harbours much wisdom of which I am yet to understand.    I have discovered a stitch called "overcasting", which seems to be very close to overlocking.  This is the stitch I used making this dress, it looks more professional that zig zag.

I also learned that when sewing knit fabric it is much better to have a longer stitch.  I seemed to go no where fast when sewing with short stitches and knit fabric.
Apparently, there is also a ball point needle which is better to use when sewing knit as it does not break a hole.  It is also possible to use a twin or double needle to hem knit fabric creating that professional double hem with over locking stitch on the reverse.

I am very excited about sewing with more knit.  However I have decided that I really must have an overlocker, despite finding the overcast stitch on Janome.  I think a second hand overlocker would be perfect.  And I have been given many cones of thread.....

Sadly I can't use them, and I have no idea how to go about finding a good overlocker.  So, I would love to give away the following bundles to homes who will appreciate them.

Pack one - Citrus Zing (lime is a woven thread)

Pack two - Summer Sea Blues (turquoise is a woven thread)


There are two bundles, each include a roll of woven thread.  To enter please join my facebook page and leave me a tip on how to find and buy a second hand overlocker, or a tip on sewing or overlocking with knit fabrics. Oh and let me know which trio you might prefer.  

I will draw winners on April 2, 2012     x

Friday, February 24, 2012

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember - Soulemama


Friday, February 17, 2012

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember - Soulemama


Inspired and motivated to share a moment by Soulemama and her readers.  Visit Soulemama to share her moment and others'. I would love you to share your lenz with me by posting a link to your moment below.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NOT Breastfeeding at Playgroup

There has been a lot of debate in the press lately about breast feeding or not.  Extremists will always get their views into the media, and it is important, in my opinion, that they do.  They give us an opportunity to ask ourselves what we think about the issue.




Breast feeding has been something I can do.  Very little drama and a lot of success.  I am grateful that my children have been able to benefit from the intimacy of breast feeding and the health benefits.  Still, there are many other beautiful mother-child relationships for those who bottle fed, what's more their children are also healthy.



I have always advocated to other mummy friends that you do what ever is best for a happy mum and happy baby.  At the point when the decision is being made, or is made that bottle feeding must begin I hear my self consoling friends with "It's ok" and "We can do our best, then we are allowed to bottle feed if we need too".



While I can breast feed I am not quite able to breast feed for as long as some Mums.  At our Steiner playgroup I am always amazed by mothers breast feeding two, three and four year old children.  All mothers have their reasons for breast feeding - for what ever duration, or bottle feeding and hopefully the reason encompasses happiness.

So I can say this and share this - but now I am living it with my second daughter I am struggling!!  E is six months old.  From four months she has shown strong signs of wanting food.  She has been breast fed on demand - unlike my eldest daughter.  She is now on three meals a day and loves her milk and food.  She is happy.

I am less happy, I am tired too.  Consequently, we are almost one week into one bottle of formula a day. She takes the bottle enthusiastically, unlike her sister!  She devours her milk.  She has three teeth, so its nice that the teat gets a hard time instead of me!  Yet I feel a sense of guilt.

When I pulled out the bottle at our beloved play group I felt like a failure.  I have not seen one bottle fed baby there before.  E did not mind one bit.  Actually, I bet nobody minded.  Just me!!  Our play group community are so accepting, and yet I felt guilt.  So silly!

So why have I started to drop breast feeding?  Let me remind my self.

E is ready for more.  I am exhausted.  Hormone fluctuations are making me a little crazy.  Patience is disappearing.  Oh, and here is a wee sketch of what my vivacious eldest daughter got up to today at play group...




That is her a top an eight foot fence.  No one else at play group had the vision to see how to climb the fence.  Kaea does!  And did so twice today!!  The fence neatly separates play group from kindergarten.  Kaea has watched little people playing through the cracks in the fence.  She has wondered through their green kindergarten pastures, past the fountain, rocky edged sandpit, meandering paths to the lush vege garden to feed the chickens.  She has experienced a small sense of loss realising that her friends who once played with her at play group, are now on the other side of the fence.

At almost two and a half she told me she can go to kindy now.  She has been told that when she is three, and can successfully use the toilet she may go to kindy.  Well she can use the toilet and she is three next birthday so I can see why she must be there NOW.  The kindergarten co-ordinator who rescued her from eight feet up (whilst I tried with baby in arm) a little shocked to learn that she was not three for another five months asked me if I thought she would be ready to attend without Mum.  My response, rather sadly was yes.

I am not digressing from the point of this post. Promise.  Kaea is an exuberant, independent learner, who cannot get enough of the world.  I tire from keeping up with or just behind her from a little distance.  She needs my energy as does E.  So to keep up with them both and keep my self going forward I feel that a combination of breast and bottle from now on is the key.



Hopefully we can regain a happy mum, and maintain happy baby and toddler.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Show and Share: Heart Soaps in a Coat (Felted Soap)

I would like to introduce you to my big girl Kaea.  She is a talker.  Started talking quite early, has a fast growing vocabulary and talks about everything!  Inspired by Meagan at This Whole Family we chose to celebrate Valentines Day by creating felted soaps together.  Such a wonderful hands on and useful craft to complete with our children.


Together we've made her first "Show and Share" tutorial, thinking it would be a great way for her to do what she loves best - talk and share, and may be experience an audience wider than her family.  You will hear her refer to "Tazza and Daddy" as these are who I framed as her audience.  The concept of a blogging community as an audience was a little hard to explain!

Following this "Show and Share" are some supporting notes and comments from her Mumma.

Perhaps, your little people could enjoy this "Show and Share" with you.

Heart Soaps in a Coat (Felted Soap)


video



The movie could do with polishing, however the focus is showing and sharing in her two year old way.  We would love to hear what your little people think.

Mumma's Supporting Notes

The timing of Meagan's tutorial on Felted Soap could not have been better for me.  We are almost a year into toilet training and my pet peeve at the moment is liquid soap.  The liquid soap dispensers are not kind or encouraging to little people who want to grow in independence.  I am not a fan of soap bars left wet and slippery at the basin either.  Felted soap is a great solution.  Wool is self sanitising, it creates a lovely lather of soap, acts as a cloth to wipe off extra dirt and allows the soap to dry in a contained space.  And it looks beautiful!

I have also read that once the soap has disappeared, you can cut open the felt, insert another bar and close the opening with more felting.


You will need:

  • a mould for your chosen soap shape
  • gratings of soap - I chose to grate a quarter of a cup from a bar of soap
  • a double boiler - I used a heat proof bowl over a pot of boiling water
  • a few drops of essential oil - optional, I used sweet orange
  • tbsp of coconut oil - optional, I found that it helped to melt the soap
  • wool roving, suited for wet felting - I found more than enough in a bag for less than $NZ5 from Spotlight
  • an old stocking
  • a bowl of warm water

 Add grated or pieces of soap, along with coconut oil if using into a double boiler.  When the soap has softened (timing will depend on the amount of grated soap) add essential oil if you wish.   Softened soap can then be spooned into your moulds.  Take care it can be hot.  Level the soap and leave to harden overnight.


Pop the harden soap out of the mould and cover with the wool roving. 


At this stage we placed the soap in an old stocking.  Using a stocking makes it easier for hands, big or little to matt/felt the wool.  You may go without a stocking, it will require rubbing the wool for a little longer.


Dip the stocking wrapped soap into warm water and begin to rub all over.


It soon begins to lather.  We took turns to rub the soap for almost ten minutes.  For a larger bar of soap you may need to rub for 20 minutes.



Finally, unwrap the stocking to reveal your felted soap - or soap in coat!  Leave the soap to dry completely before using.



Thanks Meagan for sharing your tutorial and I hope you and your little people enjoy Kaea's "Show and Share" x









Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Summer Tee Pee

I love tee pees!  Last year while cruising the internet I found many gorgeous tee pees, my favourite being those who had the hand made touch.  They reminded me of childhood summers spent under our tent made of bed sheets in the shade and with use of the branches of a nectarine tree.

In time for Christmas I managed to create these tee pee for my daughter and her cousin using this pattern from Spotlight - made from sheeting even!!


One was appliqued while the other featured stars.  I love the idea of tee pees providing a little space for peace and serenity for big brothers or sisters.  That is of course until little brothers or sisters learn to crawl!

KB still loves to share with her wee sister and read to her, so for now her tee pee is a shared space.



'dell has taken to his tee pee so much that it has become his nap time destination!  For this I am so grateful as when he unwrapped this Christmas present from his Aunty it sure paled in comparison to his cousins bike from her Aunty!!

If you've not seen the tee pee pattern from Spotlight and want to practice straight lines and seams like I did, take a look. This is a great project, simple with potential to become a magnificent project.




What do you think?  I would love to read your comments, they will motivate me to keep trying to find a space in my hectic life to post that which my busy hands have created!!  Thinking about a give away too...

Hope to post again soon x




Sunday, January 15, 2012

Strawberries and Dreams


Happy 2012 Everyone!  I love this time of year - I love the opportunity to begin again, to set goals, to refresh.  I also love strawberries, dreams and the fact that I have managed to sew pyjamas for our girls.

Check out these sweet little legs complete with strawberry nappy covers!  E's pjs have been teamed with a white onesie.


KB's pj pants have been modeled on a pair of shorts from her wardrobe and teamed with a "rhubarb" singlet.  I just cannot believe I actually made these and they actually fit!!





Dana and her inspirational blog motivated me to believe I could actually sew these.  She is one outstanding Mama.  I found her tutorial on creating ones own patterns to sew very helpful for these pj pants.  


Dana's diaper cover pattern and tutorial were used to create these cutie pies for baby pjs.  The delicious fabric was an on sale discovery from Spot light and I feel like it just sums up what we love about summer here in Aotearoa.


Now my two little strawberries are (finally) snuggled in bed, sleeping in their new "jammas" and their very excited and proud Mama awaits the morning to see if these pretty things can function as they are meant to and hold it together for a night!!

Thanks for stopping by I would love you to make my new year by joining me on my Facebook page if you can.  If you have not already, please visit Dana's newly refreshed and very motivational blog.

Have a happy week.
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